Monday, 18 February 2019

Nor any drop to drink.

Water is seeping into my garden and gathering on my patio.   It just about dries up, then it rains, then I have a pool again.   This morning my water insurance  (Home Serve) came and a nice young man looked into it carefully and pronounced it not drinking water but water draining off the field behind my bungalow.   He thinks there may be a land drain which has broken or is blocked.   And so a process has begun.   So far I have rung Yorkshire Water - step one.   Now I await Step two.   Hopefully it will not be an insurmountable problem but be assured I shall keep you up to date on proceedings - (a problem shared is a problem halved).

It is not until one lives alone that problems become PROBLEMS.   For most of my life, since first leaving home, I have had a practical man to take care of things like this.   And I am ashamed to say that I find it hard to deal with this kind of thing myself.   I blame old age but I suspect it would be just the same if I was thirty years younger.

 One thing is for sure.   I am a product of my generation.   The engineer who came to look at the problem had many tattoos on his arms.  I find it difficult not to be influenced by this - when I was young the only folk who had tattoos on the whole were ex-seamen.   Now it is almost all young men - and even a few young women.   Why should I complain?   It is their bodies and they do what they like with them.   But it is a barrier I have to cross when dealing with folk.   I am thoroughly ashamed in this case - a nicer, more efficient, friendlier, kinder man it would have been hard to find.   So I apologise for having to cross that barrier - it is time I pulled myself up into the twenty first century.

Sunday, 17 February 2019


Following on from yesterday's post I have been thinking about plastics and rubbish.   Our little market town is generally free from rubbish - give or take the odd coke can, the odd plastic sandwich pack -and the odd heap of dog poo some irresponsible dog walker fails to pick up.

I can't really speak for other places in this country - these days I don't go all that far afield - but I think we would all be in agreement about the bits of plastic in the sea and how they are killing and torturing our wildlife; and the dog poo which walkers seem to think doesn't need picking up in the fields, although it can cause serious harm to cattle.

But I have been watching programmes where Chris Tarrant has been making railway journeys of interest.   Last week he was in Vietnam and I was keen to watch it because my grandson works in China and has recently been to Vietnam for a week's holiday.   He went from the North of the country to the South on what is called the 'Reunification Railway'.   I was stunned by the amount of rubbish strewn absolutely everywhere.
It was as though nobody ever picked up anything but just dropped it where they stood - plastic boxes, cardboard and paper wrappers, drinks cans and bottles - they were just everywhere. 

Should it worry us ?   I think so.   Shouldn't every country have a programme to educate people about the need to recycle?   It seems to me we are a long way off reaching any kind of solution.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Signs of the times.

I see that Rachel does not really believe in climate change.   I really don't know enough about it to make an educated comment, but there is no doubt that glaciers are melting and that there are signs of change everywhere - but whether permanent or just  a passing phase - we can all argue about that I suppose.

But it is interesting that many young people have decided to do something about it and protest with their strikes yesterday.   I can't discover whether our local comprehensive took part.   It would be interesting to question some of the young people individually to see what they know about it and how well informed they are or whether they are just 'jumping on the bandwagon'.

But there is an interesting article in today's Guardian which is certainly food for thought.  It really does seem at present that the protesting school children are putting our politicians to shame.   Dominic Grieve (the former Attorney General) quite rightly in my opinion, suggests that all this business of threatening to leave without an agreement is tantamount to a 'three year old threatening to hold  his breath if he doesn't get the toy he wants'.   And in the same article (by Jonathan Freedland) Nancy Pelosi (Democrat House Speaker) suggests that Donald Trump's behaviour over 'the wall' at present in nothing more than a Temper Tantrum.   I love the way she describes it saying that as a mother of five and a grandmother of nine she recognises one when she sees one.

What times we live in - if you believe in climate change - when the young are protesting about what in the future may well be seen as the most important thing in our generation while politicians on both sides of the Atlantic are indulging in such childish behaviour.

