Peebles and Ice Cream

Knickerbocker glory

A conversation with Peggy (Peggy Ann’s Post) our visitor from the US about knickerbockers led to me mentioning the ice cream Knickerbocker Glory and I was surprised that Peggy didn’t know what I was talking about although I’m sure they aren’t a particularly Scottish thing. Anyway, the first weekend she was with us we were invited down to Peebles by Evee of Evee’s Blog and when I spotted an ice cream parlour in the town I thought it would be a good chance for Peggy to experience an ice cream indulgence. Jack, Peggy and I had the glories and Evee opted for the Banoffee Split which has a slight nod to healthy eating in that at least you are eating a banana. Mind you the glories contained quite a lot of fruit too.

Banofee Split

After that it was time to take a stroll around the town and work off some of those calories. In truth we had to wait in the shop until the worst of the rain had passed but that gave us an opportunity to watch a large posse of people of all ages riding along the high street on their horses. Peggy said they would have closed the street off for that in the US and she came to the conclusion that in Scotland we are a lot more relaxed about things like that. Sadly I didn’t manage to get a photo of them, or the couple who high stepped it along the road in a horse drawn buggy.

The Cross Kirk was our destination, the sort of place which you would never find if you were a casual visitor to Peebles so we were grateful to have Evee as our guide. The ruin dates back to the late 1100s and it’s in amongst a lot of houses a shortish walk from the high street, but it’s still atmospheric. I especially liked the stone carving of a knight’s head which you can see above the doorway below if you look carefully.

Peebles Cross Kirk

Peebles Cross Kirk

And here we are, what is the collective noun for a group of bloggers? A bevy, bunch, blah or maybe we’re besoms.

K, P, E Peebles Cross Kirk

If you want to see some photos of our visit to Dunfermline Abbey hop over to Jack here.

Peebles by the River Tweed

A couple of weekends ago Jack and I went to Peebles to meet up with Evee of Evee’s Blog who lives in Peebles and also to have a mooch around the annual Peebles Peace Group booksale. The photo below is me on the right looking fat in my raincoat, it had been bucketing with rain all the way until we got to Peebles. I don’t think I’m that hefty, it was the bulky jumper I was wearing underneath which did it – honest! Evee is on the left of course and is looking svelte due to the paleo diet which she is having great success with.

Evee + Katrina
We started to walk along the banks of the River Tweed, at this point the pathway is wide and flat as you can see but it isn’t long before you have to scramble over tree roots and go up and down close to the banks of the river and it got muddier and muddier as we walked along.

Bridge at Peebles

The photo above is of the bridge at Peebles town and we walked over that to get to the riverside path.

The photo below is the view looking back in the direction of Peebles.

River Tweed

It doesn’t give any impression of the speed of the river which was really fast and fierce. We probably wouldn’t have gone on the walk at all if we had realised how windy it was. Due to a combination of the wrong footwear, mud and a howling gale, poor Evee came a cropper three times, the third time she had an alarming close encounter with her camera as she fell. Worryingly she was bleeding quite badly from a cut above her eye where her camera caught her. Even worse than that though was the news a few days later that she had cracked a few ribs too! It could have been disastrous though as at the time Evee and I were both worried about being blown into the River Tweed as we were so close to the banks and the wind was so strong. I had a vision of us both being human Poohsticks and Jack hanging over the bridge to see which one of us passed under it first – drowned of course.

River Tweed

Neidpath Castle loomed up through the trees, annoyingly this one isn’t open to the public although you can hire it for your wedding if you are that way inclined. You can see more images of it here.

Neidpath Castle

And below is a much closer photo. That chunk of stonework in the foreground seems to match the bite which is missing from the castle wall at the top.

Neidpath Castle

The photo below is of Jack and Evee, taken before Evee had her accident. Although Evee and I had met up before in Edinburgh this was a first meeting for Jack and Evee. Evee and I only got to know each other through blogging which has turned out to be a great way of meeting friends whether in reality or just online.

Evee + Jack

Amazingly in early May fellow blogger Peggy Ann of Peggy Ann’s Post is coming to Scotland all the way from Pennsylvania to visit us for a month, she’ll be seeing various internet friends while she’s here, as well as Evee and myself, the four of us are going up to the Highlands for a few days. Fingers crossed for good weather! All because of the internet. Peggy Ann has always wanted to visit Scotland so she’s just about off the scale with excitement about the whole thing. I’m still biding my time before crossing to the other side of that pond, waiting for that ‘Beam me up Scotty’ gadget.

Recent Book Purchases

I had been meaning to visit Evee and Peebles for ages, but life got in the way, mainly all that house selling and moving stress. But we managed to get down to Peebles a few weekends ago and took the chance to visit the Peebles Peace Group annual book sale. What an amount of books they had gathered together for the sale! All sorts of books although the fiction was mainly modernish I did manage to pick up a few oldies as you can see, if you twist your neck, sorry about that I should have rearranged the photo.

Katrina's books

As you can see, Jack reigned himself in compared with me, as usual. I might read these ones too sometime.
Jack's books

I bought:

The Gardens of the National Trust by Stephen Lacey
Marion Alive by Vicki Baum
Hickory Dickory Dock by Agatha Christie
The Lowlands of Scotland – Glasgow and the North by Maurice Lindsay
A Cathedral Courtship by Kate Douglas Wiggin
Penelope’s Experiences in Scotland by Kate Douglas Wiggin
Those Fragile Years by Rose Franken
Hans Andersen His Classic Fairytales. Illustrated by Michael Foreman

Some Whispers from Fairyland (lovely illustrations) was bought from the Oxfam shop in Stockbridge, Edinburgh

At Peebles Jack bought:
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The other two, Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie
Promised Land by Connie Willis and Cynthia Felice, he bought elswhere.

