Musings from the Merse
Thursday, August 31, 2006
  Watching the flight Killin

Watching the flight Killin
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Last drive of the day . And a good one time
  ladies tee first. Killin

ladies tee first
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
The view from the Ladies Tee. Slice at your peril. A good start to a gem of a course. Following images convey the flavour
  2nd shot 9th

2nd shot 9th
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Good strike with 5 wood despite being distracted by partners fine drive and even finer scenery
  Drive 2ndKillin

Drive 2ndKillin
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Par 3 200 yards. Ambitous with a 5 wood.
  5th Killin

5th Killin
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Oops. par 3. 97 yards. Green just over the stone wall. Ball just into bunker behind green. Don't ask final score but double bogey will not cover it
  Drive 4thKillin

drive 4thKillin
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Toughest hole on course. Double blind summits makig it two blind shots and a bell to ring when you are out of range
  drive 6th Killin

drive 6th Killin
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Huttonian's best drive of the day. Not far short of the green on a par 4 337 yard hole. Downhill mind you
The 500 dash every day for the paper is a feature of Huttonian's visit to Killin; especially as a walk to the shops as something that is not a life style choice in Hutton. It has its hazards. The Guardian is an endangered species in the Hielands and the few copies on offer in News First go quickly. Yesterday I got the last copy-today Obvious Guardian Reader emerged and set off just a head of me, shopwards. Tweed Jacket, leather elbows, corduroy trousers, caring hat, anxious look-Lebanon and Global Warming
weighing heavily on his slender and slightly drooping shoulders. Last copy here he comes

He was brisk of walk and I would need to have broken into a run to pass him That would also be a rude thing to do in such a polite village. But by a massive burst of acceleration I was almost on his shoulder at the shop door. Should I burst past him and make sure of the last copy? No take a chance-it may be his first day in Killin and the Guardian was usually tucked away-not easy to spot without local knowledge. We entered News First, Siamese twins like, joined at thrusting hips. I saw the paper, he did not and with one leap it was free. Triumph.

There were two copies left.

The OGR returned to his hotel. Clutching two papers. The Sun for him.

And the Sun for her
Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A new Border Blog is at http://coldstreampipeband.blogspot.com/

This has just been started by the Coldstream Pipe Band and is a welcome addition to the very small band (no pun intended-band as in brothers and not as in pipers) of Bloggers in these parts. 11million bloggers in Iran and 11 in the Borders-that must tell you something* I am not a great pipee but I enjoy a stirring rendition of the Barren Rocks of Aden as much as the next man.But I hear(no pun intended) great things of the CPB and I am assured none of their members busk in Princes Street Embra, persauding the less nimble Japanese tourists to part with much specie in exchange for a rather daunting (and frankly horrible) ethnic experience. The Band would have to be very hard pressed to employ the Princes Street lot with their indeterminant kilts (Hunting Puke) and with live cats apparently trapped within their bag things. Anyhow go to the link above and enjoy some fine images
* Tells me that there are rather more people in Iran than in the Merse (Blogg-ed)

(Don't be so bleeding obvious-it tells us something else-Huttonian)

PS Huttonian's attention has been drawn to the first item on the blog at http://coldstreampipeband.blogspot.com/2006/08/remember-pre-fabs.html and specifically to Hutton's use by spies. Ours one hopes. Fishwick Special Brnch are feverishly looking through their files for collateral
With half the party en route to France and the remaining grandchild enjoying a Safari at Blair Drummond the junior son-in-law and Huttonian were free to play golf at Killin. (Images to follow once the jsil has done his stuff) Killin is short and picturesque. Wild woods and rushing rivers beckon the ball beguilingly. The standard of golf is refreshingly low and quite dangerous with a number of 'blind' holes. Only on one is there a bell half way up the fairway and over two blind summits to inform the people behind you that once struck it is safe (at least for those in front) for you to play your shot towards a peak crowned with a wooden marker. Trees crowd in from both sides'

Send not out to ask for whom the Bell Tolls.
It tolls for thee, and for the new ball
you are about to play.
Unwisely ( Attrib:School of John Donne)

The 10th (medal tee) has a spctacular drive over the Lochay river. You have to carry the water to reach the fairway.
It is actually not compulsory. But it makes the second shot a bit easie;.
If you do.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
  25sqn Tornado F3.

25sqn Tornado F3.
Originally uploaded by stonefaction.
Was the Tornado which passed between the chimney pots of the Old Manse? We are waiting to be told
People in the Borders feel that that there is little that can be done about low flying aircraft (apart from taking off your hat, of course) They are a fact of life, like Big Mac wrappers on our roads. Defence of the Realm and all that. But actually there is. There is an official complain- about --low flying- if- you- like site on the www and one is dedicated to Southern Scotland. Huttonian has not bothered up to last Thursday when a Tornado Fighter bomber flew through our chimney stacks at 11 am waking tired mothers and petulant children suffering from a bad sleepless night. If it was100 feet above ground I would be surprised-250 feet is the low ceiling apparently. (You are supposed to take its registration number we were once told by a RAF Liaison Officer but don't try that at home. At 100 feet the time difference between devastating roar, fleeting glimpse and out of sight is less than a second.

