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"End to End via the Margins"
-the diary of a walk.

- Kelso to Lauder


Yesterday evening there was a good thunderstorm with hail, the works. I was glad to be inside. Later, my hosts consented to be asked The Questions - as if they didn't already have enough to do, looking after me.

I set off this morning and soon found a fairly quiet B road. It got quieter as I got further away from Kelso. From time to time, jets flew low across the landscape. There's something thrilling about seeing a fast aeroplane scream over your head doing a banked turn, with strings of cloud trailing from its wingtips. But it's not everybody's cup of tea, not if they've come for the quiet. If we're going to choose to go to war from time to time, the pilots have got to practise somewhere.

In time, the road turned from brown on the map to yellow, and then to white, as I walked past a run of chicken sheds. I kept my distance, so as not to spread disease. Who knows, I might have created a new flu virus if I'd not been careful. The road became a track, and came out at Birkenside. By going through Blainslie, I was able to walk almost all the way into Lauder on small roads.

In Blainslie I saw a young woman relaxing, looking at her garden. I had the impression she was surveying a good afternoon's work. She watched me walk up the hill. I felt the urge to greet her. A raised hand seemed right, anything more might have provoked too energetic a response. She replied in kind. I walked on.

In mid afternoon, there seemed to be lots of mums driving the road between Lauder and Blainslie. I wondered if I was in commuting range of Edinburgh, along the A68 (although it was another two days for me). Support for this hypothesis came later, when a woman walked out of the post office with a cheery "ciao" to the postmaster. But the people at the place I'm staying say there aren't commuters out that way in any numbers.

I passed the time on the road watching showers. I tried to think of words to describe them. But I couldn't really find the right ones. I just think showers are amazing.

I got to the digs and rested and looked out of the window. There's a sooty television aerial to see: this is somewhere where people still burn fires. I look at the clouds. I think the wind has veered. And there's Lauderdale. Sun came and went on the valley sides. Seagulls were brilliant white in the sun against the dark cloudbase. That may be a familiar enough sight, but it feels good to have the leisure to watch. I thought about days to come, but didn't get far. I'll just have to take things as they come. Psalm 131 keeps coming into my mind.

Pictures from today...
Self, with hosts, about to set off from Kelso
The Eildon Hills have been visible for about two days now. Anybody know if they're volcanic?
The boy (who was being watched over by an adult in a car) standing next to this thing at Blainslie didn't know what it was. Could it be a penknife sculpture like that on Sheffield's Five Weirs Walk?
It reads, 1 Duck Killed 1 Child Missed
Caring God, keep us
from harming ourselves with ideas and schemes
that are complicated, grandiose or overblown.
Help us rest in your love,
help us be childlike and humble,
give us bread for today,
help us walk tomorrow's walk,
and take each day's task as it comes.

But please don't let us shrink so much
that we disappear
when injustice, cruelty and selfishness
need to be challenged.
© Bob Warwicker. The words here may be reproduced freely, but not for gain, or without attribution. All alterations must have the permission of the author.