Thursday 31 December 2020


 Outside it is cold and icy but it is sunny and at present the sky is a clear blue.   But underfoot is too slippery for me to venture out.   But I have plenty of reading matter -  Shuggie Bain is behind me.   I can't say I am sorry really - it is not a pleasant, easy read - but it is certainly a good, well-written  book, entirely deserving of the Booker.   Now I am on to the 2020 Book of Best Short Stories.   There is something that really interests me about a good short story.   So far I have only read two but they have both left a lasting impression.

New Year's Eve and at midnight we went into Tier 3.   My friends have just got me some money out of the cash machine.   These days we just never seem to need actual cash and yet there does need to be a bit of cash around - the paper boy needed a Christmas present - the Postie - I wonder just how long it will be before cash disappears altogether from the High Street.   This virus has certainly  speeded up the change in our shopping habits.   I have not been inside a shop in the past year - everything is ordered on line.  The Supermarkets, Amazon, PC World - these places must have seen a huge surge in business.

The Prime Minister is now telling us that by Easter - with 2 different vaccines being rolled out - things will be considerably easier for many of us.   I have not been vaccinated yet but have received a text to say 'don't call us, we'll call you ' and I have four drivers who have very kindly offered to to drive me to the vaccination place.   So I await a date.  Then I can ring round and see which one is available at the time.  

It is a very strange New Year's Eve and just let's hope everyone is sensible tonight and obeys the rules to stay home and celebrate with one's family.   A very happy and healthy New Year - and stay safe.

Wednesday 30 December 2020

In the morning early (it

These days my brain seems to function at a higher level earlier in the day.   I have to synchronise my hand with its shakiness and my brain in order to get maximum function.   It is 9.34am. my morning-carer has gone, after giving me a lovely hot shower. I have breakfasted, The Times has popped through the letter box and I opened the door to check that the money I left on the doorstep for the paper boy as a Christmas present had disappeared (it had).  I smiled when, just before the big day a small card from the paper boy, wishing me a Happy Christmas, appeared on the mat.   A reminder or what?   But boys will be boys.

It is very cold here but yet no snow to speak of - some forecast for later today.  There is blue sky out there so I have high hopes of sunshine.   As to the News -  I switched on Breakfast TV at seven and watched it until my carer came at 7.40 - and it was all Covid.   Such depressing news about it all.   And further restrictions coming in later today.  But something good is happening.   There is a blackbird on the end of my hedge just outside my window and he is singing his beak off so it is not all bad news.

I have finished 'Shuggie Bain' the Booker Prize winner which I had for Christmas.   Not a cheerful book - even the ending offers no hope - but by golly what a powerful read and what amazing imagery.   In so many of the incidents the reader is there with them - as they move house for example - full of such high hopes and only to be let down when they see the place.   Now I have the 2020 Book of Short Stories and Monty Don's Garden Book to go at - so plenty to go at.

So - it is away to The Times Mind Games before I wear out my day's quota of power.   Stay alert against Covid, keep warm, keep cheerful and listen out for that blackbird - he will be around somewhere.


Tuesday 29 December 2020

Yes - I know what day it is today!

 Tuesday.  All day.    And was it not for Bank Holiday New Year's Day on Friday, it would all be behind us.   Somehow Christmas and New Year have not been the same in this Covid 2020.   2021 and its vaccination programme can't come soon enough.   I sit here, arm-ready, waiting to be called.   Outside snow lies on the ground; only a light covering but enough to advertise from here in the warm that this is definitely not a day to venture out with Priscilla.   But the Mind Games in The Times wait to test my morning's Brain Power, a pile of new books from Christmas are shouting 'read me', a Pear and Ginger pudding with brandy sauce sits waiting to go into the oven for lunch (the last of my Christmas 'goodies') and there are exercises to be done.  And is there anything on TV?   I haven't looked yet - but surely there will be something.

It did strike me yesterday just how far things have moved on TV wise.  I remember watching the first colour film on television years ago and marvelling at it (just as I did at the first colour photos I took on my little camera) and yesterday I put my feet up after my walk and watched 'Murder on the Orient Express' - an old black and white film it seemed to be filmed in the semi-dark.   We do tend to take things like this forgranted now don't we?

I have friends who have hens - not many but enough to provide their needs egg wise.   Now all birds have to be shut up because of fowl pest.   My friends have taken great care with how they have housed their hens (lucky hens indeed) but I read in today's Times how many folk who decided to keep a few hens during lockdown can't be bothered with them now and have just 'let them go'.   I think we need to add the phrase - 'a hen is for life - not just for lockdown' - people are just so thoughtless aren't they?   That's my rant for today.

Mind Games and a cup of coffee call (and maybe one Milk Tray from the box one of my carers bought me).   And speaking of Carers perhaps I should explain.   The Carers I have are private carers, the price they have is negotiated between them and me - I pay their travelling expenses too - they come fully equipped with masks, aprons and gloves which they dispose of when they leave my property and I really cannot fault them.   They are good natured, will do anything at all I ask them to do, keep my washing up to date, cater for my every need.   Ten out of ten to both of them.

Monday 28 December 2020

Is it Monday today?

The days have gone completely to pot this Christmas - and then comes New Year's Day at the end of the week.   I shall not try to remember the day until next week begins.

I look at The News (there really is nothing else to watch as far as I am concerned) and see the awful floods some have endured over Christmas,  I see (for the millionth time) some politician  spouting on about Brexit and what a good deal we have got (or not depending upon who is speaking), or  listen to the latest depressing figures about Covid while sitting here waiting to be called for my vaccination.   None of the above makes for jolly thoughts.

In one way I am very lucky.   Because of breaking my hip (it is well on t he way to recovery now) I have Carers in morning and evening.   They are both pleasant, happy girls (well in their early fifties which is 'girls' to me) and we have a laugh and I have a couple of hours company to add to various phone calls from my son and from my friends - so I am very lucky.    My carer brought me a curry she had made for my lunch today so when I have finished this all I have to do is switch on the microwave for five minutes and enjoy a delicious lunch - she is a brilliant cook and often brings me a meal.

One day later this week my Physio has promised to come and actually walk with me and my Rollator (Priscilla) out in the roadway - weather permitting.   Apart from two walks on pleasant days along in front of my bungalow I have not tasted fresh air since the end of October (serves me right for falling over).  The best time to do anything like this is definitely early Spring.   If we get an icy winter - as is suggested at the moment - I shall be a long time inside - as will many folk my age.   At least I have a fantastic collection of books which were presents at Christmas and they will keep me going a long time.   I have started "Shuggie Bain" which was this year's Booker winner and I am really enjoying it - it is written so well that the reader is there - in the room - with the characters.   I can recommend it.

More blue sky than grey looking out of the window and the thought of curry calls - so see you tomorrow. 

Sunday 27 December 2020


 Sunday - nothing day really - I have totally lost count of the days this year.

One second ago there was a heavy snow blizzard here - now it is bright sunlight again.   Whichever, if I open the front door it is bitterly cold.  Storm Bella raged through our country overnight - luckily it does seem we escaped the worst of it up here on the River Ure - but looking at the News it seems that those around The Great Ouse really caught the worst of the storm with trees down and extensive flooding.   Greta, I know you often read my blog- if you are reading this I do hope the water didn't actually get inside and that you are safe and well.   Thank you for your Christmas calendar - I do hear about you from time to time and I did think about you many times yesterday, hoping things were getting better rather than worse.

How our weather has changed over my lifetime.   Is it my imagination or did it always snow in Winter, and were the Summers usually fine and sunny?   Or do we look at the past through rose-tinted specs?

I have, of course, spent the Christmas period alone - phone calls, plenty of new books to read, not a lot to watch on TV (is there ever unless one likes ancient films?), but actual face-to-face contact - nil.   The weather has been chilly so apart from religiously doing my exercises I have had little or no activity.   I watched HM The Queen as I always do - it is a ritual I have always watched and enjoyed - it is but a small part of the day.   Soon it will all be over and we shall be into a New Year - and it can only be better.   I await my Vaccination - as do most of my over - 80 friends.

In the meantime dea Blog Friends - Happy New Year.















Wednesday 23 December 2020

Two nights before

 How children used to love 'Twas the Night before Christmas' when I first went into teaching.   I would guess it has all got too sophisticated these days and certainly the days of stockings in front of the fire is long over - so few houses have fireplaces any more.   But perhaps I romanticise it all too much.   In my childhood we had far fewer presents - wartime, less money, no tradition of huge piles of presents, and our  meals were the good old fashioned fare (we usually had goose but this was because my mother dressed poultry for the village butcher and part of her 'wages' was a choice of bird.)   She loved goose and she loved the fat (goose grease) the cooking of it produced.   Not a lot of meat on a goose but we were a small family and a good joint of beef was also part of her wages so no shortage there then.

