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 different from how it is today. No one is quite sure when this picture was taken – is it Victorian or Edwardian? And I wonder who are the people in the picture. From what we can gather Mount Pleasant has had an exciting past. It has been a changing post where carriages refreshed their horses on the journey from Kelso to Berwick (and vice versa). That’s why there are stables, I suppose, and it is also why the building became a place where travellers stayed and were given hospitality (Robert Burns twice, by all accounts). Later it became a farm with the Granary equipped with a ‘modern’ steam engine to drive the milling equipment. More recently the lands were sold off and Mount Pleasant became what it is today: a farmhouse with a steading including the Granary now converted into a home and with endless scope for other development.

This morning we rose and walked the dogs and were ready for Tom and Dorothy when they arrived at nine. In Tom’s car, with the trailer behind, we made our way to Edinburgh to visit IKEA. Rachel and I bought some more bookcases, Tom and Dorothy were into storage equipment. Once we had completed our purchases and loaded up the trailer we went back into the store for a late brunch. It was good. Then we drove to the nearby retail park so that Rachel could buy some dog supplies and Dorothy could discuss clipping her goats – both of these at a thoroughly excellent pet supply shop.

Dorothy and Tom checking that our purchases are safely in the trailer on the way back home to the Borders

We made our way home and loaded one of our spare washing machines onto Tom’s trailer. His family washing machine has packed up and by taking one of ours he has helped us to create a bit of space in the barn. I took Mix for a walk and then relaxed in front of the stove until it was time for dinner in the farmhouse, after which everyone came back to the Granary to watch the DVD of Lincoln and his fight to pass the thirteenth amendment putting an end to slavery.

It was an engrossing film, beautifully filmed, which brought out the political machinations and intrigue of the time, all against the background of the horrendous civil war. I realised that there was much in the film that I hadn’t known and I am really glad to have seen it. If only someone would now fight as hard to pass a further amendment banning the taking of life by judicial means or a still further amendment to restrict the owning of firearms by all and sundry, the United States could really claim to have come of age. That’s not a clever comment, but grows out of the film because if there is one thing that came across to me more strongly than anything else it was that one man fought to introduce the thirteenth amendment and it was because he was so absolutely resolute, determined and politically savvy that slavery was brought to an end. All of us went away from the film thinking about what we had seen – you can’t ask for much more than that.

Rachel and I walked the dogs and came to bed. England have won the toss in Australia (there’s a first) and have chosen two Durham players in their eleven: Ben Stokes and Scott Borthwick. Already an Australian wicket has fallen but what will be the picture when I tune in tomorrow morning?


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