Friday, 20 September 2019

Memory

Sue (Beachcomber) and her partner are over here in the Dales and are kindly coming to take me out to lunch tomorrow.   I did not realise that they had been before and just can't recall the occasion at all.   This morning, after having coffee with friends, I drove into the Market Place to collect some super wallflower plants I had ordered.  I pulled into the side of the road, got out of the car and opened the boot for the garden man to put the plants in my boot.   A lady touched my arm - 'Pat?' - yes, you have guessed it.   It was Sue, who recognised me immediately.   Did I recognise her?   Sadly not.

A lady who comes to our Poetry Group has some condition - and I have no idea what it is called, so if anyone knows please mention it - and sometimes wears a badge to inform people that she is sorry she doesn't recognise them because she has this condition.    I was beginning to think that maybe I had it too.   Then last week I had new specs and was told by the Optician that my cataracts would be 'ready' next time I had my eyes tested.   When I queried with him what difference it might be making to my eyes he replied that quite often when cataracts are almost 'ready' people have difficulty recognising faces.   So take your pick.   What is it that makes me unable to recognise faces - incidentally it doesn't happen once I have seen people a few times and they kind of 'fit into' my memory bank.   But Sue had no difficulty in picking me out of a fairly busy Market Square when she has only seen me once before.

I am really looking forward to seeing them in the morning.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

The World Championships

The World Cycling Chanpionships are coming to North Yorkshire at the end of this month - coming in fact past the end of my road - it will be closed for one hour as they pass on 26th September and the centre of our little town will be closed for one hour on the 29th as they pass going the other way or something.  So far there is not much information other than (very large) yellow signs at intervals - many intervals - along the roadsides telling us this vital piece of information.   No, I shall not be going to the end of the road to see them pass - they will be gone in a flash.   Then, if my guess is correct,  all the large, yellow, metal signs will be there for a while before they are collected up.   If they are efficiently collected straight after the two races pass through I will report it here.   And, as a matter of interest, the lettering on the signs appears to be permanent so presumably it can't be peeled off and the signs used for anything else, which prompts the question who is paying for them all?

I read that it is expected that the event will generate huge income for the area over the few days they are here.   I do remember a similar even when local eating houses expected large crowds but everyone was far too eager to follow the cyclists to hang about eating - so that is also open to question. 

Alright, tell me I am a miserable old git - it may well be true but I do know that often, when we have events like this in the town, our shop keepers and cafe owners suffer as everyone stays out of town.   And really I suspect it is hard enough for them to make a living without things like this. 

I hope I am completely wrong and that all our pubs, cafes and businesses benefit greatly from the week-end - in which case I will eat my words.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Wednesday

The sun is hazy this morning but the weather forecast is good.   I am up bright and early - in spite of being upset at the death of a friend I had a good night's sleep.   My new electric blanket has made a huge difference to my sleep pattern - I hope it continues because I am not usually a very good sleeper.   There is never a good death is there - a long drawn out death means trauma and distress for all one's loved ones, a quick, unexpected death leaves a huge shock but is, of course, much 'better' for the person involved - but then they have had no time to say good-bye.   So it is a no-win situation and (perhaps) luckily we have to take the end we are dealt with.

Tess will, of course, miss H greatly but dogs are adaptable.   Although she is my dog she loved going round the fields on the farm with the farmer.   But, because he was in and out of hospital towards the end, she never appeared to miss him when he went for ever.   Life for her just seemed to go on as before.   I just hope the same continues now that H doesn't call twice a week for their long rambles together.

If there is one lesson one learns the older one gets it is that all one can do is to take each day as it comes and make the most of it.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Sad News.

Sad news today because H, the lady who has been taking Tess for walks for me, has died very suddenly.  She took a load of garden rubbish to our local tip and died while she was there.   I am very saddened by her death as all three of us got on so well together.

Friends S and T came round for a meal this evening.   I was so pleased they came because, selfishly, they took my mind off my sadness about H's death.   They came round early and took Tess for a lovely walk (and picked me some blackberries to cook tomorrow along with the apples I was given this morning at our monthly Strugglers meeting.)   How lucky I am to have such good friends.

Our Struggler's meeting this month was interesting - it is always - as we discussed what we could say were our good points.   It is easy to say what our faults are isn't it, but not so easy to put our thoughts into words on what our strengths are.   I think all eight of us left with plenty of food for thought.

So altogether today was a lot of different days rolled into one.   There was sadness, indeed there was, but there was  also the comfort of friendship from different sources and the knowledge of just how important one's friends are and just how much we should value them.

Until tomorrow.

Monday, 16 September 2019

Monday

Here are the Autumn Crocus (Colchicum) in the garden opposite where I live.   I love them and had some in my previous garden.   You forget all about them and then, suddenly, one morning they are there - all flowers and no sign of a leaf.   A sure sign that Autumn is on its way - and it is a lovely Autumn day today to prove it.

I had to go into town this morning on business and then to buy one or two things because I am cooking for friends tomorrow evening and I want to experiment with my Slow Cooker.   I called in our usual cafe and had Scampi, Chips and Peas for my lunch - lazy I know but I had had a busy morning and walking around town for me is very tiring.   Now  I am home, the basics of my base for my Cottage Pie are cooking on Auto in my slow cooker and my friend has rung to say we will not meet this afternoon but leave it until later in the week - so all pressure is off and soon Tess and I will have a wander.

Now that the children have gone back to school our little town has been taken over by bus-loads of Pensioners leaving their touring holidays until there are no hoards of children around.   The cafes are still full but few, if any, children around (lots of dogs though,as there always are).   Almost all the Holiday Cottages up here take dogs as we are in hilly country - ideal for walking and ideal for dogs.   We get a huge variety.   Many of them these days are of the mixed variety (no longer called 'mongrels' but given fashionable names as they are a straight cross - ie Labradoodle (Labrador/Poodle;)  Cockerpoo  (CockerSpaniel/Poodle); and even Jug (Jack Russell terrier/Pug).   Sometimes I do wonder if we might be storing up health problems with some breeds for the future - although we have a Labradoodle (Smarty) lives near to us and he is a darling I must say.   Do you have any views on the matter?

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Wintry

There is a wintry feeling in the air today - it is dull and a damp cold hangs over everything.   Thermal vest is being worn - what am I to do when 'real' winter arrives?   At the Golf Club where we have our Sunday lunch, the golfers were in short sleeves and many of them still in shorts.   Put it down to a combination of old age and thinning blood.
 
Horse Chestnut leaves and Silver Birch leaves are falling today I have noticed and there is a touch of Autumn in the air.   The bungalow opposite has a magnificent patch of purple Autumn Crocus in the centre of the front lawn.   I love them - they always seem to appear overnight with no warning.  I will try to take a photograph of them to put on for tomorrow for anyone who doesn;t know what they are.

Only three of us for lunch today - W is at a wedding.   I had salmon on a bed of spinach (salmon Florentine) with lovely veg; W2 had the same but without the spinach and without any veg.  C had Penang Curry with rice.

Tess has gone off for a walk with her friend H, who rang just before I went off for lunch to say she would take her this afternoon.   She is not back yet and will certainly not need another walk today.
 That is good news = I took her on quite a long one this morning.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Saturday

One of the drawbacks of living up in The Pennines - or any other hilly district for that matter - is that it is almost always windy.   One part of my garden is seriously infested (there is no other word for it) with Marestail weed.   I spent a fortune on a specialist weed-killer which my gardener put on for me last year - twice.   It made not the slightest difference.   He has enough to spray it again this year but since it was twenty centimetres high (the recommended height for spraying) there has not been a single windless day.   Today promised to be such a day and I contemplated ringing him - but it was not to be.   By ten o'clock the sky had clouded over and the wind had got up.   It is still dry but quite a chilly day with a stiff breeze.  Certainly not what I could call a 'still Autumn Day'.   I wonder whether we will indeed get any of those this year.

