Musings from the Merse
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
  murlough gorse bluebells and Donard

murlough gorse bluebells and Donard
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Bluebells, Gorse and the Mountains of Mourne. What more do you need to lift your spirits on this last day of May. Just the knowledge that between the gorse and the mountains lies magnificent golfing country and a few nice tea shops.
  Murlough The dunes

Murlough The dunes
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
This is Murlough Nature reserve owned by the Norn Iron National Trust. It represents (claims the blurb) 12% of all similar undeveloped environment in the UK. The rest is probably now turned intyo Golf courses.
  Jelly Fish Dundrum Bay

Jelly Fish Dundrum Bay
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Few people on the beach but masses of jelly fish stranded at the high water mark. This is Fred. 'When I am old I will wear Purple'? Not old just all washed up.
  Murlough: Whose Bike

Murlough: Whose Bike
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
A smart little bike. A Raleigh on hire from the Newcastle bike shop. In pristine condition. But no owner in sight. The nearest(sole) family was 1000 metres to the north. No little foot prints by the bike but tyre marks leading to the dunes behind. Marie Celeste on two wheels (and trainers) Ideas to the Hutton Think Tank, Modern Myths section on a nice PPC, please
  Murlough Crowded Beach?

Murlough Crowded Beach?
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Is this the emptiest beach in the British Isles-5 miles from Newcastle to inner Dundrum Bay and nobody visible looking south from Murlough.?A warm very late May day.
  Murlough Golf Notice

Murlough Golf Notice
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
This strange warning on the border between the Murlough Nature Reserve and the Royal County Down Golf Course (PBUI) is, I suspect, intended to warn caravanners from the vast parks around there to go no further. The sand hills are alive with the sounds of 'Fore!' and may collapse at any moment burying hundreds of trespassers who have not paid their green fees. Hopefully

Empty course and not a greenkeeper in sight so I thought I would give a rest to the big hitting and play some relaxed holes on the Annesley Course (MPBUI) aka No 2 Course, aka The ladies course, aka the Hen Run. When I say empty I omitted to mention the guy who I found ahead of me when I poised, Tiger like, trusty driver in hand contemplating a spot on the fairway some 250 yards ahead. (enough boasting-Blog-ed) The spot was not vacant. Filled by who we shall call Superman for reasons which may be apparent. Not content with propelling one ball around the course-that's normal, nor two, that's irritating but not uncommon for a single player but Three. A man with three balls and me behind him. He was well aware of my presence but he made no move to let me through. Ha! One ball in a gorse bush; now he must stop to search and I can get past. No way; he pulled a ball out of his pocket and played on with three: slowly, methodically and lingeringly.

At the third I was contemplating hitting over his head and dashing past. But I was saved by a canis ex machina as Pliny had it. Stalker and the ball finding Alsatian appeared from the gorse stage right. Ally finding one of the the the balls quite reasonably picked it up assuming it did not belong to yer man who had lots more. But the man saw it differently; yelling at the dog to drop it he went charging after the Alsatian at his top speed of 4mph. Ally moved up a gear to 4.5mph and they both disappeared into the bright yellow yonder with Stalker in luke warm pursuit. I strolled past (having a rather nice birdie-since you ask)

I later saw yer man trailing along behind me. He was down to two balls.

That's normal for you.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006
NO Flag Day, revisited

If bank holidays are to be avoided in Newcastle, the day after a bank holiday doubly so. The course was packed with some people finishing, for goodness sake, at about 8-30. When on earth had they set out? The night before? Huttonian avoided them by playing the Championship course (PBUI) and once again, despite the presence of scores (it seemed like) greenkeepers; the proper sort with the Ph.Ds in golfing agriculture, and the trainees with 'O' level bunker raking the flags had not been put up except at the holes very near the club house. Ms Dollar-Penny take an e-mail to the secretary: ' I would have thought that having paid £125 for the privilege of playing this great course and having gone off before 8-30 am to be out before the members only teeing off time the least that I can expect is to find are flags in the holes. I remain yours lost and bewildered Woods (T) American Visitor.'

And the town was heaving. Shops over all over the holiday and empty are still open and packed. The Post Orifice was of course closed yesterday and it took me 25 minutes to get to the counter in time to have the serving hatch closed in my face as Ms U.N. Perforated (reading the lapel badge upside down) goes off for an early bath, breakfast-all-day or early dinner leaving me to try and make a quick sideways dash to the next likely opening to the rage of the queue behind me feeling that I have had my chance and should start again at the back somewhere half way to Dundrum. I abandoned all hope of shopping at the Cookie Jar with its garrulous and stationary clientele.

Roll on Wednesday.
Monday, May 29, 2006

This is a bank holiday in Norn Iron and next weekend in the Republic. Lack of holiday down there seems to have encouraged a lot of exodus to up here. Mostly golfers-a whole bus load of them parked right beside Huttonian scattering their possessions to all parts of the car park as a gale blew away pullovers, parkas (the forecast was not really that bad) waterproof trousers, and quite a few Euro notes carelessly left in jacket pockets. The diversion allowed my partner and myself to get to the tee before any possible competition blocked the fairways although I suspect that the visitors were not aiming for the Championship course (PBUI) which is blocked off for members only until well into the morning. And no members apart from ourselves in sight having golfed them selves out over the normal weekend and returned to Belfast leaving Newcastle to the usual horde of day trippers.

We indeed did have the course to ourselves apart from Jack-the-lads. These are the young coming generation of green keepers, trainees, who were on duty as part of the relentless preparations for the British Ladies Open Amateur championship starting on 11 June. The senior keepers are having the day off. I wonder if the JTLS will make old bones. I-Pods jammed into their ears-well the ear connections actually-they are impervious to anything except Finnish Heavy Metal. On the 16th frequent calls of 'Fore' failed to move them from the middle of the fairway where they were sweeping sand back into bunkers whilst jigging away, HM bound. We both decided to risk charges of youthslaughter and drove off. My partner missed the slightly smaller JTL in the left middle bunker by a whisker and I the t'other in the right middle bunker.
We came up to them, still dancing away to distant drums, played our shots and moved on. I indicated my apologies to my near victim before I headed off. He took out an earpiece and looked blank. I repeated my regrets for a narrow miss to an empty ear. He looked more blank and replaced his life line and swayed away.

Did they know how near death or serious injury they had been?

I doubt it. As one said to the other when we were a few yards away: 'What was that about, then?
The other never responded. Latvian Medium Metal made sure of that.

(The image is of the 11th Green looking back. The JTLs have not arrived-or they may have just left)
Sunday, May 28, 2006
  heather working party

heather working party
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
A rare image of the Newcastle, Norn Iron, Harbour Community Association at work half way up the old bogey line which used to carry trolleys full of Mourne Granite from the quarries to the harbour. As part of beautification the working party are planting sprigs of heather-Huttonian never thought he would see the day that you needed to plant heather on the Mourne Mountains-talk about coal to Newcastle (different one) But as local builders are now importing granite from China we might have to consider planting some of that instead.

I am endebted to the secretary of the HCA for this photo in which he does not appear. A former colleague of Mr Fish at the Blether Centre he told the wife that the forecast rain would pass over. It promptly rained, of course. But at least our work was unwetted, which is of course what he meant. Probably
Saturday, May 27, 2006

It is rare for anyone from our little neck of the woods to appear in Sheriff Kevin's court and Huttonian, in Norn Iron, would have missed this little tale if it had not been for the efforts of a fellow Borders Blogger at the Paper Shop.C http://www.hunnymonster.org.uk/ )

"A Paxton man took his wife and children to the pub and drove home afterwards, hit a hedge, tipped the car over and the occupants all climbed out and walked to the nearest house. The householder suspected drink was involved so called the Police and the driver was taken into custody. It transpires that he was driving without a licence, so also with invalid (but legitimate) insurance whilst unfit through drink - £450 fine and 12 month ban."

