Welcome to my blog. Thanks for dropping by. Hope you'll stay and enjoy reading about where I've been and what I've been doing!

I don't mean this to be a replacement for personal emails, but it gives me the chance to put up photos and my scrapbook layouts, so I don't block up your in-boxes, or have to send the same photos and stories to everyone separately!
Thanks, and welcome, to the followers of my blog. I'm very honoured that you enjoy it. Drop me some comments from time to time! It's good to hear what you think about the posts. Come back again soon.

Thanks also to Mary of Mary's Mixes for doing all the work on the blog's heading. You are great, Mary!

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

The last few days

The strangest coincidence! Linda was looking up something on the internet about fishing, for her partner, and came across news of a dreadful accident that had occurred last week. She read through it because she is always concerned something happens to Brian when he is fishing off slippy rocks etc. so when I saw her yesterday she told me that she had read this news article, and it was only on reading my blog afterwards that she had realised that it was Murray she had been reading about. It seems his fishing line got snagged and he waded out to try to to retrieve it, got into difficulties, and called to his family for help. They seemingly couldn't reach him and called out the coastguard and ambulance. They managed to bring him out of the water and tried to revive him but he died before they reached the hospital in Stornoway. So had he slipped, had there been a sudden dip that had taken him unawares, had he waded just too far and water got into his waders pulling him down? Will we ever know? I think not, but I feel for his sons who were powerless to save him and witnessed the whole terrible episode.

I haven't blogged for a couple of days because I have been busy doing things to blog about!!!
On Saturday afternoon I had a lovely visit from my great friends, Edwina, her husband Barney and her sister, Jean.
Cyril, with Jean, Edwina and Barney on the bench, in happier days before Cyril died and Barney took ill.
Ween and Barney were spending a few days' holiday with Jean, having driven up from the south of England. They came to my flat which Ween was dying to see as she hasn't been here since I moved (5 1/2 years ago!!). She loved my view! We caught up on what they had been up to while they'd been with Jean; played with Moosie hamster (aka Priscilla !) and had tea, with fruit scones bought from the tearoom down the road! Then all of a sudden it was time for an evening meal. Where does the time go? We chose a bar meal at the Courthouse, a few steps from here, and enjoyed burgers with chips and salad, washed down with a glass of vino! At last it was time for them to set off back down to the east coast, so with big hugs we all said goodbye, and hope to see you again soon! I really do hope so. It was lovely to see Ween. She and I met at the music pub we went to in our 20s, but didn't really become good friends till I discovered she was the, until then, unknown girlfriend of a guy in our crowd! She ditched him eventually when she met Barney. Apart from the fact that she left Edinburgh to be with Barney, it was great that she met and married him and not the other one! Don't get me wrong. He was a friend too, but sometimes he didn't quite treat Ween the way she should have been treated.

Next morning, Sunday, was my work morning! Up at 6a.m. - the middle of the night - and at work for 7. The day went by reasonably quickly - I hardly ever find time dragging at the shop - and afterwards I called in at Morag's. She was feeling a bit like she'd never been out and about for a while so did I fancy a run out somewhere? I'm all for an spontaneous adventure so we drove to Moffat - where Murray's and my ancestors lived - had an oyster icecream each (!not oyster flavoured! It's the shape of the wafers, more like a clam shell with icecream in the centre!) while wandering round the park watching the Sunday afternoon visitors pedalling the swans on the loch!

I showed her where my great great great grandparents, Robert and Catherine,were buried, and the houses I knew the family to have lived in. before we came back to the car to return to Peebles by St Mary's Loch, the scenic route. Mike had tea ready when we got back, having opted to stay at home instead of come out with us. Stirfry with prawns in Thai sauce with noodles! Boy was it good!!!
Yesterday Linda and I met for lunch, which was when she told me about Murray's accident. It was a dry bright day so we decided to drive to St Mary's Loch and the Tibbie Shiels Inn to eat. New folk have taken the Inn over so we hoped to find the place as it had been. So often when new folk take a place over, they pull it to pieces and refurbish it, quite often spoiling it in the process. So far no change! Even the woman behind the bar was as abrupt and off-putting as the Dragon Lady who used to run it! So why did we keep going? Nice place! Nice food! The other folk working in the dining room were nice though and I think my complaint about the attitude of the bar lady didn't go unheeded! I mean, you go into a bar and are greeted with a snapped "Yes?" We asked if we could have lunch. "You'll have to wait for a table. They're all full!" we were told snappily. Behind us a family group came in and asked about lunch. Another member of staff told them yes, of course. Did they want to go through to the lounge (where tables are set out for meals). We looked amazed and told her we'd been told to wait in the bar for a table. "No, go through!" said this other woman, so we did. We were greeted by yet another woman and it was to this one I complained about the attitude of the first woman!

