Thursday, 22 August 2019

Little by little......

......the weather is improving as we head towards Show Day on Saturday.   There had been rain overnight and it was still raining when I went into town to the Hairdresser.   But now, mid afternoon, I have walked round the estate with Tess and there are just spits and spots.   It has almost cleared up.  The weather is following the pattern predicted by the forecasters and if it continues it should be Summer weather again by the week-end.

Slight hold-up while I answer the door and speak to a Solar Panel salesman!!   I do often think of having them;  we had them at the farm and I can see the benefits.   But is it worth it at my advanced age I ask myself?   Any thoughts on the matter gratefully received.

I have succumbed to temptation and bought myself yet another leather jacket - this time the colour is 'raspberry' - or as my son prefers to call it my 'Mrs Peel jacket'.   Believe me, if you don't already know it, a jacket, or any other piece of clothing you buy at my age which makes you feel good, is a real boost - particularly on a day when one's arthritis is really playing up.   All I really need now is my Harley Davidson to go with it.   (then it would be beware anyone travelling on the road anywhere in The Dales so perhaps it is as well it is not on my list of 'wants'.)

To change the subject completely - I am trying to perfect my technique on using a slow cooker.   I bought one last year but I can't say I have been over thrilled with the results so far.   This week's experiment - a sausage casserole - was an improvement but still not perfect.   But my hairdresser, who uses one almost every day, gave me a few tips this morning.   She tells me I need to start everything off in a pan so that things like the veg are browned and the meat is floured and then browned before all is put into the slow cooker.   I shall try that next and report back.   Meanwhile, if anyone has any more tips they will be gratefully received.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019


By now, teatime, the day has turned gloomy.   The weather forecast is for good fine weather and much warmer by the weekend, but tonight the sun has gone and it is chilly.   I have just resorted to putting the heating on for a while.

It has been our Poetry afternoon - only six of us today but a really enjoyable afternoon with some good poetry - some old familiar ones (part of Wordworth's Prelude, The Owl and the Pussycat) and some new ones I hadn't heard before.   It is always good when you come across a new poem  which you enjoy and which sticks in your mind.

Tess of course loves the poetry afternoon because it is the day when S takes her for a walk.   Today because S lives near where we have our Poetry Tess had two walks - one with S and then later in the afternoon one with T who took her up the fields belonging to W where we have our Poetry.  When we arrived home she climbed in her basket and has slept solidly since then not even getting out for her tea. 

Tents and various fixtures and fittings have arrived at the Showground, which I passed this afternoon, and are being erected bit by bit.   I expect many local ladies are busy baking tonight.   All the entries for competitions have to be in place early on Saturday morning so that they can be judged and prizes awarded in good time for people to walk round and view the exhibits. The whole thing is taken very seriously up here.

Monday, 19 August 2019

Hatches, Matches and Despatches.

Yes, all three are important parts of life and as we get older we seem to  move automatically from the first to the last.   But in the past week or two I have had cause to think of all three.

This morning my cleaning lady tells me of twins born over the week-end to a young couple in the village.   They already have a son who is not yet quite two and now, the day before yesterday, they have added twin girls to their little family.   Taken into hospital on Friday the two girls were born naturally, mother and babies are doing well and twenty eight hours later (after eleven o'clock at night) they were discharged for Dad to ferry them the forty five miles from hospital to home.   How times change - sixty years ago my son and I spent ten  days in hospital after an easy birth and were then discharged to travel the two miles down the road.   We didn't realise how lucky we were did we? 

As to Matches - not many these days as more and more couples seem not to bother about tying the knot but a wedding coming up where my little friend Sophie to  be bridesmaid and
 is so looking forward to it makes a lovely change.

As to Despatches - I have had cause to think about these as I do every year when the Wensleydale Show field begins to transform from just an ordinary silage field into a sea of marquees, trailers and the like.    Several of the big marquees for things like fruit and vegetables, handicrafts, baking are going up today.   The tent for show cattle is already up and they are erecting all the sheep pens for the show sheep.   I pass in the car and I think of the leading lights who worked for days on end to make the Show such a success and who are no longer with us.   A, who - in her white smock - would be there organising things in the produce tents and who on the morning of the Show would arrive with entry after entry in the cakes, buns, eggs, handcrafts, floral arrangements, house plant sections - often she would bake half a dozen Swiss Rolls before she was satisfied enough to enter her offering in the Show.

And then there was C,a farmer who had a lot of sadness in his life but always put on a cheerful face.   He was always around this week, the week when the placing of the tents and the nitty gritty was taking place.   He never chose the limelight but always worked hard in the background to make sure it all went off smoothly.

And then there was the Announcer whose voice had come over the sound system year after year and who had got it off to a fine art so that there was never a hiccup.   A farmer himself he was just good at keeping things going.

All these are gone now and others have taken their place.   And it will always be thus - none of us are indispensible but that doesn't mean we are not thought about, not missed.

So I remember them all in the run up to the Show.   I hope there will be fine weather for Saturday, the big day.   I am sorry I am no longer mobile enough to walk round, and I am sad that my own dear farmer is no longer here to walk round but I am sure they are all here in the spirit of the Show and in the minds of all those who have been going for years.

Sunday, 18 August 2019


I returned from my usual Sunday lunch out to find that my gardener had been and mowed my lawn - it was really long and ready for doing but keeping it that bit longer does keep it healthier.   A friend's daughter called an hour before I went out for lunch and asked if they could take Tess for a walk with their dog, Meg, so Tess had a day out too and came back half an hour after I did.   Since then she has slept in her basket and has not attempted to eat her tea so I think they have worn her out.   I must say she is such a trusting dog that she would go off with anybody who invited her to do so.   She would sell her soul for a walk.

Lunch out with three friends as usual - it makes such a pleasant Sunday rather than a lonely one.  We always go to the same place and almost always we have Salmon Florentine (salmon steak on a bed of spinach) with Hollandaise Sauce.   I am becoming a creature of habit - something I thought would never happen. 

There is a busy week lined up for the coming week with Strugglers on Tuesday (followed by lunch out), our Poetry meeting on Wednesday and my usual hair appointments on Thursday and then back to our lunch out on Friday.   The days whizz by in a flash as do the weeks.   At least I can't complain that time drags.

Saturday, 17 August 2019


A really good drying day today - a brisk wind and a good sunshine so it will have done a lot to dry up some of the surplus water lying about.   Friend W and I went to see Alan's garden this morning.   It has given me a lot of inspiration for what to do with parts of my garden I haven't touched yet.

This afternoon friend J, who lives lower down the estate, walked up for a cup of tea and a chat and as she went the phone rang and it was my son to see if I 'fancied sharing a take-away' tonight and of course I said yes.  So there is just about time to take Tess for another walk round before I need to set the table.   Don't know yet whether it will be Pizza, Chinese or Indian - but am happy with any.

Next Saturday it is our Wensleydale Agricultural Show which takes place on the two fields above my bungalow.   I feel frustrated that I can't attend but I don't walk well enough and haven't done for years.   It was one of the highlights of my dear farmer's year and for the last few years of his life I didn't go with him (it was within walking distance of the farm) because I just slowed him down.   It is the place where the farmers meet (often for the only time in the year) and chat and discuss the livestock on show and generally 'chew the cud'.   How he loved it (and all the hospitality he got going from tent to tent of various suppliers!)

The gentleman where I went to view the garden this morning has a son who is a garden designer so I am now about to write him a letter asking if he has time to call on me and advise me on the last bit of my garden to be tackled.   I don't hold out much hope as he is very busy but I can but try.   I will keep you posted.

Friday, 16 August 2019


Sorry about the lack of posts this week but my dear God-daughter has been staying and we have just had a relaxing evening with a couple of glasses of wine and a good natter - brought up to date.   She went early this morning so tomorrow I shall be back to normal blog-wise.   I have a completely free day with nothing to do so hopefully it will not be as horrible a day as it has been today with rain and winds for much of the time.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019


Gentle rain all day today - the kind of day we would welcome if it had been dry for a couple of weeks and the gardens needed it.   My antirrinhums are now in full bloom - all pinks and reds with the odd yellow one thrown in for variety - good to see.
My fox gloves are slowly recovering and looking stronger every day after being nearly washed away.  What a nation of amateur gardeners we are.