The highlight of the day today for Tess and I has been our trip to The Tip.   Today we had our kitchen T V which had finally given up the ghost; my old frying-pan which no longer had a reliable non stick coating and two or three large cardboard boxes.   Taking such trips to the tip (rather a nice journey in itself) I find very therapeutic - on a par with filling my Green Bin with garden rubbish, which I did yesterday afternoon.     A sort of 'cleansing'.   Until tomorrow.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Busy Day

I have had quite a busy day - hairdresser and shopping this morning plus an early-morning dog walk and another before getting my lunch.   Then this afternoon with W and S to Sycamore Hall in the village of Bainbridge to play ukuleles for the residents to sing 'the old songs'.    We had an enjoyable, but tiring, afternoon.   The thought of taking Tess for her final walk of the day was a bit daunting but luckily, just as I was about to set out,
H rang to ask whether Tess would like a walk 'along The Shawl ' (a popular walk in our little town.   Needless to say, Tess heard H's voice on the phone and went to sit and wait by the front door until she arrived.   I breathed a bit of a sigh of relief.

It has been a slightly rainy day here all day - the kind of day that only happens up in the hills, when one is almost in the clouds, so that a fine missle is falling.   Now as dusk is falling the sky is lightening and a breeze is getting up.   The forecast for the rest of the week end is a good one with quite a warm temperature.

If you are one of those who 'blog with' Thelma of North Stoke I am sure you will join with me in sending her our love and all our sympathy as she comes to terms with her very sad loss.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Wednesday

And so the week rolls on.   It is no sooner Monday than Friday begins to loom large.   If I have something on my calendar for each day then I can be assured that the week will speed past.

Today an old friend called in for coffee and shortbread this morning and we had a good old chat - it is a long time since we met up.   Then this afternoon friend S called and took Tess for a walk - and Tess always loves that.    It has been a lovely day here today - quite warm out of the sharp wind.

It is comforting to finding that other people have days when they feel 'not of this world' - I have not experienced the feeling before and I have found it very disconcerting.   It is beginning to go away now, as is my tinnitus (which comes and goes).   I suppose the whole thing is really called 'growing old'.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Tuesday

Not a bad day - coolish but fine and with a light breeze.   I am feeling more or less back to normal - but not quite.   I don't feel quite 'of this world' - a strange feeling which I h ope will soon go off as I don't find it at all pleasant.

I went into town as usual - today is the day I stock up on any shopping I need.   Strawberries from Scotland (Angus) are still available and still as delicious as ever.    I don't think I ever remember such a long season.   So it is strawberries for tea again tonight.   Lunch was sausage, onion and apple cooked in my Remoska and it was delicious too.   Runner beans from a friend's garden and the first of the sprouts made up my plateful - I have certainly got my appetite back so that's a start.

There have been programmes on over the week-end about the start of the Second World War- eighty years ago. I watched them - of course I remember it well - I was seven when it started.   But I am not sure whether I really want to go over it all again.   Is it important that we see the devastation, the bombing, that we bring it all back into our minds or would it be better if we forget it?
I really am not sure in my mind what difference it makes to our thinking to see it all over again.   My friend and I were saying yesterday how well our parents protected us from the worst of it.   We lived in areas where it was not quite as subject to bombing and certainly where I lived we weren't evacuated, rather we accepted evacuees to live with us.  But I don't remember ever being afraid.
After eighty years let's just hope it never happens again.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Monday

Thank you for your concern those of you who questioned what had happened to me.   I have not felt all that well over the week-end and just have not felt like putting on a post.   Today I have had a lovely day out with dear friend Wand have returned home refreshed and feeling more like my old self.   

Tess has been with us and the three of us have been over the top of the Pennines and down into the little town of Kirby Lonsdale and there met P and D, our friends from Windermere, for a delicious Italian lunch.   It has been light rain all day and the tops have been in cloud but it has been quite pleasant and not really cold - more of a cheerless day I would say.   But the company and the food were splendid and that more than made up for the miserable weather.

Hopefully I will be back to normal tomorrow.   See you then.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Which side are you on?

There is an amusing article in today's Times by Robert Crampton where he quotes Isaac Foot, a Liberal MP (and the father of Michael Foot - a man I greatly admired for his principles).   Apparently Isaac Foot said "I judge a man by one thing: which side would he have liked his ancestors to fight on at Marston Moor".   I wonder
when (or maybe I should say if) everything dies down, when all the present posturing, tantrums, lolling on benches and banging of tables and stamping of feet goes away and everyone starts behaving like normal people again and when we are gone and our children and grandchildren have in herited the mess left behind if they will ask the same question of us and the present mess.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Wednesday

It is a lovely day.   The wind is much lighter.   After what seems to have been a wet night the sky is blue with puffy white clouds and the sun is actually warm.   Tess and I have just had a shortish walk - she is still pretty tired after her ramble around the castle yesterday and today is the day that friend S comes to take her for a walk.

I had a brilliant night's sleep after two very bad ones.   The first thing I did was to add another cellular blanket under the duvet, then I popped a hot water bottle into the bed about half an hour before I went to bed and last of all I went on line and ordered myself a new electric blanket.  Oh and I went into Winter jim=jams - Summer nighties will now be washed and put away for next year.   If all this is not enough to make the weather turn into an Indian Summer I don't know what is.   But after all that I had a jolly good night's sleep and didn't wake until almost half past seven.

I put on the television while I was eating my breakfast - I don't know - there is Boris ranting and raving, Rees-Mogg sprawled across the bench looking as though he might well be asleep, MP's crossing the floor and changing sides half way through the argument. Do we really want to be governed by people like this?   Any effort at interviewing anyone outside is completely useless as there is so much shouting and protesting in the background that it is impossible to hear what anyone is saying.   I wonder if it would help if I sat in my sitting room reading several books waiting to be read, drew the curtains, didn't listen to radio or TV, cancelled my paper and just pretended it would all go away.   What do you think?   Any other ideas.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Tuesday

Busy day all round but I had a very bad night - mainly for two reasons.   Firstly my son rang quite late and we chatted for almost an hour, which got my brain so active that when I did go to bed I couldn't settle down.   Secondly, it was a very chilly night and I just could not get warm.   I got up and added another blanket, putting it on top of the duvet as I couldn't be bothered to remake the bed in the middle of the night.   I still took a long time to get warm and drop off.   Consequently I am quite tired today.

I walked round with Tess and then went into town to top up on food shopping - mainly fruit and veg - before returning home.   It was our fortnightly lunch meeting (chicken casserole followed by blackberry and apple crumble or apple pie and ice cream) - all delicious and as usual all good fun with good company.

On returning home Tess had disappeared.   H had called and had taken her for a walk.  It was a relief as I was really very tired after my poor night's sleep and it is impossible to explain to a dog why a walk is not a possibility.   My son rang and asked if I wanted to go with him and his wife into Richmond for a coffee and cake, so I contacted H on her mobile to tell her I would be out on her return with Tess.   She had walked around Richmond Castle walls - she said Tess had done a wee about every twelve seconds on the entire walk!!

It is not a warm day here so it was home again to find the heating had come on and the bungalow was pleasantly warm - yes I know it is a bit early in Autumn but I refuse to be cold, it is so miserable.  Tess had returned and has been asleep in her bed ever since - tired out no doubt.  What a lucky dog she is to have so many friends who help me out (I have just had an e mail to tell me friend S will take her for me tomorrow).

Now I think a cup of tea and a slice of Battenburg is perhaps the order of the day - and maybe a small bowl of Scottish strawberries - they still have the lovely taste of summer.

Monday, 2 September 2019

Book Group

It was my Book Group this morning and it was my turn to be the Host.   Only five of us today.   Since moving I have not baked a cake - I miss my Aga, I don't wish to eat a lot of cake, I am not inspired to bake anyway - so I succumbed to buying a Battenburg and some oat biscuits.   Half the Battenburg was eaten - the other half languishes in the cake tin.   I suspect it will not languish for long  - I am very weak-willed where it is concerned.

The book - 'Full Pardon' about the troubles in Northern Ireland was not really to my liking - in fact it was not really to anyone's liking but it generated an hour's really interesting discussion mostly about religious divisions.   Interestingly in our group there was a Roman Catholic, an Anglican, a Humanist, and two who had no particular religious affiliations.  This is the good thing about a good Book Group - we don't spend time talking about our ailments (which seems to be a common complaint) - we really get down to some interesting discussion.   I love it and they are all such nice people.

Our next book is ' Diary of a Bookseller' and I have just ordered it from Amazon - it should be here by the week end and I look forward to a good read.

