Category Archives: history

Why I love my Village

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 Sweetie Shop

The Chemists

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).

The Flying Scotsman whooshes past the former station

Some of the older houses

The High Street

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.

Filming at the old mill for Outlander

Building a set for the Drama Group

The VR stands for Queen Victoria (Victoria Regina) so wasn’t fitted yesterday

A cargo bike outside the Community Hall
We also have a good variety of shops, a couple of inns, all sorts of trades folks and so on.

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 community choir sings at the Christmas Market

Our Community Cinema puts on some films and a snowy/ icy photo show for the market

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!!

The Challenge – Day 2: Jessie

Rachel (RachelSquirrel) has challenged me, not a cycling challenge as such but a photograph and writing one.

The rules of the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are:

1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive days.
2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.
3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!

The Square in East Linton, with the fountain & former church of St Andrews

The Square in East Linton, with the fountain & former church of St Andrews

I thought I was meant to go on a segueway tryout today, but it seems it’s next week, so the alternative two wheel adventure will have to wait.

Our village, East Linton, is a conservation one, conserved up to the eyeballs. We still have an old working water mill, from the 18th century, a doocot from the 15th, Prestonkirk with bits from the 11th century and lots of old houses, etc. It’s all far too much to go into.

In the picture the bunting is up as it is Gala week, a Queen is crowned with her assembled court and there is a parade through the village, highland dancing and a run across the river and up to Traprain Law, the local hill, and back. I run the website for the Community Council and have posted some photos of the event –

The fountain in the photo is in The Square (which is more like a triangle now). It was gifted from John Drysdale in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1882. He was a former native of East Linton but obviously did well when he migrated to become a farmer, rancher & businessman. From some angles the cherubs with their water urns look slightly dodgy a le Mannekin Pis in Brussels.

But what has all this to do with Jessie? Look at the former church of St Andrews in the background. This was built in 1843 as a free church, probably the first one after the ‘Great Disruption’ when a third of the congregations in Scotland broke away from the Church of Scotland and walked out of their churches. Before then the ministers were appointed by the landowners but the Free Church members wished to appoint their own.

If you’re eagle eyed and the photo is not too small you’ll notice I took this today just after mid day. Why might you notice? There is a clock face on the tower and it is showing one or two minutes after twelve. The clock belongs to the village and was put in for Queen Victoria’s Jubilee – it is chiming right now as I write.

Some time after it was installed some local laddies climbed up into the tower and poured a libation (beer, wine, whisky, who knows?) over the clock and christened it Jessie after a local lass Jessie Cowe. She eventually married and went off to Argentina, but the name stuck.

So if you ever visit and hear the locals saying “aye, Jessie’s a wee bit fast today” or “Jessie’s not been the same since she was electrified” or “I think they should sort Jessie oot” I think you may have an inkling of what the conversation is really about.

The final thing is Jessie usually sees me off on my cycling as I start under her in The Square (and I’m sure that could be misconstrued as well!)