Fish, Trams, Barras
by: Westbank Reminiscence Group (Chris Milne, Robert Kilgour, Agnes Kinnaird, Beatrice Bisset)
We used tae like haein a hurl on the tram cars. The trams ran on rail lines, built intae the cassies, wi electric wires on tap o the tram reefs. Threepence wis the dearest fare. Ye got a fine smooth hurl in a tram. Itherwise, fowk wauked or rode on bikes. There wisna mony cars in Aiberdeen, fowk hidna money for cars.
The milk, the veggies and the coal, were aa ferried roon the streets bi horse and cairt. The milk cairt cairried big cans o milk...ye brocht oot yer jug and the milkman ladled milk ooto the can inno yer jug, aboot threepence a pint. Jist raw milk, ye ken, straicht frae the coo on the fairm, nae chemicals in't. An it niver did us ony hairm, we niver catched ony diseases aff yon milk. It tasted better than milk dis nooadays...it wis creamier...it wis even a different colour. Milk nooadays is a wattery, blue colour, wi nae taste ava.
The veggies war straight aff the fairms, tee. The veggie mannie cairriet scales tae wye them, and paper baggies tae rowe them up in. . . there wis nae plastic bags lang ago. Sometimes, fin his horsie wis staunin in the street, there'd be a pile o dung fin it moved awa. An then, if ye'd a gairden, ye'd rin intae the hoose for a shovel an scoop up the dung, an tip it ower yer flooers, or yer ain gairden veggies. Oh, ay, horse dung's the finest fertilizer ye can get! A neep micht cost ye a penny, an fresh, ye ken, frae Aiberdeenshire.
The coal mannie hid a tarry face, an humfed the bags o coal on his back aff the cairt roon tae yer cellar. Nae aabody bocht coal, tho. Some o's got widden fish boxes frae the harbour an broke them up fur firewid. Ithers wauked ben the beach an pickit coal aff the saan. The coal-cairryin boaties sometimes drapped a bit o their load, ye see, an coal wis aften washed up on the shore. Menfowk micht fill a bag wi coal that wye, an there wis ay plenty driftwid on the shore anna. Ye can see that folk are better aff nooadays, bi aa the driftwid left lyin on Aiberdeen beach!
Fish wis rowed through the streets bi a fishwife, in a big barra. Hae ye niver heard the auld sang?
She wheeled her wheelbarra,
Through streets broad an narra
Cryin cockles an mussles alive, alive oh!
She didna jist cairry fish. She cairried dulse. . .lang bunches o green seaweed aff the shore. We bocht it fur medicine. Ye byled dulse an gied the bree tae an invalid, if they'd a fever. An some folk bocht buckies, an took them hame tae byle in a pan o watter. Buckies are wee shells, wi beasties inside them that look like wirms. They're the colour o a bogie. No, I ken that's a bit scunnerin, bit there ye are, that wis the colour o buckies. Ye powkit them oot wi a preen. Ye dinna think ye'd hae likit buckies? Yon's boggin? Lordsakes, ye dinna ken fit yer missin! They say the French ett dizzens!