Musings from the Merse
Thursday, March 31, 2005
This is Ghana. Mr Fish could not imagine how hot it is here and 100% humidity to boot. Max temp 33 c min temp 32.5 c. Rain pending and dreich sounds very desirable from here! Nothing really to report but our thoughts with the Merse bloggees who continue to send in nice messages of support. We are staying with friends and the wife is doing her physio thing. No airconditioning so nights are a challenge with a very fast fan which I am sure will detach itself endangering our peaceful if sweaty repose. Dogs are another challenge. They talk all night and from their tone seem to be debating Community Council business in a somewhat acrimonious way. Not at all like home. So keep cool. report again later. If I am spared
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Just as a ps I am glad to report that nice remarks continue to flow in from far and wide-the nicest from wide runs :

Stay true to your style, the vast silent majority thoroughly appreciate it and enjoy a good read. Just a shame that a few has beans with a humour bypass make so much noise. What is the saying about stones rattling in an empty can??

Or about p*****g into the wind? Anyone with wet shoes may be asked a few questions by the Fishwick Special Branch-their highly trained sniffer dogs are about to be released on their first patrols in this vicinity; part of their course involves excreting into little plastic bags and then neatly lobbing them into a waiting receptacle. If this habit catches on within the wider Canine Community that will be one item less for the Community Council Agenda.

Next news from Africa.Hopefully.
Monday, March 28, 2005
Alec Deakin, BBC weather centre, who was obviously born under the sign of the Fish has sent us continuous rain and it is forecast to see us on our way to Ghana at Peacock f**t tomorrow. I suspect we will be rantless until our return on the 17th but don't count on it as Accra has cyber caffs galore if we can only get to them.

Whatever the motivations of the kind friend who tipped off the Mail on Sunday to the long past doings of Huttonian it has done wonders for 'hits' on the blog-a record number for the new Musings and some nice fan mail as well. One bloggee implored Huttonian to carry on and I have assured him it is the intention-if I am spared.

BTW Percy, the whimsical Peacock, denies that he is figleaf of the imagination of the Mail on Sunday. Just because Huttonian cannot see him is no proof that he does not exist. That is according to a message he left on the patio late last night. He is apparently a handsome if exotic bird so Cockie and Olly, now a 'pair' again better watch their backs.

A bloggee has asked for an image of the English Scottish Border. This is Norham bridge with Scotland to the right. Norham was the first English village we visited from Hutton i n 1997. We found some of church goers very nationalistic and puzzled why we were living in Scotland. They felt themselves in the frontline and told us that the bridge used to be the scene of regular ethnic fighting. Not in the 16th century but in the 1990s.
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Our Man in Hot Water…..Undiplomatic confessions of a diplomat screams the headline in the Mail on Sunday-Scottish edition. Not quite hold the front page but a decent spread on pages 16 and 17. (Page 40 in the English edition-not a story that travels well apparently). Although it has to be said that those pages take up more room than the story! It’s a typical tabloid treatment-some true, some untrue, and generally snidely treated. One or two quotes allegedly from me in my garden and in quote marks are entirely invented so as not to spoil a good story but others are accurate if in places out of context. And to a certain extent the story is a balanced one with Huttonians explanations as to why he done it given in some detail. Several quotes from the rant itself are included -4 out of 5 from the old removed blog so the friendly whistle blower or ‘free lance journalist’ must have handed over the printed out version before it was removed from the air. This hard copy is referred to in the article: allegedly an outraged villager printed out the entire old blog and ‘distributed a copy to every adult in Hutton’ That must have cost a pretty penny and I can only hope it came out of the ‘local's’ pocket and not out of some other more accountable funds.

For all the angst allegedly caused by Huttonian a year ago there were only two hostile quotes one from a ‘villager’ and another from a’ local.’ I am mentioned by name but not them. By this public spirited couple Huttonian is described as, amongst other things ‘colonial and patronising’ ‘hating everything to do with the village life with snide comments’ ‘definitely anti Scottish’ revealing private business like local house prices’ and ranting about ‘farmers and landowners’. I also apparently went round the village ‘cap in hand’ apologising to all I offended and made a series of ‘grovelling apologies’ –this from a quote attributed to me that I did not actually make. Although I did tell the hack that I had apologised on the old blog to any who might have been offended and personally to two people (two note-not the 200 villagers that the M on S has credited to Hutton) whom I knew were upset.
Enough of that. £1.20 will buy you the whole paper. Money well spent? I hope you think so. Oh yes the article mentioned my whimsical rantings about a pet peacock! Sadly I am lacking such a beast but ‘Cockie’ and ‘Ollie’ the pheasants in the garden console me in

I still wonder why this story now. A year out of date. I am sure we should be told.
When searching for the electronic edition of the Mail on Sunday-Scottish edition I came across this reference to the Huttonian Transition- a phenomenon under constant study by the Htton Think Tank-Ht2. The team are currently examining the effect of the HT on Red Squirrels at Paxton House. Their report is due to be leaked in 2007. Anyhow this is another version but seemingly more related to the Big Smoke than Hutton, Merse.

The famous Huttonian Transition re-examined.....Geologically, the much-studied Huttonian Transition (dated approximately 82 BBC) remains highly controversial and open to many mis-interpretations. Recent work focusing on the Portland Place Fault Line indicates a rapid change of climate (though opinions differ), possibly related to over-heated carbon dioxide emissions, or to the effects of the dramatic and unexpected Huttonian asteroid catastrophe. Others favour a cold snap. We know that the Prime Waffle (Homo sapiens blairensis) survived the Transition, developing a grin as wide as that recorded for the Smiling Tiger (Panthera tigris felix), as did the Lesser Hoon (Homo sapiens hoonensis) and the Scarlett Jic (Homo sapiens cardinalis or jicensis). One particularly aggressive predator, Homo sapiens primo-adviserensis or adverserensis, became rampant, feeding off a range of weakened prey, such as the Can't Copepods (very much lower-level plankton). This fierce animal could stun simply by grimacing grimly or by ejecting random missives. It eventually retired to gnaw over old bones in caves.By contrast, a whole group of species belonging to the Family Loquaxiae (Class: Chattering Animals) became nearly extinct (as reported for the perturbed beds discovered at various locations across North London, primarily beneath Islington wine bars). This was especially so for the sinister group of such species, various of which appear to have leaned to the extreme left, even when they shouldn't. Others were just too right on, Carbon PC analysis has revealed. Remarkably, specimens indicate that some of these animals must have continued chattering to the bitter end, even as they were frozen out.One unique fossil, however, remains to be identified; this was found in a special volcanic dyke buried with the skeletons of thousands of Reporting Birds (Ciconia shorthandia) (related to Secretary Birds) underneath Portland Place.Lastly, a group of ephemeral taxa blasted themselves out of existence, as exemplified by the Shouting Howard (Gran bestiensis howardensis) and the Giggling Boris (Gran bestiensis borisone etoniensis). The former proved to be totally conservative and non-adaptive (it could only hurrumph in one key), while the latter remained but a spectator. Even more ephemeral, assorted socialist taxa related to the Tearstained Tribune (Sinister extremis novae-statesmani) just moaned and groaned as usual. Top-up studies are now needed to see how evolution progressed as the Earth moved into the later WMD Transition (83 BBC). Deposits in Iraq might prove infertile hunting grounds for geologists. Yet, you never know what you can find in a hole.Philip, Department of Political Geology, University of Life, London. A model of London in 82 BBC is currently under construction for 'Blue Peter'.
Posted by:
Philip / 11:45 AM /

