Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Strugglers and lunch out.

Today was our Strugglers Meeting, where a group of us meet to discuss various topics which we are interested in or which we feel need airing.   We meet for a relaxed hour and a half and I always come away feeling that things are not so bad really.

Then it was a short trip along the road to our local
TOSH - the meeting place for many of our U3A groups and also various other groups within the town - Probus, Tai chi, Keep fit, a weekly film.  We really are a lively little town with so much going on.   We are very lucky.

Every other Tuesday the volunteers do a two course lunch to which anyone may go.   It is very reasonably priced and as we all sit round one large table it is an opportunity to chat to others who turn up.   Today there were about ten of us and the menu was chicken and bacon casserole with curly kale, followed by apple tart and custard.   Very tasty and it passed a pleasant hour and half hour.

This was followed by quite a long walk (for me) with Tess in bright sunshine on this, the first day of Spring (the equinox is today) and now it is time for tea.


Monday, 19 March 2018


Suddenly, in the space of an hour this afternoon, the snow began to go.   I went to ukuleles at a quarter to two and my front lawn was deep in snow.   When I returned at a quarter past three there was no vestige left and all was green.  Let us all hope that we have seen the end of it for this year. (please don't let me be tempting fate here).

I was thinking this afternoon just how very far communication has come in the space of my lifetime.   When I was a child in a village on the 
edge of the Fens in Lincolnshire, only three or four folk in the village had a telephone - the doctor, the rector, the judge who happened to live in the big house in the village and the Lord of the Manor.   Maybe a couple of the farmers too.

The likes of us had to trudge the mile to the red phone box, put in our twopence and press button A speak to anyone - the house could have burnt down in that time.

Now during the past week I have had e mails from America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Germany and France.  And joy of joys, at a quarter past one last Saturday afternoon I had a telephone call from my grandson who lives and works in China.   My parents, both of whom died in 1972 , would scarcely credit it.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Why blog?

Somebody on my comments questioned the need to put a post on every day.   In fact someone else questioned the need to blog at all.

Blogging is such an individual thing, so I thought I might give you my reasons for blogging and for almost always blogging every day. 

I have had a lifetime of discipline - getting up, getting my child off to school, driving myself to school where I taught for most of my working life,
coming home, preparing a meal, doing household chores and then going to bed. 

Retirement brought with it the chance to settle down and do the things I had always wanted to do - read, embroider, play the piano, walk, play early music and join an early music ensemble - very enjoyable - every day filled. 

 After the death of my first husband (married 39 years) I had a couple of years still doing these things, taking my dog for walks, taking on various voluntary jobs.   Then I married the farmer - helped with feeding calves, various farm jobs - looked after hens, reared chicks.   Again a very full life.

Now in my eighties and living alone - I cannot change the habits of a lifetime and sit around doing nothing.   I am not terribly mobile (arthritis) but can still drive my car.   I have lots of friends and we do things together, I go out a lot.   I now have a garden to plant - I was a keen gardener for many years.   But after years of being busy all day and having a routine of doing things, no way can I suddenly start sitting around.   So I still have my planned day - ukulele playing, reading (especially the book for my book group) etc; and built into that is writing my blog.   It is a discipline for me - it makes me think of something to say, it makes me get up and go to my computer, sit down and write.  I never take my lap top to my knee - it is important to walk to my computer room, sit down and write.   

So I suppose I can say that I see blogging every day as a form of discipline for me.   And at least it has given me my topic for today!


Saturday, 17 March 2018

How shall we manage?

Not sure how I shall manage without my daily input of John's wisdom and wit (Going Gently) but I do understand how he needs a break, especially as he is under the weather at the moment.   But come back soon John - and get well soon.

Here in North Yorkshire we are back in the throes of the Mini Beast from the East.   As I look out of the window it is snowing heavily outside - blizzard conditions.   At present it is slightly above freezing so it is quickly going, but I suspect that given another hour things will be very different.   The only consolation is that this spell is only short and once the week end is over  things should begin to warm up again.   In addition a sharp Easterly wind is blowing and clouds of snow are drifting past the window too - very bad sign of drifting.   Will this winter never end?

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Best laid plans..

A fortnight ago friend W and I planned one of our visits to Kirby Lonsdale.  At the last minute we had to call it off because of the deep, deep snow.   As I am sure you know by now, the visit entails going over the top of the Pennines so if the weather is suspect down here at 600ft asl, then sure as eggs is eggs is will be ten times worse up there.   Today it has poured with rain all day, there is a sharp easterly wind blowing and as we came back this afternoon the fog was beginning to form.   The forecast for tomorrow is worse - not a day for such a journey so reluctantly we have called it off again.  Snow is forecast again for the week-end - winter has not finished with us yet.

This afternoon a small contingent of our Ukulele group were playing for the local Alzheimer's Society - a sing along.   In spite of the awful weather there was a really good turnout and the afternoon was, as usual, a huge success.  To see some of the 'patients' who come along with their carers (usually husband or wife) when they come in and then as the meeting ends, is such a pleasure as often they are transformed.   One lady in particular comes in looking frail and troubled, she sings some of the songs with us and by the end of the hour and a half  she is smiling and talking a little.   Makes it all very worthwhile.


Wednesday, 14 March 2018

A Cooler Wednesday

How sad to see this morning that Professor Stephen Hawking has died (I think he might me a Sir too but am not sure).   To live to the age of 76 with that kind of handicap is in itself much to be admired but to add so much to the world in terms of scientific study and mathematics just takes him out of the realm of ordinary people.   And what an inspiration he must have been to others with Motor Neurone Disease.

