Thursday, 22 August 2019

Little by little......

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Wednesday

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

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

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

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

Monday, 19 August 2019

Hatches, Matches and Despatches.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Sunday

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

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

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

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Saturday

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

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

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

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

Friday, 16 August 2019

Friday

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

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Rain

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Tuesday

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

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

Monday, 12 August 2019

Monday morning

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

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

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

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

Friday, 9 August 2019

Friday

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

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