Monday, August 30, 2021

The book of gold

It still says that comments on my blog will be moderated - I don't know how to remove this - but they won't be. Though moderation worked all right to begin with, it became a great nuisance because I kept being notified of all these idiot scammy things on ancient posts, which I then had to delete both from my emails and my comment list - and they hardly matter, really, because they're so old and I don't suppose anyone looks at them. But also, marking things as spam didn't stop the same names appearing again - presumably from a different, um, address. And then my computer started refusing to delete them from my comments list. So all in all, sorry if you come across stupid comments urging you to do illegal things. Don't do it. 

That was interesting, wasn't it? (No.) 

In pursuit of organising the archives, I came across this citation giving the reasons for my father's award, at the age of 21, of the George Medal - a highly prestigious thing. He was presented with it at Buckingham Palace by George V1. Honestly, we later generations have had it so easy. So easy. I don't remember seeing this piece of paper before. I was aware that he'd defused maybe one particularly interesting bomb to win the medal. But this - well... . He was a brilliant and multi-talented man and could be great fun, but he could also be very difficult from time to time and I wish now that I'd made more allowances in my judgement of him on those occasions. 

In my infinitely less worthwhile life, I picked the Edinburgh Two up from school, admiring the view of the hill from their playground. 

We walked in Saughton Park, admiring the late summer flowers. 

And we went up to Son's to celebrate his 37th birthday (my baby!) with the Edinburgh Two and their parents. We had a lovely day, walking up the hill, 

ploutering in the burn (the children, not me)

and enjoying the sunshine. 

Medium and Biggest Granddaughter enjoyed crafting together (aww), 

while Son allowed Big Grandson to mow his lawn and paid him £2 for his efforts. Big G was delighted!

So it was all very pleasant but I feel that Dad will have a more impressive entry in the afterlife Who's Who than I will, with my gardening, cake-making and quilts. It's somewhat depressing, though I suppose some of us have to wash the kitchen floor and do the dishes. Dad certainly didn't.... .


Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Degrees of separation

Now that the school holidays are over, I've got back to my parents' archives, specifically today my father's. Here are my parents, in the middle part of this photo, at a dinner in the 50s, looking (well, being) very young. I remember that dress of my mum's. It was a sheer chiffon with fine black lines on it - giving the impression of being grey - and it had crimson and dark grey spots on it, with a black velvet ribbon in a bow at the front. 

My dad was a mathematician and engineer, a very clever chap, and he rose to be quite prominent in business. Here are six years' worth of group photos of a works dinner dance, all in the same room with an extraordinary ceiling. I have no idea where this was. 

The photographer seems to have been keener to feature the ceiling than the people. I think the heraldic bit is just painted on, so I imagine it no longer exists. 

Then I came across this letter to my father from Max Born, a well-known German physicist who won the Nobel Prize for his work on quantum mechanics. He was also my dad's professor at Edinburgh in my dad's later stint at university - after his war service. By this date, 1948, my father was working at Ferranti Ltd and was asked to give a talk, as above. I wonder what servomechanism theory is.

I idly Googled Max Born and found to my considerable surprise that one of his grandchildren is Olivia Newton-John.

Now when he was young, Mr L had a soft spot for ON-J - not that amazingly, given that she was very pretty and smiley. Today, he Googled her and discovered that she'd been born the day before Max B wrote the letter. 

Just think - my dad knew her grandpa, though I doubt whether my father had ever heard of O N-J. Still, that's 3 degrees of separation, isn't it? Mr L, my Dad, Max Born, O N-J. Or is that 4? - not sure how you calculate it. Anyway, considerably fewer than I'd have thought this morning. 

Oh, the throwing-out decisions, though... . What to keep, what to keep? 


Friday, August 20, 2021

A part of the main


Last weekend, Daughter 2 and Littlest Granddaughter came up from London, which was lovely. We went to the playpark,

where fortunately Daughter 2 was able to climb up on this thing to help the little one down again. I would have found it rather tricky...

And we walked through the flowery bit of the park, 

admiring the herbaceous borders. I do like a good herbaceous border. 

