Saturday 29 February 2020

An extra post.

Today has been a lovely but cold day here.   Coming in I got the central heating going and then came to my computer and read your replies - most stimulating so thank you for them.   I put the 'new post' back up because my farmer knew that I loved rooks more than any other bird in the world.  My back garden backs on to quite a large field and only one more field after that and the lane down to our farm  is there.   The same rooks that cross my bungalow morning and evening on their way to and from their feeding grounds are the same rooks that crossed the farm each morning and I have always delighted in them.   Five minutes ago thousands of rooks rose from the field behind my bungalow - the noise was deafening - and circled overhead - I grabbed my camera but by that time they had gone so you will have to imagine them.   But they gave me great joy and I like to think that my farmer somehow had a hand in creating the display.

Saturday morning.

One of the nice things about not going out for Friday lunch is that that leaves Saturday to go out instead.    And to that end I have booked a table for two in our local pub - only a couple of miles away.   It has a good menu, a blazing log fire, a stone-flagged floor and usually a lot of people.   I would guess it has always been what I would call 'a game-keepers' pub' - it retains its old-fashioned appearance and serves good, honest food.  I am almost certain I shall order what I always have when I go there (I went last Saturday) - home-made quiche with freshly made chips and a good salad.   Time will tell.

Well yet another storm is due to hit the UK later today - Storm Jorge - very high winds and heavy rain.    At least the high winds mean that the storm clouds pass over quickly.    It is half past ten in the morning and when I started writing this it was cloudy and raining.   Now the sky is blue and the sun is out so it is not all bad.   Looking at the flooding on the River Servern I am just hoping they don't get much more in that area.   This morning I see that the River Ouse has burst its banks in East Yorkshire and there are villages flooded there too.   When will it all end.   March tomorrow - surely things will soon begin the brighten up.

Climate change - such a contentious issue.   I watched Greta Thunberg on the News last evening in Bristol.   What an inspiration to the young she is.   This morning I read in the Times that she has Aspergers Syndrome and has had a really troubled childhood (but with extremely supportive family around her) - how good to see her now and how her family must be so proud of her.   In the past, before Autism and Aspergers were recognised one wonders just how many young people suffered in school and for years afterwards.   When I did my Teacher Training (late 60's early 70's) I don't remember any mention of it.

I am sitting looking out of the window into my garden and can't help but marvel that in spite of the absolutely awful weather over the past few months everything in the garden is saying 'it's March tomorrow we must get on with it' - I guess it is the hours of daylight which make a difference.  As far as I can see the only plant which appears to have died - and I presume because of too wet a winter - is my French lavender.   I shall replace it with something else which doesn't bother about wet weather - I think the French lavender would have been more suited to Cro's garden, where the sun is a bit warmer and the rain a little less frequent.   A blackbird sits on the hedge singing its beak off, a little wren scratches under the same hedge, hardly visible in the undergrowth - what a lovely little bird they are.


Friday 28 February 2020

Friday again.

What to do in this awful weather - it is so tempting to stay in bed, to not bother going into town, to not attempt anything.   But the thing is - I love people - I love the chat and the interchange of ideas.   And also I really did fancy some Sea Bass for my lunch and we have the very best Fish Stall on our market every Friday with every kind of fish you can imagine - fresh and mostly from Whitby and other areas on that it of coast.

So I got up, showered, got dressed and went into town - it was still dry although not looking too promising.   Sea bass bought (and would you believe the two men who man the stall are not fish eaters ) and bananas and oranges and then it was over to our Friday cafe to meet up with friends for coffee.   It was all good as it usually is.

By the time H and I walked back to my car in the Car Park it was sleeting and the wind was rising.   That didn't stop the rooks going at their nest building in full caw!    Once home I almost made myself a sandwich before remembering I had fresh sea bass in my shopper!    Sea bass and green beans - delicious and all ready in five minutes - nice crispy skin, gently cooked on the flesh side - cooked in a mixture of a little bit of rape seed oil and a noggin of butter.

This afternoon S and T came round for the afternoon and we sat and chatted, had a cup of tea and a piece of fruit cake and passed what was a disgustingly horrible afternoon weather-wise in a very pleasant way.   Considering the situation at the moment and the awful weather I couldn't have had a nicer day.   Take care

Thursday 27 February 2020


I awoke to snow again this morning but looking out of the bedroom window I saw that it was not freezing.   I had a Solicitor's appointment at 10 and the roads were quite clear by then.   By the time I came out there was a blue sky, a strong cold wind and a strong Spring sun.   So we are nearly there.   In my garden the crocuses are in full bloom - a large patch of yellow ones, a little patch of white ones (I planted fifty but only about a dozen have actually come up - mice?) and one large magnificent purple one.   Lots of snowdrops too and they have been out for weeks.

