Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Stupid

All day I have been without the internet.   My hub has been glowing the usual blue but my computer has kept telling me it couldn't find my server.   That is until five minutes ago - half past ten at night and one last look - when I discovered that I had switched the wrong switch off on the wall under my computer shelf.   The little green light wasn't flashing - I switched it on and hey presto - all in working order again.

Not an eventful day though so nothing particular to report.   Friend S took Tess for a lovely walk this afternoon.   I tatted about in the garden doing bits that needed doing.   I cooked myself a lunch - my latest resolution is to cook more lunches for myself - it is easy when you live alone to make do with something easy that doesn't take much effort.  So this week I have really tried to cook healthy meals.

I'll be back tomorrow now that the correct switch is on!

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

That time of year again

Yes, Chelsea is with us and I am glued to the screen at eight o'clock all week as I am every year.   What beauty there is there and how clever these garden designers are.   I know we can't begin to design them for our own gardens - I don't think they are intended for that - but we can admire the planting schemes, look for new plants and new colour schemes and just enjoy the general gardening chat.   I love it.

A lot of book work to do this afternoon, which I find very tiring but is necessary at the moment.   For relief after the tuna salad I made for myself I have just been out into the garden and put in a dozen mixed antirrhinums in my long border.   It is a new border made for me when my gardener built a new fence and I spent a hundred pounds on new plants to put in.   Now that the tulips have finished (they have been lovely) and I have taken them up it is hard to see where my hundred pounds worth of plants have gone - there is so much spare soil.   So, best to get the  spaces filled in quickly while Chelsea is on the television and before my interest wanes as Summer progresses.   Now I just want my gardener to come tomorrow and water them all well.

I am pleased to hear that our old friend's cat had not been run over as first thought but had actually gone under a bush in the garden to die - as so many cats do (our farm cats did it all the time, they never wished to be disturbed).   She was an old cat and has given our friend many years of pleasure.

Monday, 20 May 2019

| A Full Day

Some days are quite busy and this was one of them.   The lady who cleans for me goes through the bungalow on Monday mornings.   That done I had to prepare all the papers for the accountant coming after lunch.  That was a good hour when at least the weight of filling in a whole load of tax forms was passed over to someone else.   As soon as she had gone Tess and I went to the Garden Centre to buy some plants for my tubs by the front door.   As I stepped out of the car the heavens opened and we had a downpour, so I looked round the plants in the rain.   Home again of course the sun came out and now, in the evening, it is really pleasant.   Sadly there was not enough rain to help my parched garden so I am hoping my gardener calls in tomorrow to water my evergreens just put in, which really do need water.

Those of us who love gardening (even if, like me, you have to ask someone else to do it these days) are in for a real treat this week as it is The Chelsea Flower Show and it has really good coverage on the television.   If only they would tell me what to do about the plague of my life 'Mares Tail'.

A dear friend, one of the four of us who lunch together on Sundays, sadly lost her beloved cat yesterday - run over and so badly injured that he had to be put to sleep.  W is well in her nineties and talked about her cat constantly - he was obviously a very large part of her life.   She will miss him terribly and wonders whether or not to get a replacement.   She is surrounded by her family but as with all of us as we age - do we get another faithfuly pet or not.   It is a dilemma.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Saturday

It is neither wet nor fine today but something in between.   I needed to put the hood up on my anorak on both my walks with Tess and I could hear the rain pattering lightly on the top of my hood and yet holding out my hand to the elements I could barely feel a spot of rain.   The sun has not put in an appearance and the cloud and slight rain has meant that I can at least defer watering newly planted plants until tomorrow.

After the driving to Hawes and the busy day yesterday I am, on the advice of my Physio, taking it easy today.   I started out quite busy, going into town to do various errands.   Meeting W by accident meant that we stopped for a coffee which was pleasant, but then I still had trousers to take to the dry cleaners and a magazine on gardening to buy at the Newsagent.   By that time I was tired so I have deferred garden shopping until Monday when there will be less folk about. 

My Physio gave me a stern talking to about giving my brain too much information to process in a day and as a result feeling tired on the next day.   I am sure she has a point so I have listened to her and now I just hope I can keep it up.

Have you all noticed the May Blossom this year - both the sight and the beautiful smell.   It does the soul good - as does the sight of those delightful 'candles' fully ablaze on the Horse Chestnut trees.

Friday, 17 May 2019

A Lovely Day

The friends I met today are old friends - one of them, P, I have known for almost fifty years and it is hard to believe.   What is so unusual is that I moved up here with my first husband in 1987 and not long after he and his partner D moved up - albeit to the other side of the country - but not all that far apart so that it is not difficult to meet mid way for lunch - as we often do.

I was thinking as I drove the fifteen or so miles to meet them for lunch today just how lucky I am.   Yes, I have now lost two dear husbands, both of them much loved - but we had many happy years together (38 and 23 respectively) and how lucky I now am to live in such a beautiful place, to have my son and his wife nearby (another strange coincidence), and to have a lot of friends to meet, to go out for meals and coffee with, and at the moment to still be able to drive, although for how much longer I don't know. 

We met at the Wensleydale Cheese Factory and Restaurant.   Wensleydale Cheese - now known throughout the world - has been made in the Dale since at least Medieval times - both on farms and also by the monks in the many monasteries in this area.   Then it became centred in the little town of Hawes where Kit Calvert did a lot to establish the early stages of the making.  (the restaurant is named after him - The Calvert.   Sadly after a number of years it was decided to transfer the business elsewhere and at that stage the local management decided to buy it out - this about twenty five years ago at least, certainly since I have lived up here.


It has since gone from strength to strength and now cheese from the factory is exported all over the world in its many forms.   My friends from The Netherlands adore cheese and always want to go to 'the cheese factory' when they come,  for there  they can walk round the shop counter and sample twenty or so varieties now from Blue Wensleydale to Wensleydale with Cranberries, Wensleydale with Apricots, and many more.

And in addition there is a cafe for snacks, a restaurant for meals, a shop for tourists to buy things to take home as presents and also there is the factory itself where there is a facility for tourists to follow the cheese making process from start to finish.   In the days when we had a Dairy Farm (before it was wiped out by Foot and Mouth  just after the turn of the century) we sold our milk to the Dairy,as do most of the dairy farms round here. 

I had a pleasant couple of hours with my friends, a nice meal, a nice chat and then home again.   I have attached some photographs so that you get the feel of the place.   Enjoy them and marvel at the hard work and enthusiasm that went into this place rising again almost from the ashes as it were.


The first photograph shows the entrance to the visitor experience where a walk way around the cheese making factory means they can watch how it is made before then seeing a short film.

The second photograph shows the entrance to the shop, the cafe and the restaurant.   The third photograph shows the entrance to the offices.   Sorry if they are a bit blurred but carrying a handbag, balancing with my stick and taking the photographs with one shaky hand do not make for brilliant shots.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Tired

Today has been my six weekly physiotherapy day and I have returned very tired.   It is always a gruelling session as she works on the various joints she knows intimately by now.   But she definitely keeps me mobile - well as mobile as I shall ever be at my age.

Although I was tired I came back determined to finish clearing and reorganising my wardrobes.   I have just hung the last lot of winter things on the clothes line and all summer clothing is now hung neatly in the wardrobe.   I do this every year and for a time at least it all stays that way.   And it does give me a chance to assess just what things I need, if any.

And, true to form, the weather here is very much cooler today.   There is a sharpish Easterly blowing straight in from the North sea.   Anyone on holiday and making sandcastles on the beach at Scarborough will need winter woollies on.

