'And finally, not everyone’s being doing topical. In fact, here’s the rather lovely 6 Oxgangs Avenue devoted to the history of the development of the area, this week highlighting how the block of flats came into being. Could have been prompted by Who do you think you are? Or just a timely reminder that not everything worth blogging about is in the here and now.'

Kate Higgins, Scottish Roundup 26/08/2012

Thursday, 30 August 2012

An Act of Kindness

A popular picnic was to the Braid Hills-I might struggle to find it today, but there was a very shallow open cave where we would eat our picnic-if the weather turned sour it gave us some shelter too. It served as a good base from which to play. Sometimes we would venture further to the Elfin Pond on the private Mortonhall Golf Course to collect frogs.

On one occasion a group of us were setting out for a picnic-all that Iain and I had was a bottle of water each which I'd stored in my small brown haversack. All the others had sandwiches and perhaps a few sweets. I don't know how, but Hilda Hanlon somehow must have noticed this-she leaned out her window and threw down a tanner-three-pence each-and told us to get something at Jimmy's Green Van which was parked outside the stair.

 I bought us two packets of Golden Wonder crisps.

'An Act of Kindness' (Peter Hoffmann, 2008)
Or, was it Smiths?

Great blog Peter evokes many memories I especially remember the mini Olympics you used to organise and we would run between the lamposts and you would time us happy days
Ruth Blades
Great to hear from you Ruth-thanks for the prompt-definitely a future blog item! For years I had a wee notebook with all the times as well as triple jump on the small grass area across the road.Later on we held a couple of mini-Olympics at the army track at Redford Baracks-second one not completed because we got chased off by the soldiers! Peter Hoffmann


Neil King said...

This is a fantastic blog Peter, keep it up. I lived in Fairmilehead as a child in the 60s and 70s so a lot of the things you're writing about ring a bell with me too. Like not being sure if you were allowed to go around the farms by the Pentlands and the T Wood having been planted by the Trotters. Although I must say I'd always understood Hunters Tryst (a pub in the 70s) to be pronounced to rhyme with Christ. And as soon as I saw the name Blades, my first thought was of the judge of that name (because I'm a lawyer). Number 16 bus as well, although as F'head people we were more the 11 or the 15. I think these numbers are all still on the go. Look forward to more posts.

Neil King said...

Sorry, me again, somethiong else I meant to say was you might enjoy, if you've not already seen it, is the old Ordnance Survey maps of the area before Oxgangs was built and showing the local farms, Oxgangs, Comiston etc. You can see them for free at this link:-

Peter Hoffmann said...

Thank you for the kind comments and the link-it has been an unusual and enjoyable experience already.Yes, it was always pronounced to rhyme with Christ. Interesting that you too had uncertainty on your youthful outings-we always held our breath until we passed by the farmyard and left it far behind. Back then knowledge and information came slowly rather than at the touch of a few buttons-my kids are probably vaguely familiar on Rights of Access. One blog I had considered for the future was on Communication and Information. The Blades were a wonderful family and I hope to tease that strand out gradually in the coming months. I think Lord Blades' grand-daughter Fiona completed a law degree a few years ago and in her spare time is doing a Masters in history as well as French-quite inspiring! Unfortunately I don't think she's been able to use the degree professionally as it is perhaps difficult to move in to that field at a relatively advanced stage.

Peter Hoffmann said...

Neil, one further comment-I've purposely mentioned buses because they invoke particular memories-Tony Judt writes well on this in his essay 'The Green Line Bus' (The Memory Chalet)-I was always enjoyed seeing Eastern Scottish buses passing by-partly because they travelled to more romantic, rural settings and also because internally they had superior upholstery on the seats and arm rests!

Neil King said...

Peter, I used to get the 11 or 15 home from school (Watsons) and in these days you weren't allowed on the green ES buses if you wanted to get off still within the city limits. So it was very vexing when several maroon Ed Corp buses had gone past full seeing an almost empty green ES one drawing up and knowing it would stop right at your road end! To this day, with all the numerous bus companies on the streets of Edinburgh, I would never dream of getting on anything but a Lothian one (for the reason that I know where their numbers go but I've no idea about the First Group etc ones or even if you're "allowed" on one going to Wallyford or somewhere outlandish like that if you want to get off at Leith!)

I was reminiscing with someone recently about what a treat it was if the conductor gave you the end of a ticket roll, the thicker the better. Remember, they used to keep them behind the lengthways bench of seats at the back?