Saturday, 28 January 2012

Honest Toun Move Means Honesty With Toddler

So the Big Flit is finished. Sort of.

We’ve mostly relocated from the Brighton of the North/Sunniest Town in Scotland/Tildawood to Musselburgh aka ’The Honest Toun’. I say mostly because this weekend we’re back north to scoop up final remnants from our house, give it a lick of paint and attempt to find someone who fancies renting it.

It’s been a whirlwind of events and emotions these past seven weeks since I landed my new gig at the Mither of All Parliaments. When we bought our place in Nairn five years ago I was pretty sure that was that. Being an army brat I’d moved home and school so many times I was determined as an adult to settle somewhere.

But the offer was too tempting and we are where we are, as the diplomatic cliche goes. Toddler has responded to the move pretty well. On the day we arrived in Musselburgh to collect the keys to our new pad we took a tour up the High Street looking in all the shops. Toddler went quiet and said she was a bit cold. When I asked what we could do about that she replied I could take her to her new house. Okay!

When we knew we were moving Wife-features had explained to Toddler what it meant and she seemed to understand. Why would we sugar-coat it? One of her wee friends had it explained to him by his mum and he seemed more concerned that our lassie’s train set would be moving with us! We have subsequently offered visiting rights.

In many ways our new digs are smaller than what we’ve been used to but importantly it’s got a much bigger kitchen so Toddler can be occupied at the table while a parent gets on with making breakfast, lunch or dinner. We’re also conveniently located near a legendary ice cream parlour, not to mention two butchers, two bakers, a fishmongers and a greengrocer. There is also a Goliath 24hr Tesco at the far end of town which we have already used but mainly due to being busy during the day with the relocation. And the pub across the road does karaoke on a Friday night, as we have discovered. Hey ho.

Although ‘The Burgh’ is twice the size of Nairn it’s similar in a lot of ways. It has a beach, a links, a park with a bandstand and by the looks of things lots of community activities. I’m also delighted to see the local theatre does regular cinema screenings so my services in that department won’t be required and I understand neighbouring Edinburgh has a wee book festival all of its very own!

And to cap it all I have a soon to be ex colleague who lives nearby and she has a wee girl not much younger than ours so we have high hopes of fun times ahead.

It’s widely acknowledged that changing jobs and moving house are incredibly stressful experiences so ideally I’d have a bit of a break at some point but alas I’ll be on duty till next Friday night in the current gig and the new one starts 9am Monday. Mind you, the Saturday will hopefully involve watching Scotland v England in the Six Nations or at least listening via the wireless while painting a bit of our property in Nairn. So, some relaxation via the medium of shouting.

The Sunday’s my birthday and the following day I’ll be starting a new chapter literally round the corner from where I was born.

Wife-features for some time suggested Toddler visited me at my place of work to give her an understanding of where daddy disappeared to each day. A few months back we did just that and she was instantly bored. An open plan office on the Longman Industrial Estate is as glamorous as it sounds.

I can only hope a Catalan-inspired swirl of concrete and glass with sticks on the windows and a view of Arthur’s Seat is a bit more interesting.

I’ll of course continue to be Green in the way I get to work. We’re on one of the main bus routes and there’s even a disused railway line you can cycle on between Musselburgh and Holyrood Park. I gave it a go the other day and it only took half an hour. It includes a really cool and pretty lengthy tunnel.

Moving our gear down the road was fairly fraught. I hired a long wheel base Transit van and instantly filled it with about a tenth of our stuff. Our main aim was to bring as many of Toddler’s toys and all her bedroom furniture so the new place would at least feel familiar for her. A lovely but heavy drinks cabinet (Wife-features and I are recovering lushes) had to come with us and a friend in Nairn helped me heave it into the van. My bodybuilding brother didn’t show up as promised at the Musselburgh end, causing me to drag Green Gran into action. My wee mum is now a nervous wreck and even shorter after helping me totter the cabinet the fifty yards from the van to the stairs leading to our first floor flat. Even the Chuckle Brothers would have clapped their hands over their eyes if they’d witnessed our routine.

Amid the stresses of changing jobs and moving house I’ve tried my best to keep a calm air around Toddler. It has been difficult, especially as Wife-features and I have been in conversation a lot more or on the phone so Toddler’s had to learn the hard way that it’s not always possible to talk to your parents when you want to.

Hopefully once the job gets going we’ll all get into a new routine. Meantime if the strains start to show we can get some relief at the ice cream parlour. I tell you, a hard day melts away when you are presented with three Neopolitan scoops, a snowball, whipped cream and melba sauce…


  1. May I recommend Staggs as the place to drink in Musselburgh? It's just behind the high street and has a more...eclectic clientele!

    And good luck in the new job!

  2. Best of luck in Musselburgh to both you and "wife features"

    Chris & Melanie Meecham