Sunday, 15 December 2019

Snow.

Yesterday morning I woke at 5.30am to find the central heating on (it is set at eighteen overnight) so it had obviously been very cold.   Today I didn't wake until a quarter to eight, only to find the heating hadn't come on.   When I drew back the bedroom curtains there was snow  - obviously the snowfall had kept the temperature up a little.   I might add that I quickly turned the heating on - I am not that hardy!  Now, at half past nine, the sun is shining and the snow seems to be going, so I should be alright to go out on my usual lunch date.
Remember I live in very hilly countryside and I drive a nippy little Vauxhall  Corsa - not the most suitable combination for wintry weather. 

I have still no landline - the fault seems now to have been identified as under my front lawn and they are coming tomorrow to dig that up.   I cannot complain about BT service - they have been very good at giving me priority because of my age and  trying to restore my access to Lifeline, the service I belong which helps people who live alone.  So I am relying on my mobile at present.

My old 98 year old friend, who always comes out to lunch with us on Sundays, called off today - she said she didnt want to venture out in the snow and that the view from her window, looking out directly into the Dale, was enough to keep her happy all day as it was 'white over'.   As friend W had another engagement that meant that just C and I were there.   We both had a veggie choice - C had Penang Curry and I had Vegetable Chilli - both were delicious.   For 'afters' we both had cheese and biscuits with celery and apple - it was delicious too.   I arrived home in time to take Tess for a short walk before the road got icy - I dare not walk on the footpath as it still had snow on it and had hardly melted at all.   I have to cajole Tess into going out when it gets too cold so I don't think she missed her usual walks.   Now all the blinds and curtains are drawn, the heating is turned up and both of us are settling down for a snug evening once the place gets warm.   Hopefully see you tomorrow.

Friday, 13 December 2019

Well, well, well.

Don't know whether to be pleased, horrified or dis affected - all I can say is that it is over and we shall see.   At least there is a clear majority whether you like it or not so something should be able to get done rather than shilly-shallying from one argument to the next.

Down here on the ground floor, the grass roots, with one of the safest Conservative seats in the country (there's a lot of money about in North Yorkshire) there was never any doubt so not a lot of interest.   I have no idea what the turn-out was but there was a steady stream when I went to vote and in a town of not many more than a couple of thousand that is what you would expect.

Now it has all died down, no more shouting, all loud hailers, all pamphlets through letter boxes, all empty promises - gone as if they had never been.   So now we can get back to serious posts folks.   Only trouble is that my landline is down - I didn't have online service but it suddenly came back on late yesterday evening,  but the phone is still dead. Luckily my son is sorting it out for me with BT - I am now at the stage where I easily get into little pieces and flap!!   See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Thursday

What a strange week it has been weather-wise.  Alternate days have been breezy but pleasantly sunny.  The other days, including today, have been horrible.   Today it is very cold (two degrees), very foggy and heavy rain.  Luckily the rain didnt start until I got home after a trip into town - my usual hair appointment followed by chores.  Because it involved some admin work involving my son and because he has now broken up for the Christmas holidays, he kindly chauffered me round - a great help.   Admin done I slipped into our Deli and bought two large Christmas cakes as presents.   They are made in Wensleydale and are every bit as good as home made.   Now that I no longer have my beloved Aga I no longer bake cakes.

I got home to find that Tess was out with Jane, my dog walker and Tess was quite perky when she returned - she had obviously enjoyed it in spite of the weather.   I spent a quiet afternoon reading, doing the puzzles in The Times (I do these every day - have to keep the old brain active), and having the odd doze until it was time for The Repair Shop.

Well Election Day is drawing to a close - thank goodness - I and many others - am totally sick of all the empty promises and all the waffle.   I shall certainly not stay up  to see the declaring of the results; there was a time when I did.   I did go and vote -my son drove me up to the Polling Station.  I was in two minds whether to bother (ours is a very safe seat) but , as my son always says, "Remember Emily Davidson mother" - and I do.

Another week bites the dust.   Not long to Christmas now - and more importantly not long to a New Year.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Wednesdays

The fact that the same things happen each week on the same day does tend to make the weeks come round quickly.   I am not complaining;   I like time to whizz by not drag.  Wednesdays are a day in particular because friend S almost always comes after her Craft Class to take Tess for her walk.   Today was no exception.   By the time S came the sun had more or less disappeared which meant that the cold had begun to come down and it wasn#t all that exciting a prospect but it does do Tess such a lot of good and she does adore S.

