Thank you to Matt Rooney, New Cumnock. Ayrshire, Scotland, for the recollections of life in and around Edinburgh. 

Rosewell is a village that lies about 10 miles to the south of the centre of Edinburgh.

Matt wrote:

" The Tatties "

[Digging potatoes from the fields]

I remember volunteering for " The Tatties " when I was at school.  Even in thon far off days I was nobody's fool. Apart from the 2 extra weeks we got away from our class, we got to glean the field sort of en masse.  The 2 weeks we got off was added to our 6 weeks holidays.

I went to St. Matthews R. C. School in Rosewell.  As most of the pupils were from Rosewell and its surrounds, that was where we picked tatties.

One farm was on the road to Howgate, before the rubbish tip, There's a firm working it as an opencast site now.

The other farm was on the road to Lasswade.  In my younger days we only knew it as Cemetery Road.   Willie, one of my pals at school is buried there. Now that Rosewell has its by-pass its the first farm on the left when you turn making for Lasswade.    


During the War they were allotted prisoners to help on the farm.  We only knew them as kind gentle souls, as at our age we never thought of them as the enemy.  I think most of them were German as a lot of them returned to the area after the War.

I believe there were also Italian P.O.W.s in the area but I'm not sure where they worked,


As children, everything was to us play-acting.  The cowboys were still beating the Cree and the Sioux Indians at the Pictures every Saturday matinee.

Just as long as we got our Pocket Money that was all that mattered. As a wee boy I never thought of where the money came from, My Mum was a Widow  - Dad died when I was 4 of Pneumonia.  Mum had 5 of us to look after.

Matt Rooney, ( now aged 73)  30 August 2005


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