No one Huttonian knows. I think. Mind you there have been so many road accidents aroundPaxtonn in recent months that many of our 'householders' have been getting increasingly up in arms. Moral: Drink and Drive if you feel you must but do it some where else-not in our back yard otherwise we'll put the Fuzz on to you and you can take your chance with Sheriff Kevin.

Moral Two: go to the Cross Inn. Walk. (Note to Paxton drinkers: itsin Paxtonn)

I am indebted to the same source for this rareimagee of the sheriff.

BlogEd Note: if you see more than one image of Sh.K -walk home

Put Out More Flags

Smart move to beat the bank holiday hordes by getting to the golf course at swallow dart. No Lollipop Ladies to delay my passage and it being Saturday the RCD (PBUI) championship course was open only to members-no fear of competition much before 10.00. The competition was however there in the form of the green keepers sweeping, mowing and generally loving the greens. Unlike Duns they are aware of other humanoids in the area and courteously stand aside as you approach the green to allow you to finish the hole-much safer for them as well-the way the Dingers turn broad backs against you as you get within range is surely highly dangerous -if of course you have the nerve to play your shot.

I managed to navigate my way past 4 greens with work in progress and then found my self on the tee of the par 3 200 yard 14th. The sun was warm, the view was magnificent, fluffy lambs gamboling (hopefully not loosing the fleece from their backs) the gorse bright yellow, the mountains glowing and the green, er green. Out with the 5 wood-then I noticed a slight problem-the green was there, broad and inviting, but no flag. Of course the early green keepers not only sweep the even earlier worms and do other loving things to their precious charges-they also insert the flags which are put aside at night so as not to attract the attention of marauding caravanners. A wise old professional (Now the pro at the Saintly Jehovah-in-the-sky) used to say=don't worry about the flag just go for the fattest part of the green; he called it percentage golf. Hoping that he was out on one of those woolly clouds as duty guardian angel I let fly and , mirabile dictu, for once the ball did the decent thing and landed right on the middle of the green. And, yes, when I walked up to it with the flag pole in my hand, it was about 18 inches from the hole. And even I could not miss that one.

I thought I could hear a ghostly ripple of applause from a few miles directly above my head. It seemed to come from a little fluffy cloud moving gently against the wind. Mind you I can't be sure. My hearing is not as good as it was,

Nor my sight.

Oh yes-the image is the drive at the 11th. 160 yards to clear the hill-anything short of that you are dead and a vast slice over the hill you are buried.
Friday, May 26, 2006
  Tollymore A way through the woods

Tollymore A way through the woods
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Shade and light on a hot spring day in Norn Iron. Tollymore Forest Park awaits the Bank Holiday crowds
  Tollymore Storm 2

Tollymore Storm 2
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
4 years after the great storm og 02 the storm damage is still very apparent ain many parts of Tollymore Forest Park
  Tollymore Lake

Tollymore Lake
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
A cool place to be on a\ very hot Newcastle May day-Tollymore Forest Park. Empty of humanity but not for long as it is the late May Bank holiday weekend beginning this evening
Suck My Lollipop

Odd little things remind you that Norn Iron has many of the characteristics of a violent society, if in unexpected settings. Going to golf this am at the Royal County Down (PBUI) I got off to a very early start to avoid queuing up behind the usual suspects-the early Bank Holiday hackers and the monstrous regiment of women ( aka ladies if they are members) golfers who infest certain parts of the course later on in the morning. I was thus at the height of the Newcastle rush hour-8.00 onwards for the Belfast commuters. Suddenly having passed through the last set of lights on the one way system my passage was blocked by a monstrous apparition: a very muscular and large School Crossing Lady (I am playing safe here) wielding an enormous lollipop sign with the uncompromising message 'STOP'. I did by standing on my brakes as she had just jumped out in front of me and also causing the man in the red car on my left, in the Belfast lane, to come to a very abrupt halt. But what was she doing? Not a child in sight-the school seemed to be closed- not surprisingly at such an early hour. She stood firmly in the middle of the road-thick legs akimbo. They shall not pass. No way. Not an Inch. No surrender. Both pavements were empty. Then a woman appeared strolling towards the town on the right hand pavement. The School Crossing Lady with a flick of her lollipop indicated that she must cross and cross now. The women meekly did-there really was no option or risk a blow around the ears from the rampant lollipop stick.

Slowly the SCL reached the left hand pavement turning her back on the traffic- I moved on but the guy in the right hand car opened his window and enquired (this is the gist) why on earth (he didn't say earth) she had stopped the traffic with no children around. She replied (another gist) that this was her job and she had the stick to prove it. Red Car Man suggested a suitable depository for the lollipop -physically challenging and possibly painful and drove on. So did I noticing in my rear mirror that the woman who had crossed the road under duress was now trying to get back again.

Given the volume of the pent up traffic she may still be there-unless of course the SCL , once again, did the decent thing.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
A bloggee writes:

here you go - Sir Morrison is retiring at the beginning of 2008.I hear that he occasionally turns up unannounced at stores in themiddle of the night whilst shelves are being stacked and shouts atpeople not doing it properly or quick enough. Perhaps you can convince him to start blogging ;-)http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/5014946.stm

Well perhaps the new boss will do things differently-and an apology-I did not realise that the Yorkshire geezer stacking shelves of non-organics 'in store' the other day was Sir Morrison. I did not mean to run my trolley over his toes nor knock over his stacking tray. No wonder he shouts at people. Go gracefully and start blogging: www.anothereasonforretiringfrommorrisons.blogspot.com


Looking towards Newcastle Harbour. 9.16pm. The mine can be seen on the promenade-red and harmless looking. But I sometimes worry if the explosives have nor been removed or put beyond use in the jargon of the Peace Process. Across the water we have an anmesty on knives but what about mines?

This is Newcastle Norn Iron at 9pm. The sea is calm but not as mill pond like as it was in the middle of the Irish Sea twixt Stranraer and Belfast. Not a ripple on the chilled Chardonay and although the boat was heaving Club Class-no children please-was an oasis of tranquility. No such luck when we travel with the grandchildren in August but they have their advantages.
Off to Norn Iron, the day-as they say. Forecast benign, sea conditions smooth, sparrows awake and basking in the sun-well actually the patio is in the shade until 10am but you get the picture. Two weeks across the water. Golf, sea good. Bank holiday weekend, day trippers and hackers bad. Report further.

If we are spared.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Today on Radio 4 (no Huttonian was not involved) carried an item about a Radio 4 reporter trying to smuggle a garden gnome into the Chelsea Flower Festival. But the rather snobby 'culture' of the event was against him. Garden Gnomes are actually banned under the regulations for the event. So no luck-out it had to go again. Huttonian lacks a 'feature' for the garden in the Old Manse since the rather tasteful pedestal for our sun dial we had inherited disintergrated in the Mersian dreich. Plastic Gnomes would be more weather tolerant if a bit obtrusive on the eye first thing in the morning when viewing the vast sweep of our front meadow aka the lawn from the commanding heights of the bathroom window. Hutton does not seem to have an entrenched gnome community but it may of course have had one once before the formation of the LFGG-see BBC story below. No we need something more imaginative and in the best possible taste -something which would raise no hackles in Chelsea or indeed in Alnwick. *
France a shadowy organisation calling itself The Liberation Front for Garden Gnomes has struck again.
Seventy-four gnomes have been found laid out in front of the cathedral in the eastern French town of Saint-Die.
Summer is here, and with it, the group's focus on rescuing seemingly trapped gnomes.
For the police this is an increasingly wearisome annual event.
'De-ridiculising' the gnomes
For several years now, this has been the season for The Liberation Front for Garden Gnomes to re-dedicate itself to the task of purloining pottery manikins from unsuspecting suburban lawns.
In the words of its literature, the group then works on "de-ridiculising the figurines by placing them back in their natural environment".
This normally means woodland groves, but occasionally activists choose more photo-friendly settings, such as the cathedral concourse in Saint-Die.
This was the second spectacular in two days. More than 100 gnomes were found on Tuesday, in woods also in the Vosges region, and across the country householders are reporting thefts daily.
For the police the joke is wearing distinctly thin.
They have to treat every disappearance seriously because as one spokesman put it many people, especially the elderly, are actually very attached to their garden gnomes.