Sorry link lost to Philip. Blog-ed
Saturday, March 26, 2005
Despite all those years in the Diplomatic Service and travels to the ends of the earth, like Oz, since, Huttonian is no lover of long distance journeys. Take Tuesday next-taxi (too early for public transport)to Edi airport, shuttle to LHR, dash from termination 1 to termination 4. Hang about until boarding flight to Accra. Its a trip for the fit-nearly miles walk involved on the various moving walkways at T1, then a bus. Then if your departure gate is along one of the wings of T4 another mile or so, with heavy hand baggage ,running the gauntlet of Tax Free shops most of whom sell goods at London High street prices or slightly above. Then 7 hours to Accra, cattle class-a doddle compared to Canberra at 23 hours! But long enough when sandwiched between large people with horizontal elbows, bad breath and fast asleep when you need the loo and clambering past them is not an option. At the tiny 'Healthy Option' meal on a tiny tray covered in plastic implements-in case you are a hi- jacker in waiting and rush for the loo my darling before it starts to stink. And in World Struggler class no amusements or destractions apart from the almost impossible to see'personal entertainment system' on a screen which is often challenging to pull up from its resting receptable and with earphones that get so tangled that they soon can't reach your ears.

I think I will bring the Mail on Sunday for my prolonged edification and the collected edition of the Community Council minutes to ensure some slumber

And the journey back again to look forward to. If we are spared
Friday, March 25, 2005
The letter below from someone we will call 'Furious of Foulden' is one of those epistles about that village which appear from time to time in the Berwickshire. Unlike Hutton, Foulden has a fairly busy main road which passes through the village and there has been much public debate about where the 40mph speed limit ends and where the 30 begins. Obviously the poor long suffering Commnunity Council (most of them are long suffering) is on the wrong side in this argument from F of F's viewpoint. But where is the self interest in controlling fast traffic through a built up area-I would have thought that was in the interest of the whole community. But I am probably missing something.

For two days this week Foulden had an illuminated face sign to advise of speeds through the Village on the Chirnside to Berwick road, but no more! Who put it up? Who took it down, and why?If this minute section of road is so sacrosanct that it requires constant monitoring should there not be a corresponding 40mph speed limit from New Mains to warn of your approach?This would of course complement the 40mph speed limit on the half mile section of open road on the eastern side.These signs are as relevant and logical as the Disabled People signs without a hospital or care home to justify them.If this trend continues can we look for speed bumps, parking meters and traffic wardens? After the completion of the new hall will we get traffic lights and a crossing over to the car park?The options available are endless and judging from past performances are liable to be pursued by a vociferous but minority section of our community.Incidentally I was under the impression that 30mph areas required to be adequately illuminated by street lighting, but I am probably wrong.Community councils should act in the best interests of their area and not just a small selected section of it. Why is it then that I hear so many complaints about the disregard of Foulden areas other than the village?Good community councils are to be commended, but those driven and controlled by the self interest of a few individuals are as useful and worthwhile as ashtrays on motorbikes.
Well no more press interviews so the Mail on Sunday seems to have a world exclusive. Unless spiked by the editor of course. The conundrum as Big Jim might say is why now? This is a very old story as the old Blog which rubbed a few people up the wrong way has been off the air for a year. The timing of the 'free lance reporter' and the 'dossier' is curious. What is the context as my academic colleagues would say? Grounds for endless speculation which Huttonian will avoid for the moment. Perhaps the 'story', if printed, will hold a clue or two. Then will be the time to round up the usual suspects.
Stop Press -a near Mersian bloggee who works in Embra has drawn my attention to another satyrical Norn Iron Website http://www.purederry.com/ which contains no scenes of nudity but some strong language. If you have a thing about St Patrick and his expulsion of snakes from the Emerald Isle here is a chance to fulfil a fantasy or two. I await comment from the Belfast Bloggee.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
I suppose it had to happen. Huttonian has just had a long interview with a pleasant reporter from the Mail on Sunday about the rant. Apparently 'a free lance reporter' tipped off the Mail with a 'dossier' taken from the old ancient discontinued rant and claiming that it caused massive upset in thes parts and particularily in Hutton. The Mail has now been seeking comments from the upsetees or alleged previous targets. They then (plus photographer) came to see me for a cup of coffee and the Huttonian angle on all this. Which they got. I think they were somewhat surprised to hear that this was all a year and more ago. I have a fairly shrewd idea of the identity of the 'free lance reporter' or the source of the story if it is not the saame body and the interesting timing of this hold the first six pages expose. The person concerned-if I am right is under a certain amount of pressure at the moment and this might be a pleasant diversion (if not an act of revenge!?)

Anyhow Bloggees get hold of the MOS on,er, Sunday and we will see how it will be treated. Sadly follow up stories if any will have to await Huttonian's return from foreign parts. Some of the tale might be a bit wide of the real mark-apparently the dossier alleges that a very senior local figure threatened Huttonian with physical violence after aspersions apparently cast at his son. Not true M'Lud.

The reporter said she had read the current blog (called boring byone or two readers compared to what went before) had had found nothing to raise much of an eyebrow.

Comment later . If I am spared.
ITV weather on text promised us a day of 'moderate rain' followed by Chief Broken Cloud. The nice Mr Deakin indicated rain spreading from the East. So of course it is warm with hazy sunshine-a no pullover day. Such a shame that the relis had to return to the murk and drizzle of the Big Smoke.

Now that the Berwickshire has gone electronic you can read the Thursday paper on Wednesday-back to the future indeed. But Sheriff Kevin is not covered on the WWW so you have to wait for the 'hard copy' to get news of criminal activity in Duns. Once again aggressive women get court attention. Two ladies coming to blows at a 'function' in Duns were fined £150 and £125 respectively-differential not explained by Sh. Kevin but he admonished them : ' The fact that you do not like each other should not mean the rest of the community has to be affected' Some 'scuffle' it must have been if the whole community was put into fear and trembling from the clash of the Amazons. Otherwise there is the usual crop of driving offences and the traditional headbutting assault at the same Duns hostelry that had witnessed the clash of the Titanias. £250 and £100 compensation so the assailant must have behaved even worse than the feudin wimmin. I have always associated this type of assault with Glasgow: 'Who are you looking at Jimmy?' sort of thing so he may have been a visitor to peaceful Duns and the extra hundred quid is a warning to other unwelcome guests to keep their outlandish habits under wraps when in these parts.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
I have received the following from a Merse related blogee. The link is worth following especially by the BB mentioned below. It is nice to see that the Micks* can take it too

Hi Huttonian
Another wee snippet of fun from the web if you've the time ad inclination, your Belfast Blogee might like (or hate) it too:
The rant on jock w******s was fun, in Berwickshire terms does that qualify you as a w******g incomer?

