Musings from the Merse
Friday, September 30, 2005
Perhaps some one somewhere has been reading Huttonian's comments on the poor state of cricket in this part of the world-if so the letter published in the Berwickshire yesterday is most encouraging Hutton Think Tank has been asked to produce a study on 'Hutton's role in retaining the Ashes' (at stake again next Winter in Oz) So far the report is a very short one and the analysts in the Sports and Media section (Media as Cricket success is mostly spin) will welcome this grist to their mill. Certainly Hutton and Paxton CC will be privileged to challenge the next international touring side to a game of Kwik Kricket on the Paxton Village Green. We are currently X players short of an XI but active recruitment is in hand. If the Borders can beat Middlesex then a team of Huttonians/Paxtonians should surely see off the overage and underpreforming Aussies. Nae Bother, in two words

SIR, - In the light of a recent comment on cricket in Scotland, we should like to remind readers of the healthy state of the game in the Borders at both senior and junior levels.The South of Scotland Cricket Association has 12 member clubs.Within it the Border League first teams take part in a league and two knock-out tournaments.In addition the reserve teams play on Sundays and there are weekly practices in the nets.The attractive grounds and the pitches are for the most part maintained by voluntary and enthusiastic effort.At the junior level, the South fields Under-16, Under-14 and Under-12 aged teams in inter-district competitions. In the winter, the young are offered coaching in the nets at Hawick High School, in addition to the practices organised by the local clubs in the course of the summer.Cricket Scotland have a Borders Development Officer, who takes the game to the primary schools in the form of a Kwik Cricket, under the auspices of the local government Sports Development Unit in Galashiels, which also provides courses in the summer holidays. Nor are the girls neglected.This year has been a particularly successful one and a Select Border XI defeated an English touring club from Middlesex.The standard of our play is high with St Boswells and Kelso vying for top place.Penicuik is now firmly established in the National League, and we hope that one of our leading teams may join them.Our cricket is a hands-on game, bat, ball and mowing machine, and flourishing.(name witheld to frustrate lionisation Blog-ed))

This is Dynamic Earth. Not cheap at £8 plus for a non concessioned adult. Mr P found the earthquakes, volcanos and sabre toothed sharks a bit scary but Ms KB thoroughly enjoyed herself. Next time we will not bother with the museum and spend our time in the play area which is full of exciting stuff for the under 5s. And free
Thursday, September 29, 2005
GNER did its stuff this morning being only 4 minutes late-therefore not 'late running' in the jargon and no need for apologies or excuses, or both. So Huttonian can make his leisurely way through the mendicants, the last Piper of Summer, the sandwich board men advertising 'Golf Sale' as they have done since Arnold Palmer was a lad, the first autumnal tweeds on long and skinny shanked Embra ladies with their newly permed hair wilting in the dry cold wind, to the dentistry in Rose Street where painless repairs will be effected in exchange for a considerable portion of Huttonian's index linked pension. Then to the My Dynamic Earth science museum to join the grand children seeking amusement further and further from the Merse having seemingly outstayed their Scotland's Favourite Short Break attractions.

A need to relieve a cold contracted body part nearly ended in a huge queue at the Station's comfort area. An elderly sports jacketed gentleman with an old Etonian tie was refusing to pass through the pre-urinate barrier on the grounds that 20p was too expensive and he only had a £coin anyhow. 'In my day' he claimed 'a pee was one penny-One D and you now want 40 times that in new money' (He surely must have held his water 40 years or so if he paid only one penny last time he went was my immediate reaction, increasing discomfort was the secondary) Anyhow he carried on for some time in this vein as the growing queue crossed their collective legs. Now more of those limbs than the Millipedus Vulgus of Paxton fame. Eventually he was led away to change his pound into smaller specie by a large bossy lady-to our immense relief, to 20p a phrase.

The Bard summed it up well but the pun is so obvious and so corny I will not dignify it on this occasion.

Mr P . A future voter or even an MSP in a few years time in the building behind him-the new Scottish Parliament.

The climbing wall at Dynamic Earth was a bit beyond Ms KB but Mr P roared up it

The mendicant Piper-the last one of the season, hopefully, was not plying a brisk trade and his large box for contributions remained ignored while Huttonian was present. The man just pasing by had his hands so jammed into his pockets that any loose change must have done damage to his tensed up fingers. The gentleman coming into the picture did not seem to notice the player despite the piercingly high decibel count.

