Musings from the Merse
Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Originally uploaded by chaotic_illuminator.
First sight of GNER's latest technology. GPS operated head up display map-in-the-cab enabling the driver to find his way without looking out of the window or bothering the guard. The display is a bit alarming as the train appears to have left the track and is heading for Goswick Beach. Bugs need to be ironed out. Also the time of 0650 is puzzling-either the last train was late or the first one early
Or something else in Loo?

Sometimes GNER gets it right. Only ten minutes late at Kings Cross. But you can see that they have resigned themselves to the loss of the East Coast Franchise-the same old running stock and the same old loos with water (one hopes) on the floor-usually one in three out of action which can mean a lenghty dash with crossed legs only to find the door shut on you by a fat lady, constipated and determined to read War and Peace with one finger.

You can always try the old trick of knocking on the door and calling 'Tickets please' and when she emerges ask her politely to vacate the loo. But, what do you do if the only response is for a ticket to emerge under the door? You feel a bit of a twit-too difficult to explain shouting through the door while she is straining at her leash, as it were And pretending to be a ticket inspector is probably punishable by prison, or if no room, deportation

And for all your cunning your legs are still crossed.

Until the next station-all loos vacated but you are not allowed to use them.

Get a bigger bladder? But not, apparently, on the NHS. Bladder enlargement is more expensive than boob jobs.

Conundrum As Big Jim might say.
To the Big Smoke-GNER always permitting. Huttonian has to deliver a lecture on events of his distant past in exotic lands to the National Army Museum. 1230 pm tomorrow. Entrance is free so rush.
Also a good chance to see Ms Zoe and Ffion. So Chain bridge bloggee. Look out!
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
I fear the worst. Twice in the last two days both phone lines have gone dead. And today, for the first time, the ISDN line has crashed -no internet. It is back on again but very very very slow-sort of dail up minus. The kind lady to whom I complained said she would get the ISDN Team to help me on line-but I asked if I can't get on line? Ah she said.

She'll call me back.

So the blog hangs by a thread.
  Coldingham Bay

Coldingham Bay
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
This is Coldingham Bay. It is empty apart from about twenty people walking their dogs. You can't see them as they have gone right. Right is very like left with fewer beach huts and more dog poo. February is very like June, scenically, although according to the hotel keeper who has her premises just above the bay people do come to the beach although I doubt to swim. ' So. Why do people come to Coldingham ?'I asked her. 'Because it is very, very quiet' A sort of Hutton by the sea,, it seems. And it is the Dog Walking Mecca of Eastern Berwickshire. Bear that in mind if the tide has been out for a long time.

Oh yes you can surf. See post below
  Coldingham Surfers

Coldingham Surfers
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.

What do you do on a very wet and cold February day in The Merse. Walk your dog? No dog? Nae bother. You take a trip to Coldingham Bay and hire a wet suit and a surf board. You carefully wet yourself and then get into the sea. You wait for the wave that is going to give you a fun ride of nearly fifty metres all the way to the shore. It may not come.Or you just wait. You will be wet, you will be cold but at least you are doing something which does not involve picking up your dog's crap every twenty yards or so-and you cam lie on your board scoffing at all those poor sods doing just that.. There are worse things to do on a boring Sunday.

Are there?
Monday, February 26, 2007
Gay Quiz Night in Selkirk

There is some disappointment that the first event in the Borders as part of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender History Month is to be a quiz in Selkirk. (Thankyou Paxton bloggee for drawing my attention to page 8 of the Berwickshire) Why Selkirk? What is wrong with Eastern Berwickshire asks Professor 'Pink' Pryde , the expert on sexuality and diversity who occasionally advises the Hutton Think Tank. He claims that there is an honourable local connection to LGBT history as there is a theory that the ancient name of the village pub , the Cross Inn, is the Cross Dressing Inn-with the 'dressing' later dropped by the sanctimonious, homophobic and strait laced Victorians. Prof. Pryde has written a number of papers on 'sexual variety' as he calls it in ancient Scotland:
'The Ambiguity of the Kilt-transgender discourse in the Western Highlands' was widely acclaimed . He also wrote 'How gay were the Gordons?: nocturnal fumblings in a Scottish Glen. ' and 'The Campbells are coming' -a seminal work as he modestly describes it.

