Friday 28 April 2017

A Day Out.

Friend W and I went over to Kirby Lonsdale on the edge of the Lake District today to meet our friends for lunch in the Italian Restaurant there.   It is our first visit this year as we never venture over the high Pennines in Winter.

The weather was lovely as was the countryside.  The horse chestnut trees, their 'candles' just coming into flower, were at their most majestic.

Just to make the journey extra special, here are two  modes of transport we saw on our journey.
The first is a train going over the Ribblehead Viaduct - we pass it so many times on this journey but this is the first time we have actually seen a train on it, albeit  a rather boring example.   The next is this lovely 1915 car, driven along at a stately pace by a gentleman giving smart hand signals.   He looked to be really enjoying the drive.

These outings were usually the ones where the farmer went and had his lunch at the Auction Mart - but this will not happen again.

Thursday 27 April 2017


Today has been a very hectic busy day dealing with various things to do with the estate.   I find it all so tiring although everyone is very helpful.

Doing things 'on line' is hard for me often.   What I can do I do easily and often.   But new things often take ages and then fail because I can't find my way round things.

My son and his wife have called and have brought me a Bounty Bar - an indulgence but one which I love, so I shall go and make myself a cup of tea and have it with my Bounty and watch Super Vet.

Wednesday 26 April 2017

Catastrophe today.

This morning one of the pregnant heifers in the cow shed was being herded out into the yard with several others when she slipped and fell up against
the metal door and landed badly on the concrete yard.

The result was that she broke her hip.   The vet was called.   She was only a couple of weeks from giving birth to her first calf but sadly the vet said that she couldn't be saved.   She was  put down.   The 'knacker man' has just been to collect her body.   Such a shame for one so young.

Tuesday 25 April 2017

A Magical Experience.

This morning friend W and I went on a thirty mile trip to Marks and Spencer's at Teeside Park for a look round.   As always, the clothes disappointed, although I did buy a lovely red cardi and a bright green T shirt.

The food department was a different matter and I found plenty of delicious things I couldn't resist so am stocked up for a few days to come. 

The magic happened as I turned into our Lane on my return journey.   Two hundred yards before the farm a beautiful young deer stood in the middle of the lane, watching my approach.   I slowed down but she didn't move and I got right up to her.   Then she trotted slowly in front of me until I turned into the farm gate, at which point she jumped over the wall and into the field, leaping away to the far corner, where she stopped to watch as I went down the drive. I felt sad, knowing that this sort of thing will not happen when I move into the town.

Sunday 23 April 2017


It is a lovely morning but according to the weatherman it is the last of the Spring weather and later today Winter weather will sweep down from the North with wintry shows to accompany the sharp, cold winds.   Typical April weather here in the North I would say.

While it is warm I went for an early morning walk down the pasture.   You will see from the photograph that we had company on our walk.

Saturday 22 April 2017

I make a purchase.

I have driven into Northallerton this morning and bought myself a new car.   Our Astra is too big for my needs and I am not comfortable with it.   We have had Vauxhalls from new for a long time now and the salesman, Andy, has been the same throughout - so I telephoned him and then went in to see him today.

The upshot is that I am now the proud owner of a new white Vauxhall Corsa - much more suited to my needs.   It is a nice, nippy little car - much easier to park; just a nice little runabout.   It should see me out I would think. 

Friday 21 April 2017

A New blog.

The farmer's niece, who is an extremely good photographer with a marvellous imagination, has at last created a blog.

Her photographic montages and the  things she sells as a result - cards, mugs, jig-saws - all manner of things - are brilliant. 

Please do visit her blog for me - look at how she finally comes to a decision about a particular shot - and how clever her skills are.

She is on my side bar - Kitchy & Co.   Please let me (and her) know what you think.

Thursday 20 April 2017


When will this so-called Spring get a bit warmer?   Perhaps it is something to do with my somewhat depressed state at the moment, but I do find the weather very cold and seem to have the central heating on most of the time these days (and my electric blanket at night.)

Today Tess and I went down to the feedmerchants to buy cat biscuits for the farm cats and wheat and layers pellets for the hens.   On the way back we stopped at Marfield Wetlands and had a walk.   There was a sharp wind blowing but it didn't seem to be deterring the ducks and other water birds - they were paired up and in many cases nesting.   I did take my camera but forgot to put it in my pocket when I left the car in the car park.   But I promise I will get back into photography before long.

My son and his wife return from their holiday in Wales today - I must say they seem to have been away a very long time.  (twelve days) and I shall be pleased to see them home.

In the feedmerchants there was a man with a cage holding four brown labrador pups - they were exquisite.   Isn't every young thing beautiful?   Why do they have to grow up (that includes us humans too).

Wednesday 19 April 2017


How kind and thoughtful everyone is being.   I am being carried along on a tidal wave of goodwill for which I am so grateful.

Today - a month to the day since the farmer died - I had to go into town to do various jobs.   So, after taking Tess for her morning walk, I drove into town and walked round getting rid of all the paperwork I had earmarked for various places.   Then I had half an hour to spare before I went to collect a friend for lunch out (her treat) so I popped into the Posthorn cafe for a quick Italian coffee then on to collect friend D.