The Piper suddenly seemed a sad figure-his optimistically large wooden case for for contributions mostly ignored. However I feel it was a bit uncalled for for some people to cross Princes Street just to avoid him. His music was not that bad. Perhaps the Coldstream Pipe Band could make him an offer to get him off the streets in Embra

Dynamic Earth was great fun for Ms KB who was delighted by the (free) play area with its moving images and flashing lights.
Watching 'Newsround' with the 4.87 yr old Grandson in an attempt to distract him from games of imagination and terror in which the 1.3 yr old junior granddaughter plays a central and potentially fatal role, I heard the presenter describe something 'as high as 9 Big Bens put on top of each other' The Gs did not find this image helpful nor did Huttonian. Disgruntled Commuter had said some about such comparisons as as 'heavy as a London Bus' or two London buses which is heavier still. Unless you have the weight of a London Bus at your finger tips (and looking at our Tame No12 Kensington to Horncliffe via Whitehall Routemaster at the Chain Bridge Honey Farm that is quite heavy) it is somewhat meaningless rule of thumb-and I suppose rules of thumb are useful to have with fingertips, said he in a philosophical mode. Anyhow I digress. Hutton Think Tank have been commissioned to produce local rule of thumb images which would mean something to local people who may not all be familiar with even one Big Ben in the flesh as it were (It can look tiny on a 12" screen analogue TV the standard goggle box of the Borders) or even with a Route Master Bus whose movement is somewhat restricted as being only able to turn left out of the Honey Farm being much too heavy to cross the Chain Bridge (so that is how heavy it is-Blog-ed)

'Twice the Height of Hutton Kirk'. (I tried 'two Hutton Churches on top of each other' to someone in the post office and was told kindly but firmly that there was only one church in the village. Good Point' Higher than Hutton Hill'. As in 'this pile of slurry is twice the height of Hutton Hill' Hutton Hill is actually not very high nor is twice it-some piles of slurry are much higher-high as 5 No 32 (single decker) Buses put on top of each other probably. Not a good image with regard to slurry-the concern is not with size but noisesomeness. 'Twice as smelly as a pile of slurry' Now we are getting somewhere. Anyhow why should I do Ht2's work for them. Any suggested images to Ht2 at their usual deadletter box please.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
I am endebted to the Belfast Bloggee for this item from BBC Norn Iron which he claims is causing more media interest than the announcement that the IRA have disposed of all their weapons.

Experts debating toilet standards

More than 350 delegates are attending the summitToilet experts have gathered in Belfast for a conference to explore issues of public lavatory standards in countries across the globe.
It is the first World Toilet Summit to be held outside the Far East.
Delegates come from such sectors as public health and educational authorities, hospitality and tourism bodies as well as toilet providers.
The Bog Standard campaign to raise the calibre of Northern Ireland's school toilets is also being launched.
It wants to "bring awareness of the health and learning benefits of better toilets for pupils", a statement said.
The campaign will also encourage schools to allow pupils to use the toilets when needed.
More than 350 delegates from the US, Europe, Australia and the Far East will get a chance to see the latest innovations in toilet technology.
The average person visits the toilet 2,500 times a year
The first toilet stall in a public washroom is the least likely to be used: it is also the cleanest.
Most toilets flush in the key of E flatThese will include a brand new pop-up urinal to be unveiled in Belfast's Shaftesbury Square.
It is concealed beneath the pavement during the day, but at night it rises hydraulically for use by late-night revellers.
Delegates will also hear presentations such as Changing Washroom Behaviour, Public Toilet Excellence - The Singapore Model and Managing Out Crime in Public Toilets.
A speaker from Indonesia will describe how a toilet relief programme was introduced following the tsunami disaster.
Those attending the Waterfront Hall conference will also be asked for their views on the Belfast Protocol, a policy document to be presented to international governments.

Stop Press: IRA have just announced that all their toilets have been put 'beyond use' -another important step in what is known as the Norn Iron piss process.

Historical Note : Research has shown that the lavatory seat was invented inIreland in 4000 BC-5000 years later an Englishman put a hole in it.

