Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Crocuses again

After my piano lesson today, I walked across Bruntsfield Links, among the crocuses.
I wouldn't care for a purple and yellow dress, but it does look good as a spring splash of colour.
Then I crossed the Meadows on my way down to Princes Street. As I did so, I thought of my maternal grandfather, who lived near here as a boy and played various sports in the Meadows. (The sporting gene didn't come down to my brother and me.) It's a wonderful green space which, in warm weather, is full of young people playing games or sunbathing or picnicking - it's near university buildings and residences. Not that my grandfather was able to go to university, though he was a clever man. He became a compositor - printer - the person who set the type, in mirror image; so he had to be able to spell backwards. He would have liked to be a doctor, but there was no money in the family for education past the age of - I don't know - fourteen, I imagine.
Mind you, he was a bit grumpy and opinionated. Not sure that he would have made a very soothing doctor.
The potential buyers are sending a surveyor to inspect my mum's flat tomorrow. Let's hope he doesn't see any snags.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Swans and flowers

It's been a peaceful day. In the morning I had a friend to coffee, which was lovely. In the afternoon, Mr Life and I went for a walk along the local burn (stream) and watched swans.
I wonder why the snowdrops growing on the banks are in such thick clumps, while those in my carefully tended garden seem reluctant to multiply.
On our return, I admired this polyanthus beside our front door.
And these daffodils - two bunches for £2 - which smell deliciously of spring.
And then the estate agent phoned to say that a couple had put in an offer for my mother's flat, on the market since March. It's not a very good offer compared to the valuation, but the market is very slow and she would really like to sell it. Please keep your fingers crossed, bloggy friends, that it all goes through; though as my brother replied when I emailed him this news, "Ti si rhater dfifclut ot tpye wtih ym fniergs corsesd."

Sunday, February 26, 2012


My anemones are nearly finished now, but their jewel brightness has become almost transparent - very beautiful.
We visited Daughter 1 and cuddled Grandson. Here he is with Daughter 2. He was a bit less cheery than normal if not entertained.
This is him looking a bit thoughtful and thumb-sucky. Maybe he was also self-conscious because he was modelling the hat that Daughter 1 has just finished knitting for herself.
In the evening, his first tooth began to appear, which I imagine accounts for his unwonted solemnity.
I'm feeling thumb-sucky myself because Daughter 2 has returned to London. Also Sirius Cat is sitting on my right hand, which makes typing and mouse-use rather tricky. So I shall go and practise my (very difficult) ragtime piano music. Might as well be thoroughly miserable. (Well, it's difficult for me. Scott Joplin could probably have played it with cats sitting on both of his hands.)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pass the Grandson

Today we met up with Daughter 1, SIL 1, Grandson and SIL 1's parents for lunch. Daughter 2 is up from London for the weekend and Son came down from Perth for the day.
We passed Grandson round like a parcel. He didn't appear to mind.
Later, Mr Life, Daughter 2, Son and I went for a walk. Then he drove back up north.
None of which is very newsworthy but I don't want to spend time blogging while we've got Daughter 2 in the house. She goes back down to London tomorrow. Alas.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Thirteen years ago, our church suffered a very serious fire. This is what it looked like inside. The picture is taken from the pew where our family sat, though there's no seating there now. It happened during the evening and no one was hurt, luckily.
This is what the roof looked like.
It took three years to restore the church, but recently we celebrated the tenth anniversary of the restoration.
The twelve pillars survived pretty well. They've fascinated me since I was a child because the capitals at the tops of the pillars are all decorated with different leaves and, in some cases, flowers and fruits. I've always wondered who carved them. They're very naturalistic - for example, in the picture above, the carvings depict brambles - what you might call blackberries, maybe?
But these puzzle me. Both flowers and leaves look perfectly familiar - but can anyone think what they are? The flowers look quite like nasturtiums or maybe convolvulus but the leaves are wrong. However, in some of the capitals, there are non-matching flowers and leaves - for example rose flowers (and some rose leaves) together with acanthus leaves - so something similar might be happening here.
The brightly-coloured windows, by the way, replace the original gable-end windows which remained after the fire but were badly cracked and had to be removed. Opinions vary about the new windows. I like the colours but don't like the abstract designs in our Victorian church.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Alien cat

