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.