J, who lives nearby, lost her husband three years ago to cancer.   She now works tirelessly for cancer charities and is at present selling raffle 
 tickets for a huge raffle - and at the same time trawling round local businesses asking for prizes.
This is not an easy  nor is it a pleasant job.   But she is doing it in good heart and getting amazing generosity from our local businesses - one exception but we shall ignore that.   The draw is to take place before the end of the month, so time is of the essence and she is working so hard - and she is well into her seventies.   A case of wear the old ones out first methinks.

Tess's walk today with friend S was short and sweet because barely had they set off when the rain came down harder for a while and they gave in and came home but wees and poos were noted - always an important thing with ones pets.

Now we are all locked up for the night and would you believe it I have the central heating on because it is so cold.   Both of my neighbours also have theirs on so it is not just me who was suffering.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019


Now that the weather is 'normal' again it is hard to remember just how awful it was.   It is only when you pass houses which are still drying out, where there are piles of trashed kitchen units heaped up in the garden and where all the windows are open to let in some fresh air, or where row upon row of stone walls lie in heaps along the lanes - then in a flash it all comes back.   Really it will take a long time to return to normality and I suspect that most businesses will suffer greatly as a result - anyone who was planning to come to The Dales but has not booked will surely choose somewhere else to holiday.   And that will be a shame because the flooding was do localised.

This afternoon I have been to the Physiotherapist and coming back the twelve or so miles everything was perfectly ordinary for the whole journey.   I followed a combined harvester almost the whole way (along with about a hundred other cars held up by the machine) and field after field had been harvested and the bales had been collected, mile after mile of golden stubble - a beautiful sight.  Stone walls enclosing sheep grazing peacefully in the fields - everything as it always is.   So if you are thinking of coming to The Dales please don't be put off - with the exception of a very small area The Dales are as beautiful as ever.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Monday morning

The week-end gone and another week dawning.   The flood recedes into the past although not for the folk involved because work still goes on and will for weeks.   My son's lane is smart after its rebuild and driving through the village is slightly easier although there are skips and sandbags everywhere still.   My son thought he had escaped but a couple of days ago the bedroom ceiling fell with a bang, so not all escaped after all.

I have really enjoyed P and D being here for the weekend and christening my new mattresses (which they pronounced to be very comfortable).   The weather has been pretty atrocious with strong winds and rain at times, so we haven't really done a lot.   Dinner on Saturday night (my son and his wife came too) was a pleasant occasion.  As I often do I made a Yorkshire Platter - very little work and always impresses - local Pork Pies, local ham, local cooked sausage, lots of salads and good bread all washed down with good wine.   What's not to like?

Yesterday we all went out for Sunday lunch so no effort involved there and last night the ham which had not been eaten made good ham and Dijon mustard sandwiches, followed by Yorkshire Fruit Cake and local cheeses.

My friends left this morning after taking Tess for her morning walk and then putting out my Green Bin ready for Wednesday morning (it was so full that I couldn't push it down the drive).   Their bed linen has just finished in the machine so I shall go and put it on the line - and then sit down with the remnants of that Yorkshire Platter and have a leisurely lunch.

Friday, 9 August 2019


Pouring rain on waking this morning and it didn't stop until around half past ten.   Today was the day they were set to resurface the lane where my son lives after the floods of a fortnight ago.   I didn't expect they would do it, but a whole lot of volunteers turned up and by late afternoon it was done.   I understand they all repaired to the pub to celebrate and I am sure they had earned it.    The floods, although catastrophic for so many in the village, have certainly brought out a fantastic community spirit, so it is not all bad news.

By lunch time today it was warm and sunny but now, at almost eight in the evening, huge black clouds fill the sky again and there is a distant rumble of thunder.   I have visitors for the week-end and so I hope the weather is good for their drive cross-country from The Lakes in the morning.   All meals are planned for minimum effort and maximum taste (I hope) so keep your fingers crossed for me.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

First steps

The village beyo nd where I live now, the village so severely flooded ten days ago, is just beginning to pick up the pieces.  There are skips placed around the place for folk to throw rubbish into.  Everyone (bar one) is pulling together and tomorrow the lane where my son lives makes a start on resurfacing - weather permitting.   As I type this cloud is building outside and the air is getting more and more humid.   Just as the forecast said it would.  It is draining any semblance of energy from the limbs.   I do  hope it doesn't hold things up tomorrow.

The less said about the one in brackets above the better but I suppose the least we can say is that it has drawn the rest of the village closer together. 

Heaps of debris lie around everywhere - whole kitchens torn out and piled up ready to dump in the skip.   Not sure I could cope with any of it.

Well, onward and upward.   I have friends for the weekend - fridge to be thoroughly cleaned out before my Tesco order arrives early in the morning.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Oh dear.

My son and his wife called this morning just as I got back from having coffe in town with a friend.
His poor wife is badly handicapped and needs a wheel chair - they took me to see their Lane - an un-made-up, unadopted road with about a dozen houses on it.   The top surface has been completely washed away by the floodwater and is impassable - with great difficulty my son can get her wheelchair up to the road where his car is parked and he had brought her round just for a change of scene.   So we went into Richmond for a bit of lunch.   

That and two walks with Tess and a bit of ironing and I am pretty tired and just feel like sitting down.   The whole village where they live is like a war zone but everyone is pulling together and gradually things are returning to somekind of normality. 

I spoke to my son about how impressed I was by the Dunkirk Spirit in the village and he agreed but quite rightly said that now what was needed was a bit of D Day Spirit on the part of the Authorities to make sure it doesn't happen again.   The flooding is caused by water pouring down off the Grouse Moors - army land which does need careful thought as to how to divert much of the water before it reaches the village.   There is a meeting next week so time will tell as they say.

Monday, 5 August 2019


The ride to our Book Group Member's house was through the beautiful countryside of Wensleydale - at its very best this time of the year (they totally escaped the flooding) and she lived in a beautiful, very ancient house, surrounded by her dogs - I think we were all very envious.

The book 'The Good Immigrant'  provoked us into such a good discussion on the problems of immigration (several of us have first-hand experience of the problems) and the hour and a half passed so quickly.   The morning was a great success - helped along by good coffee and Lemon Drizzle Cake.   Since then I have cooked myself a bit of lunch, done a couple of loads of washing and taken Tess round the block so the time has come for a rest I think.

For once we are having a completely dry day with a pleasant sun - a bit windy but that will help to dry everything up a bit.   Bathroom mats and Tess's bedding are flapping on the line and will hopefully be dry by bed time.   People who havebeen flooded are still in the throes of clearing up but I think everyone, including they, has been thoroughly heartened by the huge outpouring of support - and a sense that everyone is pulling together.   It is things like this which really do bring out the best in people.

Until tomorrow.


Sunday, 4 August 2019

ADay Late

This is really Sunday's post a day late - the day caught up with me and I was too tired to put one on.

Out to lunch as usual (prawn salad and chips for me) and back home at four to take Tess for her walk round the estate.  I needn't have bothered - an hour later her friend, Heather, called to take her for a long walk (she was much more enthusiastic to go).   They both got wet through because true to form a shower became a deluge and it came down in sheets.   Tess didn't seem to mind so came home
 for a good rub down having had a 'bath of sorts'.

Calling to collect friend W for our lunch venue I got the chance to see the awful flood damage in our little village of Bellerby.   The houses by the side of the mill stream, which comes off the Moor, have just been devastated.   All downstairs rooms have been trashed beyond repair and great piles of furniture and fittings are piled up in the gardens.   The Council has thoughtfully provided skips at various places in the village to help with the clean-up operation.   There is a wonderful team spirit with various local businesses offering machinery and goods to help - i.e. sand and cement, aggregate, diggers and the like.   It has really brought out the best in people.

