Musings from the Merse
Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Old Manse aka Antrim House on a dreich day, barely visible through murk and drizzle. We are glad to have been able to drop 'Antrim House' after 8 years and can do so as the Church of Scotland is no longer our 'feu superior' Yes the Feudal system was alive and well in north Britain until a new land act was passed by the Scottish Parliament abolishing the old feu system with its manifold 'encumbrances' We were not allowed, when purchasing the property to use 'Manse' in the name, hold prayer or spiritual meetings, gamble or sell alchohol on the premises. This is written into our deeds presumably as a precaution to prevent any activity that might bring a former Manse into disrepute. Oddly running a brothel was not mentioned in the list of no nos.

The change of name has merely brought us into line with reality. Everyone locally called the house The Old Manse'. Requests for 'Antrim House' (the first occupiers after the demansification) were from Norn Iron apparently would get puzzled frowns frustrating out of town delivery people. The only danger is a confusion between the two 'Manses' but it does not happen very often.

Double Gins all round. That will be £12.50 please.

Saturday, July 30, 2005
I don't know if Mr Fish has secretly come out of hiding and rejoined the Weather Centre as a consultant but the weather is now very odd and most un-Merse like. 70mm of rain in 36 hours, misty, windy and dreich. It reminds me of Flanders and Swann's weather song: 'In July the sun is hot. Is it shining? No its not.' And if there is sun behind the dreich it is certainly not hot. This most be global wetting and we should be thinking of a move to the new planet discovered recently by US astronomers-Called Upuranus 1B or something which is nearer to our sun then we are and would be much warmer than Hutton and Paxton is now; presumably.

The bores will be at it again: 'Reminds me of July 47'(when the bridges across the Tweed were swept away) Or the wettest summer since Charlie Purves funeral-he has been dead many years-let me see could have been 1976 or was it 75-it was the year we went shopping in Kelso, I mind that fine-no it was Hawick.Anyhow it was just after they closed the railway. Oh no that was Jack Purves-I saw Charlie the other day..can't have been him. Man was it wet...exeunt omnes slamming doors and pulling on wellies

Anyhow there is lot to do despite the rain and we can start by jumping into the puddles which will keep us going until lunch. Something else will crop up later,if we are spared

PS Spell checker suggests 'willies' for 'wellies'

A Cautionary Tale in the paper yesterday of a sunbathing couple trapped by the rising tide on the Berwickshire Coast. It took two lifeboats (unsuccessfully) and a helicopter to rescue them. Assuming that they should have been more aware of the state of the sea (which was very rough as well as advancing upon them) I suspect that there well be a large bill to settle up.

More curious is the missing -from -her- home Coldstream woman for whom life boat crews, Borders Search and Rescue, Northumbria Police helicopter, Coastguard, Borders Under Water Search Unit and even the River Tweed Bailiffs were scrambled in the early hours of Monday morning. To no avail. By lunchtime she was found 'alive and well' in, yes, of course why didn't we think of that, Coldstream. There must be a good story there somewhere but if there is the Berwickshire is not letting on.
Friday, July 29, 2005
Yesterday's Berwickshire carries a fascinating letter from a Reston man headed ' New residents inexperienced in niceties of small communities' It quotes from a report made in 1980 in a sociology publication which was about ' Urban incomers and Rural Change: the impact of Migrants from the city on Life in an Orkney Community' (1980) The writer suggests that although this is not Orkney 'the gist of the piece has a lot of relevance for many of us as we welcome so many new residents who are quite inexperienced in the niceties of living' in rural Berwickshire.

I recommend that anyone interested should read the letter in full (sadly not reproduced on the website) and certainly all incomers (and in Orkney they were predominately English) should do so. It is a shame that Huttonian did not have the benefit of this research before he started his original rant two years ago. It has to be said that not all incomers around here are English, lots of Scots unable to be fully paid up townees because of the high house prices in Edinburgh and its surrounds, and many are not in the category described in the article who explained their move to Orkney because of the 'superiority of rural over urban life ' Their motivations are mostly financial and many of them regard being in the countryside as just a base for working in the city and have no inclination (nor see any necessity) to involve themselves in the affairs of the local community. Indeed if I have learnt anything from 8 years as a maturing incomer (blow ins they say in Norn Iron) it is that there is balance to be struck between remaining aloof (and isolated) in your new home and involving your self actively in local affairs. One extreme encourages accusations of snobbery, stand offishness, and looking down on local people, the other throwing your weight around where you are not wanted upsetting the traditional rhythm of decision making and 'governance' -in the jargon-in small closely knitted village based societies. Difficult especially for a retired person who has no other outside life to satisfy his interests and absorb his energies (I am using man as embracing woman, of course) . If you don't involve yourself in what is going on around you, you do indeed become isolated and withdrawn; not a good recipe for a healthy old age.

Much food for thought there. Well worth following up at http://soc.sagepub.com/cgi/content/refs/38/1/43 where there is a wider study about English people in Scotland generally under the headline :'We hate the English except for you!'

PS Spell checker suggests 'Rectum' for 'Reston' Do we really need to know that?
Thursday, July 28, 2005
A local bloggee has reminded me that it is 'T on the Green' in Paxton this Sunday afternoon. The neo-Fishes always permitting. It is a good occasion with delicious scones, cake etc on what is now a very mature green in the heart of the village. And when you have stuffed yourself and your doggie bag the Cross Inn is only a short stagger away. Roll up from about 3pm onwards. All are welcome.

It is good that the Green has caught on so well. Some villagers were initially a bit askance at this initiative by a group of people -mostly incomers-to beautify the place as a counterweight to the rather unattractive developments nearby. (one villager was heard to say : 'they' are trying to turn us into an English Village!) Early fund raising events were not well attended and the Village Green Trust had a real struggle to raise the finance to purchase what was a building plot and then develop it. But it is now regarded by most as a real asset.
Huttonian is in Purdah today-skulking indoors to avoid frightening the horses. Yesterdays surgery in Embra left part of my face looking like the result of a battering from Amir Khan the New British boxing hopeful. To murmurs of sympathy (three, no less, in the post office) I ask well wishers to consider the plight of 'the other fella' but I did notice that, however sympathetic, people are most reluctant to look at me, and who is to blame them: hence my retreat inside.

My condition has its advantages; no stooping. Ha! No weeding, fruit picking, loading dish washer, washing machine, bed making. No shopping. No 'heavy house work' for 48 hours. Ha! See prohibitions above.
The wife has suggested that I might have some occupational therapy with light silver cleaning. I will need to ask the consultant about that before I commit my self-it seems that the heavy housework rubric might apply as these silver tablespoons are very cumbersome and it is foolish to take risks at this stage.

Sadly it also means no golf-a pity as there is a herd of Duns golf ball chewing horses I would not mind frightening
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
A quick visit to Ould Reekie to have a small 'procedure' on my face. Mostly painless in the plush surroundings of the very Private Murrayfield Hospital. I was blessed with a very silent taxi driver who only grunted-a slight change of note when acknowledging his retention of most of the change from a Tenner and he was moved enough to growl me a wish about the goodness of the day awaiting me despite dropping me at hospital main entrance.

Coming back was different. The driver was two tads on the wrong side of garrulous. He was salivating over the prospect of easy pickings at the forthcoming festival. 'No Taxi driver takes his holidays then' Last year was great; it rained all the time and his cab was never empty. He was especially relishing the arrival of 'official' tourists from China who were leaving London early in droves and heading for the safety of Embra. Unfortunately he was not into monolgues-his chatter required a response which was a problem with Huttonian bleeding profusely through the stitches (faces bleed worse than anywhere else as any razor addict will tell you and clutching a series of swabs to the afflicted cheek-speech seemed to increase the volume of gore) He totally ignored this phenomenon despite monitoring my every twitch via his mirror and my gratuity was proportionate to completing this ordeal in a reasonably short time and I can now understand where the expression Jockular comes from: Black Cab No 87 : avoid.

I upgraded myself to First Class to avoid terrifying the 'standard ticket holders' but did not escape stares amongst the expense accounted suits. Looks were more discrete than in cattle class and most onlookers took refuge in Cell phone games rather than looking too closely at my bloodied visage. There may have been a slight element of caution-I probably look like someone who has just lost a fight in a pub and is looking for a rematch -indeed the phrase 'Who are you looking at, Jimmy' was not too far from my medically numbed lips. But remained unuttered as my neighbours eyes glanced nervously towards the alarm switch. Sighs of relief all round as I disembarked at Berwick and all they now had to worry about was London Transport at journeys end.