Anyhow I used the RAF report form on the website nd later that day a Huttonian daughter (one of two awakened earlier) received a phone call from a Squadron Leader promising a letter of explanation 'within one week'. Next day on accessing our answer machine we retrieved a message from the same High Heidian referring to our complaint about low flying interfering with our stalking at Loch Awe (Argyll-far from the Borders) and asking us to contact a Captain (rtd) -middle ranking heidian -in Stirling Castle. So I suppose Laird Archie McWrathful of that Ilk of Glengarish Castle Loch Awe will be puzzling over a message to call a Capt (rtd) at Duns Casle over a complaint about rudely woken mums and babes and shaken chimney pots just north of Hutton Kirk.

Indeed there is a little you can do about Low Flying Aircraft.

A very little.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Its all history now as Greenlaw town hall was one of two runners up (out of three buildings) in the Scottish heat for the Restoration 'Small Village' building for the whole UK. The story in last week's Berwickshire made sad reading on Friday night when the result of the telephone voting was revealed. Obviously local support for Greenlaw was not as great as expected despite the comparatively large community of the Borders as compared with Ronaldsay with a population of 47 whose ancient lighthouse won the heat for Scotland. Indeed the whole of the Orkneys would not be able to muster many votes as compared to Berwickshire and its neighbouring counties. Mind you I believe that the town hall was not an overwhelming popular choice in Greenlaw itself-the 'ancient' (as in French ancien, former) and run down capital of Berwickshire. A building totally out of scale for a small run down village and of dubious use as a community centre. It is the sort of small place that many people go through, and keep on going. ( a metaphor for the Borders?) However perhaps the TV publicity will get it sponsorship from elsewhere. But I am sure there are worthier causes like the restoration off the broken bridge at Lovers Loaming near the Chain Bridge. A snip at £100,000

Greenlaw residents await TV vote result
AFTER months of hard work and build up, campaigners for Greenlaw Town Hall must now wait and see if the building's stint of small-screen stardom is going to pay dividends.
Spirits were high last weekend when the town held its Country Fayre on Saturday, a day after it was featured on prime time TV.
The town hall was one of three candidates featured in the Scottish heat of BBC Two's 'Restoration Village', screened last Friday, August 18 and viewers were invited to lend their support by ringing in to vote. After nearly a week of frantic dialling, Greenlaw's fate will be announced on tomorrow night's show. If victorious, it will go through to the grand final and could stand to benefit from a cash windfall which will fund its planned restoration.
Even if the town hall doesn't emerge victorious, it could be given a last minute reprieve, as the runner-up with the most votes throughout the series will also land a place in the final.
Presenter Griff Rhys-Jones and his co-presenters Marianne Suhr and Ptolemy Dean were on location in Greenlaw taking viewers around the town hall and its surroundings.
The programme used computer graphics to show proposals on how the building could look in the future. This included plans for the dome at the top of the hall to be turned into a function room and the main hall into a community facility for various functions and events.
Footage of the 'Support the Town Hall' meeting was also shown as well as residents recollections on how the town hall has changed through the years.
'River City' star Libby McArthur opened the event on Saturday, and after crowning the Fayre Maid, Nikki Lothian she spent most of the afternoon signing autographs as fans queued to get their hands on her signature.
It was also an exciting day for villagers who had never been into the town hall before and got to see what it was like for the first time.
Chiarman of the Friends of Greenlaw group, Matthew Gibb said: "The Fayre was a huge success and the town hall really pulled everyone together. We think we have a good chance of winning the vote and are keeping our fingers crossed for a good result on Friday."

Uncross fingers now, Mr G, draw a line and move on
  Sea Plane Loch Tay

Sea Plane Loch Tay
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
A better view of the sea plane overflying Loch Tay . Flighty might be able to identify the model. But it may be a A1 Husky operating out of Lochearn Water Aerodrome in Perthshire.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
  Towards Loch Tay

Towards Loch Tay
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
On the Lochay heading towards Loch Tay. A previous post gives the background to this expedition which as it happened was not as ill fated as MacGonagle might have preferred. Deathless verse, literally
  expedition coming or going?

expedition coming or going?
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Half the expedition en route to the island. The flag ship had lost control at this point
  castaway beach Loch Tay

castaway beach Loch Tay
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Our picnic beach on a desert island in Loch Tay
  Lorna and Zoe

Lorna and Zoe
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Zoe was quietly determined to survive the perils of the boat trip
  Katy on board

Katy on board
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
She was actually enjoying herself despite being made immobile by her life jacket
  Sea Plane Loch Tay

Sea Plane Loch Tay
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
The only seaplane pilot training aircraft operating in the UK. Apparently. It was landing and taking off from Loch Tay
  Loch Tay. The dry view

Loch Tay www/angelfire.com/wizard2/lochtayimages/
Originally uploaded by gaidhligmaster.
We plan to take 5 children under 6 and 10 adults under 70 for a picnic on this loch. Weather flakey. Is this wise
Its a bit like the Missionaries and the Cannibals. We plan, despite the threatening weather to have a picnic on an Island in Loch Tay. (See image of it looking nice and peaceful above)Simple? 5 children under six, 10 adults, two boats and a canoe. One adult heavily pregnant, children wilful to put it mildly.
Some progress to date. The Avon has been inflated, the canoe hired, the main boat floating patiently below the house on the river leading to the Loch. The wimmin are half way through picnic rolls, the weather half way through the storm cycle; the rest of the party en route from New Scone. Fun to come


The Loch Tay Disaster-William MacGonagle would have had a word for it.

