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Recession Road: Edinburgh

Phil Coomes | 19:48 UK time, Thursday, 17 September 2009

This post is from our Recession Road series, part of our special report on the global downturn.

The A1 in Edinburgh

We're here. This trip was all about the journey - who we might encounter on the way, what they might tell us, what we might see. But nevertheless, it is always good to arrive.

The end of the A1 - where the road meets Princes Street at the top of the North Bridge - is bathed in evening sunlight when we get there. An imaginary fanfare goes off in my head as we stand behind the sign pointing east back towards Berwick upon Tweed. Da-da-da!

It's rush hour so people are generally charging around, speed-walking past us towards Waverley train station and dodging map-wielding tourists.

Kirsteen McClaren and Steve CalderwoodI try to get Kirsteen McClaren, 24, as excited as I am that we are standing at the spot that is the end - or the beginning - of the A1. The road that runs for 409 miles between two capital cities.

"I didn't know that," she says. "But I do now".

She and boyfriend Steve Calderwood, 26, both work at shoe shop Schuh - Kirsteen as a store manager and Steve as a graphic designer. They say times are good because the business is expanding and opening new shops.

"We don't feel like the recession has affected us," says Kirsteen, who has worked at the store since November. And if you are young with no mortgage, few overheads and a job in a growing business, why would it?

"A lot of friends, and family of friends, have lost their jobs but they work mainly in trades areas like building," adds Kirsteen.

Steve is saving for a mortgage, and wishes he had enough money now so he could take advantage of the lower property prices. But he won't be in that position any time soon, he says.

The recession is just not at the forefront of their minds, they say, as they head off arm in arm.

That's how it is for them. For others we have met, the story is altogether different, and for some it's a mix of sweet and sour.

And so, this blog is what it is. A fairly random slice of a section of Britain, as much as we could squeeze into four days.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

PS: Tomorrow (Friday 18 September), we will post a link to the final piece of the trip - a slideshow of sounds and pictures from Recession Road.

You can read an explanation of our Recession Road series here. Words: Paula Dear; Images: Phil Coomes.


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