Sunday 28 February 2021


 First of all sadness to read of the passing of Jill - whose posts on Land of the big Sky always gave pleasure with her pictures of the sea and  the sea birds she loved and painted so .  To hear of the passing of 'one of our own' always brings sadness - we are such a happy family.   As her family say, let's all raise a glass of red to her memory.

Now apologies for no post yesterday.   Time ran out I'm afraid.   The weather here has been lovely over the last few days - not all that warm; it is only February after all, but pure sunlight and clear fresh air..   so I walked the longest I have walked since October and by the time I got home again and ate my lunch I was really tired.   I sat in the chair and looked what was on television (I am not a rugby fan) and great joy to see that one of my favourite films was on BBC 2 in the afternoon.  I drew the blinds to shut out the lovely sun and for two hours indulged myself in Brideshead Revisited.   Thinking back I really think that the old BBC serial of many years ago did it better but it passed a lovely afternoon.

Then Priscilla and I had a short walk round the back garden and I was disappointed to see that hardly anything (apart from the hellebores) showed much sign of Spring.   But as my garden is mainly North facing the sun is only just beginning to reach it.

My carer, J, has brought me a delicious salad for my lunch - it looks so inviting.   It is now 11am so Priscilla and I will go for our walk  - hopefully as far as yesterday - and if anything exciting happens later in the day, I'll be back.

Yes - I am back.  Shortly after shutting down my computer and putting on my coat I went to lock the front door and it would neither lock nor unlock but was stuck halfway.   Luckily we have a little monthly magazine put through the door called On your Doorstep and looking through that I quickly found a Locksmith and rang him.   Yes, he was quite happy to come on Sundays 'Locks didn't always choose weekdays to stop working'.   I just had time to walk my circuit and then eat my salad.   I had hardly eaten the last mouthful when he arrived.

He took the front door lock to pieces, cleaned and oiled it and put it back together again and now it works perfectly.   While he was here I suggested he might look at the back door into the garage - a door I use daily now - and lock - because that is where Priscilla lives and also that is the only step I am allowed to go down because there are handrails fitted.   It has never worked very well since I moved into the bungalow over three years ago.

After tinkering with it for a while - and getting nowhere fast - I asked whether it really needed a new mortice lock.    He said if I was his sister or his auntie he would definitely say yes (!!) but most people would insist he tried to mend it.   I said get rid of it and put in a new lock - it has never really been a great success since I moved in.

Now he has gone, it is getting on for tea time, I am pretty shattered as it has turned out to be one of those days where I have been on my feet most of the time.   But some good jobs done and an absolutely delicious salad lunch eaten.  Country File and Antiques Road Show on television this evening - and I have just thought - maybe The Great Pottery Throwdown as well - so now to go and find something for my tea and say goodnight until tomorrow.

Friday 26 February 2021

What a difference the sun makes.

 Suddenly I seem to be wakened by sunrise every morning.   My carer was here, as usual, at half past seven and already the sun was creeping towards the window when she drew back the blinds.   Now, a couple of hours later, the central heating is off, the false flames on the electric fire are off and the sitting room is warm.  Two more days and it is March.   Now my only big decision left to make is whether or not to keep my car.   I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that the answer to this question is 'no'.

I am having to face the conclusion that I will not ever again be able to walk with just a stick - even for a short distance.   This means that even if my arms get strong enough to lift Priscilla into my boot (assuming she will go in my small car), I have somehow got to get from the boot round to the driving seat. It is all becoming an impossibility.   It is a big step to take but maybe an inevitable one I fear.

Looking out of the window into my back garden it is a pleasing sight to see how far the sun is creeping in.   In the depths of Winter the sun (when there is any) is so low in the sky that it never reaches over the roof of my bungalow into the back garden although the rockeries are steeply sloped.  Now the sun is rising and three quarters of the garden is in sunshine this morning, lighting up patches of golden crocus and white snowdrops.   Other bulbs, planted by my gardener while I was in hospital, are beginning to poke through and surprise me.   This is helping to lift my spirits - sorely needed 'therapy' at the moment for us all I think.

A friend has just rung and is going to look into how much my little car is worth.   It is surely a good buy for somebody with only 6,200 miles on the clock at four years old and an up to date MOT.   My knowledge of such things is nil, but luckily I have so many good friends who will willingly help me.

No walk today - just didn't feel like it - and it isn't compulsory so I sat and read my Book Group book again - it is our Zoom meeting on Monday morning.   I'm sure I have mentioned it before but in case you missed it - 'Mothering Sunday' by Graham Swift is a brilliant book  - the best I have read in a long time.   I have now read it twice and intend to read it again over the week end.   It is one of those books which throw up new points with each reading and thus alter one's view of the whole thing.   Do give it a try.   Full moon tonight - the Snow Moon.   Clear sky here.  Enjoy.

Until tomorrow.....

Thursday 25 February 2021

Better Day

 The sun is shining out there - and it certainly leaves me in a much more positive mood.   I did remove my post because my son rang me to say that he thought I had perhaps technically broken the Covid laws at present in force here by going into the Bank.   It never occurred to me that I might have done  this.   Two things (that and the scam call) happening in one day was just too much for me on such a grey and dismal day and that is  really why I removed it.  Today that sun makes me feel not too bad.   In fact, after this I shall put on my coat and walk out with Priscilla before coming back to my lovely quiche and salad lunch left out for me by my carer (the best in the world).   And as regards that last sentence - if you need a carer all I can suggest is that you shop around, listen to advice from others and investigate the private sector - J wasn't difficult to find.   How did I find her?   By asking around.   By private recommendation.   Always the best.