Now another week has dawned and with it heavy showers.   I spent a lot of time over the week-end cleaning the paths and sweeping up the soil and sand that has washed down off the fields  - yesterday there was more heavy rain but luckily only in short, sharp showers not the prolongued downpour of earlier in the week. 

It is my Book Group this morning ('The Good Immigrant ').   Reading a book of short essays is hard going to read one after the other - it is really a book to just dip into .   I didn't read them all and I suspect when I get to the meeting I shall find that no-one did.

I shall hopefully report back tonight, but in the meantime I need to shower and get ready to go - still haven't taken Tess for her morning walk.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Ominous black clouds.

I have spent much of today clearing up the garden.  My health is such that I can only do about an hour's physical work before I have to sit down for an hour and rest.   So it has more or less taken me all day.   First hour was spraying weed killer on the weeds which have taken hold in various cracks in the paving stones.   Then I took Tess for her usual morning walk round.   Then I began the task of sweeping the patios which were covered with the detritus of a day's flooding - mainly bits of bark, empty snail shells (dozens of them I presume off the fields), and sandy soil which has been brought down by the sheer volume of the water.

Now, as I sit here writing this at almost eight o'clock in the evening and after taking Tess for another walk the sky is full of heavy black clouds, it is extremely heavy and warm and more thunder storms are forecast.    Oh dear, will it all have been in vain my clearing up?

And more to the point will the dam hold at Whaley Bridge - the plight of the people there makes our village problems seem light by comparison. 

Lots of plants in my garden were battered and are looking very sorry for themselves.   I have cut them back where I can and am hoping they will recover - at least they are not short of water.   But the antirrhinums have remained straight, strong and tall - in full flower - and have taken everything nature has thrown at them.   And they are such cheerful flowers.   See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Life returns to normal.

It is a pleasant day - nice breeze, blue sky with clouds scudding across now and again, keeps looking a bit like dropping a shower but then passing over.   I drove into town and parked in the Car Park - I needed to call for a few salad and fruity things, call at the jeweller to have a new clasp fitted on a necklace I have bought, buy some Bonios and then go to the Hairdresser for my weekly hair-do.

Everywhere is getting back to normal unless you were really affected.   There are heaps of sand which has been washed down everywhere and some shops are closed as they were flooded and are still clearing out.   My garden is looking very battered, especially my poor foxgloves, but will no doubt recover.   In town there is still water  draining off but I understand from the lady in the Pet Shop that Langthwaite in Swaledale is really badly affected with some houses almost washed away.   Bales of silage waiting to be collected in the fields have been washed miles downstream.   Swaledale is much more upland than Wensleydale and they are mostly lucky to get two crops of silage a year -this will be second crop and will be an awful loss of winter feed.

My son still can't get his car out and his wife is marooned indoors until the lane is repaired.   When he came out this morning the water had all gone but he found a dead goldfish in the middle of his drive so somebody's garden pond had been swamped obviously.   But that is nothing compared with the dead sheep up in Arkengarthdale.   All such a tragedy.   But life is returning to normal everywhere.    Hardy folk us Yorkshire folk.  (only 30 years for me)

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Headline News

Well, I didn't expect ever to see our little town make headline news but it did tonight - we were headlines on BBC News at six o'clock, although most of the shots were actually in Bellerby, the nearby village, which took most of the flooding.
People are still clearing up and there is a lot of flood damage everywhere.   It has rained on and off all day although not so heavily.   In some parts of the village householders had to be rescued from their bedroom windows.   The rain came down from the grouse moors above the village - there is heather but hardly a tree to be seen and several becks converge to make the (usually)  pretty one which flows through the village and makes it such an attractive one.   As it rushed down the road it was strong enough to move cars on drives and push them into garage doors - the power in the water was amazing.  It is, of course, the talk of the town and everywhere one goes that is all one hears.   It did happen before some years ago although not quite so bad.   The land is used by the army and the general feeling is that they will have to do something to stop this happening again - although what I don't know.   But then I am not a civil engineer.

Life is slowly returning to normal.


Tuesday, 30 July 2019

As I write this at three in the afternoon we are in the midst of one of the worst storms I have ever seen.    Hail stones are cascading down, my whole garden is flooded and there is water everywhere.   It has been going for a good half hour and as yet shows no sign of abating.   Tess and I were just about to set out on our afternoon walk when it arrived -  we shall not go now until it is long past.   It has just come on twice as bad.   My poor plants - they certainly will not be thirsty now.  And my water butt will be full.  (and my windows washed clean).
There is literally a waterfall coming through at the top of the garden, cascading over the top patio and then pouring over the bottom patio and going I know not where.   When it finally stops I might go out and see!The sky keeps lightening and the rain lessening and then a couple of minutes later it starts again.   Our climate these days is never a happy medium - always one thing or the other.  As I write more hailstones have arrived.

Water is shooting up through the manholes in the road outside.   The sky is lightening, odd scraps of blue here and there.   The standing water is slowly dispersing but not sure where it is going - certainly not going out to look as it would be well over my shoes.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Good news.

Yes, I have been to see my doctor this morning and he thinks my 'attack' was probably a faint in the hot weather.   He advised me to up my liquid intake and said I could drive as long as I didn't go too far.    Good news indeed.

After the almost unbearable hot weather we had a pouring wet day on Saturday and a few showers yesterday.   When I went out this morning to water and feed my pots they were absolutely bone dry, so I must keep up the watering.   Luckily the really heavy rain has filled my water butt to the brim so at least I am not having to use mains water. Today it is sunny but there is a sharp wind blowing from the west so it is quite bearable typical English Summer weather again.

Because I walk Tess morning, lunch time and evening on most days, everyone around knows me so that wherever I go people speak.   It is so nice.   This morning, unsure whether I could drive or not,  the lady who cleans for me ran me to the doctor's on her way home and my son promised to collect me.   As I sat waiting on a seat at the Medical Centre a lady offered me a lift home.   When I asked how she knew where I lived she said I passed her house every morning with Tess so she knew I lived along the road somewhere.   A dog is a good defining feature.   And what a neighbourly road I live on.

Cup of tea time calls - doctor says I must drink more - so until tomorrow ---

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Singing for Joy.

I can almost hear the plants in my garden   singing for joy today.   It has rained heavily more or less non stop all day here in the North East.   I have not had to carry a single watering can and I suspect my rain water butt will  be full which also makes life much easier.   Hopefully the rain will have passed over to the West tomorrow and we shall see the sun again.   Simple pleasures but good ones.

It has been far too much for Tess and for me too.   I have spent the past three days doing very little.   I am not driving until I have discussed my slight loss of consciousness with my Doctor on Monday and I am sure he will tell me not drive for the time being.   Taxis into town cost very little from where I live  (four pounds) and with my new walker I might be able to walk a little further anyway.   And various good friends are being helpful with lifts too.   A delivery from Tesco and a batch of Teady meals delivered have set me up nicely - I am just having to readjust my life style.

Looking out of the window at 8.58 I notice how the nights are beginning to draw in.   It is still raining and the sky is full of big, scudding black clouds - but it is also almost dark.   Dare in say Autumn draws on?

The electrician is coming in the morning to finally finish putting the new lights in my kitchen and not a moment too soon - I really need them now to make that bedtime drink. See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, 24 July 2019

My NewWalker

Well, I have bought my 'DRIVE' four-wheeled walker to help me to walk a little bit further.   Now the next task is to train Tess to walk at the side without weaving back and forth in front of me.   Watch this space.   At present it is parked in the garage.   When I get an opportunity I will photograph it for here.   Too tired to go and do it tonight.

It is hot, humid and oppressive and every movement is almost too much.   I shouldn't complain about the weather (although we had a thunderstorm during the night and all pots got a good soaking) - it is fairly late evening and, according to my mobile, it is around twenty three degrees here, although it is airless and feels much hotter than that to me.

It has been our Poetry afternoon - always a pleasure and today especially so as friend D came.   She has been very ill indeed for some weeks and it is a delight to see her back and what is more in good form.    So welcome back D.   All but one of us there and a good variety of poets - Keats, Hughes, Cope, Larkin, and many more.   It is always hard to remember them afterwards.

