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Last 10 Posts [ In reverse order ]
peter.howden Posted 19th Oct 2020, 10:09am
Out in the Cold

It was a grimy lit industrial estate where the remains of several condemned commercial buildings stood, surround by a mouldy stone wall. Behind the furthest frozen corner lay hidden from anyone passing by, a crouched tragedy, hunched against the bitter wind, was a breathing heap, poorly disguised as almost human, but… a lost creature. Old leaky worn leather boots, shapeless melton breeks, a mockit shirt owning more holes than ac actual fabric, cover over by a smelly old-fashioned coat which long ago seen better days. The exhausted dosser didn’t dauner there, just went where his ice frozen feet took him. Why he arrived at this unused location is unknown, however this was the worst winter ever recorded, he had little choice to be alone, as his appearance was not of a amiable nature…weans avoided him, but so did everyone else

His last hot meal was beyond memory, cast as a lost legend while he had scrambled through middens behind restaurants and cafes, before being chased by somebody. His lug was frozen as was his neb, little or no feeling in wrinkled fingers. his thin physique was devoid of feeling… just bloody numb. He kept a two pence coin in his pocket, held safe in a manky hanky, which was really a piece of stripped shirt material. Inside the clabber of clothing was one treasured picture, he never brought out into daylight, but treasured a few secret glances late of an evening. Isolation wasn’t an attitude, simply endured, permanently

Wishing only if he could be warm, laying unable to move in the rubbish the vicious wind collected in the obscure corner, his mind launched into a state of hallucination. Wafting in and out of nothing and everything, cloaked in ambiguity until it settled clearly on a single auld fashioned box of matches, once known as Lucifer sticks. As if by magic, but in his reality, a match left the box, glided unaided towards the stone wall, and struck hard. The head burst alight, so incredibly bright, it hurt his eyes, as it’s enchanting warmth gathered around him. After a undetermined time passed but before it started to fade, another match appeared out of the box and repeated the actions with light and lifesaving heat.

Per chance, early the following morning, someone using the estate as a shortcut, slipped, then stumble almost falling onto the built-up snow, discovered the wanderer still crouched in the corner with no sign of life. Although already late, phoned the police, then with a spark of decency, the instant good Samaritan waited until they arrived. The body was turned to the amazement of the medical officer present, witnessed an elderly man’s face beaming, the body temperature unbelievably normal under such critically harsh cold surroundings. Carefully checking inside the drifter's manky clothing , to find no pulse…although discovering an old photograph in the interior of the coat pocket. When opening the folded photo…he swore blind afterwards…there was a faded portrait of someone…but it disintegrated instantly , either by age ...or the arctic weather. All that was left was… a tatty blank photographic glossy card.
peter.howden Posted 16th Oct 2020, 07:49am
  The Owl and the Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussycat
High up in a tree,
Musing affairs of the day
As if we are totally free
Said the Owl to the Pussycat
Abusing earths precious asset,
Animals losing their home
Worms decline without a fret
Nowhere left to roam,
Said Pussycat to the Owl
Why move in a ruckus
With such an irate foul
The regime always F…us!

With these words said
The Pussycat eyes froze
And as if in a bed
Purred into a doze
peter.howden Posted 15th Oct 2020, 07:21pm
  Hector and the A.B.C.

Hector often heard this quote; “Would you return to your youth, knowing what you know now?”, as if it would help to bring better results, or turning the clock back for everlasting youth. He would say no to all three. To miss the pleasure, and the pain making all mistakes in search of basic understanding, is the essence for all animal forms within this world…not to be naive would kill the joy of discovery. We humans are privileged, simply because we can record our local and global history, in hope we learn from it, however… we rarely do.

Still the era when cinema played a major part in almost everyone’s lives as Hector reached his teens. The A.B.C. minors, Waverley cinema held every Saturday morning, a club for all kids, and incredibly he became a monitor. There was no wages involved, but the peach remuneration was the ability, any time during the week with a free pass into adult movies. On the magic screen was a range of commercial films flirting in a Cinderella manner around the physical attractions between the sexes. All Hector gained with certainly, Doris Day did not fart any bodily noises, or smells. Mostly seen in a near perfect state, Doris Day was just perfume itself. Hector looked around, not spying any Doris Day girls anywhere, in or out of the cinema.

After a while, the staff just let Hector in with just a nod, including the Schoolboy notorious holy grail of thee; ‘X’ films. He believed he was smart on the subject of sex , as His brother had given proper instruction about sexual characteristics and all the technical words, although in reality, Hector was baffled as to the reality of sexual intercourse.

