Tuesday 31 December 2019

Gentle walks.

The order of the day here.   It has been a lovely quiet, sunny day and Tess and I have had two short walks round the estate.   It has done us both good.   New Year is not a particularly happy time as it holds so many memories - but it soon passes.   Tess is about the same walking-wise but certainly no worse and when the vet rings on Friday with the results of the tests I shall ask what he thinks to enrolling her at the Hydro pool (only a couple of miles away).

Coffee with four friends this morning - a pleasant hour and lots of laughs,although one of the four has worries about two of her dearest and health problems.   There is something comforting about sharing worries like this with friends and I hope she gained comfort from us. 

Friends called when I got home.   S and T had read about Tess on yesterday's post and called round 'sick visiting'.   Of course she was delighted to see them and watching her with them I did get the feeling that her movement was a little better with the introduction of the anti inflammatories.

Apart from placing an order with Tesco for Thursday delivery (my grand daughter and her family are coming at the week end) that more or less sums up my day.   Now curtains are closed, dog has been fed, scented candle is lit, almost time for the News and a couple of programmes I am looking forward to.   Shall I stay up to see the New year in?   I doubt it - I can see myself in bed for eleven as usual.   But a Very Happy New Year to you all.

Monday 30 December 2019

A Visit to the Vet

Rachel and I have had a similar sort of day today.   It has not been pleasant.   This morning Tess's walking was so bad that she was struggling not to fall over.   I decided to take her to Open Surgery at 2pm.   The Vet I go to lives about ten miles away so I need to leave half an hour in advance to get there.   When I got there there was a full house.  For me struggling from the car to the surgery with a handbag, a walking stick and a reluctant dog on a lead was not easy - nor was opening the two doors to get in.   Luckily a kind man jumped to his feet and held the doors open for me (that alone brought tears to my eyes so you can tell how worked up I was about the whole thing).

 He gave her a thorough examination and said that she had little muscle around her back thighs and obviously had quite severe arthritis in all four limbs.   He took a few blood samples, tested her kidneys and said they were fine and then sent a couple of samples away for testing.   He has given me some anti inflammatory drugs to give her and told me that for the time being he thinks the two walks a week she does with a group of dogs (several big dogs who obviously go faster than she does) should be suspended for a while until we get this thing under control.   I then drove home again, calling at a Nature Reserve I pass so that she could have a walk on the flat, which she enjoyed.   Not sure I did as by this time it was beginning to be    dusk and I was anxious to get home.   It is at times like this that being alone really hits home - I am ashamed to say that tears were not far away.  Still, onward and upward ...

Sunday 29 December 2019


The promised unseasonably warm weather never really materialised here today.   It has been a pleasant enough day but the temperature never got above nine or ten even when the sun came out mid-afternoon.   Our usual lunch out - the four of us - was pleasant, as usual.   Three of us had salmon and the fourth roast beef.   Two of us (me for one) had the new addition to the menu for sweets - we had the cheese board.  It consisted of three pieces of our chosen cheese (cut at the table by the chef) with biscuits, butter, celery and grapes.   A perfect finish to the meal.

Tess and I have managed two walks today but I am worried about her as she is limping so badly - it appears to be arthritis in both back legs and now today in her front legs too.   I am already giving her a joint supplement so intend shortly (after New Year) to pay a visit to the Vet. 

This week looks to be a quiet week so far before I am expecting visitors for tea on Sunday -so plenty of time to post on here.   See you tomorrow.

Saturday 28 December 2019

A Late Birthday Outing.

For my birthday my son and his wife bought me a beautiful large scarf and also promised me a visit to Saltburn on the North East Coast.   Today at lunch time he rang to ask if I would like to go this afternoon.   Of course I said yes please.
It looks to be a chilly North Sea and I am sure it was although there were one or two surf boarders around (in wet suits I hasten to add).

There were hundreds of families there walking along the promenade and walking down the pier.  The whole place has a real Victorian feel to it and it almost seemed incongruous to see people in up to date clothing.   There were lots of children with their Christmas presents - little bikes, scooters and the like and there were lots sitting in the outdoor cafes on the side of the prom.   We joined them and had a cup of coffee and a cake and watched the world go by. 

Because both my daughter-in-law and I are disabled (she in a wheel chair and me with a wheelie) we went down from the car park to the prom in the cliff railway - a fascinating contraption constructed in the late nineteenth century and one of the things which gives the place its Victorian feeling.    The two carriages
pass one another on the journey - one going up and the other coming down and the whole thing takes maybe about a minute.   Coming down we were at the pier in no time.
There was a strong aroma of fish and chips on the pier as dozens of those sitting on the seats had cartons of fish and chips and dainty little forks with which to eat them.   They smelled divine!

We didn't have long there before the sun began to go down and it began to get near to dusk so we had to set off for home, but we had had a lovely afternoon.   By the time we got home we were all three hungry but nobody felt like getting any tea so after calling in at their house to feed the cat they took me home (only a mile away) and ordered a pizza each - they were jolly good.   The sea air had given us an appetite!   My son took Tess for an early evening walk and we settled down for a chat.   Now they have gone home and it is time to get ready for bed.   The sea air should send me to sleep soundly.

Friday 27 December 2019

Almost over and done with...

Well not quite - there's still New Year's Day to come to mess up and confuse one's memory of what day of the week it is next week.  Today is Friday isn't it?   But only the arrival of my dog walker confirmed for me that I had things right - and then going out to lunch with W, M, and C - what a treat to get out of the house and almost back to normality.   I had a bacon, brie and cranberry panini and have just had a cup of tea and a mince pie.   It has been lovely to get with one's loved ones - my son's meal was super yesterday and I enjoyed it very much - but how good it is to get back to one's normal routine.

Weather forecasters speak of a warm spell drifting up from Africa as a great mass of yellows colours the weather map.   I hope it arrives here soon because at present it is damp and cold.   Luckily Tess has had a good walk today and I am hoping it is better weather for me to take her tomorrow - my walking is almost back to normal after my visitors.

It is good to have my telephone back in working order again and I have been most impressed with the work BT have done.   It was a big job and several teams of workmen investigated various possible faults until at last they dug up my front lawn and fitted a new connection.   Every single workman was pleasant and friendly and today - the icing on the cake - an e mail from BT apologising for taking a week to finish it all and telling me that they had credited my account with forty pounds compensation.   So well done BT.

As usual there has been little on television to appeal to me - apart from a special nightly 'University Challenge' in which teams who were at Uni in the nineties have competed against one another.   It has been so interesting to watch especially as their reactions to the button are just that little bit slower than the young things who are usually on the programme.   And it was good to watch HM The Queen, so amazing for her age - and so dignified - talk for ten minutes.   I am no royalist but who could help but admire a lady of such age who ploughs on, come what may, whatever we may say about privilege and no money worries?

Saturday tomorrow - I shall no doubt think it is Sunday all day - a day on which I have absolutely nothing to do apart from walking the dog and going into town to post a parcel.   So see you then.

Tuesday 24 December 2019

Happy Christmas.


Monday 23 December 2019

Almost there.

Well 'twas almost the day before Christmas and it is almost true that 'not a creature was stirring not even a mouse'.   Tess and I have just been for our late afternoon walk - Tess 'raring to go' and me still having difficulty walking.   Add to that that it is a very windy day and you will realise that it was not a particularly successful walk for either of us.   Still, tomorrow is the day that Jane comes to walk her so she will get a good walk then.   But once I have fed Tess (immediately after writing this) we will both settle down for the evening.

Our little town is heaving today, as I suspect is everywhere.   There is a big market here and when I went in at nine o'clock there was not a single place left in the Car Park and I just managed to nab the last Disabled Place just by the shop I wished to visit - very lucky.  I like to think it is all people who have been working up to today rather than people who have just left their Christmas shopping until the last minute. 

One by one flashing lights are appearing in the windows on the estate where I live.   I have just an arc of candles in the window - I quite like the peace of it.   I have not quite got the enthusiasm to decorate the bungalow since my dear farmer went so I only have a few decorations here and there but I have had a huge lot of Christmas cards which I absolutely love receiving (and sending) and when they are up it livens the place up and makes it Christmassy.   They all came down this morning so that my cleaning lady could give a good dust.   After tea I shall read them all before putting them up again and I shall enjoy that.   I hope you are all having an enjoyable and Christmassy day too - and there is 'Carols from Kings' to look forward to tomorrow - one of my favourite things about Christmas.

