Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Wednesdays

The fact that the same things happen each week on the same day does tend to make the weeks come round quickly.   I am not complaining;   I like time to whizz by not drag.  Wednesdays are a day in particular because friend S almost always comes after her Craft Class to take Tess for her walk.   Today was no exception.   By the time S came the sun had more or less disappeared which meant that the cold had begun to come down and it wasn#t all that exciting a prospect but it does do Tess such a lot of good and she does adore S.

They arrived back half an hour later and S and I sat in the Sitting Room and put a few things to rights (without once mentioning tomorrow and the election!) before S went home.   I did a bit of admin which needed doing - increasingly I hate doing it and begin to feel scared that I shall do it wrong - old age I think. 

Now is time to close the blinds, draw the curtains, turn the heating up a bit and sit down to watch The Repair Shop - a programme which I enjoy tremendously.   To watch these expert skilled craftsmen and women at work is mind blowing.   Maybe hummus on crackers for tea and a piece of fruit - neither take a lot of getting ready and I am feeling lazy today.

Monday, 9 December 2019

Monday

Monday and only a couple more weeks to go.  It is not my favourite time of the year and I expect I write for many who have been widowed when I say this.I am spending the day with three friends, all on their own, and we shall enjoy our time together.   I did contemplate asking my dog-walker to house my dog over the period but have decided against it - I shall miss her too much in the time I am here alone. 

Bit by bit I am getting all my pre Christmas jobs done - cards delivered or posted, parcels posted, drinks cupboard topped up for callers and just a few small decorations put around the place.   Cards have begun to arrive - I always enjoy them and especially those from friends far away which might have a letter enclosed. 

One of my favourite things is The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from Kings, usually on TV on Christmas Eve and always a joy. 

My Great grand daughter is three today and has had a little party (last Saturday) with seven of her little friends, when they played lovely games - all completely new to me.   She rang me tonight to say thank-you for her birthday presents - it is lovely that now she is getting to the age when we can chat on the phone - it gives me such pleasure.

It has been a lovely day here - quite windy although the wind has largely  died down now - bright sunshine all day shining straight into my windows.   Time now for a cup of tea and University Challenge - tests my brain a bit (not always very successfully!)

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Coffee mornings.

The first Saturday in each month holds the  Church Coffee morning in the Village Hall - I no longer live in the village and haven't done for some years but I still go because I know so many of those who go and if I didn't go I would never see them these days.  In any case the Christmas one always holds some 'goodies'.   First of all A bakes, as usual, turkey lasagnes - they are individually packed, delicious and freezable.  I always order two, have one for my lunch and freeze the other for when I need a nourishing meal in a hurry.   Then the Christmas meeting is always enlivened by K's beautiful mince pies which put   mine and I suspect most people's to shame.   She serves us one each, warmed and served on a tiny paper mat.   Then today A,  in addition to her lasagnes - and her marmalade, which is also very good (I bought a jar) - had two home made and decorated Christmas cakes - I bought them both.
We are lucky to have such good bakers in our village aren't we?

Returning home I called to fill up with petrol and realised that during the time I had been away from home the wind had reached gale force and was blowing directly across the forecourt of our local petrol station.   Arriving home I decided to take Tess round the block before the wind got any stronger.   As it was there were places where I had to hold on to the fence until the gust had subsided.  I really don't think Tess enjoyed it any more than I did.

Now in for the day with doors locked, curtains about to be drawn,  central heating turned up a couple of notches and 'Strictly' semi-finals on TV tonight, I can finally relax.    And January Good Housekeeping magazine through the letter box an hour ago (a present each Christmas from my God-daughter) to top up the gap.   See you tomorrow...

PS  I have just noticed that the cake photograph makes it look as though the cake is hanging on the wall - I can't see how to turn it round a notch so sorry but you will have to imagine it one twist round to the left (it will taste just as good).

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Tradition

I have to confess that where Christmas is concerned I am a bit of a traditionalist.   When I was a child we had the same things came out for decorating each year.   We had a 'real' tree which was lifted from the garden each year - although I don't remember it really getting much bigger.  What we certainly did have was the same ornaments on it.   None of your plastic rubbish back in those days - the ornaments were glass and VERY breakable so they were treated with great care and when not on the tree wrapped in tissue paper until it was time again.   At the most we had a dozen glass ornaments plus one little silver house - made out of cardboard I think and then covered with glitter (my favourite) and a few bits of tinsel draped around.   It was wartime, mybrother was at the front - I don't suppose my Mum and Dad felt in the least bit like decorating.

