Musings from the Merse
What a day-blossom on the apple tree and warm sunshine. Small tomatoe seedlings growing in the greenhouse. God is in his Heaven and all is right in the world? At least the election is unlikely to change much of this.huttonian
This is why the Wife bought this house-the view from the kitchen on a wonderful spring day-just as it was on the day we made the offer in 1997. The pond was not there then and the old greenhouse blew away in the great storm of 02. And the back lawn was more of a lawn in 1997 rather than the mowed meadow we have now. But we think she made a wise choice-although there have been moments of doubt!huttonian
Huttonian is beginning to have his doubts about
the newly vamped Borders Tourist authority: Dog Ambassadors are all very well but cashmere jackets for lambs? Is this slightly silly or am
I lacking the vision thing-certainly this is the first time I have ever seen any mention of this 'promotion' which was launched three weeks ago-but then I am hardly a target for the Tourist people being here already.Borders Launches Spring Showcase with Designer Cashmere Collection for Lambs 6 April 2005Scottish Borders
Six newborn Borders lambs were treated to a touch of haute couture this week at the launch of the VisitScotland Borders Spring marketing campaign.
To mark their latest bid to attract visitors to the region, and to highlight the regions textile heritage, VisitScotland Borders commissioned top Borders based designer Rosy Eribe of Eribe Knitwear to create special cashmere jackets for the lambs. Eribe clients include Libertys of London and designers Paul Smith and Margaret Howell. The jackets were modelled at a Spring fashion show with a difference today in a field near Stow in the heart of the Borders countryside.
The £40,000 campaign aims to highlight the regions rural beauty and attractions, which include a luxury cashmere trail tour of textile producers in the Borders. VisitScotland Borders Area Director, Fiona Drane said; Lambs are one of the iconic images of Spring and are particularly important here in the Borders where there are more sheep than in any other area of Scotland. We therefore thought that commissioning special cashmere versions of their own little coats would be an ideal way to promote the regions stunning Spring countryside which is home to lambs galore at the moment, and to highlight some of our great attractions. Last year, our Spring marketing campaign generated over £850,000 worth of tourism business for the region and we hope that this campaign will help us build on that figure by attracting ever increasing numbers of visitors to the Borders.I'll suspend judgement until I meet a stranger in the Cross Inn asking for the lambs in their cashmere jackets-I'll buy him a drink and introduce him to HE the Dog Ambassador Sir Canine Kerr of that Ilk
Stop Press: I am quite wrong about the name of K2 -all is revealed belowThe SBTB has made the final shortlist for Innovation Excellence for its Dog Friendly initiative, Marketing Achievement (small enterprise) for the Borders Touch Campaign and PR Excellence for its public relations activities conduct in association with Borders based consultancy Artisan PR.
Fiona Drane, Acting Chief Executive of the SBTB said: We are delighted that all three of the entries we submitted have made it through to the final shortlist. The Scottish Borders has established a reputation for developing new ideas and last November we collected a Thistle Award for Innovation for our Dog Friendly Campaign which involved the creation of a paw rating grading scheme for dog friendly accommodation providers, a special visitor guide for dog owners and the appointment of a Border collie Lord Mirk of Hornshole as the regions first Dog Ambassador. It would be wonderful if this was to win again. We are also very proud of our Borders Touch initiative aimed at promoting and recognising good customer service through showing the role that everyone can play in ensuring visitors to this region enjoy their stay. Our nomination for PR Excellence is in association with Artisan PR and creativity has been paramount with activity including the creation of a dress made entirely from leaves and the setting up of a Scottish Borders Embassy in the Lake DistrictAny sightings of Lord Mirk to be reported to the Rant please. Hornshole-especially the second syllable is perhaps not too good for a dog-plastic bags and pooper scoopers to the rescue
We have often ranted about the Scottish Borders Tourist Board
and its unimaginative slogan :' The Borders-Scotland's Favourite Short Break destination' .40 minutes long enough?
Glad to report that its successor 'VisitScotland Borders' has got off to a good start by winning an award for PR Excellence at the Marketing Excellence Awards Scotland last week-according to the Berwickshire News. Two 'initiatives' caught the Judges' eye:
The creation of a dress made entirely from leaves from the region's trees-and the appointment of Borders Dog Ambassador. What excellent ideas-the dress made of leaves will have male visitors flocking here in their thousands if worn by a Page 3 girl in the Autumn months and the Dog Ambassador is surely a unique idea. A Borders terrier presumably-His or Her Excellency Sir (or Lady) Whatsit Canine representing the region at public functions. Presumably he or she will have to carry their own little plastic bag unless the Aide de Cur is issued with a suitably posh pooper scooper-what a social cachet to have this noble beast in attendance at your function. Certainly more imaginative, in my view, than the rather embarrassing Paxton Ted, lurking around Paxton House, which I am told is a large man in a silly suit We await with interest the announcement of the chosen Cur (perhaps better locally to be known as a Kerr?) and his/her job description.
The PR team which thought up these brilliant ideas now 'officially ranks as amongst the most talented marketing groups in Scotland' Says their publicity. Bully on them. More initiatives please.
Some new bloggees
have asked for a background piece on Hutton-here is the only one I could find on the WWW and it is not very up todate-well about 40 years out of date actually but is still quite interesting background. The search engine missed another more recent piece with some photos-this is the Berwickshire Community Council Forum site at http://www.bccforum.info/
Go to 'communities' and follow link to Hutton and Paxton The piece does not mention that the Kirk in Hutton enjoys which surely must be a world's record: Two ministers in 108 years-one was the incumbent for 48 years and his succesor the Rev. D. Leslie lived in this manse for 60 years, retiring and dying in his 80s.Parish No 745 Hutton is located within the County of Berwickshire which is now known as the Scottish Borders. Hutton sits approximately 6 miles west of Berwick-upon-Tweed. For a map showing the location of Hutton please click here.
The Parish of Fishwick united with Hutton in 1610. All that now remains of the medieval parish is an overgrown graveyard which contains the ruin of the mortuary chapel. There was also a medieval Parish church in the village of Paxton. Paxton now has its own Parish Church. For a map showing the location of Hutton, Fishwick and Paxton please click here.
"HUTTON, a parish, containing the post-office villages of Hutton and Paxton, on the south-east border of Berwickshire. It is bounded by the liberties of Berwick, by England, and by the parishes of Ladykirk, Whitsome, Edrom, Chirnside, Foulden, and Mordington."
from the Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by John Marius Wilson, 1868.
Hutton Old Parish Church
The Church at Hutton was dedicated by David de Bernham who was the Bishop of St Andrews on 6 April 1243. In 1652 seating was installed within the Parish Church, it is thought that it was the original church that had the seats installed. Before the seating was installed members of the congregation brought their own seats. Between the years of 1655 and 1660 Hutton Old Parish Church underwent repairs which included the addition of a gallery on the west side of the church and the roof being re-thatched.
In 1765 a new church was built to replace Hutton Old Parish Church. The new Church had seating for 400 people. The church had an earthen floor, un-plastered walls no ceiling and a thatched roof. A paved floor was laid in 1791 along with the plastering of the walls and ceiling. This church was demolished in 1834. At this time the church was said to be in a state of disrepair bordering on ruinous.
