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-year auction of farm equipment. Tom and Dorothy collected me at 8.30 and we were at Kelso soon after nine. All the items for the sale were just beginning to arrive. There was everything from tractors and four by fours, to feeding troughs and sheep pens, farm gates, lawn-mowers, chain saws, generators, wood, doors, strimmers, motor cars, sacks of logs, office furniture, cable, ploughs, harvesting equipment, wood-burning stoves and much more. Having arrived, we learned that the actual auction didn’t start until 11 a.m. so we went off to Kelso and enjoyed a coffee and a scone.

Sunshine on the Cross Keys Hotel in Kelso

I took this picture of the square in Kelso with the early morning sunshine on the Cross Keys Hotel and I include it here because later in the day Olive, Digger and Mum came to Kelso and enjoyed morning coffee in the hotel. By that time we had returned to the race course and the auction had begun. I was fascinated. The auctioneer was smartly dressed with a white coat over his collar and tie and with a deerstalker on his head. He carried something which was like the top of a walking stick in lieu, I suppose, of a hammer. He was accompanied by a number of staff – one with a list of all of the items for sale and details about these items, another whose task it was to get the details of people who bought the different items. Once it started, everything happened very quickly. The auctioneer, who was in good spirits and remained cheerful throughout, explained to us that unless he said differently at the start of an item, everything was subject to VAT and also to a 5% Buyer’s Premium. And with that we were off. We started with a ton of logs which Tom bought for a little over thirty pounds. Normally with each item the auctioneer started high and then the request for a bidder came lower and lower and lower but once someone had bid then it went straight back up again in two pound and five pound jumps – the auctioneer never stopped talking and he generated an enthusiasm which encouraged people to join in. On occasions bids were made by people with telephones strapped to their ears and always when something was sold the auctioneer rapped it with his stick and immediately moved on to the next item. Sometimes, having talked the bid up, the bidding came to a stop and the auctioneer just moved on to the next item without using his stick. These were the instances where the item had not reached its reserve price and no sale was made. Some of the items made thousands of pounds, others sold quickly for just a few pounds. Tom had hoped to buy the stove and had set himself a maximum bid of £200 but it went for £260 so he lost out on this one. The logs were loaded onto Tom’s trailer and we set off for home.

I couldn’t get a picture of the auctioneer for fear that he would think that I was offering a bid, but there were large numbers of people taking part

Back home I dealt with my post and then Rachel and I took the dogs off to Tweedmouth. This was a dual purpose outing. I needed to visit Currys to buy a small webcam for my computer because I am to share in a conference discussion relating to green pilgrimage on Monday morning and I have not as yet unpacked my old webcam (I have absolutely no idea where it might be). The second purpose was to walk the dogs at Spittal on the extensive beaches there.

Rachel walks the beach deep in thought

There were few other walkers – the light was already beginning to fade but we had a happy walk and Rowan must have run for miles happily splashing in and out of the sea. Back in the car, we drove to Mount Pleasant where soon it was time to get ready for this evening’s outing. For Rachel’s birthday Olive and Digger had bought a meal for two at the Siamese Kitchen. Tonight Rachel and I were having that meal. Neither of us had ever eaten Thai food before. We were in for a treat. Digger drove us to the restaurant just off the main square in Duns and he introduced us to the restaurant and to the extremely welcoming proprietrix. We started our meal with a mixed starter – a Thai fishcake, sati chicken, spring roll and prawn toast. We then went for a curry. I had a red curry (I had chosen well, it was delicious), Rachel had a green curry (she was equally happy). I continued with a sweet rice and mango desert while Rachel settled for jasmine tea. And all was washed down with white wine. It was a lovely evening and once we were replete, Digger arrived to drive us home. I could get used to this!

A Belated Birthday Cake

The restaurant even brought Rachel a birthday cake – and to her chagrin everyone in the restaurant sang Happy Birthday! Back home at Mount Pleasant we thanked Olive and Digger for such a splendid evening and shared a drink together. On our return to the Granary we discovered that a small bird had got into the house and – because it was so small – it took us more than an hour to find it and help it back into the wilds. I don’t know whether it or we were more relived once it had found its way into the outside world. It was very small and there it was making its way in the world all on its own. We are very fortunate to grow up and live in families with friends – though sometimes I guess we all feel like small birds trapped in big houses with no idea of how to get out.

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