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My Skye Stories Trilogy and more....

Skye Stories

Five years for an adult, passes in five minutes. Five years for a kid is a lifetime. An attempted bike stealing incident in Glasgow when I was 13 led to me living in Linicro on the Isle of Skye with my Great Granny and Great Aunt. My family stayed in the city whilst my life changed on the island.

Skye Stories tells the adventures I had growing up: the girls I fancied, the sheep I worried and the music I loved.
Told in poetry and wee stories. Easy to read with photographs. The style is the same as my Facebook posts where I do my heartfelt best to tell it like it was and write poetry for those, who like me, don't normally read poems.

Although this book is about Skye and my love for the island, the account of my experiences and emotions will strike a chord with people who have never visited the island. We were all young once!

Skye changed the my life forever and for the better. You could say the Isle of Skye saved my life. This book, Volume 1, tells the story of the first two years on Skye - the Linicro years.

Work in progress....this time it's fiction!

Sex & Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll and Nursing

Totescore Road —

Biking down the Totescore road On a Sunday afternoon A Minch wind nipping my face Zooming all over the place Singing a Pink Floyd tune. Hidden in the tunnel beneath the road Watching the Stonegate stream flow by And when a cloud rolls down From high on the hill My head won't get wet How much will you bet I will be a dry Skye guy. Biking up the Totescore road On a Sunday afternoon Sweat on my head I need to be fed My face all red And I look like a Warner Bros cartoon.

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Hill Eyes

What is time And what does it mean to the Linicro rocks? Unchanged and heavy They sit staring at the township. Black houses morph to white-washed homes Mud brown wooden wheel rutted tracks turned Tarmac black. Horse drawn ploughed fields turn tractor red and yellow The sound of song carries on the wind Neighbour's and friends. From Stornoway a signal beamed across the Minch in BBC colour and black and white Footprints changed to tire tracks transport folk To Uig and beyond. The grey water waves crash onto Kilbride Tide in and out time and time again A breath of gold from nesting eagles at home in Their ancestral seat. Rain to sun to night to day Summer autumn winter and spring. All this and more watched by time defying stone Eyes high on the heathered hill. #SkyeStories

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Duntulm Dark

A tar dark sky spreads its darklight on Duntulm Castle Ink black creeped into corners and crevices. The cliff drop window a blank with sea sounds coming from below Washing white waves almost invisible to the naked eye spumed and roared into the ether. Score bay a black heart canvas not one pin prick of starlight reveals the ridge. A salty wind whistles inbetween every hand laid castle stone eroding and polishing. The only shelter is the dungeon space acheronian an earthbound black hole devouring light and sound. From the shore to the road to the hill only the memory of brighter days survive Hidden from the nights voracious appetite Past people pass by unnoticed and unaware that their heart beats no longer. There's a beauty in a night like tonight a comfort wrapped in misery and foreboding. And like the rock cliffs we await the luminescence of a waxing moon as it battles the night.

Old Man —

The sun rises on The Old Man of Storr on a crispy cool January day. Its rays of gold pierce the hardest of stone but still the surface remains icy. Marshmallow clouds separate revealing a blue eye coloured sky. Breath condenses in the air and the hill is crunchy underfoot the sun will soon soften. Eyes water at the magnificence of the needle and noses run and turn red. The yellow ball of flames is in its apogee and still bones complain about the temperature. In the shadow of this colossus we stand in awe of the bodach silent and strong.

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Saturday

Sitting on a stone at the top of the bealach watching Saturday people do Saturday stuff. There's a line of cars strung across the peer being swallowed by the MV Hebrides when my bum tells me its sat enough. The path meanders river like and I sail down like a professional until my feet hit tarmac. A bright red Ferguson 135 roars in top gear belching black smoke comes up from Idrigill at my back. Each and every tourist car I pass waves and gives me a smile and from the local drivers I get a wink. On the road passed The Sheiling I plant myself on the wall of the Rha's stone wall to sit and have a think. I love to hang over the edge and watch the rapids not so rapid roll under me on the way to the bay. And when I'm done with my watching fun it's on to the bakers for messages and a chocolate treat from their display.

Concrete for Countryside

Swapping city street concrete and graffiti for the emerald green of the Linicro hill. Double-decker buses no more a Plaxton Panorama his transport of choice. Walking the treacherous roads to All Saints School now a dim and dusty memory. His playground the whole North End and not a bully in sight but plenty bulls. Freedom from soot and the Galloway Street grime is all he craved. A gift bestowed by a loving angel his lungs now salted and strong. The traffic of Springburn replaced by a tractor or two and a line of passing place signs. The mist and the rain he gladly embraced if only winter mornings could be more kind. No amount of money could tempt him back to the jungle of urbanity. Poor in pocket he was for year's but rich in love for the heather hill and sea. A new life in a new world made a new boy into a new man who time could not change. Island life was his for the taking and he grasped firmly with joy.

Hitchin

On the road passed Glenhinnisdal thumbing a lift to Portree. Diesel fumes and mower fresh hay my constant companions. Mid-morning sun absorbs the green from the hill with heather purple spotting. A breeze kisses his forehead like a granny all gentle and highland kind. Cars pass by on their way to Uig and the islands across the Minch. Smiling and waving at the lonely boy on the side of the road. Alone he is but lonely he's not with sheep and cattle either side how could he be? Silence surrounds his walking body but there's a song singing in his head. ELO are playing Shangri-La and he joins in with the chorus the crows approve. Soon enough a Renault 4 answers his thumbs call for carriage. The driver ruddy-cheeked and full of friendly chatter drives him to Borve. From there a Morris Minor resplendent and classic offers to drive him to Somerled Square. A cheery plaid wearing wifey waves him off and he makes his way to the Caley. His reward for reaching his destination a milky coffee served with a Skye smile.

