Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Wednesday morning early.

As I am sure you know by now, I live opposite a Post Box.   It is jolly useful.   All I have to do is write the letter, stamp it, then Percy and I wend our way down the drive, across the road and along the footpath   the other side back to the postbox.  This morning I needed to do this   before the postman came to empty the box for the day.   Gone are the days when there were two or even three deliveries a day (remember them? If you do then you must be of pensionable age at least).   It is a nice feeling to get a job completed.

But it has been raining hard all night, everywhere was saturated and the long grass on the piece of spare ground hung over the path.   And - what a sight.   I wish I had taken my camera with me but no way were Percy and I doing this journey twice on a morning like this.   The footpath was literally covered with small snails with pretty fawn and white swirly shells, all making their way across the foot path from one patch of grass to another.   Such a beautiful display.

Then a paragraph in today's Times caught my eye over my morning coffee.   Luckily it doesn't happen too often but it is not a unique happening - two last year - and so far only one this year.   But a very popular man - only in his fifties - from Richmond (our Richmond, only a few miles from here) was killed at the start of this week while walking his dogs.   He was walking on a footpath but through a field of cows with calves. (it is that time of year) and he was killed by the cows.   What a tragic loss of life and really nobody to blame.  Leaving behind him a distraught family and a whole lot of young people in the school where he was Deputy Head - just enjoying his walk - innocent cows only doing what any mother would do - protect its child.   Sometimes life is cruel. 

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill.

Directly opposite my sitting room window is a road - a cul de sac with not all that many houses on it.   It is called I'Anson Close.    Whenever I look at that sign I wonder just how many who pass it every day know anything about the significance of it.   In Leyburn there is a Paint shop and over the door is a date in the late eighteenth century and the initials I'A - the I'Ansons at some point lived here. There is no doubt that they were a local family of some note and one relative was a Baronet.   So what is their claim to fame?   Well all I can tell you is that the song: 'Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill' was written for Frances I'Anson - she was that sweet lass.   Born towards the end of the eighteenth century I know nothing about her other than that.But I do think it is rather nice that she is remembered in a pleasant cul-de-sac in our town.

In the days when I used to drive regularly into Northallerton, our county town, about twenty five miles away - as I entered the outskirts I used to pass a housing estate and the road of entry was called Aneurin Bevan close.   It used to make me smile because Aneurin Bevan was a prominent Labour politician not long after the Second World War.  I don't know what connection, if any, he had with the housing estate, but I know that some years ago it was re-christened.  I cant remember what it is called now but some daft name  like Meadow Lea - it always seems to me that when authorities can't decided what to call roads on new building plots they seem to resort to wild flower meadows in the countryside.

Tha naming of anything has its problems doesn't it?   It applies to babies as much as anything I suppose.   Some names seem so unsuitable at the time of christening and yet, somehow, people grow into their names don't they?

 

Monday, 21 September 2020

Monday morning.

Monday morning, bright and early, delightful morning and threats on the television of dire weather to come.  So alarm bells ring - make the most of the next couple of days.   I tidy round quickly, don a waistcoat and set off round the block - the furthest I have been for quite a while.  One of the nicest things about walking slowly with Percy is that people in their front gardens want to chat as you go by - takes up time, but I have plenty of that.   A quarter of an hour's chat with H next door helped me on my way.   It was still quite early and there was hardly anyone around.  When I arrived home the milk bill was through the letter box, so I went straight back out again on another walk to put the cheque through the milkman's letter box - so I am pleased with my exercise today!

There is something different about the sunny weather this time of the year.   I suppose it is because we know winter is on its way and we all begin to feel nostalgic for the 'lost' summer, although this year has almost been a non-year in every way hasn't it?   And as things stand it  may well be another six months of similar restrictions before we ge back to anything like normality.  The photograph on the front of the paper this morning shows young people in Newcastle 'living it up' with no social distancing.   I hesitate to criticise because I don't how I would have behaved if I were that age at this time.   I am just really rather pleased I am not.

That's all today!   It is a glorious day and I am going into the garden to enjoy it (and admire the new patio) so 'see' you tomorrow.

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Sunday

 Sundays are quiet too now that I don't risk going out for Golf Club lunch.   In many ways I miss it - most of all the company, but also the luxury of not having to cook my own food.   But I kept another meal out of the freezer from my delivery - chicken and bacon in white wine sauce and I served it with a mixture  ofparsnip , runner beans and leeks - the last two from a friends' garden.    I have to say it was delicious.   I also had the longest walk with Percy that I have had in a long time an my ankles feel much better for it.

I was back home (I stopped for a long time to chat to friend M - we are both members of the Book Group and got talking about books. ) in time to watch the final three hours of Le Tour de France - and I must say it was all very exciting.  What incredible stamina those young men have and what a lovely speech the Irish lad who won the Green Jersey made.  It was also a joy to see the parents of the young man (the youngest for 111 years I believe) who won there to cheer him on.   They looked so proud of him.

Later this evening I watched the new three part play on BBC1 - it is called 'Us' and was a delight to watch I thought.   Did anyone else watch it?   If so do let me know what you think.

So apart from my walk and cooking my lunch I have really had a very lazy day with far too much  television in it.   I fear with the advent of the darker nights this may be the pattern of things to come.  When I think of the craft work I used to do - the beading, the quilting, the knitting and crochet, the machine embroidery - none of which I can do now because of my shakes - I am sad.  It's called 'getting old' and you have to fight it tooth and nail!!

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Saturday

 Saturdays are never my favourite days, although at least today the sun is shining through the sitting room window and it is cheerful.   We had a Zoom at 10am, six of us,  - a good 40 minute chat and laugh together and that started the day off well.   Then I had my half-hour walk round the estate, it is really quite cold and breezy so didn't try to go any further than my usual circuit.  Then it was back for a coffee and then a chat ;  I chatted with my next door neighbour's daught er who is moving to the edge of the North York Moors. Then  I went out into the garden with secateurs  to begin cutting back some of the herbaceous growth but it was too cold.   So I made a cup of coffee and switched on the television to watch (and catch up) This Farming Life - I do so enjoy it - it brings all the fun, the hard work, the heartache when things go wrong - everything comes back as though it was yesterday rather than three years since my dear farmer left me.   Let's hope we have a few weeks of good weather now to build us all up for the winter here.  There is enough doom and gloom without bad weather setting in early isn't there.

Have a good week end.   The way things seem to be going it might be the last one before we get locked down again!   This business of going into lockdown in various places 'next Tuesday' or somesuch date rather than 'now, this instant'  it seems is something to do with it having to 'go through parliament' or something- or that is how I understood it when a government minister was explaining it this morning.  What usually happens is that folk then 'live it up' in the last week end of 'freedom' - or am I just being cynical?  

Friday, 18 September 2020

This and that

Lovely that the patio is finished.   I apologise if the script is a different size again.   It is entirely my fault - at present my hand is very shaky and try as I might I can't always hit the right place.   Anyway, hopefully here is a picture of my finished patio:


The shadow in the bottom right hand corner is the shadow of the handrail.   I am very happy with it and it is so nice and light after the very dark concrete and when the sun is shining it glitters here and there with quartz.

 The next job to be tackled by my gardener is the removal of those two lopped evergreen trees - they are neither use nor ornament.  Beyond them is the patch not yet planted which has been infested with Mares Tail weed.   It has now had four lots of specialised week killer and in line with the instructions which came with the weedkiller I shall now plant it up with low growing rockery plants which cover quickly and my gardener will keep cutting back the Mares Tail next year as it grows through - hopefully weakening it.  It has been so satisfying to get this major job done - and to look out of the patio and computer room windows on to a pleasant scene at last.

Puss has been around again and given everywhere a thorough inspection and is now sitting on the wall watching me.   I know if I stand up she will go away quickly.   Like Rachel with her 'stray' kitten I know that this cat has me weighed up perfectly.   Not a stray at all, she is just passing through on her daily prowl.   But hopefully she sees it as part of her job to keep my garden vermin-free.

 It has been a pleasant day here today albeit cooler and more Autumnal - but dry and with hazy sunshine for most of the day.  It is set to stay like this for most of the week ahead I believe.   I look at the dreadful fires in America- how do they bear to live with the threat of this sort of thing hanging over them I wonder?

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Another Lovely Day

Just the very best sort of day for finishing the patio at the back of my bungalow  - no breeze, not too hot and plenty of Autumn sunshine.   It was important for there to be no breeze because laying weed suppressant in windy conditions is not easy.   The two D's came at eight o'clock and the eight tons of gravel came at a quarter past eight and they got stuck in.  I just had time to move my car off the drive before the gravel lorry came and tipped it all on my drive in a heap.  (hairdresser's appointment.

By four this afternoon they had finished, tidied away, swilled down the bottom patio and all the paths and left everywhere neat and tidy.   They have done a super job.   

In addition the electrician came back and fitted my new fire lights - and we put the shiny coal back into the grate.   Then at four o'clock the gas man came and serviced my gas boiler for winter.   He tells me that it is eight years old (I have lived here three years) and in very good condition.

The tabby cat from down the road, who often visits me, called into inspect my new patio - treading all over it gingerly and sniffing here and there.   I think he approved because eventually he sat down and gave himself a thorough wash and brush up.  Whenever I see him I think I should get a cat - I love both cats and dogs and wouldn't need to take a cat for a walk;  but then I look out of the window at the busy road and I look at my furniture  -  and think of claw sharpening (I had Siamese cats for years) and think I would be letting myself in for a lot of problems.   And I couldn't bear it if I had a cat and it got run over.

There is a real Autumnal nip in the air once it gets to half past six in the evening.   I am sitting here in my computer room looking out on my new patio, the sun is going down and I shall soon be drawing the blinds and closing the curtains to shut out the cool air.   Covid has returned with a vengeance to the North East of the country and new restrictions come into force.   They don't affect us here in The Dales but they are getting uncomfortably close and as always it is important that we follow the rules.  I have today been able to book an appointment for my flu vaccination for Winter, which  have every year.   This is nothing to do with Covid of course as we still dont have a vaccine for that but we can at least protect ourselves from other kinds of flu in so far as is possible.

Sleep well.   See you tomorrow. 

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Washing Coal.

I must say that my mobility and my agility do improve with exercise.  If I sit about then I have trouble getting up from my chair when the doorbell rings.   But today I have been busy doing 'this and that' all day and now, late afternoon, I am moving about much more freely.   First of all it is my day for using my new soup-maker, which makes enough soup for four helpings - one today and one tomorrow and another two frozen for later in the week.  Today I made sweet potato and red pepper soup, with an onion, a dash of tabasco and a little bottle of white wine to add a bit of flavour.   It was delicious and very filling so that the ham and mushroom quiche I intended to afters with a salad was too much and I put half of it back in the fridge for tomorrow.

 

After lunch I really had to water the violas I planted last week.   There has been no rain and two really hot days(not hot today - cloudy and cooling down) and after that the electrician came to take the two bulbs out of my electric fire so that he could fix replacements - they had gone about a week ago.  And so I took the opportunity indicated by the title of today's piece - my fire has artificial coal (I hate it but it was there when I moved in and is a perfectly good fire) - he scooped the 'coal' out on to newspaper and carried it into the kitchen for me and I put it into hot soapy water.   So now, when he returns with the new bulbs the coal will go back all bright and shiny.

Tomorrow is another busy day for me - hairdresser (including a cut tomorrow),, the men are arriving to finish my patio they say (eight tons of gravel are set to arrive first thing in the morning) and in the afternoon the gas man is coming to service my gas boiler for Winter. I love busy days.

We had a scare because we thought we had Covid in the village where my son lives but it transpires that a family had to quarantine for a fortnight but no one has developed it.  My son, who lives in the village,is relieved about this.   Things do seem to be a bit chaotic at present with people having to go miles to be tested.


 

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

The trials (and comedies) of a shake.

 I have a condition called 'Benign  Essential Tremor' - it is inherited - my father and sister both had it and mine has been developing over the last ten years or so.   It is not dangerous.   It is, I believe, a brain condition and it is quite common.   The actress Katherine Hepburn (for those old enough to remember her) had it.   Hers affected her head and if you watch her in an old film now that you know you will see that she has difficulty in keeping her head still.   Mine affects my hands - my handwriting, my eating, my preparation of food - so many things.   But it is not painful - just a nuisance.   This morning is a perfect example.   Once a fortnight I have a Tesco order delivery on a Tuesday morning early.   I order it on line bit by bit over the fortnight as and whenI remember something I need.

It came at nine this morning - delivered by a nice young man - there seemed rather a lot of it.   When he had gone I began to unload it - I had intended to order a pack of 9 Andrex toilet rolls.   Instead of ordering 1 pack I had ordered 4 packs - so I now have 36 toilet rolls stacked in the garage!!

And speaking of Tesco orders - during lockdown they have changed their packaging several times.   First of all it was heavy duty plastic carrier bags which as far as I am concerned were useless to me so once a fortnight I rolled them up, tied them with string and put them out for recycling.   Then some time later they changed to lightweight plastic bags but, let's face it there's a limit to how many of these you need.   So once again - out for recycling.   Now this morning they have changed again - each big blue plastic box (the things they used before lockdown) is lined with a plastic liner and we are asked to return them the next time the driver calls.

And still on the subject of Tesco (and other superstores) if I sat in my window all day and counted the number of deliveries which passed each day it would be 'a lot'.   Good time to buy shares in the supermarkets!

And back to my shakes - it affects my typing skills so although I do proof read you need to excuse any mistakes I miss!!

 

Monday, 14 September 2020

Monday

 Monday has come round again and with it an absolutely beautiful sunny warm day.   All our really lovely days this Summer have been Mondays - good for anyone still pegging their washing out!

Frankly not a day for me to do very much.   I made a list last evening of all the jobs I wanted to do today and they are now all ticked off apart from ironing two jerseys and a pair of trousers and I intend to leave those until it cools down somewhat.   When I finish this post I intend to take my chair out on the patio and sit in the sun for a couple of hours and soak up a bit of vitamin D.It struck me earlier that in all my childhood I don;t think I ever remember seeing my parents sitting out in the sun.  We did have a lawn at the bottom of the garden and I remember that at one end of it there was a little bench - one of those benches with room for three small children - desks with holes for inkwells and a lift up lid to keep your books in.  I have no idea where it came from.

At the other end of the lawn there was an Ellison's Orange Pippin eating apple tree - in my memory it was always laden and they were delicious - but I don't suppose it was always like that - memory is very selective.

Friends S and T called - the only people who actually come into my bungalow and then we observe the social distancing rules.   We looked round the garden, noticed that one of my helebore seedlings had been attacked by a slug.   S lifted up a leaf to reveal a huge fat slug.  T removed and and threw it over the hedge into the field.   If it does return at least it will take it several days to get back.

Well friends it is now 3.50 and my lunch pots have still not been put into the dishwasher so I had better go and get everywhere shipshape.   Have a good evening.

Sunday, 13 September 2020

Sunday morning early

 Well earlyish and I am really doing everything I can to put off getting dressed after my shower.   Sitting here at the computer in my dressing gown, the reason being that I sent for new trousers and sweater for winter and they need trying on urgently (they came on Friday).  Taking clothes on and off is such a chore at my age believe me.   For instance I love getting up in the mornings and I love going to bed at night but the process of getting dressed and undressed is hard work.

Did any of you watch The Last Night of the Proms?   I did.   I don;t usually because I watch music programmes for the music not for all the razzamataz and it spoils it for me  - hence last night's programme really pleased me.   Yes the orchestra was greatly reduced as were the singers but the music was beautiful.  'The Lark Ascending' was nothing short of sublime, the Mozart was wonderful and the soprano had an incredible voice.   It was good to see a new composition too - as the mother of a son who composes and has done all his life I feel it is very important to encourage new music whether we understand it or not.  Also we should be reminded that in 1913 people booed and walked out of the first performance of Stravinsky's 'The Rite of Spring' although my son reminds me that he - and many others - thinks what the audience were booing and walking out of was not the music but Nijinsky's choreography.