The Liberation Front for Garden Gnomes

* I have in norn iron a present from one of the daughters which might be just the thing-a large green plastic frog which farts in a most realistic way when it is approached. It is striking and also useful as I am sure it would see off a neighbours dogs which roam free and leave large mementoes of their visit in most inconvenient places.
But I better ask the wife
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
  Golf Ardglass

Golf Ardglass
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
This is Ardglass-not a recent picture-late 1950s actully and Huttonian had a penchant for white sweaters and tweed caps. But the main interest, in connection with the BBC Norn Iron story is a third golf ball just behind and not far from my partner who is about to miss his putt. I have often wondered whose it was. Now I am pretty certain it must belong to a Fox. I faintly remember a solitary Fox waving us through with a flick of his tail courteously. Better class of Fox in those days. But it is al ong time ago and I may be mistaken

I am indebted to the Norn Iron bloggee for drawing this report, see below, from BBC Norn Iron to Huttonian' s attention. The Fox is lucky to be at Ardglass-15 miles away at the Royal County Down(PBUI) its reception would be rather different. Rather than Honorary Membership it would be expected to pay the green fee appropriate to its status-a visitor not introduced by a member: £125. It would not be allowed on the course on Saturdays, Wednesday afternoons, any day before 10am and Sunday mornings. Exception would be taken to its dress-plus fours and a smart jacket sine qua non. Penalty for rustling chocolate wrappers are severe as being an inappropriate distraction to serious golfer: probably stroke and distance for any golfer who tried to entice the beast in that manner. And worst of all for its health and safety it would not last ten minutes with the highly trainedAlsatian and its stalker owner-the dog would much prefer a bit of tasty Fox to its usual diet of cracked golfballs-especially so if Foxy has just dined on a tasty chicken supper.

You can see a birdie on any golf course but Ardglass has something rather special - a fox that has become an honorary member.
Not only has he set up home beside the sixth fairway at the County Down course, the cunning animal has also
worked out that many players carry tasty snacks in their bags.

The fox knows golfers carry snacks with them
Its home is in the middle of the yellow-flowering gorse bushes that fringe the sea side of the sandy course.
And sure enough, breaking cover from a large bush on this flat landscape, it's a regular sight to see the fox running confidently down towards the green.
The golfers who use this course say that the fox has recently become bolder.
"He would come out, lift the ball and throw it up in the air and roll over and play with it - he really has become quite tame," says one.
Another player nods in agreement, laughingly adding that the fox has now become a member.
So popular has the fox become that some members of the club are even bringing it tasty chicken suppers Foxes are usually wary of people but this one has learned that many golfers carry chocolate and other goodies in their bags and often will share.
On the seventh tee, another member explains that the mere rustling of a chocolate bar wrapper is enough to make the fox break cover.
To the surprise of visiting golfers, the sly old fox can sometimes come within a few yards of them, looking wistfully at the golf bags.
So popular has the fox become that some members of the club are even bringing it tasty chicken suppers.
The only thing the cunning fox hasn't managed to wangle yet is its own parking space beside the historic club house.
Never mind, down at the sixth, life is still pretty sweet for the honorary member.

I realise that Mr F would much prefer the challenge of the RCD (PBUI) but my advice to him is to stay where he is. And indeed as I am on my way across the Irish Sea on Thursday please hang around. A golf playing fox I have to see and I will even contribute the tasty supper-or anyhow the wrappings to entice him within camera range. Watch this space

Monday, May 22, 2006
  bantam: the great survivor

bantam: the great surviver
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Bantam 12 has decided that she should join the wild birds, the pheasants and the Partridges around the horn of plenty on the wife's patio conservation area. She may not know what is to be a hen anymore and decided that it is better not to know since the rest of her family were sent to the great hen run in the sky to avoid any risk of catching and spreading aviator flu.

Go to Sir Morrisons

Why not?

Its closed.

Huttonian remembered this in the nick of time-at 3.59 pm precisely thus saving himself a 16 mile wasted round-trip. At advanced age pleasures tend to decrease-I really can't be bothered to join the queue at the top of Everest. Especially crowded at week ends. But I still do enjoy the Observer Prize Crossword. The paper was duly delivered by our kind neighbour, all half a ton of it. We should have checked earlier but the Review section was missing, and with it, the Crossword. A whole crossword less week stretched bleakly ahead. We phoned around but the other two Observer readers in tout Berwickshire had foregone their copies. No joy there. A trip to Morrisons-but too late.

Its closed. 4pm sharp.

There is of course the internet but a years supply of crosswords is £25. Up front. Diners Club not accepted. No reduction for one crossword only. In Scotland be a Scot. Forget it.

Ah well there is always The Week . No there is not. The Wife has done it. I may be forced to ply golf every day; horrors

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A bloggee now in foreign parts but has some knowledge of Huttoniana has commented on the new village hall:

' loved the bit about the hole in the wall in the new Hall. Do you think it could be a lookout post to watch for invaders from the West - or are they going to put one of the old pictures in it for posterity!!'

Indeed Sir, many people have been intrigued by the spy in the sky. It was particularity striking when it had a neat brick surround but that has now been rendered over. The window is looking south rather than West so it could be used, like the old Border watch towers of old to keep an eye on the maurauding English Rievers-now generally replaced by more peaceful incomers, here for pleasure rather than plunder. As for the reproductions of the old masters in their gloomy wooden frames they are in safekeeping-suitably enough in the old residence of the benefactor who presented them to the former hall in the first place. Put a picture in the window? Now there is an idea as I don't think the old reproductions will be in keeping with the interior of a spanking new building.

How about the Hutton copy of the Mona Lisa? Alynwick Castle has its connections with Harry Potter. Perhaps with old Mona by Da Vinci, smiling intriguingly from the top of the hall we may become a Mecca for those conspiracy seekers who have flocked to Rosslyn Chapel in their thousands in search of clues to the Holy Grail. Someone from the Hutton Think Tank (Myths, Maybes and Magdalene section) has suggested that one interpretation of the Code points to Hutton as a likely spot for its hiding place-perhaps under the foundations of the old Hall concealed amongst the ancient Butts* which gave the area its name. Indeed one scholar has suggested that the Hutton Reproduction is actually older than the original I wonder What Mr Dan Brown might make of this?We await his reaction

* A cryptographer points out if you give 'Butts' its full value which is 83 (a=1, b=2 and so on) and do the same to 'Sangreal' (:Holy Blood: Holy Grail )the value is 77. Add on 6 for the mystic letter F (as in Father, Football etc) you get 83: QED.
Saturday, May 20, 2006

Visit Morrisons.

