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dougiedanger

Tramps

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I will have to go on to this section more often. The aforementioned were not really "tramps" as such but were mainly regular Mental Health Act admissions to Craig Dunain who had spells of being discharged and living on the streets. I actually nursed Jimmy "Forty Pockets" in his senile dementia days in the mid seventies. He still wore an oversized brown coat that was always checked last thing and was always full of "stolen goods". He actually used to deliver the Football Times around Craig Dunain / Leachkin. Granville was certainly in that category. as was Toich. Toich was once described as the nicest but thickes nutter ever. Cannuck was more of a likeable rogue who probably knew what he was doing most of the time, whereas "Rod the fish" was a sufferer of "shellshock" from the war. He apparently served throughout the war in the 8th Army but became severely depressed and psychotic gradually on his return home and there was no PTSD clinics in those days - only ECT and tranquilisers which probably fecked him up. Have to admit that "Dan" was my uncle "Dan" who like many a good MacKenzie succumbed to the demon drink. He actually had a flat with my Auntie Jessie on Stephens Brae - looking on to the Academy - but she was always taking him back in and chucking him out again. He fell to pieces when she died.

A great story was his funeral as only five relatives turned up and one of my uncles had footed the bill. The undertaker handed over an envelope which had been penned by Dan many years previous. My uncle opened it and there was £100 inside it and a note saying along the lines of - "I will probably be a down and out when you open this and not many will bother to turn up, so whoever does can get hammered". I remember my Uncle Jimmy raising a toast, after we had all been whingeing about having to turn up - "Here's to Dan, lets face it he wasnt such a bad **** after all!!"

And these days all we have his Dougal !!

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And that's why we have to be tolerant of everyone's foibles on here. There's a tramp, a poseur or a nutter in all of us, just one step away from disaster. That's why I love the characters on here because they are just making the most of their hayday. :lol:

That Rod guy sound a lot like the Pimple fer goodness sake.

Charles, goodness, what a relief. I'm warming to you...looks as if you did have a life after all ---as a youngster. A regular Jack of All Trades, forsooth.

Derbs--yes I thought that was the correct spelling but "durbs" sounded a lot more exotic. It rolls tound the tongue realllllllly nicely.

IHE=--that's a great story about your uncle. Just perfect; has pathos, irony, humour, vision, understanding and resignation. All in one small note. Wow.

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Another Sneck character who was well known in Eastgate was Smelly Simpson who lived (I think) in a tumbledown and overgrown cottage on the edge of the Culcabock Golf Course on Diriebught Road. I have no idea why he was called Smelly as he never smelt any time I was ever near him. He used to cycle around town with carrier bags on the handlebars. He was a regular customer in Rosie's Cafe on Stephen's Brae and latterly frequented McDonalds. If I recall correctly he was assaulted in there one night but the manager said he was a regular customer who just came in for a cup of tea and never caused any trouble at all.

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IHE--great post.

There is a really interesting history to be written about Craig Dunain and its place in Inverness and Highland society. Behind each of these characters there is a story, and it would be interesting to compare how different generations related to people who for one reason or another have felt that they just can't cope with the demands of everyday life and work.

I think the large-scale sanatorium was an invention of the Victorian period, and was based on a growing feeling that such figures should not be in the public sphere. The out of mind should be out of sight as it were.

This in turn created the fear among many in the Sneck of ending up in the Craig, which looked over the town like a warning. What Sneck Ma has not screamed to her bairns: "Ye'll send me up the Craig you lot"?

As Pimple says, the dividing line between the apparently sane and the insane is usually an illusion.

Respect to the tramps is basically what this thread is about.

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This in turn created the fear among many in the Sneck of ending up in the Craig, which looked over the town like a warning. What Sneck Ma has not screamed to her bairns: "Ye'll send me up the Craig you lot"?

Yes it's interesting to take a look back at attitudes to mental illness several decades ago and also to the kind of dread and fear that it inspired. In Inverness the situation probably wasn't helped by the fact that the local mental hospital sat on a hill glowering over the town - almost a reminder of the kind of fate that might have been awaiting prospective inmates, or indeed those left behind if a relative did disappear into its bowels.

My uncle was Depute Physician Superintendent at Craig Dunain in the late 50s and early 60s before moving on to be Superintendent at Dykebar near Paisley. As a result when I was young I found myself on the edge of conversations involving psychiatry and remember some of the vocabulary which was quite common in these days but which has long since gone the way of PC.