Lower down the country it may well be warming up and people might be walking the hills today in their shirt sleeves.   Here it is cloudy, chilly and blowing and 'almost' gale.   Have a nice day.

Saturday, 12 September 2020

At last a nice day.

 At last there is a reasonably nice day and the weather is set to improve further over the next few days for an Indian Summer.   My bones really need it - crave it in fact.   I would really love to go for a walk with Percy this afternoon, but I have been so busy over this morning that I don't think I have the energy left.  It was our usual Zoom at ten this morning but I just couldn't stay on - my laptop kept telling me that my internet connection was weak and twice I faded out completely and had to reconnect so in the end  I  gave up.  S in the Zoom group suggested I take my laptop nearer to my modem - I shall try it that way next time because it is good to meet up with a group of friends.

After that I did two loads of washing.    One load went in the tumble drier and the second lot I put out (with difficulty) on the washing line.  I have to put the things I wish to hang out into my clothes basket, open the patio doors, return with my clothes basket on my wheeled tea trolley.  Then, standing in the dining room doorway I have to use the stick handle to hook the line near enough to peg things out one by one.   I am too unsteady on my legs to do it any other way but when it is such a lovely day and there are items which will not go in the tumble drier it is worth the effort.   Another hour and two jumpers, one pair of trousers and a winter fleece (yes it is that time of year coming round again) will be dry.   Better than them hanging about in the kitchen for a couple of days.

Now, having cooked and eaten lunch I just feel like making a coffee (real, not out of a jar) and sitting down with The Times.   What have I got to lo ok forward to today.   Well, it is Last Night of the Proms (yes I know it wont be the same but I think I shall watch anyway) and there is Michael Palin on BBC Four going Pole to Pole.    I have seen it before but so far I have been to most of the places he has visited and it is good to see them again - and he is such a nice man anyway. And if all else fails I can always watch another Inspector Montalbano - I have seen them all twice and am on the third viewing - this time round I can actually remember bits of each story although I can rarely remember whodun it.

Have a good week-end everyone.   And if the weather is good where you are then make the most of it - half way through September this week - Winter draws on.



Friday, 11 September 2020

Yet another book

 .My gardener is here starting to get things going on the patio again.   It is beginning to take shape.   This morning he is putting a wooden enclosure around each bush - an enclosure which will project above the pebbles.   I hadn't envisaged it like this but he has persuaded me that it will stop the soil and the pebbles mixing around the base of the bushes and will make for a neater finish.   I am not persuaded fully but he is a good gardener and does know what he is doing so I shall go along with his idea.   I am relieved he has come because the shrubs were ready for a good watering and I can't climb the steps up on to the patio.

It is cloudy and cool and very Autumnal here this morning but the weather forecast is that next week we shall be in for a week of hot weather so maybe we are going to get an Indian Summer.

It was our Book Group on Monday and the book for this month (which Amazon delivered yesterday) is 'Dress your Family in Corduroy and Denim' by David Sedaris.   It is a series of seriously hilarious essays - some only a couple of pages long - about family life.   I have so far read the first three and have decided it is definitely not the book to read on public transport unless you are not embarrassed by making a noise.   It is impossible not to laugh out loud at his turn of phrase and at the pictures he paints.   His every synonym and every metaphor are just so right and just so funny.   Do try to get hold of a copy it is a brilliant choice for Book Group and will be a hard act to follow.

I have nothing planned for today, The Times still hasn't come (it is 10am) so - if it ever arrives - I still have all the Mind Games to do.  I have rung the Newsagent and it just has not come yet.

Have a good day.

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Just another busy day

What should have been an ordinary day turned out to be such a busy day that when I finally got in again I sat down for five minutes before getting my lunch and fell asleep.   A caller ringing my door bell woke me.  

It was important to get that extra plant for my patio today.   If the men come they will not be able to do the next stage unless the plant is in place.   All I wanted was a prostrate evergreen so I expected to be able to get one locally.  No such luck.   I had to drive the twelve miles or so to my usual nursery and there I found a juniper and also a nice grey Santolina which adds another colour to the mix (also makes me back to an even number again!)

I didn't get back home until half past  one and was so tired that I had to have a sit down before lunch and as I said above, fell asleep.   Now, three hours later I have unloaded the plants from the car and carried them round the back of the bungalow, put away the empty containers for papers, tins and plastics (it is recycling collection day), wheeled my green bin round the back.   Just sat down again when the door bell rang and it was the local builder to look at the eaves of my bungalow which need pointing - I am going to have some tiles put along the edges - he is coming to do it next week.   It is four minutes to six and I am dying for a cup of tea.

 

I stopped to look at The Repair Shop on television only to see the face of Boris talking about the dangers of the increase of Covid again.   I suppose it was inevitable that complacency would set it and that the young in particular would revert to type during the warmer weather.  We have all been there, done that, got the T shirt.  We have all gone through that age when we think we are invincible.  The friend who came yesterday has had Covid and has recovered.   She had it early on in the outbreak. And as somebody writing in The Times today says - if the elderly don't die of Covid they may very well die of loneliness.   As I said on here a few days back - my confidence has been shattered.   I am just beginning to get it back but am by no means back to normal.   Am I and thousands like me going to have to take a few steps back and go through it all again?   I do hope not.

On that cheery note - have a good evening.   See you tomorrow.



 

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Pleasureable afternoon.

I have had a   very pleasant afternoon.   Friend S came - she had travelled quite a long way in these Covid days because she lives the other side of Richmond.   We had several hours of chat and covered a lot of ground - what we had done with our lives, where we had lived, how we are spending our retirement, what we have been reading, gardening, (we inspected the patio and agreed that it was coming along nicely).   It wasn't warm enough to sit in the garden but my sitting room is just big enough to social distance and I always keep my bathroom supplied with hand sanitiser and a special personal hand towel for anyone who comes.   Tea and choccy bikkies was the order of the day - a treat indeed for me.   I don;t usually buy them because I can't resist them so best not to have any in the tin.

 

I have just booked my Tesco delivery spot for next week  and after downloading an interesting curry recipe I have ordered all the  ingredients so that I can try it out later next week.   The recipe is from Marie Rayner's site and is for Chicken Samla Curry so watch this space to see how it turns out next week.   This week's soup in my soupmaker tomorrow is another batch of tomato and basil because I enjoyed it so much.  The only other thing on the calendar for tomorrow is to visit the Garden Centre and buy a prostrate conifer of some kind for my patio because I have now got an even number of plantings and we can't have that can we after we all agreed that the planting must be an odd number?

 

 

Monday, 7 September 2020

Monday evening.

Not a bad sort of day as things have been going lately.   In spite of the fact that we have had several absolutely torrential downpours (which have washed the front windows nicely) and the temperature is on the low side (now in the evening the central heating has come on) it has been a good day for me.   It was our Book Group - there are eight of us - and only three could make it at the last minute.   In spite of this we had a really pleasant discussion session on 'A Gentleman in Moscow'; we all three absolutely loved it and I am sure we could have gone on longer than our hour and a half talking about it.

I had enough lunch left from yesterday to heat in the microwave - cottage pie with a mixture of roasted carrot, sweet potato and celery (surprisingly good) followed by three delicious Victoria plums (it is a shame to stew them they are so very good just as they come off the tree).   After half an hour with The Times and my feet up I gave a vacuum through the bungalow, followed by a polish - Monday is the day when - in normal times - my cleaner used to come so I like to keep up tradition.   At five o'clock when the town was  less busy I put on my mask and ventured into our Deli in town for one or two things.There was a perfect parking spot just outside the store.  Toast and honey for tea and then the only downside of the day.   I watched the News at Six.

