Tuesday, January 01, 2013
I was somewhat dreading New Year, which we've always - or at least since we were young and partying - spent with family, very much including my parents. However, we had a lovely time last night at the house of friends, where there were 21 of us, of whom we knew 20, and we were all very jolly. Luckily our friends have a big house - we ourselves would be hard put to seat 21 for dinner! There was a quiz, which Mr Life and I (and the other chap in our team) won. (Modest bow.) So by the time we got home and were switching the light off at about 3 am, we didn't feel too oh-gosh about the momentousness of 2013 arriving without our having solved some of the fairly worrying problems of 2012.
Today dawned sunny and we went for a walk round the Cammo Estate on the western edge of the city. This used to contain the house above...
... of which these are the sad remains. The ground has been built up round the first floor entrance but you can see that there used to be steps up to the front door...
which still has this triangular thingummy over it.
The house dated from 1693 but was greatly extended in the late eighteenth century. This is it from the back.
But from 1930 it was owned by a lady who lived there with her son and lots of dogs. They were very reclusive and allowed the house to deteriorate - here's the drawing room in 1975 shortly after the son's death. He left the house to the National Trust, but it was targeted by vandals and twice set on fire. It would have cost far more to restore than the Trust had at its disposal so in 1978 it was demolished, leaving only what can be seen today.
The property now belongs to Edinburgh Council and anyone can go and walk around. There's not much left of the formal gardens, but they were beautifully landscaped in the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
It's very sad in many ways. However, now instead of giving pleasure to one, privileged family, the grounds are full of ordinary families and their dogs enjoying the fresh air.
Here are the remains of very fancy stables.
And here's the water tower. I read somewhere that this is a man-made hill but I don't know why it was made. Something to do with the water? It would have taken a lot of chaps with shovels to make it, anyway.
It was rather muddy in places. This is a path!
This is a canal which once provided a vista from the back of the house.
And this is the view from the front. I suppose it was once an avenue. In the distance now are the flats of Wester Hailes, which weren't there in the house's heyday.
Things change and we have to accept this. But wouldn't it be nice to wave a magic wand and see it in its glory?
Little Grandson had to be taken to the emergency doctor last night at 11 because he had a very high temperature. Luckily his Worcester grandparents were at hand to offer advice and comfort. He was pronounced just to have a virus (sorry if we gave it to you, baby boy) but he had a very restless night and his poor parents are exhausted. Hope you're better soon, little N.