on the benefits of walking

I’m a walker and always have been. Well since I was able to walk of course. But I’ve got Walker blood too. Dad’s mother was a Walker and Uncle Jimmie walked his way over the Braid Hills every day and lived till he was a hundred and three. Walking is obviously good for you too.

And I’m a great fan of it. I walk all over Edinburgh when I hop down there for the day. Edinburgh is such a walkable city. Take the other morning. I left the West End at about 9, got to the infamous butchers Wm Christie in Bruntsfield at 9.30 ish, had a chin-wag and shot the considerable breeze with Angus and Bob for half an hour and then trooped up towards the Pentlands. I got three quarters the way up Caerketten by 11am and took a lovely photo of Edinburgh. I piled back down the road and popped my head through the butchers door again and told Bob where I had been. He was incredulous though and I had to show him my pic that I’d taken to prove it. Some people just don’t get walking. And that’s a shame and their loss.

I bumped into my old boss, Kevin Moffat, just past Mortonhall and had a good catch-up chat and informed him that I was back into Morty as a country member.

Kevin was my boss at Ivory and Sime except he stuck at it. He became head of Blackrock in Edinburgh and now lives rather comfortably in a rather large house across from the golf club. A bright guy though and a nice one to boot. I think I was a bit of a challenge for him mind you.

But this is also the beauty of walking. You meet old kent faces. That morning I had also bumped into Raymond Stark at the foot of the Pentlands. He is another Mortonhall member and an avid walker too. He’s up the hills daily and looks a very trim and fit figure for his 64 years. Yes, who needs to pay for a gym? Give me the Pentland Hills and a few trees to hang off any day. Anyway, I also told Raymond that I was back into the club and he said that some of the old brigade would be rather happy about that. Which was nice.

I also bumped into an old ex and she got the shock of her life. She said I was looking well which is always good to hear and we caught up a bit on the past twenty years which is always a tad hard. Her life has been as non-conformist as they come. She had been a bit of a rebel in her youth and went to school one morning with a one way ticket to LA in her pocket and returned ten years later. Not a copy book St George’s lass by any means. But one with a kind and good heart.

I saw Hutch twice yesterday. Now Hutch doesn’t know me from Adam. Well unless he is pretending not to know me. Some people do you know. But he is doing a remarkably good job if that is the case. I first saw him in Greggs at the West End when he was in for his brekky like me and then later, he was loitering around the corner from Rutland Square and smoking as is his want. I have never seen Hutch without a cigarette in his hand or mouth (well except when in a Greggs queue or doing a shift at Whigham’s Wine bar). In fact mostly it’s in his mouth all said. He is a consummate smoker. Remarkable actually. It’s like watching that West Coast steam engine. I reckon that he must get through at least 60 to 80 a day by the looks of it. He always has one after the other too. Yes two. Talk about addiction there.

Anyway he is a bit of a mystery is Hutch. One person who is not a mystery is my old acquaintance Alison, who I bumped into while waiting for my bus. Her husband Thompo will definitely know Hutch because Thompo was in the same year at Heriots and Thompo knows everyone. A bit like Dave Clark who I saw in the butchers last week. Dave is also a Herioter and a man in the know. Dave looked most relaxed and has just retired from forty years at Standard Life (or was it 40 years life at Standard Death?)

Anyway, he has just won the Seniors Champ at Morty for the second year. Dave is rather defined by championship wins I’m afraid. He won the main championship twice too. Never won the junior champ mind!

So the old gossip machine is about to start churning again I fear now that I’m back in town more. Alison already knew about our wee pad and that is courtesy of Angus the butcher who is the epi-centre of all this. A very nice soul he is but just loves ‘the chat’.

I tell you what will get people talking though, as I plan to have a bit of a laugh, Zurich style. I’ll get all togged up in my ski gear, boots on and all and troop along by the West End, I’ll drop by Whigham’s or Le Di-Vin first for a little snifter, leave the skis at the door and then go and catch the 4 bus up to Hillend , walk up to the top of the dry slope, have a cursory run and then back down town for a bit of apres-ski.

Now that should get them talking back at the club.

Especially if I pop by the butchers for a wee steak pie on the way doon!

Now Wm Christie steak pies are something to talk about.

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