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

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

This photo shows the Cowgate, Kirkintilloch around 1910.  At the near right is the familiar fountain, and in the distance the town steeple at the Cross.

As you can imagine, there would be very little traffic on the roads in those days, and I can remember that even by the mid-1930s it was quite safe to walk on the road. There were buses of course but few motor cars. The only danger came from the horse-driven vans at teatime, when the animals, knowing that their day’s work was done, galloped down the main street heading for the stables.

The street where we lived led off from the Cowgate and being a cul-de-sac provided a safe place where we children could play. At the top end was a narrow lane leading to Bellfield district. This lane obviously wasn’t a right of way, because on a particular Sunday each year the people who owned the houses on either side closed the lane by locking the gates. However this wasn’t a problem, for they always encouraged folk to come through their gardens.

In the 30s and 40s there was an excellent bus service in our area. Alexanders Buses ran from Glasgow through Kirkintilloch to Falkirk, Grahams Buses ran from Glasgow through Kirkintilloch to Campsie Glen, and Lawsons ran from Glasgow to Kirkintilloch and Lenzie. The fare was one shilling (5p) return to Glasgow and was one penny cheaper if you boarded the bus at the Cross.

I’m remembering that double-decker buses couldn’t go through Lenzie because of the low railway bridge at Lenzie Station. To make matters more difficult for traffic, the road made a right-angled turn before going under the bridge and a very large mirror on the wall gave drivers the chance to see any oncoming traffic.

I must mention that the manager of Lawsons Buses was feared by all the drivers and conductresses, for if any of them slipped up in any way, a number of days suspension would be the result.

The conductresses, especially those working on double-deckers, had a difficult job. At peak times it was “standing room only” on those buses, and the conductresses had to run up and down the stairs, squeezing past passengers, trying to ensure that they got all the fares. And of course it wasn’t like today’s travellers who must give the exact fare!


There are some very nice pictures with this clip. The song is “Come by the Hills” by Jim MacLeod and his Band.

Jim MacLeod MBE made his first broadcast in 1955 and soon became popular on radio, TV and on records. He became resident at Dunblane Hydro in 1963 and over the years his band played regularly at Balmoral Castle.


This is another poem that Jean used to recite at concerts - there are 14 verses but she knew it off by heart!

LORD ULLIN’S DAUGHTER by Thomas Campbell (1777-1844)

A Chieftain to the Highlands bound,
Cries, “Boatman, do not tarry;
And I'll give thee a silver pound
To row us o'er the ferry.”

“Now who be ye would cross Lochgyle,
This dark and stormy water?”
“Oh! I'm the chief of Ulva's isle,
And this Lord Ullin's daughter.

“And fast before her father's men
Three days we've fled together,
For should he find us in the glen,
My blood would stain the heather.

“His horsemen hard behind us ride;
Should they our steps discover,
Then who will cheer my bonny bride
When they have slain her lover?”

Outspoke the hardy Highland wight:
“I'll go, my chief - I'm ready:
It is not for your silver bright,
But for your winsome lady.

“And by my word, the bonny bird
In danger shall not tarry:
So, though the waves are raging white,
I'll row you o'er the ferry.”

By this the storm grew loud apace,
The water-wraith was shrieking;
And in the scowl of heaven each face
Grew dark as they were speaking.

But still, as wilder blew the wind,
And as the night grew drearer,
Adown the glen rode armed men-
Their trampling sounded nearer.

“Oh! Haste thee, haste!” the lady cries,
“Though tempests round us gather;
I'll meet the raging of the skies,
But not an angry father.”

The boat has left a stormy land,
A stormy sea before her-
When oh! Too strong for human hand,
The tempest gathered o'er her.

And still they rowed amidst the roar
Of waters fast prevailing;
Lord Ullin reach'd that fatal shore-
His wrath was chang'd to wailing.

For sore dismay'd, through storm and shade,
His child he did discover;
One lovely hand she stretch'd for aid,
And one was round her lover.

“Come back! Come back!” he cried in grief,
“Across this stormy water;
And I'll forgive your Highland chief,
My daughter!- oh, my daughter!”

'Twas vain: the loud waves lash'd the shore,
Return or aid preventing;
The waters wild went o'er his child,
And he was left lamenting.


William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) was a French painter who was famous for his outstandingly beautiful portraits of women. This unusual video takes many of the well-known ones blending them together by means of morphing. The music is the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves from Verdi’s “Nabucco.” The title on the first page is "Batuguereau", and I presume this is a mistake and should be "Bouguereau."


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