We drove the few hundred yards to Tennants cafe where we had  a delicious shepherd's pie lunch followed by an orange juice - and of course a nice chat.   I had scarcely been home five minutes before friend S called to take Tess for a walk.   As she walks very much quicker than I do Tess would of course enjoy her walk much more than usual.

Now it is 4pm and I have just one more 'office' job to do before I relax for the evening.   I have always done cryptic quizzes for our local nature reserve and although I stopped them completely during the farmer's last illness I feel ready to pick up the pen and start a new one, so that is on my list of things to begin to do.

Today has been very cold and colder weather is forecast for the week-end so it will be back to winter woollies.

The quickly called General Election has taken most of us by surprise.  I am a bit fed up with politics and at present can't rustle up much interest.   I do know, however, that it will dominate the news for the next seven weeks.   That and, no doubt, all the postulating over North Korea by Donald Trump.   What troublesome times we live in.   Sometimes I wish I lived in isolation with no television, no newspaper and no access to any news.   But of course that would probably be boring after a few days.

Tuesday 18 April 2017


In spite of a sharp, cold wind here in the North of the country, Spring is marching relentlessly onwards.

The daffodils in my garden are all but gone and are ready to have their heads pinched off before they put all their energy into forming seeds.  (remember to leave the stems though so that the goodness from them can go back into the bulb).
My double flowering, weeping cherry in the front lawn is in full flower and a joy to behold.   And the blue tits in the wall are still busy feeding young.

Out to lunch again today with friend W after a morning meeting with a group of friends to talk about various things and as we got back in her car afterwards we noticed that the purple lilac where we parked was heavily in bud.

Once things start to move there is no stopping them in spite of the fact that we desperately need water everywhere (although not as much as Derek does in the nature reserve on the Kent coast, where the ground is cracked from last year and has never recovered; not a good start to the year.)

The are no swallows yet.   The farmer used to watch carefully and note the arrival of the first swallow.   Last year it was on April 17th, so already they are late.

It is a month tomorrow since the farmer went - how quickly the time passes in some ways and how slowly in others.   I am managing to fill my time most days and that is a good thing.   Onward and upward as they say.

Monday 17 April 2017

Easter Monday

Today, for the first time since the farmer died, I am alone all day.    Friends have been so good at keeping me occupied and inviting me out for meals but today I face stark reality.   

So far it has gone very well - I am concentrating on filling every minute if I can.    My cleaner came at 9am and I put on two loads of washing at about the same time. After we had had our coffee she went and I took Tess and drove into town for my newspaper.   Then I came back the long way round and we walked up 'our' lane.   For once there is very little wind and the sun is out and walking up the lane was a pleasure with the sun on my back. 
Along the sides of the lane the cowslips and dandelions were out and in the wood the cock pheasants were calling out.   I let Tess off the lead and she rarely strayed far from my side.

Now, after lunch (ready meal lasagne with carrots and broccoli) I am about to iron this morning's washing and then sort out some more books for the charity shop.

At the moment I tend to feel tired without actually doing anything to make me tired.   I still have to fit in a couple of ukulele practices - only maybe five minutes each time, but 'little and often' tends to make the fingering stick in one's mind more easily.   Time will tell.

Saturday 15 April 2017


Tess and I are finding some different walks.   Obviously I can't take her for six mile runs, which she has been having while under the care of a friend.   But I take her about a mile on the long leash and allow her the freedom to sniff every blade of grass if she so wishes.

This morning I drove into town to collect the paper and then came back the long way round and called at 'our' lane.   Today there is a sharp, cold wind blowing but the sun is out and most of the lane is sheltered by trees.

In the distance we saw a hare; luckily Tess was on the long leash.   Not that she would have ever caught it, but I didn't want it scared and it gave me great pleasure to watch it.   We also saw the first orange tip butterfly and several bumble bees.

Celandines are out everywhere and the first dandelions are just beginning to burst into flower.
Everywhere the blackthorn, which is plentiful around here, is in full bloom.

All poignant reminders that the farmer is not here to see the emerging Spring.

Thursday 13 April 2017


At the farmer's funeral, a week ago yesterday, the Eulogy (the early years written by his sister and the later ones written by me)  ended with a poem written by one of his nieces.   She says she doesn't know where it came from;  I say that it is obvious that it came from her heart.  I have asked her permission to print it here - and she has given it.  So here is Anthea's poem.  Read it and you have the farmer - in a nutshell:

I hope there's cows in heaven, with calves for me to feed.
I hope there's sheep with lots of lambs that skip around the fields.
Chickens in the orchard and wild birds flying free,
From the treetops, through the hedgerows, they are singing just for me.

I'm drawn into the meadow by the smell of sweet turned hay.
I wonder if it's ready or it needs another day.
I'm greeted by some old pals with a wagging of their tails, 
So we walk a little further across fields of rig and furs*.

