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  • 2017
    • June
      • After a great deal of time, I'm back!

        I hadn’t realised quite how long it had been since I last put something onto my webpage. There are no excuses: well, I have a few and I’ll start by trying to share some of them with you.

        I suppose that the hard slog of trying to put something on my blog each day just got t

  • 2015
    • May
      • Monday 18th. May, 2015 – A Presbytery Day

        Isn't she getting big? (Bramble I mean, not Rachel)

        There is little to record in my diary today. I did get up and walk Mix (and I did run my car into Duns for its MOT test) and then this morning, two of my colleagues from presbytery came to see me and spend the morning ta

      • Sunday 17th. May, 2015 – The Sunday after Ascension

        Best of Pals

        Up, walked Mix, showered and went off to Gavinton Church with Mum and Rachel. Our service was conducted by Jeff on the theme of Ascension and remembering that even when we are celebrating, God remembers those who are finding it hard to celebrate, who when we are a

      • Saturday 16th. May, 2015 – A Friend and a Meal

        I took this picture yesterday of Nikki and Ann in the kilt-making studio. They were hard at work and I was running around so I forgot that I had taken it but, having found it again, I wanted to share it

        I hadn’t intended to get up too early but with Rachel up and running aro

      • Friday 15th. May, 2015 – Our final Christian Aid lunch

        We are ready for our customers!

        I woke today to be reminded by Rachel that it was fifteen years ago today that I was awarded my doctorate in glorious sunshine in Princetown, New Jersey. It was a very happy day and Rachel and Mum were with me.

        Tom collected me at hal

      • Thursday 14th. May, 2015 Christian Aid High Tea

        This bouquet is a copy of the flowers which Mum carried at her wedding in 1945. They were given to her last Sunday at the celebrations in Berwick to mark the seventieth anniversary of VE Day and had been copied from her wedding photographs. I should have photographed them before as they

      • Wednesday 13th. May, 2015 – An expedition into the Hills

        Poor little Bramble has just had her first bath – that will teach her to do unspeakable things! However, much as she resented the bath, she loved being towelled dry so even the nastiest cloud has a silver lining

        Mix and I were up early and, after going for a walk along Bramb

      • Tuesday 12th. May, 2015 – Our first Christian Aid lunch

        The hall is looking very appropriate for Christian Aid

        Tom arrived at ten by which time I had walked Mix and sorted some presbytery emails. We loaded our Christian Aid materials and all we needed for the lunch into Tom’s car and went off to Gavinton Church Hall.


      • Monday 11th. May, 2015 – Starting the Collection

        Tom delivering envelopes in Longformacus

        After getting up and walking Mix, Tom and I set about distributing Christian Aid envelopes, visiting Gavinton, Cranshaws, Longformacus and Abbey St. Bathan’s before returning; driving into Berwick to buy food for the Christian Aid sou

      • Sunday 10th. May, 2015 – Christian Aid Sunday

        Bramble and Rowan, two sisters, two years apart

        Rose and walked Mix while Rachel entertained Rowan and Bramble in the garden – lots of exercise so that Bramble could be tired out and returned to her cage while Rachel, Mum and I went off to Church at Gavinton where Stephen wa

      • Saturday 9th. May, 2015 – Bramble arrives!

        Bramble isn’t sure about leaving Sang and Sang seems quite sorry to see her go

        I got up quite leisurely and walked Mix before doing a bit of Presbytery work in the Bothy. Soon it was time for me to drive Rachel to Alloa, to Sang’s home, so that we could collect Bramble and

      • Friday 8th. May, 2015 – Launching Day

        Tom took this picture on his telephone – I had forgotten my camera (fortunately or it would have got very wet)!

        I was up and about by quarter to five and Tom, Rachel and I set off in Tom’s car, towing Olivebank at 5 a.m., arriving at Amble by seven and having Olivebank rea

      • Thursday 7th. May, 2015 – Election Day

        This is a picture I took yesterday when we were at Greenlaw Parish Church. Tom, the minister, showed me this really old copy of the Bible which is part of the treasures of the congregation

        I was up early with Mix walked before eight and soon afterwards Rachel and I set out to

      • Wednesday 6th. May, 2015 -- A Trip to Greenlaw

        I had no idea there were so many tartans, nor that we had so many of them in the Stables where Rachel conducts her kilt-making and weaving courses. I snapped Rachel in front of some of her tartans

        Today is the day for getting everything ready for the boat to travel south to Am

      • Tuesday 5th. May, 2015 -- Presbytery

        Kim and Rachel hard at work building a kilt

        Today Rachel was running one of her kilt-making courses (on her own without Ann!) for Kim who is catching up so that she can be slotted in with the other course which is running on Fridays. I popped in and took the picture at the hea

      • Monday 4th. May, 2015 -- Bank Holiday Monday

        There was little wind this evening so I raised Olivebank's main sail, always a good idea to know that everything is working up aloft

        This morning I got everything ready for tomorrow evening’s presbytery meeting. David arrived and the trailer for Olivebank is now functio

      • Sunday 3rd. May, 2015 – A Visit to Paxton

        Rachel took this picture on her telephone because I have mislaid my camera. We are enjoying coffee after the service in Paxton. It is a splendid building and the welcome was really warm!

        Up early and walked Mix. It really is a nasty day, cold and wet and not at all pleasant. W

      • Saturday 2nd. May, 2015 – I always enjoy Saturdays

        This is one of the fields around our home -- it looks good and the health experts tell me that the oil we get from it is extremely good for me -- but it does make me sneeze!

        Slept in a bit and then walked Mix before settling down in the Bothy, not really to work but because th

      • Friday 1st. May, 2015 -- May Day and Mix's Twelfth Birthday

        Today Rachel fitted up this panel on the window in my Bothy. She was away this morning at her glass class and is clearly in the glass-fixing mood. It's beautiful and all over Mount Pleasant new glass masterpieces are appearing

        My goodness so we have now had Mix with us fo

      • Thursday 30th. April, 2015 -- Off to Dunblane for the Day

        I would have provided a picture of Dunblane but with the early start I forgot my camera (and my telephone doesn't take pictures). So here is Mum's window box, planted out last week by Rachel during the celebrations of Mum's birthday

        I was up at five-thirty this

      • Wednesday 29th. April, 2015 -- More Presbytery Inspections

        The reason I'm trying to take so many pictures from the garden and around here is that my blog is read by family in Australia who are anxious to see what things are like here at Mount Pleasant. So here is Mum's garden in shade. I love the white pebbles and the plants in their p

      • Tuesday 28th. April, 2015 -- Presbytery Inspections

        I took this snap of the hanging basket outside Mum's door -- aren't the colours wonderful? I really do love yellow

        Up early and walked Mix. This morning one of my colleagues came to talk through the next Presbytery meeting with me so that we can be sure that everythi

      • Monday 27th. April, 2015 -- Our Christian Aid programme is finalised

        This is a picture of Olive's new herb garden, radiating out from the little bay tree and cut into the lawn and filled with the herbs which are going to flavour our food over the coming years

        Today, as usual, I walked Mix and then I had to start getting things in order for

      • Sunday 26th. April, 2015 – The Fourth Sunday of Easter

        Rachel and Olive at the Mount Pleasant family table – it’s stovies on the menu and knowing how much I like stovies, Olive always makes two big dishes

        Up early because I was on duty today. I walked Mix and then Mum, Rachel and I drove along to Gavinton where I conducted the

    • April
      • Saturday 25th. April, 2015 – My goodness, April is nearly past!

        What a lovely place in which to live! The view from our front gate

        Got up and walked Mix and then went across to the Bothy. The weather has broken and today it is wet but although the forecast was for rain all day it actually cleared up quite nicely in the afternoon.

      • Friday 24th. April, 2015 – Fun on the boat

        The final picture of Mum’s birthday. Here she is squinting into the sun while she sits in the Garden Centre at Berwick. If you look carefully you can see that now she is ninety-two she has been reduced to half price

        Up and walked Mix and then spent the whole day playing abou

      • Thursday 23rd. April, 2015 – Another presbytery meeting.

        Another picture from our celebrations yesterday – Mum blows out the candles on her birthday cake

        Up and walked Mix and then spent the whole day on presbytery activities with folk who wished to discuss things with me in both the morning and the afternoon and then a special me

      • Wednesday 22nd. April, 2015 -- Mum’s Birthday

        A picture of the family – Heidi, Digger, Olive, Mum, Rachel and Rowan – on the beach this morning. It was a spectacular day and a lovely way to spend part of Mum’s ninety-second birthday (there will be other pictures of today in ensuing entries)

        Today was Mum’s birthda

      • Tuesday 21st. April, 2015 Anti-fouling, removals and a Presbytery meeting thrown in

        I spent a large part of this morning lying under the boat just here – I really am getting too old for this. The green tape will be peeled off afterwards to provide a lovely straight line of black, at least that is the theory

        I rose and walked Mix and then decided that as it

      • Monday 20th. April, 2015 -- Removals and Antifouling

        Rachel bought the book she is reading when she was out shopping today. It is entitled ‘Care for your puppy’ and she is reading it in preparation for getting a new puppy from Sang’s latest litter. The puppy is already named ‘Bramble’ and we are able to watch her exploits on Sang

      • Sunday 19th. April, 2015 The Good Life continues.

        A picture of the Berwick Town Hall (the Guild Hall) where I attended a very special concert this afternoon

        Up a little later than usual because today I went to Ayton Parish Church (Mum and Rachel came with me) and the service didn’t start until 11 a.m. So I walked Mix, showe

      • Saturday 18th. April, 2015 – Electioneering!

        I took this picture of Eyemouth Harbour this morning. It really was this blue and it was a lovely, lovely day. I love this view of the working harbour even if there wasn’t much happening when I was here today

        Yesterday I learned that there had been a new poll out (probably s

      • Friday 17th. April, 2015 To the Dentist

        This is one of the fields opposite our home. It has now been got ready for a new crop. It won’t be any time at all until something is growing – I haven’t a clue what will come up but it will come up soon. Watch this space!

        I was up and away from home before six-thirty th

      • Thursday 16th. April, 2015 Peter and Linda come to visit

        I took this picture last week when Tom and I were part of a local congregational review team to Legerwood Church. On the day of the visit I showed a picture of the exterior of the lovely Church but I also took this picture inside of one of the oldest parts of the building. It is quite be

      • Wednesday 15th. April, 2015 Sending out materials to the Business Committee

        A picture I took on Sunday of my Godmother (my Aunt Agnes) and my mother outside the farmhouse

        This morning I got up and walked Mix before settling into the Bothy to prepare the bits and pieces to send out to the Business Committee. That’s now all done and I think that I am

      • Tuesday 14th. April, 2015 Durham win in Three Days

        With more books on the shelves the Bothy really is beginning to look quite good. It certainly feels like home to Mix and me

        Up and walked Mix before settling in at the Bothy to deal with Presbytery matters. It has turned into another very fine day and I resent being inside (es

      • Monday 13th. April, 2015 – The Election Gets Closer

        Our house tells the world – or at least that part of it which passes our door – where our sympathies lie

        Rose and walked Mix and then went and started to work through some of the paperwork for the Presbytery. There was a knock on the door and Charlie from the local b

      • Sunday 12th. April, 2015 – Low Sunday

        Robbie, Eric, Aunt Agnes, Mum, Jill, Rachel and Martin (with Rowan getting into the picture and enjoying the April sunshine)

        I got up, showered and had walked Mix by half-past eight. I breakfasted and then drove with Rachel and Mum to Gavinton Church where Stephen conducted th

      • Saturday 11th. April, 2015 – An all-day slog

        While I worked hard in the Bothy, Mix wandered outside to enjoy the sunshine

        I awoke and walked Mix. Rachel and I decided that as our rooms were totally destroyed – Rachel’s study and my Bothy – that we would spend the day trying to get them properly in order. I was keen

      • Friday 10th. April, 2015 – Busy again

        My lovely bothy in total chaos -- however, it is a step on a journey to having all the boxes of books opened and stored in their rightful places

        I was up and showered and out walking Mix by twenty to eight this morning because I had to meet with my life-style adviser at 8.30.

      • Thursday 9th. April, 2015 – Cleaning the Boat, finally!

        With the summer suns staring to hit the summer house I realised that it will soon be time to open it up again and resume summer living. I suppose that it could have been used right through the winter but in reality it has become a store until the upstairs in the Hen House has been comple

      • Wednesday 8th. April, 2015 – Off on a local Church Review

        I took this picture of Legerwood Church in the early evening. It is a beautiful building and obviously very well cared-for

        Normally I would have prepared the minutes of the Presbytery meeting last night but with having watched the leaders’ debate I had to do this today. So m

      • Tuesday 7th. April, 2015 – Presbytery

        Ann arrived to stay overnight and so that she and Rachel can plan their second kilt-making course -- after the enormous success of their first course. There will be a new level one course starting in a week's time and also a new level two course to be slotted in as well


      • Monday 6th. April, 2015 – Holiday Monday.

        This is Rachel's Easter tree -- we always have little eggs hanging from a tree made out of branches. Some have come from holidays at places like Prague with its wonderful Easter market), others Rachel has made herself: but Easter wouldn't be Easter without our Easter tree!
      • Sunday 5th. April, 2015 – Easter Day.

        A picture of lunch in the village hall at Westruther -- a really happy occasion with food enough to feed the entire presbytery and still have some left over!

        This morning Mum and Rachel got up and drove to Gavinton for Easter Communion conducted by Jeff. I drove to Westruther

      • Saturday 4th. April, 2015 -- Holy Saturday

        The Moderator, deep in conversation with two of the ladies from the local churches, tramping along beside the River Tweed on the journey from Abbotsford to Melrose

        Today I was back on Moderator duty. After getting organised, Rachel and I piled the dogs into Rachel’s Bongo an

      • Friday 3rd. April, 2015 – Good Friday

        When I arrived at Cranshaws Kirk, Janet was assembling her Good Friday Cross in the Church vestibule. It was just right

        I got up and walked Mix before doing a bit of work in the Bothy. Then I went off to Duns to attend the Good Friday noon service which was conducted by Stephe

      • Thursday 2nd. April, 2015 --- Maundy Thursday

        Tom took this picture of the Church at Abbey St. Bathan's on his telephone and emailed it to me as I had forgotten my camera

        Rose and walked Mix before moving into the Bothy to get caught up. Presbytery papers normally go out on Tuesday but I had been with the Moderator m

      • Wednesday 1st. April, 2015 – An Away Day with the Moderator and with the members of the Other Two Border Presbyteries

        John is deep in thought as he wonders how to address the ministers from the three Border Presbyteries

        Up and walked Mix, showered and was ready before nine to be collected by Alan who was our driver for today. In all there were Alan, Stephen, Jeff, David and me in Alan’s car

    • March
      • Tuesday 31st. March, 2015 – The Moderator comes to Mount Pleasant

        This is Dryburgh Abbey Hotel and, as can be seen from the picture, the sun is shining. During the course of today we had everything: sun, rain, snow, sleet and high winds. But throughout it all, it remained very pleasant.

        I was again up early, showered, walked Mix and set off

      • Monday 30th. January, 2014 (later) An Eventful Afternoon

        There is always a camera when the Moderator is around. Kimberley from the local press catches Andy (on the left) receiving a Bethlehem dove from the Moderator

        I drove back to Eyemouth after a late morning at Mount Pleasant (during which I prepared some of the documentation for

      • Monday 30th. January, 2015 (early) On Eyemouth Golf Course!

        A Picture of the Moderator with his two playing partners in front of the spectacularly situated club house

        This morning, having walked Mix and dealt with emails, I drove down to Eyemouth Golf Course where the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rig

      • Sunday 29th. March, 2015 – Palm Sunday

        I took this snap of Annie, one of the stalwarts of Gavinton Church, outside Longformacus Village Hall where we enjoyed our palm Sunday service this morning

        The clock went forward but even so I managed to get up and hour earlier than I had intended and it was before eight (new

      • Saturday 28th. March, 2015 – The start of our Moderator’s visit

        Another picture from yesterday – a mountain of puppies and all doing well

        Rose and walked Mix. Then I went across to the Bothy to start to get things ready for the presbytery mailing which is due to go out next Tuesday but Tuesday will be a very busy day because the Moderato

      • Friday 27th. March, 2015 – an Away Day to Visit Sang and his puppies

        It is less than three days since Bramble was born and here she is sitting in Rachel’s hand while Ella looks on protectively

        Rose, walked Mix and set off with Rachel to visit Sang in Alloa. We stopped off in the town to buy some bits and pieces for a snack lunch and then desc

      • Thursday 26th. March, 2015 -- Head down getting things sorted out

        I snapped this butcher’s advert when we were in Kelso at the weekend but the reason for including it here is that the butcher’s main shop is in Duns and he (Greg Foston) has been in the news for designing a Scotch Egg for Easter – sausage meat around a Cadbury’s chocolate egg!
      • Wednesday 25th. March, 2015 – Catching Up

        This is a picture of the ruins on Kelso Abbey which I took at the weekend when we were on tour with our visitors. It must have been a magnificent abbey in its day. What a pity so many of these buildings were destroyed

        Up and walked Mix and then settled in at the Bothy to write

      • Tuesday 24th. March, 2015 -- A Business Committee Day

        I snapped Rachel looking very happy in the new coat she got from Tweedside Tackle when we visited Kelso on Saturday afternoon. Doesn’t she look good?

        I woke and immediately turned on my i-pad. Instantly it was clear that the New Zealand versus South Africa game was going to

      • Monday 23rd. March, 2015 -- Our Visitors Depart

        These beautiful plants were brought to Rachel by Morag -- don't they look good?

        Up and walked Mix. Breakfasted and then spent quite a long time first with Bill and then with Morag setting up the built-in GPS system in Bill’s car. Next time they come it should shorten th

      • Sunday 22nd. March, 2015 – Touring Again

        The communion table is covered with stones -- Church Stones -- with which Jeff illustrated his address on 'building on the rock'.

        After walking Mix and breakfasting with our visitors, I drove them and Mum to Church, Rachel having gone on ahead to get the organ into o

      • Saturday 21st. March, 2015 – On Tour

        Here we are outside the ruins of Kelso Abbey, reading all about what is to be seen within. We had a very happy visit

        After walking Mix and a leisurely breakfast with Bill, Morag and Cathy we all climbed into Rachel’s Bongo and set out on our adventures. We went first to Kels

      • Friday 20th. March, 2015 -- Our Visitors Arrive!

        This is the result of Rachel's pinhole experiment -- eclipse over Mount Pleasant

        Walked Mix and then waited with Rachel for the eclipse of the sun. Unfortunately the sun was hidden by cloud for most of the time but Rachel did get a super picture of the ecipse using a pin

      • Thursday 19th. March, 2015 – Preparing for Christian Aid

        Now this boat does look as though it is just a little bit loved!

        After walking Mix and having my porridge I went off to a Christian Aid meeting in a lovely home up near the Golf Club – people were playing, it was a lovely morning, and it made me long for a game of golf. I’

      • Wednesday 18th. March, 2015 -- Off to the Theatre

        Mix is king of all he surveys!

        Walked Mix and then set off to meet up with Tom and go to Andrea’s for a Stewardship Committee meeting. In fact there was only Tom, Andrea and me at the meeting but we enjoyed Andrea’s coffee and talked through some ideas. Clearly the role o

      • Tuesday 17th. March, 2015 -- Boat Cleaning!

        A fine dog -- Rowan is looking good in the garden. I wonder how she will react when her baby sister arrives?

        This morning, after walking Mix, I met with one of my colleagues in the Bothy to talk through some of the issues coming up in presbytery – I am still on a steep learn

      • Monday 16th. March, 2015 – A bit of everything

        A red letter day for Alison and Olive both of whom completed their kilts and their kilt course this afternoon. I pictured them in the stables with their kilts and with their certificates. Well done! A new course will begin very shortly

        I got up, walked Mix and breakfasted on p

      • Sunday 15th. March, 2015 – The Ides of March

        Back in Sang’s manse, I took this picture of Sang with his Mum and Dad before setting off for home

        I was up early today so that I could shower and walk Mix and still have plenty of time to drive to Alloa to attend Sang’s Church this morning. Sang worked with me in Luss and

      • Saturday 14th. March, 2015 – A Day Cleaning the Boat!

        I worked hard today cleaning several years of grime from Olivebank. It is still a work in progress but this shot of the cockpit shows that I have made some progress (although not yet of the deck)

        Up and walked Mix and then started work on cleaning Olivebank something which wen

      • Friday 13th. March, 2015 – Sixty-nine today

        I was presented with this blue badge by Olive and Digger. The whole tone of the place has been raised

        I woke and discovered that England’s game was rain interrupted but that they seem to have got the better of it and have a relatively easy target in a limited overs run chase

      • Thursday 12th. March, 2015 – Well, at least I now have a clean car!

        Wheels on, mast down, ready for work to begin

        David arrived early this morning to put the wheels back on to Olivebank’s trailer; he then took my car away to be valeted. He brought it back several hours later very clean indeed. I’m told that the person cleaning out the car

      • Wednesday 11th. March, 2015 – Lots of Fun!

        You can see from this picture that the shelves are filling up now – and there are still so many boxes yet to unpack!

        Walked Mix – I saw the Robertson’s of Duns bus that hit me yesterday, but today I was on the other side of the road because I had moved over to get around

      • Tuesday 10th. March, 2015 – St. Kessog’s Day

        Today has been a gloriously sunny and warm day – the wind has dropped. It has been lovely. It doesn’t look like that in the picture because it was taken at six o’clock this evening once the sun was down. But the picture shows Olivebank without her wheels – they are away being re-

      • Monday 9th. March, 2015 – Working Away

        Even after loading in lots more books, with Rachel’s books transferred to her new study, I have quite a lot of room left – just as well, as there are many, many boxes waiting to be opened

        I got up and walked Mix. Came home and had a plate of porridge for breakfast and then

      • Sunday 8th. March, 2015 – A Special Sunday in our Congregational Story

        A picture which I snapped while walking Mix today – the wind has dropped but we are expecting it to return

        I woke later than usual on a Sunday morning and got up in an extremely leisurely fashion. Rachel was already up and was soon off to Berwick to attend the service at the

      • Saturday 7th. March, 2015 It is incredibly windy – and the wind just goes on and on

        Rachel’s study is now taking shape. After the erection of the bookcases, now the books have started to arrive and Rachel’s childhood desk and a rocking chair and a very attractive rug

        Slept in because it is Saturday. That’s not actually true, what I mean is that I woke b

      • Friday 6th. March, 2015 – The World Day of Prayer

        Spring is on the way!

        Up early and at the doctor’s surgery before half-past eight to see a life-style adviser who talked me through my life and took me to task for being overweight. Learned that I am an inch and a half shorter than I used to be and have to lose around four s

      • Thursday 5th. March, 2015 --- It wasn’t to be!

        I took this snap out of the kitchen window of the Manse at Cranshaws -- what a lovely view from a kitchen window!