With Stan the Man engaged on his day job, LP back to University child labour has been introduced into our team taking advantage of a loophole in 'Child Labour Act. Activities ancillary to Chimney Sweeping. VR 3 1840. Amendment XI ( VII to XXIV)
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Its an hours journey through the late harvesting tractors, combines and Milk Lorries. But if you have two small relations it is worth the aggro. Harestanes is a complex not too far from Jedburgh which boasts the best playground in Scotland and a whole lot of other activities including a crumbly cafe with the world most imaginative children's menu. Craft shops and a butterfly gardenAnd its free ! Surprisingly only a few Scots around

This a small part of the play ground.

Ms KB was just about to have the ride of her life. Rather unwisely she trusts Mr P to make sure she feels safe.

Ms KB is not so sure about all this -the basket was revolving at speed

Mr P had no such worries

This was more difficult than it looked

And finally a bit of culture.
The trouble with the wife being away in the Big Smoke is that Huttonian has shopping duties for an entire nuclear family including 2 under fives. Sir Morrison's is well adapted for the younger citizen with no less than 45 varieties of Pampers which I always used to think were South American grasslands. The choice is bewildering for the older generation; In my day as a young father etc it was simple Nappies: disposable or washable. Large, Medium Small.You could get it wrong but only twice. Now you can make 44 mistakes on the trot. Sizes from 4 Kg to 6Kg, from 6kg to 11 Kg, from 8 Kg to 14 kg; 14Kg to a Routemaster Bus. . How heavy is Ms KB ? And why can't it be in good old British lbs? Blast the phone is engaged-can't askthe eldest daughter what size to get. Age of baby in months converted into pounds, divided by 2.2. ?By the time you have worked that one out she will have put on another .25KG and start again.

My task this morning was complicated by an Earnest Foreign Visitor. Possibly Japanese; certainly an anxious father. He read through the labels on every pamper in every section and always the one I wanted to look at. His English was as uncertain as my Japanese, and the blurb seemingly failed to convince him. and in the end he went off empty handed.

So did I.
Monday, September 26, 2005
The nice young man from the BBC Weather Centre with the sharp suit promised Eastern Scotland a dry start to the day. Huttonian was consequently on the first tee of the Duns Golf Course at 7.20 AM -the first moment that it was possible to see the green, 400 yards away, in the fast receding gloom. It was a start to the day. It was dry as advertised. Smart suit could breakfast with aneasy conscience ofa job well done.

The Gnarled Old Greenkeeper emerged from his lair parking the golf carts beside the tee. 'Nice day for it' he commented with the knowledge of a Dinger, born and bred and used to the vagaries of the local weather. 'Dry one' he said looking towards a rapidly advancing black cloud no smaller than a Ecuadorian Fruit Bat. 'Enjoy your round' he commanded climbing into his thickest oilskins, 'No need for your brolly the day', he added, checking the windscreen wipers of the No 1 Tractor-the one with the bullet proof glass and the well stocked cocktail cabinet.

I walked in through the pouring rain from the sixth. My umbrella lay safe and snug in the boot of my distant cartogether with the waterproof jacket and smart all wearther over trousers. As I dripped along the verdant wetlands aka 18th fairway I was overtaken by the GOG going about his business in his golfmobile, battened down to the hatches, -his eyes failed to meet mine -uneasy conscience? No, he was examining the bottom of an empty tumbler. I sloshed my way home and as I did so I heard the glug glug of a whisky bottle to send me on my way rejoicing.

A wonderful thing; local knowledge.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
The wife is off to the big smoke leaving Huttonian in partial charge of Mr P and Ms KB. No long lie ins as the youngsters start emerging from 5.45 am on-the senior daughter will need assistance in maintaining calm and control during the crucial pre breakfast period. Ms KB is easy enough-give her a small chair and a pair of shoes to unlace accompanied by a bowl of olives and she is nae bother. Mr P is more cerebral. Complicated pictures illustrating obscure elements of the Common Agricultural Policy, the EU budget or the effect of Hurricane Rita on Crude Oil Prices are fine for a bit but eventually more intellectual stimulation is necessary to keep him from becoming too dangerously physical. The images below ilustrate the success of this exercise whensupervised by his uncle. THe methodology must remain a secret until the patent has been applied for

Mr P with Middle Cousin and Honorary Uncle. Riveted by developments at the Liberal Party Conference. Human Rights versus anti-terrorist legislation.

