Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Busy times

On Sunday and Monday the Edinburgh Two were here and worked together on the recently-neglected Brio. Big Granddaughter took an unusually active part in the construction for a while, 

but then she lost herself in a pile of vintage Beanos.

Later on, she wanted to make a dress for her doll. I'm not much of a dressmaker and she's not much of a needlewoman (yet) but Mr L had recently discarded a pair of pyjamas, so we took the bottom of one leg, gathered it with elastic, added ribbons and hey presto, a sundress. A very simple one! She did do at least some of the sewing. 

In the end, the layout spread from the kitchen

through the dining room,

into the back hall,

round the chest of drawers,

performing a loop to get it up and over the threshold bar,

into the sitting room and

into the main layout. It was a lot of work.

Meanwhile in the garden, 





Thursday, June 24, 2021

The joys of walking

On Saturday, o joy of joys, we had the first expedition since February 2020 with our walking group friends. We met at the Roman Bridge in Musselburgh, just outside Edinburgh to the east. It's not really Roman, but the Romans did build a bridge on this site in about 100 AD. They then packed up and went home after a few centuries, and the bridge was getting a bit decrepit around 1300 so was rebuilt. This version dates only from 1597. 

We walked through the village of Inveresk, stopping at St Michael's Church, where we met a girl with a bunny on a lead (not a common sight) and looked at some gravestones. This one has iron bars across it, presumably to guard against grave-robbers, who were still around in - or at least shortly before - 1836, when this person died. Burke and Hare, infamous in Edinburgh for murdering 16 people when they couldn't find enough graves to rob in order to supply bodies for medical dissection, were doing this in 1828.

And then we just walked on, chatting a lot. We were in two groups, about 10 minutes apart, to be a bit more Covid aware.


And who could help admiring this hedge, cut into an engine and an elephant to the right of the gate

and a pig, a teddy and a dog on the left? 

We only walked about five miles and it was all very ordinary but after the year and a bit we've all had, it was also WONDERFUL.


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

The man on the roof

We have been rather busy. The Unbloggables (Son and family) came to visit us from Wednesday to Saturday last week, which was so lovely. I don't think they've ever stayed so long - certainly not since Little Grandson (now 2) was born and I don't think they've stayed more than one night at a time since Middle Granddaughter (5 come August) was on the scene. It was very nice indeed, but they're an active family and not that easy for us to keep up with. One day we went along the nearby cycle path, above. Both children have inherited their parents' agility - nature or nurture or a mixture of both? They live in the country and so there's nothing much to do nearby except walking and playparking - and then, of course, Covid has meant no outings to the nearby city. 

Little Grandson is a great tractor/digger enthusiast (of course he's had no access to public transport in his lifetime). We went to see the trams and trains near us. "What's a tram?" asked Medium Granddaughter. 

Another day we went to the Zoo. 

The pair of them enjoyed playing with Big Grandson's Brio, which he's suddenly grown out of (sob). 

We went to the Botanics. This is an adorable photo (take my word for it) of them sitting on a branch. 

And on Friday the Edinburgh Two came and they all played very nicely together. 

And Son very decently agreed to go up on the kitchen roof and clean our two skylights. This is not a task which has tempted Mr L or me recently. We would have to climb up a ladder, but Son swarmed up via a fence. 

The children are so lovely. Middle Granddaughter is extremely affectionate and gives us wonderful cuddles and Little Grandson, though understandably more circumspect, got quite used to us after a while. Can't wait to see them again!

And yesterday we changed all the beds and washed the towels and so on. The paddling pool is put away and so are some of the toys. I shall now go and tackle the rest. 


Monday, June 14, 2021


When we decided to have this little holiday, Mr Life suggested that we go to Kenmore on Loch Tay and stay in what claims to be Scotland's oldest inn, dating from 1572. Mr L's Great Aunt Agnes lived in Kenmore, and he and his parents and grandparents used to go and spend the Easter holidays with her. Her husband had been the postmaster in the village but Mr L never knew him. 

We hadn't been to Kenmore for years.

There's not much to the village but it and the countryside are rather scenic. This was the view from our bedroom and there's not a lot more - another street and some individual houses round the loch, some of which look like holiday homes. As with other Scottish villages, it used to be in a slightly different place till 1540, when the local laird (lord) decided to build himself a castle and (as you do) moved the village out of the way. The street in the photo above is later, though. The 3rd Earl of Breadalbine built it as a model village to house his workers around 1760. 

A modern extension has been built on the back - this is the view of Loch Tay from the dining room. The bridge was built in 1774. 