And the garden catalogues have begun to arrive - today my catalogue of Perennials from Claire Austin - I love the way it is separated into colours - with its tempting, seductive photographs.   This evening I intend to sit down and choose a few for a few spaces in my garden.   The plot with the Mares Tail weed has to remain barren at present until it has had one more spray with the very expensive specialised weedkiller I bought (hasn't made one scrap of difference but my gardener feels after spending all that money we should at least use it all up.)

I don't think I have ever wished for Spring to arrive more than I have this year.   Maybe a combination of my age, the onset of the Coronavirus, the dreadful flooding - all combine and there is no good news to offset it is there?  But I have to say that Blogging helps keep my spirits up - you are a jolly bunch and I love reading of  your exploits.   Am off now to watch today's 'Antiques Road Trip'.   See you tomorrow.

Wednesday 26 February 2020


Up until half past three this afternoon the weather was lovely and sunny although there was a bitter wind blowing.   The 'falls' lady called this morning to assess whether there were any ways in which I could be helped around the house.   I am to be given a trolley so that I can easily transport my cup of tea and suchlike from the kitchen to the sitting room so that will be a help.

It was our Poetry this afternoon.   W's cat always enjoys it immensely, going from lap to lap as the mood takes her.   She spent much of the afternoon on my lap.   As usual we had some really interesting offerings and nice discussions afterwards.   By the time I came home (H next door took me this afternoon) there was sleet and a strong wind so it was goodbye sun for today.

I did manage a walk round with Percy today after the 'walks' lady had gone but the wind was so strong that it did not make walking easy and I cut my walk short.   Roll on Spring.

Tuesday 25 February 2020

One thing for sure.

One thing is for sure today - it is cold.   Somehow, although the wind is nothing like as strong as it has been, it is a very cold, February day.   It will be March at the end of the week - I do hope that by then somebody will have told the powers that be that Spring should be showing at least a few signs that it is on its way and giving us just a little break.   I had a quick walk round my garden this morning and was surprised to see just how many bits and bobs of flowers were out.   So maybe it  is a start.

But looking at the pictures on the TV News this evening of  Ironbridge and Shrewsbury - both on the River Severn - with the river set to peak higher than anything on record and with dozens of houses flooded - and more expected tonight - it does become so absolutely dreadful.   In fact the News altogether is so distressing that I intend to give it a miss for a day or two.   I have done so before but am always drawn back to it, but what with the Coronavirus, the floods, the riots in India, I could go on - as I have no control over any of it perhaps it is best to ignore it.   Do you agree - or is it my duty to listen to it and be aware of it all?

On a happier note I really enjoyed my friends over the week end - we had a pleasant, relaxing time and because we ate the main meal out each day, which did mean that I had very little extra work to do, I was able to enjoy their company for longer.
(and their Birthday chocolates and wine).   They sent me three lovely bookmarkers through the post today - I love bookmarkers and these are quite special - they are already in my poetry books all ready for our Poetry meeting tomorrow.

Until then..........


Monday 24 February 2020

Monday morning bright and early!

And what a Monday morning it is too. Five inches of snow outside and still snowing.  It has been lovely having my friends here over the week end.   They came Friday lunch time when friend W and I met them in our usual Friday restaurant.  We came home and spent the rest of the day here just chatting (weather prevented doing anything - it very windy and rainy.

On Saturday after breakfast my friends thought they would go the twenty odd miles down to Ripon to have a look at the little city and a look round the Cathedral.   After about half an hour they rang to say they had got as far as Masham where the road was blocked as the River Ure had burst its banks there.  So I booked a table at a local pub, they drove back up here and we had a delicious lunch, sitting by a blazing wood burner in an absolutely packed pub (mostly walkers sheltering from the rain but all eating hearty meals).  We had  chips with everything (and jolly good chips they were too) quiche and salad, toasted Brie and Cranberry toastie, mince and onion pie and veg and then came home for an evening when we we joined by my son and his wife.   It was my friend's birthday (a big O too) so we also had a large box of chocs and too much wine.

