Thursday, November 23, 2017

Why I haven't yet discovered the mysteries of the universe

Daughter 2 came up with Granddaughter the Youngest for a few days, which was LOVELY. This gave me the incentive to finish her cot quilt. The colours were chosen to match her bedroom, which has white walls, crimson curtains and a bedside rug of stripes of various reds, lilacs and blues.  I decided to try quilting the middle part in an  overall wiggly pattern, which was quite labour-intensive but worked fairly well. I'm not sure I'd do it again - possibly it detracts from the patchwork design? - but I quite like it. I wanted to do hearts around the edge, though, because (obviously) I love her.

On a whim, I did the back in random patches, though I now wish I'd used fewer of the darker red fabrics (although the red isn't nearly as scarlet as it looks here). Still, it was an interesting experiment. Of course I hadn't really thought it out and it was more of a fiddle than I'd expected to get the back oblong corresponding to the front one, which it needed to do for the quilting. Also, I discovered that my (hand) quilting stitches tend to look more even on the front than the back. All this is possibly why most people don't do this... .

Generally speaking, however, I liked the patchwork design and might use it again in my next, bigger, quilt for Granddaughter the Eldest. (I keep thinking that I should try triangles but keep not doing so.)

 Anyway, the baby! So lovely!

She met her biggest cousin, who was surprisingly excited about it considering that he already had two little girl cousins: Granddaughter the Younger and a cousin on his dad's side. He does think that the next baby - due in a few weeks to his dad's brother and sister-in-law - should be a boy, though. Well, there's a 50/50 chance.

Son, Daughter-in-Law and Granddaughter the Younger came down too, as did Mr Life's cousin. This was lovely, though Granddaughter the Younger was possibly less impressed by the baby than the rest of us were. In fact she was extremely unimpressed when her mum and dad cuddled Granddaughter the Youngest!

I like this picture: a family scene.

And here's G the Y inspecting with apparent astonishment her Auntie Daughter 1.

It was so wonderful to see them all together. I hope they grow up to like one another - I know cousins aren't always close. I myself have no cousins and always wanted some. I've always been glad that our children get on well with their only two cousins, though they don't see all that much of them because of distance.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Out and about

It's been a very outdoorsy sort of week, with beautiful autumn weather. Somehow autumn sunshine is lovelier because you know winter is coming.

Granddaughter the Eldest and I had a trip to the Botanics and played in the leaves.

Then Mr Life and I had a day out on the bus to nearby Haddington, and walked along the river there.

It was a perfect day and we felt quite holidayish.

See how long the shadows are, and it was only mid-morning.

In the town, we said hello to Bridge Street, where my beloved Granny was born.

 and then we sat having lunch and looking out past a little lemon tree (with two lemons - so exotic) at the bridge.

Another day, we went with our walking friends to Penicuik (pronounced pennycook) and did a circular tour round Penicuik House, built in the 1760s and ruined by fire in 1899. The walls have been preserved so that you can see that it was once a beautiful Palladian mansion, and the estate is now open to the public.

This is still a vista from the house down an avenue of trees to a monument .

The walk was about seven miles and, despite the lovely weather, quite muddy in parts.

And then the other day Granddaughter the Eldest and I went to the museum and dressed up as explorers.

It's a surprisingly busy life. Which is very good.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Baby worship

Actor Son-in-Law 2 was away for a couple of days so I went down again to London to help with Granddaughter the Youngest. I had SUCH a lovely time with Daughter 2, talking endlessly and nibbling the baby. I do love tiny babies. They're such a lot of work - but - their soft skin! their silky hair! their dark blue, unfathomable eyes! their completely new hands and feet! We went for some nice walks, had tea in some teashops, cuddled the baby in the stilly watches of the night and decided that she was the finest baby we'd seen for some while. And Daughter 2 did a lot of feeding.

Granddaughter the Youngest looks very familiar - I think she's like her mother at that age but no early photos exist of her father, so who knows? Already she's lost that newborn look and is intermittently very alert. What's she thinking?

Her other grandparents - both of them - are skilled knitters, so she's not without cardigans, hats and shawls.

