Friday 31 May 2019


I promised that I would post some photographs of travellers passing through our town on their way to Appleby Horse Fair.   Today is Market Day and also Market Day at the Cattle Auction Mart so the roads are busy with traffic  coming and going.   This lot were stopped on our main street and the traffic was held up of course.   But it did give my friend W, who was driving us to our usual Friday lunch venue, an excellent opportunity to park up for a few minutes, nip across the road and take these smashing photographs.   She was told by one of the travellers not to get too near one horse as he was a kicker!   She also had a chat to a little girl who said she wasn't walking with the horses she was riding on her bed.   So many thanks to W because these photographs really do give you a view of something which has been going on for a very long time.    The travellers are an irritation to a lot of people for a variety of reasons but it would be a shame to stop something which has gone on for so long.

Thursday 30 May 2019


The day started 'off kilter' and it has been like this all day until about half an hour ago when I at last caught up.   My beloved God-daughter is coming straight from work and staying for the night and I planned a supper at home with a bottle of good wine so that we could relax and catch up on things.

I had a lot planned to do.  My Tesco order was due to arrive between eight and nine this morning and it came at a minute to nine.   This meant that I could not take Tess for her morning walk in case they came and I had a hair appointment booked for nine thirty and a plan to get my strawberries and pick up my prescription before I went to the hairdresser.   Just got there in time.

My mobility is very poor and where I used to dash round the shops I now have great difficulty - I had two Scotch eggs (sorry John) on order at the Deli and they were still to be collected.   By the time I got home I was very tired indeed and it was lunch time.  I did a quick jacket potato in the micro and then walked round the block with Tess.  When I came back I made myself sit down for an hour and do the puzzles in the Times.   Now I have set the table, put the wine to chill, and am just about to make a Tartiflette ready for her arrival at six.   See you tomorrow.


Wednesday 29 May 2019


Today was friend M's birthday and nine of us took ourselves off to a restaurant for breakfast.- delicious.   We all had something different - I had 2 slices back bacon, 1 hash brown, 1 slice fried bread, mushrooms and a sausage.  Couldn't fault it!

Home again and after an hour it was out to Poetry.   Tess came too as friend S lives next door and had promised to take her (as S goes on holiday in the morning this was above and beyond the call of duty - so thank you sincerely S).

Poetry - nine of us - was a lovely peaceful and restful afternoon (just how I like it) and the choices - three poems each -  were a perfect mix.   We had lots of laughs, heard some poems we hadn't heard before, listened to some old favourites (Philip Larkin's 'Whitsun Weddings and Mary Oliver's 'Wild Geese' for example) and then finished with a slice of birthday cake and cheese for M's birthday.

The sun hasn't shown his face today, there is a breeze and it is chilly.   I have just put the central heating on (sorry Derek, but my thin blood needs it).   My visitor comes for the evening and overnight tomorrow, so I have just washed out the fridge and got it all ready to receive my Tesco order which should come in the morning between eight and nine o'clock.  After that it is my Thursday hair appointment and a walk for Tess.

The Appleby Horse Fair starts early into June and caravans pulled by horses are beginning to appear on our roads and camped on grass verges for the night.  If I spot one I will photograph it and put it on to my post.

Tuesday 28 May 2019


This morning I had absolutely run out of fruit - almost a disaster for me as I think I must be related to a fruit bat.   So, although I have ordered a delivery from Tesco for early on Thursday morning (I have a visitor staying overnight on Thursday) I needed to stock up with fruit on my way to coffee.   Good Summer fruit is tantalisingly close - the peaches, the apricots, all those fruits which make Summer such an exciting season for us fruit bats.

Then it was an hour and a half coffee stop and chat and then home for the rest of the day.   This afternoon I did some gardening - very frustrating as my balance is so poor but I managed to get some things planted up and some polyanthus dug up and thrown into the green bin (polyanthus are cheap to buy and never as good the second year, so it really is not necessary to keep them from one year to the next.   They have served me very well flowering non stop all winter).   Now another little bed is dug over in the garden and ready for planting.   Digitalis (foxgloves) and Pinks are on order - foxgloves are biennial so will flower (and seed) next year but need planting when they arrive in a favourable spot.   Pinks I shall plant here and there towards the front of the borders.   Today I also added some Phlox to my long border.  Although I have spent a lot on herbaceous perennials for the long border - and they are doing well now the tulips are out - it is a large space and it needs filling for a fine display.   So for now I am filling mostly with annuals.