The Aussie/Welsh/Irish/English grandson currently in Canberra. His obsession with getting ducks is more likely to be relevant to his English side (and The English Side) rather than his OZ team mates. Unfortunately
Some Australian bloggee perhaps frustrated by no test match to gloat over on Monday put 'Canberra is a boring dump' into Google (try it for yourselves) and one of the websites to emerge is your old friend 'Musings' I never described Canberra as boring in any rant but it certainly is a common Oz perception as I reported on our visit there last May. Unfair. It is a very attractive garden city with more trees than people (like Hutton in that respect) unlike the Outback which has more sheep than trees.

Late news: Fishwick Special branch detained two males with ruck sacks observed walking in a suspicious manner, armed with metal poles with 'spear like' attachments. Both were bearded so two strikes against. In their possession was a sinister looking book with a map of the London Underground And to cap it all they had foreign accents. In the end their story that they were English tourists on a walking holiday was (reluctantly) accepted and they have now been released with a warning not to waste valuable police time again. Their Letts 'Train watchers Diary for 2005 has also been returned but with the underground map removed in case it might fall into terrorist hands.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
This is an unusual shot of the Haydn Trio Eisenstadt with Lorna Anderson (centre) relaxing after rehearsing Haydn's Scottish Songs. The other vocalist is Jamie MacDougal seen in an earlier image. The other figure is thought to be the Australian vocalist Shane 'Pommie' Granite so called because of his English origins. Pommie is something of a recluse and had to be induced (by a couple of tinnies) to pose with the others

Paxton House from the river side. Croquet lawn awaits custom. Something funny here, surely those hoops are much too wide. Nothing like the narrow blighters I have seen before.Hurlingham Club been consulted?

Weed in the Tweed below Paxton House two hundred yards from the silent croquet lawn and 200 feet below low flying aircraft. Just beyond you can see (click to enlarge) the net connecting Scotland on the left to England on the right.

The net is holding back the weed which if not blocked will make netting the salmon impossible. This is actually sea weed forced up the Tweed by the tide and nothing to do with chemicals washed off farmers fields (Sorry farmers, Huttonian got that wrong previously)

Hope springs eternal. Out again with a massive net and a rip tide to deal with, laying it. Total catch after 4 hours 4 small fishes. No loaves and no 10,000 to feed so that is ok. The incoming tide is so strong that even the burliest of oarsmen can make little headway against it when dragging a heavy net.
Monday, July 25, 2005
A comment has been made about Save Our Sleep Action Group(see below) in that it is something of an oxymoron. If you were serious about taking action to sleep longer, when would you sleep? Yes, I am glad, pedantic of Peterborough that you are losing no sleep over it. I am not sure we wanted to know that. And if any members of SOSAG would like advice from the Hutton Think Tank they have only to ask.
I am afraid that the rant is sometimes of little help to web surfers in search of enlightenment. Take today: some insomniac or even possibly a sleep walker fed into Google the string: 'SOSAG Save our Sleep Action Group' . As you can see from going to : http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&c2coff=1&rls=RNWE%2CRNWE%3A2004-45%2CRNWE%3Aen&q=SOSAG save our sleep action group&meta= he/she/it ( add to the search slot after SOSAG 'Save our sleep action group') had a choice of two links to Musings which would have been of little use for his/her/its problem if problem it is. Sadly SOSAG as in 'sleep' is not known to the waking world but SOSAG as in Save Our School Action Group had fame thrust upon it by the old discontinued blog and especially the last three lettes of the acronym :SAG which featured in the full page story in the Mail on Sunday last Easter Day. Nuff said.

It is indeed sad to go past the now finally closed school. The start of the academic year in August will not witness the sight of children racing around the playground or a knot of parents (a sort of Three 0'Clock club) outside the gates anxious to be reunited with their offspring. A few may be around to greet the returning school bus from Chirnside but that is not the same thing as being at the door of a vibrant institution and another bit of the heart of this village and of the wider community has died.

There are hopes of a temporary reprieve for the school building with it being used as a home for the post office and for the village hall whilst the present hall is demolished and a new one put up at the end of the summer. Actually the ownership of the school building is itself something of a mystery. Researchers have found no documentary evidence of its origins. Who owns the land it is on? Was the land given specifically for a school-but with no school does ownership revert to the donor? One assumes, as one does, that the Borders Council education people own the building and I suspect they will want to put it on the market for conversion into a private dwelling as happened ages ago with the old teacher's house next door. But whether they have a legal right to do so is another matter but I doubt if anyone will have the energy (or the cash) to challenge them. And indeed what is the point? AS far as our school is concerned gone is gone. The ashes are cold and no point raking them over. There are more important ashes at stake elsewhere and GET OUR ASHES BACK FROM THE AUSSIES ACTION GROUP (GOABFTAAG) need to spring into action after the opening disaster at Lords.

Spellchecker suggests 'Sabotage' for GOABFTAAG-there's a thought
Simon Hoggart in Gurdien on Saturday had a very entertaining article about what used to be called Garden Fetes but apparently, in the effete south, at any rate, are now known as 'Local Community Fairs' 'Community' being the 21st Century buzzword for everything from Overseas Development as in Community Based whatever or covens of Al Qaida sleepers in Leeds or wherever. In the Merse we have Fund raising Garden Parties-more gentle affairs, sans Bouncing Castles and avec*middle class ladies giving childrens rides in Pony and Traps. The centre piece of our Garden Party was a bring your own picnic elegantly laid out under sideless Marquees- surplus from the set of the new local Blockbuster:' No weddings and no funerals thankyou'-a wine bar, a buried treasure event(The hidden treasure was under Mrs Beamworthy as one local paper once reported) A gift stall-for those items won at least weeks Village Hall raffle and a plant stall for those what nots bought from the garden centre two weeks ago and which you did not get round to planting. Huttonian presided over the Krazy Kroket-a devilish and near impossible game involving impenetrable hoops, elliptical and very old croquet balls and a slightly twisted mallet played on a bumpy side lawn with a list to Starboard. He made £22 which at 50 p a go is not bad. The Church Funds should benefit well even if the turnout on a grey neo Fish day was not great.

* Enough French. Entente Cordiale is very last year. Blog-ed
Saturday, July 23, 2005

Once again the house has been alive with the sound of music. This time the Haydn Trio Eisenstadt and the Scottish tenor Jamie MacDougall -Apparently Joseph Haydn wrote music for hundreds of Scottish Songs and the trio plus Jamie MacDougall and Lorna Anderson are cutting CDs for pretty well all of them over the next few years. It was good to have our reconditioned upright put to such professional use. Not at concert pitch-having last been played in December but the pianist said it was fine-all he needed was for the keys to go up and down. And they did.
Picture the scene: Morrisons, 8.45am Saturday morning. Too early for most so that is why Huttonian is there. Only two checkouts operating -that is the flip side of going at Sparrow Puke; (the early bird swallowed a bad worm) A commotion - a heavily tattooed, hirsute, stomach bulging through upwardly mobile grey vest, caravanner charging the checkout with a case of Heinikens under each sweaty armpit. He brushes aside two dear old things and flings down the cases onto the counter top drawing his wallet with some difficulty from his buttock enhanced jean's pocket. A man with a mission and in a hurry. The check out lad with the stammer, trembling with barely suppressed emotion, asked this colusus 'Sir-you dddddo realise that this is the non aaaaaaa (tries again) aaaalcholoc variety'?

Sir didn't.

A veil is drawn over the ensuing scene.

And as the Checkout lad mentioned to me as he lovingly plastic bagged my modest purchases:
'Its nnnnice to start the day with a gggood ggggg(tries again)gggggggigle!'