The horror of it all.   First of all a man stabbed to death and seven others injured in Birmingham and then a schoolboy in Ipswich shot by another school boy on their way to school.   It is just all so very sad that these things should happen.   One feels so helpless.   But I must not end on such a sad note.  It is already getting dark at 7.15 and I shall go round now and draw all the blinds and shut out  the night - the sky has not cleared - it is still heavily clouded.   Tomorrow is forecast to be the best day of the week - weather wise it couldn;t be much worse than today.   If it is of any interest to you - I went to Book Group in my winter fur-lined boots this morning because my feet were so cold.

Saturday, 5 September 2020

Protesting.

Is it good to protest and does it make a difference?   I ask this because today Extinction Rebellion have staged a protest and have blocked the roads to various print works so that today's daily papers have been greatly disrupt ed.  My newspaper, which usuallycomes at eight in the morning has just popped through my letter box at 2.57pm.   I am so pleased that it has arrived.   It is my source of relaxation and my source of news.   I rely on it to tell me whether there is anything worth watching on TV or whether I should get out a book.

 

I was not pleased by this.   I dobelieve that it is important to protest about anything one feels strongly about.   Protests at Greenham Common about the Nuclear Threat were important and were close to my heart.   Had I not had a small child and a husband who needed looking after (only just over ten years earlier he had been onthe Death Railway) I may well have joined the protestors - but we all have to get our priorities right.   But I am old, not mobile and just ask for a quiet life and I  do weigh this up against a protest against climate change and ask myself which is more important.   I have to come down on the side  of Climate Change of course but I have been a bit irritable all morning (you could argue that this in itself makes me think along the right lines).

 

My Zoom on the computer has gone haywire and my son, after chatting to me for an hour about it and trying to rectify the fault, has decided to completely remove it and reinstall it in the hopes it will  perform better next time.   What with lack of a paper and then no Zoom coffee morning I was becoming a bit miffed.   Then my patio man arrived andin a short space of time filled the drainage trench with pebbles and dug holes for the plants I am putting in.   We have decided I need one more so it will be off to buy it tomorrow.

 

Wish I wasn't past going round exhibitions - I see there is one opening at The Royal Academy until the middle of October - Gaugin and the Impressionists - right up my street but the effort is all too much - I can only dream.   Anyone in or near London - lucky you - get booking.

Friday, 4 September 2020

Friday

How quickly Fridays come round - or any other day for that matter - and I suppose, like a lot of you, a calendar is vital to establish what day it is anyway.

 

I have just been reading about The Pilgrim Fathers.If you think we are having it tough under Covid conditions it makes tough reading.    It is 400 years next month since 102 of them set sail from Plymouth on the Mayflower, intending to set up a 'Spiritual Jerusalem' in North America - hopefully in Virginia.   Because the drinking water on board was so bad they were each allocated a gallon of beer a day  throughout the trip (6 percent alcohol) so it is hardly surprising that they actually ended up at  Cape Cod about 500 miles from their intended destination.   And to add to their troubles, within just over fifty years they had fought a fierce battle with the indigenous population in which they lost more than were lost in the American Civil War (per capita).   What dreadful trials and tribulations they must have gone through - makes our troubles seem light by comparison.   Each generation seems to have it easier (covid notwithstanding) - when I think what I have to do compared with my mother's generation and how I take things like my own car, a computer, dishwasher, washer, drier, fridge and freezer as essentials I am almost ashamed to own them.   My mother worked so hard and accepted it as her lot.   And I have no doubt our children will have it easier - relaxing behind the wheel of a self drive car before long I have no doubt.

 

The weather has deteriorated as the day has progressed.   I woke to a pleasant sunny morning with a light breeze but now it is cloudy and windy and chilly - and I have gone into winter-woollies. I have a Zoom with three friends in a couple of hours so I intend to go and put my feet up for that break in between - after several really good nights I had a bad night again last night and am feeling in need of sleep.   Have a good day and see you tomorrow.

 

 

 




 

 

 

 

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Achievements

Two more achievements to tick off on my list today.   It is a quarter to three in the afternoon and I am pretty exhausted, but nothing than an hour on the settee watching 'Escape to the Country' shortly won't cure.    First it was Hairdresser at 9.30 as usual, going half an hour early to get a nearby parking place and sitting doing Mind Games in The Times until time for my hair appointment.   Then it was home again.   Lunch and then my two achievements for today.   The first was to get filled up with petrol - the first time since Lockdown began (well I haven't been anywhere to use any petrol until this week have I?) - try doing it with mask, hearing aids and specs, handbag and stick.   No easy matter but achieveable.   Job one done.

 

Then it was up to the Council Tip with a plethora of cardboard boxes which had been cluttering my garage for weeks.   The young men were unable to help me at all so I had (with all the accoutrements as above) to empty the boot and the front passenger seat and carry them to the appropriate skip my self.One young man took pity on me and did open the passenger side door and take the largest box.


I drove home exhausted by the effort but well-pleased with my day's work.   Tomorrow is another day and there is (hopefully) a good night's sleep i between.

 

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Bright and early.

 The sun is still shining but the clouds are building ominously - rain is forecast for later.  Still, I have a gloriously free day - yesterday was taken up with stocking up with plants for my 'new' patio and at last I have managed to get them all round the back of the bungalow with the help of Percy.  He is not brilliant on steps but once he is down them he performs well.   I need to reorganise where they are before the rain and strong wind arrives later in the day.

 

It is 'soup making day' - I plan to make a batch in the middle of the week, eat it for two days and freeze the rest in portions ready eat it.   This week I shall try a chunky vegetable soup in my new soup maker.   At present I am sticking to the recipe book until I get the hang of things, then I can branch out into rather more outlandish things. Celery, carrots, potatoes, spinach, onions, sweet potatoes and various herbs lie on the work top waiting for me to finish this, shower and get dressed.

I am reading an excellent 'unputdownable' book - 'The Moment' by Douglas Kennedy, an author new to me.   Isn't it good to have a good book on the go?   And this morning I have managed to do all the Times mind games over my breakfast so my brain is in gear and I must take advantage of it - it is not always like this.  Sorry about the change of font but can't see how to change it - so back to normal next time I hope.   Have a good day.

 


Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Confidence

 One thing which has happened, certainly to me and also to a lot of my friends and colleagues, during lockdown which has now gone on for almost six months, is that as well as  being cut off from the world, we have also suffered mentally.   A case in point was yesterday when I ventured forth to the Garden Centre.  Braithwaite's is by far the most professional garden centre around and also one where one can get help and advice.  Bedale is around fifteen miles away and a road I know well, so I decided to go and consult Mr Braithwaite about what plants to buy for my patio project.   I did not enjoy the journey.   I was nervous in the car and felt as though I had never driven before.   I was so lacking in confidence that when I got home I thought about stopping driving - I know the day will come.


After thinking about the plants I decided that    two were wrong and needed changing so what did I do? There was no alternative to getting in the car and going back this morning.   Bear in mind I can only walk with sticks and then not at all well.   So I bit the bullet and set off apprehensively but I had not gone far before I realised that my nervousness of yesterday had disappeared and much of my confidence had been regained.   Lockdown has affected us all in so many ways and it will be a long time before we can be back to normal.


Now all my plants sit here waiting for the patio to be finished - hopefully it will not be long before they can go in.   I started out with seven conifers but now I have sent two back and in their place I have chosen a group of three different coloured grasses to be planted together as a group and an evergreen flowering Hebe.  I have also added a euonymous with a variegated leaf - the whole should giv e a much more cheerful effect.  Tomorrow is another day so onward and upward I say.


Monday, 31 August 2020

Monday morning early

I had a really early start this morning, anticipating that the Garden Centre which is our best one would be open for business and Mr Braithwaite would be there to offer advice.   The centre is in Bedale, which is about twelve miles from where I live and I must say this is the furthest I have driven since Lockdown began.   The trouble at my age is that if one doesn't keep driving one begins to lose confidence - I have several friends who have reached this stage and as I am coming up to my eighty-eighth birthday I really would like to hold on a bit longer - but not of course until I become a liability on the road.