Then we came home and little A washed the stones from the pebble pool,

as you do,

and played in the sandpit. And the Edinburgh cousins came round and it was all very lovely. Then Daughter 2 and Little A went away again, which was very unlovely. 

On Tuesday, the last day of the summer holidays, Mr Life took Big Grandson to the Glasgow transport museum by train and subway - very exciting if you like such things - while Big Granddaughter and I went to North Queensferry, on a different train, to visit Deep Sea World. 

We'd been before when she was tiny, but she didn't remember. As you might imagine, there were lots of fish

and a few seals. 

The last time we came here it was by car and we went straight to the car park, so I'd never actually wandered through the village before. It was quite historic and pretty. I've often been to South Queensferry (pay attention, now), which is on the Edinburgh side of the river, but this is North Queensferry, on the far side. It's all of about ten minutes from Edinburgh by train, so I don't know why we've never been before. I must return to have a further wander.  

If you look above the houses on the left, you can see the Forth (Rail) Bridge looming over them. 

And in this direction are the road bridges. 

We didn't drink from this spring. I'm sure it was fine in Queen Victoria's day and even now it would probably have been all right. On the other hand, it might not have been. 

And then we climbed up the rather steep road to the station. It was very nice to spend time with Biggest alone. And now she's back to school and in Primary 4 - so grown up! (Well, she's 8. Not really that grown up.)

Over in Angus, Medium Granddaughter is now at school. Which means that I'm five years older than I was when she was born. This is rather alarming. I wonder how many further sets of five years I have left? Who knows for whom the bell is about to toll..? Hmm. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Summery things

Goodness, what a lot of spammy comments are getting put on my old posts. Surely no one would ever fall for their ill-written suggestions that by clicking on a link, one would acquire untold wealth by illegal means that no one would ever find out about? Anyway, there's a certain satisfaction in zapping them. 

On Thursday, we went up to Son's house with Son-in-Law 1 and the Edinburgh Two. The cousins get on well together. Here they are in a crow's nest thing in a playpark.

And here are the boy cousins, leading the way up the hill beside Son's house. 

And here we are in a clearing in the wood. 

When we visited Melrose with the Edinburgh Two last week, the place we were for lunch offered Knickerbocker Glories, but everyone was too full after their first courses, so I promised to get the ingredients for them for the next time the children came to our house. When our own children were young, I hit on the excellent (in my modest opinion) idea for their parties of providing cheese and tomato pizzas and lots of toppings for the guests to construct their own pizzas, and also make-your-own Knickerbocker Glory kits. These were a) labour-saving and also b) very popular - if not c) very healthy. I did also supply salad and strawberries, but... you know. 

Anyway, we still had the glasses so I bought all the stuff and everyone had a happy time on Sunday making up their own KGs.  The photo below is perhaps not very suggestive of a wholesome meal but it was fun. Not to be repeated every week, though... . 

And ah... summer in the garden. 

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Spam, spam, spam, spam

At the weekend, we often go to the Botanics with the Edinburgh family. The wildflower meadow is looking good. 

As is the herbaceous border, though this is clearly the "hot" end, whose colours don't, in my opinion, go together very well. 

This is the "cool" end, 

which is perhaps prettier in close up.

This is another wildflower bit, where the poppies are doing well. 

On Monday, we took the train to the Borders - a line that Big Grandson has never been on - and then took a bus - a Borders Bus, very exciting - to Melrose. 

It's scenic round there.

We visited Melrose Abbey, bits of which date from the 1100s. Big Grandson was very interested in their drains. 

The Abbey Gardens were colourful, if a bit municipal. 

We had lunch. This took a long time to come, so we played Pictionary. The lunch was very good when it came. 

And then we got the bus and the train back home. 

And today we went to the trampoline centre and the children bounced. 

I'm enjoying their school holidays. 

I've now set comment moderation (well, my daughter has) with the annoying result that I'm informed when spam comments are put on ancient posts that I'm sure no one ever looks at - which is quite frequently. I still feel that I have to mark them as spam (take that, spammer) so it's a bit more time-consuming than I expected. Hey ho.