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).

Decision

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

Friday

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

Cold

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

Weather

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

Monday

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

Autumn

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

Devastation

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

Wednesday

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?

 

Sunday

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

Friday

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.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Wednesday

It looks as though it is going to be a rather pleasant day today.   At a quarter to ten in the morning a pale sun is beginning to show through, but by golly it is considerably cooler than a couple of days ago.    And I understand that this is even more apparent down in the South East, so Rachel and Derek - get ready for your Winter woollies.

As it doesn't look as though I shall be moving any time soon I might well have to unpack the box marked 'Winter coats' - my thin clothes will not be adequate if this carries on.

This afternoon is our Poetry afternoon.   I am now going for a shower and to get dressed and take Tess for a walk.   Then it will be time to choose my Poetry for the afternoon's read.   And yes, Tom, I shall indeed start with ' Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness' because I always do given the chance.   It is one of my favourite poems and was my father's favourite too.

One of the poems I read was 'Gunga Din'; I came across when I was looking for something else and when I read it I realised I have never read it through before.   Kipling is not rated highly these
days and certainly had what is now seen as a racist attitude, but nevertheless it was an interesting poem to read.

As the day has gone on it has got cooler.   Walking down the road with Tess a short while ago I saw how frantically the House Martins were working. One of these days in the not too distant future we shall wake up one morning and they - and their cousins, the Swallows - will have gone.   Already they are beginning to go South in their droves. making their way towards Africa and a warmer Winter.   Not all of them will make it;   the weaker ones will fall by the wayside, but the strong and healthy will be back next year, remarkably back to their old nest sites and will then breed strong and healthy chicks.   Nature at its very best. 

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

One missing.

Only three of us girls for coffee this morning - friend W had to take her car in for its first service.
Remember the days when we had to run our engines in and they had to have a first service after so many miles and all that rigmarole?   Now it is just once a year and a two-hour job - things have come a long way.

I am still waiting for things to be finalised.   If I let it concern me it will take over my life so I am just carrying on, meeting friends, going out for lunches, making the best of things.  Yesterday I learned of more friends who are seriously ill - we really do have to make the most of each and every day while we are able to do so.

Two walks today so far - one before I went into town this morning and one down the pasture after lunch.   The trouble with going down the pasture - good because I can take Tess off the lead and she likes that  but bad because if I don't watch her she pushes into a large bank of thistles after the rabbits and last week when she did this she got a thistle seed in her eye.   Luckily her eye watered so much overnight that the seed washed out.

Ukuleles tonight so I am now going to have a bit of a practice because I have not taken the instrument out of its case since last week.   Tess seems quite impervious to the noise I make so I don't feel guilty.   I am no George Formby (thank goodness) but I do like to do the best I can.

Tomorrow is our Poetry afternoon - one of my favourite afternoons of the month - anybody got any suggestions for Poetry I might read?   Just to please Tom I might read 'Seasons of Mist and Mellow Fruitfulness' - what do you think Tom?

Monday, 28 August 2017

Signs.

On the way back from Sedbergh the other day we saw a Horse Chestnut tree with deep orange leaves.    The first sign of Autumn we agreed.

Since then I have noticed that there are signs everywhere.   My battery chargers are packed so I can no longer take photographs (when I go out I might try one on my camera and see how I fare).  On the hedge the big, fat rosehips are turning deep red.   Friend W reminded me when we saw them that as children we broken them open, took out the fluffy 'stuff' and chased each other with it - 'itching powder' we called it. 

The blackberries are beginning to ripen and the ones I have eaten are juicy and sweet.   The crab apples outside my kitchen window have all turned bright red.   They are small and hard but actually quite sweet.

My friend P tells me that over in the Lakes, where they live, the Swifts have gone - one of the first sign that Autumn is here.   Here on the farm and House Martins and Swallows are still frantically feeding young.   I wonder if they have any concept at all that they are feeding for the long journey across the sea or is the whole process instinctive - or do we even know? 

There is a nip in the air in the morning.   At the moment we are having quite nice days - but my goodness we deserve it because August has not been a particularly spectacular month in terms of weather.

Certainly up here in the North of the country the harvest is more or less in.   Some fields have already been ploughed up and resown, other fields are golden yellow with stubble.    This most likely means that certainly the corn harvest is over everywhere - but what about rape?    Is it later?   Because there is so little of it around here I have no idea.   We are mostly grass land for cattle and sheep and most of the corn is harvested for feed in the Winter.

It is August Bank Holiday Monday here today.   Some of the shops will be open because we are in a tourist area and there will be lots of people about.   But for people like me who live alone this is the kind of day to try and keep busy -I am not sure how but I shall now take the dog for her morning walk and then, when I return, I shall try and find a job to do.

Enjoy your day.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Sundays

Sundays always are the most difficult day of the week and regular readers will know that three or four of us always go out for lunch -four today.

After lunch we sit in the Bar and chat for an hour and a half.   Today we reminisced about 'the old days',   Our ages range from early seventies to ninety six and we all enjoy a good laugh.

Today it was out parents' life styles, what they did in their spare time - things like bowls, billiards, whist, dominoes, walking.   Some of these things have largely died out nowadays - but even when I first married the farmer twenty four years ago we still went to quite a lot of Domino Drives on Friday evenings.   Every village had one during the Winter months and they vied for the best refreshments.   I had never played Dominoes before and made quite a lot of 'boobs' which were always pointed out by someone in a loud voice.   But I learned.

Then we got on to our childhood games.   We soon found regional differences in the HopScotch layout and also in the rhymes by which we decided who could go first.   Do you remember:
One potato, two potato, three potato, four, five potato, six potato, seven potato more?

I don't suppose these things exist any more - but they were fun while they lasted and gave our old friend in her nineties much to laugh about.   There might not have been much money about in those days but there was certainly plenty of laughter and fun.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Sadness

Today has been quite a sad day for me really.   It is The Wensleydale Show day.   The Show is held about half a mile from the farm so easily within walking distance for the farmer who I think has been every year since he was a very small boy.

Before the Show he would also go along to the West Witton Show where for some years he was judge of the hay and vegetable classes.

He would go first to West Witton, where he would be plied with a cup of tea and a piece of home-made cake.   He would return home, put the car away and then walk up to the Showground and look at the various exhibitions, the cattle, the sheep, the heavy horses, the machinery, the various show tents with vegetables, home made produce, flowers and the like.   Then he would gravitate towards his Feed Merchants where he would enjoy a lunch of pork pie, sandwiches and home-made cake and leave with a handful of named biros which would last him through until next year's show.

This year of course he is gone.   But friend W and I went out for a lunch of a toasted sandwich (brie, streaky bacon and cranberry sauce) which was absolutely delicious served with salad and crisps.
Coming back we came again through West Witton and I was reminded that their Show Day ends with the Burning of Bartle  (www.Burning of Bartle.org.uk) which involves parading the figure through the streets of the village and finally burning it on the side of Penn Hill ('on Penhill Crags we burnt his rags')- all a bit macabre really.

Home again my neighbour (aged 7) and my little friend came round to show me that he had won a Second and three Thirds Rosettes in the Competitions - a picture of a tree, a painting of a crocodile, an edible necklace and a miniature garden.   He was quite justifiably proud of his achievements.   So Well done Liam.   His little brother, who is three, got a First prize rosette for a plasticine model of a dinosaur.   Isn't it lovely to see children still participating in these events?

Friday, 25 August 2017

The Saga did not end.

Anyone who reads my blog regularly will probably remember that about two or three weeks ago somebody dumped seven kittens in the long grass on the lane-side about fifty yards from my front gate.   My son and the lady who cleans for me managed to catch four of them (two ginger and two black) and (to cut a long story short) transfer them via the vet to a lovely lady of the Cats' Protection League, where they were wormed, judged healthy and will remain until such time as they are old enough to be spayed/castrated when they will be found new homes.   It was such a relief to us all that the other three were caught in a trap using cat food as bait and that they too are now safe and sound.   So happy end of story.

That is until this morning.   Tess and I had an early morning walk up the Lane, turned round to come home and I saw something coming up the road towards us.   At first I thought it was a young rabbit but then realised that it was running,not hopping.   Yes, you've guessed it, it was kitten number eight - I had indeed seriously miscounted.  It was ginger, in good health and quite tame.   It ran right up to me and allowed me to pick it up.  I don't think there is any doubt that it was number eight from the same litter - the same size, the same colour and like the others quite tame.   It really sought me out.

 It was time for me to go out so I left a message on the Cat Lady's mobile phone, put the kitten into Tess's night time crate, gave it a bowl of cat food (which it devoured eagerly) and went off.

Friend W and I took our little friend Liam (aged seven going on thirty) out to lunch and when I returned the cat lady had been and the kitten had gone.   How had it survived the past  few weeks alone?   I can only assume that it had found its way into our barn where the farmcats live and had been sharing their food.  I just hope there are no more to come - I really do want this story to end happily.

How can there be such thoughtless and cruel people about? Anyone in such a situation (they had obviously been with their mother for the early weeks of their life and were healthy and well cared for) should surely have the decency and common sense to ring any vet where they will be put in touch with the local branch of the Cats' Protection League.   It will cost them nothing and in this instance would have saved me an awful lot of hard work.



 

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Two 'D's

Two things beginning with D today.   The first one is the most serious and I really can't decide what to do.

I am becoming quite immobile and, because of arthritis mainly in my knees and ankles, some days I have great difficulty in walking and in keeping my balance.   It is on these days that I find it very hard to take Tess for the three walks she needs and deserves - however short.

But then in the evening when we settle down, I look at her in her basket and I know that I just could not bear to be without my little friend who I have had since she was six week's old. (she is now nine and a half).

Now it looks as though I could have a new home for her with a dog-loving couple who have just lost one of their two beloved  dogs and would dearly love another one.   And I ask myself - am I being kind to her to keep her in such a restrictive life or will her main concern be to stay with me (she has known no other life and has always been here on the farm) regardless of her shorter walks and virtually no walks in the fields - and when I move all her walks (except for those if I employ a dog-walker,or if my friend calls to take her out) will be in very different terrain.

My second D has been a Day out - or rather an afternoon out - and is in some ways connected in that my son and his wife took me on a drive out into the lovely countryside around here.   We didn't go into The Dales but rather the other way towards Ripon and then out into the rolling scenery around there.   The harvest is in and the golden stubble fields shone in the sunshine.   The views were wonderful.   We called in at Studley Royal and sat by the lake and had a pot of tea and a scone with jam and cream.   I took Tess as I didn't wish to leave her alone all afternoon.   I found managing her, her lead, my stick and my handbag very trying - there were lots of dogs around and she was no trouble but I still found it
very hard.  

What shall I do?

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Out to Lunch

No surprise there then.   Coffee with friends early in our usual coffee shop and then friend W and I went to one of our favourite venues for lunch.   I needed a present and a card for a forthcoming birthday and there is a charming shop there which is good for such occasions.