26th August, towards the end of the summer, a day to be remembered in the annals of the Rogers:
Guests actually and not itinerant lodgers,
And the Angi, like the Magi coming from the East,
Hurrying, all eager to join in a picnic feast,
Not realising that this glorious summer
was going to end, as far as the were concerned, in a bit of a bummer
Involving a posh funeral and lots of hearses

And on and on for scores of verses Ad Nauseam
Saturday, August 26, 2006
  Killin and Loch Tay from above

Killin and Loch Tay from above www.angelfire.com/wizard2/lochtayimages/
Originally uploaded by gaidhligmaster.
Where the Blog is now at enjoying a short break
Three hours through the non bank holiday traffic to the Hielands and the only caravan we saw was coming against us. This must be a record for August. Surely. Of course the weather is not like the dry Merse-central Scotland is not Saharan. But even in the rain it is beautiful. Selling the Borders is hard work compared to publicising the charms this part of Scotland and to some a short break there may seem to too long. The trouble is that the Borders is/are an acquired taste and tourists hurry through dropping their Big Mac wrappers not bothering to look out of the windows or contemplating a stop beyond a quick pee in a layby. And the Fishwick Maize Maze versus Ben Lawyers or Loch Tay is really no contest.
  Zoe - Cockleburn Beach

Zoe - Cockleburn Beach
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
I am indebted to Ms Z's male minder for this image of her wallowing in the wet sand at Cockleburn Beach.
The complications of getting three under sixes, three sets of adults, three different cars including a Frog registered one with the steering wheel on the wrong side, picking up a another adult from the heart of Embra during the last Saturday of the Festival; and then driving through the August Bank Holiday traffic to a Favourite Tourist Destination. Nothing short break about Killin, Loch Tay and the converging charabancs. WE assume it is Bank Holiday in Scotland. No one seems to know and we Borders folk are anyhow disrupted by English Bank Holidays not to care. Our hostess in Killin always assures us that SBHs make no difference and in the case of Killin she is probably right. But around Embra? The Scottish Schools are back but not the English ones and no doubt hordes of caravans full of St Trinian and Hogwartz(spl?) horrors are heading north for one last fling all impeding our progress.

I am never sure that family holidays are a good idea. Holidays they are not but I am sure there are positive benefits.

Aren't there?
Friday, August 25, 2006
  The Falls of Lochay

The Falls of Lochay
Originally uploaded by rosenaldo.
The blog is off to Killin for a week's break from the pressure cooker atmosphere of Hutton. A family 'holiday' with a complete set of grandchildremn and .4 of another. Posts may be intermittent and news from the Merse second hand.
Apparently 33% of British people are obese. Fat, very. 'Nonsense' said the pensioner in the Hutton Post Office yesterday-'does not apply to here'. 'You must shop in the Coop' Huttonian suggested. I was right. She does and hence her comment. Thin people go to the Coop; the rest don't

If you shop in Sir Morrisons you will realise that one third of the population being gross is probably an understatement. Well over half of the customers 'in store' are very overweight. The store is always crowded-unlike the coop-and it may be numbers or it possibly the weight of the numbers which gives the impression of packed aisles-belly rage rather than trolley rage as we race for the 76 items and over checkout. The sad thing is we are talking about young folk-young fat mother, young fat father and a brace of fat kids. And when you see the trolleys loaded with junk food you can understand why. Perhaps food is the new tobacco-and will surely kill you in the end.*

And as for the Coop customers, they are a different breed altogether-local, and more discriminating in their choice of food. There are fatties amongst them but they stick out like swollen thumbs.

I said all this to the pensioner. 'So I am right then. That lot in Morrisons are carvanners from Glasgow and Newcastle. Not Border folk'

She could be right.

* Something will kill all of of us in the end. (blogg-ed)

Thursday, August 24, 2006
  Wall? Yes Maybe

Wall? Yes Maybe
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Well, well, well. It looks as if the denizens of Kirk Lane are, after all, going to get a stone wall.. A pity about the concrete inner lining which seems an unnecessary addition (never mind the extra cost) But from our perspective it will be very much like the old one.

Power of the Blog? Or what?
As a bit of light relief from the weighty matter of the Village Hall I am indebted to a Norn Iron Bloggee for the following item from the BBC (Occupied Ulster) Website : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/5277738.stm

Police concern at lewd behaviour

Chief Superintendent Ken Henning has outlined the scale of the problemA senior police officer has outlined the scale of lewd behaviour in the Edenderry area which, he said, includes sex shows and prostitution.
Chief Superintendent Ken Henning said prostitution involving children and foreign nationals had been reported.
"For us not to do something about this would be unbelievable in the extreme," he said.
He said there was a "growing" problem of people contacting strangers to meet for sex at locations across NI.
"People make contact with each other and arrange to meet at certain location across Northern Ireland," he told BBC Radio Ulster's Nolan Show.
"The Giant's Ring would be one of those locations, and Minnowburn. Complete strangers meet to have sex.
"We have to keep a very close eye on it."

