Thursday, 14 November 2019

Nor any drop to drink.

And to think of the next but one line:
'and all the boards did shrink. '

I really think that unless we have been flooded we cannot possibly imagine the horror of it.   We were flooded in late July up here and those affected are still not in their homes and possibly will still be out at Christmas.   But at least the weather was reasonably warm.   Today here in North Yorkshire, not so very far away from South Yorkshire and Derbyshire, where this week's floods are it is freezing cold - and I mean freezing.   This morning there was thick frost on the windscreen of my car. 

And then the news turns to Venice - the worst high tide in fifty years - priceless treasures ruined in S Mark's Square - the lowest part of the city. 

I am sitting at my computer looking out of the window.   The sky is grey, the wind is blowing, it is raining heavily, it is very cold.   Even Tess, when I took her round the block at lunch time, was eager to get back indoors.   Yes, inside is the place to be today and we must all spare a thought for those out of their homes and in temporary accomodation - and with no idea at all of when things will be back to normal.   And in addition there is more heavy rain forecast for that area tomorrow.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Busy Day

My Decorator has been this afternoon to begin the restoration of my bedroom to its normal state.   You remember that after the flooding here on July 30th it was found that the soakaway carrying my surface water  had not worked for years.   I first noticed it when the wall in my bedroom showed mildew (horror!).   Well, now I have had a new soakaway built and today the Decorator came and painted the mildewed Anaglypta (the plaster under the anaglypta is not at all mildewed) with strong bleach.   Within half an hour it had all disappeared.  Tomorrow evening he is coming to paint some sort of recommended paint on the wall and then at the week-end he is set to repaint the walls.   Fingers crossed the whole episode is behind me.

This morning my television had no signal - on enquiring of my neighbour I found that we all had to re-tune our sets today (my knowledge of such things  is minus nil).   After writing down the instructions my television engineer gave me over the phone I spent an hour trying to do it, to no avail.   Luckily, when my friend and dog-walker on a Wednesday came an hour later she did it in a flash.   How different our brains are.   She offered to show me how to do it but I knew it was pointless.   So now, thanks to S, I am watching television again.  And there is a programme I wish to see in about ten minutes - so that's it for tonight.   See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Good and Bad

The good news is that my settees came - the delivery men were charming.   They put my old settees into the garage ready for the British Heart Foundation to collect tomorrow and they brought my new ones in with no fuss at all.   They look very nice and are so comfortable.   And I can get up easily which is a bonus.

The bad news is that I put the rug back down and then pulled one settee forward on to it.   The castors are much more effective than the ones on my old  settee and it came forward at speed and I promptly sat down with a bump on the floor.   Luckily I was near enough to the settee to get up easily but I have a sore bum in spite of landing on a rug with a carpet beneath!   It is much better this morning so obviously no permanent damage done.

At Librarian's suggestion I will try taking a photograph to show you but I am having trouble finding my photographs once they are in my computer - I come across them by accident days later even though I label them. 

The morning began with bright sunshine but now, at only a quarter to ten, it is cloudy although not particularly cold.   I normally go into town this morning, get my 'housekeeping money' out of the bank, pay my weekly newspaper bill, have coffee with friends and then return home.   But today one friend is at Yoga and another is on holiday so I have no need to go.   Soon my dog-walker will be here to take Tess on a long walk so I haven't even got that to do.   So it is a nice hot shower and a leisurely morning.  Maybe see you later with a photograph.  Here it is - the best I can get as I couldn't stand any further back.   Ercol settees by the way.

Monday, 11 November 2019


I have had friends staying which has resulted in a couple of days without posting.   Sorry about that; having friends to stay these days is hard, but I don't want to stop because I enjoy company too much.   And it is good for me to get tired from doing something rather than sitting about.   I made Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Soup - I shalln't bother doing so again.   It said add a 'good dash of Tabasco' and really, if I hadn't done so I think it would have tasted of nothing.   And I did follow the recipe to the letter.   Much more successful was a salad of leaves, toasted walnuts and crumbled cheese with a nice sharp vinegar (cider) dressing.

Today has been memorable for the arrival of my two new Ercol settees - now I shall be super comfortable when watching television in the evenings. 

It is a damp, sharply chilly day here and on my two walks round with Tess I have been very well wrapped up against the cold, damp wind.   We must spare thoughts for all those people in South Yorkshire whose homes are flooded - and Christmas looming.

Friday, 8 November 2019

Water water everywhere.

When I switched on the television for the News over my breakfast this morning I must say that on hearing about flooding in Yorkshire I went straight to the window and drew back the curtains.   Thankfully it was well South of here.   My sympathies lie with the people of Worksop, Derby, Sheffield and the surrounding area - the situation looks terrible and I hear tonight that one lady has been swept away and drowned.   Never under estimate the dreadful power of water.

The people in Bellerby - the village featured on the News at the last deluge on July 30th - just a mile from where I live are still not back in their homes and one or two premises in Leyburn where I live are still not habitable.   My bedroom has a mildewed wall - according to the builder it was an old and totally worn-out soakaway and I had it replaced at once but the whole episode was probably exacerbated by the fact that my patio flooded and the water almost came into my house.
The decorator has been and is going to treat it and redecorate.   I have passed the problem over to him and now I can relax and forget about it, whether it is cured or not. 

And therein lies the problem I touched on briefly earlier in the week.   One's fragility.   Living alone and ageing are not good bed-fellows.   Some days I cope very well, manage to get a lot done and feel rather proud of myself.   Other days something goes wrong early in the day and I feel pretty helpless and have to give myself a good talking-to.
Yesterday for example began really well and everything went according to plan until the freezer played up.  (My fault of course).   That is up and running again and nothing had thawed out, so all's well that ends well there.   In addition I found the booklet and read up on the settings so things should run smoothly.

Today I didn't feel like going into town early (it is Market Day) but I wanted cheese from the cheese stall and Russet apples from the greengrocery stall (they really are delicious) so I made the effort.   All went well and I was pleased with my progress until, when coming out of the Deli I heard this voice calling me and turned to see the girl from the check-out running down the street with my debit card - I had left it in the machine. How stupid do I have to get before I need more help?
No - I must not think like that but sometimes it is hard not to.

But - Onwards and Upwards!   Friends are coming to stay the night tomorrow night - all is ready and all I have to do in the morning is to make a new soup - Sweet Potato and Red Pepper (I will report on whether it is worth making or not) and then at the last minute create a new salad I have discovered in a magazine - leaves, pear slices, toasted walnuts and crumbled blue cheese with a honey and whole grain mustard dressing. I am looking forward to tasting that.   Watch this space.

Thursday, 7 November 2019


It has been a very miserable wet day here.   So wet first thing  morning that I had to push Tess out into the back garden for her morning 'wee and poo' and she scuttled back in and stayed in her bed.

It is my hair day (9.30) and as I have visitors coming to stay Saturday night I thought I would go into town early and do my shopping (I had made a comprehensive list).    This went well - I found my usual parking place close to the shop, did my shopping and then a charming young man who always comes to my aid pushed my trolley back to my car and unloaded my bags into the boot.   I got home, washed out the fridge and put away all my shopping ready for Saturday - deciding to put the Sourdough loaf into the freezer.    That was when things went wrong.   My freezer is in the garage and when I went to it I found I had not shut the door properly when I last opened it a couple of days ago.   The whole thing was covered in a thick layer of frost.   Friend W was coming to call to take me out to lunch which gave me about twenty minutes to get the stuff out of the freezer and set it to defrost.   Just about managed it but it did rather spoil my day.

Now at seven in the evening the freezer is up and running again (and the door is firmly shut), everywhere is tidy again and I am about to settle down to read The Times, which I have not had a chance to open yet.   This sort of 'crisis' really throws me out as I get older.   I do like everything to be going well.

In addition to this my two new settees have arrived at the Furniture Store and are to be delivered on Monday.   I wish to donate the two I have now to the British Heart Foundation - they will collect but every item must be covered by the Fire Regulations.   They came in in 1988 and we bought the settees in 1995 so there should be a label somewhere but so far I can't find it.   The makers of them (Parker Knoll) have sentme a list of places where the label should be and I am currently waiting for my son to arrive so that we can look underneath - the one place I can't get at.
Oh the joys of getting old.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019


Friends who were on holiday near Penrith drove over to see me for lunch a few months ago.   They live in a Shropshire town and were rather horrified (I felt) by the remoteness of where I lived here in Wensleydale;  by the winding roads too narrow to get up any speed of forty mph at the most; by the narrowness in places and the lack of passing places - that kind of thing.   I have just been discussing with BB (Codlins and Cream) on our blogs about the remoteness of the Swaledale farm on the new series of 'Our Yorkshire Farm' which began again last evening.   It is indeed quite a remote farm but maybe not quite as remote as it appears in the programme - maybe nearest neighbour a mile away - and that is nothing up here - take the Tan Hill Inn - the highest pub in England I believe - you drive a long way past a house to reach that.   People seem to think nothing of remoteness up here.

