Saturday 30 June 2018


Sitting by the open patio door eating my breakfast I am serenaded again by 'my' beautiful Song Thrush ('he sings each song twice over, lest he can ne'er recapture that first fine, careless rapture).   To think that for years we had not heard a Song Thrush at the farm on our morning walks and now - only three fields away - I am hearing one almost every morning and have been watching Song Thrush babies being fed in my garden;   and all this on a housing estate too.

There was a pleasant chill in the air first thing this morning but now, at half past eight, the cloudy  sky is gradually clearing and the sun is coming out and it is destined to be another scorching hot day.   Last evening I watered the part of the garden I can easily reach with the hose pipe.   The pressure on my new tap is quite low as the water comes from the tank in the roof, but it is easier than hauling the watering can up steps.   I suspect that any day now a Hose Pipe Ban with come into place - it has already done so in some areas of the country.   Then it will be - water the courgettes and gro bag beans with cans of water (hard work for me).

Yesterday at coffee a friend told how she had heard good advice on the radio about walking dogs in hot weather.   Go out on to a pavement in the sun and put the back of your hand flat onto the path and hold it there for five seconds.   If the pavement feels very hot to your hand and almost burns it then don't expect your dog to walk on there in the heat of the day!

The Marestail weed in my garden has now totally reacted to the spray put on last Monday by the gardener and is shrivelled, brown and seemingly dead.   You and I know better of course!   It is only sleeping and as I write those pre-historic roots are planning to re-emerge.    But we shall be ready and waiting with a second application of weedkiller,and a third, and a fourth.   Somehow between us D, the gardener, and I will beat it (fingers crossed).

A totally free day today suggests I may drive into town to buy a Times newspaper to add to today's Guardian already delivered.   I am ashamed to say that I have almost the whole of this month's Book
 Club book to read.  'The Leopard' by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa is an interesting read:  not a book I would ever have chosen to read but 'good for me to have read'.  I am aiming at a chapter a day.  I am told that  the title should have been 'The Ocelot' but that the publishers on its reissue (it is a Vintage Classic re-issue) thought it would sell more easily if it was called The Leopard!

Have a good day whatever the weather in your part of the world.


As I sit by the open patio door eating my breakfast I am serenaded again by 'my' beautiful '

Thursday 28 June 2018


It is now 7.27 - the sun has been up for hours and I have already taken the dog for a walk in the cool of the early morning, watered my gro bags, had an orange and a banana for my breakfast and am sitting here drinking my first cup of tea.   Friday morning is our coffee morning so I like to be ready good and early.

On my 6.15 walk I met quite a few other dog-walkers, obviously all with the same idea.   Dogs are daft when it comes to weather - they still want to go out, even in the heat of the day - but once they get going they flag easily.  So early morning and late evening are best for both of us I find. 

How I could ever have thought of giving Tess away when I moved I don't know.   I worried that
I would not be able to manage her here.   She fitted in so well with my life-style.   She is there to talk to in the evenings (and she doesn't answer back other than with a knowing look).   But, most of all, she has been instrumental in helping me to get to know so many people.   Because this is an estate of dog owners (and almost all are responsible dog owners).   Our dogs have become friendly and like to stop for the obligatory sniff and tail wag, so we chat for a couple of minutes.   Even at six o'clock this morning I saw half a dozen, one of whom was a young Labrador whose 
'Mum' had to assure him that 'it's only a Border Terrier and it wants to be friends, it won't hurt you'
before it would pass us. 

Wandering along at a leisurely pace so that Tess could sniff every blade of grass I got to thinking about Butch - a dog from my far distant past.   My mother would never entertain having a dog = she didn't care for them in the house so it was a cat  only in our household.    But she did have a soft spot for one particular dog and that was Butch.
Butch was the Rector's dog - a dog of indeterminate breed - large, rough-haired and black and with the most gentle temperament.   Never on a leash and never that I can remember, with the Rector.   We all knew he 'belonged' to the Rector but Butch wandered around the village all day - presumably went home to sleep at night.   This was in the late thirties, early forties, so there was little or no traffic on the streets.

Butch was a knowing dog.   He knew that my mother was a soft touch.   He also knew that there was almost always meat or fish on the menu at our house.   So daily, usually as we were eating a meal, we would see Butch amble past the window.
She would call out for him to wait until we had finished our meal and he would sit patiently outside the door until she came out with his special bowl which she had been filling with titbits since the previous day.  In a flash they would be gone.