Hutton Parish Church
The Parish Church which stands in Hutton today was built in 1834. The present day church was given a new floor and seating during the modernizations of 1934. In 1961 it was necessary to install a new roof and ceiling.
Fishwick was once a Parish in its own right until it joined with Hutton in 1610. After Fishwick united with Hutton, Fishwick Chapel remained in use as a Parish Church. In 1731 a Church Session meeting was held at Fishwick Parish Church. This was the last written recording of Fishwick Church being used.
In 1843 Mordington Free Church was built, most of the congregation which attended the church services were from the village of Paxton. The village of Paxton also provided the congregation for Horndean United Free Church. The church remained as Mordington and Paxton United Free Church until 1929 when the United Free Church united with the Church of Scotland. The church is now united with Hutton and Foulden Parish Churches.
Here are some figures showing the parish's population through time:
1755 – 751
1801 – 955
1811 – 1030
1821 – 1118
1831 – 1096
1861 – 1067
1881 – 969
The present pop of Hutton and Paxton is about 400 (blog-ed) No more farm labourers and domestic servants and all those people who have deserted the countryside for the towns. Hutton village itself may not have a 100 people-except during the Jim Clark Rally
The number of hits on the rant are
slowly returning to normal-so we can assume those looking for vitriol and personal invective on local personalities or issues have been disappointed and are exploring more promising websites. This is no bad thing and it may also indiacte that the Scotsman has now decided not to pursue Huttonian further-except, I hope to issue a correction to or an apology for the offending article. I could be wrong as the risk of more press 'exposure' remains real. The free lance reporter who was responsible for the rubbish in question had the temerity to call Huttonian-not to apologise for his unprofessional and inaccurate offering of earlier this week but, quite unabashedly, to inform me that he was writing another piece for the Scotsman to follow up last Monday's effort. He was interested in what had happened at the Community Council Meeting, had the blog been discussed and the chairman duly chastened and had the SNP candidate for Berwickshire, Roxburghshire and Selkirk put in an appearance in her capacity as Chairperson of the Save Our School Action Group (SOSAG) I replied appropriately and ventured the opinion that this story, inaccurate in all its fundamentals was now dead. I also pointed out that the villager named in his article was very angry that this had been done without permission-and that the name had also been mispelt. He seemed unconcerned.
I don't think the Scotsman has carried any new item today-it is certainly not on the electronic version and I am not going to spend 60p or so buying the paper to find out. I still await corrective action by the editor or otherwise it is a case for the Press complaints commission. According to the PCC website the story breaches at least 5 articles in its code of conduct. I'll give him until next week to make the necessary amends.
Another comment from a Mersian: Just to say that whosoever is giving you such grief is keeping up good Border traiditions - i.e. digging up the past, altering it to suit themselves and then banging on about it for ever.
I really hope not. Huttonian would really welcome the chance to return to normal non confrontational ranting. I have escaped from the hothouse atmosphere (emotionally not meteorogically speaking) of rainy Hutton for a visit to Embra to see a very expensive plastic surgeonNo! Wishful of Warkworth I am not having my face altered out of all recognition out of either considerations of escaping justice or of vanity) Just a routine procedure to do with excessive sun bathing in my well spent youth. It is actually spring like here and my favourite mendicant's wee dog has shed his Iraq war surplus combat jacket and the mendicant has lashed out on a new blanket. My 50p for a 'cup of tea' well spent. And no 'loose change' left for a Big Issue which was thrust into my face at the rear entrance of Waverley Station. Sales technique leave a lot to be desired. The mendicant will be awaiting the start of the tourist season with keen anticipation when the dog is put into a kilt and the blanket is in the finest of Royal Stuart Tartan.
Anyhow must away to add to the profits of City Cabs and the vast income of private medicine alive and well in Socialist Embra-Reek there is and it is all of cash.
It has been put to Huttonian that his position on the Community Council and his capacity as ranter could be an ambivalent one creating the suspicion amongst the more paranoiac elements in this community that he is using the one to enhance the other in contravention of 'rules of conduct' of Community Councillors. Indeed this point has been made in a variety of unpleasant ways -most recently at an otherwise good humoured meeting of that august body last night-and sparked off by the press stories with which you are all familiar. It is actually not true as Huttonian has been very careful not to rant about information which has been 'privileged' and of which he is aware in his 'official' capacity.
Much has been made of the old Blog-given a decent burial and brief funeral oration over a year ago. Huttonian who had apologised for any offence given-and taken-had hoped that it would remain buried-RIP. But sadly some of those bloggees who had neither forgiven nor forgotten purported insult, by tipping off the revered national press have effectively shot themselves in several feet and brought the old blog back to life. It is noteworthy that pretty well every published excerpt in the Press stories are from the old rant effectively off the WWW since last April. So who ever tipped off our alert free lance reporter must have handed over the text of the old rant-goodness knows enough have been around as one worthy citizen down loaded 125 pages or so off the original 'Musings' , photocopied about 50 copies (who paid for this act of public spiritness?) and handed it around in the hope people might take offence with the inevitable result. And now those bits of the blog which seemed to have given the most offence are splashed around the national press and given further currency by the great number of hits on the current blog which now has a vast (if temporary) readership-move over Baghdad Blogger! Not very sensible I would have thought. Huttonian said as much last night when old alleged slurs from the distant past were dragged up. I asked one complainant why he/she has waited 15 months to complain to my face or otherwise to tackle me direct-the comment facility on the blog is for all to use and my address and phone number no secret. It is very sad that old sores have been reopened and I hope that the scars can now be left unscratched.
Anyhow to avoid further accusations of a clash of loyalties and abuse of my CC position Huttonian will keep off detailed discussion of council matters unless they are of such local public interest that omission would not be in the wider community council-but it will be done as Joe Bystander and not as HE the Chairman. Topics such as, er, dog pooh?
If I am spared, of course
Despite the Scotsman agreeing to take the offensive article of their website-the hits continue unabated onto the rant-now about 300 since the Scotsman went to press. Comments continue to be supportive and very critical of those members of our community who have not the courage to declare themselves openly but conceal their venom behind anonymous tip offs to the press.
One comment however was slightly different;If you are exposing the parochiality of community Council members, in the manner of John Galt's Annals of the Parish, then good luck; and 'keep in there'.Do however learn to spell H(e)art Davis correctly...Britian (sic) too.Regards
I am contrite over Britian(sic) and I am not sure why I mentioned H(e)art Davis (who he? Blog ed)John Galt's Annals of the Parish has now been added to my reading list. But I need to point out that Mr AOL spell checker does not recognise 'parochiality' ! But it is a genuine word accepted by the OED if a rather clumsy one
Bloggees have requested a photo of Rosie the Cat. She is seen enjoying what passed for almost sunshine today. Be not misled by her gentle and slightly elderly appearance-she is in her 70s in cat 'years' She knows 67 ways of torturing mice to death and about 82 methods of 'playing' with captured song birds.huttonian
A bird or mouse's eye view of approaching nemesis. The neighbour's flower bed is perfect cover for such a well camouflaged cat.huttonian
And another comment from the Merse:Well I opened my Herald yesterday on the 5.50am train to Kings X and there you were. That woke me up! What a pity they chose to run the stories in this way, but thats modern journalists for you, very lazy and clearly unwilling to head to Hutton and talk to you. I hope you can hang on in there. You clearly know who is behind this campaign and it's a shame. I really like your blog, it's funny and true and you should not be intimidated into halting
Thankyou kind Sir. For someone who apparently ' braved gunfire and ambush in Middle East Hotspots'
(The Scotsman-so it must be true) I will have to sit it out, keep my head down, maintain a low profile, keep on changing my socks and continue taking the tablets. Kenneth Williams never appeared in 'Carry on Blogging' but the Hutton Think Tank, Cultural Division have been asked to work on a script. Ideas for casting will be well received.