Anyhow best of luck for the first Gay Quiz night, even if it is in far off Selkirk. A leaked quiz paper reveals the first question to be' Name one event in Lesbian Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History in the Scottish Borders? The official answer is:

Sunday, February 25, 2007
The Sheriff rides again

I have not mentioned the doings of Sheriff Kevin of Duns for some time as his cases seem to have lost that unusual and exotic touch of previous years. Globalisation is leaving its dreary mark on the Merse crime scene. Still the language of the legal system has a certain ring: an accused Birgham man pleaded guilty to 'using lewd, indecent and libidinous practices' -sounds like fun put that way, but in the circumstances was just nasty. (page 5 of the Berwickshire-if you must) I much preferred the Eyemouth woman's reaction to her husband being taken away by the rozzers. She made her way to the police station, took a pot plant from an 'adjacent' garden and throw it through the window of a police car parked nearby. She claimed she could not get an answer from the cop shop and decided on some direct action. Fined £115 for damage done and sentence deferred 'to allow for good behaviour' The police car was off the road for 36 hours apparently.

All in all, a novel way of

Saying it with flowers

There is also a report of incident of a man running amok in an ambulance on its way to the BGH -kicking out the back window when he was offered a 'medical bottle' for an urgent wee when all he wanted was to get out for one in Greenlaw en route. No bleeding nose mentioned. So it wasn't me.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Some one said the other day-your blog is nothing like as interesting as it used to be as in those days, of the old original one, of the Mail on Sunday fame. No need to go into all that, line under, move on. But the fact is that however innocuous a post may be there are some people who have a built in inversion of either 'appearing' in person, or having a subject aired of concern to them- a sort of cursed by blog syndrome. If I had a Scottish Fiver for every time some one mentioned something quite interesting and then added, hastily 'don't mention it on the blog' I would by now be seriously rich, even by the standard of an MSP on Embra allowances. As a cub investigative journalist I would never have made it beyond the apprenticeship stage. As it happens I am sitting on two really good 'stories' of great interest to the community but my lips are sealed, or rather, my keyboard jammed until, I fear, the tales are old, tired and frankly boring. No Kurious of Kelso, this is nothing to do with slavery or the House of Lords.

Once, and once only, someone has come to my door and said 'go and look at that-it should be on the blog' I did and it was. Good bless you Farmer M, you know a good little quirky story when you see one. (Hint: Jim Clarke Rally, Summer 2005, Bluestane Ford) I may soon have to employ a Blout-a blog scout who can ferret out material which will cause no offence to anyone, does not lead to a major fall in the Stockmarket or the collapse of the Scottish Executive.

In the meanwhile don't forget-you did not read it here first.

There goes the phone. ...Gosh that was interesting? '(Usual caveats apply as academics tend to say to avoid any responsibilty for their material)

So Don't watch this space
Friday, February 23, 2007
  Mr P Gardening, or, rather, not

Mr P Gardening, or, rather, not
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
It can be a problem getting good garden help, especialy in February.This is a case in point as Mr P walks away from the wheelbarrow.
  Traffic Jam Fishwick

Traffic Jam
Originally uploaded by tinken.
Hutton Think Tank were asked to conduct a traffic survey on the notorious Fishwick to Tweed Fisheries road to estimate whether a bypass was necessary. The result seems to justify Farmer C's worst fears.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Tory Revival Postponed

Because of bloody nosed ness I missed out on last week's Berwickshire which was subsequently used by the wife for fire lighting. So I did not hear the news of the (last) week until just now-that our sitting Councillor Big Jim Conundrum Fullarton is, after all, on the Tory list for May's local elections. So he seems to have abandoned the idea of taking is Ten Grand golden farewell and relaxing amongst the seed potatoes. A pity. I voted for him at the last election-the alternative-SNP was not a compelling option. To say he has served us well is not an accurate description and I had rather hoped he might gracefully fade away and get some one intelligent, coherent and with no personal axe to grind in the development field (no pun intended) One of his fellow councillors described him as more of a representative of the Scottish Farmers Union than of his constituency and his position as Depute Chair of the Berwickshire Area Committee Planning Sub-committee worried some of us given the record of some local farmers seeking to diversify from corn to concrete., or from Barley to Building. So Huttonian's advice is-if you are thinking of voting for him. Think.

