Monday, 20 May 2019

| A Full Day

Some days are quite busy and this was one of them.   The lady who cleans for me goes through the bungalow on Monday mornings.   That done I had to prepare all the papers for the accountant coming after lunch.  That was a good hour when at least the weight of filling in a whole load of tax forms was passed over to someone else.   As soon as she had gone Tess and I went to the Garden Centre to buy some plants for my tubs by the front door.   As I stepped out of the car the heavens opened and we had a downpour, so I looked round the plants in the rain.   Home again of course the sun came out and now, in the evening, it is really pleasant.   Sadly there was not enough rain to help my parched garden so I am hoping my gardener calls in tomorrow to water my evergreens just put in, which really do need water.

Those of us who love gardening (even if, like me, you have to ask someone else to do it these days) are in for a real treat this week as it is The Chelsea Flower Show and it has really good coverage on the television.   If only they would tell me what to do about the plague of my life 'Mares Tail'.

A dear friend, one of the four of us who lunch together on Sundays, sadly lost her beloved cat yesterday - run over and so badly injured that he had to be put to sleep.  W is well in her nineties and talked about her cat constantly - he was obviously a very large part of her life.   She will miss him terribly and wonders whether or not to get a replacement.   She is surrounded by her family but as with all of us as we age - do we get another faithfuly pet or not.   It is a dilemma.

Saturday, 18 May 2019


It is neither wet nor fine today but something in between.   I needed to put the hood up on my anorak on both my walks with Tess and I could hear the rain pattering lightly on the top of my hood and yet holding out my hand to the elements I could barely feel a spot of rain.   The sun has not put in an appearance and the cloud and slight rain has meant that I can at least defer watering newly planted plants until tomorrow.

After the driving to Hawes and the busy day yesterday I am, on the advice of my Physio, taking it easy today.   I started out quite busy, going into town to do various errands.   Meeting W by accident meant that we stopped for a coffee which was pleasant, but then I still had trousers to take to the dry cleaners and a magazine on gardening to buy at the Newsagent.   By that time I was tired so I have deferred garden shopping until Monday when there will be less folk about. 

My Physio gave me a stern talking to about giving my brain too much information to process in a day and as a result feeling tired on the next day.   I am sure she has a point so I have listened to her and now I just hope I can keep it up.

Have you all noticed the May Blossom this year - both the sight and the beautiful smell.   It does the soul good - as does the sight of those delightful 'candles' fully ablaze on the Horse Chestnut trees.

Friday, 17 May 2019

A Lovely Day

The friends I met today are old friends - one of them, P, I have known for almost fifty years and it is hard to believe.   What is so unusual is that I moved up here with my first husband in 1987 and not long after he and his partner D moved up - albeit to the other side of the country - but not all that far apart so that it is not difficult to meet mid way for lunch - as we often do.

I was thinking as I drove the fifteen or so miles to meet them for lunch today just how lucky I am.   Yes, I have now lost two dear husbands, both of them much loved - but we had many happy years together (38 and 23 respectively) and how lucky I now am to live in such a beautiful place, to have my son and his wife nearby (another strange coincidence), and to have a lot of friends to meet, to go out for meals and coffee with, and at the moment to still be able to drive, although for how much longer I don't know. 

We met at the Wensleydale Cheese Factory and Restaurant.   Wensleydale Cheese - now known throughout the world - has been made in the Dale since at least Medieval times - both on farms and also by the monks in the many monasteries in this area.   Then it became centred in the little town of Hawes where Kit Calvert did a lot to establish the early stages of the making.  (the restaurant is named after him - The Calvert.   Sadly after a number of years it was decided to transfer the business elsewhere and at that stage the local management decided to buy it out - this about twenty five years ago at least, certainly since I have lived up here.

It has since gone from strength to strength and now cheese from the factory is exported all over the world in its many forms.   My friends from The Netherlands adore cheese and always want to go to 'the cheese factory' when they come,  for there  they can walk round the shop counter and sample twenty or so varieties now from Blue Wensleydale to Wensleydale with Cranberries, Wensleydale with Apricots, and many more.

And in addition there is a cafe for snacks, a restaurant for meals, a shop for tourists to buy things to take home as presents and also there is the factory itself where there is a facility for tourists to follow the cheese making process from start to finish.   In the days when we had a Dairy Farm (before it was wiped out by Foot and Mouth  just after the turn of the century) we sold our milk to the Dairy,as do most of the dairy farms round here. 

I had a pleasant couple of hours with my friends, a nice meal, a nice chat and then home again.   I have attached some photographs so that you get the feel of the place.   Enjoy them and marvel at the hard work and enthusiasm that went into this place rising again almost from the ashes as it were.

The first photograph shows the entrance to the visitor experience where a walk way around the cheese making factory means they can watch how it is made before then seeing a short film.

