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, 29 January 2008

Hi, I haven't got the hang of saving these blogs, and retrieving them after I navigate away from them. For example, I started a blog, then wanted to check something out on another webpage. I got the info I wanted and then tried to come back to what I'd already written and hey! Where d'it go? I've tried everything to find it but here I am having to start all over again! I won't say what I am really thinking!

Anyway back to the blog, which is now out of date as the event I was writing about was yesterday!!! Yesterday, now, was the centenary of the birth of a Scottish legend, Fifer, button accordian player extrordinaire and composer of many Scottish dance tunes, the most famous probably being his Bluebell Polka. Every Scottish country dancer will have danced to a tune of Jimmy Shand's at some stage. His appearances on TV are legendary, but he played far more off screen for dances all over the country, and became a much loved character all over the world - Jimmy Shand and his band must have inspired many a band in their day, and probably do so to this day.
Tomorrow night I may be going to a dance myself, depending on how Vina feels! She's the one who is the dancer! She belongs to the Peebles dancers though of course being ill has prevented her from dancing from quite a while. Just the other day though she said she would like to go to this big dance just to be there and watch everyone dancing, and would I like to go with her? I used to dance too years ago before the brain op in 1977, but because there's a lot of twirling and birling, and fast steps I can't keep up - and my balance isn't good enough these days to cope. However if Vina feels able to go - and isn't it great that she feels she might be - I will go with her and the pair of us will sit in a corner and watch the goings on - me with my camera of course! So maybe I'll get some good pics to make into another scrapbook layout! We're not there yet though. Vina could still feel she's not fit enough. We are all taking things day by day, but this last week she has been feeling better than she has for ages. It's still a while till she can have the scan that will tell whether her chemo and radiotherapy has done what it was hoped it would, but for now, every day she feels better is something to celebrate.
Well, I think I am going to leave things there for now as it has taken far longer than I anticipated to get this up and running.
Talk to you all again soon.
Take care!

Sunday, 27 January 2008

The Meldons and heather

Glad to say the wind has died down, the rain has stopped, the temperature is a bit milder, the birds are singing and today is almost like a spring day, although it isn't really because it's only the end of January. Anyway the sun is shining - at the moment - and folk are out walking their dogs on the Green outside.
So today I will introduce you to Celeste and Tina from Sydney, Australia. I first met Celeste about 25 years ago when she came visiting with one of my Aussie cousins, and we kept in touch.
Some years later, due to the work she was doing, she would frequently come over to London conferences and when possible made the journey north to stay with me for a couple of days. bringing her friend and colleague Tina with her. Tina is now just as much a friend in her own right! ... so here is a scrapbooked layout of Celeste and Tina in September 07 in the Meldons among the heather.

It was at its best, and the air was filled with the scent of honey, as numerous bees did a lot of flitting to and fro from flower to flower. We climbed White Meldon to look at the prehistoric settlement on the lower slopes and then climbed higher to look down on the whole site. Higher on the hill is an older settlement still, a hill fort, but that's another story and another layout.

It was another day, not long before Celeste and Tina came to stay, when Morag and I took a drive along the Meldons road. The heather was just out and we stopped to take a closer look. I knew there was a fort at the top of the hill, but the display board indicated that there was a more recent farming settlement lower down. There was an artist's impression of the hill with the position of the settlement marked, and another of the supposed appearance of it. Of course we had to investigate! Nothing but the outer earth wall remains now, re-enforced in places with stone, possibly by shepherds who used the ring as a stell or sheepfold in much later centuries. In my photo, Morag stands on the rampart looking across to the opposite side.
I'd like to climb up to the fort sometime, but with both hips starting to give me problems with walking uphill, I'll have to go easy! Maybe in the spring.....with a couple of walking poles... and plenty of time!
Talk again soon.
Take care.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Burns an' a' that!

Hello again,

I just spent ages putting my blog for today together; closed a picture file - or so I thought - and the whole thing just disappeared! Huh! So, starting all over again now!

I said I would post the pictures of Celeste and Tina today but I couldn't go any further through January without some mention of one who was born on 25th January 1759... Robert Burns - ploughman, bard, Scotland's greatest poet, the toast of the Edinburgh elite, exciseman, drinker, womaniser... and strangely, friend of my great great great grandfather who was minister at the Secession Church in Dumfries, a breakaway from the Established Church..