Sunday 22 December 2019


Hurray!   I have a telephone again.   And I cannot speak too highly of the treatment I have received from BT.   Once they knew my age and the fact that I subscribe to Lifeline they have pulled out all the stops.   After various checks by various teams both inside and outside the house, they finally identified the fault as being in the cable under my front lawn.   It had been laid  when the bungalow was built almost fifty years ago and is the kind of cable which is no longer used in any case.   They took up the turf, dug a channel, replaced the cable with a much large one, brushed the soil off the grass into the trench, replaced the turf and then broke through the path to the house wall and drilled a new hole through into the sitting room.   It is all neat and tidy.   Tess promptly 'christened' the new concrete strip with paw prints which will be there for ever, but otherwise it is a neat job.   All the teams who came were pleasant chaps - I dished out hot mince pies - the least I could do.

My visitors have been and have now gone.   I got lots of food in and they were both very good at helping prepare it.  They also took Tess for her walks which was a help.   But inevitably I was on my feet a lot more than usual and today I am finding it very difficult to walk.   I am just hoping that my ankles and knees get stronger over the next few days. 

Out to usual Sunday lunch today then home to take Tess for a very short walk, which was all I could manage.   I have several presents still to wrap so that job will take me up to bedtime - there is nothing I wish to watch on television.   My Book Group book is Bill Bryson's 'A Walk in the Woods' which somebody on my blog recommended (it is my choice this month and I didn't want anything too heavy for around Christmas as everybody's mind is on other things).   I must say I am enjoying it very much - it is a very amusing read.  Bill Bryson lives up in The Dales so he is very much a local lad (he is of course American but seems to like living over here).   So whoever it was who recommended it - 'Thank you.'

Tuesday 17 December 2019


When my sister (twenty two years older than me) became old she used to say that what irritated her most was that she would lay in bed in the morning, planning her day and then - at the end of the day - she would realise she had done only about an eighth of what she intended.   Now that I have reached my eighties I can only say how true I find what she said.

Except for the odd day.   And, glory be, today has been a day like that!   No - I am not walking any better - I still need my stick and even with it I can only walk slowly and painfully.   But I have really had a very good day.   My Grandson and his partner come tomorrow until Saturday so I had quite a big shop (I always shop on Tuesday mornings).  Much of the day to day stuff I have delivered but for vegetables, fruit, bread - stuff like that - I like to go to the shop and buy it.   I was late setting off because the egg lady came with my dozen eggs and we had a chat.   I found a parking spot immediately, I whizzed round the shop buying everything I needed, there was no queue at the back of the shop where the Post Office is located and in no time at all I had the shopping packed in the boot of the car (I always have a young man from the shop to help me) and was on the way home.   I even remembered to call in at our Medical Centre to collect some Hearing Aid Batteries so that I don't run out over Christmas.   Then it was an hour's sit down over lunch, The Times, Coffee and a Mince Pie. 

Tess had a long walk with her Dog Walker, so I slipped back into town because I had forgotten to pay my newspaper bill.   Normally one trip into town would be enough, today I managed two quite happily.    Then, before I took my coat off I took out the Recycling 'rubbish' and put at the bottom of the drive.   Another couple of jobs done.

Then the job of washing out the fridge, putting the fresh food I had bought away, adding the dry goods to my store cupboard, putting my shopping trolley and bags in the garage where they live - and the door bell went to admit the Lifeline warden who calls on me once a month to check that I am alright.   It was good to see him because he did not know I had no telephone service (and without that Lifeline doesn't work).

Now, at half past seven in the evening, everywhere is tidy, Tess has had her tea and is asleep in her bed, the house is warm and I shall now go and choose my poems to read at tomorrow's Poetry.   An earlyish night will enable me to rise fresh in the morning to make a batch of vegetable and pearl barley soup ready for my visitors coming in the evening.  Served with croutons or garlic bread it makes a delicious meal followed by coffee and a hot mince pie.

There will be a gap in posts now because my visitors will be staying in my computer room.   So my next post will probably be on Saturday.   Whether or not I shall have a telephone service by then seems unlikely.   I have to wait for an outside contractor to dig up the lawn and no sign of him today.   The good news it is turning warmer for a couple of days.   See you soon.

Monday 16 December 2019

Monday News,

The most important Monday News is on the phone front.   After extensive investigation both inside the bungalow and outside the problem has been identified as under my front lawn.   So contractors have now been called in to dig up the lawn and put me a new cable in.   The BT engineer has been this morning and has moved the whole caboodle on to the outside wall and put in a new socket so that when they put in the new cable it can be connected.   A spiral of cable sits on the outside wall awaiting connection - and I await the arrival of the contractors whenever they choose to come.  Of course I am still not connected to my usual Lifeline service but I have my mobile and as long as I keep it fully charged then I am fine.   On the plus side, although there is a bit of snow lying here and there, the sun has shone all day and although there is a sharp cold wind blowing it is a rather nice December day - better than rain, snow or fog any day.

Well Ben Stokes won Sports Personality of the Year 2019 and a well-deserved win I would say.   What a year England's   Cricket Team had and what pleasure they gave to so many people.   Sport of any kind is not my thing but I do always bear in mind the pleasure they give to so many people who for one reason or another are unable to participate.   And Ben's charming acceptance speech was a delight to listen to.

   The fitting of a new point in a different place in my sitting room might well mean I shall have to rearrange my furniture but I shall cross that bridge when I come to it.   When it came time to take Tess for her morning walk I found that the engineer was not allowed to stay in the house on his own while I took her, so my son came and walked her round the block for me.   I would have been quite happy for the engineer to stay in the place alone but seems it is not allowed - understandable I suppose.

Funny how these days we just can't manage without all these contacts with the outside world.   When I think my parents never had a car, never had a phone, (never even had central heating come to that) I wonder whether we have become a bit too soft these days.   What do you think?   Should we take advantage of every bit of modern technology, should we pick and choose what we have or should we just ignore the lot?

Sunday 15 December 2019


Yesterday morning I woke at 5.30am to find the central heating on (it is set at eighteen overnight) so it had obviously been very cold.   Today I didn't wake until a quarter to eight, only to find the heating hadn't come on.   When I drew back the bedroom curtains there was snow  - obviously the snowfall had kept the temperature up a little.   I might add that I quickly turned the heating on - I am not that hardy!  Now, at half past nine, the sun is shining and the snow seems to be going, so I should be alright to go out on my usual lunch date.
Remember I live in very hilly countryside and I drive a nippy little Vauxhall  Corsa - not the most suitable combination for wintry weather. 

I have still no landline - the fault seems now to have been identified as under my front lawn and they are coming tomorrow to dig that up.   I cannot complain about BT service - they have been very good at giving me priority because of my age and  trying to restore my access to Lifeline, the service I belong which helps people who live alone.  So I am relying on my mobile at present.

My old 98 year old friend, who always comes out to lunch with us on Sundays, called off today - she said she didnt want to venture out in the snow and that the view from her window, looking out directly into the Dale, was enough to keep her happy all day as it was 'white over'.   As friend W had another engagement that meant that just C and I were there.   We both had a veggie choice - C had Penang Curry and I had Vegetable Chilli - both were delicious.   For 'afters' we both had cheese and biscuits with celery and apple - it was delicious too.   I arrived home in time to take Tess for a short walk before the road got icy - I dare not walk on the footpath as it still had snow on it and had hardly melted at all.   I have to cajole Tess into going out when it gets too cold so I don't think she missed her usual walks.   Now all the blinds and curtains are drawn, the heating is turned up and both of us are settling down for a snug evening once the place gets warm.   Hopefully see you tomorrow.

Friday 13 December 2019

Well, well, well.

Don't know whether to be pleased, horrified or dis affected - all I can say is that it is over and we shall see.   At least there is a clear majority whether you like it or not so something should be able to get done rather than shilly-shallying from one argument to the next.

Down here on the ground floor, the grass roots, with one of the safest Conservative seats in the country (there's a lot of money about in North Yorkshire) there was never any doubt so not a lot of interest.   I have no idea what the turn-out was but there was a steady stream when I went to vote and in a town of not many more than a couple of thousand that is what you would expect.

