Friday 30 November 2018

Not for softies.

Old age of course I am talking about.   When a really nice young man from the Co-op  kindly wheeled my shopping across the zebra crossing to the boot of my car and packed it all in the box for me, we were chatting as we walked along and I suggested he made the very most of being young (and handsome with it) because it is no joke getting old and you don't realise it until you get there.   He just smiled.

Today proved just how true it is.   When the wind blows from a certain direction it blows straight down the Market Square in our town and consequently straight down the main road.   I needed to cross the Main road at the crossing (market day and very busy) and stepped off the kerb when the pedestrian light turned to green.   The wind caught me and had I not had my stick to firmly anchor me to the ground I think I would have 'done a Mary Poppins' and probably ended up somewhere near the church at the bottom of the hill.   And not having an umbrella to use as a parachute as she did I would probably have fallen and broken something vital.

However I managed to arrive safely at the bank, get home, unpack my shopping (friends coming for the week-end) and drive down for lunch out at our favourite Friday restaurant.   Super and very quick starter of pecans, dates and pear and a bed of leaves  with a light dressing; well worth bearing in mind for the future.   Then it was home to make the meat part of tomorrow's Shepherd's Pie so that there is no rush in the morning when all I have to do is cook and mash the potato topping at my leisure.

There will probably be no post for a couple of days when they are here so have a nice week end everyone.

Thursday 29 November 2018

A Long Way to Go.

Derek says he finds himself longing for Spring - I am with you there all the way Derek.   After such a glorious Summer and a reasonable beginning to Autumn we have been suddenly plunged into this spell of drenching rain, strong, gale-force winds and damp, drear chill.

But we do have to remind ourselves that we haven't reached the first day of Winter yet so there is a long way to go.   I am sure that if we could just get a day or two of sunshine we would all perk up a bit.   My bungalow faces due South and when the sun shines it heats the whole place.  But the windows into the sitting room and kitchen are big and when the sky is black and no sun appears it makes an enormous difference.  Truth be known I am missing the farm's wood burner.

I shall go in a moment to watch the last of three programmes 'Inside the foreign office' - I am not sure how much of what they say is convincing but it does give one an insight into just how these so-called 'important figures' dash from A to B.   They fly from one side of the world to the other at  the drop of a hat.   I couldn't keep it up for a week and it is nothing to do with my age (86) I couldn't have done it at 26.   The moral here I suppose is that a high salary and being important is no substitute at all from relaxing, having evenings and week ends off and enjoying life.   Or do they live in a different world from me - metaphorically of course.


Wednesday 28 November 2018


Poetry today and an absolutely awful day to go with it.  Although a little bit warmer this was offset by a sharp wind blowing, absolutely teeming rain now and then and a generally awful day.  Only six of us there but what lovely poetry we had.

For me my favourite was those chosen by friend W, who read poems which in some way were connected with war (this being our nearest Poetry to the Remembrance services to recall 100 years since the end of the Great War).

Some of them were such a reminder for me of my father.   Born in the  late 1880's he was at school when a lot of poetry was learnt by heart and throughout his life he had a great love of poetry and could remember poems off by heart.   Some of these W read today - notably 'The Battle of Blenheim'   In many ways it is a shame that the learning of poetry by heart has more or less completely died out - a little of it in the curriculum
would not come amiss in my opinion. 

J read 'The Highwayman' another poem he knew by heart and would recite given the opportunity.
They don't write 'em like that any more.

I read part of Basil Bunting's 'Briggflats' - a poem I love and which I have read at our Poetry meetings many times before.   It is such a dismal day and the poem evokes Spring and the May blossom in its opening lines.   Briggflats is a Quaker Meeting House in Sedbergh (where I go now and again to meet my God -daughter for lunch) and going into Sedbergh from this direction means that one crosses the River Rawthey - the poem opens with lines about the river.   If you don't know it do Google it - and indeed Briggflats - both worth a look.

Tuesday 27 November 2018

New Bathroom.