Talk about 'Remembrance of things past ', I haven't thought of Butch for years and years.   I am sure he is up in that doggy heaven somewhere, wandering around in his gentle, unassuming manner and being cared for by everyone.

Hot thursday

II think it was Vita Sackville West who said that she got such pleasure from those flowers who chose exactly where they wished to put their roots down rather than the ones which followed the gardener's rules.  I believe she was talking about violets which were flowers in the gaps in the paving on some steps in her garden.   This beauty has suddenly appeared in the gravel at the bottom of my drive.   Where she came from I don't know but I guess she was wind-blown and just landed here under the right conditions.   Whatever the reason, I welcome her with open arms - she can join the Hypericum which is seeding itself all up the drive side and which I shall happily leave.

As far as I am concerned the heat has now become far too much for me.   Today I went down to the hairdressers and since I came home I have made up one visitor's bed and intend to do the other one at some point during the afternoon.   I shall visit the doctor at four and then when the heat begins to die down I shall water my plants.   Any other activity is way beyond me I'm afraid.

The farmer would have been in his element.   This has really been a wonderful year for hay.   Although, having no horses, he didn't really need any hay, he did love to 'make a bit' and to the end he always saved a field for hay.   But nine times out of ten he would cut it and then, before it was ripe enough to bale, he would have to change his mind and turn it into silage.   How he would have loved his evenings baling hay this week and then stacking it in the barn.   He would then have sold it off over winter to horse owners and it would have been guaranteed 'good stuff'.   Sleep well my dear farmer.

Wednesday 27 June 2018

Another day of heat.

It is a well-known fact the extreme heat and the over eighties are not good bed fellows.   For this reason I am doing virtually nothing and largely staying indoors now that my visitors have gone.   My arthritis is made worse by the heat, the midges seem to think I am a special feast laid on especially for their delectation and my garden stares at me demanding water.   I am just trying to stay on an even keel until the temperatures come down a little (destined to do so in the East of the country within the next day or two hopefully).

Football does not interest me, although I do like the idea of a World Cup because I think it does wonders for International relations - and so far there has been a good atmosphere in Russia so long may it continue.   Rachel's daily reports on the matches are enough to keep me up to date - so thanks for those Rachel. 

On the garden front my Marestail seems to be losing its greenness so I presume the weed killer is beginning to take effect.   Friends who took Tess for a walk this afternoon told me they had been to look at a garden at a stately home where Marestail was everywhere.   They asked how they coped with it and were told the gardeners just keep top side of it by digging it out whenever they see it.   This has cheered me up no end.

We now have a huge 4 mile wide fire raging across Saddleworth Moor above the city of Manchester. Moorland which consists of mile after mile of heather growing in peaty soil which can hold the heat and keep burning underground for months.   It obviously needs days of very heavy downpour but nothing to suggest such weather in the forecast.    Now the army has been called in to help.   Residents in the surrounding area must be very worried.   Why do periods of this kind of weather always seem to end with some kind of tragedy?

Tuesday 26 June 2018


Tuesday afternoon and my lovely visitors have set off back to Hull to board the overnight ferry bound for Rotterdam and their home near Amsterdam.   The weather during their short stay has been wonderful - pure wall-to-wall sunshine every day.
The bedclothes are now drying on the line in the sunshine - whether I shall have the energy to iron them when I fetch them in I doubt - although maybe later tonight when it is a little cooler. 

Some visitors are a chore but F and R, dear friends of many years standing (we met on a holiday on the Hurtigruten some years ago), are a joy to be with and we have just had  a couple of very relaxing days together.   Yesterday we had a drive through Wensleydale and back through Swaledale, over the Buttertubs and with a call at the Wensleydale Creamery en route.   This morning we drove into Leyburn so that they could buy  me a shrub in memory of the farmer.   We chose  a Weigela and they bought a pot for me to put it into because it is to go in the part where the marestail is.   Eventually.

Last evening my gardener came and sprayed off the marestail.   So far there is no change in how it looks but we must keep our cool and press on.   Nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that.

Midges here are torturous and my head and face are badly bitten - all along my hairline and underneath the sides of my specs.   I do hope the end of this hot spell is in sight- I hate to be 
churlish but we just don't go together.

Back to normality tomorrow whatever that is.

Saturday 23 June 2018


Very hot weather is forecast for the coming week and warm sun for today, but here in my part of North Yorkshire the sun has never really appeared.   It has been hazy and not all that warm all day.   The temperature never rose above nineteen.

