Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The quiet life...

Look, a big picture again. It's different every time. I have no idea why.

Life's been very quiet with the little ones down south so here's a picture of the first hippeastrum to flower this year. I have quite a lot of them because they keep sprouting extra bits and I haven't the heart (sense) to throw these away. The websites say you should dry them off or put them in the fridge or something during the dormant period but mine just stay in their pots on the landing window sill or a spare bedroom, looking leafy and boring, and then eventually they do this again. A week's beauty and then 51 weeks of leafiness.

It's amazing how much quilty stuff one can get done when it's just him and me. And - get this, Thimbleanna - I'm a proper quilty person now because I'm doing two at once! I'm cutting one out while - well, not simultaneously, but at different points during the day - quilting the other. Are you impressed? Actually, you don't need to be very impressed. The other one is what I now regard, from my lofty heights of a little experience, as simple (as opposed to the fairly simple other one). It's just going to be five-inch squares with a border, as a gift for a friend, but she doesn't quilt so she won't know that it's not very advanced.

And that's about it. My innards haven't been quite right for some reason, so we've been going for short walks and I've been tidying up the garden and trying to play my latest piano tune, which I thought for a while was going to entirely defeat me. However it's been getting slightly easier with practice and I can now limp my way through it. Sorry, Scarlatti. This is Grade 3. I can tell you now that I shall never get to Grade 8, 7, 6, 5 or possibly 4: old age and arthritis will overtake me and I'll start getting worse again. However, it's interesting and, in a frustrating way, enjoyable.

And we'll see the grandchildren again tomorrow.

Friday, March 25, 2016

House and garden

All of our children are currently in England, which is fine (though I'd rather have them here, preferably in bed and ready to be tucked in). Daughter 1 is visiting her in-laws with her husband and the children; Daughter 2 lives in London (well, no, that bit isn't fine) and Son and Daughter-in-Law are on holiday. So we've been free of responsibilities, which is quite pleasant, if a bit ho-hum-what-is-the-point-of-us?

Today the point has been tidying the garden. I've done the front and the little side bit and got started on the back, though there's still quite a lot to do. But spring is definitely springing and there's lots of lovely colour and I can still hope that maybe this year the snails and slugs won't be so bad.

Then tonight I pinned the quilt top (which is upside down in this picture) to the batting and backing, which was surprisingly hard on the garden-weary knees since I had to do it on the floor. So instead of trimming the extra bits and starting the quilting I watched a bit of television: "Ugly House to Beautiful House". It's relaxing watching other people working and interesting to see what difference a good architect (and quite a lot of money) can make to a not-very-nice house.

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


The horrible news about Brussels is so depressing that I'm posting pictures of flowers in a lalala, not listening sort of way. I apologise for my feebleness.

On February 14, I took a photo, above, of a £3 bunch of roses I'd bought from the local supermarket. I'd had them for a couple of days at that point.

These photos, above and below, are the same flowers, today, over five weeks later.

That's slightly hard to believe, isn't it? But the evidence is there in my photo albums. What good value! One of them is starting to go slightly brown at the edges but the rest look fine. I find that cutting roses short is the key to making them last, but it doesn't normally work this well.

 And the city parks are full of spring flowers. So I suppose you just have to keep hoping.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The mouths of babes...

Granddaughter was painting, with her paper resting on a bit of old newspaper to save the table from being painted. Then she removed her art work and surveyed the newspaper - with its cartoon about the recent budget's tax on sugar. This is her interpretation of the picture. Firstly: "Here's a man and some children. I wonder where their mummy is. They're running out to the garden."

"This is a lighthouse."

"And this is [my brother] and me."

"This [below] is Grandpa and he is a friendly fairy."

So interesting to see her trying to make sense of the world. (She's not the only one.)

Friday, March 18, 2016


(Well, it's exciting (or what passes for exciting in this uneventful life) to see what size Blogger decides that my photos should be today.) We went to the museum. Granddaughter, who likes to dress up, decided to wear a witch's hat (and carry a rubber scimitar, not shown). It's somewhat large for her but, in the cause of her art, she doesn't mind not being able to see. Walking along the road from the bus was somewhat hazardous, however.

