Musings from the Merse
Tuesday, July 31, 2007

McMansions in the Merse

I don't know if Farmer C reads the Guardian but if so he might like to look at the article on page 16 on the phenomenon of 'McMansions' in the United States. Go to http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,2138023,00.html ) The illustration of one in Westport Connecticut is strikingly similar to the MacMansion(the giant Scottish version) erected on one of Farmer C's plots just south of the Fishwick bypass. The image above of this Merse Monster illustrates what I mean. The pressures against building houses of that size (over 6,000 square feet)heated by fossil fuels, come from the environmental lobby, who claim that such monstrosities are 'climate change disasters' They appear to be primarily status symbols similar to SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles or 4x4s-not unknown around Fishwick. To quote the article: 'they express a certain kind of success and they are fun' And as one commentator put it (almost quoting from the Building in the Countryside legislation in the Borders) ' Mansion building takes away from a person's sense of identity of a place' Certainly the Farmer C contribution to the beautification of Berwickshires rural countryside will say something about its purchaser (if less about the countryside around it):

'I've Arrived'

(and I came by Rangerover

and my wife is following in one of the Landcruisers)

No doubt the developers will say this is the sort of thrusting wealthy successful incomer we need to regenerate this geriatrically infested sleepy corner of rural nowhere. Good for Berwickshire? How? The jury is out.

But good for the Planet?

You be judge of that

The other modest pad is a McMansion retailing at a snip : $5.2 Million (Thankyou Google images)

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Wobbly in West Street

The (very) fat lady in the window table at Dolally's took her time with the menu. I couldn't hear the order but it was obviously a carefully considered choice. Dry toast? A small fat free biscuit? Sparkling water with a hint of petulance? Her husband had joined her by the time the order came. She indigantly waved away the large fruit scone and the medium Latte. A muttered apology from the waitress. A pleased look from the rake like husband. By the time I had finished my Latte (regular=small)) and my Coffee Cake (manageable)her order had re-emerged. She accepted it with a wobble of three chins:

A Monster Latte and the same afore rejected scone but this time it was served with a mountain of quivering cream. And a pot of strawberry jam*
Her husband muttered something. It is hard to lip read in profile but I seemed to catch her reply ' you know its just me glands'

That's all right then.

What a relief

(PS the image does not really do the scone and its garnishings adequate justice but was the best that Flickr could come up with)


Monday, July 30, 2007
Inspired by recent comments from Farmer C the Hutton Think Tank has promoted a poetry contest for the best poem on rural isolation with a first prize of a week in Berwick in a Two Star hotel and £12 spending money.

Second Prize was awarded to

Too Far from the Maddening Crowd

Tired of London? So tired of life?
Don’t feel that.
Rural isolation has its moments.
Street lights their irritations.
Bright stars; wide fields; few cars.
A gentler pace; time to do
what you always wanted,
what you dreamed about,
what you never got round to.
Your routine, dictated by your needs.
No pressure.
Good, in’it?

But as you walk deserted ‘streets’
(Our village hardly has one).
you sometimes wish
for a car to pass,
for a face to greet,
for a shop to enter.
And you keep yourself busy
to suffocate a subversive thought
that if you were honest
you might admit
you were

The wife says
As she looks over my shoulder
‘this all so negative’
Not realising that I may be
winding her up,
just for fun,
to pass the day.
And if I am honest,
I might admit,
that actually I am
not bored
at all.

(But it is a 14 mile round trip to get
The Big Issue)

Second Prize is two weeks in Reston and bring your own sandwiches.

The winning entry will be published after legal advice has been received

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Sunday, July 29, 2007
  Derelict Caravan

Derelict Caravan
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000
I have no problems with caravans in their place but this has been apparently abandoned and left for yonks obscuring a good view and doing litle to support Hutton's candidature as Berwickshire's Best Kept Wee Wee* Village. If it was an abandoned vehicle (vehicle is a car not a caravan) we could get the police to deal with it but in this case it is up to the owner to have it removed. Eventually it will become even more of an eyesore-so please Mr Owner do the decent thing and dispose of your property in a responsible manner.

I suspect the owner may think he already has.

* Wee Wee is a locally accepted technical description for very small communities -being smaller than just 'wee' and is not a reference to an incontinent piggie.
Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Road to Fishwick Pier

Well, Church, actually. Fishwick Church is part of Hutton Parish but has long since fallen into disuse. Not marked on any map and the wife and I failed to find it although we did see (we think)the ruins in the distance on a rise above the Tweed But when we tried to approach it from the world famous commercial enterprise of Tweed Hill fisheries it eluded us. The Fisheries Car Park was full-one of those 4wds which so terrorises the Fishwick Road and ours. And it was good to see a Farmer C mansion-in the terms of the Building in the Countryside legislation lending such a 'sense of place' to Berwickshire, or should that be Berkshire? We also survived the notorious Dangerous Corner with its easily see through plastic fencing-narrowly missing meeting a car on the corner-and for the record we have to admit that in the course of an hour we saw one other moving vehicle and a tractor about to set off to join the traffic hell of a Merse weekend.

All worth it for the amazing views of the Tweed. Pity about Fishwick church-I think it is in one of the landscape images -magnify and you might be lucky. But if any bloggee can advise on how to reach it on foot (or even by car) we would be most grateful.

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Sackcloth.No ashes.

Paxton's a fine snug place, Robin Adair;
It's a wondrous couthie place, Robin Adair;
Let Whitadder rin a spate
or the wind blaw at ony rate,
Yet I'll meet thee on the gait Robin Adair

runs the 1730 version of the traditional air which is all about Paxton and the promise of 'hae a night o'glee' -presumably in one of the many local taverns which preceded The Cross Inn.

According to the Rev David Leslie who was Minister of the Parish and lived in the (now Old) Manse for 60 years both Paxton and Hutton were large villages in earlier times and rather dangerous ones as they were 'always in the eye of raiding hordes' -Reivers or invading English armies. That their size is much reduced since those halycon days may have something to do with the fact that in 1482 the Duke of Gloucester burned Edrington, Paxton and Hutton. 15 years later after James IV failed to capture Norham the Earl of Surrey destroyed Hutton Castle no doubt inflicting collateral damage on the two villages as well. In 1542 the Duke of Norfolk demolished Paxton once again causing considerable problems for the Paxton family who owned land on both sides of the Border subsequently much reduced in acreage by successive episodes of being on the wrong side of the argument at the wrong time. That family by the time of the Union had lost their eponymous patrimony and had only a few acres in Auchencrow to their name. A later member of the family Sir Joseph Paxton, no longer with any local building ambitions-not even Knowe's Close, designed the Crystal Palace-not too lucky with that as well.

Paxtonians were the backbone of the local Tweed fishing:

The best fish in the Tweed, Robin Adair,
shall be thy weelwar'd meed, Robin Adair

But if he did not fancy fish;

And welcome you shall be Robin Adair
To everything that you see
Thou shalt carve the Goose for me
and o'our roast pig you shall prie, Robin Adair

Its worth noting that even in those days Fishwick (fish village) was a troublesome spot long before a bypass was thought necessary. In 1649 10 local fishermen had to appear as penitents, dressed in sackcloth, at Hutton (literaly Wood-town) Church for fishing on Sunday: 'By fishing after the sun rising in the morning and before the sun set at night'

That is still an offence today. Punishable by a fine. On par with trying to buy alchohol at the Co-op before 1pm.