Huttonian has received a nice message from the Deputy Editor of the Scotsman promising an 'urgent' investigation into the inaccurate and scurrilous article in his organ of yesterday. I have asked him to explain why an unchecked and one sided story from a free lance journalist was published in what alleges to be Scotland's premier paper. Much the same story was also printed in Scotland's other national journal but it was not giventhe same prominence as in the Scotsman-on its website with a hotlink directly to the Blog. I fear that many new readers, using this link, believing the inaccurate tale in the Scotsman will have been sorely dsapointed with the Huttonian rant. All the quotes referred to were from the long dead Blog, Mark 1 and the angry villager who shared the Five Live slot with me last night was complaining about a rant written at Christmas 2003. In reply to a question the villager conceded that an apology had been received from Huttonian but it was not the right kind apparently-but I still wonder about the timing of this resurrection of an old story. AS for the apology I can confirm it was full and sincere and from the villager's reaction at that time I had the impression it had been nicely and gracefully accepted. But something has happened to bring about a change of mind 17 months later. Curious.
More comments have been coming in-none hostile but one curiosity :Good Morning, Sir. I was recently reading your blog, and I thought... this site is ireverent, one-sided, insulting, parochial and worthy of all the approbation which is apparently being heaped upon it by the local council, the Daily Whatever and many unspecified locals. Keep up the good work, I enjoyed it thoroughly even if some of the issues are way beyond my comprehension. I will return ... often
I wonder if the gentleman concerned has some how got hold of the old blog-the new one hardly lies well with his epithetsAnd from the US Good Morning, Sir. I was recently reading your blog, and I thought...
... you might like to know that The Scotsman article was carried on Yahoo News this morning (26 April).
I plan to peruse and enjoy. I like the photos.If nothing
else the publicity has added to the readership immensely but in the continued absence of the polemical and personal I suspect it will soon return to the hard core of regulars.
Huttonian has been again inundated with comments on the Scotsman story. This is just one remark from someone within the community which has been echoed by many others.
If the sad person who keeps stirring this ancient history up has not got the guts to come out in the open and reveal who they are, and what their agenda is for dwelling in the past, then they should have the decency to stay quiet and not keep dragging the villages through the press on a personal vendetta which does not receive the broad support of the community no matter what they keep suggesting.
Huttonian's interview went out on BBC Five Live-he had to comment on a complaint made by a Hutton villager about a rant of 17 months ago. The interviewer clearly was highly unimpressed and made it easy forHuttonian to put it all into context. BBC Scotland is sending a star reporter with a tape recorder tomorrow-didn't trust the quality of the phone line to Hutton-fair enough neither does BT who have proved themselves incapable of providing Broadband to this end of the village.
If all those 200 new bloggees who logged on in pursuit of the stories in the Scotsman and the Herald think that Spring in Hutton is all gleaming pheasants basking in the early summer sun dream on. Today is a more typical spring picture-cold, dreich, poor visibilty. Cocky is still out but Ollie has retreated to bed and the cows in Farmer C's field are wondering if they can return to winter quarters. As for the Peacock no sign today.huttonian
Just to add that Huttonian is apparently also featured in the Glascow Herald-page 3 apparently which has a different readership to the Sun. He was told this by BBC Scotland who will be interviewing him at about 5.30pm Scottish time today. The story is not up on the GH website as far as I can see but it is apparently very similar to the rubbish in the Scotsman. It is odd that despised Tabloids-like the Mail on Sunday try at least to check their story with the person being featured but great national dailies like the Herald and the Scotsman just don't bother and accept the word of any ill intentioned informant-and an anonymous one to boot. A matter for the Press Complaints commision says Huttonian's brief. And I believe her.
I wondered why this morning I have had so many 'hits' on the website-the Scotsman is
The informant having failed to get another story into the Mail on Sunday has instead 'tipped off' the Scotsman. Sadly this organ did not bother to contact Huttonian to get some balance (and some facts-the first quote attributed to the ex-ambassador is fabricated even if it is coincidentally accurate!) The story of course draws on the old discontinued blog-quotes already aired by the M o S . Huttonian will not comment on future CC business except to remark that the notice calling for a special community council meeting up on the village noticeboards seems to bear little resemblance to what is decribed in the Scotsman! Nuff said.
This wretched storyhas now been picked up by Radio 5 Live and I will be given the oppurtunity to put Huttonian on the air later today. I also hope that the Scotsman will publish something of a retraction/correction in response to an email I have sent them But I am not holding my breath
Ex-diplomat in tangled web with blog VIC RODRICKA RETIRED ambassador who braved gunfire and ambush in Middle East hotspots has started a war with residents of a tiny community in the Scottish Borders.
Peter Hinchcliffe, a former diplomat, has outraged residents in the Berwickshire hamlets of Hutton and Paxton (combined population: 400) with outspoken comments on his controversial internet site.
Villagers want the one-time UK ambassador to Jordan removed as local community council chairman because of "insulting" remarks in Huttonian, his personal weblog.
They claim he breached strict local authority rules by regularly and inaccurately featuring community council business on his personal website. This is believed to be the first time in Scotland that public code of conduct rules have been used to try and remove a community council chairman.
More than a dozen members of the tiny communities petitioned the legal department of Scottish Borders Council, calling for a special public meeting of Hutton, Paxton and Fishwick Community Council to discuss the issue.
It emerged last night that Mr Hinchcliffe’s opponents on the eight-member council plan to table a vote of no confidence in his chairmanship, forcing him to resign.
A Hutton villager, who asked not to be named, said: "There was no problem in getting the signatures. People are fed up with Huttonian."
Mr Hinchcliffe said the number of hits on his website had risen sharply as word of his online comments had gained notoriety.
He said: "I think it’s quite a funny story, but I’ve been very careful never to use things on the blog which I got in a privileged capacity as chairman."
As Huttonian, Mr Hinchcliffe commented on a council row over slurry on the roads: "These may be simple country folk in the best Ambridge tradition, but they are masters of the dagger between the ribs. Machiavelli would have been out of his depth in this company."
In another outburst on village "paranoia" he castigated the School Action Group, which has been fighting to save the village school, saying: "SAG - an unfortunate acronym for a group predominantly female."
One of the signatories asking for the special meeting is ..... *of Hutton, whose home was dubbed "......" in Mr Hinchcliffe’s blog.