Yesterday we all went to our usual Sunday lunch venue and then my friends went home to Windermere - driving through brilliant sunshine and clear blue sky for most of the way.  We had a lovely time and it has really done me a lot of good.  Friend W had gone down with a really heavy cold - my friend P came with the start of a cold too so it is going the rounds - probably land with yours truly shortly.

So it's back to normal today and several things to catch up on on television if I can't think of anything else I want to do.   No post-writing for a day or two and I really feel i am losing touch with dear old friends - so it is nice to be back.

Thursday 20 February 2020


No posts this week-end - friends arriving tomorrow so there will be a lull in things.   I might post on Sunday evening, otherwise Monday.   Have a good week-end.

Wednesday 19 February 2020


Another cold, breezy and dull day here - quite depressing, although it is selfish to say this as this time the storm has not affected us very much and we have no flooding.   When  I look at the extent of rivers bursting their banks and flooding huge areas, putting thousands of homes under water, destroying hundreds of acres of crops - it is all so distressing.   There was a lovely old couple of ninety on the News this morning, going back to their house  - the whole place was in uproar and covered with mud and the old lady was horrified and said it looked like a jumble sale.   But what brought tears to my eyes was that they had been breeding Koi Carp in the pool in their back garden for many, many years and that was their biggest worry - had they been destroyed.   Well they hadn't, the carp were still there, calmly swimming up and down.   The lady was reduced to tears of joy, saying that she would have been 'distraught' if their beloved fish had gone.  It was such a touching moment.

I got up and had my breakfast but then decided that I really didn't feel well enough to stay up.   So I tidied round and went back to bed with The Times, the telephone and a pencil and pen to do the puzzles.  I put the blanket on and stayed in bed until half past eleven when my son rang to see how I was (he is on half term) and offered to do some shopping for me.   I got up, had a shower, got dressed and by that time he was back with my shopping.   I felt back to normal and this afternoon I have tatted about doing all sorts of jobs.  (I have friends coming for the weekend) so all is well once again.   I think maybe I want the Spring to be here!   Only another ten days until it is March and we do usually get a few signs of Spring then don't we?

When I look at the huge areas of the country which are being devastated by water I feel it is selfish of me to even think about being under the weather when I can't put my finger on the cause.
I am missing Tess of course, but even then I can't help feeling relief that I haven't to take her out in this windy weather (my Physio says I must not walk in windy weather).

On Saturday evening I intend to give John's recipe for chicken thighs with chorizo a whirl - all the ingredients are coming in the morning with my Tesco order - I will report back on how it turns out.

Tuesday 18 February 2020

Lazy Day

I didn't feel at all well this morning - in fact I didn't feel all that well yesterday either.    So this morning I decided to cancel everything and have a day in bed.   I can't recommend it enough - this evening I feel so much  better.  I breakfasted and then went back to bed with The Times and my book, put on the electric blanket and just luxuriated in not doing anything.   I got up and made myself a bit of lunch, intending to shower and get up and decided instead to go back to bed, which I did.   I stayed until tea time, dozing, reading, just thinking - just a thoroughly lazy day. And after watching an hour's television I am just reading my replies and typing this before going back to bed.   I still feel tired so I am sure I shall sleep the night away too.   There was a time when this would have made me feel so guilty but not any more.  I should do it more often.

Monday 17 February 2020


So John enjoys reading mundane posts.   Well on the whole I would guess that when one reaches my age most peoples' lives are mundane - or if they are not then they would wish it were so.   One of the plusses of reaching my age and ( at present) being relatively fit, is that most of the pressures of a working life have disappeared.  Alright I have to walk with a stick but compared with many folk in old age that is just a minor irritant.   I do have one major irritant, which I would have dealt with in my stride when I was younger, but it will eventually sort itself out.

But really I think the trick in old age is not to consider one's life 'mundane' - it is not called 'the third age' for nothing these days.   Sixty is now called the new forty so presumably eighty is the new sixty - or that is how I am looking at it.   So here are a few tips on how to stop old age being boring.   Yes I know, there is one major fact in this. You have to have enough money to pay the bills and a little bit over so that money is not a major issue.

1.   Have plenty of friends.   Value their friendship,
      make time for them, invite them round for a 
      coffee and a chat, or go out for one if funds 
      permit - or even for lunch.   Search around - 
      many places now have special pensioners 

2.   If you are mobile enough  then consider the
      idea of a dog.   You would not believe the
      number of people I have met while walking

3.    Join things.   There is a thriving U3A in my
       little town and it offers plenty of choice in
       courses - in addition to an over 60,s club 
       (which is well attended).   In addition there is
       also a local Probus, a W I, several study
       groups , a local Camera Club - I could go on.