I shall spend the day alone this year as will many of my friends.   The rapid spread of this new variant means it makes sense to do so.   I have books on my present list, presents to open, a list of programmes I want to see, a pre-cooked lunch coming tomorrow with all trimmings included, a couple of days of complete relaxation will do me no harm at all.   (Bruises and aches are going by the way)

Carols from Kings will start the proceedings tomorrow at 3pm although that will be different with social distancing this year.   I don't think I shall post for a couple of days - unless I get lonely and feel the need for a chat - so


Tuesday 22 December 2020

Guess what

Would you believe it - I fell again?   I fell beautifully gracefully while pushing my trolley - it tootled away from me down the hall and left me flat on my face on the hall carpet.  My son could not get me up alone so he phoned my Lifeline and the Ambulance came.   They stood and pondered my position for all of a minute and had me up in no time.   Now I am none the worse for the experience except for a few bruises in places where I didn't know I had places - but oherwise unscathed.But what a strange Christmas it will be.  I shall be here alone and I am quite looking forward to it.  I shall mark out the one  or two programmes I want to watch on TV (Did anyone else watch Dr Zhivago on Monday afternoon - sheer indulgence - at teast the fourth time I have seen it), read the books I have asked for as presents, snooze (hopefully the bruises will have come out by then)

The sun is shining today - but then it would be now the Great Conjunction is passed I think we can say with certainty that none of us will be around  when Jupiter and Saturn pass again.

Yesterday I finished packing presents and tidied away the detritus.  Today I shall polish more furniture and begin to put out cards.  I love cards, to be reminded of friends, to learn once a year what they they been doing all year.   And I shall finish filing papers which have been hanging around since I came out of hospital - why do I keep putting it off?

My two early presents - one from my Daughter in Law's mother (an Amaryllis)and one from my two step Great Grandchildren D'arcy and Alphie (a White Poinsettia) are absolutely thriving.    I was hoping the Amaryllis would be our for the big day but I fear it will be a day or two late - but not long.   Watch out for the photograph.

Well I shall go and switch on the oven to cook my Tesco Finest Cottage Pie (delicious) and my Tenderstem Broccoli (three minutes trimmed, a drop of water added and done in the microwave), try not to look in the bathroom mirror at my black eye and probably have a sleep.

Sunday 20 December 2020

Five days to go

 Seven and it will all be over for another year.   Three weeks and all those flashing lights will be taken down, put back in their boxes and put away for another year.  And before you know it we shall be making a mistake and putting 2020 when we need to put 2021.   Happens every year, regular as clockwork.

I wish you could see the quality of light in my back garden - ten to eleven on a Sunday morning.   The sun is bright, lighting up the yew hedge along the back of the garden.   But the backdrop to that is a pitch black sky - amazing.  Lovely to watch from the comfort of my computer chair and the radiator.

I have learned a lot by having this accident - almost worth it. For example

1.  Be more careful.   Look where you are going.  Don't try to do two jobs at once or to try and reach a light switch or door knob just out of reach.   In other words - what's the hurry?

2,   Be organised.   I always thought of myself as quite a tidy, organised person.   This has taught me otherwise.   I no longer walk with a stick, but with a Zimmer Frame.   My carer ties a fresh plastic carrier bag on the front of it each morning and as the day progresses I put my rubbish (orange peel, envelopes from that day's mail, eventually the day's paper) in it and when the evening carer comes she takes the bag off and empties it.

3.  Plan your journey.   Here's an example  - jobs I needed to do - clear the dining room table, put away spare envelopes, writing pad, pens etc., find the files ready to file my papers which are on the top of the printer in the computer room, empty a carrier of books which has stood in the hall for the past fortnight.   Either I sit down and write a list of the order in which I shall do this or I trek back and forth and tire myself out going over the same ground again and again.

I made a list about two weeks ago of the jobs I needed to do: - presents to buy (this is surprisingly easy with the internet) and send. This is now finished apart from one or two to be wrapped and this is on my list for later today.   Incidentally a friend posted a parcel for me,  I wrapped it, ran out of sellotape and finished off the wrapping with string.   The postlady cut all the string off.   No string allowed on parcels now - it gets trapped in the machinery.

Is there a feeling more satisfying than crossing off a job done from a list you have made?   Answers on a postcard but no rude ones John or Tom!!

Saturday 19 December 2020

Varied weather

I don't think I ever remember a week with such varied weather - one day pouring with rain and the next brilliantly sunny - today is a sunny one with lovely blue sky.   I hope it is the same for John's (Going Gently) planned walk on the beach with friends.  They seem to be getting worse weather over there in Wales this week.

Christmas Day draws ever nearer.   I don't find the prospect of spending it alone at all daunting.   I have the lunch planned, I have unread books, my carers are coming as usual - what's not to like? And all my usual preparations are going ahead a bit at a time.   I have gone through and filed a lot of papers.   All my cards and presents are posted (thanks to various friends and neighbours,) my next job is to polish the Welsh Dresser in the hall with 'real' polish.   I always do this at Christmas before putting some of my cards there.   It means that when you open the front door there is a lovely smell of polish.  Alright - not many folk will be opening the front door this year because of Covid rules - but Santa will because I don't have a chimney.

Finally, if you don't already know - don't forget to look in the night sky on Monday (weather permitting)  as soon as the sun sets.   In the South West you will see Jupiter and Saturn coming together as 'the great conjunction' for the first time since 1623 (and thought probably to be the 'Star of Bethlehem' in earlier times).  Surely a good sign for a better year in 2021. Best viewing time in Britain will be between 4.30pm and 6.00.

Friday 18 December 2020

The 'taste' of Winter

 In Spring I always think 'Lovliest of trees the cherry now'.   In Autum n- as Tom always tries to be first to remind us - it is 'Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness'.   And at this season - as someone (Thelma?) told us - it was this Thomas Hardy:

This is the weather the shepherd shuns

and so do I.

When beeches drip in browns and duns

and thresh and ply.

And hill-hid tides throb throe and throe

And meadow rivulets overflow,

and drops on gate bars hang in a row,

and rooks in families homeward go ....

And so do I.


My sentiments exactly but Thomas Hardy can say it better and in so fewer words.   It was only as the rooks passed over late afternoon in the pouring rain - a bedraggled lot - that I was reminded of it.  No-one can say it better

Thursday 17 December 2020

Dark and stormy....

 It has been a lovely sunny day here and I fully intended to have a walk out in the fresh air.   Just as I was about to put on my coat the District Nurse arrived with enough bandages for a whole football team.   Yes - you've guessed it - I have to have my legs bandaged again prior to having stockings.   I no longer have Cellulitis but I do have an Odeama.   Once bandaged and socked there is no way that I can get my shoes on - so house bound for a week or so..  Hopefully quite a few good books to read.   Good job I am not a small child who needs reading to. It reminded me of a story my father used to tell me when I was small.   He was into his fifties when I was born - and a complete surprise by all accounts - but he was a lovely Dad and would sit with me on his knee for hours.   This  was one of my favourite stories.   I would say - Tell me the Antonio story Dad - and this is what he would say:  "It was a dark and stormy night.   The brigands and the chiefs were assembled in the caves together.   And the chief said onto Antonio - Antonio - tell us a story.   And it started like this:  It was a dark and stormy night (and so on - each time we came to the end I would beg just one more time)

I found sleep impossible for some reason last night and at half past one I got up, made two rounds of toast and marmite and a pot of tea, switched on the heating and watched a programme I have intended seeing on iplayer.  It was a programme about life in the Faroe Islands - it kept me awake and enthralled for a long time.   We expect the way of life in some distant country to be very different from our own but the Faroes seems more or less on our door step but once we get past the fact that we all speak English our lives diverge.   They live almost entirely on seabirds and fish - they didn't appear to have much in the way of vegetables- much of which they eat raw,   And their incredible cruelty in the catching of the fish and birds I found horrifying.  But it is a way of life and as such we should maybe respect it.   If anyone else watched it I would be interested to their point of view.

Now, of course, although only half past eight in the evening, I can' twait to get my head on the pillow.  Sleep well.

Wednesday 16 December 2020

Good taste?

 Just across the road from me there are a couple of houses with the front windows festooned with flashing lights.      One lot are electric blue and the next door are red.   They flash on and off, sometimes together and sometimes apart.   They drive me crazy and I like to get the blinds drawn before they are switched on.   Just up the road there is a motor home parked on a drive and on the side Mr and Mrs Claus do a complicated dance.   Luckily I can't see it from my window.   I understand that some people are putting extra lights out to thank the N H S this year - if so I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment but I can't help wishing we could have chosen another way of doing it.

