Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Lockdown week 15 - out and about-ish

Yesterday it was wet and windy. The hills were lost in the mist. But I wanted to go out for a walk so set off for Saughton Park. (Mr L stayed behind.)

The advantage of going out in the rain is that there are fewer people around.

The flowers are so lovely.

And because the benches were all wet, so there was nowhere to sit and contemplate,

I decided to go and have an outdoor (but under an overhanging roof) coffee in the newly-opened Bistro in the park. It felt almost exciting. First cappuccino since March.

Then this morning I visited my half-Zambian friend to collect her very bright African fabrics and discuss quilt designs with her. She lives in what was once a village, though it's now absorbed by the city. This cottage is extremely roses-round-the-door!

The only problem was that I had some difficulty finding a parking place, villages not having been designed for cars.

I had to cross the river and drive up what was once a country lane - and still feels like it. I was glad not to meet anyone coming down. It's quite narrow.

And then I walked back to my friend's flat. I don't think these cars are particularly sensibly parked, though they were in a gap in the yellow lines.

I said hello to this little statue of Robert Louis Stevenson, who used to frequent these parts as a boy.

My friend's mother, who's completely Zambian and a nurse, had Covid-19 quite badly and the family feared that she might die. Fortunately she didn't and is now recovering. But it's very sobering. She lives in the west of Scotland so my friend wasn't able to go and see her, though fortunately there's another daughter nearer.

I haven't entirely decided how I'm going to do her quilt. I think I need some plain colours and hurray, my favourite fabric shop is about to open again! I must visit before everything closes down again... .

In the afternoon we had another visit to Saughton and look, the playpark was open again! And very busy.

Leicester, in England, has been locked down again because there was a spike in Covid cases. I fear - though hope I'm wrong - that it won't be the only place.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Lockdown (easing) week 14 - Little hands and feet

Biggest Granddaughter gave us this card. So sweet.

Yesterday we went up to see Son and The Unbloggables for the first time since March. To our delight, sweet little Middle Granddaughter remembered us and was pleased to see us. Little Grandson is now 13 months, very steady on his feet and extremely smiley and jolly. He tries to do everything that his big sister does - she's nearly 4 so he doesn't quite manage, but you should have seen him trying to jump up and down. He doesn't quite leave the floor, but nearly. Because his big sister was pleased to see us, he was too, which was a bonus, since he presumably doesn't remember us. His other grandparents have been living with them most of the time since lockdown, so we're very much the occasional visitors in comparison, sadly. Still, he'll get to know us in the end, if we manage to survive, and meanwhile we got lots of lovely smiles.

As you can't see here, she's about to swing on loops hung from a tree and he's about to reach up to try to reach another set of loops. He has no chance at all!

But here he is swinging on a swing.

Just like her. You can see where they live. It's pretty, but not easy from our point of view. I don't drive outside the city - too nervous - so poor old Mr L has to do it all, and when he's past it... I don't know. Just before lockdown we'd joined a car club in Dundee, which is about five miles from where they live, with the idea of getting the train to Dundee and then picking up a car from there. Our timing wasn't great, as it turned out. But hopefully we'll get back to doing that in the future, which will be less stressful.

Medium Granddaughter was very interested in this snail. I'm not fond of snails, or at least not in my garden. I have FAR too many and they're all ravenous.

We were lucky with the weather when we were there, but on the way home, rain set in. It was horrible driving. This was the first time we'd tried out our new little car on big roads, but she did all right, though I was very anxious.

Fortunately we were driving towards this clear patch, and we got home all right. It was such a lovely day apart from this bit.

And today... catching up with this and that. We climbed Corstorphine Hill. The trees are exploding with different shades of greenery, the foxgloves still blooming pinkly and whitely and the grasses - so many types of grasses - swaying in the breeze - oh, I do find it interesting what an astonishing variety of flowers and leaves and grasses there are even on one smallish hill. Do you know that splendid poem by Louis MacNeice, "Snow"? "World is crazier and more of it than we think, / Incorrigibly plural." Love it! And love the more-of-it-ness. Just not on roads.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Lockdown week 14 - Friday - interpreting the rules

The Edinburgh family came round today for a garden visit. It was so nice to see them. Big Grandson brought some London tube maps he'd been drawing, to show Mr L. They were very detailed and showed various developments that have taken place over the last few years. He really has an encyclopedic knowledge of buses and tubes. Poor lad hasn't been to London since last year and isn't likely to get back this year, I don't suppose; and he's longing to ride the tubes. Personally  there's little I like less!

Grandson [in garden, as I hand him a Mars Bar ice cream]: Granny?
Me: Yes?
Grandson: One of the reasons I like coming here is that you give us treats.

No, really?? Children are so honest. I'm glad it's only one of the reasons, though probably another is that we have so much Brio for him to play with.

He did a splendid layout in the garden.

Granddaughter does take an interest in his trains, but mainly, I think, to be polite.

After they'd gone, we went for an evening walk. It was mild, but not nearly so hot as it's been.

There was no one much about.

We passed Murrayfield Golf  Course and I looked wistfully up the fairway. That big rhododendron bush has finished flowering.

I enjoyed this foxglove, growing in a tiny crevice in a wall. Isn't nature amazing?

The recent hot weather has made British people - some people, probably a tiny minority - behave very foolishly, as we've seen in the news. There have been large gatherings on beaches and in parks - not, probably, that there's a huge risk of infection actually there, but public toilets are shut (with inevitable nasty consequences), roads have been congested in coastal towns and much litter has been left. In some places there have been clashes with police. How I would hate to be a police officer. I get the impression it's mainly the (foolish) young, who probably feel invincible because they don't on the whole get ill from Covid-19.

