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 fence post beyond and then those lovely poppies in amongst the crop filling the space before the trees (what colours) and the sky suggesting that it may soon be rain (as indeed it was)

Slept in – well it was Saturday – and then Mix and I set out on our country walk. We took our usual route along by Fogo, up by Caldra and along to Nisbet Hill. It was a stunning walk, almost no traffic, warm when we set off and just a smidgen of rain along the way. So many of the roads are long and straight and so you are aware of what lies ahead, have no concerns about Mix and can get lost in your own thoughts.

This picture doesn’t do the road justice because in reality I could see the road stretching out for what seemed like miles. Now that all my walking is for pleasure, there is nothing I enjoy more than a long straight road with no one else in sight

I found myself thinking about the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V today. In the first half of the sixteenth century he ruled over more of the world than anyone before or since. I studied him in some depth when I read history at university and then again, of course, when I read divinity because he was in power during some of the most important years of the reformation. He was born in 1500, became King of Spain in 1516 and Holy Roman Emperor in 1519. From then until 1556 he ruled the world, tried to hold his huge and diverse countries and dominions together and then suddenly he retired and spent the final two years of his life in a monastery. I often wondered what sort of a man was able to do that, to have so much power in his hands and then to hand it on to others and settle for the quiet life.

Now I’ve never had any power at all (nor wanted it) but I have lived a life which has been busy and usually at the beck and call of other people. I suspect that I never thought that I would get the opportunity to retire but events fell the way they did and Rachel and I got the chance to come to the Borders and do our own thing. Because we are getting everything in order, life is still very busy but there is nothing more pleasant than walking my dog on a Saturday morning – looking out at the fields and listening to the birds, seeing horses, and sheep and cows and almost no human beings at all. I don’t think that there is very much that I enjoy more than my Saturday mornings with Mix, time to think and time to wonder at the beauty of God's handiwork all around me. Today Mix came home so exhausted that he just wanted to get to the summer house and fall asleep.

I made myself a pizza and ate it while watching a bit of Wimbledon. Today the rain has struck there but the roof over Centre Court ensured that there was something to watch.

While I was out a gentleman in a car stopped and spoke to me – he had read my blog and, like me, is a fan of the rescue dog services. There are some really nice folk living around here.

Last time I walked this way, everything was growing, now here the farmer has been at work – a sign, surely, that harvest is on the way

I spent the afternoon completing the backing up of my computer and watching the end of the tennis match that had started when I was having lunch – tennis matches take such a long time (It was Nadal against Kukushkin, not a long match as matches go but Kukushkin fought so well to win the first set before being overpowered by Nadal.)

I had intended to spend the afternoon cutting the grass but the grass is still rather wet – or wet enough for that to be acceptable as an excuse – so instead I did some jobs around the summer house and took some pictures of the loom before falling asleep in my chair.

The loom now looks ready for action. The stable conversion has been a great success and, after its journey from Argyll and being stored under a tarpaulin, the loom looks in a remarkably fine state

From behind you can see the threads all in place and making their ways through the different parts of the loom. It has taken Sandy quite a few days to get everything to this stage but now it has been done

And here you can see the first cloth woven on the loom at Mount Pleasant. It will become our Mount Pleasant tweed, although I understand that the final design will not be agreed until a few test pieces have been completed

We all dined together in the farm house. Olive contracted to mark six hundred examination papers for ACCA and today she has completed that task. Retirement has finally arrived and she will be able to enjoy her new home and all of her plans now – especially since Mum’s house in Fife is all but sold.

Digger spent the day going back and forwards in the garden – and making at least one trip into Duns this morning. Mum was ironing when I bumped into her during the day and Rachel was pottering between her loom room in the stables and the back garden. Pottering – it was that kind of a day. Rowan enjoyed the garden and all that everyone else was doing. Mix – he slept!

After dinner I came across to the summer house so that I could watch the football without inflicting it on Rachel. Brazil had already beaten Chile on penalties – thanks to Julius Caesar in goal. He was superb with two outright saves (and I was glad that it didn’t come down to only one player failing to score). Tonight I watched Columbia against Uruguay and, in the process I saw what must be one of the best goals ever – that by James Rodriguez for Columbia. (He caught the ball on his chest with his back to the goal, turned and hit it on the volley into the roof of the net with the ball going over the head of the goal keeper and then dipping under the bar.) I almost began to understand why some footballers get paid so much money – it was magnificent. Columbia won by two goals to nil (both goals in fact scored by James Rodriguez).

All that was left was to walk Mix and retire to bed with my book (An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris– which won the Melrose Book Festival Sir Walter Scott award for historical fiction).


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