Winkles for tea

Whilst her husband Jimmy was at work Fairfields shipyards, and the weans were just growing up Ruby Kilkie needed a job to supplement their income, but needed it to fit in with the nursery and St Saviour’s primary school that Margaret and Martin were attending (no Bernard yet).

Being hard working she didn’t find it hard to get work and soon got a job cleaning the fish and chip shop in the next street.Kintra street.
I don’t remember what the shop was called (Something fish and chip bar) but we called it the same as my mum – “Auld Spadies”.

The family that owned the shop was a family of immigrant Italians ( I remember the head of the family was Gino Spadie. Glasgow seemed to have many Italian families and they were very industrious and owned and ran many chip shops and ice cream cafes.

Ruby’s job was to go into the shop in the morning after dropping the kids off at school and clean the place out. This was not an easy task as the floor was usually covered in dirt and mud from customer feet and the whole place got covered in a thin coating of chip fat that needed washing every day. She didn’t clean the fryers which was done by the family themselves, just the public areas.

The money she got often meant the difference between having supper (which is what we called dinner) or not, particularly when the horses had been disobedient to my dad’s bets.

A vivid memory is that when it was the holidays from school we often had to get taken to the shop with my mum as there was no one to look after us whilst she worked. On most days we were rewarded by the owner or his son with a poke of chips and sometimes even a pickled Onion.

On rare occasions I can remember mum buying us a poke of whelks with a pin, or a cup of peas in vinegar on the way home – good Glasgow food! I now know that what we were eating was periwinkles and not whelks which are much bigger.

Winkles for tea

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