Thursday, November 26, 2020

Keeping on

This is my fifth lockdown quilt. I can hardly believe it - my normal rate is two per year, so this shows how long I normally spend socialising or visiting places of interest. Two of these have been cot quilts, this one for Daughter 2's friend, who's having a baby on her own by sperm donation, having despaired of finding the right chap. I do like what I now know is called a piano keys border. It's a bit of a fiddle but such fun. Indeed, I've loved choosing the fabrics for this quilt. The recipient had seen some of my other efforts in photos and had liked the one I did for my nephew and his young lady, so this is very similar. I got to choose from my stash and of course I like all the fabrics, so this was so pleasurable. 

She's an architect and artist and also a keen cyclist, so I did buy two extra fat quarters, the paintbrushes

and the bikes (but the rest was all from my stash, honest). She didn't want it to be over cute. though I did sneak in the odd sheep and bunny - he's a baby, after all and I needed all the blues and greens I could lay my hands on. 

And I took slight liberties with the back. Houses for architecture, some vehicles stolen from my next project and smiling moons for... well, cuteness. 

That was my 17th quilt. I started after my mum died in 2012. Thank you so much to Thimbleanna, who jollied me into starting - it's a lovely, if very time-consuming, hobby. None of them has been very complicated - I maybe need to challenge myself. But NOT till I've sorted out the archives!

It was beautiful weather yesterday so Mr L and I had a walk round the Cammo Estate. Here's the old Cammo House, built  in 1693 and largely demolished in 1977 because it was derelict. Well, you can't keep everything, I suppose, and we have a lot of old buildings. 

The estate now belongs to the city and is beloved of dog walkers

and other local inhabitants, including this old chap with a beard. 

It was a bit muddy underfoot

but mild and windless.

These trees have fallen down on opposite sides of the path, forming archways and shooting branches upward, undeterred, to form a kind of tunnel. They're more opposite to each other than they look here. 

Our various British leaders have decided that we can meet up for five days at Christmas with a maximum of three families and (I think?) eight adults - but only these people for the whole five days. It sounds like one of those awful arithmetic problems we used to get. (If it takes a forty-gallon bath ten minutes to fill up, but there's now a hole in the bath that leaks five pints every minute...) They don't actually want us to do any of this, understandably, since it's bound to produce a spike in infections, but they were bowing to the inevitable. So... not sure what we'll do. It depends on the family. Daughter 2 is staying in London, since it's not wise to contemplate battling with crowded trains, but the others? We'll see. 

And so we beat on, boats against the current... but, hopefully, into the future.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Walks over the years

Ah, the archives, which need much more attention than they're getting. Here's the log for my Hiker's Badge when I was a Guide. I was a Guide for the full number of years, becoming a Queen's Guide, the highest award, and yet I wasn't really all that keen on it. I quite liked doing some of the badges, but really would have been just as happy staying at home reading a book. Yet it did encourage me to research things such as the Commonwealth (Commonwealth Knowledge Badge, which I did just at the time that Northern Rhodesia became the independent Zambia, so my not-very-good grasp of African history suddenly improved, at least in that small part); knots (which I do still occasionally use, though mainly in remembering the important difference between a reef knot and a granny knot); and the weather (though I can't claim always to know the difference between a cirrus and a cirrostratus cloud).  

Anyway, here are my friend Jane and I, hiking in the Pentlands and cooking, according to my log book, a rather ambitious meal of chops, tinned peas. baked potatoes and baked apple and custard. (One had to cook on hikes to qualify for the badge.) I'm the one on the left, probably looking revolted at the chops, which I can't imagine that I actually ate, being vegetarian as far as I was allowed from when I was a child. I was 13 in this photo, Jane 14. Why did our parents let us hike on the hills alone at that age, I wonder? Though as Mr L points out, someone else must have been there to take the photo. I think taking an adult would have contravened the map-reading spirit of the thing. Possibly it was my big brother? 

The trouble with keeping such things for 57 years is that they become part of history and difficult to throw out. Would my great-grandchildren be interested? Hmm. 

