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Tuesday, 5 February 2013


or Groundhog Day, if you prefer,  Either way, it means the same!   Old folklore has it that if 2nd February is fine and sunny then we’ve still got some winter weather ahead of us.  Well, Saturday, 2nd February was like a spring day, albeit cold, but bright and sunny…….

Morag, Mike and I decided to take a drive out to Dawyck Gardens tearoom for lunch.  We could have gone for a walk in the garden but at £4.50 each it was just a bit expensive for probably only a half hour visit.  However, we go quite often for lunch, so I decided I would become a member of the Botanic Gardens, which allows free entry to this garden as well as the others in Edinburgh, Ben More – near Dunoon – and Port Logan – south west Scotland.  I could also use my membership to visit Kew Gardens in London, and only five visits to Dawyck would cover the membership fee!   

The Dwarf Stone Well, we didn’t go into the garden this time, but instead took a little drive in Manor valley, just on the edge of Peebles.

This large stone, part of the field wall, is said to have been carried here from Peebles by a resident of the valley, David Ritchie, way back in the 18th century.   He was attempting to carry the stone to Manor village for a wager, but is said to have tired at approximately this spot only a few hundred yards from Manor, but several miles from Peebles, his starting point.   It would have been an amazing achievement for a man of normal build, but Davie was seriously deformed and appeared to have no legs, but despite his deformity he was very strong.  It is said that he was very anti-humans, due to the mocking he suffered, so he built a small house for himself on land belonging to Sir James Naesmith in Manor valley. davie ritchir's house Later Sir James built a house for both David and his sister, so that they each had a  place of their own.  You can see the small door and window on David’s half of the righthand building.

Sir Walter Scott the novelist met Davie once – and found him to be a bit of a dark, almost scary, character, and later used him as his inspiration for The Black Dwarf in his novel of the same name.  Nowadays Davie Ritchie is referred to as the Black Dwarf, even though he wasn’t actually a dwarf  at all.  old fever hospital

This building was once used as the local fever hospital for the area .  It was where victims of  scarlet fever  were isolated from the rest of their community until they recovered.  High on the hillside it has a beautiful view. upper tweeddale

Down below, along the row of trees that crosses the photo is the track leading to Barns House.  We had seen the house from the road to the old hospital.  barns house

It was built in the late 18th century in  Georgian style,  to supercede  the 16th century fortified tower house that has recently been restored as fabulous self catering  holiday accommodation.barns tower2 barns

Here are the two Barns buildings.  When I first saw the tower it was unclad and pretty much as it appeared in this 1951 picture http://www.francisfrith.com/peebles/photos/barns-tower-1951_p177001/ I got to visit it when I was still doing B&B, when there was an open day for Tourist Board members.  You just have to click “holiday accommodation” above to take a look.haswellsykes heehaw

The road we were driving along doesn’t have a great deal of traffic on it so this donkey had to have an inquisitive look over the wall at us!  Isn’t he lovely!

After our run out we came back to Morag’s for a cuppie.  They have a great bird feeding station outside their living room window, so it was great watching a succession of birds coming to feed, as we drank our tea.  I’ll finish off with a few of the pics I took of them!baby bluetit2

 great tit

great tit2




Well, after that beautiful and sunny Candlemas day, that old groundhog was surely right!  Winter isn’t over yet!   It has been snowing again!  In fact it’s blizzarding out there right now and everything is white again!  Oh well. What can we do?  Not a lot, other than look forward to the proper springtime – which can’t be too far away now!  snowdrops

It’s not as if it’s November with the prospect of several months of snow ahead.  Already the spring bulbs are shooting up, and the snowdrops are almost in flower. 

Talk again soon.


Peggy said...

I loved the story of Davy and the pic of the donkey made my day!

Katrina said...

What great views from the fever hospital and that donkey is gorgeous! We had snow too but it disappeared overnight.

Evelyn/Ev/Evee said...

Hi Peggy and Katrina, The donkey IS gorgeous, isn't he! I think he reckoned we'd have some food for him, but no such luck! It must be great living up at the old fever hospital in summer, but wild in the winter. The views are fabulous though.

Evelyn/Ev/Evee said...

Lorraine Slattery emailed me to say

"Hi Evee,
I’m in the land of Groundhog Day- Pennsylvania U.S.A. Paxatawny Phil says it will be an early Spring. Does that work for Scotland also?? Thanks for the lovely pictures.

Lorraine S"

I'm not sure what prophecies an early spring here, Lorraine. Who is Paxatawny Phil? Is he your local groundhog? Did you get bad weather on 2nd?
Glad you enjoyed the pictures.