Sunday 30 June 2019

Sunday morning early.

A whole lot cooler here this morning and a stiffish breeze blowing in from the West, but sunny and a lot more pleasant.   After a much better night sleep-wise I got up at my usual time of a quarter to seven and have just had my weetabix and fruit.   Tess has retired to her basket in the sitting room and settled down for another sleep.

Sundays are a predictable day for me with lunch out at our local Golf Club (only three of us today) so at least I don;t have to ponder over what's for lunch.  (it will be salmon florentine).

My son came round last evening with his banjo and a whole lot of music for banjo and ukulele.  I was too tired to really do it justice so he has left it for me to practise.   Changes up to speed -  and of unfamiliar chords - need practice to make perfect so hopefully  I can manage them.

That's my day so far.   If anything more exciting emerges I will be back.

Saturday 29 June 2019


Yes, Summer has reached North Yorkshire at last and it looks as though today is the only day we shall get as it is set to become ten degrees cooler overnight tonight.   Shalln't be sorry as it is much too warm for me today - and Tess too.

Lethargy has set in.   I just noticed that a lupin had begun to go to seed and as it has about five other flower spikes coming into bloom I staggered across to the bed where it is and cut it out.

I had a very bad night's sleep last night and consequently I am very tired today.   Tess is following me about like my shadow in case  I should change my mind and decide to go for a walk after all (in the heat of the day).I finally
got up at a quarter to six and while it was cool took Tess for her morning walk.   Coming back I had my Weetabix and fruit and a cup of coffee and then sat and read the paper until ten to nine when I drove into town for some money from the cash machine and a top up on fruit and veg. 

In a fit of enthusiasm on the way home I called in at the car wash and let them give the car a good clean (mostly bird dirt) and when I got home I cleaned the inside and brushed the mats.   Then it was water the plants and tubs.   By this time it was about a quarter to eleven and I was exhausted, so sufficient to say I have done almost nothing since.  It is very close and airless and looking at the forecast it seems there are storms on the way.

Arthritis is always very bad in hot weather and I am finding walking very difficult but after feeding Tess an hour ago I walked - maybe staggered would be a better word - round our usual walk and now we are back home and set to stay here all evening.   At the moment I don't feel like eating any tea - hot weather and I don't altogether agree.

Friday 28 June 2019

Friday and getting hotter.

As the day has gone on so the temperature has risen and now, at seven in the evening, it is quite airless.   Plants I have recently planted are looking a bit droopy and will need a water just before it gets dark; washing at present on the line will be fetched indoors and if I can raise the energy I might even iron it tonight as tomorrow is forecast to be very hot indeed before a chilly wind blows in making it ten degrees cooler by Sunday.

Tess and I have just been for a walk - you could hardly call it that as we had to walk so slowly (for both our sakes) - as H called and took Tess for a long walk where there are countless rabbits last evening the fact that she has only had two shortish walks today will not come amiss. 

Do you have a favourite vegetable?   Mine seems to vary depending upon the time of year.  In the late winter/early spring it is the delicious purple sprouting broccoli; then this is followed by English Asparagus - I bought what will probably be my last lot this morning as I found it quite disappointing and flavourless in spite of it being freshly picked in Kent.  Now I impatiently wait for the arrival of new broad beans and peas.   But one thing that has already arrived is the glorious array of summer fruit.  I am spoilt for choice - today I bought apricots, peaches, nectarines, strawberries and enough fruit to fill my fruit bowl - bananas, apples, pears, satsumas.  We really have the most superb Friday market here in Leyburn.

In my garden this very hot weather has finished off many of the plants which have flowered for the last month or so but luckily the French Lavender is in full bloom and attracting hundreds of  bees and the Gallardias are just beginning to come out so Summer flowers are on their way.   Two or three giant poppies have seeded themselves from somewhere and the first one emerged today - it is a deep purple and a welcome addition.   I shall talk nicely to them and hope to encourage them to seed and visit me every year.

Whatever you intend doing this weekend, do bear the weather in mind and don't overdo it.

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Out to lunch

What a change!!   Friend D and I went out to lunch and as the cafe side of our Tennants restaurant was very full we walked across to the Restaurant and had a lovely light lunch.  D had salmon with saute potatoes and braised fennel and I had exactly what I had last week - lobster and crab beignettes, deep friend cheese cubes, heritage tomato salad and pea shoots.  Then a coffee each and a good chat about the state of things.   And I managed to get home in time for friend S, who very kindly takes Tess for a walk on Wednesday afternoons for me.   Now Tess has had her tea and I am about to settle down to watch the antiques programme with a bit of tea myself.

