John Gibson: Father and son are on the map

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No way is Paul Clark going to get lost. You’ll seldom see him without a map. Carson Clark Antique Maps is his business and if you want to pinpoint him, he is at 17 St Mary’s Street.

His Dumfriesshire-born father, who trained as a draughtsman at Southampton University, was working with the Ordnance Survey, still had a sneaking for Scotland and he brought the family back north in 1967.

“While working as a draughtsman at Edinburgh University, Dad set up a shop at 173 Canongate specialising in old maps, antique maps to be precise. Seven years later, he joined the renowned Stanley Gibbons in London to set up a new line in maps for them. After giving up his university job, he always wondered if he could make a living from the Edinburgh shop, so I volunteeered and came back in 1983. Virtually to run the shop full time.

“He has long returned south to enjoy his retirement and a few months ago I moved the shop 400 yards from the Canongate to St Mary’s Street, still feeling that the cobbled Old Town ideally is the place to sell antique maps.”

The entrepreneurial Paul has plans for the premises he has acquired next door.

Paul Clark, one might say, was born too late. He’d have made an expert navigator in the Royal Air Force.

Beet this

Can’t they leave things alone, damn them? We are being urged to ask our neighbourhood fruit-and-veg retailer before long for “yellow cylindrical”. A new strain of beetroot, so called due to its pale skin and white centre.

We’re assured it will rival the traditional deep purple variety. It’s coming to the UK via a Polish supplier who claims excitedly that it doesn’t stain. Yellow beetroot? Yugh! My steak pie just won’t taste the same without the vinegary red stuff.