Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Wednesday

An indulgent morning as eight of us met at Tennants' cafe for breakfast at half past nine.   They do a lovely selection which you can choose item by item - I had bacon, sausage, tomato and hash brown, accompanied by a cup of coffee.   It was delicious and the company was fine.

C and I were talking over breakfast about things we would really like to buy = she mentioned for example a handbag she absolutely loved in our local boutique (she is a collector of handbags).   Only the other day friend W and I were talking about the way we always have to justify spending money and we decided it was probably because when we were young there wasn\t a lot to spare.
Now, she insists, we do not have to justify it.   But C today told of St Benedict's law which says you should differentiate between 'want' and 'need'.  In other words you should only buy what you need.
Where do readers of my blog stand on that issue?

After lunch (and a visit from the plumber to fix a bathroom tap) friend S took Tess for her weekly walk - it is a lovely day and my goodness how Tess enjoyed it.   Then shortly afterwards friend J called for coffee and a look round my bungalow (she has not been since I moved in). When S and Tess returned from their walk S, J and I sat for a couple of hours chatting, laughing and generally having a really pleasant afternoon.

I sit here now at seven in the evening and I am just thinking how very lucky I am to have such a wonderful collection of friends who are so kind and loving and who all serve to enhance my life completely.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Busy.

Some days are very busy and today was one of those days.   I always go to the bank for money on a Tuesday morning.   If actual money does become obsolete I do hope I have popped my clogs before then as I would much rather pay cash for things than use one of my cards.
 
Then I always do my weekly shop for essential food - today I needed several weighty or cumbersome things like dog tinned food, toilet rolls - so I parked in the Market Square and wheeled my trolley from the supermarket over to my car and unloaded it all into the boot.

Then it was leave my car there and walk round to the decorating shop where I had to choose my paint for my sitting room - and pay for it and then leave it for my decorator to collect.   Then I walked over the road because it was our monthly Struggler's meeting, where we discuss topics of interest.   Usually this is a quiet, thoughtful meeting but today it was more animated which in itself was quite tiring.   Then friend W gave me a lift to where once a fortnight we have our lunch on a Tuesday.   Today it was Pork and Cider casserole, followed by Apple Charlotte and cream.

Arriving home I then had to unpack the boot of my car, take Tess for a walk and wipe the surfaces and cupboards and fridge before putting away today's food.   Now a sit down to read posts before getting together a bit of tea for myself while I watch Antiques Road Trip.  I find it such a relaxing programme and it is fun looking round good antique shops without having to resist the temptation to buy anything.

I just hope I can stay awake through the whole programme.   I missed most of last evening's because the decorator, who is set to decorate my sitting room at the end of next week, calling to discuss times, paint etc.

Tomorrow 'we girls' are meeting at 9.30am to go out together for breakfast.  Yum yum.

 

Monday, 15 October 2018

Slippers

Have I missed something?   In one of the newspaper magazines this week-end there was a whole page of slippers for the winter.   The cheapest was just over twenty pounds, the most expensive between seven and eight hundred pounds.


What use are slippers I ask myself.   As far as I am concerned they have but one, very important, probably the most important of winter, use - to keep my feet warm and to be comfortable.

Does it not seem to you, as it does to me, that even contemplating the fashionableness or otherwise of such a lowly fashion item when there are thousands of children starving and where even in our country foodbanks rear their ugly heads in most towns, is perverse?

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Sunday

The gales in the night last night were horrendous.  I sleep without my hearing aids but the winds were strong enough to keep me awake even without them in.   This morning, when I drew back the blinds, I was surprised to find that everything was unchanged.   It has poured with rain all day although there is not a breath of wind.   Now, at 4.20 the sun is out and it is a lovely day although somewhat colder than of late.   I have bought two iris rhizomes and I am now wondering whether to put on my garden gloves and go out and put them in the garden.

A lovely lunch out again today at our regular Sunday lunch venue.   I had Salmon Florentine (on a bed of spinach) with vegetables, followed by apple and plum crumble and custard.   All very good.   Now, replete, I am putting on this blog and then feeding the dog.   After that a restful evening.
 
I see Tom today is bewailing the way in which blogland has shrunk and how many of those we used to communicate with have disappeared into the ether.   I think he is right and I feel sad to have lost touch with some people.   But I suppose that people lead busy lives and some can't find time or inclination to blog any more.    But I do add my voice - please open a blog and communicate.   That's what it's all about.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Saturday

Trying to rain and very, very windy here today.   Not a day to be out and about really but it was the church coffee morning in the village where I used to live and I always go to that.   Because of the weather there were not many there so I was pleased I had made the effort to go.

