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From the foreword - by Jack Melrose

We were born into working-class Leith and Edinburgh. It was a different time back then in the nineteen-forties.  A different world as well. And not just because we had neither internet nor smart phones. The War and its aftermath touched almost everything: our thoughts and our actions;  our songs and our games; what we ate and how much; what we wore; how we lived.  

Our homes were poky two-room flats without bath, shower or running hot water in run-down Victorian tenements. Some of us might have shared a toilet with the family across the landing. Mod cons were few and far between: a plug-in valve radio, a gas cooker, maybe a clothes iron. Our dads worked long hours for small wages in blue-collar jobs. Our mums stayed home, cooked, cleaned, did laundry at the local steamie, and queued for hours to keep us fed. Our staple diet was porridge for breakfast, mince an’ tatties for dinner and white bread with margarine for tea.  

The upside was that  our lives were uncomplicated. We suffered few of the pressures and none of the angst of modern bairns; already at an early age we enjoyed freedoms they would envy, especially a licence to roam, for the City was a relatively safe place and it was our oyster. The fledgling welfare state looked after our health and wellbeing. Legislative reforms assured us of a solid Scottish education. Post-war society was in flux; opportunities abounded. So we were given the chance to make something of our lives. Now, in old age, we take our ease, marvelling at how far we’ve come.

This is just one story of one family during those times and beyond. Though a work of fiction, it’s inspired by actual events.

Jack Melrose, New Zealand, 2022

Image by Jack Melrose