This is the last post I shall be doing for a day or two.   As I type this friends from The Netherlands will be setting off from Rotterdam for Hull on the overnight ferry with their car.   They will drive up and hope to be with me by mid morning.   As my computer room and my guest bedroom are one and the same - the next time I write a post will be the middle of next week - so happy blogging everyone.   See you again soon.

Thursday 21 June 2018

Senior moments.

I have had two senior moments today - both highly embarrassing and cringe-making.

The first occurred when I went back to my car after being to the hairdresser and then doing a few bits of shopping.   As I drove off from the Car Park there was a warning signal in my car.  It was not the usual 'ping' I get when one of the doors is open or when I haven't fastened the seat belt.   Frankly it sounded rather like a shortened version of the ice cream bell!   By the time I got to the Petrol Station half a mile away it had sounded several times and I resolved to read the handbook when I got home.

I pulled up at the pump and instead of bring my handbag out of the car I left it on the front seat while I filled the car.   As it was in a vulnerable position I locked the car door. (you know what's coming don't you?)   When I tried to open my petrol cap it wouldn't open and finally, after struggling with it for a minute or two, I went in and asked the man at the till if he could come out and open it for me.   He tried it once, looked at me
and asked if I had locked the car?!   Of course if you lock the car you also lock the petrol cap!!!

I drove home.   Still the warning signal was going every few minutes.   I went into the house, taking the instruction book with me to see if I could find out what it meant. Eventually I rang the garage and the chap said I would have to take the car in because my description didn't make sense to him!
Friend W (always the voice of reason) suggested I call at the local garage first which I did.  After listening to my description of the sound he pressed a button on the dashboard and asked if that was the sound.   Eureka!   Yes it was.   Until he told me what it was.  It was a message on my mobile!!!

Oh the shame!   Idiot that I am.   Mind you I got it all in proportion on my drive home when an ambulance passed me at speed and there had been an accident in the Market Place - Police Cars, an Ambulance and the car involved - and worst of all a lady lying in the road.   I drove on thinking how trivial were my two events of the morning compared with that.

Wednesday 20 June 2018


I have friends coming from The Netherlands at the week -end, so my cleaning lady said she would come today and clean through for me.   That will cut down my work load I thought.   Then this afternoon it is our lovely Poetry afternoon, so I could sit in a leisurely morning and choose what I was going to read.

The best laid plans and all that.   Hot on the heels of my cleaning lady came the plumber to fix me an outside tap from the bathroom so that I can water my garden without carrying canfuls of water.   This meant the bathroom was not only out of commission for her to clean but would also be very messy when the plumber had gone.

Too right!   I have just spent an hour and a half cleaning the bathroom (it would have taken her a quarter of an hour at the most, but then she doesn't have difficulty getting down to the floor and even more difficulty getting up again.)

Anyway, the job is done, the rest of the house is clean and tidy and I have just caught up with the bathroom, so all is more or less back to normal.

During the course of the morning I have done bits of jobs.   But this morning has reinforced for me just what opportunists our canine friends are.   One of the cupboards in my kitchen is the dog cupboard.   In it I keep dog tins, poo bags, dry food and (most importantly) 'treat' biscuits in a polythene bag.   The cupboard also houses the stop cock.

I suddenly realised that Tess was missing.   Fearing she had got out as all the doors were open for the plumber I walked around the house looking for her.   I found her IN the dog cupboard calmly eating her treat biscuits from the bag!!   If only I had thought to take a photograph before shooing her out.

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Good neighbours.

I am so lucky living here in my bungalow.   The neighbours in the road are so kind.    Here are just three examples today.

It is our refuse collection tomorrow.   My drive is quite steep and I do not find it all that easy to take my refuse down to the roadside.   It is recycling and 'green bin' week this week. There was a ring on my door bell and it was a neighbour from further down the road to say  she was passing and she hoped I didn't mind but she had put my green bin out for me.

Shortly afterwards my next door neighbour came round (and came in for a cup of tea) - I had ordered some sandals on line and they had come this morning and she had taken them in for me and was bringing them round.

As I went out with Tess this evening another neighbour stopped her car to say if I didn't feel like walking with Tess she would willingly get out of her car and leave it at my bungalow while she took Tess for her walk.

I just realise how lucky I am to have moved into an area where the people are so very friendly.   Do you live in a neighbourly place?

Monday 18 June 2018

Self indulgence.