There was fierce competition in the Edenderry Cop Shop for membership of the surveillance squad. Who says that members of the the Police Service of Northern Ireland are not highly motivated?
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
  Broken Wall of Hutton

Broken Wall of Hutton
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Old wall to the left and materials from it lying to the right. It is good to see that the wall will at least be partially rebuilt but not as it was judging by the concrete/breeze blocks beyond the old stone awaiting attention.
  Great Wall of Hutton

Great Wall of Hutton
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
This is what I suspect our new wall in Kirk Lane will look like. An unhappy compromise between old and new has been erected at the front of the new hall. Why on earth it was decided not to build the new wall from the stone used in the old one I have no idea. Many expert wall builders around here (including a former member of the community council) and the materials would be entirely free. But I suppose it is better than no wall at all.
A couple of bloggees have asked about the grand opening of the new village hall. According to a notice issued by the hall committee it is to be on 30th September and is to be 'By Invitation Only' No further explanation. This has caused some concern as to who will be invited and who not. And why? Or Why Not? Obviously the big wigs in the form of the heads of the major fund granting bodies or their reps should be invited out of courtesy and gratitude and the odd local VIP . And one hopes, does not one, that every villager will also get an invitation to the event as a natural right of communal ownership. It is after all our hall. If this is not possible because of space (Health and Safety regulations inevitably) -and I suppose in late September an outside overflow outside might not be practical -then an explanation should be given on what basis the invitations are issued-one person per household should do the trick in such a small community. Anyhow let us be told


According to a usually reliable source invitations are going out for a lunch combined with opening ceremony-to be performed by the Lord Lieutenant of Berwickshire-a good choice this (as recommended by Huttonian in a post yonks ago) . Next best thing to royalty especially as the Princess Royal is not available despite being in Scotland at about that time. The lunch invitations are to include sponsors, donors and the people who have been involved in the fund raising (which should include givers of raffle prizes and contributed in other ways to the money raising events through their attendance by buying raffle tickets etc) As for Jo Public and the non invited members of the community apparently there is to be an open shindig later that day -all come all welcome.

Well that is much better. But why on earth all the secrecy? PR is not the Hall Committees forte. There was an open evening last night at the Hall for anyone who cared to come at which nothing was said about the opening ceremony and the other events to mark an important occasion for Hutton. The sheep and goats approach needs some explanation, surely.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
The beach is a sure bet with 2.3 year olds. And Cockleburn is a hit especially on a sunny still day. But whatever Global Warming has done to warm the cockles of our hearts in north Northumberland it has done nothing to warm the marine variety nor the water of the North Sea. Fortunately Ms KB was not interested in getting out of her depth so Huttonian is only numb from the knees down. It could have been a lot worse.

By happenchance the Hutton Think Tank (Sport techo section) has just produced its long awaited report on 'Ball Tampering in Berwickshire Cricket' Commissioned by a member of the Manderston Team in the 1930s but put on the back burner because of the pressure of other work. Its findings are ground breaking in that the techies have found that cow pat judiciously applied to a cricket ball will engender impressive reverse swing-down side being that fielders will have great difficulty in catching a slippery ball. These findings apparently cast new light on a (once) famous controversial match in the Merse when the visiting side -(townees to the Twelth Man) were skittled out by a local village side for under 20. The visitors were puzzled by local insistence that the cows remain on the field during the match as long as they kept off the actual pitch and did not move behind the bowlers arm. This was explained to the townsmen as being necessary for the welfare of the ruminants all of whom were in calf. The controversy at the time was actually over allegations that the village side had strategically placed 40 very pregnant cows in the covers thus saving a lot of runs whilst the town team were in and having them removed for 'milking' during their own innings. No one at that time suspected the real use to which Cow effluent was being put.

One of the village side subsequently attracted some notoriety in India in the late 1930s A member of a Scottish touring side he nearly started a riot for 'interfering with a cow' during a match against an Indian selection-he did not realise the sacred status of the beast in the sub-continent and his attempted ball tampering never got off the ground. It was an account of the incident in a back number of the NagaLand Herald which alerted researchers at the Hutton Think Tank, pointing their enquiries in the right direction

Well done HT2
Monday, August 21, 2006
  Katy on the Trampoline. Half Time

Katy on the Trampoline
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
After 40 minutes Katy B enjoys a short rest but is ready for the second half, extra time and then the replay. If it wasn't such a nice day and if she wasn't so sweet something might snap. But it is either this or the swing at the village play ground. See post below
With Mr P and his minder away for two days in deepest France Huttonian and the wife have sole charge of the 2.3 year old. A challenge this. As the young lady knows her own mind and is determined to get her own way at whatever cost to her lungs and to elderly ears with sound assisted digital hearing magnifying the screeches by a factor of three. She is fortunately quite easy to entertain even if Rosie the Cat does seem to mind having her tail pulled quite violently-but it is all in a good cause: Amusing The Granddaughter. Sadly the garden task she can involve herself in are finished-fruit picking, pruning and shredding. There is a limit to how long you can water the tomatoes to amuse the young lady (Really coming on since you ask) But there is always the trampoline. Ms KB can jump and jump and jump ad infinitum;and you can't really walk away and leave her to it. She knows no fear and visions of leaping off the device and landing on her pretty little neck haunt me at nights. So it is 'Gandad, supervise me' So I supervise away. And after two hours of incessant bouncing and ceaseless chatter (response required) the novelty wears off. And it becomes BORING. And if you try and take her way she will scream the place down avowing, through broken sobs, that you are no longer her friend.

