Ye Canny Shove Yer Granny Aff the Bus

I grew up with two grannys. One biological. One non-biological.

My maternal Grandmother, born Alexanderina Cormack.

Gran was my Mum’s Mum. I can only guess at what made her the way she was, because she was a closed book on most of her life and especially feelings. She did anger. Magnificently, passionately, terrifyingly and self righteously like the ministers she listened to in her youth. She also did cold cutting remarks that tended to lodge somewhere in the soft places of your body. I still carry a few bits of emotional shrapnel. She was a powerful character in my formative years and I still hear her voice. It’s one of the ones my inner critic will use.

My Nana, Jean Eliza Taylor
who died when I was 12.

Nana was a neighbour who never married or had children. She greeted my parents on the first day in their new home, newly wed, with a basket of tea and home baking. They became firm friends and when my sister and I came along we adopted her as our granny. I honestly never heard her say a bad word about anyone. She called me her Ray of Sunshine and she made me feel like I could do anything. She saw the amazing soul I was and reflected that back to me in a million different ways.

I loved them both for different reasons.

I have an inner strength and calmness in sticky situations and a way with one liners that I know I have inherited from Gran. I also have a tendency towards low self esteem that comes, partly, from her treatment of me. I can see all of the ways my Gran was trapped and restricted by life as a woman born on 1909. I can also see the great harm she did to her children and grandchildren, her husband, her siblings and her friends.

I have a love of nature, books, art and being of service, much of which came from my Nana as well as my parents. I hope never to cease to be amazed by a bumble bee or a flower just like my Nana was in her 80’s having seen a million of them. She encouraged me to believe in fairies. I endeavour to inspire people to see the amazing souls they are just as she inspired me. My Nana was born in 1901 and live in the same world as my Gran. She was grateful for all she had and helped others in any way she could.

I grew up with one on each shoulder, an angel and a devil.

On one occasion my Gran decided it would be character building to tell me I had fat legs. She looked at my eight year old self in shorts and laughed, saying that I must have got them from my fathers side because she had lovely thin legs, not like my fat ones. The next time I saw my Nana, dressed in the same shorts she affectionately patted my thigh and said “Look at those legs! They’d take you anywhere you’d want to go.”

As children we loved to sing the popular song, “Ye Canny Shove Yer Granny Aff the Bus”, to the tune of “She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain When She Comes.” It’s one of the many Glasgow Street Songs which delightfully blend humour with an undercurrent of violence. It translates as “You May Not Forcibly Remove Your Grandmother From a Public Transport Vehicle.”

Oh ye canny shove yer granny aff the bus,

Oh ye canny shove yer granny aff the bus,

(Now the next line could change depending on which granny was nicer or which granny was present during the singing)

Oh ye canny shove yer granny,

Cos she’s yer mammy’s mammy (or daddy’s mammy)

No ye canny shove yer granny aff the bus.

Chorus: Singing I will if you will so will I x 4

Ye can shove yer other granny aff the bus,

Ye can shove yer other granny aff the bus,

Ye can shove yer other granny,

Cos she’s yer daddy’s mammy (or mammy’s mammy)

Ye can shove yer other granny aff the bus.

Chorus: Singing I will if you will so will I x 4

Here’s the Big Yin, Billy Connolly having a go at it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bD5mnM8lEvM

I’m delighted to see the song is still popular, in fact there’s even a children’s book by Katherine Selbert with moving parts so that you can practice!

I’ll let you guess which granny we regularly “shoved aff the bus”!

Me and my Gran at my graduation. She was very proud, although, of course, she never told me. She considered education very important.

What makes a person who they are is a complex mix of genes, parenting, social conditioning, life events and soul purpose. I’m not here to lay blame. I forgive my other granny, but if my mind is the bus in the song, then I’m happy to shove her aff whenever she pops up with her unhelpful comments.


Photo by Jiroe on Unsplash
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