A telling point Mr Kennedy! That will get them on their feet.!
Saturday, September 24, 2005
I think that Huttonian must be regarded on the WWW as the world's biggest mug . I wish I had 7 Euros for every communication of this sort that I have received. Had I followed up all these opportunities I might by now be the the sole benificiary of several Oil Sheikhs all killed in mysterious circumstances leaving no issue, the late General Gowon's entire family fortune, the Dead Sea Scrolls and even according to a very plausible lawyer £800,000 as a personal bequest from Sir Denis Thatcher on whom I apparently, in unexplained circumstances, made quite an impression. I have declined these offers in various degrees of courtesy but still they come flooding in. Mind you any offer to buy the Millenium Dome at a knock down price (quite literaly) I just might take up as Hutton Think Tank has exciting plans for it.

Dear Friend, I am (name witheld to protect the guilty?) the credit officer of ANZ BANK in Seoul,South Korea.I have an urgent and very confidential businessproposition for you. On June 7, 2000, a British Oil consultant/ contractor with the Philippines Solid Minerals Corporation, Mr. Effat Mansour made a numbered time (Fixed) Deposit for twelve calendar months, valued atUS$21,000,000.00(Twenty One Million Dollars only) in my branch. Upon maturity,I sent a routine notification to his forwarding address but got no reply. After a month, we sent a reminder and finally we discovered from his contract employers,the South Korea Solid Minerals. Corporation that Mr. Effat Mansour died along with his wife Mrs. Virginia Mansour from a plane crash-Egypt Air Flight 990 which crashed into the Atlantic ocean on October 31, 1999.On further investigation, I found out that he died without making a WILL,and all attempts to trace his next of kin was fruitless. The names of the whole crew and passangers on board were publish on thebelow internet link. Browse to see for yourself. http://www.greatdreams.com/plane990.htmI therefore made further investigation and discovered that Mr. Effat Mansour did not declare any next of kin or relations in all his official documents,including his Bank Deposit paperwork in my Bank. This sum of US$21,000,000.00 is still sitting in my Bank and the interest is being rolled over with the principal sum at the end of each year.No one will ever come forward to claim it. According to Laws ofthe South Korea , at the expiration of 6 (six)years, the money will revert to the ownership of the South Korea Government if nobody applies to claim the funds. Consequently, my proposal is that I will like you as a foreigner to assist me in recieving this money as I have every machinery set to enable you recieve this money via a Finance firm based overseas. I need your urgent assistance so that the fruits of this old man's labour will not get into the hands of some corrupt government officials waiting for the expiration of 6years. This is simple, I will require you to send me your complete names,contact address and telephone and fax numbers so that I will beable to apply for the necessary documents to enable you recieve the money via the Finance firm overseas in your name. After recieveing the money, we will share in the ratio of 75% for me and 25% for you. Note that the project will be 100%risk free. Considering my position as the credit officer of the bank, Iguarantees the successful execution of this transaction.I have the facilities to obtain relevant documents to enable me lift the money from the bank overseas. If you are interested, please reply immediately. Upon your response, I will then provide you with more details and relevant documents that will help you understand the transaction. I will also let you have the contact details of the Finance Firm and the country it is located in Overseas. Please send me your confidential telephone and fax numbers for fast communication. You should observe utmost confidentiality, and rest assured that this transaction would be most profitable for both of us because I shall require your assistance to invest my share in your country. Awaiting your urgent reply. Thanks and regards.DR. ********(same name)

Any bloggee wishing to step into my shoes-please feel free

Yes its Concord. In the Museum of Flight near North Berwick. Another good day out from the Merse for a 4.85 year boy and 1.4 Girl, plus minders If you are not into flying skip the next 12 images

A similar Photo exists of Mr P's mum leaving a prototype Concord in Kuwait in 1975 when it was undertaking hot weather trials not possible in North Brrwick.

Mr P and co inspect a Vulcan Bomber which was interned by the Brazilians during the Fallkands war

Old bi-plane. Mr P not really interested

Spitfire. Mr P not impressed as well. Too ancient for his taste but enjoyed the machine guns

Armaments for a Hawker Hunter. Those two inch rockets once saved Huttonian's life but that is another story

Luftwaffe Rocket Plane. Roared up and glided down with its minute propellor. Missed Allied bombers on its way up nnd shot down by their escorts on the way down. Not a roaring success.

Inspection team looking at a RAF fighter.Venom?

Electric Car-20 mile range and 35mph top speed. Never really caught on apparently. The prototype of the Golf Buggies?

Mr P pacifying a bomb with a 50p piece.