Not perhaps as boring as reading every blog on Blogspot. But getting that way.

Hints on non boring amusement aids not involving penalties for Actual Bodily Harm welcome. But hurry

(And don't suggest the swing in the Hutton Playground.We can't get her off that either)
Sunday, August 20, 2006
For six months the Great Contractor worked tirelessly to create the New Coop in Duns. A shrine to Consumerism was erected. No expense spared. Including provision for vehicles for those worshippers coming from afar and every modern device included to maximise profits. Oddly a Public Convenience was omitted.

In the Seventh Month the job was completed. All the workmen rested and were immediately laid off. The Grand Consultant agreed with the Great Contractor that it was good all had been done that could reasonably expected to be done save of course the omission of public conveniences, put down to experience, under which a line was drawn and all concerned moved on. Albeit with crossed legs.

For six days the temple was open from early until quite late. All manners of goodies were made available including the provision of alcoholic beverages placed conveniently near the entrance so as to be the first consumables to be viewed by the worshippers at the Temple of Mammon.

Similarly on the Seventh Day the golden doors swing open for the worshippers. But this is a special day for the Great God Coop. On this day you, your partner, your kids, the au pair which is within your gates, the Senior Citizen next door and the Polish immigrants in the service industries are welcome to stuff their trolleys with all what the heart desires (apart from organic goods which are not too much in evidence) But if you darest to purchase alcoholic beverages and the big hand has not at 6 and the small hand is not past 12 you are obliged by the hand maidens of the great God Coop to put it all back where you found it.

And come back later.

After all Sunday is really special
Saturday, August 19, 2006
  Hutton Bus

the tour moves on (penguin island)
Originally uploaded by Mr Bultitude.
A bloggee has asked for a photo of the No 32 Berwick to Paxton and Hutton Bus. I have not managed to check all 315,000 images on offer under 'bus' in Flickr But this one-a bus seen arriving in front of the Cross at Paxton by a departing customer with 6 pints under his belt-is as good as any.Enjoy.

No extra charge for the penguins, apparently
Hutton is not normally full of surprises. Peacefully predictable could be the village motto under a coat of arms of two drowsy ruminants and, sinister, a pregnant ewe rampant. But to day I saw an amazing sight =7 people all waiting for the 32 Bus at the down village bus stop. I passed the bus on the lower Fishwick road fresh from dropping nobody at Paxton House and heading towards Hutton. It was empty. What a pleasant surprise the driver was about to get as he roared down the main street anticipating the dreariness of usual empty bus shelter. The eager examination of 7 bus passes (All free once your are past the witching age) the gentle greetings, and the up turning of volume on the drivers i-pod to drown the excited chatter from the passengers. Perhaps this was going to be a Golden Day with a mob also getting on at Paxton, softly grumbling that the Huttonians had pinched the best seats.

Perhaps this is the Merse response to the terrorists. No one is going to drive us off public transport. And in the absence of a BA Hutton to Berwick shuttle we will take the bus. None were carrying hand luggage as far as I could see and the check in formalities are minimal.With advanced passenger profiling a fine art in the Fishwick Special Branch no would be bus jacker stands a chance in this neck of the fields.
Friday, August 18, 2006

Small children -wet day. Not a recipe for a comfortable life for the grand parents but in the Borders we have the good fortune to have a kids paradise at East Link Family Park near Dunbar. East Lothian admittedly but within 30 miles of Hutton. Strongly recommended for those who love pedalling cars, feeding exotic animals, guzzling cakes, throwing horseshoes, riding a model railway, cavorting on hay stacks. Children will love it too. Some of the notices are a bit bossy if not downright. misleading: it would have taken us hours to sit on all the toys there being so many. A bit like the notice on the Tube at the top of the Escalators: 'Dogs must be carried at all times'. No dog about your person and you can't get anywhere?

And some signs were a trifle weird-we for 4 saw no-one being crapped on unexpectedly. The art for sale-Poop Art was refreshingly original. And it was fun touring the park in a four person pedal powered buggy which, boringly, only 'adults' were allowed to control.