Sackcloth optional.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

A wet summer if not as wet as Gloucs* or Worcs has left the harvest on the proverbial knife edge. Lots of sun now it could be good-more rain, a disaster. Some farmers are actually starting on the harvest. The images above taken around Hutton may give an impression of golden bounty in an attractive landscape but it is going to be a lot of finger crossing hard work before the harvest is safely in. In the place of the numerous farm workers of the 19th century we now have the huge mechanical harvesters-one of the Laird's was so tall that it interfered with the power cables and plunged greater Hutton and metropolitan Paxton into darkness-this a couple of years ago. It is the Laird's 'Hollander' pictured above and you can see from one image that all it has achieved so far is a deeply rutted track and probably precious little grain. But today is dry and windy which should help to get work started.

* Dr Foster
Went to Gloucester,
In a shower of rain.
He went into a puddle
Up to his muddle
And subsequently sued
the Environmental Agency

(attrib: Piers Ploughmans-Lunch, 'Nursery Tales Spun and Tweaked 2007 (out of print))

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

VisitScotland. If you dare

We have mentioned some of VisitScotland's sillier wheezes -the Shrek Tartan being a classic case. Here is the image in question. Compare and contrast with the story at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/6283144.stm about maintaining standards of the 'iconic' Scottish tartan of which there are more (at a certain manufacturer) than 12,000 varieties including the Shrek, the Snark, the Hunting Snark, the Nessie (a sort of dirty slimy green with mud flecks) and (designed by the Hutton Think Tank)

The Huttonian.
Music at Paxton

Those of you who have not been to any of the events of Music at Paxton have missed/are missing a treat. This year the Festival is encouraging young talent by featuring two concerts by very young musicians from the Borders currently being educated at the Sage Gateshead and St Mary's Music School, Edinburgh. Last night we enjoyed two 18 year old pianists-one Peter Keenan a graduate of Hutton Primary School, a 17 year old Bassoon player, a violinist, a year younger and for me the two show stoppers, sisters, 15 and 12 on the Northumbrian Small Pipes and Harp respectively. The Northumbria pipes, in contrast to the Scottish Bag Pipes are gentle performers suited to peaceful folk music-the bag pipes are strident and martial to encourage wild charges across the battlefield or to persuade culture seeking tourists to hurry past outstretched specie containers as they charge up the Waverley Steps in Embra. If the mendicant pipers of Princes Street downsized to the Northumbrian Pipe or the Irish Uillean-and, this is the big and, learned how to play they could pull in the crowds and roll in the cash. If only.

Four concerts (by grown up musicians)left. Hurry. Tickets are going fast.And Sunday is sell out.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
  Union Suspension (Chainbridge)Bridge over R Tweed

Union Suspension Bridge over R Tweed
Originally uploaded by kate&drew
The oldest suspension bridge in the world in use today. But it isn't. In use,I mean. The bridge is currently closed for 'temporary repairs'-has been for three months as the planning permision for fiddling with this historic bridge is stil being sought. Can't blame the Scottish Borders Council as the bridge is under the control of Northumberland County Council-another example of English expansionism as, technically, the border should be in the middle of the bridge over the middle of the Tweed. And it's called the Union Bridge, for goodness sake) A great nuisance for all Huttonians (not to mention Paxtonians, as we won't)as it is now a thirteen mile journey to the Chainbridge Honey Farm via the Norham bridge.

There may be a bit of a problem getting aunthentic historically accurate spare parts-not many left over from the 19th century in Joes.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Casting the Die? The Borders Welcomes You

The Scottish Borders Council produces an occasional news sheet:- SBC Connect to inform the populace how well it is doing-'A Bright Future for the Borders' is this quarter's big story. Its a wish list for the newly elected administration following the May elections.Including such visions as :' Defend the character of the Borders by raising standards of building design including renewable requirements' (Use of mud?) and that ever green vote catcher : ' War on Dog Fouling-with more wardens and bins' (How about 'less dogs' as a more workable policy?) Good news for Fishwick is ' Improve safety measures on the main arterial A routes' and a rather weird commitment: 'Develop a Borders Rural Development Strategy with "rural proofing". What does this mean. We have an ancient damp proof system on the Old Manse. Do we now have to add a Rural Proof' one as well? And what will it do? Protect us from bovine intrusions? Crazed starlings? Can a Highheidyin please elucidate?

Inside SBC Connect there is publicity about making the Borders a marriage location. It is already one for Borderers but the idea is to bring in the huddled masses yearning to be hitched up, ('Free' is hardly appropriate) in such romantic surroundings as the Marriage Room in Coldstream Town Hall Don't miss: www.coldstreamweddings.co.uk.

Not mentioned anywhere in Borders Connect is the Hutton Think Tank's project to make the Borders the Funeral Hotspot of Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Berwick upon Tweed. As a result of 'thinking outside the box' (no pun intended) HTT has various packages under consideration: 'Natural' Woodland Burials (Coffins from recyclable copies of the Berwickshire, Self igniting tyre fed Pyres, renewable Towers of Silence, Organic Sutee Spots-all from the ordinary to the exotic could be offered here in our notorious peace and tranquility. Bury One-inter (or burn) one free (usual conditions apply including a five year offer limitation) It would all help with our expansion of tourism strategies on which SBC and VisitScotland are continuously engaged.

And a new slogan perhaps:

The Borders. Scotland's Favourite Final Stop Destination

At your last Gasp? Head for Hawick!

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Monday, July 23, 2007
  The Road to Damascus

The Road to Damascus
Originally uploaded by DragonWoman
Farmer C has suggested (see comment on earlier post ) that Huttonian has reached the Road to Damascus in thinking about moving from peaceful Hutton to busy Duns. Here is an image of the Road to Damascus (Thankyou DragonWoman)-it is so like the Fishwick to Tweed Fisheries Cul de Sac with it's dense voume of traffic that it might present a good development opportunity for progressive Merse farmers looking to diversify. overseas Hopefully a team from Scottish Borders Council Roads Department could lend some technical expertise if any bypass is thought necessary The road surface is up to Borders' standards

The Sun is blazing. The sky is clear. No wind. The Pheasant is dried out. The bushes are loaded with Raspberries, blackcurrants,whitecurrants redcurrants, Worcester berries, gooseberries-especially Red currants. The Wife has picked three large carton load; I have picked a large carton load-I have previously picked and frozen 3 bags fulls (Yes Sir Yes Sir) The bushes are still groaning. I am groaning.

And I have to shred the prunes branches. And the shredder is in order.

Come back rain.All is forgiven

Where are you when I need you?

