Friday, June 29, 2018


Daughter 2 and Littlest Granddaughter have gone now, but it was lovely while it lasted.

Today, for the very last time, I picked up Biggest Granddaughter after nursery and we went up town for lunch. Next session she'll be at school. Whizz go the years.

The garden's in full bloom, though for the last couple of days it's been too hot to be outside - yes, nearly 30 degrees, they tell us. That's 86 Fahrenheit: melty weather for pale-skinned Scots.

I love our long summer days. This photo was taken at 11.15pm - still easily light enough to work in the garden. In contrast, we have short hours of daylight in the winter; but I think it's worth it. 

And Grandson has had his 7th birthday party - though it's not quite his birthday yet. This is his level crossing cake, made by his mum. He wanted a paddling-pool-and-hosepipe party in the garden, so that's what happened. Daughter 1 stood calmly surveying the scene: small, wet, highly excited boys in swimsuits. "It's a bit Lord of the Flies," she mused. Fortunately not in every respect. They had fun.

And another day, more peaceably, I had coffee with friends, overlooking the water.

I've made the middle bit of a quilt top for my niece. I'm planning on a half-square triangle border but we'll see how it goes. 

And so life goes on. Whizz whizz. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018


Grandson to Eldest Granddaughter [his sister]: What's that you're making out of Duplo?
Eldest Granddaughter: It's my seagull.
Grandson: I thought it could be a big barrier for my level crossing.
Eldest Granddaughter: No, it has to be a seagull, sorry.
Grandson: But it could be a barrier.
Eldest Granddaughter: I'm afraid it just IS my seagull. [Makes seagull noises.]
Grandson [as if struck by a sudden bright idea]: Maybe you could go and play with your dollies now!
Eldest Granddaughter: Not now, thanks.

[Reporting credits to their mother, Daughter 1.]

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Being Ganny

This week, Daughter 2 and Littlest Granddaughter are staying with us while actor Son-in-Law is in Canada. It's SO lovely!

Yesterday the four of us went up to visit Son and his family. The Unbloggable Toddler, Middle Granddaughter, now 22 months, is beginning to recognise us and call us by our names: Ganny, Gappa, Yoi and Asta. Well, an approximation of our names, which is good enough for us. She's a lovely child. We live just the wrong distance apart: quite a long car journey, but near enough that we can go for the day and thus see her only for a few hours every few weeks. We'll never know her as well as the others, but I hope we'll build a relationship in time.

We had a very nice day, anyway. We went to the park. 

Littlest Granddaughter enjoyed it too.

Today we spent the day with Daughter 1 and family - the children were at nursery or school, but we saw them afterwards. So that was nice.

Life would be more restful without them all, but oh, so much less interesting.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Various aspects of weather

Ah, it's bearded iris time. I do love an iris. The magenta...

and the pale blue...

and the white...

and the lilac. Pity they don't bloom for long.

The garden is looking generally flowery and June-like, but we've had no rain for weeks and I've been dotting around with my watering can. They keep promising us rain, but very little has so far arrived.

I was standing at a bus stop the other day when the annual taxi drivers' outing passed by - about fifty decorated taxis taking deprived (I think?) children to the seaside for the day. The children were armed with supersoakers. Fortunately I had a bus shelter to hide behind. The children were having a lovely time but I hope they'd been told not to aim at the rather more elderly than me!

Yesterday, Mr L and I visited the Victoria Crowe portrait exhibition at the Portrait Gallery. I would recommend it: she's painted all sorts of high-achieving (and admirable) people, including in the portraits objects and images relevant to their careers, and there was interesting information beside each one saying how she found the experience.

The building is an amazing Victorian neo-Gothic confection.

And it has an excellent cafe. We had walked to the gallery, so felt justified in having a cake. One doesn't want to become too healthy. 

