There I was piddlin along in the wild border lands south of Langholm when the Ten and I landed amongst some straw bales in a farmyard —
After a roll in the hay we headed on down towards the border and found a hamlet of ten houses where time has stood still. All along the roadside was the finest array of stone farming artefacts I’ve ever seen in one place.
I recognise water troughs when I see them even when they are full of plants but there was so much more. The Memorial Plaque had been rescued from a nearby school which was being demolished and had the names of former pupils who had perished in the 1914-18 war.
On the other side of the road by the old joiner’s shop was another collection.
The stone flags under that tree had a purpose when I was a boy – they formed a solid base where the large diameter wooden spoked wheels built by the carpenter were laid to enable the blacksmith from across the yard to fit and shrink the heavy duty steel band to the outer rim. I remember them well as my father worked as a ‘horseman’ on similar farms and country estates in his first few jobs after his demob from the army at the end of the 1939-45 war.
This next stone is the base for a cheese maker – the grooves are to allow the ‘bree’ to escape when the wooden box (long since rotted away) has been filled with gee or whatever you call the stuff cheese is made from —
Then the heavy squarish stone alongside is lowered into the box and it’s weight compacts the cheese – simple —
there are a variety of shapes and sizes of weights as each farm in the area made it’s own particular cheese in days of yore —
I don’t think the wasteful ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ has reached this part of the world yet as every drop of rainwater is collected from the joiner’s shop roof into the plastic drums and used to water the flowers in the many roadside troughs
So there we are – Stonehenge has a rival on the Scottish/English border and this is the Stone of Destiny which Alec Salmond’s merry men will use to stamp the passports of visitors from the south after his Revolution takes place later this month 🙂
Stone age Cheese Maker