After lunch and to walk it off we took a short stroll along the path to the loch itself. The path, part of the long distance footpath The Southern Upland Way, continues through a gate, and on along the far side of the loch, however we only walked as far as the yachting clubhouse, admiring the purple heather on the hills and the calm blue waters shimmering in the sun SUN? Yes, we had a lovely sunny afternoon. In fact everywhere looked so, sort of, clean! Bright and sparkly and... well, like it had all been washed, which it had been, I suppose, by all the recent rain! The grass beside the path was still wet with raindrops, and the wildflowers, purple knapweed, wild blue scabious, yellow ragwort, white yarrow, were all in bloom too, and although the wild roses were over, the hips, the seed pods, were quite big and beginning to turn from green to red. There was also a little autumn colour in some of the trees, and the rowan tree berries were already quite red, though it's still only August.

a chaffinch in the rowan tree

Back on the road once more we took a detour home, turning off the main road onto the single track road with passing places that took us uphill through heather covered moorland with rocky outcrops on one side of the road and green grassy hills on the other, past the Megget reservoir to the top of the hill, from where you can look down on Talla, the next reservoir, and see the burn (small river) fast flowing over the rocks down the hill.

It's a steep descent to Talla but just so pretty. The road alongside Talla is fairly straight and wider than the previous section, but you don't want to hurry along here! Plenty of time for that once you reach the main road at the other end. The reservoirs are almost full again after a long period of being quite low, so the folks in Edinburgh needn't worry about water restrictions for a while!
We reached the main road and turned right, passing Tweedsmuir Kirk (church) and then the old coaching inn The Crook, now sadly closed down because the new owner wants to change it into flats while the local community want it reinstated as an inn. We sometimes went there for bar suppers, and enjoyed the atmosphere of the old 18th century bar, along with the Art Deco dining room and loos! You see what I mean about new folk taking places over? The inn seemed to take in a good enough income, and was the hub of the spread out farming community so little wonder there is aggro against the new owner's plans. It is now for sale again and the locals are hoping to do a community buy out! Not sure of the present "lie of the land"!

Back to Peebles, past Dawyk botanic gardens - cafe closed! We stopped to look! That's one of my bugbears, tearooms and cafes that close at tea time! Returning from a day out when I was a youngster we always used to stop at a country tearoom for afternoon tea, but no sooner is lunch over, then people start offering afternoon teas, and when people actually WANT tea at about 4 or 5, the tearooms close! Oooooh Grrrrrrrrrrr! Anyway we got back to Peebles and soon it was time for work.

Today I was planning to go over to Glasgow to meet Sally and Andrew off the plane from Australia but a phone message from Ian when I got home last night, said that the youngsters would catch up with me next week. They had apparently hired a car to await them, before they left Oz and were planning on spending this afternoon looking for a place to rent for the next couple of years. So instead I am sitting here blogging instead of doing a million and one other things I could be doing but haven't the will to do right now!

I got an email from the other Ian in France to say he's looking forward to my visit - I was getting anxious as I hadn't heard from him after I sent my flight details a couple of weeks ago! I'm looking forward to my visit too!

So that's me! I'm up to date! Day off today so not sure what I'll do tonight! I just MIGHT get my lace pillow out and do some of the bookmark I started at Doune.... oh but there are dishes to wash, and other jobs to do! Can I raise the enthusiasm to go and do them first?

Talk again soon.

Saturday, 23 August 2008


Well. I didn't know what I was going to write about this time, but I've just had a phone call from a cousin on Mum's side of the family to say his dad has died as the result of a tragic accident up in the Hebrides. I didn't want to probe too much on the phone, but as I hope to go to his funeral in Dumfries&Galloway this week, I will no doubt find out more.

