Musings from the Merse
Monday, April 30, 2007
  Party Political Signs

Party Political Signs
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Hutton is now awash with party posters. Well, we have 4. Two SNP, One Tory and a Green. Its perhaps a good thing, or perhaps not, that the canvassers did not try to pin their livery on the pole behind-or indeed the other one in the post below. 'Sparks Fly at Party Rally.'would be the headline on a Berwickshire News obituary. A bit more interesting than 'Kent Tremors not felt in Berwick' (see pages 5-7 of next Thursdays edition)

Party Political Sign
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
At first sight it seemed to be another SNP poster-yellow sun brightened in this instance. But no, it is even more frightening than that. A familiar sight in rural Berwickshire. But at whom is the warning directed?

Party canvassers? . Very tall dogs?

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Haste on Ye Hustings. Please.

Three days to go until Polling Day and the rain forest is declining fast with candidates producing their last minute puffs. The first (and thankfully only) effusion from Mr M. Cook, the independent candidate for the local council elections hand delivered to day, and with difficulty squeezed under our 1874 front door-the letter box is around the side. Mr Lamont, the Tory MSP candidate who has cut down more trees than all the other candidates combined has joined the LibDems with his facsimile 'handwritten' last appeal for support on Thursday. He has incorporated a further 'hand written' letter of support from a Mr Wyse (perhaps a misleading surname in this context?) a former Provost of Jedburgh. The wife says that clearly from the script Mr W is a Mr but she is not so sure about John. Anyhow, irrespective of gender, he is promising to stand up for every community 'no matter how small' so great news for Hutton and Fishwick (Paxton, with its huddled masses, can stand up for itself, thank you very much)

Mr Cook is more bombastic and self confident as befits a former Depute (ugh) Leader of the Scottish Borders Council. Allegedly he has the skills and experience, or so he tells us, he gets results and he is passionate about our community-by which I think he means Eyemouth which he used to represent in the SBC Council under the previous system of one member small constituencies. He won't learn much about Hutton by poking billet douxs under doors but at least he has trod the turf if not pressed the flesh or even the door bell-or of course it could have been someone else on his behalf-a daughter perhaps?

Mr C modestly mentions his First Class Honours Degree (his capitals) in Scottish History from St Andrews. So he comes from a more intellectual background than say Big Jim Conundrum. Mrs O went to the LSE acording to her literature (but for how long and with what success is not mentioned) And Mr Raw is a former Head master so we have three possible Grudian Readers (In Mrs O's case more likely the Glascow Herald) and a certain Daily Torygraph amongst our future Tribunes of the people
Sunday, April 29, 2007
  Old Manse

Old Manse
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
With reference to the post immediately below we are taking no chances and have publicly staked (no pun intended) our claim to the name 'Old Manse' Who ever buys the present Manse after the incumbent has departed had better think of another name. 'Dunneelin 'perhaps. Perhaps not; they don't kneel in the Church of Scotland-to Bishop, Monarch or even the Almighty. In the old days they used to keep their hats on in the Kirk.

The women as well
Manse, Old Manse or rather newer former Manse

Coming back from a well attended Pisci (Scottish Episcoplian) church to day and contemplating the large (600 seater?) next door, unlike Christ Church, Duns, used every other Sunday, reminds Huttonian that we are coming to the end of an era in June. As from the end of that month we will no longer have a resident incumbent in the Manse (as opposed to the Old Manse)and we will be in the 'charge' of the Church of Scotland Minister in Swinton who will also be 'charging' around a number of other kirks in a very large series of linked parishes. With our regular fortnightly congregration of not much more than 20 rattling around in our neighbouring edifice I wonder how long the Minister will be able to service (no pun intended)these hardy souls twice monthly. Paxton, next door with an average (fortnightly)congregration in single figures is likely to fold and the better supported Foulden, rating a weekly service, will leave this parish to go to an enlarged parish including Ayton, Burnmouth, Granthouse, Houndwood and Reston-the A1 corridor. Fishwick will remain within Hutton, Paxton and Fishwick but it does not actually have a church building thus saving it another source of vehicle traffic. To Farmer N's great relief no doubt.

And what is in a name asks the Postman? We are now the Old Manse. But the Manse will presumably be sold and can hardly continue to be called the Manse under non-clerical ownership. Can't call it the Old Manse, Can they? That would really be confusing 'The not quite so Old Manse'? perhaps? 'The more recent former Manse'? A bit clumsy? How about plucking a name out of the air:

Antrim House, for example.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Mayde in Greenlaw

Its that time of the year that the main Berwickshire 'toons'get ready for their annual commemorations of their disreputable pasts: Duns with its Reiver and supporting cast-Coldstream with the Coldstreamer, right hand and left hand men and the sad pilgrimage to Flodden Field.Now Greenlaw, the Berwickshire 'Ancient' Capital (Before this honour was ceded to Duns) with its racing armed response unit and its sleeping policemen, is getting into the act.

:New image for Greenlaw Festival Says the Berwickshire)

Committee is re-formed

« GREENLAW Festival Weekend Committee have re-formed, and are meeting regularly to plan for the 2007 Festival Weekend.
The event will provide entertainment over a number of days and it is hoped that local groups and individuals will get involved and share their skills and experience in making it a fun event for all.
This year the festival will have a new image, focusing activities over a weekend in August. There hasn't been a Greenlaw Maid for four years, although the Greenlaw Fayre Maid was crowned last year, so the committee are hoping for a well-supported weekend.
They are currently seeking nominees for the 2007 Greenlaw Maid. Interested girls (currently aged 14 years and over) are asked to pick up a nomination form from Sandy McLean & Co's office in East High Street, Greenlaw. Nomination forms must be returned to the same address by May 9.
This year's Maid will be announced at a Dance to be held on the June 1, details to be advertised in Greenlaw nearer to the event.
The Committee would like to ask for everyone's ideas and support to make the Festival Weekend a great success.

So if you are Greenlaw Teenager, distaff preferably, and would like to be a Maid (or rather,more likely, a Mayde)and were passed over last year as the Fayre Maid, now is your chance for a week of glory in Vibrant Greenlaw. And the best of Berwickshire luck.

What is special about Greenlaw? I asked a Borderer when I first came here. 'Its a small toon 'he said. 'It what you pass through on your way to somewhere else.' A bit like Coldstream?' I suggested 'Yes' he said.

'But it doesn't take as long'

Spring is Sprung- Lambs wear fleece. And so do we

Unlike the southron folk the Borders is enjoying a normal Spring detached from those parts afflicted with Global Warming. Daffs out on timetable, blossom ditto and the Swallows here at about the same time as normal.It is still chilly out of the sun and the only approach to the tropics I have noticed is the need to mow our meadow aka back and front lawns from early March and at least once a week.

