drEAming, mEAndering, out and about, random thoughts

autumn journeys…

Fond memories of times past.

On our way to Edinburgh last weekend we took a detour off the A702 to visit the pretty historic conservation village of West Linton.  Fifteen miles outside Edinburgh and at the foothills of the Pentland Hills this tiny village, steeped in history, with evidence of pre-historic occupation is one of the oldest market settlements in Scotland.

In 1974, a mere twenty years of age and studying Fashion and Textiles at Cheltenham Art college I stayed here for a weeks holiday with my then to be husband (with his long curly hair) in this tiny caravan that we had hired.  The same caravan site we found is now a housing estate!


To say all the other vans on the site were larger than this is no lie – we booked the caravan through an advert in the local Cheltenham paper and had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for other than it was affordable for two ‘impoverished’ students.  On arrival at the site we wandered around every caravan looking for the right number and kept disregarding this one until after eliminating all the others it finally dawned on us that yes this tiny 2 berth was our home for the week!!

We had no transport of our own as we had been ‘dropped off’ by my parents who were on their way to Pitlochry for a holiday in their own touring caravan.   To get anywhere we had to rely on the local bus service going either north to Edinburgh or south to the little town of Biggar.

Each morning we would walk into the village of West Linton and wander round taking in the history and scenery and always ending with a coffee in the Old Bakehouse where the waitresses all dressed in long Victorian styled Laura Ashley print dresses complete with white mop caps and aprons.



It is now a Bistro and looking more like a pub inside than a tea room.

We could still recognise most of the shops – the post office, the chemist and especially the newsagent where we bought a jigsaw to do during the evenings and had to sleep on top of it when we made the bed up at night as there was no other table top.




We remembered the quaint cottages and unusual street names…


the intricate wall plaques and historic artefacts dotted around…


and the curious central clock tower…


We had a pleasant walk around reminiscing about those few wonderful days – going back after so many years  was quite emotional.

Before we left we had a final look at this little building in the square, today it is used as the Village Centre – but back then it was a registry office for births, deaths and marriages.



This tiny building evoked such strong memories for us tinged slightly with sadness of what might have been.  We were young, in love, and like many, full of hopes and dreams for our future and each day as we walked past we were so tempted to go and get married – just the two of us with no fuss.  The only thing that stopped us in the end was the fact that my mum would never have forgiven us!

This is the same building in 1974 with me stood in the doorway.

West Linton 1974

We finally married in 1976 during the July heat wave a church wedding with sit down reception of ham salad and trifle for 60 guests with disco afterwards.  We had the full works – wedding dress and veil, bridesmaids, cake and all the trimmings (which pleased my mum) and although so far it has been happy ever after we do wonder what course our lives would have taken had we married in West Linton.

drEAming, random thoughts

Less is more, more or less…

The ladies down at my local library must think I am either very rich, or very poor or just plain obsessed with money because I am always borrowing books on Finances.  I have read them all from Rich Dad to Poor Dad, Martin Lewis, Suze Orman and Miss Moneypenny.   I even had a great book on explaining mortgages by Robin Banks.  I now know you should hang on to your assests and roll up your toothpaste tubes to squeeze out every last inch but for me the advice is still not quite enough.  It is the same with books and articles on organising – I read them all in the hope of discovering something really profound that will change my life.

I am not sure just what I am hoping to learn from these books maybe I am looking for some kind of definitive answer to budgeting and of course like everything else in life there isn’t one.  When I think back to my grandma and grandad they kept all their financial and other papers in a little old fashioned leather suitcase under the bed (I have a filing cabinet and a filing drawer!) but of course they had less to look after.  They rented so apart from the rent agreement they had no mortgage papers or buildings insurance and no contents as they had so little to insure.  They did have a tiny life policy to pay for their funerals like most people of their time.  They had a TV rented of course and a fridge but no other electrical items apart from the kettle and an iron.   Cakes were made by hand not a mixer, everything was chopped with a knife not a processor.  Computers were not an household item and they only had a phone installed aged 82.  They had a quarteley electricity bill that was paid in cash the same day it dropped through the door.  Their pension was just the one given by the state.  They had one savings book and no current account or cheque book everything was paid for by cash.

All in all their paperwork including any user instructions and guarantees was minimal and very little in the way of junk mail dropped through their door.  They still received those old fashioned things called letters, hand written ones, usually from family and friends and postcards too.   There was very little to maintain or breakdown and they never had to trawl the internet looking for advantageous savings accounts or run through comparison sites.  Their money flowed in and out with a little put by for a rainy day – such a simple life – a good example of the less is more some of us are striving for.

When we packed up their council flat it took us just 2 days to sort through all the stuff in comparison it took every weekend from January to March to go through my mums when she moved!

Yet even with so little Grandma and Grandad loved life and lived it to the full – they were not bogged down being keepers of stuff.  So really I do not need to read all those books I just need to be like dear old gran!

Anyone reading this post will love to read the post over at Marigold Jam  – ‘Less is often more – discuss’ – it seems we have been having very similar thoughts at the same time because like she says so much of blogland at the moment is given over to sorting out and decluttering.