A spokeswoman for Scottish Borders Council said: "We are happy to give legal advice to community council members whenever they wish." * Name and description removed to avoid reopening old wounds
Q. What will Hutton have on 9 July which Paxton will not? A. A stage of the Jim Clark Memorial Rally-the Whiteadder leg. I understand that this is the first time that the 'most popular and biggest rally in Britain' (publicity blurb) will have shown itself within the greater Hutton area. The stage will start the other side of Hutton Castle Bridge and roar through Hutton heading towards the Bluestane Ford (if passable) and then on towards Chirnside. The village wil be closed for about 5 hours from 12 noon until the rally has safely passed through. The Hutton Think Tank has been tasked with ideas about how Hutton can best exploit the Rally's presence-own brand water bottles (a la the London Marathon) an emergency urinal facility (which wopuld have helped Paula Radcliffe in that event) a drive through souvenir stall selling funny hats and picture postcards have all been suggested.
And the Goldfinchs are out in their Spring colours with the wife's array of goodies to enjoy. But somewhere the Sparrow Hawk is in attendance not to mention the neighbours killer moggiehuttonian
Another sign of Spring. The cows have replaced the sheep in Farmer C's field. A neo Fish April day to boot. They have been indoors most of the winter. Where are the sheep? Some may be en route to the mint sauce?huttonian
The Dog which may have failed to bark in the nightime-or on Sunday. Just to report that Huttonian was phoned by a Mail on Sunday reporter on Friday intimating of a followup story to the grand exclusive of Easter Sunday. He mentioned a forthcoming event which was about 5% accurate (not bad for the average Tabloid these days) After it had been explained to him what actually was happening he seemed to lose interest but not before he hinted at the name of his informant-interestingly the same name on top of my list. I could not confirm this aspect but said I had my supicions which I would keep to myself until, as inevitably it will happen in such a gossipy place, proof absolute emerges. I didn't splash out £1.20 on the MoS this week end and I have not heard of any article being published. So I hope the tip offer is not too disapointed.
Living in the Borders as one does
it seems almost incredible that 46% of the Scottish people want an independent Scotland. Yet that is the findings of a recent poll as reported in last week's Scotsman. It is slightly unconvincing result when we learn it was the SNP which conducted the poll
and anyhow I would be astonished if the people hereabouts would have the same sentiments. The Borders were only marginally in favour of a Scottish Parliament and with the close economic and social intergration with the English, certainly in Eastern Berwickshire, I doubt that there would be many hands up for total rule from Edinburgh.
If Mr Blair was prevailed upon to visit here by bus we would be stuck with him most of the day given the infrequency of the Number 32. But this is hardly a marginal constituency in Mr Salmond's meaning of the word.
And talking of the Borders Bus:Borders Bus
The number 32
from Golden Square to Timbuktu.
Via Paxton House (summer only)
Hutton bus shelter
It’s integrated Borders style;
perfectly timed to leave Berwick station
just before the train arrives
And to return just after the next one
And at one thirty it gets
wnith all this excitement
stops for the day.
Thus being perfectly suited
the one way commuter.
No one has ever complained.
Not because Borderers are
resigned to their lot
the bus is always empty.
No one, it seems
wants to go
(even via Paxton House in the summer)
(Robert Mossom Floret Hutton 1997- Archives Hutton Think Tank, Cultural Section
SNP poll shows support for independence JOHN INNES
THE SNP claimed yesterday there had been a dramatic surge in the number of people supporting Scottish independence, after a poll showed 46 per cent were in favour of the move.
The TNS System Three survey found 39 per cent were opposed to independence, with the remaining 15 per cent undecided.
Alex Salmond, the SNP leader, said now that the people of Scotland had a real parliament building, they wanted a real parliament to meet inside it. Mr Salmond also offered to pay the £100 cost for Tony Blair to travel to several Labour marginal seats by bus
Compared to 19th Century Berwick
Crime reports Duns, this week, is pretty feeble stuff. Sheriff Kevin was nor presiding so perhaps he has fled the county until the elections are over. In his absence Sheriff Peter Anderson had a dullish week mostly dealing with offenders from Eyemouth. In one case a 27 yr Eyemouth Man was fined £100 for assaulting his 'partner'. Wife beating seems to be out in favour of partner busting. In this case his solicitor, in mitigation, explained that the accused was extremely drunk and as ' a result his relationship with his partner had broken down' The accused claimed he had no recollection of the assault. More serious was the £5,000 worth of damage to three cars by another Eyemouth man who was peeved over his a wife having a relationship with the cars (all three) owner. 'He was not able to control his emotions' said the solicitor-the same one as involved in the partner assault case who was having a busy week in court. And not just in Duns-he appeared in Jedburgh Sheriff's Court to defend a man accused of shouting and swearing in a Safeway car park (Yes, not yet Morrisons) His client he rather unkindly accused of 'Loutish Behaviour' His client was fined £150 and hopefully had enough change to pay his overworked lawyer.
.Back in Duns Yet another Eyemouth man was fined £900 for possessing drugs, carrying an offensive weapon and committing an breach of the peace in Eyemouth. That seems quite cheap compared to the damage to the three cars so perhaps he had a good solicitor as well. It may be that Breaches of the Peace in Eyemouth, not involving damage to property, are subject to a lower tariff than elsewhere owing to their frequent nature.
If we don't get a better class of crime in the Merse Huttoniam may be obliged to take his custom elsewhere.
The Oz Bloggee who is researching the history of her family-she is descended from the Buglass family of Berwick-one was a prominent shoe maker in the 18th Century has provided us with examples of court reporting in the early 19th Century. Makes more vivid reading than most of the cases dealt with by Sheriff Kevin of Duns about whose latest doings Huttonian will be ranting later. She writesComplaint of ....... Mary Tait of the
Borough of Berwick upon Tweed,
spinster, taken and sworn on oath before John Stevenson
Esquire, Mayor and David Stow Esquire, two of his Majesty's
Justices of the Peace in and for
the said Borough this first day
of January One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eight.
That Barbara Buglass of the Boro of Berwick upon Tweed and Christian Buglass otherwise Christian Purdy did this day violently assault and beat this Informant at Berwick aforesaid without any good cause for so doing and she therefore craveth that Justice be done.
This is my favourite though -
The Information of the Reverend Mr James Cruikshank of Berwick upon Tweed, Minister of the Gospel, taken on Oath this seventh day of December One Thousand Seven Hundred and seventy six before me William Greive Esquire, Mayor and one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the said Borough
Who saith that on last Night at Berwick aforesaid he heard John Curry of Berwick aforesaid, Burgess, curse five profane curses, in these words, to wit, God Damn this Informant for a scoundrel and blaguard (blaggard?)
Perhaps times HAVE changed just a little!
Perhaps also its not surprising that some members of the Buglas family upped sticks and joined the emigration trail to Oz. Whether voluntarily or on a convict ship is not revealed.
The Norn Iron Bloggee has come up with this oddity:
It is said that every living person on the planet has a doppleganger, OED - an apparition or double of a living person, and I sincerely hope that this is the case.
During our delayed return from Barcelona, 24 hours due to theft of passports, tickets et al, and 90 minutes due to flight delay, the PPW and I sat in a dreary airport cafe sipping dreary airport Catalonian Cava.