* Watch it! Racist pun? Blog-ed
I thought with the arrival of the long awaited Broadband to the Paxton we would have had one less moan about rural isolation. I ordered, with great delight, the all winging, all prancing, post sliced bread AOL Gold. 1 mb speed-see the whole BBC news on line faster than watching it on TV, get the winners at horse races before they start the race, and get Mr Deakin's forecast as quickly as zipping your pants. The connection package arrived but before I tore it open with trembling feverish anticipatory hands I thought I should check the BT website to see if I really could enjoy the benefits of the new technology BT was cautious and non committal -my house was at extreme range from the Paxton exchange, ADSL connection not certain, better get the line checked etc etc. On enquiry with BT interactive I was told BT could only check the line fully on request from AOL to BT Wholesale. On enquiry on 'AOL LIVE HELP' I was told firmly That AOL provided the service but they did not ask BT to do anything that was up to the customer. How could I be sure that Broadband would work without having my line checked-sorry that was not AOL's problem and BT would not budge either. So I have just cancelled AOL Gold, and await a free post jiffy bag to send back the filters, modems etc.

I will now wait a year or two until I see how my neighbours get on-split lines in Hutton village is another possible hazard to a good connection. In the meanwhile I shall make further use of my ISDN connection and continue to moan about rural isolation.
Huttonian is not sure what to make of this little item from The Scotsman of 21 March. Is this species (new to me) any relation to the Earls Court whin****s A****ies? Why are they news worthy-even on page 2. Are there not W***ers enough this side of the Border without publicising their doings in the Big Smoke? Is this another example of the sort of victim mentality common amongst certain minorities in these Islands including one which runs the place for goodness sake. When you have a PM who is a 'white Scot' and a PM in waiting who is a native son who are the victims then? W***ers of the World unite you have nothing to lose except your aster***s!

AS THE sun sets on the Scottish Raj, the spat between Jeremy Paxman and "attack dog" Dr John "Rover" Reid has drawn attention to a mongrel breed, the WLW Scots.
While Paxo was sneering at Rover, suggesting he might be related to Bob Doolally because he snarled at him in the studio, what has not received quite so much attention was Rover’s description of Jeremy as a "West London W***er".
Our man in west London tells us: "This has only created multiple offence if not an identity crisis among those of us who are both."
He tells us that one of the breed, Ian Macdonald complained to his local paper.
"As a London Scot who also qualifies as a ‘West London W***er’, I felt left out of your two features sending up these loathsome species. But then I noticed that Kirsty Young is in the same boat as me."
He continued: "The concept of a West London W***er is a very imprecise piece of social stereotyping considering the literati of Holland Park have little to do with the Sloanes or the trustafarians.
"I have spent so much of my life in London, I wouldn’t feel Scottish unless I was frequently reminded of the fact. Is name-calling the only way to keep order in the city?"
Meanwhile Sandy Pratt*, a Kentish Jock and former head of school at Fettes College, who now lives in Bromley, seems to have lost faith in how far the old school tie will stretch. "Will the sun ever set on the Scottish Raj? The answer is ‘no’, but I am disappointed not to have been appointed (yet) to some high office by Mr Blair." There’s time yet, Sandy.

* I take it this is his real name and not a wind up? Blog-ed

Looking out into cool and grey mist-moved from Spring to Autumn at one bound I am suddenly thankful that we are off to Foreign Parts in one weeks time. It could be a welcome respite for blogees as Ghana is not too well intergrated into the WWW -or so the Lonely Planet leads us to believe. But I do know that the connection speed is very slow probably on a par with the 2400 bps I can get on the ordinary Hutton phone line on a good day and when the wind is not in the East. Moreover we wil be staying in a private house and the host may have better things to do with his PC than allow Huttonian to spend hours on line with Home Thoughts from Abroad. But I will do my best.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
The middle daughter has left a message in the visitor's book before GNERing to the big smoke: 'Almost too hot to sleep....just joking, freezing as usual!' So some people never warm up even in Deakin induced spring time. And it is nothing to do with being an effete southerner. She reports from East London that it is cold there as well. But that it will warm up when the heating is turned on. Heating! In London? We hardly had it on here during the relis visit so why switch on in London. Global warming is a myth.

It was, I admit, warmer in Ould Reekie than in Hutton. My plan to buy a Big Issue failed as the usual vendor was not at his normal station. However I found one discarded on the train and I was glad I had not parted with the small profit from my moral earnings. Somethings in life are worth 80p, but not, I think, the Big Issue.
Monday, March 21, 2005
With Mr Deakin in charge of the weather Spring is still with us and the middle son in law, having been dreading the tomb like cold of the Old Manse has been seen in shirt sleaves. Understandable outside but this was inside-a new record for March in the Merse. They depart, GNER willing, this pm to the scorching heat of East London. Poor things.

Up to Ould Reekie for what might be Huttonian's last lecture at the uni. Subject is Iraq so no problem keeping the student body awake for most of the time. So that will be another £22.50 well earned and I look forward to fritting away the .50p after tax and travel is deducted. Anyhow it will very nearly buy me a Big Issue so the young fit man who waves copies at me from the steps at the Fleshmarket end of Waverley Station may get his way and after 7 years of head down evasion I can at last catch his eye and avoid the sarcastic 'thankyou so much Sir' which is my usual reward for hurrying past with a train to miss.

If I am spared, of course
Sunday, March 20, 2005

Mr P and Ms KB training for the London Olympics Gymnastic's event

Young Mr P practicing for the Tour D'Oz. Sport is taken very seriously downunder-the training wheels are kept on to give the wrong impression to any spies from rival camps
The Belfast Bloggee is now taking an interest in Scotland inspired, possibly,by the doings of the Sheriff of Duns. What goes for Glascow will not do for Duns and has the Hutton Sauna has not been functioning for some time (since the last fuel strike) there is little oppurtunity for Sheriffs or any one else to get their kit off. I don't really follow why the poor man felt obliged to resign-most people in Sauna's don't even wear towels. Had he been wearing full sheriffian regalia that might well have been an occasion for shock and awe.

ORDER FAILS TO STOP MENACE ASBO girl: I was only out in my bikini because I'd been doing the garden
By John Fegruson
THE woman banned by a court from answering the door in her bra and panties said yesterday: 'I only put them on to do some gardening.'
The sight of Caroline Shepherd in skimpy Ann Summers undies scandalised her neighbours in a quiet suburban cul-de-sac.
And the 27-year-old ended up being served with an anti-social behaviour order barring her from 'answering the door to callers dressed only in underwear'.
Caroline is also forbidden from being seen in her garden or at her window in her knickers and bra.
The mum-of-two, of East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, could face six months' jail if she strips off again.
But she angrily branded the ASBO ruling a joke and denied neighbours' claims that she is a nuisance.
Caroline said: 'The underwear thing is ridiculous. It was a hot day and I had been out doing some gardening.
'It was just a skimpy bikini I bought at Ann Summers.
'OK, so it gave me a bit of a cleavage. But I don't think I was doing anything wrong.'
The sheriff who told Caroline to keep her clothes on later quit after being found in a sauna parlour wearing nothing but a towel.
The Glasgow sauna was raided by police investigating a prostitution racket. Sheriff Hugh Neilson told the officers he was only there 'to have a shave'.
Sheriff Neilson resigned after two senior judges began an investigation into his fitness for office.
Saturday, March 19, 2005

This is taken from the highest cliffs in Eastern Britain. A spot almost unknown outside the diving and twitching fraternity. Come, hurry, while that lasts

Sea birds nesting away. Nice surroundings for billing and mewing

This is said to be one of the most beautiful villages in Scotland. Voted so by the people of St Abbs. This is St Abbs.

