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

Sunday, 30 August 2009

From our local newspaper this week!

The headline runs – Battery ban for naughty gnome, and tells of a local pensioner who was reported to police because she had, amongst others in her garden , a plastic gnome that wolf whistled whenever anyone walked by!

gnome The garden has had flowerbeds removed to be replaced with stone chippings  and the gnomes arranged around it to “add a bit of colour” as apparently the 79 year-old does not like flowers.gnome2 However,  she was not best pleased at having had a complaint about her whistling gnome.  Her son said he “thought they (the police) had better things to do than clamping down on garden gnomes.”  They have  now been advised to remove the sensor batteries as they cause a disturbance.  The son said he “didn’t think it (the gnome) made much noise”,  but the neighbours have got fed up with it and so the batteries are to remain out!  I would love to refer you to the paper’s website but I’m afraid it is a week behind and the stories are not yet available.  Don’t know when it is updated!

Another story in the paper this week centres on the start of a new school year in Peebles.  School resumed a week or so ago, and alongside photographs the reporter has written – “Teachers at ……….  School have been left seeing double at the start of the new term.  This year two sets of twins make up the new influx of Primary 1 kids all set to start a new chapter in their lives.”   Seeing double?  The twins are called Callum and Laura, and Liam and Erin!  Yes, each set does look alike but hey, they are mixed sex twins!  Seeing double implies two identical images, does it not, so has the reporter got bad eyesight or something?  Coincidentally in the “Recruitment” pages this week, there is a vacancy for a reporter on this very newspaper.  (I hope the new recruit can tell the difference between boy and girl twins"!)

Talk again soon.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

The Last Witch

I went to Edinburgh yesterday, to a world premiere at the Lyceum Theatre.  The play was The Last Witch, based on a true story about the execution of the last witch in Scotland – actually, the last execution of a witch in Scotland.  That’s more like it!  The basis of the play was the accusation and execution of an alleged witch in 1723(ish) in Dornoch, a town on the north east coast of Scotland beyond Inverness.  There is very little detail of the actual event in existence, so the playwright has taken what she could find, added her own interpretation and written an exceedingly good storyline, about Janet who is accused by her neighbour of putting a curse on some of his beasts, they subsequently dying. I mustn’t spoil it for you by telling you the whole story in case you get the chance to see it sometime, but suffice to say Janet’s case is investigated, and though at first she is seen to be a whimsical eccentric, an affair with the sheriff leads to her arrest, accused of being in league with the devil. She is imprisoned and tortured and eventually executed.  The actors, especially the woman who played Janet, were excellent, and the stage effects terrific, especially when conveying the execution by burning!  That was very cleverly managed.

Lyceum theatre The Lyceum Theatre is one of the two main old traditional theatres in Edinburgh, and I love it!  It was here that many actors well known over the last few decades made their first stage appearances.  I remember seeing Tom Conti here in a production of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped many years ago, before he made it big time!   It’s not a huge theatre but that adds to its charm. An enormous chandelier hangs from the domed ceiling above the stalls.  I expect people in the back of the upper circle/the gods might find it a distraction.

Lyceum theatre2  The photos were taken without flash, and are not very great, but it gives you an idea of the place.  (I was warned off taking pictures of the stage as I might be from a rival theatre company pinching ideas!) 

I must try and go to the theatre more often. Sometimes I go to the Eastgate theatre in Peebles, but I have neglected going to Edinburgh for quite some time.  The programme for the rest of the 2009/10 season is in my bag, so I must look at what’s on, and go again.

Talk again soon.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Knot boards!

You must go over to Mary’s blog http://mh-mixes.blogspot.com/ and see the fabulous knot boards made by her brother, Joe, who is a retired Merchant seaman.  They are not just boards of bits of knots but are works of art!  I’ve been stunned at the beauty and complexity of his work.

