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marches and lock-outs and the greed of the coal owners. But the industry was nationalised now and new bonds were being made between miner and manager, although stupid strikes still occurred, like the time they walked out when prices were increased in the canteen without consultation. He was to be one of the new breed of managers from within the industry, if he managed to pass his exams. The men knew this but it made no difference to how he was treated. They freely passed on their skills to him withholding nothing, although he remembered one old worthy who had said with a twinkle in his eye "mind noo when ye become a manager, you'll have to be a right ....." They encouraged him with the working man's respect for education, "You're no wanting to be a miner all your life, are you?".
He moved from Esk Valley to Heriot Watt for the Higher Level courses to qualify him as a mine manager. His apprenticeship was over and he returned only briefly to the "Links" after that to gain some brief experience as a shotfirer and deputy before being transferred to one of the new mechanised mines in the area. The "Links" was on its last legs, the workings too far away from the shafts to mine profitably. The land was needed for the coal-fired power station being planned to turn the coal from the new super pits into electricity for homes and factories.
He was glad now that he had left the country before his pit was razed to the ground with the mass closures of the 1960's. He had sought his fortune and found it in the mining fields of the Canadian West where the solid training of his youth had stood him in good stead in his rise to be one of the managers of the Consolidated Mining Company of. Canada.
The sound of a hooter from the power station snapped him out of his reverie. He panned once more around the landscaped slopes, the main shaft must have been over there, with the second one on this side of the road, the timber yard there and the pit baths through that break in the wall. He looked in vain for a plaque or a sign to mark where the pit had stood but there was none. He thought of all the men who had laboured below this spot, their lifetimes work gone without trace. Where were they now, dead, retired to live out a pensionless existence reliving past glories, some no doubt transferred to the deep mines of the Midlothian Basin. "Prestonlinks Colliery", surely lived in their memories as it did in his.
He drove back to the airport in time for the evening shuttle in sombre mood, full of the past but mindful of the future. He thought of the prospects now for a young Prestonpans lad full of hope as he had been 30 years ago. What could he learn now? Where could he expend his energies? Prestonlinks closed, Prestongrange a museum to the past, the saltworks now only a distribution centre, soapmaking finished, the "wee heavy"
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