And there he was. Huttonian sitting in a gloomy corner of the cafe drinking whiskey and smoking cigarettes. The PPW nearly leapt up to greet him but I begged otherwise for was he not supposed to be a bit further South and the other side of the Equator?
If indeed it was our dear Blogger, then his furtive presence at Barcelona airport must have been for some mission of national importance?
As he left, 'Huttonian' shot a glance in our direction that clearly confirmed that it was indeed him but that we were bound to secrecy for the rest of our lives.
Now everybody knows, not least the Mail on Sunday.
I suppose it is no good denying this sighting? Perhaps it was not Huttonian in Ghana (north of the equator, actually) at that very time? But a real genuine Huttonian would never smoke and drinks, very occasionally, Whisky (Scotch) and not Whiskey (Irish) But such little details would hardly worry the Mail on Sunday (Scottish Edition)
I am endebted to an Oz bloggee for the following snapshot of 18th Century local history. I have changed some of the names to protect any lingering sensitivities which after 280 years seem unlikely but you never know. The bloggee has commented that if this was an Oz story the descendants might revel in the details of their murky past. Apparently being descended from a bona fide convict is super cool downunder. And of course around here there not a few people who are proud of their Reiver background.Hello Huttonian
Yes, Melbourne does have its good points. Although it has a bad reputation weatherwise, we have been having beautiful mild sunny autumn days for the last few weeks. Bliss! I came upon the connection to Hutton Hall in the course of my genealogical research. I'm not absolutely sure if it's true, but it's a great story. The local laird, Robert 'Ayton', widowed in 1726 and certainly not a young man by 1737, appears to have taken up with a young servant girl, 'Margaret Fulsome' who became pregnant. The Church, and particularly the local minister, who was already gunning for Robert over previous disputes, got wind of this and summoned Margaret to appear before the Hutton session. Under Robert's protection, Margaret refused to do so. She gave birth to a daughter, 'Sarah'. Robert was summoned to a presbytery meeting at Chirnside where he was interrogated. He presented papers saying that Margaret had done penance for fornication at ( a country) Church, in Northumberland, but refused to admit his guilt or to cast out Margaret from his household. The Church continued to hound him until 1842 when Robert finally presented them with a certificate of marriage from Northumberland. Robert had two more children, Rebecca and Robert and died in 1748. I don't know what happened to poor Margaret after that, but Robert's son, William became the next laird, Rebecca became a well know Edinburgh eccentric and Rachel married a Berwick bookbinder, who quickly went through her fortune and left for the West Indies, leaving his children behind in Berwick upon Tweed. He finally ending up in Philadelphia where he set up his bookbinding business again. I think the 'Aytons' remained at Hutton Hall until the 1820s. I found an entry in the Hutton parish records for for a donation "given to the poor by Ayton, Hutton Hall on his return from China with Lord Amhurst" and the last donation from Colonel Robert Ayton in 1821. 'William' must have died before his father as the line became defunct. I'm descended from one of the Book binder's children left behind in Berwick. The family fortunes continued to decline for them and they ended up in abject poverty in Newcastle.
I wonder what our SNP candidate will make of this endorsement in a letter to the Berwickshire whose columns are now belatedly recognising the election cmpaign-go to Westminster to be a nuisance and scare the e*******t out of the English! He seems to be implying : If you 'assert' yourself enough then you will be given your independence just to get rid of you! Looking at the the party manifestos which now take up as much room in the Berwickshire as the Hutton and Paxton Community Council minutes it seems that only the SNP is offering decent inducements to the grey voters. But to fulfil these promises they will need to get into power. Is that a likely prospect? The writer is also anxious to recruit members for the local community council-so there's a thought for those unsuccessful candidates for Westminster.SIR, On May 5 we will be voting for a new government at Westminster. So what on earth is the relevance of the Scottish National Party, the party for an independent Scotland remember, to a parliament based way down in the south-east of England? The prospect of the SNP forming a government down there is about as likely as the USA having a communist administration!But wait, nothing makes Westminster reach for the brown trousers quicker than the Scots asserting themselves. Who remembers the governments desperate attempts to appease the Scottish people when the SNP had 11 MPs at Westminster? This was the period which gave birth to devolution and a Scottish Parliament among other benefits.Even in Berwickshire, one of the most English of Scotlands counties, I believe there is a realisation that none of the Unionist parties can guide Scotland to a more prosperous future. After all, the Treasury in London still controls the Holyrood purse strings, and nothing will loosen them easier than a good gang of SNP MPs.Nearer to home and sooner, we will be voting for candidates to form the Edrom, Allanton and Whitsome Community Council. I hope everyone eligible will turn out for this grass roots forum on April 30. I also hope they will bear in mind that we want members who will work for us on ALL issues all the year roun (Name withheld to protect the innocent)
The rant does not normally 'do' Jokes but with an election on this contribution to serious and well informed political debate merits a small mention. If it causes offence, in certain qwuarters, like Downing Street I can only apologise.
A man on his way home from work in central London comes to a dead halt in traffic. He spots a policeman walking between the lines of stopped cars so he rolls down the window and asks "Officer, what's the hold-up ?" The officer replies, "The Prime Minister is depressed, so he stopped his motorcade, is threatening to douse himself with gasoline and set himself on fire. He says that no one believes his stories about why we went to war in Iraq, or the connection between Saddam and al-Qa'ida, or that his policies are mis understood. Then the press accused him of lying about Iraq and the NHS and now George Brown is getting up his nose. So we're taking up a collection for him." The man asks, "How much have you got so far ?" The officer replies, "About 64 gallons but folks are still siphoning".
Another sign of Spring. Cockie and Ollie are an item again. But no sign of the Peacock 'Male on Sunday' He only appears at week ends, it seemshuttonian
A touching scene as Cocky pursues Ollie with a view to make a decent proposal. The Berwickshire roads are littered with the corpses of his brothers. Cock Pheasants have no traffic sense especially when they are consumed with love. Hens keep out of the way saving themselves for the shooting-a much nobler death.huttonian
The WW nature of the blog is illustrated by this comment from Down Under-so Hutton is really getting on the Map, as so it should.
