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


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


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


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


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


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

Monday, 31 July 2017


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


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


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


.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


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


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


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


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).

Tuesday, 18 July 2017


This morning was our monthly Strugglers meeting at the Quaker Meeting House.   Here about ten of us meet once a month, sit quietly for a while and then discuss whatever happens to come up.   It is a really refreshing hour and a half of  serious discussion.   Well, I say 'serious' but sometimes it is anything but.   However, the topic really doesn't matter; what matters is that the folk involved get something off their mind, are able to sort it out in their mind with other like-minded people and perhaps as a result get worries or troubles into some kind of proportion.

Living alone does often involve bottling up some worry or other until it takes over the whole of one's thinking and often keeps one awake - as mine did the night before last when I really had hardly any sleep at all.   At least last night I slept like the proverbial log.

Lunch out afterwards for two of us (Seafood Platter - Smoked salmon, prawns, smoked mackerel, green salad, mayo and a nice warm brown roll -  afterward we succumbed to a tartlet of cream topped with raspberries, kiwi and the like).  At least I shalln't starve.


Monday, 17 July 2017

Sorry but I accidentally pressed the wrong spot on John's (Going Gently) post and I seem to have messed the whole thing up.   As my son is laid up with a detached retina, I am just hoping that this works and also that I can answer some posts today.
If not hopefully all will be well in a few days when he is upright again.

Lovely views

This morning early Tess and I    walked across the newly silaged field which was wet with dew.   Already the sun was warm, the grass was short enough to walk easily and the rabbits were about, much to Tess's delight.

Each time I walk amongst the fields I am conscious that my time here is coming to an end, that I shall be living in an altogether different environment - but I am also sensible enough to realise that it will be much better for me to be in a bungalow and nearer to services.   If my walking
gets much worse I can always get myself a buggy to get from a to b.

As we walked suddenly a hare got up at our feet and ran.   Tess saw it but didn't attempt a chase - I expect she knew that, given the hare's speed, it was a totally pointless task.   As you know, the hare is my favourite animal, so I was thrilled to bits.

Ukulele practice this afternoon so all my jobs were done early this morning - now I  can sort out my music ready for this afternoon.

Sunday, 16 July 2017


Sunday - it comes round so quickly but now that we have got into the habit of always eating at The Golf Club Sundays have become bearable.  There are five of us, all widows, going today and the visit usually takes up around three hours so that by the time we all get back home it is almost evening.

E and T's Golden Wedding celebration was lovely.   After a very dull and windy day the sun finally came out just in time.   Although it was windy their garden is very sheltered so we didn't notice.   In fact the garden was very pretty with a lovely display of one of my favourite old roses - American Pillar.   Around fifty people enjoyed a great selection of nibbles - I ate far too many but they were too good to resist.

Today has dawned with a little more sun promised and much less in the way of breeze.   Time to get dressed (dressing gowns are  so comfortable when one lives alone) and take Tess for a pleasant walk down the pasture, which has been recently silaged so that the grass is short.   We might even get as far as the farmer's resting place - a spot we love to visit.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Busy day

 At present that is the kind of day I like.   This morning Tess and I went into town to buy a Guardian and then called on the way back for a walk down her favourite lane.   We met a Labrador and a Spaniel, so she had two doggie chats too.

I just had time for a quick read of The Guardian before I made a quick lunch (yesterday's leftover new potatoes and sweet potatoes fried in a little bit of butter and then an egg added to the pan (ages since I ate a fried egg so I enjoyed it).

I have just tuned my ukulele ready for the off as friend W is calling this afternoon to give me a lift to ukulele practice and then straight after that friend J is joining us en route for The Golden Wedding Celebration of T and E - hopefully drinks and nibbles in their garden.   At the moment the rain is holding off but it doesn't look too promising - but at least it is warm.

Saturdays and Sundays are always the very worst days of the week because families are doing things together and that makes it hard when one lives alone.

