The Town Where I Grew Up


I would like to tell you a little bit about the Town Where I Grew Up,
and although I have strayed a long way
from the place of my birth, my heart still lies there.

I was born in Peebles, a picturesque little town in the Scottish Borders, steeped in history. It even has a castle (Neidpath Castle), dating back to the early 14th Century.
Peebles can trace its roots back to the dawn of history, and it became a Royal Burgh, granted by charter from King David I, in the early 12th century.  The charter was lost three hundred years later during a particularly vicious attack by the invading English – but in 1452, King James II granted the town another charter which still survives to this day.

Tweed River looking towards Peebles town

Enough of the history lesson – as you can tell, I am very proud of my heritage!

My memories of my birthplace are very clear and strong – a happy and carefree childhood in a town where everyone knew everyone! You couldn’t get away with anything there – it would reach your mother’s ears within ten minutes! My brothers were always in trouble! Not me though!!
When I was about 3 years old I remember sneaking out of the house with my new doll’s pram. I wanted to take my dolly for a walk in her new pram! I didn’t get too far before I was spotted by a neighbor who asked me where my mammy was and why was I out on my own – she took me straight back home! Neighbors were like that then.

My brothers and I would go fishing most days with a jam jar and string, catching little “tiddlers” as we called them, in the River Tweed. The River Tweed which runs through the centre of Peebles, is renowned the world over for salmon fishing, but we were as proud as punch to catch the tiny tiddlers! I can’t remember what we did with them – mum probably told us to take them back to the river and let them go!

I had a thing about frogs – I just loved them, and would pick up any I came across; my mother was forever pulling them out of the pockets of my little pinnie (apron) that I wore over my dress – I still like frogs!
We played hop-scotch on the street right outside our house and every kid in town would join in! We were allowed to play outside until it was almost dark – it was safe to do so in then.

In those days the roads were made of tar, and in summer the tar melted with the heat; my brothers and I would pick at it until our fingers were all black and sticky and we were scared to go home because we got it all over our clothes – but it was fun – poor mum!
In those days, milk was delivered to the door in glass bottles with cardboard caps on the top, and it was a fight to bring the milk in before the birds had a chance to peck at the tops to get at the cream at the top of the bottle!

Every year there is a festival in Peebles called the Beltane Festival and it still goes on to this day. It is a festival of local legend, history and tradition which goes for 7 days, and is the highlight of the year for everyone in the town.  There are Pipe Bands, Brass Bands, Marching Bands, fancy dress, sports, highland games, dancing, horse riding, and culminating in the crowning of the Beltane Queen outside the Parish Church.

Crowning the Queen

I remember as children, we would all follow behind the bands as they marched around town – skipping and dancing away to the skirl of the pipes!

My Father in his Black Watch Uniform

My father was a Piper in the famous Black Watch Regiment, and although this photo is not good quality, I thought it might be of interest. It’s the only photo I have of him in his full uniform, shame it’s in black & white. Sadly, my father passed away 21 years ago; I still miss him.

This September I’m visiting the UK, and spending a week in Peebles with one of my brothers and his family. We have a lot to catch up on, and new nephews and nieces to meet.  It’s about 25 years since I was last there, so I am very excited!

Although I have lived in Australia for many years now and it’s home to me, The Town Where I Grew Up is etched in my heart forever.


New Blogs I have visited this week

CMSmith – Random Thoughts From Midlife
Marina     – Marinas Blogs
Denise      – EddyBettyShreddy
Amy          – Other Awesome Things

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48 thoughts on “The Town Where I Grew Up

  1. Country Living

    This is such a cool idea!! Never really thought of doing that before! You have inspired me! I would have loved to grown up there!
    I love your blog!!


  2. I looked it up, it’s south of Edinburgh, and another 14 miles south of Gorebridge is Peebles! It’s a small world.
    I have a cousin who lives in Vancouver-she is originally from Peebles. Her father was my uncle (my mother’s brother) and they emigrated to Canada when she was about 11.
    Thanks for your kind comment – it’s like music to my ears to hear you say you are loving my site, so thanks for the feedback! It started off as a blog about pets, but seems to be taking on a mind of it’s own! I love yours too, and will be visiting often!


      • I have heard that Vancouver is a beautiful place, and would love to visit one day (and catch up with my cousin).
        I have a dear friend who lived in Abbotsford, BC, but she and her hubby emigrated to New Zealand last October as they have family there; I think she is feeling a bit homesick at the moment!


  3. I was in Peebles a couple of years ago..just a Canadian girl visiting her mom’s native land…it is beautiful. My Mum was from Gorebridge. Love the the people and proud to have some of that fine Scots blood in me,


    • Wow – so you know what I am talking about – a Canadian visiting my hometown! I don’t remember Gorebridge, is it close to Peebles? I haven’t been back home in years and I am so looking forward to seeing my hometown again, and all the family. Thanks for stopping by Christine, nice to meet a new blogger here. Will pop over to your site now.


