Sunday, July 31, 2022

The bug strikes...

Well, on the positive side, my agapanthus. which had a measly five flowers last year for some reason, is back to its normal self this year. I realise that it's a menace in some places - and indeed, I'd have to hire a digger if I wanted to remove it from this flowerbed outside my kitchen window - but I do love it. 

On the negative side, Mr L has at last succumbed to Covid. He's in bed, feeling pretty unwell, and I have all the doors propped open, allowing what is today a slightly chilly wind to whistle through the house, in the hope that this will mean that I didn't get it from him a few days ago when we didn't know he had it. Not sure if this will work retrospectively. The timing is appalling, since Daughter 2 is arriving imminently to be with us all of August, while I look after Littlest Granddaughter and Daughter 2 works. I feel fine at the moment... .

And the extended family is supposed to be going down to Northumberland, to two very expensive holiday cottages, on Friday, for a week. Mr L is driving our car because I don't do big roads.

We're going to have to be very lucky for all this to work... .

Send positive thoughts, bloggy friends!


Thursday, July 28, 2022


I took the Edinburgh Two to the trampoline centre the other day and they had a good bounce. 

On the spur of the moment we went to the beach on the way back home and they played happily. We hadn't brought any sand toys but I found a teaspoon and two combs (why two?) in my bag and they "made pasta" and dug out a "pasta oven" (?) and served up delicious platefuls of pasta to imaginary customers. They're easily pleased! (Grandson has to wear gloves because of the eczema on his hands.) 

Just as we were going away, a lady from BBC Radio Scotland came along looking for people to interview about things to do in Edinburgh for free in the summer. She had a furry microphone and everything. So we told her about the beach and the Botanics and riding on buses and trams (free for Scottish pensioners and children) and drawing and painting. We'll never know if we get broadcast because we don't listen to Radio Scotland but the children were quite gratified all the same. 

Here's the lady going away. You can see that the beach isn't very busy so she was rather short of interviewees. 

Yesterday Biggest Granddaughter had a playdate so Big Grandson and I took a bus trip to Haddington. We did some culture - visited the museum - and family history - here he is in the street where my lovely granny was born. 

But we also saw some unusual traffic lights and local buses and so on. He was a happy boy and I was therefore a happy granny. 

I was also happy to get a new washing machine in place of the one that, last Thursday, suddenly made a smell of hot plastic just as it was rather noisily finishing its cycle. One needs a washing machine. People didn't on the whole have them when I was little, but they did have wringers. Squeezing sheets and towels dry with my rather arthritic hands doesn't appeal. 

I recently came across this photo of myself at, I think 4 or maybe 5. I remember the occasion. Unusually, I had been asked to play by the little girl up the street (though I thought of her as a big girl because she was six months older than I was). We were in her back garden and her father, who was a photographer, took our photos. My mother was pleased with the photos - they were good quality and he gave her several large prints - but mortified that I was wearing very scruffy play clothes, including this brown hand-knitted cardigan that was really too small for me and had a button that was broken in half. It was mid-1950s and children didn't have lots of smart clothes as they do now. I remember my mother and grandmothers unravelling jumpers with holes in them to make new jumpers with the best bits of the wool. 

My mother liked to put bows in my hair and I didn't like them because I thought they made me look silly. 

My worried expression was characteristic, I think. I was a shy child and all through my childhood, adults would ask me what was wrong because I looked anxious. I think, as a result, I developed the habit of walking around outside with a slight smile, and to this day I find people smiling at me in the street under the impression (I think) that I'm smiling at them and that they must know me. 

Monday, July 25, 2022

Simple pleasures

This has been the lull before the... not the storm, but the lots-of-visitors month which is about to happen. We walked in the local park,

which is very flowery,

and enjoyed watching the Edinburgh Two making Brio layouts. 

Our washing machine started making a nasty hot-plastic smell, so we decided to get a new one. The Edinburgh Two made warning notices. I think they lack drama in their lives (which is good). 

On Saturday, Mr L and I did the recce for a walk which we're leading in a few weeks on the west side of Edinburgh. We walked over Cramond Brig (Bridge), 

which is quite old, really, but never does seem to fall down, as I always think it might. 

We were making for Queensferry, 

and walked happily along until...

on the way through the woods, I caught my foot on a stone while walking briskly and found myself sailing through the air. Not that good a sensation but better than what came immediately afterwards. After I landed, Mr L - who had wisely equipped himself with antiseptic wipes and plasters - kindly mopped up the blood and stuck me together, and we proceeded on our way. I wasn't walking quite so briskly from then on.  

But we got there: along the shore to Queensferry, 

where the three bridges over the Forth are: the Forth (rail) Bridge, the Forth road bridge and the Queensferry Crossing. 

We rewarded ourselves with coffee after the 6 and a half mile walk. There was a wedding party being  photographed on the beach. The ladies were not wearing shoes suitable for shingle. 

Yesterday, Daughter 1, Son-in-Law 1 and the children went to Vogrie Country Park, where we had a very nice time till it suddenly rained. We were quite far away from the car park at that point. We got very wet, an unusual sensation because it hasn't really rained for months. I'm sure it was good for the gardens. It rained again today and since the Festival is about to start at the beginning of August, I'm sure it'll do it again in the next few weeks, annoying the tourists. Sorry, tourists. 

And at last I finished the second quilt for the bunk beds that we now have in the study to provide extra grandchild accommodation. They're non-identical twins (the quilts, not the grandchildren). 

The grandchildren will never notice, but I quilted all their initials on to one of the quilts. 


Monday, July 18, 2022

Summer suns are roasting...