But today is a full one and tomorrow it is our usual lunch out - five of us this week so we shalln't go hungry!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Tomorrow is another day.

Yes, the sun is shining and a new day has dawned and we all move on.    The funeral was a moving one and a few tears were shed but today things are back to normal (whatever that is at the moment).

My son rang me last evening to tell me that once again his retina has detached on his eye.    It has happened several times and that they took him into hospital immediately and he had an operation on it.   He came home and now has to lay flat for a week, only sitting up for ten minutes maximum in each hour. As the Tour de France is on television at the moment he said that he thought that would get him through.   It is a worrying development but he is having the best care.

My day is fairly free today apart from my usual hair appointment, so I shall get a few more boxes packed and also ring my daughter in law and offer my help with household shopping as she awaits a hip operation and finds shopping difficult.

The sun is shining and it is a perfect Summer day.
The new shower has been fitted in my new bungalow (the buyers (who are moving in here and I am moving into their bungalow) have kindly allowed me to have it put in now), so after the hairdressers I went to choose the vinyl flooring and underlay and they were going up later today to measure up and get it fitted.   As the plumber has taken the bath out the vinyl of course just doesn't fit, so it is the first job done.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017


After quite a wet morning (although warm) this afternoon has turned out very pleasantly warm and sunny.

The morning was spent firstly drinking coffee in our usual coffee house, but as friend W couldn't make it we bought her a scone and I took it up to her on my way home.

This afternoon was spent with the solicitor and then Tess and I had a gentle walk down 'our' lane.
As my computer is not fully cooperating with what I want it to do and I have also run out of black printing ink, which I need to complete the tasks anyway, I shall switch it off and go back to reading my book club book - Tim Winton's 'Cloud Street'.   Have you read it?   Tim Winton is an Australian and it is set in that country - I am really getting into it and thoroughly enjoying it.   Give it a whirl if you get the opportunity.

Monday, 10 July 2017


Friends - where would we be without them?   Some people seem to manage quite well without any, but my friends are really important and I love them dearly.

I have lost touch with some as I have moved around the country so much both with my first husband's job and then since retirement, but living here in The Yorkshire Dales is the longest I have ever lived in one place.   I have lived here for thirty years this September.

I was born in Lincolnshire and grew up and went to school there.   I am still regularly in touch with one friend there, a friend I made on my first day at infant school.   We used to visit one another frequently but as we are now both over eighty the visiting has faded away - and all I can say is 'thank goodness for the telephone'  (she doesn't do computers).

Once my son was born we moved deep into the countryside in Lincolnshire and I made a friend there - my neighbour actually.   We still write to one another at Christmas and last year I actually called in to see them - and what is more, after all this time, she recognised me. 

From there the move was to Lichfield in Staffordshire and again it was my neighbour who became a dear friend.   I am Godmother to her only daughter (she is the one I meet for lunch frequently as she now lives up here).   Sadly both my friend and her husband died some years ago and when my God-daughter got married a few years ago I 'gave her away' at her wedding.

Then the move was to Wolverhampton for my son's schooling and also for both my husband's and my jobs (both teachers).   Friends there were numerous and still writing and contacting by phone.

Finally the move on retirement was up here into the Yorkshire Dales and it was here that my first husband sadly died and after a couple of years I married the farmer.  Yorkshire folk are straightforward and friendly - they tend to call a spade a shovel (as we say round here)- and it is very easy to make friends.   It is that circle of friends who have now gathered round to support me when I most need it - this particularly applies to friend W - without her I would be no good at all at present.

One dear friend and neighbour up here has sadly died and her funeral is on Wednesday.   She had just moved away to live with her daughter but her heart remained up here and she is to have her funeral up here by her own choice.   I shall be there along with many villagers who loved her.

Where would we be without our friends in time of need?

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Open Gardens

Today has been Open Gardens in our village, so the whole of the place has been really spruced up for the event and everywhere looks lovely.   As I live a good mile out of the village I never take part but as I always go out with friends for Sunday lunch I drove through the village at mid-day and it was heaving with people - a good sign for village funds.

