IT IS a remarkable picture which captures life in Glasgow in 1939.

In the foreground, a woman stands beside a gramophone as a small crowd gathers to listen and watch the back-green concert begin.

In the background, the sky is almost filled with a huge barrage balloon, an ever-present reminder that, despite the frivolity unfolding in the back court, the country is at war.

“The RAF had a balloon station in the Embassy Picture House car park which had been requisitioned for the purpose,” explains Doris McNeeley, who sent us the photograph of her mum, Elizabeth.

Glasgow Times:

“We lived in a ground floor tenement in Shawlands - two rooms and a kitchen, with a wally close. As it was war-time, the inside of the close was shored up with wooden beams and outside the close mouth there was a baffle wall for air-raid protection.

Doris’s father, David, had been called up to the Royal Navy and had been posted abroad. Elizabeth was at home with Doris and her sister, working in the local munitions factory making shell casings.

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“During this depressing time, my mum decided to help the war effort by cheering everyone up with a back-green concert in aid of the Red Cross,” smiles Doris, who is now 85.

“Our kitchen was turned into a rehearsal room and the kitchen brush became a make-do microphone. She sewed up costumes of crepe paper on her trusted Singer Treadle Sewing Machine, enlisted the services of a neighbour to erect loud speakers on top of the wash-house – which doubled as a dressing room – and the wind-up gramophone was placed on a fold-up card table to provide background music.”

Glasgow Times:

Doris laughs: “The neighbours brought every chair they could find and the rest leaned out their kitchen windows to watch. It was a great success and great fun for all the children.

“I really don’t know how my mum managed to co-ordinate everything but she was determined to and she did it admirably.”

Doris’s fond memories of tenement life prompted her to write a poem which is bound to tug the heartstrings of many Glasgow Times readers.

Glasgow Times:

“Tenement hooses in great stalwart rows/That’s ma Glesca of long ago/with back courts covered in short green grass/reminding me of times now in the past.

“Colourful garments flapping vigorously on the line/and on hot summer days when the sun DID shine/Spread oot on the grass were the claes being bleached white/It wid seem to ony stranger an unusual sight.

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“The weans they dare not set a-foot upon the green/in case of reprisals of a neighbour if seen/Gone are the days when tents we slung up/inside we slugged ginger and maybe Tizer in a tin cup.

“Fizzy sweets, lollipops, soor plooms and bubble gum/Such tasty delights we’d share with a close chum/We played wi’ peeries, peever and ropes/and then there is jorries and telling each ither jokes.

Glasgow Times:

“’Ah can see yi, wee Johnnie’ wis the loud plaintive cry/ To be ‘HET’ and countin’ tae three hundred and five/Ah wis glad ah wis wee and so very much alive.

“Those were the days of ma youth ah recall/Ah wanted to share ma memories wi’ one and aw/It’s a Glesca ah belong tae, like the song we know so well/It’s part of ma life story ah thought ah wid tell.”