Finding the Felty Folk

It’s been so lovely to see the sunshine again after an exceptionally long Winter in Scotland. I enjoyed watching the coverage of the Chelsea Flower show on the BBC, and it gave me quite a hankering to wander through beautiful gardens.

Saturday looked like it was going to be a glorious day, and I had planned to visit a nice garden – Monteviot Gardens, near Jedburgh. This was the first time I’d been there:

Monteviot Gardens

How lovely to have a river at the bottom of your garden, the water was like glass:

River Teviot

I had arranged with Neeva to get a message to Oosie and Diggly to meet me in the gardens, as it wasn’t too far from where they lived. So I was keeping my eyes peeled for them.

They weren’t in the Laburnum Tunnel; I thought they would have enjoyed climbing it:

Laburnum Tunnel

It wasn’t in its full glory, as it was in the shade, and the yellow blossoms were only just starting to come out.

They weren’t in the Arboretum; although I saw lots of good Felty Folk hidey-holes in the trees, and some fantastic twisted tree bark:

Tree bark

They weren’t running through the blooming Wild Garlic under the trees:

Wild garlic

Maybe it was too smelly!

I walked into the lush Oriental Water Gardens,

Water Gardens

and found them sitting on one of the bridges, soaking in the sunshine:

Oosie & Diggly on the bridge

“Hi!” I called out “I’ve found you. Aren’t you worried other people might see you there?”

Oosie and Diggly laughed.

“People make so much noise walking about we get plenty of warning before we have to hide,” Diggly commented.

Oosie & Diggly on bridge close up

“It’s good to see you again,” Oosie said.

They got up, ran across the bridge and leapt into the flower beds, swinging from hand to hand towards me.

Oosie & Diggly swinging

Oosie stopped right in front of me, swaying on a flowerhead.

Oosie swinging on flowers

“I haven’t seen you since the snow in March,” I said. “Isn’t it lovely now the sun has come out.”

“It is,” said Oosie. “It makes it so much easier for us to get about too.”

She swung herself along, with Diggly following, and jumped from flower to leaf to rock to bridge, exploring the garden.

Finally they slowed down and caught their breath, resting in a clump of Gunnera leaves, which swayed wildly as they landed.

Oosie & Diggly on Gunnera

“Have you explored the rest of the garden yet?” I asked.

They both nodded.

“Yes, we came early while it was quiet, we played for quite a long time on the tunnel thing!” exclaimed Oosie.

We chatted for quite a while, catching up with news of the Felty Folk, until it was eventually time to leave. I remembered I had an invitation for them.

“Would you both like to come to a feast I’m going to have in my garden soon?”

“Ooh, yes!” they cried, “that sounds marvellous!”

Oosie & Diggly close up

“Alright. I’ll get Neeva to send a message to you as usual to let you know when it’s going to happen.”

I left Oosie and Diggly on the leaf, chatting away about the imminent feast.


Thanks to S.Miller for use of some of the photographs here.


Felty Folk snowball fight

Before the snow melted, I took a walk around the back of my house to see the snowy scenery. It was a bit of a grey dull Sunday afternoon, but the snow looked lovely:

Snowy field

I walked through woodlands, and reached a gate:

Snowy gate

where I could see the partly frozen and flooded Leader Water still flowing through the field.

Icy Leader Water

I was just about to turn back for home, when I heard some familiar squeaking behind me. I looked around, and there were all of the Felty Folk on a nearby snowy bank:

FeltyFolk in the snow

“Hi all of you,” I exclaimed, pleased to see them, “what are you doing out in the snow, you don’t usually like to come out in it?”

“Hi,” they all replied. Neeva came nearer and explained,

“Well, the snow is nearly melted in parts, and it wasn’t too difficult to get about, so we thought we would come out and see some daylight.”

“I had the same idea,” I said. “How come Diggly and Neeva are here too? I thought they lived further South now.

“We came up for a visit,” Diggly said.

“Then it snowed, and we got stuck here, as it was too difficult to travel in the snow,” Oosie continued.

“So they’ve been staying with me ever since,” said Neeva, smiling.

