Tuesday 31 May 2016

At Long Last

BT has been this afternoon and we are back to normal - the very nice young man who came to finish off the repairs put us a new connection box in, smartened up a lot of useless wires and had us up and running in about two hours.   What a long job it has been.   Three weeks - two with only intermittent connection and then the last week with no connection.

To those of you who said they would have complained, gone mad, died of frustration and the like - I can only say that I learned long ago that to be like that just makes the situation worse.   I have niggled a bit about it, but knew it would get done finally.

So, to today.

Finally Spring is beginning to arrive up here in the Yorkshire Dales.   Yes, I know it is only a few weeks to the beginning of Summer (or tomorrow if you take notice of modern thinking), but things always take their time up here, particularly when it has been so very cold, with only the odd warm day thrown in here and there (last Saturday for example).

The dandelions have finished and the buttercups are beginning to carpet the fields, the roadside verges are alive with cow parsley, pink campion and stitchwort.   All the hawthorn trees are thick with May blossom and the crab apple trees with apple blossom.

And the birds are now frantically rushing back and forth feeding their young.   Today a family of young house sparrows, who were reared in one of our bird boxes, are lined up in a row on a low branch of the tree outside the kitchen window so that mum and dad can easily feed them from the fat balls hanging from the bird table.

Blackbirds and blue tits are in and out of their nests in the front garden, obviously feeding young.  House martins are smartening up their nests under the eaves of our farmhouse.

In the field, where the farmer has a stick bonfire of all the wood cleared up after gales over winter,
he dare not light the bonfire because sparrows seem to have built in there.   So he has to wait until they are fledged.   Then there will be a short window before hedgehogs begin to think of going into it for hibernation!

It is so good to be back to normal - and to be in contact with you all.   Hopefully there will be no more hiccups!

Friday 27 May 2016

On and off.

Nine minutes past four in the afternoon and I have Broadband for the first time today.   And it might go off at any time, so here is a short blog.
This was taken out of the car window as we passed the Auction Mart field, where the travellers on the way to the horse fair are  always welcome to stay and rest their horses overnight.  There are several horses in the picture but the grass is quite long - I think there is one visible if you look for it.

Two lots of travellers are travelling in ordinary caravans along with a horsebox with their traditional horses.   But the green top van you see
is travelling being pulled by a horse and with a spare horse alongside.   I know this because we followed the chap for quite a long way before he reached our town.  The horses looked in good condition and as we came home from town this morning they were eating from nose bags, so they must be getting food other than just grass.

The weather here has turned beautifully warm and sunny this afternoon and the farmer and I have been gardening all afternoon.

At this point I lost my connection - it has just come back on at six o'clock, so a quick sign off before I lose it again.   Just one of life's frustrations.

Wednesday 25 May 2016


I still have no absolute certainty of Broadband as BT have not yet been back to finish off the job.   The young lady is going to ring me back tomorrow morning as she thought the job was done.   So, while I have a connection - here is a short post.

Our Poetry day today with so many interesting poems.   One or two by Charles Causley - hadn't had any by him lately - and a really interesting selection.

The temperature outside is around ten Centigrade - in other words it is jolly cold.   Friends have their caravan on the site just below our farm - luckily their van has all mod cons, so they are not at all cold.

The other news is that next week is the Appleby Horse Fair and hundreds of Travelling families are on the move across the north of England.  Grass verges are covered with Gypsy Caravans, tethered horses and groups of men sitting around camp fires.   I personally love it all - it has been happening for a very long time so I like the history of the whole thing.   Some people get cross about the mess and the nuisance on the road (holding up the traffic) - but I suspect that just a few people get the whole lot a bad name.

Well - my Broadband has held out, so I shall go and read some of your posts now.

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Are you a Romantic?

I have a young friend who has got engaged this week.   She is in her late twenties and has been with her boy friend for seven years last week-end.   To celebrate their seventh anniversary he suggested that while she was at work on Saturday morning he would pack a picnic and when she came home they would go out somewhere.

She duly arrived home and they set off.   The venue was a really beautiful garden which is open to the public  at this time of the year.   He laid out the picnic on a rug - he had prepared it all from the smoked salmon to the champagne (he works for a wine merchant).

She sat fiddling with her phone (her words) until he told her to stop and turn around to look at him.   He was on one knee with a diamond ring in his hand.  Of course, after seven years of living together, she accepted - and found that he had asked her father's permission and gone through all the formalities.

How different things were in my day!!  I don't remember any of my contemporaries living with a boy friend.  I sat here at lunchtime trying to think of the kind of things we did when we were courting (a long time pre pill of course.)

