Sunday, 22 January 2017

Lovely day out.

After seeing my lovely great grand-daughter yesterday (she is even more delightful in the flesh than in her photographs) and marvelling at the love, care and attention she is getting from her parents, this morning felt rather flat.

Suddenly the sun broke through what has been a whole week of grey skies and we just felt like a drive out.

The farmer drove through Wensleydale, through Coverdale and down into Kettlewell which I believe is in Cravendale.   Then we came back to Buckden and turned down the riverside and over the tops to drop down into Hawes in time to call at
our friend's restaurant for roast pork with sage and onion stuffing, apple sauce and lovely veg.

The temperature when we left home was two degrees.  It changed constantly on our journey, depending upon the height at which we were driving.   The lowest it went was minus two and the highest four degrees.

It is time to heat up yesterday's soup for our evening meal. so I will leave you with a selection of photographs I managed to take from the moving car.

Lovely old Yorkshire names for the villages, like
Carlton in Coverdale, Oughtershaw, Horsehouse,
Kettlewell, Yockenthwaite, Starbotton.   You couldn't make them up could you?

Saturday, 21 January 2017

No Hope!

Tess has just come in from her evening walk and as I am getting a dinner party ready she is glued to my side waiting for titbits (which she usually gets whenever there is a dinner party).

No luck tonight dear doggie - this lot are vegetarians!

Friday, 20 January 2017

Old Crafts.

The farmer is busy keeping our hedges in check and also mending the stone walls here and there.   The former tend to get a bit tangled with brambles which do mean that sheep get entanged more and more until they just cannot escape; the sheep do also tend to knock down bits of stone wall.   So, as Robert Frost so rightly said - Good fences make good neighbours and we don't want our always adventurous sheep to get over into next door's fields.

Once a year we have Mike, who arrives one day after the bird-nesting season is finished and trims all our hedges (mostly a mixture of hawthorn, blackberry, holly, ash and field maple) keeping them trim and also thick.   Constant cutting every year does mean that they never get a chance to thin out, and the small birds (yellow hammer, chaffinch, hedge sparrow) can build their nests well-hidden from prying eyes.

But it would be a shame if the old-fashioned hedge laying art died out.   The same applies to many of the old farming skills which disappeared with the advent of more and more modern machinery.

I came across an article today about The National Hedgelaying Society (Patron H R H The Prince of Wales), which is dedicated to keep the ancient art alive.   My father-in-Law used to lay all of our hedges and it is still possible to see his handiwork along the base of most of the hedges around the farm.   It is a time-consuming job and hard work to boot, but it would be a shame if it were to die out completely.   So it is good to see and read that there are still enthusiasts of the art (and it certainly is an art) around.

Now all the bramble prunings have been gathered up and brought back to pile ready for a bonfire on a day when the wind is in the right direction.   If it is a really cold day so much the better as it is lovely and warm standing close (at your front in any case even if your back is still freezing).

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Giving to Charity.

A few weeks ago Elizabeth (About New York on my side bar) knitted me two very pretty hats for my new great grand-daughter Ula.   All she asked for in payment was that I should give a donation to a charity which worked with children.

I put a post on about this and since then have really done some research into which charity to make a Direct Debit to.    I finally chose Medicins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders).
I have today received a letter from them thanking me and including a paragraph about one of their projects.   I thought you might like to read it:
"I would like to take this opportunity to send a message from my colleague, Dr Emily Wise, who has been working in our tuberculosis programme in Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan.   ""As a British Doctor working for MSF in the field, I have first hand experience of how your money helps to bring quality medical care to those afflicted by a humanitarian disaster and give back health and dignity to people who would otherwise be completely neglected or forgotten.   I have worked as a  medic in many different and challenging circumstances, at home and abroad, but I have never before felt so fulfilled by my work or seen how a small number of well-trained staff can have such a dramatic impact.   Without donations from people I and other doctors and nurses would not be here.   Our drugs would not be here.   Many of our patients would no longer be here.""

It is worth looking at their site if you feel like helping a worthwhile project as a New Year Resolution.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017


I read somewhere that a naturalist found fifteen wrens huddled together for warmth last winter in a nest box one night.

We are very lucky in that we have plenty of house sparrows here.   They are supposed to be less common than they were but that is certainly not true here where during the day our holly hedge makes a deafening sparrow noise.   We have noticed that when we sit in the sitting room and have our afternoon tea, outside the windows there is a constant stream of sparrows flying up in front of the window.   We have discovered where they are going - they spend their nights huddled together in the house martins' nests under the eaves.

Although it is less cold here and the fog has mostly gone, it is still winter.   And as a friend quite rightly pointed out this morning - February is often an awful month.   I am hoping that she is proved wrong and that at the very least our snowdrops will be out and we will be reminded that spring is only just around the corner.

Keep warm.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Answers please

Or guesses.   I have had two jugs of holly covered in bright red berries in the house since before Christmas;  they have given me great pleasure but now the leaves have begun to fall.