Ms KB was more at home in the play areas with her minderAnd, if the truth be known, so was Mr P

In the end Ms KB terminally bored by boy things made a break for it.
Friday, September 23, 2005

There is a time when a girl needs to be listening to the sounds in her head blocking out those noisy adults; and this one of them

The senior son in law has commented 'My big dilemma is should we pierce her tongue or her nipples for Christmas?'
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Huttonian has undertaken not to rant about the privileged business of the Community Council, so he won't, but I think it is in the public interest(and in the public domain) to refer to some of the 'category 4' incidents in the area mentioned by the Police Officer from Duns who briefed the gathering last night. 'A suspicious woman' caused some interest as did a 'man acting suspiciously'-it was not mentioned whether they were a suspicious item or separate category 4 events. However the startling item was 'gunfire in Hutton' Surely at least category 3? This was 'nighttime' apparently and I was not at all clear whether this was merely one of those automatic crow scarers whose timeswitch was on the blink or something more sinister. I have subsequently heard that the police were acting on information received from a resident of down town Hutton who heard what was thought to be shot guns at about 11pm at night.

Coincidentally Fishwick Special Branch has had reports of terrorist training camps in the depths of the Whiteadder Valley concealed by clumps of Giant Hogweed. Now that landowners have been subsidised to eradicate all this cover the local Qaida operatives have been on the move. FSB are not altogether convinced of the accuracy of their information which apparently came from a self styled Radical Islamic ex-terrorist found sleeping rough in Lovers Loaming (formerly a notorious spot for footpads and highwaypersons.). He parted with this information in exchange for the price of a 'cup of tea' but the vehemence with which he had apparently embraced Islam was somewhat undermined by the number of empty Cider bottles found in his 'camp' . Investigations continue and the risk of further outbursts of gun fire should not be ruled out.

You don't need to flog down the A1 to Alnwick to amuse the children. Paxton House's adventure playground will do as well even if aimed at a slightly higher age group than 1.5 and 4.85. Miss KB was worried by the notice at the top of the path-was it thought suitable for push chairs she seemed to be thinking.

Three more images from the adventure playground. Mr P found the huge slide more fun to walk up than come down and Ms KB insisted on trying out all the equipment including the Flying Fox with the assistance of her helper.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
When GNER is on the blink it is really bad. Today I really needed it to be on time for a second excursion to Rose Street Dentistry Inc and had unwisely hooked my wagon, as it were, to the 9.28 for an 11 am appointment. In the space of sixty minutes this express from Leeds went from on time, to late running, to going backwards, to stopped. No explanation on the website but you can imagine the excuses on the train and all the inconvenience it may cause regretted ad infinitum. And that was the end of the Rose Street experience as the next GNER was too late (timetable wise never mind real life) to be any good and Undeflowered aka Virgin has gone off Berwick going North remaining prepared to let you off southwards but you have got to get to Edinburgh first. Not a good morning and no prospect of an appointment until latish November by which time Huttonian may well have reached the Seventh Age of Man-sans teeth, sans everything as the Bard had it. I really sympathise with Disgruntled Commuter but much of that rant (see link) is about trains actually going-on GNER you sometimes have to do this in abstract and in a vacuum-a virtual unreality as it were.

To console myself I will erect my O Gauge Hornby Wind up rail track in its GNR livery. This will please Mr P and we can both act out our fantasies. ' Here is a customer announcement. The train has wound down and we can't find the key. Any inconvenience like missing a dentist appointment and having to wait in increasing agony until 2011 for another is regretted. Otherwise have a fantatistic day. Oh Yes the Buffet car has now closed as the team have jumped ship. Any etc etc-join up the dots yourselves'
If you follow the link below you (and click on 'image alon' at the top) you will find an old image about a peculiar notice at Paxton House (sorry 'streamer I need to refer to our nearest Stately Home now and again-please forgive me) This notice is still in situ and I really must comment again for the umpteenth time that it is some what diffident if not actually misleading. Why can't wheel chair users be categorically warned that the path is not repeat not suitable for wheel chairs. Steep gradient yes but the problem is not so much the slope-I've seen worse on Slieve Donard in Norn Iron -but the several flights of slippery steps on that path which separates Paxton House croquet lawn from the river Tweed. Chair bound people will need to accept for the moment that the river bank is off limits to them. And given the importance of disabled access it is thought that some thing should be done to give disabled people a suitable track down the hill to view the river. High Heidians at Paxton House Trust take note please.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Alnwick Castle is a child's dream come true with waterfalls, mazes, interactive fountains, toy tractors and a reall tree house. This is the lowest and most spectacular of an avenue of fountains. The castle is featured in Harry Potter as Hogwarts School but Mr P has not got into HP yet; fortunatelyhuttonian

Looking down the terrace of fountains. Only the lowest lot are functioning at that moment.

