Wednesday, September 20, 2017


On Saturday we went with our walking friends to Cramond,

and walked along the river bank to Cammo, round the Cammo estate,

and back again. We're lucky to have so many apparently rural places within the city boundaries.

Then yesterday we walked along to the Modern Art Gallery and saw a wonderful exhibition of British Realist Painting. Beautiful pictures, some by names I didn't know at all. There was one by James McIntosh Partick that I would have happily stolen, of the view out of his Dundee window on to sunlit bare trees in the gardens and his wife hanging out the washing - it's just lovely, what with the traceries of the branches and twigs and the bright washing. (I doubt if the clothes would have dried, though, since it was clearly winter.)

And then we walked home again, past the Landform (above)

and along the Water of Leith.

There was no wind to disturb the reflections on the water.

It's getting quite autumnal but there's still quite a lot of colour in the garden: sedum,

Japanese anemones,

more Japanese anemones and montbretia (the yellow variety since I don't like orange)

and autumn crocuses.

The other grandparents are up visiting. We were invited to lunch (great apple pie, other grandmother!). Here's Grandson doing one of his absolutely characteristic activities

and Granddaughter-the-Elder, the bookworm, in her new slippers.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Roads and things

Daughter 1  had a birthday last week. Happy birthday to our sweet girl, who copes so well with various difficulties that life has produced for her.

Last weekend, Mr Life and I went to an antiques fair, where we bought a non-antique road sign for Grandson to use in the garden. He hadn't been very well but was inspired to go out and put it in a suitable place.

He then drew a sign to go with it, to justify the 20-mile-an-hour speed limit. (This warns of loose chippings on the road.)

The next day he drew London's Tower Bridge from memory. Architecturally it's not quite right but I was interested that he remembered it at all. He hasn't been in London for over a year. He does love roads. And drawing.

And talking of bridges, we drove for the first time over the recently-completed new Forth Road Bridge to visit Son, Daughter-in-Law and The Unbloggable Baby.

There are wind baffles which impede the view somewhat but the bridge has the advantage of a hard shoulder so that when cars break down it won't be so much of a problem. Buses and taxis will now use the old bridge.

We went for a walk - here you can see Son carrying his daughter. She's very cute, as you'll agree. Sadly, she isn't yet very familiar with us but we hope that this will come as she gets older. We'll never know her as well as we do the Edinburgh little ones, though, alas.

And here are the ducks which rushed towards us when they noticed Son with duck food. They're very tame and really quite chunky.

I do hope that all American bloggy friends are safe and weren't affected by the hurricanes. How terrible for those who've lost their homes or their livelihoods. It is, as my granny used to say, a funny wee world.

Friday, September 08, 2017


Now, the thing about blogs is that they often present just the sunny, happy side of life, so for the interests of accuracy, let me record what happened to Arran on our second day. Compare the lovely picture of the bay and Goatfell in the background below (Saturday) ... and above (Sunday). You may notice a difference. Yes, for the second and indeed the third days of our long weekend, it rained.

 The second day was wet and the third day...

was less wet but mistier. Hard to say which was better. However, we mainly drove round the island and visited old haunts, including the Lagg Hotel, below.

One of our distantish relations once managed this - owned it? - but currently I can't quite think who. My mum would have known. I did write down various bits of Arran information relating to our family while she was alive but I can't quite think where I safely put this.

The surnames of our Arran family were Currie and Sillars and these are still common names on the island. I must say that I rather wish we lived there... but it would make seeing the offspring rather more tricky.

Eventually we gave up and got a slightly earlier ferry home. Here we are in the queue.

Of course, this is all nothing compared to the suffering of people in the path of that terrible hurricane over the other side of the world. My heart goes out to them.

After a bit of a gap, I got up the resolution to continue with Daughter 2's cot quilt top.
I had previously made these 9-patch squares. Then, with trepidation, I cut each of them into quarters, swapped round the top right hand quarter with the bottom left hand one and sewed them together again. With the result below. It would never in a million years have occurred to me that this is how the lady in my quilting book got this effect, but fortunately she added instructions. It will then have wide white borders.

And then I decided to do a very easy, unmatchy, patchwork back. This was very quick! But I prefer the front.

Such fun though, yes, a complete waste of time!

Hello to the kind people who've added their comments to my earlier post. Still not 60 of you, though!

Wednesday, September 06, 2017


Well, that was interesting. Thank you so much to those of you who commented and thus identified yourselves. Hello! Lovely to make contact! But as I suspected, there weren't 60 of you; indeed, some of those who commented weren't actually among the 60. Anyway, hello to everyone who reads this, whether I know about you or not.

Scotland is a small country and no part of it is more than 41 miles from the sea (according to Google). We have more than 790 islands, 94 of which are inhabited. One of these is the island of Arran, which we visited with our walking friends last weekend.

