Musings from the Merse
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
One new rural deprivation: no more newspaper at your door delivery. Dave the Paper having given up his round has not found a volunteer to take his place. Its an unenviable chore. Up long before the Lark and then several hours of driving through country lanes to isolated dwellings; braving all the while stupid cock pheasants bent on suicide, wandering Bambis and the elusive Hutton Panther. Bambis wrote off Dave's vehicle on one occasion and the perils of rural Berwickshire are so palpable that no one can be found to do what is primarily a community duty. Not much profit in it. So if any bloggee knows a willing victim let him or her come forward and we shall all be most grateful.

Its TWRD (THE WIFE'S RETURN DAY)minus 5. So its a mid week Safeway to negotiate. Stocks are such that the 9 item check out is applicable. I might indeed be pushed to justify the 9 but will dso my best.

PS Mr Gate's Spell Check suggests 'Brisker' for 'Berwickshire' . Not apt.
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
A rare English sporting triumph in the generally unsuccessful effort to out do the Aussies at the games we taught them was Tim Henman's win against the guy with the Greek Name-last year's losing finalist. Good on you Tim . I wonder what the Aussie Press are making of that. Whingeing? It may take their mind off gloating over England's defeat by Portugal in the European Cup. This is the theme of the moment.


The edition of the Berwickshire which came out the Thursday before Huttonian’s return from the Antipodes carried the unfortunate front page (minor) headline: ‘Hutton split over new hall’. This is old news and does not, I think, reflect the current feeling in the village. The Hutton Hall committee have long since moved on from old squabbles and the agreement seems to be (funds permitting) either to refurbish the existing building with disabled access or , if Allah is munificent, put up a new building on the existing site.
The Berwickshire was referring to a decision by the Berwickshire Area Committee to turn down outline planning permission for a new hall on the green field site in front of the Kirk. The Hall Committee had let this application run although they had a good idea from feedback from the planning people in Duns that it would not get far for all the reasons blogged about in earlier editions: protected view, flooding dangers/drainage difficulties, objections to the basic utilitarian nature of the (likely) design ( although this was outline planning application only). It was also clear to the planners that a new hall on a new site was not supported by the whole community and the Community Council had pointed out some of the difficulties when asked to comment on the application.

Our Borders Councillor is quoted by the B’shire as suggesting that the Hutton Village Hall Committee and the Community Council work together to ‘come up with a solution to provide Hutton with a new hall’ It is not clear to whom this statement was made but it is probably wise to let the Hall Committee get on with it without the involvement of other bodies. Especially as there is widespread community agreement on the way forward.

Nuff said.

Monday, June 28, 2004
News - Scottish tourist chiefs plan to buy back Berwick
Scottish tourist chiefs have made a bid to buy back the border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed from the English.
In an attempt to repay an 840-year-old king's ransom demanded by the English, the Scottish Borders Tourist Board (SBTB) have offered 10,000 merks, which is the equivalent of about £8,000.
Berwick-upon-Tweed has changed hands between Scotland and England no fewer than 14 times in its history.
But council bosses in Berwick insisted the cash offer was not enough and said it would have to be increased to nearer £20m if the deal is to stand any chance of being completed.
Riddell Graham, chief executive of SBTB, said: "If you look back in history you'll find that Berwick has never actually legally belonged to the English.
"The Scots were forced to hand Berwick over to the English as part of a ransom in 1174 to buy the freedom of King William the Lion, whom they were holding to ransom for 10,000 merks.
"Berwick was made over to the English in lieu of payment of the ransom, which was duly paid in full in 1189 - but the English refused to hand it back.
"We contest that Scotland was blackmailed into handing over Berwick, blackmail is illegal and therefore Berwick should be handed back."
Higher price
Tourism officials say returning Berwick to Scotland for the first time in more than half a millennium would end confusion for visitors to the area.
The town stands on the northern bank of the river Tweed - which is officially a Scottish river - and its football and rugby teams play in Scottish leagues.
But it is English under law and has a mayor rather than a provost.
Councillor Rae Huntly, the mayor of Berwick, said: "While the Scottish Borders Tourist Board offer is welcome, we haven't had the 'For Sale' board out.
"It will take some careful consideration, but I would suspect they would have to up their price quite considerably to something approaching the £10m or £20m mark."
As part of the Scottish "requisition" of the Northumbrian town, a giant Saltire flag has been planted next to a section of the ancient walls of Berwick, which were originally built to keep the Scots out.
'Immediate ambition'
Alan Beith, the Liberal Democrat MP for Berwick, said people were more concerned with the lack of resources which the area received compared to their Scottish neighbours.
He said: "There's more money available for tourist promotion in Scotland, which is probably why the Borders Tourist Board can afford to pay for a stunt like this.
"People in Berwick are not too concerned about moving the border, but they are concerned about the shortage of resources for roads, education and tourism compared to what is available in Scotland.
"It doesn't seem very likely that the border will be moved, but the most immediate ambition is to increase the resources available to be spent in Berwick."

