Tuesday 31 January 2017

Contrary weather

The usual Tuesday morning here in the Yorkshire Dales - with friends C and W in our favourite cafe drinking coffee and hot chocolate and eating a scone, a toasted tea cake and a piece of ginger cake respectively.  And, of course, that all important hour of chat.   Outside the window it was pouring with rain, although the temperature was higher than it has been for a while.

After lunch it was driving the mile to sit and chat with friend M in her cosy lounge.   Our friendship goes back a long way and whenever we meet we always have lots of laughs - important today as the rain stopped and the fog came down.   Shortly after three o'clock I decided it was time to come home as the fog was really thick and I can't drive in the dark (it was certainly getting dark).   But by the time I arrived home it was raining again and miraculously the fog cleared as if by magic.

During our chats today I find the several things are changing - folk are moving house, a friend is ill in hospital and other friends are seriously ill too.   Of course I know that nothing ever stays the same but nevertheless I have always liked to see the status quo remain intact = any changes and I become  most unsettled.   And that is how I feel this evening - many things are 'on the move' and somehow I have to maintain my equilibrium.

In this I know that I take after my mother, who went into a decline at any changes.   We used to make fun of her, but now I know just how she felt.
I could make a list of things which are on my mind at the moment but of course I won't.   It won't make them go away and - hopefully - in a few month's time I will look back at this year's beginning and think 'thank goodness all that is behind me'.


Monday 30 January 2017


Early yesterday I sat up in bed drinking my early morning cup of tea and watching the sun come up.  The sky was a picture as the sun tinted the underside of the clouds first a deep red and then, gradually, turned to orange as the sun rose.   At that point the rooks flew past - thousands of them - chatting away as they went, quite close to my window.   So I had my fill  of joy before I even got out of bed.

By the time we had had breakfast the sun was really up and lit up the paddock so beautifully that I had to go out and take a photograph or two for you.
Add to that the fact that my snowdrops and aconites are out and you know that Spring is on its way whatever the weather throws at us.
Today friend W and I are off to M and S at Teesside Park (about an hour away) to have a look round - the first time we have been for about six months - let's hope we get some inspiration for our Spring wardrobes.

Saturday 28 January 2017

The Times they are a-Changing.

I was at the village school in Lincolnshire
from 1937 to 1942.   Yes, it was wartime, but the only trip out from school was a bus trip to Elksley Waterworks in Nottinghamshire.   I remember it vividly and just as vivid was the build up to it, deciding on the packed lunch, what to wear etc.

At Grammar School (1942 to 1949) I don't remember any school trips of any kind.

What about projects?  I remember one at the village school and I still remember the excitement of doing it.   We had to collect labels off tins which showed where they came from.   Remember this was wartime, so there can't have been that many surely.   Our teacher put a map of the world on the wall and we stuck a pin and a bit of the label in the right place.   Is that why I am still so interested in Geography?

At Grammar School I don't remember any - it was heads down, get learning. 

Today in our local, weekly paper (The Darlington and Stockton Times - published every Friday) is an article which shows just how much more exciting a place school is these days.

Two of our Primary Schools started by writing letters to one another - pupil to pupil.   Then, after reading about a character called 'Flat Stanley' they each drew Flat Stanley on card and coloured him in.   Then they sent their Flat Stanley to their pen friend in the other school, who sent theirs the same so that everyone ended up with a Stanley to call his own.

Now, for a week, each child kept a Diary about the adventures Stanley had with them.   Then both schools got together for a morning's Workshop of Art, Drama and Writing.   Back in their own schools the children are now in the process of writing stories about the character and the aim is finally to produce a book of stories.

Isn't that just a splendid idea?

I would love to know whether your school had projects and visits.   Times have changed so much.
In my day women teachers were not even allowed to marry (of course men could!!);  we only had one Mrs on the staff and she was a war widow.  Our Primary school teacher was one Miss Kirkbride - past retirement age but kept on because of the war years.  When the boys left to go to the Boys' School in the next village (at eight) their teacher was Johnnie Laws; a firm disciplinarian adored by all the pupils (and father of a large family).

