Posted by: christinelaennec | June 26, 2016

June surprises

I have often reflected that life is indeed full of surprises, many of them good.  The result of the recent vote, however, was not a good surprise for our family.  I will just say that many on both sides of the debate are now in agreement that the entire thing has been a sorry mess.  Apart from that small matter, this week has contained some lovely surprises, as well as a bit of an adventure.

Last weekend I travelled to Perth to meet a dear friend who came down from Aberdeen.  It happened to be World Wide Knit in Public Day, although every day can be Knit in Public Day for me:

International Knitting in Public Day, 2016 - on the train to Perth.

World Wide Knit in Public Day, 2016 – on the train to Perth.

I had just begun knitting the sleeve.  I will do a separate knitting-a-steeked-cardigan update soon!

My friend was very glad to have a bit warmer weather, as it had been 10 C / 50 F in Aberdeen when he’d left mid-morning.  In Perth we enjoyed warm weather (for Scotland: 16 C / 61 F), and ate a lovely lunch outside in the sun.

Perth: the River Tay. June 2016.

Perth: the River Tay. June 2016.

It was great to catch up, and enjoy a walk together after lunch.  Here is the unmistakeable Salutation Hotel, which dates back to 1699 and has a connection to Bonnie Prince Charlie.  There was a wedding party there, and I thought some of you might enjoy seeing the kilts (on the men as well as on the statues):

The Salutation Hotel, Perth.

The Salutation Hotel, Perth.

I was surprised at what a difference there was in terms of blooms – as you might recall, my peonies were in full bloom in Glasgow, 60 miles southwest.  In Perth, they were just beginning to open, and the hawthorn was only starting to blossom, whereas it had already finished in Glasgow.

Rodney Gardens, Perth, mid-June 2016.

Rodney Gardens, Perth, mid-June 2016.

We saw what we thought was a young otter swimming in the river, near some wooded islands.

Looking across the River Tay to Perth city centre.

Looking across the River Tay to Perth city centre.

All too soon it was time to say a fond farewell til next time.  I was at the train station at 4:30, with just 20 minutes to wait.  However, things did not go to plan, due to signal failure to the west of Perth.  There were several hundred people waiting to go in all directions, and eventually a large train was cobbled together to take us to Edinburgh.  We went through parts of Fife that passenger trains don’t usually traverse, before joining the main line that follows the North Sea.  I hadn’t been that way for some time, and it was lovely to see Edinburgh in the distance on a fine evening:

Edinburgh seen from Fife. 8:30 pm, mid-June 2016.

Edinburgh seen from Fife. 8:30 pm, mid-June 2016.

I could also see the new Queensferry Crossing which is still under construction, beyond the Forth Road Bridge:

The new Forth crossing, under construction.

The Queensferry Crossing under construction behind the Forth Road Bridge, seen from the Forth Rail Bridge.  mid-June 2016.

From Edinburgh I took a train that crawled to Glasgow via a very circuitous route due to the closure of the Queen Street Tunnel for repairs.  It was just as well that I’d had a substantial lunch.  I got home at 10:30 (about 4 hours late) and was absolutely famished.  But I had achieved a lot of Knitting in Public!

The summer solstice was cloudy but still impressive.  This was the sky at a few minutes to 11 pm, a few days before the Longest Day:

Evening sky, a few days before the longest night, Glasgow June 2016.

Evening sky, a few days before the shortest night, Glasgow June 2016.

As well as a trip to Perth, I went to see the Ideal Hut exhibition celebrating Scotland’s Year of Architecture and Design.  Michael took a morning off work and we enjoyed spending some time together.  The sheds were very imaginative.  Here is one with a changeable view:

A shed in the Ideal Hut show, Glasgow Botanical Gardens, June 2016.

A shed in the Ideal Hut show, Glasgow Botanical Gardens, June 2016.

And a deconstructionist one with jokes:

Joke shed from Ideal Hut Show, Glasgow Botanical Gardens, June 2016.

Joke shed from Ideal Hut Show, Glasgow Botanical Gardens, June 2016.

The bottom joke strangely parallels reality at the moment.

I thought the “Notional Theatre of Scotland” shed was funny:

Lulu, Nessie and Charles Rennie Mackintosh in the 'Notional Theatre of Scotland' shed, Ideal Hut Show, Glasgow Botanical Gardens, June 2016.

Lulu, Nessie and Charles Rennie Mackintosh puppets (with Michael looking on) in the ‘Notional Theatre of Scotland’ shed, Ideal Hut Show, Glasgow Botanical Gardens, June 2016.

And here I am wearing my Balance shawl.  I rather blend in to the borders!  Note the beautiful Scots Pine behind:

me in the Botanics, June 2016.

me in the Botanics, June 2016.

And then on Saturday morning, Michael and I cycled to the University of Glasgow.  There is an extensive network of cycle paths in Glasgow, so we hardly had to go on the streets at all.  I was very pleased to see some annual poppies, as mine have all been eaten by slugs:

Poppies on the Glasgow University campus, June 2016.