As things ease off and businesses open, it's hard to doubt that there'll be a spike in cases of the disease. We just have to hope that it's not too dramatic or all these weeks of lockdown will have been for nothing. I really can't bear it all to start again. When will we see Daughter 2 and sweet Smallest Granddaughter??

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Lockdown week 14 - Wednesday and Thursday

It's hot at the moment (well, Scottish hot) - too warm to go for an enjoyable walk during the day. So yesterday we walked along the old railway line beside the golf course after 9 in the evening. It was quiet, and still very light.

What we call brambles and English people blackberries are blooming and the bees are enjoying them.

There's only one lupin left and the foxgloves are nearing their end. They've been lovely. This was the garden on our return, at 9.45pm.

Today we went down to Daughter 2's empty flat to let in an oven-cleaning chap. While we waited, we did stuff such as putting valances on the rather past-it beds to make them look nice. I ironed two lots of new curtains and Mr L put them up and did other odd jobs. The chap was supposed to come between 10 and 12, and at 12.20 I phoned the lady in the office to ask if he was coming. Ah, no, she said. His previous client had cancelled, so he'd phoned our land line - in our house - to ask if he could come early. Only of course we weren't there. So he just didn't come. I'm not quite sure I follow his logic. He can't have phoned earlier than about 9.25, because we didn't leave till then. So he could have just... come.

Anyway, he's coming next Thursday. Let's hope.

In the afternoon I sat in the garden in the shade, and read. It was too warm to sit in the sun, and anyway, I'm wrinkly enough, thanks.

And then we went for the same walk, at much the same time, as last evening. The air was full of the scent of cow parsley and elder blossom.

The allotments are flourishing.

And this is Scotland so I thought I should end with thistles.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Lockdown week 14 - Monday and Tuesday

Yesterday we spent quite a while at Daughter 2's Edinburgh flat. The new carpets are now in the bedrooms - grey, neutral, to be a blank canvas - so we brought the beds back, which made the rooms seem more finished. It also improved the living room hugely, not having it full of beds. I partly made up the beds with bits and pieces that were around, too, just because it's quite fun to play houses.

The new vinyl is now down in the kitchen, so we struggled the washing machine and fridge freezer back in. Well, I mainly encouraged. Mr L did most of the struggling.

Mr L put up the new light shades in the hall.

He's also been recovering the dining chairs. What a star he is. The nice clean covers left by Daughter 2 when she moved out of the flat some years ago had been rendered indescribably filthy by the tenants. I found this green fabric in my cupboard and it goes well enough with the chair covers and curtains, now washed and no longer reeking of smoke. I hope the prospective buyers like green (as we do), but the walls are white and the floors are wooden so they don't have to love it, just be able to imagine the room empty.

And an electrician came and fitted a new shiny hob, which we hope will distract potential buyers from the fact that the kitchen is not new. But it's serviceable, with a newish oven and washer/dryer. The oven cleaning chap comes on Thursday. (I was surprised to by asked by Margaret, my American friend, what a hob was. This. What do Americans call it, I wonder.)

Then today we had something to post, so walked along the old railway track,

sat in the graveyard of Corstorphine Parish Church for a while - it's currently rather unmown -

and noticed that all the bees on the fuchsia were giving their attention to the tops of the flowers, not, as you'd expect, the polleny bit sticking out. The stamens? Then when we looked at the flowers, they had what looked like a wound at the top, as if the bees were puncturing it, presumably to suck out the... nectar??? I must look this up. The things you notice when you're not so busy as usual.

Then we strolled in St Margaret's Park, which was relatively full of people and their dogs, visited the post office and

walked home along the main road, which was actually busier than it looks here - though not as busy as normal. 4.1 miles.

Over lunch, we watched Nicola Sturgeon, our First Minister, telling us what she thinks we should do. I don't think she knows any better than the rest of us but she has to stand there every day and make pronouncements. I don't envy her the job, but on the other hand she did presumably want it, if not precisely the job as she has it now. Later there was a sudden announcement that the schools will be going back full time from August 11 (unless things deteriorate,which I imagine they well might) - which is quite a change from the previous plan, which was, I think, for each child to get three days class contact every three weeks. 

Meanwhile, as someone said the other day, we seem otherwise to be doing things exactly one week after England, which is her way of appearing to make independent decisions. 

I quite like her. She's extremely articulate - not an "umm" or "ah" to be heard, which is admirable. I think she's very bright. But she's a Scottish National, which we very much are not. A tiny sentimental part of me would like to be. But there's enough division in the world without inventing more, in my opinion. 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Lockdown week 13 - Sunday - Lauriston

Father's Day, but no visits from family because, apart from anything else, rain was forecast and they're not allowed to come into the house. In fact, the morning was sunny, but in the afternoon, when we set off for our walk, it was slightly wet. We walked round the grounds of Lauriston Castle,

It's a sixteenth century tower house, but with extensive nineteenth century additions. It ended up being owned by people with no children. In 1926 they left it to Scotland on condition that the inside was unchanged, so it still has their furniture, ornaments and pictures. You can see round it, though not at the moment.

And the garden, though slightly unkempt at the moment like all our public gardens, is pretty.

At the bottom of the garden is the sea,

or rather the tidal estuary, with Fife on the other side. Over that way are our son and his family.

Here you can see the old tower on the right, surrounded by the relatively new (1820s) extension.

This is the Japanese Garden - the Edinburgh-Kyoto Garden, opened in 2002.

Then we came home and the sun shone again.

And then I did some more sorting of old stuff, such as this photo of Son. Isn't he cute?

And the daughters, on holiday in Ibiza.

This made me feel wistful. Ah well. Feeling wistful will not, as my mother used to say, buy the baby a new bonnet. On, on.