Although I know that the birds love holly berries but never seem to eat them once they have dropped them on the ground, I scattered the stalks of berried holly around the bird table and waited to see what happened.   Although we had twelve male blackbirds under (and on) the table, none of them seemed to approach the berried stalks.

When we went to bed all the berries were still there.  When I drew the curtains back this morning all the berries had been eaten.   My question is - what had eaten the berries overnight.   A possible guess I suppose is mice.   Any ideas?

Sunday, 15 January 2017

First smile.

I have just received this picture of my Great grand-daughter's first smile.  It is such a lovely picture that I just had to post it as today's post.  It has certainly brightened up what is a very dull, wet day here in the Yorkshire Dales.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Friday 13th.

Do I believe in such rubbish?   No of course not.   But - really it is rather scary when snow, very strong gale-force winds, very high tides, full moon all coincide on the same day.   One does have to push such thoughts out of one's mind.

We seem to have got off lightly here in the Yorkshire Dales - certainly here on the Eastern edge.   The wind was very strong first thing this morning, there was a covering of snow and the temperature was below freezing (just) but as the day has gone on the temperature rose to three degrees, the snow began to go and the wind dropped to breeze.

Going out on my usual Friday morning 'jaunt' - wrapped in so many layers that I could hardly move - was, as usual, a good experience.   This morning we had a change of venue because our usual hostelry is closed for two weeks for redecorating.   We went instead to Tennants, our local Auction House and friend W very kindly took me there and gave me a lift home afterwards so that the farmer could feed up and bed down without having to stop to make the journey.

That was the good news.   The bad news is that Tennants cafe does the most marvellous breakfasts!   Now I had had my usual banana and bowl of the farmer's porridge so certainly did not need anything to eat but as two of our group had a breakfast I just couldn't resist a bacon bap (delicious).   As a result all I have had since has been a small bowl of vegetables at lunch time when I served up the farmer's lunch and a bowl of home made leek and potato soup at tea time.  I must say that the soup was jolly good and so warming on what has been a bitterly cold day.

A change of subject - I see that Tristram Hunt has resigned as an M P in order to take over the top job at The Victoria and Albert Museum.   Well done that man.   My own view is that with Corbyn in charge of the Labour Party the chances of them
ever becoming a force to be reckoned with are very slim.  And if I were he and offered the absolute Plum Job in the field which was my passion, I would jump in with both feet.   So I support him wholeheartedly.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Winter in all its rage.

The first 'real' taste of winter that we have had for several years has hit the country hard over the past couple of days and large parts have seen quite a lot of snow.   So far it has missed us here in the Dales.

Because the farmer is not one hundred percent at the moment he has not ventured out in the bitterly cold weather any more than he has had to.   Once the wild birds are fed, the farm cats are fed, the pregnant cattle are silaged and bedded down, the sheep have been looked at (he kills two birds with one stone and walks Tess at the same time) and the logs for the wood burner have been brought in, he brings himself in for the rest of the day.

I have had a busy afternoon - hairdresser, shopping for groceries for the weekend, collecting prescriptions from the surgery and finally driving to my Physiotherapist for a forty minute session - I arrived home at tea time just about exhausted.   One the way home, coming through a village with a thirty mile an hour limit, I accelerated just before reaching the sign to tell me it was no longer necessary to stick to 30mph and had reached about 35mph before I noticed a speed Police vehicle on the side of the road.   So now I have a wait to see whether or not I get a speeding fine.   Then, just as I turned into our land I hit and killed a cock pheasant.   This is a first for me as I always try to avoid them.   Sadly the local landowner had had a shoot today (I had seen all the cars on my way to the Physio) so this poor pheasant had managed to escape the guns, only to be killed by me.   Not sure whether the speeding or the killing of the pheasant upset me the most.

Now we are snug and warm. the wood burner is chugging away and we are set to play Rummikub.
All the curtains are drawn so if it snows we will not know until we draw them back in the morning.

I am thinking of the poor folk down the East coast who are being warned about an exceptional high tide.   I vividly remember the time when the coast of Lincolnshire was flooded and I believe around three hundred people were drowned.   Much of the land is reclaimed land and is very low-lying.   I believe the year was around 1957.  Hope to goodness it doesn't happen again tonight.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017


The weather here is contrary today.   I have been out to lunch with friend D - before she came the wind howled (60mph), the sky blackened, the sleet fell and the rainbow, against a backdrop of black clouds, was incredibly beautiful.

We went all of three miles to our local Golf Club for a Taste Platter (chicken, salmon, camembert and mushrooms - all deep fried - with chips and salad and there - I presume because we were sheltered - there appeared to be no wind, the sun shone and there was absolutely no sign of rain or sleet.

Home again at half past three in the afternoon and the black clouds have rolled in again.   Snow showers are forecast for tomorrow, but the west is expected to get it first, so by the time it gets over the Pennines and to here then I do hope it has weakened somewhat.

When I was young I loved the snow.   Now I hate it - the biting cold, the wind, the slippery conditions - give me a warm, snug room and my comfy slippers on days like that.

Keep warm.