It is still not warm - about fifteen here - but the sky has brightened somewhat and everywhere has dried up very well.   All the standing water had gone and things are looking up although it is not forecast to get really warm.

I have made a policy not to watch the News until all the political stuff is over and done with.   I find it all so upsetting - we can do little about it and everyone, but everyone,  seems to be at one another's throats over so many issues.   So I intend to think of better things.   Cowardly it may be but I have to keep my sanity - and I can do little to influence anything anyway.

Enjoy your evening.

Tuesday 25 June 2019

Where is the heat?

Heat is across large parts of mainland Europe - set to get up into the forties over the next week - I just hope that John (Going Gently), who certainly needs and deserves a holiday, misses the over the top heat due to arrive in Spain.

Here the temperature this afternoon peaked at a measly thirteen degrees and it rained all day.   I hardly dare say it but I succumbed at six o'clock this evening, after returned from a gruelling session at the Physiotherapists, to putting the thermostat on the central heating up to twenty - and it has been on all evening.   Now, at a quarter to eleven, I am warm at last. 

Why am I so late going to bed you may ask?   My son bought himself a banjo today, brought it round and we have been playing banjo and ukulele duets.  He has gone now and I need to get on a more even keel before I go to bed.   At the moment I am having a bad attack of tinnitus, which has lasted since last Friday, and the duets have helped it not one little bit!

Sunday 23 June 2019


Well presumably somebody got that warm, sunny weather today but certainly not here - and reading Derek's reply to my post yesterday - not down the East coast either.   Here it has been cool and overcast all day and at about seven o'clock it began to rain and is still raining now.   I am pleased to see it as my gardener put in a few plants for me yesterday but each day the weather forecast suggests very hot and humid weather and it does not seem to be arriving.

My decorator has been today and emulsion painted the kitchen walls and ceiling (just in a plain, boring white I'm afraid) so now I am just waiting for new ceiling lights to be fitted and that is another job done. 

Out to lunch as usual with 'the girls'.   W, who is 98 now sat having her cup of tea afterwards and suddenly said how she never imagined she would live to be this age and to be going out with friends  to Sunday lunch every week and to be able to afford it.  It is lovely that we are such an important part of he r life - she certainly gives us just as much (if not more) pleasure bringing her and enjoying her lively company.

Saturday 22 June 2019


Oh dear, Boris has gone and blotted his Copy Book again.   I don't suppose it will make any difference at all to the outcome of the vote as all those eligible to vote seem to be middle class, middle aged and men.   So let's forget about Politics as unless we are a member of the Conservative Party we can do nothing about it.   Let's think about Gardening instead.

I bought some plants yesterday and my Gardener kindly nipped round this morning and put them in for me as my garden is too steep for me to go on anything other than the lowest level.   Now they are in and watered well.   There is a sudden lull in colour.  It always happens this time of year.   The early Spring stuff (a lot of it yellow or  blue) has finished and gone to seed (leave it to seed and see what you get!) and the bedding and most of the perennials are only just coming into flower.   Things like my Shasta Daisies, my Lupins, are just beginning to flower so wait a week or two and then I will put a photograph on to show progress.   Because of the Mares Tail weed of course there is a whole area not yet planted - my Gardener has enough for one more application of the very expensive specialised killer and he will put it on in about a month.  After that we have decided to plant the area up with shrubs and ground cover and just keep working on the dreaded weed by cutting each stem off at ground level as instructed on the weed killer tin.

But two plants have excelled themselves.   One is a Perennial Wallflower - not a particularly exciting colour, especially now it has begun to fade, but it has been in flower for months and boy does it attract the bees.   I intended to give it a sharp prune today but when I went up to it it was still covered in bees so it stays.   The other - and again covered in bees - is a French Lavender.  The Perennial Wallflower is a very short-lived plant anyway.

I bought nine different pinks as little plug plants.   They have now been in a prepared bed for about three weeks and seem to be doing well.   Hopefully they will come into their own next year.