It is.
The summer blazes on-certainly the best July since 55 BC when Julius Caesar, in a foray north, threw his legions across the River Flumen-known now as the Tweed. The Tweed is one of the most peaceful rivers in the UK and has been since the Romans moved onto Tri Montium abandoning their boats for the long straight Borders Roads, still a feature of our countryside although a later generation added the sudden sharp corners. The Tweed is blessed with a good series of paths except where theLandowners value their privacy which is mostly on the Scottish side. We walked on along the English bank noting that the (highly subsidised) assault on the Japanese Knotweed has begun and also noting that a rash of blanket weed has broken out on the river which will be bad news for 'The world's best Salmon River' if not checked promptish. This is the result of noxious nutrients running off farmers fields into the waterway. This afternoon could have scored highly in the Search for Hush stakes. Not a low flying aircraft anywhere nor was there sign of human existence except for a couple rowing downstream. 'Clemency the General's daughter will return upon the Tide' wrote John Betjeman in Beaulieu Water. Fortunately the couple in question kept going as the lady being oared along disturned the peace with a strident commentary on something-sounded like criticism of SirMorrison's buy one get one free specials but could equally have been a moan about the English fielding in the Lords Test.

The empty Tweed above Chain Bridge. The Search for Hush is over

He rowed, she exposulated. A rare sight on this the most under used of British waterways.

Just out of earshot Clemency and oarsman shooting the Union 'Chain' Bridge. Blessed England on the right bank, Scottish Scotland on the left. Peace returns to the Tweed

Hogweed under attack on land but blanket weed rampant in the river. Riparian Landlords are being paid to assault the Hogweed but careless farming is said to be causing the riverweed infestation

An abandoned building on the bank.According to a report recently lost by the Hutton Think Tank the roof was destroyed by overwatered pot plants-possibly the Triffidus vulgus giganticus.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Unusually Paxton features on the crime sheet in the Berwickshire and not in Sheriff Kevin's court but on the front page. Under the small headline Paxton Man Arrested a brief article describes the arrest of a 26 year old Paxton man in the 'early hours of Saturday morning' for 'shouting racial abuse in central Berwick. The Fuzz warned him about his behaviour but later collared him 'for continuing to shout abuse about the London bombers' . We will have to wait until next Thursday to establish if he was at it again last night.

Abuse also featured at the Sheriff's court in Duns. Sheriff Kenneth Hogg presiding-Sh.K may be on his hols?A disabled man was fined £750 for causing distress to a local Minister (as in Church not as in Cabinet) Apparently the accused left threatening messages on the minister's answerphone and had 'sent correspondence' presumably to the Manse. He claimed that the Minister 'preached forgiveness but did not understand disabled people. He had also been abusive to the staff in the Duns Coop 'but did not have enough money to pay for the goods he wanted' Hopefully that will be the end of it-correspondence sent to the Manse in Hutton might well end up with the wrong recipient if the Postman fails to distinguish between the Old Manse in Kirk Lane and The Manse just off the main drag. AS he has done twice in the recent past.
There is an air of desperation about some of the ideas emanating from the VisitScotland Borders people. The Dog Ambassador at large (see previous rants) is not featuring too much in their literature at present so the focus this week is on being 'Child Friendly' Apparently there is a childrens trail across the Borders-less obvious than any left by the Canine Diplomat with attendant pooh scuttle-linking the 35 participating child friendly attractions and 'establishments' At each port of call the befriended child can pick up an icon in the form of a sheep symbol -seemingly a black sheep with a white ruff licking its lips (the photo in the Berwickshire is indistinct but the sheep is certainly black and looks a way 'off message' to the untrained eye-'Borders welcomes your Black Sheep says local police spokesman'? ) When the child has collected 5 sheep icons, he/she/it is entitled to claim a 'special free Goodie Baaa..g' (honest its in the Berwickshire Page 9) from any of the Tourist Information centres. Some of the 35 attractions which are icon earning are listed including, locally, Paxton House and Country Park (counts as one only) but not, curiously,the Amazing Maize Maze at Fishwick which is now back on stream even if the maize is only ankle height, being seasonally adjusted-very child friendly in my book.
TheLittle Hutton House of Horrors and the Horndean Child Correction Centre are not featured either but as they still only exist on file in the Hutton Think Tank's Creative Ideas Section this is not too surprising.

Befriended kids are encouraged to enter a competition to choose a name for the 'new sheep figure' After the first week the front runners are thought to be : Baaa-sil (5 votes), Black Booty (4) Larry (1-suggested by a grand father who used to enjoy ToyTown) and Baaaaaa-zooker (123 votes -some postal, from the Middle East) The winner may get a voucher to be redeemed against a holiday elsewhere in Scotland.

BTW any ideas from Bloggees about what to call the sheep figure , not necessarily to its (black) faceare very welcome and will be passed on, anonymously, toVisitScotland Borders, PO Box 2, Elgin.
Thursday, July 21, 2005

Last night we enjoyed the Summer Music 'Prom' at Paxton House with the Caledonian Brass Ensemble. There was an ugly rush for sunny parts of the area in front of the house but as the sun sank and the wind shifted North East and grew stronger it got quite cold. Less foolish virgins had come well prepared with blankets, rugs, fleeces and the odd padded anorak. The wind caused problems blowing the music away and on one occasion one of the two trumpet(?) players had his music blown down the steps to be rescued by the other trumpeteer(?) Neither missed a beat or a note. Only drawback apart from the Artic conditions was the lack of a microphone and the senior Caledonians' commentary on the music was swallowed up by a gale blowing onto his face. Speaking classical Scottish from the Glasgow School did not make communication clearer for the majority of the audience. But good music in magnificent surroundings outweighed all that.
Half listening to the Today programme as one does with the electric razor at maximum and the Radio at maximum plus and the bath water running and the wife chatting I heard an item about a survey they are doing of idyllic quiet rural places where the noisy hand of man lies lightly if you see what I mean by a somewhat mixed metaphor. Apparently the Today website at www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today has a write- in facility for listeners to nominate their favourite idylls which presumably, once publicised, become overcrowded with townees in search of peace and quiet, with no hum of nearby traffic and even cow cells at their lowest setting. I therefore hesitate to nominate Hutton. But it certainly is quiet. Traffic nil except during the Jim Clark Rally which I expect will not darken our doors again after this years fiasco. Cow Bells nil. Church Bells for 5 minutes every two weeks. Sheep in permanent silent mode. Twittering birds yes but then one goes to the country for twittering birds. Car radios nil (see traffic above) Music blaring out of open window nil. I am not sure that I have ever seen an open window around here. Certainly not in our house as we would soon be inundated with stupid House Martins and rampaging starlings knocking things off things.

So ideal? Up to a point Lord Kirkwood. You can be crouching idyllically in a lovely raspberry bush, your lips red with juice, your thoughts peaceful and tranquil, the feeling of a cool beer coming on, the sun warm on your back, Mr Fish in permanent retirement and no threat of rain for six and a half weeks, the knowledge that inside the TV in silent mode shows England at 1256 for two wickets. And suddenly....RAAAR BOOOM and the F16 at low pressure swallow height, has just flown past your chimneys giving you such a fright thaht you jerk your face into the nearest nettles and twitch your raspberry bowl over your left shoulder scattering the contents towards the hovering band of brigand blackbirds. You never hear the b*****S coming and have not time to see them going-certainly not clearly enough to pick the pilot out at an identity parade or read the registration number as the RAF Liaison Officers recommend when you complain about such ASB.

So I won't nominate Hutton after all.

But if you want to go to http://www.cpre.org.uk/campaigns/landscape-and-beauty/tranquil-areas/hunt-for-hush-form-thanks.htm Website for the Council for the Protection of Rural England- : 'The Search for Hush' You only have to be here for ten minutes to be able to complete the questionnaire ansdd with any luck all the F16s wil be elsewhere, perhaps bombing FRance

Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Huttonian’s Ten Golden Rules for Soft Fruit. Sage saws and bleeding fingers

1. Tallest Nettles are always near the most succulent raspberries. Especially when the wind is blowing.
2. Gloves for pulling up nettles are always in the house
3. Gloves thick enough to stop Gooseberry thorns are too thick to pick the Gooseberries
4.Raspberry bushes often have more fruit on them after you have just picked them than before you started.
5. The most juicy, delicious, bright red strawberry is the one you have just knelt on
6. There are more ripe blackcurrants at any one time than containers for them
7. If you have picked red currants for an hour and a half you have too few to do anything with.
8. If there is something cold, slippery and wriggling under your left hand in the middle of the red currant bush, think toad.
9.If you can strip a blackberry bush without drawing blood twice and shouting s**t you haven’t any blackberries.
10. If you have 6 perfect red rounded tomatoes the Village Horticultural Show was last week.

