Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Where do babies come from?

 There is a lovely chapter in the book I am reading about the young boy thinking he had found out where babies come from.   He had discerned by noticing his mother's tummy grow under her apron where the baby actually was - but how did it get out.   His school friend told him that the baby came out of the mother's navel.   He didn't believe this at first but then he very carefully examined his own navel in the privacy of his room and came to the conclusion that his navel did look like something that could be unlocked so he decided mothers locked themselves in their rooms, unlocked the navel and helped the baby out.  And as to breast feeding, when his little brother first saw their mother breast feeding their little sister his little brother was terrified and screamed that the baby was eating their mother.   Goodness me how innocent we all were a century ago - and yet pre-pill many marriages took place hurriedly after the would-be bride found herself pregnant.

Today I asked my son  how he found out (his was born in the fifties) and  he related the story of how he had come into the room where his father and I were entertaining his aunt and uncle and announced to the assembled company that he had found out at school that day how babies were made - 'the man and woman sucked each other'.  I don't remember this incident at all but he tells how shortly afterwards I told him the correct version!

All this reminded me of recent lettets in The Times from women who had been to convent schools and how the Mother Superiors had given talks about meeting with boys and told the girls that if they had to sit on a boys knee they should make sure there was a telephone directory between their bottom and the boy's knees.   And if there was no access to a telephone directory then at least a newspaper - preferably The Times!

Was there ever an age of innocence - maybe not.   But pre pill and pre internet maybe things were not quite so open and talked about.   Is that a good thing or a bad thing?   Have we gone too far the other way?

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Grandpas

I am reading my Book Club book 'My Father's Glory and My Mother's Castle' again.   It is magical and I want to enjoy it all over again.  Each chapter makes me want to recall an episode in my own life - so today's post from me is about Grandpas and Grandmas.   Marcel Pagnol in his book speaks of his Grandpa - of his  being 'small, broad-shouldered and sturdy with long white locks and a curly beard' - and 'black eyes that glowed like ripe olives' .   Can't you just picture him from that description?

My maternal grandma died long before I was born (my parents were in their forties when I was born and to say my birth was a surprise is an understatement)but I remember my maternal Grandpa very well indeed.   He lived to a ripe old age.   William Everton was a tall, handsome man with a shock of grey hair and a 'fashionable' moustache.   He lived with his youngest son in a beautiful house which belonged to his daughter in law  ( my uncle married a spinster 'with money') and he really had a grand old time.   He always kept a bag of mint imperials in his jacket pocket because he could suck one to disguise the fact that he had been in the pub and 'consumed liquor'.   My aunt looked after his money and doled it out in small amounts  - just enough  each day for him to have a modest drink.   Enough for William - all he needed was what he called 'a sneck-lifter'   for he could easily be persuaded to sing for the price of another pint.   His favourite song was 'The Lincolnshire Poacher' and  after a few he could also be persuaded to dance on the table while he sang it.   I adored him and his stories - usually about the poaching he had done as a young man and how he had always managed to avoid being caught.  We went to tea every other Su nday (delicious teas all home made by Auntie Jessie) - I would go round the garden with Grandpa and on fine evenings we would sit under a huge Bramley apple tree and he would tell his stories.   My parents would be stuck inside playing tiddley winks (my aunts favourite game) and finally singing hymns round the piano played by my uncle who never mastered the skill of playing both hands at the same time so the bass always came a split second after the treble.

My paternal grand parents home could not have been more different.  My grandfather had woken up one morning to hear his wife pulling up the blind and had asked her why she was doing so when it was still dark - she had replied that the sun was shining and he realised that overnight he had gone blind.   He never saw again but lived quite a few years.   On the Sunday we didn't go to my 'mint imperial' grandpa, where I could slip my hand in his pocket for a sweet when ever I wanted we went to see Grandpa Smith son. He had been a methodist lay preacher all his life.  I had to sit quietly on his knee and read to him from a book 'Childrens' Stories from the Bible' - he checked my reading progress and, as he knew all the stories off by heart I had to read every word.   Then he would question me on it -the only thing that kept me going was the delicious tea I knew would be available at the end of the ordeal.   My grandmother ruled the household.  She had been born in the 1880's and still wore long skirts and blouses - they always seemed to be tan and white striped ones.   She had a chatelaine at her waist and was 'in charge'.  They had four spinster daughters (we are speaking of  twenty years after the first world war - many young women never married after that) and they all gave her their wages (2 tailoresses, 1 milliner and 1 who stayed at home and did all the housework (I adored her).   Aunty Pat (yes I was called after her and also after my grandmother who was called Martha - but Patty was a diminutive) had done all the cooking for the tea and it was carefully scrutinised (and criticised by Grandma before we sat down to eat it).

Such a long time ago - but memories last.  In fact the older I get the more I remember about those times long ago.   I hope you have enjoyed my journey into the far distant past.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Spring two

 Well folks I really think we can say that today is spoiling us with what could be the first day when it really felt like Spring.   I say 'could be' because there are still four hours of daylight left and our weather has been so capricious this year that almost anything can happen in four hours (read JayCee today for proof of this).   But when Priscilla and I went out for our walk round the block the sun was shining - and was actually quite warm - and the sky was blue and there was practically no breeze. It lifted the spirits considerably.

The only problem is (and isn't there always a problem where our climate in the UK is concerned) that we really are getting pretty desperate for rain - that is if we are in any way connected with gardening.   My tubs round in the back garden must be desperate for water but I can't really reach them.   The pansies either side of the front door are fine.   They have been in the pots since early September and have done exactly what the owner of the Garden Centre where I bought them said they would do - they had a nice floral display in September and October and they went dormant until about a month ago and have now Sprung to life and are putting on a splendid display.  By putting a jug on my shelved wheelie I can get water to the front door and water them - and this I am doing several times a week.

There was a short delay there because I w entinto the kitchen.   Any manoeuvre which involves walking takes me a long time these days (I have to use my indoor Priscilla).   A couple of weeks ago friends brought me some sausages from a well-known butcher a few miles away from here.   I put them into my freezer but yesterday I decided to take them out and defrost them and make myself a sausage sandwich for my tea.  I had popped them into my Remoska and suddenly I could smell them cooking.   I went to look and they look just right - so now my mouth is watering.   (Thank you S and T if you are reading this).

And speaking of S and T - they have hens and a while ago they were given some eggs to hatch out.   Only two hatched.   One, already now a flamboyant and vociferous cockerel, has a loud crow and uses it throughout the day.   The other is a tiny bantam hen.   I can only think that the first thing she saw when she emerged from her egg shell was T because she obviously considers him to be her Dad and follows him everywhere.   Wherever he goes in the garden she is two steps behind.   Last week they lost her and after searching everywhere went into the shed and, sure enough, there she was on T's bench sitting happily waiting for him.

Well it is an hour later.   The sausages smell delicious so I am off to make myself a sandwich - the problem is do I put chutney/sauce in or have it plain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sunday, 11 April 2021

Spring

 Yes, it is Spring, although looking out of the window , it is hard to believe.   When I started typing this the sun was out (and the April sun has some warmth in it) - then I had a short phone call, now it is snowing.  But isn't that always the way with our Springs?   Hasn't it always been a case that people with Magnolia trees or fruit trees in their gardens have been anxiously peering up into them at sundown and again in the early morning?   And so I tell myself not to worry - but it doesn't altogether stop me doing so.

What to write about today?   Well not a lot has happened really.   I am saddened to see that one or two people who object strongly to horse racing have vowed they will not read my blog again because I enjoyed the Grand National.   That is their choice.   I try to keep off Politics and controversial subjects as far as I canfor precisely that reason but occasionally I say something or do something which offends some people.   For that I apologise.   But if I stopped blogging with everyone who had views with which I disagreed there would be no one left - and believe me when I say that blogging is a huge part of my life.   Now that I can't walk unaided and, in any case because of Covid restrictions can't go out - like everyone else - then it is even truer that your daily 'chat' is brilliant and keeps me going.  So thank you most sincerely for that.

The sun is out again, the sky is blue, I shall go and make myself some cheddar and red onion chutney sandwiches and a cup of tea for my tea (lamb chops with mashed potatoes, carrots, kale and mange tout for lunch (made and brought by my carer) followed by a banana and a couple of small sweet oranges - and then I shall go and finish reading the Sunday Telegraph.   Enjoy your Sunday evening.   See you tomorrow.