We had our favourite lunch - Seafood Platter - a plate holding smoked salmon, smoke mackerel, prawns in marie rose sauce, mayo, green salad leaves, a warm brown roll and butter.  This,  followed by a cup of good coffee, is a most satisfying meal.

There was thick fog when I drew back the curtains at 6.45am and since then it has been cloudy but as I write this at 4pm the sun is breaking through.  As usual it is ukulele practice tonight.   I spent a couple of hours filing my music in alphabetical order last evening so at least I should be able to find whatever it is we are expected to play tonight.

My right knee is much improved today so I am pretty sure that yesterday's intense pain was due to my twisting it rather than arthritis - that's a relief.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Eclipse

Just for a couple of minutes the total eclipse was shown on the BBC News this evening and I must say it was quite awe-inspiring.   It did set me wondering what early man must have thought when such phenomena occurred.   Were they afraid, did they think that the end of the world had come - or did they indeed think of their existence in terms of living in a 'world'?   I am sure they didn't.

In fact, we can't begin to imagine how they viewed anything can we?   Up to the invention of writing and with it the possibility of being able to write one's thoughts and feelings down, we can't know much at all about how our ancient ancestors thought.   From relics and artefacts we can deduce a lot about how they lived and ate and fought one another. But thinking - now that is a different matter altogether.

Having thought about it for a bit I suppose it is still true that none of us know what people think, do we?   We only know what they choose to tell us and quite often that is what they think we want to hear rather than what they really think.

Right, that's enough of the 'deep' stuff for today.
Thank you to everyone who took the trouble to give me a wide variety of book titles for my book club.   I have sent for Bernhard Schlink's 'The Reader' for a start, so thank you Rachel for that suggestion - I will let you know how I find it.
What books we like is another thing which varies from one person to another.   I have just had quite a struggle with Zadie Smith's 'Swingtime' - a very good book but not an easy one to read.

I got in quite a mess ordering it from Amazon - accidentally involving 'Prime' and accidentally ordering it twice.   But I persevered and eventually got both things corrected (Prime cancelled and one book order cancelled).   As with all things computer I find that the only way is to keep doing it oneself until it comes right - otherwise life is made up of always asking someone else to do it for me.

Perfect warm Autumn morning has given way to cloudy, cool conditions.   In spite of very bad arthritis today I shall now go down the Lane with Tess for a short walk.   With my Winter fleece on!

 

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Sundays

When one lives alone then Sundays can be a bit of a pain because it is the day in the week when families do things together.   But it doesn't need to be like that.

The four of us - four friends, all widows ranging in age from early seventies to mid-nineties,  meet for coffee in the week and for lunch every Sunday.
We have many a laugh, never have to think about cooking Sunday lunch, take joy from one another's company.   How do people who have no friends manage through life? 
 
I left a line full of problem washing (handwash only;line dry; wash and iron inside out with a cool iron; wash dark colours separately - you know the kind of thing) flapping in the breeze when I drove off to collect friend W for lunch.   When I came back it was all dry and it is now inside and waiting to be ironed.   Although it said wash dark colours separately the red cotton blouse has not made my white knickers pale pink, nor has the navy blue cardigan made them pale blue. I sometimes think that manufacturers print these things in garments just to protect themselves.  I just plonked it all in the washing machine together (I might of course change my mind when I find that one of the garments has shrunk!)

Suddenly the land around us has taken on a different aspect.  The two fields in front of the farmhouse have been harvested (wheat) for wholecrop, the fields have been double-ploughed and today they have been re-sown for next year's crop.  The fields around the farm which have recently been silaged have now been well and truly 'mucked' (leaving a rather healthy but unsavoury smell permeating the whole house).  In the garden at the side of the house the rowan is being summarily stripped of its berries by blackbirds.   The tree is full of them as they furtively hop from branch to branch helping themselves - dropping more berries than they consume but not somehow having the sense to fly down and pick the berries up from the floor.   Can anybody explain why it is that these same blackirds can spot a grub of some sort at close quarters, or a worm emerging from the ground?  Yet they can't see a dazzlingly orange berry they have just dropped?

Saturday, 19 August 2017

A Busy Day

It is a sunny but windy and chilly day today.   I had various little jobs to do so I set off early into town with Tess on the passenger seat.

She sat in the car while I went and got The guardian and some milk and then got some money.  Yesterday my gardener came and did four hours work for me - and by golly what a difference he made in four hours;  everywhere looks clean and tidy again.   The farmer always kept the driveway neat and tidy - he kept the weeds down and swept up the pine cones each week because they make such a mess.  The people who are buying the farm try their best to help me but really are too busy to do too much.

After that I made yet another visit to the Tip with a boot full of rubbish.   It is so cathartic each time I go.  Then I called at the library with a list of possible books.   I couldn't get a single one I had on the list but got three by recommended authors.   It will shortly be my turn to suggest the book for our Book Club and so far the only book I have read which I consider superb is only out in hardback and therefore too expensive.  It will not be out in paperback until February.   I can however thoroughly recommend it here.   It is Bernard McLaverty's 'Midwinter Break' and the writing is excellent.   If anyone has a suitable Book Club book they could recommend, please do help me out.

Then it was down to our Lane for our morning walk.   That went well and Tess enjoyed it hugely.  The drive back was a bit of a nightmare because there was a cycling time trial taking place and the route led up our lane.  I therefore spent much of the journey home driving at about eighteen miles an hour (only for a mile or so) but at least it gave me a chance to clock the mileage of these eager young cyclists pedalling like mad up hill and against a strong wind.