The hoped-for sex therapy was hugely overrated, as these X movies, mainly French along with non-apparel subtitles). A severely disappointed Hector, who was expecting to see nudes all over the place, because this was the hype around the school yard, however they never lived up to the expectations of the spotty Herbert, left being no further on in cardinal knowledge, and a unqualified dander’ inflamed. One film showed a French guy, slowly drawing on a cigarette hanging from his mouth, as he was surrounded by hoodlums. The surprise for the heidbanger leader of the gang… the fella blew the glowing fag into the Frenchie moron’s face, giving him time to run. Bizarrely, this came in handy for Hector, some years later

As with many people, Hector began to learn personally, there were certain moments within life’s pattern that changed him forever, or at least until the next turning point came around. His enigma now is, when young, old age was far away, virtually beyond imagination or dreams, however, now his youth appears almost touchable. The strange thing about life is it happens whether you try or not, although you have self-illusion of standing still, or repeating the exact same actions day in, day out , communicating into years, you are changing out of sight every second breathing.
peter.howden Posted 11th Oct 2020, 06:48pm

Entering our town by train or bus, then taking transport towards a certain outer scheme which represents the centre of a close community, an instant numbness catches the breath. Without even trying, it’s obvious something disturbing and bizarre about a house with the bright yellow door, the eye-splitting obvious red painted windows, situated just at the far end on the right. It had been the scene of absolute madness beyond a man-made hell of any society

Somewhere in the recent murky past, setting up home together were two young people who only fell deeply in love, craving intensely to live together, behind their individually decorated buttery door, but the supposed pious neighborhood were horrified at any such behavior and just could not let it be. The young blameless couple’s fundamental sin was, not only to openly dare treasure the forbidden passion, ‘ love we dare not speak its name’, but both born of mixed race and creed.

Without warning, almost instantaneously, groups of protesting cliques congregated at the doorway of their home, chanting curses and taunting the frightened pair. In such a short space of time, the factions formed an ugly hypocritical mob, set on destroying any trace of this abomination. With half-hearted motions the police department of the town managed to hold the hordes back. The law enforcement superintendents and the council, feared the situation was becoming uncontrollable, called for the pillars of separate spiritual houses of worship, to deal with this now unholy affair

They nervously came with feeble attempts trying to appease the now hostile throng, with no success… then each in turn quoted chosen verses from their Bible; Koran; Torah; Tripitaka and ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ quotes to no avail, for all theoretical ears and minds only set this outrage to be, against man’s divinity laws.

What happened during this appalling cursed night was beyond redemption, for once daylight broke, the utter ignominy awkwardly befell the authors of such horrendous actions. No decent human alive would dare tell without burning shame buried within, which would remain a personal infamy nightmare, amongst those who acted, and gave birth to the infinite stain on the city’s history.

Will it happen again? I personally have no reason, or justification to ask, as I’m an atheist without protection of faith in a deity…. But my eternal disgrace …. I threw the first stone….
peter.howden Posted 8th Oct 2020, 06:55pm
  Tales of Hector and the Bullies

From the very start, going back home from Shawlands Academy Hector faced an inevitable dilemma, regardless the route taken, the reason being three constant aggressors, making sure no witnesses to their physical incidents. during School, they made endless mocking ,or mimic his obvious Cerebral Palsy. He felt locked inside an invisible goldfish bowl, spinning trough raw virgin emotions, unable to change his seemingly ugly predicament taking place outside the bowl.

For some time, having noticed attempted hidden bruises and cuts, his mother bought sessions of judo classes, but this did not help, because of limited physical ability to what he could achieve. After World War Two, in the mid-50s, individual leather schoolbags were in short supply. Khaki military haversacks bought from army and navy stores was commonly used to carry School books.
One afternoon, while returning home alone, he entered the wally close, to be confronted inside by his three nemesis.

Out of the blue, in his head came the quote from Mr Swan; ‘Don’t let anyone use you… stand straight, then dance to you own tune’. He lashed out instantly with uncontrollable pent-up rage, swinging his haversack, stuffed full of books as his main weapon. the confinement of the stairs and close was to Hector’s advantage .

The horror came to light that evening when the mothers of the injured antagonists came to Hector’s door, claiming he was a savage. The very next morning arriving at the school, each bitterly complaining to the headmaster. Mr Bell, informed them, during the last six months, several teachers had raised concerns about Hector, being persecuted outside school, by the mothers sons. No further action was taken, for it was out of his jurisdiction, but the parents were warned.

