THE place to elope
Gretna Green’s main claim to fame is that it was where couples too young to be married in England could go. It lies just across the border in Scotland north of Carlisle so was the first stopping point. It has always been a mysterious place to me as I had only learned through crossword puzzles that if ‘go to Gretna Green’ was a clue, the answer was ‘elope.’ As the age for marriage was 21 in England and much lower in Scotland a local blacksmith got himself certified somehow to perform weddings. The smithy’s shop was built in the early 18th century but his business probably had more to do with these weddings than anything. He is said to have had a bedroom in the back of his house where marriages could be quickly consummated before irate parents arrived.
It is an interesting place and for some reason the only picture I got was of a Belted Galloway cow and a Highland cow. The Belted Galloway became a standing joke with our English friends who brought us as I kept calling it a Banded Dumfries. The next year for Christmas she sent us a nice small needlepoint picture she had done - of a Belted Galloway cow! So now seeing the our friend's picture or a picture of a Belted Galloway or just the mention of Gretna Green always brings a smile to my face