Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Railway Tracks

There are hundreds of miles of disused railways in the Scottish Borders but very little of it is available to the public. In Canada ALL disused railways are turned into atrractive cycle and walking routes, some of them hundreds of miles long and even have dedicated guest houses. It is a shame that much of the old Borders Railway is so heavily covbered in bush that one cannot walk it. There are small stretches, one recently opened in Gordon, and outside of Melrose, but these are a tiny fraction of what could be done. The land is public owned, but large landowners use it as their own and do nothing to encourage walkers. People use it to dump rubbish and its a shame.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Why We Left Trinidad

I have not spoken on the site about why we left Trinidad and moved our family and children 3000 miles to Scotland. This is what the BBC says about Trinidad -

"Trinidad and Tobago - a major trans-shipment point for cocaine - has become ridden with drug and gang-related violence. This has clogged up the courts and has fuelled a high murder rate and much of the corruption that is reputedly endemic in the police. It also threatens the tourism industry".

We reached the point where we never felt safe and it began to wear us down. My wifes family was held up and robbed at gunpoint on a trip to the beach, we were burgled, and we had incidents that led us to believe we were being targeted. We lived a very nice lifestyle, much better than now, but we learned that personal safety is a bigger thing than anything else. We feel safe and happy here.

Borders Food Network

There is a web site that gives reviews and details of eating local food in the Borders. It has some good places and is worth a browse. I am not sure about the places listed, for example the one in St Boswells, as I lived there and never found a place called "The Whitehouse", also they seem very out of date. But it does have some good places Like Burts in Melrose. My take on it is that its self promotional, i.e. not very accurate as who would say about themselves that they are rubbish? So some are good such as Oblo in Eyemouth, but some are not so good such as Giacopazzi in Eyemouth who tells everyone he is the best and has managed to convince some people until they eat at Fords in Berwick and then one sees Giacopazzi is second rate. But there is not much about Borders food so this is worth a look.

website of the borders foodnetwork

Brunton Theatre Cafe, Musselburgh

Musselburgh seems to have a lot of dentists if you drive through. My wife was attending one and I took the opportunity to stop at the Theatre Cafe for a coffee and roll as there is few places to do that in Musselburgh. It has an upmarket "town ladies" feel to it, clean and nice. However the food and service is not up to the place itself. They go to a lot of trouble to tell you on entry "waitress service only" like as if you may be looking for a cheap self service and wandered into the wrong place. But the food is not very good I'm afraid. Coffee is OK and its obviously full of housewives with kids out for a stroll. I would not recommend eating there. Just have a coffee and stroll on..,

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bread Shops

Innerliethen - Well I have to say Innerliethen is a lucky little village. A good Cafe in Whistle Stop and a proper bread shop whose brown loaf is the best I have had in the Borders outside of Berwick. Its a strange light loaf and the one I bought was kind of holey but the taste is very good.

Dalgetty - This bakery serves Galshiels and Melrose with reasonable but not outstanding bread. The shops are nicely done, particularly in Melrose where they have a cafe as well. The bread is second quality in my opinion, I don't buy there unless forced to do so.

Trotters - This bakery is based in Coldstream and serves Duns and several small shops such as Gordon. The bread is good quality and I rate them second to Fords of Berwick.

Fords of Berwick - This bakery has shops in Wooler, Berwick and Norham and severs the finest bread in the Borders bar none. Their crusty brown is outstanding, their white almost as good and on weekends they do a good Scottish "Plain" bread (baked close so no side crust)

Fords of Edinburgh - In a confusing move an Edinburgh bakery called Fords serves bread and rolls to many shops and restaurants in the Borders including the COOP. Their bread is poor quality.

Baxters Selkirk - Has a good hand made bread but no slicer.

Floors Castle Shop - Sevres excellent home made bread, the best crusty white I have had yet. No slicer though.

Whistle Stop Cafe - Innerliethen

A very nice clean place with good cafe food all well prepared and served from fresh ingredients. They do breakfasts, rolls and light lunches plus a range of coffees and teas. It an eclectic kind of place that also sell paintings by local artists and odd knick knacks like silk flowers but it has a charm. Staff are very friendly and its not expensive. A good place if your in the area, and a cut above most.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Farm Shop - Piercebridge

It is quite natural if going South to drop down the A68 until almost Scotch Corner and then pick up the A1. On the way back we exit immediately after Scotch Corner and go through Piercebriudge where there is an excellent farm shop and cafe. The cafe serves a lovely fresh homemade selection of cakes and light food. The shop sells genuine organic produce. Last trip we got some steaks from them and the flavour was better than the local butcher, top class meat. They are not cheap, a chicken might be 15 pounds, but the quality is superb.

Weather June

Despite the odd good day its been coldish and miserable. Such a contrast with April. Today for example is wet and rainy.


Not far from Gordon is the small hamlet of Huntlywood. I just learned that in this hamlet was the castle tower of Robert Gordon who owned Gordon village and was a mercenary in the area and supported Robert the Bruce. He later moved his family and army North and that is how the name Gordon Highlanders arose, despite the fact that Gordon is in the lowlands.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chop Chop Edinburgh

This unusual restaurant is billed and reviewed as a "real" Chinese restaurant, i.e. unlike others this is real Chinese food. The food like the owners is from Northern China where it appears dumplings and noodles are the thing. My wife and I went their for our 16th anniversary lunch. The restaurant is light and airy, in Leith on the back side of Commercial street in a modern restaurant row, very pleasant and easy to park. We ordered beef, chicken and prawn dumplings, spicy noodles, chicken wings and aubergine which is the house speciality.
I like the dumplings which are served with a dish for mixing a dip of soy and vinegar. The prawn ones were not up to scratch, couldn't taste prawns at all, but the beef with chilli and chicken were very good. The noodles were good served plain but with a topping of fried roasted schezuan pepper (I think). The chicken wings were very nice simply friend with cracked salt and cracked schezuan peppers. The aubergines were good, a bit oily but a valid take.
Overall it was a good meal and not expensive at about 40 pounds.
I am not sure how authentic, and I would doubt the clain to the best Edinburgh chines, , but it is certainly different to the normal fried rice and chicken in a sauce of cornflour and soy. The menu does not offer a lot of choices so if you go, eat dumplings!

web site


This week our sewage backed up and what a long mucky job it was. Townies with council sewage have no idea. At one stage up to my elbows in muck I wondered what had happened to two days of my life as my neighbour and I sweated over a 50 metre length of rods pushing and pulling to get it clear. What caused it? Pamper wet ones baby wipes! They do not disintegrate, we pulled up I think about 5 packs all clogged into the drains...phewww stinky work.

Swallows Back

Well we are happy to see the swallows back. They are rebuilding their nest and I think have eggs again.

one day of summer

well we had summer last week, 25 degrees and hot sun all day. It then went back to wind and cold and wet. Today we have all three and its 10 June! In the garden the plants are growing but slowly as the temperature deters that thrust of growth one usually sees. So for example my beans are still 6 inches not far off when I planted them.