The weather here today is decidedly Autumnal - cold, windy, grey skies, the odd shower - and I keep hearing the central heating clicking on and off (set on 19) - methinks thermal vests must be looked out again.    I shall have a ready meal from COOK for my tea and it will cook in the Remoska whilst I watch Antiques Road Trip.   If anyone watched Antiques Road Show last evening I am sure they will agree that there was some really amazing stuff on - incredible jewellry (none of which I would have cared to wear as it happens), beautiful pottery (which I admire greatly but would be too scared to have standing around in case I broke it) - in fact all the beautiful things were so because they belonged to someone else and I was not in the least envious.   I adhere to Rachel's view on such things.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Travel

Cro, on his most recent post, speaks of Travel and how easy it is these days and how many go far and wide during their lives whereas others never move far from home.   Interesting topic.  

In my parents' young days (early 1900's) nobody travelled far - unless they were very wealthy so most young folk married someone from the next village or from within the town where they lived.  The townsfolk usually met either through their work, or in the Pub, or at the Saturday Night 'Hops' of which there were plenty.   The villagers had grown up together, often gone to the same school and/or church.   So it was easy to meet plenty of possibles. 

Now, of course, the world is their oyster (not necessarily making for any happier relationships).
But there are many who still are unused to travel for a variety of reasons - and not always from lack of the money to do so.   Sometimes staying put is their choice and they are content.

All this reminds me of a story from my young days.   When my son was in his teens we always went to the same cottage in Wales - to a cottage on a farm not far from Cardigan.   We often went two or three times a year, we knew the family well by this time and we loved the walks in the area.

Just down the road lived an old man who lived alone and who, in his whole life, had never been further than Cardigan and had no desire to do so.  One evening, while standing at his gate watching the moon rising on a warm Summer evening, a car drew up and the passenger asked him the way to
somewhere a little further North - let's say Aberporth.   (all of ten miles away).   He thought long and hard and then said 'Go up to the moon and turn left'.   The old man had had a long and happy life.   Horses for courses as they say - be a stay at home or travel the world - all that matters is to be content with your lot. 

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Saturday

As with yesterday there is a very strong wind blowing here today - and a cold one at that.   I took Tess on a walk before I went off to the Hairdresser and on another walk when I returned.  Now it is a quarter past six in the evening and I am just too tired to do very much.   Luckily H, one of the ladies who takes Tess for a walk, has taken her off for a long walk.   I feel just too tired to put a post on - I keep hitting the wrong keys when I am typing.   So see you all tomorrow.

Friday, 30 August 2019

Friday

Meteorological Autumn on Sunday.   Blowing a gale today.   Sky heavy cloud.   Ten degrees colder than it was this time last week.   BUT the Victoria Plums are in and a mountain of them is heaped up on the fruit and veg stall on our market today.   And they are DIVINE.    I love the Peaches, Nectarines, Apricots, Kiwi Fruits that have been there for the last couple of months but I would exchange them all for that first taste of our own Victoria Plum - a taste of pure England.  I have eaten half a pound since this morning (and I went out to lunch with W).

We are lucky to have such a good Greengrocer on our market, along with a good Cheese lady (bought some Vintage Cheddar and some Darling Blue today (as it comes from Wooller in Northumberland I presume it is named after Grace Darling).   There is also a brilliant Fish stall selling every type of fish you can imagine - all from Whitby which is not too far away - I bought fillets of Sea Bass for my lunch tomorrow. 

We had our usual Friday lunch out again - three of us today.   W and I had chicken breast stuffed with Wensleydale Blue cheese in a lovely cheesy sauce and served with a roast potato and a large dish of broccoli, carrots, cabbage and green beans.   After this we had Creme Brulee with Ginger Ice Cream.  We finished off with Coffee and a couple of chocolates each.   Are we lucky or are we lucky?

Perm in the morning which means a couple of hours sitting and reading while the hairdresser fiddles with my hair - quite relaxing really.



 

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Evening

The busy day is over, I have taken Tess for a second walk, eaten a couple of Kiwi Fruits (all I feel like eating), watched Antiques Road Trip and now am sitting down to write about my day.

I went into town for my three weekly manicure at ten o'clock and then, before I could change my mind, I got into the car and drove to Northallerton.
These days I don't go much beyond our little town but I needed to go to Northallerton, only around twenty five miles now that the Bedale by pass is built, so I had to bite the bullet.   There was a steady stream of traffic but I was soon there.

My reason for going is that I need to buy some new furniture.   It is easy at my age to think that it is too late to bother with any new furniture and that is what I was thinking even though my settee was becoming increasingly uncomfortable.   But chatting to my doctor on Tuesday about my arthritis and how it was now affecting my neck and shoulders he suggested I should look at where I was sitting - and indeed how I was sitting.   That evening I did just that and realised that I was leaning permanently over to the left and it really was affecting my posture (my hairdresser complains I lean to the left too).   I have always liked (and often owned) Ercol furniture so I went to Barkers Furniture Store and ordered two matching Ercol sofas to replace the two I have now (and have had for at least the last fifteen years I have worked out).

Before my drive back I sat in their cafe and had two tuna and mayo sandwiches and a pot of tea.
Coming back I again got behind a huge tractor load of bales of straw - the tail back was very long but the tractor driver made no attempt to pull in to a lay by to let anybody past.   There is a suggestion that drivers should do so - I believe five vehicles behind is the number - but I really think there should be a law about it.  Surely it must cause accidents as reckless drivers overtake when it is not safe to do so.   Interestingly quite often they do so and after another ten miles or so you notice they haven't got any further in the queue.

Needless to say, other than taking Tess round the block I have done nothing else of note today.   I shall now go and try to finish today's Times Mind Games.   Haven't watched the news again by the way.   

Busy Day

First of all I need to say how horrified I am by the latest move by Boris Johnson - I feel it is so very undemocratic and I fear for the future.   I know that what I know of Politics and World Affairs could be  written on a Postage Stamp but I also know that as Brits we should be proud to have one of the best Democracies in the World and this move goes against that.    It also puts the Queen in such an awkward position - I am not really a Royalist but even I can see that.   Well that has got that off my chest even if I dont really know what I am talking about.  That last sentence has been put there to discourage you from telling me so in your comments.   But I really can#t start chatting about everyday things and let you think I am letting this whole thing float over my head.   I do care but at my age I feel utterly helpless to do much but sit back and think of more frivolous things.   I shall put on my usual post later in the day - quite a busy one - when I return home from a trip out.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

It has arrived.

Leather jacket two has arrived and I love it.  I would hardly call the colour 'raspberry' more of a mid brownish colour but it fits well and will certainly be kept by me.   It is already hanging next to its leather 'sister' which I bought last year so I am sure it feels at home.   As soon as I find somebody to take my photograph in it I will post it on here as promised.   There is nothing like a new jacket or any clothing for that matter to make one feel good is there?

D, my gardener, has been and cut my lawns today and they are looking good.   He has fed them both well and cuts them long which has made all the difference - he has also fed them mid-season which helps.

Much cooler here today and I must say that it is more my kind of weather - and Tess's too I feel.   I might even have a couple of crumpets for tea - real Autumn food if ever there was one.  (any excuse)

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Band B

First of all I apologise for the quality of the photograph.  My shake is very bad in this hot weather and there was nowhere to rest my hand as I took the photographs.   If I tell you that this was the best of the dozen or so I took you will realise that I did my best.

I love cats and would love to have one.   Pretty sure that Tess would tolerate one - she didn't fall out with the farm cats - but I live on the side of a busy road and the risk of it being run over is too great.

So imagine my delight when I got up early this morning to visit the bathroom and found this monster asleep under my hedge.   It was too dark to photograph him - he was curled round fast asleep.   Two hours later, when I got up, he was still in the same place but not curled up so tightly.   He looked at me with utter disdain, sat up and began his morning ablutions, making sure he washed every inch of himself.   Then he stretched, yawned and sauntered off - no thank-you for what had obviously been his bed for the night.   No call for  breakfast.   Come back anytime you like Mr, Tom - you are most welcome.

Monday, 26 August 2019

A Non Day

Well I am certainly putting today's experience down to old age and I am sure you will agree.   All the time we are being told to drink plenty and take care if we are elderly and the weather is very hot.

