Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Summer lingers on...

Daughter 2 was here at the weekend. We went up to visit new Granddaughter M on Saturday and on Monday we went to the Botanics with Granddaughter L. Here, aunt and niece play hide and seek. Well, sort of. Little L seemed to think that just pressing her face against the bark made her sufficiently invisible.

We visited the Queen Mother's little memorial hut

and little L had a lie down for a while.

Yesterday Mr L and I decided to go for a walk along the canal from Slateford. I don't know whether all cities have these rural areas within the bounds of the city - it's the sort of thing that you don't find out if you're visiting for only a few days and walking round museums and so on - but Edinburgh is quite lucky in this regard.

We were intrigued by this modern extension on a bungalow.

Looking over the aqueduct demonstrates how non-rural this area actually is.

Unless you're up here.

This is the view from the next aqueduct. It's a long way down

and this feels worryingly narrow... .

However, quite soon we got too hot. It was what the weather report described as a "sizzling 25 degrees" (77F), with no wind and we're feeble Scottish people with pale skin

so we struck off into the woods, along the old railway line.

It was quiet and shady, with only the river, and some dog walkers, disturbing the peace.

We came out into Colinton Village (now part of Edinburgh)

and then turned back, saying hello to Robert Louis Stevenson and his dog.

Going back a slightly different way, we rather liked this cottage. It might be a pain living here in winter - access can't be very easy, surrounded as it is by footpaths - but on a lovely day, you could be tempted.

And back along the river to the car. I tried to think of a word to describe the sound of a small river. Babbling, splishing, splashing, sploshing, tinkling, bubbling, burbling - none of them quite right.

Four and a bit miles; a lovely walk.

(By the way, thank you to the kind people who claim that I appear to have no wrinkles in the previous post. Not so, alas. I was just a long way from Daughter 2's phone camera. I shall not bother proving this with a close-up; better to leave you with your illusions. Anyway, I felt I made up for this by my bewildered - nay, slightly demented - expression.)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Time flies like an arrow

It's been a busyish week or so, during which: the children conducted scientific experiments in the paddling pool;

we visited Granddaughter M (and again today. She's so lovely);

Daughter 2 has visited us twice (it was hardly worth her going back to London for four days);

This three-generation-in-a-heap photo was taken (how discouraging that I look about 90, but facts must be faced);

the garden bloomed on and on, belying the shortening days;

(phlox: can't you just smell it?);

Granddaughter L and I went to the museum, where she dressed up in the Explorers room;

(here she seems to be Dr Livingstone wearing a lifejacket and cosy gloves - she was rather warm, hence the rosy cheeks);

Grandson had his first full week AT SCHOOL;

some art happened in the kitchen;

Son-in-Law 1 dressed up in the crawl tunnel, while Granddaughter L wore my shirt and sun hat;

the sun continued to shine. 30 degrees in London, 21 here. I know which I prefer.

And Grandson fetched a torch to look down the hole that my washing whirly line stands in. He didn't find much down there but enjoyed looking.

So: not much spare time really; for which I'm very grateful. What joy these descendants give us.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Visiting Baby M

I've been up staying with Son and Daughter-in-Law, assisting with the baby so that they could catch up on some sleep. She is, naturally, very adorable. Here she is with the cot quilt that I made two years ago in the hope that one day, a suitable recipient would come along.

Daughter 2 came to visit and presented Baby M with the blanket she's been working on.

Isn't it nice?

Baby M's big sisters seem remarkably unperturbed.

The sun shone on us.

Then I came home and Grandson drew a picture of me. "I need white chalk for your hair, Granny." Gee, thanks, Grandson. I like to think that my hair is grey with brown bits, but I suppose chalk doesn't come in that colour. "One of your hands is rubbing your tummy." Yes, I can see that.

How I miss Baby M, with her so-soft little cheeks, big puzzled dark blue eyes, quiet snuffles and questing mouth. I'm so sad that she's far away. But I missed the others when I was up there with her. And yes, I do know that I'm lucky to have grandchildren at all.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Grandchild the third

Here is Son with his daughter, now two days old.

He is very besotted.

She is indeed lovely, if wearing rather a silly hat.

They have given her my mother's name, which is very sweet but also makes me very emotional. Mum died on 14 August 2012. If only I could tell her.

Still, welcome to the world, Baby M.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

We were up town yesterday. Princes Street has lately taken to having little video adverts on the bus stops - not a huge improvement to the joy of life, in my opinion, but anyway. And all the way along the street, we saw Keira Knightley advertising Chanel perfume. "It's funny," mused Mr L. "Her mum would never have expected her daughter to appear on every bus shelter in Princes Street."

By which he meant that the girl we knew when we were young - the pretty girl who was part of the local crowd at the badminton club (and who grew up to be Keira Knightley's mum) presumably never expected to have such a famous - and exceedingly rich -  daughter.

Keira's mum was nice enough, though not one of our particular friends. She was very pretty, but in a slightly broad-hipped, thick-legged way. I assume that Keira takes after her dad in body shape.

It's odd how things turn out. The family who lived across the road from us when our children were small were extremely nice but utterly normal. You would have put money on their never doing anything particularly unusual. The parents were very devoted to each other and the children; and the son and daughter were really lovely young people: sweet and slightly shy but very charming. Yet within a few years the daughter of the house had become a tv presenter, appeared scantily clad in lads' mags, had her naked image projected on to the Houses of Parliament, married and divorced a famous pop singer, become bald and bipolar and had more or less (though not totally) sunk from sight. Meanwhile the parents split up, the father became alcoholic (possibly the former as a result of the latter) and the mother had died of cancer.

And it's interesting to see what the girls who were in my class at school have done with their lives. It was a selective girls' school, so most of us were together for 13 years and I'm still in touch with quite a few of them. We were all in the top stream, so all reasonably clever. One became a professor of agriculture and advisor to the government. One, a good friend of mine, had a very important job in the museum world, sadly developed dementia in her 50s and has recently died. One achieved great success in business. (None of these successful women had children; two didn't marry at all and one married late in life. I imagine that this is relevant to their achievements in the wider world.)

One, another of my particular friends, was knocked down and killed in Brussels as she walked along the pavement, at the age of 23. Unbelievably, another member of the class also developed dementia some years ago, though is still alive - just.

And, as you would expect, a lot of us have been teachers and librarians and accountants and mothers, never making a big splash in the world. Some really bright girls never worked at all after having children.

But back in the 60s, you wouldn't really have been able to predict with certainty which of us would be the high-fliers. Nor had Mr Life and I any idea that we were sharing a badminton court with the mother of a famous film star or allowing our children to play with someone who would become a slightly infamous ladette.

Strange thing, life.

Monday, August 01, 2016


So I went down to London to help Daughter 2, who hasn't been well. I did some weeding and cutting down in the garden,

while she, once she was feeling somewhat better, did some work from home.

One day her friend came to visit with her enormous dog. I don't entirely understand why anyone would choose a large and frankly somewhat gassy dog when they could have a small furry cat. But he's a good natured chap and I guess many people feel the opposite way.

Then Daughter 1, who was in Worcester visiting her in-laws, came down for the day and stayed overnight. So that was nice.

We went for a walk in Epping Forest.

And now I'm back and must, tomorrow, do some weeding in my own garden as we await the news from Son that things are happening: Granddaughter-in-waiting is currently a day late and it would seem to be time that she might appear. But he was on the phone just now, and so far, nothing.