Boy to Man

Red sky at night was a Linicro boys delight he never saw a red warning. Summer dew dried by a watery sun graced his smile in the morning. Leaden clouds from Harris, doughy and dull delivered sheets of biting rain. On a windless night cut crass scented and bright he was lord of his hill domain. Dark light crowned the Linicro township in the still of an endless winters night. Powder blue summer skies that never dulled, sprinkled with shimmering starlight. A moon on the wane sinking over the hill to the sound of a corncrakes song. The wind fresh from the Minch alive and salty, a sense all is right and nothings wrong. Long days and short nights turn to short days and long nights winter to summer repeats. From a boy to a man with a heather heart and a plan departs the island for a world at his feet.

Searching

I'm searching for the child I once was, living life without a worldly care. Free to roam the Linicro hills having fun, getting up to mischief almost everywhere. No bills to pay and no responsibility too, from Totescore to Uig I would go. Singing chart songs in the Skye rain with my pals hunting high and low. That child has grown and lives in a far flung place with children of his own. This doesn't stop his misty eye memories about the island that he once called home.

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Lighthouse  —

Winking at me in the dead dark of a Linicro winters night. The twin eyes of Neist and Stornoway banish the blackness and bring light. A sailors warning to steer clear 365 days of the Scottish year. Friends to me since I was a toddling child and as an adult drinking beer. Your love light shines through out the morning, afternoon, evening and twilight. And I'll forever be your lighthouse lover from Linicro with eyes shining blue and bright.

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Conon Cold

How cold your water is running brown and white its impossible to ignore. How beautiful your meandering motion through hill heather rocks and more. Summer sun has no radiant effect on your stygian black eye pools. And in the heat of the Uig afternoon swimming is only for hardy fools. The relentless rush of the Conon through the glen thunderous and pure. The bay water welcomes every gallon that gushes forth from the moor.

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Skudiburg Siren

Skudiburg Siren The sound of the siren draws me to the Skudiburg shore. Sea green and salt soaked I submerge breathing air no more. A leaden sky smirring cold a Waternish wind driving water to bone. The Stack stands resolute and uncomplaining a millennium spent alone. And still I sink into into the sea hags outstretched hands. My life lost under the Minch my sea soul given to my island. #Skye Stories

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Wish —

I wish I could fly high in the Linicro sky, soaring on thermals like the Golden Eagle. Stopping diving and hunting for rabbits I wish I had wings to fly. Across the common grazing I'd glide with my best girl Golden Eagle by my side. Far below in the Linicro fank I spy crofters hard at work shearing sheep. I would dive bomb the bodachs and leave them each a gift to keep. For fun I'd sail on a Minch breeze over Monkstadt all the way down to the shore. And if I got hungry I'd race down the crofts and get my dinner at Camus Mor. Alas I'm only a mere mortal man who's afraid to step on a plane. From my office in Saudi I daydream of drifting across Kilmuir again and again.

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On the Hill

How many feet have travelled the old road and ascended the heathered hill. Through winter mud and summer midges their spirits remain there still. Who walked across the ridge of Linicro rocks and who sat on the Creagan Ban. Crofters searching for wool covered beasts or a lost soul searching for his clan. Did their eyes gaze across the sea to the Uists and the majestic Harris hills. And did they marvel at the Ascribs and Waternish beyond who's beauty remains still. Did their hungry legs take them back to black homes in Linicro and Totescore. And does their spirits continue their walk alone on the hill for ever more. #SkyeStories

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River Begins

Far from the sea the Rha is born, earth mother constantly delivering. Running small, from a crawl, gathering momentum. Water washed pebbles on every turn. The ground widens with the flow, unstoppable and peat stained. It gains speed, the water descends, from the hill in twists and bends. Crashing waterfalls hidden from sight, fill pools deep with dark light. And still it moves, foaming banks of white and green. Brown slimy boulders in-between moss and fern, the bay calls. At last whitewater breaks fast, under stone and iron bridges. Freshwater fades giving way to salty waves, a child no more, sea free and grown.

Tide —

Time and Kilbride tide wait for no boy, the ebb and flow of a summer Minch too. Foamy white and deep-sea blue waves break on a rocky shore shiny. Shallow pools reflect the image of youth and hormones, timelines yet to appear. Salty seabirds glide and swoop on a wind sent over from Harris. Sun-dried dulse on today's menu with a whilk and limpet side order. As evening gives way to summer night light, the sun radiates and sinks in the west.

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Kodak Memory

A memory snapshot of a Kodak colour moment, sitting outside the wee hoose. Summer colours faded like my jeans and Wrangler shirt. Hills of heather and stone in front of my eyes, a frigid grey Minch behind me. Long gone faces, driving long gone cars, waving to my long gone smile. The summer sounds of silence, deafening and comforting. A polaroid square stuck behind my fridge magnet heart. The song remains and the soul remembers, an ever expanding and contracting bubble of time. A singularity, a thought, a feeling, a big bang of foxglove and stingy nettles, with the taste of milky Maxwell House. Memories live on, inside a Box Brownie roll of film, waiting to be exposed.

