I knew very little about the area when we moved from the city to Balerno to be nearer my place of work.
And my husband’s first visit to the village was to view the house which became our home thirty-five years ago. It was snowing
and we fell in love with the place.
We enjoyed finding out more, driving up to Harlaw to walk in the Pentlands or cycling in the lanes around Balerno.
A favourite was cycling out the Lanark Road, turning left after the poultry farm, and skooshing through the water at the ford.
A pint in the Johnsburn House Hotel (now a private residence) on the way home was a well-earned reward.
By the time of the pandemic, our cycling days were over.
The ageing process and a fear of potholes on busier roads saw to that. Illness and lockdown-induced lethargy meant that we
rarely went walking either. On doctor’s orders, we eventually forced ourselves to take some permitted exercise by plodding round
our estate. But gradually this became a form of torture, monotonous apart from the odd social-distancing leap onto the road.
Salvation came when we decided to venture a little farther on our walks - to the outskirts of Balerno.
Soon we realised that in the past we’d travelled too fast to appreciate the lanes and pathways for themselves. Now we had fun
identifying wild flowers or listening to male blackbirds trying to out-sing one another. We shivered at unexpected creakings and
rustlings in the trees.
We took in all the country smells – the good, the bad and the yucky. We talked to the sheep and the cattle and laughed at our
There was a reconnection with places we thought we knew. Our perspective had changed along with the pace of our lives.
The Good, The Bad and The Yucky - Norma-Ann rediscovers the slow lanes