Last word of advice: if you have a pair of baggy shorts, cool and breezy, which allows free ventilation around vital parts, and if you plan to get stuck into those nettles and thistles you have been putting off all summer taking advantage of the best weather since 1976, 47, last year etc; and you wish to avoid inappropriate jokes about pricks and prickles pasted and cut on the internet and forwarded by callous offspring, leave them in the drawer.
According to the best gardening manuals once flaming June has gone growth slows down in the garden. I think that in the light of global warming some serious re writing is required. Despite the lack of rain-and day before yesterdays showers did not register on my state of the art computerised Teutonic engineered weather gizmo-growth is accelerating like crazy.Jusat the other night Stan the Man painstakingly cleared the back yard of 325 assorted weeds, including sadly, some of the wife's favourite FoxGloves (at 11-30 at night S the M cannot easily distinguish between Dandylions and Fox Gloves with his heavy duty but headlightless strimmer) By the time I had got out of bed and paid him they were growing again. Not the Fox Gloves; they were not going to risk a second coming of S the M but the Dandylions and other small tough weeds were whistling up through the cracks in the asphalt. Today I will have to have another go just to be able to leave the back door and find my way to the other features of the side yard like the 87 compost bins and the banks of swaying nettles not to be touched because of the needs of the butterflies. While the wife was a way I had to use a machete to hack a path through the eye high nettles to find the lettuce beds and indeed to blaze a trail to the currently active compost bins. Machetes are now no no but the wife can manage ok even if my offer to lend her a GPS is curtly rejected.

Israeli settlers in arid parts of what was Palestine used to boast that they could grow two blades of grass where one grew before. Things have moved on in the Merse from those simple and satisfying pioneering days. Our front drive has 5 blades of grass where there was none before-like 30 minutes ago. However despite an overall messy appearance which would not do for Dulwich of Dalgety Bay I have a minimum intervention policy of removing as much grass as is necessary to find the car.

Fortunately the lawn(rather meadow) is the responsiblty of a young lady from the village earning pocket money on her vacations from St Andrews. She used to mow once a week but now it is every 4 days-and even throughout the winter we had to mow regularily otherwise we might have lost the garden and our wonderful view from the kitchen.

Never mind the bleeding ice bergs, we have melt down right here as having to water our pond regularily testifies. And the pond is now so globally warmed that the frogs spend all their time in the shade of the taller weeds. If theG8 had met in our sort of 'summer house' *I am sure there would have eeen a different outcome on climate change. Next time perhaps

* 'Sort of summer house' as the summers actually make it unhabitable because of the extreme heat. 'Winter house' has a strange ring to it but is actually more accurate.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Some surfer in the wilder shores of the WWW put in the words: merse cream bust product into Google and turned up Musings as one of the websites carrying this combination. I wonder why. Is there some local manufacturer who turns out creams for chest enhancement (or looking around Morrisons) more likely, principal parts reduction. Anyhow I hope she/he found out what they wanted-I am afraid that the rant would have been little practical help in this instance.

I have just come across the official result of the recent Jim Clark Rally. The Hutton (or Whiteadder) leg was apparently abandoned and did not figure in the results. And Huttonian missed all the excitement. Bloggees will remember that boredom and fumes drove me (no pun intended) to the comfort of my own home after twenty identical cars, doing the same identical thing around the Hutton roundabout has passed on their way to the Bluestane Ford and motoring glory. But one never made it having burst into flames near Hutton Castle about 300 yards this side of the ford The officials decided to leave it smoldering in the middle of the road and not push it onto the verge thus letting other vehicles past because (a) it was hot (b) the car was hot (c) the verge was very dry (the driest verges seen since 1976, 1947, 1514 etc) and there was therefore a major risk of a rural conflagration. Plan B failed as the alternative route was blocked with spectator cars who had not been told that they were parking on the alternative route to Chirnside via Lesbian Witches * . This alternative route was in case the Whiteaddder was too high to allow the use of the ford but because this was the hottest and driest weather since .... name your own year.. no one bothered to reserve it for the rally. So it stopped and Whiteadder Two (round again) was also abandoned. Nul Points all round and an early bath.

* Broom Dykes


House Martins some times take their title too seriously like the one which is still in our kitchen as I blog. It decided that it liked the look of our Jordanian glass which the wife has placed out of harms way above the door-fine, it may be a connoisseur and I have no problem with it sitting quietly beside these heirlooms valuing it for Bird Watch Roadshow but when it loses it a bit and starts flapping amidst the exhibits it is not to good for the nerves; one blow from a powerful wing and its back to Jebel Amman to get a repacement. How did it get in I hear you cry? Someone left the kitchen door open and the stupid bird did the rest. Latest: it crapped in the general direction of two Waterford Glass decanters and has vanished-hopefully back to its young in the garden store.
I wonder if I should try E-Bay. Not for the decanters, the House Martin?
Monday, July 18, 2005
Everyone has been saying the same thing:'I can't remember ever before having such a sustained period of fine weather. I have lived here, man woman and child since 2001, 1997, 1994, 1983, 1966 I think it was, 1923, 1908....Etc etc' 'But this weather we have had the last two weeks beats 1976, 1947, 1066 etc.' Ity was prediictble and getting boring and no one was impressed by the high temperatures the Wife experienced in foreign parts. To day, thankyou Mr Deakin, it is raining nice and steadily and started just after I had finished my pre dawn golfing. I can safely say it is the most rain we have had since a week last Tuesday and reminds me of when...
The Bronte String Quartet are GNERing southwards and we await the arrival of an Austrian Trio and a violinist. It will be a great tragedy if no one can be found to fund Summer Music next year but it seems that corporate sponsors are just not interested. Glastonbury great, Edinburgh certainly but Paxton, despite the excellent reputation it has built up over the last few years and the quality of the musicians it has attracted is too small beer for the big boys to spend their cash on.

Oh dear the rain is easing-the bores will be rushing about saying 'I told you it would come to nothing-just like in 1976' Come on Mr D let it really **** down .I know you can do it.

It will be sad to say goodbye to this group of young musicians:-the Bronte Quartet who have been performing at the Paxton Music Festival this week end. Doubly sad this may be the last time in these parts as the Festival organisers are saying that after ten years this is the last one under their aegises. A major sponsor has not renewed sponsorship and with no one taking their place this may be the last Summer Music at Paxton House-another oasis in a cultural arid zone drying up. Anyhow if you hear of the Brontes playing near you go and listen to them. Its well worth it and it was a joy to have them in the house filling the place with beautiful music, drowning the TV commentary on the Open Championship.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
At a certain age it is quite common, so I am told, to worry about short term memory loss, a condition charecterised by the syndrome/disease associated with the great American philosopher and hypochrondiac Al Z. Heimer. I think I am at the early stages of this condition especially over forgetting people's names (and have been since my twenties, a great handicap in the Diplomatic) but don't exhibit (yet) the more dramatic aspects like forgetting to put on/take off my trousers. But I am beginning to wonder. Our local Kirk hands out 'offerings envelopes' to hand in during the collection with no name -just a number to identify yourself to the treasurer and matching your gift aid tax relief registration. Being distracted this morning with chatting up the four young musicians in our midst-the Bronte Quartet, I pulled an envelope out of the top drawer in the middle of relating some apposite anecdote to stuff with the specie necessary to fulfill the Wife's and my fortnightly financial obligations. Then set off to church and handed over the loot at the appropriate moment. Just after the service during the coffee and biscuits mix- in an elder tactfully enquired if I had meant to hand in an empty envelope! Shame and Chagrin. I fumbled for my wallet and found in my breast pocket another envelope, unsealed but with a note* clearly visible. Oh dear; I had pocketed two envelopes but only filled one and have absolutely no memory of either act. The Elder was very understanding-thouigh elder he is younger than Huttonian and has yet to reach the age of uncertainty. ButI do remember replying to a query from one of the musicians about the likely reaction if I did hand in an empty envelope' ''Excommunication' I jested. And it seemed funny at the time.

* Do you really have to make the point that this was not a miserly low value coin? Blog-ed

PS a bloggee has commented that these increasingly common instances of memory loss have been described to him as 'Senior Moments' Put that way......