Many of our children travel into Leyburn by bus from outlying areas when it gets to Comprehensive Education and even Primary Schools are getting fewer or are amalgamating with the next school along the Dale.   And as for medical treatment - our nearest hospital is about twenty five miles away - or for more serious hospital treatment a good forty miles away.  But of course to offset against this are the benefits of living in such a beautiful part of the country.   I wouldn't swap that for the world. 

The beauty of our Autumn is a good example of this.   This year has been a good one for Autumn colour -  some years are better than others.  Not far from where I live - maybe a mile - there is a row  of Horse Chestnut trees and they have been splendid.   Then it was the Silver Birches and Hazels, now it is the Maples.   The Hazels in particular have this year been laden with hazelnuts - and hundreds fell on to the grass on our estate.   When we lived on the farm (only three fields away from where I live now) we had plenty of hazel trees in our hedgerows but we never saw a hazelnut.   We saw plenty of grey squirrels and they always got there first.   I have never seen a grey squirrel since I moved here and the other day when I was walking with Tess I met a chap with a bag full of hazelnuts gathered as he walked round with his dog.   Wish I had thought of that!

I walked right round the top of the estate with Tess earlier this morning and it was warm and really pleasant but now, looking out of the window as I write this, the rain is falling again and the sky is grey.   One thing you can be sure of up here in the hills is that you certainly get all kinds of weather - often all on the same day.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019


November showed itself to perfection this morning - very wet and chilly - absolutely nothing going for it at all.   I always go into town on Tuesday mornings and meet friends in the Post Horn for coffee.   The whole time we were in there in rained and was very miserable.    Shopping done, paper bill paid for the week, it was time to come home to Tess.   I don't think my dog walker has been today.   I was home by eleven and have not been out since and there has been no sign of her.   I dare not go out to take Tess for a walk in case she came, but when it got to half past three this afternoon I ventured out.   The weather was beautiful.   All signs of rain had gone, the wind had dropped, the Autumn sun was shining and it was quite warm.   Both Tess and I enjoyed the walk tremendously.   The down side was that in a fit of enthusiasm I spent the first hour of the afternoon emptying my wardrobe, cleaning it thoroughly and replacing the T shirts and blouses with my winter jumpers and cardigans.   Has to be done - no chance of wearing a T shirt any more this year!   So by the time we walked my ankle was very swollen and I had been on my feet far too long.   Shall now go and put my feet up and watch the programme on the Swaledale farm (not all that far from where I live) and follow that by watching Ben Fogle.   Hopefully a pleasant evening with a glass of Croft sherry for company.

Monday, 4 November 2019


And a grey, dismal Monday at that.   Not particularly cold, but damp and typical November.
This morning was my Book Group - today at M's house, just further down my estate, so not a long journey at all.   Our book this month was 'Sea of Poppies' by Amitav Ghosh - and a great book it was too.   The New York Times called it 'Dickensian' which was a good description.   A huge adventure story full of individual stories, much about things like the caste system and life in general in India a couple of hundred years ago.   It is the first book in a trilogy so we have the other two to look forward to when it is S's turn again.
G has chosen the next book and it is 'Robinson Crusoe' - it is at least sixty years since I read it so I am really looking forward to getting going with that now. 

It has been a miserable afternoon.   Tess and I went for a walk  in the rain but somehow I managed to get either her coat or her harness on wrong because she was very reluctant to walk and I had to cut the walk short.

My decorator has just been to inspect the wall  in my bedroom and is coming in a fortnight to wash the wall with bleach (to kill the mildew which has formed) and then to treat it all before redecorating.
We are just hoping that the new soakaway the builders built has cured the problem.

I am now going to watch 'His Dark Materials' on iplayer - I was undecided whether to start watching or not but the write up in today's Times is so good that I shall give it a go.   I really enjoyed the book.   If I begin to think that the television version is spoiling it for me I shall switch off.   Sometimes the image one has in one's head of something like this is so different from the TV Producer's.   Time will tell.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Another jolly visit.

My two step great grand children called today with birthday cards and lovely bathroom 'smellies' - it is a while since I saw them and how they have grown.   They are delightful children and I thoroughly enjoyed the couple of hours they stayed.   They also brought me a box of chocolate brownies their Mum had made - I had a piece for my tea - goodness me it was pure chocolate and every mouthful was delicious.  I felt very self-indulgent.

The Church coffee morning was this morning but it was not all that well attended, no doubt due to the Rugby Final (the less said about that the better).   But every trip out is important when one lives alone and as the Village Hall is opposite the graveyard it did give me the opportunity to put a Remembrance Cross on my first husband's grave, as I do every early November.   I think it is very important that we always remember the sacrifices that so many millions made during that terrible time. 

After a reasonably pleasant day here - sunshine on and off and very little wind - it began to deteriorate as the afternoon went on and by the time my visitors went it was raining.   I just hope it clears up quickly as they were all four off to the town bonfire in the nearby little town of Bedale - how much better to go to an organised bonfire and firework display than to have indiscriminate fireworks here and there causing so much fear for pets and danger to children.

Friday, 1 November 2019


There was no time to put a post on yesterday it was too busy a day.    First of all there was a breakfast with friends (we often do this on birthdays) about a dozen of us.   Friend W took a group photograph and sent to me - I filed it and now for the life of me I can't find it.   When I have a bit more time I will make a search and put it on.   In the meantime all I can say is that we had a lovely, happy time.

Then it was home to open my 27 cards (all so very welcome - they do the heart good), make myself a coffee, read The Times and take Tess for a walk.   Humidity is very high at present and consequently I am having severe difficulty in walking, so it was a slow, painful walk.   Then friend G called, just in time for a cup of tea and a nice chat.   While she was there friend P rang from the Lakes as he does every year, put the phone on the piano and played 'Happy Birthday' - I turned up the sound on the phone so that G could hear it too.   In the evening my son and his wife came round with a Take Away Pizza meal and we sat and ate that and had a nice, relaxed evening.   I had a lovely day - thank you to everyone who helped me enjoy it.

Today has been a damp, miserable day and tonight there is fog (or there was the last time I looked out of the window before I drew the blinds).   Tess had her long walk with her dog-walker and best friend J.   She had on her new fleecy coat which J bought her and also her new harness which I bought her yesterday.   She looked very smart and took her place in J's car on the front passenger seat next to a new friend - a Labradoodle.   I succumbed to a toasted tea cake when I went for my morning coffee with friends this morning (and when C came a little later she was tempted too!).   This afternoon I have done very little other than sit and read the paper.   I switched on the News for the Headlines but then switched off - I have resolved to ignore the election and any effort by politicians to bore my ears off.

Have a good week-end.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Another Day of Sunshine.

It is still cold, maybe a slight frost this morning, but fear not - it is set to warm up in the next few days so we shall get a bit of respite before winter sets in.   On the TV weather map that blue cold seems to be receding Northwards and a pleasant orange surging up from the South so let's make the most of it.

I have changed my vet and now go to one whose Surgery is ten miles away through the lovely countryside of Wensleydale.   This morning I had to be there with her for ten o'clock for her annual injections - we just made it by the skin of our teeth.   The Autumn colours on the journey were exquisite - especially the Horse Chestnuts.   I rather think the Autumn colour is a little later this year - it is my birthday tomorrow and usually it seems to fall when the colours are at their height.   This year they seem a little late.   Is it the same where you live?

This afternoon friend S came to take Tess for a walk and I am certain Tess heard her car come in the end of the road because she got up and went and sat by the door.   Over the past few weeks I have especially noticed just how acute her hearing is.    L also came to point up round the base of my bungalow - where it meets the path.   Especially where the bungalow faces South the concrete had cracked.   Now L has tidied it up nicely.   I have this need to get these jobs done before Winter sets in - I can imagine that if I had lived during hunter/gatherer days this is the time when I would have been stocking my larder with game I had caught (can't imagine it would be much; I am not any good at catching a mouse in a trap).

Well, when I rise in the morning I shall be another year older ( 87 ) -sometimes it all gets a bit depressing (especially when winter is near) but as we say - the alternative is worse.

