TO THIS day, she says, Eileen Hart detests proverbs.

“This is because of my father, who could quote one for any occasion or event, any day of the week,” laughs the Springburn woman, who is preparing to write a book about her Glasgow memories. We have been sharing some excerpts from her reflections on Glasgow tenement life here in Times Past over the last few weeks.

“A tear in your clothes? A stitch in time, saves nine, my dad would say, as he hurried over to the sideboard where the needles and thread were kept in an old Quality Street sweetie tin from days gone by.” she says.

“Never spend in a week what ye earn in a week, coupled with ‘money’s made flat to pile up’ was another favourite.

Glasgow Times: Eileen Hart and her family
Pic Gordon Terris Herald & Times

“I had to bite my tongue, stop myself from answering back, in his terms. I desperately wanted to ask - whatever happened to money’s made round to go around? Or live and be merry, ye’re a long time deid….?”

Eileen adds, smiling: “He obviously noticed my confused stare, as he would give me back a look that said, ‘don’t you dare’. “

She pauses. “I didn’t.....”

When it came to washday, Eileen’s mother did not go to the steamie – instead, Eileen recalls, she risked the dreaded washing board.

“The washing was done in the kitchen sink, sometimes called the scullery sink, using a washing board,” she says.

Glasgow Times: Eileen with a picture of herself as a child
Pic Gordon Terris Herald & Times

“There were two types, a metal one and a glass one. The former was cheaper and therefore more popular, but very soon the cheap metal splintered and it turned into something resembling a cheese grater, resulting in women’s knuckles bleeding and the clothing torn to shreds.”

She shakes her head. “Awful things.”

A rag and bone man used to visit Eileen’s street, she remembers.

“He came by once a month and it was a real novelty, seeing a horse up close,” she smiles.

“We all scrambled into our homes to beg for some old clothing to take to him.

“It was great fun. Fairly often, I managed to get some stuff. It was always called ‘ a bundle’, even if you only had one item. We surrounded the poor man screaming, ‘me first’, as we thought the first ones taken would get the best gift. Not true, of course.

“Depending on the size and quality of your bundle, you came away with either a balloon, a cheap plastic whistle or if you were really lucky, a wee plastic thing you looked through which showed pictures of women in traditional dress.”

She adds: “It usually broke within an hour but it was fascinating, to us girls in particular.”

READ MORE: I Grew Up in Glasgow: Maryhill woman's memories of life in city

A trip to the shops meant collecting the messages for her mum - perhaps some eggs, potatoes and tea.

“Here’s a strange thing - when I was young, eggs were all white,” ponders Eileen.

“When the brown eggs started appearing, they were all the rage. I was often sent to the dairy to get some, with the voice ringing in my ears: ‘Don’t get the white wans, get the broon wans. Ah hear they’re better fur ye…’”

She adds: “Going for six eggs or a quarter pound of loose tea was okay but if mum was wanting potatoes, jings. I would be sent to the local greengrocers for a stone of totties.

“No one bought a couple of pounds of potatoes in those days. Occasionally it was half a stone, if pay day was around the corner and money was tight.

“I usually had an old string bag and the potatoes were loaded into it. What a huff and puff to get them home, a huge weight for me to carry.....”

Do Eileen’s memories spark your own recollections of times past in Glasgow? Get in touch to share your stories and photos.

Email or write to Ann Fotheringham, Glasgow Times, 125 Fullarton Drive, Glasgow G32 8FG.

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