Thursday 31 August 2017

A Day Out.

Today Tess and I had a day out, driving over the top of the Pennines and through to Sedbergh in Cumbria  to have lunch in The 3 Hares Cafe with my God-daughter.

It is a lovely journey through a lot of the villages of Wensleydale, through Hawes and on into Cumbria.   The views are spectacular and it is one of our regular stops to take in Cotter Force, a walk of about a quarter of a mile each way on a lovely, well-maintained path.   The Cumbrian scenery is just as beautiful as we go along the edge of The Howgills with the Lakes in the background.

The 3 Hares in Sedbergh is a delightful cafe and, as usual, was very busy.    We both had a platter of ham, sausage roll and a local cheese, followed by a pot of tea.

Our journey back was mostly in heavy rain but by the time we reached home the sun was shining again. 

As I write this at 8pm the moon is out and the evening light is well and truly upon us.   How the nights are beginning to draw in on this, the last day of August.

You will see that I have changed my header and also the writing on the picture.   As I shall shortly be leaving the farm and moving into our little town then this blog will cease to be about life on a farm and will become instead a blog about life in
a little Dales town, about its people, its events and about the variety of things there are to do here.   It is nearing the time to move on.   Six months since my dear farmer passed away - I miss him every day but I have nothing but happy memories of our life together and that is something to treasure as I move away from farming altogether and begin a new life.   As yet there is no moving date but I hope it will be in the not too distant future.

Wednesday 30 August 2017


It looks as though it is going to be a rather pleasant day today.   At a quarter to ten in the morning a pale sun is beginning to show through, but by golly it is considerably cooler than a couple of days ago.    And I understand that this is even more apparent down in the South East, so Rachel and Derek - get ready for your Winter woollies.

As it doesn't look as though I shall be moving any time soon I might well have to unpack the box marked 'Winter coats' - my thin clothes will not be adequate if this carries on.

This afternoon is our Poetry afternoon.   I am now going for a shower and to get dressed and take Tess for a walk.   Then it will be time to choose my Poetry for the afternoon's read.   And yes, Tom, I shall indeed start with ' Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness' because I always do given the chance.   It is one of my favourite poems and was my father's favourite too.

One of the poems I read was 'Gunga Din'; I came across when I was looking for something else and when I read it I realised I have never read it through before.   Kipling is not rated highly these
days and certainly had what is now seen as a racist attitude, but nevertheless it was an interesting poem to read.

As the day has gone on it has got cooler.   Walking down the road with Tess a short while ago I saw how frantically the House Martins were working. One of these days in the not too distant future we shall wake up one morning and they - and their cousins, the Swallows - will have gone.   Already they are beginning to go South in their droves. making their way towards Africa and a warmer Winter.   Not all of them will make it;   the weaker ones will fall by the wayside, but the strong and healthy will be back next year, remarkably back to their old nest sites and will then breed strong and healthy chicks.   Nature at its very best. 

Tuesday 29 August 2017

One missing.

Only three of us girls for coffee this morning - friend W had to take her car in for its first service.
Remember the days when we had to run our engines in and they had to have a first service after so many miles and all that rigmarole?   Now it is just once a year and a two-hour job - things have come a long way.

I am still waiting for things to be finalised.   If I let it concern me it will take over my life so I am just carrying on, meeting friends, going out for lunches, making the best of things.  Yesterday I learned of more friends who are seriously ill - we really do have to make the most of each and every day while we are able to do so.

Two walks today so far - one before I went into town this morning and one down the pasture after lunch.   The trouble with going down the pasture - good because I can take Tess off the lead and she likes that  but bad because if I don't watch her she pushes into a large bank of thistles after the rabbits and last week when she did this she got a thistle seed in her eye.   Luckily her eye watered so much overnight that the seed washed out.

Ukuleles tonight so I am now going to have a bit of a practice because I have not taken the instrument out of its case since last week.   Tess seems quite impervious to the noise I make so I don't feel guilty.   I am no George Formby (thank goodness) but I do like to do the best I can.

Tomorrow is our Poetry afternoon - one of my favourite afternoons of the month - anybody got any suggestions for Poetry I might read?   Just to please Tom I might read 'Seasons of Mist and Mellow Fruitfulness' - what do you think Tom?