A great day out was had by all, I’ll show you some photos of our walk along the banks of the River Tweed soon.

Evee’s Peebles, Scottish Borders

If you want to see Peebles in snow do yourself a favour and have a look at Evee’s recent Winter post.

Peebles is the small Scottish Border town which was home to the John Buchan/O.Douglas family, they were very attached to the area – as is Evee, and no wonder, it looks lovely.

Priorsford by O. Douglas (Anna Buchan)

Priorsford is a sequel to Penny Plain which you can read about here. It was published ten years after Penny Plain and the story has moved on just about the same amount of time. Jean now has three children and is living in England at her husband’s estate. It’s years since she has been to visit the folks back in Priorsford (Peebles) in Scotland so when her husband has to go away for the winter with a friend who is very ill, she takes the chance to move her family back to where she grew up so that she can catch up with all her old friends and neighbours. Mrs. Duff Whalley thinks the worst, of course, as that type always does.

I think I enjoyed this one more than Penny Plain which was a wee bit too preachy in parts for my liking. This is an enjoyable comfort read but there are plenty of mentions of the hard times which so many people were experiencing in the 1930s. The problems were all so similar to what’s going on today and I briefly thought to myself that we’ve always had periods of unemployment and poverty – and then I remembered what it was that got us out of the 1930s depression – war! They’re going to have to come up with a better solution this time around!

This excerpt is towards the end of the book when Jock is complaining about his office job:

‘It’s a good opening,’ Betty reminded him. ‘Just think how many there are who would be thankful for it.’

‘Oh, I know,’ Jock agreed. ‘There are dozens of men who were with me at Oxford, most of them better scholars, all of them quicker in the uptake, and they simply can’t get a bally thing to do. And people rave about the youth of our country having lost the spirit of adventure, and asking why they don’t go to the Colonies and carve out careers for themselves. But these men have little or no capital, and the Colonies don’t want them.’

As you can see, Priorsford is more than a comfort book, it delves into the problems of the day, but the inhabitants of Priorsford are much the same as before so they’re all recognisable ‘types’. Jean as a wife and mother is rivalling the mother in Little House on the Prairie books for being mild mannered and almost saintly, the way she puts up with her husband and family!

I’m looking forward to going to Priorsford (Peebles) soonish and I want to go to where the Laverlaw meets the Tweed, local legend has it that Merlin is buried there! Have you heard about that Evee, and did you ever discover the location of The Riggs?

More from Evelyn

Just a quick one tonight!

I discovered recently that Evelyn of Evee’s blog is an even busier bee than I thought she was as she also has a blog called Peebles for Pleasure which is obviously about the Scottish Borders town of Peebles and is just full of gorgeous photos of the area, by Iain Mackay.

I really don’t know the area all that well as I’ve only been to the town itself for very short walks along the high street whilst on our way to visit nearby relatives. I’m going to have to give Peebles more time next time we’re there because we’ve been missing all the great bits. Just going by the photos I’d definitely move there if it wasn’t so far away from Perth and Dundee.

If you read books by O. Douglas (Anna Buchan, John Buchan’s sister) you’ll be interested in Peebles for Pleasure. It’s easy to see why Anna loved the place and wrote about it, giving it the name of Priorsford in her books.

The Buchan family moved to Kirkcaldy in Fife when their father, who was a Scottish Free Church minister was preaching at a church here. I think they lived in Fife for at least eleven years and Mrs Buchan in particular must have been ‘pining for Peebles’ all that time as the blast from the north sea must have come as a shock to her. They did eventually get back to the Peebles area.

It’s a bit of a miracle that I found Peebles for Pleasure because I don’t think Evelyn has it on her sidebar, unless I just can’t see it for looking at it – if you see what I mean. If you haven’t found it before and you like lovely photos do yourself a favour and hop over.

Another Place to Visit

What have I been doing recently? Well apart from the boring house stuff I’ve made time to visit Evelyn at Evee’s Blog. I must admit that Evelyn found ‘Pining’ first as she’s interested in Scottish words and that’s how she got to me. I’m so glad that she did as her blog is a beautiful place to visit with gorgeous photos of places she has travelled to and scenes more local to her base in the Scottish border town of Peebles. So if you love things Scottish and photos of plants, gardens, houses and crafts do yourself a favour and hop over to Evee’s Blog.

Otherwise I’ve been watching The Great British Bake Off where the baking tasks are getting fiendishly difficult but already we’re down to the last three contestants so next week is the last one. Janet was my favourite baker and I really hoped she would win but it wasn’t to be, her undercooked pastries let her down. I’m not sure who I want to win now.

Tonight we watched Billy Connolly’s Route 66 Road Trip of America. The third one in the series I think, I like armchair travelling especially when it’s to places that we’re never likely to visit. Tonight he was in Oklahoma, Arizona and Texas where as usual he met interesting locals. The rodeo reminded me of an Annie Proulx short story, those riders are completely nuts. He also visited a barbed wire museum in a place called Mclean, who would have thought there were so many different kinds of wire! It probably beat the pencil museum in Cumbria – or wherever it is. The best scenery was in Monument Valley.

If you have time have a look at some of the first episode.