On Storytellers, Ruins and Caramel Cake

We have a saying in Germany “Wer lesen kann ist klar im Vorteil”, meaning “Who can read has the advantage”. This phrase needs to be uttered with a condescending tone to, for example, a person who stands in front of the library and who after pushing the door several times complains about the unscheduled closure of the building, blatantly ignoring the gigantic “Pull” sign plastered onto the entrance door. In short, to people like me. I just proved again that I can be a bit of an illiterate daftie sometimes when I made my hubby promise to take me to Carlyle’s birthplace today, thinking that it was a lucky coincidence that he had a forced day off on a Thursday as this particular National Trust property seemed to have the weirdest opening times.

Luckily, I realised that it said Fri-Mon and not Mon-Fri before we drove the 2 hours down to Dumfries and Galloway. We decided to go for something a lot more local instead and drove to the Royal Burgh of Peebles, one of the prettiest Border towns if you asked me. In Peebles we or rather I decided to visit a wee museum dedicated to the life and works of the 1st Baron of Tweedsmuir, better known to my Canadian readers as the 15th Govenor General John Buchan.

Although John Buchan wasn’t born in Peebles, his family came from Broughton (just outside Peebles) and they later settled in Peebles. The Borders inspired him in so many ways, some of his works are set here or characters named after landmarks/features like the Leithen Water that gives Innerleithen its name. Even the landscape he describes in the 39 Steps (which I just started reading yesterday) and which is supposed to be Galloway very much reminds the knowledgable reader of the Borders.

The John Buchan Story is a nice wee museum which in spite of its size gives you a good overview of John Buchan’s achievements and it is run by highly dedicated volunteers. Entrance fee is just 2 GBP.

Afterwards we visited the ruins of the Cross Kirk as it was just on our way to Tesco. The Cross Kirk and monastery were founded in the 13th century after the apparent finding of a fine cross and some relics of St. Nicholas (and no he is not Santa Claus but the Bishop of Myra). Time and reformation have taken their toll on the building but it is still worth a visit. The site is maintained by Historic (Environment) Scotland and the entry is free.

As it is my time of the month, this rather short day trip (just 2,5 hours really) made me extremely tired and I spent the rest of the day in bed watching Erin Brockovich while eating half a cake of Co-op’s Truly Irresistible Salted Caramel cake and no I don’t give a f*** how many calories it has. I needed it – only girls can understand that once a month hormones dictate your diet and you have to succumb to their demands – or at least I have to. And yes, I ate it before I could take a picture of it!


14 Comments Add yours

  1. Megan says:

    Lol. Unfortunately, I belong to the population who are always im Nachteil. Glad you didn’t waste two hours on the road at least. I feel kind of bad for the Baron of Tweedsmuir because he had to put up with William Lyon Mackenzie King (the Prime Minister who was known to conduct séances to get political advice from his dead mother). Hope you’ll be feeling better soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debra says:

      King was the one who specifically asked for him and he wanted him to be a commoner but the other king didn’t want this and made him a peer. Lord Buchan was already taken, so he chose Tweedsmuir which isn’t that far away from Peebles and apparently holds the ruins of an old Pictish temple.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Megan says:

        Ah, I should have paid more attention in my Canadian history class. Apparently Buchan wrote a lot of biographies including one for James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose. Are his books still popular in Scotland?


      2. Debra says:

        39 Steps and many more were never out of print that much I know.


      3. Debra says:

        Hilfe! What happened to your blog?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Megan says:

        Sorry I didn’t respond to this sooner! My WordPress notifications function has been acting wonky lately. Sometimes I get messages that show up on blogs but not on my notifier button thing.


      5. Debra says:

        I have a blog on my reader that does not show up in my subscription list and I don’t want it. I cannot unsubscribe to it. I hate it, drives me nuts. It is full of redneck propaganda and it makes me sick but I cannot get rid of it.


      6. Megan says:

        That’s terrible! I wish there’s some way of reporting abuse to remove this crap. I am honestly scared to go on the internet today because I fear that Trump will use the DC shooting as an excuse to declare a dictatorship.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Debra says:

        I finally managed to get out of it. What a pain in the arse. It never showed the Follow/Unfollow button but now it did and got the hell out of there. Her/Their Trump obsession just made me throw up. Oh yeah, dictatorship is in fashion. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the Germans would be the ones who have to free the world from dictators? It is sure looking that way. Together with the French. Would be kinda cool considering that German-French relationships aren’t famous for collaboration. Anyways, best way is to stop watching news but it is like watching an accident. Die Faszination des Abartigen! We cannot help watching!

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Megan says:

        I’d love to see a grand French-German alliance to save the world from tyranny. All the politicians are probably secretly very happy that Trump got elected because they now appear 1000% more competent in comparison to him. I just can’t imagine Merkel ever tweeting away at 3 am in the morning about a Spiegel or Welt article criticizing her. Lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Debra says:

        Have you heard? Kohl is dead. Talking about German-French alliance. Do you know this very emblematic picture of him holding hands with Mitterrand?

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Megan says:

        Is it the one with them holding hands über den Gräbern von Verdun? It’s a powerful image. While I’m sure his politics had its flaws, I really admire how he was able to unite Europe again after World War II. His generation of politicians are like the strength which in old days moved earth and heaven, to paraphrase Tennyson.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Debra says:

        So funny, you should mention Tennyson. I am reading The Stranger’s Child by Hollinghurst at the moment and it all circles around his In Memoriam. Liked Brooklyn a lot especially as the movie was with Nora-Jane Noone. Loved her in The Magdalene Sisters (such a great and intense movie). She always reminds me of Lady Agnew of Lochnaw, my favourite painting in the world (you guessed it, it hangs at the National Gallery in Edinburgh). Best Singer Sargent ever! And yes, the one in Verdun. Enjoy Wonderwoman! Cheers

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Megan says:

        That book sounds fascinating! I have to pick a copy up sometime. I should read more Hollinghurst; I’ve only seen the TV adaption of his Line of Beauty. I really loved the dinner scenes in Brooklyn where all the girls were trading banters across the table (reminds me of uni). The ending was a bit odd to me because I thought Eilis had to find a way to take care of her mother, but she kind of just packed up and left after her neighbour threatened to expose her marriage? Anyways, I looked up that painting of Lady Agnew and I seriously covet that lovely flower-printed armchair in the background. I also adore Singer’s painting of Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose. It seems like a page out of a magical children’s book. Have a good Sunday! -m.


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