Hector concluded his body-language had to change, improve to confidently proud, doing his best to avoid conflict. Ran through quite a few severe knocks and scrapes, unfortunately, the die cast was a gunge-ho attitude, but as far as he knew, no one had the intention to bully . One thing was obvious, Eric did not have any more harassment

From then on, Hector attempted to live by Mr Swan final quote... if you can get through life without deliberately hurting someone else, then you’ll do all right…but it was… and is…bloody hard.

Regrettably sometimes there is no way out…as with Big Billy Park?
peter.howden Posted 6th Oct 2020, 05:18pm
  Tales of Hector and Eric

During the mid-50s, It wasn’t that long after of the world conflict, Hector switch from the easy Cuthbertson Street School, for Shawlands Primary. Miss Helen McGregor, a real beauty, a stoater of near perfection. ‘Helen, with a tartan-skirt sat at the top of the class. The clan’s motto, ‘Royal is my race’, and every day Hector took small glances, captivated with her smile, he was so totally smitten, he would dance in innocent rhythmic going home. Within the mind-boggling Greek mythology, Helen of Troy, launched a thousand ships? Believed to be rare beauty, though the lady must have possessed a lot of bottle to achieve such a deed.

Hector wanted to be Clark kent, changing into superman, wheech the damsel from wee eek’s bothering her. The truth most likely was, he was probably the wee eek. Shawlands Primary playground was more boisterous, as a few lads out of sight, would harass and stalk him, he endured in silence. He could just about hold his own with other boys, but with girls; this was taboo. The other side of the coin, girls were not all sugar and sweetness, so Helen would stick up for Hector, against the wee biddies in the class

One cold day, in the playground, Hector met Eric, compared to him, a giant of a lad, yet, Eric was plagued by the aggressors more regularly than Hector. Eric was a red headed freckled face Jewish boy, solid appearance, but he nourished a very gentle nature, who stayed in Titwood Rd, just past Westclyffe St where Hector lived. From then on, they kept company going home, looking like a passive, David, and Goliath.

One day strolling home as boys do, Hector asked Eric why he did not fight back, as he had he obvious strength and ability, plus towered over is antagonists. His simple but solemn answer was, “I’m afraid I would hurt them…and others would come to take my family!”

When Hector left the primary to attend Shawlands Academy, he was heartbroken, as Helen tiptoed out of his life, to a private fee-paying school. however, if now he was being candour, he reckoned she did not even really notice him.
peter.howden Posted 4th Oct 2020, 11:20am
  My Chronicles 04/10/2020
There is little we can say about how Aunt Becky is since the last severe lock-down rules have been in place. We have been reassured by the carers when I phone, Becky is O.K but needing extra watching, in case of falls. There were some problems, attempting to send monies through the Royal Bank of Scotland. My account being personal and the Home’s checking account business. With the kind help from Fergus(our Computer Guru) all info is in place and her wee account for her knick-knacks, is once again filled.

There is a strangeness around homelife, as we at times feel being the last hope stop, as the world passes by…not so much as before. Now we must focus on our goals, and limitations to survive mentally. One thing is inescapable in question, my sharp recall memory. Yesterday morning, as I entered our boudoir, with the toast and tea, ‘She who must be obeyed’ awoke with a rather hazy but touching sincerity, smiled, and said, ‘Happy 51st Wedding Anniversary’. Astonished by this bombshell, for I had not at all thought, that this day was the 3rd of October. Swift as a hell of a slow flash, I replied, ‘Happy Anniversary’, promptly followed by how much I was sorry for forgetting. Was it the lock-down, or proving I’m losing my marbles?

Since the necessary restrictions, we have attempted, with varies degrees of success, to cut down on the lovely extras, such as butter and sugar, which viciously piles on the unwanted weight, and produces extended love handles. But, because I prepare the breakfast toast, once finished buttering two pieces for Rebecca, I furtively lick the knife, absolutely clean of this forbidden heavenly taste. When trusted to brew tea alone, my habit of pondering over the sugar bowl, the wee devil urges me to adding a tad more than the elected one teaspoonful. Inwardly entice a mutter, ‘get thee behind me Satan’, but not before escaping from a forced regime by adding a sprinkle more of mere sugar cane.
Over the last 12 odd days, my music has forgone the Stones, Bix Beiderbecke, Cat Stevens, John Mayall & the Blues Breakers…Slade, and the whole diversity of the ‘Blues’, instead, playing continuously, and listening to Classical Music on my IPod. There is no clue as to the endless hours spent hearing numerous pieces from the orchestras, or Opera, but surprisingly… I knew most of them. I recalled some years ago we arrived at the Glasgow Halls, to see and hear the Royal Scottish National Orchestra…pure dead brilliant. However, an extra kick came from the exaggerated performance of the conductor. A couple of years later, in Barlanark Centre, the amazing performance from a traveling quartet, gave us a delightful presentation.

