Saturday, May 28, 2016

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May...

It has been horrible weather for the last couple of days: grey, drizzly and cold.  The sort of thing that might be acceptable for March, but not for nearly June. So today was a great improvement and the grandchildren's other granny, Nanny, invited us to the Beach House for lunch.

When I say the weather was better, you shouldn't imagine that it was warm. It was warmer; apart from on the beach, where there was a sharp wind pushing the waves up into white horses. You can see that no one chose to sit outside. Like everyone else, we opted for the warmth of inside,

and just looked out

at the sun shining on the sand in a deceptively inviting manner.

Then we went to the playpark. You can see that the children were dressed in woolly jumpers, leggings, long trousers.

I've enlarged this photo so that you can just see, in the top left-hand corner, some children playing in the waves.  We breed them hardy in Scotland.

But still, it gave us hope that summer might be on the way.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


We were in London at the Chelsea Flower Show on Tuesday. I think I may have taken too many photos, but it was a feast for the eyes and we probably won't be back (though we might). It was a wonderful experience.

I love lupins so much. So do the slugs and snails in my garden. Sigh.

I rather liked this little pond - was it? - bird bath for an Golden Eagle?

This was an Australian garden. The pink-leaved plant at the front is from South Africa and wouldn't survive here, but it was pretty.

I love these cool, dreamy colours.

This was an apothecary garden for St John's Hospice, full of plants that bring well-being.

Here it is again. Another pretty little pondy thing.

This was a garden to draw attention to modern slavery, happening behind closed doors.
Very thought-provoking. The planting was beautiful. More lupins.

There were some fun things like these grass-covered animals. Fake grass and, yes, fake animals.

Clematis in the big tent.

 And irises.

These bird baths were for sale. Tempting but a bit large to take home on the train.

And we managed to meet up with Daughter 2 both the evenings we were in London, which added to the pleasure, though we didn't like leaving her behind.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The balms of walking

Today we went with the walking group from East Linton to Haddington along the River Tyne. It was warm but not hot, just right for a hike.

The wild flowers were splendid: Sweet Cecily (above), gorse, campion, comfrey, speedwell, garlic and many others. Birds sang and the river plished soothingly.

This is gorse, a zing of yellow.

We passed the gloomy 14th century Hailes Castle with its connections to Harry Hotspur, Oliver Cromwell, Mary Queen of Scots and so on.

As we got nearer to civilisation, we passed this sort of typical East Lothian architecture: rough stone, red roofs.

We came out into farmland after a while.

Our legs were fairly aware that we'd walked six miles by this point.

 We rather liked this blacksmith's sign.

Then after another mile or so, we came to Haddington, where the river broadens out a bit, and we had tea and shortbread at the Riverside.

The rain conveniently held off till we were drinking our tea and it had stopped by the time we emerged again. It was a lovely day: good exercise, stimulating company and a refreshing immersion in the sights and sounds of the countryside.

But the best thing about the day was that while we were walking, Daughter 2 arrived safely back at her London flat from New York via (shudder) Charles De Gaulle and Heathrow, and her aeroplanes did not fall into the sea . Her husband follows tomorrow. I hope she's sleeping now.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Looking back

Nothing much has happened but I've been looking back at my weekend pictures, in which Granddaughter, having been face-painted at a school fete, shows off her butterfly face for the camera.

And Grandson smiles gleefully, mid-bubble fest.

And they both run about after the bubbles. That was a good day, though we missed Daughter 2, who has now safely arrived in New York and is having a good time.

Today, she and her husband updated their eleven-year-old photo of themselves up the Empire State Building. I've been there too - in 1970. I don't think I want to compare a photo of myself then and now... .

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Comings and goings

Life is somewhat busy at the moment... indeed, most of the time. We decided that we should go and visit my elderly aunt in Norfolk and could find only one week between now and mid-October when we didn't have any cancellable commitments. And even then, I'm going to miss a coffee with friends, book group, a piano lesson and Zumba -
such is the pleasant frantic-ness of the retired life.

Son-in-Law 1 had a birthday yesterday and Grandson and I made him a cake. "I'm going to make it very fancy," said Grandson, wielding the chocolate buttons after we iced it. (One or two of them didn't make it on to the cake. )

Then we did some painting

and played with water in the garden.

It was a satisfactory cake.

Today was Mr Life's birthday, and Daughter 1 and family, Son and Daughter-in-Law came to celebrate. Son had bubble fun with his nephew and niece: good preparation for fatherhood, which should be happening to him in July or August.

We went out for a walk, and came upon a road roller. (Son didn't really get squashed.)

Luckily Son has good upper body strength.

Meanwhile, Daughter 2 was, and is, in the air on the way to New York to meet up with her actor husband, who's there for work. She arrives in JFK tonight at midnight 15 our time, then has to meet him and then they'll make their way to their accommodation. She'll be very tired. I won't sleep properly either till I know she's safely in bed, on firm ground.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

There and back again

We've been away to Crieff Hydro with the extended family: our lot and two of their spouses (actor husband was too busy) and my brother, sister-in-law, niece, nephew and nephew's young lady. It was fun, though not precisely restful.

This is the view from outside our lodges.

Here we're about to engage in a hotly-contested game of Articulate.

We walked beside the Earn.

We celebrated my brother and sister-in-law's ruby wedding (congratulations, P and S).

Some of us bounced on a giant trampoline.

Some of us swung on a hammock in McRostie Park (which was called McCrostie Park when we were little). It was rather chilly, especially that day.

There were slides in the playpark at the Hydro.

There was plenty of room in the lodges for rail layouts.

We climbed the Knock, as we always do, puffing only slightly.

 And back down again.

Some of us visited Drummond Castle. We had just missed the spring bulbs and were too early for the summer bedding, but just the bones of the gardens are worth seeing.

And then we came home again and everyone went away - but the Edinburgh ones were back today. After a brief but gruelling game of Squashing Granny On The Grass, they checked out the sandpit, which you wouldn't think would be as exciting as slides and trampolines and the McRostie Park, but they didn't seem to mind.