This morning I got up quite early - I didn't sleep well - had my breakfast (a peach and a banana) - stripped the bed and put on the washing machine. o  By nine o'clock I was tidy all round the house, the washer was going round merrily and I thought of having a shower, getting dressed and taking Tess for her walk before it got any hotter.   But first I switched on the computer to read my e mails and get up to date on yesterday's post.  H next door passed my window and called through the patio doors (open already) to say she had dug up two small Alchemilla Mollis plants which she knew I would like.    I thanked her, we chatted for awhile and when she went I pegged the sheets on the line.  I had my shower, went into the bedroom to get dressed,  didn't resist the temptation to lay on the bed for a minute and woke up two hours later.

By this time it was far too hot to take Tess for a walk, I got dressed, microwaved a jacket potato for my lunch, adding a little salad.   Ate it and fell asleep in the chair and again woke up two hours later.

We are told that if we are elderly we should avoid the hot weather if it is upsetting us, so I have done nothing at all today.   Tess has not been for a walk, she has been in and out from the back garden all day.   I feel mean but I just don;t feel up to it.   Later in the evening I shall phone my son and if he is in ask if he can come and take her for a walk.  I just don't feel safe enough to venture out.   It is very hot indeed here.

.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Brains.

It is no old wives tale that as we age we are more likely to make daft mistakes and get our words mixed up and forget things.   Sadly with me it happens more and more frequently.   Friday morning was a case in point.

Market day and Bank Holiday mean that together our Car Park gets full very early in the morning. So I came out of the house, stood on the step and realised I had the wrong set of car keys (i.e. the ones without my house keys on).   Don't ask me why but my first (and only) thought was 'Oh darn it I have locked myself out.'    Of course I couldn't have done this because I hadn't got a key to do it (I have one of those fancy locks where you have to lift up the door handle and then turn the key).   But, certain I was locked out, I knew I could get in on my return from coffee with the girls by using the key safe.

Half way into town I realised my stupidity - I had obviously left the front door unlocked.   I drove into town, got a place in the car park and then rang my son (who only lives a mile away) to ask if he could nip round and lock the front door for me.
He told me to wait in the Car Park while he did this and he would then bring the key to me.   I was already half way to the cafe where we have coffee and I just couldn't face going all the way back to the car so he said he would bring it to the cafe instead.   He did this, parking on a double yellow line for the minute it took him to dash in with the key.  All such a rave and all because of my utter stupidity.   I will not do that again but I am sure I will do something else equally stupid. 

And what such incidents do of course is to gradually eat away at one's confidence.   One of the reasons I try to write a post every day (yes I know, I don't always succeed) is because the routine of having to think of something to write about, having to get up, go to my laptop, write the piece, read yesterday's comments to me, read the day's posts from everyone on my side bar - it all takes time and concentrates the brain.

So let's all just hope that the next daft thing I do is not on here.   If it is then I am sure you will tell me.   I am sure (no names, no packdrill) there are a few of you who will tell me in no uncertain terms.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Too hot.

It has been a lovely day here, a day of warm sunshine and with a gentle breeze.   A perfect day for the Wensleydale Agricultural Show.   People flocked there in their thousands (the car park is behind my garden and it filled up quickly).  During the afternoon friend W called and we went to our local Ice Cream Parlour (Brymor Ice Cream) - and we sat indoors there and ate our ice creams.   Then it was home again.

I haven't taken Tess out other than into the garden all day as she doesn't perform well in hot weather but we went on a walk after tea when it was beginning to cool down.

My arthritis does not like the hot weather and has been very painful all day, which is probably why I have been so tired.   Now that it is cooling down a bit I am beginning to get my second wind.   I can't imagine what I would be like living in the Tropics.

Friday, 23 August 2019

At last.

At last a lovely day.   According to the weather forecasters on TV we should have had better weather earlier, but today it is excelling.   Now, at four in the afternoon, the sun is shining, the wind has almost dropped and it is actually warm.

As is usual on a Friday three of us - W, M and I- have been out to lunch.   And like last week we went to a pub called The Queen's Head in a pretty little Dales village called Finghall.   The food was delicious and as with last week I think we all three almost overate.  W and I both had king prawns deep fried in batter accompanied by a delicious, well-dressed salad and crisp chips.  (M had fish and chips).   So many salads are miserable specimens, this one had several kinds of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, walnut halves, strips of eating apple  and a really good dressing.
We all had lime and soda water to drink and finally a cup of coffee.   Nice company, nice surroundings and a dog waiting in the hall to be taken for a walk (groan) on my return.   Still it woke me up nicely. 

It does look as though the weather is settling nicely for The Show tomorrow - I hope so.   So many people work so hard to make it a success and on the day the success or failure rests almost entirely upon the number of people who attend.   Locals who don't attend know to keep well away from the main road through the town if they are in a hurry to get anywhere.   As that main road goes straight past the end of my road then no such luck for me.

I have a few gardening jobs waiting to be done - dead-heading, watering of tubs, digging out of couch grass; plenty to keep me going.  It is just a matter of having enough energy to get stuck in.   Time will tell but I really do hope to get some of it done at least.

I have just been reading about helter skelters and other things in Cathedral aisles.   'Flog it' quite often comes from inside cathedrals these days.   I am not sure what I think to such things.   I am a Humanist and belong to Humanists UK (I defend the right to live by my own personal values and
have the right to make my own decisions about my life) but I do like the beauty and peace of sitting inside these exquisite buildings and savouring the peace therein.   Should we encourage this move towards change or not ?   What do you think?   Have you a view?   If so I would like to hear it - perhaps it will help me to make up my mind.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Little by little......

......the weather is improving as we head towards Show Day on Saturday.   There had been rain overnight and it was still raining when I went into town to the Hairdresser.   But now, mid afternoon, I have walked round the estate with Tess and there are just spits and spots.   It has almost cleared up.  The weather is following the pattern predicted by the forecasters and if it continues it should be Summer weather again by the week-end.

Slight hold-up while I answer the door and speak to a Solar Panel salesman!!   I do often think of having them;  we had them at the farm and I can see the benefits.   But is it worth it at my advanced age I ask myself?   Any thoughts on the matter gratefully received.

I have succumbed to temptation and bought myself yet another leather jacket - this time the colour is 'raspberry' - or as my son prefers to call it my 'Mrs Peel jacket'.   Believe me, if you don't already know it, a jacket, or any other piece of clothing you buy at my age which makes you feel good, is a real boost - particularly on a day when one's arthritis is really playing up.   All I really need now is my Harley Davidson to go with it.   (then it would be beware anyone travelling on the road anywhere in The Dales so perhaps it is as well it is not on my list of 'wants'.)

To change the subject completely - I am trying to perfect my technique on using a slow cooker.   I bought one last year but I can't say I have been over thrilled with the results so far.   This week's experiment - a sausage casserole - was an improvement but still not perfect.   But my hairdresser, who uses one almost every day, gave me a few tips this morning.   She tells me I need to start everything off in a pan so that things like the veg are browned and the meat is floured and then browned before all is put into the slow cooker.   I shall try that next and report back.   Meanwhile, if anyone has any more tips they will be gratefully received.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Wednesday

By now, teatime, the day has turned gloomy.   The weather forecast is for good fine weather and much warmer by the weekend, but tonight the sun has gone and it is chilly.   I have just resorted to putting the heating on for a while.

It has been our Poetry afternoon - only six of us today but a really enjoyable afternoon with some good poetry - some old familiar ones (part of Wordworth's Prelude, The Owl and the Pussycat) and some new ones I hadn't heard before.   It is always good when you come across a new poem  which you enjoy and which sticks in your mind.

Tess of course loves the poetry afternoon because it is the day when S takes her for a walk.   Today because S lives near where we have our Poetry Tess had two walks - one with S and then later in the afternoon one with T who took her up the fields belonging to W where we have our Poetry.  When we arrived home she climbed in her basket and has slept solidly since then not even getting out for her tea. 

Tents and various fixtures and fittings have arrived at the Showground, which I passed this afternoon, and are being erected bit by bit.   I expect many local ladies are busy baking tonight.   All the entries for competitions have to be in place early on Saturday morning so that they can be judged and prizes awarded in good time for people to walk round and view the exhibits. The whole thing is taken very seriously up here.