(I think I met Mr L the following year, though it wasn't till the end of 1967 that we became an item. I was a whole 17 by then. Goodness me. And here we still are.)

Yesterday we went for a walk along the canal with Daughter 1 and family, since she and SIL1 aren't permitted to come into the house. 

It was very pleasant, and doubtless healthier for us all than lounging around the house, which is what we normally do on Sunday afternoons when they come. 

We even saw some enormous bunnies, which Big Granddaughter enjoyed. Well, we all did. Aaaah. As long as they don't come and visit my garden. 


Saturday, November 21, 2020


We are very slowly reorganising our study - which is, or could be, our fifth bedroom - with the thought of installing a bed in it for times when we have a lot of people staying. This is currently a distant dream, but even if Son, his wife and two little ones and Daughter 2, her husband and little one were all staying, then the current three spare bedrooms wouldn't really be enough. So we thought (well, let's be honest, I thought - I specialise in having thoughts that involve Mr L in quite a lot of work and expense) that if we shared a desk and desktop computer rather than having one each, then we could fit a bed in the space occupied by the other desk. This meant that he would get rid of his desk and we would share mine. He usually uses his laptop or iPad anyway, in the living room. So far we haven't made huge progress, mainly because I've been frantically making quilts during lockdown and partly because he watches a lot of television. But we've got rid of the big chest of drawers in which I kept unsorted archives, and moved this bookcase from the hall to the study - so that we could move the grandfather clock which arrived with my mother 9 years ago (and has been dumped temporarily in the study for most of these years) into the hall. 

Mr L has cleared the filing cabinet, I've made some inroads into sorting the archives (see above) and Mr L has installed a little extension to the left of my (our) desk so that the printer, which used to live on top of the filing cabinet, can sit on this new set of shelves. We haven't yet disposed of his desk or the filing cabinet or acquired the new bed. This would require organisation and we haven't quite rallied ourselves enough for this. It seems daft in a way to buy a new spare bed at this time of our lives, but with distantly-located children and grandchildren, the otherwise attractive idea of downsizing isn't really an option. I do wish they lived nearer, for many reasons of which this is only one. However, they don't and this won't change. 

If I would stop spending hours making quilts, it could all be finished within a few... well, maybe weeks. And I will, just as soon as I've done the current and the next cot quilts (neither for our family): babies don't wait to arrive! Normally we would have the deadline of Christmas to spur us into study action but the incentive to prepare for visitors who have no immediate prospect of arriving is somewhat limited. I'm definitely not going to start another quilt till I've sorted the study and the archives. You read it here first. 

Meanwhile, we're stuck here, greatly restricted in where we can go and whom we can see, but at least the Edinburgh Two can visit us, which is a great comfort. Yesterday we made biscuits and a bit of a mess. 

And drew pictures and played with Brio. 

These are the biscuits. They're not awfully exciting but I think they would be improved with a bit of icing. Which could be a metaphor for something if I could think exactly what.


Monday, November 16, 2020

Still living under virus rules...

On Thursday we went down to Daughter 2's for-sale flat to check it and then decided to go for a walk from there. I was amused to see this (I would think) 18th century cottage still stubbornly sitting at a strange angle to the current road, surrounded by 19th or early 20th century houses. The one on the left has a strange, triangular front garden because the cottage back garden cuts in front of it. 

We walked through the park opposite and down to the river. 

This swan kept chasing this immature one - we thought it was an older male swan bullying a younger male, but in fact it was a parent chasing a straying teenager back to the family. This happened several times as we walked along. 

Here's the family together. I don't think I knew that swans stayed in family groups for this long. 

It was quite a dull day though not as dark as it looks here. I now get my photos from Google photos instead of Picasa, where I knew how to adjust them a bit. I must ask a clever person if one can do this in Google. Anyway, this is The Shore area of Leith. 

On the way back we noticed this building and went to have a closer look. It's painted this orange colour which is quite traditional in old Scottish buildings (it wouldn't have been, if they'd asked me first). 

It was indeed quite old,

with a gargoyle-thing. 

