Wednesday, May 12, 2021

It's all about the flowers, really

It's all about flowers at this time of year - and in my garden, there's quite a lot of purple - which isn't my favourite colour in, say, clothes or furnishings, but it's the nearest that most flowers come to blue so it's acceptable. 

How about this stunning blue mecanopsis, though?  They grow well in Scotland - theoretically - but I tend to lose them after a couple of years. I think that this is because I've put them with other, more aggressive things and they've been swamped. So last year I got my garden labourer (Mr L) to cut out a new, special bed for them, and the three plants that I put in are still looking good. Granted, this is the only bloom so far, but plant 2 has a promising bud; and plant 3, while smaller and with no sign of flowers, looks pretty healthy. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed. 

In the Botanics, there's lots of pink. 

This view of the city skyline from the Botanics is so familiar and dear to me. 

More pink.

And some yellow. 

And even some very late daffodils. 

Back in my garden, I have to admit that the orange wallflowers, though I don't like them and would never have planted them if I'd known they were orange, do add a splash of brightness to this front garden bed. 

12 days till Daughter 2 and Smallest Granddaughter arrive. I can hardly wait. 


Thursday, May 06, 2021

So busy - as lockdown eases...

Life is full of ceaseless activity, though admittedly some of that consists of sitting watching "Location, Location, Location" while quilting butterflies on to the ice cream quilt. I've discovered, for what it's worth, that it's a bit of a waste of time quilting butterflies or anything particularly irregular on a (what's it called again?) piano keys (?) border, because it's too busy for the butterflies to show up much. We live and learn. Anyway, we went up to see Son and family again on Saturday with the Edinburgh Two and their parents. Considering they've seen so little of one another recently, the children get on very well. Here's Big Granddaughter (8) reading to Medium Granddaughter (4). So CUTE! 

Son lives in a scenic, if inconvenient (for us) area. 

We walked up to the burn

and the younger members ploutered about in it and made a dam. 

Home again, spring has definitely sprung but it's a very cold one. 

I planted this wallflower innocently, not realising that it was orange. I'll let it finish flowering but then pull it out. Sorry, but rules are rules. No orange. 

On Sunday we walked by the canal with the Edinburgh family,

saying hello to some fluffy cygnets

and enjoying the sunshine despite the chilly temperature. 

Cherry blossom time, with Big Grandson. 

On Tuesday - da DA DA! - I went up town to a real bookshop and bought some real books and had real coffee, made by someone else, in their cafe. It was so exciting. 

And then in the afternoon I went back into town and met Daughter 1 and the Edinburgh Two in the museum. Again, not something we've been able to do for ages. I love this pot and I also love the fact that it was made...

about 500 years ago and we can still look at it. I would very much like someone to give it to me for my birthday, and while they were at it they could also give me the duck-shaped foot rasp (purely for its decorative value. I have no desire to rasp my feet). Just think what a long time someone took to paint all those cranes and the twiddles in between them. I hope they enjoyed it and didn't immediately have to start on another one which was just the same. 

The children are 8 and nearly 10 now. I'm so happy that I can spend time with them before they get all grown up. 

Daughter 2 and Littlest Granddaughter should be here in 18 days. So excited. Fingers so crossed. 


Thursday, April 29, 2021


Today we met up with Son-in-Law 1 and went for a walk up from Flotterstone, which is at the foot of the Pentland Hills on the outskirts of the city. This looks like a loch but is actually a reservoir. 

Fresh air, sheep, that sort of thing. All very splendid.

There were various chaps in little boats, fishing. Unsuccessfully, as far as we could see. It wasn't very warm - perfectly pleasant for walking but chilly for sitting still on the water, I'd think. 

There was a strong coconut (not vanilla, as I put before) smell from the gorse.  

Altogether it was a lovely morning. And then I went to the supermarket. You can't have everything. 

Yesterday, Son sent us a little video clip of Little Grandson - who will be 2 next month - at a garden centre. Specifically at the automatic sliding doors. This little chap was 9 months old at the beginning of the first lockdown, and lives half-way up a hill and half a mile out from a shopless village, so shops are a novelty to him, and automatic doors - woo! He ran outside, activating the doors, and then stood patiently waiting for them to shut again before running back in again. It was so cute! 

He's a beautiful child but as a result of lockdown, and also to some extent of his living some distance from us, I've hardly ever cuddled him - only a couple of times when he was a small baby and didn't have any discrimination. However, his big sister knows who we are and is accepting of us, so I'll just have to be patient and believe that we'll be able to establish some sort of relationship in time. 

As I said, you can't have everything.


Monday, April 26, 2021

This and that and more of this

The beautiful weather continued till today, when it was mainly dull with a chillyish wind. On Friday, as usual, the children came in the afternoon and they played with the pebble fountain. 

One day we climbed Corstorphine Hill, enjoying the signs of spring 

and the views over the city. 

It's been so dry! Look at the dust-bowl paths. 