And my gardener D came and mowed my lawn and cut back a tree that was getting too big for its boots, and cut off some plants which had finished flowering.   Looks much tidier.   Taxi to Hairdresser in the morning and then Chiropodist just after lunch and a quiet afternoon.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019


I am thinking of buying myself a walking aid.   D, who I see when I meet friends for coffee, has one and finds it a great help.   It has a small shopping basket and a lid which makes the basket into a seat.   It has four wheels, which make it very stable and it folds so that I can lift it on to the bus.
So watch this space.   I am hoping to  buy it tomorrow - our Pharmacist has a good selection and will help with adjusting it to the right height for me.

It has been exceptionally hot here today.   Tess is not amused but I took her for a short walk this morning before friend E collected me to go in for coffee.   When I got back from town I opened doors and windows so that the house was cool but Tess would only go out into the shade if I was out there.   All my tubs were desperate for a drink and I had to water them immediately (I have done so again this evening).   After tea I took Tess round the block again but it was far too hot and even she was ready to return home.

It is our Poetry group tomorrow so this afternoon I chose what I intend to read.   Friend H came round to say she will take me as I can't drive at the moment.   What it is to have such very good friends.   I am so very lucky.

The Shakes.

I have a condition called 'Benign Essential Tremor' - not serious, runs in families,just a nuisance.  It seems to be worse this hot weather, so it is quite easy to press the wrong button.   This is exactly what happened yesterday.   I really can't remember what I posted about but what I do know is that when I got to the end I pressed the wrong button and the whole thing disappeared into the ether.   Sometimes right-clicking on undo is enough to make it all return but not so yesterday.   I gave up in despair - this weather is hard enough to cope with without re-writing the whole thing.

So, on to today and its events.   Now that I am into a period of not driving until the doctor has looked into my TIA (he doesn't seem particularly bothered but obviously I can\t drive) I am having to completely reorganise my life.  I have bounced back (wondered whether I would or not - but I have) and the first thing i have done is to order my weekly shopping from Tesco.   It was delivered this morning and before I went in to meet friends for coffee (collected and returned home very kindly by friend E) I had it all stored away.   I have also ordered six Ready Meals to try (from a company called COOK which has been highly recommended so I will report back when I have eaten a meal) and they are coming tomorrow morning, so my job left to do today is to reorganise my freezer to make room for them.   This week's Hair Appointment taxi has been booked.   And I am looking into getting a Walking Aid.   D, who I meet at coffee each Tuesday morning, let me have a go with his this morning and it seems ideal.   It has four wheels so is very stable, it has a small shopping basket and the lid forms a seat if you need it.   It folds and has a handle for lifting it up on to the bus.   The bus from the town centre stops at the end of my road so I hope I am getting myself organised.

It is a very hot day here.   When I came home this morning my tubs in the front were all seriously wilting so I had to water them all and also my newly planted  conifers.   After lunch I have watered the tubs in the back garden and I shall have to water all tubs again when the sun goes down tonight.   Tomorrow is our Poetry afternoon so now I am off to look at my offering - Edith Sitwell is worth a search so might start.   At present I am reading Derek Jarman's 'Modern Nature' - you have to be pretty broad-minded to read it (it is certainly an eye opener) but fascinating stuff.   'Til tomorrow

Saturday, 20 July 2019


Thank you to everyone who sent commiserations on my brush with ill health.   Sadly this is what happens when eighty is past (much younger for some people - I am lucky).   I am certainly not feeling myself at all but there is no need for me to do much and I am still finding enough appetite for meals out!  I have already chatted to the Taxi lady and fixed up some appointments with her before she goes off on ten day's holiday and my next mission is to track down a Bus Timetable.   The bus into town (only a mile away) stops at the end of my road.   Then I intend to look into walking aids with wheels so that I might find it easier to walk a bit further and do some journeys on foot.

We have had some rain although not as much as many other places.   But all the plants in the garden look happier and have certainly had a drink.   They must make the most of it because we are promised temperatures of thirty next week.   I shall go to earth if this happens.   Hot weather and I do not mix and never have done.

I have had a quiet day today,   The electrician has been fixing the new lights in my kitchen.   The actual lights are on order and should be here by next week-end, so two wires are sticking out of the  ceiling in my kitchen and all is ready for the LED lights to be fitted when they arrive.  Another good job done by next week-end with any luck.
Apart from three walk with Tess - morning, lunch time and tea time - I have spent a large part of the day reading.   First of all my Book Group Book - a book of essays written by Immigrants to this country and called 'The Good Immigrant' and then, when my son called this afternoon with his wife, they had been into the book shop in our nearby town of Richmond and he had picked up a book he ordered and he brought it for me to read first.   Since then I have been reading Derek Jarman's   'Modern Nature' which is about his life and his special garden on the shingle.   It was written after he contracted (and was dying of) Aids.   I am finding it fascinating reading. But I must be stern with myself - The Good Immigrant has to be finished before the first Monday in August.

Hopefully more rain is forecast overnight before the heatwave sets in.   Let's hope it is forthcoming here - we definitely need it.

Friday, 19 July 2019


After my sudden unexpected fall the other day, a fall which was totally unexplained, I have decided not to drive my car again until I have consulted the doctor in case it turns out to be a T I A.   I know how common they are in older people.  I must get to know the bus service into town (there is a stop at the end of my road) - I already have my Bus Pass but have never used it.   Also there are several good taxi firms in town so it would be easy to use them too.   I have rarely gone further in my car than into town for a long time now, so it will not be too much of an inconvenience once I get used to it.   I would never be able to forgive myself if I had one while driving (they are usually only momentary).

On a happier note - for about an hour this evening we have had quite heavy rain.   We really need it to rain heavily all night as we are really desperate in our gardens,but even a couple of hours is better than all the watering with a can and there are still enormous black clouds overhead so hopefully a bit more to come before next week's threatened heat wave.

This week end is our forties week end here in the town, when ladies and gentlemen take over the town in their military uniforms (always officers strangely enough) - we have ATS girls, WAAFs, Yanks, Army, Navy and Air force personnel, Air Raid Wardens, Nursing Auxiliaries - you name it; they are an enthusiastic bunch and stall holders abound to sell them new items of gear and clothing.   So I hope it rains overnight and then clears for the weekend as it promises.  Next week promises a gigantic heat wave.   I can do without that, I am not a hot weather person.

Lunch today as usual and we both had the same - salmon, fennel and saute potatoes in a butter sauce.   I have had no appetite all week but it is slowly coming back and I really enjoyed my lunch.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019


Not feeling all that well at the moment .   I relaxed in bed for an extra hour then got up in leisurely fashion, showered and took Tess for her walk.   On my return I sat down with a drink and dozed off - quite unlike me.   Then I cooked myself a lunch, slipped and ended up on the kitchen floor.   I didn't hurt myself but had difficulty getting up.   I rang my son but he wasn't at home so I struggled and I made it - which was pleasing.

After lunch friends S and T called to take Tess for a walk - so kind of them - and I went with them to the Reservoir.   I settled down in one of M's folding chairs (I don't possess any but M, who lives next door, lent me one for the afternoon) with my book (The Good Immigrant (a collection of essays - very interesting)).   The sun was pleasant and it was a restful afternoon.   We called for a cup of tea on the way home too, which was nice.

Rain is expected, but so far (7.30pm) we have had only a few meagre drops and we really need a downpour.   Our gardens are crying out for it. Hopefully it will arrive overnight.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019


For almost the first time this summer it has been a very warm day, although here there is still quite a strong wind - in some ways a welcome one.

It was our monthly 'Strugglers' meeting this morning.   We meet in the local Quaker Meeting House - sometimes as many as nine of us but this morning only five.  The idea is to have silence for a while and then to discuss anything we wish to air to one another - any problem we have which needs a chat, anything which is troubling us in any way.

