John Gibson: Hold on, it’s early doors for Leith!

Michelle Phillips
Michelle Phillips
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See me, I mugged Methil good and proper here the other day. Proud of it? You’ve got me wrong. Easy to take a swipe at that port and its inhabitants.

But the Fife resort isn’t alone. What about my home town, the ill-named “Sunny Leith”? Our proclaiming pair sing of the sunshine on Leith and, in the Sixties, the Walker Brothers also stormed the charts with a dirge titled The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Any More that can be applied to the Leith I found when I ventured down the Walk last week.

By Lothian Bus. You’ll find all human life on a 22 (the 35 is also an eye-opener for stragglers from the airport). I found shuttered shops, a plethora of Polish eateries and the much written-up handful of fancy restaurants with their fancy prices. Bookies shops galore and the obligatory charity shops.

There’s talk of Leith’s regeneration but deprivation was more evident on a day when the rain and cold hardly helped.

There is, though, a haven of hope on the Shore at Mimi’s. Husband-and-wife duo Mike and Michelle Phillips arrived from uptown 18 months ago to launch their cafe with home-baked scones and cakes.

So tasty that a recent extension, that’s brought with it a drinks licence, has doubled capacity to around 100. Baker Michelle, encouraged by former cabbie Mike, is wildly optimistic.

“We are creating a cafe culture here at this section of the Shore and the ongoing slab-laying renewal of the road and walkway shows that the City Council are supportive.”

So it could be that the sun is gonna shine some more on Leith. But “regeneration”? On anything resembling a grand scale, it’s still at the pie-in-the-sky stage.

Not the sort of pie they’re noshing at Mimi’s.