I find Gardening very therapeutic - I am not all that good at the planning and starting this garden almost from scratch  and with a framework I may well not have chosen has not been easy.   But it has kept my mind occupied.   I have quite a big Patio area which needs some work doing on it as the subsoil has sunk in places causing the crazy paving to crack and lift slightly.   As water runs aross this area from the field above (only a trickle)
it will need some serious thinking about.   It only happens when there is a huge downpour and it happens to many of the houses on the road.

Any minute now H, Tess's friend will ring the bell as she has just rung to ask if she can take Tess for a walk.   Need she ask?   Tess went insane at hearing her voice on the phone!


Friday 21 June 2019

The Usual Friday

Yes, the usual kind of Friday - never varies much, except that we were all there for coffee this morning - all ten of us.   We did try to keep the noise of the chatter down!

The Summer Solstice and with it probably the warmest day of the year here for us.   Yesterday I bought one or two herbaceous plants and an evergreen shrub to fill in spaces and rang my gardener to ask if he would mind popping in to put them in as the places I want them to go are just too dangerous for me to attempt in my steep garden. 
Not sure whether he has forgotten or whether he intends to come early in the morning, however I have just been round and given them all a good watering to last them overnight.

This is a specially good year for farmers so far I would guess as the field behind me has just had second-crop grass for silage cut today - or on second thoughts probably for whole-crop as this seems more popular these days.   As there is a field behind my bungalow I can still keep an eye on what is happening in the farming world and I like that. 

Out to lunch as usual with friend W today. I had two starters together on the plate - they looked - and tasted - delicious.   Salad of tomatoes and water cress with cream-cheese  crisply fried cubes together with crab and lobster beignettes.
It all went down a treat.  Then a relax over a coffee and home to take Tess for a walk.   We met two cats - both of them sat it out, stared at her and totally refused to scuttle out of the way (typical cat of course).    Had she not been on a tight lead she would have chased them madly (and probably got run over in the process). 

Now after a very light tea of a ham sandwich I have read your posts and will relax for half an hour and then watch Gardeners' World, my favourite Friday night programme.   Watched an interesting programme on the last ten years of Picasso's life from the iplayer archive last evening - what an intriguing and complicated man he was.

Thursday 20 June 2019


I am waiting for the Decorator to come and smooth out the filled holes in my kitchen ceiling.   He has got nearly to the stage where he can give the kitchen ceiling two coats of white emulsion - he intends to do that over the week-end.   It is so good that the wretched down lights have gone - they were unsafe and badly fitted - downright dangerous the electrician said.   It will be good to have 'normal' lights.

Tomorrow - the 21st of June - would have been my beloved Farmer's seventy-sixth birthday.   I think of him every day and am just thankful that he didn\t suffer any more.   Glioblastoma is a dreadful thing and gently fading away was the best thing for him.   Now he is resting in peace, his ashes scattered by his favourite niece on the pastures he had loved and tended all his life.

Wednesday 19 June 2019


Our Poetry afternoons are so relaxing and enjoyable.   There were only six of us today - the others were all busy - also the road through the village is closed this week while it is being resurfaced and getting to W's house means a long detour.  We had a lovely selection - Auden, Simon Armitage, Fanthorpe, Tennyson amongst others.  And then a cup of tea and a biscuit and time for home - the long way round.   A lovely afternoon.

Tess had a lovely afternoon too as friend S usually takes her for a walk.   Today T went too and they went to a local beauty spot - Aysgarth Falls - and Tess even managed a paddle in the river.  I am so lucky to have friends - poetry, ukuleles, friends to walk Tess (my mobility is limited), friends to lunch with, friends to meet for coffee - always something to do which is good these days.   There was a time when I wanted to do craft work and would spend hours in my studio at the farm and before that I would practise the piano for many hours to get my 'party pieces' up to scratch (my favourites were the Schubert Impromptus).   Now I no longer have my piano as I seem to have lost the desire to play so gave it to my son as it was a much better one than his.   My fingers are getting arthritic and that doesn't help.

Thunderstorms were forecast for today but it has been a lovely day - sunny, blue skies, warm sun.   This afternoon the temperature got up to the early twenties and it really felt like Summer at last (and just two days before the Solstice so not a moment too soon).  Similar weather for tomorrow so I shall try to get outside in the sunshine after the hairdressers.   The painter is coming to work on my kitchen ceiling so I can't go far.

