Tuesday, April 23, 2024


It's all about spring! The Botanics are flourishing, though these daffodils are from a week or two ago and have now faded.  

There are lots of beautiful rhododendrons now.

Mind you, our garden is also rhododendronous in its modest way.

And in the front, forget-me-nots demonstrate why they're worthy of their name. I sowed some - oh, probably 30 years ago - and they seed themselves all around every year. Some might say too much, but they're easy to pull up when they're finished. Unlike the pesky lily of the valley, which I also planted and which now come up everywhere. Grrr. 

On Saturday we walked with the gang in East Lothian, from Gifford. 

It was mainly through woods. The weather was perfect for walking: windless, sunny but not too much, mild but not too hot. And the company was great. 

Here is George, our horticulturist extraordinaire, telling us about this tree. 

It was such a lovely day: 6 very enjoyable miles. And we always end at a cafe. 

Big Grandson, the transport enthusiast, always takes photos of buses he's about to board (also other buses) and on Sunday when he did so, the bus driver produced this and gave it to him. He was very pleased! The driver had been carrying it around to give it to a bus fan. 

Today's walk for Mr Life and me was in Stockbridge in Edinburgh, where the buildings are not actually at an earthquake angle as you might think from the photo. 

It was lovely weather again. 


Saturday, April 13, 2024

Simple pleasures

It was a nice day on Thursday so I took Smallest Granddaughter to Lauriston Castle, which has pleasant grounds to walk in, including a Japanese garden with a little island reached by stepping stones, which children always love. 

We were there for quite a long time,

which was fine, because the aims were 1) for her to have fun and fresh air and 2) to give her mum, who was working upstairs at home, peace to concentrate. Also, I don't like to spend the whole day in the house. I like fresh air too. It was my mantra when our own children were small - "Come on - fresh air and exercise." I was also somewhat notorious for taking them for wet walks, if that was the only possibility. I still like wet walks as long as I have an umbrella. Which is just as well, considering the weather we've been having lately. 

She swooshed branches in the water and spread the droplets around. 

She climbed trees. 

And when we got home, we sat in the garden for a bit. It's been so wet that even this was a treat. 

And then yesterday we went to the beach and ploutered around. Here she is scooping up dogs' footprints and scattering them. There were lots; dog owners like to walk their pooches on the beach. I quite like dogs individually, but there are so many of them since lockdown, often in slightly alarming packs overseen (sort of) by professional dog walkers. Fortunately Smallest Granddaughter doesn't seem to be frightened of them. 

She soon took off her boots and socks to paddle, and to throw stones and handfuls of wet sand into the sea. 

Simple pleasures.

But now they've gone back to London, alas. Which is more restful, but sadder. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

April showers

The weather has been fairly horrible - rain and wind, though not at the same time - and the town is full of tourists who might reasonably have expected to enjoy Edinburgh in the spring; and will probably go home and tell their friends that it rains all the time in Scotland. To do Edinburgh justice, I think the weather all over the UK has been similarly revolting. Last Saturday was sunny but very windy - I mean very - and we walked down to the flower show to enjoy the spring display. Sadly, because of the wind, and because the show was in a marquee, everything had to be moved for reasons of safety into a small room nearby, so it was all squashed together. Such a shame for those who had planned for months to get their flowers in tip-top condition for the judging. Still, first world problems, I realise. 

Small Granddaughter and Daughter 2 are visiting at the moment, which is lovely. SG and I went to the museum today while her mum was at work. This is her wearing an octopus suit. We had fun, though it was very busy. 

Life has been full of family meet-ups, but the Easter holidays will be over in less than a week and things will become more peaceful. Which has its advantages, I suppose.  


Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Little bits of life

The garden is blooming but the weather is currently REVOLTING - cold and wet. Sorry, tourists. April is a reasonable time to come to Scotland, but not this April, or not so far. 

Friends very kindly sent us a token to have a meal in a certain restaurant, so we went with the Edinburgh family and here's Big Grandson, taking the opportunity to bus-spot while awaiting his lunch. 

A week past Saturday, we walked along the canal path at Linlithgow and sat on a bench to finish the coffee in our flasks. When we got home, I found that I'd replaced the cup, but not the stopper on mine. So on Monday we were going back to Linlithgow anyway and walked along to the bench just on the off chance that the stopper might be there, rather than having blown into the canal. And we found that some kind person had taken the trouble to tie it to the back of the bench! With green silken cord, no less. How nice!

It seems quite tempting to live in this canal-side cottage, but you'd have lots of people passing your front windows. 

Yesterday, Son came down with his little ones, which was lovely. The Edinburgh Two and Daughter 1 came to and the cousins played together. Son and co stayed overnight and today we all went to the museum, along with lots of other people finding something to do indoors out of the rain. 

It was good, though. 

I was thinking today, alarmingly, that it seems not long since my Norfolk aunt died, but that was in 2018. Six years. And in another six years, if I'm still around, I'll be coming up for 80. How can this be...? 

Need to get on with things. Bell distantly (or maybe not...) tolling.