'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

Sunday, 28 October 2012

The Blog Works Its Magic Rescuing Some Things From The Mists Of Time, But Not Everything Including Koolapop!

I began typing this as a comment response to David Lines' comments which were a very pleasant surprise indeed, but quickly realised it was going to be too large a response for the comments column; not to mention the need to get my elder son Will to install a widget to prevent the distortions which appear whenever a respondent includes an apostrophe (hint, hint Will!). Anyway, great to hear from you David after all these decades.

There was an element of serendipity in us being photographed with Rhona Clelland and Marion Scott at the Boroughmuir School dance as it was the photographer who set the group up-although I certainly held a candle for Marion and I suspect David was fond of Rhona-two very bonny girls so we clearly had excellent taste! I met Marion well over twenty years ago and I think she had three children at quite a young age.

David Lines; Rhona Clelland; Marion Scott; and Peter Hoffmann
Boroughmuir Dance circa 1969/1970
Similar to Rhona many local girls from Oxgangs attended the very well run Patricia Browne Dance and Ballet School at Churchill, my sister Anne included. Several of the girls went on to enjoy professional careers including Carol Ramage (4/3) in Portugal and also Audrey Smith (6/6 Oxgangs Street) who was my girlfriend at Hunters Tryst School and who I rather liked but lost contact with when she went to Firhill School and I went to Boroughmuir School. We met up years afterwards for a drink and went dancing, but by then she was engaged to an older chap. I always looked out for her on the New Year Specials where she was a member of the dance troupe. She had a younger brother Alan-the Smiths were a rather lovely family.

Audrey Smith, Hunters Tryst Primary School circa 1965/1966
I intend doing some future blogs on the very shops which David mentions-like him they are the most significant in my memory. Similar to David, but different because of staying at the end of Oxgangs Avenue, we mostly attended the other three main shopping locations-it was only during school lunches I went to the Crescent-as David say Cruickshanks' was excellent, particularly given its size-they sold Koolapop cola which seems to have vanished into the mists of time for ever; we also used to buy collectors' cards with a piece of chewing gum, including the American Civil War series.

I agree about the smell of paraffin-it was very addictive-it was from the dry-salter's/ironmongers that depending on the season of the year we used to get either Airfix balsa wood planes; fishing nets; or cinnamon sticks (for smoking!); Campbells' Newsagents was a regular, particularly on a Sunday-I can still picture old Mr Campbell who was a gruff, but pleasant character.

I think David arrived at Hunters Tryst around P3 or P4. I always had a tremendous respect for his athletics ability-he was the one individual who I always feared at the school sports in the sprint race, knowing I would always have to be at my very best if I hoped to win-most of the races between us were probably photo-finishes! Another lad in the class who I think was quite under-rated was Stephen Drysdale-I don't think he quite realised how good he really was, which was perhaps fortuitous! I met him thirty years ago playing tennis-he was a very nice guy.

Stephen Drysdale, Hunters Tryst School, 1967
As David says, changed days-I exchanged some communications this week with a lady in America just now who is a singer-she told me she used to stay at Capelaw Court (village in the sky)-small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it!

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