Friday, 15 February 2019


Well it is Friday again.   My two grandsons, who have been here in the village staying with their Dad (my son) have moved on to Glasgow to stay with their sister.   I have so enjoyed their company and enjoyed talking to D, the grandson who lives and works in China.   He returns on Tuesday and yesterday I took them both to the station.   Only after the train had left and i had returned home did I find D's mobile on the floor of my car.    What to do?   He needs it before he returns to China.   The problem was solved today when I got a text to ask if I would  post it to his brother's back in West Yorkshire.    So this morning I swathed it in bubble wrap and several Amazon bags and then a Post Office bag, took it to the Post Office and sent it Registered post.   It should hopefully arrive in time for him to take it back with him.   But tell me this - why do young people always have to have their mobile phones out to fiddle with them?   We were only going the twenty or so miles to the station - it could easily have been kept in his pocket.  I don't think I will ever understand the young - but then I think it was ever thus.

Thursday, 14 February 2019


Today has been a Spring day until around half past two when it suddenly became a late Winter's day as the sun began to go down and the blue sky paled.   Still, it has been a lovely day and everywhere I look the snowdrops and the crocuses are out.  It does make one feel hopeful that it won#t be all that long before it really is Spring even if we do get a bit more winter yet.

I had to take my two grandsons into Northallerton this morning so that they could catch the train up to Glasgow to stay with their sister there for a few days before my grandson returns to China.   He has not seen his niece since she was a few weeks old and now she is almost three so he is looking forward to that. 

I came home, had a healthy salad lunch and have done little since.   It was a Petpals day for Tess so she had a nice long walk in the sun and has come back tired out.  Then a friend called and we had a nice chat.   Now it is my favourite antiques programme in half an hour, so I shall settle down to watch that. 

I noticed this morning when I walked round with Tess first thing that the blackbirds are singing along with the robins and the hazel catkins are beginning to look as though they are at least thinking about bursting.   It all does the soul good even if last year we did have that nasty shock of a spell of snow very late - things like that do make one wary of predicting what might happen over the next few weeks.   But we have got as far as St Valentine's Day without too much bad weather this year.

The farmer didn#t have a lot of time for Valentine's Day - thought it was all a bit false - but that didnt mean he wasn't a romantic at heart.   His flowers that he brought me would mostly be from the farm as he was walking round - bluebells from the wood, a tiny bunch of cowslips from the hedgeback, a handful of haselnuts or a handful of field mushrooms.    How I miss all these things.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Contrary weather

Today is quite contrary.   The weather forecast has told us that this week there will be a real taste of Spring in the air as warm air sweeps up from the Mediterranean..   It is indeed nine degrees and rising and yet, having just been on a walk round with Tess on her after lunch walk, it feels really cold in the sharpish wind.   Yes, I know it is still February and we have another six weeks or so to go before we can think about Spring - but there is no feeling of Spring in the air today despite the forecast.

My grandson is here on his visit home from China where he teaches English.   It is only two years since I saw him, but standing next to him in my hall as he prepared to go back to his Dad's last evening he seemed to have grown about six inches since I saw him last.   As he is thirty then I am sure he will not have grown in the last two years, which leads me to but one conclusion - I have shrunk!   I come up to about his chest and felt like a little old lady.  I am taking them all out for a meal tonight so I shall smarten myself up in an effort to look a bit younger (or maybe it is better to say a little less old). 

We are only going a couple of miles down the road for our meal - to a pub which has an extensive menu and is by no means at the posh end of the market.   It has a giant woodburner, it has stone floors,  it is a real, old fashioned country pub and there should be something on the menu for each of us one who will eat more or less anything, one who chooses carefully what she eats, one vegetarian, one vegan/vegetarian and one who has eaten Chinese food for the past two years.
Quite a tall order to fulfil - I shall report back tomorrow.

Monday, 11 February 2019

Up with the lark.

It was up with the lark this morning because I had to be in Northallerton before nine o'clock to take my car in for its annual service.   H next door very kindly took Tess for her morning walk - I was very grateful and what is more H took her about four times as far as I am able to walk.

My car was brought back to the door of the showrooms - it has been cleaned and polished and looked very smart and what it more the engine seemed so much more perky on the return journey.
It is a good job done and another job to cross off my list.

Shortly after returning, the lady who cleans came to clean through the bungalow for me.   She is such a practical person - she puts me to shame.   I have now had my cordless vacuum cleaner for about six weeks and she decided that today was the day to wash the filters once she had vacuumed through.  They are now drying on the draining board and I had a demonstration on how to replace them in the machine before she went home.   Having worked for me for at least twenty five years she has got my measure perfectly.   What I would give to have a practical brain.

