Friday 31 January 2020

A Gremlin in the works.

I subscribe to a service run by our local District Council called Lifeline.   I wear an elasticated bracelet on my wrist.   It has a red press-button on it and this I can press in an emergency in order to get assistance from the warden.   I have only used it twice in the year I have subscribed.   The first time was when my telephone went out of order for ten days or so and I needed to tell them it was disconnected and the second time was this morning to tell them that I had mislaid my bracelet.  Luckily the warden, N, was only a couple of streets away.   I have now stopped typing long enough to welcome her and to receive a new bracelet which I am now wearing.  Sure enough I shall no doubt find the missing one by tomorrow.

Last week it was my front door key that went missing and I had to replace the lock in the front door - that,  of course, I had to pay for but my replacement bracelet came free (I do have to pay almost thirty pounds a month for the service).

People complain about the services we get but I can only praise the local services for the elderly living in their own homes here in our little town.
It is a grey day with a sharp wind and rain in the air, but on the plus side the temperature when we dr ove home from our usual Friday lunch out was eleven degrees.   Not bad for the last day in January and the day we are leaving Brexit behind whether you are one of those who like it or not.

And speaking of lunch out - Scampi chips and garden peas  for us both today - and jolly good it was too.    So now to draw the curtains, pull down the blinds and shut out the damp, chill evening and settle down with a good book and the odd television programme I want to see (Michael Portillo in his yellow trousers and pale blue jacket anyone?)

Thursday 30 January 2020

A Giant Moan.

It is my hairdressing morning - 9.30 each week.   I had two more jobs to do - one was to get a new ferrule on the bottom of my Leki walking stick as the one on had worn through to the metal.   I went into the shop next to my Hairdressers and the owner did it while I waited.  Then I wanted a small clock for my bedside table - a friend told me that I really shouldn't sleep with my mobile under the next pillow.   The Electrical Shop is just a little further along the same street in our little town so I soon completed that errand.   So far so good but wait.   On the way along the street I passed Costa coffee - quite a new venture in our town and located in what used to be the H S B C Bank until, sadly, it closed a couple of years ago.
When it was the bank it was always neat and tidy and very smart outside.   Costa must have spent a lot of money on converting it and inside it is now very smart and modern.   But outside ?   There are railings and then the footpath - railings which are sorely in need of a coat of black paint and - worst of all - between the railings and the road the footpath is always littered with cigarette ends.   I don't think anyone ever comes out and sweeps there.

I went and had a cup of coffee and two rounds of toast in my usual cafe, bought myself a magazine in the Newsagents and then walked slowly back to my car, parked outside a pub.  Mountains of cigarette ends outside both doors there too.   Surely they are not all that difficult to sweep up.

Time was when it was socially fashionable to smoke - when you were considered odd if you didn't.   But that is a long time ago.   Smoking is banned in public buildings, people have to come outside if they want to indulge.   There is usually a receptacle to put the ends in.   Is it all that difficult to do?   And if it is - then surely it is not all that difficult to sweep them up the next morning.   These buildings are smart and clean inside.  What a pity they are let down by the yard or so outside the door.   It makes such a difference to the overall effect it has on the town.   Am I being picky?

Wednesday 29 January 2020

Slow cooking.

I have various cooking methods in my kitchen - a Microwave, a small oven, a large oven, a Remoska and a Slow cooker.   I have resolved to use my Slow cooker more than I do - various friends have them and use them all the time (their houses always smell delicious when I go in (you know who you are)).  Two of these friends bought me a Slow Cooker Cookery Book and I decided that each week I would make a recipe from it, eat half for my lunch and freeze the other half for another day.   To this end I started this week and chose Orange Beef.

Braising steak cooked in orange juice with the grated rind of an orange added, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic and a tiny pinch of chilli flakes - cooked for seven hours (thickened with a bit of cornflour for the last half hour).   I cooked it yesterday and tasted it before switching off.   I found it a bit overpowering but by lunch time today it had tempered down considerably.   I served it with a jacket potato (my favourite way with potatoes) and stir fried mange tout, sweet corn, broccoli, and tomato and it was delicious.   I froze the other half of the beef for another day - I shall serve that with either rice or noodles.   So thank you S and T - success with my first effort.   Now it is what to try next.

 For some time I have had a four-wheeled walking frame but my Physiotherapist said I must not walk Tess with it because of the danger of falling, so I have only used it once (at Saltburn with my son and his wife, when I left Tess at home).   This morning was pleasant so I donned hat and coat and gloves and walked the long way round the top of the estate as I used to do on my best days with Tess.   I managed it well and felt so much better for the walk when I returned home.   I shall try to do this walk whenever I can and when the weather is suitable.   I am sure it will do my arthritis good.
I was well ready for a rest when I returned but after lunch I managed to finish cleaning out another desk and putting things in order.  Tomorrow I hope to make a start on cleaning out my files - or shredding paper - don't know which; depends how I feel.

