Wednesday, 23 June 2021

My Estate

 I left the farm when my dear farmer died four years ago and I moved the short distance into our little Yorkshire Dales market town - only a mile away or over two fields as the rooks fly.   So everything was familiar and it hardly felt like moving house except for the fact that I was moving to a very much smaller house - or rather from a fairly old farmhouse with high ceilings, bit rooms, a big Aga heated farm kitchen and a big vegetable garden to a small bungalow on last estate before you leave the town - then over two fields and you are at my farmhouse.

At my age of course it was a sensible move and now, after four years, I am used to living amongst people again (the farmhouse was quite isolated) and I am very happy.   It is a lovely estate - a mixture of semi detached and detached houses and bungalows, one or two small modern terraces, several three storey properties - all set at differing angles and at differing distances from the road or from each other.   Trees have been planted and, as a friend pointed out, it rather has the feeling of a separate village to it.    Every one has a garden of some kind - mine is larger than most because I live in a detached bungalow with a garage tacked on the side and a footpath all round and the back garden stretches the full length of the property.   But I used to be a keen gardener and I have a nice gardener now.

There is only one road 'into' the estate and I live on that road so that early in the morning and again at tea time there is traffic going out and coming home. I used to have my dog, Tess, and we walked three times a day every day so that I know a very large number of people on the estate - those who are also dog lovers and walk their dogs daily - usually past my house.   We chat and pass the time of day - so there is always something to look at.   No vehicle goes out into the big wide world without passing me if you like to put it that way!

Today a quite different happening took place just outside my window - for the first time I can ever remember.  A class of children either from the top end of the primary school or the lower end of the Comprehensive have been having Road Safety lessons.   They cycled from my bungalow to the Main Road, round the Traffic Island, back to the road opposite my window, where they turned right (remembering to look right, look left, look right again before turning with the appropriate hand signal).   They cycled out of sight and then a couple of minutes later appeared again.   They were all kitted out in shiny green jackets and helmets.   And the bikes were identical, suggesting that maybe they belonged to the school and that lessons were starting, maybe during P E lessons.  I really enjoyed watching and when Priscilla and I began our walk, after thinking about it I decided to go the same way that I always do - so that I was seen as a hazard to be avoided, and they all did so without being told to do so.

Well that's about all that has happened.   So far the sun is out and it is warm as long as you keep out of the brisk wind.   Priscilla and I did our walk and encountered a piece of hedging with a pink wild rose in bloom.   I smelled it before I saw it - exquisite.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Another Day Bites the Dust

 How speedily the days fly by (especially when you're having fun) - it is not as though I do anything much these days - just living is about as much as I can manage.   It was my Tesco order day- due to come between nine and ten this morning.   It came at a couple of minutes past nine, just as I was managing to push Priscilla along the front path with my newly-potted Gazania (I brought it in last night as there is a threat of a frost (yes at mid-summer) here at present.

The sun was already out and within five minutes the one flower was out (they go in and out with the sun) - it is called 'Tiger Lily' and the flower  is exquisite).  I came back in, washed out the fridge and put the food away, taking some things out into the garage.   Standing in the garage I realised just how long it must be since I had cleaned the garage and so I started.   Bear in mind I can only walk with the aid of Priscilla and have to be constantly on my guard against falling over.   I cleaned out all the cupboards in the old sideboard, throwing away bits and pieces which have been there since I moved in four years ago (it is a good day to do it as it is bin day tomorrow).  I washed down the window sill and the top of the sideboard.   How much better it looked.   You know that feeling of satisfaction you get at a job well done?   Well I got it even if it did take me three hours rather than the half hour it would have taken me in my mobile days.

Since then I have done more or less nothing - just sat in the chair with my feet up and read the paper.  At tea time I took Priscilla round again to the front door and brought in my Gazania.   Already the sun was going in and it was chilly - after a pleasant, warm, sunny day.  Picking up the plant pot it radiated damp warmth - wonderful growing conditions - long may they continue - but oh how we do need rain.

Legs very wobbly tonight after too much mobility but nothing a good night's sleep won't put right.

Monday, 21 June 2021

A New Week begins.

 Everywhere down South of a line from Birmingham to the Wash as they used to say when they divided the country into sections,  is desperate for the rain to cease,   Here in the North our gardens are sadly in need of a decent downpour but none is forthcoming.   Today is cold, cloudy and breezy.   I have added two more layers as the day has gone on.  But it is quite tempting to put on the central heating - on the Solstice.

Our fortnightly chat on Zoom with friends in Cumbria told a similar story of the weather over there.   These regular fortnightly chats, like visits to the hairdresser, my other Zoom with friends, Book Group and suchlike all mean that the days pass by quickly and it seems to be always the week end again.

