Monday, 23 January 2012

A brief report from the Borders

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Back from the Borders. They are quite shockingly pretty; I always forget. They have those lovely green folded hills and mountains which look as if they are made of velvet. Sometimes, in the thick yellow light, the country looks almost Italian, faintly reminiscent of the slopes of Lake Como.

There were very old friends; one rekindled acquaintance, who had grown funnier and more fascinating with age; and several people I had never met in my life. I laughed a lot, pontificated excessively, drank slightly too much good Burgundy, and wore my red patent wedges. I had to apologise twice for bombast. My social skills are creaking from lack of use, so when I do go out, I get very over-excited and have a fatal tendency to shout and wave my arms about. Thus: slightly angsty apologies. Luckily, everyone was most charming and forgiving.

The Pigeon was a tremendous hit. There were two particularly adorable little girls who fell in love with her. She has a profound affection for children. On Saturday, we were out on the hill when violent wind and rain came howling down the valley. The small girls decided that they would keep The Pigeon warm by rubbing her all over with their gloved hands, to get the circulation going. ‘Oh Pigeon,’ they said with a dying fall, as they gazed on her slightly plaintive wet face.

Tired now after my social exertions. Since I am used to being silent for days on end, forty-eight hours of non-stop talking takes it out of me, as if I have been competing in some marathon athletic event. So today’s blog is shockingly brief. I give you some pretty pictures of the Borders in compensation. They even have snowdrops down there, great pale carpets of them, enchanting the woods. Two hundred miles north, we have no sign of snowdrop yet. Although I did see the first daffodil shoots this morning, which have appeared, like a miracle, in the two days since I have been away. It is the first official mark that there will, one day, be spring.



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And, back at home, the fledgling daffs:

23 Jan 14 23-01-2012 11-29-25

The wonderful mossiness of the grass:

23 Jan 15 23-01-2012 12-06-02

I became rather fascinated by the mossy grass, and took a while to work out the best way to capture it in a photograph. There was a great deal of crouching, and bending, and lying down on the ground in order to get the best angle. In the middle of a particularly inelegant squat, a smart gentleman drove up, and asked where he might find The Landlord. Clearly they had some kind of business meeting.

I gave directions. The fellow gave absolutely no sign, not by the flicker of an eyelid or the twitch of a cheek, that he had come upon me squatting down on the ground, taking photographs of the mossy earth. It must have appeared a frankly peculiar thing to be doing. To make it worse, I had my new super-stereophonic headphones on, and was so moved by the sound quality that I was singing tunelessly and very loudly along to Everything But The Girl. And I was wearing my most ancient green velvet coat with the holes in, and bits of tattered lining drooping out of the sleeves, and one shoulder faded to olive by the sun.

He addressed me as if I were the Duchess of Alba. The more I think of this, the more I believe that he must have a most remarkable mother, who taught him the best manners in Scotland.

My own dear hills:

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23 Jan 20 23-01-2012 12-15-30

And finally, the perfect canine guest. She really did behave with tremendous decorum:

23 Jan 21 24-12-2011 14-06-03

I am not ashamed to admit I was very proud of her.


  1. I must apologise (again!) for keeping on leaving these gushing enthusiastic comments, but I keep clicking on your link to see your pictures and smile at your words and then I have to respond.... Today I am jealous of your snowdrop carpets, your folded hills and your gentleman with a good mother - thank you, thoroughly worth the visit!

  2. Love the dogs glossy nose! She must be one happy and healthy lady! Lx

  3. Welcome home! Beautiful pictures of the moss and, of course, The Beautiful Pigeon.
    So pleased you had a wonderful time and wore your red wedges. xx
    I tried to leave a comment on your last post and it got eaten by the internet. Then I tried again and again. And then I forgot what I was going to say.

  4. The Borders are beautiful ~ thank you for letting me see what I've slept through on the overnight trains from London (my loss). And the image of The Pigeon with her handmaidens is too darling for words. But picturing you in your photographer's pose with your mannerly observer is hilarious---caused great danger to the computer screen, as I was drinking when I read it.

    Glad you're back.


    To Em: If I try to comment via Firefox, the computer eats the comment every time. Only Internet Explorer seems to work, and it doesn't always. When I researched, the problem apparently is something between Google and the server which has been going on since spring 2011 (you'd think they'd have fixed it by now). Mine to the last post just disappeared when I hit 'publish.'

    1. Thanks for that, Anonymous, that's exactly what happened when I hit 'publish' - three times! Hope they fix it (I use Internet Explorer)...

  5. I love your picture of the hill, the goldeny brown trees, the green grass (is that real!!!) and the sheep and then the little stream in the foreground. It is idyllic and more like a painting than a photograph. Beautiful gradation of colours!
    Am back in Sri Lanka. So good to be home.


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