Sunday, July 30, 2023


The Edinburgh Two are still down south with their other grandparents, and much though I miss them, I quite enjoy knowing that they're safe and happy and don't need anything from us for the moment. We went for a walk along the river on Friday, and had coffee at the gallery half way round. 

And today we went to the Botanics. 

The herbaceous border is in full flower. 

I rather like these pink tasselly things, which according to the label are Sanguisorba Hakusenensis. 

I've at last got back to working on Big Granddaughter's second quilt. I finished the front weeks ago but somehow didn't seem to have a minute to do the back, which I'm piecing together from various bits of fabric. This of course is much more time-consuming than just using a single piece - though it's too big, actually, for a single piece. Of course I'm putting some effort into getting it symmetrical, even though it's the back and she's ten and it's got dragons on it (her request) which I'm sure she won't want when she's ... well, not much older. But I'm enjoying myself. 

In preparation for my hip op, I have to do exercises. A single set takes about 10 minutes and I have to do them four times a day. Will I manage to keep this up? Well, obviously I have to. I also do more tiring exercises with weights (only 3kg, but I do 12 of various lifty things and some other sit-up/leg bend stuff) - these were prescribed by Doctor Son a few years ago, on the slightly depressing grounds that when one's legs give out, it's good to have strong arms to heave oneself about. It's all very time-consuming when one has gardening and quilt-making to do!


Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Not pottering

I was down in London last weekend, babysitting Littlest Granddaughter while Daughter 2 and Son-in-Law 2 were at a wedding. We played hide-and-seek. Can you possibly guess where she is, in this photo?? 

We read lots of stories. 

It rained, really quite hard, so that we couldn't go out. When I was a mum, I was famous for dragging my three out for Wet Walks. But I don't feel that I can exert so much authority over grandchildren and anyway, it was really very wet. But the day passed pretty well anyway. 

On Sunday the sun shone, so Daughter 2 got some plants planted. When they bought the house, the back garden was all grass, but she's gradually filling it with flowers. The soil is very solid London clay, so hard work to do anything with. 

Meanwhile the Edinburgh 2 are down in Devon with their cousins on their dad's side, which is lovely. 

About fourteen months ago, I got seen by a consultant who said that I needed a hip replacement operation, but the NHS has big backlogs so I was expecting to wait several years. However, to my surprise, I was recently summoned to a hospital in the west of Scotland and so went there today. I travelled by train, which was easy enough, though I did get up at 5.30am to do so - I was worried that the later train might be cancelled. I was in fact far too early, but that's better than being far too late. I saw a different consultant, a nurse, a nurse practitioner, a pharmacist and an occupational therapist, and they were all very nice, and it turns out that I should get the operation within 3-6 months. 

It seemed a good idea to get the op when it wasn't for several years. Now I'm thinking - hmm! oooh! - that's not very long. 

Still, it would have cost about £16-£18,000 to get it done sooner, privately, and this will be free. So - good old NHS. And I'm just not going to think about it until I have to. 

Thursday, July 20, 2023


It's been one of those busy weeks when you can't quite remember what you've been busy with. On Saturday we went walking with the walking friends.

The weather was perfect: not too hot but very pleasant. The company was lovely.

We walked past Penicuik House, just walls since a big fire in 1899. How sad the architect would be. 

The garden flourishes.

So do the Botanic Gardens.

And also Big Grandson, who's now 12 and taller than me. This is his cake, a German ICE train. Obviously.

We were on the beach today, and he built a tunnel system for - naturally - trains. 

And so life goes on. Such a pity that I'm getting so old. I'd like to go on pottering around for ever, really. But sadly... .

Friday, July 14, 2023

Things come in fives...

This was a more domestic week. On Monday the two sisters, and the sister-in-law, of the husband of my American second (or something) cousin who came to stay with us a couple of months ago - are you following this? - visited Edinburgh briefly en route for a cruise ship, so I gave them a walking tour of the city and then they came back here for dinner. So that was very nice. Their cruise goes to Orkney, Norway, the Faroe Islands and Iceland, which sounds lovely. The only snag might be the weather, which in Britain at least has been, on and off, very rainy this week. On Monday it was only very briefly, but torrentially, wet. We had just left the cafe at Holyrood Palace and immediately decided that another cup of coffee would be very welcome - back in the cafe. 

Other than that, there's been some coffeeing with friends, some lunching with friends, some being with the grandchildren - that sort of thing. Yesterday we took the Edinburgh Two up to see the Unbloggables, which was lovely (and not wet, or only a tiny bit). 

Son lives in the country, in a scenic but (for us) inconvenient area. Still, I can see the appeal. If my life were different, I too would like to live in the country. At least in the summer. 