My dear friend S rang having read my  post and seen I had removed the post about going down to the Bank.   She assured me I had not broken the rules and I do feel better about things now.   The trouble is that these strange days, after being in for so long, I sometimes feel very alone and 'out on a limb' and have to have a serious talk with myself.

I really do think I have probably come to the end of the road with my little car.   I can't walk with a stick any longer - I have to use either my Zimmer or Priscilla - and would somehow have to get from the driver's door round to the back of the car and open it up to get Priscilla out - and I am not capable of that.   My taxi driver is very good and I think I am going to have to rely on tha t and the various people who kindly do things for me.

I was reminded of a story while watching television this afternoon.   I think I may have told you it before but it is worth telling again in case you didn't read it first time round.

I always have a rest mid afternoon (in the morning it is Mind Games, Exercises and a walk if the weather is good enough) - all were achieved before lunch today.  While resting I usually watch 'Escape to the Country' - not because I have any desire to see inside the houses but I love to see the various areas of the countryside and almost always they add an item on a rural craft.   We were in Dorset - a county which in the old days was known for its glove-making.  They also showed a working water-driven mill making artisan bread.  Working mills are still quite common.   For example we have a beck running through the village near here and some years ago I wrote an article for The Dalesman magazine about the beck.  Between here and where the beck becomes a river (Em) at Bedale there are six villages and years ago every village had its own flour mill; some had a bobbin mill too.   The couple on today's programme had a go at making a loaf each in a local working flour mill.

But back to the glove-making.   So few leather gloves made these days and therefore so few glove-makers left but the gloves we saw were beautifully crafted.   And it reminded me of a story - as good leather gloves always do.   My sister was twenty two years older than me (same parents)  which means she was born in 1910 and was a teenager when such gloves were the height of fashion and quite expensive.   My father's sisters (spinsters like so many after the First World War) were always dressed in the height of fashion.  If my sister and her friend Mim were walking out on a Sunday afternoon they would plead with their aunts to borrow a pair of gloves.   They would then walk out, arm in arm - each hand wearing a glove while the other hand was in their pocket.

Those were the days!   See you tomorrow.

Wednesday 24 February 2021

Tuesday 23 February 2021

Whar to do?

When you get to my age, however hard you try, there are occasions when you feel - maybe only for a minute - that you really can't cope any more with independent life.   Luckily it doesn't happen with me often.  But it happened this morning.   I always keep one of my two landlines on me.   Unfortunately it only rings four times before it goes on to answer phone and that is hardly enough time for me to take my hearing aid out (I hear better without it in).  This morning the phone kept ringing and I never got a chance to answer and when I tried to ring the number the line just went dead.  Eventually I managed to pick it up in time and the voice on the other end of the phone told me that in twenty four hours my e mail and telephone were being disconnected.   I pay the bill by direct debit so it can't be anything to do with that.   When I questioned why I really couldn't understand what I was being told (it was not an altogether good English speaker).   The eventual outcome was that someone will ring me at nine in the morning - this after I explained my age, my mobility and my need for the phone.   Now I shall probably worry all night - I do have a mobile phone and use it a lot but I don't wish to be without my landline and I really would be unable to manage without the internet - apart from blogging I also order various things - including my groceries of course.  I don't like to do it but I may well have to involve my son after he has finished teaching for the day .  But this is just to warn you that should I disappear off the face of the earth you will know why and may need to petition BT on my behalf!

Such a lovely sunny day today and I see a large patch of yellow crocus and a similar sized patch of snowdrops out in my garden - that has cheered me up.   And I managed to walk round the block again this morning - another plus.   So all is not lost.   Back tomorrow - I hope.

***Just had a long chat with a lovely, helpful man at BT - it was a scam call - don't switch on at nine in the morning, ignore and report back to BT.

Monday 22 February 2021

This and that

 Another day nearer to March.   My mother would say, 'Don't wish your life away like that' but I think most of us - shut indoors because of Covid - are longing for the days of sun and fresh air.   We shall know today just how much (if any) more freedom we shall have during the next month.   This is in no way meant as a criticism - this isolation has been very necessary but there is no doubt that some have coped better than others with the solitude.

I'm not sure whether I have fully coped this time round.   I am lucky in that I have J for an hour every morning - busy, chatty, friendly J - and she starts my day off on the right note.   Right now she is getting her vaccination so I hope all goes well as she has gone into our nearest large town for it - twenty five miles away rather than just down the road.   But she was desperate to get it done.

Speaking of vaccinations I watched an item on the News yesterday about Vaccination Refusers, who seem to have picked up strange ideas from some source.   Speaking personally, I had no more side effects than I get with my annual flu vaccination and I do now have a bit less worry about catching the wretched thing.   And reading an article in today's Times - written by a front line Intensive Care doctor - about the effect watching young people die or struggle for literally months with the infection has on him- should surely persuade some of the 'deniers' to change their minds.

Back to coping with Lockdown 3.  I have found that one of the things which has been essential during this time - for me at any rate - is keeping a strict pattern to my day.   The carer helps in that I always get up, shower and have my breakfast at the same time every day.   Then the day is mine.   I always start with the 'Mind Games' in the Times and follow that with my Hip Exercises.   A cup of coffee from the flask J has left and go on to my Blog - at least to read what posts you put on that day and your comment on mine even if I am not ready to post at this time.   Then that brings me to lunch time.   J has brought me Spam with cole slaw, chutney, tomatoes, green salad and beetroot so I am off now to cook half a dozen small new potatoes in the microwave and then enjoy it.   Enjoy your lunch wherever you are dear blog friends.   'See' you tomorrow.

I am very happy so had to add that it is a lovely afternoon here with a clear blue sky and a warm sun.   I put on a coat, took Priscilla and - for the first time since my fall - walked 'round the block'.  Not very far by the standards that Percy and I used to walk prior to my fall, but a huge improvement on previous walks since then.   I took it steady but felt great when I arrived back home.   So now that will be my aim every day.

