Sunday 30 September 2018


A short respite before the hordes descend on me for a meal of sorts.   I find I am past getting huge meals ready these days so I offered them Farmhouse Soup (lots of veg plus herbs, beans, pasta etc.) with really good bread and parmesan.   This to be followed by home made apple crumble and either ice cream or home made custard.   I made it all first thing this morning and have just set the table, so resting until they arrive (they being my Great grand-daughter and her mum plus her dad (my son) and his wife.  Now that all the work is done and all I have left to do is scatter the chopped parsley on the soup I can relax.

Isn't it odd how we have just gone smoothly into Autumn after that long hot Summer.   Fleeces have made an appearance again on the early morning dog walk and shorts (mainly on men) have largely disappeared and I can't say I am sorry.   Middle aged and elderly legs on either sex are, in my opinion, best kept under wraps

It is a funny sort of day.  As I sit here and glance out of the window sometimes it is raining and at other times there is bright sunshine.   It can't make up its mind exactly what it wishes to do today.
I dashed into town to get something for my soup which I had forgotten and made the stupid mistake of buying a Sunday paper.   I take the Times all week and The Guardian on Saturdays.   Sundays I give myself a rest.   Wish I had done so today.   Brexit is not the headline today - oh no - it is Party Conference Time (shudder).   Now, just in case you don't know, it is WAR between Boris and Teresa on the eve of their party conference.   I shall make a point of not watching the news for the next three days.

Saturday 29 September 2018

Jab Day

The highlight of today has been queueing at the surgery for my over 65's flu jab.   So that's another Winter job done - cleaning out the wardrobes last week, flu jab this week and bulbs planted.   I am a great list maker and there is great satisfaction in ticking off another thing.  Now the planters either side of the front door need filling with violas and pansies (not the most imaginative winter planting but up here in Yorkshire the weather can turn pretty foul and they are the safest bet) and last year's bulbs (which I dug up and have saved) need pushing in in odd corners.   Also I have ordered four short bearded iris (2 pussycat pink and 2 forever blue) which should be here any day and will need planting.   As they are going near to the front of the garden I shall be able to plant those rather than leave it to my gardener.   I must say that the older I get the more I get like my father, who was a great armchair gardener.

On an entirely different subject isn't it heartening to hear the lovely story of John's zip  wire and his raising of over five thousand pounds for his chosen charity?  When I hear and read of all the awful things people do it is so good to read of something like this happening isn't it?

Friday 28 September 2018

Perfect Day

Today has been a perfect 'end of September' day.   It has been sunny, still and warm - not a cloud in the sky all day.   There was plenty of market to look round (our market stall holders mostly only come when the weather is right - apart from the fruit and veg men, the fish men and the cheese man.)

Friend W and I went to usual restaurant but found that the 'posh' bit where we usually treat ourselves on Fridays was fully booked because there was a Fashion Show.   So we went in the cafe instead.   W had gammon, egg, chips and pineapple and I had sausage, onion gravy and mash.   All was delicious. 

When I got home Tess had been on her Pet Pals walk so there was no need to take her.   This left me to do what I was determind to get done before the weather cooled down.  I had bought three large terra cotta pots and a variety of bulbs.   I potted up a pot of miniature narcissus, one of tete a tete daffodils and one of iris reticulata.   I gravelled the top of the pots with horticultural grit and they are now standing on the patio looking rather nice.   Then I swept the patio well (it needed it), watered the pots and came in, put my feet up for an hour for a rest and now feel very satisfied with my day's work.   Now to take Tess for a short walk.

Thursday 27 September 2018


One of the difficult things when one is retired is to keep track of the days of the week.   I rushed to sit down and watch Michael Palin in North Korea last evening thinking it was Thursday.  That was the bad news.   The good news was that at least it meant that I didn't miss Joanna Lumley on the Silk Road - last night going through Iran. 

My neighbour came round this morning - she, like me, is well travelled - and we both agreed that we were brought up to believe that nobody in the world had buildings like our cathedrals - that we here in this country had the best everything.

Then you see the countries on the Silk Road - the buildings - ruins many of them but still spectacular- and above all the colour and the pattern everywhere.   I must say that the people in Iran looked happy enough with their life style, as indeed do the people in North Korea.  Yes, I know there is repression as there is in so many places in the world.   We are lucky here to have so much freedom and to not live in constant fear of being arrested, but it is good to see these places and to see them opening up slowly.   That can only be a good thing.   It is to be hoped that the woman who has been in prison in Iran will be released before long.   She was allowed three days of  freedom in order to see her daughter; going back to prison after that must have been hell. 