Looking out of the window of my computer room I see the ash tree in the field and there is not yet a single leaf on it - it is still bare and wintry.   Now I need an oak tree for comparison so that we can make a stab at what the summer will be like from the old rhyme - 'if the ash before the oak, then we're in for just a splash.  But if the  oak before the ash then we're in for quite soak'.   This predicts what summer will be like (in theory).   I hope I have it right way round - not that it actually makes a lot of difference either way where these old rhymes are concerned.

In spite of my aching muscles I now need to take Tess for one last walk round before I shut everywhere up for the evening.   I shall certainly need a coat on - the sun might be shining but it is no longer warm.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Another lovely day



Another lovely day today - perhaps a little more breeze but again unbroken sunshine, so more woollies washed and dried ready to be put away for the Summer.  They are still flapping on the clothes line in the sun - they should smell nice and sweet when they are packed away in the drawer.

Most Wednesdays friend S takes Tess for a walk and Tess gets so excited when she hears S coming - it is a pleasure to see them together.   Sometimes S takes  Tess to Thornton Steward Reservoir for a walk round the lake.   Today T came too and they invited me to go along and brought me a chair so that I could sit by the lake and read while they did the hour's walk.   We had a lovely afternoon - finished off by calling at a lovely tea shop for a coffee and a piece of cake - a perfect day - so thank-you S and T both from me and from Tess.

A local school were boating on the lake - it was interesting watching the boys sailing up and down on what was really a perfect day for such an activity.   There were also one or two men fishing and plenty of sheep with their lambs.   One lamb lost its mother and came up to me searching and making quite a noise until Mum came running up to claim it - I think she thought I might be after it for a bit of roast lamb. 

A coup.le of photographs here that I took from my chair.I hope Tess isn't doing a poo in the photograph of her with S and T - if so she is too far away for us to see anyway



Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Keeping active

Keeping active when one has arthritis is very important - in fact vital.  If  the arthritis happens to be in feet, knees and ankles it is easier still to decide to sit around.   But I know from bitter experience that it does no good at all.  An hour of movement followed by a sit down with one's feet up is the answer so that is what I try to do.   The lady who now walks my dog has rung to say she will take Tess today when it gets a bit cooler - so I don't have to worry.   Tess has already had her morning walk and is now laid out in the sun on the patio.

As my daughter in law has a special birthday today we are going our for a celebratory meal this evening, so no need to bother with food either.   So I shall take a chair out onto the patio, sit in the sun and read my book (Austerlitz by W G Sebald)- enjoy the sun if you are lucky enough to have it where you are - it isn't set to last long.

Monday, 13 May 2019

At last a Summer's Day.

It has been a perfect day here today - three loads of washing done - I hope I am not tempting fate by washing my thick woolly jumpers so that they can dry outside and be put away.   Tomorrow will be the day to get out the T shirts, wash them (and yes I did wash them before I put them away last Autumn) and dry them outside while the weather holds.

In addition to this I have done several other jobs - or had them done for me is perhaps nearer the truth.   My cleaning lady came as she usually does on a Monday morning.   While she was busy the young man from Lifeline came and together we set up the service.   For anyone who doesn't know this is a service for elderly people who live alone to put them in contact in an emergency.   I now wear a device on my wrist when I am out and about around the house so that if I fall I can press it and speak into a microphone telling 'headquarters what my problem is.   They are then able to contact my son so that help is at hand.  I didn't want the service but I have to be realistic with my mobility problem (which is always worse in this warm weather.

Then my handyman came and fitted me a new knob on the bathroom door - not a perfect fit but as near as we shall get and at least now I shall be able to get in and out of tthe bathroom without getting stuck in there - and so will any guests.

Two dog walks, lunch and tea prepared and eaten and now time to gather in the line of dry washing, iron it and put it on the airer, take the dog for another short walk and settle down for the evening.   Another day like today forecast for tomorrow.   But sadly not likely to last until the weekend, when I shall be meeting friends on Friday at our Creamery in Hawes for lunch.  If they are reading this then the table is booked!

Sunday, 12 May 2019

What a difference a day makes.

All week the rain has poured down and the weather has been really dismal.   Now at long last it has settled for the time being at least into a pattern of seasonably warm, sunny weather with just a light breeze.  I don't know whether it is just me, but the sun makes a huge difference to how I feel these days and today, driving up to our weekly lunch date at the local Golf Club we were all in a much jollier mood.   It was salmon for all four of us today - it really is so beautifully cooked and for two of us it is salmon florentine (served on a bed of spinach) and served with roast, mashed and croquette potatoes, carrots, broccoli and swede and the mash decorated with a delicious roast parsnip.   The salmon covered with Hollandaise Sauce it all looks most appetising.   I have completely gone off sweet puddings so usually have a starter while the other three are eating their puds - today I had a prawn salad, which complemented my salmon course beautifully.

As soon as I got home I took Tess for her walk round (she had already had one early this morning) and met a friend who walked part of our walk with us.   As she had only returned from a short holiday this morning it was pleasant to catch up with her too. Then I spent an hour in the garden tidying up the tulips - they look so pretty but are beginning to be bedraggled after the days of rain so needed tidying up here and there.   I managed to collect a bag full of weeds in the process.   No sign of the mare's tail weed yet - it is always quite late in putting in an appearance.   But we have one more dose of weed killer to give it when it shows its face.

How quickly The Chelsea Flower Show comes round each year.   It is one of the things which the BBC does so very well and there was an hour's pre show programme at tea time.   What a lot of work goes into it all.

A busy week looms ahead.   Three things on tomorrow, two on Tuesday, one on Wednesday, two on Thursday and then out to lunch on Friday and it will be another weekend before I have had time to turn around.   Enjoy your week.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Think Positive

If you go over to Diary of a nobody's post today you will see that she suggests that if we get down in the dumps about our situation we sit for a moment and count our blessings.   Not a bad idea I thought - so here is what I came up with.

1.   I find walking very difficult because of arthritis in my ankles and knees.   But I now live on a road where there are always folk passing (often folk with dogs that Tess and I know) - there is often a wave, or if the weather is nice a ten minute chat.

2.  I have always loved gardening and miss the fact that I am not really steady enough to do much now.   But I have a lovely gardener who mows my lawn, builds fences for me, and generally keeps my garden nice.  As I write this I am overlooking it and getting pleasure from it.

3.  My hearing is very poor and I wear hearing aids.   But thank goodness for the N H S and their weekly clinic only seven miles away.   If I start 'whistling' I haven't far to go to get adjusted.

4.   I miss my dear farmer every single hour of the day and night even now he has been gone more than two years.    But how lucky I am to have so many dear friends, many of whom are in the same situation, and how well we have adjusted to lunching together, having coffee together  and just meeting up for quality time together.

In other words almost every complaint has a plus side if we look for it.

Yesterday was a lovely day here - the first day this week when there hasn't been any rain at all.   Today is a tad warmer and at the moment the sun is out.   But there has already been a shower.   H, who lives higher up the road, has just called for Tess in her car and together they have gone off to The Himalayan Gardens which are about ten miles away.   H has only been twice to take her out, but they are already firm friends (interesting walksand several 'treats' later).   Two hours later and they have returned after a lovely long walk.   Tess has, apparently, behaved perfectly and has been 'a pleasure to take out.'   She is now stretched out in her bed having a lovely long sleep before tea.