Mind you with the transferable vote electoral system in a multi seat constituency it is difficult enough to understand how vote-never mind for whom. At least that seemed to be the message from Big Jim himself when he tried to explain it recently; it seemed to boil down to: if you don't want someone to get one of the three Eastern Berwickshire seats you voted for that person and that vote would then taken away and given to the candidate of your choice. Gibberish? Probably. But if enough people believe it Big Jim may well

Top the poll.

Be careful
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
On the Health and in the Ward

Looking back on it the three days in a NHS ward in St John's Livingstone, had its moments. Some not too good. Some entertaining. The Nurses are a lovely bunch and from the same kindly mould. All Scots as it happens.

' I am going to take your blood pressure. Alright?' ' Time for your Medicine. Alright' 'I am going to stick this needle hard into your bum. Alright? (The last did not happen, but dream on) And finally' That's you then' It was indeed.
Or the cheery floor manager-7am Monday- Bursting into 'Hullo, How are you all this bright, beautiful, wonderful day. What a way to start the week. Come on then lets hear you. Good Morning. What do you say? No not you two (indicating the two patients recovering from serious throat surgery) I know you lot can't speak. But the rest of you-good morning!. It could be worse'

I am sure my neighbour in bed number three did not agree. He had been wheeled in on Sunday morning. Groaning, snuffling and immobile. Not post op, just a new admission. He looked seriously stocious after a long night on the town; but why an ENT ward? On arrival bed number 4 (The nosebleed from Burtonport in County Donegal) had bounced over to address the new comer, now flat on his back, dribbling slightly and moaning softly. ' Are you well?' (no response) 'If not, are you feeling better? (no response). Long hard look: 'Is it the smoking? (he had just been given a lecture by a consultant about nose bleeds and heavy tobacco intake) No response' 'Is it the drinking then?' There must have been some indication of assent:' ' Ah!. The Drinking. I know all about the Drinking. The divil is in it' A groan and end of snappy dialogue. It may have given Nosebleed, some food for thought as he had cheerfully told the consultant that he hardly indulged at all-just a social drinker. Perhaps a bottle and a half of whisky over a slow week end to keep his friends company. Apart from that I am 'dry enough'; most of the time, at any rate, I suppose.'

Six beds, two occupied by two non speaking, nil by mouth, Throats. Bed Three: the stocious one, Four: the Nose bleed, and to my left, Bed one, a transient facility which had three ins and outs, pre and post ops during my three days. All this did not make for sparking company. And my last night was made unbearable by the latest transient, who snored for Scotland and had apparently just missed Gold at the last Commonwealth games. Snoreing and curling, The Scots are world beaters. I stuffed my ears with tissue, slept under two pillows, bed clothes over my head. It all came through loud and clear; mono not stereo admittedly but clear enough. He kept waking up with a loud snort but soon settled down again and there was nothing that the nurses could do which stopped him for more than ten minutes. A few minutes with a heavy pillow would have done the trick. Next time perhaps.

A moment of sheer delight. Or was it? Lying on my bed contemplating the night to come, the Large Highland Lass started her night shift. Built like the entire Scottish back row, although Front Row Forward would be a more apt description of her attributes, she bustled her way around the ward being nice to everyone in a very overpowering way. Suggesting a bath here, a wash your teeth there, a have you taken your pills everywhere. She stood by my bed, and closing the curtains asked 'Shall I help you on with your pajamas?' For a moment I hesitated' *

* Now come on, This is a family blog.

Its good to be home

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007
On the Health

Scottish Hospitals have a lot going for them once you can get into them. Its not simple. Not even if you really need to. After a night of bleeding from Mth and Nstrl , no sleep after returning to the Old Manse at 4-30 AM , getting hold of a letter of referral from the GP at 9am who had made an appointment for the ENT Dept at St John's Livingstone, and the valiant wife driving me up the 70 miles or so (having driven to the GBH and back twice the day before) to the 'Out Patients Dept'. Or so it said. The Dragon on duty, looked at the envelope of the letter of referral, read the contents and claimed no knowledge of Huttonian. We expostulated. The Dragon breathed smoke but remained unhelpful. I rang the GP. The receptionist confirmed that an appointment had been made and records sent to ENT, St John's. The Dragon pounced-''It says 'Eye'on the envelope" Pointing triumphantly. The wife freaked through ground down teeth' " Read what it says in the letter E N T" and added some thing about the competence of the NHS. Spake the Dragon ' It says Eye on the envelope. This is the eye department. We have not got an appointment for you' Spitting blood (which was really my forte) the wife explained through enflamed gums that the GP's receptionist in far away Chirnside had made a mistake-just deal with the letter forget the envelope -she snatched the letter back-scratched out Eye and replaced it with ENT. 'There' she said. Can you direct us to ENT if this is EYE. I had also persauded an assistant Dragon to talk to the Chirnside Receptionist and a concensus emerged that it really was the ENT department we needed and we should perhaps enquire there.