Enough of that - the sun has shone today but the wind is quite strong and we certainly  have not had the temperatures they have had down South.   Now it is going to turn colder everywhere - ah, Winter draws on.

Wednesday 26 September 2018


By world standards we are but a small island and you would think that the weather would be pretty standard throughout.   Yesterday the weather forecast told us that it would be a lovely Autumnal day today with warm sunshine.   Well I know from reading the blogs of Rachel and Derek today that that was the case in the South of the country, but up here in North Yorkshire it has been a thoroughly wet day throughout and drawing the blinds an hour ago and shutting it all out was a pleasure.   It hasn't been cold, just what I would call 'cheerless'.

To finish the hedgehog saga:   the lady who deals with cats and hedgehogs works very hard indeed.   She gave me instructions what to do if I managed to catch it and said she would be in touch this morning.   She said I needed to bring the little animal in its box into the kitchen for the night as it certainly wouldn't be warm enough in the garage.  So I brought the box into the kitchen where Tess also sleeps and left them to it.   This morning I think Tess was pleased to get out of the kitchen and all I can say without putting too fine a point on it is that hedgehogs smell pretty rank.

I opened up the box which looked as though the little animal had been in there for days by the state it was in, put in some more food, fastened it all down again and after agreeing to do so with June I drove the twelve miles or so into Bedale to the vet, where they were to check it over before passing it on to June.   Once there she intended to put it in a cage with a heat pad, feed it  up, water it well (many die of dehydration) and just hope it would survive the winter.   I hope so too.

Getting home pretty exhausted although the day had hardly begun I made a pot of tea, two rounds of toast, and sat and read The Times.   Then took Tess for her morning walk, by which time it was almost lunch time.

This afternoon has been Poetry - only seven of us today but what a lovely afternoon.   Lots of laughs, lots of lovely poetry, lovely cup of Lady Grey - and all this while friend Sylvia kindly took Tess for a walk.   Tess really loves her and so looks forward to her Wednesday afternoons, as I do because I means that I have a break from walking with her.   I do find walking difficult but know that most days I just have to do it for her sake.

Home now, Michael Palin shortly will be going round North Korea - such an excellent programme.   He is such a sensible, well-balanced man and most people I know are fascinated by this insight into such a mysterious country.

Tuesday 25 September 2018

Modern Life.

Two different happenings today - both touching upon life these days and both disturbing for different reasons.

Yesterday morning when I took Tess on her morning walk I saw a tiny hedgehog.   The very fact that it was out in the sunlight of early morning was a bit disturbing as they are nocturnal, but also it appeared to be searching madly for something to eat.   This morning I saw it again in a different place and again it appeared to be looking for food.
It was nothing like half grown and would obviously not survive the winter in the wild.

I rang the Hedgehog Protection League (I do already know June, the lady around here who deals with such things).   The upshot was that this afternoon Tess and I went for an extra walk and lo and behold the hedgehog was in more or less the same place.   I wrapped it in a towel, put it in a bag and brought it home.   It is now in a box (hopefully secure because they are great escapologists) in the garage with a saucer of dog food awaiting collection in the morning - and will hopefully survive the winter.

A tale of modern life - how many of us have seen at least one squashed hedgehog on the road this year with all the heavy traffic?

Now to the second aspect of modern life and that is food packaging.   Because my friend and I eat out quite often (!) I don't buy an awful lot of food.  But I love fruit and salad vegetables and do buy a lot of those.   Before I put my food away this morning I put it on the kitchen counter and photographed it just to see the packaging.   The only item without any packaging at all was a bottle of milk.   I suppose pears were worst in that they were in a black polystyrene tray (not recycleable), covered with a hard, transparent cover and then wrapped in plastic.   Is all this packaging really necessary.   When I see the sea and the wildlife in some countries I despair.


Monday 24 September 2018


Yesterday, in a fit of enthusiasm, I decided that today was to be the day when I cleared out my wardrobes of all Summer clothes and substituted Winter ones.   It is no use trying to be optimistic and think we will get any more really warm weather and after three weeks of wearing a thermal vest I decided the time had come.

