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... 


Saturday, October 21, 2023


Thank you to the kind commentators who wished us well in our medical procedures. 

So here's the thing. We were just leaving the house on Monday to take Mr Life to his hospital on the east side of Edinburgh for his angiogram and possible stent, when the phone rang and it was my hospital, through in the west of Scotland, cancelling my hip replacement operation because of "problems in the operating theatres". 

I had been going to drop Mr L off and then drive home and get the train through to Dalmuir to stay in the hotel attached to the hospital for the night before reporting to the hospital at 7.30 am on the Tuesday. And, because Mr L wasn't going to be able to drive for the next week, we had complicated arrangements involving our son's very kindly coming to collect me on the Wednesday from his home, quite far away, and then, if I wasn't let out on the Wednesday, a helpful friend's doing the needful. 

Anyway... it didn't happen. Which was, as it turned out, just as well, because it turns out that an angiogram is a bigger and nastier thing than we'd expected (Mr L thinks they got it slightly wrong when inserting... I'm very phobic about arteries and things, so let's draw a veil) and he's had a very bruised and sore arm all week, which he isn't allowed to do much with. So if I'd been hobbling about on two sticks, uttering low moans, we'd have been a pretty pair. Also, I wasn't exactly looking forward to having the top of my leg sawn off and now I can pretend once more that it's not happening. Win win. 

The further win is that Mr L didn't need a stent and his heart seems to be more or less ok. Which is good. 

So we didn't do much all week. I'd had to cancel two friends who were coming for coffee on the Tuesday - this was before I knew the date (ha!) of my op - so I uncancelled them and they came and made sympathetic noises. 

And I've been getting on with my cot quilt because Daughter 2's friends' baby's is due in December. So that's been quite fun. 

Edinburgh Son-in-Law has been away down in Worcester with the Edinburgh Two, visiting his parents, so Daughter 1, who sadly hadn't enough holidays left to go with them, has been on her own. So today we went out for lunch with her and had a nice wander through Dr Neil's Garden by Duddingston Loch. It's still beautiful even at this time of year. 

You wouldn't really think, would you, that this was in the middle (well the eastern middle) of a city? 

The garden was made about fifty years ago by two doctors in the grounds of Duddingston Kirk. 

When I first visited it as a girl, there wasn't much: mainly heathers and small conifers. 

But sadly, it's a while since I was a girl. 

While the years have given me wrinkles and arthritis, they've only added to the beauty of the garden - which is open to the public, though is never busy. And when I've been carried off by those years, the garden will still be here and still be beautiful. Which is a comforting thought. Will I have had the op by that point? Watch this space. 

Sunday, October 15, 2023


Littlest Granddaughter is now 6 - which is a bit alarming. She had an under-the-sea-themed party - largely so that she and her friends could, if they wished, dress up as mermaids or whatever. Her mum, Daughter 2, is an architect so obviously made a fancy cake and decorated the house appropriately. 

I did use to make fancyish cakes for my children's parties. 

But I didn't go so far as to decorate the house.

Anyway, we weren't there (she's in London) but a good time was had, apparently.

I've been getting on with the cot quilt. I think it needs sashing. It's just lying on a sheet here to test out white for this purpose. I don't know how soon I'll be able to get back to it: cutting out is quite physical. I mean, not like mountaineering; but you need to stand and lean over and so on. 

Talking of cutting, I've been reading the booklet the hospital gives you about the operation. It sounds extremely gruesome. I'm glad I'm not a surgeon, though equally glad that other people are. I hope they don't tell me about it as they go along (one gets an epidural, another thing I've never had, rather than a general anaesthetic). Other times I've been in hospital for unpleasant experiences, I've been given a nice baby at the end of it all. Sadly, I don't think this is going to happen this time.

I'm now going to go and read something more soothing, possibly about gardens. Much more my thing. 

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Sorting out

Goodness gracious, how is the world, or at least selected parts of the world, still at war in this day and age? It's scarcely believable: with all our so-called civilisation, some people are still behaving as if they were in Tudor times - kidnapping and killing one another in their quest for power. The minority, I'm sure, but their actions are so devastating.

It's all too sad and unfathomable. A lot of sorting out is needed. 

I'm making a cot quilt for one of Daughter 2's friends. She wants yellows and ochres, and not too much in the way of patterned fabric. Can't say ochre is my thing, or at least not the browny side of ochre, so I'm interpreting this as yellow with a bit of (reluctant) orange, and a few sneaked-in patterns. There are going to be quite a lot of solidish colours too. It's such fun, playing with fabric.

We went up on Saturday to visit Son and his little ones and had a lovely time. 

Back at the quilt assembly, I did this again! 

Talk about a slow learner... Even that attempt wasn't quite right because I then noticed that the top left hand square was a different way round from the other similar ones. It's now sorted! 

It's been quite wet here, which has shown us that the new skylights we've had put in the kitchen are not entirely satisfactory. One is fine. The other leaks. They were put in three weeks ago and since then, the chaps have been back five times to try to find where the water is getting in. The last time - at least, we're hoping it's the last time - was yesterday. It hasn't rained since, so it's impossible to tell whether it's worked at last. "I'm 95% certain that's it now," said the chap. So far, we've had Lee, Lee's three laddies who actually did the initial work, Lee's dad and then yesterday Lee's brother trying to sort it out. Sigh.

The garden has been neglected because we were away and then it rained, but I did a bit of autumn cutting-down today. I'm going to get a hip replacement operation on Tuesday (argh), after which I'm not allowed to garden for 12 weeks, so... it's just as well that it's going to be winter. Mr L is having an angiogram and possible stent on Monday - it's all go from the NHS for us. I suppose we must be getting old. Funny how soon that happens. We were young and vigorous the other month... or at least year. Still, let the NHS sort us out and then we'll be leaping around again. Let's hope.

Thursday, October 05, 2023

Going away and coming back again

We've been away for a little holiday. First we went to Norwich, in the south(ish) east of England, where we visited, among other places, Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery. In the art gallery, some of the paintings were hung upside down. This has been done because it's a ... what? ... an installation, maybe, by an artist whose name we didn't know and have now forgotten. He has recently chosen some paintings to be hung upside down so as to ... the attendant I spoke to didn't really know, but thought that it was to make us look at them differently. Yes... . 

Anyway, we had various nice walks along the river, 

and visited the very impressive Norwich Cathedral, built 900 years ago.

Then we went to Cambridge to visit my brother and sister-in-law, who moved there last year to be near their daughter. This day, we visited Bury St Edmunds, and walked among the ruins of Bury St Edmunds Abbey, which was built around 1020 but destroyed by Henry VIII after 1539 in the dissolution of the monasteries. There are various lumps left of it, and interesting diagrams and models to show you what it was once like. HUGE, is what it was like. 

See the mustard-coloured bit on the drawing of the abbey as it was? 

This is it here. It's a fair size, so the rest of the abbey must have been enormous.

We also took a trip to Anglesey Abbey, which is neither in Anglesey nor an abbey, but a stately home. Mr L and I visited this in 1972, while staying with my aunt, who lived in Cambridge at the time. 

I remembered that I'd taken a photo of Mr L lying on the grass, so we recreated it in roughly the same place, 51 years later. He would look more like his youthful self if he didn't have the beard. He still looks much the same to me, anyway. 

There's a dahlia bed with flowers shading from red, to pink, orange, yellow and white. Dahlias can be a bit garish but this was a nice way to display them. I'm not really into clashy colours.

And this is a photo of my niece at her allotment. "Is this for the blog?" she asked. Turns out, it was. 

So we had a lovely time and now we're back and catching up with stuff.