Thursday, 28 May 2020


"Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May...".

Indeed, that has been the case here for this May - bitterly cold winds have been a regular feature despite some bright days, interspersed with unseasonably grey days too. The heating has been used far more than would be expected. As I said back in February, wind is my least favourite aspect of weather. We’ve had loads of it this year, the last four months have all been blighted.

Oddly, though, there have been a couple of really hot days appearing every couple of weeks and the garden growth expected in May has occurred - the last of the tulips were still around at the end of the month, just, although most of them had gone by mid-month. The hedgerow seemed to go from brown to green literally overnight, the Montana clematis displays are spectacular, as is the ceanothus and the azaleas are in full bloom too. It is a shame not everything comes into flower at the same time, but that is the way it is.

This time of year is not great for hay fever sufferers like us but we can't deny that the colours of the bright yellow oil seed rape fields are stunning as too is the intoxicating scent. That goes for the appetite-inspiring aroma of wild garlic too.

Down at the river families of ducks with their chicks are enjoying their life, oblivious to human viruses.

Sunday, 17 May 2020


St Abbs Harbour

St Abbs is a small fishing village in the Scottish borders. It is located on the east coast about 17 miles from Paxton and will take about 26 minutes via the A1 and B6438. Buses from Berwick-Upon-Tweed run to St Abbs via Eyemouth. St Abbs in an attractive village sitting just below the rugged cliffs of St Abb's Head and not far from the sandy beach at Coldingham Sands.

St Abbs was originally called Coldingham Shore and the fisherman would walk, carrying their fishing gear from their homes in Coldingham each day to reach their fishing boats at Coldingham Shore. In about  the middle of the 18th century that the first houses were built and by 1832 it was recorded the 16 families were living in the village.

In the 1890's the Laird, Andrew Usher renamed the village St Abbs.  Usher was instrumental in improving both the village and harbour, funding a new village hall, school, church and extending the outer harbour wall. He purchased the Northfield estate on the edge of the village and proceeded to create a countryside manor.

In 1907 the Royal National Lifeboat Society supplied St Abbs with its first lifeboat, although today the lifeboat station is privately funded. St Abbs has become a popular site for scuba diving and walkers. It is located on the Berwickshire Coastal Path affording stunning views of nearby Coldingham Sands and St Abb's Head. A stop at the visitor centre, located in the village is recommended.  A visit to Ebb Carr's cafe in the harbour is the ideal way to enjoy the tranquility of the village and stunning scenery whist indulging in some tasty treats.

St Abb's Head


Linhope Spout

The Linhope Spout is situated in the Cheviot Hills in the Northumberland National Park. This beautiful and dramatic waterfall is about 1.5 miles from a roadside parking area at Hartside in the Breamish Valley. The walk will take about 45 minutes via the tranquil hamlet of Linhope. The pool at the base of the waterfall is easily accessible after climbing down some rocks and is a wonderful place to sit and relax or picnic. The waterfall can be walked to either as part of a longer walk or on its own (Linhope Spout Walk).



Abbey St Bathans

Abbey St Bathans is a small village in the Scottish Borders. It is situated in a steep wooded valley of the Whiteadder Water in the Lammermuir Hills. The nearest town is Duns about 7.5 miles away. The village stretches out along the banks of the Whiteadder Water which is crossed by a footbridge to a woodland path forming part of the Southern Upland Way. The woodland path is a lovely riverside walk leading to a ford where you can admire the tranquility of the river and surrounding countryside.

Whiteadder Water

Whiteadder Water

The Kirk of Lammermuir sits peacefully by the river. Although it is no longer used for services it is open to the public. It is believed that in the late 500's St Bathan, a follower of St Columba established a tiny chapel near the river. In about 1200 the site was home to a Cistercian priory of 12 nuns, founded by Ada, Countess of Dunbar. The priory consisted of a small church and a few other buildings. Unfortunately it was largely destroyed by English troops in 1543 and after the Reformation much of the remains of the buildings were used for village buildings and field walls. However, the priory church was repaired  in the 17th century and became the parish church.

Kirk Of Lammermuir

Kirk of Lammermuir

Abbey St Bathans is a delightful little village tucked away in the river valley. It is a quiet reflective place to sit or stroll by the river listening to the birds and watching the odd horse and rider trott down to the river.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020


April 2020 has the world in lockdown, yet nature, unaffected, carries on, reassuringly - the tulips are out, the trees are greening up, the lambs are getting bigger and the sun warmer. April here in The Borders has given us lots of sunshine and clear blue skies, initially accompanied by a chilly northerly wind but in the latter week of the month, these gave way to produce some very warm, sunny days. We even got the sun loungers out (for t-shirt sunbathing at least). 

Rather than write about how we can't get hold of basmati rice or limoncello desserts in my fortnightly, brief visit to the supermarket I think the best thing to for this highly unusual, unique month is just post some uplifting pictures of nature's beauty. Take care, wherever you are.

Sunday, 29 March 2020


Well, March 2020 was a month dominated by global pandemic news with little respite - no sport or entertainment or anything like that to lift the spirits. However, one thing that was beautifully unaffected by all this, thankfully, has been nature. 

In the midst of all this spring has arrived with some gloriously sunny days, birdsong, crocuses, daffodils and the first colouring of tulip heads. Blossom is here and the lawn has had its first mowing. Birds are busy nesting and, ironically, there have so many lovely days when everything in the world has seemed perfect. The end of the month has seen some lovely sunny days.

In dark days, the beauty of nature can be such a comfort.

Thursday, 27 February 2020


February this year has been notable here for one thing - wind. Three consecutive weekends have seen three extended periods of strong winds (the first two irritatingly given names by the media these days). Thankfully, here, the River Tweed lies low as it passes through Paxton, largely in the grounds of Paxton House so we don’t get any flooding in the village. Other parts of the British Isles have unfortunately seen some serious flooding. Although we had one weekend of heavy rain (the middle one of the three) it has largely been characterised by strong, gusty winds that blow you around when walking, (comparatively). 

Wind is my least favourite of weather phenomena - give me rain any day. Temperatures have been some of the coldest of the winter too, but I don’t mind that.

Anyway, although the Tweed doesn’t flood the village, it certainly flooded its immediate banks down at Paxton House. Our regular river bank walk was rendered impossible for one day as flood water covered the whole area (see comparative pictures). 

The snowdrops are now flowering in abundance along the roadside and in the garden. Both crocuses and daffodils have started to bloom heralding the forthcoming arrival of spring.  

Another notable thing about this month was sightings of Roe Deer in the Paxton House grounds and an otter on the banks of the Whiteadder Water.





Monday, 27 January 2020


As January comes to a close, we can look back and reflect on a month that was generally cold, bleak and windy. A week of high winds meant that we had to urgently repair the garden shed roof. The mornings are still dark until around 8 am, but the afternoons stay light until around 4.30 now here. 

For the first few weeks there was not much activity out in the fields or in the garden, other than the birds devouring holders full of seed within two days. 

By the end of the month, however, the snowdrops are beginning to flower and many green tulip and daffodil shoots are now visible. Today (the 22nd) was the first time we have cycled and felt a slight spring-like warmth. The roads were extremely muddy, though, as a result of several fields being freshly ploughed, turning the soil over and spreading slurry, giving the air that unique aroma. 

2018 had some heavy snow in mid-January and 2019 a little at the very end, but 2020 has not seen any as yet.

Cocklawburn Beach

Coldingham Sands