Now my grand=daughter, who teaches in Glasgow and is on Maternity leave, is planning to take her baby into school to show to her class - all keen and eager to see her.

There is no doubt which is the best method is there, but we can't move ahead of the times in these things can we?


Friday 27 January 2017


Today is mind (and everything else) numbingly cold.    There is a thick all-enveloping mist and the sky is uniformly grey.

The farmer went off to the Auction Mart as he always does on a Friday morning and I went for coffee with the 'girls',   I am sure it was warmer in the cafe than at the Mart.

This afternoon the long-burner is lit, the house is warm and we are forgetting that there is an outside to go to.  Parsnip and apple soup, followed by beef casserole warmed us up when we came in and we have just about warmed through.

This week-end sees the end of the pheasant shooting season, so the last shoot is tomorrow and of course the farmer will be going.   So friend W and I will go out for lunch somewhere and so another day will pass, another day to say goodbye to January and get ready to welcome in February in the middle of next week.   It is a long time since we had such a prolonged cold spell - and I do hope it is soon over.

Thursday 26 January 2017


We now have an extra hour of daylight morning and evening, and what a difference it has made.   Have the birds begun to sing where you are?  Robins are singing away and one or two blackbirds have also begun to tune up.   It is bitterly cold here, so it can't be the weather;  I can only assume that it is the extra daylight.

We really don't notice much of what goes on under our noses nature wise and as the farmer walked round the field this morning he saw this nest.   Not very good pictures I am afraid but at least he went back and took an image for me.   It is in the branches of a hawthorn tree, almost by our front gate.  Just think, Mrs Long-tailed tit raised her brood last year right under our noses and we never suspected a thing.

When I came back from the hairdresser's this afternoon, the garden by the side of the house was full of escaped sheep (around twenty of them had jumped the wall and wandered up the road).   The farmer was sitting by the fire and I quickly fetched him to put them back in their field.    He did this with the help of his brother, who just happened to be next door and saw what was happening.   I saw the funny side of it until I went outside and found that the wretched sheep had come to the back door and had attacked my tete-a-tete daffodils which were well in bud.   They had eaten almost every head off.   I have decided I hate sheep.

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Lovely day

 Today has been a good day in all kinds of ways.   In the first instance the weather has been glorious providing you could ignore how bitterly cold it was.   The sky was a beautiful blue without a single cloud in it.   Friends over from the US (Boston) came for coffee this morning - two hours of lovely chat as we caught up on all our news.  Then, after lunch, our monthly Poetry afternoon - nine of us today - with lots of really interesting poems by a variety of writers.  Ending with a cup of tea this rounded up a very satisfying day.

It is so important when you get to retirement age that you strive to make life interesting.   It would be so easy to sit back, eat your meals, read the paper and do little else.   I can't exercise much as physically my walking skills are limited.   But that
doesn't mean I don't do a limited amount (I never miss an opportunity to go upstairs with anything that needs to be upstairs) or move around the house as much as I can.

Sitting listening to an afternoon of delightful poetry, carefully chosen to make an interesting selection, exercises my brain - different kind of exercise, but just as important.

Tomorrow's forecast is not so good but as it is my day for a cut, colour and wash and blowdry at the hairdresser's I shalln't mind so much.  (yes - I colour my hair.   I don't choose to have grey hair - my prerogative)

And the aconites and snowdrops in the front garden are out.   Spring is creeping in by the back door just to remind us that it is beginning the fight against Winter - a fight not won yet by any means but it is only a matter of time.

Tuesday 24 January 2017


I suppose whichever country we live in - parti cularly if we were born and brought up there - we quite quickly become accustomed to the climate and weather conditions.   It doesn't stop us complaining about them though does it?

