It all started in the wee mining village of Pumpherston in West Lothian in April 1963, after going to Pumphy Primary then West Calder High School right on to now where Dedridge is the place of residence.
Over the coming months the gap between is going to be filled in with my life, which has had its fun times and its low times……just watch this space.
In 1998 i was at the stade L’Escure the home of Bordeaux FC , to watch Scotland play Norway in the world cup. It was my second trip to the stadium 13 years previously on Bastille day i had been there for Marius Tresor’s testimonial match, and had the ticket in my wallet when i was at the Norway match. After a night on the tiles I ended up at a wee bar in Bordeaux and had to mediate in an argument between a big burly Frenchman and a wee skinny Scotsman, i pitched in with my ‘hands across the water, we hate Jimmy Hill, he’s a poof’ mediation speech, the Frenchman said to me ‘he is in my country, he must show respect’ and i replied ‘respect big man, i’ll show ye respect’ where upon i produced the Tresor ticket, he looked at it and said ‘Tresor , he is my friend, would you like to meet him?’ I replied ‘does a bear shite in the woods’.He drove me about twenty miles outside Bordeaux to the Tresor Tabac (his shop)and I trooped in, still quite merry with the drink, draped in my Scotland flag. I bowed in front of him then re-enacted his stunning goal against the Germans in the world cup semi final. He must have thought Le nut hoose was missing a patient but he took it all in great fun. I also mentioned to him that Schumacher; the German goalie was a wanker for doing what he did to Patrick Battiston ,then i showed him the testimonial ticket ,which he signed.He then nipped off to the back of the shop and returned with the photo you see here and signed it for me. I was driven back to Bordeaux and on the way back to my hotel I bumped into Rod Stewart and three big minders . All I could say was ‘awright Rod’ and he gave me an ‘awlright’ back.
The great Pumphy warehouse raid
My back garden in Pumphy, along with all the other back gardens in Harrysmuir North and Harrysmuir Crescent formed part of the boundary with Livingston new town.
When you climbed over the fence you were in a small forestry planted wood that acted as a screen between the back gardens and the industrial estate and after a couple of minutes walk through the wood you reached the promised land ——- the warehouse of a well known chain of supermarkets.
Now, when you’re camping out in the back garden during the summer holidays with your pals, having a sweetie and fag warehouse a couple of minutes walk away is awfy tempting and sometimes temptation got the better of a lot of people.
It was always being broken into —- sweets and chocolate were usually the order of the day but occasionally someone got lucky and discovered a lorry full of fags and drink. This was great news for the people in the village who were on the lookout for a cheap smoke and drink but not so good news for the people behind the crime. Stolen sweets and chocolate didn’t seem to bother either the warehouse or the police but fags and drink were a different thing altogether.
The great warehouse raid of 1972 was no different.
There were five people involved—two people broke into the lorries and three others acted as lookouts- I was a lookout on account of being a bit of a shitebag. Well, to cut a long story short Butch Pumpherston and the Sundance kid did their thing and the Hole in the Bing gang did our thing and the end result was a haul of about half a million fags and dozens of cases of booze and more importantly for a schoolboy just about every kind of chocolate and sweetie bar under the sun.
If the law had done its job about 80 per cent of the village population would have been charged with receiving stolen goods— people were going to ice cream vans with enough fag coupons to buy fleets of ice cream vans, people who only came outside once a day to buy a quarter bottle and fags weren’t seen for weeks and the sugar rush and hyper activity that came with all the chocolate and sweeties meant that anyone passing through the village must have thought everyone was on speed.
For about three days after the robbery, from my kitchen window you could see a constant stream of people walking through the wee wooded bit then reappearing twenty minutes or so later with carrier bags full of stuff.
For some reason only Butch Pumpherston and I were ever brought to book over that one and as we were only nine years old and hardly mafia dons we were sent on a visit to a childrens’ panel.
You could argue, from that, that crime doesn’t pay— especially when you consider that out of half a million fags and every sweetie and chocolate bar under the sun, I got Forty fags a Topic and a box of matches.———————–
The next time I was involved with that kind of thing was in 1976.
I knew someone who had broken into a couple of lorries and this person very kindly supplied me with a small goody bag—- I say small goody bag but it was more like the equivalent of about Fifty selection boxes.
I had great difficulty in cramming all my ill gotten gains into the wardrobe in my bedroom but after putting all my weight on the door I managed to close it. I then locked the door hid the key and set off for a weeks holiday down in the outback (Hawick).
Now Ben, our dog, could’ve sniffed out an Animal bar or a milky way from a mile away so it didn’t take my sister Chris that long to figure out why he’d practically dug in next to the wardrobe and when he started scratching at the wardrobe door and bayed like a wolf she decided to act and pick the lock. She didn’t really pick the lock— only villains in Starsky and Hutch and The Sweeney picked locks. The Pumphy way was an axe a crowbar or a hammer and screwdriver and Chris chose the latter. The door opened and all the sweets cascaded to the floor and Ben had his chocolate induced orgasm.
Well, by the time I got back a week later the Aladdins cave that was my wardrobe had turned into a pretty shitey cave with a lone Bounty and half a dozen bags of boiled sweets in it. Chris ,Ben and the neighbours had had a whale of a time eating my stash while I was away.
Crime doesn’t pay 2 Crime does pay 0
On a happier note, in the summer of 1980 I was lucky enough to know someone else who had crossed over to the wrong side of the law and into one of the lorries in the warehouse.
With the money from the whisky and fags that had fallen off the back of the lorry I was able to go to Knebworth and see SANTANA for the first time so that was a goal back for the crime does pay team.