Sunday 21 February 2021

Welcome Spring

 Welcome Spring - well the first Spring-like day.   Spring is such a flirt -a couple of warm days and then, no doubt, she will disappear again and we will be back into winter woollies.

My carer is having one Sunday morning a month when she doesn;t come and today's the day.   She is so good, she left everything ready even down to a lunch for today in the fridge and a place set at the table.   It took me twice as long to do the jobs she does in an hour but I got there and it did me no harm - I probably used muscles I haven't used for months. Then I had lunch heated in the microwave (shepherd's pie with lots of veggies) and I have just been for a walk with Priscilla.   I must say my walking ability has gone backwards but I am sure it will improve once I can get out every day for practice.

I had a chat with my next but one neighbour who was out doing a bit of weeding in his front garden.  He told me that my friend and neighbour between us had fallen and had to go to hospital.   Luckily she had not broken anything but is just shaken up.  Oh the perils of getting old.   It was also good to see various familiar faces and familiar dogs on my short walk -   I used to walk with so many dog-walkers and it is good to just say hello again.   I think we are all just missing that, longing to get back into circulation again.

All the gardens are beginning to show signs of life, I have a large clump of snowdrops out and various patches of yellow crocus.   When I was in hospital my gardener planted a lot of bulbs for me (I had some sent from Australia as a present (thank you again J and J if you are reading this).   I don't know where he has planted them so it will be a surprise when they appear.  Almost every garden has at least one clump of purple primroses - when I was a child they used to be so popular but not so much now.  I think it might be Primula Wanda  no doubt some body will correct me if I am wrong.

Can't think of anything else to tell you today - my morning was too taken up with household chores - but I was determined to do them all although my carer said 'leave it all for me on Monday'.   That would have meant me living with it all on Sunday - untidy bed, dishwasher not emptied, clothes not put away, no tidying round done.   Should sleep better tonight.

Saturday 20 February 2021

Back to normal, wh

 ..Whatever that is.   I do apologise that my print size and spacing have gone somewhat haywire.  I have a severe hand tremor which is much worse some days than others and that so affects my presentation.  Under normal circumstances I have my son to correct things, but during 'lockdown' I am on my own.   Still, like everyone else in the Country, we just have to keep calm and carry on until this all becomes a distant memory.

Another wet day here.   The weather map held a little bit of hope today and the Forecaster said the rain would all be in the West and in the hills 'towards the East'.   I can just about see the beginnings of the Pennines from my sitting room window so obviously we are not far enough away from the 'hills' to miss it.   It  is not a cold day though.   I have just had a forty minute Zoom coffee morning with five friends which was, as always, pleasant.   And then I put on my mac and hat and Priscilla and I walked over the road to post our two letters before the collection van came.   Now, at half past eleven in the morning I thought I had time to post before I had my quiche and salad lunch (it looks delicious and was as usual brought by my carer.

So what eventful has happened since yesterday - well not a lot.   I did read an interesting article in yesterday's Times about the recent 'Celebrity Bake Off' programme which I watched avidly from start to finish.   Ed Balls was a worthy winner - his cooking was spectacular, especially his pirate cake.   But the article, by Rachel Johnson, a contestant ,told of how the food that was baked had to go immediately into the fridge so that the dishes were cold by the time the judges tried them.   (one dish was the 'perfect Sunday lunch').   Also the ovens had a nasty habit of switching off!   But all the contestants agreed that Ed was a worthy winner.

I seem to be watching far more television these days - a product of being 'shut in' with no access to friends and family other than Zoom and telephone.   Last evening I watched an hour-long programme on Edinburgh Zoo.   It was fascinating - and all so professional.   Many of the staff had worked there for many years - always a good sign of a brilliant working-environment. I was so pleased to have seen it.   And, of course, to have Monty Don, my hero, straight after - on his last hour of American gardens - was just the icing on the cake.   What beautiful gardens we saw in all different parts of the States - and so many of them open to the public too.  Lucky you over the pond - that is apart from Texas at the moment, where we see from our televisions that Texas is really suffering from a huge snowfall and freezing temperatures - and in an area where such a weather condition is a rarity.   We have had more snow than usual this winter but nothing to compare with Texas - and we always know snow is a possibility.   So commiserations to any Texan readers.

Until tomorrow.....

Friday 19 February 2021


 ...for the gap in proceedings - two days without blogging.   My excuses - I felt a bit off colour (back to normal now) and nothing of interest to write about.   I have just spent an interesting hour reading through all  your blog posts in those two days.   Isn't blogging a wonderful pastime?   I seem to have built up such a huge circle of friends, most of whom I shall never see, and yet I feel I know them, I know their ideas  and feelings (in so far as they tell me in Blogland) and I look forward to an almost daily chat with them.   Every single one of you brightens my day and I thank you for that.

I see  in today's Times, on The Arts page, that Viscount Devonport wishes to build a giant modern sculpture on his land.   He has a vast estate in Northumberland and - on the summit of Cold Law - a hill near the Scottish Border he would like to put a weathered steel monument higher than Nelson's column as a tribute to the North's Industrial Heritage and as a tribute to HM the Queen and the Commonwealth.   The monument is to be made by Simon Hitchens and will be paid for entirely by himself and his backers.   Now Northumberland county council are strongly objecting  that it will be a blot on the landscape.   I must say that in the mockup it does look to me like a huge sail.   I rather like it.  It is after all on his own land and in no way using public money - I can't see that it is any more of an eyesore than wind farms (two are planned for the area).   I seem to remember that people made a fuss about the Angel the North but now it is regarded as a real icon of the North.   Apparently this statue will not be seen from any of the villages round about.

