Saturday, February 27, 2021


Big Grandson has a sketch book in which he draws... railway lines. Invented ones, in quite a lot of detail, if not exact perspective. He's very serious about it. I like his trees. 

We went down to Daughter 2's Edinburgh flat again today for a viewing. The people seemed like fairly serious buyers, though whether of this flat, who can tell? 

So then we had a walk along to Newhaven. That church there isn't really falling over. Blame the photographer. 

It was a beautiful day.

I normally detest graffiti but rather liked this. You can't really see here, but she's wearing a face mask.

And my crocuses are rather fine. 

Such cheerful little faces. 

Though I'm not usually a fan of purple, purple flowers can be pretty - especially in early spring, when frankly any flowers are a bonus. Most things are more bearable in a garden. 

Mine doesn't have a fringed pool, rose plot and certainly no fern'd grot, but all the same, I know what Thomas Brown meant. Whether God's in it or not - it certainly makes me feel better. 

My Garden, by Thomas Edward Brown, 1830-1897

A garden is a lovesome thing, Got wot!

Fringed pool

Rose plot

Fern'd grot -

The veriest school 

Of peace; and yet the fool

Contends that God is not -

Not God! in gardens! when the eve is cool?

Nay, but I have a sign;

'Tis very sure God walks in mine. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021


I am now becoming more and more frustrated at this situation. Our distant grandchildren are growing up without us. We have totally and for ever missed the opportunity of cuddling our distant grandson as a baby - he'll be 2 in May and doesn't know us apart from on a screen. With the others too, we've missed so many stages in their development. Not that they're not lovely as they are, but there's nothing, nothing, like a baby. When will we see them? Well, possibly April or May - a long time in the development of a child. I know other people have had awful experiences while we have been safe and comfortable, but - I deeply mourn these losses. 

And that's not even mentioning other family members, and friends - all missed so much. 

We are lucky to be able to see the Edinburgh Two, however, and last weekend as so often (there's not much variety of outings to choose from) we met them and their parents at the Botanics and walked round, more or less in the permitted twos. 

Thank goodness that it's spring. I don't normally mind the winter but this year I've minded it horribly. That golden monkey is still climbing up Inverleith House. 

At last it was warm enough to stand around outside and chat. 

The snowdrops were beautiful.

Our garden is also showing signs of spring and I spent Monday tidying up the front. Sadly, I was very aware of my seventy years afterwards - every joint ached. Still, I enjoyed it. 

But much of this week has been spent home-schooling. Here is Big Grandson making a poster (for school) illustrating random acts of kindness, assisted by his polar bear. I don't know why he decided to do this on the conservatory floor rather than the table where he'd been doing his maths.

Here we are meeting his sister from school. She seems to be fine with being back there and they played on the playing field afterwards, getting fresh air, exercise and somewhat muddy. 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Can I wake up now, please?

Nothing much happens, though life is quite busy. Homeschooling continued last week. Big Granddaughter, who'll be 8 next month, is among the children who'll go back to school on Monday. She seems to be facing the prospect with equanimity at the moment, though I'm not sure if she'll actually be keen to go when her big brother gets to stay at home. 

He says he's never going back to school because it's boring. Alas for him, he will be, though there's no word as to when. I have to say that I found school boring too, but in our day, few concessions were made to making learning fun. But then, is long division ever fun? 

I seem to be going through a clumsy phase. Yesterday's highlight was dropping an opened bag of frozen peas on the floor. As someone once said, peas would be easier to deal with if they were square. As it is, they rolled and bounced everywhere. This is but a small selection of the ones that fell nearer me. 

We had another viewing for Daughter 2's Edinburgh flat yesterday but I don't think it'll lead anywhere. Unfortunately there are two other flats in the opposite block for sale at the moment. Our viewer had just come from one of the others, which is slightly better (it's on an end, so has an extra window) and is at a lower price - at least, it's on "offers over" while Daughter 2's is currently fixed price. I've just looked on line and that flat is now under offer, I suspect from that viewer - though I'm just guessing. That's good, though, since it takes that one out of the running. The third flat is ridiculously cheap, I presume just to try to get a bidding war. I would assume someone will go for it. So... It's hard to know what to do. There's no real rush to sell Daughter 2's flat but it would be nice to have it sold - though not by accepting a silly price. She needs every penny she can get, to buy a house in London. Sigh. The timing is just so unfortunate - before the pandemic, these flats were regularly selling for more than she's now asking.

