Saturday 31 July 2021

The Olympic Games

I am very much enjoying The Olympic Games - along with Sue.    She in her house in Suffolk and me here in Yorkshire.   It is the first thing I do when I get up in the morning and I watch until my carer comes.   All the way from Tokyo to my breakfast table.   I never cease to marvel.

Some people, including my son, do not think they should have been held considering the incidence of Covid in Japan at present and apparently the fact that the majority of Japanese were against them going ahead because of this. 

I weigh this up against the months and now years these young people have spent honing their skills and putting their everything in to striving for a medal in the Games.  Do you have a view on whether they should have gone ahead or not?   If so I would love to hear your point of view.


In other events this week end, we have had one or two heavy downpours and the gardens are looking better for it.   It hasn't just been a shower it has come down in a sheet, flooding the roads for five minutes or so and then it has passed over and the sun has appeared again.   'Good growing weather' as my old Dad would have said.

L, a local lady, does a bit of local shopping for me between supermarket deliveries.   She has just brought me Bananas, oranges and strawberries, together with two kinds of biscuits (the Book Group meeting is here as usual on Monday ('Never Let me Go' by Ishiguro - not the most cheerful of books)I shall now go and prepare the strawberries for my tea.   Care to join me - they are Scottish strawberries - the very best.

Friday 30 July 2021

Daisy, Daisy!

 Going to the Hairdressers yesterday morning a couple passed riding a tandem.   It is the first time I have seen a tandem for many years and it brought back such memories.   I rather think I might have shared this with you before in the distant past - but to indulge myself I shall tell you all about it again.   It was quite early in my first marriage (5 years), we were living in a bedsit.   This is not as bad as it sounds - we were very happy there and it was a very large house with large rooms which had all been converted into bedsits.   We got very friendly with our neighbours and really had a happy time.

One evening my husband came home from work and announced that he had 'bought us' a present and I was to come outside and see it.   Intrigued I went out and there it was - a Claude Butler Tandem.   I had barely ridden an ordinary bike (when I  did so a few years later I promptly wobbled across the road and fell off - the big thing you have to learn pretty quickly with a tandem is that if you are the rider on the back you have to pedal like mad but never under any circumstances try to steer) and he insisted that I got on it there and then and had a ride.

We cut our teeth on it over the Winter months riding round the flat lanes of Lincolnshire and by the time Easter was looming on the horizon we felt we could tackle something a bit lengthier.   At the time my sister and her family lived in Lowestoft  and we decided that after work on Thursday evening we would set off and when we felt like resting we would find a B and B for the night before going on on the Saturday.

That evening we got as far as Terrington St Clement where we stayed in a roadside pub for the night and then set off again through the lanes for the sea.   We stayed at my sisters on the Saturday night and then we set off back home on the Sunday morning.   There was a strong back wind blowing and we sailed along.   One thing I remember was that I had a lovely yellow cardigan which my niece coveted and she has a very short  pair of green shorts which I rather fancied - so we did a swap.  I got quite a few wolf whistles on the return journey - remember this was 1957 and really short shorts were not the everyday item they are today, and I have always had long legs!

We made good time on our return journey, stopping in a pretty village with a lovely War Memorial for a picnic lunch.   I wish I could remember the name of the village - I have looked on the road map but I can't find it (I shall no doubt remember it in the middle of the night).   We seemed to fly along - an AA man rode behind us for a while (in his motor bike and side car!) and then pulled alongside to tell us we were doing (I think I remember) 29 miles an hour.

When we got to Sleaford I had a bit of a hiccup insisting I could not possibly go another mile.   I sat on the side of the road and had a cry.   We were only seventeen miles from home and eventually my husband persuaded me to contine.   We arrived at my parents' house at around ten at night and of course my mother had a bed all ready for me to tumble into.   What a marathon journey.

We sold the tandem early the next year - why?   I was pregnant with my son by this time and we were short of money and in any case tandems and babies are not really good companions unless you are a cycling fanatic.   But our 1957 adventure has stuck in my mind ever since.

Just a one off adventure I have never forgotten.

Thursday 29 July 2021

The Last Time.

This evening on television I watched Chris Packham doing his favourite walk.   It was a walk he did many times with his father when he was a child and then as an adult a walk he did alone many times as he came to terms with his loneliness and his dealing with his Asperger's Syndrome.   And he talked about his father - now old and unwell- and speculated on when his Dad had done the walk for the last time.

I have so often thought of this 'last time' happening. The farmer and I went on long walks in the Dales when we first started 'courting' in 1992.   But then gradually I was no longer able to walk so far and he began to go with a walking group and without me.   But I have no recollection of which was the last long walk we did together.   Similarly after breakfast each morning when he let his cows out after milking, Tess my Border Terrier and I always went with him and walked back round the fields looking what was out.   The first orchid in the hedge bottom, the first marsh marigold in the beck, the first baby rabbits.   But then one day my ankle made the walking in the fields too difficult.   But I can't recall the day when it was 'the last time'.   In fact life is full of 'last times' isn't it?  But we can rarely recall when they were and certainly for me there is a certain sadness in this as though 'yes, I enjoyed it, but had I known it was 'the last time' I would have enjoyed it more.'

Some last times of course are easily remembered - the last day at school (we threw our school hats in the river - it was a tradition), the last day at University, the last day in a particular job.   But the really precious ones usually escape our memory and we can't reconstruct any sort of picture of what it was like and how we felt.   I can't remember for instance the last time I saw my father, or my mother.   I lived a long way from home with my family, both were ill for a while and I went to see tthem (both in hospital) when I could.   But the last time?   That I can't remember.

Memory is a strange thing isn't it - and not always reliable.   Some enjoyable moments in my life (and not always 'last times') were such fun - my first husband and I played in an Early Music Group (in costume) with a group of musical friends - some long dead now- we had some great times but looking back how I wish I had enjoyed them more.   Or would that not have been possible without hindsight?

Some memories we get all wrong - others we tend to embroider (especially those of childhood like fishing for sticklebacks, climbing trees etc,) but there will always be some which however hard we try we just can't recall, some events which would now never happen again (like those marsh marigolds and David's voice saying 'they're out' when he came in for breakfast one morning).

Wednesday 28 July 2021


 Never underestimate the value of friends.   As you will know if you read my post yesterday, I did not have a good day - everything that could go wrong did go wrong.   By bedtime I really resembled a wrung-out rag.  But I slept well and woke up giving myself time to open up the bungalow, draw up the blinds and be ready for my carer.     She is always very welcome and this morning was no exception.   By the time she went I was breakfasted, showered and dressed, my bed was made and all essential jobs done.   How lucky I am there.

But my troubles yesterday were all still sitting there.  I had accidentally in my flustered state pressed CLICK AND COLLECT rather than HOME DELIVERY last evening when putting on my next Tesco order and try as I might I couldn't change it.   A quick call to my son last evening and that was done in a flash - so one tick off the list.

