Wednesday, February 28, 2024


In my fairly unproductive life these days, nothing very much happens - which is on the whole good, but doesn't leave a lot to blog about. I see quite a lot of friends, which is lovely: two separate groups of school friends, friends from the one school and from the two colleges that I taught at, other friends from my youth and some from more recent years. I feel very lucky to have all these people in my life and am very aware that we're all getting older and must treasure these friendships while we're all still able to get about. 

For example, I had coffee today with four women with whom I started teaching at a high school in 1973 - over 50 years ago. One by one we all left that school to have children or teach elsewhere, but we've kept seeing one another ever since. We've been married (and, apart from one who's widowed, are all still married), four of us have had children and grandchildren and we've all had ups and downs and house moves and mainly minor ailments and some of them have had major troubles and one's had a stroke but - we chatter on, and it's lovely.

I know I often blog about flowers, but here are more. I went to the Botanics the other day and some of the rhododendrons are in full flower - mainly the pink ones. Filling one's gaze with colour is very therapeutic. 

Yesterday, Mr L and I visited Shepherd House in Inveresk, which is really joined on to the eastern side of the city now, though it used to be a separate village. We've walked past this house before, but never when the gardens were open. The house was built in 1650ish but has been owned since 1957 (yes!) by very keen gardeners, who have over the years made it really beautiful. Now in their nineties, they still open the gardens sometimes for charity. 

There are various jolly touches. This is a yew sheep.

A bunch of tulips in pebbles.

I really want some of these yellow-headed snowdrops, but alas, none of the stockists I can find have any actually in stock. 

The hellebores were stunning. 

I know what he means! 

 This is Inveresk village - it's picturesque, despite the orange - which is a traditional colour for old Scottish harled (pebble-dashed) buildings. A mistake, I feel, but at least one hallowed by centuries. 

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Flowers, flowers, flowers

It's definitely spring in the garden, which is full of crocuses. 

I think I like these pale yellow ones best, 

but really,

after the winter, any colour is welcome. Well, apart from orange - though the crocus stamens are acceptable. 

Compared to my life as a teacher, which was a whirlwind all day and a frantic round of marking and preparation all evening, our current lives are - I hesitate to say dull, because it's on the whole lovely to be able to potter around, drink coffee with friends and so on - but certainly much less eventful. However, the joy is that we can do things such as, the other day, going to Dawyck Botanic Gardens in the Borders to see their snowdrops. 

They have lots of different varieties, though really it's the huge numbers that are, to me, more impressive. 

They're beautiful individually, especially if you upturn their little faces, 

but in huge swathes,

which frankly don't come out particularly well in photographs,


they're stunning to stand and look at.

Wise of them to bloom in early spring, when there's not much competition and we're starving for flowers and beauty and hope. 

Mr L is off to Glasgow with Big Grandson to see the model railway exhibition, so I'm going to take myself off to our Botanic Gardens for a walk in the sunshine. 

Friday, February 16, 2024


We've been in London visiting Daughter 2 and family, taking with us Big Grandson so that he could ride around on London's transport. No accounting for tastes... . Anyway, he and Mr Life did this on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. On Sunday, we all went to the Post Office Museum (which includes a post-train ride), and on Monday and Tuesday I looked after Littlest Granddaughter while her parents worked. 

We had a busy time. She tried five times to teach me how to assemble her toy aeroplane. I got better at it, but never entirely succeeded without help - there must be about fifteen bits. She's 6 and I'm 73. I'm not mechanically minded. I confess I wasn't really trying at the beginning, but started to concentrate once I realised that I was probably going to have to keep doing it till I succeeded. It turned out that even my full concentration wasn't enough. 

And now we're home and it's amaryllis time again, and today was beautiful and I got some gardening done, hurray. 

I'm learning things I didn't know about American English through Duolingo, which requires one to translate from the French and German which I'm brushing up. It marks one wrong when one doesn't guess what it wants one to say. For example, when I translated from its French, "I didn't wash before work because I got up late", it wanted me to say, "I didn't wash up before work because I woke up late." Do you really say this, Americans? Here, washing up refers to doing the dishes. And it doesn't allow you to say "football" when it wants "soccer" (I mean, "fussball", Duolingo!), and objects to your saying "in my break" when it wants "on my break". It's interesting, though, if a bit frustrating. 

I'd try some Scottish English on it (we say, for example, "amn't" as in "I'm right, amn't I?") but you only get five mistakes ("mistakes") and then you have to buy more credit, so I don't think I will... . English people would say "aren't I?", which sounds odd to me. We don't say, "I are", after all. How about Americans? Australians? New Zealanders? Are you of the "aren't I?" persuasion. 

Thursday, February 08, 2024


It was such a beautiful day yesterday, and one thought: Spring! But today was very chilly. Winter!

I was walking along the other day, mind idling, and suddenly thought about the verb "to spend". I suppose it's obvious, but I had never really realised how significant it is that we use this verb about both money and time. We spend our money and it's gone. We spend our time and it's even more gone - no possibility of earning more. 

We talk about spending time wisely - but when you're my age (73, with the time-purse getting rather empty), what is the wisest way of spending it? 

Answers on a postcard, please... 

(Maybe it's better just not to think about it.)

Saturday, February 03, 2024


The weather was beautiful, if somewhat chilly, today and we went up to visit the UnBloggables in their home territory, an hour and a quarter's drive away. 

We had a detour via a friend's house, and then cut through somewhat alarmingly narrow roads, up and down and round corners, to the park where we were meeting the UnBloggables. 

Would you like to live in this house? I would, in daylight and in summer. But in the dark, or in winter, I prefer to be nearer other people - being of a somewhat nervous disposition. 

This is the park where we spent the morning. It was lovely to see Son and the little ones - the first time this year. Medium Granddaughter is so chatty and affectionate. I wish we could see more of her and her (also lovely) little brother. But hey ho. 

This death announcement was in The Scotsman  (newspaper) this morning. Hmm. There's a story there, one feels. 

The light is returning and the spring flowers are coming out. But it's only February and winter could have a few things in store yet. I hope it hasn't!