stories and illustration


vagrants sign

Warning to Vagrants

I am intrigued by words that are posted here and there round Coldstream:  signs, instructions, warnings, names.  This is posted outside a courtyard that one crosses to get into the Lees copse of beeches, and thence to the walk beside the Tweed.

Down by the swings is this sign for a singularly uninviting sip:

drinking water

Maybe Not

On beech trees near the marriage house (which is perched by the bridge where England becomes Scotland) names have been carved into the trunks:

tree opposite marriage house

Opposite the Marriage House


On Norham Path

On the road to the Hirsel that runs along the golf course is this weather-beaten bell hanging from its gibbet. One hears clanging every now and then.  The red shines out against the green of the grass in summer, or the winter snow:

Ring Bell 1

Ring the Bell 1

ring bell1

Ring the Bell 2

I was photographing reflections, when I noticed this carving on a small bridge over the Lees:


Bridge over the Lees

And on another piece of stone, in the wall of the Community Centre, that was once a church, is this name, this place, and no other information at all:


Mrs Black

At night, when lights are on inside the Hall, this sign glows a deep crimson:

mason's sign

Mason’s Sign

On my way home, I pass this sign (another path is up Nun’s Walk, which travels along the wall getting higher and higher above the Tweed, no railings, nothing but the footpath, which here and there is crumbling at the edges, and down which my daredevil husband once road his bike).  The sign makes me feel I should bow my head.  These old names come from the Abbey that was once in Coldstream.  The house  I live in is Abbey Road. Soldiers from Flodden were buried in the vegetable garden. Names seem to last almost longer than anything else.

penitent's walk

Penitent’s Walk

March 24, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments



Berwick Town Team Trail

At last, in spite of a broken rib, rats eating the main water pipe (which we discovered was plastic, we’d heard them gnawing away behind a little cupboard in the corner) and flu that won’t quite go away, and has been making me feel most peculiar, I have finished the latest project, which is a four-page leaflet, on card, which describes two tours in the district.  The one above is a kind of Bohemian trail to be taken on foot round Berwick itself.

The second map is a wider Trail, which is to be done by car, which includes various places of interest.  Many of the routes go through uninhabited Northumberland countryside, remote and beautiful, and this element of exploring the district off the beaten track is part of the project.


Town Team Trail 2

The other two pages are each divided up into seven sections, with pictures and a brief description of the businesses that are taking part in the trail.  I will present the maps tomorrow, and it is hoped to launch the Trails by Easter.  The project has been part-funded by the Portas High Street initiative.

The project should have been finished on Thursday, according to my original time schedule, but I have been prostrate. Now that this work is completed, and Spring is coming, I am going to take my camera up to the Hirsel and get in some long walks, as I am starved of open air. But it is good to make maps, there is something about the way of seeing that appeals to me, so this was a pleasure to work on, inspite of vicissitudes (and the rats weren’t our fault, either!)

March 17, 2013 Posted by | Illustration, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment


shetland pony 1

Shetland Pony

This little pony has stood in this field all winter, eating away, amid the leaves that echo the colour of his fur. The patience of horses makes me feel sorry for them, they just stand out there through rain, wind, hail, frost, snow, munching away. This little pony doesn’t react when I talk to him, or look at him, he just keeps on eating.  In the corner of the field is one of those ramshackle huts for his shelter, and in the snow he had a blanket to protect him.  I hope there is a child somewhere who is going to ride out with him, through the countryside. There are hoofprints in the mud everywhere, though I have never come across riders through the woods or beside the Tweed. I’ve never seen hoofprints as small as the ones this pony must have.  I wish him journeys, in the summer, to give him something to think about.

March 15, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Water and Trees

Walking by the two rivers, mighty Tweed, and modest Lees, the delicate reflections of trees attract me.

By Lees Bridge

By a Bridge over the Lees


Lees Reflections

I should be working round the clock, but the work I am doing is so detailed, after an hour or so I need to get out.  Besides, the sunlight is alluring.  Meet scarcely a person on the walks, only people with dogs. Sometimes there is not a single footprint on the muddy path. Sometimes a very small footprint.  From up above I spy on fishermen.


Fisherman in a Boat


Fisherman up to his Thighs in Freezing Water

The water level is still high, so there are streams and pools where in the summer no streams and pools exist.

standing water 3

Standing Water

And places where the river eddies in to places which would be boggy.  This is where reed warblers make their strange dry chit-chit-chit sounds in the summer. Now, sometimes, I disturb some ducks, they fling themselves up and vanish squawking before I can take their portrait. The swans on the Tweed don’t seem to give a fig. Or a weed.



March 5, 2013 Posted by | Illustration, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments


%d bloggers like this: