Thursday, 23 November 2017

Reading instructions.

Our Roadside recycling collections have all changed.   One week it is Dustbins - fairly straightforward - contents of dustbin wrapped in plastic bags and taken to the bottom of the drive.
The other week is Recycling week and since I moved - and all the instructions changed - I haven't got it right yet.

We have a variety of boxes and bags.   Here are the instructions:-

Blue Bags:   All paper, all card, egg boxes, brown card, cardboard tubes.   No to:  Takeaway containers, polystyrene, used tissue and wallpaper.
Boxes:   Plastic bottles,pots, tubs and trays; glass bottles and jars;cans, aerosols, cartons.   No to:  Broken glass, paint tins, plastic film and bags, plant pots, black plastic.

I sorted everything carefully yesterday and put it out at the bottom of the drive, but they didn't take it.    Did I do it wrong or did they just not see mine?   I will never know, but this morning, in the pouring rain, Tess and I drove up to the tip and handed it all in.    So all nice and tidy again.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Being British

Being British there is always the weather to talk about.   In fact I suspect it is our main topic of conversation.   It is either too hot or too cold, too wet or too dry, too windy or we could do with a good strong wind to dry things up a bit.   Maybe there are one or two days - most likely in Spring - when the weather is 'just right' for us all.  And we wallow in it.

Well today was definitely not one of the just right days.  You wouldn't call it a grey day - more of a black day.   Great black clouds have puthered across the sky all day and the rain has fallen heavily.   In addition the wind has been too strong for me to walk far.

Luckily it is the day when friend S sometimes calls to take Tess for a walk and she called today and braved the weather to take her up to the top of the road and then into the field.   Tess would love that as I know she misses the grass.

Now, at five o'clock, it is pitch dark.   My son has just been and helped me to organise my garage in a better way.    That doesn't mean I shall be able to get my car in but I shall be able to use my tumble drier.   I think the car is destined to stay on the drive but when I look down the road almost everyone seems to leave their car outside overnight.    Do you leave your cars out or do you put them away?   I would be interested to know because several folk have told me it is actually better for the car to stay outside.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Too busy

Some time ago, friend W (who is only a little younger than I am) announced that she really was going to cut down on what she was doing.   I thought this a good idea and followed suit.   Has it worked?

Certainly it hasnt worked if today is an example.  This morning it was 'Strugglers' - a group of us (anything from half a dozen to around ten) meet in the Quaker Meeting House for an hour and a half of quiet contemplation and a time when any of us  can talk about anything we wish to talk about and discuss.   Sometimes this is a jolly meeting and sometimes it is sombre.   What it always is is a support group through thick and thin.

Four of us went out to lunch afterwards - just across the Square.  (a prawn baguette with salad for me).   Then I went home to make a meal in my Remoska - a sausage, red onion and apple casserole (half for my tea this evening, the other half for the freezer) and a snooze on the settee.   Friend W went on a hospital visit twenty miles away.   This evening we both went to two hour ukulele practise.

I have come in pretty exhausted.   Can't imagine how tired W must be.   In other words - neither of  us is sticking to our resolution.   How much work should us eighty year olds be doing?   I have also had three walks with Tess - albeit fairly short.   Off to bed.  Good night all.


Monday, 20 November 2017

Making music

The ukulele is such a fun instrument.   I am a keyboard player and have also played in an Early Music ensemble playing a variety of 'old' instruments - harpsichord, virginals, rebecs, recorders, crumhorns and the like.   But the ukulele is a completely new experience and it is a good thing at my age to take up a completely new thing to do.   It exercises a different part of the brain.

I have a condition called 'Benign Essential Tremor' which means that my hands shake when I write or when I try to carry a cup and saucer for example.
People tend to think it is the start of Parkinson's disease but my condition has been investigated and it is really quite harmless - irritating but not serious.   It runs in families - my father shook and my sister too.   And reading about it on the internet I see that the actress Katherine Hepburn
suffered greatly from it from an early age - not just in her hands but even her neck and head too.

Oddly enough I don't shake when I play the ukulele.   The doctor informs me that this is because it is a new skill I am learning and that uses a different part of the brain.  So yet another reason for taking up something new.   

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Home sweet home.

Yes, it feels like home.   Not the farmer with his dear self in it, but I have to be realistic - he is not coming back - just the memories of him - and I find those easier away from the farm than I did while living there.   I have the bungalow more or less liveable and am getting to know folk round about - everyone is very friendly.

This morning the sun is shining brightly on to a very frosty world.   My sitting room faces due South as did the sitting room at the farm, so when the sun is shining the rooms soon warm up as good backing to the central heating.   I have a louvred blind at the window so there are shadows on these photographs and because of the restricted space  things seem at an angle - but you get the general idea.

It is a long room and there is pleny of space.   The blanket (which I made from an old sample book of tweeds) on the settee back is handy for my legs in the evening (and Tess rather likes to sleep on the bottom of it too).

If any of my US readers can remind me what the figure on the left of the mantel shelf is called I would be grateful.   I love it - bought it at Mesa Verde some years ago - but keep forgetting his name.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Five Weeks to Go.

All I can say really is that M & S at Teeside Park at half past nine on a Saturday morning is pretty much mayhem.   Admittedly it was a twenty percent off clothing day, which I am sure made a difference, but finding a spot in the car park would have been nigh on impossible without my 'Disabled' badge and the poor assistants were already looking haggard.   Only another seven or so hours to go.

Watching my half hour of Breakfast television this morning - on a Saturday it includes a quarter of an hour of 'Click' - I watched with amazement a Production line putting together smart phones in China.   Long lines of operatives, each one placing just one tiny component in the phone and then sending it on to the next bay so that in double quick time it arrives at the end of the line and is complete.   No wonder the operatives get a two hour lunch break; most of them, heads down, were asleep at their posts.

All this made me jolly glad to be long-retired.

Oh and by the way - bought two lovely sweaters.

Friday, 17 November 2017

No Joke.

This is the third time I have tried to post this and each time, as I got the the end the whole thing disappeared into thin air, never to be seen again.   It has been most frustrating and does make me realise that old age/lack of real computer knowledge is a great handicap to blogging.   As it is indeed to everything else.

Yesterday, what started out as a perfectly ordinary day with not a lot on the agenda, ended up as a frantically hectic day which ended with my feeling like a wrung-out rag.   This was mostly due to old age.   Everything takes twice or three times as long to do - nothing is really easy any more. End of moan.

I would like to repeat yesterday's post so that you can read just what a hectic day I had but really the effort of remembering it in detail is just not worth the bother. 

Today has been less so, largely because it is our Coffee day and following on this friend W and I, as usual, went out for lunch.   We had a prawn and crayfish salad with trimmings and a bowl of chips each.   It was delicious.

My Insurance Broker came and we spent the afternoon (after the whole thing was sorted out) chatting.   He has just come back after a trip with his wife to Macchu Pichu and then a week going up a tributary of the Amazon.   One of the holidays I would have loved to have done when younger but just listening to the itinerary now was enough to make me want a lie down.

The weather here is bitterly cold today with a sharp wind blowing.   Even Tess seems reluctant to go out although if J, who often walks her in the early evening, rings the door bell I am sure she will change her mind.

Back to old age.   At our ukulele meeting for the Alzheimers and their carers the other day, one friend forgot her ukulele, another forgot his music and a third (who actually called for me) forgot to close his boot, so that the car kept pinging for the first half mile!  In today's Times I read of a man who lost his car twenty years ago (a VW Passat) when he just couldn't remember where he had left it.   It has just  been found by builders about to
clear a site for building!!   Traced back to the man the car is now quite undriveable of course but he acknowledges that it is still in the place he parked it all those years ago.


Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Settling down.

Getting back into blogging is playing a large part in settling down to my new life.   Bit by bit things are getting done, a place is being found for everything (well almost) and the bungalow is beginning to look tidy.