This afternoon has been a two-hour ukulele session which I enjoyed but found very tiring.  Some days (and today was one of those days) my mobility is so poor that doing very much at all is a major effort.I came in and had an hour's snooze in the armchair so feel lively enough to take Tess for another walk in the field now.

Friday, 18 August 2017

My Saviour

I came home from lunch out (not a rare occasion as I am sure you know) to discover Derek, my gardener, here and knee deep in weeds and grass cuttings.   I really don't know what I would do without him.   He spends four hours here and the whole garden looks magical as a result.

Luckily he also works for the lady where I am moving so I can continue to rely on his services there.

Another week has passed with absolutely no sign of progress with my moving date, so I shall just have to try and relax and not think about it over the weekend otherwise the whole thing will drive me scatty.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Back at last.

I'm back folks after an enforced break due to B T somehow cutting off my telephone and my hub late on Monday afternoon.   Couldn't help wondering if Neil of Yorkshire Pudding fame had something to do with it.   I went out for the afternoon to visit friends and when I returned it was to find that he had called (and left me a tin of salmon, which he knows I love).   I sent him a quick e mail to say I was sorry I had missed him and suddenly, five minutes later, my hub light went to red and my telephone went dead.   Open Reach have been working at the top of the road all week which may have had something to do with it.  Anyway I am back on line and my phone is working so all's well that ends well.

It is so nice to meet folk I blog with - several have actually called and stayed overnight - but please, if you intend to come this way, let me know and then I will endeavour to be in when you call.

I am no nearer moving as things have not really progressed a great deal.   I know these things take time but it is almost six months now since the farmer died and I really do want to get settled into my new home before the winter sets in.

It has been a lovely day today.   Our group of ukuleles played for a group who meet regularly in a nearby Golf Club - we meet for a sing song and it is enjoyed by us all.   Now I am home, catching up on my e mails and enjoying the sunshine of a late Summer's evening.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Such is farming.

Ah well - these things happen.   All the grass was down and my neighbour, who is already working the farm although things have not gone through yet, was hoping to make hay.   Saturday and Sunday were forecast to be fine and warm with a breeze, so he was quite hopeful.  I was unsure because I know how often the farmer has felt the same and then things have gone wrong.

Sure enough, while I was out to lunch, it poured with rain.   As I was going to bed last evening (I tried to stay up to look for meteors but was too tired) there was such a lot of noise in the field.   I got up to look out of the window and all I could see were lights in the fields around the farm.

This morning all the fields are full of wrapped silage.  Obviously all hope of hay was abandoned, he cut his losses and made it all into silage.  Such is farming.

Back to the said lunch.   Friend W had friends for the weekend and she very kindly invited me to lunch yesterday.   And what a lunch it was!!  She had roast a large piece of ham - which was mouth-wateringly delicious and with it we had tiny salad potatoes, beautifully made chips, sweet corn, mange tout, chantenay carrots and broccoli.  Afterwards sticky toffee pudding, ice cream and super fruit salad and cream.   Then it was back into the conservatory for Lady Grey tea and  a lovely chat.   I stayed until half past five - a lovely day - so thank you to my dear friend.

Today has dawned sunny and warm.   I am taking my son and his wife out for lunch and then it will be back to sorting through mounds of farm papers - a job I am hating but a necessary job before I move.   As I took many old Defra booklets to the tip yesterday for recycling I did just wonder how many of these documents (delivered to every farm in the land I presume) had ever been opened and read.   They are issued each year and must take up quite a large percentage of their budget.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Friday, 11 August 2017

This and that.

One of the disadvantages of being so long in moving (and my poor organisation) is that I have packed all my battery chargers so that I can't take a photograph of my airer to show you - my camera battery has run out.   I will have one more try:
Success!   Here is my airer - it works on a pulley system - the Aga is on the right (in the white space) under the oak mantelpiece.   I shall miss it
greatly when I move.

Now to what I intended to write about.   When I was a small child the only 'fodder' farmers could make was hay.   They waited for what they hoped was going to be a dry spell - no long range forecasts in those days which is why  old farmers are still such good weather forecasters.   Then they cut their grass - only one cut a year and then they hoped and prayed that the weather would hold.
Sometimes it did, sometimes it got wet a few times before it could be gathered.   My father in law, who was still alive when I married the farmer, used to say that there was only one year when it was an absolute disaster in his lifetime.

I well remember as a small child going to my Aunt's in The Dukeries (an area of Nottinghamshire) and going with the farmer to gather in the hay which had been left to dry in the field.   We would ride to the field on the broad back of the horse pulling the empty cart and ride back to the farm on top of a full hay wagon. Any smell of hay now brings back such a feeling of nostalgia for me.   No health and safety rules in those days.

The man who has bought our farm (still in the process of going through much to my frustration) is working it too - we can't let everything get out of hand during the wait after years when the farmer kept it in such good order.   After making silage he is now attempting to make some hay and to this end he cut yesterday in what was a glorious day here.   Now today it has been dull all day and has been attempting to rain for the last couple of hours - holding off so far.  Good weather is forecast for tomorrow and Sunday so let us hope he is successful.   If not it will all be made into silage - that is the choice farmers have these days.

Tomorrow I am going out to lunch to friend W's.   She has friends staying and I have been invited.  I look forward to it because I know there will be chips for lunch (their daughter loves chips and so do I but rarely allow myself the luxury).

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Living Alone again.