I much prefer the gentle light of candles - trouble is the fire risk I know.   My contribution is small this year - I shall be alone - but I have had some lovely cards and once I have summoned up the energy to give a good polish I shall put them up and really enjoy them.   There is a feeling attached to Christmas which is hard to explain and which I think has little to do with religion these days but a feeling of goodwill - a warm feeling which I know that being alone on Christmas Day will make me feel good.

 Yes, it will  be different but there are plenty of memories there to hold on to aren't there?

Yes, it will be different but we all have our thoughts don't we?   I have ordered my Christmas lunch from my usual source and it is coming the day before.   There is enough for two meals and it has all the usual trimmings and instructions to plate it up and freeze one half for another day.   I shall do this, apart from the pig in a blanket - can't resist those so shall have them both on the big day.



Tuesday 15 December 2020


 Christmas has an altogether different feel to it this year and many people, me included, will be spending the day alone.   And I shall probably miss Tess most of all  - we have spent many Happy Christmasses together - she was such a companion.  Expect you will miss Winnie too John - yes both of these dogs had lived out their natural life span but they are still there in our minds.

Memories are powerful things aren't they.  I watched Mortimer and Whitehouse Going Fishing Christmas Special the night before last.  It is a gentle programme which I enjoy immenseley - full of gentle humour, pathos, words of wisdom - the lot all mixed in with a spot of fishing on one of the Northern rivers.   Do watch it if you get a chance.  Seven of my childhood Christmasses were spent during the Second World War.    My brother was a serving soldier, my parents must have been worried sick about him (he was at Dunkirk) but they always managed to make Christmas a happy one for me.

Our Christmas tree had the same ornaments on each year with one new one.  Do you remember the ornaments from your trees?   We had a little silver cottage with red windows, a silver swan, two small trees with silver stars on the top and a lot of red candles in red clip-on   candlesticks.    I wonder what happened to them.  They were very breakable in those pre-plastic days.

Lovely sunny day here today.   I have got quite a lot of jobs done which makes me feel positive.   Only another five days to go to the shortest day - then get Christmas over and we shall begin to see more light again.   It can't come soon enough can it.

Monday 14 December 2020

Sorry for the blip!

Yes - sorry about the blip in communications but am back - not fighting fit but on the mend.   Cellulitis is not pleasant but now I am wearing special stockings (the very devil to get on and off even for my experienced carers) at least I am back to walking again after a fashion.   Hopefully the Physiotherapist has promised to come one day this week and have a walk along the footpath with me if it is fine (the weather forecast for the week is abysmal although at present the sun is shining and that is a boost.)

First of all a message for my friends overseas who read my blog and who are in touch at Christmas - Frans and Riet in the Netherlands,  Joannie and Jessie in Australia,  Elisabeth in New York, Debs in Roaring Pines, Gayle and the four legged ones on the edge of the desert down in the South of the US and Margaret and Joel in the San Juan Islands - and I apologise if I have missed anyone - there has been no way to get my cards down to the Post Office - I still have not been out -and as we are on the edge of a high tier in Covid I can't ask anyone else to queue in a long Post Office queue.  So I am saying here to you all - stay safe and well and have a good Christmas and here's to a better, healthier 2021.   And those sentiments are extended to you all who read me regularly and who are such dedicated followers.

Hope to see you all tomorrow.

Oh and you two dear ones in Australia - those bulbs were so much appreciated - I was in hospital but my neighbour took them in, told my gardener and he came and planted them all - so I should have a lovely display to remind me of you in the  Spring.  x

Wednesday 9 December 2020


 Well, just one day of 'normality' and today my legs are back to being troublesome.   I have just spoken to the doctor and more antibiotics are on their way - a friend is collecting them from the Pharmacy as I write this.   Then I shall have a bite to eat, an antibiotic and go to bed for a couple of hours.   I did far too much yesterday I think.

Sad to hear that John's Winnie the bulldog has died, but she died peacefully at home without John having to take the final decision on life or death.   In fact it sounds as though she enjoyed life up to the very last minute. but we will all miss her - she has been part of our blog family for such a long time.   John will miss her and the other dogs (and Albert) will also miss her - she was a big presence and she will have left a big hole in their lives.

It is a grey, cold day today with no vestige of sunshine - just the sort of day to have an afternoon in bed - and that is exactly what I am going to do.   See you all tomorrow.

Tuesday 8 December 2020

Tuesday evening

 The sun - what there was of it today - has set;  the clouds - plenty of them - are clearing;  the rain - just a thin, miserable drizzle - has more or less stopped and night has fallen.  In other (shorter) words, it has not been a pleasabt day.   Luckily I put my coat on early this morning and walked up and down in front of my bungalow before the day got going.

I get tired surprisingly easily still and by the time I have had my little walk, made my mid-morning cup of tea and done a couple of The Times Mind Games I have to start thinking about lunch.   But at least I can now negotiate the step down into the garage so I can access the freezer for lunch (jacket potatoes with streaky bacon and cheese - very good.

The District Nurse came this morning and was very pleased indeed with the state of my Cellulitis in my legs.   I have finished my antibiotics today and (touch wood) they are clearing up nicely.

This will have to do for today because I have just woken up after falling asleep at the Computer.   See you tomorrow.

Sunday 6 December 2020


 A resolution.   Today I shall start writing my Christmas cards.   They have been sitting in the box since delivery and I have a lot to do - because I have moved a few times - Lincolnshire, Lichfield, Wolverhampton, Yorkshire Dales - because I have taught in several different schools and made lasting friendships - because I was involved in the musical life in the Midlands for many years - I have made many lasting friendships.   Now most of them - other than relatives and local friends - live far away, our only contact usually is at Christmas when it is nice to catch up.   So letters to write too.

Yes, I could send an e card.   But it is not the same as holding a card and a letter in my hand and I shall continue to resist the temptation.

So what else to tell you today?   Well it has been raining heavily all morning so far (10.40 now) and it is cold and wintry outside.   I suspect I would not go far up the Dale before the rain turned to snow. It looks so pretty as long as you are not driving in it.   One of my carers  comes through from higher up the Dale and it can be tricky this time of year, either with snow or - if there has been heavy rain for a prolonged period - with flooding.   If we get tw o days heavy rain the Ure can rise up to twenty feet in that time and the road becomes impassable.

Our Dale is called Wensleydale (after the village) but most Dales are called after the river which runs through them - Swaledale, Aire, Calder for example.   Our Dale used to be called Yoredale after the River Ure but changed many years ago.

I shall now go and prepare the second of my meals which Virginia from NewZealand sent for me so kindly.   It is Beef Bourginon and I shall serve it with the vegetables left from yesterday (and resist the temptation to add the sticky toffee pudding.)

Until tomorrow...


Saturday 5 December 2020


 Contrary to what the weatherman told us to expect it has been a clear, sunny day here.   Cold outside, but inside facing South a lovely pleasant day.   Apart from my morning and evening carers and my neighbour who kindly crossed the road and posted a letter in the box for me I have seen or spoken to no one, either in person or on the telephone.

This morning after my carer had gone I put my lunch on to a plate (roast turkey, pigs in blankets, Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, honey glazed carrots and pickled red cabbage) ready to cook in the oven.   It was delicious.   While it was cooking I walked along the front of my bungalow alone today in the sunshine.   By the time I had cleared away my lunch things  I was very tired and sat down and fell asleep in the chair, waking up an hour later cold and stiff.   I had switched the fire off when going into the kitchen to eat my lunch. 

Things soon warmed up after I made a cup of tea but I was too tired to do more than sit and read today's Times.   Now, in the early evening, I am still tired and will have difficulty in staying up until anything like normal bedtime.   See you tomorrow.

Friday 4 December 2020

Friday again.

 The sky is dark and the rain is beating on the windows, coming in from the North - never a good sign.    What is falling as rain here is falling as snow higher up the Dale and everywhere it is cold.

Well, this morning was a surprise.   My morning carer comes at half past seven and I get up about half an hour before she comes, turn the central heating up from eighteen to twenty one and make myself a cup of tea.   This morning, an extra-dark one, someone suddenly took hold of my foot in bed - I was fast asleep and it was half past seven.   What a surprise!   Luckily my carer had the number to enter using my key safe.

Now, mid afternoon, it is clearing up and there is blue sky.   It has been a good day as far as I am concerned.   I still have my exercises to do but I am walking well, I have read The Times and done the Mind Games and my head is clear.   I really feel on the mend today.   And I had another lovely surprise.