Monday 28 August 2017


On the way back from Sedbergh the other day we saw a Horse Chestnut tree with deep orange leaves.    The first sign of Autumn we agreed.

Since then I have noticed that there are signs everywhere.   My battery chargers are packed so I can no longer take photographs (when I go out I might try one on my camera and see how I fare).  On the hedge the big, fat rosehips are turning deep red.   Friend W reminded me when we saw them that as children we broken them open, took out the fluffy 'stuff' and chased each other with it - 'itching powder' we called it. 

The blackberries are beginning to ripen and the ones I have eaten are juicy and sweet.   The crab apples outside my kitchen window have all turned bright red.   They are small and hard but actually quite sweet.

My friend P tells me that over in the Lakes, where they live, the Swifts have gone - one of the first sign that Autumn is here.   Here on the farm and House Martins and Swallows are still frantically feeding young.   I wonder if they have any concept at all that they are feeding for the long journey across the sea or is the whole process instinctive - or do we even know? 

There is a nip in the air in the morning.   At the moment we are having quite nice days - but my goodness we deserve it because August has not been a particularly spectacular month in terms of weather.

Certainly up here in the North of the country the harvest is more or less in.   Some fields have already been ploughed up and resown, other fields are golden yellow with stubble.    This most likely means that certainly the corn harvest is over everywhere - but what about rape?    Is it later?   Because there is so little of it around here I have no idea.   We are mostly grass land for cattle and sheep and most of the corn is harvested for feed in the Winter.

It is August Bank Holiday Monday here today.   Some of the shops will be open because we are in a tourist area and there will be lots of people about.   But for people like me who live alone this is the kind of day to try and keep busy -I am not sure how but I shall now take the dog for her morning walk and then, when I return, I shall try and find a job to do.

Enjoy your day.

Sunday 27 August 2017


Sundays always are the most difficult day of the week and regular readers will know that three or four of us always go out for lunch -four today.

After lunch we sit in the Bar and chat for an hour and a half.   Today we reminisced about 'the old days',   Our ages range from early seventies to ninety six and we all enjoy a good laugh.

Today it was out parents' life styles, what they did in their spare time - things like bowls, billiards, whist, dominoes, walking.   Some of these things have largely died out nowadays - but even when I first married the farmer twenty four years ago we still went to quite a lot of Domino Drives on Friday evenings.   Every village had one during the Winter months and they vied for the best refreshments.   I had never played Dominoes before and made quite a lot of 'boobs' which were always pointed out by someone in a loud voice.   But I learned.

Then we got on to our childhood games.   We soon found regional differences in the HopScotch layout and also in the rhymes by which we decided who could go first.   Do you remember:
One potato, two potato, three potato, four, five potato, six potato, seven potato more?

I don't suppose these things exist any more - but they were fun while they lasted and gave our old friend in her nineties much to laugh about.   There might not have been much money about in those days but there was certainly plenty of laughter and fun.

Saturday 26 August 2017


Today has been quite a sad day for me really.   It is The Wensleydale Show day.   The Show is held about half a mile from the farm so easily within walking distance for the farmer who I think has been every year since he was a very small boy.

Before the Show he would also go along to the West Witton Show where for some years he was judge of the hay and vegetable classes.

He would go first to West Witton, where he would be plied with a cup of tea and a piece of home-made cake.   He would return home, put the car away and then walk up to the Showground and look at the various exhibitions, the cattle, the sheep, the heavy horses, the machinery, the various show tents with vegetables, home made produce, flowers and the like.   Then he would gravitate towards his Feed Merchants where he would enjoy a lunch of pork pie, sandwiches and home-made cake and leave with a handful of named biros which would last him through until next year's show.

This year of course he is gone.   But friend W and I went out for a lunch of a toasted sandwich (brie, streaky bacon and cranberry sauce) which was absolutely delicious served with salad and crisps.
Coming back we came again through West Witton and I was reminded that their Show Day ends with the Burning of Bartle  (www.Burning of which involves parading the figure through the streets of the village and finally burning it on the side of Penn Hill ('on Penhill Crags we burnt his rags')- all a bit macabre really.

