Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Faces, hair and time

Life is so busy! I'll never have enough time to do all the things I want to do. But it's fun. The Edinburgh grandchildren have been here, not adding to the tidiness of our house but adding so much to the happiness.

It's been very wet! I tried to go for a walk in the Botanics the other day, but they were closed! - I assume because of flooding on the paths. Instead, I walked in Inverleith Park, which is opposite the Botanics, and got rather muddy.

This path (yes, it's a path) was impassible so I had to walk on the grass. Hmm, yes.

More from the archives. My parents took our family and my brother's to France to celebrate my parents' Golden Wedding in 1996 and the children made a joint book about it to thank them. They all wrote some entries. Food figures widely in these. The one below is written by my niece. She's rather disrespectful about her mother, my delightful sister-in-law!

And then - photos. This is my father's paternal grandfather. He died at the age of 40. He was a house painter but also painted pictures - which we sent to auction when my mother's house had to be cleared, on the grounds that you can't keep everything. I feel bad about that but on the other hand, we've saved the dilemma passing itself down to our children in future years.

This is his wife, my dad's paternal grandmother. Good hair.

This is my dad's maternal grandfather, the reason that I'm astonished that Son still has a thick head of hair.

And here's his wife, my dad's maternal grandmother.

My dad's parents, children of the above.

The chap with the moustache looks like the same chap, my paternal grandfather, but is actually his brother Angus. Here he is with his mother, grandmother and baby son (my dad's cousin) in 1910. Sadly Angus was killed in the war five years later. But these ladies are our grandchildren's great-great-great grandmother and great-great-great-GREAT grandmother. Which astonishes me. Imagine being able to see such a good picture of one's GGGGgrandmother! - and she's smiling at having her first great-grandchild on her knee. She was born in 1829, in the reign of William IV, Victoria's uncle.

And here's my paternal grandmother (as seen two photos above with her husband). She's on the right. She was the third youngest of ten children. Sadly, the little boy, Henry, was also killed in the war in 1915. Poor mite.

I needed a photo of myself for other purposes and tried taking a selfie. The result was too horrendous to contemplate. So, to cheer myself up, I took a non-selfie in the bathroom mirror, with kind, gentle light from the side, thus making myself look better than usual instead of worse. I'm not particularly vain, but there's a limit. Ah, it's a terrible thing, getting older. I used to have curly, shiny brown hair - it was never hugely thick but it was acceptable. Now it's greying and straightish and there's far less of it. Ah well. (It might have looked better if I'd at least combed it.)

This is my mum's wartime diary from 1940. She was living in London and working for the Civil Service. Now, she had lovely thick hair. My dad was visiting her when he was on leave from the army but so were various other young men. She had at least three marriage proposals. One chap, Geoffrey, said he'd become a monk if she didn't marry him. She didn't but he didn't.

It's all terribly interesting (to me; probably not to anyone else apart from the daughters) but also very time-consuming. And that's not to mention the 132 (out of the projected 144) tumbler shapes I've so far cut out of my friend's deceased husband's shirts, at her request, to make a quilt of them. Busy busy busy.

Thursday, February 20, 2020


There have been strong winds recently, and some cold weather which caused the road bridge between us and Son's house to ice up, so that lumps of ice fell on (I think) eight cars, smashing their windscreens.  This is the new bridge - the further away one you can see in the photo above, taken from the train. The new bridge is only a couple of years old, built at a cost of £1.3 billion, and as you can imagine, there is some consternation that this should have happened. Ice, in Scotland in winter - fancy. And they don't seem to know how to guard against its happening again. Anyway, the bridge was closed for a couple of days, which prevented Son and family from coming down to visit while Daughter 2 was here.

It's not icy any more but as an experiment, Mr L and I decided that on our next visit to them we would go by train, over the rail bridge, which doesn't accumulate lumps of ice. Son and family live out in the country, so we joined a car club so that we could pick up a car from near the station and drive the few miles from there to Son's house. We also thought that, as Mr L isn't getting any younger, it would be better in the long run not to have to drive all the way to Son's, on busy and tedious roads.

This didn't work quite as smoothly as we'd hoped, since the car we'd hired wasn't actually in the indicated location, and then when we tracked it down the instructions for driving it (it was an electric vehicle) were somewhat inadequate. However, we got it all sorted out - well, Mr L did; I just sat there making soothing noises - and think we might do it again in the future.

We met them at the park and, as you can't see, the Little Unbloggables had a nice time on the swings and things.