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

The racing driver Jim Clark is one of Duns' most famous sons although someone told me that he actually came from Chirnside. But to the cognoscenti the name that comes to mind is the Franciscan philosopher Duns Scotus who flourished in the 14th century. The image is of the plaque outside Duns Castle marking the spot where he was supposedly born-not, presumably on the grass verge beside the road but in a Franciscan monastery that once stood there.(Click on image to read) Some scholars claim that this is very conjectural, his birth certificate having being mislaid and the connection with Duns may be a trifle tenous. Years ago I met a Dinger at some Caledonian Society do-he was boasting about his home town and its famous connections-'what a man' he said referring to the philospher - 'What a reputation. No wonder they called him

: Duns Scrotus'
Saturday, July 21, 2007

Huttonian is giving some publicity to one of the more unusual events of the Embra Festival: I would hope that some of our local Councillors and especially Big Jim Conundrum gets a ring side seat to learn something about how planning should work, although in his case, and in ours, much of the damage has been done.

Planning Aid takes centre stage
An award-winning national charity that provides free independent planning advice is set to take to the Edinburgh Fringe stage as it brings planning to the people through its innovative workshop, ‘ Planning to Act’.
Planning Aid for Scotland provides free professional advice, support and training on planning and environmental issues to individuals and communities looking to engage in the planning system. Its first appearance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year with its ‘Planning to Act’ workshop aims to bring the planning system into the lives of people through performance and visual art using a range of creative media.
The tailored workshop builds on Planning Aid for Scotland’s extensive work on community engagement in the planning process, allowing those who do not engage in any form of consultation a different means to express their views and opinions. The first workshop held at the Lot in Edinburgh in November 2006 produced very positive feedback and saw 20 people from a variety of backgrounds take part.
The workshop uses a mix of discussion, creative problem solving, hands on participatory drama and visual art to look at some of the core issues around the planning process, raising awareness and helping get people more involved.
The role of Planning Aid for Scotland, and the need for greater community engagement through workshops such as ‘Planning to Act’, has become even more critical with the passing of the Planning (Scotland) Act and the legal requirement for pre-consultation with communities for some developments.
Commenting on the event Petra Biberbach, Executive Director of Planning Aid for Scotland, said:
“We are delighted to be treading the boards at this year’s Festival Fringe for the first time. Planning is an issue that has a huge effect on the lives of individuals and communities and should matter to us all. Our workshop aims to bring planning to the people in an exciting and creative manner, and with the passing of the Planning Act there has never been a better time for us to demonstrate initiatives that reflect our understanding that different audiences requires different approaches if they are to have a true voice in the planning system”

Performances take place:
August 8-10; 15-17; 22-24; 29-31: 10.30 (2 hours) or 14:00 (2 hours)
Performances are free but places need to be booked in advance.
The venue is the offices of Planning Aid for Scotland, 11A South Charlotte Street, Edinburgh EH2 4AS, Tel: 0131 220 9730. Further information is available on page 122 of the Fringe Programme or at: www.edfringe.com
Notes to Editors
Planning Aid for Scotland works with people to shape Scotland's future, providing support and information when it is needed.
• Planning Aid for Scotland is a unique award-winning national charity that provides free independent advice, information, support and training to people looking to participate in the planning system.
• Established in 1993 it is a volunteer-led organisation, with 145 volunteer town planners who assist and provide advice to members of the public on all matters relating to the planning system across Scotland.
The role of Planning Aid for Scotland is to:
• Ensure that everyone has access to the planning system
• Provide knowledge and information to all people
• Help people to understand how the planning system works
• Enable all people to play their part
Further information is available at www.planningaidscotland.org.uk or call Petra Biberbach on 0131 220 9733. To book a place please call 0131 220 9730

Participatory Drama may include the re-enactment of an episode from real life which brought together people in a creative manner-the dramatic story of the FISHWICK BLACK SPOT (subtitled ' Demonstrating Initiatives and Pissing off the rest of us') and one struggling farmer's noble mission to solve it. Come along to cheer or hiss and boo as the fancy takes you. And you can learn in a vivid way how the passing of the Planning Act has opened up such attractive prospects for

The Developers

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Friday, July 20, 2007
  Waiting for the specie

"BAGPIPER" - Edinburgh, Scotland
Originally uploaded by mambo1935
This is another mendicant Piper judging from the placement and size of his receptacle. I have not heard this particular specimen in action but have no reason to believe that he is any more proficient than his colleagues. I hope the City Fathers can move them on as a crime against humanity and either replace them with decent pipers who can play and do it for the fun of it- or by tom cats with red hot pokers stuck up an orifice or two-the noise is similar and the demand on the purse less pressing.

Go to flickr to see the original caption. I fear Mambo is no judge of the pipes and if he wants the authentic Scotch mood he might be better advised to get it from a bottle
  Old Manse Hedgehog

hedgehog two
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000
Our rats have now definitely gone thanks to the .22 air rifle and our new nocturnal visitors to the woodpile are two hedgehogs. One tiny and its mother(?) pictured above. Here it is browsing amongst the bird droppings dreaming of the summer which is yet to come. AS the old Chinese saw has it : 'If the hedgehog comes after the rat the dogs will remain hungry'-loose translation from the Cantonese
Thursday, July 19, 2007
  Highland Bagpiper, allegedly but Embra is not in the Highlands

Highland Bagpiper
Originally uploaded by Schrödinger's Cat
This may or may not be a rare image of the Mendicant piper of Princes Street-thankyou Schrodingers Cat ( a cousin of Dick Whittington's moggy? ) Two pointers: the open case which is not a bagpipe container but possibly a receptacle for specie and secondly , note the tourists behind, passing a safe distance away from any begging bowl but near enough to pick up bum notes-(no pun intended) Perhaps he should be persauded to welcome tourists to Scotland at the frontier post on the A1 (see post below)
Huttonian in no spiff drama

Huttonian has a confession to make, shameful 'though it be. I never smoked Cannabis at University. I never even had a puff and did not inhale. I have kept this secret for years but now it seems almost compulsory to have indulged before becoming a Cabinet Minister and although I have no political ambitions I need to get this awful truth out into the open before I am asked the question at a Guild Meeting or after a talk to the University of the Third Age and have to hang my head in shame.

Mind you I never went to Oxford University.

Nor did I ever join the Labour Party.


