We have just returned from a visit to our Australian family and I will soon be putting a few photos in the Gallery. This month I am taking part in an excavation at Wark Castle overlooking the R. Tweed.
I recently took part in a poetry reading in Hawick on a Sunday afternoon. It was a chance for local, Borders poets to read some of their work to microphone and camera. It took place in the Drum Beat cafe, a cafe/bookshop that hosts events and book reviews for local writers. There were about twelve of us plus our guests and other people in the cafe. I read two of my poems, 'A Helping Hand' and 'St. Kilda People' and they seemed to be well received. See http://www.youtube.com/bordersopenmic
My photograph of a winter sunrise over the River Tweed at Coldstream was reproduced in the Berwickshire News on 30 January. I have put it in the Gallery.
The newly-formed Development Group, to which I belong, is pressing on with a number of local projects. The main problem at the moment is obtaining funding through grant applications and this is because the Group has not yet become a legal entity. We are hoping that this will be quite soon.
I am currently working on my fourth book on local topics, Breamish and Till from Source to Tweed, to be published by the Till Valley Archaeological Society (TillVAS)(www.tillvas.com). Net proceeds of sale will go to the Society. Publication date—sometime this year, I hope!
Since the Australian trip in March last year, we have been fortunate in having three separate holiday weeks in three very different parts of Britain, firstly in Kintyre on the west coast of Scotland, secondly in Lyme Regis, Dorset where we lived for nine years and then in Langdale in the Lake District for which I have a very soft spot, having started my hill-walking there in 1959. In September, we took an Australian friend to Lindisfarne, St. Abbs, St. Abb's Head and Coldingham Priory amongst other places, to show her some of the fantastic history and scenery in Berwickshire and Northumberland. I have put some representative photographs in the Gallery.
Thank you for visiting my website. I am Antony Chessell and I am a writer living in the Scottish Borders.
This is me in the garden—it shows that the sun does shine in these parts! In fact, the eastern Borders (of England and Scotland) has a good sunshine record and the average annual rainfall figure is not nearly as high as in the west, although the Cheviot Hills in England and the Lammermuir Hills in Scotland do attract more rain. Also, the River Tweed and its tributaries can produce some dramatic local flooding particularly after prolonged heavy downpours in the hills to the west. This is a fantastic place to live with attractive scenery on both sides of the Scotland/England border as seen from the photograph in the heading which is a view of the distant, snow-capped Cheviot Hills from the back of the house and from the photograph below which shows the Eildon Hills, as seen from Scott's View, near Melrose.
Please have a look at the pages on my website by clicking on the tabs in the left hand column to learn more about me, my interests and my work.
For the last four years, TillVAS volunteers (including me) have been working on excavations associated with the Battle of Flodden 1513. This year is the quincentenary of the battle and there have been many events leading up to the commemoration of the battle on 9 September and these will continue for many years to come.
We have worked under professional guidance at the supposed site of the encampment of James IV of Scotland on Flodden Hill and we have excavated and field-walked in many fields around the positions of the Scottish and English armies before the battle and the site of the battle itself, below Branxton Hill.
These excavations continue but funding has enabled additional sites to be excavated this year at Norham Castle and at Ladykirk. The photograph shows work in progress at Flodden Hill.
October 2013. I was quite excited when I found this beautiful worked flint whilst field-walking with TillVAS at a newly ploughed and sown wheat field just north of the village of Branxton. A section of the field had been marked out in 10metre square grids so that any finds lying on the surface could be 'bagged up' and their positions recorded. This flint, like all flints was clean of any attached soil. It has a long rectangular edge on one side which might have been glued into a wooden shaft with , perhaps, birch resin. The other edge has been tooled to enable the flint to have been used for cutting or scraping.
On the Gallery page I have included another photograph of a black flint scraper that I found this month. Evidently, this is an unusual specimen with some unusual features so I hope to learn more about it. Have a look at it.
This is a small group, including Gwen and me (the two in the middle), field-walking on part of the Flodden battlefield site. It was cold!