Thursday, 21 June 2018

Senior moments.

I have had two senior moments today - both highly embarrassing and cringe-making.

The first occurred when I went back to my car after being to the hairdresser and then doing a few bits of shopping.   As I drove off from the Car Park there was a warning signal in my car.  It was not the usual 'ping' I get when one of the doors is open or when I haven't fastened the seat belt.   Frankly it sounded rather like a shortened version of the ice cream bell!   By the time I got to the Petrol Station half a mile away it had sounded several times and I resolved to read the handbook when I got home.

I pulled up at the pump and instead of bring my handbag out of the car I left it on the front seat while I filled the car.   As it was in a vulnerable position I locked the car door. (you know what's coming don't you?)   When I tried to open my petrol cap it wouldn't open and finally, after struggling with it for a minute or two, I went in and asked the man at the till if he could come out and open it for me.   He tried it once, looked at me
and asked if I had locked the car?!   Of course if you lock the car you also lock the petrol cap!!!

I drove home.   Still the warning signal was going every few minutes.   I went into the house, taking the instruction book with me to see if I could find out what it meant. Eventually I rang the garage and the chap said I would have to take the car in because my description didn't make sense to him!
Friend W (always the voice of reason) suggested I call at the local garage first which I did.  After listening to my description of the sound he pressed a button on the dashboard and asked if that was the sound.   Eureka!   Yes it was.   Until he told me what it was.  It was a message on my mobile!!!

Oh the shame!   Idiot that I am.   Mind you I got it all in proportion on my drive home when an ambulance passed me at speed and there had been an accident in the Market Place - Police Cars, an Ambulance and the car involved - and worst of all a lady lying in the road.   I drove on thinking how trivial were my two events of the morning compared with that.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Phew

I have friends coming from The Netherlands at the week -end, so my cleaning lady said she would come today and clean through for me.   That will cut down my work load I thought.   Then this afternoon it is our lovely Poetry afternoon, so I could sit in a leisurely morning and choose what I was going to read.

The best laid plans and all that.   Hot on the heels of my cleaning lady came the plumber to fix me an outside tap from the bathroom so that I can water my garden without carrying canfuls of water.   This meant the bathroom was not only out of commission for her to clean but would also be very messy when the plumber had gone.

Too right!   I have just spent an hour and a half cleaning the bathroom (it would have taken her a quarter of an hour at the most, but then she doesn't have difficulty getting down to the floor and even more difficulty getting up again.)

Anyway, the job is done, the rest of the house is clean and tidy and I have just caught up with the bathroom, so all is more or less back to normal.

During the course of the morning I have done bits of jobs.   But this morning has reinforced for me just what opportunists our canine friends are.   One of the cupboards in my kitchen is the dog cupboard.   In it I keep dog tins, poo bags, dry food and (most importantly) 'treat' biscuits in a polythene bag.   The cupboard also houses the stop cock.

I suddenly realised that Tess was missing.   Fearing she had got out as all the doors were open for the plumber I walked around the house looking for her.   I found her IN the dog cupboard calmly eating her treat biscuits from the bag!!   If only I had thought to take a photograph before shooing her out.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Good neighbours.

I am so lucky living here in my bungalow.   The neighbours in the road are so kind.    Here are just three examples today.

It is our refuse collection tomorrow.   My drive is quite steep and I do not find it all that easy to take my refuse down to the roadside.   It is recycling and 'green bin' week this week. There was a ring on my door bell and it was a neighbour from further down the road to say  she was passing and she hoped I didn't mind but she had put my green bin out for me.

Shortly afterwards my next door neighbour came round (and came in for a cup of tea) - I had ordered some sandals on line and they had come this morning and she had taken them in for me and was bringing them round.

As I went out with Tess this evening another neighbour stopped her car to say if I didn't feel like walking with Tess she would willingly get out of her car and leave it at my bungalow while she took Tess for her walk.

I just realise how lucky I am to have moved into an area where the people are so very friendly.   Do you live in a neighbourly place?

Monday, 18 June 2018

Self indulgence.

Nothing I ate today seemed to satisfy me but as the day wore on I began to fancy fish and chips.   It is at least a year since I had them and not something I usually enjoy.    But at half past four Tess and I jumped into the car and drove the mile into the town centre, parked and I bought myself fish, chips and mushy peas - we went back home and ate them - Tess having half a dozen chips and quite a large piece of my cod, but without the batter.    They were not the best I had ever tasted but they satisfied a need, and sometimes - when one lives alone - it is necessary to do just that.

Now I intend to watch Michael Portillo crossing America by train  and that is followed by a new farming series, so I shall watch that too.   Some days I miss the farmer more than others - or let's say I think about him more, and today is one of those days.   How I wish he were here but he isn't and I can't change how things are.   Now our sympathies must go out to Sue in Suffolk who is doing her very best to come to terms with losing her beloved Col.

What a good place Blogland is when one makes these 'friendships' - there is a whole network of support out there and it is good to be able to call on it.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Friends.

A friend called with her husband and her electric lawnmower this morning and cut the grass in front of my bungalow.   It was so good of her and now it looks neat and tidy like everyone else's front lawn.   So thank you S and N for your help - much appreciated.

I went out with two other friends for lunch as usual.   The fourth member of the team, W, was ninety seven earlier in the week and is being feted by her family all day today in celebration.   So we were a friend short.    The three of us had our usual salmon with vegetables (delicious with or without the 'florentine' (spinach') which two of us have) then it was one ice cream, one Eton mess and I had a chocolate extravaganza.    Then we sat for an hour and a half in the bar drinking tea, putting the world to rights and having a good laugh.   When one lives alone I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday.

Now it is half past five, I have taken Tess for her walk and I am in for the evening.   At the risk of offending anyone (sorry Rachel) is it really necessary to have football and/or tennis on the TV to the exclusion of almost anything else for the next month?   Thank goodness for iplayer I say. 
Dark-looking rain clouds amass here but very little rain forecast.   Plants certainly look better for yesterday's deluge.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Neighbour pressure

Having read the comments on my post yesterday I feel I have to write and disagree with what most of you said.

First of all a friend, who reads my blog sometimes, sent me an e mail to say she is coming in the morning to cut my lawn for me.   She is not a young lady, she has an electric mower and I am quite overcome by the fact that she has offered to do this for me.   The kindness of friends and neighbours never ceases to amaze me.

Now to those who feel that neighbourhood pressure should be ignored and that one should 'do one's own thing'.   I am sorry but I disagree.   Almost everyone on this estate keeps their house and garden in an attractive state.   It is a pretty estate where the houses and bungalows are planned in such a way that it is rather like a village - areas for children to play, areas of grass regularly cut by the council, trees planted in strategic places, everywhere neat and tidy and almost all gardens neat, tidy and colourful.   It is a pleasure to walk/drive around.   Why should I take it upon myself to be the exception, to make my garden an eyesore which spoils the look of the place?   My back garden had not been done and was a mess but at least it could only be seen by the occupants of my bungalow.   My front garden (all lawn) is seen by everyone who walks or drives past.   Luckily - because I enjoy seeing people - there are always folk about and they stop and chat and our dogs
 'chat' too.   So yes, I don't on the whole agree with those of you who say it doesn't matter.   To me it does matter in this instance to conform to the standard that has been set.   But thanks for making your presence felt in your comments.   That is what I love so much about blogging.

See you later in the day now that I have got this off my chest!

Friday, 15 June 2018

Calamity

I was going to put a heading of Disaster, but in the giant scheme of things this is really not a disaster when one thinks of all the 'real' disasters.   But it certainly is a bit of a calamity and I am going to sleep on it before thinking what I can do to remedy the situation because at the moment I have absolutely no idea.

