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found in clusters on the walls of the Double Dykes. During the summer, in Orchard Crescent opposite the local police station, we would happily burst the bubbles which formed in the patches of melting tar; these patches of tar are still there today and I cannot resist stepping on the bubbles even yet, although I try to do it discreetly.
Every day my brother and I would receive a threepenny bit which we would spend at one of four shops. The first one was Mr Tait's shop which was situated at the bottom of Redburn Road opposite Antonelli's Chip shop: my favourite purchase from this shop was threepence worth o' brown sugar which Mr Tait kept in a wooden drawer and scooped up on to his scales to be weighed. At the bottom of the lane named Cookies Wynd there was a row of buildings, the Salvation Army hall and a small shop which we called Gordon's after the old man Johnny Gordon who always took great patience to serve us with our penny pokes of rainbow drops or threepence worth of soor plooms, which left your tongue a bright green colour. Gordon's shop had a chewing gum machine on the outside wall. My brother and his pals found a way to fiddle this machine; using a fiat ice lolly stick they would insert it into the slot intended for the penny and wriggle it about, which triggered off the mechanism and released a penny packet of Beech Nut chewing gum into the tray. This was our secret, and whilst I shared the ill-gotten gains, I would never touch the machine, believing that if they were ever caught by the police, I would be quite innocent. The other two shops where I would spend my money were further along the High Street. They were known as Mrs Jardine's and Mrs Clyde's, which were next door to each other. Mrs Clyde made the most delicious home-made fudge and toffee cups, or you could buy a lucky tattie a penny sweetie which had a plastic toy in the centre of it, perhaps a tiny babydoll or a car. Mrs Jardine had a tray full of assorted sweets on her counter costing one penny each. It was known as the penny tray she also had a tuppenny tray for the richest of us schoolchildren. She also sold cinnamon sucks, which the older children would light and try to smoke, feeling very grown up. During certain days of the week, the Cooperative mobile grocery van would come around the streets. I remember it coming on Saturday mornings to ours. The man was "Tammy Bogie" and I would be sent out to the van for a fourpit of tatties for my mother. Another van man who came regularly was the Co-op baker, whom we nicknamed "Renny Penny nae buns" since when he reached our street he would be almost sold out of cakes and buns.
On Hallowe'en, we would go out guising in an assortment of old clothes our mother gave us for dressing up in; one of our favourite haunts was the Blackbull pub, situated across the road from Johnny Gordon's shop
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