You can say what you like about Hutton and many do but it is a pretty little place in the Spring especially when the Daffodils are on their way out. And the season-the new financial year, brings out the Council Pot Hole Patchers which will keep the road to the Kirk (and eventually to the Old Manse) a pleasant drive until, at least, June by which time the tar has run out and so as the Roads budget. In one of the images you can see the recently filled caverns- a mole no go area for a couple of months. This year Spring has also brought out the politicians-reluctantly leaving their mark on Hutton. SNP signs, a curious yellow, blending in with the dying daffs and, very recently, Tory True Blue matching the sky and the Village Hall roof

On the larger view of the road down to the Church-signed just as Cul de Sac-we should surely give it a name some time*-you can see the old pub at the top of the road. Sadly it has been just after closing time for the last 50 years. Sad, I often fancy a refreshing Pint having watched the jobbing gardeners mow both lawns and it would also have been good to have taken the horse to be shod in the Old Smiddy-top of picture to the left. It has not operated as such since time immemorial (ie I don't know when it folded up its bellows)Nor have I a horse. But it is the thought that counts,isn't it?

* As the road goes, as it's almost final destination, to the old Cemetery a bloggee has suggested it be named' Dead End Lane' Perhaps a more tasteful nomenclature than that made by Big Jim Conundrum as an alternative description of 'Back Lane' in Paxton. ( Some Paxtonians want it renamed and a sign put up, as visitors can't find it, apparently)

Back Passage.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Huttonian occasionally lobs poems in the direction of various poetry competitions-and they generally get lobbed back in the stamped and addressed envelope demanded by the organisers. Another second class stamp down the proverbial.Usually the conditions of entry are standard -42-80 lines maximum, never been published, self published, published on any broadcast or website. And most important 'must be entirely the work of the entrant'. Scanning the Bridport Prize 2007-much as usual but suddenly I was struck by the final condition: important and underlined :

Entries submitted posthumously will not be eligible

Honest: http://www.bridportprize.org.uk/postalentryrules.htm

Must get on with it then. I feel a chill coming on and at my age....

Lazarus raised from the Tomb
rushed homb.
'Raised from the Dies*

I'll have a go
at the Pries'

* Dies OE Equiv Dead-Blogg-ed (poetry)

Last years Bridport Runner Up)
  Duns Drive 12th

Duns Drive 12th
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
This is the drive to the par three 12th at Duns. Its further (205 yards) and the green higher than it may look in this image. This one of the hilly holes which the Cardiac Three avoid. THeir self propelled trollies may be able to make it but the humans don't try. More on http://www.flickr.com/photos/oldgreywolf/

On the Stump and at the wheel

One can hardly but admire the laid back canvassing style of the would be MSP and/or local councillor representing the SNP. On my way down Kirk Lane I met a young lady clutching a few Party Political puffs (Berwickshire StandardSNP) I offered to take one off her to save a knock at our door and told her where she could find the other denizens in these here parts. She explained that she was the candidate's daughter distibuting the literature and went on her way. At the bottom of the lane the candidate herself was sitting in her 4wd gas guzzler awaiting the daughter's return and no doubt working on on of her acceptance speeches. Nice relaxed way of spreading the word -no need to press the flesh, kiss the baby or give a spiel.

A bloggee from Paxton reports a similar approach in that metropolis. This time from within her garden she heard the candidate, ensconced in the cattle wagon instruct her little helpers :' Hand these out and waste no time in idle chat' or words to that effect.

And I have to report that only the SNP have posters up in Hutton and quite a long way up a couple of poles. Well done those kids

Nice work if you

can get someone else to do it

(Note to other parties. Can't you spare a poster or two? Are we being taken for granted?)
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Tory Guide to Local Elections

For the benefit of Big Jim 'Fully' Fullarton, sitting local councillor for Chirnside and round about, Tory candidate for East Berwickshire, here is the way tht the Single Transferable Vote will work. It was clear from his muddled meanderings last night at the Hutton and Paxton Community Council that Big Jim Conundrum has arather muddled view of the electoral system which he hopes will propel him back to Newtown St Boswells next week. His (uninformed but actually rather cunning advice) was for everyone to vote for all the candidates on the ballot paper but in order of preference. Thus me and the rest of us may well find ourselves actually casting a vote which might matter for Mr Big and Mrs O. No thanks

So follow closely:

1. The ballot paper lists the names of the candidates from each party. Voters vote by putting a '1' next to the name of their favoured candidate, a '2' next to the name of their next favoured candidate and so on. They stop allocating preferences when they cannot decide between the candidates – they do not need to vote for them all.
2. At the count, the number of votes which candidates need in order to be elected (the 'quota') is calculated by dividing the total number of valid ballot papers by the number of people to be elected plus one. For example, with 100 valid ballot papers and three places to be filled, the quota would be 25.
3. The ballot papers are sorted into piles according to the first preferences – the '1's. If any candidate has more first-preference votes than the quota, they are immediately elected.
4. The next stage is to transfer any surplus votes for these elected candidates, i.e. the difference between their vote and the quota needed to be elected. To avoid the problem of deciding which of the votes are surplus, all ballot papers are transferred but at a reduced value so that the total adds up to the number of surplus votes.
5. After all the surpluses have been transferred, we look to see whether all the places to be elected have been filled. If they have not, then the candidate with the fewest votes is excluded and his or her votes are transferred to the voters' second preferences.
6. This process of transferring surpluses and excluding candidates continues until enough candidates have reached the quota to fill all the places to be elected.

Anyone from Chirnside and environs not fully grasping this formula is advised not to
ask your local councillor for elucidation.

Today's Berwickshire carries a front page report(a small one on a big page) about armed police racing through the streets of Greenlaw after a call from a 39 year old man claiming that he was in possession of a firearm. Apparently he had previously called NHS24 to say he was committing suicide via an overdose of drugs-so the firearm seems to have been a bit of an overkill (no pun intended) Having won their race the armed police failed to find any firearm and the guy in question is now charged with committing a breach of the peace by claiming to be committing suicide.

You have to be careful with the fuzz in the 'Ancient Capital of Berwickshire'-as the town sign proudly proclaims. The Wife driving a weary Huttonian homewards after a day flight from Ghana was followed out of Greenlaw latish on a Saturday night by the East Lothian and Borders Police rapid response take-no-prisoners Patrol Car.Having stopped us by a lot of light flashing, and having had our tyres and lights examined closely the Wife was told that she had been in danger of committing a serious breach of the peace in that she drove through the ancient capital of Greenlaw in a reckless and intimidating manner with her headlights full on thus putting slumbering coppers parked peacefully in the main street in fear and trembling of their lives and waking them up with a horrid start etc (I paraphrase the nice remarks made by a friendly policeman slightly- for dramatic effect.)

We explained that we had just come from Edinburgh airport after flying all day and it had seemed to us that Greenlaw was even more deserted than ever, had not noticed the dozing Panda and very sorry for any offence (no pun intended) given. Pity was taken and we not breathalysed or further interrogated We were however asked where in the Borders we stayed (tr: lived) Our response was 'Hutton'

They laughed! And giggling and chortling sent us on our way

Why? What is so funny about Hutton in police circles?