Very kindly, a slightly mollified Dragon escorted us to within sight of ENT out patients (400 yards away), muttering away about Eye on the envelope. Matched by a muttering wife wondering aloud if the billions spent on the NHS might have spent more profitably in Iraq

They had not heard of us in ENT either. Not really our day

But the very helpful receptionist there, using her nouse and the phone (The Eye lady had used my mobile ) established that we were expected in the ENT Ward. To be admitted it transpired.

'Well you seem to have ended up at the right placc after all' said the wife

I could not but agree.

It was the 'Ended up' bit which worried me.

Next Thrilling Installment to follow. If I am spared.

And I really do mean that.

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Monday, February 19, 2007
Fishwick-Traffic Chaos continues

An interesting comment on the proposed development at Fishwick arrived in my absence in Livingstone, Scotland . As follows :

Good Morning, Sir. I was recently reading your blog, and I thought...how dosy can one get? - the rod fishing hasn't started yet so there won't yet be a contra flow* rush of traffic morning and evening at the notoriously hazardous Fishwick corner! "Farmer C"

Well there is a point of view for you. The only contraflow of traffic I have seen near the Fishwick corner was a tractor reversing around it and that is certainly dangerous enough to justify all kinds if imaginative solutions. And justifying six building sites is very imaginative.

And very profitable

And as for the rod fishermen. The most I have seen at one time was two. Which is good as the most number of cars which can park on the muddly verge before the descent to the Fisheries (a bit of muddy bank, with no facilities, not even an ATM) is, yes, two. I think 'dosy' is a misprint for 'cosy. Nice one Farmer C

* And thankyou for clearing this one up-Fishwick Special Branch were under the impression that Contra Flow were a South American Terrorist Organisation and have been keeping an eye open for them. Stand down now, Girls.
Stirring the Blood

Someday the tale will be told in full as to the why and wherefores Huttonian was hurtling through the misty lanes of Berwickshire in a NHS ambulance at 2.38 am on Friday morning towards the A&E of the Borders General Hospital-BGH-some times referred to, some what unkindly as the GBH. Hurtling is not quite le mot juste-ambling is however economical on the speed, leisurely and watching out for the traffic spill off from Fishwick. But according to NHS 24 it was the non-urgent, not life threatening/saving appliance and it took its title seriously including, adding to journey time by having a problem of following instructions to the Old Manse from as far away as the Hutton Church. The wife followed behind in second gear so as to have a car for taking herself and any corpse home-the non urgent ambulance had another non urgent appointment and was likely to be very late as there was so much of Huttonians Blue (it was quite cold) blood to wash off the luxuriously fitted interior before they could set off. Noise bleeds can be a bit like that and I had already been shedding my substance in various parts of the Old Manse for over two hours before the Ambulance arrived.

Blood Pressure levels not helped by the running commentary of Ben and Bill-Driver and Medical assistant who kept on relaying my BP and Pulse rate (250/156 Pulse 132 ) or something to the A&E and details of my rate of pour from both nose and mouth. The BP started to go down after 30 minutes (we were well down Kirk Lane by then) and the rate of flow apparently increased to a point where I could visualise the effect that my rapidly declining bl0od bank account had on the pressure-at least with even alarming numbers you have the comfort of knowing that you still have some blood left. Which I had.

Now I am back from St Johns Hospital ENT wards, Livingstone. More on all that later. Sufficeth it so say for the moment never, never show off your long irons at thePutton Mill driving range when you know the teaching professional is watching. Good it was.Long and straight they went. Vanity, Vanity sayeth the preacher-pride before etc. If the Almighty does not larn you, Providence will. What has that to do with nose bleeds I hear one of you politely enquire. Nothing really apart from th first bleed of nine 'eposodes' was at PM and I had to rush off leading the golf Pro puzzled at my abrupt departure. I had paid for 50 balls.

And there were only two left.
So not all gloom, then.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007
Huttonian wishes to apologise for his unusuasl silence but he has a bit of a bloody nose and is helping the NHS with their enquiries.

