Friday, 22 October 2021

Friday

 It has again been chilly here today and often cloudy so there really was no incentive to go for my walk round.   I resisted all morning, doing all the mind games in the Times, entertaining friend W who called with some magazines and stayed for a chat, eating my chicken chow mein left by my carer for my lunch.   But by two in the afternoon guilt was so strong that I put on my anorak and a scarf and made myself walk round.   There will be many days in winter when I shall not be able to walk round (if there is any possibility of it being icy Priscilla and I do not go out).

On the way back I met J, who only lives a few doors away but is almost housebound and only comes out with her 'Priscilla' when she needs to post a letter.   We had a pleasant chat for about ten minutes so I at least managed three nice long chats today and in addition two nice long phone calls.   Tomorrows my God daughter and her husband are driving over to see me.   I am looking forward to seeing them both and am cooking a lunch for the first time in a very long time.  (Mary Berry's Sausage and new Potato Supper (at lunchtime)).  I used to enjoy cooking and entertaining but now it is so long since I did it and mobility is such an issue that I find it stressful although I know it will be alright when I get going.

Back tomorrow with a report how it all went.   See you then.

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Memories

I think I may well have written about this before, but today I had such vivid memories of an Easter about sixty six years ago.   Just for a few minutes I almost relived it so I shall share it with you again as I know you always enjoy  my memories.   What brought back the memory today?   'Antiques Road Trip' was touring round Norfolk - a county I love (my sister and her family lived for many years in Lowestoft so we travelled through Norfolk a lot) and many of the places they called at were familiar to me many years ago - now only  names.

It was Easter, we had been married three or four years and had just bought ourselves a second hand Claude Butler tandem.   We were keen to have an adventure on it and Easter was just the right time.   We planned it carefully.   We would go from Lincoln, where we lived at the time, to Lowestoft, where my sister lived.   We would stay overnight and then come back the next day - we had to be back for work on Tuesday.

We set off from work at around three o'clock on Good Friday  and got as far as a village called Walpole Cross Keys - a village almost on the Wash - where we stayed in a pub overnight and then set off immediately after breakfast next morning.   The weather was good and we made really good progress, arriving at my sisters mid afternoon.

I remember little about our stay except that my niece (eleven years younger than me) coveted my yellow cotton cardigan and likewise I desperately wanted her shorts, so we did a swap.   I really thought I was the bees knees in the shorts - all I can say, looking back, is that they only just covered what they absolutely needed to cover for the sake of decency. They were green and I wore them with an orange jumper so you could hardly miss me (and I have always had long legs).

Next morning (Easter Sunday) when we got up there was a strong wind blowing in our favour for the journey home.   My sister packed us sandwiches and off we set.   We fair sailed along in the flat countryside of Norfolk and then Lincolnshire, stopping in a village called Quiddenham for our lunch by a war memorial I seem to remember. 

An AA Man (they rode motor bikes with sidecars in those days) rode behind us for a while then as he passed us told us our speed - I forget what it was but it was something like twenty nine miles an hour. 

When we got to Sleaford in Lincolnshire we stopped for a Mars Bar each and by this time I was in tears saying I just could not go any further.   We were only seventeen miles from home and my husband persuaded me to carry on.   I remember we arrived at my Mum and Dad's long after dark and stayed there the night.  I don't think we needed much rocking off to sleep, but of course we had Easter Monday to recuperate. 

How very pleasing it was this afternoon, just for a few minutes,    that I should remember it again.   Hope I haven't bored you too much with the memory.

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Weather

 It has rained here more or less nonstop all day.  I had an appointment with the phlebotomist at the Medical Centre this morning.   My son kindly collected me and took me down into town.   It is a once a year thing for checks on blood pressure, blood samples, weight, and then various questions - the only questionable thing seems to be my blood pressure and that has never been questionable before so now I must apparently wait and see whether nurse contacts me or not.

At about five o'clock the sun burst through and it was a pleasant evening.   In line with the weather forecast there was a nip in the air and it is obviously getting colder.   I did not feel like going out but made myself go right round my usual route and by the time I got home I felt better for it.   And the icing on the cake was M next door coming out for a quick chat to see how I had fared at the doctor's this morning.   So all in all a nice day in spite of the rain.   And a lovely sunset.

I hear on the news at six that HM the Queen, who was off to Northern Ireland this afternoon for a two day visit, has - on the advice of her doctor - called it off reluctantly.   She has been told that for her age she has just been working too hard and must have a couple of days rest.   Maybe I am wrong but I certainly found - and I know many friends who found the same - that after the death of one's beloved partner in life there is a tendency to work oneself into the ground in an effort to forget and to prove something - not sure what - to oneself.   I suspect this may well be the case with Her Majesty.   In any case I wish her well.

Hairdresser tomorrow morning, supermarket order delivery in the afternoon, free day Friday (everywhere is spick and span after J and I between us have cleaned, vaccuumed and polished over the last few days) and then - after this year's flu jab on Saturday morning at the Medical Centre (friends T and S go immediately after me so they are taking Priscilla and me down) my God daughter and her husband are driving over for lunch and I am cooking Mary Berry's Sausage and new potato supper (at lunch time!).  I cannot remember the last time I used the oven - for the last year my dear carer J has provided my lunch every day as part of my care package (what would I do without her?)  I just hope it all turns out well.

As a matter of interest it will be a year on Saturday since I fell and broke my hip.   Quite an eventful year wouldn't you say?

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Meeting New People

 Living alone means creating a whole new lifestyle for oneself.   Then becoming seriously disabled means recreating it and fitting what one is capable of doing into the possibilities available.   This is how my present lifestyle has evolved.    There is absolutely no point in waiting for things to improve at my age;  it is more a case of trying to stop them getting any worse.   And one thing which pulls me personally up short is to meet somebody who is much more disabled than I am and who is still making the best of their capabilities.   And so it was today.

A lady has moved in at the top of the road who appears to always  be in a wheelchair.  I discovered she has MS and has had it for twenty years.  She is often in her front garden bending down and weeding from her chair.   We had a lovely chat during which she hardly complained about her illness at all, talking instead about what she intends to do to the garden.   It happens to be a garden I know intimately as it is where the lady who used to take Tess (my Border Terrier) for walks lived and who died very suddenly.   We chatted about all the plants in pots that had sprouted and flowered over the summer and what pleasant surprises she had had.

We are both widowed, we both miss our husbands greatly but we are both realistic and know we just have to get on with things.   We parted as it began to rain again - she to go in before she got wet (she was in shirt sleeves) me to walk on to the post box (I had an anorak on) and then home, to chat to M, my neighbour, who came out for a chat when she saw me coming.

And so the day has passed.   I thought I had a friend coming for coffee this morning and got a move on when I got up (this is the day in the week when I don't have my carer) until I suddenly remembered it is next Tuesday she is coming!   This morning it absolutely poured with rain all morning - but as Derek rightly pointed out on yesterday's post - the weather is warmer outside than it is inside (rather like a sauna he suggested), but all that is set to change tomorrow Derek when our weather comes down from the Arctic.

Tomorrow I have my annual appointment at the Medical Centre with the phlebotomist to check things like blood pressure, weight, height (have I shrunk?) - for cardiovascular disease.   It is another of those things which makes time go so quickly - it seems no time at all since my last check.   I can't find my tape measure anywhere but as I can still easily get into last years trousers and fasten them and still fasten last years blouses my weight can't be that different.  And if she really needs to know my waist measurement hopefully she will have a tape.

Time will tell.   See you tomorrow.

 


Monday, 18 October 2021

Monday

 One or two spells of rain and one or two spells of sunshine so really just a typical Autumn day.   My clean through the house is being done on Wednesday so I like to do some of it myself.   This morning with the help of my trolley I have wiped all window sills throughout, wiped down the marble fire surround and wiped all the ornaments along the shelf and then polished the Welsh Dresser in the hall and the furniture in the dining room and sitting room.  Oh yes,  and wiped all the pictures.     It might not sound much but believe me I found it tiring.   After lunch I have wiped the kitchen units, cleaned out the toaster, washed the fruit bowls just before my order for grapes, bananas and clementines arrived.   Now I have just had a Zoom with friends W, P and D  and after finishing this I shall sit down with my tea - not sure what that will be until I open the fridge door.   I should sleep well tonight.