 

The roads were quite busy but I know the way well  and got there with no trouble.   I had already rung to check that there would be somebody there to offer advice and he was waiting when I arrived.   I wished to buy the evergreens for planting up my patio when it is finished.   He suggested seven different ones in various greens and yellows - and one which goes orange in Winter.  Those chosen they were put on one side for delivery next week.  I then bought - and brought home - violas and polyanthus to plant up the tubs by my front door for over wintering.

 

I found driving back harder - I came a slightly different way - an easier way - but I was saddened because I ran over and killed a pigeon.   I know many folk dislike pigeons, seeing them as pests.   But I happen to think that all nature's creatures have an equal right to life (not sure about rats).     Arriving home I was just too weary to lift the box of tub plants out of the boot of my car.   I struggled into the house, put the remains of my yesterday's cottage pie on a plate, put mixed veg in the steamer for five minutes, stuffed a Bramley apple with raisins and honey and within about ten minutes had a lunch ready.   Then I sat down and had an hour's sleep.   I feel much more awake now!

 

The plants will be here early next week and once that area is finished there is only the Mares Tail plot to deal with.   'Only' I say - but together D, my gardener, and I will beat it. (says she hopefully). 

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Sunday morning early!

To be honest 'very early'!   What is that noise I thought - it continued - it was the men who had arrived to continue with my patio.   They should easily finish taking up the crazy paving this morning so then I need to ask at what point I need to go and buy the plants for them to put in.   Will they put them in before or after the weed suppressant layer goes down?   I insist I am having either five or seven evergreen shrubs to sit among the pebbles.   They are greatly amused by this - my insistence on having an odd number.   But I always think an odd number makes for a better display than an even number.  Would you agree or am I being stupid?

 

Doing my Tesco order for Tuesday I have decided on a Chunky vegetable soup for my next recipe in my soup maker.   All the veggies are now ordered.  I am also going to try to be a bit more adventurous with my meals and am going to try Fajitas one day next week with mozarella, olives, tomatoes and a rather strange seasoning which surprisingly Tesco did have.   I have got a bit lazy doing the same things and getting rather bored with it all so I am pushing the boat out - I will report back.

 

I still have not got to grips with the photographs on my new desk top - either the storing of them or the publishing of them on my blog posts.   So for the time being there will be no photographs - sorry.

 

Not a bad day from inside looking out of the window.   Still a strong (cold) breeze but plenty of blue sky and skudding white clouds.   Just needs to warm up a bit now.   Not sure whether Percy and I will venture out today or not.  I went back to wearing my boots yesterday instead of Summer shoes and I fo.und that the ankle support my boots give me makes walking much easier, which is good.   Anything which aids my mobility is a plus these days.   Have a pleasant Sunday despite the chilly weather. We British are a hardy lot - we need to be

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Saturday

As I sit here at the computer, next to a radiator, I notice that the heating is on.   Is that extravagant of me?   After all, it isn't September yet and it is half past eleven in the morning.   Well, my thermostat is set at eighteen, the sun is out intermittently but not at the moment and I do feel the cold.   I won't go into how many layers I am wearing, but I will say that I do begin to wonder what I shall wear in Winter.

 

We have had our usual Zoom coffee morning this morning - and as usual it was very pleasant.   A friend and neighbour is coming round for a cup of tea this afternoon and there are two interesting programmes this evening on BBC Four (This Farming Life and Michael Palin's Pole to Pole, which I have seen before but which I enjoyed so much that I am enjoying again second time round). So that is today taken care of.   There will be no stroll with Percy because it is too windy.


I watched The Proms last evening but it is just not the same without the audience and with the players so spaced out.   They did their best but I felt that they too felt the lack of audience.   There is a piece in The Times this morning which made me smile, speaking of the Proms.   If you are old enough to remember Constance Shacklock (never been beaten in my humble opinion) there is a piece about her having a recording of her singing Rule Brittania at The Proms and somebody asked her to play it for them.   She did so and they asked what was on the B side of the record.   She played that for them too - it was the applause!  As for whether Rule Brittania and Land of Hope and Glory should still be played at the Proms - well I can see both sides of the argument and I don't really wish to come down on either side.   That we milked countries dry in the days of Colonialism is in no doubt but personally I can't say I ever thought of that when hearing those two 'songs'.   That doesn;t make it right though.


Well, I shall go now and eat another dish of my soup and then a Forestiere Mushroom omelette with parmesan on top.  I actually switched on to add a few things to my Tesco order - I intend to try out tortilla wraps - a recipe in today's Times magazine.   It's about time I  cooked something different.   Have a good weekend.

 

Friday, 28 August 2020

Friday

And the start of August Bank Holiday week-end, traditionally awful weather and, if today is anything to go by, this week-end will not break the mould..  It is cold, windy and wet.   As I write clouds of rooks are soaring across the garden and the field behind it, blown this way and that by a strong wind.   I have the central heating on and last night had the electric blanket on for the first hour after retiring.

 

I am having a quiet day today after all the activity yesterday - and am enjoying it.   Living alone can often be a lonely experience but when visitors arrive and there is a fun day then the next day is usually pleasant - no food to think about because there is plenty left, no tidying up or dusting or hoovering - because it has all just been done.   And old friends like yesterday's are always a joy to see.

 


 

I don't expect to see the two men working on my patio this week-end.   It is a holiday week-end and I can't see the weather being miraculously more clement by tomorrow.   Still it will all get finished one day (I hope).   In the meantime I must begin to look for possible conifers and evergreen shrubs to plant. 


I have just researched a chunky soup recipe for next week and added the vegetable ingredients to my Tesco delivery order for Tuesday.  I have a Zoom with friends in the morning and then I shall drive down to the kitchen shop in our little town and hopefully buy some plastic containers so that I can cook enough each week to eat for two days and freeze the rest  - good warming winter food.


There go the rooks again - not sure whether they are enjoying the experience of being swept across the sky or whether they would just like to go home to bed.


See you tomorrow.

 


Thursday, 27 August 2020

Friends for lunch

My dearest and oldest friends for lunch today - over from Windermere.   I have to plan carefully these days when I am entertaining, but I have always loved entertaining and want to continue doing it as long as I can.   I tried my Soup Maker out for the first time with Tomato and Basil Soup and it was easy to follow the instructions - it was delicious we all three agreed.   I followed this with a  plate of various salamis, some just-cooked Cumberland Sausage and some Mushroom and ham quiches and a bowl of roasted new potatoes - plus various salads.   And what was left finished off at tea time with fresh bread rolls and then Wensleydale cheeses and fruit cake.   Now my friends have gone, the dish washer is on and outside the rain is coming down quite heavily again.   Nothing changes there then.   It is important to me that I keep going with entertaining - I have always done it and once I stop I don't suppose I shall start again.   We had a lovely day.   Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Wednesday

Wednesday and the same old weather.   It is hard to believe that that glorious Monday is only two days away - it is like a completely different season.  My poor old half-done patio looks in a sorry state - I just. hope we have a dry spell so that we can see it finished before Winter.   And the same goes for the last spraying of the Mares Tail.   In the giant scheme of things, with all that is going on in the world at present, both things seem so petty.   The trouble again over the shooting in America, the spreading again on Covid and as yet no end in sight, where will it all end?

 

My day has been quite uneventful.   I had coffee with friend D this morning and we caught up on all our news - that was a pleasant couple of hours.   This afternoon I prepared for my friends P and D coming over in their bubble tomorrow from Windermere to have lunch with me.   They are to be guinea pigs in the first use of my soup-maker (tomato and basil which is the first one in the book and looks fail-safe but time will tell, there are so many different buttons to press).   I have a hair appointment in the morning as I do every Thursday so I have to be well-prepared today.