I always have a policy of not rehanging clothes in the wardrobe after I have worn them - I am speaking here of washable T shirts/jumpers etc.   So this morning after breakfast and Tess's walk
I made a start and I continued all day with just a break for home made leek and potato soup at lunch time.   I took every thing out of all three wardrobes, cleaned the wardrobes well inside, ironed any clothes which had become a bit crushed in the drawers over Summer and rehung them, and finally washed a few things like woolly hats, gloves and scarves.

Another walk with Tess at lunch time, a break for a ham and salad tea and another walk after the six news headlines and I can tell you I am well ready to sit down now.   And I am also hungry and may well resort to a jacket potato cooked in the microwave - not as good as done in the oven but a darn sight quicker.

Feeling of satisfaction here - long time since I had a day I felt that. And in addition it has been a lovely day with blue sky, unbroken sunshine and just a cold wind blowing.   One last Red Admiral landed on my Perennial Wallflower this morning - reading Thelma's blog I find she had one too (we are too far apart for it to be the same one!! so there must still be a few about.)

Until tomorrow friends.

Sunday 23 September 2018

Agree or disagree?

Somewhere over the week-end, in some supplement or other, I have read that the model Kate Moss said something along the lines of 'no food tastes as good as staying slim feels' or words to that effect.

Do you agree with this sentiment?   It gets harder and harder to resist food as we get older I think.
Do you have certain foods which you find almost irresistible -?   Crisps. certain sweets, chocolate, nibbles?   Or even meals like fish and chips,  shepherd's pie, egg and chips?

And yet we all know how health-wise it is sensible to eat well but eat less as we age, sensible to keep our weight to a manageable level when we can perforce exercise less.

Balancing these things out is a problem, not made easier by living alone, when loneliness in the evenings often urges one to nip to the cupboard and find some comfort food.   And before anyone says it doesn't matter, at our age one should eat what one chooses to eat, I must remind you that for every pound one adds to one's weight four pounds extra pressure is put on one's joints.   My arthritis ankles make it difficult for me to walk in any case - I cannot afford health-wise to gain any weight at all, however much I desire to have this 'don't care attitude.

Going off my legs completely is a real possibility so if you give your opinion on here then please don't tell me it doesn't matter because I know that in my case it really does.

Saturday 22 September 2018


More proof that my three days away has done me good.   Today I have had more energy than I have had for many months.   Getting up early and stripping the bed, putting on a load of washing,  pegging it out rather than putting it in the drier (it is a cold but breezy day and I thought it would do my sheets good to be out in the fresh air).  Taking dog down the Lane for quite a long walk (well wrapped up because it really is very chilly), coming home and cooking lunch for myself.

Now friend E has just called with some field mushrooms collected in what used to be our pasture.   I think I shall have them on toast for my tea with  garlic and pepper. That's it for today - my mouth is watering at the mushroom prospect.

Friday 21 September 2018

Autumnal Equinox.

Well, it has arrived and with it a sharp, cool wind.  Now, at half past six in the evening, the sky is blue with puffy white clouds and the wind has died down.   But it is by no means warm.

Looking at Antiques Road Trip this afternoon it was obvious that it was filmed much earlier in the year.   The roadsides were thick with Cow Parsley and every grass field was golden with buttercups.
The lovely Summer is but a distant memory.    Now we must think about battening down the hatches and putting away our Summer togs.

Apparently the Weather forecasters say we are not likely to get much snow this year.   Now where have I heard that before?   Does anyone else remember that deep snow in March, that ice, that bitter wind?   As my dear farmer used to say all year, philosophically, - we shall get what comes and we shall have no alternative but to take it.


Thursday 20 September 2018

A Pleasant Day.

Waking up this morning, after a good night's sleep, I realised that the three days away from home has really done me a lot of good.   I felt rested and - after days when a cloud seems to have been hanging over me - it has gone and I feel much brighter again.

Everything was as it was before this morning.   Tess and I went for our morning walk along our usual route (my son took her on a walk yesterday evening as the weather was so bad and the wind so strong).   After that I went into town to the hairdresser and then sat for an hour and read the morning newspaper over my coffee.

This afternoon was the one each month when a small group of us (5 today) take our ukuleles and play at a local Golf Club for a gathering of elderly folk and their carers.   Small, manageable instruments are handed out (triangles, tambourines, various types of small drum) for them to play if they so wish.   We play all the old songs they will remember from their youth, we sing and they join in.   We all have a lovely time and thoroughly enjoy it.    It brightens up the day for those who are confused and for their carers who I am sure feel the need to be out with others.

