This blog is to introduce you to my town - Peebles, in the Scottish Borders - just one photo at a time, with perhaps a little description and maybe some history thrown in. I hope you will find it interesting. The title comes from a historical comment made by someone who preferred Peebles to the great and famous cities. I know how they felt. It's always a pleasure to return here however long you've been away.

If you want to make a comment, ask me a question, or merely just want to say "hello, I've dropped in", you can do that by using the comment section below each entry. (Just click on the word COMMENT and follow instructions. ) I'd love to know what you think of what you see of my town.

I don't have an expensive elaborate camera so the photo quality may not be brilliant, but I'd like to think my pics will please you. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Thanks to Mary H for the lovely designs I used for my background, and thanks too to all of you who have chosen to support my blog by becoming "followers".

Thursday, 30 April 2009

The Red Door

It's just a door, you might think, but it's not just any door! This is the famous red door that the Buchan family would have used, as they went in and out of their home at the end of the High Street. When the greater part of the house was demolished to allow the widening of Cuddy Bridge, the doorway was saved and built into the new gable as access to the flat above the old bank!

I am sure Mrs Buchan made sure the letter box and door handle were kept well polished and shiny, but people don't care about these things any more, and sadly the High Street looks more and more shabby as time goes by.

Friday, 24 April 2009

By Tweed again

The last few days have been really warm and the leaves have suddenly started to come out. This photo was taken alongside Tweed, above the bridge and the cauld, on my favourite route to Morag's house! Spring trees look so pretty in their different shades of green, looking so fresh and beautiful. By the time summer comes, all the greens have merged somewhat and appear very much the same, till autumn shows them once again in their own glorious colours, in shades of yellow, red and brown this time. Spring and autumn are the best seasons for colour, and I think I prefer spring.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Red Lion House

This is Red Lion House, which I understand used to be a pub, and indeed it is a popular name for one, there being plenty of Red Lion pubs around the country. When you click on the pic and get the enlarged version, you will see that there is a stone lion above the front door. There are also recumbant stone lions at the side entrance, hidden from view by the tree and the greenery behind it. I don't think a pub has existed there in living memory, and today it is a residential property. It was also called Crichton Cottage at some stage apparently.

It stands back a bit from the Cuddy Burn, and backs onto Biggiesknowe. The lady of the house has been known to take in orphaned ducklings from Cuddy, and hand rear them. Bramble and Scramble were two female mallard ducks that survived out of a clutch of 8 ducklings that she "adopted" a few years ago, and as far as I know, one of the two is still on the river somewhere even now.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Another of Peebles' famous sons

Well, there are several famed folk fae Peebles, and I briefly mentioned the Chambers dictionary guys before, but I have to tell you about another, and today I got permission from the man himself to use some photos of himself in my blog, so here goes!

Have you heard the song about Willie MacBride, the 19 year-old, who was killed in France, during the first World War? A tombstone in a French war cemetery inspired the very emotive song called The Green Fields of France? Or what about the one about the Anzac soldier who lost both legs at Gallipoli? It's called "The band played Waltzing Matilda".

These are probably the bestknown - worldwide - songs from the Peebles-born singer songwriter, Eric Bogle, who emigrated to Australia in 1967. One of his old friends back here in Peebles says that they were all very surprised one night in the 60s, at a party, where guitars were probably as obligatory as they were at the Edinburgh parties I used to go to, when Eric actually sang a song! Apparently he had never shown any particular aptitude for singing, so they were all quite amazed! However, the young Eric went on to sing in a band called Eric and the Informers for a while, which episode inspired another song many years later.

The first of Eric's songs I ever heard was the one about him going off in a train, leaving behind on the platform Nancy, someone very dear to him. It hit the spot with me as the same story was played out in my late teens when a boyfriend left what turned out to be the same station heading for work in London. However it was many years before I learned that Nancy wasn't a girlfriend, but his mum, and he was on his way to Australia. That song can still bring a mistiness to the eye!!!

I didn't even know who had written it till I had moved down to the north of England and started frequenting the folkclubs there. At one, I heard a very talented singer, Jim Sharp, sing this very same song, having mentioned it was written by one Eric Bogle. Sit up and take note! After that Jim used to sing other songs by the same guy - I especially remember the emotion of "Leaving the Land" - and that was me hooked!
When I came back to Scotland and settled in Peebles, I was listening to Radio Scotland one day, and heard that the next song was to be one written by "Peebles-born Eric Bogle". Wow, here was I having chosen to live in Peebles and this was Eric's hometown! After a few years I was working in our local stationer's shop when a "new girl" joined us. She and I got on well together, and it was she, Maureen, who told me of the forthcoming concert at the High School of her husband's old school friend - of course, none other than Eric.