Out of the blue the plumber rang this morning and said could he come and replace the loo and washbasin this afternoon.   Of course I said yes - it is so good to find a plumber who says he will come and then comes on time.   Three hours later and it was all done, cleaned up and back to normal.   It looks very different but at least the cold tap on the washbasin is no longer so stiff I can hardly turn it on and the loo flushes first time you depress the button.   A good job done in record time.
Tess and I tootled down to the carpet shop, chose a vinyl flooring and they are going to come and measure  it up tomorrow (but not fit it until Christmas week).  It was appalling weather when we ventured out - pouring rain, strong wind and very cold.   Now, at last, the doors are shut, the plumber is gone and we can begin to get warm again.

It is our Poetry afternoon tomorrow so I shall now go and choose what I am intending to read and have a few practise runs - I hate to stumble over a word when I am reading a poem; it destroys the whole spirit of the thing.   Judging by the weather forecast we shall need poetry to cheer us up tomorrow (and warm winter woollies too).

Monday 26 November 2018


I thought I was fed up with animal programmes.  I have watched them until I felt saturated with them.   But it (Sunday night, 8-pm BBC1) has been fascinating, mainly I think because it concentrated on the lives of one particular animal.   First the Chimpanzee, then the Penguin and this week the Lion.

The last two programmes - penguins and lions- have attracted controversy in that in both programmes the team doing the filming (a long job during which the team get close to the animals concerned both in distance and in feelings) have assisted the animals in their survival.   In the case of the penguins, a group of parents and babies had managed to get themselves trapped down a ravine and it was impossible for them to get out.   One by one they were dying, especially the young who were very vulnerable.   The members of the team were visibly moved and ended up digging a ramp for them to escape, which they did.

In the case of the lions,  the Pride was much diminished and in danger of completely dying out.
People in the Masai Mara were grazing their cattle in the area and the lions were hell bent on an easy catch.   But the Masai had put down poisoned meat which the cubs ate.    This time the film crew called in the vets to treat the cubs.

Were they wrong to do this?  It is certainly open to question.   But to see these tough men, often filming in awful conditions, in tears over the fate of their 'stars ' was actually quite moving.   I really don't know which side I come down on.   What is your opinion?


Sunday 25 November 2018


Out to lunch as usual for Sunday.   Only three of us today as our old friend in her nineties was doing something with her family.  Following on from yesterday's post, all I can say is that we are so jolly lucky to be able to go out to lunch every week.   Most weeks we all have salmon on a bed of spinach with vegetables and it is consistently delicious. 

Now back home, dog-walk finished, dog to feed, cup of tea to get for me and then it is downhill all the way to bedtime.   The nights have drawn in so that now it begins to get dark at about half past two.   At present there is a raw cold in the atmosphere and it is lovely to get inside and get wam.   It is on days like today that I miss my Aga and my woodburner.

Saturday 24 November 2018

Watch the pennies.

Joanne (Cup on the bus on my side bar) has written such an interesting post today talking of how her parents were frugal and how she was brought up not to waste anything.  That is exactly how I was brought up too, in an age where there was enough money in our family to live comfortably, to make ends meet, to never get into debt and to afford little luxuries like a week's holiday every 'trip week', but only because my mother was a very careful manager.

Tinned food was frowned upon, but my mother always kept a tin of red salmon (never pink salmon), a tin of peaches and a tin of evaporated milk in the cupboard so that if visitors called unexpectedly on a Sunday afternoon she could always find something for tea.   There would always be cake in any case as she never bought cake but made her own (and bread) so that  this was plentiful.

 Nothing was ever wasted.   A bit of stale bread in the breadbin would mean a bread and butter pudding the next day and if the milk went 'off' on a thundery day then it would be left to form curds and then dripped through a piece of muslin hung on the washing line, seasoned with pepper and chopped parsley from the garden and we would have it in sandwiches for tea.   The remains of the Sunday joint would be cold on Monday with left over potatoes fried, minced for shepherd;s pie on Tuesday and hopefully enough left for Wednesday too.   There was never any disgrace in doing this.   The disgrace was in wasting the food.

We never had a freezer, not even a fridge that I remember.   We had a meat safe  on the North wall of our stone-floored pantry.

Of course the advent of these mod cons has meant that food can be stored so much easier but we read of the 2 for 1 offers not being used and one of them ending up in landfill.  So I can but ask what has happened to our society that, when half the world doesn't have enough to eat, we waste so much food?

Friday 23 November 2018

An outside Light.

Contrarily it is the very dark nights over the past week that have shown up just how dangerous it is outside my front door.   I do already have a movement sensitive light on the corner of the bungalow and that shows up the path to the front door.   What I need now is a light on the wall by the door itself which I can switch on to order either when someone rings the doorbell or when someone is about to leave the house.   It does not need to be movement sensitive.    What it needs to do is to show up the dangers of the step down on to the path itself.

 When the electrician came to assess the work he told me that the wiring in the bungalow is really unsatisfactory.   I can't explain why = it is all too complicated but it has resulted in my asking him to check it all over, replace the fuse box and do anything necessary.   Another job needing to be done.   Each time I start a job I find that more needs to be done.  Hopefully it will be done before Christmas.

Just for fleeting moments today the sun came out 
and each time the mist miraculously melted away.  What a difference the sun makes.   It was suddenly brighter and warmer.   Then it all went again.

Is anyone else in the UK watching 'Inside the Foreign Office'?   I am and am finding it interesting but I can't help wondering  whether it is really possible to make such a programme without the characters acting rather than being their real selves when put in front of a camera.   Some of the remarks they make don't altogether ring true to me.   Maybe I am too cynical.   If you are watching it what do you think to it?

Thursday 22 November 2018


What a busy week it has been - every day has been jam-packed - still it is better than having nothing to do isn't it?   Friend W and I had a pleasant lunch out as she is unable to go out for our usual Friday lunch tomorrow.  We each had a seafood platter -fish cake, salmon goujons and scampi with a basket of chips, and a really good salad.  We finished off with a cup of coffee each and it set us up nicely for the afternoon.   In fact at a quarter to eight I still haven\t eaten anything as I feel full.

Tess had an extra-specially long walk this afternoon with PetPals and has been asleep in her bed since coming back - her tea on the kitchen floor is uneaten as I write.

Tomorrow I have an electrician calling to discuss putting an outside light over my front door.   There is a light on the corner of the bungalow but outside my front door is quite a big step and it is not all that easy to get in and out of the front door in the dark unless you know exactly how things are.   So yet another job to be done - but necessary.


Wednesday 21 November 2018


It is the sort of cold today that gets right through to your bones.   Central heating full on all day and still I am cold.   How I miss my old Aga and my wood burning stove now that I have moved into my 'modern' bungalow.   I really don't think I shall ever get used to it when really cold days descend on us.

It is the day when friend S takes Tess for her walk.   Tess so looks forward to it and goes wild with excitement when she hears S at the door.   She always comes back tired and hungry, eats her tea with gusto and settles down to sleep in her basket.

I would like to settle down to sleep early tonight in my bed because last night my God-daughter stayed and we stayed up quite late talking together and then got up at crack of dawn as she had an hour's drive to work and had to be there for eight thirty.   Luckily, as she had to drive 'over the tops'
to get here the weather was not as bad as we feared - sleet and wet snow but that's all.

A pleasant afternoon today with a couple of friends calling and an hour's chat over a cup of coffee - what could be better on a cold, miserable afternoon?

Tuesday 20 November 2018

A wet day

An understatement.   It is 3-40 and almost dark.   This will have to be a short post so that I can get in Tess's walk before darkness descends.   It has poured with rain on and off all day.   A strong east wind is blowing and I cannot think of a single nice adjective to put in front of today however hard I try.

This morning I bought myself a new cordless vacuum cleaner which I needed because my cleaner had broken down.   Then I bought myself a new toaster and matching kettle - not because either had broken down but because they were old and I thought red ones would be cheery in my kitchen.   They are.

This necessitated another trip to the Council Tip - my second trip this week.   Once with all the flower boxes from my birthday and today with three electrical appliances.   Shedding detritus is so liberating.   But that is not the only reason I enjoy going to the tip.   The men who work there are a joy, whatever the weather.   The rain was pouring down.   They were all in their hut keeping dry and warm.   But the moment I stopped, out they came, smiling and helpful and emptied my boot for me, making me sit back in my car in the dry.   A rotten job on a day like this but they always cheer me up and for this I thank them most sincerely.