Burns Encyclopedia says that Burns met Rev. William through the outgoing tenant of Elibank, but a manuscript written by Charles, one of William's grandsons, with added notes from his brother James, states that Burns was sent by the authorities of Dumfries to spy on William, as at that time anything other than the established order was held in deep suspicion. An exciseman at the time, Burns was "asked" to attend a service and report back to the magistrates, which he proceeded to do. On meeting up with the Magistrates again at the Town Hall, he was asked what treason Mr Inglis spoke. Charles writes that Burns was too honourable to twist or pervert words and become a false witness and that he replied that he would give them the gist of the sermon and they could judge for themselves. The Magistrates were not satisfied with that answer and replied, "That is not what we want to hear. What treason did he speak?" but Burns would say no more than he had already said and so, says Charles, the matter ended. (Words in italics are quotes from the MS.) Burns continued to frequent William's church and the two became friends. A plaque on the wall of the old church gives the following information:

An added note from James says that he remembers his father saying that once when William visited the dying Burns, the poet expressed his deep contrition for his sinful life and immoral writings, and his resolution if he was spared to amend his ways. How history and the perception of the Bard might have been quite different today, had Robert Burns recovered and lived to a ripe old age - and stuck to his resolutions!!!!

OK, Celeste and Tina, it's your day tomorrow, I promise!

Take care, everyone. TTFN!

Friday, 25 January 2008

I wish the weather today was as nice as it is in this picture. It's cold, wet and windy, totally awful - and I've got to go out in it! Luckily it's not too far to the store, about 4 minutes walk! I'll probably get blown down the road with the wind.

This is the view from across the river to the beautiful tower of the Parish Church, and the road bridge over the River Tweed. Locally the river is referred to as Tweed, not THE Tweed, just Tweed! This time, my house is just off the photo on the right! Luckily the church clock doesn't chime between 9.45 p.m. and 7.00 a.m. but on Sunday mornings hymn tunes are played by the carillon player up in the tower. Now that is something rather interesting. Whereas some other carillons are played on a keyboard, our one is played by a set of wooden levers, each attached by a metal rod to a bell. Depressing the levers pulls the rods and moves the bells so they sound their notes.
The next layout shows the little wooden "organ" and the levers, situated in a small room behind the clockfaces, but sadly, not the bells! They are on a higher level, probably behind the triple windows that aren't really windows at all but louvred on a grand scale!
Every September during the Peebles Arts Festival they have an afternoon when the carillon room is open to visitors, and in 2007 Celeste and Tina were here, so up we went for a look! We were all allowed to try a tune, and the blue sleeved arm in the photo is Celeste doing her bit! She did really well too; said she'd love to be the carillon player if she lived here - but Sydney, Australia, is a bit too far away.
I have a layout of Celeste and Tina in the Meldon Hills with the heather at its best! It was spectacular. I think I'll leave that till tomorrow. Don't want to go overboard with too many pics in one day!
So till then, take care.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Hi! Got a phone call from my dear friend Chris! He didn't exactly wake me up.......
No, Chris, you didn't! Really! Anyway he was phoning to ask me for words of a song, or rather a medley of songs, referred to as the Epsom Salts Medley. It started with the old song We shall not be moved! (Think about it! Epsom Salts ... not be moved?) I couldn't help with the songs that followed that! No idea! It didn't mean anything to me at all! You see Chris and I used to sing, together with Ian, in a folk group about 30+ years ago! We had a wide range of songs from contemporary pop - in our own wee way - to traditional folk! Chris wasn't much into the trad folk! 'Ye Jacobites by name' used to fill him with horror and dread!!!! So imagine my surprise when he told me he'd be singing that in his repertoire for a Burns Supper!

This is one of my early scrapbooking attempts. Us! Contrast, by name! We had several 'gigs' in the lifespan of the group, from Callander to Gorebridge! The one regular gig was actually and ironically at the Burns Club in Gorebridge where we were immensely popular, and where our introduction was always "CHRIS..... EVELYN...... AND IAN.......... ARE......... 'CONTRAST' "!!!!!!!! Get me with that tambourine!

