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Monday, 4 May 2009

Jinty Jan's Birthday

It was Janet's birthday the week after mine, though as she keeps reminding me, she's younger than me! Well, Janet, you haven't got that many years to catch up with till you're my age!!!! To celebrate her birthday she and hubbie Ray drove down from Inverness to Peebles for the weekend, before heading off to Darlington where Ray comes from, to spend a few days there seeing his family. Hope you both had a great time!

Janet and I were at the same school in Edinburgh, though several years apart, but the reason we met was that I, being quite squeamish, used to turn green when we had to dissect things in biology classes, and had to leave the room! Eventually Mrs B. got quite fed up with the situation and suggested to the head teacher that I be removed from the class permanently and found something else to do! I was sent to help out in the primary department, which is where I met Janet. I wish I could find a photo I have of her and a few other friends at school! Actually we may not have kept touch at all if it hadn't been for the fact that at teacher's training college (another follow on from the expulsion from the biology classes), I met up with Janet's cousin, from Fort William. So she and I wrote to each other, even after she left Edinburgh and school and moved south with her family.

By the time I moved to the Yorkshire Dales, Janet had left school altogether and was living in Darlington, where she met and married Ray. Darlo wasn't that far away of course, so we were able to renew our friendship in person, they visiting me and I them. I can't remember who moved back north again first, but Janet and Ray eventually moved up to Inverness, and I to Peebles. Again the letter writing continued, progressing to email as time and technology moved on!

Visiting my cousin Moira up in the far north west every so often, meant a stop-over for me in Inverness to see them, so our friendship has grown stronger over the years! Sadly Moira has gone now, but I still take a trip to Inverness now and again, and they come south sometimes too, and of course we still email!

So, back to the weekend of Janet's $&%*th birthday.... they booked a room in one of the Peebles hotels - my place having too much stuff filling the spare room - and we spent Janet's birthday afternoon at Traquair House (yes, I was there again,) but I let them do the house tour by themselves and I explored the grounds and that maze instead - and took photos of the peacocks and other animals!
They are great posers, these guys!


This is George sharing his paddock with a peacock!

And this is one of the two Kune Kune pigs, who came galloping over the paddock to see me! They were really funny playing together, racing around chasing each other and indulging in some playful headbutting!

Janet and Ray eventually joined me in the maze, Ray taking the cheat's way, but Janet did the full tour, even if I did have to stand in the centre and shout her directions!

Here are Ray, looking smug, and Janet as she arrived in the centre!

In the evening, along with Morag and Mike, who have met Janet and Ray a couple of times, we headed to West Linton for a meal at the Old Bakehouse. It was a lovely evening, great food, and I think, a lovely birthday for Janet! Well, she said she'd had a lovely day, so I believe her! Janet's the one in the pink! Mike is wearing my pink flower in his hair!

Here are a few more photos of the Old Bakehouse and West Linton, some taken a few days earlier when Linda and I had lunch there again. This is the Bakehouse, with an oven and the copper boiler along the back wall. The wooden slatted things on the ceiling hold the paddles the bakers used to slide bread out of the ovens.

Another view, of the opposite end of the restaurant. That was our table behind the desk there.

This is the restaurant exterior. It looks like a small shop but in fact stretches back behind the shop next door, which I am sure is now the kitchens for the restaurant.

Just up the main street a bit is the village bookshop, run by Derek, who, it turns out, went to school with my friend Chris, in Dumbarton. It was Chris who told me that a dy or two later! Honestly, what a small world! That box outside contains bargain books, to entice people into the shop, I guess!

Derek has a visitor who spends most of his time in the bookshop, curled up on a cushion and quite oblivious to the upcomings and goings of the shop. He enjoyed having his ears tickled and started to purr but otherwise completely ignored us, not even lifting one eyelid to look at us. Quite an unusual colouring - silver tabby, I'd call it!
Here's a section of one of Derek's book shelves. I thought of buying the green book to the right of the thin white pamphlet. It was about Peebles during the life of Queen Mary - Mary, Queen of Scots - and looked very interesting, but I had to leave it there as it cost a whopping £30. A collector's item, I imagine, and fairly rare?

I've said before that West Linton is a quaint village with a narrow winding main street with squares and lanes off to left and right.
This little row of cottages was probably on the main road once upon a time, but is now in a little cul de sac. I'd love a house here!
In fact this one at the end, with the blue door is the one I'd have!

Now look at this.....

It was a lovely warm day, so the roof slates were probably quite warm, and this little sparrow was really enjoying a spot of sunbathing!

Here's a rather lovely front door - rather Art Nouveau but more modern that that. It really pays to explore the nooks and crannies of West Linton!

This has to be Saint Andrew, on the plaque built into the wall of the building that was once the parish school. The lane is called Mowbray's Slap - a slap I think being the old name for a path or a road. I can think of another Slap, Cauldstane Slap, which is a drove road over the Pentland Hills not that far from here.

This is a panel sculpted by one James Gifford, a stonemason and landowner in the area. I have no idea what the panel depicts, but considering it dates from 1666 or thereabouts, maybe its story has got lost!

James Gifford also sculpted a monument to his wife, Lady Gifford, around the same time. Her statue now adorns the village clock tower which looks like it has been built above an old well, and in 1995 a copy was made to take the place of the original which was getting very worn. She now has a home indoors, and this is her alter ego, standing between the two lamps.

At the bottom of the village is the church, dating back a good number of centuries, and what was once the toll house, as anyone passing this way had to pay to come into, or through, the village. It was on the route to the cattle fairs and to avoid paying, cattle drovers often used a track over the Pentland Hills instead, which was then nicknamed the Thieves' Road! The toll house is now a very pleasant little tearoom!

So, there we are! A brief tour of West Linton! Janet, I bet you never realised the place was so interesting!

Talk again soon.

1 comment:

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I read right down to the bottom on this opage Evee. I felt like I was away on vacation. I enjoyed your blog very much!