Category Archives: The Kelso Chronicles

The Kelso Chronicles #2

I’m sitting here, pondering how to continue the Chronicles.  I had a train of thought when I did the first instalment and that train seems to have left the station.  In fact, it appears it left the fucking rail!

There is a lot I have forgotten, or mushed up into a memory medley that is out of chronological order or mashes time together.  I probably ain’t doing the events much justice and there are too few to corroborate or consult regarding such matters.  Not that it actually matters, mind.

I attended Broomlands Primary School.  At some point, someone nicknamed it Lego Land due to the style of which it was built.  Plastic panels, held together with plastic trim, concealing fibreglass and whatever else behind them.  The school is still there and hasn’t changed much from the look of it.  An addition of a nursery and fencing and some other minor details that were present in “my day”.

Kelso had (and still has) two primary schools.  Broomlands and Edenside.  We were rivals (to a degree) but not too serious – not sure what it’s like now.  When our class would go swimming, we would pass Edenside as the swimming pool was right next to it.  As we passed, boos and hisses and verbal “abuse” would fire back and forth over the walls and hedges from both sides.  The would-be enemies on both sides would end up becoming (in most cases) the best of friends come the high school years.

I don’t remember much about my teachers at Broomlands. Only a few stand out in my mind. Mrs Deans, who I believe was my Primary 2 teacher, still remembers me. Before my Mum passed away, if they ever bumped into each other she would always ask my Mum how I was. I think she was in The Waggon Inn when my family and myself were having a meal and some drinks after my Mum’s cremation last year. I was going to go over and say hi but I figured it’d be too awkward, especially given my reason for being there. And I hate awkwardness. Plus I’m not very sociable.

Mrs White was one of my favourite teachers. I had a few quirks that she seemed to like. I still have my old school reports and she noted on one about how I would roll my eyes when certain classmates would speak. They either bored me or pissed me off. Then there was Mr Humphrey. I can’t remember his nickname but it was related to him being very hairy. He used to do this trick where he would hold a cane and jump it. We were amazed at this 6ft something sasquatch jumping a cane. We had a PE teacher called Mrs Dodds who always seemed to lose her voice and the only other teacher I remember was Mrs Anderson. She was our P6 and P7 teacher.

Headteacher-wise, I remember Mr Topping (he links to a memory I have of Davey Oval that I shall save for another time) and Miss Murray aka Turbo Tits. She had a huge pair of tits. She wasn’t attractive and, I think, she was from Hawick. Her tits would enter the room 24 hours before she would. I remember she read us a story about Bobby Brewster and the way she would roll the b and r in Brewster was inimitable. It was weird.

The primary school days are rather blurry for me. I have scattered memories of things like Mrs Baker from Barnardos. “Did you know, I’m helping Barnaaaaardos.” My brother and sister often reference this when we speak as I would imitate her when I was a kid and it became like an inside joke kinda thing. I remember the safety videos we would watch (matches, matches do not touch; they can hurt you very much) and when we had our Green Cross Code and the policeman reminded me of Reg Hollis in The Bill. We had a number of ministers or reverends or whatever. We had Marion Dodd (I never liked her and this became a mutual feeling with my Mum after my Grandpa’s funeral) and Tom McDonald who, despite me not being religious, I thought was awesome. He was funny and seemed more…modern, more down with the times and understanding. He was a preacher that didn’t preach as such. Sadly, another link demonstrating how small a world it is, he was in the Margaret Kerr Unit whilst my Mum was there just before she passed. I’m not sure how he has fared in his battle but Google indicates he may have pulled through or at least continues to fight the good fight.

I know we had good times, lots of laughs and just randomness that summed our generation up. Typical late 80s to the mid 90s. I was obsessed with Batman. I did a homework assignment in P6 where it was an entire book full of stories I had written and sketches and diagrams. I wish I had kept it. I worked hard one summer at my Gran and Grandpa’s on the book and I was so proud of it. In school, it led to a lot of mockery and me being picked on to the point I succumbed to peer pressure and pushed that side of me to the back of my mind so I could ‘fit in’. I regret pushing my geekiness into the shadows. But, you can’t hold a geek down.

There were a number of kids who transferred to Broomlands and subsequently left again and, for the life of me I can’t remember their names. I remember a kid called Hamish. He had eggy breath. I think, in hindsight, it was probably halitosis.

I remember a kid called David. He was a mongoloid. I didn’t like him. Not because he was different. Well, I suppose it technically was, but he was violent. Music class was generally where he would launch various instruments at myself and others or hammer us over the head with them. I recall wanting to punch him in the face or kick him in the cock but I knew I couldn’t.  How would it look considering he was ‘different’? I was glad he left when he did.

‘The Crew’ consisted of Fent (who I still speak to), Kev, Mackie, Bruce, Fordie, Kel, Pimpy and myself. Although I never considered myself popular and still don’t, that was the group I hung out with.

And that does it for another instalment of The Kelso Chronicles. Mainly because my head is fucked from the Oramorph and Cocodamol and I’m surprised I’ve written THIS much. Until next time.

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: Kelsae[1]Scottish Gaelic: Cealsaidh,[2]) 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.[3]

Kelso’s main tourist draws are the ruined Kelso Abbey and Floors Castle, a William Adam designed house completed in 1726. TheKelso Bridge was designed by John Rennie who later built London Bridge.

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.

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