Saturday, April 30, 2022

A number of things

We went up on Tuesday to visit Son and Little Grandson - DIL was at work and Medium Granddaughter was at school for much of the time, which was the snag. But we had a lovely time. Mr L pushed the little chap on his swing in their garden and we went for a walk. My boys! 

Little Grandson didn't fall into the burn, though I thought he might. 

We collected Medium Granddaughter from school and she had a play in the playpark. So that was all nice, or as nice as distance allows. 

Mr L and I visited the Audubon exhibition at the museum. I didn't know much about him except that he'd painted the birds of America and that his work is now extremely valuable, but it was very interesting. It turns out that he didn't get enough recognition in America and then came to Britain for a while, including Edinburgh (good choice) and we all thought he was great. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (as was my father, for different reasons) and generally did very well. 

I was somewhat disconcerted to find that he painted the birds by first studying them in the wild and then shooting one and wiring it into position. However, different times, I suppose. 

Also some of his "new species" - though by no means all - turned out to be the female or juvenile version of species already known. And then there's this one, the Bird of Washington - which has never been seen by anyone else. Did he make it up? Or was he just mistaken? 

We then walked down to Princes Street, admiring the city in the sunshine. 

In Princes Street Gardens, it turns out that Edinburgh Parks and Gardens don't share my view of orange flowers. 

Meanwhile in London, Daughter 2 and her husband packed up all their stuff...

and moved to their new house- yesterday.

It's not quite organised yet but they like it very much (thank goodness). 

The buying process has been so long that the grass needs a serious cut. But the garden has definite potential. It's much bigger than it looks here, somehow - the shed down at the bottom is quite large, though looks small. 

And in our garden, Mr L has kindly put up some trellises so that I can grow everlasting sweet peas up them. This involved drilling into a stone wall and lots of kneeling on the ground. He's now having a rest. Poor chap. How he loves my ideas... .


Sunday, April 24, 2022

Flowers. And music.

It's been an uneventful week, partly because I've spent a long time on the computer trying to find a suitable holiday house for all the family to go during one specific week in August. The main problem is that I didn't start nearly early enough to find one house that will house 12 people, somewhere that we want to go and that's fairly accessible from various places; but a further problem is that the Edinburgh family are very allergic to dogs - even if the dogs aren't actually in the house, but had been present fairly recently. Reasonably enough, people with dogs like to rent holiday accommodation and, sadly (for us) most holiday houses allow them to do so. So this cuts out a good nine-tenths of the possibilities. 

Eventually we managed to find two cottages in Northumberland. They're not next to one another but they're not far apart, so we settled for them. One of them is a no-pet house, though the other isn't. It's the best we could do and I hope it'll be fine. 

On Friday, however, we decided to award ourselves a day off and went down to the Border country to visit Dawyck Botanic Gardens. We were there in the autumn, for the wonderful colours, and I thought this would be the time of year to see the rhododendrons and azaleas in flower. On the way down we became caught in a sheep jam, which was quite entertaining. 

Interestingly, we'd got it wrong, since most of the rhododendrons and azaleas weren't out yet - though a few were. Since Dawyck is south of here, we assumed that the season would be more advanced, but maybe because it's on higher ground (850 feet above sea level as against Edinburgh's coastal position), it seemed to be less so. 


Still, those that were flowering were very pretty. 

We also reacquainted ourselves with the wonderful lichen that drapes itself over the trees in the clear upland air. 

There are some wonderfully enormous trees. Can you spot Mr L standing at the foot of this one? He's wearing navy for camouflage but you may see his white hair and beard. 

Today we went to Edinburgh's Botanics, where there were lots of blooms. 

There's a moral there somewhere...

Yesterday was the concert of one of my choirs, so I spent some time going over the music to make sure I was confident with the tricky bits. We sang Rheinberger's Ave Regina and Stabat Mater and Vaughan Williams's Five Mystical Songs, which are set to George Herbert's wonderful poems. I didn't know any of this music before - indeed I'd never heard of Rheinberger, and he's fantastic. We also sang the Verdi Requiem - much better known but also splendid. 

In another couple of weeks it's my other choir's concert - the Mozart Requiem - lovely again - and Mendelssohn's Psalm 42. I'm sitting here listening to the seventh movement of the latter, which I felt I didn't know well enough. Letting it filter into the brain while doing something else works to some extent, but doesn't help with fitting the German words into the notes, so I shall go and do that now.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Good news

Life is quite packed with events, somehow - I never seem to have caught up with what I plan to do. Of course, quilting doesn't help... . I've finished one of the quilts for the bunks we bought a while ago, for accommodating grandchildren. Here it is. 