This is apparently an old story-appeared in the Scotsman in September 2001 and obviously came to nothing-unless a deal was made and has remained secret. The idea is now being looked at again by the Hutton Think Tank in the light of their detailed proposal (sadly lost with the rest of the file) to form a British Capital Territory. Certainly this is a very imaginative idea by the Scottish Borders Tourist Board and says something about their visionary description of the Borders as Scotland's favourite Short Break Destination. Apparently in their view the area is only worth a very short visit-so by buying Berwick and incorporating it into the Borders region there will be that more for people to do during their stay-killing at least another half hour. Unless its raining. As one famous Borderer had it: 'Roll on Death'.

Mr Fish has produced a stunner (or more likely he is on holiday again)Having arisen from my jet lagged induced slumber can now see the damage in the garden from last week's summer wind.'Temperate Storm Fish' accompanied by 50mm of rain (2 inches in real money) One tree down, Hollyhocks horizontal and climbing roses at base camp 1. Plus prolific growth with back our 'patio' under a tropical rainforest canopy of rampant grass, too impenetrable even for the local killer moggies. But Stan the Man has ridden to the rescue-roses climbing, Hollyhocks mutually supportive, tree chopped and logged, grass savagely strimmed, two lost moggies rescued from the undergrowth, strawberries netted-all this in one evenings work. He was still here at midnight feeling his way around the garden.

One unfixable casualty of our absence is my favourite cricket ball, left unattended by the Lodger's children and chewed to pieces by the hounds from next door. The bails from the stumps are missing and may have suffered a similar fate.At least the dogs will have got much needed roughage. Sad, as for the moment I cannot offer nets practice to either Yasir Arafat or his possible replacement, Abu Moussa. And reinforcements for the Saltires are still undergoing training in Afghanistan in one of Bin Laden's Academies. From grenade throwing to fielding in the covers is not a difficult transition but I urge them to avoid some of the optional modules including 'Suicide Batting', an art already well developed in this country if not carried to the same (logical) extent as in the Middle East. The MCC is hastily drafting changes to the rules of cricket wherby suicide batters will have to nominate in advance which of the two innings they will take part in. Also no substitutes will be allowed for suicide fielders and they will be encouraged not to do their thing until the last two batsmen are at the crease.

The Israelis have called off their tour of Scotland. No reason given
Sunday, June 27, 2004

She needs a passport (now even a day old baby has to have its own) This was a dram as it was impossible to wake her up in a professional photographer's studio. So this was done at home and it will grace her first passport valid for a two month visit to the Merse. Her father said that any photo of any baby would do-but her mother was not having that. And the passport remains valid for 5 years. She won't thank us for this image when she is three.

And at last Kath E doing her favourite thing. Long may it last

This is the under 5 Wallaby team in training in Canberra. Strange goal posts but they seem to work. Perhaps the Paxton Village green trust couldinvest in a set. Scotland has to start somewhere or they will never beat the Aussies.

This how the Aussies train up their Wallabies-from 3 onwards. How can we hope to compete
It should be nice to be back but it did not seem so yesterday. Journey ok and Fife's Taxi made it despite breaking a clutch en route. But he had the taxi replaced and met me on time. Highly Impressive. Fifes 01289 307188. But no food in the house-so off to Safeways (now Morrisons in the wrong livery) and on a Saturday afternoon. And it was wet wet wet/ Every caravanner in Berwick had nothing more exciting to do so they were shopping. Tattoos to the fore . Thats the women.(Men too hairy to be sure about their body paintings) FCUK tee sheets aggressively double breasted. Junoesque is not an adequate description for these massive front row forwards,(They should have been in OZ with the pathetic English rubgy flops) trolleys piled high with fat enhancing goods, charging down the aisles in search of plunder. 9 goods or less checkout out of commission and anyhow I had a big marketing exercise on my hands. So it was even as bad as Aussie Checkouts with the check out persons unusually grumpy having had a series of (one sided) confrontations with the campers. And to cap it all I couldn't get all that I wanted without resorting to short arm tactics with the plastic shopping baskets-no match in any confrontation with the armour plated large family size trollies wielded by the caravanners.

