Wednesday 31 October 2018


This has been quite some birthday from beginning to end.   It is now half past five in the evening.   I have just lit my pumpkin and put it on the front step.   I shall now write this post and then I shall flake out on the sofa and do no more.

It started out pleasantly = nice morning, sunshine, no need for an early start, I got dressed and showered at my leisure and then took Tess for a walk.   Shortly after I got back I had three phone calls in rapid succession - all birthday calls.   At half past eleven I left to collect W to go out for a birthday lunch (scampi, chips and peas).   Luckily I for some reason shut the door into the bedrooms and the sitting room so that Tess had the hall, the dining room and the kitchen to roam in.   I had to be back by 1.45 because S was coming to take Tess for a walk as usual.

I arrived back home to find a large box on the door step with twenty cream roses in it.   But on opening the door all thoughts of roses were driven from my mind.   Poor Tess had had diarrhoea.   Everywhere.   She had gone to the patio door to go out and done it there.   There was then a trail across the hall and down the corridor. Of course I couldn't blame her.   I donned rubber gloves, got out the Astonish stain remover, a bowl of warm water, a scraper,cleared it all up as best I could, washed everywhere down, applied Domestos thoroughly.   Then I went into the hall to pick up fifteen birthday cards.   When I picked them up I realised that they had come through the letter box and fallen on a large patch of diarrhoea I had missed.   Every birthday card envelope was covered and I had to don rubber gloves and start again.   By now it was time for S who took Tess out of the way while I finished cleaning up.

At this point two more lots of birthday flowers arrived = I had run out of vases and each room already had two lots of flowers in it.   I had to root out jugs to use.   There are now flowers everywhere.   All my birthday cards were extracted with care from the soiled envelopes, the rubber gloves were binned, everywhere was cleaned again.  A day and a half if not two days all rolled into one.   Three more telephone calls before I could sit down.   So I am now going to rest.   My post on Venice and on my sitting room will have to wait until tomorrow.

Tuesday 30 October 2018

A Good Feeling.

Maybe it is just me but I get such a good feeling when I have finished some chore I didn't want to start.   Today it was emptying the garage of accumulated rubbish.

Over the past few weeks the detritus has built up.
First of all the dog had fleas and, after de-fleaing her I threw out all her bedding and bought new.   The old stuff, after spraying with flea killer, went into a plastic bag and was put in the garage.   Every parcel which came in a box was dealt with and the box put in the garage too.   Then last week the decorator left his empty paint tins.   And then of course there were all the newspapers. 

It is not a nice day here - cold and wet - thoroughly miserable.   This morning hot chocolate with my usual Tuesday friends started the morning off well.   After this it was manicure morning and that made my hands feel good too.
I arrived home as a friend called to try to stick back the cover of the dishwasher in my built in kitchen.   The cover has come adrift and needs some attention so he is trying.   After lunch I looked out on the wet, miserable scene and decided I couldn't face doing the job today. 

It was at this point that I had a serious talk with myself.  'For goodness sake woman, get a hold of yourself and get the job done.'   So I did.   The men at the tip are lovely and so helpful.   They did all the emptying for me (even the curtains which had come down from my sitting room window and are not going back) and I drove back home in the pouring rain.   Tess had come with me so we had a quick walk and then came in to a nice warm bungalow.   And I feel very satisfied with myself.   A good day all round.  I give myself a metaphorical pat on the back.   Back tomorrow.

Monday 29 October 2018

A Late Post.

I am late putting on a post tonight because it is University Chall enge night and I always watch that and keep a tally of how many questions I can answer (8 tonight, about par for the course).   Given five minutes to think about my answer I could probably double that number but those young brains are too quick for me - and any chemical or ancient history questions pass me by.  Quite often the ones I answer are too easy for them (good example was a question a few weeks ago about 'who was furnished and burnished by Aldershot sun' - a starter question about which nobody had the slightest idea.    It was, of course, Miss Joan Hunter-Dunne in the Betjamen poem (far too low brow for our teams on tele).

I watched The Budget earlier and decided that it was all pie in the sky given the stage we are at with Brexit.   If there is no agreement then I suspect things will change dramatically.   I have reservations about budgets anyway - they never seem to make a lot of difference.

Very heavy frost here this morning.   My newly-planted polyanthus were flat on the ground and white over.    Out came the sun and half an hour later they were flourishing again.   My dog walk had to be late this morning as all the paths were slippery - the state of things to come I suppose.

Until tomorrow.   Might even get a photograph of my sitting room on.

Sunday 28 October 2018


The sitting room is finished.   I went out for lunch with my friends as usual and when I returned the painter had put the furniture straight, put down the rugs, vacuumed the carpet and left a note telling me to do no more for at least a day to allow the gloss paint to dry and the emulsion paint over wallpaper to dry well before rehanging the pictures.   Tess is disgusted with being kept out of the sitting room and having to spend the evenings in the kitchen.   She is not alone - not enjoying it either.

