Thursday 31 December 2015



Tuesday 29 December 2015

A Shaggy Dog Story.

Or rather a smooth-haired dog story.

Friends have a Doberman pup - he is now six months old and, to use their expression, 'daft as a brush'.   They have had Doberman dogs before and their training methods are excellent - every one has been perfectly behaved.   We also had their German Short-haired Pointer, Oscar, when they went to Japan to work for a few years, and he was one of the best and most faithful dogs we have ever had.  So they know their stuff when it comes to dog training.   Then why is this one taking a little longer?

The farmer met them on the lane last evening just as it was getting dark and chatted to them.   Tess and he got acquainted at the same time, although Tess gave him a pretty hard time.   She may only be half his height but she is a terrier after all and she gave him pretty short shrift.

We heard his story and I thought it would make interesting reading for you this morning.  His mother was pregnant with eight puppies and two weeks before their due date she fell down the stairs.   This precipitated their birth and all eight puppies were born alive and well.   But, sadly, their mother died in giving birth to them.   So all eight were hand reared, bottle-fed puppies.

I rather think he has grown up thinking he is a human,although he did spend rather a lot of the time his 'mum and dad' were talking to the farming trying to get a sniff at Tess's rear end (which she had absolutely no intention of letting him do!) so maybe not. 

HOSPITAL UPDATE.   My son has been back to see the eye specialist today, a week after he had an operation for a detached retina.   He has a good report, can now walk about normally, and is to go back next week for further examination.   So far so good.

Monday 28 December 2015


To say that there has been a lot of water about up here is the understatement of the year so far.   We have been virtually cut off from going far - not that we had any intention of going anyway, but my cleaner has been unable to reach her Mum's house in Hawes on Boxing Day for the first time in thirty years.

And of course, further down the country in East, West and South of the County, all our water from the becks and little rivers, and ultimately the rivers Swale and Ure have flowed into the River Ouse and then on through York, which has seen the worst flooding in seventy years.

Up here, where the rivers have always flooded, not a single house is built on the flood plain so although the roads are blocked and we are unable to go anywhere, no-one is seriously affected by water in the house.

Tomorrow the farmer is taking my son back to see the Specialist about his detached retina and as things stand at the moment they should be able to get through.   Bad weather is forecast for late tomorrow and early Wednesday but by then they should be home again and we are hoping that the news about the eye is good news.

It is sad that so many people's Christmas has been so spoiled and that the magic of Christmas for so many children has been marred - just hope Santa's toys made it through safely!

All that is left to do here in the farmer's household is to eat up what my mother always called the 'oughts' (not sure why).   So it is cold ham and pickles for lunch with fried potatoes, sprouts and carrots, and the remains of the trifle for pudding.   With bits like pigs in blankets and stuffing balls added I am sure we shall enjoy it all.  Then it will be clear the decks for a visit from the grandchildren tomorrow and seeing the New Year in in a couple of days.   Dare I say I shall be glad now when it is all over and things are back to normal (whatever that is).   Happy New Year to you all!

Friday 25 December 2015



Wednesday 23 December 2015

Spanner in the works.

My Christmas preparations have really gone well this year.  Every list has been ticked off and the farmer is getting all my fruit and vegetables from our market in the morning when he goes in very early for the papers.   He gives them the list before he goes into the paper shop and then goes across to collect it afterwards.   By half past seven it will all be put away.

We always have our Christmas Day alone - we eat a Christmas lunch, watch a bit of carefully chosen television, play a bit of
Rummikub, maybe do a jig-saw - a quiet day.   Then on Boxing Day we always have a party.   My son and his wife and their friends all come round for the day - lunch and then a buffet in the evening.   All is prepared.   The turkey is taken from the freezer; various nibbles have been prepared etc.   Then last night the bombshell.

My son rang to say that he hadn't told me earlier as he didn't want to worry me but that yesterday he had been to hospital as a day-patient and had an operation.   He had a detached retina.   The operation had gone well and he was now home - that was the good news.   The bad news is that until the end of next Wednesday - nine days - he has to lie flat on his left side, only being upright for ten minutes in every hour.

His wife is not in perfect health and has mobility problems herself, so it is going to be a difficult few days for them.   Now we are trying to organise some sort of routine so that we take it in turns to go round and chat with him.   His wife will come here for lunch, as arranged and one or other of our party will go round straight after lunch to sit and chat and cheer him up.   Luckily he only lives about a mile away.   But it is certainly a case of 'the best laid plans',

Here's wishing everyone who reads my blog a very happy Christmas and let us all hope that the New Year brings more peace to the world, although tonight's news about Afghanistan does not make that sound much of a possibility.

Monday 21 December 2015


Yorkshire is the largest county in the British Isles and in days gone by was so large that it was divided into three Ridings - the East Riding, the West Riding and - the one where we live - the North Riding.   Ridings are no longer with us but we are still called North Yorkshire.

As a county we are famous for various things.   The white rose of Yorkshire, which appears on the Yorkshire flag,  the Yorkshire Post, the daily paper of the county, the Great Yorkshire Show, which is one of the largest Agricultural Shows in the country the Wensleydale cheese, which is produced at Hawes in Yorkshire.   I could go on, but I will stop there at what is perhaps our most famous claim to fame and one which I made for lunch today.   The Yorkshire Pudding.

Traditionally it was eaten as a starter.   Critics always said that this was so that by the time you came to the Main Course you were so full of pudding that you didn't eat so much of expensive meat.  (In Lincolnshire the same was said of the Suet Pudding, eaten first with thick gravy.)

Two things are always essential when making a good Yorkshire Pudding.   The first is a very hot oven and the second is extremely hot fat in the pudding tins.

Today I came across a recipe from the cookery of Hannah Glasse (1796) and I thought you might be interested to read it and then compare it with the way I made it today.

'Take a quart of milk and five eggs. beat them up well together, and mix them with flour till it is of a good batter, and very smooth; put in a little salt, some grated nutmeg and ginger;  butter a dripping or frying pan and put it under a piece of beef, mutton or a loin of veal that is roasting, and then put in your batter.   And when the top side is brown, cut it into square pieces and turn it over and let the under side brown.   Put into a hot dish as clean of fat as you can and send it to the table hot .'

This is how I made mine today:  Put four ounces of plain flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt.   Break an egg into the middle and then slowly whisk in 5fl ounces of milk and the same of water and whisk until you have a smooth batter. Leave to stand for about half 
an hour.   Put either bun tins (for individual puddings) or a large tin for one larger pudding into a very hot oven with some dripping or lard and get it really hot before pouring in the batter.  Takes about twenty minutes.   Served today with roast beef and roast potatoes, carrots and sprouts.

My goodness me.   How times have changed when you compare those two recipes.   Surely Yorkshire puds must have been the food of the rich if all those ingredients were added.

The farmer loves Yorkshires and I, coming from Lincolnshire, never really make it quite right (or so I think although he never complains (he daren't)).  Perhaps he should have married a Yorkshire lass as this old rhyme suggests:

Here's to Yorkshire my lads,
The Land of Good Cheer,
The Home of the Pudding
Well known far and near.

Wed a lass who can make one,
Is the theme of my song,
But so long as she's Yorkshire
You cannot go wrong!


Sunday 20 December 2015

List making.

Are you the list-making type or do you just muddle through expecting it will all be alright in the end?   And is it?   I expect so.  After all, we are all different.

I could not exist at times like Christmas if I did not make copious lists and then tick things off the list as and when I do them.   So far I am totally up to date with my lists for Christmas - so far, so good.

Yesterday all I had on the list was to deliver a Christmas cake to a friend (her Christmas present) and to collect my clock from the repair man - lovely to seeing it going merrily on the mantelpiece in the sitting room in time for the big day.

Today I planned an easy day.   My only task was to hand-deliver the local cards.   I drove the car and the farmer (who is far more agile than I am) nipped out and put them through the appropriate letter boxes.   And we arrived home just in time to welcome the farmer's sister on her usual visit at Christmas to put a wreath on the parents' grave.

Now, having watched a lovely, very Christmassy Country File from Cornwall, we intend to sit and play Rumikub.   We are not particularly sporty and really don't want three hours of Sports Personality.

Tomorrow's list?  Do the last wash and iron before Christmas and after my cleaner has been to put up the decorations.  There might be photographs later although I am not one hundred percent good yet at getting them on to my blog.   Fingers crossed.