Monday, 19 August 2019

Hatches, Matches and Despatches.

Yes, all three are important parts of life and as we get older we seem to  move automatically from the first to the last.   But in the past week or two I have had cause to think of all three.

This morning my cleaning lady tells me of twins born over the week-end to a young couple in the village.   They already have a son who is not yet quite two and now, the day before yesterday, they have added twin girls to their little family.   Taken into hospital on Friday the two girls were born naturally, mother and babies are doing well and twenty eight hours later (after eleven o'clock at night) they were discharged for Dad to ferry them the forty five miles from hospital to home.   How times change - sixty years ago my son and I spent ten  days in hospital after an easy birth and were then discharged to travel the two miles down the road.   We didn't realise how lucky we were did we? 

As to Matches - not many these days as more and more couples seem not to bother about tying the knot but a wedding coming up where my little friend Sophie to  be bridesmaid and
 is so looking forward to it makes a lovely change.

As to Despatches - I have had cause to think about these as I do every year when the Wensleydale Show field begins to transform from just an ordinary silage field into a sea of marquees, trailers and the like.    Several of the big marquees for things like fruit and vegetables, handicrafts, baking are going up today.   The tent for show cattle is already up and they are erecting all the sheep pens for the show sheep.   I pass in the car and I think of the leading lights who worked for days on end to make the Show such a success and who are no longer with us.   A, who - in her white smock - would be there organising things in the produce tents and who on the morning of the Show would arrive with entry after entry in the cakes, buns, eggs, handcrafts, floral arrangements, house plant sections - often she would bake half a dozen Swiss Rolls before she was satisfied enough to enter her offering in the Show.

And then there was C,a farmer who had a lot of sadness in his life but always put on a cheerful face.   He was always around this week, the week when the placing of the tents and the nitty gritty was taking place.   He never chose the limelight but always worked hard in the background to make sure it all went off smoothly.

And then there was the Announcer whose voice had come over the sound system year after year and who had got it off to a fine art so that there was never a hiccup.   A farmer himself he was just good at keeping things going.

All these are gone now and others have taken their place.   And it will always be thus - none of us are indispensible but that doesn't mean we are not thought about, not missed.

So I remember them all in the run up to the Show.   I hope there will be fine weather for Saturday, the big day.   I am sorry I am no longer mobile enough to walk round, and I am sad that my own dear farmer is no longer here to walk round but I am sure they are all here in the spirit of the Show and in the minds of all those who have been going for years.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Sunday

I returned from my usual Sunday lunch out to find that my gardener had been and mowed my lawn - it was really long and ready for doing but keeping it that bit longer does keep it healthier.   A friend's daughter called an hour before I went out for lunch and asked if they could take Tess for a walk with their dog, Meg, so Tess had a day out too and came back half an hour after I did.   Since then she has slept in her basket and has not attempted to eat her tea so I think they have worn her out.   I must say she is such a trusting dog that she would go off with anybody who invited her to do so.   She would sell her soul for a walk.

Lunch out with three friends as usual - it makes such a pleasant Sunday rather than a lonely one.  We always go to the same place and almost always we have Salmon Florentine (salmon steak on a bed of spinach) with Hollandaise Sauce.   I am becoming a creature of habit - something I thought would never happen. 

There is a busy week lined up for the coming week with Strugglers on Tuesday (followed by lunch out), our Poetry meeting on Wednesday and my usual hair appointments on Thursday and then back to our lunch out on Friday.   The days whizz by in a flash as do the weeks.   At least I can't complain that time drags.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Saturday

A really good drying day today - a brisk wind and a good sunshine so it will have done a lot to dry up some of the surplus water lying about.   Friend W and I went to see Alan's garden this morning.   It has given me a lot of inspiration for what to do with parts of my garden I haven't touched yet.

This afternoon friend J, who lives lower down the estate, walked up for a cup of tea and a chat and as she went the phone rang and it was my son to see if I 'fancied sharing a take-away' tonight and of course I said yes.  So there is just about time to take Tess for another walk round before I need to set the table.   Don't know yet whether it will be Pizza, Chinese or Indian - but am happy with any.

Next Saturday it is our Wensleydale Agricultural Show which takes place on the two fields above my bungalow.   I feel frustrated that I can't attend but I don't walk well enough and haven't done for years.   It was one of the highlights of my dear farmer's year and for the last few years of his life I didn't go with him (it was within walking distance of the farm) because I just slowed him down.   It is the place where the farmers meet (often for the only time in the year) and chat and discuss the livestock on show and generally 'chew the cud'.   How he loved it (and all the hospitality he got going from tent to tent of various suppliers!)

The gentleman where I went to view the garden this morning has a son who is a garden designer so I am now about to write him a letter asking if he has time to call on me and advise me on the last bit of my garden to be tackled.   I don't hold out much hope as he is very busy but I can but try.   I will keep you posted.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Friday

Sorry about the lack of posts this week but my dear God-daughter has been staying and we have just had a relaxing evening with a couple of glasses of wine and a good natter - brought up to date.   She went early this morning so tomorrow I shall be back to normal blog-wise.   I have a completely free day with nothing to do so hopefully it will not be as horrible a day as it has been today with rain and winds for much of the time.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Rain

Gentle rain all day today - the kind of day we would welcome if it had been dry for a couple of weeks and the gardens needed it.   My antirrinhums are now in full bloom - all pinks and reds with the odd yellow one thrown in for variety - good to see.
My fox gloves are slowly recovering and looking stronger every day after being nearly washed away.  What a nation of amateur gardeners we are.

J, who lives nearby, lost her husband three years ago to cancer.   She now works tirelessly for cancer charities and is at present selling raffle 
 tickets for a huge raffle - and at the same time trawling round local businesses asking for prizes.
This is not an easy  nor is it a pleasant job.   But she is doing it in good heart and getting amazing generosity from our local businesses - one exception but we shall ignore that.   The draw is to take place before the end of the month, so time is of the essence and she is working so hard - and she is well into her seventies.   A case of wear the old ones out first methinks.

Tess's walk today with friend S was short and sweet because barely had they set off when the rain came down harder for a while and they gave in and came home but wees and poos were noted - always an important thing with ones pets.

Now we are all locked up for the night and would you believe it I have the central heating on because it is so cold.   Both of my neighbours also have theirs on so it is not just me who was suffering.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Tuesday

Now that the weather is 'normal' again it is hard to remember just how awful it was.   It is only when you pass houses which are still drying out, where there are piles of trashed kitchen units heaped up in the garden and where all the windows are open to let in some fresh air, or where row upon row of stone walls lie in heaps along the lanes - then in a flash it all comes back.   Really it will take a long time to return to normality and I suspect that most businesses will suffer greatly as a result - anyone who was planning to come to The Dales but has not booked will surely choose somewhere else to holiday.   And that will be a shame because the flooding was do localised.

This afternoon I have been to the Physiotherapist and coming back the twelve or so miles everything was perfectly ordinary for the whole journey.   I followed a combined harvester almost the whole way (along with about a hundred other cars held up by the machine) and field after field had been harvested and the bales had been collected, mile after mile of golden stubble - a beautiful sight.  Stone walls enclosing sheep grazing peacefully in the fields - everything as it always is.   So if you are thinking of coming to The Dales please don't be put off - with the exception of a very small area The Dales are as beautiful as ever.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Monday morning

The week-end gone and another week dawning.   The flood recedes into the past although not for the folk involved because work still goes on and will for weeks.   My son's lane is smart after its rebuild and driving through the village is slightly easier although there are skips and sandbags everywhere still.   My son thought he had escaped but a couple of days ago the bedroom ceiling fell with a bang, so not all escaped after all.

I have really enjoyed P and D being here for the weekend and christening my new mattresses (which they pronounced to be very comfortable).   The weather has been pretty atrocious with strong winds and rain at times, so we haven't really done a lot.   Dinner on Saturday night (my son and his wife came too) was a pleasant occasion.  As I often do I made a Yorkshire Platter - very little work and always impresses - local Pork Pies, local ham, local cooked sausage, lots of salads and good bread all washed down with good wine.   What's not to like?

Yesterday we all went out for Sunday lunch so no effort involved there and last night the ham which had not been eaten made good ham and Dijon mustard sandwiches, followed by Yorkshire Fruit Cake and local cheeses.

