Friday 29 March 2019


Lovely lunch out today at our usual Friday venue.   We have gone through the menu once already and so decided today to have two starters one after the other instead of one larger main.   My starter was so delicious and so easy that I shall definitely put it on my list of starters to do - it would take all of five minutes - just a mixture of smoked chicken slices, chopped ready to eat apricots, golden sultanas and pea shoots.  A light dressing completes the dish and it looks really pretty as well as tasting good.

Another lovely day of unbroken sunshine was inviting me into the garden when I got back but sadly I can do so little because of my lack of mobility.   But I did manage to water my new plants and my pots.   The new plants already look to be settling in well so I am hopeful that they will like their new home.

With typical English aplomb the weather is set to turn much colder next week so I am savouring every minute that the sun is out and shining directly into my sitting room.   As I accidentally left my central heating on all night at a high setting I have it set low today and am letting the sun warm the room very successfully.  We have to snatch sunshine when it is around.

Until tomorrow.

Thursday 28 March 2019


Today my friend W and I have been to meet our friends in Kirby Lonsdale - such a lovely journey over the Pennines and then to meet our lovely friends and to go to a nice restaurant for our lunch. Added to this it was lovely weather - the sky a clear blue with lots of puffy white clouds and a temperature of up to twelve degrees for some of the day.  The grass verges were thick with daffodils, the hedges were coming into leaf and here and there the blackthorn was out with its
patches of white.   The fields were full of frollicking lambs with their mums.   And to add to the excitement we came upon a weasel chasing a baby rabbit down the middle of the road (and gaining on it by the minute).   My friend pulled up close to the weasel which immediately called off the chase and ran into the undergrowth at the side of the road.   The baby rabbit, frozen with fear, sat on the white line in the middle of the road.  There was no traffic coming so we sat for a minute or two to let it get over the shock and then edged past it.   My friend saw in her rear view mirror that it had gone into the undergrowth on the other side of the road.   We had done all we could to help it - so we do hope it escaped.   I know it is nature and everything has to survive but it just seemed so cruel.

Here you are on our journey with us.   Rotten photographs I know but I took them all from a moving car.   We went through Wensleydale, turned along the road past the Ribblehead Viaduct,
got a good view of the Ribble valley but sadly too misty to really show up in all its beauty in the photograph, into Kirby Lonsdale.   Then after lunch we came back toward the Howgills and back through Upper Wensleydale and home.   The skies were so beautiful that even if the views are a bit boring you can at least enjoy the sky.

Wednesday 27 March 2019


Our Poetry afternoon - how much we all enjoy it.  There were a couple missing today but one new member so just a nice little gathering.   We have such a variety of poetry - some serious, some funny, some centuries old, some modern.   We relax and get pleasure from a couple of hours spent in one another's company.   Tess walks with friend S at the same time, so she enjoys it too and we are both happy.

Now both of us are fed and watered, the central heating is turned up so we are warm (it is still cold up here in Yorkshire) and after writing this and looking to see what I can find on line in the way of garden centres that sell shrubs I shall go and look what is on television for my entertainment.   I know it is Master Chef - the final week - later in the evening and I have a couple of new books to read so I am happy.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday 26 March 2019

A mixed bag.

My gardener has been this morning and spent the whole morning scarifying my lawn with an electric scarifier.    And would you believe he has got two massive bags of moss to dispose of.  I must say it looks in a much healthier state and now needs a good rain and a spell of warm sun to make the grass grow.

In addition he has begun the task of creating a small bed for dwarf shrubs where at present there is a small lawn which is a nuisance to mow. If anyone can recommend dwarf shrubs which are attractive then please help me out.   At present I have two box bushes which have been in tubs for the past year but they are conical and easily blow over in the wind,so that the pots have gradually got more and more broken over the year and are now no good at all.   So they will start me off.

The photograph today shows my long border which I am planting up.  I am pleased with it because it is on the relatively flat part of the garden which means I can do it myself without the risk of falling over.   You will notice the smattering of tulips just beginning to come into bloom.   Remember my son planted well over two hundred bulbs and you can see clearly the ones that remain.   Something - I suspect mice - took the rest, but those remaining are just coming into bloom.