        Well, it wasn’t to be. Bangladesh actually won quite comfortably with eleven balls to spare and plenty of wickets in hand – but Kyle Coezer was ‘man of the m

      • Wednesday 4th. March, 2015 – Off to Cranshaws and to the Theatre

        Rachel's new study is beginning to take shape

        I was up early and walked Mix before setting off to Tom’s for half-past eight. He and I went up to Cranshaws to help with the final stages of getting Ann off to her new home. David arrived to take down some light fittings an

      • Tuesday 3rd. March, 2015 – Presbytery

        Ann and her son Dave who are slaving away at the Manse trying to get everything packed so that they can move to South Queensferry tomorrow

        Again I was in the bothy, having walked Mix, before eight and I spent the day getting everything ready for the meeting this evening. In pa

      • Monday 2nd. March, 2015 – Running Around

        A clean car

        I was up and had walked Mix in time to be in the Bothy and at work by half past seven. Soon after eight Tom arrived and he drove, with me following in my car, to St. Boswell’s so that my car could be examined under a recall notice to do with the steering. Given t

      • Sunday 1st. March, 2015 -- Ann's last Sunday

        This is a snap of the congregational lunch at Gavinton Village Hall. You can see clearly what a good time we are all having

        Got up to the news that Sri Lanka had bettered England’s target with ease and the loss of only one wicket. England must now hope desperately that their

      • Saturday 28th. February, 2015 – An Ordinary Saturday but with much to do.

        Rachel spent much of today in the Stables, not kilt-making or weaving, but working with her glass. Here she is grinding a piece of glass to size before fitting it into her latest creation

        I got up and walked Mix. He seemed pleased that I was home and, even although it was very

      • Friday 27th. February, 2015 – And the Journey Home

        I saw this building as I walked home after our evening meal last night. I was really taken with the squinty door -- I'd love a door like that

        I woke at seven with the light streaming into my ground floor bedroom and the most glorious view of Canterbury Cathedral filling t

    • February
      • Thursday 26th. February, 2015 -- A long train journey

        The view from my bedroom window -- it doesn't get much better than this

        I was up at half past five this morning, showered and driven to Berwick by Rachel in time to catch the nine minutes past seven train to London. It was an uneventful journey and I had no one sitting be

      • Wednesday 25th. February, 2015 – Our journey to Muirkirk

        Here is a picture of Muirkirk which I believe, until I am corrected, that this was Bill and Morag’s Church. David and I found it and I tried to get in but the door was locked but it seemed very well-cared for and rather special

        Today David and I set off in the Bongo for Muir

      • Tuesday 24th. February, 2015 – A Presbytery preparation day

        It has been cold for a few days now and Mix has taken to wearing his jacket when we go out for a walk. I have never had a dog who was so happy to dress up before, but it must give him warmth in these cold times

        Up and walked Mix and then quickly got into the Bothy to get thing

      • Monday 23rd. February, 2015 -- Starting to get ready for Presbytery

        This afternoon Ann, our minister popped in to visit and I took this snap. Ann has really been my first minister -- growing up as I did as a manse-kid and then being a minister myself for so many years. I have enjoyed her ministry and we will miss her and her husband Jack when they leave

      • Sunday 22nd. February, 2015 – Ann’s last ‘official’ Sunday at Duns.

        It was cold today, and windy ... but it was warm inside the church and lovely to see all the daffodils a sign, if one was needed, that Spring is just around the corner

        Up and walked Mix before setting off with Mum and Rachel to Gavinton Church where Ann was conducting her fina

      • Saturday 21st. February, 2013 – A Good Day

        In the west we had midges and rain and traffic jams; here we have wind. If you doubt that, this used to be a brand-new tarpaulin firmly fixed over the bows of Ianthe, now it barely exists. The wind here can be ferocious .... I still prefer it to the midges, the rain and the traffic jams<

      • Friday 20th. February, 2015 – in the office and out at Kelso

        I snapped Olive, Ann and Alison as they were hard at work making kilts. I like Fridays because we always get lunch

        Rose early because I had an appointment at the doctor’s surgery to check on my alleged asthma! I really am feeling extremely good and the doctor told me that I

      • Thursday 19th. February, 2015 -- Off to Stirling today!

        Today my car completed 100,000 miles. That’s an awful lot of driving, although I doubt if it has actually been all that far at all, just over the same roads over and over again. I wonder how many miles it did between Luss and Arrochar – and how many more it will do between Mount Plea

      • Wednesday 18th. February, 2015 – Crieff and Berwick

        I took this picture of the main entrance as I left. Crieff Hydro is very grand!

        I had intended to get up at seven but I turned over when the alarm went off and woke with a start at quarter to eight. Still I showered and was down at breakfast for eight in time to have something

      • Tuesday 17th. February, 2015 – Off to Crieff

        I was given this huge bedroom on the ground floor – what an enormous bed (but very comfy – no wonder I slept in)

        I was up and showered and in the car ready to set off for Crieff by six in the morning. It was far too early but an hour later would have been far too late, all

      • Monday 16th. February, 2015 – A lovely day

        It was a lovely day today and in the late afternoon Mix and I went out for a walk. I thought to myself, ‘I haven’t walked along Bramble Avenue since last Autumn, I'll see what it is like today’. Mix was walking ahead of me and without a word from me he turned into Bramble Aven

      • Sunday 15th. February, 2015 – Communion Sunday

        A lovely picture of the communion table, speckled with sun-light, and with the elements covered with their starched white napkins. Just as it should be ...

        Walked Mix, showered and soon afterwards set off with Mum and Rachel for Gavinton Church and the service of Holy Communi

      • Saturday 14th. February, 2015 – A Sorting Out sort of a day and, of course, St. Valentine's Day

        Today Digger fitted the vent to his dome – the idea being to keep the hot air inside during the winter months. I held the vent while Digger fitted the screws (and then I took the picture)

        After Mix and I had gone for a walk, we started to sort things out in the Bothy. The ac

      • Friday 13th. February, 2013 Not Quite as Planned

        Whenever I am passing on a Friday I pop into the Stables and take a picture of the kilt activities which are within. I like to see how they are getting on (and it also reminds them that I am here so that they remember to invite me to join them for lunch, which today as always was most en

      • Thursday 12th. February, 2015 – Off to the theatre again

        Mix has been noticing that there are definite signs of Spring in the air; fields are ploughed, the days are lengthening and there is a feeling that everything is starting to wake-up after the winter months

        Walked Mix and settled down in the Bothy to try to tie up the loose end

      • Wednesday 11th. February, 2015 – Transported by the RSC

        At lunchtime today, Tom, Dorothy, David and I ended up at the soup lunch in Gavinton. It was Ann’s last such lunch and to mark the occasion Alison got out her guitar and sang ‘Will you no come back again?’ Mum was also here having come under her own steam with her friend, Annie
      • Tuesday 10th. February, 2015 – Another Presbytery Day

        Well, I am always happy to take a picture of the fields around here at harvest time, so why not now when they have been ploughed and will soon have crop sown. Everything around here seems so fertile. It is a lovely place to live

        Up and walked Mix before starting on some of the

      • Monday 9th. February, 2015 – Normality returns

        Mix and I went for a walk just as dusk was falling and I took this picture. I think it catches the mood of this time of year

        I was up ready to welcome the plasterer at 7.30 a.m. (he normally arrives about 7.40 a.m.) but today he didn’t get here until a little after eight as

      • Sunday 8th. February, 2015 – And a really relaxing Sunday again.

        The Church flowers were given to Dorothy this week. She celebrated her birthday and has also been a bit under the weather

        Really appreciated today after all the hard work of the week. I rose, walked Mix and went with Mum and Rachel to Gavinton Church where the readings were of

      • Saturday 7th. February, 2015 – The plaster-boarding is complete!

        What an incredible sky this evening – it bodes well for tomorrow

        Rose, walked Mix and had a lovely shower ( my first of two today). I drove along to Tom’s and together we went to Cranshaws where we helped dismantle furniture and load it into a van.

        By the time

      • Friday 6th. February, 2015

        Shona with her Mum and Dad (and Ann and Rachel) setting off for home having received her certificate and completed her kilt

        Today Rachel’s celebration was that Shona, one of her students, completed her kilt. It looks magnificent and some of her family came to see where she w

      • Thursday 5th. February, 2015 – And another day hard at work

        Rachel (with her hair cut) and Ann leaning over the Mount Pleasant farm gate

        There is little to report today. I walked the dog and then got stuck in to plaster-boarding in the Hen House. I plaster-boarded until six o’clock at which point I went and joined the family in the f

      • Wednesday 4th. February, 2015 – Back in dungarees

        This is the window which Rachel plaster-boarded and has turned into something which is a thing of beauty (or at least it will be once it has been plastered next Monday). This house building really is quite satisfying

        Rachel and I had intended to start early in the Hen House bu

      • Tuesday 3rd. February, 2015 – A Presbytery Day

        It really isn’t anything to write home about, but this is the first snow we have seen since we came to live in the Borders. While everyone else has been having quite a difficult time, our climate has been gentle and kind. (Those who know Rachel will not be surprised to see that we stil

      • Monday 2nd. February, 2015 – Candlemas

        Rachel and I worked all day in the Hen House today and at the end of it we have completed the ceiling and all but completed the wall which looks out on to the courtyard (if you know what I mean). There is still a lot to do before next week but we shall be at it all Wednesday and would ho

      • Sunday 1st. February, 2015 – So much to hope for ... but not today!

        Through the wonders of television I was able to be transported to Australia this morning: to Melbourne for the Australian Tennis Final, and to Perth for the final of the tri-nations cricket contested by England and Australia. I remember as a teenager how I sat up and listened to the earl

    • January
      • Saturday 31st. January, 2015 – It’s the end of January already

        It still isn’t tidy – and all of my books have still not been brought here – but it feels comfy and it feels like home. Even although it is bitterly cold outside it heats up warm, and Mix and I love it

        Rose, walked Mix and soon it was time to welcome two of my ministeria

      • Friday 30th. January, 2015 – A Trip to Jarrow

        I left Mount Pleasant this morning shortly before Dorothy was about to give a spinning demonstration to the kilt-making class. I arrived at Bede’s World at Jarrow and when I walked through the door the first thing I saw was a spinning group in full flow. Wonderful!

        Up and wa

      • Thursday 29th. January, 2015 – Another interesting day

        By the end of today it is possible to take a picture of the bedroom in the Hen house that begins to look as though one day it (the bedroom) will have walls

        Rose and didn’t walk Mix because as I sorted the fire in the lounge I discovered that Andy Murray was playing in the se

      • Wednesday 28th. January, 2015 – Lots of Different Activities!

        This is the Hen House bedroom ready for us to start work. We hope to completely plaster-board the room over the next couple of weeks. It shouldn’t take all that time, but there are so many other things to do as well – as today’s story indicates

        I got up and walked Mix, m

      • Tuesday 27th. January, 2015 -- The studio is plastered

        The studio has now been plastered and is starting to dry – some bits will take longer than others because of the remedial work which had to be done around our fairly inferior joins. But once it is dried and painted it is going to look superb

        Rose early and welcomed Simon bef

      • Monday 26th. January, 2015 – Rachel, Ann and Olive are on the television!

        I took this picture before eight o’clock this morning just before Simon started work on plastering over the plasterboards. This is the before, watch this space for the after ...

        Rose early and welcomed Simon the plasterer about quarter to eight. I helped him carry the plaste

      • Sunday 25th. January, 2015 – An extremely busy Sunday

        This afternoon I had to drive nine miles south of our home to the picturesque village of Coldstream to attend a meeting. I parked in a little off-road car park, from which this was the view. Special, isn’t it?

        The day started badly, at seven-thirty with Gavinton Church relyi

      • Saturday 24th. January, 2015 – A Really Good Day

        A picture of Ann with her Vestiarium Scoticum – I suppose this is to kilt makers what the Rossdhu Book of Hours was to us at Luss. It is the first published work which records tartans and ascribes them to their clans. Whether it is a work of scholarship or a sophisticated sales brochur

      • Friday 23rd. January, 2015 -- Another day at the Office

        Ann admires Kate’s work – that really does look good!

        Up and walked Mix and then started work in the Bothy – all Presbytery bits and pieces, emails, statistics and preparation for the next Presbytery. Next door in the Stables the kilt-making course was going well and

      • Thursday 22nd. January, 2015 – And another day yoked up

        Ann has arrived in preparation for the kilt-making course tomorrow and now, over a cup of tea from Rachel’s favourite tartan tea-pot, they are planning tomorrow. Mix has wandered into the shot, wondering no doubt what all of the hilarity is about. After all, kilt-making is a serious bu

      • Wednesday 21st. January, 2015 – A day in harness

        Now that I have evacuated the spare room I have fitted up a desk behind the sofa in the Bothy. It works very well. I have a computer and printer and some filing space as well. I also have a little dog who sits beside me while I work

        Up and walked Mix before settling down to de

      • Tuesday 20th. January, 2015 – The Business Committee

        This has been Digger’s project over recent times: designing and constructing this bookcase which neatly fills the alcove beside the fireplace in their lounge. In recent days books have been emptied from the barn and loaded onto the shelves; the empty spaces are for books which are pile

      • Monday 19th. January, 2015 -- Hard at work

        Here is the first item in the new spare room. I bought it from a travelling rug salesman. I know you shouldn’t do that but I enjoyed it and I like the rug. I used to buy similar rugs from a similar van salesman when I lived in Buckhaven, thirty years ago – and I still have the rugs a

      • Sunday 18th. January, 2015 – A cold Sunday

        The flowers in Church this morning were provided by Mum and bought and put in the vase by Rachel (yesterday). They looked very good and it is a lovely thought that every week flowers are taken to folk who are elderly or ill in the community

        Rose and walked Mix (it was very col

      • Saturday 17th. January, 2015 -- A long lie and a finished project

        At last the room is completely cleared out – the little cupboards are empty and everything is ready for its new life

        Slept in today. In fact it was about half-past ten before I got up and walked Mix. It was lovely and I was so comfortable.

        I spent the morning comp

      • Friday 16th. January, 2015 – Kilt-making in the Granary

        I took this picture of some of the activity within the Granary today. Digger and I struggled across with the huge table top at first light, but everyone was warm and happy

        Up and walked Mix and while everyone was at work making kilts, I was across in the Bothy trying to make t

      • Thursday 15th. January, 2015 – Off to Cranshaws

        The entrance to Cranshaws Kirk, a beautiful old building in the village of that name where our congregation holds a service twice a month

        Up and walked Mix and soon afterwards Tom and Dorothy arrived: Dorothy to go with Rachel into Berwick for their glass-class, Tom to take me

      • Wednesday 14th. January, 2015 – Progress

        Today was the day of the January lunch in aid of Church funds at Gavinton Church. We are a small congregation but, as the picture shows, lunches are well supported. Today we were served soup and cake by Gay and Christine. It was excellent

        Rose, walked Mix and settled into the

      • Tuesday 13th. January, 2015 -- More of the same

        I have rearranged the Bothy to enable me to store more in it – temporarily, you understand!

        I got up and walked Mix and then spent some time dealing with emails in the Bothy, there were quite a lot so this took quite a bit of the morning. By lunch time, however, I was not on

      • Monday 12th. January, 2015 – The first of a number of ‘boring’ days

        Today, while tidying through things in the spare room, I found this costume -- the picture was taken on a river cruise in Egypt: happy memories

        This week is going to be tedious to read about, I’m sorry. My task, as I have already written, is to clear the spare bedroom, pack

      • Sunday 11th. January, 2015 – Two Services today

        The Church at Edrom is a beautiful one. I took this picture after the service while folk were enjoying tea and chocolate cake -- there is an attractive little area at the back of the church which has been cleared of pews and is used for small receptions: today we spilled all over the chu

      • Saturday 10th. January, 2015 – A Trip to the Cinema

        Rowan had a visitor for the day today – it is Beth pictured here with Rachel and Rowan on the sofa, Beth’s acceptance made clear by the fact that she has Rowan’s best ball in her mouth

        Rose and walked Mix before doing a bit more clearing of the spare bedroom. I’ve put

      • Friday 9th. January, 2014 – Nothing ever works out quite as you plan

        I took this picture during a lull in the television filming at the Stables today. From the left: Fiona Armstrong (the presenter), Ann, Rachel, Shona and Olive

        Well, what a wild night it was: wind, gales, rain and huge gusts shaking everything. I slept little and was up a littl

      • Thursday 8th. January, 2015 --- Ann arrives to be ready for tomorrow

        After the dreadful mess I showed you yesterday, I have to report that the Bothy really is taking shape and is going to be a lovely addition to our facilities

        Rose and walked Mix and then went across to the Bothy to check on emails for the presbytery and to sort out some of my

      • Wednesday 7th. January, 2015 -- Chaos all around

        The picture that I should never have shown – the chaos which is the spare bedroom, clothes everywhere all piled on top of a bunk bed because we have no cupboards or wardrobes. Finally I am starting today to put this situation right. The drawers are all open because I have been seeing w

      • Tuesday 6Th. January, 2015 --- Epiphany and a special meal

        It is Epiphany, Twelfth Night, and that means that the Christmas decorations have to come down. In the old days decorations were often left until Candlemas on 2nd. February and Rachel says that she is going to leave a few things up until then as well. However, tonight the tree and other

      • Monday 5th. January, 2015 – I start my new job

        Here is a picture of the Christmas tree in the farmhouse at Mount Pleasant. I suppose that tomorrow it will have to be taken down and everything always looks so bare after the decorations come down

        Today I got up and walked Mix and soon it was time to set off to meet with the

      • Sunday 4th. January, 2015 – Back home and off to church

        Now I took this picture yesterday but I wanted to share it today. It is, I believe, one of the most beautiful stretches of the Leeds Liverpool canal and is part of the stretch between Barnoldswick (where the Young Rachel is moored) and Salterforth (to where Mix and I like to wander in th

      • Saturday 3rd. January, 2015 – The long journey home

        This morning I again walked Mix to Salterforth and I took this picture of the cutting as I looked over the canal bridge at the Lower Park Marina. The picture has caught the light of the morning and I just love to look at all of the boats. I noticed that this year there are quite a few of

      • Friday 2nd. January, 2015 – The rain has stopped!

        I took this picture this afternoon. We are below the Greenberfield locks and because it is winter and the greenery has largely disappeared (or perhaps because we are more observant today) we have noticed this ‘little canal’ to the right of the present day canal. Perhaps this is a rem

      • Thursday 1st. January, 2015 --- New Year’s Day

        Green boat with cream walls, white over red stern, centre of the picture just to the right of a boat with a raised cockpit: that's the Young Rachel. She is lovely and being on board is quite the nicest place to be

        Woke and got up in quite a leisurely fashion and took Mix

      • Wednesday 31st. December, 2014 --- It’s almost a new year!

        There have been lots of pictures this year but this one which I took just a moment or two ago is one of my favourites. It’s our library and only a few months ago this was an old bothy with no roof and with a ground base that had been used over the years for bonfires and refuse. It real

  • 2014
    • December
      • Tuesday 30th. December, 2014 -- The Fifth Day of Christmas

        Three generations of another branch of our family — my Aunt Agnes (very special because she is also my God-mother), her grandson Robbie, and Robbie’s Dad Martin. They popped down to see us this morning. Rachel is making a kilt for Robbie and today was the day of the all-important fit

      • Monday 29th. December, 2014 – A Special Day

        My new work station – having moved from the summer house to the Bothy which will be my office base for my new job, starting on Thursday

        Today is a special day for us as we were married forty- five years ago today in Beverley. It was a Monday and there was snow around. Today

      • Sunday 28th. December, 2014 – The last Sunday of the Year

        All too soon Christmas trees will disappear – so here is a picture of the tree at Gavinton Church where we worshipped this morning

        Rose, walked Mix and breakfasted before driving to Gavinton Church with Rachel and Mum. I had had a bit of an adventure this morning – our fro

      • Saturday 27th. December, 2014 – The Partying Continues

        I gave everyone a break this Christmas – by leaving my camera at home. So this picture was not taken today but is of one of the courses of my Christmas Dinner in the farmhouse. Easy seen why I have to start on a diet as soon as we are into the New Year. As I said yesterday, this really

      • Friday 26th. December, 2014 – Boxing Day

        This is a picture I took yesterday just as Christmas Dinner was about to be served at Mount Pleasant. We are around the table and the light is just beginning to fade. We had a lovely meal and a very Happy Christmas

        I slept in – well, that’s what one does on Boxing Day if o

      • Thursday 25th. December, 2014 – A very Happy Christmas

        The Christmas Candles burning in Gavinton Church this morning -- the four red candles of Advent around the single white candle of Christmas

        Today was immense! It was a wonderful, spectacular, glorious day.

        I suppose I start by reporting that late on the evening of C

      • Wednesday 24th. December, 2014 – Christmas Eve and everything is ready

        Our front room is ready for Christmas and Rachel has it looking festive and swell. We too are ready with everything prepared. What a difference from when I was working when there would be so many services over the next few hours. I am looking forward to bringing Christmas in at Gavinton

      • Tuesday 23rd. December, 2014 – A Strange Day

        Taken by surprise! I caught Rachel while she was sitting in the very fine bar at the Maltings Theatre in Berwick. She was reading the programme before we went in to the excellent production last night and looked up just as I pressed the shutter

        Up and got organised quite slowl

      • Monday 22nd. December, 2014 – We visit the Pantomime and Glasgow is in mourning

        Last year we enjoyed the pantomime so much that as soon as the tickets became available for this year’s pantomime I was straight on line putting in our order. Tonight we all – Mum, Olive, Digger, Rachel and I – went along to enjoy Dick Whittington; we were not disappointed. Of cour

      • Sunday 21st. December, 2014 – The Fourth Sunday of Advent

        I don’t really know the story of this donkey but he seems to appear in Gavinton Church every year at this time. He reminds me a bit of a rabbit but I suspect that his real purpose is to remind us of the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in the Christmas story. He does make me smile
      • Saturday 20th. December, 2014 – It is still extremely cold

        A picture of David on the ladder completing the cable junction which has taken a telephone and a computer signal to the Bothy. I was anxious to take the picture from this side, even as it is in to the sun, because David tells me that this is his better side

        Up and walked Mix b

      • Friday 19th. December, 2014 --- My but it is cold!

        Things continue to take shape in the Bothy. Today David has been working to install wifi and telephone connections and I am starting to move in some of the Presbytery bits and pieces which have been given to me by Helen to enable me to take up my new post at the start of January
      • Thursday 18th. December, 2014 – Another interrupted night

        Tom and I went to Duns Kirk this morning for the primary school service. I didn’t like to take a picture of the service (although lots of the parents were) so I took this picture as everyone was leaving. I had never been inside the Church before and I was struck by the size of the wors

      • Wednesday 17th. December, 2014 – Mouse tracking and Carol singing

        This evening Tom and I drove up to Longformacus to join the folk carol singing, something we had done last year. Tom is always in great demand because he takes his accordion with him and makes music

        Didn’t sleep too well because Rachel was convinced that we had a mouse in th

      • Tuesday 16th. December, 2014 – Rachel is struck down with the dreaded lurgy

        It really is very cold today and Mix has taken to wearing his winter coat (even when sitting in front of the heater). I am surprised by how much he clearly enjoys putting it on and how proud he looks when people admire him in it

        Woke and discovered that Rachel had finally succ

      • Monday 15th. December, 2014 – Starting on the library

        Now things are beginning to take shape. The library is at the stage where it seems that there are very few books on the shelves (even although we have been at it for hours0. Very soon the shelves will be full and we will be looking for more space. At present the books are only being sort

      • Sunday 14th. December, 2014 – Imagine that – a working Sunday!

        Rachel put the flowers in Church this morning. I thought that they looked very good – and if you look closely you can just see a couple of our Christingles squeezing into the picture

        Rose, showered, walked Mix and breakfasted before setting off with Mum and Rachel for Gavint

      • Saturday 13th. December, 2014 A busy Saturday

        Mix inspects the Christmas tree

        Got up and took Mix for a walk before having a lovely hot shower and setting off (with Mix) for Gavinton Church where I helped Rachel set out the Christingles and marvelled at the work of decorating the Church for Christmas.