My son had put me a new black ink cartridge in my printer (a new printer and this the first cartridge so I just couldn't figure out to do it for myself) but it still wouldn't oblige.   This morning early friends S and T arrived and - for the cost of a cup of coffee (T is partial to my Lazy Sunday) managed to sort it all out for me.   When I had tried to order my drugs on line yesterday   my medical practice had rejected all my efforts telling me my password was wrong.  After half an hour my printer was working perfectly and when I tried to order my drugs my password worked a treat.   All problems solved and a lovely helping of broad beans to  clinch the matter.   What I would do without friends like S and T I can't imagine.

So now it is lunchtime, my stir fry lunch is all ready - I shall pod the beans and add them to the mix - and that is all I shall do today except read your blogs later on.   Have a good day friends.

Tuesday 27 July 2021


 As I write this black clouds gather overhead in an ominous fashion, huge spots of rain fall on the patio and thunder rumbles fairly close at hand.   S who lives next door but one has just come to see if he can put any surplus greenery into my green bin for morning - I have said yes of course.   I do so hope we get a proper storm with a good drop of rain as anyone who gardens here is desperate for some of the wet stuff (I know most farmers round here have cut their losses and got in their silage as it had stopped growing and was 'going backwards''.)

I have had a most frustrating day today.   We all have days like this I know but it doesn't make it any less annoying.   My carer no longer comes on Tuesdays - it doesn't do me any harm to care for myself now and again.   I got up at my usual time, had my breakfast, watched a bit of the Olympics, got washed and dressed and did the basics.   Everything takes me so long.  (maybe having to do things for myself on Tuesdays will give me the practice which will speed me up a bit).

My carer had put the 'white' washing in the washer to do in the morning so I thought I would surprise her by switching the washer on and doing one lot myself.   While it was doing I thought I would eat my lunch which she had left in the fridge ready to microwave (roast beef with all the trimmings including Yorkshire pudding) and it was delicious.   Tidying round after that I overbalanced, grabbed at my trolley, missed and fell over on the carpet.   Luckily, although shaken I didn't hurt myself but couldn't get up, so had to ring my son who had to come round and heave me to my feet.   A cup of tea and a sit down later and I was quite recovered although a bit shaken.

Then my son came round again to put a new ink cartridge into my new printer for me but after an hour of trying he gave up - his wife is an invalid and can only be left for a limited time.   So I am now marooned here without a working printer and shall now have to get in touch with friend S to see if she can help in any way (if you are reading this S - if you have time to spare some time soon could you please have a look at it for me).

Well it is raining.   It is tea time and I shall go and find something for my tea.   At present it is not a formidable lot of rain falling but at least it is wet.

Monday 26 July 2021

Heavy weather

Today the weather is very heavy and I am finding it difficult to move around and make much effort to do anything.   Luckily I had two bills to pay - one to L for buying my salad things in our little town and the other to her husband who does my milk round, so I forced myself to write out two cheques and walk down the road nice and early to post them through the letter box -  this is on my usual route.   I was back home before it got really hot.   Switching on the television I found when I returned that we had already won two Gold Medals - One to Adam Peaty in the Breast Stroke and one to Tom Daly and his partner in the High Diving.  What a good start to the day.

I followed that with a decision to go the hospital next week by taxi to avoid close contact with a lot of people.   I have made the reservation and can forget that too now. 

The Chiropodist came at lunch time to give my feet a treat and the Lifeline Lady came shortly afterwards to check that my Lifeline button was in working order (she calls once each month).   Lunch over I began to put on a Post but the weather is so very hot and close that I just couldn't summon up the effort to do it, so decided to wait until it was a bit cooler.   No rain here at all yet but a photograph on the front of today's Times shows water welly-high in St James's Park in London.

The snail has not moved far - I can find no reference to anything remotely like it on line - at this rate I shall never find out what it is exactly.

I now have a fridge full of salad things - tomatoes, Romaine lettuce, beetroot, olives, quiche - and an unstarted cucumber on the worktop - all I need is to summon up the energy to amalgamate the lot into a salad tea - the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. 

And speaking of flesh - the article I read on snails on line  said that all British snails are edible. Well I adore mussels and all shellfish - and I don't suppose that snails are any different really - but could I eat one?   Definitely not.   Cro, if you read this I dare say you are partial to a snail or two but sorry to say they are definitely off menu for me.   What about you?   Has anyone out there ever eaten a British snail?   Sophisticated Frenchies don't count - I am speaking here of a good old rustic British snail you might meet half way up a lettuce leaf.

Sunday 25 July 2021

This and that

 Priscilla and I walked very early this morning, as soon as my carer had gone.   There is an article in my this month's magazine devoted to legs and blood clots.   It didn't tell me anything I didn't know but it did reinforce the need for me a) to walk and get as much exercise as I can and b) to always wear my compression stockings.  I am due to visit the Specialist at our local hospital on the 3rd of August - at the vascular Clinic.   It is important that I go and see him because there is no doubt I do need to wear stockings.  Getting there is a problem at present as the Hospital Transport System phone is out of order and it is text only - something I am useless at - but I shall try again in the morning.

As always it i==s getting started on the walk that is the nuisance - once I get going I am fine - and, of course, Priscilla does as she is told (fingers crossed).   I got back in time to switch on and watch The Ladies Cycle Road Race at The Olympic Games - it was incredible.   I don't know how long it was (it took about four hours) but the same rider (Austrian) led from the beginning - tactics were thrown out of the window.  I hope Rachel was watching - if so she is much more knowledgeable than I on such things.  She was not expected to be in the medals at all  but she never once faltered.  W hat a surprise for those in the know.

A cup of coffee followed and a couple of chapters of my Book Group Book.   It is the meeting on the first Monday in August.   I have read the book before ('Never Let Me Go' by Ishiguro) but it is worth reading again - he writes well.

It is noticeably cooler today - just pleasant for the time of year.   As usual all the lavender plants I pass - and there are many on my walk - are covered with pollinators.   I stopped at one bush and roughly counted them - there were at least thirty bumble bees all different colours and sizes - all sated and covered with pollen; Summer is indeed in full flow.   Few honey bees around but as friends S and T say - there are maybe few hives around here.   I seem to remember from the days when my first husband and I kept bees that honeybees only go about a couple of miles from the hive.

When I was dead heading yesterday I saw the most beautiful snail on the fence.   I am going out in a short while into the back garden to sit in the sun.   I will take my camera with me and if it is still there I will photograph it and attempt once again to put the picture on here.   So I may or may not see you later.

The pesky snail had moved about an inch from yesterday - but that inch was slipping through the gap between my house and next door so I can no longer see it all.   I thought I would prise if off the wood and put it somewhere to photograph - I had no intention of harming it, it is far too beautiful - but by golly it had a hard grip or whatever snails have because I couldn't budge it.   I shall now go on line and see it I can see what it is - if I find it I will report back.

Saturday 24 July 2021

Just a feeling

 This kind of weather seems to fill the air with a kind of apprehension - as though everyone is waiting for something to happen and as though that happening might not be very good.   In fact I think a good thunderstorm might clear the air once and for all and make us all feel more 'normal'.