I get superb ready meals every other Friday from a really excellent food firm called Fairhursts.   When my order came this morning there were some extras (including a sticky toffee pudding!!) and they had been ordered for delivery by Virginia in New Zealand.   Thank you so much Virginia - I was so touched by your kindness and I shall think of you with every mouthful of that pudding.

Yes dear friends - what would I do without you all?   You have all made my life so much richer.     Until tomorrow........

Thursday 3 December 2020


 Once more - Percy came into hospital so that the Physiotherapist could watch me walk with him.   She immediately condemned him as he had no brakes!    He went to the scrap heap (RIP) and has been replaced by a Percy lookalike who the Physio christened Priscilla.   Priscilla sits in my garage waiting for me to be strong enough to walk with her.

Yesterday for the first time I went out of doors and, with my walking frame, walked the length of my bungalow and back on the path with the Physio at my side.   It was a lovely little outing.  We are hoping to repeat the walk tomorrow, weather permitting.   But if it is anything like today it will be doubtful.

The sky is very dark and full of something which threatens to f......all on us.   I know that higher up the Dale (ie higher up into the Pennines) there has been a fall of wet snow.   Here, at present, it just hangs over us.

I am very stiff today after my walk but as I haven't actually walked since October 23rd it is hardly surprising.   I am doing my exercises twice daily and I hope that will help too.

So there is a vaccine about to be circulating.    And as I am classed as 'elderly' I shall be eligible for it.   Shall I have it?   I really don't know what to do - it seems so untried.   Have you any views on the subject?   If so I would be interested to hear them.       Until tomorrow...........

Wednesday 2 December 2020


The days drift by.   I suspect that during these strange times I am seeing more folk than most of you are.   Carers and professional NHS people dash in and out and I am able to do more for myself as the days go by so not sure how much longer I shall need them.   I certainly dare not have a shower in the house alone yet.

As I type this the rain has stopped and a weak sun has emerged   This year, more than ever before, I have been suitably placed to observe the trajectory of the sun - it rises at the left of my sitting room window, crosses low in the sky and sets at the right of the same window.   And now, sitting at my computer ina window at the back of the house I see that only the top quarter of the garden gets the sun in the winter.  I have been told to take two vitamin D tablets every day - chew them (they are not pleasant) and don't forget.  Maybe the plants could do with it too.

As I sit here the sky has completely cleared and is a beautiful, quite deep blue - I do hope we are destined for another nice day - the forecast for the weekend is pretty dire - snow at our height I believe.

Priscilla sits in the garage awaiting her first 'stroll' - and I wait for the delivery of a step and handrails so that I can reach her.   I do rather crave a breath of fresh air and tend to stand with the door open now and then.   My carer put all my recycling rubbish out for me last evening and the men collected it very early this morning ; isn't it a good feeling when you know it has all gone?

I hear on the News this morning that this year The Queen is breaking with a long tradition and not going to  Sandringham but going instead to Windsor Castle for Christmas. Showing a good example I am sure as so many people will be tempted to break the rules won't they?   So many people have a traditional Christmas where whole families congregate together - I can't help feeling that some members of these families will be glad of an excuse to have a change this year.

Get your vitamin D today if you possibly can!  See you tomorrow. 

Monday 30 November 2020

Good morning campers!

Yes - I am bright and breezy this morning and much more my normal old self.   I got up an hour early (half past six) this morning in order to give my carer a surprise.   She showered me yesterday so I was able this morning to go into the bathroom with my walking frame and have a good wash and clean my teeth.   Then I went back into the bedroom and got dressed - not easy but I managed it.   The whole operation took me almost an hour but by the time she came I had managed to make a cup of tea too.

My carers really are so good.   This morning J - who comes most mornings - brought me a whole Sunday lunch on a plate - roast beef, Yorkshire pud and a whole load of vegetables (I am really missing these) and it is sitting in the microwave ready for me to push the button at lunch time.   Aren't I lucky?

It wouldn't take much today to persuade the sun to come out and that would make a difference.   Because my bungalow faces South it makes all the difference if it is a sunny day.

The days drift by and I rarely see the News - it always seems to be at a time when something else is happening.   Occasionally I do switch over to 231, the news channel but it is usual covid, covid, covid and I really can't take it any more.   But yesterday I did see the absolutely horrendous crash in the motor-racing and to see the driver climb out of that blazing car with only his hands burnt;but I find the whole idea of motor racing and the risks and the money involved quite sickening.

But lets not get away from my cheerful, post hip mood.   I am on the mend this morning and the only way forward is up.   Have a good day.

Sunday 29 November 2020

Sunday evening

Fairly late on Sunday evening - well half past eight so late for me at the moment- and , after various forays around the house with various walking aids, I have finally managed to sit at my computer before going to bed.   I can report that at present bed is bliss - by far my most enjoyable part of the twenty four hours.

It has been another grey day - 'the dark days before Christmas' my mother always called them - the sun did try to break through once but took a look at the fog and low cloud and popped back in again.

Two carers - one morning and one evening for an hour - two long phone calls - a niece and a friend - a phone call from my son a while ago and that has been it today.   And with our Covid restrictions I suspect I have seen, and spoken to, more folk than most today.

More and more people seem to be joining those who say it is silly to have these lockdowns and then open up for Christmas.   Are we really so childish that we can't manage without it for one year - and how magical we can make our Christmas for our own family - our own children - if we are not charging up the motorway to some far off place, taking our germs with us.   Just imagine a real childrens' Christmas -it wouldn't be the end of the world, would it?

I have just watched a lovely programme on BBC Four about a journey in a punt up the River Trent from its source until it is no longer safe and from there on a larger craft.   My brain must be getting back into gear because I was able to watch it from start to finish and really enjoy it.


Until tomorrow my friends..... 

Saturday 28 November 2020


 Saturday again - five weeks now since my broken hip operation.   I am beginning to walk better with my frame.   Sadly my cellulitis is returning although I am trying to give my legs as much exercise as possible to keep the circulation going - it looks as though they will have to be bandaged again so a shower in the morning before a decision is made.

Saturday is never my favourite day but now that I am immobile, coupled with lockdown does not make for a jolly day.   Luckily I have an easy book to read (my head is not yet up to the more difficult stuff) and I am still in trauma-recovery according to the nurse so I am happy to have a couple of sleeps during the day (and still sleep at night)!

Obviously we did need to be kept up to date on the state of Covid but I do sometimes wonder what has happened to all the other crises in the world, which were headline news until a year ago.   Are there suddenly no more civil wars, no more famines, nothing which merits any interest?

I am sorry my posts are so boring and so short but I am by no means back to normal (whatever that is) and I quickly tire.   If I haven't answered your post for a while I do apologise but I can only manage a few each evening.   I'll get there before long.   A nice sunny day might help - it has been a horrid wet, dark day here today.

Friday 27 November 2020


What shall I do when it is time for my carers to leave and I am on my own?   Now, every morning at eight and every evening at six one arrives.   They get me something to eat (I get my own lunch with their help) and then help me shower and dress in a morning and get me undressed and ready for bed in the evening so that I only have to toddle off to bed when I feel like it. I am tired all the time and bed is my most welcome place - but I hope that will improve as the days go on.

Today two Physiotherapists have been and we have decided where to put the step and the handrails so that eventually I can get out.   I am missing Tess - she would be great company but of course she would also be too much for me at present so maybe it all worked out for the best.

Only a short post again - hopefully more before long.   Love to you all.   x

Thursday 26 November 2020

Blue sky again

 and puffy white clouds - the District Nurse has been and has taken the bandages off my legs which were bad with Cellulitis.   Two courses of antibiotics and they are a lot better.   I have to contact my doctor if it reappears.

Isn't it sad how some people have a fatal flaw in their character?   I am thinking here of Diego Maradonna - as so many people said in the tributes yesterday -'probably the best footballer of all time' who had flaws which led to various  addictions which no doubt contributed to his early death.We have seen it before and we shall no doubt see it again -  a certain kind of brilliance which seems to go with an inability to cope with either the money or the fame.

There was a time when sixty was old - now it is the new forty.

How I wish for some fresh air.   It is five weeks today since I broke my hip and in that time, apart from standing by an open window and being pushed up my drive from the ambulance in a wheelchair on my return home I haven't tasted that beautiful Dales air.  The Physio comes again tomorrow to assess the situation so keep your fingers crossed for me.

See you tomorrow.


Tuesday 24 November 2020

A Grey Day

 It's a grey day here today with one of the those tantalising skies of blue showing through here and there.   A friend from Lincolnshire has just phoned and it is sunny there so it is obvious we are just a little too far to the North to catch the sun.

