Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Inverness Floral Hall

Chris and I love gardens. We're not so big on museums (though I, at least, like them in theory if not practice) and Chris isn't impressed with ruins, castles, or manor houses but we both love walking around gardens. We've been to the Glasgow botanical gardens several times and love Kew gardens in London. Our one attempt to visit the Edinburgh botanical gardens ended abruptly as they closed it due to weather just as we arrived (and a gust of wind blew a surprisingly large chunk of bark into my eye), and our honeymoon was marked by the number of days we spent crossing every path in the lovely gardens in Madeira. 

It is a surprise to both of us that we'd not yet made it to the Inverness Floral Hall just across the river from us. We had tried, once upon a time, though our failure was less spectacular than Edinburgh - we couldn't find anyone to take our admittance fee so we left and just never made it back. Until Sunday when our trip to the pool was foiled by "technical problems" and, as long as we were there, we decided to brave a certain dampness in the air and take advantage of the free admission (because, seriously, £0.50/person would've been so hard to come up with).
We were very pleasantly surprised. The glass house was beautiful with a fountain, grotto, koi pond, benches, statues, and an upstairs patio with a table and chairs.
Next to the glasshouse was another with a beautiful split level succulents garden: 
Outside there we're formal gardens, including a little one in memory of lost babies, and a field turned into a wildlife garden, with flower beds for bees, butterflies, and grass left long outwith paths through it. There was a cute wee thistle next to the patio, and a little section where all the plants had scented leaves one could touch to release their fragrance. 

It was starting to rain so we had lunch inside and then everyone except Little Djinn selected a plant to buy from the nursery and we walked home again. We didn't quite make it around the whole garden and barely spent any time looking at the parts we did see. It is definitely on our "must-see" list for guests and could be our go-out-for-lunch default. Such a nice place.

Friday, 26 July 2013


Little Djinn is six months old! It doesn't seem like we've had her nearly that long. We started her on solids this last week, though I've been slipping her food items to taste (and spit out, pulling faces) for about a month now. She started watching us eat with interest at around three months (craning her head to follow the trajectory of a cup) and everything she gets her hands on goes straight in her mouth so handing her bits of strawberry or apple or lettuce or whatever I was eating seemed like a good way t expose her to "taste" and "texture" of food with zero expectation that she would eat anything. The only thing she actually seemed to like the taste of was banana chips. But she was clearly ready so I bought a box of baby rice cereal (think cream of wheat but rice and made with breast milk) and she really seemed to enjoy it. She likes to hold her own spoon. I've been giving her 1tspn rice to 2tspns milk (today with a touch of ground cinnamon) and then giving her whatever is left in the bottle, followed by nursing and a nap (that's where we are now. I'm "typing" with my left pinky). She thinks letting me sleep in until 7 is a lie-in so it's not surprising that she's asleep again by 11. 

She loves bread and gets fed small pieces from my sandwich at lunchtime (she insists which is how we knew she's ready for solids) and Chris has started making food up for her - yesterday was potatoes and zucchini/courgettes with a touch of nutmeg which will be today as well. He bough sweet potatoes and carrots for more colourful lunches down the line. The rest of the day is nursing, nappy changes, playing, and baby-wearing while I do chores. This week I concentrated on the back patio, dead-heading the roses (followed by hacking them back when I decided I wanted actual space on the patio), hacking back the geraniums, pulling weeds, and owing to a fortuitous thunderstorm and deluge, not having to scrub the paving stones and furniture. Hopefully it will be dry this weekend and we can actually sit outside. 

On Fridays we go swimming, though this past week was the first time since Ted died, first with the funeral planning, then it was too hot* so we set up her bath tub in the back garden instead, and then I stepped on a sliver of something (Chris pulled it out and then threw it away before I could look at it) which went over half an inch into my foot, and one week we went to visit a friend in hospital instead. But Fridays we go swimming and we'll go later today. Sunday mornings we take a bath together. 

We start bedtime around 6:15 with baby massage, pjs (lately a onesie and maybe a light cotton blanket), shuttering the room, and then I read** while she crawls all over me and the bed until she's ready to nurse to sleep and I shift her to her cot, usually between 7 and 7:30, 8 at the latest. Meanwhile Chris makes dinner, we eat, watch an hour or two of telly, we get ready for bed, I express milk for Little Djinn's breakfast, we have a cuddle and I spend the night in the nursery. Little Djinn used to make it through the night with just one nursing but this past month has been evenly split between weeks when she does and weeks when she wakes up twice or more. Between that and her new habit of waking up between 6 and 7 (I entertain her until 8 and then we go join Daddy and it's his turn for a while) and I am a tired mama. The upside is that I've started taking my shower earlier, while Chris is playing with the Little Djinn and she doesn't scream the whole time like she does when I take my shower after Chris starts work and leave her in the nursery.

She can sit on her own, turn around, roll from her back to her front, suck on her toes, and rock on her hands and knees but she just can't quite crawl yet. In less fun news, Little Djinn has ringworm which is not a worm, it's a fungus. I'm trying to remember when I saw the first rash, but it was at the edge of her nappy and I though it was just a bit of chaffing. Two weeks ago she had another, similar rash, further down her thigh so I googled it and surprisingly the answer wasn't bubonic plague but a little painless rash for which there is over-the-counter cream. Chris was dubious, having not got a good look at her rashes, until he saw the same thing on his own thigh. They're sharing a tube of ointment.

In "way to bury the lede" news, back in March, at Little Djinn's 6 week checkup, the doctor thought she might have heard a murmmer and asked us to come back in a month when LD was a bit bigger to have another listen. That time she was certain she heard it, so we were referred to the paediatrician. Our appointment finally came up the week after Aged Parent passed away in June. The paediatrician listened to her heart and said "there's a murmmer" which I thought we already knew, but she referred us to have an ultrasound which we did a fortnight ago. The letter came yesterday saying she has an Atrial Septic Defect, which is to say a small hole between the upper two chambers of her heart. My understanding is that these "usually" close on their own, but at the very least she's in for a lifetime of sonograms.

* I know, hard to believe but it's an indoor pool and it's always hot and stuffy in there, even in winter, so I didn't want to face it on a hot (warm) day.

** River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay which was beautiful but ended abruptly. I get why, but I still feel like I read half a book. Currently, Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith, better known as JK Rowling. No real feel for it yet, but I think I know Whodunit. I only get to read about 20 minutes a day :-/