And today we had the Edinburgh grandchildren, as we always do on Fridays - Edinburgh schoolchildren have Friday afternoons off - a good wheeze which, alas, never happened when I was a school teacher or, come to that, a pupil. Must be a bit of a nightmare for working parents with no family back-up, though.

They tore up tissue paper to make an avalanche, thus creating a blockage to add drama to this railway layout. "The snow," narrated Biggest Granddaughter, "coils lovingly round the engines."

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Meeting up

I've been in London, visiting Daughter 2 and Littlest Granddaughter - we had such a lovely time! Littlest is recovering from both chicken pox and an ear infection, poor little lamb, but in spite of all that, she was very jolly.

We puttered about, did the garden, cuddled the baby and had the occasional coffee out.

The weather was quite hot, but not excessively so - well, as long as one wasn't doing too much.

Look at her poor little poxed face.

She's growing so fast!

And now I'm home. Today I went to a school reunion to mark 50 - 50!!!- years since my classmates and I left school. Here we are - those who attended. It's a girls' school, as you may guess from the photo. Among us there were a chief accountant for a national firm, a university lecturer in engineering, a medical consultant, a professor of agriculture, an economist, another accountant, a writer, an editor, a few teachers, a homemaker and, as far as I could gather, a dilettante with a wealthy husband. We're mainly, though not all, retired now.

Surprisingly, the fourteen who attended (one arrived after the photo was taken), have so far produced, I think, only thirteen grandchildren, which isn't a lot, considering that we're all coming up for 68 years old and four of us had three children, others two. Of course the world has enough people already. But maybe not enough capable people, which I'm assuming that the grandchildren of these women would be. (I realise that clever people aren't necessarily good people - but I think my classmates' children would probably be good also.)

Four of them never married - one of whom is partnered, but gay. Three are divorced, though two of them remarried. Two married later in life to men who already had children.

I was in touch with quite a few of them already and saw all of them ten years ago at a previous reunion. I find it very interesting to see what's become of us all. We all started out from similar backgrounds and in the same city but our lives have been fairly varied. Five of us still live in Edinburgh and another four in other parts of Scotland. The rest live in England. The unmarried ones have had the most starry careers, which isn't terribly surprising since in our young days, women mainly stayed at home for some years to look after the children.

My London daughter would be happy to do this too, but sadly the world has changed, and for financial reasons she'll have to go back to work in September and dear little Littlest will go to a nursery. I suppose that she'll survive, like so many others. But I wish it were otherwise.

We've all decided that we need to meet again in five years' time, not ten, because... who knows whether we'll all survive for another ten? Already two of our class are dead - one at 23, one at 67 - and another has very bad dementia. But meanwhile, the rest of us survive, and it's been such a nice day.

Friday, June 01, 2018

And that was May

I'm sure it's fairly boring to anyone else when I rabbit on about the grandchildren, but this blog has become a record of our lives, or at least a partial record, so here I go again. The main news is chicken pox related: after Grandson and Biggest Granddaughter got it, fairly inevitably the two smaller granddaughters got it too. Big sigh. They're really not often all together, so it was such bad timing that the two bigger ones were invisibly infectious at the time of Mr Life's birthday. 

So they've all been spotty and a bit miserable. Get the vaccination, would be my advice to anyone whose children haven't yet caught the disease. It's available here but not as a standard thing that all children are given by the state. We were just thinking about it for the older two. Too late.

Anyway, the other day, Grandson incorporated into his wooden train layout this tunnel (or is it an engine shed?) that Mr L's cousin made, and then he decided that he needed a second one, so he made that, with help from his dad. Grandson took the above photo, complete with thumb.

Here he is painting his creation.

And here it is, incorporated into the layout.

Granddaughter is not particularly into trains, though she does play with them a bit, to join in with her brother: she's a practical sort. She prefers books, though, so she and I took a trip to the library and she tried out the reading nook.

She also likes flowers. I hope that the gardening gene, which seems to run mainly down the female side of our family (though our son gardens too) has passed down to her too. It's such a joy.