There is a very chilly wind blowing here today and not a lot of sunshine.   I have just turned the central heating up as though it was the middle of Winter.   I must be snug and warm in time for The Sewing Bee - it is getting near to the end and I am enjoying it so much.   The same goes for Master Chef - finals this week and also  University Challenge.  Towards the end of University Challenge the questions seem to get progressively harder - well at least they do for me.   The only ones I can answer are usually Poetry, Literature or Musical ones which the teams can't answer because they are too easy for them.

Here are the photographs which I could not get at yesterday.   The fact that there is absolutely no grass to speak of speaks of the cold, wintry weather we are still having.   Although things are coming out as though it is Spring - we are still in Winter woollies.

Monday 25 March 2019

This afternoon I had a small sewing job I needed doing and I happen to know a lady who does just such things.   What is more she lives in such a pretty part of Wensleydale that it is a joy to drive there and enjoy the scenery on the way.   Bright, sunny weather with a breeze added to the enjoyment as Tess and I tootled along.

It was much warmer up the Dale than it was at home and when I drove into the yard Mr. Sewing husband was sitting outside the door in the sunshine contemplating mowing the lawn.   He said he was in no hurry as he had 'all afternoon'.
Aren't we the lucky ones? 

On the way home we called at a small Nature Reserve where there are a few rare plants in Summer.   But as yet nothing, not even the grass, has started to grow but we enjoyed the meander.  Coming back in the car she was horribly sick - luckily on the floor - but it did mean that the minute I arrived home I had to remove the carpet and scrub it; not a brilliant end to what had been a lovely afternoon.

I took some photographs but can't find them.   If they appear tomorrow I will add them to the post.

Sunday 24 March 2019


Political turmoil reigns supreme.   Stabbings continue to make the news but are now becoming the usual thing and therefore less newsworthy and more likely to be at the end of the bulletin than at the beginning.  Riots continue in Paris but have now become so 'ordinary' a happening that they only become a news item when there is nothing more 'exciting' to report.   At present the cyclone and its aftermath are still in the news but gradually slipping down the scale.   For a short while the Viking cruise liner breaking down off the Norwegian coast made a headline - and viewing the pictures on the news at teatime will have put plenty off cruising for a time, so there will be cruise holidays at a reduced price to fill the vacancies.  Tomorrow the news will be different - there will be new and 'more important' news stories to bombard us with - and so it goes on.

Sometimes I wish I was back in the days when the news took weeks to get from Ghent to Aix (or was it the other way round?) so that by the time it arrived the whole situation was over and done with.

Meantime Spring progresses in spite of the cold Northerly wind here today.   The daffodils are beginning to fade.   Most lawns have had their first mow.   Blossom trees are coming into flower.
Greenhouses with a bit of heat are filling up with trays of seedlings anticipating the Summer.   Easter eggs are being bought and hidden away out of sight of tiny fingers.   Everything goes on as it always has done, just as though everything is right with the world. 

The year's at the Spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his Heaven-
All's right with the world!   (Robert Browning)

If only.

Saturday 23 March 2019


Not all that warm this morning but quite Spring-like.   I had a burst of energy, although really not feeling all that well at the moment.   I had missed our last recycling day because there was a gale blowing and on such occasions I don't put my newspapers and cardboard out as it tends to sail down the road - the prevailing wind being West and my road being directly West to East that is not surprising.

So after my morning tidy up I loaded all the papers, tins, plastics and bottles into the boot of my car and drove to the tip.   I had a letter to post anyway and wanted to make sure it went today so it was convenient to post it at the entrance to the Sorting Office. 

Tess came along and on the way back we drove a little bit further and went down the Lane to our old farm.   There we walked down the pasture as far as the beck at the bottom of the field.   There are one or two daffodils out in the wood and the bluebells are just coming out too.   But best of all - the marsh marigolds are out on the beck - they were the favourite of both the farmer and myself and he always came in and told me when the first bud came out.

Coming back I saw a Yellowhammer.   We had two pairs when we lived there - they came to the bird table every day.   It is good to see that they are still about.   I didn't see a single rabbit - and that is a first in the whole twenty five years since I first moved in there. 

After lunch and a short walk with Tess I planted several border plants which I had grown from cuttings over the winter.   Since then I have done very little other than a teatime walk with Tess and catching up with a gardening programme on television. I am becoming a bit of an armchair gardener I am afraid - I take after my father.   In the days when I used to write so-called 'Poetry (a misnomer if ever there was one) I wrote this little poem about my father and his gardening:

The Armchair Gardener.