Tuesday 28 January 2020


We had a nasty rude awakening today when, after a sunny start, it suddenly clouded in and started heavy sleet showers.   Biting wind as I went into town to meet friends meant that I could wear my duvet overcoat for the first time this winter.   Warmer weather is forecast by the week end though so I shall have to put it away again.   When I went into the Bank (yes, we still have one bank left although for how long is hard to say) the lady behind the counter who comes from  'further up the Dale' said she had come into work through snow.   One of the things about living in The Pennines is that one can so easily be either just above or just below the snow line.   Makes life interesting in Winter.

Watching the Holocaust Memorial Service last evening - which I found so incredibly moving -  just emphasised again to me how very important it is that we do not forget these things. Each year there are fewer of us left who remember those times.   I was but a small child in the Second World War.   My brother fought in it and was at Dunkirk.   My parents must have been sick with worry but I never remember them showing it - I always remember feeling safe and secure.   If the air raid sirens went we all three (Mum, Dad and me) went into the cupboard under the stairs in our house.   It was cosy in there and we had a light and I used to quite enjoy it.   But what little worry and fear we had compared with those we saw and heard about in the service last evening.   We must never forget.

Monday 27 January 2020


Today began sunny but now in mid-afternoon it is just hazy, there is a breeze and it is very cold.   We just aren't used to it.   I have driven to my Physiotherapist for a work-over and have come back tired and achy - but I know I shall be improved in the morning.   My Physio has hundreds of aconites and snowdrops out in her front garden and the path to the church opposite is lined with snowdrops in full bloom.   Last week's sunshine has brought them all out and they are a joy to see.

I am sure that in the South of the country there will be plenty of lambs by now, but up here in the Pennines lambing starts much later.    We live in the area of the Swaledale sheep and on the whole they tend to lamb in April, so a while to go yet.    That will be a real sign that Spring has arrived.   In the meantime we can but dream.

Sunday 26 January 2020

Sunday again.

How quickly Sundays come round (Salmon Florentine again today I think).   I like Sundays, when the four of us meet, chat, wave and chat to friends and have a nice lunch, pot of tea and relax for an hour afterwards.   It has become such a pleasant part of my weekly routine.

As I write this at 10.39am, looking out of the window, I see the clouds scudding by and there are rain spots on the glass.   Without going out of the door I know that the weather pattern has changed and it is January weather after a week of Spring-like weather here in The Dales.  The bushes and the hedge at the top of the garden are waving about in quite a strong wind and the sky at the moment is full of rooks struggling against it to get somewhere important to them.

Today my thoughts are in China - I know it is a huge country with millions of inhabitants but any new virus is scary and as I have a Grandson working there (not in Wuhan province) it naturally concerns me more than it usually would.  And, of course, it is already spreading to neighbouring (and further afield) countries - as one would expect in these days of world-wide travel taken as a matter of course.   Let's just hope that it is identified and that research soon produces a vaccine.  I think that often we get too complacent about things and this has pulled us up short (as did Foot and Mouth Disease in the cattle and sheep on our farm in the early nineties) - there are always threats lurking there in the background.   I remember how my mother used to talk about the terrible flu epidemic which swept through after the First World War and killed so many young men who had survived that only to die so soon afterwards.

Enough doom and gloom - onwards and upwards -  I am missing my sweetheart of course but am now beginning to look back on our happy times together and the good twelve, trouble-free years she had.   I know it was her time and now I have many happy memories.

Saturday 25 January 2020


Saturday, as I am sure many of my readers know, is rarely my favourite day.   Last Saturday I had a lovely day with my God-daughter and her husband but visitors on Saturdays are quite unusual unless they are here for the week-end (rare now because I find entertaining quite difficult these days except for the few who come and treat the place like home (ie make their own beds, stack the dishwasher after meals (better than I do), get up later then me so that I can have a quiet breakfast and gather myself together and various other small things.)

It is now a quarter to three in the afternoon on a day which promises a deterioration in the weather.  Now and again the sun bursts through the cloud but it is certainly chillier and the forecast is for the weather to become more 'as it should be in January' by tomorrow.   But here we have had a lovely sunny week.. 

So far I have communicated with three friends by e mail, waved to a neighbour and chatted to the Post lady for a couple of minutes (commiserating again about the loss of Tess as she has a Border Terrier too).   Luckily my monthly magazine came this morning as did my Daily newspaper - so plenty to read and plenty of puzzles and crosswords to do.

