Thursday, April 23, 2009

I live about three miles from work. Four days a week I drive there, for reasons of speed and convenience. I do feel guilty about this, though, and so on Wednesdays I take the rather infrequent and slow bus to work and then walk home – as my gesture towards the environment and my waistline.

The car journey normally takes about ten minutes. However, Edinburgh is currently being extensively dug up and there are numerous red-and-white-fenced-off bits of road, each one featuring four chaps standing in a huddle, stroking their chins as they gaze into a hole.

On Tuesday, I left my mum’s house at 8.10 am but got snarled up in a huge, updigging-related jam and didn’t get to work till 9.20. Not good. Thank heavens for a mobile phone with which to communicate with colleagues and ask them to start off the 9 o’clock class. I don’t know whether it’s legal to use a phone in a car by the time it’s been stationary for twenty minutes but I’d be prepared to argue the case in court.

So on Wednesday, I decided to avoid the jams and walk to work as well as home again. Naturally, the traffic was now flowing freely past all the barriers so I was denied the feeling of smugness that I would have had if I had marched past queuing cars. However, fresh green leaves were frothing on the trees and the sun was glowing on tulips, flashing from windscreens and pinging off pavements. Even the Scotmid Funeral Parlour had a cheerful air as I stomped along. I didn’t stop to take photos of the spring-like scene; I’m not really a morning person and anyway my mind was focused on work.

Funnily, the route home at the end of the day seemed shorter. There was definitely more of a bounce in my step as I drew gradually nearer to the house, the kettle and the cats. Also I amused myself by selecting photo opportunities. Would you care to join me in my walk through the cherry-blossomed suburbs of west Edinburgh? The sun was no longer shining but nature was burgeoning away.

Near the college, there's nothing particularly scenic: biggish roads and open spaces. But some celandines were growing among the bushes beside the pavement. Sweet, though not if growing in my driveway.

I always try to convince myself that dandelions are pretty. But I never succeed. They're such pests.

There's cherry blossom everywhere. That's definitely pretty. And extremely pink.

More blossoming trees. I do believe some weak sunshine appeared at that point, but it didn't last.

What a wonderful fresh green on that sycamore, with its little tassly flowers.

Through the park; more cherry blossom by the bowling green.

Looking back over the park, towards the hills.

A bed of pansies. There were also weeds but you can't see them from this angle. Photography can lie, as we said.

Through the churchyard. More blossom.

A typically sad grave, telling of lives cut short: "Erected by John Greenock, in loving memory of his children Andrew, who died 18th Nov 1861, aged 2 and half years, and also Matthew, who died 25th March 1866 in his 18th year, also John Greenock, their father, who died 10th Nov 1893 aged 57 years, also John A Greenock, son of the above, who died 7th April 1901 aged 35 years, George Greenock. died 13th Nov 1901... " and I don't remember the details about him but I read them at the time and he died as a young man.
I wonder what happened to Mrs Greenock?
How glad I am that we live in the age of antibiotics and other life-saving advantages.

On the home stretch now, azaleas outside an office building. Bright!

The Zoo has this admirably ambitious flowerbed, with Edinburgh's crest made up of sedums and grasses, held up by a penguin and what appears to be some sort of small dinosaur.

Nearly home; the Pentland Hills to the south.

The road works. Note traffic flowing through unhindered.

The path up to Corstorphine Hill. It looks quite tempting but not as tempting as home.

Tulips in the front garden. Such a good red.

Magnolia stellata - blooms like little stars.

The new leaves of pieris - magically pink.

Round the back, these polyanthus have been blooming for weeks - and there's forget-me-not, so well-named because once you have it, you have it for ever.

Still in the back garden, the lilacs are just coming into bloom - my favourite scent in the world.

The colours don't exactly blend, but who cares?

Back to the pansies at the front door.

An impatient furry face. "Where have you been?" enquires Cassie.

The tulips as I go into the kitchen - again, you couldn't call the colours subtle, but they're exuberant all right.
And now it's time for a cup of tea.


  1. I loved that walk - thanks! But why hasn't it done anything for my waistline?

  2. I am impressed by your energeticness!

    My journey to work isn't anything like as long as that, and I'm on a bike.

  3. Thanks for the tour of Edinburgh, it's lovely! I like the way you write (and take photographs)very much. Your kittens are sweet.

  4. I also loved that walk. No matter what season I don't think a walk from our house would be anywhere near as interesting. Must try it and see what you think.