Much of our time (my first husband I am speaking of here and we were married in 1952) on 'dates' was spent at the cinema (winter) or rowing up the river, sitting on the bank out in the country for an hour or so and then rowing back.  We had to hire the boat from Skipper Ross, who was usually to be found in the pub on the banks of the Brayford Pool in Lincoln.   We had to open the door and shout for Skipper Ross, who would hire his rowing boats out.  All pretty innocent by today's standards - but the fear of pregnancy hung heavy in the air in those days.

As to my second courting days with the farmer.   He was still milking his milk herd when we were courting, so it consisted of watching him milk and walking with him to put the cows back in the field.   Saturday nights after milking were our one night of relative 'freedom'.

How times have changed.   And yet it seems to me that in spite of the co-habiting these days, young people still seem to want all the accoutrements of the old ways - the asking of the father's permission, the diamond on the finger, the down on one knee proposal.

I wish them all the best - they are a lovely couple.

Are you a romantic?

Monday 23 May 2016

Only half done.

The BT engineer has been here all morning and has located my Broadband problem as being an outside problem.   But unfortunately he has just been to tell me that he has "run out of time" - meaning that his shift has finished and as he lives in Durham he has to leave now.   The problem is an outside one and I am now 'back in the queue'.  Ah well, I can only be philosophical about it, otherwise I would go scatty.

At present my blue light is showing, so I shall leave just a short post.

Our day out yesterday, meeting my God-daughter and having a lunch out, was - as usual - a lovely day.  (Prawn starter, roast beef with the trimmings, coconut and pineapple pannacotta for me).

I took a photograph of the Mallerstang, especially for Gwil, as I know he has fond memories of walking it.   So here you are Gwil - just for you:

Sunday 22 May 2016

Are things back to normal?

After a fortnight with very patchy Broadband, suddenly mid-afternoon yesterday I got it and it has stayed on.   It is now half past nine on Sunday morning and it is still on.   The engineer is supposed to be coming in the morning (the third time that BT have promised to come, so I shall still expect him to call and check things over.)  It would be just my luck to cancel them and for it then to disappear again.

Life has been hard without it.   We tend to take such things fore granted. Trying to book cattle transfers by telephone when one is deaf is not an experience I would wish on anyone.  I did get it done finally but at great expense to my nervous system.

So, what has been happening since our return from our cruise?   Well the most important thing is that Spring has burgeoned - even here in the North of England.   Riding through the lanes around here, the trees are in full leaf (except for a few late ash trees), the verges are thick with cow parsley, dandelions are turning to 'clocks' and buttercups are taking their place, and the birds are in full household mode.

The eaves which face North on our farmhouse are full of house martins' nests, as they are every year;and the air above is full of those house martins as they scream and swoop and catch insects.   They are a delight to watch.   There are less swallows than there used to be (same last year)  but three or four pairs are building in various barns.   Pied wagtails,blackbirds, tree sparrows, hedge sparrows, yellow hammers, house sparrows - all have nests in or around the farmyard.   And collared doves, as usual, in our pine trees.   The trouble is that their nests are so flimsy that one strong wind and the eggs end up on the grass below.

Today we are meeting my God-daughter and her husband in Ravenstonedale - this means a drive through Wensleydale, turning up along the side of the Mallerstang (well-known to Gwil), left at Lady Anne Clifford's Castle (a ruin), over the moors and down on to the edge of the Lakes.    It is a gloriously sunny day so it will be a lovely ride.

I will post photographs this evening, assuming I still have broadband.   In the meantime here is another photograph from our holiday cruise - this one outside the cheese shop in Edam.   I remember this particularly because the sky was deep blue and the air was full of the sight and sound of screaming swifts.

Saturday 21 May 2016

Saturday pm

A brief burst of Broadband, so here's just a quick hello - BT have promised faithfully to definitely come on Monday morning, so I really can't wait.   The frustration is getting to me, although I am trying not to let it!

Thursday 19 May 2016


I just happened to pass my computer and saw that I have Broadband.   I didn't have it at all yesterday so this is a quick post half was through my breakfast to say that I am still alive!!

BT have twice let me down about coming to look at it but have now solemnly promised to come on Monday  morning.   So if I don't manage to get on line again before then, apologies - I shall keep trying.

Now back to the porridge and banana.

Tuesday 17 May 2016


Oh dear - what a frustrating day.   I only have intermittent Broadband - it pops up now and again and when I have it I try to get my e mails dealt with and read a few blog posts .  Three lines I have written and the blue light has gone and in place I have an orange flashing one.   The engineer from BT promised to come between one and six this afternoon, so I stayed in and waited.   The farmer has spent the afternoon in the front garden doing some weeding (couch grass!) and I spent the afternoon doing this and that - now it is after seven and obviously no-one is coming.  Now BT have promised to get the engineer to ring me in the morning.

To complicate matters our lane is due to have road repairs for the next three days and will be subject to closures now and again.   However, I refuse to get frustrated and am trying to keep calm.