They arrived back half an hour later and S and I sat in the Sitting Room and put a few things to rights (without once mentioning tomorrow and the election!) before S went home.   I did a bit of admin which needed doing - increasingly I hate doing it and begin to feel scared that I shall do it wrong - old age I think. 

Now is time to close the blinds, draw the curtains, turn the heating up a bit and sit down to watch The Repair Shop - a programme which I enjoy tremendously.   To watch these expert skilled craftsmen and women at work is mind blowing.   Maybe hummus on crackers for tea and a piece of fruit - neither take a lot of getting ready and I am feeling lazy today.

Monday, 9 December 2019

Monday

Monday and only a couple more weeks to go.  It is not my favourite time of the year and I expect I write for many who have been widowed when I say this.I am spending the day with three friends, all on their own, and we shall enjoy our time together.   I did contemplate asking my dog-walker to house my dog over the period but have decided against it - I shall miss her too much in the time I am here alone. 

Bit by bit I am getting all my pre Christmas jobs done - cards delivered or posted, parcels posted, drinks cupboard topped up for callers and just a few small decorations put around the place.   Cards have begun to arrive - I always enjoy them and especially those from friends far away which might have a letter enclosed. 

One of my favourite things is The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from Kings, usually on TV on Christmas Eve and always a joy. 

My Great grand daughter is three today and has had a little party (last Saturday) with seven of her little friends, when they played lovely games - all completely new to me.   She rang me tonight to say thank-you for her birthday presents - it is lovely that now she is getting to the age when we can chat on the phone - it gives me such pleasure.

It has been a lovely day here - quite windy although the wind has largely  died down now - bright sunshine all day shining straight into my windows.   Time now for a cup of tea and University Challenge - tests my brain a bit (not always very successfully!)

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Coffee mornings.

The first Saturday in each month holds the  Church Coffee morning in the Village Hall - I no longer live in the village and haven't done for some years but I still go because I know so many of those who go and if I didn't go I would never see them these days.  In any case the Christmas one always holds some 'goodies'.   First of all A bakes, as usual, turkey lasagnes - they are individually packed, delicious and freezable.  I always order two, have one for my lunch and freeze the other for when I need a nourishing meal in a hurry.   Then the Christmas meeting is always enlivened by K's beautiful mince pies which put   mine and I suspect most people's to shame.   She serves us one each, warmed and served on a tiny paper mat.   Then today A,  in addition to her lasagnes - and her marmalade, which is also very good (I bought a jar) - had two home made and decorated Christmas cakes - I bought them both.
We are lucky to have such good bakers in our village aren't we?

Returning home I called to fill up with petrol and realised that during the time I had been away from home the wind had reached gale force and was blowing directly across the forecourt of our local petrol station.   Arriving home I decided to take Tess round the block before the wind got any stronger.   As it was there were places where I had to hold on to the fence until the gust had subsided.  I really don't think Tess enjoyed it any more than I did.

Now in for the day with doors locked, curtains about to be drawn,  central heating turned up a couple of notches and 'Strictly' semi-finals on TV tonight, I can finally relax.    And January Good Housekeeping magazine through the letter box an hour ago (a present each Christmas from my God-daughter) to top up the gap.   See you tomorrow...

PS  I have just noticed that the cake photograph makes it look as though the cake is hanging on the wall - I can't see how to turn it round a notch so sorry but you will have to imagine it one twist round to the left (it will taste just as good).

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Tradition

I have to confess that where Christmas is concerned I am a bit of a traditionalist.   When I was a child we had the same things came out for decorating each year.   We had a 'real' tree which was lifted from the garden each year - although I don't remember it really getting much bigger.  What we certainly did have was the same ornaments on it.   None of your plastic rubbish back in those days - the ornaments were glass and VERY breakable so they were treated with great care and when not on the tree wrapped in tissue paper until it was time again.   At the most we had a dozen glass ornaments plus one little silver house - made out of cardboard I think and then covered with glitter (my favourite) and a few bits of tinsel draped around.   It was wartime, mybrother was at the front - I don't suppose my Mum and Dad felt in the least bit like decorating.

