We have had a pretty full diary since our return to Scotland. We have settled into the furlough flat in Leith, a lively and cosmopolitan part of the city. It has been modernised and gentrified in areas over the past ten years or so but fortunately has not lost its own special atmosphere.
We have been overhauled follicularly, medically and dentally and given the all clear. Our booster vaccinations are all that remain. We have caught up with Kirsten and Stuart; and Catriona is able to live with us as a day pupil for most of the time. It is good to be able to do again the normal things parents do for their children here. We hope to see Gregor after this weekend. Sartorially, too, we have ditched the more dowdy items from our 'salaula' and 'mish' box wardrobes in preparation for the wedding. Kirsten, our elder daughter, and Stuart are to be married on 12 June in St Andrews.
These past two weeks have been taken up with deputation work in the Presbyteries of St Andrews and Stirling, preaching at Sunday services and speaking to various Church groups at different times and places through the week. It has been good too to visit hospitals and schools and see the latest developments in health and education. The new St Andrews Community Hospital is a striking and beautifully equipped modern complex, with excellent and committed staff to go with it.
We have enjoyed visiting old friends in the various churches that support our work and raising awareness of the work and needs of the church, school and hospital at Mwandi. We have travelled from St Andrews in the east to Balfron in the west and have been struck by the warmth of the welcome and the hospitality and kindness we have received from the congregations we have visited.
Although it has been cold we have been fortunate that it has been dry with little rain and even some sun. Spring is a good time to be at home with the lengthening days, the daffodils, anenomes and bluebells in the woods and above the gean, haw blossom and the budding leaves. There are still patches of snow on the Ochils and new grass and lambs in the fields. All signs of grace in the springtime and the renewing of the roots of life.
*salaula (lit: choose, take your pick): Second-hand clothes sent to Africa from Europe and sold everywhere in Zambia. Salaula clothes about 95% of the nation.