Mrssages of sympathy, especially accompanied by hard cash will be welcome.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Yesterday's Grudiuan, had, unusually, a small piece on Scottish local politics. It referred to up to £20,000 golden handshakes for retiring Scottish local government councillors. The idea being to get rid of the dross and the ancient and thus encourage thrusting, young, candidates including those from ethnic minorities. Good idea says Huttonian. Especially if it means good bye to our present councillor-for reasons habitues of this blog will be well aware. So if after fours years sporadic attendance at the Hutton and Paxton Community Council (and the 3 or 4 others on his roster) he can pick up ten grand, draw a line and move on, that's public money* well spent.

And as for ethnic minorities. Amen to that. Lets get some bright young thing from a far away land but one which has always taken a benevolent interest in all things Scottish. A land so long under the yoke of foreign politicians that it would like its own back.


* In the absence of public money we will pass the hat round, if that is what it takes


Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Why Are We Waiting?

The curious case of the dog that did not bark in the nighttime is reminiscent of a great silence, or lack of activity, emanating from the mediumheidyins of the Berwickshire area committee. If you are interested enough to go to http://eplanning1.scotborders.gov.uk/WAM/showCaseFile.do?appType=planning&appNumber=06/01476/OUT and look at the planning application for six houses at Fishwick, the traffic black spot of, er, Fishwick and environs. You will note that the application has been pending for several months and there are no recent documents on the file. One wonders why. The Community Council, as can be seen from the dossier is a bit dubious about the enterprise and has challenged the need for a new road cutting out a 'dangerous 'corner and the rush of traffic through Fishwick itself. Such as it is. Once a new road is agreed that cuts a sizeable segment from the neighbouring field making it unsuitable for agricultural purposes but just about the right size for, lets say, 6 houses. And looking at the amount of cash required for acquiring a site with outline planning permission a mile or so further down the road (just before it peters out at the Tweed) six plots are worth a lot of very serious money.

Obviously someone somewhere has doubts.

I had hoped to provide bloggees with some images of Fishwick Rush Hour. On my three visits to the area I have only seen one car and a tractor(parked) And on that occasion I had left my camera at home.


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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bloggees have asked if there is an easy way of contributing to Cerebral Palsy Africa on line. The answer is a resounding Yes-visit : http://cpafrica.workwithus.org/ and you will see what I mean. It is hard to visualise this from the Merse even on a glorious neo-Spring day like to day with the skylarks singing away (according to the wife), *but as we post ,two Zambian Physios are in South Africa at CPS's expense undertaking an eight week course to upgrade their skills to enable them to provide a better service to disabled children back home in Zambia. This has made a big hole in our finances and we have a number of applications to funding agencies out at the moment-we have been fortunate in obtaining a couple of generous grants but on the whole it is a very uphill struggle to raise big bucks on the scale we need for CPA's work. Lots of funders are keen on Africa but children with CP are seemingly at or near the bottom of their priorities. But every little as well as big, helps and we are therefore very grateful to local individuals and organisations for their generous help usually as a result of the wife's presentations to them. Donations will be mentioned on this website and there is more information on www.cerebralpalsyafrica.org
* Go on Blether Centre, Do your worst.
Monday, February 12, 2007
Cricket fever sweeps the Merse

Cheering crowds thronging down town Hutton? The Cross of St George and the Saltire raised on the multitude of flagpoles? Unusual scenes of drunken abandon in the Cross*? Not really. England's stunning cricket success against an arrogance of Aussies seemingly unnoticed outside the balmy warmth of the Manse. The Saltire? Yes. Scotland also had something to celebrate: runners up in the World Cricket League Cup. The second mightiest of the Minnows giving them a wild card entry into World Cup proper-this April.

England versus Scotland in the final?

I have a dream.

Who would you support

Mr Brown?

