Tag Archives: School

a punishing exercise.

(Post by Colin ‘Jackie’ Jackson from Glasgow – January 2022)

I loved my school years. I enjoyed the social and sporting opportunities it offered me.

I suppose I was reasonably well behaved during time at Bearsden Academy. Only on a handful of occasions did I merit punishment by ‘the tawse,’ a two or three tailed leather strap slapped down on a pupil’s palm by the teacher.

No, I’d say I was probably more of a Second Division miscreant compared to some. The penalties though, for the lesser misdemeanours I would be busted for, usually involved tedious ‘punnies’ – punishment exercises.

Oh how I longed for promotion to the Premier League of Naughty on many an evening, stuck in my bedroom writing out six hundred word interpretations of a scene from a Bertolt Brecht play. Or copying the Periodic Table with all those daft wee numbers, letters and I think, colours. Had I been given a couple strokes of the tawse, teacher and I would have been quits. I may not have fancied playing wicket-keeper in a game of cricket up at the pylon, but the warm and sultry summer evening would have been mine.

Those type of punny were given by fair minded teachers with (a) not enough justification to give the belt, but (b) a degree of imagination and hope that the exercise would be an aid to learning.

The majority however were not so creative, and routinely demanded ‘x’ number of lines, repeatedly reminding me of why I was not out in the street playing kerby with my pals.

(‘x’ would ordinarily be anything from one hundred to five hundred, unless being punished by the maths teacher, when you had to work out the value of ‘x’ for yourself – with more lines to follow if you got it wrong!)

‘I must not talk in class.’ 

‘I must remember to bring my homework.’

‘My homework wasn’t eaten by my dog – I don’t have one.’

Mind numbing stuff, that.

I did once attempt the Beano-esque trick of binding several pens together with an elastic band and thereby writing three lines at a time. It’s not as easy as it looks! I think the expression these days would be: ‘hashtag fail.’

Instructed to write the line ‘I must write larger,’ by my English teacher, the little smart-ass in me decided to write them on a piece of paper cut to a shade bigger than a postage stamp. Fifty lines to each side.

It took me ages! Far longer than had I written such a simple line in my normal, or even slightly larger, handwriting. Miss Hunter also made this observation the following morning as she immediately scrunched up my miniscule paper and laughing, tossed it in the bin below her desk.

She’s laughing with me, not at me. She must fancy me!

(All us second year lads were not only overloaded with raging hormones, but also suffered delusional episodes.)

I’d sometimes chance my luck and submit the punny a good few lines short. It didn’t really matter that omitting ten, twenty lines, whatever, would save me only a matter of minutes – it was the challenge of getting one over the teachers. I mean, hadn’t they far more important things to do with their time than count the words / lines?

Looking back, I’m certain I didn’t dupe any of them, but as it happened, everyone was a winner: teacher had asserted authority; cocky and rebellious pupil believed they had made a fool of teacher.

Truth was, teacher just couldn’t be arsed.

I did though, and sometimes still do, wonder at the randomness of the punishment. It would certainly have helped us pupils had we known the exact tariff for certain misdemeanours. Like when did a ‘one hundred lines’ penalty blur into three hundred? Or five?

For instance, had I known I would get three of the belt from the Assistant Head for merely being caught holding a snowball, I’d have made damned sure I quickly offloaded it at the head of the dude who’d just creamed me with one moments earlier. You know – like Pass the Parcel at kids’ parties – just get rid as soon as it’s in your hands.

Yeah, maybe some teachers were a bit quick on the draw with the tawse. And maybe some did abuse it. And yeah, it probably has no place in the society we live in today.

I didn’t mind though. My mum was a teacher in a pretty rough part of Glasgow, and would show me her Lochgelly belt. She claimed not to have used it very often, but I do know she had absolutely no sympathy when I told her I’d been given a short, sharp reminder as to my behaviour in class.

(I think my ol’ man was secretly rather pleased … in the absence of National service like he had to endure, this would instil some discipline, and develop character.)

I suppose I could have just kept my head down during the six years of secondary school and come through it all with an unblemished behavioural reputation. But only five feet four inches at the height of my academic achievements, anything that could further shorten my appearance was a non-starter.

And you know what? If there’s one thing discipline at school taught me, it’s that writing sentences of up to nine words long, one hundred times over, is a dawdle.

This article, for example, amounts to only 952 words. That’s just marginally more than your average ‘punny.’ Granted, it may also be just as entertaining as one – I’ve not had much sleep over this New Year holiday.

So, anyway, it’s over to you, dear reader ….anyone like to write the equivalent of a hundred lines?

Or do I have to get the belt out??!!

_________________

My First Gig – King Crimson

Russ Stewart: London, November 2021

Fifty years ago, October 11th 1971, I attended my first proper gig, at Glasgow’s Green’s Playhouse. 
Oddly, as I am not really a prog rock fan, it was in the court of prog royalty – King Crimson.

Half a century on, I still retain a soft spot for the band, though not soft enough to have paid 100 quid to see them play live in London a couple of years ago.

Featured below is the actual ticket for the gig courtesy of Roger Brown who found it attached to a King Crimson album he purchased from me many moons ago….

King Crimson’s support act that evening was a solo acoustic guitar/singer called Keith Christmas.
Due to alliteration, I was suspicious as to whether this was his real name.
Still gigging today Christmas played guitar on Bowie’s Space Oddity album.

My erstwhile near neighbour, Alan Doig was the one who introduced me to King Crimson and he was part of the group who attended this gig.

Alan’s father had been a provost of Bearsden and had a symbolic single blue provost street light outside his house indicating the holding of such past office.  I believe that this entitled him to kill a swan with a crossbow on Kilmardinny Loch each eve of Michaelmas.

Alan had a great sound system which did help influence the appeal of the new Crimson album at that time, ‘Lizard’. In particular it projected the fantastic, bombastic synth riff in the middle of the track Cirkus

Aged 14 I was impressed with Peter Sinfield’s lyrics on the Lizard album, particularly as I strove to find the deeper meanings embedded in his ditties. 
I now realise they are incoherent nonsense.

The gig: after Mr Christmas’ plaintive noodling the lights dimmed and a mellotron chord rang out.  C sharp minor 7th flattened 5th, though I could be mistaken ( ……or bullshitting).   


The band: Robert Fripp sitting down playing guitar and mellotron.  Boz Burrelll on bass and vocals, Mel Collins on sax and a drummer dude. 