So It is back to the shops today. Sunday in Safeways: (now there is title for a House of Hammers Horror film)not to be contemplated so off to the genteel civility of the Duns Coop.
Saturday, June 26, 2004
An idle moment at Heathrow-two hours to fill before the Edinburgh Shuttle. Lots of news to digest. England out to the Portugeese. Black flags over Hutton Castle Barns. Bloody Beckham more interested in featuring in Hullo than in playing football. Good news-France out to the God Damn Greeks. And the Wallabies about to play England. What a grudge match that will be. Teeth and blood galore over the Pitch.
Typical departure from a third world country. Changed my remaining Aussie Dollars for a proper currency in Melbourne Airport. Found to my horror on arrival in GOC* that the Sheila ic currency exchange had palmed me off with a tenner which was discontinued last year!

So now the pleasant culture shock of returning to the Borders. Be kind Mr Fish. Give some value for your MBE. It will be good to see green grass after the tired brown of Canberra.And all those strawberries,raspberries,goosegogs,black currants to pick and enjoy.And the triumphs of the Hutton and Paxton show to look forward to. Yes its good to be back.Or will be after Fife's Taxi.If I am spared.

*God's Own Country

Friday, June 25, 2004
So it is farewell toOZ. A night in Melbourne before the long haul to Hutton. Nearly a bad start as Qantas put my luggage on the wrong flight to Melbourne at Canberra. Fortunately it was on next one but they didn't think of telling us until we asked after the luggage carousel disgorged all the Canberra baggage except the cases belonging to five of us. Apparently our flight had too much luggage.Anyhow it turned up (on the wrong Carousel!)eventually.

So on to the Merse.
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Huttonian's last full day in Canberra before starting the long and tedious trek home. Australians now seem to be rallying around the Poms in the European Cup and one reporter even expressed the wish (rather than the expectation) that England would beat Portugal. He may however be of Spanish origin which would explain it as Spain is in mourning after their defeat by Portugal eliminated their team from the tournament.

The Aussie Olympic team have decided to take a leaf out of the WI's book (or rather calendar) by producing a pre Olympic publication full of photos of members of the team unclothed. Some on the distaff side have gone the whole hog but the male athletes have managed to conceal their main credentials by careful angling of the shots. One well built triathelete has used three strategically placed fishes, in a bunch, to cover his confusion. Three was thought to a be a trifle boastful by one critic. Copies could possibly be ordered via the Bridge Street Bookshop in Berwick.
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Well done Yasir Arafat. A good performance for the Saltires. 2 wickets for 40 runs against Durham. The prospect of Scotland versus Israel is an inticing one. Possibly at Manderston. Watch the fixture list. Ariel 'Bulldozer' Sharon has a fine record as a body line bowler but he may not play if Arafat is in the opposition. Donald Rumsfeld has offered to coach the Israelis. But at what is not yet clear. Rumours of a steel fence, 15 metres high, being built around the cricket square at Manderston and a checkpoint to scrutinise incoming Scottish/Palestinian batsmen are yet to be confirmed.
While the Oz press does its best to play down the English victory over Croatia ( Keep the Cross of St George flying over Hutton Castle Barns!) it is the Rugby team which is in the firing line at the moment with a Test Match looming against the Wallabies. There is a certain apprehension over the physical approach to the game which is twanging Aussie nerves (Who are the whingers now?) Not Rubgy but Thugby is the cry of the moment. Sadly Huttonian will be still in the air when the clash of the Titans takes place on Saturday pm AMT. I hope for good news but after a thuggish (yes) but ineffectual performance against the Kiwis I fear the worst.
Monday, June 21, 2004
Huttonian is running out of Oz time. Off to Melbourne on Thursday and on to Hutton via Singapore, Heathrow Edinburgh and Fife’s Taxi on Friday-arriving sometime on Saturday. The vagaries of time travel means that it takes two days to fly to Australia and only one day back. Friday will last 9 hours longer than usual as we will be flying with the clock. So although leaving Melbourne at 6 pm ish on Friday and arriving 6amish at Heathrow doesn’t sound too bad adding the 9 hours time difference makes it a hellish long trip. The only break in the monotony is an hour and a half at Singapore airport, 2 am body time and you could be in any airport in the world for all the difference in the scenery.