(* I have not checked this. Reports not flocking in)


Sunday, February 11, 2007

We awoke to find the snow gone despite the attempts by the BBC Blether Centre to send us more-in its place a multitude of Pheasants-Cocky in all his glory and 4 younger ones who despite expert opinion on a twitcher blog-Bird Forum-the wife believes are young pre full plumage males rather than hens as one expert has opined. Certainly they strut around like young pre ASBO lads and Cocky treats them accordingly-rivals rather than a potential bride. Mind you it is not that time of the year yet and if we see Cocky becoming amorous we will know one of three things (a) the brown jobs are female after all or (b) Cocky is gay (c) we are none the wiser.
If (b) there could be a marketing opportunity. There are a number of well known Scotch Whiskys with targeted markets-mostly it seems in the Far East. But not one directed specifically at homosexuals as far as the Hutton Think Tank is aware. A favourite (but not a straight Malt in this case) is Favourite Grouse-pushes all the right Celtic Mist buttons and tastes nice to boot. What we need is a slightly lighter blend, a hint of pink to the nose,, gentle and intelligent but not too limp. Call it 'The Gay Pheasant' and watch your sales take off.
You read it first
Saturday, February 10, 2007

Great Scott Country

One of the nicer young female terrorists from the BBC Blether centre explaining the massive disruption in southern parts from a centimetre or two of snow and near freezing temperatures, smiled at the camera and said ' You in the North may be wondering what the fuss is about but you will get yours'-or threats to that effect. At the time of her remarks we were already under a lot of snow (the scene as she smirked in our garden is displayed) all though she seemed to be ignorant of life beyond the Bull Ring in Birmingham. Nor do I suppose she cared what was happening in Scotia Deserta.The difference was, we were coping. No schools closed (unlike Brum where all educational institutes shut done because the Mayor got cold fingers (and cold feet, one assumes) at 6 AM that morning. Yes, Ms., we were wondering what all the fuss was about since you mention it-Southern folk seem to disrupt easy.

Tougher lot up here.
Friday, February 09, 2007

The mess that is known as The Orchard has just been the subject of a reversed planning decision to the amazement and fury of local residents. The density of houses in this disaster area has increased steadily year by year with all objections by the local community and the Community Council brushed aside. Then one small victory last year. The then latest rash of two new houses were so close to and overlooking their neighbours that the planning officials accepted that there was to be a serious reach of privacy involved and ruled that the first floor dormer and gable windowbe fitted with obscured glass. The Developers Forth Homes (Not be confused with Fourth Homes-'the builder for the seriously loaded')appealed. (And indeed after in building the houses in question they had gone ahead ignoring, in most cases, the requirement for opaque or whatever glass) And despite the objections of the overlooked neighbours and the whole village as supported by the Community Council-the same planning officials who had imposed the original condition recommended that in the case of every window except one that normal clear glass be allowed. U-Turn on stilts.

In defence of this policy reversal -according to an article in yesterday's Berwickshire the official referred to 'New Planning Guidance' the privacy inclusion zone is now cut to 18 metres and thus it is no longer 'an issue of overlooking neighbouring properties' Well done the Developers who have obviously persuaded the Council that the more properties at £200,000 plus they can cram intospacess like the Orchard the nearer the Council will be to fulfilling the targets of the Structure Plan of loading as many bricks and mortar into Berwickshire as possible. And after all 18 metres is a hell of a distance-nearly as long as a cricket pitch for good ness sake so if the new houses are for ancient and retired cricket umpires (cue Darren Hair) they won't be able to see a thing and your private by invitation only orgy will not be overlooked intrusively.

Our Councillor Big Jim Conundrum (not his real name for literary reason) made a special visit to the Orchard just before the meeting and seemed to take a sympathetic interest in the privacy issue about which, as he well knew, there was a lot of local concern and indignation. He had been at the last Community Council meeting at which it had been discussed. He then attended the meeting and did Sweet Fanny Adams about it. Mind you there is some evidence from the planning applications file that he was confused as to what property the planning applicationn referred to- No Big Jim it was not Ivy Cottage but 15 and 16 the Orchard.

There is some confusion (what else) if Big Jim is standing again at the May elections for the SBC. If so I can provide him with along list of people who will not be voting for him. Verb Sap Put us all out of our misery-take your gratuity and run. Your farm in Coldingham needs you. But then of course do the developers

We don't
Thursday, February 08, 2007

Said one villager to another 'I really miss the blue roof' The Village Hall's crowning glory is snow clad and likely to remain that way for a bit. The Village Hall is hit by the weather as the road to it from down town Hutton is unsalted/ungritted; although the wife managed it to day she was defeated by the hill yesterday. The Wednesday 'Busy Bees' at the Hall seemed to have less of a buzz to it than usual with many of the human version of the Family Apoidea staying snug in their hives rather than risk the slippery and cold road to it. Post Office day(Thursday 9-12-30) and with more snow overnight the usual customer base will have shrunk, if not frozen

The other image is one I came across yesterday when walking in the snow. I must have passed it numerous times without seeing it-mind you it was not in the most conspicuous of places. A couple of villagers complained last year about the possible harmful effect of agricultural sprays being blown into the village and into their gardens. They did not seem to get much sympathy (whingeing townee incomers) but now having seen this warning, I, for one, think they may have a point.