My friends left this morning after taking Tess for her morning walk and then putting out my Green Bin ready for Wednesday morning (it was so full that I couldn't push it down the drive).   Their bed linen has just finished in the machine so I shall go and put it on the line - and then sit down with the remnants of that Yorkshire Platter and have a leisurely lunch.

Friday, 9 August 2019

Friday

Pouring rain on waking this morning and it didn't stop until around half past ten.   Today was the day they were set to resurface the lane where my son lives after the floods of a fortnight ago.   I didn't expect they would do it, but a whole lot of volunteers turned up and by late afternoon it was done.   I understand they all repaired to the pub to celebrate and I am sure they had earned it.    The floods, although catastrophic for so many in the village, have certainly brought out a fantastic community spirit, so it is not all bad news.

By lunch time today it was warm and sunny but now, at almost eight in the evening, huge black clouds fill the sky again and there is a distant rumble of thunder.   I have visitors for the week-end and so I hope the weather is good for their drive cross-country from The Lakes in the morning.   All meals are planned for minimum effort and maximum taste (I hope) so keep your fingers crossed for me.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

First steps

The village beyo nd where I live now, the village so severely flooded ten days ago, is just beginning to pick up the pieces.  There are skips placed around the place for folk to throw rubbish into.  Everyone (bar one) is pulling together and tomorrow the lane where my son lives makes a start on resurfacing - weather permitting.   As I type this cloud is building outside and the air is getting more and more humid.   Just as the forecast said it would.  It is draining any semblance of energy from the limbs.   I do  hope it doesn't hold things up tomorrow.

The less said about the one in brackets above the better but I suppose the least we can say is that it has drawn the rest of the village closer together. 

Heaps of debris lie around everywhere - whole kitchens torn out and piled up ready to dump in the skip.   Not sure I could cope with any of it.

Well, onward and upward.   I have friends for the weekend - fridge to be thoroughly cleaned out before my Tesco order arrives early in the morning.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Oh dear.

My son and his wife called this morning just as I got back from having coffe in town with a friend.
His poor wife is badly handicapped and needs a wheel chair - they took me to see their Lane - an un-made-up, unadopted road with about a dozen houses on it.   The top surface has been completely washed away by the floodwater and is impassable - with great difficulty my son can get her wheelchair up to the road where his car is parked and he had brought her round just for a change of scene.   So we went into Richmond for a bit of lunch.   

That and two walks with Tess and a bit of ironing and I am pretty tired and just feel like sitting down.   The whole village where they live is like a war zone but everyone is pulling together and gradually things are returning to somekind of normality. 

I spoke to my son about how impressed I was by the Dunkirk Spirit in the village and he agreed but quite rightly said that now what was needed was a bit of D Day Spirit on the part of the Authorities to make sure it doesn't happen again.   The flooding is caused by water pouring down off the Grouse Moors - army land which does need careful thought as to how to divert much of the water before it reaches the village.   There is a meeting next week so time will tell as they say.

Monday, 5 August 2019

Monday

The ride to our Book Group Member's house was through the beautiful countryside of Wensleydale - at its very best this time of the year (they totally escaped the flooding) and she lived in a beautiful, very ancient house, surrounded by her dogs - I think we were all very envious.

The book 'The Good Immigrant'  provoked us into such a good discussion on the problems of immigration (several of us have first-hand experience of the problems) and the hour and a half passed so quickly.   The morning was a great success - helped along by good coffee and Lemon Drizzle Cake.   Since then I have cooked myself a bit of lunch, done a couple of loads of washing and taken Tess round the block so the time has come for a rest I think.

For once we are having a completely dry day with a pleasant sun - a bit windy but that will help to dry everything up a bit.   Bathroom mats and Tess's bedding are flapping on the line and will hopefully be dry by bed time.   People who havebeen flooded are still in the throes of clearing up but I think everyone, including they, has been thoroughly heartened by the huge outpouring of support - and a sense that everyone is pulling together.   It is things like this which really do bring out the best in people.

Until tomorrow.

 

Sunday, 4 August 2019

ADay Late

This is really Sunday's post a day late - the day caught up with me and I was too tired to put one on.

Out to lunch as usual (prawn salad and chips for me) and back home at four to take Tess for her walk round the estate.  I needn't have bothered - an hour later her friend, Heather, called to take her for a long walk (she was much more enthusiastic to go).   They both got wet through because true to form a shower became a deluge and it came down in sheets.   Tess didn't seem to mind so came home
 for a good rub down having had a 'bath of sorts'.

Calling to collect friend W for our lunch venue I got the chance to see the awful flood damage in our little village of Bellerby.   The houses by the side of the mill stream, which comes off the Moor, have just been devastated.   All downstairs rooms have been trashed beyond repair and great piles of furniture and fittings are piled up in the gardens.   The Council has thoughtfully provided skips at various places in the village to help with the clean-up operation.   There is a wonderful team spirit with various local businesses offering machinery and goods to help - i.e. sand and cement, aggregate, diggers and the like.   It has really brought out the best in people.

Now another week has dawned and with it heavy showers.   I spent a lot of time over the week-end cleaning the paths and sweeping up the soil and sand that has washed down off the fields  - yesterday there was more heavy rain but luckily only in short, sharp showers not the prolongued downpour of earlier in the week. 

It is my Book Group this morning ('The Good Immigrant ').   Reading a book of short essays is hard going to read one after the other - it is really a book to just dip into .   I didn't read them all and I suspect when I get to the meeting I shall find that no-one did.

I shall hopefully report back tonight, but in the meantime I need to shower and get ready to go - still haven't taken Tess for her morning walk.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Ominous black clouds.

I have spent much of today clearing up the garden.  My health is such that I can only do about an hour's physical work before I have to sit down for an hour and rest.   So it has more or less taken me all day.   First hour was spraying weed killer on the weeds which have taken hold in various cracks in the paving stones.   Then I took Tess for her usual morning walk round.   Then I began the task of sweeping the patios which were covered with the detritus of a day's flooding - mainly bits of bark, empty snail shells (dozens of them I presume off the fields), and sandy soil which has been brought down by the sheer volume of the water.

Now, as I sit here writing this at almost eight o'clock in the evening and after taking Tess for another walk the sky is full of heavy black clouds, it is extremely heavy and warm and more thunder storms are forecast.    Oh dear, will it all have been in vain my clearing up?

And more to the point will the dam hold at Whaley Bridge - the plight of the people there makes our village problems seem light by comparison. 

Lots of plants in my garden were battered and are looking very sorry for themselves.   I have cut them back where I can and am hoping they will recover - at least they are not short of water.   But the antirrhinums have remained straight, strong and tall - in full flower - and have taken everything nature has thrown at them.   And they are such cheerful flowers.   See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Life returns to normal.

It is a pleasant day - nice breeze, blue sky with clouds scudding across now and again, keeps looking a bit like dropping a shower but then passing over.   I drove into town and parked in the Car Park - I needed to call for a few salad and fruity things, call at the jeweller to have a new clasp fitted on a necklace I have bought, buy some Bonios and then go to the Hairdresser for my weekly hair-do.

Everywhere is getting back to normal unless you were really affected.   There are heaps of sand which has been washed down everywhere and some shops are closed as they were flooded and are still clearing out.   My garden is looking very battered, especially my poor foxgloves, but will no doubt recover.   In town there is still water  draining off but I understand from the lady in the Pet Shop that Langthwaite in Swaledale is really badly affected with some houses almost washed away.   Bales of silage waiting to be collected in the fields have been washed miles downstream.   Swaledale is much more upland than Wensleydale and they are mostly lucky to get two crops of silage a year -this will be second crop and will be an awful loss of winter feed.