Swathes of poppies,
Banks of delphiniums,
Fronds of ferns and a
cascade of pools.

He planned it all
from the comfort of his armchair.
the golden dandelions
and a rash of purple thistles
painted their own canvas.

Thursday 21 March 2019


Thursday and plenty to do today - almost too much, so that this evening I am pretty tired and achy and really don't feel like doing anything.   So I have walked the dog round the estate before it got dark - a nice gentle walk designed to wake me up (not successful).

Then I watched the dreadful news from Africa where the coastal area has been hit by the terrible cyclone and many have died and thousands more made homeless and at present open to disease and disaster as they are without any kind of aid.

What have I done to make me so tired?  Well it was our afternoon for playing for Alzheimer's patients and their carers.   There were a lot of people there and friend W handed out percussion instruments for them to play as we played our ukuleles and sang the old songs. We had a lovely Golden Labrador there and she really was the star attraction as everyone loved her.   In true dog form she went from person to person just to see if anyone had  any treats - one or two did and she accepted them gracefully (and then came back for more on the off chance).   It is a very tiring afternoon  - maybe the concentration - but a very worthwhile one to see people out in the community and so many remembering - and singing - the old songs .

The really amusing thing, which made everyone laugh with sheer delight, was when we all sang 'I'm forever blowing bubbles'.   One of the ladies in charge had some bubble mixture which she blew into the middle of the room as we sang.   The dog thought the bubbles were especially for her and ran about, jumping into the air in her effort to catch them.   This in turn delighted everyone and soon they were all laughing.   Such a pleasure to see. 

Another week over tomorrow.   How quickly they fly by.   Tomorrow ny darling farmer will have been gone for exactly two years.   Where have those two years gone?   It seems like only yesterday and I miss him every single day.

Wednesday 20 March 2019


The older one gets the less gardening one can do.   Well that is so with me at any rate.   I find it hard to balance without my stick in my hand which only leaves me one hand to work with.  So I have a fantastic gardener - D - who sadly has not been well for the last few weeks.    But he managed to come yesterday as he is feeling a little better.   The lawn is mown but now needs scarifying and he intends to return with a scarifyer to do that.   He also weeded the rockeries and cleared away the dead foliage from last year so that all the emerging plants can see the light.   Things are moving.

My new long border is taking shape.   In spite of the mouse-attack at least a hundred tulips survived and they are happily growing away.   The clumps of forget me nots which I bought for a pound last Autumn are now quite large clumps and are well in bud.   After they have flowered I shall leave them and then when they are ready I shall shake them around so that I have them every year.  I managed to plant three clumps of Shasta Daisies that I bought and this morning I have sent for a deep red Helenium and a red Lychnis and an unusual yellow Crocosmi.  A Monarda Cambridge Scarlet completes my order today and they will all go into the same border.   Now I need to scout around for some blue - I have chosen plants which flower more or less continuously from July to September so hopefully, once they get really established then they should do well.   If I am no longer here to enjoy them then someone else  will.

This is the day that friend S takes Tess for her walk after lunch.   Tess goes wild when S arrives - today was no exception.  On my walks round the estate I am accompanied by a sedate, elderly terrier - no such experience for S - Tess is a young. energetic dog againg raring for the off.

I had a lovely surprise when S arrived too because she brought me a present she had woven specially for me.    It is a lovely blue scarf with fringing and will go perfectly with my indigo leather jacket (my Mrs Peel jacket as my son calls it.)   So thank-you S.
S has woven this on her loom.
First day of Spring today.   It is a tad warmer and at present the sun is shining - so hopefully the weather is on the up.

Tuesday 19 March 2019

Improving weather

Gradually, bit by bit, the weather is improving, the wind is lessening and it is getting warmer - still a long way to go and it is the Equinox later this week so it had better hurry up.

My gardener has not been well but while I was out this morning he came and cut my front lawn for the first time.   It badly needs scarifying and he intends to undertake that shortly he says.   He has also cut back dead top growth on various plants and given them room to grow and take in the sunshine.   Of course I will not have got rid of my Mare's Tail weed - it takes years to eradicate - but hopefully there might be a little bit less than last year and he has enough weed killer to treat it once more once it begins to grow.