I was telling Mary that when I was in the Brownies and Girl Guides we learned to tie various knots, though half the time we had no idea what they were for.  I understood the flat reef knot reef knot that we used to tie our folded guide ties at the back of our necks under our collars in those days,



lhknot_hero and a lark’s head knot attaching string to a stick, pole or dowel,



clove hitch even the clove hitch that could be used to secure a rope to a ring, though it seemed to slide off if pulled too hard. 



sheepshank The sheepshank we were told was for shortening  a length of string or rope,


and a slip knot was used in tying up brown paper parcels ~(in the days before sticky tape)!!!  At least that’s all we ever thought it was used for!  I never actually understood the slip knot though, as we just had a tiny length of string, one of the requirements for a Girl Guide’s stash, stored in the breast pockets!  (Some of us had very peculiar shapes, with the things we had to carry in those pockets, I can tell you), and had been taught to make a loop with one end, then bring the other end “up the bunny hole, round the tree, under something (I can’t remember the analogy), and back down the bunny hole again”!  Excuse me?  What was all that about?  It wasn’t until I started work in the Co-op and was packing up the daily newspapers for return each night that I started to think about that knot again.  The papers are tied up in bundles with thick nylon string, and lo and behold the slip knot started to make sense!  I use it all the time now at work, though haven’t managed to impart the wisdom to the rest of the staff.  They are as dumfoonert and bumbazed (confused and bewildered) as I was all those years ago!

bowline knot As for bowlines, don’t get me started!  What were they for?  Since then I have been around a few boats and got to know a few rock climbers, so appreciate that this is a useful knot after all, but it had little relevance way back in the 1960s for the 115th City of Edinburgh Guide Company, that I could see!

 Joe's seahorse knot board Looking at the knot board  Mary posted first today, I spotted another knot I was familiar with, and was amazed to find I had been going through life thinking it was a relation of the sheepshank, and was called a sheep bend! Was it used to tether sheep, another important knot for a city girl guide?    Do you actually tether sheep?  Well yes, I know now you can and do sometimes, but what knot is used is still beyond my ken!  I’ve never thought to ask!  

sheetbend Anyway, I am devastated!  It’s actually a SHEET bend!  No wonder it didn’t make sense!  So a SHEET bend, eh?  Sheets as in sails, I presume?  I’ve not been sailing for some time!

Now, looking at this picture, it is pretty much like that slip knot I was talking about that ~I could never work out, only the short (green) end goes down through the (red) loop.  Well, something like that, but that would just make it a reef knot!  I’ll think about it tonight as I tie up the papers !

Well, I have to say that despite seemingly making fun of knot tying, I am very impressed with Joe’s knot boards, and the knots therein, and I know they all have their uses, but I adore those buttons, I think they are types of grommets, in knotting parlance, but I could be wrong!  I have made the twisted rope before when I had a go at macramé years ago, when I made a lanyard with a whistle at the end of it as part of my girl guide uniform.  That was fun to do though I didn’t do very well with the knot at the end, and there were always bits of string sticking out!

Joe's barqueThese Celtic style knots are pretty amazing too – and that rectangular white knotted frame!!!!.  Have a closer look at this board of Joe’s. 

Now why couldn’t we have been taught to make things like that!  I really fancy finding out more about them now!

I’ve been looking up websites and will be having a go one of these days!

Talk again soon!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

A busy day

My mildly arthritic hips have been playing me up recently, so after waiting for several months I finally got an appointment for physiotherapy at the local health centre one day last week.  Kim poked and prodded, tested and inspected, before making a decision on what exercises she’d get me to do to strengthen muscles round my left hip and knee in particular.  I’m not a person who enjoys doing exercises, as they take up valuable time when I could be doing something else, like playing on the computer!  However during the week I did them when I remembered, though not nearly as often as I should have done, and today I went back for Round 2!  This time I walked up and down so Kim could see if there was any improvement in the lolloping gait I have developed over the years – the hip has always been a problem to me though the doc of my childhood just reckoned I was suffering from growing pains - and decided that using a walking stick would help!  Not to lean on, you understand, but just to give the weak side a bit of support.  It’s actually quite hard to co-ordinate using a stick, but I could understand where she was coming from as she got me to walk over to the window and back with the stick for about the fourth time.  Finally she was happy I had got the idea, and off I went with a specially measured stick for my very own!!!!!  I think I’ll use a walking pole instead actually.  So Round 3 is next Tuesday, so I’ll have to keep up the exercises and do some walking with the stick!  Not that I’ll be walking far!  Just along the street and back is more than enough at the moment! 

