That's me back from my travels, and back to work on Monday. The break has been good, I do wish it could have been for longer though, I need another week just to read 'Bleak House' and that sounds so much more appealing than the stock counting I know awaits me. Never mind.
It's become something of a custom for D and I to meet in the Scottish Borders for New Year, where (lucky man) he gets to spend it with a colourful selection of my family, their dogs, and other friends. Fortunately he likes them, and the other perks (comfortable sofa, good fire, beautiful scenery, excellent book shops) make it a great place to escape to.
The excellent book shops include the Mainstreet trading company in St Boswell's, as well as a proper bookshop it's got an excellent cafe, very good deli with some interesting whisky's, a few antiques and other nice things. It gets the balance between all those elements spot on and as I like all those things a lot it's always a treat going there.
Going to Edinburgh was also a bit of a treat. The drive is just long enough to be tedious (plus bloody awful in bad weather, and it really rained a lot) so the new train line has a new convert in me. It made it possible to see the Modern Scottish Women exhibition (see previous post) which I'm still beyond excited about (don't pass up any chance to see it). Edinburgh is a city I'd like to know better, I'm never there for long enough to explore more than the obvious bits, maybe that will change some day, meanwhile I can always walk it's streets in books.
New Year's Day was, in the morning at least, the only respite in a week of rain. It wasn't so very heavy for most of the time, and the area escaped serious flooding this time (Hawick, just down the road, was hit badly earlier in December) which was lucky - so I'm not complaining about the general dampness. As it was dry and the local Hunt was meeting in the village we decided to go and see them set off. D had never seen this before, and I hadn't for very many years. I have mixed feelings about hunting (my sympathy is all for the fox) but whilst it's legal, being done legally, you're not stuck in a traffic jam waiting for them to get out the way, your pet isn't being terrorised (or worse) and so on - then watching them set off is an evocative sight. The hounds are also ridiculously friendly (unless you're a fox/cat/hen) and I can't resist dogs.
Regardless of my feelings on the matter it looked like most of the community had turned out in support (regardless of hangovers, and a few possibly in search of the hair of the dog) and the whole scene could have come straight out of Trollope, or any period drama ever made.
Finally, despite being given a tower of books for Christmas I may have bought a few more - well the book shops were just that good