Thursday, 14 November 2019

Nor any drop to drink.

And to think of the next but one line:
'and all the boards did shrink. '

I really think that unless we have been flooded we cannot possibly imagine the horror of it.   We were flooded in late July up here and those affected are still not in their homes and possibly will still be out at Christmas.   But at least the weather was reasonably warm.   Today here in North Yorkshire, not so very far away from South Yorkshire and Derbyshire, where this week's floods are it is freezing cold - and I mean freezing.   This morning there was thick frost on the windscreen of my car. 

And then the news turns to Venice - the worst high tide in fifty years - priceless treasures ruined in S Mark's Square - the lowest part of the city. 

I am sitting at my computer looking out of the window.   The sky is grey, the wind is blowing, it is raining heavily, it is very cold.   Even Tess, when I took her round the block at lunch time, was eager to get back indoors.   Yes, inside is the place to be today and we must all spare a thought for those out of their homes and in temporary accomodation - and with no idea at all of when things will be back to normal.   And in addition there is more heavy rain forecast for that area tomorrow.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Busy Day

My Decorator has been this afternoon to begin the restoration of my bedroom to its normal state.   You remember that after the flooding here on July 30th it was found that the soakaway carrying my surface water  had not worked for years.   I first noticed it when the wall in my bedroom showed mildew (horror!).   Well, now I have had a new soakaway built and today the Decorator came and painted the mildewed Anaglypta (the plaster under the anaglypta is not at all mildewed) with strong bleach.   Within half an hour it had all disappeared.  Tomorrow evening he is coming to paint some sort of recommended paint on the wall and then at the week-end he is set to repaint the walls.   Fingers crossed the whole episode is behind me.

This morning my television had no signal - on enquiring of my neighbour I found that we all had to re-tune our sets today (my knowledge of such things  is minus nil).   After writing down the instructions my television engineer gave me over the phone I spent an hour trying to do it, to no avail.   Luckily, when my friend and dog-walker on a Wednesday came an hour later she did it in a flash.   How different our brains are.   She offered to show me how to do it but I knew it was pointless.   So now, thanks to S, I am watching television again.  And there is a programme I wish to see in about ten minutes - so that's it for tonight.   See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Good and Bad

The good news is that my settees came - the delivery men were charming.   They put my old settees into the garage ready for the British Heart Foundation to collect tomorrow and they brought my new ones in with no fuss at all.   They look very nice and are so comfortable.   And I can get up easily which is a bonus.

The bad news is that I put the rug back down and then pulled one settee forward on to it.   The castors are much more effective than the ones on my old  settee and it came forward at speed and I promptly sat down with a bump on the floor.   Luckily I was near enough to the settee to get up easily but I have a sore bum in spite of landing on a rug with a carpet beneath!   It is much better this morning so obviously no permanent damage done.

At Librarian's suggestion I will try taking a photograph to show you but I am having trouble finding my photographs once they are in my computer - I come across them by accident days later even though I label them. 

The morning began with bright sunshine but now, at only a quarter to ten, it is cloudy although not particularly cold.   I normally go into town this morning, get my 'housekeeping money' out of the bank, pay my weekly newspaper bill, have coffee with friends and then return home.   But today one friend is at Yoga and another is on holiday so I have no need to go.   Soon my dog-walker will be here to take Tess on a long walk so I haven't even got that to do.   So it is a nice hot shower and a leisurely morning.  Maybe see you later with a photograph.  Here it is - the best I can get as I couldn't stand any further back.   Ercol settees by the way.

Monday, 11 November 2019


I have had friends staying which has resulted in a couple of days without posting.   Sorry about that; having friends to stay these days is hard, but I don't want to stop because I enjoy company too much.   And it is good for me to get tired from doing something rather than sitting about.   I made Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Soup - I shalln't bother doing so again.   It said add a 'good dash of Tabasco' and really, if I hadn't done so I think it would have tasted of nothing.   And I did follow the recipe to the letter.   Much more successful was a salad of leaves, toasted walnuts and crumbled cheese with a nice sharp vinegar (cider) dressing.

Today has been memorable for the arrival of my two new Ercol settees - now I shall be super comfortable when watching television in the evenings. 

It is a damp, sharply chilly day here and on my two walks round with Tess I have been very well wrapped up against the cold, damp wind.   We must spare thoughts for all those people in South Yorkshire whose homes are flooded - and Christmas looming.

Friday, 8 November 2019

Water water everywhere.

When I switched on the television for the News over my breakfast this morning I must say that on hearing about flooding in Yorkshire I went straight to the window and drew back the curtains.   Thankfully it was well South of here.   My sympathies lie with the people of Worksop, Derby, Sheffield and the surrounding area - the situation looks terrible and I hear tonight that one lady has been swept away and drowned.   Never under estimate the dreadful power of water.