Tuesday, 29 October 2019


What started out as an easy day turned out to be quite a busy one.   Lots of little jobs to do in town meant that I was on my feet a lot after my coffee with friends.   Then it was home to find that Tess had gone early for her walk today - the lady who takes her had promised to come early because Tess's Hair Appointment was for one o'clock (her usual walk time).   And dead on 1pm the lady arrived to give Tess a cut, shampoo and blow dry.   And how smart she looks now.   I will try and get a photograph to put on tomorrow.

As soon as the hair was done I rang the vet to get Tess's vaccinations up to date but there wasn't an appointment until late this afternoon and I can't drive in the dark.   So we are going at ten in the morning.   On the way back we intend to call at the Pet Shop for a new harness instead of a collar - and then Tess will be completely modernised. 

So now it is a General Election just before Christmas - as far as I am concerned that is all we need and I am sure that most of the country feels the same.   It must be rather nice to be a pampered dog who has  no idea about such things and can go through life with one's head in the clouds.

But at least it has been a bright, sunny Autumn day and everywhere has dried up nicely.   A nice drive through the Dale to the vet in the morning, when the forecast is still for a pleasant day.   This morning the weather forecaster was at Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire where the Japanese Maples and Acers are at their very finest at the moment.   It is many years since I was there but once seen never forgotten.

Monday, 28 October 2019

Seems like a liffetime

I love my blog and the way it keeps me in touch with 'old friends'.   Yes I do think of my readers as old friends - most of us have been communicating for so long that although most of us have never met we have still formed a friendship.   And a couple of days away seems quite a long time.   But I am back now.

The two days I have been away have not been particularly busy but they have been full and it has been quite late in the evening before I have had a chance to think about posting - and by then it has seemed too late. 

Saturday it was lunch at friend W's with her friends from West Yorkshire.   Delicious roast ham as usual (and we won't mention the sticky toffee pudding) and a lovely afternoon of chatting.   The sun finally shone after pouring wet morning and friend N very kindly took Tess on a nice long walk round the village.  Strictly Come Dancing in the evening finished the day off nicely.    Things are getting tougher on the programme as the ones who are not making good progress are slowly being weeded out.   The standard of dance seems to improve each year, as does the standard of judging - very tough this year.

Yesterday my Grand-daughter, her husband and their (almost) three year old daughter  U called for the afternoon and for a bowl of Main Meal Farmhouse Vegetable Soup, which was a great success.   They are Vegan but as all the content was vegetable it fitted in well with their diet.

Now it is back to 'normal' today - my cleaner J this morning, a couple of walks with Tess, one straight after breakfast and another after lunch and just a general tidy round.   All that remains to be done is to empty the dishwasher - never a job I enjoy.   But the sun has shone into my kitchen and sitting room non stop all day so there has been no need for central heating.   The sky is a clear blue and similar weather is forecast for tomorrow - how much better I feel when the weather is like this - I don't know about you.

Tess is to have a general tidy up, wash and blow dry tomorrow - the last before winter arrives.  What with that and her smart new coat she should look the bees knees.

Friday, 25 October 2019


It is absolutely pouring with rain here in The Dales and has been doing since just before lunchtime.  So soon after the catastrophic floods of July 30th means that every time it rains like this there is fear around here.   Many of the houses in our village are still being repaired after that day.

As usual I went into town for coffee with friends before coming home in good time for my dog walker J to arrive (Tuesdays and Fridays).   This time she came armed with a present.   Usually she gives all of her dogs a present at Christmas but as Tess is not a 'toy' dog -( she hasn't played with toys since she was a puppy ) J has bought her a lovely fleecy coat in a very bright red.  Off she trotted wearing it and obviously adoring it.   She came back equally excited about it and was not happy about having it taken off.   So sincere thanks to J for the lovely present.   She has now promised to source a new harness for me and let me have details when she calls for Tess next Tuesday.

Once Tess had gone off for a walk I returned the dehumidifier to the  place where I hired it (£39 for the week) - I just hope I had it working for long enough.   The man in the shop thought I had had it on long enough so I shall have to wait and see.

On the way there I drove through our Market Place and the tempting smell of Fish and Chips wafted into the car as I waiting at the pedestrian crossing.   There was a parking space right next to it and I decided that if the space was still there on my return I would pull in and buy myself fish and chips for my lunch.   Lo and behold it was still there - I had to wait for the fish to be cooked which meant my meal was piping hot - I drove the mile home and was eating it in no time at all and it was delicious. 

At just after three in the afternoon it is still pouring with no sign of it easing up at all.   I think I shall shut up shop early tonight , close the curtains and turn up the heating - it is a very dismal day.   Out to lunch tomorrow to friend W's where her friends, who are now also my friends, are staying for the week-end.   I always enjoy seeing them and also eating Wendy's roast ham which she always serves when they come - nobody cooks roast ham as well as W - it is out of this world.

Thursday, 24 October 2019

What's the weather like out there?

As am I, my mother was crippled up with Arthritis.   Her condition was much more severe than mine (she was dead before she reached my age in any case) and, of course, treatment was of little or no help.   Her arthritis was mainly in her knees and the only treatment was to be taken once a week by ambulance to a Spa town to sit in a mud bath for hours.  She complained rarely and was very stoic.   But she was a good predicter of the weather.

She would start telling us it was going to rain or there were going to be gales about three days before either arrived.   Of course we never believed her - thinking it was 'an old wives tale'.
I go to the Physio every six weeks to try and keep my body as supple as possible and she has been telling me for years that air pressure has an effect on arthritis and similar conditions.   Now I see in today's paper that some group has done a study on weather and its effect on conditions such  as arthritis and has come to the conclusion that such conditions are indeed affected by both wet weather and windy weather.   Seems my dear old Mum could have told them that years ago.   They only studied 2,500 people with the condition, which seems a small group to me, but it does confirm what many sufferers of arthritis know and have known for years - our aches and pains are very good at predicting forthcoming weather - certainly better than your average pine cone.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019


Nine of us today for our Poetry afternoon.   We always meet in friend W's conservatory and take it in turns to read a poem.   When we are all there (only one missing today) we usually manage three or sometimes four poems each and they are always a good mixture of old ones (I read 'On a favourite cat drowned in a tub of goldfishes' by Thomas Gray) and more up to date ones (Wendy Cope usually features well).   Similarly we usually have some sad ones ( Rosetti ) and some funny ones.  It really is a favourite afternoon for all of us I am sure.

We have at last had three 'good' days - by that I mean days when the sun has shone (particularly today) and there has been no rain.   Looking at the weather forecast I think this is set to alter tomorrow.

Listening to the News I have just heard the appalling story of the immigrants trying to enter the UK illegally and being found dead in a container on the back of a lorry today.   We complain about conditions here and all these people are trying to get into our country which is being sold to them as such a wonderful place to live.   I think it is evident that we have no idea just how lucky we are in so many ways.   I think of the teenager amongst them who presumably has a Mum and a Dad somewhere who may well think he has managed to get to a better life.   It is all so very sad.   And at the back of it all - as always - is money and lots of it.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

An Anniversary

It is two years today since I moved into my bungalow - assisted by dear friends W,C and J - and because C comes from a service family and has moved about regularly to various married quarters - my bungalow was reorganised and everything put away in no time at all.   I remember sitting down in the evening on that first day and feeling at home immediately thanks to their help.   They will never know just how much they helped me.

Now, two years on and two years older (eighty seven next week) I do feel really settled here in spite of various set-backs with things going wrong.   And Tess has settled much more easily than I expected and seems to have forgotten all about the farm and the fields and running about with no lead on.   Although, having said that, I was here today when J, my dog-walker, returned with her and told me that she can now let Tess off the lead and she runs round the field with the other dogs and really enjoys it - and comes back when called.   Not bad for almost thirteen I feel. 

Into town this morning, as every Tuesday morning, to go to the Bank, do a bit of shopping (not much this week as my Grand-daughter and her husband and my Great Grand-daughter are calling in on Sunday and as they are vegan I have taken the precaution of having an order delivered from Tesco, so little or no shopping to do today.)
After that it was into the cafe where we meet each Tuesday morning for coffee with E,C, and L - and then down to discuss my de humdifier with the man in the rental place and then a call into the best shop in town for buying little presents for little people.   I chose a set of 'doggie dominoes' and a sticker book about animals under the sea - hope they are both enjoyed.