At £6 for everything it is a real bargain. Back tomorrow?
Thursday, August 17, 2006
  Ragondin (Myocastor coypus) COYPU in Plain English

Ragondin (Myocastor coypus)
Originally uploaded by MIchel Craipeau.
Could this be the terror of the Merse? We may never know but lots of people are having a wild guess. More likely than the Capybara claim the experts.
  Sleepy capybara

Sleepy capybara
Originally uploaded by Morti Riuuallon.
This is a Capybara. The beast that stalks the Eyemouth area is unlikely to be this say experts writing under condition of anonymity.
The Berwickshire has held its front page for a story about the sighting of a large mammal on the A1. The 'Beast of Berwickshire' is sadly not the Black Panther sighted two years ago by Dave the Paper near Hutton but a rather large rat. The silly season is really upon us with a vengenge. The story, such as it is, is as follows

A SIGHTING has been made near Eyemouth of a large UFO - an Unidentified Furry Object.
Just months after a so-called "were-rabbit" plagued a Northumberland village, there appears to be a Beast of Berwickshire.

There have previously been sightings of large cats in Scotland but this animal seems to be a very large rodent like a giant guinea pig.The sighting was made by motorist Mark Pentecost, of Reston, who saw it sitting in the middle of the A1 as he was driving home from Berwick.He was just south of Eyemouth when he spotted a largish animal around two foot tall sitting on its haunches in the middle of the road.Strangely, it did not move at all as Mr Pentecost drove past it and it was so still that at first he thought it was a child's stuffed toy.Perplexed, he watched it in his rear view mirror and saw it amble off towards the coast."It was dark brown and reminded me of a guinea pig or a beaver in shape but it was much, much larger and had a curious rolling gait," said Mr Pentecost.As it was only 6.30pm on a summer evening, visibility was good and the car was only feet away from the animal so he saw it clearly.When he arrived home he told his wife, Barbara, what he had seen and she thought it sounded like a capybara.These are normally found in South America but having looked at photographs since the incident on July 19, Mr Pentecost agrees that the two creatures look very similar

.As well as reporting the sighting to DEFRA, Mr Pentecost got in touch with the Berwickshire News to find out if any other readers had spotted anything like the animal that he drove past.We got in touch with the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) who said that although they had not had any reports of capybara roaming the countryside there have been previous sightings of another rodent called a coypu."We have had reports of coypu in that part of the world but it would be very exciting if it was a capybara," said a spokeswoman.Capybaras are the largest rodents in the world and very much like giant guinea pigs.They live in tall grasslands that border rivers and streams and are vegetarians. Gentle creatures, they make a low clicking noise when they are happy and are fairly sociable as they are the only rodents that live in herds.The capybara has a broad head, a blunt nose, small ears and coarse reddish brown hair.Its legs are fairly short and it has webbed toes which make it an excellent swimmer.The creature's lifespan is about 10 years but few make it due to predators like jaguars, cougars, large snakes and alligators."It should be all right in Eyemouth," the SPCA spokeswoman pointed out.However as the capybara can weigh up to 160 pounds she suggested that the creaure was more likely to be a coypu which, although also native to South America, was introduced to the British Isles in 1929 when fur farms were set up in lowland areas rich in rivers and streams.There were at least three in Scotland and one was in Penicuik. Many coypus escaped and despite attempts to control them they adapted well to their new British habitat.The coypu is about one metre (39 inches) in length from the end of it's muzzle to the tip of it's round scaly tail. It has dark reddish brown fur, short rounded ears and small eyes that are set high on the head like those of a beaver.Adult males weigh around 7kg (15.5lbs) and it is one of the largest rodents in the world - only the capybara is larger.Coypus usually emerge from their burrows and become active just before sunset, returning underground again just before sunrise.In Britain they do feed during the day which is not the case in south America. Within their home range they establish continuous runways through the vegetation on which they feed, eventually circling back to the water again.On land they move slowly, with a crouching gait but, if disturbed, they will bound away rapidly."Both animals are relatively harmless although when you get significant numbers of foreign species it can have a knock-on effect on the indigenous animals," said the SCPA spokeswoman. "A solitary one is not going to do much harm and it is possible that it is either a coypu or a capybara.Capybaras are kept in British wildlife parks and occasionally will escape as they are usually allowed to roam around because they are so gentle."

A spokeswoman for Edinburgh Zoo said the creature was not one of their capybaras but confirmed that it could survive in the wilds of Berwickshire.A spokesman for DEFRA said there had not been any other reports of capybaras in the area.George Caldow of the Scottish Agricultural College's vetinary centre at St Boswells said: "We have heard nothing about a Beast of Berwickshire but we would only be involved if a dead one had been found."

Hutton Think Tank Coypu/Capybara section have asked any people who spot this creature to, please, keep the news to themselves.

Stop Press A largish ambling creature has just been sighted 50 yards north of Hutton Mill.It has darkish brown hair and has eyes set high in its head. It is making soft clicking noises ( its mouth is full of rabbit) so it must be happy. No need to panic as it is thought to be relatively harmless-except, presumably to rabbits. Unusually for such an exotic creature it answers to the name of Rover. Treat with respect
Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Flodden the dead horse

I am indebted to paper boy ( http://www.hunnymonster.org.uk/ )for pointing Huttonian toward some stirring images on the BBC website taken during the Flodden commemorations as part of Coldstream Civic Week. Here you can see the Coldstreamer cutting a sod from Flodden Field to take it back across the Tweed to join all the other poor sods unearthed in previous years-fortunately not going back as far as 1513 as otherwise the field would by now all be in Scotland. The bridge swarming with 'streamers is Coldstream Bridge immortalised by the visit of the Immortal Rabbie Burns (he is actually dead) who on his only trip to the Burgh crossed into England for a brief gander and having been faced with the choice of staying on south of the border or returning to Coldstream made a strange decision. The third picture is of the Scottish cavalry flowing across Flodden Field escorting the Coldstreamer, Right Hand and Left Hand men on their sod nicking expedition. They were safe enough as the English had left.