The second photograph shows the entrance to the shop, the cafe and the restaurant.   The third photograph shows the entrance to the offices.   Sorry if they are a bit blurred but carrying a handbag, balancing with my stick and taking the photographs with one shaky hand do not make for brilliant shots.

Thursday, 16 May 2019


Today has been my six weekly physiotherapy day and I have returned very tired.   It is always a gruelling session as she works on the various joints she knows intimately by now.   But she definitely keeps me mobile - well as mobile as I shall ever be at my age.

Although I was tired I came back determined to finish clearing and reorganising my wardrobes.   I have just hung the last lot of winter things on the clothes line and all summer clothing is now hung neatly in the wardrobe.   I do this every year and for a time at least it all stays that way.   And it does give me a chance to assess just what things I need, if any.

And, true to form, the weather here is very much cooler today.   There is a sharpish Easterly blowing straight in from the North sea.   Anyone on holiday and making sandcastles on the beach at Scarborough will need winter woollies on.

Looking out of the window of my computer room I see the ash tree in the field and there is not yet a single leaf on it - it is still bare and wintry.   Now I need an oak tree for comparison so that we can make a stab at what the summer will be like from the old rhyme - 'if the ash before the oak, then we're in for just a splash.  But if the  oak before the ash then we're in for quite soak'.   This predicts what summer will be like (in theory).   I hope I have it right way round - not that it actually makes a lot of difference either way where these old rhymes are concerned.

In spite of my aching muscles I now need to take Tess for one last walk round before I shut everywhere up for the evening.   I shall certainly need a coat on - the sun might be shining but it is no longer warm.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Another lovely day

Another lovely day today - perhaps a little more breeze but again unbroken sunshine, so more woollies washed and dried ready to be put away for the Summer.  They are still flapping on the clothes line in the sun - they should smell nice and sweet when they are packed away in the drawer.

Most Wednesdays friend S takes Tess for a walk and Tess gets so excited when she hears S coming - it is a pleasure to see them together.   Sometimes S takes  Tess to Thornton Steward Reservoir for a walk round the lake.   Today T came too and they invited me to go along and brought me a chair so that I could sit by the lake and read while they did the hour's walk.   We had a lovely afternoon - finished off by calling at a lovely tea shop for a coffee and a piece of cake - a perfect day - so thank-you S and T both from me and from Tess.

A local school were boating on the lake - it was interesting watching the boys sailing up and down on what was really a perfect day for such an activity.   There were also one or two men fishing and plenty of sheep with their lambs.   One lamb lost its mother and came up to me searching and making quite a noise until Mum came running up to claim it - I think she thought I might be after it for a bit of roast lamb. 

A coup.le of photographs here that I took from my chair.I hope Tess isn't doing a poo in the photograph of her with S and T - if so she is too far away for us to see anyway

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Keeping active

Keeping active when one has arthritis is very important - in fact vital.  If  the arthritis happens to be in feet, knees and ankles it is easier still to decide to sit around.   But I know from bitter experience that it does no good at all.  An hour of movement followed by a sit down with one's feet up is the answer so that is what I try to do.   The lady who now walks my dog has rung to say she will take Tess today when it gets a bit cooler - so I don't have to worry.   Tess has already had her morning walk and is now laid out in the sun on the patio.

As my daughter in law has a special birthday today we are going our for a celebratory meal this evening, so no need to bother with food either.   So I shall take a chair out onto the patio, sit in the sun and read my book (Austerlitz by W G Sebald)- enjoy the sun if you are lucky enough to have it where you are - it isn't set to last long.

Monday, 13 May 2019

At last a Summer's Day.

It has been a perfect day here today - three loads of washing done - I hope I am not tempting fate by washing my thick woolly jumpers so that they can dry outside and be put away.   Tomorrow will be the day to get out the T shirts, wash them (and yes I did wash them before I put them away last Autumn) and dry them outside while the weather holds.

In addition to this I have done several other jobs - or had them done for me is perhaps nearer the truth.   My cleaning lady came as she usually does on a Monday morning.   While she was busy the young man from Lifeline came and together we set up the service.   For anyone who doesn't know this is a service for elderly people who live alone to put them in contact in an emergency.   I now wear a device on my wrist when I am out and about around the house so that if I fall I can press it and speak into a microphone telling 'headquarters what my problem is.   They are then able to contact my son so that help is at hand.  I didn't want the service but I have to be realistic with my mobility problem (which is always worse in this warm weather.

Then my handyman came and fitted me a new knob on the bathroom door - not a perfect fit but as near as we shall get and at least now I shall be able to get in and out of tthe bathroom without getting stuck in there - and so will any guests.

Two dog walks, lunch and tea prepared and eaten and now time to gather in the line of dry washing, iron it and put it on the airer, take the dog for another short walk and settle down for the evening.   Another day like today forecast for tomorrow.   But sadly not likely to last until the weekend, when I shall be meeting friends on Friday at our Creamery in Hawes for lunch.  If they are reading this then the table is booked!