This morning W talked about Labyrinths.   She brought several hand-out sheets and first of all we tried to draw one - easier said than done but we all mastered it in the end.   Then we tried making one in twos - we made it on table tops using wool.  I took quite a while with V to construct it - W took a photo on her i phone and I have put it into my pictures, but it won't transfer to show you for some reason.   Labyrinths are fascinating things and go back into antiquity - I intend to read up on them when I have a chance.

As it is, my reading at the moment has to concentrate on my Book Group book for next session on the first Monday in the month.   It is a collection of essays and in order to finish it in time I really need to read and think about one essay a day.   I have read the first one today and it is proving fascinating reading.

Until tomorrow.

Monday, 15 July 2019


Monday morning.   Up bright and early after a reasonable night's sleep.   Feeling my usual self although hot weather is not kind to arthritis so walking is quite difficult.   Once my cleaning lady had arrived and I had watered my pots on the back patio Tess and I had a stroll round our usual morning round - slow but steady.   Now plenty of time to put on a blog before eating up all yesterday's left-overs for my lunch.

I must say I thought the news about the cricket was absolutely tremendous.   To win on the last ball like that with a 'run out' was just so very exciting and so well-deserved.   I was delighted  for the whole team.   And seeing the last few shots of the 5 set tennis mens' final (the longest in tennis final history I believe) was equally thrilling.   The grace and sheer good humour was so pleasing to see.

We desperately need rain in the garden and most of the plants are looking decidedly thirsty.   The night before last my son tells me he watered all of their garden quite late in the evening and he said that when he looked out just as it began to get dark, all the plants were standing up tall and straight as if in thanks.   Many of the rock plants in the side of the garden I have planted are now finished flowering and need trimming back but I just dare not venture up to the top of the garden so it will have to wait a while until my gardener has the time.   The other side - unplanted - is now waiting for the Mare's Tail weed to be twenty centimetres before he sprays it with special weed killer for the  third time.   After that we have decided to plant it with shrubs come what may and let it take its chance.   In the meantime lovely tall deep pink poppies have colonised it it - and they are thriving.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Busy Day

My family have been here for a buffet lunch today and I have thoroughly enjoyed their company, but now that they have all gone I am very tired.

Also I want to know how the cricketers fared, who won the tennis - and I hope the ten o'clock news will reveal all.   So sorry everyone, but no more post tonight.   It is ten minutes to ten, the sun is going down (how the nights are beginning to draw in) and I want to settle down and catch up with all the sports news.   See you all tomorrow.

Friday, 12 July 2019


The weather is never right for us gardeners.   It doesn't seem all that long since we were complaining we needed a bit of sun.    Now we are complaining that we desperately need rain and we are watering newly planted plants like mad.   I have fairly recently planted up a new square in the front of my bungalow with a collection of evergreens and one or two plants of Carex grass.  In the Autumn I intend to add a lot of spring bulbs - not an original idea, there is another small plot Tess and I pass on our morning walks that fits this pattern and I admire it greatly.   But newly-planted evergreens need well watering until they are firmly established, so my gardener has fitted me a hosepipe on the outside tap so that I can gently give each plant a drink without carrying cans of water.   We had a tiny shower this evening - at least it made the leaves receptive to taking in water,

My gardener usually comes once a week to mow my largish front lawn but for some reason he has missed a week.   So now I have a lovely lawn of Birds'Foot Trefoil - I shall be quite sad to see it go.

I have enough weed killer specialised for Mares Tail weed left for one more application.   My gardener is going to do that on the first still day (we live in a windy area) and then after that we are going to plant the area with shrubs and just keep hoeing the mares tail as it comes through.   Enough is enough.   All gardeners have their cross to bear and mares tail is mine.   I have just walked round the garden and the midgies are biting!

Thursday, 11 July 2019

It's Nothing Serious

I have just been to the Doctor's.   Nothing serious and I was in all of three minutes.   But sitting in the waiting room and looking round at the others waiting it struck me how 'anything goes' these days on visits to the doctor.  I had a shower, put on clean clothes from skin upwards, had on a jumper which was easy to remove if I needed to do so.   At least I tried to look 'appetising' for want of a better word.   If I put myself in the doctor's shoes for a minute I can only think it is bad enough looking at elderly bodies but it is slightly less so if they are clean and sweet smelling.

There seemed to me to be a lot of very scruffy folk in that waiting room and a lot of young people in very scanty clothes.   Does that matter?   I suppose not in these days of anything goes, but it did make me smile remembering the day I started at University as a Mature Student in 1968.   I had a Lambretta Scooter to get me there and I felt that trousers were the better option.   I had to report myself to Miss Ruff (the Deputy Principal and in charge of women's welfare) and ask her permission to wear trousers.   I have never forgotten her reply - yes, I may wear trousers to arrive on my scooter but I must change immediately into a skirt upon arrival and I must wear the trousers 'with decorum'.   How times have changed.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

New Mattresses

My two new single mattresses for my guest beds came this morning - they are very grand.   The company appointed today as the delivery day and said they would inform me of a two hour slot.   This didn't materialise, but I didn't expect to be awakened at ten past seven by a knock on the door with them - and I was his third call of the day.   My son came round (he has broken up from school) as soon as he was up and about and carried the old ones out into the garage (our tip closes on Wednesdays) and put the new ones on to the beds and when he had gone I remade the beds up and washed the mattress protectors as these ones already come with their own zip-on covers.   By the time I had done all that and cooked
myself a lunch (and had a quarter of an hour ukulele/banjo duet practice with him to boot) I felt as though I had done a full day's work.

This afternoon, much to Tess's joy, friend S called and took her for a walk.   Tess goes crazy when anyone comes to walk her - and it makes me feel guilty that I can't walk her further myself.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Open gardens.

The village where my son lives had an Open Garden Day on Sunday and a Scarecrow competition.   He and his wife always enter.   His wife is very several handicapped by advancing osteoarthritis and finds walking possible only with two sticks but she has a real flair for garden design and also enjoys potting design, so there are lots of pots around the garden too.   It is a garden with lots of nooks and crannies and really is a most attractive garden to look round.   Here are a few pictures.

Now, today, friend W and I decided to go out for a bit of lunch to the bar at the Golf Club where we go every Sunday.   W had a prawn salad.   I had a Ploughman's and I have to say that when it came I can only say there was enough for at least two if not three ploughmen.    I didn't finish all that cheese but had a Doggy Bag.   I can't find the photo in my files but if it appears later I will add it.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Morning route

Cats are strange, unfathomable creatures aren't they?   I think that is why I like them so much.  If it weren't for a combination of Tess and quite a busy road I would probably get one.   As I sit here a very large tabby tom has just walked along the wall top across my garden as he does every morning more or less at the same time.   Often he catches my eye but he takes little notice - just continues on his way as though to say 'you may think this is your garden - I know different'.   I love him for it.

Down South they seem to have had showers yesterday - wish we had had some up here as the ground is very dry which means much watering of tubs and newly planted plants - all a bit of a chore.
I understand that more unsettled weather should arrive midweek so I shall probably be complaining then.   That's the trouble with gardening, things are never perfect.   A day of nice gentle rain non-stop would suit me fine.

I do not feel 'back to normal' (whatever that is) yet health-wise but better than I was so I shall go with my friends out to lunch.   Week-ends are never easy as anyone who lives alone will agree.   I suppose it is different if one has always lived alone, but after many years of partnership  when week ends were time to be spent together (not always the case on the farm of course but at times like haymaking a picnic lunch in the field was always an option and a jolly good one on a nice day.   The smell of cut grass always reminds me of such things. 

Are you a tennis fan?   I certainly couldn't just sit hour after hour watching it all but seeing the joy on the face of the fifteen year old as she gets into the last sixteen was a pivotal moment, as was the Red Arrow flypast when Andy and Serena came out on court for the mixed doubles yesterday.   As a nation we are pretty good at pulling all the stops out for a special occasion. 

And what about little Archie at his christening?  My goodness isn't he a miniature image of his dad?   Privileged many would say - superfluous too but as somebody pointed out the other day in The Times - Royalty bring millions into this country in revenue at times like weddings and special events so it is not all one way.