Now it has all died down, no more shouting, all loud hailers, all pamphlets through letter boxes, all empty promises - gone as if they had never been.   So now we can get back to serious posts folks.   Only trouble is that my landline is down - I didn't have online service but it suddenly came back on late yesterday evening,  but the phone is still dead. Luckily my son is sorting it out for me with BT - I am now at the stage where I easily get into little pieces and flap!!   See you tomorrow.

Thursday 12 December 2019


What a strange week it has been weather-wise.  Alternate days have been breezy but pleasantly sunny.  The other days, including today, have been horrible.   Today it is very cold (two degrees), very foggy and heavy rain.  Luckily the rain didnt start until I got home after a trip into town - my usual hair appointment followed by chores.  Because it involved some admin work involving my son and because he has now broken up for the Christmas holidays, he kindly chauffered me round - a great help.   Admin done I slipped into our Deli and bought two large Christmas cakes as presents.   They are made in Wensleydale and are every bit as good as home made.   Now that I no longer have my beloved Aga I no longer bake cakes.

I got home to find that Tess was out with Jane, my dog walker and Tess was quite perky when she returned - she had obviously enjoyed it in spite of the weather.   I spent a quiet afternoon reading, doing the puzzles in The Times (I do these every day - have to keep the old brain active), and having the odd doze until it was time for The Repair Shop.

Well Election Day is drawing to a close - thank goodness - I and many others - am totally sick of all the empty promises and all the waffle.   I shall certainly not stay up  to see the declaring of the results; there was a time when I did.   I did go and vote -my son drove me up to the Polling Station.  I was in two minds whether to bother (ours is a very safe seat) but , as my son always says, "Remember Emily Davidson mother" - and I do.

Another week bites the dust.   Not long to Christmas now - and more importantly not long to a New Year.

Wednesday 11 December 2019


The fact that the same things happen each week on the same day does tend to make the weeks come round quickly.   I am not complaining;   I like time to whizz by not drag.  Wednesdays are a day in particular because friend S almost always comes after her Craft Class to take Tess for her walk.   Today was no exception.   By the time S came the sun had more or less disappeared which meant that the cold had begun to come down and it wasn#t all that exciting a prospect but it does do Tess such a lot of good and she does adore S.

They arrived back half an hour later and S and I sat in the Sitting Room and put a few things to rights (without once mentioning tomorrow and the election!) before S went home.   I did a bit of admin which needed doing - increasingly I hate doing it and begin to feel scared that I shall do it wrong - old age I think. 

Now is time to close the blinds, draw the curtains, turn the heating up a bit and sit down to watch The Repair Shop - a programme which I enjoy tremendously.   To watch these expert skilled craftsmen and women at work is mind blowing.   Maybe hummus on crackers for tea and a piece of fruit - neither take a lot of getting ready and I am feeling lazy today.

Monday 9 December 2019


Monday and only a couple more weeks to go.  It is not my favourite time of the year and I expect I write for many who have been widowed when I say this.I am spending the day with three friends, all on their own, and we shall enjoy our time together.   I did contemplate asking my dog-walker to house my dog over the period but have decided against it - I shall miss her too much in the time I am here alone. 

Bit by bit I am getting all my pre Christmas jobs done - cards delivered or posted, parcels posted, drinks cupboard topped up for callers and just a few small decorations put around the place.   Cards have begun to arrive - I always enjoy them and especially those from friends far away which might have a letter enclosed. 

One of my favourite things is The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from Kings, usually on TV on Christmas Eve and always a joy. 

My Great grand daughter is three today and has had a little party (last Saturday) with seven of her little friends, when they played lovely games - all completely new to me.   She rang me tonight to say thank-you for her birthday presents - it is lovely that now she is getting to the age when we can chat on the phone - it gives me such pleasure.

It has been a lovely day here - quite windy although the wind has largely  died down now - bright sunshine all day shining straight into my windows.   Time now for a cup of tea and University Challenge - tests my brain a bit (not always very successfully!)

Saturday 7 December 2019

Coffee mornings.

The first Saturday in each month holds the  Church Coffee morning in the Village Hall - I no longer live in the village and haven't done for some years but I still go because I know so many of those who go and if I didn't go I would never see them these days.  In any case the Christmas one always holds some 'goodies'.   First of all A bakes, as usual, turkey lasagnes - they are individually packed, delicious and freezable.  I always order two, have one for my lunch and freeze the other for when I need a nourishing meal in a hurry.   Then the Christmas meeting is always enlivened by K's beautiful mince pies which put   mine and I suspect most people's to shame.   She serves us one each, warmed and served on a tiny paper mat.   Then today A,  in addition to her lasagnes - and her marmalade, which is also very good (I bought a jar) - had two home made and decorated Christmas cakes - I bought them both.
We are lucky to have such good bakers in our village aren't we?

Returning home I called to fill up with petrol and realised that during the time I had been away from home the wind had reached gale force and was blowing directly across the forecourt of our local petrol station.   Arriving home I decided to take Tess round the block before the wind got any stronger.   As it was there were places where I had to hold on to the fence until the gust had subsided.  I really don't think Tess enjoyed it any more than I did.

Now in for the day with doors locked, curtains about to be drawn,  central heating turned up a couple of notches and 'Strictly' semi-finals on TV tonight, I can finally relax.    And January Good Housekeeping magazine through the letter box an hour ago (a present each Christmas from my God-daughter) to top up the gap.   See you tomorrow...

PS  I have just noticed that the cake photograph makes it look as though the cake is hanging on the wall - I can't see how to turn it round a notch so sorry but you will have to imagine it one twist round to the left (it will taste just as good).

Thursday 5 December 2019


I have to confess that where Christmas is concerned I am a bit of a traditionalist.   When I was a child we had the same things came out for decorating each year.   We had a 'real' tree which was lifted from the garden each year - although I don't remember it really getting much bigger.  What we certainly did have was the same ornaments on it.   None of your plastic rubbish back in those days - the ornaments were glass and VERY breakable so they were treated with great care and when not on the tree wrapped in tissue paper until it was time again.   At the most we had a dozen glass ornaments plus one little silver house - made out of cardboard I think and then covered with glitter (my favourite) and a few bits of tinsel draped around.   It was wartime, mybrother was at the front - I don't suppose my Mum and Dad felt in the least bit like decorating.

For Christmas dinner we usually had a goose (a present from the butcher for my mother dressing the poultry for him) with all the trimmings.   In the evening we played cards or dominoes or (if we could pursuade Dad who though it a daft game) tiddley winks.  I had maybe three presents at the most and I don't ever remember my parents exchanging gifts - there wasn#t the money for a start.

Now the sky seems to be the limit with all things Christmas - stockings full of presents, a groaning Christmas table and decorations festooned everywhere.   And that is the bit the drives me mad.   Across the road from my bungalow the sitting room window is suddenly festooned with row upon row of blue flashing lights.  I don't like flashing lights for a start - there is nothing subtle about flashing lights - but worse than that - BLUE flashing lights.   I like my Christmas decorations to be red, green or silver.  Blue is a cold, icy colour.  I remember they drove me insane last year - well they are here again and at the moment I donot feel particularly Christmassy about them.   Maybe they will grow on me over the next month.



Wednesday 4 December 2019

A Pleasant Outing

As readers of my posts will know, friend W and I go over to Kirkby Lonsdale on the edge of The Lake District to meet friends for lunch quite regularly.   But we only do this in the Summer as it entails driving over the Pennines - there are two ways to go but whichever one you choose you cannot avoid crossing the Pennines and the weather can change dramatically in a few hours in Winter.   Our friends are younger and so they come over the tops and we meet in Hawes - only fifteen miles from here through Wensleydale.   And today was the day for our Christmas meeting.

We set off from here in beautiful sunshine and I took my camera hoping for some good shots to show you.   Sadly, we had only gone a mile or two before we encountered clouds which got thicker and thicker and it really was not a photography day.   As friend W remarked - suddenly everything is a uniform brown - no leaves anywhere on the trees and few berries to enliven the scene.