We are more or less in the grip of Covid here now.   Our local Comprehensive is shut and apart from the necessary shops our little town has more or less shut down.   Not that I would notice as I am not allowed over the threshold.

Looking out into my garden I can see the tips of crocus poking through the soil - that gives me hope.   And there is the vaccine of course - whether or not to have  it when it becomes available.   I know I am particularly vulnerable at the moment - under the weather recuperating from quite a major operation, no appetite at present and many professionals coming into the bungalow to help my recovery all well protected of course but all having been to visit people in a similar state to me.   When they come in they have a new plastic apron on, new gloves and new mask - all are destroyed when they move on.

No mice have been caught so far - six traps, baited with peanut butter - but they are clever these mice.   A friend suggests a raisin stuck in the peanut butter so we shall try that tonight - my friend says they cannot resist raisins (sounds like me and Bounty Bars).

Well with the onset of evening the blue sky has won and chased away the grey clouds - but no sun of course - too late in the day.

Sunday 22 November 2020

Sunday morning

Good morning dear fellow bloggers; and a lovely one it is too here in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.   The sky is a clear blue and there is a breeze which I guess is cold, but as I am not allowed - and indeed cannot step - over the threshold I am not bothered about that.   My back garden is such a joy to behold that I cannot stop looking at it.  I had a good night's sleep and a round of toast and butter and a glass of orange juice later I am writing this before I begin to tire.

I watched The Andrew Marr show over my breakfast - Dame Judi Dench - still beautiful, still utterly sexy and, as usual talking such sense.   And I watched The Chancellor and our local MP  Rishi Sunak talking about the price we shall have to pay in taxes to pay for Covid when it finally disappears.   No doubt people will complain but, let's face it - the money has to come from somewhere so that we can begin to clear the National Debt.

I seem to have a resident robin - he (or she) is always around.   I wish I could feed the birds - I have done so for years - but I decided when I moved here that I would stop because it is an effort and once started it must be kept up.   But I wish this little chap knew just how much I enjoy his company.  

That's it for today folks - have a lovely day. 

Saturday 21 November 2020


 How I love rooks - they may not be pretty to look at individually but no other bird can beat them en masse.    As I lie on my bed this afternoon in the computer room, where I am sleeping at the moment, the sky is blue, the sun is shining and across the field behind my house is my favourite ash tree.   As I wait for my afternoon nap to overtake me (it does  so quickly every day as I get very tired) suddenly the tree, devoid of leaves this time of year of course, erupts and hundreds of rooks burst upwards like so many leaves in the wind.   I wish I could hear the noise they are making.   It reminded me of one the holidays the farmer and I took in the US when, on entering the hotel in the early evening, the trees surrounding us were absolutely full of very noisy birds.   I have a feeling they were called something like Grackles - can anyone enlighten me?

The other news story of today is that I have got mice!   My carer has found that they seem to have taken up residence under the sink in the kitchen.   My son is sending for two traps today and we must start an onslaught.

In other news I ache in places where I didn't know I had places to ache, presumably from doing my exercises religiously but 'no pain no gain'.

Thursday 19 November 2020

At last

 I feel like using the computer and my brain is slowly unscrambling.   The District Nurse has just been and re-dressed my legs (I have developed Cellulitis) - after two courses of antibiotics they are improving and I still have ten tablets to go.  My walking is getting better and I can now do my exercises much more easily - so I am feeling very upbeat today. and

While I have been in hospital my gardener has been and neatened u.p everything, top dressed the beds and planted a whole lot of mixed bulbs.   It looks an absolute picture.  When I can go outside I'll take a few pics but it won't be for a few weeks.   An air cushion is coming today to easy the pressure on my bottom as I am in danger of developing bed sores - hardly surprising after three weeks without standing up!

I cannot fault the treatment i have had - the professionalism, the good humour, the efficiency, the food(!) - and I have every aid known to man to help me get around.   Added to which there is a beautiful blue sky today and the sun is shining.   What more could anyone want.

Thanks to you all you dear people for the support and good wishes - you will never know how much it has helped.

Off now to do my exercises and hot my sheperd's pie in the microwave - my carer made it for me and has brought it this morning - how's that for good service?

Saturday 14 November 2020

I'm back!!!

 One broken hip and  three weeks in hospital later.   I had the operation in Darlington Memorial Hospital and then two weeks recuperation in The Friary Hospital in Richmond.   Wonderful care throughout.   I came home yesterday.

Thank you, you lovely people, for all the cards, letters, e mails and phone calls- and some lovely warm socks from New Zealand - I am truly touched by your kindness.  Hopefully I will be back within the next day or two.   Meanwhile - thanks and love true bloggy friends.

Thursday 22 October 2020

Getting in a Tizz!

 Is it something to do with age - is is to do with the times we are living through - is it a personality disorder?   I don't know what it is but what I do know is that I easily get into a sweat these days.   I rarely seem to have a day when I can be on an even keel all twenty four hours.   Is it just me?

It all started with Gardeners' World magazine - out today and full of good solid gardening reading and (if I am lucky) a couple of photographs of Monty thrown in for good measure.   Here's me, sitting over a round of toast and honey and admiring the new vista of my back garden sans the two miserable trees and thinking about how the bit of garden not yet planted up (blame Mares Tail)  needs something, when this month;s Gardeners' World plops through the letter box.   And in it a special offer for bulbs for the garden - daffodils (last chance to plant them). tulips - a very tempting offer - buy three lots and get the cheapest of the three free.   Yes!

Right - pick up the phone and order.   So I assemble card, magazine, items I wanted clearly marked and dialled.  The phone was answered promptly so I held out high hopes.   But of course I was in a queue.  I waited and waited but no animated human emerged - just a recorded one sorry to keep me waiting for the next available whatever.   Eventually, and because it kept reminding me I could do it,  I put the phone down and went on line to do it.   But of course I had to get on line first and my laptop would not allow me to get there.   Because of another problem (might tell you another day if I can't think of anything else to write about) my son had kindly changed my e mail password for me yesterday.   When I tried to use it BT wouldn't accept it.   I went on the phone and a lovely chap - full of patience - tried helping me.   Remember I shake, I am old, I am very deaf (as well as daft) and I kept apologising and I struggled.   Eventually, after half an hour I gave up and said I would get my son to ring.   This is always difficult because my son knew that half way through, for security reasons, they would ask to speak to me and we would be back to square one.   I rang my son to tell him and Eureka! he had sorted it out - all's well that ends well.

After a sandwich I went on line to order - I assembled all the things I needed, sorted out a password for a new account with Gardeners' World magazine - but could I find the special offer bulbs?   No.   After ten minutes searching I gave up and tried the telephone again.   Joy of joys = I got a lovely young man - he spelt my name right without having to ask me how to spell it, took my order, checked it with me and took down all the details.   Five minutes and we were all done and the bulbs will be here in about ten days - just - hopefully in time for the end of the month.   Where I intend them to go the soil is sheltered and still warm so they should be alright. All's well that ends well and all that, but an hour later I am only just beginning to feel unfrazzled and I don't intend to go on a walk today although it is quite pleasant out there.   Life never used to be like this - and retirement is supposed to be a slowing down of life and a time of relaxation.   Some hopes.



Wednesday 21 October 2020

A Good Excuse

 I had intended to go on my usual long walk (well, long for me) today but I had only got half way round - and conveniently near to a short cut home - when it began to rain heavily.   It was a good excuse to turn back.   So I did have a walk but not as long as I would have liked.  I am quite tired today for some reason.

But yesterday my gardeners arrived without warning and they cut all my hedges and then tackled the two large old evergreen trees which were neither use nor ornament.   It took them a couple of hours to saw them down, grub out all the roots and cart them away.   Today I look out on a completely transformed garden and I am delighted.   Now I hope to send for some bulbs - just about time to plant them -    to fill the space prior to planting up in April, which is what the nurseryman suggests.How do people manage who have no interest in gardening I wonder.

Friends called this morning to do a bit of shopping for me and as it is my birthday shortly they brought me a delightful bag with hares on  it.   I am very thrilled with it - it is almost too beautiful to use.   I do feel slightly ashamed as I have no idea when their birthdays are but one day - when all this Covid business has gone away - I do intend to take them out for a slap-up meal for their kindness to me over the Covid period.   There are many times when I couldn't have managed without them and I am eternally grateful.