It's funny how leisure activites have changed with the advent of televisions and then computers and all their appendages isn't it?   I sat drinking my cup of tea a while ago, thinking of what my parents would have been doing on a Saturday afternoon.   Well it isn't all that cold, it's fine, there's scarcely any wind:    my Dad would no doubt have been out in the garden, cutting back this and that, having a bonfire of prunings that had been lying about, forking over a bare patch if it was dry enough (we lived in the Fens and often the soil was slow to dry out).   Mum would have had a pile of mending waiting in her sewing basket - socks to mend (no throw-away when a hole appeared in those days - does anyone mend a sock these days?), buttons to sew back on - even - would you believe it - sheets to turn;  she used to turn sides to middle on good quality sheets if they began to be thin in the middle.   Summer Saturdays (if fine) would be saved for one thing - Crown Green Bowling - their pleasure in the Summer.

My young days it would often be Walking - driving to some beauty spot and walking seven or eight miles, picnicking or calling somewhere for food on the way.   I expect this happens still - that is a pleasure that disappears as arthritis creeps on.
But there is still much pleasure to be had if you look for it.    The door bell has just gone - a friend has popped in for a chat and a cuppa - so put the kettle on, cut a couple of slices of Date and Walnut cake, up the Central Heating - three o'clock, just the right time for a cup of tea.   Cheers!


Friday 24 January 2020


A nice full house for our Coffee Meeting this morning -   so a very pleasant hour was had by all. This was followed by a nice lunch at our usual Friday venue (fish pie and crispy kale for me and ham and turkey/leek pie with honeyed carrots for W. )   Being naughty we decided to share a helping of chunky chips (delicious) and then wished we hadn't done so.   Still that feeling will go off (eventually).

Then it was home as I had decided to have the lock changed on my front door - just home in time for the locksmith who took all of five minutes to complete the job efficiently.   Now, at  half past three, I feel as though I have done a day's work, although in fact I have done next to nothing.   The central heating has switched itself on which suggests it is coming cold earlier this evening, so I shall shortly close all the blinds and get the bungalow snug for the evening.

One of the advantages of lunching at Tennants - our local Auctioneers and Valuers - is that if there is a sale on (as there is today) each lot in turn is flashed up on the screen and you can watch the bidding and see how much each item sells for.   It always saddens me to see how little beautiful furniture fetches.   It happens too on Antiques Programmes on television.   Unless it is Mouseman furniture or something like that then really beautifully-crafted furniture goes for next to nothing or else doesn't reach the reserve price and is withdrawn.   Much of this stuff is individually craftsman -made of beautiful wood and yet these days many folk would prefer mass-produced stuff.   Why is that I wonder?  Somehow our values have changed and we look at things like this in a different light.   I heard on some news programme the other day about how these days people prefer to spend their money on experiences rather than 'stuff'.   Is this a good thing or a bad thing.   I really don't know.   I do know that the one or two pieces I have which have been in my family for a long time I value greatly and bring back happy memories when I look at them.   What do you think?

Thursday 23 January 2020


I have come to the conclusion that we are lucky here in The Dales.   Every morning I watch the weather forecast and for the last few days the forecaster has said, apologetically, that it will be cloudy everywhere.   Somehow we have missed that cloud here in The Dales and each day we have had quite a lot of sun.   Not hot of course - it is Winter - but sun and (out of the breeze) warmish.   My Gardener even came this morning and did a couple of hours tidying up in my garden - and by golly it looks better for it.

Between us we have decided to plant up the 'empty' section with shrubs.   I say 'empty'; those of you who have read my posts over the years will know that one section of my garden is severely infected with the weed Mares' Tail.    It has had several sprays with a specialised Weed Killer but to no avail.   Reading up about it another suggestion is to plant it with shrubs and just  keep hoeing at the weed whenever it shows its face.   Should you not be familiar with said weed I will tell you that it is thought to be the 'oldest' weed in history and virtually ineradicable.   So watch this space.


Wednesday 22 January 2020


I shall wait later until later in the day to write my blog.   It is Poetry this afternoon;  I intended to write this morning but I have woken up with a blinding headache and almost an inability to write this - each word needs careful thought before I commit it to paper.    I shall try again later - hope that whatever it is troubling me will have sorted itself out by then.

Monday 20 January 2020

Ship shape and Bristol Fashion.

Monday morning, washing done and in the tumble drier,  the lady who cle ans for me has been and gone and everywhere is neat and tidy - just how I like it.   I cooked myself a lunch of roasted root vegetables and a jacket potato which I stuffed with tuna and that was delicious.   I did intend to go out for a walk with my walker this afternoon but, although it is a lovely sunny day the wind is now very strong so I don't intend to chance it.   I know I have to keep walking or I shall become unable to walk, but not in a strong wind.   Instead I keep walking around the house doing various jobs so I am not sitting around.

