Thursday, April 29, 2021


Today we met up with Son-in-Law 1 and went for a walk up from Flotterstone, which is at the foot of the Pentland Hills on the outskirts of the city. This looks like a loch but is actually a reservoir. 

Fresh air, sheep, that sort of thing. All very splendid.

There were various chaps in little boats, fishing. Unsuccessfully, as far as we could see. It wasn't very warm - perfectly pleasant for walking but chilly for sitting still on the water, I'd think. 

There was a strong coconut (not vanilla, as I put before) smell from the gorse.  

Altogether it was a lovely morning. And then I went to the supermarket. You can't have everything. 

Yesterday, Son sent us a little video clip of Little Grandson - who will be 2 next month - at a garden centre. Specifically at the automatic sliding doors. This little chap was 9 months old at the beginning of the first lockdown, and lives half-way up a hill and half a mile out from a shopless village, so shops are a novelty to him, and automatic doors - woo! He ran outside, activating the doors, and then stood patiently waiting for them to shut again before running back in again. It was so cute! 

He's a beautiful child but as a result of lockdown, and also to some extent of his living some distance from us, I've hardly ever cuddled him - only a couple of times when he was a small baby and didn't have any discrimination. However, his big sister knows who we are and is accepting of us, so I'll just have to be patient and believe that we'll be able to establish some sort of relationship in time. 

As I said, you can't have everything.


Monday, April 26, 2021

This and that and more of this

The beautiful weather continued till today, when it was mainly dull with a chillyish wind. On Friday, as usual, the children came in the afternoon and they played with the pebble fountain. 

One day we climbed Corstorphine Hill, enjoying the signs of spring 

and the views over the city. 

It's been so dry! Look at the dust-bowl paths. 

This is a translation into Lowland Scots of a poem about a snow leopard (or snow ghost, as the poet says here) which was in the paper on Saturday. I understand every word but use very few of them, so I imagine my children don't understand every word. Look, "plootering" - I used "ploutering", which is a variant spelling, in a blog post the other day. I should make a conscious effort to use more of these words, such as "stravaig", which means - oh, it's hard to find an English equivalent. It means wandering around but with an element of strutting - but more aimlessly and less confidently than strutting implies. And "cranreuch", which means so cold that it makes you shrivel away. A lot of the words are just Scots versions of the Anglo-Saxon or Norse words which have developed differently in standard English, so "wame" means stomach or womb - womb here, in its comforting sense - and "Ma whalpin wis byornar" means that his birth (whelping) was extraordinary - beyond ordinary.

Oh, the cherry blossom, or gean flooers. 

I don't know a Scots word for daffodils but aren't they pretty? Most daffodils are over now but these in the Botanics are particularly late-flowering. 

But here are the grandweans at the Botanics yesterday. They were pretending to film for their imaginary YouTube channel. Grandlad made Grandlass do several takes, coming round a bush doing a piece to camera. They took it very seriously. There was no actual camera but you can see him holding up his imaginary one while she comes into shot. 

We met a very friendly squirrel who probably hoped that we had some nuts for him. Or her. Unfortunately we didn't. 

Here's his/her friend, sitting on a sprouting gunnera.

Granddaughter likes to choose her own clothes these days. I don't personally feel that her pink top goes with her scarlet shorts, but didn't say so. Grandson, according to Son-in-Law, has even less interest in clothes than SIL does, and puts on what he's given without comment. 

Today - tadada! - I actually had some friends round for coffee - first a group of four and then later one friend. We were going to sit in the garden, abiding by the rules, but in fact it wasn't sunny today and was rather cold so we sat in the sitting room with the patio door open. Sort of like a gazebo, we reasoned. We've all been vaccinated and sat at least two metres apart from one another. It was very nice indeed to catch up with the news!

I'm nearing the end of the quilting of the ice cream quilt and once it's bound I must get back to the archives. And visit a charity shop with the stuff we've piled up in a bedroom. Clutter - hate it!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Easing of the restrictions...

So joy of joys, we went up on Sunday to visit Son and family, and the Edinburgh family came too. As luck would have it, the weather ceased being beautiful for that one day; however, it wasn't really cold so it didn't matter, though we're not allowed to go inside anyone's house. Middle Granddaughter, who with her little brother hadn't seen us since October, came rushing out shouting "Granny!" and flung herself into my arms, which was SO lovely! Little Grandson, who's not quite 2, was slightly shy for the first 30 seconds but was then fine. The children had a happy time playing in Daughter-in-Law's nice sister's garden at first - nice sister, who has no children, is a very doting auntie and has a huge trampoline in her garden for the children, so the Edinburgh Two had a lovely time playing on that with their cousins. 

We went to Son's for lunch and then took a walk up the hill a bit. 

where they all had a good time...

ploutering in the burn (ie messing about in the stream). 

So that was wonderful. Then yesterday we looked after the Edinburgh Two, not yet back at school after the Easter holidays. We walked by the river - 

- hello, swans - 

and the children scrambled on trees

and then we came home and played in the lovely sunshine (it came back) and had a game of Scrabble. They're getting so grown up! (sometimes). 

And yesterday we also got our second vaccines and then today we had our hair cut so - progress! 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Beautiful weather for a funeral

We were checking Daughter 2's Edinburgh flat the other day and took a walk down to Newhaven. The weather has been so beautiful this week - unbroken sunshine and blue skies, though with a slight frost overnight. 

I would hate not to live near the sea. 

Today was the funeral of Prince Philip and we decided to watch it. We're not particular royalists, though by the time you've got to our age you realise that there's something to the argument about continuity. I've just checked: in my lifetime there have been fifteen Prime Ministers - they come and go with what seems like increasing speed - and only the one queen, who has been very faithful to the duties wished upon her. Well, there was a king for the first two years of my life but I don't remember him. So the Duke of Edinburgh has been visibly around for all of my life (and indeed for some time before it) and now he isn't. So it seemed significant. 