Priscilla and I walked around 'the circuit 'at half past eight this morning, before many folk were about and while the air was cool, almost chilly , but it was still tiring.   I came back to a coffee and an hour with The Times, a wander round a thirsty garden, and just recently a lunch.  Walking round I contemplated what to write about on my post today but had no inspiration at all.  I will be back later when something might have sprung up and hit me between the eyes (don't mean that literally)

I spent an hour in the garden this afternoon with just my scissors, cuttting back and dead heading plants.   The Osteospermum has been great this year - it has been out for weeks and weeks but this week's hot, dry weather has finally finished it off.   I have five large clumps and there were dozens of sagging, dying pink heads so they had to come off.   Luckily I could reach them all from the patio without going up any stairs (strictly forbidden.)  Then there are another four Gallardia plants, now in full flower and again some flowers are beginning to die, so they need to be cut off to encourage new flowers to form.   So it was round with the scissors again.   You might think it silly using scissors rather than my secateurs but when I am also trimming back the plants to make nice, neat cushions and also balancing and trying to hold on to Priscilla (or sit on her seat when possible) scissors seem safer and easier to use.

There is no sign of rain although earlier in the week the weathermen said there would be rain up here by the weekend.   Thunder and lightning is everywhere down South but no sign up here and although some was forecast for tomorrow that too seems to have disappeared.   Last words on tonight's weather report were, 'next week is set to be cooler and wetter' - well I hope so and my plants do too.

See you tomorrow (figuratively speaking of course)


Friday 23 July 2021


 A lot of heavy, black clouds floating about as it begins to get dark (9.15pm) but no rain forecast for up here in the North - it is all destined to fall down there in the South where you have had plenty.   This intense heat has more or less finished my pots off by the front door - I cut the flowers right back yesterday, gave them a good watering and this morning I fed them.   I will give them a couple of weeks to recover and if they don't then the two large ones will have to be emptied and redone with something like pansies which will last over winter.   My pot of Gazanias and one of Pelargoniums are thriving - but then they love the hot weather.

I set out on a walk this morning.   There was a nice cool wind blowing and I thought it would be reasonable to walk in it.   But by the time I had gone a couple of hundred yards I knew it was going to be too hot.   M next door neighbour was gardening in the front garden so I chatted to her for ten minutes or so and then came in for my salad lunch.   And then I fell asleep.

I awoke to find friend S tapping on the front window.   She brought me my first 'boiling' of broad beans (always my mother's favourite summer vegetable) and some very pretty courgettes.   I had them for my tea - they were a taste of Summer - sheer delight.   How can some folk not like vegetables?

That is the sum total of the work I have done today.   It has just been too hot and I have been unable to summon up any energy.   Friend B, who used to live up here but moved down to Kent a few years ago, rang at tea time and we had a lovely chat.   How nice it is to chat with old friends.

So I have failed again to tot up six folk to speak to today - I have only managed J, my carer, M, my neighbour, S my friend who called in, B my friend who rang and D, my son who called and chatted through the window and collected half of S's vegetables to cook for their tea.   Well that's five so not too bad for this hot weather.

See you tomorrow.   Sleep well if you can on these hot nights.

Thursday 22 July 2021

Early in the morning.

 Surely the very best time of day when the weather is like this - everything smells and feels fresh and clean, there is a stillness in the air and a quietness - that feeling that 'all's right with the world'  - a feeling which gradually disappears as the sun gets hotter and the news filters through and you begin to realise that in fact very little is right with the world.  So I shall cling on to it until The Times pops through the letter box and I switch on Breakfast television.  Hairdressers today so my weekly trip into town and my taxi arriving at twenty past nine to take me there.  Masks not obligatory but I shall continue to wear one - Covid lurks.   A dear very old friend has died in the village - of pneumonia which started as Covid I understand.   So in the last ten days that is two old folk who have passed on - very hot weather does not suit the elderly does it - one was 102 and one 95.  Both 'ready to go' to use their own words. 

It has been exceedingly hot here today - far too hot to even think let alone do.   But needs must and my pots all needed a good watering and dead-heading.   So Priscilla and I set to work as soon as we returned from the hairdressers.  Hard work for me - I have an outside tap front and back and both have hoses permanently fixed, so it was out with the scissors to dead-head and then a gentle watering - I did it morning and again after lunch.   I could almost hear the plants saying  'thank-you'.

I forgot to watch Hemingway this week so I shall now go, pour myself a coffee and watch it on iplayer.   My large thermos flask is filled with freshly-made Lazy Sunday coffee each morning by my carer - and it is such a good idea.   Keep cool.

Wednesday 21 July 2021

Gone forever

 I arose just after five this morning - it was hot and I knew I would not get back to sleep, so I came on to my computer and wrote an early post, ending by saying that if I thought of anything to add I would be back later.   Well, in The Times TMS an actor, the son of a Bishop, was talking about the Seven Wonders of the World.   When he was a small boy he heard his father preach on the text'Man does not live by bread alone' and he remembers thinking that man could very well live on just that if it was but toast.  He went on to say how he didn't think some of those seven were all they were cracked up to be - the one he particularly mentioned was The Great Pyramid, because it was now just situated in a very ordinary suburb of Cairo.

That set me thinking of what I would choose as a Wonder these days.   My subjects are English Literature and Music so all scientific subjects are above my thinking - the same goes for Mathematical things - so I chose the one thing that I know little about but which has had such an influence on my life.    I chose Machinery/Electricity.   As I sat here this morning  typing my post a machine was washing the breakfast dishes, a machine was doing the washing, another machine was drying a load.  On this very hot and humid day another electrical device was keeping my milk from going sour (this weather in my mother's day meant cream cheese for tea as the milk would have gone sour.)  A tractor and various trucks and machines were cutting the grass in the field behind the bungalow and carting it away.   I could go on.   Sufficient to say that my father, himself an engineer for the whole of his working life,  would not have believed the changes in the last fifty years - oh and add to that the two richest men in the world each chartered an space ship this week to take them to the edge of space.   What next?   What would you choose as a modern wonder?

That is all I shall write today having just spent an hour in the front garden dead-heading the plants in my tubs- they are getting past it.   A good feed in the morning and hopefully they will put on a spurt of new flowers.   sleep well.

Tuesday 20 July 2021

Bright(ish) and early. - again

Oh dear.   This hot weather (the same temperature here yesterday as it was in Cro's garden) is not altogther to my liking.   I can do little.   I seem to spend most of my day sitting in the cool of the sitting room with a cold glass of something, reading, doing the Mind Games, watching Escape to the Country (I have done) or even (dare I say) dozing.   I only really come alive during the evening when the sun begins to lose its strength and even that is not happening at the moment.   At least I am wearing a T shirt, which never happened last year.

My carer is now having Tuesdays off.   It has always been her day off but since coming to me last November because she lives near she has made the exception and come to me each morning at 7.30  for an hour.   Yesterday was the first day when she didn't come (apart from some Sundays and that too is going to become a regular thing).   It does me no harm at all, in fact it is good for me to take more responsibility but things do take me a long time to complete.   I was rather pleased with myself because I managed to do a load of washing and tumble dry it - she will come this morning expecting to put the washer on and I have done it.  Before you tell me off for tumble drying when it is such lovely weather - how I would love to dry the clothes outside in the fresh air - but my balance is not good enough to peg the clothes on the clothes line.