Tomorrow is a fairly free day - my day with no carer means it takes me longer to get dressed and have my breakfast.   My friend M is coming  for coffee at half past ten so we should have a nice chat - first about last month's Book Group book (she had to miss the meeting) and then a little about this month's book (her choice) which is  Bruce Chatwin's 'In Patagonia' =not too much chat of course because it is not a Book Group .  But I have no doubt we shall find plenty to chat about - we are kindred spirits as far as reading is concerned.

Five o'clock and tea time.   I have decided on a slab of Brussel's Pate with some Ryvitas, some Coleslaw and some cherry tomatoes.   Maybe a toasted tea cake for 'pud' - see how hungry I am.  Until tomorrow dear friends.

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Typical Autumn

 It has been one of those typical Autumn days - neither wet nor dry. neither light nor dark, neither warm nor cold - all day.   Each time I decided to go for my walk round huge black clouds billowed in and the odd drop of rain fell.   Suddenly about half past two the sun broke through so Priscilla and I set off.   We had got no further than a hundred yards from the house when the sun disappeared again but it kept dry and we did our usual circuit, met our usual dogs and their owners, took a little bit longer (stopped to stroke a couple of elderly Labradors who only had two speeds - slow and very slow) - and also to stroke three cats who I meet most days and who all cross the road to say hello.

We met an elderly (and dare I say rather overweight) black pug who I  meet most days.   I used to have a black pug called Algy (after the pug in Rupert Bear you may remember) whom I loved dearly.    His owner and I chatted today because he told me that whenever they walk a tabby cat appears and comes up to the pug for a 'chat'.   We  speculated on whether they spoke in 'cat' or 'dog'.  Whichever neither like to move on until they have finished their conversation.   I think that;s rather nice don't you?

Friends T and S called for a coffee this morning and spent a pleasant half hour.   And as I set off at two thirty I realised that it was the time my dear Grandson and his partner were marrying.   Of course his Mum and Dad - and his sister -were at the wedding (his brother works in China so would not be there)  but we decidedd - rightly - that the  whole thing would be 'too much'    for both Grannies (both of us almost ninety) so we are going to have to witness it on line.   As long as they are happy together that is all that matters.   And I look forward to showing you my great grand daughter's 'outfit' for the wedding which has been kept firmly under wraps but grannies not attending have been given a preview.

It is now five o'clock but could just as easily be six as it is almost dark.   So many things to watch on television this evening that I am spoilt for choice.   I hope to watch The Earthshot Prize, A Year in Provence (I so enjoyed the book many years ago) and then later on record The Best of the Summer Antiques Roadshow - and not forgetting Strictly Results of course.

Whatever you are doing or watching this evening - enjoy your evening.   See you tomorrow.

Saturday, 16 October 2021

Saturday again

 How quickly Saturdays come round.   Always a bit of a non-day but it least it has been fine.   Not the lovely blue sky, sunny, warm day of yesterday but although I didn't particularly feel like walking I made myself do so and I feel better for it.   Sitting about is just not good for me, I know that.   And I suppose that goes for most of us.

My old school friend rang this afternoon and we had a nice old chat.   Talking on the phone is not easy - hopefully when I get my new hearing aids it will be better but we are both the same age - in fact she will be 90 shortly after I am 89 (Hallowe'en).   These days it is difficult not to compare ailments and ability to walk (neither of us can walk unaided but I manage quite a long walk daily (rain and str.ong wind days excepted) and she can't manage a Priscilla so can only walk a short distance.  But neither of us complain - we have both had happy marriages (2 in my case) and feel we have been very lucky.

I have two busy weeks in front of me now - appointments with the chiropodist, the phlebotomist, The Medical Centre for my Flu Jab, a visit from my God daughter, a visit to The Hearing Clinic to have the moulds made for my new hearing aids.   It is good to be busy but a happy medium is the best.   Slotted in here is a Tesco order which means I like to clean out the fridge and the cupboards prior to its arrival and the planning and cooking of the meal for my God daughter and her husband.   I look forward to doing this but just hope it turns out alright as I so rarely cook these days.

I feel greatly saddened by the death in such dreadful circumstances of  Sir David Amess yesterday.  He was so obviously a man much loved by his family and also by h.is constituents.   Such a lot of troubles in our World and so little we seem able to do about them

Friday, 15 October 2021

Another nothing day.

Well I did at least get a good walk in today as the weather, slightly Autumnal, was a clear blue sky and almost no wind.   So after doing the Mind Games in The Times and giving the sun a couple of hours to warm up the land a bit Priscilla and I set off on our usual walk.   We stopped to  chat to the man who had planted and cared for the Hollyhock.   I commented on how beautiful they had been and he said they felt it had been a risk but they were so pleased with the result that they intended to put up some sort of wooden trellis along the side of their house so that the holly hocks didn't fall about all over.   My philosophy has always been to compliment people who have given me pleasure and he was obviously pleased I had mentioned them.

Getting back home I had a phone call from a friend to say that a mutual friend J had died suddenly.   Maybe in her late seventies or thereabouts and seemingly fairly fit her husband had found her dead in bed - just peacefully asleep.   A dreadful shock to everyone but how much more to him. It has unsettled us all for the day I am sure but how much more so for him when he has to adjust his whole life anew.

After lunch my neighbour H walked round and we chatted the afternoon away as the sun slowly sank and now, at half past six in the evening it is almost dark - and another ten weeks or so to the shortest day.   I shall go and make myself a sandwich for my tea.   I slept poorly last evening so I shall be ready for bed early this evening - hope I can stay awake through Gardeners' World. 

Thursday, 14 October 2021

A Nothing Day

 Other than my Thursday visit to the hairdresser (cut this week) today has been a 'nothing' day really.  It is not the day for Priscilla - she doesn't function in the wind and it has been strong here all day.   When my taxi calls to take me down into town she folds up into the boot of the car and all she has to do is take me across the  footpath and into the salon and then across from the washbasin to the mirror chair.   But once we got home I am afraid we have stayed in all day so no six chats today - just the hour when my carer was here when she chats as she goes about doing her various jobs, then the taxi driver who was talking about having to put his fares up as the price of petrol has risen twice in the last fortnight, then my hairdresser as she was washing and cutting my hair and later in the morning my son and I had a long phone chat about this and that.   His son is getting married this weekend.   I wish I could go to the wedding but it is a long way away and is a two day affair in a hotel licenced for marriages and my son, quite rightly, thinks it would be far too much for me - so hopefully a Zoom is being set up for me and the other Grandma who is the same age.  I suppose on the plus side I don't have to worry about what to wear.

I know my little  Great Grand Daughter (five in a few weeks and mum expecting another addition to the family in a month) has a special outfit and is looking forward to it greatly.   It is a very 'modern' wedding so I don't know whether she is bridesmaid or whether it is just a special outfit.   If I get a photo of it all I will post it for you to see.    As I write this I remember my Grand Daughter (her mum) was bridesmaid for the farmer and me when we married in 1993.

How happy we were for our 23 years together - indeed how lucky I have been to have 39 years with M, my first husband and then 23 years with the farmer.   When I realise that my son is now 63 I realise just what a long and happy life I have been lucky enough to have.

Another day tomorrow, a bit more sunshine promised, then  a day or two of chilly weather then back to something a bit warmer.

See you all tomorrow.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Yorkshire pud and other things

 I was interested to read what Melinda had to say about Yorkshire puddings.   Back when I was a child - and I am sure for many years before - Yorkshire puds were made and then the tin was put underneath the roast beef joint so that it could drip on the pudding as it cooked giving it the flavour of the beef.  Now most people cook small, individual puds but we always had one large one which was divided up into portions.   The Yorkshire pudding was often served before rather than with the meat and veg, so that by the time one got to the meat one ate less - meat was expensive so the cook would make it last an extra day.

My mother would also make a Yorkshire pudding for dessert.   Now people will eat it served with butter and sugar but mum often served it with rhubarb cooked in it or slices of apple and then sugar sprinkled on the top.   Rhubarb was always my favourite.   Why it is called 'Yorkshire' I have no idea but as far back as I can remember it has always been a traditional and also a favourite pudding.

Reading through this on Wednesday I recalled a tale my mother-in-law once told me.   She was a very hard working farmer's wife of the old school and she ruled most things with a rod of iron.   Back in the days when all the farmers helped one another with things like the hay crop the farmer's wife provided the lunch for everyone when their hay was got in.   She always made a huge suet pudding which was steamed over the stove for the whole morning while the beef was roasting in the oven.   Then a big slice of the suet pudding with good gravy was served first to fill up a good corner before anyone started on the meat and veg.   Now a machine does all the haymaking and the microwave serves up the food in a lot of cases (and the farmer's wife goes out to work to help make ends meet in many cases.   How times have changed).

