Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Cake etc

Ah yes, Delta Airlines. My cousin, or to more accurate the daughter of my father's cousin, who is American, is married to a lovely chap with a dark chocolatey voice who does voiceovers, including for Delta Airlines. So he sometimes has the strange experience of hearing himself tell him that his flight has been delayed. If you've flown by Delta, you'll probably have heard him too. 

This weekend, Mr Life turned an astonishing 70. I can't quite believe that we're so old (mind you, I'm over two years younger, a fact I'm clinging to). The idea was that the whole lot of us, including my brother and his family, would come for the weekend to celebrate, and this sort of happened. My nephew didn't quite make it. He was willing to drive up from Essex one day and back down 36 hours later but we persuaded him that this would be too exhausting. 

Here are Son and his child's hand at the Botanics, where we all went on Saturday. 

And here he is reading to Littlest Granddaughter and his own child.

And here's Littlest playing with the family rattles. Isn't she cute? (totally unbiased opinion).

And here's the cake that Daughter 2 decorated for her dad.

On the same theme, the card that she made. He likes trains (understatement) and they're organising a trip to Hamburg for him to visit a model railway setup there (and other things).

Some of us went for a walk.

But others got chicken pox and weren't able to come to the party... though they did see Littlest the day before the spots appeared and breathed lovingly on her...

And gradually everyone departed, though my brother and sister-in-law kindly took us out for dinner last night before they too went back home. 

My niece has chosen some fabrics from my stash for a quilt that I'm going to make for her. I haven't yet decided on a design. Thinking about it won't quite console me for the departure of Middle and Littlest Granddaughters, but it'll help.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Past and present

I picked up Granddaughter from nursery last week and we went for lunch at the Brunton Bistro. As we were leaving, she spotted this amazing array of knitted tea things. She played with them for almost an hour, offering "tea" and "biscuits" to random passing ladies, almost all of who were very gracious in joining her game. 

 The knitted goods were to publicise a charity. 

Such attention to detail!

Then we went to the playpark,

which is down near the sea.

When Grandson got back from school, he played with his road signs and home-made traffic light.

He's now learned basic programming from his dad and can create his own computer road layouts.

And in a magazine, I read that Burleigh have made this jug and it's for sale for £31.

The pattern's very familiar to me from the Burleigh vase (above) that my grandmother's brother gave her as a present and I now possess. Actually there were two vases but one got broken years ago. She was very close to her brother but he died in 1920 from the effects of being gassed in World War One, so she really treasured the vases and they stood at either end of her mantelpiece till a visitor broke one. She would be so interested that, about 100 years after her brother bought them, the pattern has been used again. I wish I could tell her, but alas she died in 1980. She was such a lovely person. She was very small, and her brother once told her that she was "just the right size for dancing underneath the bed". I've told this to the older grandchildren and it fascinates me that they know something that their great-great-great uncle said to their great-great-grandmother. I know virtually nothing about my great-great-grandmothers apart from their names and where they lived.

And then we went down south to visit my brother and family, and some cousins, one of whom is the voice of Delta Airlines. But now I must go and remove a meringue from the oven.

Monday, April 30, 2018

In brief... ish

I seem to have been very busy, a concept which - relating to the retired life - I wouldn't have understood when I was working and was HORRENDOUSLY busy much of the time. I was thinking about this as I returned from buying a newspaper early this morning, feeling a bit stressed about the number of things I had to do. And then I thought: it's a lovely day and there's really nothing to stop you sitting in the garden, reading a book, for an hour or so. Why are you feeling tense?

However, I didn't do this, because I had various urgent tasks. But still - it's a lot more restful than working was. Anyway, much of the time we're busy doing such things as leading the walking group along the coast, as above and below - hardly a chore.

It was a beautiful day, though with a cool breeze from the sea, which is a dangerous combination for a pale-faced Celt.

 I got a bit burnt. But it was such a lovely day out.

And there's been lots of this.

