Loading Strawberries 1912 For six summer weeks it's strawberry time in Swanwick. The air smells sweet and sodden. June is sweltering. Carts coming down Duncan Road clatter in line, await their turn to pull longside the sidings. Horses stamp and shake, pile their shit onto the road. The Railway Hotel courts the growers thirsting for beer after hours in the fields, fussing their pickers into production. Their hands are grime and scarlet. They stink of jam. The loading is slow, baskets balanced inside the trucks. Then a sudden shout or fist signals a dispute. Someone is out of turn or settling scores. Growing's full of conflict, conciliation, grudges and gambling on weather, livings laden into these weeks. Families can be broken by a bad season. The line loiters to the train all afternoon, boys squeezing the baskets into small spaces until the steam is rising. In thirty-six hours Glasgow will be gorging fruit. The guard waves green, the signal has nodded. The station porter sweeps turds onto his roses, watches the departure, smiles with a knowing that strawberries aren't the only kind of growing.