This morning when I switched the sitting room  lights on one of the cluster in the centre of the room had blown.  I was surprised that it hadn't tripped a fuse but it hadn't.   I texted my friends T and S and said could they please call when they were passing and take the bulbs out for me because I remembered the electrician telling me that when a bulb in the cluster died it would be sensible to change them all. **  Within an hour the was done and new I am waiting for the electrician to pop along (he only lives a few doors away) and just check that all is in order because T was not happy about the state of the old bulbs.   Friends are an absolute godsend for me - I am so lucky. 

We seem to be back on the right mast with the television after a day of to-ing and fro-ing yesterday.   Its nice just to press one switch and on it comes.   Speaking of which did anyone in the UK watch the amazing 'Who do you think you are?' last night?

**for led bulbs

 


 

 

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Tuesday

 Good morning everyone on this Tuesday - the day when I am minus carer and have to cope alone.   Oh yes, I can manage it but it does take much longer because she moves like lightning doing the menial jobs like bed making and getting my breakfast.   Also I often have a lie in.   Because she comes at half past seven I usually arise at half past six, giving me time to open all the blinds, unlock the doors, and watch the news headlines.   This morning I got up at eight o'clock - just in time for the news.

I pottered around doing all the little jobs which need doing every day and then as the sun was shining into the sitting room as soon as I had finished the mind games in the Times I went to get Priscilla, opened the garage doors and found it was raining.   So here I am opening a post for today.   It is lunch time and today's lunch (brought by my carer yesterday and ready for the microwave ) is roast beef, yorkshire pud, cauliflower cheese, sprouts, cabbage, carrots and mange-tout - and a jug of gravy which she tells me has thyme, marmite and red wine in it.   It will heat well - it always does.   If the meal includes chips or anything which does not microwave well then it goes into the Remoska to crisp up.   Yes you will say - but not like the beef carved off the joint and put onto your plate with fresh veg.   You would be correct but that sort of cooking is really beyond my capabilities these days and second best it might be but it is always good.

It is now a quarter to seven in the evening, all the blinds except the one where I am sitting at the computer are drawn.   It has neither been fine or been raining all day - that in between when there is a bit of a drizzle in the air and the sky is just plain grey.   And I suppose my day has been fairly similar in that nothing much has happened.   No carer so no chat first thing, no walk because the weather was unfit, one long chat with my son and a quick chat with friend S who called with some fruit she had bought for me on Hawes market earlier in the day and that's it.   It is still cloudy and we don't in any case live on top of a hill because apparently we would only have to be a little bit further North this week to possibly catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.   But in any case cloud conditions are not right this evening.

Hopefully our new television mast will come into action tomorrow.    Just for a little while at lunch time the News came from our local station and was not being viewed through iplayer but just when I was thinking the whole saga of the destroyed mast was over the thing went off and we went back to iplayer.   Friend S tells me that it is hopeful that by tomorrow evening everything will be back to normal for almost everyone ((I hope that includes us - something to do with the new mast being a bit shorter and not quite reaching everyone).

See you tomorrow when hopefully there will be a bit more to write about.

Monday, 11 October 2021

Sometimes I wonder.....

Is it just me?  Is  it the onset of "old age"?  Or does everyone have blips?

It is my birthday on Hallowe.en  and my God daughter and her husband have arranged to come and see me one day during the week.   Lovely thought I, clicking on to my Tesco account and choosing a delivery date and beginning to write out my order.   So far, so good.   I have only done this as my method of shopping more or less ever since they 'invented' on line shopping and delivery - and now, of course, it is the only way I can shop as I am not mobile any longer.

Well I got through to the end of the order, put in the details, chose a delivery date and clicked off only to discover when I came to write it on the calendar that it was set to arrive at the precise moment that friends T and S who luckily have more or less the same scheduled time as me will be calling to collect me for my flu jab (I had my covid booster last week).

So I go back to square one and read  the small (very  small) print telling me what to do if I want to change my order time (in no more than 200 letters). In the end after clicking in endless wrong places I cancelled the whole thing (whether by accident or design I shall never know).

Then I started again - first choosing a more convenient date and time, then rewriting out my order (I had done it the first time out of my head with no list so I had to do the same again), hoping I have got everything I need.

If something vital is missing from Mary Berry's Absolute Favourite Sausage and Potato Supper then we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

See you tomorrow.

 

 

Sunday, 10 October 2021

Biodiversity

The trouble with so many of the world's problems is my immediate question - well I can be made aware of it but what can I as an individual actually do about it?   I was even more aware of it with regard to bio=diversity when the farmer was alive (he died four years ago) and I saw first hand how things were disappearing from our land.   The cuckoo flower was once thick over all our meadows - mauve flowers often called ladies' smock - now maybe a couple in one of the fields but that's all.   The common orchid, once thick in the hedge bottoms now almost non existent.    The curlew, once perhaps the most common ground nesting bird in our pasture - now a rarity.

You may be surprised to learn, as I certainly was, that the UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the World.   It is in the bottom 10% globally and last in the G7 nations.   The global average is around  75% and here in the UK we have only about 53% of our biodiversity left.

The safe limit to ensure that the world doesn't tip into ecological nightmare is thought to be 90%. 

Most of it in the case of the UK has disappeared since the industrial revolution.   The following shows the species at risk of extiction throughout the world:

40% amphinians

34% conifers

33% reef corals

31% sharks and rays

27% crustaceans

25% mammals

14% birds

 

In the UK I understand that most of the loss can be put down to two things:

a) intensive agriculture.   This has certainly happened here in the Yorkshire Dales on a large scale.   This was an area of small, family farms, small fields bordered by stone walls, flocks of sheep and small milking herds.   As farmers have died their sons, reluctant to take on farms which no longer pay, have often sold off the small farms to neighbouring farmers thus making much larger dairy farms often with up to eight hundred milking cows.   This has meant bigger agricultural machinery, much more intensive use of the land and with it the disappearance of those small fields.   (when I first married the farmer in 1993 my father in law, then in his early nineties, would follow the hay making machinery round the field with a huge wooden rake with which he would gently rake the odd bits of hay out of the hedge bottom, pulling out the last bits with his hands - the whole  lot probably equalling only one extra bale).

b)  Intensive building on what was agricultural land

before.

There must be an answer.   I don't know what it is and I have no idea how we as individuals can do our bit to help things along.


 

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Change

 Yes, change is in the air today as was foretold.   After that lovely sun all day yesterday, today is cloudy and also considerably cooler.   Also, after feeling on top of the world healthy yesterday I am not feeling so good today.   Priscilla and I decided to walk down to pay L for the fruit and fruit juice she got for me in the week - not far and also part of our usual walk.   By the time we got to her house and put the cheque through her letter box I was not feeling brilliant but persevered and carried on.   By the time I got home I was feeling distinctly under the weather and of course it was only then that I realised it was most likely to be a reaction to my Covid booster jab the day before yesterday.   I came in, had a bit of lunch and a coffee and then put my feet up and had an hour's sleep.   I woke up feeling more or less back to normal.

But how different it feels without the sun.   Luckily the weather for tomorrow is set to be cooler but sunny - the good old sun makes a difference doesn't it?

That is the extent of my day today and as Sue from Suffolk says in her answer to me yesterday - we have got Strictly to look forward to tonight.   It does pass the evening so quickly and the standard of dancing is so good this year..

Two lovely animal stories have caught my imagination today.   One is Thelma's (North Stoke on my side bar) post yesterday of an elephant listening to Grieg played on a piano.   It is sheer delight to look at - do go over to her post and look at the short clip.

The other is a sad but beautiful story of the Gorilla rescued from her dead mother when she was only a few weeks old and her mother had been shot dead by poachers.  She was born into the Kabarizi family of Mountain Gorillas and was hand-fed with a spoon and nursed through pleumonia and not expected to live.   But against all the odds she did and was virtually reared by Andre Bauma one of the rangers at the National Park - a Unesco Heritage Park in Africa.   Over the last fourteen years ranger and Gorilla have been inseparable.   She has never been strong and now, at only fourteen (natural life span 40-) she has died in Bauma's arms.   He says he 'loved her like his own child' and the last photograph of them  is very moving.  The photograph and the story is in today's Times.

I'll be back tomorrow.   Have a pleasant evening.

Friday, 8 October 2021

A Trip Out.

