Monday, 18 June 2018

Self indulgence.

Nothing I ate today seemed to satisfy me but as the day wore on I began to fancy fish and chips.   It is at least a year since I had them and not something I usually enjoy.    But at half past four Tess and I jumped into the car and drove the mile into the town centre, parked and I bought myself fish, chips and mushy peas - we went back home and ate them - Tess having half a dozen chips and quite a large piece of my cod, but without the batter.    They were not the best I had ever tasted but they satisfied a need, and sometimes - when one lives alone - it is necessary to do just that.

Now I intend to watch Michael Portillo crossing America by train  and that is followed by a new farming series, so I shall watch that too.   Some days I miss the farmer more than others - or let's say I think about him more, and today is one of those days.   How I wish he were here but he isn't and I can't change how things are.   Now our sympathies must go out to Sue in Suffolk who is doing her very best to come to terms with losing her beloved Col.

What a good place Blogland is when one makes these 'friendships' - there is a whole network of support out there and it is good to be able to call on it.

Sunday, 17 June 2018


A friend called with her husband and her electric lawnmower this morning and cut the grass in front of my bungalow.   It was so good of her and now it looks neat and tidy like everyone else's front lawn.   So thank you S and N for your help - much appreciated.

I went out with two other friends for lunch as usual.   The fourth member of the team, W, was ninety seven earlier in the week and is being feted by her family all day today in celebration.   So we were a friend short.    The three of us had our usual salmon with vegetables (delicious with or without the 'florentine' (spinach') which two of us have) then it was one ice cream, one Eton mess and I had a chocolate extravaganza.    Then we sat for an hour and a half in the bar drinking tea, putting the world to rights and having a good laugh.   When one lives alone I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday.

Now it is half past five, I have taken Tess for her walk and I am in for the evening.   At the risk of offending anyone (sorry Rachel) is it really necessary to have football and/or tennis on the TV to the exclusion of almost anything else for the next month?   Thank goodness for iplayer I say. 
Dark-looking rain clouds amass here but very little rain forecast.   Plants certainly look better for yesterday's deluge.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Neighbour pressure

Having read the comments on my post yesterday I feel I have to write and disagree with what most of you said.

First of all a friend, who reads my blog sometimes, sent me an e mail to say she is coming in the morning to cut my lawn for me.   She is not a young lady, she has an electric mower and I am quite overcome by the fact that she has offered to do this for me.   The kindness of friends and neighbours never ceases to amaze me.

Now to those who feel that neighbourhood pressure should be ignored and that one should 'do one's own thing'.   I am sorry but I disagree.   Almost everyone on this estate keeps their house and garden in an attractive state.   It is a pretty estate where the houses and bungalows are planned in such a way that it is rather like a village - areas for children to play, areas of grass regularly cut by the council, trees planted in strategic places, everywhere neat and tidy and almost all gardens neat, tidy and colourful.   It is a pleasure to walk/drive around.   Why should I take it upon myself to be the exception, to make my garden an eyesore which spoils the look of the place?   My back garden had not been done and was a mess but at least it could only be seen by the occupants of my bungalow.   My front garden (all lawn) is seen by everyone who walks or drives past.   Luckily - because I enjoy seeing people - there are always folk about and they stop and chat and our dogs
 'chat' too.   So yes, I don't on the whole agree with those of you who say it doesn't matter.   To me it does matter in this instance to conform to the standard that has been set.   But thanks for making your presence felt in your comments.   That is what I love so much about blogging.

See you later in the day now that I have got this off my chest!

Friday, 15 June 2018


I was going to put a heading of Disaster, but in the giant scheme of things this is really not a disaster when one thinks of all the 'real' disasters.   But it certainly is a bit of a calamity and I am going to sleep on it before thinking what I can do to remedy the situation because at the moment I have absolutely no idea.

This is a lovely neat and tidy estate and everyone keeps their gardens and in particular their lawns in pristine condition this time of the year.   Any lawn which does not keep up with this standard is really an eyesore. 