A couple of weeks ago an elderly gentleman walking his dog opposite my bungalow on the opposite side of the road called across to me to ask how I managed Percy.   Because of my deafness I couldn't really hear what he was saying.   As I was washing the pan after lunch today (sea bass since you ask) I caught sight of him going past again so I called to him and went out to speak.   As I was explaining to him how I loved walking with Percy but my Physio had told me I mus t never walk with a dog in case the dog darted off after another dog, a dog and its owner went past on the opposite side of the road,  the man's dog went berserk and pulled the man over into the road -- luckily he anticipated the fall and fell in a relaxed manner.   He couldn't get up unaided, I couldn't help him, but luckily my gardener was coming down the road in his van, stopped and together we had the man up on his feet in no time and he seemed fine.   We had a lovely chat and he seemed none the worse for the incident but like me his balance is not brilliant.

Three people I knew have passed away in our little town in the last ten days or so.  The first funeral was today and I understand that because the number at funerals is limited the street down to the chapel was lined with people 'paying their last respects' to Diana, a lovely local lady, much respected and loved by all.   Very much a sign of the times, sadly.

Tuesday 20 October 2020

Then and Now.

Two things happened yesterday which reminded me of the old days and of today - and how they differ.   And I suppose in every generation or two there are changes like this - or is this perhaps the century where things have changed more quickly than ever before?

First of all the Postman arrived with a Parcel for me (a cardigan - I buy all my clothes and all my books on line).   We had a chat on the doorstep and he remarked that these days other than parcels all he seemed to deliver was junk mail - everything else was done 'on line'. I reminisced about my childhood when everything was done by letter'.  In the thirties only a few 'important people' in the village had a phone, the rest of us went to the red phone box, put in our two pence and pushed Button A if somebody answered and Button B if we wanted our money back.  Everything that wasn't urgent was done by letter.   My mother wrote to her sisters - two in Huddersfield working in the cotton mills and one in The Dukeries working in service- regularly and received replies and I would pick up the envelopes and recognise who the letters were from by the writing.  There were two deliveries each day - one in the morning and one just after lunch and it was rare for there to be no mail because both of my parents were avid writers.  I wrote thank you letters at Birthdays and Christmas and - like all my friends - from the age of around ten I had a pen friend in England (she was called Diana Wickens.  I wonder what happened to her - she lived somewhere on the South Coast but I can't remember where) and a pen friend in France in the hope of improving my French.  How times have changed - it is e mails,facebook - all the modern ways - or nothing these days.  And so the Post Office dwindles - and will probably disappear altogether in a few years.

And that brings me to the second thing.   I watched 'Who do you think you are?' last evening on the television.   It was David Walliams looking back into his Family History.   On one side was the terrible First World War and a Grandfather who spent forty odd years in what was then called 'a Lunatic Asylum' suffering from 'Shell Shock' - dreadful to hear about.   Then the other side of his family where a relative went blind after a cataract operation went wrong and ended up playing a Barrel Organ in Portsmouth in an effort to keep his six children and his wife fed and clothed.   But there there was a happy ending when he 'made good' and ended up owning a Funfair.   We saw lovely old film of the funfair and it was just as I remembered it - and by golly that made me feel old!!   There were swing boats, cockerels and horses, the whip, the cake walk, the flying chairs - all the fairground rides I remember going on as a child and the things like the shooting gallery, the roll a penny, all the places where you never won but always thought you might.   And there were the side shows  - the world's fattest man, the world's thinnest woman, various 'freaks' as they were called - hideous and not even contemplated in such circumstances these days but the only way to survive in those far off days.

And I wondered how we will be viewed in a hundred year's time - what things that we now do and take forgranted will be looked back on in amazement.    How everything changes and how slowly we change with it.   I might be almost 88 but I am using the internet - as are almost all of my friends.   Progress indeed.

One thing doesn't change and that is children's humour.   There was a delightful example of it during the programme about David Walliams who is of course a comedian.   Apparently he is also a childrens' author and it showed him reading one of his books to a hall full of very young, Primary School children.   He read about a little boy who had so much air blowing out of his bottom that it shot him up into the air.   When he read it out the whole hall erupted with laughter and you realised that he had just got the humour right for the age.   It was an absolute delight to see.

And a final note - lovely day here - I had my usual long walk and I enjoyed every single minute of it.   My gardener has been and has cut all my hedges and also sawn down two old trees - we really are getting there at last.



Monday 19 October 2020

Oh Dear!

 After a week of singing my praises about how my walking was improving every day and how I was managing to walk that bit further each day suddenly today I came up against a brick wall.   I found my walk jolly hard going; so much so that I had to cut it short and go back on a shorter circuit than usual.   Even that was a struggle.   There could be two reasons for this - one it is a colder day and two there is quite a strong wind blowing.   Whatever the reason I shall not be going for a little top up after tea as I have been doing.   I have just turned the heating up a notch and when I have finished this I shall draw the blinds along the back of the bungalow (which faces North) and shut out the end of the day, which is cloudy anyway.

I came in, made myself a cup of tea and thought about lunch.   Obviously I needed a sustaining lunch (I had porridge sweetened with honey for breakfast)but couldn't be bothered to do much.   Then I remembered cold new sliced potatoes in a basin in the fridge - so I had it!   Fried new potatoes (lots!) with a small tin of Heinz beans in tomato sauce, four slices of fried streaky bacon and a fried egg.   It was delicious!!

Friend W called with a magazine I hadn't read so easy reading after tea.   We had a pleasant socially distanced chat (she didn't come inside) about what we had been reading, then I came onto my blog, wrote it, pressed the wrong button and the whole thing disappeared as if by magic - hence the gap but at least the title is apt.

Walking round earlier in the day I got to thinking about our circle of bloggers.   Of course there are many more but I can't begin to tell you all how grateful I am for our little circle.   I feel we have been friends for so long and i look forward to our chat most days.    Do please continue- it is one of the few bright sparks during this awful Covid and I thank you all most sincerely.

Oh Dear!

Sunday 18 October 2020

happy as I am

 I can now, with Percy, walk gently to the bottom of my estate.   It is not easy because it is downhill all the way and Percy does not like downhill - he wants to romp away so I have to try and keep his brake on.   Coming back, uphill all the way, is much easier and quicker.   My walk today was straight after lunch and again I didn't feel like going out.   It is a quiet day weather-wise but when I got out I realised there was a very fine mist of rain in the air.  As I went down my drive L stopped outside.   L collects my medication for me from the Chemist.   I order it on line from the Medical Centre and L collects it for me from the town chemist three days later.   It works well and it is very kind of her.   I am no longer capable of driving into town, walking without Percy - with just my walking stick - climbing the three steps into the chemist and then doing the whole thing in reverse back to the car.  Percy has a good shopping box incorporated in his make up so I didn't have to go back inside to leave the drugs.

I suppose our walk daily is now about three quarters of a mile.   As the estate goes down towards the bottom on the whole the houses get bigger and more spacious, but they have smaller gardens and usually garages for one car.   Most houses seem to have two, or even three, cars which means that the drive and often the kerbside outside has a car parked most of the time.   This also makes the road quite narrow.  I must say I much prefer where I live at the top end - there is a closed-down feeling at the bottom end - a feeling I don't care for.  I always feel my spirits lift as I climb back up to the top.

I also have what is possibly the largest space of garden on the estate.   Many folk would not like this but I love it, especially now that I| have got half of it done with gravel and less labour-intensive.  One more small piece to go and two old trees waiting for my gardener to saw them down and I have finished.   It will be really good to stand and look out on a completely finished    - easy to care for - garden.   As I passed many front gardens today on my walk it is easy to see who loves gardening and who finds it a chore - I am sure it is the same wherever you live too.

Saturday 17 October 2020


 No sun today  -- but no rain either - just a nothing sort of day.  We had our usual Saturday morning Zoom this morning; six of us and just a nice forty minute chat to start off the day.   Then the Postlady came and had to ring my new bell as she had a parcel for me.   She has been away for a while in hospital and it is lovely to have her back - she is such a cheerful soul and always has a chat and a smile.   We talked about three very local people who have died recently - about their lives and how they had enjoyed them.   We agreed that 'when your time is up, your time is up' and both declared we would live each day as it comes - hope you will all do the same.

After lunch (my soup maker made me a batch of carrot and lentil soup) I also had lasagne Percy and I set off on our walk - a little bit further today.   I have to say I didn't feel like going today.   There was no sun to warm me now and again and it was an effort to get going.   But once out I enjoyed it and went a little further than I went yesterday and on the way back a friend who lives further down the road was looking out for me (she had seen me go past going down the road) and we had a ten minute socially distanced chat.   I find these little chats, and these chats in blogland, such a help in these troubled times.

