Thursday, April 30, 2020

Lockdown week 6 - Thursday

It's been a very dry April but this morning we had a little bit of much-needed rain. As we left for our walk, I looked at the leaves on this lupin and remembered how, as a little girl, I loved playing with raindrops on lupins (there's a song there...) and making them all funnel down to the centre, where they shone like jewels. (There weren't many children to play with near us and I spent a lot of time - in my memory - mooching happily round the garden.)

We thought we should make the most of our opportunities to roam on the hilly golf courses before they're opened up again to players, so we made our way there. I shall really miss the wide spaces and the views. But at least we'll still be able to walk on the rest of the hill.

One of the Pentland Hills had a cloud sitting on it.

Here, Arthur's Seat is in sunshine, while the rest of the city centre is under a cloud. You can hardly see it in this photo above, but our eyes could see that the sunlight is shining on the gorse bushes on the hillside, which makes it particularly yellow.

Gorse smells delicious, rather like vanilla. I wouldn't team that yellow and that cherry blossom pink together in a colour scheme, but it's just about acceptable in spring flowers.

We wandered happily about

and then walked back through the gate, across the other half of the course and downhill, home again. About three miles today.

I spent most of the rest of the day finishing Small Grandson's quilt top and the back, which I had to piece together since I didn't have quite enough of one fabric. Tomorrow I shall have a go at making at least one mask - though I'm running dangerously low on thread and have no elastic. We've ordered some of both over the internet but it looks as if it might take some days to arrive.

I'm feeling slightly more cheerful today, I suppose because of the pleasure in finishing the quilt top. I do enjoy picking fabrics and combining them in what seems to me a pleasing way. It doesn't make for a tidy house, though. But tomorrow is house-cleaning day. Not such fun... .

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Lockdown week 6 - Wednesday

I'm struggling a bit today. I'm enjoying sewing together little strippy bits for the border of Small Grandson's quilt, but last night a friend who's a serious sewer emailed to ask if I would make face masks for... I'm not entirely sure. A GP, I think, and a piano teacher (?). My friend has a theatrical costume degree and is very skilled, and at the moment is making gowns and scrubs and scrubs bags for this GP friend, so I feel like a total heel because I really don't want to make masks. Partly because I don't feel I'd make a very good job of them, partly because I don't want to use up nice fabric on them but mainly because it seems a stupid use of my (valuable...) time, when a factory could whizz them out very quickly, while I would take a long time and, I assume, produce something that didn't work very well. However, she's guilt-tripped me into saying I'll try a few.

What I want to be doing - or at least, want as far as present circumstances allow - is making my quilts. I can't show them on the blog because my friend (the one for whom I'm making two quilts out of her deceased husband's shirts) occasionally looks at the blog and she doesn't want to see the quilts before they're finished. Currently I've got quite far through quilting the one for her, have finished the top of the one for her son and am a fair way through the top of Small Grandson's one. And it's very time-consuming (in a good way) and I want to get them all handed over and start on the next one(s). Yes, I am a bit obsessed. But I love planning the colours and the design (well, pinching the design from some picture or other and then altering it a bit). Quite seriously, it comforts me and has kept my spirits up over the last few years, when there have been lots of good things but also much sadness of various kinds - just the normal ones that come into most people's lives.

Anyway, shouldn't moan. I'll have a go tomorrow. (My other problem is that I'm on to my last reel of thread and have no elastic; but I imagine Mr Google could sort me out.)

Mr L spent quite a long time this morning wrestling with a computer problem so neither of us felt at our cheeriest. We just went for a walk on Carrick Knowe golf course, which is fairly flat and easy. It's bonny, though, with the cherry trees and open spaces.

You can see that the prevailing wind is from the west. It looks here as if the golf course just gives on to the hills behind, but sadly there's a lot of suburb in between.

According to a friend on Facebook, the golf courses are about to be opened again to golfers. Oh woe! This seems very sensible, actually, since how much could you get infected in such open spaces? But oh dear, how we'll miss our lovely walks on them.

The former Jenners Depository, though not my favourite building, has someone working in it who plants flowers: tulips in the spring and what looks like mixed annuals in the summer. Very colourful and to be applauded.

I've just looked it up and it's a listed building, about 90 years old, and was designed "so that horses and carts could move around". Does that mean inside, I wonder? It's unusual to have bare red brick in Scotland - that's much more an English style, though I can think of one or two other big public buildings like this, one a (now demolished) power station and the other a college, now flats.

Ah well, tomorrow is another day (starting in five minutes) and maybe I'll feel more positive then.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Lockdown week 6 - Tuesday

I'm putting too many photos on the blog; I realise that. But it cheers me up to see the loveliness that lifted our spirits earlier in the day. Today we crossed the golf course and walked up the lane between the two halves of it,

enjoying the bluebells (even though they're wicked invasive Spanish ones - but they're pretty)

and the campion

and the cherry blossom

and climbed up the hill to admire the view of the city.

Then we walked along the spine of the hill, which gives good views of the sea and of Fife, on the other side. The "sea" is actually a wide river estuary, but it's tidal and salty so we always think of it as the sea. 

The sun shining through the trees made interesting shadow patterns.

Blue blue blue.

Here we are, looking back at the city.

And then we came out of the end of the wood and looked over the other side of the hill, towards the west and south.

There's the airport - see the tower about a third of the way from the left, half way down the photo? There were no planes at all while we watched.

And there's the new bridge across the river, looking like a series of tents, with a tiny glimpse of the rail bridge - the little curve of red latticework sticking up under the middle tent.

Then we went back along the top of the hill. You can see how shallow the earth must be in places - just a thin layer over rock, so that the roots of the trees have to fan out over the surface.