Oh how I wish I could garden like I used to.   Luckily D, who helps me in the garden, is very good at carrying out my instructions and is indeed a very nice man but it would be so good to do it myself.   Still I can at least potter. 

Sad to say I notice Mares Tail weed is coming up again like it did last year and there doesn't seem noticeably any less frankly.  I think there is one more dosage of speciality weed killer left, but then I think I shall get D to plant the area with shrubs in the Autumn and then just keep weeding the Mares Tail out as I would if it were Creeping Buttercup.  I think I have just let it get to me when I would have been better ignoring it and just carrying on with planting up.

Busy day tomorrow.   It is M's birthday so we are having breakfast out (this means fasting until ten in the morning!!!) and then it is our Poetry afternoon.   So now off I go to look out my Poetry to read tomorrow.

Monday 27 May 2019

Bank Holidays

If someone looked into the weather over Bank Holidays here in the UK I am sure that  they would find far more wet and chilly ones than they would dry, sunny ones.   Or is it just my imagination?

Like yesterday we had a fine morning but just as I went out with plant trays in my hand to plant up my pots by the front door giant spots of rain fell and soon there was a downpour.   I did manage, between showers, to plant up the three pots in the front but have left the ones for the back garden for another day.   But it is a busy week so it may well be next week before they get planted.

When you live alone Bank Holidays are not fun times I'm afraid.   Bank Holidays are for families to go out and enjoy themselves - for those of us on our own the shops are full, there are no Parking Spaces, cafes tend to be full - in fact best to stay home until it is over.   When I think back to the few Bank Holidays when I was a child - the most important one was the August Bank Holiday  which fell on the first Monday in August.   When workers first got two weeks holiday in the Summer this meant a huge exodus from Lincoln, the city near to where I lived.   Extra trains were put on to the Holiday Camps and Boarding Houses in places like Skegness, Mablethorpe, Cleethorpes and (for those who could afford to go a bit further afield - Cromer, Yarmouth, Scarborough and the like).   Foreign holidays for the likes of us were not even contemplated.   How times have changed.

If you have access to More 4 on Television there is a programme on The Lakes and the Yorkshire Dales starting tonight at 9pm - there have been previous series and they are very good.   I would like you to see snippets of places near to where I live; the scenery is so very beautiful.


Sunday 26 May 2019


One of the things I like about gardening, especially in a country like ours where the weather is so unpredictable, is that you never know what will happen next.   Yesterday morning, when my gardener still hadn't put in an appearance, I decided I really had to water each individual evergreen bush I had planted in my new piece of garden, so I went out and staggered back and forth from tap to garden with cans of water until every bush (12 in all) had had a canful.   I came in for a sit down and a coffee and glancing out of the window I saw that my gardener was mowing the lawn.   He just finished in time before it began to rain and it rained steadily for five or six hours.   It is still raining on and off this morning.   And how much better everything looks, not from my watering but from 'proper' rainwater.

Three of my pots are now filled with fresh soil ready to plant up for summer;  the plants sit there ready, all I need when I come back from my usual lunch out is a  bit of sunshine and then I can plant them up.  Another job done.

Did anyone take my advice from an earlier blog a few weeks ago and locate and read 'Happiness' by Aminatta Forna?  It is my choice for my Book Club which meets on the first Monday in the month.   I find the writing exceptional and I have so enjoyed the book.  I have already read it twice and am now reading it for the third time so that by a week on Monday I am well-prepared to discuss it.   The writing is exceptional.   Do look out for it.

Time to get ready for collecting friend W for lunch - expect it will be Salmon Florentine (salmon on a bed of spinah with Hollandaise sauce) with veggies as usual - it is so delicious I almost always have that (sometimes prawn salad with chips for a change but not on chilly days like today).   There is a huge menu but on the whole I like very little meat.   There is a large veggie menu too (one reason for this may be that we eat at the Golf Club on the army garrison where many Ghurkas are stationed) - usually at least six courses.

Might speak to you later if anything spectacular happens - otherwise enjoy your day.