For Christmas dinner we usually had a goose (a present from the butcher for my mother dressing the poultry for him) with all the trimmings.   In the evening we played cards or dominoes or (if we could pursuade Dad who though it a daft game) tiddley winks.  I had maybe three presents at the most and I don't ever remember my parents exchanging gifts - there wasn#t the money for a start.

Now the sky seems to be the limit with all things Christmas - stockings full of presents, a groaning Christmas table and decorations festooned everywhere.   And that is the bit the drives me mad.   Across the road from my bungalow the sitting room window is suddenly festooned with row upon row of blue flashing lights.  I don't like flashing lights for a start - there is nothing subtle about flashing lights - but worse than that - BLUE flashing lights.   I like my Christmas decorations to be red, green or silver.  Blue is a cold, icy colour.  I remember they drove me insane last year - well they are here again and at the moment I donot feel particularly Christmassy about them.   Maybe they will grow on me over the next month.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

A Pleasant Outing

As readers of my posts will know, friend W and I go over to Kirkby Lonsdale on the edge of The Lake District to meet friends for lunch quite regularly.   But we only do this in the Summer as it entails driving over the Pennines - there are two ways to go but whichever one you choose you cannot avoid crossing the Pennines and the weather can change dramatically in a few hours in Winter.   Our friends are younger and so they come over the tops and we meet in Hawes - only fifteen miles from here through Wensleydale.   And today was the day for our Christmas meeting.

We set off from here in beautiful sunshine and I took my camera hoping for some good shots to show you.   Sadly, we had only gone a mile or two before we encountered clouds which got thicker and thicker and it really was not a photography day.   As friend W remarked - suddenly everything is a uniform brown - no leaves anywhere on the trees and few berries to enliven the scene.

Even Hawes was much quieter than usual - but by the time we had been in The Wensleydale Creamery cafe for half an hour it had filled up so we were glad we had booked.  As W and I are going out with four friends for Christmas lunch on Friday we resisted the Christmas menu (friend P had it, W had a chicken dish,  D had steak pie and I had my old favourite quiche, chips and salad.)  We were able to sit and have a nice chat for an hour afterwards and I was happy in the knowledge that friend S, who almost always takes Tess for a walk on Wednesdays, had agreed to come, take her today and post the key through the letter box.
Tess loves S dearly so I am sure she would be overjoyed to see her. 

As we approached home on our return journey gradually the clouds lifted and by the time we got here it was a lovely sunny day again.   The weather forecast had been correct when it had forecast cloudy in the West and sunny in the East.
Back home the electrician came at last and fixed my front door bell which has not been working for the last month.   I turned up the central heating and settled down with my book - shall not need any more to eat today!

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Politics

There was a time when I was really interested in Politics - when I would turn up at pre election time to stick things in envelopes and lick them and then put them through peoples' doors.   When I would listen to Party Political Broadcasts and believe every word 'my' party said - all other parties were lying of course, but not 'my' party.   Now I know better.   They are all lying in their pre-election Propaganda and I believe none of it.   In fact I try to avoid listening to any of it if I can.   Will I vote on the big day?   Well conscience tells me I should; after all we fought long enough to get the vote.   But as to who I vote for well that is another matter.   As my Grandson once said - if you don't like any of them or can't make up your mind then go along and spoil your ballot paper.   I just might do that.

Tomorrow W and I drive through Wensleydale to meet friends at the Wensleydale Creamery for lunch.   It is forecast to be a relatively nice day (as it has been today) - I shall enjoy the company, I shall enjoy the scenery and I refuse to give the election a single thought.

Monday, 2 December 2019

Monday

The sun has gone today and in its place just clouds.   I am sure it is slightly warmer if one looks at a thermometer but in fact it feels colder because it is back to being cheerless weather.   Book Group this morning at S's house - I always enjoy going there - he makes the most delicious flapjack. 

We had a good hour discussing Robinson Crusoe - most interesting too.   The next book is my choice and we had intended to read and discuss Salley Vickers 'Grandmothers' which is advertised as coming out in November in paperback but not so according to our local bookshop.   So there will have to be a change of plan and as it is Christmas month and we will all be busy one way or another and don't want to read anything too heavy I have suggested Clive James's 'Unreliable Memoirs'  and am waiting to see what the others think.

Chiropodist this afternoon, walk round with dog and now all shut up and snug and warm.   Set to get warmer over the next few days - time will tell.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Sunday

December has arrived, the sun is out, the sky is unbroken blue and the frost is thick.   My heating appears to have been on most of the night although set at eighteen when I go to bed.   Tess went out only reluctantly when I got up at half past six.   Well only reluctantly until she caught sight in the half light of the large black and white cat which stalks through my garden each morning leaving its mark on various trees then there was a stand off, a couple of barks and a streak of black and white as the cat beat a hasty retreat over the wall into the field behind.   There are sheep in the field now I notice so I am just hoping they don't decide to come over the wall and into my garden (it has happened before I understand (before I lived here)).

