Saga of a woman old enough to know better who lets her life be governed by the ridiculous hobby of breeding and showing dogs, musing on life, the twenty first century, Cameron and his mini-me, and the occasional sheep.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


The old house is indeed old. When I bought it – very cheaply as it is in an area where there is no planning permission allowed : no extensions, no visible external improvements, which puts off a lot of buyers – the solicitor doing the conveyancing discovered that the earliest recorded sale he could find was in 1680 for “seven pound scots”. But it was inhabited long before. In 1913 there was an archaeological dig here, which brought up a lot of prehistoric celtic remains, including a tricephalon. There is a well, which then would have been a spring, and I suppose that would be the attraction. The well is now covered, but a lot of hastily hidden weapons were discovered there, probably from covenanting times.

Well, in the last century the property was brought into the Hamilton estate as part of a dowry, and remained there until bought out by Patrick Waters in 1947. The Waters brothers lived here, supplying horsepower to agriculture and timber nearby, I am told without running water or electricity, until a retired civil engineer bought the place in 1955 and proceeded to modernise it. The stable which had housed Daisy and Clover became a sitting room (the low part of the building you can see), and electricity, water and a state of the art septic tank arrived, with a lot of landscaping and infill. The next owner left when he was denied the permission to build an extension, and then I arrived, 28 years ago.

It is officially an orchard. Now there are a lot of orchards in the valley, mostly plum, and they were all planted just after the Napoleonic wars to supply the growing city of Glasgow with fruit and jam. This has a few plum trees remaining, and traces of older pear trees – this is a south facing slope, good for early flowering pears. But before that, this would just be a smallholding, I suppose.

Nowadays, short of growing illegal substances, it would be hard to make a little holding like this pay. My former neighbour ran his as a market garden, and only just made enough to live on. He was one of the old school, and used to load the shotgun with rock salt to fire at the boys who climbed the trees to steal his plums. (Gun control was a great deal less stringent in those days, and any little problems with the law could usually be eased over with a bottle of Bells.) When my good neighbours moved in at the far end of the road, their goats provided a problem, and I still remember the morning when I found old Peter raging as he found his field of cauliflowers mutilated – the goats had carefully eaten all the white curds but thoughtfully left him the leaves. That took more than a bottle to settle. There are stories about Peter shooting the wasps and other such scenes from country life further back in this blog.

I`d love to say I have done a lot to the property, but I haven`t. I used to run sheep, but sheep require a lot of upper body strength, and I had to give them up. Nowadays elderly dogs just run wild on it.

And so do I.
What a fascinating history, Elizabeth. I have a daughter who, if she read your account of the house, would be desperate to be let loose with her metal detector! All you need now are a few covenanting or otherwise ghosts to populate the spaces where there are no dogs! Thank you for letting us share your house.
Oh that is a great history.

My house was built in the 80's, 1980's and is a ticky tacky boring house!!

Thank you for sharing the photograph and history of your house. It must be interesting to live in something that has "history."
Not liking "not to know more" about something, I decided to search the internet for more information on tricephalons. Alas, it says something about this day and age when more or less the only thing Google can turn up is references to "Godzilla"! I remain in fair to middling ignorance!
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