Morag came round at lunchtime and we sat out on the balcony in the warm sunshine, to eat baguettes and drink tea, waving to people we knew who were out walking along the Green. 

balcony I have put a few plants out there now and I think it looks pretty good!  From the Green you’d never know the plants were all artificial, and even from close up it’s not immediately noticeable either!  I took some pics today, so here we are…  looking one way,




and the other,






the view, one way – I forgot to take the other – but you’d see balcony3the bridge.


Looking from the inside………..





balcony5 ……..and from the outside!


I think you can tell I’m quite delighted with it!

After lunch I don’t think I would have done very much, but Morag cracks eggs with sticks and jobs that I expect to take ages, are done in no time!  So in readiness for the next step of the refurbishment, we got going to remove stuff out of the “balcony room”, into rubbish bags to go in the bin, carrier bags for the charity shop, or just into the spare bedroom for now!  The guy who will  be moving the stove wants the room cleared, but there’s nowhere else for the furniture to go now!  It’s as clear as it’s ever going to be!!!  So, thanks to Morag for pushing me into doing something today!  I’ll have to get her over here for lunch again so she can push me into getting the rest of the place cleared!

Talk again soon! 

A concert tonight!

Today, Ash and Jack were back to finish off the windows and door facings, and lay decking on the balcony.  I had thought of putting down slate tiles out there but decking sounded like a good idea, and it looks great!  Now I just have to render a few spiders homeless by vacuuming up all the webs and nests  from the corners and angles, get my table and chairs and the pot plant out there, and Bob’s your proverbial uncle!

There was one problem solved today as well.  I had asked that all the thresholds be flat – wheelchair access, they call it - but the front door had been installed with a raised one that I hadn’t noticed while all the dust sheets were down, and which meant stepping over a 3 inch high bar and down a 5 inch step all in one.  I – with MY feet - would soon trip over that, and I don’t fancy heading down the steps head first, so it had to be changed.  Ash took the door and facings etc off, took away the offending threshold, did what he had to do to make the entrance acceptable, which meant lowering the door slightly from its original position.  The gap now at the top of the door was filled with foam that sets hard, and the whole doorway faced beautifully with uPVC, as was the step to the threshold!  It all looks grand, and although it is still not completely flat like the balcony threshold, it is a minimal step over now!  Does that all make sense to you? 

So, they come back briefly tomorrow morning to add some sealant to one doorway, having run out of the stuff today.  They should have had plenty but this morning when they collected the tubes from stores, someone must have put the wrong thing on the wrong shelf so they picked up what they thought was the right thing but turned out to be the wrong thing!  So they just ran short of the amount they needed!  They have really been great over the last week.  Nothing has been too much trouble and the doorstep dilemma was greeted with a cheery “No problem! We’ll get that fixed!”

So, as for that concert I mentioned before!  ericbogleEric Bogle, from Peebles and living in Adelaide, South Australia, since 1967,

and his musical mate,  John Munro, were in concert tonight at the Queens Hall in Edinburgh.  I couldn’t get tickets for the hometown concert in September, as they have been sold out since February, so if I was going to get to hear his last concert it would have to be tonight in Edinburgh.  The Queens Hall used to be a church, not quite in the round, but more in a narrow horseshoe!  Viewing performers is not always easy, especially if you’re up in the gallery, and the seating is far from comfortable!  However the music and singing was great, the craic/crack (remember?)  likewise, but to be honest it was a little disappointing in that it only lasted about an hour and was over before you realised!  I know they have a gruelling 3-month tour round the UK, but it is the last tour they’ll be doing,so I expected more.   I know the hometown concert will be brilliant, which makes it feel so much worse!  Oh well! Have to keep on buying the CDs!

Talk again soon.

Saturday, 22 August 2009


to show flood level Well, yesterday was a quiet day.  The river had gone down by the morning though the debris on the edge of the bank showed how much further the water came up – and it wasn’t much.  This is the bit outside my place looking along to Priorsford Bridge.

church and Green




While I was there I turned around and took this picture of the church and the seat I look out at from my window.