No more tulip bulbs have disappeared from my long border - I reckon I have lost about half of them - and they are growing well.   I planted three Shasta Daisy plants between them this week (Thanks Thelma of North Stoke for the idea) and have also ordered three Helenium to go in.   The next job is to create a small, square bed of dwarf shrubs just outside the front gate.   A small square of lawn needs lifting and my gardener will do that as soon as he feels a bit stronger.   There are also snowdrops to be split up while they are in the green - not the end of the world if it isn't done, but it would be good if we could catch them in time this year.   Sadly my garden is too steep for me to risk doing the job myself, although should there suddenly be a still, warm day I might be tempted to have a go.

Brexit, the events in New Zealand, the events in Zimbabwe and Mozambique - aren't we lucky here to be in a peaceful place - long may it last.   I do hope the statement is not tempting fate.   What is Brexit compared with the other two events?   We shall get there eventually, or not, as the case may be - I am not holding my breath.

If you feel like visiting a new blogger, do visit JayCee who has started a blog this week - after her retirement.   Sometimes it takes a while for blogs to get going - it would be nice to get her off to a good start.

Monday 18 March 2019

Busy day

I have had a very busy day today and am just too tired to put on a post - it is half past seven in the evening and I am going to settle down to watch University Challenge.  So apologies for no post - see you tomorrow.   Sufficient to say that today is my 3400th post - and still going strong.

Sunday 17 March 2019

The Lincoln Imp

Anyone who has lived in Lincoln will have heard of the Lincoln Imp - he is such a symbol of the city.    I grew up there and went to school within a stone's throw (literally) of the Cathedral and the Imp.   And, like many people who have lived there and have now moved away, I have a replica of him hanging on my kitchen wall.

He is not easy to spot if you walk round the Cathedral.   He is actually not far from the altar, but very high up and not all that obvious - you really have to look for him.   Gwil tells me they went recently to the Cathedral but were unable to find him.

So here, especially for you Gwil - and for anyone else who would like to hear the story - is today's post about the Lincoln Imp. 

 One day the devil, feeling in a good mood, decided to let all his imps out for a frolic.   First of all they stopped off at Chesterfield and twisted the spire of the church there.   Then some of them carried on to Lincoln, planning to create havoc in the Cathedral.   They sent the Dean flying, broke some stained glass and then, rising from a Bible left open on the altar, an angel stepped out and put a stop to it all saying he would turn them all to stone.  

Most of the imps escaped but one was a bit too slow and there he sits for ever, high up, not far from the altar, turned to stone for ever and there for all to see and reflect on their own sins.

Saturday 16 March 2019


et  us
It is rare up here to get a pouring wet day.   Alright it might pour overnight and just be clearing up when one arises - or it might rain more or less all day.   But last night, when I let Tess out for her last wee, it was pouring.   When I got up in the night the rain was lashing down the windows and now, at two in the afternoon, it is still lashing down.   I expect the river will be well and truly over - the road here is standing in water.   Tess took one look out and decided she would cross her legs rather than venture out.   We have just been for a quick sortis round the block.   Water, water everywhere is an understatement.   The wind has gradually risen as the morning has progressed.   The weather forecast is absolutely accurate.

As a result I have got some jobs done which have been languishing.   First of all I have ordered an office shredder.  I now have two if not three years of farm accounts which can be destroyed - they are taking up a lot of room but the Inland Revenue demand they are kept for some years.   Because BT have taken it into their heads to revise the whole e mail system bit by bit (and they have revised mine and several peoples round here) I had lost my link to Amazon in the process - it took me a long time to reinstate it.   And no - I couldn't remember my password - and if I had a password book I would lose it anyway; that is the kind of person I am.   Anyhow all done and dusted now. 

I have also made a list for my gardener when he comes.   If I don't make a list I remember something as soon as he has gone - and he is one busy man at this time of the year.   I have plants sitting waiting to be put into the ground - at least they won't be short of water when he plants them. 

If anyone else has had the e mail system completely updated by BT I would be interested to hear what you think to it.   I went to the BT site and they say they are updating everyone eventually but it will take a little time.   I am sure that when I get used to it I shall like it, but changing is such a chore.

Friday 15 March 2019

Topsy turvy.

