Saturday, 23 February 2013


Every Thursday the grandchildren come to me after school.  I collect them in the car and we come back to our house for a McKechnie's roll.  In Scotland these rolls are called "morning rolls".  It is a large roll or "bun" if you're American, but is like a French baquette - not steamed bread and very flavoursome.)  I bring out a block of Normandy butter and have it on the rolls; it simply tastes better and reminds me of eating in France. 

Ishie (6) and Alastair (5)

But this Thursday we had a bonus. Anne B gave me left-over cholocate birthday cake she had made for Alan.  I took this photo for Anne as it showed the kids launching into the cake she had made and also  showed the funeral flowers from the coffin wreath that she divided up and gave to various friends.

Pride of place on her mantlepiece is a condolence card Ishie made for Anne.  We delivered it last  Thursday, the day after  Donald died (February 7th)*  It is Ishie's drawing of Donald in Heaven, i.e. a graveyard with a figure drawn lying flat in the middle of it.  Well ... who says Heaven has to be  "ethereal"?  Anne and I agreed that Heaven for Donald would definitely be on a mountain top somewhere!

* More on this anon.

Monday, 18 February 2013


Spring has arrived and with it little flowers and sprouting seedlings.

Maggie came by last week with this lovely little bunch of snowdrops wrapped in several ivy leaves ... so simple and so effective!

When out this morning I found these irises (Iris  reticulata) had pushed themselves up midst the strewn dried leaves still on the ground.  We had a big dump of snow last week and then the next day the sun shone, the snow melted and out came the first flowers!


This is a screen shot of the colours in the above photo. Did you know to take a screen shot of a certain section on your computer screen, like the one above, you simply press Shift - Control - 4.  That gives you a little circle with a cross in it. (You can let go of the 3 keys.) Drag the little circle with the cross over the area you wish to "snapshot" and then let it go, i.e. stop.  Presto! It is saved as a .png image to the desktop automatically (at least on my computer it is).

Last October I planted several dozen tulip bulbs of different varieties in big plastic pots that my gardening neighbour gave me.  They have all come up mainly because (a) I put them in pots and not the ground to outsmart the squirrels and (b) I put netting over the pots.  Success!  Here is one pot getting the first of the late winter-early spring sunshine. Oh what a joy in the early morning when I walk out the back door on to the patio (south facing - wonderful)!

These plane tree seedlings with their fat heads and winged tails have suddenly all sprouted.  They are everywhere!  I picked up this handful on a corner of the lawn.  Even though the days and nights are clear and cold these seem to thrive!

Sunday, 3 February 2013


Alastair is 5 years old.  It's party time!

Yesterday Mairi had invited 12 of Alastair's friends plus some more for Ishie (as it was going to be "all boys").  But everything went pear-shaped for the football arrangements that were planned.  Some quick thinking by John saved the day: he waved his magic wand in the shape of his mobile phone and produced (at 40 minutes' notice!) a magician - Bluto the Wizard!

He was absolutely terrific!  John took a short video which you can see by clicking on this link.  

This is a screen-shot of Bluto entertaining the Birthday Boy plus 12 children the living room.

Those of us rustling up food downstairs could hear the giggling and chorous of incantations as the hour unfolded.  

I laughed and laughed at Bluto's very opening gambit: "Hands up those who are here!"

This week I could have done with that command on a few occasions!

On the whole my social engagements are mainly with people of my own age and, to a lesser extent, people who are older than me.  Certainly, we are all aging but I have reached the age (68) where it is now more worrying, and rather depressing.  I am talking about those of us (and I include myself!) who are now getting forgetful ranging through to a few who are now suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.

It's been one of those weeks.  I visit in a Care Home where most of the patients I see in the halls and days rooms are just not with it.  Phew ... one hour and I really find I need to head for the door.   On 3 other occasions this week I have been with people (at home or at gatherings) who do not have dementia but their spouses do.

Worse still, here is an example of an increasing problem I am having in my social life:   I have been seated at a table next to a absolutely lovely person who after a few words ... you realize is simply "not with you". 

Now I try to be philosophical, i.e. it is simply the downside of what is my one (and only?!) social asset: "Barbara will talk to anybody". But ... I have to confess ... I am beginning to get  rather twitchy about it!

So.... "Dear Ann Landers:  What do you suggest to host(esse)s who have to make a seating plan which must include the Ancient Elder/Spouse who is attending the function and who suffers from dementia?"

So after seeing this magic show I see that I am going to have to resist the temptation to shout from the doorway of the next social function I am obliged to attend:  "Hands up those who are here!"

Later:  As Bob says "I'm usually here with both hands-up confessing to anything... Unless I turn up missing..... You can usually tell if here or not by looking in the mirror!"