A friend, W, and I went yesterday to our nearest shopping complex - Teeside Park - and to Saint Marks and Spencer. I must say that in spite of the North East being such a depressed area as far as work is concerned (and I am sure it is) there was absolutely no shortage of spenders there. The car park was full and the shops were full of people stocking up their trolleys for the Easter break.
In spite of the terrible blizzards of two days ago here in the Dales, there was no sign of snow on the journey and plenty of signs of Spring. The hedges were in full leaf and the blossom was out; the sun was shining and people were in T shirts. It was only when you lifted your eyes to the North York Moors in the distance that you saw the snow gleaming in the sunshine.
Thousands of lambs have perished on the North York Moors and many places there are still without electricity. Even here in our village one local farmer has lost eighty six of his new born lambs. It is such a tragedy as this has so far been a good lambing year and the lambs were out in the sunshine and doing well. Sadly the snow was the wet, heavy kind and it finished many of them off.
W tells me that there is a nesting semi-wild duck in our village - white so hardly camouflaged - which has chosen to nest on top of a garden wall on the side of the road in full view of all passers by. She sounds like a modern-day Jemima Puddleduck of Beatrix Potter fame and I fully expect the outcome to be the same as that of Jemima, for as Potter says, ducks are usually 'bad sitters' and with her farming background she knew what she was talking about.
One last thing before I go today. Has anyone else noticed the over use of two words on television these days? Everything seems to be either fantastic or incredible. According to my dictionary fantastic can mean splendid, excellent, amazing and incredible can mean difficult or impossible to believe, unusually good. Wouldn't it be nice if now and again presenters could use another word instead? I counted the words in a programme the other night and the word 'fantastic' was used fourteen times during the course of the programme. In another programme there were eleven 'incredibles'.
The presenters are obviously not from North Yorkshire, and certainly not from the North Yorkshire Farming community. The farmer, along with others up here, is much more sparing with his praise. Something might be not bad, alright, quite good or quite enjoyable but that is about his limit. The only time I have ever heard him go over the top was when he had a ride in a hot air balloon for his fiftieth birthday - sadly the word he used to describe the experience was, yes - you've guessed it - FANTASTIC!