Most of that line up later deserted the prog camp.  Boz Burrell left to form Bad Company, Mel Collins played with the Average White Band and Kokomo whilst Lyricist Sinfield went on to write for the likes of Buck’s Fizz and Leo Sayer.

Fripp now makes YouTube videos of himself accompanying the terpsichorean insanity of his fruity little wife, Toyah.

Beware, once you see it you can’t unsee it

I have continued to dabble in prog listening and I’m grateful for the school friends who dragged me along to selected prog gigs in those early days. The likes of Graeme Butler, Simon Brader and Ralph Jessop helped me to open my ears somewhat, to Genesis, Greenslade and Magma.  

Glasgow City Halls usually accommodated the lesser known prog bands in those days and one could easily wander backstage to chat with the musicians post gig. 
I recall a schoolboy French conversation with the blue chinned caveman, Christian Vander, who led Magma. 

Magna’s bassist played a Fender bass covered in  baby oil ( …. the bass that is).  They talked about the philosophic works of Ouspensky, which meant as much to me as King Crimson’s lyrics.   

As I write I notice that Van Der Graaf Generator are touring the UK soon… maybe worth a punt. 

Talking about gigs, my own band is playing the Three Kings Pub in Twickenham on New Years Eve. 
There will be no prog rock, or baby oil… though there will be some Steely Dan, Todd Rundgren, Michael McDonald and Doors covers in the set.

Poster Boy

Alan Fairley: Edinburgh, November 2021

April 1967. Just another day spent in the drudgery of the Primary 7 class in Westerton School.
My eyes drifted to the classroom window as I gazed longingly towards the football pitch at the bottom of the hill, wishing I was out there instead of listening to Mrs Smith’s dreary drone and then…bang!

The headmaster, J. Jeffrey Thomson as he liked to present himself, Tommy Gun as he was known to the pupils, came barging through the classroom door.

Tommy Gun never walked. He just barged like a thundering elephant everywhere he went and after a brief consultation with Mrs Smith he announced to the class that one of the school’s pupils, Alan Fairley (i.e., me), had come third in the National ‘Learn to Swim’ poster competition.

A few weeks earlier, I and the other six members of the school’s special art group had been informed that the Scottish Health Authority were promoting a Learn to Swim campaign and that all schools in the country were to submit entries for the poster design. We were each handed poster sized sheets of paper, given access to all sorts of artistic materials, and told to get drawing.

My design featured a girl standing at a zebra crossing (remember them) with the swimming baths at the other side of the road.  My caption was ‘Don’t just stand there, go over and Learn to Swim.’

Mr Lovely Biscuits himselfJimmy Logan

The announcement that I had come third in the whole of Scotland made me something a of a mini celebrity among my classmates, especially when it was revealed that the prize would be presented by Jimmy Logan, a renowned comedian, actor, and impresario (whatever that is).

Logan’s main claim to fame was that he appeared in a couple of the legendary, if politically questionable, Carry-On films and any child of that era who had ever attended a pantomime at Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre would have encountered him in some capacity.

The admiration of my classmates paled into insignificance however when the prettiest girl in the class (if the not the entire school), Alison McDougall, gave me her autograph book and asked me to get Jimmy Logan to sign it for her. Even at that pre-pubescent stage of my life, I was acutely aware of the brownie points which could be gained with a girl like Alison by acceding to her request.

The prize for third place was a ten-pound record token (sorry, this Taiwanese keyboard doesn’t have a pound sign) which doesn’t sound like much but back then it would have bought you 30 singles or 6 albums. Interestingly that ten pound is valued at 154 quid in today’s money so it was a tidy sum for a 12 year old.

The prize giving was to be held in the function room on the top floor of Lewis’s department store in Argyle Street, so off I trotted with my proud parents in tow and as we stood in the assembled gathering the announcement was made that Jimmy Logan had been called away and wouldn’t be attending. But not to worry folks, we’ve lined up a replacement -international singing star Eve Boswell – at which stage virtually everyone in the hall turned to each other and said ‘Eve who?’

Lewis’s Argyle St
Alan & Eve, it’s got a ring to it…

Everyone except me that was. I was more concerned about having to break the news to the lovely Alison that I hadn’t been able to come up with the goods.

Anyway, I was called forward to receive my prize and the mysterious Ms Boswell shook my hand and said ‘well done’ in an east European accent as she handed me the envelope.

Gola Speedsters

The problem was, I just wasn’t into music at the time so giving me a record token was akin to giving a McDonalds voucher to a vegan. All I cared about at 12 was football and a pair of Gola Speedsters would have been a far more amenable reward for my creative efforts.

My music loving elder sister, Jean, had been uncharacteristically nice to me in the run up to the presentation as she eyed a share of the prize and I was happy enough to let her have her pick from the top twenty as the two of us later wandered about the record department in Woolworths, Drumchapel. 

Meanwhile I came away with one of my favourite novelty songs – Three Wheels on my Wagon by the New Christy Minstrels along with a couple of football related records I’d managed to excavate from the bulging album racks.

So what, I hear you say, became of Eve Boswell? To be honest, I never gave her a second thought after our brief encounter but amazingly, about eight years ago I was enjoying a relaxing pint on a Saturday afternoon in the Sheep’s Heid Pub in Edinburgh when, among the plethora of retro pop music memorabilia on the wall, I noticed a poster announcing the release of Eve Boswell’s new single ‘Pickin’ a Chicken.’

It was the first time I’d heard her name mentioned for 46 years and a quick glance at Wikipedia told me that, in 1955, she had reached number 9 in the UK charts with the said single.

I left the pub content in the knowledge that I had once shaken hands with a Top Ten artist.

I did get her autograph that day back in 67 but, perhaps predictably, Alison McDougall was suitably underwhelmed at the absence of Jimmy Logan’s signature in her book and, even more predictably, my brownie point score came in at a resounding zero. 

Anyone For ……

John Allan, Bridgetown WA, July 2021

I always associated Wimbledon with school summer holidays.
I never played tennis. There was what I assumed an ancient tennis racket hanging up in my Dad’s garage (it could have been a snow shoe come to think of it.).
We would dislodge it from it’s rusty nail and blow off the cobwebs.
As there was only one (from a one legged Inuit perhaps ?) we were more likely to use it in our improvised interpretation of rounders than tennis. It was also too heavy to lift above our heads (unleashing the huskies might have helped !)

