I have written here before about a place called Prestongrange, where I used to work. It used to be a brickworks, amongst many other things, and bricks are still to be found around the site and the former harbour across the road, Morrison’s Haven. For years, I have coveted a Prestongrange brick but it was only the other day when I finally acquired one.
I was walking on the beach in Dunbar, just under the Winterfield Golf Club. Amongst the shells, seaweed and, remarkably, sand were bits of brick, including some substantial clumps of brick washed up or more likely reduced from the tidal defences. Most older bricks bear a stamp with where it was made. Some were made at Whitehill, near Rosewell in Midlothian, while others, to my delight, were Prestongrange bricks, made 22 miles up the coast. This amused me greatly, given the parochial nature that Dunbar has and the disdain some people there have for Prestongrange, so I picked one up and plonked it in my backpack. I carried it all the way back to Glasgow and it sits now on my windowsill, as a reminder of my past working life as well as a link between where I grew up figuratively and literally.
On the way back, I wondered what would happen if for any reason my bag got searched and a police officer found a large house brick in the front compartment. I also thought, as I so often do, about Father Ted, and Father Jack’s brief keeping of a brick as a pet. I love my brick.