The Edinburgh family are down south. Yesterday we got on a train and went up north, to Aberdeen.
There was no special reason for our trip except that I had never been there before. Scotland is a small country with not many cities or big towns and it seemed silly to have visited Rome and Boston and Copenhagen but never Aberdeen, two and a half hours away on the train. It's bigger than I expected. It's built largely of granite, so is pleasantly pale grey and slightly sparkly.
This is Marischal College, now the headquarters of Aberdeen City Council but still the property of the university. It's a striking building with all those pointy bits.
We wandered about a lot and visited the art gallery and two museums. This is a very poor photograph of a very lovely painting of Japanese anemones. I seriously covet this painting, though in fact it would be very difficult to persuade Japanese anemones to stand up like that - an example of the difference between art and reality. But the painting of the petals is very realistic. I wish I had not planted Japanese anemones in my garden, however, since they are trying to establish themselves as a small forest. I have spent this afternoon heaving (some of) them up by the roots. Another day soon I must tackle the lily of the valley. Destructive gardening is not my favourite sort but it's necessary or the (beautiful) thugs would take completely over.
Today was quite hot, at least for those battling with nature. The whole garden was perfumed by lilac. Cassie kept me company though, being black and furry, she kept having to seek out the shade. As did I.
We're having a visit from an Australian cousin of Mr L later in the month, with his wife. At that point, the garden will be at its most boring: all the spring flowers will be over and most of the summer ones won't yet be flowering. I realise that the cousins won't have come from Australia simply to admire my garden, but it's a pity. The cousin left Scotland at the age of about ten, I think, and hasn't been back since, so it'll be interesting for the family to meet up. Mr L has a selection of cousins, only two of whom (from the other side of his famliy) we see at all regularly, whereas I am totally cousinless, which I consider a major deprivation. We're having another two cousins to lunch to meet up with Charles from Australia; and our offspring will be here too. I'm looking forward to it.
This is my mother's birthday. I miss her a lot - not so much the very old lady (though I'm so sad that she can't see the children - she would absolutely love them and did adore the one-year-old Grandson, whom she did see) but the slightly younger version of her. She was a very wise person and good fun. We used to collapse in giggles a lot. No one will ever love you as much as your mum does (if you have a normal mum - I realise that there are exceptions). Of course, she was old and we must all die. But I wish she could have had a few more years of good life.