This is a lovely neat and tidy estate and everyone keeps their gardens and in particular their lawns in pristine condition this time of the year.   Any lawn which does not keep up with this standard is really an eyesore. 

I have no lawn mower, mainly because I really do no longer have the strength to push one, even if it is an electric one.   My gardener is very good and comes each week to do an hour in the back garden (which is beginning to take shape nicely marestail notwithstanding)  and an hour mowing and strimming my lawn.   He has not been this week and  as it is prime growing season it is no exaggeration to say that my lawn looks like a wild flower meadow - pretty with trefoil, clover and buttercups it might be but it is no lawn.

This evening I rang my gardener, expecting him to be out with his mates on a Friday night.   He answered the phone - he has 'done his back in' to use his words, is flat out on the settee and can hardly move.   So my dilemma is what do I do  about my grass?   I am sure every gardener in the area has a full time table at present so how am I going to find anyone?   Watch this space.

I have spent the afternoon in the garden doing various jobs to the best of my ability.    I have had a lovely display of pansies in tubs over the last four or five months - they have been under my kitchen and sitting room windows in the front of the house.   But we have had a huge gale this week and it finally put paid to them, almost blowing them out of their tubs.    So this morning I bought geraniums and violas and this afternoon I changed the soil and planted the new bedding out.    Hard work, but now it is done I feel much happier.   So all is not lost - now I just have to find someone with a mower and an hour to spare.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

An afternoon of pleasure.

First of all there is the drive through Wensleydale on a sunny afternoon - strong gale blowing and not very warm, but one doesn't notice that shut in a car.   Then, on arrival, there is an hour and a half of playing ukuleles for the elderly and/or dementia sufferers at the Care Home we were bound for - just friend W and I - the two of us.

All the old songs - how the residents sing and enjoy the afternoon.   They look through the books, call out a number they would like to sing and together we all sing it.   There is a lovely old gentleman who knows the verse to 'When I'm cleaning windows' and sings it before everyone joins in on the chorus. 

Towards the end of the session a lady I hadn't seen before said could we play 'The Old Rugged Cross' - we couldn't.   It's not really suitable for ukulele anyway, but we asked her if she could sing it and she sang the first verse in a beautiful, clear voice - then we all joined in on the chorus.

Coming home through the lovely dale we realised just how very tiring it is to play and sing non-stop - we were exhausted.  But what a grand time we had all had.

 

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Batten down the hatches.

Or so the weather girl said this morning.   So battening down the hatches is the order of the day.
Friend S called to take a completely recovered Tess on her walk - and did she enjoy it - flopped down and was asleep in seconds on her return.

S planted another patty pan for me in a gro bag and we put it behind the dustbins in as safe a place as we could find.   The other courgette plants in their gro bags have been moved behind a wall.   Winds of fifty miles an hour are forecast for overnight and heavy rain (which we badly need) for tomorrow.   This seems to be the pattern most years - just get the gardens planted for Summer then along comes a gale to create havoc.

Poor Tom - and Cro too - are suffering from despondency about the situation in the world.   I suspect it was ever thus - and in any case we - as mere mortals -can do little about it.   Our only tool is our vote and, frankly, there is little to choose there.   I also suspect that once the World Cup
(football just in case you haven't heard about it!!!!!) arrives on Thursday the news will be full of hooliganism, groans about unfair decisions and most likely the ignominy of England returning home with their tails between their legs.   Things can only get worse.   In fact, now that the Royal Wedding is over it is all doom and gloom for the foreseeable future.   So please, let's all cheer up.

If you want to end the day on a cheerful and  happy note do go to DOING IT FOR OURSELVES IN WALES on my sidebar and read the lovely, cheery story about Little Compost.  It has made my day and might take your minds off the present state of things.   Survival is the order of the day for the little chap.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Tuesday

The sky is full of black threatening clouds and the air is sultry.   But I am pretty sure it is not going to rain - it just doesn't feel like it.  Tess and I have just mooched round the estate after lunch and now I am having a job to keep awake.

Coffee with the  girls this morning and a bit of shopping - paying the week's papers that are not on my Times subscription then coming home to wipe out the kitchen cupboards before I put my food away, so a satisfying job done.   But now there is an overwhelming desire to close my eyes.   I shall resist it!

I have always been 'easy meat' for the whole of the bug brigade in early Summer and as I sit here typing this I begin to realise that the nibbling brigade must be out in force today as I resist scratching various itchy places on my back.   It is destined to turn cooler tomorrow for a few days - perhaps this will ease things a little.

By the way, Tess is definitely improved this morning.   She has had her pain killer syringe this morning and has eaten a 'soft' breakfast without biscuits but with the addition of a little of the ham I usually don't let her eat but which is tempting her so much at the moment.   So far, so good.
Out to lunch with friend D tomorrow - I'll see you afterwards and report on what we eat!!

Monday, 11 June 2018

Mowing the Lawn.

I can;t help starting with a feeble joke which I was reminded of when I typed in the header.   Many years ago somebody published a list of incongruous book titles, one of which was 'Mowing the Lawn' by The Duke of Edinburgh.

As to my lawn - when I went out after lunch to take Tess for her walk I passed my gardener at the top of my road.   I thought he would perhaps progress on to me and mow my lawn which urgently needs doing.   No such luck - he has disappeared.   But at least it has given me time to go out and take a photograph of the delightful weed which takes over the lawn when it is ready for mowing.   It is Bird's Foot Trefoil (as kids we called it 'Lady's Fingers) and each time it happens I wish I could leave my lawn and let it become a mini wild flower meadow (there are various other wild flowers in it too).   But most of the other lawns on the road are of bowling green standard so I daren't let standards slip.

I took Tess to the vets and the vet thinks she has somehow strained her jaw (very common apparently).   She has given her a pain injection and also tablets for a few days when we will review the situation.   As to her 'lump' it has not grown at all and doesn't appear to be causing her a problem - in fact the vet (a different one from last time) suggested it just might be a fatty lump.  That would be really good news -.  On the vet's suggestion - as Tess has had nothing to eat or drink for two days - I called and bought some ham, cut it into small pieces and put it on a plate.   It disappeared in the twinkling of an eye - surely a good sign?

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Rain

As I sit here typing this at a quarter to five in the afternoon, it is raining hard outside.   I don't suppose it will rain for more than a few minutes but I do know that the humid, damp air and the quick shower will do my plants more good than a can of tap water between a dozen of them.

This morning I was fascinated sitting here and looking out of the window.   On the ledge of the wall in front of my boundary hedge I have some gro bags holding courgette plants.   Behind them is a mulch of bark under the hedge.   As I watched, a very fat pigeon arrived and systematically went in and out of the hedging plants turning the bark over and eventually coming out with a suitable nesting stick in his/her beak (two sticks across and a little bit of moss as my father used to say of pigeon's nests).   This mean the each pair is about to have a second brood - no wonder there are pigeons everywhere.   But they were fascinating to watch.

Lunch out as usual and then a gentle walk with Tess on my return.   She is not at all well and we shall be going to the vets in the morning.   Oh dear.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Saturday

After a bereavement of a loved one (very much loved at that) I think one goes on having the odd day when it catches up with one - and today promised to be one of those days.   Saturdays are not easy - usually the most difficult day of the week as families are all about doing things together.

But waking up in this  frame of mind means there is only one thing to do and that is to somehow work it out of one's system.   First of all a quick trip to the shop for the essentials like milk, bread and bananas.   Then a trip to the tip with various cardboard boxes and plastic containers (do love going to our Council Tip as the men are really so very pleasant and helpful).   A medium sized walk round the estate with Tess, then a cup of coffee and a look at Trooping the Colour on the television.  The organisation, the planning, the precision - it is awe-inspiring.   If anything does go wrong then I certainly don't notice it - the spectacle was amazing and I enjoyed every minute of it (I understand a senior army figure was taken ill at the end of the parade, so do hope he is recovering in hospital). 