Saturday, 10 April 2021

Lovely Book

A short post today - it is almost time for the Grand National - never miss it.   My father adored the National and the Derby and watched them avidly.   Both were on his Bucket List to go to before he died but of course he never did - we never had a car, he never learned to drive and the thought of going all that way by train was outside the realms of possibility.   I always watch them in his memory.   Never have a bet though - I am not that daft.  I did once draw the winner in the staff sweepstake when I was teaching but that is as far as my betting goes.

So today's post is just to sing the praises of this month 's Book Group choice.   It is sheer delight and has me laughing out every now and then.   It is 'My Father's Glory and my Mother's Castle' by Marcel Pagnol.   It is translated from the French and was published in 1989.   I am enjoying every word of it - written from a child's point of view I don't think it has lost anything in translation.   Do give it a go and if you have already read it do please let me know what you think of it. It is both wildly amusing and at the same time poignant.

Have a good week end. 

Friday, 9 April 2021

Friday

 Firstly just to say that I like most people mourn the passing of HRH Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh.   And I offer condolences to HM The Queen and members of her family as I would to any family suffering loss of a loved one.

Now to one of today's topics.   Following on from my mention of boating on the canals of the Midlands.  Boating is, I think, something you either love or hate - or maybe (like me) are scared of.   My first holiday was with my first husband, our son (a teenager at the time) and a friend in his twenties.   The three of them loved it - I still have reservations.    It was a week's holiday in a cruiser on the Norfolk Broads and for many reasons it was idyllic.   The peace and quiet, the bird life, the beauty of the countryside, the few villages we passed through - all that was a joy.   But I never got used to   the Broads - the wider, more open spaces where it was important to keep to marked out channels.

Our next holiday - or maybe it was our first 'water' holiday - my memory is playing tricks and I rather think our son was younger and it was certainly only the three of us - was on the River Thames.   I believe we got on the boat at Wargrave and the hirer took us through the first lock.    The locks on the Thames are manned and very large and boats queue up to go through them.   As we came out of the lock the owner jumped off and bid us 'a good holiday', at the same instant the wind caught the front of the boat and blew us into the bank which we hit with a bit of a crash and various bit of crockery bounced off the shelf on to the floor.   I rushed down into the cabin and put my head under a blanket.   Finally persuaded to come back on deck we had only gone a few yards when we came to a large bridge and met, head on, The Sonning - a pleasure passenger boat on a cruise up the river.    I rather think one passes on the right - but whichever side it was we passed on the wrong side (it was that or run into it) and the captain of the Sonning shouted at us.   For me it was head under blanket time again.   My husband tied up and came down into the cabin and gave me a good talking to - it was either get some sense into my head or we would go back and hand the boat in.   My son of course was indignant.    So I braved it out, but was always nervous.  My husband and my son (he fell into the Thames between the boat and the land) absolutely loved it.   Me?   Not so keen.

But I loved watching programmes about any kind of boating - not sure what that proves.Maybe that I prefer my pleasure second hand.

Lovely sunny day here today but still that cold breeze.   Priscilla and I had our walk early and the sun was beautifully warm - in the shelter of various hedges.   The wind, still from a Northish direction, tried its best to spoil things.

My carer has, for my tea this evening, brought me a piece of 'pastry less quiche' which she made yesterday and which has eight eggs in it.   It looks delicious and I can't wait to try it.   I'm afraid that it is now so long since I cooked anything for myself I think I might find myself unable to do so.   Surely the opposite of' practise makes perfect'.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Thursday

How very quickly Thursday, Friday or any other day of the week comes round doesn't it?   I pay my Carer on a Friday morning and it always seems to be Friday.   All I can say is whatever day I pay her on she is worth her weight in gold and I have no intention of ever doing without her - I know I could no longer manage.   It takes me all the morning on her one day a month off to do what she easily does in an hour.  Luckily she only lives down the road and is happy to come every day apart from that one day a month and then she always rings around lunch time to see if I am alright.

I have settled into a routine and am happy living life in the way I do.   I would rather like it to suddenly be a bit warmer so that I could go out on to the patio or walk a bit further with Priscilla but surely one day the weather will be like that.   My poor lawn is suffering - mown, scarified, fertilised and now no rain - it shouts 'suffering' but hopefully once we have a good warm rain it will recover.

I did manage a walk with Priscilla this morning, once round the block, but the wind was strong and it was very cold and I was out for as short a time as possible - really only to post a letter. How lucky I am to have a post box immediately opposite my bungalow.

There is little or nothing to write about today it has been a non sort of day.   In fact I watched one episode (the final one) on iplayer of Robbie Cumming on the canal on his narrow boat  in the Midlands.   He made the film himself and I found it fascinating.   In our younger days my first husband and I had friends and neighbours who were really 'into' canal boating and it brought back many happy memories.  I know how much they would have been enjoying the programme,   Sadly they are both long gone.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Routines

Ah routine - does it govern your life or have  you  thrown it to the winds?   In our working lives there has to be a routing - get up. breakfast, go to work, leave work, come home, and so on.   But I am thinking more about once retirement arrives.   You may think as the date for your retirement nears that one of the pluses is that you can dispense with ,set your own pattern of life.   I can tell you that, as far as I am concerned, it is easier said than done.  The farmer is a perfect example.   Even before he started school in 1948 he had a number of barns he visited early in the morning to bring in (in Winter )the few milking cows who had spent the night there, ready for milking at six thirty in the morning (all weather).

He usually arrived late for school (after a walk of two miles) and by half past nine (according to his teacher who I knew much later on) was often asleep before ten in the morning.   He ended up a very practical man who could turn his hand to anything.   He never read a book in his life as far as I am aware  but he read the weekly Farmers' Weekly cover to cover and his mathematical ability was amazing when it came to anything to do with his machines - which he always mended himself.

When he retired he let off most of his land and just kept a few beast which he fattened and sold each year around Christmas.   Once the milking herd had gone he could have had a lie in in the mornings - did he?   Of course not.  Half past five out of bed, downstairs to make us both a cup of tea and then back downstairs dressed and ready to go round the fields with the dogs.

And the dogs had a routine too - standing by the door 'dead on the dot', eyes firmly fixed on his face.   And in the days when we had a milking herd, when he walked to the field in summer to fetch them in for milking they would be standing patiently by the field gate waiting for him to open it.

I still have a routine now that I live alone - carer comes at seven thirty for an hour - I am up, blinds drawn back, central heating turned up- only once since she has been coming have I slept in, to be wakened by her coming in my bedroom door at half past seven and frightening the life out of me.

Is routine like this a good idea do you think?   I know that in most jobs it is pretty essential but we could easily relax on retirement but few of us do.  How do you cope if you are retired, or if you work from home - many people have done this during Covid lockdown - I wonder if they have stuck to routine or have they relaxed into none?   I would love to know how you plan your life these days.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

This and that

 Let's get the book club out of the way first.   After chatting about the 'crawdads' book we were all more or less agreed - not a great work of literature, like the curate's egg, enjoyed more by some than others.   As to next month's choice (The Count of Monte Cristo) a general feeling that almost a thousand pages (of very small print) is really too much (one member of the group apologised but said he would watch the film instead).   So there is another book and reading Monte Cristo is spread over two months.   The choice for next month is 'My father's glory and my mother's castle' by Marcel Pagnol.   And the thousand pages of small print has become optional and spread out.   But interestingly  as regards the Crawdads book,there are two of us in the Book Group who think that the writing, the use of metaphor and simile, the structure of the book take precedence - we both liked the book more because we felt it was very well written even if at times the story was weak and not always believable.   To each his own.

 And the weather today?   A topic of conversation I would say as it is bitterly cold and Priscilla and I dare not venture out in the very strong wind.   Snow showers were forecast and as afternoon has advanced they have arrived but are only slight and pass in a minute.   I wonder how Thelma is faring up on the North York Moors - when the wind is in the North, as it is today, they seem to come off worse than we do here.

So my quota of people to chat to falls short today.   There is nobody about apart from folk - the same ones every day - well wrapped up and scuttling round with their dogs on their daily walks and all looking desperate to get back home into the comfort of central heating.   How lucky we are to be past the days of an open fire when we all sat as near as we could and burnt the fronts of our legs while the backs froze.   I remember those days well.   A couple of phone calls and the same of e mails has been my lot today since J went.