Next time we will say


Intake of breath. Respect. The Traffic black spot of the Borders.
  Hutton. Night Sky.Garden looking North

Hutton. Night Sky.Garden looking North
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Red Sky at Night: Tories take fright.

I offer this image taken in the Old Manse back garden at 9.45 pm last night as a reason for not finding Big Jim Conundrum's offer on part of the Scottish Conservative party to spend £1.5 million on 'lighting' in the Borders as particularily compelling. One good reason for living in wild and woolly (no bad sheep pun intended) Berwickshire is to get away from neon pollution and the longer Kirk Lane is lamp free the happier I will be be.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Well not quite. The Old Manse garden is a shining beacon in this regard as Agent Orange reigns supreme nearby. But three quarters of a mile up the road Organics are there in the form of pick your own organic eggs. No, you don't have to squeeze them out of the hen but make a selection from a fridge at the entrance to the farm house drive. An 'honesty' box contribution and there you are. A notice (image to follow) explains about the eggs and how the hens are cared for. Secret of success is not just strict organic environment but the fact that the hens are encouraged to listen to the radio.

Radio 2 apparently.

It seems to work.
Elections are a Drag?

The Wife has been putting the finger on friends and relis for contributions to our charity Cerebral Palsy Africa ( www.cerebralpalsyafrica.org ) With some success and the cheques and standing orders from generous people have been coming in. So we were delighted to have another promising hand written envelope landing on our mat (well into the boot box outside our door, actually) . Having torn itopen with eager anticipation, the wife used an unusual (for her) exclamation. This was a facsimile letter from our sitting MSP, Euan Robson and the envelope may also have been machine written-the ink would not lick off-and very convincingly done too. No cheque within of course.

I don't know why it is so irritating to receive these make believe hand written jobs. I suppose it is give the impression of the personal touch and to stop you binning the missive unopened. But my instinct, I am sure shared by many other eager voters in Berwickshire, is , having opened the envelope in anticipation of something interesting, to recycle the contents unread out of share rage at the blatant abuse of personal 'space' as they say amongst the Grudian Literati.

I remarked to the wife how technically advanced the LibDems must be to replicate Mr Robson's hand writing so accurately. She, irked and cheque-less was less impressed. That's not a man's hand writing-its quite clearly feminine and generated via a computer.Oh Dear. But perhaps she is right and has not fully taken in the implications. Computer generated. Ok. But it could still be an exact facsimile of the original hand written distaff script. The style is authentic Robson as -seen-in-the-Mound -Notes -weekly- in-the-Berwickshire. So if this is a copy of the genuine Robson hand and not that of an underpaid a secretarial hack in the Fishwick LibDem Call Centre-could it be that Euan Robson is not the man we have taken him for?

In Drag?

All these years?

And we have never noticed.

Mind you the envelope is in a male hand.So perhaps, Theory Two: Mrs R does the letters and the washing up.And Mr R the envelopes. And the ironing.

Good team that.

But we would much prefer a cheque.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Huttonian missed it. Big Jim Conundrum our East Berwickshire Tory candidate for the local council and our sitting member (much easier to talk to when he is sitting and you are 5'6" -on a good day) He hammered our 1874 Bell and was fielded by the wife. Introducing himself he explained that he as an experienced Tory and the MSP candidate the massive paper producing Mr Lamont both knew 'What is what' Which I suppose is as inspiring address to the voters of Berwickshire you could hope to get.

Amongst Conservative plans on his mercifully brief Manifesto is an attack on litter costed at £150,000 and 50,000 less on Positive commitment to Sport Sounds a bit unbalanced unless you follow the Big Mac Trail.

And the 'biggest ever single investment' in Lighting £1.5million.

Keep them out of Kirk Lane please-we are in the countryside to see the stars not neon pollution everywhere.

His Puff ends with the inspiring message:

Remember it takes one to know one! Vote 1 for Filly'

A conundrum, wrapped in an enigma and inside a poisoned chalice?*

AS one great Tory Leader might have said

* Very in-joke. You need to attend the meetings of the H&PCC to fully appreciate the classical allusion.(Blog-ed)

Rejoicing in a racing pigeon free zone I went out yesterday to photograph our ancient stable block. Something caught my eye through the lens. Yes, there was the wretched Stool-nowhere near Hartlepool, Halifax or Hexham. But on the stable roof (click on image to pick him out if you can be bothered) Where he had been the last 18 hours I have no idea-perhaps decorating the Village Hall roof with his prolific droppings. Skulking around probably- I doubt if he bothered to go far.So it is back to the dreary task of watering and feeding a useless if decorative ex-racing pigeon-one unfinished race under his belt and long years of Hutton water and organic bird seed to look forward to. Well for some.

However, cometh the hour, cometh the cat. Rosie, you can still do it despite the arthritis

In the meanwhile I would advise you to keep out of reach of Katy's spade.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Independence? Oh, er, yes, if you like

The SNP is working hard to earn the trust of the people of Scotland. And we trust you to decide on independence in a referendum claims one of the many glossy leaflets which are now beginning to swamp our post with the rest of the junk mail. This SNP puff has a picture of the First Minister in waiting, sitting rather uncomfortably on the edge of a post-modern desk, radiating trust, concern and considerate humility. But the tie could have been better chosen imho.

The SNP are certainly not pushing independence in their rain forest productions. Shrewd that. Getting rid of tatty old New Labour is a sure vote winner but breaking up the union is not even if it means redeploying Polaris from Holy Loch to Holy Island so it is being presented as a bit of an afterthought-well after scrapping Council Tax, better health services and more tartan bobbies on the streets of dangerous communities like Eyemouth, Duns, Paxton and Fishwick. And when we have done that how about a bit of Independence? But no hurry. We can still do with tainted English gold.

'Its time for fresh thinking and a new approach' Says Mr Salmond

(And there seems little evidence of either in the new repackaged Scottish Nationalist Party or via the candidates they are promoting in these parts)

So vote for someone else. There's a new approach for you.

I hope that this is the Last Post-but without a two minutes silence-about Stool. After strutting around in an irritating way all day, growling sotte voce he decided to take refuge in the Boiler room the door of which I had carelessly left open. It seemed that this was going to be his permanent roost and general purpose struttery and toilet area-he craps prodigiously and the boiler controls were his principal throne of easement. After his ignoring three ultimata, two requests for a cease fire and a Security Council Resolution a posse armed with Katy's beach spade (thank you Katy)rooted him out to the back yard where after a final protesting dump into his water bowl he flew off south wards. This was dusk last night-and at 10am this morning he has not returned.

Hopefully he is back home in Hartlepool, Halifax of Hexham. Please stay there-neck unwrung or not, I don't really care.

