Posted by: christinelaennec | July 11, 2014

Greenbank Garden, Glasgow

A big thank-you to everyone who’s rejoiced with us over the Dafter’s recent improvement.  It was a pleasure to be able to bring you some good news on that front!  She has had a good week, working some shifts at the charity shop, and helping out with the neighbour’s children.  She also travelled into town with me on the train for the first time – she’d thought it would be underground the entire way, and was pleasantly pleased to be above ground and to discover her new neighbourhood from a different angle.

This post is about Greenbank Garden, which I visited here in Glasgow a few weeks ago.  There are quite a few photos but I’ll put whatever commentary I have in the captions.  I took the bus there on a Sunday afternoon, and although I hadn’t nearly reached the end of the bus line, I was amazed at how un-city-like my environs were!

The green fields of Clarkston, on the south side of Glasgow.  June 2014.

The green fields of Clarkston, on the south side of Glasgow. June 2014.  Greenbank Garden is about a 15-minute walk from the bus stop.

Local schools' wheelbarrow competition.  Greenbank Gardens, Glasgow.  June 2014.

Local schools’ wheelbarrow competition. Greenbank Garden, Glasgow. June 2014.

Gate leading into the garden rooms, Greenbank Garden, Glasgow.

Gate leading into the garden rooms, Greenbank Garden, Glasgow.

Going through the gate into the garden rooms, Greenbank Garden, Glasgow.

Going through the gate into the garden rooms, Greenbank Garden, Glasgow.

Looking back through the gate to Greenbank House.  Glasgow, June 2014.

Looking back through the gate to Greenbank House. Glasgow, June 2014.

Perennial border, Greenbank Garden, Glasgow.  June 2014.

Perennial border, Greenbank Garden, Glasgow. June 2014.

Greenbank Garden, Glasgow.  June 2014.

Greenbank Garden, Glasgow. June 2014.

Pretty birdhouse, Greenbank Garden, Glasgow.

Pretty birdhouse, Greenbank Garden, Glasgow.

Border, Greenbank Garden, Glasgow.  June 2014.

Border, Greenbank Garden, Glasgow. June 2014.

Poppy, Greenbank Garden, Glasgow.  June 2014.

Beautiful poppy, Greenbank Garden, Glasgow. June 2014.

Greenbank Garden, Glasgow.  June 2014.

Greenbank Garden, looking back towards the house from the end of the garden.  Glasgow, June 2014.

Good use of an old carpet in a very damp path.  Greenbank Garden, June 2014.

Good use of an old carpet in a very damp path. Greenbank Garden, June 2014.

Fountain, Greenbank Garden, Glasgow.

Fountain, Greenbank Garden, Glasgow.  It was nice to see some teenagers visiting the garden!

Swallows on the wing in the courtyard.  Greenbank House, Greenbank Gardens, Glasgow.

Swallows on the wing in the courtyard. Greenbank House, Greenbank Garden, Glasgow.  I took these photos while enjoying a cup of tea and a slice of cake from the cafe.

Swallows on the rafters near the courtyard, Greenbank House, Greenbank Garden, Glasgow.

Swallows on the rafters near the courtyard, Greenbank House, Greenbank Garden, Glasgow.

Another part of the gardens - open in the evening!  Enticing.  Greenbank Garden, Glasgow.  June 2014.

Another part of the gardens – open in the evening! Enticing. Greenbank Garden, Glasgow. June 2014.

Honeybees at work in a field across from Greenbank House.  Greenbank Garden, Glasgow.  June 2014.

Honeybees at work in a field across from Greenbank House. Greenbank Garden, Glasgow. June 2014.

After ten minutes' walk, I'm nearly back to the bus stop.  Clarkston, Glasgow.

After ten minutes’ walk, I’m nearly back to the bus stop. Clarkston, Glasgow.

View out across Glasgow - I'm not too sure what I'm looking at here, so if you have local knowledge, please tell us in a coment!