One thing I have noticed about being on my own again (apart from still missing the farmer every single day) is how the jobs can pile up and there seems no need to do them.   When there were two of us then things like food shopping, washing and ironing (yes, I do still iron) - the mundane jobs, had to be done regularly.   Now that I am alone it is not the case.

Washing tends to be done - as one friend who also lives alone said - when one almost runs out of clean knickers (!!)  - and shopping never seems to need to be done apart from fruit and vegetables and topping up the dog and cat food.

But today the jobs had piled up - and there were also some appointments, so it has been a very busy day. It has also been a lovely, sunny, late Summer day so a joy to be out and about.

Hair at 9.30, letters to post,  a visit to the Physio, a topping up with petrol, a visit to a car wash - I must say it is lovely to drive away with the car gleaming - and a nice walk with the dog off the leash. Washing flapping on the line - I shall collect it shortly and iron it and put it up on the airer.  The airer over the Aga is one thing I shall miss when I move.

Unfortunately a visit to the Physio always makes me very tired for the rest of the day so that jobs after that were a bit of an effort.

Meanwhile, as I am doing all these jobs, the fields around me are being cut - hopefully for hay if the weather holds - for silage it it breaks.  The cut grass smells delightful. 

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Sedbergh

Today Tess and I drove to Sedbergh in Cumbria to meet my God-daughter for lunch in a lovely cafe called The Three Hares.

On the way we stopped and Tess and I had a lovely walk the quarter of a mile down to Cotter Force.   Because of the rain yesterday the Force (waterfall) was in full flow and a splendid sight.   There were several folk watching and we had a nice chat before setting off again.   Sedbergh is about thirty miles from here and  the Force is just about half way.

I found a place in the shade to park as by now the sun was shining (at last) and together A and I walked to the cafe.   A had beef pie and I had a burger - both with chips and salad.   Lovely cafe and lovely lunch.   After a coffee we drove back and have just arrived home.   The last couple of miles were accompanied by a bleeping in my car so now I am going to settle down with my tea and read the book in an effort to find out what it was bleeping for.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Final kitten post.


Thisis positively the last kitten post.   It has been a pouring wet day here today.   This morning six of us went to Tennants Auctioneers who have a lovely cafe and we had a breakfast.   Three of us had an American breakfast of streaky bacon, pancakes and maple syrup and blueberries.  I also had a pot of tea and afterwards two rounds of white toast and marmalade.   Sheer indulgence but needed after yesterday and I have had no more to eat today other than a bowl of strawberries and nectarines at tea time.

Now for the last update.   June from the Cats' Protection League rang me this morning to sat that the Vet had checked all seven kittens over.   They were in good health.   He wormed them all and they have now gone to be looked after by June until they are old enough to be spayed or castrated.  Then they will go to the League to be rehomed as they are quite tame and domesticated.

Ukulele practise tonight so I am now late to bed.  It is eleven o'clock and time for Tess's last mosey round the garden (in the still pouring rain).  So night night again everyone.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Another update

I am on my way upstairs to bed but my son has just rung and I can't resist putting on a final update about the kittens.

I had originally thought there were seven kittens but when my son got there this morning there were only six so I thought I must have miscounted.

Tonight the two traps were set and baited with food.   The kitten lady had said she would return later in the evening and my son was worried that somebody might pass and see the kittens in the trap and think they had got in by mistake and let them out, so he decided to sit in the gateway in his car to watch over them until June came.

He suddenly noticed something on top of the trap and it looked like a kitten.   Thinking that one of the kittens had got out of the trap he went quietly across to have a look.   It was a seventh kitten!

When June came she took the trap with the two kittens in and left the other trap set and baited in the hopes of catching the seventh kitten.   She stopped at the caravans (it is only a 5 site so she didn't have to search for the people who had helped) to tell the people she had caught the two kittens.   As she left after speaking to them she thought she would just nip back up the road in case the kitten had gone straight into the trap and sure enough it had - it was eating the cat food.

So all seven kittens are now safe and sound and we can go to sleep knowing we have done a good job today.   Night night everybody.

Extra update

I put an update to my kitten post in the comments box after your replies, but there has been a further development.

The kitten lady has just rung to say that she met two people from the caravan site just below the farm and they said they would keep an eye on the kitten traps for her.   They have just rung to tell her that one trap has caught both kittens and they have eaten the cat food in the trap and are curled up together asleep.   She is on her way to collect them.

All's well that ends well and  all six are in safe hands.

What a morning.

Tess and I were going for our morning walk today and as we got to the pasture gate a surprise awaited us in the grass at the side of the gate.   Somebody had dumped six kittens in the long grass.   They hadn't been there long and they were not totally wild - I would guess about six weeks old.

It never ceases to amaze me how people can be so thoughtless and cruel.   There are organisations which will take kittens (and if you have a cat then please have it 'doctored' to save yourself having to cope with kittens.)

My mobility is poor and after struggling as fast as I could I rang my son.   At the same time the lady who cleans for me arrived and together they managed to collect four of the six - the other two ran into the hedge and it was impossible to catch them.

We put them in Tess's crate and took them to the Vet in Bedale who deals with such things.   They were transferred to another crate and we arrived back home a short time ago.

They were such pretty little things and certainly not wild  - but I do wonder how the two who escaped will cope.   I suspect that something - a stoat, a fox, a rat - will get them as they are too innocent to survive.   It is not all that far to our barn where our two farm cats live.   I shall keep looking in case they find their way there.

I wish I could find out who did this.   Not only because of their cruelty to the kittens but also because of the inconvenience it caused me.   I am struggling to cope at the moment and certainly didn't need this.