Patiently he went on casting while just a few yards away the Swan Family were having much more success and putting none back. Mind you the wellied bloke got none to put back.

if you are a fisherman in the I. Walton mould there is probably no more stunning place to fish than the Tweed under the walls of Norham castle an ancient outpost of England held by the Prince Bishops of Durham as the first line of defence against marauding Scots. It fell only once-to King James IV on his way to make a horlicks of Flodden. He had at his disposal a massive weapon of mass destruction-a huge cannon bought down from Embra and which could methodically pound the castle to pieces well out of range of the cannons of the defenders. So they surrendered well before full time. Fishermen do not seem to know all this as they cast all day -but on this occasion-without reward. No, Curious of Cowdenbeath, the left hand picture is not upside down-it is looking down onto a riple free Tweed with the clouds reflected in the water.
Saturday, July 16, 2005

The middle son-in law( also doubling as the senior one as he got a Huttonian daughter first) has expressed a wish to visit Hutton whilst both strawberries and raspberries are on stream. He will have to hurry as the Strawberries are beginning to tail off and it will be raspberries only in a week or so. Sharp eyedBloggees who believe that this is the same box of fruit photographed twice are quite right but the symmetry is good.
Sheriff Kevin of Duns is back on page 5 of the Berwickshire after a lengthy absence after being crowded out by Wynsome Maydes and Gala Queens. One intriguing case of an 'angry woman' who crashed into a parked van during a' heated argument' causing £400 worth of damage. Apparently she was fighting with another woman when the incident happened. Apparently the woman in question was not herself in a vehicle-or at least it does not state that she was. She presumably headbutted the van in the course of her struggle with her distaff opponent. Mind you £400 worth of damage is not impressive these days-Huttonian was billed for not much less for the repairs to his car which had two deep scratches not more than 12" long. This was the result of being scraped by a fast moving wall when taking the turn out of Bath Lane, Newcastle, Norn Iron, a bit too tightly.The offending van wrecker was fined £150 and ordered to pay £400 compensation. I wonder if I can sue the Down County Council for constructing a wall in an inconvenient location?
Friday, July 15, 2005
So its Happy Families again with the wife safely back from Foreign Parts, luggage intact and first off the carousel. (The Luggage, that is-the wife walked from the plane) So a great weight of domestic responsiblty off Huttonian's shoulders, No unaccompanied visits to Sir Morrison's. Free now to concentrate on the soft fruit (660 strawberries to date) They are suddenly all coming on stream Rasberries, Worcester berries, black and red currants and even the Gooseberries prematuraly ejaculating* all over the place urged on by global warming. I hope the wife can take over the strawberry picking as I am fed up with crawling under the nettting, under threat of imminent atack from frustrated blackbirds, feeling through wet straw (it actually rained yesterday) for the more elusive ones and soaking my clean trousers with the juice of those I have missed and subsequently knelt on. And the joy of standing in the 38C of the Greenhouse watching the tomatoes ripen and using the new hose attachment gizmo with its scotch mist spray setting. Rural living at its best.

* Not sure if this is the right word. Blog-ed
Thursday, July 14, 2005
As I blog the wife is in mid-air heading back from Foreign Parts; simultaneously the Bronte Quarter are heading north on GNER, expanding rails always permitting. The latter are our guests for the first part of the Paxton House Music Festival celebrating its tenth anniversary. There may be a few tickets left-anyhow you can get the details and all about Paxton House at http://www.paxtonhouse.com/ .

The Berwickshire sports page shows scenes of fierce fighting in Duns and this is not a report on the last test against the All Blacks in New Zealand. No it is the ancient game of Hand ba’ where the single men of Duns play the married men in a contest which is cross between rugby and the Second World War. It seems from the photos to be not unlike the Eton Wall game with the Duns market square replacing the wall and it all being about slow territorial gain amidst heavy casualties-perhaps the Somme might be a better analogy than the more fast moving engagements of WW2. In one of the pictures a player is seen grasping the ba’ (Scots for ball, apparently) It is either a much deflated ball judging from a rather fuzzy image or is something else. In the picture it looks a bit like a haggis wrapped in a jock strap* but I wouldn’t vouch for it.
On Rugby Sir C Woodward is not the toast of Scotland having not selected Scottish players from his squad to play the All Blacks. One Scot was apparently on the field for a brief 11 minutes during the last test which the Lions lost as comprehensively as the first two. The Scotsman’s rugby correspondent felt that had this heroic Celt been on the field a bit longer, say 20 minutes, the result would have been very different and Sir C Woodward was showing his anti Scottish pro Albion bias to the detriment of the Lion’s chances of success. He may be right but it has to be said that 15 Scots on the field all the time did little to cover themselves with glory in the 6 nation’s championship. But that of course is a view from south of the border and can be discounted by all right thinking Scots

* This is not traditional Scottish gear despite its name and is certainly not worn under the Kilt Blog-ed

Well they might not be as tarted up as Sir Morrison's chemically enduced and cling wrapped fruit but the taste is magnificent. This is a small selection of the 601 strawberries we have harvested so far! Its a pity that there is no entry for soft fruit in the Hutton and Paxton Horticultural show but August is too late.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Bloggees may recall rants about the difficulty of getting young (or even any) pipers involved in local Pipe Bands. A bloggee who is a 'streamer and now based in Embra writes about Coldstream:

In fact, and you are welcome to blog this, the band is going to take a sabbatical for a year or so while we sort out our teaching of younger players. The big issue remains getting enough adults still living locally to teach the youngsters and getting enough youngsters willing to learn.

The Berwickshire bands have always had to cope with the de-population of younger people to the urban areas, traditionally Edinburgh (like me) and Newcastle. It was nearly always the case that anyone who got to sixth year at Berwickshire High School and/or went to university, left Berwickshire and didn't return unless they were teaching locally or returning to the family farm or business. There was, however, enough local employment to ensure that there were a good number of local youngsters who stayed. These days, however, with the collapse of many businesses and the reduction in the number working in agriculture, boys and girls are leaving whatever their academic achievements and, again, they are not returning. For bands, this means that just as a piper or drummer reaches an age when they're beginning to play well enough to be in the band, say in their mid to late teens, they leave and we see them for civic week and that's all. You'll notice that pictures on the website of the band at civic week featuring huge numbers, the rest of the year the band reduces to those lucky enough to still live locally.

The days when villages were self-supporting communities with industry and infrastructure and enough of a population to support bands and sports teams has gone. Coldstream, in my opinion, looks more like a retirement home than the busy, functioning, businesslike town I remember, which is not in itself a bad thing but it is not creating proper jobs that will keep people in the town, particularly young people who have families. But that's rich of me to say so given that I live in Embra. And, of course, it has to be admitted that many kids cannot be arsed learning an instrument as fickle as the pipes. And sometimes I don't bame them!

So, Coldstream must now look to teaching youngsters as quickly as possible to create a band with a much younger profile than it ever had before. And this in itself is a tricky operation because youngsters that age need watching and marshalling and that's a big responsibility for just a few adults. Witness the call by the Brownies for leaders to come forward. All youth orgaisations are struggling in this litigous society. In my apprenticeship for the band we started with the Boys Brigade band where we were well taught and looked after (there's no BB now) and then progressed to the town band at 15 or 16 where the older men kept an eye out between visits to the pub but not a lot more. Our parents knew that but trusted the older men to keep things relatively in order, I am not sure that modern parents are that pragmatic.

The band will not vanish, and certainly we have lots of drummers just now and we'll have more pipers in time, but its changed days and it'll take a while to adapt.

So any one raring to pipe and is in the neighbourhood (and not in the Antipodes) please get in touch and Huttonian will make the introduction to the High Band Heidians in Coldstream

People seem to find the rant via weird and wonderful websites. A Turkish or Greek bloggee in a moment of obviously almost terminal desperation fed into Google : Electronic Mouse Repeller+work. Why? Driven to distraction by small rodents at the office, one assumes. Anyhow he/she (sounded like a he) might have found some comfort in accounts of chasing mices in this house during the winter months-Huttonian with the one click break its neck instantly technology on the one hand and the wife's humane cheese lavish comfortably appointed up to ten mice at a time box thing and then let them out in the garden and catch them again next day approach.. But the site next to Musings was much more likely to be of interest to this bloggee:
http://com5.runboard.com/bakheva.ftheflaminghell.t75 This contains a rant about F***ing Mice. Not an activity, a description. Mouse repellers, repellants, exterminators are given a thorough airing and some may be on their way to Turkey as we squeak.

