Friday, 1 July 2016

Friday

Out for coffee with my usual group of friends and then out to lunch with friend W and a look round the items which will be for sale in our local sale rooms - Tennants - tomorrow.   It is always rather sad I find to look round old things which have been collected over the years by various people and then, suddenly, nobody wants them anymore and they are put into a sale.   There were lots of boxes of objects, lots of very dusty clocks, some very beautiful pieces of furniture, some pretty rugs.

I came home and have been very lazy since.   Now, after tea, I am sitting at my computer.   Outside the sun is shining and at the same time it is pouring with rain.   Bound to be a rainbow somewhere.   Shall go and look for it and hope it is a sign that politics and everything to do with the present mess soon disappears from our screens.

If you don't care to know about politics, don't particularly care for football, and don't follow tennis then there is really no point in switching on the television for the next fortnight is there?

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Thursday

I lead a busy but very well-organised life (some would say 'boring').  I tend to do the same things on the same day every week.

Today, Thursday, is 'Hair Day'.   We all spend our money on different things don't we - perhaps on essentials.   Well, I consider my weekly trip to the Hairdresser to be absolutely essential.   I have difficult hair in that it is fine and completely straight.   Today is 'perm' day, next week is 'colour' and then off we go again on simple blow dries for a few weeks.   I really would find it a nightmare to manage my own hair.   I sometimes envy the farmer, who is more or less completely bald and who follows the modern trend of having what little hair he has cut extremely short.   As he is also grey you really get the impression that he hasn't got any hair.

Another essential for me is to have a cleaner.   J has been coming to me for twenty two years and has never let me down once.   She is totally trustworthy and I don't know how I would manage without her.   Physically I just couldn't do the hard jobs myself - I just do things like cleaning the silver, washing the odd cushion cover etc.   It works well for both of us and again is money well-spent.

The farmer has semi-retired and lets off most of his land.   In the Winter he takes in in-calf cows into the loose housing and really enjoys looking after them (with the help of various pieces of machinery).   He has just grassed-over our vegetable garden; his neck and shoulders are bad and don't take kindly to gardening.   At present he is resisting getting in a gardener to help with our front walled garden, but the time will come I am sure.

A window cleaner cleans our outside windows (and often, like this week, it rains immediately), an engineer services our boiler and various pieces of equipment.

But don't let me give you the impression that either of us sits about doing nothing.   I meet friends almost everyday, lunch out often (I no longer report every time I lunch out, mainly because readers are apt to say "Not again!")   Tomorrow I am going with friend W to look round the things for sale on Saturday at our local Auction House - and when we have looked round them we shall have our lunch in the Restaurant there.

My reasoning is that for my working life I worked jolly hard in a job which was never going to be easy (Head of a Unit for pupils with learning difficulties, many of them associated with the fact that they were recent immigrants from the Punjab
and so had little language).   My colleagues were lovely and I am in touch with some of them still, but we would all agree that it was jolly hard work.

The farmer has worked on the farm since long before he left school.

So I think you will agree that we should be allowed to pamper ourselves a little.

Do you pamper yourself?   What things, if any, do you consider important when it comes to spending money?   I would be interested to hear.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Miscellaneous thoughts.

This afternoon is our Poetry afternoon; perhaps my favourite afternoon of the month.   Honestly, can you think of anything more pleasurable than to sit in a lovely conservatory and read one's favourite poems with a group of like-minded friends?

In view of the political turmoil which surrounds us (and which we have stopped listening to on the news as we can do absolutely nothing about it ((my son calls this 'burying my head in the sand - well so be it.)), I thought it would be a good idea to base all my readings this afternoon on the beauty of the English countryside.   Hence the following choice:
Alexander Pope -' Ode to Solitude' (suggested by The Solitary Walker.)
Kenneth Grahame - (this a prose passage from The Wind in the Willows) a reading from the chapter 'The Piper at the gates of dawn' in which Mole and Ratty search the river for a missing otter cub and encounter Pan, who has guided them to the cub with his pan pipes.( suggested by Derek of Letters from Sheppey).
John Betjamen - 'Winter Seascape.'
U A Fanthorpe - 'At Swarkestone'

Last evening the farmer went upstairs for his shower and from where I sit in the hall at the computer I can hear the shower running.   It went on for such a long time and suddenly I was aware the farmer was coming downstairs and yet the shower was still running!   It was not in fact the shower at all - it was absolutely teaming with rain, all the gutters were overflowing and the water was streaming down the landing window (and yes, the window cleaner did come yesterday!).  We had eleven millimetres of rain in under a quarter of an hour.   

