Monday, October 28, 2019

Crazy passions

It was still the school holidays last Tuesday, so Daughter 1 and I took her children to the Glasgow Science Centre. They watched balls whizzing about on an energy machine,

investigated the power of air currents and did all sorts of other things.

It was fun. I wonder if they'll grow up to be scientists? I didn't, but some members of the family are certainly scientifically orientated.

 Brio trains retain their popularity.

Today, Mr L and I went to the exhibition "Royalty and the Romanovs" at The Queen's Gallery. This comprised various portraits of the royal families of Europe - mostly those married to one of the many offspring of Queen Victoria - but concentrating on the Russian royals. There were also some Faberge eggs and other exquisite ornaments. It was interesting and of course, when one got on to Nicholas II, sad. Amazing to think that those murders happened only thirty years before Mr L was born. History certainly telescopes as one gets older.

We then had a cup of tea in the Queen's cafe and looked out on the hill and the autumn trees.

It was slightly frosty this morning for the first time.

Brr. But the weather's been beautiful. There's certainly something to be said for autumn at its best. 

Daughter 1 to Biggest Granddaughter: Come and let me brush your hair - it's gone a bit mad.
Granddaughter: But that's right, Mummy, because I have a good heart but crazy passions. 

(As Daughter 1 says - who writes her scripts?)

Monday, October 21, 2019


On Saturday, we were to have gone for a walk with our walking friends but on Friday it poured and the forecast wasn't good, so the walk was cancelled. And then, of course, it didn't rain at all. So Mr L and I went to the Botanics and admired autumn. Daughter 1 and I had been there a couple of days before (it's the school autumn holiday week) but we'd spent a lot of time in the glasshouses with the little ones and hadn't really had a chance to look at the plants outside.

Autumn used to be my favourite season, briefly, when I was a student, and confident of lots of summers to come.

It's less so, now that I'm autumnal (if not wintry) myself.

But there are beautiful colours with which to fortify oneself against the winter.

And then the next day, Son-in-Law 1 and I took the children to the play park. (That's not SIL 1 on the left of the picture.)

Such jocund company.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Let's just ignore what's happening in the world...

And so life meanders on. We walked along to the art gallery, fortified ourselves with coffee and admired the verbena in the garden there. I do like verbena - the way it sways in the wind - but haven't yet managed to get it to survive in my garden.

Then we walked home along the river.

It's not an exciting life; but who wants excitement?

The garden still shows lots of colour, though there's so much to cut down now that autumn's here. Why did I make my small garden so labour-intensive?

Sedum is always reliable.

and this clematis flowers bravely on,

as do my many fuchsias. I love fuchsias.

On Tuesday, we went up to visit the Unbloggables. Here's bearded Son with his daughter on his back and his son on the mat in front of him. Middle Granddaughter is a dear little thing and greets us with cuddles and enthusiasm. Small Grandson is very cute.

Daughter 2 and I took the Edinburgh grandchildren to the Botanics on a lovely day.

And Littlest Granddaughter became two - TWO! - and I cobbled together a quilt for her doll's new pushchair. 

I'm still using some patches of that flag fabric that you gave me when encouraging me to start quilting, Anna!

And now I must get back to piecing the cot quilt for Daughter 2's best friend's new baby. See what you started, Anna... (How did I make that beach hut patch so crooked?)

Saturday, October 12, 2019

A-wandering once more

And now I'm back home, having spent lots of time with this little person.

And Daughter 2.

One day we had lunch with my brother and sister-in-law, who live in Surrey. This was very nice. Here we are having a stroll in St James' Park. That distant figure pushing the buggy is my brother, who has a tendency to escape.

She's inviting a squirrel to have a cuddle.

Back in Walthamstow, this is its oldest house, dating from the 15th century. It's in a very quiet part of town. You can imagine what Walthamstow used to be like, when it was a village rather than the London suburb it has now become.

It was nice to get home again to Mr L and the Edinburgh grandchildren, but I miss my little southern peach and her mum.

Friday, October 04, 2019


Bath is a lovely city. We were there about fifteen (maybe?) years ago and I had a hankering to go back, so since we were to be in Wales, and Bath is relatively near there (but not at all near Edinburgh) we decided to spend a few days there. We were in an Airbnb. The main part of Bath is set in a valley with steep hills on either side, and our accommodation was quite high up on one of those steep hills. This is the view when we were part of the way down.