 

Earlier today friends called to show me their new puppy - a cross between a Pekinese and a Shidtzu (sorry about the spelling).   I am really not happy about all these crossbreeds but I have to say it was quite the prettiest  puppy I have ever seen .This is the first time for many years that I have been without a dog - Yorkshire Terrier, Pug, German Short-haired Pointer, Border Terrier - all lovely dogs and I would love one now but my walking is too bad to walk it and it just wouldn't be fair.   The lady who walked Tess died very suddenly about six months before Tess and Tess missed her terribly.

 

Still, we do know when we get our pets that we are going to outlive them (until you get to my age of course) - reading John's post the other day about the dogs he had lost made me sad for him too.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Disgusting

The only word I can think of to describe today's weather is 'disgusting' - it has either rained, poured or deluged all day.   It has at least tidied up my gardening from yesterday but that is all that can be said for it.   Storm Francis I believe and hopefully he will soon be passed and on his way.   Yesterday was so lovely it gave us false hope.   Today is so awful that I can hardly walk my arthritis is so bad in my ankles.   Still - the kitchen floor has had a birthday - I have mopped it for the first time in a long time and by golly it shows.

 

My soup maker came and I have unpacked it and washed it and - after a bit of help from friend S - have managed to find out how to get the lid off. Friends P and D are coming over 'in their bubble' for lunch (socially distanced) on Thursday and we shall have Tomato and Basil soup to try it out.  As Autumn comes on I am sure I shall get good use out of my new toy.

 

In spite of wet weather outside I must now go and put out my green garden bin for collection in the mo rning, so see you all tomorrow.   Have a good evening.

Monday, 24 August 2020

A Perfect Day.

 Today has been a perfect Summer's day - clear blue sky, no wind, warm sun.   The forecast for tomorrow is not good so make the most of today.  I decided that instead of walking today Percy and I would tidy up the bed in the garden to give the fresh air a chance to circulate round the roots of the plants before Autumn arrives.    We had an hour out there  - several sits down, a lot of cutting back and (the one good thing about  I this time of the year) how much better it looks now that I have done it.

 

I had intended to have a walk after lunch but various things held me up and as my Soup maker was scheduled to come between three and four this afternoon I decided against it.   It is now almost seven in the evening and it still hasn't come but I have had an e mail telling me they do intend to deliver it today - so we shall see.   I am really looking forward to getting going wit h my Soup maker.   I have had a succession of Blenders which have made soup  - well I have made it in a saucepan and then transferred the mixture to the blender.   This machine makes it in its entirety so I will refer back when I have given it a go.   The advice I have had from those with a soup maker is to follow the recipes in the recipe book at first so that I get used to the correct quantities (it is easy when one is just making with left-overs to fling everything in the pan and hope for the best).  I don't care for soups with a meat base - my mother's favourite soup which I must say she made very well was made with the remains of a ham shank and dried peas.  I wonder - can you still buy a ham shank?   I haven't seen one for years - I eat very little meat so rarely go into a butcher's shop.


Still no soup maker - can't imagine it will come at this time of night.

 

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Another memory

Last evening I watched a programme on King GeorgeV and Queen Mary - such an interesting programme, there was so much in it that I didn't know.   But there was one thing in the programme that brought back what must have been one of my earliest memories because it happened in 1935 when I would have been three.   I remember their Silver Jubilee so clearly.   There was a huge celebratory fair held on the Cattle Market site on Monk's Road in Lincoln and my father took my brother and me.   I was three so my brother would have been fourteen.   I remember lots of side shows, lots of stalls, lots of fairground rides - but what I remember most of all is that he bought me a rag doll which was as big as I was.   It was red, white and blue and I had it for years.   Channel 5 seems to have the monopoly on programmes about royalty - - I am not particularly royalist but I have learnt such a lot about their history that I didn't know.

 

Three times so far today I have got togged up ready to go for a walk with Percy and three times, before we could venture out of the garage, it has rained quite heavily.   I have given up so have now gone for three days without a walk out.   The trouble is that I walk so slowly that if I get caught in a rain shower I am wet through be cause I am unable to hurry.

 

My soup maker has left the warehouse and is on its way - the wonders of the computer - I can track it all the way here so I don;t need to wait in for it   But if the weather continues in this vein I don't expect to be going anywhere.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Come again another day!

Rain, rain go away.   I don;t expect Derek down there in Kent is saying the old rhyme  - down there on the Isle of Sheppey they seem to be getting one day of heavy rain and then a couple of days of heat and drying wind and they are back to square one again - drought. But up here in The Dales we do seem to be having Autumnal weather quite early.   It is only nine in the morning and in the two hours since I got up we have seen the whole gamut -gloom, rain, sunshine, gloom again and we have just had a downpour - sun about to come out again.  One thing is sure - the men will not be back to work on my patio this morning.   I shall be back to write more later but have just realised I have a Zoom coffee morning with the 'girls' at ten so shall have to get showered and dressed, so see you later.

 

We had a pleasant Zoom meeting - all six of us there this morning and I have another Zoom with my niece scheduled for tomorrow - the wonders of modern science.   How much harder lockdown would have been before the days of computers, television and suchlike.   Although what we have never had we would never have missed so I am sure we would have entertained ourselves just as well.

 

There will be no going out for Percy and I today because the wind is still far too strong.

Reading through my Good Housekeeping magazine which came yesterday I saw that this month's tests had been on Soup Makers.   I switched on my computer late yesterday evening intending to buy myself a cashmere jumper for winter and then had a bright idea.    I have not filled up my car with petrol since before lockdown.   Instead of buying a cashmere jumper to add to my collection, why not buy a  soup maker instead.   No sooner said that done and now, sometime this week, well in time for Autumn and Winter (soup days) I shall be using my new machine.   I have always made a lot of soup but now, having a machine to come to my aid , the world's my oyster.  Anyone got any good soup ideas please?

Friday, 21 August 2020

Friday

There is a howling gale - the noise is quite fearsome and there is without a doubt no walk today for Percy and me, we would have difficulty in keeping our wheels and feet.   And in any case I needed to stay in today for two reasons.   The first of these was the delivery of my locally cooked ready meals - they are delicious and can now be bought in single, for one, portions.  They can be eaten fresh or they can be frozen and they are made by a very reputable local company.  I kept out the Lasagne for lunch today and the rest have been frozen = pork goulash, hunter's chicken, fish pie, chicken in white wine sauce, the lot and my freezer is full to bursting.   I had it with garden peas, it was deliciously tasty and the house smells beautiful!

 

The other reason for staying in is that the electrician is coming to try and locate the source of a noise like a switch which has been annoying me ever since I came to live here.   It suggests a thermostat clicking on and off and sometimes it keeps me awake at night.   By the time I am writing this he has been and has disconnected one possible source of the noise but in fact I think I have heard the noise again since he went.   But we did have a pleasant chat about our little town and all the old shops which  have long since disappeared.  He is a local and has never lived anywhere else whereas I am very much an 'incomer' but I have now lived here for thirty three years so I am getting there.

 

Television-wise it is one of my favourite evenings of the week as Monty Don is presenting 'Gardeners' World' at eight o'clock.   How my father would have loved Monty.   I loved my father very much - he was a kind and gentle man and he taught me a love of all nature.  Here is a poem I wrote some years ago in his memory (he died in 1971)

                            'The Armchair Gardener'         

                Swathes of poppies,

                banks of delphiniums,

                fronds of ferns and

                a cascade of pools.   

 

                He planned it all from the

                comfort of his armchair.

                Outside

                golden dandelions     

                and a rash of purple thistles 

                painted their own canvas. 

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Thursday

Sometimes with new blogger things go oddly wrong.   Why my label for yesterday should read 'The Dancing Sailors' by Ann Pilling I have no idea - but I don't want to interfere as it then takes so long to wriggle out of all the new procedure - so just ignore it please.