To more mundane things.   Well perhaps the affair of the poisoning in Salisbury is not mundane, but we have heard little else for the last few days.   The people of Salisbury must be heartily sick of it all.   I know it is an extremely serious matter - that such a nerve agent should find its way to a cathedral city as it has.   And I know that where it has come from and who did it is equally serious.   But I can't help feeling that we have too much information.   This is the problem these days - we don't really know anything about the matter, only what 'they' choose to tell us, so wouldn't it be better to say much less.   As someone once said - a little learning is a dangerous thing.   Being a Double Agent must be about the most dangerous job in the world I guess.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Spring? Afraid not.

Today is a Spring Day - sunny, hardly any breeze and quite warm - beautiful in fact.   This morning I went into town to do one or two jobs and then met friend E (only the two of us this morning) for our usual coffee.   Coming home I stopped off to pay the newspaper bill and to buy a couple of Gardening Magazines (yes, the bug has bitten me), had a quick lunch and then Tess and I drove down to the farm (always rather sad), parked the car and walked down 'our' lane for a quarter of a mile or so - and then back to the car.   How we both enjoyed it.

Yes, the gardening bug has hit me.   Yes, I am infested with Marestail, but there is nothing I can do about that other than to try to keep it down and to learn to live with it.   Derek, my gardener, knows this garden well and together we will keep it in check (any attempt to ban it is doomed to failure).

I have now ordered seven new plants to arrive next week from clareaustin hardy-plants - astrantia, hardy geraniums, hellebores and an erigeron which I particularly like.   The bed for them does not have Marestail so Derek is going to prepare that first.   Now I have in mind a couple of clematis to climb up and over my stone wall - then I shall really have made a start.

We need to make the most of today as the weather forecast is not good - it is going to get colder and by the weekend we shall be subject to snow showers - and the cold weather is then set to continue until the end of the month.   But today the sky is blue so let's not be downhearted.

Mary Berry last evening made some delicious and easy-looking recipes so my next job is to go to her site and download them.   Enjoy any blue sky that might have come your way today.

Monday, 12 March 2018


This is not a day when I feel cheerful - for a variety of reasons.   Of course the anniversary of the death of my dear farmer is fast approaching (March 22nd) so that doesn't help.

The party I gave for my son's sixtieth on Saturday was a delight and it was so lovely to see all the family together (apart from Dan in China) but when I got out of bed on Sunday morning my legs just would not work.   It took me a long time to get going and today they are still not brilliant.

In addition today has been a pouring wet day - it has never stopped.  I have forced myself to keep doing jobs rather than sit about, which would only make me feel worse

I did a load of washing, I took some rubbish up to the tip, I bought some needed stationery and came back and after lunch (and taking Tess for her second walk of the day) I sorted out various utility things - gas and electricity, council tax for next year and the like.  All jobs which needed doing but which I had no inclination to do.

Now it is tea time, I shall feed Tess and then myself and then before I know it it will be time to watch Mary Berry!

Sunday, 11 March 2018

The Party

The buffet party for my son's sixtieth birthday went well.   My grand=daughter came round early in the morning and together we prepared all the food.   It took us three hours and as far as I was concerned those three hours were a delight = these days I rarely get my grand daughter to myself for any time at all - after all, she has a toddler to look after.   We had such a lovely time prepared the planned buffet and chatting together.

We were catering for ten, many of whom were vegetarians.   We had veggie quiches, ham sandwiches, tuna/mayo sandwiches and veggie sandwiches to my grand daughter's recipe: grate together red onion, carrot and strong cheese, add salt and pepper and a dash of  white wine vinegar
and then bind with mayo. (delicious - try it).  Potato pancakes spread with cream cheese and smoked salmon, a cheese board garnished with black and green grapes, hot rolls and butter, a giant salad nicoise, crisps, various pates and biscuits for cheese or for spreading with pate.  Finally I made a huge apple and plum crumble which we served warm with ice cream or single cream.   There was white wine, rose wine, tea, coffee - plenty of chat and laughter and finally a large chocolate birthday cake.

We decorated the front windows with  60 signs and his three children and me clubbed together and bought him a top of the range tablet.

The icing on the cake was that at half past one we were able to speak to his son who is teaching in China.

Everyone mucked in with clearing things away, loading the dishwasher and keeping things tidy.  It was a lovely occasion.

Out to lunch today.   Mothering Sunday meant that the restaurant was packed to capacity and the staff were run off their feet - but obviously doing well.
Salmon in white wine and tarragon sauce with roasties and seasonal vegetables, followed by an orange sorbet served in the shell of an orange.

An update on Tess - she is back to normal in that she is full of energy, eating well, dashing to the door when anyone comes.   I shall try to put the tumour out of mind until the inevitable day comes when we have to say goodbye.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Sad news.

Tess did indeed have a tooth infection and has had
her teeth de-tartared and cleaned.   She is on anti biotics and hopefully that will clear it up.   She is certainly more perky tonight.   But, sadly, the scan showed up that she has a large mass in the stomach area which is almost certainly cancer.

I have decided not to have investigative surgery.   She is over ten years old and has never had anything wrong with her.   The vet has said that they could probably (but not certainly) remove at least part of the tumour but that it would regrow.

Tess has been a fit and healthy dog for her ten years and I am not prepared to let her go through an operation at her age and with this prognosis.
You can imagine I am pretty upset, especially so near to the anniversary of the farmer's death, but am soldiering on and friends have all been so good.

Tomorrow is my son's sixtieth birthday and a buffet is planned here.   We are all going to speak to my grandson in China via the internet at 12.15
so that will cheer me up.   My grandchildren are here, as it my great grand daughter who is just over a year old, so it will be a special day.   And I must say that Tess is back to normal, dashing about and not in any pain, so as long as  she goes
on like this all shall be well.