DSCF0962.JPG We spent last week in a guest house in Portobello. Wilf and Gélise came over from Belgium and were staying with Katie there, our flat is currently occupied by a firm of painters and uninhabitable (we bit the bullet and got a man in to do the decorating, on the basis that life is simply too short…) and I had a bit of a merry-go-round of doctor’s appointments and blood tests, so staying in Portie seemed like a good idea. We’d thoroughly recommend the Abercorn Guest House for anyone needing somewhere to stay in Edinburgh, near enough the town centre but far enough away to be restful. They were charming people, and quite accommodating of our needs (basically, do not clean our room or interfere with our things please). Having bats outside the window to entertain my occasional night patrols was a bonus.

DSCF0975.JPG We had a lovely and invigorating week at the seaside (although for various reasons we took no photos of sea or sand, only trees and flowers). The sun shone nearly every day. Gélise went swimming in the sea on two occasions and I was full of both admiration and jealousy. We had some lovely walks along the prom prom prom. I enjoyed my first night out in a pub for ages. Wilf, Gélise and Katie cooked a fabulous meal designed specially for me of fresh cod, potatoes and vegetables from Katie’s allotment. Five of us went to Port Seton in the rain for haddock and chips, then back to Musselburgh for ice cream and coffee. A true Scottish summer extravaganza.

DSCF0979.JPG The pièce de résistance was a visit to the wee old-fashioned sweetie shop in Portobello where a grumpy man (Katie remarked it’s a prerequisite for working in a sweetie shop that they have to loathe people in general and children in particular) sells little pokes of boilings and caramels and chews out of grand old glass jars. None of your 21st century retro reproduction, this was straight from the 60s, just they way it should be.

DSCF0957.JPG On Monday afternoon Aileen and Stuart came to visit Redford Road on their (circuitous) way from Redditch via Melrose and Glasgow to Balchladich. We had a bit of an afternoon garden tea party on account of the flat being occupied by painters, but the sun was shining and all seemed well with the world. W+G came with messages of support and courage from lots and lots of people at the bâtiment, which really gladdened our hearts that we are remembered fondly by that big extended family of kind-hearted people. Rose calls it ‘the circle of love’, at any rate I draw great strength from the support and concern of so many friends in so many different places.

DSCF0977.JPG We took W+G to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and showed them all our favourite trees. There’s something particularly special about showing a special place to someone else and appreciating their appreciation. Gélise in particular loved it. By the way Dee has been accepted onto the RBGE Botanical Illustration course starting on September 3 and I have been accepted onto the Practical Horticulture course starting the same day. My circumstances have changed a bit since application but I’m still hopeful of being able to do it.

We went to Ikea and Dobbies, on lighting and garden furniture missions (with lunch). I struggled a bit with crowds, heat and being on my feet at some length but it was worth it to be doing normal things.

DSCF0969.JPG We’re back in Glasgow now, home alone this weekend as Mum has gone to Rothesay with Rebecca. We’ve cut my hair short in anticipation of things to come – it needed cutting, and felt a bit more in control of things to shorten it ourselves. We’ll be going through to Edinburgh later this week and will more or less be staying there after that. The painting is pretty much finished, carpets and vinyl go down on Thursday, our furniture arrives from Nairn on Sunday, and the kitchen goes in the week after next. It’s all coming together rather nicely.

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