Saturday 30 December 2017


Almost the end of the old year, a year which has not been kind to me in any shape or form.   I shall not be sorry to say good-bye to it.   And for the first time for many years I shall not stay up to see the old year out and the new year in.   There was a time when I gave a New Year party for forty plus, but those days have gone.   Now = if I am here alone - I would find it impossible to stay awake.   So it will be treated as any other night.

We had several inches of snow yesterday and I dare not take Tess out as it was slippery.   Luckily friends called and took her for me, so she had a good walk on what should have been a PetPals day (the lady was unable to come). 

Today friend W and I decided to go out for lunch, just to get us out of the house really.  On W's advice I took Tess with us (the first time she has been with us into a pub) and she was as good a gold, watching everything that was going on but not making a fuss.  W had barbecued spare ribs (her favourite) and I had beef casserole with dumplings (herby) and mash.  Both were delicious.   Did we need it?   No, but it did us good to get out of the house and eat something we hadn't prepared ourselves.

After almost going yesterday evening the snow had returned this morning and there was quite a covering again.   But it was not freezing and now, at a quarter to four in the afternoon, it has almost gone again.   There is quite a sharp wind blowing but Tess and I have been for a walk - it did us both good in the fresh air.

I shall now go an sit down and digest all your conflicting advice on the i pad.   I am still not convinced and shall spend an hour or two 'playing' with friend W's and see how I get on.

Last evening my dear sister-in-law passed on.   She was ninety five and has been on end of life care for the past fortnight after many years in care, most of them happy and fruitful.  I am sad at her passing; we were always very close.   But her time had come.   So goodbye Deen, you have left me with so many happy memories.   You have been a large part of my life since you married my brother Jack in 1941.

Friday 29 December 2017

A present for New Year.

A friend, who is also a widow, told me the other day that she always buys herself a present at Christmas from her deceased husband.  Well I think this is a rather good idea and have been thinking about what I should buy.    Several friends have suggested that my life would be enhanced by purchasing an i pad.  I am not so sure, so today's post is to ask what you think.

I have a great nephew who works for a computer company and I chatted to him last evening on the phone and he listed the fors and againsts as far as I  was concerned and they more or less match what my friends say.

So can I ask a question of you all.   Do any of you use an i pad to write your posts?  (I know you do John as you say so sometimes ) and if so in what way do you think it is better than a laptop?  I sometimes write quite a long post - would I find it
a chore using my finger to touch the screen rather than using a keyboard (I am a touch typist)?

I really would appreciate any help and advice you can give me before I make my final decision.

Thursday 28 December 2017


Well that is Christmas over.   Today I took the few decorations down (I had had no desire to decorate and only did minimally for the sake of my great grandchildren).  I also sat down and read through the large number of cards I had received - that gave me pleasure to renew many contacts with friends far and wide.

This afternoon a friend invited three of us to tea and we had a lovely afternoon of laughter together.  That is what friends are for. 

The weather here is North Yorkshire is glorious.   The sun has shone throughout the day after a sharp frost this morning, and by the time we came home there was a sharp frost again and the moon was already in the sky.   There is no snow and I understand that the forecast is for it to get a little bit warmer towards the week-end, so hopefully we have missed the snow here again.

For the first time for many years I have decided that I shall no longer see in the New Year - sad but really I need to  cast off some memories and this is one of them. But as it draws near I wish all of my blogging friends a very happy 2018.

Tuesday 26 December 2017

Boxing Day

Boxing Day is almost over, my guests have gone home and it is time for bed.   On the whole things have gone well.   The first Christmas is hard as anyone who has lost a loved one will tell you.   But with the help of good friends and good family it has gone well and I have had lots of hugs which have helped.

Tonight it has turned cold - some of my guests had to scrape ice of their windscreens before setting off.

Tomorrow shops re-open luckily as I am almost out of dog food (Tess would be delighted to dine on turkey but she has had plenty of that today - she can smell it at fifty paces).

Saturday 23 December 2017

Christmas greetings

As we get nearer to Christmas I shall stop blogging for a few days.   So this is to wish all my dear friends in Blogland sincere good wishes for Christmas and the New Year.   May 2018 be a happy year for us all.

Friday 22 December 2017

God knew what he was doing!