Terms like "defectives", "lunatics", "sub normal", "asylum", "locked wards" etc were all in standard use in an era where there was still a huge stigma attached to mental illness. Indeed it's not all that long ago that unmarried mothers had been known to be confined to what my granny never called anything other than "The Lunatic Asylum".... homosexuals as well. alan Turing the brilliant mathematician was more or less forced to undergo a course of chemical castration in the 50s since his homosexuality was regarded as a disease and a liability.

Similarly anyone else opting out of an orthodox lifestyle - such as people we would call "tramps" - might also have been liable for a spell in Craig Dunain or a similar institution, although of course it's entirely possible that psychiatric help was actually needed in a number of cases.

Yes we now live in different days when you can write "disabled" and get told that you should really be writing "differently abled".

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Good points Charles, there was an enormous stigma attached to being a patient at the Craig. Part of the fear was that it seemed like a kind of death sentence to be admitted there--you never heard of anyone getting out.

I don't know what they are doing with the building now, but I would not mind if it were demolished. I couldn't imagine living in a flat or working in an office there. It would be hard to forget all those that suffered there for so long. The grounds were always lovely up there, but the buildings themselves would not be missed.

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Right through the forties and into the late fifties Craig Dunain was always referred to as the Asylum and I can vaguely remember someone escaping from there around 1952, The poor fellow, at first, caused the folk a certain ammount of fear because of his departure

but as it ;happened he managed to keep out of the clutches of his persuers for more than fourteen days so was deemed to be sane and given release in good grace. The fear factor then dissipated. Strange times indeed

Dougiedanger has just posted and I agree the grounds were magnificent in the old days and there was quite a testing golf course on the side of the hill. I dont suppose there is any signs of that now.

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The grounds were always lovely up there, but the buildings themselves would not be missed.

Yes the surrounds of the hospital are (or rather were until they started developing them) absoutely lovely. Used to take the kids and a large bag of breadcrumbs up to the duckpond from time to time on a Sunday and they had the time of their lives. Nearby there's the dog cemetery and then later on we found the real hospital cemetery in the back.

Bughtmaster, the golf course has become a building site and housing estate but I was told by my father, who played the odd round there with my uncle, that it was a decent 9 hole course, albeit challenging due to being on the side of a hill. On the Inverness New Year's day run to the top of Craig Dunain Hill, one of the rituals used to be a sprint down the golf course from the edge of the forest to the hospital road.

Nowadays, in my view, the surroundings of Craig Dunain hospital have been absolutely ruined and if you think of the entire tract of land starting from the Torvean Bridge and stretching right up to Leachkin Road, you could say the same thing. Long gone are the days of cross country races over what became the second 9 at Torvean which then had various houses built beside it etc etc.

In fact the area enclosed by the Torvean Bridge - Kilvean cemetery - top of Piggery Hill triangle has changed massively in the last 35-40 years!

One further comment on Craig Dunain - occasionally there used to be the odd escape from the hospital where the poor soul in question would be found dead in the surrounding area. Indeed I believe I heard of more than one suicide by hanging.

Oh, and in the case of those who needed to "dry out" was that just Dunain House that dealt with these cases or did the Craig do its share too? I certainly remember occasions when I would hear my mother and her friends indulging in furtive "Les Dawson" like whispers of "he's in Dunain House!" which I didn't understand at the time - nor was I meant to.

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Take a look about half way down this.....

http://www.bbc.co.uk...slands-18038328

and there's an apparent contradiction.

I think it's pretty well established that the mural in question is of the ancient Inverness worthy Forty Pockets to whom IHE refers as Jimmy and who appears to have died maybe 30 years ago.

However this item says it's an Angus MacPhee from the Western Isles who died in 1997 but that doesn't seem to fit.

The other intriguing thing is that the description of the scenario here isn't all that far away from Rod the Fish with the WW2 angle to it.

Any thoughts?

I'm also intrigued to read even further down the piece that it seems that, despite the urgent necessity to secure Adolf Hitler's downfall, we seeemd during WW2 to have Lovat Scouts to spare for the purposes of guarding a bunch of Germans at Balmoral! :lol:

Edited by Charles Bannerman

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Charles you gave me a chuckle with your last two lines. Yes those were the days when adults had these furtive whispers, not only that, they would only really talk to eachother when you were tucked up in bed. I remember I would often try to eavesdrop on the conversations and it always puzzled me why they could or would not bring us children more into their ' more meaningful world ' ...nowadays I'm afraid children grow up too soon by being part and parcel of all that is being talked about. Maybe the next generation will strike a better balance, who knows!