Nothing I ate today seemed to satisfy me but as the day wore on I began to fancy fish and chips.   It is at least a year since I had them and not something I usually enjoy.    But at half past four Tess and I jumped into the car and drove the mile into the town centre, parked and I bought myself fish, chips and mushy peas - we went back home and ate them - Tess having half a dozen chips and quite a large piece of my cod, but without the batter.    They were not the best I had ever tasted but they satisfied a need, and sometimes - when one lives alone - it is necessary to do just that.

Now I intend to watch Michael Portillo crossing America by train  and that is followed by a new farming series, so I shall watch that too.   Some days I miss the farmer more than others - or let's say I think about him more, and today is one of those days.   How I wish he were here but he isn't and I can't change how things are.   Now our sympathies must go out to Sue in Suffolk who is doing her very best to come to terms with losing her beloved Col.

What a good place Blogland is when one makes these 'friendships' - there is a whole network of support out there and it is good to be able to call on it.

Sunday 17 June 2018


A friend called with her husband and her electric lawnmower this morning and cut the grass in front of my bungalow.   It was so good of her and now it looks neat and tidy like everyone else's front lawn.   So thank you S and N for your help - much appreciated.

I went out with two other friends for lunch as usual.   The fourth member of the team, W, was ninety seven earlier in the week and is being feted by her family all day today in celebration.   So we were a friend short.    The three of us had our usual salmon with vegetables (delicious with or without the 'florentine' (spinach') which two of us have) then it was one ice cream, one Eton mess and I had a chocolate extravaganza.    Then we sat for an hour and a half in the bar drinking tea, putting the world to rights and having a good laugh.   When one lives alone I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday.

Now it is half past five, I have taken Tess for her walk and I am in for the evening.   At the risk of offending anyone (sorry Rachel) is it really necessary to have football and/or tennis on the TV to the exclusion of almost anything else for the next month?   Thank goodness for iplayer I say. 
Dark-looking rain clouds amass here but very little rain forecast.   Plants certainly look better for yesterday's deluge.

Saturday 16 June 2018

Neighbour pressure

Having read the comments on my post yesterday I feel I have to write and disagree with what most of you said.

First of all a friend, who reads my blog sometimes, sent me an e mail to say she is coming in the morning to cut my lawn for me.   She is not a young lady, she has an electric mower and I am quite overcome by the fact that she has offered to do this for me.   The kindness of friends and neighbours never ceases to amaze me.

Now to those who feel that neighbourhood pressure should be ignored and that one should 'do one's own thing'.   I am sorry but I disagree.   Almost everyone on this estate keeps their house and garden in an attractive state.   It is a pretty estate where the houses and bungalows are planned in such a way that it is rather like a village - areas for children to play, areas of grass regularly cut by the council, trees planted in strategic places, everywhere neat and tidy and almost all gardens neat, tidy and colourful.   It is a pleasure to walk/drive around.   Why should I take it upon myself to be the exception, to make my garden an eyesore which spoils the look of the place?   My back garden had not been done and was a mess but at least it could only be seen by the occupants of my bungalow.   My front garden (all lawn) is seen by everyone who walks or drives past.   Luckily - because I enjoy seeing people - there are always folk about and they stop and chat and our dogs
 'chat' too.   So yes, I don't on the whole agree with those of you who say it doesn't matter.   To me it does matter in this instance to conform to the standard that has been set.   But thanks for making your presence felt in your comments.   That is what I love so much about blogging.

See you later in the day now that I have got this off my chest!

Friday 15 June 2018


I was going to put a heading of Disaster, but in the giant scheme of things this is really not a disaster when one thinks of all the 'real' disasters.   But it certainly is a bit of a calamity and I am going to sleep on it before thinking what I can do to remedy the situation because at the moment I have absolutely no idea.

This is a lovely neat and tidy estate and everyone keeps their gardens and in particular their lawns in pristine condition this time of the year.   Any lawn which does not keep up with this standard is really an eyesore. 

I have no lawn mower, mainly because I really do no longer have the strength to push one, even if it is an electric one.   My gardener is very good and comes each week to do an hour in the back garden (which is beginning to take shape nicely marestail notwithstanding)  and an hour mowing and strimming my lawn.   He has not been this week and  as it is prime growing season it is no exaggeration to say that my lawn looks like a wild flower meadow - pretty with trefoil, clover and buttercups it might be but it is no lawn.