 First thing to say about today is just how much I have enjoyed it - for purely selfish reasons really.  The problems with my NHS Hearing Aids and the difficulties with getting them 'seen to' during the Covid situation and the fact that I find it extremely difficult now to put in the necessary new batteries almost every week or ten days has meant that I finally came to the expensive decision to replace them by going to a private specialist.   My appointment was today and was in Ripon - about twenty five miles away.   My usual taxi took me down and a taxi local to Ripon brought me back (my driver could not wait as he does a school run and had to be back in time).

I had a hearing test and the result - as I suspected - is that I am almost on the spectrum of being profoundly deaf.   This means that many of the modern hearing aids are still battery operated and I can't any longer manage the insertion of the batteries.   But we have decided on a suitable one and I now have to go back for a fitting in a fortnight.   This is fine.   The young man who did the testing was charming and very efficient, explaining so many things to me and the lovely young receptionist - who was Chinese - made my day by saying just how 'lovely' I looked (her word).  The young man who had done the tests agreed and I have to say - maybe I am selfish and maybe I am vain - but it really made my day and made me think.

I go out rarely because I can't go unless someone takes me - friends are brilliant at doing this and I thank them most sincerely.   But this morning - when my carer asked what I intended to wear for the outing - I said it was so long since I had worn anything but my ev eryday clothes - and I never went anywhere to wear them, so I was going to get 'dressed up'.   I wore new trousers bought for last winter but never worn and one of my cashmere jumpers.  I wore my  black boots and my red leather jacket.   I wore a gold bracelet that my husband had bought me many years ago.   I felt good and obviously it showed.

I have to do this more often.   Mybe it is vain but the fact is - I had got into the habit of not bothering and it had begun to tell on me.   Now, coming home this evening (although I shall be £3000 lighter when I get them),  I feel so much better.

Apart from that it was the most beautiful journey.  It has been a warm sunny day here, the countryside was looking at its very best and the journey from here to Ripon, through pretty villages like East Witton and Staveley is such a lovely journey.   Going there with my usual taxi driver - we chatted all the way  - he has so many stories to tell and is a delight to listen to and then coming back with a taxi driver local  to Ripon a chap who is a keen metal detector so I learned a lot about early coinage.   I am sure you can imagine what a delight the whole afternoon has been.

Coming in I almost felt 'normal' again.   I have faced up to the fact that I shall not walk unaided again and that my driving and gardening days are over.   But today has really boosted my confidence all round and I am very grateful for it.


Thursday, 7 October 2021

Covid Jab Day

Yes - today was the designated day for my third Covid jab.   They are so efficient with them in our little town.   My appointment was for 12.50pm and J, my carer, volunteered to take me and wait for me, which was as usual so very kind of her.

We arrived on time and she stayed in the Car Park while Priscilla and I walked across to the tented entrance and joined the short queue.   Everything went like clockword and the longest wait was the fifteen minutes after the doctor had given me the jab when I had to wait before I left the building.   I was home again before a quarter to two - all done and dusted.

After a cup of tea Priscilla and I walked round the block as the sun was out and it was warm.   I was tired by the time I got back home - maybe a bit too much to do but no harm done and so far no ill effects of the jab.   And we did have one or two nice chats on our walk - everyone seemed to be out in the sunshine.

Tomorrow it is ear tests with the idea of getting new hearing aids - long overdue I might add.

 

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

A Countryside Observation

 An article in The Times today caught my eye and echoed what I said a week or two ago in a post.   Professor Elli Leadbeater of Royal Holloway University found that cities are now becoming 'hotspots' for honey bees.   As has been said before it is really important that field margins are planted with wild flowers to encourage honey bees to forage 'in the wild'.

The trouble is that in areas like The Yorkshire Dales the fields are still mostly bordered by dry stone walls which have often delineated the fields for centuries.   The land is mostly grassland and grazed by sheep and the fields are small.   Any possibility of bordering them with wild flowers would be impossible as it would make the fields impossibly small.

Of course above these fields are the fells and they are mostly covered with heather - so that for maybe two or three weeks we have a good - and colourful - crop of heather which honey bees love.   But it is the rest of the year we have to think about.  And in any case this is dependent upon there being a good crop of wild heather - and that is not always guaranteed.

Then we have the bees who go out from colonies, find somewhere to forage and return to the hives to do their waggle dance, telling the hive where to forage.   And here is where the town and city gardens now come into their own.   As wild flowers disappear from the fields so garden flowers appear more and more in town and city gardens.   Apparently is is even more true for varieties of bumble bees.   I have certainly noticed it here in what is an under four thousand population market town.   I literally have not seen a honey bee to speak of all summer but my goodness me, have I seen some bumble bees.

 

If you want to learn more about Bumble Bees you could do worse than go to Simon Douglas Thompson 's (on my side bar) 'Careering through Nature' where, over the Summer some of his photographs of Natural History subjects have been spectacular.

After an absolutely miserable wet day yesterday it is warm and sunny and a pleasure to be out to today.   I have already been round the block once with Priscilla and will try and go around again before the day is out.   And I will keep my eye out for bees.

And while we are on the subject - congratulations to my friends S and T who won a third prize with their dark honey  yesterday.   Which proves there are still honey bees about - but the trouble is that I understand they are having to forage further afield. I don't know what the answer is.   Does anyone reading this?

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

An observation

 This is just an observation and not meant to be in any way political.   I am sure it applies to many men other than our Prime Minister and I am sorry if what I am about to say offends anyone's sensibilities, but this morning I watched our Prime Minister being interviewed on Breakfast Television and I couldn't help noticing (not for the first time) - and I couldn't help thinking I was meant to notice - that the way he sits leaves little or nothing to the imagination and in my view is in very bad taste.   Am I old fashioned or am I prudish?   I don't think so.   In my younger (much) days I have posed as a model for painters - it is just that there is a time and place for everything and I just don't think political interviews on Breakfast Television is it.  There, that's said, I will leave it there.

So, what kind of a day has it been with you.   Here there has been torrential rain on and off and I believe the River Ure is well over and many local roads impassable.   The good thing is that the river can go down just as quickly as it can come up.   It is said to be able t o rise twenty feet in an hour.   The gas man was scheduled to come to service my boiler before winter but he never arrived.   I wondered if the state of the weather in the area had held him up but at half past one the Gas Board rang to say they were sorry but there had been so many call-outs through break downs that there just had been no time for their scheduled calls.   They have remade the service for early December.

Other than that it has been an uneventful day with nothing much happening.   Tomorrow is supposed to be much warmer as our weather comes up from the Azores and our torrential r ain should have passed out into the Atlantic.

After tomorrow I have two busier days  - Thursday my Covid booster and Friday ear tests for a new aid.   I have now completed my antibiotics for my urinary infection so I am hoping it has cleared up.

See you all tomorrow.


Monday, 4 October 2021

Monday again.

 Doesn't it come around quickly?   And - on paper at any rate - I have a busy week this week.   I made a list yesterday of all the things I have to do and today's tasks have passed off well.   First of all my Book Group discussing Neil Gaiman's American Gods.   Once we got discussing it I realised just what an interesting book it was - and we really had such an interesting two hours.   There were only three of us this morning for various reasons, but we never ran out of things to say.   I wouldn't recommend it because it sure wouldn't appeal to everyone but, having said that, I am pleased I have read it and then discussed it because I have a better idea of what the genre is all about.

 I have bought myself a new microwave oven.   My old one was going rusty inside and my carer is certainly pleased I have replaced.   It is in use every day.   I told her to leave it on the work top (the delivery driver put  it on there for me).   After she had gone I went into the kitchen to prepare the trolley for the Book Group.   My carer had put the old microwave out into the garage ready for disposal. taken the new one from its box and set it up.    I sent her a text saying "you devil" - she was very amused and chuff that she had got one over on me as she put it!

So the lunch she brought me was heated in it.   Then friends T and S called for a coffee and a pleasant hour (always a pleasant break), after which Priscilla and I went round the block between showers.   Now it is time almost for 'Antiques Road Trip' - a favourite programme on television.   So I will sign off for now - any more news and I will be back.   Tomorrow The Gas Man Cometh to serve the Gas Boiler for Winter - a necessary evil I am sure you will agree.

Sunday, 3 October 2021

Sunday

A cool Sunday with plenty of sharp, chilly showers.   I did manage a walk with Priscilla dodging the showers and I think it did us both good.

