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Turning Point

The tent (and the Austin Cambridge)

A Kelso Story

The second time I came to Kelso it had turned backwards. I’ll tell you about that later

They say if you’re going to move to a town, first see it in the rain. Unplanned, that’s what I did

Should we move here?

Maybe for a few years?

Babies were born. I made friends in early years groups and at school gates. My children “Spoke Kelsae” with a wee hint of their origins as an Incomer’s Baby—like many of their friends

Back to the rainy day…

Our car was parked outside Freshwater’s florist. We wanted something to eat but couldn’t see through the wet windscreen. I think that’s when we found John Scott’s baker, just round the corner

So yes, I moved to Kelso in 1987. “For a few years.” I’ve spent most of my life here

_ _ _ _ _

The first time I came to Kelso I was fourteen. My parents had bought a fancy tent with sleeping areas and a canopy. I’d never slept in a tent before. In the style of all belligerent fourteen year olds, I hated it and made my hatred known

My parents, thinking I would be less teenager-ish if I was involved in choosing our destination, handed me the booklet of campsites in Scotland. I was to pick our next holiday

I’ve no idea what thought processes I used. Probably none. My finger landed on Kirk Yetholm

I don’t remember arriving at the site. I’m sure I didn’t help with putting up the tent. I do remember a horse in the next field

My mum’s cousin, born and bred in Ayr, was married to a psychiatric nurse. He worked in this part of Scotland so I think it must’ve been Dingleton. Since we were in the area, my parents arranged to meet their relatives. We stopped in Kelso for a look round on our way to wherever they lived

My brother and I stood at the door of Kelso town hall, looking over at a row of shops. You’re saying, that’s exactly how it is. But I promise you, when fourteen year old me stood in Kelso Square, the Town Hall was where Hastings is now

_ _ _ _ _

The third time I came to Kelso there was no rain, and the Town Hall was where it should be. Knowing my memory tricked me, I like to wonder how Kelso had reversed. I can still see the town both ways

Which may be a metaphor


Thank you for reading my Kelso story. I’m in with the woodwork now! You can see me most days in my shop, One Basket, in Horsemarket

I originally wrote this for Visit Scotland, Year of Stories

Instagram, one_basket

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