In just the same way one of the things which makes the individual day pass quickly is my daily walk 'round the block'.   It takes me about three quarters of an hour, plus another quarter of an hour preparation and that is quite a large chunk out of the day.

So, what have I done today apart from the Zoom with friends P and D?   Well this morning friends S and T called for a quick visit and then called after lunch when T oiled a door for me and S kindly potted on the Gazania she bought me as a present towards the end of last week.   Now when the weather warms up again (towards the end of the week according to the weatherman) the pot can take up its spot by the front door where - in the full sun - it will open its yellow and brown striped face every time the sun shines on its flowers.

That's about the extent of today's news so I shall now go and watch Michael Portillo in his fancy attire riding a train somewhere or other.

Sunday, 20 June 2021

Another day

 Well a nice full week-end - a change after months of Covid induced solitude and I have really enjoyed it.  Friend D came this afternoon and spent the afternoon here.   She brought two individual apple pies with her so I went without a pud and we enjoyed them over a cup of tea while putting the world to rights.   She didn't go until half past five and as I always watch Country File and Antiques Road Show that meant that I just had time to do my walk round the block before the News and an evening's viewing.   One long phone call since and it is really time for bed so just a short post this evening.   It has been a fine day again here although the patio was damp when I drew back the blinds this morning - but nothing to speak of.  To sum the weather up - sunny in parts, quite a breeze blowing and when the sun went in chilly.   See you all tomorrow.

Saturday, 19 June 2021

Saturday

Saturday, as I am sure you know, is my least favourite day of the week.   Nothing spectacular happens, nobody comes, it is a non-day.   Today has been a little different and it has made a lot of difference.

I had my walk with Priscilla early, soon after my carer had gone.   I was a little way down the slope when I was overtaken by a man with Priscilla's double - the only difference being that she is red and his was blue. As he sailed past he called out 'mine's faster than yours in a jolly voice'.   On the spur of the moment I couldn't think of a reply other than a rather feeble laugh - later I thought of various things I could have said but of course it was too late.  'Mine's only a Ford - yours is more of a Mercedes' for example - or 'you obviously keep yours better oiled'.   Any ideas?

Since home before ten o'clock I have had several nice surprises.   The first is that my son and his wife are  coming round for a pizza which my son will order to be delivered here.   It must be early as my daughter in law has to be back home for eight for her medication.   But it will break the evening up nicely.   Then friends S and T called - they had bought me a Gazania from the Garden Centre to fill a blank spot in my side border where I lost a plant to frost earlier in the year.   It is now almost four in the afternoon and I have been busy most of the time.  My lunch (scampi, sweet potato chips - cooked in the Remoska and then eaten with a lovely salad) was, as usual left for me by my carer.

And so the days go on - they rarely drag because people are so good - they keep me going.

I spotted an advert in today's Times - Thompson and Morgan the seed/plant people were offering Geraniums very cheaply - presumably surplus stock - so I have ordered one batch of twenty - goodness knows where I shall put them all as I really only need about half a dozen but my son and daughter in law garden as well as both side neighbours so we should all be glowing red as the summer wears on.   It is the Solstice on Monday and it is all downhill after that.   It reminds me that one year the farmer and I spent midnight on the Solstice listening to a concert in Tromso cathedral.   The sky was clear, there were children playing in the street and the outdoor cafes were full of people drinking coffee - there was no suggestion that it was likely to get dark anytime soon.   Happy days.   It would have been his birthday early next week.

Friday, 18 June 2021

A Complaint

I know I have written on this topic before several times so at risk of repeating myself here goes - I am writing about it again.

Since I fell and broke my hip in late October I have not been into our little town at all.   I always go to the Hairdresser each Thursday morning but my Salon is this side of the town so I don't go into the centre at all.   But this week, because their next Client had a Doctor's appointment the taxi had to collect me ten minutes early and instead of asking them to drop me at the Salon I asked to be dropped off at the Newsagent's in town so that I could peruse and finally buy a Gardening magazine.   I then walking gently back with Priscilla and arrived just on time for my appointment - important as the number of clients allowed in at once is limited by Covid regulations.

And how depressing was the walk from the Newsagent's to the Salon?   I arrived totally disillusioned and, in fact, horrified.   First of all our lovely shop, Serendipity, which sold a wonderful variety of quality goods - Handbags, jewellery, china, cards, candles, furniture, bedlinen and a variey of other things - and was a real Mecca for tourist traffic (many stop here for a coffee stop on their way for lunch at The Wensleydale Creamery) has closed.   Yesterday I saw that Costa Coffee, which was housed in what once  was our HSBC Branch and had fairly recently been totally refurbished before it closed, had also closed.   Its windows were filthy, rubbish was piled up in the doorway and weeds grew all along the path edge.   It was disgraceful.