THE Debate

Oh dear me.   I watched the debate - I felt it was my duty to listen to them all.   But what a shambles.   I am not a Boris fan - not an any of them fan (that is not my political leaning) - but Boris, as far as I could see, won hands down   The others spent the whole time interrupting, disagreeing, telling everyone what they had already done when they were in whatever job they were in, arguing like children.   All Boris did (apart from forgetting the Questioner Abdullah's name) was answer a straight question with a straight, maybe slightly devious, answer and then let the stage clear for the others to show that they are definitely not capable of the job.   Or so I thought.   You may disagree - that is your prerogative.

So  I am more interested in looking out of the window at another  pouring wet morning, standing water everywhere, garden soaked and the promise of very heavy thunderstorms later today.   And thinking of poor Wainfleet under flood water.

It is our Poetry afternoon.   I chose my poems last evening - a couple of Simon Armitage's as he is our new Poet Laureate, a Tennyson - he was my father's favourite poet and it was father's day last Sunday, and a couple of Ted Hughes.   I shall now shower, get dressed, tidy round and make myself a coffee,   Hopefully by then it will  have stopped raining and Tess and I can do our morning walk.
Enjoy your day.

Tuesday 18 June 2019

To Watch or not to Watch.

That is the question and I have changed my mind several times during the course of the day.   Perhaps the best course is to switch on at eight this evening and see how long I can stand it for.   And is it really necessary when it is obvious what the end 'product' is going to be.     Like it or not then I expect Boris will be the new P M - and will he do a good job or won't he?   Time will tell.

I don't suppose the poor folk of Wainfleet, up to their eyes in water and more forecast with heavy thunderstorms in the offing, could care less about the debate tonight.   Things like intense flooding with rivers bursting their banks and having to move out of one's home and all furniture ruined tend to drive other things out of the mind.

The trouble with much of Lincolnshire (my home county) is that so much of it once you get to the fens is reclaimed land and so low lying that it easily floods.   I do remember the River Witham flooding once when I was a child.   We lived one field away from the river and the water crept gradually across the field, through the hedge and then about half way up our large back garden and there it came to a standstill and began to recede.  Nobody's house in our village was flooded because no houses had been built on land which might flood.   But I suspect that in Wainfleet there is no such land.

So let's keep our fingers crossed that tomorrow the storms miss Wainfleet as they work their way across and up the country - they can do without any more rain.

Monday 17 June 2019

Rory Stewart and National Service?

I see after reading Clare Foges in The Times this morning, that Rory Stewart has said that were he to become Prime Minister he would introduce Compulsory National Service (not military) for all 16 year olds.   Not sure what I think about this but I know that there are an awful lot of young people who are 'at a loose end' in our big cities - and not getting any sense of self respect as a result.

One of the most important things a teacher in any Comprehensive School can do (and I speak as one who  did such a job for most of my career), regardless of the subject they teach, is to give each pupil a sense of self-worth.   Whether they belong to the very brightest, university material pupils or whether they belong to a place lower down in the school system (and that term 'lower down' in itself suggests they are less important) every single one of them has a niche in the scheme of things and if they leave school without the aim of achieving something then they don't start their post school life from a good place.

 Parents moving house so that their children have a better chance of getting into a 'better' school says a lot to children whose parents either can't, wont or are in no position to do that.

Parents who pay for their child's education are saying where their child comes in the 'pecking order' without saying a word.  (I am not against private education having sent my own child into that system).

Might some form of compulsory National Service be a good idea?   How often do children from the different communities meet and do things together ?  Living  up here in The Dales I rarely see anyone from any ethnic community - maybe a few Chinese and Asian people who work in our local (and very good) speciality restaurants, maybe the occasional family up here on holiday.   But contrast that with inner cities where knife crime is becoming very scary and where young people often have no sense of self-worth and ask yourself what can we do to help them to find that niche that is just the right one for them.

I don't know the answer.   Maybe there is nobody who does.  But isn't anything worth a try?   I think back to the many black children and Sikh children I taught years ago.   Lovely children who deserved a bright future.   Did they find their niche?  Do they have families, jobs they enjoy doing, did they fulfill their potential.   As I now live so far away from where I taught I shall never know - but I do hope some of them at least did.   And for those who didn't would a couple of years of mixing with all sorts of other young people and really learning to live in a multi racial society rather than within their own group  have made any difference?            

Sunday 16 June 2019

Father's Day

Today being Father's Day and none of the four of us being young enough to still have a father (oldest 98 and youngest 73) we went out to lunch in our usual place at our usual time.   It did seem as though the vast majority of the other tables were occupied by folk bring their fathers out for Sunday lunch as a treat.

