The Watch

Hallowe’en, 2020

Hallowe’en

A full moon at Hallowe’en is most auspicious. Will it bring evil or good?

And how will people know it’s Hallowe’en? The clock is stuck at midnight.

They’ll look at their telephones. Or in the watchmaker’s window. People are not allowed out anyway. Witches and ghosts are less worrying than the 2020 pandemic.

It’s been broken for months.

Since Lockdown, I think.

Not as long as that. But it’s the longest the clock has ever been broken. It was running two minutes slow for years. I definitely couldn’t set my watch by it.

My dear, no-one wears a watch now. Do you still have yours?

Indeed. The pin is broken, so I keep it in my pocket. I’m too old fashioned!

We’ve experienced so much. Things change.

I must say, if people are unafraid of spirits I would not have guessed. There are lanterns and charms in every street.

They chase evil spirits from their doors, even though they don’t believe. They don’t know true darkness. We remember when night was lit by dim lamps, and the moon.

The boundary between life and death was more apparent. We could see it and feel it.

Since you have your watch, how long till midnight?

Only three minutes. The moon is so bright.


The clock is stuck at midnight

Mummy, look!

What is it, Derri? Have you found something?

It’s a tiny wee clock, Mummy. Can I keep it?

Let me see…

Oh, that looks old. We need to find out who it belongs to. It’s a watch. An old fashioned watch. Ladies used to pin them to their dresses. The fastening’s broken. It must’ve fallen off.


104 Year Old Watch Found

On Sunday 1st of November, seven year old Derri found what she thought was a small clock. It was actually a very old watch.

This paper has investigated and we’ve found it’s owner.

But solving one mystery has led us to another, even stranger puzzle.

The watch belonged to Agnes Sharp.

Agnes was born in 1895, and died of Spanish Flu in 1919.

Agnes’ parents gave her the watch as a 21st birthday gift.

Agnes and her husband were two of the millions of Spanish Flu victims. The pandemic swept across the world after World War One. Our current pandemic makes this local discovery even more affecting and poignant.

If you can help this newspaper trace Agnes’ descendants, please email us.


Holiday Dreaming

By Isla

Wish I was in Spain again

The summer of 2018 we went to Spain in July. I was 13 at the time and could not wait to go. We stayed for 10 days and each day was amazing.

Dreaming of my holiday

It was amazing. We had a massive villa with a pool and outdoor kitchen, and the most beautiful view. The villa wasn’t the best in every way, it definitely had its faults but I’ll not get into that.

Amazing view

As soon as we touched down at Alicante airport and started the journey to our villa in Benissa, I took in every single thing I saw. I just wanted to explore.

When we arrived at the villa one of the first things all of us did was put our swimming gear on and ran to the pool, all running on around 1 hours sleep. It was lovely but the heat was powerful. My grandparents, who we were on holiday with, were sun worshipers as well as my mum. But my dad, brother and me not so much. Due to this heat I got sunstroke – on the first day. Great.

Look at the pool!

The town nearest us was Moraira which was beautiful. It was quite small but filled with culture. In the middle of the streets was a lovely market with locally made products. Along the beach front were unique little restaurants and cafes. Then standing on its own was a castle, very different to the ones to be seen in Britain.

The beach
Sand and sea

Throughout the time we were there we made the journey to a near by town Xabia. I loved it there. There was enough night life were you wanting it, and if you wanted something more quiet then there was the old town.

There was more wildlife than I expected, a lot of which I was scared of. The wasps were huge and rather aggressive. There was also some kind of beetle that lived in the trees. They would make a strange noise every few hours and it was bizarre, We thought it was the electricity masts at first. But there were some nice parts to the wildlife, like the little lizards that seemed to be everywhere.

Lizard at twelve o’clock!!

I fell in love with this country for many things. Its culture, food, language, lifestyle and its people. I hope one day to go back and perhaps live there one day.

Spain – I love you!

By Isla, young assistant in my shop.

One Basket

Thank you for reading our blog. There are plenty of posts to enjoy

Jane Eyre

Lockdown Memory 2️⃣

I lost interest after the interrupted wedding.