Saturdays are usually my least favourite days but, like last Saturday, tonight is a really great night for my tastes on BBC Four - another Francesco da Mosta programme on Venice - they are such brilliant programmes and still one more to go after this evening - then an hour of Michael Palin travelling all over the world and then - joy of joys another new unseen Inspector Montalbano mystery.   I intend to have a really indulgent evening.

Night is already falling outside - almost time to draw all the blinds and shut it out.    But first - one thing I noticed on my walk round this afternoon:   many gardens have a Pyracantha shrub in them.   They are an easy shrub to grow and obviously very popular.   Every one I passed was laden with berries, either yellow or orange.   I have one in my garden it has orange berries here and there but certainly not in profusion.   The difference - most of the ones I saw which were laden were growing up against house walls, which means they would be gaining heat from the walls (most bungalows and houses on the estate are built of stone bricks) which certainly retain the heat from the sun.   My bush is against a stone wall at the top of the garden and the North wind whistles through the gaps in the stone.   The wrong place for a shrub I guess.   Well you live and learn.

Friday 16 October 2020

Much better day

 Not a single shower today - sun now and again but mostly high cloud with bits of blue sky here and there.   I slept badly so was a little late up but had just finished tidying round, cleaning the kitchen and having a shower and deciding to go early (10.30) for my walk when the electrician's van  swerved into the drive.   He had come to fit my new door bell.   He offered to come back later but no,  best to get it done with, so I took my coat off and he began.   The instructions were in about a dozen different languages and they were also quite complicated.   There were eight chimes to choose from (!) and of course I had to listen to them all to make a decision.   Most were so frightful that I couldn't bear them and eventually we settled on a Westminster chime (it reminded me of our clock at home when I was a child).   I have one gadget plugged in the the hallway and the other in the sitting room.   To get the one in the sitting room in place he had to empty my huge bookshelves and move the bookcase about three inches.   Both settees were covered in books.   But it did give me a chance to sort them and dust both books and shelves, which I haven't done lately.   But I left that job until I had paid the electrician and he had left and then I went for my walk.   And today I walked to the bottom of the road and back - the furthest I have walked so I am pleased with my progress.   On my return I couldn't face doing the books before lunch, nor could I face cooking much for lunch.   It was either swap the meals round (sandwich at lunch time and cook this evening or have something quick.   I chose the latter)   So jacket potato stuffed with streaky bacon quickly fried and the last of my lovely tenderstem broccoli followed by a baked apple stuffed with raisins and honey and eaten with a dollop of creme fraiche.   It was good.   Then it was wipe the shelves, dust the books and get everything shipshape again.

The first person to try out the new bell was my neighbour H.   She had been gardening and brought me a bunch of her sweet peas.   I have a pretty cut glass vase and they fitted in it nicely.   I put them next to one of my favourite photographs of the farmer - I took it myself when we were going up the coast of Norway on the Hurtigruten some years ago.   Lovely memory of him and that holiday.

So, a productive day and still Monty Don and Gardeners' World to look forward to tonight - if I can stay awake!


Thursday 15 October 2020

Blue sky at last.

 After days when it was either looking like rain, raining or the roads were running with water which was running down the drains before it started up again, this morning's sunrise was beautiful.   It made me realise just how much the year is 'turning' as the sun rising in the East was actually shining into my sitting room window rather than into my bedroom window and I know that this evening the same will happen when the setting sun shines into the opposite corner of my sitting room window.   It always catches me unawares until I suddenly notice it one day.  Yes, only a fortnight before our clocks go back (Spring forward fall back as we used to say as a reminder) and our dark nights really arrive.

It would be easy to begin dreading the coming Winter with its possible lockdown retrictions at worst or semi lockdown at best as it looks at present.   But we really must not let ourselves get like that - I am determined to go into November with a more cheerful frame of mind.   To this aim I am trying to speak 'face to face' to at least four people each day (today it was E on the way to the hairdressers, when we walked together - she to the bus, me to the hairdresser- then H the hairdresser; we chatted behind our masks as she washed and blow dried my hair - then out on my walk M saw me coming and opened the front door so that we could chat for a while and then G my electrician who is hoping to come and fix the bell shortly).   I also aim for several phone calls - today I rang M my neighbour.   Her daughter's dog had an operation yesterday and she was worried about 'a lump' being cancerous.   It wasn't and she was joyous as he is already recovering, then my son rang.   They had been down country for his wife to have blood tests which she has  to have annually - he rang when they got back home.   My dear old school friend (we are the same age and   have been friends since the day we started infant school (and that wasn't yesterday)) rang and we had a good reminisce.  Finally the young lady who collects my medication rang and said she would collect it tomorrow for me.   So you see I have had plenty of 'chat' today.

I have endeavoured to walk 'the circuit' round the estate every day for the last ten days and have only I think missed one day, when the weather was just too wet.   Today when I walked round just before lunch I arrived back home and contemplated walking round again straight away as I felt so fit after my first circuit.   Of course my ankles still hurt - arthritis never goes away - but I can tolerate that if I feel well.   I know if we get another wet spell the tiredness will return but I am determined to keep up the Dunkirk spirit.   Wish me luck!

Wednesday 14 October 2020

Fairly miserable Wednesday

 Yes, I am afraid we are going through a miserable spell of weather.  I thought it was slightly better today - big black clouds but blue sky too and  when the sun came out it was warm.  I thought ' strike while the iron is hot', put on my coat, put my woolly hat in Percy's cabinet and set off.  The sun was lovely.   I had only gone a hundred yards when out of nowhere came pouring rain - no warning, no slight drizzle - just pouring heavy drops.   I turned round and came back home and sadly that it is for today - it has more or less rained ever since.

I had decided on an easy quick lunch today - so I made it and it was delicious.    I made a souffle omelette with two eggs and stuffed it with quickly browned button mushrooms and served it with my favourite tenderstem broccoli.   Easy indeed but a lot of toing and froing to get everything ready at the same minute and an awful lot of washing up for my dishwasher.   I gave it its monthly special wash this morning too.

My doorbell has decided to stop ringing - or rather it rings when it chooses to, which is worse because people ring and if it doesn't ring inside they think I am out and go away.   The electrician came to look at it yesterday and the upshot is I need a new one, it is 'click and collect' and should be here tomorrow so he will be along to install it and it is to be one with a speaker in the kitchen and one in the sitting room and has a choice of about six different ring tones!!  So it will be decisions, decisions.

There is more than enough blue sky now to make a pair of sailor's trousers as we used to say when we were kids - so maybe another quick walk with Percy after tea (smoked salmon pate  on brown seeded bread) - see you tomorrow when I hope to have more news than I have today when news has been a bit thin on the ground.

Tuesday 13 October 2020

Equally miserable Tuesday

 Heavy rain is pouring down the windows at the back of my bungalow  - in other words it is very wet and the wind is blowing from the North.  By the time I got up at a quarter past seven the central heating was going full blast.  Tuesday means showering and dressing before breakfast (every other week) because my Tesco order comes at 9am. I usually order something 'special' that doesn;t take a lot of effort for the Tuesday lunches and really look forward to whatever it is.   Last time it was sea bass which I fried quickly and ate with parsley and lemon butter and tender stem broccoli.   It was divine.   This time I decided on a Tesco prawn salad with potato salad which I intended to eat with a Jacket Potato and butter.   That was my first disappointment - when my order came there was no prawn salad - in its place was a tuna salad.   I like a tuna salad but have a lot of tuna - in a sandwich, in a salad, in a pasta bake.   Now that I no longer eat out because of Covid restrictions I don;t eat prawns.   So I resolve next fortnight to get prawns and scampi frozen for my freezer - that will give me something to look forward to.

So, tuna salad it is and I shall now go and tell my new soup maker that I would like it to make Spicy Red Lentil soup for starters - I'll let you know later in the day how it turns out.   Meanwhile I shall post this with the rain pouring down the windows and the central heating keeping me snug and warm.   'See' you later.

Well, all I can say about the Spicy Red Lentil soup was that the taste did not merit the time it took to make.   There were a lot of spices - turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, a lot of fiddling about and toing and froing across the kitchen - and the final result - in spite of a tin of coconut milk as part of the stock - was pretty tasteless.   Quite a disappointment really.

And after lunch the rain really set in and it has been a thoroughly wet afternoon.   As I write this at 4pm the rain is still pouring down the window and there is a sharp Northerly wind blowing.   So Percy and I have abandoned any thought of walking today I am sad to say.   I have just watched 'Escape to the Country' over my afternoon cup of tea and I was so pleased I did because the county involved was Shropshire and we went round Acton Scott Farm Museum - an area I know well from the seventeen years I spent living and teaching in Wolverhampton so it brought back many happy memories.   And what can be better on a pouring wet day than happy memories.

