Saturday, May 18, 2019

Yellow skirt

I often wonder what the grandchildren will remember of their childhoods. Particularly, in my solipsistic way, I wonder what they'll remember of their time with us. Grandson and Biggest Granddaughter spend a lot of time in our house so I would hope they'd remember quite a bit - they're now 6 and nearly 8. But one of my grandmothers left Edinburgh when I was 5 (I think) and I remember nothing at all of her living here except being at the foot of her stairs, which were quite interesting. (Our house didn't have stairs.) Do I really remember this or am I imagining it?

Memory is so odd. We all remember lots of things that we wouldn't think worth putting in a memoir - I remember getting a new school uniform cardigan and quite looking forward to going to school, wearing it. Why do I remember that? It doesn't seem very interesting. I also remember sitting on the top of a bus at Jock's Lodge and looking across at the people on the top of a bus waiting at the traffic lights beside us and thinking: I must remember this when I'm older. I wish I'd made more effort to fix in my mind more significant moments.

The other day, Biggest Granddaughter and I were discussing scissors with zig-zaggy edges. I told her that they were called pinking shears, and also that the flowers called pinks were called that because of their zig-zaggy petals, not because they were pink. (Always the teacher...) And then suddenly, from the very depths of my memory, I thought about a play - a musical play, I think - that my elder brother was in at school when he was a small boy. I remember going to it. I think it was just in a classroom rather than a big hall - but I might be wrong. Perhaps we were just in the classroom to get him dressed for the show. Anyway, it was a boys' school so my brother - who must have been about 7 or 8 - was in the chorus as a girl. He wore a yellow skirt - and here's the relevant bit - with a pinked, rather than sewn, hem. He also had a yellow mob cap, also with a pinked edge, and I think there was an actual pink-coloured bow on it. Was there also a pink bow on the skirt? I think some of the other boys had pink skirts with yellow decoration. Seems like cruelty to small boys but I don't remember my brother complaining.

I believe my mother had to make this costume, with material supplied by the school. I don't know whether the pinking was just her short-cut or part of the brief. Anyway, I think it may have ended up in my dressing-up box, where I wore it for a few years.

I hadn't thought of this for ... half a century? What else is lurking there in the recesses of my mind, ready to pop up? And in yours?

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Walking in the sun

It's been glorious weather recently - too hot for serious walking really, at least for weedy Scots. (In the 20s! or mid 70s!). But on Monday we took a load to a charity shop in Stockbridge. We're forever doing this but still seem to have far too much Stuff. Still, we will continue trying to purge our possessions, at least a bit, and try not to acquire too much else for the offspring to deal with once we're gone.

Then we had a walk along the river bank.

The pink campion was particularly pretty.

And then yesterday was Mr Life's birthday so because everyone else was busy, we took ourselves out to lunch at Swanston. Then we went for a walk up the hill, past the village.

Swanston means Sveinn's tun (enclosure or farm) and first appears in documents in 1214.

I don't imagine that it was as tidy as this in 1214.

The gorse, or whin, was a blaze of colour

Edinburgh isn't far away - there it is, with the hill, Arthur's Seat, sticking up and the sea in the background. But if you turn your back on it, you could be deep in the country.

It was hot, though, so after a bit we turned back and went back downhill to the car.

He's 71 now. His father died at 64, his mother at 71 and two months. I was always keen to get him past 64 (success) and now I want to get him past 71 and two months (and I'm fairly confident). After that, it's all a bonus.

Monday, May 13, 2019


Well, on Friday something very interesting happened. A bloggy friend from Northern Ireland (her blog is "Fraise") came to visit. As always happens when I've met bloggy people, it was lovely - people are just as they sound in their blogs. She bravely came in the evening on her way from the airport, despite her friends' misgivings that I just might be a serial killer.... (ah, the non-bloggy world just doesn't understand us bloggers).

She brought some Irish shortbread. Well, who knew that the Irish made shortbread? - apart from millions of Irish people, of course. I thought it was a Scottish thing, like whisky and... oh, right. Heather? (No, remember The Lake Isle of Innisfree, with its "noon a purple glow"?) Thistles? - no one else has thistles, do they? Hmm.

She also brought this book, which she co-edited. It's the reactions of 31 women to Proverbs 31 - the one about a good wife being above rubies - and it's touching and also funny. This good wife sets the bar rather high! She gets up when it's still dark, she buys fields, she's vigorous, she trades profitably, she spins, she makes coverings for her bed, she doesn't eat the bread of idleness, her children and husband call her blessed...

She probably doesn't waste time blogging either.

The sweet thing is that M was excited to be in our sitting room, because she's seen it on the blog! She said, "I'm in the blog!" I felt like Elton John or someone.

Grandson is compiling a large poster, a sort of Key to All Transport (well, in London and Edinburgh so far). He loves the London tube (very much the opposite of his granny) and knows all about the routes and colours.