But it is good to know that four of them are in safe hands - three ginger and  one black.
Here are the first three in Tess's crate.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Sunday

I have come back from Sunday lunch stuffed to the gunwales with macaroni cheese - and very good it was too with its salad on the side.   Our Sunday restaurant does the best veggie menu of anywhere I know and now I am back and feel like sitting down for an hour or two to recuperate.   I intend to make a pot of tea and pick up my book.   I just hope that Tess doesn't start making 'I want a walk' sounds for the foreseeable future.   See you all tomorrow.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Saturday

It is still very windy here and although there has not been a heavy shower here today it has been unsettled in many parts of the UK.   Because of this our concert out in the open at a Garden Fete was cancelled - it does not do musical instruments any good at all to get wet.

Then, at the last minute. we were rescheduled and got a gig in our little town where our Auctioneers, Tennants, were hosting a Summer Fair in their Garden Rooms.   So it was all stations go again and the Ukulele Band gave their concert.

I think it was a success.   As yet I am a real novice player but I enjoyed it and it is the kind of instrument you can play and get carried along in an informal situation like that.

Afterwards a group of us went and got our Complementary tea or coffee (and in some cases a piece of cake!) and had a nice chat in the cafe.   And while I was there I met a friend I have not seen since the farmer died and we had a nice chat.

This evening there is a distinct chill in the air and although the sun is shining there is still a stiff wind blowing. 

Tomorrow is another day - I always make myself think that when I begin to feel low in the evening.


 

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Dunkirk

I had mentioned to my son some days ago that if he fancied going to see Dunkirk I would like to go with him.   My brother was at Dunkirk and I remember it vividly.   I was eight at the time and all I remember of it really is the state my mother was in on the actual day he returned.  I am sure that they kept most of the worry and fear from me - or maybe at that age I was too young to understand.    I also rarely remember him speaking of it, although I once caught the tail end of a conversation speaking of young men who couldn't take it any more and jumped overboard deliberately to drown.

It was on the Impact screen at our nearby cinema - it is so long since I went to the cinema that I have never experienced these multi screen places before.   In spite of it being a large auditorium there were probably only around fifty or sixty folk there to see the film - but it was an atrocious night weather-wise.   One thing is for sure - I was the only person in the audience who would have been old enough to remember the real thing.

What did I think to it?   Our reactions were very different, but then we were coming at the film from different places.   My son enjoyed it but felt that in places it was overtly sentimental and 'often too patriotic'.   I was pleased to see that what they didn't do was take a particular family and trace the progress of one man through the ordeal - that would have been sentimental I think.   As it was, as far as I was concerned, it was a fairly factual account of the occasion made just human enough to make it more interesting.   It brought in the role of the small ships very well, their contribution was so important and by the end of the film you knew it.

As for the patriotic angle, I think he has no idea of just how patriotic everyone was during the war.   Almost every household was involved in one way or another - either a son or daughter away fighting or nursing or some other war-related job, or taking in evacuees from the large cities, or in a large city  experiencing the bombing.   And certainly in villages there were always families who had lost a son or daughter and everyone knew about it in such a small community.   There was a desperate need to be patriotic, to keep together, to experience a sort of comfort from patriotism.

I came out of the cinema with a feeling that we as a country had 'won' what could have been an unmitigated disaster which would have lost us the war and it was certainly the aim of politicians at the time to make us feel like that I am sure.   It will be interesting to see if my son puts a comment on here - he does blog occasionally; I will send him an e mail asking him to do so.   Then you can read both points of view.

 Coming out of the cinema to pouring rain - and waking up to it this morning - does nothing to lift the spirits, especially as over on the Continent they have more heat than they can deal with.   I wish they could send some over here.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Grey Day

I am having a bit of a hard few days for some reason.   Anyone who has been in my position will know that these things creep up on one and descend like a black cloud.   It is not helped today by it being a pouring wet day and rather chilly with it.

This morning's Writers' Group was enjoyable and for a couple of hours I felt more like my old self.   But now I am home, it is too wet to take Tess for her walk, although she is itching to go (I know when I open the door and show her the weather she will come back in like a shot.) 

For a quick lunch (I was late in as I called round at the Solicitor's Office to check on progress) I did myself a jacket potato in the microwave and stuffed it with cheese and butter and a sprinkling of salt.   I have to say that it was delicious and very satisfying.   I followed it with strawberries and cream.   Scottish strawberries have been superb this year and I have had them almost every day. 

Because my spirits are a bit down I had a Snickers Bar with my coffee - something I would not normally dream of eating.   Consequently I enjoyed that too.

It is now twenty past three, still pouring, Tess's eyes boring - there's the beginning of a poem there.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Frantic...

...ukulele practice - suddenly can't remember any of the notes!!   See you later.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Ticks

Are you a 'tick the list' kind of person as I am?  This morning was my book club when we met to discuss Tim Winton's "Cloud Street".   If you haven't read it then I can thoroughly recommend it - it is an easy book to read and I found it very enjoyable.   Our next book, which I ordered later today is Zadie Smith's "Swing Time" - a very different book I am sure, but I shall enjoy that too.
One of the good things about being in a book club is that you really must read the book whether you are enjoying it or not. 

Then this afternoon it was time for my list of jobs.
Job number one was to drive up to the tip (accompanied by Tess) to take a stash of pottery vases and jugs I no longer wanted.   Most of them had cracks and chips and had been in a cupboard for years and were way beyond being sold in a charity shop.   Tick number one.