Me, I learn from my mistakes. The Bolier door remains shut.And I am very happy to buy Katy another spade if she wants this one back.

A neighbouring bloggee summed it all up admirably: "Craps on his bowl and pisses off. There is gratitude for you"

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Hirsel Lord Home. Statue
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
This is Sir Alec Douglas Home's statue at the entrance of his former
estate at the Hirsel, Coldstream. Huttonian's former boss and one of the best boss the Foreign Office has ever had. Sadly too obviously 'aristocratic' to succeed as a politician at a time that it was increasingly necessary to have a good media-especially TV-persona

In my time at the UN he used to give the UK Foreign policy speech during the opening days of the General Assembly-the plenary sessions usually attended by Foreign Ministers and the (very) odd Head of State. We officials in the UK Mission to the UN used to write his-he would look at it and then rewrite it in his own inimitable style-quite often with his own interpretation of British policies-some times somewhat unorthodox if not down right heritical. With help from highheidyins in London ww would persaude him to accept the orthodox version which we would rewrite a few minutes before he went up to the rostrum to avoid any last minute changes. To no avail.
As he left the OK seat he would carefully put his prepared polished pompous script into his left hand pocket and produce his own out of the right-tool ate to stop him then.

No harm done as no one would be bothered to listen to yet another boring world view given to an organisation which much of the West, at least, derided and the press (if any) would use our hand out rather than pay attention to his words. But it made him feel better and we did not grudge such a lovely man his little victory.

A sharp eyed bloggee has noted that Sir A has buttoned up his jacket a la distaff. The sculptor (this was done after Sir Alec's death)
and presumably did not look at the photograph closely enough. Or perhaps it was a little joke. Like when Harold Wilson rather contemptously referred to him as the '14th Earl of Home' to which the response was ' no worse than being the 14th Mr Wilson'

A Man of Statute as one Coldstreamer called him. Hence the title

So what makes a racing pigeon fly all day, presumably home wards and then return to Hutton in time for a light meal and Saturday night TV. Presumably the World Snooker Championship is also being screened in Hartlepool, Halifax and Hexham. Did Stool circle over his old cote and say to himself the Duck with this, I am off back to the Merse where the air is pure, the grain plentiful and the water from the deepest and purest Hutton aquifer? Did he see his owner stop wringing his hands in preparation for wringing a neck? We may never know.

He seems to have gone off this morning.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Screams the Berwickshire on its Page 3-sharing this excitement with the life and times of the Laird. It is actually a story about the manifesto issued by the newly formed Borders Party-see earlier posts for further elucidation.

Much of the party's wish list makes sense especially about the age old problem of promoting tourism to these here parts. VisitScotland is a busted flush and the BP is quite right in demanding an end to that meaningless description of the Borders as 'Scotland's favourite short break destination' Making it 'drive through counties' on the way to or from more exotic and interesting places. BP's big idea is to promote our turbulent past and especially the Reivers with a Reivers Trail, festooned no doubt, with gibbets creaking in the wind and interactive interpretation
boards telling of Wynsome Maydes foully ravished and done to death or Laird's cattle hamstrung by nocturnal raiders long ago. The Reivers have a story to tell. Lets tell it. Difficult to exaggerate their sheer awfulness but lets do our best. Apparently VisitScotland and other 'tourism chiefs' did not want to 'highlight our violent past' Spineless wimps imply the BP. Where is Mel Gibson when we need him? Why bother to go to Bannockburn or Culloden when you can nostalgically wallow in blood around here. Ever heard of Flodden? Mel G as James IV?

The other vision thing is to sell the Borders in the US of A. Kick start a heritage/genealogical campaign. Play up the Nixons, Johnsons, Grahams connections.And Armstrong-straight from Border country to the Moon. And at least one famous Nixon not only looked a bit like an old Reiver (imagine him in a Reiver helmet and see what I mean) certainly acted like one. So the party would like to set up a Borders Embassy in Washington to sell us to naive and credulous Yanks. What they need is a well established Borders resident, ideally from the Merse, with an extensive knowledge of international diplomacy,three years experience of working as a diplomat in the US, speaks the language fluently, and would not be embarrassed by a huge salary and generous allowances.

Where do I sign?

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Bird Flown?

9.30 AM. Window sill empty. Grain gone, water drunk. Stool gone. Never been this late back before. Can we dare believe that he is on his way to Hartlepool, Halifax or Hexham where the flat capped chaps boast about their Pigeon's Progress.'Not seen him for ten days..turned up right as rain!' 'Sounds proper little waster to me. Have you wrung its neck?' 'Not yet. Have a roast and two veg for Sunday dinner. Reckon might wait until Monday. Would go down well with a spot of mash'

If you are on the Blog, Stool, I'd turn back before it is too late.

Mind you there could be a reason for the prolonged absence closer to home.

I thought the Sparrow Hawk was looking a trifle smug


Friday, April 20, 2007

Johnny Leaves Holywood-oops-Holyrood.

Page 3 of the Berwickshire carries a rather nice picture of the Laird and Lairdess looking relaxed amongst what looks like the tropical rain forest of Paxton House. The accompanying laudatory article marks the East Lothian's MSP retirement from politics: 'From Daft young farmer to highly respected politician' is the headline. Which of those epithets are controversial we ask ourselves? In this cynical age 'respected'and 'politician' put together amounts, normally, to an oxymoron. I will leave others to judge how apt this is in this case.

Why leave parliament I hear you ask? "I don't want to become time server and thought it was a good time for someone else to take over' Nothing apparently to do with that offer of a peerage? And what has happened to that?

Apparently JHR is now to have time to paint his garage.

I hope that happens within time and budget unlike another project the highly respected member for Lothian presided over. If not, its his cash that is at risk.

Not ours.
Pigeon Pie in the Sky

Hopes raised again-no sign of Stool early this morning-but by 9-30 back he was on the bathroom ledge once more. He seems to be trying out longer and longer reconnaissance flights but his new homing mechanism brings him back here rather than Hartlepool or where ever.

The consensus of opinion at the Village Hall Coffee evening was that the pigeon would eventually home off. And it is apparently quite possible-as a bloggee has commented in the Bigg Bird Forum < http://forum.biggonline.co.uk/viewtopic.php?p=34541#34541 > - that its owner will welcome him home by wringing its neck as being a useless and unreliable racing pigeon.

Moral dilemma? Keep him here by force if necessary or let him go back to his cote and face capital punishment. Life imprisonment or the angry choke?

One villager mentioned how delicious Pigeon Pie can be.

So a tender and caring wring of a slender neck and a ping-of the microwave.