She decided that her brother should wear this, rather too small, hat. He doesn't care.

The witch surveys her museum, scimitar in hand.

In one of the discovery rooms, there's this large artificial tree to crawl through.

Though this can become temporarily exhausting.

Her brother briefly tried being exhausted too. But he's not really the exhausted type.

Then we came home and he chalked road layouts in the garden, while she became a cat.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

New dress

Granddaughter is going to be a flower girl at a wedding soon, and the other granny and I took her to try on her dress. Granddaughter was intrigued. The other granny and I went "Ohhhh" in unison. Granddaughter will be more elegantly tressed and shod on the big day.

It's spring. Hurray.

The Botanic gardens are bursting into bloom.

Daughter 1 and her husband decluttered their old house last spring for selling it by bringing a lot of non-essential possessions round to us and storing them in a spare bedroom. These included quite a lot of toys. Today, Daughter 1 packed a lot of them neatly into baskets and put them in our hall to take back to their new house. They didn't stay packed for very long... .

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Oh look, the pictures have gone unaccountably small again. Isn't technology wonderful? Anyway, Granddaughter was three yesterday. THREE! How is that possible? So they dressed up as medical people.

"I'm a doctor," said Grandson.
"I'm a nurse," said Granddaughter.
"You could be a doctor too," someone said (equality and all that).
"No, I'm a nurse," said Granddaughter. I imagine she thought the costume was better.

The outfit was one of those made by my mother-in-law for my daughters. Wouldn't she be pleased if she could see it being reused? (But she died in 1991.) In fact the costume is more 1920s than 1980s, I'd think. But as Granddaughter spotted, it's rather becoming.

And I've now joined 430 pieces together to make the middle part of a quilt. Why do I keep having to make minor adjustments to make it meet at the corners? I'm so careful with my cutting out and quarter-inch seams - well, clearly I'm not, but I think I'm being careful. Anyway, I won most of the corner battles in the end, though there are a couple that I'm less happy with. Don't look too closely.

Now for some borders and then a few months of hand-quilting. It's a slightly mad use of my retirement but it's nice to have something to show for the passing years and it's easier than playing the piano. Everything's easier than playing the piano, or at least playing the piano well.

(By the way, thank you so much for the nice comments from non-blog owners - hello, waving to you!)

Monday, March 07, 2016

Little life

I sometimes think about how, since retirement, my life has narrowed. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. As a college teacher, I was constantly interacting with many, many students and this was never-endingly interesting but also never-endingly exhausting. Now, I meet up with friends and of course spend lots of time with the grandchildren, but life is nothing like as varied as it was. Or, I suppose as stimulating, but then, stimulating = exhausting, so again, the change is good in a way.

Anyway, Grandson and I made pancakes, or as some people might call them, Scotch pancakes (but we wouldn't because... you know... they're what we regard as pancakes).

He was pleased.

We saw all the offspring at the weekend and it was Mother's Day, so that was lovely. Cruelly, I persuaded Daughter 2 and Son to go up on the kitchen roof to clean the outside of the skylights. Granddaughter found this very interesting. (She's wearing her brother's hat and Daughter 2's scarf. She loves accessories and is very loth to go hatless at any time, which is a pity since hats squash her curls.)

This is what she was looking at.

And here are my favourite people (well, most of them) on Saturday.

And, below, the grandchildren at the museum. Granddaughter chose her own outfit, hence the lack of colour coordination.

Though teaching was exhausting, looking after two little lively people isn't exactly restful either. But oh, how I love them.

(Oh, Blogger is being so annoying, making my photos huge (which is all right, but I don't know why it's happening), putting the first one through the About bit, and then not letting me write under the final photo. Anyway, I've just realised that my blog is 10 years 4 days old. What a lot of blethers have come out of the ends of my fingers in the last 10 years and, oh, how my life has changed since then. Not, generally, for the better, but the little people have compensated for a lot of sadness.)