On realising last week that I have worn a bodywarmer every single day since taking up my post here at Kailzie I decided to see if I could research the history of the garment, also known as a gillet or a vest. Typing in “history of the body warmer” into Google gets you nowhere though. Instead I found websites explaining what a “warm-body” is, and for those of you interested it is apparently someone who you can rely on not to die. As much as I love my bodywarmers I am not sure they actually keep imminent death at bay, although as I write this I am alive and well so maybe there is more to this than meets the eye.

I find the British summer time cold. And as I sat in the Osprey and Wildlife Viewing Centre last week while the rain lashed down outside and the wind blew in the door I felt glad of my bodywarmer. But would it be enough? I began to think that it wouldn’t. 

We have a lovely wood burning stove in the Osprey and Wildlife Viewing Centre. Or so I had heard. Despite my best efforts I had never managed to burn anything more than a couple of pieces of newspaper in it. Normally an hour of effort resulted in nothing more than my hands covered in ash and a smoky smell clinging firmly to my hair. No flames, no fire, no cosy heat. 

Now at this point I would like to point out that I am not a totally sissy. I spent my childhood in the girl guides making fires, camping and eating and toileting outside. That was my childhood. However I have found that the best thing about being an adult is that you don’t have to do any of these things if you don’t want to. And so I chose a life of luxury, of electricity, and of indoor plumbing. I guess I have forgotten these basic skills.

But luckily the Tweed Valley Osprey volunteers are not nearly so hapless. Arthur took pity upon me and decided to share the secrets of mans red flower. He has effectively been the Mowgli to my King Louie (although not the best analogy since Mowgli didn’t know how to make fire either having grown up lazing around on a bears belly rather than in the company of humans). For those of you who do not get the Jungle Book reference, Arthur has taught me how to make a fire. 

In case you are wondering what is the point of all this and why have I written a blog about my inability to do the most primitive and basic of human functions (keep myself warm), then please bear with me. Having a warm Osprey and Wildlife Viewing Centre is crucial for our up and coming events and opening hours of the centre.

The centre is going to close for September to make way for some changes. Now that the ospreys have fledged and will be heading off to sunnier climates soon, we must focus our attention on other sources of wildlife viewing fun over the autumn and winter.

When we re-open in a few weeks’ time the centre will act as a cosy and welcoming retreat for walkers, nature lovers and visitors to Kailzie. We will have cameras on a variety of different species and visitors can while away an autumn afternoon relaxing in our centre with a hot drink watching wildlife from the comfort of their seats. So now you see why getting the fire going is such a big deal.

I have over used the word “cosy” in this blog entry purely because I want to emphasise that this is what the centre will be when we re-open (and not at all because I couldn’t think of another word to use instead). I am confident it will be so cosy that I don’t even need my bodywarmer.

Hope to see you all at Kailzie soon toasting marshmallows* and singing camp fire songs** while watching some Tweed Valley wildlife.

Rachel (KLAWED Project Officer)

* not an open fire, but all marshmallow donations should be given directly to KLAWED project officer

** Singing is not permitted; all acoustic guitars must be accompanied by an adult


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