For Christmas dinner we usually had a goose (a present from the butcher for my mother dressing the poultry for him) with all the trimmings.   In the evening we played cards or dominoes or (if we could pursuade Dad who though it a daft game) tiddley winks.  I had maybe three presents at the most and I don't ever remember my parents exchanging gifts - there wasn#t the money for a start.

Now the sky seems to be the limit with all things Christmas - stockings full of presents, a groaning Christmas table and decorations festooned everywhere.   And that is the bit the drives me mad.   Across the road from my bungalow the sitting room window is suddenly festooned with row upon row of blue flashing lights.  I don't like flashing lights for a start - there is nothing subtle about flashing lights - but worse than that - BLUE flashing lights.   I like my Christmas decorations to be red, green or silver.  Blue is a cold, icy colour.  I remember they drove me insane last year - well they are here again and at the moment I donot feel particularly Christmassy about them.   Maybe they will grow on me over the next month.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

A Pleasant Outing

As readers of my posts will know, friend W and I go over to Kirkby Lonsdale on the edge of The Lake District to meet friends for lunch quite regularly.   But we only do this in the Summer as it entails driving over the Pennines - there are two ways to go but whichever one you choose you cannot avoid crossing the Pennines and the weather can change dramatically in a few hours in Winter.   Our friends are younger and so they come over the tops and we meet in Hawes - only fifteen miles from here through Wensleydale.   And today was the day for our Christmas meeting.

We set off from here in beautiful sunshine and I took my camera hoping for some good shots to show you.   Sadly, we had only gone a mile or two before we encountered clouds which got thicker and thicker and it really was not a photography day.   As friend W remarked - suddenly everything is a uniform brown - no leaves anywhere on the trees and few berries to enliven the scene.

Even Hawes was much quieter than usual - but by the time we had been in The Wensleydale Creamery cafe for half an hour it had filled up so we were glad we had booked.  As W and I are going out with four friends for Christmas lunch on Friday we resisted the Christmas menu (friend P had it, W had a chicken dish,  D had steak pie and I had my old favourite quiche, chips and salad.)  We were able to sit and have a nice chat for an hour afterwards and I was happy in the knowledge that friend S, who almost always takes Tess for a walk on Wednesdays, had agreed to come, take her today and post the key through the letter box.
Tess loves S dearly so I am sure she would be overjoyed to see her. 

As we approached home on our return journey gradually the clouds lifted and by the time we got here it was a lovely sunny day again.   The weather forecast had been correct when it had forecast cloudy in the West and sunny in the East.
Back home the electrician came at last and fixed my front door bell which has not been working for the last month.   I turned up the central heating and settled down with my book - shall not need any more to eat today!

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Politics

There was a time when I was really interested in Politics - when I would turn up at pre election time to stick things in envelopes and lick them and then put them through peoples' doors.   When I would listen to Party Political Broadcasts and believe every word 'my' party said - all other parties were lying of course, but not 'my' party.   Now I know better.   They are all lying in their pre-election Propaganda and I believe none of it.   In fact I try to avoid listening to any of it if I can.   Will I vote on the big day?   Well conscience tells me I should; after all we fought long enough to get the vote.   But as to who I vote for well that is another matter.   As my Grandson once said - if you don't like any of them or can't make up your mind then go along and spoil your ballot paper.   I just might do that.

Tomorrow W and I drive through Wensleydale to meet friends at the Wensleydale Creamery for lunch.   It is forecast to be a relatively nice day (as it has been today) - I shall enjoy the company, I shall enjoy the scenery and I refuse to give the election a single thought.

Monday, 2 December 2019

Monday

The sun has gone today and in its place just clouds.   I am sure it is slightly warmer if one looks at a thermometer but in fact it feels colder because it is back to being cheerless weather.   Book Group this morning at S's house - I always enjoy going there - he makes the most delicious flapjack. 

We had a good hour discussing Robinson Crusoe - most interesting too.   The next book is my choice and we had intended to read and discuss Salley Vickers 'Grandmothers' which is advertised as coming out in November in paperback but not so according to our local bookshop.   So there will have to be a change of plan and as it is Christmas month and we will all be busy one way or another and don't want to read anything too heavy I have suggested Clive James's 'Unreliable Memoirs'  and am waiting to see what the others think.

Chiropodist this afternoon, walk round with dog and now all shut up and snug and warm.   Set to get warmer over the next few days - time will tell.