In my experience few people come to you - you have to go out and look for them.   I could count on my fingers the friends who call hoping to find me in.   They are special friends who are dear to me and who know I am always pleased to see them and 'put the kettle on' when I see them on the drive.

The U3A class I have joined is my Book Group.  We meet in one another's houses on the first Monday in each month, we take it in turns to choose the book and we meet and talk about it over a coffee and a biscuit.   If everyone comes there are eight of us.   This month's book, chosen by M, is 'Olive Kitteridge' by Elizabeth Strout - a
very good book indeed.   Last month's was Elizabeth Gaskell's 'North and South' - also a really good read.

So my advice is - don't let old age get you down, don't let it become a mundane, daily trudge - as so many people seem to do as they get older.   My intention is to go out, meet folk, do things (as Rachel does - it is lovely to read of her exploits- although I do realise that she is very much younger than me and can hop on and off a bus or a train and plan wonderful trips abroad (which I did twenty years ago but wouldn't attempt now).

And, like John, I  love reading about what she does - her cats, her trips into Norwich, the classes she attends, the films she sees, the way she makes friends and the way she and Sue from Suffolk (also a blogger) meet for a coffee and a chat.   It is these things that make the world go round, make one forget about Coronavirus, about HS2, about Boris's exploits, about what Donald Trump is up to.   I leave all that to the next generation.  Maybe that is selfish but this is really 'me time'.   I make donations to one or two of my pet charities, I try to help anyone when it is within my power to do so - other than that I try to live life to the full and I do urge you - if you are over 60 and retired - to do the same.

Saturday 15 February 2020


Today I am finally succumbing to temptation and buying myself an ipad.   I have held out against the advice of friends for a long time, but I have gradually begun to see how useful it will be and so today's the day I order it.   Friend H, who lives next door, is coming round this afternoon to talk about it with me and then the die will be cast.

Storm clouds have gathered, rain has started and the wind is getting up.   I am just hoping Rachel is right in her comments yesterday when she said that the storm would peak out in the Atlantic.   My son's village can definitely not cope with any more water.   They have the sandbags out and are doing all they can but the power of water is unstoppable.   I will continue this post later in the day when we see how it has developed. 

Well it has rained heavily all day and the strength of the wind has increased but during the evening the rain has stopped.   I have just looked out of the front door and the wind is strong but it is fine.   The trouble is that because of the hills the water comes down the hills long after the rain has stopped so we shall not know for a while yet whether we have escaped the worst of it.   Fingers crossed.

Friday 14 February 2020


Mid afternoon, and what promised to be a pleasant warm and sunny day has suddenly deteriorated into a wet, cold and windy day.   Rather a disappointment as the forecast for the week end is ghastly.   Storm Dennis this time and our town and the neighbouring village are bracing themselves for a downpour and hoping for the best.   There are signs of Spring everywhere, which makes the whole thing worse somehow.   Almost every garden on the estate has a few snowdrops, primroses, hellebores or crocuses out, tulips are poking through and the Viburnums around are in full flower (all of them (including mine) have been badly pruned and are well past the point of no return but the flower clusters are pleasant to look at.)

Out to lunch with friend W (scampi, chips and peas and fish pie with crispy kale respectively) and then a  look in the lovely shop at Tennants where they have such a super collection of possible gifts.  Now back home and just time to order myself a pair of boots in the Hotter Sale with my two Premium Bonds received this morning.

As I write this, hordes of rooks keep swooping over my back garden, blown about by the wind - and they seem to be enjoying it.  I love rooks - they have always been my favourite bird since childhood, when my bedroom window looked out over a rookery (now long gone) and the same rooks that crossed the farm each morning and evening on their way from and back to their rookery now cross my garden as it is on their flight path to the upper dale where they fan out and find things to eat.

I shall now go and make myself a cup of tea and settle down to watch the last episode of Antiques Road Trip for this week.   At last the young man has cottoned on to what to buy in order to not lose a stack of money each night - so fingers crossed for him tonight.


