Thursday, 29 December 2011

The Nissen Hut. A Humble Abode, But Still A Home.

Strangely, although I am able to recall events from my past in quite minute detail, when it comes to trying to remember the dates, or years those events happened I struggle to remember. Which explains me being able to tell you that I last saw Fergie, my Mothers erstwhile boyfriend, in a dockside pub in Aberdeen. But being unable to tell you what year it was.

He was extremely drunk, extremely slobberingly maudlin, and, in a loud slur, telling anyone who cared to listen, what a good laddie I was. When in this kind of state, he was also fond of clamping an affectionate arm around my shoulder and bestowing the occasional alcohol laden, bewhiskered kiss upon my cheek. I would tolerate this for as long as I could. Which was not very long for the young man I was at that time.

This male bonding type of behaviour, was uncommon in those days, especially in a men only bar. I would say goodbye and leave him to it. I did not want anyone to think I was a .. well you possibly get my drift. Suffice to say I found it embarrassing. Funnily enough, these days I am extremely tactile. I love a hug. Male or female. I'm not bothered what people think. Maybe it's because I'm at an age where I don't give a stuff. Maybe it's just the way things are, these more enlightened days.

So let's just say for the sake of expediency, that I was twenty years old when I last saw Fergie. I make that forty odd years. He must have died quite soon after our last meeting. All I have left of him, apart from some lovely memories, is a small photo, measuring about 3ins x 2ins. It was taken by my Mother, when she and he were still together. It must have been taken in the late fifties. It shows Fergie sitting in the old Nissen hut which was their home then. This tiny image of Fergie is all I have to remind myself of what he looked like.

THATS THE RANGE with the sauspans on he's just after finishing his dinner when I took this snap
Or it was! Until I suddenly realised that I might be able, with the help of my computer to enlarge it.

Well The results of my endeavours in this respect are not great. But they have brought back vivid memories of Fergie. Memories of where things were in the hut. The stove, with the kettle and saucepans.The table, with the oilcloth cover. The big cup would have been his, and the smaller, more genteel cup, my Mothers. Look at the soup dish, with the spoon still in it. The bed in the corner. Never enough blankets, so supplemented in the winter with a couple of coats. That is a big chest of drawers, it would fetch a lot of money these days. They have decorated with wallpaper. Mum would have put the pictures on the walls, and have had little ornaments about the place. She loved things like that. All these little details in this photo, give it an added poignancy.

Oh dear! Once again I have saddened myself with a trip down memory lane. I must remind myself that I am doing it so that George, my extremely handsome son, has a record of my life and times.
I suspect that this was their first home together, after years being on the road. Mum would have made the best of it that she could.

It is difficult to explain, but those few words that she has written on the back of the snapshot, tell me quite clearly, that at the time she took this photo, she was in love with Fergie. She must have loved him, to put up with his fighting, binge drinking and the hardships of life travelling the length and breadth of the UK. Sadly, it was in the end, his drinking that ended the relationship. I say sadly, but it did allow Mum to move on with her life, and of course, eventually allowed her and I to be reunited after years apart.

Perhaps I should not say that their relationship ended? Because, in truth, it never did. Not entirely.


  1. Old photos help jog the memory. I love them.

  2. The only thing I'd grab in a fire would be the photographs.

    Lovely post.


  3. I love looking st pictures. I don't even have to know the people in them. Each one has a story. If I don't know the story and have no one to inform me, I am free yo make one of my own for it. But the best pictures are the ones that bring up memories and feelings.

  4. It's always very interesting to contemplate the relationships our parents had with people when we try to look at them with adult eyes. What is a Nissen Hut for those of us Yanks.

  5. Looking through old photos sure bring back lots of memories. I have boxes of old photos that I would look at every year when I spring clean the house. Happy New year to you and to the handsome son of yours.

  6. Thanks for the trip down your memory lane. I'm with you there is nothing wrong with a man hug. Hope you have a great New Year. Thanks for your supportive comments on my blogs. I enjoy reading your cleverly written ramblings. You are not receiving nearly enough in advertising revenue.

  7. Good times and bad times go along with old photos, but who'd be with out them.
    Have a wonderful 2012 John (and the extremely handsome son) Cheers Susan (Maa)

  8. Sharkbytes: A Nissen hut is made with curved corrugated iron sheets. It is a bit like being inside half a pipe or a tunnel!

    Happy New Year everyone!

  9. John, we have just spent some time this week looking at old photos and they do bring back memories provided you know who is in them, which we didn't for some. But on this post holiday family visit road trip we are on, a couple of old photo albums have come along as well and we relatives can help ID people in them. Thanks for sharing your memories in this blog. I have enjoyed them and your cleverness and look forward to more in the new year. Best wishes to you, your extremely handsome son, Sadie, and Bonnie for a great 2012.

  10. I always have a hard time with dates as well. I think mainly because I don't think of myself as being as old as I am. So what was 20 years ago feels more like 2 years.

  11. Happy New Year! Celebrate safely tonight and may 2012 bring you a life filled with many blessings, including good health, prosperity, generosity of spirit with much joy and laughter!

  12. I reckon these memories will be a good read for your grandchildren and their grandchildren. That is the main reason I have a blog. Wish I knew more about my parents/grandparents's life.

    Happy New Year John!

  13. I was touched by this post. I have in my wallet a scratched up black and white photo of a man which I have carried with me for over 25 years, the man is my father. He walked out on my mum when I was only months old, leaving her to bring up 3 kids on her own.

    Oh well

    Happy New Year

  14. Aha! A quonset hut... no problemo

  15. Why is it that when you look at old photos when you are young you laugh but when you look at them when you are old you cry..........or is that just me ?