It was a PetPals day for Tess so she wasn't here alone all afternoon but had a walk with Jean and maybe another dog or two. And it also meant that I didn't have to then go out for a walk with her - it is a tiring afternoon however enjoyable and satisfying it may be.   Now at half past seven it is dark and very wet again, with more rain and strong winds forecast for overnight and into tomorrow.

I shall now go and make myself a cup of tea and get ready to watch the Michael Palin programme about North Korea which begins tonight on Channel 5.

Wednesday 19 September 2018


I am back!  I was going to start today's post with a photograph of Lake Windermere but I just can't seem to access my photographs for some reason, so you will have to make do with your imagination.

Friend W and I set off on Monday morning on the one and a half hour journey across the Pennines from East to West - from Yorkshire to Lakeland. 
Not a bad morning weather-wise for late September and so a very pleasant journey, arriving at our friends' house in Windermere in time for lunch at around mid day. 

After a leisurely lunch of salmon and vegetables, followed by blackberry and apple crumble - and a nice chat - we drove down the side of Lake Windermere to Newby Bridge and the Whitewater Spa Hotel, where we were to stay for two nights.

A quick meal in the Bistro, unpacking and a chat before an early night before our one complete day in the Lakes.   Yesterday dawned breezy, rain now and again but as the day wore on more and more sunshine - not cold.   We caught the boat up Lake Windermere to Bowness - a pleasant journey of forty minutes.   There were still plenty of tourists about (especially parties of Japanese tourists) but the boat was not overcrowded and the journey  was very pleasant.   Our friends met us at Bowness and we spent a lovely couple of hours in
Blackwell, the beautiful Art and Crafts House in Bowness. I could do a whole post on the house but sadly no photography is allowed.   It looks out over Lake Windermere and every detail of the architecture, the decor, the furniture, is a thing of beauty.   A lovely morning.

We followed this with a visit to Lakeland - the large store in Windermere (easy to visit on computer if you want any buy any kitchen equipment!) and then had lunch there in their excellent cafe.

Then it was time to catch the boat back to our hotel.   The sky had cleared and for much of the forty minute boat ride the sun shone.   Then it was back to the hotel, a rest, a wash and brush up and then out in the evening with our friends, six miles or so to a lovely pub where we had beef and onion pie with chips and peas, followed by syrup sponge and custard.   Delicious but yes, you have guessed it, our eyes were bigger than our tums and both W and I spent a couple of hours in the early hours of the morning with chronic indigestion!

Then this morning we set off back by a different route - enjoying our ride through the Pennines - and were home in time for me to collect Tess today from the kennels, do a shop at Tesco, have a couple of hours sleep this afternoon, unpack and get back to normal.   The storm here today is so very strong that it almost blew me over when I got out of the car after collecting Tess.   I have not dared to go outside since.   If there is one thing this little holiday has taught me it is that I am really not up to holidays away any more.   I have really enjoyed the change - we both have - but we were both ready to return to normal life.   So sadly I suspect that is it on the holiday front.

Back to normal life tomorrow but I do feel better for the change away.   Nice to be back amongst you all though.

Not good photographs (suddenly able  to locate them on my computer.   One is of the lake and the other taken inside Blackwell (sorry it is fuzzy)

Sunday 16 September 2018


I am sitting at my computer at the back of the house.  The sky is black, the patio is wet and the outlook is dismal to say the least.  I go through to the sitting room on the front of the house.   In the distance I can see the Moor.   The sun is shining on it and the sky above it is a pale, washed out blue.   By the time I return to my computer the situation has reversed.   To add to this there is a strong wind blowing.    I think we can say for sure that Summer is but a distant memory.

But can we indeed remember it?   I stood on the path by the front door when I took Tess out this morning trying to remember just what it was like standing there on one of those scorching hot mornings that made up our Summer this year.   I couldn't remember.  Can you?    Funny how quickly we forget isn't it (even though some of us complained that it was just too hot for comfort!)

Then I switch on breakfast TV for the headlines - Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas is wreaking havoc (thank goodness I don't live there), there is a Typhoon which has done huge damage and caused terrible flash-flooding on the opposite side of the world and now making for Hong Kong in a slightly reduced state.   I think I will settle for what we usually have here.

Many of the people in the path of that Typhoon had little to start with - now they have literally nothing but the clothes they are wearing.