Home again my neighbour (aged 7) and my little friend came round to show me that he had won a Second and three Thirds Rosettes in the Competitions - a picture of a tree, a painting of a crocodile, an edible necklace and a miniature garden.   He was quite justifiably proud of his achievements.   So Well done Liam.   His little brother, who is three, got a First prize rosette for a plasticine model of a dinosaur.   Isn't it lovely to see children still participating in these events?

Friday 25 August 2017

The Saga did not end.

Anyone who reads my blog regularly will probably remember that about two or three weeks ago somebody dumped seven kittens in the long grass on the lane-side about fifty yards from my front gate.   My son and the lady who cleans for me managed to catch four of them (two ginger and two black) and (to cut a long story short) transfer them via the vet to a lovely lady of the Cats' Protection League, where they were wormed, judged healthy and will remain until such time as they are old enough to be spayed/castrated when they will be found new homes.   It was such a relief to us all that the other three were caught in a trap using cat food as bait and that they too are now safe and sound.   So happy end of story.

That is until this morning.   Tess and I had an early morning walk up the Lane, turned round to come home and I saw something coming up the road towards us.   At first I thought it was a young rabbit but then realised that it was running,not hopping.   Yes, you've guessed it, it was kitten number eight - I had indeed seriously miscounted.  It was ginger, in good health and quite tame.   It ran right up to me and allowed me to pick it up.  I don't think there is any doubt that it was number eight from the same litter - the same size, the same colour and like the others quite tame.   It really sought me out.

 It was time for me to go out so I left a message on the Cat Lady's mobile phone, put the kitten into Tess's night time crate, gave it a bowl of cat food (which it devoured eagerly) and went off.

Friend W and I took our little friend Liam (aged seven going on thirty) out to lunch and when I returned the cat lady had been and the kitten had gone.   How had it survived the past  few weeks alone?   I can only assume that it had found its way into our barn where the farmcats live and had been sharing their food.  I just hope there are no more to come - I really do want this story to end happily.

How can there be such thoughtless and cruel people about? Anyone in such a situation (they had obviously been with their mother for the early weeks of their life and were healthy and well cared for) should surely have the decency and common sense to ring any vet where they will be put in touch with the local branch of the Cats' Protection League.   It will cost them nothing and in this instance would have saved me an awful lot of hard work.


Wednesday 23 August 2017

Two 'D's

Two things beginning with D today.   The first one is the most serious and I really can't decide what to do.

I am becoming quite immobile and, because of arthritis mainly in my knees and ankles, some days I have great difficulty in walking and in keeping my balance.   It is on these days that I find it very hard to take Tess for the three walks she needs and deserves - however short.

But then in the evening when we settle down, I look at her in her basket and I know that I just could not bear to be without my little friend who I have had since she was six week's old. (she is now nine and a half).

Now it looks as though I could have a new home for her with a dog-loving couple who have just lost one of their two beloved  dogs and would dearly love another one.   And I ask myself - am I being kind to her to keep her in such a restrictive life or will her main concern be to stay with me (she has known no other life and has always been here on the farm) regardless of her shorter walks and virtually no walks in the fields - and when I move all her walks (except for those if I employ a dog-walker,or if my friend calls to take her out) will be in very different terrain.

My second D has been a Day out - or rather an afternoon out - and is in some ways connected in that my son and his wife took me on a drive out into the lovely countryside around here.   We didn't go into The Dales but rather the other way towards Ripon and then out into the rolling scenery around there.   The harvest is in and the golden stubble fields shone in the sunshine.   The views were wonderful.   We called in at Studley Royal and sat by the lake and had a pot of tea and a scone with jam and cream.   I took Tess as I didn't wish to leave her alone all afternoon.   I found managing her, her lead, my stick and my handbag very trying - there were lots of dogs around and she was no trouble but I still found it
very hard.  

What shall I do?

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Out to Lunch

No surprise there then.   Coffee with friends early in our usual coffee shop and then friend W and I went to one of our favourite venues for lunch.   I needed a present and a card for a forthcoming birthday and there is a charming shop there which is good for such occasions.

We had our favourite lunch - Seafood Platter - a plate holding smoked salmon, smoke mackerel, prawns in marie rose sauce, mayo, green salad leaves, a warm brown roll and butter.  This,  followed by a cup of good coffee, is a most satisfying meal.