        On the wa

      • Friday 12th. December, 2014 – Another day kilt-making (not me)

        A view of the kilt-making studio today. Everyone is hard at work and the loom is being re-warped at the same time (by the end of the day some beautiful weaving had been produced)

        Rose and walked Mix before breakfast. David arrived and we set about installing the final four pow

      • Thursday 11th. December, 2014 – We stop work to prepare for Christmas!

        The new studio now ready for plastering, something which is beyond our ken. It looks good though, and once plastered is going to be a great addition to Mount Pleasant

        Woke and walked Mix in the snow before driving to Pearsons with Rachel to collect two new gas bottles to ensur

      • Wednesday 10th. December, 2014 -- Two really lovely meals

        Rachel, Olive, Mum and Digger enjoying their meal at the Black Bull tonight. It was an excellent evening and a superb meal and made me realise how close we are to Christmas and how much I am looking forward to it

        Woke, walked Mix, breakfasted and joined Neil and Tom in the Hen

      • Tuesday 9th. December, 2014 – Getting on with it!

        There is quite a difference since yesterday and I am really pleased. Mind you, we will be relying on the services of a really good plasterer to cover up our defects but we won’t be the first to do that!

        Rose, walked Mix and breakfasted in time to be ready for Neil who was co

      • Monday 8th. December, 2014 – Colds update!

        A picture of the upstairs of the Hen House as it is today. David has installed a temporary light and we are already to start plaster-boarding again. Using this picture as a base I will be able to illustrate the progress we make

        Rose early to drive Rachel’s Bongo into Duns fo

      • Sunday 7th. December, 2014 --- It’s cold!

        Since I retired and now attend Church as a member of the congregation I have noticed that I appreciate things much more than when I was rushing around responsible for all that happened. This little bunch of flowers was on the communion table (not sure about that, mind) and I was struck b

      • Saturday 6th. December, 2014 – St. Nicholas’ Day

        Mix enjoyed being in the summerhouse today -- although there have been great changes here, Mix's cushion still remains in front of the heater. Mix is happy!

        Rose gingerly and walked Mix. I still have a big cough and I will definitely return to bed early this evening. Davi

      • Friday 5th. December, 2014 -- I spend the day in bed (almost)

        The Stables has now settled down and developed an atmosphere all of its own -- almost as if it had been a weaving shed and a kilt-making station for generations. Today it housed another session of a kilt-making course

        I had decided that come what may I was going to spend today

      • Thursday 4th. December, 2014 -- Ploughing (bravely) on!

        Well, there is a long way to go -- but you can see how it is going to look

        Up and walked Mix before breakfast. Tom arrived and we compared symptoms. In fact, all that we did today was to erect a screen in the Bothy and then Tom returned home to rest up his cold. I took deliver

      • Wednesday 3rd. December, 2014 – Into the barns

        I took this picture of a squirrel last week when we were in London. We were walking through Green Park and everywhere the wildlife was as tame as could be. I love the fact that the new National newspaper gives over its centre pages to a picture of the day -- one day I'll take a pict

      • Tuesday 2nd. December, 2014 – A Presbytery Meeting for me to remember!

        Escapade, our Wayfarer dinghy, is now sitting parked as if she were a motor car. Mum says that it is quite strange to look out of her bedroom window and see a boat parked in front of it

        Up and walked Mix before breakfast. Met with Tom and we spent the morning fitting the bookc

      • Monday 1st. December, 2014 – It’s December already

        This is Olivebank sitting on her trailer -- the difference is that now the trailer is just about road worthy once again. David has stripped everything back and has rebuilt many of the component parts. He assures me that before the month is out, Olivebank will be able to be driven on the

    • November
      • Saturday 29th. November, 2014 – A working Saturday, in parts

        The bookcases are taking shape. The real beauty of these units is that they can be assembled to fit any space and, once they are assembled and filled with books, they become quite anonymous (which is what I require from a bookcase)

        I slept in today – I usually do on a Saturd

      • Friday 28th. November, 2014 --- Working on bookcases

        Mix is in seventh heaven lying in front of this heater in the Bothy. I remember the first night we had him, I lit a fire and Mix barked at it and shrunk off to a far corner of the room. Nowadays, if there is a heater or a fire Mix's place is right in front of it -- the hotter the be

      • Thursday 27th. November, 2015 – Moving On

        A picture of the light-fitting in the Bothy. Doesn't it look baronial?

        Today, after walking Mix and breakfasting, I met with Tom and we cleared the front of the Bothy and fitted up some internal decorations on the bothy walls. The light fitting has now arrived and this wa

      • Wednesday 26th. November, 2014 – Back home again

        Our train in Berwick station. Just over twenty-four hours since we departed we have been brought safely back home

        We were woken by our sleeping-car attendant at 6.30 a.m. with coffee and tea and arrived into Edinburgh about half-past seven. There was time to collect a paper to

      • Tuesday 25th. November, 2014 – A Fabulous Day Out in London

        This probably marks a new low in my standard of photography. I took it as I sat down in the theatre just before the announcement that from this point on there was to be no more photography. So I of course obeyed the injunction, but I show this just to give a little bit of an idea as to w

      • Monday 24th. November, 2014 -- On Church Business

        It’s Tom back on a ladder, this time clearing out the gutters on the Cranshaws Kirk. It’s a hard life being a property convener in today’s church

        Woke, walked Mix and breakfasted. Tom arrived and we went off to Cranshaws Kirk to clean the gutters and to remove the chairs

      • Sunday 23rd. November, 2014 – A Relaxing Sunday

        I took this picture as I walked Mix late in the afternoon. There was still a bit of autumn sun and I took this picture into the sun just as it was beginning to disappear for the day. Today has been an attractive day: it is colder than it has been but it is also crisp and fair

      • Saturday 22nd. November, 2014 – The carpet is finally laid

        It hardly makes a photograph, but for the record: the Bothy now has a carpet. During next week our building site will turn into a beautiful and useful room -- you'll see!

        Today I slept in until almost ten o’clock! It was wonderful. I rose and walked Mix before going wit

      • Friday 21st. November, 2014 – A gentle day

        Today was another kilt-making day at Mount Pleasant, and the subject was 'marking out'. My involvement was limited to ensuring that there were three heaters pumping out maximum heat from eight in the morning to ensure that everyone was warm from the moment they arrived
      • Thursday 20th. November, 2014 --- Normality returns

        This is Tom and Dorothy in the kitchen of their new house. It is a lovely house but those of you who know Tom and Dorothy will be able to picture them cleaning and polishing -- and that's before they have started doing all of the alterations to make the house just exactly the way th

      • Wednesday 19th. November, 2014 – An away day with David

        As my picture shows, the Metro Centre is already preparing for Christmas. I loved seeing all the decorations

        Up early and breakfasted after walking Mix. David arrived and suggested that we set off for Newcastle to visit a shop he knew to buy a light fitting for the Bothy

      • Tuesday 18th. November, 2014 – Back to Argyll

        I took this picture last week as I walked towards Canterbury Cathedral. This is a fascinating main street, cobbled and pedestrianized, retaining much of its medieval spirit while containing modern fast food shops and tourist emporia. I suppose that while the shops in medieval times would

      • Monday 17th. November, 2014 – More Progress

        Visitors who came to see Mum last week, while I was at Canterbury, brought this doll to Mum. It is a fisher lass, I suppose, and comes from the north-east. Now it sits on Mum’s chair in her garden room

        Woke, walked Mix, Breakfasted and was just on the point of setting off to

      • Sunday 16th. November, 2014 --- A Happy Sunday

        Rachel took our organ to Church today to enable her to provide the music for the morning service and allow the regular organist to attend a Baptism service at Cranshaws. So we were treated to Rachel’s descants and arrangements: they were very good

        Up, showered, walked Mix, b

      • Saturday 15th. November, 2014 – They really can’t stay away!

        This is a picture of the Bothy at the stage we have now reached. The building work has been completed and the inside looks like a giant garden shed – but just wait until it has all been fitted out: it is going to look like a pine palace!

        Slept in until half-past nine and the

      • Friday 14th. November, 2014 -- The Bothy is completed

        Tom, working at height, is completing the final sections of the wall in what will be our new bothy

        Rose and walked Mix, breakfasted and met up with Tom and later with David. We continued with the Bothy – these last boards cutting around the beams take ages. Tom went off to t

      • Thursday 13th. November, 2014 – Back to normality

        Mum went to the WRI meeting in Gavinton this evening. Everyone had been asked to bring a tea cup and at the meeting they would learn how to decorate a tea cup with flowers. This is Mum's effort

        Rose and walked Mix before breakfast. Tom and David arrived and work continued

      • Wednesday 12th. November, 2014 – Another day in the train

        A picture of some of my Green Pilgrimage colleagues, all of whom have become very good friends over the time we have met and worked together

        Again I woke early, showered and enjoyed a full English breakfast before saying my good-byes, walking to the station and catching the ni

      • Tuesday 11th. November, 2014 At work in Canterbury

        This is the view from my room in the Canterbury Cathedral Guest House -- the entrance to the Guest House in front and then directly behind, the Cathedral itself, imposing itself on all around

        Rose early and showered before breakfast in the Guest House restaurant. I ordered the

      • Monday 10th. November, 2014 – A day travelling

        My first view of the Cathedral Guest House nestling in the grounds of Canterbury Cathedral and as luxurious as a five-star hotel

        I was up just after six, in time to shower and walk Mix (in the half-light) before Rachel drove me to Berwick Station for my train to Canterbury. My

      • Sunday 9th. November, 2014 --- Remembrance Sunday

        A picture of the memorial and wreath with Rachel, Clare and Mum after the wreath-laying ceremony

        Walked Mix and breakfasted before setting off for Gavinton Church for the Remembrance Sunday Service. Found the Church door closed – the heating had failed and we all worshipped

      • Saturday 8th. November, 2014 --- A day in the study

        Most of today I sat in the summer house preparing a power point presentation on the theme of St. Paul’s, Jarrow and Bede’s World for the Green Pilgrimage network meeting in Canterbury at the start of next week. I enjoyed having a presentation to prepare, especially one on such a good

      • Friday 7th. November, 2014 – The Pine Palace takes shape

        Tom, up the ladder, fixes the final piece of pine into place in the end wall of the Bothy. We still have quite a bit to do at the other end of the building but it is going to look superb

        Rose and walked Mix after breakfast today because Cathy was returning home and breakfasted

      • Thursday 6th. November, 2014 – I work all day in the Bothy

        Late in the day, Mum and Cathy come to visit the Bothy and see all that has been done today. It is taking shape but we still have a large pile of timber which remains to be fitted

        Up, walked Mix, breakfasted and set off to the Bothy to start work. Tom is already here, Dorothy

      • Wednesday 5th. November, 2014 – Rachel’s course begins

        I popped in to the Stables and took this picture of all of the activity on day one of the kilt-making course run by Rachel and Anne. Everyone was having a fine time

        Up and turned on the heating in the stables so that everyone would be warm at the course which Rachel and Ann we

      • Tuesday 4th. November, 2014 – I go to the Presbytery of Duns

        There is still a bit to do – but what has been done looks superb. There will be an update tomorrow by which time I hope this wall will have been completed

        Up, walked Mix, breakfasted and started work with Tom on completing the second wall in the Bothy. We worked hard and it

      • Monday 3rd. November, 2014 – Digger’s birthday

        Digger admires his birthday cake – the candles have been blown out, we have sung Happy Birthday and now the lights are back on. Close inspection shows that the chocolate cake has been decorated with chocolate carrots: how appropriate!

        Up, and after walking Mix, I breakfaste

      • Sunday 2nd. November, 2014 – Lots of Church

        At the service in Gavinton this morning the flowers had been provided by Mum (although bought and arranged by Andrea). I thought they looked really good. I wonder how many churches in Great Britain have flowers each Sunday on the chancel? It must be a huge number and must contribute sign

      • Saturday 1st. November, 2014 – Talking with Andrew

        As usual, Olive had prepared a splendid meal for us all and, because we had two guests – Andrew who was visiting me, and David who was visiting Digger – we ate in the dining room. Olive had prepared a splendid cherry tart which required a real team effort to serve, as the picture abo

      • Friday 31st. October, 2014 – Hallowe’en

        Tom applies the final nails to the first wall in our new bothy. We are delighted with how it looks and hope that by the end of next week the bothy will be complete

        Rose, walked Mix, breakfasted and then Tom and I set about constructing the first internal wall of the new bothy,

    • October
      • Thursday 30th. October, 2014 – A new load of wood: a new wall to build

        Tom and David are pleased with the start we have made on building the internal walls in the Bothy. I am quite excited about how it will look this time tomorrow -- I know I shouldn't because things often happen to waylay us and, in any case, one of our new rules of life is that we ar

      • Wednesday 29th. October, 2014 -- More progress

        It is just beginning to get dark – it does that so early now – and Rachel is putting the undercoat on the Bothy door so that it is protected from the elements

        Today was a beautiful day. I got up, walked Mix and breakfasted in the farmhouse. Neither David nor Tom were here

      • Tuesday 28th. October, 2014 – We start on the door

        Just before tea tonight Rachel called to me to come outside – there was a most stupendous sky: as red as I have ever seen. We have had stormy weather today and quite a bit of rain. It had recently stopped raining and maybe this is a sign that tomorrow the weather will be more settled
      • Monday 27th. October, 2014 – Getting on

        By the end of our working day (we have to have several long coffee breaks in which to put the world to rights) we had completed the window section of the ‘Bothy opening’ at which point, feeling extremely pleased with ourselves, we retired to the summer house, drank coffee and discuss

      • Sunday 26th. October, 2014 – Rachel’s birthday

        The flowers which yesterday were hanging in a bag in the kitchen are now gracing the chancel in Gavinton Church – and very nice they looked

        Woke and wished Rachel a happy birthday. I had got her a new soldering iron – doesn’t sound very interesting, but it was a very spe

      • Saturday 25th. October, 2014 – I couldn’t be more relaxed if I tried

        I saw this bag of flowers hanging from the desk in the kitchen and was taken not by the flowers (most of them cannot be seen as they are inside the bag) but by the sunlight which was coming in through the window. They are flowers which Rachel has gathered for Church in Gavinton tomorrow<

      • Friday 24th. October, 2014 – A short entry for a long day!

        Rachel with the dogs – Rachel is hanging on to them both to prevent them wandering out of shot. Doesn't the boat look spacious?

        Up before five and on the road soon afterwards, travelling south to Barnoldswick. I was driving, Rachel was sleeping (as was Rowan). Mix was n

      • Thursday 23rd. October, 2014 – Job done!

        It’s the end of the day and David is tidying up, Rowan and Mix are wondering why I have arrived with my camera. Not to record them, of course, but to get a picture of the Bothy now with a wooden floor. It started the week with no floor and with no wood on site. First the joists were de

      • Wednesday 22nd. October, 2014 – Getting along like a house on fire!

        By the end of today we had half of the floor laid in the Bothy. That was our target and that was what we achieved – we may even have done a bit more than half of the floor but with a bit of luck we shall complete the task tomorrow

        Up and walked Mix before breakfast. Tom and

      • Tuesday 21st. October, 2014 – A very pleasant and quiet day

        After our activity yesterday in setting out the joists for the Bothy, today the wood was delivered for the floorboards. It is beautiful larch and will, I am sure, look spectacular by the time that the floorboards have been laid

        Up and walked Mix – it is very blowy and much c

      • Monday 20th. October, 2014 – We make progress

        Tom cuts while David holds the timber – the result: floor joists cut to size for the new Bothy floor

        The proof of the pudding – by the end of the afternoon the floor joists of the Bothy have been cut to size and fitted in position. As soon as we get the floor b

      • Sunday 19th. October, 2014 – Back to (real) work again

        I conducted the morning services in two Churches this morning. First here at Gavinton at 10 a.m.

        Second, here at Cranshaws at 11.45 a.m. -- the two congregations are part of the Parish of Langton and Lammermuir

        Up, showered and walked Mix before breakfas

      • Saturday 18th. October, 2014 – A Very Quiet Saturday

        Rachel spent the afternoon in the stables, neither weaving nor kilt making, but working on her stained glass designs. Here she is grinding the edge of a piece of glass using her Dremel, ensuring that it is perfectly flat and ready to be encased with copper tape and joined to its neighbou

      • Friday 17th. October, 2014 -- Just a bit of this and that

        This is Duns Kirk from the road where I parked my car on the way to a Presbytery Committee this afternoon – my first in this presbytery

        Up, walked Mix and breakfasted. Tom phoned to say that he wouldn’t be with us today. David arrived to say that he had a meeting in Berwic

      • Thursday 16th. October, 2014 – A Day out for the boys!

        David and Tom in front of Amble Marina

        More pictures of today can be found at

        Up and walked Mix before breakfast. Tom and David arrived and we climbed into David’s Jaguar and set off for our day out, all dressed in good clothes and looking a

      • Wednesday 15th. October, 2015 – Cleaning Olivebank

        There really isn’t a great deal to see except to notice that the fore deck of the boat is a bit cleaner than the rest of it. It is going to be a long job but today I started to remove grime which has accumulated over many years. By the time that Olivebank goes back into the water next

      • Tuesday 14th. October, 2014 --- Mix in control

        This afternoon David set about changing the spark plugs in Digger’s new car. Digger came along to watch. Mix wasn’t sure that David actually knew what he was doing so he went along to supervise as well. My picture catches Mix looking carefully at what David is doing to ensure that no

      • Monday 13th. October, 2014 – An interesting day

        There was always only going to be one headline story today at Mount Pleasant and that was the start of work on the farmhouse roof. This morning Paul, Tommy and Andrew arrived to start work on the roof, being joined in the afternoon by Ian, their boss. Great progress has been made as all

      • Sunday 12th. October, 2014 – A Sunday at Mount Pleasant

        This is a very ordinary picture which contains a great deal of information! First of all it shows that the concrete has set and that we now have access to the Bothy and can start work constructing the floor. Then you can see all that stuff piled against the wall. That’s the materials w

      • Saturday 11th. October, 2014 – The Heavy Horse Show at Etal

        We gathered around the breakfast table before setting off for Etal – Digger, Jane and Ewen

        Walked Mix – my body is still aching – and then enjoyed a cooked breakfast in the farmhouse. Tom and Dorothy arrived and we set off for Etal for the Heavy Horse Show at Hay Farm

      • Friday 10th. October, 2014 – Rachel hits the headlines and Olivebank comes home

        The loom is empty after this morning when Sandy arrived and completed the final bit of weaving before taking the cloth away to be 'finished' in Galashiels. I can't wait to see what the completed cloth looks like. On the table in the foreground, on top of the kilts, you can

      • Thursday 9th. October, 2014 – Concrete and Visitors

        Tom's look says it all! It is almost as if he is already aware of all of the pain which this monster of a concrete lorry is going to inflict upon us as we shovel and level and struggle with its contents

        Woke and walked Mix before breakfast. Tom and David arrived early bec

      • Wednesday 8th. October, 2014 – The site meeting (and lunch)

        I snapped Dorothy, Rachel and David outside the Church Hall in brilliant autumn sunshine. We were early for the soup and cake lunch – Tom had gone in to discover when we could all arrive! We were told that if we had a bottle of sherry we could come in at once. We didn’t have but we d

      • Tuesday 7th. October, 2014 – A visit to Whiteadder Reservoir and to the Presbytery

        This is the way in to Duns Church Hall – I was in the hall this evening for the regular monthly meeting of Duns Presbytery. It is a gentle presbytery and a warm one with everyone very considerate of the feelings of other people. I suppose that it is very much a rural presbytery. It

      • Monday 6th. October, 2014 – The rain returns

        Sasha was a little jealous of the attention which David was receiving primarily from Rowan, so she decided that she would exert her claims of ownership

        The rain returned overnight with a vengeance and it is no consolation that the whole country seems to be suffering, nor that

      • Sunday 5th. October, 2014 – A fascinating afternoon on the computer

        As Mix and I walked this morning, I took this picture of one of the fields which has featured regularly in my recording of this last year. How different it is today. The harvest has gone, the field has been ploughed and now it is awaiting its next crop. Must be a bit like someone who run

      • Saturday 4th. October, 2014 – A stormy night

        It was quite a storm – but by this afternoon everything was back to normal, except that the colours have become quite autumnal

        Last night was stormy! Every time I awoke it was because of the rain bouncing off the windows in our bedroom, and when I got up it seemed that ever

      • Friday 3rd. October, 2014 – Scottish Pilgrimage Gathering

        The opening address at this year’s Scottish Pilgrimage Gathering was given by Paul Wheelhouse, MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Environment and Climate Change

        Today was another early start. I was away from Mount Pleasant, having showered and got ready, by half past six,

      • Thursday 2nd. October, 2014 --- Back to work

        Not much of a picture to look at but an important picture for my records because it shows that we now have a concrete base in the bothy. Once the concrete has dried out we shall be able to start on the floor – and we have ordered the wood for the start of next week

        Woke with

      • Wednesday 1st. October, 2014 – Our day at the Globe

        A picture of the Globe Theatre on Bankside in London just as it began to get dark. The Globe is a reconstruction of Shakespeare’s theatre of 1599 reconstructed and opened in 1997, and today Rachel and I attended two performances at this wonderful place

        Rose at quarter-past f

    • September
      • Tuesday 3oth. September, 2014 – A quiet day

        Last year this was my final day at work. I left Luss Manse for the final time in the late afternoon and drove down to my new home, accompanied by Rachel and Cathy. I remember being entranced by the beauty of this area, something which I now try extremely hard not to take for granted. Thi

      • Tuesday 30th. September, 2014 -- Digger's new car

        This morning I remembered to take a picture of Digger's new car and post it on the web-site primarily for the benefit of his brother in Australia. So here you are, David, a picture which not only shows the vehicle but which let's you see the bright sunshine in the Scottish Bord

      • Monday 29th. September, 2014 – David’s birthday

        This morning we relaxed in the summer house. Here David and Tom have been ‘jamming’ with some of the guitars which normally adorn the walls of the summer house while I was making coffee in the background

        Up and walked Mix before breakfast. Tom and David arrived. We made fi

      • Sunday 28th. September, 2014 – Harvest Festival

        One of the several Harvest displays in Gavinton Church this morning – the Church was decorated and looked really good and during the service we were reminded of all of the different harvests for which we had to be grateful, as well as being challenged about poverty throughout the world

      • Saturday 27th. September, 2014 – Not quite as planned

        A picture taken by Dorothy of the Ellemford Show. What a wonderful marquee

        I rose and walked Mix and soon afterwards Tom and Dorothy arrived on their way to the Ellemford Show. I had been looking forward to going with them but there were things which required my attention at M

      • Friday 26th. September, 2014 – A delivery and a trip to Wooler

        Today was the day of the Wooler Auction and Tom and I duly set off to see what was on offer. It was a disappointing auction with not very much on sale and not very many people there to buy either (as the picture above shows). However the rolls with sausages in them (covered in brown sauc

      • Thursday 25th. September, 2014 – Progress

        This morning Tom, David and I completed the clearing of the Bothy and then set out the plastic membrane onto which the concrete will be poured. Next we created the shuttering which will hold the concrete in place. My picture shows David and Tom fitting some of the shuttering in place. It

      • Wednesday 24th. September, 2014 – Working Away!

        This evening the Bothy is illuminated in preparation for our laying of the floor over the next few days

        Walked Mix before breakfast and then breakfasted in the farmhouse (eventually – no-one was awake when I went across the first time).