Then I think of Gayle (Square Dogs on my Side Bar) who has once lost her home to forest fire living as she does close to the desert area.   We might all think we are so clever in the huge progress we have made scientifically, but when it comes down to it we are all, everywhere in the world, at the beck and call of the weather and what it throws at us.

Friday 14 September 2018


The week-end is a meaningless term unless one is a) working during the week and b) having a partner to share your week-end with.   Yet, somehow, Friday has a special feeling to it.

Friend W and I always go out for lunch on Fridays and today friend M joined us.   For a change we went up to the bar at our local Golf Club.   The chef, Thierry, is French and it shows in his lovely cooking.   W had salmon gougons with salad and chips, M had scampi with similar trimmings and I had what I always have, which was a taster platter.
This is deep fried Camembert, deep friend salmon and chicken, deep fried mushrooms, chips and a salad.   It is now tea time but I could no more eat tea than fly to the moon.   I am replete. 

I have taken Tess round the block on a utility walk (today is her PetPals day so she has had a long walk) and have now turned the central heating up a notch - it is very cold and windy here - and shall settle down and watch the six o'clock news.   Bet the headline is Brexit!***

***Wrong!!   But one of the headlines was about our friends in the deep South of the US and the terrifying Hurricane Florence which is sweeping through (and intending to stay put for a day or two I understand).    My heart goes out to all those who are in such a terrifying situation.

Thursday 13 September 2018


Yesterday, when Tess and I were out for our evening walk, we were wandering along the road on the estate - me miles away with my own thoughts, Tess as usual sniffing every blade of grass.   Suddenly a large dog -  off the lead by the way - pounced on Tess, flattened her on the pathway and started to attack her.   There was pandemonium.

The dog's owner charged up, gave his dog a mighty kick, swore loudly, apologised to me, flung his dog in the back of his van and drove off.   Tess
was totally traumatised.   I managed to get her home and into her basket.    She wouldn't eat her tea, she just sat looking at me all evening as though it was my fault.   We both went to bed early, me feeling all over her to make sure there was no broken skin or anything.

This morning things were no better.   I wondered if perhaps she had bitten the other dog in the fight and had loosened a tooth or something.   I rang the vet and explained what had happened and she suggested I take her in later this afternoon.   I put down some mashed up tinned dog food and a bowl of warm milk and also left last night's tea down.   Then I went off to the hairdresser's. 

When I returned an hour later last night's tea, the mashed up dog food and the warm milk had all disappeared.  The bowls were licked clean and she was back in her bed asleep!   She ain't daft!

PS   I cancelled the vet by the way.

Wednesday 12 September 2018


If I never hear the word Brexit again it will be too soon.   Does everyone else switch off automatically when the word is mentioned on the News?   Has anyone been counting just how many times in the past year Brexit has been the number 1 story on the six o'clock News?   Can anyone tell me just how much money all these negotiations have cost?    Did anyone anticipate that there would be all this fuss and todo over us leaving?

Answers on a post card please and don't sent the cards to me send them to a politician - they seem to like discussing it all so should be happy to display the cards. 

Can anyone tell me please why my e mail address on my blog has suddenly changed from bt internet to g mail - and if so how do I change it back please?

Tuesday 11 September 2018


Reading about the so-called exploits of Boris in today's Times (not that I had much time for him before - he does not share my political views - or rather I suppose it should be the other way round),
I just wonder how we can trust any politician who gets up to such shenanigans.   Then I began to think about 'great' politicians from the past - far too many to mention - who got up to similar antics in their private lives.   To me it all smacks of 'how can we trust anyone who lives this kind of life in anything else they say or do?'

Maybe I am old fashioned - and I am sure you are all going to tell me to grow up because being unfaithful to one's spouse has always been in fashion - many even go so far as to say we are not built to be monogamous.   All I can say is that as far as I am concerned, when on has children it is important to at least try and be a role model for them and this is not a good start.

Reading on in the article it talks of  'slipping down the hotel corridor at dead of night' as though it is the done thing at any kind of gathering of like-minded people be it party conferences, works meetings of some kind - they're all 'at it'.

Alright, tell me I live in cloud cuckoo land and things are no different from what they have always been.   I will reply that I for one have not led that kind of life and it has never for one moment stopped either of my marriages from being very happy ones.

