Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill.

Directly opposite my sitting room window is a road - a cul de sac with not all that many houses on it.   It is called I'Anson Close.    Whenever I look at that sign I wonder just how many who pass it every day know anything about the significance of it.   In Leyburn there is a Paint shop and over the door is a date in the late eighteenth century and the initials I'A - the I'Ansons at some point lived here. There is no doubt that they were a local family of some note and one relative was a Baronet.   So what is their claim to fame?   Well all I can tell you is that the song: 'Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill' was written for Frances I'Anson - she was that sweet lass.   Born towards the end of the eighteenth century I know nothing about her other than that.But I do think it is rather nice that she is remembered in a pleasant cul-de-sac in our town.

In the days when I used to drive regularly into Northallerton, our county town, about twenty five miles away - as I entered the outskirts I used to pass a housing estate and the road of entry was called Aneurin Bevan close.   It used to make me smile because Aneurin Bevan was a prominent Labour politician not long after the Second World War.  I don't know what connection, if any, he had with the housing estate, but I know that some years ago it was re-christened.  I cant remember what it is called now but some daft name  like Meadow Lea - it always seems to me that when authorities can't decided what to call roads on new building plots they seem to resort to wild flower meadows in the countryside.

Tha naming of anything has its problems doesn't it?   It applies to babies as much as anything I suppose.   Some names seem so unsuitable at the time of christening and yet, somehow, people grow into their names don't they?


Monday, 21 September 2020

Monday morning.

Monday morning, bright and early, delightful morning and threats on the television of dire weather to come.  So alarm bells ring - make the most of the next couple of days.   I tidy round quickly, don a waistcoat and set off round the block - the furthest I have been for quite a while.  One of the nicest things about walking slowly with Percy is that people in their front gardens want to chat as you go by - takes up time, but I have plenty of that.   A quarter of an hour's chat with H next door helped me on my way.   It was still quite early and there was hardly anyone around.  When I arrived home the milk bill was through the letter box, so I went straight back out again on another walk to put the cheque through the milkman's letter box - so I am pleased with my exercise today!

There is something different about the sunny weather this time of the year.   I suppose it is because we know winter is on its way and we all begin to feel nostalgic for the 'lost' summer, although this year has almost been a non-year in every way hasn't it?   And as things stand it  may well be another six months of similar restrictions before we ge back to anything like normality.  The photograph on the front of the paper this morning shows young people in Newcastle 'living it up' with no social distancing.   I hesitate to criticise because I don't how I would have behaved if I were that age at this time.   I am just really rather pleased I am not.

That's all today!   It is a glorious day and I am going into the garden to enjoy it (and admire the new patio) so 'see' you tomorrow.

Sunday, 20 September 2020


 Sundays are quiet too now that I don't risk going out for Golf Club lunch.   In many ways I miss it - most of all the company, but also the luxury of not having to cook my own food.   But I kept another meal out of the freezer from my delivery - chicken and bacon in white wine sauce and I served it with a mixture  ofparsnip , runner beans and leeks - the last two from a friends' garden.    I have to say it was delicious.   I also had the longest walk with Percy that I have had in a long time an my ankles feel much better for it.

I was back home (I stopped for a long time to chat to friend M - we are both members of the Book Group and got talking about books. ) in time to watch the final three hours of Le Tour de France - and I must say it was all very exciting.  What incredible stamina those young men have and what a lovely speech the Irish lad who won the Green Jersey made.  It was also a joy to see the parents of the young man (the youngest for 111 years I believe) who won there to cheer him on.   They looked so proud of him.

Later this evening I watched the new three part play on BBC1 - it is called 'Us' and was a delight to watch I thought.   Did anyone else watch it?   If so do let me know what you think.

So apart from my walk and cooking my lunch I have really had a very lazy day with far too much  television in it.   I fear with the advent of the darker nights this may be the pattern of things to come.  When I think of the craft work I used to do - the beading, the quilting, the knitting and crochet, the machine embroidery - none of which I can do now because of my shakes - I am sad.  It's called 'getting old' and you have to fight it tooth and nail!!

Saturday, 19 September 2020


 Saturdays are never my favourite days, although at least today the sun is shining through the sitting room window and it is cheerful.   We had a Zoom at 10am, six of us,  - a good 40 minute chat and laugh together and that started the day off well.   Then I had my half-hour walk round the estate, it is really quite cold and breezy so didn't try to go any further than my usual circuit.  Then it was back for a coffee and then a chat ;  I chatted with my next door neighbour's daught er who is moving to the edge of the North York Moors. Then  I went out into the garden with secateurs  to begin cutting back some of the herbaceous growth but it was too cold.   So I made a cup of coffee and switched on the television to watch (and catch up) This Farming Life - I do so enjoy it - it brings all the fun, the hard work, the heartache when things go wrong - everything comes back as though it was yesterday rather than three years since my dear farmer left me.   Let's hope we have a few weeks of good weather now to build us all up for the winter here.  There is enough doom and gloom without bad weather setting in early isn't there.