Tennis wasn’t for the likes of us anyway. It was for posh Laurel Bank girls called Catriona and Ffiona who wouldn’t look at comprehensive school adolescent boys sideways. There was a tennis club hidden in a leafy lane near Bearsden Cross but they would set the dogs on you if they thought you were an outsider from Courthill or Castlehill.

Tennis was the telly for us so in the summer in 1971 I sat there watching as two Australians were competing in the Wimbledon ladies final.
One was the dour faced Margaret Court (now Pentecostal minister and public homophobe) and the other, 19 year old Aboriginal girl Evonne Goolagong.

I wasn’t sure what an ‘Aboriginal’ was back then but I thought she looked quite cute and I must admit, had a bit of a teenage crush on her. The rest is history and ‘my girl’ took the trophy.


She was prominent in finals and semifinals for the rest of the decade and won her second Wimbledon in 1980.
Six years later I was to land in the country of Ms Goolagong’s ancestors and I’ve lived here ever since.

This week Australians celebrate NAIDOC. For those of you north of Darwin, it stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. It has its roots in the 1938 Day of Mourning, becoming a week long event in 1975. If I was cynical I would say it’s a week were privileged white folk pretend to be concerned about the plight of the first nations’ people and then ignore their issues for the next 51 weeks but the official line is it celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island peoples.

It’s fitting that Ash Barty, a proud Ngaragu woman should pick up the mantle from Evonne Goolagong Cawley, a proud Wikadjuri woman, some fifty years later.

……….and haven’t snow shoes improved over the last half century !

1974 – The Summer Of Roary, Dennis and Jinky

Paul Fitzpatrick: London, June 2021

As I look forward to tonights match between Scotland and England I realise that some years just seem to stick in your memory more than others.
It’s probably no coincidence therefore that some of my most vivid memories come from years when the football World Cup was being held.

As a kid the first football match I ever watched on TV was the 1966 World Cup Final.

By the time the next World Cup rocked up in Mexico 1970 I was a football obsessive spending all my spare time kicking a ball around with my mates.

By 1974 I was training a couple of times a week, playing Saturday mornings for the school, Saturday afternoons for the local boys-club and Sundays for the youth club.

Truth be told my club allegiances in those days were probably secondary to my support for the national team.
I watched Scotland religiously in my youth, but I had never seen us beat England.

That was all about to change in 1974.

1974 is one of those years that’s etched in my memory….
Apart from leaving school, starting work and going on my first ‘lads holiday’… 74 was the year that Scotland were making their first World Cup appearance since the year I was born (1958).

A big part of social life back then was the Youth Club….. a bi-weekly haven of sport, music and social interaction.
Approaching 16 I was now old enough to go on some of the organised youth club trips, the first one being a day trip to Butlins in Ayr on Saturday May 18th, 1974.

I remember the date because it was the day I finally got to see Scotland beat England and oh yeah, the day I got chased by a bam-pot with a sword and beat Alberto Juantorena’s 800 metre record.

The day started off well enough with an early morning coach ride to Ayr and was followed by time spent at the Butlins amusement park, a mini-pleasure beach, before we followed some of the older lads into the spectacular Beachcomber Bar.

The Beachcomber Bar at Butlins was probably the most exotic and glamorous place I’d ever seen, it was like something from South Pacific.
Of course, looking back now it was a mishmash of bamboo furniture and plastic plants with a few paper lanterns, paper-mache artefacts and hanging baskets thrown in for good measure, however it seemed very avant garde in 1974.

The game was being shown on a tv in the bar and even allowing for the watered-down lager…. the combination of event, location and community spirit, made for an intoxicating atmosphere.

Every year we approached the big game against the auld enemy with ambition and hope, usually to be left in despair, but in 74 there was cause for optimism. Unlike England we had qualified for the 74 World Cup plus our team was full of top players and big personalities.  

One of those big personalities was wee Jimmy (Jinky) Johnstone fresh from his ‘Largs Boat Incident’.

For those that don’t know… wee Jinky and a few teammates went out for a refreshment in Largs three days before the England game and whilst staggering back to the team hotel wee Jinky decided to jump in a boat that got pushed out to sea by Sandy Jardine for a laugh, there was only one problem, there were no oars on the boat.
Knowing Jinky couldn’t swim, Davie Hay a teammate tried to help by setting sail on another boat, which duly sprung a leak and sank!

Jinky reliving the moment

With Jimmy sailing into the distance and heading for the North Star the coastguards were called by his beleaguered teammates and Jinky’s exploits were splashed all over the front pages of the Scottish press, with most pundits calling for him to be sanctioned and dropped.

In the end Jinky had the last laugh.
95,000 fans watched Scotland win 2-0 that day.
Jinky gave a man of the match performance and famously gave the V sign to the press after the game.

The punters in the Beachcomber went mental at the final whistle and nobody wanted to leave that bar except the coach driver.

On the way home I sat beside a girl I’d known since I was 7 years old who was not in the best form as she was having major boyfriend trouble.
He was a few years older than us and a renowned psycho.
As far as her friends and family were concerned she’d finally come to her senses as she wanted to break up with him, but she knew it wouldn’t be that simple.
I tried to take her mind off things, talking about goofy stuff from our past 8 years as friends and classmates, however, when we got back to Westerton the guy was waiting and her face just dropped.

On a high from the day’s events I hung out with my mates for a bit, reliving the highlights of the day before I decided to head home, I was about half a mile from my house when I heard this guy shouting and running towards me, he was about 200 yards away but I could still see the huge blade he was brandishing, it was the mental boyfriend…. I’ve never ran so fast in my life.

My friend had attempted to split up with him again that night, which he didn’t take well. He’d heard that I’d spent the coach journey home with her, put 2 and 2 together… and decided I was dead!

Cut forward 6 weeks…. Scotland had been knocked out of the World Cup in Germany despite their valiant effort in remaining unbeaten during the tournament.

Scotland team at 74 World Cup

With the World Cup over, and proof if needed that German efficiency trumps everything…. even Johan Cruyff and total football, I headed off on holiday with my family to Majorca.

We were staying at a quiet part of the island so I thought I was seeing things, when on the beach, I spotted Dennis Law, one of my footballing hero’s, fresh from his participation in the World Cup with Scotland.

King Dennis

Law was footballing royalty; he’d been a member of the all-conquering Man United team along with George Best and Bobby Charlton and was jokingly referred to as having the reflexes of a mongoose, ‘and the haircut to match’.
Indeed, with his spiky feather cut and gallus approach Law was footballs answer to Rod Stewart… who also idolised the ‘Lawman’.

