Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Wanderings. And stuff.

Very clever and helpful Son-in-Law 1 has solved my photo problem by creating a Google Photo album for me, which allows me to add photos to my blog. So - sorry about that - here are lots! 

We got the bus on Friday to Haddington (above) - a small (but growing) town not far from Edinburgh - and had a nice walk through the town and then along the river to the Amisfield Walled Garden, where we'd never been before. 

My lovely granny lived in Haddington for the first five years of her life, so I always like to go there and say hello to her toddling shade. 

Here's a more-than-usually successful bit of meadow planting in the middle of some housing. 

The path along by the river was flat and quite easy to walk along, 

with views over fields of crops. 

And the garden, when we reached it, was lovely. I think it's mainly (entirely?) staffed by volunteers, who do a grand job. 

There weren't many visitors. It used to be part of the garden of a huge house which was built in the mid-1700s and demolished in 1928/9 because the family had other houses and the upkeep was too much. We will certainly return. 

On Sunday we had lunch with the Edinburgh family at Swanston and then climbed the hill to work off lunch and admire the views. Edinburgh is a fairly small city and it's not difficult to get out of it and up on the hills, down to the beach or out into the country. This photo looks down at the city. It seems very distant but in fact it's minutes away in a car. 

Hills: so soothing. I to the hills will lift mine eyes and all that. I do this a lot. 

Today we walked to Saughton Park, not far from where we live. It was a sunnier day than it looks in my photos, and rather warm. 

I do so love herbaceous perennials. 

But they're a lot of work, even in my small garden. Here... the cutting down in autumn and spring - goodness. 

Then at last this afternoon I forced myself to get back to the boxes of various family archives, to try to sort them out a bit and hopefully throw some out. I'm not doing very well so far. I keep creating categories of things: Mum, Dad, Mum and Dad, Grandparents - but then this has to be subdivided because I had four grandparents, like everyone else, and so did Mr L - not that his parents left very much paperwork, unlike mine. Then I have some things from my two childless aunts. And lots of lovely cards and things given to us by our children, and their drawings, and the grandchildren's cute drawings. And lots of letters and emails and various birth and death certificates - do I keep these with their owners' stuff, or in a separate category? Etc etc. And the other problems are that everything is a) interesting, so I have to read it again and b) rather sad, because the relevant person is dead, or even if just that part of our lives is over. 

There's a LOT to sort through. I can't see much to throw out, though. 

I'll keep this, though I wonder how interesting it will be for those who never met my grandfather Thomas, eg even our children, let alone anyone further down the line. This is his reference from the army at the end of WW1. It's accurate apart perhaps from the "tactful" bit. He was an interesting man - from a working class family, though his father was a printer, as Thomas also was, so they were literate chaps and I suppose reasonably well paid. He was, as it says, clever - would have liked to be a doctor, though of course never got the chance. He was interested in health and got his family to be vegetarian in the 1930s, which was pretty unusual in those days, though when WW2 came, people just had to eat what was available. 

But tactful... not so much. He wasn't slow to express his opinion of people who didn't share his views. I remember his saying of someone, "He couldn't run 100 yards to save his life" (can't remember the context) in a contemptuous tone - Grandpa himself was very fit and used to be a long-distance runner in his youth. I myself couldn't now run 100 yards either, except slowly and pursued only by, say, a murderous tortoise. 

Future generations, reading this testimonial, might picture some sort of gentle saint. Which he wasn't. He was a decent man, and meant well. But he could be a bit of an old grump. Mind you, as a young man he was at the awfulness of Gallipoli, where he was shot in the hand, so who am I, who have always lived a cushy life, to criticise him for being a bit of a misanthrope? 

Thursday, June 20, 2024


Well, I still can't put photos on the old blog. A message does appear which tells me to do something incomprehensible (to me) - no idea if this would help. I'll maybe get clever young people to advise me. We haven't been doing anything particularly noteworthy anyway - most of my photos are floral. 

I've been polishing up my (faintly shiny) French and my (completely tarnished) German on Duolingo for the past year and it's been quite fun, but recently it's been going wonky on me, greying out the thing that you click on to submit your answer. Yesterday it worked for German but not French. How frustrating technology is; though also, I realise, how absolutely amazing that it (usually) works. 

