Saturday, December 23, 2023

Busy. And then not.

It's spring! We have a snowdrop in bloom - only the one, right enough, and beside it you can see various holes made by squirrels either digging up other bulbs or burying nuts. However, one snowdrop is better than none. 

Daughter 2 has been up from London to go to her office night out (the main office is near Edinburgh) and we went to the Botanics light show with Littlest Granddaughter, Daughter 2 and the Edinburgh Two, This is a terrible photo but you get the idea. 

We looked after Littlest for a couple of days while Daughter 2 worked. We did lots of things such as playing badminton over a piece of string between a chair and the cooker (neither of us is very good), making ice creams out of Playdoh, reading books, playing Ludo without cheating... It was lovely.

Now they're down south with Son-in-Law 2's family, the Edinburgh lot are down south with Son-in-Law 1's family and the Angus lot are still up there. Mr Life and I will be on our own for Christmas Day - but things will become busier after Boxing Day, so we'll just enjoy the peace meantime. 

Happy Christmas to all commenters and lurkers!


Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Good times

Littlest Granddaughter went to the Hackney Empire with Daughter 2, to see "Aladdin", with Nephew playing percussion, including  comedy bangs and crashes. Here she is, pointing to him. 

Here he is.

And this is his photo of them - before the performance began, you understand. 

The interval. She is his greatest fan. He's been coming to perform in the Fringe in August, and staying with us, and she - also staying with us - thinks he's great. I mean, so do the rest of us. 

Meanwhile, Big Grandson and I spent a wet Sunday afternoon on the buses, which is BG's idea of a good time. And I like spending time with him so I have a good time too. We got a 43 to South Queensferry. 

We stayed on to the terminus, which was surprisingly far from the centre of the town, and when we got off the bus, it developed a fault. So we got a ... 62 or something? ... to the Gyle shopping centre and then a 12 back here for tea. It's quite fun getting on a bus and saying, "Where do you go?" and then saying, "Oh, ok, we'll go there."

Littlest Granddaughter was Mary in her school nativity play. Awww. 

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Past and present

Daughter 2 sent me this photo the other day, which made me reflect about memory and the way it retains and discards things. As you can see, this is a small plastic skeleton, and I got it in a cracker at the Royal Scots Club when I was probably about ten, so about 63 years ago. I remembered this, but not giving it to Daughter 2 (not really sure why this happened). My grandfather fought with the Royal Scots during World War 1, and used to go up to the club to play snooker with friends; and for a few years he used to take us there for Christmas dinner. All that, I remembered. But I'd forgotten until the daughters reminded me that before opening the cracker I'd said something along the lines of wondering what was in it - maybe a skeleton? And then... ta da... there it was. I have no idea why I said this - it's hardly a typical cracker gift - and also have no idea why I forgot this part of the story. It would be more interesting if I could claim psychic powers from then on, but sadly, no. 

This is not a skeleton. It's a needle, and the best thing that happened this week is that I came to the end of daily injecting myself in the stomach with blood-thinners. Hooray. Not my favourite part of getting a hip replacement. 

The house is now looking fairly festive. 

Ho ho.

I would not claim to be completely ready for Christmas, however. 

The weather in Edinburgh has been very wet recently, so it was lovely to drive to the south-west today and find sunshine. 

Sadly, we were on the way to the funeral of one Mr L's cousins, but as often happens at funerals, we had a nice time chatting to various family members at the lunch afterwards. 

Some of them were cousins on the other side - the deceased cousin was the son of Mr L's uncle, while these cousins are related to the uncle's wife. They were very pleasant and it was quite a jolly event. But one always feels slightly guilty that the main player in the occasion isn't there to enjoy it. 

Having no cousins myself, I'm always happy to meet up with other people's. Mr L had eight of them, though sadly he now has only five. But we're in contact with them all, which I like. My family was very small - parents, one brother, a granny and grandpa who lived nearby, two childless aunts who lived far away and one widowed granny who also lived far away. I would have liked (so I tell myself) to have had more siblings and a gang of congenial cousins round the corner. Not going to happen now, though. 


Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Not being quite organised for Christmas yet

We've been gradually getting ready for Christmas, partly by ordering a whole lot of things on Amazon, which one knows one shouldn't - but it's so much more convenient, isn't it, than trailing around the shops and finding nothing suitable? We did, however, go to the Christmas fair at Hopetoun House, which I always like doing. Hopetoun House is a 1750s grand edifice lived in by the Marquess of Linlithgow. Like most aristocrats these days, he has to keep the roof on by allowing people to visit, and, at Christmas, there's a very upmarket fair with lots of stalls full of lovely things, often made by the stallholders, none of which one actually needs. Still, it puts one in a Christmassy mood, as does queuing for coffee in the restaurant, which was once the stables for very lucky horses, but is now a lovely place to eat. 

You get to go round the house while visiting the stalls, and admire things like this pietra dura table top, 

and one of the Marquess's ancestors, 

who I think was sitting at this very window. 