**Please don't take it from this that I object to wind farms - the more the better - that is the future.

Back tomorrow I hope and fighting fit.













Tuesday 16 February 2021

Going out.

 First of all, I wonder if I shall appear in technicolour today.   Yesterday the coloured stripe didn't show until I put the post up on my blog,, so I have no way of knowing at present.

I have had a morning out - really the first since I came out of hospital and I have really enjoyed it.   As befits such a 'treat' I was showered and then put on my best cashmere jumper and cardigan and chose a pretty scarf for the neck.   My carer made sure that Priscilla was stationed by the garage doors and that the key was on the outside so that I could lock the door into the kitchen when my taxi came.   It was dead on time and I was at the bottom of the drive.   Priscilla was easily folded and put into the boot of the taxi and we were away - only a ten minute drive and I arrived at my destination - the Medical Centre.   Hope you're not disappointed at where I was going - anywhere 'out' is a bonus these days.   Added to that my friends B and V were there to see the doctor too so we had a lovely socially distanced chat while we waited.   My taxi went home and I had instructions to ring the driver when I was ready to be collected (half an hour later).

Heart and blood pressure checks followed and the outcome is that I have to see a heart specialist - but I am still here and still blogging - not breathless, not in any pain so shall continue enjoying life in as much as one can in these covid days.

Home again, my fantastic Carer had left me a lunch in the microwave and I had a quick pud of soft apricots, brazil nuts, a banana and a dozen green grapes.   Now it is 'put on a post before Escape to the Country' - technicolour or not.

So what to write about.   Well Max Hastings writing in today's Times talks about how some things have become so obsolete as to be almost laughable.   He starts with 'the briefcase'.   Who carries a briefcase in these days of the laptop?   Whereas the good quality briefcase used  to be almost a status symbol these days nobody wants one.  To this he added bowler hats, watch chains and gold-nibbed fountain pens.  (I remember asbolutely coveting a gold-nibbed fountain pen - the gold nib was very important).  I am sure we could all go through our possessions and come across things which used to play such a big part in our lives and now are no longer needed or wanted and have been cast aside.   Have you anything to add to his list?

Monday 15 February 2021

Happy 50th Birthday

Happy Birthday today Decimal Currency!   Do you remember the day?  I expect it is one of those days - like the day President JFK got assassinated - that everyone in this country remembers.   I rather think it was a Friday.   Whatever day it was I know I went into Beatties food Department after school with my Deputy - we used to do our food shopping and then go into the cafe for afternoon tea.  Beatties was the 'posh' shop in Wolverhampton, where I lived at the time.   I remember buying three eating apples and being horrified because the  tag said seventy give pence, which sounded an exhorbitant amount.  Now, of course, we are all so accustomed to it that we have completely forgotten pounds, shillings and pence. 

Going back to the cafe my son rang and I told him the story of the day Decimal currency came in.   He was twelve and of course he remembered.   We started talking about Beatties and I asked him if he remembered the shop.   He replied that he did, and the cafe because he once got thrown out of the cafe with his then girl friend for 'snogging' at the table.

I reminded him just how much his school fees had cost and queried whether they had been worth it considering that behaviour.   I remembered when my first boy friend took me into a cafe for afternoon tea.   He and I walked along the pavement, not holding hands.   When he got to the cafe he just turned and walked through the door and over to a table and I followed.   How times have changed.

Alas Beatties is no more - that era has gone for ever - gone the way of pounds, shillings and pence I suppose. 

The coloured stripes don't appear on my poat until I put it up on my blog.   Can anyone tell me what I have done and how I can remove it please? 

Sunday 14 February 2021


 I don't think there has ever been a time when cruelty didn't exist somewhere in the world.   We tend now to think of it as something in other countries - that we are more civilised here.   \but of course, when one looks at the figures for murders here that is not true.   There is never a week goes by when our local news isn't dominated by a murder or a stabbing or some kind of cruelty.

Are we the only species that practises this cruelty?  The animal kingdom has some  kind of order to it where the cat catches the mouse - and tortures it for a while before eating it.   But mostly animals kill for food.

What made me think along these lines was looking through an old box of photographs yesterday and coming across one of me in  our Early Music Group.   During the Summer our group, who all played a variety of early instruments, would at weekends play at various venues - sometimes just us, sometimes with dancers.   One of the places we played at was Warwick Castle and I think it was here that there was an oubliette.   For anyone who doesn't know, an oubliette is a dungeon with just an opening in the roof.   It was often sunk into a pit in the floor so that the victim could be precipitated in and forgotten.   We always played on a lawn next to this and the dungeons.   It was a pretty little corner and the only other thing that was in that part of the castle was the nursery quarters.   It used to fascinate me that nursery quarters and oubliette were so close together.  Human life was held so cheaply that life could be lived like this and children grow up to accept it as 'normal'.

Of course we could go on to add Belsen and all the other places in the Second World War - and many places in the world where life is still held to be so cheap and cruelty is a way of life.

I put the photograph away again - starting to think along those lines particularly when one lives alone, is not a good idea.

So let's finish with a smile.   On our visits to Warwick Castle we were always allocated a room in which we could change into our early music costumes and then just come down a winding staircase into the courtyard.  My first husband needed to wear glasses to play and once we were coming down the stairs in our finery, carrying a variety of early instruments, when we met a family of visitors coming up the stairs.   One little boy looked at us and said,"Ay look - it's King Arthur" to which another little boy answered, "Don't be silly, King Arther didn't wear glasses"!   Out of the mouths.

Saturday 13 February 2021

Saturday Al

What to write about on this chilly Saturday morning - no more snow, the glass has risen significantly and a weak, wintry sun is shining but when I opened the front door to look out I was met by an icy blast.   Yes the wind is stronger.

