Lavender’s Blue Dilly Dilly

Bryn has returned to Norfolk so we are a team of three. Though we pair up for certain activities. Shane cycles with others as the tandem is on Bartimaeus. He plays chess with Nye. They seem quite evenly matched.

 I have had a few walks with friends and family. Shane and I got a water fix by going on a coastal walk in Fife between two train stations. Delicious lunch in Burntisland and lots of cormorants and oyster catchers to be seen. We enjoyed revisiting interesting sites along the way  As we were whiling away the last 10 minutes before our return train we passed a woman with a huge bucket of lavender, I remarked that looked like a harvest. I imagine her making scented bags for drawers  or for hanging to scent and keep away clothes moths, or perhaps making soap, like I have in my (Edinburgh) bathroom. The lavender seeds embedded in it are effective at stopping it going slimy or sliding into the sink – unexpected benefits. On a walk with Nye later in the week, I found it seems to be a bumper year for lavender. And the bees we’re loving it too.

large lavender bush
More lavender bushes in Leamington Terrace

On the same street in Edinburgh, Nye and I saw an abundance of plums hanging from a fairly small tree. A woman approached with a step ladder and we moved out of her way. She assured us that she had permission – I didn’t think we were the plum police. We did envy her making use of them as we had been admiring them ourselves and they were all out of our reach.

We had gone a walk while Shane was out cycling, partly to make use of the sunshine and stretch our legs but also because Shane had ordered me a new phone. It is a lovely colour which is lucky as there had been no choice…if there had been I might have chosen it: coordinates well with my home screen wallpaper! Of course I had some issues getting all the apps to work and making new passwords etc but with help from Shane and Nye, things seem to be running much more smoothly now. One of the advantages is that this upgrade should have a better camera and take good pictures on a sunny day in stead of being washed out. So we set off to test it.

I was searching for a giraffe I had seen recently in Bruntsfield. I thought I was going mad as I couldn’t find it. Then I remembered that it was a short lived exhibition and Nye checked the dates and it was due to finish at the end of August.  I had seen that one in Bruntsfield after the finish date but no sign now and the one at Tollcross was also gone so I was convinced that I had not dreamt about the Bruntsfield giraffe or misremembered the location. What a relief!

We weren’t looking for food or shopping so no particular target other than the giraffes. We wandered past some old and new sights on the way to the canal from Tollcross. A relic of how shopping for food was done long ago and a new set food providers that have popped up this year. Perhaps they are open for business at the nearby night club’s opening hours.


No longer a Meat Market
Colourful new snack shacks.

The canal basin is not far away at all and it includes a short map of the reopened canal across Scotland, as well the rather splendid swan statues hat were in a previous blog.

Map of course of the Union and Forth and Clyde canals

Nye was amused that there is a floating but static boat hotel, remarking that surely the whole point of a boat would be to travel in it. I have to agree though it’s very well placed for the city centre and being a double width boat is probably very comfortable accommodation indeed. We went along to the Leamington lift bridge which bears a sign we had not noticed before….. No I don’t know why it is called Mathematical, nor why it is called a river.

Centenery celebration

Modern canal view from the Leamington Lift Bridge

From there we proceeded home past the aforementioned lavender and plum trees. It has been a good year for plums as my sister told me a branch of her tree had broken with the weight of the fruit and a friend brought me some plums all the way from Leeds. That is another spot we have still to travel to by canal.

I made plum jam which I hadn’t done before. The recipe I followed suggested skimming out the stones in the second boiling and putting them in a stone basket clipped to the side of the pot to let the juices drain back. I had never heard of a stone basket but improvised with an old tea strainer tied to the pot. I got more than I expected. We had eaten rather a lot before I got round to the jam making at all. Very tasty it is too, from the pot scrapings I had warm on toast. I think I will be shipping a jar back to Bartimaeus.

Stone basket in action
The fruits of my labour
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