It’s perhaps a wee bit early, but I have noticed some signs of Spring on my recent walks around the city. However, I am probably tempting fate. I remember at the end of February and the beginning of March last year we had very heavy snow falls and freezing temperatures in Edinburgh.
I cancelled my gym subscriptions last year when I found that I was hardly using it; I was either off sailing, on a Guitar Retreat or off on holiday somewhere. As a result I have become far less fit than I was and decided to do something about it. A friend had just completed the “Couch to 5K” app from the NHS and feels much better for it, so I thought I’d give it a go. Unfortunately, barely into the program I remembered just how much I loathe jogging. However, strangely enough, I do love walking. So for the next eight weeks I am going to walk for around 1½ hours each and every day. This turns out to be around 10,000 steps. I’ve managed to keep up the average of 10,000 steps each day for the past 2 weeks and I have to say, I do feel a bit better for it.
It was a cracking day on Monday and I had a great walk along the Water of Leith Walkway towards the Botanics. I spent some time looking around Well Court in the Dean Village. It struck me that the residents must get right pissed off with a constant stream of tourists wandering around their homes. Prior to 2007, when it was extensively renovated, it was in a bit of a state. I remember writing a project on the Dean Village as a student during my Teacher Training and much of it was little more than slum.
Dean Village was originally a milling community with 11 mills along a short stretch of the Water of Leith. There is still evidence of the mills and the “baxters” – bakers throughout the village.
Well Court was originally commissioned in the 1880s by Sir John Findlay, who was the owner of the Scotsman newspaper. The architect Sydney Mitchell designed Well Court as model housing for local workers and it was finished in 1886. There were many comforts in living at Well Court: a communal hall, a large courtyard, small but comfortable flats, most with kitchens and sculleries. Nevertheless, residency came with certain obligations. There was a night time curfew and attendance at Sunday religious meetings held in the Communal Hall was compulsory.