They say that some memories are false so this may be a construct but when I was little we lived in a room and kitchen in a Glasgow tenement in the early 60s before moving to the Ayrshire coast. I remember various snapshots of the experience such as green tiled walls in the “close”, a cludgy which was shared with other families, sleeping in the kitchen and keeping the “room” for visitors. No doubt this was considered an acceptable way for my parents to begin family life but in retrospect it is no wonder that the Glasgow overspill to Irvine was such a popular choice.

The stairwell needed to be scrubbed with the banister buffed and the white line paintwork on stone needed to be kept pristine. The kitchen overlooked a more open area where, I think, children played, bins were stored and washing was pegged out. Further across the back trams went up and down the road.

We didn’t live there long but I remember 4 events that occurred before we moved. The first was a woman with a sturdy Silver Cross type pram who was bumping her baby/pram up the stairs when the unsecured baby fell out and hit his head on the stone steps. The second was an over-sized teddy of mine which had seen better days. For some reason my mother threw it out and, as I watched out the window boys rescued it and ran off with their new playmate. The third was the time my father got up early for work and was so tired that when he was getting washed at the sink he pulled it off the wall when he leant on it. Chaos! Finally there was some child knocked down by one of those trams and the adults talked in hushed tones.

So poverty and hardship, certainly, and yet we had a telephone, a coal bunker and a television. Not bad for an impoverished life.

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