Saturday 25 May 2019


Or rather a shortage of it.   My newly-planted long border was really desperate.   As it is on a slope the rain tends to run down and the top end becomes dry.   My Gardener turned up, mowed the lawn, emptied my pots for me and filled them with new compost ready for me to plant up and then watered the long border well with the hose on the outside tap.   As he tidied up to go it began to rain and now, five hours later, it is still raining heavily.  It is not warm but at least the plants are getting a good drink.

Tess would very much like to go out but each time I open the door and she sees the weather conditions she turns and comes back inside.   I must say I feel the same and have even switched on the central heating.   I feel sorry for anyone up here for the Bank Holiday week-end but we really do need the rain urgently. 

Friend and neighbour H came round for a cup of tea this afternoon and we passed a pleasant couple of hours talking about this and that.  I had been going to plant up my pots for either side of the front step but that was before it began to rain.   Now I shall try to do that job in the morning if it is fine and before I go out for my usual Sunday lunch. 

I am trying to avoid looking at the News now for a couple of weeks because it will be all about speculation around the new leader and all the in-fighting.   If I was Mrs May I would be sleeping more easily in my bed tonight than I had done for many months.   Surely she must feel as though a giant weight has been lifted from her shoulders.
Enjoy your Saturday evening.

Friday 24 May 2019

Goodbye to all that.

But more of the same, sadly.   Yes of course I mean the resignation of our Prime Minister.   How long will all this go on for?   I am  a remainer and the whole fiasco fills me with disgust at present - the millions of pounds that have been 'wasted' in the name of 'Politics' - and all to no avail.   Meantime jobs fall by the wayside, homeless people sleep on the street in our big cities and I look at countries like The Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and the like and wonder how we can have made such a mess of it all.

I buy bedding plants and put them in (with difficulty and being a bit wobbly on my pins), indulge in so far as I can in my love of gardening and try to forget about all the hoo hah.   I look at Tess who, after a walk with friend S, is now lying asleep in a shaft of sunlight, and think how lovely it is to be a dog if it belongs to a good home.   As long as it has a comfortable bed, plenty to eat and drink and walks where it can sniff blades of grass to its heart's content and let politics and all the worrying aspects of life float over its head, it is happy.

Enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend and put the whole thing out of your head for a day or two if you can.

Thursday 23 May 2019


A very busy day today doing this and that.   Cloudy all morning but blue sky by afternoon and almost a gale blowing so not all that warm.  It is 
my hairdresser day so Tess and I went for our walk very early this morning.   When I came back I changed the bedding on my bed, washed it, hung it on the line and later in the day fetched it in and ironed it.   I must say that a spell in the fresh air made it smell beautiful and ironing it made it look so fresh and crisp.   Well worth the trouble although then making the bed up with fresh bedclothes from the airing cupboard is hard work when you live alone and there is no-one to help.
Still, it is done now and looks inviting to get into tonight. 

There was watering of bedding plants to be done and Tess to take for another walk and then some office work cropped up and I had to do that and then Tess and I jumped into the car and took it where it needed to go.   By this time it was time for tea and now it is early evening.   It would be really boring if I had nothing to do but there is such a thing as a happy medium.

Wednesday 22 May 2019


All day I have been without the internet.   My hub has been glowing the usual blue but my computer has kept telling me it couldn't find my server.   That is until five minutes ago - half past ten at night and one last look - when I discovered that I had switched the wrong switch off on the wall under my computer shelf.   The little green light wasn't flashing - I switched it on and hey presto - all in working order again.

Not an eventful day though so nothing particular to report.   Friend S took Tess for a lovely walk this afternoon.   I tatted about in the garden doing bits that needed doing.   I cooked myself a lunch - my latest resolution is to cook more lunches for myself - it is easy when you live alone to make do with something easy that doesn't take much effort.  So this week I have really tried to cook healthy meals.

I'll be back tomorrow now that the correct switch is on!

Tuesday 21 May 2019

That time of year again

Yes, Chelsea is with us and I am glued to the screen at eight o'clock all week as I am every year.   What beauty there is there and how clever these garden designers are.   I know we can't begin to design them for our own gardens - I don't think they are intended for that - but we can admire the planting schemes, look for new plants and new colour schemes and just enjoy the general gardening chat.   I love it.

