March On

February was longer this year. I was pleased to be able to wish Jude a happy birthday, a rare occurrence. Nye wondered why nothing was special about the leap day and I told him about women proposing to men in stead of the other way round. Obviously this hasn’t impacted on him as having any special significance or new opportunity that he could grasp with both hands. Little did I know that my own nephew was in a happy marriage as a result of just such an opportunity when his wife had proposed to him 20 years ago.

I had a walk to Harrison Gardens, which is right next to the union canal, to enjoy the Spring flowers and new growth on the trees, like the willow revealing it’s first fresh leaves. The extra leap day may have helped more daffodils to open in time for Saint David’s Day.

March arrived and a daffodil had managed to open in our garden in time for St David’s Day. With Shane having grown up in Wales, I tend to try to provide a Welsh food, or at least a leek based dish, on the first of March. I remembered trying Glamorgan Sausages during lock down, a bit fiddly but suited Bryn’s new found interest in vegetarianism. Nye hadn’t tried them and I hoped he would like them. They held together well considering the recipe suggested refrigeration for 24 hours and I despite having a spare extra day to prepare, I had not started that far ahead. We all enjoyed them so, despite being a fouter, they might stay on the list of repeatable recipes.

As well as the daffodil a present I gave to Nye for Christmas has been making an impressive entrance. The amaryllis has grown taller than any I have seen before, and the single spike has burst open into four fabulous flowers, parading themselves proudly. It might not last long but it is quite a show. I am pleased to have stayed in Edinburgh long enough to see it.

Amaryllis blooms make an appearance

Tall stems need a bit of support

Another Christmas arrival that we continue to enjoy is the daily scurrying and sweeping by Eufy, the cleaner. She sets off daily round the house, occasionally getting stuck in a room having bumped into the door and closed it, or stuck behind a piece of furniture and beeping as she is too tired to get home. The other day I heard one of her distress calls and went to check. Shane was out, giving me a chance to familiarise myself with the controls. She was showing a solid red light and repeatedly beeping in groups of four. On a boat four blasts on the horn means the boat is out of control! I checked the key and found that, for Eufy, this means her roller brush was stuck so I popped open the cover to take a look. It is just as well it fell to me to clear the obstruction, as it was almost exclusively my hair that was causing the jam. I removed the roller and started, literally, to pull my hair out. It felt a bit like clearing the propeller of fishing line and plastic bags but thankfully I didn’t need to roll up my sleeves and it was much much more comfortable to gain access than the weed hatch. I didn’t feel the need for a shower afterwards either. I did make use of scissors and it helped too that I could actually see what I was doing. She was soon put together and back into active service.

With a bright forecast and no cycling buddy, Shane was keen to go for a walk. We headed for the coast and began with lunch in Portobello. Last time we lunched there we then walked to Musselburgh and bussed back. This time we bussed to Prestonpans, famous as being the battle site of a Jacobite Victory in 1775, having marched from Edinburgh. The battle took less than half an hour. It is now a peaceful town of murals and tapestries. From the bus we saw some murals. As we set off along the coast, another one caught my eye, of John Muir, a naturalist.

John Muir enjoying the east coast

The John Muir Way running coast to coast between Helensburgh and Dunbar (where he was born) and goes through Prestonpans. If today’s walk was anything to go by it might be quite attractive, though of course most will not be coastal.

View across the Forth from Prestonpans to Fife

It was a little slippery at first but the walking soon got easier and the skies stayed blue. We marched on to Musselburgh and had a welcome visit to Luca’s for ice-cream. I went old school with a coke float. Then two well timed buses took us comfortably home to Marchmont.

View towards Arthur’s Seat from Prestonpans
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