Monday, August 26, 2019

Visitors of various sizes

I'm still here. Life has just been very busy. Daughter 2 and Littlest Granddaughter have been here and while this has been absolutely lovely, it hasn't left much time for other things since, obviously, I haven't wanted to waste a single second of time that I could be spending with them.

One of the days, Son, Daughter-in-Law, Middle Granddaughter and Baby Grandson came down and it was so wonderful to have them all together. Daughter 1, Son-in-Law 1 and their two came along as well, of course. We lined them all up on the garden bench, above - obviously I had to crop the photo because of the Unbloggability of the Unbloggables. You'll have to take my word for it that Son (third set of legs from the right) is carrying Baby Grandson.

Here you can see him better - all five grandchildren on the sofa. Aaaah.

It made my heart melt, though actually it was fairly energetic day, with little ones aged 8, 6, 3, 22 months and 3 months (and lots of people to feed). Everyone was amazingly tolerant of the cousins younger than them - it was especially amazing as they're not really together all that much. So it went very well but it wasn't exactly quiet.

Middle and Littlest Granddaughters were bathed together and took it in their stride.

Daughter 2 was working on three of the days she was here, so we looked after Littlest. She's delightful but exhausting: reaches for everything, especially (of course) the things she's not allowed to have, such as knives, phones, my reading glasses, pieces of art glass, the sticking plaster drawer, the knobs on the dishwasher, washing machine and tumble drier... you know the sort of thing.

We went to the park a couple of times,

watered the garden quite a bit

and cuddled Daughter 2's childhood teddies.

And now they're gone and I am, as ever, very sad. Mr L is quite enjoying the peace (and so am I, in a way. But I'd rather have my little peach. And my lovely daughter).

Oh, this was fun - Alison (on the right) came from Australia with her friend Megan. Alison and I have been blog friends for... 12 years or so? They were here for the Book Festival and also to tour Scotland. They didn't stay with us but we met up for a coffee. I'm the older, less glamorous one... It's so interesting: I think I've now met 12 bloggy people and they're always just as they sound in their writing. She was lovely.

And yes, the Festival - Son-in-Law 2 has been in Edinburgh for the month of August with his company, Showstopper the Improvised Musical (and thus Daughter 2 has been a single parent for that time). He didn't stay with us; the members of the company are provided with accommodation nearer their venue. However my nephew and his girlfriend have been staying with us (and he still is, till tomorrow) since he's a musician and has been playing in various Fringe shows. They're the easiest guests we've ever had! - just getting up, sometimes having breakfast, and then going out till (very) late. There was one occasion when Nephew came in at 4am and then Littlest started the day at 5.20am. Of the two, Nephew made far less noise about it than Littlest.

And now I'm looking forward to the arrival of the 13th bloggy friend, Margaret from Washington State - if British Airways haven't messed up her holiday completely with their inefficiency. See you soon, Margaret! (I hope).

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Family family family. And a quilt.

Life has been a bit of a whirl recently, though in a good way. We had my brother and sister-in-law to stay for a few days and I rushed to finish the quilt I've been making (since January) for my nephew and his young lady, who're currently visiting. Above, Mr Life holds it up and below, he recovers from holding his arms out while I ask him to stretch out just slightly further.

I enjoyed making it. The fiddliest bits were the stars, and though much of the rest was just squares, there were a lot of them and thus a lot of corners to get right. Ish. The most fun was the strippy border, which I've never done before, though seen in other people's quilts. This went together really quickly - no corners to match!! yah!! - and made me feel smug because I used up lots of bits from my scrap box. Of course, I could have just cut up some of my stash, which would have scarcely dented said stash, but it was satisfying to use little remaining pieces of some of my favourite fabrics - at least one of which came from Thimbleanna, years ago now. I'll definitely do strippy borders again. They were very soothing to do and look pretty (I think) and much more impressive than they really are.

In similar pseudo-thrifty vein, I decided to use strips from two of Mr L's discarded shirts for the binding. This was not a good idea, as I realised quite soon after starting. The shirts were quite similar colours - too similar, really, since they tend to look rather like a mistake rather than a contrast. Also, one of them was horribly apt to fray. But mainly, because there were lots of joins, this meant it was much more footery to do, since I had to avoid getting any of these joins at the corners, which are bulky enough without anything extra.

But it was fun anyway, and I like the colours, though I discovered that the yellow of the stars looks much more intense against the dark fabrics than the light ones. Of course I've read about colour values in quilting books but it was interesting to find that the experts were right... .

