Monday, July 30, 2018


Last week we had a few days at Crieff Hydro, where I first went 65 years ago (I was only 3 the first time) and where we've been many times since. All the children and grandchildren were there, which was such a treat. Here, confusingly, is Son with his niece, Littlest Granddaughter.

We had various snacks in the Winter Garden, with this view that I've known all my life.

Here's Middle Granddaughter admiring a giant rabbit. Her hair is blonde, unlike the rest of us, apart from Littlest.

Mr L and I took the older grandchildren to McRosty Park, where they had fun. They don't hold hands a lot but did so spontaneously on this occasion. So CUTE!

We did get some lovely photos of the whole family, but the Unbloggable Toddler was in them. Here are three of the four little ones, anyway.

On the way home, we went to a wildlife park and had lunch looking towards those hills. 

And now we're home, but Daughter 2, Son-in-Law 2 and Littlest Granddaughter are here for a whole month! Lovely! Exhausting! LG is crawling, pulling herself up, trying to eat random bits of fluff and has no common sense AT ALL. So we'll get nothing done. But it's so nice!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Very old and very young

Goodness me, what a meagre month for posting, as Daughter 2 has pointed out to me. We've been either away or busy.

To continue: there was one snag for Mr L about our cottage - see above. But it was otherwise lovely.

Herefordshire is very interesting - full of old and picturesque towns such as Ledbury (above). This is the Market Hall, which, as it says on the town website, "was not built until many centuries after the Market Place was established in 1122". The building of the Market Hall began in 1617 - more or less yesterday... .

There are lots of splendid places to visit, including Hay-On-Wye, which is famous for its bookshops - oh dear - guess what we did there... and Elgar's birthplace, above, which is surprisingly humble.

On the way home, we had a couple of nights in Liverpool, where we visited the exhibition of some terracotta warriors, lent from China. There were only a few of the estimated 8000 men, 500 horses with 130 chariots and also 150 cavalry horses -  most of which are still buried. It's all pretty astonishing - all that work, all that skill, two and a half thousand years ago.

Evidently they were once brightly coloured, as recreated above.

We also visited the Museum of Liverpool, with its cast of a 5000-year-old footprint found not far away. It's much the same size as my foot, though wider. It felt as if this chap had only just passed by a few moment ago, which is somehow quite touching. Or spooky. Or something. It made me think, anyway.

(As I type, at 22.58, Littlest Granddaughter, who's visiting, has woken up and is wailing piteously. Poor little scone; not that there's anything wrong except that she's awake. Daughter 2 is trying to persuade her to go back to sleep.)

When we got home (or to be precise, the day before we got home) my brother and sister-in-law arrived with an American distant cousin and her husband. A is an aerial dancer - it's hard to believe that we share any genes, since I'm not known for my dancing or my love of heights. In fact, we probably don't share many at all, since my great-grandmother was her great-great-grandmother. But she's a lovely girl. One beautiful day we all went to North Berwick and walked along the beach.

We've been having such hot, dry weather for weeks now - until today, when it's rained quite a bit. It's good for the gardens but I hope August isn't too wet, since that's Festival time and the city will be FULL of visitors.

And then we went up north for a few days.

(Littlest Granddaughter has fallen silent. Oh - no she hasn't. Oh dear.)

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Old Hop Kiln

We have been on holiday in Herefordshire, which is fairly far south west in England. It calls itself the Midlands, but it's not really very mid. Anyway, it was all lovely. Our 300-year-old cottage had been converted from a hop kiln - I think the round bit was the actual kiln, but it's now the kitchen (downstairs) and a bathroom (upstairs). Neither must have been particularly easy to equip, being round, but both were done very nicely.

There are various other converted farm buildings, all also very old, and pretty views.

Here is Mr L taking the air.

The only trouble about the air was that it was extremely hot. Britain's been experiencing a prolonged heat wave, with the longest drought since records began. Here in Scotland it's been hot though not unbearably so, but also very dry. For the first time that I can remember, our lawn crunches when we walk on it. Not good. We don't have a sprinkler because we don't usually need one. 

However, old buildings have thick walls and so, luckily, our cottage was quite cool inside. It was (to my mind) very prettily furnished in blues and white.

There's much more to say but there are things to do... .

Saturday, July 07, 2018


It was my birthday the other day, and I was lucky enough to get all these books. I had mentioned that I wanted them, and am very much looking forward to reading them. Life isn't going to be long enough to read all the interesting books that people will keep writing. 

On the day, the Edinburgh family came with me to Jupiter Artland, a sort of country park with art works, which we all enjoyed.

There are six "weeping girls", which are very effective but rather sad.

Can you see this one leaning on a tree?

This teapot was more cheerful.

I'm not so sure about this huge composite orchid. Do you see Biggest Granddaughter standing at the foot of it? That's how enormous it is.

And there were various landforms,

which were fun to run up and down.

 Later, Grandson drew all the sculptures.

And in the evening, Mr L and I went to Opera North's production of "Kiss Me Kate", which was very jolly indeed. 

And when we walked down to the bus stop at 10.30 pm, Edinburgh still looked like this. 

It was a very good day. 

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Happy 4th of July

It's been sandpit weather for... ages, really. Or at least it feels like it. I'm having to water the garden, which is relatively unusual. Here in Edinburgh, it's been bearable most of the time, though we've been getting up near 30 degrees some days, which is 86 - though it's not actually got to 30 most of the time, more like 25-27, hot enough for us. We often have a nice breeze. We walked into town today, eastwards into the sun, which was a bit tiring, but in the shade, it's fine. In London, however, it's been really hot.

I'm missing this little person. Look at her, early yesterday morning. How nice to be so cheery first thing. We commissioned the rug she's standing on at a craft fair more than 30 years ago. I really like it - we chose the colours - but when we moved to our current house 29 years ago, there somehow wasn't anywhere for it, so it remained rolled up in the eaves till Daughter 2 rescued it for Littlest Granddaughter's bedroom. I wonder if those rug makers are still making rugs. They would be surprised, I imagine, to see it still in use - or to be accurate, again in use.

I'm also missing the other little person but I'm not allowed to show her, so you'll have to imagine the photo I'm looking at. She's got blondish hair and big blue eyes, though I think they might be changing to a hazely colour.

Happy Independence Day tomorrow, America. Light some fireworks to celebrate my 68th birthday.