Even Hawes was much quieter than usual - but by the time we had been in The Wensleydale Creamery cafe for half an hour it had filled up so we were glad we had booked.  As W and I are going out with four friends for Christmas lunch on Friday we resisted the Christmas menu (friend P had it, W had a chicken dish,  D had steak pie and I had my old favourite quiche, chips and salad.)  We were able to sit and have a nice chat for an hour afterwards and I was happy in the knowledge that friend S, who almost always takes Tess for a walk on Wednesdays, had agreed to come, take her today and post the key through the letter box.
Tess loves S dearly so I am sure she would be overjoyed to see her. 

As we approached home on our return journey gradually the clouds lifted and by the time we got here it was a lovely sunny day again.   The weather forecast had been correct when it had forecast cloudy in the West and sunny in the East.
Back home the electrician came at last and fixed my front door bell which has not been working for the last month.   I turned up the central heating and settled down with my book - shall not need any more to eat today!

Tuesday 3 December 2019


There was a time when I was really interested in Politics - when I would turn up at pre election time to stick things in envelopes and lick them and then put them through peoples' doors.   When I would listen to Party Political Broadcasts and believe every word 'my' party said - all other parties were lying of course, but not 'my' party.   Now I know better.   They are all lying in their pre-election Propaganda and I believe none of it.   In fact I try to avoid listening to any of it if I can.   Will I vote on the big day?   Well conscience tells me I should; after all we fought long enough to get the vote.   But as to who I vote for well that is another matter.   As my Grandson once said - if you don't like any of them or can't make up your mind then go along and spoil your ballot paper.   I just might do that.

Tomorrow W and I drive through Wensleydale to meet friends at the Wensleydale Creamery for lunch.   It is forecast to be a relatively nice day (as it has been today) - I shall enjoy the company, I shall enjoy the scenery and I refuse to give the election a single thought.

Monday 2 December 2019


The sun has gone today and in its place just clouds.   I am sure it is slightly warmer if one looks at a thermometer but in fact it feels colder because it is back to being cheerless weather.   Book Group this morning at S's house - I always enjoy going there - he makes the most delicious flapjack. 

We had a good hour discussing Robinson Crusoe - most interesting too.   The next book is my choice and we had intended to read and discuss Salley Vickers 'Grandmothers' which is advertised as coming out in November in paperback but not so according to our local bookshop.   So there will have to be a change of plan and as it is Christmas month and we will all be busy one way or another and don't want to read anything too heavy I have suggested Clive James's 'Unreliable Memoirs'  and am waiting to see what the others think.

Chiropodist this afternoon, walk round with dog and now all shut up and snug and warm.   Set to get warmer over the next few days - time will tell.

Sunday 1 December 2019


December has arrived, the sun is out, the sky is unbroken blue and the frost is thick.   My heating appears to have been on most of the night although set at eighteen when I go to bed.   Tess went out only reluctantly when I got up at half past six.   Well only reluctantly until she caught sight in the half light of the large black and white cat which stalks through my garden each morning leaving its mark on various trees then there was a stand off, a couple of barks and a streak of black and white as the cat beat a hasty retreat over the wall into the field behind.   There are sheep in the field now I notice so I am just hoping they don't decide to come over the wall and into my garden (it has happened before I understand (before I lived here)).

It is 'out to lunch' day - only three of us today- and I need to take Tess before I go, but must  wait for the frost to clear and the ice to melt off the footpaths.   A fall at my age could be disastrous.

The coming week sees three lunches out - one my regular every other Tuesday local lunch and two to meet friends on pre Christmas lunches - the first of these at the Wensleydale Creamery.   In addition it is my Book Group on Monday - we have all been reading Robinson Crusoe and I for one have really enjoyed it.

Lunch at the Golf Club meant driving up to a beautiful stretch of golfing grass - green where the sun was catching it and white where it was in the shade.   Still a few eager golfers out though.   Very busy in the cafe today - hardly surprising when it is such a good lunch every week without fail - a long and excellent three course menu, value for money and a friendly atmosphere.   When I returned home it was almost dark and already the ice was forming and I dare not walk with Tess so I let her out in the back garden and for a good ten minutes she chased up and down running off steam - I was pleased to see her do so as I always feel guilty if I can't walk her.   Now I feel much better about it.

The central heating has been on all the time for the last twenty four hours in spite of the sun shining into the bungalow directly all day.   Luckily it is set to come milder again by the week-end.   But I suppose that may well mean rain -it seems to be one or the other.   Keep warm wherever you are - and those of you who are taking the most exquisite photographs do keep doing so - to those of us who can no longer venture out in this weather it is a source of delight to see them.

Saturday 30 November 2019


When one lives alone Saturdays are often the most difficult days to get through.   In the week folk are going about their business - working, shopping and the like.  Sundays people are staying in or going to church and the shops are closed so not so many people around.   But Saturdays are family days and I find them lonely quite often.

Walking Tess two or three times means I get to chat to fellow dog-walkers and this morning I had to go into town to the cash machine and to get some milk, so at least I had a trip out.   I invited Tess to come with me but we had a very sharp frost and she took one look out of the door and scuttled back and got in her bed.   But I did manage one pleasant conversation with a man and a Red Setter.   They were standing outside the supermarket waiting for the man's wife who was shopping inside.  I stopped to chat to the dog first as (like all the Red Setters I have met) it was so friendly but then the man and I got talking about dogs we had owned and their personalities. 

I walked across the road to the Bakers (we have two very good ones) and bought myself a cheese and onion pasty for my lunch - it was delicious.   Then I sat down to read The Guardian and promptly fell asleep.   I try hard never to do this but it is harder to stay awake when the weather is so cold I think.   Now, at a  quarter to five in the evening we are all shut up for the night.   The frost has come down and there is a sliver of moon in the sky and it is very cold.   I have pulled my car as close to the bungalow as I can so that it is as sheltered as possible.   I did this last night and it really helped a lot with the car not being too frosted up this morning.

Another terrorist atrocity.   Will there ever be a time when all faiths can live together in peace and harmony?   I doubt it but it does sadden me that people have to commit these acts and that people have to die in the name of religion.

Friday 29 November 2019


Sorry, in spite of my promise to  return 'tomorrow' I just never had time yesterday, so here we are at tea time on Friday - the first time I have a few minutes to spare.   This morning it was coffee with friends as usual and then home for about ten minutes and then out with friend W to go to a big Craft Fair in the town at our Auction House.   Hundreds there and a long queue to get in which was well-directed so didn't take long.   Huge crowds looking round so very noisy.   Luckily we were walking on carpet so it wasn't too hard on my ankles and I managed to walk round reasonably easily.   It wasn't all that exciting I'm afraid, although I had on my list to buy two presents for Christmas and I managed to tick those off so felt quite pleased with myself.   Then it was down to The Three Horseshoes in Wensley for lunch - quiche, salad and chips for me and cottage pie with broccoli and carrots for W - delicious (they make the best quiche around).   Then it was home.

It really has been a beautiful day here - full sun, no breeze and a clear blue sky all day and although the temperature was quite low there was a lot of warmth in the sun.   But of course I have a white car and as I drove up to the garage door I realised just how very dirty it was.    I had a sit down and a cup of tea, then Tess and I together drove the mile to the Car Wash where two nice young men made my car sparkling again.   At last, after at least a month, the roads are dry today so it was worth a risk and I do feel better driving a clean car.

Now it is almost time for The Repair Shop (such a good and interesting programme) and I shall wish for no tea after that large lunch, but a cup of tea will be very welcome, so off to make one and then sit with my feet up and marvel at the absolute skill of the people doing the repairs.   Hopefully see you tomorrow.

Wednesday 27 November 2019


Poetry afternoon - a nice lot of us there and some good poetry read.   We had a really pleasant afternoon.   W's new cat spent an interesting couple of hours investigating us all suspiciously, sitting on the odd knee here and there for a couple of minutes then wandering round sniffing again.  I left a little early because I can no longer drive in the dark and because it was such a dull, damp day it was getting dark by half past three.   Also S and T, who live next door, had taken Tess for a walk and I had to collect her before I drove home.   It transpired that Tess had just not wanted to go out in the miserable weather and when she reached the top of the lane she sat down and refused to go any further so they turned round and came back home again.   I can't say I blame her - it is not nice out there.