Have a good week end.   The way things seem to be going it might be the last one before we get locked down again!   This business of going into lockdown in various places 'next Tuesday' or somesuch date rather than 'now, this instant'  it seems is something to do with it having to 'go through parliament' or something- or that is how I understood it when a government minister was explaining it this morning.  What usually happens is that folk then 'live it up' in the last week end of 'freedom' - or am I just being cynical?  

Friday, 18 September 2020

This and that

Lovely that the patio is finished.   I apologise if the script is a different size again.   It is entirely my fault - at present my hand is very shaky and try as I might I can't always hit the right place.   Anyway, hopefully here is a picture of my finished patio:

The shadow in the bottom right hand corner is the shadow of the handrail.   I am very happy with it and it is so nice and light after the very dark concrete and when the sun is shining it glitters here and there with quartz.

 The next job to be tackled by my gardener is the removal of those two lopped evergreen trees - they are neither use nor ornament.  Beyond them is the patch not yet planted which has been infested with Mares Tail weed.   It has now had four lots of specialised week killer and in line with the instructions which came with the weedkiller I shall now plant it up with low growing rockery plants which cover quickly and my gardener will keep cutting back the Mares Tail next year as it grows through - hopefully weakening it.  It has been so satisfying to get this major job done - and to look out of the patio and computer room windows on to a pleasant scene at last.

Puss has been around again and given everywhere a thorough inspection and is now sitting on the wall watching me.   I know if I stand up she will go away quickly.   Like Rachel with her 'stray' kitten I know that this cat has me weighed up perfectly.   Not a stray at all, she is just passing through on her daily prowl.   But hopefully she sees it as part of her job to keep my garden vermin-free.

 It has been a pleasant day here today albeit cooler and more Autumnal - but dry and with hazy sunshine for most of the day.  It is set to stay like this for most of the week ahead I believe.   I look at the dreadful fires in America- how do they bear to live with the threat of this sort of thing hanging over them I wonder?

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Another Lovely Day

Just the very best sort of day for finishing the patio at the back of my bungalow  - no breeze, not too hot and plenty of Autumn sunshine.   It was important for there to be no breeze because laying weed suppressant in windy conditions is not easy.   The two D's came at eight o'clock and the eight tons of gravel came at a quarter past eight and they got stuck in.  I just had time to move my car off the drive before the gravel lorry came and tipped it all on my drive in a heap.  (hairdresser's appointment.

By four this afternoon they had finished, tidied away, swilled down the bottom patio and all the paths and left everywhere neat and tidy.   They have done a super job.   

In addition the electrician came back and fitted my new fire lights - and we put the shiny coal back into the grate.   Then at four o'clock the gas man came and serviced my gas boiler for winter.   He tells me that it is eight years old (I have lived here three years) and in very good condition.

The tabby cat from down the road, who often visits me, called into inspect my new patio - treading all over it gingerly and sniffing here and there.   I think he approved because eventually he sat down and gave himself a thorough wash and brush up.  Whenever I see him I think I should get a cat - I love both cats and dogs and wouldn't need to take a cat for a walk;  but then I look out of the window at the busy road and I look at my furniture  -  and think of claw sharpening (I had Siamese cats for years) and think I would be letting myself in for a lot of problems.   And I couldn't bear it if I had a cat and it got run over.

There is a real Autumnal nip in the air once it gets to half past six in the evening.   I am sitting here in my computer room looking out on my new patio, the sun is going down and I shall soon be drawing the blinds and closing the curtains to shut out the cool air.   Covid has returned with a vengeance to the North East of the country and new restrictions come into force.   They don't affect us here in The Dales but they are getting uncomfortably close and as always it is important that we follow the rules.  I have today been able to book an appointment for my flu vaccination for Winter, which  have every year.   This is nothing to do with Covid of course as we still dont have a vaccine for that but we can at least protect ourselves from other kinds of flu in so far as is possible.

Sleep well.   See you tomorrow. 

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Washing Coal.

I must say that my mobility and my agility do improve with exercise.  If I sit about then I have trouble getting up from my chair when the doorbell rings.   But today I have been busy doing 'this and that' all day and now, late afternoon, I am moving about much more freely.   First of all it is my day for using my new soup-maker, which makes enough soup for four helpings - one today and one tomorrow and another two frozen for later in the week.  Today I made sweet potato and red pepper soup, with an onion, a dash of tabasco and a little bottle of white wine to add a bit of flavour.   It was delicious and very filling so that the ham and mushroom quiche I intended to afters with a salad was too much and I put half of it back in the fridge for tomorrow.


After lunch I really had to water the violas I planted last week.   There has been no rain and two really hot days(not hot today - cloudy and cooling down) and after that the electrician came to take the two bulbs out of my electric fire so that he could fix replacements - they had gone about a week ago.  And so I took the opportunity indicated by the title of today's piece - my fire has artificial coal (I hate it but it was there when I moved in and is a perfectly good fire) - he scooped the 'coal' out on to newspaper and carried it into the kitchen for me and I put it into hot soapy water.   So now, when he returns with the new bulbs the coal will go back all bright and shiny.

