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Daily Journal

June 29 – That Old Time Religion
Morning in Melrose and a return to Galashiels (Continued)

Yvonne suggests we try Frater's in Galashiels for a camera. It's the closest thing to a "proper camera shop" around. It's just across from the planted garden once you've entered the one-way scheme she says. The one way scheme ... hmm. This could get interesting. I'm more than happy with the prospect of returning to Galashiels before the day's adventures get underway, but first, there's the bank and Talisman Books to visit.

9:00AM and the bank should be open. Into town we drive so I can make a cash advance withdrawal. I admit that I had been teasing Robin relentlessly over the past several days, challenging her to drive more like a native. There seems to be complete and total disregard for parking rules and speed limits.

Double yellow lines are marked on the curb in places along the streets in the town centers denoting "no parking" zones. No one seems to heed these, thus making the narrow streets more narrow. It reduces them to single track roads, which the native drivers traverse with zeal and nerves of steel.

On more than one occasion I had said to Robin, as she pulled over to let someone pass "Oh, go for it, they can drive on the sidewalk if they need more room." This was said in jest, of course, but this morning I compliment her for parking like a native, with two wheels up on the sidewalk. She rolls her eyes, laughing, and gets back in the car and parks it properly.

My dealings with the bank are quick and painless. Stashing a handful of Scottish currency that I know will last me quite a while, we head a few doors down to Talisman Books. The lights are on and it's time for them to be open, but the door is locked.

We press our noses to the glass, like children at a candy shop window. A woman appears from the back room, apologizing as she opens the door; she'd been delayed by a phone call. I tear my eyes away from the shelves, deciding to take care of business first. She's not Mrs. Godfrey, but knows her well – they're neighbors. She directs me to Mrs. Godfrey's gift shop, Sugar and Spice, up High Street and around the corner, near the abbey.

Mission accomplished, as much as possible for the moment, I proceed to poke around this small but well-stocked book shop. I head for the Nature section and browse the field guides. They have exactly what I'm looking for – a field guide to British wildlife including birds, mammals, insects, trees, and flowers.

The photographs are exquisite and though comprehensive, it's compact enough to fit in alongside all of the other items in my mutant purse from hell. I also pick up a book for my son, before heading over to join Robin who is twirling a rack of audio-books. She's found The Wallace written by, and with the introduction read by, Nigel Tranter and has it clutched in her hand with a huge smile blossoming over her face. We do love our books.

Up High Street and around the corner to Abbey Street and there's Sugar and Spice, but it doesn't open until 10:00AM. The hours are already ticking by on this day and we have so much to do, but we need to kill fifteen minutes now so I can stop in for a quick word with Mrs. Godfrey.

There's a post office at the bottom of the hill, and Robin has her postcards with her so we walk down there, getting our first glimpse of the abbey. Dana's step has slowed and she is blinking and rubbing her eyes. A migraine is setting in and she's fairly certain it can be averted altogether with an hour's rest in a dark room. We return her to Torwood and head directly back to Sugar and Spice.

Mrs. Godfrey is certainly surprised that this American tourist knows her name and is extremely pleased to hear her friend's name. She's just mailed an anniversary card to her the day before. We chat for a few moments but her small shop is filling up with browsers who walk the aisles admiring pewter unicorns, borders landscapes and greeting cards.

Thanking me for stopping by, she turns to a patron at the cash register. Although I would have liked to have stayed longer and browsed the shop a little more thoroughly myself, we have an incredibly long list of things to do and see today, so off we go to Galashiels.

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