View out across Glasgow, looking towards the North-West.  I believe Loch Lomond is behind the long ridge of hills, and the city centre is around to the right, out of the frame.  You can see why Glasgow is called the “Dear Green Place”.

This garden reminded me not a little of Crathes Castle Gardens.  I liked how enticing the various garden rooms were.  For example, I could hear the tinkling noise of the fountain, could sometimes see the spout of water over the top of a hedge, and I spent a wee while searching for it.  So that when I finally took the right path and found it, I felt very pleased with myself!

Now that I know the way, I will have to go back and perhaps on a day when the house is also open.  I particularly enjoyed the bus trip – knitting at the front of the top deck of the double-decker bus, as you do!

Posted by: christinelaennec | July 7, 2014

Dafter update: excellent news!

My dear regular readers,

As you will know, my daughter (the Dafter)’s life has been blighted by severe M.E./Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for nearly three years now.  If you search the tag or category ME/CFS on my blog, you can read what she has been going through.  In a nutshell, for over two and a half years, she’s been largely bedbound, needing a wheelchair to go any distance outside of the house, and suffering from very bad “brain fog”.  She’s missed three years of schooling; a few months ago she could no longer remember what it felt like to be healthy.  Your comments and support on this blog have been such a great help for our family.  Well, I have some really excellent news!

Just over two months ago, she began a private (i.e. not on the National Health Service) therapy for M.E. called Mickel Therapy.  We, along with her doctors, and friends who have followed this saga with love and concern, have been amazed at the changes that Mickel Therapy has wrought.  Two months ago she was able to be out of bed a total of 2 1/2 hours a day, and was just about managing to leave the house three times a week, with the wheelchair.  Now she is able to do several activities a day (including, recently, going out before lunch), she can walk over a mile, and has begun to take part in life in the world once again.

The Dafter before her party, late June 2014.

The Dafter before her party, late June 2014.

As you might imagine, the past two months have seen us all holding our breath lest another dire relapse befall her, and we have all been in a constant state of adjustment concerning what she is able to do, and the support she needs.  She still needs quite a lot of encouragement, support, and practical help.  But she is starting to be able to have something of a normal life!  I know that her recovery may include downs as well as ups, but I believe that Mickel Therapy has given her a technique to handle her symptoms that she’ll always be able to use.

Recently, she decided to throw a Positivity Party.  She invited all the people roughly her age that she’d met since we moved to Glasgow a year ago – the church youth group that I’d hooked her up with, a couple of girls from the high school she was only able to attend on four occasions during this past academic year, and two teenage neighbours.

Before the party

Before the party

I took her shopping for party food, and we helped set things up.  Then Michael and I withdrew (with Tilly the cat) into our bedroom once the party started, so it really would be her party.  About a dozen kids came, and what a huge success it was!  The trampoline was a big hit, as were the balloons and bottles of bubbles.  She’d been worried we’d bought too much food, but I said, “you’d be surprised – teenagers are like locusts!” and indeed it was all gone by the end.  They played tag in the back garden, and she had a special compilation CD playing out in the summerhouse.  Gusts of laughter reached us through the open window.  She had a few party games up her sleeve: “Honey I Love You” was a big hit.  (You have to say Honey I Love You with a straight face.)  I heard her laughing a deep chuckle that I haven’t heard for a few years.

So we’ve been in a time of rapid transition.  Whereas a month ago, I was organising and accompanying her on all of her outings, she is now able to walk to a friend’s house nearby, or the park, for a few hours.  She’s been so courageous in trying out new things.  She began going to the youth group church’s Sunday morning services (a different church from the one I’ve joined) on her own.  I think it’s wonderful that she has her own church.  She’s desperate to have some independence, and to work.  She’s beginning to do volunteer work in a charity shop, has volunteered for another shop, and last weekend she stayed after church to help distribute food at their foodbank.  I’ve linked her up with a young family nearby with two very active wee ones, and she’s going to be giving the mother a hand at home.  She’s thinking of going back to school part-time in August.