There was thick fog when I drew back the curtains at 6.45am and since then it has been cloudy but as I write this at 4pm the sun is breaking through.  As usual it is ukulele practice tonight.   I spent a couple of hours filing my music in alphabetical order last evening so at least I should be able to find whatever it is we are expected to play tonight.

My right knee is much improved today so I am pretty sure that yesterday's intense pain was due to my twisting it rather than arthritis - that's a relief.

Monday 21 August 2017


Just for a couple of minutes the total eclipse was shown on the BBC News this evening and I must say it was quite awe-inspiring.   It did set me wondering what early man must have thought when such phenomena occurred.   Were they afraid, did they think that the end of the world had come - or did they indeed think of their existence in terms of living in a 'world'?   I am sure they didn't.

In fact, we can't begin to imagine how they viewed anything can we?   Up to the invention of writing and with it the possibility of being able to write one's thoughts and feelings down, we can't know much at all about how our ancient ancestors thought.   From relics and artefacts we can deduce a lot about how they lived and ate and fought one another. But thinking - now that is a different matter altogether.

Having thought about it for a bit I suppose it is still true that none of us know what people think, do we?   We only know what they choose to tell us and quite often that is what they think we want to hear rather than what they really think.

Right, that's enough of the 'deep' stuff for today.
Thank you to everyone who took the trouble to give me a wide variety of book titles for my book club.   I have sent for Bernhard Schlink's 'The Reader' for a start, so thank you Rachel for that suggestion - I will let you know how I find it.
What books we like is another thing which varies from one person to another.   I have just had quite a struggle with Zadie Smith's 'Swingtime' - a very good book but not an easy one to read.

I got in quite a mess ordering it from Amazon - accidentally involving 'Prime' and accidentally ordering it twice.   But I persevered and eventually got both things corrected (Prime cancelled and one book order cancelled).   As with all things computer I find that the only way is to keep doing it oneself until it comes right - otherwise life is made up of always asking someone else to do it for me.

Perfect warm Autumn morning has given way to cloudy, cool conditions.   In spite of very bad arthritis today I shall now go down the Lane with Tess for a short walk.   With my Winter fleece on!


Sunday 20 August 2017


When one lives alone then Sundays can be a bit of a pain because it is the day in the week when families do things together.   But it doesn't need to be like that.

The four of us - four friends, all widows ranging in age from early seventies to mid-nineties,  meet for coffee in the week and for lunch every Sunday.
We have many a laugh, never have to think about cooking Sunday lunch, take joy from one another's company.   How do people who have no friends manage through life? 
I left a line full of problem washing (handwash only;line dry; wash and iron inside out with a cool iron; wash dark colours separately - you know the kind of thing) flapping in the breeze when I drove off to collect friend W for lunch.   When I came back it was all dry and it is now inside and waiting to be ironed.   Although it said wash dark colours separately the red cotton blouse has not made my white knickers pale pink, nor has the navy blue cardigan made them pale blue. I sometimes think that manufacturers print these things in garments just to protect themselves.  I just plonked it all in the washing machine together (I might of course change my mind when I find that one of the garments has shrunk!)

Suddenly the land around us has taken on a different aspect.  The two fields in front of the farmhouse have been harvested (wheat) for wholecrop, the fields have been double-ploughed and today they have been re-sown for next year's crop.  The fields around the farm which have recently been silaged have now been well and truly 'mucked' (leaving a rather healthy but unsavoury smell permeating the whole house).  In the garden at the side of the house the rowan is being summarily stripped of its berries by blackbirds.   The tree is full of them as they furtively hop from branch to branch helping themselves - dropping more berries than they consume but not somehow having the sense to fly down and pick the berries up from the floor.   Can anybody explain why it is that these same blackirds can spot a grub of some sort at close quarters, or a worm emerging from the ground?  Yet they can't see a dazzlingly orange berry they have just dropped?

Saturday 19 August 2017

A Busy Day

It is a sunny but windy and chilly day today.   I had various little jobs to do so I set off early into town with Tess on the passenger seat.

She sat in the car while I went and got The guardian and some milk and then got some money.  Yesterday my gardener came and did four hours work for me - and by golly what a difference he made in four hours;  everywhere looks clean and tidy again.   The farmer always kept the driveway neat and tidy - he kept the weeds down and swept up the pine cones each week because they make such a mess.  The people who are buying the farm try their best to help me but really are too busy to do too much.

