Country Corner


I took this photograph of the River Esk for no reason other than the tranquility of the scene, despite the location being right in the middle of Musselburgh.

In the event, the unusual quality of the light has given the picture a real old-fashioned flavour, more akin to some of the scenes I recall from the 1950s, when almost every house had a coal fire.

On muggy days, the chimney smoke would not rise, but simply hung around in the mist, giving a hazy tint to the scene, such as you never see these days.

Town buildings were almost black from years of exposure to this stuff, which was only added to by the copious plumes of black smoke which so excited us boys every time there was a “lum on yag”, or a chimney fire if you happened to be posh!

Even in the late 70s, I recall as I drove towards the village at lousing time, all the houses would be “coalin up”as everyone lit their fires for an evening around the hearth.

This often resulted in the whole village being practically invisible under a low blanket of hanging smoke.

Of course, in those days, no one had heard of things like greenhouse gases, climate change or global warming.

In fact, as I recall at the time, the prophets of doom were all wringing their hands and warning us of an impending ice age which was imminently approaching!

More Country Corner in this week’s Advertiser.