My son and his wife always open their garden and I had a tour round that last night.   It is on several levels, which is  always an asset I think.   There is also a little pond with a tiny trickling waterfall - a lovely feature.

There is a scarecrow competition too and there were various ones scattered about the place - some of them very good indeed.

Sundays are perhaps the worst days of the whole week when one lives alone - but the four of us friends have now been out to lunch for about the last eight Sundays and it takes up a large part of the day with eating, laughter and chatting with other regulars.   Can't be a bad thing.

Back to doing a few boxes packed tomorrow.  I am nearing the end of things which can really be packed in advance.   Once I have a moving date then I can really advance quickly (I hope).

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Not a good day

In spite of going out for Lunch with friend, w, and then back to her house for a cup of coffee, then   later  to my son and daughter in law's house to look at their garden and their scarecrow (it is the village's Open Gardens and Scarecrow Day tomorrow) this has really not been a good day.

It is a sad fact in bereavement that one has good and bad days for no apparent reason whatsoever.   I have tried to keep cheerful all day but without much success.   I now intend to take Tess for a walk in the late evening sunshine which, hopefully, will put me in a better frame of mind.

Friday, 7 July 2017


Rabbits have materialised again after an absence of several weeks.   Suddenly the hedges are full of them.   Perhaps they were missing because the grass was long and they could hide.   Now the fields have been silaged it is much easier to see what is going on in the hedge bottoms.

Once Tess sees a rabbit she can focus on nothing else and becomes totally and completely deaf.   It is pointless calling her so once I locate her I have to put her on the lead otherwise I would be standing waiting all afternoon.

Out for our usual coffee this morning and then over to Middlemoor Farm Restaurant for our lunch - W had Minestrone and I had Thai Mango and Coconut soup, then W had goat's cheese salad and I had brie and bacon quiche with salad.  Delicious all round.

Now back home I have ordered some new ink cartridges for my printer, taken Tess for a walk, taken down three pictures to go to the Charity Shop (one of my two jobs planned for each day) and I am now going to sit down and read The Times (half past two in the afternoon).

Thursday, 6 July 2017


I didn't sleep too well because just before bedtime I suddenly (for no apparent reason) couldn't actually remember ever insuring my new car.   When I went to bed I went through the insurance file and could find no trace of doing so, so I resolved to ring my Broker at nine this morning and make sure everything was in order.   I couldn't of course drive down to Masham to talk to him about it because I was scared I wasn't insured.  This morning I took the file down stairs to look through again over my breakfast and there was the Insurance Certificate on the top of the papers!

The other thing which happened when I camec down stairs was that I did so in a violent thunderstorm.   Switching on the television I saw the weather girl standing at Wimbledon in glorious sunshine while here it was absolutely teaming with rain.   I think the storm has passed over but it is still very dark and gloomy.

Thursdays are the day for my hair appointment and today for a manicure too.   It is also a day when I usually eat at home so I shall clear a bit more of my freezer out - today honey and vegetable parcels which look very nice on the packet; I will report on the taste later.

Suddenly being left on one's own does leave one vulnerable to these feelings of uncertainty about whether things have been done or not.   In spite of the fact that I have always done the farm accounts and taken care of any administration I must say that finding out that I really had done the insurance for my car was a great relief and I do begin today on a much higher note.   I hope you do too.


Wednesday, 5 July 2017


tter Forc
No post yesterday because I had a busy day.   In the morning we had our usual coffee morning and then after lunch I had to have a good ukulele practice because in the evening I was playing with a larger group.   And I really enjoyed the experience.  It certainly kept me on my toes.   There is no looking around for a chord - if it doesn't come immediately to mind you have to miss it out because the tune has moved on.

Today Tess and I went to Sedbergh to meet my God-daughter for lunch in The Three Hares.  We had a pleasant journey over (32 miles) through Wensleydale - no views because the cloud was very low and it was slight rain all the way.    We stopped for a short walk at Cotter Force (Force being the local name for a waterfall) but we were running a bit late so it was only a short one.

