100 weeks of Scotland: Week twenty three

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AN old petrol pump, two Melrose men eating their lunch, a pleasant pie display and a Borders baguette shop all feature in this week’s photos from Alan McCredie’s 100 Weeks of Scotland photo project.

In the run-up to the independence referendum in 2014, photographer Alan McCredie will be telling the story of the nation in photographs.

Picture: Alan McCredie

Picture: Alan McCredie

Petrol pump

Like so many people I often pass the Borders by, heading southwards or northwards. Yet when I do stop, and again like many people, I find it one of the most beautiful parts of Scotland. Even then it is an area of the country I know so little about, other than the old tales of Reivers and Border Kings. I had been to Melrose & Galashiels only once before even though each town is barely 40 miles from my home. I wanted images of these places that were not the average touristy shots but more in keeping with the kind of street photography that is seen more in large urban conurbations. All I can say is that if I lived in Melrose I think I would be monstrously fat. I don’t think I have ever seen so many cafes and food shops in so small a place and it says much for the self-control of the locals that they remain so trim.

I had been dragging the dog past numerous foody smelling doorways for quite a while trying to find something to photograph without success and was almost about to pack it in when, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted an old petrol pump up an alleyway leading to a goods yard. I had hit the motherload. There is something about these old pumps that I am completely (and worryingly) in love with. To find one nowadays is so rare – I last saw one ten years ago in a small village high on a windy plateau in southern France. I have even trawled the internet trying to locate some (I believe there are a couple somewhere in Northern Scotland). And here one was, tucked away just off the main street in Melrose. For me this was Petrol Pump Pornography.

Lunchtime in Melrose

After taking far, far too many images of the damn thing, and trying convince myself that being obsessed with ancient fuel dispensing devices was perfectly normal, I spotted a couple of Melrose lads eating their lunch on a bench, and directly opposite them, a window display so pleasant that even a vegetarian like myself had to be led, struggling, away from.

Borders baguette shop

After Melrose I drove on to Selkirk and then retraced my steps to Galashiels. I had been here once before to take photographs in the wonderful School of Textile & Design but had no memory of the enormous Tesco’s that seemed to have descended, mothership-like, into the heart of the town. My final image for this week, the girls in the baguette shop, is again food related. A hungry lot, these borderers.

• Alan McCredie began the ‘one hundred weeks of scotland’ website in October last year, and it will conclude in Autumn 2014. McCredie’s goal is to chronicle two years of Scottish life in the run-up to the independence referendum.

McCredie says ‘one hundred weeks...’ is intended to show all sides of the country over the next two years. On the site, he says: “Whatever the result of the vote Scotland will be a different country afterward. These images will show a snapshot of the country in the run up to the referendum.

“The photos will be of all aspects of Scottish culture - politics, art, social issues, sport and anything else that catches the eye.”

You can follow the project at www.100weeksofscotland.com. You can also follow Alan on Twitter.

• All pictures (c) Alan McCredie/ 100 weeks of Scotland