Saturday, April 20, 2013


What is there to say about the events in Boston except how awful for everyone there and how especially, terribly awful for those who lost loved ones? And thank goodness that the second chap has been caught. What must it be like to be him? And his mother?

And what is there to do about it except breathe in and out and go about one's life? In my case, friends and I went to have afternoon tea at Greywalls, a house designed in 1901 by Edwin Lutyens (and extended since then) with gardens laid out to a plan of Gertrude Jekyll. It's now run as a hotel and is really lovely: not too huge (one could imagine living there) with elegant but cosy rooms. How decadent we felt: jaunting about on a school day and being waited on by a nice young lady.

The tea was delicious but not particularly healthy. Since it wasn't particularly cheap either, we felt compelled to do it justice. Afterwards we were presented with the leftovers in four (there were four of us) cake boxes! Oh dear!

We had a little wander, which must have worked off - ooh - at least ten calories.

I must come back in the summer, when all the herbaceous borders will be at their best. Beyond the wall at the back, on Muirfield Golf Course, preparations were going on for the tournament next week.

We peered over. You can see the nice louring Scottish clouds. (That's pronounced to rhyme with cowering, by the way and it means dull, grumpy or in this case threatening to rain. It didn't, but no doubt by the time everyone arrives for the golf it'll be good and wet.)

There were nice vistas through gaps in hedges.

And jolly fluffy hens. I wanted one to take home. They were very friendly. They reminded me why I'm a vegetarian.

Outside the study door as I type, Mr Life is stripping wallpaper. This all stems from one of my Ideas (Mr Life just loves my Ideas) and the next stage is for chaps to come next week and knock down a bit of wall in the hall. Meanwhile I've been killing the lawn. For the past twenty-four years I've been regarding the moss in the lawn as pseudo-grass - it's green, after all - but this policy has resulted in the lawns being more moss than anything else. So I've put moss-killer down. I knew as I was doing it that it would mean that 90% of the lawn (the moss) would go black and die but somehow I did it anyway. The hope is that the lawn feed in the stuff I've just sprinkled on will stimulate the 10% of lawn that's still grass so that after I've scarified it all (not looking forward to that bit...) everything will spring up green and lush. You think?

Meanwhile it needs to get rained in. The sky is blue; the sun is shining... .


  1. I think I'm going to adopt the Japanese idea of the moss lawn and get rid of my 10% grass. Chickens are very good for lawns of any sort. And how very civilised to have take-home boxes after tea!

  2. We used that on our lawn last Spring and it does work.The iron in it ( I think ) made the remainig grass dark green. It was noticable within 30 minutes of applying.

    What did the chickens say? (Book, book, book? ) ( or don't eat us? )

    Loved the garden, where you went but what a sad name for a lovely place.

  3. What I think is that you should put all your pictures of places around Edinburgh, along with your descriptions, in a book and publish it! I can see tourists snapping up copies and your having to rush out and print more....

  4. Well. I don't know what to say. I love the pictures of the place where you had such a delightful lunch, and the hens that remind you of why you are a vegetarian, but poisoning the moss is disturbing. And somehow, inconsistent with being a vegetarian.Oh, what on earth am I trying to say here? The reluctance to kill and the joy in life that make one a vegetarian should also perhaps rule out the use of pesticides. But then, I'm not against weeding by hand. So I'm not very consistent either. Sorry for all this.

  5. Yes, I know, Kristi. That's why I've waited 24 years before doing it... But I want grass! Hmm... I don't think I feel squeamish about moss itself, though. But I do garden organically on the whole.

  6. Your tea looks so pretty -- what a lovely afternoon! And what are you doing in the hall -- it sounds very exciting!

  7. Agree with Molly's comment. How about publishing your blog in book form? You can do it through for a lot of money, but you are worth it. You are rather unique, you know.