I have to say I'm quite stunned, so goodness knows how his sons are feeling. I only got to know Murray relatively recently after I did a bit of family research, latterly with the help of a professional genealogist. It turned out that Murray's dad, brother of my grandad, had moved to England to work, married there and brought his son up there, and Murray himself had married and brought up his own family there too, though he and his wife decided to retire to Scotland some years ago. Unfortunately I never met Audrey who died before I "found" Murray, but he and I met a few times, normally in the town of Moffat about halfroads between us, and, incidentally, the town where our ancestors had lived. The first time we met we went to look at the houses they had lived in, and explored the old graveyard where some of them were buried.

This is a photo of Murray outside the house where our common ancestor, Thomas, was born in 1857. It is possible that the family moved there a few years earlier, but that is the first confirmed date I have of the family being there, not having seen the 1841 or 51 census records yet! I'll have to get back to that soon.

I had hoped this summer that Murray and I could take a trip to Lanarkshire to look for the house where his grandmother, Jeanie, was born - most likely a ruin now or even non existent, but now I'll be doing that trip on my own. I'm sorry he never got to do that.

I never knew my grandfather or his brothers, and it seems that Murray never knew his uncle, (my grandfather) who had gone to the north of England to work. Murray as a boy would come visiting his other uncle in Glasgow and met his other west of Scotland cousins but he never met my mum. I think that Murray's dad and my grandad may have fallen out with each other, which might account for a few things that came to light while I was researching my own branch of the family!!!

This is Thomas, my great grandfather, Murray's grandfather, with Jeannie, his wife, at the wedding of their eldest son, my grandfather....
.... and on the right a family photo taken around about the millennium. Murray and Audrey are on the right. They had two sons who are also pictured here with their wives and children. The family is bigger now though.

Well, my sympathy to the family. See you on Friday.
To everyone else, talk again soon.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

A story from the Scottish Borders

Did I ever tell you the story of Muckle Mou'd Meg? Muckle is big while mou', pronounced moo with a long oo, is mouth.

The story goes that one dark night young Willie Scott and some friends set out from Aikwood in Ettrickdale on a raid, determined to steal some cattle from Sir Gideon Murray of Elibank in Tweeddale. Unfortunately for the young men Sir Gideon was forewarned, so when Scott and his friends approached Elibank Sir Gideon and his men were lying in wait for them. After a bloody skirmish young Willie was captured and flung into the Elibank dungeon

Sir Gideon's plan was to hang the young man the very next morning, but Lady Murray, knowing that the lad was of a good family, suggested to her husband that Willie be given a choice - hanging.... or marriage to Meg their far from beautiful youngest daughter with the long thin nose and big mouth.

Next morning Willie was brought from his prison to the courtyard where a gallows had been set up. The choice of the gallows or a wife was given to him, but on seeing Meg, with youthful vigour he decided he would rather die than have such a wife as her. However, as he was dragged towards the gallows the boy had a change of heart and agreed that he would indeed marry Meg, despite her looks!

So the couple were married and they say they led a very happy life together, having a large family from which Sir Walter Scott, the author of the Waverley Novels, was descended. Despite her lang neb (nose) and muckle mou', Meg was gentle and kind, and made Willie Scott a wonderful wife.


Elibank tower was built high on the hillside on the south side of the River Tweed, on the way between Peebles and Galashiels. Like many of the Border dwellings they were built as fortified towers to protect the lairds and their families as well as their servants from attack. In that era this was very necessary. A string of towers stretched along valleys each one in view of the next so that the warning flames of a beacon at the top of the tower could be seen by the next and thus passed on along the valley. Today Elibank and many others of the great tower houses are in a ruinous state and dangerous to explore, but Elibank's walls can still be seen in the castle's prominent position on its hillside.

Opposite, on the north side of the valley is an area that has been made into a carpark and picnic site. Some years ago a statue, carved from a single piece of burr elm, of Meg and Willie Scott dancing together was erected at the picnic site with Meg looking towards the tower where her namesake once lived. It is very beautiful and cleverly carved to show off some of the burrs as Willie's lace cuffs or flounces of Meg's skirt.

Talk again soon.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Great news!

