A favourite quote and a way by which to approach life.

Today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Time out

I'm still up in Edinburgh till tomorrow evening, but I've had a lovely break while I've been here.  I did a great deal of not very much over Easter weekend, except for a couple of trundles round the pond in the nearby park, and a slightly longer venture into the park and surrounding area last Sunday.  It's great to be able to go for a trundle and enjoy some time in the park with Mum and J, because there have been so many times over recent years when my lungs and the POTS have meant that I just haven't been up to it.  Taz makes it possible, so whilst it's not great that I need to use the wheelchair, it's great that I've got it and that it enables me to make the most of life.

Mum and J live in a lovely part of Edinburgh, and although it's only a couple of miles outside the city centre, it's very leafy and the local park is lovely.  They have a sizeable garden at the front of the house (not massive, but big enough to be called sizeable), and Mum likes to leave food out for all the little birds.  But while I've been here it hasn't just been the blackbirds, robins, wood pigeons, etc that have been visiting the garden, but also a tawny owl.  I've heard it in the area most nights, hooting its hooo-hooo-hoooooo, and its occasional ke-wick, sometimes in the distance, but often much closer.  At about 2.30am one night I was lying in bed unable to sleep when I heard it very close by, so I got up to peer out of the window and see if I could see it.  Sure enough, it was sitting in the copper birch tree just outside my bedroom at the end of the garden.  At first I wasn't sure if what I was seeing was the owl, but it was soon confirmed when it started to hoot and everytime it did it tossed its head up, as if it was saying, 'I'm a very proud owl.  Listen to what I have to say.'  Then it would ruffle its tail feathers before doing the whole thing again.  I watched it for several minutes before climbing back into bed, but the owl stayed where it was and hooted into the night.  I fell asleep soon after getting back into bed, nicely relaxed, smiling, and marvelling at the beauty of nature.

I think that was possibly on Tuesday, and that I hadn't been able to sleep because it'd been a rather mixed day.  It had been the funeral of my friend J in afternoon, but of course I hadn't been able to go to the funeral because of being up here.  I'd had some quiet time in the afternoon thinking about her and praying for her and her family and I'd felt a bit pensive and sad.  I'd also been concerned about my friend R who was having an operation in Newcastle that day, so I was very mindful of her and had been wondering how things had gone.  Thankfully all seems to have gone as well as could be expected, and while she's in some pain, she seems to be mending and is hoping to get home soon.

After a day of contemplation and thinking about my friends, in the evening Mum, J and I had gone to the theatre to see South Pacific.  It was great fun.  I've seen it once before many years ago in Newcastle, and this production possibly wasn't quite as vibrant as that one had been, but it was still well worth seeing, and some of the actors had fantastic singing voices.  The actress who played the part of Bloody Mary was particularly good and Mum and I both came home with Bloody Mary's song 'Bali Hai' (or however it's spelled) going round in our heads.  Actually, we still both keep breaking out into song with that one every so often.  Either that or 'I'm Going to Wash That Man Right Out of my Hair', which I don't think pleases J too much ;oP  (not that he has anything to worry about.  Mum and J were curled up on the sofa together yesterday evening, and next year they celebrate 20 years of marriage).

So I pretty sure that it was Wednesday afternoon that we got the bus all the way across town to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art to see the Edvard Munch exhibition.  If any of you are up in Edinburgh between now and the middle of September, and you like modern art, then this exhibition is definitely worth seeing.  It doesn't have many (if any) of Munch's paintings, but instead is largely comprised of his lithographs and woodblock prints, although a number of these were subjects that he also painted.  One of these - 'Meloncholy' - is a painting that I examined and commented on as part of the last End of Course of Assessment for the last module of my undergraduate degree, so I was particularly interested in seeing the woodblock print of this.  As the title suggests, it's not a cheery picture, but then Munch wasn't a cheery fellow, having lost both his parents when he was young and a beloved older sister not long after that.  Many of the pictures reflect a deep sadness, almost a depression, and certainly a mourning for those he loved who had died, but there is the occasional relief too when looking round the exhibition.  Yes, definitely worth seeing if you get the chance.