Not sure whether this is a particular English characteristic or whether it applies to every Nationality.

A few years ago we went on the Hurtigruten, up the coast of Norway and round to the Russian border at Kirkenes.   We went to see the midnight sun and on Midsummer's night we went to a concert in Tromso cathedral on midnight.  Folk were drinking  coffee in outdoor cafes around the cathedral, children were playing on their bikes in the square - it was twilight and as dark as it got at that time of the year.

The converse is also true of course.   From mid December until mid February it will barely get light.   

The thought of living in perpetual semi-darkness for weeks makes me feel like curling up into a ball and hibernating.   But if one is born to it then I suppose it is a way of life.

Similarly with the degree of cold.  It is not a pleasant day here.   The sun came up and promised well, but it has been all uphill after that.  As I drove into town it was minus two and the fields were frosted although the sun was glinting on the grass and it was quite beautiful in a wintry kind of way.   By the time I returned after my trip to the Bank and a coffee with friend C (our favourite cafe is open again after a fortnight's redecorating) the sun had gone in, the cloud had descended, it was deeply depressing weather and yet the temperature had risen to plus six degrees.   It felt much colder.

Our friends F and R in The Netherlands often speak about how every year the dykes used to freeze and there was skating along them and yearly races.   Then the weather began to be warmer and now rarely are the dykes frozen enough to allow skating.

However, today in the Times there is a photograph of skaters on the dykes.  I am about to send a e mail to them asking if this ice is widespread and if this is one of those now rare happenings 'a skating year'.

Light the woodburner, close the curtains, get out a good book and Bob's your uncle.   Never thought I would reach this stage in life.

Sunday 22 January 2017

Lovely day out.

After seeing my lovely great grand-daughter yesterday (she is even more delightful in the flesh than in her photographs) and marvelling at the love, care and attention she is getting from her parents, this morning felt rather flat.

Suddenly the sun broke through what has been a whole week of grey skies and we just felt like a drive out.

The farmer drove through Wensleydale, through Coverdale and down into Kettlewell which I believe is in Cravendale.   Then we came back to Buckden and turned down the riverside and over the tops to drop down into Hawes in time to call at
our friend's restaurant for roast pork with sage and onion stuffing, apple sauce and lovely veg.

The temperature when we left home was two degrees.  It changed constantly on our journey, depending upon the height at which we were driving.   The lowest it went was minus two and the highest four degrees.

It is time to heat up yesterday's soup for our evening meal. so I will leave you with a selection of photographs I managed to take from the moving car.

Lovely old Yorkshire names for the villages, like
Carlton in Coverdale, Oughtershaw, Horsehouse,
Kettlewell, Yockenthwaite, Starbotton.   You couldn't make them up could you?

Saturday 21 January 2017

No Hope!

Tess has just come in from her evening walk and as I am getting a dinner party ready she is glued to my side waiting for titbits (which she usually gets whenever there is a dinner party).

No luck tonight dear doggie - this lot are vegetarians!

Friday 20 January 2017

Old Crafts.

The farmer is busy keeping our hedges in check and also mending the stone walls here and there.   The former tend to get a bit tangled with brambles which do mean that sheep get entanged more and more until they just cannot escape; the sheep do also tend to knock down bits of stone wall.   So, as Robert Frost so rightly said - Good fences make good neighbours and we don't want our always adventurous sheep to get over into next door's fields.

Once a year we have Mike, who arrives one day after the bird-nesting season is finished and trims all our hedges (mostly a mixture of hawthorn, blackberry, holly, ash and field maple) keeping them trim and also thick.   Constant cutting every year does mean that they never get a chance to thin out, and the small birds (yellow hammer, chaffinch, hedge sparrow) can build their nests well-hidden from prying eyes.

But it would be a shame if the old-fashioned hedge laying art died out.   The same applies to many of the old farming skills which disappeared with the advent of more and more modern machinery.

