Monday, 18 January 2016
I A'Door Me
After months of procrastination I managed to make a start - again - on fixing the slats on the cupboard door. This time armed with cheap wood glue I slotted the slats and gunked the ends only to find the last attempt left the gap a wee bit too wide and they fit but only just. Still I put my handyman skills to the proof and remembered again why I failed technical subjects at school all those long years away.
After many rude words I managed to fit the top half so as though it looks fixed. Anyone who opens their eyes, or I fear opens the door, will soon discover a weakness or two. I expect next time I touch the door to be back at the starting gate.
This little job held me back long enough to prevent me reaching the shops when they were quiet. So this afternoon I walked among the living dead around Sainsburys wondering why I bothered. I only had to shoot two customers and one was driving a black van when he attempted to run me over. I lacked suitable pity for him at the time. What is it about supermarkets that make people girn so badly? Normally I am in early so I miss the crowds but the rest of the day in such a place is a wonderful way to practice patience.
When I first graced this world the family lived in a tenement in Granton. For the first three years of my life, little of which I recall, we lived a short walk up the road from the harbour pictured here. This photo was taken in 1958 it says and I can recall going down there with dad to look at this rig sitting in the far side of the harbour. I had no idea what it was for until today when I found this picture on facebook and discovered it was used to search for coal under the Forth. It is different from what memory recalls so this may be a different rig or my memory may falter but the era is about right.
The view north over the Forth is fantastic, one of the great memories of Edinburgh. To the north lies the Forth and Fife opposite, the view to the south reveal the Pentland hills and for a major city the escape to the countryside is remarkably easy. How I missed that in London!
The building on the right was at first a Hotel but for most of the 20th century, and possibly still, it was a land ship for the Royal Navy. The large ships in the harbour also stopped in a similar spot to the left of the picture, a harbour soon afterwards filled in for industrial buildings. To the left there was a small school house that my dad attended. Two doors, one marked 'Girls' and at the other end 'Boys' and quite rightly too, but last time I was in that area the only possibly building had boarding around it advertising the company I could not determine if the school still existed. At the entrance the road to the left led along to the promenade where relaxation and sea watching took place. To the right we could eventually reach Leith. A high embankment carried a railway into town, a railway that closed around 1962, and the embankment has long since gone also. Behind the embankment lay a small beach and on any occasion I wandered down there I was struck by the smell of fire. It was the done thing then when at the seaside to gather driftwood and build a fire, even in summer, the smell lingered forever afterwards. The road on either side near the camera rises upwards as you will realise Edinburgh slopes down to the sea, sometimes we fall in.
A more recent picture nicked ungraciously from facebook shows a more modern image. The view has been devastated by the ugly new blocks of flats that take so much money from young trendy people, and to the left there are many more such buildings. Those with a clear view up or down the Firth of Forth will have a fantastic sight before their eyes, not too sure what the others will see mind.
The ships have long gone, even Leith harbour appears to be struggling with such reconstruction these days, and at Granton I think only rich folks yachts can be found today. There have long been such yachts but the actual Yacht Club has sold its premises and moved elsewhere or died.
As always some things remain, the toilet block stands as always, the buses halt here before trudging back across Edinburgh, and people still climb the stairs grumbling at the effort.
Is this an improvement? Is it progress? Is it the passage of time?
Life goes on and we cannot stop it.
Here in the soft south I spend a lot of time looking at old pictures and comparing them with the reality today. On the local facebook page old pics are offered and people reminisce about their childhood and youth, always claiming "it was better then." No it wasn't really, even if the fifties were better in many ways for kids in the end the 'good old days' are always in our minds.
1958 was good in many ways for me but there were fears and problems also. For a start we had school and that was not my favourite place. The fears and problems of childhood disappear and we forget the bad things that caused us worry then, the fears can be worse now of course, but
we were lucky to be living in an era of peace and even prosperity, a time such as my folks had never known before. We moved into a three bedroom place, bathroom and kitchen, dad got a better job, and we got a TV. How the world changed then!
There are good memories in the past but in three quarters of the world war was raging and millions died. The 'Good old days' are always in our heads, nowhere else.