Saturday, April 12, 2014


Because I had been complaining (on the phone) about my general incompetence - not being immediately comfortable with the new phone, not being very good at playing the piano even after two years of lessons, not finding quilting as easy as those who produce complicated and beautiful creations over a weekend - Daughter 2 drew the above illustration and attached it to an email. Now can you see why I miss her so much? Sadly the skills she is able to find for me are not hugely impressive - such as making macaroni cheese - but I so appreciate the sentiment. She's mildly dyslexic - hence the reference to spelling - the words in the little list are some of those which she used to find difficult and can now spell - even though "tomorrow" occasionally acquires a rogue "m" when she's not paying close attention, which is why it occurs with a cross against it here. 

What I used to be quite good at was teaching; and while there's no denying that retirement is enormously more relaxing than teaching and all its attendant preparation and marking, and is generally perfectly pleasant, it has left me sometimes feeling somewhat at a loss. Suddenly one becomes a little old lady instead of a competent professional. I'm not really complaining because work was far too busy for so many years and spilled into everything. But it's quite an odd transition. Though I'm generally used to it now, there are moments when I think - so that's it, then? 

We were also cheered by a day with Grandson. He enjoyed playing in the garden. 

He and I made lots of sandcastles. He was careful to keep his white glove (for his eczema) clean. When we went back into the house, he left sandy bare footprints on the rug. "Look!" he said. "Foot shadows!"

We took Dolly to see the trains and trams at the tram station. He waved to them all. The tram drivers, who're still driving empty trams around as Edinburgh tries to get used to being a tram city again, always wave back to him. I'm sure they're delighted to have something to take their minds off driving along the tracks without passengers.

We walked home along the cycle track, which is a former railway line on an embankment. He gazed down at a garden in which there was a slide and a trampoline. "There's a park!" he said  (we call playgrounds "playparks" in Scotland). I told him that it was just someone's garden. He thought about this. "A garden with things to play on!" he marvelled. Then, after a dramatic pause, he said, "And in [Grandson's] garden - nothing!"


Barbee' said...

Oh, he is so darling! I enlarged the message from your daughter so I could read everything. It seems to me that you are good at the important things.

Retired English Teacher said...

I love the drawing your daughter made. Clever. Very clever.

Frances said...

Maybe a swing for his next birthday! He is so cute with his sayings.

Mac n' Janet said...

That was wonderful, it's nice to know that our children do appreciate us.
As to your piano playing, stop lessons, you're trying to play to someone else's standards. When I retired I taught myself to play, am I perfect, do I sit up straight and tall, do I hit the key with the correct finger, do I hold each note just as I should, no! But I play each day, working with progressively harder piece and it makes me very happy.

Thimbleanna said...

Hahaha -- Little N is just adorable. He must make you laugh everyday! DD2's card is just perfect, although I can think of a few missing things -- singing, hostess, reading (love of literature -- not sure how to word that one) just to name a few ... Oh wait -- I just had a re-look -- she has songs there, so I'll change it to beautiful humming in the morning to start the day off beautifully! ;-D

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Your daughter is not only very clever but very loving and supportive. She must inherit her kind nature from you. Your grandson is a darling with more and more ideas of his own.

love those cupcakes said...

That's the best kind of e-mail to receive. If it's any consolation, my skill set is rapidly diminishing. I've recently confirmed I'm now useless at knitting and sewing and discovered I can't paint furniture for toffee. The piano remains firmly closed.

Verity Kai'imi said...

As a former pupil of yours I can attest to the 'good at teaching' thing! I can add to the list too - you always knew how to make me laugh!

By the way, where's the tram station and cycle path you mention? I've not been out for ages and would like to go and have a look :)


Isabelle said...

Clarissa (thank you so much, by the way!) it's at the north end of Saughtonhall Drive, where it joins with Balgreen Road - up a path just before the tram/train bridges. Then the cycle track goes off from the top of it. (I hope you don't really mean you've not been out AT ALL for ages? Come for coffee? and we can take a walk that way.)

Verity Kai'imi said...

Ahh! Just looked at the map and see where you mean now. Alas that's a bit too far for me - I'm a bit more disabled than when we last saw each other and could never walk that far. I'll wait 'til the trams are actually running with passengers and take a wee trip then :)
However, coffee sounds like a plan, if you would be up for that sometime? I have good days and bad days so making a firm arrangement may be a little hit and miss, but I could aim to meet you somewhere where you would be going anyway perhaps? Would be great to catch up!