Walking in the Wild West End – of Edinburgh

There are many things which have taken on the nature of Edinburgh traditions. Jenner’s (well, until it closed). The Sixties concrete excresence that is the St James Centre (or was, until it was demolished). Moaning about the cost of the trams (until they finally got built and everyone got bored with the public inquiry, apart of course for the lawyers creaming hefty fees from it).

What else? A cup of tea and a proper scone in Morningside? What about a Wild West film set in Morningside?

Yes indeedy folks, this li’l ol’ slice of the Wild West is in Springvalley Gardens Lane, Morningside, just a short step from that scone. Originally created in the 90s to help market a shop selling American-style furniture, it remains, slowly wasting in the desert air of south-eastern Scotland, increasingly hemmed in by a car workshop. You may be seeing some more of this place in the coming months.

Anyhoo, after lunch at Maison Bleu Le Bistrot (which is slowly becoming a pre-match tradition) I met my fellow fan outside Valvona and Crolla’s on Elm Row (an Italian deli very definitely something of an Edinburgh tradition, if one more commonly associated with a day out for the scone-eating ladies of Morningside) before progressing to that hallowed shrine of football, Easter Road Stadium.

Going to see Hibs once a year with my pal, the super-talented writer Kirsti Wishart, is becoming traditional, too. I’ve supported Hibs since I was a kid, but hadn’t been to see them for decades until Kirsti asked me to take her last year. It really does feel like you’re part of something, walking to the ground with all the fellow faithful and installing yourself in the Famous Five Stand.

If you don’t know your history, the team had a brief period of supremacy in the early 1950s with a forward line of Smith, Johnstone, Reilly, Turnbull and Ormond. In the early 1970s, when I was of an impressionable age, they had an even briefer period of sort-of supremacy, managed by said Eddie Turnbull, with a forward line of Edwards, Cropley, Gordon, O’Rourke and Duncan. Sadly, I could recite the entire first XI of that time, but I’ll spare you.

I’d love to say it was a classic Cup game to see, but Hibs, managerless last weekend, struggled along in second gear without ever seriously looking like losing to the lower-division Raith Rovers. It ended 3-1 Hibs, with the pick of the goals being from the no.7, Horgan, who also supplied a brilliant chipped pass for the third. There are some good players in there: let’s hope the new manager brings out the best in them.

Walking out of the ground, we encountered one of the best guitar players I know, the selfsame Kenny Mackay. It’s kind of appropriate that the two other people I knew in the crowd were creative types: you have to be something of a poet and dreamer to follow this team. Even more appropriately for an Edinburgh side, the current no. 16 shirt is worn by one Lewis Stevenson – not, so far as I know, any relative of RLS!

Then home, via a pint of something called Barista (coffee flavoured stout – who knew?) at another venerable institution, Joseph Pearce’s on Elm Row, that I’d never been in before.

The bus journey even gave me a chance to attempt a different take on the Scott Monument from the top deck of a no.16: unfortunately, the bus in front didn’t quite line up the way I wanted it to, but next time!

So there you go. Edinburgh: a place where new traditions happen every day.



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