'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, 29 September 2013

Comment From Alan Brown

Comment: Hi Peter, First off can I just say your blog is fantastic! All the photos and stories just bring Oxgangs back to life, the trips down Braidburn valley everything you've mentioned throughout this Blog has had me going 'We used to do that too!' (did you roll your easter eggs down the 'grass steps' at the Braidburn Valley?). As I got older, I can remember Burn jumping all the way through the Braidburn Valley, trips to 'The Gully', Crab Apple fights (crab apples were collected from the trees by the Braidburn and stored in bags for each team then the battle would commence ~ what a mess we made!), British Bulldogs, walking up the Pentlands, Skateboarding down Naffi Hill. I also owned a Raleigh Chopper 1976 model, it was the best bike I ever owned although the Gear stick position was in a dodgy place.

I can remember Callum Orr, he was in my class (72'-75'). I have a vague recollection of him bringing some fantastic toys to school, a bright and clever lad, he seemed like the ultimate model pupil at Hunters Tryst. Teachers ~ I can only remember Headmaster Mr Conway and a Mrs Sym but not much else, I can remember the strong smell of sawdust which seemed to follow the Janny as he stalked the corridors in his long Brown coat and pail.
I realise that my time at Hunters Tryst began long after you had moved on but I wonder if you have any recollection of a Scot/Dutch family who lived in one of the stairs on Oxgangs St, either one of the ones next to the main road or the next one up. My classmate and pal Tony (Whinnier?) I can't remember the exact spelling. He had an older brother Stuart? and an older Sister, I think. They spoke English with heavily accented dutch which always had me laughing. They were good friends of mine and I always wondered what happened to them as I left H.T. in '75. Cheers, Alan Brown 

Response: Thanks Alan-my sister Anne had a similar view of Callum and held a candle for him. I didn't really know him and he started doing well at athletics after I stopped-he was a good all-rounder competing in decathlon reaching international level. There's a Power of 10 website that may give you some information. The last I heard he was the head of an academic institute in the Midlands area. If we were off on an adventure toward the Pentland Hills we occasionally were in the NAFFI-it always had an unusual feel to it compared to the likes of The Store. I had forgotten until you mentioned it, but the original janny at Hunters Tryst was a Mr Phillip who had a tied house outside the school at Oxgangs Rise-he too wore a brown warehouse coat, so I assume they were standard issue from Edinburgh Corporation-I guess with 300-400 kids there was always someone being sick thus the trail of sawdust! Sorry I don't recall the Dutch family-I moved away in 1972 so perhaps they arrived after me.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Comment From Alan B on The White Lady

Very interesting story! Recalling an account from the early 1970's by my pal Eric Mullen (Oxgangs Ave) he, his sister, Liz, and my brother Dougie Brown, Derek Aitken, Stuart Robertson and possibly Stevie Montgomery ventured up to Comiston House/Farm ruin as a dare, while exploring around, unknown to them, Liz Mullen climbed onto the roof and rang an old bell, resulting in 5 wee laddies doing somersaults in fear and taking off at great speed. :D

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Comment From Paul Kaszynski

myself, a brat who vaguely gazed
on the knee high nineteen fifties
and the waist high nineteen sixties
and couldn't figure numbers worth a damn
was always a chancer
and given three lines to add I'd put the middle row
down as the answer
but I would read all day if I could get away with it
and all night too with a flashlight under covers
of Merlin of the borders
and in seeking out the stories of Britain's ancient lineage
I delved
on days subtracted from the blackboard's paltry tyrannies
among dog eared authorities, back shelved in libraries 

I absolutely loved this comment which arrived yesterday from Paul Kaszynski. In the Comments section of the blog it arrived as a normal paragraph, however in my e mail box it was jumbled up as in the above extract-I think it's a startling piece of poetry which resonates with me with fantastic imagery-made me think of the great Polish poet, Czeslaw Milosz-check out his poem Encounter. Thanks Paul!

Paul Kaszynski

Yesterday was a red letter day as I received e mails from Paul and Douglas Blades and a big, big surprise-a lovely update on the Douglas family from Ali Douglas who has featured so prominently in The Stair. I don't think I've see Ali for forty years, but I hope to remedy that!

For Paul's full e mail comment (slightly edited), see below:

I was pleasantry surprised after dropping down the internet rabbit hole to find my self remembered.on Sturmey-Archer; Zen; and Lance v Boo-Boo + The Hoffster v Eastern Scottish! My sons stay in Firrhill Loan and I still take a walk round the area usually Colinton Dell. We moved up to 6/3 Oxgangs Street from Slateford Village about 1962. Yes, I'm still cycling just the same but never as a sport-it's the freedom and the means to be. 

All these names, some forgotten some not-I can think of a few more that have not appeared in your blog and if you wish I could add. I now live in Livingston-its a bit like Oxgangs Woods with a view to the hills which is great. As for myself-a brat knee high in the nineteen fifties who vaguely gazed to the hills and then waist high in the nineteen sixties; and couldn't figure numbers worth a damn; was always a chancer and given three lines to add I'd put the middle row down as the answer; but I would read all day if I could get away with it and all night too with a flashlight under the covers of Merlin; of the Borders and seeking out the stories of Britain's ancients lineage I delved on days subtracted from the blackboard's paltry tyrannies among dog eared authorities, back shelved in libraries 

Thanks Paul Kaszynski,on Facebook. I'm now going to prove I'm not a robot , I like that!