There's a thought.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
ELECTION FEVER. Hold the Twelth Page

At long last the Berwickshire is devoting some attention to the forthcoming Scottish elections.Page 12, no less. And at last there is some mention of the Scottish Borders Council hustings. With only 4 candidates for three seats in East Berwickshire the elections will be Berwickshire's answer to Big Brother with one house mate to be voted out and the other three living happily ever afterwards. One if the four is a very local person-Mrs Aileen Orr, Farmer O's spouse who is only a stone's throw (No, don't take that either literally or as statement of intent) from down town Hutton. She is also a candidate for the Scottish Parliament and I suspect has added a second string to her bow as it seems unlikely she can overturn the Lib Dem majority and unseat Euan Robson.

Given that David Raw (Lib Dem) and the sitting councillor from Lamberton Michael Cook (Independent) are likely to top the poll in EB that will leave Mrs Orr and Jim Conundrum Fullarton locked for survival for the third seat. Tactical voting will be very important here with the single transferable vote system in operation. Huttonian's advice is that you only vote for people you would really like to see returned.

Looking ahead to the next Community Council post the SBC elections it remains to be seen which of the three councillors are allocated to us as an ex-officio member. Will we be stuck with Jim -can't- fix -it or will it be the most local person if Mrs O is successful? There is a good case for not having a too local person on board-obvious clash of interests especially a farming person in a farming community with greedy developers hovering around.

Will the Community Council have any choice in the matter?

I note from Mrs Orr's stirring address to the electors (still on Page 12) with the usual SNP targets of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan (why Afghanistan?-do the Taliban resonate with the poor hielanders of Culloden?)Trident, the Scottish Parliament building-wrong one in wrong place apparently and Jack McConnell that there is no mention of Scottish Independence.

Now that is a good start. I hope she can carry Mr Salmond with her
Fishy Story?

In a previous post I mentioned the opening of this museum in Paxton house if only to draw attention to some self congratulatory comments by the Laird. The Museum itself is well worth a visit with a state of the art interactive display which is fun to play with even if you don't have any interest in fishing-as millions don't.

World's oldest fishing club opens museum

Major Alexander Trotter officially opens the new museum

ELLEM Fishing Club, the oldest fishing club in the world, now has a permanent exhibition at Paxton House, and alongside the equipment, medals and information panels on display are mannequins exhibiting the traditional costume of 1829 along with the contemporary costume of today.
The Lord Lieutenant of Berwickshire, Major Alexander Trotter, carried out the opening ceremony at the museum, situated just off the courtyard of the house, watched by club members, guests, associates and sponsors.
The exhibition also contains a record of a club still going strong today and the Lord Lieutenant described the inter-active display as "superb".
It covers the Whiteadder from Ellemford, the birthplace of the club 175 years ago, to the River Tweed.
(Berwickshire 12 June)

The Borders has more than its fair share of surnames with Animal Farm connections. Here we have a Trotter, presumably a cousin to the Piggs. Hoggs a plenty (two columns in the phone book) several Cowes, one Bullock, in Scremeston, at least.The odd Duck has been spotted.There is at least one Cock(s) in Melrose.A number of Birds Then of course Swanns(the former Deputy Lord Lieutenant, no less)and a Stag (in Hawick),lots of Foxes(if that is correctly the plural of the name Fox) a flock of Lambs-no Sheep but a handful of Sheerins ( a bit underemployed, presumably) Sadly not a Ramsbottom Other nominations welcome.

One thought. Can the Ellem club with only 175 years behind it really be the oldest one in the world? Seems unlikely given how long fishing has been a popular pastime. What happened to those beery and boastful dens that the Complete Angler aka Isaak Walton, use to frequent. Or the Xanadu Angling Club, President Kubla Khan, which used to fish the River Alph? Is it not still going? Has anyone checked?

In the meanwhile the blog can certify that Ellem Fishing Club is the only one in the world to have a museum in Paxton House.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Feet wet with Google

I rely heavily on route finders for road directions for say Hutton to Kelso via Fishwick. Google Maps is a valuable tool in finding one's away even to the most exotic locations from the most hundrum places. Hutton to Kelso is a case in point. Just for further elucidation go to Google Maps and type in directions from New York, NY to Paris, France < http://maps.google.com/ >

Its a several stage journey -here are points 20 to 26. Stage 23 is of particular

Merge onto Atlantic Ave 0.8 mi
3 mins

Turn right at Central St 0.1 mi

Turn right at Long Wharf 0.1 mi

Swim across the Atlantic Ocean 3,462 mi
29 days 0 hours


Slight right at E05 0.5 mi
2 mins

At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto E05/Pont Vauban 0.1 mi

Turn right at E05
Partial toll road 17.3 mi
22 mins

And so on to Gay Paree

Perhaps Google will suggest swimming the Tweed as the Chain Bridge is closed.

(Worth asking?)

Thankyou Paxton Bloggee for this diverting waste of time
Pigeon Post

The wife with great excitement reported early this morning that Stool, the errant racing pigeon, was nowhere to be seen. The perch on the upstairs bathroom window was empty apart from a pile of bird crap-and no sign of him anywhere else. So obviously our policy of patient loving care had paid off and Post, now recovered from his uncompleted Marathon was soon to be reunited with his anxious owner who could now stop searching the western skies for a tiny speck of returning bird life.Or something.

Alas, false dawn. By 9am the window sill was pigeon infested once more. Perhaps he had gone on a recce flight and found his GPS still on the blink.Or perhaps we serve up a better brand of grain and purer Hutton water than he is used to in bleak Hartlepool.

Or perhaps he is just an idle pigeon.In which case

Bring on the Sparrow Hawk
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Cheap Houses? We have got'em? But not that many. Fortunately

Cognoscenti of inappropriate development may hear some alarm bells ringing following a decision by the Scottish Borders Council to reject planing guidelines proposed by a private consultant aimed at ensuring that 30% of new private building developments are 'affordable housing' Help! shrieked the developers ( JS Crawford and Cala-nominated shrieker of the year) are you trying to drive us out of business? We want to build lots of Cardronas (and 'Orchards') not slums for the indigent needy. No money in that. The SBC agreed that God and the Council was on the side of the big battalions and agreed on smaller quotas up to a maximum of 25% and down to 15% in North Ettrick and Lauderdale.

The Berwickshire quota is set as at 'up to' 20% and although in these parts the new local plan rules out green field projects apart from infill sites it would be unwise to relax too much. 'Affordable housing' despite the restricted view taken by SBC is still a difficult concept for any aspiring politician to oppose. So some ambitious laird offering a corner of a large field to a building association is likely to meet an enthusiastic response. Oops! Ten cheap houses-oh dear that ruined the field for my turnips. 'Nae Bother' says Findum, Buildum, Screwum and Runn-we 'll take the rest of the field off your hands and with the Building Association we will gladly provide 10 slum clearance properties just behind the spanking new septic tank which will be over there. Social duty done we will knock up 50 luxury executive desirable residences to make this social engineering acceptable to the directors.That's near enough 20% isn't it SBC? And Mr Parker, Leader of the SBC, we are doing our bit in, to quote your philosophical words : meeting SBC's 'overall strategy of promoting and encouraging economic growth'

Everyone happy? Yes with the possible exception of the local community.