The people in Bellerby - the village featured on the News at the last deluge on July 30th - just a mile from where I live are still not back in their homes and one or two premises in Leyburn where I live are still not habitable.   My bedroom has a mildewed wall - according to the builder it was an old and totally worn-out soakaway and I had it replaced at once but the whole episode was probably exacerbated by the fact that my patio flooded and the water almost came into my house.
The decorator has been and is going to treat it and redecorate.   I have passed the problem over to him and now I can relax and forget about it, whether it is cured or not. 

And therein lies the problem I touched on briefly earlier in the week.   One's fragility.   Living alone and ageing are not good bed-fellows.   Some days I cope very well, manage to get a lot done and feel rather proud of myself.   Other days something goes wrong early in the day and I feel pretty helpless and have to give myself a good talking-to.
Yesterday for example began really well and everything went according to plan until the freezer played up.  (My fault of course).   That is up and running again and nothing had thawed out, so all's well that ends well there.   In addition I found the booklet and read up on the settings so things should run smoothly.

Today I didn't feel like going into town early (it is Market Day) but I wanted cheese from the cheese stall and Russet apples from the greengrocery stall (they really are delicious) so I made the effort.   All went well and I was pleased with my progress until, when coming out of the Deli I heard this voice calling me and turned to see the girl from the check-out running down the street with my debit card - I had left it in the machine. How stupid do I have to get before I need more help?
No - I must not think like that but sometimes it is hard not to.

But - Onwards and Upwards!   Friends are coming to stay the night tomorrow night - all is ready and all I have to do in the morning is to make a new soup - Sweet Potato and Red Pepper (I will report on whether it is worth making or not) and then at the last minute create a new salad I have discovered in a magazine - leaves, pear slices, toasted walnuts and crumbled blue cheese with a honey and whole grain mustard dressing. I am looking forward to tasting that.   Watch this space.

Thursday, 7 November 2019


It has been a very miserable wet day here.   So wet first thing  morning that I had to push Tess out into the back garden for her morning 'wee and poo' and she scuttled back in and stayed in her bed.

It is my hair day (9.30) and as I have visitors coming to stay Saturday night I thought I would go into town early and do my shopping (I had made a comprehensive list).    This went well - I found my usual parking place close to the shop, did my shopping and then a charming young man who always comes to my aid pushed my trolley back to my car and unloaded my bags into the boot.   I got home, washed out the fridge and put away all my shopping ready for Saturday - deciding to put the Sourdough loaf into the freezer.    That was when things went wrong.   My freezer is in the garage and when I went to it I found I had not shut the door properly when I last opened it a couple of days ago.   The whole thing was covered in a thick layer of frost.   Friend W was coming to call to take me out to lunch which gave me about twenty minutes to get the stuff out of the freezer and set it to defrost.   Just about managed it but it did rather spoil my day.

Now at seven in the evening the freezer is up and running again (and the door is firmly shut), everywhere is tidy again and I am about to settle down to read The Times, which I have not had a chance to open yet.   This sort of 'crisis' really throws me out as I get older.   I do like everything to be going well.

In addition to this my two new settees have arrived at the Furniture Store and are to be delivered on Monday.   I wish to donate the two I have now to the British Heart Foundation - they will collect but every item must be covered by the Fire Regulations.   They came in in 1988 and we bought the settees in 1995 so there should be a label somewhere but so far I can't find it.   The makers of them (Parker Knoll) have sentme a list of places where the label should be and I am currently waiting for my son to arrive so that we can look underneath - the one place I can't get at.
Oh the joys of getting old.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019


Friends who were on holiday near Penrith drove over to see me for lunch a few months ago.   They live in a Shropshire town and were rather horrified (I felt) by the remoteness of where I lived here in Wensleydale;  by the winding roads too narrow to get up any speed of forty mph at the most; by the narrowness in places and the lack of passing places - that kind of thing.   I have just been discussing with BB (Codlins and Cream) on our blogs about the remoteness of the Swaledale farm on the new series of 'Our Yorkshire Farm' which began again last evening.   It is indeed quite a remote farm but maybe not quite as remote as it appears in the programme - maybe nearest neighbour a mile away - and that is nothing up here - take the Tan Hill Inn - the highest pub in England I believe - you drive a long way past a house to reach that.   People seem to think nothing of remoteness up here.

Many of our children travel into Leyburn by bus from outlying areas when it gets to Comprehensive Education and even Primary Schools are getting fewer or are amalgamating with the next school along the Dale.   And as for medical treatment - our nearest hospital is about twenty five miles away - or for more serious hospital treatment a good forty miles away.  But of course to offset against this are the benefits of living in such a beautiful part of the country.   I wouldn't swap that for the world. 

