Sometimes the various WordPress challenges are quite difficult and require a great deal of thought to come up with something that will pass muster. This week’s challenge, entitled ‘Finding Your Place’ is quite easy since much of what I’ve written here has been about a sense of place and belonging. While I grew up in Dunbar, I consider the couple of years I worked at Prestongrange Museum incredibly important in shaping the person I am today, including in how I work and how I have been able to better interact with those around me. Quite a few of my friends I met there and every time I go back, I feel a sense of homecoming, even while my home now is many miles away and I don’t even work in a museum anymore. Nevertheless, more than a bit of me that was shaped there, from how I don’t feel shy about getting stuck into a job that needs done, even the more grotty ones, to how I can improvise and talk without a script, honed by doing museum tours and school groups. The place is quiet often and there were days we didn’t see many people at all. There were many more days it was cold than there were days when shorts could be worn. But it was where I worked and I loved it. I still do.
Every time I go to PG, I like to walk around the site, remembering facts and days I worked there, people and faces forgotten for years until just then at that moment. The site was worked from 1174, by a charter awarded to the monks of Newbattle, to 1975, when the brick works closed. I walk by the various buildings and usually around the old harbour of Morrison’s Haven across the way, now filled in, looking around and across the Firth of Forth, imagining the maritime traffic that served the great ports along the Forth as well as the great industrial activity closer to where I stand. I think through the different industries that once operated and then wonder how many passing people know what happened there. Not many, probably. Then I walk on and come back another day, to remember and reflect some more.