Murray Square in Tillicoultry was one of the first bus stations in Scotland. It was built and in use by 1931. Provost Thomas Murray donated the clock at the Moss Road end of the bus station.
There are many fantastic images of the clock and when anyone who has ever lived in Tillicoultry looks at pictures of it, different memories will be evoked. For myself and anyone of a similar age, there will be two possible memories:
(a) A place to avoid after 5pm
(b) A place to hang out after 5pm
Depending on which memory it stirs, in most cases, these people’s lives have taken one of two possible directions:
(1) Become a drug addict, convicted criminal or die at a young age. Sometimes a combination of these or in some sad cases – all bases were covered.
(2) Go on to work hard, pursue further education and grow into a decent person. Again, sometimes, a combination of these and in most cases – all three boxes are ticked.
It may be obvious which group belongs to which life direction but, for clarification, the people who avoided Murray Square have made more of their lives than those who “occupied” it of an evening.
Of course, I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule and I could be seen as “tarring everyone with the same brush” so let me state that this is my opinion only.
Which group am I in?
Well, I avoided the place after 5pm and today I am not a drug addict, criminal and I am very much alive. I studied for a while, I work hard (most of the time) and whether I am a “decent person” or not – I’d like to think I am.
Why did I choose to avoid it after 5pm?
The simple answer – I didn’t relish the idea of getting beaten up by a group of my “peers” for no particular reason other than I didn’t “belong” to their group.
Bearing in mind that Murray Square was pretty much at the heart of the village so to try and avoid it when you wanted to get to friend’s houses or get to the place you felt safe hanging out did take some advance planning. Figuring out how to avoid the drunk, and in some cases, high kids before you embarked on your journey became as common as putting on your jacket before you left your house. Don’t get me wrong, we were no angels – we got drunk and in some cases high but we didn’t cause trouble or terrorise innocent people.
There was one instance when we did get caught out and somehow became a target of the group which could have ended up much worse but could also have ended up a lot better. It didn’t end in violence, more humiliation – as if being chased up the side of the Ochil Hills wasn’t enough of an ordeal being made to then perform a “chicken dance” at the top isn’t really the fondest memory of my teenage years.
I may sound like I think I am above those people, better than them even? Some might say it was maybe not their fault that they acted how they did and it was down to their circumstances, family life….
Well, I say that’s bullshit because (a) our parents were of similar circumstances and (b) at times in our childhood years we were actually friends who played together (yes, even the ones that made me dance like a chicken – thanks for that by the way). At some point in our shared years choices came and choices went, we simply made different decisions leading our lives in polar opposite directions.
The reason I have decided to write this post now is down to a recent Facebook group which has been set up to honour “Legends” of the village. To be fair, reading it has made me think of people, situations and locations that I haven’t thought of for many years and it’s been quite a nice trip down memory lane. However, the messages of “RIP, gone too soon” for some of the Murray Square “posse” are just ridiculous. They are not legends in anyone’s eyes except the dwindling numbers of the “posse” – who if they carry on following the same path will soon find they are also “gone too soon” but, definitely not a “legend” to me.
The true legend of Murray Square is the clock – time is the same for everyone, it’s what we do with it that counts.