I was still chatting with Neeva when I noticed Oosie make a snowball:

Oosie starts snowball fight

and aim it at Neeva:

Oosie with snowball

“Look out!” I cried. But it was too late:

Neeva hit by snowball

Oh Dear.

Neeva hit by snowball close up

“Two can play at that game!” she yelled, and hurled a snowball at Oosie:

Oosie hit by snowball, Lauder, Scottish Borders

A playful snowball fight ensued among the younger Felty Folk, with the Gillie Dhu, Dod and I laughing at their antics.

Eventually they were all snowed out and a bit soggy:

All snowed out

“That looked like fun,” I said to them, “I think you’d better get home and dry off.”

Snowball fight

They laughed and we all headed off up the track together.

Diggly’s Den

At last the time arrived for the visit to meet Diggly, as discussed here and here. Three of the Felty Folk had plucked up the courage to go on a first trip with me in the car. Neeva showed them around the car, and reassured them that it would be OK, and they climbed up into the safety seat I had created for them:

Climbing in

They were quite excited but a little nervous. I started the car, checked they were OK, and set off. They were quite quiet initially, and as they got used to the new sensations, they started happily chatting with each other.

Safety seat

I drove towards Selkirk, aiming for the area where I had seen Oosie, and she had done her leaf dance. When we were in the right area, I pulled into a layby to check with Oosie where to go next. They clambered out of their seat, and had a bit of a stretch and explored the car:

Oosie takes in the view

There was a lovely view to the distant hills:

The view

It was a lovely day altogether, much nicer for the trip than first intended, where it was supposed to be an easier way of Oosie getting to see her friend Diggly when travelling was hard on foot during the Winter. However the Winter was not too hard this year, and I had been a little unwell to take trips out, so it had been delayed. Oosie had managed to see Diggly a couple of times during the Winter, so this trip had turned into a bit of a jolly for the Felty Folk, and a bit of excitement travelling by car.

I showed them the map, and pointed out where I had seen Oosie before, and she was able to guide me towards where Diggly lived.

The Felty Folk consult the map

We set off again and soon came to the trees where I had seen Oosie:

Row of trees

A little further on, Oosie started getting quite excited and said we were nearly there, so I found a place to park up and we set off by foot, towards a footbridge:

Path to footbridge

This is the burn running under from the footbridge:

Burn from footbridge

We came to a forked path, but Oosie skipped ahead to show us  the way:

Oosie shows the way

Through the gate we were in beautiful woodland, paved with wild flowers. Forget-me-nots threaded under the trees:

Forget-me-not woodland

I love the way they change colour as the flowers age:

Wild Forget-me-not

There were Wood Anemones:

Wood Anemone

And striking trees – a Copper Beech:

Copper Beech

And a Crab Apple tree in full bloom:

Crab Apple Blossom

And a lichen encrusted Apple tree:

Diggly in apple tree

“It’s Diggly, it’s Diggly, it’s Diggly!!” cried Oosie jumping up and down in her excitement. The others were waving and calling out too.


“Hello,” I said, “You must be Diggly.”

“That’s right, and you must be Ruth,” he said, “Oosie’s told me about you. I’d better come down and say hello to her…”

He climbed down and ran to Oosie:

Diggly pleased to see Oosie

They were VERY pleased to see each other. There must be something magical going on between them:

Oosie and Diggly

Diggly greeted the others, and they all climbed on a Butterbur leaf for a good chat:

The Felty Folk resting on a Butterbur leaf

I chatted with them for a while, but they were talking about Folk I didn’t know, so it was hard to join in. Diggly was giving them some lunch, but the food was only suitable for Felty Folk;so I said I’d go off for a short walk and explore, and would come back for them later, and left them chatting:

Oosie and Diggly on Butterbur leaf

On my walk I found a beautiful view across a field:

View across field

that somehow reminded me of the Monet painting, Le Pave du Chailly. There was a clump of Welsh Poppies that just glowed, under tender green beech leaves:

Welsh Poppies

Welsh poppy

Closer to the burn there were the unusual Water Avens:

Water Avens

They remind me of Victorian lampshades:

Water Avens close up

Maybe the Felty Folk use them for something, I’ll have to ask them. I walked back along the path by the Crab Apple tree:

Path back

and headed to the patch of Butterbur, but no Felty Folk were in sight. I carried on along the path and came back to the footbridge:

Sitting on bridge2

And there they were, waiting for me:

Sitting on bridge1

“Are you ready to go home?” I asked. “We can stay a bit longer if you like?”