I felt better about the ****ing Hares this morning. No sign of them at the 17th but I discovered their little treasure trove. 2 golf balls, including one I had lostfour days ago in a wee bay in the burbling burn beneath the green. The balls being covered by water weeds I was lucky to spot them. Obviously they had tucked them away with their usual gay abandon in the expectation that they would remain out of sight until they were needed for some strange grass crazed bolocular frolic. Tough cookie Hare and Hare-you will need to start over as an American might say.
An Embra bloggee sent me a one word comment: 'Cobbles' which I thought was rather uncalled for until I clicked on it and went to :


Try it yourself and all will be revealed. Actually I can get the same sort of over 60 beneficial exercise by playing golf with the sole coming off one of my shoes-see earlier rant. But I am going back to the Shoe repairer of Hyde Hill with the offending shoe he repaired not all that long ago and ask him to have another go with his ancient arts and superglue. And if he refuses I shall , in my turn, bid him 'Cobbles-and wish him a good day' Politeness goes a long awy but perhaps not quitr as far as twenty quid in used fivers.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
7.10am found Huttonian on the 1st tee of the Duns Golf Club. 24C already and not a breath of wind. Not even a Zephyr and certainly not enough for a beaker full of the warm south. Not a soul in sight except for a green keeper turning on the taps at each green for the sprinklers; necessary now with no rain for the past week. Surely a record for Duns.

I decided to play a horse free round-going up the first (the horses haunt the second) and then cutting across to the eleventh to play a total of 9 holes; quite enough in this Gulf like heat and humidity. At the seventeenth two pairs of long ears appeared 200 yards ahead on the green of a very tricky par three protected by a wee burn. They were attached to Hares. I don't think I have ever seen a brace of Hares in July before. Another sign of global warming? What a target! Dead straight drive clearing one pair of ears by a yard or so. The Hares stopped munching grass and started twittering amongst themselves in a silent sort of way (at least at that distance it seemed silent) Anyhow there was much snuffling and twitching. Perhaps they were gay hares? If so it may have been a mistake to have played my expensive high visibility pink ball. It was. One hare pounced and ran off with the ball gaily pursued by the other giggling and twitching. Ah they were heading for the hole-that could be good news if they dropped it there. It could even be an unusual hole-in-one. I shouted encouragingly. Hare One dropped the ball and it was playfully pounced on by Hare two who ran towards me chewing the ball thoughtfully before gentle dropping it into the stream. They then bounced off laughing, metaphorically holding hands and discussing Gay8 matters.

I found the ball some thirty yards down stream, under a foot bridge. A six was quite a good score in the circumstances. The ball had sweet little teeth marks all over.Didn't matter as I lost it at the next hole. If the Hares find it again I hope it chokes them. Sincerely I do.
I read Disgruntled Commuter (see link) with a certain smug satisfaction as with GNER, Virgin and Scotrail we seem to generally (touch on Amazon Rain Forest) to enjoy a good service. Today was a rare excursion to Ould Reekie-train four minutes early despite being full of mostly Japanese who may have decided to bring forward it is Monday so it must be not London bit of their itinerary in the wake of 7/7 and G8/8. Coming back however was a different story. I decided on Virgin as it is usually empty and the Loos are fun with the exciting possibility of being electronically locked in and not released until Bournemouth, 25 'station stops' past Ber- Wick. The platforms were unusually full-soon clear why. 'We regret to announce that the trains to and from Glascow have been cancelled because of EXTREME WEATHER. Scot Rail apologise for any inconvenience this may cause' Inconvenience? No worries mate. I just bought this ticket on a passing whim and there are plenty of flights from Prestwick to New York next week. Or something.

In the meanwhile the Virgin to Birmingham (via Carlisle) had disappeared. 'All those seething with rage on Platform 20, please await another announcement.' My Virgin (via Newcastle) came in dead on time by Virgin's flexible and pro-active standards-ten minutes late and we set sail undeterred by the extreme weather which was eventually translated as ' unseasonably warm conditions' Summer not being a warm season in these parts.

Curiously although our Virgin train was also going to Birmingham en route to Bournemouth and there was no sign of anything arriving on Platform 20 before nightfall not a single Birmingham bound passenger crossed to platform 21 to join our train. Perhaps no one on platform 2o wanted
to go to Birmingham-perhaps Virgin knew this and had lost a train for economy reasons. But there were a lot of people on Platform 20 wanting to go somewhere.

And they are probably still there.

Extreme Weather Conditions. Click on image to increase extremeness
Monday, July 11, 2005
Even on a glorious wonderfully warm most untypical Merse day with the sun glowing on the weeds I sometimes feel like Percy French that 'I am wishful to be where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.' After a week of monotonous blue skies it would nice to see large clouds and a threatening sky. I know some people are never satisfied.

Like this

Up date on the swallow/housemartin family in the garden store room. Now a family of three at leastt. Mum spends some time sitting on the young despiter the fact thay they have been hatched a month. Click on image to enlarge
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Someone said, kindly meant, that it must be quite relaxing to have the wife inForeign Parts for three weeks-do your own thing? Indeed. Doing my own thing consists of:

(a) Twice weekly clothes wash to coincide with the visits of our professional ironer. Timing crucial to ensure clothes are almost dry, but not quite, at 11 am on Mondays and Thursdays.
(b) thrice weekly shop confined to the one basket rule. This has to coincide with the Newspaper run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. As Saturday morning is peak caravanner time this means a pre SF* start
(c) Daily bird feed-four course menu but the giant fat ball only on alternative days. They are not cheap and irrespective of size the p**king Starlings finish it off by 10am. Also involves cleaning out the bird bath including the artfully placed perching rocks and filling with grade 1 water.
(d) Daily tomato watch and watering. In the post Fish climate and with record temps as now this is twice a day at least. Also regular organic feeding with seaweed spray, evil smelling but chemical free tomato fattener and Epsom Salts to keep the leaves green and to protect the plants from indigestion, or something.
(e) Watering seeds until they are about 15 feet high. Doubly so in the present global warming period. This is quite fun with my hose attachment gizmo with several head functions: shower, Scotch Mist, Irish Mist (slightly wetter than SM) 4 prong spray, 6 prong spray, one great bloody jet, off. This means a thirty yard dash to the stand pipe whose pressure is so high that if it is not turned off when the gizmo is in the off position it will either force off the hose or expel the gizmo with the velocity of the Hutton Space Shuttle (under study by the HT2)
(f) Topping up pond-5 buckets a day. Removing pretty little weeds from the surface to ensuure right level of light penetration. Removing frogs from net used for above.
(g) Removing pretty little weeds from the patio. This is to avoid too much ground cover for marauding felines on bird hunts.
(h) Removing pretty little weeds, large clumps of grass and huge dandelions from the front drive.
(i) Removing and replacing cricket stumps and net to coincide with the visit every five days of our professional lawn cutter.
(j) Checking the Wife's e-mails twice daily and forwarding on to Foreign Parts to her more easily accessible mailbox. Sending e-mails to the wife's hostess asking her to urge the wife to read the e-mails.
(k) Following the wife's recipes-8 in all, in strict rotation. Extra shopping when not finding essential ingredients in expected places. I.e not finding essential ingredients. Temper tantrums on return from shopping with essential ingredients to find same in an unexpected places. Recipes based on Mr Slaters work Real Fast Food. An hour a day at least of my life gone on each occasion so I am avoiding the volume on' Leisurely Meals for the Terminally Bored'


* Sparrow F**t ***
** ec
*** ar
Saturday, July 09, 2005
I can state without much fear of contradiction that the following images are a world first-shots of the Hutton leg of the Jim Clark Memorial Rally (Whiteadder) up on the web whilst it is still in progress. Huttonian intrepidly positioned himself behind BT's finest if underused phone box and was eventually driven away (no pun intended) by a combination of fumes-the wind was blowing into my face from the 'roundabout and boredom-when you have seen thirty cars ....... Especially as no one made any serious mistakes whilst I was there. If you are not into rallying skip-otherwise enjoy