For my lunch shortly I intend to have a fillet of smoked haddock which I shall poach in milk and then eat with a knob of butter on top and a couple of slices of bread and butter.*   And I shall enjoy it.  *As I predicted, it was delicious.   I washed all receptacles immediately and put on the dishwasher.   I am now hoping that there is no fishy smell lingering (the downside of having smoked fish).
Enjoy your lunch whatever you intend having.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Music and Dementia

Anyone in the UK who watched the two programmes on BBC 1 about Music and Dementia cannot fail to have been inspired by them.   My friends and I play once a month for group of Dementia patients and their carers and we notice the difference between how they behave and react when they arrive and how they are when they leave - it is uplifting and does the heart good.   If you have access to the two programmes and didn't watch then please do - you will not be disappointed even if you do have to have a handkerchief at the ready.   The programmes are not sentimental - they are part of a scientific experiment to measure the effect of music on the brain and as such they should be so useful for medical science.   But of course - as always - money for research is the problem.   That and the fact that it is not a 'fashionable' illness and the money for the 'unfashionable' usually finds its way elsewhere.

Today the sun has shone more or less all day.   It is still not very warm but it is set to warm up over the week-end and just to see the sun instead of black cloud was welcome in itself.

An hour of Gardening on the TV shortly - I am now very much an armchair gardener - always ready to pass on any hints to the chap who does my garden for me.   Sitting with my feet up, with a cup of tea and a biscuit, is quite enjoyable these days.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Thursday

After three days of solid rain it is now seven in the evening and the sun is peeping through the cloud - a watery sun but very welcome.

It has been my day for playing with two friends for the elderly in a local Old Peoples' Home.   We play the old songs and they really enjoy the afternoon - as do we.

Apart from that nothing very much has happened.   Everyone seems to be lying low because of the miserable weather.    Coffee with friends on Tuesday. yesterday a friend took Tess for a long walk - she was away for two hours and came home having had rather a lot of 'treats' I suspect.

Blogger has made getting on to my site rather difficult once or twice over the past two days but now seems to have righted itself.   Fingers crossed that tomorrow it will all be back to normal.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

May

May sunshine is warm, welcome and hopefully a foretaste of things to come in Summer.   May downpours just hark back to Winter and its cold, dark days.   Today we have had the slightest smidgin of the former and a whole lot of the latter.   It has been raining since around three this afternoon (luckily I got a good walk round with Tess in before the rain came) and when I say raining I actually meaning pouring.   She just asked if we were going on another walk.  I opened the front door, she stuck her head out and then went and got into her basket.   Yes, it is not even fit to turn a dog out.

Coffee this morning with friends in town and then our fortnightly 'lunch and chat' - a dozen of us.  Today the menu was quiche, new potatoes and salad followed by rhubarb pie and custard or jam sponge and custard.  When I had taken Tess for a walk I had an hour on the telephone with H M R C - three quarters of it listening to music until my turn came.   A lovely lady came on - a tax accountant - with such a strong Scottish accent I struggled to hear what she was saying.   We decided between us that things would be better left to my accountant.  It really is no fun getting too old to deal with things like this but I have to face the fact that it is all too complicated for me to deal with.

I think everyone is getting thoroughly fed up with the weather and we all need some warm days to begin to feel better.   I sent away for some shoes and they came today - not at all glamorous but jolly comfortable (I never thought I would hear myself say such a thing).   Gloves on my feet as I write this.

Ah well, cheer up everybody.   At least our gardens are happy.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Monday

It is cold, it is raining and it is thoroughly dismal.   I am for some reason not feeling all that well today.  I have taken Tess for one walk but found it difficult so shall try and get hold of my son to take her on another one.    Yesterday friends took her on three very long walks so she is well-exercised.
See you tomorrow

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Trouble

I am having intermittent problems with my blog page, so although I have nothing much to say today I am writing this post while I actually manage to get on to my right page.  Sometimes what comes up is the 'blogs I follow' all in the wrong order with the ones who haven't posted coming at the top and with a note from Google half filling the screen asking me where I want to file them.

So - here goes with a rather flimsy blog post - very cold here.   Everyone who passes the window is in their Winter clothes and there is a gale blowing.  A friend and her husband called to collect some rocks I wanted rid of.   They are building a rockery and were looking for some, so I was very pleased to say good bye to the rocks.  Then Tess and I walked and who should we meet but my gardener and he is coming shortly to fit a new piece of fence and to empty my pots for me so that I can begin to think what to plant for Summer.

Two slices of ham left from my God-daughter's visit and six Jersey Royals so they will be for my lunch along with a mixture of baby broad beans (sorry Rachel), peas, cauli and broccoli.  Time I was getting round to preparing it so this is it for now.   Should anything spectacular happen later in the day I will be back to report it, providing I can get on to the right place again.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Return of winter.

This is, of course, for us here in the UK, a Bank Holiday week-end.   Friend W and I were talking yesterday about the old customs associated with May Day and we wondered if they had completely died out or if some still existed in villages here and there throughout the country.   I did have a photograph, which I passed on to the farmer's family on his death, of the Maypole  on the Vicarage lawn on Mayday.   The village girls and boys were dancing round it to thread the ribbon pattern.  It was taken eighty years ago.   I lived at the time in an remote village in Lincolnshire and I don't remember Maypole being done on May Day there so it must have been already dying out.  Would it be sad if it died out altogether?  I don't know the answer to that - must we keep old customs alive?

Last year the May Bank Holiday week-end brought record temperatures and a real holiday atmosphere everywhere.   This year at present, looking out of the window, it is raining, cold and cloudy.   Tess and I walked in such conditions earlier this morning and I was (and still am) wearing my thickest woollen jumper which I had washed and put away until next year.

Today the Tour de Yorkshire comes through the region (but not through our little town) and ends in Bedale, which is around twelve miles from here.  I suppose the racing cyclists might well be pleased to have this really chilly weather rather than last year's heat wave.   As for Tess and I, we shall find jobs to do indoors with the central heating full on.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Thursday

As I write the rain is sheeting down on the window of the computer room.   It is not a warm day and promises to be a cold Bank Holiday Week-end.  I must say I am pleased to see the rain - my gardener has weed-killed my front lawn and sown the bare patches with grass seed.  We were hoping for rain so that he didn't have to water it so he will no doubt welcome the rain too.

 My God daughter came and we had a lovely relaxed evening - slippers, central heating on, wine, food, plenty to talk about, hot water bottles to take to our beds at half past ten as she had an early start to drive back the hour's journey to work.  This gave Tess and me a good early walk and plenty of time to get me to the hairdressers.   Then out to lunch with friend W and now home and waiting for a friend to call so that I can pay my car insurance which is due this week.

Hard frosts are forecast so I am relieved that I have not planted up my pots by the front door.   The pansies in them are ready for throwing out.   They have given me very good service over the winter months but are now looking very sad.   It is always fun planting up for Summer.

For the first time since I have lived in the bungalow, when I drew the curtains back this morning there was a grey squirrel in my garden.  I just hope he is not after eggs/baby birds from the nest in my garden hedge.   Nature it might be but, like the corvid shooting ban that has recently come into force here in the UK, when nestlings of birds which are endangered - birds like lapwing and curlew - are just clambering out of their ground nests and the carrion crows are just waiting for the pickings it is distressing to even think about.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Normal.

Back to normal, whatever that is,but my God-daughter is coming to spend the night tomorrow.   We are not going out for a meal but staying at home and having a 'Yorkshire Platter' and a bottle of decent wine - I shall put this together tomorrow morning.   So when she arrives we can just 'flop' and spend a relaxed evening.

Tess and I have had two walks today and I think she is expecting a th ird as she keeps coming to the door of my computer room and looking expectantly.   The last few days she has developed a habit of barking furiously at every dog we meet when we are out on our walks.   Previously she did it sometimes but at present it is all the time and I am having to make her sit down when I see another dog coming and then encourage her to not bark.   I suspect that if she were off the lead she would be alright but there is too much traffic about.   Does anyone have any ideas?