Mr P photographed through a sheet of water at an 'interactive'fountain-

Miss KB and her mum also through the fountaonbut the water has a distorting effect in this image/

A magic fountain-

Mr P servicing his tractor

Miss KB as a digger driver

The treehouse-restaurant and a very challenging wobbly tree walkway

On a walkway. MrP's mentor was terrified
Monday, September 19, 2005
A lightning visit to Ould Reekie-success of mission depended on the up and down GNERs being on time with an hour in Edburgh . It nearly did not work with the wrong type of train going South at Dunbar Station blocking the progress North by occupying the platform-'The Train now standing on Platform Two will shortly be replaced on the rails' However the delay was the minimum possible on GNER without it being described as 'late running' followed by a fullsome apology for 'any inconvenience caused' and a glib explanation of why. This is ten minutes. Too short to warrant an apology and not enough to get a partial refund. Anyhow I needed the time to tie up my arrangements for another year of lecturing at the Uni. Which I duly did with the realisation that my boss this year is one of my students from only 5 years ago. I am not sure if this gives me the high ground academically speaking or the lowlands of increasing decrepitude as the hares race pass the tortoises with no Aesop in sight to provide a happy ending and a moral victory for the dodderer.

On return I had a chance to glance at an ad for the current Berwick Film Festival of experimental and cult movies. I believe the Hutton Think Tank's Media Section entry 'Rain Spotting' is fancied to carry of a prize or two in the Vividly Experimental(Very Short) Section. It runs for 90 seconds thanks to some brilliant work in the cutting room. Guest appearance by Michael Fish MBE. 'Riveting' (Berwickshire News)-' Blink and you will miss it' (Advertiser) are two of the more effusive reviews
Sunday, September 18, 2005
'Delight at dog fouling court case' screams a headline (on page 5) of last Thursdays Berwickshire. This refers to a conviction a Peebles Sheriff's court of a dog owner for permitting his dog to 'foul' and not clearing up . The delight was expressed by a Borders Council technical services and its spokesman added ' This reinforces the message that dog fouling is disgusting and totally unacceptable' In this case the man concerned was fined £100 rather than the fixed penalty of £40.

This is the first conviction for this offence in a Borders court and it should send a 'message' as they say to those other dog owners, represented in Hutton and Paxton I fear who seem unwilling or unable to control their canine's 'doings' Especially worying when young grand children are around as they are particularily at risk of infection. Some dog owners in these parts are very responsible in their handling of their pets trailing around with a scooper and plastic bags, others, not so. A bloggee has suggested that persisent offenders shouild be 'named and shamed' in this rant. More effective (and less aggro for Huttonian) would be for those citizens who feel strongly to have a word with irresponsible dog owners and only as a last resort report them to the authorities. (Borders Excremental Services?).The People's Poop Police or other local vigilantes may eventually be needed -perhaps as an offshot of the Neighbourhood Watch. But it needn't come to that.

We worry if Ms KB is missing her mother in Paris. But if she is it is well concealed. And she is a useful kitchen assistant.

KB has found the Nuclear Shelter designed by the Hutton Think Tank and has taken a pet bear for company

I am not sure if the RSPB would approve of Ms KB paying too much attention to the birds on the patio but if she succeeds in scaring off Killer Cat that's ok.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
'What's this about a Hutton Paxton railway?' a bloggee writes. 'I have lived here man and boy and man and wife for many years and heard nothing about such a thing. Hardly viable given that no one in Paxton wants or needs to visit Hutton and all the traffic would be one way'

A (Paxton?) point of view perhaps. But the scheme is under intensive study by the Hutton Think Tank. One analyst has suggested a branch line to the peri-urban area of Fishwick and across the river to the Chain Bridge Honey Farm with a halt at the Maize Maze. Funding for a new bridge may be a problem but if a link could be established with the Waverley Line to the West and to Berwick in the East the whole Borders Region would be opened up to slow moving but long stay tourists-the speed of the train would automatically dictate the length of their visit. on present thinking the engine will be an environmental friendly electric device with the batteries recharged every other station whilst the passengers view local attractions and visit the pub. Chip fat is another possibility but this might mean having a chain of McDonald's along the line with all the opportunity that affords for anti-capitalist demonstrations and appalling litter.