I have to confess that after coming upon your site by accident (surfing the net for some info on Hutton Hall - had some ancestors live there in the 1800s ) I have become rather addicted to your rants. Lots of fun and very informative. I am beginning to feel quite a local Huttonian myself
(Name withheld from enquiring reporters from the Mail on Sunday)
Yes it will soon be the Merse's answer to the Norn Iron marching season as the civic weeks come on stream and the old Reiver uniforms, steel bonnets and 'a will be dusted over as they come out of the Bank Of Scotland's deepest vaults for another airing. Below is the Berwickshire's description of the first Swallow, as it were, as the Coldstreamer is ensashed and the count down begins to the commemoration of the Battle of Flodden and the cutting down of the Flower of Scotland. Huttonian strongly recommends the Coldstream Pipe Band's website with its objective overview of the battle at http://www.coldstreampipeband.co.uk/coldstreamandflodden.htm
There is so much (sometimes self serving even after 492 years) rubbish written about this battle that its nice to read an account which is accurate and jingo free.Townspeople turned out in force to see Andrew Ford, last year's right hand man, being presented with the Coldstreamer's sash by Jim Leifer, chairman of Presenting Coldstream. The ceremony is traditionally the time when the new right hand man is revealed and this year Stuart Robison will do the honours, while left hand man is last year's Coldstreamer Richard Dickson.ÊStuart, a local footballer, has been taking riding lessons in preparation for Civic Week 2005 which will be held between July 31 and August 6.ÊAndrew has chosen emerald and sable as his colours and was in high spirits as he looked forward to the year ahead. He has been well groomed to represent the town having been last year's right hand man and he can rely on the support of his father Issac who was Coldstreamer in 1966. His first duty will be to represent Coldstream in the Riding of the Bounds at Berwick on May 1.ÊThe principals were led down the High Street by Coldstream Pipe Band on Friday and afterwards enjoyed a reception and dance which was also well-attended by local people. Presenting Coldstream secretary Susan Bell was pleased so many people had joined in the celebrations."We had a very large turn out on Friday Ñ more than usual," she said. "We try to keep the identity of the right hand man a secret for as long as possible and I think it was particularly well kept this year and people were curious. You can't predict how many people will come but it's good for the festival."A change from the customary Good Friday ceremony to the new tradition of the second Friday in April may also have meant more people were available to take part in the event. The change was made because this year's Easter weekend fell before the clocks went forward and it was considered that the extra evening light was important for the installation.This year's Golden Jubilee Coldstreamer is Alastair Marjoribanks who will officially sash the Coldstreamer on the Sunday of Civic Week. Silver Jubilee Coldstreamer is Ian Dixon.
Berwickshire of 14 April 2005
Its good to get back to Sheriff Kevin of Duns but the most recent court cases as reported in the Berwickshire are
hardly inspirational. Assault on a policeman in Eyemouth by a man 'celebrating' the birth of a baby-man punching his girlfriend-with friends like that....; a coach driver fined for driving too close to a car in front on the A1-woman kicking disabled husband in front of 4 policemen-the couple had been celebrating their anniversary and it needed four cops to restrain her from this over enthusiastic reaction to years of conjugal bliss- a 'spat' in a ladies loo when a 32 year old woman 'snapped' and punched 'her rival' (all such affrays seem to be in the distaff toilets in the Merse-I wonder why) l and a Burnmouth man throwing a concrete block at his partner because ' he thought she was having an affair' He missed. Sentence deferred as the assailant 'voluntarily undertaken rehabilitation to sort out his behviour'. Not a vintage crop this time around. Perhaps with Spring in the air we might read about a better class of crime. Surely the descendants of the celebrated Reivers can do better than this?
Spring seems less advanced than when we left for Ghana! But it is happening despite the very cold rain and the perpetual Haar. Primroses well outhuttonian
And the Larches know it is Spring but it is hard to believe themhuttonian
The White? Adder-better Brownadder-in spate. More rain in the last week than in the whole of March and April last year.huttonian
Thats quite a spate-just a few feet below Hutton Mill but not still rising.huttonian
The flood stopped just short of the Mill this time/ In 1948 it was under water.huttonian
I really missed the Berwickshire News
when in Ghana-the localDaily Graphic was no real substitute even if it did, rather surprisingly, carry the UK Liberal Democratic manifesto. So I have now managed to acquire last Thursdays BN which has a front page article about Mr Michael Ritchie, no stranger to the rant, who 'claims to be the the Kingdom of Scotland's Regent' His latest wheeze-having failed to regain Berwick for Scotland is considering asking Prince Charles and Camilla to be 'King and Queen of Scots' In his book ' the Scottish Heir Apparent would be Charle's second son Harry-as James VI second son was also called' It seems that James VI abandoned Scotland to be James I of England-Harry should according to Mr R have become King of Scotland after his father virtually abdicated to go to London but died in 'mysterious even suspicious circumstances' So the Ritchie game plan is for Prince William to one day rule in England while Harry-"cry havoc for Harry, Scotland and St Andrew' (the Hutton Think Tank's suggested battle cry for the future King of the Scots) would one day take over here.
A bloggee, formerly of Maidenhead, has drawn Huttonian's attention to a kind of fellow Blogger who has run into local difficulties and has been thrust into the lime light by the Grudian
rather than the Mail on Sunday-Scottish Edition. Mr Hawkin's alternative website is not really a Blog but its content does not reflect on the reputation of genuine ranters. The Guardian'
s story of two weeks or so ago is as follows:A man who published jokes about the Pope's death on a spoof village website was yesterday threatened with an antisocial behaviour order.
Police were asked to investigate after Mitch Hawkin posted a spoof advert for the job of pontiff following the death of John Paul II.
Mr Hawkin's website has been involved in a feud with a similarly named website in Lyneham, Wiltshire. The website said: "Fancy a new job? The Vatican is now looking for a new Pope now that the current one has snuffed it."
The remarks continued: "Let's hope the next Pope can do a better job. Better still, why not abolish the position of Pope, as religion, at the end of the day, causes more wars than anything else."
Mr Hawkin has been involved in a feud with www.lynehamvillage.com which has a gentler tone, and claims to be the original website for Lyneham. It is run by Andy Humm, who describes his rival as bringing "shame" on Lyneham.
Critics of the spoof site fear that people looking for information about the village will read that site first rather than Mr Humm's more sedate version, whose home page has pictures of daffodils and urges people to pick up litter.
Mr Humm said: "What Mr Hawkin has said about the Pope is disgusting and outrageous. Mr Hawkin should be charged."
Mr Humm and a local councillor have been pressing for an Asbo to be taken out against the alternative site.
The council's antisocial behaviour officer had tried to mediate, but Mr Hawkin did not show up. "
Huttonian deplores this kind of sick humour and will not countenance it on Musings. Hutton of course does not have its own website as such but a section on Hutton and Paxton can be found, complete with pictures, on the Berwickshire Community Councils' Forum site at http://www.bccforum.info/ Click on Communites and follow the link to Hutton andPaxton. You can even find CC minutes if you are really interested but they are not always riveting reading, I warn you although some local people have been moved to show emotion by them on occasion
Huttonian's staying place in Ghana. Old colonial government hospital guest house now a doctor's house. Nothing done to it since the 1930s except for the addition of a garage. The start of a brief pictorial essayhuttonian
Slater Avenue-part of the hospital complex where Huttonian was staying-Slater some long since dead and departed Colonial civil servant. the lamposts are felled trees straight from the foresthuttonian
A typical Accra strret-most of the day crammed with taxis but this was Sunday. You can't see the heat-35C plus. Not funny with 90% humidity and no a/c-just the window openhuttonian
You could buy almost anything by the side of the road. Even furniture-see previous ranthuttonian
Now and then a most striking building. This was a car show roomhuttonian
Suddenly a Victorian Letter box in the middle of Accra. A striking memorial of colonial days. The wall behind has modern PO boxes from which people collect their mailhuttonian
Up country. The Shai Hills reserve. The Ghana Zoo can no longer aford to feed the animals so they are to be relaesed into this reserve which may not be good news for western back packers passing through as the lions are very very hungryhuttonian
Yes Yes many bloggees have deserted the rant as they are apparently not into Africa but to sign off GHana here is a impressionistic account of some of the features of the country-and, yes. it is back to Hutton and to the Berwickshire Blogger-and to the avid readers of the Mail on Sunday
It was hard for Huttonian to rant from Ghana. Everywhere is a long way from the medical complex of Korle-Bu in south west Accra. This is a leading teaching hospital built in the 1930s by the then British Governor and we were staying in a doctor’s house, originally a ‘rest house’ of the old colonial type in the vast medical cantonment. But the internet was a problem. Our host’s connections were not functioning with both servers down but he told us that when it was working it was slow possibly similar to the phone line in Hutton and would cut out without warning. So the only sure way of www access was to take a local cab to the Busy Internet Café bang in the middle of the city. This was taking several peoples lives in your hands-mine were frantically clutching the passenger grab handles as the driver, Mr. Kushi, dodged, ducked, violently braked and suddenly accelerated to take advantage of any gap in the mass of cars heading down town at as much speed as was possible-varying it seemed from dead slow-i.e. stopped- to well over 100 mph. Roundabouts-circles here-were a challenge and tested the skill and macho of the drivers(80% of cars in Accra are taxis) How there is not a violent death every few minutes escapes me. The secret seems to be: avoid eye contact and blaring horns and go for it. Pedestrians are not a factor-Zebra crossings are an invitation to accelerate and they remind me of what was said about pedestrians in Beirut being in two categories: The Quick and the Dead. I cannot believe that Accra is much different except that the quick never seemed to test the system.