Dennis & Rod


I had never asked anyone for an autograph before, but I wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass, no matter how starstruck I was

Before I approached the Lawman however I had to do one thing… I nipped back to my room and in the absence of a Scotland top I put on my ‘Roary Super Scot’ t-shirt, like some weird fanboy.
Roary, for the uninitiated was the rather juvenile mascot of the Scotland 74 World Cup team.

Looking back now I’m embarrassed that I disturbed the guy on his holiday when he was probably just looking for a bit of peace and quiet after a tough season, but he was really friendly and approachable and made a point of coming over to talk to me and my Dad whenever he saw us.
He was staying in the hotel next door to ours, and even asked me to mind his son on the beach a few times whilst him and his missus went for lunch.

Getting the great mans autograph

Despite being an Aberdonian he was a good tipper and always gave me a couple of hundred Pesetas, which in 74 was enough for a couple of beers and a few plays on the jukebox where Santana’s Samba Pa Ti and Oye Como Va were on heavy rotation….. unfortunately or perhaps fortunately the 1974 Scotland World Cup song wasn’t on there .

I remember a lot about 1974 as I do with 1978 and 1982, something big always happened for me in those World Cup years, 2021 isn’t a World Cup year but I hope I can remember it as the year we beat England and got through to the group stages of the Euros for the first time (along with our English cousins of course).

The Summer of 69

George Hunter: Glasgow, June 2021

I left school after sitting 5 o’levels, in fact I can even remember my last day at school it was 14th June 1969.

I had a job lined up in an office in Charing Cross after the Glasgow Fair so I was looking forward to the summer holidays with six weeks of long-lie-ins and footie in the park.
I was feeling quite pleased with myself at the family dinner table that day teasing my brothers David and Joe (below) about how they had to go back to school whilst I was finished with all that…. but I shouldn’t have spoken so soon.

Unbeknown to me my Dad had nipped out to the local phone box to make a quick call and when he came back he duly informed me that I was to report to the local farm owned by Jim Paul at 4am the following morning to start my summer job, no lazy summer lie-ins for me then, but at least I’d finish work in time to play a bit of footie in the afternoon!

My passion back then was football and it has been ever since.
I was obsessed, and if I wasn’t playing football for the school or the Boys Brigade or with my mates in the park, I was watching it or thinking about it, so in the summer of 69 when I read in the evening paper that the 3 main Glasgow teams were inviting players for trials for their youth teams for the 69-70 season, I couldn’t apply quick enough.

Celtic were first to respond with a trial date, it was to be held at St Anthony Junior’s ground in the south side of Glasgow near Ibrox.
On arrival I was filtered into a group of trialists for the Under 16 team along with 40 or 50 other lads, we were then told that we’d all get 30 minutes to make an impact and that it was up to us to impress the coaches.

I couldn’t wait to get started.
I played in my favoured midfield position but for the next 30 minutes I watched the ball sail over my head from our defence to the oppositions, I was lucky if I touched the ball 10 times and 6 of those were throw-ins!

I remember Brian Thistle (of this parish) was also there trying out for the under 14’s, he did well and unlike me he was invited back.
I couldn’t help but feel that I had let myself down but it was a tough environment, not knowing anyone and not really getting the chance to show what I could do.
The 30 minutes seemed to go by in a flash and I had a sore neck into the bargain, looking up at the sky trying to see where the bloody ball was!

Next up was Rangers and the local trials were being held in Drumchapel. At least there were a couple of familiar faces in my age group this time, lads who I had played against previously, good players who went on to become pro’s, like Gordon Smith  (St Johnstone  Aston villa & Spurs ) and Phil Bonnyman (Rangers, Hamilton, Chesterfield  & Dunfermline), unfortunately for me however the end result was the same as the Celtic trial. I just couldn’t impose myself in the limited time I had and I sloped off in the knowledge that I wouldn’t be getting a call-back.

The Teddy Bears in 1969

Last but certainly not least was a trial with the mighty Jags from Firhill.
The trial was being held at Sighthill Park and I was a bit more relaxed this time as I was accompanied by a couple of pals, Stuart Millan & Ian lamb who were also trying out. There were also a few ‘well-kent’ faces amongst the other trialists, again, lads I knew from School and Boys club football so I felt a lot more at ease.

Davie McParland

SEASON 1971/1972 Partick Thistle manager Davie McParland with the League Cup.

As I took to the pitch I noticed that the Thistle manager (and a hero of mine) Davie McParland was standing on the touchline.
I was more determined than ever to make the most of this opportunity.
I lined up in midfield and told the guys taking the centre to knock the ball back to me from the kick off so I could get an early touch, however the ball hit a massive divot, ricocheted off my shin and deflected to my midfield opponent,  who I missed with a lunging tackle, and watched from the deck as he went on to score the opening goal.

I could see the coaches scribbling away in their notepads from the corner of my eye and I knew I’d blown it. I actually went on to play pretty well but the damage was already done and unsurprisingly I was not asked to come back unlike my two mates Ian and Stuart.

To make matters worse that day I had arranged to go to the park when I got home to let my mates know how I had got on, most of the boys were sympathetic but I remember one lad called Davie Jenkins who called me a donkey and said I was wasting my time.
We had a wee game of football after that (first to 15) and I made sure Davie was in the other team. I also made sure that he was on the end of my first tackle, and I definitely made sure he knew donkeys had some kick on them!

I also decided that it would be best for me to keep any future trials to myself!

My next trial was with a team from Knightswood – Everton Boys Club who were a top youth team. This time my big brother Brian took me and stayed to watch me play.
The manager and the lads were really welcoming and I had a great game. So good in fact that the team manager asked me to join the club as soon as I came off the park, which I gladly did and with Brian in attendance he was able to sign the forms as my guardian on the spot.

To round off a great day, heading back to my brothers car I bumped into Davie McParland who’d watched the game. He was kind enough to say that his coaches would have signed me based on todays performance and would I still like to come and train with them?
At this point the Everton manager saw what was happening and shouted over “Hey, hands off, he’s ours now Davie”.

I went on to have a great season with Everton, met some brilliant guys and made friends for life with guys like Frank Murphy who went on to become a football agent and John Cairns who’s son I went on to coach at Lennox (see pic below).