A lot of book work to do this afternoon, which I find very tiring but is necessary at the moment.   For relief after the tuna salad I made for myself I have just been out into the garden and put in a dozen mixed antirrhinums in my long border.   It is a new border made for me when my gardener built a new fence and I spent a hundred pounds on new plants to put in.   Now that the tulips have finished (they have been lovely) and I have taken them up it is hard to see where my hundred pounds worth of plants have gone - there is so much spare soil.   So, best to get the  spaces filled in quickly while Chelsea is on the television and before my interest wanes as Summer progresses.   Now I just want my gardener to come tomorrow and water them all well.

I am pleased to hear that our old friend's cat had not been run over as first thought but had actually gone under a bush in the garden to die - as so many cats do (our farm cats did it all the time, they never wished to be disturbed).   She was an old cat and has given our friend many years of pleasure.

Monday 20 May 2019

| A Full Day

Some days are quite busy and this was one of them.   The lady who cleans for me goes through the bungalow on Monday mornings.   That done I had to prepare all the papers for the accountant coming after lunch.  That was a good hour when at least the weight of filling in a whole load of tax forms was passed over to someone else.   As soon as she had gone Tess and I went to the Garden Centre to buy some plants for my tubs by the front door.   As I stepped out of the car the heavens opened and we had a downpour, so I looked round the plants in the rain.   Home again of course the sun came out and now, in the evening, it is really pleasant.   Sadly there was not enough rain to help my parched garden so I am hoping my gardener calls in tomorrow to water my evergreens just put in, which really do need water.

Those of us who love gardening (even if, like me, you have to ask someone else to do it these days) are in for a real treat this week as it is The Chelsea Flower Show and it has really good coverage on the television.   If only they would tell me what to do about the plague of my life 'Mares Tail'.

A dear friend, one of the four of us who lunch together on Sundays, sadly lost her beloved cat yesterday - run over and so badly injured that he had to be put to sleep.  W is well in her nineties and talked about her cat constantly - he was obviously a very large part of her life.   She will miss him terribly and wonders whether or not to get a replacement.   She is surrounded by her family but as with all of us as we age - do we get another faithfuly pet or not.   It is a dilemma.

Saturday 18 May 2019


It is neither wet nor fine today but something in between.   I needed to put the hood up on my anorak on both my walks with Tess and I could hear the rain pattering lightly on the top of my hood and yet holding out my hand to the elements I could barely feel a spot of rain.   The sun has not put in an appearance and the cloud and slight rain has meant that I can at least defer watering newly planted plants until tomorrow.

After the driving to Hawes and the busy day yesterday I am, on the advice of my Physio, taking it easy today.   I started out quite busy, going into town to do various errands.   Meeting W by accident meant that we stopped for a coffee which was pleasant, but then I still had trousers to take to the dry cleaners and a magazine on gardening to buy at the Newsagent.   By that time I was tired so I have deferred garden shopping until Monday when there will be less folk about. 

My Physio gave me a stern talking to about giving my brain too much information to process in a day and as a result feeling tired on the next day.   I am sure she has a point so I have listened to her and now I just hope I can keep it up.

Have you all noticed the May Blossom this year - both the sight and the beautiful smell.   It does the soul good - as does the sight of those delightful 'candles' fully ablaze on the Horse Chestnut trees.

Friday 17 May 2019

A Lovely Day

The friends I met today are old friends - one of them, P, I have known for almost fifty years and it is hard to believe.   What is so unusual is that I moved up here with my first husband in 1987 and not long after he and his partner D moved up - albeit to the other side of the country - but not all that far apart so that it is not difficult to meet mid way for lunch - as we often do.

I was thinking as I drove the fifteen or so miles to meet them for lunch today just how lucky I am.   Yes, I have now lost two dear husbands, both of them much loved - but we had many happy years together (38 and 23 respectively) and how lucky I now am to live in such a beautiful place, to have my son and his wife nearby (another strange coincidence), and to have a lot of friends to meet, to go out for meals and coffee with, and at the moment to still be able to drive, although for how much longer I don't know. 

We met at the Wensleydale Cheese Factory and Restaurant.   Wensleydale Cheese - now known throughout the world - has been made in the Dale since at least Medieval times - both on farms and also by the monks in the many monasteries in this area.   Then it became centred in the little town of Hawes where Kit Calvert did a lot to establish the early stages of the making.  (the restaurant is named after him - The Calvert.   Sadly after a number of years it was decided to transfer the business elsewhere and at that stage the local management decided to buy it out - this about twenty five years ago at least, certainly since I have lived up here.