After that I made yet another visit to the Tip with a boot full of rubbish.   It is so cathartic each time I go.  Then I called at the library with a list of possible books.   I couldn't get a single one I had on the list but got three by recommended authors.   It will shortly be my turn to suggest the book for our Book Club and so far the only book I have read which I consider superb is only out in hardback and therefore too expensive.  It will not be out in paperback until February.   I can however thoroughly recommend it here.   It is Bernard McLaverty's 'Midwinter Break' and the writing is excellent.   If anyone has a suitable Book Club book they could recommend, please do help me out.

Then it was down to our Lane for our morning walk.   That went well and Tess enjoyed it hugely.  The drive back was a bit of a nightmare because there was a cycling time trial taking place and the route led up our lane.  I therefore spent much of the journey home driving at about eighteen miles an hour (only for a mile or so) but at least it gave me a chance to clock the mileage of these eager young cyclists pedalling like mad up hill and against a strong wind.

This afternoon has been a two-hour ukulele session which I enjoyed but found very tiring.  Some days (and today was one of those days) my mobility is so poor that doing very much at all is a major effort.I came in and had an hour's snooze in the armchair so feel lively enough to take Tess for another walk in the field now.

Friday 18 August 2017

My Saviour

I came home from lunch out (not a rare occasion as I am sure you know) to discover Derek, my gardener, here and knee deep in weeds and grass cuttings.   I really don't know what I would do without him.   He spends four hours here and the whole garden looks magical as a result.

Luckily he also works for the lady where I am moving so I can continue to rely on his services there.

Another week has passed with absolutely no sign of progress with my moving date, so I shall just have to try and relax and not think about it over the weekend otherwise the whole thing will drive me scatty.

Thursday 17 August 2017

Back at last.

I'm back folks after an enforced break due to B T somehow cutting off my telephone and my hub late on Monday afternoon.   Couldn't help wondering if Neil of Yorkshire Pudding fame had something to do with it.   I went out for the afternoon to visit friends and when I returned it was to find that he had called (and left me a tin of salmon, which he knows I love).   I sent him a quick e mail to say I was sorry I had missed him and suddenly, five minutes later, my hub light went to red and my telephone went dead.   Open Reach have been working at the top of the road all week which may have had something to do with it.  Anyway I am back on line and my phone is working so all's well that ends well.

It is so nice to meet folk I blog with - several have actually called and stayed overnight - but please, if you intend to come this way, let me know and then I will endeavour to be in when you call.

I am no nearer moving as things have not really progressed a great deal.   I know these things take time but it is almost six months now since the farmer died and I really do want to get settled into my new home before the winter sets in.

It has been a lovely day today.   Our group of ukuleles played for a group who meet regularly in a nearby Golf Club - we meet for a sing song and it is enjoyed by us all.   Now I am home, catching up on my e mails and enjoying the sunshine of a late Summer's evening.

Sunday 13 August 2017

Such is farming.

Ah well - these things happen.   All the grass was down and my neighbour, who is already working the farm although things have not gone through yet, was hoping to make hay.   Saturday and Sunday were forecast to be fine and warm with a breeze, so he was quite hopeful.  I was unsure because I know how often the farmer has felt the same and then things have gone wrong.

Sure enough, while I was out to lunch, it poured with rain.   As I was going to bed last evening (I tried to stay up to look for meteors but was too tired) there was such a lot of noise in the field.   I got up to look out of the window and all I could see were lights in the fields around the farm.

This morning all the fields are full of wrapped silage.  Obviously all hope of hay was abandoned, he cut his losses and made it all into silage.  Such is farming.

Back to the said lunch.   Friend W had friends for the weekend and she very kindly invited me to lunch yesterday.   And what a lunch it was!!  She had roast a large piece of ham - which was mouth-wateringly delicious and with it we had tiny salad potatoes, beautifully made chips, sweet corn, mange tout, chantenay carrots and broccoli.  Afterwards sticky toffee pudding, ice cream and super fruit salad and cream.   Then it was back into the conservatory for Lady Grey tea and  a lovely chat.   I stayed until half past five - a lovely day - so thank you to my dear friend.