Well I must sign off.   This is really displacement therapy and with Tess sitting here looking at me, me still in my dressing gown and the clock showing a quarter to ten, I must move.   Have a good day.


Saturday, 6 July 2019


I have not felt brilliant for the last couple of days but will put a post on tomorrow.   Lovely day today - the best all week.

Friday, 5 July 2019

Telling it how it is.

Home truths, sometimes not easy to take.   But yesterday, as we met our friends in our favourite Italian in Kirby Lonsdale, one of them said he had something he wanted to say but was rather embarrassed to say it.   I have known him for forty five years and he is one of my dearest friends - I told him that of course he had to say it.  What it amounted to was to tell me that when they came to stay (and they do quite often and I really look forward to their coming) the single beds in the spare room were no longer comfortable as the mattresses had lost their strength.   He always went home with a bad back.

He is quite right.   I can't remember when the beds were bought but it is at least thirty five years ago.  Alright, so they have always been 'spare beds' but we have always been people to have folk staying and on the one occasion (when our bedroom was being decorated) I tried to sleep on one I had to go back to our double bed because I found the bed uncomfortable.   So point taken. 

So this morning, neighbour (friend H), who is very good at researching things on her computer and also takes 'Which' magazine spent time looking into the whole idea and then after lunch (Derek - our usual Friday lunch out - Salmon, braised fennel and saute potatoes) came round with details.   The upshot is that two single mattresses are ordered and will arrive some time next Wednesday.   So it you are reading this P you can't say I haven't acted on your advice!

Thursday, 4 July 2019


Although this post is headed Thursday and it is indeed Thursday, in my head it has been Friday all day.  Do you have days like that?
Friend W and I have been over the Pennines to Kirby Lonsdale today to meet friends P and D for lunch.  We took Tess and also Meg, another Border Terrier staying with W for a few days.  As usual we had a lovely day and - as usual - admired the wonderful scenery and said just how lucky we are to live in such a very beautiful area.   In the fields farmers were silaging everywhere and the air was full of the scent of newly cut grass.   Contented cows and calves lay in the fields chewing the cud and here and there half grown lambs had escaped on to the road and were frantically trying to get back through the wire to mum in the field.   They are clever at getting out but not so clever at getting back in

A tiring day.   I am going now to watch Serengeti on the television - I just hope I can stay awake through it.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Lovely surprise.

When the doorbell rang this afternoon I wondered who it could be.   What a lovely surprise I had when I opened the door.   It was a friend I have not seen for a few years and who happened to be  passing.          Two hours of reminiscing, catching up, laughing, drinking tea - how quickly it passed.   How lovely to catch up with old friends.

The weather has been lovely today; little or no wind, bright sunshine all day and callers on and off all day.   Tess had her lovely long walk with friend S and apparently ran about without feeling the heat.   But now, as the light begins to fade and the sun goes down, I must go out and give my plants in pots a good drink - I am sure they will all be thirsty.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

An ordinary day

Quite an ordinary day although very busy.   Walking with Tess early then into town for coffee with E and C and a nice chat.   C has just got a new grandchild - a little boy called Alvin - and so of course we had to see photographs.   He is so tiny and so adorable.  Then it was a bit of food shopping, a call in at the bank and then home again to await my son calling to collect me plus ironing board to take to the tip (board too big for my little Corsa).   On the way back we called at our Homeware shop and chose a new ironing board so now I need to whip up the enthusiasm for ironing.

H called to take Tess for a walk and they went once again to the Himalayan Gardens near Masham.   As they are mostly rhododendrons the gardens close to the public after one more week.  Tess adores it there and it was several hours before she returned home - long enough to give W and I time to go into town for a lunch of fritata and salad followed by rhubarb and strawberry crumble with ice cream.

Now, at a quarter to five, time at last to sit down and read posts and put this on.   While writing it I have just eaten six Scottish strawberries - I never remember  the strawberries being as sweet as this year or the season going on for so long.

My son has just rung - and we are going to have a Chinese for tea - I have ordered sweet  and sour prawns with rice, so now it is time to set the table ready for them coming round.   Never a dull moment.

Monday, 1 July 2019


The field behind my bungalow has been whole cropped again this week and today it got its obligatory dressing of manure, courtesy of the Dairy herd it is destined to feed over the Winter months.   You can imagine - there is a good, healthy smell outside (and inside too if I forget and leave the patio door open).

This morning was our Book Group meeting and as it was at M's it was within walking distance of my bungalow.   The book we have read this month is 'The Salt Path' by Raynor Winn.   I can thoroughly recommend it - a non-fiction book about a couple made homeless who decide to walk the coastal path wild camping.   It is full of interesting little episodes and well worth a read.

It is very windy here today so I decided to change the sheets and duvet cover on my bed.  The lady who cleans for me comes on a Monday so she could help me to remake the bed with fresh sheets (I look forward to bed tonight between clean, sweet smelling sheets - if I could have someone make the bed I would have clean sheets every day like the Queen (I assume).  When I came back from Book Group I got ready to iron them - and my ironing board broke.   As I have had it at least fifty years it certainly doesn't owe me anything.  My son has promised to take it to the tip tomorrow for me and then take me to buy a new one as he will easily get them into his car - I certainly can't get them in my Corsa.   I shall be sad to say good-bye to my ironing board as it is an old faithful friend - but my Grandchildren fall about laughing at it as it is so 'old fashioned.'   (as is ironing to so many people - but not me; I even iron the dusters). 

Television is totally dominated by Wimbledon at present - hard luck if you don't care for tennis - but a good opportunity to read book group's next book - 'The Good Immigrant.' 

Big day tomorrow  - it will be my 3,500th post.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Sunday morning early.

A whole lot cooler here this morning and a stiffish breeze blowing in from the West, but sunny and a lot more pleasant.   After a much better night sleep-wise I got up at my usual time of a quarter to seven and have just had my weetabix and fruit.   Tess has retired to her basket in the sitting room and settled down for another sleep.

Sundays are a predictable day for me with lunch out at our local Golf Club (only three of us today) so at least I don;t have to ponder over what's for lunch.  (it will be salmon florentine).

My son came round last evening with his banjo and a whole lot of music for banjo and ukulele.  I was too tired to really do it justice so he has left it for me to practise.   Changes up to speed -  and of unfamiliar chords - need practice to make perfect so hopefully  I can manage them.

That's my day so far.   If anything more exciting emerges I will be back.

Saturday, 29 June 2019


Yes, Summer has reached North Yorkshire at last and it looks as though today is the only day we shall get as it is set to become ten degrees cooler overnight tonight.   Shalln't be sorry as it is much too warm for me today - and Tess too.

Lethargy has set in.   I just noticed that a lupin had begun to go to seed and as it has about five other flower spikes coming into bloom I staggered across to the bed where it is and cut it out.

I had a very bad night's sleep last night and consequently I am very tired today.   Tess is following me about like my shadow in case  I should change my mind and decide to go for a walk after all (in the heat of the day).I finally
got up at a quarter to six and while it was cool took Tess for her morning walk.   Coming back I had my Weetabix and fruit and a cup of coffee and then sat and read the paper until ten to nine when I drove into town for some money from the cash machine and a top up on fruit and veg. 

In a fit of enthusiasm on the way home I called in at the car wash and let them give the car a good clean (mostly bird dirt) and when I got home I cleaned the inside and brushed the mats.   Then it was water the plants and tubs.   By this time it was about a quarter to eleven and I was exhausted, so sufficient to say I have done almost nothing since.  It is very close and airless and looking at the forecast it seems there are storms on the way.

Arthritis is always very bad in hot weather and I am finding walking very difficult but after feeding Tess an hour ago I walked - maybe staggered would be a better word - round our usual walk and now we are back home and set to stay here all evening.   At the moment I don't feel like eating any tea - hot weather and I don't altogether agree.

Friday, 28 June 2019

Friday and getting hotter.