Sadly I can't abide mess so all the boxes were unpacked in double quick time.   I had wonderful help from W and C who were at the bungalow to receive the stuff when it arrived.   By the time my helper J and I arrived they were well on with putting the crockery away in the kitchen cupboards.

Tradesmen all came when they said they would come so that everything was finished on time.   The electrician is here this afternoon putting a socket in the garage for my electric doors.   My dog walker has just arrived to take Tess for a walk with her dog, Meg. 

Ukulele has taken a back seat - my mind was far too full of other things to concentrate, but I am starting again tomorrow when I go with a small group to play for Alzheimers sufferers and their carers.   It is a lovely afternoon and we all enjoy it so a good place to start up again for me.

Sounds as though we are in for a very cold spell of weather.   If so then I shall miss my dear old Aga.
Gas central heating is good but nothing beats the Aga for good toe-warming.

The world and its affairs have passed me by completely although I am now watching Breakfast television for the half hour or so it takes me to eat my porridge and banana.   Zimbabwe seems to be the headline today, along with the terrible scenes of famine and displacement in Yemen.   Nothing changes does it - just the site of the problem.  As somebody said (and I am sure one of you will point out who it was) 'Mans inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn.'

Until tomorrow friends.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Normal service

It seems that I have been away such a long time - much of it thanks to BT who connected my telephone the same day that I moved but didn't connect my broadband for a fortnight so I have been champing at the bit.

The good side is that I am almost straight.   All boxes are unpacked.   I have had two rooms redecorated.   Quite a lot of electrical work has been done.   A new shower and patio doors have been installed.   Yesterday a new carpet was laid in the dining room (which was previously a bedroom) and it is now down to buying one new set of curtains for the patio doors and then I am completely finished and it is home sweet home.

Tess and I are settling in well.   This is a very friendly road and I already know quite a few people in it.   They, plus some I had not met before, have called in to welcome me and already I feel at home here and know I have made the right decision.   Tess misses the fields of course and the fact that she cannot be let off the leash because she has absolutely no road sense.   As I write this she is laid at my feet.   I try to take her for three walks a day.   Today I have only managed two as I had to go to see the specialist at the hospital early this morning but sometimes in the evening a friend calls to take her for a walk, so there is time yet.

I am finding gas quite scary - I have gas central heating and a gas hob; ovens are electric and after twenty five years with an Aga it is daunting, but I must get down to tackling it before Christmas.

The world has not changed in the three weeks I have been away.   Everything is just as it was and I have slotted back in.   Within a week I shall have forgotten I have ever been away.

The bungalow holds no memories of the farmer.   I have our wedding photograph in a prominent place.    I love the look of optimism on his face and I know that he would not have settled here.   He would have been back at the farm helping out at every opportunity.    Quiet retirement in a bungalow was never on his agenda.   So he rests in peace in the fields he loved.

Monday, 13 November 2017


Hello all friends - at last I am back on line today  and  after reading through my 427 e mails can now start posting again.

I am more or less straight.   The builder, the decorator, the electrician and the water board have all been and done whatever they had to do.   This morning the computer engineer came and put me back on line and any minute now the carpet layer will arrive to lay the dining room carpet and then I am almost there.    I cannot bear to be untidy and so shall be glad to be back knowing where everything is (more or less) and my brain will begin to function normally I hope.    As it is I keep mislaying things - this morning it was my front door key and I still have that to find.

I had a lovely e mail from Rachel in Spain - she sounds to be having a good time.   I hope she will come back in fighting form.   Isn't it good that we can give one another support when things go wrong?

Hopefully posting proper will resume tomorrow.   In the meantime - I have missed you all and missed our almost daily contact.   It has kept me going over the past few months.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Normal service.

The day for moving is almost here.  I shall have to dismantle my lap top and it all has to be moved to my new address.   I know there is no B T Point where I want my computer to be so I shall have to wait for them to instal one.   So folks it's goodbye for now.


Sunday, 22 October 2017

Nearly there.

Today has been a day of doing a bit then sitting down and having a rest and then starting again.   For some reason I am very tired although I slept well - I suspect it is tension building because Tess and I are to leave our home - the home I have lived in with the farmer for the last twenty four years.

There are very few things left for me to do now but because the family are having one or two very large pieces of kitchen furniture and are collecting them on Tuesday, I have to empty the cupboards and find somewhere to put the 'stuff' until the removal men come.

Only four more nights to go before I leave now.   Tess is definitely beginning to sense that something is happening and as a result she is  
restless most of the time.   Outside it is very cold and windy but I think a short walk may calm us both down.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Lunch out.

Lovely lunch out at friend W's when her friends N,K and S came to stay.   Lunch is made up of S's favourite things so was - Roast ham, chips, new potatoes, cauli, petit pois, asparagus, sprouts - lots of mustards and sauces.   This was followed by one of her famous fruit salads of various berries, pomegranate seeds - a bright, jewel-like mix of fruits with ice cream and/or cream or if you preferred sticky toffee pudding (the original Cartmel variety) and then coffee.  By this time Storm Brian had sent us buckets full of heavy rain so we just sat and chatted until half past four when I came home.   Tess took one look outside and decided that she just didn't wish to go for a walk this evening thank you.   I shall now sit and read The Guardian and then do a few more packing jobs.   Tomorrow is another day.   Only 5 more nights sleeping here.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Bit of a non eventful day

I didn't sleep well last night.   My mind was on the go all night long - I think I probably got about three hours sleep and finally got up for good at just after five o'clock this morning.  I went for my usual coffee with friends, came back, had jacket potatoes and fresh mango for lunch, sat in the chair and woke up feeling awful two hours later.
But a good long stroll down the Lane with Tess (and with Blackie the cat too unfortunately because he is such a pest weaving in and out of my legs)  and I came back feeling more like my usual self.   Five minutes now to the last of this week's Antiques Road Trip - so goodbye for today.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

The only way

I have decided that the only way to get through these last few days until next Thursday and moving day is to catalogue a list of things which must be done each day and then do them - ticking each one off as I go.   Then, although the house is in chaos, at the end of each day i have a sense of satisfaction at a job done.   And so it was today as my taxi drew up to take me into town.

Nails done - tick; hair done - tick; a walk down the Market Square to the Post Office and Co-op - tick;  then snag number one as I drifted round picking up things I needed only to find that my bags were really too heavy.   I staggered down to the Electrical Shop and bought a new Tumble Drier (to be delivered when I move in) and then rang my taxi to collect me from there.

After lunch I made myself set up Direct Debits for all the Utility Services at my new property.   I didn't feel like doing it - when one is very deaf, as i am, speaking on the phone is not easy.   But everyone was most kind and helpful and before long I had them done in time to go down to see my Solicitor.   So a cup of coffee and a scone in a cafe in town then home again.

Now it is pouring with rain.   Tess will not go out although she has not been out since half past nine this morning.   Hatches are battened down and all's right with the world.   For today at any rate.


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

The last dregs

I suppose, like the last straw, the last remnants of packing to move house are the worst.  Wednesday is an afternoon when a friend S often takes Tess for a long walk.   I dare not mention the name all morning because Tess goes mad in anticipation.  As she has done often over the past few weeks, S arrived just before two o'clock and took Tess on what she hoped would be a new route she has carefully marked out on her map.

I decided I would start at the far bedroom and make sure that everything in each room was intended to go to my new home.   All items I don't need will be put into the office and the door closed; that way nothing will go by mistake.

I worked my way through two bedrooms, a boxroom, a sitting room and a living room.  Now we are down to the hall where my computer lives (plus a plethora of things under the stairs!) and the large kitchen.   It all looks much more manageable now and I feel two things - satisfied with my afternoon's work and dog-tired.

So it is time to sit down with a cup of tea and read my book for a couple of hours.   It is not a particularly good book but it is relaxation and occupies the mind.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017


We have been very lucky here with the storm - yes it has been windy but not too bad and now - four in the afternoon - it is really no more than breezy.

