Well readers, the forecast is terrible but looking out of the window you would never know it. It is still, the sun is shining and there is a white frost on the fields. I suppose it could be the calm before the storm, but I shall make the most of a good day if worse is to come. I have a stack of wool waiting to crochet more squares for my Afghan rug if I can't go out and several jobs lined up to do.
Now that I find I can't drive any more I have determined to practise up several pieces on the piano. I used to be able to play three Schubert Impromptu from D 899 and have even played them in concerts, but I am very rusty - so I shall go through them carefully, practising the very difficult parts, and get them up to scratch again.
Also the end of the VAT quarter looms (31st of this month) so I need to get the farm books up to date. I always put it off until the last minute I am ashamed to say.
Our Swaledale sheep have decided to give the farmer the run-around. Somewhere they have found a spot where they can jump on to and over the stone wall and run off down the lane. Half an hour ago I saw five of them with a car behind them! Now the farmer and his dog have just gone out to get them back. No doubt the farmer will be 'spitting blacking' as they say in the Midlands (where I spent many years).
I have decided, as it is a cold day, that we can have a pudding today. Usually puddings are forbidden but I know how much the farmer loves a rice pudding cooked in the Aga, so I have made him one - the timer is sitting beside me as I type, so that I can transfer it from one oven to the other at the correct time (i.e. when a golden skin has formed and the milk has boiled). First of all we shall have chicken hash - like corned beef hash but with roast chicken substitute.
On the subject of reading and good books - my son and I are both Fred Vargas fans (we rarely agree on a good read) and he has passed three on to me. Once I start reading one, it is difficult to put down. If you like murder/mystery with a touch of the weird then Fred is the author for you. She is French (born 1957) and her stories are amazing. Do try one.
Sad to relate, finally, that Araucaria, the master crossword setter of the Guardian newspaper, is terminally ill with cancer of the oesophagus. He informed his followers by compiling a crossword with all the clues in it. He is into his nineties and has given generations of crossword fanatics something to get their teeth into, particularly at every Bank Holiday when he has produced amazingly complicated ones, which have occupied hours of my time. I am sad about it, but he is a good age and is still compiling them and says he will go on as long as he can - so here's hoping that he has the care he needs and that he leaves this world gradually and peacefully, knowing what joy he has given to so many.