Don't mind them and their community council

Load of Nimbies.

They will soon get over it.

Good for the local school.

But that we closed over a year ago.

Oh. Can't win them all, I suppose.

Tell you what.How about a couple of new swings in the playground? Development with a heart. Ain't it?
Monday, April 16, 2007


For the first time on the WWW Huttonian can reveal the famous egg trip in detail. The idea is to transfer the eggs from top of the tray to the wine glasses below without damaging the eggs or the glasses-see previous post.

As the Highheidyins of the Village Hall Committee will note the eggs are correctly caught by the wine glasses-no question of the floor being sullied in this instance.


A word to the wise-don't accept calls for an encore.

(even if the eggs are organic)

They still break

Enlarge photos by clicking for astonishing detail-note in penultimate image the powerful magic shouted incantation essential for success-and, anxious of Ayton, Huttonian is not in a state of collapse in the last picture-just the tremendous follow through necessary for the eggs to fly on the correct parabola

NB Do try this at home
Sunday, April 15, 2007

I thought it hard worked.No rations for Stool. Came back from Duns and found that his nighttime perch, our east facing bathroom window ledge, was empty.Hurrah-looked at the trees-empty. Wall-empty. Something pecked at my shoe. It was Stool. So pleased to see his mummy/daddy again. (ugh 2)

I doubt if he will leave unless in company with the Sparrowhawk or next door's cat.

There is always

the pie option


Duns: New crime wave horror

None of the candidates at the forthcoming hustings have raised the question of crime in the Borders as far as Huttonian knows and it and the causes of it and whether to be tough about it seems not to be an issue. And yet the doings if Sheriff Kevin of Duns and his colleagues at the Berwickshire District Court continue to fill the pages of the Berwickshire News attracting as much coverage, if not more, as the Foulden, Mornington and Community Council.For goodness sake. Local names sell local papers and there must be a lot of unsuccessful offenders out there who like to see their names in print and rush out to buy the BN.

Crime of the week, worth a large chunk of reportage in the District Court, headed 'NOISY' was committed by a 16 year old Duns youth, guilty of causing annoyance by 'playing music too loud'. Wretched fellow 'operated a CD player and a stereo system as to give another person reasonable cause for annoyance and failed to desist on being required to do so by a police officer.
Not banged up. But 'sentence deferred until October 16 to allow him to be of good behaviour'

That seems rather a long period of grace before he has to turn the machine down to a lower volume? And I wonder if it was the same acne afflicted young man who was turning up the decibels of an 'entertainment centre' to its highest volume in the Duns Golf Club (MPBUI) last Thursday when I was trying to enjoy a post golf sausage in a roll with deep fried chips' (That was hard enough, never mind the 'music') Even his mates urged him to shut it a bit to within their comfort zone but he ignored their pleas or perhaps could not hear them.

Where are the Fuzz when you need them.

Roll on 16 October.
Saturday, April 14, 2007


Stool is still with us. I may need a change of tactics. According to the Royal Association of Racing Pigeons http://www.rpra.org/Default.aspx?tabid=100
we should stop feeding it after a few days in case (here I quote) it gets the impression that we are its 'new mummy and daddy' (ugh)So its away with the corn and the delicate plastic dish of purest Hutton water. The moment it emerges from its safe house I'll close the door. I hope it takes the hint and resumes its interrupted race-presumably unlikely to be amongst the winners

and may even fail to beat the tortoise.

The title of this post should not be taken too serously.


(Plan A now in operation-Pigeon locked out of boiler room and is now based on the roof above it. Is he poised to fly?

Or to stay?
Friday, April 13, 2007

Stool, our guest racing pigeon is still with us after three days and seemingly in no hurry to draw a line in his droppings and move on. Although he (?she) has been moving around outside pecking away and flying a bit the perch of preference is over the boiler well out of reach of Boots the killer cat.

A pigeon expert in the village assures me that Racing Pigeons dropping in for a bit of R&R are not uncommon. When he has had a good rest he will fly away home. But what, I asked, if he doesn't? Then take him in your car for a five mile drive and let him go. He will then fly back to his owner.

Or possibly back to the Old Manse if he prefers the peace and quiet of Hutton to the hustle and bustle of Hartlepool, or wherever the pigeon fanciers hang out these days.

It does not seem much of a choice to me.

But then I am not a pigeon.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Hustings Heat hits Home (pronounced Hume-except in Coldstream)

No doubt spurred on by this blog the Berwickshire is whipping up election fever via its banner headline: Four Way Fight for seat in Holyrood. Apparently election fever is 'starting to build' 'especially for the Scottish Parliament' But only the Tories have it as a top ten seats target. Indeed if the seat was won on the amount of Rain Forest destroyed to produce electioneering material Mr John Lamont, the bright young Tory thing, would be home and dry. Not that he has much competition as so far we have seen nothing of SNP, Lib Dem or Labour phamphlets so Global Warming is still kept at bay in Berwickshire at least.

The Borders Council elections still merit little coverage but as nominations closed only yesterday there is still time for some husting activity before 3 May.

One outgoing MSP, the Laird, described as 'Paxton based' gets some valedictory coverage of the typical Berwickshire uncritical variety. One of his Home forebears* says the B opposed the 1707 Act of Union and it was Johnnie himself who as a young delegate to the Labour Party Conference in 1976 moved the resolution which committed the Labour Party to devolution. And when he had to chose between being a tiny fish in Westminster (as MP for East Lothian) or a wriggly larger one in Holyrood 'John opted for the Scottish Parliament' We now await news of Lord Paxton, about which there has been a massive silence for some months. JHR also features on page 4 about the 'World's oldest fishing (Trout) club' opening a museum in Paxton House. The Laird as chairman of the Paxton House Trust explained how his family hand 'handed over the magnificent house and its contents to share with visitors and with the local people'
And now with the good fisher folk of Ellem

Did he explain why? And how really generous was this gesture' There are a number of theories about this not all flattering to the donor but nuff said. In the meanwhile Hutton Think Tank have been asked to commission a locally based children's fairy story. The working title is ;

*'Johnny and the Forebears'

Non libelous suggestions for the plot will be welcomed by the HTT writer in residence. In a brown envelope please
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
New party for the Borders

Huttonian in a desperate search to find any political party taking the Local Council Elections due on 3 May at all seriously has rediscovered the 'manifesto' launched by the Borders Party last October:

A NEW political party has been formed in the Borders, arguing the region should shape its own futures rather than hang on to "Edinburgh's coat tails".

The Borders Party, which plans to fight next year's council elections in the area, brings together protest groups and objectors unhappy about Scottish Borders Council's plans for the region.

Nicholas Watson, chairman of the new party, said for too long objectors had been characterised as opposing all change.

He said: "Of course the Borders needs new houses, new jobs, better transport links and improved services. But the Borders Party will support local communities and consult with them in an open and comprehensible way."