The wife follows a week later so it will only be a short period of self admin and the hazards of the 9 items only checkout once more. At least checking out will be a doddle compared to supermarkets here. Never less than twenty minutes on an average day. The only fortunate ones being the lightly ladden as they have a choice of 12 items or less or under 8. So there is that to look forward to. And lying in until 7-30 rather than struggling up at sparrowfart to help look after the grandson who rarely stays abed after 6-15. But it will be sad to say good bye to him and to KE who is all of three weeks today. A great reunion is planned for September in Hutton.

The wife's birthday was celebrated by a lunch in the revolving restaurant at the top of the Telstra Tower -680 metres above sea level. It was slightly disconcerting to find that it was the outer ring of the restaurant floor that revolved, not the whole room. Thus not only did the scenery move past at a stately pace but also amenities like the loos. Thus you were in danger of losing your table if you stayed in the lavatory too long and found a complete set of strangers at what you thought was the table you had recently left. The window sill also was on the move. A drink left carelessly there took 55 minutes to return to your side-if with so many thirsty customers it returned at all.
Sunday, June 20, 2004
Poms in Oz : Like England with sunshine.Anew book by an English born Australian looks into the impact made by generations of English (as opposed to Welsh, Scottish and Norn Irish) on Australian life since the First Fleet (mostly Convicts) sailed into Sydney harbour in the 18th Century.

Australia is apparently the second most English country in the world. New Zealand and Canada took a higher percentage of Scots and the US, Irish. And the percentage of English of UK incomers has grown from 60 percent in the 18th century to 83% now.
As for impact the study is a bit fuzzy. The usual cracks about English cooking are inevitable as the ‘Ten Pound Poms’ those who paid L10 for a passage in the 1950s brought a tradition of ‘working class cuisine’ with them. “happy with mutton on most days’

More interesting is the alleged Aussie admiration for the successful criminal. The early convicts, by definition were not in that in that category,. But more recently the criminal classes of Inner London gave Australians an instinctive sympathy for crooks like Ronnie Biggs and a celebrated Sydney Brother keeper, Tilly Devine, of the 1920s who was born and brought up in South London. Certainly Robin Hood figures like Ned Kelly had (still have) a dreadful fascination for many Aussies-but he was, I am glad to say, of Irish origin. So not guilty on that count at least.

The work concludes with statistics to show that English/British immigration is on the decline; other Europeans are flocking in. Soccer is now the most widely played game by the under 20s with a large number of southern European youngsters participating. Cricket is driven into second place with ‘Aussie Rules’ back down below Rugby League and just above Rugby Union. Lets therefore encourage more of the round ball countries to send their teaming masses to OZ and we can start winning the Ashes again

Scotland put up a good fight against the Wallabies yesterday. Not enough to have the saltires unfurled in the Merse but enough to win some faint praise from the local sports writers. Engerland arrive next week. But after two dismal showings against the All Blacks I fear the worst.
Saturday, June 19, 2004
So the Merse will be awash with the cross of St George following the crushing of the toblerones. Croatia awaits.Good thing it is not Georgia whose national flag is identical to the English one
Englishmen seem to like the Hutton/Paxton area. And they seem to do a lot of the work. Deliver the milk, the post and the papers (unless Dave the paper has a Scots replacement?) Run the pub-the three nearest Community Councils have Sassanach* chairmen (if that counts as work)provide most of the builders, plumbers and electricians (some admittedly coming from Berwick across the border). At least the post office is now in Scottish hands after several years hosted by English incomers. Even the Kirk has an English organist.

* Yes Pedant of Peebles. Strictly speaking a Sassanach is not necessarily an Englishman-but a foreigner. Highlanders used to call Lowlanders Sassanach. And it is not a compliment

Canberra is wet and cold.Fish, MBE, like. Winter has arrived said the checkout lady at Spence with some satisfaction whilst scanning my purchases for the wrong type of intimate feminine attire.But my nerve is broken-these are left to the wife to get.
Friday, June 18, 2004
News from an agent in the Merse reports numerous sightings of the Cross of St George as (presumably) English incomers support their team in the European (soccer) cup. I am sorry to miss this novel sight-no such enthusiasm was shown on the Scots side of the border during the Rugby World Cup. It could be short lived if England loss to the cuckoo clocks today. Lot of gloating in Oz about the French victory last week. If they go out to Switzerland there will be no end to the snidery. Losing to France is quite honourable I suppose but to the smug Swiss it will be hard to bear.