 A nice, breezy, sunny day today and everything has dried up nicely.   I do wish the two men doing my patio had come today while everything is dry - I fear by the week end it will have rained again and everywhere will be a sloppy mess.   But after my very useful day all round yesterday today has not been as successful.   To start with, because I had been so busy all day, my mind was very active and I found sleep impossible.   At half past one this morning I got up and made myself a cup of cocoa (delicious) and sat and read for an hour. This meant that I slept in a little and as I have to be at the Hairdresser at 9am I had to rush.  Our little town is bedevilled by traffic lights at present and they were by my usual parking place, so I had to park in the market square which made my walk to the hairdressers longer than usual.  When I came out I found the walk back quite a struggle, particularly as I called in and queued to  pay my newspaper bill.   The upshot was that I called in my favourite  coffee shop for the first time since lockdown and bought a pot of my favourite coffee and a toasted teacake.  Needless to say I didn't feel like lunch so I didn't eat that until after two when I had scrambled eggs.

 Now it is almost half past four and I shall go and put my feet up and watch Antiques Road Trip and write today off to experience.   Enjoy your evening. 

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Wednesday

 Such a lovely morning here - warm and sunny with just a slight breeze but it has been all downhill (or maybe that should be uphill) since then and now, late afternoon, it is chilly and raining and the sky is full of big dark clouds.   I do hope this is not the end of Summer and the start of Autumn.  Our Summers are never all that long up here in the North but a few extra weeks would be rather nice.

I had a piggle at my shredder - there was a piece of paper stuck in the works and I  couldn't get it going.   Shredders really are frustrating things I find.  When they are working they are such helpful things.   I did a nice lot of office work this morning and after half an hour with the tweezers it is working again.   One lot through before I put this post on and now, when I finish it another lot through.

Not a lot to write today - I did have a short walk round the block with Percy but my arthritis is very bad today - rain coming always makes it worse but the flip side of course is that it did make me do my office work so not all bad.   Hairdresser in the morning - early as usual.

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Tuesday

 Tuesday - notable here for being Dustbin Day - one week Green bin for Garden Rubbish and then various recycling receptacles and the other week for Grey 'Ordinary' dustbin.   Works like clockwork and -because of my age and disability - my stuff is collected from the top of my drive.   But don't let's feel too smug about how we collect all that plastic for recycling when we see on the News the amount of plastic in the sea and read in the papers how tiny plastic particles are now regularly found in the human body.


I am gradually getting used to my new Dell but I do apologise how I never seem to get the same size of print two days running.   This is the size I prefer so I will try to stick with it from now on.   The trouble is that this new machine is so very sensitive that I only have to move a finger and I lose the whole thing or I change the size of the type or something else happens to throw a spanner in the works.

All Summer long a little mouse has lived in the wall behind my only rose.   We have met regularly and I have become quite attached to him/her.   Now this morning he lies dead on my patio.   A tabby passes through my garden each morning - are the two things connected?   I expect so.   Nature red in tooth and claw.


I'm afraid Autumn has arrived overnight here.   I do hope we get just a little more Summer.   My Mares Tail weed has yet to be sprayed for a start and my Patio has still to be finished.   At present it is a quagmire - there is no way I can walk over it to cut back my antirrhinums - a shame because one cut back and I just might get a new crop of flowers.   Still, you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs as they say.

Monday, 17 August 2020

Monday Blues

I certainly seem to have the blues at the moment, possibly because, as so many of you are saying, everything seems to be going wrong at the moment.  It would be so easy(and is easy when one lives alone) to sink into the 'slough of despond'.   But it is a pretty pointless exercise because it doesn't make anything any better.   The answer for me to day has been to keep as busy as possible.

 

I needed to go into town to reorganise some of my financial affairs and when I had done that I decided to drive the five miles or so to the farm shop where I buy my ready-made meals - forgetting that they don't open on Mondays.   Never mind, my little car enjoyed the jaunt - she never goes anywhere these days (I haven't filled her up since the beginning of lockdown).   On my return I e mailed my order through and then got my lunch (fish pie and mushy peas).   I had a very bad night last only, only discovering when I got up this morning that I had forgotten to take my medication at bedtime, which is probably why.   So after lunch I had a rest with The Times and then did an hour at reorganising my files.   


After watching the News Headlines I did an hour's cutting back in the garden - how this hot weather and then rain has finished so much of the herbaceous border.   And now I have just read all your posts - so a busy day.   And speaking of the News - I am pleased to see that the Government have seen sense and are now relying on Teacher Assessment for O and A Level Results.


There has been an improvement in the weather today.   First last week we had several glorious days of scorching-hot sunny weather, then several days of intense humidity together with heavy cloud and a thick mist everywhere so that it never really got light.   Now today I drew back the curtains to pouring rain but by lunch time a watery sun was out and it has been a pleasant and warm afternoon.  Lovely to see a bit of blue sky again.   I just hope we miss the thunderstorms which are forecast.


Sunday, 16 August 2020

Gardening and other pastimes!

Alright - I will admit it - sadly 'gardening' as such is no longer a pastime as I wobble about the garden with Percy, trying to keep my balance.   But I make a good Supervisor when either D1 or D2 do a major job.   And this part of my garden has been a thorn in my flesh ever since I came to live here and now, at last I am getting something done about it.   Of course this morning the weather has stepped in to 'stop play' but a start has been made.   D2 came again yesterday morning (D1 was busy elsewhere) and they are gradually making progress.   The whole area was covered with a thick layer of crazy paving.   I am having it taken up, weed suppressant cover put down and then a thick layer of pebbles laid with stepping stone paving slabs across to the path into the rest of the garden.  An odd number (perhaps 5 or 7) evergreen shrubs - of fairly upright habit - will be planted to break up the monotony of the pebbles and each will have its own special watering channel at the side of it.   I can't put pots on the pebbles because I don't any longer find it easy to get up to this level.   But I took a picture of D2 working yesterday morning - and managed after a bit of fidding about to get it on here using the new Blogger.   I will take more pictures as work progresses.   It is raining heavily now so there will be not work today.


Saturday, 15 August 2020

Another Saturday

 How quickly Saturdays seem to come round.   The gardener who is transforming my Patio was here early this morning to do another stint at getting the old crazy paving up.   It is three quarters up now and once that is done that is the real donkey work over.   He and my usual gardener are working together but my usual chap couldn#t come this morning for some reason.   It will be so good when it is all done.

A Zoom coffee morning this morning - five of us and a nice relaxed chat.   I have nothing else to do today and it is neither raining nor not raining - just damp paths and a fine mist, grey skies and no warmth (thermal vest back on this morning) - sorry if that is too much information.

I have just typed a long business letter on my new computer and printed it out - hard work, but done now.   Now what I need to do as a matter of urgency is enlarge the cursor which is minute - larger and a brighter colour will be a great help but I shallnt do it today - sufficient unto the day and all that.   My new laptop is very sensitive and things disappear at the drop of a hat which is a bit frustrating but hopefully I shall get used to it.  Enjoy your Saturday evening.

Friday, 14 August 2020

Friday and thick cloud again.

I had nothing at all planned for today.   I awoke early and couldn't get back to sleep again.   Sometimes when this happens I tend to have negative thoughts which can be so self-destructive - in which case I always think it best to get up and start my day early.  By early I mean seven o'clock, although it is such a dull day that it hardly seemed light - and thus it has been all day.

 

Poor old A Level students - all that work they have put in and then the Government base the results on some stupid algorithm or other rather than on the Professional expertise of the people who have taught them, who know how much work they have put in and can therefore make a judgement on how they would have done which is much more likely to be a realistic assessment.

 

Breakfast over I switch on my new computer to find my security system  telling me it needs to speak to me.   Can I communicate with them?  The simple answer is No so I have to ring my son who talks me through it over the telephone.   That done I do my usual quick tidy through and any cleaning which needs doing.  I have a bill to pay so write out the cheque and decide that Percy and I will walk to pay it to  L who kindly does some shopping for me (and fish and chips too this week).   So immediately after my stir fry lunch I set off down the estate - the longest walk I have done since lockdown began.   We took it steady, going along at a wandering pace and as I came in sight of 'home' I saw friends T and S were just about to leave having found me out.  They had brought me the jar of honey I had requested so it will be toast and honey for breakfast in the morning.