A consultative Pink Paper will shortly (2009) be issued and a great debate can begin.
Friday, September 16, 2005
Our local Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) writes a weekly column for the Berwickshire with the rather off putting title of 'Mound of Information' In this week's he reports on a visit to Hutton and Paxton (in that correct order) for a 'surgery' with his Westminster colleague the new Lib Dem MP for these parts. I don't know who he saw in Hutton but I did note two villagers awaiting his arrival at the old Village Hall sitting, mirabile dictu*, on the wild cherry wood bench outside the Kirk with its unrivalled view of the back of the war memorial some 5 yards away. Our MSP reports that he heard concerns about speeding -that must be the one car that goes through the village ignoring the 30MPH limit every day (not that Huttonian has ever seen it) and about damage done to the old gravestones (the monuments as Mr P calls them) which careless grass trimmers chip with their implements-never mind setting a grave on fire as Huttonian had to report to the High Heidians in St Boswells not too long ago. Apart from the Laird's family plot the old graveyard has been closed for yonks and the 'new' one down the road has been doing a roaring trade since before the First World War if the evidence of the inscriptions is to be believed. The graves are in a mess in the old place to the despair of visiting geneologists tracing their family roots. But the roots flourish.

In Paxton the parliamentarians were 'quieter with concerns' (no voices raised in anger?) including investment in railways. Which railways? The re -opening of Reston Station on the East Coast Line? Or the proposed Waverley Line linking the Borders heartland with Edinburgh but not too convenient for the Merse. Hutton Think Tank has unearthed (quite literally as it had been buried to protect it from German Paratroopers) an old file on the 'Hutton to Paxton Railway' Scotland's initial response to the famous Stockton to Darlington line in England. The file is mostly unreadable and there is no clue as to why this great exciting project came to naught. Lack of imagination and commitment by the Victorians I suspect. Perhaps who so ever spoke to Mr R and Mr M referred to the need for investment in this project although of course it would make a dent in the profits currently earned by the No 32 Bus. Ht2 are now being asked to commission a feasibility study due out at the end of the decade. Watch this space if enough of us are spared*

You can't baffle me with obscure Lation jargon Blog-ed

PS Spell checker suggests 'Rectum' for 'Reston'
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Anxious mothers are one thing but anxious grandparents are in a different and higher league of anxiety. Huttonian and the wife have been left in sole charge of the youngest (oz) granddaughter while the senior daughter and eldest grandchild are in Paris recce-ing schools and accommodation suitable for a two year life amongst mes amis les Frogs. It is strange how long cherished parenting skills now seem so difficult after the first generation have spread their wings and flown south. The yg is not a difficult child, sleeps well and eats like the proverbial quadraped but somehow the responsiblity for looking after this tiny person weighs heavily on our shoulders. Last night the elderly folk were sleep derived as four ears in varying degrees of decreptitude strained to interpret the noises coming through the baby monitor. Muffled sobs? or suppressed chuckles? Heavy breathing pressaging a tantrum or two. Worst of all silence. Had the monitor gone on the blink-better get up and take a peep around the door. All is well-she has moved since we last looked all of ten minutes ago. Back to bed-silence-ah a noise. Is she awake? Should we react to the sobs; no give it a few minutes; silence. Pad down the corridor. She moves. Lie awake wondering if she will disturb us. Will we hear her if she really cries. Perhaps there will be a power cut and we are asleep and the monitor is cut off? And so the long night wore on. Huttonian eventually took refuge in Mr P's vacant bedroom out of earshot and the wife will to night camp out in the yg's bedroom out of sight but within easy distance of unimpeded rescue.

By day it is easier but still fraught. The constant risk that a sudden fall as she practices her standing, her cruising from chair to chair may give her a fright and make her realise that her mum is not around as she looks for comfort. Watch her like the equally proverbial hawk. Time her sleeps so as she does not get over tired and over anxious. Hard work, worrying work but the reward is her bubbling presence and her uncritical love.* Anxiety 5 Joy 6 (after extra time)

* Enough elderly sentimental babbling Blog-ed

Actually she is so biddable that looking after her is a real pleasure.