After lunch Tess and I walked down what used to be 'our' lane, but well below our farm.   The neighbouring farmer was mowing his lawn and I had a lovely long chat with him - having not seen him since 'my' farmer passed away.

Now we are back home; a cup of tea and a look at the crossword later and it is time to get Tess her tea.   And -incidentally - I am much more my usual self.   The only way is to work through these things and together Tess and I did it.   And as I have said before - Tomorrow is another day - and our usual Sunday lunch out.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Another day out.

To Kirby Lonsdale today to meet friends P and D for lunch in the Italian - delicious as usual.

The journey was spectacular - we both agreed - Wensleydale and the Lune valley at their very best.    The fields were full of buttercups just coming into flower and the roadsides were thick with bistort and with glorious ox-eye daisies.

I took photographs on the way.  No point in saying where they are - suffice to say they are in beautiful North Yorkshire Dales.   Enjoy.
This is the market town of Hawes, home of the Wensleydale Cheese, and the only 'town' we pass through on the journey.





Thursday, 7 June 2018

The Demise of the High Street Store.

Having just watched the six o'clock News I see that now House of Fraser is closing over half of its High Street Shopping outlets with the loss of something like six thousand jobs.   Last week it was M and S and now Poundworld is on the verge of collapse.   It does seem as though our shopping habits are rapidly changing out of all recognition.

I suppose it is only to be expected given that on line shopping is so easy and more and more people have computers and so have access to so many more choices without moving out of the comfort of their armchair.   Sad but inevitable I suppose. 

Bus services have been cut to the minimum in country areas and - without sounding feminist - if a family has only one car and Dad uses it for work then I am sure if Mum doesn't drive (and there are still many families like this in country areas) that Dad - if he has to use the car on Saturdays - would agree there are a thousand places he would rather go than shopping.   So it has to be on line shopping for the grocery order and the same for clothes.   And retailers have made it super easy to return things which don't fit and almost always postage is paid.

So we have to adapt.   As to the job losses I don't know what happens there.   Unemployment figures are at their lowest but many of the jobs which have been created are not necessarily paying the minimum wage (there are so many ways of getting round it).

The times they are a changing as somebody said a long time ago (Bob Dylan??) - if it was he then it hasn't happened overnight has it.
 

 

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Scourge




Looking out of my dining room window early yesterday morning I saw that my courgettes were drooping - one especially - and needed watering.   Out I went with the watering can but when I got to the plants I found that there was only one droopy one - in fact for 'droopy' read 'dead'.   Either a slug or a snail had made its way carefully over the bark mulch, mounted the grow bag and nibbled away at the very heart of the little plant - not an outside leaf but the extreme, succulent central stem.

I have put slug bait around them all, and around my hostas.   I hate doing so but there really is no alternative if I want to eat any  beans or courgettes.

The same applies to weedkiller and the tiny little weeds with deep, stubborn roots, which make their way up through the cracks in the concrete of my drive.  They are much too deep rooted for me to pull up - so weedkiller it has to be. 

And speaking of weedkiller, the specialist stuff to spray my Marestail has arrived ' to be sprayed on a totally still day when no rain is forecast'.   The bed is now empty apart from the pernicious weed - later on, when I return from lunch out - I will go and take a photograph to show you just how it has taken over.

Today is the anniversary of D Day - the 74th anniversary if I remember it correctly.   I certainly remember it very well - I was twelve at the time and by that time my brother was in REME, who did not go over in the first wave, so my parents were not quite so worried, or so it seemed to me.   By this time I was much more aware of what was going on than I had been at Dunkirk and I think there was a feeling everywhere that this was the beginning of the end of the war and that we were going to win it.

***I had intended to put on photographs of my garden and of the marestail.  I have taken the photos but since putting on my last lot the system for transferring them seems to have changed and I can't do it.   I shall have to wait for a superior brain to call and show me how. 

Managed to do the photographs myself but they have come out at the top rather than at the bottom of the post.   The top two are of the marestail (second one close up) the next of the bottom tier of the garden I have planted and finally the next tier - the rockery.   You will see that it is gradually taking shape.   I now await my gardener coming to apply the specialist weed killer to the marestail - then time will tell.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Three days in one.

I have done far too much today.   Now, at a quarter to ten in the evening, having just taken Tess for her last walk round the block, I am really ready for my cup of Horlicks and bed.

As I have said before on here, I am a great one for making Lists and for crossing things off as I do them.   Today was certainly a List Day.  And a very long  List Day at that.   But I managed to do everything on the list before lunchtime and even included an hour sitting with friend E drinking coffee in our usual cafe.  (the other two 'regulars' couldn't come today).

Then it was home for lunch, a shower, a quick walk with the dog and then off to the Physiotherapist for my monthly session.   This always makes me tired but it does me good too.  I didn't return home until after four o'clock - time for tea and another dog walk.   I returned from the Physio to find that Tess had been sick several times, which was a bit worrying but she ate her tea as normal and has been for a walk tonight so I am hoping it isn't a deterioration in her condition.

My new leather jacket came today and I am thrilled to bits with it - it has cheered me up no end on a day which could have resulted in my being rather down at the end of it.   One thing I have learned over the last fifteen months is that one has to keep going and if things seem to be getting a bit fraught - find something to cheer up the situation.   That solution certainly keeps me going.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Monday

Monday morning dawns cloudy, misty and quite chilly - typical of our British weather.   We are overjoyed when we get a whole day's rain for the garden but then it takes two or three weeks for the weather to get back to anything like Summer afterwards.

The lady who cleans for me came this morning so I got well stocked up with local news.   Because she is always out and about - and is local to the area anyway - she knows so much more about what is going on than I do and when she doesn't come I miss her.

My only foray out today was to the hour-long ukulele practice this afternoon.   I have just returned from this and thought I would put on a post before feeding Tess and getting my own tea. 

My chiropodist called at lunch time and has given me a new routine for my feet.  I shall try in the month before she comes again to stick to it rigorously in the hopes of praise when she comes.

Now tea time calls.   I will swear that Tess can tell the time.   She is at my feet as I write this and I can feel her eyes boring into me saying 'where's my tea?' - it is five minutes to four and she has her tea at four each night.   I always feed her before having my tea - after all who wants to eat tea with a pair of pleading brown eyes fixed on their face?

 

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Sunday

Pretty normal Sunday here with our usual jaunt out for Sunday lunch.    The rain kept off although it kept threatening - that's one of the troubles with our English weather; once it 'breaks' it takes it a long time to settle down again.   Still I shouldn't complain.   The rain came just right for the garden.

I have just watched 'Countryfile' with its hour-long tour of the Queen's Balmoral Estate.    I stress that I am not a Royalist particularly but the estate was nothing short of exquisite and so beautifully and efficiently run that everywhere was perfect.   I just can't begin to image how much it costs to maintain such a high degree of management.

It was followed by an hour long programme about Iraq which I had intended to watch but as I was having difficulty keeping awake (bad night) I decided to watch it another night on iplayer instead.

Nice lunch today - not the usual Sunday lunch as we all had salad (I had smoked haddock fish cake with chips and salad) - the other two had prawns with salad.   They looked longingly at my chips and it transpired that they had had a bet to see if I offered them one.  I had a lovely Le Creuset tureen of crisp, salty chips with fluffy centres - and I ate every single one myself - yes I am greedy but by golly they were good.   So sorry girls!

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Lucky

Hawes, a little town in Wensleydale, is only fifteen miles from here.   Last evening a large black cloud hung over Hawes and I thought it was coming our way (lots of plants put in - watering needed).   But no - the evening brightened and we had no rain.