Friday 18 December 2015


What a week this has been weather-wise up here in the Yorkshire Dales.   Last Saturday it snowed all day and the roads were icy and in places impassable.   Tuesday, when my friends came to stay, it was thick fog all the way here from Cumbria.   When they went home on Wednesday it was gloriously sunny and breezy here but thick fog as they got into Cumbria.  Today it is cloudy, drizzly and very warm for December.   And to think it is only three weeks since huge parts of Cumbria were under water.   Contrary would you call it?

The farmer can't get on to the fields to do anything as (to quote him) everywhere is 'mud up to the eyeballs'.

And through all this some of my garden roses are still flowering - particularly Gertrude Jekyll, and the primroses and winter jasmine are in full bloom.

Thursday 17 December 2015

Today's Christmas jobs.

Neither the farmer nor I feel in one hundred percent health today - I think we both have a low grade bug, although as we both feel a lot better tonight it is obviously short-lived.

So today's jobs have been minimal, although both of us are staunch believers in keeping going through this kind of bug rather than going to bed or sitting by the fire.

Apart from his normal farming jobs the farmer has also cut a Christmas tree for my son and his wife, who like a 'real' tree each year.   I prefer a very small, artificial one - less pine needles to clear up.   Tess went with them to choose the tree  from our field and she thoroughly enjoyed chasing the rabbits, catching one - a real special event.

Thursday is my hairdresser's day and when I came back I finished decorating two of my four Christmas cakes which I make each year.   They are identical so I have photographed only one and after finishing this I shall endeavour AGAIN to put the photograph of it at the bottom of this post.   I am a big believer in the spider philosophy 'if at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again.'  Since going on to Windows 10 I have not yet managed to put a photograph on my blog.  So here goes.....

Not the best photograph - it does need turning to the right but don't expect miracles dear readers.   I dare not go back in case I can't repeat the exercise!  As it is it does look as though it will fall of the table.

Wednesday 16 December 2015


Back to normal today as our visitors make their way back through the Dale and over to the Lakes, where they live.   All our fog has gone and today has been very mild and sunny.   Seeing the sun again after a long time without it has been a joy.   We went over to the village of Ravensworth to buy our Christmas plants - this has become a tradition and this year the farmer drove me there.   Everywhere is so wet that he can't get on to the fields to do any work, so I think he felt like a drive out.

I bought a lovely poinsettia and two cyclamen plants (as I always do), a basket of plants as a present for a friend and a holly wreath for the grave of my first husband.   On the way we had to go through the town of Richmond - so I took a photograph from the moving car of Richmond castle as we passed it.   Not a very good photograph I am afraid.   Just before reaching the Nurseries we drove through the village of Ravensworth (where Sir Ian Botham lives) and I took a photograph there too.   It is a pretty village with a very big village green on both sides of the road.

This afternoon saw me completing a whole lot of jobs on my list of 'jobs to do before Christmas', travelling into town, going to the bank, going to the churchyard with the wreath, visiting my friend with her plant present and taking our sitting room clock to the clock repairer.  

The farmer and I always have our tea on trays and watch Pointless on the television.   Today the farmer watched it - I slept through the whole performance and only awoke when the news came on!!

Tuesday 15 December 2015


Met friends for lunch today in Richmond, driving there through heavy fog.   Lunch was a complete Italian affair in La Piazza - all delicious, but have eaten too much particularly as I have made a cassoulet for tea tonight - I think we will have to be a little late eating it.   The friends are coming back here after wandering round Richmond and will stay the night, so it is but a short blog today.  As my friend W remarked on our way home, it is a typical November day in December.   Oh to see the sun, if only for half an hour.

Monday 14 December 2015

A guest posts today.

A guest, G, does my post for me today.   On Saturday we had a good inch of wet snow.   It threw the whole place into chaos as drivers  forgot how to drive in such conditions and folk ended up on hills crossways on on the road.   This morning G sent me an e mail - here it is:

Leyburn Band was asked to play at the wedding of two Band members on Saturday.   We started playing at 12.30 and the wedding was due to start at 1pm.   We played and played, no bride.   Got to 1.30, still no bride.   She was travelling from Richmond (North Yorkshire) to Leyburn, a distance of eleven miles.  Unfortunately she was in a vintage Rolls Royce, not good in snow.   They got stuck several times and tried different routes.   Meanwhile we carried on playing, eventually taking requests from the congretation for their favourite carols.   The traffic outside the church was at a standstill, cars getting stuck on the hill in the covering of snow.   We carried on playing until the poor bride arrived - 90 minutes late!   She looked a little flustered, but beautiful with it.   The service was lovely, possibly helped by the feelings of relief that she had finally arrived.   Altogether we played over three and a half hours.   I think that will be a day that the bride and groom will not forget!