It has since gone from strength to strength and now cheese from the factory is exported all over the world in its many forms.   My friends from The Netherlands adore cheese and always want to go to 'the cheese factory' when they come,  for there  they can walk round the shop counter and sample twenty or so varieties now from Blue Wensleydale to Wensleydale with Cranberries, Wensleydale with Apricots, and many more.

And in addition there is a cafe for snacks, a restaurant for meals, a shop for tourists to buy things to take home as presents and also there is the factory itself where there is a facility for tourists to follow the cheese making process from start to finish.   In the days when we had a Dairy Farm (before it was wiped out by Foot and Mouth  just after the turn of the century) we sold our milk to the Dairy,as do most of the dairy farms round here. 

I had a pleasant couple of hours with my friends, a nice meal, a nice chat and then home again.   I have attached some photographs so that you get the feel of the place.   Enjoy them and marvel at the hard work and enthusiasm that went into this place rising again almost from the ashes as it were.

The first photograph shows the entrance to the visitor experience where a walk way around the cheese making factory means they can watch how it is made before then seeing a short film.

The second photograph shows the entrance to the shop, the cafe and the restaurant.   The third photograph shows the entrance to the offices.   Sorry if they are a bit blurred but carrying a handbag, balancing with my stick and taking the photographs with one shaky hand do not make for brilliant shots.

Thursday 16 May 2019


Today has been my six weekly physiotherapy day and I have returned very tired.   It is always a gruelling session as she works on the various joints she knows intimately by now.   But she definitely keeps me mobile - well as mobile as I shall ever be at my age.

Although I was tired I came back determined to finish clearing and reorganising my wardrobes.   I have just hung the last lot of winter things on the clothes line and all summer clothing is now hung neatly in the wardrobe.   I do this every year and for a time at least it all stays that way.   And it does give me a chance to assess just what things I need, if any.

And, true to form, the weather here is very much cooler today.   There is a sharpish Easterly blowing straight in from the North sea.   Anyone on holiday and making sandcastles on the beach at Scarborough will need winter woollies on.

Looking out of the window of my computer room I see the ash tree in the field and there is not yet a single leaf on it - it is still bare and wintry.   Now I need an oak tree for comparison so that we can make a stab at what the summer will be like from the old rhyme - 'if the ash before the oak, then we're in for just a splash.  But if the  oak before the ash then we're in for quite soak'.   This predicts what summer will be like (in theory).   I hope I have it right way round - not that it actually makes a lot of difference either way where these old rhymes are concerned.

In spite of my aching muscles I now need to take Tess for one last walk round before I shut everywhere up for the evening.   I shall certainly need a coat on - the sun might be shining but it is no longer warm.

Wednesday 15 May 2019

Another lovely day

Another lovely day today - perhaps a little more breeze but again unbroken sunshine, so more woollies washed and dried ready to be put away for the Summer.  They are still flapping on the clothes line in the sun - they should smell nice and sweet when they are packed away in the drawer.

Most Wednesdays friend S takes Tess for a walk and Tess gets so excited when she hears S coming - it is a pleasure to see them together.   Sometimes S takes  Tess to Thornton Steward Reservoir for a walk round the lake.   Today T came too and they invited me to go along and brought me a chair so that I could sit by the lake and read while they did the hour's walk.   We had a lovely afternoon - finished off by calling at a lovely tea shop for a coffee and a piece of cake - a perfect day - so thank-you S and T both from me and from Tess.

A local school were boating on the lake - it was interesting watching the boys sailing up and down on what was really a perfect day for such an activity.   There were also one or two men fishing and plenty of sheep with their lambs.   One lamb lost its mother and came up to me searching and making quite a noise until Mum came running up to claim it - I think she thought I might be after it for a bit of roast lamb. 

A coup.le of photographs here that I took from my chair.I hope Tess isn't doing a poo in the photograph of her with S and T - if so she is too far away for us to see anyway

Tuesday 14 May 2019

Keeping active

Keeping active when one has arthritis is very important - in fact vital.  If  the arthritis happens to be in feet, knees and ankles it is easier still to decide to sit around.   But I know from bitter experience that it does no good at all.  An hour of movement followed by a sit down with one's feet up is the answer so that is what I try to do.   The lady who now walks my dog has rung to say she will take Tess today when it gets a bit cooler - so I don't have to worry.   Tess has already had her morning walk and is now laid out in the sun on the patio.

