Visual signals that rail plan is on track

With each week that passes, there is abundant evidence that the railway is coming closer and closer.

Driving up and down the A7, I see BAM entry point signs, and trucks going up and down the track bed. Most recently I visited the Borders Rail site offices – just past Asda Walmart – which will be a bit of a nerve centre for the development. Good to see.

High Hedges

Parliament has passed the High Hedges Bill which will enable people suffering from a neighbour inconsiderately and sometimes deliberately allowing an adjacent hedge to grow to monstrous heights to call in the local authority to have it cut down to size.

The maximum allowable height will be 6ft 6in. This law should be in force next year, but it would be preferable if people with such a high hedge got the electric hedge cutters, loppers and so on out now.

Ambulance HQ

I think the decision to build a new ambulance depot in the grounds of Borders General Hospital is quite sensible and also frees up the Galashiels site for a much-needed medical centre at that end of the town.

But like most planning decisions, not everyone will agree, and why should they?


Following on from that, many constituents come to me with concerns about planning, whether it be a wind farm, housing development or neighbour’s extension.

I am always surprised that so few have ever heard of Planning Aid Scotland. This organisation – and it has a website – gives free and professional advice to communities and individuals faced with the labyrinth that is the planning process.

They can help as they have planners who give their time freely to advise. Use them if you need to and let me know how you get on.

Wee courin’ timorous beastie

Is nae mair. I fear it has migrated from the Garden Lobby to Mouse Heaven.

As someone who detests traps and poison, I suggest we –and this is the only time I would wish to mimic Westminster – adopt a parliamentary cat, preferably a rescue kitty.

I would offer up my two – they are, after all, a team – Newt (Newton) and Bossie (Boswell), and they came into my life almost to the day I entered parliament, so there is a certain connection there.

But after 14 years together I think I would miss the bird and mouse debris they deposit in the hallway, as some kind of offering to that lesser animal – me.