And a visit to friends in the west, who took us to the Kelvingrove, where there was a great exhibition of Charles Rennie Mackintosh-related items...

including this cup and saucer painted by Helen Walton, which I really wanted to take home. (It was actually there, though this is a photo from the catalogue.) I love yellow, green and blue.

And then there's been the Biggest-Granddaughter-and-Botanic-Gardens combo, always a winner.

And then annual photo of my Enormous Hippeastrum, nurtured all year for its week of glory.

And this.

And this.

 And this.

And this. We're so lucky to see so much of these little people. Don't grow up so fast, N and L!

And the spring garden, currently more or less licked into shape - not that this will last.

At last I've finished Biggest Granddaughter's quilt. Look! Triangles! Not quite professional standard, but it's a start. (Don't look too closely.) It took me almost exactly four months. I don't think I should try to do it for a living.

I finished it on Saturday and am already itching to start the next one. Thimbleanna, what have you done to me?

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Packed with activity...

At last the winter has come to an end and it's been warm and sunny. Daughter 1 and I took her children to the new playpark at Newhailes House, which was a success except that it's one of those places with lots of little "houses", with interconnected walkways, into which the children can vanish, so that one loses track of where they are. Which is a bit stressful, though only for the adults. However, we ultimately retrieved them both.

Another day I collected Biggest Granddaughter from nursery and we went to the museum, which is always fun. I've only got another term of doing this because she starts school in August and won't have the afternoons free, so I'm taking full advantage now. Such precious times.

As usual, she spent a lot of time with the books.

On Thursday, Mr L and I went to the Borders on the train - it only takes half an hour or so - and walked through deserted countryside in the sunshine. It was really lovely.

We met a couple of dog walkers but apart from that we felt we owned the place.

You can see how wet it's been: the trees are growing out of the water of this little loch.

Then we came past Abbotsford, Sir Walter Scott's little place,

and the Gun Knowe Loch, and back to the station. 7 rather hilly miles. We enjoyed sitting down afterwards.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

All the grandbabies

We've had a lovely week. On Monday we went up north to visit Son, Daughter-in-Law and Middle Granddaughter. Here she is having a sleep on her father, while he multitasks by also stroking one of their cats. (The piled-up sofa cushions are to provide a toddler-free perch for the furry friends.)

Then on Wednesday, Daughter 2 and Littlest Granddaughter came to visit. Grandson and Biggest Granddaughter are very good with her. They're experienced big cousins, since they also have younger cousins on the other side of their family. Son and his family came down for the weekend too, so we had all three of our children and all four of the grandchildren together, which was wonderful.

I may be biased but I do think she's cute.

Son bonded with his niece,

while Middle Granddaughter (that's her hand and foot) at least tolerated her.

But then they all went away. We took Daughter 2 and Littlest Granddaughter to the station and walked back through Princes Street Gardens. At last, after a cold spring, the weather has improved and people were basking in the sunshine.

After some time and effort, we got the house tidy again. I'm not exactly saying that this makes up for them all being away, but it's some compensation.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

The sea, the sea

We did a recce yesterday for a walk we're leading in a couple of weeks. It's been a cold spring, but the weather was perfect - not a breath of wind, and warm enough without being hot. We started in Gullane and headed down towards the sea.

There was quite a bit of steepish dune walking, which is slightly hard work.

Then we walked along by the shore for a long way.

The beaches were mostly deserted.

This is called Hanging Rock on the map, so obviously we had our lunch beside it.

There was lots of coltsfoot blooming stalwartly away.

That pimple in the distance is Berwick Law, a 340-million-year-old conical volcanic plug in the mainly flat coastal landscape. Berwick Law, confusingly, is nowhere near Berwick (which is in England) but near North Berwick (which is 25 miles from Edinburgh).

Then, after much upping and downing of dunes and scrambling over rocks, we turned inland and made our way through Dirleton...

refraining from crossing this active runway

in either direction, and then, not before time, we were back to the car in Gullane. We were quite keen to sit down by then, having covered 8.23 miles according to Mr L's device.  It was a lovely walk, though, and in a fortnight's time I'm sure we'll be ready to do it again.