Saturday, August 29, 2020

Virus is still around... but this was Saturday, week 23

And so another week draws to a close. Our actor son-in-law's theatre group did their second on-line complete show last night - they're amazingly good. They improvise a musical from audience suggestions - in last night's case, the online audience.  They did it in a hall, yards away from one another and behind screens, with SIL introducing and directing the show while doing the vision mixing (if that's the term) to make split screens or to switch from one person to the other. You'd think it was impossible. It's still available to watch online.

Today was a great step - well, let's hope forward - because we took the Edinburgh grandchildren out for lunch. It's the first time we've been in an indoor cafe since lockdown. It wasn't busy and the staff were wearing masks and altogether it felt safe. I think. It was lovely, anyway. We went to Swanston, to the brasserie beside the golf course.

Then we climbed the hill, past the cottages (built in the 1760s) of the village and up a sometimes muddy path. It's been rather wet recently.

The children enjoyed this hollow tree.

Yes, rather muddy, as I said. But fun.

Then we came home for tea and a bit of Brio-ing etc. By this time, sadly, the children had both developed streaming colds. They were very uncomplaining about this but I somewhat fear that we are doomed. There was a lot of sneezing. Still, it was a lovely day.

But there's a distinctly autumnal chill in the air... .

Happy birthday to our lovely son, our youngest child. He was 36 today. Sadly, we didn't see him but we did see a video of his wife and children singing Happy Birthday to him, and Medium Granddaughter blowing out the candles on his cake.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Still the Covid life - week 23

Well, you don't say... It's not surprising that once the schools go back, there are lots of children with suspicious symptoms but it would be nice to think that someone had anticipated this.

However, freed from such things, we went to Lauriston Castle, walked in the grounds and had an ice cream (well, some did) from the newly-opened Mimi's Bakery.

Mr L and I went for a lovely sunny walk along by the golf course.

Things are beginning to look ominously autumnal. I'm never a huge fan of autumn (decay, death etc - though also beauty) but in these days, with worries about lockdown starting again (who knows?) it seems less welcome than usual.

There was a Red Arrows flypast the other night to commemorate VJ Day. It was rescheduled from earlier in the month, when it was too misty. This was spectacular, if noisy and somewhat alarming. (I'm easily alarmed and it looked very dangerous.) We remembered about it just in time to rush out from the house as it came overhead, but I hadn't taken my camera out with me. This was the smoke trail, though - rather pretty. I'm glad I did remember because it came very near our house and the noise would have given us (well, me) an awful fright if we hadn't expected it.

Yesterday, however, the weather was horrible all over Britain - windy and wet. We went up to see Son and his little ones - DIL was at work - so this was lovely apart from the driving. I'm always nervous on Big Roads, especially when the visibility is poor. Fortunately Mr L is braver and he drives.

Little Grandson is so cute. He's talking a bit now and is a very jolly little person.

We went out for a very wet walk.

Then Medium Granddaughter came home from nursery and among other things we watched a bit of Bing. It's a very strange programme but the children seem to like it. Medium is lovely and very chatty. I wish we saw more of her and her brother. She seems to accept us as part of her entourage, though, which is nice.

And there's always the garden. I do love clematis, and the colour of this one is very cheering on a dull day like today.

The garden is turning autumnal but there's still lots in flower.

And then there's the Big Mess. We got chaps to come today and remove the original 90-year-old iron fence which was lurking behind the hedge and I've been contacting landscapers to come and estimate for making this into a seamless extension of the lawn. There's a bit of work to do... .

And the Covid situation is still quite restricting. I've been socialising with friends in the garden, or singly in the house, but not to the same extent as usual with jolly groups. My two choirs are only going to be doing things on Zoom - which is not the same - and other activities are very much curtailed also. Mr L and I haven't gone far afield to visit gardens or stately homes or even nice cafes because it seems rash to take risks - and also because we're never very sure if the loos are going to be open and Mr L is at the stage of life when this is a consideration. I'm fortunate enough for it not to be such a problem ... yet. All these are minor complaints; but all the same, one has kind of had enough.

However, I fear the situation isn't going to change for the better any time soon.

Still, there's quilting.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Not much is happening but... virus week 22 - Saturday

1) My husband has shaved off his Covid-19 beard. That means the virus is over, surely? (No?) We recently found this photo of him when he last had a beard (for one year) 40 years ago. The lady is his granny. Her genes gave him the white hair he has now, I think.

2) I've been getting on with the African fabrics quilt now that our visitors have gone (but we miss them). I can't say that I love it but I'm getting slightly used to the brightness. It's probably not at all traditional to do stars on African fabrics (I have no idea) but my friend chose them from photos of my previous quilts. The middle bit is going to be filled in with bigger strips. Or something.