On the plus side I am keeping the central heating on higher than usual to help with the drying out process so at least we are not cold.   My cleaning lady is planning to come in the morning to help me return the sitting room to normal - sadly we will not be able to do this but, never mind, by next week end it will all be done and I must say it looks lovely.   I am so pleased with it.  That is another job I can tick off my list.

 Here in North Yorkshire it has been bitterly cold today although mostly sunny.  I think the cold coinciding with the change of the hour has made it feel as though Winter has really arrived.   It is my birthday on Hallowe'en and it usually fell during Half Term in my teaching days.  As I remember it we almost always had beautiful autumn weather.  Perhaps, like our childhood, we only remember the good weather.

Nice lunch today - prawn salad with chips (self indulgent) followed by raspberry and coconut gateau with ice cream.  I can't tell you how good it is to not have to think about what to have for Sunday lunch.

Saturday 27 October 2018


Very heavy snow shower first thing this morning.   Bitterly cold now but bright sunshine, so warm inside.   My decorator is here and I am sitting here surrounded by all my ornaments, pictures etc. trying to find jobs to do and at the same time keep out of the way.

Nothing much to report as nothing much is happening.   Already the sitting room looks much more my kind of room - gone is the ugly wall paper and in its place lovely Natural Hessian colour on the walls (apart from the brown end wall).   My cleaning lady is coming on Monday morning to help me put all the stuff back in situ.
I am sitting here tired of doing nothing.   Shall go and make myself a cuppa.

Friday 26 October 2018


This afternoon, after a morning of doing bits of shopping, meeting the gang for coffee, and then lunching at our usual venue (three of us today - W, M and me) then going round a craft exhibition where both M and I bought lovely scarves which twist into a 'fashion' shape, I came in and decided that I really had better go straight out into the back garden and plant the twenty sturdy Polyanthus plants I had bought on the garden stall on today's market before the cold weather arrive.   Polyanthus are hardy plants, these were very good looking and I thought they would be better in the ground than left in the individual pots.

I did not feel like doing so.   I felt like coming in and putting my feet up.   But jobs awaited me.  Tomorrow morning at eight o'clock the decorator arrives to start work on my sitting room.   All week I have been removing books (lots), ornaments, cushions, rugs, everything except the larger items of furniture and the pictures.  I took down one picture but I had to stretch up too far and then when I got it off the hook it was too heavy, so I have left that for the painter in the morning.

The work coincides with a forecast of a very cold weekend which is unfortunate, although as long as it is sunny the sun will shine into the room and that should help.

All week there has been sunshine and my room has been beautifully warm and the central heating has hardly come on.   It is important to keep it warm this week end to help the paint dry.   Here the sunrises and sunsets have been spectacular.   Friend W took a couple of photographs which she has just sent me. Sadly they do not transfer well from her phone to my computer so I just hope you have had similar ones where you live if you are in the UK.

Thursday 25 October 2018

What started out as a lovely sunny day has rather spoilt itself by coming in cloudy so not a lot of heat from the sun today in the bungalow.

I have had to wait in for the plumber as there are several jobs for him to do in the bathroom.   He has just been and - as last time - there are complications.   It looks as though I shall have to have a new toilet system.   This will mean that there may be tiles short on the wall and also the flooring will need to be replaced as the base will be a different shape.   Then of course the question will arise on whether or not to replace the wash basin as it will not match the toilet.   Every small problem I come across since I moved in here multiplies itself into a big problem.    A nuisance but in the giant scheme of things not very important.

At last , after three days, my tomato soup is finished.  A friend from further down the road brought me a bag of tomatoes when they were cleaning out their greenhouse.   I already had a bowl of  tomatoes   so I chopped up a couple of onions and a red pepper, cut the tomatoes into little bits, put the lot in a saucepan, added a dash of Worcester sauce and a squirt of tomato puree, cooked them gently in rape seed oil for 5 minutes, added vegetable stock and simmered until all was cooked.   Then I liquidised it all and - it was one of the best tomato soups I have ever tasted.   It has lasted me for three lunches.   Can't be bad

If you have a minute to spare go to Kitchy and Co on my side bar.   A, who is such a clever artist and takes such brilliant photographs, has put on a lovely post about pumpkins.   She makes cards up to a professional standard - her patience is endless in setting them up.  Do have a read.

Wednesday 24 October 2018


Yesterday, with no prior warning, our Post Office was shut for the day.   It is housed at the rear of the Co-op and there was just a notice to say that it wouldn't open due to 'unforseen circumstances'.   It was annoying but I could easily use my card and the cash machine, which I did.   But it did make me think how many folk would walk up to get their Old Age Pension only to find they couldn't have it.   It's alright for me - I drive into town, park in a disabled spot (almost always available), cross the road at the crossing, do my bit of shopping, get an assistant to push my trolley back over the road and unload it into my boot, nip into the cafe for a quick coffee and then drive home.
But everyone is not so lucky.