I have a busy week coming up and I like that - it is always good to have plenty to do.   Tomorrow morning it is Book Group here.   Lots of absentees for various reasons - holidays, moving house, for a start.  Tuesday I am having my Gas Boiler serviced so have to stay in for the Engineer. Thursday I am having my third Covid vaccination (a couple of weeks before my winter flu jab, which has been postponed) and Friday I am going to see about new hearing aids.

My antibiotics seem to be working on my infection - I have only two left to take so  I hope they are.   I am certainly feeling less confused than I was(apparently urinary infections are known for causing confusion).   If you don't already know it I can assure you that getting old is no picnic - but at least it happens to us all finally.

My gardener rang me to tell me he is ill and can't work for the forseeable future.   I am sorry  - he is going through a worrying time .  My son kindly dashed round, emptied the tubs by my front door, refilled them with compost and has planted them up with plug=plant violas which arrived.   That gives them a chance to put on a bit of growth in the next few weeks if the weather is kind.   D, my gardener, now needs to really take care of himself and concentrate on keeping warm and getting well.

I shall now go and look at Strictly Come Dancing to see who are the first contestants to go out.   I always feel sorry for the first pair don't you? 

Saturday, 2 October 2021

What a day

Grey is an understatement as a description of today's weather.   It is wintry in the extreme, raining and grey.   Inside is the best place to be, without a doubt.Friends S and T called so that they could iron out the last few problems with my new mobile phone and hopefully I should now be able to send texts using upper and lower case letters,   Judging by some of the texts I receive, as a retired teacher I begin to despair about the eventual standard of spelling.  'cud' seems pretty standard for 'could' and 'u' for 'you' - where will it all end and does it matter?   Capital letters, colons and semi-colons - have they gone the way of all flesh?   Will there come a time when putting a semi colon in a piece of writing will be considered 'old fashioned'?   And following on to this train of thought comes the question -  should we fight this and form a campaign for the protection of the English language or should we let it go where it wishes to go and look upon it as Progress with a capital P?

Friday, 1 October 2021

October

 Well, we are round to October again - how quickly the year passes by.   Contrary to the forecast at present there is a clear blue sky but a strongish wind blows and it is chilly.   Priscilla and I have walked round the block for a breath of fresh air - very pleasant, but not a suitable day for going any further.

I am looking out of the computer room window into the garden and I can't help wondering where my garden would be in October without Michaelmas Daisies.   I have four or five clumps of different varieties in various places and, with the sun on them, they brighten the place up considerably and contrast nicely with a clump of golden achillea which has been in flower for the whole of September and shows no sign of finishing yet.

The hearing aid clinic in Ripon are very nice people and have just rung to say if I can't get an appointment to de-wax my ears before I go to them on Friday they will do it there.   And also to say they have booked me a return taxi to bring me back after my appointment.   My taxi company can't wait for me as they do the school run.  So that has got everything in place and it strikes me - as it often does - just how very kind and helpful everyone is.

As one gets older it becomes easier to get into a state of panic I find and one has to guard against it! And it is people like this who help.


Thursday, 30 September 2021

Frustration

I am going down to Ripon next week to have my ears examined and to order new Hearing Aids which are not available on the N H S.  The ones I have (which are NHS are so frustrating because now that I am really shaky my hands will not stay still enough to change the batteries   So - all the plans are laid.

This morning the Hearing Clinic rang me and said they wanted me to put drops in my ears for the next week.   So, taking out my hearing aid I proceeded to do just that. Then I put cotton wool in my ears for an hour.   Then I decided to put my Hearing Aids back in - but I couldn't find them.   I searched and searched, I  went in every room, I  went over every surface,  I retraced my movements over and over again, but to no avail. w ith a sense of panic I made myself calm down and sat down in an armchair for a think.

Towards the end of the news on television there was an item about a naughty little boy and a teacher who had developed a way of making the little boy confront his behaviour and then go and apologise to the child he had hit.   This brought tears to my eyes (yes, I know he was probably a little scamp who drove every teacher mad) and I felt in my cardi pocket for my hanky.  There was the hearing aid! At least I didn't put my cardi in the washing machine before I found it..

I am rather pleased with myself today.   My carer is on holiday this week and I have a lovely replacement (we have met before - I had two carers when I first came home and she was the other one) .   Because my usual carer is not here I am getting my own lunches and I am rather pleased with todays.   I had a panini filled with smoky fried bacon, cranberry sauce and toasted with slices of brie on top.   I have eaten it in cafes lots of times but thought I would try it myself.   Not bad for a first attempt - it needs perfecting so that everything is ready at precisely the same minute but the taste was delicious.

The sky is looking very black and it is very windy.  I think Priscilla and I might stay in today.   I feel better for a walk every day but Priscilla can be so contrary in the wind.   See you tomorrow

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Spring in a box

 Beautiful little viola seedlings have come through the post this morning from Thompson and Morgan, neatly packed in tiny individual plastic pots and promising so much for the Spring.   I have left my gardener a message on his answer phone saying please can he find time to come, empty my Summer bedding from the pots, replace the compost and plant out the violas, putting them either side of the front door, in full sun, so that they get at least a taste of a few fine, warm days (fingers crossed) before cooler weather sets in.   We can but hope.

In fact, that's what gardeners thrive one isn't it, hope?

Looking out of my computer room window as I type this, it is almost dark and it is but 7.15pm. In a month we shall be putting the clocks back an hour and then it will hardly be worth drawing the curtains and blinds back during the day.   Brrr, somehow the thought gets harder every winter doesn't it.   But let's not get downhearted - there is something to be enjoyed in central heating, in log fires (if you are lucky enough to have them) in log burners and in all things wintry.


Tuesday, 28 September 2021

The Sky Spells Rain.

 Sometimes I think it would be better not to look at or listen to the weather forecast.   Today - darkest blue in places - meaning heavy rain - is said to be drifting over from the West.  The sky keeps looking angry and the wind gets up a bit - then it dies down again and a smidgin of blue sky pokes through.

Twice I have thought of setting off with Priscilla, getting half way down the drive and then coming back.   Luckily I did once because my new microwave, promised for next Monday, came this morning.

I have been unwell for a couple of days - upset tummy basically - but I am almost better today, but maybe not quite up to walking round the block.

My old microwave, an old one when I inherited it, it now well past its best and has begun to go rusty inside  so this sparkling new Daewoo should smarten the kitchen up a bit.   And as my carer very kindly provides me with meals each day I need a reliable way to heat them up.

Any more news for you today?   Sorry but there really is nothing at all to report.   I will be back tomorrow with any snippets I manage to glean between now and then.

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Brrr!

No doubt about it, there is now a distinct nip in the air  this Sunday morning - September going into October- the sky is blue and a rather watery sun is out, but I notice people going past with their dogs have almost all got a jacket on.  And so the seasons roll by - we can't hold on to them and every one has its beauty.

I needed to pay the milkman so Priscilla and I walked down to put his money through the door.   Then we had to decide whether to walk right round or walk back the way we had gone.    We chose to go on.   It was a mistake.   It is almost a week since we walked right round, too many things have taken precedence.   It was too far and I found it a real struggle to get home.   I have been very tired ever since, so it was a pleasure this afternoon to welcome friend H from next door round for a cup of tea.   It is her birthday today and her family helped her to celebrate it yesterday.

Last night I watched the new Strictly Come Dancing.   Last year I found it so boring that half  way through I decided not to watch it any more.   I switched on last evening expecting to feel the same but the standard of dancing was absolutely stunning and if it carries on in this vein I shall definitely continue.  But I hear on the News this evening that already one couple have to miss next week after testing positive for Covid.   It hasn't gone away has it?

See you tomorrow when, hopefully, there will be something more exciting to report. (well the toilet is blocked and they are coming in the morning to unblock it if you call that exciting!) 

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Medal

 I am awarding myself a medal today - alright, so it is big-headed but I think I deserve one!

My computer skills plus my ever-worsening shaking hands mean that by no stretch of the imagination would you call me 'computer literate'.   Yesterday, with the help of friends S and T I also bought a new'run of the mill 'mobile phone.  So far so good.

After breakfast, when my carer had gone, I thought I would have an hour trying to get to grips with my new phone.   It reminded me very much of when Windows 10 in their wisdom decide to change for instance the format of e mails.  They often give you a choice and say you can stick with the old way if you like but then - reading the minds of the people who have changed it - you know that in about a month you will have to do it anyway, so you might as well do it now.   For two or three days it is absolute murder sending an e mail because you keep forgetting the new format, then suddenly - without warning - you have got it and have completely forgotten how it used to be.   Well that is how my mind works anyway.