3) Tara! - last night Biggest Granddaughter's Covid test result appeared and she - doesn't have the virus. Which we were pretty sure about, but it's nice to have it confirmed and be out of quarantine. The 48-hour test took 10 hours under a week, which isn't hugely impressive. However, the children can now go back to school and we can be back to sort-of-normal.

4) And finally - sitooterie - is it a real word? asks Lynley. Well, it's a real Scottish word, such as tumshie, bahookie, gallus, tapsalteerie, smirr, bauchles, baffies... .

(turnip, rear end, sparky/lively/bold, upside down/mixed up, soft moisture in the air/very light rain, old shoes, slippers...)

Friday, August 21, 2020

Not exactly lockdown but quarantine instead. Thanks, system. Week 22

The hedge chaps came. Poor things, it was very hot.

They set to.

They worked away.

 And here it is(n't). Gone.

I've certainly gained a lot of space, but you couldn't yet describe it as garden. At the moment it looks dreadful and is completely untillable. As I expected, there are stumps (soon to be ground down by a stump-grinding chap) but also lots and lots and lots of lilac suckers, ivy, stones, heaps of earth etc etc and huge quantities of roots. There was also the remains of a fox, which had lain down and died some time ago in the far corner of the garden, behind the sitooterie (or arbour) made by Mr L and Daughter 2 twenty years ago. Mr L dealt with the ex-fox. It's one of the things I keep him for. I don't do dead things. Well done, Mr L. The sitooterie is past its best, so will also have to be dealt with, as will the heap of rubble left by the previous owners, upon which the sitooterie was built. (On the rubble, not on the previous owners.)

So... I think I'm pleased. I'll be a lot more pleased next year, when it's smooth like a bowling green with a clematis-clad fence. I hope.

Thank you so much, by the way, to the commenter from Malaysia. Goodness, that's a long way away. I tried to look at your blog but my computer screamed in red at me that I mustn't, because it was very unsafe, so I didn't. But hello anyway.

Still no word of Biggest Granddaughter's lost test. Quarantine is over on Monday for her anyway so it hardly matters now. But it doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the system.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Quarantine - Covid week 22

Well, Biggest Granddaughter's Covid result didn't come in the suggested 48 hours (which would have been Monday morning if they work weekends - unclear) and indeed it hasn't come yet, and when Daughter 1 phoned up to enquire, it turned out that it had got lost. Or at least, there was no record of the test ever having happened.

Which is, you know, somewhat irritating, since it means that we all have to remain in quarantine for - not really sure how long. I must check. At the beginning of lockdown everything was clearcut, but as time's gone on the rules have become more complicated. The rest of this week, anyway. Biggest G and her brother thus have another week off school, having been back for a day and a half.

Sigh. Next time she has a little cough... well, I don't know. She's prone to little coughs.

So here's a photo of my pincushion. Daughter 2 borrowed it for a minor repair and returned it prettily arranged in flowers, which it wasn't before. This was my granny's pincushion, from her workbox that I inherited when she got dementia. She was born in 1885 and I imagine she made the pincushion. It doesn't actually look so worn to the eye. Daughter 2 and Littlest Granddaughter went home on Sunday, so it's nice to have a little reminder of them.

And here's our hedge. It's an annoying hedge, planted by the previous inhabitants of our house and added to by random nature. It's mainly lilac, with some leylandii, a wild rose, a cotoneaster, some holly... and it takes up a lot of room in our small garden. I love lilac blossom but the plants are very vigorous so we keep having to cut the hedge back, which very much limits the number of flowers we get, and lilac also suckers like anything. We recently got chaps to prune the hedge and when I muttered under my breath that I wished it wasn't there, the boss chap said that they could remove it. And theoretically they're going to, tomorrow.

I'm somewhat dubious that they'll be successful because there are a lot of stems, with all those suckers. He said confidently that they would grind the stumps, and I asked our horticulturist friend, the Minor Celebrity on Scotland's gardening programme, and he said that the suckers would be discouraged if the main stems were gone. So I'm pinning my faith on the experts.

It's about five feet wide, which is why I want rid of it - I'm excited at the idea of an extra five feet in the garden. But I'm worried that it'll look like the Somme battlefield with suckers, instead of the extra sward I'm planning to create.

That's if the chaps come tomorrow. It's been wet this week and so it could easily rain, and anyway he only hopes to come if they get the morning job finished. I think our hedge will take them more than one afternoon.

Ah well. I hope I don't regret this. (I suspect the chaps might.) I suppose I shouldn't really let them come because of the quarantine but they don't need to come through the house and I'm not planning to do anything apart from watch in horror from the patio doors. And anyway I'm as sure as I can be that there's nothing wrong with any of us.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Still kind of lockdown, week 21, seeing offspring

Littlest was sitting at the piano, singing "Twinkle twinkle, little star" and accompanying herself (with two fingers, and not with the right notes but with a nice regular beat). I'm not taking this as a sign that she's going to be a performer like her father. I'm sure this means that she's going to be a fairly musical corporate lawyer. 

