In August the great Flodden remembering came to an end and the Mayor of Berwick flew the flag of Berwick above Flodden Field. A memorable day when the descendants of the great families who fought and won or lost all those years ago sat on the platform looking most probably much like their ancestors. And so the summer ended, a summer with much sunshine and many outdoor pursuits.
On the river the young swans grew bigger and dabbled in the Tweed under the eyes of their parents.
And the Film Festival came back but sadly rejected the film made by Stewart Hardie and Lee Mace who went ahead anyway and provided an excellent Fringe performance, well attended, close to the Gymnasium Gallery car park.
In early October a Preview of a film about the fate of young Palestinians caught by [not much older than them] Israeli soldiers was heart rending on both groups’ accounts and gave us much food for thought.
And suddenly it was a whole year since the last Open Exhibition. Elaine Housby and David Blake helped to receive the paintings: the scene became rather more hectic later than it looks in this photograph!
The following day the Civic Society came for a formal presentation of a Civic Award celebrating the development of the Watchtower. Inspired builder Michael Richardson, architect Barbara Swan and friend, mentor, calligrapher, artist and humourist Arthur Wood joined in the celebration.
Later in October Helen Little, Tate Gallery Curator, came to see the Stephenson paintings and to admire the huge range of local talent in the Open Exhibition. We walked the walls and gazed at the River Tweed and she went back to London the following day enchanted by Berwick.
On Friday the first of November we held not one but two concerts.
In the morning the harp arrived via the Yardheads and the back fire door, and Pip posed proudly in front of it. He sat quietly with me on the sofa and listened to the whole recital.
Find name of the lovely harpist
And in the evening we came to the longed for Adrian Cox concert.
Summerland played us in with their usual style and charm. They were already on stage and performing when Adrian and his players finally escaped from the A1 and a long and tedious journey north. The Quartet appeared off the Yardheads and entered at stage right through the fire door straight into the gallery beside the stage but
nothing nothing phases Summerland: they greeted them then went on playing.
Kirsty Jameson and Poppy added glamour and star quality to the impeccable performance of the Adrian Cox Quartet.
A stunning evening which went right on till midnight!
Wild flowers gathered from the river side decorated the tables.
All through these diverse events the second Open Show at the Watchtower shone down from the walls, as exciting as last year and generally, in my view, setting a higher level of talent from the local community even than last year
and Arthur Wood’s wonderful polyhedron circulated wisely throughout the show.
Pat Oldale organised an excellent concert in aid of the Meningitis Trust with entertainment from The Border Tarts, Malcolm Bennett, Andy and Margaret Watchorn, Martin Hudson, and the Podlies
Remembrance Sunday was cold and bright and a busy day for the Civic Party which attended six separate services ending at Ord where the long shadows and quiet atmosphere seemed the most appropriate one of all in some ways.
The show of work by Peter Podmore accompanied by the wonderful array of pastels originally invented by the late John Hersey for his own use and the production of which is now a family business selling worldwide gave us a month of rich colour and distinguished painting to take us all the way to the start of the Festive Season
The Meadowsweet I have watched from my bedroom all year has finally become a shadow of its former self, more like a drawing than a wild plant.
The gallery became a photographer’s studio for a day; and David Blake took images of the Stephenson screen for a coming exhibition in Vienna.
The mighty Tweed came washing up towards the Watchtower to reflect the Christmas lights on the New Bridge.
Another excellent concert organised by Nigel Chandler filled the Gallery despite the amount of water flowing about Tweedmouth.
During this time Nelson Mandela died and an unbelievable fifty years had passed since the assassination of John F Kennedy. RIP
I went to London, happy in the knowledge that I would be coming back to the Watchtower in due course, swapping one river for another. And saw my grandson, now taller than when he officially opened the building over fifteen months ago.
Now we start a New Year with an exhibition of work by Graham Patterson and Priscilla Eckhart opening on Saturday 18 January and continuing until Friday 14 February 2014. I look forward to seeing you all during that time. Yours Kate