My only job today was to change the bedclothes, wash them and dry them in the tumble drier.   Now they are all ready to iron in the morning.   These days this just about sums up what I can achieve in a day plus cooking myself a lunch.
Walking round the estate in the mornings with Tess I am always struck by the beauty of the deciduous trees now without their leaves - they are all beautiful but especially the silver birch.   The one in the picture has three trunks - the ones on our estate have single trunks but the beauty and structure is the same and I get pleasure from them every day.   Whoever planned our estate is to be congratulated - there is a variety of houses and bungalows, there are plenty of trees, everyone has a garden, there is a childrens' play area and also plenty of grassy places as well.   I feel very lucky to live in such a place, surrounded as I am by friends and neighbours.   I think Tess would love to go off on her own around the estate investigating further than I can walk with her.   Of course I can't let her do this - I have never seen a dog wandering, they are all on leads, and in any case her road sense is absolutely nil.

I am now going to do one or two admin jobs before I watch any television this evening.   Until tomorrow...

Tuesday 26 November 2019


My posts at present seem to be all complaining about the weather.   Day after day of rain, fog, no sun, chill wind - today has really been the pits.   For about an hour this morning I was able to see East Witton Fell from my window - beautiful.   Then the fog came down and the miserable rain started and so it has been all day.   Tess had her long walk with J, her dog walker, (reluctantly) so at least I don't have to go out with her again - I went very early this morning so she has had two walks and can go out in the garden later.

What have I done?   Well I drove into town as usual this morning, went to the Bank, had coffee with friend E and then drove down to the Garage and asked them to check my tyres which they are always happy to do.   I came back to a nice clean bungalow as my cleaner J had been while I was out.  After cooking and eating lunch - my resolution is to cook more proper meals if I dont lunch out so today I cooked sausage, mash with onion gravy, sprouts and carrots - it was delicious.
And this afternoon I made a start on writing my Christmas cards so I feel I have had quite a productive day.   Tomorrow is our Poetry Group so in the morning I shall have to choose my poems - I already have one - November by Robert Bridges as suggested by Sue -such a lovely, evocative poem. 

Thanks to all those who suggested possible books for my Book Group (it is my turn to choose) - I am so grateful and now have a credible list to present on Monday morning.  Some months I don't read a single book which I consider good enough for discussion and this month has been like that.   I shall now go and watch 'Our Yorkshire Farm' and put my feet up - the curtains and blinds are drawn so I can forget that weather.

Urgent Plea.

This is not my post for today - I will put that on later.   But I have just discovered that it is my turn to recommend the next book for our Book Club and the meeting is next Monday.   I have not read a single book this month which I consider is suitable.   Please has anyone a good suggestion?   If so could you post the title urgently.   Rachel - you recommended The Reader which was a brilliant choice and generated much discussion - have you anything else?   Thanks in anticipation.

Monday 25 November 2019

A moan.

I live on a very pleasant estate and the people I meet are all, without exception, pleasant and polite.    We are usually walking our dogs - of which there are plenty of all varieties on the estate.
Because I tend to walk at the same time each  day (early morning, lunch time and just before it gets dark) it is usually the same folk we meet and now, with my new walker J on two days - when Tess walks with other dogs - Tess is becoming much more sociable.   So our walks are much happier.

Having a dog has so many advantages, not least when one lives alone is the company they bring to one's life;  closely followed by the fact that like it or not, whatever the weather, one has to venture out.   But I do agree with Gwil - the time I don't venture out is when the paths are slippery. 

But what I always - and I mean  always - carry with me are Pooh Bags.   There are special bins which are changed regularly and almost everyone uses them to deposit the bags - otherwise they can be put into our grey rubbish bins which are collected from home.    Consequently our estate is neat, tidy and clean.

But not this morning.  My friend J, who has a dog called Sammy - Tess adores Sammy - keeps a lovely front garden, still full of flowers now when most gardens have lost their colour until the Spring.   But this morning, right at the top of her drive in the middle of the path, somebody's very large dog has deposited a very large pooh - and I mean very large - can't imagine the size of the dog - wolf sized at least I would guess.  And it has not been cleaned up - it is there - in the middle of the path for all to see or not see and tread on.   As I was walking round to quote a lovely young man who used to work with me many years ago and who was super polite (yes, honestly) I missed stepping on to it by a 'gnat's dick' (sorry - didn't mean to offend!)   Yes, I could have bent down and collected it in one of my pooh bags but I had already used one and expected Tess to need the other before we got home (she did).   So I left it there - not public spirited I know.   But why are people so thoughtless?

On the whole we don't get much in the way of take away cartons, tins or bottles - but this, which is so much worse and really a danger to health - and on the footpath too.   I just wish I had seen it happen and could have taken a photograph at the time - it is an offence and quite rightly so.

Sunday 24 November 2019


Derek posts today on how much he hates this time of year and I must say I agree with him.   If we could just have a few days of sunshine then it would make all the difference.   Today it is actually quite warm for the time of year but the sun never managed to break through the cloud and by the time the four of us came home from our usual lunch date the fog had come down and it was almost dark although it was only three in the afternoon.   Yes, Derek, I hate it too.

Today even Tess seems out of sorts.   The only way to describe it is to say that she has 'moped' all day - not eaten anything and just wandered around after me, tail between legs and generally looking miserable.   I have taken her on two walks - one before I went out for lunch and one when I returned - both times she did lots of sniffing of individual blades of grass, lots of wees and the odd poo (sorry for the details)  - nothing seems wrong physically but just a day not being herself.   I hope she is better in the morning.  I am sure that one day without food - but with plenty of fresh water down if she needs it - will do her no harm at all.

My day has been otherwise uneventful - good lunch of salmon florentine (on a bed of spinach) with Hollandaise sauce and a variety of veggies and then (dare I say) jam roly-poly and custard and this followed by an hour in the bar over a pot of earl grey and a nice chat.   Passes what would otherwise be a rather boring Sunday in a pleasant way with good friends.

Saturday 23 November 2019


Cold, dismal, grey and very wet.   That sums up today in five words.   I rarely have the central heating on all day - maybe two hours when I get up, another two early afternoon and then on again at around five for the evening.   Today I have kept it on twenty all day - it is far too horrible a day to switch it off.   Tess went out in the back garden at eight this morning for her toilet arrangements (I hope) and has not been out since.   When I open the door to suggest going out she gets back in her bed.   Both of us will have to venture out sooner or later;  I am just hoping the forecast was correct and that eventually the bad weather will drift Northwards.   In the meantime I just feel so for all those who have suffered flooding and are still in the cleaning up process (and that includes locals here from the flood on July 30th) - it is hard enough but surely made slightly more bearable if the sun is shining.

I was taken back into the past again this morning (after my post on Christmas preparations yesterday) when I read the Robert Bridges poem 'November' on Sue's post (The Cottage at the End of a Lane) - it so perfectly sums up for me what life was like in the thirties in farming country.   It is so nostalgic to look back on it and then I recall the poorly-paid farm workers out in all weathers, with sacks over their shoulders in an effort to keen dry and warm and I know we don't want those days back and thank goodness for the invention of modern farm machinery.   But I shall read the poem at next Wednesday's Poetry meeting because I love it so much.   If you go over and read it I would like to know what you make of the last two lines please.

Friday 22 November 2019


Christmas now for me is almost non-existent.   I buy a pack of half a dozen charity cards each time I go into the paper shop to pay my bill on a Tuesday.   I only buy two or three presents - the rest I give in the form of money because my mobility is not good enough to trail round shops doing "Christmas Shopping" as such.   And I have the actual day with friends where we share the expense of the meal and then enjoy one another's company.

Yesterday I was looking back to my parents' preparations for Christmas - how different it was then.   We never had much money when I was growing up but we were lucky enough to live very close to the Butchers in our Lincolnshire village.  One of my mother's favourite jobs was dressing poultry so - yes - you can guess the rest.   In the run up to Christmas my parents (after my Dad retired) prepared all the poultry orders for the Butcher.   Every morning of the week several crates of capons, turkeys and geese would arrive in the yard.   My Dad would get the copper going and then he would kill and pluck the birds and Mum would then dress them - a proper production line.   For this my mother would get a large joint of meat (usually pork) and a large ham and then usually a goose, which was their favourite food for Christmas Day.   She probably had money as well - I don't know.   What I do know is that we never had less than a 'groaning' table over Christmas.

In addition my Mum would make her own mincemeat and her own Puddings.     On the big Day all the family would come home,  the biggest pudding would arrive steaming at the table, my Dad would heat brandy in a saucepan on the open fire, set fire to it with a match, turn round and pour it over the pud.