Delicious lunch - it really is a lovely little cafe if you are ever over that way.  (Asparagus and Pea soup with a sandwich for A and a ham and cheese omelette for me) and then it was back home.   This time Tess and I did walk all the way down to the Force - about a quarter of a mile, so there and back was quite a long walk for me.

When I arrived home I was very tired and have been sitting down ever since.   My arthritis is governed by the weather so is quite bad today and that didn't help, but the walk certainly did me no harm.

 Now I am looking forward to watching Joanna Lumley's programme on India at 9pm - a country I have always wanted to visit but never managed it, and it is too late now.

Monday, 3 July 2017


Rain fell quite heavily this morning for a time and it is forecast again for tomorrow in some places.   Once the rain cleared the day has been very breezy and quite warm and sunny.   So it was quite important to get the silage in today.   As I write this the tractors and trailers are passing the hall window with their loads, followed by the loader which will unload the bales to be stacked.   Before any overnight rain comes all will be safely gathered in - always a good feeling.

This morning was my Book Club - my first meeting.   Just five of us discussed 'The trouble with Goats and Sheep' by Joanne Cannon.   Not my favourite book as I found it rather complicated to follow, in spite of having read it through twice.

Our next book is Tim Winton's Cloud Street.   Has anybody out there read it - and if so what do you think of it?   I would be interested to know - I have ordered it today.


Sunday, 2 July 2017


The farming year rolls on - one of the things that I love about it (and shall miss) is the continuity of it all.

A forecast for fine and sunny weather for a couple of days at least means one
  thing - second silage cut.   And that is precisely what happened yesterday.   There are now three fields cut and lying and they smell lovely.

Another thing about them is that the grass lays in lines and between them is a 'path' of cut grass which is ideal for walking Tess, so that is what we did this morning.   The sun is out but there is a strong wind blowing so I find it quite cold.  (dare I tell you I put my thermals back on last week!)

Another thing which I found interesting is that there was not a single rabbit to be seen.   There were such a lot and suddenly they seem to have disappeared.   That suggests that maybe myxamatosis has struck.   It decimates the rabbits and they die a  slow and horrible death.   The farmer used to go round the fields looking for them and putting the out of their misery.

Out for Sunday lunch at 1.30 today.   What shall I have? (the menu is quite long but it is always the same).  At present I am torn between salmon florentine or one of the four vegetarian choices and as I cooked salmon for myself yesterday it may well be the vegetarian options.   But I may well change my mind when we get there.

I have packed one box today and shall pack another - probably books - on my return.   Where I am going to put it all is another matter.   There are going to be a lot of boxes in the garage for quite a while, that's a certainty.   But at least when that happens I shall be in!

Saturday, 1 July 2017


Well another month bites the dust and we are into July and still no sign of me moving.   I am just trying not to think about it.

My day out yesterday made a pleasant change and did me a lot of good.   We were unable to go our usual way past the Ribblehead viaduct because the road was closed so we had to go and return on the same Sedbergh road.

Lunch, as usual in Avanti, was perfection.   I had prawn and chorizo risotto - the others had blackened salmon, Caesar salad and plaice with Mediterranean vegetables and potatoes.   Their standard of cooking is marvellous.

This morning I did several jobs really early - taking a load of old towels and an old duvet to the tip was the first.   Did you know that duvets go into Landfill?   I thought this was sad when I think of all the homeless people there are.   But of course they would not wish to cart a duvet around with them.   Then Tess and I had a walk, although it is so windy that I found walking difficult, so it was only a short walk today.  Several items went to the Charity Shop and then it was on to the Village Hall for the Coffee Morning.   Finally home for a lunch of salmon steak with Jersey potatoes and  mixed vegetables, followed by fresh strawberries and coconut yoghourt.

Has anyone else in the UK noticed just how long the strawberry season has gone on this year and just how absolutely delicious the strawberries have been?

