Sunday, May 31, 2020

Partial lockdown week 10 - Sunday


Today my good friend Joyce came to coffee, two metres away, in the garden. That was so nice. She's the one for whom I'm making the quilts out of her late husband's shirts. I've finished the one for her but am still quilting the one for her son, so she opted to get them both together in a few weeks. I hope she likes them! Again we cooried into the shade because it was hot. 


The lupins and irises are looking good. The irises immediately behind the lupins are actually a beautiful blue - see below - but the sunlight on them makes them look white in the photo. The ones behind them, under the tree, actually are white. (I've noticed that Americans tend to spell lupin as lupine. I wonder if they pronounce them "lu-pie-n" - pie as in apple pie. We pronounce them "lu-pin" - pin as in needle. I'm so amazed that the lupins haven't got aphids. This is the first time for about ten years that they haven't. I do love them. Maybe I'll dig up some of the astilbe, which isn't good this year because it's been SO dry (look at the grass!) and grow some more lupins in their place. Lupins are easy to grow from seed, though I would like a crimson one and maybe a pink, so to be sure of that, I'll probably have to buy plants.


We had a Zoom call with all the family and my brother's too this afternoon. This was lovely, though it does reinforce how much I'm missing them all. 


 So we went for a shortish evening walk. If we lived a little bit up the hill, we'd get this view from our house. Sadly, we don't.


We went along the old railway path, looking down at Carrick Knowe golf course, where as far as we could see there were no golfers. But it's never very well used, which has always had me thinking that it was wasted as a golf course and would be better as a park.


It was still warm but the path was pleasantly shady


and full of wild flowers, like this rose. 2 ish miles.

Things I would like to do - apart from seeing the family:

Go to Arran (with the family).
Go up town and have a cappuccino.
Browse round a book shop.
Wander round the Botanics.
Have lunch at Swanston and walk around there.
Go on a train trip to Berwick and walk around.
Visit Crieff.

And then - but these aren't going to happen:

Have a chat with my mother.
Have a chat with my grandmother - now that I'm only 14 years younger than she was when she died. It would be nice to talk as old ladies!
Go to visit my Norfolk aunt and stay in the lovely house she lived in... that has now been sold. We had so many wonderful holidays there with her.

Ah well. Tomorrow is another day, which we're lucky to have.

I said I'd blog every day till lockdown was over. It's only very slightly over; but I feel I'm getting slightly (more than slightly) repetitious. So - possibly I should ease off a bit.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Lockdown loosening walk - Saturday


Mr Life, who pays attention to what he reads in the paper, knew (unlike me) that the Carrick Knowe golf course doesn't reopen till Thursday, so we set off in the heat of the afternoon to walk there. It was very quiet, with few walkers, so presumably other people didn't know either.


Lots of empty space.


It's buttercup time - so pretty.


However, we can across a couple of groups of golfers who had similarly not read the news ...


so at that stage we left the golf course and walked along the track by the railway and tramway. Several depressingly empty trains and trams passed.


The ox-eye daisies are coming out nicely.

2.8 miles.

Then when we got home, Daughter 2 video-called with Littlest Granddaughter. Littlest has taken against wearing clothes. Daughter 2 dresses her and Littlest immediately undresses herself. Because of the warm weather this doesn't matter in the house, but Daughter 2 draws the line at going out in public with a naked toddler. Anyway, we had a nice naked (her, not us) chat.

While it was absolutely lovely to see two of the grandchildren yesterday, it did bring home how much I miss them and the others. And I don't suppose there's any chance at all of seeing any of the others any time soon.

It's been strange, this lockdown time. For parents of children, it's been difficult in various degrees. For a lot of people, it's been very difficult indeed in different ways. But for us - it's been like a strange sort of holiday: no commitments, no entertaining, so no cooking to speak of - I do cook for Mr L but my standard vegetarian meal for myself is a one-egg omelette - and no driving or child-minding. Lots of walks, reading and in my case, quilt-making. Just pleasing ourselves on the whole - but missing the family so much.

Before the Edinburgh family came yesterday I opened up the sandpit and filled the paddling pool. At one point, Big Grandson said to me, "It was nice to arrive and find that you'd prepared for us." In fact I'd prepared much less than I usually do, since there was no cooking involved - they brought their own picnic lunch, according to Government instructions. Presumably Grandson just thinks that meals arrive on the table by magic at Granny's! So sweet.

"Peely wally", an Scottish expression I used in yesterday's blog, means "pale", by the way, Margaret, with a suggestion often of unusually pale, ill-looking, eg "He's looking a wee bit peely wally - I'm gonie phone the doctor." Here I just meant pale and unsuited to the sun, as opposed to tanned.


Friday, May 29, 2020

The beginning of the end of lockdown - for the moment


Today we didn't go for a walk because it was too hot (25C, 77F - yes, I know, not hot for Australia but hot for peely-wally Scots) and anyway, Daughter 1 and SIL 1, Big Grandson and Biggest Granddaughter all came over for a picnic in the garden. This was beyond lovely!