Everything up till then, captivating. Then downhill all the way. Including “Reader, I married him.” I didn’t even notice the iconic ending when I was twelve. My memory of Jane Eyre is much darker.

The Aunt; the school; the Red Room.

Mainly the Red Room.

Oh, and I adored Blanche. I wanted to be Blanche.

Anyway, the Red Room. I’ve seen films and television adaptations of Jane Eyre. They must’ve depicted it. But the most horrific, the darkest, most troubling Red Room was in my mind.

The Aunt made me angry; the school made my spine tense. But nothing came close to the horror of the Red Room.

Blanche was perfect. I didn’t read the book in the way I would later, as an adult. I read it in pure black and white, as children do. I didn’t see Blanche as opportunistic; I didn’t realise her dislike of Jane came about because she was beggin’ of her, please don’t steal my man.

Blanche was beautiful, as were her clothes. Abusive partner Mr R was used to telling pretty women what to do. We found out what happened to his previous partner once she ceased to be Eye Candy.

The wedding, the brother in law (an actual hero, sticking up for his sister) interested me. Tense and excruciating. Then Jane ran away, and the story ended.

Except it didn’t.

Jane found a family, inherited money, and returned to her abusive boyfriend. Nah! It didn’t work for twelve year old me.

Jane Eyre affected me. I only loved half of it, but that half is perfect.

Thank you for reading my blog. You’ll probably enjoy my Musical Lockdown Memory.

Please leave a comment.

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I Am A Rock

Lockdown memory?
I haven’t a clue what’s on my face!

Lockdown Memory 1️⃣

Imagine a nine year old’s birthday party in the late sixties. What comes to mind?

Jelly and ice cream? Party games? New toys? Sweets? A Paul Simon album?

What did you just read? A Paul Simon album? That doesn’t seem right.

But the nine year old was me, and The Paul Simon Songbook was the soundtrack of my childhood.

“Was it your parents’ album, Anne?”

It’s a reasonable question, and the answer is Partly, yes. They had borrowed it from a friend, and taped it onto our family’s reel to reel recorder. Thereafter it was mine.

So after school I walked home with some friends. It was late November and I was having a birthday party. They weren’t organised, expensive celebrations back then. Basically, school friends came to your house, ate whatever food your mum gave them, played with your toys then went home.

It’s worth mentioning here that I didn’t like many of those “school friends”. I preferred the girls who lived in our street. But the unwritten rule was, invite children who score roughly the same marks in exams as yourself.

So we ate our food, then my school friends wanted my toys. I had a better idea. I fetched the reel to reel tape recorder and played The Paul Simon Songbook.

Probably several times.

My school friends found my toys. They ignored me; I ignored them. Bliss.

The Paul Simon Songbook

This week I heard someone on the radio asking what songs are helping us through lockdown. I’m a cynical woman, so I rolled my eyes.

Later that day while walking Flynn, my Border Terrier, a song was going round and round my head.

“Hiding in my room, safe within my womb, I touch no-one and no-one touches me”

A hundred and one memories of playing my favourite childhood song, “I Am A Rock”, from my favourite childhood album, “The Paul Simon Songbook“, flooded my mind. It was part of me, a little girl who liked her own company, had no confidence, but loved music and lyrics so much.

Years later the album was rereleased as a CD. I bought it.

It’s 2020, we’re in lockdown due to COVID19, and Paul Simon’s youthful lyrics feel meaningful once again.

I might just put it on tomorrow.

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Music Time

15 Year Anniversary

Music Time – Wrist Bells

Fifteen years ago I brought together a group of children and parents, and we sang. I had never put myself in such a scary position in my life. I was prepared to dash home and cry if it went badly.

In my loft I still have the first song sheet notes. Should I fetch them down?

I worked in a playgroup and had observed that every child, whatever their other preferences, loved song time. I had an idea to form a separate group for music.

I bought books about teaching music to under fives, and was really lucky to attend a session organised by the National Youth Choir of Scotland (NYCoS)

Musical instruments for children

The day came, I opened the door, families poured in. We sang, we banged tambourines and shook maracas. It was amazing.

Two months later, rather than finishing as I had expected, I made plans to restart after the summer.