Great excitement today! Got an email from Ian in Australia to say that Sally has graduated as Dr Sally, and that she and Andrew - ET - will be arriving in Glasgow on 26th, for a two or three year stay, while Sally does her Fellowship! I knew they were due to be arriving sometime this month but not the exact date!

Congratulations Sally on the graduation - you look lovely - and I am really looking forward to seeing you next week! Planning on coming to meet you at the airport!

Then the other excitement is that Clare and Nathan have just bought their first house! What a great feeling! It's YOURS, guys! This is a great photo of Clare and the SOLD sign! They don't complete the deal till 19th September, but that's not so far away now. I bet you're really pleased, Clare and Nathan! I'm really happy for you both.
Then the third piece of news is that Ian and Berny have booked their tickets to come over here for Christmas! It will be fabulous to see you again! Is it three months already, since I came home? Crumbs, it must be!
Well, just a wee short blog today, as I am trying to clear out my numerous photos on the computer, and get the best ones on to CDs. The pooter has been getting very slow and I am constantly getting little reminders from it that there isn't much memory left! I've removed as many unnecessary files as I can, so now the photos have to go - somewhere! I will no doubt find some pictures I have intended to use in a blog at some time so watch this space, in the absence of anything very much going on over the next few days!
Glad you're enjoying my blog over there in Victoria. Not too sure just who else is reading it, but everybody's welcome! Sending love to all the rellies in Aus, NZ, Canada, South Africa, and to all my good friends all over the place too. Hope to see Edwina from Berkshire soon too, and Chris from the west is coming to visit at the beginning of September! Then I go to France to see Ian later in September. Oh isn't it great!!!
Talk again soon!

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Toasting the Lassies and Fringe by the Sea

Hello again.

(I started this on Sunday night but didn't quite get finished!)

I was at work this morning at 7.00a.m for the newspapers arriving! Sunday is supplement day and between opening time and 7.30 I am to be found sitting on a pile of Sunday Times putting the extra magazines, financial pages, travel supplements etc. together with their respective newspapers. The Sunday Times waits till all the others are done as it has two huge supplements which in reality are about ten in total. You need a wheel barrow to carry the newspapers home these days!!!
It was fairly late when I got home last night, having been gallivanting off to the concerts in Edinburgh and North Berwick. The first one was in a small theatre with a tiny stage, at the back of the famous Edinburgh deli, Valvona and Crolla. This is THE most wonderful shop and I'm sure by looking at the photo you'll see what I mean! Shelves and shelves and shelves of wonderful foodie goodies, salamis, hams, peppers and cheeses hanging from the ceiling, a cold counter full of equally mouth-watering goodies, and wine - from one end to the other! We took ourselves into the restaurant for coffee and cake before the performance, which as I said before was in a small theatre at the back of the building. The "stage" was in the centre of one of the long walls and seating in front, and at right angles to the sides. We found good seats in the second row, plumb in the middle, and people-watched as the room got fuller and fuller. The lights went off; the buzz of conversation silenced and we waited..... and waited! Suddenly the door opened and a man in black entered complaining of the dark! He said he was the lighting engineer and he had been told to get some light on the stage! What was he supposed to do, with just the equipment he had been provided with? he grumbled. A tall candle on a tall candle stick stood on an occasional table on the stage with some other props, which he duly proceeded to light from a match from the box he took from his pocket. Acknowleding that it was better and would have to do, he exited again. From a distance we heard a woman singing, then the door opened to admit the owner of the voice, a young woman dressed in an 18th century costume - dark skirt with "panniers" out to the sides at the waist, a dark brocade bodice with red jacket, black lace trimmed sleeves, on top. This was Mistress Bowman, aka singer Gill Bowman, an Edinburgh lady in the year 1796, who had invited guests to a late summer evening's entertainment by Mr Robert Burns the poet. She was expecting his arrival in her home at any time! We became the guests! While we waited for the honoured guest's "arrival" Mistress Bowman treated us to a delightful, extremely funny and very clever monologue about the life of Mr Burns, his poems and songs, all in relation to the many young women Burns had courted (?!) throughout his short life, picking up her guitar frequently to sing the songs Burns had written for each of them. The end was poignant! She couldn't think what could have happened to Mr Burns! He was very late. A little last minute tidying up saw her move a news sheet from the occasional table. Glancing at it, she suddenly gasped then read aloud the notice that informed us of the death of Mr Burns in Dumfries on 21st inst. (It was July). Obviously overwhelmed she picked up the candle snuffer and snuffed out the flames of the candles on the table. and still looking unbelievingly at the news sheet she walked slowly towards the door quietly singing "Should auld acquaintance be forgot..... and auld lang syne", before disappearing through the door. What an excellent performance! Of course she returned to the stage to take her bow and went on to thank us and tell us of the CDs she had on sale. I bought the one of the songs from the play and asked her to sign it for me, which she was pleased to do. I have it playing in the background at this very moment!