Poppies on the Glasgow University campus, June 2016.

We went for a coffee at the 1930s Italian ice cream shop Nardini’s, which was good fun.  (And necessary, as it had been a year since I’d ridden a bike, and I felt as if I’d walked there on all fours!)   After coffee we discovered this beautiful garden tucked away:

A garden near the University of Glasgow.

A garden near the University of Glasgow.

It is very shady but must get sun for all the roses, peonies and other sun-lovers to do so well.  You can see someone else loves “Bowl of Beauty” peony in the photo above.  There is a memorial to Adrian there, and a bench next to a handmade sign that says “Love”.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh rose, Glasgow.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh rose, Glasgow.

There is even the gorgeous blue Himalayan poppy, doing very well:

Himalayan poppies, Glasgow.

Himalayan poppies, Glasgow.

The Dafter has been doing fairly well, with ups and downs as always.  She’s started doing some yoga to build her strength, and has had a few chances to meet up with her pals.  I am so very grateful that she has a circle of friends now.  And on we go!




  1. I’m glad you had such a good outing to Perrh. We are appalled by the referendum disaster. Why in their right mind sets up a referendum on something so hugely important, without setting some threshold about the level of approval needed for an irreversible decision? And the campaigns on both sides were dreadful. People were encouraged to think that voting to leave would have results that are simply impossible. Now we are watching the SNP’s reactions with great interest.
    I love your flower photos from Glasgow. The slugs are demolishing my flowers here.

  2. It’s looks like you’ve been enjoying some lovely times. I enjoyed reading about your train journey; I’m happy you returned home safe. The flowers are so lovely and the little sheds are adorable. I’m happy to hear that dear Dafter is doing well. I hope you all are enjoying your summer. Hugs, Pat

  3. Sadly that is what happens when campaigns on both sides do not give you true facts and the media hyped everything up making a mockery of the referendum. It became an impossibility to make an informed decision as there was so much uncertainty over what was fact and what was myth. Glad to hear the Dafter is managing to get out and about. Your trip certainly became an adventure. Take care.

  4. Yes the vote is all we have been talking about over here! As I was madly cleaning for houseguests Thursday night Michael would call to me every 20 minutes or so what the vote stood at. 🙂 Have been texting back and forth with several friends in Scotland. Can’t believe what a mess! Not good for my one friend who owns her own business. Doesn’t seem good for too many reasons. And then I can’t get over the fact that some people voted to leave but “thought it would never happen”. It just shows that it’s not only America that is going through tumultuous times right now I guess. Hoping this doesn’t lead to more chaos in other parts……Love all the garden pictures you have! There is something about British gardens — must be the climate. 🙂 We have had a month of 90 degree weather. Hotter than we have had in the past few years it seems. So far we are surviving. 🙂

  5. What a lovely selection of photographs, so many beautiful blooms, and I particularly enjoyed your excellent shots of Perth. The Ideal Hut show looks great, were you shopping for a hut or just browsing?

  6. Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos of your recent travels, Christine. I enjoyed viewing them…flowers, water, knitting, sheds, and sweet you and Michael, too 🙂 I am glad you traveled safely, even with significant challenges!

    As I was composing my last post, [including a new to me angle of Mt. Hood] Thursday night, my niece in CA texted me with the vote tally. I am concerned, as I am with the political climate here as well. Praying more…may the Lord have mercy on us all, and help us make wise, righteous choices.

    Love to you and yours xxxxxxx

  7. Everyone feeling very low here in Aberdeen over the result. My husband is applying for a UK passport – our young son already has one through his Northern Irish Grandfather. I have spotted racist stickers on the bus shelters, just before the vote. I imagine I will be given leave to remain now that my EU right to stay will go.

    I have only just discovered peonies this week. Up to this tulips were my favourite flower but I think peonies are just stunning. It really lifted me to see your photos, Christine.

  8. Hello all,
    I’m glad if my photos of sheds and flowers lifted spirits. Marmotte 1971, I was extremely sorry to read of racist slogans in Aberdeen, although according to the news it has been happening everywhere this past week. The referendum result seems to have been taken by some as legitimising that sort of behaviour. Rarely has the phrase “a week is a long time in politics” been so true, in my experience… We shall have to Keep Calm and Carry On, and look for the good.
    I am heartened that my American friends have been so aware of the EU referendum vote. (My mother greeted my phone call with “Well! How are you after that vote!?”) We are all in this together.
    Lorna, the sheds weren’t for sale but I might have been tempted!

  9. Lovely to see something other than the ghastly referendum result and ensuing self-serving politicians. Sheds are always very comforting. You certainly had a scenic return from Perth – all round the houses, but lovely ‘houses’ through Fife.

    • Thanks, Linda. I keep thinking of what the Italian President (? I think) said in Brussels after the vote: “Democracy is not a game”.

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