Sunday 18 November 2018

A Garden Post

After thick early morning fog it is now a lovely, clear sunny day.   But Tess and I just nipped up to our Council Tip with the flattened cardboard flower boxes that my Birthday flowers came in (the garage is now neat and tidy once more) and there - only a mile away - it is still thick fog.

My fence looks splendid and it is perfect in that Tess is now free to roam the garden at will and is unable to escape.   She has no road sense at all having grown up roaming the fields with the farmer and rarely venturing on to the lane.   The lady next door is so impressed that she is having various bits added in her garden and the fencer is working there today. And the lady who lives the other side of my bungalow is also so impressed that she has asked him to do some for her too.

Sorry about my shadow but at least it shows you just how sunny it is.

My garden is, of course, beginning to die back but if anyone could hazard a guess at what tree that is in bloom I would be grateful.   It was a large tree but my gardener pruned it back.   This year's growth hasn't flowered but there are plenty of blooms coming out on last year's.
Here is the view from the back terrace so you can see what I hope will be the tulip border in the Spring!
Sorry the garden picture has come in the wrong place but you get the general idea.

Saturday 17 November 2018

Luck sends a good samaritan round.

Oh dear, it pains me to tell Rachel and Derek that they were totally correct - but they were.   This morning, my fence being completely finished (if the weather is suitable I will photograph it for you tomorrow) I began the tulip bulb planting.   I divided the border into five sections and then scattered bulbs on the first section and planted them.   I went in to make a coffee and found that my back was aching.   I dare not do any more.

This afternoon my son came round with his wife and planted the rest in under half an hour, raked the ground over and then put the forget me nots along the front of the border - it may well be too late for these but worth a try as they were so cheap at the end of the season and they are very sturdy plants. 

So now all is done and at a very reasonable cost in my opinion.   There is something very satisfying about fulfilling one's plans isn't there?   I am now going to relax and watch a programme on the friendship between Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst.   When I think back to my childhood and the radio (which as a family we listened to avidly
(this is Henry Hall and tonight is my guest night - remember that?)) aren't we lucky to have such a huge selection?

Friday 16 November 2018


My new fence is looking splendid and is almost finished - I shall put a photograph on then.  The weather has really been first class for the job and my joiner/gardener has worked really hard on it.  Now all that remains is to finish the creosoting - he came and started today when it was very foggy.    The fog thickened and by mid-afternoon had become fine rain, so he abandoned the job and went home.   I was pleased as he has developed a terrible cold and I felt he should be at home with a few hot toddies and with his feet up.

Meanwhile friends W and M and I all went out to our usual venue for lunch.  Delicious as always - we had the same this week:   a starter of red onion, beetroot, a strong cheese  sauce and a salad mix. The next course was a chicken, ham and leek pie with lovely roasted carrot and parsnip and a tub of chips.   Far too much, but that's better than not enough.

Then we had a look round the items for sale tomorrow  - it is a Fine Art and Fine Furniture sale and the stuff in the sale was exquisite.    I got home and had only been in a short while when the furniture shop rang to say that my sitting room curtains were ready and could they bring them to hang.   What a pleasant surprise.   It is only a  fortnight since my decorator left and I had been led to believe it might be Christmas before my curtains were ready.   Now they are up, beautifully hung and drawn against a dismal night outside.   The room looks and feels much warmer.

I tipped all my tulip bulbs into a bucket, gave them a good mix up and now they are ready for putting in.   A pleasant surprise was that when I unsnipped them from their bags I found I had totally miscalculated and had only bought 150 not 250 - a much more realistic number to plant.   Divided into groups of five units that means only 30 bulbs per unit of ground.   One a day starting tomorrow means that they will all be in by Wednesday - the day when the weather is destined to become wintry - so hopefully I shall beat it.

What a busy week this has been.   And, judging  by my calendar, next week is going to be just as busy, particularly as I have a dear friend coming 
to stay the night on Tuesday - so one thing is for sure - there will be plenty of chat that night.


