Poet still making his mark

Borders MSP Christine Grahame has unveiled a plaque to celebrate Scots poet Allan Ramsay at the hotel with the same name in Carlops.
Borders MSP Christine Grahame has unveiled a plaque to celebrate Scots poet Allan Ramsay at the hotel with the same name in Carlops.

Borders MSP Christine Grahame has unveiled a plaque to celebrate Scots poet Allan Ramsay at the hotel with the same name in Carlops.

The ceremony was part of a two-day festival to honour the poet and also marked the launch of a cultural heritage resource centre dedicated to his life and works.

Rosemary Brown and Kenny Hall, licensees of the Allan Ramsay Hotel, are working with rural pub champions ‘Pub Is The Hub’ to diversify their services to support the community in the first scheme of its kind in Scotland.

Ms Grahame said: “Allan Ramsay is one of Scotland’s most important literary figures and so it is wonderful to see him dedicated in this way.

“His son, also Allan, was a famous portrait artist whose subjects included Bonnie Prince Charlie and Flora McDonald.”

The coaching inn was built in 1792 in recognition of Ramsay, more than 30 years after his death. As a regular visitor to the area, it became the inspiration for some of his work.


Bear tale

On Tuesday, November 1, Aileen Orr tells the inspiring true story of a brown bear who became one of the Second World War’s most unusual combatants – from his ‘adoption’ in Persia, through to wartime service, escapades in the Borders and finally his home at Edinburgh Zoo. ‘Wojtek the Bear, a Polish War Hero’ starts at 2pm.

Riddell Fiddles

Riddell Fiddles, a Selkirk-based group of musicians, will play at the village hall on Friday, November 4. Also performing is Ron Hastings, guest singer and guitar player. Doors open 7pm, performance starts at 7.30pm.



There will be a quiz and raffle at the Horse and Hound, Bonchester Bridge, on Saturday, October 29, at 8pm, with proceeds going to Bonchester Care Home Comfort Fund – fancy dress optional.


Parish church

Frances Selkirk, from Ashkirk, conducted the service on Sunday when Jo Lawson delivered the Bible reading. Music was played by Andy Bird. The annual sale of work on Saturday raised more than £1,600. The congregational board meets in the church on Thursday, October 27, at 7pm. Shoeboxes have been collected to be distributed by the Blythswood charity for the people of Albania, Romania and other countries, and must be handed in by the of the month. A joint (with Trinity) kirk session/congregational board social will be held on Friday, November 4. Contact Atholl Innes, who is to confirm numbers with the Kingsknowes Hotel this week.



The roof of the Smith Memorial Hall was raised last Saturday by a fine performance from Langlee Community Choir in aid of Parkinson’s UK. The concert was sponsored by Darnick Village Development Trust. The capacity audience were entertained by a varied programme of songs, both traditional and modern, and Scottish and European. Under the direction of Chris Achenback, the choir, drawn from across the Borders, but mainly comprising local singers, demonstrated the joy, harmony and musicality that is the essence of a community choir. The singers performed two sets separated by an interval for home baking and refreshments, kindly provided by members of the Darnick community. There then followed an opportunity to enjoy a number of readings from published poet Pat Miller, who is also a choir member. Following this event, almost £370 will be donated to Parkinson’s UK. This brings the total raised during the year by the trust to more than £800 for its chosen charity. The next event organised by the trust is the premiere of Darnick Cinema Club which is showing ‘Sunshine on Leith’ at the Smith Memorial Hall on Friday, October 28, at 7.30pm.


Parish church

On Sunday, October 30, the service at 10.15am will be conducted by the Rev Julie Rennick. The next service in Hanover Lounge is on Tuesday, November 1, at 3pm when communion will be celebrated. The Blythswood Shoeboxes need to be returned by Sunday, November 6, and can be returned to the church; Ruth Scoular, 13 Station Brae; Border Chainsaw and Lawnmower Services, Unit 4, Station Road Industrial Estate or to the manse.

Coffee morning

Earlston Health Centre’s coffee morning and bingo night held earlier this month raised £2,039.74 towards medical equipment for the centre.

Women’s Group

The next meeting will be on Thursday, November 3, at 8pm and the speaker is Lucie Murray, who will give a demonstration of how to make a Christmas wreath.

Thursday lunch club

A game of dominoes began last Thursday’s proceedings. After lunch, local policeman Michael Norrie gave a talk on personal safety and safety in the home. The next meeting is on October 27.