As my daughter in law has a special birthday today we are going our for a celebratory meal this evening, so no need to bother with food either.   So I shall take a chair out onto the patio, sit in the sun and read my book (Austerlitz by W G Sebald)- enjoy the sun if you are lucky enough to have it where you are - it isn't set to last long.

Monday 13 May 2019

At last a Summer's Day.

It has been a perfect day here today - three loads of washing done - I hope I am not tempting fate by washing my thick woolly jumpers so that they can dry outside and be put away.   Tomorrow will be the day to get out the T shirts, wash them (and yes I did wash them before I put them away last Autumn) and dry them outside while the weather holds.

In addition to this I have done several other jobs - or had them done for me is perhaps nearer the truth.   My cleaning lady came as she usually does on a Monday morning.   While she was busy the young man from Lifeline came and together we set up the service.   For anyone who doesn't know this is a service for elderly people who live alone to put them in contact in an emergency.   I now wear a device on my wrist when I am out and about around the house so that if I fall I can press it and speak into a microphone telling 'headquarters what my problem is.   They are then able to contact my son so that help is at hand.  I didn't want the service but I have to be realistic with my mobility problem (which is always worse in this warm weather.

Then my handyman came and fitted me a new knob on the bathroom door - not a perfect fit but as near as we shall get and at least now I shall be able to get in and out of tthe bathroom without getting stuck in there - and so will any guests.

Two dog walks, lunch and tea prepared and eaten and now time to gather in the line of dry washing, iron it and put it on the airer, take the dog for another short walk and settle down for the evening.   Another day like today forecast for tomorrow.   But sadly not likely to last until the weekend, when I shall be meeting friends on Friday at our Creamery in Hawes for lunch.  If they are reading this then the table is booked!

Sunday 12 May 2019

What a difference a day makes.

All week the rain has poured down and the weather has been really dismal.   Now at long last it has settled for the time being at least into a pattern of seasonably warm, sunny weather with just a light breeze.  I don't know whether it is just me, but the sun makes a huge difference to how I feel these days and today, driving up to our weekly lunch date at the local Golf Club we were all in a much jollier mood.   It was salmon for all four of us today - it really is so beautifully cooked and for two of us it is salmon florentine (served on a bed of spinach) and served with roast, mashed and croquette potatoes, carrots, broccoli and swede and the mash decorated with a delicious roast parsnip.   The salmon covered with Hollandaise Sauce it all looks most appetising.   I have completely gone off sweet puddings so usually have a starter while the other three are eating their puds - today I had a prawn salad, which complemented my salmon course beautifully.

As soon as I got home I took Tess for her walk round (she had already had one early this morning) and met a friend who walked part of our walk with us.   As she had only returned from a short holiday this morning it was pleasant to catch up with her too. Then I spent an hour in the garden tidying up the tulips - they look so pretty but are beginning to be bedraggled after the days of rain so needed tidying up here and there.   I managed to collect a bag full of weeds in the process.   No sign of the mare's tail weed yet - it is always quite late in putting in an appearance.   But we have one more dose of weed killer to give it when it shows its face.

How quickly The Chelsea Flower Show comes round each year.   It is one of the things which the BBC does so very well and there was an hour's pre show programme at tea time.   What a lot of work goes into it all.

A busy week looms ahead.   Three things on tomorrow, two on Tuesday, one on Wednesday, two on Thursday and then out to lunch on Friday and it will be another weekend before I have had time to turn around.   Enjoy your week.

Saturday 11 May 2019

Think Positive

If you go over to Diary of a nobody's post today you will see that she suggests that if we get down in the dumps about our situation we sit for a moment and count our blessings.   Not a bad idea I thought - so here is what I came up with.

1.   I find walking very difficult because of arthritis in my ankles and knees.   But I now live on a road where there are always folk passing (often folk with dogs that Tess and I know) - there is often a wave, or if the weather is nice a ten minute chat.

2.  I have always loved gardening and miss the fact that I am not really steady enough to do much now.   But I have a lovely gardener who mows my lawn, builds fences for me, and generally keeps my garden nice.  As I write this I am overlooking it and getting pleasure from it.