Cockenzie, East Lothian
We left Valvona & Crolla, returned to the car and drove through the city suburbs out into East Lothian and North Berwick right beside the sea. It was quite windy but very sunny and full of people! It was nice to see that children do still play on the beach there and paddle if not exactly swim in the sea itself! When I was a kid there were ice-cream shops, cafes, and shops where you could buy buckets and spades for building sandcastles or fishing nets to try and catch the little flat flounders that wriggled into the sand and tickled your feet when you almost stood on them!
Now there is a wonderful birdlife visitor centre with CCTV from the gannet colony out on the great lump of volcanic rock out in the sea, called the Bass Rock. There are interactive things to do, as well as displays of birds and marine life, a model of the Bass, gift shop and tearoom . We had a late light lunch there before exploring one or two of the galleries in the main street. Ooh, there is some nice stuff about! Local artists and sculptors are producing beautiful paintings, glassware and models.

Berwick Law and North Berwick from outside the seabird centre

Later we had tea in a lovely local family-run Italian restaurant, then headed back to the venue for the concert we were in North Berwick for. When Linda and I were in our twenties, we were quite "into" the folk scene! The Folk Revival was at its height and folk clubs were to be found everywhere. As well as singers of traditional Scottish songs - many from the Jacobite era - there were some excellent contemporary musicians making there way into the music scene. There was the fabulous Incredible String Band, with their weird and wonderful songs about such things as amoebas - A Very Cellular Song - and hedgehogs - the Hedgehog's Song - and other groups like Rankin File and Town Choice who were all very popular in Edinburgh. A newcomer from Fife was Rab Noakes who was not only a talented singer songwriter but good-looking as well! We liked him! and it was him and Mike Heron from the Incredibles that we had come to hear on Saturday! (Writing this on Monday now!)

It was quite a concert! Mike and his daughter Georgi, and a friend called Frazer, started off with a set that almost recreated the ISB! We heard the Hedgehog's Song, Everything's Fine Right Now, and one or two others from their early days - nice to hear those - and several songs written by himself or Robin Williamson, his erstwhile ISB partner. Georgi sang a couple of her own songs - following in dad's footsteps, it seems! Nice voice! Good first half!

The second half was Rab's! Well, he's changed a lot! Where have those boyish good looks gone?
I couldn't quite equate the songs he was singing with the young Rab! Almost at the end of his set he sang one of his early songs, and that made all the difference! Wish he'd sung that one much earlier!
Anyway, it was a good night. We enjoyed the concert very much.
So, back to Edinburgh to drop Linda off and then back to Peebles for me, so you can see how I was quite late home and had no time to blog! Hope I've made up for it now!
Talk again soon.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Another Edinburgh day in August

Haven't had time to blog in the last couple of days! Sorry!
However, the other day Linda and I went to another Fringe show, the one that my late friend Vina's granddaughter was in. Right from being very tiny we used to call Rachael Metro Goldwyn Mayer, and said she ought to be on the stage, and that's exactly what she wants to do now she's almost 18! She has appeared in various local theatre events, and this time was with the National Youth Music Theatre which she successfully auditioned for a short while before her granny's death in March. Vina would have been so proud of her! She didn't star as a main character in the musical, but did have a line or two to say apart from the singing! The show was called Missing Mel, and was set in a school on the first day of term. Mel is missing from school. Where is she? No-one has seen her. What has happened to her? How are her peers taking the news that she cannot be found? The story touched on a whole load of issues that confront school kids, from drugs to how can they exist without their mobile phones! Not knowing quite what to expect we found it very interesting. The characters were believable, from the school bullies to the show-off "best friend" and the non conformist former "best friend" of the missing student, and the music and singing was excellent. Should I tell you how it all turns out? Naah! Leave you on tenterhooks like a kipper!
Of course I couldn't take photos, so I can't add them in at this stage! Sorry!