As they are vegan I have arranged to make a hearty Farmhouse Soup with pasta added and will serve it with Garlic Bread which they will bring as it needs to be made with garlic and olive oil rather than butter and then a vegan tray bake which they will also bring.   So very little for me to do as the soup is best made the day before anyway.

It is now half past two in the afternoon and, although fine,it is breezy and quite chilly so shall not venture out again today as Tess has had a long walk with her dog walker.

Monday, 21 October 2019


Perhaps our first completely dry day for many weeks - although the sky was often quite cloudy there was no rain about.    My replacement gardener (my usual one has damaged his back) came and mowed my lawn for the last time at the end of last week and also replanted my two front-door-side tubs with violas, dwarf daffodils and polyanthus.   Today he returned to water my Mares Tail weed with strong weed killer - we can but try.   I must say it is pleasing to see everywhere looking a bit tidier again for the Winter.

Indoors my humidifier (or is it a de-humidifier?) is still going in the bedroom although it doesn't seem to be gathering much water any more and when I went into the bedroom to check on it this evening it had switched itself on to Auto.   Does anyone out there know anything about the workings of such things?

Until tomorrow.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Over the past few weeks/days the papers and the television have shown us image after image of elderly men and a smattering of women sitting around tables discussing the whys and wherefores of staying in/leaving the European Union.  This throws up two questions:   first of all is there an optimum age beyond which people should be considered too old to take part in these debates?   Yes, I know we are all of differing intellects, but surely - apart from the few who are wise until their dying day - as we age our mental capacity does lessen, our thinking is not as quick, our ability to keep abreast of a sub ject which moves at considerable speed wears a bit thin.   Secondly are women so behind in the thinking stakes that only one or two make it through to the stage of appearing on select committees and the like?

Let's face it - the age group trying to deal with the problems surround our leaving the E U seems to be doing their best to complicate things (and I do realise how very complicated things are even if I don' understand them).   If I was a young person now I would feel a huge sense of frustration about the state of play.  Every day I turn on Breakfast Television to hear hour after hour devoted to talking about Brexit.   I feel like never switching the TV on again (and yes, Derek I did say I would stop mentioning it, but it is becoming too important to ignore)

Another question which arises in my mind is did we ever know enough about the nitty-gritty of life in the E U - its gains and its losses - to be in a position to pass judgement on whether it is wise to leave or stay in?   The idea that now should have another Referendum appals me  - another hold up, more thousands spent on it all, - to get a result which may or not be more or less the same and in any case is more or less based on what people who really don't know what they are talking about.

This has been troubling me today as I went out to my usual Sunday lunch and now I switch on to put my worries on line and find that I really can't stay awake long enough to make sure I have recorded my thoughts sufficiently well I do despair that we shall ever be able to find a complete answer to our problems - and in the meantime  the N H S, Education, The Police Force and the rest just have to stand and wait.

Friday, 18 October 2019

Busy day

One of those days when everything happens - pretty shattered by now.  My builder recommended I get a humidifier and put in the bedroom now that the new soakaway is finished, so I did that and as I type this I hear it buzzing away.

My replacement gardener (my usual one is ill) M came (he cut the lawn yesterday) and replanted my pots by the front door with violas, polyanthus and daffodil bulbs for winter and also planted the last forty or so dwarf daffodils in my front shrubbery.
Two jobs which I am pleased to get done. 

Then at tea time my decorator came to look at the damp in the bedroom (my new soakaway is just outside) and was very positive about it all (thus taking the weight off my shoulders).

Now it is almost time for Gardeners' World - just time to go and check on my humidifier.   See you all tomorrow.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

The Camera does not lie!

My friend has just sent me a photograph of me with the Orange Trio so that you can see what it (and I) looks like.   Sadly I can't get it to download - perhaps it is as well.   They say the camera doesn't lie - well all I can say is that I look about a hundred (and I am only eighty seven next week).

My builders have finished, left everywhere neat and tidy and gone away.   Now we wait to see if it will work and if the wall will  dry out.   I am keeping the room well aired during the day and then, when the heating comes on around tea time I am  closing the bedroom door so that the room gets nice and warm.   We shall see, but fingers crossed. 

I have found a replacement gardener to finish the pre-winter jobs as my gardener is laid up with a back injury.   At the moment he is mowing the front lawn and then he is going to plant some bulbs for me.   When I was such a keen gardener it is very irritating not being able to do it myself.   At least we are having a fine day again today - two in a row is almost unheard of for the last month.
More to add later hopefully but busy right now.  I shall return

Wednesday, 16 October 2019


The builders arrived this morning to tackle the issue of the damp wall in my bedroom and the blocked soakaway.   When they dug down through the concrete by the drainpipe from the roof they found that the pipes to the soakaway were all cracked and that water was constantly seeping out.  They have laid new pipes, built a new soakaway and will be back tomorrow to concrete over it.  Then we shall have to wait and see if the wall dries out and the matter is cured.   So fingers crossed.

Friend S very kindly called and took Tess for her Wednesday walk even though I was out lunching with friend G.   The outing did me a lot of good, not least because the journey to Grantley (a village between Ripon and Pateley Bridge) was so beautiful with Autumn colours in the trees and the day  one of bright sunshine.   As we stopped at The Grantley Arms (our venue for lunch) children were frolicking in the playground opposite and the noise of childrens' voices rang through the air.

It is a lovely pub and the lunchtime menu delicious.   G had a piece of roast lamb and a tiny shepherd's pie and I had a fish pie - both served with a variety of vegetables nicely cooked (ie not overcooked).   We both had the same sweet - inventive and certainly one to try at home - an orange trio:  a slim wine glass filled with orange jelly and topped with whipped cream, a scoop of home made orange ice cream and a pavlova filled with cream and fresh pieces of sweet orange.   I intend to try it sometime.  It was delicious. 

Then we had coffee and, as time was getting on, we came home as I wanted to catch the builders before they went.   Tess was pleased to see me.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019


It was the morning for our Strugglers meeting this morning.   We meet once a month - have a period of Silence and then discuss whatever comes up.  This morning our main topic sprang from a Lecture one of our group had heard on radio - a talk about Joy and Happiness.   Of how Joy is a momentary thing - a sudden burst - whereas happiness is a state of being which might last much longer if we are lucky enough. 

We could think of all kind of examples of joy - up here in The Dales it is often something as simple as a sudden burst of sunlight across the Dale, lighting up a beautiful tree or view;  or it might be the first view of a new grandchild;  the list is endless.   Happiness, on the other hand, is more of a state maybe when things go right for us and we are going through a good patch in our lives, or when someone whom we love has been ill and is suddenly much better and we are able to pick up the pieces and resume our lives.    We all have our own interpretations - all I can say is the more we have the luckier we are in these dark days.

Real warm sunshine on and off today -not all day but now and then.   Out for lunch to our group lunch at The Old School House (where our U3A meetings are held) - held every fortnight.   Today it was Toad in the Hole with mash and peas, followed by rice pudding - and a nice chat (we never run out of things to talk about).

Time now to take Tess for her last walk - she has been on a long walk with her dog-walker today so will only need a short walk now.   See you tomorrow.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Wettish Monday

The day began with pale sunshine and only a gentle breeze - it was quite warm.   Then the fog descended, disappeared and it began to rain - again.   Really Otober is getting so depressing that it is really getting me down.   The damp is slowly spreading along the wall in my bedroom, which is not helping - hopefully the builders are coming to try and deal with the problem later this week.   I find myself really 'on edge' today - something to do with age and with living alone and having no-one with whom to share one's problems I suppose.
But I am not alone in that I know. 

 In a brief interval I managed to plant thirty dwarf daffodil bulbs - I still have a lot more to plant.   My gardener is not well and will not come again this year, so the lawn will miss its last cut and I shall have to plant my bulbs myself.   I can only manage around thirty at a time without hurting my back, so I plough on a few at a time.   Hopefully just poking them into a swiftly dug hole will result in a fine show in the Spring - no time for any fancy planting I'm afraid.

Because it was a dismal day  ,like Tom I watched the State Opening of Parliament this morning.   I don't apologise for enjoying the Pomp and Ceremony - I love the split second organisation - if anything ever does go wrong it is never noticeable - everything seems to go like clockwork and men seem to stand for ages holding swords up in the air or balancing for a good half hour when they are not young by any means (five minutes would be my limit for standing up).   I was pleased to see that the Queen had a helping hand from Prince Charles - that heavy brocade dress and train at her age defies the imagination.    At least the Imperial State Crown is now carried on a cushion.