As the day has gone on so the temperature has risen and now, at seven in the evening, it is quite airless.   Plants I have recently planted are looking a bit droopy and will need a water just before it gets dark; washing at present on the line will be fetched indoors and if I can raise the energy I might even iron it tonight as tomorrow is forecast to be very hot indeed before a chilly wind blows in making it ten degrees cooler by Sunday.

Tess and I have just been for a walk - you could hardly call it that as we had to walk so slowly (for both our sakes) - as H called and took Tess for a long walk where there are countless rabbits last evening the fact that she has only had two shortish walks today will not come amiss. 

Do you have a favourite vegetable?   Mine seems to vary depending upon the time of year.  In the late winter/early spring it is the delicious purple sprouting broccoli; then this is followed by English Asparagus - I bought what will probably be my last lot this morning as I found it quite disappointing and flavourless in spite of it being freshly picked in Kent.  Now I impatiently wait for the arrival of new broad beans and peas.   But one thing that has already arrived is the glorious array of summer fruit.  I am spoilt for choice - today I bought apricots, peaches, nectarines, strawberries and enough fruit to fill my fruit bowl - bananas, apples, pears, satsumas.  We really have the most superb Friday market here in Leyburn.

In my garden this very hot weather has finished off many of the plants which have flowered for the last month or so but luckily the French Lavender is in full bloom and attracting hundreds of  bees and the Gallardias are just beginning to come out so Summer flowers are on their way.   Two or three giant poppies have seeded themselves from somewhere and the first one emerged today - it is a deep purple and a welcome addition.   I shall talk nicely to them and hope to encourage them to seed and visit me every year.

Whatever you intend doing this weekend, do bear the weather in mind and don't overdo it.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Out to lunch

What a change!!   Friend D and I went out to lunch and as the cafe side of our Tennants restaurant was very full we walked across to the Restaurant and had a lovely light lunch.  D had salmon with saute potatoes and braised fennel and I had exactly what I had last week - lobster and crab beignettes, deep friend cheese cubes, heritage tomato salad and pea shoots.  Then a coffee each and a good chat about the state of things.   And I managed to get home in time for friend S, who very kindly takes Tess for a walk on Wednesday afternoons for me.   Now Tess has had her tea and I am about to settle down to watch the antiques programme with a bit of tea myself.

It is still not warm - about fifteen here - but the sky has brightened somewhat and everywhere has dried up very well.   All the standing water had gone and things are looking up although it is not forecast to get really warm.

I have made a policy not to watch the News until all the political stuff is over and done with.   I find it all so upsetting - we can do little about it and everyone, but everyone,  seems to be at one another's throats over so many issues.   So I intend to think of better things.   Cowardly it may be but I have to keep my sanity - and I can do little to influence anything anyway.

Enjoy your evening.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Where is the heat?

Heat is across large parts of mainland Europe - set to get up into the forties over the next week - I just hope that John (Going Gently), who certainly needs and deserves a holiday, misses the over the top heat due to arrive in Spain.

Here the temperature this afternoon peaked at a measly thirteen degrees and it rained all day.   I hardly dare say it but I succumbed at six o'clock this evening, after returned from a gruelling session at the Physiotherapists, to putting the thermostat on the central heating up to twenty - and it has been on all evening.   Now, at a quarter to eleven, I am warm at last. 

Why am I so late going to bed you may ask?   My son bought himself a banjo today, brought it round and we have been playing banjo and ukulele duets.  He has gone now and I need to get on a more even keel before I go to bed.   At the moment I am having a bad attack of tinnitus, which has lasted since last Friday, and the duets have helped it not one little bit!

Sunday, 23 June 2019


Well presumably somebody got that warm, sunny weather today but certainly not here - and reading Derek's reply to my post yesterday - not down the East coast either.   Here it has been cool and overcast all day and at about seven o'clock it began to rain and is still raining now.   I am pleased to see it as my gardener put in a few plants for me yesterday but each day the weather forecast suggests very hot and humid weather and it does not seem to be arriving.

My decorator has been today and emulsion painted the kitchen walls and ceiling (just in a plain, boring white I'm afraid) so now I am just waiting for new ceiling lights to be fitted and that is another job done. 

Out to lunch as usual with 'the girls'.   W, who is 98 now sat having her cup of tea afterwards and suddenly said how she never imagined she would live to be this age and to be going out with friends  to Sunday lunch every week and to be able to afford it.  It is lovely that we are such an important part of he r life - she certainly gives us just as much (if not more) pleasure bringing her and enjoying her lively company.

Saturday, 22 June 2019


Oh dear, Boris has gone and blotted his Copy Book again.   I don't suppose it will make any difference at all to the outcome of the vote as all those eligible to vote seem to be middle class, middle aged and men.   So let's forget about Politics as unless we are a member of the Conservative Party we can do nothing about it.   Let's think about Gardening instead.

I bought some plants yesterday and my Gardener kindly nipped round this morning and put them in for me as my garden is too steep for me to go on anything other than the lowest level.   Now they are in and watered well.   There is a sudden lull in colour.  It always happens this time of year.   The early Spring stuff (a lot of it yellow or  blue) has finished and gone to seed (leave it to seed and see what you get!) and the bedding and most of the perennials are only just coming into flower.   Things like my Shasta Daisies, my Lupins, are just beginning to flower so wait a week or two and then I will put a photograph on to show progress.   Because of the Mares Tail weed of course there is a whole area not yet planted - my Gardener has enough for one more application of the very expensive specialised killer and he will put it on in about a month.  After that we have decided to plant the area up with shrubs and ground cover and just keep working on the dreaded weed by cutting each stem off at ground level as instructed on the weed killer tin.

But two plants have excelled themselves.   One is a Perennial Wallflower - not a particularly exciting colour, especially now it has begun to fade, but it has been in flower for months and boy does it attract the bees.   I intended to give it a sharp prune today but when I went up to it it was still covered in bees so it stays.   The other - and again covered in bees - is a French Lavender.  The Perennial Wallflower is a very short-lived plant anyway.

I bought nine different pinks as little plug plants.   They have now been in a prepared bed for about three weeks and seem to be doing well.   Hopefully they will come into their own next year.

I find Gardening very therapeutic - I am not all that good at the planning and starting this garden almost from scratch  and with a framework I may well not have chosen has not been easy.   But it has kept my mind occupied.   I have quite a big Patio area which needs some work doing on it as the subsoil has sunk in places causing the crazy paving to crack and lift slightly.   As water runs aross this area from the field above (only a trickle)
it will need some serious thinking about.   It only happens when there is a huge downpour and it happens to many of the houses on the road.

Any minute now H, Tess's friend will ring the bell as she has just rung to ask if she can take Tess for a walk.   Need she ask?   Tess went insane at hearing her voice on the phone!


Friday, 21 June 2019

The Usual Friday

Yes, the usual kind of Friday - never varies much, except that we were all there for coffee this morning - all ten of us.   We did try to keep the noise of the chatter down!

The Summer Solstice and with it probably the warmest day of the year here for us.   Yesterday I bought one or two herbaceous plants and an evergreen shrub to fill in spaces and rang my gardener to ask if he would mind popping in to put them in as the places I want them to go are just too dangerous for me to attempt in my steep garden. 
Not sure whether he has forgotten or whether he intends to come early in the morning, however I have just been round and given them all a good watering to last them overnight.

This is a specially good year for farmers so far I would guess as the field behind me has just had second-crop grass for silage cut today - or on second thoughts probably for whole-crop as this seems more popular these days.   As there is a field behind my bungalow I can still keep an eye on what is happening in the farming world and I like that. 

Out to lunch as usual with friend W today. I had two starters together on the plate - they looked - and tasted - delicious.   Salad of tomatoes and water cress with cream-cheese  crisply fried cubes together with crab and lobster beignettes.
It all went down a treat.  Then a relax over a coffee and home to take Tess for a walk.   We met two cats - both of them sat it out, stared at her and totally refused to scuttle out of the way (typical cat of course).    Had she not been on a tight lead she would have chased them madly (and probably got run over in the process). 