So, a ticket was bought to go and see the great man himself, and it was then I discovered that Nancy was his mum, and the "Belle of Broughton" was his gran. It was a great concert, full of good music and humour, and at his old school too! He thought that was quite amusing!

Since then he has sung at several hometown gigs and I have been at them all! Later ones featured friends of Eric's alongside him in a band, which added to the enjoyment of the songs, giving an additional range of musical instruments and voices.

This year will be Eric's last tour of the UK, and I see on the list of venues The Davy Lamp, one of the folk clubs in the north east of England that I used to go to sometimes. Its website shows that some of the members of a couple of decades ago are still to the fore. I'm willing to bet that Jim Sharp will be there - he who sang Leaving Nancy all those years ago. I may try to get down there myself, but I will most definitely be at Peebles High School for the last ever gig Eric does in this country!
Here's what he had to say in his email.... "I too am looking forward to the Peebles concert, should be an emotional night I think, not a dry seat left in the house.......yes, it will be my last concert in the UK, time to stop hauling this rapidly disintegrating body all over the world, spend a bit more time with the wife and doggies........I'll probably get back to Peebles again sometime in the future I hope, but strictly as a tourist." We hope you do, Eric!

Friday, 17 April 2009

The plough!

Don't the gulls just love to follow behind the plough, as it turns over the earth. This was taken just outside the town the other day. I was pleased to get the tractor on the skyline. It seems to me like a good shot! I'm not sure what they'll grow here. Maybe it will be a root crop for feeding the sheep.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

The old cinema

It was Peggy my long-while penfriend in Arkansas who made me think of what my next picture would be. She asked if the street had changed much and I said no, it was very recognisable from old pictures, but thinking about new builds, I reckoned that the old cinema must be about the most recent of the High Street buildings - though thinking about it now, I know I am wrong!

Anyway, today's pic is of the old cinema, regardless. Like many others around the country it was built in the 1930s, obvious by its Art Deco style of architecture. I just think it's a shame no-one thinks of keeping the paintwork looking nice. My friend David says that he was the last person to have it painted and that would have been about 12 years ago when he lived in the flat above the shop, some time after the conversion! I think it would be good to take a leaf out of New Zealand's Art Deco city's book and paint the building in pretty colours. I do like the Art Deco style! Shame this isn't the best of examples, with Semi-Chem now occupying the shop at street level where presumably current film posters were once displayed outside in glass cases and Art Deco doors led into the foyer. I wonder if anyone still has a photo of the original frontage.

I don't remember when it was still a cinema as it must have closed about 25 years ago maybe, and I've only been here for 22. When I was a youngster, Peebles was a place we visited often, generally for tea after a weekend "walk in the country", so it's little wonder I remember the tearoom above the baker's - and that's where a more recent build comes in, more anon! - but don't remember the cinema, the station, the mills, for example, all of which are gone now.
We have to go to Edinburgh or Galashiels these days if we want to see the latest films, though occasionally an old or classic film is shown at the Eastgate theatre.

Talk again soon.

Friday, 10 April 2009

High Street building

I rather like this building right at the church end of the High Street. At ground level there is a small shop selling donated items like clothes, books, china, jewellery, odd bits of furniture, etc. to support the Chest, heart and stroke charity. (We have five charity shops in Peebles, all selling similar types of goods to fund different charities.)

Also on ground level is the front door to the flat above.. I love the appearance of those three wee windows right at the top below the roof, but if you look carefully you will see the two right hand ones are painted! They were windows once but during the 19th century there was a tax on windows and later on glass, so that many windows were blocked up, but to keep the proportions false window panes were painted in.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

New leaves

Spring is definitely springing! A few warm days at the beginning of April got buds opening on the trees, but it has turned cooler since. It has to warm up again soon, surely! It's April, after all!

The Parish Church "crown" is having repair work done on it just now. Up alongside the scaffolding is the steeplejacks' company noticeboard. I mean, who can read it way up there!

This photo was taken from the path by the Cuddy Burn, just before the Tree (Trie)Bridge. Above the central lamppost you can see the triple windows at the back of the Buchan House on the High Street.