Saturday 30 November 2019


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

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

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

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

Friday 29 November 2019


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

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

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

Wednesday 27 November 2019


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

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

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

Tuesday 26 November 2019


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

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

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

Urgent Plea.

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

Monday 25 November 2019

A moan.

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 24 November 2019


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

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

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

Saturday 23 November 2019


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

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

Friday 22 November 2019


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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 21 November 2019

Politics and the forthcoming election.

Here are a few questions I keep asking myself:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 20 November 2019


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

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

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

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

Tuesday 19 November 2019


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

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

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

Monday 18 November 2019


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

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

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

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

Sunday 17 November 2019


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

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

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

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

Until tomorrow.


Saturday 16 November 2019


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

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

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

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

Thursday 14 November 2019

Nor any drop to drink.

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Busy Day

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

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

Tuesday 12 November 2019

Good and Bad

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

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

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

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

Monday 11 November 2019


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

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

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

Friday 8 November 2019

Water water everywhere.

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 7 November 2019


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

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

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

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

Wednesday 6 November 2019


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

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

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

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

Tuesday 5 November 2019


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

Monday 4 November 2019


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

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

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

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

Saturday 2 November 2019

Another jolly visit.

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

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

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

Friday 1 November 2019


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

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

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

Have a good week-end.