I may not have signed for any of the big Glasgow clubs but I had a fantastic time at Everton Boys Club and as the song so aptly says….
“These were the best days of my life”

blaes ‘n’ sad loos

(Post by John Allan, from Bridgetown, Western Australia –April 2021)

It must be written in some ancient Glasgow City charter that all children should receive varying degrees of pain and punishment throughout their childhood and adolescent years. All through the late 60s and early 70s I remember some form of assault usually inflicted by someone in authority.

Proverbs 13:24 does state “Spare the rod and spoil the child” though some more moderate biblical scholars may argue that the rod was actually a shepherd’s crook gently steering the flock. That would be the Church of England of course. The old C of E (Christmas and Easter). The cucumber sandwich of world religions and who in the West of Scotland would listen to them !

It started fairly innocuously at home with your Mum slapping the backs of your legs to stop you fidgeting, or cuffing your ear if you were cheeky or said a sweary word. And then the ultimate deterrent – your father’s slipper. The “Wait ’til your father gets home” had probably more effect than the deed itself which only happened a handful of times in my early years.

Before you go off running and screaming to Child Welfare, it wasn’t that bad. I’m 62 and I’m over it – apart from the restless legs, cauliflower ear, tourettes and irrational fear of bedtime foot apparel !

Primary school’s punishment started with detention. That was just a matter of sitting it out. Although you were itching to get home for ‘Blue Peter’ your teacher was probably more anxious to get back to feed the cats and catch up on ‘Emmerdale Farm’.

The next level were lines. Meaningless  ‘I must not……….’ over rows and rows. You could take a 50:50 chance, complete a couple of pages top and bottom in the hope the teacher would go all dramatic on you, rip up the paper and drop it in the bin with a flourish. Risky, but thems the odds !

Then finally the belt or tawse. A leather two pronged strap for inflicting maximum pain to the cupped palm of a child. Thankfully it was rarely used in primary but prominent in secondary schooling. What malicious and sadistic education authority came up with that idea ? (One my father was prominent in !)

I received the belt a few times in my schooling thankfully from lesser experienced female teachers. In the hands of some of the more demonic male staff it could inflict untold damage. It was reported that some teachers soaked the leather in vinegar to make it more rigid and would demonstrate its force by pulverising pieces of chalk on the desk. We’re dangerously straying into sado eroticism here so enough said.

It wasn’t just the classroom. The sporting ground was also designed to injure. It took me several attempts on Google to discover the red ash that was literally ingrained into every school child’s limbs was blaes and not blaze or blaise.

The powers that be, in an effort to get the young to run around and exercise, decided that the spoils of compacted burnt colliery waste would make an ideal playing ground for football and hockey. Apart from lacerating your knees, the claggy blaes created it’s own poultice so you had every hue of red running down your shin to darken in your little grey socks. Add to that the gritty eye gouging sandstorm on a hot and windy day or winters equivalent, the stinging kiss of a Mitre Mouldmaster on a tender frozen thigh (or worse) turned sporting field to battle ground.

The swimming trip was no safer. Wading through the icy foot baths with the toxic chlorine fumes searing the back of your eyes just to prevent some snotty faced kid pointing to his upturned sole and saying “I’ve got a verruca and I know how to use it”. And keep your mouth closed when swimming. Those aren’t bobbing corks !

The school toilets weren’t a safe haven either what with carbolic soap and the greaseproof/sandpaper toilet paper combo. Everything seemed to be designed to remove layers off your skin. It would be quicker if they whipped out a penknife and whittled us ! First aid was the janitor with a bucket of sawdust after all.

Shouts of “You’re claimed” or  “You’ll pay for that” may well sound innocent enough at a Loss Adjustors conference but took on a darker meaning in the playground. Someone or something was always close by to inflict pain and suffering.

We lived it. We accepted it and we got on with it.

That inevitably leads to the conversation “The kids of today…….” but I’ll leave that one with you.

doggin’ (no, not that kind!)

Paul Fitzpatrick: London, March 2021

Doggin’ (playing truant, bunking off, playing hooky)

There was a time when the term doggin’ had different connotations from what it has now.

Although, on further inspection, it could be argued that there are some similarities to both activities……

You don’t want to be recognised.

You spend time in the woods

It isn’t as much fun as you’d imagined
(and I’m not talking from experience here folks!)

When we were younger, ‘playing truant’ was romanticised in cartoons and comic books, and latterly in films like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, usually with a mean Truant Officer playing the pantomime villain.

By the time we got to secondary, bunkin’ off school had become one of those rites of passage, that everybody who was anybody had done, and if you believed them, they were having a ball.

It sounded exhilarating – better than sitting in Algebra wondering what language was being spoken, or in French – again, wondering what language was being spoken.

I have two vivid memories of doggin’ school, because I only bunked off twice.

The first one involved four of us and it had been meticulously planned right down to the last detail (well nearly)….

On the chosen day we all left the house as normal and met at a pre-arranged spot, craftily and covertly, we then double-backed to our pal Nuggets house, as his Mum and Dad were both out at work.

The plan was to spend the day living it up like young lords, whilst all the other saps were in class.

The first part of the plan went like clockwork and by 8:30am we were safely entrenched in Nuggets front room; my house was on the same street and another lad lived nearby as well so we had to take measures to ensure that we wouldn’t be seen. 

This was 1971 so there was no daytime TV, Nugget wasn’t particularly into music so he had no vinyl apart from one of those Top Of the Pops compilation albums, his radio had no batteries and he didn’t own a pack of cards or any board games.

Nugget didn’t need any of this stuff because his passion was his pets.
The cockatoo that he taught to say ‘f*ck off’ was a mainstay, the Alsatian that had teeth like a grizzly bear was now an old friend but he had a surprise for us – a brand new (untrained) Ferret that thought Xmas had come early.

Naive? Stupid? Mental?
Take your pick, we were oblivious to the dangers of this feral polecat as we all coo’ed over it like it was the fluffiest bunny from fluffy-bunny land….. until it started to draw blood.

I KID YOU NOT – THIS IS WHAT THE LITTLE SHIT LOOKED LIKE WHEN IT WAS HAPPY!

It was a viscous little critter with teeth like razors, and worst of all, once it was out of its cage, it was damn near impossible to recapture it or fend it off.

A few years later I would go and see Monty Python and the Holy Grail at The Rio cinema in Bearsden, and the killer bunny in that movie reminded me a lot of Nugget’s savage weasel.

