If only I’d been blogging when I lived in Scotland. Honestly, my life was so much weirder and more bloggable back then. Since my last post, I’ve been thinking back over my time there and wondering why on earth I moved back here – it’s like going to the theatre to see a series of classic Shakespearean plays performed by the greatest actors in the world, but leaving halfway through for the cinema to see Transformers.
Wull Yum has been on my mind. Just wondering what he’s up to. He used to meet me every day as I lugged my shopping bags/swimming kitbag/uni folders up 3 flights of stairs. I’d be struggling to hang on to everything whilst trying to locate my keys, red in the face and breathing heavily, and he’d be lounging against the wall, watching me with mild interest.
“Ah’m Wull Yum,” he’d introduce himself, more often than not. “I’m Hayley,” I’d inform him politely. Unless I was having a bad day, in which case I tended to reply “Yes, William. I live right here. Beside you.” If he heard me, it never showed. “Ah’m a bit depressed,” he’d continue, taking a swig of brown paper bag. “Oh dear, why’s that?” I’d ask dutifully. It was easiest to stick to the script. “Ah’ve just bin tae the doc’s the day, lik, hen. Ah’m fur dyin’, ‘e sizz.” “Oh aye?” I’d mumble, trying to sound surprised. “Aye,” he’d say gloomily. “Ah’m jist hayin a wee drink tae furget aboot it fur a while, like, ye ken, hen?” By this point I’d usually have succeeded in getting the door open and backing into my hall. “Aye,” I’d reply, mirroring his expression of gloom. “I know what you mean, William. See you later!”
I may sound cold-hearted, but you don’t know! It took me months of standing there laden with bags, my fingers numb and my arms threatening to fall off, trying to counsel him, before I caught on to the fact that he hadn’t a clue what he was talking about. He was on his own planet. I did feel sorry for him, though – he had no life, the poor guy. Lived from one drink to the next, and shut himself away in a crappy studio flat that was the epitome of squalor. He nearly did die a few times, but it was nothing to do with his imaginary doctor’s diagnosis. On one such occasion, Red and I were watching Corrie and heard a small gathering of ned teens sitting on the stairs outside our door. They gathered there to drink sometimes, and there wasn’t much we could do about it, as we weren’t particularly anxious to have bricks hurled through our windaes. We just sighed and turned up the volume on the TV.
We weren’t sure what to think about the noise at the door, as it wasn’t followed by the obligatory WULLLLLL YUMMMMM! (It was, in fact, customary for us to automatically chorus “WULLLLL YUMMMMM!” when we heard thumping noises). It happened again, and I dubiously put the chain on the door and opened it, sticking my nose through the gap. I was greeted by a group of over-excited ned teens.
“Missus! Missus! Thon wee mannie’s flat’s on fire, lik! It’s pure smokin’ an’ everythin, lik, man!”
And indeed, to my alarm, I saw smoke seeping from under Wull Yum’s door. It turned out that the ned teens had only been toking an illicit spliff, and had not planned on having to enter into any heroism antics. They were “feared tae break the dour doon” in case they were promptly arrested for breaking and entering, and most of them were on their last warning as it was. I shouted back to Red “Call the fire brigade!”, and realised I was the only sane person in the immediate area when he picked up the phone, looked at me in panic, and asked “What’s the number?”. Not that spliffs were being sneakily toked on our side of the door, too, of course.
I ended up enlisting the help of one of the more daring and less stoned ned teens, and breaking down Wull Yum’s door. It wasn’t difficult, owing to the fact that it appeared to be made from thick cardboard. We tied tea towels round our heads in the manner of all heroic rescuers, and entered the smoke-filled flat, eyes streaming. “WULLLLLL YUMMMMM!” I yelled hoarsely, with absolutely no sense of irony.
“Thur’s ‘is futt!” shrieked the young ned, excitedly. Wull Yum’s foot was sticking out from a cupboard. Upon closer inspection, it was discovered that the rest of Wull Yum was also there. In the cupboard. He appeared to have fallen asleep there, as you do, and the smoke had now knocked him out. The young ned and I trailed him outside, pausing to turn off the cooker and extinguish a small saucepan-related fire on the way past.
The fire brigade arrived, and I went back into my flat, where I listened from behind the door, in great amusement, to the neds’ exaggerated explanation of events (“big flames”, “nearly dead”, “fought the blaze fur pure ages, lik, man”). Then the police arrived and they scarpered.
Wull Yum was fine. He went to the doctor’s the next morning, and they told him he was going to die. He seemed relieved.
Filed under: blogging, break-in, death, drugs, fire, Glasgow, Mishaps, Neds, police, tenement flats, weird | 1 Comment »