Yes my father and I played that same golfcourse on a number of occasions, ( it always reminded me of a mini Strathpeffer) It was remarkably well kept and very tricky for all it's size. Sad to hear of it's demise.

Incidentally pre golf era, as kids, we used to play up Craig Dunain itself, used to know every inch of it, Some of the outcrops were quite dangerous to play on but just like the Wild West.

The Sandy braes on Torvean hill was another of our haunts used to be great fun running down and trying to stop before you landed in the canal. The canal banks themselves used to be our race track, running cycling and sometimes both.

Who needed play stations ??????? there was too much to do.

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I used to live at the nurses houses at the Square within the grounds of the Craig, just oppposite where the bowling green is (or is it was?) so the delights of the nine hole golf course, the football and rugby pitches and the tennis courts were within crawling distance. They were always in immaculate condition as patients were paid to tend the grounds - including the duck pond and the superindents house - and even our garden !! Dunain House is where the posher people used to go but turned in to an Alcohol Unit in the early 80's.

Charlie - There was definitely a character called Forty Pockets who rarely left the building when I was there but Rod the Fish used to come and go.

And there wasnt the odd escape - there was a daily escape - but suicides were a lot less that what they are now.

There is a book written about the Craig - by a Rod McLean - and I recognise quite a few of the scenarios in it - especially losing the corpse in the blizzard (guilty!!) and some of the fictionalised names are clearly remembered. If I wrote a book I would probably get sued !!

Most peeple will know about my escort of Granville to the Sherriff Court but another one I like is the woman from Rossshire who was totally pished and in a real mess = asked a taxi to take her to the Craigmonie Hotel but the taxi driver took her slur to be Craig Dunain - so she was admitted to the detox ward and her face the following morning was a picture !!

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Charlie - There was definitely a character called Forty Pockets who rarely left the building when I was there but Rod the Fish used to come and go.

Yes, absolutely no doubt about there having been a Forty Pockets but the inconsistency seems to be that the web article I linked to above seemd to claim that the character in the mural was not Forty Pockets, as is otherwise fairly widely accepted, but an ex serviceman who hence might have hints of Rod the Fish about the description. However I am also fairly sure that the mural design is based on a quite well known photo of Old Inverness, which is probably in one of the Courier books and where FP is pictured at the Greig Street Bridge.

Interesting also what you say about patients being employed at various points about the hospital because I am sure my uncle and aunt got help about their house from one. That was one of the smaller houses on the Craig Phadrig side while Martin Whittet had the "big house" for the gaffter opposite the duck pond. Similarly when my uncle became the occupant of the "big house" at Dykebar there was a patient there every day doing the domestic stuff.

(And as far as I am aware, when we went there for our holidays, it WAS steak we got in the pies and not human remains! :lol: )

Edited by Charles Bannerman

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My uncle lived at the Lodge, just inside the main gate coming up Leachkin Road - he even had a "housekeeper" and a "dog walker" !! The three houses just outside the "walls" were for the Doctors and the top dogs. Whittet's house was a pit like Dowton feckin Abbey !!

What confuses me is that the Forty Pockets I knew did have the long coat, the beard, was always stealing or hoarding stuff and I can never remember him talking. We will probbaly have the same problem 50-60 years from now when nobody can remember the mural of Dougal.

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IHE at the risk of you repeating yourself, I would love to hear the story about you escorting Granville to the Sherriff Court.

I might be repeating myself here with this story about Granville, but here goes.

Mid seventies on summer break from Uni working as Dump Truck driver at Smithton where they had just commenced building the housing estate. Granville was Timekeeper and also in charge of Payroll !!! Down the road was a field where Noreen Barrie used to keep her horse. I used to go down there at lunch times to see Noreen, hang about with her and have a ride on her horse.

One morning Noreen came screaming and crying onto the building site looking for me and looking for help. She had opened the stable that morning to find Granville standing on a crate wearing only a shirt and trying to "mount" her horse from the rear. A group of us ran down to chase Granville off but he had disappeared by the time we got there. He was eventually caught by the Police later in the day.