St Abbs Head on a lovely Spring day. Warm with a bit of mist. Even little blue plastic bags of Dogs doings along the path are bearable in this weather
Bit late this week with the Sheriff of Duns. Sheriff Kevin must be on well earned hols and a new figure-Sheriff JP Scott has been presiding. Welcome to the rant Sheriff Scott. He had some challenging cases this week including a 105mph driver who claimed that as he had the wrong type of tyres his speedometer gave a misleading reading and he thought he was tootling along at a more modest granny speed. The Defence claimed that these tyres (high profile) could give a reading as much as 14% inaccurate. Own goal roared the bench: 105mph less 14% reduced his speed to 91mph and that was pretty nifty on a 60mph limit road. Scott seemed inclined to leniency however-a months ban and £400. All other cases were drink related driving offences except for a drink related assault on her husband by a woman after the couple had ‘been drinking most of the day’ The Sheriff seemed to accept that it was not entirely the lady’s fault and the man had a previous or two. Deferred for ‘social enquiry’.

AS the weather warms up perhaps we can expect less mundane crime otherwise the Sheriff may lose his weekly column altogether in favour of longer reports on bowling.
Friday, March 18, 2005
Bloggees looking for an account of the recent Community Council Meeting will have to remain disappointed althought the event was not without incident and indeed included at least two references to previous rants.

Anyhow all energies now reserved for receiving another train load of relis from the hot and deep South. Fortunately we seem to be enjoying near record breaking temperatures for this time of the year leading, nearly, to the switching off of Electric blankets and returning hot water bottles to the kitchen drawer. The middle son in law asked if he should bring a heavy coat. I wittered on about record ambiants etc. He listened politely.

I am sure he will bring it.
Berwickshire News report on last weeks filming. No sign of any crew coming to Hutton to film an undercover drama -provisionally titled 'The Incomer' Hutton Think Tank Film Unit still struggling with the script and looking for permission for locations. Paxton House have been approached for the milk float chase and shoot out at the Red Squirrell Hide.

Police drama filming at Berwick
BBC1 police drama 55 Degrees North came to Berwick borough last week during filming for its second series.
The show stars Don Gilet as DS Nicky Cole, a charismatic London detective relocated to Newcastle to work the nightshift after he blows the whistle on police corruption.He was in Berwick on Thursday with co-star Dervla Kirwan, who plays self-assured Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Claire Maxwell.The storyline brings DS Cole to Berwick after he runs into trouble while enjoying a short break on the north Northumberland coast.However, eagle-eyed viewers might notice one difference Ñ Berwick police station is run by the fictitious 'Berwickshire Police'.The show also provided producers Zenith North with the opportunity to film at several locations along the coast, including Holy Island and Bamburgh.
17 March 2005
The article below from the Electronic Berwickshire was sent to me by a blogee from Coldstream-he was struck by the inclusion of 'exciting' and 'Hutton' in the same sentence. He should know that the Hutton Carpet Bowling team is the toast of (most of) Berwickshire and always up in the top rankings. Gordon were lucky to scrape through on this occasion but 'our day will come' as the Merse branch of the Provos might put it if they were n't all abroad training Gorillas in revolutionary activities and brushing up on their spelling. In this case substitute 'tragic' for 'exciting'

Gordon win title by just one shot
GORDON beat Hutton by one shot in an exciting Berwickshire Carpet Bowling Association league final. They become the overall winners.
Gordon 22 :- P Lugget, W Messer, K Donaldson, K Robertson 11, N Kellett, P Robertson, H Donaldson, D Anderson 11. Hutton:- J Purves, T Dougal, D Gilchrist, D Patterson 10, K Purves, J Pigg, D Raeburn, D Johnston 11.The annual dance is to be held on March 25. Please get in touch with Emma 01361-882648 if you require tickets.All Clubs are reminded that the raffle books must be given to a member of the committee by the week-end. THE draw has been made for the inaugural Whitsome carpet bowling club pairs tournament to be held on March 19 at the Social Club in Duns.Players must use their own bowls.The draw is play at 5 p.m.:- I Jeffrey v S Jeffrey, D Anderson v Scott Jeffrey, R Bell v C Cockburn, Whitsome 1 v R Douglas.Play at 5.40 p.m.:- B Blaikie v R Runciman, K Hay v D Donaldson, T Leitch v D Wilson, K Donaldson v R Blaikie.Play at 6.20 p.m.:- F Donaldson v G Forsyth, Bitches v D Hedley, B Wood v C Young, J Bolton v P Lothian. Play at 7 p.m.:- W Scott v T Cruise, G Welsh v J Craik, N Kellet v T Hanks, H Donaldson v DSC.
17 March 2005
Thursday, March 17, 2005

One day it isn’t. Then it is. Spring has come to Hutton. Daffs out, frogs still frogging away. Resident Hen Pheasant having to make a choice from two Cocks*. Swallows and House Martins winging in our direction. Window cleaner soon needed as nest in eaves fill up. Sun warm(ish). Clouds fluffy. Mr Fish happy in retirement, bucket and spade poised. Plus fours gleaming over inappropriate golfing shoes. Stay away and enjoy your MBE.
* Note Capital C Blog-ed.

Last Frog Standing-or rather swimming. Too exhausted to hide even in the presence of predators-the last of this season's great 'spenders' The image has been suppressed by Blog-ed for security reasons but is not to dissimilar from the one with message of reassurance to ALF-below

And thats why. A record amount of Spawn. First sign of a Huttonian Spring is when the Frogs frog off having down their thing. Now its time for the water beetles to ahve a good munch

Green yesterday. Yellow today. Sprung

And I can assure the ALF that all our Frogs are free range and live in comfortable surroundings.

Almost yukky in its pristine prettiness. Chocolate Box Stuff.
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Virgin is a delight to travel in if perhaps for shortish journeys only as it seems much slower than the GNER speedsters. Carriages are clean and mostly empty by the time it reaches Berwick from the deep south and surprisingly unused going south as well; perhaps travelers to the nether regions don't want to spend most of a long day going to Bournemouth or Exeter.

Anyhow the loos are a delight with the push button technology favoured by Mr Sugars. Its like entering a secure bank vault and the door closes smoothly and silently behind you. Only worry for the neurotic, as one crouches comfortably contemplating matters of great moment, is will the door actually open again to let you out again. But they are sparkling clean- a tomb possibly but a clean one-not even pharaoh had one of those. And the digital seat reservations-no tearing off of reservation tickets by unscrupulous passengers, as often happens on GNER.