I was reflecting earlier this evening on how, when one lives alone, it is important to chat to people every day rather than shut oneself away.   I worked out my 'speaking' today:   my cleaning lady here for an hour and a half;  two people I know from my dog-walking - first J with Sammy with whom Tess is madly in love (10 minute chat) then A and S who were married last Saturday and were just about to set out on a 5 day 'minimoon' to Wales when I saw them.   I chatted long enough to see a photograph of the bride and groom with their two labradors who had a starring role in the marriage ceremony in that they were the 'ring bearers'.  Later, when I was planting my bulbs, I chatted with my neighbour M and finally late afternoon the Chiropodist came - so now I am walking on air.   Busy(ish) day tomorrow so hopefully I shall be a bit more cheerful.   See you then.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Life on hold.

Everything stopped this morning - I sat in my dressing gown, I had quick rounds of toast so that I could sit down quickly with my toast and coffee, and all because of Eliud Kipchoge - the fantastic Kenyan who this morning ran the marathon in Vienna in just under two hours (1.59.40).   If you go to Gwil's site you will see that as it was in Vienna he was able to be there and to witness it.  Kipchoge didn't even look tired at the end of the race.   It was good to be able to witness it - not as good as being there but the next best thing.

Friday, 11 October 2019

A Lovely Day Out

To Kirby Lonsdale today with friend W to meet our friends P and D in Avanti, the super Italian restaurant which takes dogs too, so happily Tess can come with us - lots of lovely new smells and experiences for her.

The weather was changeable but the heavy overnight rain seemed to have totally cleansed the air so that there was a clarity and brightness which made the hills so very beautiful.   The river (Ure) was in flood and many of the fields were flooded so we went the 'top way' missing the flooded roads and able to look down on the scene from the safety of the high up road. 

Going over the tops, past the Three Peaks which were hidden in angry cloud, and then down into the valley of the River Lune and along to the little town for lunch - altogether different scenery but equally beautiful.  As usual we came back round by Sedbergh - an altogether different road but equally beautiful.   This time, as we neared Hawes, the water had been over the road.   Luckily, by the time we arrived it had receded  and only the fields were flooded.   It was altogether a very enjoyable day - as it always is.   Meeting 
P and D and getting up to date with all their news - good lunch - lovely journey - what's not to enjoy.

Thursday, 10 October 2019


Yes, I will admit it.   Where anything practical is concerned I am absolutely useless.   One marriage of   thirty nine years and one of  twenty three - in both cases to wonderful and very practical men - has left me entirely hopeless at any practical job which needs attention.

Now a situation has occurred where I need to apply some thinking at least - and it is beyond me.
The damp patch on my bedroom wall is spreading along the top of the skirting board and has now surrounded the electric socket.   Until an hour ago, in spite of frantic phone calls, I had been unable to rouse a builder or an electrician.   At last the builder has contacted me and is going to try to get over to look at things later today.   I spoke to the electrician on the telephone and he says unplug the plugs and switch the whole thing off and it should be alright.   (OK he did suggest trying the trip switches in the fuse box to see if I can isolate this particular socket - but - see above - quite beyond my capabilities) 

The builder has been, isolated the problem (which  involves digging up part of the concrete patio) and put me on his list of jobs.   He has drained off the excess water and says the wall should begin to dry out.   My saviour.
Tess has returned from her walk with her dog walker - she watched another of the dogs have her treatment in the Hydro Therapy Pool but kept her distance.   Henry (the airedale) got too close and fell in which I think put Tess off for ever.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Will he won't he?

Is it just me or is more or less everyone fed up with the whole Brexit thing?    Unless we are a top financial brain do we any of us really understand what effect it will have on our lives?   And after all these months or wrangling, of neglecting the serious issues in our society, of promising the earth if and/or when all this is behind us, can any of us really understand what is going on?   I doubt it.    In fact (and I am ashamed to say it) I don't really care any more - I have almost lost the will to live and have certainly lost the will to even try to understand the machinations let loose in Whitehall and Brussels.

I look out of the window as I sit here typing.   There are still a few flowers giving their best in the garden - the Achillea has been out for months and is still glowing its golden flowers which tower over the border;    the white Cosmos shows here and there and brightens things up no end;  the Michaelmas Daisies - some tall and stately and some quite small and tidy - shout out that this is their season and they will enjoy it come what may in Brussels.   It would be rather nice to be a plant, or an animal or any kind of inanimate object at the moment rather than live through this period in our history  which others in the future will look back on with astonishment at our politicians (they really don't deserve a capital letter either singly or collectively).

Right, that has got that off my chest.   It is a lovely breezy day - the odd quick shower  but that's all.
I inadvertently mentioned to Tess that friend S would be here shortly (it is the day she often takes Tess for a walk) and now she is sitting by the front door waiting and there is still an hour to go.

I have just eaten a lunch of Turkey Lasagne made by a Church lady and sold on the first Saturday of each month at the Church Coffee Morning (and delicious it is too), followed by a delicious ripe pear.   Shall now endeavour to not think about B***** again today.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

a Fine Day!

So far, here in North Yorkshire, it has been a completely fine day - the first for what seems like a very long time.   There is a strong wind blowing, so strong that I had to ask for assistance from the shop where I do my Tuesday morning shop in crossing the road to my car.   When the wind is in a certain direction it is nigh on impossible to stand up crossing the road in the market square.

I was here in time to see my dog return from her  walk with the Dog-walker and to see how she returns in utter bliss.   The lady is a real dog lover, returns the dog to its home and spends ten minutes making a fuss of it and talking to it.   Tess already idolises her and I have no qualms at all about entrusting Tess to her.   That is a relief.

The afternoon has been spent catching up on jobs like preparing the recycling 'rubbish' for collection, emptying and folding and putting away stuff from the tumble drier, little, fiddly jobs which somehow stretch to the whole afternoon.   Now it is almost time for tea.  These days I do seem to spend an awful lot of time thinking about doing a job before I actually get round to getting up and doing it.   Then, when it takes only a few minutes, thinking why didn't I do it at once and get it over with.

I am now going to go over to one or two shopping outlets to have a look at Winter jumpers.   How easy it is to do this from the comfort of one's arm chair - and ultimately how easy it is to type one's credit card number on to a site and buy something - something you would not otherwise have bought if it had meant going to the nearest town (in my case twenty five miles away) and trailing round the shops looking for it.   Oh dear, the wonders of modern living.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Lovely week end.

No posts over the week-end; my God-daughter has been here since Saturday lunchtime and we have had a lovely relaxed 'girlie' week-end.   I have enjoyed it tremendously - sad to say goodbye to her this morning very early as she drove back through Wensleydale to be at work on time.
At the moment everywhere is so wet that it is always a worry having to drive through Wensleydale in case the River Ure is over and the roads are flooded.

Today, after a wet start, it has cleared considerably and apart from a few showers it has been cloudy and sunny at intervals. 

This morning the first happening was that the lady who cleans for me found that there is a damp patch on the corner of my bedroom.   I have rung somebody who I think might be able to deal with it, so am now waiting for him to contact me.

Then it was off to Book Group to discuss 'The Diary of a Bookseller' a lovely, funny book which we all enjoyed tremendously.   This afternoon was spent reading The Times and doing the Mind Games, walking the dog and having a doze.   During the week-end I tripped up and fell into the hall from the kitchen (I have fallen in exactly the same place before) -throwing a full cup of tea up the wall.   Luckily I like my tea weak and take neither sugar nor milk so my God daughter managed to remove the stains and today it is impossible to see where the accident happened.   But it did shake me up somewhat and I am finding it rather painful to walk.   Still Tess had to be walked three times and together we managed it, albeit slowly.   I did read an article in The Times last week which recommended we walk at least once a day with our dog with the dog's wishes in mind - in other words a slow walk allowing maximum sniffing, weeing and investigations - which a dog would do if taking itself for the walk.
Well that suits me fine.

Back tomorrow.

Friday, 4 October 2019

Making someone happy.

When I returned from morning coffee with friends this morning a giant surprise awaited me.   There on the doorstep was this lovely bouquet of flowers and a lovely card from Gayle, Winston and Agatha (Two Little Square Black Dogs) - I have my God daughter coming to stay in the morning - how cheery my bungalow will look now with these pretty flowers on the table.    I don't know what I have done to deserve them Gayle but I cannot tell you just how much pleasure they have given me - and I thank you most sincerely.   Maybe she has mistaken the date of my birthday (Oct 31st) - if so then I am pleased - I am inundated with flowers usually on that day - and how lovely to get this early present.   It has cheered up my week end already.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

A Crumpet Day

Just eaten two thickly buttered crumpets with butter seeping into each hole for my tea.   Well, it is a 'crumpet day'- after yesterday, when the sun shone all day and it was quite warm, today the temperature when I came back from town was eight degrees, there is a biting wind and there is no sign at all of the sun.   That's my excuse and I am sticking to it.