An early start again I see from the time on my computer - 6.27am - and a grey sky.   But another scorcher is forecast for today before the weather is set to break from the South tomorrow.   Then I suspect there will be high jinks up there in the sky!  A nice break yesterday afternoon when friends T and S called and we sat in the shade in the back garden and had a coffee and a chat - spent a lovely hour.   They are such kind friends.   And S did a little job for me, she dead-headed E A Bowles, my perennial wallflower - she lives high up on the rockery and I cannot any longer get up there to do such gardening jobs.   Now I know that within a fortnight she will be flowering again - so thank you S.

I'll be back later if anything exciting happens, in the meantime I shall put on my dressing gown, open up blinds and the front door and watch Breakfast until my carer comes - she will be doubly welcome today.   I do hope she realises just how much I appreciate her. 

Priscilla and I walked round the estate early before the sun burned off the cloud and mist (now, a few hours later, it is a scorcher again.   )I always read the T M S in the Times and today an item made me smile so I thought I would share it with you.  Hugh Dennis, the actor, was thinking about the seven wonders of the world and how some of them at least were no longer to be considered as such.   He quoted The Great Pyramid of Egypt which is now just in any old suburb of Cairo.   Hugh  (the son of a Bishop) thought about what his wonders would be today.   His father preached once on Matthew 'Man shall not live by  alone' and he, a small boy at the time remembers thinking that man could if it was toast.   And I got to thinking what my seven wonders would be.   English Lit and Music being my subjects, all scientific and medical achievements have gone right over my head so all I am going to say is that for me all seven could be covered by the word Machinery.   I sit here typing - my dishes are being washed, my tumble drier is working, my clothes were washed yesterday, D came and mowed and strimmed my lawn, a machine is cuttting the silage in the field behind my house, Tesco will soon deliver my mother would not believe it all.   Oh and the richest man in the world went to the edge of space yesterday and parachuted back.   Tires me out thinking about it.


Wall to wall. for debate - is all lying wrong?

 Yes - another day of sunshine all the way.   Living as I do in a rather hilly area, this kind of weather always worries me in case it ends in storms and flooding.   Climate change is no doubt the culprit and I don't for one moment suggest it is a figment of imagination.   But when we have a rotten Summer, as we so often do - I do tend to hear people my age complaining that the Summers are not like they were when we were kids.   How every Summer was hot for weeks on end.  I suppose memory is a funny thing.

However, that is not what I wish to raise today.   I watched five minutes (on the News) of Dominic Cummings.   I shall not watch the whole thing on tonight's programme, I don't suppose we shall ever know the whole truth.   But it did set me thinking about lying.   I am not speaking here necessarily about 'important' lying, although that in itself is a matter for debate - isn't all lying wrong?

So - m y question today is 'have you ever lied?'   You obviously don't have to own up to it - in fact of course if you are an inveterate liar then you will obviously lie and say no.   So let's think about the question in a different way - theoretically speaking is it always wrong to lie?

There are white lies:   You are in a dress shop with your best friend and she comes out of the changing room to show you a dress she is contemplating buying:  "Does my bum look big in this?"  Bearing in mind that she hasn't yet bought the dress then I think it is kinder to say "Yes" if it does.   If on the other hand she has bought the dress, is wearing it for an important occasion then surely a white lie,a fib if you like, is surely kinder - "No - you look lovely in it" fits the bill and does nobody any harm.  I am sure we have all been guilty of this kind of fib at one time or another.

But many 'major' lies are not necessarily spoken anyway.   In the case of Cummings versus Johnson we are never going to know the truth.   Maybe the truth lies somewhere in between.

Oh dear.   I think I have opened up a can of worms here and I need to put the lid on quickly.   So just let's say - let he/she who has never ever lied under any circumstances - in words or in behaviour which amounts to the same thing - step forward and take the Gold Medal.

Monday 19 July 2021

Good Morning!

These bright, light, early mornings are not conducive to 'sleeping in' - it is light, it is sunny, it is barely 6am but no longer can I snuggle down and have another hour.   So here I am at the computer and reading others who have the same feelings.    The Bike Shed set me off with thinking about our National Parks - and The Yorkshire Dales in particular -  living only two miles outside it it is the one I know best.   So I shall now put on my dressing gown,(this weather means that sleep of any kind is only possible wearing nothing but what I was born in and that is no longer a pretty sight in which to greet my carer (I like to think it was once upon a time when I spent hours sitting for my first husband to paint)) draw back the blinds and listen for her cheery 'Good Morning!' - she is always on time.   I will be back later having thought about what The Bike Shed has to say.

Living in a National Park.   Well living a couple of miles outside does make life easier when it comes to things like Building Regulations but that really would not concern me at my age anyway.   So I will dispense with that.   But there are things which affect me and everyone else up here - things which have a plus and a minus side.   Most villages within National Parks are full of picturesque cottages lining the narrow roads.   Some are second homes so that in Summer they are occupied - either by the owners or by holiday makers.   But the word that matters is 'occupied'.   Because they are car owners the question arises where do they park their car/cars?   The answer of course is the same as it is for all the residents of the village - on the side of the road (both sides of course) outside their property or as near as  possible.  Because of course most 'picturesque' cottages were built long before cars came along.   Driving through these villages, especially once everyone is home in the evening, is a nightmare.   The gap for moving cars is very narrow.

In our little town we have a more than adequate Car Park and out of the holiday/rambling season we can all park easily, especially on Market Day - also Cattle Market Day.   We have a lovely Market - as have many of the small towns within the National Parks - ours has an especially good Fish vehicle with fish fresh that day from Whitby.  But in order to find anywhere to put the car you have to be there before the Ramblers have parked up for the day and gone off on their walk.   And tourist coaches drop off loads of visitors on holiday - we are a good stop for coffee before travelling on to Hawes and lunch and a tour at the Wensleydale Creamery - and this of course is very good for our local coffee shops and tourist shops.   But it is not all plain sailing.


I n many ways we are so very lucky.   We live in the most wonderful scenery, the spirit of community is second to none, many families have been here for generations, farming is the local 'industry' and dominates many aspects of life - everyone knows when it is 'shearing time' or 'silaging time' or 'milking time' - all these aspects of life up here are enviable and reasons why so many people move up here.    But I am sure if I drove a tractor and huge silage truck through any of the villages up here I would try hard at silage time to get as many journeys done before everyone came home and parked up for the night.

The scenery in all the National Parks is wonderful - that is why they have been designated as such.   And we have the benefit of that all day and every day.   Do drop in if you are anywhere near - but be aware you might find parking a bit of a problem.


Sunday 18 July 2021

Good Morning

Bright and early.   My dear God-daughter and her husband came yesterday - we had a lovely day doing nothing.   They had driven for two hours, directly across the country from Lancashire to Yorkshire and we just sat and chatted.   I  had a job to stay awake several times but they were good at keeping my eyes open (and my cup of tea level so that I didn't spill it).  They set off home just before the hour's catch up of Le Tour.   I watched that, sat in my chair and woke up well into the night - it was dark and when I put the light on it was in the early hours of the morning!  I managed to go round locking the doors and drawing the blinds before tumbling into bed and I have just woken up at almost seven o'clock.   I must go now and unlock ready for my carer - I'll be back later for the doings of today - not much I hope as I expect to be tired today - but it was worth it to see them both and to see them so happy together.

