People

Barbershop

The barbers shop was one of the village debating venues especially on a Saturday afternoon with topics so varied to be unbelievable from politics, poetry, coal and football of course. Two people usually holding much attention were Chick McCormack and Dan Twaddle from Scotlandwell. I have seen about fifty crammed into the Salon to hear there words of wisdom and banter about so many topics it seemed to be unreal.


The longest debate that I can remember was between John Stewart a well known Miners Union stalwart and Robert Neilson a Lochgelly Coal Merchant, on going to open the salon one Saturday morning at 8.30 am the two had started debating at 1 pm. I put them to the door, returning at 2 pm. They were still putting the Coal Board to rights but shortly afterwards they disappeared where the pangs of hunger had caught up with them or had they parted agreeing to disagree.


After Chick McCormack’s return from his adventure to fight against Franco in Spain his stories were most enlightening unlike his colleague James Howie who was fairly quiet about his period in Spain, Chick volunteered for the army early in the war in 1939 where he became an instructor, James volunteered for the Merchant Navy speeding his time on the dangerous task of Atlantic convoys.