I once did drink three Pints of Guinness. For a teetotaller that would have been wrong. But it was over 25 years ago.
Welcome to Scotland is less than impressive
claims the Berwickshire. And the story continues in part:

Sign has been missing for months

Quote By : Eyemouth Provost Douglas YoungerBy Kenny Paterson
'O Flower of Scotland, when will we see your sign again?'(#)

It may be a slight variation of the Corries much loved Scottish anthem, but it could quite easily be the amended version sung by those entering Scotland via the A1.
Where once a sign stood stating 'Scotland Welcomes You', since March this year there has been a distinct lack of a friendly reception when you cross the border at Lamberton. While a stone engraved with 'Scotland' still stands, it is fairly indistinctive.
To make the border crossing even more unimpressive, one of the three saltire flags flying from the high poles is missing, presumed stolen for a souvenir.
"We were a bit disappointed", said a couple from Surrey who had stopped at the border for a photograph before travelling to Edinburgh.
"We thought they're would be a lot more (at the Scottish Border). This is our first time to Scotland and it looks abit scruffy."
The signage on the A1 is the responsibility of BEAR Scotland, who recently took over the contract for maintenance of the road from AMEY. AMEY had removed the previous sign for Scotland when it was labelled outdated, small and too low to the ground, allowing vandals to target it last year. It was set to be replaced by a larger, updated sign in March but when it was set to put up, the sign fell off its brackets. As yet, it has still not been replaced, with BEAR Scotland taking over the contract weeks after the accident.
Eyemouth Provost Douglas Younger was scathing of the current state of the crossing. He told the Berwickshire News: "The crossing should be better maintained. I realise Bear Scotland have only just taken over the contract but it is a problem they should be fixing soon.
"Somebody should be taking notice to get this right. First impressions are everything and if people are crossing the border seeing that just now, they are going to think 'what the hell are we going into?'
"If bus loads of Japanese tourists stop off and see half a sign and a missing flag, what are they going to think? The welcome into Wales from England is very good so why shouldn't Scotland's be as impressive?"
Mr Younger also took issue with the absence of one of the three saltire flags, despite not being Scottish himself. "My wife is Scottish and when you come across the border and see the three saltires she admits to feeling a bit of pride*. But not at the moment. When you start a job you should finish it."

No such problem going south on most Border crossings: ENGLAND. No welcome. Take it or leave it. And some of us might be happier if you left it.

GNER sometimes does it better: 'Ding Ding: We are now entering Scotland. Any inconvenience etc ' A frisson of excitement ripples through the massed ranks of Japanese tourists as the digital cameras are pressed hard against the grime covered windows snapping away. No Saltires in sight and not even a distant view of Eyemouth, another 'first toon in Scotland' to gladden the jaundiced eye. With Reston station reopened we could have a bit more of a happening-saltired bunting, a mendicant piper, kilted station master, a jocular request for passports, duty free Whisky and a fast haggis stall.

Come on VisitScotland. Lets see some imagination and vision. 'The Borders: Scotland's Favourite First Stop Destination'

* Being a frugal Scot she may feel that three saltires is a bit of extravagence?

# Send the Tourists back to Think again-presumably.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007

From Huttonian to Dinger?

First step in a possible exit strategy from Hutton occur ed this morning when a surveyor called to value the Old Manse (Highly Desirable; inspection recommended; unrepeatable offer; hurry) Actually no hurry as we have yet to find somewhere to lay our head elsewhere; elsewhere being limited to Duns(Where they do have mains gas,a Sheriff, cable, shops, pubs,people in the streets,golf course,parks, a castle, tennis courts piscie church and possibly even beautiful Polish plumbers)

The life of a pond rather than of a puddle.All the things which are good about Hutton are less desirable as time goes one. Too big a house, too big a garden,too small a village, too remote an isolation.

So if anyone knows a nice smaller house going in Duns be sure to let us know-no Bungalows please by wifely diktat.

Huttonian will of course live on Weblog wise.

But we have to work 'Dinger' in somewhere

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007
An occasional bloggee has asked :

This radio show:


briefly mentions (and plays) "Don't Drink and Drive" by the Hutton
School Choir. Is it the same Hutton?

if so it must be from away back as Hutton School closed some time ago.

Hutton Think Tank (Music, drink driving and miscellaneous queries section) are investigating.

Its not really relevant to our dear Hutton. Pub has been closed these last 40 years and more. And there are very few cars. But they may of course had Fishwick in mind

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Scots Make hae.

Even with about two weeks to the Festival, Embra is already heaving with humanity. And the town is already in full Professional Scot mode-souvenir tat shops and instant Kilteries crammed with mostly American back packers and continental yuff and general purpose middle aged looking for the Bernstein, Dubois and Metternich tartans-can do Sir if you come back in an hour; in the meanwhile how about a ceremonial Claymore-genuine late twentieth century. Buy one Nessie get two at 2.5% discount. Or the Genuine Scottish Joke Book-slim enough for your wallet and full of tartanned up Irish Jokes-now no longer appropriate or funny in the blossoming Celtic Tiger Hibernian community.

In the midst of all this international commerce and frenetic sightseeing the mendicant pipers are at full strength-no less than three from the Fleshmarket Steps to the Old University and impossible to stay out of sound for long. Young tourists are not good payers-happy shots with their cell phones and then move on when the music stops and the Tam 0' Shanter comes around. The most generous givers are the new class of visiting sub-continental who are visibly impressed with what Ould Reekie has to offer and exclaim 'well played sir' as the lament dies on the wind and shower the begging bowl with much specie. Ould Reekie has made an impression-I overheard one Indian visitor say loudly to his wife' So like the Old Country and I can honestly say, my dear, that St Giles Cathedral is the answer to our dear Taj Mahal.' So what Mc Tavishes' Genuine Scottish Souvenir Emporium, over crowded, over heated and over priced is the answer to, one shudders to think.

The Black Hole of Calcutta, perhaps?

NB The piper portrayed above was not one of the mendicants mentioned above but borrowed from flickr. Possibly photographed in Oz

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Monday, July 16, 2007
  Rain Clouds and Tree

Rain Clouds and Tree
Originally uploaded by borderglider
Thankyou borderglider for this stunning study of the Berwickshire country side- about 7 miles from Hutton. This kind of image of our big skies is much more effective propaganda to encourage visitors to the region than Shrek in a Tartan or Border Collies paraded as Ambassadors. Follow the link to see other pictures from Scotland's 'favourite short break destination' (ugh)
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Lord Paxton. Why are we waiting?

We were all agog about the impending ennoblement of the Laird. Prime Minister's resignation honours? But nothing. In the meanwhile Musings was tracked down on the www by someone googling 'Lord Paxton' The first google suggestion is not Huttonian but: http://ibrslordpaxton.blogspot.com/ This Blog is not about our Lord-in-Waiting but about a dog called Pax-or more formally, apparently Lord Paxton. And not even a Border Terrier-but some US moggie. Worth a click.

But in the meanwhile our breath is still held. Has the cash for honours affair something to do with the strange delay. Surely the Laird is worth a measly peerage to New Labour if only for stepping down as an MSP. And that's a pretty big


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  Berwick station Train missing?

Berwick station Train missing?
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000
Necks craned south-train was on time, announced as 'the next train on platform two' five minutes ago. But where is it? Signals failure? Crossings jammed? Cow under train. Computer glich? Driver taken short? It is all not happening at Berwick-upon-Tweed.

It will arrive. It did arrive. It was late but not enough to have any inconvenience regretted. No explanation. The deep may yield its secrets but not

Saturday, July 14, 2007
Edward Wrecks

Travellers on Virgin with time to kill in Berwick station as the timetable strives to catch up with the usually early trains crawling south may like to contemplate that they are in a historic place. No other station in the realm can boast being on the site where an English King, in the Great Hall of a mostly vanished castle, chose a Baliol man to be King of Scotland rejecting the claims of 8 other candidates including Robert the Bruce, the future victor of Bannockburn and the then world's greatest expert on spiders.