After returning from the hairdresser, taking Tess round the block and cooking some lunch for myself, I decided to nip into town and do some last minute shopping to save trailing around in the morning.   My God-daughter is coming for the week end and I intend to make an Irish Stew in my slow cooker tomorrow afternoon when I return from lunch out.   These days I find it so very tiring going round food shops and carrying stuff back to my car.   My 'big' shop on Tuesdays is always aided by a nice young man who pushes my trolley across from the shop to my car and unloads the stuff into my boot.   I do find people are really very helpful.

Isn't it wonderful news about Dina Asher-Smith becoming our first world champion sprinter?   The work, the dedication, the joy of winning after all that - it showed on her face as she crossed the finishing line.   And her mother was so proud of her.    I do so admire anyone who puts that amount of dedication and perseverance into what they are doing.

All blinds are drawn, central heating is on, I am all shut up for the night and it is only seven o'clock - how very quickly Autumn has descended this year somehow, hasn't it?

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Wednesday morning

Yesterday was a thoroughly wet and miserable day here but not cold.   This morning there is a clear blue sky, a brilliant sunshine and it is ten degrees colder.   So you takes your pick.

I never got round to putting a post on yesterday - apologies for that - time just caught up with me.   I did think of putting one on later in the evening but my son called and we say chatting (arguing?) about deprivation.   After moving up here from a large town in the Midlands where poverty and deprivation were evident, especially as I worked in a Comprehensive School in a deprived area, I suddenly found myself in a small town where there appears to be no deprivation at all.   Everyone seems to be well dressed, well fed, in employment, no problems etc.   This, of course, is not necessarily true - it is just that such things are hidden and it is easy to think that problems don't exist up here. 

Tess had a very wet walk with her walker yesterday.   I was out - having coffee with friends and then doing some shopping ready for my God daughter coming for the week-end (I am really looking forward to that).   I usually go out for lunch every other Tuesday but by the time I had reached home,  struggled in through the rain with my shopping, unpacked it onto the work top and towelled the dog dry after her walk it was almost half past twelve when the lunch starts, so I gave it a miss.   I sat down with a coffee for an hour and regained my strength ready to wash out the fridge and store food in the freezer.   Later friend W called to let me listen to her blue tooth ear pieces - marvellous clarity - I find listening to the radio impossible because of my hearing loss, but having ear pieces concentrated the words so well that I shall now seriously consider getting this facility.

And what does Wednesday bring.   Well this is the day that friend S takes Tess for her afternoon walk - there will be great joy and tail wagging when S arrives!

Monday, 30 September 2019


It has been an absolutely beautiful morning here - warm brilliant sunshine and no wind.   Now, at quarter past four heavy dark clouds are rolling in and rain is forecast again.   I personally feel so much better when the sun is shining.   Now I read in today's Times that the weather forecasters are predicting a bad winter with the first snows set to arrive by the end of October.    I hardly dare think about it.   Cold and me don't mix these days and neither do slippery footpaths and me.   Ah well - let's think about other things.

All along our road summer bedding is disappearing.   A few doors away from me was an absolutely beautiful display of purple petunias - the lady had grown them from seed and was so pleased with them.   Today she is digging them out.   They were battered when we were all flooded a month ago but they recovered only to be battered again with yesterday's twenty four hours of rain - the last straw.   Always sad to say goodbye to summer bedding. 

Speaking of rain - after the 196 starters in the  peloton at theWorld Cycling Championships around North Yorkshire only 46 finished after the six and a half miles and as they crossed the finishing line one of the leaders vomited and all were soaking wet through.   The joys of cycling eh!

Off to get cheese on toast for my tea now.   See you tomorrow.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

A Wet Sunday

Incredible heavy rain here overnight and through today - first chinks of blue sky appearing as I write this at 5.19pm.   The World Cycling Championships, which came through here at lunchtime, had to be re-routed because of standing water and many locals who had walked in to town to see the race go through missed it as it came through earlier than planned because of the re-routing.

 I and two friends out on our usual jaunt for Sunday lunch - we all three had the same today - Salmon and a bed of spinach with Hollandaise Sauce and a good selection of vegetables to go with it.   I followed that with Bramble and Almond tart - the other two had Jam Poly Poly (it was that kind of day, but I don't have a sweet tooth).   Then a nice sit and chat in the Bar over a tray of tea.   Home again before four, heating on, phone call from my son, feed the dog and now settle down for the evening.   If the weather improves sufficiently I shall take Tess for a short walk at some point, otherwise it will be out in the garden for her.   She is very good about such things.

Sunday evening is one of my favourite viewing evenings so no need to plan reading.   I never miss Country File - the farmer's favourite programme, he was always interested in that and I still love the idea of farming.   And I love the Antiques RoadShow, which always has some absolutely beautiful treasures on it.   There is a new programme on at Nine this evening about life in the first year of the Second World War - I hope that will be as interesting as it sounds. 

What did we do before television I ask?   Well I do remember gathering round the radio to listen to favourite programmes - Henry Hall's Guest Night,
I T M A,  Dick Barton - Special Agent,  and many more.   I wonder if any of you who are old enough remember any more. 

Well another week begins tomorrow - and my God-daughter comes to stay next week end - I am looking forward to that and am subjecting her to a new recipe tried out in my Slow Cooker - a Lamb and Pearl Barley Irish Stew - I will report back how good (or otherwise) it is.


Several people have asked what I am finding stressful.   All I can say really is that you have to reach  your eighties and live alone to find out that even the smallest things can be stressful.   Nothing is as it used to be.   Living alone and not being particularly mobile for a start, living alone and not having anyone to share one's problems, however small and insignificant, with for another.   Many years ago my sister, who was over twenty years older than me said that the thing she found most difficult upon widowhood was that for the first time she was not first in anyone's life - and now that I find myself in that position I would agree.   Small problems need sharing (a trouble shared is a trouble halved they say) and one's nearest and dearest have their own families who naturally and obviously come first.

It just so happens that in the last fortnight I have lost a dear friend very suddenly, and also I have three or four problems which I am sure will resolve themselves but which have all come at once and do tend to be overwhelming.   All these things tend to go round and round in one's head when sitting alone in the evening.   Thank goodness for good friends, my son and daughter in law, and last but not least my good faithful doggy friend Tess.

I'll hopefully be back this evening with my usual blog post.

Saturday, 28 September 2019


I am going through a stressful time at the moment for various reasons - I have several things on my mind and at  my age I can really not cope with more than one at once.   So Saturdays, when I am usually alone for most of the day, are not favourites of mine.   But today has been carried along nicely.

Friend W collected me just before nine and we tootled along to our Medical Centre for this year's flu jab - over in a minute and never felt a thing.   I then came back to take Tess for her morning walk and to stop for a chat with the son of H, my dog walker who sadly died suddenly.  As most of us suspected, she died of an Aneurism.   The death was extremely sudden but of course has been a shock to everyone.

W called at two o'clock and together with another friend C we had an ice cream at our local Ice Cream Parlour (I had Liquorice and Blackcurrant and Clotted Cream - delicious) and then it was back home to take Tess for another walk.    Then at seven my son and his wife came round and we had an Indian Take-Away.   So a pleasant day after all.   And after a wet start it has been a warm, sunny day with very little wind.   It promises to be very wet tomorrow when the Mens' Elite World Cycle Chanpionship comes through.

Friday, 27 September 2019


So far - at three in the afternoon - it has been a thoroughly wet day and coming back in after our friday lunch out has meant putting on the central heating for a while because it is so cheerless.   Tess has had a long walk with J, her dog-walker, while I have been out and she was very pleased to see me home.

This really has been a very wet month.   Sunday is the day that the World Cycling Championship Elite Race goes through and the weather forecast is awful.   It is a good job they are all keen otherwise they would have packed up and gone back home by now.

Lunch for me was fish, chips and mushy peas followed by Chocolate Bavarois with fresh raspberries and finally a cup of coffee.  On such a miserable day it was good to go out with friends W and M for a couple of hours pleasant conversation - can't beat it.

Not a day to do much now and I shall certainly try to avoid switching on for any Parliamentary News - I shall give it a rest in the hopes that after the week end everyone has come to their senses.