Thursday 15 November 2018


Retired for over thirty years, widowed for eighteen months, moved into a new bungalow a year ago - that kind of history doesn't sound as though it generates much in the way of activity does it?   Well you would be wrong to think that because yesterday was a case in point.   Six times I switched on to write a post and six times an interruption - either at the door or on the telephone - delayed me and made me switch off the computer.   Finally, when it got to eight in the evening I gave up as a bad job and watched Rick Stein - even then he was interrupted by a phone call from my son.   We spoke for an hour, as we often do, mostly about Politics and War,  and consequently I went to bed late and didn\t get to sleep until four this morning as my mind was too active. 

Today is another day.   The sky is a clear, unbroken blue, the sun is shining and it is a beautifully warm Autumn day.   Tess and I had our morning walk rather late as I slept in.  We met half a dozen dog-walkers and chatted and by the time we got home my fencer was here giving the completed fence a coat of creosote.   It looks splendid.   He has made such a good job of it.
Now all that will be left to do is for me to plant the tulip bulbs.   In the night, when I couldn\t sleep I devised a plan - I shall divide the border into sections with bits of wood and plant one section of 50 bulbs each day, leaving the wood in place for now so that there will not be a gap between plantings.   That way I shall not get over-tired with bending down (I hope).   Tomorrow may well be the day on which I begin (after my usual Friday lunch out).   Derek may well be right when he says it is far too late to plant the Mysotis.   But the sun is warm, the plants were only fifty pence a tray, so it is worth a try.   I love them in a garden and I love shaking the plants around as they go to seed so that eventually they are everywhere.   How could anyone resist that heavenly blue?

I shall go and cook my jacket potato and my stir-fry now.   This afternoon is ukuleles with the Alzheimer's patients and carers.   I love that and so do they.   It is a joyous afternoon.


Tuesday 13 November 2018


I now have a total of 250 tulip bulbs to put into my new border.   They really need to be in by December (flowering March to  April)but I can't begin to put them in until the fencer has finished - hopefully within the next day or two.   I also have several trays of Mysotis  (forget me not) to edge the border with - so quite a task.   He will do it for me if I ask him but as it is on the flat part of the garden I really want to try and do it myself - and at present the weather is perfect for the job.   So I hope it holds out for a day or two longer.

I look at the dreadful wildfires in California - I can't imagine anything more terrifying; the tragedy of losing all ones precious possessions doesn\t bear thinking about.   I suspect it is not the things which have cost the money which are missed so much as those little personal things - the gifts from loved ones (especially if they have left us and passed away), the photographs, the loved childrens' toys - that sort of thing.   Gayle at the Square Dogs would know all about that as I believe she has experienced it once.   My heart goes out to them all - and also to anyone who has actually lost a loved one in it all.

Until tomorrow.

Monday 12 November 2018

Autumn Walk.

My afternoon's walk today with Tess has convinced me of something I have known for a long time:   I was absolutely right to keep her when I moved.   It was rubbish to think I would not be able to 'cope' with her - she has kept me going.   She has made me get up in a morning to let her out.   She has made me do three(albeit fairly short) walks a day for her sake.   And above all she has been the company I would have otherwise missed.   Life would have been very quiet and lonely.   Alright - she doesn't answer back, but you would be surprised how much her eyes can convey.

This morning we did our usual walk round the estate, meeting our usual dogs, having our usual chats to people (and dog to dog).   After lunch we had a longer walk down our old farm lane.   Autumn leaves have almost disappeared from the trees and bushes and few hips and berries remain on the bushes.   I suspect the fieldfares and redwings and Winter thrushes have been around although I saw none of them, just the evidence. 

Now, at twenty to four in the afternoon, I am tired after my walk and I need a sit down.  Tess is patiently waiting for her four o'clocks and I shall sit down with a cuppa.   I managed to find sixty tulip bulbs in town this morning to buy for my new border by my new fence (not finished yet) but I need at least as many more, so I shall search again tomorrow.

Sunday 11 November 2018

Remembrance week-end

This has been, for me at any rate, such a poignant reminder of war and of the sufferings of people throughout the world.   It seems it will never end. 
The generation of my son (who is sixty this year) has at least been a generation when young men have not been conscripted into the armed forces (at least in the Western world) but I doubt there has been no time during those sixty years when there has not been fighting and killing somewhere.
And for what?