Thank you G for setting the scene on a snowy day.   Incidentally we drove through the dale yesterday with no problems at all - just a light covering of snow on the fields and the river well down - no sign of the recent flooding at all.   Today the snow (all inch of it) is disappearing and we are back to normal.   I hate to think what would happen should we get a real downfall.

Saturday 12 December 2015

Bleak mid winter indeed.

It began to snow at nine o'clock this morning and has snowed almost all of the day.   For a while it turned to sleet but now it is very cold and looks set to freeze tonight.

The farmer, not to be put off by the snow, walked with his walking group, way up in the Pennines and thoroughly enjoyed it.   The only nuisance was the journey home when so many drivers were playing silly 'B's on the road - driving in the wrong gear, getting stuck on hills, getting stuck cross ways on of the road.  It took him an hour to do a journey which usually only takes half an hour - but I had lunch all ready.

For lunch I did a favourite of his - I can't remember what it is called but perhaps someone can enlighten me - a Dutch recipe which entails a round of toast, covered by a nice layer of tasty cheese, covered by a slice of cooked ham and topped with a fried egg.   In the farmer's case he had this double.   I had a single helping.   It really is delicious and very filling.  Try it sometime.

Tomorrow we are (three of us) set to have Christmas lunch in Hawes, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will get through.  It will be such a disappointment if we can't, especially after last week's fiasco owing to flooding.

Keep snug and warm.

Friday 11 December 2015


Friday morning as always means coffee with friends in town - still just as enjoyable as it always was.   Some of us even had a crafty scone too ( cheese in my case).

At one o'clock Fiona, the dog-groomer, came to give Tess a good wash and brush up.   She drives her van to just outside the back door, hooks up to our electricity and then gets going - ears, claws, eyes, a good cut and then a sweet-smelling shampoo.   Tess looks beautiful.  I took before and after photographs but since upgrading to Windows 10 last week I just can't see how to get my photographs into my Pictures file, so must wait for my son to come round.

Then, on a perfectly awful afternoon, with a gale blowing and the rain pouring down, I wrapped my Christmas presents and got my cards all ready for posting.   Two good jobs done and out of the way.   With my trembles I need a helping hand with wrapping but the farmer stayed in because of the weather and helped by holding bits down while I sellotaped them and putting his finger on knots until I made a bow.   Sadly I had to wrap his present (slippers) when he took Tess for her afternoon walk round the fields, so it is rather cobbled together (quite appropriate for slippers though, come to think about it.)

Thursday 10 December 2015


Lots of bloggers are posting blogs about books for Christmas, and about reading.   I do like books for Christmas but of course the choice of book is so personal isn't it, so I usually give a book token instead.   As far as my own is concerned, if anyone wishes to buy me a book I usually give them a list with one or two possibles on and tell them to confer with each other.

I always make sure my library books are back before the Christmas holiday begins as  I do tend to forget renewals and that can soon be expensive - in fact almost buy the book rather than loan it.

But my bookshelves are full of books I have read but cannot bear to part with so I can always find something to read.   This week I have been reading Evelyn Waugh's 'Brideshead Revisited' - one of my all time favourites.   I must have read it a dozen times over the years and yet, each time I read it I find something new, and that is why I keep going back to it again and again.   I have just finished it over my coffee this morning and I really think I have enjoyed it more this time than I ever have done before.   Have you read it?   Is it your kind of book?

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Poetry please.

The one downside, as far as I am concerned, to having regular dates in one's diary, is that it does make every week go past like a rocket.
This applies to my various coffee dates, my hairdresser's appointment, my physiotherapist, and - as far as today is concerned - our Poetry meeting.

If you like poetry then I do encourage you to join a Poetry group.   If you can't find one then why not start one yourself?   Our group, which always meets on a Wednesday afternoon, usually has somewhere between ten and a dozen there; we meet in a friend's conservatory and each of us reads our favourite poems.   Then we have a cup of tea and a biscuit.

Today being our Christmas meeting, most of us chose Christmas poetry.   Two of us chose to begin T S Eliot's 'Journey of the Magi' but we both had enough to leave that one out.   Instead I started by reading Ogden Nash's 'The boy who laughed at Santa Claus'.