And one can admire the extensive grounds

and the fancy ceilings and the silk-lined walls. We visited Hopetoun when I was a little girl, and I developed a fixed ambition to have two sitting rooms, one with crimson walls and the other (as in another Hopetoun room) with deep yellow. Hasn't happened yet, though I suppose it's still achievable. We probably wouldn't use silk, however, and we're a bit short of portraits of our ancestors. 

The weather here has been distinctly chilly, with quite a bit of frost. 

Last Saturday we went up north to visit a friend, and this was the view on the way. Brrr. 

We haven't had any snow here yet, and long may this last. Roll on, spring. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023


I do find it fun to take some fabrics

and make something different with them. Of course, it's only marginally creative - someone else designed the fabrics and indeed the ways of putting them together. I just pick and choose the materials and mix up the different patchworky things I've seen on blogs. But it's interesting to see the effects you can get. 

The brief was for a baby boy's quilt in yellows and ochres with not too many patterned fabrics. I found myself slightly unsure what ochres are - sort of dull browny-yellows, I felt. So I looked at what I had and nothing shouted "ochre!" at me; and anyway, it didn't sound very interesting for a baby. 

So this is what I came up with. The bright yellow stars aren't really that bright - photos do sometimes lie. And I incorporated a bit of orange entirely against my better judgement because Thimbleanna had kindly given me some pretty fabrics with orange to make a future rainbowy quilt, and I had to admit they actually went quite well.  

And I made the back more interesting for a baby.

I put boy-friendly patterns on the back for the baby's big brother too, and he insists that the back is actually the front, because it's got better pictures. For that quilt, the brief was all solid blues, which I found hard. (I did sneak in tiny corners of patterned fabric even on the front. I mean, how many different blues are there?)

Ah, the happy ways of whiling one's life away and feeling a sense of kind-of-achievement. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2023


This has been a very unnewsworthy week because I haven't done much. Unlike my usual self, I've been feeling tired, whether as an after-effect of the operation or because I've had a cough and am a bit post-viral. Or possibly a combination. Son and family came down on Saturday and the Edinburgh gang came over too, so that was lovely. We got the Brio out for the Unbloggables, and Big Grandson had a happy time playing with it too. 

Since then there's been a bit of socialising, some organising to do with one of my choirs and the church magazine, of which I'm the editor, and a tiny amount of quilting, but also more slumping in front of the television than I usually do. I've been for shortish walks but am slightly nervous of walking far in case I damage the new hip, or just make it sore. This must change. Come back, oomph!

In connection with lack of oomph, I found myself urging myself on with one of my mum's sayings: "This and better might do, but this and worse will never do." I've just Googled it, but all I was offered were quotes from Much Ado About Nothing. Is this fine saying familiar to anyone else? In a similar vein, "This won't buy the baby a new bonnet". Other family saws include "Sausages for the boys" (no, no idea) and "Splash into the lake fell Margaret and stwuggled out, extwemely wet" (anyone?). These spring to my mind any time anyone mentions "sausages" or "splash".

My granny's Coop number was 4541 and her phone number was POR 5071. All this is in my brain and I've only just got the hang of my own mobile phone number. What year is it? Who's the Prime Minister? 

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Getting back to things

It's been an fairly static week with no major projects. I'm progressing, though, and have been out and about a little bit. At the weekend, lovely Daughter 2 came up from London without her little one to visit the (not actually very) sick, which was wonderful. Delightful as Littlest Granddaughter is, she's a bit interrupty. As it was, we had some great chats. Then on Saturday, the Edinburgh Two plus their parents plus the other granny (Nanny), who was visiting them, came over for lunch, and Big Grandson, now several inches taller than me, did some nostalgic Brioing with Daughter 2. Big Grandson enjoyed having his auntie to himself, as in the pre-Littlest days. So that was all very nice. 

On Sunday we drove along to one of the galleries and had coffee, which made a nice change of scene. Normally we would walk there along the river but... not for a while, alas. I went to choir on Sunday night and have been walking round to the nearby shop for the paper the last few mornings, and today I went up on the bus to have lunch with old schoolfriends. So life is slowly returning to normal, though I still feel as if someone has cut a large hole in my right side, and being in bed isn't very comfortable yet. Tomorrow I go to the practice nurse to get my dressing removed. I had it changed last week and that was surprisingly painful - the dressing is VERY sticky and ... well, I won't go into details. I'm just glad I'm not a man with a hairy body. 

My American second cousin heard the story about the needle in my leg and said, "You're a real needlewoman now!" How true.

It's been very wet here so even if I were able to garden, I wouldn't have actually been able to do so. The Great Autumn Cut Down will have to wait till spring, which is a bit frustrating but there we are. Our problems are nothing compared to the awful things going on in the world. It's all so sad and depressing. How can we still be doing these things to one another in this so-called civilised world? 