I have no lawn mower, mainly because I really do no longer have the strength to push one, even if it is an electric one.   My gardener is very good and comes each week to do an hour in the back garden (which is beginning to take shape nicely marestail notwithstanding)  and an hour mowing and strimming my lawn.   He has not been this week and  as it is prime growing season it is no exaggeration to say that my lawn looks like a wild flower meadow - pretty with trefoil, clover and buttercups it might be but it is no lawn.

This evening I rang my gardener, expecting him to be out with his mates on a Friday night.   He answered the phone - he has 'done his back in' to use his words, is flat out on the settee and can hardly move.   So my dilemma is what do I do  about my grass?   I am sure every gardener in the area has a full time table at present so how am I going to find anyone?   Watch this space.

I have spent the afternoon in the garden doing various jobs to the best of my ability.    I have had a lovely display of pansies in tubs over the last four or five months - they have been under my kitchen and sitting room windows in the front of the house.   But we have had a huge gale this week and it finally put paid to them, almost blowing them out of their tubs.    So this morning I bought geraniums and violas and this afternoon I changed the soil and planted the new bedding out.    Hard work, but now it is done I feel much happier.   So all is not lost - now I just have to find someone with a mower and an hour to spare.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

An afternoon of pleasure.

First of all there is the drive through Wensleydale on a sunny afternoon - strong gale blowing and not very warm, but one doesn't notice that shut in a car.   Then, on arrival, there is an hour and a half of playing ukuleles for the elderly and/or dementia sufferers at the Care Home we were bound for - just friend W and I - the two of us.

All the old songs - how the residents sing and enjoy the afternoon.   They look through the books, call out a number they would like to sing and together we all sing it.   There is a lovely old gentleman who knows the verse to 'When I'm cleaning windows' and sings it before everyone joins in on the chorus. 

Towards the end of the session a lady I hadn't seen before said could we play 'The Old Rugged Cross' - we couldn't.   It's not really suitable for ukulele anyway, but we asked her if she could sing it and she sang the first verse in a beautiful, clear voice - then we all joined in on the chorus.

Coming home through the lovely dale we realised just how very tiring it is to play and sing non-stop - we were exhausted.  But what a grand time we had all had.


Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Batten down the hatches.

Or so the weather girl said this morning.   So battening down the hatches is the order of the day.
Friend S called to take a completely recovered Tess on her walk - and did she enjoy it - flopped down and was asleep in seconds on her return.

S planted another patty pan for me in a gro bag and we put it behind the dustbins in as safe a place as we could find.   The other courgette plants in their gro bags have been moved behind a wall.   Winds of fifty miles an hour are forecast for overnight and heavy rain (which we badly need) for tomorrow.   This seems to be the pattern most years - just get the gardens planted for Summer then along comes a gale to create havoc.

Poor Tom - and Cro too - are suffering from despondency about the situation in the world.   I suspect it was ever thus - and in any case we - as mere mortals -can do little about it.   Our only tool is our vote and, frankly, there is little to choose there.   I also suspect that once the World Cup
(football just in case you haven't heard about it!!!!!) arrives on Thursday the news will be full of hooliganism, groans about unfair decisions and most likely the ignominy of England returning home with their tails between their legs.   Things can only get worse.   In fact, now that the Royal Wedding is over it is all doom and gloom for the foreseeable future.   So please, let's all cheer up.

If you want to end the day on a cheerful and  happy note do go to DOING IT FOR OURSELVES IN WALES on my sidebar and read the lovely, cheery story about Little Compost.  It has made my day and might take your minds off the present state of things.   Survival is the order of the day for the little chap.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018


The sky is full of black threatening clouds and the air is sultry.   But I am pretty sure it is not going to rain - it just doesn't feel like it.  Tess and I have just mooched round the estate after lunch and now I am having a job to keep awake.

Coffee with the  girls this morning and a bit of shopping - paying the week's papers that are not on my Times subscription then coming home to wipe out the kitchen cupboards before I put my food away, so a satisfying job done.   But now there is an overwhelming desire to close my eyes.   I shall resist it!

I have always been 'easy meat' for the whole of the bug brigade in early Summer and as I sit here typing this I begin to realise that the nibbling brigade must be out in force today as I resist scratching various itchy places on my back.   It is destined to turn cooler tomorrow for a few days - perhaps this will ease things a little.