Thursday, 26 September 2019


Today the World Cycling Championships came across the bottom of my road.   This particular race was for the  'Young Men' - the Mens' Race comes through our little town on Sunday.   I had intended to walk to the end of the road to see it but the heavens opened at the time it was due to go past and as my walking is so very bad at the moment (owing to a strained ligament in my left knee which is affecting my right ankle) I thought better of it.   My neighbour and friend H went and said it was quite a sight and very well-organised.

It has not been a nice day.   I went into town early in order to do a small amount of shopping before going for my weekly hair-do and then I came straight home afterwards and took Tess round the estate as this is not a day when she gets a longer walk.  We walked in the rain but she doesn't seem to mind.   The afternoon was spent having a cup of tea and a chat with my neighbour who has a birthday today.   It is one of those days when it is chilly and damp and yet the Central Heating has not switched on - may be I have just not yet acclimatised to Autumn.

The 'Goings-on' in Parliament over the last few days -  in fact over the last months - have really distressed me, as I am sure they have so many people.   There really seems to be no sense of pulling together, no sense of trying to get the job done.   It is all arguing and shouting until it makes one wonder just where we are going to end up.    Best to get a good book (it is not a good TV night tonight), settle down and just try to forget about it all I think.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019


It has been a better day today - a bit colder but not raining all day - bits of blue sky here and there.  My Breat Cancer screening went as usual - it is so important to have this and I never understand people who refuse to go.   Because of my age I have to request it each time the unit comes.   Obviously the staff who man the unit travel from away somewhere because my appointment for 10.40 this morning was the first of the day.   Over and done with I was back home by eleven so had time to read through the poetry I had chosen several times - I always like to do this so that I don't stumble over reading it out loud.

There were only five of us today which meant we had more time to have a little discussion about the poems and the poets and at the end W, who is always our Hostess, provided us with slices of delicious water melon to eat.  (along with chocolate biscuits and Earl Grey tea).   S, who happens to live next door, along with T, took Tess on a walk around the village during our Poetry session and they called and had a cup of tea with friends while Tess socialised with their dog I believe.  So  a happy afternoon was has by us all.

Yesterday's first outing for Tess with the new Dog Walker seems to have been a great success so that bodes well for the future.   An Airedale Terrier, a Red Setter, a Spaniel and another Terrier were Tess's companions and they all seem to have got on alright together - so that gives me hope that these twice weekly sessions will help Tess overcome her socialisation problems.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019


It has rained here non stop all day and is now, at a quarter to seven, almost dark and very miserable.  I have been to the Physiotherapist to have my knees and ankles manipulated and my back worked on.   I always come back very tired so hope I sleep well.  I certainly did last night.

It really has been a most depressing week weather wise after a long period of sunshine last week.   Suddenly it is Autumn with a vengeance and I don't like it. 

Tomorrow is our Poetry afternoon - as you know this is one of my most favourite afternoons - and as I have a Breast Cancer Screening in the morning I shall now go and choose my poems so that they are all ready for the afternoon.

What poem would you choose to read out loud at a meeting of friends?

Monday, 23 September 2019

A Pleasant Monday

A very pleasant day here so far (4.11pm) with sunshine and a light breeze.   Tess and I have walked twice round the estate and also waited in for J, the new dog-walker.   She and Tess took to one another instantly and she is a 'terrier lover' which always helps as terriers are a law unto themselves, as any terrier owner will agree.

They had half an hour communing with one another and are now intending to walk together every Tuesday and Friday - starting tomorrow.   It is a relief that it appears to be going to work out.  I feel it is so important that she gets more stimulation than I am able to give her in just walking round the estate.   She adores friend S who takes her most Wednesdays and now to have two more days again should be so much better for her.  J was surprised to hear of her age, agreeing that she looked so much younger and fitter - long may it continue.

For some reason I had a very bad night's sleep last night so am feeling pretty ragged by this time and so shall not attempt to write any more.   See you tomorrow.

Sunday, 22 September 2019


Just the usual Sunday here with lunch out and a nice cup of tea afterwards.    After getting home a friend called to commiserate about the sad and sudden death of friend H, who took Tess for her lovely long walks.   I am still very upset by it, as is everyone in the road.   She was such a popular figure.

It does seem is if I might have found another lady willing to take Tess for a couple of good walks each week.   She is coming to see me tomorrow.
I very much warmed to her on the telephone after her answer to my question, 'would you be able to take Tess for two walks each week?' was 'I would like to meet her first to make sure that she likes me enough to come with me.'   We have arranged a time to meet tomorrow and Tess, of course, will be there.

We have rain this evening and it is really Autumnal; so much so that I have just put the central heating on for an hour before going to bed to take the chill off everywhere.   It seems we are destined to have a changeable week weather-wise after a spell of very dry weather.

Saturday, 21 September 2019


As arranged S and K from the Isle of Man (bloggers - or rather S follows my blog but doesn't blog herself) called as they were staying in the area on holiday.   We found we knew so many people and places in common that we were almost related!!   We had a lovely hour chatting about things before going off for lunch - fish and chips for K and me and ham and eggs for S - and all of it delicious.   On our way back to the car K made a detour to look at a row of E type Jaguars in the car park (why is it always men who drool over these?) and then we came back for a cup of tea and another chat about people and places we all three knew.    A really lovely day and I really do thank them for taking a day out of their holiday to visit me.   Once again it shows me the power - and the pleasure of blogging.

The sky is a clear blue and the forecasters tell us that this is the last really good day we shall have for the next week at least.   The gardens are ready for rain but I don't think any of us are really.

'Strictly come dancing' starts tonight - that is a real sign of Autumn and I suspect many a household will be glued to the screen as all the couples make their hesitant way around the dance floor.   I am not sure whether or not I shall watch - it is beginning to be a bit tedious I think.

Whatever you are doing - enjoy your Saturday evening.

Friday, 20 September 2019


Sue (Beachcomber) and her partner are over here in the Dales and are kindly coming to take me out to lunch tomorrow.   I did not realise that they had been before and just can't recall the occasion at all.   This morning, after having coffee with friends, I drove into the Market Place to collect some super wallflower plants I had ordered.  I pulled into the side of the road, got out of the car and opened the boot for the garden man to put the plants in my boot.   A lady touched my arm - 'Pat?' - yes, you have guessed it.   It was Sue, who recognised me immediately.   Did I recognise her?   Sadly not.

A lady who comes to our Poetry Group has some condition - and I have no idea what it is called, so if anyone knows please mention it - and sometimes wears a badge to inform people that she is sorry she doesn't recognise them because she has this condition.    I was beginning to think that maybe I had it too.   Then last week I had new specs and was told by the Optician that my cataracts would be 'ready' next time I had my eyes tested.   When I queried with him what difference it might be making to my eyes he replied that quite often when cataracts are almost 'ready' people have difficulty recognising faces.   So take your pick.   What is it that makes me unable to recognise faces - incidentally it doesn't happen once I have seen people a few times and they kind of 'fit into' my memory bank.   But Sue had no difficulty in picking me out of a fairly busy Market Square when she has only seen me once before.

I am really looking forward to seeing them in the morning.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

The World Championships

The World Cycling Chanpionships are coming to North Yorkshire at the end of this month - coming in fact past the end of my road - it will be closed for one hour as they pass on 26th September and the centre of our little town will be closed for one hour on the 29th as they pass going the other way or something.  So far there is not much information other than (very large) yellow signs at intervals - many intervals - along the roadsides telling us this vital piece of information.   No, I shall not be going to the end of the road to see them pass - they will be gone in a flash.   Then, if my guess is correct,  all the large, yellow, metal signs will be there for a while before they are collected up.   If they are efficiently collected straight after the two races pass through I will report it here.   And, as a matter of interest, the lettering on the signs appears to be permanent so presumably it can't be peeled off and the signs used for anything else, which prompts the question who is paying for them all?

I read that it is expected that the event will generate huge income for the area over the few days they are here.   I do remember a similar even when local eating houses expected large crowds but everyone was far too eager to follow the cyclists to hang about eating - so that is also open to question. 

Alright, tell me I am a miserable old git - it may well be true but I do know that often, when we have events like this in the town, our shop keepers and cafe owners suffer as everyone stays out of town.   And really I suspect it is hard enough for them to make a living without things like this. 