55 the back

Then of course I had to take a picture looking back at my house and its new windows.  In case you hadn’t worked it out, my flat is the upper one, and I call this the back of my house as I enter from the other side.  I reckon I have the best back yard in town – and the council looks after it!  Not bad, eh?  I can’t wait for the next sunny day to go and sit out there on the balcony with my cup of tea, to admire it all!!

55 the front


So, of course I have to show you the other side… the front.  It’s looking pretty smart now!


55 closeWhen I came back from my saunter yesterday I took a photo at the top of the close  of the new little flowerbed my newish neighbours have put in.  




kitchen windowThey built an extension to their house, the yellow one you can see through the kitchen window  here, and to fill the space left by removing the old stone wall they put in the  flowerbed and hung baskets above.  It looks very attractive, duart's lilies

and there are some beautiful pink lilies in flower there at the moment.  Stunning!


So, otherwise I didn’t do much at all yesterday except play with a design for a new blog background.  I think you may have to wait a bit to see that, but you never know! 

young thrush2 Nearly forgot!  I’ve been meaning to show you the song thrush that was pecking away at the wild alpine strawberries in Heather’s garden, next to mine, the other day!  Isn’t he/she gorgeous!


So, that’s it for now!

Talk again soon.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Day 3

french doorsCame home from work last night to find the French doors in!  They look great!  That room is going to make a lovely living room! Up till now it has been my bedroom, and access to the balcony has been from the room next door  - the living room as it was built to be - to the side of the balcony.  Seemed a shame to have what just looked like a cupboard door in the living room.  “Emphasise, don’t improvise!” my friend Vina always used to say and this is one big “emphasise”.  I have to say the balcony looks so much bigger now! 

 ash's best side! So today Ash, Jack and Gregor are back and finishing off this room – this is Ash’s best side, he said as he spotted me with the camera!  I see him as a bit of an Eric Bogle lookalike!  Eric’s the one who wrote the song No man’s land (Green fields of France/ Willie McBride) aeric bogle singingnd The Band played Waltzing Matilda, two of his best known songs.  This is Eric…..





balcony door

and fitting a glass door where the old solid door used to go out to the balcony! 

front door




Even the front door is being fixed right now even as I speak, er, write!  White on the inside and black outside and with a nice chrome letterbox - information for those who have teased me about the uncovered hole in the door I have had for a few years!

This morning I had to go up to the health centre for a retinopathy test, so walked along the riverside to see how the river was doing further up, as it’s risen quite considerably overnight.  Therepb tweed bridge must have been some rain, and I mean SOME rain - further up Tweeddale for there to be so much water flowing down past here. This photo was taken before I went out and the water has  now risen half a  “brick”  higher on the pier of the bridge!  It has a way to go before it floods at our bit but just along a bit it had already burst its banks when I went that way.pb the cauld

Here, the cauld, or weir, is really going some!




heron high river


I think the heron is hoping for some pickings from the swollen river

(I must give you a poem about the heron – sometime I think, as I’ve got another picture or two of him that I can show you).

high river

The water is close to flooding here in the afternoon.




pb the weeping beech

and this is my favourite beech tree whose branches dip towards the water.  Today they are trailing in the water.



pb bridge


On the way back I found the water a little bit higher still, and here is the arch of Tweed Bridge that usually only gets the extreme edge waters trickling through it!!


It’s into the evening now and I have just been out for a short walk to look at the river and also my balcony with its new doors.  It was too dim for photos but the doors look fantastic, pretty much as I envisaged them!! 

The water has definitely risen another brick or soon the pier of the bridge, and is right at the top of the river bed outside, slightly lapping over the edge in places.  The trees in the last photo now have their feet in the water.  What made me smile was the sight of around 20 ducks coming waddling along the riverbank all together in a group.  They all stopped together as if assessing the state of the water and waddled on again.  Next stop seemed to be more to their liking so they all paddled into the river for a free ride with the current.  Breaks on!  Let’s not go too far!  and soon they were back on dry land again, to waddle a bit further.  They seem to have changed their minds about swimming because now they are all lined up side by side along the edge of the water dipping their beaks among the submerged grasses for whatever goodies a duck can find in there!

