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).

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Strugglers

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

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

Today

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

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!

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

Thursday

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

Wednesday

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

Monday

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

Again

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

Saturday

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?