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 | , , , , , , ,


  1. Intriguing is certainly the right word for these signs. A fascinating post. 🙂


    Comment by elmediat | March 24, 2013 | Reply

    • Thanks very much, glad you liked the post. The Anti-Vagrants sign is at the entrance to what were once the stables of the Lees estate, which have now been converted into housing.


      Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | March 25, 2013 | Reply

  2. […] Signs. […]


    Pingback by Signs | The Rag Tree | April 1, 2013 | Reply

  3. clhs: what a wonderful post! i’ve reposted…thanks for sharing! RT


    Comment by Music&Meaning | April 1, 2013 | Reply

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