 

D called to tell me he will continue working on my patio in the morning, which is good news.   The sooner it is done the better - we can get it planted up and that will be another area done.

 

I managed to change the time on my new computer - it seemed to be set to continental time of some kind - I was rather pleased to find it easy to do.

 

Now after my ham sandwich and crisps tea I just have this to do and then I shall settle down for the evening - quite a busy day after all - several nice long chats, a good walk and a nice lunch and tea - I am ending the day in a much better frame of mind than the one I started it in.   Enjoy your evening.

Thursday, 13 August 2020

Into town

 Today for the first time during Lockdown I had my first real trip into town - first to the Hairdressers and then on to the Building Society.    We are a holiday area, with lots of Holiday cottages and so the town was busy - the car parks were full, the cafes were full and there were lots of folk wandering about and looking in the shop windows - just like in normal times.   It all seemed a bit strange and will take some getting used to - for me at any rate.


It is actually rather nice to have a day without the sun.   The heat is still around but there is no sign of any sunshine, it is just very heavy and dull.   I expect it is coming in off the North Sea.   All I can say is that people seem rather relieved to see it.   A haircut, paying money into my Savings account, then home again to read The Times.   A cold lunch - pork pie, tomatoes and crisps - because a friend is bringing me a fish and chip tea at six this evening and boy am I looking forward to it - it is a long time since I had such a thing.


Walking round town was quite hard without Percy but I can't get him into the back of my car so I have to make do with just my stick.   Going into a supermarket is good because a trolley is marvellous support but it is then difficult to get the produce to my car boot.


I have the chiropodist coming at three thirty this afternoon so even my feet are having a birthday today.   I think this is the busiest day I have had since lockdown began -  quite exciting really.   See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Wednesday

We are just not used to this intense heat and humidity and I for one am finding any kind of motivation very difficult.   My computer room looks out to the North which means it is always cool and my patio doors are also on the North so it is possible to keep my bungalow cool.   I have not cooked a lunch today, relying instead on a pork pie and salad - so I am keeping as cool as I can.   I really wonder how people who live in tropical climes manage to get any work done.

 

My brain feels addled with all the heat and I just can't think of a single subject to write about.   The whole subect of Covid 19 seems done to death - it is still as serious as it ever was and I am sure it is by no means behind us but wherever I go around home here some people seem to be obeying all the rules and others seem to be ignoring them competely.   Maybe, because we have had so little of it around here I rather think we have become a bit complacent.

My poor garden begins to look parched.  I know that watering it is not the answer - that just encouragess the roots to come to the top for a drink.  Hopefully, if they search downwards with their roots they will encounter damp soil before long.  One thing for sure - there are butterflies and bumble bees in profusion today and that has got to be good.   So take a break in the sun if you are able to do so.    I'll see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Day two and still learning.



The weather here is indescribably humid.  Lightning flashed all night again but no thunder so too far away in the West.  I have just had a walk round with Percy before it gets any hotter.   He is out in the sunshine in case I feel like another walk early evening when it has cooled down a bit.

The air is so still and there is almost a sense of 'waiting' for a storm.  I believe they are likely to go up the West of the country rather than up this side but there is certainly a feeling in the air.

Children in Scotland are back at school today after almost five months away - they will feel strange.   Really the whole world has changed so much during the time of Covid that one wonders if total normality will ever return again.

I feel slightly more at ease with my new laptop but the size of type keeps changing of its own accord (probably my hands hovering over it I would guess) and various strange things keep popping up.   But I shall get there.    I have a Zoom meeting with friends later today so I hope I can manage to get that - time will tell.   I will add to this later in the day (if I can get back on to it!!)

Monday, 10 August 2020

Here at last (fingers crossed)

Well I think I am home and dry as far as my posts are concerned.   I got my new Dell laptop on Saturday and my son has kindly set it up for me.   Now I am getting used to it and trying to apply Computer Sense to what ever I do - sometimes successfully, sometimes not so successfully.   The trouble is that my computer knowledge is not always trustworthy.  I really don't think I am a very logical thinker.   But I shall persevere and you will all (hopefully) bear with me for a while.

Considering we are still in semi-lockdown I have really had quite a busy week-end.   I  had asked some builders to take up my upper patio of crazy paving and replace it with pebbles so that I can plant maybe five evergreen shrubs in it to make the area more interesting.    They came to start the operation over the weekend.   In addition I had a series of phone calls and yesterday afternoon friends S and T called with some, runner beans, a courgette and a cucumber.   I have had them for my lunch today with a cottage pie - delicious.   Then my friend and neighbour came round for a chat - so the week end soon passed.

Today has really been one of teething problems with my new laptop but I am gradually getting used to it and every step forward I make gives me a little more confidence.   The weather is extremely humid - still, hazy sunshine and very warm.   Thunderstorms are forecast throughout the week and it will be hit and miss whether we get one or not.   I can't imagine it will be pleasant sleeping tonight as the weather is so very close.

One thing I shall have to do soon on my new laptop is to set the time correctly.   As I write this the time is a quarter past seven in the evening but my laptop tells me it is a quarter past eleven.  I shall retire to the sitting room now to give myself  a break - and return, refreshed, tomorrow.   Sleep well.

Friday, 7 August 2020

Should we listen? Should we care?

Half of me feels quite ashamed to write this,  but the other half recognises that I can't do anything so that all it does is it makes me feel totally inadequate.  I watched half an hour of the Breakfast programme on BBC this morning over my breakfast.   In the course that half hour I saw:

1.  The terrible loss of life and devastation in Beirut.

2.  The new lock downs here, there and everywhere just underlining

     the fact that people are not following the rules.

3.  People crossing the Channel in flimsy inflatable boats,

     trying desperately to get across to the  UK. 

4.  A forecast for the next year's economic growth (or lack of it)

    and the possible unemployment figures.

   

I am in my late eighties, I am aware of all these things, but I can do

 absolutely nothing about any of them.  Do I keep torturing myself every morning watching and despairing or do I stop watching - in other words do I say 'Stop the World I want to get off?'

 

Changing the subject completely (I cannot worry about the above all

day) my new computer has just come but because my son has only just returned from a car service he has decided to leave it until tomorrow.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Still here.

My new computer is 'en route' but has not yet arrived so this dear little old one still sits here and allows me to put on a post - I anticipate problems of a teething nature as I increasingly realise that I really know absolutely nothing about the 'workings' of the computer.   When I mention something my son looks at me in amazement and says things like 'that is not how it works Mother'.   I am determined that when I get au fait with it I shall make more of an effort to really understand how things work.   It will probably come tomorrow, in which case I shall not be posting.

Hair day today - I have really got it well-organised now.   Each Thursday I leave home half an hour before my appointment taking with me the Times Mind Page which gives me a variety of things to .do.   This means I can find a place to leave the car near to the salon.
(I do have a Blue Badge and could park outside but it would hold the traffic up on a busy road).   With just five minutes to go I put on my face mask and gently walk to the salon.  It is difficult to get Percy in the car on my own so I go gently with a stick.   Today I parked next to a car which had been very badly damaged in some kind of crash.   One side of the car was completely battered in - it was like parking next to a wounded animal.

The morning here was a delight - hot sun, no wind - Summer at last.   But as the day has gone on it has clouded in and it is much cooler.   I am religiously doing my new balance exercises after each meal - I somehow feel these will help me although they are a bit scary to do.

Beirut is so distressing.   My Grand daughter's friend has lived there for some years but happily she is safe.   I see that countries (including Israel) are sending relief teams.  I am not sure how one equates helping the wounded and buried people with contemplating fighting a war - there is something about the whole conflict that I just don't understand.   And it is not just because I am getting old - I can blame my lack of computer knowledge on that but I have never understood - and never will - how two nations can fan the flames of hatred for as long as Israel and Lebanon have done.