If GNER renews its franchise there is a thing or two to learn from Virgin-but not punctuality-one Bournemouth train was a day late. But in the space encapsulated surroundings of Sugar class who cares?
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
To Ould Reekie the day. Teaching of a different and idle sort. It is called a seminar and the students do all the work-preparing and presenting papers on the topic of the week-today' Democracy in the Arab World'-a shortish work rather like the 'Scottish Book of Jokes'. Huttonian's role is what is known in academic circles as a 'discussant'. French for some one who sits in gently snoozing and occasionally, when awake, offering a bon mot* or two. As always a small cadre of students dominate the proceedings and the discussant needs to encourage the more timid ones to speak up. This can have unexpected results as once a rather attractive but silent blonde when gently encouraged to say something, anything, confessed that she was in the wrong seminar but was too embarrassed to do anything about it. The nice young man sitting beside her persuaded her to stay on until the end and then disappeared into the sunset together-4pm but it was Edinburgh mid winter. A happy ending indeed.

* caustic comment. Enough French. Blog-ed
The Belfast blogee continues his obsessive tussle with nine items or less. His sad tale is worth recording. We have our Amazons here too-mostly caravanners. Historically Amazons have only one breast as they removed one so as not to impede their bow drawing arm. Things have changed and some of our modern day Amazons are so well built that they may now have grown an extra breast for barging their way through the narrow aisles of Morrisons. I have no evidence of this is an anatomical fact but it sometimes seems that waty. Read on

I have just returned from Safeways/Morrisons, a victim of the most ghastly ‘Nine items or less’ experience ever!

For whatever reason I resisted the painted crone tactics and joined the NIOL queue having first checked the contents of the basket, and found that I was eligible. Serendipity placed Mrs B Major next but one in front and we exchanged greetings in that public embarrassing mummy/little boy sort of way before she glanced at the basket in front. It belonged to a vast blond, with roots, Amazon and at a rough guess contained about thirty items or more. I whispered to Mrs B Major that she could take her own plunder to the cigarette counter as she had bought no alcohol. The auld biddy’s off the drink these days.

I should have passed a note, for the Amazon heard the whisper and greeted the entire store with ‘There’s always some smart f****r thinks he can count’. Mrs B Major dashed off to the cigarette counter without even looking over her shoulder. The verbal onslaught continued, but there was a happy shopper between me and the Amazon and I hid behind him. Otherwise I fear that a physical approach may have been her next option.

The spotty little boy at the checkout was out of his depth. He looked at the array of ‘stuff’ (I didn’t see any turkey twizzlers but bet that they were there somewhere) on the conveyor belt and then at the opposition. It really didn’t take him too long and to work out the safest option and I don’t blame the child at all. The Amazon unfolded her arms, momentarily stopped glaring over the happy shopper’s shoulder at me and energetically and noisily thrust her stuff into quite a few of Morrison’s carrier bags.

Mrs B Major reappeared, having made sure that the Amazon had cleared the store, and declared that ‘we’ should make a formal complaint. As we left the store discussing the merits or otherwise of doing so, we were stopped in our tracks by the Amazon who continued outside what she had started inside before getting into her gargantuan 4x4 that she had conveniently parked in a disabled parking bay just outside the door.

I remember as a child being sent down to the local village shop, a mile away, with a list from Mrs B Major and handing it to a jolly man in brown overalls. He would potter about in his own time and tick off the various items as he set them on the counter before making a half hearted attempt at adding up the bill.

I’m not as old as the B minors might think, or hope, but that seems like a century ago. Or perhaps 9 lifetimes or less?
Isn’t progress wonderful

Management of S and M in Norn Iron take note. Bring in the one basket only check point and put the BB out of his misery.
Monday, March 14, 2005
Huttonian is off to the far West today-to Kelso no less-to talk to the University of the Third Age, Three Borders coven-about the Middle East. A much more challenging audience than the usual docile student body. 'Third Age' is apparently the politically correct terminolgy for fifty/sixty somethings. But hardly in the Shakespearian sense where 'his acts being seven ages' The third age in this speech from As you like it 'the lover, sighing like a furnace and with a woeful ballad made to his mistress'eyebrow' . I am sure we still all feel like that now and again but have generally passed through that traumatic and youthful stage. I suspect that we are what the Bard called the Sixth Age: 'the lean and slipper'd pantaloon with spectacles on nose..a world too wide for his shrunk shank and his big manly voice turning towards a childish treble' etc etc-Our Will rather lingers on this passage-shrunk and lean, incidentally, does not apply to most of the elderly shoppers in Morrisons. Thats post Shakespearian diet for you. But at least we are not 'sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything. Not quite in 'second childishness and mere oblivion' Not quite yet.

But Universty of the Sixth Age-no, doesn't quite sound right.
Sunday, March 13, 2005
The wife is off to southern parts to-day-not a good day for going on GNER with the weekends reserved for maximum disruption because of 'essential maintenance' Maintenance is apparently widespread-so her original train is cancelled, ( you have to have access to a computer to know this. The friendly telephone lad in Mumbai had no inkling.) So it is an earlier train to Newcastle, bus to Darlington (Bus to Stockton for old times sakes for railway history buffs no doubt) Train south in the general direction of London stopping for every conceivable reason( faulty signals, cattle on track, frozen points, last years leaves, necessary maintenance) at every inconceivable place including Hitchin where no one ever gets on or off as trains 'don't stop there' and the station is probably closed anyway-for essential maintenance or because its Sunday.

By the time she gets to London it may be tomorrow and time to come home. TGIM she will say. Oh yes they forgot to make seat reservations. She had 'booked too soon' and by the time she remembered they were no seats left. Then they cancelled the train. Do they really deserve to renew their franchise?
Saturday, March 12, 2005
For those of us who still rely on bog standard non digital TV there are only two sources of weather information-BBC and ITV-we can't get Channel 5 in these parts. BBC is a bit better in the post Fish era but the ITV Teletext is appalling, at least for 'The Borders' which is stretched all the way to Stranraer via Dumfries for meteorological purposes. It seems as if they have a standard cut and paste approach-taking a forecast for all Europe and applying it methodically and inaccurately to us. For the last three weeks 'moderate snow' has been relentlessly promised for Berwick whose weather system apparently stretches half way to Dumfries in the West Edinburgh in the North and possibly Watford in the South. For variety 'outbreaks of moderate snow' are interspersed with outbreaks of 'light snow' and 'broken cloud' In fact not a flake has actually fallen in Berwick itself since this cold snap began-the ITV weather computer just defaults to 'moderate snow' and will no doubt switch at some point to 'moderate rain' until the clocks change again. The Native Indian Chief 'Broken Cloud' is a permanent feature and the Wild West is welcome to have him back anytime they like. 'Moderate Snow' is forecast for this morning. It is sunny with a blue sky so it is yet to get out of bed.

Mr Fish, take a break from retirement, ITV needs you.

