There were lost pet posters on every lamp post …
You would often see posters like this in other neighbourhoods, but never as many as this. It seems pets are going missing in Portobello on an industrial scale.
Walking along the prom, I wondered whether Portobello has it’s very own evil pet snatcher-in-residence, a criminal mastermind who specialises in snaring beloved cats and dogs just for the sheer malicious Hell of it. And at dead of night, perhaps he takes his daily catch and lets them loose in leafy Duddingston, knowing the poor kids from Craigmillar will get the blame.
Doubtless he’s a church elder, I imagined, a pillar of the community. If only they knew …
I stop at the small playpark near the amusement arcade. Late in the afternoon there are no children playing; probably gone home for tea, I reckoned. Or maybe it’s just too cauld – it’s nearly Spring but there’s still an icy blast in that wind.
With no shrieks of laughter there’s a deep melancholy about an empty playground. It’s the silence. Playgrounds should be noisy places, but the only noise here was a solitary gull calling out in the wind high above me.
I noticed a collection of hats, odd gloves and a scarf of two tied to the park railings. This was the fence of lost things.
Many years ago now, a little girl was abducted from this very park. I can still see her round, smiley wee face. There were posters on all the lamp posts back then too, and wee Caroline’s face was all over the papers and the TV. Had she lived she would be grown up now, a woman maybe spoiling her own grandchildren. Where do all those years go?
That bitter wind was picking up and I had started to feel the cold again. It was time to go, but my eye caught one last poster as I turned to leave. A local woman had disappeared on New Year’s Day close to this spot. She was last seen entering the sea, alone.
Lost pets, lost things, lost time, lost people.
As I walked away I could still hear the lone seagull calling out as he fought his losing battle.