It has been like this for fifteen years. Every June I ask myself, Will anyone come back after the holidays? You always do. It amazes me.

Andy & William love Music Time!

April 2020 was to be a month of celebrating our group’s 15th birthday. Instead it has been a month of sadness and worry because of COVID19. Celebrating has been far from my mind.

Whether Music Time ever starts up again is impossible to guess. Maybe it consisted of a beautifully formed, fifteen year project. Maybe we’ll take up where we left off.

If you have ever been part of the group, I would so love to hear from you in the comments.

If you’re as happy as you can be in current circumstances…

CLAP YOUR HANDS!

Lockdown as a teenager (Q&A)

An Inter-Generational Conversation

Teenager in Lockdown – art therapy

Anne: Are there aspects of the lockdown that are better than you thought?

Isla: This whole situation we are in is so strange and as a teenager myself I am finding it hard.

Are there aspects that are worse than you thought?

It’s a shock from being able to go out with your friends and be free to have fun, to be in what feels like prison.

When lockdown first was put in place, I did panic and worried about what I would do with all this time, but now more so about my exams.

Do you organise your day, or just deal with what turns up?

After a few days I started to relax as it’s out of my control on what’s happening. But I was still finding it hard to keep busy as there was little to do.

About a week in I decided to try and get back into art, so I designed my own unique pair of jeans and then tried some painting designs that I had never done before.

Art is helping through the Lockdown

Do you feel more or less anxious than you did when the lockdown started?

At the current moment in time I am actually okay, obviously I’m bored but its manageable. There are some downsides though, for example siblings.

Being stuck with a 6 year old 24/7 really gets to you. Currently we can’t seem to last more than 20 minutes together without arguing.

Have some of your friends lost their jobs?

It’s also very annoying that for many adults there are aspects of work they can do from home, but for most teenagers they can’t do that and many have lost thier jobs as businesses can’t now afford young, less experienced people to be working for them.

All age groups are rediscovering their creativity

Thanks Isla. I’m always interested in your point of view. It helps to see things from a totally different angle.

Dog Hair Care

By Flynn and Doris

Flynn’s POV –

Flynn’s Dog Hairstyle

I’m seeing more of my human family than usual – they call it Lockdown. Thank goodness they’re leaving my hair alone!

My favourite thing ever is sitting outdoors in a breeze. I love to feel the wind in my hair. Don’t humans know that cutting my hair = ruining my life? They have zero empathy. I tell them clearly to leave me alone, but do they listen?

Let me keep my fuzzy ears and crinkly beard forever.

Border Terriers: born to have wild hair.

River Walk

With Flynn, Border Terrier

Languid river walk

To keep my head above water at this unsettling time I take Flynn, my Border Terrier, on a river walk.

The River Tweed, as it flows through Kelso, is captivating in any weather.

If you visit Kelso, definitely take a river walk.

Flynn loves the River

Stay home for now.

Soap

Wash Your Hands

Soap Bars

Never did I think I would sell soap and shampoo bars.

Two years ago, before I knew they were a thing, my friend asked if I sold shampoo bars. Challenge accepted!

Friendly Soap Bars

At first I only sold Friendly Soap’s range. My customers really liked them.

Then, through Instagram, I discovered Superfly.

Superfly Soaps – wash your hands!

Lisa makes lovely, vegan friendly, natural soaps which my customers love.

Wash your hands” is more important than ever, so it’s a great time to start using quality soap bars.

Sensitive, great for frequent hand washing

Please ask me if you’re intrigued and would like to order a bar of Superfly Soap.

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Nature Walk

Nature Walk – Celandine

In difficult times, a Nature Walk lifts the spirits.

Celandine, also known as “Is that a buttercup?”.

Probably appears unappreciated in normal years. One of many natural wonders that blends into general “Spring flowers”.

Mandarin Duck on the River Tweed, Scotland

On the River Tweed as it flows through Kelso, we have a resident mandarin duck. It swims with numerous mallards, geese and swans; one of a kind.

Nature keeps on naturing.

Nature Walk – Butterbur

And because Flynn doesn’t like to be forgotten…

Flynn, Border Terrier, by the River Tweed