Today has dawned sunny and warm.   I am taking my son and his wife out for lunch and then it will be back to sorting through mounds of farm papers - a job I am hating but a necessary job before I move.   As I took many old Defra booklets to the tip yesterday for recycling I did just wonder how many of these documents (delivered to every farm in the land I presume) had ever been opened and read.   They are issued each year and must take up quite a large percentage of their budget.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Friday 11 August 2017

This and that.

One of the disadvantages of being so long in moving (and my poor organisation) is that I have packed all my battery chargers so that I can't take a photograph of my airer to show you - my camera battery has run out.   I will have one more try:
Success!   Here is my airer - it works on a pulley system - the Aga is on the right (in the white space) under the oak mantelpiece.   I shall miss it
greatly when I move.

Now to what I intended to write about.   When I was a small child the only 'fodder' farmers could make was hay.   They waited for what they hoped was going to be a dry spell - no long range forecasts in those days which is why  old farmers are still such good weather forecasters.   Then they cut their grass - only one cut a year and then they hoped and prayed that the weather would hold.
Sometimes it did, sometimes it got wet a few times before it could be gathered.   My father in law, who was still alive when I married the farmer, used to say that there was only one year when it was an absolute disaster in his lifetime.

I well remember as a small child going to my Aunt's in The Dukeries (an area of Nottinghamshire) and going with the farmer to gather in the hay which had been left to dry in the field.   We would ride to the field on the broad back of the horse pulling the empty cart and ride back to the farm on top of a full hay wagon. Any smell of hay now brings back such a feeling of nostalgia for me.   No health and safety rules in those days.

The man who has bought our farm (still in the process of going through much to my frustration) is working it too - we can't let everything get out of hand during the wait after years when the farmer kept it in such good order.   After making silage he is now attempting to make some hay and to this end he cut yesterday in what was a glorious day here.   Now today it has been dull all day and has been attempting to rain for the last couple of hours - holding off so far.  Good weather is forecast for tomorrow and Sunday so let us hope he is successful.   If not it will all be made into silage - that is the choice farmers have these days.

Tomorrow I am going out to lunch to friend W's.   She has friends staying and I have been invited.  I look forward to it because I know there will be chips for lunch (their daughter loves chips and so do I but rarely allow myself the luxury).

Thursday 10 August 2017

Living Alone again.

One thing I have noticed about being on my own again (apart from still missing the farmer every single day) is how the jobs can pile up and there seems no need to do them.   When there were two of us then things like food shopping, washing and ironing (yes, I do still iron) - the mundane jobs, had to be done regularly.   Now that I am alone it is not the case.

Washing tends to be done - as one friend who also lives alone said - when one almost runs out of clean knickers (!!)  - and shopping never seems to need to be done apart from fruit and vegetables and topping up the dog and cat food.

But today the jobs had piled up - and there were also some appointments, so it has been a very busy day. It has also been a lovely, sunny, late Summer day so a joy to be out and about.

Hair at 9.30, letters to post,  a visit to the Physio, a topping up with petrol, a visit to a car wash - I must say it is lovely to drive away with the car gleaming - and a nice walk with the dog off the leash. Washing flapping on the line - I shall collect it shortly and iron it and put it up on the airer.  The airer over the Aga is one thing I shall miss when I move.

Unfortunately a visit to the Physio always makes me very tired for the rest of the day so that jobs after that were a bit of an effort.

Meanwhile, as I am doing all these jobs, the fields around me are being cut - hopefully for hay if the weather holds - for silage it it breaks.  The cut grass smells delightful. 

Wednesday 9 August 2017


Today Tess and I drove to Sedbergh in Cumbria to meet my God-daughter for lunch in a lovely cafe called The Three Hares.

On the way we stopped and Tess and I had a lovely walk the quarter of a mile down to Cotter Force.   Because of the rain yesterday the Force (waterfall) was in full flow and a splendid sight.   There were several folk watching and we had a nice chat before setting off again.   Sedbergh is about thirty miles from here and  the Force is just about half way.

I found a place in the shade to park as by now the sun was shining (at last) and together A and I walked to the cafe.   A had beef pie and I had a burger - both with chips and salad.   Lovely cafe and lovely lunch.   After a coffee we drove back and have just arrived home.   The last couple of miles were accompanied by a bleeping in my car so now I am going to settle down with my tea and read the book in an effort to find out what it was bleeping for.

