Monday, 21 March 2011
Good Local Amenities...21 Years Ago
Photo: London Hearts website
The Righteous Brothers used to warble that time goes by so slowly. Fine singers as they were, I have to disagree with that assertion. It seems scarcely believable that 21 years have now passed since I secured a job in Edinburgh after spending three months unemployed and living with my father in Paisley. I started at Lothian Health Board on 26 March 1990. By the following Thursday, I was looking at a flat to rent. City Centre flat for rent with good local amenities said the advert. I contacted the estate agent who told me the flat was in the Gorgie area of Edinburgh - did I know it? Did I know it? I had spent many a Saturday afternoon there watching the mighty Heart of Midlothian!
When he took me to view the flat, I could scarcely believe my eyes. He warned me it was a top floor flat - in an eight-floor tenement. Fair enough, I said. Then he told me it was in Wheatfield Street. Even better, I thought. Wheatfield Street was right next to Tynecastle Park. Then he opened the door and showed me in. I was immediately drawn to the living room and the view. The flat looked directly on to Tynecastle Park - which in 1990 was part open terracing. I could watch my beloved Hearts play without the need to leave the house! The agent asked ‘Do you want time to…?’
‘I’ll take it!’ I replied, metaphorically biting the offer from his hand. I was in heaven!
I moved in the following week. My father very kindly drove me and what belongings I had to Edinburgh. Mrs Smith and I had moved our furniture into storage in Aberdeen so there wasn’t much. The flat was furnished in any case. As my father turned to leave to return to an empty flat for the first time in nearly three months, I did something I seldom did. I hugged him. My father was a tower of strength to me in that three months in 1990 and for that, I shall always be enormously grateful. I had achieved my dream. I was now working and living in Edinburgh - the huge gamble had paid off. I went up to Aberdeen the following weekend - and returned with Mrs Smith and the girls on the Saturday afternoon. My happiness was complete although Mrs Smith was highly suspicious about the location of our new abode.
Looking back now I think to myself - thank goodness Hearts were still four years away from building the Wheatfield Stand…