        Tom and David arrived sharp

      • Tuesday 23rd. September, 2014 – We go car-hunting

        This afternoon Mix and I went for a walk along Bramble Avenue. One tree is covered in apples – hundreds of them. We discovered on our return that Olive had already collected up some of the fallen fruit and we enjoyed stewed apples for dinner. Everything here is so fertile – and wonde

      • Monday 22nd. September, 2014 – Rachel sets off for Barnoldswick

        This is a picture of The Chandlery in Berwick, of the cafe called Lowry after the celebrated painter of the same name who had connections with Berwick. David brought me here this afternoon when we were out and about. I had a splendid hot chocolate

        Up and walked Mix before brea

      • Sunday 21st. September, 2014 – Tea at the Ritz

        Sitting down around the table in the Manse dining room for 'tea at the Ritz'. From the left: Bridget, Rachel, Mum, Ann and Tom -- all slightly thrown into silhouette by the strong sunshine coming in through the window

        I was up just after eight, showered and packed be

      • Saturday 20th. September, 2014 – 50th. Anniversary Reunion

        This is Woodlands Hotel in Barnhill which is less than a mile from where I lived for the duration of my primary education. I took the photo because it is the venue for the fiftieth anniversary of my school year leaving Dundee High School

        I got up and walked Mix and then got my

      • Friday 19th. September, 2014 – We buy another tree

        Woke early and walked Mix before Joining Tom and Dorothy to drive into Berwick to collect the table and chairs I bought a couple of days ago. We loaded them onto the trailer and brought them back to Mount Pleasant via Duns where we dropped Dorothy off. Tom then brought the trailer to Mou

      • Thursday 18th. September, 2014 – While Scotland votes, I go off to Stirling

        It is a grey day and I am parked next to a grey car just ready to go into the building in the picture for the regular meeting of the Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum. It is a long drive but at least there is always a parking spot

        I was up early as Rachel had to go off to the firs

      • Wednesday 17th. September, 2014 – We plant a tree and attend a film festival

        This is the tree we planted. It is a Rowan and we planted it today because it was Rachel’s Mum’s birthday and she would have liked it. Mind you, it wasn’t easy. We discovered that our back lawn is sown on top of a huge amount of building rubble and when digging the hole for the tre

      • Tuesday 16th. September, 2014 -- We go sailing

        David and Tom on board Escapade as she journeys across the Whiteadder reservoir. It turned out to be a lovely day and I took my cheap camera with an underwater housing (which I had got to go to the Red Sea several years ago) so it didn’t matter if we turned over

        Up and walk

      • Monday 15th. September, 2014 – The Works Outing

        Today we found ourselves in B & Q in Galashiels. Tom was keen to buy a particular kind of lantern (appropriately called a Polaris) but it was kept high on one of the shelves and, try as we might, no assistant was available to assist our purchase. So David commandeered a step ladder o

      • Sunday 14th. September, 2014 – It’s Sunday again

        Over the garden fence, Digger has been digging in his allotment. This year there were potatoes in the strip which has been dug, I wonder what will appear next year?

        Rose, showered, walked Mix and breakfasted in the farmhouse before Rachel drove Mum and me to Gavinton Church. A

      • Saturday 13th. September, 2014 – A Gorgeous Day

        After a slow start, today turned out to be gorgeous: the sun shone down and it was certainly a day to be outdoors. I took this picture through the window of the summer house. Rowan is lying in wait for Rachel who has gone down into the woods to collect brambles. Yesterday she took Rowan

      • Friday 12th. September, 2014 – Back at the coal face

        Rachel is painting the barge-boards on the Bothy. At one stage Tom said to me, “We better hurry up with these barge-boards, Rachel is catching us up.” Well, we ended the day with all the boards in place and now we can turn our attention elsewhere

        Up and walked Mix before b

      • Thursday 11th. September, 2014 – A long day

        A view of Westside Plaza in Wester Hailes, a suburb of Edinburgh. It is here that Rachel and I come to visit our dentist, Andrew. Andrew used to be our dentist in Buckhaven but when he moved to Edinburgh we followed him

        Up exceedingly early and had showered and walked Mi

      • Wednesday 10th. September, 2014 – An early start to Lindisfarne

        This is the view of Lindisfarne which many people think of when they hear the name Lindisfarne -- I think more immediately of the holy places, but there is no denying that this is a special view, and one which we enjoyed as we walked towards the castle this morning in the brightest sunsh

      • Tuesday 9th. September, 2014 – I hone my tour-guiding skills

        It has been a long day and Ewen is in the childrens’ playpark at Paxton House. He has tried the shute but finds the zip slide more to his liking. Jane looks on

        Up and walked Mix quite early (Ewen came with me as we explored Bramble Avenue) so that we could be on our way and

      • Monday 8th. September, 2014 – Mix is returned to health

        Mix relaxes on his cushion in the summer house, his favourite place – I think that he is a bit of a chameleon, blending perfectly with his surroundings (but only when he is on this cushion)

        Woke and walked Mix. He seems to be back in good health with a cough that has disappe

      • Sunday 7th. September, 2014 – We go to Church – twice – and have dinner with a friend

        This is the picture I promised to post on the 4th. of September: the view of the rear of the Granary with the grass cut! It looks just as it did a year ago except for the apple tree in the foreground and the Summer House in the background. I think that is a duvet which Rachel has placed

      • Saturday 6th. September, 2014 -- Away for the day at Chester-le-Street

        Today I was part of a goodly crowd at Chester-le-Street, the home of Durham County Cricket Club, where I watched Durham book their place in the final of the fifty-over competition by roundly defeating Nottingham in the semi-final

        Up early in time to see Mum off on her annual t

      • Friday 5th. September, 2014 – One year and one day

        Just one year and one day after we arrived Tom sets up the sign with the name of the property over the entrance gate. It doesn’t look great in the photo but driving towards it, the black of the sign stands out against the sky and proudly proclaims Mount Pleasant Farm


      • Thursday 4th. September, 2014 – One Year On!

        I took this picture this morning. I took a similar picture exactly a year ago (well it was in the afternoon) and things look remarkably similar – but what a lot has happened during our first year here

        Up and walked Mix (I didn’t breakfast because I was still full of food f

      • Wednesday 3rd. September, 2014 – We travel to Longforgan for Elizabeth’s funeral

        We deliberately arrived early at Longforgan in order to have adequate time to walk the dogs after their lengthy car journey. Walking along the side of a field, I took this picture of the Church from quite far away. One of my friends, Jim Jack, with whom I studied at Princeton, was minist

      • Tuesday 2nd. September, 2014 – Certainly not what I expected

        This evening I was in Coldstream Church for the annual Presbytery Service of Holy Communion conducted by the retiring Presbytery Moderator, the Reverend David Taverner. I enjoyed the service very much indeed but I was surprised and more than a little disappointed by how few members of th

      • Monday 1st. September, 2014 – This diary is now a year old!

        Mix loves to be in the summer house and he loves to accost Digger as he walks back and forth to his allotment. Sometimes Mix can be very noisy, but when I went to take this picture he was as quiet as could be. I suppose that he knows about the blog and realises that he will be better tho

      • Monday 1st. September, 2014 -- My friend Alan McNaught

        I learned yesterday of the death of my friend Alan with whom I spent very many happy hours during my almost nineteen-year stay in Buckhaven in Fife.

        I don’t remember the first time I met Alan but I do know that it was very soon after Rachel and I arrived in Fife. Very quickl

      • Sunday 31st. August, 2014 – A Late Summer Sunday

        In the early afternoon Cathy had to set off for home (given a lift by Anne who was driving home to Gourock). The sun was shining down and, before they left, I took this picture of those who were to hand: Digger, Catriona (Martin’s partner and someone who is special here not least becau

      • Saturday 30th. August, 2014 Our ‘event’ goes well

        As I stood on our driveway this evening, waiting to direct cars into the courtyard, I was taken by the beauty all around as the evening shadows lengthened over this recently harvested field. What a glorious place in which to live

        Woke and walked Mix. David arrived and continue

      • Friday 29th. August, 2014 – Final Preparations

        Today was a day of final preparations. Here the Stables have been set out ready for our ‘event’ tomorrow and Tom and David (one singing and one posing for the picture) are trying things out. It is going to be fun

        Up and walked Mix before breakfast. Tom arrived early and we

    • August
      • Thursday 28th. August, 2014 – Really Good News

        Discovered that our baby chicks are really getting quite large. One of them is sitting on the edge of the nest, for all the world as if he is getting ready to try out his wings. I don’t think that he is ready for that yet but they do grow up so very quickly

        The good news tod

      • Wednesday 27th. August, 2014 – Progress and ... disaster

        The real hot summer days are past for this year at least – but the evening skies continue to be spectacular, as this picture shows

        Up and walked Mix before Tom arrived and we got started on the bargeboard for the summer house end of the bothy. We got the job done, but it pro

      • Tuesday 26th. August, 2014 – Just working away

        This is actually a picture which I took yesterday in the late afternoon when Mix and I went for a walk along Bramble Avenue. The combine is cutting down the grain in the field diagonally opposite Mount Pleasant and is followed by another tractor (just out of shot) which is collecting up

      • Monday 25th. August, 2014 – A busy day at Mount Pleasant

        Well, there was certainly room for improvement but what a lot we have done today and how tidy the courtyard looks after just one day’s work on it. This is only Monday – wait until the end of the week and see the improvements by then

        Got up at seven so that I could have eve

      • Sunday 24th. August, 2014 – A Happy Sunday (the gathering in of the harvest continues all around us)

        Rowan was waiting at the fence to welcome Rachel when she returned from evensong this evening – Rowan is so full of life and everything sends her into outbursts of unrestrained joy. It must be wonderful to be a puppy

        Got up, showered and walked Mix. It was another lovely mor

      • Saturday 23rd. August, 2014 – The Harvest is all around us

        A picture of Mount Pleasant taken during Mix and my walk this morning. I’m taking pictures through the year to see how things change. Everything is still very green around our farm steading. Now that the harvest has all but been gathered in I expect that it will not be long before we s

      • Friday 22nd. August, 2014 – David and I make progress

        David pictured with one of the eight lamps with which we are to illuminate the courtyard. We hope to have this done early next week because next weekend we will have our event in the Stables and by the time it ends it will, of course, be dark

        Woke and walked Mix before b

      • Thursday 21st. August, 2014 – Mum goes to Edinburgh

        When I walked Mix this morning we saw this combine harvester. It was away at the far side of the field but my camera has a zoom lense so I had a shot at capturing it. This morning it was bucketing with rain and the farmers had obviously tried to get as much in as they could before the ra

      • Wednesday 20th. August, 2014 – Rachel journeys south

        The fields all around us are a beautiful golden brown – we haven’t been harvested yet, although further afield most have been. Our fish-man (who delivers to us once a week) says that these fields are really requiring to be harvested. Rain is forecast so I expect that we shall see som

      • Tuesday 19th. August, 2014 – Our trip to the Festival Fringe

        This picture was taken from outside the door of the ‘Jack’ Dome within the Edinburgh Students’ Union and it looks down on the Union lounge where Rachel and I enjoyed a splendid lunch before going into the Dome to watch “Lorraine and Alan” which, as the text will explain, we rea

      • Monday 18th. August, 2014 – And there was light!

        The wonderful moment this afternoon when the lights were turned on and we moved from a dull barn to a first-rate weaving facility, thanks to David and his work over recent weeks. I keep saying that once one is retired there are no longer any deadlines. In this case that wasn’t quite tr

      • Sunday 17th. August, 2014 – A relaxing Sunday with a Test Match to enjoy

        When we arrived at Church there were already quite a number of cars parked along the lane, so by the time we had parked it was quicker for us to walk in through the back gate. As a result I noticed this view of the Church which had previously passed me by. I only had my telephone with wh

      • Saturday 16th. August, 2014 -- Saturday, I really enjoy Saturdays

        This evening I ran Mum up to Gavinton and dropped her outside the village hall where they were having a cinema evening. The film this evening was “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and Mum was joining some of her friends for this entertainment. I was taken back to the days when we used to ru

      • Friday 15th. August, 2014 – We did a lot and had a good night out

        I took this picture this evening when we went out with Mum to celebrate the total completion of the sale of her house – the money had arrived in her bank account and everything was sorted

        Up, walked Mix and breakfasted in the farm house. Tom arrived and we set about completi

      • Thursday 14th. August, 2014 – Working at my desk almost all day

        Mix and I pass up this road several times each day. I never take a picture of the road in this direction – always pointing my camera off to one side or the other, or sometimes in the opposite direction back at the farmhouse itself. But tonight as we walked – it had been wet and it wa

      • Wednesday 13th. August, 2014 – Certainly not as expected

        I woke up this morning, the forecast wasn’t great, but seeing that it wasn’t actually raining I quickly showered and set off with Mix for his walk. It was actually very beautiful, I didn’t have my camera with me but I did have my telephone and so I took this picture of ‘where I l

      • Tuesday 12th. August, 2014 – Great Fun

        Today was wet – not nearly as wet as was forecast but wet enough to make jaunting around outside unwise; especially if, as a retired gentleman, it wasn’t really required. So I gave myself over to an intensive course in the operation of Twitter. Those who read this diary regularly wil

      • Monday 11th. August, 2014 – The aftermath of Hurricane Bertha

        Sometimes there really isn’t very much to photograph but my diary entry requires a picture. So today I went into the Stables where the Loom is now housed and took a picture of the trunking – the while plastic trunking visible above the Loom itself. In fact David has created a skeleto

      • Sunday 10th. August, 2014 – We await the tail of Hurricane Bertha

        Today started fine but, as forecast, became extremely wet. Often rain doesn’t notice in photographs but you can catch the atmosphere from the picture and the rather forlorn sun shade over the table at the back door of the Granary – Rachel won’t be breakfasting here tomorrow
      • Saturday 9th. August, 2014 – A very relaxed Saturday

        Outside the summer house, this is a line up of my Aunt Margaret and her family with Mum. From the left: Tim, Mum, Aunt Margaret, Robert, Evan, Katie

        Really enjoyed my regular Saturday morning sleep in followed by a walk with Mix. I had no plans for today and was determined to

      • Friday 8th. August, 2014 – We get started and do rather well until the weather comes in

        Well, it is the middle of the afternoon and one side of the roofing felt has almost been completed. We have to stop now because a storm is only a few minutes away but we have done well – Tom is on the ladder beside the Bothy and David is on the roof while Rachel ensures that the ladder

      • Thursday 7th. August, 2014 – Quite a frustrating day

        Finally, just after lunch we succeeded in starting on the roofing felt. The picture shows Tom just after the first strip has been successfully installed

        Rose, walked Mix and breakfasted in the farmhouse. Tom and I intended to start on the roofing felt but then we remembered th

      • Wednesday 6th. August, 2014 – A day with nothing to report

        This afternoon I ventured into the Hen House with a view to start sorting things out. I suppose I knew this was going to be a pointless exercise because I had nowhere to start putting things and also because it was raining so I couldn’t take things outside. So after a bit of a look aro

      • Tuesday 5th. August, 2014 – Making progress

        Today’s picture is of Tom’s trailer – but a trailer filled with roofing felt marks a significant step forward for us here. The roof has been completed, now we have to cover it and that work will start as soon as the weather permits

        Up, walked Mix and breakfasted in the f

      • Monday 4th. August, 2014 -- Back to Work

        By the end of the day the sarking on the Bothy was almost completed. We have achieved a great deal today – almost completing the sarking (tongue and groove larch so that it looks good from inside) and we have completed the extensions at the far side of the roof. Tomorrow we will have a

      • Sunday 3rd. August, 2014 – Back to normality

        Suddenly all of the crops are turning gold – many have already been harvested but this is field across the road from where we live

        Up this morning and walked Mix before breakfasting in the farmhouse (for the first time for more than a week). Rachel and I set off for Cranshaw

      • Saturday 2nd. August, 2014 – My Godmother comes to visit

        A picture of Mum and her sister Agnes, my God-mother, sitting in the summer house this afternoon

        Slept in until just after nine, got up, showered and walked Mix. At this point I had planned to go off to the Duns Show but Mum had arranged that my Godmother, Aunt Agnes, would co

      • Friday 1st. August, 2014 – The long trip home

        Back in the Marina, life goes on as normal as the crane prepares to lift three boats out to have their bottoms blacked

        We slept in a bit, well almost until nine and then I got up and walked Mix along the tow path, back towards the Rolls Royce works and then back to the boat fo

      • Thursday 31st. July, 2014 --- Back to Barnoldswick

        We are on our way home and this picture was taken just after we came through the double bridge at East Marton

        I was up at eight and walked Mix and Rowan until nine, going all the way back to the lock beside which we moored the night before last. Back at the boat everyone was u

      • Wednesday 30th. July, 2014 – Gargrave to Gargrave

        Rachel and Rowan beside 'The Young Rachel' right in the heart of Skipton

        We ended up today back where we started – at Gargrave. Strictly that’s not true because we started the day outside Gargrave and ended it back inside (up the three locks which start one on th

      • Tuesday 29th. July, 2014 --- From East Marton to Gargrave

        It wasn't so nice when we got underway today -- the crew were all in foul weather gear

        I woke about eight, got up and set off for an hour’s walk with Mix to give everyone some space to get themselves sorted out. Rachel went for a shorter walk with Rowan and when I retur

      • Monday 28th. July, 2014 --- We journey south.

        This evening we moored just outside East Marton in a lovely spot on this most beautiful of canals

        The alarm went off at 5.30 a.m. and we were up, abluted, dogs exercised, packed – Rachel, Mix, Rowan and me – and on the road by 6.20 a.m., arriving uneventfully at Barnoldswi

      • Sunday 27th. July, 2014 – Our Day at the Commonwealth Games

        Olive and Digger settle in for the journey from Berwick to Edinburgh -- the first stage of our journey to the Commonwealth Games

        I don’t suppose that we would ever have thought of going to the Commonwealth Games had we not been given tickets by my nephew and his wife as a Ch

    • July
      • Saturday 26th. July, 2014 – The weather was meant to change but it continues to be wonderful

        Dorothy and Tom arrived late in the afternoon to visit. Tom had collected Dorothy from the station at Berwick on her return from visiting her parents down south. We sat and drank Pims, Tom delighted to be sitting on what he described as a Titanic seat. We have arranged to meet in Barnold

      • Friday 25th. July, 2014 – More of the same

        For much of the day (and what a glorious day it was) we were working in the garden around the summer house and all day long this little fellow sat in the gutter of the Hen House and watched what we were doing – often singing, sometimes flying around and coming back again, always extrem

      • Thursday 24th. July, 2014 – What a Scorcher!

        Rachel spent part of this afternoon painting the new covers which she has made for the lockers on her canal boat. Here she has found a bit of shade – look at the brightness where the shade ends – and is putting on the green marine paint so that the covers will match the boat
      • Wednesday 23rd. July, 2014 – The start of the Commonwealth Games

        This will be the final picture you will see of the summer house before it is, at long last, completed. This afternoon Rachel and I stained and treated those areas which hadn’t been treated, and prepared the three barge-boards (you can see them lying in front of the building) which tomo

      • Tuesday 22nd. July, 2014 – We start on the other side of the Bothy Roof

        Having completed one side of the roof, today we started on the other side. We worked through the morning (before stopp0ing for a lengthy coffee break) and then came back in the afternoon to do a bit more. Today was certainly the hottest day I can ever remember in Scotland and you can see

      • Monday 21st. July, 2014 – Back to Work!

        A picture of the Bothy with one side of the roof completed – at least the wood has been completed, there is a lot more to do

        Up, walked Mix and breakfasted before Rachel set off with Rowan for the canal boat to have the boat safety inspection completed. She popped into Apple

      • Sunday 20th. July, 2014 Church and Guildhall

        This picture was taken by Rachel on her telephone and is of the Guildhall at Berwick which we attended this evening for a production of The Pirates of Penzance, part of the Berwick Festival of Opera

        Woke, showered and walked Mix. Breakfasted and set off with Rachel and Mum for

      • Saturday 19th. July, 2014 – The weather breaks

        Mix spent the majority of today asleep on his big cushion, Rowan spent a great deal of it lying looking out of the door. Together we spent most of today in the summer house. I researched shingles and slates and all the different alternatives for the Bothy roof (having been pointed in the

      • Friday 18th. July, 2014 – Marching On

        Olive spent most of today working with her fruit. Here she is topping and tailing blackcurrants from the garden – I gather there is some dispute about whether blackcurrants should be topped and tailed but Olive thinks they should

        Up and walked Mix before breakfasting in the

      • Thursday 17th. July, 2014 – A Day of Two Halves

        This afternoon was the afternoon of the Gavinton Teas. The weather was glorious, maybe even too hot (no, not really ... it was lovely) and people from the village supported the Church very well indeed with every table filed with people and lots of money raised for Church funds

      • Wednesday 16th. July, 2014 – Well, yes, it was a bit disappointing!

        I promised you balloon pictures – and here is Rachel on landing after her balloon adventure. Unfortunately it wasn’t today! When we ‘phoned Virgin just before going to sleep last night (as one has to do) we were astounded to be told that the flight was cancelled because of bad weat

      • Tuesday 15th. July, 2014 – St. Swithin’s Day (and it was a glorious one)

        I took this picture last night while we were at supper. It shows Mum, Irene, Rosemary, Digger, Olive and Rachel. We enjoy meeting and eating around the round table in the farmhouse dining room

        Up early and walked Mix before breakfast. Took Rosemary and Irene on a tour of our p

      • Monday 14th. July, 2014 – We get back onto the roof

        Most folk know, I expect, that Rachel makes kilts – she served a lengthy apprenticeship with Redshank in Inveraray and now that we are down in the Borders she is starting to make kilts again. These flowers arrived from a satisfied customer and Rachel was really delighted


      • Sunday 13th. July, 2014 – A Sporting Sunday

        This morning Mum was responsible for the Church flowers at Gavinton. She was pleased with how well they looked

        Up and walked Mix, showered and breakfasted before driving to Gavinton Church with Rachel, Mum and our organ with which Rachel provided the music for the service. Ann

      • Saturday 12th. July, 2014 – A day for cutting the grass

        I took this picture this evening in the square at Duns. Today is the final day of the week of Duns celebrations, Reivers Week or Duns Summer Festival 2014. Tonight it was the turn of the children who paraded through the town centre on their floats (and on foot). Crowds of people came to

      • Friday 11th. July, 2014 – And today we came home

        There is nothing more pleasant on a beautiful day than to sit on one's boat (or in this case one's wife's boat) and watch other boats sailing by

        Up early – well, little wonder, as I went to bed so early – and walked Mix before returning for breakfast. Rachel

      • Thursday 10th. July, 2014 – In heaven

        A picture which could have been taken any morning or any afternoon or any evening when we pop down to Barnoldswick and stay on the boat. Here was are (or at least in the picture, here is Rachel with Rowan and Mix) walking along the tow path with the narrow boats lining the canal -- who a

      • Wednesday 9th. July, 2014 – Off we go!

        After eating on the boat this evening I wandered with Mix back to the little bridge over the canal. From here I 'phoned home and heard that everyone was well and having a good time. I also took this picture of some of the canal boats moored on this glorious summer evening

      • Tuesday 8th. July, 2014 – And the Heavens Opened

        Today there was nothing for it but to settle down in the summer house and read my book. It was remarkably chilly so I turned on the gas heater, something which was greatly appreciated by Mix who really enjoys being warm

        Up and walked Mix in the rain before breakfast. Today it

      • Monday 7th. July, 2014 – Making Plans

        David, a friend of Tom’s, came to visit us today and, while we had coffee in the summer house, the guitars came out and I was treated to some of the great music from my youth – the Shadows, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and so much more. Fabulous!

