Few might say a poke of chips is the secret to good health, let alone the key to a successful marriage.
But long-time Newtongrange residents Tommy and Margaret Pearson would beg to differ.
A 60-year marriage that blossomed from a meeting outside a chip shop in Dalkeith is still going as strong as ever, with the happy couple celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary on November 28 last year.
Tommy can still recall first meeting the love of his life as she was leaving the store with a bag of chips in her hand.
The cheeky chappie, who was celebrating his 21st birthday, declared “I’ll have one of those” as he pinched several chips away from his eventual bride-to-be.
It started off an unlikely romance that would ultimately lead to the pair marrying at St Paul’s Church in Gorebridge in 1952.
Tommy, now 87, worked as a machinist with the Lothian Coal Board for all of his working life, having been born and bred in Newtongrange. Margaret, four years his junior, was living in nearby Arniston when they met.
Their first home was a Coal Board property in Newtongrange, where they had two children who were also named Tommy and Margaret.
Tommy Jnr said: “My father was an engineer all his days on the surface of the pit. He was a pretty good engineer as well. He worked there basically from when he left school and he left early, as people did in those days.”
Outside of work, Tommy Snr pursued his twin passions for pipe playing and pigeon racing.
He was a founding member of the Newtongrange Pipe Band and enjoyed playing the practice chanter in his later years.
He also kept pigeons, while fishing was among his other favourite hobbies, as well as DIY around the couple’s house at Firth Street during his retirement years.
His wife immersed herself in Newtongrange village life, receiving three medals for her blood donations and working as a member of the local Women’s Rural Institute.
The couple celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary with a recent meal alongside family members, including their two grandchildren, at the Stair Arms Hotel in Pathhead.
Tommy Jnr said his parents’ marriage had been particularly strong over the years. He said: “They’re just a couple of great folk.
“I’m sure during 60 years of marriage there’s probably been one or two rocky patches, but we never noticed it. They’ve lived a fairly contented life.
“It’s quite impressive in this day and age.”