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In praise of - east suffolk parK.

THERE are magical places all around us.

I mean places that give you a funny feeling. Aesthetically pleasing, sure, but more than that. They give you a little tingle.

All right, let's get real and cut to the chase: East Suffolk Park. You say: "Where's that, bawheid?" Well, you could ask the same question of 90% of Embra's circular-craniumed citizenry and they wouldn't possess a scooby.

East Suffolk Park is a gem hidden away in the south of Edinburgh,a stone's throw from the mall that I frequent every two or three days for social and moral sustenance.

Yet I never knew ESP existed. And I thought I was familiar with every inch of Suffolk-on-Forth, as the Scottish capital is cruelly dubbed.

It took a Shetland lass to show me East Suffolk Park. She'd stayed there while at Moray House teacher training college. The 19-acre site housed the halls of residence. These are now private flats. The architecture is on a pleasantly human scale: neither anciently humungous nor teeny a la mode. Built in the Lorimer Arts and Crafts style, the first three of the five hostels were formally opened in 1917.

But the buildings would be diminished without the massive, open green space around which they cluster. It's this that gives the place its soothing sense of calm.

The key to life is a big bit of green, and this one is all the better for having no purpose other than just being. Developers wanted to build on it but, fortunately, were rebuffed, as I hope are any ideas of a return to playing fields. We don't want muddied oafs sullying the ambience.

It's the atmosphere that makes the place special. Lying in the lea of Arthur's Seat, it's quiet and restful. And the mall's just minutes away. Perfect.

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