Two major shops in the town closed.   It is only a small town and the shops are distributed round the Market Square and quite unmissable.   What kind of impression does it all give to visiting tourists and what kind of welcome to the few thousand inhabitants?   Very poor I would guess.

Yes - I admit it.   I am old fashioned.   But I have spoken before about Joe Hardy who, when I was at Primary School in the village eighty years ago, was what we called the village'Road Man '.   His tools?  A long handled, stiff sweeping brush a shovel and a wheel barrow.   Our Lincolnshire village never had a scrap of rubbish anywhere.   If it did then when you passed Mr Hardy working away at his own pace, you told him.

Now we have a fancy brush on a lorry - it goes along the gutter, sweeping it clean.   It doesn't pull up any weeds in the gutter and, of course, it can't get into doorways.   Is it not possible that a couple of men could be found for this, and many more small towns and villages, and employed as modern 'road men'?

The added advantage of Mr Hardy as far as we kids were concerned was that on wash days (always Mondays) Mr Hardy's smalls were hung on the line by Mrs Hardy and small they most certainly were not because he wore what I think were called 'combinations' - a kind of sleeved vest and long underpants in one, with a large hole at 'bottom level' for obvious reasons I presume.   And on a windy day (no pun intended) they flapped amazingly in the breeze!

And, by golly, dare to drop a sweet paper in his sight and you got what for. 

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Swearing

 Is it just me or does anyone else feel the same.   At school we were always taught that if we couldn't think of a better word to use than a 'swear word' then we needed to work on our vocabulary.   I never heard my father swear other then perhaps the occasional 'damn' if he hit his thumb with the hammer or something like that.   Neither did I ever hear my brother swear.    Later, when I married, I never heard my first husband swear - and I am sure he knew a few approopriate words having been in the army (and a prisoner of war) and when I married the farmer, early in our marriage I said to him,'I have never heard you swear David.   Do you swear?' and his immediate reply was, 'not in front of ladies'.   Have I just been lucky or were we old fasioned?

I ask these questions in the light of revelations in today's Times about e mails between politicians (I really don't think at the the moment they deserve capital letters) in which every other word is the 'f word' - and I ask whether the use of the f word as an adjective adds anything use ful.   Surely all it does is to 'soil' the question and belittle the questioner.  I wonder how such communications will be viewed in future generations.

Do you have a view on this?   Is there a time and a place for such language?   I think not but then, maybe I am just old-fashioned.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

This and that

First of all,   - what memories I seemed to have stirred up yesterday - we don't forget our childhoods do we?   You all remembered teddies, dolls in their prams, bikes, lego, dolls' houses - so many treasures and the litle things like scraps, card dolls with outfits -I'm sure we were all transported back a good few years.    As I have said before - a moment enjoyed is never wasted.

And so to today.   The weather here gets closer by the minute.   After the catastrophic floods around our towntthree years ago I think we are probably all a bit apprehensive about the next day or two when severe thunderstorms are forecast.   We have to take whatever is thrown at us but we are hoping for the best.

My garden is in severe need of a drink.   Friend S arrived a short time ago with two plants from her garden which needed splitting up.   They are now sitting in the shade on my patio in a bucket with damp soil in the bottom and I have left a message on my gardener's phone asking him to call in and help.

Things 'go over' so quickly in this weather.   They seem to be only in flower for a couple of days before their flowering period is over and they are dying back.   But I have found in the past that cutting off the flower heads and then waiting for a good rain quite often produces a second crop of flowers.

My telephone has been out of order - my landline.   Paul, the engineer, came at eight o'clock this morning and said he had mended it but it still has no dialling tone so I am waiting for my son to finish his day's teaching before I get him to sort it out for me again. 

We have reached that time of year when there is little to watch on television unless one is an ardent sports fan - football, racing and tennis are the order of the day today - none of which I am remotely interested in.    But are you watching The Great British Sewing Bee?   If so then you will know that it is the final tonight.   Do you have a favourite to win?   I certainly think that the Frenchman is the most talented, but all three finalists are so talented and such 'fun' people that I shall just sit back and enjoy it. 

Until tomorrow dear old friends. 

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Toys

I watched 'The Bidding Room' on television this afternoon.   I have not had a brilliant day and have felt very tired.   Apart from usually watching 'Escape to the Country' during my three o'clock siesta I hardly ever watch television during the day.   But today I did my usual walk although I felt tired and it was something I should not have done.   The last half of the walk is uphill and I had difficulty getting home.  So after lunch I rested and watch The Bidding Room.   On it were two Face Screens - not particularly valuable (£65) but very pretty and they brought back memories for me.