“Yes, we’re ready to go now,” Neeva and Dod replied.

Sitting on bridge4

Oosie explained that Diggly had invited her to stay a few days, so she would make her own way back. Now I’d met Diggly, I was reassured that he would look after Oosie and return her safely.

We all said our goodbyes, and Neeva, Dod and I walked back to the car. I asked Neeva if this was normal behaviour for Felty Folk; and she said that when two Felty Folk really liked each other, they would try out spending longer amounts of time together, eventually they would either live together or not. She said, the Felty Folk don’t have marriage like us, but after two of them have lived together happily for a certain amount of time they would have a celebration, a bit like our wedding anniversaries.

So I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens with Diggly and Oosie, and where they might make their home.

Leaf dance

I’ve got a little behind on my blog posts (again), I won’t bore you with excuses. These photos are from a couple of weeks ago, with the Autumn leaves still on the trees. Since then we’ve had howling winds, frost, ice and snow; so enjoy more of my celebration of Autumn to warm you up a bit.

First, here’s a couple of Autumn photos that didn’t quite get into my other posts, but I really like them, so thought I’d show them:

Trees at Harry Burn

This was taken in Hamish’s Wood.

I’m always fascinated by the deciduous conifers up here; another plant I hadn’t experienced until I moved to Scotland, most of them are varieties of Larch. I love the soft feathery effect the golden needles create, and the way they shine out against the evergreens:

Golden Larch

After weeks of feeling really tired, I was glad to wake up on a sunny Saturday morning and feel motivated to get out and do stuff. I took a drive down to Lilliesleaf, which is a small village between St. Boswells and Selkirk, about 30 mins drive away from Lauder. It was the last weekend of Inge Panneels Open Studios, and I was keen to see if she had some beautiful pieces of glass I could buy for Christmas presents. It was a lovely drive, a good mix of fast roads, winding country roads, and sun-filled Autumn scenery. As I pulled into the village there was a row of vibrant yellow Maple trees and I just had to stop and take a photo:

Row of Trees

I was just about to go, when I heard squeaking in the nearest tree, and looked up to see…

Oosie in Tree

Oosie! She was jumping up and down with excitement, and I was really surprised to see her so far from Lauder.

Oosie in Tree

“Hello Ruth”, she cried.

“Hi there, Oosie. What are you doing here? You’re so far away from home.”

“I’ve been visiting my friend Diggly, he lives quite near here.”

“It’s a very long way to travel, Oosie. How did you get here?”

“Well, it was quite a long way, and it took me a long time walking and running, but I stopped for rests in safe places on the way. I’ve stayed with Diggly for a little while, and now I’m on my way back home. Me and Diggly made up a dance, do you want me to show you?”

She started climbing down the tree:

Climbing down

“That would be lovely, Oosie. As long as it won’t make you too tired for your journey.”

“Oh no, I don’t get very tired,’ she said, and slid down the last bit of the trunk.

Climbing down

She scampered across the grass, grabbing a couple of leaves as she ran.

Autumn dance

“Watch this!” she squealed in excitement.

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“Wow! That looks like fun. A bit like a feather fan dance, or semaphore. Does it mean anything?” I asked.

“No, it’s just fun, I can’t wait to show Neeva and Dod when I get back.”

“I’m going home in a short while Oosie, if you want a lift?” I suggested.

“Thank you,” she said politely, “but I’m staying with some other friends on the way home. And… and… I’m a bit scared of your noisy car.”

“OK Oosie, as long as you will be alright getting home.”

“Oh yes, I’m enjoying my trip away, it’s quite an adventure.”

We wished each other goodbye, and she set off:

Oosie leaves

I hoped she’d be safe, she looked so small walking away:

Oosie leaves

I was intrigued to hear about her friends, I must ask her more when we meet again. I went off to see the glass studio – more of my visit in my next post.