Relief is in sight-analogue TV is to be switched off in the Borders earlier than anywhere else. Very few people that I know have digital or want to get it despite 100 plus free channels . There will be a lot of blank screens here abouts and the end of misleading forecasts. Can't be all bad
Friday, March 11, 2005
The Highheidians at the Berwickshire News must read the rant as Sheriff Kevin of Duns had had his court reports restored to centre stage-a half page spread no less on page 5. Sadly the trend of not very exciting cases continues. 'Hurled Stone at Window' 'Failed to stop after accident' Headbutted barman' (apparently LD (42) was asked to return his glass to the bar from the pub car park and took exception to the lack of a comprehensive customer service-£150 fine and £25 compensation for the glass and the barman's nose) Slightly more riveting was the case of the abusive texter-4 nasty messages to a woman in addition to an assault charge. He was ordered to make a personal appearance rather than text his defence: "sry Guv. prpr Kop. no ofnse mnt." Sentence deferred-he admitted his offence. Sheriff Kevin is obviously a peripatetic law man like his counterparts in the Old Wild West and his writ runs to other far flung Sheriff's courts. He is reported as dealing with cases in Jedburgh and Selkirk as well as at Duns. No mention of a posse or whether or not he can wear a Star. Anyhow it is good to see him back-a good man in persuit of the Humdrum.

Back again today and less shy about it

If you look carefully-click to expand -you can (just) see a 'copulation of frogs' frogging away.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Under the heading TV drama filming in Berwick the Berwickshire has a short front pge item on the 'shooting' of a drama -as yet untitled-outside Berwick Police Station in Church Street. It is apparently about a police detective who relocates to the North East and 'finds himself up against not only hardened criminals but prejudice and corruption within the force' Berwick seem a rather unlikely setting given its very low crime rate but perhaps the series will inspire the local underworld to try harder.

Hutton Think Tank have got quite excited about the use of local locations to attract film makers. HT2 film director has long been working on a script set in the Hutton area entitled 'The Lone Stranger' about someone working undercover in the area to expose institutionlised some thing or other for a 'drama documentary' . The suggestion that he play the local milkman has been abandoned for lack of suitable lighting at 4am and it may be that he takes on the role of a crusading postman. Postman see all kinds of things we others miss but the script writers have yet to develop much of a plot. The film director is sad about losing the (milk) plot as he had designed a very exciting Milk Float chase through Hutton and Paxton villages and had an acceptance from Jason Button as one of the two drivers in a fierce cut throat competition to be the first to deliver an introductory offer of Yakult to Paxton House. It was all to end in a shoot out at the Red Squirrell Hide-the protection of these endangered creatures was to be a sub plot.Alas. Back to the drawing board. Any ideas gratefully received via HT2 via old_greywolf2000@yahoo.co.uk

The scene of pre spring uninhibited sex this morning-thirty frogs banging away a\nd letting it all squirt out.

7 years ago the Huttonian family dug out this pond as a birthday present for the wife-with some help from the JR Ranch next door. Now it looks like the real thing-and is unethusiastically endorsed by the 30 or so frogs who call it home. 10 March is their Mothering Day and they let it all squirt out.

The frogs disappeared as soon as humans approached but the result of their noisy frolics was all too plain
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
I mentioned before the shadow of the election being cast on the peaceful Merse despite no date being announced for the hustings. Today's usual package of junk mail included a letter from the Tory Candidate for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk 'Fighting to make the Borders Better' is his slogan-rather an aggressive war cry for a peaceful looking gent. As a result of a questionnaire he sent out some weeks ago (Huttonian filled it in) he has now identified the main concerns and issues of local people: inadequate transport links-poor state of roads. Lack of NHS dentists, the closing of cottage hospitals (40 closed across Scotland since 1997) being the main problems -dealing with which he is 'already active'. He also mentions proliferation of wind farms, future of local schools and 'the desperate need for affordable housing' .The only international topic raised with him was the issue of European integration, but what aspects are not revealed which is surprising in a predominantly rural community.

For the immediate neighbourhood I suspect the battle to save the local school will be decided one way or the other by the time of the election. Local roads are a matter for concern-pot holes and collapsed edges are of Third World proportions and are only patched up after a big fuss is made over a long period. All good business for Kwikfit in Berwick. I don't think that we here are too bothered about wind farms but then they don't dominate our horizons-low flying aircraft are more of a nuisance ' A Tory Government will make Low Flying Aircraft Fly Higher' Now theres a slogan for you. I won't go into affordable housing in case I am accused of hobbyhorsing -an issue very close to home even if it is being persued in certain quarters for reasons not necessarily too closely connected with the welfare of local local people.

Promises, promises and a lot more to come, you can be sure. And only two parties have shown their hand so far. Thankgood ness Huttonian will be away in very foreign parts for most of April.
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
There is nothing so pleasurable as Ould Reekie on a post Fish pre Spring day with the air balmy and the sun threatening to shine. There are some drawbacks-the sun, once it emerges, attracts the bag pipe players, professional Scots to a man (I have never seen a woman player on the streets but I hear that our local SNP candidate is no mean performer) all warming up, in both senses of the word, for the annual invasion of the forriners , many of whom are generous or gullible enough to part with specie after seeing the beskirted musicians strut their stuff-kilts swirling, sporrans jangling with shiny pound coins within, illegally carried offensive weapons stuck into their socks, shiny buckles, er, shining, and a haunting melody lifting the pigeons off the roofs of the tenements-still startled by this assault on the senses, despite having heard it so many times before. Then in the deafening silence which follows' Over the Sea to Skye' or 'Many a Mickey takes a Muckle' or whatever, the passing of money from spectator to performer as one pauses for a quick drag and the other passes gratefully along only to be subjected to further cruel and unusual punishment a few blocks later. But they will usually pay up again-it is part of the Great Edinburgh Experience and few pleasures in life are truly free
Norn Iron people are generally reluctant travellers outside the 6 counties. However the Belfast Bloggee and his adventurous current wife are an exception to the rule: the recent trip to an exotic European hotspot is a case in point:

One can do Belfast to Amsterdam, door to door, thanks to EasyJet. In the air it really doesn’t matter what aircraft you are in as they all hit the ground with the same velocity. Just try and get on the thing in the first place.

At Belfast International Airport, you don’t walk far to get to any departure gate and there you can have a pint of Guinness in a modicum of comfort.

And then they call the numbers. The PPW and I were 12 & 13 and the nice lady in orange mumbled that people holding tickets from 1 to 30 should proceed to gate C12, or wherever. We did this, along with about another two hundred fellow travellers. The PPW is a teacher and appeared to be slightly dismayed at the standard of education afforded to our new friends. She expressed this in much fewer words.

The flight was fairly non-eventful, orange fluffy boys named Julian or Justin flogging cheap tacky smelly stuff to make up for the cut price tickets. (I bought a packet of Pringles, original.) It was made slightly less tedious by the toothy old queens in the seats behind, whooping and squealing as we bumped above Schipol Airport while the driver tried to get the machine on the ground.

Our hotel, The Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, is bang on the fringe of Dam Square and an easy spot from which to negotiate the city. The PPW and I had been here before and had previously dashed about everywhere on foot trying to take in everything in limited time. The climate on this occasion did not lend itself to leisurely strolls. It was exceedingly cold and the usually benign breezes rushed up each canal with shameful bitterness.

