Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Lockdown week 2 - Tuesday

I don't know about anyone else, but I've found today the hardest so far of the lockdown period. It's a bit like bereavement: you don't miss people less as time goes by; it just seems such a long time since you've seen them. And I think that last week it was almost like being on holiday, whereas this week I'm longing to see the family and it's beginning to sink in that this may not happen for quite a long time yet.

However, we set off for our walk, this time along the Water of Leith. We thought the path would be busier than usual but in fact it was pretty quiet.

There's scaffolding now round this bridge. Presumably the repairs have been halted for the moment, but Mr Life pointed out the somewhat rudimentary (it seemed to us) arrangements for saving anyone who fell from the scaffolding into the river.

Can you see this orange rope across the river, for someone to catch as they float downriver?

And here's a slightly amateur-looking ring to fling to them if they miss the rope. 

The water was very still.

This is one of various Antony Gormley statues. As Mr L remarked, this is taking social distancing to the extreme.

And then we climbed up the steps ...

... and up a bit more...

to the gallery, where normally we would reward ourselves for having walked the first two miles by having a nice cup of coffee. Today, alas, as we knew, it was closed.

So we walked through the grounds, wondering what this piece of art was supposed to be... 

and on homewards, enjoying the fact that Teddy was here

and that the last mile and a half were unusually traffic free.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Lockdown week 2 - Monday

We did some gardening this morning - Mr L isn't a frequent gardener but he attacked the ivy - a constant battle. After this we felt the need of one of these, as illustrated in a Sunday supplement yesterday.

It's a fountain of youth, as painted by Lucas Cranach the Elder in 1546. You go in the left hand side, ancient, wrinkly and worn-out, and come out on the right, rejuvenated and full of oomph. I've requested this water feature for our garden.

We decided to go for a slightly shorter walk today (because of the gardening). Here are the Pentland Hills again, whither I frequently raise up mine eyes.

Oh, how springy it is - this is not my garden.

We've very often walked round the outside of this public golf course but this time we walked over it - because as far as we know, it's closed to golfers. It's not so scenic but is spacious and pleasant for a walk. Above are the Pentlands again.

It looks easier to hit balls round than Murrayfield, where we were yesterday. Much flatter.

This is looking back at where we were yesterday. The trees are just coming into leaf. I wonder what they'll be like once we're out of lockdown....

Arthur's Seat again, maybe looking a bit more like a sleeping lion from this angle.

Almond (?) blossom.

Magnolia stellata, just coming out.

And a nice pot of pansies outside our front door.

Daughter 2 didn't have such a good day yesterday. Two-year-olds, while enchanting, are also exhausting. She sent us this sample of conversation:

"Mummy build a mountain. NO NOT DAT MOUNTAIN. I not want it wit cushions. Build it wit blankets. NO NOT DAT BLANKET! Blanket wit [t]winkle stars. No no no no. Not dat way. De udder way. NO NO NO de udder udder way!! No no I no want it!!"

[Daughter 2 builds mountain.]

"I take all cloves off. Slide down mountain on tummy. NO MUMMY!!! I don't want it hold your hand. I want to do it ALL MYSELF."

Which she does, and bumps her head.


She's usually lovely!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Lockdown week 1-2 - Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday

On the 26th, we went for a walk along the cycle path and round by the shop to buy one or two things (very carefully, offspring - only I went in; Dad waited outside) - and I didn't take any photos. I did, however, pick a little bunch of flowers from the garden.

The next day, the 27th, we walked up Corstorphine Hill again. The path at one point goes between two parts of Murrayfield Golf Course and, looking down,

we saw this path, which winds to the left along one side of the course and meets up with that little road that goes left to right in my photo. We had never been down there. You can really imagine what the countryside looked like when these were fields instead of a golf course. So we decided to explore this the following day. 

Which was yesterday, the 28th. This is that path. The weather was dull and quite chilly. We marvelled at the silence - it's some way from any roads and these are very quiet at the moment anyway. Normally there would be aircraft going overhead not far away, but we saw only one. You wouldn't think that this was only about 2 miles from the centre of a capital city, would you?