If you don't know what Face Screens are they look a bit like hand-held mirrors, made of papier mache with pretty handles.   They were used in the pre central heating days to screen one's face from the heat of the open fire.   (In Jane Austen's time)

They were beautifully decorated with scraps.   I had completely forgotten scraps.   Are you old enough  to remember them?   I have no idea when they went out of fashion but when I was a child in the thirties we used to save up our pocket money to buy books of scraps - small sticky backed pictures which you peeled off and then stuck in books you were making.   I particularly remember buying scraps of wild flowers and birds and sticking them in special books.   I haven't seen any for years and years.

In fact I don't think children have 'toys' like this any more - everything to 'play'  with seems to be in one way or another related to the smart phone.

I tried to think of other toys I had but really I could only remember one or two.   I did have a doll's pram and I did have a succession of bikes as I grew. I expect children still have pocket money (no doubt much more in proportion than we had when money was less plentiful).   Maybe dolls' houses and toy trains were both still 'in fashion 'but I can't remember much else.

Can you recall any of your toys? 

Monday, 14 June 2021

Reverie

 Reverie is a state I spend a lot of time in these days - now I have a carer who also brings me meals and cleans for me there is little else for me to do.   I have a long (for me) walk each day and then potter.   Yesterday I got to thinking about 'time'.

It is forty-five years this September since my son left home to go to University in Manchester to read Music.  Forty-five years - he now has children and one grandchild and another on the way.   Where has the time gone and how can he possibly be sixty three when his childhood seems like yesterday?

It is sixty nine years since my first marriage - a very happy one which lasted thirty nine years and after two and a half years of widowhood I married my farmer and it is now four years since he died - and it seems like yesterday.   Where has time gone?

It no longer seems possible that so much time has elapsed.   And I certainly don't wish I was young and just starting out on life now - but I expect that is how every generation feels.

What has prompted me to write along these lines?   Well each day during schol term time a bus which takes Primary School children from outlying areas to the Primary School parks down a road just opposite my sitting room window.   As I set out this morning on my walk round the driver got out and I stopped to speak to him for the first time.   At 84 he is still driving and has no intention of retiring.   He insisted on doing the whole of my walk with me, going the long way round to his own house.   The company was very nice and we both enjoyed the chat (he too lives alone).   And we got talking about time and what a strange concept it was.

Somehow I think the older one gets the more one thinks about 'the old days';  not a day goes past when I don't think of some incident in my childhood, my school days, my childhood friends, escapades,  they all seem to float to the surface of my thinking.

Changing topics completely - my landline is out of order and BT are coming to look at it on Wednesday morning.    In the meantime the appointment I had this afternoon with The Falls Team has fallen by the wayside.   They always ring before they arrive just to make certain I am in.   I rang them but only got an answer phone, I left a message but obviously they haven't received it as the time has long passed for their visit and nobody has come.   All I can say is that it is a good job I walked round with my bus driver friend this morning otherwise I would still be waiting for them without having had my walk.

Are we to have a hold up in release from the final stages of Lockdown?   It would seem so - we shall know later today and as distressing as it may be we must abide by what the experts say, especially now we have got this far.   It does look as though we must grit our teeth and carry on.

In the meantime I must look seriously into buying three or four low growing shrubs for my rockery which is plagued by the Mares Tail weed.   Preferably they should be evergreen.   Any suggestions anyone?


Sunday, 13 June 2021

Sunday

Never my favourite day of the week as families usually stay together and living alone I have a feeling of being left out.   I know other friends feel the same.   But today has gone quickly and has been enjoyed.   H, my friend and neighbour, came round for a cup of tea and a chat about this and that (usually about gardening as we are keen gardeners - or perhaps it is fairer to say we were in our younger days but find it physically too demanding these days.)

We enjoy our chats and have a look at the garden, although as my garden is on different levels we stay on the patio and view it from afar.   In addition to this taking up part of the day, my landline has gone awry and is not working.   My son kindly repor ted it for me and after a lot of three way chat between me, my son and BT they are coming to inspect things on Wednesday morning.

My carer came as usual - I enjoy her company as well as the care she gives me and I really miss her on the one Sunday each month when she doesn't come.

