Harburn Village Hall - Work by Bella Kirk


Well here we are it’s the7th o’ May
Aw the hard work an’ fund raising, in the past, Hip Hip Hooray!
The auld Hall once again, got a new lease of life
Its onwards and upwards; everyone happy and smiling tonight.
Its no’ that long ago, it seemed to be doomed
Declared unhygienic, substandard, it might need knockin’ doon.
But some how or other, even the thought made them aw think,
Brought a lump tae their throat
They couldna hae that, it wid be like losing ane o’ their ain.
It had been a landmark roon here for years they’d need tae aw think again.
So they got the gither, tae see whit they could dae
If they could just raise the cash, there might be a way.
Mind its 80 year auld, its no’ had a bad life
Its had a few set backs, ta’en a few blows ance or twice.
But its aye had the ability, wae a help frae auld freens
Tae get up an’ get goin’ again, ken whit I mean.
So its up once again, tae dae whit ever it takes
Tae keep it alive; keep marching on, for auld time’s sake.
The fund raising began in earnest right away,
First they’d apply for a grant frae the National Lottery.
Then they’d appeal tae the council, see if they’d ony siller tae spare
If desperate they could haud up the bank there’s plenty doon there.
Oh there’s numerous ways that springs tae mind
Haud tae ransom some rich millionaire wae pockets weel lined.
They might haud a few concerts, ceilidhs and things
But the kind o’ money they’re needing nae enough wid that bring.
But if aw else fails, they could get doon on their knees
Ask the good lord above, tae answer their pleas
I believe they did that, an’ he listened tae whit they had tae say
For them that seek they will find a way

(there’s always a way)
That’s whit they did, they searched here and there,
pulled a few strings
An’ believe it or no’, the monies start rollin’ in.
Then on Sundays the local work force arrived in their auld workin’ claes
Stripped the place completely bare
Thus completing the first phase. They found lots of memorabilia frae the fifties
Song sheets, newspapers, scripts, skittles an’ carpet bools
An empty Craven ‘A’ pack, stamped wae the black cat,
Frae the days when to smoke, was then considered cool.
A moose’s nest, built tae last, weel hidden frae view
By the size o’ it, each year they’d added an extension new.
String, paper, plastic, wool, rags an’ fluff
They sure knew where tae build it, keep it cosy nice an’ snug.
Well insulated, refurbished before cauld winter blast
They’d coorie in an’ settle doon, till warmer winds arrived at last..
Once the dust had settled doon, they’d cleared away the awful mess
Next on the scene the tradesmen, tae dae whit they dae the best.
The new toilets, you’ll find are de-luxe, unisex
Plenty for aw - 4 in a raw, like clookin’ hens sat in a nest..
A brand new stage also, that can be quickly moved elsewhere
The very latest up tae date kitchen, plenty room you could waltz across the flair.
Of course aw the little extra’s tae make it complete
You can sit an’ enjoy your meal noo an’ no’ be feart tae eat.
Whit a transformation, so much bigger noo inside
Like an auld photograph, that’s been enlarged fair swollen up wae pride.
New weather cladding on the outside, up tae date windaes – double glazed
A once defunct surplus army hut, another piece of memorabilia fae a bye gone age.
I’ve heard a whisper; the best is yet to come
“Tarmac” – look out weeds an’ nettles you’ve no much longer noo tae run.
Courtesy o’ the Cooncil, plus a lamp post outside tae light the way
They’ve thought o’ everything, there’s no much more tae say.
Its still kept its appearance though, an’ tae them who chance tae wander bye
They might be forgiven in thinking
It’s Harburn head quarters - a training camp for the W.R.I.
Noo I think the last word, must be for the Hall
It wid like tae convey its thanks tae you all
In future it hopes tae haud many events
Ceilidhs, concerts, birthdays, weddings what ever
All can be managed at a nominal rent.
Meanwhile its going tae enjoy lookin’ back at those happy auld days
Wae aw its auld freens, many who’ve gone their different ways.
An’ of course here’s tae the future, an’ many more moons
There it is, time tae ca’ a halt an for me tae step doon. Bella Kirk 7th May 2004   Harburn Hall
This is a story, I think might interest you all,
You could say it’s an autobiography of Harburn Hall.
Now just imagine if it had the power of speech even for a day,
The story it could tell, would go like this, I’d say: Before coming here, I was on active service, that was many years ago,
Very young and smart I was then, and many grand lads I used to know.
Oh I did my bit in the 1914-18 for my country and my King
I’ve seen it all you can’t tell me, war’s a dreadful thing. Eventually I was demobbed and went to this outlandish place,
It was awful settling down to civvie life, I missed the other huts around the base.
Don’t get me wrong the folk roon here, treat me wae kindly care,
Saw to my every need, and did their best, to keep me in good repair. At first the trains on that railway, gave me many a fright,
Especially when they thundered past in the middle of the night.
When I complained they said I should be honoured, many Kings and Queens have passed this way,
On their journeys up and doon frae London , yes I’ve seen the day. Oh I soon got used to it but at first I thought I’d never,
And even when they go fleeting past, I can feel ma timbers shiver.
I settles doon tae their ways o’ life, got tae ken them all frae the shepherd tae the laird,
Monie’s the tale that I could tell, but don’t worry, I’ve been well dared. There’s been many grand functions held in here, folk came frae near and far,
By shanks’ pony and bicycle, long before they had motor cars.