For tea there would be roast ham sandwiches and home made mince pies - in all my childhood I never remember my mother buying a cake - always home made.   Her 'speciality' was Lincolnshire Plum Bread - if you have never tried it then do try to get hold of a loaf to try - toasted on Christmas Eve round the fire - you can't beat it.

Presents?   We had very few - there wasn't enough money to stretch to that.   But we never went short of food - and food of the very best.   I realise now just how very lucky I was to have such a memorable childhood to look back on.

Thursday 21 November 2019

Politics and the forthcoming election.

Here are a few questions I keep asking myself:

1.  When politicians of any party are interviewed on programmes like Breakfast Television why is it that the interviewer does not give the interviewee time to answer before he/she interrupts?

2.  Why does the person being interviewed (of whatever party) never give a straightforward answer?   

(These two questions are the same really aren't they?)

3.  Why do politicans of all parties promise the earth - huge housing policies, fantastic money poured into health/housing/education - without really saying where the money is coming from?
4.  If there is a hung parliament - as there well may be - will we have to go back to square one with Brexit - will it continue with the process that whichever party brings in a possible agreement then the other party votes it down?

5.   I am 87 now.   Do you really think there is any possibility at all of the whole Brexit thing being resolved during my lifetime?

6.   Is it therefore worth my turning out on what is bound to be a cold December day to go to the Polling Station to put my cross in any box on the voting paper when this is one of the safest Tory seats in the country anyway?

Wednesday 20 November 2019


A combination of a really bad night's sleep the night before last and a really cold, foggy morning this morning meant that I slept very well last night and didn't actually wake up until eight o'clock this morning.   Oddly enough I have not felt refreshed by having such a good night but have been lethargic all day.   Luckily I had little or nothing which had to be done today so I have had a very easy day.

Wednesday is that day when mostly friend S so kindly takes Tess for her walk and by afternoon today it was sunny but cold.   Even Tess wasn't as keen on walking as usual friend S reported but they did their usual walk round and then S came in for a nice chat and a coffee and we had a really good chat while Tess retreated to her bed and went back to sleep. After S had gone it was almost time for  The Repair Shop on tea-time television - a programme I enjoy hugely.   Also I had tried a casserole in my slow cooker  and I had a bowl full and it was delicious, so I am slowly learning how to use the slow cooker to my advantage.

I remembered today how my mother always called November and December 'the dark days before Christmas' and really this is as good a name as any for them.   Although it was a sunny afternoon I still had the blinds drawn by four o'clock and they will not be opened again until eight in the morning so that is sixteen hours out of the twenty four when our houses are closed up to the outside world.   I am just glad I don't live any nearer to the Arctic Circle.   I remember being above the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway on Midsummer Day and how it really didn't get dark at all - well now it will be the opposite and it really is quite depressing unless, I suppose, one is used to it and has grown up with it.

It is set to warm up a bit over the next few days here in The Dales, so that will make a welcome change.   But pity those in South Yorkshire who are still troubled with flood water and no prospect of it all being over by Christmas.   On that less than cheerful note - I will see you tomorrow.

Tuesday 19 November 2019


Yesterday was a lovely sunny day with a totally cloudless blue sky and there was really quite a lot of warmth in the sun.    Last night was the coldest night of the winter so far - at least here in The Dales - my heating in set on eighteen overnight and it was on all night - and I was still waking up cold now and then.   Today the sun has been only hazy and therefore not warm at all and as the evening has worn on it has got chillier - so another cold one I suspect.  (thinks thank goodness I bought that new electric blanket).

I don't want to be defeatist but I am afraid to say that days like today are becoming far too much for me.   I drove into town at nine thirty to go to the bank and then to do my bit of grocery shopping, pay my weekly newspaper bill, look for a couple of cards and various other bits and pieces.   Then I walked the short way to our monthly Strugglers Meeting which I always enjoy.   It was our fortnightly lunch meeting - fourteen of us today - where we ate pasta bolognese followed by a delicious fruit pudding, which the cook confessed was a Christmas cake which (thanks to her husband accidentally turning off the oven) had gone wrong.   It might have been a disastrous cake but it was a delicious pudding!

Then it was home to find that my dog-walker had not been owing to one of her dogs(an Airedale) dying in his sleep - very upsetting for everyone.   Tess will be sad as she loved Henry .  I put Tess in the car and drove down to collect two ordered books which had arrived and then on the way back called at the Pet Shop for some supplies.  Then it was a walk round the block with Tess, stopping to chat to J (who has Sammy, Tess's boy friend) and home.   All blinds and curtains closed, heating turned up a notch, quick tea prepared for both Tess and me and then settling down to watch the new series of The Repair Shop.   Sadly I was so tired that I fear I slept through half of it and will have to watch it on iplayer.   Now a quick read through my e mails and your posts - a quick post myself and now I am off to sit down with a cup of tea to watch Our Yorkshire Farm.   Till tomorrow, when I hope to have a quiet day.

Monday 18 November 2019


Tom speaks in his latest post of having 'a fight with negativity' at the moment.    Aren't we all?   Is there anywhere a ray of light which might suggest that there is something on the horizon which might be positive?   If so, then I can't see it.
At my age and in my position I find the only thing to do is to try and ignore it all and live each day as  it comes because there is certainly absolutely nothing I can do about things.

The one bright thing today here in the Yorkshire Dales is that at last we have had a day of complete and utter sunshine.   It has been quite cold but still and sunny and what a difference that makes to one's mood. 

Did any-one amongst you watch the programme on the very modern 'technology' city in Southern China?   I found it stunning and in many ways quite scary in that there was so much going on to make this city so far ahead of the rest of the world that one couldn't help wondering where it was all leading.   If you didn't watch it - it is the first in a series -  BBC2 Sundays at 9pm - .Reggie in China.  The first was last Sunday and there are three more to go.  The first one was in Shenzen, the next will be in Beijing and then there are two more.   As my Grandson lives and works in Southern China I am naturally very interested in the country.

I have quite a busy day tomorrow - Strugglers (a discussion group I belong to) in the morning and a visit to the Physio in the afternoon (although I am wondering whether I should cancel this as driving back in late afternoon would be directly into the sun and my eyes cannot deal with this at present.  I shall make a decision when I see what the weather is like in the morning.   So until tomorrow folks.....

Sunday 17 November 2019


Sunday is one of the days when I have to take Tess for her walks.   Luckily once I got going this morning .my ankles were not too bad and as I did my first walk of the day the sun was promising to come out so both Tess and I enjoyed it.    On my return home I rang my old friend L to remind her that I was collecting her for our usual lunch.   She is ninety-eight and apart from her short term memory is in near perfect health.

We stopped at friend W's and transferred to her car.   My little car is only a two door and so her car is much better when there are three of us.   Friend C comes from the other direction so the four of us meet up at The Golf Club for our usual Sunday lunch (today I had Penang Curry and (dare I tell you) instead of rice I had their delicious chips with it.   For pud I had a chocolate brownie with cream.   Then the four of us sat in the bar and had ourpot of tea and a chat.   By the time I arrived home it was almost four o'clock and time to take Tess round for another walk.

Most of the time I had been away it had been raining heavily but luckily it had now cleared up, there was little or no breeze and it was a pleasant evening.   After only a short while I met a friend and we strolled round together having a chat.   She and her husband were greatly affected by the flooding up here at the end of July and hopefully tomorrow the contractors are arriving to put up some new skirting boarding.   What a long time it all takes.

The News, as usual these days, was all pretty depressing.   Personally I have no interest at all in the Prince Andrew affair and certainly don't choose to listen to it as headline news - like all the other news items today I can do nothing about any of it so I choose I suppose to bury m y head in the sand - I look upon that as the priviledge of my age.
My attitude now, at my age, is 'sufficient unto the day' - I apologise for it but that is how it is.

Until tomorrow.


Saturday 16 November 2019


A very cold and dismal day today here - no sign of even a weak, watery sun.   This is one of the days when I have Tess to myself, which means three walks however small.   The very damp weather is making my arthritis very bad and walking is difficult but I managed two short walks and she also came out with me for a pub lunch so she hasn't done so bad.