What a topsy-turvy first few months of the year.   First of all we get ten days of really balmy weather in February, when there are reports of swallows along the east coast (never the warmest of places).   Then  in comes March like a lion, such strong winds that Thelma reports a branch of a tree demolishing a conservatory roof next door to her and rooks' nests blowing out of trees. At the same time Si reports the sighting of a house martin in Newark.    In this windy weather!  The rooks nesting in the trees in our town car park are well on the way with their breeding this year and I noticed today that their nests looked very insecure.

Next week better weather is promised.   I sincerely hope so because Thursday is the first day of Spring - I do hope that day at least lives up to its promise.  

I refuse to mention, other than in passing, the terrible events in New Zealand or the muddle in Westminster.   Please - for the sake of our sanity, let us have a few days concentrating on something beautiful.  

Do you remember the old adage which we used to recite when we were kids and which, in those days, always seemed to hold true - January snow, February fill dyke, March winds, April showers, sweet May flowers?   (can't remember any more - can anybody else?)

Thursday 14 March 2019

This and that.

Judging by various weather reports it would seem that we , here in North Yorkshire, have fared much better than folk in many parts of the country.  We have no doubt had torrential rain - the river has been over and the roads have been flooded (the fields by the sides of the road are still flooded, large pools lie on the roads and the flood signs are out), but each day we have had brilliant sunshine throughout the day and as long as one kept in a sheltered spot there was a feel of Spring in the air.   The rain seems to have mostly come during the night.   Long may it continue to do so (I expect this paragraph is tempting fate and I may arise tomorrow morning to a downpour - if so blame me).

Being driven through Wensleydale this af ternoon by friend W , on our way to the Residential Home for the Elderly in Bainbridge for our monthly sing song, I was amused to see that in the fields which had been flooded (where there are often fifty or so Canada Geese grazing) there were hundreds of Canada Geese - they had colonised the huge flood pools and were swimming up and down, really enjoying themselves.   It's an ill wind.

The elderly residents really enjoy our afternoon - we play the ukulele and we all sing the old songs they love - songs like Daisy, Leaning on a Lamp post, Side by Side.   They never fail to say they are looking forward to next month when we leave.   Two of the residents had passed away since our meeting last month - always a sad thing, but inevitable.   It does serve to remind one of one's own mortality.

I switched on our News when I came in, after taking Tess round the block for her last walk of the day.   But the Brexit news is all so appalling I couldn't bear to watch it at all.   I don't really understand any of the disagreements fully but I am beginning to think that none of our M P's do either.   The whole thing is in such a mess.  I suppose history will look back on it as just a hiccup but from where I am standing it looks more like a complete break down.  I keep telling myself I will neither watch the news or read the Newspaper  for the next few weeks, but then after a couple of days I am drawn to it again.   Was there ever such a mess?

Wednesday 13 March 2019

Technical brains.

For most of my adult life I have not had to think 'technically'.   Both of my husbands - in very different ways - were very practical men who could come up with a sensible solution to almost all problems - and who could call in an expert when they couldn't.

Now I am having to think technically for myself  and, dear reader, I have to tell you that I am totally and utterly useless at it.   Even the most simple problem sends me into a muddle.   And today I am totally ashamed of myself.

When I came home from town yesterday in my car I realised that the car radio was on and playing very quietly in the background.   I don't like background noise - however  quiet (something to do with being deaf I am sure) - but I just couldn't see how to turn the darn thing off.   I must have turned it on, but I didn't know how I had done that either.   This morning the sound was still there when I went to the Hairdressers.

She offered to come with me to my car after my hair was done but she is after all in quite an advanced stage of pregnancy so I thought it very unfair to drag her out in the gale which was raging outside.   And I knew friend S was coming this afternoon to take Tess for a walk, so I waited.   Friend S is a practical lady and as I knew - she opened the car door and switched the radio off.   I must have pressed the on switch accidentally at some point.   Why didn't I know how to do it - it was simple enough?

Is it just that some of us can't be bothered to learn these simple things?   I do remember once in the far distant past, before I trained to be a teacher, I worked - getting experience pre college - in a school for mentally handicapped adults - it was a very happy year in my teaching life.   But one day, when the head (a very strong, capable lady) had been called out, the plug broke on the electric iron when one of us was teaching a pupil ironing skills.
There were three of us there and none of us could change a plug!   When Mrs G came back I remember what she said, word for word:   'I despair.   Three so called capable women and not one of you can change a plug.   You should be ashamed of yourselves.'   (I still couldn't do it today - in fact I am not even sure whether you do change plugs these days or have we moved on from that?   (if not then please feel free to despair on my behalf).