As I sit here at my computer in the window of my computer room a seagull floats over the garden carried in the wind.   Seagulls are everywhere here although we are a good sixty miles from the sea I would have thought.   I guess we are about mid way between the North Sea at places like Saltburn and the Irish Sea at maybe Morecambe.   When we were children we would point out seagulls and say they were coming inland as there was going to be a storm at sea.   Now they lay their eggs and raise their young on the moorland I can see from my window.   Times have changed - I guess these seagulls are a success story in terms of numbers.  The sky may be completely empty of seagulls but stick the plough into the ground and set it off down the first furrow and I'll bet by the time a farmer gets to the other end of that furrow there are a hundred seagulls behind him.   How do they get the message?

Here's hoping for a few more days of bright sunshine - cold it might be but how welcome the sun is in January.   I have snowdrops in bud in my garden.

Saturday 18 January 2020

A Lovely, cheering day.

Today my God-daughter and her husband drove over from the West of the country (Preston), over the tops of the Pennines (snow here and there) to see me for lunch and a chat.   It was lovely to see them and when Saturdays are often lonely days for anyone living alone it was good to have company.   We went out to lunch and all had turkey and ham pie served with vegetables (and for two of us chunky chips - Alan had new potatoes.  We then had sorbets and finally coffee.

I was touched that they made the long journey really to say they were sorry about Tess.   More neighbours also called this morning to say they were sorry too.   It has been a roller coaster of a week but gradually things are getting back on to an even keel. 

The weather has been beautiful today here - blue sky, sunshine all day and out of the breeze quite warm.   The same kind of weather is forecast for tomorrow so we are being lucky.

Like Rachel I too had a very bad night last night.  I woke up at about half past two and finally got up, put the central heating on, made myself a cup of tea and sat and read North and South until half past five when I returned to bed,went to sleep and didn't wake up until nine o'clock.   Now, at half past eight in the evening, I can hardly keep awake.


Friday 17 January 2020


Another disgusting day weather wise although it was kind enough to me to stay fine until I got back home from the Hairdresser at half past ten.   I was lucky enough to have a nice succession of friends,   to see how I was coping - a couple this morning and then this afternoon my neighbour H came and had a cup of tea and half way through friend E who lives a little further down the road, came and we all three had a pleasant chat.   It was still pouring with rain when they left and still is doing so as I write this.   The doorbell rings, so I must delay and further blogging until later.

It is now Friday morning.   I have just been down into town where a group of us usually meet for coffee.   This morning nobody else turned up (two are on holiday, the rest must have not come because the weather is still disgusting.)   It did mean I could be really naughty and have a toasted tea cake.   I am going out for lunch in an hour and of course I am not now at all hungry - my own fault.

I have just had an e mail from my Grand-daughter who lives in Glasgow and has a little girl aged three.   Long ago I gave her my Paddington Bear, bought for me in the 1980's by a very dear friend I have sadly lost touch with.   All three of my grandchildren had played with Paddington as they were growing up - at one stage even wearing his wellies, but in the course of those years his hat went missing.  They all loved him dearly.

When they came a couple of weeks ago I asked whether they had ever got a replacement hat for him.   As a result they researched where it might be possible to get a new hat and wrote to them.   This is the charming letter they had in reply.
Isn't that lovely?   I am sure my Great grand daughter is delighted - and now all he needs is a lavender bag for his pocket.  (what good advice).
It is things like this that warm the heart in a week when all the news for me has not been good (although day by day things are getting easier to bear - and I look at the paw prints daily as I come out of the front door.)

Wednesday 15 January 2020


It is a bright, cold and very windy day - almost too windy for me to stand up.   When I walked up the main street in our little town the wind was so strong it nearly blew me over and a lady kindly helped me across the road (believe me, that's when you feel really old).  If the wind is in a certain direction it is always hard to walk in the market square.

Today I lit a candle for Tess and it has burned brightly in the sitting room all day - just a little reminder of what a bright star she has been in my life.   As many of you predicted I had a very good night's sleep last night and feel much more like my old self today.   There is still a hurt there but, as I said on my comments page in answer this morning, when BT put me a new phone line in a few weeks ago Tess stood on the concrete before it was set and her paw prints remain just outside the front door - a great comfort now.

Friends are still calling on me, telephoning me, arranging to come and see me - it is all very touching and make it all so much more bearable.  As friend T pointed out - she is with David and her beloved rabbits now.   I am a Humanist and a non-believer but a lovely thought nevertheless.