The decorator has been and has finished my bedroom - the mildew has been treated and the room has been re-emulsioned.   He finished while I was out at lunch and when I came back he had put my curtains up for me (I washed, dried and ironed them yesterday) and put all the furniture back.   Tomorrow all I have to do is put my pictures back on the wall and I can go back in with my electric blanket.

Flooding everywhere does not seem to be getting any better - at least when we had it up here in late July the weather was fairly warm.   Today, up here at any rate, it is very cold - no sign of any sunshine and a sharp wind blowing.   Christmas only five weeks away doesn't bear thinking about for all those flooded out of their homes.   And as for Venice (my favourite city on earth) - those priceless treasures and the thought that somehow the money that should have been spent on flood defences appears to have been creamed off.

And a General Election looming and all parties in such a mess - and the idea of Brexit in such a mess - that I really don't know what to think.  Somehow nothing in the world is as it should be right now is it?

Thursday 14 November 2019

Nor any drop to drink.

And to think of the next but one line:
'and all the boards did shrink. '

I really think that unless we have been flooded we cannot possibly imagine the horror of it.   We were flooded in late July up here and those affected are still not in their homes and possibly will still be out at Christmas.   But at least the weather was reasonably warm.   Today here in North Yorkshire, not so very far away from South Yorkshire and Derbyshire, where this week's floods are it is freezing cold - and I mean freezing.   This morning there was thick frost on the windscreen of my car. 

And then the news turns to Venice - the worst high tide in fifty years - priceless treasures ruined in S Mark's Square - the lowest part of the city. 

I am sitting at my computer looking out of the window.   The sky is grey, the wind is blowing, it is raining heavily, it is very cold.   Even Tess, when I took her round the block at lunch time, was eager to get back indoors.   Yes, inside is the place to be today and we must all spare a thought for those out of their homes and in temporary accomodation - and with no idea at all of when things will be back to normal.   And in addition there is more heavy rain forecast for that area tomorrow.

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Busy Day

My Decorator has been this afternoon to begin the restoration of my bedroom to its normal state.   You remember that after the flooding here on July 30th it was found that the soakaway carrying my surface water  had not worked for years.   I first noticed it when the wall in my bedroom showed mildew (horror!).   Well, now I have had a new soakaway built and today the Decorator came and painted the mildewed Anaglypta (the plaster under the anaglypta is not at all mildewed) with strong bleach.   Within half an hour it had all disappeared.  Tomorrow evening he is coming to paint some sort of recommended paint on the wall and then at the week-end he is set to repaint the walls.   Fingers crossed the whole episode is behind me.

This morning my television had no signal - on enquiring of my neighbour I found that we all had to re-tune our sets today (my knowledge of such things  is minus nil).   After writing down the instructions my television engineer gave me over the phone I spent an hour trying to do it, to no avail.   Luckily, when my friend and dog-walker on a Wednesday came an hour later she did it in a flash.   How different our brains are.   She offered to show me how to do it but I knew it was pointless.   So now, thanks to S, I am watching television again.  And there is a programme I wish to see in about ten minutes - so that's it for tonight.   See you tomorrow.

Tuesday 12 November 2019

Good and Bad

The good news is that my settees came - the delivery men were charming.   They put my old settees into the garage ready for the British Heart Foundation to collect tomorrow and they brought my new ones in with no fuss at all.   They look very nice and are so comfortable.   And I can get up easily which is a bonus.

The bad news is that I put the rug back down and then pulled one settee forward on to it.   The castors are much more effective than the ones on my old  settee and it came forward at speed and I promptly sat down with a bump on the floor.   Luckily I was near enough to the settee to get up easily but I have a sore bum in spite of landing on a rug with a carpet beneath!   It is much better this morning so obviously no permanent damage done.

At Librarian's suggestion I will try taking a photograph to show you but I am having trouble finding my photographs once they are in my computer - I come across them by accident days later even though I label them. 

The morning began with bright sunshine but now, at only a quarter to ten, it is cloudy although not particularly cold.   I normally go into town this morning, get my 'housekeeping money' out of the bank, pay my weekly newspaper bill, have coffee with friends and then return home.   But today one friend is at Yoga and another is on holiday so I have no need to go.   Soon my dog-walker will be here to take Tess on a long walk so I haven't even got that to do.   So it is a nice hot shower and a leisurely morning.  Maybe see you later with a photograph.  Here it is - the best I can get as I couldn't stand any further back.   Ercol settees by the way.

Monday 11 November 2019


I have had friends staying which has resulted in a couple of days without posting.   Sorry about that; having friends to stay these days is hard, but I don't want to stop because I enjoy company too much.   And it is good for me to get tired from doing something rather than sitting about.   I made Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Soup - I shalln't bother doing so again.   It said add a 'good dash of Tabasco' and really, if I hadn't done so I think it would have tasted of nothing.   And I did follow the recipe to the letter.   Much more successful was a salad of leaves, toasted walnuts and crumbled cheese with a nice sharp vinegar (cider) dressing.

Today has been memorable for the arrival of my two new Ercol settees - now I shall be super comfortable when watching television in the evenings. 

It is a damp, sharply chilly day here and on my two walks round with Tess I have been very well wrapped up against the cold, damp wind.   We must spare thoughts for all those people in South Yorkshire whose homes are flooded - and Christmas looming.

Friday 8 November 2019

Water water everywhere.

When I switched on the television for the News over my breakfast this morning I must say that on hearing about flooding in Yorkshire I went straight to the window and drew back the curtains.   Thankfully it was well South of here.   My sympathies lie with the people of Worksop, Derby, Sheffield and the surrounding area - the situation looks terrible and I hear tonight that one lady has been swept away and drowned.   Never under estimate the dreadful power of water.

The people in Bellerby - the village featured on the News at the last deluge on July 30th - just a mile from where I live are still not back in their homes and one or two premises in Leyburn where I live are still not habitable.   My bedroom has a mildewed wall - according to the builder it was an old and totally worn-out soakaway and I had it replaced at once but the whole episode was probably exacerbated by the fact that my patio flooded and the water almost came into my house.
The decorator has been and is going to treat it and redecorate.   I have passed the problem over to him and now I can relax and forget about it, whether it is cured or not. 

And therein lies the problem I touched on briefly earlier in the week.   One's fragility.   Living alone and ageing are not good bed-fellows.   Some days I cope very well, manage to get a lot done and feel rather proud of myself.   Other days something goes wrong early in the day and I feel pretty helpless and have to give myself a good talking-to.
Yesterday for example began really well and everything went according to plan until the freezer played up.  (My fault of course).   That is up and running again and nothing had thawed out, so all's well that ends well there.   In addition I found the booklet and read up on the settings so things should run smoothly.

Today I didn't feel like going into town early (it is Market Day) but I wanted cheese from the cheese stall and Russet apples from the greengrocery stall (they really are delicious) so I made the effort.   All went well and I was pleased with my progress until, when coming out of the Deli I heard this voice calling me and turned to see the girl from the check-out running down the street with my debit card - I had left it in the machine. How stupid do I have to get before I need more help?
No - I must not think like that but sometimes it is hard not to.

But - Onwards and Upwards!   Friends are coming to stay the night tomorrow night - all is ready and all I have to do in the morning is to make a new soup - Sweet Potato and Red Pepper (I will report on whether it is worth making or not) and then at the last minute create a new salad I have discovered in a magazine - leaves, pear slices, toasted walnuts and crumbled blue cheese with a honey and whole grain mustard dressing. I am looking forward to tasting that.   Watch this space.

Thursday 7 November 2019


It has been a very miserable wet day here.   So wet first thing  morning that I had to push Tess out into the back garden for her morning 'wee and poo' and she scuttled back in and stayed in her bed.

It is my hair day (9.30) and as I have visitors coming to stay Saturday night I thought I would go into town early and do my shopping (I had made a comprehensive list).    This went well - I found my usual parking place close to the shop, did my shopping and then a charming young man who always comes to my aid pushed my trolley back to my car and unloaded my bags into the boot.   I got home, washed out the fridge and put away all my shopping ready for Saturday - deciding to put the Sourdough loaf into the freezer.    That was when things went wrong.   My freezer is in the garage and when I went to it I found I had not shut the door properly when I last opened it a couple of days ago.   The whole thing was covered in a thick layer of frost.   Friend W was coming to call to take me out to lunch which gave me about twenty minutes to get the stuff out of the freezer and set it to defrost.   Just about managed it but it did rather spoil my day.