Then I got home (having taken Tess for a walk before I went into town) and sat down to read The Times.   Having read Carol Midgley in Times 2 my fury knew no bounds.   I came to my computer and dashed off a letter to the editor.   Alright, it most likely will not get printed - but at least it vented my fury.   Writing about the incident where the man shouted at - and indeed insulted - the lady
who was seated next to him on an aeroplane she actually said (and I quote)  'who amongst us doesn't sometimes feel like abusing elderly women with arthritis?'

On Hallowe'en I shall be 86.   I go out everywhere - I eat out regularly (as I am sure you know by now), I go out with friends, I walk my dog three times a day, I even do a bit of gardening.   But (and it is a big 'but') I walk slowly - and have a stick because my balance is not brilliant either. 
 I also do my own shopping  - sometimes in the local shops (we have a good array in our town) and sometimes on line.   I can honestly say that NEVER have I encountered any abuse here.   Nobody pushes to get past, nobody grumbles when I am walking slowly.   People hold open doors for me, offer to carry my bag, help me in any way they can.   Yes - up here in North Yorkshire we are polite and friendly.   If Carol Midgley is speaking about what it is like where she lives and works (presumably London), then all I can say is that I am jolly pleased I don't live there.   She will one day be in her eighties and then (yes, I am feeling nasty) see how she likes it.

Now that has got off my chest - it is a lovely day here - less wind than yesterday and unbroken sunshine.   Make the most of it I think as the forecast is for very cold weather in the hills by the week-end.

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Exciting or what?

There is so much to grumble about going on at the moment isn't there?   But I try not to let myself do any moaning (either in my head or out loud).  Then this morning a wonderful piece of news which fired my enthusiasm - that they have discovered a 2,500 year old vessel (a 75ft merchant vessel) lying more or less intact 2 kilometres down in the Black Sea. 

It lies fifty miles off the coast of what is now Bulgaria which shows just how far these early traders ventured from the coast on their travels up and down.   And to think it was sailing when Aristotle was alive and that it lies there on the sea bed, more or less intact considering its age.

The Siren Vase in the British Museum shows Odysseus strapped to the mast of his ship to avoid the temptation of the Siren voices.   The boat on the vase and the boat on the sea bed have matching masts.   As Jon Adams, Professor of Archaeology and chief scientist of the team which found the wreck says - no-one knew how accurate the depiction of the boat was on the Siren Vase:  now the one on the sea bed shows just how familiar the artist who depicted the ship was with the shipping of the day. 

Interestingly the reason the ship is so well  preserved is that below 490 feet the Black Sea is devoid of oxygen so that there are no marine organisms to consume the wood.

I can only begin to imagine the excitement of such a find but it has certainly taken my mind off all the turmoil going on in the world at the present time - so let's celebrate such a wonderful discovery.

Monday 22 October 2018


Here this morning there is a clear blue sky, a slight breeze and a chill in the air.   Inside of course, as my bungalow faces due South, the sun is warming the place beautifully and saving on my heating bill.

After living for so long on the farm (24 years) and before that in a house on the side of the beck in the village (5 years), living on an estate is very different.

But there are plus sides to it at my age.   First of all there are always people about.   Once the farmer died I could go all day without seeing a single person to speak to - in fact I usually did unless I made the effort to get the car out and go somewhere.   Now I know my neighbours both sides and we chat sometimes (neither of them are intrusive and on the whole we keep ourselves to ourselves (which is as I like it).

Then of course there is walking Tess.   This I do morning, lunch time and evening most days (Wed a friend takes her lunch time and Thurs and Fri I employ PetPals to walk her in the afternoon).  Many folk on the estate have dogs and this means I have got to know many people.   We stop, our dogs socialise for a couple of minutes while we just pass the time of day.   When you live alone these contacts are so important.

All this added to the amount of time I spend out with friends - meeting for coffee, meeting for lunch, just meeting for a chat - means that I do have a social life, which is most important.

I thought you might be interested to see my garden and how it is coming along, and also the view from the front of my bungalow and looking down the estate.

The plot that is unplanted is where I have an infestation of Mare's Tail weed.   This has been treated with a strong weedkiller and the soil has been lightened with any spare things like horticultural grit, loam, sand and such like.   Now it will be treated next year as soon as it appears - first by cutting off the early shoots and then by weed killing the long shoots.   We shall not have killed it - it is almost indestructible - but hopefully we shall begin to discourage it.   Then we shall plant lots of ground cover and shrubs and just keep at it.