But it is a good time to recall our Dads even though mine has long gone.   I had a very happy childhood and loved both my parents.   But because my mother was in her mid forties when I was born (I had a sister twenty two years older than me) my father took special interest in me - possibly to lessen the work load of bringing me  up for my mother. 

Many of my interests hark back as far as those days.   He had a shelf or two of Poetry books by his arm chair (I have them now) and often quoted poems to me.   I have never lost my love of poetry.
He loved walking in the countryside (we lived in what was then a small village in Lincolnshire, a village on the banks of the River Witham which eventually flows into the Wash.)  And he loved all kinds of wild life and natural history so that we would walk along identifying wild flowers and grasses, listening for bird song and looking where the birds were nesting. 

He was a mild-mannered man and never raised his voice or as far as I can remember reprimanded me (he left that kind of thing to my mother).   I think of him every day and whenever I see a familiar wild flower - or even many of the garden flowers I am growing again now - I try to remember the Latin name (which he was fond of quoting). 

So thanks Dad for contributing so much to the full and rich life I have managed to have and wherever you are now - Happy memories on Father's Day.

Saturday 15 June 2019


Day dreaming just after lunch I heard an odd sound.  After a few seconds I identified it as my gardener using the strimmer round the edge of my front lawn.   Being on quite a steep slope it is well-drained so was really relatively dry.  He then set to work on weeding the back rockery and I went out to help him where I could reach without falling over.   It looks a lot better after his couple of hours.   And the sun on my back as we worked was welcome.

Now, a couple of hours later, it is pouring with rain again and the central heating is on.   Will it never end?

Reading Rachel's post today makes me realise just how much there is going on in the world at the moment.   It is not just Brexit that is in turmoil, it seems to be everything - so much so that I really don't feel at my age I can be bothered with any of it.   Is this wrong?   I have always considered myself to be well - informed on matters political and on world affairs (my first husband was politically minded) but the farmer never raised his head above the farming balcony so to speak.   So over the years I have followed suit and now (at 86) I am too set in stone to be bothered.   Is this wrong of me?   I shall of course vote if and when there is an election (every woman in the land should do that after the hard fight for women to get the vote in the first place) but other than that I shall keep my head buried in the sand.   Should I wake up and make myself take an interest again?   Am I wrong to concentrate my thoughts on my garden, my lunches out, my friends, my son and my great grand-children?   Serious answers please before I begin to feel guilty.

Friday 14 June 2019

What is that?

A ball has appeared in the sky - can it possibly be the sun?   It is indeed.   On rising this morning it was wet, as it has been all week.   But as the day has gone on it has got gradually better and now the rain has stopped and a weak sun has come out and the temperature has risen to a positively tropical fifteen.   There is a Festival of Food and Drink here this week-end, starting first thing in the morning.   Apart from the main road through the town all other roads are closed so that stalls can be set up so one can but hope they get fine weather for the next couple of days - they must have been anticipating the worst.

I still have no facility to send e mails although I can still receive them.   If it has not righted itself by the end of the week-end I shall ask the computer man to call in and help me.   I have tried every symbol visible around the edges of the e mail page and nothing makes the slightest bit of difference.

Plants in the garden are looking rather sad and bedraggled.   I have three clumps of Silene (a cultivated form of Campon) which have been out for weeks and weeks and have given me a magnificent show.   But this rain has finished them off and as soon as everywhere has dried up a bit I shall go out and carefully cut off all the flower stems.   Luckily I can reach all three plants from the patio so it is a job I can do.   I shall also go out tomorrow and investigate the new long border in the hope that it has survived intact too.   I feel sorry to those who grow roses in abundance as the first find blooms were just coming out on some gardens around the estate the bushes are just a bedraggled mess - especially the really old-fashioned bush roses which have such a delightful smell.   But, sadly, it is one of the perils of gardening - last year too dry and this year too wet.

Out to lunch again today as I am every Friday - today I had pan-fried salmon with fennel and saute potatoes in a buttery sauce - delicious.