The Dafter, late June 2014.

The Dafter, late June 2014.

Unless you’ve been cut off from the world in a similar circumstance, it’s hard to understand how challenging “simple” things are for someone who’s spent two and a half years in bed.  Being in a crowd, being out on her own for a little while, meeting new people, coping with noise levels – she has been so courageous taking all this on.  She and I have taken the bus twice, and we will keep practising that.  She still can get very anxious about doing “ordinary” things, and I can only imagine how vulnerable and fragile she must feel at times.  But she said to me recently:  “When I get really scared, I just think, What would you rather — to try this, or to be stuck in bed?  And then I can be brave, because I know which I’d rather!” Her concentration is still impaired, but I know that will return to normal, given time.  She was able to do two hours of training at the charity shop, including a Health & Safety induction.  (Those sorts of things are challenging for my own concentration levels!)

I remember when she first fell ill in 2011, my minister met with me.  I think she’d been ill for six weeks at that point, which was already beyond my comprehension as a parent.  He said to me, “When she comes out of this, she’ll have far more knowledge of herself than other people her age.” And this is very true.  She is very perceptive about her own reactions to things, and has such maturity in her choices.  She’s also gained tremendous compassion for others, and a very philosophical outlook on life.

M.E. is a very mysterious illness.  It can be like a noose:  the more you struggle against it, the tighter it will get you in its grip.  The Dafter believes that M.E. probably is a label that covers a number of different illnesses, because her symptoms have been very different from other people’s she’s met or read about online who have M.E. We all are deeply appalled by the ignorance that surrounds M.E. – here in the UK it is classified as a psychiatric disorder, rather than a biomedical condition [edit:  see note below!] and the NHS has downgraded it as a condition only to be reviewed every five years instead of every two.  The suffering, loneliness and isolation that people endure because of this illness can be completely devastating.  And yet no-one really seems to care! Just over a year ago, and despite my very best efforts to arrange visitors, the Dafter was going five, six and seven weeks at a time without seeing anyone other than her parents.  At any age this is dreadful, but when you’re a child?  Okay, it’s not a terminal illness.  But some people have been severely afflicted by it for decades.

We know two other young people diagnosed with M.E. for whom Mickel Therapy didn’t bring about a breakthrough.  The Dafter says she can see why this might be, considering how very different cases of M.E. are.  So we are just incredibly grateful for what it has given her, and consequently us.  Thank you to those who gave us a gentle push to try it – you know who you are!  And thank you so very much to all who have left such kind and caring messages of encouragement.

The Dafter still has a ways to go before she can have the kind of full life that one imagines she would have had without M.E.  But that doesn’t matter.  Time is on her side.

[Edited to add:  the classification of ME/CFS is a point that ME charities have expressed concern about.  As the 2009 article "Classification conundrum" on the Action for ME website says, "many doctors... have regarded the illness as primarily psychiatric..."  ME is classified as a "somatoform disorder, located within the section "Mental and Behavioural Disorders" chapter of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10).  In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) somatoform disorders are in a category "within a specifically psychiatric classification".  I don't know whether things have changed much in the last five years.  I can tell you that the Dafter's doctors in Glasgow consider ME to be the province primarily of the psychiatrist and not the paediatrician.]

Posted by: christinelaennec | July 5, 2014

The Willow Tea Rooms (Sauchiehall Street)

I was really delighted to read that the future of the iconic Willow Tea Rooms on Sauchiehall Street is now secure, after being taken over by a charitable trust.  I have always really liked Charles Rennie Mackintosh design, and this tea room is important because it was one where Mackintosh had a say in every aspect of the building, decor and even the waitresses’ uniforms.

It opened in 1904, and as I seem to have lost my own photo of the outside, here is one from Wikipedia:

The Willow Tearooms on Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.  Photo from Wikipedia.

The Willow Tearooms on Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. Photo from Wikipedia.