The First Class Waiting room may now be on the exact spot of ER1's travelling throne (the local Loos were truly noisesome) but of the castle itself only an outer wall remains across the tracks. A notice above the stairs describes the meeting of 1292-the preliminary for which was held in a field beneath Ladykirk church and opposite Norham. Baliol, although an English vassal foolishly intrigued with the French and Edward,in 1296, marched on Berwick, and having camped his army where Hutton now is, descended on the town and destroyed it, killing 8,000 burghers." The mill wheels of the town could have been turned by the torrents of blood"wrote a contemporary chronicler for the then Ye Berwicke Advertiser)He spared the castle garrison-but not the building itself thus preparing the ground for a future railway station which otherwise might have had to be built some where else to all our inconveniences.All is now quiet on this historic spot except when the non-stopping Mallards hurtle through. GNER may feel something of a lurking menace about the place, hence the other notice warning 'Proud Edward' or any other yob from taking their frustrations out on railway staff (Click on image for the small print)
Buy one-set one free*

After all that nervousness amongst the highheidyins of the Paxton House Trust the media reaction to the Descendants concert has been entirely favourable-even if media is mostly confined to that well known organ-the Berwickshire News. Story as follows (but remember, you first read it here)

Bicentenary of slave trade abolition marked

Former Paxton House owners was killed in slave uprising

CARIBBEAN CHOREOGRAPHY: Visitors performed a selection of dances throughout the

CARIBBEAN music and dance came to Paxton House on Saturday June 30 as descendants of slaves celebrated the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade at the former home of a slave owner.
Ninian Home of Paxton had two sugar plantations in Grenada, he became Governor of the island in 1793, but he was killed in a slave uprising in 1795.
The Paxton Trust invited members of the Descendants organisation in the Grenadian community in London to mark the bicentenary of abolition at Paxton. Descendants coordinator Margaret Noel explained that the group was encouraging young black people in Britain to understand the past and to look to the future.
She expressed pride in the contribution that Grenadian descendants are making in Britain today, including Johnson Beharry who won the Victoria Cross in Iraq and Lewis Hamilton, the new star of Formula One Racing.
Forty Descendants members, including young people, parents and teachers spent the weekend in Berwickshire, staying at Coldingham Youth Hostel, viewing documents and paintings of 18th century Grenada at Paxton, and performing caribbean dance, drama and music to celebrate the bicentenary of abolition. Paxton Trust staff and members of the Eyemouth Scouts were the hosts for the day's activities.
Lord Soley, the former MP for Ealing Acton and Shepherds Bush, who helped to organise the contact between Descendants and Paxton, congratulated the Paxton Trust on a courageous initiative to understand the history of slavery and to build a new link with the afro-caribbean community in London.
Paxton trustee and former local MP John Home Robertson said: "The abolition of the slave trade in 1807 was a turning point in history.
"I am ashamed of the fact that a member of my family once owned slaves, and I was thrilled to see young Londoners celebrating the bicentenary of abolition at Paxton and learning from a historic link in Scotland.
"There is more to learn from our archive of documents from Paxton and Grenada,- we even have an extraordinary letter from Ninian Home saying that 'a manager of a plantation should consider himself as the father of the slaves… They are human beings as well as ourselves'- obviously slavery was a complete denial of humanity."
Paxton Trust Director John Malden concluded "This has been a successful event and a very moving occasion. We thoroughly enjoyed the visit by some lively and enthusiastic young afro-caribbean Londoners, and we intend to build on this contact with the Descendants organisation".
Go to www.berwickshirenews.co.uk to comment on this story. (Huttonian suggests that you do)

So perhaps 'next time' Mr Malden et alios might spread the word more widely and share a fun event with more people.

(* An eighteenth century slogan from Sir Morrisons? Granada Store?. Dunno. Blog ed)

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Is the proud motto of Duns-hence the expression Dinger for a native of Berwickshire's premier settlement-sorry Greenlaw, apologies Coldstream. I always thought of it as the most homogeneous town in the area but a glance at recent cases at Duns Sheriff's Court-Sheriff Kevin presiding gave me some cause to question this assessment. Under the all too familiar heading 'Drove While Banned', a gentleman not called Renton but Romaldas Lenartavicius was arraigned for doing just that. Romaldas Lenartavicius-surely from some Oligarch owned dream team? Ronaldo to Romaldas,he brings it under control flicks it to Lenartavicous, beats one man, sends in a long floater, up go the heads-yes it's Romaldas again, shoots:GOAAAAAAAAAAAAL. Gosh what a marvellous Ba' team Duns Bachelors or Married Men can field in the next civic week outbreak of licensed thuggery in the market square.

And who was prosecuting the man with the golden boots? Surely a Renton? No, the Procurator Fiscal:

Juliet Petrusev.

Have the Oligarchs taken over the courts as well?

(* Surpasses, is better than, beats the excrement out of-Blog-ed)

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Thursday, July 12, 2007
LOCAL DEMOCRACY IN ACTION (Or should that be inaction?/)

The Berwickshire letter columns continue to reflect a Borders Council Spat with the SNP moaning about their lack of influence within the recently elected council. And the Lib Dems flexing their muscles having failed to make much headway against the SNP elsewhere in Scotland

SIR, - As a committed Liberal Democrat I am a firm believer in politics within local government to ensure clear policy direction and cohesive decision making, however, there have always been some no-go areas for party politics; namely local festivals, decisions on planning applications and community councils.
Therefore I find it most unfortunate that Councillor Bill Herd has, in his first month as the new council group leader of the SNP, singled out these matters for petty posturing. In doing so he has managed to be economical with the truth in a manner which does not bode well for encouraging confidence in elected representatives at any level.
The discussion regarding representation at the building and development control committee centred around the fact that there are now only 11 wards in SBC and each ward is represented by at least one local member on the committee, something which was not the case previously when there were 34 wards.
Planning is a quasi-judicial role for councillors who can only take into account written representations and assess those against current planning policies.
Councillors on the committee have to take account of all views but ultimately also have to make a decision. It is open to all elected members to seek a place on the committee; Councillor Herd did not put his name forward for nomination.
With regard to the letter which was sent to community councils asking what arrangements for SBC councillors’ attendance at their meetings would suit them best – that is appropriate consultation following the recent change to multi-member wards.
The reasoning behind this, which was discussed at the Tweeddale Area Committee in May, was to ensure clear lines of communication and prevent duplication.
The unanimous decision to consult community councils and to ascertain their views on this matter was taken by the committee, which includes Councillor Herd as party to that decision. So perhaps rather than waiting for matters to “come to his attention” he should pay a bit more attention in the meetings he attends, and if he feels it is inappropriate to consult with community councils on a matter which affects them perhaps then he should say so at the time.
Personally I believe that community councils are the front line of local democracy and their views should be sought as part of the democratic decision making process.
And before making a big noise about SNP councillors attending every community council meeting, Councillor Herd would do well to remember that community councils are constitutionally non-party political.
Finally, if Councillor Herd’s initial efforts are indicative of the level of debate from the opposition at the council then I think he has ably demonstrated why it would serve no purpose to return to a committee system.