In the top photo you will see that my neighbour has kindly left the last bit of a decrepit shed she has taken down (before the wind blew it down.   She has only been living there for a month) so that  there is no way that Tess can escape.
This is the view from standing on the front step of my bungalow.   Everyone is very friendly and I know - and visit - four of the houses you can see.
It is a year this week since I moved in and I am doing well.   Life goes on.

Sunday 21 October 2018


Returning from lunch at our usual venue today I do what I always do - that is change my outer garments and set off for a walk with Tess.   I never feel like it but she needs it (she had quite a long one first thing this morning) and I know that afterwards I can settle down for an evening of reading and television.   There is a sharp bite to the air as I walk round the estate and a sharp wind blowing.   And it is set to get colder by the end of the week.   So we best get used to it.  Winter is on its way.

On my return I sit down and review my diary for the week.   My memory is not what it was so I always write everything on a big wall calendar and then at the beginning of each week (as a reminder) I write all that weeks events into my pocket diary.
This is a fairly busy one.   Tomorrow, apart from my cleaning lady, is a clear day, so a day for washing and ironing I think. (has to be done_).
Tuesday we always meet for coffee in the morning and I always go to the bank and do some food shopping and pay last week's paper bill(only a small one as my main paper is on subscription). At the same time I am buying a couple of packs of charity Christmas cards each week (I send over 100) - not that this makes the cost any less but it does mean I get a larger selection buying them this time of the year and if I feel like writing a few early then I can.  (haven't felt like it yet!).   After lunch the Home Serve plumber is coming to do a couple of repairs in my bathroom (very good insurance with Yorkshire Water and well worth th monthly fee).   Wednesday is Poetry so must begin to sort some out.

Next week end the Decorator is arriving to do my Sitting Room so that has to be cleared - all pictures, books and ornaments - by then.   So you will see I am not short of things to do.

Enjoy the rest of the week-end.

Saturday 20 October 2018


Lovely lunch with friends today, just as I expected it would be.   Then after lunch N took Tess for a nice long walk while we 'girls' sat around dozing after eating too much food and drinking too much wine.   At half past five Tess and I returned home.
Since then I watched Strictly Come Dancing with half an eye - except for the one or two couples who were outsstanding tonight and am now about  to go to bed. 

Yet another lovely Autumn day.   I don't know how long these lovely days will go on for.  I noticed on my walk this morning that the silver birch trees have now lost all their leaves and that the Siberian Crab Apple tree in one of the gardens near to my bungalow has just about shed all its plentiful fruits onto the footpath.   And now early in the morning there is enough frost to show just how many cobwebs there are in the hedges and trees.   Sitting at my friends this afternoon there were at least a dozen Goldfinches on her niger seed tucking into their favourite food.

Autumn really is such a lovely time of year isn't it?

Friday 19 October 2018

Autumn in all its glory

I do love to see the trees in their Autumn glory but then, when we have a few windy days, suddenly the road verges are thick with leaves in all colours from pale yellow to deep flame red and we get a different kind of colourful Autumn and I love that too.   Certainly it is well on its way now and the nights are really drawing in.   Tess and I went on our last walk at six o'clock this evening and it was almost dark.   Another fortnight and the clocks will go back and we shall have blinds drawn by about half past four.   Still, not all that long to the shortest day is it?   And my front lawn is covered in tiny little toadstools - darkish brown and quite attractive - don't know what they are.

I had to smile at the Headline in 'Bricks and Mortar' a supplement to The Times each Friday.  It was for a really beautiful house for sale in Bath.
The Headline read 'A Restored Gem in Central Bath' and I couldn't help but think of Tom and how down in the dumps he was feeling the other day.  Perhaps he is feeling more cheerful now!

I didn't go out to lunch today as friend W has friends coming this evening for the week end, but she has kindly invited me there to lunch tomorrow and I know exactly what we shall be eating and it will be a feast indeed, so I am really looking forward to that.

Until tomorrow.

Thursday 18 October 2018

Wednesday 17 October 2018


An indulgent morning as eight of us met at Tennants' cafe for breakfast at half past nine.   They do a lovely selection which you can choose item by item - I had bacon, sausage, tomato and hash brown, accompanied by a cup of coffee.   It was delicious and the company was fine.

C and I were talking over breakfast about things we would really like to buy = she mentioned for example a handbag she absolutely loved in our local boutique (she is a collector of handbags).   Only the other day friend W and I were talking about the way we always have to justify spending money and we decided it was probably because when we were young there wasn\t a lot to spare.
Now, she insists, we do not have to justify it.   But C today told of St Benedict's law which says you should differentiate between 'want' and 'need'.  In other words you should only buy what you need.
Where do readers of my blog stand on that issue?

After lunch (and a visit from the plumber to fix a bathroom tap) friend S took Tess for her weekly walk - it is a lovely day and my goodness how Tess enjoyed it.   Then shortly afterwards friend J called for coffee and a look round my bungalow (she has not been since I moved in). When S and Tess returned from their walk S, J and I sat for a couple of hours chatting, laughing and generally having a really pleasant afternoon.

