Christina Byrne – 17th December, 1936 – 17th December, 2012

A beautiful song Jim wrote in memory of his mother: Promise That We’ll Meet Again

Photo: rena.

It was a terrible shock to her friends and family when Christina Byrne, my mother-in-law, did not recover from a heart operation just before Christmas, 2012.

Christina, or Rena as she was also known, will be very much missed. She will be remembered fondly and as someone who lived life to the full – amongst other things she was an accomplished craftswoman, cook and writer. Quite remarkably she returned to education and gained a degree after having had six children.

She had many interests, including Jim’s music, and when we visited she was always keen to hear, and critique, his latest songs. She came along to all of his local gigs with her husband, Jimmy. Although we often ran into the pair at various music festivals and other gigs.

Christina was a multi-talented woman and was known to many people through her businesses in Clydebank – ‘The Wee Wool Shop’, and later ‘Christina’s’ – a pre-loved and retro clothes shop, which was a bit ahead of its time. Her pursuits were too many to list but notably; she was a member of Eurydice, Glasgow Women’s Socialist Choir and a student of the tin whistle, mandolin and guitar.

However, her main passion was writing and in this capacity she won many competitions and awards. Her work was published in various magazines and included in books compiled by the Drumchapel Writer’s Group, such as their book of ghost stories ‘A Spectre Calls’. She had also completed a novel.

For many years Christina contributed articles and reviews to this website and in her memory I’ve pulled some of her film crits, poems and reviews together. (See list on the menu on the right.)

Below you can also read some of her poetry and writing, which demonstrate both her skill and quirky sense of humour. So Much To Do So Little Time, was selected by her children, Rose, Jim, John, Anne, Steven and Peter, for inclusion in her Eulogy. They felt it so aptly reflected their mother’s spirit and attitude to life:

So Much To Do, So Little Time – Christina Byrne

Mention class to me and I immediately think – learn something new.
In my time I’ve been a bit of a class junkie in Further and Higher Education Colleges and University, Community Centres and Arts Workshops.

As an, ahem, mature student, classes have given me a wider appreciation of education and I’ve studied for Highers and ‘O’ Grades and a diploma in Home Economics.

Long after leaving school, tutors have opened my eyes to writing short stories and novels and script-writing for stage, radio and television. I’ve even tried broadcasting and radio production.

For a time I even saw myself as super secretary and got tore into shorthand and typing. When IT reared its electronic head I trotted off to tinker with computer keyboards and the World Wide Web.

I think of myself as a creative person and have dabbled in all kinds of textile crafts from macram? to machine knitting. In fact, in addition to being a pupil at these classed I’ve also passed on my skills as teacher.

I’ve been initiated into the mysteries of crafts such as tie-dying and screen-printing, painting and life-drawing. I’ve been a novice weaver, struggled with rug-making and coloured my life by creating stained glass.

On the physical side I’ve been shown the ropes in ballroom and sequence dancing, Latin American, tap-dancing and jive, yoga, aerobics and aquafit, and last but not least, belly dancing.

Trying my hand at lampshade-making shed light on my cack-handedness with regard to any kind of glue, and jewellery-making saw me sparkle with talent.

My latest class involved singing the blues at a song-writing workshop, where together with a few other class junkies I laboured to produce a talking blues saga about Tam, a Glasgow down and out who rose to fame as a karaoke king.

Talking about singing and stuff related to music, that’s one area where my talents fizzled and died. Although not a bad singer I cannot get to grips with the art of reading music. I once tried and failed, to learn the piano and for the last twenty odd years have laboured to master the guitar.

Still, I’ve not given up on that yet. Perhaps, somehow, somewhere, some day I’ll crack that nut. Does anyone know of a class in finger-picking?

Mouth Music

You don’t have to play piano
Or strum a lively air
To play a violin in tune
Needs quite a bit of flair

A big bass drum is earsplitting
A harp can be delightful
A tiny bell is sweet and light
A giant one can be frightful

If music be the food of love
But you can’t play a note
Don’t fret about your lack of skill
Just smile and clear your throat

Perhaps you think you cannot sing
Your voice too high or low
Just hum or whistle ‘ray fa so’
And finish up with ‘do’

Your mouth will do such wondrous things
Be thankful for its health
Look after it and you will find
It brings you more than wealth


By Christina Byrne – February 2002

Rock and Roll music
Guitar arias
Cannon off walls of sound
Wailing tortured discords.
Was it Lennon delving deep
Was it Hendrix sowing phonics
Who planted them
and who could reap
the crop from such a seed?

Drumchapel Writers’ Group – Some poems to make you laugh

OAP RAP – C. Byrne

When you get to be an OAP

You think it’s great to be so free

But your pension fund has just gone bust

You’ve been let down by the guys you trust

Your hearing’s crap, your eyes are dim,

In short, it seems life’s pretty grim

At night your teeth are in a glass

When offered toffee you say ‘pass’

The zimmer’s stationed by your chair

To help get off your derriere

Your hairstyle’s called – half-bald, comb-over

And you’re forced to wear Fair Isle pullovers

You meet your girlfriend and you wince

Her curls are coloured by blue rinse

The clothes you wear are really drastic

Instead of waistband, there’s elastic

Saga rules your summer breaks

Those specialists in pains and aches

Bowling is the choice of game

But don’t be fooled, it’s not so tame

When players pose with daggers drawn

Time’s caught up, you’re not so sporty

Energy is not your forte

Remember when you rocked and rolled

Don’t seem so long, you’re not that old

But you disapprove of modern tunes

The stuff don’t rhyme like moon and June

Now you lot are next so please don’t snigger

It’s all ahead – so just you figure

Stair-lifts wheelchairs, walking frames

Incontinence pads, forgetting your names

If you don’t fancy it, that’s tough

It will catch you all if you live long enough

Christina Byrne

First School by Christina Byrne
Glass Nylons and Woollen Combinations by Christina Byrne

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Avatar of JimByrne West End based web Developer, writer, songwriter and musician. And the person who takes lots of photos for the Glasgow West End website.

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