along Princes Street. Too many chain
stores now, he thought, too many plastic fronts looking out on
the passing throng. He pointed the car towards the coast. Portobello
passed in a blur, its narrow High Street potholed with roadworks.
He caught glimpses of the Forth as he drove through the Honest
Toun, passed the racecourse and turned along the coast road towards
his destination. At least Mrs Herman's looked the same.
The coast road had been straightened
out and the sea pushed back a few hundred yards. He made his first
stop at the remains of one of Prestonpans' two seaside pits, —
Prestongrange. It was now part of the Scottish Mining Museum.
The old beam engine had been restored and several other buildings
housed a variety of historical evidence of mining's past.
He looked back up the coastline towards
Musselburgh arid picked out the shape of the breakwater built
to push back the waters and allow an area of land to be infilled
with fly-ash from the new power station down the coast at Cockenzie.
He didn't linger, after all he had been a "Links" man not a "Grange"
man. The entrance to "the Pans" had changed completely during
his absence. Gone were the miners rows of Morrison's Haven and
the "Kittle", replaced by modern houses. The West End Branch of
the Co-op store where Jock had once ruled was now converted into
a pub "The Lady Susan". Bourhill's and Allan's yard had gone with
the Primary School but a new yard "Sammy Burn's" full of character
and trendy rubbish had taken its place. The tyre factory was now
a garage but Antonelli's still sold great ices and the Goth stood
in tarnished splendour. The road was wider through the main street,
many new houses having filled in the gaps left by the demise of
The Black Bull, Aggie Bagnall's and The Queen's Arms. Funny how
you missed the old pubs. There were new names on many of the shop
fronts — gone were Turnbull's, Wilson's, Mellis's, Beenie Allan's
and Laidlaw's replaced by Morgan, McAinsh, VG Stores, and the
Dragon Way, all incomers. However the Pans Co-op still reigned
supreme with the prime position where the Scratcher once stood.
He slowed the car down below the Auld Kirk, pleased to see the
Coronation Gardens kept so well but cringed at the monstrosity
of modern art on the grass near the sea wall. Some of Fowler's
brewery buildings had gone but his heart lifted when he read in
large letters PRESTONLINKS Shopping Centre. At least someone had
the sense to preserve the old names. He was nearly there — only
another half mile past the buildings where the famous "Wee Heavy"
was once made. He braked suddenly and pulled up at 'the side of
the road. There wasn't a trace of what had once been a hive of
activity. He got out of the car and climbed the grassy slope.
He was dwarfed by the bulk of the power station behind him — on