Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Life as we know it

Spring has sprung complete with flowers that bloom, tra la, but nevertheless it's been a fairly full-on week. A week past Monday evening, I had to take Mr Life to Accident and Emergency because he wasn't well, so that wasn't good. We arrived at 8.15pm and I finally left at 3.15am, when they decided to keep him in to see a consultant in the morning - later in the morning. I then went back to collect him and he was released with pills and things. But it's all a bit sobering. 

On Saturday, Big Grandson and I went to Glasgow on a train to ride around on buses, which he considers fun. First we went to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, where we had an early lunch and a bit of culture. 

He inspected these floating heads.

We enjoyed an organ recital. 

And then we got on and off a selection of buses for much of the afternoon. He's great company. 

When we got back to Waverley Station in Edinburgh there was a steam engine pulling old carriages where people were sitting at tables with frilly lamps and eating afternoon tea. So that was quite interesting too. We took photos for the grandfathers, both of whom like steam engines. 

So yes, good and bad. 

I got lovely Mother's Day flowers but now that they've faded, I've replaced them with a more modest bunch from the garden. 

And so life goes on. 

Monday, March 20, 2023

One foot after another...

The other day we climbed one of the city's hills, which gives good views over Edinburgh. Here's another hill on the horizon - Arthur's Seat. When we've been away anywhere to the south, this familiar outline appears on the skyline and I feel with relief - ah, nearly home. 

After some lovely days, it was a bit dreary for our walk and as we descended, there were tiny flecks of snow, though these didn't last.

There was snow on the Pentland Hills south of the city, though - they're much higher. 

But then the weather warmed up and on Saturday we went on a lovely 6-mile walk near Earlston with our walking friends. 

The scenery was varied: woodland by a river,

(lots of amorous toads: this chap (chappess?) was still looking for love but many others had definitely found it),

wild garlic everywhere,

sunshine on tree trunks and swathes of snowdrops, just going over, 

and ploughed fields with rich red soil. 

It was by no means a flat walk, and we were all happy to sit down for coffee at the end. We had a wonderful day, though.

I do appreciate those who comment, though I can't reciprocate to the blogless ones, recently Patty McDonald (that sounds Scottish!) and Virginia. Hello to both!

Monday, March 13, 2023

Home and away

A friend is on a Caribbean cruise at the moment and keeps sending photos like this to the WhatsApp group of our little Monday coffee gang. She's having a wonderful time but - is this a tiny bit insensitive, do you feel? Or just giving us a taste of somewhere interesting? I don't actually want to go on a Caribbean cruise (she loves cruises) but I doubt that the rest of us could easily afford to anyway. 

Here it's been lovely weather in a Scotland-in-March way - much better than down south, where there's been quite a bit of snow. Mind you, today is revolting - very wet. 

Big Granddaughter is now 10 - how did that happen? I can't help feeling a bit sad for her, with periods doubtless looming. She's quite tall and I imagine they'll come upon her before too long. Both I and our daughters had/have the curse of painful periods. I hope BG escapes. But childhood is sadly short. On the other hand, I suppose I don't particularly want to be 10 so... I hope she'll enjoy growing up. She designed and mainly executed her cake decoration - she had a rolling-skating party. 

I have very few photos of my paternal grandfather, who died a few months before I was born. Here he is with my young parents, my paternal grandmother and my improbably chunky big brother. He is no longer that plump, or sonsie as we'd say here. It's a fairly awful photo taken clearly in bright sunshine, but it's nice to see Grandpa S. He had a good head of hair for 68 (gosh, younger than I am now). 

And here are my maternal grandparents in 1955 with some American visiting relatives who took colour photos - unknown here. That's my lovely granny sitting in the middle, beaming away, my mum behind to her left, my grandpa at the back right and my dad, my brother and me at the front. Those were the days when small boys wore their school blazers to be smart! 

Is the decluttering proceeding apace? Hmm. Not precisely. 


