22 October 2017

The White House

I stumbled upon this house while wandering through Leith and immediately remembered being taken there when I was very young, perhaps five or six years old. It is called Lamb's House, which I assumed, on my first visit, was because it was very white. I do remember wondering why it was not called Sheep's House, however, as it seemed a bit too big for a lamb. It was used as some sort of day home for the old and frail in those days, and I was taken in by my mother to visit my terrifyingly aged, tiny, old and crinkled, wrinkled grandmother, not long before she died. Its name, I now know, derives from the original owner, Andrew Lamb, and apparently Mary Queen of Scots spent about an hour inside it in 1561, just as I did in around 1960. To quote the historical record - of Mary's visit, not of mine - the Queen "remainit in Andro Lamb's hous be the space of an hour". And the house has had many coats of white paint since young Mary "remainit in" it, and a few since I myself remainit in it. This day, in 2017, I just remainit outside of it, pausing, looking, remembering, thinking of my little self in short trousers and new school blazer, and of how the eyes that were seeing and the sight being seen were little changed since my only previous visit, unlike most other things within and around; then having thought, I moved on.


  1. Mary was 19 when she visited. A man with an axe lopped her head off when she was 44. I suppose I have fared better, thus far, although with less adventure. Best not to ponder though, sometimes.

  2. Your last sentence is the wisest you have ever written. As we get older, so much of the past re-emerges.Things deeply buried are pushing out and disturb the fragile equilibrium of what we hope has been achieved throughout the years.