Tuesday 12 March 2019


No, I refuse to contemplate today's vote and everything to do with it.   It is all so awful it is best just not to imagine what or what might not happen.

So let's contemplate the weather instead.   I believe it is the Irish who have christened the coming storm by the good old Welsh name of Gareth.   For a while this afternoon the rain stopped and the sun came out and indoors it was very pleasant - but the wind began to rise and outside it was a different story.   Now, at seven in the evening, it is rainy/windy/stormy.   Yes, Gareth,you are making your presence felt. So batten down the hatches.

Monday 11 March 2019


It took me an age to get on to my e mails this morning as BT kept telling me that it had up-dated the whole site to make things easier and more available.   I must say that after half an hour of  struggling, pressing arrows and the like, I certainly began to lose the will to live.   But magically, suddenly it all came right and the updated, revised, so called 'better' system appeared on the screen.   So far I find it all very strange but no doubt, like all the other changes I have weathered, I shall get used to it.   But, as usual, I do question why - when things are working well - they have to change.
Is it just because so computer whizz kid wants to play about with the system?

It has been a lovely day here (viewed from inside) - cold but dry and windy and the sun has shone all day.   The weather forecast for the week is nothing special and on breakfast television weather photographs this morning I was surprised to see one of several inches of snow at Hawes in North Yorkshire, only fifteen miles from my door.   But we have none here - and long may it remain that way.

I don't care to have a day when I don't speak to anyone.   When one lives alone, as I do now apart from my dog, it is easy to get into the habit of having days like that.   But on Mondays my cleaning lady comes and we have a good chat over coffee after she has 'gone through the bungalow'.   Two walks round the estate with Tess have meant that I have also chatted with at least four dog owners and their pets - one especially, a Patterdale/Border Terrier cross, is a particular favourite of Tess and her owner is always happy to stand and chat.

As the day has progressed everywhere has dried up nicely and now, as the sun goes down at almost four o'clock, the cold is coming down and the central heating has been turned up accordingly.  Soon it will be time to draw the blinds and get snug and warm for the evening - but first one last walk round with Tess - a short one this time merely for utility purposes you understand.

Sunday 10 March 2019


Well it's back to normal again today after the razz-a-ma-tazz of the birthday celebrations yesterday.    Such a strange day today - one minute it is brilliant sunshine and the next it is snowing hard and there is a fierce wind blowing.

Salmon florentine as usual for my lunch - it really does taste beautiful on a deep layer of spinach - and because I am right off sweet food at present I had camembert for my pudding. Then it is a cup of tea in the bar, home again and take Tess for a walk before I take off my coat.  All done now so I can relax.

The fields are beginning to green up - in other words the  grass has started to grow and in those fields where there are no sheep it is bright green.
No lambs close to here yet although I did see some on Thursday when I drove through to Sedbergh over the Pennines.   I think to most people they are the first real sign of   Spring - well that and the catkins and they are everywhere.   And in the morning the birds are starting to sing seriously - does the heart good even if there is a snow shower outside the window.

Saturday 9 March 2019

Birthday meal.

It is my son's birthday tomorrow and I suggested earlier in the week that I take them out either for Sunday lunch tomorrow or for a meal tonight.   They thought about it long and hard and came up with the fact that they would rather have a pizza here tonight than go out.   So the table is set for their arrival and a Yorkshire curd tart sits in the fridge for 'afters.'

For anyone that doesn't know what a curd tart is it is a pastry case filled with sweetened curds and sultanas added.   It is utterly delicious.   I used to make it regularly but this one is bought from the branch of Thomas the Bakers - a local Yorkshire baker - and their sandwiches and cakes and bread are as good as home made.  On the whole I think my baking days are more or less over.   I love making inventive salads and things like that - and even casseroles - but anything which can go wrong I  leave to the professionals.

Here today it is a very cold and very windy day.   There has been intermittent sunshine but it is not a day for going far.   Tess and I have had two walks round the estate and I went into town for the curd tart - other than that I have stayed indoors and read the paper.   Now I await my visitors, complete with pizzas.