I came across an article today about The National Hedgelaying Society (Patron H R H The Prince of Wales), which is dedicated to keep the ancient art alive.   My father-in-Law used to lay all of our hedges and it is still possible to see his handiwork along the base of most of the hedges around the farm.   It is a time-consuming job and hard work to boot, but it would be a shame if it were to die out completely.   So it is good to see and read that there are still enthusiasts of the art (and it certainly is an art) around.

Now all the bramble prunings have been gathered up and brought back to pile ready for a bonfire on a day when the wind is in the right direction.   If it is a really cold day so much the better as it is lovely and warm standing close (at your front in any case even if your back is still freezing).

Thursday 19 January 2017

Giving to Charity.

A few weeks ago Elizabeth (About New York on my side bar) knitted me two very pretty hats for my new great grand-daughter Ula.   All she asked for in payment was that I should give a donation to a charity which worked with children.

I put a post on about this and since then have really done some research into which charity to make a Direct Debit to.    I finally chose Medicins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders).
I have today received a letter from them thanking me and including a paragraph about one of their projects.   I thought you might like to read it:
"I would like to take this opportunity to send a message from my colleague, Dr Emily Wise, who has been working in our tuberculosis programme in Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan.   ""As a British Doctor working for MSF in the field, I have first hand experience of how your money helps to bring quality medical care to those afflicted by a humanitarian disaster and give back health and dignity to people who would otherwise be completely neglected or forgotten.   I have worked as a  medic in many different and challenging circumstances, at home and abroad, but I have never before felt so fulfilled by my work or seen how a small number of well-trained staff can have such a dramatic impact.   Without donations from people I and other doctors and nurses would not be here.   Our drugs would not be here.   Many of our patients would no longer be here.""

It is worth looking at their site if you feel like helping a worthwhile project as a New Year Resolution.

Tuesday 17 January 2017


I read somewhere that a naturalist found fifteen wrens huddled together for warmth last winter in a nest box one night.

We are very lucky in that we have plenty of house sparrows here.   They are supposed to be less common than they were but that is certainly not true here where during the day our holly hedge makes a deafening sparrow noise.   We have noticed that when we sit in the sitting room and have our afternoon tea, outside the windows there is a constant stream of sparrows flying up in front of the window.   We have discovered where they are going - they spend their nights huddled together in the house martins' nests under the eaves.

Although it is less cold here and the fog has mostly gone, it is still winter.   And as a friend quite rightly pointed out this morning - February is often an awful month.   I am hoping that she is proved wrong and that at the very least our snowdrops will be out and we will be reminded that spring is only just around the corner.

Keep warm.

Monday 16 January 2017

Answers please

Or guesses.   I have had two jugs of holly covered in bright red berries in the house since before Christmas;  they have given me great pleasure but now the leaves have begun to fall.

Although I know that the birds love holly berries but never seem to eat them once they have dropped them on the ground, I scattered the stalks of berried holly around the bird table and waited to see what happened.   Although we had twelve male blackbirds under (and on) the table, none of them seemed to approach the berried stalks.

When we went to bed all the berries were still there.  When I drew the curtains back this morning all the berries had been eaten.   My question is - what had eaten the berries overnight.   A possible guess I suppose is mice.   Any ideas?

Sunday 15 January 2017

First smile.

I have just received this picture of my Great grand-daughter's first smile.  It is such a lovely picture that I just had to post it as today's post.  It has certainly brightened up what is a very dull, wet day here in the Yorkshire Dales.

Friday 13 January 2017

Friday 13th.

Do I believe in such rubbish?   No of course not.   But - really it is rather scary when snow, very strong gale-force winds, very high tides, full moon all coincide on the same day.   One does have to push such thoughts out of one's mind.

We seem to have got off lightly here in the Yorkshire Dales - certainly here on the Eastern edge.   The wind was very strong first thing this morning, there was a covering of snow and the temperature was below freezing (just) but as the day has gone on the temperature rose to three degrees, the snow began to go and the wind dropped to breeze.