I have made a package of remaining food, leads and such like to give to someone - I am sure somebody, somewhere will be pleased with them.   I have no intention of taking on another dog - a pup would need far more exercise than I could provide and an old dog is really just taking on trouble I can do without.   I shall have to get used to living alone completely - I have masses of friends and I also quite like my own company.   This month 's book for Book Group is Mrs Gaskell's North and South - all 400 odd pages of it
and only three weeks to read it in - so I have plenty to do. 

Has anybody out there read any Elizabeth Gaskell lately?   I read 'Cranford' for School Cert more years ago than I care to remember and I can't remember being enamoured with it.  I can't remember anything about it anyway after all this time but I belong a book club and I do firmly believe I should read every book so I shall start tonight.

I have bought myself a present today - a replacement small television for the one which gave up the ghost in my kitchen about a year ago.   Now I can eat my breakfast in the kitchen at the table and watch Breakfast Television rather than carry my breakfast through to the sitting room on a tray to watch it in there and risk tripping over something (I am really good at that) and throwing my breakfast all over my new settees.   Til tomorrow.

Tuesday 14 January 2020

My First day.

Sleeping last night was almost impossible for me - I couldn't stop my brain working overtime.   At half past three I got up and went to my computer and 'played' with it for an hour and a half.   When I went back to bed I did eventually fall asleep and then of course I slept late.   But it didn't matter.   My neighbour called before I was dressed because she had heard my sad news and soon after she went another friend rang and I was talking to her for an hour.   And so it was lunch time.

I have been overwhelmed by everyone's comments and kindness - they have certainly helped me through the day.   I have heard Tess many times - heard her basket creaking, heard the 'clack' of her claws on the kitchen wood floor - and many's the time I have glanced at where her basket used to sit to see if she is alright.   And although for the last few weeks she has slept most of the time and been unusually quiet, the house seems strangely quiet and empty without her here.  But I know I have done the right thing and now I have to pick up the pieces.

It has not been a day when I have missed walking with her - she would have hated it too - it has poured with rain all day.   I had a mountain of ironing to do and have done a bit here and there throughout the day (I can't stand for long at once) meaning that there is just a duvet cover to do in the morning.   There are two programmes I quite enjoy on the television this evening (a weekly documentary on Mevagissey in Cornwall and the fishing industry there) and a programme on Ben Fogle in the Wilds.   Neither programme needs a lot of thought (good because at present my brain is a bit scrambled) but does pass the time.   Last evening my son kindly came round to sit a while and we watched University Challenge together - we both enjoy it and always have a contest to see how many of the questions we can answer (he always wins - I say because his brain is younger than mine!)   I managed seven last night - in most cases they were questions the teams got wrong - mainly because they were too easy I think - questions about natural history (trees, birds, flowers and the like) they always seem weak on.
Sometimes there is a contestant whose knowledge is incredible and last night the chairman of one team had a very impressive tally of answers - she rarely had to consult her three colleagues.   Such a brain - one wonders where such characters end up at the end of their university life. 

I shall try to stay awake until my normal bedtime tonight and if I do then I think I should be assured a good night's sleep.

Monday 13 January 2020


 Tess at her happiest - a photograph taken by friend G - Tess is running through the long grass, no doubt chasing rabbits.
Tess, my dear friend and companion through thick and thin, was put to sleep at lunch time today -may she rest in peace and dream of rabbits.

Sunday 12 January 2020


We are bound for some wild weather this coming week - or so the 'weather man' tells us.   'Storm Brendan' is on its way (named by the Irish) so we must batten down the hatches.

Yesterday was a wild one here.   I stayed in for much of the day - letting Tess out into the garden for 'loo duty' and then following behind (my back garden is quite sheltered) to clean up after her.   Mid afternoon I ventured out on a walk with her but only got as far as the end of the drive when I realised that if I stepped out onto the path the wind was strong enough to blow me over.  As I returned into the house the phone was ringing and it was my son inviting me to go with him and his wife to Richmond for afternoon tea in their favourite cafe.  Of course I accepted - I never turn down an invitation to go out - especially on a Saturday, which can be a lonely day when one lives alone.
My son took Tess for a quick walk before we went and then again on our return he took her on a longer walk.   Twice during the evening I let her out for 'loo duty' and for an even longer time at bed time.  As I got into bed I realised I had forgotten my medication and so I got up and went into my medicine cupboard in the kitchen - only to find that Tess had already done a wee and a poo.   So I cleaned it up and put down fresh newspapers. 
When I got up at half past three this morning I went to see how things were in the kitchen - I can't begin to describe the mess everywhere - on and off the newspapers - so putting on my Marigolds I had another clean-up session. 