Thursday 13 June 2019


First of all to address the irritating problem of my e mails.   Several of you send me regular e mails, which I do appreciate.   I love to get them and to answer them.   But at the moment this is impossible.   Some weeks ago I was put on an updated e mail system which BT said would be much better.   I am yet to be convinced of this.   My latest thing is that there is not 'send' coming up at the bottom so that when I finish writing I suddenly realise I can't send it so it languishes in my save box waiting until suddenly (I hope) I can send them again.   Trying to bypass this by clicking on 'reply' makes no difference at all - there is still no method I can see of actually sending my e mail anywhere.  Anyone any ideas as to what I can do please?

Next to today's jollifications.   Our old friend Winn (real name Lavinia) is ninety-eight years young today and twelve of us went down to Tennant s cafe for breakfast at ten o'clock.   And did she enjoy it.   She had bacon, egg, fried bread and a pot of tea (we all had a different combination).   Everyone brought her a birthday card and after our feast we sang Happy Birthday to You and she joined in loudly, substituting 'me' for 'you'.  We had our photograph taken standing at the foot of the staircase - if I get a copy I will add it to this post.   It really was a lovely occasion and she enjoyed every moment.   I found myself close to tears several times (one of the hazards of getting old I'm afraid) but they were tears of joy not sadness.

The rain is still falling but not as heavy and the sky is lightening - if only the sun would emerge for five minutes we would all feel better for it. 

Wednesday 12 June 2019

Flaming June.

Well all you folk there in the South East - I think, after reading your posts, that we have got off quite lightly up here.   Yes it has been windy and yes it has rained all day (and probably all last night as well) but not in sheets and although it is wet and soggy everywhere the wind has now more or less died to a breeze and the rain is just a light showery rain and there is a feeling that just perhaps it is going to be a bit better tomorrow.   We shall have to wait and see.

I had lunch (fish and chips) out with a friend D today at Tennants Auction House in Leyburn (Google it if you want to see our fantastic Auction House) and afterwards we wandered round an exhibition of the work of William Morris.   What a talent and how timeless his designs were - they lose none of their beauty as time goes by and are as fresh today as they were when he was alive.   I think of them all perhaps 'The strawberry thief' is  one of my favourites.

It is an image familiar to everyone.

H took Tess for a long walk this evening, brought her back and came in for tea and cake and a chat, and that passed a nice couple of hours .   On grey days like this it is nice to sit and chat to someone when one lives alone.   Now it is almost time for a programme I want to watch on Dementia - how good it is that at last we are all able to talk about it.   It is out in the open and much better for it.

Tuesday 11 June 2019

Will it, won't it?

    Well, the expected rain has not reached here yet.   When I drove back on to my drive at eleven this morning the temperature was ten degrees and there were spots of rain on the windscreen.   Now at half past two things are much the same although the rain is falling steadily now.   Poor Derek has lost his first flush of lovely roses to the downpours and this is always a disappointment although they will give him another display.

As a nation we are given to talking endlessly about the weather - and I am one of the worst offenders living, as I do quite close to the weather up here in the Dales.   But frankly anything makes better conversation at the moment than Gove and his Class A drugs or Boris and his various machinations.   I am sick of it all before it really gathers steam - just wanting it all to be over.

What is irritating me at the moment is companies and their web sites.   Can anyone tell me how, when a web site is simple to operate, easy to find a way through and satisfying when it all works out, does a company have to change it all?   Ordering a pair of sandals took me ages, I wasn't happy  with them and had to send them back.   It used to be so simple but not any more.  An hour's puzzling got me there in the end but when the man came this morning to collect them he told me every person he goes to is complaining.If it ain't broke don't mend it springs to mind.   And the same applies to BT and their changes to the e mail system.   Did anyone ask for them?   Was anyone dissatisfied with the old system?   I have more or less got used to the new way but was it necessary?   Is there a purpose behind it all and if so - what?   And it is no good saying 'don't buy things off the internet'.  I live around ten miles from the nearest small town, twenty five miles from a larger town and around forty from any sizeable shopping complex.   How else to buy clothes these days when internet shopping has caused small shops to close their doors?   End of rant.

Keep your brollies handy if you live in the UK!

Sunday 9 June 2019


As a nation we have always been interested in the weather I think.   And it is certainly never the right weather as far as I can make out.   It is alright for some but never for all.   We have either had too much rain, too little rain, the wind has slaughtered our delphiniums, a late frost has caught our newly put out bedding plants.    That's gardening life for you.   Some folk are philosophical about it all, some are almost neurotic - rushing out in the early evening to drape fleece around tender plants.  And as for lawns - do you like yours like a bowling green - weedless, mossless, deep green, mowed in stripes - or are you content as long as it doesn't get too long?