As always click on a picture to enlarge it!

Forth Road Bridge 1964 Forth Bridge 1890

However we had planned afterwards to go to over the Forth to Fife to do some shopping, but stopping off at Queensferry for lunch we realised we'd not have very much time! Perhaps next week! Linda's retired now so has plenty of time!!! So instead we lingered over a tasty lunch at the Hawes Inn, looking out on the Forth Bridge, listening to the trains thundering overhead as they began the approach to the great cantilevers.........

The Hawes Inn is mentioned in the books of Robert Louis Stevenson

.....then on towards Bo'ness to a favourite garden centre where we looked around at the plants for sale and the indoor gift shop, and partook of some refreshment in the tearoom! I didn't even buy a single plant, amazingly enough. There's a couple of plants in pots in my garden still waiting to be planted so I resisted the temptation.

Instead I took photos!

This was a competition garden, one of several laid out in the grounds. The theme was "Passion". This one intrigued me - The Mosaic Garden.

Tomorrow we are going to a couple of folk concerts, one starring a couple of aging folkies like ourselves, who were at their height when we were all in our twenties! Anyone remember Rab Noakes, or what about Mike Heron from the Incredible String Band? He lives around here, by the way! The other is about the women courted by Robert Burns, with songs sung by Gill Bowman. Looking forward to both of these, especially as one of them is in North Berwick, down by the sea, east of Edinburgh. We'll be able to wander around there for a while in the afternoon before the show. Maybe visit the Birdlife Centre, and look at a few shops and galleries in the main street..... I'll tell you later what we do...did...d......!
So, all for now.
Talk again soon.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Agricultural Show - well, the handicrafts tent really!

Hi again,

I realised that my "links" weren't working, which is a shame, but I suddenly realised why and I have had to go back over them to get them right! Should all be OK in the Edinburgh blog anyway! I'll go over the others later!

Well, I had an email from my sister the other day to ask how my photos at her local agricultural show had come out! She had won several handicraft prizes and two cups and had had her photo taken by the local paper, but they hadn't printed it! It dawned on me that I obviously hadn't put my pics onto the computer and that therefore I hadn't sent them to her. So, Jean, just for you, here are your photos!

First are the articles that won the prizes.

As usual click the pictures to enlarge them.

Here's a corner detail

A mixed bag of techniques here in the bottle cover. I'd be frightened to use this on an open bottle!

Embroidered pin cushion.
I love the little snail detail.

This is tatting!!!

There was something else, I am sure, but I can't remember what it was. However, here's Jean with her cups!

(Just an aside at this point! It is pouring with rain just now and I'd say this was almost "Adelaide rain" - for those of you who were in Adelaide with me!)

Being presented with the first of the two cups she won.

Being presented with the second cup!

And here she is with her two cups beside the handcraft section.

Now for a closer look at the cups - The Fabrication Cup and the Wool Shop Quaich.

Hands up if you spotted the deliberate mistake?

Well, it wasn't really deliberate, but the first cup Jean got was the wrong one! Take a look back if you missed it!
So, that was my chance to show my sister off! Isn't she the clever one?

Well done, Jean!

Talk again soon.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Edinburgh in August

Hello again.
How are things with you? Hope all's going well! Look forward to hearing from you soon! Leave me a message here on the website, and even if you are just passing through, do say hello in the c-box and tell me what you think of my ramblings and pics!

Yesterday I drove up to Edinburgh to meet Janet, and Sarah, who was also at school at the same time as us. Haven't seen Sarah since I was at school which wasn't yesterday, but she was still quite recognisable as the wee schoolgirl I remembered. We intended just having a wander around Princes Street and the Royal Mile looking at the street performers from the Festival Fringe, but started off with lunch at the Hub, the old church just down the hill a little from the castle where we caught up with Sarah's life and she with ours. However, Sarah left us after lunch for other plans, so it was just the two of us who wandered up to the castle esplanade to take photos. Accents and languages showed that most of the crowd around us were from overseas, or "down south".