Thursday 13 February 2020


There are always going to be people around who don't care - people who drive without a thought for other road users - people who never put a single can or item of food into the trolleys for the homeless which are in our supermarket.  I could go on, but the thing that has'got me going' this morning is the item on Breakfast Television about the dumping of rubbish.   Do these people who dump huge piles of rubbish give no thought at all to the farmers whose land they often dump it on, or at the very least block the gates to their fields, or the unsightly mess of a lay by full of goodness knows what - just a mess of rubbish?

I found it annoying when I lived on the farm and walking Tess would find folk had thrown take-away cartons and drinks cans out of their car windows.   About once a week I would take a bag with me on my morning walk and usually manage to fill it with rubbish on the lane sides.

But the rubbish shown on 'Breakfast' was in an altogether different league - huge piles of it or even buildings stacked with bales of it.    The cost to our Councils and Local Authorities for moving this and disposing of it runs into millions countrywide. I wonder what these folk's houses and gardens are like.

To lighten my mind after that rant - there was about an inch of snow on the tops of the walls in my back garden and it wasn't freezing.   However, when I looked at my snow covered car and at the state of the road outside I decided discretion was the better part of valour and cancelled my usual 9.30 hair appointment.   Now, at a quarter to twelve I have tidied round the bungalow and am sitting here in my dressing gown (having got deeply into my book (detective novel) over my breakfast.   But does it really matter?   Now I am going to shower, dress and cook something for my lunch.   Could be a jacket potato - I haven;t had one this week and I have some oriental vegetables so they will be a good filling (soy sauce?).   The sun is just coming out so should the snow melt from the footpaths in time I might go round the block with Percy (yes I have chosen his name).

Wednesday 12 February 2020

Wednesday morning early.

Ice everywhere this morning.   My car is enveloped in a sheet of it and all the paths and roads are covered with it.   I shall not venture out today.

I came into my computer room about nine yesterday evening, switched on the light, the bulb fused and all the lights in the house went off.   Yes - I know and freely admit - I am a wimp where such things are concerned, having always left them to the man of the house throughout both of my marriages.   I now know this was a stupid error.    I had a responsible job which I did and enjoyed yet can;t change a light bulb I can sense you thinking.

I do have various batteried lanterns around the house in case there is a power cut so I wasn't without light and I did know where the fuse box was (out in a very cold garage) but without going to look at it I was pretty certain it was too high for me to reach without my little steps and I didn't fancy that in the dark.   Luckily my table lamps worked so I didnt sit in the dark for the rest of the night but I did go to bed feeling pretty useless and downhearted. 

This morning I got up before it was quite light, opened all the blinds and curtains, went out into the garage, found I could easily reach the fuse box,  flicked up the offending switch - all done and I felt proud of myself.   Alright - such a little thing but did my self confidence (which is at a low ebb at the moment for reasons I won't go into) a lot of good.   Changing the light bulb is another thing though as it means bringing the steps into the house and climbing them to reach the light - I shalln't attempt that.   One fall from a step ladder spells disaster at my age.

As I sit here looking out of the window the ice on the patio is melting quite quickly so the temperature must have risen above freezing  although it is a largely grey sky and a brisk wind - just bits of blue sky here and there.   (in the middle of typing this sentence the sun has come out).  There was a time when in February we expected this sort of weather and would have been surprised if we had had anything else.   But now the reverse is true isn't it?

My Grandson, who teaches in China, is staying there, as are the other English teachers with him.   They are subject to various restrictions, they have to wear a mask when they go out and their movements are restricted and their school is closed for now.   But he is expecting to be teaching on line shortly which pleases him as life is  a bit boring with all the restrictions in place.   He is in good spirits.

Afternoon now - still sunny but with occasional snowy blizzards passing over quickly.   I have just been for a walk with my trusty steed.   Thought you might like to see him.   Any ideas for a name?

Tuesday 11 February 2020


We should have known when we planned it that it was likely to be doomed.   Our friends P and D, who live in Windermere and who know we don't care to drive over the top of the Pennines in mid Winter, had arranged to meet us at the Creamery in Hawes today for a lunch - we booked a table a few weeks ago and were really looking forward to it.   But the weather had other ideas and early this morning P rang to say that they didn't like to risk the weather coming over by the Three Peaks.   Looking on line did show snow in the area and it is high ground.   So sadly we cancelled - doubly sadly as they revealed that today was their Anniversary and therefore a celebration.   So - sorry we called off P and D - but HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