Needs must and Huttonian against his better judgment was forced into Sir M's at 10am today. Saturday morning at the start of the caravan season is not the place to be unless you are of the masocistic tendency. Mobs of hung over people staggering aggressively under loads of hair of the dog, tattoos pallid against sun lamped skin or the result of early visits to Benidor; post vomit ABSO pending youngsters fiercely objecting to doing something boring like shopping and tearing open recently purchased ciggie packets to calm their nerves-and those were the six year old girls. (The teenagers still unconscious in their vans)Fortunately I had only to penetrate the pink semi secure area where the newspapers lurk and not the Green Zone, the suicide bomber free zone-was a mass of heaving humanity and whoever entered there would need a good hour to extricate themselves and their purchases.

Papers purchased I had a short but bruising encounter with the Christain Aid Lady whose desk mostly blocked the final escape route. 'you're next' she snarled at me having just taken a reluctantly proffered 20 p from Tattoo of the Month, just ahead of me. I explained that I was involved in the Christian Aid Week collection in Hutton-well actually my wife was. 'You are not your wife' she hooted, thrusting the tin towards my face. Weak vessel that I am I fumbled, selected a coin, dropped it into the gaping orifice and fled.

From a glimpse as it vanished I realised that this was no a £1 coin but 2p. But I was on my way out and no going back. The CAL shouted after me.The wind plucked away her words.

I doubt if she was thanking me for my generosity.
Friday, May 19, 2006
Blogspot has a clever little sitemeter which can tell Huttonian how many people have 'visited' the Blog, for how long and from where-not precisely I hasten to add and not who-your secret viewings are safe with/from me. But it can also tell what was the favourite bit of archived material that bloggees want to see again. The Winner is....for 2005/2006 : the following story from the Scotsman about a Scottish lady with one of the earlier and less usual ASBOs A reference to this story with its rather sad ending has been visited via Musings about 100 times in the last 9 months. Apparently some people out there can't get enough women in skimpy underwear answering the door. It seems rather odd that the poor Sheriff who had to deal with Ms. Shepherd was subsequently found in a Sauna wearing only a towel. What is so shameful about this? Towels I would have thought are normal sauna garb -indeed towelless is surely ok in those surroundings. Perhaps if he had been in the nude that would have been alright then-and ditto with Ms S if she had gone to the door in the altogether?

As did one woman ,in similar circumstance, who had to apologise to an unexpected caller by explaining that she was expecting the milkman.

Woman told not to answer door in undies charged with breaching ASBO

A WOMAN banned by a sheriff from answering her front door in skimpy underwear has been accused of breaching her anti-social behaviour order (ASBO).

Caroline Shepherd, 27, had been told to cover up by the shamed former sheriff Hugh Neilson, after her neighbours had complained about her behaviour.
As well as telling Shepherd to keep her clothes on, the ASBO also banned her from making noise, shouting and swearing, holding drunken parties, abusing neighbours and letting her friends use her garden as a toilet.

But now Shepherd, from East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, faces a return to court to face two charges that she breached the terms of the order issued last year.

At a hearing yesterday, Shepherd, who was not in court, pled not guilty to two charges of breaching her ASBO.

She denies that in January this year while acting together with an unknown male she threw a brick at her own front window. Shepherd also rejects a claim that she verbally abused her next-door neighbour, Tracy Anderson, and argued in the street while under the influence of drink or drugs.

Sheriff Jackie Stewart ordered Shepherd to appear in person at a later date to answer the allegations.

Earlier this month Shepherd revealed she had been ordered to cover up before opening her door to callers. The ASBO issued against her stipulated that she should not answer the front door wearing only her underwear.

The sheriff who told Shepherd to keep her clothes on later quit, after being found in a sauna parlour wearing nothing but a towel.

Would n't happen in the Merse.
Thursday, May 18, 2006

Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
With apologies to the CB Bloggee another image from the toddlers Olympics-British team secret training camp thought to be in N13. Ms Z still full of bounce approaching her second hour on the trampoline whilst the Swedish team coach downs his Schnapps and comforts his bidee in. I am endebted to Baby Aunt for this picture
After a long absence from the ether Huttonian is being asked to pontificate on his previous existence on the ToDay programme in the very near future. Being reluctant to travel to either Embra or Newcastle to make use of proper studio facilities the BBC techies have agreed that I can speak to the nation from the comfort of my own kitchen-well, shared with the wife -on the normal bog standard telephone. My experience of broadcasting away days is not a happy one. Being sent by taxi from Newcastle Co Down, Norn Iron, to an alleged BBC studio in Downpatrick was not a great success. The facility was closed (not unsuprisingly at 7am), the caretakerunwilling to either admit me or reveal whether or not there was a studio in the St. Patrick centre and when I was reluctantly let in, the studio, protected by a combination lock, refused to open-so I had to broadcast to an anxious world via the caretakers own phone at 6 p a minute.

Again in norn iron BBC engineers sent a radio car for me whereI could join in the discussion parked on the sea front 30 yards from our cottage. The day was foul, the sea wall had been partially demolished by a very big gale the night before and the waves continued to crash over the vehicle while I was trying to respond to questions on the Middle East. Wonderful sound effects for Desert Island Discs but not much help for anything else. Sound quality was not good mainly because the wind and waves kept on sweeping the dinky litle place on aerial off the roof. In the end BBC norn Iron accepted the humble domestic phone as the instument of choice and as far as I know no complaints about the sound quality.

I hopethe Paxton exchange which never seems to have less than a couple of BT vans parked outside it does not go on the blink until my words of wisdom have flashed around the known world. The BBC belatedly discovered a studio in the Maltings in Berwick used by Radio Borders but the lady who looks after it is not able to set it up in time and the BBC techies are reluctant to let me have a go. So the kitchen it will be.

In a very obscure corner of the Berwickshire website lurks a Cartoon Corner. Obscurity is merited in Huttonian's opinion as although they do provide a reference point for local events they re usually not too well drawn nor very funny. With this image I can rest my case. However it is pertinent in that Tescos have recently won a battle royal against Asda to open yet another supermarket in the Berwick/Tweedmouth conurbation with a majority of city fathers in the Tesco corner brushing aside those people-especially the high street shopkeepers who felt that Berwick was over shopped already. Morrison, Somerfield, the Coop and many more. I would be happier if I felt that the Assyrian/Genghis Khan/Visigoth tendency as represented by the hordes of Caravanners might be tempted away from Sir Morrisons but with Tesco opening its doors near the industrial area-out of town the other way, the bedouin will continue to loot and pillage the supermarkets nearer to their Fields, not of Cloth and Gold, but discarded plastic bags and MacDonald Big Mac wrappings. Mac D and Sir M live cheek and jowl which is a major contribution to the town and countrywide litter problem.

I would like to suggest a follow up cartoon of Sir M and Mr Mac D knocking each other unconscious and being carried away to be unceremonously dumped somewhere-perhaps, most appropriately, on the Berwick Paxton road which has the most McDonald discarded wrappings per square metre than any other place on earth.

The Berwick Caravan sites alwayds excepted.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Again in Embra for unfinished business with the Dentist and once again GNER on the button. On my way to Berwick station on that part of the A1 which is nearly always empty I was suddenly aware of a large cissified Landrover-a Discovery miles away from its usual Surrey haunts-looming large in the rear view mirror. BIG JEM roared the personalised number plate. BIG JEM. I fantasised as one does on the A1-surely this must belong to a tough middle aged gnarled of visage, large of chest, Female. Strong, slightly mustachioed, a cheroot clenched between thin lips, related, slightly, by marriage to a royal countess. Green wellied with spurs. A good seat and the Hunter quiescent between her long legs. In another country at another time the toast of the cowboys, the scourge of the injuns, played by John Wayne in drag. The inspiration for many ballads:

There is no law West of Berwick,
or east of Ayton town,
except for the Protector,
the one of fearful frown, Yeah:
Big Jem, Big Jem (repeat until exhausted)

A cher-oot at the ready,
a shot gun at the hip,
She's the law west of Berwick,
so res-pek her iron grip. Its:
Big Jem, Big Jem (repeat as above)
And so on until at least Dunbar, going north.