In spite of a weather forecast for it being very hot and humid it has not been like that here.   There has been a fairly strong Westerly blowing all day and it has certainly not been humid at all.   The Country File forecast this evening tells us that temperatures are set to fall considerably this week and thunderstorms are also forecast from mid week onwards.   Any moisture of any kind will be welcomed by everyone - gardeners as all the gardens are so very dry and watering is a chore and farmers because certainly round here first-cut silage has just about finished now and the fields need a good rain to persuade the grass to start growing again.  In a good year farmers often get three cuts of silage off the fields which means their cattle manage well throughout the winter for feed.   When you think that in the 'old days' farmers made hay, got just one cut off each field and made it into a haystack.   That had to last the cattle throughout the winter and anything else that the farmer hadn't grown had to be bought in - hence root crops were often added to the diet.   Nothing was wasted.

My late father in law, who had farmed all his life, would stand and watch my husband silage a field and watch his son (my farmer) collect in the silage.   Then he would go round each field with a wooden hay rake and rake all the bits and bobs of grass out of the hedge bottoms and pile it up so that my farmer could come and make another bale of silage with it.   Nothing was wasted.

Another Monday tomorrow and - for me - quite a busy week.   Tomorrow The Falls Team are coming for another follow up visit (so they say - I acually have it in writing this time), Wednesday BT are coming to inspect my landline and, as usual, Hairdresser on Thursday morning - quite busy for me at any rate.

 

Saturday, 12 June 2021

Saturday

 What to write today?   It is so hot and humid here today that it is hard to shake off a lethargy.   I was sensible and took my walk early - even before reading today's Times - I was back home by ten o'clock and by the time I had watered my pots, had a coffee and spoken to a neighbour who had had very sad news it was lunch time.   The afternoon passed with my doing little or nothing other than sit in the sun reading my book (Hilary Mantel's 'Eight Months in Ghazzah Street') and trying hard not to fall asleep.

This evening I have watched Michael Palin's travels through Poland - a very sobering programme which told of their suffering in the Second World War and then in the Communist Years, and then when it was cooler I cleaned out my fridge!   Altogether a mundane sort of day.

See you tomorrow...

Friday, 11 June 2021

Money to burn???

 Oh dear.   Earlier this morning, on somebody's post, I commented on how many 'tens of thousands'' were being spent on the G7 Summit.   I think I said 'tens of thousands' - how very wrong I was!   I don't want to go through it all but here are just a few facts garnered from today's Times.   Seven point eight million spent on lengthening Newquay Airport's runway to accommodate the landing of Air Force One.   In fact probably as much as thirteen million so that the US Contingent of Osprey aircraft could land.All this plus the cost of five thousand Police, four hundred Secret Service Officers and a Warship off the coast.   I could go on but I won't - it is all too depressing when I think of the hunger, the suffering, the lack of vaccines etc., etc., in the poorer countries of the world.

Let's try to think of something more cheerful.   It is good to see that the identical twin caught by a crocodile and saved by her sister who beat it off by repeatedly bashing it on the nose, seems to be recovering.   I didn't know that the crocodile catches its prey and then drowns it by repeatedly dragging it under water.   Not the best way to find out this information but it does look as though the young lady is going to recover and that has to be good news.

Although it is now mid afternoon the wind seems to have slackened a little so I think I might go for my walk with Priscilla.   The sun has come out and it is certainly not cold.   I think, counting the days, we have probably had more Summer so far this year than we had in the whole of last year - and that is good news if anything is.   See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Thursday morning early

 I have been awake for an hour but I slept well so although it is very early I decided to get up - I don't want to go off to sleep again and then sleep too late for my carer's arrival.  I lay awake after a good sleep anyway.

I am an avid watcher of the Sewing Bee programme on television.   For anyone who doesn't know it has been a competition to find the champion needle 'person' in the UK.   This week was the semi-final - three women and one man left in.   One person to go.

There is a theme each week and this week was 'The Forties' - three challenges.   The first one was to make a pair of 'Oxford Bags' in four and a half hours. Then each week there is a challenge to make something from an existing garment in ninety minutes- this week to make an evening dress from a wartime parachute, and finally to make a garment - this is the big challenge -the next day - in almost six hours to make something inspired by Christian Dior's New Look.

When one gets used to watching a programme like this each week one tends to get 'hooked' on one personality and just hope all the time that they are going to succeed.   The bags went well although they looked so complicated - pleats in the front either side of the zip - and that itself looked impossible - it had so many pieces (an extra piece to protect one's 'personal bits as the final male contestant delicately put it) and the parachute challenge was impossible (especially in ninety minutes) - then the Dior challenge the next day.  Now that was really interesting and resulted in four fantastic garments - one not finished, one with a bad mistake on the front.   But it reminded me of the old times.