This bit is the new extension. It turns out that it was originally St Ninian's Church, but it seems to be used as offices now.

It's just occurred to me to look it up and I found this 1890 photo. You can see the church with its unusual, Dutch-style steeple in the middle of other buildings which aren't there any more. 

We're still not allowed to see the family, except the children, indoors, so we all walked up Blackford Hill yesterday. It's very mild weather at the moment, though it's been a bit rainy so it was slightly muddy underfoot. 

From the top you get a good view of the city and of the nearby hills. 

Smile please! 

Then Big Grandson came back with us to play with his Brio. He wanted something with which to build docks and shipping containers, so I dug out these bricks that I bought for Daughter 1, 40 years ago. How charmed the 30-year-old me would have been to think of him playing with them, all this time later. 

There are murmurs of Central Scotland going into more restricted lockdown soon. Sigh. I wish people would be more careful. It's rather trying that those of us who're mainly just lurking at home, obeying the rules, or going for walks in secluded places, are going to be further restrained because of those who aren't. Perhaps we should schedule haircuts before they're unavailable again... . 

Piano key border, yes, that was it - thanks to various people. Lovely to hear from you! It's done now. Nearly at the stage of quilting. 

Friday, November 13, 2020

Holding our breath for things to improve in this pandemic world

Well, there's nothing interesting to report. We walked along the river the other day, 

admiring the remains of the autumn colours,

aware that we've seen the summer come and go and we're still restricted. 

Still, the vaccine might be on its way, which is such good news that I'm trying not to get too excited about it. 

I'm getting on with the latest quilt, only a little cot one for Daughter 2's friend. She's an artist, so I'm slightly nervous that it's not artistic enough. She asked for stars, for not too much cuteness, for patches grading from blue to green and (still to come) a strippy border. I remember reading someone's interesting name for such a border but I can't remember what it was. Matchstick, maybe? 

Meanwhile, in a distant galaxy, Littlest Granddaughter dressed up as a frog ("Oi Frog!" to be precise - if you don't know these books, you should. They're hilarious) for Children In Need Day 

And today I took the Edinburgh Two to a trampoline centre, where Big Grandson found an interesting bus poster (well, he thought it was interesting) 

and they both bounced a lot

 and then came here for tea and a play. We're so lucky still to be able to see these two. 

And tomorrow is another day. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The year of the virus wears on

Well, at last there's some good news about the vaccine, if this can be believed. Not that we'll all be able to get it at once, but if it's going to work, then waiting might not be too bad. Meanwhile, we took the children to Dalkeith Country Park on Sunday. It was beautiful but somewhat drizzly. 

They were undeterred. 

Here, they'd just gone down this tube, which doesn't look fun to me but on the other hand, I haven't got an adventurous spirit and am mildly claustrophobic. 

And then we came home and played with Brio and Duplo. Grandson appears to be reading the paper here, which I don't remember him doing. How I love them. How they raise the spirits. 

And yesterday, Mr L and I climbed Corstorphine Hill in the mist. Just over that fence and down, golfers were playing - we could hear their voices and the tock of golf balls, but it must have been quite hard to a) miss other golfers and b) hit the greens. 

It was atmospheric

and pretty, though a bit depressing to see the leaves that we saw budding and then opening up in lockdown now falling off the trees. That was the year that was. 


they made a fine show. 

The going was pretty muddy, but we reached the bottom without breaking anything, so that was good. 

And my cot quilt is coming on. Stars are very time-consuming, though, especially when one fails to concentrate. Which one sometimes does. 

Mr Trump is still clinging on to his claims of having been robbed of the presidency. I wish I could live long enough to see how history judges him. Also Boris. It's funny how, as children, we were taught about Pitt the Younger and Robert Peel and Disraeli and so on, without any genuine consciousness (on my part anyway) that these were not just names in history books but real people with hopes and dreams and strengths and weakness and self-awareness. Then once you've lived under lots of Prime Ministers who are clearly just human beings, you realise that Robert Walpole and Spencer Perceval and George Canning were too. 

Does age bring wisdom? Not to everybody, judging by the goings-on in the White House.