Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Shoes. And noses.

I've just come back from a few days visiting Daughter 2 and Littlest Granddaughter in London. 

On the train down, a mother, father and daughter were near me, dressed to the nines. The parents were sitting together but the daughter was slightly further away, across the corridor.

The daughter's phone rang.
Daughter [To caller]:Oh, really? [To parents, a few seats away]: Keira's not got shoes with her. 
Mother: She can have my boots.
Daughter: Mum says you can have her boots.
Mother: Well, as long as I can walk in my shoes.
Daughter [to caller, presumably her sister]: She says you can have them as long as she can walk in her shoes.
Daughter [to sister]: You must have shoes. [Pause.] Oh, the pink ones. [Pause.] I wouldn't say they were bright pink. What dress are you wearing? Oh, the jumpsuit. [To Mum]: Mum, she's wearing the jumpsuit. [To sister]: No, you can't wear the pink shoes with that
Mum: Well, she can have my boots. I'll be able to walk in my shoes. 
Daughter [to sister]: It's all right, Mum says you can definitely have her boots. 
Father [to mother]: Who's she talking to? 

And they say men don't listen. 

Littlest Granddaughter seems to be concentrating on getting all the illnesses. Shortly after recovering from her chest infection she got, simultaneously: a streaming cold; hand-foot-and-mouth disease (which didn't seem to exist here till a few years ago); and impetigo. Impetigo? I'd heard of it but never knew anyone who got it. The impetigo gave her a very nasty rash round her mouth and chin - her beautiful, soft, squashy little chin - the hand-foot-and-mouth attacked her hands-feet-and-mouth only slightly but gave her a horrible rash at the other end, and the cold did what colds do to her tiny nose. 

All of this meant that she couldn't go to nursery and Daughter 2 had to stay off work at the end of last week to look after her. Thus Daughter 2 went in on Saturday and also yesterday, her normal day off - but by then I was there to babysit. 

Littlest was fairly stoical about all this but is on antibiotics again, extremely nasty-tasting ones which she doesn't like at all

We went for a walk and met a nice cat. Though they're both looking at the camera here, they spent several minutes looking at each other, and Littlest burst into wails (luckily fairly short-lived ones) when we at last moved on.

Meanwhile, in the evenings, Daughter 2 made props for the Showstoppers' Kids' show - this is her husband's company. (Good outing for your children, should you be in London.)  The Showstoppers' adult show (not adult in that sense; it's not rude) is starting another run in the West End after Christmas, which is good for them, but which means that Son-in-Law won't be around much at all in the evenings for ten weeks. (Good outing for you, should you be in London.) Time for another trip down to help with the bathing and so on, I feel. (Any excuse... .)

Littlest unpacked my handbag, taking the tissues from their packet. "Are you going to blow Granny's nose?" I enquired, and she held a tissue up and scrubbed my nose vigorously. So clever! So used to having her nose wiped!

And now I'm home. Missing them... .

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Pencaitland to Carberry

Another weekend, another walk in the East Lothian countryside on a beautiful day. East Lothian is just to the east of Edinburgh: flattish, fertile land where some of my great-grandparents came from.

Someone had looked up what this little castle was called but I can't now remember. It's very typical of a Scottish tower house of medieval-ish times but has clearly been restored and is now lived in (according to our friend). Not that handy when it comes to vacuuming the staircase, but rather pretty.

We passed this rose, blooming away outside a house where in a different life I'd quite like to live - in the middle of the country, with a big garden. On the other hand it would be inconvenient if it snowed, I dare say.

But the weather's been very mild recently and there was no wind at all on our walk.

Quite nice to be a horse on a day like this.

This stone at Carberry Hill marks the spot where Mary Queen of Scots surrendered to the Scots lords on condition that her unpopular third husband, Bothwell, could escape to Dunbar (and thence to Denmark, where he spent the rest of his life in prison). She too was in captivity for the rest of her life, poor soul, and was beheaded at the age of 45 by order of Queen Elizabeth of England, her cousin, who thought that Mary was trying to take the English throne. When Elizabeth died, she left the throne to Mary's son, James VI, who became James I of England.

People, eh? I suppose that at least in Britain we're not beheading each other nowadays, so maybe we've learnt something

We walked on through the woods,

looking toward Edinburgh - you can just see our city hill through the haze - and then repaired to a pub for coffee and scones. Such a lovely day.

Thursday, November 15, 2018


Today was such beautiful weather: warm, sunny and windless. So we went for a walk in the Botanics. Why waste such a lovely day?

The gardens are being prepared for the illuminated walks that happen in December. These baubles were enormous (the bigger ones came up to the top of my thigh) - it wasn't just that they were near the camera. I assume they'll be lit up.