This morning on my dog walk I met J, who had been in Hawes last evening and told me they had had a cloud burst there and the streets were running with water. So we were lucky - we really don't want that kind of rain with all the new plants.

Today it has rained steadily all morning.   It is 3.10 and it is still raining.    Just the sort of rain we needed and so no need to water today.
    
Friend S called at lunch time and brought me three courgette plants and two runner bean plants which we planted in grobags. 

Then, after lunch, I ordered the weed killer to start attacking the Mares Tail weed.    S took Tess for her lunch time walk for me (thank you S) so now I can relax with today's Guardian and put my feet up.
Maybe I am sticking my head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich, but - really - what can I do about any of the world's problems?   Absolutely
 nothing other than worry.   So I have decided to
limit my worries to family, friends, the house and garden in that order - and I shall let everything else float above my head.   And if you think I am being selfish then so be it. 

Friday, 1 June 2018

Memories.

As I have friends coming for a meal tonight as a 'thank-you' for the many times friend S has taken Tess for a walk, I have been preparing food this afternoon.   It is hot here and thundery so no preparation of a lot of hot food - just my sausage dish which is very easy to prepare, followed by strawberries (Scottish) and cream.

Jersey Royals are 'in' with a vengeance, as are things like English asparagus (delicious), so vegetables are no problem.   My Jersey Royals were a bit 'scabby' so I thought it best to scrape them - an easy task as the skins come off with no problem at all.   But while I was doing it I had the lovliest vivid memory from childhood - one never knows when these memories are going to surface.

I would have been about seven I suppose.   We had a large vegetable garden - as did most houses in the country in those days.   My father was a keen vegetable gardener and we rarely had to buy vegetables.   We looked forward greatly to the first 'digging' of new potatoes.   Down the garden we went, Dad with the fork, me carrying the little bucket.   Were they ready?   Oh the excitement.   Yes they were.   As Mother already had the pan on the stove my Dad obviously knew they were ready - but it heightened the excitement for me.

Dig up the first root and - yes - there were enough little round potatoes there for a 'boiling' for three.   Back up the garden we go - to the outside tap where Dad fills the bucket with water.   Then he goes into the wash-house and comes out with the copper stick (we had an outside copper in those days  which he lit on Monday mornings before he went off to work).   Round and round the bucket went the stick and the soil came off and the skins came off.   Two or three new lots of water and they were ready.

In we went with the bucket and the new potatoes - straight into the pan along with a couple of sprigs of mint and a dash of salt. 

Supper was new potatoes with butter.   All three of us could have eaten the same again and more.

Do you have a memory like this which came to you in a flash?

Thursday, 31 May 2018

A Day and a Half.

Yes, to say I have been busy all day is an under statement.   Thursday is always 'Hair Day', so always an early start.   But, after trying on friend P's leather jacket I wanted one (nay - desired one is not too strong a word).   It came yesterday - I adore it but I have to be realistic - it is a tad too small.   I was out when the parcel came yesterday, so first of all I had to go down to our Post Office to collect the parcel.   After hair there was a bit of shopping to do (friends coming for a meal tomorrow night) and then it was home to try on the jacket - then a call to the supplier and a promise of a replacement a size bigger meant a re pack of the jacket and another trek into town to post it recorded delivery.

Home again I did a load of washing, watered the plants, made soup for tomorrow evening, and am just about to sit down and watch the next round of the Best Home Cook with Mary Berry.   I think I have the perfect excuse to put my feet up.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Poetry

There is something very relaxing about Poetry - especially when it is read aloud.    For me it is not something to read quietly to oneself - it is for reading aloud.   Not so many of us at our monthly Poetry today, but it is quality not quantity which matters and we had a lovely afternoon. 

My morning, which started out quite relaxed and pleasant did rather gather  momentum as the morning went on.   The bank, the Post Office, the Solicitor, all went swimmingly until I arrived home to find that my gardener had put all the grass cuttings and weeds into my grey (i.e. rubbish) bin - being on the farm we had no need for a green (garden rubbish) bin.   So I went on line to order a green bin (22 pounds per annum) - this took me such a long time because my computer seems to have mixed up all the signs.  Each time the council form told me to put in my e mail address, instead of putting in @ when I pressed that key it printed "
- later at Poetry I found another person who had had the same problem this mor ning with the same two keys.   Just now, trying to print the pound sign for the top of this paragraph, when I pressed the pound sign all I got was #.   Can anyone please explain to me exactly what has happened?   As it seems to have happened to someone else I am assuming that it is not necessarily my computer.   Any ideas?

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Tuesday

The News on so many subjects - Terrorism, Brexit, the situation in Italy, the Irish referendum on abortion, the fall in the stock market - all seems to be gloom and doom.   Perhaps I belong to the 'head in the sand' brigade but at my age I am sorry but I just can't get het up about any of it.   Perhaps this is selfish but all the things which are headlines today seem to be forgotten by this time next week.   All the issues like the state of things in the Middle East, the plight of people in countries like the Yemen - all this is headlines for a short time and then one would think the problem had gone away because no more is heard of it - nothing could be further from the truth.   For this reason, and also to keep my sanity in my old age, I do what I can with donating money to what I consider to be a 'safe' just cause (not as easy to find as one might once have considered) and after that I get on with my life.

So, what has today held for me here in my little town in the Yorkshire Dales?   It has been a lovely day.    Firstly the weather.   I got up at seven to quite thick fog and that fog turned to mist and to mizzly rain which has never really gone away - so the temperature has never gone above 15 degrees.
But the good news was that it happened to be M's birthday and so six of us celebrated by going out to breakfast (in my case pancakes, streaky bacon and maple syrup).  Then three of us (including M) went off to our county town Northallerton (a lovely, rather old-fashioned town of super shops) to have a look round for various things.   I can't walk far but I arranged to go and sit in a tea room when my legs were tired and we all three ended up there for coffee and cake.   M got a free piece with a burning candle in the top because it was her birthday!!

For the past few weeks, since it became warm,  I have had a nasty smell in my kitchen.   I finally traced it to the waste pipe leaving my dishwasher.  When I was walking this morning with Tess I realised that there was a Plumber's van parked outside a house we pass every morning (the van is always there) and shortly after we passed the van a chap got in and the van drove towards me.   I flagged the driver down and spoke to the men inside.   To cut a long story short they came this afternoon and solved the problem.   There had never been a U bend (a trap) on the outlet pipe from my dishwasher - consequently I was getting the smell from the drains backing up into the kitchen!!  In half an hour the problem was solved. Don't let anyone ever complain to me about plumbers again - I call that first class service.

To add to all this, my gardener has been and cut my lawn and is returning to do more jobs for me tomorrow.

It is now 6.36 and I feel that today has been a satisfactory day all round and - when you have read this - I am sure you will agree.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Bank Holiday Monday

Bank Holidays are days to be got through when one lives alone I feel.   Families go out together on picnics or to visit National Trust Houses and the like.   Us loners have a day like any other and are quite pleased when the day is over.

In addition it has been very hot here so that it has been a real effort to do anything other than sit about.   I planted one of the three plants I bought - a thistle with deep red flowers - watered the pots that needed a drink, cooked a light lunch and then I am ashamed to say I slept for a couple of hours on the settee.

That doesn't mean I shall not be tired at bedtime.   I am tired already.   Tess and I have just walked to the field and back.   In the field we had a brief word with Mr Aberdeen Angus and his group of Fresian 'misses'.    There was a lot of flirting going on amongst the ladies but Mr Bull just lay there, chewing his cud and gazing into space.    I am sure he will do his job when the time is right.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Sunday morning early

My visitors went yesterday after taking me out for lunch and calling at The Garden Centre for us both to buy a few plants.   It was lovely having them stay and very little work.   I cooked for the first evening for friend W and the three of us - Butternut squash soup, Sausage, New potato, Chantenay carrot and Asparagus roast and Strawberries and Cream.   Friday the four of us went to lunch at W and I's usual Friday lunch spot
and yesterday my friends took me out for lunch before they set off for home.   Today is our four friends lunch - the usual Sunday fare, so you will see that there has been minimal effort on my part.
The friends are the friends who W and I often meet in Kirby Lonsdale and friend P has been a friend since he was in his early twenties and he is now getting near to seventy - and has always seemed like my second son - so no hassle really.