We had yet another viewing booked in for today but the chap never showed up. We had a phone number so I phoned him and he said he'd cancelled. No one had told us, though. Maybe he's the mystery offerer for the other flat. Anyway, we stayed on that side of town and went for a walk through Victoria Park, enjoying the crocuses - it's hard to imagine that a week ago they were buried in snow -

and for a few miles along this former railway line, now a cycle/walking track. It was quite busy, despite appearances in this photo: lots of cyclists, runners and walkers. 

And that was another week. Boris Johnston is suggesting that in England, people might be able to meet outside in fours by the end of April. Good grief, that doesn't seem much of a concession. This is only February. 

One should be counting one's blessings. And one does, a bit. But this is all something of a nightmare. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Covid and Devouring Time

I have never (she said, wondering if past bloggy Februarys bear out this claim) in my 70.5 years been so happy to see snow departing and spring bulbs flowering. Look: grass. I'm already planning to have sweet peas clothing that new fence. I'm not terribly good at growing sweet peas but then I've never had a whole bare fence to grow them up before, so I'm hopeful. 

Other than that - the Edinburgh grandchildren have come and built stuff in the sitting room, 

and I've been helping to home school them (why has no single one of our grandchildren's teachers, in five years, yet been able to distinguish between "practice" the noun and "practise" the verb? Biggest Granddaughter had a whole list of spelling words to "practice" writing in sentences today. I know Americans spell them the same way, which is very sensible, but we don't. Yet.)

We sent for new sledges. We're ready for you, next snow! But not till next year, please. 

I always read in the bath and a couple of days ago... the book suddenly tipped over and fell into the water. Ooops. It's not the first time but it doesn't happen very often. I used to have a good bath book-rack - oh well, all right, it was actually a soap-rack - but this became rather elderly and scruffy and I've never found another that fits properly, or at least not one for a non-ridiculous price. So I now use a cheap one that's slightly too small, so of course I don't balance the book on this (too liable to collapse) but on the edge of the bath. From where it tipped. Sorry, selected letters of Vanessa Bell. The book's still perfectly readable but I feel bad. 

Mr L showed a viewer round Daughter 2's Edinburgh flat today. I don't suppose he'll buy it but he seemed more interested than previous viewers. I hope he doesn't offer a ridiculous price, though, causing a dilemma. 

There are rumours that our Great Leader is contemplating easing restrictions, very slowly. But trips to London will probably not be on the cards for months. Maybe we'll be able to go as far as Son's house before that? Who knows? Sometimes it just seems too much to bear. And the days turn to weeks and the weeks turn to months and the months nearly add up to a year already. Devouring Time. I definitely need to start a quilt. 


Sunday, February 14, 2021

More snowsnowsnow

We've had a few beautiful days. On this one, we went up on the golf course and it was really lovely, if quite hard work, trudging upwards in deep snow. 

But worth it

for the colours 

and the general exhilaration of being among them. 

I'm making progress with the photos, indeed getting towards the end of the initial sorting-out. The experience is mixed: it's lovely to see the family history (this is my father with his two sisters) but also wistfulness-inducing. 

Sledging with the Edinburgh grandchildren, again on the golf course. Annoyingly, one of the new sledges we had sent for lasted 20 minutes before...

it broke. 

Yesterday we went down to check Daughter 2's Edinburgh flat and then walked along a cycle path, an old railway line, which had been cleared of snow - unlike the pavements, which are the lethal, icy result of trodden snow. Luckily it's much milder today so with any luck, the snow will melt and we'll be able to linger outside a bit more. We're still not allowed to meet with others inside unless for caring purposes. I'm looking forward to getting into the garden, with spring flowers. 