I have friends who have said this and I will reiterate it - God definitely knew what he was doing when he decreed that you have to be young to have children.   My great grand daughter (aged 1) has been for the afternoon with her mum and dad.    She is a darling and it is so fascinating to watch the language and learning processes going on all the time as she wanders about exploring things.   But how very tiring for her mum and dad.  I suppose it was the same in my day but it is so long ago that the memory has faded into obscurity.

Now they have gone and I have loaded the dishwasher and written a post of sorts, I shall go and put my feet up and read the paper.   See you tomorrow.

Thursday 21 December 2017

Thanks and our little town.

First of all thanks.   I had an e mail from Gayle (Square Dogs) asking for my address and as a result, today, just as I was preparing lunch, a van drew up outside my house and out stepped a man with a vase of red, Christmas flowers with love from Gayle and her delightful Scottie pup Winston (or Mandibles as she calls him because he is a chewer!)   Such a surprise and what a delightful one.   You can imagine - I am not really looking forward to it this year - but keep cheerful because, even amongst my blogging friends I can think of two or three who will also be pleased when Christmas is over.   But this is just to say Gayle that they have brightened my day and also my sitting  room.   Thank you most sincerely.

Now for our little town.   Each year there is a window dressing competition and most of the shops take part.   One in particular really goes to town and several people have asked to see this year's.   They are not good photographs.  The buildings opposite are reflected in the window and there were so many people about that I couldn't stand far enough back to get in the whole picture - but here is a taste at least.

Wednesday 20 December 2017


Tomorrow is the shortest day and for some odd reason I don't seem to have noticed it so much this year.   My only explanation could be that my living room window faces due South and it is a large picture window, so perhaps I do get maximum light for as long as possible.

After a very cold spell it is now mild and set to remain so for the next few days.   I'm pleased about this as I am still missing my Aga and my wood burner (although not the cleaning out of the latter). 

Life is very busy at the moment.   The last remnants of the sale of the farm are going through and there seem to be mountains of papers to read through and sign.   This means going into town most days, parking, walking to the solicitor's office - all things which, with my poor mobility, are tiring.   Small jobs still have to be done in the bungalow.   Yesterday one of the bulbs which is let into the ceiling in the hall went so I also had to walk down to the electrical shop and get some replacements. 

Four of us friends are spending Christmas Day together and I look forward to that very much.   On Boxing Day I am hosting a buffet lunch here for my family and am busy cooking things which can be done in advance, writing menus etc.   I have done this for many years but somehow this year, without the farmer, in a new bungalow, with an unfamiliar oven - guaranteed to put a spanner in the works. 

I shall now type out menus and shopping lists.

Tuesday 19 December 2017

Santa Claus.

What do you call Santa's Little Helpers?
Subordinate clauses!  (boom, boom)   A friend told me this earlier today - sorry but had to pass it on.

Another friend told of the little boy who asked his friend about the devil.   Was there really a devil?
'No', he replied.  'He's like Santa Claus - he's your Dad!'

It was our Strugglers meeting this morning, when a group  of us - nine this morning - meet for an hour and a half to talk quietly about anything which may be  worrying us, or anything we feel might be of interest to the group.

This morning we got talking about the amount of money which is spent on some children while there are other children around who have virtually nothing (desperate children who are refugees or live in countries torn apart by war for example).   The discussion eventually turned to talk about believing in Santa Claus.   We all had memories of believing but no-one could actually remember the time when they suddenly knew there was no such person (come on Tom - don't kid me you still believe and I have ruined it for you).   So I am asking you  - did we really believe in him and his magic or did we only half believe?

Monday 18 December 2017

Christmassy weather.

Ice, as somebody pointed out writing in The Times today, is interesting.   When we are children we absolutely adore it - we slide up and down and really 'polish' slides so that eventually we can approach them at speed and enjoy the thrill.

But then, as we get older, we view ice in a completely different way - we envisage car accidents, broken limbs, bad backs - there is nothing at all  to be said in its favour.

Similarly with snow.   It is pretty when it first falls and everything is cloaked in white and the frost shines making the scene like fairyland.   But how quickly it palls - bad enough while it is frozen but then turning to slush which is just as bad in its own way.

So us killjoys hope for a mild Christmas - easy for travelling around and keeps the central heating bill down into the bargain.   Yes, that's another thing, we do tend to get mercenary as we get older.