And I'm glad we did because it was so strange. The soldiers were socially distanced and looked like toys set out by a little boy.

Those carrying the coffin wore masks. I was so nervous that they might drop it, but thankfully they didn't. 

I felt sorry for those ordinary people, born to be unordinary but with very human problems - how dreadful to be them, despite their huge wealth. Imagine all that scrutiny when you were mourning the loss of your father or grandfather. 

And in the chapel, the little Queen, who looked for the first time quite doddery, sat alone, quite distant from her family - who in their turn were distanced from each other, and masked. They had to conform to the rules but it seemed so weird and cruel. It's happened to a lot of others, of course, but for those others it wasn't beamed round the world. 

The music at the service was beautiful. I particularly loved William Lovelady's setting of Psalm 104, which I've listened to several times since the funeral. It was sung by four, distanced singers with such wonderful voices. Do Google it if you like music.

Meanwhile, in my garden, spring continues. And tomorrow we're going up with the Edinburgh family to visit Son and his family in Angus. Our First Minister has given us permission - a week earlier than expected. There's an election coming up but only a cynic would suspect a connection... . I'm feeling excited but nervous, in case it doesn't go as well as I hope. It's six months since the children have seen any of us. 


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Adventures in time of Covid

Outdoor facilities are open again and so, during the Easter holidays, we've been taking advantage of this and the amazingly good weather. On Saturday I took the Edinburgh grandchildren to Weehailes (the somewhat cringeworthy name of the adventure playground at Newhailes House) and they had fun playing in the house-type-things, 

swinging on the zip line

and walking along the walkways. 

On Sunday we all went to the gardens of Lauriston Castle, from where we were driven by a sudden shower of snow - which didn't last. 

(This was pre-snow.)

Yesterday we went to Conifox, where there was this bouncy thing,

go-karts and various other activities - all jolly fun -

and today Son-in-Law 1 and I took them to Dalkeith Country Park adventure playground. 

This all went well until the end, when for a short while we lost Big Granddaughter. It's one of those places with large wooden buildings with internal stairs and slides, wobbly bridges and more than one exit, and it's hard to keep track of the children without following them into these non-adult-friendly places, but the kids stuck together and there were no problems. Then we were sitting at a picnic table fifteen minutes before the park closed at lunchtime, and they went for a final play in this house that we could see from where we were sitting. And then Big Grandson came out and Big Granddaughter didn't. Anyway, we did find her, but not before the park officials had asked what she was wearing, and SIL 1 and I went...umm. (We are not clothes people.) Then I remembered that she had on a white t-shirt with Lego people on it and I was about to say that I thought she had black trousers, when SIL 1 opined that she was wearing rainbow striped leggings and I thought, oh well, maybe. 

Afterwards, I realised that we should have said that she had bunches with big yellow fluffy balls on them and wore glasses - this might have been more striking. (And actually she was wearing black trousers with coloured stripes down the side. The rainbow leggings were yesterday.) And later Daughter 1 pointed out that I'd taken photos of her so I could have just looked at them... . 

Anyway, that was a bit stressful and I have come to the conclusion that I'm not a quick thinker in a crisis and that I should pay more attention to what people are wearing. 


Thursday, April 08, 2021

Life is so full of a number of things, if not precisely the things one would choose

Life is full of activity, despite what you might expect from two pensioners in lockdown. This was the part of the study behind me as I type - after Mr L had cleared his desk and the filing cabinet, and then various things had got put on the desk because it was a convenient empty surface, the way that things do. Then we got someone to come and take away the cabinet and someone else claimed the desk but wasn't coming to get it yet, so Mr L disassembled the desk and put it into the sitting room so that he could assemble the new bunk beds. 

Then I started sifting through my dad's archives again and found this - Edinburgh University Student Handbook, 1946. Why did you keep this, Dad? As you can see above, hints for students may have changed slightly in tone since then, though the advice is sound enough in general. What did girls do in their spare time?

Oh, this. This is from the section on the Women's Union. Let's forget about being ambitious, girls, and rejoice in our womanliness. Well, why not? 

I rather like this, from the Congregational Students' Society. Inactive but varied. 

Our lives are fairly varied - within limits. For example, one can pick a nice little bunch of flowers from the garden

and go to the Botanics, which is full of rhododendron frilliness. 

Meanwhile, Mr L satisfied himself that his measuring was correct and he would indeed have to move the four (narrow) Billy bookcases one inch to the left. (This is one end of the new bunks.)

While in my own archives, I came across this newspaper photo of my friend Dorothy in a report of her death in Brussels at the age of 23. She was walking along a pavement and a car swerved and hit her. She was one of my best friends from the age of 5 and I often think about her, and about all that she's missed. Another friend had been killed in a car accident the previous year, also aged 23, so that was a grim period and a fairly early lesson about the frailty of life. 

Back in the study, Mr L - and to some extent, I - emptied the bookcases, which made the sitting room look like this for a while. Thankfully, someone collected the desk and now the contents of the bookcases are back again, some of them having been disposed of in the meantime. 

While Son-in-Law 1 helped with the final stages of putting the bunks together, I took Big Grandson on a tram ride - very exciting for this public-transport-addicted 9-year-old who's had to go cold turkey for the past year. We rode out to the airport, which was deserted. 

I bought him a packet of crisps from a vending machine. He read the slogan. "Come on, crisps," he said. "Impress me." Then we rode back into town and got a bus home. Woo hoo. 

And look - bunks in place of the desk and filing cabinet. Not so useful for doing one's paperwork, but more useful for storing grandchildren. 

One can dream.