  5. What a lovely post - so enjoyed your walk with you. You also reminded me of some flowers you have that we don't seem to and made me reminisce - lilacs are one - we used to have a tree in our garden at Kincardine and like you I love the scent. Primulas makes me think of the garden at home growing up - always had them and polyanthus. Now at the zoo... when I look at that I saw a penguin and a seal. Thanks for such lovely pictures Z xx

  6. What a beautiful walk Isabelle! You're so lucky to live close enough for a walk -- I'd love to be able to walk to work. Ok, I'd love to walk to YOUR work. ;-)

    You wouldn't believe how long it took me to figure out the location of that door. Duh. I kept searching the backside of the kitchen in my mind. (?). Then I decided it was the front kitchen. But no kitty door there. At last I figured it out! We still have a month until those same flowers are blooming here.

  7. I do enjoy going on 'walks' like this and it is glorious to see such fresh spring colours. Thankyou.

  8. Anonymous1:20 am

    A really pleasant walk! I loved every step.

  9. I loved the walk with you I miss all the British flowers To hot in Queensland to grow then I would love to smell the lilac again I used to love it.Thanks for the lovely Photos.
    Hugs Mary.

  10. What a pleasant walk. You should walk to work everyday, then you'd be lithe and lissom and live forever!

  11. Magic. That walk eases one into the evening, doesn't it?

    I've been enjoying your photos of Poland and such.

  12. the mof6:50 am

    Oh,the blossoms! And the photos are superb. How I have loved that walk.
    Hoping they will hold on as in 2 weeks time we will be leaving the dry old countryside of Western Australia and having a month at "home" in Scotland-- yes even after 42 years away it is still "home" and the spring flowers make my heart swell.
    I'm so excited!

  13. the mof7:11 am

    Meant also to say that my late father-in-law used to wage war on the celandines in the garden every year. After 30 years they were still coming up!!
    I thought they were bright and cheerful little things and with that persistence they deserved to live!

  14. A most enjoyable journey. It seems that much of the UK is having its roads rotovated for spring!

  15. Anonymous3:34 pm

    Oh good for you. Such a lovely walk too.

    I generally walk the two miles back from the school every day (leave the car there) to home and then back to the school again at 3pm. I think I would still do it if it were 3 miles. I find my walks are great thinking time and a way to adjust from one part of the day to the next in a relaxing way.

  16. Such a lovely walk, Isabelle. I love all the spring blossom, and I have so many forget-me-nots I know just what you mean!
    And that little face waiting for you - too cute!

  17. Lovely. Edinburgh is gorgeous at this time of year with all the trees in blossom - if I could figure out how to work the camera on my phone I would have tried to document south Edinburgh in a similar manner.

    Oh and "four chaps standing in a huddle, stroking their chins" - that would be 4 blokes and about 12 chins in total, on average, yes?

  18. You must be so very happy that the flowers are all blooming now.
    What a nice walk!

  19. Anonymous12:15 am

    I loved the walk and the scenery of Edinburgh. Very nice. I notice that yall have more blue flowers than I see here. I mean, really blue flowers. Beautiful. I enjoyed 'our' walk very much. Thanks, Vicky of East Texas

  20. Awww - sweet little face at the door! I had a chuckle about the traffic flowing when you decided to walk. I would have been grumpy about that too!

  21. What a lovely picturesque post! The flowers seem so rich, so full of colour!
    I remember, it takes some weeks of walking to see visible result.
    Love the Catlet welcoming face!

  22. Sorry thought you knew - I was born and lived in Scotland till I was almost 27. Born and brought up in Drymen, went to college in Edinburgh (the then College of Commerce) worked in Glasgow, married and lived in Falkirk then Kincardine before migrating to Perth in 1982 with my first husband who was an Aussie and our 2sons who were born in Falkirk Royal. My mum, sister and husband and brother, wife and two nephews are still in Drymen and Bearsden hence why I keep returning fairly regularly. And I still talk funny -although when I come back to Scotland everyone thinks I sound Australian but sometime around now I've just passed the point where I've lived here longer than I lived there.

  23. What a lovely walk!! :) Hopefully there will be more "stuck" traffic the next time you walk. ;) I loved the Magnolia stellata and pieris. We don't have those here, at least not that I'm aware. And lilacs are one of my favorite scents, too! Wish I could have shared the cuppa once you got home. :)

  24. Just lovely - I enjoyed your walk so much!

  25. Hi Isabelle - you've been tagged all the way from NZ, take a look at my blog.

  26. Well, 26 comments before me say it all!! Another very enjoyable post with gorgeous photos. More great stuff for that book when it's published! Laughed at the comment about the four blokes gazing into the hole. Those road workers must be the same the world over.
    Darling little furry black face at the door..I had to go and find Topsy immediately and give her a cuddle!
    I didn't have forget-me-nots forever. Not even for a year. Our droughts can kill ANYTHING.

  27. Feel VERY fit and energised after all that!
    But the Thorntons chocs I'm scoffing will NOT help.
    And grave yards tell amazing stories as you say.
    There are both happy and sad tales abounding..
    and they give great thoughts for scrawling your own stories, don't they?