This viburnum in the foreground smelt heavenly as well.

Ah, who wants to do the dusting when they can look at trees?

I think lovely weather at this time of year is the more precious because we know it can't last.

Possibly lovely autumn walks are more precious because I tend to think (in the autumn of my years) - how many more autumns...?

In Portobello, the part of Edinburgh where we used to live and would like to live again if we could just gird our loins and do something about it, someone has been making little toy robots out of scrap wood and leaving them in parks or by the beach as gifts for whoever finds them. You can read about them here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-45098170; or just Google "Portobello robots".

This has been happening for several months and has caused a lot of local excitement and people who find a robot tend to be very thrilled. It often seems to happen early in the morning: I assume lots of dog-walkers come across them in parks. There are labels on them asking the finder to post a picture on the local Facebook Page; sometimes there's also a quotation from films or... often I have no idea. It's all quite fun, in this time of depressing news.

I just try to keep thinking about sunshine, autumn leaves, cuddles from grandchildren and the saga of the Portobello robots. I hope that someone will eventually sort the rest out.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Ups and downs

It's been quite a full-on week. On Monday we visited friends in the west, who took us to Glasgow's Pollok House, which was built in 1752 as a family home but now belongs to the National Trust. We walked through the gardens, by the White Cart Water, and then wandered through the house. We first went there, with the same friends, shortly after we were married, so about 45 years ago. We've changed more than it has.

It must have been a beautiful family home, though the guide pointed out it was difficult to heat and the last owners used to huddle in an internal room in the coldest weather.

It was a dull day and getting dark by the time we left. Mist was rising from the fields.

Then on Wednesday, Daughter 2 and Littlest Granddaughter arrived.

Alas, Littlest developed a chest infection and was really quite unwell. We took her to the doctor and she was put on antibiotics, which seemed to help. But she was very tired and a bit miserable, poor little person.

The Edinburgh grandchildren came round and Grandson painted a picture of some Romans. One had just jumped in a puddle; another was about to dig in a hillside.

It was a sunny day with lovely blue sky. Their cave is to the right, with a fire in it. His grasp of history may be slightly approximate.

Littlest did rally.

We went to the Botanics. There was a heron in a tree, which I don't think I've ever seen before. They're usually standing in the water.

And then - further alas - this morning Daughter 2 and Littlest went home. This did have the advantage that I could put things back on low-level shelves.

But this evening we heard that the Unbloggable Toddler is going to be a big sister next May, which is very exciting. That's grandchild number 5. I can't wait to meet him/her.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Autumn in the city

We went to the City Art Gallery today and then walked through Princes Street Gardens.

The centre of Edinburgh is fairly spectacular.

Autumn colours show it off nicely.

This is the Ross Fountain, which has recently been refurbished and painted in these rather startling colours, having been rusty brown for as long as I can remember. It's very unScottish-looking, but then it was actually made in France and it's thought that this is what it may have originally looked like. It was shown in the London Great Exhibition of 1862 and bought for £2000 (a LOT of money) by Daniel Ross, a gunmaker - clearly a profitable occupation, hmm - and installed in its current position in 1872.

The strange clutter of buildings that make up the Castle is very dear to my heart.

I'm interested in this flower bed in Atholl Crescent. The council has been giving us lots of permanent planting like this over the past few years, rather than bedding plants. I suppose it's cheaper and more environmentally friendly as well as more natural-looking. Behind it you can see typical New Town buildings.

The plants have been well chosen to give colour for most of the year.

And then we walked along the river and home.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Sewing wonky items

Littlest Granddaughter likes putting things over her wrist (and round her neck - such as electrical cables) so I decided to make her a tiny little lined tote bag to carry around on her wrist. And here it is. I post it not because it's a miracle of craftswomanship - which it certainly isn't - but just because I'm surprised at my (slightly wonky) achievement. I did use to make things when I was younger - not clothes (much) but loose covers for the odd chair, drawstring bags for nursery shoes and so on. And I do make curtains and cushion covers, though haven't done this much in recent years. But I'd sort of forgotten that I used to like doing such things. Quilting has reminded me and it's down to Thimbleanna, who exerted gentle but firm persuasion to get me started on that - thank you, Anna!

And of course Mr Google helps a lot nowadays.

As usual, we had the Edinburgh grandchildren this afternoon.

As usual, they were very busy.

We're so lucky. They're now seven and five - years which have gone in a flash. In the same time again, they'll be fourteen and twelve and getting all grown up. I need to get in lots of cuddles before they're too sophisticated to want to come to Granny's on their school half-day!