Thursday, December 30, 2021

Goodbye, 2021

Well, this Christmas doesn't take its place among the most stellar ever, I have to say. On the day itself the Edinburgh family came, which was very nice. Here is Biggest Granddaughter wearing her Batman onesie and reading a book - her favourite activity. But neither Daughter 1 nor Big Grandson was very well (not Covid, just a bad fluey cold/cough) and Grandson is far from recovered even now. 

However, the real problem has been with Daughter 2 and family. Her parents-in-law live in a small house, so when they want to see the family for any length of time, everyone goes to Center Parcs, not far from where SIL2's parents live. Daughter 2 was dubious about this because of Covid, but both her parents-in-law are disabled and use mobility scooters, so Center Parcs is good for them.  They've had a pretty isolated time since the first lockdown. Also, Daughter 2's husband's sister and BIL moved to Norway with their children in the spring (BIL is Norwegian). So this was a big family reunion.

Everyone lateral-flowed themselves multiple times, Daughter 2 kept Littlest Granddaughter off nursery for ten days to avoid infection and they stayed mainly in their flat. Littlest is exceedingly motion sick, especially in a car, so SIL2 took a taxi, with all their stuff and Christmas presents, from their suburb to King's Cross Station, while Daughter 2 and Littlest went by tube. Then they travelled by train to the nearest station and got a lift to Center Parcs from SIL's sister. The Norwegian lot had flown over, spent two days in a hotel till they got their PCR results and finally they all met up at Center Parcs on Thursday, for a week. Then on Friday, SIL2 became ill and tested positive for Covid. And on Saturday, Christmas Day, Daughter 2 tested positive and on Boxing Day, Littlest did.

So obviously they had to go home. But now they couldn't go home by train because they had Covid. So they had to wait till things opened up on Sunday, hire a car (SIL2's s sister had to hire it because neither Daughter 2 nor her husband could go to the hire place) Daughter 2 was named as the other driver, and she had to drive them home in the dark (so that Littlest was asleep and thus not vomiting). Meanwhile the rest of the family had to go home on Monday before they came down with it. The timing of it all could hardly have been worse.

And by now they've almost all tested positive. 

And this is with all the adults triple-vaccinated. Though fortunately, so far none of them is particularly ill - just feeling very tired and as if they have a really bad cold. 

So that cast a blight - obviously over their Christmas but also over ours - we were so upset for them and so worried about them. I hate my beloved people travelling by car, especially ill and in the dark. However, everyone did get safely home and they're all now isolating. 

Which means, of course, that Daughter 2 isn't, as planned, coming up here for New Year for our family reunion - which isn't happening at all because Son feels he shouldn't come down either - we're again limited to three households meeting up and, being a doctor, he really doesn't want to complicate life by getting Covid. 

Ah well, ah well, there are much worse things happening to other people. But one is - everyone is - rather fed up with yet more restrictions to normal life. Presumably we'll all get Covid in the end, anyway. But it's as well not to get it while the NHS is overburdened by the non-vaccinated becoming ill and needing hospitalisation. I wish everyone would just get the jab - or, as we tend to say in Scotland, the jag.

At least the Botanics aren't shut (yet) so we went the other day and admired their wicker decorations. There are 12 of these, such as...

one for twelve drummers drumming,

one for ten lords a-leaping,

eight maids a-milking

and five gold rings. Aren't they lovely? 

And I've been trying to improve the not-so-shining hour by making two quilts at once for the new bunks in the study, bought for when we have the whole family here. Oh, the irony. 

But we do have the Edinburgh lot, which is lovely. We went for a walk yesterday in Inverleith Park. It was a trifle dreich but we had a nice time. 

There was a heron, whose stance suggested that he was a bit fed up too. 

Ah well, onwards and upwards to a new year. And if you sing "Auld Lang Syne" - this is becoming an annual reminder - don't pronounce it "Zyne"! Just sing it like "sign". It means "since" or "then" - "old times long since". Not zince. 

Happy New Year to all readers, whether lurkers or commenters. Let's hope that 2022 is a better one! Please!

Friday, December 24, 2021

Ding dong fairly merrily

Yesterday we went up to see Son and family, through thick mist and light rain - not ideal driving conditions. Here we are going over the Queensferry Crossing. 

And we went for a muddy walk (or, in the children's case, cycle) through woodland which had suffered considerably in Storm Arwen, a few weeks ago.

And it was lovely to be with them. With this Omicron Covid and impending restrictions, I'm not sure when we'll see them again. They're supposed to be coming down for New Year but ... hmm. 

Still, it's Christmas, and while it's not the best Christmas ever, we'll see the Edinburgh family tomorrow so we shouldn't really complain. Especially as something really tragic happened to one family in Son's tiny village, a few days ago. I won't go into details so as not to spoil your Christmas but let's say it's made me grateful for my blessings. 