Wednesday club

The club’s 46th birthday was celebrated earlier this month when hostess Mrs C. Seaton welcomed members, guests and ‘The Border Tarts’, who entertained with singing. After tea, Mr J. Scott cut the birthday cake. Competition – a small bell – 1.Mrs B. Mason, 2. Mrs R. Murray, 3. Mrs M. Miles.


Earlston SWI president Heather Smith welcomed members to the bowling club for this month’s meeting which featured a cookery demonstration. Members were shown how to make barm buns and lentil soup with lime and coconut. After the vote of thanks by Barbara Greer, members sampled the soup and buns. Competitions: three rock buns – 1. Barbara Greer, 2. Brenda Knox; prettiest tea towel – 1. Heather Smith; 2. Cynthia Brown. The next meeting is in Hanover Close on Thursday, November 17.



John Hennessey gave a talk, with photographs, of his holiday in Cuba. There are many elegant old buildings because the Cubans were too poor to build new ones. Special tobacco is grown for cigars, but the coffee producers have gone. People there drive old classic cars because an American embargo prevented the import of new ones. Winners in the cupcakes competition were: 1. Carol Wilson-Green, 2. Margaret Linton. Scottish souvenir winners were Ina Cowe, Margaret Jeary and Kathleen Borthwick.


Coffee morning

The next monthly coffee morning and sale in aid of hall funds will be held on Saturday, November 5, from 10am-noon in the village hall. Anyone with anything to sell should just turn up, take a table and give a small donation. On this occasion, Ettrick and Yarrow Kirk is looking for donations (to Alison Blackadder) for a £5 table.


There are still tickets left for the ceilidh musical evening to be held in the hall on Saturday, November 12, from 7.30pm. This is also in aid of hall funds and music will be provided by the Ian Lowthian Ceilidh Band, supported by Gaelforce. Tickets – Linda on 01750 52257.


Camera club

The club held its first internal competition of the year. Entrants submitted up to four digital images and four prints for an Open category. Entries were judged by Steve McGonnell (LRPS) from Edinburgh Photographic Society. Results were: Beginners DPI (Digital Projected Image) – 1, ‘Through the Archway’ by Lorraine Haddow; 2, ‘Tiger Lily’ by Lisa Kerr; 3, ‘Quick Shower Ladies?’ by Lorraine Haddow. Prints – 1, ‘Eilidh’ by Lisa Kerr; 2, ‘Best Friend’ by Anne Tweedie; 3, ‘Flower’ by Anne Tweedie. Anne also received a highly commended for her image ‘Loyalty’. Standard (images by more experienced or advanced photographers) DPI – 1, ‘Hats Off’ by Ford Renton; 2, ‘Indian Guide’ by Christine Swalwell; 3, ‘The Escalator’ by Gordon Swalwell. Highly commended was awarded to Lynne Grant (x2), Alistair Peacock, Alan Kennedy, Ford Renton, Neil McClean and Gordon Swalwell. Prints – 1, ‘Swallowtail’ by Christine Swalwell; 2, ‘Tall Ship on the Neva’ by Alistair Peacock; 3, ‘Nuthatch’ by Gordon Swalwell. Highly commended was awarded to Gordon Swalwell (x2), Christine Swalwell and Paul Anderson. The winning images will be displayed on the club website shortly.

St Peter’s Church

Friday, October 28 – 5pm, choir practice; Sunday, October 30 – 9.30am, Sunday Squad, followed by juice and toast; 10.30am, sung eucharist, followed by coffee and chat; Tuesday, November 1 - Friday, November 4 – foodbank week (volunteers, please).

Trinity Church

Frances Selkirk conducted Sunday’s service, while Andy Bird (Caddonfoot Church) played the organ and Sheila Urquhart read the lessons. Shelagh Martin spoke about the Christmas tree festival which is being organised by the Galashiels Fellowship of Churches and is being held in Trinity. She asked for volunteers to help during the last weekend in November. The guild met on Tuesday when the speaker was Duncan Cameron from the Street Pastors. Christmas shoeboxes for the Blythswood charity must be returned by Sunday, October 30.



The harvest supper on Friday night was enjoyed by all, with the meal being made by Wendy, plus helpers from the committee.

Dance class

The old time and ceildh dance class meets tonight (Thursday), starting at 8pm. There is a Reel Half Hour from 7.30pm. Beginners always welcome.


Members will meet on Wednesday, November 2, at 7.30pm.