Now I'm quilting the other one, which is the same colours but a different pattern. Such fun. 

Look at this fine wallflower - beautiful in every respect but it's orange. I could swear it was yellow last year. Hmm. 

I took the Edinburgh grandchildren to the Camera Obscura, which does have a camera obscura but is mainly five floors of optical illusions. They had fun. 

Here they are on the roof, spotting buses (in Big Grandson's case). 

The view is good, though the weather was a bit hazy.

Here I am, taking a photo of the pair of them in a distorting mirror. 

Then they came back here and played with Brio. Their parents were at a wedding down south. 

Yesterday Mr Life took Big Grandson (at his request) to Newcastle, to ride around on the Metro. Each to his own. 

And Son-in-Law 1 and I took Big Granddaughter to a climbing wall and trampoline place. Here she is, at the top of a wall. You wouldn't get me doing this. Each to her own. 

Today we went out with our walking friends, along cycle paths for five miles or so, ending up

in the gardens of Lauriston Castle, in their spring glory. 

Such a lovely day, in good company.

In house news, Daughter 2 and her husband have now exchanged contracts on their new house, have definitely sold their flat and are thus moving on the 29th of this month. Whew! 

And about an hour ago, my very nice nephew WhatsApped us to say that he and his equally nice girlfriend are now engaged. 

So - some good news! 

Saturday, April 09, 2022

Nice people and not-so-nice ones...

We've had a lovely visit from Son and family. On Thursday we went to the playpark, where things like this happened. 

On Friday we went to the museum, which was fun,

and then there was a certain amount of what my dad called "noise and nonsense" in the garden. 

And today we went to the Botanics with the Edinburgh family, where Medium and Big Granddaughters walked around together, chatting a lot. Medium thinks Big is very fine, and Big is very good with her little cousin. 

It was a beautiful day and we had a good time. 

We did however miss Daughter 2 and Littlest Granddaughter. The latter was busy being a unicorn in the garden in London. 

Daughter 2 and her husband have been having a terrible time, trying to buy a house with the mad English system which allows people to pull out of agreements at the eleventh hour. It's taken ages, and for weeks the chap they're trying to buy from has been saying that he's got a better offer and might take that if they don't hurry up. And they've been trying their best to chivvy unresponsive lawyers and estate agents. Finally it looked as if things had been sorted out and they were thinking that they might move on the 21st of this month. And then the chap who's supposed to be buying their flat lowered his offer by £8000. To cut a long story short, we all decided that they'd better just accept this (though it's very annoying and financially difficult) rather than lose the house. So it looks as if it's going ahead again, though no chickens are being counted. 

After they'd accepted his offer in November, their boiler was being inefficient so they got a new boiler, at the cost of £1000, because they thought they couldn't decently sell him the flat with a boiler that was just limping along. Hmm.... 

Ah well, as we've all being telling ourselves, it's only money. 

And now our house is quiet again. And tidy. Which is sad but on the other hand, has its good points. 


Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Enjoyable things we do

The warm weather went away again and now it's more normally Aprilish. On cue, my big amaryllis burst into bloom. I split up and repotted the other big one last year, and this year only one offshoot from it bloomed, so I gave it to a friend. I have too many but can't quite make myself throw any out because they're so beautiful - briefly. 

The country is in blossom. 

I sowed a seed tray with cosmos the other week - only using half the packet - and approximately two hundred seedlings appeared. I've now pricked forty-something of them out (does my garden have room for forty-something? - doubtful) but again, don't like throwing plants away so... I think I'll guerilla-garden them in clumps. I do some guerilla gardening by local roadsides, normally with bulbs, but why not some cosmos? 

We went to a local flower show on Sunday. So lovely to see all that colour together.  I can never see much difference between the first prize blooms and the unplaced ones. 

They all look great to me. 

Big Grandson still loves his sketching. He takes great care over the accuracy of his vehicles and road signs. He doesn't really draw people. 

Littlest Granddaughter in London went to an egg hunt by a pond. 

And I've machined the binding on to my latest quilt - I've just to sew it on the back now. I do like a stripy binding. 

We took some stuff to a charity shop today - mainly things that Daughter 2 cleared out of her cupboard here, the last time she visited - and had a wet walk nearby, for a change of scene. I was impressed by the tulipness of this garden. I wonder if the owner digs them all up and replaces them each year? Tulips don't do so well in subsequent years, sadly, or at least not in our soil. 

Wordle and Quordle have entered my life in the past few months. Yours too? I have to finish Wordle before I get out of bed in the morning, but usually just do a bit of Quordle and then complete it (often with Mr L's help) later. What a waste of time! But then is it, when it's enjoyable? Discuss.