Another week end arrives.   Why week ends should be harder to get through during lock down than week days are, I am not sure.   All I know is that I am always pleased to see Monday morning - especially so as next week I have several 'dates' booked on my calendar.   On Monday a man is coming to fit another handrail - one which, come Summer, will enable me to get to the dustbins; on Tuesday I have to go to the Doctors for tests and a taxi will come to take me; on Wednesday evening the mechanic will come to collect my car and on Thursday he will service it and return it to me (with the bill I presume).

Next Friday, if everything goes ahead as planned, my friends will move from Windermere to Grange.   At present they are busy packing and hopefully it will be all stations go.

Hopefully too by Monday the snow will have gone and dare we hope that we have seen the last of it for this winter?   For the first week it is pretty but then it becomes tiresome and then after another week just a real nuisance.   That is where we are at now.

If I have crocuses or snowdrops out in my garden then I am unaware of them.   I think in this Covid climate we are even more desperate than usual for Spring to arrive.   This morning The Times suggests that Covid is beginning to recede - let's hope this is true  

Now in the late afternoon the morning's weak sun disappeared quickly and in its place a uniformly grey sky and a strong wind.  The snow has not gone at all today and I am starting to worry that it will not have gone for my Doctor's appointment on Tuesday - I cannot go if there is any snow or ice underfoot.

Michael Palin in The Himalayas to look forward to tonight - wonderful programme.

Friday 12 February 2021


Some days go better than others I find, do  you?   Somehow today, with a perseverence, I have managed to achieve quite a lot in spite of having had a bad night's sleep last night and being tired today.    You could almost say I had been kept awake by a pain in my little finger - well my index finger actually.   I am slowly getting arthritis in my hands and at present it is affecting my index finger on my right hand.

But today I was determined, with the help of my very capable Carer, to get the 'things to do' pile reduced.   The first job was to get the New year sticker on to my Green Bin for garden refuse collection - not needed to be on until February 22nd but I don't want to forget where I have put it, so best on the bin.  My Carer had the bin wiped clean, the old sticker removed and new one on in no time.   And while she was out there she unlocked my car, started the engine (first twist) and left it running for a quarter of an hour to warm it up.   Then she came in and got my Flahavan's porridge - delicious - and my round of toast and marmalade and while I was eating it she did about a dozen other jobs.

She brought in my wallet from the car so that I could look when my MOT expired - I had my first one on this car last ye ar.  I couldn't find the MOT anywhere but luckily friends S and T called and later S looked it up on her computer and let me know the details.   Her computer skills are brilliantcompared with my feeble efforts.  It had expired last week so my next job was to book it in with a local garage for a service and MOT - that done for next Thursday and another job ticked off.   Closely followed by booking a taxi for Tuesday morning to take me to see the nurse at our Medical Centre for Blood Pressure and Heart checks.   By ten o'clock all these jobs were done and ticked off on my list - and I felt good.

One last job was to wait for the arrival of my new trolley with trays and brakes.   It has been on order for three weeks.   It arrived late this afternoon and I feel much safer using one with brakes.   Now my next list starts as on Monday I need to ring to ask them to collect my old trolley without brakes.   But isn't there something satisfying about ticking things off on a list?

My Carer brought me a lunch again today - Scotch egg with cole slaw, salad and a cheese slaw.   I cooked four new potatoes in the microwave for four minutes and then had a really delicious lunch.   How lucky I am to get such delicious meals.   Puds are usually either banana, orange or a dozen green grapes.   Some days I have half a dozen soft apricots and half a dozen brazil nuts.

This evening I watched the last episode of Rick Stein in France - a repeat but I have enjoyed it just as much second time around.   Then it was Monty Don's American Gardens for an hour ending up tonight in New Orleans - what beautiful gardens he showed us.   Altogether not a bad day with the satisfaction of a few jobs done. 

Thursday 11 February 2021

Girls will be girls!

 Reading Libby Purves in yesterday's Times gave me a lot of food for thought   and is on a subject nothing to do with any of my boring things over the past few weeks.   So here's to something completely different.

She is writing about co-education versus single sex schools.   Did you know that in this country for example only twelve percent of State schools remain single sex?

My schooling was 1937 to 1949.   I started out in a Lincolnshire village school - boys and girls.   We all knew and played with one another long before we started school.   In those days it was a small school with only two teachers.   One - Miss Smith  - had been a pupil teacher (common in those days).   The babies adored her and I am sure we all learned a lot with her help. 

The we 'went up' at seven into Miss Kirkbride's class and at this stage the boys left us and all went to the boys' school in the neighbouring village (the villages ran into each other so it wasn't far away).   Mr Laws was in charge here and we all viewed him wi th a mixture of respect and awe (and he certainly never had discipline problems).  At ten I won a Scholarship to Lincoln Girls' High School -a single sex school.   After that I never encountered the opposite sex at school boys, no male teachers.

Living in a village I knew and played with boys all the time.   Maybe it would have been different if I had lived in a town.

Almost all of the Public Schools have been admitting girls for a few years now.  (how much of this is because they need the extra money it brings in in these times when going to Public school is waning) or how much is because these schools want to encourage co-education is not for me to say.   But of the 'top' schools only a handful remain single sex.

There is no doubt that out in the workplace the role of women is changeing.   I really can't remember anyone ever being encouraged to work towards University in my day - maybe they were.   My parents would have struggled but I was consistently at the top end in my class and I am certain that had it been suggested at least I would have been consulted.

Are there fors and againsts in total Co-ed throughout the country or should we work towards it?   I would be interested to hear your views.   I can't say that in the Workplace I ever felt discriminated against and I did rise quite rapidly through my profession to the level I wished to go.