Small Grandson is at the stage of walking while having his hands held. He's a beautiful little chap with big eyes and lots of hair.

Here they all are.

And here's a picture of all of us. Middle Granddaughter is a lovely little thing who greets us with enthusiasm, which is so nice. Small Grandson is considerably more suspicious, but at least we have some confidence that once he can remember who we are, he'll be friendly too. I do wish we saw more of them but there we are. You can't have everything. 

A couple in one of the choirs I sing in has this dolls' house, which they show for charity from time to time, so we went to see it the other day. My photos don't do it justice, but it's amazing. The wife made all the soft furnishings, which means that she embroidered the carpets, the bell pull here, the chair coverings, the place mats and napkins, the fire screen - they're all minute. The husband did all the wallpapering and installed all the joinery.

Look at the bedspread - again, hand embroidered. And the sampler - hand stitched. It's all tiny! There are three working clocks and the silverware on the dining room table is actual silver, which of course requires polishing.

And the stair carpet - hand stitched. All astonishing. Sadly, they have three sons, all uninterested, and three uninterested daughters-in-law, and their grandchildren are all too young to understand the work involved in it, so they're not sure what to plan for its future. It's museum quality, so they're thinking of donating it ultimately to somewhere that would display it permanently.

And these are some of the recent complications of life.

Thursday, February 13, 2020


More self-indulgent pictures of Littlest Granddaughter. I feel the need to indulge because she's now 400 miles away, as is her lovely mum, and I miss them a lot. Here is Littlest playing with her Edinburgh cousins, who're being very patient as she carefully undoes their construction.

The next day, Big Grandson was having a nice quiet game on someone's phone when Littlest Granddaughter came and leaned companionably on him. So sweet. She was lying on his right arm but he didn't complain.

It was my father's 100th birthday on the 9th. Sadly, he died in 2007, but we put a candle on a cake and sang him Happy Birthday anyway. Littlest, who didn't quite grasp the concept but knows the song, insisted that it was her birthday, so we sang it to her and then, at her suggestion, to everyone else too. My dad would probably have been a difficult 100-year-old - he was quite a difficult 50-year-old, 60-year-old etc at times - but it's sad that he was so definitely alive and no longer is. He was very very clever. We're all clever enough but his exceptional brain has now evaporated, which seems improbable.

And then the other day it snowed, and Biggest Granddaughter, who is too young to remember snow (I don't think there was any last year and she's only 6) wanted to go out into her garden and throw snowballs. There was just about enough for her to manage (though it's all gone now). Duck!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Peachy person

Daughter 2 and her little peach have been here again - she's been having meetings in Glasgow, how lucky for us. We get to look after Littlest in her absence. Littlest chose some books and then "read" them to the wooden cat that I bought 30 years ago.

"I reading story to my cat. There go, cat, you read it."

She and I went to the museum. She carefully pressed buttons to make wheels go round.

And watched a balloon being filled with hot air and floating up towards the ceiling.

She communed with Dolly the sheep - "the most famous sheep in the world", according to the label. There may not be that many contenders for the title.

At one point my back was sore, so I fetched a museum stool for me to sit on while she looked at things. This didn't go entirely to plan.

And then on Saturday, I went with the two girls to the Botanics, which are showing a lot of colour.

Beautiful primulas.

And beautiful girls. It was quite breezy but as usual, the aeolian harp wasn't singing. Edinburgh's a windy city, but I've only heard the harp once, despite my many, many visits to the gardens.

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Turn, turn, turn

Still trawling through the archives. These are my grandfather, grandmother and mother. She was their only child. I wonder why? My grandfather had lost a lot of hair by this age, 29. Most of my male ancestors tended to be thin on top. Surprisingly, Son's hair is still very thick at 35. Grandpa was shot in the hand at Gallipoli, a few years before this. No wonder he looks a bit wary. 

Daughter 1 made this Mother's Day card for me when she was a teenager. Just what I like: flowers, blue and white china and tea.

Son dictated this to me when he was about four and couldn't write yet. And now he is big and we do go to his house, a situation which seemed unbelievably distant then. I wish it was a bit nearer, though.

The Edinburgh grandchildren decided that it was sandpit weather. (It wasn't.) Grandson constructed the Panama Canal in the sand. Canals, water pipes, drains and sewers are his latest interest. Can't see it, myself. I mean, I'm all in favour of these things but prefer just taking them for granted. Still, I'm glad others pay more attention to them. 

 And it's spring in the garden.

Or at least...

I'm choosing...

 to interpret things...

 this way.