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This —

This grass is green, This sky is blue. There's a corncrake evening song, He's singing there for you. This air is fresh, This water is clean. Take a drink from the Tobar, And you'll taste what I mean. This moon is waxing, This frost is cold. I want to walk in the Linicro night, Before my bones are to old. This house is a home This land is mine All that is and was and will be forever, memories are photos of mine.

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Morning Wish

Linicro sunshine on my shoulder, Camus Mor sea air in my mind. Strolling on Staffin's sandy beach, sea breezy and feeling fine. A wish on the Totescore wintergreen, a daydream in Sheader too. To lie in the grass and kiss in Cuil, Is what I'd love to do.

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Uig Dance

The ceilidh at Uig Hall is all feet, and sweaty brows. Young guys hang around the dance floor edge, like birds of prey, ready to pounce. In the gents, its crowded, a mini pub, half bottles of uisge beatha shared. Outside, two drunks face off, ready to fight, over a girl, what else?

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Spinning Wheel —

There's a spinning wheel in my wee hoose bedroom, and I swear it moves at night. A ghost of someone long passed, spinning yarn towards the light. There's a wooden barrel butter churn, and I'm sure that it turns too. Maybe a long dead ancestor, making creamy butter for me and you.

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Heather Born

Hill heart, heather born. Sea soul, Minch strong. Peat legs, sun kissed and long. Strong arms to the hay belong. Rain face and island love life-long.

Fairy Whisper

I awoke in the shadow of Castle Ewan on a postcard sunny day. Refusing to move, I looked to the heavens and wondered if I was dead or alive. The Sheader air tingling, a foxglove fragrance hung above my head. A fairy whisper, imperceptible in volume, tells me I'm in heaven on earth.

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The Tex Fillet Five 1988 Documentary

Barking at the Moon

This was filmed in Edinburgh around 1988 Later I would join the band as their singer/manager.

Barking at the Moon

Summer Moment

A summer still evening on the road above Stonegate it doesn't get much better than this. Foxglove fragrance with a hint of salt hangs in the air and all around is purple heather bliss. There is a breeze tonight whispering up from the shore just strong enough to keep midges at bay. Crofters finish their strupag and whistle their collie as the continue their work in the hay. Across the Minch the high hills of Harris kiss the evening blue sky on its cheek. The Hebrides is sailing past the Skudiburg stack all white black and red and sleek. Summer peat burns in an Aga far off down the road wisps of smoke coming from Totescore. If I had the power within my hands I'd freeze frame this moment and keep it close to my heart forever more.

Summer Park —

Sitting on my sisters roller skate speeding down the big hill in Springburn Park. The boys from Galloway Street on a long summers evening are fannying about and having a lark. On the putting green with a piece of iron hitting the ball as hard as we could. Climbing trees behind the rockery looking for birds nests and eggs a memory moment from my childhood. Hiding from the Parkies at every turn getting caught an occupational hazard. Hiding from the big guys who wanted our ball if the caught we were going to get battered. Short skirted lassies playing tennis a game we thought was only for the posh. Come in number 35 your numbers up on the boating pond we wish we had more dosh. Swinging high and on the swings we tried to touch the sky with our feet. Jumping off mid swing and rolling on the grass made our park visit complete. We walked in a gang down towards Viewpoint Road the sun sinking slow in the west. Summer Springburn memories of a boyhood long passed and a time when everything was the best.

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About

What does Raymond Moore write?

Currently promoting the publication of Skye Stories Volume 1 The Linicro Year's. Available from Amazon, Waterstones, Kobo and WH Smith.
Skye Stories Volume 2 is in the last phases of Editing and will be published by Redshank Books/Libri Publishing in May 2021.
Volume 3 has yet to go through the editing phase.

Work in process is Sex & Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll and Nursing. A piece of fiction set in 1980s Edinburgh.

Poems about Skye and beyond are written whenever a line pops into my head.

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Contact

I'm waiting

raymoore64(at)gmail.com
WhatsApp 00966556214800

Winter Mornings

On a frigid winters morning we crossed Springburn Road to the dump. Frozen mud and icy ponds as we scurried to school with eyes watering and red noses running. Up and down the foot worn path avoiding oncoming Colston schoolers who sometimes skelped our frozen faces. From 9 till 4 we were prisoners of St Aloyious and what a cruel prison officer he was. Studying maths and the times table torture a leather strap on a misbehaving hand. Four o'clock freedom announced by the bell and we made our escape dumpwards. The winter sun had unfrozen the mud and our brogues and weegens got manky. And still we had to dodge a Major Domo boot or two from those big Colston guys. Home at last and Land of the Giants and if we're lucky chips eggs and beans. A game of wan and aff on Galloway Street before my Mum shouts us in at nine. Without brushing our teeth and washing our face we fell into a fitful slumber. Only to repeat the day ad infinitum and sometimes the rain would soak us and occasionally the warm sun would shine.