I sit here now at seven in the evening and I am just thinking how very lucky I am to have such a wonderful collection of friends who are so kind and loving and who all serve to enhance my life completely.

Tuesday 16 October 2018


Some days are very busy and today was one of those days.   I always go to the bank for money on a Tuesday morning.   If actual money does become obsolete I do hope I have popped my clogs before then as I would much rather pay cash for things than use one of my cards.
Then I always do my weekly shop for essential food - today I needed several weighty or cumbersome things like dog tinned food, toilet rolls - so I parked in the Market Square and wheeled my trolley from the supermarket over to my car and unloaded it all into the boot.

Then it was leave my car there and walk round to the decorating shop where I had to choose my paint for my sitting room - and pay for it and then leave it for my decorator to collect.   Then I walked over the road because it was our monthly Struggler's meeting, where we discuss topics of interest.   Usually this is a quiet, thoughtful meeting but today it was more animated which in itself was quite tiring.   Then friend W gave me a lift to where once a fortnight we have our lunch on a Tuesday.   Today it was Pork and Cider casserole, followed by Apple Charlotte and cream.

Arriving home I then had to unpack the boot of my car, take Tess for a walk and wipe the surfaces and cupboards and fridge before putting away today's food.   Now a sit down to read posts before getting together a bit of tea for myself while I watch Antiques Road Trip.  I find it such a relaxing programme and it is fun looking round good antique shops without having to resist the temptation to buy anything.

I just hope I can stay awake through the whole programme.   I missed most of last evening's because the decorator, who is set to decorate my sitting room at the end of next week, calling to discuss times, paint etc.

Tomorrow 'we girls' are meeting at 9.30am to go out together for breakfast.  Yum yum.


Monday 15 October 2018


Have I missed something?   In one of the newspaper magazines this week-end there was a whole page of slippers for the winter.   The cheapest was just over twenty pounds, the most expensive between seven and eight hundred pounds.

What use are slippers I ask myself.   As far as I am concerned they have but one, very important, probably the most important of winter, use - to keep my feet warm and to be comfortable.

Does it not seem to you, as it does to me, that even contemplating the fashionableness or otherwise of such a lowly fashion item when there are thousands of children starving and where even in our country foodbanks rear their ugly heads in most towns, is perverse?

Sunday 14 October 2018


The gales in the night last night were horrendous.  I sleep without my hearing aids but the winds were strong enough to keep me awake even without them in.   This morning, when I drew back the blinds, I was surprised to find that everything was unchanged.   It has poured with rain all day although there is not a breath of wind.   Now, at 4.20 the sun is out and it is a lovely day although somewhat colder than of late.   I have bought two iris rhizomes and I am now wondering whether to put on my garden gloves and go out and put them in the garden.

A lovely lunch out again today at our regular Sunday lunch venue.   I had Salmon Florentine (on a bed of spinach) with vegetables, followed by apple and plum crumble and custard.   All very good.   Now, replete, I am putting on this blog and then feeding the dog.   After that a restful evening.
I see Tom today is bewailing the way in which blogland has shrunk and how many of those we used to communicate with have disappeared into the ether.   I think he is right and I feel sad to have lost touch with some people.   But I suppose that people lead busy lives and some can't find time or inclination to blog any more.    But I do add my voice - please open a blog and communicate.   That's what it's all about.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday 13 October 2018


Trying to rain and very, very windy here today.   Not a day to be out and about really but it was the church coffee morning in the village where I used to live and I always go to that.   Because of the weather there were not many there so I was pleased I had made the effort to go.

I needed to nip into town before going home to post a letter and also to buy some bananas - I can't manage a day without a banana (my staple fruit).
Then, as I was making my pasta and veg lunch my son rang and asked if I wished to go to Darlington with him and his wife (she was going to Hotter shoes to buy some boots).   I went with them - I decided I had not been there for maybe four years.  I found it quite a depressing experience in that so many shops have closed - and more are closing
(House of Fraser at one end of the High Street and Marks and Spencer at the other end).  So cheered myself up by buying a pair of winter boots in the Hotter Sale. 

We came home the country way (we went on the motorway) - Darlington is only twenty five miles away - and came through some pretty villages where the autumn leaves were spectacular and where the air was full of them in the howling gale that was blowing.  Almost bedtime now (10.03) and our usual Sunday lunch out tomorrow so no need to think much about food until Monday.

