Welcome to my blog. Thanks for dropping by. Hope you'll stay and enjoy reading about where I've been and what I've been doing!

I don't mean this to be a replacement for personal emails, but it gives me the chance to put up photos and my scrapbook layouts, so I don't block up your in-boxes, or have to send the same photos and stories to everyone separately!
Thanks, and welcome, to the followers of my blog. I'm very honoured that you enjoy it. Drop me some comments from time to time! It's good to hear what you think about the posts. Come back again soon.

Thanks also to Mary of Mary's Mixes for doing all the work on the blog's heading. You are great, Mary!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Windows 8!

Well, I did it!  I really thought I was going to have to start a new blog now that I have my new laptop running Windows 8!  What a difference to XP, which is what I have been working on up till now!  I’ve sussed out how to get my emails, but not how to put them into the folders I used to use – and how do you delete multiple emails, or empty the spam folder?  I wish the scrolling arrows stayed on the screen, instead of fade away when you linger on a particular section of a document etc.  Oh I have masses of questions but I will just work my way through or round the problems.  I’ll have to study the Apps! This is just a short wee blog post as I have lots to do today, but I just needed to try this out!  Here’s hoping it publishes ok!

Oh, and I want to apologise for the Tinypics box.  It seems that the sides of my blog have been deleted and I can't remember how to get them back!  I'll work on another background soon or just use one of the Blogger templates.  I began to set up another blog with Wordpress and chose a template with a camera picture heading!  It was nice!  However I'm back with what I know now.

Talk again soon.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Looking up the family

I’ve talked before about going to the Scotland’s People Centre at Register House in Edinburgh. Register House, Edinburgh It was purpose built to house the  all the vital records from all the counties and parishes throughout  Scotland, and was opened in 1788. 

Picture above from the computer screen at SPC so apologies for the quality.

In 1855, the keeping of records of births, marriages and deaths (BMDs) was made compulsory, whereas before that, although it had been suggested to parish ministers that they should keep records, not all did.

If you actually find an ancestor’s BMD in 1855 you find a lot more information than in subsequent years when the amount of detail required dwindled.  The other day I decided, after a telephone conversation with a cousin in Cornwall, to go up to Edinburgh, and do some more research on the family.   I only have the name as a middle name, from my paternal grandmother’s family, but he’s descended from one of granny’s brothers and still has the family surname.

SPC and Sasines

Normally when I go to Register House I try to get a seat in the Matheson Dome – the building on the right of the photo, the other being the Sasines office - but if all seats are taken it’s the Reid room - not so attractive - but when I got there the other day, I found the  Matheson Dome closed and the Reid Room full.  

However, the Adam dome decorationDome was made available and I spent my day under its beautifully decorated ceiling, and surrounded by its gallery of archives and bookshelves.

KG3The statue of George III, king at the time Register House was built, stands in an alcove off the Adam room. It is made from Carrera marble  with crown and sceptre in gilt metal.

  adam domeThough the surname is unusual, it is still very hard to find exact information, thanks to the many variations of spelling of the same name.  Our family settled on the KINMONT spelling, probably in the 19th century, but when names were written down by a recorder, they wrote them as they heard them or as they thought the name should be spelled.  So brothers and sisters could each be recorded with a different spelling, Kinmond, Kinment, Kinmonth, Kinmouth, Kynman, Kinninmonth, to name just a few.

Anyway I looked up a few of my Kinmonts on the census records – mine came from a village in Perthshre and gradually they came to Edinburgh - and from there looked for their births, marriages and deaths, and even some wills, which were interesting.   A day at Register House always passes far too quickly, and there’s always someone whose details you still haven’t searched for.  For me that was the aunt of my great grandfather, whose name was given to her great niece and then to me!  Next visit, if I haven’t already looked up the ScotlandsPeople website.

I do enjoy a day at the Scotland’s People Centre, and one of these days will start delving into the Scottish archives to find out more about my families.

Talk again soon.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Still at Greenbank

greenbank.borders 060 Well, I emailed the RSPB and was put in touch with Lewis, who identified my singing bird as a wren.  This is what he wrote about its size, because I felt it was too big to be a wren…  

The pale stripe above the eye (supercilium), light barring on the wings, and stocky tail are a dead give away.
The fact you felt it was too large for a wren provides me with the suggestion that: 1. it was fluffing up because of cold, or 2. most likely the shear effort wrens put into their call. They seem to expand as they fill their airsacs to bursting to be able to send out that loud melodious call which seems far to loud for such a small bird but needs to penetrate thick scrub that they frequent.
Wrens have very large air sacs and syrinx (bird larynx) in relation to their size which may have given the impression of it being larger than it is.

So there we are!  I am amazed!  I thought it was at least the size of a robin redbreast, but yes, it was singing with great gusto – giein’ it laldy, as we’d say in Scotland – so its airsacs must have been well full. wren-03 I thought too that wrens’ tails were always upright, as in this photo by Stephen Round.

Anyway, it certainly does have the spotted bar along its wing and the eye flash, so I’ll accept that it was a wren we saw!