After they had gone I stripped the beds, washed the sheets , dried them on the clothes line, brought them in and ironed them - now they are aired and sometime today I can make up the beds again.

Mare's Tail is growing well.   I have decided it is best to ignore it, try to lighten the soil where it is growing worst, plant up as close as possible with plants which grow higher than it does and enjoy my garden.   To that end I bought three plants, all of which are quite tall - a thistle, a euphorbia and one other which I can#t remember the name of (and as I am sitting here in my nightie typing this I shall not go outside to look).   It is alright for Cro lolling about there in France and for those of you who live in the South of England where the weather is balmy - but I can assure you that here in North Yorkshire the sun may be out but the wind is mighty chilly.

I am enjoying the gardening bug and now never travel without my plastic bag in case I see a handy shrub (I like trying cuttings!).   Have a nice week-end.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Visitors

Visitors staying.  Back on Saturday.

Miss Wensleydale.

Friend S, who almost always takes Tess for a  walk on Wednesday afternoons, took this
lovely photograph when they were out this afternoon.   The 'cheeses' were put in the fields for when the Tour de Yorkshire went through a couple of weeks ago.   Thank you S - delightful photograph.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Wednesday

Only one word to describe today's weather here in North Yorkshire, East of the Pennines - cold.   There is a haar coming in off the North Sea (Poor Thelma must be suffering more than we are here - North Stoke on my sidebar).   It is set to get better this afternoon although I doubt it will at the moment as there is a sharp cold wind blowing and the sky is cloudy.   As children we used to argue about whether 'Ne'er cast a clout 'til May be out' referred to the end of the month or the arrival of the May blossom.   Well I have seen some May blossom out today at the end of my neighbours garden but there is still a week to go to the end of the month, so I shall hedge my bets and keep my thermal vest on (sorry if that is too much information - although small fry by today's standards).

I was up with the lark this morning and into town before nine o'clock to do my last minute shopping for friends coming to stay tomorrow morning.  Back home by ten I had run out of steam so sat down for an hour with The Times and a Bounty Bar I had bought myself. Nothing like being a bit self-indulgent is there?

I took Tess for her morning walk very early and friend S usually takes her this afternoon and has said she will be here just before two,  and how Tess enjoys that.   She jumps for joy when she sees S arrive.   My cleaning lady is also coming this afternoon so I shall be pretty superfluous.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Visitors

There is nothing like the prospect of visitors to make one look in the corners for the gathering of dust, check on the store cupboard to make sure essentials are  to hand, wash the dusters - this last one was prompted by my cleaning lady who suggested she wash them the other week!

The fact is that when one lives alone it is easy to let all these things slip as there is usually only yourself likely to see.  (well the dog too of course but I don't suppose she cares for an instant as long as Pedigree chum in Jelly and Bakers complete arrive in her bowl at 4pm exactly (and yes, I am certain she can tell the time). 

Morning coffee with the girls and a nice long chat over a cafatiere of Italian each.   Then it was home home for lunch and today - in a fit of enthusiasm - I put on the oven and cooked myself scampi and a collection of veg (petit pois, carrot batons, baby sweet corn and broccoli).   Now I am about to boil myself a couple of eggs for my tea.   The amount of work I have done today - plus a nice long walk down the farm lane with Tess - means I have earned it - and in any case I am hungry.   So I shall away to boil the eggs and have them ready to put on a tray so that I can watch 'Antiques Road Trip' in comfort.   Have a nice evening.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Food

One of the things about living alone is that, certainly as far as I am concerned, it is difficult to bother with cooking for oneself.   Jacket potatoes are my staple lunch food when I am not eating out.  They cook in my Remoska so don't use much electricity and come out crisp-skinned, not soft as they do from the microwave.   I split them in half, add a knob of butter and then some kind of filling - often cheese, or any kind of tinned bean, or tuna and sweetcorn mixed - there are plenty of choices.
I am not much of a meat eater so never think of cooking meat for myself.   Fish sometimes - maybe a piece of salmon with veg or a sea bass with veg (both pan-fried).

Tea usually consists of something like a sandwich, a salad with cheese or hard-boiled egg.   Breakfast is always weetabix and a banana - never varies really.

  • So it is good that I have visitors coming for a few days later this week and shall have to make an effort to cook something a bit more complicated.   Friend W is coming to supper with them (they are the friends we often meet in Kirby Lonsdale).  We shall of course all go out together for a meal too - !

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Sunday

Our habit (four of us) of having a permanent booking at the local golf club restaurant for Sunday lunch means my morning is totally free.   And what a morning it is - a Summer's day.

Up with the lark so that I could walk Tess before it was too hot for her.   As I write this she is laid flat out on the patio outside the window in the full sun. After a while she will get up, walk the width of the patio to the shade of the bungalow and throw herself down to cool off.   After five minutes repeat.

How have I spent the morning.   I watered all the pots in the front of the bungalow (faces due South so they soon dry out) completed digging up the bulbs - just the tulips were left and they came up easily.   I shall watch the long range forecast on BBC Country File this evening before deciding whether to plant my geraniums or leave for a good rain.   Yes, I know I can give the plot a good water but it isn't the same.

Now, at 10.38 by my computer, I shall do the bit of ironing that is staring me in the face and then I shall have a leisurely shower and dress for lunch ready to collect friend W at lunch time.   Salmon I think today.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Busy day tatting about

Lovely day here again today.   I took myself down to the Garden Centre early this morning to buy some compost.   I also bought two box trees for either side of my front door.   They look very smart.

I returned home, put on a load of washing and then made my morning coffee and watched a bit of the build-up to the wedding.   I found it a bit boring after ten minutes or so, so I went out into the garden and lifted the bulbs in a plot where I intend to put purple geraniums.  Someone asked why lift the bulbs when they will come again next year.   The reason for lifting them is to put them in a tub of compost and let the foliage die down naturally so that the goodness goes back into the bulb.

I watched the actual ceremony (I thought the dress was beautiful and I also liked the simplicity of the flowers and the lovely children who were bridesmaids and page boys).   I was touched by the bride's mother, who had a job throughout the service to keep her tears at bay (so did I).

After that I did a bit more gardening and also separated three houseplants into individual pots (they were part of an arrangement bought for my birthday back in October).   Now I have to find somewhere indoors to put them!

Tess has just had her evening walk, a friend called in for half an hour with her grandchildren, I shall finish reading my side bar and then maybe have an early night.  Sleep well everyone.

 

Friday, 18 May 2018

Gardening

Today is our market day and the Gardening Chap was doing a roaring trade.   It's funny what happens this time of year when there are a few warm days (warm again today) - everyone gets the Gardening Bug; it's out with the fading bulbs and Spring bedding and in with the 'Bedding Plants' and then fingers crossed that there isn't a frost for the next week or so.   I remarked to the Gardenman that he was going to be run off his feet today and his answer was, 'well that's my plan!'

I bought antirrhinums and geraniums (violet coloured flowers - should be interesting).   Now tomorrow morning I shall empty the two beds I can reach of their Spring bulbs, which have almost finished, and put in the new plants.    I can reach these two beds easily, so I shall enjoy doing them.
So far all I have done is to put the new plants up against the wall of the bungalow and water them well.