I remember the old days.   I was fifteen in Dior's time of bringing in 'The New Look'.   My friend and I were in the chapel  choir in our village - I played the organ but for the choir we also had another organist because I sang too.   We gave concerts in the surrounding villages and we always sang a duet (she Soprano and I Contralto).   A really special one was coming up and I vividly remember what we wore (and what we sang - 'Sheep may Safely Graze') - we thought we were the Bees Knees in 'The New Look .   We wore what were called 'Two pieces' - identical in everything but colour - a shin-length frilled skirt and a jacket with a nipped-in waist and a frilled piece below the waist.  Her outfit was green with brown velvet buttons and mine was red with black velvet buttons.  She wore brown shoes and I wore black shoes (identical with a strap over and high heels) - she had red hair hence the green and brown outfit and I being brunette wore the red - conventional to the last.

We thought we were The Bees Knees.

When one watches a programme each week one does tend to become attached to one contestant and hope that they win.   So it was with me and my 'chosen one' was eliminated.   She had tears - everyone loved her and everyone had a tear in their eye as they gave her a hug.   She spoke of her pride at staying in until the semi final and how proud she was of her achievement.  I needed to wipe my eyes and I suspect there wasn't a dry eye in the house in many homes.

Wednesday

 Sorry, no post yesterday.   I had too busy a day and when I finally got round to switching on I was too tired to hit the right buttons.   But I am up bright and early after a good night's sleep, the sun is shining and it is a quarter to seven so I switched on, read all your yesterday's posts and I have come ov er to my own just to say 'Good Morning' before I go round, draw back all the blinds and look at this morning's news before J arrives, and eat my breakfast.  It is another beautiful day - I'm sure the plants in my garden are crying out for rain but I am sure the farmers want a few more days to get all the silage in - and I must say that the newly cut grass is beautiful.   See you later friends.

After lunch now and jobs done.   I have walked right round the block bright and early and really enjoyed it.   Met my gardener on his hands and knees weeding a garden on the estate and stopped for a chat.   Put today's washing, which my carer had put in the washer, into the tumble drier ( I am not steady enough to peg it on the line), sorted out the newpapers and magazines from the week-end and eaten my shepherd's pie with mixed veg (delicious) and my mixed fruit salad with yoghourt and watched the one o'clock news.   I don't wish to hear or read any more about whether or not the Queen was consulted about the Sussexes calling their new baby Lilibet - if they didn't ask HM then I think it was bad manners and rather unthinking of them but I don't expect we shall ever know the real truth - so let's move on.

The skyis clouding over rapidly but sadly I don't think any rain is forecast.  My newly planted plants are desperate but there is no way that I can water them, I am not steady enough.   I do manage to water my tubs outside the front door so that's better than nothing.

How quickly the weeks fly by - Thursday (hair day) again tomorrow and my taxi has to come ten minutes early because someone else has booked for my time (I usually book on Tuesday morning but forgot yesterday).   Still, if that is my only worry then I am lucky - I am sure you will agree.   Until tomorrow friends, when I hope I will have something to say rather than this mundane post

Monday, 7 June 2021

Busy Day

What a busy day I have had and with the high humidity here today the combination has made me very tired indeed.   It is days like this which make me realise that I am not so much a Spring Chicken as an Old Boiler.

This morning was Book Group and they have kindly agreed to meet at my house now so that I can get there.   Many step entrances to houses totally defeat me these days.  There are eight in the Group but for various reasons only three were able to meet today but we had a super meeting - lots discussed and in depth too.   The book was Marcel Pagnol's 'My Father's Glory and my Mother's castle'.   It is a Memoir and is, without a doubt, one of the most beautifully written books I have read in a long time.   Do read it if you get a chance - it is not easy to get hold of a copy.

We had an hour's rain this morning, which was nowhere near enough but was more than welcome.

I had lunch and then decided I really must at least walk round the block.   I should have had more sense with the degree of humidity.   I stopped to speak to N, who lives close be, and we chatted for maybe ten minutes, after which I found it totally impossible to get going again - I had seized up!  I struggled round the block with difficulty and arrived home to find my gardener there mowing the lawn.   All I needed was a sit down and a cup of tea and maybe an hour's sleep before the Zoom with friend's W, P and D at 5pm.

They were a bit late arriving as their shopping trip overran but then we had a happy forty minutes chat.   Then a sandwich and another cup of tea and now, here I am at almost 7.30.   The lawn is mowed, the gardener gave my new plants another water so I am a bit happier about them now.

All I have to face now is to empty the dishwasher and then sit down for the evening.   Visitors for the day tomorrow but family so no special effort.   See you then....