I hope Le Tour is on TV at 4pm ish - -  it doesn't show it in the Times but Rachel and my son both assure me it is on so I eagerly looking forward to it.   The last stage of all and hope that Mark Cavendish features somewhere in the results.   The scoring system is so complicated that I have yet to understand it but I have learnt a lot about it this year and will learn even more another year if I am still here.

It is another hot day but a lot more cloud today and a cooling breeze.   Priscilla and I went round early and watered the tubs using water from the water butt.   Surely it will soon be empty and then it will be harder unless of course we get more rain.

Tom talking about past holidays on his  post set me off think about the wonderful holidays I have had first with M for thirty nine years and then with D for twenty three years.   Which holiday was the best he asked?   Well all I can say is that there has never been a bad one either in this country or West or East.   Cockroaches in the bedroom in Mongolia was a bit scary but wouldn't have missed it for the world.The Blakeney Hotel  in  Norfolk took some beating in this country.   The hotel in Dallas, Texas was a dream.   As to the places - well everywhere new is fascinating isnt it?   Seeing Guernica - seeing The Night Watch- standing in S t Mark's Square in Venice, standing eating in the Square in Marrakech - every experience widens one's horizons.   Sadly it all dies with you.

See you in the morning.  Hope there are no mistakes above but I am very shaky today so I wouldn't bank on it.   Off to Paris now  (I wish) 

Friday 16 July 2021


 The door locked and unlocked a dream.   This morning the lock slid open to let my carer in, then it locked easily when I went for an early morning walk round the block and unlocked easily,   Late morning H, my neighbour, brought me a love posy of deep purple sweet peas.   Luckily the window into the sitting room was open because the door wouldn't unlock.   Try as I may it was firmly locked and determined to stay that way.   Reluctantly I phoned the locksmith - he is a nice, genuine chap and  it is a hot afternoon and he lives in Northallerton, which is twenty two miles away.   He came immediately - it unlocked first twist.    I made him a cup of tea, he fiddled about with it and decided it was the heat (it is a very hot day and the door faces due South).   He is going to ring me on Monday to see how it has behaved over the week-end.   I made him a cup of tea, which he appreciated but he totally refused to accept any money for petrol for a forty odd mile journey.   I do feel guilty but it can't do anything other than express my appreciation.

It has been a really hot and humid day here and I struggled round and watered all my plug geraniums and all my pots.   I was surprised to find that they were not as dry as I expected them to be - the humidity in the air I expect.   The dreadful floods and loss of life in Europe  can, like so much extreme weather over the last few years, be traced to climate change and hopefully may bring about a co-operation between nations to do something about it.   Although I doubt it.

Le Tour finishes this week-end and I shall miss it.   Rachel and my son together have carried me through it and I am so looking forward to the final stage on the Champs Elysees  on Sunday afternoon. My fingers and toes are crossed for Mark Cavendish.  

Tomorrow dear friends for lunch.   I have just set the table - the speed at which I do things these days means I have got a half hour head start in the morning.   And they are coming specially early to help. 

See you after they've gone.



Thursday 15 July 2021


 Rudyard Kipling knew cats well.   He must have done to write 'I am the cat that. walks by himself.  All places are alike to me'. I really think that very few people are indifferent to cats - we either  love them or we don't.   I have had cats for most of my life but then changed to dogs when I moved into the country and retired, giving me time to take my dog for a walk.   But we always had much loved farm cats - they always got well fed and of course being a dairy farm for some years they never went short of milk (they were not above helping themselves).   Ernest, a gentle but rather stand-offish tabby - lived to a ripe old age.   As he was originally a stray we didn't know his age but on the day he died the farmer came across him lying on the path in the garden, obviously very sick.    He came into the house looking for a box (Ernest never came in) so that he could put some sweet smelling hay into it and put him in the shade somewhere.   When he went back with the box there was no sign at all of Ernest.   The next morning the box had not been slept in but the farmer found Ernest, dead, under the shed.   He wished to die in his own way.

Today the lock on my front door broke.   I had to ring the locksmith, who I have had several times before.   He is very good and came more or less straight away.  This time it was the expensive inner mechanism which had broken so that had to be replaced not repaired and it cost me £130.   But it had to be done.  After he had done we sat chatting and he told me about their stray.   I dare say many. many people could tell this, or a similar story = I have heard it so many times.

Several years ago a stray cat 'adopted' them.  After several weeks of hanging around the back door and deigning to eat some of the food which they put out for him (only that which he chose to eat) he came in - first j ust into the kitchen and then, as the weather got colder and they lit the logburner,  he would curl up in front of it and really make himself 'at home'.   That is until the onset of Winter last year when he disappeared one day and they never saw him again.   They worried about him on cold nights and left the shed window open and a box with a blanket in it and often food - but it was never interfered with and eventually they decided that he had probably died.   They had become fond of him and were quite sad.   A few weeks ago the locksmith saw him sitting in the kitchen window giving himself a good wash  .....of a house four doors away.   The woman was in the garden and he asked her if it was her cat.   She replied that he had just turned up one day last Autumn and made himself 'at home' and had been there ever since.    She remarked how 'picky' he was with his food - how he only liked the best, but how they had really grown fond of him.     

The locksmith didnt tell her where the cat had come from.

   Would you have claimed him as your own or would you have left him where had chosen to go?

Wednesday 14 July 2021


 At last the sun has arrived after a good downpour a couple of days ago.   So today was the day to plant my last few geranium plugs.   Because I was planting them they have all been planted right up against the edge of the patio wall - that is the only place I can reach and plant safely without the risk of falling over.   Already the soil is very warm and what was a good damp mixture has dried out on the top so is best left undisturbed.   How I wish I could clamber about like I used to in the garden, cutting back plants which have gone to seed, seeing where bits of Mare's Tail are poking through and cutting them off at ground level.   But I have to accept that I can't do it and that's that - at least when D, my gardener, has done it I can admire it and that gives me pleasure.

My God-daughter and her husband are coming to see me for the day on Saturday and I am trying to get everywhere shipshape (with the help of my carer) before they come.   I am constantly staggered by how much she can get done in her allotted hour - more than I can get done in a day.   She is so very thorough - wiping the skirting boards, dusting the walls and ceiling, washing the window and the patio doors, polishing the furniture.   Makes me tired to watch her.

As I sit here a very large, very fat pigeon is wandering about on my rockery pushing between the newly-planted rock plants.   Do I go to the patio door which is open and clap my hands to chase it off or do I allow it to do whatever it is doing, which appears to be pecking in the soil?   Is it finding pests and eating them?   I hope so.   In any case, if I go to the trouble of getting up, getting my frame and walking slowly to the patio door and clapping my hands the pigeon will fly a few yards away and sit on the wall until I disappear and then it will return to carry on doing what it was doing previously.

I shall be sad when Le Tour is over at the week-end (or should I say Le week-end?) I have enjoyed the round up at 7pm every night and my son and Rachel between them have kept me educated to a large extent.   It is a complicated scoring system and many seem to drop out before the end for one reason or another.   As Rachel says it took her some years to work it all out.   So I shall stick with it.   But I shall miss that TV hour.

