Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 99 – And it Rained

We don’t have any of this at home. It was great. There are loos and signposts and lots of hand sanitizer stations. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and its partner sites.

Also, made more marmalade (that really is it), DH played bridge. Good progress with the jigsaw and Georgette Heyer’s Regency World.



Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 98 – Today’s One of the Days

Water lily

We’ve got an entry slot for the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh!

Next up to try is Edinburgh Zoo where we might – at a social distance – meet up with family.

Domestic day yesterday. I have missed the physical Sunday service at Mayfield Salisbury but appreciate the wonderful online effort by so many of the congregation. Being a writer whose work is hugely influenced by place, I miss the once a week trip into the sanctuary. I realise, now it’s missing from my life, how much it grounded me for the week.

Left a message on my hairdresser’s website asking/begging to join the waiting list. Remembered to take the special lamb dish I cooked for a Christmas-time meal out of the now nearly empty freezer. It wasn’t used and might have been shared earlier had we not found ourselves with no possibility of guests. Ah well, speciality lamb two nights running: this diary is about the small positives. Reading, jigsaw, ballet online, finding two not recently read Georgette Heyer’s.

What are you most looking forward to?


Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 97 – Webs

I don’t have a photo of a web or net to hand, so here’s one of a barred window – making a cage. Frustrated? You bet.

I had three bits of business to complete online this morning and I’ve managed half of one. Round and round in ever-decreasing circles. Truly, what is the point in sending your customer (all bills paid in full and on time) a website address that does not open in either of two reputable browsers? What is the point of offering to send a text with a security number to a landline which has no display?

Okay, rant over and normal service will be resumed.

Great visit from several family members yesterday. Braving the rain, we rendez-voused in the garden. Fine display of umbrellas. Good progress with the jigsaw. Excellent chicken dish from Hello Fresh. Dreadful score for a second week in the Guardian Quiz.

It’s Sunday and Mayfield Salisbury is online again for any who would like to share. Go here.

I hope your day is moving more smoothly,


Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 96 – Elsewhere in the Forest

The topic for this mointh’s Round Robin is Do you have any charming likeable villains (in your own fiction)? The short answer was, No. I didn’t therefore write a post, but I do love writing a villain. In fact in my pocket novel, published on 23rd July, the villain was so interesting, I had to rein him back or he’d have been in a strong position to take over the storyline. Others have not been shy, however, and you can read their individual takes on this topic at any of thelinks below.

links below…

Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1W6
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobincourtright.com

Yesterday saw the launch of appetitedelivers and I want to recommend it to you. Appetite Events is another local firm missing out on its normal business because of the need for folk to avoid events. They have created some interesting menus for us to enjoy. The Fine Diner can collect from their premises in north Edinburgh or have a meal or picnic delivered to one’s house in Edinburgh. Details are at their brand new website: appetitedelivers.

Yesterday, there was rain, jigsaw, excellent fish from Charles Brown and a sortie into Jennifer Koestler’s Regency world of Georgette Heyer.


Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 95 – Garden Visits

Elegant as this looks, the comfy one from a high street store I was offered at my sis-in-law’s yesterday afternoon was much preferable. So good to see family members after all these weeks even if in the garden and restricting the visit so the loo didn’t become an issue.

Lovely chat with others on what’s app and was able to watch octopus drawing while it was in progress. Lost at scrabble because ‘zoner’ was disallowed. Would you think a person who draws up zones might be a zoner? Apparently they’re called planners!


Writing friend, and fellow Capital Writer, Kate Blackadder has published an online copy of her recent farming serial in the People’s Friend. Launching today, you can find

JINTY’S FARM, a tale of modern farming, gin and wartime romance, here

In other exciting news – for those of us with 92 sourced and cooked dinners in a row behind us – and anyone who enjoys Good Food – Appetite Events have tweeted about DELIVERIES Follow this breaking story here

What’s new where you are?


Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 94 – Seasonal Abundance

Sitting in Princes Street Gardens yesterday with a friend, several thousand ants and one ladybird, I was suddenly aware of how the seasons have matured through lockdown. Our pink peonies are a bit behind as they’re shaded by the magnolia, but they’re here at last and don’t they look beautiful?

Other things maturing during lockdown are people’s WIPs. Cecilia Peartreee, cozy crime writer extraordinaire, has published two which were in process and now a third. She’s describing it as ‘the perfect novel’ because for once everything lined up and gave no nonsense. Please, Cecilia, bottle that and pass it round.