It is certainly not Summer weather here tonight.  I have just turned the temperature up on the central heating and the forecast is for similar weather.   On Monday The Times suggested something called a Spanish Plume was going to affect our weather and give us another long heat wave - but now after just one day they have changed their minds. So don't pack your winter clothes away just yet.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Good-bye visitors

My visitors departed this morning after a pleasant week-end together.   Saturday was an awful day weather wise so we just went on a small sortis to a local garden centre where they bought one or two plants for their garden and where I bought two more conifers for my new plot and some plant supports for the back garden.   As luck would have it my gardener came this afternoon and put my conifers in for me and also the plant supports. 

Sunday was a better day and stayed sunny all day.
We went out to lunch, calling for friend W on the way.   After lunch we sat over a pot of tea in the bar for half an hour.   In the evening we relaxed
 and watched Country File and the Antiques Roadshow.   Finally for the last couple of hours we did various quizzes from our papers - trying to test our brains but really by that time the wine had gone to our heads.

Before they went this morning they kindly took Tess for a walk for me.  I did the washing of bedding and towels because another visitor is coming on Wednesday so speed is of the essence.
Now, late in the afternoon, I am very tired. 

Several people have asked for the recipe I did for Saturday lunch.   Really it is not a recipe at all, just an assembly job.   But it is tasty and does not take a lot of preparation.

Take two slices of good quality cooked ham per person.  I  used 1 leek and 1 celery heart (tinned) per person, cooking the leek be fore hand.
Wrap a slice of ham round the leek, celery heart, chicory or whatever you choose in the way of a wrappable vegetable.   Lay in a dish.   Cover with a pint of cheese sauce and grate parmesan over the top.   Then put in a good hot oven to heat up and maybe finish under the grill to brown the parmesan.   I served mine with  purple sprouting broccoli and baby broad beans.  Delicious and very easy.

Friday, 26 April 2019

Friday

The plants in my garden seem to have doubled in size overnight after yesterday's thunderstorm and torrential rain.  All the tulips were laid flat when I went out just before dark last night but this morning they were all perky and upright again - and saying thank-you for the welcome rain.   Today has been one of those neither wet nor fine days - just a faint rain in the air all day.   Tess came back from her Petpals walk quite wet and smelling strongly of wet dog - hardly surprising.   A good brush once she was dry and the smell has largely gone - or my nose has got used to it.

I have P and D coming for the week-end, coming for lunch tomorrow and D and K coming round in the evening for 'high tea'.   I look forward greatly to people staying; living alone means that company is good.   I do need to plan meals carefully though to make sure I don't overdo it as walking around in the kitchen soon makes me tired these days.   Tomorrow's lunch of asparagus, pea and mint soup followed by celery hearts wrapped in ham and served in a cheese sauce and with purple sprouting broccoli and baby broad beans should be fairly easy on the legs.   In the evening it will just be everything on the table and 'help yourself'.   The butter bean salad I have made tonight as it is better the next day when the flavours have had a chance to meld together.

John (Going Gently) is having a fine old time with his 'corners'.   If you haven't contributed yet do go over to his blog and put one on - they are coming in thick and fast - I am sure the postman is glad that this time it is photographs via e mail and not postcards via snail mail.

Storm Hannah is waiting in the wings I understand.   Our plan is to go to one or two Garden Centres tomorrow afternoon but if it is wet then it will be a 'no go' - everything is outside and walking round in the pouring rain is not very exciting.   It may well be a sit at home and chat afternoon (although D is very keen on a certain 'walking shop' in our little town and he could easily walk round that without getting wet. 

Seven minutes past ten and bed with a hot water bottle calls.   On wintry nights bed is always welcome.   Strange to think that only a week ago it was summery - certainly not so tonight.   Sleep well.
 

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Thursday

All I need to say about the weather today is that it is downright cold.   Any tender plant which has popped its shoots above ground must be seriously thinking of popping back down again.   But we have had several downpours, which has meant I have not had to water my new plants.   And still on the garden front I have a great pile of rockery stones I don't want and which are heaped up at the end of the garden.   This morning my hairdresser happened to mention that they are building a rockery in their new garden.  Problem solved.

The Mares tail weed which grows rampant in my garden has not yet appeared but I am sure it will.   My gardener has one more application of the specialised weedkiller left and will put it on when the time is right (when the shoots are a certain length).   The label says it will take five years to kill it all and that perhaps it is best to cover the whole area with ground cover and live with the wretched weed.   I am still thinking on that one.   But at present that corner of the garden is left clear and empty.

Must away to check my market shopping list for morning.   See you tomorrow. 

Update at seven in the evening.   We have had a massive thunderstorm with downpour.   Plants flattened, but now the sun is out again they are beginning to recover.    Still plenty of black clouds around though.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Rain

As I look out of the window at 7.15pm it is raining heavily outside - how we need it and how perky the gardens look already, although it has only been raining for about half an hour.  A couple of days non stop would do a lot of good but too much to hope for I expect.

Poetry this afternoon was, as usual, an afternoon of beautiful, varied poems.   Everyone seems to take time to choose their contribution and we always get a lovely selection. 

Tess was very lucky.   Friend S called yesterday instead of today to take her on her walk, but I took Tess to poetry and no sooner had I got there than S and T took her off on a lovely extra walk along the river.  She came in, ate her tea and is now fast asleep in her bed. I rather feel like going off myself but would probably wake around three in the morning, so must control my urges until at least 10pm.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Tuesday

Friend S came a day early this week to take Tess for her walk because the forecast for tomorrow is not too good and Tess can come to our Poetry with me and so will get to go out anyway.   Needless to say Tess was ecstatic at the idea of a walk regardless of what day of the week it was and, because there were beast in the field she usually walks through, they went on an extra long walk.  It is good to have friends who are so thoughtful and so good to me and Tess.

I have been busy all day doing various little jobs which have wanted doing for a long time.   Each one has proved satisfying and now, as I settle down for the evening, I feel a glow from all the little things I have done that I no longer have to think about.  Dishwasher and Washing machine have both had a thorough cleanse with special stuff and as a result smell fresh and lemony.   The knife drawer is clean and tidy, the fridge has been emptied and washed out, as has the microwave.   The dog beds have been aired and are ready to be put back in the two beds (one daytime and one nighttime), pots in the garden have been watered.

As I write the sky is beginning to cloud over with high cloud.   The barometer has gone back steadily every day since Saturday and I really hope that some of that forecast rain falls on our gardens here.   Sorry for those on holiday up here in the Dales but the gardens are desperate.

I shall go now and watch The Yorkshire Vet and then Ben Fogle with somebody who has opted out of modern life and is living in some remote place somewhere.   Some times, when the news gets as awful  as it is at present there is something rather attractive about the prospect don't you think?

Monday, 22 April 2019

Easter week end.

It has been a lovely week end here - both weather wise and visitor wise.  Lunch with lovely company at friend W's on Saturday, yesterday lunch out with son and daughter in law.   Today catching up with washing, ironing and the like ready for the week end when friends are coming to stay.

I am not as fast (in the nicest possible way) as I used to be and I have to make lists before I begin , so I sat down this morning, wrote out what I was going to feed them on and made lists for shopping.
That done I now have all week to think about it and decide whether or not I have forgotten anything.

How easy it is to have people to stay these days and how lucky we are to have such a huge supply of goods to choose from.   Here in our little town we have a really good deli, the best Co-op I have ever been in, a super Friday market for fish and fruit and vegetables and several really good bread and cake shops where the goods are baked on the premises so that tempting smells waft down the street.