As BIG JEM went past I noticed the driver-a small weedy bespectacled man with a drooping moustache and a damp limp cigarette hanging from his lips. He raised an equally limp hand in acknowledgement of my slowing to 25mph to let him overtake.

Oh dear. Wrong fantasy? Or had he stolen the car from his wife and was on his way to political asylum in Scotland and to change his plates to WIMP1?

He wouldn't dare.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A kind bloggee has sent Huttonian this image from the Gulf. The Bloggee, from Kuwait wonders what the King of Bahrain (he on the right) and his distinguished guest, in the uniform of the Swaziland Navy,apparently, have to talk about. Price of oil? No, Bahrain has no oil. The price of flowers? Possibly. They are imported at great expense from Europe. Iran's wish to go Nuclear. There's a thought. Ideas on the usual postcard to the Hutton Think Tank's dead letter box please.

This week's Berwickshire has been an unusually rich vein of blog material. A bloggee tells Huttonian that he attended a packed meeting about how any appeals against the now finalised Local Plan for the Borders will be processed. Apparently the turn out from Nimbys (remember: the Native Independent Minded British Yoemen) was overwhelming with all but a handful of people ( mostly developers in the Red corner) expressing strong opposition to any more concreting over this bit of rural Scotland.

Thus the lead letter in the Berwickshire:' More houses are not the answer' will strike a sympathetic chord in most places. The sentiments expressed by the writer are fairly forceful: He fears for the health of SBC Development and Building control committee 'they must surely be in danger of of repetitive stress injury caused by the palm-greasing and back scratching to which they are seemingly subject' He asks what else can explain the 'mushroom like growth of housing' He is all for small developments of affordable housing in existing communities but dead against turning the Borders into a 'most desirable suburb for Edinburgh, ripe for development. The Big Boys have moved in cosying up to the local authorities with flashy promises of upgrading roads and services in return for cramming in the maximum number of units.' 'Let no one be fooled' he adds 'with talk of of bringing prosperity to the district. Commuters won't shop locally and will send their children to private schools'. There is more in this vein warning about the future of agriculture here -once the fields are built on there is no going backto food production and the growing of bio-fuels. Well worth reading in full but you will need to get the paper; the electronic version omits it. I wonder why?

Fingers crossed. Thanks to people power we have seemed to have escaped lightly in this neighbourhood pending any challenges to the Plan. But it would be unwise to completely relax, too soon.
Monday, May 15, 2006

Originally uploaded by erase.
Apropos of nothing. I am endebted to 'Erase' for this study of Ms Z and her minder listening to Radio 4 commentary on the current Test Match at Lords. THe Sri Lankan captain has been wrongly given out by the (Indian) umpire. Vive le Sport
Again in Ould Reekie for a hopefully pain free visit to the dentist-except of course for the wallet which will have much specie removed. Knowing the reluctance of GNER crews to arise early on Mondays especially after a week end of inconvenience regretted as rails are torn up between Newcastle and York and some times put back upside down (Hence the 'wrong type of rail on track' excuse) Huttonian decided to catch the train before the usual one which in itself is the train before the most convenient one, timetable wise.

I need n't have bothered to disturb the Sparrows as all trains were 'currently on time' and the 9.28 was only three minutes late as the driver had needed very briefly to use an off train facility at York Station. I suspect the on board relieveries were their usual noisome selves and taken out of service one by one as the train hurtled northwards as 'a convenience to other customers' who usually have a choice between holding their noses or crossing their legs. The new GNER rolling stock have state of the art post modern loos in Dr Who like capsules so technically advanced that you need a first degree in electronic engineering to get in and a Masters in computer studies to get out. Thus ensuring that the expression 'convenience' is the new oxymoron.

I was in the old fashioned type of rolling stock and spent most of the journey wondering at the notice beside the seat near a three pin plug and switch which said' Laptops and Mobile phones only'. What else? A steam iron perhaps for pressing your Kilt in situ in preparation for a job interview with the Scottish Executive-the last bastion of the well dressed man/woman. For a personal vibrator? (Batteries not provided) Too public I would have thought. An Espresso Coffee machine?A retro Black and White TV; charging a small weapon of mass destruction to be launched at Dunbar Station?. The mind is boggling all the way to the next 'station stop'

I descended to yet another misleading announcement-an art in which GNER leads the world. Customers (where have passengers gone?) are asked to keep their tickets with them as Waverley Station has electronic ticket barriers' Much fumbling in pockets, wallets and frantic scrambling in waste bins. Not a barrier in sight, needless to add.

The Cyber Cafe is empty of Russian academics, Mossad agents and early Japanese Bag Pipe avoiders. Looks like being a boring day. And, oh yes, its hissing down outside.
Sunday, May 14, 2006

Putting the potatoes into Hutton Hill has been a very long drawn out business now nearing the final stages. No less than three tractors apparently doing a final deep plough before the seed potatoes go in. Some one has told the seagulls who have arrived from England for some Scottish delicacies.
Huttonian should perhaps read the correspondence columns of the Berwickshire more closely as he was surprised to see this week that someone had taken exception to a letter about speeding in Birgham and had launched an attack on 'incomers'. I had missed both epistles and can only assume it all took place when I was in the Six Counties of Norn Iron. This week under the headline 'Incomers Can be Hardworkers' a 'Name and address supplied' stands up for this breed pointing out that 'a great many hard working servants of the community in Coldstream and district are in fact incomers'. Why Coldstream? Apparently the writer of the polemical letter NAAWBR is known to be a 'streamer'-can't really get away with anonymous letters around these thinly populated parts-and indeed Name and Address supplied claims to know who he(or her it is carefully added) is.

This subject fairly regularly rears its head in the Borders either as anti 'incomer' or, thinly disguised' anti-English; to many people this being the same difference. Hutton Think Tank in one of its rare poetry competitions organised by its Prose, Poem and Polemics sub committee unearthed the following ditty:

The post is from Berwick
Ditto the milkman
whose three am intrusion
disturbs no one
apart from the insomniac geek
sweating on his website.
And the turned out cat
scratching forlornly
on the twice locked door
as the mice within run rampant

Resentment is not for them,
the cross Borders service providers.
No it for those others,
living amongst us with no Thistle
On their passports. Rather
The arrogant Red Rose.
'England' as on the Border sign.
No 'Welcome to ' just take it
Or leave it. Up to you

4 more verses in the same vein -good enough for second prize in a small entry-but you get the flavour' going on to make the point (rather rudely) that if you are an incomer and take part in community activities you risk beng accused of interfering in local issues and throwing your (English) weight about. If you don't and treat the area as a dormitory for Newcastle or elsewhere taking no interest in local affairs you are stand offish. A lose lose situation, as The Berwickshire Sports Reporter once described the state of Scottish Rugby.

The 'debate' will rumble on. Given the glimpses of the uncontroversial bleeding obvious in Name and Address supplied's letter I wonder why he preferred to remain anonymous.