We always keep one field to make hay (for old times sake says the farmer) - it is the paddock directly outside the kitchen window.   This morning the grass (which was very high) is absolutely flat in the field.  And it is raining again now.   At breakfast this morning I asked him how much of a catastrophe would this kind of happening have been in the days when they only made hay and then cut it with a scythe, and depended upon it for winter feed.   He explained that although it would have been bad, the grass would have been nothing like as high as the only fertiliser would probably have been 'muck', whereas now the fields are all fertilised with 20:10:10: to get a higher and better crop.

How farming has changed since those days and what would these old farmers think if they were to come back and see those changes.   I think of my father-in-law, who was well into his nineties when he died and who worked in a gentle kind of way up until his death, and how, at hay time, when all the hay had been gathered up, he would go round the hedge bottoms raking out the last vestiges of hay so that nothing was wasted.   Then the cows would be turned into the field to 'pike' , to eat all round the edges where the scythe couldn't reach.

Waste not want not was the maxim for most things in those days whereas (at least in the western world) this maxim seems to have been forgotten in all walks of life.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

More or less back on track.

Apologies for being rather incommunicado for the past few days, but I have been incredibly busy for some reason.   And for 'busy' read 'housework' which makes the excuse sound almost boring.  I suddenly saw my kitchen with the eyes of a visitor - the large welsh dresser, which is covered in things, needed a good clean;   the work tops also.   The fridge needed emptying and washing out before my this week's order from Tesco arrived at 8am.   It's all very boring stuff, so I won't go on.

This morning a dear old friend, who lives in Kent but was up this way for a few days, called in for coffee - what a delight it is to see old friends.   She was brought by a friend of hers who turned out to know my friend W very well - what a small world it is these days.

This afternoon I had to take Tess to the vet.   In spite of taking on board all your suggestions regarding cures for her hay allergy, after her cut and blow dry yesterday it revealedjust how much she had scratched and how irritated her skin was.  The only thing on the list you all contributed to which I hadn't tried, was the cortisone injection.  So I went to the vet to ask her advice.   She didn't advise it but gave me some tablets which are a fairly new treatment for the condition.   Tess had her first one, wrapped in a little ham parcel, at tea time.  We shall see.  I have to report back to the vet after a week whether I see any improvement.

All political talk is banned in our house until further notice (much to my son's annoyance).

Now all I have to do is to choose my poems to read at tomorrow's Poetry meeting.   I have already chosen one, which you can read on my nephew's (by marriage to my niece) post (The Solitary Walker) - Alexander Pope's 'Happy the Man' - to my mind a perfect antidote to all the talk of the referendum.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Recall

Over the past few days I have had a mad cleaning period - window frames washed, curtains washed, book cases cleaned out and walls cobwebbed.   During this time I emptied my kitchen book shelves which contain all reference books I use for my crosswords etc., all books on Natural History, and a lot of cookery books.  In addition my current book is usually kept there and when I emptied the shelves and moved them so that I could clean behind them I found a paper back that I had obviously read some time ago.   It was the winner of the 2011 Booker Prize 'The Sense of an Ending' by Julian Barnes.   I have read it again - what a brilliant, thought-provoking book - do read it if you haven't done so already.

Its theme basically is memory and how it plays tricks on us - is what we remember exactly what really happened?

I also came across this photograph - apologies for the quality but it was taken in 1947, probably on an old box camera.   Do I really remember the circumstances?   Well, I think I do - at least they will be correct in part; in fact it is one of many happy memories I have of my childhood (I would be nine years old and as far as I remember we had gone to Skegness for the day on the train (only thirty miles from where we lived, so a fairly easy journey on the train, which actually stopped at our village station).   But this much is written on the back of the photograph 'Skegness 1947'.