 She is an extremely distressed little dog most of the time.   She splays her front paws as though they can hardly support her and when she sits down she no longer sits upright but sits on one or the other hip.   Most of the time she sleeps in her bed and when she is not doing this she follows me wherever I go, so close that her nose is touching my leg.  I am so sad for her but begin to think that maybe her time is up.   I could not bear to pass her on to anyone else, I can hardly manage her at my age and I can see her beginning to suffer.   What to do?   It kept me awake thinking about it last night and  I am no nearer a decision this morning.

 My thoughts at the moment are to make an appointment and go and discuss it with my Vet in the morning.   I had thought that Hydrotherapy might help her and had set the wheels in motion for this.   But toileting is something different, especially in the middle of the night.   It has happened all of a sudden and must be distressing her too as she has always been such a clean dog.
Life is hard for her - and at the moment hard for me too.

Saturday 11 January 2020

Old writing.

My first husband, who died in 1991, was eleven years older than me.   My second husband, my dear farmer, who was part of my life during my time in Blogland, was eleven years younger than me.   When I was young such an age difference, where the man was younger than the woman, would have been the talk of the village.   But these days it is commonplace and we never gave it a thought either before or during our marriage.   It was just accepted by us and all our friends and everybody else.

Looking through that old 'poetry' notebook I spoke of last week, I came across another bit of writing I did back in 2010.   It made me smile in the context of the above paragraph - so hope it makes you smile too.

The Meeting.

He was wearing Georgio Armani,
I was drinking a Pink Gin.
We were opposite ends of the cocktail bar
as the Glitterati came in.

I saw him glance at his Rolex
as the crowd milled round the bar.
But he didn't seem to notice them -
he kept his eyes on the door.

She came through the door at a gentle pace,
walking hesitantly with a stick.
She positively dripped diamonds
and her make-up was laid on thick.

He stood as she approached him
and he gave her a cool embrace.
She took his arm when he offered it
and they both walked out of the place.

I finished my gin and paid the bill
 and I followed them out of the door.
But once outside there was no sign
that they had been there before.

So I got my coat and hailed a cab
and I thought as we drove back home:
was he a gigolo meeting a lover
or was the old lady just his mother? 

Have a good week-end.

Friday 10 January 2020


It has been another lovely day weather-wise with a clear blue sky - although a sharp breeze - and a bright sun all day.   J, my dog-walker, has taken Tess again and on her return pronounced her'like a two year old again'.   So it does look as though the anti-inflammatories are working.   And the Vet agrees that hydrotherapy may be a good thing for her arthritis so I am going to give it a month's trial - too expensive if it isn't doing any good.

I had a nice leisurely getting up this morning as our usual cafe is closed this week for a smartening up for Spring (this happens each year) when the coach parties begin to arrive.   Friend W came at half past ten to help me with something on the computer and then have coffee and for twelve o'clock we met M at our usual lunch place.   Today I had sausage and mash with tiny onions and onion jus and a glass of house rose.   Large sausages (and delicious) means that I have no appetite for tea at all, so it is now get Tess's tea and then settle down for the Antiques Programme on TV.

When I returned from lunch I felt quite energetic so gathered together a bag of glass bottles, a bag of old newspapers and about six cardboard boxes and took them up to the Tip.   My garage looks neat and tidy again and I feel good as a result.   A short (and painful for me) walk with Tess and that is me done for the day.  Until tomorrow...

Thursday 9 January 2020


sley from
What is odd about the weather this winter is that we keep getting a few very warm days and the weather chart is bright yellow as the warm air drifts our way from Africa,  then suddenly the wind changes direction and the chart turns blue as the cold air races down on a North wind from the Arctic.   Today the arctic is winning and the weather man this morning said there would be snow on the tops of The Pennines.   I will take his word for it, although I can't see any snow from my window.

Snow, North wind and damp conditions means one thing to me - an increase in the trouble I get from my arthritis.   In an hour my son is taking me to see my doctor, hoping for stronger pain killers which in turn hopefully make it easier for me to walk.   And speaking of walking, Tess has had her first walk with her dog walker today since having the break because of her arthritis.   J, the dog walker, took Tess alone and walked her gently.   J says she was pleased to see her and enjoyed the walk so - so far so good.

Friend R has just been with eggs from her chickens - free range and so inviting that I might well have one scrambled on toast for my tea.

My fridge is full of bits left from the week-end.   I had an idea when I was thinking what to have for lunch.   It turned out very well.

