A year ago today I found out that my Grandad had died.

There are so many uncertainties in life, but he was never one of them. All through my life he always lived in the same house. He made us tapes, told us stories, he wrote me letters – even when teenage cool stopped me writing back. He played games with us when we were children and took us for beer when we grew up. He was a traveller, a canny Scot, he loved food, people, music. He was someone I could tell anything to.

To me he got older but he wasn’t old and aside from the average ailments he wasn’t ill. We’d always joked about the telegram he’d receive from the Queen on his 100th birthday and so I’d never considered the idea that it wouldn’t happen.

Some people say that you only have one life, but I don’t think that’s true. He was Robert, Bob, Dad, Grandad, he was several lives, lifetimes rolled into one. He lived each life to the full and treasured them all.

In the year since he died I’ve thought a lot about the sayings he used and the nursery rhymes he taught his grandchildren. I have no idea where the rhymes came from, but since I haven’t found them written anywhere else I’m going to record them here for posterity.

I went past my Grandads house and smelt the smell of ham,
I went in and asked a bit, he cried me cheeky tam.
He lifted up the poker skelped me up the bum,
lifted up the bellases and blew me up the lum.

Oh sweep, oh sweep you here the bairns cry,
Early in the morning when I’m passing by,
The bairns all ken me and call me Mcintyre,
Go fetch a pail of water for the lum’s on fire.

My wee man’s a miner,
He works on Abbeyhill,
He gets his pay on saturday and buys himself a gill.
He goes to church on Sunday, half an hour late
Pulls a button of his shirt and puts it in the plate.



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