Friday, 7 August 2020

Should we listen? Should we care?

Half of me feels quite ashamed to write this,  but the other half recognises that I can't do anything so that all it does is it makes me feel totally inadequate.  I watched half an hour of the Breakfast programme on BBC this morning over my breakfast.   In the course that half hour I saw:

1.  The terrible loss of life and devastation in Beirut.

2.  The new lock downs here, there and everywhere just underlining

     the fact that people are not following the rules.

3.  People crossing the Channel in flimsy inflatable boats,

     trying desperately to get across to the  UK. 

4.  A forecast for the next year's economic growth (or lack of it)

    and the possible unemployment figures.

   

I am in my late eighties, I am aware of all these things, but I can do

 absolutely nothing about any of them.  Do I keep torturing myself every morning watching and despairing or do I stop watching - in other words do I say 'Stop the World I want to get off?'

 

Changing the subject completely (I cannot worry about the above all

day) my new computer has just come but because my son has only just returned from a car service he has decided to leave it until tomorrow.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Still here.

My new computer is 'en route' but has not yet arrived so this dear little old one still sits here and allows me to put on a post - I anticipate problems of a teething nature as I increasingly realise that I really know absolutely nothing about the 'workings' of the computer.   When I mention something my son looks at me in amazement and says things like 'that is not how it works Mother'.   I am determined that when I get au fait with it I shall make more of an effort to really understand how things work.   It will probably come tomorrow, in which case I shall not be posting.

Hair day today - I have really got it well-organised now.   Each Thursday I leave home half an hour before my appointment taking with me the Times Mind Page which gives me a variety of things to .do.   This means I can find a place to leave the car near to the salon.
(I do have a Blue Badge and could park outside but it would hold the traffic up on a busy road).   With just five minutes to go I put on my face mask and gently walk to the salon.  It is difficult to get Percy in the car on my own so I go gently with a stick.   Today I parked next to a car which had been very badly damaged in some kind of crash.   One side of the car was completely battered in - it was like parking next to a wounded animal.

The morning here was a delight - hot sun, no wind - Summer at last.   But as the day has gone on it has clouded in and it is much cooler.   I am religiously doing my new balance exercises after each meal - I somehow feel these will help me although they are a bit scary to do.

Beirut is so distressing.   My Grand daughter's friend has lived there for some years but happily she is safe.   I see that countries (including Israel) are sending relief teams.  I am not sure how one equates helping the wounded and buried people with contemplating fighting a war - there is something about the whole conflict that I just don't understand.   And it is not just because I am getting old - I can blame my lack of computer knowledge on that but I have never understood - and never will - how two nations can fan the flames of hatred for as long as Israel and Lebanon have done.

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

A Short Post

Just a short post today - and sorry I missed yesterday altogether.   The fact is that my laptop is getting to be old (join the club) and is beginning to play up (well I did fall over this morning, luckily while the falls nurse was here so she had a demo) again like me.   After a lot of thought and a lot of deliberating between an ipad and a laptop - and whether to go for an apple ipad or a Dell laptop I have decided on the latter.   One reason for this is that I am happy with Windows 10 and reasonably confident to use it so don't really want to have to learn a new system; another reason being that I don't want something I can use on my knee - I need the exercise of physically getting up and going to my computer room to work on it.   So today the time I would normally spend doing my post I am getting this laptop ready by deleting old contacts I no longer need, sorting through documents I no longer need and deleting then - that kind of thing so that my son, who has offered to set it up for me when it comes, has an easier job.  Oh dear, the wonders of modern science.

The events in the Lebanon have cast a cloud (in more ways than one) over everything today - unimaginable chaos, destruction and loss of life.   I sat eating my breakfast this morning, looking out of the window and imagining - if it had been here then the whole of the little town would have been flattened, friends would have gone for ever, lives would have been destroyed - it doesn't bear thinking about.

Hopefully I will be back tomorrow but there will shortly be a gap while things are changed over.   See you soon.