It was a sensible precaution because we have had almost every kind of weather throughout the day - hail, snow, blizzards, periods of sunshine - but always very cold and windy.   W and I, along with friend M, decided to eat in town - I had sausage, mash with onion gravy and crispy kale;  M and W both had fish pie and crispy kale.    If you have never had crispy kale do try it.   Break or chop kale into florets, spray it with that oil you can buy in an aerosol if you wish to lose weight, toss it well so that it is well-covered with oil, spread it on a baking sheet and bake for a short time in a very hot oven until crisp.   Watch it like a hawk because it soon burns.   The result is delicious and even the most seasoned kale-hater will convert immediately.   Maybe 5 minutes is adequate if the oven is very hot - but do watch it - it easily goes from lovely bright green to brown and burnt.

Now it is night time, the ground has a thin layer of snow which will certainly stay overnight, and it is very cold.   Stay warm everyone.

Monday 10 February 2020


'February fill dyke' - not called that for nothing but really there is no need to overdo it is there?   We caught the very worst of the weather up here in July with that horrendous thunder storm in which our little village (only a mile from my bungalow) featured on the National News.   Some of the houses flooded then have still not been fully restored to normality and as the beck swept past their gates yesterday I am sure there was more than one quaking heart.   But boards and sandbags kept the overflowing beck on the road rather than down the drives.   So all was well this time.

Today it is just windy and mostly dull - now and again a brief burst of sunshine, but fleeting.   Well, it is February and for many years this is the kind of weather we would expect.   But contrarily for the last few years it has not been like that, so when bad weather hits, as it has done this week end, we feel badly done by.

The lady who cleans for me rang to say could she come tomorrow instead as one of her grand children was not well enough to go to school, so I seem to have been wandering about aimlessly all day doing more or less nothing.   I have some very busy days coming up so really it has probably done me a lot of good. 

Looking out on the garden snowdrops, crocus and pink hellebores are all flowering away with not a care in the world.   Isn't it good how nature carries on regardless.   As I came back from lunch out yesterday I passed fields full of Swaledale sheep sheltering in the walls and hedgebacks.   What  hardy animals they are.   On Breakfast Television 
this morning Amanda Owen, the Yorkshire Shepherdess, who lives up the top end of Swaledale, was showing rounding up these hardy sheep to bring them down to lower ground.   Not all that long before they lamb - maybe eight weeks at most - out in all weathers and they didnt look all that keen to come down off the tops in spite of seeing the drier grass.   We are a  hardy lot up here.

Sunday 9 February 2020

Sunday Morning Early

Well, in spite of the terrible forecasts for Storm Ciara and the sight and sound of pouring rain on the windows when I went to bed, this morning so far everything looks just the same when I look out of the window.   The rain is still pouring down, the trees are bent double (they are flimsy silver birches so don't take a lot of bending) but other than that all seems alright. 

Our neighbouring village is naturally on the alert as in July last year they (and we) were hit by a freak storm when many homes were badly flooded (some houses are still being refurbished and the owners are not back in them yet).   The village has a very active beck running through it and almost every house has some connection with it, either across the road, in front of the house or through the garden.   I have just rung my son, who lives in the village, and he says all appears to be as it should be.

I must say  the storm didn't keep me awake - as with the last few nights I slept  very well indeed, only waking for a short 'comfort stop' before going off again and not waking until half past eight.

It is Sunday and our usual lunch out day - there should be all four of us today - but I do wonder whether W (who is 98) will opt to stay at home on such a day - I collect her from lower down in our little town and take her up to W's where we transfer to W's car (mine is a 2 door Corsa and W's is a 3 door Toyota Corolla, so more room for three).   We shall see but looking at the forecast it doesn't seem as though it will begin to clear this morning.

Although I am still missing my little four-legged friend I must say I am pleased I don't have to take her for a morning walk this morning - I think it would have been an 'out in the back garden' morning and, bless her, she wouldn't have cared for that.


Saturday 8 February 2020

Saturday afternoon.

I am just back from a lunch out with friends.   I was late up (8.30) which would have been impossible when I had dear old Tess, I had two rounds of toast and marmalade and a banana, then the papers came and I sat reading them for an hour and a half over several cups of coffee.   Then the phone rang inviting me out to lunch - of course I went (fish and chips) - and now I havent' been back home for long.   My friends came in for a coffee and they have just gone.   I am going round drawing all the curtains and making everywhere cosy.   Storm Ciara is forecast to arrive later this evening and to rage most of tomorrow so I thought I would get the bungalow cosy early this evening.
Already the sky looks threatening. 