There has been an invasion of aquelegias of many different shapes, sizes and colours in our front garden.   I am a wild garden enthusiast and hate things in straight lines, hence the invasion.  I had also been round last year shaking forgetmenots everywhere to spread their seeds, so they are in flower everywhere too.   But couch grass, well that is another matter but the farmer is very patient.

Shall now try and put this on as I have Broadband.

Monday 16 May 2016

The Funfair comes to town.

This week-end the dodgems have been in town as they are here twice each year.   They are always closed during the day so I presume they open in the evening, although as we never go into town in the evening I am not sure.   Young people must use them otherwise it wouldn't be worth them coming.   But it did get me thinking about the Fair when I was young.

The April Fair came to the South Common in Lincoln every year - it was huge.   There were side shows - the tallest man, the fattest lady, the bearded lady and other grotesque things.   There were a few very sad caged animals, which thank goodness is no longer countenanced.   But what always attracted everyone was the rides.   There were dozens of them:  the cockerels and horses, the cakewalk, the flying chairs, the swinging boats, the big dipper; we would go on every one two or three times.  And then, if we had any pence left we would use it up on 'roll a penny' and the coconut shy.   That event and the Circus, which also came once a year, would be two of the highlights.

Now such things have almost disappeared.   I wonder why.   Are the young more interested in Computer Games or hanging about on street corners, or do they go into pubs at a younger age.
I sometimes think it is sad that young people don't enjoy these things except in places like Blackpool.
I'm not including circuses in this of course - they were awful things and are much better now that most of the acts involve very clever people doing very clever gymnastic things and leaving the poor animals out of it.

But it did make me realise just how much our use of leisure time has changed.   So what do the young do these days?

Sunday 15 May 2016

Home again.

Someone is pleased to be home and has slept almost non-stop since her arrival!

We came home hoping that 'our' swallows and house martins would have arrived, but no such luck.   One pair of swallows are nesting in the old milking parlour but as yet there are no more and no sign at all of house martins or swifts.   I expect the weather has been too cold for them.

In Edam, as we sat in the square, the air was full of the sight and sound of swifts.   But the temperature was almost eighty and that is what brings them in.   We did also see a stork's nest which was a first for me.  

I am putting on an early post as my Broadband connection is only intermittent.  Today the farmer is walking with his walking group and friend W and I have booked a Sunday lunch - and so the summer lunching programme has begun again.   I might add to this post to tell what we ate later on if I am still on line.

Saturday 14 May 2016


I am mostly without any access to Broadband until the telephone engineer comes on Tuesday afternoon.   I did manage to post the photograph below, which is of the Keukenhof Gardens - a seventy acres site just outside Amsterdam, which is wholly devoted to tulips.   Our visit there, after mooring overnight in Amsterdam, was greatly enhanced because we met our Dutch friends, F and R, who took us all round the gardens; I must say that the gardens were a sight to behold.

The cruise went through the rivers of The Netherlands and Belgium, taking in Antwerp (magnifcent cathedral with three Rubens), Bruges, Arnhem, Veere, Volendam,  Edam and Hoorn and a lot of very pleasant (flat) scenery between.   Apart from Arnhem ( which I found very upsetting and yet felt I needed to go) everywhere was lovely.
I found Arnhem most interesting but it just underlined my abhorrence of war - its futility and its waste of so many lives, often (as in the case of Arnhem) at the sayso of one man (Montgomery) who had the idea that if it worked it might shorten the war by as much as six months and save many lives in the process.   But of course it didn't work as the cemetery points out.

Our ship was beautifully appointed, the crew (mostly Eastern European as that is where the ship does most of its cruising) were a delight - charming and full of good humour- and our fellow passengers, almost all  British apart from a smattering of American, Canadian and Australians, made pleasant company.

Now we are home again, washing and ironing done, food cupboard stocked again and back to normal.   The walking season starts tomorrow for the farmer and friend W and I have booked lunch out - and so the lunching out begins again.

See you tomorrow. 

Incidentally, in the War Cemetery were the graves of three young Jewish men.   They were identifiable by the Star of David on their headstones.   But each headstone also had a line of pebbles placed on the top.   Does anyone know the significance of this?

Thursday 12 May 2016

Home again.

Home again.   Yes, we have been on a cruise.   When we arrived home we had no telephone connection and no broadband so I have been totally unable to communicate until about an hour ago.

Thank you all for your concern, I do appreciate it. When I get sorted I will put one or two photographs on - we cruised from Amsterdam through to Antwerp - a river cruise.   The whole holiday was a delight - the ship, the crew, the friends we made, the food.   Can't think of a single thing which was not one hundred percent.

But, of course, it is nice to be home, especially now I have communications back.   And Tess is delighted to be home after her spell in the kennels.