This is a translation into Lowland Scots of a poem about a snow leopard (or snow ghost, as the poet says here) which was in the paper on Saturday. I understand every word but use very few of them, so I imagine my children don't understand every word. Look, "plootering" - I used "ploutering", which is a variant spelling, in a blog post the other day. I should make a conscious effort to use more of these words, such as "stravaig", which means - oh, it's hard to find an English equivalent. It means wandering around but with an element of strutting - but more aimlessly and less confidently than strutting implies. And "cranreuch", which means so cold that it makes you shrivel away. A lot of the words are just Scots versions of the Anglo-Saxon or Norse words which have developed differently in standard English, so "wame" means stomach or womb - womb here, in its comforting sense - and "Ma whalpin wis byornar" means that his birth (whelping) was extraordinary - beyond ordinary.

Oh, the cherry blossom, or gean flooers. 

I don't know a Scots word for daffodils but aren't they pretty? Most daffodils are over now but these in the Botanics are particularly late-flowering. 

But here are the grandweans at the Botanics yesterday. They were pretending to film for their imaginary YouTube channel. Grandlad made Grandlass do several takes, coming round a bush doing a piece to camera. They took it very seriously. There was no actual camera but you can see him holding up his imaginary one while she comes into shot. 

We met a very friendly squirrel who probably hoped that we had some nuts for him. Or her. Unfortunately we didn't. 

Here's his/her friend, sitting on a sprouting gunnera.

Granddaughter likes to choose her own clothes these days. I don't personally feel that her pink top goes with her scarlet shorts, but didn't say so. Grandson, according to Son-in-Law, has even less interest in clothes than SIL does, and puts on what he's given without comment. 

Today - tadada! - I actually had some friends round for coffee - first a group of four and then later one friend. We were going to sit in the garden, abiding by the rules, but in fact it wasn't sunny today and was rather cold so we sat in the sitting room with the patio door open. Sort of like a gazebo, we reasoned. We've all been vaccinated and sat at least two metres apart from one another. It was very nice indeed to catch up with the news!

I'm nearing the end of the quilting of the ice cream quilt and once it's bound I must get back to the archives. And visit a charity shop with the stuff we've piled up in a bedroom. Clutter - hate it!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Easing of the restrictions...

So joy of joys, we went up on Sunday to visit Son and family, and the Edinburgh family came too. As luck would have it, the weather ceased being beautiful for that one day; however, it wasn't really cold so it didn't matter, though we're not allowed to go inside anyone's house. Middle Granddaughter, who with her little brother hadn't seen us since October, came rushing out shouting "Granny!" and flung herself into my arms, which was SO lovely! Little Grandson, who's not quite 2, was slightly shy for the first 30 seconds but was then fine. The children had a happy time playing in Daughter-in-Law's nice sister's garden at first - nice sister, who has no children, is a very doting auntie and has a huge trampoline in her garden for the children, so the Edinburgh Two had a lovely time playing on that with their cousins. 

We went to Son's for lunch and then took a walk up the hill a bit. 

where they all had a good time...

ploutering in the burn (ie messing about in the stream). 

So that was wonderful. Then yesterday we looked after the Edinburgh Two, not yet back at school after the Easter holidays. We walked by the river - 

- hello, swans - 

and the children scrambled on trees

and then we came home and played in the lovely sunshine (it came back) and had a game of Scrabble. They're getting so grown up! (sometimes). 

And yesterday we also got our second vaccines and then today we had our hair cut so - progress! 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Beautiful weather for a funeral

We were checking Daughter 2's Edinburgh flat the other day and took a walk down to Newhaven. The weather has been so beautiful this week - unbroken sunshine and blue skies, though with a slight frost overnight. 

I would hate not to live near the sea. 

Today was the funeral of Prince Philip and we decided to watch it. We're not particular royalists, though by the time you've got to our age you realise that there's something to the argument about continuity. I've just checked: in my lifetime there have been fifteen Prime Ministers - they come and go with what seems like increasing speed - and only the one queen, who has been very faithful to the duties wished upon her. Well, there was a king for the first two years of my life but I don't remember him. So the Duke of Edinburgh has been visibly around for all of my life (and indeed for some time before it) and now he isn't. So it seemed significant. 

And I'm glad we did because it was so strange. The soldiers were socially distanced and looked like toys set out by a little boy.

Those carrying the coffin wore masks. I was so nervous that they might drop it, but thankfully they didn't. 

I felt sorry for those ordinary people, born to be unordinary but with very human problems - how dreadful to be them, despite their huge wealth. Imagine all that scrutiny when you were mourning the loss of your father or grandfather. 

And in the chapel, the little Queen, who looked for the first time quite doddery, sat alone, quite distant from her family - who in their turn were distanced from each other, and masked. They had to conform to the rules but it seemed so weird and cruel. It's happened to a lot of others, of course, but for those others it wasn't beamed round the world. 

The music at the service was beautiful. I particularly loved William Lovelady's setting of Psalm 104, which I've listened to several times since the funeral. It was sung by four, distanced singers with such wonderful voices. Do Google it if you like music.

Meanwhile, in my garden, spring continues. And tomorrow we're going up with the Edinburgh family to visit Son and his family in Angus. Our First Minister has given us permission - a week earlier than expected. There's an election coming up but only a cynic would suspect a connection... . I'm feeling excited but nervous, in case it doesn't go as well as I hope. It's six months since the children have seen any of us.