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Memories

 Memories  -again Thelma has stirred up memories as she looks through old photographs.   For our trips abroad  David and I kept albums of photographs and every day I mean to get one out and begin to look through them because once I have gone there will really be no point in anyone keeping them because they will mean nothing to anyone else.   I appear in only a few because I was the photographer but they do bring back so many lovely memories of our trips around the World and I am not ever likely to go anywhere again - in fact I have no desire to go anywhere again.   But I so often recall places we have been and people we have met (our friends in the Netherlands who we met in Norway and have seen so many times since for example).   My first husband once bought me a little plaque with a picture of a girl sitting at a piano playing and a quote underneath which said 'A moment enjoyed is never wasted' - very true.

When I put my table place mats away this morning I put the box on top of a studio portrait of me aged five = a child - it was taken eighty four years ago - I can remember it being taken and I can remember the turquoise woollen dress I was wearing.  Photos are also things that stir up memories which float up like cream to the top of your coffee - they may not always be accurate but I don't think it really matters.   I am sure when I look through our holiday photos I may remember the wrong place, or the wrong holiday - but it will stir up happy memories all the same.

And that brings me to another question (I am in questionable mood  this week).   I saw a short film on television about life on an island of 1500 inhabitants in the Outer Hebrides - only 300 had had Covid.   Some of the older islanders had never left the island and had no desire whatsoever to do so.   Would their life be any less rich than ours?  Charging all over the place, wandering about in foreign places,  ancient and historic sites, meeting people from different countries - it all dies with us. Perhaps it is just up to us to make the best of whatever life has given us (or if life gives you lemons make lemon curd) and benefit from it and pass that benefit on to one another.

Are you a traveller or are you a home bird?



Saturday, 5 June 2021

Offloading.

 I smiled at Thelma's post today (North Stoke) about what to do with possessions when moving house.   I was the same when I moved here four years ago after my dear farmer died.   I had a Minton Haddon Hall design afternoon tea set.   I kept it and when my son came round he said he would make a cup of tea for us.   When he brought the trolley in he brought the Minton tea cups and saucers.   In twenty five years I had not used it - I used to joke I was keeping it for when the Queen came to tea.   I remember once before when his wife asked if he could get her a glass  of water, he came back with a Brierley crystal glass.  (For many years we lived almost next door to the Brierley Crystal factory.)   I just don't think these days that younger people bother about such things.   Not sure whether this is a good thing or a bad thing but it does rather raise the question that Thelma asks - is it worth keeping things like this when it is quite probable that no-one wants them after us?

I have asked a similar question before regarding small things of little or no monetary value and what will happen to them when I am  gone.   I was reminded of the question again this morning.   I have Book Group here on Monday morning (observing all the Covid rules) and sitting in my chair I saw just how dusty and dismal the fireplace area looked so I got a damp cloth, a duster and some window cleaner for the water colours and set  to clean it up.   It was very hard work  - certainly too much for me.  I managed to lift everything off the mantel shelf on to my trolley and then lifted one water colour off the wall.  It took such a lot of doing that I didn't even attempt to remove the other one.   Then I lifted the ornaments off the mantel - they are treasured - they come from Mesa Verde in the US, China, Alma Ata, Lincoln, Local clockmaker, Russia, Salamanca and Mesa Verde again.   None of them have any value in monetary terms - they were holiday souvenirs brought back so they will lose that connection when I go.   I wonder what will happen to them.

Maybe we place far too much importace on possessions.   What do you think?

 

Friday, 4 June 2021

And so it goes on.

Day after day of almost wall-to-wall sunshine - we are getting used to it and it is lovely;  just warm enough to be very pleasant and with a gentle breeze. Because the warm weather is not being kind to my legs (they tend to swell in warm weather) I am not doing my long daily walk at the moment - just the walk round the top of the estate on the flat ground.   But this morning I really enjoyed it and met a friend and we had a pleasant ten minute chat which set me up for the day.   This afternoon I sat on the patio for an hour soaking up the sun and now it is early evening.

The day has been quite non eventful.   I sailed through the mind games as I do on some days.   Other days I struggle - maybe my brain works more quickly some days than others.   This morning I was up very early - before six o'clock.   I have a tablet to take on Friday mornings and I must take it, drink a full glass of water with it and stay upright for half an hour before I eat anyt hing.   Last night I put the tablet and the water out on the trolley by my chair.   Did I take it?   In spite of being up so early - no.   Not for the first time I completely forgot it until my carer came.   Now it is out to take it tomorrow.

Until then old friends..... oh and I'm sure we all wish John a lovely weekend in London with his friend. 