And what does NAAWBR stand for? Replies on a post card (correct postage please bearing in mind that the price of 2nd Class stamps have gone up recently) First Prize : a week in Birgham; Second: Two weeks in Coldstream. Beer money not included
Saturday, May 13, 2006

If it is not the Reivers it is Burns. Away in Derby we missed the commemoration of Robert Burns one fleeting visit to Coldstream-the first true Border Toon on May 7th 1787. He crossed the bridge into England to have a wee look and hastened he back again. Then presumably returned to real Burns country Ayr way, never again to darken Coldstream's doors. Nothing much has happened in Coldstream since apart from events faithfully recorded in the records of the Duns' Sheriff's court so the Burns Club make as much of this stirring event as they can. Accordingly every year they commemorate his visit with the Chairman of the club going down on one knee to recite a verse from 'The Cotters Saturday Night' as Burns himself did on that momentous May Day all those years ago. (You can revere all 21 verses at http://www.rabbie-burns.com/thepoems/cotters.htm )
Wreaths were also laid by the plaque which commemorates the Rabbi's visit. Town dignitaries were in attendance and all is photographed in the Berwickshire; front page stuff of course.

I wonder how many Olde English Townes have plaques commemorating visits by the Bard of Avon. It is not known for certain whether visited Scotland but he did of course write a great Scottish drama Macbeth. He may have of course researched it on Stratford Wide Web rather than visit the exact locations. If he did come north he may well have done so via Coldstream-surely worth another plaque and the recitation of a sonnet. Hutton Think Tank (Myths, Media and Memory section) are researching the possibility that a missing Shakespeare Folio contains another play about Scotland: 'James IV' . It is not known if the Bard wrote it as a Tragedy or a Comedy. The sub title 'Much Ado about Nothing' has of course been used elsewhere and gives some clue to its thrust.

Here is a flavour of this Burns Ballad. This may well have been the verse recited on the Bridge last Sunday. As usual it is a mixture of patriotism and socialism. The last word is puzzling. Did Burns when crossing Coldsream Bridge believe he was leaving the Isle of Scotland? Even in his day it was joined to England?

O Scotia! my dear, my native soil!
For whom my warmest wish to Heaven is sent!
Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil
Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content!
And O! may Heaven their simple lives prevent
From Luxury's contagion, weak and vile!
Then, howe'er crowns and coronets be rent,
A virtuous populace may rise the while
And stand a wall of fire around their much-lov'd Isle.

Friday, May 12, 2006
  Clean Dogs

Clean Dogs
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Do Clean Dogs need waste bags, we ask ourselves? Surely it is Dirty Dogs you need to follow around? Or is it a mission statement or a glimpse of the obvious: 'Clean Dogs Waste Bags' ? We should be told. From the car park at Calke Abbey.
Having been deprived of golf for 96 hours Huttonian was up at SF and off to Duns. Despite it being bird tummy rumbling time the car park was packed with vehicles. Jags with personalised number plates, a stack of garage courtesy cars in place of vehicles recovering from road rage or/and helping the police with their enquiries. It was a NHS outing 'proudly sponsored', it appeared from notices polluting the tees,by a number of commercial concerns not necessarily unconnected with the Pharmaceutical Industry. I managed to beat the rush by racing through a mob of people waiting near the first tee-not so much to play but to finish off desperately needed cigarettes having not realised that Duns Golf Club like the rest of Scotland has banned smoking on their premises.

The medics started off at both the first and eleventh tees to get the flow going. Two principal impressions-terribly bad golfers and amazingly well built people. Fat was an understatement in many cases. The Cardiac Three were the only other local golfers I could see through the cracks in the serried ranks of health workers. They must have thought they had died and gone to casualty-so delighted to be able to do their thing and rely upon immediate resuscitation if the worst happened. They even contemplated going up the steep 12th -a hole which they usually avoid without oxygen. I heard them fairways away loudly discussing their symptoms presumably in the hope of picking up some free advice from a nearby cardiac consultant. One of that ilk was plainly identifiable-he was fat, he was smoking, he was over dressed (tweed Plus Fours for goodness sake) and he kept on taking his pulse between slices and puffs on a large cigar. I had identified his car in the car park, a Jaguar of Morse vintage, its seat pushed back almost into the boot to allow him space behind the wheel, and the gold plated stethoscope draped carelessly over his camel hair jacket. His personalised number plate BUPA 1 was another give away and I suspect like many of his fellow golfers he was connected to the NHS for purely golfing purposes.

I hope they had a good day. The way that balls were flying in every direction surely ensured that some of them would have been called upon to show of their skills at some point. I half expected to find rows of unconscious victims piled up on their golf trolleys awaiting medical attention once the 'target time' of two and a half hours for a real emergency had elapsed.

I had to escape early to push the bins out. (Actually the Wife did this, bless her) So I missed any subsequent carnage.
Thursday, May 11, 2006

Its only after you have lived in the Borders-Scottish Side, that is, that you forger how different rural England can be. Huttonian has been visiting old friends in old haunts in deepest Derbyshire. Their house has been there-and on the site of previous houses since Norman times and the family has been on the same land since then as well. This is Meynell Langley with its great park. You get the feeling that the landscape has not changed for a millennium-the Merse is somehow brasher and newer than the heart of England. Even the Bluebells , which I used to associate mainly with Scotland, are genuinely native old English and not the exotic incomers from Spain. One exotic note is struck by a Pillbox left over from the 2nd World War - the remnant of an mid country Maginot Line, never tested by an invader and now only used by cattle with itchy bums for instant if transitory relief
Well bully for Virgin-timed to the minute going south and up north again from the depths of the Midlands. Mind you it does move sedately and can easily make up lost time (we were held up by a 'frequently stopping train' ahead of us (between Derby and Sheffield) by accelerating to nearly 25 mph when it has to.

NIMBY is an expression which has been bandied around these parts in connection with unwanted and unwarranted development. Used as a derogatory expression about people who are concerned to keep the world away from their Back Yard for purely selfish reasons. An expression often on the lips of developers and their natural allies, the land owners. Being of a Nimby tendency myself I was delighted to find support for the species from Zac Goldsmith the editor of the Ecologist. In his view Nimbies(? correct plural? Blog-ed) are to be praised for their efforts to maintain the quality of their neighbourhoods and preserve the integrity of their communities, as the builders, aided by the deputy Prime Minister concrete over our speedily becoming less green and rapidly disappearing pleasant land. More to be praised than censured in his book. A recent poll found 84% of people-and not just 'selfish' incoming city fleers-describing themselves as Nimbies. Our host, himself a major land owner, said that his version of a NIMBY was a Native Independently Minded British Yeoman' I am not sure if Yeoman is understood in the Borders-it is a very English expression but I think you will get the picture. Out with the pitchforks and the anti-tank mines and get the bull dozers moving along-perhaps to Mr Prescott's Back Yard?
Monday, May 08, 2006
Hutton Think Tank's (Phrase, Fable and Crisps section) daily prize* for the Bon Mot of the week has been awarded to Martin Jol, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur who is blaming his teams defeat by West Ham on the food poisoning of a number of their players possibly caused by a meal in their hotel. Despite not succumbing himself he described himself as 'absolutely gutted' . The photo at http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/t/tottenham_hotspur/4750305.stm

may illustrate that this is no idle comment

* Shurely shome mishtake: Blog-ed

The Blog is off for a short break to Derbyshire, courtesy of Virgin and Huttonian will be immured in an old stately home which is a hi-tech free zone. No chance of getting on line for a couple of days and probably too remote for a mobile signal. Bloggees will only have a short respite and will be rewarded with images of the local scene on our return.
In the meanwhile in contrast to the dreary Daffodil I am delighted to feature its much nicer cousin, the Narcissus which flourishes whilst the Daff molders.