So happy Christmas and (when have I written this before???) let's hope for better things in the New Year. Surely? 


Wednesday, December 22, 2021


It's 3.13am. I haven't been asleep and am wide awake. I've tried reading; I've tried getting up and having a cup of tea; I've been listening to the radio on headphones - why is there nothing soothing on during the night? - and now I've got up again. There's no particular reason for my sleeplessness. I've never been a good sleeper but can usually drop off eventually, though always have periods of wakefulness as well. 

So I'm in the study, doing this. I know that screens aren't supposed to induce sleep but one has to do something. 

It doesn't help that I have to get up fairly early to go to the supermarket and was lying thinking that I must get to sleep. But the mind churns on. 

The Edinburgh family have all had a terrible cold but we've all been PCRd and it's not Covid, just a bad cold. 

We did, however, go to the Botanics on Sunday for some fresh air where we couldn't infect anyone. 

But generally there's nothing much happening. We're all holding our breath to see where the pandemic is going this time. This is our dining room - the Christmas stained glass tree box is underneath the lamp, the penguins are sitting in a row in front of the television, cards from the grandchildren are on display and various Christmas preparations are going ahead. We've been assured that things aren't exactly going to be cancelled before Christmas but then after that... well, they're not saying. 

Daughter 2 and family are supposed to be going to Center Parcs on Thursday to spend Christmas with her in-laws. Her sister-in-law and family, who live in Norway, are now in Britain, have passed their PCR tests and are ready to join them. Will Center Parcs stay open for the full week? Will Daughter 2 and her little one get up to Edinburgh to spend New Year with us? Will Son and family be allowed to join us? Ho hum.

Daughter 2 and her husband, having sold their flat in London, have now had an offer tentatively accepted on a house. In Scotland, you offer to buy a house and if your offer is accepted, that's it. Surveys have already been done, the solicitor is instructed and things trundle ahead. But in England it's all much slower and things can easily go wrong. For example, the sellers aren't taking the house off the market until Daughter 2's buyer has done the search and survey. Which he's now started to do, but on the other hand it's Christmas so nothing will happen. Meanwhile someone else might offer for the house that Daughter 2 wants. So... Hmm. 

Meanwhile we had the Edinburgh family round and we played Ludo. I can remember playing Ludo with one of my grannies - the one I hardly knew because she went to Cheltenham, quite far south in England, when I was four or five. But on this occasion she was visiting us - a very rare occurrence - and my brother was ill in bed, and we sat on the bed and played Ludo. I don't really remember much else about that granny, which is quite sad. 

Now it's 3.35am and though I'm still not in the least sleepy, I've got to that stage of feeling stupid and am making lots of typing mistakes. Back to bed. I really must get some sleep.

Friday, December 17, 2021

It's not really beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

This isn't the worst thing that's happening in the world but it's slightly tedious. 

In May, we ordered loose covers for two sofas and a footstool. A chap came and measured up and then we waited a long time - till September - because the fabric we'd chosen was out of stock. But then a lady came and fitted it, and it was all fine except the footstool. She tugged the cover down and then she went away and it sprang up again and was like this. 

So we phoned up and she came back and agreed that it was too short, and she took it away - and that was still September. 

And today - 17 December - another cover or perhaps the altered cover arrived by post and it was like this. Much too long. Now, I could possibly shorten it myself but a) my sewing machine works pretty well on quilting cotton but I think it might have a hairy fit if asked to sew through two layers of this thick velvety fabric and b) I would have to find thread of exactly the right colour and c) we paid a lot of money to have a properly-fitting cover. 


Anyway and more importantly, we're also being overwhelmed by a tidal wave of the Omicron variant of Covid - or at least they're threatening that we're about to be - so everything's cancelled. My two choir concerts, tonight and tomorrow, and of course everyone else's stuff too. Which is also a bit tedious. We and all our family (the adults) are triple-jabbed so presumably fairly protected, but the Great Unjabbed are expected to be filling up the hospitals and infecting the rest of us, so... Sigh again. 

The governments probably don't dare shut things down before Christmas so that's going ahead, at least to some extent, though whether it'll be wise for Daughter 2 and Littlest to come up for New Year as planned, only the heavens know (and they're not telling). 

 Still, at least there's sewing. I've finished the bunk bed quilt top number 1. Now to spend some weeks happily quilting it while deciding what design to use on the second quilt. 

And we're very lucky compared to many people in the world so... hey ho. 

(Big Granddaughter, who has a terrible cold-that-definitely-isn't Covid: Can you pass me a tissue? My nose is PHENOMENALLY snotty.