Ian and I have kept in touch over the years - with a card and a little news every Christmas - but it was only in the last few years that Chris and I got back in touch, and as we live nearer each other than either of us do to Ian, we get together once in a while. We had hoped to meet up with Ian last year, but didn't manage it, so this year we are planning early! I haven't seen Ian since about 1980.

Chris's Epsom Salts Medley has been bothering me all day! I just can't remember us singing that at all!

Oh well!

I have to show you some more early scrapbook pages! Chris and his wife Mary are real catophiles, and have three gorgeous pussy cats, called Eric, Ernie and Donald! Here are the layouts I did of each of them! Aren't they just gorgeous?
Talk more soon. Take care.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

A visit to Winchester

Hello again
I watched a DVD the other night - first for a long time - called "Becoming Jane", the Jane in question being Jane Austen, author of "Pride and Prejudice". It was mainly the story of Jane and the love of her life, Tom Lefroy. I didn't think the film was terribly good, but it did remind me that Jane Austen died in Winchester and was buried in Winchester Cathedral, where I saw her memorial last year when I was visiting my friend Margaret.
This is Margaret, and her husband Colin, at home. Merlin is the black cat Margaret is stroking. See that fan? Margaret made the lace, and it is beautiful.
So, back to Jane Austen... although I had no picture of the rather uninteresting looking memorial plaque itself, I used other photos to make a layout, not about Jane, but about the cathedral itself.
This building was built in the 11th century, on the orders of William the Conqueror, replacing an even earlier Benedictine monastery - the Old Minster. It was built in the Norman style, and is the longest cathedral in England.
The High Altar standing in front of the fabulous Great Screen is covered with a very new hand-stitched frontal, which Margaret and I were privileged to see at close quarters. As Margaret is involved in doing embroidery for her local church, she asked for permission to cross the barrier to have a close look! It is quite stunning close to, especially the circle with the XP motif. It was recessed, and was beautifully embroidered in stumpwork and goldwork techniques.

Behind the Great Screen is the shrine to St Swithun, who was one of the Benedictine monks who lived in the Old Minster sometime before 1000. There are some beautiful Russian icons adorning the walls and original medieval tiles cover the floor.
The Epiphany Chapel, here with its rich red embroidered altar frontal, and the rest of the North Transept were used as the Vatican in the film of the Davinci Code. I haven't watched that film , though I have read the book. There are so many other interesting things to see in the cathedral but this isn't intended to be a guide book. The one other thing I would like to have seen is the sculpture by Anthony Gormley that stands in the Crypt. It seems the vaulted crypt is generally flooded and pictures show it and the statue reflected in the water. Unfortunately access was impossible that day as the whole of the North Transept was being set up for the recording of a concert. Shame, but never mind - next time!
Well, time to go again. Talk again soon.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

oops! a wee blunder!

You have to scroll down a bit to see what the blunder was! I started to insert the blackbird picture, pressed a wrong button and managed to publish the blog before it was finished! So, now here is the blackbird layout!

What was I going to say about the bluebells? Well, my garden is full of them in the late spring, and they also bloom in the shaded woodlands round about Peebles. They are so pretty. I must find out how to tell the difference between the native bluebell and the Spanish one. Like the grey squirrel, the Spanish bluebell is apparently an interloper, and becoming more common than the native variety!

It seems a while till the bluebells will be in bloom, but the way time is flying by it won't be that long at all till they're there again!

All for now then. Take care. Talk again soon!

The weather was quite mild today - a day for the garden. Well, so thought my new neighbours who were out in theirs, digging and replanting. ( I think they are planning to extend the house and are taking out plants at the house end of the garden to put in the lower end.) They've already done a vast amount of cutting back an extremely overgrown ivy, to reclaim about ten feet of garden!

I never got round to "tidying up" my garden in the autumn, and half thought of going out there this afternoon after work, but when the time came, I preferred the idea of going to sleep on the sofa! (I'm not an early bird and on Sundays getting up at 6.00 a.m. to start work at 7.00 does not come easily.) However, I am sure the snowdrops and then the daffodils will pop up as usual, and the shrubs will bud and flower, and I will have as pretty a show as I did last year.