Going out on my usual Friday morning 'jaunt' - wrapped in so many layers that I could hardly move - was, as usual, a good experience.   This morning we had a change of venue because our usual hostelry is closed for two weeks for redecorating.   We went instead to Tennants, our local Auction House and friend W very kindly took me there and gave me a lift home afterwards so that the farmer could feed up and bed down without having to stop to make the journey.

That was the good news.   The bad news is that Tennants cafe does the most marvellous breakfasts!   Now I had had my usual banana and bowl of the farmer's porridge so certainly did not need anything to eat but as two of our group had a breakfast I just couldn't resist a bacon bap (delicious).   As a result all I have had since has been a small bowl of vegetables at lunch time when I served up the farmer's lunch and a bowl of home made leek and potato soup at tea time.  I must say that the soup was jolly good and so warming on what has been a bitterly cold day.

A change of subject - I see that Tristram Hunt has resigned as an M P in order to take over the top job at The Victoria and Albert Museum.   Well done that man.   My own view is that with Corbyn in charge of the Labour Party the chances of them
ever becoming a force to be reckoned with are very slim.  And if I were he and offered the absolute Plum Job in the field which was my passion, I would jump in with both feet.   So I support him wholeheartedly.

Thursday 12 January 2017

Winter in all its rage.

The first 'real' taste of winter that we have had for several years has hit the country hard over the past couple of days and large parts have seen quite a lot of snow.   So far it has missed us here in the Dales.

Because the farmer is not one hundred percent at the moment he has not ventured out in the bitterly cold weather any more than he has had to.   Once the wild birds are fed, the farm cats are fed, the pregnant cattle are silaged and bedded down, the sheep have been looked at (he kills two birds with one stone and walks Tess at the same time) and the logs for the wood burner have been brought in, he brings himself in for the rest of the day.

I have had a busy afternoon - hairdresser, shopping for groceries for the weekend, collecting prescriptions from the surgery and finally driving to my Physiotherapist for a forty minute session - I arrived home at tea time just about exhausted.   One the way home, coming through a village with a thirty mile an hour limit, I accelerated just before reaching the sign to tell me it was no longer necessary to stick to 30mph and had reached about 35mph before I noticed a speed Police vehicle on the side of the road.   So now I have a wait to see whether or not I get a speeding fine.   Then, just as I turned into our land I hit and killed a cock pheasant.   This is a first for me as I always try to avoid them.   Sadly the local landowner had had a shoot today (I had seen all the cars on my way to the Physio) so this poor pheasant had managed to escape the guns, only to be killed by me.   Not sure whether the speeding or the killing of the pheasant upset me the most.

Now we are snug and warm. the wood burner is chugging away and we are set to play Rummikub.
All the curtains are drawn so if it snows we will not know until we draw them back in the morning.

I am thinking of the poor folk down the East coast who are being warned about an exceptional high tide.   I vividly remember the time when the coast of Lincolnshire was flooded and I believe around three hundred people were drowned.   Much of the land is reclaimed land and is very low-lying.   I believe the year was around 1957.  Hope to goodness it doesn't happen again tonight.

Wednesday 11 January 2017


The weather here is contrary today.   I have been out to lunch with friend D - before she came the wind howled (60mph), the sky blackened, the sleet fell and the rainbow, against a backdrop of black clouds, was incredibly beautiful.

We went all of three miles to our local Golf Club for a Taste Platter (chicken, salmon, camembert and mushrooms - all deep fried - with chips and salad and there - I presume because we were sheltered - there appeared to be no wind, the sun shone and there was absolutely no sign of rain or sleet.

Home again at half past three in the afternoon and the black clouds have rolled in again.   Snow showers are forecast for tomorrow, but the west is expected to get it first, so by the time it gets over the Pennines and to here then I do hope it has weakened somewhat.