Libby Purves rightly points out that female scientists, politicians and the like still 'attract comments for their looks and dress sense' in social media.   Very rarely do men (although the photograph of our Prime Minister doing his morning exercises on the front page of The Times this morning has slightly altered my view with this statement).  But how much of this has anything to do with single sex or co-education?   Any feelings on the subject?

Wednesday 10 February 2021


It is difficult in these February days to find much to write about other than the weather - five minutes ago I switched my electric flames off because the sun was warming the sitting room;  now - five minutes later, there is a snow storm with heavy snow falling - yet still a blue sky in the distance on the horizon.  So that's it about the weather - no more to be said.

Then there is the subject of Politics - I try never to mention them.   To be honest with so much going on with Covid and variants and vaccinations and also the after effects of Brexit, it is really not a subject I can do anything about and I no longer know what I feel about them anyway.   So best ignore them as far as I am concerned.   I can do nothing about any of it so carry on with however long I have left in this world, obey the rules and ignore the rest.   Is that cowardly or the best option?  I really don't know.

Gardening?   Well six inches of snow covers my garden at present so what is peeping through and whether there is an odd crocus or snowdrop flowering I know not - hopefully I will have a pleasant surprise when all this weather has gone.

Rachel recommended I watch 'The White Crow' - an old film on iplayer.   So yesterday I watched it in the late morning.   I felt almost guilty watching TV then but I really enjoyed the film about the defection of Rudolf Norayev to the West during the sixties.   I remember it well but the film brought it all back.   I almost wish I hadn't given the farmer's jig saws to the Charity Shop when he died because I know Rachel is also enjoying doing jig saws and maybe I could get back into doing them again.   I might look on line and buy one for myself and see how I get on with it.

In the meantime there are books.   At present I am determined to read and finish Virginia Woolf's 'To the Lighthouse'.   I have had several tries before and failed to struggle through it.   This time I am doing better.  I am finding it a bit like reading a set book on a University Course, where one has to read it and be prepared to discuss the characters.   But it is doing me good and making me read it properly.

Blue sky and sunshine again outside.   Shepherd's Pie supplied by my Carer J today - most days she brings me a lunch which is so good of her - so off to the microwave I go.   Until tomorrow.

Monday 8 February 2021

Bright and early.

Up with the lark this morning (I haven't heard one since I left the farm).   In this wintry weather and with the temperature as low as it is, I suspect I have a chilblain on my left big toe.   Having never had one I don't really know but it does wake me early in the morning with a burning sensation on a red patch.   So this morning, when this happened at six o'clock I decided to get up.   The central heating was only just beginning to come on so it can't have been all that cold here overnight and I opened the front door to look out.   There had been no more snow since I went to bed at around half past ten last evening.

I content myself in the knowledge that in another three weeks it will be 'magical' March.   In the meantime Si's wonderful aconites in Newark (surely the best show in the country) are no doubt hidden under the snow and we are in the throes of The Beast from the East again.   No walking along the path with Priscilla today.   I shall watch the film on iplayer which Rachel has recommended - 'The White Crow'- and keep snug and warm.

Has anyone else noticed how quickly time flies when in Blogland?   It is already seven o'clock.   I am wondering whether or not J will get here this morning.  She lives at the top of a steep drive with a nasty bend in it and if it is icy she has to rely on a relative with a four wheel drive to collect her.   We shall see.   In the meantime I shall go and make my self a cup of tea and switch on my electric flames back up in the sitting room so that I have a bit of comfort before she comes.   If anything in the least bit exciting happens during the day I'll be back.

Incidentally, every time I try to click on comment when I put on a post I get a series of pictures of things like motor bikes or traffic lights and I have to click on them and click verify in order to get my comments to work.   Does anyone know how I can get rid of it please?


On the edge

 At the moment The Beast from the East is just further South than us:  all we are getting is snow flurries and then lovely blue skies and sunshine (the latter at the moment).   Long may it continue that way - it looks as though it will be another week when I can't walk outside.  So wear the carpet out again.

I am glad to see that many of you are watching The Great Pottery Throwdown.   If you are not then it was twelve good potters competing and one each week is eliminated.   The potters are obviously the very best because the weekly tasks are so very difficult.   Last evening they each had to choose a 'favourite' singer and from a portrait photograph they then had to fashion a bust.  Choices included Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Ozzy Ozbourne, and they all had a good shot at the project,  some failed miserably during firing.   Their other task - and for this they had less than an hour was to choose and make a pottery copy of a musical instrument- instruments included a harp, a violin, a trombone - every one for me would have been an impossible task but they all had a good stab at it and the violin was superb.   I have never tried working with clay - I know I would be useless but even the least good was 'not bad'.

I do so envy people with a real skill.   My first husband painted - oils, water colours, pastels - anything.   After his retirement from teaching he painted for sheer pleasure and people queued up to buy his work.   It always pleased me that he was so appreciated.

As I have been writing this the wind has risen and what snow there is lying is blowing into drifts.   Negligible at the moment but should more snow fall it will be a different story.   Listening to the radio earlier this morning I hear that the A66 - the Bete Noir round here although much higher than we are - is blocked at Bowes.

Sunday 7 February 2021

Snowy Sunday

Further down the country they seem to have really caught it today.   Here further North it is bitterly cold, there is a strongish Easterly wind blowing and the odd fine snow falls, but nothing settling so far.   Things might be totally different in the morning of course.   And it is set to be like this until at least the middle of the week so best to hunker down and keep warm, which is what I am doing.

My Tesco order came this morning and it took me a long to unpack it, disinfect where necessary and put it all away.   But I could manage a good fortnight if we were snowed in so no worries there.