The Red Light District is immediately behind the ‘Kras’ and is a curious mix of sex, drugs and all things weird, pretty much the same as most mainstream religions. There is a vast gothic style church with massive vaulted ceilings just beyond the more notorious of the crack dealing streets with ladies in windows along the way. The ladies are quite charming and smiley, but the pimps and minders who linger outside are not nice at all. We forewent all offers to ‘score’ and found ‘The Lord in the Attic’, an absolute gem, where a wealthy merchant of bygone years converted his loft into a place where those disposed to Catholicism could do their stuff. The Prods weren’t too well disposed to that sort of carry on in those days.

On our way out of the RLD we passed a couple of nuns in full habit charging over a bridge. The PPW glanced at the legs of one of the sisters and concluded that it was a chap. ‘Fine leg for a button boot’ as my auld ma would say.

At Schipol Airport, the size of an average city, you walk for miles before ending up in a cattle pen for twelve with three hundred ‘drugged up’ evacuees crammed in. The numbers game started again, met this time with shouting men in football shirts, tattooed ladies and lots of arms flying about. The PPW and I managed to get on EZY4422 where I bought another packet of Pringles (cream cheese and onion) and a beer from fluffy Justin.

The captain was Elaine Galvin, who did wonders for the cause of girly
drivers everywhere.

Good romping stuff but give me the certainties of Duns any day
Monday, March 07, 2005
Sadly the young ones return to the Big Smoke today-little Z, the senior Granddaughter has learnt an important new word following her arrival in the Merse: 'Cold'-a condition apparently unknown in the deep South. Also 'Ire' which is 'fire' -the poor deprived little southerner had never seen a real coal fire before and watched it with great fascination for a long time. It is at this stage an open question whether, as a career choice she would like to be a Fireman/woman/firefighter or an arsonist. The jury is out on this at the moment as another jury may well be in a couple of decades. So for consolation it is Ould Reekie again-no snow impediment likely-and the sleepy students to be aroused, stimulated, informed and sent on their way enriched. £22.50 well earned in my view-take off rail fares and tax-total financial reward £1.50. Much better be a fireman or a Primary School teacher.

Look no hands. Yes, worried bloggee of Warkworth, she does enjoy it and her Dad has not dropped her yet.

Yes-free flight at last
The long fore shadow of the yet to be announced General Election is cast over the Merse. The Berwickshire has two adjacent small articles on the Scottish Nationalist and Conservative Parties Manifestos-for want of a better word. They may have been cribbing off each other as both SNP and the Tories are chasing the Grey Vote-good news for the occupants of the Old Manse-it is nice to be courted, if only every four years. Our local SNP candidate is focusing on a non -means tested Citizen's Pension of at least £110 which is about £40 more than the pittance doled out to Hutton and double that paid to the Wife. The Tories or the 'anti Scottish' Tories as the SNP candidate describes them are promising a big tax in Council Tax for OAPs -ideal solution would be for them both to come to power and we oldies will be very well off. I doubt however if either will take this seat from the incumbent SDP Member. The Nats do not seem to do well in the Borders and the Scottish Tories are a small rump-never forgiven for the Poll Tax of years gone by! The Scots have very long memories on matters which effect their pockets.
Sunday, March 06, 2005
A bloggee-and one from the Merse-has drawn Huttonian's attention to one of Rabbi* Burns' less familiar songs. I suspect that it is never performed at the Coldstream Burns Club or indeed any other in the vicinity of this region as some of the sentiments are unflattering to the local Laird of Lairds and to the people of the Merse

Burns Original
Standard English Translation
It's Up Wi' The Souters O' Selkirk TUNE: The Souters O' Selkirk (The Cobblers of Selkirk)It's up wi' the Souters o' Selkirk, And down wi' the Earl of Hume, And here is to a' the braw laddie That wear the single-sol'd shoon. It's up wi' the Souters o' Selkirk, For they are baith trusty and leal, And up wi' the lads o' the Forest, And down wi' the Merse to the deil!

It Is Up With The Cobblers Of Selkirk It is up with the cobblers of Selkirk,And down with the Earl of Hume,And here is to all the handsome ladsThat wear the single-soled shoes.It is up with the cobblers of Selkirk,For they are both trusty and loyal,And up with the lads of the Forest,And down with the Merse to the devil!

* Rabbie surely Blog-ed
Saturday, March 05, 2005
For the second successive week Sheriff Kevin of Duns has not had his doings in his court reported in the Berwickshire. Perhaps there was no crime or he was on his half term. Instead readers have to plough through the very mundane cases reported from the District Court-the headings tell their own story: Four Fined, False Name, Banned, Drugs, Cannabis and Speeder. All dreary stuff. A faint spark of interest in Four Fined-2 blokes and 2 women brawling in a Coldstream Pub 'conducted themselves in a disorderly manner, shouted, made threats, fought with others and committed a breach of the peace' Three fined £125 and one £150-seems hardly fair unless he-and it was a he-was the ring leader shouting, threatening, fighting and C a B of the P worse than his three companions. These reports do not include the comments from the Bench. The Beak is apparently closed. Come back Sheriff Kevin we miss you.

Part of the training apparently-free fall aprachuting starts here.

A hair raising shriek of sheer pleasure!

I am not a footballer but Gee, I am pretty!

Training includes trampoline jumping-she is taking a well earned rest. Jacket indicates that Old Manse kept at correct exercise temperature.

Lining up for a penalty kick-a blast on the whistle will indicate another goal. Photo from perspective of the hapless goal keeper

Now in training for the Women's World Cup 2022. She carries her own whistle shaped like a dummy to blow herself off side when necessary. Good Discipline
With the house fullish with young the Berwickshire has been rather neglected. But one item has caught the eye-Green light for Fishwick Houses. This item reports Farmer C's success, at the third attempt in getting approval for a group of houses near his Fishwick farmstead. The paper describes this (six houses with paddocks) as an ambitous diversification project involving a 'number of tourist and leisure facilities (he is of course the progenitor of the Amazing Maize Maze, currently seasonaly adjusted). The Committee approved his application by four votes to two but there is still some metaphorical horse trading to be done before the final shape of the project is agreed. One bloggee has wished this ambitous project luck but has commented it will be disapointing if this turns out to be six new houses in the countryside-nothing less, nothing more. Time will tell
The Eldest daughter insists that in the interests of natural justice the oz brats are included too-so here are a few of the latest shots. They are all coming home in the Autumn for a couple of years at least so no more 23 hour flights to endure.

They get on well but the temptation to give a good tug must be strong!

or a squeeze!
Friday, March 04, 2005


Yes I can compose too- Variations on the theme of losing the Ashes-Dream On

No this is the London granddaughter this time.