Did you watch last night's University Challenge final?   I have followed since day one and have not missed one episode.   Warwick thoroughly deserved to win - they have been so knowledgeable from day one.   I do think that a good range of differing subjects amongst the four contestants makes a difference - say English, Maths, Physics, Politics/Economics - or maybe Geography.    It is all so good humoured and ''gentlemanly'.   And having Simon Armitage, our Poet Laureate, on to 'present' the prize to the winning team was a nice touch (loved his shirt) (rather looked as though he would be happy when the hairdressers opened next week).   Good to see that our young people are just as clever as the young always were.

Until tomorrow...

 


Monday, 5 April 2021

Cold

 I awoke to snow this morning - not unexpected - only a light covering but enough to hope any gardeners had covered over tender plants.   We were warned.   Walking out early this afternoon to post a couple of letters I realised just how  very cold it was.   The sun has been out all day and so inside the bungalow it is warm, but add the wind-chill factor outside and I would guess it is barely above freezing.

Book Group on Zoom (my book 'where the crawdads sing') this morning.   A very light choice (next month's is 'The Count of Monte Cristo' (all thousand pages) and not really enjoyed all that much by anyone.   I thought the descriptions of the natural history of the marsh plants and birds in South Carolina were beautifully written.   But we did have a couple of hours of pleasant conversation and in these times of not being able to go out anywhere that is definitely a plus.

The early snow rapidly disappeared once the sun rose and when I looked out of the window at around ten o'clock there were five blackbirds on my front lawn all feeding on something they were finding just below the surface of the grass.   If you remember, last week when I was out walking with Priscilla on the estate I saw a broken bird's egg on the footpath, which led me to believe that birds were already nesting.  All these male blackbirds frantically feeding is I think further proof that young may well be around now and all calling for constant feed.

And speaking of young reminds me of a very sad story from yesterday which I would guess has touched the heart of anyone listening to the news today.   Yesterday a baby boy of 14 days old, out in his pram with his mum, was killed by a piece of dangerous driving.   A little life lost so early and a proud mum now devastated by the loss of her little one.   Life can be so cruel.

Until tomorrow dear friends...

Saturday, 3 April 2021

This and that

I think we have all got one eye on the weather having seen the Forecast for the next week or so.   There is no doubt that each day dawns a little chillier than the previous one.   Today fits the pattern - sunny but woolly hat and gloves judging by the dog walkers going past.

As I get nearer to the magic age of 90 (1 year and 7 months to go) I do notice that my anxiety levels seem to have risen.   This morning I rang my son to tell him that a series of 'The Young Montalbano' was starting on BBC this evening - not a new series but one which I haven't seen and I was not sure whether he had or not.   Unusually there was no reply - in fact the phone switched to mute.   I concocted various scenarios in my head - his wife was ill, he was ill, his wife's mother was ill.   Of course, after an hour, I found out the reason - he was doing his Tesco order and his wife could not get to the phone he had switched it to mute.   One hour's anxiety for nothing.   All the talking about this to myself makes no difference I'm afraid.

Tomorrow morning is no carer day - she has one Sunday in the month when she doesn't come in.   I am happy to manage on my own but it takes a long time.   The jobs which take her an hour take me all morning.   But she is really good to only miss one Sunday each month - she could easily miss every Sunday.   She leave absolutely everything ready - cereals in a bowl with a cover over, cup by the kettle, clean underwear  next to my clothes.  Everything she can do to help she does.

Tomorrow is Boat Race Day here in the UK and because of Covid the Race is not being run on the Thames but on the Ouse at Ely.   I presume this is to discourage crowds turning up.   Thinking about it and seeing a photograph of the river with a glorious Ely Cathedral in the background  reminded me of 1956 when my then husband (who died in 1991) and I discussed going to the Boat Race.   In the end he went alone and I went on the train to visit my sister and her family where they lived in Lowestoft.  I remember him talking about the huge crowds.

Evening now and nothing has happened since I wrote earlier.  It has actually been a lovely afternoon and as time has gone on so people have gone past with less clothes on - some even in T shirts.   So things must have warmed up a bit.  Until tomorrow friends...

Friday, 2 April 2021

Litter

 Yesterday's talk about litter and your replies reminded me of a story I have not thought about for many, many years and which does make me realise that it is not only a 'modern' problem.   In around 1956, when my first husband and I lived with our young son in the wilds of Lincolnshire, a group of the village men, including my husband, got together as volunteers to refurbish our village hall.   One day, when they were at work repainting the inside, my husband looked through the window just in time to see a family in a car stop and walk towards the village hall with a load of fish and chip papers from the picnic meal they had just been enjoying in the car.   As they began to stuff all the papers in the hedge bottom my husband (never one to tolerate any form of injustice) rushed out, grabbed the papers and passed them.   When he got back to the car he opened the back door and stuffed all the papers on the back seat, told them he would report their number plate to the police if they tried anything like that again and told them in no uncertain terms to take  their rubbish home.   Without a word they got back in and drove off.   Henceforth he was rather regarded as a local hero.

But I do also think that shops and take away establishments have also contributed to the problem.   We never had take aways - I don't think my parents ever ate other than home-cooked food at home.   I certainly never remember dining out as a child.   Fish and chips occasionally was as far as it went.   Now things like pizzas and take away meals served in plastic 'throw away' cartons are everywhere. 

Good Friday today.   Not a lot of religious significance is put on Easter week-end any more and I have no doubt many people, and most children, have no knowledge of what it means these days.   When I was a child nothing opened on Good Friday.   Now, friends who often do a bit of fresh shopping for me on our Friday market, went down yesterday expecting the market to be a day early.   But no  - it is open today as usual.   Yesterday of course, when I went for my scan, was Maundy Thursday.   How many people realised that or thought about it and considered what the significance was.   And I am not at all religious - far from it.   It is just a relic left from my childhood, when everybody knew - certainly in villages.


Thursday, 1 April 2021

Cold


 At least ten degrees colder today than it has been for the previous two days; a grey sky with no sign of a sun anywhere; just a faint breeze.   After two such glorious days I think it feels even colder than it really is.   I had to be up, up and away today for my early hospital appointment.   Set the alarm for half past six to give me plenty of time to be more or less ready when J came for her hour.   I needn't have bothered setting the alarm - I slept badly, kept looking at the clock and was well ready for getting up at half past five.   By the time J came I was washed, dressed, breakfasted and all ready to go.  It takes more or less forty minutes to get from here to Darlington Memorial Hospital at that time of day.   I had been instructed to arrive no more than five minutes before my allotted time and I did just that.   The taxi driver and I have know one another for years so we chatted happily all the way.   I had to go toMedical Physics to have abone scan after breaking my hip in October.   I laid on the table and had numerous photographs of hips taken from all angles.   I was out again in a quarter of an hour as they said I would be.   I arrived home just before eleven o'clock to a cup of coffee from the flask J had left for me.   I was tired.   No, I will change that, I was exhausted.  J had left my lunch ready in the microwave - Chinese chicken with rice and Mediterranean vegetables - it was delicious.   I ate it, put on the One O'Clock News and fell asleep.   The sheer effort of going to the hospital, coming back, changing back out of my' posh ' clothes into my loungers (and yes, in these lockdown days going out is an event, regardless of where I am going - particularly as I can hardly walk anyway - and is an occasion for putting on some kind of glad rags)  Now, at half past four in the afternoon I am more or less back to normal after resting all afternoon.   I think tea - to save myself a lot of bother- might be two toasted hot cross buns with cheese inside.

So, what news to impart today?   Not a lot really.   The sun brought everyone out with their lawnmowers or on their hands and knees weeding.   The grey skies today have sent them all scuttling back in again and as there is even a possibility of snow within the next week or so, I suspect it will stay that way.   Judging by the awful amounts of rubbish littering the beauty spots over that last two lovely days this will be no bad thing, except of course that any local business which is permitted to open at present is desperate for the custom of visitors.   Why do people have to leave such a trail of rubbish behind them?   It is so thoughtless.

Until tomorrow bloggy friends.