Monday 12 October 2020

Miserable Monday

 Not a lot to be cheerful about today is there?   Here it is cold and wet. The Covid news gets worse by the minute and the Prime Minister is to speak to us all later and tell us about new measures that are to be brought in.  On a personal note - my front doorbell has stopped working - well its working is intermittent which is as bad and because of the damp atmosphere my arthritis is very bad today and I can hardly walk.  So not exactly a cheerful sort of day is it?

Then things began to happen.  First of all Joanny rang from Western Australia.   Joanny is a relative of the farmer  and she and her daughter did come over one year to see us.   She rings from time to time and she always cheers me up.   So many sincere thanks Joanny.  Then I remembered that a young couple who live just across the road from me were married a year ago today, so I sorted through my cards and found a suitable one and Percy and I delivered it (negotiating the steps up to their front door - never easy as Percy doesn't care for steps) and while we were out, although it was raining, we walked round the block.   The electrician called and looked at the bell and decided I needed a new - and better quality - one and went off to buy it.    He has ordered it and will be here by the week end to fit it.   Then the sun came out and there was a lot of blue sky.  S and T called to take my card and get me some cash from the cash machine in the town.   By the time the Prime Minister came on television to talk about the new measures to combat Covid I was feeling more my old self.   Yes, we will beat Covid, we have to and we all have to follow the instructions given to us by the experts.   Nothing is as bad as it seems.   Chin up as my father used to say.

Sunday 11 October 2020

Come ye thankful people come,

 Raise the song of harvest home.

Cro's post today, with its picture of a harvest sheaf loaf brought back so many memories of my childhood in a Lincolnshire village which was largely a Methodist village that I thought I would share them with you (pure self indulgence on my part really).

There were two really important dates for us children in the Methodist calendar.   One was the Sunday School Anniversary in June and the other was Harvest Festival.   We lived very much in a farming community;  there were three or four quite large farms in the village - a couple with milking herds and the other two with mixed crops and sheep and beef cattle.    All four of the farmers were attenders at the Methodist chapel and the Harvest Festival was important to them too.

On the Saturday morning us children would go round the village and every time we saw a garden with Michaelmas daisies growing in it we would go to the door and ask if we could have some.   When we had armfuls we would return to chapel, by which time the Sunday school superintendent would have strung a taut line of baler band across the bottom of each window and we would snip the heads and a small amount of stalk off and tuck them behind the band until every window was bedecked with a row of  purple and yellow heads.

Then we would start on the produce - root vegetables of every kind, scrubbed to total cleanliness, still with their top growth on; stalks of Brussels Sprouts, huge Vegetable Marrows, Pumpkins, a large basket lined with straw and filled with beautiful, newly laid, brown farm eggs, several sheaves of corn brought in by the farmers and a bale of straw as a table for all the tins of fruit, vegetables, meats etc. and the jars of home made pickles and jams    From the pulpit rail to the altar the space would be crammed with produce to celebrate harvest.   And always Pride of Place would be given to the specially baked bread in the shape of a sheaf of wheat all shiny and brown and perfect.

This all had to be finished and the place swept up before lunch time.   Then we would go home for our lunch and told to be back for two when it was time to go round the village.   Oneof the farmers would provide a cart horse and cart, there would be forms round the edges and a harmonium on the end and we would pile in and go round the village singing the harvest hymns.   Then it was back to the sunday school room attached to the chapel where we would tuck in to tea - potted meat sandwiches, cakes and carraway seed cake.   Then the tables would be cleared away and there would be an hour of games - pass the parcel, musical chairs, oats and beans and barley grow, postman's knock.  And finally an hour of films - Mickey Mouse, Popeye, Charlie .Chaplin.   Now we were all set for Sunday.

The usual services morning and evening with all the harvest hymns and then on Monday evening all the produce would be sold and it would all be over for another year.   Looking back - simple pleasures but a lot of this was during the Second World War and boy how we looked forward to it.

Friday 9 October 2020

What to look forward to today...

 No days are really busy during this enforced semi lockdown but some are busier than others.   Yesterday I kept busy all day - I did this by slowing down and taking the day carefully - and I felt very good at the end of it.   My usual method, which I find hard to break, is to go at everything like a bull at a gate as they say and that usually ends in exhaustion and frustration.   The night before last for no reason I can think of I slept extremely badly.   At half past one I got up and made myself a pot of tea and two slices of toast and marmite and read my book for an hour and a half and then I dropped off on going back to bed but only slept intermittently.   So last night I slept very well indeed, waking to go to the bathroom at five this morning and then going back to sleep again and sleeping until a quarter to nine.  Brilliant.

Today is not a day when much is happening.   It was raining when I got up and had obviously been raining all night but now the sun is out and there is a light breeze.   It is almost lunch time and as my ready meals have just arrived I shall have Sausage and Bean Cassoulet for lunch and serve it with  peas and tenderstem  broccoli before I freeze the rest of the meals.   Then Percy and I will take a stroll round the block and I shall be back in plenty of time for our weekly Zoom meeting when friend W and I meet P and D from Windermere for our weekly chat.  A local friend, A, has just rung me for a nice chat.   We are a similar age and he also lives alone and has a son who lives locally and 'keeps an eye on him'.

Any odd moments will be taken up by reading another chapter of 'The Rules of Civility' by Amor Towles, which is almost as readable as his previous one 'A Gentleman in Moscow' which was our book group choice the month before last.  And then, of course, there is Monty Don and Gardeners' World on television this evening.   So all in all not a bad day.   It is interesting how we have adapted to it because it does look as though it will be bad again over Winter so we shall be kept in.   Because that is more than a possibility I have sent to West Yorkshire Spinners for an easy pattern and some sock wool and I hope to knit a couple of pairs of warm winter socks.  I hope my friend C is not reading this - I started knitting a teddy for my great grand daughter just after she was born.   She is four in December and I still have not finished it and  she is now much too old for it.   From time to time C does remind me of teddy languishing in the plastic bag in the cupboard near where I am sitting to type this.

Sausage and bean cassoulet calls.   May pop in again later if anything of interest occurs.

Thursday 8 October 2020


 Goodbye 747s as this morning I watched the two take off from Heathrow on their final journey.    I hadn't realised that the tail fin was as high as a 6 storey building although I have flown many times on them.   The staff were all out watching and waving them off on their final journey it was very nostalgic and it set me thinking about flying and the many memories I have.

The first time I flew was in 1951.   I was engaged to be married and Malcolm, my first husband, was nine years older than me and had lived in China, been a prisoner of war in Thailand, convalesced in India after the war so was a seasoned flier.   I lived with my parents in the Lincolnshire Fens and had only been to London once - for the day.   So we went to London for the day on the train from Lincoln.   We were to meet two friends of his, which we did and we had lunch with them at a cafe in Trafalgar Square I think.   I know I had my first omelette (mushroom) - my mother did eggs (we had our own chickens) any which way but must never have heard of omelettes.  It all felt very sophisticated.   Then for the surprise.   My fiancee had booked for us to fly over London for half an hour from what was then London Airport.   It was a tiny plane.   I think it held about eight.  It was a bit scary as it did keep wobbling about and dropping suddenly.  I don't think I took a lot of notice of what was below us.   I remember  when Igot home my parents were very cross that Malcolm had taken such a risk!!

My next flight took place in 1953, the year after we were married, when we had a belated honeymoon = a week in Paris- I remember the hotel was on Le Rue Ceaumartin.  Again we flew from London Airport )I seem to remember it was a collection of very large nissen huts.   I know we flew out on an Elizabethan and back on a Viscount.  This time my parents knew in advance of course but asked not to know which actual day we were flying because they would have been so worried!

After that of cou rse our horizons broadened - many flights to far away places; so many that they tend to merge into one.   That is apart from many internal flights inside what was then the USSR from Moscow to Samarkand or Bukhara or Tashkent - all fairly short flights but often with a lot of babushkas who always seemed to be muffled in shawls (we usually went in mid winter because it was cheaper (our reason for travelling there anyway)) and laden with bags of root vegetables which rolled about in the aisles of rickety, wobbly little planes which often slipped about on the ice when they landed.

I will have taken my last flight now.   It was a short flight in 2016 with my beloved farmer the year before he died.   It was from Durham Tees Valley airport (barely three quarters of an hour's drive from home) to Amsterdam - down the East coast until the Humber estuary then out over the North Sea and ten minutes later views of the tulip fields, landing and cruising the river to Antwerp and back through what used to be called the Zuider Zee.    

Memories, memories - all lovely to recall on wintry days.