Rotarians were treated to an illustrated talk last week by Jennifer Smith, daughter of club secretary Iain. She recently was a volunteer with The Vine Trust on the River Amazon in South America, on board the Amazon Hope which was staffed by crew, doctors, nurses, dentists and volunteers. Local people, some of whom had walked through the jungle forest for two days, received treatment free of charge. She flew in to Iquitos, Peru, and boarded the ex-navy vessel and set off up the Amazon tributaries. The trust has operated in the region since 1985. Each trip lasts two weeks, returning to base at Iquitos to replenish medicines and refuel the boat. The amount of tree felling in the Amazon forest was obvious by the number of logs being floated down-river, leading to some nasty accidents to the men who guided the wood down the water. Club president Jim Walker expressed members’ appreciation for Jennifer’s talk.



There will be a communion service in Innerleithen Church on Sunday, October 30, at 11.30am.

Christmas lights

On Saturday, November 5, Innerleithen Civic Association is holding coffee morning in the Vale club in aid of the Christmas lights, which will be switched on on Sunday, December 4.


Innerleithen and District Amateur Operatic Society will hold a craft and table-top sale on Saturday, November 12, in the Memorial Hall from 9.30am-12.30pm. Entry by silver collection. Anyone who would like to book a table should email secretary@idaos.org.uk or phone 01896 830577.


Churches Together

There will be a soup lunch in Kenmore Hall at 12.30pm this Sunday to support Edinburgh Direct Aid which is helping Syrian refugees living in a high-altitude camp in Lebanon with clothing, toiletries, notebooks, etc. Speaker is Jeanne Bell, from the charity. There will also be a winter clothes appeal.

St John’s Church

Sunday, October 30 – 9am, holy communion; 9.45am, congregational breakfast in the church centre; 10.30am, sung eucharist with celebrant and preacher John Evans. The autumn concert donations totalled £375, to be divided between church funds and the EDA appeal.

Bridge club

October 10 – 1, D. Cessford & D. Gray; 2, M. Ouldcott & R. Stewart; 3, S. Graham & J. Kyle; 4, K. Jackson & P. Nichol; 5 (equal), M. Weightman & H. Long, V. Johnstone & M. Miller. October 17 – N/S – 1, M. Weightman & H. Long; 2 (equal), V. Johnstone & M. Miller, J. Urquhart & J. Kyle; E/W – 1, S. Graham & J. Louden; 2, S. White & R. Von Slicher; 3, M. & F. Beaton.


Friends’ fundraiser

The Friends of Kelso Hospital have organised a fundraising concert. Mosaic, with Harris Playfair and Heather Cattanach, will present ‘From Mendelssohn to McCartney’ on Saturday, October 29, at 3pm in the town hall. Tickets are available from Hector Innes in The Square.

Broomlands SWI

An informative talk about fundraising at Borders General Hospital took centre stage at this month’s meeting. One of the largest projects was generating cash to help build the Margaret Kerr Unit. Members had a collection and the money raised was handed over to the team in memory of a member who died recently. The competitions were judged and the winners of the ‘flask of soup’ were Hazel Woodsell, Janet Small and Jeanette Farquhar. The ‘pretty scarf’ competition was won byJoan Turnbull, with Moyra Coull second. Members should remember to bring needles and thread for the craft project at next month’s meeting.


Kelso Laddies’ Association AGM will be held on Friday, October 28, in the Dickson Room, Cross Keys Hotel, at 7.30pm. The gathering is open to the public.


On Sunday, October 30, at 7.30pm in Kelso Old Parish Church, Alina Ibragimova will play music for solo violin by Bach, Biber and Bartok. Tickets on the door, or online from www.kelsomusicsociety.com.

Thursday Group

Members enjoyed a huge variety of images taken world-wide by Oliver Eade, who talked about his many experiences. The sum of £67 has been donated to Arthritis Research UK. Today, Scottish Borders Council’s recycling team present ‘Reduce-Reuse-Recycle’ at 2pm in the Abbey Row Centre. Next week, a Mines Advisory Group representative will speak about the problems of clearing landmines from war-torn areas.



Eskdale cider maker Chris Harrison won the first Standalone Scottish Perry competition. Chris, of Waulkmill Cider, who now has his premises at Burnfoot, entered his Mooseheid Perry at the Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) Glasgow Real Ale Festival, and won the Champion Perry of Scotland.