Trying to improve both the garden, and our restrained protection from the naughty virus, by painting the huge boulders gathered through the ages, surrounding the hedges , tarmac and grass areas, and attempting to empty the now debunk coffin(wooden trough with railway sleepers base) which once housed growing tubers. Drifting over the hedge, I listen to three infants noisily and sheer delightful innocence, greeting each other, plus showing off their latest toys. The ambiance was so similar as to many years ago, our own children perhaps at Christmas time…pure magic.
A couple of days ago, spying a single beautifully pattern vivid butterfly, rarely seen these days, just blew my mind away, with a whole spectrum of nature, allowing me for quite a while, to be glad being alive….No matter the lock-down
peter.howden Posted 30th Sep 2020, 07:17pm

You both look drooked, come on in, sadly your surprised visit to our trim hame away from hame, ‘Retreat for the elderly and infirm’, has been fruitless”. “Not that we are not pleased to see you, nonetheless the information from some despicable journalist claiming dire shams is totally untrue. Apparently, it was on a slow news day...or so say those knuckleheads so called editors these days. How dare these pathetic slanderous rags print such ill-tongue. I can assure you…we will be seeking out our lawyers, suing for every deplorable printed word.

Your aunt is in good health, though now, because you’re here, I have to break a promise, but do it within the knowledge you will be more than overjoyed, as we were when she told us in confidence. We are really sorry for your frantic journey, so unnecessary, but at least we can put your minds at ease”.

How long has your canny aunt stayed with us, in the safety from the outside world? Some 10 months I would say, and it only seems like yesterday she chapped our door for the first time. What I’m about to inform you, will maybe a total surprise for you.... but remember, your Aunt has a strong mind of her own, and these things can happen …even at her age. She met another resident, affluent gentleman, and they fell in love” It’s as simple and charming as a romance entwined”

The happy couple have eloped to a secret address, somewhere in the vastness of the Mid Pyrenees In France, where everyone loves a lover. They did stay in ‘Gay Paree’, for a short honeymoon, but the mountainous air won out. Now you cannot tell those scandalous papers for the couple prize their privacy above all else …

We are right affronted how dare these dailies squander our good name and make our patrons unwarily worried! To think they have the audacity to swither through endless sinful incredible lies, stirring up manky bree, intimidating our lively clients, or as we would prefer to call them, ‘our elderly family’. To more than hint we would deceive, bleed them dry of their life savings, then… they disappear without trace , What lunacy, what a bloody scunner ?”
Don’t you fret... we will have our day in court, they will all rue the very day they published such garbage. Please mum’s the word... for I gave a solemn sacred vow to the loving couple just as they departed. But …I do have irrefutable evidence to ease your mind…. Here are four postcards…one for every week they have been there and sent by your Aunt… personally, all in her charismatic handwriting, expressing everlasting loving devotion to Charles…is that not sweet? As you can see…she has given details as to her intention to stay there as long as they are happy.

“Sorry…did not quite catch that ? what are you saying….your Aunt…your beautiful Aunt never learnt to read…or write?”
peter.howden Posted 27th Sep 2020, 08:06am
  Someone is Knocking at the Door.

There is a knock, nay pounding on the door, wonder who it can be? though it can’t be a friend, for they would know just how to press the doorbell a special way. The manager at the rent office promised to send an electrician round, but in my experience, tradesmen are not what they used to be. Certainly not the postman banging about, far too late for him. If it were the special delivery mob, they would put through one of the cards, “Tried to alert you… you were not at home?”. I think they write them out before starting the rounds, to save time. Whoever it is, they are impatient bandits… the door nearly came off the joints.

Maybe its bloody horrible wee imps, performing “Ring bang Skoosh”, I doubt it, they don’t play outdoor games now. Lots of fatty weans, but undernourished, it would be a surprise if they could muster to run. Isolated alone in cells, with supercomputer games at their fingertips, but on their own, like little hermits unable to see the sun, with fake tans… and non-existent pen friends. They say you hear no clapping in cyber space, whatever the hell that is? I was told, cyber-space is a void up there, storing all information from every computer in the world, but it doesn’t exist…. sounds like my football winnings. There’s that bloody letterbox taking a pounding.