Monday, 3 August 2020

New Reading

We had our first Book Group meeting this morning - the first since Lockdown began in late March.   It was good.   There were only five of us but it was a start.   We met at TOSH (The Old School House) which is our local Arts Centre.   Everything was in place for Social Distancing and Sanitser was provided.

It is so long since we read our last book and  J, who had suggested it, was unable to  attend this morning so instead we all opted to bring with us books we had read during Lockdown and which we could recommend.   I took four.   I could have taken twenty but I thought four was enough.   Here are the titles for the benefit of anyone who is looking for new reading material.

'On the Red Hill'   by Mike Parker.  Simon Callow in The Guardian speaks of it as 'the recreation of the lives of Reg and George, crowned in happiness and fulfilment despite the constrictions imposed on them by society.   An exemplary gay social history of a kind we deeply need.'   I enjoyed this very much and it left me with much food for thought.

'In My Mind's Eye' by Jan Morris.   'A Thought Diary'  Here Jan shares her daily thoughts on the World - 188 of them and not a bad book to keep by your bedside so that you can read one each day.   Very readable.

'The Little Grey Men' by BB.    I read this book many many years ago and a few weeks ago somebody in Blogland spoke about it.   I searched my bookshelves but couldn't find it.   Somewhere over the years it had disappeared.   So I bought myself another copy.   Not an adult book at all - not sure what age it is suitable for but I enjoyed it just as much as the first time I read it.    A story about the last gnomes left in Britain, who live at the foot of an old oak tree,
and their adventures - lots of wild life in the book, lots of 'adventures' - pure enjoyment.

'I am an Island' by Tamsin Calidas - a book much talked about, a book serialised on the BBC, a book which is proving quite controversial in the area it is written about I understand.   But the quality of the writing is outstanding and the story is beautifully told, so vivid that in places I had to stop reading it for a day or two until I was able to continue.

I can thoroughly recomment all four.

Our next book for book group, recommended by M, is to be 'A Gentleman in Moscow' by Amor Towles.   I have ordered it and I await its arrival keenly.

 

Sunday, 2 August 2020

A Normal Sunday

As my regular readers will remember, Sundays always used to follow the same format - shower, get dressed up in my Sunday Best (usually featuring one of my leather jackets which sadly have not been out of my wardrobe for months)- collect my dear old friend (99) and tootle off with friends W and C for lunch at The Golf Club.   Alas, not since the end of March when all such jollifications ended.   Now I have to think of my own Sunday lunch.   I woke at half past six as I usually do, put my hand out of bed to pick up the bedside clock so that I could see the time, and promptly dropped it on the carpet.   I picked it up and put it back on the bedside table, turned over and thought I would have another half hour.   Next time I looked it was still half past six - something had happened to the clock when I dropped it.  It was actually nine o'clock and when I drew back the curtains my neighbour was already working in her garden.

Shower, dress and a walk round with Percy brought me through to lunch time and shortly after lunch friend H invited me for a cup of tea - socially distanced of course.   Another day pleasantly passed and the pleasure of watching Country File and then Antiques Road Show this evening.

Things seem to be getting worse with Covid again which is a worrying trend for everyone.   I personally have got quite used to the semi isolation of Lockdown and I don't find it irksome.   In fact I think that fitting back into society as it was before might be quite difficult - that kind of life all seems so long ago.   I am going out tomorrow morning to our first Book Group Meeting, masked and sanitised of course.   We are meeting at our local  Arts Venue and rather than discuss the last recommended book we read (which is so long ago that I think we have all forgotten too much about it to really discuss it)  we intend to discuss further plans and then have been asked to take any books which we have enjoyed over the period of Lockdown.   I intend to take On the Red Hill and I am an Island.  Hopefully we will all give one another ideas for more reading matter and our next book will be recommended.   Is it a sign that life is beginning to return to normal - I hope so, although I have my doubts.  My Grandson had intended to marry in October but has put his wedding on hold for a year because of the outbreak - several guests would have been coming from abroad and both grand mothers are over 80 so in the danger zone for even a small wedding (and even those are banned again at the moment).   Strange times indeed,

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Saturday -

Last evening we really had a most spectacular storm.   The temperature was up to thirty degrees here all afternoon - quite too hot to really do very much.   Then the sky  began to darken and it became quite the most beautiful sky I have ever seen with oranges, blues, greens and strange lights through the very black clouds.   Lots of lightning  but we had very little thunder which leads me to think that the storm was quite a long way away from here.   Today it is a much more pleasant day and the air is much fresher.