Love Unrequited

I remember sitting on John's school bus day in day out thinking about you. Thinking if only you didn't have a boyfriend and if only I lived closer thats all that I would do. In the school corridors I would keep an eagle eye out hoping to glimpse your morning face. Sometimes if I was lucky we might meet for minute and chat those times I'd embrace. At lunchtime my hope would be a word or two out of boyfriend view just me and you. Strolling from class to class laughing with the boys and eyeing the girls but thinking of us two. Together on Wentworth Street or on the Square or at the swimming it was a full-time time occupation. Love unrequited in a maroon blazer and Wrangler cords only the sight of you offered alleviation. Time does what its supposed to do and many loves were won and lost and won and lost. And how lucky I was to be alive and breathing on those Saturdays time was the best.

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Book now available  —

Dedicated to my Dad Big Gerry.

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Hill Still

I stand on the hill and take a deep inhale and the taste of heather and dung tickles my nose. On a summers evening long ago I stood looking out towards the Minch wearing my summer clothes. It's late but darkness does not fall although the sun has set deep in the west. My heart and soul symbiotic and vital for life this is where my mind goes to rest. A late breeze gallops up from the shore and tousles my young dirty fair hair. And the sights and sounds are as real to me now in my Saudi bedroom as if my body was still there.

Big Gerry

So happy that my Dad gets to see my first book which is dedicated to him. He's always supported everything I've done and more. Couldn't have asked for a better Dad. Love you big man.

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Wandering Mind —

I know I write so much about the hill heather and sea These things I document because they are important you see. Memories of freezing cold big hoose winter mornings and summer still midge bitten days are my treasure. And on lonely desert days when the sun is so hot it boils these memories are my only pleasure. From the top of Totescore to the shore at Cuil From beneath the folly where life and love changed under Uig summer light. From the bay at Score and the creepy quarry I ran passed on starless Linicro nights. From Kilbride all the way up to the old Peat Road And from the wee hoose to my school in Portree these halcyon days were important to me. Today with the love of my wife and my babies three From the Dammam desert to Thailands rice fields my memories let me wander free.

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Frozen

Parka wearing brave boys standing at the duck ponds edge on a frost bitter Springburn Saturday. The park green is faded and twinkling the pond water frozen black the ducks and swans secreted in a hideaway. A brave Adidas Kick covered foot precariously perches over the frozen waters edge. Stamping on the cold hard ice judging if its strong enough to take his weight he's dancing on the ledge. The island is but a short distance away less than 20 feet all icy new and inviting. The bravest boy not me makes his way across the once wet water all nervous and exciting. Under trainered foot the ice groans and grimaces but cracks are yet to appear. If the boy makes it to the crispy island without crashing into the chilly pond he deserves a beer. Inch by inch he's getting closer as the onlookers breath condenses and hangs in the air. Not a sound from any of us as the brave boy reaches safety arms outstretched he's nearly there. Behind us a shout from a green parkie van gives the three of us an effin fright. 'Get aff the wahter ya wee bampot,' he roars and exits his van with teeth flashing white. Our pal nearly made to the castaway island on the ice without getting a bath. He slides and skates back to shore safety and we grab him and runaway from the parkie with laugh. 'A nearly made it. Did ye see me grab the tree branch?' He beams all proud and puff chested and for a day he was a King amongst boys who braved the park ice and nearly got arrested.

Galbraith's

Galbraith's Whit wis the worst hing yer Ma would ask ye when ye gote back fae school? A wahnt ye tae go tae the shop and get us a 3 pun bag a totties a plain loaf and two pints a mulk 'From Jackie Wulsins?' you hoped an prayed. 'Naw yer gaun tae Galbraith's' 'Its no ma turn' ye say way tears runnin doon yer face. 'Nae choice yer brother and sister urnae here and the sooner ye git goin the sooner ye wull be back' 'But it's no fair am alwiys the wan tae go' fell on deaf ears and in tears ye threw the money doon the stairs. Greetin like a big wean ye dry yer eyes and walk oot tae Galloway Street. An everybody noes yer gaun fur messages an they aw laugh it yer feet. Galbraith's wis miles away and yer missin yer faverit TV show. But whits the use ae complainin coz yer Ma disnae wahnt tae know.

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Saturday Football

Running around a red ash pitch in the second city of the empire. Boyd Brigade Saturday morning football the reason to win is our desire. Every single Saturday without fail I showed up Adidas Beckenbaur in hand. Black with three green stripes and when I wore them I felt unbeatable and grand. Running around that rough red surface like a mad man in the mood. The reason I got to wear the 202 top was I showed up not because I was good. Sun and rain hail and snow travelling in three cars around Glasgow we would go. To places far and near even outside the city limits eleven of us would show. Yellow topped with blue collar sometimes we got beat but a lot of times we won. And my skinny white poaching body occasionally scored and it was fun. Even with rain pishing it down and big guys knocked you on your ass. Legs frozen and bearing red ash rash we never wanted the moment to pass. All them years ago and all them pals but memories in the mists of time. Never will I forget your faces and our winning graces when we all felt football fine.

Desert Thirst —

When the Saudi sun is at its zenith all big and yellow hot and high. When I'm dying for a cold drink and my mouth is sandpaper dry. I hanker for a special water that runs passed the Shepherds house in Linicro. My thirst quenching desire is from Mother Natures Tobar that's where I want to go. To scoop up a jug of the fresh gritty goodness to satiate my palates want. So when thirst overwhelmes me in the Dammam desert I go for a Tobar memory jaunt.

