When I was growing up, we used to take the dog out every night after tea, usually the same route, past the Pool, through the Glebe, along the Prom and back. This was all year round, even on cold, winter nights when we took torches. Dunbar sits on a point where the Firth of Forth joins the North Sea and on clear days you can see the East Neuk of Fife and even Angus from the clifftops. By night, you could see the street lights shimmering in the distance while above a whole sky of stars shone. On those walks, by day and night, I got my love of a good vista, what Patrick Geddes called the ‘synoptic view’.
I had just finished work and was walking down the ramp to the bus stop. Where I work, or one of the places, is high up, under the Glennifer Braes, and I could see streetlights for miles, across to Glasgow, Knightswood, Scotstoun and possibly even Clydebank. It was a clear night with only a few clouds dark grey on the not-quite-dark sky, though I couldn’t quite pick out many stars. I couldn’t help smiling. Being able to survey the world under you, even if you aren’t quite the master or mistress of it, can’t be beat.