Your memories: 'The snow was right up at the door. Nobody could get out'

'IT WAS the days of jaggy balaclavas and gloves on string. I'd say to my mum I didn't want them on, but she'd make me."

Graham Chapman, 63, from Leith, fondly recalls childhood winters, with annual snowfalls and hours of fun with friends.

"I remember in the Sixties playing in Drylaw, where I lived, sledging down Easter Drylaw Bank on bread boards from the nearby baker," he says. "I'm not entirely sure how we got the boards, but I am sure we gave them back at the end of the day.

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"One of us would wait at the bottom of the hill to watch for cars, while the others came zooming down the hill. It was great fun."

The Capital is certainly experiencing its worst winter for many decades, but Mr Chapman says snowfall was far worse when he was growing up, yet people were more accustomed to it.

"Back then, we would go to school as normal and buses would often be seen with chains on them. I suppose we always knew we would get snow sometime between Christmas and February," he says.

"My dad used to have to leave his car at the bottom of a hill for days as there was no way of getting it up to the house."

On one occasion, the winter elements took Mr Chapman and his wife by surprise, forcing them to spend a night in the city's Caledonian Hotel.

"It must have been in the mid-1970s when my wife was working at the dental hospital," he says. "We went to a ball with her colleagues at the Caley, on a winter's night.

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"When we came to leave, nobody could get out as the snow was right up at the door. All the buses were stuck – it was pandemonium. The management at the Caley put us all up, for a nominal rate, which was great."

Mr Chapman also recalls the annual freezing of the pond in Inverleith Park.

"It seemed to happen every year," he says. "People would walk on it no bother, and I wouldn't be surprised if there had been some skating, too. It was totally frozen."

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