By the time it got to 9:30am we were bloodied, bored and ready for a mid-morning snack.

Mindful of our need to go unnoticed, we attempted to crawl on our tummy’s like commando snipers from the lounge to the kitchen, however by doing this we placed ourselves within chomping range of the ferret, who was having his own mid-morning snack.

On opening the fridge, we found 2 triangles of dairylea cheese a slice of spam and an egg. There was Nesquik but no milk and half a Tunnocks teacake with a mallow so hard that Michelangelo could sculpt David from it.
This was the point that Nugget remembered Friday was the family shopping day.
One of us suggested roast ferret as an alternative but Nugget, understandably, wasn’t too keen on that idea..

By 10:00am we were so fed-up, hungry, and intimidated by the beast of Stonedyke that we decided to walk to school and say we’d missed the bus, more than happy to take any punishment that was winging our way.

This doggin’ lark wasn’t all it was cracked up to be…….

Cut forward a term and we were ready to try again, however, the second episode proved to be a bit more spontaneous as we were actually in school when we decided that we’d bunk off for the afternoon.

There were 4 of us again and we decided we’d go to the bakery at Bearsden Cross for a leisurely sit-in lunch before meandering off to see what the day had in store for us.


We had no idea at the time, but what the day had in store for us was an afternoon that would bring more wrinkles to our teenage brows than a stressed Sid James!

In terms of doggin’ school, we’d done the stay-at-home bit and it hadn’t been much fun, so we thought we’d try the great outdoors this time.

This would have been fine – if we weren’t all in full school uniform.

This would have been fine – if we had genuinely looked like 5th or 6th years heading home for study leave instead of wet 2nd years bunking off, particularly my mate Geo who looked about 10 years old.

This would have been fine – if we had an actual plan for how we were going to fill these 3 hours.

Indeed, the only plan we had was to keep away from any main roads so we headed up towards Bearsden Golf Club.

None of us particularly knew this part of Bearsden and just as we got to the top of Thorn Rd, we saw a police car and panicked, scattering off in all directions, before meeting up in a wooded area which we later discovered was the Bluebell Wood, or, our very own ‘Pine Barrens’ – for any Sopranos fans out there.

THIE BLUEBELL WOOD AKA PINE BARRENS

I had never been there before, or even knew it existed, and I’ve never been back there since.

We weren’t sure if the police had actually seen us before we scattered, but we decided we needed to keep on the move.

On hearing a dog in the distance and to illustrate the paranoia, we convinced ourselves that there were sniffer dogs on our trail.
Indeed, we were in such a genuine panic that we actively looked for a stream to walk in, to ensure there would be no scent for the imaginary hounds to trail!

With no sense of direction we just drifted further and further into the darkness of the woods, doing all the things that daft boys do, like tripping each other up, using each other for pine-cone target practice, climbing trees and observing the wildlife, hoping we weren’t being tailed by that damn ferret, which coincidentally had recently escaped from Nuggets house never to be seen again (just like the Russian in Pine Barrens!)

On reflection, this would have been the perfect time, nay the only time in our young life’s to have benefited from those Wayfinder shoes we’d been obsessed with in Primary school.

The compass in the heel and the animal track sole, could finally have been put to some use.
(See Colin’s excellent post for more on Wayfinder’s!)
https://onceuponatimeinthe70s.com/2021/02/19/these-boots-were-made-for/

Instead, our unanimous footwear of choice that day was the very popular but unsuitable penny loafer, great for terra firma and for dancing to Hi Ho Silver Lining at ski-club discos but hopeless in a soggy, slippy woodland terrain.

We’d been wandering around the woods aimlessly for a couple of hours by now when one of the crew thought he heard traffic, this was a promising breakthrough so we marched off in said direction trying to work out what part of Bearsden we were going to end up in.
“Courthill”, “Baljaffray”, “Colquoun Park”, none of us had a clue.

We could see houses, cars and a road through a gap in the trees and the sense of relief was palpable, but we still had no idea where we were until we saw the road sign –

Peel Glen Rd…..

Aww noooo“, we were in the middle of deepest, darkest Drumchapel, plus the name Peel Glen struck terror into our young hearts, this was the heartland of the feared Peel Glen Boys (PGB).

PEEL GLEN WITH THE BLUE BELL WOOD IN THE BACKGROUND

The PGB had gone by reputation (and graffiti) alone until recently, when a few of them had cornered about 6 of us outside the Rio cinema in Bearsden and took all our money whilst we were queuing to see a movie.

Their talisman went by the name of Jim Finn and he had a menacing 6-inch scar on the side of his face.
His notoriety went before him but he wasn’t what I imagined, he was short and had a baby face that belied both his age and his reputation, he reminded me of a young Al Capone and we all gladly and politely handed all our money over to him in fear that our faces could end up looking like his.

A YOUNG, BABYFACED AL CAPONE PRE-SCAR

Slightly bemused that there had been no resistance, despite the numerical advantage in our favour, Mr Finn seemed quite charmed by our genial generosity and wandered off into the night looking for meatier challenges, I’m sure.

I’ve been involved in branding & marketing for much of my career so I recognise great branding when I see it, and when I think about it now, Finn’s 6-inch scar was a genius trademark in terms of promoting his particular brand, much like Capone in 1920’s Chicago.

It was an open secret that Finn carried an open razor inside his Wrangler denim jacket, but in truth, he rarely had to brandish it to get what he wanted.

AL CAPONE WITH DISTINCTIVE DOUBLE SCAR

I knew Drumchapel reasonably well back then, I’d played football at most of the schools, my dentist was there, I got my haircut there (pre Fusco’s) I went to the swimming baths regularly and also to the compact shopping centre with a Woolworths where I’d very recently bought Run Run Run by JoJo Gunne, but I’d never been in this part of ‘the Drum’ before.

I knew however, that if I could find Kinfauns drive I could navigate my way home.
We asked the first wee wummin we saw, and I wanted to give her a big hug when she pointed to the next road, just 100 yards away.

Once we were on Kinfauns we just followed the yellow brick road, carrying out a series of jogs and sprints. Prophetically, in the words of the catchy Jo Jo Gunne song, we literally did ‘Run Run Run’ all the way home.

“You better ride home baby”
“He was born outside of the law”

When we got to Canniesburn Rd we looked at each other, clothes covered in mud, twigs & ferns poking out of our hair, drenched in sweat, ruddy-faced and up to high doh, and we all just burst out laughing.