 

 

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Times have changed

 This afternoon I watched 'Flog it' for my rest period - anyone who is not familiar with the programme it is a programme where items are chosen from things the general public bring along which are then sold at auction.   Often there are surprises. and often there are lovely things on the programme.   Today there was an item  which set me thinking.  Somebody today brought along a pair of Asparagus servers - I would not have known this had I not been told and I have certainly never seen such a thing.   I can't really think why it is not possible to serve asparagus with a tablespoon.   What made these special was that they had been taken on a particular Arctic Expedition which had been a failure as one of the team and six of his dogs had disappeared for ever down a crevasse.   The owner of these servers wanted a large sum of money for them - can't remember how much - and it did strike me why an expedition to such a place would find it necessary to take such an item.   The servers didn't sell and I asked myself would a present day expedition go to the trouble of taking such an item.?  Surely not.  In fact would they even consider taking aspatagus in the first place.

It has been another lovely day here today with pure unbroken sunshine all day.   Priscilla and I had our walk round early this morning.    Since then I have done mundane things like empty the washing maching and put the washing in the drier so that I could put it all away later(this helps my carer), emptying the dishwasher when it had completed its cycle, getting my clothes out ready for morning and then sitting on Priscilla for half an hour in the garden in the sunshine.  This gave me a chance to complete a Sudoku and also admire the garden now that my gardeners have made such a good job of doing it all yesterday.

And tomorrow?   Where am I going?   Not very exciting I'm afraid.  I am going to have a Bone Scan - as a result of breaking my hip last Autumn   I shall wait and see what tomorrow's weather is like to decide  what to wear.  There are rules - no jewelry, no zips, no wired bras - but how many layers will depend on how chilly it is.

I wish you could see my garden - It took two of them all day but it is immaculate and full of daffodils and dwarf tulips.   Some of them came all the way from Australia last Autumn (thank you J and J if you are reading this).  Spring bulbs make it all look so cheerful don't they.  Until tomorrow......


Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Company

 What a difference company makes to the day.   In these Covid days. when one lives alone, the days can seem long.   I like my own company and can usually find something to do - read my book (at present Monty Don's Japanese Gardens), read The Times, do the Mind Games in The Times, call up a friend, watch a programme on TV.   But there is no substitute for a bit of human contact.   Walking out with Priscilla I usually meet two or three people for  quick chat - socially distanced of course - and my neighbour M is fantastic at nipping out if she sees me coming.   All that plus J my carer, for an hour each morning, means that although I live alone I do get company.   My son, who lives nearby, rings me every night for a chat (last night he tried explaining the Zen idea of one hand clapping.   I am still having to think about it but hope that by the time I have finished the Monty Don book I might have  understood the concept.)

But today - a lovely warm, sunny, Spring day - my two gardeners - D and J - have arrived to mow the lawn and make a start on clearing up after winter.   It is good to see them wandering around outside the bungalow.   I have just made them a drink and we had a five minute chat while they drank it.   It is all company and it makes my heart a lot lighter.   And what a difference the weather makes too.   Yesterday, as the day went on, the weather improved.  So after tea Priscilla and I did walk round the block and I did meet G out for her walk and we had a chat - rather hampered by the fact that I had taken my hearing aid out to make a phone call and forgotten to put it back in.   And incidentally I had missed a couple of days walking because the wind had been too strong and by golly I did notice it.    It did reinforce the fact that as far as muscles in the legs are concerned - if you don't use them you lose them'.

It's good to see that at long last the ship blocking the Suez canal has been freed.   Can someone please explain to me why although everyone is calling it the Evergiven as far as I can see it appears to clearly say Evergreen on the side.   Or are my eyes so bad they are reading it wrongly.  Also I think I heard on theN ews that there were cattle on board and they were running out of food.   Did I mishear?  I know I am old but hopefully I am not losing eyes and ears!!  (and senses)


Monday, 29 March 2021

Desperately looking.

 The weathermen have been so gushing about what the weather is going to do for the next two or three days (before becoming winter again just in time for Easter) that I keep looking out of the window expecting miracles (we are above six hundred feet in the Yorkshire Dales and it is gusty and windy) but so far no sign of anything at all like that.   This morning it is so gusty that I watched out for the Post Lady coming and then asked her if she would take a letter to the postbox for me.   Both our postmen are so good and always oblige.    I just dare not cross the road with Priscilla until the wind dies down.  (The Post box is directly opposite my window).  The sky is a uniform grey and the patio is wet.   I am afraid it will be another day of exercises rather than walking unless there is a dramatic change.

John (Going Gently) speaks today of favourite places.   I think we all have places which are dear to the heart but I don't think that necessarily means we would wish to go back there.  In fact my view is that it is never a good idea to go back to where one has lived before and live there again.   Places change, people change.   I thought of this yesterday afternoon when my dear friend J, who still lives in the village where we both lived as children, rang for a chat as she often does, bless her heart.   We are both in our late eighties - in fact she is ninety in mid December.   Thank goodness we still both have our marbles intact so we can (and do) reminisce about 'the old days' but that is as far s it goes.   Other than that we have lived apart all of our lives and had totally different experiences.   This is why, when my first husband and I retired, we chose to come up to The Yorkshire Dales rather than return to Lincolnshire.

I have now lived up here for thirty three years and yet I still don't consider myself 'a local' and I am sure the locals feel like that about me too.   My lovely carer was born within five miles of here and has lived all of her fifty odd years in and around that radius.   If I mention anyone local she has either been in the same class at school with them (or their brother), has worked with them, her knowledge of the locals is huge.   I can still remember people I was at school with as I am sure you can - but not necessarily the history of the locals to here.   I really don't know which is better - to stay in one place all one's life or to travel around, to holiday on the local coast every year or to travel the world.   And does it really matter which one does?   Whichever life style we choose, all our knowledge and experience dies with us doesn't it?   This was brought home to me most strongly when both my first and second husbands died.

Another post ends dear bloggy friends.   A zoom with my friends who have recently moved to Grange over Sands this afternoon.  Before long, all being well Covid-wise, we might be able to meet again.   Wrap up well - you can always cast a clout if that elusive sun does actually finally come out.

It is now Tuesday morning.   This post has not appeared on my page but my son tells me it has appeared  on his - with comments.   I am adding this and trying again in the hopes that it appears.

Sunday, 28 March 2021

Labelling

 I see in today's Sunday Telegraph( I take it as an alternative to my weekday Times, but am getting tired of it because it is so difficult to manipulate as it hasn't gone tabloid,) that High Fearnely Whitttingstall is complaining about the labelling of Supermarket produce.   I have long felt this and have tried, in my shopping days, never to fall into the trap of believing what it says on the packet.   He speaks of 'traditional farm' and 'farm fresh' as examples and complains of how supermarkets have made up names of farms in order to give 'a subliminal reassurance that customers are buying a product  which is good for the environment'.

I eat very little meat and a lot of vegetables.   In my days on the farm the farmer had a big vegetable garden and we always had a selection with our dinner every day.   Then when I moved here almost four years ago after the farmer died, I bought fresh vegetables and kept frozen as a back up.   Now my carer brings me a cooked lunch every day - salad twice a week - today is one of my salad days.   She is a keen veggie eater so I still enjoy that kind of diet.   Meat I could almost do without but I remember how my mother, who absolutely loved meat, used to love a good piece of sirloin of beef.   I still recall the best piece of beef I ever cooked.   At the farm we often had friends staying.   I ordered a piece of rare breed beef for Sunday lunch from our local Deli.   It was Highland Beef and when I unwrapped it it was a large piece of Sirloin and it was totally marbled with veins of fat.   I do not like fat meat and I was horrified but I cooked it.   When it came out of the oven there was no sign of that marbling - it had melted away into the lean meat and it was, without a doubt, the best piece of meat we had ever had.   Now I prefer to not eat meat - I love fish and I love quiche and when my carer brings my lunch with meat I eat it - but I love salad days best.

It is cold, wet and windy here today.   The weatherman talks blithely about how warm and sunny it is set to be tomorrow but today the wind is too strong to allow me to walk with Priscilla.   She is very capricious and temperamental when it is windy and I rather feel she has a bit of a desire to really blow me off course.   Percy was never like that - he always had my intere - sts at heart.