You can imagine - I am finding it difficult to cultivate a Christmas spirit this year.   But with not one but three great grandchildren coming to a buffet lunch here on Boxing Day I shall do my best to enjoy it and remember the twenty three happy Christmasses the farmer and I enjoyed together and the thirty nine Christmasses I enjoyed with my previous husband.   They add up to a lot of Happy Christmasses and for that I am eternally grateful.

Here's wishing everyone who reads my blog a Very Happy and Healthy Christmas.

 New Post

Sunday 17 December 2017


A lethargy descended upon me after my Spa day on Friday and it hasn#t altogether lifted yet.   After a large lunch at our usual place today, I have come home and am trying hard to type this without falling into a deep sleep.
I had to nip into town this morning as I have a very busy day tomorrow and was going to run out of mince pies (no I don't bake them this year).  It is my turn to host our Book Club in the morning (my cleaner is coming early - at 8.30am - so that she can be finished before they arrive at 10.15) and straight after lunch other friends are calling to see me and to look round the bungalow.   In the evening I intend to make my red cabbage dish for Boxing Day and when it is cooked and cooled I shall freeze it.

This may well be the last year I cater for a Boxing Day party.   I love to have them all but whether I can cope with them all remains to be seen.   Time will tell - certainly the freezer is bursting with food.   My main worry is that I have only used my electric fan oven once after twenty years of using an Aga.   It can't be that difficult can it?

Today we have all four friends been out to Sunday lunch as usual - and delicious as usual.   I had one of the starters as a Main Course - Salmon Goujons with sweet chilli sauce, served with chips and a good salad and I followed this with a delicious Christmas Pudding with brandy sauce.   Indulgent.
I came home, immediately took Tess round the block and now intend to sit quietly and relax.   Hope you are able to do the same.

Saturday 16 December 2017

Christmas Present.

My son and his wife took me into Richmond this morning to choose my Christmas present from them.   The last thing I needed to complete the move into my new bungalow was some curtains for the dining room patio doors.   The room faces due North so they needed to be thick, warm curtains.

We managed to find a pair to our joint liking.   Then we had lunch in a fine old pub in Finkle Street, just off the Market Square.   We all had sandwiches - me prawn sandwiches with chips and a nice salad, my daughter in law hot pork sandwiches with chips and salad and my son cheese and pickle with chips and a salad. 

On arrival home I made the coffee while my son took Tess into the fields (not out of the goodness of his heart to Tess but because he is rather averse to picking up dog poo.)  After the coffee son insisted upon fixing up the curtain pole and the curtains himself with no interference from us!  Now they are up and hanging in the hopes that all the creases will fall out by morning.  Then he also removed one of the light bulbs in my hall - they are recessed bulbs and not easy to remove and in any case I dare not climb up on anything to do this operation.

I took my camera so that I could take some photographs of Richmond to show you.   It is a beautiful old market town with a wealth of history.   But I am sorry to say that once there I completely forgot that I had my camera with me.   Another day perhaps.   Today there was a mass of Christmas shoppers so perhaps it was the wrong time anyway.

I am now going to sit down and watch the final of Strictly Come Dancing  - a good way to pass a Saturday evening.   Enjoy yours.

Friday 15 December 2017

Sheer Indulgence.

Today friend W and I have been really indulgent and have had a Spa Day at Swinton Park, which is about ten miles from here.   It did strike me as I was typing this that it is something that would have been completely beyond the comprehension of my parents.

You can imagine that this has been a very stressful year for me and as the year has gone on my shoulders and rib cage have become more painful.  In fact the upper part of my body has been totally tensed up with stress.

We arrived at around quarter past ten.   This morning W swam in the heated pool while I dabbled my feet in the shallow end. (shoulders too painful for a swim).   Then we went into the steam room, the sauna, the jacuzzi, had a footbath - had a delicious two course lunch - and finally had a one hour massage.   By the end of it I was a limp rag I was so relaxed and was very grateful that I wasn't the one doing the driving.

I would certainly repeat the experience.   When I came out of the jacuzzi I decided to swim out - maybe only a dozen strokes but it is the first time I had swum in possibly thirty years and I could easily get used to it again.