We knew we’d shared an experience and would have a catalogue of stories from the day, which was kinda the whole point of the exercise, but we also knew in our heart of hearts that doggin’ school wasn’t something we’d be revisiting any time soon – however much we bummed it up to anyone else – it was just too damn stressful.

After the fiasco of ‘ferret-gate’ months earlier, at least we could now say that we had ‘been there , done that’ and (got the t-shirt), and at the end of the day, that was good enough for us, or at least for me anyway.

I decided then and there I would gladly take double Algebra over a Sid James forehead any day of the week!

the ‘sick form.’

(Post by Andrea Grace Burn of East Yorkshire – February 2021)

      Disclaimer

This is a work of fiction. Unless otherwise indicated, all the names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents in this post are either the product of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. 

The attitudes and events represented in this post do not reflect the author’s own views, but are a reflection of some of the historical social mores of the 1970s.

Saying farewell to the golden summer of ’76 and the God Awful School, my Dad – being Head of History in one of Birmingham’s grammar schools – pulled some academic strings to secure an interview for me at one of the same to enter the Sixth Form. I was disappointed as I found the appeal of a Sixth Form College, where I could wear jeans and smoke, far more alluring.

  And so it came to pass, one bright September morning, I found myself sitting on a straight backed chair in a Head Mistress’s office; arms folded across my denim jacket with smiley badges and an Indian cotton bandana tied around my long hair. A portrait of the Head Mistress stared at me from behind a large oak desk. There was no escape.  As I nonchalantly chewed a stick of gum, it struck me that the oak pannelled walls lent the occasion an air of authority and reverence which the 1950s Secondary Modern had singularly lacked.  I fiddled nervously with a string of Love Beads on my wrist in an effort to avoid eye contact contact with the portrait, which felt unnerving. The deep turn-ups on my jeans hid a pair of white cowgirl boots with Cuban heels, which I dug into the polished, parquet floor as I tried to feign interest. Mother sat at my side in her mink stole with a determined smile.  The Head Mistress, Miss Millicent, bore down at me through her horn-rimmed glasses.

“We do not allow are gels to wear denhem trousers here.” 

I could only focus on the gold pendant watch which hung from her academic gown and her stout, heavily perfumed bosom. This was a whole new ball game.

The formalities completed, I entered the ‘Sick’ Form in what was affectionately known as the ‘Brothel on the Hill’ in September 1976.   Miss Millicent had a slight speech impediment, which, in those far-off pre-politically correct days of the 1970s, caused great mirth amongst the ‘gels’, who would wait for it in assembly: 

“The Sick Form will congregate in the fwayaye after Retheption.” 

A ripple of giggles passed through the hall like a Mexican wave. There was a very grave matter: 

 “It hath come to my attenthion, that there is deficathion on the Eatht Wing Lavatory walls.  Those who are rethponthible know who they are. Ath no-one hath come forward, I shall have no recourth but to call an exthrodinary athembly at four o’clock.”          

The school duly assembled at four o’clock. Nobody owned up and we sat in silent ‘detenthion’ for half an hour.  It was rumoured that Edith Smyth in the Lower Fourth was the culprit.  Edith Smyth – with her rosy cheeks and pigtails! 

It was at ‘The Brothel on the Hill’ that I began to tread the boards. Playing the legendary Music Hall star of the Edwardian era, Marie Lloyd in ‘Oh! What a Lovely War,’

I was showered with ten pence pieces as I belted out, ’I’ll Make a Man Out of Every One of You!’ to the assembled Boys’ School next door, with whom the ‘gels’ collaborated.  (They not only collaborated on certain creative projects, but also in the study bays in the sixth form block, where a ‘lookout’ was posted.)

Amongst the cast was a very bright, talented and amusing young lad who went on to become a famous fiction crime writer.  He wrote a review of the play in the school magazine, showcasing his obvious skills as a writer and complimenting my ‘verve’.  The smell of the greasepaint and roar of the crowd lit a fuse and I set my heart on becoming an actress.

Andrea in a school production of ‘Oh! What a Lovely War.

**********

It was at “The Brothel on the Hill” that I made friends with Rachel Sadler, whose blonde Farrah Fawcett flicks and wedge sandals I found most impressive; especially considering that our uniforms were measured periodically by Miss Millicant with a ruler through those horn-rims:

   “Two inches above or below the knee gels – two inches!”

Emboldened by Rachel’s bravado, I sneaked into school one hot day in a pair of peep-toe cork sandals. The Games Mistress — a statuesque Scottish blonde with ruddy cheeks — hauled me up in the corridor bellowing:

“Scarboro — where are your tights? The school would be a very smelly place indeed if all the gels went about without tights!” 

“But surely the school would be even smellier in this heat if all the girls did wear their tights?” I protested.

Detention. 

 I begged Rachel – the netball captain and Head of Warwick House –  not to include me in the inter-house match; but as Deputy Head of Warwick I had no choice. I hated netball and knew I would let the side down. With her ‘flicks’ sprayed into position, Rachel was formidable on court — one of those sporty, outdoor types. I was lousy.  Within the first two minutes of play, I knocked Rachel to the ground whereupon she scraped all the skin off both knees. She was stretchered off and I was sent off. The Games Mistress stopped play with her whistle and demanded an explanation from me,

“Well, Scarboro?”

“I told you not to make me play!” 

Detention.

 And lastly it was here that I fell asleep in A Level History, sprawled across my desk under Miss Spinks’ nose during a lecture on James the First. She left me alone until the end of the lesson, when she asked me to summarise to the class, the effects of ‘The Great Contract of 1610’ on the Commons. I sat up and yawned.

Detention. 

Friday morning assemblies were refreshing. They were entirely devoted to ‘singing’ (I say this loosely) and the ‘gels’ were allowed to choose three songs from a limited repertoire. This included the ‘School Song’ , ‘Morning Has Broken’ as well as my particular favourite, “The Lavender Cowboy.” 

Our Music teacher, Miss Petal, took charge of these assemblies with great flourish. A physically slight woman of indeterminate years, jewelled glasses on a chain and an Iron Lady hairstyle, she had devoted her life to the school. She would appear Stage Right and strike a dramatic chord on the piano. She had our full attention. Clasping two castanets, she crossed the stage in towering heels as she led the school with her thin, strained soprano voice in “The Lavender Cowboy”. Having finished the song, Miss Petal would disappear off stage behind a heavy velvet curtain and re-emerge Stage Left, pretending to ‘haul’ a heavy rope over her shoulder as she bent forward almost to the floor (a feat in itself in those heels).