Tuesday 8 August 2017

Final kitten post.

Thisis positively the last kitten post.   It has been a pouring wet day here today.   This morning six of us went to Tennants Auctioneers who have a lovely cafe and we had a breakfast.   Three of us had an American breakfast of streaky bacon, pancakes and maple syrup and blueberries.  I also had a pot of tea and afterwards two rounds of white toast and marmalade.   Sheer indulgence but needed after yesterday and I have had no more to eat today other than a bowl of strawberries and nectarines at tea time.

Now for the last update.   June from the Cats' Protection League rang me this morning to sat that the Vet had checked all seven kittens over.   They were in good health.   He wormed them all and they have now gone to be looked after by June until they are old enough to be spayed or castrated.  Then they will go to the League to be rehomed as they are quite tame and domesticated.

Ukulele practise tonight so I am now late to bed.  It is eleven o'clock and time for Tess's last mosey round the garden (in the still pouring rain).  So night night again everyone.

Monday 7 August 2017

Another update

I am on my way upstairs to bed but my son has just rung and I can't resist putting on a final update about the kittens.

I had originally thought there were seven kittens but when my son got there this morning there were only six so I thought I must have miscounted.

Tonight the two traps were set and baited with food.   The kitten lady had said she would return later in the evening and my son was worried that somebody might pass and see the kittens in the trap and think they had got in by mistake and let them out, so he decided to sit in the gateway in his car to watch over them until June came.

He suddenly noticed something on top of the trap and it looked like a kitten.   Thinking that one of the kittens had got out of the trap he went quietly across to have a look.   It was a seventh kitten!

When June came she took the trap with the two kittens in and left the other trap set and baited in the hopes of catching the seventh kitten.   She stopped at the caravans (it is only a 5 site so she didn't have to search for the people who had helped) to tell the people she had caught the two kittens.   As she left after speaking to them she thought she would just nip back up the road in case the kitten had gone straight into the trap and sure enough it had - it was eating the cat food.

So all seven kittens are now safe and sound and we can go to sleep knowing we have done a good job today.   Night night everybody.

Extra update

I put an update to my kitten post in the comments box after your replies, but there has been a further development.

The kitten lady has just rung to say that she met two people from the caravan site just below the farm and they said they would keep an eye on the kitten traps for her.   They have just rung to tell her that one trap has caught both kittens and they have eaten the cat food in the trap and are curled up together asleep.   She is on her way to collect them.

All's well that ends well and  all six are in safe hands.

What a morning.

Tess and I were going for our morning walk today and as we got to the pasture gate a surprise awaited us in the grass at the side of the gate.   Somebody had dumped six kittens in the long grass.   They hadn't been there long and they were not totally wild - I would guess about six weeks old.

It never ceases to amaze me how people can be so thoughtless and cruel.   There are organisations which will take kittens (and if you have a cat then please have it 'doctored' to save yourself having to cope with kittens.)

My mobility is poor and after struggling as fast as I could I rang my son.   At the same time the lady who cleans for me arrived and together they managed to collect four of the six - the other two ran into the hedge and it was impossible to catch them.

We put them in Tess's crate and took them to the Vet in Bedale who deals with such things.   They were transferred to another crate and we arrived back home a short time ago.

They were such pretty little things and certainly not wild  - but I do wonder how the two who escaped will cope.   I suspect that something - a stoat, a fox, a rat - will get them as they are too innocent to survive.   It is not all that far to our barn where our two farm cats live.   I shall keep looking in case they find their way there.

I wish I could find out who did this.   Not only because of their cruelty to the kittens but also because of the inconvenience it caused me.   I am struggling to cope at the moment and certainly didn't need this.

But it is good to know that four of them are in safe hands - three ginger and  one black.
Here are the first three in Tess's crate.

Sunday 6 August 2017


I have come back from Sunday lunch stuffed to the gunwales with macaroni cheese - and very good it was too with its salad on the side.   Our Sunday restaurant does the best veggie menu of anywhere I know and now I am back and feel like sitting down for an hour or two to recuperate.   I intend to make a pot of tea and pick up my book.   I just hope that Tess doesn't start making 'I want a walk' sounds for the foreseeable future.   See you all tomorrow.