My son still can't get his car out and his wife is marooned indoors until the lane is repaired.   When he came out this morning the water had all gone but he found a dead goldfish in the middle of his drive so somebody's garden pond had been swamped obviously.   But that is nothing compared with the dead sheep up in Arkengarthdale.   All such a tragedy.   But life is returning to normal everywhere.    Hardy folk us Yorkshire folk.  (only 30 years for me)

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Headline News

Well, I didn't expect ever to see our little town make headline news but it did tonight - we were headlines on BBC News at six o'clock, although most of the shots were actually in Bellerby, the nearby village, which took most of the flooding.
People are still clearing up and there is a lot of flood damage everywhere.   It has rained on and off all day although not so heavily.   In some parts of the village householders had to be rescued from their bedroom windows.   The rain came down from the grouse moors above the village - there is heather but hardly a tree to be seen and several becks converge to make the (usually)  pretty one which flows through the village and makes it such an attractive one.   As it rushed down the road it was strong enough to move cars on drives and push them into garage doors - the power in the water was amazing.  It is, of course, the talk of the town and everywhere one goes that is all one hears.   It did happen before some years ago although not quite so bad.   The land is used by the army and the general feeling is that they will have to do something to stop this happening again - although what I don't know.   But then I am not a civil engineer.

Life is slowly returning to normal.



 

Tuesday, 30 July 2019


As I write this at three in the afternoon we are in the midst of one of the worst storms I have ever seen.    Hail stones are cascading down, my whole garden is flooded and there is water everywhere.   It has been going for a good half hour and as yet shows no sign of abating.   Tess and I were just about to set out on our afternoon walk when it arrived -  we shall not go now until it is long past.   It has just come on twice as bad.   My poor plants - they certainly will not be thirsty now.  And my water butt will be full.  (and my windows washed clean).
There is literally a waterfall coming through at the top of the garden, cascading over the top patio and then pouring over the bottom patio and going I know not where.   When it finally stops I might go out and see!The sky keeps lightening and the rain lessening and then a couple of minutes later it starts again.   Our climate these days is never a happy medium - always one thing or the other.  As I write more hailstones have arrived.

Water is shooting up through the manholes in the road outside.   The sky is lightening, odd scraps of blue here and there.   The standing water is slowly dispersing but not sure where it is going - certainly not going out to look as it would be well over my shoes.



Monday, 29 July 2019

Good news.

Yes, I have been to see my doctor this morning and he thinks my 'attack' was probably a faint in the hot weather.   He advised me to up my liquid intake and said I could drive as long as I didn't go too far.    Good news indeed.

After the almost unbearable hot weather we had a pouring wet day on Saturday and a few showers yesterday.   When I went out this morning to water and feed my pots they were absolutely bone dry, so I must keep up the watering.   Luckily the really heavy rain has filled my water butt to the brim so at least I am not having to use mains water. Today it is sunny but there is a sharp wind blowing from the west so it is quite bearable typical English Summer weather again.

Because I walk Tess morning, lunch time and evening on most days, everyone around knows me so that wherever I go people speak.   It is so nice.   This morning, unsure whether I could drive or not,  the lady who cleans for me ran me to the doctor's on her way home and my son promised to collect me.   As I sat waiting on a seat at the Medical Centre a lady offered me a lift home.   When I asked how she knew where I lived she said I passed her house every morning with Tess so she knew I lived along the road somewhere.   A dog is a good defining feature.   And what a neighbourly road I live on.

Cup of tea time calls - doctor says I must drink more - so until tomorrow ---

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Singing for Joy.

I can almost hear the plants in my garden   singing for joy today.   It has rained heavily more or less non stop all day here in the North East.   I have not had to carry a single watering can and I suspect my rain water butt will  be full which also makes life much easier.   Hopefully the rain will have passed over to the West tomorrow and we shall see the sun again.   Simple pleasures but good ones.

It has been far too much for Tess and for me too.   I have spent the past three days doing very little.   I am not driving until I have discussed my slight loss of consciousness with my Doctor on Monday and I am sure he will tell me not drive for the time being.   Taxis into town cost very little from where I live  (four pounds) and with my new walker I might be able to walk a little further anyway.   And various good friends are being helpful with lifts too.   A delivery from Tesco and a batch of Teady meals delivered have set me up nicely - I am just having to readjust my life style.

Looking out of the window at 8.58 I notice how the nights are beginning to draw in.   It is still raining and the sky is full of big, scudding black clouds - but it is also almost dark.   Dare in say Autumn draws on?

The electrician is coming in the morning to finally finish putting the new lights in my kitchen and not a moment too soon - I really need them now to make that bedtime drink. See you tomorrow.




 

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

My NewWalker

Well, I have bought my 'DRIVE' four-wheeled walker to help me to walk a little bit further.   Now the next task is to train Tess to walk at the side without weaving back and forth in front of me.   Watch this space.   At present it is parked in the garage.   When I get an opportunity I will photograph it for here.   Too tired to go and do it tonight.

It is hot, humid and oppressive and every movement is almost too much.   I shouldn't complain about the weather (although we had a thunderstorm during the night and all pots got a good soaking) - it is fairly late evening and, according to my mobile, it is around twenty three degrees here, although it is airless and feels much hotter than that to me.

It has been our Poetry afternoon - always a pleasure and today especially so as friend D came.   She has been very ill indeed for some weeks and it is a delight to see her back and what is more in good form.    So welcome back D.   All but one of us there and a good variety of poets - Keats, Hughes, Cope, Larkin, and many more.   It is always hard to remember them afterwards.

And my gardener D came and mowed my lawn and cut back a tree that was getting too big for its boots, and cut off some plants which had finished flowering.   Looks much tidier.   Taxi to Hairdresser in the morning and then Chiropodist just after lunch and a quiet afternoon.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Walkers

I am thinking of buying myself a walking aid.   D, who I see when I meet friends for coffee, has one and finds it a great help.   It has a small shopping basket and a lid which makes the basket into a seat.   It has four wheels, which make it very stable and it folds so that I can lift it on to the bus.
So watch this space.   I am hoping to  buy it tomorrow - our Pharmacist has a good selection and will help with adjusting it to the right height for me.

It has been exceptionally hot here today.   Tess is not amused but I took her for a short walk this morning before friend E collected me to go in for coffee.   When I got back from town I opened doors and windows so that the house was cool but Tess would only go out into the shade if I was out there.   All my tubs were desperate for a drink and I had to water them immediately (I have done so again this evening).   After tea I took Tess round the block again but it was far too hot and even she was ready to return home.

It is our Poetry group tomorrow so this afternoon I chose what I intend to read.   Friend H came round to say she will take me as I can't drive at the moment.   What it is to have such very good friends.   I am so very lucky.

The Shakes.

I have a condition called 'Benign Essential Tremor' - not serious, runs in families,just a nuisance.  It seems to be worse this hot weather, so it is quite easy to press the wrong button.   This is exactly what happened yesterday.   I really can't remember what I posted about but what I do know is that when I got to the end I pressed the wrong button and the whole thing disappeared into the ether.   Sometimes right-clicking on undo is enough to make it all return but not so yesterday.   I gave up in despair - this weather is hard enough to cope with without re-writing the whole thing.

So, on to today and its events.   Now that I am into a period of not driving until the doctor has looked into my TIA (he doesn't seem particularly bothered but obviously I can\t drive) I am having to completely reorganise my life.  I have bounced back (wondered whether I would or not - but I have) and the first thing i have done is to order my weekly shopping from Tesco.   It was delivered this morning and before I went in to meet friends for coffee (collected and returned home very kindly by friend E) I had it all stored away.   I have also ordered six Ready Meals to try (from a company called COOK which has been highly recommended so I will report back when I have eaten a meal) and they are coming tomorrow morning, so my job left to do today is to reorganise my freezer to make room for them.   This week's Hair Appointment taxi has been booked.   And I am looking into getting a Walking Aid.   D, who I meet at coffee each Tuesday morning, let me have a go with his this morning and it seems ideal.   It has four wheels so is very stable, it has a small shopping basket and the lid forms a seat if you need it.   It folds and has a handle for lifting it up on to the bus.   The bus from the town centre stops at the end of my road so I hope I am getting myself organised.

It is a very hot day here.   When I came home this morning my tubs in the front were all seriously wilting so I had to water them all and also my newly planted  conifers.   After lunch I have watered the tubs in the back garden and I shall have to water all tubs again when the sun goes down tonight.   Tomorrow is our Poetry afternoon so now I am off to look at my offering - Edith Sitwell is worth a search so might start.   At present I am reading Derek Jarman's 'Modern Nature' - you have to be pretty broad-minded to read it (it is certainly an eye opener) but fascinating stuff.   'Til tomorrow
 

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Saturday

Thank you to everyone who sent commiserations on my brush with ill health.   Sadly this is what happens when eighty is past (much younger for some people - I am lucky).   I am certainly not feeling myself at all but there is no need for me to do much and I am still finding enough appetite for meals out!  I have already chatted to the Taxi lady and fixed up some appointments with her before she goes off on ten day's holiday and my next mission is to track down a Bus Timetable.   The bus into town (only a mile away) stops at the end of my road.   Then I intend to look into walking aids with wheels so that I might find it easier to walk a bit further and do some journeys on foot.