Here it is, as seen from the ferry. The village at the foot of the hills is Brodick, where we were staying. My great-grandmother was a Brodick girl, and met my great-grandfather on the ferry as he was coming to visit his sister, who had married an Arran man. They married and had three children but she sadly died when my grandmother, the middle child, was five. My granny used to come to Arran for her holidays and stay in Brodick with her aunts and so did my mother when she was a little girl. We've been quite a few times and are very fond of it.

This is Brodick Castle, owned now by the National Trust but then by the Duke of Hamilton, who owned the whole island. One of my granny's aunts was lady companion to the Duchess for a while - presumably in the late nineteenth century - and one family story is that she was on a yacht with the Duchess when they... ran aground or were shipwrecked or something. This seemed slightly unlikely, but we had a guided tour of the outside of the castle on this visit (the castle is closed for renovations) and the guide was saying that the Duke at that time owned and sailed yachts. So there we are: it's probably true.

There's been a building on this site from the 5th century but the current castle dates at its earliest from the 1200s, with later additions up to the 19th century. The gardens are beautiful, with lovely views to the sea, though these must have been even better before there were so many trees.

This is the view from our hotel. The hill you can see is Goatfell, about 2866 feet high. Some of our group climbed it on Saturday, but it's quite a slog and others of us decided to go on a flatter walk, along the shore from Brodick to Lamlash and back, which is just over 9 miles.

The weather was perfect.

Not too sunny - we didn't get burnt - but warm enough to keep the midges away and completely windless.

The walk was quite tricky in parts - stony and hilly and scrambly (I didn't take photos of this because it seemed more important not to fall over) and rather muddy in others.

But later on the path improved and flattened out

and we strolled into Lamlash for lunch.

Then we climbed up over a higher part of the island - pausing to admire Goatfell -

and back down into Brodick. It was a lovely day, though at the end of the walk we were rather aware of our muscles.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Time goes by

So life continues. The family were all here at the weekend: Daughter 2 was up from London with her bump (8 weeks to go); Son, Daughter-in-Law and the Unbloggable-But-Beautiful Baby came down, the Edinburgh family were around and we all celebrated Son's birthday. They set up an obstacle course in the garden, we went to a playpark, we ate cake and it was all very nice. The Baby is now one and she's walking very confidently so maybe she's turned into The Toddler.

And then they went away and yesterday I took Granddaughter-the-Elder to the Botanics. She rested on a bench at one point. On the way home, we were listening to Mendelssohn's violin concerto on the car radio. "That's a nice tune," she said.

"It was written about 200 years ago," I told her.

"When you were a little baby, Granny?" she enquired.

Well, yes. More or less.

The Festival is now over and Edinburgh has mercifully emptied, at least a bit. One can walk along the pavements in town without being stopped by crowds watching jugglers and without being offered fliers for shows one is unlikely to go to. Don't get me wrong - Festival time is quite fun, but does somewhat impede getting from A to B . (More than somewhat.) There are still lots of tourists but on the whole they're just tourists rather than people who come for three or four weeks every year and know their way around - or think they do.

Anyway. I have recently acquired my 60th apparent follower. I'm afraid I officially follow only 2 bloggers, I think - mainly because I don't really know how this following thing works. I list the blogs that I visit under "Favourites" on my computer and many of them hardly post any more, alas. I wonder if these 60 people actually read my blog, or are they historical, pre-grandchild, ex-readers? I can see that some of them are people I know - in the bloggy sense - but who are the others? The ones I've clicked on often don't have blogs so are just names. Are you really there, 60 people? I know you aren't the millions who follow glamorous young vloggers with names beginning with Z but I'm still curious about you.

Thursday, August 24, 2017


Today was quite an ordinary day - Granddaughter-the-Elder and I went to the Botanics, as we often do - and yet I want to record it for myself because such normal activities are so precious and, I know, so fleeting. I'm very lucky to have two grandchildren living in Edinburgh. We had lunch outside and then she had a chocolate ice cream from the booth conveniently located just to the left of our table. There was a lavender bush, covered in bees, just beside us. "My ice cream," she said meditatively, "smells of bees. And tastes of wasps." Wasps appear to be delicious.

And then she spent a long time rolling down this slope and climbing up it again and rolling down it again... .

After that we strolled through the Chinese garden

and saw this heron sitting hopefully on a rock beside the very fast-flowing, man-made little waterfall. Not a good choice, heron.

And she walked through the grass among the autumn crocuses (but it's NOT autumn yet!).

And stood on stones.

And shuffled very slowly back to the car along this tiny wall, hand-over-hand on the railings. My parking ticket was just about to run out but I could see that there wasn't a parking warden hovering.

Such a golden day. Such a good companion.