Now at seven in the evening the freezer is up and running again (and the door is firmly shut), everywhere is tidy again and I am about to settle down to read The Times, which I have not had a chance to open yet.   This sort of 'crisis' really throws me out as I get older.   I do like everything to be going well.

In addition to this my two new settees have arrived at the Furniture Store and are to be delivered on Monday.   I wish to donate the two I have now to the British Heart Foundation - they will collect but every item must be covered by the Fire Regulations.   They came in in 1988 and we bought the settees in 1995 so there should be a label somewhere but so far I can't find it.   The makers of them (Parker Knoll) have sentme a list of places where the label should be and I am currently waiting for my son to arrive so that we can look underneath - the one place I can't get at.
Oh the joys of getting old.

Wednesday 6 November 2019


Friends who were on holiday near Penrith drove over to see me for lunch a few months ago.   They live in a Shropshire town and were rather horrified (I felt) by the remoteness of where I lived here in Wensleydale;  by the winding roads too narrow to get up any speed of forty mph at the most; by the narrowness in places and the lack of passing places - that kind of thing.   I have just been discussing with BB (Codlins and Cream) on our blogs about the remoteness of the Swaledale farm on the new series of 'Our Yorkshire Farm' which began again last evening.   It is indeed quite a remote farm but maybe not quite as remote as it appears in the programme - maybe nearest neighbour a mile away - and that is nothing up here - take the Tan Hill Inn - the highest pub in England I believe - you drive a long way past a house to reach that.   People seem to think nothing of remoteness up here.

Many of our children travel into Leyburn by bus from outlying areas when it gets to Comprehensive Education and even Primary Schools are getting fewer or are amalgamating with the next school along the Dale.   And as for medical treatment - our nearest hospital is about twenty five miles away - or for more serious hospital treatment a good forty miles away.  But of course to offset against this are the benefits of living in such a beautiful part of the country.   I wouldn't swap that for the world. 

The beauty of our Autumn is a good example of this.   This year has been a good one for Autumn colour -  some years are better than others.  Not far from where I live - maybe a mile - there is a row  of Horse Chestnut trees and they have been splendid.   Then it was the Silver Birches and Hazels, now it is the Maples.   The Hazels in particular have this year been laden with hazelnuts - and hundreds fell on to the grass on our estate.   When we lived on the farm (only three fields away from where I live now) we had plenty of hazel trees in our hedgerows but we never saw a hazelnut.   We saw plenty of grey squirrels and they always got there first.   I have never seen a grey squirrel since I moved here and the other day when I was walking with Tess I met a chap with a bag full of hazelnuts gathered as he walked round with his dog.   Wish I had thought of that!

I walked right round the top of the estate with Tess earlier this morning and it was warm and really pleasant but now, looking out of the window as I write this, the rain is falling again and the sky is grey.   One thing you can be sure of up here in the hills is that you certainly get all kinds of weather - often all on the same day.

Tuesday 5 November 2019


November showed itself to perfection this morning - very wet and chilly - absolutely nothing going for it at all.   I always go into town on Tuesday mornings and meet friends in the Post Horn for coffee.   The whole time we were in there in rained and was very miserable.    Shopping done, paper bill paid for the week, it was time to come home to Tess.   I don't think my dog walker has been today.   I was home by eleven and have not been out since and there has been no sign of her.   I dare not go out to take Tess for a walk in case she came, but when it got to half past three this afternoon I ventured out.   The weather was beautiful.   All signs of rain had gone, the wind had dropped, the Autumn sun was shining and it was quite warm.   Both Tess and I enjoyed the walk tremendously.   The down side was that in a fit of enthusiasm I spent the first hour of the afternoon emptying my wardrobe, cleaning it thoroughly and replacing the T shirts and blouses with my winter jumpers and cardigans.   Has to be done - no chance of wearing a T shirt any more this year!   So by the time we walked my ankle was very swollen and I had been on my feet far too long.   Shall now go and put my feet up and watch the programme on the Swaledale farm (not all that far from where I live) and follow that by watching Ben Fogle.   Hopefully a pleasant evening with a glass of Croft sherry for company.

Monday 4 November 2019


And a grey, dismal Monday at that.   Not particularly cold, but damp and typical November.
This morning was my Book Group - today at M's house, just further down my estate, so not a long journey at all.   Our book this month was 'Sea of Poppies' by Amitav Ghosh - and a great book it was too.   The New York Times called it 'Dickensian' which was a good description.   A huge adventure story full of individual stories, much about things like the caste system and life in general in India a couple of hundred years ago.   It is the first book in a trilogy so we have the other two to look forward to when it is S's turn again.
G has chosen the next book and it is 'Robinson Crusoe' - it is at least sixty years since I read it so I am really looking forward to getting going with that now. 

It has been a miserable afternoon.   Tess and I went for a walk  in the rain but somehow I managed to get either her coat or her harness on wrong because she was very reluctant to walk and I had to cut the walk short.

My decorator has just been to inspect the wall  in my bedroom and is coming in a fortnight to wash the wall with bleach (to kill the mildew which has formed) and then to treat it all before redecorating.
We are just hoping that the new soakaway the builders built has cured the problem.

I am now going to watch 'His Dark Materials' on iplayer - I was undecided whether to start watching or not but the write up in today's Times is so good that I shall give it a go.   I really enjoyed the book.   If I begin to think that the television version is spoiling it for me I shall switch off.   Sometimes the image one has in one's head of something like this is so different from the TV Producer's.   Time will tell.

Saturday 2 November 2019

Another jolly visit.

My two step great grand children called today with birthday cards and lovely bathroom 'smellies' - it is a while since I saw them and how they have grown.   They are delightful children and I thoroughly enjoyed the couple of hours they stayed.   They also brought me a box of chocolate brownies their Mum had made - I had a piece for my tea - goodness me it was pure chocolate and every mouthful was delicious.  I felt very self-indulgent.

The Church coffee morning was this morning but it was not all that well attended, no doubt due to the Rugby Final (the less said about that the better).   But every trip out is important when one lives alone and as the Village Hall is opposite the graveyard it did give me the opportunity to put a Remembrance Cross on my first husband's grave, as I do every early November.   I think it is very important that we always remember the sacrifices that so many millions made during that terrible time. 

After a reasonably pleasant day here - sunshine on and off and very little wind - it began to deteriorate as the afternoon went on and by the time my visitors went it was raining.   I just hope it clears up quickly as they were all four off to the town bonfire in the nearby little town of Bedale - how much better to go to an organised bonfire and firework display than to have indiscriminate fireworks here and there causing so much fear for pets and danger to children.

Friday 1 November 2019


There was no time to put a post on yesterday it was too busy a day.    First of all there was a breakfast with friends (we often do this on birthdays) about a dozen of us.   Friend W took a group photograph and sent to me - I filed it and now for the life of me I can't find it.   When I have a bit more time I will make a search and put it on.   In the meantime all I can say is that we had a lovely, happy time.

Then it was home to open my 27 cards (all so very welcome - they do the heart good), make myself a coffee, read The Times and take Tess for a walk.   Humidity is very high at present and consequently I am having severe difficulty in walking, so it was a slow, painful walk.   Then friend G called, just in time for a cup of tea and a nice chat.   While she was there friend P rang from the Lakes as he does every year, put the phone on the piano and played 'Happy Birthday' - I turned up the sound on the phone so that G could hear it too.   In the evening my son and his wife came round with a Take Away Pizza meal and we sat and ate that and had a nice, relaxed evening.   I had a lovely day - thank you to everyone who helped me enjoy it.

Today has been a damp, miserable day and tonight there is fog (or there was the last time I looked out of the window before I drew the blinds).   Tess had her long walk with her dog-walker and best friend J.   She had on her new fleecy coat which J bought her and also her new harness which I bought her yesterday.   She looked very smart and took her place in J's car on the front passenger seat next to a new friend - a Labradoodle.   I succumbed to a toasted tea cake when I went for my morning coffee with friends this morning (and when C came a little later she was tempted too!).   This afternoon I have done very little other than sit and read the paper.   I switched on the News for the Headlines but then switched off - I have resolved to ignore the election and any effort by politicians to bore my ears off.

Have a good week-end.