The ceremonies this week-end have caught my admiration for another reason too.   Is there anywhere in the world where events like this are organised with such precision, such thought and such commitment ?   To some this may not seem important, but to me it is important that the whole thing goes off to perfection from start to finish and my goodness it has done.

At two minutes to eleven this morning, with only those two minutes to go before Big Ben struck that important eleven o'clock and silence fell over the battlefields of Europe (and what a silence that must have been) I couldn't believe that everyone would be in their place.   But of course they were - with about twenty seconds to spare.

I read in the comments on someone's post a while ago (sorry I can't remember who it was) that they had heard someone say it was time now that we forgot about it all.   For the sake of the millions who have died, have been maimed for life, have lost loved ones, have been persecuted because of their race or their religion - we must never, ever forget.

Friday 9 November 2018


Proper breakfast and proper lunch today and no ill effects - seems I am over the worst and on the mend.

It is an absolutely awful day here today - thick, wet mist, strong wind (I know, how can the two go together?) and cold to boot.   Friend W brought Tess home - she has kindly had her there for the last two nights and taken her for a walk before she has brought her back each morning.   Not sure how keen Tess was to come back because both nights she has slept on the bed.   Last night W says she took up so much bed that in the middle of the night she had to push her further over.   And, to add insult to injury, she was dreaming, whimpering and snoring all night. 

 The man building my fence has been here all day in this horrible weather and has pushed on through it.   It is all looking very  professional and will look brilliant when it is finished, but I do wish he hadn't worked in such awful weather - he is by no means a young man.   I would take a photograph but at a quarter to four it is almost dark so any photograph would be meaningless.

Here's hoping for better weather tomorrow.

Thursday 8 November 2018

Fencing progress.

In spite of the weather turning from bright sunshine to wet mid way through the morning, my gardener continued to work in the rain.   All the fencing is now here ready to be assembled and this afternoon the two end fence posts have been concreted into place and propped up to dry overnight.

No post yesterday as I went down with some kind of sickness and diarrhoea bug on Tuesday afternoon.  Friends have been brilliant and at the moment friend W has taken Tess to stay there overnight so that I don't have to take her out first thing in the morning.   Yesterday evening my son called out the 111 doctor and she gave me a good examination and said she thought I was on the mend.   Today I am much better although weak after a couple of days with absolutely nothing to eat.   Thank goodness for my son living near and for my good friend W.   Tess adores her anyway so I am sure she doesn't mind sleeping there. (especially as she has the run of the house, whereas here she sleeps in her crate).

I am hoping to stay up to watch the 9pm programme on Prince Charles.  I am a great admirer and feel over the years he has been much maligned.   It will be interesting to hear what his nearest and dearest have to say about him - after all they know him much better than any of us do.


Tuesday 6 November 2018

Progress report.

My hedge is all down, including the thick trunks, and all is carted away to a bonfire pile on a nearby farm.   My gardener has dug the ground over well and is busy measuring up at the moment so that he can go and order the wood for the replacement fence which he will probably make in my garage on wet days in the next week or so.   He insists it is 'not a big job' and I must say that once he gets stuck in he really does make it look so easy.

My friend and neighbour next door is a keen gardener and her garden is lovely.   Now I can see it at least until the new fence is in place and it is lovely to do so.   Also, the amount of light the removal of the hedge has let in is amazing (the 
 hedge was high and was a dark green coniferous hedge).

I have been out to our fortnightly lunch when twelve or so of us go to our local meeting place and eat lunch together.   We have lots of laughs and all get on so well together that it is an enjoyable occasion every time.   Today it was pasta with meat balls followed by apple crumble and custard and a cup of coffee - and all for five pounds.   Can;t be bad and all home cooked. 

Now I am back home, I have turned the central heating up higher.  The thermostat was set at twenty but it is quite a warm day today and when I came in the bungalow felt quite cold - now it is snug and warm again.  

I suppose we are all waiting 'with baited breath' for the mid-term election results.   Although we are across the pond they will have an influence on life here - and around the world.   The future looks quite scary unless something changes I think.   But do we really know what is happening?   As with everything, we only know what we are told. 

