Tuesday, 25 September 2012

When Life Hands You Lemons - Go To Port Seton

Someone on Twitter recently gave me a sympathetic mention (or should that be “shout” - I have no idea what the hip terminology of the day is) simply because “It’s not easy being green.”

It can indeed feel like a struggle. The sort of struggle that leads you to conclude that everyone else is a muppet and humanity is as safe as an audience member in the vicinity of a Gonzo motorcycle stunt.

I’m one of those Greens who argue (politely) for choices, options and ease, rather than a finger-wagging Green (do they still exist - indeed did they ever?) who lectures people about the evilness of their car use, supermarket shop and cheap flights to the Med. I’d rather it was easy to cycle to the shops, choose to take the bus and go on holiday by rail.

So what’s all this jibber-jabber got to do with Port (Seton) and lemon?

Well, a recent Sunday family outing highlighted how difficult it can be when you’re Green and a parent.

It was a lovely sunny day - the last of the season it turned out. Today we’re battling a hurricane, floods and a John Carpenter-esque sea foam invasion. (I’m imagining the husky-voiced late night DJ on Northsound: “Ahoy there Footdee. Be warned the foam is moving towards you. Stay indoors.”)

We decided to make for North Berwick, to scamper along its golden beaches and climb the Law to marvel at --- spoiler alert --- the fibreglass replica of a whale’s jawbone.

I’d looked up bus and train times and worked out we could catch a bus from outside our front door that would take us a couple of miles to the train station where after a short wait we’d catch the train to North Berwick. From house to beach would take just half an hour, and all by modestly priced mass transit. Hurrah!

Sadly upon arrival at the rail station we were greeted with the dreaded words: Engineering Works. A quick call to the Scotrail helpline confirmed there would be no trains but a replacement bus was operating. I say replacement and operating but after almost an hour of waiting we saw no replacement and no operation.

Would it have been too much trouble to place a notice about this work on the timetables I had looked up? Or how about - and this is really radical stuff - a display screen at the bus stop that not only tells you about the current running of the buses but also other notable public transport issues locally? You can bet if the Forth Road Bridge was closed for Engineering Works the fact would be advertised on massive roadside gantries before you even got on the city bypass never mind the bridge approach road.

Luckily the cakes we’d packed for our beach picnic kept our wee Blonde Bairn occupied at a very lonely train station, along with various games involving dancing and stepping on shadows. We eventually trudged half a mile to a bus stop from where we could get a bus along the coast but I’m an idiot so we got on a number 26 without realising it was one of those pesky 26s that goes to Tranent rather than Seton Sands. We had to bail out in Prestonpans and walk to Port Seton where we could be guaranteed something that might resemble a sandy beach but nowhere as cool as NB.

We paused to wolf the remainder of our picnic next to the colossal coal power station at Cockenzie. The giant ring and ball bearings you see are from coal crushing chambers inside the plant. The coal needs to be a fine dust before it’s burnt. These massive widgets rotate almost 40 times a minute! It’s extraordinary to think the power they consume is less than what the plant produces - coal is powerful stuff.

Scottish Power is still swithering over whether it should convert the station to gas when the coal operation ceases next spring. You can’t help wondering what else this site could be - why another fossil fuel dinosaur?

Further along the coast towards Port Seton harbour we found an amazing little sheltered bay that proved to be seaglunk heaven - see the haul of treasure on the right. Wife-features was mesmerised, literally sifting the shingle to reveal a kaleidoscope of polished glass and pottery fragments. After twenty minutes I had to drag her away. I wonder if there’s a rehab group she can join?

We enjoyed a coffee while the Bairn played in a park. This led to a revelation, which I’d urge all local authorities to act upon lest I visit my wrath upon them. Wife-features is not a fan of wasps or bees. I don’t mind them, although stop short of tickling their tummies and saying who’s a clever vespidae.

But here’s the thing the missus has noticed and I’m now spotting everywhere I go. Why are bins put next to benches? Especially open bins like this one? They inevitably contain sticky rubbish, a major attraction for bees and wasps. Keep the bins away from where people are and hey presto no buzzing stinging brutes flitting about you when you’re trying to relax.

An alternative location for sticky bin wasp magnets? Scotrail HQ.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    Will you please post a link to your Blog at The Fatherhood Community? Our members will appreciate it and as the father of 3 teenage boys, I will too.
    Members include: Fathers, Dads, Daddies, Fatherhood Lovers, Experts and Fans.
    It's easy to do, just cut and paste the link and it automatically links back to your website. You can also share Photos, Videos and Articles if you like.
    Email me if you need any help or would like me to do it for you.
    Please feel free to share as often and as much as you like.
    The Fatherhood Community: http://www.vorts.com/fatherhood/
    I hope you consider sharing with us.
    Thank you,
    James Kaufman, Editor