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.

Saturday, 15 June 2019


Day dreaming just after lunch I heard an odd sound.  After a few seconds I identified it as my gardener using the strimmer round the edge of my front lawn.   Being on quite a steep slope it is well-drained so was really relatively dry.  He then set to work on weeding the back rockery and I went out to help him where I could reach without falling over.   It looks a lot better after his couple of hours.   And the sun on my back as we worked was welcome.

Now, a couple of hours later, it is pouring with rain again and the central heating is on.   Will it never end?

Reading Rachel's post today makes me realise just how much there is going on in the world at the moment.   It is not just Brexit that is in turmoil, it seems to be everything - so much so that I really don't feel at my age I can be bothered with any of it.   Is this wrong?   I have always considered myself to be well - informed on matters political and on world affairs (my first husband was politically minded) but the farmer never raised his head above the farming balcony so to speak.   So over the years I have followed suit and now (at 86) I am too set in stone to be bothered.   Is this wrong of me?   I shall of course vote if and when there is an election (every woman in the land should do that after the hard fight for women to get the vote in the first place) but other than that I shall keep my head buried in the sand.   Should I wake up and make myself take an interest again?   Am I wrong to concentrate my thoughts on my garden, my lunches out, my friends, my son and my great grand-children?   Serious answers please before I begin to feel guilty.

Friday, 14 June 2019

What is that?

A ball has appeared in the sky - can it possibly be the sun?   It is indeed.   On rising this morning it was wet, as it has been all week.   But as the day has gone on it has got gradually better and now the rain has stopped and a weak sun has come out and the temperature has risen to a positively tropical fifteen.   There is a Festival of Food and Drink here this week-end, starting first thing in the morning.   Apart from the main road through the town all other roads are closed so that stalls can be set up so one can but hope they get fine weather for the next couple of days - they must have been anticipating the worst.

I still have no facility to send e mails although I can still receive them.   If it has not righted itself by the end of the week-end I shall ask the computer man to call in and help me.   I have tried every symbol visible around the edges of the e mail page and nothing makes the slightest bit of difference.

Plants in the garden are looking rather sad and bedraggled.   I have three clumps of Silene (a cultivated form of Campon) which have been out for weeks and weeks and have given me a magnificent show.   But this rain has finished them off and as soon as everywhere has dried up a bit I shall go out and carefully cut off all the flower stems.   Luckily I can reach all three plants from the patio so it is a job I can do.   I shall also go out tomorrow and investigate the new long border in the hope that it has survived intact too.   I feel sorry to those who grow roses in abundance as the first find blooms were just coming out on some gardens around the estate the bushes are just a bedraggled mess - especially the really old-fashioned bush roses which have such a delightful smell.   But, sadly, it is one of the perils of gardening - last year too dry and this year too wet.

Out to lunch again today as I am every Friday - today I had pan-fried salmon with fennel and saute potatoes in a buttery sauce - delicious.

Thursday, 13 June 2019


First of all to address the irritating problem of my e mails.   Several of you send me regular e mails, which I do appreciate.   I love to get them and to answer them.   But at the moment this is impossible.   Some weeks ago I was put on an updated e mail system which BT said would be much better.   I am yet to be convinced of this.   My latest thing is that there is not 'send' coming up at the bottom so that when I finish writing I suddenly realise I can't send it so it languishes in my save box waiting until suddenly (I hope) I can send them again.   Trying to bypass this by clicking on 'reply' makes no difference at all - there is still no method I can see of actually sending my e mail anywhere.  Anyone any ideas as to what I can do please?

Next to today's jollifications.   Our old friend Winn (real name Lavinia) is ninety-eight years young today and twelve of us went down to Tennant s cafe for breakfast at ten o'clock.   And did she enjoy it.   She had bacon, egg, fried bread and a pot of tea (we all had a different combination).   Everyone brought her a birthday card and after our feast we sang Happy Birthday to You and she joined in loudly, substituting 'me' for 'you'.  We had our photograph taken standing at the foot of the staircase - if I get a copy I will add it to this post.   It really was a lovely occasion and she enjoyed every moment.   I found myself close to tears several times (one of the hazards of getting old I'm afraid) but they were tears of joy not sadness.

