SUNDAY SCHOOL PICNIC

One of the annual events in the early 1920's was the "Sunday School Trip." It was held on a Saturday afternoon in mid-summer, in an area called the Riddrie Knowes, a country estate approximately three miles up Cumbernauld Road through Riddrie.  It was in the country with farm fields all around.  Part of the joy of these trips was in the mode of travel we used to get there.  Elsewhere in this narrative, I've described how my Grandpa Merrilees was a kind of caretaker for the stables of a wholesale fruit and vegetable merchant, Robert S. Turnbull and Company, who delivered produce to green grocers and stores all around Glasgow, using one-horse, flat-bed lorries with slatted-cape sides.  On the occasion of the Sunday school trips, they took seating forms from the church hall, lashed them securely to the lorries and used them to transport the picnic party to the Knowes.  The drivers decorated the horses with red, white, and blue rosettes and ribbons, and competed with one another for the shiniest harness and best decorated horses and lorries.  About eight or ten lorries was the usual number on parade.  Looking back, I suppose all this was pretty tame stuff compared to the diversions open to kids today, but this was in the days long before television was invented, and entertainment was very much a matter of individual undertaking.  It wasn't a great long journey to the picnic, but to us, it was an adventure and we passed the time on the road singing.  When we arrived, we had foot races and novelty competitions for small prizes.  Returning in the early evening, we sang all the way home.  I don't ever remember a rainy day for the Sunday School trip.  Casual attire was the norm and included "sand-shoes," now known as "sneakers."   In later years, after we moved to Dalmuir, these Sunday School outings were taken on a train to places like Milngavie or Balloch and were a much longer distance.

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