Eventually, if you re spared, you may reach the Busy Internet Café. You will have endured 30 minutes of 33c, 95% humidity-a/c in taxis is like mains gas in Hutton; a nice idea, good for a chuckle. But one should not complain. A cab hired for 90 minutes, the minimum time for getting anywhere, doing something and coming back, will cost you, the expat sucker all of $5.50 or 50,000 cedis in the vernacular. A local will pay much less. Internet access at about 40 p for 30 minutes is a bargain as well. It is said that the Busy is the biggest and best internet caff in all Africa. It is good place to be with its efficient a/c and about 80 terminals nearly all taken at any one time. It has a Broadband connection but with so many clients on line at once the connection speed was about half my ISDN speed in Hutton and slower than a normal dialup connection-the Old Manse always excepted. So 30 minutes gets you your e-mail and very little else. I managed one frantic rant on my first visit and was just being timed out when it went on its way. As my stay progressed blogging was possible but minimal
Then you have to get back again.
Huttonian has a Ghana connection and was last here with the wife and baby eldest daughter in 1968. My father was a banker and helped to establish the first Commercial Bank in the then Gold Coast. It became the Ghana Commercial Bank on independence in 1957 and my father stayed on as the first Managing Director and then as adviser. His claim to fame was the design and production of the Ghanaian currency-the Cedi. Once two to the pound sterling (in 1960) and now you can get about 17,000 Cedis for the quid. The biggest denomination is only C20, 000-just over US$2, but most machines churn out C10, 000 notes only so a visit to an ATM requires virtually a wheelbarrow or large carrier bag if you are extracting serious money.
More fun than the ATMs and certainly cheaper are the ‘Forex shops’. There you can change your sterling, dollar or euro for cedis over the counter. On my first foray I was taken to a very plush looking establishment, air conditioned and six tellers; three buying cedis and three selling. The rates were beautifully displayed and soft music. I flashed my Morrison atmed pounds. The tellers sighed in unison-sorry-no cedis to day. I wonder why they were open then as no one will actually be selling cedis for hard currencies except perhaps on the eve of a visit to Europe. They all went back to their ‘Daily Graphic’ and again in unison, wished me a nice day. What a relaxing way to spend your time-cool and under employed. It was no real problem as the forex shops are on every block and the one next door had cedis coming out of every crevice with clever machines that counted a million at a time- one million equaling not much more than £ 58.
Ghana has a long connection with the British who first went there in the 17th Century-the old city centre on the sea is still called James Town. If you ask the average professional class Ghanaian where he is going for his holidays he will often say ‘Home’. Not unreasonable until it dawns on you that he means the UK. In my previous visits to West Africa in the 1960s a class of Ghanaian was referred to as ‘been tos’ –the UK of course but now it means wider Europe or the States. (Some of these, especially those who banged on about it were sarcastically referred to as’ has beens’) Many go for higher education, to work in the NHS, to do business and lots stay on. I noticed from the Funeral announcement of a man in his eighties with 12 children and 40 grandchildren that 10 out of the 12 were in North America or the UK and more than half the grandchildren were overseas.
One day neither of our usual taxi drivers was available. One had his car b**g***d and the other ‘in the workshop’, just as b**g***d. So I ‘picked’ one in the street. With advice from my hostess on her mobile phone the driver (using mine) found his way to our destination in the posh part of Accra –Osu- to pick up a video recorder which the wife needed for her teaching. The driver asked if he could bring his son along to drop him at school on the way to Osu. The son had two large sacks with him. He was still however with us, 30 sticky minutes later, after we had found the video shop (the video was nor ready, inevitably) and when I asked to be taken home again the driver said fine but we need to go via the school. We set off but not back. Certainly not back as after 15 minutes I found that the international airport was on our right and we were heading East-Korle-Bu being definitely west. I asked the driver about our destination-Medina he said naming a settlement at least 30 miles to the east where his son’s boarding school was located. Don’t worry-I’ll ‘go go’ to school and then ‘go come’ back. Having indicated that I was in a bit of a hurry, hot, thirsty and fed up he dropped me by the road side and found another cab for me whose idea of where Korle Bu might be was distinctly hazy but at least he was driving West. An hour later, temp about 40c and after enduring long periods of stationary traffic we got back to where I had been originally ‘picked’. A wasted double journey and 90,000 Cedis out of pocket-10Dollars US for flirting with heat stroke. It might have been worse as the return driver got agitated every time I put my mobile to my right ear (the ear nearer the road side-Ghana celebrated freedom from Britain by changing to driving on the right but not everyone in Ghana seems to know that) Apparently there is a severe risk of hostile hands coming in from the pavement and liberating your phone-so use your left ear-useful tip I suppose and it would mean using the other ear in, say, Paxton.
Even the most poverty stricken Ghanaian seems to have a cell phone. But there is not a phone culture as in the UK. People will drive miles to see someone and not dream of phoning ahead to make sure that they are there. It may be that the land lined phones are so poor and no one answers them anyhow. It took me 40 minutes to get through to the British High Commission and when I did so I was told by a live human it was ‘closed to the public’-whether you were arriving personally or using the telephone. There is no easily obtainable phone book, no directory enquiries and numbers change with bewildering frequency. I was given 5 for British Airways. 4 were wrong but I never discovered the right one as no phone was actually answered. But no worries-we will go and see them-if they are not in we will drive back again which we will have to do whether they are in or not. I am sure some Ghanaians drive great distances to establish whether or not so and so’s phone is working-and if it is not, and they are in-what a triumph for initiative that represents.
