Nostalgia: ‘I was captivated by the Easter church service’

ALLAN Dodds is the author of Laughin’ on the ither side o’ ma face, an autobiographical account of Edinburgh through a child’s eyes. Here, he shares some Easter memories.

“As a child I always looked forward to Easter for two reasons. The first was because being born in May my first Easter recollection was of seeing blossom out on the trees in the Botanic Gardens.

“Approaching the age of two I was acquiring an extended vocabulary and when my mother told me the name for blossom I reacted in an unexpected way, refusing to say the word and instead saying ‘blossman’.

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“Mother was concerned because I usually picked up new words effortlessly. Try as she might, she could not get me to pronounce the word correctly. Unknown to her, I did not like the sound of the word as it sounded too much like the word ‘bottom’, which I knew was a ‘bad’ word.

“The second reason for looking forward to Easter was because my parents attended Broughton Place Church, now Lyon & Turnbull’s auction rooms.

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“The Easter hymns were lovely with beautifully expressed emotions as in ‘When I survey the wondrous cross . . .’, or ‘The head that once was crowned with thorns . . .’.

“As a young child I was captivated by the ceremony and majesty of the Reverend Dr George S Gunn’s sermons, not to mention the spectacle of his crimson Doctoral robes that he would wear for such a special occasion.

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“Edinburgh in those days of the 1940s seemed a more genteel and considerate city than it now is, and the severe austerity enforced upon us did us no harm in retrospect.”