Jessie Kelso continued to drift in and out of a nostalgia
reverie on her favourite seat in Taylor Gardens, she
noticed a familiar figure ambling towards her. The
stooped body of Jakey Rolling, groaning under the
strain of humping around two huge plastic bags stuffed
with bric-a-brac and clothing, wobbled awhile before
eventually slumping onto the wooden bench.
hen? How you getting on?' asked Jessie. 'That's a
nice hat you've got,' she said, indicating the slightly
battered purple fabric dangling perilously over Jakey's
forehead like a crumpled witch's headgear.
ran her spindly fingers through the long grey locks
hurtling out of control from her head and plummeting
lifelessly over her humped back. After regaining her
breath, she stared intently at Jessie and mumbled
something about warlocks and giants.
you worry, dear, there's no wizards or monsters around
here,' said Jessie, patting her reassuringly on the
spluttered Jakey. 'What is the matter with you woman?
Have you not eyes? Do you not see? The walls are crawling
with fear and uncertainty. Nowhere is safe. Get thee
to a bakery!'
smiled and racked her brain for a comforting homily.
Finding the cerebellum bare, she just smiled again,
hoping to placate the crazy bag lady.
Jakey frowned as if reading Jessie's mind. 'Sanity
is not statistical,' she growled.
right, dear. That's right.'
is right. George Orwell said it.'
that old Geordie fae Cables Wynd you mean?'
glared accusingly at the old woman. 'You mock me.
I have books. And they are read.'
glanced into one of Jakey's bags which ,sure enough,
besides 1984, contained several works of literature,
including The Brothers Karamazov, The Bumper
Book of Colouring In and Breeding Guinea Pigs.
do you come here?' asked Jakey.
sighed. 'I come here to remember. I remember so much
sometimes it's as if it's more real than today. I
remember going to Jeannie Mcleish`s sweetie shop at
the bottom of Albany Street. She didnae have many
sweeties in those days, just raw carrots and turnips.
But when the sun came out she had to protect what
was on show in the window. So she'd pull down the
blind that had written on it, "This is only a blind,
all is good that lies behind."
there was Bobby Barr's the butcher towards the Shore.
He would sell anything when he was sober enough to
open. Cheese, Easter eggs at Christmas, and aye, even
stared at Jessie and held up her hand while tilting
her head as if listening to the wind. 'Listen,' she
said. 'I can hear ghosts in the air…'
I know,' said Jessie. 'I hear them all the time. But
it's a good thing, lass. A good thing. They're the
soul of the place you know. But there's no wizards
or monsters, I can tell ye that. So dinny you fret.'
said Jakey, her head still cocked. 'You don't understand.
There's been a murder in Memory Lane!'
week: More Ramblings and Manglings