Saturday, July 31, 2021


The other day we took the Edinburgh grandchildren on a train across the Firth of Forth to Kirkcaldy (pronounced Kir-coddy). In fact, the journey entailed a bus and a train in both directions - both quite exciting for children who have been very little on either in the past 16 months (though Gramps in Worcester did take Big Grandson on various modes of transport when the family was down in Worcester recently). Here we are crossing the Forth Bridge. 

When we arrived in Kirkcaldy, I was just taking a nice photo of them in front of a flower bed when Grandson's eye was caught by an interesting bus. So we went and looked at it. 

After lunch, we walked to Beveridge Park, where they had a play. 

Then we returned home. 

Yesterday we went to Weehailes adventure park

and then came to our house, where they played in the sandpit for quite a long time. "I'm going to create a geothermal power plant," said Grandson. "I'm making pretend ice creams," said Granddaughter. 

They have different interests. 

The garden blooms on. It's so hard to imagine winter at this time of year. 

Thank you for your interesting comments, such as Virginia's, where she says that New Zealand is having difficulties with supply issues at the moment. Here, one hears on the news that many people are being "pinged" by the app that alerts us to having been near someone who's tested positive for Covid, and that this is causing shortages in the workforce because people are self-isolating. Thus deliveries aren't happening and hospitality venues are short-staffed. But we haven't noticed problems. I was at the supermarket today and the shelves were full. 

And SuziS told me about mall-walking, which people in the US do (evidently) in too-hot or too-cold weather. How interesting. I don't think that ever happens here. You must have big malls in America. Here, you wouldn't get more than about five minutes' walking from one end to the other. But then we don't need to do this because on the whole our weather is fine for walking - as long as you have the right clothes. This sometimes also involves an umbrella. 

I'm becoming irritated by the automatic comments I'm getting, inviting one to do criminal things involving credit cards. Maybe I'll have to activate comment approval (though only if I can get Daughter 1 to fix this for me). Ho hum. 


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Out and about

On Monday we went up town to the rebuilt shopping centre at the east end of Princes Street, the main shopping street in Edinburgh. Or - it was the main shopping street. Currently it's quite a sad sight, since there are many empty shops - some having gone to the wall during Covid, and some having notices in their windows saying that they've moved to the St James's Quarter - the new shopping centre above, which has very recently opened.

The shopping centre is ... fine in its way. Smart. But it could be anywhere, couldn't it? (Not that I've been everywhere. But it's very anodyne.) Princes Street, by contrast, has the beautiful view of the Castle and Gardens on one side and could be nowhere but Edinburgh. Really, Edinburgh planners? You think this is a good idea? 

We went to the revamped John Lewis to buy a large cushion but they didn't have any large enough. Then we inspected the fabrics because I think it's (more than) time to retire my 32-year-old kitchen curtains - but there were very few rolls, mainly just samples of sitting-roomy ones on hangers. 

However, before I turn into Old Mrs Total Grump (things ain't what they used to be) here's a photo of the real flowers in the John Lewis coffee room, which is much better than their previously revamped one, in which you had to stand in one queue for a beverage, another for food and a third to pay.  

Their new wall-covering doesn't seem likely to last well, though. (I didn't do this!)

The Edinburgh family is back from down south so we've been having a nice time with the children, for example at the local (to them) playpark yesterday and the local (to us) tram station (with views of trains) today. 

Big Granddaughter and I left the boys to their vehicle-spotting and walked home. She inspected all the gardens along the way, awarding them imaginary grades: a token for making a bit of an effort, a certificate for doing a reasonable job, and then first, second and third prizes for the best three. That's my girl. 


Thursday, July 22, 2021

Ah well

The late summer flowers are brightening the garden, such as this leucanthemum - just a daisy, really, but so pretty. It's still hot. 

On Tuesday we went up to visit Son and family. He got out the water slide for his two little ones

and they had a fine time. They are very lovely.

The countryside was looking nice but it's a long way to drive, on big scary roads. I'm somewhat phobic about big roads and always expect to die in a flaming pile-up. 

I'm allowed to take photos of their cat. 

Back home, we had friends for the day today after a long Covid gap, and that was lovely. In the evening I went for a wander along this track, admiring the rosebay willowherb and but glad it wasn't growing in my garden. It's very pretty but a prolific seeder. 

It's taller than me now. (This is not a huge feat.)

Summer is wearing away. It's now getting darkish by about 9pm. 

I always feel sad for a few days after we've seen one of the absent offspring. It's sometimes hard to believe that they'll never live near us again. But of course they won't. I do hate when people say to me - as they do - "Well, they could be in Australia." Not being stupid, I do know that, and yes, of course that would be worse. But presumably they think that this will cheer me up. And it doesn't. 


Monday, July 19, 2021

Too hot!