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What Lies Beneath

Who knows what lies beneath the black hearted lochan high on the Totescore hill. Alone at night in the peaty darkness the surface tension taught and chilled. The rain sheets only add to its depth and form a bottomless boggy pit. Woe betide any foolish beast's who's thirst and curiosity gets the better of it. Danger is here and the ground swallowed me my legs disappeared up to my knees. In a summers panic my outstretched hands grabbed at grass as I did my best to flee. The lochan inviting patiently waits as summer turns to winter to spring. Icy and dark with nowhere else to go the water waits to see what the seasons will bring.

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All Saints

It's another Monday morning and it's time to hit the road to All Saints. A bowl of Kellogg's cornflakes my fuel my Ma ignoring my plea for bus money like she always ignores my complaints. It's effin freezing outside as I cross Galloway Street and head up past the Balgrayhill flats. Up through the park wasn't a lark and I'm puffing my way passed the pond. A quarter to nine and I'm not feeling fine walking over Balornock Road towards the Wallacewell. Down side streets twisting and turned and I'm now not feeling so swell. I speed up by the College my goal is now coming into sight. One minute to nine we're all in a line listening to Harry O talking some shite. Through one way corridors I stagger through my day maths, chemistry and arithmetic. In the afternoon I've had enough of learning it's making me a lunatic. Thanks God it's four and the last bell goes now it's freedom for me at last. But there's another long walk home in reverse more torture for legs ya bass.

Springburn Snow  —

STV predicted snow, my heart filled with frozen delight. Poking a hand into the venetian blinds, staring at the Springburn sky with hope. High above the maisonettes, the clouds appeared course grained and pregnant. Street lights shone a misty yellow, their light bouncing off an indigo purple sky, hazy with expectation. At first a flurry of flakes, white and opaque, dusting Springburn Road. And then? Whiteout. A blizzard of frigid fun. In a fervour we prepared ourselves, big coats and socks for gloves. Stepping out into an urban winterland, Galloway Street was Christmas card white. The.ground glistened, sparkling and pristine, the bridge vanished under a blanket of ice. Snowballs and sliding, laughter and some tears, And still it snowed. The piercing lights of the Balgrayhill flats, cats eyes in the snowstorm. Strangely shaped snowmen popped up all over, chuckies for eyeballs, no mouths. And in corners there were drifts, deep and and clean, we dived in and came out snowboys. We played on. Fingers frozen under soaking socks, extremities turning a shade of cerulean blue. When at last the body could suffer no more, we surrendered to home. Three glowing bars of orangey-red, it took an hour to thaw in front of the living room fire. And when snuggled under scratchy blankets, roasting our feet on a hot water bottle. We dreamt of the laugh we would have at school the next day, the smell of hot rubber in our noses.

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The Toon

Friday pocket money in hand, I planned a Saturday toon trip. A morning spent in pyjamas gawping at the Banana Splits, wishing I was on Danger Island. Sitting on the wall beside the Spring Inn, I fantasise about the treasure I would buy. Across Springburn Road the plots sat under a Glasgow grey sky, frozen green fingers, potting and weeding all day. My 45 arrived, with joy I scaled the stairs to the top deck, seated at the front, hands on an invisible wheel, I took off down Springburn Road. Saturday shoppers crowded the pavements, Woolies pick'n'mix passed by. A sale in Sellyns, announced with a hand forged, red ink sign, army shirts on offer at 4.99. Onward and townward, I steered the diesel smoke spluttering behemoth, Sighthill's high flats stood to attention, all windows and white lace curtains. Renfield Street at last, jumping off I'm swallowed whole by shoppers. Checking the posters outside the Regent, Sinbad and the Golden Fleece stared back. The Odeon was an eye magnet and I wished I was rich, not pocket money poor. My feet and eyes, excited as I walk by knockback corner, lonely lovers standing in anticipation. Along the Argyll, I go with the flow, Tam Shepherds my first post of call, I'm the King on Queen Street, into the wee black shop I go. Stink bombs-check. Itching powder-check. Trick Wrigleys Double Mint-check. Most of my money has gone, window shopping now all I can afford. The awesome expanse of Lewis's, welcomed me with warmth, the toy department kept me hours, I left empty handed. Now I toddle to Trongate, In Dee's window I eye with desire. Standing at the Saltmarket in a quandary, the home bakery begging me to enter. My choice, a gingerbread slice with snow white icing and a Empire biscuit, or my bus fare home. No choice, it's the cakes, and I stuff my face full. At the 37 bus stop I wait, hiding behind big woman with even bigger shopping bags. Automatic doors whoosh open, the crowd surges, I slip in behind. An old woman tuts her tongue, whilst shaking her head at me. Smiling, I dive upstairs, Balgrayhill bound now, watching out for Hector the Inspector.

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The Shows

A melange of coloured lights flashed into the night sky. Top twenty tunes, a clarion call, thundered from tinny speakers. Gangs of guys and girls, descended upon the dump. The shows were in town. Friday night fun for the young, and the young at heart. The atmosphere reeked of candy floss, Brut 45 and fear. Gyrating waltzers, spun into a screaming oblivion. Rib tickler turns, vomit inducing laughter, and sore shins. Big wheel revolutions cradled lovers, chair-o-planes centrifuged bodies. Gravity defying walls, sticky with limbs. Most people smiling, some crying. Illuminated arcades, house coin hungry machines, one armed, pulled and pushed. Penny shuffles, goldfish and blunt darts, rock hard coconut rewards. Head-on collisions, no broken bones, dodgem cars sparkle. Dive dive dive, bombers without bombs. And when all the lights went out, we waited, and did it all again the next day.