Friday 8 March 2019


I usually watch 'Antiques Road Trip' over my tea and today was no exception to that.   Suddenly there, on the screen, was an item which brought memories flooding back (this probably only applies to anyone over the age of seventy as the world turned full circle on its axis the day that the pill became available).

There on the screen were a pair of cinema seats covered in green velvet.   They had seen better days and the velvet was faded and worn in places.   But the thing that brought back the memories was the fact that they were what we used to think of as 'back row' seats.   Courting couples used to try to get to the cinema early enough to get one of these on the back row because the 'arm' between the seats would push up so that what began as two seats could be converted into one 'settee'  (much easier to do one's courting).   I can't count how many films I have not seen because we were sitting in one of these.  Sadly (or otherwise, depending upon one's point of view) that sort of 'courting' went out of fashion long ago, never  to

By the time the farmer came along, a couple of years  after my first husband passed away, I did get a taste of both ways of wooing -  but there was
a frisson in that first way  that sticks in the mind don't you think?

Thursday 7 March 2019

Too much water

Following on from yesterday I made my decision not to go over to the other side of the country today.   There has been rain in the night and when I went down to the bottom end of the town to fill up with petrol this morning the river was banking and the fields either side were deep in water - obviously the river had been over and flooding overnight.   Too much of a risk I thought.

I e mailed my God-daughter (it was she I was intending to lunch with) who confirmed that the weather was awful over there too.   So we called it off, sadly as I was really looking forward to going.

Now, at half past eleven there is a lot of blue sky although there is a sharp wind and looking over to the West the sky has a lot of big, black clouds - so perhaps for the best.

Now to change the subject - have you seen Boris's Hair?   (yes, it needs a capital letter all of its own).
There is only one question one can ask oneself -
has it always looked that terrible mess just because he was too lazy to go to the barbers or because he was making a statement of some kind?    Maybe his latest girl friend has made him have it cut - or maybe he thinks it creates a better impression on the Electorate.   Whatever the reason I think he looks a whole lot better.

Now, suddenly, the sky is blue and the sun is shining (momentarily as it happens) so I make a snap decision, ring A and arrange to drive over the Pennines to Sedbergh after all.   It takes an hour - I change rapidly and  am off quite quickly, arriving there just after one o'clock and meeting in The Black Bull for lunch.   Lovely hotel with a blazing, welcoming stove, pleasant staff and a delicious, tempting menu.   I had three duck Spring rolls with a dipping sauce, together with a bowl of chunky chips and a lime and soda water.
A had a bowl of beef broth and a thick  beautiful ham sandwich absolutely stuffed with thick cut ham.   We chatted for an hour, during which it rained and then I started for home.   It poured all the way home but there was no flooding other than in the fields, so I got home safely.   It was lovely to see her.

Wednesday 6 March 2019

A Downside

One of the (very few) drawbacks to living in the Yorkshire Dales is that there are quite a few rivers and we are not short of steep hills either.   The upshot of this is that when it rains the water pours off the hills down into the rivers.   The River Ure
(our river) is said to rise twenty feet in an hour and of course then the roads in and out of the dale become impassable. 

Tomorrow I am thinking of possibly going across the dale but I know that if I go and it then rains heavily and the river is high, there is always the possibility that I shall be unable to get back home.  Decisions, decisions.  I shall wait until morning and review the situation then.

Tuesday 5 March 2019


Our Tuesday lunch day today (every other Tuesday) and a new lady which is always nice, especially as she lives further down my road.  Of course there is only one thing we could possibly eat today and that is pancakes, because today is Shrove Tuesday.   The first course was pancakes stuffed with a mixture of ham and cheese - and they were delicious.   For the second course we could have chocolate brownies, or sandwich cake, or more pancakes - this time served with either golden syrup or lemon juice.   I am a lemon juice fan and had two with lemon and sugar, so four altogether - two with ham and cheese and two with lemon juice.   And then, being really naughty
(may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb) I finished off with a piece of chocolate brownie - that was delicious too.   Marks all round to A our cook each week, who does it all cheerfully and without complaint.

So it is nothing else to eat today after the huge lunch - maybe a fruit salad at tea  time because I have just stocked up my fruit bowl this morning and have seriously missed fruit the last couple of days as I have been too lazy to get out the car and go shopping.