I  cubed one large jacket potato (left in its skin) and chopped one large onion, tossed both in good olive oil and put them in my Remoska for half an hour.   Then I added a dozen or so cherry tomatoes and four or five chopped mushrooms together with a pack of lardons.   After another quarter of an hour, when the kitchen was full of delicious smells,  I heated a Naan bread under the grill and seasoned my mixture and scattered chopped parsley from my garden over the top and poured in the mixture.   It was delicious.   Try it some time.

Wednesday 8 January 2020


The trees are bare, the gardens are  lifeless but if you look carefully - as I do when I walk very slowly round the estate (I can't walk quickly)- there are signs of life everywhere.   And this morning I opened the patio doors to let Tess out into the garden at seven o'clock and I would have  said it was still dark but a blackbird was singing.   And ten minutes later, when I let her back in, a blue tit had joined in.   Now it is afternoon and although the temperature is considerably down on yesterday it isn't really cold. the sky is quite blue, the breeze is quite light and it isn't particularly wintry in spite of being January.   Last year 'the beast from the east' surprised us all at the end of February - let's just hope we don't have a repeat version this year.   So - I went round with my camera to photograph anything that showed signs of life in the garden.   They are all a bit battered from the wind and the rain - but they are survivors all and give a hint of what is to come.   So enjoy and look forward to Spring.

And last, but by no means least, the first daisy in the lawn!

Tuesday 7 January 2020


It is not a cold winter's day today - in fact it is quite mild.   But it is quite windy and now, at three o'clock in the afternoon, almost dark.  So another long night ahead.

How glad I am now that I am ageing and not all that mobile, that I no longer live on the farm.  When my farmer was alive of course he was always around, always popping in and out for a cuppa, or to use the phone, or to ask me something.   Once he had gone I could go all day without seeing a living soul.   Now, my kitchen and sitting room windows look out on to the road and I see a succession of dogs and their owners - many of whom I now know so that they wave and sometimes cross the road for a chat.  Today I had three chats like that.   Then friend S came (a day earlier that she usually does) and took Tess for a walk.   I have been quite worried about Tess's lethargy but she perked up considerably when S appeared and went off in her usual style for a walk - not as long as usual but definitely an improvement so thanks to S for cheering her up.

Now I am waiting for a man to come and look at my loo door.   When my Greatgranddaughter was here at the week end the knob came off the bathroom door (it has been loose for weeks) - luckily she wasn't locked in the bathroom (that doesn;t bear thinking about) but I rang a Joiner this morning and he intends calling to have a look at it later.

Later still my Chiropodist comes to attend to my feet so I shall be walking on air for a few days.  So this has certainly not been a day when I haven't had contact with people (and that doesn't include my blog of course). 

When S was having her after walk coffee my son rang to say that my Greatgranddaughter had had a lovely day.  (She is his grand daughter of course).  She is three and today is her first day alone at an Outside Play Nursery - we have all been wondering how things are going so it was a relief to know it had gone well.   One thing is sure - she will sleep well tonight!


Monday 6 January 2020

Old Age

Oh dear.   It has just taken me about an hour to write a relatively simple letter about my car to the garage where I have it serviced.   I kept hitting the wrong keys and my hands were shaky.   I had just come in from Book Group and was in a hurry (not a good time to attempt anything I agree).   But I am sure everyone over seventy reading this will agree that there is no fun in getting old - you have to laugh and joke about it, otherwise you would cry!!

Yesterday, tidying a book shelf after taking down my Christmas cards, I came across a little note book holding some of the poems I wrote in 2010.  It is perhaps wrong to call them 'poems' - I stopped writing because I became aware that what I was writing was rubbish poetry really.   But this poem, when I read it this morning, just hit the spot.  So I thought I would put it on for my post today - just about sums up my feelings!


Where has she gone that slender girl
with shining hair and pale, clear skin?
I look in the glass and see no trace
of that young girl; although within
my head she's just the same.

The thickening waist, the greying hair,
the creaking joints, the wrinkled face -
all tell me tales of passing time.
Yet in my head they have no place
in this life's ageing game.

Inside December still gives way to June.
I sing the same song, dance
to the same tune.
Could be they cover mirrors when I die,
but 'til that time my mirror doesn't lie.

Sunday 5 January 2020


A good old ding-dong of an argument yesterday on my post - nothing to get nasty about but just a nice, chatty argument in my front room.  I do wish you could all have been  there to join in the fun.

Back to normal today as I am sitting here, post lunch, and trying to think of something to put on today's post.  The four of us have been out to The Golf Club for lunch - they were very accommodating and supplied U with a small bowl of crisps and a bowl of pasta and refused to charge.  She ate every morsel.  They also had a good selection of both vegetarian and vegan food on offer.   So we all had a very nice lunch.   As my guests then had a very long (over two hundred miles) journey home they needed to be well fortified.