When I was a child we did have people to stay sometimes - aunts and uncles or honorary aunts and uncles- but the whole thing was a major operation.   No cars involved as far as my family were concerned; no such luxury.   It was train  (steam and stopping at every station) and the bus.
Food for their stay was carefully planned but as my mother baked her own bread and currant bread (plum bread as it was called in Lincolnshire) and my father grew all our salads and vegetables there was nothing fancy - just good, plain food.

My last job  for the day has been to wash both dog beds.   I always fear that the bungalow smells of dog - I think one can get used to such a smell, although speaking to my neighbour earlier when she saw the beds on the line, she assured me she had never smelt dog round here - slightly reassuring.

The last day of perfect weather I believe.   Already there is a much stronger breeze than there has been and the weather is set to go downhill from here onwards.  New plants in my new border will be delighted.

 

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Easter Day

Easter Day here has been unbroken sunshine again - a lovely day and set to be similar tomorrow before it all begins to slip away and colder weather returns.   At least Summer clothes have had an airing today even if they have to go back to their wardrobe tomorrow.

Today my son and his wife came out to Easter lunch with me - there were lots of families enjoying lunch together - a real holiday occasion.   Good food, good company. 

My neighbour, M, has spent the whole day from early this morning in her garden working hard.   As I drew my curtains ten minutes ago she was still out there working in the almost dark.   I was envious of her - there was a day when I could have done that.   Now, an hour and I have to go inside and make a cup of tea and sit down. 

The bad news today is from Sri Lanka - it is always somewhere.   Somewhere in the    world there seems always to be killing, hunger, something catastrophic of some kind or another.  And it seems to be getting worse rather than better.   We might have made huge strides forward in science and medicine and the like but we certainly have made no strides forward at all in humanity to man.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Easter Saturday

It's official - The Warmest Easter Saturday on Record' - unbroken sunshine and such a lovely day. 

Tess and I had been invited out to lunch at friend W's.   She has friends staying who are now, after meeting them at W's for so many years, good friends of mine too (and Tess's).   W's cooking is superb and I am ashamed to say that I did absolutely nothing - just sat and chatted.  Roast ham, many different vegetables, new potatoes, chips,followed by fresh fruit salad, sticky toffee pud, chocolate cake, coffee, plenty of good wine - we ended up replete.   Nothing more needed today - so thank you W for cooking the food and N, K and S for the great pleasure of your company.

Coming home to News bulletins and seeing the protesters in central London protesting about Climate Change, holding up traffic and thus creating fumes, putting police on to the streets rather than giving a grossly overworked police force some time off, leaving behind huge quantities of rubbish - plastics included.   I do agree with free speech, the right to protest - but I do also wonder whether it was done in an appropriate manner.   I am open to being convinced should anyone have a view which might convince me - not of the need to do something about climate change - that is indeed a world problem and a serious one at that; but is this kind of protest at this time of year - when the tourist trade is just beginning and people's livelihoods are being affected -  the right way to go about it?   Is there a better way?   I have a feeling that if I was young 20 instead of 86 then I might well be down there with them because I am appalled by the whole thing around climate change and the way the world seems to be going helter skelter towards annihilation, but now at my age I do question the method of protest more.

 

Friday, 19 April 2019

Moss

However quickly I sweep up the moss from the patio at the back of my bungalow it still appears again as if by magic.   No magic involved.   I find it is the blackbirds pecking and scratching at the clumps of moss which have formed on the roof's North side over the Winter.   They fall off and then the birds scratch them apart - presumably looking for anything that moves that is eatable.   Tess wanders in through the patio doors and paddles bits of moss into the house and then I have to start again.   Ah well, it keeps me busy.

Another really beautiful day here today and we went for a stroll round after tea tonight, stopping here and there to chat to folk gardening  or  just enjoying the remains of the day. Now we are back and shortly my favourite gardening programme will be on the television.   Monty Don, accompanied by his two Labrador Retrievers ,
will be giving all sorts of tips for the week ahead. 
These days there is so little I can do in the garden but I often list a few jobs when I have watched his programme. I do know that we urgently need rain but let's hope it keeps off until after the Easter holiday; it is so good today to see everyone wandering around our little market in their shirt-sleeves.   Enjoy your holiday.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

A Happy Day

Once each month I go with a group of ukulele players to play for a group of Alzheimer's patients and their carers.  Today was such a day.  We play old songs - really old ones like Pack up your Troubles, traditional ones like Daisy Bell - some which were sung by Elvis, the Beatles and such like.   In other words, songs which might jog the memories of people who have very limited areas of memory left.   I wish you could see how much they enjoy the singing (most of them sing), the laughing, the sense of togetherness, the cup of tea and biscuit, in fact everything about the afternoon.   It is a privilege to be part of it.  And it is humbling too.

Eighteen  degrees this afternoon and really for the first time up here in the North, a lovely Spring day.   This morning after my morning walk with Tess I did a few gardening jobs -mainly watering and sweeping up moss which has fallen from the roof of the bungalow, but physical exercise.   I need to keep this up as it is so important. Yesterday's exercise class told me this quite clearly so I have my sheet of notes out on the kitchen unit where it will stay for now - certainly until I can balance more easily and get up from my kitchen chair without a struggle.

I read from John's blog (Going Gently) that he has fallen.   I too fell at the week-end.   These things usually go in threes so be careful all readers out there.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

This and that.

Because friend S is away for a few days she was unable to take Tess for her Wednesday walk this week.   I took her round the estate before I went out and again when I got back - I went to a special exercise class for the over sixties.   It was very good indeed.   I have come back and have already stiffened up - but I have learned a lot of new exercises to do to help my mobility and the teacher also gave me a sheet of exercises designed to help with balance, which is exactly what I need.

I wasn't sure what stage had been reached with Mr and Mrs Blackbird - but now there is little doubt.   Of Mrs Blackbird there is no sign and all day today Mr Blackbird has been sitting in the hawthorn tree singing his beak off.   The weather has been nigh on perfect - warm and sunny at last,although now - almost seven o'clock in the evening, it is quite cold and I have switched on the heating. 

 I have a large clump of daisy-like flowers in my garden and they will soon be out.   I climbed the steps to look at them this morning and found them absolutely covered in ladybirds -presumably emerging from their winter sleep.   There must have been fifty at least - yes - things are really waking up at last.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Dandelions.

One of the things I admire about plants - and one of the things I love about gardening - is that however much you try to tame them, if they wish to move elsewhere then they will do so.   When I lived in the Midlands we used to visit a National Trust property (can't remember which one) where a tiny, daisy-like flower had taken over almost every gap between paving flags all over the garden.   They flowered for almost the whole Summer and people came from miles around just to see them.   And, of course,  they had never actually been planted there.   Vita Sackville west said in one of her books  that plants always seemed to choose better places to put on a display than the place you had chosen for them (she was talking about violets, which also have that disposition to choose a different spot.

At the moment the patches of grass on our estate
 (and their are many.  It is a very well laid out estate) are peppered with dandelions.   What a pity they are viewed as weeds - with a name like 'lion's teeth' they would be such a popular choice if they were in pots in garden centres.   Alas, within the next week the council lawn mowers will be round to cut the grass and they will have gone before they have time to seed - not that the council will ever win.   They will be back in profusion next year with all those thousands of seeds on their heads many will take root however hard we try to stop them.    I looked out of the window this afternoon and D, my gardener, was carefully watering my front lawn with weed-killer (or should I say dandelion killer because that is mostly what they are).

The other popular plant round here that 'does its own thing' is the grape hyacinth.   Oh yes, they start off as neat little blue patches of flowers this time of year - next year they have double in size and the year after that they have started waltzing away down the road to colonise any spare bit of ground.    One of the plants we love to hate but we can't bring ourselves to pull them up as they are such a beautiful blue.  Yes, I am afraid we are just big softies at heart where gardening is concerned.