This evening I rang my gardener, expecting him to be out with his mates on a Friday night.   He answered the phone - he has 'done his back in' to use his words, is flat out on the settee and can hardly move.   So my dilemma is what do I do  about my grass?   I am sure every gardener in the area has a full time table at present so how am I going to find anyone?   Watch this space.

I have spent the afternoon in the garden doing various jobs to the best of my ability.    I have had a lovely display of pansies in tubs over the last four or five months - they have been under my kitchen and sitting room windows in the front of the house.   But we have had a huge gale this week and it finally put paid to them, almost blowing them out of their tubs.    So this morning I bought geraniums and violas and this afternoon I changed the soil and planted the new bedding out.    Hard work, but now it is done I feel much happier.   So all is not lost - now I just have to find someone with a mower and an hour to spare.

Thursday 14 June 2018

An afternoon of pleasure.

First of all there is the drive through Wensleydale on a sunny afternoon - strong gale blowing and not very warm, but one doesn't notice that shut in a car.   Then, on arrival, there is an hour and a half of playing ukuleles for the elderly and/or dementia sufferers at the Care Home we were bound for - just friend W and I - the two of us.

All the old songs - how the residents sing and enjoy the afternoon.   They look through the books, call out a number they would like to sing and together we all sing it.   There is a lovely old gentleman who knows the verse to 'When I'm cleaning windows' and sings it before everyone joins in on the chorus. 

Towards the end of the session a lady I hadn't seen before said could we play 'The Old Rugged Cross' - we couldn't.   It's not really suitable for ukulele anyway, but we asked her if she could sing it and she sang the first verse in a beautiful, clear voice - then we all joined in on the chorus.

Coming home through the lovely dale we realised just how very tiring it is to play and sing non-stop - we were exhausted.  But what a grand time we had all had.


Wednesday 13 June 2018

Batten down the hatches.

Or so the weather girl said this morning.   So battening down the hatches is the order of the day.
Friend S called to take a completely recovered Tess on her walk - and did she enjoy it - flopped down and was asleep in seconds on her return.

S planted another patty pan for me in a gro bag and we put it behind the dustbins in as safe a place as we could find.   The other courgette plants in their gro bags have been moved behind a wall.   Winds of fifty miles an hour are forecast for overnight and heavy rain (which we badly need) for tomorrow.   This seems to be the pattern most years - just get the gardens planted for Summer then along comes a gale to create havoc.

Poor Tom - and Cro too - are suffering from despondency about the situation in the world.   I suspect it was ever thus - and in any case we - as mere mortals -can do little about it.   Our only tool is our vote and, frankly, there is little to choose there.   I also suspect that once the World Cup
(football just in case you haven't heard about it!!!!!) arrives on Thursday the news will be full of hooliganism, groans about unfair decisions and most likely the ignominy of England returning home with their tails between their legs.   Things can only get worse.   In fact, now that the Royal Wedding is over it is all doom and gloom for the foreseeable future.   So please, let's all cheer up.

If you want to end the day on a cheerful and  happy note do go to DOING IT FOR OURSELVES IN WALES on my sidebar and read the lovely, cheery story about Little Compost.  It has made my day and might take your minds off the present state of things.   Survival is the order of the day for the little chap.

Tuesday 12 June 2018


The sky is full of black threatening clouds and the air is sultry.   But I am pretty sure it is not going to rain - it just doesn't feel like it.  Tess and I have just mooched round the estate after lunch and now I am having a job to keep awake.

Coffee with the  girls this morning and a bit of shopping - paying the week's papers that are not on my Times subscription then coming home to wipe out the kitchen cupboards before I put my food away, so a satisfying job done.   But now there is an overwhelming desire to close my eyes.   I shall resist it!

I have always been 'easy meat' for the whole of the bug brigade in early Summer and as I sit here typing this I begin to realise that the nibbling brigade must be out in force today as I resist scratching various itchy places on my back.   It is destined to turn cooler tomorrow for a few days - perhaps this will ease things a little.

By the way, Tess is definitely improved this morning.   She has had her pain killer syringe this morning and has eaten a 'soft' breakfast without biscuits but with the addition of a little of the ham I usually don't let her eat but which is tempting her so much at the moment.   So far, so good.
Out to lunch with friend D tomorrow - I'll see you afterwards and report on what we eat!!

Monday 11 June 2018

Mowing the Lawn.

I can;t help starting with a feeble joke which I was reminded of when I typed in the header.   Many years ago somebody published a list of incongruous book titles, one of which was 'Mowing the Lawn' by The Duke of Edinburgh.