3.  My hearing is very poor and I wear hearing aids.   But thank goodness for the N H S and their weekly clinic only seven miles away.   If I start 'whistling' I haven't far to go to get adjusted.

4.   I miss my dear farmer every single hour of the day and night even now he has been gone more than two years.    But how lucky I am to have so many dear friends, many of whom are in the same situation, and how well we have adjusted to lunching together, having coffee together  and just meeting up for quality time together.

In other words almost every complaint has a plus side if we look for it.

Yesterday was a lovely day here - the first day this week when there hasn't been any rain at all.   Today is a tad warmer and at the moment the sun is out.   But there has already been a shower.   H, who lives higher up the road, has just called for Tess in her car and together they have gone off to The Himalayan Gardens which are about ten miles away.   H has only been twice to take her out, but they are already firm friends (interesting walksand several 'treats' later).   Two hours later and they have returned after a lovely long walk.   Tess has, apparently, behaved perfectly and has been 'a pleasure to take out.'   She is now stretched out in her bed having a lovely long sleep before tea.

For my lunch shortly I intend to have a fillet of smoked haddock which I shall poach in milk and then eat with a knob of butter on top and a couple of slices of bread and butter.*   And I shall enjoy it.  *As I predicted, it was delicious.   I washed all receptacles immediately and put on the dishwasher.   I am now hoping that there is no fishy smell lingering (the downside of having smoked fish).
Enjoy your lunch whatever you intend having.

Friday 10 May 2019

Music and Dementia

Anyone in the UK who watched the two programmes on BBC 1 about Music and Dementia cannot fail to have been inspired by them.   My friends and I play once a month for group of Dementia patients and their carers and we notice the difference between how they behave and react when they arrive and how they are when they leave - it is uplifting and does the heart good.   If you have access to the two programmes and didn't watch then please do - you will not be disappointed even if you do have to have a handkerchief at the ready.   The programmes are not sentimental - they are part of a scientific experiment to measure the effect of music on the brain and as such they should be so useful for medical science.   But of course - as always - money for research is the problem.   That and the fact that it is not a 'fashionable' illness and the money for the 'unfashionable' usually finds its way elsewhere.

Today the sun has shone more or less all day.   It is still not very warm but it is set to warm up over the week-end and just to see the sun instead of black cloud was welcome in itself.

An hour of Gardening on the TV shortly - I am now very much an armchair gardener - always ready to pass on any hints to the chap who does my garden for me.   Sitting with my feet up, with a cup of tea and a biscuit, is quite enjoyable these days.

Thursday 9 May 2019


After three days of solid rain it is now seven in the evening and the sun is peeping through the cloud - a watery sun but very welcome.

It has been my day for playing with two friends for the elderly in a local Old Peoples' Home.   We play the old songs and they really enjoy the afternoon - as do we.

Apart from that nothing very much has happened.   Everyone seems to be lying low because of the miserable weather.    Coffee with friends on Tuesday. yesterday a friend took Tess for a long walk - she was away for two hours and came home having had rather a lot of 'treats' I suspect.

Blogger has made getting on to my site rather difficult once or twice over the past two days but now seems to have righted itself.   Fingers crossed that tomorrow it will all be back to normal.

Tuesday 7 May 2019


May sunshine is warm, welcome and hopefully a foretaste of things to come in Summer.   May downpours just hark back to Winter and its cold, dark days.   Today we have had the slightest smidgin of the former and a whole lot of the latter.   It has been raining since around three this afternoon (luckily I got a good walk round with Tess in before the rain came) and when I say raining I actually meaning pouring.   She just asked if we were going on another walk.  I opened the front door, she stuck her head out and then went and got into her basket.   Yes, it is not even fit to turn a dog out.

Coffee this morning with friends in town and then our fortnightly 'lunch and chat' - a dozen of us.  Today the menu was quiche, new potatoes and salad followed by rhubarb pie and custard or jam sponge and custard.  When I had taken Tess for a walk I had an hour on the telephone with H M R C - three quarters of it listening to music until my turn came.   A lovely lady came on - a tax accountant - with such a strong Scottish accent I struggled to hear what she was saying.   We decided between us that things would be better left to my accountant.  It really is no fun getting too old to deal with things like this but I have to face the fact that it is all too complicated for me to deal with.

