The Kelso Chronicles
I am trying to kick-start the writer in me and as a means of saving memories that I am undoubtedly going to lose thanks to the hereditary traits of Alzheimer’s. Since I have taken ill and had so much time off, trying to be productive has been a task; the painkillers generally don’t kill the pain…no, they kill brain cells or any chance of having energy enough to put my mind to something. Since I have started taking Oramorph every so often alongside cocodamol, I have had peaks of energy sufficient to start a written piece. Sadly, I have to leave it when the effects taper off and then come back to the projects when I am back in that ‘state’. A large number of projects have fallen by the wayside as a result of not being able to get my thoughts back on the track when I originally sat/lay down to write.
This piece, I am actually forcing myself to do despite the nausea and pain I am in. My mind drifts off every few minutes but, I am keeping this on my screen until it is done. It has taken over 30 minutes to get this far; trying to figure out what I want to put and to regain the focus I need for coherent thought. Also, the typos. The goddamn, motherfucking typos. Arrowing back and forth like I’m playing the smallest bongos in the world.
Anyhoo. I wanted to collate my thoughts and memories of my hometown, Kelso. Some memories I shan’t share as some are private! But I figured, if I did a regular ‘feature’ it may allow me to continue the creativity. Focus my mind seeing as I’m not as physically active as I could or should be. If I can tackle the woes of the mind, perhaps the physical manifestations ease up and my mind has been wandering back to the “good old days” more and more recently.
So, Kelso…what to say? It was the town I grew up in. I was born in Edinburgh – most of us Kelso folks of my generation were…I think. We didn’t have a hospital back then. And I don’t think the one it has now has maternity facilities…
I’m going to take the easy way here and copy ‘n’ paste some historical blurb about the town. It serves a purpose; it was in Kelso High School that I first learned how to do copy ‘n’ paste. Thanks to Ian King. Who would always wear blue shirts to highlight his fantastic sweat patches to no end. He reminded me a bit of Tony Blair. Only sweatier (hard to imagine, right?) and scruffier. Or maybe it was Mr McEwan that first taught me. I forget what his nickname was. Something to do with sheep, I’m sure. Anyway.
Kelso (Scots: KelsaeScottish Gaelic: Cealsaidh,) is a market town and civil parish in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. It lies where the rivers Tweed and Teviot have their confluence, and until 1975 was part of the county of Roxburghshire. The parish has a population of 6,385.
Despite Kelso being my hometown, I also spent a lot of time in Town Yetholm (a nearby village) due to the fact my parents had divorced. We used to have a house in Town Yetholm when they were together and a house out in Crailing before my Mum moved to Kelso. I was about 3 at this point, I believe.
Town Yetholm is a small village in the Scottish Borders in the valley of the Bowmont Water opposite Kirk Yetholm. The centre of the small village is made up of the village green surrounded by the village shop, the Plough Hotel Public House a few houses to the south and a row of terraced dwellings to the north, separated from the green by the Main Street. The Wauchope Hall is situated at the east end of the main street next to Gibsons Garage. The village has many notable houses with impressive views.
Every year, in June the village holds a festival week to celebrate the village and the people within. Two respectable young adults are chosen to represent the village during its own festival and others around the Scottish Borders. They are named from the gypsy language, Bari Gadgi (best boy) and Bari Manushi (best girl).
Every year on a Saturday in July the village plays host to several hundred visitors from the larger town of Kelso during the town’s “Civic Week” festival. On this day the Kelsae Laddie, his left and right hand men and a cavalcade of about 200 horses ride their way to Kirk Yetholm via Hoselaw and the Venchen Hill. After a welcome and a toast the cavalcade moves across the Bowmont Water to Town Yetholm for lunch. After lunch in the Plough Hotel for the principals, and picnics on the green for rest of the visitors, the piper plays a reel which is danced by the Laddie and his right and left hand men joined by the Bari Gadgi and Bari Manushi. The visitors leave during the afternoon and the village returns to the sleepy picture postcard scene it always is.
In relation to the bit about the Bari Manushi, my neice was installed as the Bari Manushi of 2013.
So, that’s a brief intro into the area in which this blog will focus on. Join me on my trip down memory lane.[auction-nudge tool=”listings”]