And so it was with my phone.   I am struggling.   I sent S a text and accidentally sent it in three parts because I kept somehow pressing a 'send' button.   When she finally rang me it was to say had I sent her some gobbledegook (well she was tactful enough not to say that, but it was, I assure you) I had sent it to her landline anyway.   And as she was gardening I don't expect she was jumping for joy.

I persevered and sent one to my carer half an hour later - she confirmed it had arrived .   Step one completed.   Then I decided to empty my old texts (well over a hundred) - had a few attempts which failed but finally found the right button and it is now completely empty.   Then I went through my list of people I wished to have listed in my phone book - cleared it out nicely.   Jobs done.

Then I went over to my computer where my Grandson sent me a resume of 'American Gods' by Neil Garman, which is our Book Group book.  (not for the faint hearted).  It is his favourite book and he is doing some sort of higher degree in English at University.   I wanted to print it off to read at our meeting.   Could I remember how to copy an e mail and print it off?   It is ages since I did it.   I struggled, rang my son and he kindly talked me through the process without losing his cool - heaven knows how as he had to keep repeating himself.   Eventually I did it, thanked him, rang off and went to my printer (also quite new).   I started the process and on the little screen it told me that the paper was jammed.   Could have been the last straw but no, I persevered and finally have done it.

Medal awarded for perseverance - off now to reward myself with beans on toast with plenty of brown sauce.

Friday, 24 September 2021

Friday

 Friday, the end of a rather busy week and it has certainly ended with a bang rather than a whimper because it has been such a hectic but enjoyable day.

I was sitting eating my morning porridge when friend S rang to ask whether I would like to go out for the morning - first to go to Tesco to look at a new mobile phone for me and then on to  The Green Frog, a Garden Centre, where they wanted to buy a plant as a present.

I was very grateful for friend S's input in the buying of a new phone - not an iphone but just an update on the phone I already had.   It didn't take all that long to choose the right model for me - the salesman transferred my SIM card and we were away.

At The Green Frog T and S went off round the plants - all beautifully arranged and looked-after while I went into their gift shop as I wanted a small gift for a friend and also a selection of cards for forthcoming birthdays. All done we went into their very nice cafe for lunch (scampi, chips and salad for me; lasagne with chips and salad for T and what turned out to be a delicious vegan cashew nut loaf with salad for S).   And so it was home for coffee at my bungalow - a really lovely outing so many thanks to T and S.

I had been home but a short time when friend M pressed the doorbell.   She is shortly moving house - only a short way from here to across the road and into a bungalow.   Like me she lives alone and the whole operation is a little daunting but she has a very supportive family and I am sure everything will be alright.

And now - six o'clock and time for tea which will be the lunch my dear carer left for me - a cheese and onion pie.  Certainly no shortage of calories today!

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Sun has arrived again.

 Yes, just as I arrived in my taxi at the Bank the sun came out and it was so pleasant - bit windy in our Market Square though (notorious on really windy days for blowing over aged people).   The taxi dropped me literally at the door of the Bank and said he would wait as long as he could and if he went, to wait  exactly there (I had Priscilla with me so I could sit down).

There were ten people  in front of me in the Bank queue -all masked and all spaced covidly around the edge of the bank.   I was a good half hour and when I came out - no taxi - so we sat and watched the world go by.   Haven't done that for a long time.

My how dress has changed.   There were people wearing absolutely anything passing.   Hardly anyone was what I would called 'dressed up'.   Most folk were in jeans and a top - often with bare midriff, hardly any woman had short hair = almost all had long, straight hair.

Now I am home and have lunched.   There is something wrong with the toilet flush in the bathroom  so now I have to wait in for the plumber to call (he lives just down the road so may call in on his way home.)

I watched the tribute to Prince Phillip last evening - somehow I found it vaguely disappointing but there were some lovely tributes to him.   I suppose it was inevitable that The Queen wouldn't contribute but I did wish she had done because I do believe they had a very happy life together.   I found Prince Charles so very sad - it came over so clearly that he felt he had never lived up to his father's expectations.    And yet I felt that in spite of that they were very close.

Relationships are interesting aren't they?   The programme set me thinking about my family relationships.  Thinking seriously I would say that I loved my parents equally, had a very happy childhood, but now there is no doubt I think of my father every single day - the talks we had about nature, the walks we shared birds nesting, mushrooming, looking for and identifying wild flowers.   He left discipline entirely to my mother and he never, in all my days at Grammar School, came to a speech day or parents' evening - he always left it to my mother.   I do think of my mother - usually in relation to recipes, cooking, that kind of thing.

Looking back on the programme on the Royal Family, it was lovely to see both the Queen and Prince Phillip playing with their children, rowing on the water,barbecuing, just having fun.   They can never be like the rest of us but at least they tried to be as 'normal' as possible.   And quite obviously loving being parents.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Another hectic day

 You wouldn't think I could have hectic days when I walk so slowly with either a frame or Priscilla but I can assure you it is all too easy when I get to my desk, sit down and get out my writing pad,to find there is no pen anywhere near so I have to get up and go into the kitchen pot to fetch oneAnd this  is followed by many similar incidents.

My hair appointment was a day early so, of course, I have now been thinking all day that tomorrow will be Friday when it is really only Thursday.  (If I ever said 'tomorrow will be Friday' when I lived with my Mum and Dad he would always retort 'and we've caught no fish today' - something to do with fishing boats not setting sail on a Friday I believe (I shall look it up when I have finished this post.)

I returned to a pile of post, all of which needed dealing with - either a written answer to be posted or a phone call.   As so often I was pleased that I lived directly opposite a post box.

Afternoon involved chatting to a builder who is coming to repair and renew an outside sink - unfortunately it is the one where my gardener put in a new pipe for me last week and to work on the sink the builder has to remove the pipe.   So that was another phone call to apologise to the gardener before he returned to work in the garden only to find his pipe work messed about with.

Now early evening and  all loose ends sorted out.   Nothing feels better than when everything on your list for the day is crossed off.   All that is left to do now is to washing up my tea things  (I no longer use my dishwasher unless visitors come - I feel it is too extravagant).  Then I shall sit down with a cup of tea and have another stab at the Times crossword and wait for the 9pm programme where all the Royal Family reminisce about their memories of Prince Phillip - it promises to be a really interesting hour.

I have just watched the programme and am on my way to bed (my computer room and my bedroom are one and the same).   It was an interesting programme but somehow I found it a bit disappointing - not sure why.   Did any of you watch it?

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Tuesday

 It is not as pleaant as it was yesterday (a perfect September day) - the sun is hazy and there is quite a strong breeze.   Had we not had yesterday for a comparison I would have said it was a lovely day today.   It is the day for managing without a carer and I have just finished doing what takes her an hour (I rose at 7.30 and it is now 11.18) but everything is done and I am happy with how it looks everywhere.

And there is Chelsea to look at.   I love looking at other peoples' ideas for gardens.   Many years ago, maybe around 1983, a very dear friend who was a superb gardener - she spent all day in her large garden and had a huge collection of rhodendrons, was unable to go to Chelsea and gave me her ticket to go on Members' Day.   I lived in Wolverhampton at the time and caught a very early train up to London and went along - I was there when it opened.  It was an experience I wouldn't have missed but by two in the afternoon I was absolutely  exhausted and caught an early train home (and fell asleep on the journey).

It was wonderful and the individual gardens were so very interesting but you could only look at them from behind a barrier, whereas when you get a preview on television the presenter is often wandering round looking at what is planted and you get a close-up.   So I decided television was much better - for me at any rate.   How lucky we are to have television aren't we?   How my Dad would have loved Chelsea from his armchair.

Monday, 20 September 2021

A Day and a half

 Today started quietly but as the day went on, so it got busier until by now - just after tea - I am again alone and once this post is done all I have to do is get my brain resharpened ready for University Challenge.

But one thing it has shown to me is that I should be very grateful to so many people for what they do for me.   Without them all I would find life very hard.   So I shall list them and tell you just how much I am helped along my handicapped way.

1.   First of all there is J, my carer.   She comes for an hour in the morning - never stops working but manages to chat along as she works so that she always leaves me in a cheerful frame of mind.   What does she do?   Gets my breakfast (porridge and a banana), sees to the commode and makes my bed and tidies away any clothes which I have changed.   Twice a week she puts on the washing machine so that I can empty it and put the clothes in the tumble drier.   Any which need ironing she takes home to iron.    She brings a lunch every day and unless it is a salad leaves it in the microwave or by the Remoska if it is chips.   Showers or strip washes me and helps me dress.   All this in an hour.