When one lives alone in these Covid times  Sundays are never very cheerful days.   In the weekdays various people I know walk past on their 'allowed' dog walks - a wave, a cheery Good Morning, or even a couple of minutes chat - all make the world go round.   Sundays everyone seems to 'go to earth' and everywhere is quiet.   Hopefully this will change when we come out of Lockdown enough to at least  meet others for a chat outdoors.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Grey skies

 How fickle our British weather is, especially at this time of the year.   There is a strong breeze today and, as I had stayed in feeling bad after my booster yesterday, I made myself walk round the block but nearly got blown away.   The morning started out sunny and blue skied but now at four in the afternoon the sky is a uniform grey.   My tete a tete daffodils on the rockery are cheering me up though.   Yes, Spring is on its way.   The weatherman says we are in for a very warm spell on Monday and Tuesday when temperatures might 'soar' to twenty in some areas.   Then, in typical British form, he told us that by Easter the temperature would have gone back rapidly and Easter would be cold..   Well, being we expect that kind of thing don't we?

I recalled this morning when we had our usual Saturday morning Zoom meeting that in 1952, the year I married my first  husband, he took me  on Whit Sunday to meet dear friends of his for the first time.   They lived in Sleaford, twenty miles away from where we lived.   My favourite coat at the time was a Petrol Blue Windsmoor coat with a huge shawl collar and I remember being delighted that it was snowing so I had to wear that coat.

Isn't it funny how we remember clothes we have worn which we adored?   I had a brown checked suit with a brown velvet collar - I never wanted that to wear out I loved it so much.   Do any of you  remember a favourite garment?   Now I suppose it has to be either of my two leather jackets.   I have always loved clothes and especially now that I am so immobile - and always likely to be from now on - I seem to get even greater pleasure from them.

Until tomorrow dear bloggy friends.


Friday, 26 March 2021

Friday

 Friday again - how quickly it comes round.   It is almost eleven o'clock and I have read the comments on yesterday's post - and commented - and moved on.   Now my mind has to turn to what to write about today.   At my age it is very good to have to do this - keeps the old brain working.   The weather is always a good place to start and we have woken up this morning to a much colder day with the promise of heavy showers with sleet and snow mixed in.   We have just had one of those but now the sun is out and the sky is blue and the patio is drying up nicely.   The weather man also says that after today and tomorrow the weather will improve and by the middle of next week it may be up to twenty degrees.   My old bones will welcome that.

I have no side effects from my second Pfizer vaccination yesterday.   I am a bit achy and weary but can't blame that.   However, because it is so cold, I shall not venture out with Priscilla today.

Looking out of my window as I sit here I see that yesterday's sun has brought out a wave of miniature daffodils planted for me by my gardener just after I went into hospital with a broken hip.  Good for the soul.

See you later if anything occurs to liven up the day.

Well it is now 'later' and nothing has 'occurred' apart from the delivery of a new pair of ankle boots - because of the weakness in my right ankle (started because I broke it some years ago and now much worse because arthritis set in) I need extra support around the ankle and can no long wear anything resembling sandals.   I can't say  I am feeling brilliant this afternoon - it is now a lovely - but cold-day but I have no energy to walk round.   I am beginning to wonder if this is, after all, an effect of my vaccination yesterday.   But it is pleasant sitting here at my computer and looking out into the sunlit garden and it will be an opportunity after writing this, to make my notes ready for my 'presentation' for my Book Group.

But this will do for today.   I have said hello to you all so enjoy the rest of your day and I will see you tomorrow when I hope there will be at least something more exciting to report to you.

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Thursday

Jab day!   Yes folks, at half past eight this morning I had my second Pfizer injection.  My carer comes from seven thirty to eight thirty and was happy to take me.   My part of the agreement was to be up, washed, dressed and breakfasted before she came so that she could concentrate on getting all her usual jobs done before taking me.  This meant I got up at half past six and by the time she came I was more or less ready.

We arrived at the site with almost a quarter of an hour to spare and were allowed to drive right up to the door so that Priscilla and I could walk in in style.   There was already a long queue - socially distanced of course.   And as last time I came for my first jab, the volunteer marshall on my section happened to be a member of my Book Group so we were able to have a good discussion on 'Where the Crawdads sing' our book for this month (my choice).

I never felt a thing, sat for my quarter of an hour afterwards. came out and J brought me home   I had a coffee and a Bounty Bar as a treat after she had gone and then, an hour later than usual, I did the Times Mind Games.  My mind was really in gear this morning and I sailed through them (another morning and it would all be a struggle).   This was followed by my daily walk round the block.   I didn't feel like going but I know if I don't go - and keep my muscles working - there will come a day when I can't go.

Well so far that has been the highlight of my day.   But it is still only ha;lf past two so you never know - something else might happen.   All week I have been expecting my gardener to turn up to give my garden and lawn its Spring tidy but there has been no sign of him and if only I were mobile enough I would be out there with the secateurs cutting off some of the dead growth from last year.   But I am sure a week longer will do no harm - it is destined to turn cold tomorrow so last year's growth will give a bit of protection.

Today there is a lovely photograph of Princess Anne's daughter Zara, together with her husband the Rugby player  Mike Tindall- apparently yesterday she gave birth to their third child (a boy called Lucas Phillip) on the bathroom floor.  It is a nice touch that they have named him Phillip after his Grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh - who will be 100 in June.

 When Priscilla and I went on our walk late this morning I saw two signs of Spring.   Up here at 600 feet asl and in the North too Spring is always a little later arriving but as we walked along the footpath part of our daily routine I saw that the hawthorne hedge on the side which gets absolutely no sun at all was beginning to sprout new leaves.   When we were kids we used to pick these from the hedgerows - we called it 'bread and cheese '.   I remember we had a hawthorn hedge along the bottom of our garden when I was a child and when it was newly sprouting in the Spring if my mother was making a green salad she would go down the garden to cut a few bits of lettuce sprouting under glass, add a few sprigs of parsley from just inside the greenhouse in a pot and then pull just a few hawthorne sprigs.   The lot would be washed and chopped up small and seasoned and would make a nice salad with a couple of chopped up hard boiled eggs.   Try it sometime.

Also further along the path I walked under a tall evergreen tree and there, sadly, on the ground, was what looked like a blackbirds egg judging by the size and colour - it had presumably been robbed from a nest above - maybe by a magpie - dropped on the ground and the contents eaten.

My friends P and D who have recently moved, have a very large garden.   Yesterday they walked round Sizergh Castle, which is a short distance from where they are now living.   They walked round the garden and found something called 'A Stumpery' - they are now very enthusiastic about building one in part of their garden which is shady.  A stumpery is a shaded area which has tree stumps added, and logs and branches.   Mosses and fungi are encouraged (if you want to see some absolutely beautiful fungi go to 'By Stargoose and Hanglands' on my sidebar) and parts of it have ferns and hostas and other shade-loving plants.   Bulbs are planted for early interest - they said it was absolutely fascinating and they can't wait to get started.   If anyone has any knowledge of stumperies then they would appreciate your letting me know.  (they were very interested in your replies when I asked you the other day if you would have taken the photograph of the couple when out walking in these Covid times).

Well friends, that is definitely all for today.   See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Another day

 Yes - Tuesday again and the day after tomorrow I have my booster dose of Pfizer.   This morning fell into its usual pattern - porridge and toast with coffee, shower and dress, five minute chat with my carer before she tootled off - then the Mind Games in The Times while my mind is empty of detritus which builds up during the day and hinders my thinking.

Half past ten and time for my morning walk.   It is on with the woolly hat and gloves and top coat - all still necessary as there is a chill wind.  I never feel like it but I know it is necessary and by the time I get to the bottom of the drive I am glad to be out.   Every step serves to reinforce the fact that my daily walks are making my walking improve.  I kept a mental tally of encounters this morning.  Six doors up the road I met J - although she lives so near it is the first time I have met her.   J greeted me cheerfully and informed me that she too was a carer and knew my carer well.   We had a brief chat and she rushed off to have a shower between clients.   I turned along the footpath and met two lots of dogwalkers -I meet them both most mornings.   The dogs and I greet one another and I resolve yet again to remember to get some treats on my Tesco order so that I can have a few in my pocket.  The walkers and I have a brief chat - usually about the weather (sunny, breezy and a bit chilly today) then Priscilla and I continue.   Rounding the last corner for home I meet M - we haven't seen one another for a couple of weeks so we stand masked and distanced and have a chat to bring us up to date on the pretty non existent news.   Then it is up the drive and home again - and coming into the garage I know how much the walk has done me good.   I feel justified in sitting down with a cup of coffee from the flask my carer has left me and having a read of The Times.   Then I come on here and write this.   I'll be back later - you never know what excitement there might be later in the day - but if there is none then at least I have met and chatted to various people and that has got to be a plus.  See you later.