Standing by the beck side with the water crisp and clear,
Memories are flowing, thoughts of many happy years.
The fields that I have tended and the stonewalls I've rebuilt,
The seeds that I have scattered and the weeds
I've made wilt.
The barns are now redundant but forever they'll remain,
So we head on over yonder, up the hill to old Mill Lane.

The gate's already open and the sunlight's getting low,
I turn to face the farm now, one more look before I go.
South Dyke in all its glory, bathed in golden light.
My little piece of heaven
I've lived here all my life.

*rig and furs - many of our fields still bear the
undulating rigs and furrows from medieval farming.

Wednesday 12 April 2017


Today saw a laughable situation.   Friend W has persuaded me to try and learn the ukulele so that I can join her ukulele orchestra.   I am giving it a go and we arranged a first lesson - I thought at her house and she thought here.   So for half an hour or so we sat at one another's houses waiting.   She rang me on my new smart phone, but it was my first call on it and I didn't recognise the ring - I thought it was a car alarm - also when it rang I was just crossing the Panda crossing and by the time I got back to my car it had stopped.  All was well that ended well and the first lesson taught me a couple of basic chords - I shall now practise in 10 minute stints.

After that we drove the short distance to Wensley village to have a delicious lunch in The Three Horseshoes pub.   Then it was back for me to have a manicure.   Little treats for myself are making me feel a bit more upbeat about myself in these first difficult days.

It is still very cold here although quite sunny.  It is certainly still winter woollies time.

Tuesday 11 April 2017


I have had a much busier day today and it has been very much easier.    So that seems to be the answer - keep busy.

Winter has returned and there is a cold North wind blowing.   In spite of this Derek, my new-found gardener, has been and has done a couple of hours emptying pots and filling them with small pansies (violas) in shades of pink, lilac and purple.   They really do look very pretty.   He spent the rest of his two hours doing other tidying up jobs and I feel much better about how things look.
,We met for coffee and scones as usual this morning and then, after a rather rushed lunch, I had to go to the physiotherapist.   I started out a quarter of an hour early and Tess and I went for a walk down a pretty lane, where Tess had a thousand smells.

Now we are back, my dinner (cottage pie and Mediterranean roasted vegetables) is in the oven and I am catching up on a few blogs.

Tomorrow is another busy day - I hope it will be a bit warmer.


Monday 10 April 2017


And so the days go by.   I am taking each day as it comes and today I have been so terribly tired that I keep falling asleep.   I feel guilty that I am not taking my dog for longer walks but a combination of tiredness and sciatica means that I just don't have the inclination.

We went into town this morning but she stayed in the car while I did one or two jobs around the place.   After lunch I fell asleep for half an hour in my chair and as I awoke - just for a split second- I saw the farmer in the opposite chair;  this has happened several times over the last couple of weeks.  It doesn't worry me at all.

We had a short walk down the pasture after lunch.  It is quite a cold day here with a sharp wind blowing.   James was here shifting a few pregnant heifers when I came back and he handed me a ladle with about two dozen eggs in it - he had found a nest in the straw when he was bedding down this morning.   Goodness knows how long they had been there.

Two business letters later (they took an age), now my daily post (one way of trying to get back to normal) and it is time for a cup of tea.   Wish you could join me.

Sunday 9 April 2017


After one absolutely beautiful, Spring-like day, today is much cooler and quite cloudy.   Typical April weather I suppose.

My niece, who has been staying with me since just before the farmer's funeral, has gone home this morning and I expected to have the day alone.   But, of course, friends have rallied round and soon after she had gone friend G rang and we went out to lunch to an Italian (sea bass), then watched a 
TV programme she had recorded about The Yorkshire Dales and then came home.   Within half an hour friend W called to arrange another thing - a ukulele lesson!!   Watch this space.

It seems a very long time since I watched the News - I really can't bear to hear it as the whole world seems to be in such turmoil.   My view of the world situation is that 'they' only tell us what they want us to hear, which may or may not be right, depending which side one is on, and as I am
in any case powerless to affect it in any way I feel justified in burying my head in the sand.   I do of course get distressed by the thousands of displaced people and the thousands upon thousands of small children whose lives have been irrepairably damaged in so many ways.

Friday 7 April 2017


The local community gave the farmer a wonderful send-off in our local village church on Wednesday.   The church was full to capacity and the congregation gave £550 in David's memory to be shared between the church funds and our local hospital MRI Scanner appeal.

Now it is time to pick up the pieces - I owe it to his memory to move on as far as I can.   At the moment my niece is staying with me, but she returns home on Sunday.   Already good friends are rallying round - I have been invited out to lunch on both Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday (my son is away over Easter) and this afternoon Tess has returned home after spending three weeks with my dear friend G.   

I am not at all sure how Tess views coming home - she has had the 'Life of Riley' for the last three weeks - lots of long walks, lots of cuddles on the sofa in the evenings.  At present she is wandering around looking a little bit lost.   But she will be great company for me once she gets back to normal.   In fact both of us have now got a big learning curve.

I shall try to post every day from now on so that I get some sort of pattern back into my life.   Thank you to everyone for the tremendous support you have given me.