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

Monday, March 12, 2012



Only as high as I reach can I grow,
Only as far as I seek can I go,
Only as deep as I look can I see,
Only as much as I dream can I be.
(Karen Ravn)



The Admiring Glance
by Auguste Toulmouche (1829-1890)



Kerr Street was one of contrasts.

Bisected halfway down by Oxford Street, the upper part where we lived consisted of well-kept tenements, 4 villas near us, a primary school, a church and 2 more private houses.

My pal Andrew lived in one of the bigger tenement flats across the road. He was one of a big family, and each time I called to ask if he was coming out to play, his mother, having answered the door, would go off to fetch him. That was when his siblings one by one would peep out from the kitchen door to inspect me, each head appearing at a different level.

The lower part of the street, which stretched down to the main road, had a picture house, a bus garage, and a small hall which may have been used by British Legion members. Quite a few of the houses were of the room and kitchen type with outside toilets, and the families who occupied them seemed to have a large numbers of children. I was inside one of those houses only once, and that was when I was teenager. I had to deliver a message to a semi-professional musician who lived there with his wife and 3 or 4 children. Where they all slept I don’t know, but Bob’s double bass took up valuable space in the bedroom!!!

There were two “sweetie” shops, one of which was really the living room of a house. Another one was used by a shoe repairer for his shop. We children had a morbid interest in the fact that he had just one leg and got about on crutches. A member of the Salvation Army band, he taught his two sons the trumpet and when they grew up both were well-known locally as dance band musicians. The younger one for a while worked in London with some of the country’s top dance bands.

I must say a little bit more about our picture house. Of the two cinemas in the town, the one in our street was the least attractive. The films shown there were often unknown and the brightness of the screen seemed to dim every twenty minutes or so.

In those days it took years for new films to come to a local picture house. However that didn’t stop many folk being enthusiastic cinema-goers, and, with each picture house changing their programme every two days, it was possible to see a different show six nights a week!!!

Most children in those days went to the Saturday matinee, but that was not for us. There were two reasons - first, my mother’s upbringing as a Baptist gave her serious doubts about picture houses and theatres, but more important than that was the terrible tragedy which occurred in Paisley on the afternoon of December 31st 1929.

Nine hundred children between the ages of eighteen months and twelve years had gathered in the Glen Cinema, when a fire broke out in the projection box. It was quickly brought under control but as smoke filled the hall panic ensued. Some of the exits couldn’t be opened and tragically 70 children were crushed to death in the stampede.

On rare occasions we went to the local cinema as a family. The films we saw were usually stories about children and starred either Freddie Bartholomew or Shirley Temple.

This video “Baby Face” is a tribute to Shirley Temple devised by afrenchindublin. The song is played by Art Mooney and his Orchestra.


A friend has sent me this YouTube video and I'm pleased to to be able to show it here.
From it, you'll gather that there's a proposal to build houses in our village.
Naturally we're doing everything possible to oppose the scheme.


Now on 80 plus Music Mix
The New Zealand singer Hayley Westenra:
Waltz II from Jazz Suite by Shostakovich:
Song of India by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.



Old age comes on suddenly, and not gradually as is thought.
(Emily Dickinson)


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