It is lovely to have guests but I now find it tiring, so this evening I am taking it easy and intend to have an early night before Book Group in the morning.

We are now   nicely into January - Twelfth Night is tomorrow - and the weather is mild and set to continue so through the next couple of weeks.   I keep remembering 'The Beast from the East' last year so must keep up my stocks of food in the freezer in case of such an emergency again this year. I'll be back again tomorrow.

Friday 3 January 2020


Rachel in the comments on yesterday's blog post about my relations being vegans, questions the idea of putting a three-year-old on a vegan diet.  Believe me, I have questioned it too.  But when I think of the rubbish diet that many young children have and compare it with the thought, the love and the time that her parents spend in devising their diet then I don't think it is in my place to criticise.
I read in The Times  this week the huge number of people who have converted to veganism this last year.  Some may call it a 'fad' but surely we are all entitled to eat what we wish.   Each Sunday, as you know, I lunch out with three friends - we have done this for several years.   One of those friends is 98 years young (it would be an insult to her to say 'old'), fit as a flea, no aches or pains, walks far more quickly than I do and has no obvious signs of ageing apart from some short term memory loss and she combats this by writing everything down in her diary.   And this friend has never in her life eaten a vegetable apart from a few raw peas straight from the pod in her garden over the years and an occasional floret of cauliflower in white sauce if pressed (which we always do if it is one of the veggies at our Sunday lunch).   So what is the answer?   I personally no longer care for meat but would not go vegetarian because I couldn't live without a streaky bacon sandwich now and again - and I do love fish (have salmon most Sundays on a bed of spinach) and love sardines on toast.

Perhaps the most important thing in considering our health is to eat (and drink) a varied diet and stick to the maxim 'all things in moderation '.  What do you think?

Thursday 2 January 2020

Tess's health problems.

I must say that after only three days on the anti-inflammatory tablets Tess's back legs seem a lot better.  Unfortunately she is now off her front right leg so this afternoon my son took me back to the Vet's and he solved the problem in a minute.   I have been looking  at her front right paw and could see nothing although she was constantly licking it and refused to go for a walk.   The Vet found a small cut between the pads on her right foot and it had begun to fester.   So now she is on anti biotics too.  It is all getting a bit complicated - half an anti biotic tablet twice a day and one anti inlfammatory daily (and she will be on these for the rest of her life, hopefully keeping the arthritis at bay).  I wish they could do the same for my arthritis - in fact on the strength of my visit to the Vet I have made an appointment to see my doctor - maybe visit a rheumatologist or something.   We shall see.

With my Grand daughter and her husband and their three year old coming at the week end I have been shopping for food (they are all three vegan).   They are staying in B and B but we are all,all six of us (this includes my son and his wife), meeting here for lunch on Saturday and spending the rest of the day together.   I have found a nice looking soup recipe with all kinds of vegetables plus beans and pasta and I shall serve this with garlic and naan breads - and at their request I shall follow this with jacket potatoes with various stuffings and salads on offer.   My grand daughter is bring a pud which is going in my fridge tomorrow night.

The lovely sunny weather we have had has disappeared today and it has been windy and cold and cloudy but every sunny day is a bonus in January isn't it?   Especially so when we hear of the dreadful bush fires in Australia with thousands having to flee their homes.  I just can't begin to imagine it.

Well friends we are beginning to settle into 2020 and a new decade - two days in already.   One thing is pretty sure - I am not likely to see in the next decade so I must make the most of every day.   Out to lunch tomorrow with M and W and a Winter Warmer menu - one course plus a glass of house wine for eleven pounds - I have already decided I shall have fish pie.   That will set me up nicely for making the soup in the evening.

Wednesday 1 January 2020

New Year's Day

It has been such a quiet day here today, barely a soul has passed my window.   I can only think that everyone had such a celebration last night that they are sleeping it off today.   Me?   I was in bed by eleven o'clock and fast asleep before the New Year arrived.   Time was when I celebrated but not any more.

The weather here for the last two or three days has been beautiful - clear blue skies and brilliant sunshine.   It has, of course, meant frosty mornings but a small price to pay.

Tess is still struggling with her walking.   I am beginning to wonder if she has hurt her front pad.   Friends T and S noticed it when they called to see how she was.   She is constantly licking it.   I have looked at it carefully under a bright light but can see nothing but it does look as though I shall have to visit the vet again shortly unless it improves.   He is set to ring with the results of the blood tests before Friday so I shall speak to him then.

Don't know how you all feel but it will be nice to get this week over and done with and get back to some kind of normality - even if that does mean wintry weather after this unseasonably warm spell.
Until tomorrow.