Sunday, 12 May 2019

What a difference a day makes.

All week the rain has poured down and the weather has been really dismal.   Now at long last it has settled for the time being at least into a pattern of seasonably warm, sunny weather with just a light breeze.  I don't know whether it is just me, but the sun makes a huge difference to how I feel these days and today, driving up to our weekly lunch date at the local Golf Club we were all in a much jollier mood.   It was salmon for all four of us today - it really is so beautifully cooked and for two of us it is salmon florentine (served on a bed of spinach) and served with roast, mashed and croquette potatoes, carrots, broccoli and swede and the mash decorated with a delicious roast parsnip.   The salmon covered with Hollandaise Sauce it all looks most appetising.   I have completely gone off sweet puddings so usually have a starter while the other three are eating their puds - today I had a prawn salad, which complemented my salmon course beautifully.

As soon as I got home I took Tess for her walk round (she had already had one early this morning) and met a friend who walked part of our walk with us.   As she had only returned from a short holiday this morning it was pleasant to catch up with her too. Then I spent an hour in the garden tidying up the tulips - they look so pretty but are beginning to be bedraggled after the days of rain so needed tidying up here and there.   I managed to collect a bag full of weeds in the process.   No sign of the mare's tail weed yet - it is always quite late in putting in an appearance.   But we have one more dose of weed killer to give it when it shows its face.

How quickly The Chelsea Flower Show comes round each year.   It is one of the things which the BBC does so very well and there was an hour's pre show programme at tea time.   What a lot of work goes into it all.

A busy week looms ahead.   Three things on tomorrow, two on Tuesday, one on Wednesday, two on Thursday and then out to lunch on Friday and it will be another weekend before I have had time to turn around.   Enjoy your week.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Think Positive

If you go over to Diary of a nobody's post today you will see that she suggests that if we get down in the dumps about our situation we sit for a moment and count our blessings.   Not a bad idea I thought - so here is what I came up with.

1.   I find walking very difficult because of arthritis in my ankles and knees.   But I now live on a road where there are always folk passing (often folk with dogs that Tess and I know) - there is often a wave, or if the weather is nice a ten minute chat.

2.  I have always loved gardening and miss the fact that I am not really steady enough to do much now.   But I have a lovely gardener who mows my lawn, builds fences for me, and generally keeps my garden nice.  As I write this I am overlooking it and getting pleasure from it.

3.  My hearing is very poor and I wear hearing aids.   But thank goodness for the N H S and their weekly clinic only seven miles away.   If I start 'whistling' I haven't far to go to get adjusted.

4.   I miss my dear farmer every single hour of the day and night even now he has been gone more than two years.    But how lucky I am to have so many dear friends, many of whom are in the same situation, and how well we have adjusted to lunching together, having coffee together  and just meeting up for quality time together.

In other words almost every complaint has a plus side if we look for it.

Yesterday was a lovely day here - the first day this week when there hasn't been any rain at all.   Today is a tad warmer and at the moment the sun is out.   But there has already been a shower.   H, who lives higher up the road, has just called for Tess in her car and together they have gone off to The Himalayan Gardens which are about ten miles away.   H has only been twice to take her out, but they are already firm friends (interesting walksand several 'treats' later).   Two hours later and they have returned after a lovely long walk.   Tess has, apparently, behaved perfectly and has been 'a pleasure to take out.'   She is now stretched out in her bed having a lovely long sleep before tea.

For my lunch shortly I intend to have a fillet of smoked haddock which I shall poach in milk and then eat with a knob of butter on top and a couple of slices of bread and butter.*   And I shall enjoy it.  *As I predicted, it was delicious.   I washed all receptacles immediately and put on the dishwasher.   I am now hoping that there is no fishy smell lingering (the downside of having smoked fish).
Enjoy your lunch whatever you intend having.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Music and Dementia

Anyone in the UK who watched the two programmes on BBC 1 about Music and Dementia cannot fail to have been inspired by them.   My friends and I play once a month for group of Dementia patients and their carers and we notice the difference between how they behave and react when they arrive and how they are when they leave - it is uplifting and does the heart good.   If you have access to the two programmes and didn't watch then please do - you will not be disappointed even if you do have to have a handkerchief at the ready.   The programmes are not sentimental - they are part of a scientific experiment to measure the effect of music on the brain and as such they should be so useful for medical science.   But of course - as always - money for research is the problem.   That and the fact that it is not a 'fashionable' illness and the money for the 'unfashionable' usually finds its way elsewhere.

Today the sun has shone more or less all day.   It is still not very warm but it is set to warm up over the week-end and just to see the sun instead of black cloud was welcome in itself.

An hour of Gardening on the TV shortly - I am now very much an armchair gardener - always ready to pass on any hints to the chap who does my garden for me.   Sitting with my feet up, with a cup of tea and a biscuit, is quite enjoyable these days.