Monday, 15 April 2019

News

The news has just reported that Notre Dame in Paris is on fire.   No more news as I write this and we must hope that it was got under control before too much damage was done.  No doubt we shall know more in the morning.

Other news of course is of Tiger Woods's comeback after a few years in the wilderness.   You have to admire a man who can get himself back to that level of performance don't you?

I don't watch the News all that often because it is too depressing at the moment, but after my fall yesterday and three walks with Tess today and an hour playing ukuleles with friends I just felt like a sit down after tea.

I returned from ukuleles to find my gardener D was here removing a small area of lawn which I intend to have as an area of garden with small shrubs.   I did ask for suggestions from my readers but nothing much came forth.   At present there are two small box trees of conical shape waiting to go in. Tomorrow afternoon I intend to trawl a couple of local garden centres on the look out for something else to fill the space.   Never a dull moment.   Sleep well - I did in spite of my fall.

 

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Sunday

Today didn't begin auspiciously because as I was tidying round prior to having my shower I noticed a vase of Mothering Sunday flowers had almost died so I took it into the kitchen and sorted out the few blooms which were salvageable and put them into a smaller container.   As I was carrying them back to their place in the sitting room I tripped over a chair leg where I had left my breakfast chair pulled out from the table.   I fell heavily on my left side into the hall, throwing flowers and water everywhere.  I lay there for a couple of minutes and then sat up to make sure I hadn't broken anything.  Then, shuffling on my bottom to the chair I had fallen over (anyone my age will verify that getting up from the floor is nigh on impossible), I finally twisted over on to my knees and pulled myself up into a sitting position - and then sat there for five minutes to 'come to'.  I dressed and took Tess round the block for her morning walk, reasoning that it would do me good to move gently for a quarter of an hour rather than sit.

It is now quarter past ten at night and, although I am sore in a few places, I am alright and am able to move around.   It didn't stop me going out to lunch as usual.  Dare I say that that is four times this week?  Smoked trout, scampi, quiche and salmon in that order.   This week, coming up to Easter, will be much more controlled! 

Our weather forecasters speak of it getting warmer as the week goes on and letting the dog out just now for her last wee I must say that that sharp frosty feeling has gone - so perhaps the warmer spell has already started.   I do hope so.



 

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Saturday

Can it really get any colder for April?   Sharp east winds by day,sharp frosts by night, central heating full on.   Maybe my blood is getting thin.   Whatever the reason, it is jolly cold in spite of a bright sun shining directly into the sitting room window.

Strangely enough everything in the garden progresses as it normally does.   The daffodils are fading just in time for the tulips to come out and the perennials I planted last year grow daily and will soon fill in the spaces of soil at the rate they are going. 

After a busy, useful week I had intended to do all kind of jobs today but somehow have never really got going.   Friend H came round for coffee this morning.   After she had gone I cooked myself some lunch, read The Guardian (why do I take it instead of my usual Times on a Saturday - I really must change it - there is nothing like the content in it).   The only thing I have done since then is to walk Tess again and to wash and peg on the line two cashmere jumpers which are now flapping nicely in the wind. 

There is an excellent series on the television at present about Italy so I am looking forward to that tonight.   I have watched the ones on Naples and Venice.   Tonight's is on Florence so I am sure I shall enjoy that too.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Freezing Friday

Any suggestion that it is already Spring up here in Yorkshire is greatly misplaced.   It is a very cold day;  there was a sharp frost this morning and after a sunny start it is now grey, cloudy and with a sharp easterly wind whipping down the road at a cracking pace.  In the space of the last half hour my gardener has been and mowed the lawn and gone before I could pay him, the window cleaner has been and washed all my windows (what I would give for the 'old' way of washing windows - these days it is a brush on a long hose and it leaves drops of water all over the window, never producing as satisfactory a result).

Lunch out at The Three Horseshoes was, as usual, delicious - and as usual I had Quiche, salad, cole slaw and crispy salty chips - delicious.   Now I shall have nothing more to eat today other than a bowl of mixed blueberries and strawberries (Dutch and very good) with yoghourt. 

My plants which I had ordered were on my doorstep when I got home and although I didn't feel like it I put them in immediately and watered them in.   Then in a fit of enthusiasm I took all my boxes, tins etc. up to the tip (I forgot to put them out in the week).   Now it is time to settle down and watch 'The Repair Shop'.   A busy day.   Tess has had her PetPals walk and came back just as I came back from town.   She walked today with Mitzi, a rough-haired rescue Pointer - such a delightful dog but apparently a real 'scamp.   I just hope Tess doesn't pick up any tricks.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Thursday

Not a lot warmer here but lovely sunny days - and dry too, although we could actually do with a good rain to green up the lawns.   After my usual hair appointment this morning, in a fit of enthusiasm I changed the bed - sheets, pillow cases and duvet cover.    Washing them all I took them outside to peg them on the washing line and looking along the line of back gardens I saw that almost every garden had a line of washing flapping in the breeze.   The difficult thing for me now is not stripping the bed but remaking it.  Sheets and pillow cases I can manage but the physical effort needed to put on a new duvet I find almost beyond me (and yes, I do know the trick of keeping hold of the corner until I reach the far corner).

It was only when I collapsed onto the sofa with a reviving cup of tea that I realised I should have driven to Bainbridge in Wensleydale to play at the Residential Home there, as we do once a month for the elderly residents.   So that is two of us missing this afternoon.

But there is something good about climbing into a completely clean bed on that first night after changing it.   Later on this evening I shall try to whip up the energy to iron the bedding and put it to air.   I don't wish to leave it until tomorrow -I find the longer one leaves the ironing the harder it is to do and Friday is a going out to lunch day.

Is anyone watching 'The Repair Shop' on BBC 1?
I am enthralled by the workmanship, the nimble fingers, the sharp eyes and the absolute perfect workmanship each evening.   If you haven't watched it, do catch up on iplayer.

Now at ten minutes to go before it starts - time to feed Tess, make a cup of tea and a sandwich and sit down in comfort - so until tomorrow -

 

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

A Good Day

This morning I drew back the curtains to find the sun shining and two absolutely beautiful male partridges strolling along the terraces in my garden.  I stood very still and they were almost near enough to touch.   Their markings were so exotic that they just didn't look like any ordinary 'field' bird.    When they caught sight of me they strolled up to the top of the garden, flew on to the stone wall and then disappeared into the field beyond.   They are in short supply around here, unlike pheasants (which are bred for the shooting season and released for just that purpose sadly) but  I suspect just as likely to be shot once the shooting season opens.   This, of course, is why there are so few of them about.  I had three or four minutes in which to enjoy them and they started my day off well.

Out to lunch with friend D (scampi, chips and peas if you wish to know) and then home in time for friend S's call to take Tess for her walk.    I am so lucky to have so many good friends and I really appreciate it.

Now, as the sun begins to set, there is a clear blue sky and a sharpish wind blowing.   I suspect that, like last night, there will probably be a frost.  I planted four lupin plants over the weekend - I just hope they can stand it.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Tuesday

A very haphazard e mail connection means that sometimes I can get on to my e mail page and sometimes I can't.   Just as I was about to get on the phone to my computer engineer up comes a message on the screen from BT to say it is all their fault and they are trying to deal with it today.   So far no improvement.

In the garden plants are growing apace in spite of the fact that the temperature here in North Yorkshire is only seven degrees - and that is when the sun is out.   Mr and Mrs Blackbird are both searching my front lawn for food, which surely points to babies wouldn't you think? 