493 years ago.

Spellchecker suggests 'Goldstein' for Coldstream and Rabbi for Rabbie

  Child Labour One

shredder Katy and P
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
This is now the time for pruning and shredding the soft fruit. Cost of help is extorninate so it is good to take advantage of the Child Labour Protection Act Cap XXXI (VR) !841 and employ young hands to help out with the shredding. Sadly this outlet (loophole?) may be closed if the nice Mr Cameron comes to power with Very New Tory
  Child Labour 2

Child Labour 1
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Katy B watching the shredder at work. At competitive rates of pay child labourers are well worth their hire

Originally uploaded by algo.
There is some thing very pleasing about the geometry of harvesting after the bailer had done its thing. The originator of this image from flickr has asked 'Are they Random' Or is some alien intelligence at work? If so what are they trying to tell us? The Hutton Think Tank-Ghosts, Ghoulies and Gosseberries Section is looking into this. Talking about Gooseberriesit is not too late for nearby bloggees to PYO. But hurry they are very ripe.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Taking advantage of the first day without wind for some time I upped and offed to Duns Golf Club (MPBUI) at first light, or so. Apart from the mysterious lady golfer who stalks the early fairways I had the course to myself-even the Gnarled Old Greenkeeper was still abed. You will all know the short par 5. 'Woodend' it is called despite there being no end to the vegetable matter on the right of the fairway. Indeed it was seeking to avoid both the wood and the trees that I found myself in the field on the left of the fairway with a slightly misjudged second shot. Technically out of bounds, but as I was on my own, and the field had nice short grass and I could see the ball I decided to play my third from where it lay, excusing myself any boring penalty. The stile beckoned. Over I went. Electric Fence ,but nae bother with the stile. But then another notice: 'This field has a Bull in it.' I looked around; I don't like bulls and if it is as aggressive as the horses on the left of the second (see a long previous post) it could mean grief.

A group of ruminants were about 200 yards away. A bull may or may not have been amongst them. They were chewing away in an amiable fashion so I strolled to my ball about 50 yards from the stile and prepared to hit-out of my left peipheral vision I spottes a certain restiveness amongst the beasts, but plenty of time. I played my shot-horrors-it kept left and remained inside the fence about twenty yards from the green. Problem; would I have time to walk on 70 yards-away from the stile-recover my ball, walk 120 yards back to the stile, unbullied as it were.? The ruminants ruminated on although the biggest one was looking hard in my direction. I risked it, ran to my ball, flicked it with a 9 iron and left it 4 feet from the hole-a par could still be mine albeit with a flexible interpretation of the rule book. I turned back to return to the stile just as the biggest animal apparently had the same idea-it walked, it cantered and it broke into a gallop. I went straight to the gallop stage. I had to cover 120 yards at say 10 mph-it was in its top gear of about 2o mph and I calculated that with its greater distance from Ground Zero it would just be about a yard behind me as I reached the stile. As we converged I lost confidence in the maths-perhaps it would be a yard ahead of me-Gore Blimey, quite literally.

My nerve broke-abandoning the stile I leopard crawled (thank God for National Service) through the fence-not a spark-perhaps batteries not provided. The animal snorted to a stop-a strong fence between us. Ir was, on calmer closer inspection a gentle looking, dun coloured Cow, large swinging teats and lacking any other gender defining equipment. It mooed lovingly-a bit disappointed that the nice man did not want to play. 200 yards away one ruminant was equally lovingly mounting another. The Bull was 'in the field' all right but having it away as compared to golfer goring was just no contest.

I am sure the exercise did me a lot of good.

And I missed the putt.
Monday, August 14, 2006

There is a liitle known event in this years Toddathalon-a mini European Cup for aspiring pre-child atheletes called 'Trampoline-for-under threes in fancy dress' Ms KB is a likely gold medal prospect in her Snow White costume obtained at a training camp in North Wales which she has refused to take off for two days. The seven vertically challenged accompanying members of her trampoline squad have been banned from the event for not reaching the minimum EU size.
Paper boy has alerted Huttonian to the lavish attention paid by the BBC to Coldstream Civic week and the Flodden commemoration

Coldstream remembers Flodden Day

More than 300 horses and riders took part in this year's Flodden Day Coldstream has celebrated the biggest day of its civic week calendar with the traditional Flodden Day.
In a ceremony at the Market Square, Coldstreamer Stuart Robson received the Home colours from the Earl of Home.
The event marked the Earl's ancestors' role in leading the Borders into battle at Flodden Field in 1513.
More than 300 horses and riders took part in the cavalcade to the site of the battle on Thursday and a ceremony was held to commemorate those who died.

Front page stuff its not and three days late it is.