Mr Life and I were talking on the phone to Daughter 2 in London the other day, when Sirius went and sat beside this little wooden cat, looking cute. I took a photo of him on my mobile phone to send to Daughter 2. It didn't really come out very well. He looks as if he's seriously in the huff with the little wooden cat, which I'd swear doesn't usually look that doleful.
Still, Mr Life's photo was considerably worse.
I was out with friends for a meal tonight - all female ex-colleagues. We meet up on the last Thursday of every month. Tonight the conversation was rather too focused on fibroids, in my opinion. Such a discussion doesn't really add to one's appreciation of food. We did drift on to talk of arthritis in the end, which was a slight improvement.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Stripy shirt

Thank you, Desiree, for your very kind comment! Can't quite remember why I didn't post at the weekend - combination of a lack of time, lack of anything happening and the feeling that I sometimes get along the lines of - why on earth would anyone be interested in my burblings about babies and cats?
He is a very fine baby, though.
Today at Zumba the reed-slim, very bendy young teacher was back again. She's so smily and enthusiastic, punctuating her energetic twistings and dancings with cries of "Hey!" My friend and I, in common with the rest of the class, don't really have the spare breath for any heys. At the beginning of the class, she told us with a huge smile that she was on holiday last week and while away, got engaged. The ring is being made smaller but "I'll show it to you all next week!" So sweet.
Grandson is good at smiling for the camera - I swear that I take so many photos of him that he realises that this is what he's supposed to do - but with my digital camera, there's a delay so I sometimes miss the moment. But this photo shows off his splendid eyelashes.
Proud Granny? Just a bit.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Admiring things

After my piano lesson today (why do I always play so much worse for my teacher than I do for myself, in the privacy of my sitting room? - remind me not to be a concert pianist...) I wandered down beside Bruntsfield Links and admired the crocuses.
Also the view over towards Arthur Seat, our city hill.
I met up with Daughter 1, Grandson and Mr Life for coffee in a bookshop and then we went to our house and spent the day admiring the baby.
My anemones are coming out nicely.
Retirement's not so bad.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Little walk

Oh what a joy a little baby is. Here's ours, arriving for lunch yesterday.
He has such smiley eyes. Looking forward to seeing you soon, Nanny and Gramps!
Today, Mr Life and I went for a wander along the Water of Leith from Stockbridge to the Dean Village.
You wouldn't really think that this was half a mile or so from the middle of the city.
This bridge carries a main road into the centre.
There were once mills here, using the water.
On the way back, we passed the Oxfam bookshop (always fatal) and a shop which sells flowers and rather serious wine. I always have to buy anemones when I see them. We didn't bother with wine.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Grandson practises his flying

My 100,000th visitor seems to have visited from Mountain View, California at 4.53 am our time, which is 8.53 pm (or possibly one hour different from that) California time. She - as far as I'm aware, most visitors are women, though I suppose I'm judging only by the commenters - arrived on a post entitled "Why I feel a bit weary" and left on one called "Lifting mine eyes" which is about being depressed.
So it looks as if she wasn't really looking for my blog but was looking for a co-tired person... and possibly will never read it again. In which case, I'm waving to her in vain. Ah well. Hello, on the off chance that you might be reading this.
Not, of course, that she's the 100,000th person to read my blog; only the presser of the 100,000th click on it.
Still, it is fairly mindblowing, this blogging thing. I love the idea of all this communication going on, even if some of it is unintentional.
(And just in case you didn't work out that picture, Vladimir Putin was on a Ritz biscuit, and the next line of the song at the top is "Puttin' on the Ritz". Yes, feel free to groan.)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Snowdrops and Grandson