Not quite in the same charm league is the latest shot of a full frontal of the Hutton Hall. It is now lockable with all the doors and windows in place. An exception is a little round aperture in the apex of the roof. In Norn Iron this would be for a Masonic symbol in an Orange Lodge. Here it is apparently to be a fancy window giving the hall an air of je ne sais quoi and making it look less like an agricultural structure-or indeed an ambulance station as some one has rather unkindly suggested.

Someone has asked if we have a pear tree for our partridges. Indeed we have, two actually. Here is one photographed at 10pm with the moon directly above. Try taking a shot like that in Lunnon town-light pollution makes it difficult enough to see the street lights never mind the sky. Reason #563 for living in the Borders.

If I had to find a reason for not moving to the countryside-one big one would be Rape. Not as in unlawful and unwanted carnal knowledge-not much of that round here if the proceedings of Kevin Sheriff of Duns' Court are anything to go by but Rape as in Oil Seed Rape. It not only looks foul in a bright billious sort of way -a bit like too many daffodils (thankfully now dying off) it certainly is not nice to be too near as some people complain of itchy eyes and other allergic reactions. We have been lucky-now nearly 9 years in the Old Manse and we have never had Rape in the old Glebe field behind us. However we have not avoided it all to gether-see image above-this is in the Laird's field at the southern edge of the village.

A bloggee has requested a view of Hutton from the south. The main entrance to the village past the millennium stone. The building on the skyline to the right is the Manse-or New Manse. On the site of a former building taken over as the Manse when the old one was de-Mansified over twenty years ago. It went up in flames a few weeks after the new Minister moved in. Act of God not suspected.

Final image is of a well ploughed Hutton Hill. Potatoes this year-hence the deep drills. How are they doing I hear you cry? Not. The seed potatoes have yet to be inserted and will be as soon as they can make the tortuous journey from Inverness. And I fear our tomatoes will be as late.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
  boots and hen friend

boots and hen friend
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
'In rural life we are constantly reminded of death' said a medievel Borders philosopher, known to Duns Scotus-and he said it in Latin thus making it sound more profound-and this was before Avian Flu, if not the Plague and the Black Death. Our near neighbours had a small flock (?) of Bantam hens and a couple of Cockerels. When reports of the Avian Flu came in from our French neighbours they consulted DEFRA (The Department of Ensuring Fear about Rural Animals-perhaps?) and explained that they could not bring their fowl inside to sheltered sealed premises to avoid possible infection from infected Gooses, Swans, Rabid Foxes, Red Squirrels, Fluey Postmen etc. DEFRA advised that if they were 'worried' kill the lot. Being concerned citizens this they had done on the basis of 'professionl advice' with the exception of one bantam with a strong sense of premonition and agile footwork. In this picture we have the said Bantam and Boots the Cat companion of Rosie, but younger, and, unlike the arthritic Rosie, a succesful small birder and field mouser. They are good friends and hopefully this surviving potential flu epidemic is not keeping DEFRA officials awake at night. If worrying about the Hutton Bantam maintains alertness in working hours that is something I suppose.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Huttonian took the first step towards the possibility of being an ex-Huttonian by having a young lady from a firm of estate agents look around the Old Manse with a view to getting a 'ball park' valuation-the sort of 6 double deckers approximation sort of guesstimate or half a ball park perhaps. This is not to be taken as the start of a moving process-necessarily. If you put Hutton in Spell Checker out pops Autumn-and despite the long endless Spring the Huttonian clan need to prepare for their Autumns. Hence the idea of a move to a town, with lots of shops, no car necessary, golf course, nice Church of the Pisci variety-a Duns in fact. Rural Isolation has tremendous attractions and we would be sad to leave Hutton but it makes sense to downshift from an enormous property with a large garden whilst one can actually be physically up to it. If you don't drive in Hutton the bus will take you to many places in its own sweet time but may not be able to bring you back the same day. You can walk to a shop in Chirnside 21/2 miles away but probably will not get what you want when you get there. The pub is 2 miles plus. And it would be so good to be in a manageable property with mains gas, double glazing and a garden to enjoy without having a Ph.D in weed management and an aching back.

And Duns is still in the Merse: www.dinger.blogspot.com perhaps? Or www.reiversrideagainohdear.blogspot.com

Anyone who has a nice four bedroomed house with DG, FGSH, Sm.gdn with veg and frt.Offst parking (Gge not ness) within 5 mins strll coop. Let us know.

House swap could be arranged.

PS Spell checker suggests Dung for Duns. OK can live with that-after all Surrey brings up Slurry. Dung v Slurry, no contest smell wise.

Friday, May 05, 2006

London bloggees report that Spring has been by-passed this year. So here is reason#278 for living in the Merse-here we have a lingering Spring. Indeed it can go on until Autumn-Summer being 'off Dear'. Another effect of global warming-warmer springs, warmer Autumns so why bother with Summer? Here are some images of Hutton in the Spring-probably little changed from Mr Leslies time except that the roads were not paved when he came in 1906. The one of loking down towards the kirk is taken from the front of the old Pub-the Hutton Inn-closed these many years and to the left of the Old Smiddy.
Then you have main street Hutton looking down town. This was not taken at rush hour but had it been there would have been no difference, traffic wise at least. We have not omitted Hutton Hall-see how well the controversial roof goes with the sky. That's vision for you. Note the colour of the walls which are about half finished. I was told by a member of the Hall committee that he had thought the colour which was agreed after a vote was to be reddish but it transpires that it is more like beige-neutral anyhow. July 13th is now the alleged completion date.

The final picture is the great Hutton Oak taken from in front of the Kirk. The first buds are out-just. This tree is the only one with a preservation order in the village as far as we know. It was thought to be under threat when there were plans to build the hall in Mr H's field between the church and the village. Wiser counsels prevailed, fortunately.
This week's Berwickshire has an article of particular interest to Huttonian written by our local in-village historian. It is about the Rev. David Leslie who was minister at Hutton for 60 years and 11 May the local church is celebrating the centenary of his ordination. His predecessor, Dr Kirke, was in office for 46 years -2 incumbents in 106 years must surely be some kind of record.

David Leslie lived in what is now our house for his full stint. The Manse had been built in his predecessors time -from 1879-81 apparently. Mr Leslie found it not altogether a satisfactory home and asked the Church authorities to install 'hot water apparatus' extensive plumbing work,wash hand basin for the bathroom, servants lavatory, wash tubs in the wash house, a rainwater system for it, varnishing all the woodwork and external redecoration. A frosty (probably quite literally) to his requests denied him the plumbing and hot water but he was allowed a 'sanitary pail in the convenience near the kitchen door' (Now our downstairs loo-can't find the pail anywhere)

However as the article relates he did manage to do a lot for both the church and the Manse over his sixty years. His garden was magnificent-a perpetual unachievable role model for the wife-and it was noted for its parish garden parties and its competitions including a' suffragette' race : lady leading a 'blindfolded gentleman' on a string among 'a host of bottles' The winner being the team which left least number of 'dead men on the grass.

Indeed he is warmly remembered by the older generation of villagers some of whom were married in what is now our bedroom-his sitting room at that time. He was into every activity going and was a noted Bee keeper as well as farming the Glebe Field and some other fields he bought on his own account.

Apparently Hutton in 1906 was very different to today-it had a shoemaker, a blacksmith, a mason, a joiner (still does) baker, innkeeper-The Hutton Inn and every house/cottage was occupied.