  4. Oh Barb, what a charming story! It reads like a storybook. What a wonderful childhood you had! It’s my dream to live in a town just like Peebles – everything you said touched my heart and made my longing ever stronger. How blessed you have been!

    It’ll be wonderful visiting after so many years. Take lots of pictures and write about if/how Peebles has changed on your blog, I’d love to read about it!


    • Thanks for your lovely comment RD.
      Back then, I suppose I took it all for granted, but I feel sorry that my kids (all grown up now) missed out on that kind of growing up in a small town. However, there is hope for one of them because when we lived in England, we visited Scotland often, and he seems to have captured the spirit of Peebles in his heart, and my stories of it when I was growing up. He wants to go back for a visit soon and re-connect with our family there!
      Don’t worry, I’ll be taking lots of photos when I’m there, and will be writing about my visit!


  5. I was going to apologise for my ancestors but then I remembered I’m of Irish descent and the English screwed us, too.

    I love this picture of your childhood: idyllic. What a pity our children will never experience something like that.


    • So we both got screwed by the English – and then I ended up marrying one!! :roll:
      My hubby and I often say that it’s a shame our children will never experience the kind of childhood we did, but our parents probably said that about us!


  6. Don’t know if you saw my first group of posts a few weeks back, but one of them was about bearded collies owned by a friend of mine. I understand Beardies are a Scottish breed: Did you cross paths with any in your childhood (perhaps while you were collecting frogs -teehee). Thanks for sharing memories and facts about your home. Made me homesick for mine in California, USA. Janet Herring-Sherman


    • I love bearded collies! They are a Scottish working dog breed, used primarily by Scottish shepherds to herd sheep and cattle in the tough terrain of the Scottish highlands. I don’t remember coming across any in my childhood though – too busy collecting frogs! :roll:
      Sorry to have made you homesick – there is no place like home, is there?


  7. What a lovely memory you posted. I could see your childhood in my imagination. I hope your trip home is awesome! You’ll have to take lots of pictures and post some here so we can all see.


  8. margaret

    Hi Queensland, Peebles here! Gordon is gonna get the net and jeely jar ready for you! The Cuddy is the best place for the tiddlers nowadays. The memories are still with him so he is gonna get practice in before you arrive…the ‘minnows’ challenge! Obviously Peebles has changed but the areas you recall haven’t! Biggiesknowe will be as you remember it!! The biggest Haggis you have ever seen is already ordered along with the neeps and tatties!! Lots o luv wee Bro….x x


    • Margaret – what a surprise! It was the Cuddy we used to catch minnows but no-one would understand that word, so I just used the Tweed – same with minnows (tiddlers).
      Does Gordon remember us “fishing” down there? We will have to try it again when I get there!
      Am I in for a shock when I see Peebles again? Are there any traffic lights yet? I’m so excited!
      Lookin’ forward to the haggis with neeps and tatties! Yum! ;) xx


  9. Jackie Paulson 1966

    How impressed i am, you have a list of blogs you visited this day or week. :) I have so many and I need to get them into my posts, too. I guess I am not always as organized on the internet as I am in my environment.


    • I have had the time to visit more new blogs than usual – I’m not always like this Jackie – I’m usually behind with my reading!
      The weather has been bad here the last few days so I grabbed the opportunity to spend more time than usual on the computer – thus the extra reading!


  10. What a wonderful story, Barb. You have a knack for from-the-heart description and narration. I can see Peebles and the River Tweed in my mind quite clearly now.

    I have Scots blood in me too. My grandmother was born in Edinburgh and my grandfather was of Scots descent. My first husband was from Barrhead and attended the University of Glasgow. I loved the Scottish influence so much that I gave both my children Scottish names–Jamie and Laurie (from Annie Laurie, you know?).

    I also had trouble with understanding the accent. I remember one time my husband said, “Go n git yer perrrse, lass.” I said, “What?” He said again, a little exasperated, “Go n git yer perrrrse!” I still didn’t understand. Finally, he said, quite exasperated, “Go n git yer perrrse…yer perrrse, yer perrrrse, the thing you keep you monnee in.”

    It finally dawned on me…”Oh, my purse!” “Yah,” he said, “Yer pourse.” We both laughed then, and I ran for the somewhat maligned purse. It took me about 10 months of marriage before I could understand him fluently :P

    Sandra, CANADA


    • Thank you for your kind comments Sandra, glad you could see Peebles in your mind’s eye from my description! I love it so much, does it show? ;)
      So your grandmother was born in Edinburgh – that’s only 22 miles north of Peebles! We could be related!
      You gave your children strong Scottish names indeed.
      Yes, the accent takes some understanding – as my husband found out when he first visited Peebles with me to meet my family – he was always asking me to translate!


  11. Hi Barb, You really do remember your childhood. So much of it sounds like mine with the hopscotch, milk bottles and neighbours looking out for you but I grew up in big city.