He added: "It's time someone stood up for the Borders before it's too late."

Stirring stuff but like all the other parties with a presence in the Borders there is very little political activity apparent around here. Go to the SNP, Lib Dem, Tory, New Labour websites you will find bytes and bytes of burble about their candidates for the Edinburgh Parliament but nothing about the hustings for Newtown St Boswells.

A free cup of coffee for the first SBC candidate on the Old Manse doorstep and a slice of the wife's home made organic brown bread. If he or she are here by 1030 tomorrow they can kiss a baby and be blogged to immortality.

Can't be fairer than that?

I have to report that this announcement (in the Scotsman) although it caused something of a stir locally did not seem to resonate abroad. The only overseas comment sent to the paper about the news item was from someone in Tasmania as follows:

I am pretty old, is it OK that I die without making a comment.

I wonder if he/she did. If so

  Sheltering Pigeon

Sheltering Pigeon
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Does anyone recognise this Racing (?) Pigeon which turned up at the Old Manse yesterday and may be sheltering from what was a strong wind and could be exhausted from battling against it. Seems perky enough and has food and water. According to the vet at the Berwick Swan's Trust it may be with us for a few days and then off on its way. Any owner who recognises an errant bird please contacy Huttonian.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
  Ffion: Howzat? Out if you are an Aussie

Ffion: Umpire
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000.
Australians tend to pick out promising sports people at a very early age and groom them mercilessly. But the Welsh Academy of Sporting Excellence gets an even earlier intake than is the case in Oz. Here Ffion ( 3 months) is given basic training in umpiring. It will be instinctive to raise a finger when the Australians are batting if her conditioning is effective.

Birthday trick
Originally uploaded by erase.
This is the famous Huttonian Egg Trick. Renowned throughout the known world. The idea (click on images to enlarge) is to transfer the eggs (have to be organic) from on top of the tray (held by match
boxes but only those for non-smokers will work under village hall conditions to the wine glasses below without breaking either the eggs or the glasses. Impossible I hear you cry. Not so oh Doubters! And indeed many there present with varying expressions of anticipation hoping for a big disaster Photographic evidence will later be produced to show the operation in its final stages and the eggs in mid air en route to the glasses.

On a visit to the Village Hall after the event I came across a working party buffing the floor with special polish and a large machine. On my enquiry a senior member of the Hall committee explained that they were removing egg from the floor! He was in jest (I think) and I told him that the middle nephew had spent some time after the supper mopping out the entire floor space.

Of course had the trick not been successful there would have been egg on the floor in sizeable quantities.

And rather more

on my face.

Thanks to Erase for one of thes pre-action images and the senior brother in law for the other
Monday, April 09, 2007
Slowly the Old Manse is returning to its normal complement of inmates, if not quite. It was built for an average Victorian family of one minister and at least five children-plus a house keeper. So with the addition of two daughters, a brother in law, three adult attachments and two grand children we are hovering above average. And the brother in law was persuaded to abandon his tent and sleep within the walls last night. May have found it colder than the garden but has politely not said anything yet. Perhaps because he is still asleep. Sparrow fart being now.

Actually not too many complaints about 'bloody freezing'. True, the weather was warm for Hutton in Spring (mind you 6C is warm for Hutton in Spring) And the wood burning stove was at its best. Never the less one reli managed to sit a few inches from the fire with the room at over 73F (do the maths) huddled in a fleece. Mind you he is into the history of Artic exploration and knows what cold can do to a man. He was
also moderate in his alchohol intake which can't have helped.

The junior brother in law assisted by the middle nephew spent the early hours of yesterday morning laying (no pun intended) over 100 mini chocolate eggs in the garden to provide sport for the children. No doubt we will still be finding them throughout the rest of recorded history as some of the smallest eggs were hidden imaginatively. One packet of craftsmen designed ones (made in Shanghai)-edition limited to a handful of millions- were so realistic that I suspect some of our graden birds will have a stressful few weeks.

Oh yes today is Hutton's Real Birthday-not his recently celebrated official one.

Have a Happy one I hear you cry!

I will, thankyou, I will

And, oh yes, the 'Egg Trick' worked perfectly (first time-I always foget the old troopers advic-never do an encore) Amazing images to follow.
Sunday, April 08, 2007

one hundred and ten candles

Hutton Village Hall rocked to the cries of juvenile merriment. And the children had a good time as well. Three generations of relis and near relis coming from Sweden, Paris, Lunnon, furthest Fife and even Welsh Wales. The caterer was also from foreign
parts -Duns and had to produce two cakes of incredible wholesomeness which on the top of a gargantuan buffet was quite a challenge . Through it all Ffion sat with an expression of bemused engagement having never seen so many people iin one place in her brief life-excluding of course Coach F on the GNER 1300 from Kings Cross.

The group photo was the most formal one available-the others consist of little boys doing silly things with balloons and older people who ought to know better imitating, incorrectly, the late Sir Winston Churchill.

More amazing images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/oldgreywolf/
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Another Basket Case
Picture the scene. Easter Saturday. Sir Morrison's heaving. Huttonian doing some last minute shopping for the 110 candles party. No pound coin. Could not get a trolley so made do with two baskets. Both heavily laden-besides the 110 candles. 7th in queue for the basket checkout(Have the checkout personnel on holiday with their caravans so too few open) Women behind me ' Hey you have two baskets. You should not be in this line' I point to the notice, wordlessly. Man behind the woman behind me: ' Yes. Look at the notice.Its you who is in the wrong queue. You only have one basket. The notice says 'baskets'That's plural!

I really wish I has said that

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Friday, April 06, 2007
110 Candles

Today starts the biggest invasion of relis in our history of the Old Manse culminating in a double birthday celebration for 28 in the Village Hall over the week end. Fortunately the suits in the BBC Blether Centre are sending us warm spring weather although this will not stop all comments about 'bloody freezing' and the ostentatious wearing of fleeces and tweed outer garments within a few inches of the Wood burning stove so I had better light it. Even this vast edifice cannot accommodate 28 so we are making use of three nearby B&Bs and the Irish Couple are camping in the garden thus feeling more at home, as it were.

Inevitably images of 8 or so children will follow.

Sorry, Chain Bridge Bloggee.

Buts its only for a weekend.

Long one, mind you
Thursday, April 05, 2007

25sqn Tornado F3.
Originally uploaded by stonefaction.
Could this be one of the planes which makes life in the Borders very noisy from time to time drowning out the usual country noises: flatulent coos and lost lambs. Our lot don't come from Leuchars but from south of the Border. Roll on independence and any pilots straying into Scottish airspace will be taken into custody by the local equivalent of the Islamic Republican Guard Corps-the Hutton Paxton and Fishwick Freedom Defenders (currently being recruited via Fishwick Special Branch) Any one up to 75 and with their own teeth are welcome to apply. Bring a scythe. Kalashnikov (Drill Purpose) will be issued in due course.
Iran: the end of the affair?

