Perhaps I had ambitions to be an MP - or an undertaker!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


This week’s quote:-

It is not the end of joy that makes old age so sad, but the end of hope (Jean Paul Richter)


This is a view of Lenzie Loch from a high point on the golf course, a few minutes walk from my home.


WHEN I WAS A YOUNG BOY, going to the pictures was a rare occurrence.

The first films we saw were at church soirees (pronounced locally “swaw-rees” ) or at Sunday School parties, and featured Charlie Chaplin.
When we were a bit older, our visits to the cinema were carefully chosen by our mother, and the films we saw were those with Shirley Temple, Freddie Bartholomew and perhaps Laurel and Hardy.

One of the two local cinemas was fairly near our home, and, when I passed it, I always like to look in through the grilled window to see the mysterious machinery chugging away - PHUT (pause), PHUT (pause), PHUT (pause) and so on. Every so often, it would lose the beat, and would prodice two or thee extra PHUTS before the pause.

The films shown in that cinema were generally quite old and not well known. Often, just as an exciting part of the plot was reached, the screen would suddenly go dim, and a couple of minutes would pass before it brightened up again.

Both cinemas had two performances every evening. It’s really weird to recall that many people would come in half way through a film. At the end of the 1st House, they would sit on to see the part they had missed. I’m sure that today, considering how complicated some of the film plots are, it would be difficult to make sense of the story, having viewed the second half first!

Sometimes the programme would include two films, and there were usually a short (which could be comedy, travel, sport, etc.), a cartoon and a newsreel.

In this month’s issue of “Scottish Memories” a 1930s poster advertising the La Scala cinema in Edinburgh is shown. There are continuous performances from 2.15 p.m. every day, and prices are 4d, 6d, 9d and 1/-, half-price in the afternoons, excepting Saturdays and Bank Holidays. (Remember that 1/- = 5p)

The main news providers were Pathe, British Movietone and Gaumont British, and folks of my generation will remember this tune as the announcer intoned “This is the Gaumont-British News presenting the World - to the World.”



The Hardies and McFarlanes, the photo dates from around 1912

In the 2nd row from the top and 2nd from the left is my grandfather John Hardie. My mother Pearl Hardie is standing in the next row down to his left. My grandmother Maggie McFarlane is right in the centre of the group in front of the girl who is on my mother’s left.


Quite a number of my pals were taught the piano, and some of the girls had dancing lessons. Other girls who went to elocution classes availed themselves of every opportunity to perform in public.

Many elderly folk will recognise the following lines. I can still see a wee girl reciting this poem in a very affected voice.

There are fairies at the bottom of our garden,
It’s not so very, very far away;
You pass the gardener’s shed, and you just keep straight ahead -
I do so hope they’ve really come to stay.
There’s a little wood with moss in it and beetles,
And a little stream that quietly runs through;
You wouldn’t think they’d dare to come merrymaking there -
Well - they do!

There are fairies at the bottom of our garden,
They often have a dance on summer nights;
The butterflies and bees make a lovely little breeze,
And the rabbits stand around and hold the lights;
Did you know that they could sit upon the moonbeams
And pick a little star to make a fan,
And dance away up there in the middle of the air?
Well - they can!

There are fairies at the bottom of our garden,
You cannot think how beautiful they are;
They all stand up and sing when the Fairy Queen and King
Come gently floating down upon their car;
The King is very proud and very handsome,
The Queen - now you can guess who that would be.
She’s a little girl all day but at night she steals away
Well - it’s me! (Rose Fyleman 1877-1957)


This next item is my latest find - it’s the trailer for the 1937 film “Captains Courageous.” Because it featured Freddie Bartholomew, our family went to see it when it eventually came to our town. Spencer Tracy shared the lead. Look our for Mickey Rooney, Lionel Barrymore and Melvyn Douglas.


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