Saturday, April 22, 2023


Most, though not all, of the daffodils are over but the tulips are coming into their own. It's been beautiful weather here, so I've been enjoying tidying the garden, though alas my arthritic hip has not. Still, onwards and upwards. 

This is brunnera - it lasts so long and is a beautiful blue.

More tulips. 

Today we walked to the Botanics, admiring this beautiful blossom on the way. Coincidentally, I've just been browsing the internet, as one does, discovering that the house belonging to this tree, which is about five minutes from our house, is for sale for £5 million pounds. Of course, interestingly, one can see inside it, on the particulars. Sadly I don't think we'll be buying it. It's very beautiful, with an acre of garden (which we visited last year under the Scotland's Gardens scheme). But it's a bit big for our retirement. Also slightly (vastly) beyond our budget.... There are lots of very posh houses not too far away from us - and no, we don't own one - but I hadn't thought that any houses in Edinburgh were worth £5 million. Astonishing. 

There are still some daffodils at the Botanics.

But it's mainly the rhododendron season. 

And very...


By the time we'd got home, it had dulled down and become rather chilly. This is a pity, since we're having lovely American cousins to stay next week. And the weather forecast isn't promising. Sigh.


Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Plodding around

The weather has been glorious over the last few days, which is perhaps a pity, since we're having American cousins to stay next week, and it can't last... We went out with our walking friends on Saturday and did five miles round Dundas Castle, which was lovely. The castle is now a wedding venue. 

We ate lunch by this (artificial, I think) lake. 

The last of the daffodils were still blooming. 

This was a sweet little cottage with a heart carved above the window. Sad, since it's now a ruin. 

Looking inside, you can see a brass bedstead. Very poignant. I wonder who lived there. 

Today, Mr L and I walked up the river from Stockbridge, having taken some things to charity shops in the never-ending attempt to have less stuff. We managed not to buy any books at the Oxfam book shop; well done us. 

This is St Bernard's Well, though I don't think St Bernard had any part in it. 

There were lots of tourists taking photos. 

I took one of the old chap. 


The river just flows along. It'll be just the same when we're gone. Which I find reassuring; though I'm not planning to go any time soon. 

Friday, April 14, 2023

Keeping the brain alive

Daughter 2 and Littlest Granddaughter came back to Edinburgh with us for the Easter week. It was lovely having them. We did things such as playing on the Landform at the art gallery near us. 

Littlest contemplated the penguin-lady sculpture. 

And then Son and family came to stay too. The little ones played pretty well with one another on the whole. We went to the Cammo estate, as above, and they went to the museum without us, and then we all went to Dalkeith Country Park with the Bigs, and there were various other things such as playing in the garden, getting wet/making "healing drinks" out of water and petals/doing obstacle courses. I have lots of unbloggable photos. 

The last of the family, Daughter 2 and Littlest Granddaughter, went this morning, and as usual I'm very down in the dumps. However, they're off to Brighton for a mini-break with Son-in-Law 2, so I'm consoled at the thought of them having a nice time. 

56 days ago, Big Grandson (being considerably more technically competent than I) started me on Duolingo for both French and German, and I've been keeping it up. My French is reasonably good - I did it for 7 years at school and one at university - but on the other hand, this was some years ago. I learnt German for less than 3 years, so my German is much less good, though things like word order have stuck fairly well in my head. I was never a very conscientious pupil, so didn't put much effort into learning genders, which didn't, and still doesn't, help my fluency. But I'm a better and wiser person now. However, Duolingo goes very slowly, so that after 56 days I haven't really learnt much. I should have started further on in the course with both. Also - one shouldn't complain, because it's free, but it uses American English, and I hadn't fully taken in some of the differences between it and British English. Duolingo sometimes doesn't accept my English translations of things, such as when I say "at the weekends" (which we do say) instead of "on the weekend" (which we don't). 

