Friday, 23 October 2015
The question was put "Why don't you live in Edinburgh?" A question I must report that has often been asked of me, sometimes from between gritted teeth. This got me thinking as to why. There are many reasons, cash being the most obvious. Had I been rich I would have a wee house up there and one wee house down here spending winter in the warm soft south and Spring and summer, or the odd day as it's called, up there. Actually if I had money I may move to Portugal where it is warm most of the time! The Festival and its Fringe in August would certainly force me elsewhere, even the north pole would do to avoid the millions of weirdos who arrive in Edinburgh at that time, some of you may possibly be amongst them!
Who do I know in Edina now? Few family members around and mostly well out of the city, no living space for me there. They have their own families and lives which differ from mine, they have little need of me. The people I knew when I left, for good as it turned out, in 1975 have moved on, who knows how they have changed over the years? The one remaining pillar is the Heart of Midlothian footbll club and it is now impossible to get in to see them as they are crowded out each week! The more I consider it the less I see for me there.
I was born in Edinburgh's Western General Hospital in nineteen hundred and typing error, an excellent hospital ten times the size from when I first arrived. Edinburgh then was an decent place to grow up, the housing was new, the neighbours got on well, attitudes after the war carried much that had developed during the war and many wished to create a better world. Schools disciplined the chidlren, a slap on the legs at primary was not uncommon, and the leather strap across the hands just as common in secondary school, today teachers will not even raise their voices to the brats! In spite of having nothing kids got everything as parents took advantage of their new lives, lives that were hard but much, much better than those they endured as youngsters.
Edinburgh then was a darker place, generations of soot covered the buildings leaving a black exterior, rain mingling with smoke from countless fires at work and home brought to life the nickname ''Auld Reekie.' An all too often bleak city in winter. However then as now Edinburgh teamed with history, all facilities required could be obtained especially if money was available and there was always lots going on. This now has increased abundantly as these more propserous days have opened up new avenues of enjoyment. (Bah Humbug! I begin to cry, bring back misery!)
However Edinburgh may have had many good things it also had some bad ones. Many memories I have are not of good times but bad ones. In spite of all that is on offer much more is required in life and I had to go elsewhere for that.
Having worked in London a few years before I retunred there to attend the Baptist Church in Westbourne Grove. This was Gods plan although I did not realise this at the time. This then became home for men for another twentysomething years. Edinburghs advantages fade when confronted with the Living God! This was a good, though difficult, time. Living at first in some ropey housing then moving into one box after another does not please some folks but it was a life and I was in the right place. Edinburgh however had at least got sky! From the window looking north we could see across the field and the Forth the hills of Fife, in London we could see one row of houses after another. As the song says, "We could see to Hackney Marshes, if it wasn't for the houses in between." The pace of life did not bother me until my forties and the church also broke up at that time the period of Gods work moving into a different direction. When that period ended I removed myself to this part of Essex for another twenty years, but that is another story. Would I go back to Edinburgh now? If Scotland became independent it would be an exciting idea. However I cannot afford to move to the shops let alone Edinburgh or a wee hoose in the Highlands. It snows less here also!
I have not discussed the attitudes of the peoples either. They vary enormously from this area, London and Scotland. The culture is different but hw different from when I lived there? Then there were few drug takers, but many drunks, now drug gangs in our area abound. Traffic is greater than before, the pace higher than I am now used to and it would be more likely I would move into a smlaler area, but where? I like the slower life now, age is telling, and wish to see the sea again. A rich man would move near the sea and close to but far enough from a decent size town. He would also be found in the Algarve during winter however!