Twice today I have scraped my leg.   This morning I opened a kitchen cabinet door on to my shin and cut the skin.   It bled profusely for about half an hour before stopping and beginning to crust over. This afternoon I scraped the back of the same leg as I stepped down the patio door step on to the patio - as I write it has not quite stopped bleeding.    I spoke to our chemist about the damage - at my age, with thin skin on my shins, there is always the possibility of leg ulcers and I don't wish to go down that road.    To that end I have rolled my jeans up to the knee.   It doesn't look very elegant but the fresh air is getting to the wounds and that way I stand the best chance of avoiding trouble.  (Can't remember who said ' I am old, I shall wear the bottom of my trousers rolled!') 

Friend W and I had our normal Friday lunch out today at our local Auction House restaurant.   As usual it was delicious.   My starter of Chicken liver parfait with toast and house chutney was so good - I really would almost have liked to have it again instead of my main course - lamb on a bed of baby broad beans and new potatoes, although that too was delicious.

We had a look round the items in tomorrow's Auction Sale.   I always find it rather sad - most of the items are from good house clearances and are things which I presume the owners in the past have treasured.   There were half a dozen samplers - worked by children maybe between the ages of around eight and teenage years.   All the love and work that goes into them and now they are passing into the hands of people who have never known the family at all.

Perhaps this is a good time to say that a very dear friend, who passed away some years ago, embroidered a sampler for the farmer and I.   I treasure it greatly and look at it every single day.
The friend was the mother of my God-daughter, so if A is looking at this now I do hope it reminds her of the happy times we all had in the past when her parents were still with us.

Well, the countdown to tomorrow's bit event is on. And Prince Charles will be walking the Bride down the last bit of the chapel to the High Altar.  I like Prince Charles.   I think his heart is in the right place.   After a strict upbringing at a school he didn't like, I think he has done his very best to lighten things up to the best of his ability.   And the way his two sons behave and the way they show their real affection for him is surely testament of how hard he has tried.

So, gardening, eating lunch, watch that wedding now and again to see how things are going and keeping my trouser legs rolled up to let the air get to those wounds - that is the order of the day here in my little abode.   Enjoy your day too.



Thursday, 17 May 2018

A Hard Day

Today has been a hard day.   This morning was the AGM of our local U3A.   Our ukulele group were playing to start the proceedings so had to be there just after nine thirty.    I got back home at mid-day and had to be out again at 1-15pm.   I had taken Tess for a walk early in the morning and, luckily, it is a Pet Pals day so Jean took her at lunch time.

All afternoon friend W and I have been playing ukuleles for the local Alzheimer's and Dementia Group.   Sufferers and their carers come along and we hand out song books holding a collection of the songs they used to sing when they were young - and they sing along as we play and sing.   It is a joy to see how well they sing and to see just how much they 'perk up' during the hour and a half.

Now I am home again - and tired.   Tonight I am due to have a Chinese with my son and his wife - so I think I shall put my feet up for half an hour.

Are you intending to watch the Royal Wedding on Saturday or not?   I would be interested to know.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Winter had returned.

Walking round with Tess this morning I had on my thermal vest, jumper and fleece and was still chilly.   I met a man in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt (!) and when I remarked that he must be hardy he said he was rushing to get home before he froze to death.   Later in town I met friend W and we nipped into our local cafe for a quick cafetiere to thaw out before I went for my weekly hair do.    Yes, it is our usual contrary May weather - every day a surprise, pleasant or otherwise.
 

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Weddings

With that all important wedding coming up at the week-end I got to thinking about how weddings have changed for the likes of you and me.   We can only ignore the cost of the forthcoming wedding on Saturday - that is a different thing altogether.    But I look back on my first marriage in 1952 - a long and happy marriage of thirty nine years- and I think of the lack of money (it wasn't long after the war and some things were still rationed) - a real make do and mend affair, paid for entirely by my parents, who didn#t have a lot of spare cash.

I played the organ in the Methodist Chapel in the village in Lincolnshire where we lived.   The Minister therefore conducted the ceremony without a fee - and the organist played because he was a friend. 

I borrowed a white dress (and yes, I was a virgin) from my sister's friend who had married a few weeks earlier, bought a veil and head dress and carried a bouquet of white carnations and blue iris.
My two little nieces were bridesmaids in dresses made by a lady in the village.   They carried posies of anemones from my father's garden, each posy wrapped round with a silver doyley.

My mother and my Aunt Kate did the catering in the Methodist Hall next to the chapel.   We had our own pig so there was plenty of home cured ham and plenty of salad from the garden.

The lady who lived opposite made the wedding cake.

We spent the first night of our honeymoon in a hotel in Sheffield (the first time I had ever stayed in a hotel) - quite daunting for a nineteen year old, as I was at the time (my new husband was twenty seven and had been abroad as a prisoner of war, so was much more sophisticated).   Then we spent a few days at my Aunt's house in Yorkshire.   And that was it - and it was all bliss.

My second marriage in 1993 to the farmer was in the village where the farm was.   I paid for the wedding myself.   I spent more on the dress than I have ever spent on a dress - just because I liked it. My Grand daughter (aged 7) was bridesmaid and we both carried posies of yellow roses.
Two ladies in the village  catered for a reception for the family in the village hall and the next Saturday the farmer and I gave a big party in the farm house for all our friends.  The farmer's sister,
who is a professional cake baker, made our cake for us.  There was no honeymoon - there were cows to milk.    That wedding too was bliss.

I have just been very lucky to have had two such happy marriages.   Let's hope the Royal  couple's turns out well too.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Mares tails!

Yes - sadly my garden has one section governed by Marestail - and I use the word 'governed' advisedly.   Last week my gardener was rather pleased with himself when he said he had removed every piece.   I went into the garden this morning and removed at least a hundred 'tails' which had appeared since then - and that is just in the bit I can manage to weed.

It is actually a rather pretty weed (I believe one of the professional gardeners on the radio called it a 'prehistoric weed, impossible to eradicate'), so I am learning to live with it and embrace it.   I keep telling myself that it is no worse than ground elder or couch grass - but not sure I believe it.

It is possible to clear the area and get a licensed gardener to spray the  spot with glyphosphate (you need a licence to use it) but it comes back again the next year - it is indestructible.

Other than that my garden is coming along nicely.  My gardener planted half a dozen evergreen shrubs for me last week and a friend left a bucket load of bits from her garden yesterday.   At present they are sitting in the shade, waiting for my gardener to call.   Most need to go in at the top of the plot, where I dare not venture:   I am not sure-footed enough.

Beautiful wall to wall sunshine here today and warm with it.   Washing dry on the line outside - next job is to iron it. (Yes I am one of those ancients who still knows how to wield an iron).

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Young Musician of the Year.

I have been watching the Young musician of the Year final on the television this evening.   The standard of music from the three finalists, each one playing with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, was staggering and I personally found the performance of Lauren, the pianist, who played Prokofiev, quite overwhelming.    At sixteen she was able to put such an adult interpretation on to what is recognised as one of the most difficult pieces to play and I was so pleased when she won.

I don't think there was a dry eye in the house - there certainly wasn't in this one.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

For Sue (The Cottage at the end of the lane)

Be strong my dear - for his sake and the sake of your children and grandchildren.   My heart goes out to you on this very sad day.   I send you my love - I shall remember Col from the short time we spent together over coffee three years ago.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Thursday

Today is the Thursday in the month when we play ukuleles at the retirement home in the village of Bainbridge in Wensleydale.   The residents gather in their lounge and we play tunes at their request and we all sing.   Everyone seems to enjoy it and it passes a lovely afternoon.

Going up the dale again after yesterday was yet another joy.   The 'candles' on the horse chestnut trees are in full bloom, the leaves on the other trees are almost all out and are still in pristine condition.   They are a joy to behold. 