Well nothing has happened since I wrote last.   My son has broken up from school so I had a long chat with him this afternoon on the phone and that's about it.   The sun has long since disappeared and it is cloudy which means there is a real chill in the air.   I had a delicious lunch - salad with cole slaw and beetroot, a chicken breast and a jacket potato and now, although it is half past five in the afternoon, I am not at all hungry.   I shall probably boil myself an egg later (my friends, who supply me with eggs) are happy because so far it does look as though they might be able to let their hens out again at the end of the month (they have been shut up everywhere because of an outbreak of bird flu).

The most exciting thing tomorrow will probably be the delivery of my Tesco order in the morning.   What an exciting life I lead!

  

Monday, 22 March 2021

Good Morning!

 Good morning everyone - yet another week begins - and next Monday we shall have added British Summertime.  I hope someone will inform the weather.   It is a sunny day today and I enjoyed my walk, but golly I needed my woolly hat and gloves.   At the speed I walk (getting a bit faster) it was cold in the stiff breeze.   One of the good things about my daily walk (please note, I don't always feel like it) is that I usually meet several other folk on their daily constitutionals.   We always observe social distancing but we often stand and chat - only for a couple of minutes but it is always human contact and that is so very important, I am sure you will agree.

 

There is not a lot to report so far today and a roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding - courtesy of J, my carer-  sits awaiting the press of a button in the microwave so this will sit quietly until later in the day after our afternoon's Zoom with P and D in Grange and then I'll be back.  But I will just leave you with something to think about because I would like to know what you think.    Lately there have been a series of programmes on television about the Royal Family.   I have found them most interesting - re telling a lot history which I knew about vaguely but went back to my very young childhood - for example, I can rememb   er the abdication well but I knew nothing about the background - the autocratic nature of King George V and Queen Mary, which was at odds with Edward's outlook on the monarchy.   Yes - I think we have been lucky that he abdicated in favour of his brother George who became George VI and thus now gave us our present Queen - but the finer details were lost to me, so I learnt a lot.  But last evening there was a programme on the present Queen and her marriage to Prince Phillip.   Some of the details were personal to say the least and were the result of recent papers - my personl view is that nothing has been gained by publishing them --our Queen has done a jolly good job (whether you are Royalist or not you most likely agree) and she has been supported by Prince Phillip.   Do we really need to know intimate details about their marriage and possible cracks in it when they were young?   I personally think not.   Both in their nineties now - couldn't all this have waited a few years?

And after our blog with P and D here is another question for you.   On the way to the shop for groceries this morning P was approached by an elderly couple who held their camera out to him and asked him if he would please take their photograph.  He apologised but refused saying with Covid restrictions in place he really didn't think he should touch their camera.   Would you have done this or would you have just taken a photograph for them?

Sunday, 21 March 2021

A Cautionary Tale

 Here is a tale to begin with today.   On Breakfast television was a picture of a Giant Walrus basking on some rocks somewhere around our coast.   Last week it had been seen in Kent and was obviously going around, presumably looking for a mate at this time of the year.  Sadly it is doubtful it will find one because it is an Arctic giant walrus it is thought it probably arrived here after going to sleep on an icefloe and  floating  South.  I have not seen a Giant walrus before so have no idea whether it is a young, inexperienced animal or an oldie beginning to lose its marbles.   The fact remains that it has arrived out of its comfort zone.   Let that be a lesson to all of us oldies - don't fall asleep on a train because you may well arrive in Land's End when you intended to go to John O'Groats.

Sensibly this morning I went for my walk fairly early.   I saw four lots of folk to pass the time of day with, Matt mowing a lawn for a lady (it sounded hard going), then my neighbours off for the first time this season on their electric bicycles for their  (one hour) bike ride.   The weather was warm and sunny and it was a lovely walk.   Now, sitting in my window typing this I see that the sky has clouded over and for now at least the sun has disappeared.

I am not posting this yet.   Something else to cheer my day might happen yet so I shall keep it for later and see you  then.   Now it is indeed later and not a lot has happened.   I must report that I am adding this to avoid doing what I really must do this afternoon, and that is make a start at making notes on 'Where the crawdads sing' which was my choice of book for our book group this month.   Our  meeting - via Zoom - is actually on Easter Monday - we decided we could have it on that day because none of us are allowed out to go anywhere so it will give us something to look forward to.   And, of course, because it is my choice I have to give a presentation first - hence my note-taking.

I have enjoyed the book - a first novel written by a woman who is a scientist and has written several non-fiction books.   And I must say it shows - it is a book which is written in a very ordered kind of way - and at the same time the marshes, which figure largely in the book, are described so well.   I hope all the group have found it a good read.

Take care dear blog friends - see you again tomorrow.

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Spring!!!

 Has Spring ever been more welcome?   I doubt it.   Today here in the North East we are getting the best of the weather - the weather man told us that this morning and I believe him.   The sun has shone all day.   But when I set off with Priscilla (my best walk incidentally - the Physio was quite right - the more I do it the better I shall walk) I rounded the corner at the bottom of my drive, out of the shelter of the hedge, and was hit by a brisk, West wind with a distinctly chilly edge to it.   So out came the pom-pom hat I keep in Priscilla's box.

Interestingly - the combination of age, cold weather, recovering hip and Covid make even the most ordinary happening into an event.  I rounded the corner on to the footpath and came face-to-face with the lady who used to groom Tess for me.  So we stopped for a short, socially distanced chat.  (first my carer for an hour, then forty minutes coffee morning on Zoom with my Saturday morning gang and now this - how could I contain the excitement?)  She had two small children - one around three and one around three months.   Their names ?  (both girls) the elder of the two - Jersey - and the baby - Winter.    How the fashion in names has changed.   I think of my mother's generation - Maude, Alice, Gertrude, Mary.   Albert, Abraham, Thomas,- My mother and her siblings.   Then we seemed to go through a stage of classic names - Elizabeth, Catherine, Valerie, Rosamund.   Now anything goes.

We parted and I walked on home, closed the garage door on Priscilla and heated my delicious casserole lunch in the microwave.   I ate my banana and orange pudding and then (asusual) fell asleep for half an hour).

Next on to my blog and a read of all your posts - as usual all interesting and a connection with you all - one which I enjoy tremendously.   Then think of something to write about.   Now it is time to make my ham and Dijon mustard sandwich for tea, along with a handful of Piccolo tomatoes.   My god-daughter rang in the middle of writing this and we have been talking for three quarters of an hour - lovely to catch up all her news.

Take care everyone and see you tomorrow.   I am getting together a list of blogs that I have missed - still am not sure how to put them on without them coming up in red at the top - so back to the drawing board!

Friday, 19 March 2021

Shaking

 Oh dear!   I have done something wrong again and - sorry 'Breath of Fresh air' but you have appeared in red above my blog list -  I have just managed to put the Bike Shed in the correct place (thanks Rachel) when it happens all over again.   I am afraid it is usually down to my shakes.   I have an inherited condition called Benign Essential Tremor - my father had it and my sister inherited it and now me I am afraid.   It is, as it says, a benign condition, but it does cause problems on some days when it is bad.   My hands shake so much that I easily hit the wrong key and you get a garbled reply - hence my location yesterday.  It is easily mistaken for Parkinson's Disease but is in fact much more common and   not at all serious.   I try to choose a time of day when it is not all that bad for the time when I put on a post but it doesn't always work.

A lot of you having tried to read Anne Mustoe (and Graham Swift) found the books impossible and didn't finish them.   It just proves one thing - our reading tastes vary.   We did have a discussion about this in our Book Group a few months ago.  For some people the story is the most important, for others the quality of the writing is most important and for some it has to be both. I think I probably fall into the last category.   I do like a good story line but far more important to me is the standard and the quality of the writing.   But whichever it is, one thing is for sure - I would have been absolutely lost without books during our Lockdowns.   Not only have various friends supplied me with books but I think the number of books I have bought on line probably balances well against what I would normally spend on petrol.