My grandson is home on a fortnight's holiday over Chinese New Year (he teaches in China) so I am really looking forward to seeing him.   He is spending four days with his father and should have arrived this afternoon.   It is two years since I saw him - two very eventful years for him I suspect.

No more post today - I have a very sore shoulder and typing is irritating it somewhat.   See you tomorrow.

Sunday, 10 February 2019


It is almost ten in the evening before I get a chance to read down my side bar, read yesterday's comments, write a response and then, finally, get round to posting something today.   I always do it in this order as a matter of habit - I love reading your comments - they are often so helpful and so enlightening.   Thank you for them all.

I went out for a look at my tulips coming up this morning - I would guess about half of them have been very neatly excavated and eaten.   I refuse to be cross or disappointed.   Something is staying alive by eating them and I shall put something else in the border as the year goes on.

My electrical work is finished as is the bathroom ceiling - now it is just the car service and then I can relax for a while.   During relaxation I shall be thinking about a little patch of lawn just outside the fence but in my front garden (which at present is  grass but I wish to change to make a bit of interest).   The space is only about ten feet square and I would like to put  just a few dwarf shrubs in.
I have two conical shaped dwarf box bushes which at present are in terra cotta pots - but they have blown over so many times over the winter that the pots are now smashed to smithereens - so they will go in for a start.   Any suggestions anyone - I probably only  need about three more.

Saturday, 9 February 2019


T, the decorator, nipped round this afternoon (he only lives in the next road) just to sand down the holes where the down lights had been in the bathroom.   He had called and filled them in yesterday.   Now in the morning he will come round and give the whole bathroom ceiling a coat of emulsion and it will all be done.   I shall wash both bath mats to spruce the whole place up and then everything will be shipshape again.

Now all that remains is my car to be serviced on Monday - then all jobs at present are finished.   This is just as well as my grandson, D, who lives and works in China, is home for Chinese New Year and will be spending four days up here next week with his father (and me too of course).   It is more than two years since I saw him and I can't wait - I am so looking forward to it.   At my age going two years without seeing a grandchild is far too long but I know how happy he is working out there and that makes it all worthwhile.

We have had some very heavy rain here over the past few days - mostly overnight I am glad to say, but my decorator, who drove through the Dales and over into Lancashire today, tells me that in many places the roads were almost flooded with standing water.   Not for nothing is February known as 'February Fill Dyke'.   But hopefully next week has a forecast of dry, mostly sunny weather so hopefully everywhere will dry up apace.

I shall now go and look if there is anything on television to watch.   Saturday evenings are always non starters as far as I am concerned, so thank heaven for iplayer I say.   See you tomorrow.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Goodbye Joe.

At last Joe, my electrician, has finally packed away all his spanners, screwdrivers, flashing lights, all the things that made Tess a nervous wreck, and gone - finished, job completed, check list for a complete overhaul of my electrical system done.   His work has been exemplary - I
can't speak too highly of him.   For a week his van has been poorly and in being repaired at the garage so he has not been able to come.   But he popped in for a couple of hours yesterday to do a job which was urgent and then he came back today to tie up all the loose ends and finish. 

The urgent job yesterday was to remove the down lights in the bathroom at my request and fit me an ordinary bathroom light - it is absolutely lovely and the light it gives out (LED) is such a pleasant, soft light.   The job needed doing yesterday because the decorator had arranged to come in the evening to fill in the downlight holes and plaster over them.  Now the decorator is coming again tomorrow afternoon to give the four 'holes' a quick emulsion paint so that when he comes on Sunday morning to emulsion the whole ceiling it will be all done.   Why anyone wishes to have downlights escapes me - maybe they were all the rage at one time. 

Our usual lunch out today was, as always, delicious.  W had beef and stilton pie with roasted roots and a glass of red wine ;  I had fish pie with crispy kale and a glass of white wine.   Coffee afterwards and then home before Petpals arrived to take Tess for her afternoon walk.    As I write this she is fast asleep in her basket and has not moved out of it to go and eat her tea.   Seems to me a well-loved dog's life is a brilliant life.