Back to earth with a bump tomorrow with organising Christmas festivities.   The day itself will be spent with three friends, Boxing Day all my family will be coming here for a Buffet lunch and evening meal.  That means I have a lot of lists to make, so better get on with it.


Thursday 14 December 2017

Things are beginning to draw to a close.

At long last - after nine months - it does look as though things are at last getting sorted out for me.   I shall be glad to return to some sort of normal and so begin to pick up the pieces.

Christmas will of course not feel like Christmas, but I shall make some sort of effort for the sake of my grandchildren (and three great grand children!).   The shops here in our little town are looking very Christmassy - and for those who asked for pictures of the shop windows - I haven't forgotten, just not had the chance yet.   Today I intended to do it when I went to the Hairdressers, but it was pouring with rain.

People on our estate are very kind.   I stepped out of my front door with Tess on the lead this morning just as a car stopped and a man wound down his car window and called to me not to walk as the footpaths were so very icy.  How kind of him.   We walked round the edge of my lawn instead - she did several wees and that was enough as she was later to go on her long PetPals walk.   They call and take her each Thursday and Friday which is a great help.    As a friend takes her most Wednesdays too I know that at least she gets three good walks a week.

Wednesday 13 December 2017


Today was the day earmarked for Christmas Dinner at The Creamery in Hawes with friends P and D from Windermere.

Some years ago the cheese factory in Hawes in Upper Wensleydale threatened closure with the loss of quite a few jobs.   Luckily the Management saw its potential and there was a buy out.   Since then Hawes Creamery has gone from strength to strength and is known everywhere for the quality of its Wensleydale cheeses of various varieties.
There is now an efficient factory with tours each day, a shop, a cafe, a restaurant and all efficiently run.

The day started off well as we woke to find all the snow gone overnight and sunshine.   But as we set out it began to rain.   It is only half an hour to Hawes but it absolutely poured - the sort of rain which only falls in hilly areas - and by the time we reached The Creamery there was a huge amount of surface water on the road and the River Ure down in the valley was banking and threatening to overflow, which is does quite happily. 

Lunch was delicious - we all had a glass of wine with it - we all had a pud (well, I had cheese and biscuits) and then coffee.   By the time we left our fears were confirmed - the river was over and we had to come home by a circuitous route and at one point W had to negotiate quite deep flood water.   Luckily she has a four wheel drive vehicle and there was a similar one coming the other way which gave us an idea of how deep the water was before we set off through it.

Home to find that friend S had taken Tess on a lovely long walk (on a bitterly cold day too) which meant that I didn't have to brave the weather again.   Now all the blinds are drawn, the bungalow is warming up and we are settled in for the night.   Wherever you are and whatever you are doing - keep warm and enjoy your evening.

Tuesday 12 December 2017


Here in Wensleydale, at 600+ feet, we have been very lucky this time and not had more than a faint covering of snow.   It has indeed been bitterly cold, but the sky has been blue and the sun has shone all day for the last few days.

There was a time, not recently of course, when I would have been overjoyed to see the snow and the thought of snowballing, building snowmen, sledging and the like.   Now I hardly dare venture out of doors for fear of falling over and breaking something.

But today I had to go out as I had quite a lot of business to attend to as well as meeting friends for the usual Tuesday morning coffee (and tea cake for me - self indulgent as I am today) and doing some shopping.   But by the time I reached the centre of town the paths had been cleared of our tiny amount of snow (barely a covering).

It is promised to get slightly warmer over the next few days before turning colder again at the weekend, although not as cold as it has been in some places further South.

I haven't forgotten about photographing the shop window in town.   Their decorations are superb, as usual.    You can imagine, I have absolutely no wish to decorate this year - this has not been my favourite year.   But for the sake of my great grandchildren, who are coming one day to lunch, I am making a bit of an effort and have made sure to have some little thing in each room.  I always get a lot of cards and they will also make the place look Christmassy, so all is not lost.

Monday 11 December 2017

Let it snow.

This wintry weather - as always - has caught us all by surprise.   In my case the worst thing is how I am missing the warmth of my Aga - a warmth which heats the whole fabric of the house.   My central heating (gas) is very efficient but it is not the same.