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Thursday

 Thursday is my one marker day in the week.   All the days more or less merge into one - the only slightly different one being Thursday when the taxi collects me at twenty past nine to be at the hairdressers for half past.   Today being 'cut' day I didn't get back home until half past ten and by the time I had had a coffee and read The Times it was almost lunch time.   I haven't seen the sun at all today - there has been a thick layer of cloud, but now - at seven in the evening, I see the cloud is clearing and there is blue sky.   And I did so wish it would drop just one good heavy shower to water the new plants D my gardener put in.   But no such luck.

I do find that now I have to use Priscilla to walk, people are really very kind.   Today is 'dustbin day' - one week it is the ordinary rubbish bin and the other week it is the garden bin (I have no room  for a compost heap and so pay £22 a year for the compost lorry to call) together with plastic box for glass, tins and plastic containers and blue bag for newspapers and magazines.   In addition they take cardboard boxes.   I think it is an excellent service and because of my age and degree of infirmity they collect everything from the top of my drive rather than the bottom on the roadside.   Priscilla and I go out when the men have been and bring in the various boxes and bags and there is always somebody passing who will call out and offer to do the job for me.   I always politely refuse any help - we have our little routine and don't wish to appear completely helpless.

When I think of all the things I used to do - going out to lunch frequently, going off to meet friends for coffee and such like - my life has diminished somewhat.   In a way Covid and regulations have made it easier for me to get used to it all and now that I can no longer drive a car either I find it is so long since life was 'normal' that I no longer miss it. It is called 'growing old gracefully' I think.

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Another blissful day

 Another blissful day - wall to wall sunshine, air full of the smell of new mown grass and the sound of happy birdsong, nobody in a rush and all car windows wide open.   I must say on the whole we don't get all that much summer weather here in the UK but when we do get a spell of it we make the most of it.   In the last few days I have seen more mens' bare legs than I have seen for a long, long time.   Very few of them exciting.   We are an estate on the whole of retired folk and legs don't age all that well on whichever sex we are looking at - some would say they are best left covered.   But a bit of sun on them does them good and who the hell cares anyway?

When my son and daughter in law came for lunch yesterday my daughter in law brought me an agapanthus seedling - she is a keen gardener but like me, because of lack of mobility she has to have a gardener (the same one as me).   I am now going to have my lunch (a lovely salad left by my carer) and then have a read up on how to nurture it.   I will be back later.

Right - the spirit is willing having read up about the agapanthus - but as yet the flesh is weak.   I shall plant it on some time today - it is in a tiny pot and wants a bit of space and nurture to grow.

When I took the seedling  out of its pot it was very rootbound - the tiny pot was full of thick, healthy-looking roots but they were far too interwoven to separate.   I have potted it up in Levingtons in a larger pot, given it a good water with rainwater sunk the pot into the ground in full sun right at the front of the border where I can keep an eye on it.   Now it must take its chance.

Educational 'top up' is all over the newpapers today.  I have no desire to enter into a political argument as I try to stick to my 'no politics' blog, but as a retired teacher, particular one whose whole career was based around children with some kind of special need - from English as a second language through to reading and learning difficulties - I am saddened already  to know that it is the children from under privileged homes, from inner city schools, who will suffer.   Middle class parents have made sure their children have the right equipment, the right facilities and the right encouragement to keep up on the whole.   I know this is a generalisation and there will be many exceptions in both camps - but it is a problem that has always been there and will not go away.

Until tomorrow dear friends.......

 

 

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

A Lovely Day

 What a lovely day I have had today.   My son's wife was having a stairlift fitted and to get out of the way while they were working (the staircase comes down into the sitting room) they were coming to lunch.   It is the first time they have been inside my house, or anyone else's in fact, since the beginning of Lockdown.   In the event the stairlift men had made a mistake and it is next Tuesday they are coming so I get two visits for the price of one.

What a lovely day I have had and how lucky I am.   My lovely carer turned up with a quiche (my son is vegetarian and that way we could all eat the same thing), a  bowl of home made potato salad and a plate of cakes.   So there was not much for me to do - a salad to make, jacket potatoes to put in the oven.   I had made  tomato soup in my soup-maker yesterday and we were having ice cream (it is a gloriously hot day) for pud.

We sat in the garden the whole afternoon chatting and listening to the rooks in the trees.   The farmer has cut the field over the wall today for silage (brings back memories) and the smell of grass was beautiful and added to the feeling of Summer.

We had tea at six and then watched an episode of Star Trek - they are avid nightly watchers.   After they had gone I tidied round and emptied the dish washer.   My son protested loud and long that he should do it but I knew if I let him put everything away I would then spend an hour putting it all in the right place after they had gone.

It is now one minute past ten and I am falling asleep at the wheel as it were.   See you tomorrow.