Then it was call at the Library to pay my Council Tax at the Community Office.   I also found two books to read, one of which was a Salley Vickers - only to find it couldn't be taken out as it was reserved for someone.   I thought it was too good to be true to just pick one I hadn't read off the shelf. Tick number two.

Tick number three was to call into the carpet warehouse and pay the bill for my vinyl flooring which has just been laid for me in the bathroom at the bungalow I shall shortly move into.   Tick number three. 

Tick number four was to drive to 'our' lane for a walk.  As I neared my destination heavy rain fell but by the time I got there the hot sun was pouring down again and I did have my umbrella just in case. 

Four ticks in one afternoon is quite satisfying.   Now, after finishing my blog and reading other peoples' blogs, I shall do a few tidying up jobs and then settle down to watch part one of  "Man in an Orange Shirt" on BBC2 at nine o'clock - thoroughly recommended, not least by John (Going Gently).

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Sundays

Anyone who has experienced widowhood will tell you that Sundays are by far the worst days of the week.   Why?   Because everyone is with their family.   The shops are mainly closed and everyone is doing something.    On the whole, widows and widowers tend to be alone - doing the garden, sewing, watching television, reading - anything to pass the time without doing too much thinking until Monday morning comes around and another week begins.
Three friends and I have largely solved the problem.   We have taken to going out together for Sunday lunch.   The four of us have a more or less permanent booking at a local Restaurant which serves absolutely lovely food in very pleasant surroundings at a reasonable price.
Today friend W couldn't come although she did join us for coffee afterwards.   What did we all eat?  We all three had exactly the same - Salmon Florentine (with spinach - the other two don't have the spinach so the chef put the extra spinach on my plate as I love it) in Hollandaise sauce, with roast and mashed potatoes, roast parsnips, brocolli, carrots and cubed swede and for sweet just plain vanilla ice cream as we really couldn't face a large sweet.
Then it was into the bar for a pot of Lady Grey and an hour's chat so that we none of us arrived home until after four o'clock. And all for the cost of £15 each including a tip.  Pleasant food, good company and a Sunday to be enjoyed together.
We have now been going for so long that we find many of the diners eat there every Sunday so that there are plenty of people to chat to.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Success

Well Imust say that the meal today took the minimum of preparation, was easy to present even in its  odd dishes and cutlery, and was all very nice.

My salads worked quite well.   I took Rachel's advice and served the hard boiled eggs with just lettuce and mayo and without the pineapple.   The giant cous-cous salad and the French bean salad both worked well and took no time at all to prepare.

My great grand daughter, Ula, is a delight at eight months old.  They are calling to see me in the morning before they begin their return journey to Glasgow.



Friday, 28 July 2017

Friday

.It was a usual July Friday morning - teaming with rain of the thundery kind - as we went in for our morning coffee with friends.   I had to call at the Sorting Office for a package - still pouring with rain but only a short distance from car to door - and then friend W pulled up at the door of the shop for me to do a last little bit of shopping for my lunch party tomorrow.   My grand-daughter and her husband and their baby daughter, Ula, are coming to stay for the week-end with my son and I am entertaining them for lunch.

With the exception of my daughter in law and me the rest are all vegetarian, which makes for a rather more complicated menu.   Also, because almost everything that I possess is packed ready for my move, I am not even sure that I have five of everything; I know I have no salad bowls out so shall be making the salads in whatever dishes I can find. 

We are having jacket potatoes (a very easy option with an Aga) with a selection of butter,grated red Leicester cheese, baked beans in tomato sauce or coleslaw as a filling.   I shall serve this with a selection of salads - all new and slightly experimental, so I hope they work.

The first is for French beans - lightly cooked and then quickly cooled - baby plum tomatoes roasted for a short while at the top of the oven - black olives scattered through and then the whole with a dressing of olive oil and white wine vinegar and finally a scattering of Parmesan.

My second I shall make up as I go along.  I shall cook some Giant cous-cous a la risotto using vegetable stock and maybe a drop of white wine and when it is cool I shall mix it with tomato, cucumber, spring onion, all chopped small and then a scattering of mint and a honey dressing.

The third will be little gem lettuce with halved hard boiled eggs arranged around the plate along
with pieces of chopped pineapple.

Pudding will be a fruit salad with cream - so far I have strawberries, raspberries, black cherries, apricots, pineapple and melon - I shall cut them up small and leave them to marinate (not in wine as my great grand daughter is only eight months old and really into eating solid food!)

I will report back on the success of the salads at a later date!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

No time

I have just realised that I have not put a post on since Monday.   The fact is that I have just been too busy.   
Tuesday I went with my friend W to Kirby Lonsdale - a beautiful drive over in lovely weather, a delicious meal and a lovely drive back by a different route, round by Sedbergh.   For lunch I had salmon covered in sweet chilli sauce and served on a lovely salad.   I would never have thought of putting that sauce on salmon, but it was a delicious combination.

Yesterday was our Poetry afternoon - and as usual that was the most relaxing afternoon with lovely poetry.  It is one of my favourite afternoons in the month.

Today, as well as shopping for a lunch party on Saturday (my grand-daughter, her baby daughter and her husband are coming down from Glasgow for the weekend at my sons) I have been to Bainbridge to Sycamore Hall care home to play ukuleles and sing to the residents - it was a lovely afternoon too.