I’ve written about the Willow Tea Rooms on Buchanan Street, which are similarly located above a shop.  But there isn’t anything particularly distinctive about the exterior of the tea rooms on Buchanan Street, whereas the ones on Sauchiehall Street present a very unified statement, unmistakably complementing the interior.

As you come through the shop on the bottom (which now sells CRM souvenirs), you first come up a flight of stairs to the tea room on the mezzanine.  Before you even reach the tea rooms, the stairs and wall make a very distinctive statement about the design sensibility that awaits at the top:

The first-floor tea room of the Willow Tea Rooms, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.  March 2014.

Stairs to the mezzanine tea room of the Willow Tea Rooms, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. March 2014.

The mezzanine tea-room is well-lit by the skylights above.  Even on a dark, rainy day, the white paint keeps it bright inside:

From the corner table.

The mezzanine tea room, from the corner table.

There is a large central well in the middle:

Looking across the large central well.

Looking across the large central well.

I really like the details:

At the back of the first-floor tea room.  Willow Tea Rooms, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. March 2014.

At the back of the mezzanine tea room. Willow Tea Rooms, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. March 2014.

The waitresses have black dresses and white aprons, which looks very old-fashioned to us – but their knee-length skirts would have caused the original patrons to faint:

Another view of the first floor, on another day.

Another view of the mezzanine tea room, on another day.

The “Room de Luxe” is on the first floor (for US readers, second floor), and was designed to be “light and feminine” according to the Willow Tea Rooms website.

Room de luxe??  Willow Tea Rooms, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.

Room de Luxe on the first floor.  Willow Tea Rooms, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.  This window stretching across the building is what you see from the outside.

On a recent visit to the tea rooms, there was an exhibition in a room on the top floor, which I had never seen.  Again, the decorative details were intriguing:

Fireplace in a room on the top floor, Willow Tea Rooms, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.

Fireplace in a room on the top floor, Willow Tea Rooms, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.

While still a light room, the dark wood made quite a contrast to the tea rooms on the floors below:

Upstairs room, Willow Tea Rooms, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.

Upstairs room, Willow Tea Rooms, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.

I really like Mackintosh’s use of stained glass – which may well have been designed by his wife, Margaret MacDonald.  As you will have noticed, patterns of squares are a recurrent motif, as well as the teardrop and the rose.

Upstairs room, Willow Tea Rooms, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.

Upstairs room, Willow Tea Rooms, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.

You may have heard that Glasgow suffered a dreadful blow when the Glasgow School of Art, designed by Mackintosh, was devastated by fire recently.  I had always wanted to go there, but was waiting until the Dafter was well enough to go with me.  Alas, now I’ll never be able to see the original library.  But as it’s one of the best-documented rooms in the country, I’m sure it will be beautifully restored.

So the news that the future of the Sauchiehall Street Willow Tea rooms is secure is particularly welcome.

I hope you’re all having a good weekend!

Posted by: christinelaennec | June 27, 2014

A crocheted shrug

I learned to crochet just over a year ago, and have just made my first garment!

Summer shrug, in summer weather!

Summer shrug, in summer weather!

The pattern is Spring Fling by Ruth Maddock (be sure to get the updated instructions if you make this!) and I used Debbie Bliss eco baby cotton yarn.  I learned a lot making it – though I had to wing the last two rows as I couldn’t work out what the instructions were telling me to do.

My little helper!

My little helper!

I began this assuming that it would be too small or too big, or fail in some other way – but I didn’t mind giving it a go.  Imagine my amazement when I tried it over my shoulders and it actually FIT!  At this point I decided to make a wee investment.  Instead of using safety pins as stitch markers, I treated myself to these lovely rainbow stitch markers.  Is it just me, or do stitch markers give other people immense satisfaction in the making of something?

Crochet stitchmarkers from Proverbs31 on Etsy.

Crochet stitchmarkers from proverb31projects on Etsy.