Accordion club

The October meeting of the accordion and fiddle club took place in the social club. Regular compere Adam Grant was unable to attend as he was recovering from illness, but Robin Waitt stepped in and kept the evening going with a swing. Proceedings got under way with piper Ian Bell who played a pleasant selection of tunes and soon had the feet tapping. The Canonbie piper was just back from a visit to Northern Ireland where he played his prize-winning composition. The compere welcomed piano player Iain Wilson, and drummers Robert Willens and Jock Thompson who were the accompanists for the visiting and local accordion players. On this occasion they were Billy Bell, Willy Duff, Roger Dobson, David Dunbar, Robin Waitt and Tommy Herdman. The guest band had Ewan Galloway on accordion, Bill Ewan (piano) and Kyle Innes (drums). The trio started with a jig and a reel, then treated everyone to a mixture of music of many types, including Swiss, French and ceilidh. Bill demonstrated his talent by giving a solo on piano of a ragtime selection. Ewan is well known as a young band leader, playing at many dance halls and concerts, and also hosts a radio show on TD1’s internet broadcast.



President Sheila Hardie welcomed members to the October meeting. Unfortunately, the scheduled speaker could not attend. Instead, member Joanne Watson filled the gap with a general knowledge quiz. After 50 questions, the winning team was Jane Thomson, Joan Stevens, Joyce Black, Mabelle Runciman and Betty Bell. The competitions were judged by Alison, the school caretaker as follows: Two Halloween cupcakes – 1, Liz Dalgliesh; 2, Sheila Hardie; Halloween poem – 1, Joan Stevens; 2, Jane Thomson; 3, Sheila Hardie. The next meeting is on Tuesday, November 8, at 7.30pm in Lauder primary school when Wendy Lyle will demonstrate ‘Meals in 10 minutes’. Competitions are a napkin ring and two pieces of Parkin Cake. If anybody would like a recipe for the Parkin Cake, contact Liz Dalgliesh (01578 722521).

Historical association

Members learned about a runaway American slave called James Pennington, who obtained his freedom through the generosity of three church parishes in Duns, Kelso and Berwick. David McLean, from Duns, had found out about Mr Pennington by chance and had undertaken considerable research into this story. Mr Pennington became the first black man to attend the divinity faculty at Yale University and became a presbyterian minister, visiting Scotland in 1843. He became friends with the Reverend William Ritchie of East Church United Presbyterian Church in Duns and through this link a committee was established to raise funds to purchase Mr Pennington’s freedom – £55 at the time, realised by the three parishes. Mr Pennington received his freedom in Duns on June 26, 1851. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, November 16, featuring a talk about the Duke of Lauderdale.


This month’s meeting of Channelkirk and Lauder Guild is on Wednesday, November 2, at 2.30pm in the church centre, Lauder, when the speaker will be from Encompass. The monthly coffee morning is on Saturday, November 5, in the church centre (10-11.30am).



A Halloween ceilidh will be held on Saturday, October 29 ( 7-10.30pm), in Currie Memorial Hall. It is in aid of four Selkirk High Sschool pupils for their Borders Exploration Group trip to Bolivia in 2017. The ceilidh also features games, raffle, fancy dress, bar and supper. Tickets from 01835 870348 or on the door.


Historican association

On behalf of the president, Ian Skinner welcomed 28 members and friends of Melrose Historical and Archaeological Association to the Ormiston Rooms for their first meeting of the 2016/17 session. Clive Hallam-Baker gave an illustrated talk on ‘Carham – the Battle, the Border and the Birth of Two Nations’. The records of the action some 1,000 years ago are almost non-existent and doubts arise concerning the date, location and even names of some protagonists. Latest evidence supports the date as 1018, rather than 1016, while topography favours the action near Carham ford, not east of Wark as suggested in some maps. The Northumbrian army defeated by the combined force of Scots and Strathclyde-Cumbrians may have been led by Earl Uhtred, or possibly his brother. Although the Tweed border was not officially settled by the battle, it is clear that in the aftermath the Lothians and Berwickshire areas did fall increasingly within the Scottish sphere. Research is ongoing and a number of commemorative events are being planned for two years’ time under ‘Carham 1018’.

Border Flower Club

Margaret Campbell was demonstrator for this month’s meeting and the title for her designs was ‘Surprise Surprise’. Using Halloween as a theme, she started with a Crab Apple ring. A giant spider was included in a rustic design with deep red and orange flowers. For the Halloween party was a table centre made from carrots and wool. A colourful posy pad with a collar of bright orange felt was then elevated on a wooden stand – the flowers again had autumnal colours. The next meeting is on Wednesday, November 2, in the Corn Exchange at 7.30pm when the demonstrator will be Susan Wareing from Grange-over-Sands with the title ‘A Touch of Glitter’.