Friday 12 October 2018

Driving through Wensleydale with friend W on our way to Kirby Lonsdale and lunch with our friends - the last time this year as we never make the journey during the winter months; going over 'the tops' once we get to December is almost sure to encounter snow.
The dale is beginning to look its best as the autumn colours begin to show in all their glory.
The weather was atrocious - strong gales and pouring rain but my friend is an excellent driver and assured me all would be well, and of course it was.   The River Ure flows alongside the road in both these photographs and if there is heavy rain on the tops the Ure can rise twenty feet in one hour so there is always the hazard of flooding which can close the road.   But today all was well.

Lunch at Avanti in Kirby was, as usual.   I had King Prawn and Chorizo Risotto (a bit heavy handed on the chilli for me but still very good).
And yes, there was as much as there looks to be in the bowl.   I ate only three quarters of it but was sorry I couldn't eat it all.

I arrived home to find my neighbour H had taken in a parcel for me.   It was two Iris plants to put into my garden.  This is the time to plant iris and they are sent out bare rooted with instructions on how to plant.   Now all I want is a good day for planting with little or no wind.   Today I have been hardly able to stand up and had to hold on to friend P's arm on my way to the car after lunch.   Falling is one of my greatest fears these days.

Also when I returned the trap door into my loft had blown open and was down in front of the door into my computer room.   How or why this had happened I have no idea except that the wind is really very strong and it could have happened as I shut the door to go out when W arrived.   Whatever the reason my son has been to look and is coming back after his evening meal to put an extra fastener on so that it doesn't happen again.

Tess came with us to Kirby.   She loves friend W dearly (well she would, wouldn't she as W usually has a few treats in her jacket pocket) and she really is very well-behaved.   Lots of wees were accomplished between the car park and Avanti but then there were many Cumbrian smells to take care of and override weren't there!   I can't manage her, and my stick, and my handbag on a windy day but W walks her and it all goes swimmingly.

So, as usual on our KL visits we had a lovely day.

Thursday 11 October 2018

Singing for pleasure.

One afternoon each month a group of us play the old songs at an old folk's home in a village about fourteen miles away.    The journey is a lovely one through Wensleydale, the Autumn leaves were at their very best today (especially any on trees in the Maple family).   I went alone as W was busy, but G was there and also S who is good at jollying along (I am hopeless at it).   G and I played ukuleles and we all sang songs like 'Side by Side',
'Daisy' and 'She'll be coming round the mountain'.
They all sing with great gusto.   We stop in the middle for a cup of tea and a piece of cake.   It is a lovely afternoon.

I have come to the conclusion that I am just not very sociable.  I am quite happy with my own company most of the time, I like one-to-one relationships but I am never comfortable in a crowd situation.   I was concerned this afternoon that when I got there I would be the only one there and would have to lead the singing alone - something I just couldn't do.   Happily I didn't have to. 

 One of the nice things about the afternoon - and it happens every time - is how many of the residents thank us as we leave and tell us just how much they have enjoyed the singing of the old songs.   Most of them know the words and the tune off by heart.   I watched one old man today who I took to be asleep as he had his eyes closed but he sang every song and obviously enjoyed it.
It is a particularly nice old peoples' home and the residents seem very happy (it has a good reputation in the area) but I look at it with horror and know that I will fight tooth and nail to stay in my own home when I find life difficult.  As somebody once said (was it Bette Davies?) 'old age is not for sissies.'

Wednesday 10 October 2018


Just two of today's events.  I had taken two  photographs but when I try to load them it just tells me that it has 'lost connection to server' so you will have to imagine the photographs - sorry.
There would certainly be no prospect of muddling them up.

It is a lovely day here - up in the twenties now that the early morning mist has cleared.   It is still and sunny.   I am no longer capable of doing much in the garden but I tootle around doing jobs.   My gardener came for four hours yesterdays so everything is neat and tidy.   First of all I filled in any gaps with pansy and viola plants, always good value for colour in a dismal winter.   Then I planted some narcissi and some early iris bulbs, again to fill in the gaps.   They all had to go round the edges as I dare not go on to the garden, my balance is suspect.

By the time it was lunch time and I pondered what to make for my lunch.  The fridge contained a variety of veg - mange tout, carrot batons, broccoli, kale, mini sweet corn and also some chicken which it suggested on the label was stir fry.   There was my answer.   I have to say it was the best stir fry I have ever made.   While it was cooking I cooked some noodles in the micowave, then mixed it all together and added soy sauce and a grating of parmesan - and enjoyed.  Fresh fruit salad for afters.

Then, after half an hour's doze (this now seems to be a daily happening) Tess and I walked down the Lane past the farm.  The hedges told me it was Autumn - rose hips, the reddish brown of the bramble leaves, the berries on the ivy, the leaves drifting down in the slight breeze,  fungi in the fields and that smell of Autumn which is unmistakeable.   Young cattle lazed in the middle of the field and got up lazily as Tess and I watched through the gate.