So!  Who says an old dog can’t teach herself a few new tricks?!  [Edit:  If you're on Ravelry, details are here]

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Posted by: christinelaennec | June 25, 2014

Update on the swan family

Some of you will have read here about the sad death of Daddy Swan in the park.  He was killed by a dog, protecting the eggs.  I’m happy to report that Mama Swan seems to be doing very well!  Yesterday she had her brood out and about on the pond.

Mama swan and her eight cygnets.  June 2014.

Mama swan and her eight cygnets. June 2014.

They were all eating the weeds underwater, until it was time to head back to the nest.  I love the orderly queue formed behind Mama.  All eight cygnets were beak to tail in almost military precision:

Swimming off in an orderly line!

Swimming off in an orderly line!

Meanwhile, the duck family had taken over the swans’ nest:

Mama duck and her family.

Mama duck and her family.

Mama duck is on the left, and her growing ducklings are to her right.  They have grown a lot since last month.  I presume they would have hopped off when the swans returned?

A blue heron.

A blue heron.

I think there are two herons who live in the park, but I’m not sure.  Anyhow, a sleepy blue heron was having his afternoon nap.  It’s wonderful to me that so much wildlife is supported by a city park.  There are also baby moor hens, different types of gulls, and no doubt other creatures that I’m unaware of.

I hope you’re all having a really good week!

Posted by: christinelaennec | June 19, 2014

My garden in June

Phew, it’s been scorching hot here in Glasgow!  About 25C / 77F for the past few days.  Honestly, this feels almost unbearably hot to us at times.  The garden has been happy, but before I show you that, the Dafter has also been continuing to do very well.  Here is a silly photo of her at Whole Foods.  The first time we went there she said, “It’s just like Oregon!”  And so it is.

Silly Dafter!  18 June 2014.

Silly Dafter! 18 June 2014.

Isn’t her dress fab?  She found it at a vintage shop in the West End, for a song.  Note her face now has some colour!  Here’s her usual expression:

Pretty Dafter!

Pretty Dafter!

She continues to make good progress with her ME/CFS, which is a delight after nearly three years of her being so very ill.

Now to show you the garden!  It amazes me to think that the plants have only been in it since February.

Back garden:  the sunny border.  Glasgow, 17 June 2014.

Back garden: the sunny border. Glasgow, 17 June 2014.

I bought quite a few bedding plants this summer, as the perennials are still just babies.  I know that in a few years there won’t be so much bare soil.

Birch bark cherry, foxgloves, pincushion flower, canterbury bells.  My back garden, Glasgow, 17 June 2014.

Birch bark cherry tree, foxgloves, pincushion flower, canterbury bells, volunteer poppies. My back garden, Glasgow, 17 June 2014.

I really like the Quaking Grass:

Quaking grass by the summerhouse, Glasgow 19 June 2014.

Quaking grass by the summerhouse, Glasgow 19 June 2014.

We’ve bought some solar lights to make it even more enchanting in the evenings, though so close to the solstice it’s still not dark by 11 pm in this clear weather.

Looking towards the house, 19 June 2014.

Looking towards the house, 19 June 2014.  Poppies and nigella grown from seed in the small curved bed.

I’m delighted that the two peonies I planted in February have had blooms:

"Bowl of Beauty" peony, blooming in its first year here.

“Bowl of Beauty” peony, blooming in its first year here.  Next to it is a clove-scented carnation.

First bloom on the "Kansas" peony.

First bloom on the “Kansas” peony.

Why Kansas?  Because I like its colour and shape, but also my great-granny May was born in Kansas.  In the other border, a plant that I thought I knew from the church garden in Aberdeen has grown to ten times the size I expected:

The shady bed, with huge Anthemis "Tinpenny Sparkle".  17 June 2014.

The shady bed, with huge Anthemis “Tinpenny Sparkle”. 17 June 2014.  Next year I will stake it!

I’ve sown wildflower seeds here.  (Karen, can you identify the seedlings for me?  Sweet william? Forget-me-not?  Time will tell!)

I planted eight bare-root roses in the depths of winter, and they all seem to be happy.  They are all climbing roses – three in the front and five in the back.  In the front garden, two are in bloom.

