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16 October 2014
Still Game

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Chewin the fat

Hello there! For those of you unfamiliar with the fine area of Glasgow known as Craiglang, here's your wee tour. Don't be expecting tartan bunnits playin bagpipes or deer tramping across the heather. There's plenty of wildlife about, though. Take no lip off the neds- they're all bark and no bite.

Visitors to Craiglang can't miss Osprey Heights. Rising into the sky like big blocks of flats…which is exactly what they are. That's where our heroes live. Nice view. No need for a London Eye when you live on the 32nd floor.

Think of great double acts. Morecambe and Wise. Mince and tatties. Jack and Victor. Pals since they were wee, they're on a two-man mission to prove that living on a pension doesn't stop you having a laugh. Both widowers whose kids are on the other side of the world. But living next door to each other means they're never far from a cup of tea, a biscuit and a banter.

And the one thing no-one's ever short of is gossip, thanks to the keeper of the Craiglang grapevine, Isa. She lives in Osprey Heights too. Once she gets you in her clutches you've had it, she'll bore you to tears. Unless you stay in the house and take your meals through the letterbox, Isa is impossible to avoid. She works in the local shop as a cleaner. As well as keeping folk in bog roll and bevvy, the boss Navid distributes one-liners free of charge. His patter is top class.

Along the road a bit, and we have the hub of the community - The Clansman. This concrete structure is of a classic minimal design known as 'urban Scottish boozer', ideal for serving bevvy in the dark, which is just as well - the pumps haven't been cleaned since year dot. If you're lucky, traditional specialities like mince pies and cheese toasties might not end in a tearful relationship with the toilet bowl. For entertainment, nothing beats winding up Boaby the barman. Boaby by name, boaby by nature.

Pension day is gold rush time in The Clansman. There's a good chance you'll bump into Jack and Victor and their pals, who come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Poor Winston, for instance, is missing an appendage - 40 years of fags cost him a foot. What he lacks in toes, though, he makes up for in scheming. He's not averse to cutting the odd legal corner for a few bob either.

And if there's money to be saved, you can bet Tam won't be far away. He's so tight he wouldn't give you a fright on a dark night. Chances are he'll give you some sob story that ends with you buying him a pint. Don't be fooled - it was his family that invented copper wire, fighting over a penny.

So there you are then. That's your quick guide to Craiglang. Leave your beach gear at home, and you'll no be sending any postcards (Navid's don't sell any). But life's never dull, folk look after each other, and there's always a funny side.

We may look a bit past it - but we're Still Game for anything.


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