Saturday, October 18, 2014

Walking in East Lothian

It was such a beautiful day today, as warm as summer. We walked in East Lothian, to the east of Edinburgh, with friends from church -

between ploughed fields,

through a wood where shadows striped the path,

 over fallen leaves

which crunched beneath our feet,

through a farmyard - the pink stone and tiled roofs so typical of the East Lothian countryside -

beside fields newly sown with winter wheat

or full of leeks which are ready to harvest

and down to the sea

where the sand was yellow, the sea was blue, the breakers were energetic and the wind was persistent,

with the Bass Rock in the distance, glittering white and home to 150,000 gannets, lots of guillemots, razorbills, puffins, cormorants, eider duck and various types of seagull. The whiteness is... the result of all those birds.

And then we didn't go on to this headland but instead turned back inland

through the woods

and towards the cars, then to

a tea shop, where we replaced the calories that we'd burned off over the last six miles. A lovely day.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


We took the little ones to the museum today.

Grandson always looks back to check that we're following but Granddaughter just heads confidently off into the distance.

One has to pursue her.

Then we came home and they played very assiduously. Granddaughter seems as keen on vehicles as her brother does, though maybe it's just that there are a lot to play with in our house.

Grandson spent a long time watching this snail. It makes my heart sing to watch him discovering the world.

He also gazed long at the little fountain: at how it creates bubbles between the pebbles and how the pebbles darken when they're wet. "Why do waterfalls make a noise?" he enquired. Well, umm... the water makes a noise when it hits more water, or rocks. "But why?" Errr... .

He asks "Why?" so much that this is one of his little sister's words. "Teddy," she says. "Pussy. Doggy. Book. Why?"

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Walking into town

Yesterday we went to the exhibition of American Impressionists at the Modern Art Gallery. I'm ashamed to say that we had never heard of quite a few of them, including the splendidly-named Childe Hassan and John Henry Twatchtman. They seemed jolly good to us, just as good as the French ones (though we wouldn't claim to be experts).

Then we walked into town through the top part of Dean Village, enjoying the autumnal air.

Here you can see the backs of some of the New Town houses. They must have a good view.

That red makes a statement.

It's always intriguing to look through narrow spaces at a sudden view.

These red roofs are almost worthy of Switzerland.

Up to the New Town itself: Georgian terraces.

This is the Dean Bridge, over which people occasionally jump, alas. It's a long way down.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Yesterday was a good day. In the morning I finished binding my little cot quilt, reflecting how ingenious the inventor of this technique was. You tuck it all in and fold the binding over so that no one would ever guess at the raggedy edges and loose threads. Maybe this is what blogging and Facebook allow us to do with our lives.

Then I went and collected Grandson, waiting while he enjoyed the story of Noddy and the stolen cars.

He came over to our house and played with his trains, undisturbed by any pesky little sisters. (As I've said before, our rug is not really as bright as this. It must have fibres which bend the light ... or something. Blame Ikea.)

There haven't been any frosts yet but most of the flowers in the garden are over, apart from bedding plants such as begonias and geraniums. This Busy Lizzie makes a splash of colour, though, inside and out. I've had it for years, or at least I keep it going from cuttings.

We went to the playpark ...

... and walked home by the river. Look at those autumn leaves. Despite the sunshine, the winter can't be far away.

And then he stayed the night. He's very cute in his pyjamas.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Some more nothing much

I've now attached the binding (the machine bit) to my much-neglected cot quilt. Cassie is hindering the next stage somewhat, but it's all hand-sewing from now on so it won't take too long. 

Son came down for the day yesterday and we went for a walk by the sea. It was a beautiful autumn day. He told us how he has become the go-to doctor in his practice when toenails need to be removed. Urgh.

We're hoping for continuing sunshine, since we have a leak in the roof. It rained last Friday night and dripped down right beside my bed. This isn't very conducive to peaceful sleep. A chap is coming to mend it on Saturday, "weather permitting". I do hope it permits.

This is quite picture-postcardy, don't you think?

That's Cramond Island. It's accessible by a causeway at low tide but cut off at other times.

Granddaughter is very jolly, if a bit dazzled by the flash.

Grandson loves playing with his traffic signs and cones. He doesn't seem bothered by the mismatch in sizes and has now added a policeman to keep things in order at the end of the line.

Me: I think you should go to the toilet before you go to nursery.
Him: No, I don't want to.
Me: I really think you should.
Him: No.
Me: [trying to guilt-trip him]:You don't want to make me sad, do you?
[Pause for thought]
Him: No, I don't. Would a cuddle help?

It did.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Clashing flowers and funerals

A friend recently gave me a bunch of flowers with a weird assortment of lilies, gerberas and chrysanthemums, none of which really went with each other. Aesthetically-speaking, I couldn't bear to put them in the same vase but thought I'd try floating these completely unmatching gerberas in a bowl. As I recently said about Swiss geraniums, I don't much like pink and red together; and I don't like orange at all, anywhere - I have no orange flowers in my garden. But somehow these three together almost work. I wouldn't like the combination in a cushion or curtains. But as a temporary vaseful - just about all right.

From which important announcement you may deduce that nothing much is happening around here.

Being the age we are, alas, we've been to a few funerals recently - and this must have been on my mind because last night I dreamt about going to another one. I'm not sure who the deceased was, but in the dream my attention was focused on the order of service. Nowadays, orders of service often have more than one photo of the person who's died, usually a younger and an older one. We did this for both of my parents - after all, what age is the real you? (as I've pondered before). The two most recent funerals we've attended have featured multiple photos with other family members in them too. So in my dream I went a bit further: the order of service had a link to click on which gave a message recorded for the purpose by the departed (prior to departure).

The congregation would all have to have tablets, or whatever, to download the document but I'm sure it's a matter of time. Should I patent the idea now? And what would you say in your message? And how emotional would that make the funeral?

Friday, October 03, 2014

And in other news...

We went up Rothorn on a rack railway from Brienz. Look at that turquoise water. It's so pretty. I don't understand why nobody ever mentioned it before. I know about chocolate, watches, cuckoo clocks - all of which we saw. Why didn't I know about the water?

It was really quite high up at the top.

This weekend, Daughter 2 came to visit us and Cassie. Cassie quite liked the new hairstyle. Grandson, however, was so surprised that when he saw Daughter 2, he hid behind the door, giggling in a slightly panicky way, and had to be persuaded to come out and see that it was just his auntie in disguise.

Then he carefully decorated Daughter 1's belated birthday cake. One or two chocolate buttons didn't quite make it to the cake.

Another day, Mr Life and I walked in Princes Street Gardens and I took a few photos to compare Edinburgh to Switzerland.

I was right. It's different.

We do have a floral clock, though. Does Switzerland? It's even got a working cuckoo.

Yesterday, Daughter 1 and I took the children to the Botanics. Grandson admired the new aeolian harp. Disappointingly, it wasn't making any noise. It's not often that Edinburgh is windless.

Granddaughter enjoyed her first Botanics toddle.

And Grandson posed in front of these gentians. Now, why didn't I see any of them in Switzerland? You'd have thought there would be lots, wouldn't you?

I got out my cot quilt tonight and looked at it. I haven't had time... or courage... or something... to do anything to it for ages, and now I now I need to do the binding and can't quite remember how I did it the last time. (Well, the only time.) Still, it's a start. Have to work up to these things gradually. Maybe tomorrow.