Go organic I hear you cry.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007
  First Blizzard in the Merse

First Blizzard in the Merse
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
The BBC Blether Centre had promised us a sunny dry morning with any snow in the deep south so of course we have had heavy snow here. And for the first time since 1997 the wife turned back on her way to locally foreign parts as the car refused to mount the tiny hill up to the village. 'Like a tow?' asked a kindly tractor driver rescuing a truck which had got stuck on the same hill 'Its fine once you are at the top' THe wife declined and with some difficulty turned and came back.

We have the Hutton effect in reverse. Foul here whilst Duns-10 miles by snow plough -is dry with folks sleeveless in the sun

AS for us:Trapped in the Manse!I will need to struggle out to the stable to get wood for the stove.

I may be some time
  First Snow Hutton

First Snow Hutton
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Cocky at least is happy. He camps in the garden and has food guarenteed and with cold and cold water on tap.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007

We have our moments of sectarianism in Scotland-Celtic and Rangers-SNP and the Sassenachs-and we know all about in Norn Iron but it is sad Lebanon which takes the biscuit. The Parking sign says (in Arabic) Maronites Only and I suspect if you ignore that it won't be a clamp to worry about but a few pounds of Semtex up your exhaust to send you on your way-but I suppose, to look on the bright side, you may become entitled to a disabled parking space next time around. If you are spared, of course.

Lessons for the Merse?I have never enquired about the religo/ethnic background of the Chirnside Medical Practice GPs but I suspect they are not Shia.So lets leave that one alone.More productively Hutton Think Tank are toying with an idea of how to facilitate parking for disadvantaged people on (the future) Fishwick Bypass given the Traffic congestion and the difficulty of parking at Fishwick itself.
One suggestion is for a slot reserved for this category of unfortunate motorist-in Gaelic and English:


Huttonian has posted before about the problem of providing an adequate service for visiting relis in this large and pre global warming mansion. It is hard to break them of the habit of wearing several fleeces, scarves, heavy boots, two pairs of socks and balaclavas. And its worse in the winter months when fur (well not actually fur) clad family members refuse to leave the kitchen and to move more than 1.3 metres from the Rayburn-on high-and with the oven door open. The suggestion that 'you will be more comfortable in the sitting room' raises a hollow raspy croaky laugh and a shake of the head.

No longer! As you will see from the images above we have invested in the 'Reliwarmer' Wood stove which is not only environmentally amiable but warms the sitting room to previously unimaginable searing temperatures almost off the 'toastometer' scale. And looking deep into the flames and thinking of -6c outside you can imagine that Hell may have some positive features. Abandon fleeces all Ye who enter here.

Click on the Fiery Furnace image and you will feel much warmer.
Monday, February 05, 2007

Paxton House apparently had a very successful 5 mile cross country run over the weekend. 50 plus runners around a course which meandered through the grounds. I wonder if the path involving the magisterial warning-'thought unsuitable for wheel chairs-steep gradient'-was part of the course-if so was the notice suitably amended-even experienced athletes going around that corner and down those steep slippery steps might have problems. A challenge for them and possibly for any legal 'ambulance chasers' subsequently retained.

Mindful of the risks Hutton Think Tank (Athletic Notices Section) had suggested a new sign for the event:

This path may present problems for all runners.Respectfully suggest do not proceed without legal advice I will need to check if this was used over the week end-in the meanwhile I post again the original notice

Alternatively keep things as they are, possibly. We might get the para-Olympics here one day. Disabled athletes might relish the challenge
Sunday, February 04, 2007

Global Warming made another appearance in Hutton last night with -3C, clear sky, Game Keepers Moon and an icy pond. Frog protection measures are therefore in force in the form of a green polystyrene chamber which gives frogs a sporting chance of surviving even with several inches of ice. Two days ago with the temperature at 11c it seemed quite possible that the frogs would be at the mating and spawning game but fortunately for their millions of offspring la grande passion has been postponed. Expectant parents are probably lurking in the green machine-not that I have checked.