They met auld freens, made new yins, some even found a wife,
Aye to a guid few folks sitting oot there the noo, here marks the first milestone on the road to mairrit life. Yes, I even played cupid in my day, and fired my little darts,
Underneath this dress of mine, I too have a tiny mark.
I’ve seen ceilidhs, and whist drives, and dances by the score.
They’ve hooched and danced tae the wee sma’ oors upon my wooden floor,
I’ve listened tae the bagpipes at Burns Supper until I felt my rafters birl,
I ken weel hoo Tam O’Shanter felt when his heid was in a whirl. At times ootside the wind would howl, an’ there’d be lots o’ snaw,
But it didnae seem tae worry them, they had nae cares at aw.
They were all there tae enjoy thersels, they would worry about that later.
They aye got back their separate ways, well fortified wae a guid drop o’ the crater. Great day eh! I thought I’d never see another war, but unfortunately I did.
Oh, will mankind never learn, to live and as they say let live.
Once again, we aw got prepared for action, this time Dad’s army was all the go.
But there was the ARP and the Home Guard as some of you will know.
It was a long time ago and ma memories are faded,
And maybe it’s a good job we never were invaded.
After the war things got slowly back to normal, the country got back on it’s feet.
Folk were beginning to get gaen’ again, like wakening oot a sleep. I will say I did enjoy the weddings here, real family affairs,
Everyone in their Sunday best, to launch the happy pair.
I’ve watched their progress all through life, saw their families grow,
Until they too did the self same thing, and onwards through life they go. I’ve even gie’d my services, as the Lord’s hoose on a Sunday,
And emerged reassured and strengthened to face another Monday.
A while ago I must admit I began to feel ma age
I let masel get run doon, things went all wrong, I had reached the menopausal stage,
And to crown it aw a few years back I thought ma end had come.
A great big tree fell on top of me, in the region of ma bum. They managed to patch me up again, replace that vital part,
But it was a while ere I got over the shock, yes it gave me quite a start.
Then the damp crept in and made my life a misery,
That old stove had me near choked,
I was falling into depression, and beginning to gie up hope. Bit I didnae bargain on all ma freens, and how they rallied roon,
They up and got a fund started, and do you know very soon,
Plans for a much needed operation were quickly underway,
For a while I was in an awfy state, but improved slowly every day. Some kind lassies applied all the new make-up, while the laddies undertook
Their best to get me on ma pins again, withoot disturbing all ma roots.
And gradually wae all the tender loving care, I came into ma ain,
I feel I’ve got ma second wind, I’ve been reborn again. The bairns at the nursery school, don’t seem to annoy me any mair,
I fair enjoy seeing the young ones at the youth club, letting doon their hair.
And the women’s rural fairly grew in numbers, right clever bunch we’ve got,
The cups for competitions you can bet, they nearly always lift the lot.
Their latest ploy the drama group, many’s a laugh I get,
At all the budding actresses and their antics on the set.
Yes, when you’re happy I’m happy that’s just hoo life goes,
I feel for you I times of stress when winds do harshly blow. So you see I’m almost human, though no’ made of flesh and blood,
I too hae had ma ups and doons, but you just mark ma words,
Here I am and for a long time yet, here I hope to stay,
They say old soldiers never die, they only fade away.
Oh, I’ve seen a lot of changes, and there’ll be a lot to come,
I’ll sit quietly in ma corner, be a looker on, as in the past I’ve done. Thank you for being such good listeners,
Oh and by the way,
The best of luck tae your drama group,
I really like their play. Just to keep you up to date, I’ve another episode for you.
They tell me its 70 years (would you believe) aye 70 years its true.
Since I came to live among you, volunteered to do my bit
The Community Council are wondering, if I am still up to it. I’ve had to sit another medical, they say at my age just routine
A lot of red tape and regulations, you all know what I mean.
They tell me I need some new equipment, a fire door is a must
You would’na like to see me burned right to the ground reduced to a pile of ash and dust. No, I’m still needed roon here, I’ve a few good years left yet
And tonight we hope to raise some £.s.d. just to keep me out of debt.
You see there’s a query about my floor boards, they think I might have a wee prolapse.
They’re going to do an exploratory, I’m awaiting the result of that. To fix these things you need money, a word that’s often mentioned
And well you see noo, I’m only on the pension
And winter takes its toll on me, I mind once in ’65
I needed a major operation, to help me keep alive.
As usual funds were at their lowest, there was no way I could pay,
That’s when Michael said he’d give his services free of charge, for the Hall held fond memories. Yes, for him and many others too numerous to name
When they wee all young and gay, and they played the mating game.
Well anyway Wullie Brash helped assist him, and everything went as planned
Ifind there’s always somebody, keen to lend a helping hand.
Look how once again folk have rallied roon donating prizes for tonight’s draw
I’m fair at a loss for words, I can only thank you aw. Do you like my new chairs and tables? They transform the place.
A birthday present from the Women’s Rural, they help me out in so many ways.
They laid on this Birthday Party, and Jean Duncan’s made the cake.
And Mrs Leslie going to help me blow the candles out. We go back a long way me and Kay
It’s great to see old friends and neighbours, and so many new faces too.
I hope you all enjoy my birthday party
Once again I say a big thank you. Bella Kirk October 1993.