This is one of my earlier layouts, the blackbird and the feverfew, also in my garden. You can click on the pictures to get a larger view, by the way. I liked this one a lot. At the time it was the "fashion" to have plenty of "white space" surrounding a photo, and strips of coloured papers backing it!, Yes, fashions come and go in scrapbooking too!

Here's another in the same vein! My bluebells!

The garden is full of them

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Just a wee blog today!

I meant to get this done on 18th in time to say happy birthday to my sister Jean! She will have seen this layout before, but I haven't had time to do another one - or maybe I have some others she hasn't seen yet..... Here's the one she's seen before -

Everybody say Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!! Maybe she will kill me for this one!
Anyway, I hope you had a nice birthday yesterday, Jean. See you soon. As for the rest of you, talk again soon!

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Hello Thought I'd show you some views of the countryside round Peebles and I remembered a really unusual Christmas card I received last month. It was a CD of photos taken by Jon Redpath during 2007. They're not all local photos but have been taken all round Scotland, and I know I want to use a number of them in my digi scrapbooking.
This is the first of them then, a photo taken in the park on the edge of the town in the autumn. The park used to be the parkland of the Hay Lodge, a big house belonging to the Hay family in the 1800s. The Lodge is now part of our local hospital and medical practices. It's a beautiful park with the river Tweed running along the edge, fabulous mature trees, and plenty of green space for rugby games, the agricultural show, highland games.... various of the events that take place there.
This is a superb photo by Jon, and such a wonderful idea for a Christmas present. Look out for some more of his pictures in due course.
This is a page I did quite some time ago for a challenge on a scrapbooking website on the four seasons - my own photos this time. The summer picture of the grasses beside the river with the bridge in the background, is the stretch of river I see from my windows, while the snowy one is along a higher stretch, along the river path to the park. The autumn tree, a beech, bottom right, is the same tree as in the winter picture. It's a favourite tree of mine. I often take photos of it.
The spring photo of the ewe and lambs was taken further upstream, away from the river, but not far from it. Right now the thought of spring is quite appealing! New leaves on the trees, bulbs flowering in the garden, lambs, warmer weather (hopefully).... Spring IS coming! The sun is shining today, first time for a while, but more rain is forecast - lots of it! Parts of southern England seems to be suffering from severe flooding just now so I hope we don't have such problems coming our way. I'll let you know!
All for now then. Talk soon.
By the way, if you want to make a comment or pass on any news, just click on Comments, and you can add something there without having to send a whole email!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Norma and Malcolm

Every now and again Norma and I meet at a favourite tearoom for bacon rolls and morning tea! This usually stretches to scones and hot chocolate a while later (sometimes with cream and marshmallows - but not every time!), and sometimes even to soup and a roll for lunch! Today I had the bacon roll and the soup while Norma could only stay for the scone. The thing is, now she's married she has someone else to consider, and had told Malcolm she'd be home for lunchtime.

You could have knocked us down with the proverbial feather when the news was announced early last summer that she and Malcolm were engaged! Norma had always protested that she wouldn't marry again.... but in October there was a wedding! Her elder daughter was matron of honour, while her younger daughter, over from New Zealand for the occasion, "gave her away". In true Scottish tradition Malcolm wore the dress kilt - and doesn't he look good in it! I do like to see a man in a kilt! It looks great either dressy as Malcolm's outfit is, or casual, with a coloured shirt to match with the tartan, casual thick-knit socks and a nice pair of shoes - or boots even!

Malcolm is a retired shepherd! I use the term 'retired' very loosely! He seems to spend a lot of his time working with his son, also a shepherd, and sometimes Norma goes too. This is a picture of the two of them out on the quadbike with Malcolm's dog, whose name I just cannot bring to the front of my mind right now! These 'senior moments' are becoming all too frequent these days!!!
Norma is also retired - just - from her job as a receptionist in her local medical practice. She turned 60 at the end of 2007. It's amazing to think that when we all set out on our careers all these years ago we thought work would go on for ever... and here we are, we're the oldies now, ready to retire - well I have a bit to go yet, and even then I think I'll stay on in my job - with reduced hours - if they'll have me and if I'm able! It's the hips and knees that are giving way these days! Well, mine are anyway! I really should take a lot more exercise, and get walking in our beautiful countryside. I'll show you some views soon. In the meantime, I'm off down to Melrose, to the Borders General Hospital, as I heard last night that Vina has been taken in again. She's just not getting enough fluid down her throat and is dehydrated which is not good.
So, all for now, and I'll talk again soon.
Take care.