When I was young I loved the snow.   Now I hate it - the biting cold, the wind, the slippery conditions - give me a warm, snug room and my comfy slippers on days like that.

Keep warm.

Tuesday 10 January 2017


So, it looks as though Winter is about to appear in the guise of snow and gales.  And it is set to come in from the West rather than from Eastern Europe.

Here in the Dales of North Yorkshire we are just hoping that the Lakes and the West side of the country bears the brunt of the snow before it reaches here.   I am going out with a friend for lunch tomorrow.   As the farmer has a quite long appointment at the doctor's in the morning for various tests, friend D is collecting me in her car and we are lunching at Tennants (our local Auction House).

Last Winter it was never cold enough for my heavy Winter coat (- I have had it for thirty two years - cashmere, camel coloured and a trench coat style it has never gone out of fashion).  Tomorrow may well be the day when it emerges once more from the spare wardrobe.

Simon - Careering through Nature - has a photograph of two aconites on his post.   I have a patch in my front garden - no sign of them yet and with this snow coming I don't expect there will be.
But plenty of winter jasmine out on a South-facing wall.    With this cold weather forecast we need to cast about for signs, however small, that if winter comes can Spring be far behind.

Sunday 8 January 2017

Out to lunch.

A pretty usual occurrence you must be thinking, and you would be right.   We were both out on Friday (me with friend W and the farmer at the Auction Mart); but today is a lovely, sunny day and we thought we would just drive to Hawes, only fifteen miles, where friends keep a restaurant - The Pantry - and have a good roast dinner.   We have both been a bit low as the farmer has health issues, so we decided it would do us good.

Tomorrow the car goes in (to Northallerton, twenty three miles away) for its annual service.  As I write this the farmer is giving it a good clean inside and out.   He has to have an X Ray in the hospital in Northallerton, so while he is there he will do both jobs.   I am going with him for company, hence the washing is merrily whirling around in the machine as I write.

It amused me no end that people were shocked that I could use the word 'ass' or 'arse' - a good old English word I might add, which has gone out of favour as polite - probably in Victorian times I would guess, when people even put frills around piano legs.   In any case, I was merely giving you the name of a blog to visit - Gwil's alternative blog is called 'zen my ass' and his post yesterday about UFO's was certainly interesting and is well worth a visit.
Sorry if yesterday's post was a bit on the gloomy side (Tom told me to lighten up ) but I must admit that I did feel a bit gloomy.   The feeling has largely gone this morning - with this sunshine in January how could it stay.   I just popped into the sitting room to look out of the window to see if my Winter hellebores (Christmas roses) were out - no such luck.   That would have just been the icing on the cake.


Saturday 7 January 2017


I wonder why we all feel the need to predict what is likely to happen during 2017?   Twice this week I heard "winter isn't over yet - there can be some really bad snow in February.   I remember in 1979..."   Well even the Met Office is not always spot on so really I don't see why we need to even try.   Let's wait and see.

Look at Last year and Predictions - Donald Trump and Brexit to name but two.   If we lived in Syria, Iraq, Yemen - or many other places - predictions would be far from the top of the list for worrying.  Being killed, getting enough to eat, would be much more important.   Just staying alive.

There will undoubtedly be more killings - who knows where - I have no doubt there will be earthquakes, volcano eruptions, tsunamis, Avian flu in this country (it has already arrived).   There will be other things we haven't even thought of - good and bad.   We just have to hope that the good outweigh the bad.

I for one will just not be predicting anything - wait and see is to be my motto for the year (if I am still alive at the end of it - at my age it doesn't do to look too far ahead.)

If you want to see a U F O then go to Gwil's site (zen my ass) - now there's something to put you off predicting what the year might hold.


