Ten signs you were a Glaswegian kid
Everybody reading this post will have experienced childhood, but not everybody will have experienced a Glasgow childhood. Glasgow Living brings you 10 things that would only happen if you experienced a childhood Glasgow style.
1. Wedding scrambles
That epic day when your neighbour’s grown up son or daughter would be getting married and whilst leaving the street, empty a coin bag full of money onto the road. The road, obviously, being covered in razor sharp gravel. The local children would battle for the discarded money, on the floor, like miniature duelling gladiators. Eternal friendships were bonded and broken on those particular days. (Along with elbows and knees.)
If you came from a big family in Glasgow, it usually meant two things: going to your grannies on a Sunday would be a walk-in family tree, with more generations in the one house than Genes Reunited.
Secondly, joining high school with a big family meant that there were literal armies of cousins and second cousins in every school. It wasn’t unusual for 47 members of the same family to be marauding around the corridors of any given school. If you were one of the “family”, you’ll never feel safer, but if you faced the wrath of the “family” best to lay down and play dead.
3. Playing at the stanks
A very Glaswegian word. If you had bouncy balls, “sodiers” or marbles and the rain hadn’t turned the drains into a miniature flood hazard, you would probably play around the stanks (drains). (Your love of the stanks was diminished depending on how early in life you watched Stephen King’s “It”.)
4. Wham Bars, Ice Cream Soda bars and Irn Bru bars
It’s incredible that these sweets are even allowed to be produced. Marketed solely at dispossessing children of their pocket money and milk teeth, they are the scourge of the dental industry. It would be quite common to watch kids pretend to brush their teeth with the bars of confectionery horror. (Fair warning: never attempt to jump on your brother’s back with an Ice Cream Soda chew bar lodged in the roof of your mouth. It will end in blood and tears.)
5. Goin’ for the messages or the Sunday papers
It was a simpler time. Going for the “messages” would be a right of passage. At first it was fantastic, the responsibility of getting to go “up the shops”, usually for “4 pints and a loaf”, but it quickly became a burden. Sometimes you had a friend to help you on the journey, most of the time you journeyed alone. Before Walkman. You walked man. (Sorry)
N.B Going for the Sunday Papers. You Were Always Alone.
6. The Alpine Lorry Man
On a Saturday afternoon, usually about lunchtime, a man with a glowing aura would arrive, warmly spoken to as if an extended member of the family. He would bring bottles of luminous “ginger” and take away the pain and sorrow of the “empties”. (Later they even extended their empire to include crisps, what a rush that was.)
The flavours were hit and miss, their “Iron Brew” tasted like a bottle of rinsed sponge but the limeade was fantastic. Once opened, the bottle would hold gas like a sieve, so the closer to the bottom of the bottle, the more your juice tasted like a manky pond.
7. Going for your school uniform in Hoey’s on Victoria Road at the end of the summer holidays
Six and a half weeks had passed. You had experienced many “Goonies”-like adventures and strangely enough you had began to miss the four asbestos filled walls of your classroom. (Your parents certainly did.) But on that day, late summer, it all changed. Getting measured to find out what pair of nylon/polyester, plutonium resistant trousers you were destined to wear. Meant one thing. Summer…Was…Over.
8. The mobile chippy van
A sign of Glasgow’s deep fried death wish, instead of having to collect a “chippy” from the chip-shop and thus reduce the calorific impact of eating your “supper”, there was a delightful man who would bring his chip shop on wheels to your home. Would almost certainly fail even the most lenient of health and safety checks today.
The most astounding thing about the mobile chippy? It was, of course, a decommissioned ambulance.
9. Sliding down slab stairs in a Hovis bread basket
As mental and dangerous as it sounds. Taking turns to sit in a bread basket and skim down the stairs like a council version of Aladdin and his magic carpet. This was no Disney movie however, time it wrong and your delicate knee cap would connect with the rock hard, cement laden paving slabs. Horrifyingly painful. To succeed was to triumph, but fail and you failed hard.
Still considered by many to be the worst pain they’ve ever experienced.
10. Remembering George Square before it was red tarmac
Be it watching Nelson Mandela (and not really knowing who he was), the Poll Tax demos, or the Christmas lights switch on. George Square was a king’s courtyard. Less tourist friendly than the modern day George Square.
No less majestic, but certainly a little less burgundy.