The children are on holiday from school, and since Son-in-Law 1 has a chronic illness and Daughter 1 works full-time, we're seeing a lot of them. We walked from their house along to Dr Neil's Garden, on the shores of Duddingston Loch. 

There are views of the hill and of the loch. This is all inside the city, not far from the centre. 

I'm not sure where these geese thought they were going but they seemed very purposeful.

Another day we had lunch in a beach-side cafe and then

they played in the sand. This was the start of major engineering works designed by Big Grandson. 

On Saturday, which was very hot, Mr L and I went with our walking friends round/up the hill - the same one that you can see from Dr Neil's Garden. The pink flowers are rosebay willowherb, a fearful weed really, but very pretty. 

Here's Duddingston Loch again, seen from above, 

and there are the distant Pentland Hills just on the other side of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh is a very green city. Can you see the stable block of the Prestonfield Hotel? - the round building. It's now roofed over and used for events. The hotel itself, built in 1657, used to be a private house. It's the white building, behind and to the left of the stables, on the other side of some trees. 

It was a lovely day out with our friends but it was really too hot* for stravaiging around and we were somewhat exhausted and toasted by the end of it. We only walked about 6 miles but they were quite uppy-downy miles and as the sun beat down, the Factor 50 got wiped off our sweaty faces. 

And then later on Saturday, Daughter 1 and family came to tea because it was Big Grandson's 10th birthday. Double figures! Daughter 1 made him an excellent cake, featuring a cityscape (as requested). 

The children stayed the night, and the next morning we went for a walk to the tram station. You can see trains from there too. Exciting! (I'm told.)

And so the time passes busily away. They're now down in Worcester, visiting Son-in-Law's family. So we have a more peaceful week - though so far I've had some friends of mine for coffee today, we went out for a meal with Mr L's cousin this evening, we're visiting Son tomorrow and then on Thursday - momentously - we're having friends over for the day whom we haven't seen since the end of 2019 because of the pandemic. They live over in the west. So, not that peaceful. 

(*By "too hot", I mean 25C / 77F. I realise that this isn't hot by some standards, but we're delicate British flowers who aren't designed for heat, especially when climbing hills.)


Monday, July 12, 2021


Daughter 2 and Littlest Granddaughter have been here. Littlest and Biggest washed some stones - as you do. Then we all went up to stay in two lodges at Crieff Hydro: our three children, their children and spouses (except Son-in-Law 2, who was working); and also my brother, his wife and their two offspring. 

The cousins had a great time playing together. They are almost 10, 8, almost 5, 3 and three-quarters and 2. The 10- and 2-year-olds are boys and the three middle ones are girls, and the little ones regarded the big ones as very desirable companions, which the big ones were very patient about, all things considered. I took lots of lovely photos which I can't use here because of the unbloggable nature of Son's children. 

I sometimes had to remind myself for a second who belonged to whom. For example, this is Son with Daughter 2's little one. 

And this is Son-in-Law 1, reading to Daughter 2's and Son's daughters. 

There was a lot of swimming and some playparking and a visit to the new Adventure Glen, which was popular. Here, Middle Granddaughter showed Littlest Granddaughter how to bounce. 

and Biggest Granddaughter climbed the climbing wall. You wouldn't have got me doing that when I was 8, or, come to that, at any age. 

Here they all are enjoying an ice cream. 

This is the view from our lodges. I love this town and the Perthshire countryside. I first came here when I was 3 - 68 years ago.

It was all very lovely and heartwarming to see them all together, and also fairly exhausting - probably for everyone. 

And then we came home and on Sunday we went to the Botanics, when Middle Granddaughter demonstrated her gymnastic skills to Littlest. I fear that she hasn't got too many gymnastic genes to help her, but she makes up for this with enthusiasm. 


Saturday, July 03, 2021

Time passes pleasantly

The other grandparents have been visiting the Edinburgh family this week so we didn't see them yesterday as we usually do. We've had a week of doing bits and pieces - the garden, getting the air conditioning in the car refilled, that sort of thing. One day we climbed the hill in hot (for Scotland) sunny weather. 

Can you see the sea? Not the Mediterranean, no, but just as blue. 

And then we sat on the handy bench to catch our breath, and looked down over the golf course towards the unmistakable skyline of the city, 

before proceeding down the other side of the hill. 

The foxgloves

are beautiful

at this time of year.

Mind you, my peonies aren't bad either. 

The middle bit of this was an experiment for a quilt. I later decided on yellow stars. Biggest Granddaughter decided to use this patch as a bedcover for her toy guinea pig. So I said I'd put borders on it and make it into a little quilt. 

Which I did, yesterday, when the Edinburgh Two would normally be with us. There seemed to be lots of extra time in the week. Of course I expected the mini-quilt to take a couple of hours and it took, probably, four. But that was fine. 

And then today, Daughter 2 and this little person came up from London. I got such a lovely greeting from her at the station - she ran and flung herself into my arms. Love her!