It wasn't all Christmas - we had 'The Highwayman' and 'The Lady of Shallott', both firm favourites with us all.   We had Wendy Cope and Pam Ayres, as well as more serious stuff - in fact a good mix.
Ted Hughes is always a firm favourite as is Robert Frost (Christmas Trees).

I always come home thoroughly relaxed - there's nothing like good poetry to put you in a good mood.  Give it a try.

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Watching the waistline.

My 'normal' Tuesday morning involves going into town to the Post Office for my pension (one of the perks of getting old) with friend W.   Then we meet friend C and all go to our lovely local cafe The Post Horn for coffee and scones.   The best cheese and/or fruit scones in North Yorkshire I always call them.

By the time I get back home it is time to think about preparing lunch and of course I am still full of scone, so never feel like eating much lunch.
This afternoon friend G called in the middle of a rainstorm  (it has, on the whole, been a very pleasant day) and our planned visit turned out to be a flop in that the candle makers, where we planned to go, was closed.  So instead we went to yet another cafe for coffee and a mince pie.   This meant that when I came in at tea time I didn't feel a bit like eating anything and actually just had an apple.

Today's healthy eating plan has gone out of the window.

Monday 7 December 2015

Slipping standards.

As an ex-teacher of English, who also happens to love English literature and who is very careful about spelling and punctuation (the latter is often arguable and can be idiosyncratic and I do allow for that), it does annoy me when I come across glaring errors.
 I bought my Christmas cards some weeks ago and they are now all ready for posting (this is not intended to be a boast!) and I bought them with the picture in mind and it was only as I was writing them that I came across two absolutely glaring errors.   Both were in the same box of cards - one was a beautiful card of geese standing in the snow and on the back the caption read - geese outdoor's in winter.   The other was a pretty photograph of a tawny owl sitting in a snowy beech tree (obviously beech because they hold their leaves longer) and here the caption on the back read - 'tawny owl on the beach while snowing'.

The first caption of course has a misplaced apostrophe, while the second caption has a spelling mistake (beach instead of beech) and in addition I would really question the grammar.  (it does tend to suggest that the owl is snowing and would have been better if it had said 'tawny owl on the beech in the snow').

Do such things matter?   Am I nit-picking or should we try to uphold standards?   I know that often we all make mistakes when writing our posts - but really, on Christmas cards should there not be some kind of proof reading to help avoid this?

Sunday 6 December 2015


Today, for the first time for a few days, it is dry, sunny and the wind has dropped considerably.   Today was to have been our jaunt over the Pennines and on to Ravenstonedale to meet up with four friends, exchange Christmas presents and have a lunch together.  And, looking out of the window, it is a lovely day for such a journey.

But the police have asked everyone to stay at home unless their journey is really necessary because the floodwater is everywhere and many places are underwater.  The fields opposite us are under water and our beck, which runs past my cottage in the village, is 'banking' but has not actually come over.   It did so five years ago with disastrous results and this time, when bad weather was forecast, the council came round with sandbags.

So we stay at home sadly (although there is a Snooker final on TV)
and I am cooking the lunch.   But better safe than clogging the road or getting stuck in deep flood water which is running off the high ground and settling on the roads in various dips.   Desmond (or the 4th serious storm of winter if you would rather drop the names) has certainly caused havoc here in the North of England.

Saturday 5 December 2015

Coffee Morning.

It was our village church coffee morning this morning.   The weather here is appalling as Storm Desmond passes through but did anyone chicken out of going to the village hall?   Of course not.   We are hardy village folk, used to going around in all weathers and we turned out in force.

Apart from anything else, A had made her famous small iced Christmas cakes - always popular, always delicious, always a good idea to keep in for anyone who calls just before Christmas.   K had made her equally famous mince pies with brandy butter, which she heated and sold for church funds (and donned her reindeer horns as a hint towards Christmas in the air).   It was a lovely, friendly morning in an otherwise terribly stormy day.

Many areas up here are deep under water - the further west one goes the worse it gets.   The farmer and I were due to go over the Pennines tomorrow to meet four friends for lunch in our favourite pub.   Sadly we have had to call it off.   The friends who live in Windermere are more or less cut off and we here in the Dales are also cut off, so best stay at home and keep warm.

Friday 4 December 2015

Ovine Chiropody.