Springburn Park

The summer evening sun bestowed its warmth across Springburn, yellow and heavy, moving westward. Maisonette Mother's propped their pillows on verandas, a postprandial topping up of their tan. We made our way to the park, the allure of the swings and pond, drew us like moths to light. The manicured grass, fleshy and green, hoaching with bodies. Taps aff weather for all but the ladies, sunburn soothed by the city breeze. Street weans surrounded by nature, the scent of flowers and Kensitas Club. Perspiring from the hill climb, we join the line for a paddle boat. The oval pond was alive with action, the water shallow and murky. For half an hour we raced and chased, laughed and screamed bloody murder, street pirates all. Soon our time was up, our number called, reluctant sailors made for shore. Sand shoed feet on solid ground, now it's swing time. Pendulum's of arms and legs, rocking back and forward with all our might. Appropriately high, we launched ourselves, landing on the baldy soft ground. Fun done, it was time for home, on cue my Mum hung outside our bedroom window, shouting me in for bed.

Christmas As A Kid —

Christmas Eve and going to bed early is easy, but sleep is the last thing on our mind. Eye's can't shut and our legs are restless, our thoughts are all the toy kind. Waiting for the living room light to go out, a signal my folks have gone to bed. We give it five more minutes, for them to sleep, then it's to the living room we head. But sleep arrives and into the land of nod, white and red are the colours our dreams. When all at once we wake wondering how many hours have passed and our smiles begins to beam. Out of bed in a flash as we run up the stairs living room bound. No fear of the dark, not feeling the cold, we open the door and step into the Yuletide glow. Christmas tree blinks a welcome,  with cotton wool feet for snow. Sleep scrubbed from our eyes we fantasize about what's wrapped up in the boxes below. I jump on the prize that's in the biggest box and rip the paper off like a fiend. In a toy fervour, surrounded by play things, so much fun with no folks to intervene. At last the mad toy rush is over,   and we slowly come down from our toy high. At five AM our energy sapped we put our heads down to the sound of a toy lullaby. Our folks gently wake us and turn on the TV, Christmas Carol's the only sound. Every wish come true, Action Man by my side, We grab our coats and go out to Galloway Street. Someone's singing White Christmas, on the ground there is no hint of snow. To one and all we post a Christmas plea, and wish you and yours all the best. Cheer's to a Happy New Year, were we hope your health and family are all blessed.

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Kay Street Baths

Trunks rolled in threadbare towels, coins jangle in shallow pockets, Excited and chatty, walking the length of Galloway Street. On the left, a football game is full of shouting and kicking. A bladder bounces on the cinnabar red ash pitch. In fear of a chase, we quicken our step, smiling with worry. Bounding down Balgrayhill, Kay Street swimmin soon. The silver grey of the turnstile, no barrier for us boys. Through the double doors the temperature shifts, a fine chlorinated mist comforts. Peely wally people, splash about in a pool of caribbean green coloured water. Cubicle changed, we hit the showers, a running dive into the deep end. The water cooling, and eye stinging, for a happy hour we become mermen. Our fun spoiled by a shrieking whistle, a domino of clattering wooden doors. Rubbed dry and starving, a Santi's fritter treat awaits. Towels on heads, trunks over towels, two Springburn sheikh's walk hame.

High Street —

Glasgow grey sat above me, smirring relentlessly. The High Street tarmac, black as an unsaved soul. Either side of the slick street, cold stone buildings lean in, charcoal grey and menacing. Dirt streaked windows blank and depressed looking. The Tollbooth steeple wear a scarf of pink grey cloud, wrapped around it's cheery blue face. Squeezed eyes could make out it was 5 o'clock. My eyes searched, hoping to see a No 37 bus, crawl up from the Clyde. All around me miserable looking woman drag their miserable looking weans. Wee wet hands being pulled by a shoulder dislocating force. Wee wet faces, and bodies look like they're water skiing across the pavement. A line of folk snakes under the bus shelter roof, squashed together and shivering. Penniless, I join the queue, hoping to skip the bus to Balgrayhill.

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Smiley Smile

Time flies fast when you're having a ball that's how the old saying goes. For us,  young and old working Nurses here is what I'd like to propose. How about letting a day go by with not one negative word passing our ruby red lips. That is a goal we can easily achieve so we can improve our workplace friendships. Let's try and smile and fight the frown, even when we are annoyed at each other. It's ok to disagree respectfully,  we are after all workplace sisters and brother. Can we lose language that contains 'no' and 'I won't',  can we change it to yes and let's give it a try. I'm not saying we have to feign friendships or be best buds,   but making an effort assists to detoxify. Those white-coated boffins have reported it takes more muscle effort to frown than to smile. And even a laugh made when you least want has the magic to cheer up and beguile. Some people might say I'm a dreamer just copying Lennon's words for peer admiration. Imagine a workday smiley and stress-free, we can accomplish with love and determination.

