Reunion Part 3 – Off Track We Find the End


We wander down the woodland paths, wishing we had bags with us to do a spot of spontaneous wild garlic foraging. A gate marks the end of the designated woodland and we are met by a sports field with a view of Arthur’s Seat in the distance. The fence surrounding the pitch is complete, except for one giant gaping hole which might let anyone in.

A forgotten lawn of rolled up astroturf sits on the grass alongside shipping containers, one spray-painted. A solitary sapling is surrounded by barricades that crowd it, as if hoping for support. In the distance, children can be heard out at play but they are far away.

To the right, a prefabricated building we think might be more sports facilities, and the high wall nearest to us has a mural of a race course, horses mid-race, now faded in blue.

ADULTED is written on the pavement. A moment wild speculation ensues before the letters gain a space, reforming, ADULT EDucation. We must be at a community centre or a high school. Due to the pandemic it lies empty and looks forlorn, peeling paint aging like wrinkled skin. Most of the lights seem to be out, the building is dark, its tinted windows held together by tape.

Brutalist steps go up to classrooms and down to unknown basements. A technical classroom gives off low budget horror film vibes with saws outlined against the opaqued windows. Past the boiler house finally finding a road. Still unsure as to where we are, we cross and head down into the most peculiar porticos – made for car parking spaces and unusual for Edinburgh. By them, cottages are uniform and well kept. We reach the end of the road and see a big sign saying “Thistle Centre”. Unknowingly and serendipitously we have found the beginning of the walk just as we end, back on track again.

On the bus home, ideas for a collaborative artists’ book project begin to form. We think about how to convey the feelings experienced through the walk using book structures and over the next few weeks we make many different maquettes exploring the unfolding sequence of events and how to convey the time spent. We discuss how to describe the places we have seen through image sequencing, text, poetry, typography and graphics. Finally a form settles and the finished object emerges.

And the next part will be up to you, the reader.