By the way, Tess is definitely improved this morning.   She has had her pain killer syringe this morning and has eaten a 'soft' breakfast without biscuits but with the addition of a little of the ham I usually don't let her eat but which is tempting her so much at the moment.   So far, so good.
Out to lunch with friend D tomorrow - I'll see you afterwards and report on what we eat!!

Monday, 11 June 2018

Mowing the Lawn.

I can;t help starting with a feeble joke which I was reminded of when I typed in the header.   Many years ago somebody published a list of incongruous book titles, one of which was 'Mowing the Lawn' by The Duke of Edinburgh.

As to my lawn - when I went out after lunch to take Tess for her walk I passed my gardener at the top of my road.   I thought he would perhaps progress on to me and mow my lawn which urgently needs doing.   No such luck - he has disappeared.   But at least it has given me time to go out and take a photograph of the delightful weed which takes over the lawn when it is ready for mowing.   It is Bird's Foot Trefoil (as kids we called it 'Lady's Fingers) and each time it happens I wish I could leave my lawn and let it become a mini wild flower meadow (there are various other wild flowers in it too).   But most of the other lawns on the road are of bowling green standard so I daren't let standards slip.

I took Tess to the vets and the vet thinks she has somehow strained her jaw (very common apparently).   She has given her a pain injection and also tablets for a few days when we will review the situation.   As to her 'lump' it has not grown at all and doesn't appear to be causing her a problem - in fact the vet (a different one from last time) suggested it just might be a fatty lump.  That would be really good news -.  On the vet's suggestion - as Tess has had nothing to eat or drink for two days - I called and bought some ham, cut it into small pieces and put it on a plate.   It disappeared in the twinkling of an eye - surely a good sign?

Sunday, 10 June 2018


As I sit here typing this at a quarter to five in the afternoon, it is raining hard outside.   I don't suppose it will rain for more than a few minutes but I do know that the humid, damp air and the quick shower will do my plants more good than a can of tap water between a dozen of them.

This morning I was fascinated sitting here and looking out of the window.   On the ledge of the wall in front of my boundary hedge I have some gro bags holding courgette plants.   Behind them is a mulch of bark under the hedge.   As I watched, a very fat pigeon arrived and systematically went in and out of the hedging plants turning the bark over and eventually coming out with a suitable nesting stick in his/her beak (two sticks across and a little bit of moss as my father used to say of pigeon's nests).   This mean the each pair is about to have a second brood - no wonder there are pigeons everywhere.   But they were fascinating to watch.

Lunch out as usual and then a gentle walk with Tess on my return.   She is not at all well and we shall be going to the vets in the morning.   Oh dear.

Saturday, 9 June 2018


After a bereavement of a loved one (very much loved at that) I think one goes on having the odd day when it catches up with one - and today promised to be one of those days.   Saturdays are not easy - usually the most difficult day of the week as families are all about doing things together.

But waking up in this  frame of mind means there is only one thing to do and that is to somehow work it out of one's system.   First of all a quick trip to the shop for the essentials like milk, bread and bananas.   Then a trip to the tip with various cardboard boxes and plastic containers (do love going to our Council Tip as the men are really so very pleasant and helpful).   A medium sized walk round the estate with Tess, then a cup of coffee and a look at Trooping the Colour on the television.  The organisation, the planning, the precision - it is awe-inspiring.   If anything does go wrong then I certainly don't notice it - the spectacle was amazing and I enjoyed every minute of it (I understand a senior army figure was taken ill at the end of the parade, so do hope he is recovering in hospital). 

After lunch Tess and I walked down what used to be 'our' lane, but well below our farm.   The neighbouring farmer was mowing his lawn and I had a lovely long chat with him - having not seen him since 'my' farmer passed away.

Now we are back home; a cup of tea and a look at the crossword later and it is time to get Tess her tea.   And -incidentally - I am much more my usual self.   The only way is to work through these things and together Tess and I did it.   And as I have said before - Tomorrow is another day - and our usual Sunday lunch out.