 Well, be careful what you complain of - it's now a lot hotter, more or less unprecedentedly hot, though not quite. It was 31C or a bit more today here - that's 87.8F, and Mr L says it was more in our back garden. It's worse in London and on the continent of Europe, with terrible wild fires, so I shouldn't really complain but... it's certainly not pleasant. 

It was warm on Saturday but not horribly so, when we went for a hike with our walking friends in East Lothian, just outside the city. 

We walked along beside wheat fields, 

by the River Tyne, 

by dry stane dykes (walls made without mortar) 

and into East Linton, which is a pretty little place. 

Meanwhile, Big Grandson has become 11. The Edinburgh family are in London, and as his birthday treat, his Auntie Daughter 2 took him for a seventeen-stage journey round London yesterday (in the heat) on various different modes of transport. 

He was very happy indeed. 
It takes all tastes! 
He has a very good auntie. 

And she made him an appropriate cake. 

Today, however, they've all been inside, keeping out of the 33C sun till the evening, when they went to the local playpark. 

In Shetland, it's been 13C today - that's 55.4. That's the place to be just now!

This afternoon I cut out the binding for the second quilt for the bunk beds, but it's really too hot in the kitchen (which has two skylights - not good when the sun is overhead and this hot). The kitchen table is where I do my machining. So the binding is still not sewn on. Maybe later... 

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Summer suns are glowing...

It's been warm here - a bit too warm sometimes, though it depends on what you're used to. In Scotland, 20 or 21 C (70ishF) qualifies as hot - all right for sitting in the shade but too hot for gardening or walking long distances. We walked along the prom on Sunday and it was just about bearable with the sea breeze. I would not like to live anywhere that gets much hotter than that. 

Son and his family are also at the seaside, though over in the west of Scotland. 

The Edinburgh Two (why has the font changed, Blogger?) have been down in England with their dad, visiting their other grandparents, but Daughter 1 didn't have the time off work. On Saturday and Sunday Mr L and I went down to their house to do a few odd jobs, including sorting out the children's crafting materials. Biggest Granddaughter (9) is an enthusiastic creator, gluer and sticker, but not such a keen tidier afterwards. We came across a book with some poems written by her, with this on the cover. Very existential! 

We bought this plastic chest to store everything tidily and Mr L made lots of labels with his label maker. (He likes a gadget.) 
Ta-da!  Hope it lasts! 

Today we took the Edinburgh Two to the Falkirk Wheel, which is a cunning device for raising boats from one level of the canal to another without using locks. They were surprisingly interested in the engineering involved. 

Meanwhile, it's very hot in London and due to get hotter at the weekend, when the Edinburgh family is going to visit Daughter 2 - 35C is forecast (95F), or even more. I'm quite worried about it. Yesterday I sent Littlest Granddaughter a little parcel containing (among other things) chocolate buttons and they arrived today like this (or, this is what they were like after being in the fridge for a while). Oops. The heat is one of the many reasons that I wish Daughter 2 and Littlest didn't live in London. British houses don't on the whole have air conditioning because they don't need it. but maybe London's beginning to need it for a few days every summer. 

We're having an exciting time politically here. We no longer have the tousle-headed one as Prime Minister (his downfall was a long time coming and I'm sure he'll fall on his feet and earn lots of money in other areas, despite everything) but a whole lot of unlikely people are jockeying for his job. Rather them than me! 


Friday, July 08, 2022

Another year older and... so on.

I got rid of all the cots, buggies and the high chair through FB Marketplace and Gumtree, so hurray (sniff). 

We took the Edinburgh Two up to Angus to visit the Angus Two and we all went for a walk in the woods. 

Son climbed a tree, slightly alarming his mother. 

And then we went to Daughter-in-Law's nice sister's house for lunch and a bounce. 

Back at Son's, their cat was enjoying Medium Granddaughter's cot quilt (recognise it, Thimbleanna?). 

I got some birthday books (Happy Independence Day, Americans) 

and in the absence of any offspring anywhere near at the time, we celebrated by going to an exhibition in The Queen's Gallery at Holyrood Palace to see some paintings from the Royal Collection. I rather fancy this Rembrandt portrait of Agatha Bas, who died in 1658 at the age of 47 - poor lady. 

You can't tell from my rubbish photo, but the cuffs were exquisitely painted, with little raised bits of white paint to simulate lace. Amazing. I love portraits. Look at the foreshortened hand! It looks all wrong if you stare at it for a while but in fact it's very realistic. 

And this Delft Courtyard at Evening with Woman Spinning would look great in our hall. It's by Pieter de Hooch. 

Failing to nick one of Her Maj's paintings, we had lunch in her restaurant instead. 

This was Son's highly appropriate birthday card. 

Very sadly, Mr L's very kind and jolly uncle has died, at the age of 96. The funeral was yesterday. This is the view from their garden, which is terraced, with two lower terraces that you can't see in the photo. His aunt, 97, is keen to stay in the house, which is understandable - it's large and lovely - but... she's 97. Very well preserved for 97, but still 97.  

As funerals often are, it was a lovely (though sad) occasion, meeting up with family members - Uncle W's children and grandchildren, who mainly live in England and whom we haven't seen since the first lockdown. We had a nice lunch after the service. 

And the week has featured quite a lot of this chap - whom we're happy to see go! 

Isn't blogging difficult these days? - various people have contacted me to say that they can no longer comment on my blog; I can't comment on some other people's; I can comment on some, but only anonymously; and one blog I love to read tells me that it's DANGEROUS AND I MUSTN'T CLICK ON IT even though it's written by a nice lady who lives on a small island in Orkney. So. Huff!