On my recent trip to the UK I re-visited my birthplace in Scotland, catching up with family, going down memory lane and it was very special part of my whole trip.
Our first week was spent in the small picturesque town where I was born, Peebles, in the Scottish Borders, about 20 miles south of Edinburgh. Peebles has a population of about 8,000.
My heart skipped a beat as we got nearer, passing through stunning countryside – and then I remembered why I loved it so much – rolling green hills covered in purple heather, nosey sheep grazing in paddocks, (sometimes wandering onto the road), narrow lanes wide enough for only one car, dry stone walls covered in lichen – everything exactly as I remembered from my childhood.
The town of Peebles lies where the River Tweed and Eddleston Water meet (known locally as “The Cuddy”). The River Tweed is world famous for salmon fishing, and interestingly, Peebles Coat of Arms comprises of three salmon – with one going against the flow!
Initially a market town, it played a big part in the woollen industry of the Scottish Borders up until the 1960’s, and my father worked at the local mill for many, many years.
The town has been a Royal Burgh since 1152 and the rule of King David I, and is steeped in history.
Catching Up With Family
We stayed with my brother and his family and it was wonderful catching up. Their daughters, my nieces, are now grown women but they haven’t forgotten me, and it felt good getting to know them again. This photo was taken in 1986 – the last time I saw them.
My brother hasn’t changed – he still doesn’t talk much, is very easy going and doesn’t get stressed by anything; he just takes things as they come – and I wouldn’t change him for the world. Love you bro!
His wife, my sister-in-law, makes up for my brother in the talking department, (I mean that in the nicest possible way M!), so she brought me up to date on what’s been happening in their lives over the last 20-odd years since I last saw them!
My sister-in-law made Haggis and Stovie Tatties, (haggis, turnip and potatoes)
for dinner on our first night – all because I said I couldn’t wait to taste some haggis again! Unfortunately, it wasn’t the hub’s cup of tea – I think it must be an acquired taste!
Down Memory Lane
It was very emotional to be back in my birthplace; it holds so many happy memories for me, and my heart was brimming with emotion as I strolled along the same streets I had walked as a child. Nothing much has changed in all these years except for the appearance of two supermarkets! The same butcher’s shop is still there and it is still the best butcher in town – they sell the best tasting haggis for miles around!
I re-visited some childhood places with my brother – he took me to the school we both went to, we strolled down the street where I was born (now a Listed street), and I saw the very house where I came into the world. As I stood there gazing up at it, Iwas glued to the spot, and all sorts of memories came flooding back from my childhood. We lived there with my grandparents and pictures kept flashing through my mind of my grandfather sitting me on his knee and singing to me – our special song, and I still remember the words to this day.
I remember the day my mother cut my hair short and got told off by her mother, my gran. Apparently the reason she cut it was because I always used to cry when she tried to get a brush through it (it was thick and curly) – and she wasn’t exactly gentle – ouch.
We walked down to the river (known locally as The Cuddy), which runs through the heart of Peebles;
The Cuddy is where my brothers and I used to go fishing for minnows and take them home in a jam jar – much to mum’s annoyance!
I even met a real-life Author!
My brother’s wife took me to the Parish Church to meet a local lady called Anne Derrick who has written a book about what it was like growing up in Peebles in the 50’s and 60’s, my era! I got a copy of her book and it was a very nostalgic read for me, re-kindling many memories from my own happy childhood. Thanks Anne, I love the book and the photographs you dug up are awesome!
We had a big family reunion one night, and it was wonderful to catch up with everyone, some I’ve never even met before. That deserves a post of its own, because I want to tell you about a very emotional and long anticipated meeting with a family member.
Big surprise in store, so watch this space!
Have you ever re-visited your birthplace? How did it make you feel?