    You must be very excited and looking forward to your trip back to the UK and your father looks dashing in his uniform. :-)


    • Oh yes I do remember my childhood Rose – they are my special memories, and I still have strong connections with family there, which helps to keep the memories alive.
      Thanks for the compliment about my dad and I have to agree with you! Sadly, he isn’t with us anymore but I still have my memories of him too. He lives on in my brother and me (and my youngest son) – we are so like him.


  12. Paul Taylor

    Oh well what can I say my wife Barbara tells a good story as I was reading it ,I could see us walking down the main street and people stopping to say hello in there broad scottish accents…I would ask barbs after..what did she say? with a frown…..I have to smile as I always remember when I first met Barbs I was 19 yrs, I always thought that hagis…was an a hedgejog!
    I was not amused when her family loughed at me.


    • You love the Scot in me, don’t ya Paul! I remember when you thought that haggis was a hedgehog – silly man that you are! You took some convincing that it didn’t have 4 legs and ran around the heather-clad hillsides! Oh boy . . . I educated you though, but your taste buds still don’t equal mine as far as haggis goes! You are a Sassenach – need I say more? (translation – a Sassenach is an Englishman)!
      I know you are looking forward to visiting Peebles again because you fell under it’s spell on our frequent visits there to see my family.
      Remember meeting my dad for the first time? Scary! But you both got on like a house on fire; we needn’t have worried!


  13. My maternal grandparents grew up in Aberdeen and Edinburgh with summers in the Orkney Isles.

    The River Tweed and Peebles looks and sounds wonderful. Thanks, Barb.

    Hope you have a GRAND time when you return this summer after 25 years away. I’m green with envy. :mrgreen:


  14. Joyce Kauders

    Hi Barb, so enjoyed your description of Peebles. Just from the picture I could easily live in such a Town. Thanks so much for sharing…write some more about it when you can along with life there today. Love all the animal pictures.

    Joyce, USA


    • Thanks Joyce, and nice to meet you. Sorry about the email – I had to make sure.
      Glad you liked my description of my birthplace; I will probably write more about it, and definitely more about pets!


  15. Beautiful words and pictures…what a blessed life you have! This post makes me want to take a trip to Scotland. I’ve never been to Europe but it’s on my bucket list of travel destinations. Maybe, one of these days….and Australia too!

    I feel so lucky to live as close as I do to my hometown for frequent visits. You have been away from your home almost as many years as I’ve been alive ~ that’s craziness!!!! :) Even though my hometown is 14 hours (by car) from Texas, it’s forever etched in my heart and soul too. I can close my eyes and smell the Kentucky air or taste the crispness of sweet corn right out of the field. Home is such a wonderful thing!

    Thank you for sharing, Barb, this is a wonderful post. I pray for a safe and truly memorable trip for you and your family. And I hope Peebles is exactly how you left it 25 years ago. :>)


    • If you ever get the chance to take a trip to Europe, then please include Scotland in it – you will not be sorry, and if you do, you have to visit Peebles – then you will understand how I feel about it!
      You feel the same way about Kentucky – the sights and the smells are always there. Home is where the heart is, although circumstances sometimes dictate where we end up.


  16. Oh Barb, what a wonderful post … and town! I’d love to see it now. Always wanted to visit Scotland.

    I see here in the comments that you haven’t been home for twenty five years! Wow. I haven’t been home for seven years, and I thought that was much.

    I’m going to look it up on a map now… loved to read about your childhood.


    • Thanks Rebekah, glad to hear you enjoyed reading it. If you are looking Peebles up on the map, look for Edinburgh – Peebles is just south of there.
      My childhood has a very unusual twist to it – I might write a post about it someday when I pluck up the courage!


    • Peebles is surrounded by the most stunning countryside you will ever see. You can walk for 5 minutes in any direction, and you are out of town, in the countryside. I can’t wait to see it again in September! And my brother of course!! ;)


  17. Kaye Edwards

    How wonderful your childhood must have been .. the story had me waiting for the next line. My grandmother was a Scot, and i visited Scotland many years back, visiting mainly Glasgow.. but i did get to venture to a few small towns in the outskirts… I know very well how it can be in your blood Barb… because it never leaves, no matter how many generations we are bred down.
    I am also proud of my Scottish blood, and I am getting married in July, in Australia, to an American, with a Scottish theme throughout the wedding. I have always wanted to do this in memory of my wee scot granny. WELL DONE BARBARA!!


    • I can honestly say that I had a wonderful childhood growing up in Peebles, and if you ever get the chance, you should visit my birthplace – you will feel it’s magic!
      I can hardly wait for your wedding Kaye – you, an Australian with Scottish ancestry, marrying an American, with a Scottish theme throughout the wedding! I feel honored to be a part of your special day!
      Thanks for your wee comment Kaye! ;)


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