No sooner in the house but off to tinkle the ivories with a little concerto composed on the Train-needs some polishing but not bad

Then a bit of practical study of the how many angels on top of a haystack philosophical approach-the First Huttonian Law in its most basic form
Thursday, March 03, 2005

It looked very promising-sledging, plastic bags, snow balling. 30 minutes later slush.
Deakin weather-patchy and indecisive. Heavy snow in Hutton this am as promised on the Met Office website and the BBC bright red Weather Warning -disruption, danger, damage-almost as scary as Bird Flu. But just outside Hutton in the neighbouring Paxton Metropolitan Area green(muddy) fields, dry roads and nary a flake. Still slightly worrying as the youngest daughter, junior son in law and eldest granddaughter are GNERing up from the Big Smoke for a long week end. Fatted calves just out of deep freeze so we hope that it will not be the wrong type of something on track which delays them. So I had no problems getting to Morrisons-still packed after its makeover and has become a local tourist attraction for people as much intent on gawping as buying. And the Gawpers with their empty trolleys (now a Pounds worth) always blocking the shelf with the item next on your list. You daren't move on and come back as it will be gone -if it is some thing exotic like live Yoghurt (on the Caravanners Yuk list) it is usually in short supply and I got the last two in NE England today. I hope the novelty has worn off before the Caravanners follow the swallows.

The Management continues to read the rant. A Cash only till has been opened on one of the normal 250 -items- and -above check out and it is now possible to use plastic at one of the basket only Paystations. Choices; choices.

PS my spell check suggests 'Nourishing' for 'Morrisons' Some one high up has nobbled Bill Gates.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005
In the Fish era you knew where you were-If Mr F promised you bad weather you generally got it. Now with the more gentle approach of Mr A Deakin and his colleagues, mostly called Helen, life is more uncertain. The Merse has over the last week or so been between two weather systems-foul to the north and filthy to the south. Snow of varying degrees in both cases. We have had snow, hail, sleet but just as it looks as if whiteout is upon us it all changes to rain. But the Deakin broad brush makes no allowance for the micro climate around these parts. Twice I have had to cancel excursions to Auld Reekie or Embra in the local patois because of alleged snow. Apparently the Uni is reluctant to call students in for seminars or whatever when pavements are icy in fear of being sued by a student who has fallen and twisted or broken something. Certainly some lecturers are quick to pull the plug when the first snow flake falls claiming that they are stranded in Fife or other remote regions. Today the problem is being compounded by GNER having the wrong kind of broken signal and disruption is gleefully predicted and 'inconvenience' promised-this epithet may also have to applied to the on board loos if they are not more regularily maintained. Thankfully I am not on my travels today.
Huttonian feeks very honoured as the rant is now the subject/object of a link from a very fine website http://www.coldstreampipeband.co.uk/ that of the Coldstream Pipe Band-a site as Scottish and as musical as you can get in a month of Sundays. There are links to all the pipe bands in the region and for a lover of this type of music it is the place to visit.This site has also a number of (other) interesting links of a truly Scottish flavour-some modest some fairly far out and transatlantically sentimental in a Gallic misty sort of way.

Closer to home is a link to the 1513 Flodden Club: http://www.flodden1513club.com/main.html "The principal aim of the club is to commemorate the Scots who died at the Battle of Flodden, which was the last medieval battle fought between England & Scotland, on 9 September 1513.
2. In so doing the club carries out a short ceremony at the Battle of Flodden War Memorial, near Branxton Village, in North Northumberland at 7pm on 9 September each year. Club officials commemorate James 1V& the Scots who died with him on that bloody battlefield when the Scots army was completely overwhelmed and most of the Scots nobility and youth of the country was wiped out in a few hours. A wreath is laid and a local piper, normally Pipe Major Robert Bell or his son, Piper Duncan Bell play the bagpipes. Members of the public are made welcome at this ceremony.
3. On the immediate Friday after this ceremony the Club holds a commemoration dinner in the clubrooms of the Royal British Legion, Coldstream, where guest speakers toast "King James", "Border Men Who Fell" and "Toast to the 1513 Club"In the "Border Men Who Fell" toast the speaker usually ends his speech by referring to the Border Men who Fell at Flodden but during the speech reference is normally made to the significant number of Border men, hailing from both sides of the Border, who fell in the Great Wars."

Huttonian feels as an (60%) English incomer to ask why the Club is out of kilter with the annual 'official' Flodden commemoration, which honours the dead of both nations. Apparently, it is because the Club focuses on the fact that almost the entire Scottish nobility, and many Border families, were wiped out. So they are the people who need to be mourned

Indeed but someone (James IV) should have thought of that possibility before invading England(and the English suffered heavy casualties as well) for no better reason than coming to the help of the French. The French? For goodness sake. Surely he could have thought of a better reason.

The Society seems uncritically Scottish. Fair enough But in the interests of historical accuracy should there be no discussion of noble Scottish (Border) families who, according to some historians didn't pull their weight at the battle? One Glaswegian taxi driver, hearing that the wife was living in the Borders ranted away about how they had lost out to the English because of much of the Borderer contigent left the field in the course of the battle, with their booty and this, he felt, contributed to the ensuing slaughter of the Flower of Scotland. Rather like Messrs Beckham, Owen and Rooney leaving the English team at half time when 2 down to Germany in a World Cup Match. A bit of self criticism might be in order and perhaps a bit of reconciliation. 1513 is quite a long time ago. Go on, move on and go to Branxton for a bipartisan knees up!
Tuesday, March 01, 2005

At last we caught a low flying aircraft at it! Sadly it wasn't flying low at the time so no grounds for complaint. Just try getting an image of fighter aircrft at 200 feet flying 600plus mph with a digital camera with a noticeable time delay on the shutter. Just have to keep trying Click on image to enlarge but still can't pick out the registration number.
The Belfast bloggee has an ungoing problem with shopping in Norn Iron and ,like the rest of us with Safeways/Morrisons. He is obviously still exercised with the 9 item syndrome.

"Two delightful painted old crones have the measure of the nine items or less check-out (for it is singular) at Safeways, North Belfast.

The trick is to load up a basket of goodies each and quietly together count out nine items or less, replace the plastic divider on the conveyor belt, pay for the first (or last) nine and start again until all fifty or more bits have gone through. Sudan 1 items et al.

Any querulous look is met with a Bette Davis (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?) stare and is probably best unchallenged bearing in mind the dreadful things that she inflicted on poor Joan Crawford.

Tiocaidh ar la!"

That last sentence as bloggee Gaelic speakers will know means 'Our day will come' still the motto of Sinn Fein/IRA. But it applies well to Morrisons in Berwick where our day has come with the abolishment of the 9 items checkout and the introduction of the one basket for cash rule-see previous rants. So hold on BB, relief is at hand and the Crones will, like King George, have to 'think again'

Fogo is a nice wee village of '21 souls' or so yet 86 children went to the local school in the 19th Century.Click on this image to read all about it. Incidentally someone told me that the name for a stuck- in -mud elderly inhabitant used to be an Old Fogo.?

The tiny church at Fogo-benches for the hoi polloi, box pews for the aspiring gentry and professional classes and a Lairds Loft for the, er, Laird. Not a stained glass window, altar, cross in sight. John Knox would have approved. Yes it was a dark as that but click on image to see ( bit) more

This is the Blackadder river or more correctly 'water' below Fogo. The peat flavoured water is much darker than that of the Whiteadder. Adder apparently means fast flowing water in some ancient tongue

THe church from outside. Perhaps the prettiest of the East Berwickshire Church of Scotland Kirks. To read about its history go to http://www.gavinton.net/fogo_kirk.htm
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