It may be some time since the brass bands played "tiddley-om-pom-pom" beside Edinburgh's seaside, but there's one thing for sure, the residents of Portobello, and of the city generally, still like to "stroll along the prom, prom prom". The prom is a Porty institution.
A mile long, stretching from Joppa's distinctive pumping station in the east, to just past Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home in the west, the stretch of Tarmac with its eclectic assortment of cafes, amusement arcades and pubs is well used daily by walkers, runners, cyclists and families enjoying beach days at weekends and during school holidays. The prom users are a kind of family who know one another by sight and, when introduced at social events elsewhere in the city, say "we've seen one another somewhere before haven't we?", before concluding: "It must have been on the prom...".
There are prom shifts. The early shift belongs to dog walkers, runners and cyclists heading to work. The second shift is Tower Bank primary pupils, in their eye-catching red sweatshirts, with their parents and grandparents. Then the mums stop off at the Beach House café for a latte, and the seniors with time on their hands do the second dog-walk shift before finding a bench from which to watch the world go by. The lunch crew makes for The Espy, on Bath Street, or the Dalriada, off Bedford Terrace, or grab a bag of chips from the Porto Restaurant or the arcade. Then there are more dog-walkers, and schoolchildren returning, with pent-up energy to be burned in a quick run on the sand. Then the cyclists come back, the dog walkers are out yet again, the teens make the prom their own as dusk falls, and the pub crowd heads for the bars. And the last ones on the beach are probably the dog walkers ... again.
But how many Porty folk actually stop to think about what they're walking, running or cycling on? Or more to the point, how they'd like what they're walking on to look?