Reivers’ River

Giant hogweed grows luxuriantly on the banks of the River Esk at Musselborough. One low-lying field has become a jungly thicket of hogweed, towering over my head to ten or twelve feet. I’ve got no intention of pushing in amongst it: the headline on the front page of our local paper this week was ‘Teenage Boy Scarred by Giant Hogweed’.

This year the Esk at Musselborough is to be the location for the traditional river crossing of the riders of the Border Reivers. The ceremonies include turf cutting at a number of traditional spots: the Reivers’ version of beating the bounds.

The Portobello Bus

Firth of Forthgull chickWe take the bus into Edinburgh. Up here on the top deck in the front seat we’re on level with a herring gull chick sitting on the roof of one of the shops on Musselborough High Street.

As the bus goes through Portobello we get views of misty hills across the Firth of Forth.

Unfortunately no sketching is allowed in the Scottish Parliament, not without the permission of the Presiding Officer. The mace, which is made from silver and gold panned from Scottish rivers, was designed and crafted by Michael Lloyd. It’s the first time that I’ve seen any of his work since my Royal College of Art days. He was in the silversmithing department but we both attended the general studies environment group run by Christopher Cornford and my tutor in natural history illustration John Norris Wood. You can see the influence of natural form in his design for the mace which is more like a giant thistle than the traditional gothic mace in the House of Commons in London.

He has engraved the words ‘Wisdom, Justice, Compassion and Integrity’ on the head of the mace. Not words that we’d normally use when discussing politicians but a great mission statement to aim for.

Link: Michael Lloyd – This is my story – The Silversmith’s Art

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