Its Time —

A stitch in time saves nine they say but how many stitches will it take to save mine? And by mine I mean me and my life led less ordinary over time destined to relive alone again. If not me then who?  If not now then when?  And what will happen if my first stitch is the last? How fast or slow time goes is not within my grasp or control, time it just flows and unfolds. Whether young or old that tick tock ticking clock tells me it's nine but how much time have I really saved? Am I brave to question that time worn saying but I'm not playing when I say that I want it done. For a life without fun is not worth living and stitches I'm given will save time but will they belong to me? Sand grains fine slip through fingers mine, and what good will come from waiting I wonder? As I continue to slumber through my life to what number and will it begin or end with nine? So sew is what I do as I live life without you in the hope that all stitches saved come with a guarantee. I stitch, one,  two,  three, and I stitch for you,  me and mine, and I sew for that time saved nine.

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(less) Hope

A stone heart borrowed, A fake smile blue. Hate filled words old, love found new. Hope at sea, dashed on a craggy shore. Desire snuffed out like a candle flame, dark and lost forever more. Cruel intentions neutralised by a newborn baby's eyes, a glimmer of what could be if man would give in and try. Sun soaked beach days and laughter filled air, hands helping, soul food for eating a land where we offer to care.

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Galloway Street

In my mind I'm traveling back to Galloway Street, where I plan to spend the day. Kick the can, two man hunt,  chap the door and runaway,  on that street I used play. 1960's concrete stands across from 1950's brick,  separated by a river of Tarmac. Green grass patched with mud and stone, graffiti walls,  and rusted bins lying full at the back. This strip of street was home to me and my high waistband,  flair trouser wearing pals. And in summer’s sun and winter frost,  till nine we played as my folks watched The High Chaparral. When dark clouds above Springburn let loose their cold water surprise. In the maisonettes long rubber black corridors is where you found us guys. As it poured down outside we remained bone dry playing headers with a football. And if the noise we made became too much the neighbor’s wrath we would befall. In better weather we would be up on the grass playing may I cross your golden river. And if our colours matched our pal’s choice we bypassed the two legged alligator. From the opening outside my door,  along to the bridge was our borderline. Should we wander too far from this land we'd get chased back most of the time. From our A deck we climbed the cement steps with parachuted Action Man in our hand. From the B deck balcony we would throw them of and prayed for an open chute land. We sang songs from Slade and The Sweet fresh from a Top of the Pops show. The Double Decker's theme song we sang with aplomb from the B deck to those down below. We 70's kids were all football mad and it was either Rangers or Celtic that got our support. On the road in-between cars we would split in two the ball for feet was our chosen sport. With the big guys we would play wan and aff and hope luck would help with a goal. With shins kicked and bloody,  the big boys best us and tears were hard to control. Biking to the bridge and back we would take turns racing each other. Those big guys were fast,  squeezing their back brake a fancy skid they did with no bother. Years we spent on that dirty street, playing our games without a care or worry. And at night from our window,  my Mum would shout us in and God forbid if we did not hurry. The grey road and our old house still remain standing till this very day. Our building has changed its coat and hat and our street is now called Lenzie Way.

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Who?

Who is going to save us from ourselves? Who is going to tell us why we went wrong? Who is going to show us how we can mend? Who will rescue us before it ends?

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Fred Perry Love Not Hate —

I love Fred Perry polo shirts, always have, always will. They are expensive, this I know, but I buy them still. My first was ivory white, purchased in the heatwave of  76, twin tipped with a navy hue. My M12 worn with pride, and collect them I still do. Maroon, Like my school blazer, collar tipped with sky blue. Canary yellow, tipped with Prince purple, what's a guy going to do? Hunter green, tipped with yellow gold. Chocolate brown, tipped in white. The style never gets old. So here's to the polo shirts, that never go out of date. Buy one in your favourite colour, and wear with love not hate.

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Big Hoose Winter

Big Hoose Winter. My body froze at night, and did not thaw till John's school bus. My feet were soaking and wellyless, A fireplace that looked pleasant but all the warmth went up the lum. Ice cold without Alice and not a heat for my skinny bum. Winfield trainers are not Skye proof, leaving sodden plates of meat. The wind and rain like razor blades, and could knock you off your feet. Some evenings though, Don Mclean starry nights, with a tingling nip in the air. And when it snowed up on the hill,   you wished that you were there. But, cold cut comfort in the kitchen, who needs a refrigerator? Nights of black and white entertainment, watching Bruce and his Big Night on TV. Many miserable weather days and nights, it was only my Aunt and me. So,  if I had a Delorean time machine, piloted by Marty McFly. Would I go back and live it again? Yes, I would give it a damn good try.

Wee Hoose Summer

Under rippled roof, and gable ends of pointed stone, my 70s summer life. Clad in battleship grey corrugated sheets, our wee hoose was my home. The bedroom cluttered with bits and pieces, a Z-bed stacked with three anorexic mattresses, left me sonambulting on an incline. Luxurious in its simplicity, bereft of a flushing China bowl and tapped water. Morning faces washed in a foam white enamel basin, rimmed with cobalt blue, Tobar water scooped from corn flour blue plastic buckets. One hand held a metal measuring jug of clear cool liquid, the other a toothbrush. Teeth polished alfresco, rinse water spat into a ditch. For natures call we rounded the corner, watering the green. Solid matters taken care of in the calm of the byres chemical loo.  Calor gas via a camping stove, shared cooking duties with a corner Baby Belling. A heavy mahogany dresser, stood constant and true, a chiming clock kept us all on time. My Granny dozed on her wicker, cushioned propped chair. Cardy covered and thick stockings, covering her chicken thin legs, false teeth slipping with each snore. We ate tatties boiled in their skins, served on a wee wooden table. On summer cool nights an open fire burned, smoking the last of the winter peat. Sunday scripture recited by my Aunt, from a brown Bible, heavy and gigantic in size. Sipping sweet milky coffee, sitting on a horse hair stuffed sofa. Through heatwave hot days, haar wet afternoons and long summer light nights, our Linicro life rambled on. Come the cold of cruel September, we decanted to the big hoose for winter.