I think everyone is getting thoroughly fed up with the weather and we all need some warm days to begin to feel better.   I sent away for some shoes and they came today - not at all glamorous but jolly comfortable (I never thought I would hear myself say such a thing).   Gloves on my feet as I write this.

Ah well, cheer up everybody.   At least our gardens are happy.

Monday 6 May 2019


It is cold, it is raining and it is thoroughly dismal.   I am for some reason not feeling all that well today.  I have taken Tess for one walk but found it difficult so shall try and get hold of my son to take her on another one.    Yesterday friends took her on three very long walks so she is well-exercised.
See you tomorrow

Saturday 4 May 2019


I am having intermittent problems with my blog page, so although I have nothing much to say today I am writing this post while I actually manage to get on to my right page.  Sometimes what comes up is the 'blogs I follow' all in the wrong order with the ones who haven't posted coming at the top and with a note from Google half filling the screen asking me where I want to file them.

So - here goes with a rather flimsy blog post - very cold here.   Everyone who passes the window is in their Winter clothes and there is a gale blowing.  A friend and her husband called to collect some rocks I wanted rid of.   They are building a rockery and were looking for some, so I was very pleased to say good bye to the rocks.  Then Tess and I walked and who should we meet but my gardener and he is coming shortly to fit a new piece of fence and to empty my pots for me so that I can begin to think what to plant for Summer.

Two slices of ham left from my God-daughter's visit and six Jersey Royals so they will be for my lunch along with a mixture of baby broad beans (sorry Rachel), peas, cauli and broccoli.  Time I was getting round to preparing it so this is it for now.   Should anything spectacular happen later in the day I will be back to report it, providing I can get on to the right place again.

Friday 3 May 2019

Return of winter.

This is, of course, for us here in the UK, a Bank Holiday week-end.   Friend W and I were talking yesterday about the old customs associated with May Day and we wondered if they had completely died out or if some still existed in villages here and there throughout the country.   I did have a photograph, which I passed on to the farmer's family on his death, of the Maypole  on the Vicarage lawn on Mayday.   The village girls and boys were dancing round it to thread the ribbon pattern.  It was taken eighty years ago.   I lived at the time in an remote village in Lincolnshire and I don't remember Maypole being done on May Day there so it must have been already dying out.  Would it be sad if it died out altogether?  I don't know the answer to that - must we keep old customs alive?

Last year the May Bank Holiday week-end brought record temperatures and a real holiday atmosphere everywhere.   This year at present, looking out of the window, it is raining, cold and cloudy.   Tess and I walked in such conditions earlier this morning and I was (and still am) wearing my thickest woollen jumper which I had washed and put away until next year.

Today the Tour de Yorkshire comes through the region (but not through our little town) and ends in Bedale, which is around twelve miles from here.  I suppose the racing cyclists might well be pleased to have this really chilly weather rather than last year's heat wave.   As for Tess and I, we shall find jobs to do indoors with the central heating full on.

Thursday 2 May 2019


As I write the rain is sheeting down on the window of the computer room.   It is not a warm day and promises to be a cold Bank Holiday Week-end.  I must say I am pleased to see the rain - my gardener has weed-killed my front lawn and sown the bare patches with grass seed.  We were hoping for rain so that he didn't have to water it so he will no doubt welcome the rain too.

 My God daughter came and we had a lovely relaxed evening - slippers, central heating on, wine, food, plenty to talk about, hot water bottles to take to our beds at half past ten as she had an early start to drive back the hour's journey to work.  This gave Tess and me a good early walk and plenty of time to get me to the hairdressers.   Then out to lunch with friend W and now home and waiting for a friend to call so that I can pay my car insurance which is due this week.

Hard frosts are forecast so I am relieved that I have not planted up my pots by the front door.   The pansies in them are ready for throwing out.   They have given me very good service over the winter months but are now looking very sad.   It is always fun planting up for Summer.

For the first time since I have lived in the bungalow, when I drew the curtains back this morning there was a grey squirrel in my garden.  I just hope he is not after eggs/baby birds from the nest in my garden hedge.   Nature it might be but, like the corvid shooting ban that has recently come into force here in the UK, when nestlings of birds which are endangered - birds like lapwing and curlew - are just clambering out of their ground nests and the carrion crows are just waiting for the pickings it is distressing to even think about.