Quite a good vocabulary for 8, though perhaps a little too much information.)

Monday, December 13, 2021

Snow globe world

Someone sent us this Christmas card today and it appealed to me. Wouldn't life be simple, I thought, if we could all live there? Everyone seems to have a nice, detached, tidy-looking house. All the village people are cheerfully assembled round a neat tree to sing carols. There's a very well-built snowman. The snow that's falling is soft and downy and no one seems bothered by it, possibly because there's no traffic and they've just come out of a warm church and are about to go to their warm homes. True, there's a rather higher proportion of dogs to people than I would ideally prefer, and no visible cats, but the latter are presumably curled up in front of cosy fires in those pretty houses. And isn't everyone enviably thin? 

Granted, the church has been rather oddly positioned right against the fence; and the red door above the snow-covered roof of the church seems to be hovering in mid-air. And the houses have no front gardens and don't look as if they have very big back ones, and these tall, thin houses must have a lot of stairs to vacuum. But still. I feel it would be a nice place to live - and even nicer in summer. 

Back in the real world, the Omicron variant of Covid is looking horribly as if it's going to pitch us back to the nastiness of 2020/early 2021. Already just in the past couple of days, Littlest Granddaughter and Daughter 2 in London have taken PCR tests because Littlest has a cold and cough, and there are five positive Covid cases in her nursery, though not in her particular section of it. Daughter 2 asked diagnostically this morning if Littlest's breakfast tasted funny. Litttlest said yes, part of her toast tasted of rabbits and the other part of hedgehogs. 

Their tests were negative, but Daughter and Son-in-Law 2 are going to keep Littlest off anyway so that she doesn't get Covid (they hope). They're supposed to be going to Center Parcs to spend Christmas with SIL 2's parents and his sister and family, and they can't risk not being able to go. Unless, of course, everything has closed down by then, which is presumably not impossible. Meanwhile they face working at home aided by a four-year-old. 

And today, Biggest Granddaughter, who's been getting over a cold, was sent home from school because she was coughing. She's taken a test but they haven't yet got the results, but it means that the four of them have to isolate meantime. We're all pretty sure it's just a cold, as we were with Littlest, but of course there's no way of being absolutely sure till the test comes back.  

O me miserum! Though of course it's not really that bad. Just very very tedious after we all thought that we were coming out of - if not the end of it, at least the middlish part of it. The beginning of the end, the end of the beginning... what is the situation really, I wonder?

I bet there's no Covid in that snowy village.

Ah well, on with the Christmas preparations.

Friday, December 10, 2021


Well, I got down to London and saw this little person and her mum and dad. Which was lovely. And now I'm back. 

While I was away, I marvelled at Daughter 2's organised way of storing Lego. 

And, at the Museum of the Home, at William Morris's high standards for chaps. 

Daughter 2 decorated her mantelpiece

and her fairly enormous tree. 

And Littlest Granddaughter practised lots of leaping off the sofa.

Daughter 2 and her husband have (theoretically, at least) sold their flat and are trying to buy a house. Even in the outer suburb that they live in, you get very little house in London for a vast sum of money, the sort of sum that even in expensive Edinburgh would buy you a nice four-bed, two-public, two-bathroom in a good area. Not in London, though. There are lots of people all after the same eye-wateringly expensive small houses. It's very sad. I always feel sad when I part from them, but even more when they're spending so much time looking at houses and not succeeding in getting anything. Daughter 2, being an architect, doesn't just vaguely think where they could put the furniture, like most people, but draws out the floor plans of the houses they see and thinks how she could improve them. So far, however, there's not been an opportunity to put her ideas into action. 

I find London very stressful - so busy, so enormous, so many people that you see momentarily and never again. I had coffee with a friend on Wednesday and it took me an hour and 25 minutes to get to where we were meeting. (Fortunately I'd left an hour and a half for the journey.) It just takes so long to get anywhere. I find tube travel very nerve-racking, too - I hate being underground. I so wish they weren't living there. But they are, and will continue to do so.

Moan, moan, moan. I'm trying hard to count my blessings... .


Thursday, December 02, 2021

Try again...

The latest quilt is coming on slowly. It's perhaps a bit feebly simple, though I may not think so once I'm joining the rows and battling to make the seams meet neatly. And I do like the colours. Now I'm going to abandon it in the renewed attempt to get down to London to visit Daughter 2 and family tomorrow. 

It was very chilly on our walk today, though, and snow is forecast. Not on the line down south, please, weatherman! I just want to get there without incident. London is having tube strikes, too - which I should miss, hopefully - they seem to be at night at the moment. Which is just as well: I know how to get to Daughter 2's from King's Cross, but only by tube and then bus. Otherwise - no clue! Keep your fingers crossed for me... .