Only one of the children sat down in the water. 

Their bloggable cat, in catmint (I think). 

Since we got back from being away, we've had a series of minorish, but tedious, problems.

1) While Mr L was still in Hamburg, I found a dead rat in the back garden! Now, firstly, a rat! and secondly, I don't deal with dead things. I'm a vegetarian and very squeamish. However, I had to deal with it. Please applaud. 

2) Also while Mr L was in Hamburg, I looked up at the bedroom ceiling - the fairly newly decorated bedroom ceiling - and there was a damp patch, clearly a leak. The roofer has now fixed the leak, at least we hope so. The brown patch remains to be dealt with.

3) The cord of the blind in a spare room broke. Mr L has fixed this. 

4) The dishwasher stopped working. It needs a new bit, which a dishwasher chap is going to get for us. Let's hope.

5) We have two skylights in our kitchen, made out of some sort of plastic. This is one of them. A huge brown ... splodge? burn? who knows what? - not us ... has suddenly appeared on it. It's as if an ostrich had been flying overhead and done something unmentionable on it. However, the very heavy rain of the last few days has had no effect. We can't imagine what it is. We are no longer willing to climb on roofs to investigate, so contacted a handyman who we've used before. Sadly, he's about to go on holiday and can't come and look at it till late in August. Could it be a burn? We don't get aeroplanes flying above us as a rule, though we do get the occasional helicopter nearby. Do flying vehicles drop hot things? 

Oh well, these are all minor things compared to the disasters suffered by many people in the world and no doubt something will be able to be done about it in due course. But that's enough little problems, thank you, world, for the moment. 

Saturday, July 08, 2023

Chuff chuff chuff

Well, life has been, unusually for us, full of event. It all started some months ago, when we were thinking how much Big Grandson, who's transport-mad (particularly about trains/trams/buses) would enjoy being in Hamburg and going round the enormous model train exhibition where Mr L went for his 70th birthday. I mean, I went too. But Mr L is a train enthusiast. I just wandered around. 

So we decided that Mr L would offer to take him. And then Mr L realised that Big G would really like to go on the Eurostar, under the English Channel, rather than flying. This meant a train to London, a stay overnight beside St Pancras Station, the Eurostar and then various changes of train on the way to Hamburg. And back again. Somewhat to Mr L's relief, Big G's dad said he would like to go too, and crucially, as well as being a nice chap, Son-in-Law 1 has a first-class honours degree in German with distinction in spoken German. Big Grandson has been learning German on Duolingo for some months in preparation but is not yet at his father's level. 

Doing it this way was much more of a palaver, as well as being considerably more expensive, than flying. However, it did provide the train-mad nearly-12-year-old with lots of interesting trains to ride on. And, as it turned out, buses and undergrounds on the free days in Hamburg. 

Meanwhile Daughter 1 and I took his sister (who has no interest in trains but thought she might like theme parks) to Legoland in Windsor, in the south of England. This was much simpler but still involved a train to London, another to Slough, a third to Windsor, a very short walk to the hotel, a day at Legoland (travelling by taxi), another night in Windsor and then the journey in reverse, meeting up at King's Cross with Daughter 2 for a (my) birthday lunch. 

Big Granddaughter turned out not to be so keen on theme parks as she'd imagined... or at least, not on the scary rides. But there were various unscary rides that she and her mother went on, and other things to see such as this model world. There are also good playparks and shops, though it's an expensive way to to go playparks and shops... However, we had a good time and I think this may be, hooray, the last theme park I ever have to go to. We did EuroDisney and Florida Disney with our kids in their day and queuing in the sun is not my very favourite thing to do. Nor are scary rides (not that I did them. Good old Mr L took on that task).

The female side of the party got home on Tuesday, and then Daughter 1 had to go to work, while Biggest Granddaughter and I did various things in Edinburgh such as going to the Zoo,

buying books at a nice bookshop, having lunch out and so on, for the rest of the week. The male side of things got back to London yesterday after a very stressful day of cancelled and delayed trains (but in the end they caught their Eurostar - just - whew) and are now at Daughter 2's. Mr L and SIL 1 have had a quiet day, while Daughter 2 has nobly been taking glutton-for-punishment Big Grandson for
a London train/tube/bus day. This culminated in his being invited into the cab of the final train (which was stationary at the time!) and allowed to play with the buttons - seeing the camera's-eye view of the carriages, blowing the horn etc. I imagine this made his day!

Today I had a nice slow start and was just changing the sheets on our bed when I looked out of the window and saw the two friends I'd forgotten that I'd invited for coffee, coming down the path. Never have I sprung into action so quickly! Fortunately I had coffee and biscuits available and it was lovely to see them so all was well. Oh dear, brain overload...