Community Councils forefront of local democracy? We wish. The local community council, in my experience over the last seven years, whenever it has attempted to put a community view to the next tier of local government ot to the highheidyins in NStB ,has almost invariably been ignored or overruled-and almost exclusively on planning matters where developers or land owners versus local democracy-no contest. From Kanes Close via the Orchard, with a sideways glance at Edington Mill and the last two out of town skirmishes with Farmers C and N the democrats have emerged bloody and bowed. Only over the Laird's plans to double Paxton has a potential developer been frustrated and that by a widespread popular resistance going much further than the community council, albeit orchestrated by it.

I am sure we await the latest consultation with our Community Council with (a) bated breath and (b) eager anticipation. So far the communication seems snared in the postal strike. Or something.

And if and when we respond with our considered views from the forefront of the local democratic process, will be listened to? Councillors Herd and Bhatia, over to you.

Over and out?

Or just


(* Bad if appropriate pun on active participle, awaited)

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007
The Ceremony of the Keys

Blazing sunshine,23C, burn factor 67 said the Blether Centre so I walked through murk and drizzle to Mr Westlake's in Palmers Green, er Green. Mission to have two keys copied having lost the youngest daughter's Granny Set in the depths of the park yesterday.I asked the new Mr Westlake, Eastlake possibly more appropriate, when would the job be done. 'Straightaway''' He said. 'I'll come back in twenty minutes' 'Fine, that will give me time' He said

I returned as advertised. 'Oh'-he said 'Did you send someone to pick up the Keys?'' My face must have registered alarm. 'Joke' he said. Handed over the keys.

Joke is right. One key did not quite work..so back through the drizzle....Gave the keys back to a young sprig as Mr Westlake was making more jokes to selected customers at the back of the shop. 'No good giving them to me' he said 'I am on work experience'

'Now's your chance to get some' I said, exiting stage right

Not a bad Parthian shot really

Both keys now fine. Sprig learns fast,


He may now need some pointers on his sense of humour.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007


A regular bloggee is in print See image

And writes

All of you know people who need a book to read on a plane - this one's perfect. Some of you work in the airline industry. Some of you may be going on holiday. Others just need a laugh....

from the foreword....

During the last twenty-five years or so the air travel business has seen another revolution. More fuel-efficient engines have radically altered the cost of flying and airlines have changed. The unionized, fat dumb and happy approach of the 1960s and ‘70s has been replaced by the lean and mean attitude of the new entrant carriers – like Southwest in the USA or Ryanair and easyJet in Europe. Not that the switch from the old style industry to the new way has made things any the less interesting. There’s been no noticeable downturn in applications for the mile high club, or reduction in people behaving badly on planes.

Psychologists would no doubt be able to explain, in terms that the likes of us would find difficult to understand, why it is that people and aircraft frequently don’t mix. Undoubtedly it’s got something to do with the fact that most of us are nervous about flying – to varying degrees. No matter how the statistics shape up the average person can’t help thinking, “How is it those things stay up there?” As often as not people who are traveling are tense about time. Will the flight be late, or will it get me to the next airport to make my connection? Will I make that important business meeting? All this is a recipe for conflict. At check-in people are not at their most charming, especially if told that their flight is overbooked or that it’s late - for any one of a hundred seemingly bizarre reasons. This can often result in the strange phenomenon of perfectly reasonable people uttering the immortal line. “Do you know who I am?”

“ If God had meant man to fly he’d have given us tickets

Huttonian is trying to give up flying. To save the Earth? No. Just for his own comfort and safety. But the rest of you try www.amazon.co.uk
Multi Something Morrisons.

Sir Morrisons in Palmers Green is as different from their cousin's in Berwick as Dettol and Dairy Milk. No caravanners for a start. And very few original natives as compared with homogeneous Ber Wick. I don't think, in twenty minutes instore(ugh) that I heard English spoken as a first language, or, indeed, English spoken at all, except from fractured to fractious, at the checkouts. At, sadly, the absence of belligerent caravanners does nothing to lighten the atmosphere. From the tall be hatted Rasta to the tiny tremulous Bangladeshi eye contact is out, laughter unforgivable and exchange of pleasantries unlikely. The check out lady grunted at her customers-no cheery Hiya!No weather forecast. Just down cast eyes, plastic bags thrust in your general direction and a grunt.

I asked a store person for tonic water. Astonishment at being addressed and an irritated admission of ignorance-not my part of the store-ask over there with a flick of a thumb. A group of anxious customers were blocking access to the tonic shelves-they were whispering, heads together.


Store announcements were in heavily accented English and above this thrusting, heaving, muttering, polyglot united nations,native Londoners, economic migrants, asylum seekers I could almost see a manifestation of Sir Morrison's enlightened free market Philosophy:

Come ye Huddled Masses Yearning to buy one Get One Free

And the minature Statue of Liberty, just as you come through the exit only

-Torch in one hand.

The Big Issue in the other
Monday, July 09, 2007
GRAFFITI RESPONSE TEAM-ISLINGTON said the notice on the side of a van parked at Finsbury Park Station. How gratifying to see this transfer of technology from Norn Iron to the mainland. THe pioneer was in Ballymena where 'Loyalist' slogans covered every inch of wall space NOT AN INCH! NO Surrender. REMEMBER THE BOYNE. ULSTER SAYS NO.KICK THE POPE After years of frustrating and short lived attempts to scrub off the verbiage the brilliant idea of Responding not Deleting was dreamed up:

Under one huge Daub (in a particularily unsalubrious area of Ballymena) NO POPE HERE the response team posted;


THe wall remained undaubed for almost

24 hours

What a result
  Kings Cross: Berwick Train Expected?

Kings cross: 6 o'clock sunset
Originally uploaded by Summer Sky Photography
Huttonian is off on brief grandfatherly expedition and the image is of the hoped for destination. According to Railtrack, GNER and Ceefax no problems with trains. The weather is glorious in Berwick, no leaves on the track, cows safely tethered and all level crossings opening and shutting correctly, signals unblinking.

Is it possible? Is it just possible? That we might be on time.

For once
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Growing anticipation?

Lovers of building sites are wondering where they can get season tickets for the roadworks of the year: the recently approved Fishwick Bypass. Now that Farmer N has the go ahead for this stretch of public road to relieve the pressure on Nightmare Bend-aka the dangerous corner on the existing road, so dreaded by the hordes of Bebarboured fishermen risking life and limb in their armour plated 4x4s in persuit of salmon at Fishwick Road's End. Soon to be the site, so it is rumoured of a luxury 5* equestrian/fishing lodge provisionally named 'Close Encounter'

Roadees may have a bit of a wait. Cognoscenti of this planning saga will recall that Farmer N can hardly be expected to build the new N1 which he has generously underetaken to finance until he do so from the sale of the 6 building plots with outline planning permission residing some where in his agent's top drawer. And when the gleaming new mansions are up can we then expect to enjoy the security of the old Fishwick Road by then serving only the little hamlet whilst the fishing folk, the tractors, the pantechnicons, the juggernauts, the randy Bulls hurtle down the bypass with only the dead elms to terrorise?

Or is there just a small, remote, barely possible, chance that Farmer N,profits firmly pocketed, may just have a change of heart?