Sorry I appear to have moved to some remote place in Australia yesterday folks - I assure you I am still here in my little cosy bungalow in the Yorkshire Dales.   I have no intention of going anywhere - not to Australia, although Joany and Jessie ring me regularly from there and it would be lovely to go an see them.   In fact getting round the block with Priscilla is my absolute maximum so far this year and it is not likely to improve much.   I dare not try to alter that because I might make it worse.   Mary (Breath of Fresh Air) I see you are actually in both places - but my son will hopefully move you from the top when he breaks up from school and has more time.

I saw this morning on Breakfast television that it is sixty years ago today since the E type Jaguar was launched.   I remember it well - it always seemed to be red - and I rather think it cost around six thousand pounds (I am sure somebody will correct me if I am wrong)  One thing is for sure, it was the very height of sophistication - and I really think it still is.   I have never ridden in one and really have no desire to do so.   I do know that, a week after selling my little three door Corsa I am still missing the sight of it on my drive.    But - as they say - onward and upward.   There is no point in looking back.

The sun has just emerged from behind the clouds so I shall go round the block with Priscilla.   If anything earth shattering happens on my walk I will report it back to you.

Back from my walk, it is pleasantly warm but hardly a soul about.   Round here people are really obeying the Covid rules.   We have a large vaccination centre in our little town - at present using the Astra Zeneca.   I go for my second jab on Thursday next week and I shall be getting my top up in Pfizer, as that was what I had the first time round.  As with all of the centres, it is all well-organised - in and out in no time at all.

I came back in after my walk - the longest I have done, put the lunch my carer had brought for me (casserole of beef and vegetables) in the microwave to heat.   Within five minutes I was eating a delicious lunch.   I took my pudding (a banana and a tangerine) into the sittingroom to eat while watching the lunch time news, promptly fell asleep and woke up when the news was over.   My walk had tired me out - but I don't mind that;  it means my muscles are getting stronger.  My friend must have been while I was out  or asleep because magazines were through the door when I came through the hall.   I shall now send her an e mail to ask her.   Until tomorrow friends.

  

 

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Missing

So far, as Rachel has let me know this morning, Cro is missing from my new blog list.   So sorry my son missed you Cro.   I have tried to put you on this morning but sadly my shaking is so bad this morning that I can't manage it.   Rest assured that as soon as he finishes today's on line teaching I shall contact him and ask him to reinstate you.   I can't do without my daily dose of your delicious meals and what is growing well at Haddocks.

I finished 'A Bike Ride' by Anne Mustoe last evening.   It was recommended to me by S, who lives on the Isle of Man.   I have enjoyed every word and do recommend it to anyone who likes travel books.   Anne did the ride in the late eighties/early nineties after resigning as Headmistress of a Boarding School.   She was 54, overweight and out of condition (she says) and wobbled because cycling was unfamiliar.   As a Classicist she gives us a ride round the World - the highs and lows of the actual ride and a short history of Classical times as she does it.   I see she also wrote two more travel books afterwards.  Looking her up I see that on her last ride she was taken ill in Syria and died in hospital in Aleppo.   What a wonderful way to go.

My new bloglist is interesting.   With the exception of dear Cro I think all my familiar friends have been transferred.  But as I said last evening, if my son has missed anyone else please let me know as soon as you realise and  I will get my son to add you on.

It was a lovely sunny afternoon yesterday but there is much more cloud today and I guess it is cold out there.   Nevertheless I am now going to put on my coat and hat and walk round the block.   I will hopefully add more later in the day so am putting this on hold. 

Thank you to Rachel who sent me clear instructions on how to add blogs to my list - it is so long since I added anyone I had forgotten how.   I added Cro in a second with no problem.   We couldn't manage without his daily dose could we?

Nothing else to add today - cool weather, a long(for me) walk, a nice chat to a neighbour, several phone calls and now it is tea time.   Until tomorrow......


Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Piccadilly Circus

 Yes - it really has resembled Piccadilly  Circus here this morning.  First of all my carer J arriving  'on the dot' at seven thirty, then at nine fifteen A came with my order from the Deli (still waiting to be unpacked).   Hardly had she disappeared when the Physiotherapist came to walk down the road with Priscilla and I to check on how I was walking and no sooner had we had our walk and shut and locked the garage where Priscilla lives, than friends S and T called to collect my bank card so that they can get me some cash.   I am anticipating the appearance of my gardeners D and J any day and they like payment in cash.  It is still only a quarter to eleven and I am pretty shattered.

I am also in a bit of a state about my blog.   I am enjoying reading The Bike Shed so I decided to put him on my side bar.   It is a long time since I added anyone to my list and I must have pressed a wrong button somewhere.   Instead of coming up under my normal blog list he appeared in red along the top.   I went back to the beginning to change it and I have inadvertently completely removed my whole blog list.  I tried ringing my son to ask him to help but he must have already started teaching - I have left a message on his answer phone.   Now I am telling you all.   Is there a whizz kid out there who can tell me how  to get my blog list back where it belongs please?

Obviously an eventful day - I shall put this on and go back to a coffee from the flask J has left for me and then relax with The Times until S and T return with my money.

Thank you so much Bike Shed for your detailed guide to getting back to normal.   Before I could follow your instructions my son has redone my list for me, taking off a lot of people I haven't blogged with for years and adding one or two new ones.  So thank you D for your help.   I have just sat here and read through them all and I can't help thinking it was a blessing in disguise that I wiped my Blog List off - this is a much more up to date one.   However - should you be a blogger who does usually blog with me and your name is not on my Blog List - please make sure you blog with me so that I can add anyone that has been missed.    Not sure you are here Si - if not do let me know - I just can't imagine managing without your lovely photographs and your constant update on Newark - my old stamping ground of yore.

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

It comes to us all.

If we live long enough we all reach the age when, like it or not, we have to slow down.   There is a saying four legs (crawling stage), two legs (most of adult life), three legs (two legs and stick when we age).  I don't know where that leaves me - I suppose I am two legs and four wheels (Priscilla) at present.    But whatever I am I know one thing for certain.   I have slowed down. 

My teaching life was hectic - rushing from place to place,always in a hurry.   My early retirement was a pleasant, leisurely pace but still we went to many places on holiday where we rushed from place to place making sure we saw everything.   Now, of course, arthritis, old age and a broken hip later, my pace has been forcibly slowed down and frankly I don't mind all that much.

I remembered this morning that many years ago I wrote a poem about it.   At one time I wrote a lot of poetry and put it on my blog but I haven't done so for years as I suddenly realised that my 'poetry' was really not very good.   However, I found a book with my poetry in it yesterday so I put here for you today a 'poem' which tells you how I feel about being in the slow lane - like it or not - now:

 

                                Take the Slow Train.

        Take the slow train, let it wander

        through the meadows.  Count the buttercups,

        Watch the river as it glides under bridges,

        over fields.   See the sunlight on the water,

        dappling patterns through the trees.

        And listen - in the stations -

        to the birdsong in the silence.

        You'll arrive there just the same -

        only later.   And your head

        will be full of nothing more

        than the pleasant, country scene.


        Or take the fast train, the express,

        as it hurtles through the fields,

        over bridges and through stations,

        empty platforms - 'til it shudders

        to a halt.   At its final destination

        and you step out to a whirl,

        to a crowd of busy people 

        all intent on getting somewhere

        in the very shortest time.


        I'm a slow train kind of person.

        I need time to stand and stare.

        If it comes to travelling quickly

        I'm not going anywhere.

    

           

        

Monday, 15 March 2021

Sunshine at last

Yes - the sun is shining and there is but a small breeze blowing.   Of course that doesn't tell me the temperature when viewed from inside the room - but I shall dip my foot in the water later this morning with Priscilla and find out.   Meanwhile Monday is always my favourite day for The Times Mind Games and I sit an hour after J has brought me my breakfast and go through them all.   Now, at almost half past ten here I am with a bright and early post.

I have already had one smile this morning.   I see from The Times Obituaries - I always read them as they are so well written. - that Murray Walker, the Formula One Commentator, has died this week at the ripe old age of  97.   It seems no time at all since he was commentating but I read that he retired at the age of 89 after breaking his pelvis on a river cruise.   He fell down steps on the boat.   Then in the same year he was diagnosed with lymphoma.   But his Obit tells how he continued to watch the sport whenever he was well enough.   What made me laugh was in the Obit, reading about his absolutely unique style the Times tells of one of his best Murrayisms, when he said 'The Williams car is absolutely unique except for the one behind which is identical'.   Good old Murray - they don't make them like that any more.