I found this on my friend Lynda's Facebook page. I don't know if it works outside Britain - apologies if it's unfathomable because of the difference in our brands of groceries. Indeed, it took me several minutes to work out myself. Yes, yes, it's obvious (and funny in a "groan" sort of way) once you understand it.
Mr Life, Daughter 1, Grandson and I went to the Botanics to admire the snowdrops today.
The adults also admired Grandson.
My snowdrops never spread very much except in the middle of my lilac hedge, where I don't so much want them. Colour in one of the little open-sided glasshouses. It's good to feast the eyes on colour at this time of year. Spring is on the way.
(I've just looked at my stats and there have been 99,974 visits. I feel the 100,000th visitor should get a prize or some fireworks or at least a balloon. Maybe a cherry scone?)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Well, look. The sun shone for most of the day so we must have made - oh - about four pounds from our solar panels. In about forty years we may have got back the money we spent on them - though actually my mother sits with an electric heater on all day so... . Still, I hope the environment is grateful.
And when I looked at the garden seat where our electrician ("I'm a chubby chap") sat to admire the panels, I see that he's broken one of the struts. Another little retirement task for Mr Life.
I made cherry scones for my mum's visitor. I don't think I've ever put cherries in my scones before but I'd run out of sultanas and actually, cherries are nicer. Especially eaten slightly warm, with butter.
That was after I'd been to Zumba, where we had a substitute teacher who was enthusiastic to the point of being manic. I've been too tired to do much for the rest of the day, which is possibly not the point of the whole thing. Still, it must have worked off enough calories to make up for the cherry scone I ate. You think?
It's all a matter of balancing things out, isn't it? Solar panels to make up for electric heaters. Garden seats made suitable for chubby chaps. Zumba to compensate for scones.
And that's my attempt to get a theme out of the three disparate photos I took today.
And also my attempt to create artificial paragraph spaces by typing *.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Any day is improved by a visit to this little chap. He beamed at us. We put on his new hat (no, by the way, Daughter 1 doesn't knit all his creations, but some of them) -
- she didn't knit this hat. And we took him and ourselves for a walk.
We passed this house, which has a carved stone over the door.
It says: In this house on 19th September 1745 Prince Charles Edward Stuart held his Council of War before the Battle of Prestonpans.
(Paragraph break)
Prince Charles Edward Stuart, otherwise known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, was the grandson of the deposed King James II of England, VII of Scotland. Though Charlie won the Battle of Prestonpans, he was later defeated conclusively at the Battle of Culloden. So he never became king.
(Paragraph break)
Along the road a bit is a pub which claims to have been "established since the 14th century", but I think it must have been rebuilt since then - though possibly not at all recently. I don't imagine that the Bonnie Prince popped in there for a quick drink after his meeting.
(Paragraph break)
I'm glad that our grandson is unlikely to claim the throne. I'd prefer his life to be less stressful.
(Paragraph break)
So that was the best bit of our day. Meanwhile, I hope, our solar panels were soaking up the not-terribly-bright February light and saving the globe from a tiny little bit of warming.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sunny Edinburgh?

This is what we got done to the back roof of our house today. (Why are the curtains on the upstairs bathroom closed, Mr Life?) The solar panels cost lots of money. Hmm. And they're not even pretty.

Now all we need is for the sun to beat relentlessly down all day, every day from now on and we'll get lots of free electricity. Bound to happen, don't you think? This is Scotland, after all. Look - can you see that faint shadow cast on the left by the tv aerial?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday with the Lifes

Son came down today from the north to have lunch with us and reconnected with his nephew.
They went for a little walk in the garden and sat on the seat in the sitooterie (the place where one sits oot). Now that I look at this picture, I'm reminded that the sitooterie could do with being painted. Add it to your list of retirement tasks, Mr Life... .
Grandson's a cuddly boy who loves his mum. (This photo makes it look as if one of his ears is enormous, a bit like that mouse with an ear shape grafted on. Not so.)
Someone asked how my piano learning was going. Well, I can play these things above fairly well - the right-hand page was this week's homework.
I had a little try of this - the following page - this afternoon and found it surprisingly difficult, though it looks easier at a casual glance. In fact it looks simple. But I didn't find it so. I suppose that after five lessons I can't expect to be tremendously good but it's a pity. Effortless brilliance would be very pleasant. My dad was the sort of pianist who could play anything at sight or without music and could transpose things into a different key on request. But I suppose that I'm remembering him when he'd been playing for 40 years. So maybe when I'm 101 I'll be able to do that.
I do enjoy it, though.
(Oh no, the paragraph spaces have gone again. Shame on you, Blogger!)