The great thing about being oldish is that one often forgets whether one's visited certain places before. Had we previously visited Bath Abbey? You'd think so but I forget. Anyway, here's the amazing fan-vaulted ceiling. It's very high. From what I gather, this isn't actually particularly old - dating from 1868. There's been a place of worship here since 765, but it's spent a lot of its time over the centuries falling down and being restored and falling down again, so much of it dates only from the 16th century and quite a lot of the rest is even more recent

There was a wonderful exhibition of dyptyches by Sue Symons depicting images from the Old Testament, the left-hand sides mostly painted and the right-had sides mainly embroidered.


And many many more.

We said hello to Jane Austen in the Assembly Rooms

and enjoyed Bath's architecture, which is very like Edinburgh's New Town. This is a famous circular street, aptly called The Circus.

 In the middle are some VERY LARGE plane trees. Can you see tiny Mr L in the middle of them? (He's actually a tall chap.)

Then we went to the American Museum, which had an exhibition of old quilts and Kaffe Fasset's reinterpretation of them in his own fabrics. Above, Kaffe's. Below, a quilt made by two sisters in the 1800s, who competed to see who could use more pieces of fabric. That middle square uses really tiny scraps in half-square triangles.

This is an old one.

This is Kaffe's. I prefer the colours of the old one. His fabrics are too bright for my taste - maybe I mean too orange.

Old one.

Kaffe's. I have another million photos but that may be enough.

And of course we visited the Roman Baths to admire this two-thousand-year-old pavement mosaic,

this similarly elderly head of Sulis-Minerva

and the baths themselves, where it would have been easier to imagine ancient Romans besporting themselves if lots of other tourists hadn't been there too. But all the same, I was aware of treading on Roman flagstones and walking through the shades of people of the distant past.

We got home on Wednesday. And then tomorrow I'm off back down to England again to visit Daughter 2 and Littlest Granddaughter. I can't say that I relish yet another journey but I haven't seen them since August. Mr L has decided to stay at home and catch up with things, including, I imagine, lots of recorded television. Perhaps he'll also cut the grass. Oh, and he's going to take Older Grandson to a bus museum on Sunday afternoon. Now, that'll be popular.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Whizzing around

We're fairly whizzing around the country at the moment. After a few days at home, we then went down to Brecon in Wales because one of the choirs I sing with was doing an exchange with a Brecon choir. They came up here in June to take part in two concerts with us, and this time we went down there. It was good fun. Mr L likes Wales because it has steam trains (very exciting) so he came along too. We had a Welsh choir lady to stay in June, but because Mr L came along, we didn't take hospitality in return but stayed in a little (and I mean extremely little - but fine) Airbnb cottage, from which the view was approximately as above.

Brecon is a very small town/village but they produce a pretty map featuring "our" cottage", as above. 

The church in which we sang our concerts, St Mary's, dates from the 13th century and had notices on the wall detailing people's charitable givings, starting, as above, in 1581. The names, not surprisingly, are very Welsh: Evans, Meredith, Jenkin, Williams, Thomas, Davies, Jones... .

Considering how small Brecon is, we had surprisingly good audiences. 

One day, Mr L and I went to Castell Coch (the Red Castle). This was built in the nineteenth century, round the remains of a thirteenth century castle, by the third Marquess of Bute, who at that time was said to be the richest man in the world. He owned lots of coal mining country. It's safe to say that he didn't spare any expense to make his fairytale-like castle very fancy indeed. We never had castles with pointed roofs in the British Isles, but he didn't let that bother him.

The architect, William Burges, and the Marquess both liked medieval art and architecture, so they based the design on an interpretation of this, with painted ceilings and lots of gold and twiddly bits. 

Burges died before the decoration was finished, and the artists who were brought in to finish it favoured the aesthetic movement, with paintings of nature.

The walls in one room are painted to illustrate Aesop's Fables.

I liked this frog which is clutching a cough bottle because he has a frog (ho ho) in his throat.

This was the Marquess's wife's bed. I like the crystal balls, but where's the bed-light and the table for your pile of books?

However, the castle was very impractical. You keep having to go up stone spiral staircases to get to the different rooms in various towers - the servants must have hated  it - and it was never much used by the family. It's now a tourist attraction, owned by Welsh Heritage.

And then we had a few days in Bath...