But I shall watch the half hour programme which, if you are a Strictly fan, should be enjoyable.   Craig and Bruno are travelling around Britain - an Australian and an Italian respectively they know so little about their adoptive country and are hoping to find out a little more.   Cornwall tonight - so here they come.   It will be interesting to see a) how they dress and b) how they behave in such a different environment.   If you decide to watch it do let us know how you think it is going.

See you tomorrow.....

Tuesday 13 July 2021

Hello sun!

 At last - goodbye to the grey skies, the ground has had a good watering - we had eight hours of good solid rain yesterday- and as the day has progressed today so the clouds have rolled away and now it is all white puffy clouds and deep blue sky.   Beautiful.

From today my carer intends to miss coming on Tuesdays, which means I have to get myself up, washed, dressed, breakfasted and everywhere tidied round.   Takes me a long time.   By the time I was ready to have a walk it is mid afternoon and as soon as I set foot on the drive I realised I was too tired to go far.   So Priscilla and I walked to the top of the road, crossed and came back on the other side and that was plenty for the day.   I watched 'Escape to the Country' in the East Riding of Yorkshire (an area I know well from may days of living in Lincolnshire) and am now about to get a sandwich for my tea.   Then it is put out the recycling for morning and that is me done for the day.   As  is often the case these days - the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.The weather is never right for us gardeners is it, but I must say that there has been rain to some degree every day since last Friday morning when my new plants were put in, culminating in a good solid eight hours of pouring rain yesterday so the sunshine today is just what I wanted.   Now with a bit of good fortune all my new plants will flourish. There are some keen gardeners on this estate and all the front gardens are looking a picture.

I had a lovely present through the post this morning - The Royal Horticultural Society's Quiz Book on Garden Plants.   It came from my grand-daughter and will be perfect for the cold, snowy days of winter.

Tonight will be the third episode of the series on Ernest Hemingway on BBC Four.   It is an excellent programme and if you haven't been watching it I do urge you to give it a chance and catch up on previous episodes.   Searching about through the channels means that really it is rare for there to be nothing of note to watch.   Really these days we are bombarded with information aren't we?   I am not sure it make us any wiser at the end of it though.  In 'the old days' we had to find things out for ourselves - now it is handed to us on a plate without any effort on our part.   How times they are a'changing.

Until tomorrow dear friends......

Monday 12 July 2021

Monday - another week.

 Grey but humid and no sign of the sun today - at least is giving my plants a little respite from the hot sun, and the odd shower to help them settle in.   Once the burning sun comes back they are on their own - there is no way I can get up there  to give them any help with watering.   What would I do if I didn't have the garden to worry about I sometimes wonder.  What a super hobby it is, even when you get to my stage of life when even the simplest weeding is almost beyond my efforts.

Well, football fever is - hopefully- beginning to abate.   What a pity it is that it has become so violent and abusive.   For many years, when I was a child, my father was President of our local village Football Club and in those days each club had a  number of tickets allocated and my father and my brother went to Wembley.  t hat is until one year when going to the ground my father and brother got off the train at King's Cross and my  father had absolutely no choice which way to go - he used to say his feet never touched the ground until they got to the Stadium.   He never went again.   I thought of this last evening and wondered what he would have thought of what he endured that day plus the violence, the abuse, the drunkeness - he would have been appalled.

We have now had a wet afternoon but at least all the tennis is over before the weather broke.   There is a lovely photograph of Prince George with his Mother and Father at the EuropeaFinal - he is looking up at his Dad and cheering like mad at the goal England scored.    The only thing is I do wish he had been in a football supporter's shirt rather than a suit and a shirt and ti.e.   This generation of the Royals has lightened up so much surely that would not have been a step too far for a little boy.

Until tomorrow, when hopefully I will be back to normal.  (whatever that is)

Sunday 11 July 2021


  • Sport has been at the forefront of everything on the television for the last few weeks - Le Tour, Wimbledon, Football...........I have enjoyed some of it - Le Tour, which I have never watched before, has really grown on me and I have become really hooked on it, trying never to miss the round up at 7pm each evening at least.   Yesterday my friends P and D came over from Morecambe Bay for the day and together in the afternoon we watched the Ladies' Singles Tennis Final and I found that very exciting.   I think it needs to be watched with someone - watching it alone is not any good for me at any rate.   Today I had my friend and neighbour H round and we chatted all afternoon and when she had gone I switched on the television and the match was only just that moment over - it had lasted over three hours so obviously there had been quite a battle.   Tonight of course there is the Football Final - I could definitely not stand the strain of watching that.   But now maybe there will something else on as well as sport and that will almost make a welcome relief.
  • My week-end has been enjoyable but very busy with my dear friends coming.   They have not been for a long time because of Covid but the gap and now this week end and has made me realise that, sadly, my entertaining for the week-end days may be over.   A day is just about as long as I can manage before I am too tired to carry on.
  • It has been a dour sort of day here - thick dark clouds and the odd spot of rain - probably good for my newly planted plants who are having time to settle in in damp soil without a burning sun on them (I believe we are to expect that later in the week).   I am so relieved to have taken the decision to plant up my piece of garden that has MaresTail (thank you Derek for the encouragement).   From the patio (which is as high as I dare go now) I can't see any of the weed that my gardener misses so what the eye doesn't see etc.
  • I am off now to watch today's resume of Le Tour.   Back to normal tomorrow hopefully.

Friday 9 July 2021


 How quickly Fridays come round - it always seems to be Friday, have you noticed?   I got off to a quick start today as I knew my gardener and his assistant had promised to come.   I have friends coming over from The Lakes tomorrow for lunch and they are keen gardeners.    It is three weeks since my lawn was cut - it was in flower with Birds' Foot Trefoil and it really did look very beautiful - but not in keeping with the rest of the road - where everyone looks after their front gardens and takes a pride in them.

The two of them came around eleven o'clock.   D mowed the two lawns and J weeded the back garden.  I sat out on the patio with J and had a list of jobs which she did one by one - dead heading the roses, cutting off the lupin seed heads, that kind of thing.   While she was doing it we had a lovely chat - her best friend is J, my carer, so we had plenty to talk about.   When D had finished the lawns he too came into the back garden and planted the seven new plants sitting waiting to go into the unplanted part which is over run with mare's tail.   We have decided to plant it up.   It has had over two hundred bulbs in it and they have looked beautiful.   Now it is covered in tall, self-seeded poppies ina mixture of pink and purple and they too look beautiful.

They went after a couple of hours and the whole garden looks lovely I am pleased to say.   I am always sad that I can't be doing it myself but I suppose I must be grateful that I can afford to pay somebody to do it for me otherwise it would look such a mess.

 i caught up on today's stage of Le Tour.   There was a horrendous crash which has put two or three people out of the race for good.   Mark Cavendish again won the sprint section - such a joy for him.

I did intend to write something newsy but I find I am just too tired.   My job this morning with the gardeners was to get Priscilla to go back and forth to the water butt with the can and take the filled can over for the gardener to water in the new plants.Now we could do with a good rain to really welcome them in.   Showers are forecast so I am hoping a few of them fall on us.

Until tomorrow dear friends.......