I have had my Aga professionally cleaned today and I have to say that this evening it looks like a new one.   They have made a smashing job of it and I am so pleased.   Tomorrow the engineer is coming to service it and switch it back on, then I shall be back to normal. 

This afternoon I have gone about packing some of my kitchen equipment - mixer, liquidiser etc. just into an open topped box so that the removal men can do what they will with it and in the meantime I can wash out the cupboard where it has been stored. 

As with all things like this it is the last few things which take the time.   Looking at my dustpan and brush and my long handled soft brush I have decided to say goodbye to them and buy new ones when I next go into town.   Sometimes it takes something like a house move to look objectively at something one has been using for ages and see that it is worn out!

Ukuleles tonight so I shall now go and have a leisurely tea and watch Antiques Road Trip.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Michael Fish

I can't help feeling that I have done a bit of a "Michael Fish" yesterday.   (for US readers he was a weather forecaster thirty years ago when the great storm broke here and he predicted it wouldn't arrive).
Storm Ophelia is predicted to hit Northern Ireland later today and all schools are closed throughout both the North and the South of the Country.   As far as we are concerned here, the winds are predicted to be storm force - particularly in the  West of the country but even here in the East they may reach seventy miles an hour.  So we shall all be battening down the hatches.

The good news is that it should pass through quite quickly - but the last big storm (in 1987) did a huge amount of damage - the town of Sevenoaks 
in a very short time became 'Oneoak' as all but one of the famous oaks was uprooted by the strength of the wind. 

So - if I have done a Michael Fish then it is history repeating itself.   Let's all keep our fingers crossed and hope that this storm is not as severe as it might be.

Sunday, 15 October 2017


Sundays have now become synonymous with eating out at the same restaurant where we are now seen as regulars,   The same goes for various other people so that we meet a lot of old friends there now which is rather nice.

The outlook from the bar across the golf course means looking at literally hundreds of deciduous trees and today they were at their autumnal best - all shades of oranges greens and yellows  literally glowing in the sunlight.   There is so much that is beautiful about Autumn isn't there?   I suppose this is true of every season although I find I have to search hard to find anything beautiful about Winter unless it is a Christmas card scene seen through the sitting room window and a blazing fire in the grate.

There is something to be said for living in a place where the climate is never too extreme.   On the whole we don't have forest fires, gales so severe that they bring down thousands of trees, heat waves , tornados, hurricanes, floods - well if we do then they become headline news because they are so unusual.   Looking at the TV coverage of the awful fires in California and the beautiful houses of the rich which have been burnt to the ground does make one realise that how lucky we are.   And the whole town of quite ordinary folk - all gone, consumed by the flames.

The hurricanes in the Caribbean area and all the homes destroyed.   I could go on -  I just feel lucky
that I live in good old boring UK.   But if they mention Brexit one more time I shall do something I may well live to regret.   (Haven't thought what yet - probably utter some of those words I never thought I would say!)

Saturday, 14 October 2017


Is anyone out there having the lovely promised weather today?   It began raining here before I let Tess out for her final wee last evening and it is still raining now at four in the afternoon on Saturday; not pouring rain you understand, just that damp, all-enveloping wet stuff.

I am continuing with my packing.   Starting upstairs and working down I now feel that everywhere is in an easy state for the removal men.   The kitchen is certainly not but they will no doubt be used to dealing with kitchens. 

Flu jab morning.   We put off going last time our surgery had a flu jab morning as my friend was not well.   But this morning, both  fighting fit, we joined the queue which was moving rapidly as the centre staff have it worked out to perfection.
We were there for half past eight and well home again for nine having bought a Guardian on the way home.

Out to lunch again tomorrow, so the only question tonight is whether to watch 'Strictly' or not.  Getting a bit fed up with it this year - I think it has maybe gone on a bit too long.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Friday again.

How quickly Friday comes around.   As I am sure you know by now, I love my Friday mornings because I meet friends and we have a good chat.   Eight of us this morning - E back from her travels here there and everywhere, the rest of us turning up as usual.

We have now been going to the same cafe for so long that the waitresses know exactly what our orders will be.   We sit there for about an hour and a half and then toddle off to wherever we are going next.   In the case of friend W and I it is out to lunch - a new place this week to try - The Bolton Arms in the pretty village of Redmire.

I am rather ashamed to say, in spite of having been stopped driving because of a couple of minor TIA's I opted for sausage, egg and chips - a combination I have not had for years.   It was delicious - I am weak and couldn't resist it.

Since coming home I have cleaned out two cupboards and packed the contents into boxes and labelled them  - each time I fill a box I feel a sense of satisfaction and a little bit nearer moving.   I wish a good fairy would wave a magic wand and allow me to awake in three weeks time when it is all over.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Lost my independence.

I don't think I realised until I had my Driving Licence suspended just what independence driving gave me and what a difference it makes.   Today I have struggled with teetering on the edge of a depression.

A simple day like an E C G at the doctor's surgery and then an hour later my hair appointment, became a bit of a mammoth arrangement.

A taxi collected me at half past nine for the Medical Centre.   I only had to wait a couple of minutes before I was called in.  (it always intrigues me that whenever I go the car park is crammed with vehicles and yet there is hardly anyone in the waiting room) and the E C G took no time at all.

I then had to get to the Hairdresser - maybe about half a mile and almost all uphill.  I walked - slowly - and really enjoyed it.   It was a pleasant morning.   I posted a couple of letters and had time to collect my winter coat from the dry cleaners.  I must have looked pretty exhausted from my walk because he made me sit on a chair while he got my coat and then insisted on carrying it round to the Hairdressers for me.   What a nice man.   

I was half an hour early so I sat and read The Times and then, dead on time, the taxi drew up outside to bring me home.

I cooked a fish pie with broccoli and carrots for my lunch, with strawberries to follow, sat in the chair and slept all afternoon! 

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!!

Autumn is well and truly with us now.   Maybe in towns and cities it is not quite so evident, but here in the countryside the signs are everywhere.

My tall Scots pines, the windbreak close to the prevailing wind side of the farmhouse, are dropping pine cones and pine needles by the thousand.   The pine needles often end up in the guttering of the house;  the pine needles blow up and down the drive, gradually being swept into piles until they are quite easy to gather up.

The cattle - milk cows, beef herds, suckler herds,
fill the fields, eating up the remaining grass now that silaging has finished.   It has been showery for the last few weeks and the grass has grown apace so there will be no need to start on the silage yet and it should last well over the winter, with no shortages. 

Walking down the Lane this morning with Tess I was struck by the dearth of hawthorn berries.  There was plenty of May blossom but now there are none of the swags of ripe berries for the winter birds.   But the rose hips are there, pushing out into the Lane and fully ripe.   I was tempted today to cut some to take with me to my new home - I love them so.   But then I decided that the birds need was greater than mine and I left them to give pleasure where they were.

The rooks go no further during the day than our fields - swooping across them in the strong west wind, landing in the ash trees and complaining to one another about the conditions for flying I suspect.   If you are close enough the noise they make is quite deafening.

There is a feeling that all Nature's creatures are making preparations for the coming of winter - laying in stocks of food, making snug places to spend their time, making the most of any sunny, warmish day.

Oil tanks are being filled, logs are being sawn and stacked (the farmer had a goodly quantity left from last year so the folk coming into the house will start with plenty), all the signs are there.

Now the forecast is for a warm week-end, so let's make the most of it.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Guilty as chargedn

Yes, it was me - I admit it.   The reason yesterday's post was back to normal was that my son called in
and corrected things in a flash.   How did he do it? He went to my site, clicked on 'compose' and everything jumped into place;  I had accidentally clicked on HTML!   The trouble is that what I know about I can do alright on the computer - everything else is a foreign language.

Only a short post today because it has been a long day - lunching out (Caesar salad since you ask) and sorting out a lot of music.   Three walks for Tess and a bad night's sleep last night - so see you tomorrow.

Monday, 9 October 2017


...whether I feel like it or not. Rachel says today she just doesn't feel like doing anything. I woke up feeling much the same but of course I had to get up; there is no lie-in when you've got a dog. I ate my solitary breakfast and watched my usual half hour of Breakfast Television (I turn it off after half an hour because it repeats itself). Then I had a sudden spurt of energy and sent out a rush of e mails and the result is that I have got a tentative moving date. 
Nothing is absolutely sure (is it ever?) but it is sure enough to book the removal firm. This fired me into a spurt of doing one or two jobs - packing all my shoes into one suitcase and all my summer T shirts into another. This has been done on the advice of the chap who came to look round regarding removals. Then I wrote one or two letters about moving and ticked them off my list and I must say that at the end of all this (and cooking a lunch) I did feel decidedly better. 
 Not being able to drive is very frustrating - I do appreciate that it is necessary but that doesn't make it any easier to bear. I live a couple of miles out of town and a mile from a bus stop so I rely largely on friends, although I have managed to book a taxi for the morning when I have to have an E C G and then later on a hairdressing appointment. But being in a state of limbo is not an easy thing to put up with, especially when one is used to being so independent. Patience is never a quality I have been particularly endowed with. I apologise for the lack of paragraphing. I have written the piece in paragraphs but blogger has decided to have a mind of its own and is refusing my size of print and my paragraphing. I shall be patient. 
**I now see that John's post on Kingfisher 'doesn't exist' according to blogger so at least I am not alone in my problems.
No posts at the moment as something has happened to my blogger page and I can't seem to get a sentence to stay on it and I cant control the size of the print so it is almost too small for me to see - so back soon (I hope!)

Saturday, 7 October 2017


The weather is very chilly today; winter seems to have crept up on us and suddenly presented itself, demanding that we get out our heavy coats and scarves.   Maybe it is just me and old age.   Whatever the reason I was pleased to get in in the warm this evening.

Nothing like as nice a day as yesterday when our trip out to Kirby Lonsdale gave us such wonderful views, today has been cloudy and there is a sharp wind blowing. At least now that the sun is setting the sky is clearing and that should present a good view of the promised meteor shower for tonight.

Not being able to drive is proving such a handicap as I live so far from the main road.   Friend W is, as usual, being stalwart but there will still be some difficulties.   Thursday is a day when there are problems as I have to have an ECG quite early in the morning and then a hairdressing appointment later.   And the distance between the two venues is quite a long way for my arthritis too.   I am trying to arrange taxis but so far can't seem to raise a reply from the taxi company.   But I'm sure something will work out.

This morning was our local church coffee morning
and lunch was a delicious beef lasagne bought at the church hall and made by A - she always saves us two each.   Then this afternoon was ukulele practice - not so many of us today but we had a play together.   Now it is in, light tea after the lasagne and I shall now repair to the kitchen by the Aga to watch Strictly Come Dancing and try to do The Guardian crossword.   Enjoy your Saturday evening - and if you are in the UK I hope you manage to see the meteors.


Friday, 6 October 2017

Two days out

There was no time to put a post on yesterday as I spent all day at our local hospital.   I have had a couple of T I A's and so was given a complete health check yesterday and am now wearing a twenty four hour heart monitor.   I feel fine and expect there is nothing to worry about but at this time of stress it is something I could have done without.   As usual very dear friends are rallying round.   So that was my day out yesterday.

Today's day out is much more pleasureable - yes, as many of you will have no doubt guessed by now - it is Kirby Lonsdale.   Over the Pennines go friend W and I on the most glorious Autumn morning (clear blue sky, bright sunshine now at 8.30am) to meet friends P and D in Avanti, our favourite Italian Restaurant in Kirby for a leisurely lunch.   We have, as usual, both decided what we are going to eat (we more or less know the menu off by heart by now) but may very well change our minds when we get there.

As my son and I were saying last evening - this has not been a brilliant year for us.   I suppose all families have years like this.   My beloved farmer died in March, my daughter in law, who is a semi invalid anyway, has had to have a new hip and is still recovering, my great nephew has some unidentified illness which has put him in hospital for months, many of them in Intensive Care - and he is still not in the clear yet by a long way.   In addition two more friends have died.   I suppose we all have years like this, when crises bunch together, but it doesn't really hit home until it happens to you.

The other outcome of the blip in my health (I feel fine by the way) is that for the time being I cannot drive.   As I live down a long lane a mile from town this is a nuisance.   Friend W ferries me everywhere (for which I can never thank her enough) but events like the hairdresser each week present a problem.   I shall go back to on line grocery shopping this week and this will solve the problem of food so at least I needn't worry about that.   I have been trying to keep my food shopping down to the minimum because we eat out a lot (!!) and I don't want to be carting food when I move houses.

Speaking of the move - it does look as though it is on the horizon and may well take place before the end of October.


Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Several days rolled into one.

Today has seemed like a week of days all crammed into one day.    By tea time I was a complete nervous wreck and my shaking (Benign Essential Tremor) was so bad that I could hardly write.   My son came round between school and evening private music lessons in an effort to calm me down a bit, but really things are getting all too much for me now and I shall be relieved when the move is completed.  (Probably by the end of the month the solicitor says).

Over the past month I have had a couple of T I A's which the doctor feels should be investigated.   This morning I had to go for a series of blood tests - all went well.   Then back home for lunch and then to the hairdressers - all went well.  A friend, S, was calling while I was at the hairdressers to take Tess for a walk.   I am most grateful for her help and so is Tess of course.

I had another appointment, this time at what I thought was 4.40 to have an E C G.  At four o'clock the friend reminded me of the fact and when I looked at the calendar I had missed the appointment by an hour.   Ringing up and apologising was so embarrassing but the surgery were very good about it.

Then there was a message on my answer phone asking me to ring the hospital, which I did.   I was given an appointment to see the specialist in the morning.   I wrote it on my calendar but trying to read it back later I can't decipher the time.   When I tried to ring and ask, the desk was shut for the night.

I have now been sitting down for an hour, have had some tea, and am at last relaxing.   I really don't want many more days like today!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Is there anything better?

Does anything beat a warm toasted tea cake with butter and a cafatiere of Italian Coffee on a cold windy wet morning?   Well I am sure both John and Tom can suggest something but we won't go down that road.

This evening has been our Ukulele Social Evening at our local Golf Club who put on a first class buffet for us at a very reasonable price.   It was a hot buffet with plenty of choices - lots of salads and garlic bread - veggie dishes - curries etc.  And three excellent puds.

We played for our friends and relations and some members played special numbers they had practised.   It was all light- hearted and great fun and a lovely evening was had by all.   I am now home again at ten-thirty and sitting up a bit later to give my meal time to digest.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Physio .

It was my monthly visit to the Physiotherapist this morning.  I have arthritis in various joints and she just keeps me moving about.   Also, because it is now well over six months since I lost my beloved farmer and I still have not moved house, I really am beginning to feel the stress of it all.

Neighbours and friends are being absolutely wonderful - I am sure I could not have kept going without them.   But even so my shoulders have tensed up so much that they are now very painful. The Physio worked on these today - they hurt more now than they did before I went! but I know that in a day or two their condition will have improved.   There is no gain without pain.

Tess and I went for a walk on the way back but after only a hundred yards or so the wind was so strong that it almost blew me over.   I thought it best to get back in the car and come home.   I felt really mean but daren't risk it.   I then cooked myself a quick bacon, egg and tomato for lunch as it was ukulele practise this afternoon and as a treat I cooked Tess a slice of bacon (nice and crisp) - don't know whether she connected the two events but it made me feel less guilty.

The shooting in Las Vegas is so shocking - so many dead, so many injured, such a seemingly 'ordinary' man committing the crime it seems.   We will never understand these things - and I for one just can't understand the Gun Laws in a country where these things seem to happen with terrible regularity.

Then there is the collapse of Monarch Airlines and the many people it has affected.   The staff all out of work, the people on holiday abroad who have to get home (the C A A are flying all of them home at or near to their appointed end of holiday time) and then all the thousands who have booked a holiday with Monarch and now are left with no way of getting to their holiday place - and also the worry of whether or not they will get their money back.

The world suddenly seems a crazy place to me today.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Lovely Sunday

Today has been what has become a normal Sunday - four of us going out for Sunday lunch.   We have now gone to the Golf Club for so long that we know a lot of people and there are always folk to chat to.   Also today, after a bit of a misunderstanding over a Parking problem we made friends with another group of four people and had a good laugh with them.    When you live alone this chunk of almost four hours out of the middle of the day helps enormously.  (half an hour in the bar sipping our pre-lunch drink, an hour eating our lunch, then the rest of the time back in the bar with a tray of tea and coffee just chatting).
I always come straight in and take Tess for her walk so that is done for the day.

Today's lunch for me was a Vegetarian Lasagne with garlic bread and salad.   It was delicious and I shall attempt to make it myself.

The ' season of mists and mellow fruitfulness' (ha-ha - you know who you are) has really hit with a bang today.   It is damp and cool and the breeze is beginning to get to 'wind' force.   The leaves are falling from the beech trees in showers.

Friend W has just rung to tell me there is a programme on the poet Charles Causley on BBC4 tonight - Auden last night and Causley tonight - two of my favourites - what a treat.

Time for Tess's tea - goodnight and sleep well.

Saturday, 30 September 2017


Up extra early this morning in time to take my dog for her early morning walk before going off with friend W at eight-thirty for our flu jabs, I was struck - as I am every Autumn- by the sound which blots out every other sound morning and evening out in the countryside (and for most of the rest of the day too if you stand and listen.)   The sound of the rooks chatting to one another.   If only I knew 'bird' and could tell what they are saying.

As we walked down the lane in that clear, early morning, still air, I could hear them stirring in their rookery down the lane and soon they were flying over in their thousands, shouting out to one another as they went off up Dale to their feeding grounds.

I can't begin to tell you what pleasure they give me every year in Spring and Autumn - nesting finished, feeding young finished - when they seem to be totally free to just BE.   Even Tess stopped and looked up to see what all the fuss was about.


It seems to me the wind
is your friend.
Soaring, tumbling,
or playing with the thermals
on a still day. 

Tacking, swooping,
cutting along the hedge top,
manipulating a gale.

Chattering, flying high,
sailing home on a
light breeze.

Building your stick nest
high in the bare branches
for it to rock and rattle
around the rookery.

You joyful bird
with your black, lustrous plumage
and your crusted beak
that stabs the ground
for leather-jackets.

You can
fill the sky with movement,
write a tune on the wires,
blacken a field with your parliament,
and fill my heart with joy
as you surge past my window
in your thousands
at dawn on a cold wintry morning.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Funny sort of day.

This is our gang coffee meeting day and this morning it was absolutely bucketing down with rain.   I walked from my car parking space up to the Dry Cleaners with my winter coat.   I am not sure it needed dry cleaning because by the time I got there (a couple of hundred yards) it was a pretty wet coat.

By lunch time however it was a glorious Autumn day, just like yesterday.   I spent the afternoon sitting with my daughter in law who has recently had a new hip then came home to take Tess for her evening walk.

Then I treated myself to one of my favourite snack teas - a brown roll full of crisply fried streaky smoked bacon.   It was bliss.   Flu jab in the morning.   Do you have a flu jab?    If not why not - I would be really interested to know as several of my friends just resolutely refuse to contemplate having one.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Keeping Going.

I have just had an hour of second-hand farming via BBC2's Farming Life.   Sitting in the chair by a warm Aga, a dog asleep at my feet, snug and warm and watching people struggle against the elements, break downs of equipment,  contrary animals and the like (all the usual hazards of farming life) has been a pleasant break.

This afternoon I have written down how to work Central Heating, Microwave, Cooker, Dishwasher,
Washing Machine (all but the Central Heating are built into the fitted kitchen) and I have written down the instructions in simple language so hopefully I shall be able to understand how to work things.  Also had a nice chat with the lady who lives there and who is, of course, moving into here.

It really has been a beautiful day here today, still, sunny and warm.   Tess has had a couple of walks with me and is now dozing by the Aga.

It is rare for me to watch one programme a night on the television but tonight there is the first of a three part documentary on Russia at nine o'clock and I am really looking forward to seeing it.   I have been many times to what used to be the Soviet Union (have not been back since Leningrad became St Petersberg again). the last time on the Trans-Siberian but before one could go to Vladivostok, which had a huge naval base, so travellers had to catch the train at Khabarovsk, the next stop.   Actually it was a fascinating place being on the River Amur which at that point forms the border between China and Russia.   It was a huge wide river, China being only just visible on the horizon miles away.

Like Rachel, I absolutely adore foreign travel.  My first husband always chose to go East, the farmer (apart from one or two forays in Spain and Portugal, France, Spain and Norway) always preferred to go West.   So really I have had the best of both worlds.

Moving day gets near - I shall be pleased when it is all over and I am settled.


Wednesday, 27 September 2017


It was our Poetry Group afternoon - one of my favourite afternoons of the month.   It is just so peaceful - around ten of us meeting, reading out our favourite choices for the day and often just a bit of discussion afterwards.   Today was just a bit sad as one of our band is leaving and going to live in Brighton - we shall be so sorry to say goodbye to her.

Friend S took Tess for a lovely long walk at the same time so Tess has come back hungry and tired out and I don't have to feel guilty at leaving her all afternoon.

Now, at precisely ten minutes to seven, it is almost dark outside and I have drawn the curtains against the night. 

Now that I know moving date is getting nearer I am, if it is possible, more restless and worked up about it all than I was.   I am making lists and will shortly need to see the lady with whom I am swopping houses to iron out a few queries.   For example, as friend W said today, I have no idea how to work the gas central heating boiler or the electric oven.  Apparently the lady has brochures of instructions for both but has packed them.   So, as W suggests, I need to write the instructions out in my own words (of no more than two syllables!)

I shall now go and sit down and have a peaceful evening I hope.   Sleep well.   See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Fifty shades of green.

Driving up the lane this morning it struck me just how many different shades there are on the trees as they are on their Autumnal turn.   The elder leaves have turned a deep red on some bushes and many of the saplings are already orange or yellow and the leaves are falling off into the roadway where they become quickly squashed into the tarmac.

And so they all die off for Winter.  The analogy between trees and humans of course doesn't hold water.   Trees rejuvenate - next year's new growth is already lurking ready to spring forth at the first sign of longer days, more sunshine and even the tiniest vestige of warmth.   We humans, of course, fall into the 'sear, the yellow leaf' and that is it - full stop.   As one ages this becomes a real fact of life and something which just cannot be ignored.

Some days - along with everyone my age I am sure - I feel very old.   Some days I feel much younger.   Folk are very kind in offering help - but sometimes I find it irritating.   I know I shouldn't because it is very well-meant but please you 'youngies' tread carefully (because you tread on my dreams!)

My great grand-daughter is approaching her first birthday.   She has a wet suit and has had her first swimming lesson this week - and she adored it.  She (Ula is her name) is at one end of the scale  and I am at the other and I must say that gives me great pleasure - and comfort too.

I have tried to download her photograph but I am in a hurry and can't seem to retrieve it - I will try again later.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Nursery Rhymes

Today, on my walk, I was reminded of the Nursery Rhyme:
One misty, moisty morning,
When cloudy was the weather.
There I met an old man,
Clothed all in leather.

Clothed all in leather,
With hat under his chin.
How do ye do-
How do ye do-
And how do ye do again. 

And walking along and thinking about it I also thought about a little girl, about a year old I would guess, who I saw yesterday and who had a lace band round her forehead with a big bow in the front.   Presumably this was to tell us that here was
a little girl.

Do children grow up too quickly these days I wonder?   Are there still Nursery Rhymes sung to children?   Do they still learn to sing Humpty Dumpty and Baa baa black sheep?   As an ex teacher I know just how important these rhymes are as part of the growing up process - and the process of learning that words rhyme, that there is a rhythm to them.

And what reminded me of that particular Nursery Rhyme was that Tess and I walked on a misty, moisty morning when cloudy was the weather.   It wouldn't have surprised me if an old man clothed in leather had popped out from among the elder bushes in the hedgerow but of course he didn't.   But I knew the rhyme, so I could use my imagination.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Late September

It really is a perfect late September day today - hazy sunshine, little wind, warm - and the colour of the leaves is beginning to be spectacular.   I really think this year is going to be a good one for
Autumn colour. 

As usual we were out for Sunday lunch - I had Macaroni cheese today and it was delicious too.
Coming home I was faced with a dog asking 'can we go for another walk ?' so I am just about to answer that question with a walk down the pasture.   Really a dog's wants are few and it doesn't take much to please - and surely, as I am full of macaroni cheese, it will no doubt do me good too.    And that's another good reason for keeping my dog - would I go for a walk now if I lived alone?   I doubt it.

Saturday, 23 September 2017


A better day today - things get into proportion when you have slept on them I find.   When I opened the curtains this morning it was to thick fog and although it has cleared the dullness has remained all day.

This afternoon friend W and I went looking for a very small table for my kitchen so that when I am alone and actually eating at home, I can sit in the kitchen and eat rather than carry my meal through to the dining room.  We found just the thing.

Then we came home from Richmond the long way round, through Swaledale along a beautiful route by the side of the River Swale.   I apologise for having no photos to show you but packing my battery charger was a stupid idea.   We were hoping for Autumn colour in the trees but we were too early - almost all were still wearing their Summer green.

We made a slight detour to call in at a cafe for a pot of tea and a slice of cake (Victoria sponge for W and Coconut cake for me - both home made and both delicious).   Home again by four o'clock.

It is almost beginning to get dark so it is close the farm gate, draw the curtains and feel cosy for the night.   Just a cup of tea will do for me so feed Tess and then sit and do the Guardian Quick Crossword - my son has already done it today so must not let him beat me.

Friday, 22 September 2017


Warm and damp conditions best describes today here in Wensleydale - weather which I would describe as 'muggy',    It is, I suppose, also good growing weather although I don't think anyone wishes things to grow now - and that especially applies to lawns.   When I got home after my lunch out (!!) it was to find that my gardener had been and had cut the grass - hopefully for the last time this season now that the equinox has passed.

Listening to the weatherman this morning on Breakfast Television he said that although the Equinox was yesterday (the 21st) it is on Sunday
(24th) that light and darkness will be of equal length.   These days meteorology has become so complicated.   When I was young seasons began on the 21st of the month - there was none of this other information.   I really think you can suffer from too much information. There are some lines along which my brain just refuses to operate.

Nothing much to say today - just a bit tired and dis spirited so perhaps an early night will restore my equilibrium.


Wednesday, 20 September 2017

A Quiet Day

In twenty minutes it is time for the farming programme from Mull - I enjoy it, it is pure escapism from my point of view and I can really relax and watch it.  So this will be a hurried post.

Tess is flaked out with exhaustion because friend S has taken her on a lovely long walk.   I am so grateful to S - at least I know that Tess has had a good walk today and I don't feel guilty.   Tess was very hungry and couldn't wait for her tea - another sign that she has had good exercise.

I have purposely had a quiet day today as most days I get very tired both physically and mentally.   So I have done very little.   I did unpack the sealed box containing my winter jumpers - when I packed them I fully expected to be moved by now but it is rapidly getting too chilly for T shirts and cardigans. Now a nice neat row of jumpers hangs in my wardrobe - a sure sign that tomorrow it will turn warm and we shall have an Indian Summer.

Until tomorrow my friends.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

You never know.

I tend to forget just who reads my posts.  Obviously the folk I blog with regularly read them - I tend to write them mainly for that audience.   After all, I think we all choose to put people on our side bar who are on the same wavelength don't we?

But it never ceases to amaze me just who else reads it.  Several ladies in the village and in our nearby town for a start.   Quite a large group of my friends (hello P and D out there, and possibly A) read it and sometimes send me an e mail to comment on something I have said.

Today I have received an e mail from a friend who sometimes walks Tess for me to say that she has had an e mail from her sister in law in Cambridge urging me to keep Tess.   She too reads my blog.
The power of modern communications is amazing.

Of course six months is no time at all in the grieving process and it is only six months since the farmer died - and left me quite suddenly at that.   Adjustment takes longer than that and you have to work at it.   So to all those out there who are giving me support either directly or indirectly this post is just to say thank you (on the whole you know who you are).


I am in somewhat of a dilemma.   Regular readers will know that I am shortly to move house and am just waiting for the final details to be finished.

I showed you a photograph of my bright and perky Tess on Sunday.   Sadly if you saw a photograph of me you would see that I am not so bright and perky.   In my head I still feel twenty five - in my body - well in my knee and ankle - I am definitely much nearer eighty five.

Is it fair to keep Tess when I move?   In the first instance  she is a country dog.   I have had her since she was six weeks old and she is now nine and a half.   All that time she has lived on the farm and gone round the fields with the farmer, chasing rabbits, sniffing in the hedge bottoms, roaming as she wished - off the lead apart from the short journey back down the lane to the house.

Now I am to move into a bungalow in the nearby town.  Although it is a quiet little market town it is still not the same as open countryside.   Is it fair to take her there?   I have already contacted a dog-walker but that only accounts for one daily walk - what about the rest of the day?    She fixes me with her eyes which say 'when are we going for our walk?' and I know I can't take her.

Friends say that at her age she will adapt and I am sure they are right.   But is it fair to ask her to - and in any case - will she be too much for me to manage when I move? 

I am beginning to think that the reason I want to keep her is a selfish one .

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Sunday friends

Friends have been across from the Lakes for lunch today and took this up to date photograph of Tess.  I thought you might all like to see her as she has not featured photographically for quite a while.   You will see that she is still going strong.   She is always so pleased to see visitors, particularly like those today who love her.

My yesterday's Guardian news paper sits untidily under the chair in the kitchen.   I am trying to finish the Quick Crossword which is not living up to its name today and has become the Slow crossword as there are one or two I just can't finish. 

The temperature is decidedly  cold and it keeps raining then sunshining - altogether a rather stormy day.   The friends have come over here today rather than meet us in Kirby Lonsdale, but we do intend to try and get one more meeting there before the Winter.   We never attempt to go once we get to mid October; going across the high Pennines at that time of year (and then until April next year) is always a bit foolhardy. 

No more information as yet on the moving front but I am hoping it happens in the not too distant future - this time lag is beginning to sap my will to live quite frankly.   Thank goodness for friends and family.

Tomorrow the lady who cleans for me is coming back.   She has not been for a month as she has not been well.   I am very pleased to see her return - it is only when she is away that I realise how lucky I am to have her.

Friday, 15 September 2017


My daughter in law is settled in at home and seems to be doing well.   My son has set up some care for her this coming week and we shall see how long she needs it after that as she appears to be getting a bit more mobile each day.   She is a very independent lady and I am sure she will make rapid progress now that she is home.

Today the two young men from the local Hospice came and took away the furniture I no longer need.   I was sad to see it go but as I am downsizing it is impossible to keep it all.   The farmer's bedroom suite from his childhood - circa 1920 I would estimate, but in very good condition - and the settee from our living room were the main items.   The rooms look very empty without them but I was relieved to see that there were no cobwebs behind any of the furniture!

Of course, this being Friday, friend W and I both went out to lunch.   We both had the most delicious duck breast salad, served with celeriac remoulade and a sauce (plum?) and warm figs.   Oh  yes, and we were naughty and had treacle tart and custard afterwards!

I came home vowing to have no more to eat today but have just had a bowl of strawberries - Scottish strawberries have been delicious this year.   I have eaten a bowl full almost every day over the Summer as they have been so reasonable in price.

It is now a quarter to eight in the evening and it is almost dark.  How the nights are drawing in.

Thursday, 14 September 2017


Tonight, walking up to shut the farm gate, it could have been December - it is a very cold night although it has been a lovely sunny day and in the sun and out of the wind it has been pleasant.

I am feeling very stressed today.   My daughter in law comes out of hospital after her hip operation and is still not walking well and is in a lot of pain.  I wish I could help more than I am doing but there are so many appointments booked this coming week - somebody coming to give the Aga a professional clean and then the engineer coming to service it; the Hospice coming to collect furniture I no longer want, a Physio appointment - I am so very busy doing jobs.    I know that in the end all will be settled down again and will be well but in the meantime it is all so frustrating.

Going up the road with Tess this morning there was a tortoiseshell she-cat dead in  the lane.   She had been hit by a car I presume, she was cold and curled up as though asleep in the grass; there was not a mark on her.  She only looked to be a young cat which made it doubly sad.

Tess was lucky today because friend G called and seeing that I was very stressed she suggested she take Tess for her afternoon walk.   So lucky Tess went across the barn field, chasing rabbits right left and centre and had a glorious time.   So thank you friend G - that lightened my load for the day considerably.   Now it is rest and relax time with a cup of tea.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017


No time to put a post on yesterday as I was busy all day, but here I am bright and early this morning and the sun is blazing through the window.   It is only when I step outside the door I realise that the weather is pretty cold and decision time has arrived.   I shall go upstairs, have a shower and then break open the box on the bedroom floor which is marked 'winter jumpers' and start wearing them!   Unless there is a sudden drastic change for the better I think that - for me at any rate - T shirt time is over.

Very strong gales were forecast.   Admittedly I never sleep in my hearing aid so if there was a huge gale I wouldn't have heard it and although it was raining when I went to bed I wasn't conscious of it raining through the night.   This morning most of the gale has blown itself out and the sun is shining but on Breakfast Television Local News it said that the road was flooded through Wensleydale - this only happens when there is a lot of rain and a strong West wind together.   Luckily I have no intention of going that way today. 

A day at home today so now it is time to take Tess for her morning walk and then we will go into town to get petrol and a newspaper.   This afternoon is packing time again.

Monday, 11 September 2017


I think Autumn really has arrived today - it is windy, there are showers and sunny intervals, and it is cold.   On the rare occasion that the sun comes out there is still power in the sun but that has not been often today.

Without a list (well, let's be honest, I did make one  I left it on the kitchen table) I did a lot of good jobs in town.   My daughter in law has had a new hip and I bought, and sent, cards from me and from Tess (who adores her) to hospital in West Yorkshire.   I spoke to her later in the afternoon and she has had a walk round her room which is a start.

I went to the Bank and then to the Solicitor who told me that things should really move  by next week-end when according to him 'they will move faster than you can keep up with them.'  I will believe that when it happens.

Then it was home for lunch and an afternoon spent chatting to a friend.   Sometimes a complete afternoon off does a lot of good.

Now it is seven thirty and well towards dark, so I shall sign off and go and draw all the curtains to shut out the dark night.   See you tomorrow.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Not a lot of mellow fruitfullness.

I'm sorry Tom but I can't let you get away with being the only one to mention Keats several times.
To be quite honest so far Autumn ( well meteorological Autumn started on September 1st) has more than lived up to its name temperature wise.   Today the thermometer has dropped back to thirteen degrees Centigrade and it feels jolly cold.   There is a sharp gale blowing and it is forecast to get stronger.   Sharp, heavy showers keep falling.  There is not a lot to say which is positive about today I am afraid.   And there is not a lot of 'mellow fruitfullness "about that I can see.

Another lovely Sunday lunch out and a pleasant couple of hours afterwards sitting chatting in the bar over a pot of tea.

I watched the evening News and saw the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma , the awful mass exit from Myanmar of thousands of refugees, pictures of earthquake damage, all the death and destruction seems unending and really is most depressing.   I think that it is probably made more so by the fact that it is all brought into our homes, whereas in the past we could only read about it.   It does make me realise that my plight in being so long before I am able to move house should be put into proportion.   I have so many things to be thankful for and it will all happen one day.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

An Outing

Today friend W and I went to Teeside Park, a large retail outlet about forty miles away.   We go about three times a year because there is a large Marks and Spencer there and with a bit of luck we can stock up on new seasonal clothes.  This time of course if was for warm, winter clothes.

We had only limited success - I bought a cosy wrap/poncho thingy which will be lovely and warm or winter evenings and a large, oversized sweater for the same reason.

We then had a trawl round the food hall and bought a few things there.   Their range of food is so good and I have discovered that when one lives alone ready meals for one which can be taken out of the freezer and popped into the microwave are very useful.  Vegetables like broccoli and cabbage are  quickly steamed to make an appetising lunch.  I never thought the day would come when I would eat like this.

On the way home we called at a favourite restaurant which does a lovely fish, chips and mushy peas!!

Our journey home was interesting to say the least. There are enormous road works on our major motorway - they have been going on for years now and each time we venture on the cones are in a different place and the routes on and off the road have changed.   Today, coming back, we came off at our intended exit but accidentally went back on while going round the traffic island!  It didn't really matter as we came off at the next exit and came home by a different route but it did make us realise how easy it is to get on a motorway by mistake.

The outing tired me out and I slept in the chair most of the afternoon, much to Tess's disgust. 
I took her for her walk after tea, by which time it was decidedly chilly.

I have just had an e mail from a friend reminding me that our doctor's surgery is doing flu jabs on the last Saturday of the month.   Now if that doesn't make winter seem near I don't know what does.  

Friday, 8 September 2017


The temperature has suddenly dropped.   When the sun is out there is still a lot of heat in it, but when the clouds roll in it is chilly.  I fear that Autumn has arrived.   I love Autumn but just do not feel ready for chilly days yet.   Also, I am loath to light the wood burner because the room is full of boxes, so I prefer to stay in the kitchen.  I think the central heating may go on in a minute as well as the heat from the Aga.

Lunch out with friend W today - smoked haddock fish cakes with a dressed salad (garnished with a pansy flower), then it was home to take Tess down the silaged field - lovely to walk on short grass.  She could even see rabbits worthy of being chased so had one or two good runs.

My daughter in law has had an operation today  - she had to be at hospital (sixty miles away) for half past six this morning.   My son has just rung (he has stayed down there all day) to say she is back on the ward, he was sitting with her and she was eating her tea!

No more work tonight - some drawers cleaned out this afternoon, lots of things sorted, some thrown out, some filed away and another feeling of satisfaction at something done.   Now, at half past seven, a restful evening is planned.

Thursday, 7 September 2017


Seeing the awful devastation Hurricane Irma is leaving in its wake is quite terrifying.   I can only be selfish and say thank goodness I don't live in a hurricane area.   If there is a gale blowing here and it is in a certain direction then our market place is pretty hard to keep your feet in - but then I am ancient and wobble about with my stick anyway.  But one hundred and eighty five miles an hour wind and a huge storm surge - goodness me - any envy I might have had for the beautiful places there and the pleasant life style have rapidly disappeared.   My heart goes out to all those on Barbuda who, looking at the pictures from the air, appear to have lost absolutely everything - some even their lives.

Here in the Yorkshire Dales the third, and final, lot of silage is in the process of being gathered in.  Rain was forecast but so far seems to have kept off bar the odd spit or spot and as I write the last lot of grass is being baled and wrapped.   This has been an excellent year for grass and there will be no shortage of cattle feed this winter that is sure.

In another month or six weeks the cattle will be coming in for Winter.  We are a largely grass area - farms are either dairy farms or suckler herd farms or sheep farms.   Sometimes two of these.   Any arable fields on the whole are used for winter feed with some of the corn being sold to local merchants.   How different to lower down the country where the very large arable farms are.  In fact, thinking about it, what diversity on such a small island - not just in farming but also in the scenery.

I shall now take Tess down the road to see how the silage men are getting on.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017


Another day, more hurdles, more jobs destined for today.    I can cope providing I only do one or two jobs each day that carry me forward towards a moving date.

This morning it was take the dog for her walk and then go to Wensleydale Writers.   When I came out it was to find that somebody had scraped the side of my car so I have just e mailed a local body shop to ask them to sort it out for me.   It is only the smallest of scrapes but my car is almost new and I want it to stay that way.

Now I intend to wash a couple of pairs of curtains because it happens to be a nice, breezy day and they will be dry and back up in no time.

Two boxes to pack - I shall make a start on dinner plates today I think, then the dog for another walk and that will be it for the day.

There is an awful lot of grass down around me for silage.   It was cut the day before yesterday expecting a fine day yesterday - and it rained heavily, so today it is drying off.   But I fear that more rain is forecast for tomorrow -so will it be in in time?

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Back at last.

I had a bit of a gremlin in my computer and I just have not got the ability to get rid of it.   It is the week that my son starts back teaching and in addition to this his wife goes into hospital on Friday so he was just too busy to deal with it for me.  But thanks to him all is well again and I am back.   I could not get at my e mails and it was so frustrating.   Don't we get to rely on our computers for communicating?   We have come a long way since our 'Press Button A' Public Telephone Days
haven't we?

Out to lunch today (surprise, surprise) - quiche and salad and chips (delicious) and then a walk with Tess and then tonight two hour's ukulele practise with the band.    Now I have come in pretty tired.

My son brought me a present of six Bounty Bars (my favourite sort of chocolate) so I am now going to indulge myself in having one for supper with my Horlicks!!


Sunday, 3 September 2017

Coastal Communities

I usually watch about half an hour of Breakfast Television each morning (any more and I see the same news over again; that is the nature of the programme).   This morning, and all the week in fact, they are concentrating on coastal communities and how they have 'gone down'.

I rarely go to the coast these days living, as I do, in the very centre of the country, but when I do go I am struck by the run down nature of the sea front in many instances and also by the number of elderly people around.

I guess there are many reasons for this, not least of which is the relative cheapness of air travel to much warmer places where the summer heat is more or less guaranteed.  Also the fashion has moved away from the 'Boarding House' towards fairly cheap hotels which offer facilities like swimming pools, all day accommodation and the like.

I recall my first seaside holiday (aged 17) with my friend.   How grown up we felt to be going on holiday together without our parents, albeit to stay in Cleethorpes in a Boarding House run by a lady called Mrs Cheffings who my parents knew.  Apart from a ferry trip over to Hull one day, across the mouth of the Humber, I don't remember much of the holiday.   What I do know is that it would not do for today's seventeen year old.

Perhaps therein lies part of the answer.  Seaside towns have gone out of fashion because they just have not moved with the times.   The Minister in charge of such things said this morning that Blackpool was an example of a town which had tried hard to keep up with the times, opening a huge Conference Centre which was much used.

To see these beautiful sea front sites full of boarded-up shops and arcades is a sad sight.   What is to be done about it?



How does crab cakes with chips and salad sound for Sunday lunch?    I had grown tired of roast joint and tired of salmon florentine and so thought I would have one of the starters with the addition of a few chips.   A wise choice - it was delicious.

We do enjoy our Sunday lunches - four widows, ranging in age from early seventies to ninety six.   Our ninety six year old said today that coming out each Sunday to lunch had transformed her life - I think we all feel the same.

The day started off beautifully here with early morning sun but by mid afternoon it had clouded in and a light rain fell.

Another week begins - a very busy week for me, so much so that I have had to curtail my interests tomorrow (no ukulele) in order to take back my library books, pay my council tax, post a batch of business letters (after I have first written them) and also do a little bit of cleaning up as my cleaning lady is ill and can't come for a week or two.   And that is without the obligatory two boxes which I am making myself pack every day.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Beautiful day

The view on my header was photographed about three miles from my front door.   Yes, that is the sort of wonderful countryside we live in.  I hope we all appreciate how lucky we are.

Several folk have commented on the dry stone walls.   Obviously there is a lot of natural stone occurring around here and it was the obvious material both to build the old cottages and to build the stone walls between the fields and create enclosures.   Now, in more modern days, some of the old, derelict barns are being demolished bit by bit and the stone is being used for other things.

The stone walls remain in many places but sadly they don't last as a permanent barrier, attacked as they are by wind, rain and sheep to name but three attackers.   And dry stone walling as a career is not as popular as it once was so it is not always possible to find someone to repair a broken down wall - and when someone is found the work is costly.   So inevitably the walls in many areas of the Dales are falling down and farmers are using
wire fencing to cover the gaps and keep the sheep in.

Most of our little Dales villages are very attractive, roads lined as they are with pretty stone cottages, but there is a snag here too.   When the cottages were built cars had not been invented and the cottages were built close together and at higgledy piggledy angles so that the cars have to be left on the side of the road rather than in a garage and that often leads to congestion on our roads, especially in the Summer time.

But we can't have everything can we?   As it is we live in a beautiful area and we are grateful for that beauty.   The countryside is a miracle at every time of the year from the fields of wild flowers in the Spring through to the snowy tops in mid-winter and I for one would not live anywhere else on earth.

Friday, 1 September 2017


I am glad you all like my new header and my new blog.   For the record the view in the header is of Wensleydale and was taken by the farmer from the side of Penhill, our local hill.   The two figures walking are his two walking friends as far as friend W and I can tell - C and R.   They had many happy walking hours together.

Today has been an almost perfect early September day.   There was a blip in the middle as we left our lunch place and the rain came down quite sharply for a minute or two, but then the weather improved again. 

Lunch out today was delicious - king prawns and chorizo in a thick, home-made tomato sauce - served with herb-sprinkled garlic bread.

This evening Tess and I had a lovely walk for a long way down our Lane.   The setting sun was low making it difficult to see but the  breeze had disappeared and it was quite balmy.

I have packed one box today and shall now go and sit down with a cup of tea and read today's Times.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

A Day Out.

Today Tess and I had a day out, driving over the top of the Pennines and through to Sedbergh in Cumbria  to have lunch in The 3 Hares Cafe with my God-daughter.

It is a lovely journey through a lot of the villages of Wensleydale, through Hawes and on into Cumbria.   The views are spectacular and it is one of our regular stops to take in Cotter Force, a walk of about a quarter of a mile each way on a lovely, well-maintained path.   The Cumbrian scenery is just as beautiful as we go along the edge of The Howgills with the Lakes in the background.

The 3 Hares in Sedbergh is a delightful cafe and, as usual, was very busy.    We both had a platter of ham, sausage roll and a local cheese, followed by a pot of tea.

Our journey back was mostly in heavy rain but by the time we reached home the sun was shining again. 

As I write this at 8pm the moon is out and the evening light is well and truly upon us.   How the nights are beginning to draw in on this, the last day of August.

You will see that I have changed my header and also the writing on the picture.   As I shall shortly be leaving the farm and moving into our little town then this blog will cease to be about life on a farm and will become instead a blog about life in
a little Dales town, about its people, its events and about the variety of things there are to do here.   It is nearing the time to move on.   Six months since my dear farmer passed away - I miss him every day but I have nothing but happy memories of our life together and that is something to treasure as I move away from farming altogether and begin a new life.   As yet there is no moving date but I hope it will be in the not too distant future.