We have had some rain although not as much as many other places.   But all the plants in the garden look happier and have certainly had a drink.   They must make the most of it because we are promised temperatures of thirty next week.   I shall go to earth if this happens.   Hot weather and I do not mix and never have done.

I have had a quiet day today,   The electrician has been fixing the new lights in my kitchen.   The actual lights are on order and should be here by next week-end, so two wires are sticking out of the  ceiling in my kitchen and all is ready for the LED lights to be fitted when they arrive.  Another good job done by next week-end with any luck.
Apart from three walk with Tess - morning, lunch time and tea time - I have spent a large part of the day reading.   First of all my Book Group Book - a book of essays written by Immigrants to this country and called 'The Good Immigrant' and then, when my son called this afternoon with his wife, they had been into the book shop in our nearby town of Richmond and he had picked up a book he ordered and he brought it for me to read first.   Since then I have been reading Derek Jarman's   'Modern Nature' which is about his life and his special garden on the shingle.   It was written after he contracted (and was dying of) Aids.   I am finding it fascinating reading. But I must be stern with myself - The Good Immigrant has to be finished before the first Monday in August.

Hopefully more rain is forecast overnight before the heatwave sets in.   Let's hope it is forthcoming here - we definitely need it.

Friday, 19 July 2019

Friday

After my sudden unexpected fall the other day, a fall which was totally unexplained, I have decided not to drive my car again until I have consulted the doctor in case it turns out to be a T I A.   I know how common they are in older people.  I must get to know the bus service into town (there is a stop at the end of my road) - I already have my Bus Pass but have never used it.   Also there are several good taxi firms in town so it would be easy to use them too.   I have rarely gone further in my car than into town for a long time now, so it will not be too much of an inconvenience once I get used to it.   I would never be able to forgive myself if I had one while driving (they are usually only momentary).

On a happier note - for about an hour this evening we have had quite heavy rain.   We really need it to rain heavily all night as we are really desperate in our gardens,but even a couple of hours is better than all the watering with a can and there are still enormous black clouds overhead so hopefully a bit more to come before next week's threatened heat wave.

This week end is our forties week end here in the town, when ladies and gentlemen take over the town in their military uniforms (always officers strangely enough) - we have ATS girls, WAAFs, Yanks, Army, Navy and Air force personnel, Air Raid Wardens, Nursing Auxiliaries - you name it; they are an enthusiastic bunch and stall holders abound to sell them new items of gear and clothing.   So I hope it rains overnight and then clears for the weekend as it promises.  Next week promises a gigantic heat wave.   I can do without that, I am not a hot weather person.

Lunch today as usual and we both had the same - salmon, fennel and saute potatoes in a butter sauce.   I have had no appetite all week but it is slowly coming back and I really enjoyed my lunch.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Wednesday

Not feeling all that well at the moment .   I relaxed in bed for an extra hour then got up in leisurely fashion, showered and took Tess for her walk.   On my return I sat down with a drink and dozed off - quite unlike me.   Then I cooked myself a lunch, slipped and ended up on the kitchen floor.   I didn't hurt myself but had difficulty getting up.   I rang my son but he wasn't at home so I struggled and I made it - which was pleasing.

After lunch friends S and T called to take Tess for a walk - so kind of them - and I went with them to the Reservoir.   I settled down in one of M's folding chairs (I don't possess any but M, who lives next door, lent me one for the afternoon) with my book (The Good Immigrant (a collection of essays - very interesting)).   The sun was pleasant and it was a restful afternoon.   We called for a cup of tea on the way home too, which was nice.

Rain is expected, but so far (7.30pm) we have had only a few meagre drops and we really need a downpour.   Our gardens are crying out for it. Hopefully it will arrive overnight.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Tuesday

For almost the first time this summer it has been a very warm day, although here there is still quite a strong wind - in some ways a welcome one.

It was our monthly 'Strugglers' meeting this morning.   We meet in the local Quaker Meeting House - sometimes as many as nine of us but this morning only five.  The idea is to have silence for a while and then to discuss anything we wish to air to one another - any problem we have which needs a chat, anything which is troubling us in any way.

This morning W talked about Labyrinths.   She brought several hand-out sheets and first of all we tried to draw one - easier said than done but we all mastered it in the end.   Then we tried making one in twos - we made it on table tops using wool.  I took quite a while with V to construct it - W took a photo on her i phone and I have put it into my pictures, but it won't transfer to show you for some reason.   Labyrinths are fascinating things and go back into antiquity - I intend to read up on them when I have a chance.

As it is, my reading at the moment has to concentrate on my Book Group book for next session on the first Monday in the month.   It is a collection of essays and in order to finish it in time I really need to read and think about one essay a day.   I have read the first one today and it is proving fascinating reading.

Until tomorrow.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Monday

Monday morning.   Up bright and early after a reasonable night's sleep.   Feeling my usual self although hot weather is not kind to arthritis so walking is quite difficult.   Once my cleaning lady had arrived and I had watered my pots on the back patio Tess and I had a stroll round our usual morning round - slow but steady.   Now plenty of time to put on a blog before eating up all yesterday's left-overs for my lunch.

I must say I thought the news about the cricket was absolutely tremendous.   To win on the last ball like that with a 'run out' was just so very exciting and so well-deserved.   I was delighted  for the whole team.   And seeing the last few shots of the 5 set tennis mens' final (the longest in tennis final history I believe) was equally thrilling.   The grace and sheer good humour was so pleasing to see.

We desperately need rain in the garden and most of the plants are looking decidedly thirsty.   The night before last my son tells me he watered all of their garden quite late in the evening and he said that when he looked out just as it began to get dark, all the plants were standing up tall and straight as if in thanks.   Many of the rock plants in the side of the garden I have planted are now finished flowering and need trimming back but I just dare not venture up to the top of the garden so it will have to wait a while until my gardener has the time.   The other side - unplanted - is now waiting for the Mare's Tail weed to be twenty centimetres before he sprays it with special weed killer for the  third time.   After that we have decided to plant it with shrubs come what may and let it take its chance.   In the meantime lovely tall deep pink poppies have colonised it it - and they are thriving.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Busy Day

My family have been here for a buffet lunch today and I have thoroughly enjoyed their company, but now that they have all gone I am very tired.

Also I want to know how the cricketers fared, who won the tennis - and I hope the ten o'clock news will reveal all.   So sorry everyone, but no more post tonight.   It is ten minutes to ten, the sun is going down (how the nights are beginning to draw in) and I want to settle down and catch up with all the sports news.   See you all tomorrow.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Gardeners

The weather is never right for us gardeners.   It doesn't seem all that long since we were complaining we needed a bit of sun.    Now we are complaining that we desperately need rain and we are watering newly planted plants like mad.   I have fairly recently planted up a new square in the front of my bungalow with a collection of evergreens and one or two plants of Carex grass.  In the Autumn I intend to add a lot of spring bulbs - not an original idea, there is another small plot Tess and I pass on our morning walks that fits this pattern and I admire it greatly.   But newly-planted evergreens need well watering until they are firmly established, so my gardener has fitted me a hosepipe on the outside tap so that I can gently give each plant a drink without carrying cans of water.   We had a tiny shower this evening - at least it made the leaves receptive to taking in water,

My gardener usually comes once a week to mow my largish front lawn but for some reason he has missed a week.   So now I have a lovely lawn of Birds'Foot Trefoil - I shall be quite sad to see it go.

I have enough weed killer specialised for Mares Tail weed left for one more application.   My gardener is going to do that on the first still day (we live in a windy area) and then after that we are going to plant the area with shrubs and just keep hoeing the mares tail as it comes through.   Enough is enough.   All gardeners have their cross to bear and mares tail is mine.   I have just walked round the garden and the midgies are biting!