Too cold to leave the vicinity of the Rayburn
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Home thoughts from, er, home

Who would go to the Bahamas or Grenada on a day like this. St Abbs and Coldingham Bay with the daffodils threatening to burst out and bees everywhere have it all. The BBC weather centre terrorists, fed up with such nice weather are muttering about -6c tonight and snow 'midweek'. But carpe diem I say

One thing wil make a perfect day perfecter: Big win by England against the Saltires at Twickenham-send them back north to 'think again'

Plus Berwickshire Turkeys staying healthy. One feels so sorry about the flu victims down south-"Relax boys-we survived Christmas"; and then bam! Avian Flu. 160,000 turkeys can be wrong.

It seems
Friday, February 02, 2007
Apparently Newcastle (on Tyne,Not Norn Iron) has been designated as the noisiest place in the UK, beating Fishwick, with its intense traffic, into second place. Hutton of course can congratulate itself on being in the top three of Britain's quietist spots. 'As the grave' may have some resonance here. Mind you during the Jim Clarke Rally and when we are living with the scourge of low flying aircraft the decibel count is painfully high.
  Spittall Beach. High Winter 2007

Spittall Beach. High Winter 2007
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Sun high (well highish) in the Heavens, smooth sea, miles of empty sands, dog pooh washed out towards Sweden. Global warming at its most beneficial. Where are the deck chairs and the sun bathers?

Why go to the Bahamas when you can go to sunny Spittall?
  Spittall Seasonal Food

Spittall Seasonal Food
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
February it may be but the good people of Spittall, lulled by the sun, are dreaming of the summer to come and stocking up accordingly
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Scottish Reivers to pay more
Much of the Berwickshire letter column is taken up with the reaction to a story in last weeks paper that Scottish residents would be charged extra for use of the Maltings Cultural centre in Berwick, England. (the rationale being that the Maltings is subsidised by the local council) An example of this is the epistle from Name and Address supplied below which looks at the decision from a potentially ethnically divisive angle. But there are practical difficulties as well. I fear for Scottish retaliation. It already costs 20p for a relief visit in public loos in Berwickshire-perhaps English visitors will be called upon to pay an extra 5p or so to compensate the local council tax payers for their subsidies to public services. And as people are asking, will visitors to the Maltings from outside the UK also be asked to pay extra? Or is it one rule for the Scots and another for the rest of the world?. Back to the drawing board I respectfully suggest to the Maltings' Trustees

SIR, - Having read your report on proposals to "charge Scottish residents more than Berwick residents to use the Maltings " I am dismayed.
No not at the proposal. As an English person living in Scotland I have no objection to paying more to use the facility than Berwick residents, after all they are the ones subsidising the venue and it is not uncommon for local council taxpayers to get concessions at theatres, sports centre and the like in their council's area. This has been standard practice on both sides of the Border for many years.
I do not like the idea that Berwick councillors appear to be trying to 'blackmail' Berwickshire residents into forcing the hand of the SBC members, but what I strongly object to is the whole tone of the news item.
I expect unbiased reporting from my local newspaper, particularly one with sister papers on both sides of the Border and owned by a company, albeit Scottish based, with newspapers throughout Great Britain.
This is the kind of story which encourages anti Union feeling along with reports of so-called "English Rievers using Scottish hospitals" stirred up by MSP Christine Grahame. (I am sure she now understands that cross Border funding applies, both for English patients using Borders General Hospital and for the residents of places at the western end of the Border who, more often than not, use Carlisle Infirmary rather than Scottish hospitals).
But the really sad aspect of the Maltings story is the final paragraph of the report which suggests that if the proposal becomes reality "we could see a further split between the two countries". Who says so? Obviously some young reporter who has not been taught the difference between reporting and commenting or should it have been attributed to someone previously quoted?
These are no longer Debateable Lands and the English and Scots have lived in relative harmony in the Borders for many years. So if there are any anti-Union stirrings (deliberate or otherwise) to be heard, let's please leave them to the SNP and the man who really is doing more for their cause than Alec Salmond - Britain's next Prime Minister Gordon Brown!

It is particularly ironic as Berwick is emotionally more a Scottish burgh than an English borough. And indeed some Berwickers reckon they are also Scottish by geography if they live south of the border but north of Sir Morrisons. Another reason etc etc.
Happenings in A small Scottish Community


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