The Heir to Nothing is set during the Napoleonic wars and you can find it here

Lots of walking yesterday as my plan to GET ON A BUS WEARING A MASK came to nothing when the bus in question left on time! Saw two friends and a ladybird. Nice chat with one of the neighbours. Helped DH with his jigsaw. Nearly finished Sprig of Muslin which, like The Toll Gate, takes the reader out of the drawing-rooms and balls into other parts of Regency life.

About turn on schools’ re-start date so everyone back in August. Fingers crossed. Also earlier opening of the holiday cottage market.

I see Courting the Countess is being read on KU. It can be yours, folks, go here

Sunbathe safely, now!


Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 93 – Spin would be good

The Laundry

Okay, so my utility room doesn’t look like this but given the behaviour of my 6-month old washing-machine, it might as well. Why does spin not achieve any reduction in the volume of water held by the bath-mat? Answers in the comments please. Meantime I’m going over the instructions (if all else fails, read the instructions) with that fine tooth-comb. (What is a tooth-comb? Ed)

After watching the incomparable Imelda Staunton in Alan Bennett’s Lady of Letters last night, I came upon Gareth Malone‘s The choir. I was entranced by dementia care worker, William‘s, great singing and interesting voice. I’m going to catch up on the whole later and you can, too. It’s on the i-player here

Helped DH by insering 4 pieces into his jigsaw – this one is going to take some time. Cooked that pheasant – it was as good as hoped for. Made Spanish Summer soup from Katie Stewart’s recipe. That was good, too, and will be better today in the heat. Took a walk. DH played croquet and had a zoom meeting. Ordered 50 masks. Sewing ain’t my forte.



Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 92 – Rain Stopped Play

Was all set for my second face to face with a pal today but it’s raining where she is and will probably move north across the city.

Boo! Just when I was summoning up the resolve to GET ON A BUS.

I see a lively discussion on FB about the sheer boredom of cooking every day for people who aren’t natural cooks. I think I am a natural cook in so far as I enjoy taking raw ingredients and producing an edible meal. Like my writing, I regard it as creative and have always heard a little voice in my head directing my hand towards a particular spice jar or utensil.

However, I am totally with the ‘I may have had enough of this for now’ group. The two platters we’ve enjoyed from LeftField, the celebratory dinner from The Little Chartroom and the Afternoon Tea from Mimi’s have been so welcome.

From next week, there’s going to be a new name in ready-made home delivery service. Watch this space!

Spent the day immersed in editing as, to my surprise and delight, the ed asked for the full MS. It’s gone and I can slope back to fingernail chewing. (Actually, I don’t and never have done.) Attended Scottish Opera’s online schools’ work, FEVER. This brilliant scheme sees some of the professionals taking a script and songs into schools where a perfomance is given for parents. All online at present, but so amazing for the children to get such a chance. Also Zoom meet-up with friends. DH played bridge.

Fresh fish and chips for me – what’s your takeaway longing?


Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 91 – A New Project


Working in the sunshine on Daisy’s Dilemma


Having sent the completed MS off into the electronic ether yesterday, today, like many other people, sees the beginning of a new project. Many will be heading back into the actual workforce this morning. That might be a strange experience and I wish them well.

Broke up the jigsaw last night to make space for the one DH is now undertaking. Made progress with Sprig Muslin which has the most intractable teenage rebel (female) at its heart: an absolute joy and a recommendation from someone on FB. Had a long walk in the late afternoon between showers. Didn’t meet anyone I knew until I encountered my next door’s. Some housework and Rev Helen Alexander’s online reflections. Listened again to David Greig‘s Adventures with the Painted People – you could, too.

Victorian Edinburgh here I come.



Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 90 – Father’s Day

There must be many fathers worldwide today who are unable to meet-up with their offspring. More than is normal certainly. I hope they can all cherish good memories and look forward to creating new ones when we come out the other side.

Stories are surfacing now we’re all out and about a wee bit more. The Scotsman featured a lady who is locked down in an African village but teaching the children how to dance the Gay Gordons. Some neighbours have an adult son in the Amazon where he’s met another person from Edinburgh! (Chances of that?) Actually, on the only visit I’ve made to Chile a fellow parishioner of Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church, came across the breakfast room to tap me on the shoulder. Our visits until then mutually unknown.

And speaking of Mayfield, if you’d like to share reflections, please join us here

WIP became a submission this morning and has gone out into the ether. Fingers crossed. DH won the scrabble – I was not gracious. Supper out of the freezer. Scored our lowest in the Guardian Quiz for months. Family members did sponsored run for medicins sans frontieres. The site is here