Saturday 5 August 2017


It is still very windy here and although there has not been a heavy shower here today it has been unsettled in many parts of the UK.   Because of this our concert out in the open at a Garden Fete was cancelled - it does not do musical instruments any good at all to get wet.

Then, at the last minute. we were rescheduled and got a gig in our little town where our Auctioneers, Tennants, were hosting a Summer Fair in their Garden Rooms.   So it was all stations go again and the Ukulele Band gave their concert.

I think it was a success.   As yet I am a real novice player but I enjoyed it and it is the kind of instrument you can play and get carried along in an informal situation like that.

Afterwards a group of us went and got our Complementary tea or coffee (and in some cases a piece of cake!) and had a nice chat in the cafe.   And while I was there I met a friend I have not seen since the farmer died and we had a nice chat.

This evening there is a distinct chill in the air and although the sun is shining there is still a stiff wind blowing. 

Tomorrow is another day - I always make myself think that when I begin to feel low in the evening.


Thursday 3 August 2017


I had mentioned to my son some days ago that if he fancied going to see Dunkirk I would like to go with him.   My brother was at Dunkirk and I remember it vividly.   I was eight at the time and all I remember of it really is the state my mother was in on the actual day he returned.  I am sure that they kept most of the worry and fear from me - or maybe at that age I was too young to understand.    I also rarely remember him speaking of it, although I once caught the tail end of a conversation speaking of young men who couldn't take it any more and jumped overboard deliberately to drown.

It was on the Impact screen at our nearby cinema - it is so long since I went to the cinema that I have never experienced these multi screen places before.   In spite of it being a large auditorium there were probably only around fifty or sixty folk there to see the film - but it was an atrocious night weather-wise.   One thing is for sure - I was the only person in the audience who would have been old enough to remember the real thing.

What did I think to it?   Our reactions were very different, but then we were coming at the film from different places.   My son enjoyed it but felt that in places it was overtly sentimental and 'often too patriotic'.   I was pleased to see that what they didn't do was take a particular family and trace the progress of one man through the ordeal - that would have been sentimental I think.   As it was, as far as I was concerned, it was a fairly factual account of the occasion made just human enough to make it more interesting.   It brought in the role of the small ships very well, their contribution was so important and by the end of the film you knew it.

As for the patriotic angle, I think he has no idea of just how patriotic everyone was during the war.   Almost every household was involved in one way or another - either a son or daughter away fighting or nursing or some other war-related job, or taking in evacuees from the large cities, or in a large city  experiencing the bombing.   And certainly in villages there were always families who had lost a son or daughter and everyone knew about it in such a small community.   There was a desperate need to be patriotic, to keep together, to experience a sort of comfort from patriotism.

I came out of the cinema with a feeling that we as a country had 'won' what could have been an unmitigated disaster which would have lost us the war and it was certainly the aim of politicians at the time to make us feel like that I am sure.   It will be interesting to see if my son puts a comment on here - he does blog occasionally; I will send him an e mail asking him to do so.   Then you can read both points of view.

 Coming out of the cinema to pouring rain - and waking up to it this morning - does nothing to lift the spirits, especially as over on the Continent they have more heat than they can deal with.   I wish they could send some over here.

Wednesday 2 August 2017

Grey Day

I am having a bit of a hard few days for some reason.   Anyone who has been in my position will know that these things creep up on one and descend like a black cloud.   It is not helped today by it being a pouring wet day and rather chilly with it.

This morning's Writers' Group was enjoyable and for a couple of hours I felt more like my old self.   But now I am home, it is too wet to take Tess for her walk, although she is itching to go (I know when I open the door and show her the weather she will come back in like a shot.) 

For a quick lunch (I was late in as I called round at the Solicitor's Office to check on progress) I did myself a jacket potato in the microwave and stuffed it with cheese and butter and a sprinkling of salt.   I have to say that it was delicious and very satisfying.   I followed it with strawberries and cream.   Scottish strawberries have been superb this year and I have had them almost every day. 

Because my spirits are a bit down I had a Snickers Bar with my coffee - something I would not normally dream of eating.   Consequently I enjoyed that too.

It is now twenty past three, still pouring, Tess's eyes boring - there's the beginning of a poem there.

Tuesday 1 August 2017


...ukulele practice - suddenly can't remember any of the notes!!   See you later.