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From BBC History's February mag, P83:

(Part of the Footsteps Valentine's Day special)

Gretna Green, Dumfriesshire
Discover the Scottish town where young lovers could escape the laws of Old England

In 1754, Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act outlawed irreguler weddings by rocketing the age for wedding without parental permission to 21, and for a marriage to be legally binding it had to be conducted in a church. This remained in force until 1940 but in all this time the law had no jurisdiction in Scotland where a marriage only required two witnesses and an age of consent of 16.

Gretna's geographical position, a stone's throw over the Scottish border, made this village an ideal port of call from England to take advantage of the difference in the two countries' laws. There are countless tales of amorous elopements, aristocratic scandals and distraught parents chasing after their children.

There are also the Anvil Priests, who officiated over the weddings, a medley of non-ordained characters from all professions who profiteered from the sacred act of marriage with their Blacksmith styled weddings, available 24 hours a day. You can relive these unusual nuptials at the Old Blacksmith's shop on the Headless Cross crossroads, which has been a museum of wedding-mania since 1889. The nearby Gretna Hall Hotel now also hosts a museum, where you can read amazing tales of spontaneous romance and sensational elopements.

Just before the Sark Bridge is the Old Toll Bar. Tactically sited for couples as they came over the border, the Toll Bar will have done a roaring trade in marriages after it was built in 1818. Its sign boasts: "Over 10,000 marriages took place here".
John Goldsworthy

Tuna salad sandwiches are working out well, though quite time-consuming to make in the morning! Am slowly working my morning routine around it. Can't do it the night before because the bread goes all soggy. Working on a change of snacks, and have been avoiding the crisps as they leave me feeling crap in the afternoon when I have them for lunch. Old lady in the newsagent at work commented on my sandwiches, "I bet your girlfriend or wife made those for you". I was quite chuffed to be able to tell her that it was in fact myself.

Next week I'll be trying to spread out my eating, currently I eat breakfast at 6am, lunch at 12pm, and then maybe a snack or something until breakfast the next day. So will be trying to have one sandwich at 10am, one at 2pm, a spot of lunch in the middle (maybe yogurt again?) and find something light for dinner.

Indoor rock-climbing tomorrow out at Ratho, should be a good afternoon. Haven't ridden my bike all week, weather has been crap and I'm becoming really picky about what weather I'll ride my bike in. Temps were good at the start of the week, but wind was really high ... now at the end of the week temps are really low but so is the wind. I can't win :/ I'll just have to bite the bullet and deal with it. One thing I will NOT ride in is rain, light spitting is fine but anything heavier than that I'm on the bus or walking.

Umm, I could go on with all sorts of banal stuff from my life this week, but I'll leave it on the v-day/healthy note ok.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 12th, 2006 06:58 am (UTC)
Hey Stepan, I'll be in the UK for three months starting March 11, and will be in Scotland in late May/early June. Feel like catching up?
Feb. 13th, 2006 10:15 am (UTC)
Yeah, that'd be brilliant. Send me an email and I'll get you my contact details here in Scotland.

Feb. 13th, 2006 03:22 am (UTC)
gretna green
okay, OKAY, now I know that Gretna Green is a place and NOT a female comedian....I just didn't remember at the time you mentioned it. sheeesh :)

have a happy monday! *hugs*
Feb. 13th, 2006 10:17 am (UTC)
Re: gretna green
Happy Monday, sheesh. Thanks Wolf Creek for ruining my sleep :/ Although the other stuff (being late for work, no tomatoes for sandwiches) is mostly my fault. Should have hung my washing out last night, gone to a grocer.

Car hirage is definitely a good idea. Car trips around Scotland would be awesome!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )