Tuesday, 27 June 2017


Today has been cool, wet and quite unpleasant here, but when W and I went into Northallerton
it was much brighter, so maybe the really miserable weather was localised.

The reason for going to Northallerton?   To buy my own ukulele!!  Now I can return friend S's instrument and music stand and break in my own instrument.   I have just played it for half an hour and find it very different although enjoyable and I am sure that  after a bit more playing it will be more comfortable.

The other reason was to look for a new mattress for the bed.  The mattress we had is about twenty five years old and well past its sell-by date.   I have ordered a new orthopaedic one.    For some reason the delivery date is eight weeks away  but I don't suppose that time really matters.

Of course we had to have lunch out - a cheese and chorizo toastie with cole slaw and salad - absolutely delicious.

I do hope the weather improves.   Someone who reads my blog (Frances?) has come up from Hertfordshire to Northumberland for a week's holiday.   She did ask me to order good weather for them and yesterday the weather was so good that I thought the order I put in had done some good but looking at the forecast it looks to be all downhill from now on, so I do apologise for it.  Be assured that we do get some nice weather up here.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Magic Lanterns.

I have just watched 'Flog It' on BB2 over my tea.   One of the items which was sold was an old Magic Lantern - I think it fetched over £200.   But it certainly brought back such memories for me - I really think that maybe today's children do miss out on somethings because when I was a child in our village in Lincolnshire Saturday night was often Magic Lantern Night.

All of us kids gathered together in the Methodist Chapel Sunday Schoool Room and somebody put on a show for us.

First of all there would be 'stills' of places like India or Africa or perhaps the mountains of somewhere like Switzerland.   These places were so remote and so foreign to us all that they seemed like another planet.

Then there would be 'real' films and the magic of a Pop-eye and Olive Oil film or a Mickey Mouse Film and we would be glued to the screen enjoying every single minute of it.

Now of course kids are glued to computer screens or to their own televisions and what they are missing is the interaction with others of their own age.   And somehow it isn't the same.

Saturday, 24 June 2017


The rest of the country South of here still seems to be basking in warm,sunny weather.   Here it is a typical Northern Summer day - cool, overcast, breezy.   So on my usual drive into town to buy a Guardian, followed by a walk down to Givendale wood with Tess on the way back, I needed an anorak as well as my usual things - handbag, stick, dog lead, scarf in case it rained (looked as though it would).    But the walk was very pleasant - especially so as the Cow Parsley has now finished and in its place the Lane is lined with Meadow Sweet; the beautiful smell is almost overpowering.
The walk was made more pleasant by the fact that yesterday the doctor gave me some tablets (I have a built-in resistance to taking tablets, but she finally persuaded me to give them a try) to combat my shaking.   I come from a family of shakers and, apparently, this condition does occur in 
families.   As I get older I shake more, so that on some days I can;t carry a cup of tea - and my handwriting becomes illegible.   Anyway, enough of that.

Rachel's post gave me pleasure today because she put on some family photographs and they reminded me of happy times years ago with my family.   I just got up to take a photograph of my favourite snap of my brother, my sister and I together so that I could put it here, only to remember that it is one of the things I have packed.

Another thing which has given me pleasure in Blogland today is that Heather (Ragged Old Blogger) has posted for the first time since April. She too is moving house and her position is exactly like mine -  makes it easier when someone else is suffering the same stalemate doesn't it? 

Another week-end passes, another two boxes to pack - all will be well, common sense will prevail and the day will come when I am settled in my new abode with my memories of our twenty four happy years together.   My mantra.   Enjoy your week-end.


Friday, 23 June 2017

Friday comes round again.

How quickly it becomes Friday again and our meeting of friends for coffee.    This morning this meeting extended itself into a tour round Tennants Auction House followed by a Caesar Salad in the cafe for two of us - and very nice it was too.

The weather has been dull, chilly and windy here today although a friend has just rung from Hereford and the weather is lovely there.   If you are reading this Mags - do get well soon and get that old leg moving again.

Friends in the Lakes sent me a sweet little book of 'Ten Bedtime Poems' this morning - I am getting rid of books but this is a delight to read and will be perfect for our next Poetry afternoon.   So thank you P and D if you are reading this - I know you often do read it.

With regard to that Red Admiral butterfly, a friend told me this morning that a butterfly is a sign of rebirth.  It has all been such an uplifting experience - I hope it happens again.

Until tomorrow my friends.

Thursday, 22 June 2017


Silaging has been going on all around me today.   The grass was cut early in the week on our land (by the two farmers who are buying it) and left to dry.  Despite the fact that heavy rain and storms threatened and happened all around us, somehow we were lucky and they all missed us.   Today there is a strong breeze and (this afternoon) sunshine and now, at tea time, all the grass has been baled and wrapped and the weather can do its worst.

I had a busy morning.  Solicitor early, followed by shopping for food, then the Physiotherapist.   After lunch it was my usual hairdressing appointment and, by the time I got home I was very tired.   Sitting in the chair to read The Times I fell asleep
and slept for two hours (this is exactly what the Physio says I must do - sleep when I feel tired).

Poor Tess had a short walk early this morning and that was all, so I decided it was time to take her.  As the fields were short grass and so easy to walk on we walked down to where we had scattered the Farmer's ashes.   He had been silaged and I think he would have liked that - it made him part of his farm.   I could no longer see where we had buried him but knew more or less the spot.

It was peaceful, the wild roses were out on the hedge, I could hear the sound of the beck running by and I stood a minute and chatted quietly to him.
As I stood there the most beautiful Red Admiral butterfly landed on the grass at my feet and stayed there for a minute or two.   It was quiet and the sun was shining.   Tess sat by my side.

I took it as a sign that all was well.   I am not a believer in God, or the after life - and you are quite entitled to think it silly of me, but I can't tell you the comfort that moment gave to me in the week that held his birthday.


Wednesday, 21 June 2017


Silaging is in full swing here with many fields of grass down.   This morning there is thunder about and thunder means heavy rain.   Tess and I had a very early walk (7.45am) and then a trip down to our feed merchant in Masham for Layers Pellets, Corn, Farm Cat food and Dog Food.

One of the assistants had a seven-week old Border Terrier Pup - Ted - absolute delight.   I had forgotten just how beautiful Tess was when I first got her.

On the way back it was obvious that while I was down there there had been a thunderstorm as the roads were swimming with water.   But by the time I got home there was no sign that there had been any here so we must have missed it.   This is lucky as most of our fields are down and being silaged by a contractor.

We didn't even have that scorcher of a day yesterday - but I found it intensely hot in the night and hardly slept at all.

It is our Poetry afternoon today.   I have chosen my three poems and a piece of prose too  - I will post again later in the day with more about this.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The heat rises and I find it very wearing.   It seems churlish to complain but although it is lovely to see the sun in June I find it difficult to find enough energy to even water my pansies and ferns in their pots.

Sleeping (even 'au naturelle' (not a pretty sight I assure you))  under just one sheet is hard so that energy is lacking during the day anyway.

This morning there is heavy cloud here in the east of the UK and also thick mist.   There is also a slight breeze blowing - but it is still very hot.

'Strugglers' this morning followed (hopefully) by a lunch out if anyone fancies it in this hot weather.
Yesterday I made my own lunch at home - various green veg stir-fried with a few spring onions and then topped with pineapple chunks chopped into small pieces and sprinkled with a few chilli flakes.
I topped this with a few slices of grilled streaky bacon which I needed to use from the fridge and the result was surprisingly good.   Strawberries for afters - hasn't it been a wonderful year for them?

Today - June 20th - would have been the farmer's 74th birthday.   Happy birthday my dear one, wherever you are - I think about you all the time and remember the happy times we had together.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Another very hot day with a lack of air.   I have not attempted to take Tess for a walk today as if I do she lies down every few yards to recover, so I figure she is best left quietly to rest.

I had an afternoon playing ukuleles with the group and we had a jolly time. For getting together with other people there really is no better way than playing music together. 

Since coming home I have done very little - it seems airless and movement of any kind is an effort.   No boxes packed today.

Events at Finsbury Park I find so distressing.   Why can't we all live together in peace and harmony and respect one another's way of life and religion?   Is it so very difficult?

Events this year so far have really made it a dreadful year as catastrophe after catastrophe heaps up - not just here but throughout the world. 
Where will it all end.

Sunday, 18 June 2017


The weather is rarely, if ever, right for us in the  UK.   Perhaps we have just got used to finding something wrong with it all the time.   If it is cold then we complain and if it is hot we complain.   Today it is hot; the pollen count is high. the sun is at its highest (the Solstice is on Wednesday) and really the day is best viewed from a chair somewhere in the shade.   Poor Tess desperately wants to go for her walks but as soon as we set off she has to keep lying down for a rest in the grass, and I only take her in the coolest parts of the day.

I don't ever remember the wild roses (Rosa Canina for the most part) being as good as they are this year.   They have climbed to the top of so many of the bushes and small trees and, if you can get near enough to smell them, their delicate scent is exquisite.

Sunday lunch out was the order of the day again today - four of us - the other three having salmon and me having mushroom and red pepper stroganoff.   Sunday is a family day and we four agree that it is the hardest day when one is alone, so what better way to pass it than with friends.  Next week one of our four will be away and another is busy so we shall be down to two.

I have a busy week this week luckily.  Everything seems to be moving so slowly with the farm and I need to fill my time so that there is little time left for thinking about things.  The weather is set to get a little bit cooler towards the end of the week and I am sure that will please Tess - fur coats are not the best clothes to wear in this heat.

Saturday, 17 June 2017


Our little market town is very busy today; busy because it is a local 'Food and Drink Festival'.   One of the roads through the Market Square is closed off and tents and stalls have been put up in order to show the best in food and drink in our area.

There are of course some things which need no advertising - Black Sheep Ale, Wensleydale Cheese for example - but there are various artisan producers who take this as an ideal opportunity to show off their wares.

Rather than find somewhere to park in the town I decided to go in super-early.   I was there by eight o'clock this morning  to post an important letter, 
buy The Guardian, fill up with petrol and then take Tess for a walk down the Lane.   By the time we got to the Lane at nine o'clock, it was almost too hot for her to walk - so for the rest of the day we are just lazing about at home.

Because the boiler engineer is coming to service the boiler on Monday morning I decided to do the week's washing today and it is merrily blowing on the line in what breeze there is. 

And I am reading The Guardian.   So many pages are still taken up with the terrible fire in London - pages which make almost unbearable reading - it just makes me realise what a different world we live in up here.

Enjoy your week end whatever you may be doing.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Sorry Jem -

Sorry folks!!!   Especially sorry to Jules- I tried to put you on my side bar blog list and I have somehow done it all wrong.   Now I must wait for my son to call in and correct it for me.

Another Friday bites the dust.

Another Friday, another week gone by, another week when nothing seems to be moving, another week of frustration.    But there is nothing to be done; these things take time and I must just be patient.   The trouble is that the word 'patience' is not normally in my vocabulary and I am therefore finding it very difficult.      Most of my boxes are packed and I am ready to go.   The plumber is ordered to alter the bathroom and the patio doors are ordered.   Now I must just sit back and wait.

I have decided 'no more boxes for a few days' - I shall do other things.   I have a new step-great grandson arrived yesterday (a little boy, no name as yet) so tomorrow I shall make it my business to fill up with petrol and then go and find him a welcome present.

Today, after our usual coffee morning friend W and I drove up the Dale to Hawes and had lunch in The Creamery.   The Wensleydale Creamery was created some years ago when there was a Management Buy-out.   It has gone from strength to strength and now has a lovely cafe and shop.   We had grilled ham topped with Wensleydale cheese and pineapple, served with chips and salad. We finished off with a cup of coffee and then drove home through a beautiful Wensleydale.   How lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place.    I have so much to be thankful for - I must not lose sight of that.

Thursday, 15 June 2017


My two boxes today consisted to two boxes into the Charity Shop early this morning.   A job quickly done and quite satisfying with it.

I had to go in early to the hairdresser and then to pop into the Solicitor.   After lunch it was out with the Ukulele Group to play for the Alzheimer's Society - play for them to sing the old songs.   Another pleasurable experience.

Now I am home and after two sort walks I am just too tired to take Tess for another walk so I have opened the back door and she is free to roam - all gates on to the road are closed so she can't go far.
In fact she is rarely straying from the back door, preferring to sit on the mat and look out.   Perhaps, after her long walks yesterday, she is tired too.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017


Today's news of the absolutely dreadful fire in the tower block in London has certainly driven all thoughts of the Election and Politics off the news.
The pictures and the commentary are  ghastly and all out thoughts must be with the poor people who did not survive, those still searching for their families, and those who did survive but will be so scarred either mentally, physically or both, that they will take many months to recover - if ever.

For those in the US it must have brought back memories of the Twin Towers.   For anyone who lives in one of these tower blocks there must now be a fear that it might happen to them.

It seems wrong to have had a pleasant day in such
circumstances.   Tess and I drove the thirty five miles or so through Wensleydale to Sedbergh.  I
had to go to Hawes on business and that was half way.   We drove on and called at Cotter Force, a pretty waterfall in Cotterdale, where we had a walk.   Then I met my God-daughter for a really pleasant lunch in a cafe called 'The Three Hares' - nice, homely food (Drovers Platter of Stilton, Pork and Pigeon Terrine and Ham with salad and sourdough bread and butter) - a lovely chat and then back to work for her and home for us.

I must say that I was very tired onmy return, but had only been in five minutes when friend Sylvia called to take Tess for a walk - Tess came back ready for a sleep and I didn't have to take her out.
Sylvia enjoyed the walk - so all three of us were satisfied.

An early night for me tonight.

Monday, 12 June 2017


Have you noticed how beautiful the wild roses are this year?  The sight of them rambling through the hedges round the fields makes the farmer's death all the more poignant because he loved them so.

Sadly, the weather today has not matched their beauty.   It has been cloudy, breezy and not particularly warm.   Tess and I have had our three walks but can't say I have enjoyed them.   Unless it is pouring with rain I don't think she notices what the weather is like. 

I went into town to do various jobs, cooked myself some lunch, read The Times (pretty depressing reading at the moment) and packed my obligatory two boxes (thank you Jamie for bringing me another pile of boxes).

Yesterday I emptied my big old freezer.   I have had it almost twenty years and now that I am moving I really don't need two freezers as I shall be living alone and having no vegetable garden.
Today a scrap merchant friend came and took it away for me and I must say the space where it has stood for the last twenty years looks much better (and cleaner!) without it.

All  I have left to do now is to get half a dozen jig saws from under the stairs to take to a friend tomorrow.  She is a keen doer of jig saws and will then do them before taking them to the charity shop.   And that will leave another space.   Can't be bad.  Until tomorrow.....

Sunday, 11 June 2017


I am replete.   In other words I have eaten too much.   Out to lunch with three friends - salmon on a bed of spinach with Hollandaise sauce, roast potatoes, mixed veggies, followed by Orange sorbet.   Then coffee in the bar - a lovely lunch and four hours of pleasant company.

Weekends are difficult when one lives alone as most people spend it with their families.   We are all four widows and we choose to spend it together.

Today's job (I have run out of boxes) was to defrost my large old freezer and get it removed to an outhouse as I wish to throw it away.   It is more than twenty years old and has gone rusty along the bottom.   It doesn't owe me anything. Now all my remaining frozen food is in my smaller freezer and it should be easy to eat it all up during the next month so that the freezer can be defrosted and go to my new home ready to be filled again.  So that is a satisfying job done.

I have just returned from my lunch and taken Tess for her walk down the Lane.   Now I can relax over a cup of tea - so until tomorrow.....

Saturday, 10 June 2017


This is the third post I have written and in spite of pressing 'save' I have lost the previous two.   Very frustrating - so I try again.

Saturday - another wet day all day.   It is now half past six in the evening and although the sun has just appeared it is still pouring with rain.  Very depressing.

Weekends are always the hardest I think, but friend W and I treated ourselves to a pleasant lunch today (a rare occasion!!!) - Caesar salad followed by Raspberry cheesecake and two cups of coffee.   Sheer indulgence as we are going out to lunch tomorrow too (five of us), but much needed at present.

Only one box packed today as I have run out of boxes, so I must begin to search for more.   It is going to be some weeks yet before I move so there really is no hurry now that I have got so much packed and my dear niece has said she will come and help me on moving day.

After our lunch I went into town to buy a Guardian newspaper but so much of it is taken up by election news - and I don't want to read any more about it thank you.


Friday, 9 June 2017

Tomorrow is another day.

Yes.   I am taking your advice and taking each day as it comes.   Today, in spite of the shock election news which I got when I switched on at 6am (not necessarily a bad shock on reflection - maybe just a wake up call to politicians), the day started off on a better note.

But sadly a friend who died ten days ago had her funeral today and I thought I really must go.   Only eleven weeks after I lost my dear farmer I did find  the funeral service (in the same church and also in the church where we were married (and the church in my header)) very difficult.   But I survived - supported by various friends - and maybe I shall be stronger because I did it.

I have packed my two boxes which is another plus.

Our Chinese meal last night was absoloutely delicious and a lovely night out.   Friend S - who was one of the four last night and who was also at the funeral  this morning - suggested she take Tess for a walk this afternoon (I cannot walk far, so although Tess has three walks each day they are not long ones. )   Did Tess have a birthday?

She was gone for such a long time and had a gloriously long walk on her very long lead.   S quite rightly decided not to let her off the lead in the fields in case she wouldn't come back when called.  I don't know whether she would or not - but not worth the risk.

When they returned, after coffee and saying goodbye to S then I bathed Tess in the downstairs wet room.   The vet advised it when I went to get Tess her allergy tablets yesterday.   Apparently 
dogs give off a certain amount of yeast and if they scratch a lot they distribute the yeast and develop a yeasty smell - so now Tess smells nicely of dog shampoo. 

So there we are.   Another day passes.   No nearer moving but I just try not to think of that. I shall carry on with my two boxes a day and my niece has kindly said that she will come up from Derby and help me nearer the moving date - maybe July now.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Another day passes

I am not feeling myself at present and am beginning to feel the strain of it all.  The trouble with packing (only two boxes a day remember) is in deciding what to take and what to give away.  At the moment I live in a large farmhouse - I am moving to a smaller sized bungalow which just will not take the same amount of 'stuff' as my decorator friend called the things I have around.

In addition I have not felt well for the last couple of days but as my son has felt the same we have decided it must be a bug (election bug).

It has rained almost all the week here and rained heavily at that.  Yesterday was sunny but very windy and then today it has rained again until a short time ago.   Rain is forecast for tomorrow too - pity the poor folk who are up here on holiday (we live in a great holiday area).

Tonight friends are taking me out for a Chinese; I am sitting writing this waiting for them to arrive. Perhaps I shall feel more myself after that.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017


Although I seem to have been busy today I have also been very tired.   It was Writers' Group this morning but I was too tired to go and went back to bed after my breakfast and slept until eleven o'clock.

Then Tess and I went into town with a long list of things to do - I always make the list in the order of shops I pass so that I don't miss anything.

Coming home I popped a ready meal in the Aga (how handy these are when you live alone), but I must say it is not one I shall buy again; I didn't really enjoy it.   It was pasta with butternut squash and spinach and with pumpkin seeds scattered on the top.  Still, you can't win 'em all.

This afternoon Tess and I had a walk and at four o'clock we went to the vet's.   Tess has an allergy to grass which really troubles her in the summer, so she has to take tablets for it.

Now I am checking my e mails and my blog and desperately trying to stay awake until bedtime.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017


Last week the weather was lovely, the sun shone and it was warm.   This week it is very wet, very windy and cold.  The vagiaries of our English weather.


I put my coat on after tea  in order to take Tess round the hay field for a walk, stepped out of the back door and the gale almost blew me over.   If I fall onto the floor I find it more or less impossible to get up so I dare not go on.


I rang my son and he has just driven the mile round to the farm and taken her for her evening walk - not a brilliantly long one (he is not a dog lover at all) but at least a utility walk and the rabbits have had a bit of peace as she had to stay on the lead with him and was therefore unable to chase them. 


Each morning for the past week when I have drawn back the curtains, there has been a baby rabbit on the lawn.   Tess would dearly love to catch it.   I dread it happening because were she to injure it I would be totally unable to kill it.


I am going now to watch Yorkshire Vet on television - one of my favourite programmes.   I would guess that Thelma (North Stoke) watches it too - it is filmed in her area.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Ukulele class.

First and third Monday afternoons means Ukulele Class - six of us in the class and an hour's really hard work.   I practise the bits at home - playing and singing (no you would definitely not like to hear them) but when I get to the class and have to play them up to speed I tend to panic and miss quite a bit of the strumming out.   Still I am determined to get better.

 Then after tea there will be one more box to pack.
I make myself  pack two boxes a day.   The house is now full of boxes (very unsettling) but |I just cannot leave it all until the last minute - I am too old to spend the whole day doing it and two a day suits me fine.  It is very unsettling seeing all the boxes packed and stacked against the walls - after all, this is the longest I have ever lived in one place (twenty four years) and it will be hard to leave a place where I have been so happy with my beloved farmer.

Off now to make my sandwiches and sit down with them and a cup of tea to watch the antiques programme.


Sunday, 4 June 2017

What to do.

Living up here in North Yorkshire we seem a long way away from yet another terrorist attack in the capital - and more families shattered by the loss of their loved ones, or lives altered by terrible  injuries.   What should we do?   Should we just put it to the back of our minds and carry on as usual, should we worry in case it happens up here?  I don't know the answer; I think most of us are just so appalled at the loss of life, both here and in those countries in the Middle East.   When will it all end?  And what - if anything - can we do which might help in some way - both to stop the awful slaughter everywhere and to halt the alienation of so many people?

I suspect that most of us away from the Capital will carry on as normal today, going about our ordinary lives.

I shall go out for Sunday Lunch as usual with my three friends and while yes, we shall no doubt talk about the tragedy, we shall choose our lunch, eat it and enjoy it without giving too much thought to the starving children in the Yemen and Somalia.  And this will happen everywhere because there literally is nothing we can do about it.

The Police say 'Be vigilant' - we will be for a few days - but that does nothing to solve the problem, nothing to address the underlying causes, nothing to feed the thousands of hungry, displaced and distressed people - many of them children who look as though they may spend the whole of their lives in camps, their way of life destroyed for ever.

What is the answer?   I wish I knew.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Almost a Day Off.

Today friend W and I had what is one of our all time favourite days - we went across the Pennines to meet our friends P and D in the Italian Restaurant in Kirby Lonsdale on the edge of the Lakes.

I took Tess for a walk around the fields before I went off at 10.45 - perhaps I should take her to help her to socialise now that I am moving into town, but frankly trying to walk with a stick, a handbag and an umbrella (it was raining) is already far too much without having a dog on a lead as well.   And she seemed quite happy when I returned.

Three things stand out from today.   First of all the wonderful scenery.   It is always a lovely journey but today it was even better because the trees (quite a lot of the time we were 1000 feet) were newly green, the 'candles' on the horse chestnuts were in full bloom, the May blossom, which has about finished here, was still in full flower - and the buttercups - oh the buttercups- almost every field we passed was golden yellow.

Then the 'travellers' were on the move.   Soon it is Appleby Horse Fair, when travellers from all over the country journey there, and the road was peppered with gypsy caravans pulled by lovely old 'carthorses' as we used to call them - piebald in the main, heavy hooved and gentle.   Sadly a few of them leave a mess behind when they move on (they stop overnight on green spaces) and that does get them all a bad name, but I like to think that the majority act in a law-abiding way and their traditional wandering is brought to life just for a short time again (many of the live in houses now and some have Professional jobs and just enjoy the atmosphere 'on the road'.)

Finally meeting our friends is always enjoyable as we swap news and get 'up to date' - and the food in Avanti is exceptional.  W and I both had the same thing - prawn and chorizo risotto garnished with rocket and a side dish of mushroom, tomato and green beans.

When I got home I took Tess for another walk round the field (it has just been silaged so the grass is short again).  Then I packed just one box today - all my table linen, table mats and that sort of thing.  So that is another drawer empty.   Still plenty of drawers to go (and no rude jokes here boys ).

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Normal Service

Sorry I have been off line since Saturday but we had an awful thunderstorm which blew my hub and completely destroyed it.   BT were very good but of course it was Bank Holiday so my new hub didn't come until this morning.

I have now caught up on my e mails, but have a busy few days ahead - so it might be next week before I really get back into my stride.

Friday, 26 May 2017

First name terms.

The two men who organise the tip and I are almost on first name terms, I have been so often over the past few weeks.  My golden rule is to visit the tip once a day and pack at least two boxes each day.  Yesterday I excelled myself by doing even better.
When we bought our Aga cooker new twenty five years ago a whole lot of baking tins came with it.
After all this time they are beginning to look a bit worse for wear, but I do want to leave them where possible, so I set to work to give them a special do.

Armed with Brillo pads, rubber gloves and plenty of hot water I was busily scrubbing the Aga cake baker at twenty minutes to eleven last night!   It definitely thought it was having a birthday and is glowing this morning.

Today - our coffee morning with friends - I didn't get in until eleven o'clock but set to immediately and gathered together another car boot load for the tip - old items of farming clothing (milking smocks, woolly hats and gloves for winter milking mornings), a couple of old casserole dishes, a couple of roasting tins I no longer want and two outside folding chairs long past their sell-by date.)
Each load taken brings about a kind of cleansing.

It is very hot here but luckily there is a cooling breeze blowing, so on the way back Tess and I did our lane walk.   Now we are home; we have both had a drink and after one more cup of tea I shall do my next job - pack and label a couple more boxes.   The job is endless but I am clearing out such a lot of things I no longer want - the charity shop is taking it happily - and one day it will all be finished.   Won't it?

Thursday, 25 May 2017


It is good for me to be busy but you can have too much of a good thing and really, when it comes to bed-time I drop asleep the moment my head touches the pillow.

I am surrounded by boxes - my hairdresser dropped off around fifty this morning - and I try to fill at least a couple a day.   I also try to go to either the tip or the charity shop each day.   This is my one opportunity to seriously thin out my possessions.   When I pop my clogs somebody else will have to do it, so it is best for me to do it now.  Today it was the turn of the charity shop to receive three bags full of things to sell.

Today was my first ukulele concert - and it went off alright.   The one piece which I felt was too difficult for me - I was able to air strum large parts of it, only actually strumming the C and G chords - and hopefully nobody noticed.   The concert was at the Annual General Meeting of the University of the Third Age, which is very popular up here and has a good following.   There is a whole range of activities on offer - I enrolled in the book group, which meets once a month on a Monday (a good day for me) and the lady who runs it is going to e mail this month's book title to me.

Nothing is settled yet - I am in limbo - but I am keeping busy; there is such a lot to do.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Overdone things.

I have overdone things a bit today and am now very tired.   This morning a friend C and I drove into a town twelve miles away for knitting wool.   The shop was closed so I drove on into Northallerton and bought some there but that is further away - fifty mile round trip.

I came in, ate a quick lunch, fell asleep in the chair and woke up just in time to go to Ukulele practice- not getting home until almost four this afternoon.
Poor Tess has had just two fairly short walks today - and I feel guilty,   But I really am too tired to take her out again,  so I shall now go and sit down and watch the Chelsea flower show on television.

The Queen has just arrived to look round.   My goodness - she is walking round at ninety - I feel guilty complaining of being tired.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Lunch out.

Well, that's nothing new is it?   Today it was with three friends - L,C and W - set for one o'clock and delicious it was too.   L and C both had roast beef, W had roast pork and I had macaroni cheese (I was going to have salmon but by the time we ordered there was no salmon left; but there is a good veggie menu so I was happy to tuck into that.)
Afterwards it was coffee and a chat in the bar.   There were quite a lot of people there that we knew so the atmosphere was friendly.   Up here there is none of that crossing the road rather than asking how you are a few weeks after one has lost one's life partner, it is straight down the middle - tell it as it is, and all the better for it.

Friend L (Lavinia but Win for short) is ninety six years young and as we are all knocking on a bit we got to talking about lavs at the bottom of the garden and jerries under the bed in the night - and of houses with no bathrooms.   We came to the joint conclusion that today's youngsters don't know the half of it.

Then it was home to walk Tess, who was very pleased to see me.   I do feel guilty leaving her alone, but I try to walk her three times a day as far as I can with at least one of the three walks off the lead so that she can chase the rabbits (they are quite safe and they know it).   I need to get out as much as possible.

Tomorrow I go with friend C to buy more knitting wool in the morning and then in the afternoon there is ukulele practice.    I am not very good yet but I am making progress - and that is pleasing.  Playing with the rest of the group makes me keep up and improves my playing no end each week.  When I get a bit better I might put a clip on U Tube!!!

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Our Favourite Walk

But a short distance from the farm is a Lane; it is a Public Foothpath through the beautiful woodland called Givendale.   It is our favourite walk because it is safe for Tess to be off the lead (she has little or no road sense) and we rarely see another person - occasionally deer, often rabbits, sometimes a brown hare but rarely a human.

I was up with the lark this morning, having gone to bed quite early, and so off on our walk by half past eight.   I can make it a round trip - in this case call at The Lane for a walk (about half a mile there and back), drive on into town, collect a Guardian news paper (my choice on Saturdays),  drive up to the tip (itself a scenic journey through fields full of lambs) with my latest load of old clothes, dishes I no longer want etc., and then back home.

In addition to my newspaper I bought myself an indulgent small chocolate bar and when I got home I made a pot of coffee, ate my bar, drank my coffee and read the paper.

The next time I looked at the clock it was almost midday and time to cook my Jersey Royals with carrots, broccoli and mange tout and two quickly fried fillets of sea bass for lunch.

Here are some photographs of the Lane so that you can enjoy the walk too.   The first part is open to fields either side and then it is lined by Givendale Wood.   If we could walk far enough (for 'we' read 'I') we could carry on across the fields and eventually arrive back at the farm.

There are patches of pink campion - such a delightful pink - and patches of Lady's Mantle (alchemilla); the trees are coming into leaf and the birds were in full throttle this  morning; sadly no cuckoo (although both my son and my daughter in law have heard one this year.)

Friday, 19 May 2017

Tracking things down.

As you know I shall fairly shortly (all being well) be leaving the farm for the last time and moving into a bungalow.   This will be a wrench as this is the longest I have ever lived anywhere (twenty four years), but it is inevitable and in any case this house is far too large for one person to live in.

One of the things I shall be sad to leave behind is my Aga cooker, which has served me well.   We bought it new twenty four years ago.   It has kept us well-fed, kept the kitchen and the fabric of the house warm and kept the water very hot.   Now I shall be leaving all that behind.

There is one difficulty with Agas - it is almost impossible to clean them when they are 'on' (which is all the time).   The surface of the cooker is so hot that anything you try to clean it with dries before it has any impact.  So it is best to give the whole cooker a good going over when you switch it off for its six monthly service.

But one thing remains which has been troubling me.   There is a solid shelf, sometimes called the 'cold plain shelf' or the 'cooling shelf'.   I have used it constantly throughout the life of the Aga.   It started out 'silver' but is now black and no amount of elbow grease will get it back to its original newness.

I have written to Aga and to various suppliers and been totally unable to get a replacement.   I am useless at such things.   My daughter in law heard of my plight and in about half an hour had located one only ten miles away at an Aga supplier.  Brand new, it cost only fifteen pounds and this afternoon we drove over and bought it.   Job done.

As a thank you, on the way back, we called in a lovely new cafe which has opened and I treated us to  tea for me, coffee for her and two delicious cakes (Danish with raspberry jam for me and lemon merigue pie with ice cream for her).   So, a successful afternoon all round wouldn't you agree?

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Early Morning.....

.....the best time for spotting rabbits!

Tess and I walked down the pasture this morning at half past eight.   The birds were singing and the sun was shining but there was a chilly wind blowing.

Tess was in ecstasy at the number of rabbits there were everywhere and I had already noticed that they are busy trying to dig holes in the grass verges of the lane.   There was every size from teeny tiny ones up to old grandfathers.

Without looking it up (and I have no time as I go to the hairdresser at twelve today) I don't know what the gestation period of the rabbit is (no doubt one of you will look it up for me)  but I daresay that young rabbits are kicked out of the nest to fend for themselves at a very young age.

They really are so very pretty.  But, when the pasture is there for milk cows to graze, one can't afford to be sentimental.  I read somewhere that ten rabbits each as much grass a day as one cow.   Well I saw more than fifty this morning and I am sure that was only the tip of the iceberg.

We have three kinds of rabbit-catchers who come round - the man with a gun, the man with ferrets and the fox.   Don't know who will step in here, but I am sure that the fox will have such easy pickings from the rabbits that he will let my hens alone - unless of course he/she fancies a change of menu.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017


I had my first ever massage today.   To say it was soporific is an understatement - I went to sleep.

I think it is the first time I have truly relaxed in the last eight weeks and I am sure it did me immense good.   In fact I was so relaxed when I came out that I was apprehensive about driving the ten miles or so home - but so soon got going again once I got on the road.

When I got home the little boy next day, who is seven, had drawn me a picture and left it on the kitchen table for me to find.   It was a lovely surprise and it is now on the wall.
Simple things can give so much pleasure can't they?

As I put the car away in the garage I noticed how busy the swallows were, in and out of the space at the top of the barn door.   Yesterday was a wet day so there will at last be mud for them to put together their nests.   Flying all the way from Africa then building a nest and raising at least one brood, often two - what amazing birds they are.  What a wonderful thing Nature is - and how we notice it at this time of the year.

My Clematis Montana Rubens, which for years has just grown on an old tree trunk, has decided this year that it will meander along the washing line.  It looks splendid.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Much-needed rain.

It rained here all day yesterday and this morning I awoke to rain.   But my goodness how very pleased the fields and gardens were to welcome it.   Already the grass has greened-up and everything looks fresh and new again.

Now, at seven in the evening, there is a sharp breeze blowing but the sun is shining and it is warm.   The accountant has been here all afternoon going through the farm accounts for last year so poor Tess has been in for most of the day.

This morning was the 'Strugglers' meeting I go to - a group of us meet and have a quiet morning talking about things which are interesting us, or worrying us.   Such a productive and satisfying time I find it.   Afterwards we went and had lunch in The Posthorn in our little town.

So I have just walked down 'our' lane with Tess.   I didn't feel like it but I really enjoyed it once I got going and I feel much less tired than I did before I started out.   Tess enjoyed the doggy smells and I enjoyed the Spring smells - can't be bad.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Last Resting Place

Yesterday afternoon in warm sunshine we buried the farmer's ashes at the bottom of the pasture by the beck (just behind the fence) and the wood.   All the bluebells were out in the wood, the blackbirds were singing and he was laid to rest on the fields he loved.   May he rest in peace.

A stick marks the spot if you want to see exactly where we put them.

Saturday, 13 May 2017


This week I have been out to lunch three times - well twice to lunch and once to a very late breakfast

Living alone again does raise problems which have to be addressed for some time before a set of rules begins to sink in.

Never buy two of anything - one will be eaten and the other will languish in the fridge.   And don't tell me to freeze it because I just don't feel like eating the second one.   Also, as I have shortly to move, I am desperately trying to empty the fridge. I am trying not to put anything into it.

It is almost as cheap to eat a pub lunch as it is to cook one for onself - and it is a lot less bother - and no washing up.   All this may be extravagant but at the moment I am self indulgent. And after a lunch today of quiche (hot and delicious) a large mixed salad and chips, I shall not feel like anything else to eat today except maybe an orange tonight.

Friday, 12 May 2017


My beloved farmer's ashes came home this afternoon.   On Sunday his sister, his niece and I will scatter them into the hedgerows of his fields.
The hawthorn blossom is out on the hedges, the new green leaves are just bursting.   On the beck the marsh marigolds are flowering - deep yellow - one of his favourite flowers. In the wood the bluebells are out - some blue and some white; he would always come home at lunch time and tell me when they burst into bloom.

On the wires all the swallows are here.   He would count them until he saw how many pairs would be nesting in the barns.   Two pairs of pied wagtails are back and are pecking in the yard.

He would have noticed all these things - he was a countryman through and through.   He would have noticed and then come in and reported it to me.
I just hope that wherever his spirit is - it is seeing all these things just as he has seen them for the last seventy three years.   Seeing them and taking simple pleasure in the arrival of another Spring.   God bless him.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Manifesto and other things.

I have no idea what the plural of manifesto is and I am too lazy at this time of the day to get up from my chair in the hall and go into the kitchen to find the dictionary and look it up.

But as far as I am concerned, I am totally and completely disillusioned with Politics everywhere.   I read through - or hear on the News - details of a Manifesto.  It never seems to me to bear any relation to reality.

I know there is so much wrong with our country - the NHS is in crisis and needs so much more money spending on it.   Schools are in crisis and need more teachers.   Potholes in the roads (round here at any rate) are horrendous.   I could go on, but I won't.   We all know the score.

People get hot under the collar about immigration - and in many cases justifiably.    But then I go into the National Health System, as I have done so regularly over the last six months with my darling farmer,  and I see that if this country banned all immigration then there would be an enormous shortage of trained and brilliant staff in hospitals - and that goes for everyone from nurses, through doctors and on to consultants.   Many of them were no doubt born here, but often their parents were not.

The whole situation is so complex.   We are told that there is a huge shortfall in money available for anything -  from the NHS, through the transport system, the education system.   Yet if a sudden war comes up somewhere in the world then billions are immediately found to  pay for weapons (and kill innocent people in the process of using them.)

I want to opt out of voting.   I am totally and thoroughly disillusioned with them all.   But women fought and died for the right to vote, so I would never do that.

Any suggestions?  

Wednesday, 10 May 2017


At the moment the days seem to be passing in a bit of a blur.   Suddenly I am very tired most of the time, which is not like me at all.

Today, in a bid to perk myself up, I took my daughter in law to the garden centre and while there we had a bit of lunch in the cafe.   It is a beautiful day today - the best of the year so far; the sun shone and there was little wind.   But even so, when I arrived home I went and lay on the bed and slept for a couple of hours.  Not like my usual self at all.

Suddenly Spring is busting out all over.   There is even May blossom (hawthorn blossom) out on the sheltered hedges (quite often we are almost into June before that happens here in the North of England).

Yesterday I packed a box of cut glass items and when I have finished on my blog I intend to pack a box of Minton china.   One job a day is my motto.

Seven weeks today since the farmer's death.   On Sunday we intend to scatter his ashes back on to the farm land where he has spent all his life.  Another milestone.


Monday, 8 May 2017


If only it wasn't  cold life would be so much easier.   The sun keeps shining on and off but that  east wind off the North sea makes everywhere icy cold.

Speaking to the solicitor this morning it does seem that things are all coming together.   I dare not say it too loudly but mid June does sound to be a possible moving date.

Yesterday my son and his wife went to the garden centre and returned with about a dozen boxes, all flat-packed, so I can begin to sort out some things for packing now.   All I need is the enthusiasm to start - today sadly lacking.

Tomorrow a group of us are going out for breakfast - perhaps that will fill me with energy.
I am off for a ukulele practise now.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

A Successful Day.

It is surprising now how some days are so much more successful than others and I end them feeling a sense of satisfaction.   Today is one of those days.

First of all, before going to the Church Coffee Morning, I went into town to buy a Guardian Newspaper and also to deposit three plastic bags of the farmer's sweaters in the deposit box for The Salvation Army.  Another job to tick off my list.

After lunch my son came with an armful of boxes to take more books to the Oxfam Shop in Richmond for me.   We packed the boxes and then I went with him and his wife into the town and while he took the books we sat in the car and then all three of us went into the Deli and bought a few things.

I came home and in a 'firm' mood I brought downstairs all the papers I had amassed on my desk, sorted them out and put them into laabelled files.

My last job of the day was to e mail the accountant to ask her when the accounts would be done.   She returned the e mail within five minutes to say they were done and she would be contacting me on Monday about coming over to tie up loose ends.

Now if that isn't a satisfying day I don't know what is!

Friday, 5 May 2017

Friday again.

How quickly Fridays come round - Friday and our coffee meeting of friends in The Post Horn Cafe.  This morning we were virtually all there - eleven of us (we do make rather a lot of noise!) - and following on from this friend W and I went out to The Three Horseshoes and had a delicious lunch - (W - Spare ribs and me Quiche - both with their lovely chips!)

I think everyone around here in our part of the country is entirely sick of the strong wind blowing in straight off the cold North Sea.   Today it is wall-to-wall sunshine but still very cold because of the wicked wind coming from the North East.
And I expect Thelma (North Stoke on my side bar) is feeling it even more up there on the North York Moors.

I must say that the countryside is 'greening up' in spite of this.   I was pleased with my walking ability this afternoon.  I am having to walk Tess on three walks a day - only short walks but they are getting longer each day and today I managed down the pasture and back up the next pasture.  And I saw three Ladies' Smocks out and a handful of Buttercups - a sure sign that Spring is really here.   In addition to that there are two swallows in residence in the yard, along with a pair of pied wagtails.   The farmer would have been in with this news.

Tomorrow is our Church Coffee morning - how the months fly by.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

These are the days!

Today I had a list of eight telephone calls I had to make urgently.   I had all the numbers stored in my phone, so I sat in the armchair, rang each one in turn and ticked them off my list.   The whole operation took me about ten minutes.

When I was a child in the nineteen forties, there  were few telephones in the village.   The three pubs (The Royal Oak, The Ferry Boat and The Hunter's Leap) each had one, the Vicar had one and the Doctor.    Then there were one or two "posh" folk - a Judge (no less!), a man who owned a chain of Tobacconists' Shops, a Military Man - and maybe one or two others we didn't know about.

But no-one would have dared to ask to 'borrow' one to make a phone call, however urgent.   There were two red boxes in the village, each about half a mile from our house.  We would treck there, clutching our two old pennies, dial the number we wanted and hope that somebody answered.   If they did we would tell them our problem (you really wouldn't ring unless there was a problem - this was not the days of the 'chat') and hope you got the important bit out before the pips told you your money had run out and you would have to feed the machine with another two pennies (varying degrees of success here).   If there was no reply you would Press Button B and get your two pennies back.

And we thought nothing of it.   That was how it was in those days.   I sometimes wonder what future generations will make of our way of life.   What do we do which in the future will be seen as such a terrible chore?

Wednesday, 3 May 2017


Treasures are not always things of great value.   In fact in my experience that is rarely the case.   One example is my needle tin.  I have had it for about
thirty five years and I treasure it greatly.

Every October half term my then husband and I would debate where to go for our last half term holiday before Winter set in. We had this discussion every year and mostly in the end we settled on Venice - our favourite place on earth.

This particular year as we waited in the Departure Lounge at Heathrow who should walk in but some friends from Wales - also Venice bound for half term.   Such a surprise - and a pleasant one too.

We went our separate ways each day but usually met up for supper somewhere in the evening.   In fact one evening my friend queued at La Fenice (not long before it burnt down) for tickets to see The Shanghai Opera Company - a memorable evening that was.

Whilst we were there it was my Hallowe'en birthday and my friend bought me this little oval tin of chocolate pastilles.   I remember we shared them at the theatre and had a wonderful evening. 

I kept this charming little tin as a storage tin for my large darning needles and I have used it ever since. 

About five years after giving me the tin my friend committed suicide.   I never knew what drove her to such lengths but it has made the tin one of my most treasured possessions.

When I finally shuffle off this mortal coil I expect the tin will be thrown away - it will have no significance to anyone remaining.   The memory of that birthday in Venice will disappear along with the tin.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

A Long Gap in posts.

I must apologise for the long gap between posts - two reasons for this; one is that I have had a lot to do with sorting things out, both things I no longer wish to keep when I move and also matters to do with the farm accounts etc.   The other thing is that friends have been persuading me to go out to lunch (doesn't take much doing).

Yesterday I went up to friend G's to take the latest quiz sheet I have set for Foxglove Nature Reserve and the two of us, plus Tess, had a lovely walk round the Reserve.   The bird life was astonishing.  As we sat having a cup of coffee we saw a pair of jays, red polls, siskins, yellow hammers plus all the usuall birds I see here.

We went into the Italian restaurant and had a nice lunch (scallop and king prawn risotto for me and sea bass for G) - all in all a very pleasant day.

I find that I am getting very tired and need to go to bed quite early but at least I am sleeping well.   In the evenings I tend to knit for my great grand-daughter .  I have just had the latest photograph of her (I knitted the cardigan she is wearing) - she is sitting up now and the photograph is taken in the park.  Isn't she gorgeous?

Friday, 28 April 2017

A Day Out.

Friend W and I went over to Kirby Lonsdale on the edge of the Lake District today to meet our friends for lunch in the Italian Restaurant there.   It is our first visit this year as we never venture over the high Pennines in Winter.

The weather was lovely as was the countryside.  The horse chestnut trees, their 'candles' just coming into flower, were at their most majestic.

Just to make the journey extra special, here are two  modes of transport we saw on our journey.
The first is a train going over the Ribblehead Viaduct - we pass it so many times on this journey but this is the first time we have actually seen a train on it, albeit  a rather boring example.   The next is this lovely 1915 car, driven along at a stately pace by a gentleman giving smart hand signals.   He looked to be really enjoying the drive.

These outings were usually the ones where the farmer went and had his lunch at the Auction Mart - but this will not happen again.

Thursday, 27 April 2017


Today has been a very hectic busy day dealing with various things to do with the estate.   I find it all so tiring although everyone is very helpful.

Doing things 'on line' is hard for me often.   What I can do I do easily and often.   But new things often take ages and then fail because I can't find my way round things.

My son and his wife have called and have brought me a Bounty Bar - an indulgence but one which I love, so I shall go and make myself a cup of tea and have it with my Bounty and watch Super Vet.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Catastrophe today.

This morning one of the pregnant heifers in the cow shed was being herded out into the yard with several others when she slipped and fell up against
the metal door and landed badly on the concrete yard.

The result was that she broke her hip.   The vet was called.   She was only a couple of weeks from giving birth to her first calf but sadly the vet said that she couldn't be saved.   She was  put down.   The 'knacker man' has just been to collect her body.   Such a shame for one so young.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A Magical Experience.

This morning friend W and I went on a thirty mile trip to Marks and Spencer's at Teeside Park for a look round.   As always, the clothes disappointed, although I did buy a lovely red cardi and a bright green T shirt.

The food department was a different matter and I found plenty of delicious things I couldn't resist so am stocked up for a few days to come. 

The magic happened as I turned into our Lane on my return journey.   Two hundred yards before the farm a beautiful young deer stood in the middle of the lane, watching my approach.   I slowed down but she didn't move and I got right up to her.   Then she trotted slowly in front of me until I turned into the farm gate, at which point she jumped over the wall and into the field, leaping away to the far corner, where she stopped to watch as I went down the drive. I felt sad, knowing that this sort of thing will not happen when I move into the town.

Sunday, 23 April 2017


It is a lovely morning but according to the weatherman it is the last of the Spring weather and later today Winter weather will sweep down from the North with wintry shows to accompany the sharp, cold winds.   Typical April weather here in the North I would say.

While it is warm I went for an early morning walk down the pasture.   You will see from the photograph that we had company on our walk.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

I make a purchase.

I have driven into Northallerton this morning and bought myself a new car.   Our Astra is too big for my needs and I am not comfortable with it.   We have had Vauxhalls from new for a long time now and the salesman, Andy, has been the same throughout - so I telephoned him and then went in to see him today.

The upshot is that I am now the proud owner of a new white Vauxhall Corsa - much more suited to my needs.   It is a nice, nippy little car - much easier to park; just a nice little runabout.   It should see me out I would think. 

Friday, 21 April 2017

A New blog.

The farmer's niece, who is an extremely good photographer with a marvellous imagination, has at last created a blog.

Her photographic montages and the  things she sells as a result - cards, mugs, jig-saws - all manner of things - are brilliant. 

Please do visit her blog for me - look at how she finally comes to a decision about a particular shot - and how clever her skills are.

She is on my side bar - Kitchy & Co.   Please let me (and her) know what you think.

Thursday, 20 April 2017


When will this so-called Spring get a bit warmer?   Perhaps it is something to do with my somewhat depressed state at the moment, but I do find the weather very cold and seem to have the central heating on most of the time these days (and my electric blanket at night.)

Today Tess and I went down to the feedmerchants to buy cat biscuits for the farm cats and wheat and layers pellets for the hens.   On the way back we stopped at Marfield Wetlands and had a walk.   There was a sharp wind blowing but it didn't seem to be deterring the ducks and other water birds - they were paired up and in many cases nesting.   I did take my camera but forgot to put it in my pocket when I left the car in the car park.   But I promise I will get back into photography before long.

My son and his wife return from their holiday in Wales today - I must say they seem to have been away a very long time.  (twelve days) and I shall be pleased to see them home.

In the feedmerchants there was a man with a cage holding four brown labrador pups - they were exquisite.   Isn't every young thing beautiful?   Why do they have to grow up (that includes us humans too).

Wednesday, 19 April 2017


How kind and thoughtful everyone is being.   I am being carried along on a tidal wave of goodwill for which I am so grateful.

Today - a month to the day since the farmer died - I had to go into town to do various jobs.   So, after taking Tess for her morning walk, I drove into town and walked round getting rid of all the paperwork I had earmarked for various places.   Then I had half an hour to spare before I went to collect a friend for lunch out (her treat) so I popped into the Posthorn cafe for a quick Italian coffee then on to collect friend D.

We drove the few hundred yards to Tennants cafe where we had  a delicious shepherd's pie lunch followed by an orange juice - and of course a nice chat.   I had scarcely been home five minutes before friend S called to take Tess for a walk.   As she walks very much quicker than I do Tess would of course enjoy her walk much more than usual.

Now it is 4pm and I have just one more 'office' job to do before I relax for the evening.   I have always done cryptic quizzes for our local nature reserve and although I stopped them completely during the farmer's last illness I feel ready to pick up the pen and start a new one, so that is on my list of things to begin to do.

Today has been very cold and colder weather is forecast for the week-end so it will be back to winter woollies.

The quickly called General Election has taken most of us by surprise.  I am a bit fed up with politics and at present can't rustle up much interest.   I do know, however, that it will dominate the news for the next seven weeks.   That and, no doubt, all the postulating over North Korea by Donald Trump.   What troublesome times we live in.   Sometimes I wish I lived in isolation with no television, no newspaper and no access to any news.   But of course that would probably be boring after a few days.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017


In spite of a sharp, cold wind here in the North of the country, Spring is marching relentlessly onwards.

The daffodils in my garden are all but gone and are ready to have their heads pinched off before they put all their energy into forming seeds.  (remember to leave the stems though so that the goodness from them can go back into the bulb).
My double flowering, weeping cherry in the front lawn is in full flower and a joy to behold.   And the blue tits in the wall are still busy feeding young.

Out to lunch again today with friend W after a morning meeting with a group of friends to talk about various things and as we got back in her car afterwards we noticed that the purple lilac where we parked was heavily in bud.

Once things start to move there is no stopping them in spite of the fact that we desperately need water everywhere (although not as much as Derek does in the nature reserve on the Kent coast, where the ground is cracked from last year and has never recovered; not a good start to the year.)

The are no swallows yet.   The farmer used to watch carefully and note the arrival of the first swallow.   Last year it was on April 17th, so already they are late.

It is a month tomorrow since the farmer went - how quickly the time passes in some ways and how slowly in others.   I am managing to fill my time most days and that is a good thing.   Onward and upward as they say.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Easter Monday

Today, for the first time since the farmer died, I am alone all day.    Friends have been so good at keeping me occupied and inviting me out for meals but today I face stark reality.   

So far it has gone very well - I am concentrating on filling every minute if I can.    My cleaner came at 9am and I put on two loads of washing at about the same time. After we had had our coffee she went and I took Tess and drove into town for my newspaper.   Then I came back the long way round and we walked up 'our' lane.   For once there is very little wind and the sun is out and walking up the lane was a pleasure with the sun on my back. 
Along the sides of the lane the cowslips and dandelions were out and in the wood the cock pheasants were calling out.   I let Tess off the lead and she rarely strayed far from my side.

Now, after lunch (ready meal lasagne with carrots and broccoli) I am about to iron this morning's washing and then sort out some more books for the charity shop.

At the moment I tend to feel tired without actually doing anything to make me tired.   I still have to fit in a couple of ukulele practices - only maybe five minutes each time, but 'little and often' tends to make the fingering stick in one's mind more easily.   Time will tell.

Saturday, 15 April 2017


Tess and I are finding some different walks.   Obviously I can't take her for six mile runs, which she has been having while under the care of a friend.   But I take her about a mile on the long leash and allow her the freedom to sniff every blade of grass if she so wishes.

This morning I drove into town to collect the paper and then came back the long way round and called at 'our' lane.   Today there is a sharp, cold wind blowing but the sun is out and most of the lane is sheltered by trees.

In the distance we saw a hare; luckily Tess was on the long leash.   Not that she would have ever caught it, but I didn't want it scared and it gave me great pleasure to watch it.   We also saw the first orange tip butterfly and several bumble bees.

Celandines are out everywhere and the first dandelions are just beginning to burst into flower.
Everywhere the blackthorn, which is plentiful around here, is in full bloom.

All poignant reminders that the farmer is not here to see the emerging Spring.

Thursday, 13 April 2017


At the farmer's funeral, a week ago yesterday, the Eulogy (the early years written by his sister and the later ones written by me)  ended with a poem written by one of his nieces.   She says she doesn't know where it came from;  I say that it is obvious that it came from her heart.  I have asked her permission to print it here - and she has given it.  So here is Anthea's poem.  Read it and you have the farmer - in a nutshell:

I hope there's cows in heaven, with calves for me to feed.
I hope there's sheep with lots of lambs that skip around the fields.
Chickens in the orchard and wild birds flying free,
From the treetops, through the hedgerows, they are singing just for me.

I'm drawn into the meadow by the smell of sweet turned hay.
I wonder if it's ready or it needs another day.
I'm greeted by some old pals with a wagging of their tails, 
So we walk a little further across fields of rig and furs*.

Standing by the beck side with the water crisp and clear,
Memories are flowing, thoughts of many happy years.
The fields that I have tended and the stonewalls I've rebuilt,
The seeds that I have scattered and the weeds
I've made wilt.
The barns are now redundant but forever they'll remain,
So we head on over yonder, up the hill to old Mill Lane.

The gate's already open and the sunlight's getting low,
I turn to face the farm now, one more look before I go.
South Dyke in all its glory, bathed in golden light.
My little piece of heaven
I've lived here all my life.

*rig and furs - many of our fields still bear the
undulating rigs and furrows from medieval farming.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017


Today saw a laughable situation.   Friend W has persuaded me to try and learn the ukulele so that I can join her ukulele orchestra.   I am giving it a go and we arranged a first lesson - I thought at her house and she thought here.   So for half an hour or so we sat at one another's houses waiting.   She rang me on my new smart phone, but it was my first call on it and I didn't recognise the ring - I thought it was a car alarm - also when it rang I was just crossing the Panda crossing and by the time I got back to my car it had stopped.  All was well that ended well and the first lesson taught me a couple of basic chords - I shall now practise in 10 minute stints.

After that we drove the short distance to Wensley village to have a delicious lunch in The Three Horseshoes pub.   Then it was back for me to have a manicure.   Little treats for myself are making me feel a bit more upbeat about myself in these first difficult days.

It is still very cold here although quite sunny.  It is certainly still winter woollies time.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017


I have had a much busier day today and it has been very much easier.    So that seems to be the answer - keep busy.

Winter has returned and there is a cold North wind blowing.   In spite of this Derek, my new-found gardener, has been and has done a couple of hours emptying pots and filling them with small pansies (violas) in shades of pink, lilac and purple.   They really do look very pretty.   He spent the rest of his two hours doing other tidying up jobs and I feel much better about how things look.
,We met for coffee and scones as usual this morning and then, after a rather rushed lunch, I had to go to the physiotherapist.   I started out a quarter of an hour early and Tess and I went for a walk down a pretty lane, where Tess had a thousand smells.

Now we are back, my dinner (cottage pie and Mediterranean roasted vegetables) is in the oven and I am catching up on a few blogs.

Tomorrow is another busy day - I hope it will be a bit warmer.


Monday, 10 April 2017


And so the days go by.   I am taking each day as it comes and today I have been so terribly tired that I keep falling asleep.   I feel guilty that I am not taking my dog for longer walks but a combination of tiredness and sciatica means that I just don't have the inclination.

We went into town this morning but she stayed in the car while I did one or two jobs around the place.   After lunch I fell asleep for half an hour in my chair and as I awoke - just for a split second- I saw the farmer in the opposite chair;  this has happened several times over the last couple of weeks.  It doesn't worry me at all.

We had a short walk down the pasture after lunch.  It is quite a cold day here with a sharp wind blowing.   James was here shifting a few pregnant heifers when I came back and he handed me a ladle with about two dozen eggs in it - he had found a nest in the straw when he was bedding down this morning.   Goodness knows how long they had been there.

Two business letters later (they took an age), now my daily post (one way of trying to get back to normal) and it is time for a cup of tea.   Wish you could join me.

Sunday, 9 April 2017


After one absolutely beautiful, Spring-like day, today is much cooler and quite cloudy.   Typical April weather I suppose.

My niece, who has been staying with me since just before the farmer's funeral, has gone home this morning and I expected to have the day alone.   But, of course, friends have rallied round and soon after she had gone friend G rang and we went out to lunch to an Italian (sea bass), then watched a 
TV programme she had recorded about The Yorkshire Dales and then came home.   Within half an hour friend W called to arrange another thing - a ukulele lesson!!   Watch this space.

It seems a very long time since I watched the News - I really can't bear to hear it as the whole world seems to be in such turmoil.   My view of the world situation is that 'they' only tell us what they want us to hear, which may or may not be right, depending which side one is on, and as I am
in any case powerless to affect it in any way I feel justified in burying my head in the sand.   I do of course get distressed by the thousands of displaced people and the thousands upon thousands of small children whose lives have been irrepairably damaged in so many ways.

Friday, 7 April 2017


The local community gave the farmer a wonderful send-off in our local village church on Wednesday.   The church was full to capacity and the congregation gave £550 in David's memory to be shared between the church funds and our local hospital MRI Scanner appeal.

Now it is time to pick up the pieces - I owe it to his memory to move on as far as I can.   At the moment my niece is staying with me, but she returns home on Sunday.   Already good friends are rallying round - I have been invited out to lunch on both Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday (my son is away over Easter) and this afternoon Tess has returned home after spending three weeks with my dear friend G.   

I am not at all sure how Tess views coming home - she has had the 'Life of Riley' for the last three weeks - lots of long walks, lots of cuddles on the sofa in the evenings.  At present she is wandering around looking a little bit lost.   But she will be great company for me once she gets back to normal.   In fact both of us have now got a big learning curve.

I shall try to post every day from now on so that I get some sort of pattern back into my life.   Thank you to everyone for the tremendous support you have given me.

Thursday, 30 March 2017


There are so many jobs to do.   I am pressing on with them and gradually ticking them off my list.   Each one helps to relieve the tension when it is done.

Once the Farmer's funeral is over then I feel I shall collapse in a heap but begin to pick up the pieces.  In the meantime, thanks for your words of comfort and support -everything helps to maintain some kind of equilibrium.