Sunday, 13 January 2008


Hello again.

I went to visit my friend Vina on Saturday. She has been having chemo and radiation treatment for lung cancer and at the moment is looking very gaunt, and is unable to swallow more than two or three mouthfuls of soft food at each meal. She's been in and out of hospital but is at home just now, sometimes able to get up and get dressed, and other times too tired to get out of bed. However she's still full of spirit, and is even talking about booking a holiday, so at least she's being positive. I reckon it will be some time before she's able to take a holiday, but it will be something for her to look forward to.
She has a visit to the oncologist on Thursday, so we are all hoping for some good news. This layout was done about autumn time last year before she started the therapy. She's thinner than usual here but is even thinner now.

I'm so hoping she's going to be OK. We've been friends for 20 years and I can't bear the thought of losing her. And if I feel like this, I can't begin to think how Willie, her husband, and the rest of her family feel.

On Sunday night I went up to Edinburgh to meet up with my "oldest" friend Linda, and have a meal. When I say "oldest" I should really add "in terms of time". We met at nursery school 50+ years ago, and have remained friends throughout the years. She lives in Edinburgh and is still in teaching, but going to retire at the end of this year's summer term, a year early! I don't blame her. It isn't the job now that we both went into, and thankfully I got out of! Listening to her stories, I can't imagine how I would cope with all the problems and the admin stuff teachers have to do these days! Let me just continue trotting off to the Co-op, working my shift, then coming home to forget about work till the next shift!
And that is coming up shortly! I'm off to work in a while, doing a few extra hours today as someone is off sick. Talk to you again soon.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Winter hits Peebles!

Well, it's not just Peebles that's in "the grip of winter", but this is what it was like here last week! It snowed and snowed, lasted all of a day and a half, then it turned to rain and the snow was gone! The school kids were still on holiday from school so they enjoyed it, even if the rest of us found it a bit of a pain in the neck. It's so pretty to look at through the window, but being out in it is not so much fun. I heard that there were a few broken limbs in the town, thanks to the icy conditions!

For those of you who don't know, that's my flat on the left of the lower picture, the upper part of the white house! Nice view, huh? It's still always a bit of a breathtaking moment, waking up to the view across the river to the hills to the south of the town! I just love it!

So, let me introduce you to some of my friends and rellies. My great friend here in Peebles is Morag - good Gaelic name there - a patchworker, quilter and teacher of lip-reading! She herself is hard of hearing, and taught herself to lip read. We met when we were both doing Bed & Breakfast about 15 years ago. She is married to Michael and has a son, Rory, from her first marriage. Obviously this layout was made in the summer, when we would often sit on her patio with bowls of strawberries and cream when the weather was good enough!!! 2007 wasn't the sunniest of summers!
So, another blog soon, and an introduction to another of my friends!
In the meantime, take care!

Thursday, 10 January 2008

A bit late but Happy New Year anyway

Hello! My first post on my very own blog. This is for all my friends and family to let you know how things are going here, and to enable me to include photos and digi scrapbook pages for your interest, amusement.....

So here's the first one, because I met up with Holly and Jesse the other day. Great kids! Holly is studying medicine and doing a few weeks at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary observing and learning about organ transplants! Not for the squeamish! (Me!)

Jess is currently doing an apprenticeship in a German ballet company, having studied ballet since he was an even younger youngster, in Australia and then Canada. Hoping to see him dance before long!

I've known these two since they were babies, having first met their dad, a third cousin, once removed, in 1977!
I'll show you the layout I did of him too!
The first picture shows my sister and myself with Bruce at the Bear Gates, or the Steekit Yetts, of Traquair House not far from Peebles. Holly and Jess thought that picture was soooooo funny!
The other picture was taken at the same spot, 30 years later!
Anyway it was great to see the kids again! They are growing up, and doing what they enjoy! Holly's passion is ski-ing and she reckons her ideal job once she finishes her degree would be as a ski doctor!
So, all for today. I have work to go to! Hope you'll post comments if you feel so inclined! This is all about sharing!