As the day has worn on so the wind has strengthened and it is now blowing a gale and is very cold.   But the sun is shining so that inside, in my sitting room facing South, it is very pleasant.
Tess thinks so too - I came home at two after lunch, to find her stretched out on the sofa in the full sun (she is not allowed on the furniture).   Back in her own bed now, and suitably chastened, I do hope she is not forming  a new habit.

Cup of tea and unopened magazine now - what could be better?

Monday 4 March 2019

Biting off almost more than I can chew

It was Book Group this morning and a friend who also goes and lives quite near to me suggested we walk together as the venue was just at the bottom of our road.   The weather was pleasant although chilly and we set off twenty minutes before we were due.  It was downhill all the way and we did, of course, arrive early.

The book was Lee Child's 'Killing Floor' - macabre, grotesque and absolutely not on my list of enjoyable reading.   But, as we all agreed, it is par for the course in a book club to read everyone's choice, discuss it, and then if you don\t' like it make a note not to read any more books by that author.   As Lee Child has now written twenty four 'Reacher' novels somebody must like them but there was too much blood for me, although I admired his skill in writing.

When it was time to return I must admit I struggled - uphill all the way and around half a mile I would say.   Still I feel good that I have now walked a mile today plus two walks with Tess, so that can't be bad can it?

Friend W has just called and reminded me that it is Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday) tomorrow - and as it is the day when we have lunch with a group of a dozen friends we are hoping A, who cooks the meal, has remembered.   As far as I am concerned it is any excuse for a pancake - with maple syrup  (or preferably with lemon juice and sugar.)

Storm Freya was destined to wreak havoc but I must say that thankfully she almost missed us - rain and fairly strong winds but nothing like they had in the West of the country.   Sadly the very warm spell has spoilt us but Spring will soon be here - it is, after all, already meteorological Spring isn't it?

Saturday 2 March 2019

The Words we use.

I have just been listening over breakfast to talk about how the words we use tell folk exactly where in the country we originate.   The most obvious one is what we call the evening meal.   Where I come from (Lincolnshire) we had breakfast, dinner, tea and supper.  Although my father took sandwiches  for his mid-day meal we (my mother and I) had our 'normal' cooked dinner (that is until I had school dinners) and my father's dinner was put on a plate.   Just before he came in at the end of his working day my mother would put his plate, covered by another plate, over a pan of boiling water to warm up (no microwaves in those days).  My mother and I would have tea at the same time - maybe something on toast like eggs from our hens, or home made bread and jam, or maybe salad from the garden.   Supper would just be a milky drink with a biscuit.   Listening to the programme this morning there were so many variations to this - the most obvious was instead of breakfast, dinner, tea and supper it would be breakfast, lunch, and either dinner or supper, depending on how posh you were.

Now apparently, as people move around the country more and social boundaries loosen a bit, these are all becoming more blurred.

Another instance is the word 'beck', which we use round here.   I called it a 'stream' before coming up here, but in some areas it is a 'rill' and there are dozens  of names for these small water courses.

Language is fascinating but social mobility and the way we now often live miles from where we were born means that I suppose eventually all these variations will die out - as will so many of our customs.   At our village coffee morning this morning, looking round the village hall, so many people were newcomers (offcumduns) - very few 'native' villagers are left and how happy the newcomers are to live in such a lovely village where the few that are left make the newcomers feel so welcome.

Friday 1 March 2019

The First of March.

Had it not been such a glorious, and unseasonable, February we would have said that today had a touch of Spring in the air;  as it is we mourn the passing of the false Spring and say it is chilly today.   But reading some of your posts today and considering how I feel although I am no longer able to garden, and rely on my gardener calling, we are all slipping into garden mode.  Every shelf on the garden stall on the market this morning was full of colour - violas in hanging baskets, tiny pots of tete a tete narcissus, grape hyacinths, single primroses, cowslips, pansies, polyanthus - what a temptation.

 I gave my outside tubs a good dead-head and a good feed yesterday and already, this morning, they have perked up and look ready, and willing, to face the Spring.

The usual lunch out - fish pie with a glass of white wine -has left me feeling comfortably full.   And returning to a warm welcome from Tess, who had herself just returned from her PetPals walk, makes the house seem less empty.   Not sure what I shall do when she is no longer with me - after all she is eleven years old and the lump on her side is still there, although it does not seem to be bothering her in any way.

From today the weather seems to be going rather on a downward slope but I know that many places are in need of rain.   Just send the rain without the March winds please and then I shall be happy.