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She said I belonged in a Museum and if you spotted the lift from Indiana Jones you probably need to get out more! But I took her advice as it is sometimes wise to do with one’s spouse and hey here I am in one – Verdant Works Dundee aka Scotland’s Jute Museum where I’m one of the Tour Guides. But if you are coming to visit there are other Guides and you can avoid me if you wish. Which on the basis of this photo I would understand. Most people would.

But hang on. A focus on the pic is in order. The headgear or bonnet is not a doomed attempt to disguise the fact I’m follicularly challenged. It’s period headgear of course worn by workers in the Jute Mills back in the ‘foggy ruins of time’ as Bob Dylan called it. And re the other thing you know the hair thing I shave my head as a fashion statement these days. But if I’d worked in a place like this I’d have had to tie it in a bun or wear a covering of some kind as I’d have been a woman more than likely!

And I’m actually wearing an item of female attire in the pic. No not the cap but the overall. Women’s clothing those of you over a certain age might remember buttoned from left to right instead of right to left. Or was it the other way round? Doesn’t matter – it was one of the two! I did admit in an earlier post to wearing female attire for ‘artistic’ purposes in a School Panto. And now I’ve decided to own up to this overall – but that’s it! And it is also for artistic purposes

Because the reason I’m wearing such period gear is because the majority of workers in Dundee Jute Mills at the peak of the industry around 1900 were women and children. They were used as cheap labour by the owners the Jute Barons and when boys like my grandfathers became eighteen they got the heave! And this little dose of heritage cross dressing is in memory of these women. ‘Mujeres con cojones’ as mis amigos might say. Mujer is the Spanish for woman. I’m sure you’ve watched enough movies to know what ‘cojones’ means. Which brings me back to she where I started. For she is indeed a ‘mujer con cojones’. Descended from the women I’ve been talking about. As am I. And thousands of Dundonians like us.

Please do come and visit us at Verdant by the way. Details are on the Dundee Heritage Trust website. And we’re regularly reviewed on Trip Advisor if you want to check us out first.

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