I took her to the playpark. "I looking out to sea."

She discovered that Playdoh cuts nicely with scissors. Who knew?

After one and a half days back at school, Biggest Granddaughter came home with a cough. She's otherwise perfectly well as far as anyone can tell. She's prone to coughs whenever she gets a cold, but nonetheless we all realised that it might just be The Virus, since she's been down south on a visit to her other grandparents. Not that there's much of the virus down there or here at the moment, but to be on the safe side, her parents nobly took her for a test on Saturday morning (results in a few days). So they then came round, but we stayed out in the garden. Littlest Granddaughter loves playing with her big cousins, or - to be more accurate - following them around, copying what they're doing and asking them lots of questions. They're remarkably patient.

At one point Biggest Granddaughter found herself a chair, a rug (yes, Scotland in the summer) and her Beano annual for a nice quiet read. (The Beano is a comic.) Littlest stood beside her. "I want to see. What he doing? Why dat boy chasing dat dog? Why dat man got a big nose? Why he looking cross?.. ." Poor Biggest.

Here is Littlest today, looking at "Me and My Cat?" by Satoshi Kitamura. It's a very funny story about a boy who gets turned into his cat, while his cat gets turned into him - all by mistake, by a witch who came to the wrong house. I greatly recommend it for children of maybe four and upwards, but I'm quite glad she didn't ask me to explain it.

And now she and Daughter 2 are back in London. It was so lovely to have them for a whole fortnight - when will that ever happen again? - but the house is very empty without them. I hope we'll see them again before too long, but in these uncertain times... who can say?

Sigh. I do hope Biggest's test is negative or else the extended family will all have to quarantine... at best. We're actually all fairly sure it's just a cold, but I don't know that we're basing our diagnosis on anything except that the virus seems unlikely, she seems well and it would be terribly inconvenient if she did have it. But I still think she doesn't. Strange days, though... .

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Not exactly lockdown but certainly not quite normal - week 21 (is it?)

And the time with Daughter 2 and Littlest Granddaughter whizzes on - exhaustingly but happily. We went to Lauriston Castle Gardens - ten minutes away, which is just about as far as Littlest can go in a car without being sick. And she wasn't.

It was beautiful weather.

I took lots of photos like this to store in my memory bank (and my computer) till we see her the next time.

There's been a lot of playing in the garden (that lily's good this year)

and many more photos.

And here was a surprise! (Forgive my frankly inexcusable Granny-boasting.) When Daughter 1 and her family got back from visiting Son-in-Law's family down south, they found this book through the letter box. We knew nothing about this, but when he was in nursery - so when he was 3 - Big Grandson's nursery teachers said that they were writing a chapter of a book for early years practitioners and could they include him as a case study? So his parents said yes and the years passed (he's now 9).

And look - here he is! We were aware that he was reasonably bright but it's interesting to read someone else's opinion of him. How exciting! They had only one other case study and he was from 2019, which seems strange, since Big G's study was in 2013.

Daughter 2 and I went with three grandchildren to the (closed) gallery along the road yesterday. She organised them into races round that art installation. It was nice and exhausting for them - also her - there she is in the distance, bringing Littlest back to the rest of us. They earned their ice creams. It's sometimes useful being 70 and embracing old age by just watching all this energetic activity.

Sadly we haven't been able to see Son and family in case Daughter 2 had picked up something nasty in London or in the train, or in case Daughter 1 and family had, down south, and passed it on to them. We've missed them. Middle Granddaughter is now 4. Tempus fugit indeed.

Friday, August 07, 2020

Is this still lockdown? - week 20, Wednesday to Friday

It's been a busy few days with this cherub. We went to the Botanics, which is a ten-minute drive but fraught with difficulty with the little one because she throws up on any form of transport. Daughter 2 tried dosing her with something-or-other which had been recommended by a friend and right enough, she didn't throw up, but after a bit it made her so woozy that she kept falling over. So that wasn't a huge success.

At home, we've been Very Busy doing things such as... making a hedgehog,

eating and sharing "doughnuts",

weading stowies,

playing with Big Grandson's Brio,

playing in the paddling pool and sandpit,

and extensively cuddling. She's enchanting. But exhausting... . And the house is not its usual self, with everything that might be tempting crowded on to high shelves. But she's worth it.

It was Middle Granddaughter's 4th birthday today, but sadly we couldn't be with her because Son is shielding from any possible nasty London virus germs. He has lowered immunity because of the drugs he takes for his arthritis.  We did see her on Face Time, though, which was a lot better than nothing. Happy Birthday, equally adorable Middle.

It hardly feels like lockdown at all now... except that we're not really going anywhere much.

Disappointingly, though the Edinburgh housing market is rumoured to be very busy, we've only had two viewers at the flat so far in the week it's been on the market. Let's hope for more people soon.