Meanwhile, onwards and upwards. I'm getting back to the quilting this evening after a period of laziness. 

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Needles and stitches and so on

Well, I've had the hip replacement and am back home and doing ok, though I wouldn't describe the experience as the most tremendous fun... Many thanks to those who wished me well. Denice, who commented very encouragingly, must be made of stronger stuff than I am. It was, and is, just what you'd expect from having the top of your thigh sawn off and replaced by a bit of metal. It hurts somewhat and you feel a bit wobbly afterwards. But it's fine, and I look forward to the point at which it hurts less than it did before the op - which is not the case right now. And our children sent me lovely flowers. 

The surgeon phoned up last night, which I thought was impressively caring for a chap who does several of these things every day (I assume). He's a really nice chap and he asked how I was doing and I said that I was fine. And then he paused and said, "There was something a bit odd with your post-operative x-ray." And I thought - oh dear. He went on, "There seems to be a sewing needle embedded in your thigh. Does that sound possible?"

Since my mother died in 2012, I've made 25 quilts, hand-quilting them while sitting on the sofa watching tv. Every now and then, I drop a needle, and we search the sofa cushions for them and usually find them. Occasionally, I think, we've not found one and thought - oh well, it'll turn up.

It has now turned up.

He suggested that I should just leave it if it's not causing me any trouble. I'm hoping that the pain in my leg was caused by my needing a new hip, not just by my having a needle in my thigh... . 

He was polite enough not to laugh while on the phone, but I suspect that I've now become one of his funny stories. He's sent me the x-ray and... yup. Completely inside, at right-angles to the side of my leg. 

A few years ago, I was emptying the dishwasher and felt something sharp in my index finger. I couldn't see anything and there was nothing obviously broken in the dishwasher, but I thought it must be a sliver of glass. I went to the doctor and he said that it would probably come out by itself. A year passed and I still had a sore finger. Then one day I felt a sharp pain and there was a tiny bit of glass sticking out, so I pulled it out - problem solved. I don't really fancy the idea of finding just the tip of a needle protruding from my thigh. Hmm. Just stay there, needle. 

Life's never dull...

Thursday, November 02, 2023

Getting on with things while I have two working legs

It's been one of those let's-get-on-with-things weeks, during which various (if not enough) useful tasks have been done. Some of these have involved giving stuff to charity shops and having walks in their vicinities. The leaves are beginning to fall, but the colours are still pretty. 

It's been quite wet, but with bursts of sunshine. 

Don't swans grow amazingly quickly from little balls of fluff to these, still slightly brown, large birds? 

I don't like orange but do make an exception for autumn. 

In London, Daughter 2 decorated her windows with Daughter 1's tasteful hand-knitted ghosts,

and took Littlest Granddaughter, aka Very Scary Witch, out guising with some friends. 

Today I went to the station to buy a ticket to Dalmuir, the small town in the west of Scotland where - theoretically at least - I'm getting my hip replacement operation on Saturday. The routine is that you go  to the hotel attached to the big hospital the night before so that you can report for surgery at 7.30 the next morning. Argh. When I asked for a single (ie one-way) to Dalmuir, the ticket chap clearly guessed why I was going and said, "A single? Have you not got much faith in the NHS, then?" 

Mr L is collecting me in the car on Sunday. At least, let's hope. 

Friday, October 27, 2023

Activities for the young

This week, Daughter 2 and Littlest Granddaughter have been visiting from London. It's LG's October week's holiday from school and so Granny's (and sometimes Grandpa's) holiday club has been in action, while Daughter 2 works from (our) home. On the first day, we went to one of the art galleries near here, which has various art installations in the garden, including this sort of bus shelter affair. 

It has various mirrored surfaces, like this one, in which she's examining the new gap in her teeth. 

On the second day, we went to the museum, always a rich source of interest. Also (it was a wet day), "Edinburgh's umbrella", as a fellow granny called it. 

Yesterday we went to admire the autumn colours at Lauriston Castle, and to go to and fro and to and fro and to and fro (etc) over the stepping stones to the little island. 

And today we tried the climbing wall and the trampoline at the nearest bouncy place. We didn't think that Littlest would want to try the wall, but she surprised us. We had Big Granddaughter with us, who was a great help and encouragement. 

I hung up my Hallowe'en banner today and Daughter 2 found a photo showing that we've had the same one for at least 30 years. We Scots are a frugal people. Hallowe'en costumes were simpler then - you just bunged on some of your mother's old clothes and (apparently) some Christmas garlands, as Daughters 1 and 2 have done here, and off you went, guising. Guising (from "disguising"- nothing to do with Guy Fawkes, quite another occasion) is what Scots traditionally do, or at least did - not trick or treating. You (children) dress up and ring neighbours' doorbells, whereupon you sing a song or tell a joke, and they give you sweets or apples or maybe some money. I'm not sure that today's children would be so pleased with an apple...