It views me as a younger person than (alas) I am, and so is carefully and at length teaching me to tell people about my roommates. (Am I right that a roommate in America isn't actually a roommate but a housemate? Here, a roommate would share your bedroom.) I have had to compose many sentences about my surfing and hiking and jogging habits (surfen, wandern (I did know this) and joggen) so that I can chat to people about my energetic weekends. I can also converse about my job interview, which somewhat unbelievably seems to be "das Jobinterview". So far it has spent no time telling me about gardening, tidying the house or quilting. Or indeed blogging. I wonder if that's "bloggen". 

Still, I'm quite enjoying it and it's probably reinforcing what I already knew, so that can't be bad. Once our fairly imminent American visitors have been and gone, I might add Spanish to the list. My Spanish is extremely rudimentary, so it would be interesting to see if Duolingo can make it less so. 

I have a friend who does a different language each day of the week! I think they're Spanish, Portugese, French, German, Italian, Welsh and Scottish Gaelic. Not sure that my brain could cope with that. 


Saturday, April 08, 2023

Chuff chuff

We've just come back from London, where we went with Big Grandson with the express purpose of riding around on various modes of London transport. We took the train down there on Tuesday (bus, long-distance train, underground, overground, bus - to get to Daughter 2's house) and then spent two days on trains, buses and tubes. This is not normally my idea of very heaven; indeed, it's more like very hell for someone who doesn't like London or travelling in vehicles, has no interest in trains or buses and is rather motion sick. However, it was very nice being with Big Grandson and seeing his pleasure. He really loves, and is very knowledgeable about, transport. 

Luckily Mr L is more interested than I am. 

Not a beautiful sight, though improved by the back of our little chap's head. 

Also not postcard-worthy. 

London is unfeasibly enormous. We went to lots of places that I'd never heard of: Northwick Park, Stonebridge Park, Abbey Wood, Eastcote... 

I imagine I'll never be there again! 

The one place I did find interesting in was Uxbridge, where we walked down a little street and found a small park on land that had been given as a graveyard by Henry, Earl of Darby, Lord of Stanly and Strange Lord of Man and the Isles in 1576; and decommissioned, if that's the word, in 1855. Even at that later date, I imagine that it was an idyllic village spot for the dead to lie in peace. Now it's surrounded on three sides by roaring traffic, though there are daffodils and the odd bench. Grandson enjoyed bus spotting through the fence. 

Look at all the gravestones piled against the wall,

like this one for little Elizabeth Powell, who died in 1757 aged (I think) 30 months, doubtless breaking her parents' hearts. 

And then we came home again on the bus, train, tube, train and bus with Daughter 2 and Littlest Granddaughter. Four straight days travelling. It was worth it but we won't be doing that again in a hurry! However, Grandson had a lovely time, and that was the point. 

Sunday, April 02, 2023

Nothing much...

Life has been mercifully unnewsworthy for the past week. Mr L is taking the medication and seems to be all right; thanks for your concern. We went to the Botanics and said hello to some ducks,

lots of daffodils

a cherry tree

and a cat.

I did a tiny bit of archiving and came across this photo of my paternal grandparents. I never knew this grandfather, who died a few months before I was born, and this grandmother moved down south when I was four or five, so we didn't see her much - travel wasn't so easy then. And then she sadly got dementia. She was born in 1885, so was 65 by the time I was born and I don't remember her much apart from as a confused old lady. I do hope that her kind of dementia isn't genetic. Of her three children, my dad didn't get it, the older of his sisters did and the younger didn't. So - crossing my fingers. I think I'm now older than she was when she developed it and I think I'm ok so far. 

Then yesterday we went to the local flower show, which is always enjoyable, and out to dinner with friends, also lovely. They have a large house and LOTS of stuff, which always makes me feel almost minimalist in comparison. I mean, I'm actually far from minimalist. But at least my Stuff is either tidily out, to be decorative, or lurking in cupboards.