In the photograph the ladies are - left to right - my mother (Maud), my Auntie Gert and my Auntie Ethel (always called Mary Ann for some reason).
Three sisters enjoying their day out.   Their husbands were around somewhere - one of them must have taken the photograph - my father, Jack,
and my Uncles Cecil and Walt.

They had come through the war unscathed (my brother was at Dunkirk but survived the war) and were now intent on enjoying themselves.   I love the photograph for many reasons - their sensible dresses and shoes - the fact that they all wore stockings - they all carried handbags - but above all, they all look so happy.

Of the actual day I remember nothing at all.   Where was I when the photograph was taken?  I can't remember.  A perfect example of a memory which is incomplete and which only remains because of this photograph - an instant in their lives.
 

Friday, 24 June 2016

The population has spoken.

Well, polling day is over, votes have been cast and it seems that the 'leave' have overwhelmingly won the day.   Now we have to live with that whether we like the way things are going or not.   We are a democratic country - even if the majority of us have no idea about the real facts of leave/stay.

I for one am not listening to any news bulletins today - I just can't bear all the inquests and all the politial pontificating.

If you want to read a sensible, reasoned- out view of the whole procedure then go to the bad hip perspective on my blog roll.   The writer lives in Sweden so has no real interest but she does write some sensible comments - do read them if you have time.  (I have no religious views so that is not a factor in my recommending you read it,)

Luckily we live way out in the country, in beautiful scenery, where there is always plenty going on in the fields - so I intend to immerse myself in that and in the love of friends for the next few months until things settle down.

In the meantime spare a thought for the South East of the country where they seem to be suffering from a surfeit of rain.  Derek(Letters from Sheppey) speaks of awful wet weather on the reserve where he volunteers - that will surely mean an awful lot of young birds perishing in the poor conditions.

Spare a thought also for the refugees from Boko Haram in Nigeria, many of whom are dying from starvation as they flee their villages.

What is the world coming to?  It hardly bears thinking about.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Summer.

For the first time this year (and I hope not the only time) we have an absolutely perfect Summer's day.   The temperature is twenty-four degrees, there is a light wind and the sun is shining.   Every flowering plant seems to be covered in bees.

The farmer is busy helping with the silage, I am keeping in the cool, even Tess is keeping in the cool, and we have no intention of going to cast our referendum vote until later on this evening.

Yorkshire pudding has cast some doubt on the way the ballot paper is worded - can't say I think it will make much difference, but we shall never know I suppose. 

Do you have days when you don't feel like doing a lot and so sit around reading a novel or knitting or something?  Or is it just me?  And am I the only one who gets intense guilt feelings about it?

 

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Roll on the week-end.

By Friday morning the die will be cast, we will know the result of the Referendum and there will be no more pontificating on our television screens.   I don't know about anybody else but I am sick of the blanket coverage, sick of hearing the bigoted views of so many people that the reporters speak to on screen, in fact sick of the whole bandwagon.

Tomorrow evening the farmer and I will go round to the Polling Station in our village hall and put our cross where we wish to put it.   It is all we can do - the rest is in the lap of the gods.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Farm jobs.

At last a warm(ish) fine day with a light breeze and a reasonable amount of sunshine.   Yesterday started off wet, so that any grass which had been cut the previous day lay wet and soggy.

But today the grass has really dried and silaging has taken off in earnest - both forage silaging and round bale silaging are in full swing.

My hens will be delighted tomorrow when they can once more venture into the fields to scratch around for grubs.   The grass has been far too long for them and they have been confined to the yard and even going round next door to scratch around on the hard surface (our neighbours are Haulage Contractors with a fleet of lorries).   Their delight has been when a lorry returns from collecting grain at A and taking it to B - then when the driver washes out the lorry before going home for the night there is grain to pick up.   The fact that their  hut has grain scattered among the straw every morning is immaterial.   Stolen fruit is always the sweetest.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Birthday present as promised.

Here is the farmer's birthday present (along with a jig-saw puzzle of our little town) - a walking stick made by a local farmer.   The stick itself is holly and the top is stag's head.