My first husband was a keen gardener and really enjoyed his time creating a garden whether it was growing a greenhouse full of tomatoes or nurturing delphiniums grown from seed (and that was a job and a half, I can tell you).  As for the Farmer - time was of the essence and after a long day being out in the open and being on the land (which is of course precisely what gardening is) he really only did what was necessary to keep things tidy.   As I aged I could do less and less although I have always loved it too.   Now I am lucky enough to have D who mows, weeds, sprays and does anything else that needs doing.   Any bits on the flat, like my new long border, I am really enjoying looking after (photographs when there is anything to show for my work).

Looking at 'gardens' like Chatsworth (where there is an RHS Show which finishes today) , lovely as it all is with its long vistas of perfect lawn leading to fountains and lakes and specimen trees - and a team of gardeners to keep it all pristine - I don't envy them one bit of it - any more than I envy them the huge house, beautiful as it is.   Give me my little abode, its little garden just right for pottering and just a sitting room for sitting in, a kitchen for cooking, a bathroom for ablutions and a bedroom for a good night's sleep and plenty of windows to look out on my pocket sized garden and I am happy.

Saturday 8 June 2019

We are all in this together it seems.

It did seem as though Derek in Kent and Rachel in Norfolk were missing out on the cold wet weather but it looks as though it might be spreading there later today.   Here it has rained and rained - everywhere just looks waterlogged and (no excuses) I have just turned the thermostat up and the heating has come on.   I can see no point in being really cold.

Saturdays are usually my least busy day of the week and today is no exception.   Apart from a visit from my Chiropodist - sorely needed - I have seen no-one.   I just went round the estate with Tess as the rain had eased off a bit and I saw not a single soul. I came back five minutes ago and the rain has begun in earnest again.   I had forgotten it was the Queen's birthday today so I didn't watch Trooping the Colour,  so perhaps I can catch up with the shortened version this evening - I do like the pageantry of it all.

Slightly better weather forecast for tomorrow.   One of the things we get a lot of up here are 'Open Gardens' - villagers put on a really good show,    often with scarecrow competitions too and tea and scones.  I don't know whether any were planned for today - they are always on Saturdays - but if so then they would really be a washout.   Even the plants in the garden are telling us they have had enough.

Friday 7 June 2019

7th June.

Yes, read the date above in the title before I tell you that the rain is beating down on the window and also pouring down my drive.   I did get a dozen antirrhinums and four lavender bushes planted before it started to rain this morning but I certainly didn't have to water them in - more likely the rain will wash them out looking out of the window.
I spent the afternoon at the hairdresser getting my hair permed - what some women will go through in order to look passable (all that is possible at my age).   But it's done now and I am home again. And meanwhile Tess had a lovely walk with her friend H - all round a nature reserve.   And she managed to get round before the rain really started.   She came straight in, ate last night's tea, which she had not eaten, and is now curled up asleep in her bed next to the radiator (yes, the central heating is on again Derek). 

I left the Hairdressers at four o'clock and walked through the market place on the way back to my car in the carpark.   All the market had packed up and gone (it was pouring by this time) and I was surprised to see that most of the cafes and shops were also closed up.   I had planned to treat myself to a Cornish Pasty for my tea along with a salad, but Andy's shop was empty and in darkness.  So I ended up having my usual standby of a jacket potato with butter and grated cheese and a salad which I made while it was cooking.   I must say it was delicious, particularly as I followed it with a bowl of Perthshire strawberries - sweet as honey.

Forecast is equally bad for tomorrow and then set to get cooler.   Flaming June anywhere?

Thursday 6 June 2019


For some reason I am very tired today.   Tess is the same - I wonder if it has something to do with the fumes from the woodworm treatment, although I have kept windows and doors open to fend the smell off.   Anyhow, all done and dusted.   The electrician came and removed the downlights from the kitchen so there are now ten holes in the kitchen ceiling and the decorator came a while ago to look at filling them in and emulsion painting the ceiling.   It will be a fortnight before he comes but as the nights are at their lightest I can easily manage without light in the kitchen apart from the lights under the wall cupboards if necessary.