Here, the really sad and sickening news is that someone made a model of the Grenfell Tower and actually burned it on a bonfire last night (Bonfire Night) - at least the people concerned went to the Police Station when people began to complain.   Did they not realise the terrible hurt they would be doing to the survivors?

These things and also the stabbings on the streets of London - where are things heading?   What sort of society are we making for ourselves when young men resort to this.  Sorry to be so negative today but that is how it all looks to me.

Monday 5 November 2018

At last

The big day has arrived!   My boundary hedge, which has grown too wide and infringes on my friend and neighbour's garden so that it is difficult for her to walk up the path into her lovely back garden, is being removed by D, my gardener.

He arrived this morning with his petrol-driven chain saw and is, at present, making a huge pile which will remain on my patio until his friend with a big trailer comes to take it away.   This is my last big job before winter sets in and it will be a good job done.   The gardener is making a fence to put in its place and it is a fence to match that which he has already made along the front border.
Sorry it is a rotten photo but I took it from the computer looking through the window.   Too lazy to go outside on what is a miserable morning.

Sunday 4 November 2018


Sometimes I switch on and go to new post without the slightest idea what to write.   Today is one of those days but I make it a point in the day when I really try to write something as a form of discipline.   It is easy to become aimless as one ages and I refuse to get like that.

It is friend W's birthday today and instead of our usual four out to Sunday lunch we were seven - a jolly gathering.Then coming in and immediately taking Tess for a walk walks down my lunch (salmon today followed by lime and coconut sorbet) and means that I can come in, shut the door, turn up the heating and settle down for the rest of the evening (and watch Countryfile and Strictly Results of course). 

The week ahead is set to be much milder than last week so maybe a few remaining planting jobs outside might get done.   Now that I have been in my bungalow more than a year (just),things really seem to have settled into a pattern.  The next job to tackle is the boundary fence - the dying hedge needs taking out and a fence building.   I have it in hand and am waiting for the fencing man to call and see me.

Friday 2 November 2018

Sitting room and other things.

Well, as promised, here is a view of my newly decorated sitting room.   As my son rightly said - 'more you Mum than the way it was before.'  It is certainly much more restful now that there is no patterned wallpaper to distract my eye.

Now to other things.   Lunch today was delicious at our usual venue.  Celeriac soup (fantastic, I shall certainly have a go at making this) followed by chicken, ham and leek individual pie with multi coloured carrots (most attractive on the plate ) and a tub of chips.  Coffee to finish and all the time a wedding party was assembling (the venue is licensed for weddings).  We had to leave before the bride arrived but we had a good view of the guests who came into the bar part of the restaurant for drinks.   It was a chilly day but the guests (all seemed to be under thirty) were all in quite flimsy dresses (men, thank goodness in lounge suits and not ill-fitting hired morning dress) and absolutely
unbelievable hats - how fashionable they seem to be this season for weddings.   As friend W and I remarked on our way out to the girls on reception, we would never wear clothes like this these days because we never went to weddings any more = it was more likely to be funerals. 

My friend and neighbour H came round later in the afternoon to view my sitting room decorating and we had a cup of tea and discussed the fact that in the Chinese zodiac we are both monkeys.   Do we have similar characteristics in our make up?   I am just off to have a read up about it on the internet and will report back.   Apparently we, as monkeys are light-hearted and tend to be pranksters - not sure that this is me - shall have to think about it.

Thursday 1 November 2018


This picture of a garden on the side of the Grand Canal in Venice hangs in my sittingroom.   It was painted by my first husband, Malcolm Rivron, and reminds me of our many holidays in Venice over the years.

Venice, one of my favourite places in the World, with an atmosphere and a beauty like nowhere else on earth.  And yet a place which always feels precarious, as though it will disappear under the sea without warning.

One of our first visits there was in the early eighties when our half term happened to coincide with a visit to La Fenice in Venice of the Shanghai Opera Company and after queueing all morning we managed to get tickets to sit on very hard forms in the pit of this very grand theatre to see the performance.  It was breath-taking although we couldn't understand a word of it.   In 1996 the theatre, almost completely made of wood, burned down and so I remember that visit with great affection.  Now, sadly the city is under five feet of water.  I cannot help wondering how many years the city will be there before it sinks into the sea and disappears for ever.