Thursday 8 July 2021


 It is just about a week here since the end of weeks with no rain (sorry those of you lower down the country who had weeks of the stuff).   We had showers and then one really wet day and the grass responded immediately in kind.   After a fortnight of not being cut it has grown at such a rate of knots over the last week that it is long and fully in flower with Birds' Foot Trefoil - such a pretty little flower.

Sitting in the Hairdressers this morning the road outside the window had a long procession of huge silage wagons passing - I counted ten in the space of five minutes (we have some very large farms up here now that the small Dales farms (like ours) have been sold off).    Yes, doubtless second silage is well underway and farmers with huge herds will at last be beginning to be assured that they will not be short of feed when the cattle are in over Winter.  They will hopefully get Third Silage and  even a smaller Fourth.   Nothing lives up to the nutrition available for the cattle in First Silage but the more the better as the Winter progresses.

When my taxi came to collect me and bring me home we were chatting - they keep horses(his wife rides for pleasure)- last week their oldest horse - late in his twenties  and ailing for a while - sadly had to be put to sleep (they were both very upset).  They loved him dearly and have had him for some years.   They couldn't bear to have him shot so the Vet came and gently put him to sleep with an injection - they stayed with him until he died and went down and then they brought their other two horses back into their field before the old chap was taken away to be cremated.      A pony and another elderly horse walked up to the body and sniffed him all over, then walked away and into the next field and started eating grass.   The owners went before the body was pulled into the lorry - they couldn't bear to watch that.   Now they have his ashes back and will eventually scatter them on 'his' field.   In the meantime the other two -although they sniffed him all over and appeared to have accepted his death - will not go back into that field, preferring to stay in the adjoining field although the grass is now new and lush.  The gate has been left open from the field they are in so that the new grass can tempt them whenever they wish to go - but they have not gone.  Who knows what goes on in an animals mind.   The ashes of their beloved old chap will stay in the container in his stable until such time as the other two seem to have accepted it all.

And how lucky these elderly horses are to have such loving owners when one thinks of the terrible fate so many animals suffer.  I have been to Marrakech a few times and walked in the High Atlas Mountains.   On Market Days the men from the high villages come down to Market on their mules and I have always thought that the majority of the mules look very well cared for (there is always the exception as there is with animals here in this country) and are very much part of the community in which they live.   I once picked up a mule shoe off the track and put it in my pocket.   It has for years sat on my kitchen window sill and reminds me daily of those times.

Sorry I have gone on a bit and perhaps strayed away from work on the farm - but that is the way my old mind works - has always worked I'm afraid.( and I apoogise for over-using the dash - I don't know what I would do without it).   At school my English teacher, Miss Ryder, had two nicknames for me 'blotter' and 'dasher'.   Remember I was at school long before biros were available and we all had pen nibs and inkwells and. tidy as I am, I blotted constantly to avoid inky smudges.   As for 'dasher' well pretty self-explanatory I would expect.

Lovely day here in spite of Covid lurking around.   And wasn't it lovely to see England win - we really needed something to lift our spirits didn't we?  

Tuesday 6 July 2021

Times 2

 Sometimed, apart from The Mind Games, there is nothing I wish to read in Times 2 - Friday for example, apart from the one Arts article I have never heard of any of the 'modern' set.   But on other days it is a bit hit and miss.   After all they have to cater for all their readers and we all have different tastes and interests.   Today every article is interesting to me and also it is a 'moderate' day with the Mind Games which (as long as I can take my time) I can do.

But an article on the first page, by Robert Crampton, really set me thinking.   So thank you Robert.  The article's heading is 'Female of the Silver Fox Species'.   In it he argues that any word which applies to the ageing of women should be 'consigned to the linguistic dustbin of history. It made me think back to my childhood and how the ladies 'of a certain age' dressed and were referred to.    And then I thought of other countries I had visited and how widows and ladies over fifty dressed.   In country areas in Greece for example - in the thirties - ladies over forty dressed in black and melted into the background (and so did the men).   Even here anybody in our village who tried to stay young by the way they dressed was universally looked upon as 'mutton dressed as lamb'.   But not so the men.   I remember hearing my father talk of certain men as 'natty dressers'.   It was the ladies who had to become discreet and melt into the background (although I clearly remember my father putting up a real fight to be made to discard his collar stud and loose collars for fitted collars and short sleeves).

But it is a fact that there are certain words in our language, as Robert Crampton sugge sts, which are used in a derogatory way to describe ageing ladies - he cites 'ageing gracefully' which is always applied to women as a term which he says, along with words like shrew, harridan and nag should be consigned to 'the linguistic dustbin of history'.

Elderly ladies here have rebelled (and I am definitely one).   We dress and behave as we wish to do.   And when I look at people like Judi Dench, who - give or take a couple of years - is my age - I see a glamorous, attractive woman who dresses and behaves exactly as she pleases and makes absolutely no concessions at all to age, I am full of admiration.   Getting old is no fun - and you don't realise the fact until you get there - so please gents, give us the freedom to dress and behave as we wish.   As Crampton says, the nearest equivalent for a man is for him to be called 'a silver fox' and any man over sixty would take that as a compliment.

Monday 5 July 2021


 Believe me, when you reach your eighties, life can get very tiring.   Today has been one of those days and yet, when I think of what I have done it is next to nothing.   However, it has been very enjoyable even though I feel 'on my last legs'.   I got up at the usual time, my carer came and we had our nice morning's chat and usual jobs done for Monday.   Then it was Book Group and at present we hold it here because otherwise I would be unable to attend as I no longer have transport.   There were only five of us (at present 6 is the maximum).   All I had to do was set the trolley for five, put on the crockery and the biscuits and set the coffee on.   All five arrived and we had a lovely quarter of an hour chat with our coffee and biscuits before getting down to the job in hand - that of discussing this month's book.   And here, for the first time, I fell down in that I had only read a third of the book.

Why?   The book had almost nine hundred pages.   The print was small so that I could only read it with a magnifying glass and it was so heavy that I had to lay it on the Dining Room table because when I held it any other way my hand shook so much that I could not read it.   I got to Page 354 before giving up on it but it was fascinating listening to the other four, who had read it and enjoyed it.   What was it?  It was 'The Count of Monte Cristo' - I think I have read it before but a long time ago.

After lunch I needed to tie up some plants in the garden as strong winds are forecast.   I can only manage the plants at ground level but that is better than nothing but it is a performance getting out Priscilla and getting her down into the back garden.  By the time I got back in it was almost time for our fortnightly Zoom with friends P and D and that has just finished and that too was very enjoyable.

We have not had rain today despite some being forecast but we did have a good rain yesterday and I am hoping my gardener soon arrives to mow the lawn and put in my new plants.   So you will see that although there has been little effort on my part I am ready for a sit down,  a cup of tea and a sandwich.   Tuna I think.

Unless anything exciting happens between now and bedtime see you tomorrow.

Sunday 4 July 2021

Wet Sunday Afternnoon

 It is lovely out there - raining steadily for the last few hours, warm, good growing weather as my father used to say (although sadly for weeds as well as for plants).