Ever cultivating processer telephones, are rightly the miracle of the age. I feel sorry for today’s toerags, mainly unaware of open freedom, to explore beyond reach, discovering hands-on, through thrill and error, their individual abilities. Sadly, in the main being chaperoned by over apprehensive parents, then at home, railroad into isolation under radar companionship. As long as it’s not these wee brats from the next close. Their maw is letting them grow up to be fully pledged bastards. She had the audacity, yelling she was reporting me to the police, how I verbally assaulted her little cherubs. If she were from India…she would be sacred…

Maybe ‘Meals on wheels’, Nae chance, since I told them “bugger off”, yes…Tweedle Dee, and Tweedle Dum, well! That’s their nickname! The food delivered was absolute crap, pig swirl. I told them, their better off shining their own gravestones. I think the matron said she would never darken my door again.

As for my kith or kin. My son, my only son, if he can be arsed, props up a bar, or too drunk being a numptie heid-banger. Anyway, only asks for a hand full if he happens to come around. And as for ‘Madam’…after all I have done for her, she just ran off, without ‘by your leave’, or warning she was living with her fancy fella. I had a cousin in Durham, Pink panther country, but this was donkeys ago, anyway… he moved to the unknown

There they go again, knocking the hinges of the bloody door, they want locked away, banging like that. The trouble with people today…selfish nosy parkers, with no patience, no compassion, or consideration for other people’s feelings. Sounds as if they are walking away…. wonder who the F--- it was?

Shit…who the hell is rattling the bloody letterbox now?, probably that pesky fancy tart, the one in No 56, always wears her Sunday best, chatters on persistently about ‘love thy neighbour’, it’s God’s way? I don’t think the almighty meant her to rattle my letterbox so bloody noisy. God’s work must have more magic for him in 33, in the wee small hours. God works ‘In mysterious ways’, but there’s bugger all mystery about what goes on in 33, while his missus is away. Jammy bandit!
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm
peter.howden Posted 24th Sep 2020, 06:34am
  Hector and Mr Swan...Market gardener Extraordinary(final episode)

As a young boy of nine year’s old... of course, every action, and surroundings, was larger than life, the little he knew of it, but being in Mr Swan’s home was way beyond something else. To Hector, Mr Swan’s abode, was a massive mansion with castle like features. Scottish gargoyles outside and overshadowing large mason stone walls best suited for medieval built strong holds. The front door was solid wood, so much so, Hector could not close it by himself...and the deep-rooted locks, he thought were gold but turned out to be well polished brass.

Within this two story wonderland were some odd rooms, plus a refrigerator bigger than his sister’s living room, and her kitchen combined. Hector was allowed to have the run of the place, even to watch this specially adapted small screen of the times television. The picture received was expanded by an even larger magnified glass, situated precisely 2foot 3 inches away from the screen. Sitting at the other end of the spacious room, it was like being in the cinema. Pure schoolboy heaven when the “Lone Ranger” came galloping on.

The actual manor was owned by Glasgow District council, whose representatives insisted Mr and Mrs Swan stayed there a few nights a week, yet they preferred the small quarters at the stables across the way...and at the time Hector could not understand the logic....but now he does!. They would play bowls on one of the open lawn’s, along with a local scrap merchant who lived nearby, providing homemade lemonade for Hector, and slight refreshment for the gentlemen. A tad more was for the winner. The call of a wood pigeon today will take him back to those light floating times.

In private moments, Mr Swan taught him how to look at nature, to wonder in its complicated simplicity. Hector’s life, if not moulded, was guided in the way to take stock, and understand the sharp reality where we are in the spectrum of things. Strangely.... only now looking back, he realizes , Mr Swan gave him a goal, a blueprint, a code, always to be curious, and not afraid in not knowing, to attempt to follow sub-consciously... though Hector often fails due to his own making. Now hector appreciates he has had, and needed mentors throughout life

His magical mystery tours with Mr & Mrs Swan lasted for two superb summers, before his sister Sheila, moved on from Priory Drive, to Whifflet, and Hector’s life began to grow up, or so he believed at the time. On revisiting the place, you can’t see the mansion, or the gardens for that matter, so memory lane is his only transport. Adult influence, individual mentor and a society who saw no harm in a young boy listening to a elderly gentleman spreading his knowledge , gave Hector so much fascination at a time in his life…when it was most needed.

Disappointingly he has now no information what happened to the Swans, though it is certain they are no longer alive, as Mr Swan must have been sixty-nine... if not a day... while the baker supreme ,Mrs Swan, will always be young.

Hector’s wish is, they both are resting in eternal peace.
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