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Updated: 17 min 19 sec ago

Schools, Retreat and Brexit

5 hours 26 min ago

Christine Graham MSP writes her monthly column for Midlothian View.

Schools

I often am invited to schools or they come to Parly and ask loads of questions- some quite near the bone-and it’s all good fun.

Last week it was Sacred Heart in Penicuik and there are the usual: How did you become a politician? What do you do during the week? What is the most interesting bit of your job and so on.

As it’s usually p5 and 6 so I have to edit my answers somewhat as I am a complete and utterly accidental politician having been selected by my party when I didn’t realise what was going on. But that’s for the memoirs as they say.

Because of my interest in Animal Welfare –I chair the Cross Party Group in Parly on this-the talk inevitably switched from the dire topic of politics to animals we have known and loved. Through this exchange I learned who had dogs , cats or rabbits and even stick insects. One boy has a brother who had giant African snails. I have seen these in a market in Ghana so I was relieved to learn neither he nor his brother slept with them in their bedrooms. That would be the stuff of nightmares.

There was also the rabbit called “Splash”. Yes apparently he doesn’t dislike water but he was named mainly on account of the white markings on his chest. What a relief.

Today there was an interrogation by Gorebridge Primary. One questioner wanted to know if I liked everyone in our party. I dodged that one as another for those memoirs.

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Beating the Retreat

Every year, along with other dignitaries and politicians I am invited to Beating the Retreat at Penicuik House.

The Lord Lieutenant took the salute as the pipes and the silver band marched past. A lone piper played a dirge on the steps of the old house.

Now I go weak at the knees with the skirl of the pipes and yes a wee lump in my throat so it was stirring stuff against the evening silhouette of the old Penicuik House just hinting at its earlier grace and grandeur.

But as in other years Beating the Retreat becomes very personal to me as the mighty midgies yet again took a fancy to my flesh and to this day I bear the bites and scars. To them I must be Haute Cuisine. Now I don’t know whether I should take this as a compliment or not. Perhaps they just like causing pain and distress to a politician. They are not alone!

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Brexit

To B…. or not to B….. that is the question. If you recall it drove Hamlet mad and it must be having a similar effect on the Tories and Labour.

Chequers is dead long live Chequers Mark2? How to keep the DUP happy and on side and avoid an election that is another question.

Labour has shoved the Lib/Dems off their traditional seat on the fence and now is for/against a second EU referendum, for/against a second Scottish Independence referendum, for/against the Single market, for/against a Customs Union.

Who knows? Who cares? There is nothing to choose between Tory and Labour. Actually there is, let’s ditch this lot and go for our own Independence. We’d definitely make a better fist of things.

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Categories: Community News

Garden competition winners announced

Tue, 18/09/2018 - 15:06

Kevin Armstrong in his garden being presented with a gold certificate for Best Overall Garden and another gold certificate for Best Floral Garden by Depute Provost Margot Russell.

Bonnyrigg resident Kevin Armstrong and Lewis and Jean Bassindale from Roslin have won joint first place in the Midlothian Council Tenants Garden Competition 2018.

The annual competition is judged by Midlothian Council tenants. They were impressed with the high standard of entries this year and found it hard to choose between the two top prize winners. Kevin impressed them with his stunning garden that features herbaceous and ornamental shrubs, decking, a green house and a pond. The Bassindales are keen gardeners and have had success in the competition before, winning the competition last year. They were awarded top prize again because judges were impressed by the mixture of plants and flowers in their garden and the tidy lawn.

Kevin also won the gold award in the Best Floral Display category. He has been in his home for eight years and says it took him five years to get the garden looking like it does today. Kevin managed to salvage many of the plants he used from an acquaintance who was doing a garden clearance. He still has lots of ideas for further development of his garden and future plans include a shed and a hot tub.

Commenting on winning the competition he said: “I really enjoy spending time in the garden. It was quite neglected and characterless when I moved in and I have spent many years improving it. This is the first year that I have entered the competition and it’s great to have my efforts recognised by winning the awards for Best Overall Garden and Best Floral Display. I’m proud that I managed to achieve what I have by salvaging plants that were surplus to requirements. I also managed to source a recycled trellis and garden furniture. ”

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The Depute Provost, Councillor Margot Russell said:

“Congratulations to all the dedicated gardeners who participated in the competition – particularly to the joint gold prize winners Kevin and Jean and Lewis. Gardening is a satisfying hobby that not only keeps you fit but rewards you with a pleasant outdoor space to relax in. The gardens belonging to all the prize winners also enhance their local neighbourhood.”

All Midlothian Council Tenants Garden Competition 2018 winners received Dobbies Garden Centre vouchers. Winners were as follows:

Best Overall Garden:

Gold joint first
Mr Kevin Armstrong, Bonnyrigg
Mr and Mrs Lewis Bassindale, Roslin

Silver plus
Mr and Mrs Liddle, Bonnyrigg
Mr and Mrs Peter Pryde, Dalkeith
Mrs Hazel Sweeney, Mayfield

Silver
Mr and Mrs Peter Herriot, Woodburn
Mrs Mary Gibson, Dalkeith
Mr Steven Harvey, Gorebridge
Mrs Sarah Weir, Dalkeith

Best Floral Display:

Gold
Mr Kevin Armstrong, Bonnyrigg

Silver plus
Mr and Mrs Lewis Bassindale, Roslin
Mr and Mrs Liddle, Bonnyrigg
Mr and Mrs Peter Pryde, Dalkeith

Silver
Mrs Hazel Sweeney, Mayfield
Mr and Mrs Herriot, Woodburn
Mrs Mary Gibson, Dalkeith

Most Improved

Gold
Tracey McCulloch, Dalkeith
Mr and Mrs John Dent, Dalkeith

Tallest Sunflower:

Gold
Tyler Harvey, Gorebridge (age 5)

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Categories: Community News