I smiled when I saw that the storm had been christened 'Ciara' - isn't it silly to give storms a name?  (or is it just me?)    I had been reading the word as 'Clara' and smiling as I remembered that when I was a child there was a girl in my class called  Clara Harrison.   She had a brother, Harry, and he once threw a blackboard - slate - and it hit and cracked my cheekbone.   What a furore it all caused and really the poor boy hadnt been aiming in my direction.   As I remember it he was a quiet, innocuous kind of boy who wouldn't say boo to a goose and the poor chap got into lots of trouble.  Isn't it funny how little things remind us of things which happened so long ago.   Anybody out there old enough to remember the days when we wrote on slates in a wooden frame?   I hope somebody reading this does remember otherwise I shall feel as old as Methuselah!

Friday 7 February 2020


The farmer's niece, A, has been to see me today.   It was lovely to see her - it is quite a long time since we met as she lives a distance away.   She brought me some of the cards she makes - I thought you might like to see a couple of them.   You can of course see more if you go to her web site = 

 She did tell me what breed of sheep they were in the bottom shot but I have forgotten their name; sufficient to say that they are a Dutch breed, which goes well with the tulips in the picture!

Here we are battening down the hatches for the approaching Storm Ciara which is supposed to be arriving some time tomorrow.  The sky is beginning to turn dark.   This morning there was a frost but once it went the morning was lovely and there was quite a lot of warmth in the sun.   It is strong winds and heavy rain that are forecast.   Let's hope it is not too bad.   Many folk around here are still waiting to move back into their houses which were flooded last year in late July.

Enjoy the cards and look at more on her site if you feel so inclined.   See you tomorrow.

Wednesday 5 February 2020

Words of Praise.

This morning I really have to tell you just how kind folk are.   We hear such a lot about the other side of the coin but I really am very lucky to be on the receiving end of kindness like the following.   Yesterday, as I told you in my post, I really quite overdid it and was exhausted when I  got home.   I had a good night's sleep but awoke this morning still feeling pretty shattered.   I am going out to lunch with friend D so needed to get going and go and do a bit of shopping and go to the bank - jobs I usually do on a Tuesday.   I forgot to put out my dustbin and it is bin day.

When I came back from town the bin men were having their break right outside my bungalow.   They had finished our estate completely   I got out of my car and staggered across the road (with my stick as I am really going badly today) and told them I had forgotten to put out my bin - could they possibly take it late.   Not only did they do that - they collected it from round the back of my bungalow, they returned it there after emptying it and they rang the depot and asked them to add me to the list of householders whose bins were to be collected rather than put out for them - in other words they will take my bin down the drive, empty it and bring it back up to my back gate.   My drive is quite steep and if it is slippery then it is quite dangerous.   The chap who did it also insisted on carrying my two shopping bags from my car and putting them into my hall.   We do hear so much about unpleasant behaviour - isn't it good to hear about something like this.   We know there are far more good people than bad around but it is nice to be reminded of it now and again.   So many thanks to these bin men this morning - they have made my day.

Tuesday 4 February 2020

Bright as a button.

This morning I took my car the twenty five miles or so into Northallerton for its yearly service and its first MOT.   That is a long journey for me these days and as it was in the rush hour (and there were road works and traffic lights) it was not a particularly enjoyable journey.  But by golly how perky my car was after its service.   Just a tiny tickle on the accelerator and I shot forward and putting my foot anywhere near the brake brought me instantly to a stop.  They gave my vehicle a wash and brush up too so I sailed home in fine form.

But I am tired.   I am in need of a new sitting room rug so I called into our good Furniture Shop but their selection of rugs was miserable.   However the bacon, brie and cranberry panini and the pot of tea I had in there certainly fortified me for the journey home.   And as it was not the rush hour it 
was a much more pleasant journey.   No lambs in the fields yet but plenty of crocus and snowdrops out in gardens and that makes the heart sing. 

Lunch out with friend D tomorrow and a reminder on my shopping list that one of my Great Grand daughters is four on Thursday so a Birthday Card is necessary  - easy to slip money in and post it at the same time.   Wouldn't wish to be four again with the world in the state it is in - would you?