On past form the other components of the British Isles will not be too downhearted if the English go out in round 1. And then all we will be left with is Tim Henman at Wimbledon.

Fans of KE will be delighted to know that the Health Visitor was most impressed with the wee lassie. Well past her birth weight and expanding impressively. She almost smiled at Huttonian. But not quite
Thursday, June 17, 2004
There is evidently not much interest in OZ affairs judging from a drop in Blog viewing figures. New visitors are obviously expecting a rant about the Merse which is difficult to do from directly down under. Huttonian can always rave on about the beautiful peaceful and somnolent second grand daughter but there is little to say except that she is b, p and very s. Coaxing smiles is beginning to have an effect and her little face lights up when she hears big brother's voice. Big brother remains sweet and caring but there are moments of ambivalence when he clearly resents the attention being given to KE. But on the whole he tolerates her with an impressive maturity. When she is old enough to grab his toys may be a bit different.

A week more in Oz and then back to the Merse via Melbourne. The wife remains in a support position for a further ten days. So the rant can again focus on things local. In the meanwhile the Aussie accent is inevitable.

A bit of street cred lost today with cabbage leaf lady at Spence Shops. Huttonian sent to purchase an intimate piece of female attire returned with the wrong item. A confusion between Maternity and Nursing. The wife returned the offending garment and got a refund but Huttonian has a lot of ground to make up at the (sole)checkout.
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
OZ Tabloids match their UK counterparts on sensational stories and gossip. Mr Murdoch is a power here as well-and he is an Aussie. The best of the broadsheets the Sydney Morning Herald and it ran a thoughtful little story which probably had a more scurrilous treatment in the Australian Sun and other rags. Sex workers in Sydney are apparently facing hard times. Under NSW law prostitutes are allowed to ply for hire but not where they are in sight of a school, church, community hall or other public building; nor in sight of a private residence-sight meaning line of sight and is not altered by being obscured at night, in darkness. Apparently this is rather limiting their activities in the city and the suburbs. Someone has suggested that a neighbourhood volunteer as being Prossie Friendly so as trade can be practiced legally in view of private residences and the rest of the city designated as a legover free Zone. At time of going to press there has not been a mad rush of volunteering suburbs or even streets.(Apparently three adjoining ones is the minimum requirement) I'll keep you and the Rough Guide posted of any developments.
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Bravo Mr Fish. And Good bye

“Mr Fish, 60, a BBC veteran who earlier this year celebrated his 30th anniversary as a television weather forecaster, was said to be "surprised and deeply honoured" to receive an MBE for services to his profession.”

Says the BBC website proudly. Being in Oz we missed out on the proper Honours List. So this came as a shock. But was drawn to Huttonian’s attention by the senior grandaughter in her first e-mail ever (She is 8 months old ) I thought something must be in the air, as it were, as today in Canberra it is actually dreich, windy and cold. All the world is celebrating the Veteran and his forty years of dreadful weather. No Order of Australia as yet but he certainly deserves one.

Perhaps this is a gentle hint from HM the Q? Take your gong and go. But my advice to honorands: do not go to Buck House the same day as Mr Fish. Not in all those glad rags. It will be awfu’ dreich
Monday, June 14, 2004
Queens Birthday Oz style

I suspect most Aussies had no idea that the 'Long Weekend' was to celebrate Queen Elizabeth 11 (Queen of Australia)Despite having their own Honours List published in full today-3 pages in a broadsheet. No OBE's or anything to do with the Pom Empire-but Order of Australia no less with a very similar list of characters honoured as we would find in the Indy or Times. Services to the disabled-Tea lady to the Test Team etc.

Weekend slightly curtailed as grandson with stinking cold and KE not sleeping well at night-she sleeps solidly all day but has her daylight muddled up with her night dark and does not seem able to kick the habit despite being a mature two weeks old as I blog. So we came back from Narooma one night early. It is a lovely place-miles of beaches (all empty), amazing sea food and despite being The Long Week End quiet roads. All though All Canberra came to the beach on a single track road (with occasional passing lanes spaced haphazardly-some on down hill stretches rather than on up gradients as in First World Countries) Alarming road signs : 'Triple Demirit points this weekend' and 'Speed Zones are Enforceable' But few Hoons around and traffic agreeably well behaved.