I hope I am completely wrong and that all our pubs, cafes and businesses benefit greatly from the week-end - in which case I will eat my words.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019


The sun is hazy this morning but the weather forecast is good.   I am up bright and early - in spite of being upset at the death of a friend I had a good night's sleep.   My new electric blanket has made a huge difference to my sleep pattern - I hope it continues because I am not usually a very good sleeper.   There is never a good death is there - a long drawn out death means trauma and distress for all one's loved ones, a quick, unexpected death leaves a huge shock but is, of course, much 'better' for the person involved - but then they have had no time to say good-bye.   So it is a no-win situation and (perhaps) luckily we have to take the end we are dealt with.

Tess will, of course, miss H greatly but dogs are adaptable.   Although she is my dog she loved going round the fields on the farm with the farmer.   But, because he was in and out of hospital towards the end, she never appeared to miss him when he went for ever.   Life for her just seemed to go on as before.   I just hope the same continues now that H doesn't call twice a week for their long rambles together.

If there is one lesson one learns the older one gets it is that all one can do is to take each day as it comes and make the most of it.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Sad News.

Sad news today because H, the lady who has been taking Tess for walks for me, has died very suddenly.  She took a load of garden rubbish to our local tip and died while she was there.   I am very saddened by her death as all three of us got on so well together.

Friends S and T came round for a meal this evening.   I was so pleased they came because, selfishly, they took my mind off my sadness about H's death.   They came round early and took Tess for a lovely walk (and picked me some blackberries to cook tomorrow along with the apples I was given this morning at our monthly Strugglers meeting.)   How lucky I am to have such good friends.

Our Struggler's meeting this month was interesting - it is always - as we discussed what we could say were our good points.   It is easy to say what our faults are isn't it, but not so easy to put our thoughts into words on what our strengths are.   I think all eight of us left with plenty of food for thought.

So altogether today was a lot of different days rolled into one.   There was sadness, indeed there was, but there was  also the comfort of friendship from different sources and the knowledge of just how important one's friends are and just how much we should value them.

Until tomorrow.

Monday, 16 September 2019


Here are the Autumn Crocus (Colchicum) in the garden opposite where I live.   I love them and had some in my previous garden.   You forget all about them and then, suddenly, one morning they are there - all flowers and no sign of a leaf.   A sure sign that Autumn is on its way - and it is a lovely Autumn day today to prove it.

I had to go into town this morning on business and then to buy one or two things because I am cooking for friends tomorrow evening and I want to experiment with my Slow Cooker.   I called in our usual cafe and had Scampi, Chips and Peas for my lunch - lazy I know but I had had a busy morning and walking around town for me is very tiring.   Now  I am home, the basics of my base for my Cottage Pie are cooking on Auto in my slow cooker and my friend has rung to say we will not meet this afternoon but leave it until later in the week - so all pressure is off and soon Tess and I will have a wander.

Now that the children have gone back to school our little town has been taken over by bus-loads of Pensioners leaving their touring holidays until there are no hoards of children around.   The cafes are still full but few, if any, children around (lots of dogs though,as there always are).   Almost all the Holiday Cottages up here take dogs as we are in hilly country - ideal for walking and ideal for dogs.   We get a huge variety.   Many of them these days are of the mixed variety (no longer called 'mongrels' but given fashionable names as they are a straight cross - ie Labradoodle (Labrador/Poodle;)  Cockerpoo  (CockerSpaniel/Poodle); and even Jug (Jack Russell terrier/Pug).   Sometimes I do wonder if we might be storing up health problems with some breeds for the future - although we have a Labradoodle (Smarty) lives near to us and he is a darling I must say.   Do you have any views on the matter?

Sunday, 15 September 2019


There is a wintry feeling in the air today - it is dull and a damp cold hangs over everything.   Thermal vest is being worn - what am I to do when 'real' winter arrives?   At the Golf Club where we have our Sunday lunch, the golfers were in short sleeves and many of them still in shorts.   Put it down to a combination of old age and thinning blood.
Horse Chestnut leaves and Silver Birch leaves are falling today I have noticed and there is a touch of Autumn in the air.   The bungalow opposite has a magnificent patch of purple Autumn Crocus in the centre of the front lawn.   I love them - they always seem to appear overnight with no warning.  I will try to take a photograph of them to put on for tomorrow for anyone who doesn;t know what they are.

Only three of us for lunch today - W is at a wedding.   I had salmon on a bed of spinach (salmon Florentine) with lovely veg; W2 had the same but without the spinach and without any veg.  C had Penang Curry with rice.

Tess has gone off for a walk with her friend H, who rang just before I went off for lunch to say she would take her this afternoon.   She is not back yet and will certainly not need another walk today.
 That is good news = I took her on quite a long one this morning.

Saturday, 14 September 2019


One of the drawbacks of living up in The Pennines - or any other hilly district for that matter - is that it is almost always windy.   One part of my garden is seriously infested (there is no other word for it) with Marestail weed.   I spent a fortune on a specialist weed-killer which my gardener put on for me last year - twice.   It made not the slightest difference.   He has enough to spray it again this year but since it was twenty centimetres high (the recommended height for spraying) there has not been a single windless day.   Today promised to be such a day and I contemplated ringing him - but it was not to be.   By ten o'clock the sky had clouded over and the wind had got up.   It is still dry but quite a chilly day with a stiff breeze.  Certainly not what I could call a 'still Autumn Day'.   I wonder whether we will indeed get any of those this year.

The highlight of the day today for Tess and I has been our trip to The Tip.   Today we had our kitchen T V which had finally given up the ghost; my old frying-pan which no longer had a reliable non stick coating and two or three large cardboard boxes.   Taking such trips to the tip (rather a nice journey in itself) I find very therapeutic - on a par with filling my Green Bin with garden rubbish, which I did yesterday afternoon.     A sort of 'cleansing'.   Until tomorrow.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Busy Day

I have had quite a busy day - hairdresser and shopping this morning plus an early-morning dog walk and another before getting my lunch.   Then this afternoon with W and S to Sycamore Hall in the village of Bainbridge to play ukuleles for the residents to sing 'the old songs'.    We had an enjoyable, but tiring, afternoon.   The thought of taking Tess for her final walk of the day was a bit daunting but luckily, just as I was about to set out,
H rang to ask whether Tess would like a walk 'along The Shawl ' (a popular walk in our little town.   Needless to say, Tess heard H's voice on the phone and went to sit and wait by the front door until she arrived.   I breathed a bit of a sigh of relief.

It has been a slightly rainy day here all day - the kind of day that only happens up in the hills, when one is almost in the clouds, so that a fine missle is falling.   Now as dusk is falling the sky is lightening and a breeze is getting up.   The forecast for the rest of the week end is a good one with quite a warm temperature.

If you are one of those who 'blog with' Thelma of North Stoke I am sure you will join with me in sending her our love and all our sympathy as she comes to terms with her very sad loss.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019


And so the week rolls on.   It is no sooner Monday than Friday begins to loom large.   If I have something on my calendar for each day then I can be assured that the week will speed past.

Today an old friend called in for coffee and shortbread this morning and we had a good old chat - it is a long time since we met up.   Then this afternoon friend S called and took Tess for a walk - and Tess always loves that.    It has been a lovely day here today - quite warm out of the sharp wind.

It is comforting to finding that other people have days when they feel 'not of this world' - I have not experienced the feeling before and I have found it very disconcerting.   It is beginning to go away now, as is my tinnitus (which comes and goes).   I suppose the whole thing is really called 'growing old'.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019


Not a bad day - coolish but fine and with a light breeze.   I am feeling more or less back to normal - but not quite.   I don't feel quite 'of this world' - a strange feeling which I h ope will soon go off as I don't find it at all pleasant.

I went into town as usual - today is the day I stock up on any shopping I need.   Strawberries from Scotland (Angus) are still available and still as delicious as ever.    I don't think I ever remember such a long season.   So it is strawberries for tea again tonight.   Lunch was sausage, onion and apple cooked in my Remoska and it was delicious too.   Runner beans from a friend's garden and the first of the sprouts made up my plateful - I have certainly got my appetite back so that's a start.

There have been programmes on over the week-end about the start of the Second World War- eighty years ago. I watched them - of course I remember it well - I was seven when it started.   But I am not sure whether I really want to go over it all again.   Is it important that we see the devastation, the bombing, that we bring it all back into our minds or would it be better if we forget it?
I really am not sure in my mind what difference it makes to our thinking to see it all over again.   My friend and I were saying yesterday how well our parents protected us from the worst of it.   We lived in areas where it was not quite as subject to bombing and certainly where I lived we weren't evacuated, rather we accepted evacuees to live with us.  But I don't remember ever being afraid.
After eighty years let's just hope it never happens again.