Geography is not my strong point, but our Birmingham friend, Paul, had been in touch and I spent a while looking at an atlas a few days ago, comparing notes with him on places travelled. This time we weren’t discussing the canals of Birmingham, which are many, but another grand water feature, Foz d’Iguaçu. He had recently returned from Argentina, one of the countries from which those falls are visible. Shane and I had seen the same falls, when in Brazil. It was a highlight and, we all agreed, hugely more impressive than Niagara falls.
That afternoon, Nye went to the door, seeing a figure there, then called me out too. A man was on our doorstep, just inside the porch. He had found a folding chair there and set it up and when Nye looked out, he asked if he could just sit in our porch out of the cold wind, while he waited for a friend. We both said that was fine and he returned to his phone and sat down. I had friends coming for dinner that day and another friend arriving for an overnight stay, the next day and I had a long list of items to get. Some time later, the porch was still occupied. As I stepped out to go shopping, he stood and again asked if it was okay to wait there. Nye offered a cup of tea and he declined saying he had just had a hot chocolate from a nearby shop. I set off to a variety of shops. By the time I returned, he had gone and Shane was back. Shane had engaged the man in conversation and found that his friend was on a train that was an hour late, hence their mistimed rendezvous. The man was in fact from Brazil. If only I had chatted to him more earlier I would have said I had just been discussing the wonders of Brazil that morning!
Nye then showed me that the gentleman- for he was most gentlemanly in his courteous demeanor – whose name none of us had discovered, had returned with a bunch of roses, to thank us for his short shelter, that had cost us nothing at all. Nye had aptly chosen a vase that my grandparents had received as a golden wedding anniversary gift.
We had a fine time with our guests, Cath and Michael, and it was pleasing to have flowers to greet them, as my kitchen with pans, spatulas and cooling trays might not be the calmest environment (Cath’s kitchen always looks immaculate with no sign of flustered food preparation) while I was still making the Zwiebelkuchen when they arrived – unfortunately they had their back to the roses when seated and faced the hob! Cath had brought a starter so we had an extra course. I had ventured to make the 70s classic, pineapple upside down cake, which proved popular. It’s a golden oldie – glacé cherries optional.
The next day was very wet and misty. Nye and I went to town to buy shoes and passed some less fresh roses that had been laid in memory of the firefighter who lost his life recently at the Jenner’s fire, on Princes Street.
My friend Margaret arrived just after we returned. Another convivial evening with a handy wine glass. It’s rare for me to have wine, never mind two nights in a row but it was the weekend.
The weather was less wet the next day. I had a zero waste collection to make in town and thankfully Margaret accompanied me, helping me carry back a huge amount of goodies free of charge for our lunch, and for our freezer. As well as pastries for the next few days. We took in some tourism and diverted via the castle on the way there, while still unladen.
In the afternoon Shane, Margaret and I went to the Braidburn valley gardens, something of a heritage trip for Margaret but I had been there for the first time just a few days earlier. She was sad to see the open air theatre’s stepped seating was all grassed over. We all enjoyed the new spring flowers, there and in other people gardens. We came through the Royal Edinburgh Hospital grounds. We didn’t have a cafe stop as we knew we had a mound of cakes to get through.
A few gardens have full sized daffodils opening now, a little earlier than they used to be. I look forward to a host of golden daffodils in the days and weeks to come. There will be some in time for St David’s Day next week.
Margaret and I are both planning a new knitting project – a new venture for both of us: Nye’s friend has asked for mustard yellow Tudor stockings. We have both chosen Victorian patterns, Tudor being unavailable, and different wools. I have been studying an on line page-turnable old pattern book, by a woman lamenting that schools did not have time to teach needlework as well as it used to do and hoping I make sense if it. I did get knitting in school, but we didn’t get socks. Margaret is an expert sock knitter and has a modernised pattern based on a Victorian one. I am getting help from my sister who has some leftover yellow yarn, made from wool and nettles, may be more traditional than nylon. I really don’t know when someone decided to make fibre from nettles. I have ordered two balls of the same kind and hope together they are enough. We figure the Tudors did not have consistent dye lots so slight variation in colours will add to authenticity to the Tudor hose, not to be confused with the Tudor Rose, which is a different colour.
When the sun was out early this week, Shane was keen for another coastal jaunt. We took the bus to Cramond, free for him, but as we arrived we found it clouded over and spots of rain began. Soon we were sheltering behind a wall from the hailstones battering at us! We could see from the sky it was still sunny somewhere near, so we could sit out the squall.
In no time it was over and we could resume and admire the sea and seabirds, especially the sanderlings. They were very amusing, and at times invisible. When flying away from us, they could be seen easily, then as they wheeled round they vanished against the sky. There was a little chance to admire art or make a picture along the way.
There is always a surprise around the corner and sometimes it is gold, like in the TV series we have just finished watching. We think The Gold will have a sequel. And sometimes it is the glimpse of a sunset as you turn the corner coming home. It faded fast. Carpe Diem, as many boats are named.
The roses we received are now wilting like the ones in the Princes Street memorial, but Nye hopes to take one less withered, to a story telling/ drama event this weekend, where a memorial symbol is required as a prop. He is delighted to make further use of the gift.
Today was already busy, but I had the added excitement of an email first thing with a dinner invite for tonight and, in the morning post, the arrival of my wool for the Malvolio-style stockings. The future is looking rosy, especially since Shane just messaged from the oncologist to say his scan was clear!