They were extremely law-abiding and didn't cuddle us or go into the house. Big Grandson had fun with his Brio trains on the lawn.


The rest of us did a lot of huddling round the side of the house, where there was shade.


The layout came right up to the sandpit and there was a bridge over it. Bridges are one of his current favourite things.


His sister patiently allowed him to do this, while she played more traditionally in the other half of the sandpit.


I wonder if he will have a job to do with transport when he's older? He's been very keen on it from as soon as he could express an opinion. Or possibly his interests will change. He'll be 9 in July.

After they went away, it was still too hot to do any gardening, but I've done some this evening - though it was still very warm.

According to Facebook, some people have taken advantage of this hot weather to go on the beach or congregate in parks in quite large numbers. In a way, you can't blame them - especially those who don't have a garden. But I can't see why the virus numbers wouldn't escalate again. Well, we'll see. Meanwhile, it's been a lovely day.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Lockdown week 10 - Thursday


We went for our last golf course walk... sigh... . The rhododendron is coming out nicely.


We walked up the slope, looking back at the clubhouse, for the last time.


We climbed up to the top of the hill.


We said goodbye to the drifts of campion


And this particular view of the city.


These ox-eye daisies will be lovely - next week. But not for us.


It was a hot day and all the walkers on the course seemed to be in a sort of VE day mood. The war is over! Except that it's not.

I'm not convinced that the loosening of lockdown will really work as far as infection is concerned, but let's hope, let's hope. Meanwhile, the Edinburgh family are going to come for a picnic in the garden tomorrow, so hurray!

3 and a tiny bit miles.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Lockdown week 10 (argh!) - Wednesday


This is the second last day of our golf course walks, so we came up to the Murrayfield one again and I took a photo of the huge rhododendron bush that I'll never see fully in flower,


and then we walked up and down again to the gate that was briefly padlocked


and along the shady path because it was hot today


 towards my beloved little crossroads that I imagine - possibly quite erroneously - has looked much the same for hundreds of years (except sheep fields instead of golf courses)


and sat on "our" seat, as usual, to admire the view.


And then we walked round and up - pausing to sit on a bank in the shade -


and back down again. The cranes in the distance are from the rebuilding of a shopping centre in town. I don't know whether the work has been stopped during lockdown or not, but if so, it'll be starting again soon.


And we looked sideways at the sea and then we came home. 3.1 miles.


The garden is full of purples at the moment, even though I'm not mad on purple in other contexts.


I love the colour of this ceanothus.


It's the season of irises and clematis.






And lupins, In the past several years I've had to battle lupin aphids, but astonishingly this year there appear to be none. How wonderful. There were no such things as lupin aphids when I was a child but they got imported from... can't remember... some years ago. I love lupins.


And irises.

Only two more days before we see the Edinburgh family - I hope. Fingers and toes will stay crossed till then.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Lockdown week 10 - Tuesday


Ooh, look, the Botanics are getting ready to open.


Something else I can hardly wait for.


This is normally a neatly-mown strip - I think the council workers must be on furlough.


We went up to the Murrayfield course again, finding this notice. Ah well, it's been nice.

The gorse is fading now.


but the campion and garlic mustard are still lovely. 


So pretty.


And as the gorse fades, the broom comes out in yellow glory to replace it.


The general effect is similar, but broom isn't thorny.


The master surveys his realm. For now...


And then back we went, down to the house. Such a beautiful day. Such a lovely walk.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Lockdown week 10 - Monday


We wanted a shorter walk today because we had things to do. So we went to the lower, less strenuous, Carrick Knowe course. Two and three-quarter miles.

I was interested in what Toffeeapple said about golf courses damaging the environment. I suppose that they indeed must, in places such as Florida, where presumably much watering has to take place. This, however, is Scotland, where it often rains. I think they probably water the courses occasionally if we have a drought, but it's been the driest April for ever so long and everything is still splendidly green.


And all round the edges of the courses are areas like this, with buttercups, campion and hawthorn. And lots of trees and birds, and wild flowers growing in most of the courses. Maybe they put weedkiller on the greens?

Edinburgh's a very expensive town as far as housing is concerned - not as bad as London (which is ridiculous) but still expensive, and the area round where we live is desirable, so frankly if the courses weren't there, the land would have got built on years ago. We're only a couple of miles from the town centre. So as far as these courses are concerned, I'd have thought they were good for the general environment. I've just looked up Google and it says there are 21 golf courses in Edinburgh alone, with quite a few others just outside. Naturally, the main benefit is to the members, who get the freedom of the huge acreage. But the rest of us get the advantage of fresher air blowing down from the green spaces. Or at least, that's how it appears to me. Golf courses in Dubai or Las Vegas, now... not so much.



Anyway, the allotments are doing well, and I came home and did some gardening. Thrillingly, I got a delivery from a garden centre the other day of begonia semperflorens, alyssum and lobelia, so I had a happy time filling some of my many pots. Gardening is very cheering, if exhausting.