Of course, I carefully write down in a notebook words and phrases that I don't know, or only half-know, but then do I look at them? Not a lot. Must Do Better. My knowledge of American is improving, though, as I've said before. I don't think I fully realised quite how many slightly different ways Americans have of saying things. Though - do you really talk about "tall" mountains, Americans?? I don't think I've ever heard of this. Maybe Duolingo has just got it wrong. Mountains are always high here, though now I think of it, buildings can be tall or high. 

Talking of Duolingo - I shall see how it's behaving tonight. It's free and so I shouldn't really complain. But ... 

Wednesday, June 12, 2024


 For some reason, Blogger is refusing to find any photos from Google Photos, which is where I've been taking photos from for a while. I used to use Picasa but  - can't remember why - I can no longer save any photos on Picasa, so have no recent pictures there, though I can access those I already have. I wish technological young men would stop footering with things I like to use. Grr. 

I don't have any very interesting photos to show, anyway. I've been down in London visiting Daughter 2 and family. The idea was that she and her husband would go out on the Friday night while I babysat, and on the Saturday her husband was going to look after Littlest Granddaughter while D2 and I had a day out. 

However, Littlest was off school with tonsillitis last week, which meant that her parents had to take time off work to look after her, which in turn meant that they were very behind with their work. D2 had a deadline - 9 o'clock on Monday morning, Singapore time, thus 2am on Monday our time - to finish lots of drawings for a London hotel she's reconfiguring, so in fact they didn't go out on Friday and she and I didn't go out on Saturday. Indeed she had to work late into the night every night, poor crumb. I looked after Littlest - which was fine, though she would rather have had her parents and was aware that they were both working in their office in the loft bedroom. It was mostly ok, though. Then on Sunday, SIL2 took over and I tidied their rather large garden. So at least I felt useful, and D2 and I did manage the odd walk and chat. Well, quite a few chats! And she made her deadline, which was the important thing. 

Since I came home I've been working in my own garden, which, though not large, is time-consuming. I could show you lots of nice photos of foxgloves and irises and tall campanula if Blogger were co-operating, but I dare say you've seen flowers before. 

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Boring post about flowers

Well, it's all about the flowers at this time of year. My own garden (it's Mr L's too, technically, but he'd probably just have grass. Or not even that) needed a lot of attention - all the bulb leftovers had to be removed, or not if they were still green; and the weeds engendered by all that rain followed by quite a lot of sun had to be discouraged; and also all the many, many pots that I plant up at this time of year had to be filled. Why is my smallish garden so labour-intensive? Well, of course because I made it so, when I was in my forties and fifties. And I like looking at it when it's finished, although of course it's a garden and is never finished. I do actually enjoy a bit of gentle weeding. But I'm definitely getting a bit old and achey. Still, use it or lose it, or so I tell myself. 

I saw one of those things on Facebook the other day. It featured a scientist walking along the road, saying that extensive research has shown that there are five words which, if you say to yourself, will improve your mood - whatever that mood is at the time. So of course I listened to the end, and it turned out that these words were, "These are the good times". Would that improve your mood? It surely means, "This is as good as it's going to get". Which, when you're nearly 74, isn't that encouraging. No doubt it's true, but what's the point of thinking that way? I mean, things are fine. But I'd prefer to be 24. Even at 24, I don't think I'd like to be told that that was the best time. It was good, though it was also extremely stressful at times, being a high school teacher in quite a tough school. But there were better things to come, like for example all our lovely babies and grandbabies, not to say a long career of teaching in further education - which had its difficulties, but not nearly so many. 

Anyway, back to the flowers. It's a lovely time of year, with many alliums

and irises
and more irises
and another,

and look at this thalictrum - I only bought it last year and it's wonderful - it's been blooming for weeks. I do have another, much less interesting variety of thalictrum and over the 35 years we've been in this house it's become a thug and is everywhere. However, I won't be here in another 35 years so if the big pink one has spread everywhere by then ... hey ho. 

Oh, another iris. 

Saughton Park, quite near us, is lovely at this time of year. 

It's very allium-ish.

and lupiny
Here are my lupins. 

And then, in the Botanics, lots of lovely mecanopsis. 

So. Flowers. Very cheering. 

I must not start another quilt till I've got back to the archives. And must not die till I've made some decisions about what to keep, and have actually disposed of some of it. My parents both had interesting lives, much more varied and worthy of note than mine (school, university, three different teaching jobs, retirement). So the archives are mainly theirs, which makes it difficult. And then also of course... we have too many photos. Haven't we all?