Thirty minutes to go-not many spectators but lots of safety people

The crowds gather-Hutton has not been so well filled since the pub closed. Someone missed a trick not selling ice creams, contraceptives, cold drinks etc-it was very hot

Excuse me is this the way? I am looking for Hutton, with a 'H'

Approaching the roundabout-brakes being applied

Mind the bin-its full of dog dooings

The interesting little vignette here is that of the two spectators peering out of the window of the Old Smiddy-the lady of the house apparently asked for the straw bales to protect her listed building and who is to blame her. But according to the same race official the bales would be more appropriate for a rally coming the OTHER WAY. Safe enough as it happens,as Padraig Gombeen O'Sullivan is not in the race this year having been disqualified for going the wrong way in the Round Ireland Rally. Btw the navogator is shouting 'Hard Left NOW'

Hard Right SOON

Now for the Ford and round again

This was the most impressive cornerer-but not in the rally-just clearing the road and perhaps showing off a bit

The groupies who certainly got their moneys worth (It was free)


The rally people have created a mini roundabout for their drivers to circumnavigate at greatt speed. White van man will need to move his car from in front of the Old Pub or isk the full fury of the law(and a serious insurance claim)

Drivers view of the roundabout with hay bales protecting the Old Smiddy-so it is straight ahead and sharp left-sorry guV never saw the phone box.

That is the phone box he never saw Guv. Perhaps Jim Clark can do what BT have failed to achieve-in deconstructing an 'unviable public facility'-so its right, sharp left, right and see you later on circuit 2
Friday, July 08, 2005
Tomorrow is Whiteadder Stages 1 and 2 of the Jim Clark Rally -ie through Hutton twice with the village closed off from the outside world for 4 hours. Despite this being a new stage and I would have thought quite a tricky one, there has been little evidence of the Rally drivers checking out the route. I have seen two non rally cars -but possibly driven by drivers taking part-coming through Hutton very cautiously but obviously having a good look at the corners. There has been activity down by the ford where a car or two may come a cropper as there is a large hole under water and only just off the causeway. The Rally has already started so I doubt if there will be much of a reconnaissance this evening.

Mr Deakin sent us a beautiful morning. Huttonian had his first ever round of golf at Goswick- a sort of poor man's Royal Co Down (PBUI). I had recently had my long serving golf shoes repaired by the shoeman in Berwick. The sole came off the right shoe and was apparently glued back on again with the promise (after a long hard look at me) that it would see me out. Can't beat the old super glue said the traditional craftsman rubbing his hands in anticipation of the forest of notes that were just about to cross both of them in recognition of his ancient professional arts. At the 5th, the sole -yes of the right shoe-came off with a flourish. We were at the furthest point from the golf course and we finished the first nine with the right shoe only being used for the longer shots and with me limping in along the fortunately dry fairways like 'diddle diddle dumpling my son John' I did however get some extra footage (no pun intended)into my drives by hissing 'Cobblers' at the moment of impact. No spare shoes in my car so we had to terminate our outing after the first 9. And to add insult to injury my partner advised me not to enter the club house as golf shoes, even soleless ones are not permitted in the lounge nor are visitors (or members) allowed to show a length of red hose from the ankle down.

I will be taking the shoe back to the master cobbler and will enquire exactly how long it was that he expected me to live after the last repair job. He can keep the shoe for his Black Museum and a small refund will hrelp me towards the purchase of a replacement pair. I fear that prices will have gone up since 1957.
On a happier note: The Berwickshire carries this story which will be interest to all except tone deaf bloggees.

Youth to the fore at Paxton musical festival

YOUNG musicians play a significant part in the 16 events taking place at Paxton House during the forthcoming Summer Music festival, opening on Thursday, July 14.
One such group is the Bronte String Quartet who are making a return visit following their sell-out performances at last year's festival. Since winning several prizes in 2003, the group's busy schedule has included appearances at the Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Chelsea and Brighton festivals.The Bronte will be in residence on the first weekend of the Paxton festival, July 15 to 17, for three evening concerts of quartets and quintets, including the Schumann piano quintet and the less well-known Dvor‡k string sextet.On that Saturday evening, the 16th, the Bronte will share the platform with the young Scottish soprano, Catriona Holt, as soloist in Berg's ravishingly beautiful '7 Early Songs' and several by the master of song, Hugo Wolf. Catriona, a graduate of the Royal College of Music and the RSAMD, made her Edinburgh Festival debut last year in Weber's 'Der Freischutz', and will be touring England, France and Switzerland later this year as Papagena in Mozart's 'The Magic Flute'.Summer Music's annual Young Musicians Platform takes place on Tuesday evening, July 19. The concert has a distinctly international flavour, beginning in Spain with music by AlbŽniz transcribed for guitar, jetting off to Brazil for a piece by Radames Gnatalli for the unusual combination of cello and guitar, then returning to Europe for piano music by Debussy and Rachmaninov to be performed by Romanian, Ancute Nite. The evening ends in Russia with the deeply moving Eighth String Quartet of Shostakovich, written in memory of victims of Fascism and war.Stunning young violinist Jack Liebeck makes his first appearance for Summer Music on the festival's second weekend, July 22-24, in trios by Mozart and Schumann, four short pieces by Webern, and the festival's vibrant concluding string sextet, 'Souvenir de Florence' by Tchaikovsky. Jack's first public appearance was for BBC TV, aged 10, when he played the role of the young Mozart. From the age of 11 he has performed in concertos and recitals throughout the world, and he also appears as soloist on a Warner Classics CD of Oscar Wilde 'Fairy Tales' narrated by Stephen Fry and Vanessa Redgrave. On Monday July 18, masterclasses for piano and strings, led by three of the festival's distinguished performers and teachers, will include young players, as well as those of more mature years. These run from 10am to 4pm, and are free both for participants and audiences.Tickets and information from Paxton House (01289) 386291, www.fenyo-musicmakers.co.uk
07 July 2005

Huttonian will as usual be offering accomodation to some of the musicians -the Bronte Quartet for the first weekend-the 'in residence 'refers to the Old Manse- and an Austrian trio plus Jack Liebeck for the second. There are still seats available for some concerts but it is all filling up very fast. Hurry
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Huttonian is so relieved to have kept to the original plan of returning from Lunnon yesterday rather than the 11am today as I had toyed with, in the interests of more love in with the elder grand daughter. If I had I would still be there now and would have reached Kings Cross just as it was closing and with no buses running it would have been a long walk back to the salubrity of Palmers Green. Some one I was talking to instinctively blamed the French but felt rather ashamed of such a suspicion immediately he had said it but poor old Lunnon has gone from euphoria to shock and dismay at one fell stroke.

Anyhow the family members who work in theBig Smoke are all ok-mainly thamks to having to get to work earlier than normal. Long walks back tonight unless the main line stations reopen and the buses start running.
My opinion of Morrison's has shot up this morning with the incident of the Norn Iron £20 note. It is difficult enough south of this border to get anyone to take Scottish money seriously especially in the deep south like Lunnon. The wife and I had a real battle trying to get a WAGN ticket collector accept Thistle money for settling an underpaid travel card. We very nearly missed Palmers Green as he thumbed through his 'How to really Piss Off Passengers' handbook and even had to phone 'someone further up the line' to get a decision which went in our favour by 54 votes to 50, or something. But I would never dreamed of trying to pass Norn Iron money outside the Province-it was just assumed to be from the Republic despite the use of Euros down there and despite the notes firmly state that they are Sterling. Anyhow I found my self penniless apart from my Twenty Pound -made -in-- Norn- Iron -and- not -yet- stolen by -the IRA- specie. I very tentatively offered it to the check out lady at the baskets only, cash only check out-causing a gasp from the caravanner behind me with his four baskets and his partner carrying two more. He recognised a major confrontation when he saw one. But no. The Check out operative (as they are correctly designated) smiled, noted Sterling with interest and gave me back 37p in real money. She commented that she would never hand over Norn Iron currency in change, because of 'anticipated customer feedback' but Sir Morrison had no problem with such notes. 'After All, Money is Money' is the Chain's motto for the week.

The elder grand daughter has received the news of the London Olympics 2012 with delight but is pondering how it will effect her sporting ambitions.