He keeps adding to it.

It's been a lot of work but he's very happy doing it.

Much like me and my patchwork. I imagine that good wife might have done a bit of that, in her thrifty way. Mine's not actually very thrifty despite the occasional bit of old shirts or spare curtain material, but I'm enjoying mindlessly sewing strips of fabric together. Who needs a mind?

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Bouncing the time away

Grandson has discovered that he can download and print buses and trams from the internet in sheet form. He's thrilled with this, though is apt to delegate the assembling to his grandfather. Print time per vehicle: 10 seconds. Assembly time per vehicle: 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, Supergirl practises her gymnastics. She needs to overcome some ungymnasticness in her genes on this side of the family, poor crumb.

And Grandson makes a new Brio layout.

Grandpa's been working hard. (Later the total reached 24, I think. And counting.)

The next day we went up to visit Son and The Unbloggable Toddler at Active Kids Adventure Park, nearish where they live. It was very good fun.

Here are the three kids about to slide down. (A rare photo of TUT.)

Son rather enjoyed this huge inflated mound - almost as much as the children, I'd say.

TUT is a good bouncer as well. Such a lovely day.

TUT is going to become a big sister in the next few weeks. I'm looking forward to meeting her little brother. Grandson 2!!

Meanwhile my quilt has been neglected. I'm planning to do a strippy border, thus using up quite a few tiny bits from my scrap box, though of course also using up hours of my time cutting them to size. Such a waste of time! Such fun!

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Life is so full of a number of things

Grandson, now 7 and three-quarters, is turning into such a bookworm. Here he is, having been given a book to read, just stopping where he was and remaining there for a long time, immersed. I'm so pleased.

Meanwhile Biggest Granddaughter, six, played in the sandpit, where eventually he joined her.

This is the beginning of a London tube tunnel.

Later she drew his portrait (in his traffic-light tee-shirt)

while he drew a bus.

I had coffee one day with friends at South Queensferry, in rather atmospheric sea haar. I have such nice friends; how lucky.

And it's tulip and forget-me-not time in the garden.

Oh spring, and oh children, how lovely you are.

I'm sitting here listening to John Ireland's "These Things Shall Be", which one of my choirs is singing in a concert on Saturday. It's wonderful music. I can't imagine why I'd never heard it before.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Out and about

I was standing at a bus stop the other day and took a few touristy pictures of the Castle and Gardens.

Everything looks better in the sunshine.

Not bad for a city centre.

Then today we went for a hike round West Linton.

It was very pretty in an understated way.

We met some rather fine Soay sheep. Good horns on this chap.

The weather was a bit mixed - a little drop of rain,

 quite a lot of sunshine -

(here are some English, as opposed to the invasive Spanish, bluebells)

- and a tiny bit of brief hail. This river is a long way down, though it doesn't look it here.

The bluebells don't show up very well here, but they're quite an intense blue, en masse.

And back into the village in a bit of drizzle.

On the car journey home, the sun shone again.

What a lovely day we had: good company, fresh air, exercise (about 6 miles) and coffee and cake at the end.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019


Daughter 2 and Littlest Granddaughter have just been up for a long weekend. Littlest is very lovely but nothing is safe with her around. Our house is not minimalist and there are various bits of glass and so on within her reach, all of which had to be put on high shelves.

On Saturday, we met up with her Edinburgh cousins at the Botanics. It was a beautiful day, with summer temperatures.

 Back home, she stole my sunhat, which Son-in-Law 1 had been wearing in the garden. It suited her.

On Sunday, as we drove along, Oldest Granddaughter looked at the blossom on the trees and said, "Oh look, the flowers are growing back. So romantic." I love the things they say when they're experimenting with language.

We had an Easter egg hunt.

Daughter 2 showed us the Easter bonnet/headdress that Littlest's nursery had asked the parents to make "with" the children for an Easter parade. You can imagine how much input Littlest had into this creation. 

She didn't really approve.

I took her out for a walk. She and the blossom are so lovely and springlike.

I keep thinking: when she's twenty, I'll be 87. Might I make that? Might I find out what she's like at least as a young adult? I do hope so. But As-Yet-Unborn Grandson, due in a month, won't be twenty till I'm nearly 89. Hmm, I don't give much for my chances of being able to see him off to university. Ah well, you can't live for ever, as my mother used to say, philosophically. I wish she could see these little people, and the Unbloggable Small Person, sister to As-Yet-Unborn.

Then they went away. I took some stuff to a charity shop today (in the endless quest for decluttering) and walked back into town by a steep lane. This is a cafe. I wonder if the IR is JR and means Jacobus Rex? James VI of Scotland, who'd recently also become James I of England and Ireland, was king in 1605. Or was it the name of the builder? I don't know what the thing with the arrow and the other symbol mean. CI? GI?

The blossom was lovely here too.

And then I came home to the tidy, but babyless, house.