I feel guilty at having so much leisure to enjoy the fresh air when our children are having to cope with their small offspring and others are nursing or doctoring or working at a supermarket or whatever. We're so lucky.

Then we decided to extend our walk over the golf course. It felt very wicked, but at the moment the course is closed to golfers. Normally, all this space is reserved for them. I've thought before what a waste golf courses are, when they could be lovely parks. Edinburgh has lots of them. On the other hand, it's the members who pay for their upkeep. This would be very valuable land if sold off for housing. We had a lovely walk.

Today, the 29th, was sunny. I admired my spring bulbs as we left for our walk.

I also admired the guerrilla gardening that I did last autumn, planting daffodils and some other bulbs at the side of this road near us. I've been meaning to do it for years and intend to plant more this autumn. (If we're spared, as an ex-colleague used cheerfully to say.)

This time we brazenly went on to the course via the clubhouse car park, admiring these beautiful hellebores.

We walked up - this is quite a slope, though it doesn't look it in the photo, and how anyone could be expected to hit a ball up it, I can't think. A friend is a member here and a group of us sometimes meet up for coffee at the clubhouse. I looked wistfully at it and wondered when this would happen again.

You can look over the city to the sea and East Lothian beyond. Can you see that little pimple on the horizon? That's Berwick Law, which is a volcanic plug.

The golf course is huge and we explored a different bit of it today. Looking this way, you see the Pentland Hills. We can see them from just up the road from our house and I always find them comforting - "I to the hills will lift mine eyes" and all that.

And this is so iconically Edinburgh - the Castle, various spires and that lovely shape of Arthur's Seat, our city hill. Whenever we're coming back from holiday and see that shape - said to be like a sleeping lion, though you have to use your imagination - I feel that all is well and we're nearly home. In Edinburgh you can usually see the sea or the Castle or the hill, so it's easy to orientate yourself.

Here is is again, further in the distance.

Such a yellow time of year - gorse.

I can't imagine living in any other city.

This is rather an interesting tree with its twisted branches.

It all feels like a holiday, though with a limited scope for outings. If only we could see our lovely children and grandchildren, and if only it weren't a global pandemic with the threat of illness and premature death, everything would be very pleasant!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Lockdown week 1 - Wednesday

I thought to myself the other day: maybe I'll post every day during the virus lockdown, as a record to myself of how we actually passed the time. Not that I find it remotely difficult to pass the time. I have so much to do - making quilts, finishing the far-from-finished archive-sorting, gardening, writing various things. Anyway, I went to my computer to write a post and... Blogger had done something funny. It claimed that I didn't have a blog - would I like to start a new one? I couldn't get on to my dashboard to post. I had no idea what to do (I'm not good with computers if they do anything non-standard) and neither did Mr Life, who is good with computers but knows nothing about Blogger and its mysterious ways.

But - my hero came galloping over the hill in the shape of Son-in-Law 1. Today he kindly gained access to my computer from his house on the other side of Edinburgh (with my permission, of course, but it's rather spooky - this is how people nick one's millions by fraud. Fortunately - or perhaps unfortunately - we don't have millions; and SIL 1 wouldn't steal them anyway). And he sorted it!! Thank you so much, dear SIL 1.

It's not that the loss of my blog was the world's most important problem. But I like blogging.

Three days ago, the 25th of March, we walked up the hill again. I took pictures of spring - that  blossom, those daffodils.

This is a rather splendid gateway which presumably belonged to the big house whose owners owned the hill .... not really sure about the history. Now it just stands there on an earth path, hinting at past glories.

Wild garlic. You can smell it already, even though it's not flowering yet.

This hairy antelope-type beastie refused to turn to face me. No zebras were visible that day.

And then - back down to the main road, which is much quieter than usual, though by no means quiet.

I took some photos in the garden. These are my beautiful daffodils the day before two days of constant light drizzle, which weighed them down with rain so that slugs were easily able to nibble them. I was not pleased.

Polyanthus and hyacinths.

Still, never mind. It's spring. The daffodils will come again next year. I hope by then that we'll be a) alive and b) able to see our family again. I miss them a lot.