And areas of surprisingly smart suburbs around a very grotty urban area. First World scene in a Third World settinghuttonian
A sleepless night and a packed plane but we are nearly back in the Merse. Ghana seems like a dream and Huttonian feels like a wreck! Having to check in 5 hours before departure-an hour of which was spent in a hot dusty room with 10 chairs (200 passengers) and thentwo hours in a final departure lounge with a/c so efficient we had to put on pullovers. Flight 30 minutes early and then 40 minutes to get off it as first no buses and then no steps andfinally not enough buses. From the Third Worldd to the First in six hours but somehow we seemed to have gone in the wrong direction. Dinner at 2am did not help with trying to get some sleep and breakfast was a bun in a paper bag soe three hours later.So now it is the shuttle to Edinburgh with, it seems 100 plus returnees from the Costa Bonka. Finally Fife's Taxi to Hutton,normal business to be resumed soon.
Huttonian's thoughts are turning homewards. Flying this week end if we continue to be spared. I was particularly sighing for Hutton's neo Fish weather last night-stinking hot and the third without running water. the novelty of Noisesome loos and bathing in a child's sea side bucket was beginning to wane. Then at 9pm the power failed as well-comprehensively so as the mobile phone signal went down but the phone was quite useful for casting a faint light on our surroundings. Our hosts were without candles as 'power cuts are infrequent'. The prospect of a hot sweaty night with no fan and 100% humidity in an airless room was not an attractive one especiallywithout the odd shower to cool off. However the power was restored as I was trying to find my bucket's worth of washing water with a rapidly discharging phone so at least we had a passable night. And today the water is back-I have had two showers since noon, washed my hair twice and enjoyed flushing the loo-one of life's simple pleasures. But I still look forward to be back in at laest the Second World.
A great feature of Accra is the street vendor. Not by the street; in the middle of it. In a 400 metre stretch between two pairs of reluctant traffic lights I was offered-a set of car mats, two jars of peanut butter, a complete tool set, a gardening set, flags of All nations -the Union flag was upside down but it is the thought etc, a small wardrobe, various jams with peeling labels, a small bench, a picnic chair, a bag of brownish sugar, yesterdays paper, to days ditto, a hand carved tribal mask, a shaving set, another shaving set with extra cream, dog leads, tins of sardines, packets of juice, chilled water of dubious provenance,dog food, a tummy trimmer. What a way to shop and no nine items checkout-you can in fact do all your shopping on the way to the shops or if you forget something, on your way back. Its a bad sign in a way to see so many vendors as it means 'slow traffic ahead' but it adds an extra dimension to life in Ghana's capital.
On the flip side we have had no water in our house for two days. No water board to ask what is going on, no Mumbai manned help line-either you have water or you haven't. We haven't So we are living out of buckets and rationing loo visits to really leg crossing events and flushing No Twos only* But the power hasn't gone off yet. No water and no fan-thats a vision of Hell.
* Spare us the details. Blog-ed
We are up country with the wife visiting one of her patients. To my delight have found internet access at a speed twice as fast as Hutton in a very remote area. So perhaps it is Hutton which has a touch of the Third World rather than Ghana (the potholes are familiar). A bloggee has sent me advice on how to remain anonymous on the net. Too late dear RA of Embura I fear-the Mail on Sunday has put paid to that, at least in the Merse and amongst the 5 or six regular readers of that rag. But I suppose amongst the blogship further afield some figleafs of anonymity remain. One indignant reader quoted by the M on S said he/she was sick and tired of reading it=so why do so? If it gives him/her so much pain the antidote is simple-click start and then turn off or turn to more edifying fare. It is not hard to find-the Mos S website for example if you are really that desperate. But enough. Back to the Volta Lake shrimps and the ice cold Star beer. Hardships and how to cope with them! THe story of Huttonians life. And oh yes its his birthday too.
it is weird to read the Berwickshire here and I wonder what Ghanaian farmers would make of all this. I am sure that our own aspiring parliamentarian the indefatigable Mrs O, coming from farming stock herself will heartily endorse the sentiments expressed below. Now the election is announced I hope the Berwickshire candidates will come and explain themaselves to the voters
including to the undersigned.
Btw The Sheriff of Duns and his doings are not carried on the BN website. Why not. We should be told
SIR, Aspiring parliamentarians harangue one another on the self same themes day after day, and are thus able to suppress or bury any reference to what affects every single one of us.... that is the European Union, the lord high lawmaker of all.A questionnaire came my way from one hopeful recently: did I think that the farmers were over-regulated? How fatuous, how banal we are all over-regulated with 30,000 laws (at last count) emanating from the EU Commission (bureaucrats). Each law is implemented at vast cost to the UK taxpayers, and often the ensuing work needed is subject to VAT, a slice of which also goes to the EU. In the past 10 years we have had a drain of £30 billion NET (after all grants deducted) towards keeping the whole EU swindle going.Almost every problem our politicos seek to highlight emanate from EU governance, EU diktat, EU sleight of hand, or plain EU meddling, from Post Office EU Directive 97/67/EC, to Rail chaos EU directive 91/440 EEC, Road Transport & NHS Ñ Working Hours Directive, Wind Turbines, and on and on: 80% of Holyrood Parliament work is EU work, so says Jim Wallace, Deputy First Minister.Who can say there is no political conspiracy when politicians refuse to discuss the erosion of our democracy, or that the Prime Minister has signed the UK up to a European Union Constitution even admitting that its design is already being followed, without a mandate from the electorate?The deafening silence about EU membership by politicians and the media is a trick to gull the voters.M NEEDHAM,Drumgray,Edrom
Just a short rant to show that Huttonian is still spared after sucessfully completing at least 6 taxi journeys-0ne unexpectedly long as the driver took me thirty miles-yes thirty-out of my way in order to drop his son at boarding school-but that is a tale for a master rant about Ghana which I will do in consultation with the Hutton Think Tank on my return. The Mail on Sunday has reunited me with so many lost friends-not the sort that I thought would admit to reading that rag-that I am now really grateful to the 'dear friend' who thought that I had been 'dropped in it' Sometimes plots spectacularily misfire-pigs be praised. And this mischievous rather malicious one has egg on its face. I see that the Berwickshire ignored this story of local boy makes good.
I won't bore you about the heat. You can see why this is a Third World country-the effort of doing anything is too much for most people. If it was this hot in Berwickshire!
Made it to the caff again-better at night with faster connections and the rally drivers safely in Bed. Temperature a modest 29.5 C and the humidity down to 92 %.Found 4 more nice comments from bloggees re the Mail on Sunday article including one from the Open University who was studying blogs as an OU subject. I wish I had thought of that but my uni days were long before internet when people thought that WWWS were spun by large spiders. Another bloggee urged Huttonian to stand firm against' greedy landowners" Now who could he have in mind? Mind you it was landowners specifically mentioned and not farmers so I must shortern the list? Some people in the Merse mean different things by the use of the F and L word.
Yes it is good to be back in GHana after so many years. My father would be astonished to find that the Cedi which as a 'colonial banker' he designed on GHana's independence with an exchange parity with the pound is now worth 14,000 to the British quid. With the highest denomination at 10,000 ($1.2) you need a wheelbarrow or a large Morrison's plastic bag to takev the loot away from an ATM if you are taking out serious money.
More later if (a) I am spared and (b) if I can get to a computer without enduring death alley.