Friday 6 January 2017


For the last couple of days I have not felt particularly like blogging and there has been nothing to blog about in any case.    The weather has been very cold, the farmer is not one hundred percent and I went with him to the doctor yesterday.   He has got to have a thorough M O T and undergo a lot of tests, which is good.   Perhaps we can get to the bottom of why he feels just a little under the weather most of the time.

Yesterday I managed to fit about a week's things into one day and ended up very tired.   I got a lot of  clearing out of slides done and taken to the tip - another clearing out day.   But I had a bit of a disaster with the computer (which I won't go into), then going to the doctors with the farmer, then getting the tea - and by that time I just felt like relaxing.

Today friend W and I went out to lunch and that really did me good.   Good friend, delicious lunch in a lovely warm restaurant - what could be better.  We had a  'platter' of salad, deep fried camembert, battered mushrooms, salmon, onion rings and breadcrumbed chicken breast.   A cup of latte coffee followed and I came home in a much better frame of mind.

Wednesday 4 January 2017

Very cold weather

Very cold weather means that the farmer does not stay out for long.   He takes Tess for her morning walk round the fields - and this includes a look round the sheep at the same time - then sees to the hens.   The ban on letting them outside has been extended; because of the bird flu risk they must now be kept in until at least February 28th.

He feeds the wild birds too.  I suppose there is an argument against this when thinking about the flu, but we have done it for so long that a great number and a great variety of birds rely on us now.

The farmer makes sure that the kindling box is kept full and that the log supply is kept in good condition, makes sure everywhere is neat and tidy, and then he is in for the day (apart from a short walk with Tess after lunch and another walk around the sheep at late afternoon).

There are two newspapers to read (and he reads them from cover to cover and does the Sudoku puzzles too) and there is always a jig-saw on the go.   In addition of course we sit and chat.   Today friend C came for a cup of tea this afternoon and also to relieve me of a lot of surplus sewing/embroidery supplies so we had a pleasant couple of hours sitting by the woodburner, chatting.

Offloading all my embroidery bits and pieces has also been quite a relief.   I spent the morning sorting them out for her.   Does anyone else get a weird sort of pleasureable 'cleansed' feeling from a good sort out?

Monday 2 January 2017

Thank goodness it's all over.

As the lady who cleans for me said a minute ago - " it's weeks coming with days of preparation and then it's gone in a flash!"   Well, now I just can't wait to get all the decorations put away and get the whole house back to normal.   None of this Twelfth Night nonsense for me.

I must say that we had lovely, thoughtful presents.   I am a great reader and have favourite authors (as I am sure we all do) and I was delighted to received two paperbacks by two of my very favourites.   I can't recommend them highly enough if you haven't read them (and if they happen to be amongst your favourite authors too).

Both have huge sections about the second world war - both very different in content and in the way it is dealt with - but graphic and gripping.

The first one is  Kate Atkinson's "Life after Life" and the second Sebastian Faulk's "Where my heart used to beat."  Having read them both I now want more and I want it now. 

Kevin Maher in today's Times says that today's
philosophy tends to be 'if I don't get that package within minutes of ordering it, my life will be over'.
He is speaking about Amazon's filing of a patent in the U S for a manned airborne warehouse which will float in the stratosphere at 45,000 feet and which will be able to deliver packages within minutes of ordering, by drone.

I must say that reading this I have not yet gone on to Amazon this morning to have a look what other books by the two authors I have mentioned I can send for.

The weather here is beautiful from the comfort of the house.   Standing in the bay window and looking out it is full sunshine, light breeze and glorious.   Step outside and it is very cold (on freezing) - but then it is January and this kind of cold kills bugs and is much better in every way than what we up here call 'muggy' weather.

So - here we are again.   A new year, new ideas and interests to fill the hours, plenty of visits out with friends for coffee and for food, a mound of Christmas jig saws to do (one down, six more to go) and three quarters of the Christmas cake left to eat (I don't care for it but it does stop me having to think about the farmer's tea time piece of cake.

Onward and upward is the way to go.