Yesterday Tess and I had a pleasant ride out over the Pennines to Sedbergh, around thirty miles away, to meet my God-daughter, A, for a pub lunch.   (ham, leek and potato soup with a smoked trout sandwich on sourdough).   It was six degrees when I left here and twelve degrees in Sedbergh - and bright sunshine with it.   A nice hour's chat and then back again (temperatures still the same on my return and sunshine in the West, mist and cloud here). 

Today I am determined to do various administrative jobs - so far done one or two and after tea I intend to do one or two more.   My 'in tray' is so full I need to move a few things on and clear some space, both in that tray and in my brain.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Coffee Mornings.

It was our village coffee morning this morning and it struck me just what a useful and good occasion it really is.   Because I have not lived in the village for some years - on the farm I lived just outside the village boundary and now I live in the neighbouring town about a mile away - there are many folk there I don't know.   But that doesn't matter in the least - everyone is friendly,everyone chats to you, all kinds of subjects crop up in the conversation and it passes an hour and a half on a Saturday morning once a month.   And in addition A always makes her turkey and red lentil lasagnes, I always buy two, eat one for my lunch and freeze the other one.   Today was no exception.

Now, as an experiment, I have a Ratatouille in my slow cooker.   I don't know what it will taste like but it certainly smells good.   As I am out to lunch tomorrow and again on Monday I shall probably just have a taste and then freeze the rest because the recipe tells me it freezes well and tastes even better when reheated.   We shall see.   But P, if you are reading this, this may well appear on the menu when you both come to stay in three weeks time.

Today has really been a 'proper' Spring Day.   The sun has shone all day, there has not been a breath of wind and I still have not put the central heating on at 7pm.   Tess has had three walks, one of them down the fields and she also came to the Coffee morning with me (she likes that because somebody always gives her a biscuit) (you know who you are). A few days of this weather and I think we will all feel better for it.

Friday, 5 April 2019

Friday

At last, today, there is a very faint hint of Spring in the air.   In the Market Place of our little town, when the wind is in a certain direction (as it was today ) it is almost impossible to weave an even course.   But as the day has gone on the wind has eased and when Tess and I went on our evening walk it was actually quite warm.   When I went a moment ago to turn down the central heating thermostat before getting ready for bed I found I had never turned it up in the first place and I haven't been cold this evening - so that is a good sign too.

As usual, friend W and I went out for lunch - and we changed our venue - going instead to a pub called The Three Horseshoes, where they make the most delicious quiches - deep and served warm with beautiful chips and a salad.  

Four lupin plants which I bought from the garden man after lunch have been placed in my border - it is filling up nicely and the forget me nots at the front are coming into bloom, and rather than being the pale blue most of them are, these are a very deep blue - which is a real treat. Really, the herbaceous plants in the whole garden seem to be growing now at such a pace that each morning when I draw back the curtains the plants have got bigger and filled in more space.

It is no longer just the robins that are singing it is every single bird around.  And, judging by the number of blackbirds singing when Tess and I go on our early morning walk, we must have a blackbird every sixty yards or so with a mate, so they are all nesting somewhere.   I think I might have a pair nesting in my back garden hedge.   I thought I had a pair last year and this year they are back and seem to spend all day scratching about in the garden for food so I wonder if they already have young.   Isn't Spring wonderful?

It is the monthly Coffee morning in the morning at The Village Hall and I almost always go.   And if all goes according to plan (that is if A makes her usual turkey lasagnes to sell) I shall be having that for my lunch and later in the day ratatouille which I intend to make in my slow cooker as an experiment.   Watch this space.


 

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Busy day....

....as life returns more or less to normal, whatever that is.

I have a permanent standing appointment for my hair at nine thirty each Thursday morning (then I don't have to bother about it all week).   Then at twelve thirty I had a forty minute appointment with my Physiotherapist - as I do every six weeks.   It keeps me mobile and without her help I wouldn't be able to keep going.   I am sure I would just seize up.   Then at four this afternoon I had an appointment with my doctor to discuss updating my Advanced Decision document - that went well and I was home again by a quarter past five.  Thank goodness I still drive my car as all three appointments would have been impossible without it.

Over the past few days we have had wet snow, hail, sunshine, thick black cloud, strong North Easterly winds and an altogether wintry feeling to the weather.   All the blackthorn is out on the hedges and we are having what we always call 'A blackthorn winter'.   It is set to gradually get a bit milder over the next few days - but not enough for me to remove my thermal vest (sorry to mention secrets of the boudoir).

Friday again tomorrow - how quickly they come round.   Out to lunch as usual so at least I don't have to think about what to eat !   Keep warm.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

An easy day.

I have almost got my energy level back by today but have had another quiet day, mainly because the weather has been so very cold and wet.  The gardens on the estate - all coming into flower nicely - look very vulnerable today and have certainly stopped growing to wait for a warm sun (promised by the end of the week I believe).  I suppose we can say it is typical April weather but it would be nice to have typical Spring weather instead.

The fields around here are now full of young lambs - many of them Swaledale lambs (the local breed) - but once they get plenty of mother's milk inside them they seem able to withstand a wintry spell like this.   The top of East Witton Fell and the top of Penn Hill, both of which are visible from my window, are both covered in snow as I write this.

Tomorrow my busy life resumes - I am just about ready for it.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Back again!

No posting for a few days because having a two year old with her mum and dad and then her grand parents for some meals makes posting drop to the very bottom of the list.   My great-grand-daughter is really interested in family relationships at the moment and kept asking repeatedly who we all were.   I showed her this photograph of me at around her age - she was fascinated but perhaps not really able yet to
take it all in.   The photograph is not all that unlike her - there is obviously a family likeness as there is in us all.

Such a pleasure to see them for a couple of days - I don't see them all that often - but how tiring.   I am only just getting my legs back to working at all.

To anyone interested I made a delicious Butter bean salad (my grand daughter is vegan) and it suited us all.   The recipe is a Guardian Feast recipe and easily available on the internet.

Other things to report - well first of all the weather.   Tess and I have just been for our afternoon walk and it is really bitter cold.   There was a sleet shower as we walked and I think we were both pleased to reach home again.   Tess was immediately sick on the hall carpet - not surprising as she had been eating grass all the way on our walk.   My  plants have been holding a summit to discuss going back into the earth - they can't seem to agree (the usual outcome dare I say) and are staying put, but they do not look happy today in the cold North wind.

Warmer weather again by the week-end we are promised.   Meantime, ignoring my gas bill (which came this morning), I shall turn the central heating up a tad, sit back and put my feet up.

Friday, 29 March 2019

Friday

Lovely lunch out today at our usual Friday venue.   We have gone through the menu once already and so decided today to have two starters one after the other instead of one larger main.   My starter was so delicious and so easy that I shall definitely put it on my list of starters to do - it would take all of five minutes - just a mixture of smoked chicken slices, chopped ready to eat apricots, golden sultanas and pea shoots.  A light dressing completes the dish and it looks really pretty as well as tasting good.

Another lovely day of unbroken sunshine was inviting me into the garden when I got back but sadly I can do so little because of my lack of mobility.   But I did manage to water my new plants and my pots.   The new plants already look to be settling in well so I am hopeful that they will like their new home.

With typical English aplomb the weather is set to turn much colder next week so I am savouring every minute that the sun is out and shining directly into my sitting room.   As I accidentally left my central heating on all night at a high setting I have it set low today and am letting the sun warm the room very successfully.  We have to snatch sunshine when it is around.

