Focus on going to the dogs in Galashiels

On January 29 at the Focus Centre in Galashiels, along with the Dogs Trust, I am sponsoring free micro-chipping of your canine, if you come along between 9am and noon.

There will also be a free vet check – for dogs that is, not owners – and I will also be ready to take up any issues you may have, non-dog related. If that doesn’t entice you, there will be tea, coffee, biscuits – both the people and the dog varieties.

Annual Report

If you live in the constituency of Midlothian South and Tweeddale, you should have received my annual report which, of course, this year focused on the referendum.

This is a big year for Scotland, whatever your views. Many have sent in responses and if you bear with me I will reply, but it’ll take a little time due to the volume.

Some of you asked for a response, but forgot to give your address, so if you are unsure, check with my Edinburgh office.


A reminder that Tesco surgeries are up and running again, having stopped during school holidays.

These are between 11am-noon on the second Saturday in the month in Peebles, third Saturday for Galashiels and fourth is Penicuik.

Appointments can also be made for a Monday in Galashiels, and I also hold a surgery on the first Friday of the month in Newtongrange and then Gorebridge libraries. It may even be more convenient to arrange to see me at parliament. All these details are on my Facebook and website.

Sometimes when the roads are treacherous I have to cancel, but I endeavour to let as many know as soon as practicable. I am now very reluctant to drive on icy roads, having learned my lesson a few years back when I had a close encounter with a roundabout on black ice.

At least when the trains start running that might be avoided – unless we have the wrong kind of ice on the track!

Garden Bird Watch

As a fully-fledged member of the RSPB, can I encourage you to take part in Garden Bird Watch which, at the last count, identified the decline of the house sparrow.

Many have migrated to a neighbour’s holly tree and feast on the delights hanging from my trees, giving haute cuisine a whole new meaning, but I know some of you have much more glamorous feathered friends.

Log onto the RSPB website and you’ll see what you can do to monitor our bird population.

I recall visiting a constituent’s house in Penicuik to be distracted by a flock of ravenous visiting wax-wings stripping the rowan trees of their berries for all they were worth – and she had never noticed them. I know she’s on the look-out now.

Yes, even politicians have their uses.