How amazing it is when a bump becomes a person - it's so utterly normal and everyday and yet endlessly astonishing.

I got back yesterday and am missing them tremendously.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Happy Hallowe'en.

When I was a little girl, Hallowe'en was certainly celebrated (I rather think it was a Scottish thing more than an English one?) but it was far, far simpler than now - when there are Hallowe'en decorations and elaborate costumes. Indeed it was still simple in my children's childhood. Costumes were just anything from the dressing up box. And children did go round the doors, but it wasn't trick-or-treating, it was guising (from disguising) and children sang a song or told a joke in exchange for sweets, apples or nuts or (by my children's time) small amounts of money. This guising is still what happens in Scotland, though I think it may be slightly more commercial now, and the costumes are certainly fancier - and bought.

And at home we dooked for apples (ducked our heads into bowls of water with apples and nuts floating in them) and tried for the jeely piece - a jam or treacle sandwich suspended on a string - you took it in turns to try to bite this with your hands behind your back. My brother and I used to go to my granny's to do the dooking and jeely piece. Our grandchildren did the same thing at a party just the other day.

I had lunch with school friends today - the five of us have known each other since we were five years old. We reminisced as usual. One of them, Kay, had quite a sad childhood - her mother died when Kay was born, her father remarried someone who wasn't very kind and then the stepmother left when my friend was eleven. Our teacher, Miss Rattray, asked Kay to stay behind after class one day and asked her gently how things were now that the stepmother was no longer around. (Kay was actually quite pleased that she'd left.) Then Miss Rattray gave her some household hints - presumably thinking that Kay would be doing more housework now - and the main one, or at least the one that Kay remembers, was how to iron lace. (On the wrong side, apparently.)

Was this in 1800, one wonders? No: 1962.

Changing times... .

Saturday, October 28, 2017


We were supposed to be going with the Edinburgh family to see Son, Daughter-in-Law and Granddaughter the Younger, but Grandson and Granddaughter the Younger were both a bit ill, so we didn't. Sigh. So Mr L and I walked down the river to the Botanics. The autumn colours aren't particularly good this year - too mild? too dry?  but it was still quite scenic.

You would never guess that there's a busy road going over that bridge.

It's peaceful down here. To the right you can see the backs of some New Town houses - made of cheaper stone, while the fronts are the more expensive stuff. Clearly Scots have been economical at least since 1760.

And we wandered through the Dean Village

 with flowers still blooming in pots,

past St Bernard's Well

and into Stockbridge (here's the expensive stone)

to the Botanics, where we admired this dahlia

and some more late flowers.

So we had a good day all the same. And the little ones don't seem too ill.

Thursday, October 26, 2017


Granddaughter the Youngest seems to be doing well and the London family is settling into familyhood.

 Daughter 2 wanted to be sent some family baby pictures to see whether Granddaughter the Youngest looked like her as a baby. This is what she herself looked when she was a week old. I think there's some resemblance.

This led to much reminiscence and comparison of other old photos, such as this one, of the children and me (making a very strange face) in my parents' garden.

And this in turn led us to compare Daughter 2 (above) with her niece, Granddaughter the Eldest, below. There is a definite family resemblance.

Granddaughter the Eldest and I had a trip to the museum the other day. It was a bit wet so she jumped in some small puddles.

And then - among other activities - she found out some things about animals...

... and once more dressed up as Mary Queen of Scots, or perhaps one of her contemporaries.

And then we went home on the bus. A most satisfactory day.

Friday, October 20, 2017


Well, Granddaughter the Youngest has arrived, 5 days early, and we've been down in London helping out a bit.

Obviously, she's a lovely baby.


In not quite such good news, she's got jaundice (as all our children and most of our grandchildren did, to a greater or lesser extent) which has caused problems with feeding and so on - not what any of us want. However, we hope she'll get better soon.

Daughter 2 and Son-in-Law 2 are rightly besotted with her.

And now we're back home while the other grandparents occupy the spare room. Can't wait to hear that things have improved; can't wait to see her again.