We had our usual Zoom coffee morning - always a nice happening on Saturdays and Tuesdays - just six of us - all old friends so all very relaxing.   Then I had decided to make a start on updating my records.   I like to leave all my affairs in good order so I decided to make a start.   When I came to print out the work I found that I couldn't get my printer to work.   It is a new printer and was set up for me by my friend S about a month ago and it worked perfectly so I knew it was something I was doing wrong, but I couldn't work out what it was.  My son got on the phone and tried talking me through the stages and suddenly I realised the stage I was missing out.   I was not 'telling' my printer which model it was!!  One click and like magic it began to print.  Success.

Then I started on my lunch - I made a tray roast (with enough for tomorrow) of good quality pork sausage, red onions, new potatoes, red peppers and courgettes, tossed in olive oil and roasted in the oven with just a sprinkling of salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar.   It was delicious.   I wilted a good handful of spinach leaves over the top for the last five minutes - just because I have spinach in the fridge which needed eating up and I know it is good for me (and don't call me Mrs Popeye! (can't think of her name).   And I haven't spoken to many folk today (apart of course from the Zoom coffee girls) - just my son who brought round some bananas for me and the window cleaner who called and gave my windows a good clean.

That has been the extent of the energy I have used up today  - no walk, no exercises.

Just thought - was Mrs Popeye called Olive Oil (answers on a postcard please!)


Friday, 31 July 2020

Friday

It is a bright and breezy day here today - warm, almost hot, sun but quite a strong breeze so a good wash day.   I washed my bath and hand towel and face cloth, which are all 'raspberry' to quote Marks and Spencer, so need a separate wash.   But as my dressing gown is also broadly speaking raspberry in colour it was an opportunity to wash that too.   They are all now flapping gaily on the clothes line.   I rarely use the outside line as my balance is so bad - everything is dried in the tumble drier - but I couldn't resist a balancing act with these today and a walking stick handle makes a jolly good hook to capture the line.   A walk round the block with Percy made up the rest of my morning, leaving the Mind Games in the Times for early afternoon.   Now, at three o'clock I shall go and make a cup of tea before continuing with this post.

Friday is always a day I look forward to - because of course it is Gardeners' World tonight and it is a programme full of useful tips for the gardener (even if my gardening is now mostly second hand) and lovely gardens to visit.   And speaking of gardening, my gardener has been this week and given everywhere a good weed and going over to dead head.   It looks so much better apart from the one section of course which is still not cultivated - and that is the section heavily infested with Mare's Tail weed.   We have decided after I have done much reading and much discussing with various experts , that it will now have one more dousing with the specialist weed killer I bought and this will be applied after the plants have been given a really good thrashing with a stick to break the stems.   Then in September I shall plant it up.   I am having a major job done on the upper patio in September so it will be a good time to get the lot over with and then I can relax.   The prospect is quite exciting.

I'll be back again tomorrow - until then enjoy your evening.


Thursday, 30 July 2020

Oh dear.

When you get to my age tiny changes loom large.   The change to a new blogger seemed to be going so well and I was quite proud of myself until today when I wanted to put on today's post and suddenly found that clicking on 'new post' was not enough to get me there.   I tried it a dozen times, to no avail, rang my son to ask him to come on 'at his end' and try talking me through it.   He was just cooking the evening meal and said he would ring me back after they had eaten.   I came back into my computer room determined to try one last time and lo and behold I spotted an orange blob in the bottom right hand corner.   When I hovered over it up came 'create a new blog' - I clicked on it and here I am.   So I feel rather pleased that I have done it myself, but it does rather beg the question - why do all these companies have to keep changing things when everything is running smoothly?   I sometimes think it is just to find something for somebody to do.   The last time was when e mails were completely changed and for about a fortnight I would come on to e mails wondering whether or not I was going to remember how to send one.   Now, of course, I can't remember the old format and am quite used to the new one.