Leslie died in 1971 aged 91. He had retired (some say very reluctantly) in 1966. His life and ministry is being celelebrated with an exhibition and a 'Songs of Praise' evensong.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
  The Return of Cocky

The Return of Cocky
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
After three days has Cocky risen from the dead? Its very like him but then all Cock Pheasants look alike to Huttonian. If it is he, whose corpse did the wife spot amongst the weeds? And this Cocky also has a lady friend very like Ollie and much too coy to be photographed. To be safe we can call him Cocky Two- a bit like Cockatoo but no matter
The Caravan continues

In today's Berwickshire we have the following letter

It is with great sadness that I learn that Coldstream Caravan Park has finally been closed for good.
As a visitor to Coldstream for many years, first as a child staying with my grandparents in the town and for the past few years returning often as a camper with my own family and friends I have a very soft spot for Coldstream.
Considering it is 'The First Troo Border Toon' but with no caravan/camping facilities to offer, and located on one of the busiest roads into Scotland, why would passing tourists want to stop now?
I think that the Scottish Borders Council and Visit Scotland should have supported the site more and with some good advertising and marketing could have turned it into a profitable site.
Surely there can’t be many caravan sites located on such a picturesque spot as the Tweed Green and so close to local facilities.
I feel Coldstream is missing out on a good opportunity to generate some much needed income for the town.
(namewithheldd to protect from angry 'streamers)

Huttonian does not share the writer's sadness. Caravans and caravanners are well served on the English side of the Border and long may they be unwelcome in Berwickshire. They pollute the 'Picturesque' places.They gum up our usually empty roads. Try passing a huge appendage on an underpowered car, swaying all over the road and live to tell the tale.I am rarely in hurry in the Borders but when I am I am behind a large caravan which has no intention of allowing any one to overtake. The Borders are Scotland's favourite short stay destination-as far as Caravans are concerned-30 minutes in Sir Morrison's car park and get moving. Half an hour is long enough. And for good ness sake stop throwing your rubbish out of the window and refrain from stopping on one of our bad corners to allow a small child to urinate or defecate into a MacDonalds take away bag which is then chucked in the general direction of the verge. Is n't the whole point of a caravan to have several ensuites aboard? No let us keep Berwickshire a caravan free zone.

Well done the good burghers of our First Troo Border Toon*

* Note to Town Council: do something about your spelling please. Blog-ed
Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Originally uploaded by disgruntled.
Seeing this courtesy of Disgruntled is deja vu all over again. If Ms KB takes after her previous generation of now grown up Mother and two aunts she will be entering the mad about horse era aged 12+ until 18+ when she will need to choose between equine loves and men. If you start her off so early it is only going to make that choice more difficult.
Golf without a partner presents different problems in Duns than at the Royal County Down (PBUI) Norn Iron. At the latter you could time your arrival to avoid Beautiful Dreamer, Trolley Follower and Snake Killer-or play on the championship course and avoid everyone apart from the pesky greenkeepers-the earlier you played the more likely you were to find them on the green you were playing for-and no other.

At Duns the greenkeepers are later risers and are always heading to the green that you have just left. No inconvenience there. At Duns there are regular players-the Lady from Gavinton, the Cardiac Three, the Geriatic Two and the Lone Piper who always tee off at more or less the same time between 6-30 am and 8-15. As long as you remember that the Cardiac Three avoid any hill with an incline steeper than 1 in 16 and are aware that they can appear in front of you at any time on the second nine as they flit around you are ok. But Duns unlike the RCD (PBUI) positively encourages visitors-two for one scheme, Borders almost free golf project, weekly 60% discount plan, over 70s golf till you drop with free funeral thrown in idea, so even at the earliest of times you can find itinerant hackers who have got up incredibly early in Bournemouth to wreck nice cheap courses in Scotland. And they leave their manners at home. Not replacing their divots-or shell craters in most cases, wheeling their huge armour plated trolleys over the greens, not replacing the flags as they (eventually) finish a hole, chatting on the green after they have putted out comparing Duns unfavourably to the Royal Poole or Waterlooville and how at £10 it is a rip off. Refusing under any circumstances to wave any other match through even if they are a five ball and have lost 3 out of 5 balls at that time. **** You Jock. We are **** ing well staying here until we have found our ****ing balls and you peasants can wait your ****ing turn. So if you are a single player behind one of this lot you can either write off the whole morning in following meekly behind hoping to get through during the confusion caused by a cardiac arrest or pick up your ball and return to the club house for a bacon butty.
Thats the bit I am beginning to enjoy
Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Reasons for living in the Borders #768: Light at night

Two images shot at 8-15 pm on 2 May. There is a wonderful late evening quality of light up here-bright this far north in the sinking sun when N103AA, and other southern extremities are cloaked in gloom. This despite all the efforts of the BBC Blether Centre who stated ex cathedra that it would rain this evening-as indeed it probably did in Duns (10 miles) Chirnside (3miles)and even in Paxton (1.9999 miles) But in Hutton it as as dry as the proverbial baby's bottom in rewashable nappies. Click on images to reveal (mostly) the wife's work in magnificent detail 'Is that a hose pipe' I hear an arid Kentish Maid exclaim! Yes, Ma'am it is. No ban up here. Reason #769
Reasons for Moving to the Borders # 456 Tennis

Our former abode in North London was awash with tennis courts. Some municipal, others very old small organisations run by very small elderly players deceptively feeble on the court and somewhat taciturn off it. The club we joined was full of very serious players and Huttonian made the mistake of playing competitive team tennis (Level Ten in the Middlesex League-no less) which involved 8 am practice and being snarled at after duff shots. When we arrived in Hutton a big priority was to find a court within easy reach and ideally not one of those snobby places with a dress code and compulsory social activities. As luck had it, we heard about courts across the Whiteadder Gorge in Foulden. On enquiring about membership -£8 a year (now a swingeing tenner)-and how much notice was needed for booking-'put it this way-we were told-the last time someone played was in May. We asked in July.

So we joined nearly nine years ago. There are two courts, a bit pebbly, with uneven bounce but brand new nets. We have only once played on a court to find the other occupied. We are still members #1 and #2. The keys are collected from a nearby house whose porch is always unlocked with the keys clearly visible on an inside ledge.. The only security is a large bouncy dog with a loloping tongue and a fierce deep bark but which has been trained not to attack tennis players. When you put your hand on the key it will wag its tail and make deep loving rumbles from deep within its intestines. Put your hand on anything else and you are joining the queue at the A&E, Berwick Infirmary.

It would be nice to see other players there. There have been rumours of another tennis player in the village for the past 8 years. Perhaps he has his own keys and plays at night-but by himself? The court is now shielded from its fine views of the Cheviots by an itchy rash of new housing-underdesigned and over priced. And whatever the denizens find to do in Foulden, Tennis is not it. After spending 345,000 quid on a new dwelling perhaps an extra £10 for tennis is the camel breaker. Come on I am happy to advance the sub. Enquiries via the usual channels.
Monday, May 01, 2006

Huttonian's favourite railway company was the Belfast and County Down Railway (BCDR) which was closed in the 1950s as part of the Beeching reforms. I used to enjoy the 45 minute jourmey from Belfast to Newcastle-one train-the Golfers Express at 10am on Saturdays was fitted out with Bridge tables so as the golfers could have at least one round of Bridge before getting down to the serious business of pre lunch drinks and post prandial golf. A final hand was dealt as the golfers returned to Belfast on the 7pm (no 1900hrs rubbish then) -feeling no pain after a second and third round of apres golf. I am sure that the golfers were all well behaved so I don't know at whom this fierce notice was directed. Spitting was not regarded as a good thing apparently -but I think that there were many no smoking carriages. I doubt if there was much spitting on the 1900 hrs Newcastle/Belfast Express. Smoking certainly and the odd outbreak of vomiting inevitable-but only in First Class.
Happenings in A small Scottish Community


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