As to my lawn - when I went out after lunch to take Tess for her walk I passed my gardener at the top of my road.   I thought he would perhaps progress on to me and mow my lawn which urgently needs doing.   No such luck - he has disappeared.   But at least it has given me time to go out and take a photograph of the delightful weed which takes over the lawn when it is ready for mowing.   It is Bird's Foot Trefoil (as kids we called it 'Lady's Fingers) and each time it happens I wish I could leave my lawn and let it become a mini wild flower meadow (there are various other wild flowers in it too).   But most of the other lawns on the road are of bowling green standard so I daren't let standards slip.

I took Tess to the vets and the vet thinks she has somehow strained her jaw (very common apparently).   She has given her a pain injection and also tablets for a few days when we will review the situation.   As to her 'lump' it has not grown at all and doesn't appear to be causing her a problem - in fact the vet (a different one from last time) suggested it just might be a fatty lump.  That would be really good news -.  On the vet's suggestion - as Tess has had nothing to eat or drink for two days - I called and bought some ham, cut it into small pieces and put it on a plate.   It disappeared in the twinkling of an eye - surely a good sign?

Sunday 10 June 2018


As I sit here typing this at a quarter to five in the afternoon, it is raining hard outside.   I don't suppose it will rain for more than a few minutes but I do know that the humid, damp air and the quick shower will do my plants more good than a can of tap water between a dozen of them.

This morning I was fascinated sitting here and looking out of the window.   On the ledge of the wall in front of my boundary hedge I have some gro bags holding courgette plants.   Behind them is a mulch of bark under the hedge.   As I watched, a very fat pigeon arrived and systematically went in and out of the hedging plants turning the bark over and eventually coming out with a suitable nesting stick in his/her beak (two sticks across and a little bit of moss as my father used to say of pigeon's nests).   This mean the each pair is about to have a second brood - no wonder there are pigeons everywhere.   But they were fascinating to watch.

Lunch out as usual and then a gentle walk with Tess on my return.   She is not at all well and we shall be going to the vets in the morning.   Oh dear.

Saturday 9 June 2018


After a bereavement of a loved one (very much loved at that) I think one goes on having the odd day when it catches up with one - and today promised to be one of those days.   Saturdays are not easy - usually the most difficult day of the week as families are all about doing things together.

But waking up in this  frame of mind means there is only one thing to do and that is to somehow work it out of one's system.   First of all a quick trip to the shop for the essentials like milk, bread and bananas.   Then a trip to the tip with various cardboard boxes and plastic containers (do love going to our Council Tip as the men are really so very pleasant and helpful).   A medium sized walk round the estate with Tess, then a cup of coffee and a look at Trooping the Colour on the television.  The organisation, the planning, the precision - it is awe-inspiring.   If anything does go wrong then I certainly don't notice it - the spectacle was amazing and I enjoyed every minute of it (I understand a senior army figure was taken ill at the end of the parade, so do hope he is recovering in hospital). 

After lunch Tess and I walked down what used to be 'our' lane, but well below our farm.   The neighbouring farmer was mowing his lawn and I had a lovely long chat with him - having not seen him since 'my' farmer passed away.

Now we are back home; a cup of tea and a look at the crossword later and it is time to get Tess her tea.   And -incidentally - I am much more my usual self.   The only way is to work through these things and together Tess and I did it.   And as I have said before - Tomorrow is another day - and our usual Sunday lunch out.

Friday 8 June 2018

Another day out.

To Kirby Lonsdale today to meet friends P and D for lunch in the Italian - delicious as usual.

The journey was spectacular - we both agreed - Wensleydale and the Lune valley at their very best.    The fields were full of buttercups just coming into flower and the roadsides were thick with bistort and with glorious ox-eye daisies.

I took photographs on the way.  No point in saying where they are - suffice to say they are in beautiful North Yorkshire Dales.   Enjoy.
This is the market town of Hawes, home of the Wensleydale Cheese, and the only 'town' we pass through on the journey.

Thursday 7 June 2018

The Demise of the High Street Store.

Having just watched the six o'clock News I see that now House of Fraser is closing over half of its High Street Shopping outlets with the loss of something like six thousand jobs.   Last week it was M and S and now Poundworld is on the verge of collapse.   It does seem as though our shopping habits are rapidly changing out of all recognition.

I suppose it is only to be expected given that on line shopping is so easy and more and more people have computers and so have access to so many more choices without moving out of the comfort of their armchair.   Sad but inevitable I suppose. 