        Up and walked Mix before brea

      • Sunday 6th. July, 2014 – We worship in Cranshaws Kirk and I cut the grass

        A picture of folk coming out of Cranshaws Kirk this morning. It is an idyllic spot on a very beautiful summer’s day and our congregation comes here to worship on the first Sunday of every month

        Up and walked Mix, breakfasted and then showered and changed before going with Mu

      • Saturday 5th. July, 2014 – Visitors

        Olive, Devon, Digger and Jeff (with Mix) pictured as Digger shows his visitors around his market garden

        Up and walked Mix before setting out to join Tom at Clare’s where we moved all of the chairs and tables which we had collected on Thursday back to the Church and Church ha

      • Friday 4th. July, 2014 – A Nothing Kind of a Day, Really

        A picture of Olive and Digger doing nothing, sitting in front of their television with Wimbledon on in the background. It was too wet to dig and too wet to be out in the garden – but we don’t get many days like that, so we can just enjoy them when they come

        Got up and walk

      • Thursday 3rd. July, 2014 – a gentle day in the sunshine

        So here is the summerhouse again, can you spot the difference from the last time? Don’t worry if you can’t – Rachel couldn’t and she was standing right in front of the building. The next picture supplies the answer:

        Now we have a weather vane atop the summe

      • Wednesday 2nd. July, 2014 – And still the grass hasn’t been cut

        Although it might not look like it from Mix’s face, this is a picture of two very happy dogs. They play at having battles together. Rowan is always the instigator and then Mix chases and they end up rolling around together on the grass. These fun-battles can go on for half an hour or m

      • Tuesday 1st. July, 2014 – A Fabulous Summer’s Day

        I was standing out in the road waiting for Peter to arrive when this huge tractor spraying the crops in the field opposite Mount Pleasant came into view. I didn’t have my camera with me but I pulled out my ‘phone and caught this picture of modern day farming

        Up and walked

    • June
      • Monday 30th. June, 2014 – What a lovely surprise

        My very good friends Theresa and Mick with their grandson, Logan, whom I baptised shortly before retiring

        Up and walked Mix before breakfast. My task for today was to cut the grass around the summer house and my pleasure was to watch Andy Murray in his match at Wimbledon. I st

      • Sunday 29th. June, 2014 – The Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul

        Our service this morning was at Abbey St. Bathans – our congregation always goes exploring on the fifth Sunday of the month – and, as the former Church had been booked for a reception, we met in the Village Hall. This is a view from the outside of the hall. I found it rather fun
      • Saturday 28th. June, 2014 – A long lie and a lovely walk

        Mix and I walked along the country roads this morning. Because rain was threatened I didn’t take my camera, preferring my telephone so that I could phone for a lift if the weather really deteriorated. I took this picture on my phone and it has everything – a bit of stone wall, with a

      • Friday 27th. June, 2014 – Spot the difference

        I’m very conscious that all of these photos of the summer house are becoming little more than a succession of ‘spot the difference’ pictures. Things haven’t quite worked out as I had hoped and if you look at this picture you will see why. Today the weather changed and after so ma

      • Thursday 26th. June, 2014 – Another fabulous day: weather and in every way.

        Today Digger completed the task of digging over the soil within his dome. He tells me that he is a bit late in his work on the small holding to get a perfect crop this year but everything will be in place for next year. However, I am sure that this soil in the dome will yield a good crop

      • Wednesday 25th. June, 2014 – We are getting there!

        I took this picture just before dinner this evening as a record of all that has been achieved. Actually you can’t see all that much because for most of the day we have been working on the other side of the roof and, by the end of the day, the shingles have been completed there. That is

      • Tuesday 24th. June, 2014 -- And today we got a little rain (not much)

        This morning I spent quite a while in the summer house preparing the music for Arrochar; this afternoon Rachel spent time in the Granary preparing the music for the service at Abbey St. Bathans this Sunday. It is something which Rachel really enjoys doing, partly because she enjoys preparing h

      • Monday 23rd. June, 2014 -- A bit overcast but still thoroughly warm

        Up and walked Mix before breakfast. Tom arrived and by the end of the morning the dormer was all but completed – it took quite a bit longer than we had expected but it looks quite good now that it is done.

        We broke for lunch – Tom went off with Dorothy and I dealt with som

      • Sunday 22nd. June, 2014 – The First Sunday after Trinity

        I took this picture of Rachel, Irene, Simon, Mum, Dorothy and Tom outside the front door of Gavinton Church when we visited it for the morning service today. As usual the sun is shining and it was good to be out and about

        Up, walked Mix and breakfasted in the farmhouse with Si

      • Saturday 21st. June, 2014 – Welcoming friends and Rowan visits her family

        This is a picture of Rowan with her parents and her brothers and sisters. In case you can’t make her out, Rowan is wearing a red collar and Rachel was most impressed (and smugly self-satisfied) at how well Rowan behaved

        Up, walked Mix, tidied the summer house, went into Duns

      • Friday 20th. June, 2014 – Another fine day

        A picture of strawberries growing happily in the Digger Dome. Digger had been working away in his allotment most of every day in recent times and seems as happy as a sandboy

        Up, walked Mix and breakfasted before Tom and I started on the shingling of the second side of the summ

      • Thursday 19th. June, 2014 – And still the sun shone!

        Tom spent most of today on the roof of the summer house. Our task for today was to fit the shingles on the roof – I had read in the blurb that someone completely fitted shingles to one of these log cabins in half a day. Well, it is taking us longer – but perhaps we are doing it bette

      • Wednesday 18th. June, 2014 – Off to Stirling again

        I took this picture just a few minutes ago – yes, quite late on in the evening and still it is broad day light and glorious sunshine. It is a ‘before’ picture because tomorrow Tom and I hope to fit the shingles and complete the building which has been ‘on the go’ since before C

      • Tuesday 17th. June, 2014 – Today has been fun

        This afternoon Tom, Rachel, Dorothy and I were up in Longformacus (one of the small communities which is joined with Gavinton and Cranshaws for worship). I took this picture from the bridge in the village. Something about running water is always fascinating and, on this the warmest day o

      • Monday 16th. June, 2014 – Quite an incredible day

        It may look as though Mum is talking to herself – in fact she is talking to Sandy who is behind the wool, warping up the loom. Progress is being made! Sandy joined Rachel to continue working on the loom today

        Woke and walked Mix before breakfast. Tom arrived and we set off f

      • Sunday 15th. June, 2014 – Trinity Sunday

        Dorothy, Tom, Rachel and Mum at the Whiteadder Reservoir. The boat sitting on Dorothy’s shoulder is Escapade

        Up and walked Mix before breakfast, after which Mum, Rachel and I set off for Cranshaws where the service was conducted by Stephen Blakey, the minister of Duns Parish

      • Saturday 14th. June, 2014 A Long lie followed by a long walk – a perfect Saturday

        A picture of Mix looking up at me after we had been walking for the best part of two hours – ‘I really don’t understand today. First you don’t get up and then you walk the hind legs off me, can I not sit down and have a rest, please?’

        Today I slept in – I really sl

      • Friday 13th. June, 2014 – We are at leisure

        Rachel took this picture (and the one below) on her new telephone so I just had to include them!

        Woke and walked Mix before breakfast, leaving soon afterwards in my car with Cathy, Rachel, Mix and Rowan for Berwick where Cathy caught the ten to ten bus to take her on the first

      • Thursday 12th. June, 2014 – Sailing!

        I don’t have a picture of us sailing because we were on the boat and I didn’t wish to take my camera on this first venture into the Whiteadder in a boat we hadn’t sailed before in case we turned her over. But the boat in the centre of the picture is Escapade, a forty year-old Wayfa

      • Wednesday 11th. June, 2014 – Adventures

        Olive spent most of today in the garden. Here she has discovered some strawberries growing at the edge of one of the lawns (near the bar-b-cue area) and she is clearing out the grass and weeds so that we may be able to enjoy the strawberries when they have had a bit more sun


      • Tuesday 10th. June, 2014 – A Visit to Gateshead

        A view of the interior of the Metro Centre at Gateshead. This is the largest shopping mall in Europe we were told

        Up early and walked Mix before breakfasting in the farmhouse. Then, with Mix deposited in the farmhouse with Olive and arrangements made for Rowan to be regularly

      • Monday 9th. June, 2014 – Unexpectedly, another glorious day

        The Stables are really taking shape and are now becoming a real weaving place

        Woke and walked Mix before breakfast. Tom was not coming today as the weather forecast was not great but it turned out to be a splendid day. I sat in the garden in my shorts reading a book and then l

      • Sunday 8th. June, 2014 – Pentecost

        Today started almost before yesterday ended. Rachel walked Rowan and came to tell me that against the wall of one of the barns by the side of the A6112 was a blue carrying box for a bird and nestled down beside it was a rooster. Well, there was little point in telling me that so I went o

      • Saturday 7th. June, 2014 – Sunshine again

        While I was at Gavinton Church this morning I took this picture of a bumble bee hard at work on the flowers in the church yard. Bees were in my mind because earlier Tom had telephoned to say that he and Dorothy had extracted eighteen pounds of honey from one of their hives – and I gath

      • Friday 6th. June, 2014 – Summer such as we have never experienced before!

        The sun is shining down and the temperatures are Mediterranean. Of course there have been days like this before but always I have been working. Today I can just enjoy it. I took this picture of Mount Pleasant as Mix and I went for an early morning walk

        Up and walked Mix before

      • Thursday 5th. June, 2014 – Weather improves and we put up the roof beams

        There was a great deal of air activity over Mount Pleasant today – several war planes and one helicopter. By the time I got my camera the helicopter was far away but, using the zoom, I got this rather indistinct souvenir of its visit

        Up, walked Mix and settled down in the su

      • Wednesday 4th. June, 2014 – A foul day, at least as far as the weather was concerned

        Today it rained – it really rained – I haven’t seen rain like it since I lived in the west and for most of the day the dogs and I spent the time in the summer house where we were cosy and warm. I had plenty to do and the dogs slept on Mix’s huge cushion

        Walked Mix in t

      • Tuesday 3rd. June, 2014 – It’s summer and, in spite of the weather forecast, it really is summer!

        Cathy spent this morning working in the garden weeding and this afternoon she sat in the garden and started work on reupholstering some of Olive’s dining room chairs. What a talent! And how much we enjoy having Cathy down here with us

        I got up and walked Mix before breakfast

      • Monday 2nd. June, 2014 – Waiting for rain that never came!

        We may not have achieved a great deal today but we did set up our new Wayfarer this morning, ensuring that we had all of the ‘bits’ and that everything worked. At the end of the process we were all absolutely delighted and went off and spent the rest of the morning drinking coffee an

      • Sunday 1st. June, 2014 – The First Day of Summer. It’s Official!

        I took this picture before the morning service today. It was Tom’s first Sunday in charge – the elder on duty. He looked the part and did it well

        I got up really early and, after showering and dressing in my Sunday best, I walked Mix along the Swinton Road. It was before 7

    • May
      • Saturday 31st. May, 2014 – Olivetub, Escapade and a real day of tragedy for the Borders

        Rachel and I bought this little boat in 1972 when we lived in Genoa, Italy. It cost around 300,000 lira (about £200 – a lot of money in those days) but that included the sailing rig (pictured here) a four-horse power out board engine and a set of oars. We had enormous fun with our tin

      • Friday 30th. May, 2014 – A trip to St. Boswell’s and the Jim Clark Rally gets underway

        Up early and walked Mix – don’t know when we’ll be able to walk again as for the next three days the Jim Clark Rally is to be all around us. I went out to wait for Tom and Dorothy who were taking me with them to the St. Boswell’s Market. I was a bit early so I took this picture o

      • Thursday 29th. May, 2014 – The Good Weather Returns

        Tom is on the roof as the first of the beams is fitted in place. Tom tells me that the difficult work has now been done!

        Woke and walked Mix before breakfast. Tom arrived and we set about preparing the second of the triangular structures which will hold the roof beams in place

      • Wednesday 28th. May, 2014 – Weatherwise: Rotten; otherwise: Not so bad at all

        Sandy was back today working on the loom. I understand that he is coming back on Friday and that by the end of Friday the loom will be back in order and ready to be set up for weaving

        Up and walked Mix before breakfast. Tom arrived and we all chatted around the table. It is a

      • Tuesday 27th. May, 2014 – A Visit to Whiteadder Reservoir

        When I arrived for Tom this morning, I found that he was rotivating his extensive garden – this picture is particularly for Digger who believes that there is something intrinsically decadent about using mechanical means to turn over the soil

        Up early today, showered and walk

      • Monday 26th. May, 2014 – The Good Weather Returns

        Digger took this picture of Tom and I working on the first of the frames for the roof of the Bothy. The triangular shape has been made and bolted together and we have cut notches into one side of the triangle into which the roof beams will slot. Tom has been doing a great deal of cutting

      • Sunday 25th. May, 2014 – A Celebration of Scott’s Birthday

        Some of the family in the lounge at Scott and Sue’s home as we gather to celebrate his birthday. It was a grand occasion and a very happy one at which I took a few pictures to enable me to remember a special day

        Up, showered and walked Mix before breakfast after which I drov

      • Saturday 24th. May, 2014 – A Happy Time on Inchtavannach

        On the way to Loch Lomond we drove past the Kelpies and I snapped them as we passed. They look most impressive and we hope to have time to stop when passing next time and have a better look

        Up, walked Mix, showered and breakfasted before setting off about half past ten to driv

      • Friday 23rd. May, 2014 – Not a Warm Day

        After the almost Mediterranean temperatures of recent days, today was extremely cold and not a little damp. I was kept going all day by the thought of gathering around the stove in the Granary in the evening

        Up, walked Mix and breakfasted in the farmhouse. Tom arrived and we d

      • Thursday 22nd. May, 2014 – Polling Day

        Our convoy of cars – Mum and Rachel are in my car, Digger is behind with Olive holding the gate and holding up her voting card to show that we are all off to Duns to register our votes in the European Election. I suppose I shouldn’t reveal for whom we voted, other than to say we all

      • Wednesday 21st. May, 2014 – A really good day

        This is a picture I took a day or two ago of the bothy filled with bits of boats and Digger's dome. It is here that we started work today

        Up early and walked Mix. During breakfast at the farmhouse Tom arrived for we are to start work on the bothy today. In fact we started

      • Tuesday 20th. May, 2014 – Sandy starts to re-erect the Loom

        Along with people from all around the world I joined the audience at the Royal Opera House in London for their performance this evening of La Traviata. For the first time ever an opera from the Royal Opera House was streamed to large screens around the country and to the internet – and

      • Monday 19th. May, 2014 – A Gloriously Summer Day and Scott’s Birthday

        Today the sun shone. It has been absolutely glorious all day. I got up, walked Mix and had breakfast. I then spent most of the day in the summer house, listening to cricket (a woeful day for Durham), reading and writing.

        I had some lunch in the summer house and later in the af

      • Sunday 18th. May, 2014 -- A Summer Sunday

        We really are enjoying a glorious period of sunny weather -- and there are absolutely no midges. Surely we are in heaven

        Up and walked Mix. Breakfasted and set off for Gavinton Church where the service was conducted by Bill because Ann is at the General Assembly. Bill read fro

      • Saturday 17th. May, 2014 – A Walk and a Trip

        I had my camera with me as Mix and I walked this morning. We live in a very beautiful place – as this picture of Fogo Kirk with a huge field of rape in front of it demonstrates

        Slept in until after nine and then, once I was up, Mix and I set out on a long walk. We walked to

      • Friday 16th. May, 2014 – Summer has arrived!

        Rachel has done magnificently and has taken the barn (for which Tom and I created a floor) and has created something really special. The loom is ready to erect and this will be a fabulous craft centre and loom room

        Up and walked Mix before breakfast, during which Tom arrived a

      • Thursday 15th. May, 2014 – Christian Aid and a good walk

        This afternoon we took the dogs up behind Duns Castle – Rowan doesn’t walk to the lead very well and I have caught Rachel hanging on for dear life

        Rose early and walked Mix. We all breakfasted earlier than usual at 8.30 because at nine, Dorothy and Rachel were driving into

      • Wednesday 14th. May, 2014 – A Curate’s Egg kind of a day

        This afternoon Rachel and Tom went into housing development, erecting half a dozen new homes for swallows under the eaves of our buildings, four on the Granary and two on the farmhouse, to compensate for the fact that the barns are no longer available for nesting swallows. We have anothe

      • Tuesday 13th. May, 2014 – The Dome is erected

        A behind the scenes (or rather, below the stairs) shot of Mix ensuring that the dishwasher is operating satisfactorily and that nothing which shouldn’t has been put in the machine

        I woke, walked Mix and breakfasted in the farmhouse. It was a glorious morning and, as Tom wasn

      • Monday 12th. May, 2014 Work and Progress

        The weather forecast was a bit ‘iffy’ but it turned out to be a lovely day and here, just before supper, are Digger, Mum, Cathy, Olive and Rachel all enjoying an aperitivo. It’s a wonderful life

        Got up and walked Mix. Breakfasted in the farmhouse and soon afterwards Tom

      • Sunday 11th. May, 2014 – More Culture!

        Taken at coffee after church this morning, the purpose of this picture is to show off Tom’s new jacket. He has become every inch the country gent and was being generally admired by all and sundry (even by Cathy who noticed the jacket as soon as she came into Gavinton Church this mornin

      • Saturday 10th. March, 2014 – A fairly decadent day

        This is the Anglican Parish Church in Berwick to which Mum, Cathy and I came this evening to listen to Rachel singing with the Berwick Arts Choir. The Choir presented the Chichester Psalms and the Dorchester Canticles in a programme which also included Mozart, Bruckner, Grieg and Faure b

      • Friday 9th. May, 2014 -- Lovely here but rain in Aberdeen

        I’ve been waiting for these for a while but today they arrived. They are swallow nests and I will fit them up under the eaves of some of our buildings so that our swallows can find new homes to compensate them for the barns now being off-limits. They certainly look very comfortable
      • Thursday 8th. May, 2014 We all go our separate ways

        Yesterday as I returned with Mix in the afternoon I took some pictures of flowers in the garden, today as I approached Mount Pleasant I snapped this bush which overhangs the fence. It is in full bloom and absolutely beautiful

        Today was a day in which we all went our different

      • Wednesday 7th. May, 2014 – A beautiful day .. until the rains came

        Late this afternoon I went into Duns to post some letters which I hope will be delivered tomorrow. I paused by the post box and took this picture – the little square is really quite attractive

        I rose and walked Mix and then breakfasted in the farmhouse. Tom texted me to say

      • Tuesday 6th. May, 2014 -- I am admitted to the Presbytery of Duns

        Mount Pleasant in the late afternoon sunshine, surrounded by trees and looking fabulous

        I got up and walked Mix before breakfast. Tom arrived and we set out for Abbey St. Bathan’s to visit the saw mill there. Our purpose was to ascertain if we could buy seven metre lengths o

      • Monday 5th. May, 2014 --- Tom doesn’t do Bank Holidays

        Standing and putting the world to rights while the concrete mixer does its thing. Digger and Tom are discussing our next project which involves putting a roof on a barn that lost it some years ago

        Got up and walked Mix before breakfast and then went across to the Barn and star

      • Sunday 4th. May, 2014 – Back in Harness (on a day when harnesses were everywhere in evidence)!

        The exterior of Ladykirk which we visited with Tom and Dorothy this afternoon

        Woke early and walked Mix before breakfast in the farmhouse. Then Rachel, Mum and I drove to Cranshaws where, in Ann’s absence, I conducted the service with help from Dorothy and Rachel on the them

      • Saturday 3rd. May, 2014 – Quite an uneventful day

        This afternoon Rachel cut the grass in the garden behind the Granary. It may not look much in the picture but it had got totally overgrown and after another cut it will be back to being really smart

        I slept in – quite deliberately – and Rachel brought me coffee in bed afte

      • Friday 2nd. May, 2014 -- Stella

        I heard today that one of the finest ladies I have ever met has died. Stella was an elder at Arrochar Church where I served for almost fifteen years. She became an elder soon after I arrived and she was still serving as a member of the Kirk Session when I left. During the whole of the ti

      • Friday 2nd. May, 2014 – Still working on that floor

        Taken on Mix and my walk late this afternoon – the sun was shining brightly and the fields are taking on their different colours. It is very beautiful

        I got up, walked Mix, breakfasted in the farmhouse and then came and looked through some emails until Tom arrived. Our task

      • Thursday 1st. May, 2014 --- Happy Birthday Mix

        Mix arrived with us when he was about eight and a half years old, having spent eight and a half months in the Dog’s Trust home near Glasgow and almost eight years in unhappy surroundings. Absolutely wild, no longer housetrained and distinctly neurotic when he arrived, he has turned int

    • April
      • Wednesday 30th. April, 2014 – A change in the weather

        Every evening everyone who is here eats together in the farmhouse. It keeps us all together and means that we all meet together at least once a day. We all do our own thing at lunch time. I normally eat in the summer house watching the news or a programme from i-player on my computer. Th

      • Tuesday 29th. April, 2014 -- On Holiday!

        Rachel worked today in the barn teak-oiling her spinning and weaving equipment prior to it being re-erected

        Woke and walked Mix up the Swinton Road – my goodness, it was nostalgic as it was something I have rarely done since the road was closed but which I used to do every d

      • Monday 28th. April, 2014 – The Bridge re-opens

        In the middle of this afternoon the bridge over the River Blackadder re-opened after being closed for reconstruction work for eight weeks and one day. For the next little while there will be traffic lights controlling the bridge while other necessary tasks are completed


      • Sunday 27th. April, 2014 -- Sunday and back to normality

        It wasn't the nicest of days as far as weather goes, so Mum spent the afternoon in her garden room, reading, in front of the stove

        After all of the excitements of the past few weeks (just last Sunday it was Easter) today everything is back to normal. Our service was in Ga

      • Saturday 26th. April, 2014 -- A Saturday relaxing

        The little former church dedicated to St. Aiden at Morebattle, now being restored as a holy space and a coffee shop

        Up, walked Mix and breakfasted in the farmhouse before setting off with Rachel (and Rowan) to pick up Tom and Dorothy to drive to Morebattle, near Kelso. Two of

      • Friday 25th. April, 2014 -- To market, to work and to Berwick

        A picture of the crowd beginning to gather at the Kelso racecourse for the auction sale today. We visited briefly, but seeing nothing which took our fancy, we were soon on our way

        Up and walked Mix before breakfast at the farmhouse during which Tom arrived to take me to the au

      • Thursday 24th. April, 2014 --- Rowan’s birthday

        Today Rowan is one year old – she has had treats all day (which Mix has enjoyed as well) and in the evening she came across with Mix and me to the summer house where I took this picture of her being coy

        I was up very early this morning – as was Rachel as she ran me to the

      • Wednesday 23rd. April, 2014 --- William Shakespeare’s 450th. birthday

        At lunchtime Rachel and I planted the tree which we gave Mum for her birthday yesterday. It is a Flowering Cherry and it is positioned so that Mum can watch it from the window of her garden room

        Up and walked Mix before breakfast in the farmhouse. Tom arrived and we set about

      • Tuesday 22nd. April, 2014 – Mum’s birthday

        Birthday coffee with gingerbread – this afternoon I joined Olive and Digger for coffee with Mum on her birthday. We ate gingerbread sent to Mum through the post by a friend in Kirkaldy and made especially for Mum’s birthday

        Up and set off with Rachel (and the dogs) for Pea

      • Monday 21st. April, 2014 – Easter Monday

        I spent today at Chester-le-Street watching cricket. It was a glorious day and my camera has a superb zoom. How is this for an action shot?