Back home again, as I approached the front door, two furry caterpillars wriggled along in front of me on thefootpath.   It is years since I saw a furry caterpillar.  Does anyone know what will emerge in the Spring?   I presume they were both looking for somewhere to rest up and pupate over winter.
My bungalow faces due South and the front stone work was beautifully warm.   I went in to get my camera - only a minute's job - and when I came out one had disappeared and the other was already half way up the wall by the front door.

Photographs of caterpillar and of my stir fry might follow later if the system works

Tuesday 9 October 2018

'e mail less'

To coin a phrase.   I have been unable to access my e mails for a couple of days and I have felt utterly deprived.   Now this afternoon, as if by magic, they are back.   So welcome back e mails!!

Did anyone else watch the programme on BBC Four last evening - AN Wilson talking about TS Eliot.  It was an hour of perfect television; I don't think I have ever seen a better programme.   If you didn't see it and have access to iplayer then I do urge you to watch it.

My gardener came this morning and I now have a weed free garden and a mown lawn.   The forecast for tomorrow is good so I shall be able to plant bulbs and new pansy and viola plants for winter.  I wish I could do more myself but I am scared of falling on what is a steep and rather dangerous garden.

Yesterday friends I haven't seen for over thirty years (but who have never stopped writing) came to see me and we had lunch out at a lovely handicapped-friendly restaurant (P is severely handicapped now and is totally wheelchair bound).   Today I am tired and dropped off after lunch.   Having now taken Tess for her afternoon walk we are about to settle down to watch Antiques Road Trip.   I set out to watch it last night but fell asleep shortly after it began and didn't wake up until after the six o'clock news had started.  These days visitors do tend to tire me out.

Outside, as I write this, is pure unbroken blue sky - perfect weather

Sunday 7 October 2018

Old friends.

Meeting one today with dear old friends went off without a hitch.   They arrived on time and we had a lovely chat and a lovely lunch.   When you get to our age and live so far apart then it is hard not to think it might be the last time you see one another.
They brought me another lovely tub of pansies - I am going to have a real display along  the front of my bungalow which should cheer the winter up considerably.

Another meeting on the cards for tomorrow and I am sure that will go just as well.   I think the weather is going to be less good but as long as it is dry then it should be alright.   Here tonight the wind got really strong and for a time it became very cold indeed.   When I went with Tess for our last walk I put on my winter coat for the first time.

I have just watched a programme on Simon Reeve going round the Mediterranean.   Some places  were such a surprise.   I remember that Albania was a very closed country for such a long time but really there are still areas where it has changed little. 

I expect someone will shoot me down in flames but when I see these countries and I see some of the archaic practices that still exist I say that for all the faults that exist here in our country, thank goodness we live in a Democracy and in a fairly modern, forward-looking country.   Yes, we have our problems - the state of the country's finances, the state of the NHS, the state of our prisons to name but three.   But at least we can talk openly about them, we can discuss them, we can moan about them without fear of recriminations.  In so many ways hasn't television altered our lives and the way we look at things.   With all the modern methods of communication there is absolutely no excuse for not knowing what is going on in the world whatever our age.   (of course some folk would rather not know and that is their prerogative).

Saturday 6 October 2018

Busy Day

Tomorrow and the next day are, hopefully, going to be very enjoyable days for me and I am so looking forward to them.

Tomorrow an old friend who now lives in Kent but is up in Ripon for a few days is coming up to see me.   I haven\t seen her for a few years and we are going out for lunch together.

Monday a friend I used to teach with thirty four years ago is up in the North of England visiting
relatives.   I haven't seen her and her husband in those thirty four years although we have always kept in touch by letters at birthday and Christmas.   They are driving over to see me on Monday and again we shall be lunching out.

This means plenty of time to sit and chat and enjoy one another's company without having to prepare and serve up meals.   I suppose I could have used my slow cooker to cook something, or I could have cooked something in advance and frozen it but these days - as I am sure all my followers know by now - eating out is a more favoured option. 

What started out as a damp, windy and chilly day today ended up by around four in the afternoon as a still, sunny, warm, pleasant Autumn day.   My washing dried outside on the line, I got two more tubs of pansies and polyanthus planted up and Tess and I had three pleasant walks.   So altogether quite a fruitful day.   Hope yours was too.

Friday 5 October 2018


Today has been an 'after the Lord Mayor's Show' kind of day really, particularly as it has rained steadily all day and so, at six o'clock in the evening, I have drawn all the blinds around the bungalow to shut out the thoroughly dismal evening outside.

Of course we all met for coffee as we always do on Friday mornings.   There was hardly any market - very few stallholders bother to turn up when it is wet, particularly as it gets towards winter.   I bought my fruit (pears, russet apples, grapes and bananas this week - peaches and nectarines have more or less come to an end). 

