MarySmith’sPlace – Time out

I’m taking a blogging break for a couple of weeks until I catch up with various projects which have deadlines looming.

Around the time of the winter solstice, photographer Keith Kirk and I led a sunset poetry walk and we are doing another to celebrate the summer solstice. We’re actually a week late as the event is on Friday, June 28 but Keith is on holiday, no doubt seeing some fine sunsets, so we couldn’t do it tonight. As I type this at almost 10.30pm the sky is still streaked with red – fingers crossed it will be a fine sunset next Friday.

The walk starts at the National Trust Visitor Centre by Threave Castle carpark. After a short introduction we’ll head off along the way-marked route (see picture above), taking in the sights, sounds and scents around us. People can expect to see a variety of birds including our resident ospreys, the peregrine which yells like anything from the castle top; deer, hares or maybe an otter. Two nights ago, I was lucky enough to see a badger but it had scooted back into the hedge before I could get my camera out. After the walk I’ll be facilitating a creative writing workshop. For further information or to book a place call CatStrand on 01644 420374 or book online at

Following on from Secret Dumfries, which came out a year ago, I am working with Keith on another local history book. This one is A-Z of Dumfries. Each letter has its own chapter but each chapter can have more than one entry – though I suspect X might be a sparse chapter! I love doing the research and telling people about what I’ve discovered but now I have to knuckle down and actually write it all up – and I am already way behind where I should be at.

I’m very excited about one of the entries under P. We have a piping pig! It’s a medieval sandstone carving of a pig playing bagpipes. It’s not in a museum or an abbey but out there in plain view in the town centre above a chip shop. Despite a chapter in Secret Dumfries exhorting people to look up, we missed this little beauty.

I will be working as a seasonal museum attendant again through July and August. Last year I was in Burns House, where Scotland’s bard lived for the last three years of his life.I blogged about it here.

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This year, I’m going to be in a different museum – Old Bridge House. It was built in 1660 and is the town’s oldest surviving house with displays of a Victorian nursery, an old-style kitchen and a Victorian dentist’s room complete with a display of teeth. I’m sure I’ll find plenty blog about.

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The Old Bridge Museum is the sandstone building at the far end of the bridge – and otters are sometimes seen in the river. Photo credit: Keith Kirk


On top of all that, we’re having some work done in the house (I’m going to have a dressing room/walk in wardrobe – yay) and joiners need regular supplies of coffee and ask questions about rail heights and shelves and they drill things all day long. And when they left the floorboards up one night, the cat disappeared. I had to bribe her out with a packet of baked cheese & onion crisps.

Life is a touch fraught and frantic and much as I enjoy meandering around the blogosphere reading posts, chatting to friends I really have to claw back some time for other things. Sorry in advance for not visiting your blogs for a couple of weeks. See you on the other side!

33 thoughts on “MarySmith’sPlace – Time out

  1. A break from blogging but you will be very busy indeed. I look forward to the photos and your wonderful stories.

    A bit of envy here. I can imagine being in the house of Robert Burns. I would imagine his voice reading to me…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    If you notice that Mary Smith is missing for a couple of weeks then do not be alarmed.. she is working on a new history of Dumfries an A_Z that sounds fascinating… then there is the sunset walk next Friday that if you are in the area would be good to sign up for.. and she is also having to cajole the cat from under the floorboards… head over and read the post for yourselves… very entertaining.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What a fun idea! It’s right up my alley and I’d love to come… but I’m a bit far away. I’ll be looking forward to the book, for sure. And good luck with the renovations. Keep the tea going! Good luck, Mary!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shame you’re so far away, Olga. It would be great to meet up at such an event. Thanks for your good wishes – need to get my head down again before I can switch off for the night.


  4. What gorgeous photos, Mary and how I would love to join you on your beautiful walk. Enjoy your break, though I know from spending the past year having workmen in for one job or another just how distracting things can be…and with cats in tow too! Glad the cheese and onion crisps worked a treat…will all be worth it for your lovely new space 🙂 See you on the other side indeed! xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry you are so far away. It looks like the weather will be good so we should get a lovely sunset to inspire our writing. I’m looking forward to when the work is finally done but it’s going to be ages yet as the painter can’t start until almost the end of August! Cousins from Canada arriving in Septer – yikes1 Hopefully it will be done by then though they’ll smell the paint.

      Liked by 1 person

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