Hopewood Street / Scotland Road; A junction to remember
Especially if you plied there for work, which I did one November.
The year was 61, I’d reached eighteen the day before
Now old enough to go on that stand, I hurried there for sure.
It had been the topic of the older lads whose work-ethic was a page
Casual work was ‘the norm’ of the day; the main way to earn a wage.
Most hauliers –when short- would send there for extra men
Shipwrights and warehouse staff had their own stands – Dockers had their Pen
A wagon trundles up, it’s driver gives a call…
…’Want five on the back boys!’ That starts a free-for-all.
Finally a count of seven, each with a firm grip
Also knowing two must be kicked off before they finish the trip.
‘Only want five you-know!’ Says the driver trying to be fair
‘You just carry on my man!’ Someone shouts.
‘There’ll only be five when you get there!’
A regular sight, such a fight, on the back of a wagon trundling Scotty road
With dockers and other workers just glad it wasn’t their mode
A push, a shove, the belt or kick, all methods of attack
The strong and stealthy end up with a job…
… the unfortunates hobble back
My first try lasted 2 hundred yards before landing at a point-bobbies feet
His arms shot out to stop the flow, but what he said was a treat
‘Get up and hurry back lad, There’ll be more to come today!’
I got up and stared at his face, he winked, I smiled then got on my way.
Never forgot that bobby, nor that first time; they’re embedded in my mind
Work is a necessity, and policemen should be kind
But most of all I learnt every day is but a test
Try to be kind, to everyone and you’ll turn out as one of the best!