Other happenings at this time in the morning?   Well I am finding the book Sue from the Isle of Man recommended 'A Bike Ride' very readable - if you like travel books do give it a whirl if you haven't already read it.   It has been written for almost thirty years but is very enjoyable - one of those books where you are with the author every bit of the way.

How Springlike is the weather in your neck of the woods?   It is reasonably dry here - just the odd heavy shower - but by no means Spring-like temperature yet. This time of the year don't we all long for a warm spell, especially this year when we have all been incarcerated for almost a whole year.

The paper today, of course, is now full of the Police  action at the vigil for Sarah Everard.   How sad it was that it all got out of hand.   With hindsight I do wonder whether it might have been better to ask all women to take part by putting a candle in our windows at a certain time.   I would certainly have liked to pay my peaceful respects in this absolutely terrible tragedy - and I still would - but it needs to be a peaceful, quiet and thoughtful caring time if only for the sake of Sarah's parents.   One can't begin to imagine what they must .be going through.   It is to be hoped that it might be the start of a gigantic effort to somehow make our streets safer for women but just for now I think Sarah's family might prefer peace in order to grieve for a while.

Well dear friends, outside calls while the sun is shining and hopefully I shall return with an appetite for my lunch of roast chicken and ham with cauliflower cheese, carrots, sprouts, Yorkshire pudding and roast and mashed potatoes - all sitting in the microwave.   All I need to do is push the button .   Thank you J - worth your weight in gold.

Sunday, 14 March 2021

Sunday

 Sunday again - my least favourite day because there is nobody about and few pass the window so there is nobody to pass the time of day with - allbeit just a wave through the glass.   At least my Carer came for an hour at  seven=thirty and so I did have an hour's human contact.   She has now had her first vaccination a couple of weeks ago and I have my second dose on Thursday week so it is all looking safer.   But as I am sure many of you who live alone will testify it is becoming quite a burden to have no human physical contact at all.   This is why I find a Daily Posting such a comfort - it makes me think of something to write about and then it make me come into the Computer Room, sit  down, switch on and actually Communicate.

As Anne quite rightly said in her comment on my yesterday's post - it has been such an eventful week - and not good events at that.   There was that Interview (I do wonder if they are beginning to regret it )-   when I was a child we had a small poker work picture on our living room wall which said 'Think before you ink' so true - and I think we could also add think before you say something you might regret.   Then there was the dreadful murder of the young lady on the streets of London - quite unthinkable, andthe subequent events at the vigil last evening.   Nothing much to lift anyone's spirits at present.

Priscilla and I walked round the block.   I don't know about Priscilla but I didn't really feel like it.   Looking at the trees outside the window it was quite obvious that there was still quite a strong breeze, but I must get the strength back in my legs so we set off and it was a struggle but we made it and I suppose it gave me a bit of an appetite of J's lovely lunch of chicken breast stuffed with blue stilton and wrapped in bacon and served with a salad of tomato, cucumber, lettuce, beetroot and cole slaw and potato curls (the potato curls and the chicken heated in my Remoska).   Then I rested with my feet up and watched Michael Palin in the steps of Hemingway in Cuba.   Now it is almost time for tea.

For some reason best known to itself my computer this morning had decided to change the date and the time - both were totally inaccurate.   I was very pleased with myself as I managed to change it - I do tend to go into panic mode but I didn't this time.

See you tomorrow dear friends:

Saturday, 13 March 2021

Another week bites the dust

 Saturdays seem to come round incredibly quickly.   I suppose in one way it is a good thing = at least I can't say that Lockdown has been a drag.   And most days there is some little 'happening' or mini drama to enliven the day.

Today's drama was that after 'playing up' for the last few weeks, the plug in the bathroom washbasin at last  decided that today was the day to finally say 'enough's enough' and stop working altogether.   It is spring-loaded and has to be pushed down to spring up if you understand what I mean.   No amount of pushing by either J or I would result in the water emptying from the bowl.   J left a message for the plumber on Facebook,   I left a message on his answerphone.   A couple of hours later he was here (he only lives about ten doors away) and it took him all of five minutes to put in a new spring-loaded middle piece.   The sound of the water running away was music to my ears.

Our Zoom Coffee Morning went off happily - only four of us this morning but as you can no doubt imagine, we found plenty to chat about.   It is not the same as meeting in the flesh but it is better than nothing.   Then I had to post a letter.   All the office work to do with selling my car needed doing and as is my way - when it needs doing I like to get it done.  So the cancelling of my RAC was popped into the letter box before the postman emptied it.   Now everything is filed away and I can put it out of my mind.   But I must say that when the garage door went up for Priscilla and I to go on our walk to the Post Box it was with a tinge of sadness that there was an empty space where my car had always been.

It is a deceiving sort of day today.   The sun is very bright - 'glishy' as my mother would have called it. But don't be deceived - the wind is bitterly cold.   And when J comes this morning she tells me that the river (the Ure, which flows through Wensleydale) is banking and looks as though it has been over onto the fields overnight.   And Penn Hill is white.  It may only be ten days before it is officially Spring but winter is still having its last little fling with us.   Don't start casting a clout yet.

 

Friday, 12 March 2021

Farewell

 Farewell dear little car.   I didn't watch her go.   The chap from the garage where I bought her came this afternoon to take her away after they agreed to buy her back from me.

I am sad but I am also realistic and I know that my eyesight and my mobility problem combined make it sensible to quit now.   A - the salesman from whom we have bought our cars for a good few years - came to collect her and brought me a delightful bunch of flowers - roses, tulips, tiny-flowered daffodils,  a couple of hyacinths and an iris.   Now I ponder where to put them that is not near a radiator.   At present they sit in the kitchen and may well stay there.

Another happening today was that S, a friend from the Isle of Man, rang for a chat - what a delightful surprise.   Thank you so much S if you are reading this - you started my day off on the right note.   I opened up my laptop to send you an e mail but can't find your e mail address - please do send me it if you can find my e mail address to send it to!

Another day of heavy downpours interspersed with sunshine.   Because I had to wait in for my car to be collected I missed my walk but then I also escaped a drenching if I had been caught in a shower.


Until tomorrow...

Thursday, 11 March 2021

Horrid Day

 Horrid day here - sunny one minute, pouring with rain the next, gale all the time.   This means no walk out with Priscilla; too risky out in gale force winds.   So it has been a long day livened up with an hour with my jolly Carer, a call from friends T and S with eggs for me and a new book to read.   I am happy with the book - I have almost finished Elizabeth von Arnim and then need something new.   Now I have it.   Two or three phone calls lightened the atmosphere and several letters came in the post which needed an answer so I answered them straight away rather than putting them in my 'to do' file (note to self - always the best idea).

The upshot really is that my mind is a blank when it comes to writing to you all today - nothing has happened so I have nothing to comment on.  Yes, the News has not all been about Covid, which would normally make a change, but not when it is all about the dreadful murder which has happened and which has shocked everyone so much.   Our thoughts must be with her family now - surely destroyed for ever - apart from the young life taken in such terrible circumstances. And then there is even more about THE interview - publicity the couple have really got - day after day of it.   How does the poor HM the Queen cope with it all I wonder.

Well dear friends.   Tomorrow is another day - let's just hope it is a better one than today.   Take care everyone.

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

What next - the 'floppy?'

I am sure it hasn't escaped your notice how styles change over the years - and not just for women (although I must admit we tend to do it more thoroughly than men who probably just think leaving off their tie is a huge change of style).   These days, even on television, very few people dress 'up to the nines' any more.

But a giant change of fashion has occurred during lockdown  and it will be interesting to discover when lockdown ends whether the change is permanent or just inevitable under the circumstance.   I mean, of course, hair styles.   The likes of me are just putting up with hair which grows longer and less styled by the week and can only be described as looking 'a mess'.   I suppose about the only plus to lockdown is that nobody can see it because we can't go anywhere to show it off.

But don't you notice how most people on television seem to have long hair these days and to wear it in what I can only describe as an unkempt style.  And women who are reporting out on location are having to constantly tuck their hair behind their ears as it blows across their face. Won't it be interesting to see how it all emerges?

Other developments today?    Well it is now wet and windy but I managed to ge t in a walk with Priscilla while it was still dry and it was also warm.   After a depressing walk yesterday when I struggled to get round, today we went round the whole block in record time and I enjoyed every moment of it.

See you tomorrow.