These steps are steeper than they look here.

Our friends the zebras, through the Zoo fence.

And down through the gorse bushes to the road, and home. Mr L's clever device stopped working half way through our walk, but it was about 5 hilly miles.

In the afternoon I cut out lots of little strips of fabric for the border of Small Grandson's quilt. Then in the evening there was a Zoom book group meeting. And so the days drift on in their not unpleasant, but sadly grandchildless way.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Lockdown week 6 - Monday

We just had a walk around the streets today because we needed to - well, wanted to - buy bananas and therefore had to go past a shop. The cherry blossom is still lovely.

There are the Pentland Hills, always available for lifting up one's eyes to.

The river, from the Coltbridge.

Bananas acquired, we walked through Roseburn Park, with its empty children's playpark and the unlovely Murrayfield Stadium.

This was quite sweet. We didn't, though.

This says, "The message must get through". Ironically, it's quite hard to read. I had no idea of its significance until just now, when I asked Mr Google, and ...

A film was made about the Armoury- that's the building next to the pavilion and the toilet block- during the war. It was used as a Report Centre for emergencies. It features heavily (along with the river nearby) in "THE MESSAGE MUST GET THROUGH" . This was a drama / documentary about the Civil Defence services during wartime Edinburgh, and the film contains shots of the messenger Corps in action alerting all services during ARP - including the system used for alerting all services in the event of an air raid, "Action Stations" during and after a raid, then inside the Report Centre and Civil Defence Operations Room, National Fire Service in action, rescue services and finally some first aid.
You can see the half-hour film here:
If you look at it two minutes in, you'll enjoy the sight of a mob of WW2 Wardens trying to cross the Water of Leith at Riversdale on their bikes, to get their vital message to the Armoury.
And you can see the Wardens actually getting there, 17 minutes later in the film, as the reports arrive at the Armoury.
See within, the ladies behind hatches taking secret messages - in what I can only imagine is the wall near the Cricket Club's tea urn.
You can see the exteriors then and again later at 24 mins as the messages go out again. It's fascinating seeing how little it's changed since 1942.

Well, well. Must have a look at the film later. Meanwhile, we walked along the river,

below more cherry froth and home. 2.75 miles. I then did some more destructive gardening, added to Small Grandson's quilt top and progressed with the hand-quilting of one of the others. 

And soon it'll be May. I hope things will have improved a bit by the time we get to June. It's occurred to me that the very worst thing would be to get the virus and die having not seen the children and grandchildren for months. Not that I'm planning to do so. But wouldn't it be awful?

Only four minutes left till midnight so if I'm to keep to my (totally meaningless) decision to post every day during the crisis, I'd better do so now

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Lockdown week 5 - Sunday

The ongoing saga of the gate: is it open?

Yes, it is. Excellent. We can again roam from one half of the golf course to the other.

I realise that this is perhaps not riveting reading, but we must take our excitement where we can at the moment. It's nice to be able to see a long way, over the sea to Fife.

The celandines are lovely at the moment, as long as they're not in my garden.

This is a big old tree. Mr L stands there for comparison. It looks dead but it does have buds. It's hard to tell at the moment what kind of tree it is, or at least, it is for me.

I imagine it's a couple of hundred years old, dating back to when these hillsides were sheep fields instead of a golf course.

In the distance you can see the forest of cranes that have been there for several years now. A horrible 60s shopping centre was demolished and a new one is - was - being put up instead. Behind the cranes, Edinburgh's Disgrace is just about visible - one wall of pillars of something looking like an ancient Greek temple, built by subscription to commemorate the soldiers and sailors who died in the Napoleonic Wars. The estimated cost was £42,000. The construction was begun in 1826 once a third of the money had been collected, but funds ran out and it was abandoned.

And there's the sleeping lion of Arthur's Seat again.

One the way home, we passed this house, which is actually a retirement home for Christian Scientists. On Open Doors Day a few years ago this was opened to visitors and we went to see it. It was really lovely inside, with vistas from one part of the building to another. It wasn't at that point full - I'm not sure if we have lots of Christian Scientists in Edinburgh but the house might tempt one to convert.

Three and a bit miles.

In the afternoon, I battled with things that I once innocently planted and which now threaten to take over: lily of the valley and Japanese anenomes. Both lovely, if they would just stay where they were put. But they're both on the march. I'm getting a bit old and stiff for digging things out and it was rather hot for strenuous exercise. 

And then I put together the middle bit of a quilt for Small Grandson and quilted one of the ones for my friend whose husband died. So busy!

And so without the grandchildren. O woe.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Lockdown week 5 - Saturday

We walked on Carrick Knowe golf course today, which is smaller and more populated than Murrayfield - but still fairly empty. The trees are leafing up more and more every time we go outside.

It was another beautiful day. How lovely it would be to walk by the sea or visit a stately home or go to the Botanics.

I love the variation of leaves.

Towards the end, we walked beside the tram and railway lines, with the Castle in the distance.

And the allotments, where things are also getting going.

This is Jenners Depository - the only time I've ever seen this word. Jenners was a high-class, family-owned shop in Princes Street but about 10, maybe 15 years ago it was bought by a chain. Then it was on the point of being put up for sale when everything stopped. This rather ugly building, very unScottish in its red bricks, has been a storage facility for many years for people moving house or those who just have too much stuff. I have a lot of stuff but at the point that I can't fit it in our house, I think it would be a sign to declutter. 

An empty tram at the tram stop was passed by an empty train. It's all very depressing.

Still, the garden's pretty.

2.75 miles today. But I also potted up cuttings and made some progress with Littlest Grandson's quilt.