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42

hours at houses and shops, cowboys and indians. Here was where we built our bonfire on bonfire night, and we would collect old furniture and junk from people to build it as high as we could. Very often the junk we collected became treasures for us; for example, one year I recall we collected an old three piece suite and a piece of carpet. We made a small fire, placed die carpet in front of it and arranged the suite around it. There we sat in comfort baking potatoes in the fire. Then one of the boys we knew had collected an old out-of-tune squeeze box which we all had a go at playing thus we were well entertained for yet another evening, simple pleasures but priceless and never to be forgotten.
The crowd of boys and girls we mixed with all stayed around the same area, known as "The Bottom Pans" and the boys and girls who stayed up at The Shrine or the top end of Prestonpans were known as "Top Fanners". We rarely fought or argued with each other, but some of us went to the pictures in Tranent and were sometimes set upon or chased by children of our own age who we called "The Belters" a name which Still stands today if you come from Tranent. My own father was a Belter and my brother and I failed to mention this to our pals, who at the time would be cooking up plans to get the Belters paid back for what they had done to them.
The building which is now called Eskplan, used to be a tyre factory. My father was employed there and I used to go over at half past twelve with a flask of tea and sandwiches for "my da" as we called him. I would often share his piece with him, and we would sit on the wall adjoining the factory over-looking the beach and feed crusts to the seagulls. Often my da would make us swallows birds made from black rubber, which he made from spare bits of tyres melted down, and we would attach elastic to them and play for hours. When the tyres were stacked up into piles, one on top of the other, we would play hide and seek, hiding down inside the piles. Then when the factory closed down, my brother and his pals used to play on top of the roof which is very high and slopes down on to the beach. One night they had been playing there, when my brother crashed through it, to fall thirty feet below on to a concrete floor. I don't think I shall ever forget that night. A girl came to our door with the bad news, and we rushed over in time to see my brother being carried into the ambulance. What a mess he was in he had concussion, two black eyes, broken wrists and a perforated eardrum that put paid to his escapades over at the factory anyway.
There was another favourite place where we would play for hours, and that was the old brickworks, now the site of the Prestongrange Mining Museum. We would chase each other in and out of the kilns, and there
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