We have been lucky in that we have missed all the snow here in North Yorkshire.  The nights have been bitterly cold and the days have been wall to wall bright sunshine and blue sky.   According to the weather forecast at teatime today the snow is disappearing and tomorrow (after a bitterly cold night) will be marginally warmer - even up to four degrees in some places.

Imagine my surprise then when I opened the door at the ring of the bell to find my little friend Liam on the doorstep and to see that he was covered in snow which was falling in large flakes around him.   Hopefully the snow looks like wet snow and may be the start of the slight thaw - I do hope so as on Wednesday friend W and I are set to meet our friends at the Creamery in Hawes - high up in Wensleydale - for a Christmas lunch.

Today Tess and I went back to the farm, had a short walk in the paddock (the ground was too hard for a long walk) and then called in at the farmhouse.   As we went towards the door, Blackie - the black farm cat - came rushing up to greet us and to rub around Tess in ecstasy.   It was lovely to see him again. 

Saturday 9 December 2017


As the day itself draws nearer I find it absolutely impossible to get any sort of Christmassy feeling about things.   I suppose, as it is only nine months since I lost my farmer, this is to be expected.   But I have no desire to put up decorations and make much in the way of prepation.
My family will all receive a present of money and friends have agreed to give presents a miss this year.    All my family will come as usual on Boxing Day and the big day itself I am spending with three other friends.
Menus are being planned so that much of the cooking can be done in advance.   Jacket potatoes and vegetables cooked on the day to add to various cold cuts of meat and a Christmas pudding - mince pies, cake and trifle for tea - not much to do then. 
We still have no snow here at all but the weather is bitterly cold.   My son came to take Tess for her morning walk today as it was icy and he has promised to do the same tomorrow.   By lunchtime today the roads and paths were dry so I was able to take her myself.
My great grand-daughter, Ula, is one year old today - so Happy Birthday little one.

Friday 8 December 2017

Food,glorious food.

I took my camera into town this morning
intending to photograph the windows of 'Serendipity' the shop in our market town which has such lovely window decorations at Christmas.
Several readers have asked me to repeat this as they were so admired last year.   Dear readers - I forgot.   Sorry 

However, after visiting a very upmarket Craft Fair in the town we went out into the countryside on a beautifully sunny (but icily cold) day to find somewhere to lunch.   We ended up in The Castle Hotel in the pretty village of Snape.   There was a lovely fire burning in the grate, a friendly welcoming Border Terrier at the door and superb fish, chips and mushy peas to eat.   My only complaint is that now I have grossly overeaten. 
On arriving home it was to find that I had left  my walking stick there, so friend W went off home and I drove back with Tess to collect it.  Tess and the pub dog met for the usual bottom-sniffing session and then we drove home, this time round by the main road as the temperature was on freezing, so another cold night in store.

It has been a lovely day here - very cold but clear and sunny and the bare trees look so beautiful.   The only fly in the ointment was that we passed a pheasant shoot in full flow and it seemed so barbaric somehow that the beauty of the countryside should be bespoiled by such slaughter.

Another cold day forecast for tomorrow and then maybe snow on Sunday.   But then it is Winter.   Keep warm.

Thursday 7 December 2017


The weather is set to turn cold as storms sweep in.
Scotland has been hit today with storms and winds of ninety miles an hour and the cold is promised to reach here tomorrow.   The one glimmer of hope is that it is supposed to be worse in the West of the Country than it is in the East and that is unusual at this time of the year. 

I am well-stocked up with food in my store cupboard and freezer - really there for Christmas.   But needs must and if necessary I shall stay indoors and raid supplies.      I do not care for driving on icy roads.

Today one of the Alzheimer's groups that we play ukulele songs with have held their Christmas lunch in nearby Richmond and friend W and I went along.  It was delightful and delicious.   We both had salmon with nicely cooked vegetables (we figured we would have our fill of turkey before Christmas was over) and then I had home made cheese cake and W had Christmas trifle.  Then we went back to W's for coffee.   In the meantime Tess went for her PetPals walk with her friend Jack, the Schnauzer.   By the time I returned she was fast asleep on her bed by the radiator. 

I see there is trouble in Jerusalem tonight - hardly surprising and surely anticipated by Donald Trump.   It is so sad as for quite a time all has been fairly quiet in that area and I began to think that perhaps folk were learning to live together.   But obviously it was not to be.

