I love living here, despite being a newcomer of only 15 or 16 years.
We are near enough from Edinburgh to be able to get in OK if needed, but far enough away to have loads of things happening.
So what does go on then?
First of all, a quick visit to the shops just down the street can result in a 20 minute or so expedition, chatting to folk on the way, going off to the deli or home with someone you meet, helping out a stranger with something and so on.
The village is expanding as quantities of new houses have been built and more are being planned, but the village has always been growing. What I dislike is the uniformity of the new houses being built. As the village formed it grew up all higgidly piggildy as there were no planning regulations. Folk added a porch on, an extra floor and another as the fancy took them. In many ways the regulations make things safer, more efficient and environmentally friendly but at the same time the designers/ architects can’t get their heads around the creativity for new buildings that will also fit in an older setting with an acceptable profit margin.
Rant over (for now).
You can tell the new folk to the village, you meet them, say “Hi, how are you doing” and they give you a look of what appears to be mistrust. Hopefully this will change as they grow into life here.
So what makes it so good? Of course – the folk who live and/ or work here. They keep an eye out for each other but will leave each other alone if needed. When something goes wrong a pot of soup will land on your doorstep, or maybe a jar of jam, dangling in its bag from the door handle, or maybe a book.
The community joins in a lot, old and young. We have a very vital Community Hall, well booked for most of the week. We have a Gala which is well attended, the community choir, a community cinema, Christmas market, scouts, guides, brownies etc., horticultural societies who plant boxes around the village and encourage others to do the same.
Volunteers run a Christmas Market and this year we (the community cinema group Pix in the Stix) put up an open air screen and showed a couple of films and a show of snowy/ icy photos from her to the Alps and Himalayas. Luckily the weather goddesses were kind. It was above freezing and hardly a breath of wind.
The last thing to mention here are the surroundings. We have a river (the Tyne) running through the village, the beach and sea just 10 minutes away by bike, woods, hills and moors, castles, old churches and historic sites and buildings all within easy reach, the joys (mostly) of the weather always changing and a fascinating geology.
All this helps foster a good outdoor community, be it the football team, tennis players or the walkers, runners, canoeists, sailors, skiers and cyclists (like myself).
Phantassie Doocot (a Doo is Scottish for a pigeon)
One of the old gravestones in the graveyard
Giant leeks and onions at the show
A local heron at the Linn (the waterfall)
So if you asked me where I would choose to live if I could stay anywhere – the answer, as you might guess is – here!!