At his court case he was charged with bestiality. His response was that he admitted guilt to the attempt of the act but not to the act itself, as he had been interrupted by Noreen and thus could not complete his attempt.

Poor Noreen was traumatized by that experience for a long time after.

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I escorted him to the court !! I had been off duty and knew nothing about it but I was asked to do "court escort" which was always a dawdle so I jumped at it. Didnt know what it was about - and neither did the copper with me - both of us handcuffed to Granville - until the judge read out the feckin charges. And the gallery was full of kids on an educational day out to the court. Granville then tried to very politely explain the mitigating reasons for the misunderstanding. But the best bit was at the end. The judge "sentenced" him to a further period of treatment in the locked ward at the Craig - but then Granville, despite me and the copper trying to drag him out of the box - asked for a complaint against the police to be taken by the judge - "Your honour, on the morning after the incident I was sitting in a cell with three other inmates. PC 339 entered the cell and gave my cell mates a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich. He then turned to leave. When I asked him where my breakfast was - he put his hands in his pockets, took out several blades of grass, threw them on the floor and said "If that is good enough for your girlfriend it should be good enuff for you".

:lol: :lol: :lol:

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handcuffed to Granville

IHE... if I ever came across you handcuffed to Granville I would have an irresisitble urge to give out a very loud "BAAAAAA" and wait for GP's amorous reaction! :lol:

Would that be a threesome Charlie...........ooerrr

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Then there was always of the story of the lost corpse. Even in the middle of winter we had to transport bodies down the back lane to the mortuary situated above the Nurses Home. The lane was boundaried by the main lawn and a 40 feet sloping drop on the other side. One night we had a death and two brave assistants agreed to transport the trolley to the mortuary, even though the snow was lying and falling thicker and thicker. By the time they got half way down the lane it had turned in to a blizzard - they lost track of the lane - the trolley tipped over the embakment, the body fell out in its white shroud and snowballed down the embankment. In a state of panic the two worthies ran back to the ward to explain their dilemna. When 10-15 of us struggled out to the scene we couldnt even see the feckin trolley neer mind the body. So we spent 15-20 minutes stamping around the snow until we located the trolley and the body and took it to its place of rest. But my biding memory was one of the shocked assistants asking what the name of the deceased was and then standing in the blizzard shouting "Hughie, Hughie, where the feck are you ?" :lol: :lol:

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My old man was in the Police, and all the names on here are names I grew up with. 40 pockets, Toich, Granville, and many more. I will ask him about a few of them so as I get the names right. Think there was also a Maisie, who ran the south kessock estate and all its shennanigins. Used to get called down to the Thornbush, quite frequently, and always entering as a team of 4 minimum, the place was like a scene from the wild west with the entire place wrecked - apart from her table, where she would be sat with her dram and beer, smiling watching the mass brawl unfold. Dad said she used to always look at the police and say " Nothing to do with me officer, take them away before they spill my drink"

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Think there was also a Maisie, who ran the south kessock estate and all its shennanigins. Used to get called down to the Thornbush, quite frequently, and always entering as a team of 4 minimum, the place was like a scene from the wild west with the entire place wrecked - apart from her table, where she would be sat with her dram and beer, smiling watching the mass brawl unfold. Dad said she used to always look at the police and say " Nothing to do with me officer, take them away before they spill my drink"

I am sure there must be a character just like this in Shameless! If there's not, then there ought to be!

Edited by Charles Bannerman

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@IMH

Some other names to jog your memory. Not worthies, but worthy of bringing to memory.

Mahogany, Poodles, Johnny Gairloch, Tweets, Duncy Toes, and Roddy Tornhole.

BTW It's likely I brought you up a cup of tea and a "Fly Cemetery" to the Back Chapels or A Obs when you were on Nights. :)

Edited by rytenuff

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And another few.... Half loaf who was seemingly lifted for prostitution countless times, not a pretty sight Im led to believe.

Medals who used to sit on the Greig st bridge, with a pram and gramophone begging for cash. And a worthy called Gordie dude. Heard about Granville blazing up at the Clachnaharry, was going round the tables outside pinching drinks and asking folk to buy him drink. One table told him to do a handstand for a drink, which he preceeded to do. Police were then called to lift him as when he performed his kilt revealed the inside of it was caked with faeces, some people were sick but he refused to leave until he got his reward

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