Also today there is joy in our area up here in the North East as the young men who have been wrongly imprisoned in India for the past two years have been freed and have returned home - what a lovely Christmas present for their families.

Wednesday 6 December 2017


Thank goodness for small children.   I have three coming to see me on Boxing Day - all great grand children - two aged one and one aged five months.
And what a good thing because I just do not feel inclined to join in the celebrations this year - my first without the farmer of course.

When I left the farm and  packed everything for the move I threw away all my decorations; they were all old and I had had them years so they were jaded.   Now of course, I have none.   I have bought a 'bridge' for the window, with lights, and I have bought a wooden sign saying 'Merry Christmas'.   Now I wander round the shops looking for something else which will add a bit of festive cheer without overwhelming me. 

Tomorrow is the first of several Christmas lunches for friend W and I when we go to have lunch with Alzheimer's patients and their carers in the little town of Richmond, only a short distance away.
We have preordered and have both chosen salmon, knowing we shall be totally and utterly fed up with turkey by the time the season is over. 

So now I shall go and finish writing my Christmas cards so that I can post them in the morning - and that will then be another task I can cross off my list.

Monday 4 December 2017

Bright Monday

Living alone is no joke as anyone amongst my readers who is in this position will testify.   However one tries to fill ones time, however many friends one has, the fact is that in the long run one comes home to an empty house ( apart in may case for a dear little dog companion).

Sometimes days are like this too.  According to my calendar for today, today should have been such a day and I earmarked it for those jobs which need doing but always get put to one side (cleaning out the cupboard under the sink in the kitchen, where I keep dusters, polishes etc.) and washing out the fridge. 

But of  course it didn't turn out like that at all.  The lady who cleans for me on a Monday left at half past ten and since then it has been a whirl of people calling in to see me - and how welcome they have been.

When I had an hour to spare at lunch time I popped Tess in the car for the ride and we drove up  to the tip with her old bed and blanket (she has
just had a new one.  After that I parked in town,
did a quick bit of shopping and arrived home just as my gardener arrived.   No sooner had he gone than a friend walked past and stopped to chat and then my dear friend, W.  called in.   As she went my little seven year old neighbour from where I lived on the farm, popped in with some eggs for me. What a social whirl and how much better I felt for it.  Such a difference living here amongst people from living on the farm down a lonely lane.

Oh and in case you are wondering - when everyone had gone I did clean out the sink cupboard and wash out the fridge.   I shall now go and read my magazine, which arrived this morning and which I have not had time to open yet.

Sunday 3 December 2017


Yesterday morning I managed to fall out of bed.   I got up and made myself a cup of tea, looked at the clock and realised it was very early so I decided to go back to bed for an hour.   As it was a bit chilly I got into bed with my dressing gown on.

I went fast asleep and overslept, waking up to realise that it was almost time to go to the monthly coffee morning.   Instead of climbing out of bed I 'gracefully' slid out and landed on the carpet at the side of the bed.   How to get up?   The skill of getting up when one is getting on in years does not disappear gradually - one day you can get up easily and think nothing of it - the next you can't
- or so it seems to me.

My only option was to crawl/shuffle through to the sitting room where I could use a chair for purchase.   Mission accomplished - the doorbell rang.   Friend W had arrived at the coffee morning and couldn't understand where I was.  Friend H, who lives next door to me, had come round to find out.

Well, it all adds to the excitement I suppose - and at least it proves what good, thoughtful friends I have - they are golden.

Friday 1 December 2017


We woke up here in North Yorkshire to about an inch of snow and very icy conditions.    It was certainly far too slippery for me to venture far.   Friend W - true friend as always - called and took me into town to meet the 'girls' for coffee.   I crossed the road very carefully; although it was beginning to melt there was still a lot of ice about.

Now I am home at 2.15, have eaten a bowl of steaming hot lentil and vegetable soup I made yesterday, and - on the advice of my Physio - am keeping warm.  Writing my Christmas cards beckons.   Having to tell so many friends about the death of the farmer means it will be a long process this year - so the sooner I begin the better.

My house number (19 on a piece of slate) arrived this morning.   I have just rung the man who looks after my garden and he is going to come and fix it for me within the next few days. At present people have to work out the number for themselves as there is no number there at all.

Pale, cold blue sky outside.