Sport? Oh Dear England thrashed by the All Blacks, Wales by the Argentines. Scotland went down to the Wallabies but gave the b*******s a fright or two and to complete a clean sweep for the Southern Hemisphere, South Africa beat Ireland. At least England beat the Kiwis at cricket but that produced no headlines in the Sydney Morning Herald. Gloats all round.
Friday, June 11, 2004
we join thee great rush to the sea tomorrow with the rest of Canberra no doubt. Why in the Winter I have no idea. It will be colder on the coast than even here. But it is a holiday weekend-the Aussies,Republican and Royalist alike celebrate the Queen's Official Birthday-unlike us in the UK. Then I suppose Moslems don't mind taking a holiday for Christmas.

Anyhow it will be blogless until Tuesday. Buckets and spades on windswept beaches; chance of seeing Whales and Penguins. Mo doubt KE will sleep through it all smiling in her dreams.

Will report later if we are spared.
Thursday, June 10, 2004

As an incomer to the Borders one needs to learn the local use of words and dialect. Oz is the same for the visiting Pom. Aussies tend to economise on words and phrases’: ‘How are you going?’ they will ask to which the reply is ‘Good’ End of exchange. And they do say 'G'day'. The older generation will oblige with a 'Fair dinkum' but not as a comment on an English win. At anything.

Then there is the abbreviation approach. 'Polly' for Politician, (Uni for University is now world wide) Reli for Relative, Volly for volunteer-even leaving out the middle of the word-]Hoon' for hooligan. Currently hoons are being fingered for texting while driving.The average Hoon apparently has no worries mate about this according to a nationwide survey. The imaginative-'Salvos' for Salvation Army -now their official name on fund raising literature. And the odd derivative: 'Manchester' is the generic term for bed linen; Department stores have a Manchester section.

Some oddities: to stickybeak is to be nosey. Car sales have the slogan 'First in Best dressed' which apparently means the first good offer secures the vehicle even from the punter in the ragged T-Shirt and sawn off Jeans. There is even an imported version of cockney rhyming slang –Hit the Frog ( Frog and Toad, the road) but with the Australian Green Party getting so powerful, a phrase best avoided, even amongst the Cognis (cognoscenti)

Should stop before fate intervenes and I may be in danger of 'getting the rough end of the Pineapple'

Any other Ozwords to Huttonian at old_greywolf2000@yahoo.co.uk A billybong of tucker to the first jolly swag man who contributes/ And all connies will be gratefully ackied. G'day
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Katy Bully #4

Baby's first smile is much prized.Rather like the first Cuckoo. The Son in Law claimed first sighting but no witnesses. Today big brother extracted a definite little parting of the lips having planted a rather heavy kiss on KE's head. However there is some doubt as to the veracity of this smile for record keeping purposes. KE was definitely asleep at the time and the smile (and it was one) may have been more connected with a tranquil dream (about being asleep unmolested by brothers?) than a result of interactive activity with another person. Pardon the pyschospeak.

I am afraid that the valiant Scots went down 33-15 to New South Wales. Omens not good for the test match against the full Wallaby(*) side next weekend. In the meanwhile the press is psyching itself up for Wimbledon. Also there is some growing interest in the European Cup. Most soccer mad Aussies seem to support Manchester United nut would die rather than shout for England. Becks is a folk hero in these parts but not as captain of England. They will be rooting for France in the opening match of that group. Poor deluded people. And yet most Okker(*) Aussies come from good English convict stock. Where's the gratitude in that?

*Linguistic note Okker equals kosher.
Wallaby is name of team after a small Oz marsupial. It will actually be blokes kicking the ball and other blokes.
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
The Aussie friend of the senior son in law will need to wait revenge at Rugby against England a bit longer. Tucked away in the smallest of small print in Australia’s only newspaper of record Sydney Morning Herald are the results of an Internation Rugby Sevens Tournament played at Twickenham this weekend. England, of course, won beating OZ in the quarter finals andNew Zealandd in the final. The paper, reluctantly, gave the scores but refrained from comment.

Much more space was afforded to Australia's stunning draw 2-2 against the SolomonIslands (Pop 75?) in a qualifying soccer match in the Oceania Group for the the next World Cup. What is needed says a pundit is for an annual match against England-a sort of Football Ashes series to give the Aussies a taste of the real game. And he adds let us remove 'friendly' from the description of this international. That shouldn't be a problem. Friendly games at any sport between the Poms and the Aussies are the most classic of Oxymorons.