2. T and S, my dear, always cheerful friends who do so much for me.   They call in often just for a cheerful chat and a coffee.   They  keep my laptop and my printer in working order and sort me out if I get in a mess.   They do untold little jobs and errands all the time and I can never thank them enough.

3.  L, who lives just down the road, who keeps me topped up with fruit and bread and coffee between visits from Mobile Tesco.

4.   D, my gardener, who as well as keeping my garden in order does all sorts of little jobs.   This week he noticed that the drain pipe from my dishwasher to the outside sink had a hole in it.   He came, measured it, replaced it all and had almost finished before I noticed he had done it.   Another always cheerful man who I can rely on.   His health is not good and I worry about him but he soldiers on.

5.   My immediate neighbours H and M both of whom are cheerful and chatty and we pass the time of day almost every day.   It is lovely to have good friends so near.

6.   My son.   Although D only lives a mile away, since Covid I rarely see him.   His wife is an invalid and understandably he worries about her catching Covid so he is very careful.   But what he does is lend an ear.   I am a worrier, always have been and not likely to change now.   If something is on my mind I ring him, talk it over with him and together we sort it out.   Without his help there are times when I would feel about to go under.

These people make my life what it is now.   I find walking hard and can only go slowly.   But between them they jolly me along.

I just heard a noise and went to see what it was.   Through the door was a parcel from Amazon Prime with two books I had discussed with my son and said I would rather like to read.   He had sent them to me post haste - we were only speaking of them yesterday.

So here, publicly, a sincere thank you to them all.   Acts of kindness I can never repay but which make my life complete.

Sunday, 19 September 2021

Growing old (dis)gracefully.

 Well of course one has little choice when it comes to it does one - grow old or don't grow old.   And even whether one does it disgracefully or otherwise is down to a few things - physical condition being  I suppose one of the main ones.   After lunch Priscilla and I will do our perambulate - how we could make it in any way disgraceful it is hard to see.   I suppose I could decorate her or perhaps wear a purple hat a la Jenny Joseph.   In perfect health (is anybody at 88?) maybe I could make a bit more effort.   As it is just the sheer effort of getting all the way round the circuit and arriving back home is enough.

A friend is 89 next weekend - five weeks before me, so I can always joke that I am not as old as she is - at least for those five weeks.   I do try to keep young in my head by keeping up to date with the news and things like that, and I do the Mind Games in the Times daily in an effort to keep brain gremlins at bay.   But when all is said and done one's life span and the way one approaches death is in the lap of the gods.   But one thing is for sure - I have had a much longer life than what I now have left.   So best to soldier on and live each day as it comes.

There is a lovely old lady, W, in our town who is 100.  She carries no excess weight and is reasonably  nimble on her feet.   Until Covid I used to collect her every  Sunday and four of us would lunch at the same restaurant.   I met her at the doctor's surgery last Monday.   Sadly she didn't recognise me but she said she recognised my voice.   Her mind is getting a little forgetful but she still lives alone but surrounded by her family.   She is totally content, which is lovely to see.

In yesterday's Times there is a photo of an old lady of 101 who has   been trapping lobsters since 1929.   Three mornings a week between May and November, she gets up at 3am and gets on her boat with her son, who is himself 78.   Her son sees to the boat and hauls in the traps, she measures the lobsters and throws back the small ones and then ties the claws of the ones they are keeping.   A few years ago a crab cut her finger and she had to have stitches.   The doctor was interested in why an old lady of her age was still doing such a job and when he asked her, her answer was "because I want to"!

Perhaps that is one of the secrets of a long and happy life.   Don't sit around waiting for death to arrive - "do precisely what you want to!"   It will arrive anyway when it wants to.

Friday, 17 September 2021

Perfect Autumn Day

Just to keep reminding me of the fact, the garden opposite has a large bunch of Autumn crocus in the middle of the front lawn and I always forget them every year until the day when suddenly they are in full flower - and they cheer up my day.   Somehow there is a feel of Autumn in the air in spite of the temperature being around twenty, the sky being clear blue and the sun fully out.   But the street light opposite went on at  8pm and by then all the blinds were drawn.   And there was suddenly a chill in the air   Bu I have bought myself a new cardigan - very large and 'cuddly'.   It came yesterday, since when I have lived in it.   I am in love with it.   I am thinking of sending for another one in another colour - after all I can't wear the same one every day through winter can I??

What to report today?    Well my 'jaunt' into town yesterday seems to have done me no good at all because today I am very tired.   I struggled round my usual walk and since then apart from eating my lunch the only other thing I have done is order a new battery for my Bosch vaccuum cleaner.   Then the cleaner has to go into the shop where I bought it for the battery to be fitted.  As someone (sorry but I can't remember who it was, so apologies) pointed  out - if the cleaner had been a Dyson I could have fitted the battery myself but as it is a Bosch it has to go back to the shop for them to fit it.   So now I await the arrival of the new battery.

The only other domestic incident to report that yesterday I complained I had marked the wall in the hall with a pencil in order to get the photograph frame level and then could not get the marks  off.  Well my carer this morning removed them all in two minutes maximum - don't ask me how - something to do with a spray I had under the sink and a damp cloth.   They have magically disappeared.

I think I shall stop now and take Priscilla round to the garden at the back of the bungalow to see how it is doing.   The sun is still out and it is a week since I was out there.   Hopefully I will be back later. 

Back in the evening and looking forward - as I am sure Rachel is too - to the very last round in the Celebrity Baking Competition.   I have really enjoyed watching it - although as usually happens in these programmes I rarely know any of the so-called 'celebrities'.   Maybe it is because I don't watch all that much television.

It really has been a lovely Autumn day - I always savour every one this time of the year.   The silver birch leaves are really seriously falling now; they always seem the first to go round here. The hollyhocks which I pass every day on my walk round the estate are still full of bees, as is the salvia bush much nearer to home.   Another fine day is forecast for tomorrow and then rain is set to arrive.   My son has just rung to say that they have arrived home after their week up near Lindisfarne - they seem to have particularly enjoyed the bird life.

See you tomrrow.

Thursday, 16 September 2021

The sun has got his hat on

 The sun has got his hat on.

Hip hip hooray

The sun has got his hat on and

He's coming out today.


An oldie - my Dad used to sing this to me when I was a very small child and I so often think of it on sunny days (and him too).

It was hair day so taxi at nine twenty as usual, straight into the chair and out again by ten.   I needed a picture hook to hang my Great grand daughter's photograph so I walked gently with Priscilla into town - only a few hundred yards - to buy one at our very good hardware shop.   It is only the third time I have been right into town this year.  And I really didn't like what I saw, although I suppose in these days business needs to be good.  Several shops have closed and H S B C (which then became Costa Coffee and since the advent of Covid has been closed down) is a disgrace to the town being filthy dirty - you can't see into the windows and there is rubbish everywhere round it.

In addition, several of the shops in the Market Square now have lots of goods on display outside their shops in trolleys and baskets and shelves.   It doesn't help and certainly offends my sensibilities and sense of tidiness.   But in such a small town (under four thousand) I suppose they have to do anything to attract trade.

The town was very busy on this sunny day - groups of cyclists had stopped at the Post Horn cafe for a morning coffee.  Motor cyclists were roaring through on their way up Dale.   One or two coaches were in town and their occupants wandering round looking at the shops and sitting outside various cafes drinking coffee at the outside chairs and tables.

I bought my picture hooks, rang my taxi and sat on Priscilla's comfy chair - and then I had a thought.   I was sitting right outside Andy's the Bakers!   Andy makes lovely Cornish Pasties, Pork Pies, Sausage Rolls and many more goodies savoury and sweet.  I just had time before Mike rolled up.   "A Cornish Pasty please!"   "Cold."   Just in time (after lots of fumbling for change) as Mike drew up alongside me.

Home it was warm the pasty (delicious even though it was mid morning) eat it and then put up the photo.   I measured and marked gently in pencil and the photo is lovely - just right.   Now I can't find my India Rubber to rub out the pencil marks on the wallpaper.   They stick out like sore thumbs.  I shall not be going into town anytime soon to buy another rubber so it will have to stay as it is.   I am totally worn out by my expedition - and to think once upon a time I used to think how exciting it would be to go to Everest Base Camp.   I suppose I have just done the equivalent for almost 90!

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Hello Sun!

