National Trust visit, cycling and new Richard Ford book

My wife and I were given membership of the National Trust for Scotland and have been visiting some interesting old properties lately. We went to The Georgian House in Edinburgh. This was built in the late 18th century and designed by the famous architect Robert Adam and was part of a new building spree in Edinburgh’s New Town, as the rich wanted to move from the overcrowded Old Town. The house is lavishly decorated and for the family which lived there, it was a spacious house in which guests could be welcomed, and more importantly, impressed. However, being a servant in this house was another matter e.g. carrying food up flights of stairs from the extensive kitchen or emptying chamber pots in the master’s bedroom. The dining room was particularly impressive although, interestingly, the cutlery looks crude by modern standards.

Out cycling more often now and on a new mountain bike. The countryside around East Lothian is particularly lush at the moment (see photos below), mainly due to the amount of rain we’ve had i.e. it’s near the end of June and we still await summer. So I cycle past large fields of still green barley, the grain filled heads swaying in the wind, and on past fields of potatoes, which seem to double in size within days. As I cycle on farm tracks also, mud is also a problem in parts and yesterday, I cycled through numerous very large puddles, formed as the water ran off the fields. In Scotland, you can cycle almost everywhere if there is a track. It’s exhilarating, especially when you’ve climbed a steep hill and can go into the higher gears on the flat.

I’ve just received the new Richard Ford book in the post. I know that I should really support the bookshops I go to in Edinburgh but, like most people, I have been Amazoned. Getting a new hardback by such a masterly writer as Ford is a real treat – it could be my birthday! One of his many telling phrases was  “the normal applauseless life of us all” – what a great word ‘applauseless’ is. So, anticipation is high. A new Richard Ford book is one of these books that you almost don’t want to start – as you’ll finish it too soon and might have to wait a few more years for another.

East Lothian countryside

East Lothian countryside

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