Mr Fish disappearedeared from BBC World. So the weather is back to a the normal Canberra late autumn. -7C at night, 12C by day. But it is so dry that 12 feels like 25 in Hutton If that unlikely event ever came to pass. But people complain that it is cold and like the Merse there is very little evidence of life on the streets. Good for us hardy northerners-parks empty and the grandson can have the playgrounds to himself. Yet come this holiday weekend all Canberra flocks to the beaches of New South Wales 150 Ks to the south-where the temperatures are even lower. Strange.
Monday, June 07, 2004
The grandson may be feeling the pressure a bit. He commented to the wife in the course of an exchange of views on getting himself dressed that he liked ‘Granny’ in her house in Scotland but not here in Canberra. Grannies should be cuddly, sympathetic, tear wiping personages. Coming the heavy parent substitute is apparently less appreciated by a 3.7 year old. Clash of the Titans coming up?
Sunday, June 06, 2004
OZ BLOG The Next

Unless drama intervenes daily bullies on KE will be discontinued. She sleeps, she sucks, she dozes and she sucks again. The only way to engage her full attention is to remove her clothes-what does that auger for the future I hear you ask? No trouble at all but not riveting blogging. Her big brother is now showing more interest.Indeed showing some concern about the whole birth thing. He asked the wife how did Katy get into his mummy's stomach.He had a holding reply. We are now researching suitable definitive answers on the Internet.

The Australian friends came into today to wet the baby’s head. Three bottles of bubbly were cracked and KE well and truly soaked. Not that she noticed, sleeping on, as she was admired and burped over. The occasion illustrated how the Australian male is obsessed with sport. One expressed his fondest wish was to have revenge against England. Rugby of course. The same fellow recounted a conversation with a New Zealand cab driver the morning of the World Cup final. He was in a right state. He had never supported Australia in his life but now, with the Kiwis out of it, he felt that he had no option. But it was going to hurt. The alternative of backing the Poms was unthinkable. We have the same problems at home-none of the other 'home countries' would ever support England even in a match against a Saddam Hussein Invitation XV. I was forced to gently remind those present that England had not lost a match against a Southern Hemisphere XV since 2000. The conversation then switched to Scottish Rugby a topic which is less sensitive at the moment around here. But not, presumably in Samoa
Saturday, June 05, 2004
Oh Yes apparently the cabbage leaf bra was soothing. But I am not sure that I am going to say anything more to thr Spence supermarket check out lady. As far as I am concerned she feels that the jury is still out. So lets leave it like that.
Oz Babe bully (bulletin to non Aussies)

KE and Eldest Daughter had a really good night. Milk flowing at correct speed and baby gulping in equal measures. Result soporific calm by night-as already by day.

Huttonian not so happy. No1 Pom knocked out in semis in Paris. Local press in state of gloat-especially pleased that victor is an Argentinean-so snide references to Hand of God Maradonna and the Falklands. At least the Pom did better than the Ozbrat. Roll on Wimbledon.

Also good news on the Scottish front. Saltire's new cricket star Yaser Arafat scored 25 no less against Yorkshire so plans to reinforce the Scottish side with Abu Hamza, the one armed leg spinner, from the Midlands have been postponed. The latter is anyhow in negotiations with Washington over the possibility of assisting an FBI team.

Scotland's fine Rugby performance against Samoa en route to here should give the complacent Wallabies something to think about. But I doubt it really will. A few patronising paragraph's in Sunday's tabloids is all that can be expected.
Friday, June 04, 2004
Booby Prize?

The first time Huttonian was sent on a mission of mercy for a tiny baby was three years ago for the grandson after his arrival from Oz to Norn Ireland in a snow storm which made all movement, except by foot, well nigh impossible. On that occasion he struggled through deep drifts to find the one shop in Newcastle, Co Down which had its own power supply-there was a province wide power cut-and which sold nappies.

Today he had a different mission connected to day 5 in the life of Katy E. To find a cabbage. No not for the baby but for the eldest daughter whose milk had arrived in such a rush that it overwhelmed the tiny consumer leaving an uncomfortable large surplus. (I am keeping this non technical)A search of the internet under 'engorgement' ( 'Enlargement', first entered into Ask Jeeves produced 348,000 websites about the EU) resulted in a recommendation to use cabbage leaves to alleviate over inflated Boob ( another non-technical term) discomfort. The local supermarket after an initial break down in Anglo/Aussie communication produced a clingfill wrapped half cabbage, with some reluctance as the check out lady misunderstood my apparent obsession with large breasts. However all was amicably ironed out without the manager being summoned or the local APP (Anti Pervert Patrol). The wife has now manufactured a sort of ecologically correct cabbage bra liner and we await results.
Thursday, June 03, 2004
Baby bulletin

