Sunday, January 09, 2022

The year so far. Could try much harder.

The weather's been sunny but nothing particular happened during the first few days of the new year, so we went for various walks, such as along the shore at Cramond. 

It was difficult to take good photos on the phone because it was so bright - hard to show the intense blue of the sky without everything in the foreground looking in deep shadow. 

It would be a good place to walk with the grandchildren were Big Grandson not absolutely phobic about dogs. There are a lot of dogs in Edinburgh, and people with particularly big ones often bring them here to gallop along the prom. It's not the dogs' faults, but really it makes it very hard for the little chap. 

And I've been piecing the other bunk quilt, though am still quilting the first one. This one was mindless but time-consuming because of all the little bits. There's satisfaction in using up scraps, but really, who am I kidding? - I don't need to use the scraps. I'll never run out of fabric even if I never buy any more. And let's face it, I will buy more from time to time. 

I'm still to sew most of it together and add a border. 

And then something awful happened: out of the blue, one of my very best friends had a stroke. Which puts one's minor grumbles into very clear perspective. I've known her since we were 23 and started teaching together, have always met up with her and, especially since our retirement, we've seen a lot of each other. In fact, she belongs to two of my groups of friends: one from the secondary school where we were beginner teachers and one from the further education college where we later both taught. She was a very healthy person, who, with her husband, did long hikes and generally looked after herself. 

She can still talk - in fact we talked on the phone just today - her husband phoned me from her hospital ward. Her speech is a bit slurred but not too bad. But she's currently paralysed down her left side. It happened only five days ago so it's probably early days and I hope that she'll recover a lot, but I'm so sad for her. She's newly 72, which I know isn't young, but is also not very old. Her friends can't even visit at the moment, I assume because of Covid - she can only have one visitor for one hour a day. 

So that was a horrible start to 2022. As I've said before - unoriginally - carpe diem, gather ye rosebuds, etc. 

"They are not long, the days of wine and roses:

Out of a misty dream

Our paths emerge for a while, then close

Within a dream."

I've always been astonished that Ernest Dowson wrote this, since he died at the age of 32. It was clearly true for him. But it doesn't seem like a young man's outlook, does it? The poor chap had a bit of a rubbish life, though,  even before getting TB - father died, mother committed suicide and Ernest himself couldn't be said to have exactly looked after himself. 

Well, well, it's so nice, when one faces the inevitable sadness involved in getting older, to watch the young ones growing and getting stronger and more capable. Thank goodness for grandchildren and young people in general. The world goes on. Which is very good. 



  1. Walking outside is certainly food for the soul in this bleak midwinter. And the ever so slowly lengthening of daylight.

  2. I haven't done enough walking lately and it may be part of why I feel a bit in a funk. The weather has been ugly and so has the news about Covid and politics. So sorry about your friend and hope she recovers completely.

  3. So sorry to hear about your friend, I hope she improves.
    As for poets, and writers, and actors - I have found through extensive "Googling" that most of them either had awful beginnings, awful ends, or both. One day I decided to look up the lives of all my favorite classic movie stars, and it ended up being not only incredibly interesting, but also depressing. Gloria Grahame, for one... Gene Tierney for another. Stories like Jimmy Stewart's were the bright rays of sun amid the gloom.
    Hope you're well, keep walking! (Says the girl who spends her work lunch breaks in a massage chair instead of walking... heh).

  4. I don't think you could try much harder!! Look at your lovely walks, quilting, gorgeous family, blogging, caring for your pals and doubtless so much more. It's great to catch up after a long, erm..hiatus from blogging. Lxx

  5. I am sorry to read about your friend. I had a stroke nearly 4 years ago (80old) please tell your friend to try and write as soon as you can, do any craft work, crochet, knitting etc. does not what it looks like just use your hands has much as you can, I kept writing my name and crocheting /knitting has much has I could to keep your hands busy. My speech has improved a lot and I can do basic cooking, I get tried very quickly. I do hope your friend will get better, it takes time. If I can help in anyway I am pleased to do so.
    Hazel 🌈🌈

    1. How very kind! I will certainly tell her.

  6. When I was revising with Jo for his GCSE Eng Lit last year, I was fascinated by the story of William Ernest Henley. He had known such physical pain, and indeed had been treated in Edinburgh, I think. I felt disappointed that his editor had put the Invictus title on the poem that Jo had to study. Somehow not having a confined name seems more appropriate for the times of great suffering in this life. More universal. But I do pray that your friend will be invicta.

    On Radio 4 this morning, did you hear the food programme (not sure if it was actually The Food Programme), a very interesting Scot said that there is an area of Edinburgh called Little France? She was really very interesting indeed. As are you x

  7. Yay -- the new quilt! It's coming along beautifully -- isn't it fun to play with those scraps? My stash wakes me up with worry in the middle of the night sometimes. I really need to quit buying more, but like you said ... Why, oh why must they continue to make more - and it all so beautiful?

    I'm sorry to hear about your friend. In encouraging news, my yoga teacher had a stroke a little over 2 years ago. She was in the hospital and rehab for 6 months, but now she can teach yoga again! She's around 68. She can't do everything and uses a chair to assist her sometimes, but her recovery has been amazing. It was so inspirational to see how hard she worked every day to get her abilities back. Hopefully, time and some hard work will help your friend too.