I wonder how long it'll take them to notice the homage to their cat in the quilting. 

On the last day of the school holidays, Son-in-Law 1 and I took the children to Jupiter Artland. We had a lovely time. Here, Grandson the Elder communes with one of the Weeping Girls.

Biggest Granddaughter climbs a ladder in the ladder orchard.

I admire them and some flowers.

And they play on the Landforms.

We had rather a long wait for lunch, during which Grandson did a technical bus drawing on a napkin. 

We were contacted recently by some distant cousins from America who were visiting Edinburgh and they came down for lunch the other day. When I say distant - the great-great-great-great-grandmother of the young lady visiting was the sister of my great-great-great-grandmother. So I doubt if we share too many genes.

I dug out this photo of this girl's - let's think now - great-great-great aunt Tina, on the extreme left, who was a cousin of my granny's mother (or something. I may have got the greats a bit wrong).

Anyway, here we all are in my grandparents' house in 1954. Next from the left is my lovely young Mum, in front of her my lovely smiling Granny, two visiting Americans in the blue cardigan and the grey jacket, my Grandpa standing on the right at the back and my Dad at the front with me and my brother. I remember the occasion. I was four. It was the first ever colour photo we'd seen - so advanced, those Americans. (We can't work out who actually took the photo, since we all seem to be in it.)

My brother and I are the only ones left alive, but I still have the blue and white vase on the mantelpiece.

Anyway, it was lovely, if a bit surprising, to meet up with these family members from Ohio.

Friday, August 09, 2019


We went to visit Son on Tuesday because it was the day before Middle Granddaughter's birthday (and Tuesday is Son's day off). She's now 3! How did that happen? Above, you can't quite see her at the Dundee Science Centre, where we had fun with them.

And here you can't quite see Little Grandson, being held by his father and admired by his grandpa.

 I brought a cake and Middle blew out the candle like a pro. She also ate a slice. She likes cake.

 Looking through an old album belonging to my parents, I was reminded of this occasion, in 1951, when my dad hit the (Scottish) headlines for making and demonstrating a computer. The newspaper didn't have a name for such a strange device - "reasoning machine" was the best it could come up with. I remember Dad saying way back in the sixties, when computers were regarded by many as efficient adding machines, that they could in fact do far more than that and, in the future, would do so.

How young he was: 31, in fact. He was a very brilliant chap and also extremely hardworking, and though my brother and I did fine, I suppose we were probably a bit of a disappointment to him, though he never said so. 

He died 12 years ago. He would have been so interested in the technological developments that have happened since then. Not to say his great-grandchildren, none of whom he ever saw.

I'm missing this little person but at least I have her photos on the fridge.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Cousins and gardens

Daughter 1 and I took the Edinburgh grandchildren to the Gallery of Modern Art the other day (can you see Grandson on the Landform above?) where there were various activities laid on for children.

They had fun.

And on Friday I took them to the Botanics. We haven't been there as a threesome for ages, and they really enjoyed it. As did I. They were a delight to be with. I thought they might find it boring now that they're older, but they found lots to do.

We were there for ages and they needed a little rest towards the end. (It lasted about two minutes.)

It seems no time since I was going there with this little chap. Where did he go??

I was contacted the other day by a distant American cousin on my mum's side. We haven't been in touch for a few years but our families visited to and fro a bit in the past (1970 in my case). The great-niece of the cousin I was vaguely in touch with is coming to visit with her father. This prompted me to look up our exact connection, and in fact our common direct ancestors were born about 1800! Her great-great-great-great-grandparents are my great-great-great-grandparents. So not exactly a close relationship, then. It's strange that we're still in touch, however infrequently. My granny used to visit her mother's cousin Tina, who lived in Edinburgh (though had lived in America for some years) and the girl who's coming is descended from Tina's sister.

I'm sure I have hundreds of much closer relations whom I never see! I have no first cousins but my father had something like 25, only two of whom we're in touch with (or at least, they're dead but we're in touch with their children). They're in America too. I'm sure I also have lots of Scottish-resident second cousins, but where they are I have no idea. Dad's mother was the second-youngest of 11, so a lot of Dad's cousins were much older than he was, almost of a different generation, and only one of them lived in Edinburgh.

Maybe I ought to make an effort to search for some of them...

Hello, by the way, DL. How nice that you're going to Arran. I wonder who you are??