The rain is still falling but not as heavy and the sky is lightening - if only the sun would emerge for five minutes we would all feel better for it. 

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Flaming June.

Well all you folk there in the South East - I think, after reading your posts, that we have got off quite lightly up here.   Yes it has been windy and yes it has rained all day (and probably all last night as well) but not in sheets and although it is wet and soggy everywhere the wind has now more or less died to a breeze and the rain is just a light showery rain and there is a feeling that just perhaps it is going to be a bit better tomorrow.   We shall have to wait and see.

I had lunch (fish and chips) out with a friend D today at Tennants Auction House in Leyburn (Google it if you want to see our fantastic Auction House) and afterwards we wandered round an exhibition of the work of William Morris.   What a talent and how timeless his designs were - they lose none of their beauty as time goes by and are as fresh today as they were when he was alive.   I think of them all perhaps 'The strawberry thief' is  one of my favourites.

It is an image familiar to everyone.

H took Tess for a long walk this evening, brought her back and came in for tea and cake and a chat, and that passed a nice couple of hours .   On grey days like this it is nice to sit and chat to someone when one lives alone.   Now it is almost time for a programme I want to watch on Dementia - how good it is that at last we are all able to talk about it.   It is out in the open and much better for it.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Will it, won't it?

    Well, the expected rain has not reached here yet.   When I drove back on to my drive at eleven this morning the temperature was ten degrees and there were spots of rain on the windscreen.   Now at half past two things are much the same although the rain is falling steadily now.   Poor Derek has lost his first flush of lovely roses to the downpours and this is always a disappointment although they will give him another display.

As a nation we are given to talking endlessly about the weather - and I am one of the worst offenders living, as I do quite close to the weather up here in the Dales.   But frankly anything makes better conversation at the moment than Gove and his Class A drugs or Boris and his various machinations.   I am sick of it all before it really gathers steam - just wanting it all to be over.

What is irritating me at the moment is companies and their web sites.   Can anyone tell me how, when a web site is simple to operate, easy to find a way through and satisfying when it all works out, does a company have to change it all?   Ordering a pair of sandals took me ages, I wasn't happy  with them and had to send them back.   It used to be so simple but not any more.  An hour's puzzling got me there in the end but when the man came this morning to collect them he told me every person he goes to is complaining.If it ain't broke don't mend it springs to mind.   And the same applies to BT and their changes to the e mail system.   Did anyone ask for them?   Was anyone dissatisfied with the old system?   I have more or less got used to the new way but was it necessary?   Is there a purpose behind it all and if so - what?   And it is no good saying 'don't buy things off the internet'.  I live around ten miles from the nearest small town, twenty five miles from a larger town and around forty from any sizeable shopping complex.   How else to buy clothes these days when internet shopping has caused small shops to close their doors?   End of rant.

Keep your brollies handy if you live in the UK!

Sunday, 9 June 2019


As a nation we have always been interested in the weather I think.   And it is certainly never the right weather as far as I can make out.   It is alright for some but never for all.   We have either had too much rain, too little rain, the wind has slaughtered our delphiniums, a late frost has caught our newly put out bedding plants.    That's gardening life for you.   Some folk are philosophical about it all, some are almost neurotic - rushing out in the early evening to drape fleece around tender plants.  And as for lawns - do you like yours like a bowling green - weedless, mossless, deep green, mowed in stripes - or are you content as long as it doesn't get too long?

My first husband was a keen gardener and really enjoyed his time creating a garden whether it was growing a greenhouse full of tomatoes or nurturing delphiniums grown from seed (and that was a job and a half, I can tell you).  As for the Farmer - time was of the essence and after a long day being out in the open and being on the land (which is of course precisely what gardening is) he really only did what was necessary to keep things tidy.   As I aged I could do less and less although I have always loved it too.   Now I am lucky enough to have D who mows, weeds, sprays and does anything else that needs doing.   Any bits on the flat, like my new long border, I am really enjoying looking after (photographs when there is anything to show for my work).