Returning down Castlehill we encountered 'William Wallace' giving a bit of a show! "Wha's for Scotland and St. Andrew?" he'd roar, lunging forward with his long broadsword in challenging mode! "Say Aye!!!!!!!" Silence! Obviously he was not being understood! Hardly a Scot to be found apart from us! After a short comedy act he posed for photos with the public, so I have no idea who the young lady was in this pic!

Further down the hill a young woman stood in a doorway, dressed in a beautiful ballet costume with a sort of a medieval Scottish look to it. She had struck a pose and managed to stand so still till someone approached and put a coin into the hat lying on the ground in front of her. Then she began a slow dance performance, a slight shuffle with her feet but mostly with her arms and upper body. Her hand movements were so beautiful as she bent and twisted in the dance. I was mesmerised! I had to put something into her hat and as I did I told her how excellent I had thought her performance. In response I got another little performance which gesticulated her thanks, her facial expression never changing all the while. It was amazing.

As we came back to the roundabout by the Hub we saw a novel way by which to tour the city! These guys must be fit considering Edinburgh is built like Rome on Seven Hills! Not that they are cycling up and down them all, but the Mound, the Bridges and the Royal Mile are steep enough for pulling two passengers up!

Further down the High Street we went, reaching the High Kirk of St Giles - usually known as St Giles Cathedral - just as the heavens opened and the rain poured down. Neither of us had visited the Cathedral for years so we, along with loads of other rain escapees piled through the doors. Most of the crowd seemed intent on a look around and dispersed to various parts of the building in no time. We made our way into the centre aisle past the modern boxed pews that were once the norm in Scottish churches, each pew having its own gate, so that families could sit by themselves in the pews they had 'paid for' by subscription.

Soon we saw the bronze statue of the famous Presbyterian preacher, John Knox, a man well connected with the Cathedral, then wandered further to see The Thistle Chapel, dedicated to the Knights of the Thistle. Another memorial which I remember from childhood was the one to Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island and Kidnapped, who is pictured in bronze reclining on his day bed in Samoa, with a book.

Emerging again into the High Street we continued downhill past the balloon artist - more complex models being created than the inevitable poodle dog of my youth - and the living statue of a medieval king who knighted everyone who gave him money - what a benevolent smiley looking guy he was and isn't his costume marvellous. Just look how his cape falls in those folds..... They look like proper sculpted gold!

We headed down the Fleshmarket Close steps and cut through the station to arrive in Princes Street where there were more performances to watch. Outside the art galleries yet another living statue sat looking pensive and shook hands with his benefactors. His performance was more of a robotic style with jerky movements, but he was good!

The American juggler was reaching the crescendo of his performance where he was to stand on a tiny platform at the top of a thin pole being held upright by ropes held by members of the public, to juggle with fired torches. There was a great lead-up to the actual finale which was very funny and very clever but at last he stood up on the platform and juggled three flaming torches, followed by an attempt to extinguish a flaming fire whip, by cracking it around his head! That requires some balance, but he did it and was rewarded with thundrous applause and I should think, quite a bit of money in his "magic hat"!

After a welcome seat and cold drink in the new Art Galleries' tearoom, under the square arches beneath the white tents,

Don't laugh!!! Janet's attempt was worse!

and an attempt at self photography, we began to slowly wend our way back to the station where Janet was catching a train.

The Scott Monument was still open for visitors to climb the 287 steps to the top, but we by-passed
that to watch and listen to an African band performing at the corner of Waverley Bridge with Princes Street. Unfortunately their performance was just about over and the rain began again in earnest. I just managed to photograph the fellow playing the xylophone before they all rushed for cover carrying the xylophone with them under the trees! What a beautiful sound the instrument made with its gourd sound boxes!

By the time we crossed Waverley Bridge the rain had stopped again, and we had one more performance to take in. These dancers whirled, and twirled their fans in an almost acrobatic dance. It was beautiful and so were the girls who smiled and coyly inclined their heads throughout. Then the flag twirling guy finished off the performance, throwing the double flagged pole from hand to hand round his back and under his legs, rolling over onto his shoulders and twirling the flags in and out and round about his waving legs! It was exhausting just watching!

However, finally it was time to get Janet onto her train. We hugged each other goodbye and wishing each other a safe journey she headed for the platform and with a final wave I headed for the bus back to the south side of the city where I had left my car, for my return to Peebles.

Talk again soon!