Those of you expecting a daily report on KE will be pleased to read that the reflux is licked and she is rapidly advancing towards adulthood. Yes anxious feminist: she has some nice pink ensembles and is not relying entirely on her big brother's cast offs.
Someone once said that the well balanced Aussie is one with chips on both his shoulders. This is certainly fair comment with regard to the English. Australians love to slag off the whingeing Poms although so many of them (and not just those of convict ancestory) have British backgrounds.It is an interesting combination of a superiority and inferiority complex. Aussies believe, despite all the evidence to the contrary that the Poms look down on them especially on matters of culture. Even in questions of sport where the Australians are so manifestly superior in most fields there is a passionate wish to see the English make fools of themselves- a wish it has to be said too often gratified.

But not always (don't mention the Rugby World Cup)and now don't mention the French Tennis Championships. The No 1 Male Aussie has just been beaten in the quarter finals and the No 1 Englishman ( actually the only one) is into the semis. Collective rage is unconfined and the press is apoletic in its vitriolic attacks on British (they mean English)tennis and how Henman at 30 is obviously not just over the hill but right down the other side.

So a recent speech by the Australian Minister of Health is well timed. Talking to students at Monash University he told his compatriots to stop whingeing about the English, and recognise the historic part played by the Mother Country in shaping the nation's character (not guilty as charged) and institutions. Aussies he said suffer from 'historical and cultural amnesia', like to ape America and carp at all things British. Just like 'teenagers blowing raspberries at their parents' For some reason this outburst got very little coverage in the Antipodean press. I wonder why?
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Its that Man again
Flicking through the 67 digital channels as one does nursing a TLB Huttonian came across an image he thought he had escaped for a month or so. Mr Fish. Not content with wrecking meteorogical havoc on the UK Mr F strides a bigger stage in BBC World. He was actually forecasting the Oz weather as channels were flicked between Holby City and the French Tennis Open. But for once he had good news. Rain for drought stricken Canberra. And he was right. Almost dreich conditions all day. However Mr F smugly informed us to enjoy the rain while we could. It was off to New Zealand tomorrow. The Aussies hate their cousins on the two islands and you can understand why.

Perhaps Mr Fish is banned from the UK. I do hope so
So now its a real team effort. The wife is more or less in full charge of the 3.5 year old who adds a new dimension to the epithet hyper active. He seems laid back about the arrival of a tiny sister but I don't think finds her much fun as yet.She comes well third in a list of exciting things he reported to his nursery well after Grandad's rocket and Grandad's aeroplane. The latter is nowless exciting as one of his friends(?) broke it into two pieces and it is now under repair

Katy E is suffering from something technically known as reflux (don't ask for the finer details) which means she is uncomfortable lying down and is only happy on her fathers chest, more or less horizontal.As she wants to feed all the time the daughter does not get much sleep

Huttonian's role is general backup and especially the task of navigating the wife(in a car of course) through the complicated suburban road network. Canberra is easy to go to the major points of interest but once off the throughways the nightmare begins. The town planners are obsessed with crescents.circuits and cul de sacs and you can easily arrive at a place you had past hours ago and thought you were well rid of. So the technique is to take the long way round in a series of straight lines and then dart through the suburbs on a few a roads as possible. Fortunately the traffic is very light and slow because of obsessively restrictive speed limits which change at bewilderingly short intervals for no apparent reason. The Merse with its familiar and deserted roads will be a great relief (but always remember to dip your lights in Greenlaw) Especially on a Saturday.
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Lets get the details over with: 3.3 kgs, masses of dark hair, blue eyes(?) Difficult to be sure as her eyes are firmly shut most of the time. Average height apparently although length is more appropriate for the moment. For blogging purposes we we call her Katie Elizabeth (or Beth)A boy would have been called William so these new Australians are very Windsor orientated. Anyhow she is now back home (turfed out after one night)and the Wife can assume all her grand motherly duties. Huttonian will be in a support role for the next four weeks before answering the siren song of the Merse.KE also has plans to visit the Borders in the Autumn but is being reticent about her more detailed plans for the moment.

Of course KE will be an Aussie automatically now her parents have been ozzified. But she will also be British and her passport will be that familiar blue. She needs to get cracking with the paper work as The British High Commission is not known for its speed.

Enough baby for the moment (Blogged)
Happenings in A small Scottish Community


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