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Baling Hay

Totescore bound on a summer evening, a sky of baby blue, the sun arcing west, sundown slow. All-day, a firm Minch breeze, Has blow dried the Macinnes hay. The long grass, hay wain and heavy, soon to be sucked up and baled. Four guys, three strong, and me. Big Norman sits aboard the once bright red and canary yellow David Brown, now faded but not jaded. 1950s pop star wavy hair, flapping in the air, strong-armed and kind-faced. Behind the New Holland baler, Duncan, Archie and yours truly. Pulling hay bricks, straw brown and solid. Baler twine, blue and surgical steel sharp, slicing my soft city palms. Sweating and laughing, into the night that never darkens. Hay bale bricks, built high, Skye skyscrapers awaiting collection. If I'm lucky, I get a shot behind the tractor wheel, trailer loaded with square cow treats. Byre bound in the gloaming, we heave-ho the load loft wards. Stacked and packed we fight for fun, I never win. Knackered and happy, I head home to my wee hoose bed.

Castle Visit —

Our excitement was overflowing, such is the ebullience of the young. All smiles and nonsense chatter, sitting in the back of my Uncles carmine red Hillman Avenger. Kilmuir looks ever so pretty, under a big and swollen Skye summer sun. Duntulm Castle is waiting for us. Saucer eyes gaze and mouths gape at the crumbling cliffs of Score, scorpion grey and boulder black. The road beneath us,  bumpy and beautiful. Pulling into park, we exit in a flash. Our feet bounce on emerald green grass, the castle ruins in our sights. 'Be careful' and adult voice shouts, we ignore and jump into the ruins. Stories of starving prisoners fill our ears, ghosts of baby tears, cause us fear. The ancient stone withstands our attack. Duntulm island, within touching distance, if only the sea was not so cold. The hills of Harris,  russet brown and fern green, rollercoaster on the Minch. Crawling inside the dungeon we hear the scraping of bone on stone. Did prisoners die in here? We really want to know. Packed lunch time, giggles, cheese pieces and orange barley water, a picture perfect end to the day.

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Shortcut? —

Pool played and cider drunk, we stumbled from the Bakur Bar. Uig lambent in the afternoon sun. A walk aways along the pier road, we cross and make for the shore. Staggering on slimy rocks, Uig Hotel our final destination. An ebb tide reveals umber brown and charcoal black sand, impossible to traverse in trainers. Approaching the mouth of the River Rha our first hurdle. An obstacle course of sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks, hides beneath the nippy hill water. Dutch courage and bravodo, Special Vat born, our feet, soon soaked and effin freezing. Stepping stones few and far between, ankle crushing. On the other side we heave a sigh of relief, peat water wicks. Cuil no nearer, we crunch on, abandon all hope of dry shoes, socks and breeks. A cats-paw soothes our salty brows. The River Conons mouth deceptive in depth and hungry, its here we fall. Water wading under Uigs aero blue sky, we vow to never attempt a shortcut again. Jelly legged and sea stained, we emerge from our ordeal, victorious? The Cuil road welcomes the weary, an evening shift, serving grub to guests our prize.

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Stonegate

Stonegate, ruined for as long as I can remember. A thatched cottage seated in an idyllic Totescore location. Memories of the flames that destroyed the roof, long forgotten. The tasman grey stones stand strong, Skye weather has left its fingerprints. Moss green and salt white patches, an island vitiligo. A sea of verdun and chateau green foliage, lay siege to this stone made structure. It's interior coloured by foxglove purple and stingy green. No guest legs or arms, dock leaf first aid nearby. The vista, an artists Shangri-La. Eyes follow the croft and grazing land, shamrock green and fertile,   to an obdurate shore. The  foam filled Minch waves, cyan blue and shockingly cold. How many folk have passed by and wished it was theirs? Me, for one.

Tilly Lamp Light

Byre black and scrambling for the Tilley lamp. Arms flailing about like a drowning man on the Minch. Swinging from a ancient nail, corroding, sunk deep into the lofts woodworm bored joist. Hands fiddle with the glass, the pungent aroma of methylated spirits, leads fingers to the carbonized wick. Pinched between thumb and forefinger, it crumbles to powder, leaving a stump to light. Shaking a Bluebell match free, striking the worn sandpaper side. A sulphur blue and citrine yellow flame burns a hole in the dark. Rotating the metallic cog to reveal meth soaked material, Set aflame. The lamp coughs and belches to life, dense thunder black smoke rises atop the glass funnel. Pushing it down to the lamps crusty base,  a satisfying twist. The fire calmed by a finger turn. A not unpleasant aroma of combusting alcohol infiltrates the hay dust heavy air. Shadows dance in each stall, a consolatory glow illuminates what was a tenebrific space. 

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Low Down

Love Heals

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Low Down - Love Heals

Low Down - Feel It. Fear It.

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Low Down

Feel It. Fear It.

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OH HEY, FOR BEST VIEWING, YOU'LL NEED TO TURN YOUR PHONE