It was a great surprise this morning to draw back the curtains and  see that it was pouring with rain.   The weather forecast had told me that the week was going to build up slowly until tomorrow, when it would be the hottest day so far this year.   Now, at half past seven in the evening, the sun is out and it is a gentle summer's evening.   So I shall wait and see what tomorrow brings.

My hair day meant an early trip to the Hairdresser in the pouring rain but I was able to park quite near, so only a short walk with my stick (I can't take Percy to help me because I can't lift him into my car).
Then it was down to the Medical Centre for my annual Cardiovascular tests - blood pressure, blood sample taken, short discussion with the practice nurse about the general state of my health.   Then it was home again - exhausted from two walks and the effort involved.   I cooked myself a bit of lunch (chicken stir fry with broccoli, spinach, mange tout and red pepper served with rice, which I managed to spill all over the kitchen floor - just the rice) and then put my feet up for a couple of hours.   Outside the Medical Centre I had a chat with a lady who had a Mobility Scooter - she was delighted with it and urged me to get one.   I am considering it but just think it would be the last ditch stand gone - I would have absolutely no need to walk anywhere outside and this would not be good for my limbs.

The news about Covid is quite worrying again isn't it as cases begin to increase again in some parts?   Sometimes I think this will be the shape of things to come for a long time yet.   I must say that on the whole people round here seem to be observing  social distance rules but as more and more folk come into the Dales for their annual holidays things might well change.   I am certainly trying to keep out of the town altogether apart from  going to the hairdressers and her salon in on the periphery of the town.

Well that's about all the news for today folks.  See you all tomorrow.

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Temptation and the best laid plans.

Quick post as I want to watch Michael Portillo's new series at eight.   I had to have a rest after doing an hour's gardening - not easy for me these days.

Today is the day when my local fresh food comes - shopped for me by a lovely local lady.   I therefore intended to have a really healthy lunch of tuna. hard boiled egg, salad leaves, coleslaw, beetroot and cherry tomatoes.  Then on my morning walk with Percy I met a friend and we had a 'distanced' chat.   The conversation turned (as it does!) to oven chips and I said how I didn't really like them.   She said she never did them in the oven but shallow fried them in oil.   During the short distance to home I had decided to add that to my salad plate.   And she was quite correct - they were delicious.  So much for my healthy eating lunch!

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Tuesday

Today I have cleaned my bookshelves as my major job - and a major job it turned out to be as one by one I had interruptions either phone or door bell.   Finally the door bell rang and it was a friend - she came in, we socially distanced and had a coffee - and I felt much less stressed afterwards.   Afternoon was no different, a friend brought my medication from the chemist, my Amazon book came, my son's computer came, I had a Zoom booked for 4.30 and had trouble getting on to the site.   I had already had a bad night's sleep so that has  not helped.   But cleaning out the books and putting them in some sort of
shelf order I came across a paper on which I had typed up this verse.   I don't know where I found it; I suspect someone else posted it on their blog (Thelma springs to mind) but it sums up things today so well that it is worth repeating:

Lines from an Anglo-Saxon poem 'The Wanderer'

All is troublesome
in this earthly kingdom.
The turn of events changes
the world under the heavens.
Here money is fleeting,
here friend is fleeting,
here man is fleeting,
here kinsman is fleeting.
All the foundations of this world
turn to waste.

Can't help thinking it was ever thus.

The top photograph is after and the bottom one is before the tidy.   I have grouped all the Poetry books together, all the Nature books toget sher and all the Travel Books together.   Most of the novels, cookery and art books are on my other set of shelves.   Alright it doesn't look all that different but at least I now know more or less where everything is (for the time being at least.)   Sorry about the fuzziness - due to my shake.