I had a quiet day on Thursday, and have spent many peaceful hours on this trip north sitting doing cross-stitch.  I'm working on one called 'Birds on Wisteria'
This image is taken from the website from where I bought the kit, rather than being the finished product of my work.  I haven't actually finished it yet, although I have done a huge amount while I've been here and don't suppose it'll be all that long until I do finish it.  I love cross-stitch.  It's so relaxing, totally absorbing, and very satisfying.  It hasn't been easy doing all the sewing I have with my hand still mending after last month's surgery, but as I'm mostly just holding the material and hoop with my left hand it's not too bad, although the scar is quite painful so I hope I'm not doing it any harm.  Anyway, I've been enjoying doing the cross-stitch, and pretty much the only thing I did on Thursday was go into town on the bus to get some more of one colour of thread for the cross-stitch as I'd made a major mistake and had had to unpick about eight hours worth of work!  This had been extremely annoying, but more than that, it had meant that I didn't have enough of that colour to finish the piece.  Thankfully I was able to find the right colour in town, so came back after that little adventure and set back to sewing.

I didn't actually do a huge amount of cross-stitch that evening as we had my friend O and her husband A round for dinner, which was lovely.  I met O through the Open University after we'd both studied the creative writing module A215.  O is fab, and I love spending time with her so it was great that she and A came round on Thursday evening, and so very kind of my mum to cook a fabulous meal for us all.  It was a very lovely evening with great food and lots of interesting and varied conversation.

I saw O again on Friday as we'd booked in for a salty experience at The Salt Cave.  We went there together last summer, and while I don't know if its claims of being a successful treatment for lots of different medical conditions (including asthma) are true, it is certainly a very relaxing experience.  It also hasn't done me any harm, and to be fair, my nose has felt really clear after both times that I've been.  This time, O and I were the only people booked in for the four o'clock session so we had the place to ourselves.  Not long after we'd made ourselves comfortable, the lights were dimmed, the salty air machine (or whatever it is) was put on, and gentle music that combined the sound of waves lapping up onto a shore was played into the room.  We both fell asleep.  We also both came out rather salty, with a thin covering of white salt having to be dusted off the front of our clothes before we left the room, and my lips were still salty when I got home.

So then there was Saturday and Mum, J and I walked/trundled off through The Meadows in the afternoon for a relatively short visit to The National Museum of Scotland.  I hadn't known before I went there this time that they have a few pieces of Benin art, but when I read this on the back of the floorplan we were given as we went in I was particularly interested in seeing them as I'd studied some Benin art history in the last module for undergraduate degree.  Mum and J have obviously been to the museum several times, but apparently they haven't yet managed to get beyond the first or second floor.  The pieces of Benin art are on the fifth floor, so they hadn't seen these and were all up for rectifying this when I told them what I know about the history of them.  There's only one display case with Benin art in it, but it's amazing stuff, and the rest of the stuff in that room is fantastic too.  We took a slow wander around the displays in that room and the adjoining one, then went for a mooch around the museum shop before walking/trundling home again.  It was good to take our time over a small section of the museum and to come away feeling as though we'd had some focus on what we'd seen.  None of us felt overloaded with information or overwhelmed by too many artifacts, and it was such a pleasant day - crisp, but bright and not too chilly - that the walk/trundle either way had topped it off.

Finally, Saturday evening saw us going to the cinema to see 'The Artist'.  Mum and J had seen it before, but both quite wanted to see it again, and as I hadn't seen it I was up for it, especially after all the excellent reviews I've heard about it.  Oh, and of course it won all those Oscars too.  It's a great film!  I reckon Mum's right when she says that she thinks it'll become a classic.  It almost seems as though it already is, or ought to be, because its a silent film in black and white.

It's ages since I've been to the cinema, probably a year or maybe even longer.  I've wanted to go to things, but just when I've started to make plans to go I've got ill and ended up in hospital so I think the last thing I saw at the cinema was the final Harry Potter film.  It was either that or 'The King's Speech', whichever of those was the most recent.  Anyway, I got to 'The Artist' tonight/last night, and it was fab.  Mum and J go to a little independent cinema called The Dominion, for which they have Gold Membership.  This basically means that they pay an annual subscription and then get reduced tickets to all the films they go to through the year, and they also get extra comfy seats.  When I say 'extra comfy' you need to be thinking of reclining leather seats with foot rests, so it's like lying on a sofa.  Oh, and they get free drinks and crisps too with their membership.  It's brilliant.  I've been a few times with them and I love it every time I go.

So that's been my stay up north in Edinburgh.  Back home tomorrow evening/this evening (Sunday) and back to university next week, but hopefully I'll be going back feeling more refreshed than I have for a while.  My lungs are a little iffy, but they're manageable, and maybe the TLC and the time out that I've had over the past ten days will have built up my resilience a little.

Here's hoping for an easy journey home.

1 comment:

Kate said...

I have fond memories of Edinburgh, despite the Glasgow (where I went to Uni) 'joke' - What's the best thing to have come out of Edinburgh? Answer: The train to Glasgow ;-)