I'm wondering what to do with all my younger aunt's work references. I wonder why she kept them - maybe because they say nice things about her. Would descendants be interested in what people thought of their great-(however many times)-aunt? Maybe. The trouble is that once something's been kept for, in the case of this one, 70 years, it acquires a slightly sacrosanct quality. And by themselves they don't take up a lot of room. But then, nothing does by itself. 

I can't wait to be finished with this archiving and to be allowed (by me) to make a quilt. That would be such therapy. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Snowsnowsnowsnow and the virus

We don't generally get much snow in Edinburgh, despite being on much the same latitude as Moscow. But every few years we do get quite a bit, and this is one of these years. The last one was 2010, and then we got snow on and off throughout the winter, which was very memorable and thankfully hasn't happened this year. But at the moment, it's snowy. And I don't like it. It's pretty, but also very inconvenient, especially during this, the schools' mid-term week. Normally we could take the children to the museum or an art gallery or if nothing else a cafe. Now... it's snow or nothing. 

The main roads are all right. 

We do not live on a main road. This is our road. 

This is our garden. 

Our great (Scottish) leader has decided that passengers arriving at our airports from abroad will have to quarantine themselves in a hotel, at great expense to themselves. She hasn't, however, worked out how to stop them arriving in England, which hasn't instituted such a regime, and then travelling up to Scotland. One feels that this may happen.

I went to the dentist up town today. 

It was snowy there too. 

Altogether I'm finding it quite hard to maintain a jolly disposition. It's such a long time since we were able to see our lovely non-Edinburgh families and I see no prospect of this changing any time soon. We're very lucky to be able to see the Edinburgh one - and I'm grateful for that. But otherwise... . This is all a bit rubbish. 

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Happy birthday, Dad; and things you might not have predicted

This begonia semperflorens has bloomed since last spring, which is very cheerful of it. It's a bit leggy but bright, at least. In a few weeks I'll chop it back for cuttings. 

I've been going through photos again. This is my father's mother, who - unusually for a lady in her eighties in the 1960s - lived in Pakistan for a few years with my aunt, her daughter - who was a doctor there. 

Today is my father's 101st birthday. Here he is in a natty velvet suit with his little sister (who became the doctor in Pakistan). 

One of the problems is this huge album, which contains souvenirs from my parents' Golden Wedding dinner in their rather posh club. It contains the guest list, the menu signed by the guests, all the many cards they received, photos of flowers they received and of the guests at the party, my dad's speech... and so on. I had just decided to be ruthless and fillet it for a few things when Mr L said he thought I ought to keep in intact. So I did. For the moment. It's all rather sad, since their friends were on the whole rather successful and confident people and now they're all gone. Again - not sad really - everyone has to die - but. You know. Tempus fugit and all that. 

There were lots of letters, many of the less relevant of which I've firmly thrown out, but I've kept family ones such as this to me from my dad, in 1970 when I was in America. I had to look up who the Chancellor who died was (Iain MacLeod - I remember him vaguely). Poor old Barber (only just remember him, I fear), wasting his time (as it turns out) on EU negotiations. And people indeed don't send so many Christmas cards now - young people, anyway - but not so much because of the postage as because of other methods of communication, I think, not easy to predict in 1970.

Imagine Sir John having an £8000 car in 1970!

It snowed a bit earlier in the week and then it snowed A LOT. 

Big Grandson came for the day yesterday and I was just about to take him home at 7.30pm but then looked outside. I hadn't done so for a couple of hours, and it had snowed rather a lot and was still snowing heavily. I decided not to risk an hour's drive there and back, so he stayed the night. 

And by the morning...


He and Grandpa did some manly snow-clearing

and then Son-in-Law 1 brought Biggest Granddaughter over for the afternoon and they played outside for a while (and also inside in the warm). I'm glad they're getting this snow experience but I hope it doesn't last too long. I'm ready, SO ready, for spring. And some good news. The media keep telling us that the vaccine that we got doesn't work too well for over 70s - though there are other voices who tell us not to worry about this, for various scientific reasons. What can we do - but plod on?