Sunday is never my favourite day as nothing seems to happen.   But today has been pleasant - this and that has happened and the day has passed quickly.  I took a short walk after my carer had gone - haven't had one for a day or two as I haven't felt up to it, but enjoyed it this morning.   I came in and had a coffee, put my feet up for half and hour and read a bit more of Hemingway's 'The Old Man and the Sea'.   H from next door came round to retrieve some garden canes for me  - it entailed going up steps to the second level and I dare no longer do that.   Strong winds are forecast and one or two tall plants at ground level need staking before the winds arrive - I can do that as Priscilla is quite helpful when I am at ground level.   H and I had a nice chat as we often do - I am so very lucky with my neighbours.  

After lunch I went out into the garden with my secateurs (and Priscilla of course).   It is so frustrating after being a keen gardener all my life to not be able to do the simplest things like dead-heading, or pulling up a clump of couch grass but it happens to us all and it has to be accepted.

Feet up again when I came in and shortly afterwards old school friend J from Lincolnshire rang for a chat for half an hour.   Pleasant to reminisce.   Now, at almost News time(and Le Tour time) I shall depart to make a sandwich of something for my tea and a cup of tea.   Enjoy your Sunday evening.

Saturday 3 July 2021


At last, for an hour, it rained.   I awoke to thick fog, I opened the front door ready for my carer and after a few nice warm days it was cold.   As the morning wore on it rained but only gentle rain - just enough to wet the top of the soil.   After an hour it stopped.   Now it is just chilly and grey but no more rain.  If you have ever been a gardener it is difficult not to become obsessed by the rain - the soil is either too wet or too dry.   Conditions are never perfect.

So Andy has been knocked out of Wimbledon - sad but younger players are coming along and he has been out of the game for a while.   Maybe he should have had the sense to stop while he was at the top of his game - I don't know.   Let's hope that England win against Ukraine tonight. It really is such a plethora of sport at the moment -  if you are not a sports fan life via the television is pretty boring.   Covid has broken out quite badly here - we have always missed it until now - so there is little or nothing to do.   At the moment until all these sporting events are over, if you are not a sports fan then it will have to be out with the Monopoly and Ludo and the Jig Saws I'm afraid.

Sad to see today that Michael Gove and his wife are to divorce amicably.   Up here is a small town where everybody knows everyone else's business it seems to me that amongst the younger people (under fifties)so few couples seem to be with their original partners.   Why have things changed so much.   When I was a child in the forties there were only two divorced couples in our village and everybody knew all the details.   Why is it so different - is it that money is easier to come by - apart from both couples usually working there are social services to help sort out family finances in these situations - and yes I do know that in the case of much publicised cases usually both members of the family are usually pretty well off.   And maybe because divorce is so prevalent the effect on the children is not so severe.   I don't know - and it is certainly less harmful than  together in a toxic household which I know is sometimes the case- but I know that for many people of my age group we feel that life has changed  beyond all recognition and we no longer understand it.

End of moan - sorry.   The sun is trying hard to break through - just about giving it time to burn off the surface water that has fallen today.   So until tomorrow folks - enjoy your evening if you are watching THE MATCH give them a cheer so loud that they can hear it in Rome.



Sorry about that moan. 

Friday 2 July 2021

Grey sky

 Does this mean that we are going to see rain today - I do hope so.   Friday is market da y here in our little town and it is the one thing I really do miss - driving down into town, parking and in the old days walking with my shopping trolley and going to the greengrocers on the market and buying beautiful fresh fruit and veg.   I know it comes to us all (if we live long eno ugh) that we are no longer capable of doing this.   Even before those days it is also market day at our Cattle Market and the Farmer and I would drive down, he would park there and I would walk the short distance into town, do my shopping, have my morning coffee with friends, walk back to his car and sit and wait.   He always went, even if he had nothing to buy or sell - good to chat with all the other farmers and get to know the lie of the land.   When we got home I would get the Friday lunch (almost always a stir-fry from our really good butchers served with a salad) while he looked at The Darlington and Stockton Times, our local paper.   The first page was always Births, Deaths and Marriages - he liked to know whether any  locals had died.

My carer is back today doing an hour's cleaning for me and today it is the sitting room.   She has just come in to say that she has taken the cushion out of my 'special' chair and has found a pair of spectacles.   They are not mine but I don't think anyone else has ever sat in my specially built up chair.   I don't recognise the specs.   Have I had a pair from the Optician and forgotten about them?   I can see very well through them.   The plot thickens.  Having had them on for five minutes now I am sure they are not mine - I can only see for a very limited time before life is blurred,

I am still enjoying watching Le Tour.   Mark Cavendish won a speed section last night - he is doing very well (It is not called a speed section but I am sure if she reads this Rachel will put us right.   It is all complicated.)

I have just been reading in the Times about a young man in his twenties, who with his    friend harrassed Professor Chris Whitty.  In spite of apologising and saying he only wanted a selfie to show his mother the young man has lost his job as a trainee Estate Agent.   The two young men had been on an anti-vaccination march and spotted Professor Whitty in the Park.   No official complaints has been made and it was obvious from viewing the footage on television that Professor Whitty is a shy and quiet person who would not take kindly to such treatment (I wouldn't either, don't know about you) but I am not sure that they are 'despicable thugs' which Boris Johnson called them.  Any thoughts?

Thursday 1 July 2021

Pot pourri

 Fairly late on this Thursday evening before I get round to putting on a post.   I can't think why because once I returned from my weekly hairdressing I haven't done much really - it has again been too warm and I have decided the sensible thing to do is 'go with it' not to walk round the estate, to drink plenty of water and take it easy.   I can't say I have noticed any difference in how I feel yet - but it is early days.   I did go round all my plants in pots and make sure they were not thirsty and the weather man this evening  suggests we might get some of the South's rain up here over the next few days.   The sky is looking suitably black at the moment - so I live in hope.

Covid has become a bit of a problem up here over the last week or two.   I think the vaccination programme is going very well but there are suddenly thirty cases in the village next to where I live - I don't think anyone is desperately ill with it but it is still worrying.

Following watching the first installment of 'Hemingway' on television last week (it got five star reviews) and realising I had never read any of his books I sent for a couple and am now absolutely hooked on reading A Farewell to Arms, find it almost 'unputdownable'.   If you haven't read it I do urge you to give it a go.

Another thing which has concerned me this week has been the state of Centre Court at Wimbledon.  I have forgotten just how much that roof cost but  know it wasn't put on for peanuts.   So I can't help wondering why so many of the players are slipping about and in the case of Serena Williams I believe she had to withdraw (I'm sure somebody will correct me if I am wrong).  I watched the Andy Murray match and he slipped and appeared to badly twist his knee.   Luckily he seems to have recovered.   (Go for it Andy)

Well sorry to have bitted and bobbed about tonight but it is the state my mind is in at present.   Derek tells me to keep putting controversial posts on as he enjoys them.   I do too, I love to get a good response that makes me want to gather you all in a nice room somewhere and have a good chat over a drink (yes there will be coffee available for anyone who doesn't want anything stronger) but my brain has got to be in gear to think of the right thing.

Oh and before I go I see they have located the woman who flapped the piece of cardboard in front of a rider in Le Tour (I think it said something like 'hello grandma and grandad'- in French of course) causing a huge crash.

See you tomorrow when I hope I shall be in a more calm and collected state of mind.