So, let me continue into the house which is not really open to the public as a rule, as it is used as offices for the National Trust for Scotland, but two rooms at least are set out in the style of the period, and we were allowed to go in and have a look. Both rooms that we saw were at the back of the house with views of the garden.  greenbank. stairs This is the staircase from the main hall with a mezzanine room in the sunshine, and the doorway down to the kitchen and servants rooms no doubt. greenbank.dining room

The dining room was painted in typical Georgian fashion and had its share of portraits on the walls.  You could see Mr and Mrs Bennet (Pride and Prejudice) in the two looking down from their positions over the buffet table. The china cupboard would once have had doors, but its ornate interior was on view with its beautiful Georgian crockery.  greenbank.rasps and cream flan The group were looking at something on a small side table – a beautiful raspberries and cream flan under a glass dome.  So?  Well, if you click the photo to enlarge it, you might see that it is knitted!  Yes, really!  Knitting needles, yarn, etc.  Knitted!

Next we saw the room on the left of the stairs, which might have been the original drawing room – it’s not a large house - laid out for afternoon tea, but with a twist!  greenbank.aftn teaThe dish of sandwiches on the right of the photo, the scones and cakes on the cake stand, even the sugar lumps in the silver bowl to the right of the teapot, were all knitted!  greenbank.cake stand   

They actually look better than the cakes Jean and I had for afternoon tea at the Carlton for her birthday.greenbank.cakes

Then there was the bowl of fruit!


Just how can anyone work things as fiddly as sugar lumps and grapes?

Aren’t they amazing?   greenbank.flowersEven the flowers on the mantelshelf  were knitted.  Someone has a lot of patience!

It would have been great to see some more of the house but that wasn’t possible, and the other rooms probably haven’t been done up and furnished anyway.

greenbank.the group 

Our tour over, we thanked Graham, our guide, and made our way back to the tearoom for another cup of tea and a bite to eat before we set off for home.  It was lovely to be able to sit outside for about the first time this spring. (The fine weather didn’t last long!)  Some purchases were made and both Sheena’s and my car (cars?~) were full of pots of primulas and shrubs for the drive home. 

What a lovely way to spend a birthday! 

Talk again soon.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Greenbank Garden, Glasgow

The U3A gardening group had a day out on a garden visit a week or so ago.  It was on my birthday, but I didn’t tell!  There were only seven of us going in the end, so it was decided that we would take two cars.  Mine was one and Sheena’s the other.  Armed with instructions to get there we headed off on a beautiful sunny springlike day, first to the south edge of Edinburgh to meet Vanessa, then round the city by-pass and onto the motorway for the west. The instructions weren’t bad and after just one little hiccup when we sailed past the road-end we should have taken, having seen the directional sign too late!  Anyway we got there in due course!

greenbank.borders 021 First things first!  Cups of tea and coffee, in the tearoom in one of the small buildings next to Greenbank House, greenbank.borders 027

where a beautiful patchwork quilt of the house was displayed. 

Then we made our way outside to the yard where various plants were for sale.  We decided to leave the shopping for later, and go round the gardens with one of the gardeners.  I say gardens because although it was one big rectangular garden it was divided up by hedges to appear like lots of smaller individual gardens… like going from room to room almost!  greenbank.borders 007 There are 600 varieties of daffodil in the gardens, and I’m sure I couldn’t tell the difference between some and others!  I got photos of quite a few though.greenbank.borders 019



greenbank.borders 022


greenbank.borders 099 




greenbank.borders 069Beautiful, aren’t they!

greenbank.borders 034 

Then there were the hellebores – masses of them too, white, pink, green, purple, ruby…..greenbank.borders 008

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greenbank.borders 039



even an almost black flower. 

Those were the main flowers blooming then, but there were others, like the anemone blandas and the echinops.  I can’t remember which is which!  I may not even be right, with these photos!

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I think these might be the echinops on the left, and the ones below, the anemones!greenbank.borders 098

greenbank.borders 017 


greenbank.borders 024

I can’t remember what these white flowers are, but they are so pretty.

greenbank.borders 055

In the greenhouse the fuchsias were looking wonderful  and these, climbing along the roof beams.  greenbank.borders 050 I haven’t a clue what they are but they are gorgeous!

greenbank.borders 060

Back in the garden I could hear beautiful bird song.  A robin? A dunnock?  Well I spotted the bird high on a twig of a tree, so zoomed in to take a photo, and I have zoomed in on the photo to get this view.  What is it?  It has a wren’s spotty wing flash and short tail, but the tail wasn’t sticking upwards – and besides it was too big for a wren.  Too early for a young robin and definitely not a dunnock.  Anyone able to solve the mystery?

greenbank.borders 064

Here’s our wee gang, by the way!  In a corner of the walled garden, with our gardener guide.greenbank.borders 083

This lovely black cat had found a warm spot to laze around in but it didn’t think much of having its photo taken, so disdainfully got up, turned its back on us and high-tailed it through the hedge!

Well, I think I should stalk off just now too and continue this another day.  We got a bit of a look inside the house later and found some rather unusual flowers and a table set for tea!  All will be revealed – next time.

Talk again soon.