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in the High Street. My mother always forbade us to go near any public houses, guising or otherwise, but once we were out, all caution was thrown to the wind and we would go to the doors of the Blackbull and plead with the regulars to "Please help the guisers". Often we were invited in to "do a turn" for the punters, but my brother and I had to decline, as my father might have been inside enjoying his pint, and if he had seen his own children guising in a pub, we .would have been ordered straight home, and made to wait until he came home, so we never went as far as to enter the pub. But we would still have a share of the money and crisps the others received, so that was okay.
Our summer holidays from school were nearly always spent on the beach behind Antonelli's chip shop. We would either go in the water for a swim or play on the rocks at houses or shops, or we would go for a walk along the beach. Heading towards the Cuthill area, we would walk over the top of the coal bing and cut across the road to Sammy Burn's yard, where we would play among the old furniture and knick knacks until we were thrown out.
In the autumn, we would go raiding the orchards for apples and pears. The one worth raiding was Mary Eraser's; it was a decent sized orchard in the grounds of Preston Tower. Mary Eraser was the lady who owned a small tuck shop in the buildings which adjoined the orchard next to Hamilton House. She grew plums, pears and apples and a few raspberries. There was, we believed, an element of danger when plundering here, not just the danger of being caught, but the fear of a ghost named the Green Lady who haunted Preston Tower. Indeed on a night when there was a full moon, and the clouds were racing across the sky, this orchard took on a very spooky atmosphere with Preston Tower outlined in the background. We imagined all sorts of evil lurked behind the trees and didn't we see the Green Lady floating past the window in the Tower and hear her moaning, when we were stealing apples. But this never put us off, and the fruit tasted all the sweeter.
There was an old man who used to come to Prestonpans selling toffee apples from an old wheelbarrow. He had a long red beard and wore a long trenchcoat and boots. He would blow a whistle and call "toffee apples" to let us know that he was there. We always begged our mother for a sixpence each to buy one, but as she thought it was a bit expensive (you could buy toffee apples from Tail's shop for threepence each) we never got to buy one from Ginger as we called him. But we would go out and tell him we were not allowed to buy one, and he would turn very abusive and curse and swear at us, whereupon we would set our black and white collie dog Chico on to him. This was funny to watch, for our dog would flee at
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