        I woke and walked both dogs before setting off for Durham to watch the second day of the game between Durham and Somerset. I arrived just

      • Sunday 20th. April, 2014 – Easter Sunday

        I took this picture of the advance guard as they arrived at the summit

        Woke at 4.20 a.m. (Rachel had stayed up all night) and we were at Tom and Dorothy’s home just after five. We all went together in Rachel’s car to a large lay-by below Cockburn Hill on the road to Abbey

      • Sunday 20th. April, 2014 --- Happy Easter

        Dawn as seen from the top of Cockburn Hill at 5.55 a.m. this morning
        Happy Easter

        Rachel, Tom, Dorothy and I brought in Easter with folk from our Church and from Abbey St. Bathan's, the small village near to this hill

        After a short service on t

      • Saturday 19th. April, 2014 -- Holy Saturday

        Walking with Mix this morning I took this picture on my camera. It is an idyllic scene and reflects life in this beautiful place. As we walked alone in the perfect sunshine I spared a thought for Luss which must be heaving with people today if the weather is anything like it is here. Som

      • Friday 18th. April, 2014 – Good Friday

        Digger standing in his allotment midway through the morning. It is such a glorious day – look at that sky: we could be in the Mediterranean

        Arose – it is a marvellous day: the kind of day you dream about. I went for breakfast and afterwards walked Mix before going for a sh

      • Thursday 17th. April, 2014 -- Maundy Thursday

        The cement mixer was back in action today as we set about building the second part of the floor in the big barn

        I awoke, walked Mix and breakfasted (on porridge) in the farm house. Tom arrived and we set about the task for the day which was to build the dwarf walls in the barn

      • Wednesday 16th. April, 2014 – A day of bits and pieces

        Spring has been heralded not only by the arrival of many birds but also by the appearance of more tractors than I have ever seen before. At one stage there were three working on this field just across the road from Mount Pleasant. I am looking forward to charting work on the fields aroun

      • Tuesday 15th. April, 2014 It feels like mid-summer

        Not much of a picture, I know, but it reflects today. We have all been doing lots of odds and ends; the sun has been shining (look at that shadow), and the dogs have been looking on. In this picture Rachel is demolishing the bit of fence that still remains from the one which signally fai

      • Monday 14th. April, 2014 – Monday in Holy Week and we make great progress

        The afternoon has come to an end and the first half of the new floor in the barn has been installed. It may not look level but I promise you that it is and that everything else is off line! It is also exceedingly strong and will hold the loom with no problem at all. I think that it is a

      • Sunday 13th. April, 2014 – Palm Sunday

        At Church the fund-raising committee is plotting a circle of coins right around the building (a total of 255 feet). We have just begun

        Today is Palm Sunday and, after showering, having breakfast and walking Mix, we set off for Gavinton Church (Rachel, Mum and I). At the door w

      • Saturday 12th. April, 2014 – Housework!

        A view over the ploughed fields of Mount Pleasant in the distance, taken as I walked Mix this afternoon

        Slept in until nine and then had a leisurely breakfast before starting work on the spare room in the Granary. I worked at it all day, stopping briefly for lunch, and then wa

      • Friday 11th. April, 2014 Progress under attack!

        Rachel unveils a new kilt in the Red Fraser tartan. For the past three days it has been under weights being pressed. Today it was revealed, packed and dispatched to its owner for whom it will provide three generations of wear

        Up and walked Mix along with Rachel and Rowan. Enjo

      • Thursday 10th. April, 2014 – A leisurely trip to Stirling

        I took this picture of Stirling Castle from King’s Park in Stirling – the park is close to where my meeting was held this afternoon and as I arrived early I had time for a wander before the meeting began

        There was a leisurely feel to everything today. I got up in a leisure

      • Wednesday 9th. April, 2014 – Olive’s last day at work

        This morning over breakfast we were discussing Edrom. None of us knew where is was but its name had come up twice in recent weeks. Once we were told that we lived in the parish of Edrom and on a second occasion we were told that we came under the catchment area of the Edrom Community Cou

      • Tuesday 8th. April, 2014 – a change of plan

        A picture of Tom on my new ladder fixing the ventilation shaft on the roof of one of the barns

        I awoke this morning in the middle of a very confusing dream. I haven’t a clue what it was about (I couldn't even remember any of the details) but it felt as if it had been go

      • Monday 7th. April, 2014 – The work begins (and the cricket season begins at Durham)

        My ‘new’ cement mixer (bought at a recent agricultural market) was in action for the first time today

        I was up early today, leaving Mount Pleasant by six-thirty to get Olive to Berwick in time for her train. Still, this is her second last day at work.

        Back home

      • Sunday 6th. April, 2014 – The Fifth Sunday of Lent and we visit another church

        Here we are, Mum, Tom and Rachel, outside Cranshaws Kirk in the tiny and fairly remote village of that name

        Up and showered before walking Mix and breakfasting in the farmhouse. We then set off for Cranshaws not really knowing how long it would take to get there. In fact we we

      • Saturday 5th. April, 2014 – A retirement kind of a day

        This afternoon we went for a walk along the disused railway line not far from where we live. We’d been here before but the dogs seem to enjoy it and I like to look over the surrounding fields, some with animals in them, some with crops

        Slept in this morning – not at all by

      • Friday 4th. April, 2014 – A day of bits and pieces

        The new (and first of many) floor-beam may not look horizontal – but it is absolutely so, as the spirit-level proves (it is just that everything else is off-line)!

        Up and went to breakfast with Marie and Robbie in the farmhouse. Tom arrived to join us, as did Rachel. It was

      • Thursday 3rd. April, 2014 – Poor weather, good company

        I had never (to my knowledge) been to St. Abb’s Head before. Here I was looking down on the harbour. It was an enchanting little village

        Rose and walked Mix before breakfast. Tom arrived and he and I set off for Pearson’s while Rachel and Dorothy set off for Berwick and a

      • Wednesday 2nd. April, 2014 – Another really lovely day

        After my day at Bede’s World yesterday, perhaps it was overkill to spend part of today at the Lindisfarne Priory museum. Maybe so, but I thoroughly enjoyed it

        Rose very early and Mix and I drove Olive into Berwick at 6.30 a.m. After today Olive will have only two further suc

      • Wednesday 2nd. April, 2014 --- Some of the photos I took yesterday in Jarrow

        This fine sign welcomes the pilgrim to Bede's World and announces that this area, in the heart of one of England's poorest areas, was a candidate for World Heritage site status -- something it has not, as yet, achieved.

        Bede's World museum was a millennium proje

      • Tuesday 1st. April, 2014 – An exciting visit

        A picture of the exterior of Bede’s World in Jarrow where I spent the majority of today

        Up early and walked the dog before Scott arrived to collect me at eight and drive me down to Jarrow (we arrived at about quarter to ten) where we visited Bede’s world. Bede is one of th

    • March
      • Monday 31st. March, 2014 – Back to the grind-stone

        Most of the day was spent cleaning the inside of the roof of the barn – here Tom is on the scaffolding tower and Rachel is watching as he brushes the grime off the roof beams

        I was up early today and set off for Berwick with Olive about twenty-five past six (concerned lest t

      • Sunday 30th. March, 2014 – A Super day in every way

        A picture of the watering can filled with flowers which we gave to Mum for her garden room on mother’s day (Mix gave Mum some chocolate to make up for what he had earlier stolen)

        Up at seven on my alarm clock (which was really six because of the hour change). I showered and

      • Saturday 29th. March, 2014 – working – and on a Saturday too!

        It was misty when Mix and I had our late afternoon walk. During the day there had been sheep on the banks of the River Blackadder below out house but when we returned in the late afternoon all were heading off in the distance making their way home – and there didn’t appear to be anyo

      • Friday 28th. march, 2014 – A really relaxed day

        It is late in the afternoon and everyone is walking dogs. I am taking this picture with Mix by my side out of the picture; Mum has just returned with Heidi and Rachel is setting off with Rowan. Well, that’s country living

        Up early and breakfasted in the farmhouse before Oliv

      • Thursday 27th. March, 2014 – Making progress

        The barn is empty – well actually not, as a load of wood has arrived to form the supports for the new floor which we hope to install very soon

        Up and walked the dog before breakfast and then Tom and I had a run-through of the music for Sunday in Church. As this is the fifth

      • Wednesday 26th. March, 2014 – My goodness but it got cold today

        This afternoon, while I was working in the summer house, Mix just wanted to keep as close as possible to the heater

        I was up extremely early and, after defrosting the car, was away to Berwick with Olive before six-thirty, returning to the summer house an hour later. First I wa

      • Tuesday 25th. March, 2014 – The best-laid plans ...

        Today’s picture comes from last night when I accompanied Rachel as she put the hens to bed. She has just provided them with their tea and so they are happy to be outside the their home eating the grain. Rachel will give them a few minutes and then come and shut them up safely in their

      • Monday 24th. March, 2014 – Big steps forward!

        This is what a barn looks like when it is almost empty – it would have been completely empty but I had to spend the rest of the day in the summer house (and Tom had to re-fence his goats)

        Up extremely early and was in the summer house with Mix by six o’clock, moving boxes

      • Sunday 23rd. March, 2014 -- The Third Sunday in Lent

        The sun was shining as we walked to the bridge this morning. Mix is always fascinated to see what has been going on

        Rose early (before the alarm went off) and showered and dressed and then took Mix for a walk down to the bridge. The sun was shining and it was remarkably warm i

      • Saturday 22nd. March, 2014 – Working in the Summer House

        Today was a day of emptying boxes

        Slept in and by the time I awoke Rachel had taken both dogs out for a walk (last night's snow had disappeared). I got up and was across for breakfast at the farmhouse before Mum was collected for her day out at Paxton House at a women’s

      • Friday 21st. March, 2014 – Our friends move on

        I took this picture of the summer house from atop Ianthe in the courtyard of Mount Pleasant. There is still work to be done – not least the shingles, but these can’t be fitted until we get warmer weather and until the winds stop blowing

        Up early and after sorting out some

      • Thursday 20th. March, 2014 – A windy day

        In the afternoon we gathered around the stove in the farmhouse – Digger (recuperating from his operation), Sue (my sister-in-law, come to see how he was getting on), Olive, Morag, Cathy, Mum and Bill)

        Up early – had I slept much? I’m not sure, it was so windy that I was

      • Wednesday 19th. March, 2014 – Jaunting around (as retired people do)

        We visited Henderson Park in Coldstream this afternoon. It had recently been set out with new plants – and they looked great!

        I was up early this morning and away from Mount Pleasant by 6.30 a.m. taking Olive to Berwick to catch a train (Mix came with me as always). We were

      • Tuesday 18th. March, 2014 – Welcome Visitors from the West

        The garden at Mount Pleasant is just beginning to come to life. Some of it is wild like this bit in front of the farmhouse, but now the daffodils are coming through

        I got up this morning to a telephone call from Tom saying that his plans had changed and that he would be along

      • Monday 17th. March, 2014 – Saint Patrick’s Day

        We were back at work today with a vengeance – here Tom is cutting sarking to make the Hen House swallow-proof

        It was two in the morning before I was in bed and asleep last night and I was up at six to drive Olive to Berwick to catch a train to Dundee. Back home I walked the

      • Sunday 16th. March, 2014 -- A Stupendous Day

        I took this picture this afternoon while we were trying to discover where we were going to for the wedding reception

        Up extremely early this morning, with both dogs walked by half-past seven and me in my kilt and wedding gear by eight. Spent an hour going over my wedding servi

      • Saturday 15th. March, 2014 – The Ides of March

        This morning we were at Gavinton Church and Rachel – the figure in the distance – had a good look at the Church from a different angle

        Up (not too early) and walked both dogs before returning to the Granary, lighting the stove (it is really cold today) and making Rachel a

      • Friday 14th. March, 2014 – My Birthday Outing!

        Today Rachel took me out for lunch (because both she and I were away yesterday). We ended up at Eyemouth and saw the boats in the harbour and in the Eye Water

        Up early (because the ‘phone rang and I had to answer it). Breakfasted in the farm house using my new (birthday) po

      • Thursday 13th. March, 2014 – My Birthday

        My birthday trifle (and yes, there were candles) – I love trifles and this one was made for me by my sister-in-law Sue

        Up early, showered and walked Mix before breakfast at the farm house. Rachel joined us today because it was my birthday. Immediately afterwards, Dorothy arr

      • Wednesday 12th. March, 2014 – Looking back, it was a very good day

        Berwick Station where I dropped off Olive at seven and picked her up again almost twelve hours later

        We assembled in the courtyard at twenty-past six. I was to drive Olive to Berwick to catch an early train to Dundee, Sue (Scott’s wife) was to drive Digger to the hospital in

      • Tuesday 11th. March, 2014 -- More of the same

        Walking the dogs in the sunshine this afternoon, a lovely blue sky and up there, smiling down on us, the moon

        Woke early and was out in the summer house by seven trying to make some sense of all of the boxes with which it is filled. Didn’t have a great deal of success. I wal

      • Monday 10th. March, 2014 – Saint Kessog's Day -- The big battle commences

        This is a picture of the empty barn – we call it the stables for no other reason than it used to have half-doors when we arrived here. Those who have been following this blog will remember that Tom and I made new doors to secure this barn. This barn has been prepared to store all of th

      • Sunday 9th. March, 2014 – The First Sunday in Lent

        I took this picture of the River Blackadder on our morning walk

        Woke early and got up. Mix and I walked down to the bridge and back again before breakfast and then Mum, Rachel and I set off for Church. This is the first Sunday since the road was closed so we left in plenty of

      • Saturday 8th. March, 2014 – A Total Tidy-up

        A view of the bridge from the bridge as we walked the dogs this afternoon

        Slept in (quite deliberately) and by the time I woke, Rachel was up and about and had walked both dogs. Rachel brought me coffee in bed, I completed my book and it was after ten before I got up.
      • Friday 7th. March, 2014 St. Boswell’s Market and the World Day of Prayer

        The view as we parked our car at St. Boswell’s this morning – a lovely sunny day and hundreds of people raking around through the items to be auctioned

        I got up and walked Mix, grabbed some breakfast and was ready for Tom and Dorothy when they arrived at nine. Today was th

      • Thursday 6th. March, 2014 – The staircase is completed

        It is quite difficult to photograph a staircase – but here it is: complete. Now we have access from the ground floor to the first floor and refurbishment can continue more easily than before

        Woke and walked Mix with Rachel and Rowan. We made our way down to the bridge and ba

      • Wednesday 5th. March, 2014 – Ash Wednesday

        This picture belongs with yesterday’s entry. Rachel took it on her telephone and it shows me tossing a pancake while Mum looks on.
        Rachel emailed the picture to me but it didn’t arrive until today

        Woke early (I was actually awoken by a text message from Amazon telling

      • Tuesday 4th. March, 2014 Pancake Tuesday

        We used to catch sight of this doo cot as we drove into Duns – now the road is closed we can walk there with the dogs and have a proper look. It is rather smart

        Woke and walked Mix down to the bridge – on the way we saw three deer. They weren’t in the least fazed by the

      • Monday 3rd. March, 2014 – Our road is closed

        Our road will remain closed for the next two months

        Woke and got up, with walking Mix first on my agenda. Discovered that the road outside our house running from Duns to here was in the process of being closed. It will be closed for eight weeks or so and, far from this being a

      • Sunday 2nd. March, 2014 – Transfiguration Sunday

        These yellow roses with pussy-willows were in Church this morning making the Church very attractive (or even more attractive than it normally is)

        Woke and walked Mix. The Swinton Road was very quiet but then it is Sunday. From tomorrow the road from our home to Duns is due to

      • Saturday 1st. March, 2014 – St. David’s Day

        This morning the sun was shining -- it was if Spring had arrived and I felt good

        This morning I slept in. Well, it wasn’t really sleeping in because I didn’t set my alarm and I didn’t plan to wake at any particular time. (One can do that when one is retired.)

      • Friday 28th. February, 2014 – The long journey home

        Vadstena sits on the bank of a beautiful lake

        I was woken by my alarm at 6.30 a.m. I showered and dressed and then packed my bag, stripped my bed and went for breakfast at 7.30 a.m. so that I could join the others in Church for the service of Holy Communion at 8 a.m. As it was

      • Thursday 27th. February, 2014 In Conference at Vadstena

        Some of the folk gathered around the table as our talks began

        Up at 6.30 a.m. to shower and have a short walk before breakfast at 7.30 a.m. (egg, cold meats, cheese, coffee) and then it was off to Church (Bridget’s Church and, after a fire at the original one, the parish chu

      • Wednesday 26th. February, 2014 – Off on my travels

        Taken in the gathering gloom, this is a picture of the Pilgrimage Centre in which we stayed. My room is the one in the middle of the first floor above the room with the light on it. It was lovely and everywhere was surrounded by trees

        I was up at five so that I could shower, g

    • February
      • Tuesday 25th. February, 2014 – Welcome visitors

        Enjoying a chat with Lorraine and Cathy in the summer house

        Up early to walk the dog and have breakfast before getting my things ready for my trip away tomorrow. I drove Mum to Duns for her hairdressing appointment and when I returned Cathy and Lorraine had arrived to visit us

      • Monday 24th. February, 2014 A relaxing day

        It’s a dog’s life – and it is rather good!

        Up and walked Mix on a fresh morning with just a smidgen of rain in the air. Breakfasted – I’m still on porridge -- and went back to the Granary to sort out some bits and pieces. Tom arrived and soon had our gas fire operati

      • Sunday 23rd. February, 2014 – A Happy Sunday

        The flowers in Church this morning were given by my mother (today would have been my father’s ninety-third birthday)

        Today must have been one of the most blustery days of the winter so far. Extremely windy, not a little rain and really quite cold. Mix and I walked and then I

      • Saturday 22nd. February, 2014 – A day of some indolence

        “Are you coming?”

        I meant to include this picture yesterday. I took it when Mix and I were exploring our woodland walk. I forgot, so here it is today.

        I have been lazy today. I didn’t get up for breakfast (I told everyone I wouldn’t yesterday). In fact I sle

      • Friday 21st. February, 2014 – Delivery day

        Bright and early the Pearson’s lorry arrived with all of our plasterboard

        I was up early with Mix walked at the crack of dawn so that I was ready in case the plasterboard delivery arrived really early. In fact I had time for breakfast, after which Tom and I went into the Hen

      • Thursday 20th. February, 2014 – A day with a bit of everything in it

        A picture of the stage for Twelfth Night taken before the show began – it was superb

        Set my alarm for seven and was on the go shortly afterwards, walking Mix and then meeting with Tom in time to be up at Pearson’s just as it opened at 8 o’clock. Pearson were having a 15%

      • Wednesday 19th. February, 2014 – All hands to the pumps

        By the time I had the summer house in order it was already dark outside

        Tom was already here when I returned from walking Mix so he joined me as I had breakfast in the farm house and then Digger and Rachel joined us in the Hen House to see if we could complete the ceiling in t

      • Tuesday 18th. February, 2014 – In the Hen House

        Today both Digger’s hens were walking around the allotment

        Today it was fair when I awoke – the rains came later. Mix and I walked, I breakfasted, Tom arrived and we recruited Rachel, all going off to the Hen House to start work on the library there. In particular our task

      • Monday 17th. February, 2014 – The week takes off

        In the midst of all the chaos, one of Digger’s hens (a Scottish Grey, I understand) walked serenely around the compost heap

        Today began early with the arrival of the men to re-point the chimney on the farmhouse. That meant the erection of scaffolding, the starting up of the

      • Sunday 16th. February, 2014 – A Happy Sunday with Holy Communion

        It was Communion Sunday at Gavinton Parish Church and the Ewer was sitting on the Communion Table when we arrived for the service

        Got up, showered and walked Mix before breakfast. Then Mum, Rachel and I set off for church. It was communion Sunday and a happy service. Ann read

      • Saturday 15th. February, 2014 – A Saturday in Retirement

        Mum and Rachel and finishing off their Parma ham and melon – Rachel's defence against my intrusive camera is to wave the wine bottle (a very pleasant sparkling white). The television is on in the background because we have become avid followers of the Winter Olympics


      • Friday 14th. February, 2014 – Saint Valentine’s Day

        I am often asked where exactly we are. This sign is outside our home and contains all the information you need to find us

        Up, showered and breakfasted and then met with Mike, our financial adviser who had come to sort out some remaining matters to do with my pension. As a resu

      • Thursday 13th. February, 2010 – A Day of Comings and Goings

        Mum in her new Garden Room – the plates are up and ornaments in place

        Lots happened today: Rachel spent the day in Berwick at her stained glass class and then spent the evening in Berwick (again) this time singing with the Berwick choir. Mum was collected this evening by a n

      • Wednesday 12th. February, 2014 – We move on to big boys’ joinery

        First thing this morning Mum was in her new Garden Room

        Up extremely early and set off with Olive by 6.30 a.m. to take her to the railway station at Berwick. Again it is extremely cold and when I came back home I climbed back into bed just because it was so very warm and welco

      • Tuesday 11th. February, 2014 – Carpet laying

        By the end of the afternoon the carpet had been laid and the former scullery had become a pleasant Garden Room

        Up and walked the dog before breakfast. I had expected Rachel and Tom to join me at this point but both were waiting for me to call them (unbeknown to me). So I clear

      • Monday 10th. February, 2014 – A busy day

        Duns Station – well, it was until the mid 1960s. This was the station building, now it is part of Thorburn and Sons where we shopped this afternoon

        Up early and walked Mix before breakfast; even although it was Monday morning the road was extremely quiet. It is so cold that

      • Sunday 9th. February, 2014 – I am annoying with my camera

        On the way into Church I snap Rachel while she is in mid flow of ‘Oh, not again’

        Up early and walked Mix in the freezing cold. Showered, breakfasted and Rachel and I went off to Church at Gavinton. Mum didn’t come today, being a bit out of sorts (put down to the fish sup

      • Saturday 8th. February, 2014 – Painting and decorating

        Mix is in his office in the car as we get ready to take Digger to Berwick this morning

        Up early and walked Mix before driving Digger to Berwick so that he could catch a train to Edinburgh to join friends and watch Raith Rovers against Hibs in the Scottish Cup. Back home soon a

      • Friday 7th. February, 2014 – A visit to Wooler and the Winter Olympics begin

        In the canteen at the Wooler auction mart – they serve excellent bacon rolls

        I was up earlier than usual this morning so that I could shower, walk Mix and have my porridge before Tom and Dorothy arrived at nine. We set off for Wooler for the annual sale at the auction mart

      • Thursday 6th. February, 2014 – A day with the dogs

        Rowan isn’t used to spending time in the summer house but she made herself at home on this chair

        Up and walked Mix. It is still very cold but at least it is fair. I breakfasted in the farmhouse and Rachel set off for Berwick to attend her stained-glass class. Digger set off

      • Wednesday 5th. February, 2014 – The long trek home

        Canal view

        Again – it almost goes without saying on the boat in wintertime – we slept late. It is so cold outside and so cosy inside. Even the dogs don’t want to move. It was nearer ten than nine when I got up and walked Mix along the tow path, admiring the boats, greeti

      • Tuesday 4th. February, 2014 – At Barnoldswick

        The idyllic bit of the countryside The Young Rachel calls home – ours is the boat which still has its front cover on

        Slept late – it is so comfortable in bed on the boat. Got up about half-past nine and took Mix for a walk along the tow path, looking at all of the boats as

      • Monday 3rd. February, 2014 – Off on our adventures

        Rachel and The Young Rachel – just we left her and looking really welcoming with smoke coming from her chimney

        Slept in – that’s a good start – and just made it to breakfast: my but it is cold! Walked Mix and by half-past ten we were ready to set off for Rachel’s nar

      • Monday 3rd. February, 2014 -- Early!