This afternoon the lady who is swopping homes with me came round and we went over one or two points and took out the tape measure to one or two alcoves.   Now we are just impatient to get on with the job.

Another walk with Tess ensued, then tea and now settling down for the evening to sew up the jumper I have been knitting.

For tea I tried to replicate a recipe my mother used to make when I was small - a sandwich spread which she always called 'mock crab' (although I can't for the life of me think why.)  I cooked and finely chopped onion in butter and then added some chopped tomatoes and cooked those.   Then  put in a lot of grated cheese.  When the cheese had melted I poured in a beaten egg and immediately took the pan off the heat and stirred the mixture until it was cooked.   Then I left it to get cold. It was my best attempt yet but I still haven't got it to taste as I remember it.   Does anyone have a recipe which fits this description?  Maybe the cheese wasn't strong enough.

Well, tomorrow is another day - dare I hope that the move will take place in July?

Friday, 30 June 2017

Early on Friday morning.

Sorry no post yesterday - just too busy to manage to put one on.   Today friend W and I are going on one of our favourite jaunts, across the Pennines to Kirby Lonsdale to meet our friends P and D for lunch in Avanti, our favourite Italian restaurant.

My friend, G, rang last night to say that she was not happy about Tess being left on her own for so long and could she fetch her for the day?   Could she fetch her for the day???  Tess will be ecstatic when G arrives - she adores her anyway and to go out will be an extra and will also make me feel much better about leaving her.

The restaurant where we go allows dogs but W takes her Jack Russell Sophie and She is not a sociable dog so they really can't both go.   W says she is happy to leave Sophie at home so that Tess can go, but Tess has never been in that kind of situation before and there are usually quite a few dogs there on Fridays, so I really don't know how she would behave.   Also, managing Tess and my stick would be difficult.

If you think I am going out a lot at present (I played Ukuleles at Singing for the Brain in Gayle, a tiny village near Hawes yesterday afternoon - and a brilliant afternoon it was too with everyone having such a lovely time) you would be correct, but to be honest I feel that I am only just hanging on to my sanity, what with grieving for the farmer, packing, dealing with admin from being an executor for his will, along with the solicitor, and still having no firm moving date.   I know everything will come right in the end but the whole process is something I could have done without.   It has all come together and it is almost too much to cope with.

We are hoping that as we drive West the weather improves today.   At present it is very dull and cool too.   The first fifteen miles of the journey are the same as the journey we made yesterday afternoon.   The road runs alongside the River Ure and yesterday it was 'banking' in places so we are hoping there has not been further rain overnight and that the water has gone down somewhat.   There is another road through Wensleydale, one which runs higher up above the river but there is always the possibility of flooding.

Friend G has just rung to say she is on her way to collect Tess - so off for a shower before she arrives.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

A New Job

I have found myself a new job this morning and it is one I am going to enjoy.   Reading through the blurb of a local removal firm I read that a sensible idea is to allocate a coloured sticker to each room and then stick that colour on each box which is to go in there.   Then add an arrow to each box indicating This Way Up.  Anything which helps to facilitate ease of moving suits me, so I shall go round and do this later on this morning.

There are now so many packed boxes that I begin to doubt the contents will go into the bungalow, so a lot of them will have a 'garage' sticker and the car will stay on the drive until I decide what to do with the surplus.

It is another very wet day here - and cold with it - so W and I are going out to lunch (again? I hear you say) so that at least part of the day is passed in a cheerful atmosphere.

It is a Friday when we go across to Kirby Lonsdale to meet our friends.   Rain, snow, hail or blow we go (no, not the first line of my latest poem) because we so enjoy the food, the friends' company, and - not least- the journey there (forty one miles).   It just serves to remind us both that we live in one of the most  beautiful parts of the country and we should be grateful for it.   We might not have the warm zephyrs of the South of England or the days of warm sunny weather blowing over from the continent, but, by golly, we do have the beauty and grandeur  of the Pennines.   And that more than makes up for it.

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.