So, tomorrow is a day off for the guys so they won’t be here till Monday to do the finishing off.  Not a lot to do now, but there are one or two little snags - and one big one actually - that have to be attended to as well.  Meanwhile I suppose I can sort out stuff, but I think I might just wait till the guys have gone.  No point in dusting twice – and there’s lots of it each day!

One last look at the river before I finish off here!  It’s dark outside now but I should be able to make out the edge of the water….. yes, it’s out over the bank now, not much but my downstairs neighbour probably won’t sleep too well tonight!

Talk again soon.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Day 2

french windows pending!There’s no going back now!  I am getting the French doors to my balcony!  Yesterday the outer wall was cut out and today the inner one.  This is how it looks at the moment, and this is the bit I have been looking forward to the most!  I’m not sure how far they’ll get with putting the doors in today, so I may come home from work tonight to find it has been boarded up with chipboard overnight! 

I’m mightily impressed with the way they clean up after themselves!   In the photo Gregor is handing stones down to John who is throwing them into the back of their truck parked on the road below!  Henry is working overtime I think, as all the rubble and dust had disappeared by the time they went to have their lunch break!!HenryXtraNewAiroNoSwitch-s



Now the window is …..going……








peebles etc 008


and from the inside…

This will be the view from the new living room!


grego and doors

And this is Gregor taking the protective plastic off the doors!  and it’s as far s I can take you through today because I am off to work now!

Talk again soon!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

At last!

0800 this morning - the alarm clock woke me with its usual dulcet tones!  That, I have to tell you, is early as I am a night owl who can still be wide awake at 2.00 or 3.00a.m.  I’d purposely put the alarm clock out of reach so that I had to get up to switch it off!

0801 – I’m up!  The workmen who are replacing my windows and doors are due to arrive between 8.30 and 9.00, so  I must get organised before they get here.

0815 – Dressed and ready to go.  Haven’t had breakfast yet but that can wait. Cleared a few more things from the kitchen as that is one of the rooms they will do today.  The bathroom and the spare room are ready with plenty of room around the windows, but the other two rooms at the back are full of stuff now!  Not to worry! These rooms won’t be done today.

0825 – There’s a man coming down the close now, looking puzzled!  I bet it’s me he’s looking for!  Despite giving instructions no-one seems to realise that when I say my place is through the close and down the stairs, I actually mean it!  I’ll go and find out!

0830 – Yes, it’s Ashley and his sidekick Jack.  Jack is a young Polish lad.  Now that they’ve ascertained that this is in fact the right spot they have gone back up the steps to start unloading the new windows and carry them down the stairs.  It’s not the easiest of places to get to when you have a heavy load to carry.  I know that well just from going to the local supermarket and back!  I wouldn’t like to have to carry double glazed windows down here!

0845 -  the first couple of windows have arrived in the garden.  They look too big for the window spaces, but I’m sure they aren’t!  They had better not be!  (A friend had that happen to him last year!)

0905 – the windows are all in the garden now, dustsheets have been laid in the spare room; tools, a large plastic dustbin and a Henry Hoover are ready and waiting!  Ashley and Jack are away back to the van for their breakfast!  So I will have mine too!

0915 – work has begun!  The spare room window is being persuaded gently with a hammer to vacate the window space!  It seems to be quite a tough old thing!  The old glass has cracked and Jack has fitted some tape across so they can break the glass safely.  There it goes!

0935 – The window frame is almost out. Ashley’s a happy soul!  He’s singing away to himself – and Jack!  The dustbin is filling up with bits of glass and frame, and at last there is a hole in the wall ready for the new window to be installed, and wouldn’t you know it, the rain has started again!  Thankfully it’s not cold and breezy today, but there is a difference in temperature now that the window is out!  Nothing I can’t handle though!!

2009-08-18 window 1035 - After a few wee minor problems the new window is almost in place!  Way hey!  That’s the first one, so there had to be a ceremonial photo – taken in the rain!  That’s Ashley, by the way.