Bypass? Dangerous Corner? Pull the other one. Lots more dangerous roads in the Borders. Irresponsible to encourage more vehicles in such a quiet corner of the countryside.Global warming etc etc.

Watch this space.

Make sure you are sitting comfortably

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Ladykirk-a winsome spot

The description of Ladykirk comes from the long out of print (published 1912) 'The Gateway of Scotland:Lammermoor, East Lothian and the Merse' by A.G Bradley. He describes his visit to rather forbidding all stone (to prevent the English burning it down) Ladykirk, er, Kirk overlooking the Tweed and scowling down at the English frontier outpost of Norham. He found the church locked but with the help of 'two village matrons of ripe years and comfortable proportions'(and this well before Morrisons) gained access as they insisted ' It wad be an awfu pity for ye to gang awa'' Sir,without seein the inside of the kirk-sae mony hundred years old as it is, tae' Mr Bradleyt seemed not to be disappointed by the inside despite its adaption to the 'arid exigencies of Presbyterian worship' (Surely a Piscie,he? and an Embra man to boot.)

Mr B seems to have been something of a snob, coupled with a keen observation of homo sapiens Mersius and a good ear for the dialect. He was lucky on this occasion with his 'comfortably proportioned matrons' as they were the 'eloquent and accessible sample of Border peasant as opposed to the other and perhaps more prevalent uncommunicative type' I fear he must have had a few run ins with the latter category-perhaps refused credit at The Cross?

Certainly not as uncompromising an encounter as befell a friend of mine who, on a rare sunny day on Harris in the Outer Hebredies greeted the local Wee Free Minister with 'What a glorious day!'

''Aye' was the response ' We will have to pay for it'

Live now. You will certainly regret it


Arid exigencies notwithstanding

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Indeed I spilled my Costa Cafe Latte (medium) in shock as the 10.14 Ber Wick to Lunnon train from Embra arrived at 10.09. I was not the only astonished onlooker-a French couple, recognising a linguist when they saw one, asked 'Ce n'est pas le Train pour Londres?'
'C'est ca' I replied ' Incroyable! Le train est tres tot-premature. Vous etes sur?'

' Bien sur.Cette Express de fameux GNER est comme votre Nouveau Beaujolais-il'est arrive' ' Je n'aime pas le nouveau Beaujolais'replied the now appreciative grenouille' Moi, je suis un claret homme, moi-meme'

I was sorry to break off such a promising conversation vinicole but had to help the wife board Coach D, heavily burdened, without spilling her Costa Early Grey-in which I was not entirely successful but there is a buffet car en train-so no matter.

Les Frogs also embarked.They will miss the start of Le Grand Depart of the Tour de France but at least have enjoyed an unprecedented Grande Arrivee at Ber Wick -upon Tweed.

That's something to tell les petits-enfants.

Je me demande.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Crazy Bagpiper
Originally uploaded by Ganeshbaby
This image from Flickr is not the Princes Street Mendicant Piper-thankyou 'Cam McAzie' .Mores the pity as he might play a bit better than the PSMP, not that would be very difficult. Get a pig and kick it and you will have a much more harmonious melody.
He was in Waverley Station plying his trade as the weather was inclement. Two Japanese visitors hurried past, fingers in ears ignoring the offertory violin case. It seemed to me that one was humming a tune to the other as they headed for the Waverley Steps and safety :It was familiar, yes , the old Scottish air:

' Will you no come back again'

A message to the piper in a language he can understand.

With the emphasis on the


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Royal Scots wi hae

One can always rely upon the Berwickshire to publish really silly stories in the really silly season when the only other news story is the washing away of the Reiver, Reiver's Lass, Wynsome Mayde in the heavy rain which has put a dampener on Duns Civic Week. So under the banner, well ribbon, headline:

Kingdom of Scotland at Duns increases eligible members

we get the latest doings of the Dinger Regent of Scotland who always seems to resurface from his dugout whenever there is little else going on

THE Kingdom of Scotland's Parliament has doubled the number of its eligible noble members - the Parliament reactivated in 1997 by Duns man Michael Ritchie, not the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood.
Mr Ritchie believes that under Scots law the Kingdom of Scotland is still in being, both legally and constitutionally, and he reactivated it in 1997, appointing himself as Regent and acting chancellor "until a monarch can be found to reign solely over the kingdom".
When the Kingdom of Scotland was first reactivated there was around a dozen nobles eligible to sit in the Parliament mostly through peerages created prior to 1603 but also including peers created by the Regent (Michael Ritchie).
"Those peers living also in Scotland whose peerages were created after 1603 are not eligible under Scots law to be noble members of the Parliament,"expalined Mr Ritchie.
"However, a way of enabling them also to be eligible has now been found.
"They are members legally as holders also of earlier peerages, namely ones granted up to 1603, or rather up to when in that year James VI King of Scots in effect abdicated as King of Scots by moving down to London in the Kingdom of Scots by moving down to London in the Kingdom of England to become its king.
"There are about a dozen of these peers. So, the number of noble members is the KOS Parliament will now approximately double, a parliament that willremain a unicameral one.
"This statement is being issued by the Regent on the advice of the KOS's Privy Council."
those peers now eligible is the Earl of Home at the Hirsel, courtesy of a prior title, Lord Home (created 1473).
Other peers who have more than one title and who would otherwise have been eligible to be a member of the Kingdom of Scotland's Parliament are still barred if they sit in the House of Lords.
"Both the Union of the Crowns of Scotland and England in 1603 and the Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England in 1707 were illegal and unconstitutional under Scots Law and English Law," added Mr Ritchie.
This also makes the "so-called" Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh illegal says Mr Ritchie, who oversaw the first meeting of the Kingdom of Scotland's Parliament since 1603, on September 2, 2000, at The Blue House, Duns, (Mr Ritchie's home at the time).
On April 25, 2006 the High Council of the Kingdom of Scotland was reactivated and according to Mr Ritchie it will start meeting also.

I wonder if any right minded citizen is likely to start proceedings against Mr R for High Treason- just look what happened to Sir W Wallace in more enlightened times?

But better not. I am sure he would welcome the publicity and as the old saw has it-the nuttier the fruitcake, the longer in the baking. And this Dinger concoction is nuttier than most.

And half baked

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Dunbar Golf Club Notice
Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000

Huttonian duly attended the magic machine swing analyser at Dunbar and came away with a new hi-tech driver which will reduce the mighty fairways of the Royal County Down (PBUI) to the dimensions of a pitch and putt course. Dream on.

Dunbar Golf Club (founded 1865) has more bossy notices festooned about the club house area than any other golf establishment I have come across: Parking: Lady Captain only, Deputy Lady Captain, Disabled Lady Captain-ditto for the male officials. Members Car Park, Visitors Car Park (miles away) Mixed Lounge-Ladies Toilets only-keep off the grass, don't walk here, pitching only area, keep off (general advice) And the bossiness follows you around the course-This is a famous golf course.You have got to be serious. Don't spit in the bunkers.