Looking at 'gardens' like Chatsworth (where there is an RHS Show which finishes today) , lovely as it all is with its long vistas of perfect lawn leading to fountains and lakes and specimen trees - and a team of gardeners to keep it all pristine - I don't envy them one bit of it - any more than I envy them the huge house, beautiful as it is.   Give me my little abode, its little garden just right for pottering and just a sitting room for sitting in, a kitchen for cooking, a bathroom for ablutions and a bedroom for a good night's sleep and plenty of windows to look out on my pocket sized garden and I am happy.

Saturday, 8 June 2019

We are all in this together it seems.

It did seem as though Derek in Kent and Rachel in Norfolk were missing out on the cold wet weather but it looks as though it might be spreading there later today.   Here it has rained and rained - everywhere just looks waterlogged and (no excuses) I have just turned the thermostat up and the heating has come on.   I can see no point in being really cold.

Saturdays are usually my least busy day of the week and today is no exception.   Apart from a visit from my Chiropodist - sorely needed - I have seen no-one.   I just went round the estate with Tess as the rain had eased off a bit and I saw not a single soul. I came back five minutes ago and the rain has begun in earnest again.   I had forgotten it was the Queen's birthday today so I didn't watch Trooping the Colour,  so perhaps I can catch up with the shortened version this evening - I do like the pageantry of it all.

Slightly better weather forecast for tomorrow.   One of the things we get a lot of up here are 'Open Gardens' - villagers put on a really good show,    often with scarecrow competitions too and tea and scones.  I don't know whether any were planned for today - they are always on Saturdays - but if so then they would really be a washout.   Even the plants in the garden are telling us they have had enough.

Friday, 7 June 2019

7th June.

Yes, read the date above in the title before I tell you that the rain is beating down on the window and also pouring down my drive.   I did get a dozen antirrhinums and four lavender bushes planted before it started to rain this morning but I certainly didn't have to water them in - more likely the rain will wash them out looking out of the window.
I spent the afternoon at the hairdresser getting my hair permed - what some women will go through in order to look passable (all that is possible at my age).   But it's done now and I am home again. And meanwhile Tess had a lovely walk with her friend H - all round a nature reserve.   And she managed to get round before the rain really started.   She came straight in, ate last night's tea, which she had not eaten, and is now curled up asleep in her bed next to the radiator (yes, the central heating is on again Derek). 

I left the Hairdressers at four o'clock and walked through the market place on the way back to my car in the carpark.   All the market had packed up and gone (it was pouring by this time) and I was surprised to see that most of the cafes and shops were also closed up.   I had planned to treat myself to a Cornish Pasty for my tea along with a salad, but Andy's shop was empty and in darkness.  So I ended up having my usual standby of a jacket potato with butter and grated cheese and a salad which I made while it was cooking.   I must say it was delicious, particularly as I followed it with a bowl of Perthshire strawberries - sweet as honey.

Forecast is equally bad for tomorrow and then set to get cooler.   Flaming June anywhere?

Thursday, 6 June 2019


For some reason I am very tired today.   Tess is the same - I wonder if it has something to do with the fumes from the woodworm treatment, although I have kept windows and doors open to fend the smell off.   Anyhow, all done and dusted.   The electrician came and removed the downlights from the kitchen so there are now ten holes in the kitchen ceiling and the decorator came a while ago to look at filling them in and emulsion painting the ceiling.   It will be a fortnight before he comes but as the nights are at their lightest I can easily manage without light in the kitchen apart from the lights under the wall cupboards if necessary.

I did a little bit of gardening.  It is the best day we have had lately here.   Nice breeze and warm sun.
And what a difference rain and then warm sun makes to the plants which all seem to have grown six inches overnight (that includes the weeds too of course).   63up was fascinating again last night and looks to be most fascinating of all tonight  - the last night of the series.   I have really been so interested in how these children have developed over the years.   There is a sadness too  - but maybe there is always sadness in our lives passing.   It was brought home too by the D Day commemorations today - I remember it all so well (I was twelve years old) but thought how much more people of my age in Normandy must be feeling it today.   We just heard about what was happening and worried about our loved ones who were involved (in my case my brother) but we didn't have it happening literally on our doorsteps.