Just across the road from the hotel is the church. Aunt Agnes was friendly with the minister and his family; and Mr L used to go around with the minister's sons when he was up there.  

This is Aunt Agnes's house - it was rented. We have a table that used to be hers - she married late and had no children. 

Here's Aunt Agnes, on the left, with her four sisters and their mother. (I don't feel the fashions are the most flattering ever.) Mr L's granny is second from the right. She always used to talk about the five sisters and the different lives they had - in birth order Agnes, Jean, Jess, Mary (Mr L's Granny) and Barbara. They'd all died by the time I came along except Granny, who lived to 99. Or in fact, the first time I was in Kenmore was just after Aunt Agnes died and Mr L's parents were clearing the house. 

We walked round the churchyard to see if Aunt Agnes was buried there. Mr L didn't remember. If you have to be dead, this would be a nice peaceful place to lie. 

And we found Aunt Agnes. 

Mr L uploaded this photo to one of those family tree sites and the very strange thing is that the site then proposed another sister, Christina. We assumed that this was a mistake - the five Bayne sisters were such a fixture in our minds - but on further investigation on the internet, Mr L found her. The poor little thing, the youngest of the family, died at 8 months of "measles and general debilitation" when Mr L's granny was four. I suppose it's possible that Granny had forgotten about her but Aunt Agnes was 11 when Christina died. Mr L's mother died in 1991 but her brother is still alive and had never heard of this sixth sister of his mother's. Different times, I suppose - but it seems so sad that she was apparently never spoken of. I wonder what she would have done with her life. Two of the sisters didn't marry and Aunt Agnes had no offspring - they were of the generation whose potential husbands died in World War One. Maybe Christina would have produced more cousins - but it wasn't to be. 

Anyway, we had a lovely relaxing time revisiting old haunts and beautiful gardens.  

Friday, June 11, 2021


We've just come back from a couple of days in Kenmore, on Loch Tay, and on the way there went to Branklyn Gardens in Perth, where as we knew there are the most beautiful blue poppies - as well as lots of other flowering plants. 

So this is a rather one-subject post, 

but I took so many photos of them 

(these are a small sample)

that I just thought

I'd devote a post to them. (Pity about that orange rhododendron.)

So here they are. 

Aren't they lovely? 

My own three plants are a bit feeble in comparison.

But if I live another thirty years or so I might get this effect. I think the variety here might be my favourite. 


Monday, June 07, 2021

Grandchildren, grandchildren, grandchildren

They were here and we did all sorts of things that didn't, if possible, involve transport because poor Littlest Granddaughter throws up in all moving vehicles. This day - above - we managed to get to the Botanics without incident, but on the way back - very messy incident. Ah well. 

On Friday afternoons, we always have the Edinburgh Two. Daughter 2 took the day off work and organised fun and games in the garden. She's a sweetheart. 

The Edinburgh Two are so nice with their little cousin, who thinks they're wonderful. 

At the weekend, joy of joys, Son and family came down and we had all five grandchildren together, as well as all three children and two of their spouses. It wasn't restful but it was so lovely. Here are the three littlest playing in the sandpit...

and here they are having a tea party. 

We went to the Botanics another day and actually managed to do it without any vomiting. It's mecanopsis time. 

Aren't they beautiful?

And another day we walked to the Landform and had coffee and cake. Very nice and almost normal.

But on Saturday, actor son-in-law had a real live theatre performance with his company and then afterwards one of them tested positive for Covid. Which is a real pain, because today, Daughter 2 and Littlest left to go down to Center Parcs to meet up with his parents - and SIL 2 couldn't join them because he has to quarantine for 10 days. He was supposed to be bringing stuff with him, so Daughter 2 had to go into town yesterday to buy things such as swimsuits to take to CP. And when we went for the train at 11 this morning, some poor soul had jumped on the line somewhere in England, so we had to queue for over two hours with thousands of other people under a glass roof in the sunshine till the line was cleared (there's a euphemism for you) and trains could arrive. Littlest Granddaughter was remarkably good but Daughter 2 must have been exhausted by the time she got to Sherwood Forest. Her parents-in-law are both disabled so they won't be able to help much - at all, really - with Littlest during their four days away. 

I realise that people who throw themselves under trains aren't thinking rationally, but this does happen quite often and it causes such inconvenience and, I'm sure, horrible stress for the drivers of the relevant trains and those who have to deal with the physical aftermath. It's a terrible way to kill yourself - maybe quick and effective for the suicide but far from easy for anyone else. 

I'm missing them horribly but looking forward to a bit of a rest... .