After a longish drive (no pun intended) and an ill timed cup of diuretic (Fair Trade variety) I was anxious to make use of the facilities. Ignoring the many 'Ladies only' directions and failing to find the Gentlemen' (perhaps in egalitarian Scotland they do not exist?) I asked an obvious official. Sorry. Members Only. To make use of the club house you will need to purchase a green fee (£55). Gosh that's even more expensive than the public loo in Kelso.

I beat a hasty, crossed leg, retreat. and bearing in mind that there seemed to be no notice discouraging peeing in bunkers was saved from public exposure (npi) by the kind professional (in charge of the swingometer) allowing me use of his facility behind the Sand Wedges-just to the left of the Putters. Thankyou Mr Montgomery/.

Off to Duns (MPBUI) this very early am to try out the Galloway Big Bertha. Salivating at the possibility of a drive and a short putt at the long First. Alas for ambition.


How wet can you get?

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Culture Shrek

I don't know who thinks up these stunts in the VisitScotland control centre but this is the latest

VisitScotland has provided a helping hand to a customer with a difference – a very large customer, who is starring on our movie screens across the land, as the latest Shrek movie – “Shrek the Third” – is shown throughout Europe and the UK.

The organisation’s PR teams have been working closely with Paramount Pictures to explore Shrek’s possible Scottish heritage. Voice actor Mike Myers bestowed a Scottish accent on the lovable ogre when he first came to life in Shrek in 2001.

At 7ft tall and with a 102” waist, this was no ordinary kilt fitting! Lochcarron of Scotland, based in Selkirk agreed to meet the challenge which VisitScotland set and weavers at the mill worked overtime to meet the deadline and create the giant piece of green and brown tartan.

Have a look on our corporate website for the full story http://www.visitscotland.org/news_item.htm?newsID=45558

Oh Dear. For Shrek read Shriek throughout.

It will be a Tam o Shanter and Sporran for Nessie next

Originally uploaded by old_greywolf2000
Cocky, our bide ee in Pheasant is showing the strains of father hood looking after a demanding hen and we assume a batch of chicks-as yet invisible.His colours are becoming increasingly drab and his eyebrows have moulted away. Mid Life crisis, as well, perhaps

Nota Bene:

RSPB have said that they will , in future avoid the description 'Cock' as it might give offence.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Longer and Straighter

No, not a spam e-mail about expanding male fundamentals, but a flyer from the professional at Dunbar Golf Club advocating custom fitting for new golf clubs. Huttonian, for the first time, after golfing, after a fashion, for nearly 60 years, has succumbed to this temptation. So it is off to East Lothian to be fitted for a new powerful, rocket science engineered, designed by a brain scientist, club. In my case there is a real need as my monster Taylor Made graphite shafted, plutonium headed weapon of grass destruction, together with many other similar big headed drivers (several thousands apparently) becomes illegal on 1 January next year. So needs must. And I look forward (with some trepidation)to having my swing analysed by the Laser Launch Monitor 'Golf Achiever' and then acquiring the perfect club which (with its customised, grip, shaft material, face loft, shaft length etc 'enhances ball striking' 'improves accuracy' 'improves ball flight and distance' and virtually guarentees selection for the Walker Cup Team at this September's massacre of the Yanks at the Royal County Down, (PBUI)Sadly, the team has been selected already but if some one falls out at the last moment with 'norn iron tummy'I am ,as ever,willing to answer the call.

The image (I borrowed from Flickr) is apparently of a golfer practising his black art at Dunbar harbour. (I hope it is not the Laser Launch Monitor as it looks rather low tech)And this is a toon with three golf courses within three miles.
It doesn't need a rocket science trained golf professional to tell you that given the strange grip, weird posture of the would be harbour blaster that it would be highly surprising if any of the balls reached terra firma. Golf is 97% hope and 3% expectation.

But surely not in this case.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

A friend travelling on the A68 between Dalkeith and Soutra saw an official Road sign which said 'Beware, Fuffets ahead' Fuffets? What's those? And nothing was there to be seen.But as she did not know what a Fuffet is it was qute hard to know what to look out for. She may have squashed a few without realising. Conundrum as our councillor would have it. She rang up Amey Highways who denied working on that part of the road and had no idea what a Fuffet might be.

Huttonian and the Hutton Think Tank (Words and Phrases section)have assiduously searched online, offline and in my lady's chamber for a Fuffet. Someone suggested it might be a Scottish word but not known to the Scottish English online dictionaty. At last a Japanese website www.ohahaabanahajaiargh.org (transliteration approximate but also visible on http://edu.qd.sd.cn/audition/disney/third/txt/With%20Apologies%20to%20Mother%20Goose.txt) came upwith the only known reference to Fuffets in a previously unpublished piece of deathless verse-and as you will see-not too helpful

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Then he had a terrible fall.
An¡¯all the king¡¯s horses an¡¯all the king¡¯s men had
Scrambled eggs for breakfast again!
But oh, no no, don¡¯t say I told you.
Don¡¯t go quotin¡¯ me¡¯ cause if you do, OI Mother Goose.
Will be awful mad at me.
Hey little Boy Blue come blow your horn.
The sheep¡¯s in the meadow and the cow¡¯s in the corn.
Now where is that boy that watches the sheep?
He¡¯s out pickin¡¯ flowers with little Bo peep!
Little Miss Muffet, she sat on a fuffet.
That¡¯s kind of hard to do.
Cause I looked it up and there¡¯s no such word.
I think that¡¯s strange, don¡¯t you?
But if she finds out what I said, I ask you, please.
Kindly send along my apologies to Mother Goose!

So it could be a sort of obtrusion-and in the case of the A68 a mini speed bump? But too mini to be noticeable. Or it might be a small toad like creature with a thoughtfully arranged crossing place as they provide for frogs on- the- hop in Maidenhead.

Research continues.

Any Fuffets sent to the HTT for analysis and classifiction will be well treated and carefully returned.

PS a Welsh bloggee has found the following:

Heddiw, cynhaliwyd buffet (fuffet? :)) nadolig. Gallet ti'n ymlacio, Telsa, fydd ddim rhaid i ti wneud dim byd! Hmm. O, mae angen fwy o llwyiau Gallet ti'n ...

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

At our last meeting of the Hutton and Paxton Community Council the visiting policeman gave us the usual update on local crime. Usually 'Nothing to report'-apart from the Neighbourhood Watch sign being nicked.Again.

But this time we were told of a 'mini crime wave' in our CC area (His words not mine) Two cases of an air gun being discharged illegally and an assault on a young person and a mobile phone being stolen (Paxton apparently, of course) Air Guns? I had a momentarily frisson. Had Huttonian been shopped for shooting at the rats in the woodpile? If so was I about to be arrested and humiliated publicly. No Guv, it wasn't me.Honest. Shooting rats from the comfort of your summer shack on private property is kosher. The crimes in question were in a public place-unspecified (5 gets you a couple of million it was Paxton)

The visiting PC was however unaware of another serious crime reported by a member of the Community Council.

See para one above.

Yes. The Neighbourhood Watch sign near Hutton Castle Barns has gone walkabout.

For at least the second time. And judging on past form, if you go down to the woods today.

You might find it.

If so, put it back.


(I am getting worried about our insurance premiums)
Happenings in A small Scottish Community


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