You’ll be glad to know that I am not going to talk you through the whole day, but suffice to say that when the guys left, the kitchen and bathroom windows were in too, but have still to be finished off inside with their facings, while the spare room one is finished altogether.  Jack was a wiz with the Henry cleaning up after themselves.  I told him the carpet hadn’t had as good a clean for a while, and that perhaps I should keep him!  Do you cook as well? I asked him. ( That’s a benefit of age!  I would never have dared say something like that before! )   So now I am off to move stuff out of the back rooms into the spare room, so that the guys can get near the windows in the other two rooms tomorrow. 

55 HS 2One of the windows is being transformed into French windows onto the balcony,


for french windows

so the builder came along today to start doing the cut out – from the outside, on the balcony!   Tomorrow the rest will be cut out and presumably the door and side windows will be fitted by the end of the day.


Here’s my computerised 55 HS 3impression of what they will look like!  I had fun playing with this – months ago when the idea first came to me!  It’s not perfect but it gives you the idea!

Anyway, I said I was off to move stuff so I think I had better get started!

Talk again soon!

Monday, 17 August 2009

Around and about

One day during last week, Morag and I took ourselves off to Dawyck Gardens, not too far from Peebles, for lunch at the brand new visitor centre and then for a walk around the garden.  It’s more of an arboreal garden than anything,with trees and shrubs from all over the world. dawyck trees  So many shades of green, so many mixtures of colours, bark patterns, leaf shapes……. Out came the camera; I switched it on, and What’s this?  A message came up saying Memory Full!  Not memory card full,  just memory full!  Suddenly in a light bulb moment I had a vision of my memory card still in the slot in my laptop from the last time I uploaded photos to it! ……….    Happily, Morag had her camera so I was able to snap a few pictures that I would transfer later to a memory stick.


After our walk - to the highest and furthest point of the garden, where we sat for a while enjoying the peace and quiet of birdsong and the merest touch of the wind on the trees, then along grassy paths kept trim by Grass cutters Anonymous, through avenues of  trees, beside the little burn, over bridges, past rushing waterfalls,church  stopping to look at the little church, fenced off from  marauding visitors these days…… we came back to the visitor centre for a welcome cup of tea before heading home again.


On Saturday, the local annual Agricultural Show was held in the Hay Lodge park, a beautiful parkland of grass and trees,which is a joy to walk in – normally.  mud2 The marquees had gone up during the week, when the weather was pretty good, but on Friday it started raining.  It rained and rained all that day, through the night and into Saturday morning, so with moving all the tractors, trailers, horseboxes, cattle trucks, ice-cream and burger stalls, etc. on to the site,  not to mention the activity of decanting animals into pens, and then the public walking around and animals being shown in the ring…. the park will never be the same again. 

MUD with a capital M By the end of Saturday afternoon there were ruts in the ground, about a foot deep, and everywhere else was just mud mud and more mud.  Most folk sensibly had welly boots on and I realised my Crocs weren’t the best things to have on my feet.  Squelch, squelch, squelch!  so, eventually I took them off!

highlander2 It was a good Show though – not that I know a great deal about farming – and I got some pictures of prize winning beasts,



prizewinnersome being quite temperamental,











sheep pens2sheep  (There are a few pairs of handlebars in this photo! Click the pic and you’ll see what I mean!)

as well as handicraft stuff in the Womens’ Rural Institutehardanger cushion competitions…

Hardanger embroidery



jams and chutneys



jams and chutneys,


bakery section

bread and cakes,




baby dolls

baby dolls,






shephers’ crooks - though these were not in the Rural tent -

shetland fleece

and fleeces,




Click to enlarge this photo and see the tiny curls in the wool





This fellow had accompanied his owner to the crafts stalls and was watching intently – ooh ‘scuse the pun - everyone who came in.




There were food stalls







flower arrangements in unusual containers







flocks of chooks, of which this is only one




silver band

and of course no show is complete without its band – silver in Peebles -




beer tent


or its beer tent!


There was a dance in one of the marquees at night and seemingly there was much jollification – and probably more than a few hangovers on Sunday morning!

Talk again soon.