After watching Billy perform in the Edinburgh Free Fringe Festival, and wandering around Edinburgh, Billy and I spent some time with his family in Bo’ness (short for Borrowstounness). His Mum, Eileen, her husband Danny and their St. Charles spaniel Honey live in a charming town in the Central Lowlands about a half hour from Edinburgh (and about 45 minutes from Glasgow; the two main Scottish cities are not that far apart).
Billy and I had a lovely guest room, with glass doors opening onto a terrace with this view:
Despite being within short driving distance of the big cities, Bo’ness feels a world apart. This quiet hamlet with large green spaces is built on a hill, giving almost every home a view of the water known as the Firth of Forth.
Many of these stone houses are centuries old, giving Bo’ness a quaint village atmosphere. I could imagine Miss Marple going from house to house in an investigation.
There were some rows of similar houses, and other individual homes that struck me as almost gingerbready in style.
To get from the Carruthers’ house on the hill to the “downtown” center of Bo’ness, we walked across this green:
Arriving in the town center, one finds two large grocery stores, a charity shop, and the first building constructed in Scotland specifically as a movie theater.
The Hippodrome Cinema shows both independent and mainstream features. We saw an interesting documentary called “The Search for Sugar Man”, about the singer-songwriter Rodriguez, and the silly American movie “Ted”, about a foul-mouthed Teddy bear. Billy was annoyed by this example of what he calls “Hollywood pish”, but I have to admit I laughed in spite of myself.
There’s not much else going on downtown. I couldn’t even find a cafe. It was pretty deserted, no matter what time of day I was walking around.
More interesting than the downtown is the scenery that surrounds it. Just strolling randomly gave me some memorable views . I stumbled upon an old church:
And came across this building, the Old Town Hall and Library, build in 1901.
Since Bo’ness is small, and the water is always a reference point, I managed to find my way home from my wanderings without more than one or two wrong turns. And when I got home, there was always someone there to offer me a cup of tea.
Thanks to Eileen and Danny Carruthers for putting us up, and for taking us around to see the castles, which I’ll write about in a future post.