Bus services have been cut to the minimum in country areas and - without sounding feminist - if a family has only one car and Dad uses it for work then I am sure if Mum doesn't drive (and there are still many families like this in country areas) that Dad - if he has to use the car on Saturdays - would agree there are a thousand places he would rather go than shopping.   So it has to be on line shopping for the grocery order and the same for clothes.   And retailers have made it super easy to return things which don't fit and almost always postage is paid.

So we have to adapt.   As to the job losses I don't know what happens there.   Unemployment figures are at their lowest but many of the jobs which have been created are not necessarily paying the minimum wage (there are so many ways of getting round it).

The times they are a changing as somebody said a long time ago (Bob Dylan??) - if it was he then it hasn't happened overnight has it.


Wednesday 6 June 2018


Looking out of my dining room window early yesterday morning I saw that my courgettes were drooping - one especially - and needed watering.   Out I went with the watering can but when I got to the plants I found that there was only one droopy one - in fact for 'droopy' read 'dead'.   Either a slug or a snail had made its way carefully over the bark mulch, mounted the grow bag and nibbled away at the very heart of the little plant - not an outside leaf but the extreme, succulent central stem.

I have put slug bait around them all, and around my hostas.   I hate doing so but there really is no alternative if I want to eat any  beans or courgettes.

The same applies to weedkiller and the tiny little weeds with deep, stubborn roots, which make their way up through the cracks in the concrete of my drive.  They are much too deep rooted for me to pull up - so weedkiller it has to be. 

And speaking of weedkiller, the specialist stuff to spray my Marestail has arrived ' to be sprayed on a totally still day when no rain is forecast'.   The bed is now empty apart from the pernicious weed - later on, when I return from lunch out - I will go and take a photograph to show you just how it has taken over.

Today is the anniversary of D Day - the 74th anniversary if I remember it correctly.   I certainly remember it very well - I was twelve at the time and by that time my brother was in REME, who did not go over in the first wave, so my parents were not quite so worried, or so it seemed to me.   By this time I was much more aware of what was going on than I had been at Dunkirk and I think there was a feeling everywhere that this was the beginning of the end of the war and that we were going to win it.

***I had intended to put on photographs of my garden and of the marestail.  I have taken the photos but since putting on my last lot the system for transferring them seems to have changed and I can't do it.   I shall have to wait for a superior brain to call and show me how. 

Managed to do the photographs myself but they have come out at the top rather than at the bottom of the post.   The top two are of the marestail (second one close up) the next of the bottom tier of the garden I have planted and finally the next tier - the rockery.   You will see that it is gradually taking shape.   I now await my gardener coming to apply the specialist weed killer to the marestail - then time will tell.

Tuesday 5 June 2018

Three days in one.

I have done far too much today.   Now, at a quarter to ten in the evening, having just taken Tess for her last walk round the block, I am really ready for my cup of Horlicks and bed.

As I have said before on here, I am a great one for making Lists and for crossing things off as I do them.   Today was certainly a List Day.  And a very long  List Day at that.   But I managed to do everything on the list before lunchtime and even included an hour sitting with friend E drinking coffee in our usual cafe.  (the other two 'regulars' couldn't come today).

Then it was home for lunch, a shower, a quick walk with the dog and then off to the Physiotherapist for my monthly session.   This always makes me tired but it does me good too.  I didn't return home until after four o'clock - time for tea and another dog walk.   I returned from the Physio to find that Tess had been sick several times, which was a bit worrying but she ate her tea as normal and has been for a walk tonight so I am hoping it isn't a deterioration in her condition.

My new leather jacket came today and I am thrilled to bits with it - it has cheered me up no end on a day which could have resulted in my being rather down at the end of it.   One thing I have learned over the last fifteen months is that one has to keep going and if things seem to be getting a bit fraught - find something to cheer up the situation.   That solution certainly keeps me going.

Monday 4 June 2018


Monday morning dawns cloudy, misty and quite chilly - typical of our British weather.   We are overjoyed when we get a whole day's rain for the garden but then it takes two or three weeks for the weather to get back to anything like Summer afterwards.

The lady who cleans for me came this morning so I got well stocked up with local news.   Because she is always out and about - and is local to the area anyway - she knows so much more about what is going on than I do and when she doesn't come I miss her.

My only foray out today was to the hour-long ukulele practice this afternoon.   I have just returned from this and thought I would put on a post before feeding Tess and getting my own tea. 

