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Shopworking in the days before health and safety.

Byline: Moreen Simpson Column Moreen Simpson SHE'S THE BIGGEST GOSSIP IN TOWN

I HAD a wee chortle to masellie at a pic in the EE a couple of weeks ago.

Along with a story about cooncillors' plans to erect big new lighted signs above some city centre streets, it was an artist's impression of the one bound for Correction Wynd. Of a' places.

Surely the dingiest thoroughfare in the whole place, forever a stranger to the teeniest sunbeam. And sounding like it's the address to some madam of disciplinary ill-repute.

Up the road, I presume we're also getting a new Back Wynd display, which a friend of mine always mispronounces, reckoning it's where gassy Aberdonians flee when their wind needs be free, using the parps of the taxi-drivers on the rank to camouflage their own.

In fact, I spent many long years of my teenage life in dark Correction, barely seeing daylight, working like a Trojan, longing for eventual escape - and most of the time laughing hysterically.

Where is now the posho restaurant Moonfish used to be what I think may have been Aberdeen's first supermarket, albeit tiny, circa early 60s, such a variety of stuff did it sell.

Between the Toy Bazaar and jeweller Charlie Benzie's, Supasave was owned by a gadgie a bit like a forerunner to Del Boy from Only Fools, always with another bright idea for a hyper-selling line up his sleeve.

Never knowing what new stuff would be in the shoppie, every Saturday morning we four 15-year-olds lolloped in, gagging to earn our 15/- (about 75p) for new claes for the beach.

Health and safety (this was pre-typhoid)? Had it been invented, it was totally ignored. We moved between counters selling fruit, veg and sweeties on one side, butchery and cold meat on the other and bakery a few stairs up at the back. One minute I could be slaverin' oot half a pound o' liver, then straight upstairs to bag a gateaux (customers ca'ed them gatoxes), bare hands niver near a tap.

Man, we were a gormless bunch; onything dropped on the sawdust fleer, just wheeched up, dusted aff and back on display - including the contents of a huge jar of black balls.

My pal Jenny, who'd dropped it, giggled till she'd to gallop, tiddlin', to the cludgie. Mind you, she did that quite a lot. Glaikit Bladder Syndrome.

Political correctness? Him most mornings: "Moreen, get out yer legs and breasts." (Chicken pieces from the freezer.) That usually had Jenny spritzin' to the lavvie again. The letchy Crimpy Crisp salesman who swore he could make me a second Jean Shrimpton if I met him for a photo-session above Dirty Willie's bookshop, adding: "Bring your swimsuit." I indicated where he could put his camera, then me and the quines laughed so much we near cowked on the sausage rolls we kept nicking. Different world.

Once we arrived to discover we were also waitresses, His Nibbs having managed to squeeze in a wee counter and a couple of bar-stools beside the mince and chops, there to serve weary shoppers cold drinks.

Then came irons, toasters and - surely his greatest entrepreneurial coup - twintub washing machines. Buy one, get two pounds of apples free. That Timmer Market when Jenny and I had to operate a doughnut-frying machine, both perched on things like bicycles, pedalling like stink. In the shop window. Happy days.

So when that new sign goes up and twinkles down at me from Correction Wynd, I'll twinkle right back up at it.


There was no health and safety in the days when a young Moreen worked in a shop
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Express (Aberdeen,Scotland)
Date:Jun 21, 2019
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