Today was a big day for the sheep - they were all treated to a major pedicure.   Because of our enormous rainfall here during the month of November, the ground is absolutely sodden and whenever it rains (which at present is most of the time) the water just stands on the ground as it has nowhere to drain to.   This means that inevitably the sheeps' feet suffer and they get infection between their hooves.   If you see sheep in a field and they are kneeling on their front legs in order to eat the grass, then they have bad feet.

Today, the farmer who owns the sheep (we only over-winter them off the tops) came and two of them cut off the excess hoof on each sheep, cleaned out the space between the hooves and sprayed with an antibiotic spray to keep infection at bay.   Now for a little while they will be pain-free, but if this weather continues it will soon come back.

The sheep dog who came with them (dog being the operative word) was very interested indeed in miss Tess (we walked down to take a photograph for you) and for once she didn't bark but just danced about elegantly and flirted outrageously (I was a)ashamed of the display she put on and b) pleased she had been spayed!

Thursday 3 December 2015


The farmer and I struggle each year to find one another a token present at Christmas.   There is really nothing we want but it is rather nice on Christmas morning to exchange a small gift - and so we make some kind of effort.

As children we got what we were given and there was never enough money for it to be anything massive - certainly not in the circles either of us moved in.

But these days the nearer it gets to Christmas the more I am struck by the injustice in the world.   In Africa there are children who live out their whole lives on rubbish heaps, scavenging enough 'rubbish' to keep alive by selling it.    In North Africa there are children - and innocent men and women - whose whole lives have been turned up side down by the on-going conflict.   In Europe there are thousands of refugees braving the increasingly cold weather trying to reach the sanctuary of a safe haven in any country which will have them.

On television we see women (and men) in their finery, strutting their stuff in a world full of glamour and glitter.   And now, today, the farmer's paper has a Christmas gift guide with perfume at £210 for 100ml, handbags at £650,   a bra and panties for £250 - I won't go on, I find it all too sickening.

If folk have that much money to spend then I would suggest there are better, more charitable ways of spending it. Safe havens for the people of Syria trying to get on with normal lives, blankets for children who are refugees in Eastern Europe and who have come from the heat of Africa to the intense cold of central Europe and still have nowhere to go.   Again I could go on, but I do find it so sickening - in fact I feel sometimes like opting out of the whole thing called 'normal life' and going to live somewhere in isolation.   But of course one cannot do that.   Is there any kind of answer to the injustice of it all?   I doubt it.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Busy Day

Today friend W and I did our final run to top up on all things Christmas - food I mean.   My freezer is now full to bursting and apart from fresh vegetables nearer to the big day I have nothing left to do apart from one last cake to make, and I intend to do that in the morning.

After our shop we called on the way home at a restaurant we know and had fish, chips and mushy peas with our favourite drink of lime juice and soda water.   We are conoisseurs of this drink and rate it out of ten - this one was up there with the tens.   You would not believe how they vary from ultra weak to ultra strong and everything in between.   Similarly they vary greatly in price from around 65 pence to well over and £1 .

Our journey to the  shop on our large retail park was in sunshine but by the time we returned we ran into rain again - it has rained here for days and it is getting very depressing.   Now I am off to finish writing my Christmas cards.  See you tomorrow.

Tuesday 1 December 2015

 For many years now I have collected hares, which are my favourite animal.   I think this goes back to my childhood in rural Lincolnshire, where hares were so common in the flatlands.   I have hare statues, hares pictures and dozens of hare cards.   These cards I keep until I have enough to make another collage, then I buy another clip frame and mount the cards.   The farmer then sighs heavily and says, 'Another nail in the wall.'   Our utility room is hung with hare pictures and I have enough for another collage when I get round to doing it.

Now, one of the best things about blogging is the nice relationships one gets with folk - I have met a few and got on well with them all (I feel this is because we are attracted to like-minded bloggers).   But there of course many more who, although we communicate almost every day, we are unlikely ever to meet.   But in a strange sort of way we still get to know one another.

Such a one is Gayle (angry parsnip/two little square black dogs) who lives in Tucson.   And just look what arrived in the post from her this morning.   Certainly this jack-rabbit has ears bigger than any hare I have got so far!   Isn't he splendid?
   So I publish him on my blog and say thank-you to Gayle for thinking of me and giving me the pleasure of a lovely surprise when I opened the mail this morning.