After this W and I went up to our Library where there  was a really interesting exhibition on the role of Quakers and others who refused to bear arms in both wars.   Of course I remember something of this as I was thirteen when the second world war finished.   Many of these men and women took a very active and important role - they became stretcher bearers, medical people (many of whom worked near to the front line) and many were involved at the end of the war in being amongst the first to enter and assist in places like Belsen and other concentration camps.

I vividly remember the many thousands of Displaced Persons after the war, men who came from places like Poland, where their country had been devastated - many had met English women and wished to remain here.   Many did and I worked with young men  who were the children of  such marriages.   A fascinating exhibition.

Then it was out to our usual eating place on Fridays.   But before we ate we went round a lovely exhibition called '100 hearts'.   Put on by the Embroiderer's Guild, each heart commemorated a person or an aspect of war.   The standard of workmanship was excellent and the sentiments expressed were heart-warming too.

Lunch (potted shrimps and chicken and leek pie) followed and then it was home.  Tess arrived at about the same time as I did after her rather wet walk with PetPals.   We turned up the heating and sat down for the rest of the afternoon.   I started my new book, which is my Book Group choice for the month - 'The Forty Rules of Love' by Elif Shafak.   I am up to Page 29.   So far, so good.

Thursday 4 October 2018

Brilliant day out.

What a lovely day out friend W and I have had.
Today was The Oldie Literary Lunch at the Ilkley Literature Festival and W had booked us tickets to go.

Ilkley is about 50 miles from us and by far the most pleasant route is through Wharfedale - literally up hill and down dale as we climb to 1400ft before going down the other side.   It took us about an hour and a quarter to get there and almost all of the way light rain was falling.

We arrived during the book signing and with plenty of time to spare before lunch was served.   There was a seating plan on the door and we quickly found our seats in this very pleasant hotel.

Lunch was chicken liver pate followed by salmon served with potatoes, courgettes and green beans and finally a chocolate souffle-type pudding.   All accompanied by a couple of glasses of white wine.

There were eight to a table and our eight were charming people.   We all got along well with plenty of chat - it was a pleasure to chat to new and interesting people all gathered together there for the same purpose.

The three speakers were each promoting their newly published book - speakers being ex M P's
Austin Mitchell and Alan Johnson and also Tracy Boase who had written a book about the origins of the RSPB (Mrs Pankhurst's Purple Feather).   All three were good speakers, spoke clearly, were witty so that there was plenty of laughing. 

The day was over by half past three and we set off home in high spirits - still rather wet outside but nevertheless a lovely journey back and we arrived home uplifted by such a good day out with new people, intelligent conversation and a complete change of scene.   A delight from beginning to end.

Wednesday 3 October 2018

Remembrance of things past.

I am sure I have written about this before in some form, but it happens so often these  days that I shall write about it again.

Little things happen and I am instantly transported back many years.  Today, after several days of eating rather too much, I decided to cook myself a mushroom omelette for my lunch.   The minute I whisked up the eggs (yes, I have read my Elizabeth David thoroughly) I was taken back 66 years to a cafe in Trafalgar Square - the first time I had been to London - on our first holiday after marrying. 

I had a cheese omelette - how sophisticated I felt sitting there with my new husband (much travelled and very experienced).   It was delicious. 
Omelettes - in Lincolnshire??   oh dear no.   We had our eggs boiled, scrambled, fried or poached and that was it.   To start with it was a French word and that suggested sophistication - no good at all for us fenland folk still in the sticks.

There have been many more memory moments throughout my life as I am sure there have been in yours.   Fancy sharing one of them with us?

Tuesday 2 October 2018


At least I think it is Tuesday.   When one is retired it is easy to muddle up the days and really I need pointers/markers to identify what day it is.   Tuesday - alternate weeks - is that day when W and I go down to TOSH (The old school house), which is a community centre with all kinds of activities.   Every other Tuesday lunch time A cooks a meal for whoever likes to turn up as long as they are over 60.   Today it was lamb casserole.
A is a volunteer and gives her services (and provides the recipes) along with another lady who provides a pudding.   Usually there are around a dozen of us there; we all get along well together and we have an hour and a half of chat and a delicious meal.   Today the lamb casserole was delicious - the lamb had been provided by W; she has a few fields which she lets to a local farmer and he pays her in kind.   Pud was Dutch Apple Cake and custard.   Followed by coffee or tea the meal costs  five pounds and worth every penny.

This afternoon there was a dancing group in the hall - another afternoon there is Tuesday club when members either have a speaker  or play a vaiety of games.  Our ukulele group meets there twice a month.   There is a film every Friday night.   These activities are all run under the auspices of the U3A which is very active in our area.   This afternoon the Garden Club have gone on an expedition to Ampleforth.

Now I am home and shall watch Antiques Road Trip.   I started to watch it last evening but fell asleep so need to catch up tonight.   Then it will be time to take Tess for her last walk before we shut the bungalow up for the night and get warm and cosy.   A sure sign that winter draws near.