Thursday, September 30, 2010


Took a trip with family to Glencoe and Fort William. I have to say its lovely with the big mountains and the lochs. Fabulous scenery everywhere. Also lots of tourists even this late in the year and most B&B's full. We stayed in the Kinlochleven Inn (phot taken outside) and enjoyed the stay. Discovered we liked Macallan single malt and it was nice in the evenings afetr a good dinner to sit and mellow with a tot. Went up the Ben Nevis ski gondola and that was magnificent, better than Aviemore much higher. Also went to Arisaig supposedly the "best beach in Scotland" well thats all rubbish, its not nice and not clean and I don't like it.

September Notes

The weather is turning colder and the trees are turning gold. Autumn is here. Still getting plenty of fruit and veg from our garden. Last of the tomatoes, lots of runner and french beans and loads of ripening apples, although the wasps have been troublesome and eat out the cores, so you pick one and its full of wasps.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thomas The Rhymer

"©Stephanie Pui-Mun Law"
Thomas could be almost as famous as Nostradamus, its all down to marketing, like the Borders themselves. Thomas as the story goes lived in Ercildoune (Earlston) in the 13th Century, and one night on his way home from Selkirk fell asleep in a field on the foothill of the Eildons. He was awakened by a lovely Elvish Princess who took a fancy to the lad and swept him off to the Elfland. While there he learned many secrets and on his return a geas was put upon him that he could not tell them directly. He became a famous man in these parts and told many fortunes by poem and rhyme. One prediction is of course dear to our neighbour Edinburgh
"York was, London is, and Edinburgh shall be
The biggest and bonniest o' the three"

An artis impression of the event is done by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

Specialist Food

The Borders is not a good place to live if you like to cook unusual food. Oh yes of course it has lovely fresh meat and local vegetables in season, but if you want to try artichokes or couscous hmmmm. After being here two years we have discovered that Newcastle is the best place for ethnic foods. Edinburgh is very poorly provisioned except for one or two real finds like Lupe Pintos, who specialise in Mexican and have fresh tortillas daily as well as a superb range of chillis, salsa and other Mexican specials. They also carry the best saltfish we have tasted.


In Newcastle there is a place called M&A which carries a lot of West Indian /African products and several large Chinese supermarkets with a wide range of fresh and dried products.

M A Bros
231 Elswick Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 6SR

Locally in the Borders is the very friendly specialist shop in Melrose which carries a range of pastas, herbs, oils and spices you won't find at the Supermarket as well as some fresh produce and cheeses. In Kelso is the wholefoods store which is more focussed on the grains and health side. Selkirk has a nice deli shop which has some stuff although not a centre for "world foods". Gala is a desert as is Hawick. Duns has a small store that has a good range of cereals and nuts plus they sell fresh fish although limited in types.

I spoke to a good fishmonger and he claims that "Borders people" only like fresh haddock anyway, and that most fish shops have tried displaying other fish only to have them go off for lack of interest.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Autumn Gales and ruins

Aftr a week of glorious sunshine we woke today to rain and wind. A distinct change in the weather. I am reading a book about Borders architecture and old buildings and it has taught me a lot about buildings in this area. Unfortunately most have been destroyed over and again by either marauding Scots (when it was English) or marauding English (when it was Scots). The result is a lot of ruins, many not cared for as they are of "lesser importance". Nonetheless we will be visiting some of the more off the track ones and report.