Until tomorrow.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Thursday








Today my friend W and I have been to meet our friends in Kirby Lonsdale - such a lovely journey over the Pennines and then to meet our lovely friends and to go to a nice restaurant for our lunch. Added to this it was lovely weather - the sky a clear blue with lots of puffy white clouds and a temperature of up to twelve degrees for some of the day.  The grass verges were thick with daffodils, the hedges were coming into leaf and here and there the blackthorn was out with its
patches of white.   The fields were full of frollicking lambs with their mums.   And to add to the excitement we came upon a weasel chasing a baby rabbit down the middle of the road (and gaining on it by the minute).   My friend pulled up close to the weasel which immediately called off the chase and ran into the undergrowth at the side of the road.   The baby rabbit, frozen with fear, sat on the white line in the middle of the road.  There was no traffic coming so we sat for a minute or two to let it get over the shock and then edged past it.   My friend saw in her rear view mirror that it had gone into the undergrowth on the other side of the road.   We had done all we could to help it - so we do hope it escaped.   I know it is nature and everything has to survive but it just seemed so cruel.

Here you are on our journey with us.   Rotten photographs I know but I took them all from a moving car.   We went through Wensleydale, turned along the road past the Ribblehead Viaduct,
got a good view of the Ribble valley but sadly too misty to really show up in all its beauty in the photograph, into Kirby Lonsdale.   Then after lunch we came back toward the Howgills and back through Upper Wensleydale and home.   The skies were so beautiful that even if the views are a bit boring you can at least enjoy the sky.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Wednesday

Our Poetry afternoon - how much we all enjoy it.  There were a couple missing today but one new member so just a nice little gathering.   We have such a variety of poetry - some serious, some funny, some centuries old, some modern.   We relax and get pleasure from a couple of hours spent in one another's company.   Tess walks with friend S at the same time, so she enjoys it too and we are both happy.

Now both of us are fed and watered, the central heating is turned up so we are warm (it is still cold up here in Yorkshire) and after writing this and looking to see what I can find on line in the way of garden centres that sell shrubs I shall go and look what is on television for my entertainment.   I know it is Master Chef - the final week - later in the evening and I have a couple of new books to read so I am happy.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

A mixed bag.

My gardener has been this morning and spent the whole morning scarifying my lawn with an electric scarifier.    And would you believe he has got two massive bags of moss to dispose of.  I must say it looks in a much healthier state and now needs a good rain and a spell of warm sun to make the grass grow.

In addition he has begun the task of creating a small bed for dwarf shrubs where at present there is a small lawn which is a nuisance to mow. If anyone can recommend dwarf shrubs which are attractive then please help me out.   At present I have two box bushes which have been in tubs for the past year but they are conical and easily blow over in the wind,so that the pots have gradually got more and more broken over the year and are now no good at all.   So they will start me off.

The photograph today shows my long border which I am planting up.  I am pleased with it because it is on the relatively flat part of the garden which means I can do it myself without the risk of falling over.   You will notice the smattering of tulips just beginning to come into bloom.   Remember my son planted well over two hundred bulbs and you can see clearly the ones that remain.   Something - I suspect mice - took the rest, but those remaining are just coming into bloom.

There is a very chilly wind blowing here today and not a lot of sunshine.   I have just turned the central heating up as though it was the middle of Winter.   I must be snug and warm in time for The Sewing Bee - it is getting near to the end and I am enjoying it so much.   The same goes for Master Chef - finals this week and also  University Challenge.  Towards the end of University Challenge the questions seem to get progressively harder - well at least they do for me.   The only ones I can answer are usually Poetry, Literature or Musical ones which the teams can't answer because they are too easy for them.





Here are the photographs which I could not get at yesterday.   The fact that there is absolutely no grass to speak of speaks of the cold, wintry weather we are still having.   Although things are coming out as though it is Spring - we are still in Winter woollies.

Monday, 25 March 2019

This afternoon I had a small sewing job I needed doing and I happen to know a lady who does just such things.   What is more she lives in such a pretty part of Wensleydale that it is a joy to drive there and enjoy the scenery on the way.   Bright, sunny weather with a breeze added to the enjoyment as Tess and I tootled along.

It was much warmer up the Dale than it was at home and when I drove into the yard Mr. Sewing husband was sitting outside the door in the sunshine contemplating mowing the lawn.   He said he was in no hurry as he had 'all afternoon'.
Aren't we the lucky ones? 

On the way home we called at a small Nature Reserve where there are a few rare plants in Summer.   But as yet nothing, not even the grass, has started to grow but we enjoyed the meander.  Coming back in the car she was horribly sick - luckily on the floor - but it did mean that the minute I arrived home I had to remove the carpet and scrub it; not a brilliant end to what had been a lovely afternoon.

I took some photographs but can't find them.   If they appear tomorrow I will add them to the post.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Sunday

Political turmoil reigns supreme.   Stabbings continue to make the news but are now becoming the usual thing and therefore less newsworthy and more likely to be at the end of the bulletin than at the beginning.  Riots continue in Paris but have now become so 'ordinary' a happening that they only become a news item when there is nothing more 'exciting' to report.   At present the cyclone and its aftermath are still in the news but gradually slipping down the scale.   For a short while the Viking cruise liner breaking down off the Norwegian coast made a headline - and viewing the pictures on the news at teatime will have put plenty off cruising for a time, so there will be cruise holidays at a reduced price to fill the vacancies.  Tomorrow the news will be different - there will be new and 'more important' news stories to bombard us with - and so it goes on.

Sometimes I wish I was back in the days when the news took weeks to get from Ghent to Aix (or was it the other way round?) so that by the time it arrived the whole situation was over and done with.

Meantime Spring progresses in spite of the cold Northerly wind here today.   The daffodils are beginning to fade.   Most lawns have had their first mow.   Blossom trees are coming into flower.
Greenhouses with a bit of heat are filling up with trays of seedlings anticipating the Summer.   Easter eggs are being bought and hidden away out of sight of tiny fingers.   Everything goes on as it always has done, just as though everything is right with the world. 

The year's at the Spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his Heaven-
All's right with the world!   (Robert Browning)

If only.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Saturday

Not all that warm this morning but quite Spring-like.   I had a burst of energy, although really not feeling all that well at the moment.   I had missed our last recycling day because there was a gale blowing and on such occasions I don't put my newspapers and cardboard out as it tends to sail down the road - the prevailing wind being West and my road being directly West to East that is not surprising.

So after my morning tidy up I loaded all the papers, tins, plastics and bottles into the boot of my car and drove to the tip.   I had a letter to post anyway and wanted to make sure it went today so it was convenient to post it at the entrance to the Sorting Office. 

Tess came along and on the way back we drove a little bit further and went down the Lane to our old farm.   There we walked down the pasture as far as the beck at the bottom of the field.   There are one or two daffodils out in the wood and the bluebells are just coming out too.   But best of all - the marsh marigolds are out on the beck - they were the favourite of both the farmer and myself and he always came in and told me when the first bud came out.

Coming back I saw a Yellowhammer.   We had two pairs when we lived there - they came to the bird table every day.   It is good to see that they are still about.   I didn't see a single rabbit - and that is a first in the whole twenty five years since I first moved in there. 

After lunch and a short walk with Tess I planted several border plants which I had grown from cuttings over the winter.   Since then I have done very little other than a teatime walk with Tess and catching up with a gardening programme on television. I am becoming a bit of an armchair gardener I am afraid - I take after my father.   In the days when I used to write so-called 'Poetry (a misnomer if ever there was one) I wrote this little poem about my father and his gardening:

The Armchair Gardener.

Swathes of poppies,
Banks of delphiniums,
Fronds of ferns and a
cascade of pools.

He planned it all
from the comfort of his armchair.
Outside
the golden dandelions
and a rash of purple thistles
painted their own canvas.