 So what to report today?   Not a lot really. My Carer and an hour's chat with her as she bustled round tidying everywhere and giving me a helping hand;  a quick visit from Tesco's driver - they are always very efficient and chatty.   It took me ages to unpack and even longer to find the two books of stamps I had ordered (they were stapled to the back of my bill).   After lunch I had a lovely half hour call from J in Australia - it is so kind of her to ring (if you are reading this thank you Joannie) - ten o'clock at night there and hot - Summer there of course - and a nice chat with my old school friend.   Five or six of us, all the same age and in various stages of mobility.   Good to compare notes.  

No walk out - far too cold.  A good read this afternoon and then this evening - Country File and the Antiques Road Show - now being made during Lockdown so no crowds, no audience and nothing like as good to watch.   Then I am watching The Great Pottery Throwdown competition.   Is anyone else watching it?   If so what do you think to it?

Bed time calls.   I am all locked up and the heating turned down to eighteen  so all I have to do is undress and get into bed - and it will be welcome tonight as I had a late night last night.   Sleep well dear blogging friends - see you - metaphorically speaking - tomorrow.

Saturday 6 February 2021


The overriding colour of everything today - I do hope that this coming week might be Winter's last gasp (but don't bank on it, I am not a trained forecaster).  As promised it is raining, there is a miserable fog over everything and a strong Easterly wind is slowly getting up.   Icy roads forecast for morning.   I suppose the one thing to be said for it is that at least we are nicely into February - this weather in November would be much more depressing.

All day today I have thought it was Sunday - until I turned the television on, chuntered to myself about how they changed the programmes these days without warning then gave myself a slap on the hand when I realised it was me.   I had spent a couple of hours searching for my copy of Virginia Woolf's 'To the Lighthouse' which I had been reading yesterday and which had gone missing this morning.   Eventually I found it - in the waste paper recycling bag - it was inside yesterday's Times when my Carer put it in there this morning.   All's well that ends well.

The only other happening today was our usual 40 minute Coffee Morning between friends - always enjoyable.   It is not the same as face to face contact but it is better than nothing.   What would we have done without our magic means of communication?

Keep warm, weather the storm which seems to be on its way and stay cheerful.   One day all this will be just a memory.   I will have popped my clogs by then but the young will be able to say to their grandchildren 'I lived through that.'

See you tomorrow. 

Friday 5 February 2021


Not a lot to write about today - it is easy when the weather is like it is to become obsessed by it.   Rain, snow, fog, bitter cold- we have had them all over the past week and there seems little or no end to it as more of the same is forecast for the next week or so.   And yet - just for an hour - at the end of this afternoon the fog cleared and the sun came out and it lifted the spirits as only the sun after fog can do.   Added to that friend G called on her afternoon walk for a five minute chat from the middle of the front lawn.

Apart from G the only other people I have spoken to today are S, who called to return some books I had lent her, to borrow another book I had recommended (Mothering Sunday) and to bring me a loaf from town as I am in danger of running out of bread before my order  arrives from Tesco  on Sunday morning.   Of course I also had the pleasure of the company of my Carer, J, for her hour this morning and you can't imagine how she cheers me up every morning.   She is like a breath of fresh air.

So, what to write about.   Well every afternoon, after I have done my exercises (at the moment the weather dictates that I can't walk out) I have an hour with my legs up.   I usually watch BBC1's 'Escape to the Country' and the agricultural programme which follows it - thus avoiding the temptation to get up and do something rather than rest.

For anyone who doesn't know the programme takes couples round three houses in their chosen area to see if they would care to buy one of them.   It is always a bit pseudo I feel but I watch because it is interesting to see the areas - mostly picturesque 'hotspots' - never places like central Birmingham.  I also find the houses themselves rather odd in that they all look totally unlived in although they are furnished and are for sale by whoever does live there.   Does anyone really live in such neat, tidy, unlived in properties?   If I was selling my bungalow I would certainly tidy round before anyone came to view but these places all look totally redecorated, weedless gardens, absolutely not a pin out of place inside or out.   Always makes me feel a bit slovenly.

And after that this evening I watched 'Flog It' and Paul Martin did a tour of the  Weather Centre which I believe is somewhere near Exeter.   These days it is all on line and very high tech.   Am I the only person left in the country who lines my barometer needles up every night when I lock the front door and gives it a little tap in the morning to see what the weather is going to do?__


Thursday 4 February 2021


Well, February 4th - no sign of any Spring weather here yet.   Alright, I know it is early but really up here in North Yorkshire we are having a pretty miserable Winter one way and another.  Yesterday around eight in ches of snow falling and although it didn't freeze only some of it went overnight.   This morning is heavy fog and dripping everywhere as the remnants thaw.   Then more snow is forecast for the weekend.  It has barely got light today and there is nobody about at  all.

I have spent half an hour trying to access my Green Bin account but been unable to do so and decided to ring and renew it instead.  Yes, you have guessed it -'your call is important to us, please hold, you will be answered shortly'.  When a human actually made contact she was lovely and dealt with the matter in a couple of minutes.    Our green bin - which costs £25 from February to November - is invaluable.   My gardener fills it easily once a fortnight (it is a fortnightly collection plus a special one for Christmas trees just after Christmas) and it keeps the garden tidy.   Sadly I have no room for a compost heap.

Now one more job to do and that is to access my Gas Bill on line.   I don;t really want to know but best to face up to it! 

So what to write about today?   Well our Book Club book came yesterday - Graham Swift's 'Mothering Sunday'.   It came in the early afternoon.   I started reading it and was hooked.   I stayed up and finished it - it is three weeks to Book Group (Zoom) and I shall read it again nearer the date, but what a good story and how very well written.   I thoroughly recommend it if you need a good read

It is thirty years today since my first dear husband, Malcolm, died of kidney cancer.   We had been married for thirty nine happy years and had shared much music-making together and many happy holidays abroad.  It all seems a life time ago.