The beauty of our Autumn is a good example of this.   This year has been a good one for Autumn colour -  some years are better than others.  Not far from where I live - maybe a mile - there is a row  of Horse Chestnut trees and they have been splendid.   Then it was the Silver Birches and Hazels, now it is the Maples.   The Hazels in particular have this year been laden with hazelnuts - and hundreds fell on to the grass on our estate.   When we lived on the farm (only three fields away from where I live now) we had plenty of hazel trees in our hedgerows but we never saw a hazelnut.   We saw plenty of grey squirrels and they always got there first.   I have never seen a grey squirrel since I moved here and the other day when I was walking with Tess I met a chap with a bag full of hazelnuts gathered as he walked round with his dog.   Wish I had thought of that!

I walked right round the top of the estate with Tess earlier this morning and it was warm and really pleasant but now, looking out of the window as I write this, the rain is falling again and the sky is grey.   One thing you can be sure of up here in the hills is that you certainly get all kinds of weather - often all on the same day.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019


November showed itself to perfection this morning - very wet and chilly - absolutely nothing going for it at all.   I always go into town on Tuesday mornings and meet friends in the Post Horn for coffee.   The whole time we were in there in rained and was very miserable.    Shopping done, paper bill paid for the week, it was time to come home to Tess.   I don't think my dog walker has been today.   I was home by eleven and have not been out since and there has been no sign of her.   I dare not go out to take Tess for a walk in case she came, but when it got to half past three this afternoon I ventured out.   The weather was beautiful.   All signs of rain had gone, the wind had dropped, the Autumn sun was shining and it was quite warm.   Both Tess and I enjoyed the walk tremendously.   The down side was that in a fit of enthusiasm I spent the first hour of the afternoon emptying my wardrobe, cleaning it thoroughly and replacing the T shirts and blouses with my winter jumpers and cardigans.   Has to be done - no chance of wearing a T shirt any more this year!   So by the time we walked my ankle was very swollen and I had been on my feet far too long.   Shall now go and put my feet up and watch the programme on the Swaledale farm (not all that far from where I live) and follow that by watching Ben Fogle.   Hopefully a pleasant evening with a glass of Croft sherry for company.

Monday, 4 November 2019


And a grey, dismal Monday at that.   Not particularly cold, but damp and typical November.
This morning was my Book Group - today at M's house, just further down my estate, so not a long journey at all.   Our book this month was 'Sea of Poppies' by Amitav Ghosh - and a great book it was too.   The New York Times called it 'Dickensian' which was a good description.   A huge adventure story full of individual stories, much about things like the caste system and life in general in India a couple of hundred years ago.   It is the first book in a trilogy so we have the other two to look forward to when it is S's turn again.
G has chosen the next book and it is 'Robinson Crusoe' - it is at least sixty years since I read it so I am really looking forward to getting going with that now. 

It has been a miserable afternoon.   Tess and I went for a walk  in the rain but somehow I managed to get either her coat or her harness on wrong because she was very reluctant to walk and I had to cut the walk short.

My decorator has just been to inspect the wall  in my bedroom and is coming in a fortnight to wash the wall with bleach (to kill the mildew which has formed) and then to treat it all before redecorating.
We are just hoping that the new soakaway the builders built has cured the problem.

I am now going to watch 'His Dark Materials' on iplayer - I was undecided whether to start watching or not but the write up in today's Times is so good that I shall give it a go.   I really enjoyed the book.   If I begin to think that the television version is spoiling it for me I shall switch off.   Sometimes the image one has in one's head of something like this is so different from the TV Producer's.   Time will tell.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Another jolly visit.

My two step great grand children called today with birthday cards and lovely bathroom 'smellies' - it is a while since I saw them and how they have grown.   They are delightful children and I thoroughly enjoyed the couple of hours they stayed.   They also brought me a box of chocolate brownies their Mum had made - I had a piece for my tea - goodness me it was pure chocolate and every mouthful was delicious.  I felt very self-indulgent.

The Church coffee morning was this morning but it was not all that well attended, no doubt due to the Rugby Final (the less said about that the better).   But every trip out is important when one lives alone and as the Village Hall is opposite the graveyard it did give me the opportunity to put a Remembrance Cross on my first husband's grave, as I do every early November.   I think it is very important that we always remember the sacrifices that so many millions made during that terrible time. 

After a reasonably pleasant day here - sunshine on and off and very little wind - it began to deteriorate as the afternoon went on and by the time my visitors went it was raining.   I just hope it clears up quickly as they were all four off to the town bonfire in the nearby little town of Bedale - how much better to go to an organised bonfire and firework display than to have indiscriminate fireworks here and there causing so much fear for pets and danger to children.