I like my home "town". It suits me very well indeed. I have lived in both of Scotland's biggest cities and in the lovely countryside near to the English border but here, I can honestly say, is the only place where I have been acutely aware of a Sense of Community and so, because I believe good things should be shared, I am inviting you to a little tour of Broughty Ferry.
Up until 1911 Broughty Ferry was a town in its own right then, much to the chagrin of its population, it was incorporated into the nearby city of Dundee.
The main business of the place used to be fishing and in the nineteenth century more than 80 fishing vessels were based here. Even among the humble fishermen there was a hierarchy. Those who fished for salmon further up the River Tay were the Princes of their profession.
There was another hierarchy at work in the Ferry. The poor and the humble, such as the fishermen I have just mentioned, tended to live very close to the shore in cottages or, sometimes, lean to shacks, while a few streets back, lived the middle classes and white collar workers, such as school teachers and shopowners.
Further back, and high up on Reres Hill, lived the rich in their Mansion Houses that looked down condes- endingly on the rest of the community. Some of these houses bore spectacular witness to the wealth of their owners, many of whom were Jute Barons who owned factories in nearby Dundee.
One owner, who owned a particularly beautiful house (its name escapes me) commissioned an ornate painted ceiling from one of the leading FRENCH Artists of the day. After the building was torn down the whole ceiling was moved, lock, stock and barrel, to the store room of a museum in Dundee, where it remains to this day - unseen and unappreciated.
The first railway line in Scotland passed through the Ferry but, long before the railways, there was the Stagecoach and in King Street there is still a reminder of that long lost world. The Eagle Inn which is still operating was a staging post and did a good trade sustaining the weary traveller with food and drink.
Being on the Coast, Broughty Ferry has often been touched by the Shadow of War. Broughty Castle, which stands near the mouth of the River Tay was a military garrisson as far back as the days when Napoleon was Britain's biggest worry and during the second World War anti aircraft batteries were stationed on the beach.
Much further back than that, French troops landed on the beach on their way to help the Scots fight the English in nearby Dundee.
Nowadays, though, apart from the odd "punch up" outside one of the bars at the week-end, its a quiet place. The yachts from the local yacht club are often out on the riover, people walk their dogs along the beach and the remaining houses of those old Jute Barons look benignly on the rest of us.
As I said my home town suits me fine. Basically, everything I want and need is within walking distance. As an added convenience, I live right above one of the oldest pubs in this area. The Occidental Bar is a fine old, traditional Scots bar where you can meet people from all walks of life. it has its very own cast of "characters" and when I want a bit of company I look upon it as an extension of my living room!