In another month it will be four years since my farmer died - two very different husbands but both lovely, kind thoughtful men.  We had twenty three happy years together, travelled all over the US and Canada as well as up the Norwegian coast.   How lucky I have been to find two such lovely husbands.



Wednesday 3 February 2021


 Of course today here in the UK there is much in The Times about Captain Sir Tom Moore and his death at the week-end.   There is no doubt he was an inspiration, especially during a Covid pandemic - but I expect that throughout his life he was probably an inspiration to those who knew him well - his Obituary today reads of many inspirational doings from his role in the campaign in Burma in the Second World War to his devotion to his wife during her long illnes.

It got me thinking about Inspirational figures.   Does everyone have one?   How necessary are they in our lives and what kind of part do they play?

I certainly had a teacher who I found Inspirational.   In the days when I was at school (1937 to 1949) teachers were not allowed to  be married - you either stayed a spinster (or a bachelor) or left when you married.  I am presuming it applied to male teachers as well but thinking about it it may well not have done because I presume it was like this because the 'powers that be' thought of a woman's place as in the home, scrubbing the floors and bringing up the children - and having a plate of good wholesome food on the table for when 'hubby' came home.   We had one married teacher in our school - Mrs Lucas.  She was (we thought) terribly glamorous compared with the rest all women as it was a Girls' High School) - and she was a widow having lost her husband early in the war.

But my inspiration came from my English teacher (Miss Ryder) - I adored her and clung to her every word.   And I went on to study English eventually, qualified as a teacher and had a career in teaching ending up, having for some years been head of a unit for English as a Second Language, as Senior Mistress in a large Comprehensive School.   About, I suppose, thirty years ago, I had a Christmas Card from an old school friend who I had kept in touch with and she wrote that she had been to an old School Reunion and that Miss Ryder had been there.   Well into her nineties and as perky as ever, she was living in a Nursing Home.   She gave me the address and I wrote to her telling her how my career had developed and how it had largely been due to her inspiration.   I had a lovely letter back saying she remembered me and how pleased she was to hear from me.  It never does any harm to tell teachers this - they get plenty of criticism - a bit of praise goes a long way.

I tried to think of others who have had a real effect on my life.  I couldn't think of anyone in particular although I am sure there have been some people who have made at least a fleeting inspiration.   What about you?

Tuesday 2 February 2021


 Good morning everyone on this very different morning.   Yesterday it was an almost Spring-like day - today there is absolute no doubt at all that it is February.  In the three hours since I got up about eight inches of snow has fallen and it is still snowing heavily.   Many of the roads across the Pennines are blocked and although my Carer only lives a mile away from me she cannot get here so I am on my own today.   The first thing I have abandoned is getting dressed.   No-one is likely to call on me today and I am certainly  not going anywhere, not even on Zoom so it is Nightdress, slippers and dressing gown all day otherwise I would use up too much of my rather limited energy.  I have already had to deal with making my own porridge, stacking the dishwasher, tidying my trolley, making my bed and dealing with the commode so although it is only eleven o'clock I am quite tired - and lunch looms (I think probably hash browns, fried eggs and bacon and maybe beans).

I was thinking yesterday after our Book Group Zoom meeting how it was quite obvious that some of us were coping with Lockdown so much better than others.   Those who share their houses with a partner are obviously coping much better.   Those of us who live alone not so well in many cases.   I think I score in that  because of my mobility I had been fairly isolated before lockdown any way.   But I do think that the thing that keeps me 'sane' is order.   I have to have a pattern to my days - however trivial.

Yesterday was easy to plan out.    Carer,  Zoom book group, exercises,  walk with Priscilla, afternoon rest, Zoom with friends, tea and either TV or read.   Today not so easy but there are things which need doing and writing a list and crossing them off is psychologically good for me.   1.  Check my Tesco order and add a few more things I have thought of.   2.  Send an e mail to my local shopping lady for the few things I require once the snow has cleared (it is not freezing).  3.  Order 'Mothering Sunday' by Graham Swift - our next Book Group Book.  4.  Tidy my Computer shelf - and wipe down with a damp soapy cloth.  5.  Do my exercises.  6.  Read the obligatory ten pages of Virginia Woolf's 'To the Lighthouse' (I am determined to finish it this time).  6.  Have my afternoon rest.  I add my blog to this and reading and answering yours and that is my day full.   Then I go to bed satisfied that it has not been a wasted day.

So Tesco calls - snowing less fiercely.

Monday 1 February 2021

Busy Day

It is good to be able to write those words  - so rarely these Covid days.   This morning J, my Carer, came as usual at half past seven and brought me a Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding Sunday lunch to heat in the Microwave (I must say it was delicious).  When she went at a quarter to nine I then settled down to do the Mind Games in The Times to give the old brain a bit of a work out.   At 11.15 it was Book Group on Zoom (The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier) - five of us had almost two hours discussing this excellent book and we had all got plenty to say as we had all enjoyed it.

Then after my Roast Beef lunch, followed by a couple of slices of fresh pineapple (delicious and so cheap to buy) I had a walk down my road in really lovely weat her.   The sun was out and for the first time there was a faint hint of Spring in the air (heavy snow is forecast for tomorrow).   I have rarely been out since I broke my hip at the end of October because the weather has been too slippery so I must take every opportunity to exercise my legs.

Then my afternoon's rest during Escape to the Country and at four a Zoom with P and D in Windermere which took me to a quarter to five.   Now reading posts and replying, then it will be getting my remaining soup from my soup maker for my tea and then a relax.   It is good to be busy..

Quarter past five and only just getting dark - at last the nights are drawing out - it is February, the sun has shone all day and it was light at five o'clock.   All's getting right with the world.   Stay safe and enjoy your evening.   See you tomorrow.