T’was a day spent largely on my own. I cleaned and I tidied. I read a lot, I wrote some more, I walked and thought. I dined alone and I watched a movie alone. After two weeks living in the pocket of my family in Portugal, it was kinda nice actually.
AMERICA LIBRE is an engrossing read and coming on the tail of some of the books I read while on holiday, it makes for a contrasting read. It’s much more satisfying than the book I bought while on holiday when I ran out of material. I’ve ditched that. I can’t read it because it is so poor and I regret mentioning the title and author now. It’s all ‘tell and no show’ and the plot entirely unbelievable, so I spend most of my time bemoaning it and wanting to take a red pen through it. It’s real basic stuff.
The author mentioned the research she did when she wrote the book but I don’t believe a word of it. If there’s one good thing to come from it, at least I know I AM good enough to be published on this showing.
Leith really hacked me off over the weekend. I came face to face with the uglier side of the town and it’s a side that makes living in Leith really quite shite. I love the house I have—we knew it was right the moment we saw it—but Leith itself appears to me to be like a microcosm of Scotland itself: inward looking, parochial and swarming with too many people with a bad attitude.
I’m not the only one that feels this way. I know others that see Leith as a town of cracks that has tried to paper over them and failed. The old Leith still exists and the new generation don’t like itmuch. Just try walking through Great Junction Street on any given day and you’ll see what I mean: drunks and junkies lined up against the walls, a paedophile B&B along the road, neds with furrows where their eyes should be and girls not much older than my daughter pushing a pram with one hand and holding a joint in the other.
I can hear the critics already: “all towns in Scotland are like this” and “why do you live here then?”. My answer to these are simple. No, not all towns or places in Scotland are like this but a lot are. But right at this moment I don’t care about them because this happens to be the only one I’m bringing up my kid. She plays in this town so how am I expected to be able to bring her properly up when the environment she’s exposed to is so polluted? What chance do I have?
Living here on the whole, isn’t all that bad. I enjoy Edinburgh most of the time, but when I’m not enjoying it it’s always because of the people I’ve come into contact with. There’s an element in Leith that keep this town from being what it could be, that prevent it from growing and looking out into the world. These are the real pollutants. And I find it harder and harder to live alongside this kind of thing.
I’d hate to leave this post on a low note, so what’s GOOD about Leith? Well, it has some fine bars and restaurants, it’s near the sea and the centre area around the Shore is quite nice to look at. Leith has a fantastic creative scene; writers, photographers and musicions, which is the main draw for me.
Leith is also handy for Edinburgh (the book festival, the fringe, more restaurants and bars, Waverly station, etc.), which is also nice to write about, take photographs of and walk through. So, yes, Leith has a lot of potential but it will never be better. Why? Ask the type of scum that make life hell for the good folks of the town, they might explain it better than me.