Parish church

Services on Sunday, October 30 – Bowden, 9.30am; Melrose, 11am.


The season comes to an end this weekend, with the final 2016 walk taking place on Thursday, October 27, at 1.30pm from the square. Trimontium went forth last week to speak to the U3A at Peebles on the Romans in the Borders.



Members held their AGM in Denholm. The votes for the new committee were counted, but the positions will only be confirmed at the next meeting as so many members were still on holiday. The cup for the most points accumulated over the year’s competitions was awarded jointly to Pat Jardine and Sheila Marshall. Results of the meeting’s competition for most useful kitchen utensil – 1, Pat Jardine; 2, Dee Baxter; 3, Enid Cruickshank; 4, Gena Hughes. Members then enjoyed an evening of chatter and ‘Try and Taste’. Several items, from avocado salad mix, whisky cake and meringues to Turkish Delight fresh from Turkey added to the selection. During the weeks before and after the AGM, members have also enjoyed visits to other SWIs – to Midlem which celebrated its 70th birthday, Newtown St Boswells for an evening of Norrie McLeish’s ghost stories and to St Boswells where they were entertained by Nigel Brown’s tales of a Borders vet. This was followed by a visit to Bedrule for an evening of entertainment by the prize-winning Wilton SWI Singers (The Dolly Mixtures) and to Glendouglas for the annual quiz night.


Coffee morning

A coffee morning in aid of CHAS (Children’s Hospice Association Scotland) was held on Saturday when £414 was raised. Competition winners: Number of sweets in jar - Mary Beattie; Number of golf tees in jar - Brenda Dixon; Plant - Catherine Mabon.


Morebattle Guild’s next meeting takes the form of a visitors’ night when Russell Crawford gives an illustrated talk on ‘Malawi Fruits’ on Thursday, November 3, at 7.30pm in the institute.



President Elaine Thornton-Nicol welcomed guests from neighbouring branches at this month’s meeting. Speaker Norrie McLeish relayed several ghost and witch stories in ‘Haunted Borders’ before a stovie supper was served. Also in October, members enjoyed hospitality at Midlem and St Boswells on their guest nights. The next meeting of Newtown SWI will be the AGM on Thursday, November 3, at 7pm in the Community Wing.


Library cafe

The next library cafe is in the hall on Wednesday, November 2, from 11am-noon.


Coffee morning

A coffee morning will be held on Saturday, November 5, in Oxton Memorial Hall (10am-noon). Donations welcome – contact Dave, 750684; Bill, 750318; Andrew, 750252; or Jackie, 750262.


Monday Club

Anyone who thinks they would enjoy the company of a group of friendly people who meet twice a month between autumn and Easter is welcome to join them for a varied programme of speakers, music, outings and a party or two. Bring £1.50 to St Joseph’s Church hall at 2pm on Monday, October 31, to listen to Lady Deborah Stewartby’s talk about ‘John Buchan: Thirty-Nine Steps to Governor-General – the years in between’.

Coffee morning

Selkirk Ex-Soldiers’ Association and the Royal British Legion Scotland’s Selkirk and Ettrick Forest branch are holding a coffee morning in St Joseph’s Church hall on Saturday, October 29, from 10am-noon.


Wine bar

The old British Legion clubrooms are opening at 7pm on Friday, October 28, as a wine bar and bistro.



The next service in Traquair Kirk will be on Sunday, November 13, at 9.30am, followed by a service at the war memorial at 10.50am.



There will be a communion service in Walkerburn Public Hall at 10.30am on Sunday, October 30.


Halloween parties

Halloween parties in the Youth Hall on Saturday, October 29, are in aid of Yetholm and Morebattle Playgroup. Children’s party – 5-7pm, fancy dress and games. Adult party – from 8.30pm

History society

Members meet at 7.30pm on Tuesday, November 1, in the Mission Hall when Graeme Watson will give a talk on the life and poetry of Robert Gray (‘The Yetholm Poet’).


A quiz night will be held on Wednesday, November 2, in The Plough at 8pm, with proceeds going to bonfire night.


The Floral Gateway AGM is on Monday, November 7, in the Youth Hall at 7pm.

Bonfire night

The bonfire night and firework display is on Saturday, November 5, at 6pm on the playing field.