My chiropodist called at lunch time and has given me a new routine for my feet.  I shall try in the month before she comes again to stick to it rigorously in the hopes of praise when she comes.

Now tea time calls.   I will swear that Tess can tell the time.   She is at my feet as I write this and I can feel her eyes boring into me saying 'where's my tea?' - it is five minutes to four and she has her tea at four each night.   I always feed her before having my tea - after all who wants to eat tea with a pair of pleading brown eyes fixed on their face?


Sunday 3 June 2018


Pretty normal Sunday here with our usual jaunt out for Sunday lunch.    The rain kept off although it kept threatening - that's one of the troubles with our English weather; once it 'breaks' it takes it a long time to settle down again.   Still I shouldn't complain.   The rain came just right for the garden.

I have just watched 'Countryfile' with its hour-long tour of the Queen's Balmoral Estate.    I stress that I am not a Royalist particularly but the estate was nothing short of exquisite and so beautifully and efficiently run that everywhere was perfect.   I just can't begin to image how much it costs to maintain such a high degree of management.

It was followed by an hour long programme about Iraq which I had intended to watch but as I was having difficulty keeping awake (bad night) I decided to watch it another night on iplayer instead.

Nice lunch today - not the usual Sunday lunch as we all had salad (I had smoked haddock fish cake with chips and salad) - the other two had prawns with salad.   They looked longingly at my chips and it transpired that they had had a bet to see if I offered them one.  I had a lovely Le Creuset tureen of crisp, salty chips with fluffy centres - and I ate every single one myself - yes I am greedy but by golly they were good.   So sorry girls!

Saturday 2 June 2018


Hawes, a little town in Wensleydale, is only fifteen miles from here.   Last evening a large black cloud hung over Hawes and I thought it was coming our way (lots of plants put in - watering needed).   But no - the evening brightened and we had no rain.

This morning on my dog walk I met J, who had been in Hawes last evening and told me they had had a cloud burst there and the streets were running with water. So we were lucky - we really don't want that kind of rain with all the new plants.

Today it has rained steadily all morning.   It is 3.10 and it is still raining.    Just the sort of rain we needed and so no need to water today.
Friend S called at lunch time and brought me three courgette plants and two runner bean plants which we planted in grobags. 

Then, after lunch, I ordered the weed killer to start attacking the Mares Tail weed.    S took Tess for her lunch time walk for me (thank you S) so now I can relax with today's Guardian and put my feet up.
Maybe I am sticking my head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich, but - really - what can I do about any of the world's problems?   Absolutely
 nothing other than worry.   So I have decided to
limit my worries to family, friends, the house and garden in that order - and I shall let everything else float above my head.   And if you think I am being selfish then so be it. 

Friday 1 June 2018


As I have friends coming for a meal tonight as a 'thank-you' for the many times friend S has taken Tess for a walk, I have been preparing food this afternoon.   It is hot here and thundery so no preparation of a lot of hot food - just my sausage dish which is very easy to prepare, followed by strawberries (Scottish) and cream.

Jersey Royals are 'in' with a vengeance, as are things like English asparagus (delicious), so vegetables are no problem.   My Jersey Royals were a bit 'scabby' so I thought it best to scrape them - an easy task as the skins come off with no problem at all.   But while I was doing it I had the lovliest vivid memory from childhood - one never knows when these memories are going to surface.

I would have been about seven I suppose.   We had a large vegetable garden - as did most houses in the country in those days.   My father was a keen vegetable gardener and we rarely had to buy vegetables.   We looked forward greatly to the first 'digging' of new potatoes.   Down the garden we went, Dad with the fork, me carrying the little bucket.   Were they ready?   Oh the excitement.   Yes they were.   As Mother already had the pan on the stove my Dad obviously knew they were ready - but it heightened the excitement for me.

Dig up the first root and - yes - there were enough little round potatoes there for a 'boiling' for three.   Back up the garden we go - to the outside tap where Dad fills the bucket with water.   Then he goes into the wash-house and comes out with the copper stick (we had an outside copper in those days  which he lit on Monday mornings before he went off to work).   Round and round the bucket went the stick and the soil came off and the skins came off.   Two or three new lots of water and they were ready.

In we went with the bucket and the new potatoes - straight into the pan along with a couple of sprigs of mint and a dash of salt. 

Supper was new potatoes with butter.   All three of us could have eaten the same again and more.

Do you have a memory like this which came to you in a flash?