It is true that the Home's led the Borderers into battle but many say (Including Glaswegian taxi drivers and eminent historians-where different) it was the Borderers who left the field at half time having dominated the proceedings, got all the booty they needed and rode off (perhaps via Norham?) leaving James IV and the rest of the Scottish army to its fate.

Smart move, in my book.
  Crab impressions

Crab impressions
Originally uploaded by erase.
Fresh from the West Country. Ms Z in Devon. Crabbing country. Delicous with clotted cream.
Fishwick Special Branch have announced that not withstanding the down grading of the security threat by High Heidians in Lunnon from Critical to Severe the local security status is to remain at Soporific despite pressures from the Borders tourist board to have it lowered to bucolic. This is nothing to do with the 'alleged' terrorist plots further south; the heightened status has been in effect since the Neighbourhood Watch sign was nicked from the Hutton Castle Barns neighbourhood. Raising the level from bucolic to soporific makes it more likely (apparently) that police will respond to a triggered burglar alarm rather than assuming its some rural hick who has got it wrong with one of his indisciplined cows blundering around the lounge.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
  Flodden Field

Flodden Field
Originally uploaded by Caro11ne.
Flodden Field (see previous post below)

Peaceful Isn't it? Perhaps South Lebanon will look like this in 500 years time.
Lovers of caption contests should try their skill at http://www.hunnymonster.org.uk/ where our MSP is photographed chatting to a quaintly dressed gentleman in a fairly animated way. You are invited to supply a suitable caption or speech bubble.

Huttonian has been avoiding Coldstream during the current civic week for fear of being run down by the Coldstreamer on his big hoss or by the right hand or left hand men on theirs. There are lot of them around-hence presumably the description of 'common rider' -or perhaps that breed of horsey people are from another Borders festival, also celebrating the bad old days. Anyhow this weeks Berwickshire has a front page picture of the Coldstreamer, nag bound, with the Burgh Standard (NB a flag, not a local paper) on a ride-out to Norham. Why Norham? Its an English Border town as Coldstream is a Scottish Border Toon. I would have thought that Scots would have learned to be a bit careful about expeditions into England all dressed up in their war paint. It could all end in tears as in 1513 at Flodden Field. But of course they may be conveying an official apology for their previous and unprovoked invasion of poor old Norham, badly damaging its castle, en route to the battle field a few leagues south. And it was all to do the French a favour. No nobler cause than that?

Flodden was a disaster for Scotland. Why celebrate it? Ride -out to Bannockburn for goodness sake. Now had Mel Gibson been at Flodden it might have ended differently. Mightn't it?

For goodness sake
Saturday, August 12, 2006

Bloggees have asked to see Swaziland Elephants. Well here they are. 2nd Prize in the animal snap shot section of the Hutton Show. I felt slightly guilty as these beasts are clearly not local but there was another elephant entry and several felines in exotic places like Eyemouth and possibly the Grand Canary. So I think Swaziland is fair dos. Indeed the vegetation is not unlike the Whiteadder gorge or parts of the unfinished Orchard site
  Hutton Show The Centenary Cake

Hutton Show The Centenary Cake
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
This is the Centenary Cake to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first (modern) Hutton and Paxton Horticultural Show. There were similar events in the mid 1800s but the show has been more or less continuous since 1906. Some of the images will convey the flavour of the event, if not of the cake which we missed out on.
  Hutton Show Huttonian Triumph

Show Huttonian Triumph
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Yes. A red Card for Huttonian. A plate (not exceeding 8") of summer fruits. A new event this. All competition successfully beaten. Oh? How many other entries I hear you cry. Well, not many. I suppose our reputation for soft fruit preceded us and so rivals melted away. So good were the gooseberries that a posse of ladies visited the bushes after the show to PTO.
  Hutton show :the jams

Hutton show :the jams
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.

Amongst the mass confitures lurks the wife's blackcurrant jam. It came in a brave third boosting our winnings to £3.25. Just covering the raffle money with 25p saved for a rainy day.

Apart from the summer fruit we won a quid for second prize in the animal snapshot section. Here the Swazi elephants saw off the massed ranks of highly polished cats but failed to overtake a cuddly dog. An image of the second prize winner will follow shortly.

  Hutton show industrial section

Hutton show industrial section
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
These are the 'industrial exhibits' Person made rather than purely grown. Click on image for more detail
  Hutton show Prize winning veggies

show Prize winners
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Well I am afraid Huttonian strictly organic methods are not going to produce monster onions or dead straight giant carrots like this lot. But I bet ours taste much nicer
  Hutton show childrens prize

Hutton show childrens prize
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
The prize winning model of the new Hutton village hall. Children's section. Won by a lad from Paxton. It had to be made from recyclable materials. The blue roof was strikingly authentic
  Hutton show -new hall interior

Hutton show -new hallinterior
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
The new hall interior is agreat improvement on the old and sets off the exhibits splendidly
  After The Ceasefire

After The Ceasefir
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Israel's predicted 'acceptance' of the ceasefire 'imposed' by the UN Security Council after days of bickering did not prevent subsequent attacks on southern Lebanon. So they can hardly expect Hizbullah to stop its rockets.
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