Monday 3 February 2020


Sitting here mid-afternoon, looking out of the window, the sky a clear blue and the sun shining, it is easy to forget that outside it is February - there is not a lot of warmth in the sun and the wind is strong enough to almost blow me off my feet.  Our Book Group this morning was at M's - only a couple of hundred yards or so from where I live - but the wind was too strong to take my wheeled walker so I battled down the hill at a wobble.   I did consider taking the car but it is not an easy place to park and I had an important letter to post so would have to have got out of the car anyway.
I got there unscathed albeit wind=swept and wobbly. 

'North and South' by Elisabeth Gaskell (at school all those years ago she was always called 'Mrs Gaskell' but I am talking mid-forties, so times have changed):  six of us this morning, lots of discussion, generally we all liked it and got a lot out of it.   We agreed that it was a book which could be described as a precursor of both feminism and industrial unrest - both were just beginning to be felt in society.   And we did all agree that Margaret and Mr Thornton should have 'got on with it' instead of waiting until the last paragraph of the last page to do anything more than cast admiring glances at one another.

It was only on the short walk home that I realised that I would probably be locked out.   My cleaning lady comes on Monday mornings and I left her there.   I also forgot to take a key and it was only when I felt in my coat pocket that I realised.   Luckily I have a key safe so I was able to get in, and  - true to form - I was only in a short time before my cleaning lady rang to make sure I had got back into the house alright.   Time was when doors could have been left unlocked up here but that time is passed now - the Police advise us all to keep our outside doors locked even when we are at home.   Wise advice.

Sunday 2 February 2020


Today has been a cold, rather dismal day but it did stay dry long  enough for me to have a good walk round the estate with my trusty walker before going out to lunch.   On the days when I can do that I feel so much better for the walk.   There are gales forecast for the coming week - which is set to be a busy week for me in any case - so sadly I shall not be able to do much walking.

The Restaurant we four friends go to on Sunday lunchtimes was especially busy today with hardly a seat to spare but our table was ready for us so as soon as we had placed our order we went and sat at our table to open up a bit of space in the bar.  Our lunch was quite a long time coming but as we all four had something different and it was so very busy we didn't mind waiting.  Between us we had Salmon Florentine, Roast Lamb, Penang Curry with Rice and Prawn Salad (with chips)*  (*me).
 For me Blue Stilton and biscuits afterwards and then a pot of tea back in the bar and an hour's pleasant chat.   What a lovely way to spend an afternoon when it is so dismal outside.

Country File was interesting tonight because it was from Dungeness, the artist Derek Jarman and the fight to save his house there on the shingle for the nation.  Jarman was such an interesting character - one of the people I keep meaning to find out more about.   My son has lent me one of his books - a book on colour - and when I get the opportunity to read a chapter it is very interesting. 

Tomorrow morning is our Book Group meeting at M's - only about two hundred yards from my house so no great effort to get there with my walker.   The book we shall be discussing is Elizabeth Gaskell's 'North andSouth' - I have really enjoyed it and am looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say about it.   A very busy week ahead for me - but better than having nothing to do.   Wouldn't you agree?

Saturday 1 February 2020

February 1st

Village Church coffee morning (always the first Saturday in the month) - lots there and I never heard the word 'Brexit' mentioned.   Lots of mentions of snowdrops, aconites, weather in general, lambs anyone?, but nothing further afield.
Just as it should be here in our quiet little Yorkshire Dales Village.   One of the reasons I like living here.

It hasn't been a pleasant day here today.   Yesterday the temperature was 11 degrees and the sun shone.   Today it is 7 degrees and mostly rainy.
Still, even that is not bad for the first day of February and, according to something I read in the paper, we have already gained an hour  and twenty minutes extra of daylight.

Every day a few more flowers appear and the snowdrops in my garden are well out now.   I do hope we don't have a nasty rude awakening like last year when The Beast from the East descended and we had a heavy fall of snow.   The older I get the more I dread the cold weather and the more I long for some Spring - don't know about you.

Well folks, Brexit has passed - well stage one at any rate.   I wonder how long it will be before we notice any difference at all.   Or  will life - for us out in the sticks at any rate - go on just as it did before?

Our little family group are having a celebration of sorts this evening (although we actually voted to remain but we live in a Democracy and the other side won the vote) and are sitting down to a take-away Indian meal.   Don't ask me what we are eating.   I am not all that familiar with Indian food so have left it to my son to choose what I eat (as long as it is not too hot).

After a very bad night's sleep the night before last I had a brilliant sleep last night and didn't wake until eight o'clock this morning-feel much better for it.   See you tomorrow.