It is 'out to lunch' day - only three of us today- and I need to take Tess before I go, but must  wait for the frost to clear and the ice to melt off the footpaths.   A fall at my age could be disastrous.

The coming week sees three lunches out - one my regular every other Tuesday local lunch and two to meet friends on pre Christmas lunches - the first of these at the Wensleydale Creamery.   In addition it is my Book Group on Monday - we have all been reading Robinson Crusoe and I for one have really enjoyed it.

Lunch at the Golf Club meant driving up to a beautiful stretch of golfing grass - green where the sun was catching it and white where it was in the shade.   Still a few eager golfers out though.   Very busy in the cafe today - hardly surprising when it is such a good lunch every week without fail - a long and excellent three course menu, value for money and a friendly atmosphere.   When I returned home it was almost dark and already the ice was forming and I dare not walk with Tess so I let her out in the back garden and for a good ten minutes she chased up and down running off steam - I was pleased to see her do so as I always feel guilty if I can't walk her.   Now I feel much better about it.

The central heating has been on all the time for the last twenty four hours in spite of the sun shining into the bungalow directly all day.   Luckily it is set to come milder again by the week-end.   But I suppose that may well mean rain -it seems to be one or the other.   Keep warm wherever you are - and those of you who are taking the most exquisite photographs do keep doing so - to those of us who can no longer venture out in this weather it is a source of delight to see them.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Saturdays

When one lives alone Saturdays are often the most difficult days to get through.   In the week folk are going about their business - working, shopping and the like.  Sundays people are staying in or going to church and the shops are closed so not so many people around.   But Saturdays are family days and I find them lonely quite often.

Walking Tess two or three times means I get to chat to fellow dog-walkers and this morning I had to go into town to the cash machine and to get some milk, so at least I had a trip out.   I invited Tess to come with me but we had a very sharp frost and she took one look out of the door and scuttled back and got in her bed.   But I did manage one pleasant conversation with a man and a Red Setter.   They were standing outside the supermarket waiting for the man's wife who was shopping inside.  I stopped to chat to the dog first as (like all the Red Setters I have met) it was so friendly but then the man and I got talking about dogs we had owned and their personalities. 

I walked across the road to the Bakers (we have two very good ones) and bought myself a cheese and onion pasty for my lunch - it was delicious.   Then I sat down to read The Guardian and promptly fell asleep.   I try hard never to do this but it is harder to stay awake when the weather is so cold I think.   Now, at a  quarter to five in the evening we are all shut up for the night.   The frost has come down and there is a sliver of moon in the sky and it is very cold.   I have pulled my car as close to the bungalow as I can so that it is as sheltered as possible.   I did this last night and it really helped a lot with the car not being too frosted up this morning.

Another terrorist atrocity.   Will there ever be a time when all faiths can live together in peace and harmony?   I doubt it but it does sadden me that people have to commit these acts and that people have to die in the name of religion.

Friday, 29 November 2019

Friday

Sorry, in spite of my promise to  return 'tomorrow' I just never had time yesterday, so here we are at tea time on Friday - the first time I have a few minutes to spare.   This morning it was coffee with friends as usual and then home for about ten minutes and then out with friend W to go to a big Craft Fair in the town at our Auction House.   Hundreds there and a long queue to get in which was well-directed so didn't take long.   Huge crowds looking round so very noisy.   Luckily we were walking on carpet so it wasn't too hard on my ankles and I managed to walk round reasonably easily.   It wasn't all that exciting I'm afraid, although I had on my list to buy two presents for Christmas and I managed to tick those off so felt quite pleased with myself.   Then it was down to The Three Horseshoes in Wensley for lunch - quiche, salad and chips for me and cottage pie with broccoli and carrots for W - delicious (they make the best quiche around).   Then it was home.

It really has been a beautiful day here - full sun, no breeze and a clear blue sky all day and although the temperature was quite low there was a lot of warmth in the sun.   But of course I have a white car and as I drove up to the garage door I realised just how very dirty it was.    I had a sit down and a cup of tea, then Tess and I together drove the mile to the Car Wash where two nice young men made my car sparkling again.   At last, after at least a month, the roads are dry today so it was worth a risk and I do feel better driving a clean car.

Now it is almost time for The Repair Shop (such a good and interesting programme) and I shall wish for no tea after that large lunch, but a cup of tea will be very welcome, so off to make one and then sit with my feet up and marvel at the absolute skill of the people doing the repairs.   Hopefully see you tomorrow.