Monday 10 September 2018


The temperature here today in North Yorkshire is sixteen degrees and there is a strong wind blowing.   I have not really been warm since I got out of bed this morning.   I have just settled down for the evening, wearing winter jumper and sitting with a rug over my knees.   The central heating is on.   I hate to say it but at present, Winter has arrived.   There has not even been a vestige of sun to shine into the window and warm the room up a bit.   I think my blood must be thinning in old age.

Off now to watch University Challenge - this series has been really exciting and sometimes I can answer a couple of questions!!

Sunday 9 September 2018


It is very Autumnal here this week-end, particularly today when there is a really stiff wind blowing.   I am sitting here typing this with a fleece jacket on.

It has been an uninspiring few days with very little 'news' to write about.   One book read (by one of my favourite authors, Salley Vickers) - her latest, which is 'The Librarian'.   It is quite unlike any of her other books in that it is about a Childrens' Librarian and is written in a childish style as befits the subject matter.   Nevertheless I enjoyed it tremendously.

Last night was The Last Night of the Proms and what an absolutely splendid programme it was.   The Hindemith was brilliant and the perfection of the saxophonist Jess Gillam, playing Milhaud's Scaramouche was unbelievable - a delightful, unspoilt young girl with such a talent. 

Gerald Finley has the most beautiful voice and was a joy to listen to.And the virtuosity of the mandolin player was pretty awe inspiring.   The whole programme was so much better than it has been the last year or two and was enlivened by Sir Andrew Davis with his wonderful sense of humour for the occasion.

Friday 7 September 2018

Friday evening.

Yesterday, as I had a free day, I drove the thirty or so miles over to Sedbergh to meet my God-daughter for lunch (squash and ginger soup and a ham, cheese and avocado sandwich - delicious except the slippery avocado kept making the sandwich fall apart!).

The sun was out and the Dale was looking at its very best.   The journey over - from East to West - was exquisite and I kept thinking just how lucky I am to live up here in such beautiful surroundings.
There was quite a breeze blowing and already the leaves were falling from the Silver Birch trees, which always seem to be one of the first to shed their leaves.

After a couple of hour's chat I made my way home, by which time the sky was full of cloud and now and again there were flurries of rain - so not quite so enjoyable.   But I did have a lovely day out.

Today was our coffee and chat morning and afterwards friend W and I had a walk round Tennant's Auction House.   There is a sale tomorrow and today was a a  Viewing Day.   We always like to look what is on offer - usually lovely rugs, lovely jewelry and often beautiful collections of china which people have lovingly collected over their lifetime and then after their death nobody wants to keep.

I have a new next door neighbour and she has moved in today.   The bungalow has been empty since I moved into my bungalow so it will be lovely to have the place lived in again.   This really is the most friendly place I have ever lived in.   The whole road is welcoming.   Lots of the people have dogs and that is a really good way to get to know one another.   We meet on our morning walks and the dogs get to know one another too.

Tomorrow is a fairly free day too.   I have to go into town but once that is over I shall sit and read the paper, cook myself a jacket potato for lunch and then in the evening watch the Last Night of the Proms - always an event I enjoy.

Thursday 6 September 2018

My dog's got fleas!!!

At the week-end my daughter in law found a flea on Tess.   She rang me last night to tell me.   At nine this morning I was at the pet shop door in a panic.   So far I have flea combed her thoroughly and I have sprayed the carpet and furniture in the sitting room.   I found one flea when I combed her thoroughly (it is now scrunched up in wet tissue in the dustbin).   When she comes back from her afternoon walk with PetPals I shall put the stuff onthe back of her neck and then hope for the best.
Any advice anyone???

Wednesday 5 September 2018

Great event.

Friend S always takes Tess for a walk on Wednesday afternoons.   I am sure Tess knows when it is Wednesday as she starts getting itchy feet straight after lunchtime.

S almost always comes in for a coffee after the walk and she came in today and told me of an event which had taken place near to her house.  Her neighbours farm in a small way and one of the things they have is a bantam who has reared some baby ducklings.   The farmer has a hut and a pen for them as slowly but surely (and inevitably) the ducklings are getting collectively too large to fit under their surrogate mum at night.

A few mornings ago, when they went to let them out something quite large and black was disappearing with a duckling.   They set a trap to catch it.   It was a mink.   My friend has a veggie garden and has noticed that something has been eating her courgettes (mink?)

The village is only a mile or so from where I now live and it is a pretty village with a beck running right through it.   So now we know for certain that at least one mink lives on our beck - and if there is one then maybe there are others.   Pretty they might be but they are also a menace.