First blooms on the climbing rose "Graham Thomas", front garden, 18 June 2014.

First blooms on the climbing rose “Graham Thomas”, front garden, 18 June 2014.

I really love canterbury bells and foxgloves, which I had in Aberdeen.   In the evening they seem to glow from within, especially the light blue ones:

"Cornish Blue" canterbury bells, and white canterbury bells beyond.  Front garden, 18 June 2014.

“Cornish Blue” canterbury bells in front, white canterbury bells beyond, and purple ones in back. Front garden, 18 June 2014.

Here is the other climbing rose in bloom in front, the deliciously scented Gertrude Jekyll (which I had in Aberdeen and blogged about here):

Climbing rose "Gertrude Jekyll" in my front garden, 18 June 2014.

Climbing rose “Gertrude Jekyll” in my front garden, 18 June 2014.

Such a lot of happiness and pleasure!  And this garden is all ours, after 21 years of shared gardens in Aberdeen.  Working here is a solace, though some of the jobs to be done are a bit weird.  Yesterday Michael and I “planted” 100 worms from Yorkshire in the flower beds in the back, as the new soil there seems devoid of worms and is very clay-ey.  The postie didn’t exactly drop the box when I said, “Oh, our worms have arrived!”  Yes, that was a little bit naughty of me…

Posted by: christinelaennec | June 16, 2014

Just the ticket!

A few interesting things have arrived in the post lately.  Note that the larger envelope is marked **Do not deliver to neighbours **!

Tickets

Tickets

That envelope contains two tickets to the squash at the Commonwealth Games here in Glasgow next month.

You can see what the top tickets are for!  It’s a dream I’ve had for a very long time, to see Dolly performing in real life.  I’ve loved her music ever since I was a teenager.  I like how the tickets say “No Support”.  I can imagine the joke she would make about that!

I did actually see her once, years ago in New York, when she was filming something with Sylvester Stallone on a street corner.  She is absolutely tiny!  But a commanding presence nonetheless.  I can’t wait to hear her voice in person.

 

Posted by: christinelaennec | June 13, 2014

A fairy dust ruffle

Earlier in the spring, I made a useful accessory for the Dafter’s bed:  a dust ruffle.  I’d been thinking it would be good to have something to hide all the boxes and puzzles under the bed, and then I found the perfect fabric.

Dust ruffle on the Dafter's bed.  Summer 2014.

Dust ruffle on the Dafter’s bed, with some good friends included in the photo. Summer 2014.

I found the Michael Miller fabric online.   The company is licensed to use Cecily Mary Barker’s Flower Fairy images, and the Dafter fell in love with the Night Fairy fabric.

Close up of the fairy fabric.

Close up of the fairy fabric.

She liked it even better when the fabric arrived in the post, as it’s also sparkly!  I used a different fabric for the bit of the dust ruffle that fits under the mattress, and I didn’t gather the dust ruffle itself, in order to save fabric but also so that you can see the design clearly.  So perhaps we should call it a dust panel rather than a dust ruffle?  In any case, it goes really well with her green carpet.

When I finished the dust ruffle, the Dafter was spending most of her time in bed, and I felt it was important to make her bed as welcoming and attractive a place for her as possible.  At the beginning of May, she had worked up to being out of bed about two hours total a day, and had at that point only just become able to leave the house three times a week.  She then began a private therapy for her ME/CFS, and the past six weeks have seen a huge breakthrough for her, which I will tell you more about soon.

So the bed is no longer where you will find the Dafter most of the time, but she still enjoys having fairies attend her when she is there.  Perhaps they have been instrumental in her recent progress?

I wish you all a very good weekend!

Posted by: christinelaennec | June 7, 2014

May’s diaries get a fresh airing

About a month ago, our family had a very different kind of afternoon than usual.  A makeup lady and a photographer spent the afternoon with us.  The photographer was extremely kind to the Dafter, showing her the equipment she was using, and explaining things as she worked.  The makeup lady was, to my relief, not interested in making me look like someone else – she didn’t even ask me why I don’t dye my hair!