        This is partly by way of apology and partly by way of explanation. Rachel and I are setting off this morning to check up on Rachel's narrow boat leaving Mount Pleasant in the capable hands of Digger, Olive and Mum. We'll only be away for three days but during that time I will n

      • Sunday 2nd. February, 2014 – Candlemas

        I pass this field every day walking with Mix – it looks so fertile and I’m looking forward to seeing how it changes over the year

        Woke – and it was a lovely fresh morning with the sun shining. Went out with Mix – and realised that it was an extremely cold day. Breakfas

      • Saturday 1st. February, 2014 – Getting on with getting on

        The beautiful view from the front drive of Mount Pleasant this morning

        Slept in this morning – not hugely but by the time I emerged it was nine o’clock so Mix and I went across for my breakfast and it was only after I had enjoyed my porridge that I took him for a walk alon

    • January
      • Friday 31st. January, 2014 – It has got extremely cold today

        Not a very attractive picture – but it is where we are today

        My goodness but it has got cold today, positively freezing in fact and during the day there have been flurries of snow. It seems inconceivable that there is not more to come.

        Mix and I went for our morni

      • Thursday 30th. January, 2014 – Rowan’s sister Daisy comes to visit

        Daisy in the farmhouse kitchen

        Today was a red-letter day for Rowan because today her sister Daisy came to visit. Fiona, a friend of Mum, brought her down with Linda when they both came to see where Mum had settled. Mum was delighted to see Fiona and Linda – Rowan was more t

      • Wednesday 29th. January, 2014 – Another great day

        Rachel is installing her new printer – a wireless one which for now is sitting on top of Rowan’s home

        My alarm went off at 5.45 a.m. and by half past six I had showered and, along with Mix, was sitting in my car ready to drive Olive to Berwick to catch an early morning tra

      • Tuesday 28th. January, 2014 – A thoroughly good day

        The boxing-in is now beginning to look very good indeed

        I’m sitting writing this in my summerhouse. It is dark outside and I can hear the rain pelting down on the roof. It is all very cosy and beside me Mix is sound asleep on his huge new cushion.

        The day started

      • Monday 27th. January, 2014 – Like the Curate’s Egg: good in parts

        Dressed for the task in hand

        With a lot to do this week I was up early, Mix was walked and I was breakfasted in time to drive behind Digger to the garage in Duns where his car is to repaired – broken alternator by all accounts. (Tom suggested that he could treble the value

      • Sunday 26th. January, 2014 – Rachel looks after the music

        Rachel has installed our organ and is providing the music for our service today

        It is Sunday and we have to be at Church earlier than usual because Rachel is providing the music for the service (to allow Gay to welcome her brother home from Australia). Mix and I walk in the po

      • Saturday 25th. January, 2014 -- Burns Night

        Domestic bliss – Rachel, Rowan and Olive around the stove before dinner

        Woke and walked Mix – the first of two walks for later in the afternoon Mix and I set out for a long walk along the road to Fogo. Saturday is a pleasant day to walk because there is very little traffic

      • Friday 24th. January, 2014 – We celebrate Burns with the young folk of Our Lady and St. Patrick’s High School

        Some of the young folk and invited guests at this year’s celebration of Rabbie Burns at Our Lady and St. Patrick’s High School

        Rose immediately the alarm went off and walked Mix, showered and changed into good clothes, breakfasted in the farmhouse and then set off with Rac

      • Thursday 23rd. January, 2014 – Working on Mum’s Morning Room

        The Morning Room at the end of today’s work programme -- what an improvement, but you'll see there is still much to be done

        After I woke I took Mix for a walk up the Swinton Road. It was fresh and a little warmer than yesterday, I think – although by the end of the da

      • Wednesday 22nd. January, 2013 – A Visit to the Dentist (and the Doctor too)

        Rachel at the dentists – she has just had a tooth out, hence the lopsided look

        Woke and walked Mix. By breakfast time Digger had already taken Olive to the train at Berwick so that she could set off to lecture in Dundee. I showered and set off with Rachel for Edinburgh to vi

      • Tuesday 21st. January, 2014 – Another job done

        Tom checks that the new doors do actually open

        Up and walked Mix before breakfast. Only when I went across for breakfast the farm house door was locked – everyone was still asleep. Out in the courtyard Tom was already at work so I went and joined him. We fitted door facings

      • Monday 20th. January, 2014 – I learn new skills

        Tom with the new door we made today

        Woke early because Rachel had to get off to Glasgow where she was meeting Ann at the exhibition of crafts at the SECC. I walked Mix and then breakfasted in the farmhouse. Tom and Dorothy arrived and we set about our task for today which is t

      • Sunday 19th. January, 2014 A real Sunday – and with Sunday lunch as well!

        Mum is clearly enjoying herself after Church in the hall over coffee at Gavinton

        Woke to discover that it was raining hard, but that didn’t stop Mix and me from setting out on our early morning walk. Sunday’s walk is always special because there is nothing at all on the ro

      • Saturday 18th. January, 2014 – A real Saturday at last!

        Mum in the room that will soon be her morning room

        I’ve never had Saturdays before. For all of the years of my working life they have been the day before Sunday and a really busy day. At Luss, for the last fifteen years, they have usually been wedding days. So while other pe

      • Friday 17th. January, 2014 – What a lot we got done

        I took this picture of Tom and Dorothy’s goats when we stopped at their house to pick up the trailer

        The alarm went off and I lept out of bed ready to walk Mix and start the day. I breakfasted on porridge and retired to the Granary, to the summer house, to complete the tidy-

      • Thursday 16th. January, 2014 – Chaos


        I woke early and was out on the road walking Mix earlier than usual. In part this was because I had to ensure that Rachel was up in time to breakfast and walk Rowan before meeting Dorothy at nine o’clock when they both set off together for Berwick to attend a stained-g

      • Wednesday 15th. January, 2014 – A Good Day

        Springfield House in Stirling where I attended a meeting of the Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum today

        Today has been a good day – that’s not just a platitude, it’s what my father used to say at the end of almost every day, and I remember him when I say it. It is amazing th

      • Tuesday 14th. January, 2014 – And it’s back to where I started!

        Some of the folk in the Pilgrimage Centre at Luss this evening

        Woke and started on the new regime to lose weight by having porridge for breakfast instead of egg and bacon. Then tried to walk that little bit faster with Mix (who seemed to quite enjoy it).

        Back at the

      • Monday 13th. January, 2014 – Cold, and frosty as well

        Mix has found a way to keep warm

        It was another cold and frosty morning. I got up and walked Mix before returning to the Granary – no breakfast at the farmhouse today because Olive and Digger were away in Dundee for the day. My task was to go into the farmhouse every hour or

      • Sunday 12th. January, 2014 – It’s cold!

        Just before the sun came up on the Swinton Road

        I awoke and was out on the road with Mix before the sun rose. The sky was spectacular and I took a number of pictures as we walked. I rather liked this one – we are deep in the countryside but power cables are passing overhead

      • Saturday 11th. January, 2014 -- Spring Cleaning has begun

        Mix loves his new home

        Slept in today and only just managed to get across to the farmhouse for breakfast at nine. Then I lingered long over breakfast and it was half-past ten before I had walked Mix and returned to the Granary – and this was to be such a hard working day. We

      • Friday 10th. January, 2014 – An evening of wonderful music

        A view of the early morning sun as Mix and I walked the Swinton Road this morning

        Got up and walked Mix. It was crisp and clear and the sun was just beginning to shine through the trees in that wintery, watery way which is so unique to this time of year – turning so many t

      • Thursday 9th. January, 2014 – Success!

        Lunch time at Pearson’s

        I’m writing this entry, as planned, from the summerhouse. That doesn’t mean to say that the summer house has been completed, far from it, there are still a number of tasks to complete: but I have moved in. My desk is here, my armchairs are in plac

      • Wednesday 8th. January, 2014 – Rolling along

        We gathered around the farm table for an early tea this evening

        Woke early and went out with the dog. After two weeks when there has been no traffic at all on the roads, things are now quite busy between 8.30 and a quarter to nine: I suppose that it is people driving into Dun

      • Tuesday 7th, January, 2014 – Life resumes after a wonderful Christmas holiday

        Relaxing in a fully carpeted summerhouse

        The title of this entry is, I suppose, accurate, except for the fact that now I seem to be on holiday for always. Certainly it feels like holiday and, not only that, but a really good holiday as well.

        Today the task was to tu

      • Monday 6th. January, 2014 – The Twelfth Day of Christmas and the decorations have to come down

        Mum and Rachel

        Mum and Rachel have gathered before dinner for a preprandial sherry. Of course, as it is Twelfth Night all of the Christmas decorations have had to come down and Mum is sitting re-reading her collection of Christmas Cards. Every year she seems to send more than

      • Sunday 5th. January, 2013 – Epiphany, the eleventh day of Christmas and a day of working in the summer house

        Mum visits the workers at the summerhouse – it was cold as evidenced by Mum’s woolly hat (look carefully and you will see my reflection in the window)

        Rose and walked Mix before showering and enjoying breakfast in the farmhouse. Mum, Rachel and I drove to Gavinton to atten

      • Saturday 4th. January, 2013 – The Tenth Day of Christmas

        Four generations of the Whiteman family who worked Mount Pleasant Farm and lived in the farmhouse a long time ago (pictured at the then front-door of the farmhouse)

        It is in the Pirate of Penzance by WS Gilbert that the Major General comes to humble himself before the tombs of

      • Friday 3rd. January, 2014 – The Ninth Day of Christmas and a very windy one

        When I awoke our fence had all but disappeared

        I was awake from early this morning – not because I wanted to follow the cricket but because of the wind which was whistling around the Granary. (The cricket was a bit of a parson’s egg: Durham players took seven of the Austra

      • Thursday 2nd. January, 2014 – The Eighth Day of Christmas and the fun just goes on

        How things used to be

        When we came to Mount Pleasant, the Websters had left us a number of old photographs. This is one of them. It shows the farmhouse before the extension at the side (to the right in the photograph) had been built. The doorway is right in the centre, quite

      • Wednesday 1st. January, 2014 – New Year’s day and the seventh day of Christmas

        For the first time we are gathered around the table in the lounge at the farmhouse

        Happy New Year! If every day this year is as good as today then we are going to have a really wonderful year. I went back across to the farmhouse last night – everyone was playing a card game

      • Tuesday 31st. December, 2013 – Hogmanay and the Sixth Day of Christmas

        Tom and Rachel at work

        Woke for the last time in 2013 – a year which has been supremely eventful for me. I started the year in work with two parishes to look after and ended it retired and with only myself and my family to look to. I’ve always had projects – doing things

  • 2013
    • December
      • Monday 30th. December, 2013 – The Fifth Day of Christmas

        A picture of our family

        This picture was taken just over a year ago at the wedding of Nick (my nephew) and Amy. But I only saw the picture for the first time when we all got together for Christmas on the 27th. of December. I thought it would be good to put it up here because i

      • Sunday 29th. December, 2013 – The Fourth Day of Christmas, the First Sunday of Christmas and our Forty-fourth Wedding Anniversary

        Dorothy, Tom and Mum outside Abbey St. Bathan’s Church

        Today was another great day – but it didn’t turn out exactly as planned. I got up and walked the dog. After all of the winds and bad weather it was as if spring was just around the corner, not at all cold, no wind an

      • Saturday 28th. December, 2013 – The Third Day of Christmas: we go to the Pantomime

        Enjoying a pre-panto drink in the theatre bar

        Up and breakfasted in the farmhouse before walking Mix on largely deserted roads – the local area is clearly still on holiday. Back home I started to learn how to play my ukulele. Tom arrived and I switched role to that of appren

      • Friday 27th. December, 2013 -- Christmas just goes on and on

        Exchanging presents in the farmhouse

        What winds we had overnight! I awoke to discover that one of our fences had been blown totally over and another had a section missing from it. The wind was so strong that there was nothing we could do about it – so there was no garden for

      • Thursday 26th. December, 2013 – Boxing Day and a wonderful one at that!

        Christmas sunrise – taken yesterday but I forgot to put it up

        This morning I slept in. Rachel got up a little after eight and even invited Mix to go out to the garden with Rowan but Mix is his master’s dog and preferred to sleep on at the foot of the bed until about ten. B

      • Wednesday 25th. December, 2013 – A Happy Christmas Day

        Guess what I got for Christmas

        Woke and it was still very windy – we had been promised that the wind would drop overnight but here it was still exceedingly blowy and I was relieved that we still had all of our slates, the boat was still covered by its tarpaulin, the roof was

      • Tuesday 24th. December, 2013 – Christmas Eve

        Now the Christmas Tree in the farmhouse has baubles as well as lights

        It is Christmas Eve and, for the first time since I retired, I feel a little strange, a little bit like a spare part. Last year I was up early with shopping to do and then so many services to get just right.

      • Monday 23rd. December, 2013 – A Wet and Windy Day

        It is mid-day on the day before Christmas Eve and Berwick in the rain is almost deserted

        Got up and pushed the dogs into the garden. I wasn’t going to the farmhouse for breakfast this morning because Olive and Digger were setting off early to do their shopping. And I wasn’

      • Sunday 22nd. December, 2013 – The Fourth Sunday of Advent

        During the service this morning the fourth candle of Advent was lit

        It was really cold when I got up this morning and, walking the dog, I saw lots of snow by the roadside and flooding in the fields. After breakfast, Rachel, Mum and I set off for Gavinton Church – there was m

      • Saturday 21st. December, 2013 – Christmas Shopping

        Rachel and Rowan on St. Cuthbert’s Way at Newtown St. Boswell’s

        Woke this morning and felt sorry for all shopkeepers. The wind had dropped but it was raining hard and it was a thoroughly nasty day on this one of the most important shopping days for those with shops on the

      • Friday 20th. December, 2013 -- Off to Edinburgh

        There was a warm glow from the summer house as we walked the dogs last thing at night

        Coincidences. I tend not to believe in them as they effect daily life, affirming the belief of the late George MacLeod that if you believe in coincidence you will have a very boring life. But

      • Thursday 19th. December, 2013 – It is bright, cold and calm

        Carol singing at Longformacus – lousy photo of a grand occasion

        I think it was in ‘As Time Goes By’ that we were for ever being given the weather forecast (or rather the shipping forecast) in the English Chanel by Geoffrey Palmer’s housekeeper. I seem to have become he

      • Wednesday 18th. December, 2013 It was meant to be horrendous

        And now the door is hung: Digger and Tom at work

        Awoke and thought how good the weather looked – the forecaster last night had said that it was all downhill for the rest of the week, with today as the worst of all. Well, it was really rather pleasant (a little bit cold, perh

      • Tuesday 17th. December, 2013 – Things never go quite to plan

        Men at work on the Summerhouse roof

        Woke early because I had to get Rachel off to the doctor (although the new pills she got last night mean that she is in good spirits this morning). I walked both dogs and breakfasted in the farmhouse and was ready for Tom when he arrived abo

      • Monday 16th. December, 2013 – We start thinking about Christmas Gifts

        Berwick High Street: not as busy as I expected in the run up to Christmas

        Got up and walked both dogs as Rachel is not feeling very well. Enjoyed a hearty breakfast and then spent some time in the Granary expecting a phone call which never came (when one is retired that really

      • Sunday 15th. December, 2013 – The Third Sunday in Advent

        The Christmas Tree looks good in Gavinton Church

        Got up as soon as the alarm went off. I had two dogs to walk as Rachel wasn’t feeling well and had wisely decided to spend the morning in bed. Back from the dog walking I showered, breakfasted and went off to church at Gavinto

      • Saturday 14th. December, 2013 – Progress before the storm

        It’s only 9 a.m. but fear of the weather to come has got us started

        Woke early and for the first time found the overnight cricket score heartening rather than disappointing, just one wicket down with 85 runs on the board. Walked Mix and got ready for a nine o’clock start o

      • Friday 13th. December, 2013 – After a slow start ....

        The lorry carrying our summer house

        Arose early to walk Mix and to be ready for the delivery of our summer house. Went across for breakfast and enjoyed a hearty one with an ear cocked for a phone call to say that the summer house was approaching Duns. In fact Tom had phoned to

      • Thursday 12th. December, 2013 – Not quite as planned and a little disappointing

        My team (Tom and Neil) are hard at work installing services for the summer house

        Today did not work out as planned. Not in any way at all! I had expected to be in Sweden taking part in a Green Pilgrimage Planning meeting – and the added joy of being in Sweden today was that

      • Wednesday 11th. December, 2013 – Christmas is getting closer

        There were crowds of people at the farm sale I attended today

        Got up and walked Mix and then came back to the Granary for a shower to ensure that I was read for Tom when he called to collect me at 9.45 a.m. In the event he arrived with Dorothy and a couple of friends from York

      • Tuesday 10th. December, 2013 -- A Good News Day

        Our old family favourite Christmas decorations are starting to reappear

        Got up and walked Mix before breakfast and then came across to the Granary intending to finish my book (which I did this afternoon). However, on checking my emails I found the request for music for the se

      • Monday 9th. December, 2013 – A Long Sleep-In

        Duns looks splendid with its new Christmas Lights

        Digger was taking Olive off to the station at Berwick later than usual this morning – and afterwards was continuing on to the Duns medical practice for a consultation – so Rachel and I decided last night that we wouldn’t

      • Sunday 8th. December, 2013 – The Second Sunday of Advent

        It may be damp but Rowan and Rachel are having fun as the Duns Christmas lights are turned on

        Arose, walked the dog and breakfasted before travelling with Rachel and Mum to Gavinton Church for the service for the Second Sunday of Advent. Met Tom and Dorothy on the way and walk

      • Saturday 7th. December, 2013 -- Make and Mend

        An awful photo (I must learn to use flash and to aim properly) of Digger (almost), Tom, Bill, Mum, Olive and Morag

        I am going to start presenting some pictures of the different parts of Mount Pleasant. The farmhouse kitchen is undoubtedly the heart of the complex. When we came

      • Friday 6th. December, 2013 – We have a very good day

        Dr. Dorothy provides reassurance to Digger and his hens

        I was up early to walk Mix and when I returned Dorothy and Tom were here at the chicken run with Digger. Dorothy is something of an expert in hens and she was giving Digger’s hens a once over because he was concerned th

      • Thursday 5th. December, 2013 – A Mighty Storm and some Sad News

        There was a fence here yesterday

        I slept fitfully – not least because there was a huge storm raging around the farm steading; but also because our alarm clock has a storm warning on it and this seemed to bleep every few minutes during the night. I got up and was taken aback

      • Wednesday 4th. December, 2013 – Special Visitors and a lovely meal

        Digger has been making progress with his small holding

        Woke, walked Mix and breakfasted in the farmhouse. Then while Rachel drove Mum to her reading group and walked Rowan, I loaded a whole lot of boxes back into the barns – these were boxes which have been unpacked to disco

      • Tuesday 3rd. December, 2013 -- An Expedition (without going very far)

        Having climbed over many boxes, Dorothy and Rachel have found the table

        Woke, walked Mix and went for breakfast – I was locked out of the farmhouse. Went back to the Granary assuming everyone had slept in. Had a banana and got ready for the day’s work: finding the dining r

      • Monday 2nd. December, 2013 – Technology

        The main lawn at Mount Pleasant -- Digger has cut it and today has collected all the leaves

        Arose and walked Mix before breakfast and then spent this morning in a conference Skype Call with Martin and Alison from the Alliance of Religions and Conservation and Chris, a notable

      • Sunday 1st. December, 2013 – The First Sunday in Advent

        Gavinton Church in the winter sunshine where we celebrated the start of a new church year today

        Rose, walked the dog – it had been raining but it was beautiful now – and I didn’t see a single car on the roads the whole duration of my walk. Came back and showered before b

    • November
      • Saturday 30th. November, 2013 -- St. Andrews Day

        A picture of the skyline, taken by Rachel, as daylight disappears

        I awoke, walked Mix along Bramble Avenue and returned in time for breakfast. I set out this morning to discover the whereabouts of our big round table, our gate-leg table, our microwave and Rachel’s desk. I wa

      • Friday 29th. November, 2013 – A Wonderful Day!

        Crowds begin to arrive at the Kelso Race Track

        Where to start! I had set my alarm for seven – an hour earlier than retirement-rising time. Got up and washed before walking Mix and then got into appropriate clothes for standing around on a cold race track for the twice-a-yea

      • Thursday 28th. November, 2013 – The Journey Continues

        In Duns preparations are gathering momentum for Christmas – soon the lights will be switched on

        Rose and walked Mix before breakfast and then went out to the barns to search for today’s booty. The box I chose turned out to contain my set of Punch and Judy puppets – somet

      • Wednesday 27th. November, 2013 – A New Chapter Begins

        Rachel starts work on cleaning up the brass log box I unearthed in the Hen House

        Rose and walked Mix before breakfast of bacon, egg and fried potato – my first breakfast of the working week as for the last two days I have been off early to the Borders Hospital. Today was dif

      • Tuesday 26th. November, 2013 -- Continuing my week as a Chauffer

        The local Co-op in Duns where we buy our food

        Up early in time to give each of the dogs a walk and Rachel a cup of tea in bed before setting off with Mum for the Borders General Hospital in Melrose so that she could attend the eye clinic there. To think that at the weekend I h

      • Monday 25th. November, 2013 – Really Good News

        A helicopter takes off from the Borders General Hospital after delivering a patient at the Accident and Emergency section

        Rachel woke extremely sore and very stiff. I say ‘woke’ but in reality she hadn’t slept at all. I telephoned the doctor at 8 a.m. and an appointment

      • Sunday 24th. November, 2013 – Could have been better!

        This is what is waiting for me at the farmhouse every morning

        Rose early and walked Mix. I love walking on the roads around Mount Pleasant on a Sunday morning early, there is nothing on the roads and everything is wonderfully quiet. Went across to the farmhouse for breakfast (

      • Saturday 23rd. November, 2013 -- A Day in Reverse and a Roaring Stove

        A Roaring Stove

        I woke early this morning and was out walking Mix soon after eight. I got back to Mount Pleasant and wandered across to the farmhouse for breakfast to discover that the door was locked and everyone was still asleep. So Mix and I came back to the Granary and pla

      • Friday 22nd. November, 2013 -- Into a Routine

        My window on the Gabba at Brisbane -- this morning was not a happy one for England

        Got up and breakfasted with Olive and Digger before walking Mix and then coming back to the Granary to start work on boxes. The way it works is that I find a couple of boxes and open them. I the

      • Thursday 21st. November, 2013 – Wind and More Wind

        If it is too windy or wet to go for a walk, Mix and Rowan are happy chasing each other around our courtyard

        It was a really blustery night – I went to bed about 2. Australia had just lost their second wicket for something in the seventies. I slept until 6 when I checked the

      • Wednesday 20th. November, 2013 -- Retirement as I always imagined it

        Rachel has just added the final screw and the decking is complete

        It rained all night and I wondered, as I lay in my warm bed and listened to the rain, whether we would be able to complete the decking as planned. But when I got up at eight, the sun was shining and there was a

      • Tuesday 19th. November, 2013 – My Apprenticeship begins

        Rachel and Tom have done a grand job of creating the frame for the decking on which our new summer house will sit.

        Up early, walked Mix along Bramble Avenue, breakfasted with Mum and Digger and then Tom arrived, brought here by Dorothy – and my apprenticeship began. I start

      • Monday 18th. November, 2013 – Family Visitors

        Mum with her sisters, Agnes and Jean

        Slept incredibly well. I’ve always slept well, the moment my head hits the pillow I am asleep; but since we moved down here I have slept even better. I suppose that it is because I am no longer on call and no longer have the responsibil

      • Sunday 17th. November, 2013 – Sundays are Good!