Huttonian finds himself, finally, on the 'Front' Page of the Mirror:


No article this time but a quote amongst other more distinguished pundits (More distinguished? Is this possible? Blog-ed)

The media is obsessed with 'Who won?'as if this was a world cup fixture. Well I think 'we' did. Captives back. Apparently no quid pro quo. And if the Iranians feel good about returning stolen property so magnanimously.

Well that is their problem.

It reminds me of the Defence Counsel addressing the Jury on behalf of a young man who had murdered his parents.

:'Consider this poor orphan.....'


Wednesday, April 04, 2007
  Back in Hospital

Back in Hospital
Originally uploaded by erase.
Poor little Ffion. Recovering in the hospital isolation ward from a nasty set of spots and a high fever-possibly a form of meningitis (see http://www.flickr.com/blog.gne for more details) AS the continuing treatment will last over the Easter week end she and her minders plus sister Zoe will miss the BIG Seven Oh and the less momentous Four Oh celebrations which will turn Hutton into a torrent of noise and jubilation this coming Saturday
Iran-the Welsh connection

Huttonian was up well before the sparrows to be interviewed on Good Morning Wales-BBC Wales, a programme which kicks off at the excruciatingly early hour of 0600. Top of the news as the Iranian 'hostage' drama is the big story in the Principality at the moment as three of the sailors/marines are from there and there is enormous public interest on their predicament. It is sobering for any 'expert' or commentator to realise that at least three families are listening with the keenest interest and in a high state of anxiety to every word that is said. There is the temptation therefore to strike a very optimistic note, focusing purely on the positive and to imply that their 'loved ones' ( ugh I hate that expression) will be home safe and well-and soon. Thankfully I could be reasonably hopeful given the apparent wish by both parties to cool the rhetoric and to restrict the argument to one issue-the return of the detainees. Also Mr Blair's statement that direct talks are to be underway soon is a good omen for a reasonably speedy resolution.

But given the erratic nature of Iranian politics and the difficulty of determining whom exactly in Tehran is calling the shots there is a lot of scope for a pear shaped prognosis. Much will depend on the Iranian presidents press conference today as Mr Ahmadinejad (try saying that through a mouth full of Meusli) has the habit of letting it all hang out in front of the microphone (rhetorically speaking) and saying something provocative that will need a sharp response from Mr B-and worse another unhelpful supportive comment from George W Bush-with friends like that.....
If there is one thing that GWB does well is raising international tensions with a few well chosen remarks at awkward moments.

So please shut it.

For all our sakes
Tuesday, April 03, 2007

British Library
Originally uploaded by erase.
I am indebted to the junior son in law for this picture of Ms Zoe training for the 2220 Olympics. The first Olympiad when swimming will not be offered as an event for environmental reasons. A mock up of the ecologically 'friendly' running track made from compostible materials is one of the facilities for very junior atheletes is available at the British Library. The only other similar track in the UK is the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain.
Mirror Cub Reporter at it again

It appears that Huttonian is now a regular columnist in the Daily Mirror. Pontification number two is at the end of the story at :


To my surprise the sub-editor concerned with the Iran hostage saga is paying me a fee for these 'stories'-at least a contribution to our charity www.cerebralpalsyafrica.org so I have a vested interest in keeping the crisis going (only joking Blog-ed-I hope)

And with it being on line I don't have to actually buy the paper. In my absence in Norn Iron where only their own very local edition is available (and international affairs is confined to foreign sex sagas) a neighbour kindly bought me a copy of the paper and concealed it in brown wrapping paper to preserve his street cred. (He is a Daily Mail man) Mind you with no hard copy I will miss the full effect of stories such as 'I have not had my leg over for 10 months-says Heather Mills' Pages 1,3,5-9 and 43.

Now I wonder if the Berwickshire would like a regular foreign piece. (Although in its case its mostly about Polish female dentists)
Monday, April 02, 2007

Too many hosts of Golden Daffs
It is the solitary nature of la vie Huttonienne that you can wander lonely as a cloud. No problem. But you can't get away from the bloody daffodils. Nice on Day One when they have opened, pleasant on day two and then they cloy, fast. I suspect Wordsworth only spent a short weekend in the Lake District otherwise he would have written a different type of elegy involving right thinking men with sharp scythes.

As one image shows the Daffs can enhance a scene-Set off the Kirk and the sunny lane past it. But its en masse, see picture two*, that they tend to get boring: beside the lake (well pond actually), beneath the trees, all over the verges, amongst the peas, around the bench, under the bees, etc etc. Every new comer to this hamlet and most longer term habitues make it their business to dig in the bulbs year after year with the overkill effect we now suffer. And they seem to last for ever, on and on and on-like Ma Thatcher in her long prime.

And then my heart with nausea fills
Lets massacre the Daffodils

* Click to enlarge and go screaming for the Agent Orange
Today is a bit like Norn Iron-dreich and East windish but colder.And silent. At our cottage up Bath Lane, Newcastle we can open a window (well we can't actualy open one since the frames swelled, but we can go to the door) and we can hear the sea just behind the traffic on the main road. In Hutton we can open all doors, stand in the garden, even stand on the roof and hear nothing. Certainly no traffic, certainly no sea. Birds yes, the distant rumbling of Cow's three stomaches, possibly. But human originated sounds few and far between. Mr R next door may start up the occasional heavy machine and it roars out of his yard and silence returns to Hutton.

Someone once told me that it can be so quiet you can hear gentle breathing from the graves in the church yard. More likely after midnight she said. I have to admit I have never ventured next door in the wee hours-or anytime after dark for that matter. And I am not sure it would be worth it as a life enhancing experience.I like stillness comforting not flesh creeping. Not deathly silence, as it were.

Yes, Anxious of Ayton the frog spawn seems fine despite the frosts we have had since their birthday.

No I can't actually hear them breath either
Sunday, April 01, 2007
  Stena line

Stena line
Originally uploaded by spayn.
This is not our High Speed Ferry to-day-it is obviously a Flying Dutchman version judging from Spayn's description-Stena was not on top form -half an hour late on arrival from Stranraer and then lost an another 30 minutes for 'technical reasons' on the journey over from Belfast -ie did not go fast enough despite the dead flat sea. But the free Chardonnay in 'Club Class' at the back was nicely chilled and the wake looked splendid seen through the delicate fluting. The boat was heaving with Sunday trippers but they did not bother us and any sounds of vomiting was drowned (no pun intended) by the soothing hum of diesel turbines
So,sadly away from Norn Iron and HSSing to Stranraer and the Merse. Tea break hopefully in Moffat. Forecast good. Only problem is that being Sunday the roads
people have helpfully dug up the main road to Belfast so extra navigational skills will be necessary to find the port.

Next post from the suburbs of Hutton.

If we are spared
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