 Now I am tired and ready to go to bed.  It is 9.40 and almost dark outside and my Horlicks is calling me from the kitchen cupboard.   See you tomorrow.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Smoking

By lunchtime today it was a pleasant day here in North Yorkshire.   Perhaps a little too much breeze and from the North West, which made it a little chilly,   but it was a great improvement.   Now, at 8.03 (isn't the time indicator in the corner of the computer screen handy?) the wind has dropped, the sky is clear and blue and the sun is shining.

Walking round town just after lunch I saw that there were many holidaymakers here and most of them were sitting outside pubs and restaurants having lunch.   I noticed one pub in particular - tables outside and people eating fish and chips, pie and chips, mountains of food - well it is holidays after all, although I did notice that most of the folk eating were rather overweight.   But what horrified me was how so many of them were smoking (they were outside, not in the restaurant) and then coming on to the forecourt to stub their cigarettes out on the top of an upturned plant pot and then poke the rest down the hole.

There was a time when it really was socially acceptable to smoke - in fact it was very sophisticated.   My Aunt Nell in the thirties and forties considered herself to be a very 'modern' woman.   In her mushquash coat and her beautiful hat (her sister was a milliner) she was a smoker par excellence.   Never outside of course, but after lunch out would come her smart orange box of du Mauriers and her elegant cigarette holder - I used to think her the bees knees.   (coincidentally she did die of lung cancer at quite an early age).

Now, visiting hospital, it is quite usual to see really ill people outside the door in their wheelchairs having a smoke.   What are they thinking of?   Or is it me who is a killjoy?   I would like to know what you think.   Are you happy to 'live and let live' or does it worry you to see people killing themselves after all the medical evidence?

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Rain

The 1940's week end was set to end at around five today.   Yesterday torrential rain fell in the morning for a couple of hours and then it was a lovely  day.   Today dawned fair and the sun has shone for most of the day.   At about a quarter past four the sky filled with black clouds and by half past four heavy rain was falling again.   So I would say that the people who arranged the weekend have been jolly lucky.   All those posh uniforms, all those elegant hats, fur stoles and glamorous dresses can go back home and be stored in their wardrobes in pristine condition.

I didn't go.  Instead we went for our usual Sunday lunch - all four of us today - and then sat in the bar over tea/coffee until almost half past four.   Now I am home and shall put on the News to see whether Chris Froome was triumphant - I do hope so, it was richly deserved.

After that I intend to watch 'Wild Alaska'.   The farmer and I went many times to Canada and the US and the one trip we intended to make and never got to do was to go up the inside passage to Alaska.  So I shall watch it from the comfort of my armchair;  now that I am so immobile the chances of going are getting more remote by the day.


Saturday, 22 July 2017

1940 again

It is our town's 1940's week-end and although it was pouring with rain (and I really mean pouring) this morning, when I drove through on the way to take my son and his wife out for lunch, the town was heaving with RAF officers, Army officers, Naval officers, French resistance couples (berets and striped shirts and red neckerchiefs) and couples wearing the civilian clothes of the era (women in the most delightful hats) - I didn't see a single private - they all seemed to have a commission!
By afternoon the sun had come out and everything was going with a swing.   We went for a short drive around the lanes.   The river was a raging torrent

Friday, 21 July 2017

New people

Today, out to lunch again (again? well yes, I was out on Wednesday and am out again on Sunday and then next Tuesday), the restaurant got busy and the waitress asked if we minded sharing a table with two other people.   Of course we didn't mind, especially as we were at the coffee stage and would soon be ready to go.

How lucky we were to have said yes.  We met two of the nicest people imaginable and had a lovely half hour chatting while we waited for their lunch to arrive.   These chance meetings can turn out to be a delight and frankly should never be turned down.   Having the chance to have a conversation with someone new can be very refreshing.

We exchanged the names of restaurants,  shared places we had visited, chatted  about trivialities - all with a lady of ninety and her son perhaps in his sixties.    He obviously adored his mother and she likewise and together they made a fascinating pair. I hope they thought the same about us.

As my father used to be fond of quoting (Rabbie Burns I think but I am sure someone will put me right if it is not so) 'Oh would some power the giftie gi' us, to see oursel's as others see us'!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Thursday

This afternoon we played ukuleles for a group in Richmond - these were people with forms of dementia and it was a pleasure to play for them and their carers because they enjoyed it so much and sang along with such gusto.

Now I am home again and the Chiropodist has been and I feel as though I am walking on air.

Coming into the empty house is hard and I am still at the stage where I need to keep busy.   My son has been back to the Specialist today and can carry on as normal, so let's hope all is well this time.

 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Weather

Well they always say there are rarely more than two hot days together in an English Summer.  Well here in North Yorkshire the last two days have been pleasantly warm and sunny but today I wake up to dull, cloudy conditions with a light rain falling.   But much preferable to the weather in Coverack in Cornwall - a really desirable holiday destination just gearing up for the season.

In the village last night they had a flash flood with the river rushing through four feet above normal.   It was all over in minutes but holiday lets and residents' houses alike were flooded.   The Dunkirk spirit seems to have prevailed and the villagers assure holidaymakers that all will be back to normal in double quick time.   Let's hope so - the holiday industry is the main source of income down there and also of course many people are looking forward to their holiday break.

Two hours of hard work last night at our Ukulele practice evening - very enjoyable but intense concentration needed.   Today I am out to lunch with friend D - we meet about once each month to catch up on our news.   That is the extent of my activity today so I may well pack a few more boxes, although I have nearly reached the stage where I can afford to relax until I get a firm moving date and then bring in a few helpers.   If I am not careful I pack something and then realise I need it (e.g. shoe cleaning kit).