Friday, May 19, 2017


On Monday we went through to the west to visit friends, who took us to Greenbank House in Clarkston, where there was a little Embroiderers' Guild exhibition. My friend B is a member of her local branch. Some of the items were for sale, but not this one, which is just as well since a) it would have had to be sold for about £10,000, considering the length of time it must have taken to make and b) B and I both wanted it. My phone photos of it are seriously poor, but it comprises 48 squares of about four inches, all different, in black and grey embroidery with black sashing. It looks as if it's done on faintly patterned fabric but if you look closely, you can see that all the background pattern, like these paisley shapes above, is actually embroidered. (Though I didn't photograph the whole thing (why not? I ask myself) I know there are 48 squares because I said, "There must be about 50 of them," and Mr L said sternly, "No, there are 48" - which in my view is "about 50", but I suppose if you marry an accountant you have to expect him to audit you.)

Anyway, it was seriously impressive and I can see why the maker wouldn't want to sell it.

The house, which now belongs to the National Trust, looks very attractive (it wasn't open) and as B remarked, you could just about imagine yourself living there - it's not a vast super-stately home. And the gardens were lovely. It was built in the 1760s by a chap who traded in tobacco and slaves, but his business was disrupted by the American War of Independence (well disrupted, Americans) and he went bankrupt and had to sell it.

It had rained heavily the previous day - unlike in Edinburgh, where it hasn't rained apart from the odd spot for weeks now - so the grass was slightly muddy.

B's husband D suggested that this was a statue of me doing my Zumba class. Yes, there's a striking resemblance... though I wear more clothes.

Look at that! A grandchild-free post!

Sunday, May 14, 2017


Gosh, it's been a busy couple of weeks. My two choirs had their concerts on consecutive Saturdays, so one week I was frantically polishing up the hard bits of Mozart's "Coronation Mass" (which is in four parts and relatively short) and the following week I was even more frantically making sure I knew the fiendish parts of Handel's "Israel in Egypt", which is in eight parts and quite long and tricky. They're both wonderful to sing but the Handel particularly is fairly exhausting.

On Tuesday we went up to see Son and DIL and the Unbloggable Baby, who is such a cutie, with huge blue eyes. She's nine months old now, and crawling. She has an fixed ambition to chew their cats.

We had lunch at Dundee Botanic Gardens, which are pleasant but not as impressive as the Edinburgh ones (which are, moreover, free to visit, unlike Dundee's). The weather was lovely. Indeed, the weather has been unfeasibly lovely for weeks: Edinburgh was the driest part of Britain in April, which has meant practically not a drop of rain. The garden is parched (or, as parched as a Scottish garden gets).

Sweet feet. I miss them.

Grandson was ill all week with a fever and sore ears. He didn't eat much; and since his usual physique is like a piece of string, he became alarmingly skeletal, with every rib visible and his spine all knobbly. We spent quite a bit of time helping to entertain him, but thankfully he's much better now.

Then today was Mr Life's birthday. He's now in his 70th year. How on earth did that happen? (and me only 35, too...). How many more good years do we have, I wonder?

Daughter 2 is expecting a baby in October. She's had problems in the past so we're all hoping that things go smoothly for her this time. Then we'll have four grandchildren, though alas only two in Edinburgh and thus available for intensive grannying. When this one is 15, we'll be 82 and 84 if we're still here at all. A sobering thought... .

Monday, May 08, 2017

Sunny days

Another grandchild-heavy post - apologies, but at least Nanny and Gramps in Worcester will like it. We've seen a lot of the little ones recently, partly because there have been a couple of days off school - the Edinburgh holiday and then a voting day.

I took them to The Yard on Sunday. There is a working traffic light, which Grandson obviously likes.

And a large sandpit with water trickling into it. Granddaughter, who is a woman who enjoys personalising an outfit, wore her swimming sunhat.

What a good idea: leave paint and large lumps of cardboard around and let the children slosh about.

Another day we went to Cammo, a country park not far away which is just grass and trees and a ruined house. We had a picnic and a scavenger hunt.

She dressed as a flower fairy.

We had a visit to Dalkeith Country Park, which has lots of things to play on.

And they also enjoyed Granny's garden, with soapy water poured on the grass for splashing through,

while, later on, their Daddy pretended to be a crocodile.