 Well the dear old sun is back today and reminded me this morning on my walk that it still has some power in it.   After the grey, cold, 'really need the heat on' day we had yesterday, today was welcome.

When you lack mobility completely without aids as I do, every job which you used to do whizzing round in ten minutes now takes all day.   First of all a letter from the Medical Practice  arrived saying my flu jab has been postponed.   This meant going to the calendar, unhooking it, taking it to my desk and altering the date.  Then it meant texting friend S to tell her (their jabs are at more or less the same time and have been changed accordingly).   Then there was a long form to fill in and return to the Medical Practice about seeing the Phlebotomy Nurse.   That done I thought I would have my walk nice and early as it was such a nice morning - several chats on the way round (some with dogs and some with their owners) and back home to see a man delivering a parcel of sweaters I had ordered for Winter.  Then it was take into the sitting room and take off the mountains of packing - plastic bags, tissue paper, publicity from other companies.  Thank goodness I could try one of them on while sitting down and know that they would both fit.  Then it was gather up all the 'rubbish' and take it out to recycle.  This means changing 'vehicles' as it is down a step into the garage.

It is the day in the month when my carer kindly cleans through for me.   I have a cordless cleaner which is supposed to last for twenty minutes when it has been charged up   It has suddenly started only lasting for five minutes.   My son thinks it needs a new battery but when I read the booklet it says a new battery must be fitted by a specialist.   I have had three attempts to ring the shop where I bought it - engaged each time.

Then after all this it is put all the accumulated bits and bobs away - and lo a behold it is lunchtime.  Even the simplest job takes an age - hearing aid batteries collected from the Medical Practice when I was there last week are still in my handbag so remove them - collect container from medical supplies basket in cupboard, add them to the container and then return the whole thing to the cupboard having changed to a trolley as I can't walk and carry anything without using a trolley to put it on.

Get the picture?    I hope you don't see this as moaning.   I am quite used to it by now  but it is all so time-consuming.   But = the sun is out, still plenty of mind games to work at in The Times, the Finals of Master Chef are on tonight (who do you think is going to win Rachel?) - I do think the right five have reached the finals - and it is hair in the morning.   When I go down in my taxi I have to remember to ask him to give me an extra ten minutes so that Priscilla and I can just go into town to buy some picture hooks.   Then on my return I can hang the lovely photograph my son has had done for me of his daughter and her friend with Nicola Sturgeon (they live in Glasgow) at a Garden Party.   That will take ages as I am useless at doing things like that and getting them absolutely in the right place first time.   There will be a lot of measuring before I tap in the first picture hook.

Changing the subject , looking at the photograph in yesterday's Times of Emma (of tennis fame) at the Ball, wearing thousands of pounds worth of jewellry and a ballgown costing many thousands, I can't help wondering how she can possibly 'come back down to earth' and meet her mates from school for a coffee after all that Razzamatazz and with all that money in the bank.   Is it going to be possible to return to anything like normal for her?  I do hope so

See you all tomorrow.

*somewhere in here is a spelling error.   I saw it when proof-reading but can't find it now.   I do apologise and if you find it please ignore it.

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Good Morning!

 Good morning fellow-bloggers on what is a very dark and threatening morning here - obviously the threatened rain will shortly arrive.   This is the one morning each week on which I no longer have a carer.   It does me no harm at all to 'cope' alone but I have to keep telling myself to take things slowly and carefully and not to try too hard.

 Two hours later.   The trouble is that when I have no deadline to keep to I tend to dilly dally -  do the Mind Games in today's Times, sort through my winter woollies drawer and take out the wearable ones as it is a chilly morning.   At the end of last winter they all went away into my drawer for such things - but getting out of bed this morning I realised that they needed to see the light of day again because September is telling me quite clearly that winter woollies are the order of the day.   John tells me this morning when he replied to my yesterday's post that it has been raining heavily there since seven this morning and looking out on to the patio I see that it is damp if not very wet so a woolly  jumper this morning.   It is either that or the central heating and it is a bit early for that.

It also means that so far my today's walk will be off  because taking into account the speed at which I walk I do not walk in the rain.

But I find plenty to do, albeit it rather lazy jobs.   I have sorted through and taken out all woolly jumpers and hung them in my wardrobe, exchanging them for T shirts which have now gone into the drawer until Spring (assuming I am still here to wear them!)   I have topped up with a few new ones which should arrive within the next day or two.

So what to do with my time after the sorting.   Well because our transmitter at Bilsdale is still down I am limited to watching BBC Channels only but there are a few programmes I am really enjoying.   One is Chris and Meg's Wild Summer in which for half an hour each Sunday evening Chris Packham and his step-daughter Megan McCubbin explore Wales and the Lake District - lovely relaxing wild life programme.   Then there is Mortimer and Whitehouse Gone Fishing - another gentle programme.   Tonight I am loving A House through Time - this time the house is one in Leeds.   A host of other regulars like Antiques Road Show and University Challenge (got three right this time but have forgotten already what they were (remembered one answer 'Rite of Spring, and just remembered another was one of Van Gogh's Bridges)

And of course there is my Book Group book to finish.   One of the things I like- apart from the fact that they are a lovely group of people and are happy to come to my house, otherwise I would not be able to continue my membership- is that we all choose such different books.   Some I love, some I hate and some are mediocre.   This month's is 'American Gods' - the genre is 'American Fantasy' and I had never even heard of it.   It has over seven hundred pages and I have so far read two hundred of them.   No I don't wish to read any more, and yes it is all a bit mind-boggling (especially the sex!) but at least when people talk about the genre I shall know what they are talking about.  And sometimes it does us good to step outside our comfort zone.

 

I think that will do for today folks.  Enjoy your evening.   See you all tomorrow.

Monday, 13 September 2021

Monday

 Today was 'taking my mole to the doctor' day.   I rarely go to the doctor and I don't think I have   been since before Covid so it was strange going into a spaced out waiting room, masked and hand =sterilised, to wait spaced out until - half an hour later I was called in to see the skin specialist.  She praised the photograph I sent her  on line when making the appointment, said it was the clearest she had ever been sent (my son took it with his new camera so he will be pleased) and told me the pattern on the side of my nose was not skin cancer but was some unpronounceable named thing which will repond to chemotherapy, and gave me a prescription.

I saw a dear old friend who has passed her hundred since Covid began and still looks as fit as a flea.   She is beginning to lose her memory but physically looks very well.

Friend W called this afternoon for a chat.   I am always pleased to see friends.   Now that I am fairly immobile it is always good to have callers - passes the day well.   I usually manage to fulfil my speaking to at least six people each day target.   I easily managed it today by going to the doctor, having the taxi to take me there and back, meeting the old friend at the doctors, having the friend call this afternoon, speaking to the doctor of course  - it soon adds up and stops me feeling lonely.

Rain is forecast for tomorrow and today it has been cloudy and not very warm all day.   I had the central heating on for an hour at tea time but it has soon switched off - it is that time of the year when things soon warm up if you switch the heating on.Take care friends - until tomorrow.  See you then.



Sunday, 12 September 2021

It has arrived.

 I think it is the same every year, it's just that we forget.  'It' being the arrival of Autumn.   Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of last week were exceedingly hot - 'mid-Summer' hot.  Thursday and Friday were cooler, yesterday needed a body warmer - and this morning there was almost a feeling of frost in the air.

In the late Summer I bought another hardy Geranium which is a very dark, almost red.   It had what I presumed were the last few flowers of the season on it.   Today it has thirty blooms and has tripled in size over the last month.   Just the plant to hide my Mares Tail weed (my reason for buying it) and a perfect addition to my garden.   It has a very descriptive name and I think it has the label on it still but I can't tell you what it is because I can no longer climb the steps up into my upper garden.

Yes, having seen that Emma has indeed won the US Open, I am so pleased for her.   Such dedication to the sport from a very young age deserves recognition.   A Level results, leaving school, winning the US Open Tennis Championship all in the space of a few months.   Then getting congratulatory messages from The Queen, Prince William and the Prime Minister in the space of an hour.   It must be a fairy Tale come true for her after many years of exceedingly hard work.   All very well-deserved.

Good weather today for The Great North Run - cancelled because of Covid last year it is being run again this year with a staggered start.   Again a perfect example of devotion to sport and in this case also thousands raised for good causes.  So many people - young and old - training for the run, getting sponsors for their good causes, running for the sheer pleasure of it,   What a good way to enter Autumn and face up to Winter which is assuredly on its way.

Enjoy your Sunday.