        Bamburgh Castle from the beach

        Woke again after the most amazing dreams. I was in London when I got a call to say that I was needed to come and conduct a service at Luss because there was no one else. (Well, that’s easy – I spoke on the phone to Bill last night and he wa

      • Saturday 16th. November, 2013 – I learn that progress means upheaval

        Nick, Amy and David

        Up and breakfasted before walking the dog – this is getting to be a habit! I was so sleepy this morning and woke in the middle of a very vivid dream: I was back in the Sailor’s Rest in Genoa (my first job). I’d been sent to look after it until someo

      • Friday 15th. November, 2013 – And another great day.

        Our decking is delivered

        Rose, breakfasted and walked Mix (yes, the order indicates that I slept in, but Oh, am I sleeping well). Then it was hard work all day to sort out clothes, emptying boxes and delighting in being reunited with old friends. Unfortunately we have a lot

      • Thursday 14th. November, 2014 – First Phase completed!

        Bramble Avenue in the autumn sunshine

        While the rest of the country seems to be suffering from rain, storms and high winds, here it is beautiful. I got up and walked Mix along Bramble Avenue – the sun is so low in the sky that it is very picturesque: sunshine, shadows and

      • Wednesday 13th. November, 2013 -- A Day of Two Halves: from the commonplace to the absolutely sublime!

        The dogs are always the first out of the Granary

        Slept in, and so I breakfasted before walking Mix; not that he seemed to mind because he enjoys breakfast in the farmhouse. Came back to the Granary and found an email with the hymns for Sunday which I duly prepared and sent off

      • Tuesday 12th. November, 2012 -- Autumn Sunshine

        Our home – bathed in Autumn sunshine

        Rose, walked the dog, breakfasted and went back to the Granary. It was a glorious morning with everything bathed in autumn sunshine. My morning walk was an absolute joy – and people have started to wave to me as they pass in the car. I

      • Monday 11th. November, 2013 – A day doing this and that

        I took this picture of a stone on the exterior of Fogo Church yesterday. I have no idea what it signifies -- it is a very old church. But I hope to find out!

        According to my new routine, I rose, walked the dog and breakfasted in the farmhouse (on egg and bacon prepared today b

      • Sunday 10th. November, 2013 – Remembrance Sunday

        Rachel, Cathy and Mum make their way to Gavinton Church

        Rose, walked Mix, showered and changed, breakfasted and set off for the service at Gavinton Church. The minister, Ann, was indisposed and so the service was conducted by Ken Walker who was to have been sharing in a joint

      • Saturday 9th. November, 2013 – I start to unpack

        Rachel and Cathy in the Granary kitchen -- next time I'll use flash!

        Rose, walked Mix and breakfasted with Olive, Mum and Cathy in the farm house. Digger had set off for Kirkcaldy and Rachel was walking Rowan. Then I made my way to the study and started to unpack. By the

      • Friday 8th. November, 2013 -- A Trip to Berwick and Dinner with Tom and Dorothy

        Berwick from the City Walls

        I had intended to work on unpacking today but Rachel and Cathy decided that they would like to go to Berwick and Mum and I decided to go along as well – isn’t it good being retired? Mum and I explored a book shop (Mum had presents to buy) and t

      • Thursday 7th. November, 2013 – A Visit to Holy Island

        St. Aiden smiles kindly at Mum

        Awoke, showered, walked the dog and breakfasted before loading Mum, Cathy, Rachel, Mix and Rowan into the car and driving to Holy Island. We arrived there just before eleven and discovered that we had almost a four-hour window to cross the causew

      • Wednesday 6th. November, 2013 – We travel to Coldstream

        Mum emerging from the library

        Awoke and walked mix before breakfasting on bacon and egg made by Cathy in the Farmhouse. Dealt with some emails and got my blog up to date as well as preparing the music files for Arrochar’s Remembrance Service this Sunday before taking Mum int

      • Tuesday 5th. November, 2013 -- Fireworks

        Fireworks at Mount Pleasant -- just like when I was small

        Up and walked the dog and then enjoyed breakfast with Mum and Cathy in the farmhouse. Started sorting out my finances and then drove Mum into Duns to have her hair done, returning to collect her an hour later.
      • Monday 4th. November, 2013 -- Tom takes me in hand

        Enjoying the farm house

        Up and walked Mix and then breakfasted. Tom arrived and we took the big TV off the wall in order to fit extra connections behind the screen. Got the TV connected to the internet and discovered that I can now access the internet on the TV – including t

      • Sunday 3rd. November, 2013 -- I love our country Sundays

        Digger blowing out his candles -- caught by Scott on his mobile phone

        Up and walked Mix on the Swinton Road, had breakfast in the farmhouse and then Mum, Cathy, Rachel and I went off to Church at Gavinton – the minister spoke about Saints, appropriately given that this is

      • Saturday 2nd. November, 2013 -- My Final Wedding in Luss Church

        Lindsay and David

        Up and set the fire in the manse, checked the heating in the Church, walked Mix around the paths of the glebe which are not flooded and then got ready for the wedding. Just before it started my bridegroom from last Saturday arrived. What a panic! It seems tha

      • Friday 1st. November, 2013 -- A Day in transit

        Shipboard Chores

        Got up about nine and after breakfast we started getting the boat in order. I took the toilet cassette off and emptied and cleaned it so that all was fresh for next time. The engine was run for two hours to ensure that the battery is full for when we return.

      • Thursday 31st. October, 2013 -- Hallowe'en

        Ilkley Moor

        Slept in again before walking Mix and counting 97 boats in the marina today. Went about the ship-board chores. I emptied the toilet cassette, while the engine was charging the batteries.

        We drove to Ilkley where we walked the dogs on the moor – around

      • Wednesday 30th. October, 2013 -- Getting used to canal life

        Looking down on Skipton

        Really slept in! It was eleven before I got up and, after breakfast, we took the dogs to Skipton where we climbed to the top of the hill overlooking the town. It was mid afternoon before we got down to the car and drove into the town. We found a shop wi

      • Tuesday 29th. October, 2013 – In Barnoldswick

        Emerging from The Young Rachel

        Got up and walked the dogs to Greenberfield and back – a walk of about an hour and a half including an exploration of where the locks had originally been and chatting with a Mr. Logan on the tow path about the virtues of different sorts of dogs

      • Monday 28th. October, 2013 -- We set off south

        From the Other Side of the Canal

        Woke early and turned the bedroom tv on at once to see how the projected storm had developed. Confirmed gusts of 99 miles an hour in the south and five deaths (two from falling trees, two from a gas explosion caused by a falling tree and one sw

    • October
      • Sunday 27th. October, 2013 -- Another great Sunday.

        Rachel, the mechanic, at work on my car

        Got up refreshed after that extra hour in bed. Rachel awoke with a start not realising that the clock had gone back and convinced that she was late. On discovering that she wasn’t, she went back to sleep.

        I walked the dog,

      • Saturday 26th. October, 2013 -- Rachel’s Birthday and We’re Working!

        Autumn in Luss

        I slept in until nine and then walked Mix, lit the fire and packed Rachel’s car. Then we planted the four signs (little plaques, really) we are leaving behind – the first to the dogs buried in the garden: Kim, Radar, Fang, Juno, Skye and Holly; then, by thei

      • Friday 25th. October, 2013 -- Mexico comes to Luss

        Felipe and Rachel

        Up and walked the dog around the river path – it is very wet. Lit the fire in the manse and met with Mike to show him how to work the print machine and tell him what I used to do for Remembrance Sunday – because he asked, I hasten to record, I am delighte

      • Thursday 24th. October, 2013 – Back in Harness Once More

        The Borders are so very beautiful

        Rose and walked Mix down the Swinton Road and along Bramble Avenue, returning by the Kelso Road. Breakfasted on fried potatoes and freshly laid egg with Mum and Digger. Olive is still not home as Dundee University has prevailed upon her to tea

      • Wednesday 23rd. October, 2013 -- The Granary Goes On-line

        Wonderful apples growing wild in Bramble Avenue

        It dawned fair – a nice surprise after all of the rain of previous days. I had given today up to the installation of our telephone as I had no idea how long it would all take. In fact after I had walked Mix and joined Mum and D

      • Tuesday 22nd. October, 2013 -- Today I really did make a start

        Everywhere something is growing – these are berries in the hedges by the sides of the fields

        Up and walked Mix – it is a rotten day and I was woken by the smoke alarm going off. It was a false alarm caused by the battery having expired. After breakfast I took Mum into Duns

      • Monday 21st. October, 2013 -- Getting Sorted Out – well just starting really

        Autumn is drawing in

        Up a bit later, around 8.30 a.m. and walked Mix along the Swinton Road before breakfast with Mum and Digger. Spent the morning getting my blog up to date and dealing with lots of emails. Even here, having been away for a few days, the email programme was a

      • Sunday 20th. October, 2013 Sundays are Good

        Abbey St. Bathans from the bridge over the Whiteadder

        Got up and walked Mix – the roads are totally deserted and we could be on the moon. I just love the isolation here. The fields have already changed since last week as crops are starting to grow even although we are well i

      • Saturday 19th. October, 2013 -- Wet, Wet – and a Wedding

        The Luss Water imitating the Mississippi

        Up and walked the dog around the glebe. It is very, very wet and the river is running fast. Already many of the paths are flooded and it is a thoroughly nasty day. Back at the manse I popped over to the church to sort the heating, lit a

      • Friday 18th. October, 2013 -- We Get Quite a Lot Done

        Apples on the Glebe

        I walked Mix around the glebe and snapped these apples growing in the little orchard. Then I continued with the manse clean-up. It is now all done and looking clean, ship-shape and quite attractive. Rachel photographed every room, they all looked so good. I

      • Thursday 17th. October, 2013 --- Cleaning, a Wedding and a Shopping Trip

        A Happy Wedding Couple

        I walked Mix along the river path – it was wet and everything was very quiet. Then I started in earnest on the manse, cleaning the top floor and working down to the middle floor. Cathy was here and it was great to see her.

        Conducted the wedd

      • Wednesday 16th. October, 2013 -- And Off We Go Again

        The Granary as we set off again

        Walked Mix and showered. There was still quite a bit of fog around and the roads were quite deserted. I spent the morning getting things done for Luss and Arrochar – preparing an order of service for printing, creating the music files for Arro

      • Tuesday 15th. October, 2013 -- Canterbury Tales

        Canterbury Cathedral

        Up early to attend morning prayers at the cathedral at 7.30 a.m. and then went on with Kevin to St. John’s Chapel in the cathedral for the morning communion service. I enjoyed both and realised again how much I would like to have spent time in a religiou

      • Monday 14th. October, 2013 – Back to Berwick for another Adventure

        The Market Square in Canterbury

        Up early this morning to walk Mix, have a shower and be driven to Berwick in time to catch the 9.11 train to London. This train was an ‘East Coast’ and compared to last week’s ‘Cross Country’ felt extremely old. One had to open the win

      • Sunday 13th. October, 2013 – A Rural Sunday (mostly) in Gavinton

        The view from the bathroom window in the Farmhouse caught my eye.

        A lovely sunny Sunday morning and the wind which has been quite ferocious over recent days has disappeared. I walked Mix – there was hardly any traffic on the roads; showered and breakfasted before going with

      • Saturday 12th. October, 2013 -- Our Quiet Rural Idyll

        Working on the fields opposite the Granary

        The roads are very quiet on a Saturday morning so Mix and I walked along to the neighbouring farm on the Kelso Road. We admired the farm with its stock of hay and lots of pens for sheep. We looked at the ten little cottages presumably

      • Friday 11th. October, 2013 -- A Day of Getting Sorted Out

        Mount Pleasant from Bramble Avenue

        Up and walked the dog before enjoying breakfast of bacon and egg in the farmhouse. (Walked down the road to Swinton and then turned off along a track between two fields – we call it Bramble Avenue because of the Bramble bushes there. Took

      • Thursday 10th. October, 2013 -- Back to Berwick

        Rainbow over Mount Pleasant this morning

        This morning I rose and walked Mix before settling down to do some chores for Luss and Arrochar. I prepared a draft Order of Service (because I have a file with the words of all of the hymns on it). I prepared music files of the hymns

      • Wednesday 9th. October, 2013 -- Travelling Home

        The View from my Bristol Bedroom

        After breakfast David drove me through Bristol back to the railway station for my journey back to Berwick. On the way I again grabbed a few pictures from the car window.


        There is lots of graffiti in

      • Tuesday 8th. October, 2013 -- Setting off for Bristol

        Rachel seeing me off at Berwick Station

        After walking the dog and showering, I set off for Berwick Station for a five hour train journey to Bristol. I had never been to Bristol so it was all quite exciting. The train took me through Newcastle, Durham, York, Leeds, Birmingham a

      • Monday 7th. October, 2013 -- A Day of Gate-Building

        A gate waiting to be hung

        Up and walked Mix and then back to the Granary where Tom arrived around nine. With Tom taking the lead, we erected the new farm gate to keep the dogs in the courtyard and then dismantled the small gate and Tom re-hung it with a spring to keep it clo

      • Sunday 6th. October, 2013 -- My First Retirement Sunday

        Mum and Rachel outside Gavinton Church

        Up and walked the dog and then had breakfast in the farmhouse before setting off with Mum and Rachel to Gavinton Church (just four minutes up the road and recommended by Tom and Dorothy). We were made very welcome and I loved the servic

      • Saturday 5th. October, 2013 -- Weddings, as usual.

        Our first couple – Louise and John

        Up and started to clear up the Manse. Rachel and I had intended to start at the top of the manse and work our way downwards but there is a big event happening on Monday – a meeting of the executive of ACTS (The actions of Churches toget

      • Friday 4th. October, 2013 -- And Back to Work!

        Mount Pleasant from the Swinton Road

        I got up early and walked Mix along the Swinton Road – on the way back I took this picture of the Mount Pleasant Farmhouse with our Granary to the right and barns to the left. Today I had to return to Luss in order to conduct three wedd

      • Thursday 3rd. October, 2013 -- My first trip across the Border

        Tom and Mum on Berwick Station

        Up early and walked the dog, showered and then breakfasted at eight before setting off with Mum and Tom for Berwick at 8.30 a.m. We drove just along the road and past signs announcing that now we were in England. Mum caught a train to Edinburgh

      • Wednesday 2nd. October, 2013 -- Now I'm an old hand at this Retirement Business

        Rachel's country alarm clock

        Woke early with a phone call from Morag and then walked the dog before breakfast made by Digger -- sausage and French toast. Then I borrowed Mum's phone and started trying to see about a telephone and broadband for the Granary -- and a t

      • Tuesday 1st. October, 2013 -- Retirement: Day One

        Tom at Mount Pleasant

        It seems that this is a busy place! I was determined not to get up this morning but Bill caught me on my mobile at 8.30 and so I got up and walked Mix -- a very pleasant walk -- and what struck me at once was that I saw no people at all while I was out.

      • Monday 30th. September, 2013 -- Our Day of Departure

        Outside the Wheatsheaf at Swinton

        Awoke and walked Mix and then set about dismantling my study and cramming all of the leftovers and all of the presents we have been given into our two vehicles. It just wouldn't go and we shall be back in Luss on Friday to complete the

    • September
      • Sunday 29th. September, 2013 -- My Last Sunday

        I tried to take this surreptitiously while folk were arriving in Arrochar Church this morning -- and, as a result, I missed one half of the church!

        Up at seven and started my final Sunday by walking the dog. Back to the Manse to shower and soon it was time to set off for Arr

      • Saturday 28th. September, 2013 -- The Final Furlong

        Ben Dhu and the Strone

        I snatched this view of the twin peaks of Ben Dhu and the Strone as I walked Mix along the river path early this morning. I always think of the Strone as being 'my' hill because for many months I climbed up it five times a week in order to lo

      • Friday 27th. September, 2013 -- Gathering Momentum

        Olivebank sets out on the start of her journey to Duns

        Got up and walked Mix and by the time I arrived at the Manse, folk had arrived to take Olivebank off on the first stage of her journey to Duns. It took them no time at all to pull Olivebank onto the back of their truck a

      • Thursday 26th. September, 2013 -- Catching up with all the last minute jobs!

        This tree in the Remembrance Garden caught my eye

        It is Thursday and I have become ever so aware of how much there is still to do. I did manage to complete the paperwork -- just as well because no sooner had I done that than the computer packed up! It seems to me that everyt

      • Wednesday 25th. September, 2013 -- Back to School for a really happy Day

        Alison with a photograph of what the school was like when she first arrived

        I awoke with much to do, and truth to tell, much of what I had hoped to do is still not done at the end of the day. After walking Mix around the glebe I started to work through the service for Arrocha

      • Tuesday 24th. September, 2013 -- So busy I've almost forgotten Mount Pleasant!

        Mike, Ian and Robbie

        I got up and walked the dog. Came back to the Manse and showered and it was still not eight o'clock. Got some things done before setting off for Helensburgh for my physio appointment. Came back relaxed to meet Robbie and Mike (from Luss Church) and

      • Monday 23rd. September, 2013 -- Monday, and things don't go quite my way!

        One of the nicest cards I've ever received

        I intended today to be a day of really hard work but it didn't turn out that way. I walked the dog, settled down at my desk and it wasn't long before Robbie telephoned to say that he and Mike were on their way to see

      • Sunday 22nd. September, 2013 -- A Lovely Sunday

        It didn't start out that way, in fact it was a really wet and nasty morning when I walked Mix along the river path. It was still wet when I arrived in Arrochar and it was raining when I stood at the door to shake hands with folk as they left the service at Luss. But none of that s

      • Saturday 21st. September -- A Quiet Saturday!

        The organ class in full swing -- Carol, Lindsay, Nick, Rachel and Morag -- admiring the fine sounds emanating from our organ.

        Up early (well, not too early) and walked the dog. Today is one of those real treasures: a Saturday without a wedding. We did have a wedding arranged

      • Friday 20th. September, 2013 -- Where has everything Gone?

        Mix has found the one comfy spot in the house!

        Today has been one of the strangest days of my life. What's more, it has completely taken me by surprise. I haven't allowed myself to think past the removal and now that that has been successfully (?) completed, I can

      • Thursday 19th. September, 2013 -- Back to Luss

        Got taken to task by someone who reads the blog (and hasn't met me) for not putting a picture of myself on the web-site so that they can see who is writing all of this stuff. So here I am! Sixty-seven and a half-years old, retiring in eleven days time and moving from Arrochar and L

      • Wednesday 18th. September -- The Third Day

        Ian, Malcolm, Stuart and Allan -- job done!

        Awoke early in Luss and by 8 a.m. the second load of furniture was being loaded into the three removal vans which were at the Manse -- having returned the previous day from the Borders. There wasn't a huge amount to do but thi

      • Tuesday 17th. September, 2013 -- The Removal Day Two

        Malcolm outside the door of the Granary and it is not yet eight o'clock!
        Awoke early and was just coming to when I realised that four removal vans were driving in to the courtyard. I was panicking because I realised that I should have been going to my physio but it had gone o

      • Monday 16th. September, 2013 -- The Three Day Removal Begins

        Vans started to arrive early for the Removal Van Convention held at the Manse -- we managed five by the middle of the day!

        I was up early today anxious to walk Mix before everything started to happen. I was glad that I had because the first vans arrived early -- four of them

      • Sunday 15th. September, 2013 -- The Calm before the Storm

        A view of Arrochar Parish Church

        What a lovely day! It started at Arrochar where I conducted the ten o'clock service -- the lectionary presenting us with the fifteenth chapter of Saint Luke's Gospel, without any doubt my favourite chapter of Scripture. Having condu

      • Saturday 14th. September, 2013 -- A normal Saturday at Luss!

        A typical Luss Wedding scene.

        It wasn't really a typical day for us because we had our usual appointment with boxes which had to be filled. But for Luss it was a fairly typical day -- a wedding in the Church (often there are two or even three) and loads of visitors who

      • Friday 13th. September, 2013

        After yesterday's blitz on boxes I thought that today would be easier; but I woke with my body telling my brain that it really couldn't cope with another day like yesterday. Well it was never going to be that way anyway because there were a number of duties which had to be un

      • Thursday 12th. September, 2013 -- Boxes!

        Boxes, boxes, everywhere -- and scarcely a place to sit!

        There is little to write about today. There was to have been a wedding but the couple decided not to get married so today Rachel and I filled boxes and carried them around the house. I ended up more tired than I can ev

      • Wednesday 11th. September, 2013 -- Pilgrims from Kirkcaldy

        Some of the 'over-flow' from the dining room into the lounge!

        We had a lovely day in Luss today. I rose early and walked the dog and was concerned that it really was rather wet. Normally this wouldn't have mattered but today it did because today we were being

      • Tuesday 10th. September, 2013 -- Through a Glass Darkly

        I was out in front of the Manse at Luss saying good-bye to Robin and Glenys who have been with us for a few days when I saw the two dogs, Rowan and Mix, looking through the window. I knew the sun was shining on the window and I knew my reflection would appear in the picture but still I

      • Monday 9th. September, 2013 -- Making Things Safe!

        A view of the Granary back garden now securely fenced and dog-proof!

        While I am up in Luss Tom has taken charge of having the back garden at the Granary securely fenced in. This means that once we get down to the Granary the dogs will be able to wander in and out of the hous

      • Sunday 8th. September, 2013 -- Another Busy Sunday!

        This is a picture of one of the Churches which is in my care until the end of this month. I have actually been minister here for almost fifteen years -- and they have been happy, happy years.

        Luss Church sits in the village of that name, on the banks of Loch Lomond. The tin

      • Saturday 7th. September, 2013 Back in the Parish with twenty-three days to go.

        Here is another view of the Granary from its garden.

        I'm back in Luss and you can read that 'twenty-three days to go' in two ways, both of which are true. Twenty-three days and I will be able to start to do some of the things that I'm looking forward to

      • Friday 6th. September, 2013 -- 'Things that go Bump in the night'.

        We all breakfasted together in the farm kitchen. I should say that by this time I had taken Mix for a very lengthy walk, had enjoyed a glorious shower and had been to the Duns Golf Course and joined! (I'd seen a web-site advertising the fact that they were having an open day tomor

      • Thursday 5th. September, 2013 'Starting to Get Organised'

        This isn't a very good picture -- I took it on my telephone -- but it summed up today. Mum sitting in one of her rooms in the farmhouse emptying boxes. The farmhouse is a very large house and is being shared by my sister and her husband and my mother. The ground floor centres arou

      • Wednesday 4th. September, 2013 -- D-Day!

        My sister has been counting down from sixty-two days (the time she sold her home and became homeless) and now the great day had arrived. Mum travelled down in the removal van with Malcolm and Allan; Olive and Digger drove from Luss, setting out in good time to be at the Borders before

      • Tuesday 3rd. September, 2013 -- D-Day Minus One

        Mum standing outside her home after most of her possessions have been packed and put into two large removal vans in preparation for the journey to the Borders tomorrow morning.

        Today I drove across to Fife to be with my mother while the removal men moved in to pack up and

      • Monday 2nd. September, 2013 -- D-Day Minus Two

        It's Monday and we become the owners of our new home on Wednesday at 2 p.m. I got confirmation from our solicitor today that all of the money was sitting in his account just waiting for him to press the button and it will transfer to the present owners. I understand that happens s

      • Sunday 1st. September, 2013 -- D Day Minus Three

        It is Sunday the first of September, 2013 the start of a month for which I am paying the Church of Scotland £500 to be allowed to work as Parish Minister in Arrochar and Luss. Strange? Yes, of course it is -- but as you read my daily diary and get to know me better you will discover t