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Elphinstone Kist   Folk-History, Place, Education

Aiberdeen in the 1920s     by: Fergus House Reminiscence Group (From a group session run by Sheena Blackhall & Pam Strachan)

Fin we war wee an growin up in Aiberdeen we eesed tae eesed tae play lundies, skippin atween twa ropes, and we'd chant this rhyme:

Een twa three a leerie, I spied Bella Peerie
Sittin on her bumbaleerie, ettin jeelie babies.

We'd anither rhyme fur stottin wir baas:

Harry Lauder went tae France, tae teach the ladies how tae daunce
Heel, tow, ower we go, daunce tae the king, boo tae the queen,
Turn yer back tae the Kaiser!

Loons played bools, an tig 'n tag. An there wis a coontin oot rhyme:

Eenie-meenie-minie-mo, set the baby on the po
Fin he's done, wipe his bum, pit the paper up the lum.

If ye skyved aff the schule, the takk-aa cam lookin fur ye. He wore a cheese cutter hat an rode a bike. If bairns hid beasties in their heids at the schule, the nurse shaved their hair aff. I didna weir lang brikks till I wis 14 an left the schule. Maist o's gaed barfit tae schule aa summer. Fin ye wore beets yer da haimmered metal rings inno the heels, an tackets inno the soles. Loons likit tae strikk sparks wi their tackets on the cassies. Fin I sterted at Skene Street schule there wis 50 in the class. I winneret fit I wid dee if I winted tae pee. Ither bairns jist peed on the fleer! My da haimmered twa holes in a cocoa tin an tied a towe roon it. I cairriet that tae schule, an the teacher gaed me hett watter tae pit in o't. Fur a piece I got breid an seerip, or oatcakes.

In the mornin, the milkie's cairt gaed roon the doors. The milkie's horse wid click wi its hooves on the cassies tae let ye ken it wis needin a piece. My ma ay gaed me a heelie fur the horsie. Ae day a horse fell doon on the road ootside oor hoose. It struck its heid an hid tae be shot. My ma wis affa sair made...she wis fond o animals. A veggie man cam roon, an the postie. The streets war affa different lang ago. The scaffie gaed roon wi a cairt, teemin oot backets o cinders. He'd pick oot the cinders frae the aisse an sell it fur coal in Widside, an he hackit kinnlers tae sell frae the widdies aroon. A watter cairt cam roon, washin the dirt aff the road an dampin doon the styew.

At nicht the leerie man cam roon afore the dark, an aa the bairns follaed him. He cairriet a lang pole tae open the wee glaiss door o the gas lamp, an licht it. The sweep wid sweep the lum twice a year, gaun up tae the reef an reddin oot the flues anna, tho some o's stappit up papers an set fire tae the seet wirsels. The coal mannies cam roon wi their cairt, sellin dross an shelbottle. Some o's burnt widden cobbles frae Broad Street fin the toon hid them liftit. Ae cobble brunt aa nicht.

Fin ye war nae-weel wi a sair throat, yer mither micht heat satt on a shovel ower the fire, pit it in a swyty sock an lay it ower yer throat. A cure fur a caul wis hett toddy, an if ye warna feelin up tae ettin muckle, ye'd get saps...breid an sugar an hett milk. There wis nae hett watter bottle, jist a steen pig. Lots o bairns catched scarlet fever, diptheria, or measles.

Folk kent foo tae daunce in the days o the flappers...there wis Quadrilles, Edinburghs, Strip the Willow an a puckle mair.

I got a row frae a fermer fur pinchin a slice o neep an dippin it inno the coo's traicle. The traicle wis shipped in tae the docks an cairtit oot tae the ferms frae there. The fermer said it wis stealin. Bit I wis hungry! Fin da wis awa at the first world war, mither sent me fur her pension frae the post office... she got hauf a croon per bairn, an there wis 7 o us. Aathegither she got 30 shillins a wikk.

Last thing at nicht the clocks war wund up afore ye beddit. An ye didna bed late in the days fin there wis nae TV, jist the tilly lamp or the gas!



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