And she can be useful clearing out the old sand pit and occasionally eating the contents.
I fear I was wrong about the mendicant of Princes Street. He is indeed back from his summer hols and was in his usual situ when I returned, wallet lighter, from Rose Street. His wee dog, back in its camouflage jcket (Holiday in the Basra sun?) was with him but they both looked cold and miserable on the first day of Autumn, usually a very short season in Ould Reekie. A few yards down the pavement a new colleague also with a wee dog had taken up a pitch. Unlike our old friend the newcomer was sheltering behind a notice which said' Not an alchoholic. Just down on my luck' Neither were doing a brisk trade; September tourists seem less generous than the August festival visitors but it may have been too cold to take hands out of pockets.

A 'streamer' bloggee has warned me not to slag off Pipers. With all due apologies I have to say that a post season Piper free Princes Street is a joy. I enjoy good piping but I must say that I prefer the keen of the Irish Pipes to the strident war like clarion of the Scottish variety. 'The great Gaels of Ireland, the race that God made mad. All their wars are merry and all there songs are sad' GK Chesterton got that right and that charecteristic is reflected in the Irish Pipe's mournful message. But the Pipers that infest PS in the summer are not of the highest quality and are there to extract much money as possible from intimidated tourists who fear to pass them by without crossing the outspread bonnet with silver. I suggest they be rounded up by the city fathers and sent in chains to Coldstream for compulsory training by the Coldstream Pipe band before being allowed to busk again in the Scottish capital.
PS to above

The 'streamer bloggee has commented 'Hi Huttonian
r.e. pipers on PS; I agree.' Lord Provost
of Edinburgh please note.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Up in Ould Reekie for a rare visit to spend hard earned specie in a Rose Street dentistry. Post Festival the city has a very fin de saison feel. The Chinese have gone as have the street entertainers and genuine Edinburghers have reclaimed the streets. The No 1 Mendicant of Princes Street has however not returned from celebrating the end of his historical poverty earnings and is rumoured to be in Sydney to watch the devasted Aussies come slinking home. I know it is hard for the okker Dingo to accept defeat gracefully but to use such tactics as to imply that members of the
victorious English squad are not genuine Englishmen is a bit rich coming from a nation which glories in its multi national polyglot heritage (as long as it is whiteish and has a criminal record in many instances) and includes players whose origin is 12,000 miles plus from Sydney or the MCG. OK we have a Welshman or two and an exiled South African with strange hair but so what? It is the cricket that does the talking and a bit of humble pie now and then will not come amiss even if eaten with clenched teeth*

Anyhow it is enough to be in the smoke on a cold brisk day. Autumn is a coming in ' lewdly sing oo cuck' etc. Not my favourite season and the firece winds of last night which brought down a branch into our garden presages another season of global warming with all the cold, snow and storms that entails in our polluted world. Roll on the Spring

* Watch the metaphors. Blog-ed
Fuel protests have not been too apparent in the Hutton area although all 5 cars in the village may have been involved in panic buying according to Fishwick Special Branch. Special Branch also report that a protest by an unnamed tractor driver aiming to disrupt motorists on the Hutton Paxton upper road failed because (a) no motorists over a 5 hour period and (b) abandonment of mission when he ran out of fuel.

Huttonian pleads guilty to a burst of panic buying in Duns when he filled up his plastic gallon container for the lawn mower. One has to face up to all possibilties, hasn't one? The forecourt of the Petrol Station was otherwise deserted at the time.
Huttonian has received the following plea via electronic mail. Can any bloggee help? I suspect that Mrs Law will be in the new graveyard outside the village. If this is so Huttonian will send her granddaughter a photo.

Good Morning, Sir.
please could you help me trace my family they lived in hutton until fairly recently. my gran passed away recently and I believe is buried in the grave yard there, unfortunatly I dont know her first name but her second name was Law she had a son called james or jim this is my farther who i have not seen for 23 years. any info regarding this name of the law name in general would be very much apriceated, we are planning to come up and stay in the lodge at hutton to try and find out some more but only if we find some evidence of my family still living in the area

kirsty law

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

This is a working mill at Heatherslaw, North Northumberland. A child's delight and you can buy the flour. And have a good meal, go on a steam railway and work a minature one. (No Huttonian has no shares in the company but if you have two small ones to entertain painlessly this is the place)

Mr P grinding away. It is 'child friendly' to coin a phrase
Happenings in A small Scottish Community


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