Now after a very light tea of a ham sandwich I have read your posts and will relax for half an hour and then watch Gardeners' World, my favourite Friday night programme.   Watched an interesting programme on the last ten years of Picasso's life from the iplayer archive last evening - what an intriguing and complicated man he was.

Thursday, 20 June 2019


I am waiting for the Decorator to come and smooth out the filled holes in my kitchen ceiling.   He has got nearly to the stage where he can give the kitchen ceiling two coats of white emulsion - he intends to do that over the week-end.   It is so good that the wretched down lights have gone - they were unsafe and badly fitted - downright dangerous the electrician said.   It will be good to have 'normal' lights.

Tomorrow - the 21st of June - would have been my beloved Farmer's seventy-sixth birthday.   I think of him every day and am just thankful that he didn\t suffer any more.   Glioblastoma is a dreadful thing and gently fading away was the best thing for him.   Now he is resting in peace, his ashes scattered by his favourite niece on the pastures he had loved and tended all his life.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019


Our Poetry afternoons are so relaxing and enjoyable.   There were only six of us today - the others were all busy - also the road through the village is closed this week while it is being resurfaced and getting to W's house means a long detour.  We had a lovely selection - Auden, Simon Armitage, Fanthorpe, Tennyson amongst others.  And then a cup of tea and a biscuit and time for home - the long way round.   A lovely afternoon.

Tess had a lovely afternoon too as friend S usually takes her for a walk.   Today T went too and they went to a local beauty spot - Aysgarth Falls - and Tess even managed a paddle in the river.  I am so lucky to have friends - poetry, ukuleles, friends to walk Tess (my mobility is limited), friends to lunch with, friends to meet for coffee - always something to do which is good these days.   There was a time when I wanted to do craft work and would spend hours in my studio at the farm and before that I would practise the piano for many hours to get my 'party pieces' up to scratch (my favourites were the Schubert Impromptus).   Now I no longer have my piano as I seem to have lost the desire to play so gave it to my son as it was a much better one than his.   My fingers are getting arthritic and that doesn't help.

Thunderstorms were forecast for today but it has been a lovely day - sunny, blue skies, warm sun.   This afternoon the temperature got up to the early twenties and it really felt like Summer at last (and just two days before the Solstice so not a moment too soon).  Similar weather for tomorrow so I shall try to get outside in the sunshine after the hairdressers.   The painter is coming to work on my kitchen ceiling so I can't go far.

THE Debate

Oh dear me.   I watched the debate - I felt it was my duty to listen to them all.   But what a shambles.   I am not a Boris fan - not an any of them fan (that is not my political leaning) - but Boris, as far as I could see, won hands down   The others spent the whole time interrupting, disagreeing, telling everyone what they had already done when they were in whatever job they were in, arguing like children.   All Boris did (apart from forgetting the Questioner Abdullah's name) was answer a straight question with a straight, maybe slightly devious, answer and then let the stage clear for the others to show that they are definitely not capable of the job.   Or so I thought.   You may disagree - that is your prerogative.

So  I am more interested in looking out of the window at another  pouring wet morning, standing water everywhere, garden soaked and the promise of very heavy thunderstorms later today.   And thinking of poor Wainfleet under flood water.

It is our Poetry afternoon.   I chose my poems last evening - a couple of Simon Armitage's as he is our new Poet Laureate, a Tennyson - he was my father's favourite poet and it was father's day last Sunday, and a couple of Ted Hughes.   I shall now shower, get dressed, tidy round and make myself a coffee,   Hopefully by then it will  have stopped raining and Tess and I can do our morning walk.
Enjoy your day.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

To Watch or not to Watch.

That is the question and I have changed my mind several times during the course of the day.   Perhaps the best course is to switch on at eight this evening and see how long I can stand it for.   And is it really necessary when it is obvious what the end 'product' is going to be.     Like it or not then I expect Boris will be the new P M - and will he do a good job or won't he?   Time will tell.

I don't suppose the poor folk of Wainfleet, up to their eyes in water and more forecast with heavy thunderstorms in the offing, could care less about the debate tonight.   Things like intense flooding with rivers bursting their banks and having to move out of one's home and all furniture ruined tend to drive other things out of the mind.

The trouble with much of Lincolnshire (my home county) is that so much of it once you get to the fens is reclaimed land and so low lying that it easily floods.   I do remember the River Witham flooding once when I was a child.   We lived one field away from the river and the water crept gradually across the field, through the hedge and then about half way up our large back garden and there it came to a standstill and began to recede.  Nobody's house in our village was flooded because no houses had been built on land which might flood.   But I suspect that in Wainfleet there is no such land.

So let's keep our fingers crossed that tomorrow the storms miss Wainfleet as they work their way across and up the country - they can do without any more rain.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Rory Stewart and National Service?

I see after reading Clare Foges in The Times this morning, that Rory Stewart has said that were he to become Prime Minister he would introduce Compulsory National Service (not military) for all 16 year olds.   Not sure what I think about this but I know that there are an awful lot of young people who are 'at a loose end' in our big cities - and not getting any sense of self respect as a result.

One of the most important things a teacher in any Comprehensive School can do (and I speak as one who  did such a job for most of my career), regardless of the subject they teach, is to give each pupil a sense of self-worth.   Whether they belong to the very brightest, university material pupils or whether they belong to a place lower down in the school system (and that term 'lower down' in itself suggests they are less important) every single one of them has a niche in the scheme of things and if they leave school without the aim of achieving something then they don't start their post school life from a good place.

 Parents moving house so that their children have a better chance of getting into a 'better' school says a lot to children whose parents either can't, wont or are in no position to do that.

Parents who pay for their child's education are saying where their child comes in the 'pecking order' without saying a word.  (I am not against private education having sent my own child into that system).

Might some form of compulsory National Service be a good idea?   How often do children from the different communities meet and do things together ?  Living  up here in The Dales I rarely see anyone from any ethnic community - maybe a few Chinese and Asian people who work in our local (and very good) speciality restaurants, maybe the occasional family up here on holiday.   But contrast that with inner cities where knife crime is becoming very scary and where young people often have no sense of self-worth and ask yourself what can we do to help them to find that niche that is just the right one for them.

I don't know the answer.   Maybe there is nobody who does.  But isn't anything worth a try?   I think back to the many black children and Sikh children I taught years ago.   Lovely children who deserved a bright future.   Did they find their niche?  Do they have families, jobs they enjoy doing, did they fulfill their potential.   As I now live so far away from where I taught I shall never know - but I do hope some of them at least did.   And for those who didn't would a couple of years of mixing with all sorts of other young people and really learning to live in a multi racial society rather than within their own group  have made any difference?            

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Father's Day

Today being Father's Day and none of the four of us being young enough to still have a father (oldest 98 and youngest 73) we went out to lunch in our usual place at our usual time.   It did seem as though the vast majority of the other tables were occupied by folk bring their fathers out for Sunday lunch as a treat.

But it is a good time to recall our Dads even though mine has long gone.   I had a very happy childhood and loved both my parents.   But because my mother was in her mid forties when I was born (I had a sister twenty two years older than me) my father took special interest in me - possibly to lessen the work load of bringing me  up for my mother. 

Many of my interests hark back as far as those days.   He had a shelf or two of Poetry books by his arm chair (I have them now) and often quoted poems to me.   I have never lost my love of poetry.
He loved walking in the countryside (we lived in what was then a small village in Lincolnshire, a village on the banks of the River Witham which eventually flows into the Wash.)  And he loved all kinds of wild life and natural history so that we would walk along identifying wild flowers and grasses, listening for bird song and looking where the birds were nesting. 

He was a mild-mannered man and never raised his voice or as far as I can remember reprimanded me (he left that kind of thing to my mother).   I think of him every day and whenever I see a familiar wild flower - or even many of the garden flowers I am growing again now - I try to remember the Latin name (which he was fond of quoting). 

So thanks Dad for contributing so much to the full and rich life I have managed to have and wherever you are now - Happy memories on Father's Day.