I did a little bit of gardening.  It is the best day we have had lately here.   Nice breeze and warm sun.
And what a difference rain and then warm sun makes to the plants which all seem to have grown six inches overnight (that includes the weeds too of course).   63up was fascinating again last night and looks to be most fascinating of all tonight  - the last night of the series.   I have really been so interested in how these children have developed over the years.   There is a sadness too  - but maybe there is always sadness in our lives passing.   It was brought home too by the D Day commemorations today - I remember it all so well (I was twelve years old) but thought how much more people of my age in Normandy must be feeling it today.   We just heard about what was happening and worried about our loved ones who were involved (in my case my brother) but we didn't have it happening literally on our doorsteps.


Wednesday 5 June 2019


Woodwork sprayer nice man, efficient worker - just gone.
Delicious night's sleep after awful one the night before.
Taken Tess to the vet's for more Apoquel tablets for her allergy to pollen - the best way to get a tablet down her is to wrap it is a tiny fragment of ham.   She would sell her soul for ham.
Off to watch Nigel Slater's programme on Middle Eastern Cooking - last in series, starts in six minutes - so apologies for the hurried post tonight.

Tuesday 4 June 2019


The little beasties have managed to infiltrate my loft space (and that of my neighbour) - presumably because an old shed in her garden was riddled with them when she moved in just a few months ago.   At present there is just the very minimal damage but tomorrow the 'woodworm men' are coming to sort them out.   Woodworms beware - they are out to get you.   Tess and I hope the weather will be fine (at present it is pouring with rain and the heating is on) so that all doors and windows can be open.

Last night, for no reason I can identify, I had what was possibly the worse night's sleep ever.   Consequently I am tired today and hoping I can manage to stay awake for the repeat of Nigel Slater's Middle Eastern cooking (due to start in seven minutes time) and then later for the fascinating 63 up, which is on at nine.   If you watched 7 up last evening I hope you agree with me that it was quite magical.

Til tomorrow.

Monday 3 June 2019


Warm sun, cold wind and plenty of it again.   Now, almost at sundown, just a slight breeze remains and I think I shall have to go out and water some of my plants in the morning as we have had no rain for several days now.

Book Group was, as usual, very enjoyable this morning.   We met at G's and her husband makes delicious scones, which was an extra bonus - and he made the coffee too!   The book was well-received - only five of us there today - three thought it was excellent, one quite good and one thought it not to her liking.   Par for the course I would have thought.   Our next book is 'The Salt Path' by Raynor Winn - a non-fiction book for a change but sounds very interesting.

I have managed three walks around our estate path today with Tess - I manage three on a good day.   That, plus a load of ironing, making up the bed after washing the sheets, cooking a lunch for myself, going to Book Club and an hour of watching Nigel Slater touring the Middle East (Lebanon tonight) looking at Middle Eastern cooking.  Not a bad day all things considered.

Sunday 2 June 2019

Just as cold.

The hottest it has been here today is twenty degrees and there has been a stiff wind blowing for much of the day.   Now as night falls great black clouds are rolling in - so not much change up here then.   But, unlike Derek, I can at least say that the soil is in good condition for planting right now.   I did a bit in the garden before going out to lunch today - the trouble is that I dare not garden without my stick so what I can do is limited.

We had our usual lunch out - the four of us - (3 salmon and veggies and one prawn salad) followed by a pleasant sit and chat in the bar over a cup of tea.   Home again by four o'clock, just before Tess returned with H who had taken her yet again round The Himalayan Garden so she has come back ready for a good tea followed by a good sleep from the long walk.

Tomorrow morning is Book Group when my choice - 'Happiness' is being discussed.   It will be interesting to see what our group thought of it as I have had such mixed opinions from people who have read it.   And I shall come home with another book to order and read for next month.

Saturday 1 June 2019


I am sure there are places where the temperature lives up to the Weather Forecast today but certainly not here in North Yorkshire.   In spite of the weather man saying our temperature could be up in the low twenties the thermometer has steadfastly refused to go above fourteen all day.   It is cloudy, it is raining and I have just put the central heating on so that when I return from my walk with Tess there is a bit of heat in the place.

I had plans to garden after going to the Coffee Morning.   I found out at the last minute that the Coffee Morning had been cancelled so I went into town to collect dry cleaning and to get a Times to add to my previous Guardian which had been delivered.   Might as well have plenty to read if it is going to be that sort of day.

Now, at half past three, it is still raining, still chilly and no sign of the sun.   It is time that Tess had another walk so we shall go now.   Enjoy a relaxing Saturday evening and let's hope for a good gardening day tomorrow.