I needed to nip into town before going home to post a letter and also to buy some bananas - I can't manage a day without a banana (my staple fruit).
Then, as I was making my pasta and veg lunch my son rang and asked if I wished to go to Darlington with him and his wife (she was going to Hotter shoes to buy some boots).   I went with them - I decided I had not been there for maybe four years.  I found it quite a depressing experience in that so many shops have closed - and more are closing
(House of Fraser at one end of the High Street and Marks and Spencer at the other end).  So cheered myself up by buying a pair of winter boots in the Hotter Sale. 

We came home the country way (we went on the motorway) - Darlington is only twenty five miles away - and came through some pretty villages where the autumn leaves were spectacular and where the air was full of them in the howling gale that was blowing.  Almost bedtime now (10.03) and our usual Sunday lunch out tomorrow so no need to think much about food until Monday.

Friday, 12 October 2018


;
Driving through Wensleydale with friend W on our way to Kirby Lonsdale and lunch with our friends - the last time this year as we never make the journey during the winter months; going over 'the tops' once we get to December is almost sure to encounter snow.
The dale is beginning to look its best as the autumn colours begin to show in all their glory.
The weather was atrocious - strong gales and pouring rain but my friend is an excellent driver and assured me all would be well, and of course it was.   The River Ure flows alongside the road in both these photographs and if there is heavy rain on the tops the Ure can rise twenty feet in one hour so there is always the hazard of flooding which can close the road.   But today all was well.

Lunch at Avanti in Kirby was, as usual.   I had King Prawn and Chorizo Risotto (a bit heavy handed on the chilli for me but still very good).
And yes, there was as much as there looks to be in the bowl.   I ate only three quarters of it but was sorry I couldn't eat it all.

I arrived home to find my neighbour H had taken in a parcel for me.   It was two Iris plants to put into my garden.  This is the time to plant iris and they are sent out bare rooted with instructions on how to plant.   Now all I want is a good day for planting with little or no wind.   Today I have been hardly able to stand up and had to hold on to friend P's arm on my way to the car after lunch.   Falling is one of my greatest fears these days.

Also when I returned the trap door into my loft had blown open and was down in front of the door into my computer room.   How or why this had happened I have no idea except that the wind is really very strong and it could have happened as I shut the door to go out when W arrived.   Whatever the reason my son has been to look and is coming back after his evening meal to put an extra fastener on so that it doesn't happen again.


Tess came with us to Kirby.   She loves friend W dearly (well she would, wouldn't she as W usually has a few treats in her jacket pocket) and she really is very well-behaved.   Lots of wees were accomplished between the car park and Avanti but then there were many Cumbrian smells to take care of and override weren't there!   I can't manage her, and my stick, and my handbag on a windy day but W walks her and it all goes swimmingly.

So, as usual on our KL visits we had a lovely day.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Singing for pleasure.

One afternoon each month a group of us play the old songs at an old folk's home in a village about fourteen miles away.    The journey is a lovely one through Wensleydale, the Autumn leaves were at their very best today (especially any on trees in the Maple family).   I went alone as W was busy, but G was there and also S who is good at jollying along (I am hopeless at it).   G and I played ukuleles and we all sang songs like 'Side by Side',
'Daisy' and 'She'll be coming round the mountain'.
They all sing with great gusto.   We stop in the middle for a cup of tea and a piece of cake.   It is a lovely afternoon.

I have come to the conclusion that I am just not very sociable.  I am quite happy with my own company most of the time, I like one-to-one relationships but I am never comfortable in a crowd situation.   I was concerned this afternoon that when I got there I would be the only one there and would have to lead the singing alone - something I just couldn't do.   Happily I didn't have to. 

 One of the nice things about the afternoon - and it happens every time - is how many of the residents thank us as we leave and tell us just how much they have enjoyed the singing of the old songs.   Most of them know the words and the tune off by heart.   I watched one old man today who I took to be asleep as he had his eyes closed but he sang every song and obviously enjoyed it.
 
It is a particularly nice old peoples' home and the residents seem very happy (it has a good reputation in the area) but I look at it with horror and know that I will fight tooth and nail to stay in my own home when I find life difficult.  As somebody once said (was it Bette Davies?) 'old age is not for sissies.'

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Today

Just two of today's events.  I had taken two  photographs but when I try to load them it just tells me that it has 'lost connection to server' so you will have to imagine the photographs - sorry.
There would certainly be no prospect of muddling them up.