Back (fingers crossed) to a corrected television as the engineer came this morning and fitted a new piece to my aerial.   Time will tell. 

Now a question for you.   Watching programmes like Breakfast, where folk are interviewed, something struck me this morning.   The language seems to be changing.   Previously ordinary folk like you and me seemed to start almost every sentence with the word 'well'.   Suddenly I noticed that this is changing.   This morning people seemed to start every sentence with the word 'so'.
Has anyone else noticed this - is it a trend or what? 

It is easy to criticise but I suspect that if most of us were suddenly thrown into the limelight over some issue we might forget syntax, grammar and the like and just try to struggle through what we wanted to say.   But you might all watch out for a day or two and then  let me know if I am imagining it.  It might also be interesting to know whether there is a commonly used expression, or word even, which irritates you in the English language and which is in common usage.


Beautifully sunny here today but a very cold wind
blowing - thermals have been looked out again.   How about you?

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

A day out.

Well a lunch out - the next best thing.
Over to Sedbegh in Cumbria, on the edge of the Lake District, to meet my God-daughter for a lovely lunch.   A Yorkshire Platter which, believe me, leaves absolutely no room for a crumb of anything else.   A board holding a very large, home made sausage roll, three slices of home cured ham, a wedge of Harrogate Blue cheese, brown wholemeal bread, butter, piccalilli, salad and cole slaw - I shall eat no more today.

Beautiful scenery, lovely lunch, good company - what more could anyone wish for.   And I defy any one to find a more beautiful drive than that over the Pennines from here to the Howgill Fells.

Rain is promised for 5pm or thereabouts.   That falling on my garden will make my day complete.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Following on from yesterday's post I have decided to ask my handyman to paint my handrail with dark green cuprinol.   I think it will blend in with the garden so much better.   My son came round last evening and watered some of the new plants for me and climbing up the steps to the top of the garden was so much easier with the rail,and I felt much safer.

The temperature has been falling steadily all day today and now, at tea time, it is quite cool and there has just been a sharp shower.   It did strike me that even a short, sharp shower does more good than all my watering with the can.   Something to do with the atmosphere and the way the plants soak up the moisture I think. 

More honey bees to rescue today .  I wonder if there are hives nearby.   The area around my bungalow has literally thousands of dandelions - perhaps they are attracting the bees.   The dandelions are just beginning to throw out their seeds so there will be just as many if not more next year.   They are such a lovely colour, what a pity they are judged as weeds.

It is nice to see the swallows back.   No swifts yet but after this warm week end they should soon be around.   But to see the swallows gliding around in the thermals is a start - Summer is just around the corner.

Have a good evening.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Garden

It is slowly filling week by week.   There is still an awful lot of space but this week of exceptional warm weather has certainly brought it on apace.   I bought seven new conifers and three rock plants and two or three herbacious perennials and my gardener came yesterday morning and put them in for me.   Then he came back later with an acer shrub from his garden which he had rooted for me - every little helps and it is gradually taking shape
You will see that my main handrail is almost finished - you will also see from the steepness of the steps that I really do need it.
.In the hour since I first wrote today's post I have had to 'rescue' (using the glass and postcard method) eight honey bees from my kitchen and sitting room windows.   They seem to have a bit of a death wish today.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

What a day

The warmest Bank Holiday since the 1970's - absolutely lovely here - not too hot but wall-to-wall sunshine.   As I pottered in my garden (the most I can manage) I couldn't help but notice the number of bees (not honey bees) who seemed to be looking for a 'home' in my stone wall.   Perhaps somebody can throw light on what they are doing.

It was the day when the Tour de Yorkshire came through our little town and also through the village where my son and his wife live.   It started in Catterick Garrison, about ten miles from here, and finished in Scarborough something like 170kms later.   I watched a lot of it on Channel 24 (it will be on there again tomorrow).   Although it actually came across the end of my road I can't stand for long enough to wait for its arrival. But, by golly, the end was very exciting.

I have planted a few more plants today - a Berberis, an Iberis, a Pyrethrum and an Artemesia.  So when my garden calls he will just have the evergreen shrubs to plant for me plus a couple of rock plants.

My handyman called to check that the cement was drying well in the handrails he has put up (it was) so all in all a successful day.   And to complete it a lovely long e mail from my Grandson who works in China - a surprise and a very pleasant one too.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Garden Post again.

Today a local Handyman is constructing me a handrail - well two actually - to get to the top of my garden.   I just do not feel safe climbing steps without one.  

A dozen or so plants sit waiting for my gardener to come and put them in - and I expect that once they are in the garden will swallow them up and I still will have lots of space.   I shall of course resort to John's advice to put pansies here and there to fill up.   (I have already got a dozen or so in - and very colourful they are too). 

If you have time do look again at an update on the farmer's niece's post (Kitchy  and Co) on my sidebar.'A' really is such a talented photographer and constructs such wonderful images with her clever photography.

This weekend sees the Tour de Yorkshire come through our little town tomorrow and for this event everything stops.   Already the town centre is completely closed as flags, bunting, balloons, stalls, a stage, a big screen - everything - is put up ready for the arrival of the cyclists at around mid-day.   As my son (who is a fanatical cyclist) says - there will be a long procession of cars carrying spare parts for the bikes - they will come first.   Then the competitors will flash by at such speed that they will be gone in a second.  Soon cars of spectators will follow and the town will become itself again.

I suspect that the grocers/supermarkets might just as well stay closed because the road will be closed for much of the morning so nobody can get in to park and shop.   The cafes should do well though as spectators rustle up hunger waiting for the bikes to arrive.   The cyclists actually come past the end of my road but as I really can't stand for a long period of time, I think I shall give it a miss and watch it on television instead (I have been told it is on Channel 24).   Still, it is a super event so good luck to all the cyclists.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

The Garden.

Starting with an absolutely empty garden, but with a structure in place, is quite a daunting prospect.  This is not helped by the fact that I can only do a limited amount of gardening myself (if I bend over too far to put ina plant I tend to fall over head first).   I do have a super gardener and we get on well and agree on all things green.

It wasn't until I began a planting scheme that I realised just how big the garden is.   It really looked quite compact but as I get another twelve rock plants and D puts them in it is hard to see where he has been.

So after discussion we have decided to plant up the top section of what was to be a rockery with shrubs and to this end I have been today and bought seven evergreen dwarfish shrubs, some conical, some round, one which lies flat to the ground, and I hope these will form some kind of structure to add flowering shrubs here and there.

Time will tell.   At the moment all I can say is that my garden is eating plants and there is little to show for it.   I did buy another six rock plants too but that was because I just couldn't resist them.

 

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Meanings and are they necessary

I was reading over my breakfast this morning as my television has yet again gone off station (the TV man is coming later today to hopefully fix it).
I read Virginia Woolf's 'The Docks of London' from her little book 'the London scene'. Shortish, very much to the point, without a spare word (as is most of her writing) and so full of description.   It is a beautiful essay.

And it did strike me about comparison with a painting of the London Docks and how much more I would learn from the essay and what a picture I could paint in my imagination from her words.

Here's an example.   She is walking along the docks, watching the men unload 'working with the utmost organisation'.  One stops to speak to her and tells her some of the things they have found in sacks of cinnamon - a snake, a scorpion, a piece of amber, a diseased elephant's tooth. 

And so the essay goes on in the same vein.   By the end we have built up an incredible picture of the life on the docks - the men who work there, the ships that come in and out each  day - far more than we could ever do from a painting.

So I ask you - which would you prefer - a painting of the docks on your wall so that you could look at it, imagine the life there, speculate on what is going on.   Or an essay spelling out in detail for your imagination to work on. 

Can you compare?  Obviously there is room for both.   Perhaps it is just a case of personal preference.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

A fright.