Wednesday, March 08, 2023

More comings and goings

I've just come back from visiting Daughter 2, her husband and Littlest Granddaughter in London and, as usual, feel sad no longer to be with them. However, we had a good time. Daughter 2 and Littlest G made gingerbread men and Littlest G pulled faces in the shiny mixer. 

We went out to a nature reserve. Littlest G took her fishing rod. There were notices forbidding fishing but I don't think anything fishy was in danger. It was cold!

Someone had built a stick house, where Littlest G enjoyed playing. We added a few sticks.

Another day we went to the Epping Forest Visitor's Centre, which was lovely. Both her previous flat and her current house are near Epping Forest, which is very large. Here, Littlest G draws an owl. 

On Monday, everyone was at work or school so I took myself out for a walk round Chingford. I wandered round the graveyard of the local church and thought about those who came and have gone, such as these - friends? sisters? I've never seen such a gravestone before. 

I rather like this wall, made up, presumably, of lots of bits of stone and brick that happened to catch the builder's eye. It looks as if he had fun. 

This sounds like a good concert but... not sure of that spelling. One could convince oneself that it's a justifiable transliteration of the Russian, but it's spelt differently at the bottom of the poster. (Check three times, print once, sort of thing.) I suppose that with an English accent, the "ch" is pronounced as "ck". A Scot wouldn't make that mistake. You'd think that most English accents must make other spellings difficult - for example, they mainly don't pronounce "r"s, with floor and flaw pronounced the same (I think). We say "flohrr" and - well - "flaw" as in "aww". But they mainly seem to manage. 

On the way back in the train there was snow in Northumberland!

No snow here, only sunshine and blue skies, but it's rather chilly. We went to the Botanics today to raise my spirits and this was fairly successful. It was such a beautiful day.

The garden at home is looking springy. I'm not a fan of purple but have to make an exception for purple flowers, especially these crocuses, blooming away undaunted by the morning's frost. 


Thursday, March 02, 2023


Somehow we seem to have got into the habit of just going along the cycle path nearby for our walks - life seems to be quite busy, though just with sorting things and coffeeing with friends and seeing family and so on - anyway, we went very slightly further afield the other day to see the snowdrops in the Cammo Estate. My photos don't do them justice - there are thousands upon thousands. When I think of the forty or so that I nurture in my garden...! 

Here they are, in random clumps all over the place. 

Some of them aren't just the standard single ones, but these fancy double ones. 

The estate is managed in a sort of semi-wild way, and there are remnants everywhere of the grand gardens that were once here. 

This is all that's left of the 1693 house, which was demolished after it was set on fire by vandals and became unsafe - but it had been neglected for years by its mentally-unstable owners. There are also other remnants, such as an ornamental canal, stables and some cottages. 

It's a shame. However, it's now a lovely place where anyone can walk. It's especially popular with dog walkers, which is mildly alarming for non-doggy people, but there's plenty of space for everyone. 

I was interested and touched by Virginia's feelings that I should keep stuff, but really, my descendants (if they're interested) will have lots of other things, eg letters, to read. They don't need my 12-year-old thoughts on Mary Queen of Scots, poor soul that she was. I do know what you mean, though. I would be interested to read my great-grandmother's school reports (though in those days they wouldn't be very informative, I don't suppose). But one can't keep everything. I have so much stuff from my parents, too, who led much more spectacular lives than I have done. 

It's a tricky problem, though. What would descendants be interested in, enough to plough through piles of papers? 

I'm always rather moved by antique programmes in which archives appear for sale - maybe a beautiful portrait of a young man - someone's beloved son - or medals and papers, or photograph albums of a whole family, neatly organised. Presumably the line of the family that treasured these things has come to an end, as can easily happen. Quite possibly another branch of the family would treasure them, but contact has been lost. It's very intriguing and rather sad. We have grandchildren, but who knows what will happen, further down the line? 

And with that, I shall go and have a cup of tea while I wait for a friend to arrive. Her mother and mine were best friends and flatmates in London during the war and went through the Blitz together. Such different lives from our peaceful ones.