 As she ‘hauled’ she sang ‘The Volga Boatsong’; throwing her voice into a sudden and surprising deep baritone:

“Yo Heave Ho!

  Yo Heave Ho!” 

Three hundred girls held their collective breath; fighting fits of giggles as Miss Petal brandished her castanets with a  ‘click, click, clack’.

“Come along girls, Yo Heave Ho!”

The Upper ‘Sick’ Form were in hysterics in our privileged seats in the balcony; trying hard to stifle grunts as we slid to the floor  helpless with laughter. Miss Millicent shot us a glance from her carved podiam. 

 I looked forward to Friday mornings and Gave Thanks for Miss Petal in the closing prayer. 

**********

I managed to come out of ‘The Brothel on the Hill’ with two E’s in A Level History and English. Mum was thrilled that I had at least completed  a rudimentary education.  Dad still maintained that I would make a great nurse.

As the other girls collected their A Level certificates from Miss Millicent with a  pat on the back and a “Well done gels!”  as they headed for Oxbridge, I set my sights on the theatre – not too difficult a task for a drama queen.

(Copyright: Andrea Burn  March 12th 2021)

playground patois

(Post by Colin ‘Jackie’ Jackson, of Glasgow – February 2021)

Didn’t we talk funny at school?

The expressions above have a modern / urban ring about them, but fifty years ago in the West of Scotland, we had our own ‘cool’ patois. Our parents would try to coax this phraseology from our lexicon, but had we succumbed, we’d have been regarded by our peers as ‘uncool. Or if you like, ‘square’ to coin a term from our folks’ schooldays.

As with our own parents, I’m sure every generation will have their own school slang, but here’s some I recall from the 1970 intake:

DOGGING IT: as in, ‘dogging class; dogging lunch.’ – MEANING: skipping class / spending your lunch money on crisps, sweets and listening to the latest Donny/ David / Marc/ Bowie song on Dial-a Disc from the telephone box on the corner.

SWAPSIES: as in, ‘doublers.’ – MEANING: bubblegum cards you have duplicates of and are willing to trade with other collectors. When displayed ‘swapsies’ generally induced the quickfire response of “got; got; not got; want; got; NEED! That one! NEED!”

TAP: as in, ‘borrow.’ – MEANING: erm … to borrow. Usually used with reference to fags, or Rizla rolling papers. ‘Tapping’ a fag / paper constituted a verbal contract, and failure to honour would often lead to physical retribution.

THE SMOKERS’ UNION: as in ‘see you in The Smokers’ Union’ at lunchtime.’ MEANING: let’s congregate with other smokers in the alcove beneath the Science block after lunch for a fly fag. (Rather cunningly, ‘The Smokers’ Union’ was shortened to The S.U. – which coincidentally was the same abbreviation used for The Scripture Union. Our ever-so-enthusiastic Religious Education teacher was extremely excited to hear of the students’ commitment to Jesus, but did wonder why they all had simultaneously chesty coughs.)

“YOU’RE CLAIMED!” as in ‘you’re getting it!’ – MEANING: you’ve upset someone, perhaps by not repaying your tobacco debt on time, and you have been invited to be pounded to a pulp at 4pm, by the school gate.

THE MALKY: as in ‘it’ in the above scenario. – MEANING: you better be quick off you your mark at 4pm!

HONNERS: as in ‘cry honners.’- MEANING: if you’ve been ‘claimed’ and are about to get ‘The Malky,’ and you’re unable to run away fast enough, you could always shout for help from your friends to fend off the aggressor.

FUD: as in ‘ignore him, he’s a complete fud!’ – MEANING: that chap is not worth worrying about. He’s an ill-mannered idiot.

DEAD: as in ‘dead good / bad.’ – MEANING: ‘very.’

PURE: as in ‘pure brilliant.’ – MEANING: ‘really.’ Can be used as an accentuation of ‘very.’ So, for instance: ‘Mrs Welch is pure dead gorgeous.’ 😉

GALLUS: as in ‘he thinks he’s dead gallus in his sta press and Harrington bomber.’ – MEANING: that fashion conscious lad thinks he’s the bees’ knees.

EL D: as in “Gies a swig of yer EL D.” – MEANING: “could I possibly have a taste of your fortified wine, please?” This would often be overheard in Wessy Woods; Hungry Hill and round Kilmardinny Loch prior to a school / Ski Club Disco between the years of 1970 & 1976.

EMPTY: as in, “Who’s got an empty this weekend?” – MEANING: whose parents have been daft enough to head off for a cheeky wee weekend away, leaving their ‘mature’ sixteen year old offspring to look after the house? Cue the wild party! (See Paul’s recent excellent blog post.)

BEAMER: as in ‘Ha Ha! She gave you a knock back – check your beamer!’ – MEANING: “She declined your offer of a fun filled evening at Kilmardinny Loch. I can tell you’re embarrassed by the obvious blushing of your face.”

DIZZY: as in, you were given a ‘dizzy.’ – MEANING: you got all dressed up and emptied half a bottle of Denim aftershave all over your chin and chest (because you didn’t have to try too hard) only for your intended date not to turn up. And if you’d met anywhere other than school, she’d probably also given you a fake phone number.

LUMBER: as in, “You jammy sod! I saw you got a lumber last night.” – MEANING: you were perceived as being very lucky in that the girl you were conversing with at the dance last night acceded your request to meet up again.

GET OFF WITH: as in, you’d want to ‘get off with’ a particular person at the school dance. – MEANING: you looked to that casual snog from last night being converted into some kind of longer term arrangement.

AYE PEAKY / SURE PEAKY / PEAKY OSPREY / PEEK AN OSPREY: as in, “Your dad’s taking you to New York this weekend to see The Rolling Stones? Aye Peaky!” The summation of the assertion would be uttered at the same time as you pulled down an eyelid with your index finger. – MEANING: “Your arse! I don’t believe a word of that, you lying git!”

(This last one, I’m sure is just a localised expression. Legend has it that some kid in school called Peaky, told his pals he saw an osprey sitting on the roof of his house in suburban Glasgow. Of course, nobody was going to believe him. And the eyelid pull-down? I’m assuming it’s just an accentuation of a wink.)

Actually, having written all that down – don’t we talk funny as adults?