The first present the farmer ever bought me (long before we married) was a pretty bracelet.   Not particularly valuable but I value it greatly now of course and wear it all the time.

Yesterday morning I went to Book Group and definitely noticed my bracelet during the morning.
At around six o'clock last evening I suddenly noticed that it had gone from my wrist.  Horror - had I lost it?

This morning I retraced my steps, calling in to places I had been yesterday and asking if anyone had found it.   At lunch time I typed a letter to drop in at the Police Station telling them to let me know if any kind and honest person handed it in there.

I was sad.   I came home after lunch out with friends, came in and collected Tess to walk round the estate.   As I locked my door I saw my bracelet.   It was lying on my front drive.   Luckily I had not driven over it.   I had missed it when I went out this morning - it must have laid there since yesterday.

Monday, 30 April 2018

A Somewhat Scary Experience.

When I answer the telephone I always remove my hearing aid. I answered the telephone at lunch time, removing my hearing aid as usual, then went straight out into town to do one or two jobs.   It was only when I got into the Post Office that I realised I had forgotten to put my aid back in my ear.   I had entered a completely silent world.

Luckily at the Post Office counter I could do the one or two jobs without having to hear what was said to me and then going to the bank I managed too.   But it was frightening.   Everywhere was silent and I hoped that no-one would speak to me or ask me anything.   Luckily I got away with it.

Then Tess and I went for a walk on the way home.   I couldn't hear a single bird singing.  A tractor and roller in the field at the side of the lane was rolling the grass.  The smell was so reminiscent of Spring - I guessed it was happening but when the tractor turned only yards away from me on the other side of the stone wall, it made me jump.   I hadn't heard it coming.   Also I had to keep looking behind me on our lane walk in case a car was coming up behind us.

It was a salutory experience.   It made me thankful for modern aids.   It would be no fun at all to be in a silent world and putting the aid back in my ear suddenly brought the world to life again.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Climate change?

My friend and I were walking back to the car after our usual lunch out today.   The wind was very chilly and there was rain in the air.   The sun kept making a fleeting appearance.   We were speculating.

When I was young we learned to swim in our local river - the Witham. As I remember it we started around now and we seemed to go down to the river every night after school to swim.   Day after day the Summer days were warm.

My friend suggested that it really was not like that at all; that we only remembered the sunny, warm days but that really the climate had not changed all that much, it was our memories which were faulty.
The same would also apply I suppose to the Winters, when it always seemed to snow and we were able to go sledging night after night after school.

Is this how it was do you think, or has there really been a change in the seasons?   Derek, walking daily as he does in the Nature Reserve on the Isle of Sheppey, talks today of forecast rain overnight and for most of tomorrow, rain which will  without  a doubt wash out the nests of all the ground nesting birds and almost certainly drown any chicks which have already hatched.   Last year the drought down there made it a disastrous season, now this year it is the excess rain.   Has it always been like this or has our climate really changed?   What do you think?

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Back to normal.

Whatever that is!
Yes Rachel - you are correct.   My niece and her son, my Great Nephew, have been staying since Wednesday and have just started their drive back to Long Eaton in Derbyshire an hour ago.   My Great Nephew has been very seriously ill for a year and is now, at last, on the road to recovery.   It was good to see him looking well again. 

The weather here is very chilly.   Looking at the weather map this morning I see that by next week-end we are coloured yellow again, suggesting warm weather.   But at the moment  it is really 'sitting by the radiator' weather.

But the birds are into their Spring Routine like mad and Mr and Mrs Blackbird, who are living in my hedge, are both out this morning gathering worms from my front lawn.   So busy and eager are they that when Tess and I stood on the step to wave off my Niece they continued to forage for worms while keeping a beady eye on us.

Three days without any News leaves me in a sort of void.   Yes, I have had a cursory read of The Times each day over my breakfast and in the evenings we have done all  the  puzzles, crosswords etc. together.   But actual 'real' news has been non-existent in this household - and perhaps I am all the better for it.   Breaks in such things are good for the soul.

Lunch and Dinner out yesterday means that I have eaten far too much.   Both were delicious.   There seems to be a sudden fashion here for sweet potato chips - I have developed a taste for them - they are very good indeed.

Tess has  enjoyed lots of walks and will definitely miss them today when I am catching up with things.   My washing machine has just 'pinged'
which means I can put the sheets and towels to dry and thus get everywhere 'back to normal' - so goodbye until tomorrow.

Monday, 23 April 2018

A New Royal Baby.

Welcome to a new royal baby - born on St. George's Day - a very appropriate day - and so near to his Great Grandmama's birthday, everyone will remember his day with ease.

I hope he has had sun to greet him in London.  The sun keeps making an appearance up here only to disappear behind a cloud shortly afterwards.   There is a chill wind blowing and all semblance of Spring is a thing of the past.   I have to report that I am just jolly cold.

The blackbirds don't seem to be feeling the cold (how do they adapt I wonder) and each time I open the front door at least one is singing.   Some pairs have broods and here both parents are scavenging in lawns and gardens for food for their offspring.
This pleases me as they are really good at locating and digging up leather-jacket larva - good protein for those babies and one less Daddy Long Legs for me to contend with.   Creepy crawlies and I don't go together I am afraid.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

The Land

Driving down the steep bank after lunch in our Sunday haunt today, we turned the corner and the top end of Wensleydale came into view.   There was only one word to describe it today - green.
After months of awful weather when it has been mostly under water, thick with frost, dried up after a cold, dry  spell.   In fact anything other than what it should be at this time of year.

Farmers are, of course, now a long way behind with the work that needs doing.   These few days of very warm weather mean that the grass is growing - and I mean growing.   This is bringing silaging into view more on time than was ever expected. 

But the fields are still very wet under their covering of thick grass; certainly too wet still to take the great heavy tractors which are now waiting to put on the 20:10:10 fertiliser to make the grass grow even more quickly.   And meanwhile, because the cattle are almost always out by this time of April, silage will be running low for some farmers.  But the fields are so wet that putting out the cattle just yet would result in churning everywhere up too much.   'Wait another week seems to be the rule at present.'

In other words - the jobs are piling up for farmers who are now working all hours to catch up.   And let's not forget lambing, which is still going on up here in the uplands  - plenty of Swaledales still left to lamb.   Today is Lambing Sunday which serves as a reminder.

Still a lovely sunny day but temperatures are back to normal for the time of the year - chilly with a sharp breeze.   But it does us all good to remember that things do even out and get back to normal - Derek's Reserve on the Isle of Sheppey has been suffering from water deprivation for months but is now back to how it should be,

So following that premise farmers will no doubt all being silaging at the middle of May and any doubts will all have been forgotten (fingers crossed).

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Gardens and all things weather.

I seem to have recaptured the gardening bug since the warmer weather came - within the bounds of my capability at any rate (I can't walk without a stick and my garden is on a slope with steps) - but parts of it are beginning to look quite presentable.  I am buying some plants each week and what I can plant I am putting in for myself - others are waiting for my gardener to plant.

My front lawn seems to be a haven for dandelions.   But as my neighbour H says - we do back on to a grass field and dandelions host thousands of seeds so the result is inevitable really.  When I took Tess for her early morning walk today I picked the heads off ten dandelions as I crossed the lawn (yes, I know they are pretty when they are in flower, but think of the seeds I am preventing from floating about in a couple of weeks).   An hour later I went out to drive into town and was able to pick another fourteen heads on my way to the car.   Now, looking out of the sitting room window there are at least as many again shouting to be picked, so out I shall go when I have finished here.

I think I speak for us all here in the UK when I say we feel better for a few days of warm and sunny weather.   In fact I think I shall take my lunch out on to the patio to eat - and if this weather carries on I shall shortly be out and about looking for a bench to sit on out there.