On quite a different subject can I just say how much it saddens me that there are people who are so unpleasant in blogland.   Poor John is going through a hard time at present.   I hope - and am pretty sure I am right - that he is getting help, support and love from all his followers and that it is helping him come to terms with things.   I know when I lost the farmer the support and love which I received from you all was a tremendous comfort to me - and comfort I can never repay except to be similarly helpful to anyone else going through a rough time.   Rachel too needs our support - she has enough on her plate without terrible toothache
 - so please, let's all pull together.

Tuesday 4 September 2018


Up here in the Yorkshire Dales there seem to have been plagues of some things and an absolute lack of others.   Although Simon in Newark speaks of the many lady birds he has seen around his neck of the woods, up here I have honestly not seen one.

On Saturday morning at our Church Coffee Morning I was speaking to L who told me that they had had a plague of toads.   There has been a distinct lack of water up here this year and the forty or so toads a member of her family found were all clustered together but nowhere near water.   In fact a couple of them found their way into her house much to her horror.   Presumably they were searching for water, without which they would probably die.  Before they reached that stage a member of her family took them all in a bucket down to the side of the village beck - well beyond where it runs alongside the road and where they will be safe from the traffic - so good luck to them. 

Last year I saw hardly a single Crane Fly (Daddy Long Legs).   This year already as we are hardly into September there are Daddy Long Legs clustered around my front door, basking in the sun.

And last but by no means least, to the left of my front door I obviously have an ants' nest.   My bungalow faces due South and when the sun is out and the stone wall warms up it is soon covered with ants scurrying in and out of an air brick.   I have just been into town and bought a puffer of ant killer - now I can't get the top off the canister
and need to wait for my son to get home from his job to ask him to nip round and do the job for me.

What has been plentiful where you are?  What about butterflies?   Early on in the year I saw a lot of orange tips, but none lately and only the odd red admiral and/or peacock.   Some years there have been so many.   And mushrooms? The fields here have been full of them.   I can only assume that the hot, dry summer followed by some good rain falls suddenly brought them on.

  Some apple trees are laden, some have none.   The crab apples all seem heavy with fruit but the hawthorn bushes are quite sparsely fruited which doesn't bode well for over wintering fieldfares.   What a strange year it has been.

Monday 3 September 2018


The weekend has flown by.   My visitors didn't come until Sunday but life intervened on Saturday.
I was just getting round to putting my Saturday blog on when my son rang to ask if I wanted a Chinese.  'Is the Pope a Catholic?' I answered - Chinese is my favourite and he brought it round here - I had Prawns in Sweet and Sour sauce with boiled rice.   To die for.

Sunday was mainly taken up with preparing the meal for my visitors who were set to come at around half past one.   My quinoa salad turned out very well and was delicious (there is always the risk with Quinoa that it will either catch on the bottom of the pan or will be too sloppy.   Neither happened and it fluffed up nicely before adding the veg and the dressing.)  Two kinds of potato salad to new recipes proved a success and to this I added green salad, hard boiled eggs, tomato and red onion salad.   A cheese board with good bread, crisps and a variety of dips completed the feast, with a plate of good roast ham for anyone who was a meat eater.

My trifle always disappears and the chocolate cake went uneaten but has gone to a good home today with my Grand daughter when she left.   Likewise a jam and cream sponge cake to my son and his wife.   I do not wish to gain weight and am too weak willed to have things like this lurking.

We have had a lovely week end but my goodness me how tiring two year olds are.   Her parents, who are brilliant at the job I have to say, were almost run ragged.  But as an ex teacher I see a clever little girl developing.   She is talking in well constructed sentences already and has an enquiring mind, wishing to know what everything is.   She sits and listens to stories being read to her
- pointing to the pictures and saying some of the words after her mum and dad.

Her dad was kind enough to take Tess on much longer walks than I can take her on, going up the field and looking for cows for Ula to see.   And between mum and dad they made my life as easy as possible by loading and unloading the dishwasher, making cups of tea and the like.   Now the house is quiet I miss them but I also know that another day and I would have been totally worn out.   You need to be young to cope with young children.

The rain still beats on the window as it has done since mid morning - my visitors would have had a very wet drive back home to Glasgow.   It will have filled my water butt nicely (my great grand daughter loved watering the garden with my watering can and must have nearly emptied it!)