Her strong suit is eventing-cross carpet and dressage. But as she will only be 8 plus in 2012 she will be advised to enter for the Children's Olympiad in the Millenium Dome. Her record in this years Baby Olympics was impressive. See below

Her trainer is anxious to start her body building with a balanced diet (ie not to near the edge of the table) and good table manners which are an important part of Baby Dressage. Marks are deducted for dribble, spotted jerseys and unbalancing the diet-in this shot taken at the recent Under Two Olympics she is seen in the Gold Medal position.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Lunnon is colder than Hutton. I was sorry not to bring a fleece or two. It will be good to return to balmy climes today if I can find room on GNER carrying the million protestors demanded by St Bob. The train down was not packed with refugees from Embra as I had expected and was 15 minutes early as it often is going down the map. It was such a pleasant journey that I willingly bought a Big Issue from the muhajjabed lady outside Safeways in Palmers Green. Safeways it still calls itself -Sir Morrison seems in no hurry to relogo his Lunnon empire. At £1.40 the BI is about £1.20 too expensive so I hope that Fatima gets a good cut. So off to brave WAGN and the Victoria Line. More later If I am spared.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Waiting for Mr Fife's taxi to convey Huttonian to Berwick station-the car park is full from early Monday am with weekly commuters to Edinburgh and any empty spaces taken up by Anarchist's and anti Capitalist Coalition's Jags and Diamlers discreetly kept away from Embra whilst the owners and chauffeurs attack the symbols of theInternational Financial and Multinational global conspiracy further north. (Scottish Widows are hoping for fresh blood if things get even nastier) . Lunnon should be peaceful and I hope the more aggressive Big Issue salesmen have headed for Auchterarder in search of easier markets. In the meanwhile Ht2 (Media and Culture division) have produced a draft of their new potential Hit: 'Do they know its a G8 Summit' They hope that Michael Jackson, somewhere in hiding -possibly in Fishwick, may be prepared to make his come back via this certain chart topper.
Mr Deakin, he of the sharp suit and cheery smile promised us a lot of rain today-my golfing partner and I thought we were smart starting at 7-20 am and indeed we pleased to note a few drops falling as we left the 18th Green. But that was it for Duns, normally getting all the damp that is going. BBC Teletext promised 30% chance of rain in Berwickshire and 20% in Nothumberland-I lunched in foreign parts and drove through 30% of Berwickshire and 20% of Northumberland and all was dry as an Islamic Gin glass. The retired hand of Mr Fish appears to be falling on nice Mr Deakin's well clad shoulder. Watch it, is our advice. Keep him in retirement and if he phones up with news from his seaweed forecasting system, put him on hold and go out to Lunch.

Tomorrow to the real Big Smoke, Tubes, buses and Big Issues. I will be going down against the G8 flow but returning on Wednesday may be problematic with Anarchical reinforcements heading north for Embra and Auchterarder, the settlement nearest Gleneagles. My suggestion that only those who could could pronounce Auchterarder after two lagers should be allowed to demonstrate there has again fallen on deaf ears- Fife'sFinest lacking the wit of their East Lothian neighbours. And in the meanwhile it seems that the anarchist march in Embra is becoming violent; pity it was not sited in these parts as suggested by HT2; the lads with the pitchforks would have stopped any nonsense.
Monday, July 04, 2005
An Embra bloggee was commissioned by the Hutton Think Tank (Media and Sausage rolls section) to take some shots of the March/demonstration/ Protest in Ould Reekie on Saturday.
So go to:

I hope he is keeping his head down today as the Anarchists are on the March
Sunday, July 03, 2005
What has happened to Sheriff Kevin of Duns asks a bloggee? Sorry Anxious of Ayton, the Berwickshire is so stuffed with pageant princesses from Burnmouth and Eyemouth that the proceedings of the Duns Sheriff's Court have either been held over or dumped. The main story this week is not the Merse connection with the G8 but the upgrading of the Duns fire station. This could be good news for Hutton; two years ago our neighbour had a chimney fire and dialed 999. IN about 20 minutes two fire engines turned up with Berwick (England) just pipping Duns (Scotland) to the conflagration in Kirk Lane. There was then a brief turf war but as the Berwick Engine was already up the narrow lane and with the fire crew chanting (soundlessly) 'They shall not pass' Duns withdrew in high dudgeon-it had been a boring day up to that point, had held their water all day and were desperate for a good tinkling. But not their day. By the time that the Boys from Berwick had abandoned blocking tactics and reached the fire it was long out-Huttonian takes some of the credit for this by stuffing the chimney with wet coal sacks-so it was hot teas all round and back to England. With a new upgraded Fire station equipped with the latest technology, helmets GPS enabled and self propelling black boots etc any future blaze in Hutton can be dealt with by a proper Scottish appliance and not an interloper from across the Border.
PS to the above-I forgot to mention that the Make Edinburgh History March went well yesterday-200,000 or so taking part. The only trouble apparently was from a group of anarchists who were looking for trouble. Embra's finest cut them out from the main body of peaceful demonstrators and surrounded them with a ring of blue serge until they had cooled off and the march had moved away. The BBC Scottish correspondent refererred to the would be trouble makers as 'a bunch of Europeans' Thats about as dimissive as you can get.
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Up with the sparrows again and into Morrison's to beat the hangovered caravanners to the newspapers-not that many of them go for the Gerdian but my neighbours Daily Mail (Not Scottish Edition) is endangered by 11am. I also went early to get in front of the last of the demonstrators (or Protesters as the BBC insists with some relish) on their way north to 'Make Edinburgh History' or whatever which kicks off-if that is an appropriate description for a hopefully peaceful gathering- at noon. I joined the A1 at 8-15-the road was empty in both directions, not unusual for these parts so I got to Morrison's unhastled. While I was selecting the papers (and recycling 5 plastic bags of previous ones-the long arm of the wife is on me even from Foreign Parts) 4 buses turned up for a comfort stop, and the occupants also stocked up on essentials-orange juice (these were the middle class matron set) the Guardian (sold out 2 minutes after I got mine) sun cream (yes for Embra!) wholesome baguettes and band aids for the inevitable blisters; one bus load of youff headed straight for the drinks section to lager up. And as I headed south on the A1 ten more buses were coming in the opposite direction-I hoped, wistfully, that one coach might be conveying a few right minded anarchists who having liberated the Morrison drinks section would burn down Mac Donalds on their way out but I expect they are keeping their powder dry, quite literally (and petrol wet) for Monday's march.

Happy days.

PS Spell checker suggests 'moroseness' for 'Morrisons' Good description of the check out lady's mood on the newspaper section-but with so much pressure on Grudian sales who is to blame her
Friday, July 01, 2005
To say that excitement is mounting in Hutton over the Jim Clark 'Reivers (ugh)' Rally may be an overstatement but the Rally organisers are doing their bit to raise the temperature. Every householder has received two pieces of paper-a map of the area with the rally routes marked and a sheet of paper with all the timings for each stage of the event from 8 to 10 July. Villagers are earnestly reminded that it is 'required' for all 'parked cars and other articles' to be removed from the carriageway so even the special Rally ready Zimmer frames will be kept indoors for the 4 hours that Hutton will be sealed off from the outside world and the competitors roar through twice on Whiteadder One and Whiteadder Two. A stage of 4.81 miles which will presumably take them less than 5 minutes to complete assuming 60 MPH around Hutton Bridge corner and across the Blue Stane Ford and 120 mph through the village itself thus comfortable beating the existing record held by the No 32 Bus travelling too fast to notice that for the first time for weeks there was a would be passenger waiting in the bus shelter. Villagers are advised to keep pets indoors and I will do my best to restrain Cocky from limping up Kirk Lane in search of the buzz. It is also an offence, 'even as a pedestrian' to use the' closed section of the carrageway' so any one wanting to cross the village street between 12-30 and 4.30 for a chat with a neighbour is looking at life if he/she has a previous conviction for jay walking or attempted suicide. Otherwise the fuzz may be content with slapping on an immediate ASBO.

Full report will follow plus blurred photos. If I am spared, of course.

Cocky the pheasant has been very visible even with his fading plumage but his partner Ollie, mother of several, is more elusive-here is a rare photo of the hen taken late in the evening foraging. Presumably Cocky is standing guard over the chicks but he is an idle old sod and may well have gone off to his roost.
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