It is a lovely day here - up in the twenties now that the early morning mist has cleared.   It is still and sunny.   I am no longer capable of doing much in the garden but I tootle around doing jobs.   My gardener came for four hours yesterdays so everything is neat and tidy.   First of all I filled in any gaps with pansy and viola plants, always good value for colour in a dismal winter.   Then I planted some narcissi and some early iris bulbs, again to fill in the gaps.   They all had to go round the edges as I dare not go on to the garden, my balance is suspect.

By the time it was lunch time and I pondered what to make for my lunch.  The fridge contained a variety of veg - mange tout, carrot batons, broccoli, kale, mini sweet corn and also some chicken which it suggested on the label was stir fry.   There was my answer.   I have to say it was the best stir fry I have ever made.   While it was cooking I cooked some noodles in the micowave, then mixed it all together and added soy sauce and a grating of parmesan - and enjoyed.  Fresh fruit salad for afters.

Then, after half an hour's doze (this now seems to be a daily happening) Tess and I walked down the Lane past the farm.  The hedges told me it was Autumn - rose hips, the reddish brown of the bramble leaves, the berries on the ivy, the leaves drifting down in the slight breeze,  fungi in the fields and that smell of Autumn which is unmistakeable.   Young cattle lazed in the middle of the field and got up lazily as Tess and I watched through the gate.

Back home again, as I approached the front door, two furry caterpillars wriggled along in front of me on thefootpath.   It is years since I saw a furry caterpillar.  Does anyone know what will emerge in the Spring?   I presume they were both looking for somewhere to rest up and pupate over winter.
My bungalow faces due South and the front stone work was beautifully warm.   I went in to get my camera - only a minute's job - and when I came out one had disappeared and the other was already half way up the wall by the front door.



Photographs of caterpillar and of my stir fry might follow later if the system works

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

'e mail less'

To coin a phrase.   I have been unable to access my e mails for a couple of days and I have felt utterly deprived.   Now this afternoon, as if by magic, they are back.   So welcome back e mails!!

Did anyone else watch the programme on BBC Four last evening - AN Wilson talking about TS Eliot.  It was an hour of perfect television; I don't think I have ever seen a better programme.   If you didn't see it and have access to iplayer then I do urge you to watch it.

My gardener came this morning and I now have a weed free garden and a mown lawn.   The forecast for tomorrow is good so I shall be able to plant bulbs and new pansy and viola plants for winter.  I wish I could do more myself but I am scared of falling on what is a steep and rather dangerous garden.

Yesterday friends I haven't seen for over thirty years (but who have never stopped writing) came to see me and we had lunch out at a lovely handicapped-friendly restaurant (P is severely handicapped now and is totally wheelchair bound).   Today I am tired and dropped off after lunch.   Having now taken Tess for her afternoon walk we are about to settle down to watch Antiques Road Trip.   I set out to watch it last night but fell asleep shortly after it began and didn't wake up until after the six o'clock news had started.  These days visitors do tend to tire me out.

Outside, as I write this, is pure unbroken blue sky - perfect weather

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Old friends.

Meeting one today with dear old friends went off without a hitch.   They arrived on time and we had a lovely chat and a lovely lunch.   When you get to our age and live so far apart then it is hard not to think it might be the last time you see one another.
They brought me another lovely tub of pansies - I am going to have a real display along  the front of my bungalow which should cheer the winter up considerably.

Another meeting on the cards for tomorrow and I am sure that will go just as well.   I think the weather is going to be less good but as long as it is dry then it should be alright.   Here tonight the wind got really strong and for a time it became very cold indeed.   When I went with Tess for our last walk I put on my winter coat for the first time.

I have just watched a programme on Simon Reeve going round the Mediterranean.   Some places  were such a surprise.   I remember that Albania was a very closed country for such a long time but really there are still areas where it has changed little. 

I expect someone will shoot me down in flames but when I see these countries and I see some of the archaic practices that still exist I say that for all the faults that exist here in our country, thank goodness we live in a Democracy and in a fairly modern, forward-looking country.   Yes, we have our problems - the state of the country's finances, the state of the NHS, the state of our prisons to name but three.   But at least we can talk openly about them, we can discuss them, we can moan about them without fear of recriminations.  In so many ways hasn't television altered our lives and the way we look at things.   With all the modern methods of communication there is absolutely no excuse for not knowing what is going on in the world whatever our age.   (of course some folk would rather not know and that is their prerogative).