Tomorrow is another busy day for me - hairdresser (including a cut tomorrow),, the men are arriving to finish my patio they say (eight tons of gravel are set to arrive first thing in the morning) and in the afternoon the gas man is coming to service my gas boiler for Winter. I love busy days.

We had a scare because we thought we had Covid in the village where my son lives but it transpires that a family had to quarantine for a fortnight but no one has developed it.  My son, who lives in the village,is relieved about this.   Things do seem to be a bit chaotic at present with people having to go miles to be tested.


Tuesday, 15 September 2020

The trials (and comedies) of a shake.

 I have a condition called 'Benign  Essential Tremor' - it is inherited - my father and sister both had it and mine has been developing over the last ten years or so.   It is not dangerous.   It is, I believe, a brain condition and it is quite common.   The actress Katherine Hepburn (for those old enough to remember her) had it.   Hers affected her head and if you watch her in an old film now that you know you will see that she has difficulty in keeping her head still.   Mine affects my hands - my handwriting, my eating, my preparation of food - so many things.   But it is not painful - just a nuisance.   This morning is a perfect example.   Once a fortnight I have a Tesco order delivery on a Tuesday morning early.   I order it on line bit by bit over the fortnight as and whenI remember something I need.

It came at nine this morning - delivered by a nice young man - there seemed rather a lot of it.   When he had gone I began to unload it - I had intended to order a pack of 9 Andrex toilet rolls.   Instead of ordering 1 pack I had ordered 4 packs - so I now have 36 toilet rolls stacked in the garage!!

And speaking of Tesco orders - during lockdown they have changed their packaging several times.   First of all it was heavy duty plastic carrier bags which as far as I am concerned were useless to me so once a fortnight I rolled them up, tied them with string and put them out for recycling.   Then some time later they changed to lightweight plastic bags but, let's face it there's a limit to how many of these you need.   So once again - out for recycling.   Now this morning they have changed again - each big blue plastic box (the things they used before lockdown) is lined with a plastic liner and we are asked to return them the next time the driver calls.

And still on the subject of Tesco (and other superstores) if I sat in my window all day and counted the number of deliveries which passed each day it would be 'a lot'.   Good time to buy shares in the supermarkets!

And back to my shakes - it affects my typing skills so although I do proof read you need to excuse any mistakes I miss!!


Monday, 14 September 2020


 Monday has come round again and with it an absolutely beautiful sunny warm day.   All our really lovely days this Summer have been Mondays - good for anyone still pegging their washing out!

Frankly not a day for me to do very much.   I made a list last evening of all the jobs I wanted to do today and they are now all ticked off apart from ironing two jerseys and a pair of trousers and I intend to leave those until it cools down somewhat.   When I finish this post I intend to take my chair out on the patio and sit in the sun for a couple of hours and soak up a bit of vitamin D.It struck me earlier that in all my childhood I don;t think I ever remember seeing my parents sitting out in the sun.  We did have a lawn at the bottom of the garden and I remember that at one end of it there was a little bench - one of those benches with room for three small children - desks with holes for inkwells and a lift up lid to keep your books in.  I have no idea where it came from.

At the other end of the lawn there was an Ellison's Orange Pippin eating apple tree - in my memory it was always laden and they were delicious - but I don't suppose it was always like that - memory is very selective.

Friends S and T called - the only people who actually come into my bungalow and then we observe the social distancing rules.   We looked round the garden, noticed that one of my helebore seedlings had been attacked by a slug.   S lifted up a leaf to reveal a huge fat slug.  T removed and and threw it over the hedge into the field.   If it does return at least it will take it several days to get back.

Well friends it is now 3.50 and my lunch pots have still not been put into the dishwasher so I had better go and get everywhere shipshape.   Have a good evening.

Sunday, 13 September 2020

Sunday morning early

 Well earlyish and I am really doing everything I can to put off getting dressed after my shower.   Sitting here at the computer in my dressing gown, the reason being that I sent for new trousers and sweater for winter and they need trying on urgently (they came on Friday).  Taking clothes on and off is such a chore at my age believe me.   For instance I love getting up in the mornings and I love going to bed at night but the process of getting dressed and undressed is hard work.

Did any of you watch The Last Night of the Proms?   I did.   I don;t usually because I watch music programmes for the music not for all the razzamataz and it spoils it for me  - hence last night's programme really pleased me.   Yes the orchestra was greatly reduced as were the singers but the music was beautiful.  'The Lark Ascending' was nothing short of sublime, the Mozart was wonderful and the soprano had an incredible voice.   It was good to see a new composition too - as the mother of a son who composes and has done all his life I feel it is very important to encourage new music whether we understand it or not.  Also we should be reminded that in 1913 people booed and walked out of the first performance of Stravinsky's 'The Rite of Spring' although my son reminds me that he - and many others - thinks what the audience were booing and walking out of was not the music but Nijinsky's choreography.

Lower down the country it may well be warming up and people might be walking the hills today in their shirt sleeves.   Here it is cloudy, chilly and blowing and 'almost' gale.   Have a nice day.