Saturday, 25 July 2015

May 2015 - almost nothing to report



I did my usual flick through pages in the diary to remind me of events - especially as I am now three months on from this point when writing so not a chance of remembering May!  It showed a lovely time of gardening, minis, seeing friends and eating out and movies and pretty much that was it: none of it hardly worth recording inch by inch though it is good to be reminded how great my 'small' life is.

Finally by the 22nd there is a notation that we were off to Edinburgh for a week and all those happy sunny days came bouncing back.

22nd - drove up to Edinburgh stopping off in Hawick (pronounced Hoyk) in the strangest looking little Italian restaurant.  It is always a good sign when an Italian restaurant looks oddly dishevelled and is full of Italians - both staff and diners.  If you are ever travelling that way you won't miss it as it squats in a Georgian building which itself squats on the bridge over the river.  It is called Sergio's and, when checking it out retrospectively, comes tenth on Trip Advisor.  The other nine must be like dying and going to heaven as Sergio's delivered the best Italian food I have had in ages.  Kept getting flashbacks to our finding an off-the-beaten-track place we found in Florence many years ago.  Sergios was certainly the real McCoy.

Ultimately we two contented individuals arrived at our apartment/cottage which was brilliantly close to my daughter's home - ideal.  Bijou is most definitely the word to describe it and it was so named.  Any plans of having S and S round to dinner were quickly scuppered.  Lacking a dishwasher was the clincher - no cooking for us either!

In actuality it was a lovely little place and will suit us very well for future visits - beats being in a hotel room by a mile.

Sat 23rd - over to S & S's home to make a new garden.  The four of us worked like little Trojans on a very hot day but produced a large, fully planted four foot border into the corner of the lawn: patched in the remaining lawn cut out: made a gravelled utility area with boarded edges: tweaked pots on the patio and generally did a darn good job.  Well done us.

Sunday 24th - we spent half a day at my daughter's just tweaking tiny elements of the garden and had lunch with them but retreated back to the Bijou early afternoon for R & R.  Ken watched the Grand Prix and we had a fish and chip dinner from round the corner - life is good!

Monday 25th - I had got permission from the National Trust of Scotland to take photos in their splendid Georgian House and had a 9.15 am appointment so I could be there before it was open to the general public.  I had the most wonderful couple of hours going round the house in Charlotte Square and studying and recording every inch of it.  I have to say my dealings with Nat Trust Scotland were far and away a happier experience than those I have had with the English NT.  Such warm, helpful and efficient people.  Indeed weeks later when I was thanking my contact for their help and mentioned other places I had visited,  she immediately said just to get in touch any time if I knew I was going any where and she would give me permission to take photos or see things I was interested in.

We then went to real tourist land - The Royal Mile 


Royal Mile

- to visit the Museum of Childhood to take a look at their remarkable dolls houses.  It is an eclectic collection for sure and they seem to be unaware of what treasures they have.  Another friendly and welcoming place.  Free entry and can take photos!  Virtually unheard of on both counts.  It is always odd to see one's own childhood behind glass in a museum!  Are we really that old?


brilliant!

We had lunch at our favourite garden centre up there - Pentland Plants - so I could pick up an obelisk for my daughter's garden.  She and husband stopped by on their way home from work for a cuppa - end to a perfect day.  Be lovely if we lived round the corner from them.

Tuesday 26th - this day we were off to burgle S & S's house.  Let ourselves in while they were working to behave like the shoe-makers elves.  We watered the garden, added in their obelisk and repaired some curtains and collected up all the clobber we had taken up to do our work there.  My daughter sidled off work early so we spent some of the afternoon with her which was lovely.

Wednesday 27th - managed to spend the whole day with the 'kids' just 'doing stuff'.  It began with a planned trip to Newhailles - a large Georgian House - it was closed! NT!!  Plans scuppered we went off into the city and visited Gladstone's Land which was another one on my hit list.  I know someone who is making it in 1/12th!  It was kind of odd to be standing in a full scale version of something I have been watching appear.  Terrifically interesting place though so I can see why the lady concerned is interested in replicating it in The Tenement.  Nice bit of a quirk in our language.  It seems the phrase 'the land' actually refers to the building (the tenement) and the word 'tenement' actually means the land the lands stand on.


Gladstone's Land
There is also a very bizarre place to visit - a wild west street...


Image result for wild west edinburgh

It wasn't actually built as a tourist attraction.  It is just one man's notion of facing all the buildings in the street with 'cladding' to make it look like a street in the American West of the 1800's.  It is fading rapidly as it no longer is being cared for - visit soon if you are curious.

We managed to squeeze in some ice cream in a lovely place called Nardini's - check it out if you are in Edinburgh.  This didn't prohibit us having lunch shortly after at The Colliery and a large tea at my daughter's later.

Thursday 28th - S & S were back to work so Ken and I decided to entertain ourselves with another attempt at Newhailles.  I am so glad we did as it was a very unusual version of the by now expected Georgian House.  It has lived through its three hundred years with very little actually being done to it.  Indeed it has only been painted three times in its history.  This was my first encounter with the notion of preservation by the NT rather than restoration.  Their intention is that we see the house as a lived in entity with the changes that have been made since its inception still in place.  This made for an interesting tour of a very quirky and I can honestly use the word properly - unique - property.


The original building at Newhailles before the wings were added


S & S stopped in to the Bijou on their way home for a couple of hours to say goodbye in anticipation of our leaving the next morning - always sad to part even though we try to see them once a month when we are in the UK.

Friday 29th and we wended our way home from a lovely time visiting S, her husband, her home and the lovely city of Edinburgh.

So onwards to June ........... hope to get it written tomorrow..... stop by then if you want to read the next episode in an ordinary life.

(PS: should you ever want to see my garden or my minis, if you go to this link it will give you all my blog addresses:  All my blogs)

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