Makeup lady touching me up!

Makeup lady touching me up!  Photograph by the Dafter, who was making me laugh.

And why all the fuss?  Because a journalist had interviewed me about my great-granny May’s diaries.  You can read more about them by clicking on the tab “May’s Diaries” in the header, or at the top of the sidebar.  There are also links at the top of the sidebar to four pages of photographs. (Or you can rush out and buy a copy of the July Prima magazine, in the UK.)

I’m pleased by how it turned out.  The journalist, Mel Fallowfield, spent a lot of time talking to me, and reading through the piece over the phone before she submitted it.  The photo of me is fine, too.  I think I look recognisably like myself, although as if made up for a party that I’m a little bit frightened of attending!

Prima magazine, July 2014.

Prima magazine, July 2014.

(There’s just one error – May was in Northern California and not North Carolina; I think that might have been a copy editing glitch as Mel was scrupulous about checking the facts.)

I was very pleased to have the chance to tell the story of May’s diaries again.  I think she would be amazed at the coverage they’ve received since I published them four years ago!  The Prima article is really interesting.  As well as the story about me “meeting” my great-granny through her diaries, there’s the story of how a writer used her teen travel diaries to inspire her novel, and about a woman who is keeping diaries about her children, to give them when they are older.

Personally, I’m an incurable diary-writer, and I also love to read other people’s (published!) diaries.  I wonder if keeping a diary is more of a rarity in this day and age?  I know some people keep blogs as a kind of diary, but to me a diary is essentially a safe and private place, where I can be completely honest about anything that I’m thinking, feeling and experiencing.  I do actually go back and re-read my diaries from time to time, as well.  Sometimes I think, “Wow that was an incredibly tough time, how did I ever manage to get through that?!”  Sometimes I’m aware that my point of view has changed, or that I can understand a person or situation better now than I did at the time.  But mostly I just enjoy savouring, once more, happy times with family and friends.

Do any of you keep a diary?  Do tell all!

Posted by: christinelaennec | June 3, 2014

The Roman Baths in Bearsden, Glasgow

I’m happy to tell you that the Dafter’s health is improving!  The other day we were able to leave the wheelchair at the gate and go on foot to explore and photograph the Roman Bath ruins.

The Dafter on her feet!  May 2014.

The Dafter on her feet! May 2014.

These ruins are in a northern suburb of Glasgow called Bearsden.  (I have no idea whether there were ever bears here.)  This bath house served a barracks or fort located along the long wall called the Antonine Wall.  The Antonine Wall was built in about 140 A.D. by Emperor Antoninus Pius, and it marked the northernmost boundary of the Roman Empire.  Even on a pleasant day, it’s hard to imagine the Romans not feeling a little bit chilly all the way up here!

Roman ruins, with wheelchair left at the entrance. May 2014.

Roman ruins, with wheelchair left at the entrance. May 2014.

The soldiers weren’t just having cold baths, though – far from it.  The bathhouse was pretty sophisticated, with hot rooms using underfloor heating, a hot and dry room heated by a furnace, a cold room and also a cold bath.  And did I mention a large changing room?  Probably without lockers, though.

Roman ruins, Bearsden, Glasgow.  May 2014.

Roman ruins, Bearsden, Glasgow. May 2014.

We had such a nice time, exploring and trying to imagine Roman soldiers in this place, so very long ago.

The Dafter at the Roman ruins, Bearsden, Glasgow.  May 2014.

The Dafter at the Roman ruins, Bearsden, Glasgow. May 2014.

Below you see the semi-circular cold bath, with a bench running along the side.  It does kind of give me the shivers to think actual, real people like us (or probably not very like us) sat there at one time!

The hot bath??

The cold bath

Historical places do have that somewhat shivery effect on me.  Which is silly, because actually almost every place you can go is a “historical place” insofar as it has some kind of history.

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