Tuesday 31 August 2021

Modern Living

How 'living' has changed during Lockdown.    Will it ever go back to normal?   Watching 'Breakfast' in my Dressing Gown this morning (the carer's day off so I can be slovenly) two things hit me - and both were then reinforced when I read this morning's Times (still in dressing gown and slippers as I am now typing this).    Firstly take aways.  Apart from fish and chips now and again in neither of my marriages do I remember having a take away.   Admittedly in the first marriage (ended with M's death in 1991) there were not many others about.   But in the next one although we lived out in the sticks we were only a couple of miles from a chippy, a Chinese and an Indian - and then soon joined by a Pizza place.

But apparently the sale of take away meals during Lockdown has shot up by a good 20%  and looks destined to stay that way.   Even haute cuisine has jumped on the Band Wagon.   I must say I love Pizza and could easily have it every night if I wished because our Pizza place delivers.    Our up-market restaurants are doing things like 'Picnic Baskets' (not a cheap option).

I can't see things ever going back to how they were. In most families both parents work and it is good to not have to cook after a day at work.   It does just worry me a bit that children grow up thinking the only way to eat potatoes is as chips. **  In one shared student house they ate £700 a month of take away food.   (then I thought back to my son's student days when they ate in the same restaurant every night - mostly the same cheap dish - and they didn't seem to come to any harm.)

The other thing is litter.   On Breakfast this morning they showed the aftermath of this week-end's Festival somewhere.   It was appalling.   Field after field of so-called 'Rubbish'.   The organiser of the clean up spoke of the army of volunteers who were coming in to clean up.    First to go would be the unopened fresh food and tinned food.    They would be carted off to food banks.   Then would be the tents.   TENTS?    In my day who could afford to leave your tent behind?   Here, judging from an aerial shot there were hundreds if not thousands just abandoned.   Apparently organisations move in and remove what they can use and when all else fails, parts which are reuseable are removed and the rest is shredded.

The first question that springs to mind is did we have that kind of money that could afford to buy a tent, use it for a festival and then abandon it - expecting to buy another next year?   I don't think at the age of most of these young people I had enough to buy the original tent without saving up like mad (and then persuading my father to let me go - not that there were many such events (they hadn't been invented).

So it is not just Lockdown that has changed life for ever - it is everything has changed (one wonders just how many of those tents could have been dropped in the area of queues of refugees in Afghanistan for example.

It is easy when one reaches my age and lives alone - when the world is in such chaos and things are so very diffent -not to worry about such things.   But I can do nothing,   I have visitors for the day next week - relatives who I have not seen for almost two years.   My carer is back tomorrow after her day off and is spending an extra hour cleaning for me.   I have promised to do all surfaces and am very pleased with my progress with the warm soapy cloth and the duster.   I am through to the kitchen so now I shall get dressed and attack the kitchen.   The gentle cleaning, holding on to my walking aid, has reminded me of muscles I had completely forgotten about and has done me a huge amount of good.  So I shall stop worrying about things beyond my control and concentrate on areas where I can make a difference.

It is still a grey day but the sun is threatening to come through.   Have a nice day.

**  I am reminded of one of the last times I stood in a Supermarket queue and stood behind a young mother with her son, who was about five.   She suddenly remembered she had forgotten to get something and told him to dash and get the potatoes.   He came back with a large bag of frozen chips - and she thanked him and put them in her trolley.

Monday 30 August 2021

Bank Holiday Monday

The last Bank Holiday before Christmas and that will be another year gone.   How quickly they fly by.  Before the end of the year I shall be a Great Grandmother again and I shall have another Grandson married - all goes to make me feel old.

Outside there is a distinctly Autumnal feel to the weather today - haven't seen the sun and there is a sharp wind blowing.   Amazing after the hot Summer's day we had yesterday  they were so lucky at the Wensleydale Show.   Everyone is now hoping that it doesn't bring with it a new wave of Covid.   At least most of the activity was out of doors.

I find it strange how quickly we have all adapted to and changed our lives.   We have travelled around much less than we did before and most of us do consider the implications when planning any event. During Covid I have a) broken my hip and b) sold my car.   So I am more or less  marooned here unless I have a taxi (which I do to the hairdresser each Thursday);   but I don't mind.   My body is wearing out, I have adapted my day to suit and it always seems to speed past with the odd chat here and there and I am content with that.

It is a nuisance now only having limited television channels and no prospect of a change for some time to come (some talk of a dispute about materials for the new mast being transported over a piece of land of special scientific interest).   But I am even adapting to that.   I have got my book (Hemingway's Farewell to Arms) ready for my presentation on the first Monday in the month, and have also just read Bruce Chatwin's 'In Patagonia' - a book I remember reading (and being blown away by) when it was first published.   It revolutionised travel books - it is presented in a series of short chapters - each about different characters and situations - much more about people and much less  about the scenery.  Brilliant.

I shall go and make myself a cup of tea now and have a rest and watch 'Escape to the Country'  where all the houses they visit are too good to be true - not a speck of dust, not a thing out of place, everything matching and looking totally unlived in.

Enjoy the rest of your day.

Sunday 29 August 2021


Where do you stand on reading instructions?   I am so bad at doing so.   I suppose what it is is that I am so impatient.   I want to get started on whatever it is that I am dealing with, so I look at it and think - oh  yes - that goes there - I see how this works.   And of course in nine cases out of ten I am struggling and fumbling about  and usually having to ask somebody else to help.   And boy is it annoying when they read the instructions, tick off each one as they do it and end up with the thing working perfectly.   I have always been the same and I don't think I shall change now.

And, of course, all my chickens have come home to roost at once with the disastrous fire which has destroyed our transmitter so that we have limited stations we can watch on television and only then through a series of moves using the remote control.  And the situation doesn't look like changing any time soon.   Friend S has shown me how to get the available channels - but sometimes I succeed and  sometimes I have to have several tries before I actually manage to get to where I want to go.   It is so frustrating and likely to be like that for some time from what I understand.

Added to that this morning my hearing aid has come apart.   It is not difficult to put back together but it is fiddly and one needs to be gentle with it, otherwise it would easily break.   It is a matter of fitting two little 'blobs' (for want of a better word) into two little holes.   I am always shaky - very much so this morning - and I can't do it so in addition to any other woes I can't hear.   My carer, who has a high, female voice, is on a register I can hear clearly so I have been able to chat to her.   But unless I can find someone who knows what they are doing to put my aid back together I seem destined to a day of silence.

C'est la vie! 

Back in the Land of the Living - hearing loud and clear even if there is the odd whistle. 

Saturday 28 August 2021


 My very good friends S and T called today for T to change the batteries in my garage door - he is so good to me and looks after all kinds of jobs that I can't do.   S is equally good in other areas and I am so lucky to have them.   They only had to come about a mile to get here but the road is choked in both directions with traffic unloading stock for tomorrow's agricultural show.   All cattle, sheep and heavy horses have to be on site by tonight to free the ground tomorrow for everyone else.   S and T - and me too - are worried about the number of people who will be there and the possible spread of Covid.   Most of the shows round about have been cancelled so there is likely to be a large turn-out here.  And the weather is set to be fine.

One of the things I find sad about the Show is that it has so many memories of people no longer with us.   I was thinking today about Colin - a stalwart of the Wensleydale Show for many years - who was always at the showground for the erection of the huge marquees and who was always there when the stock arrived to oversee it all being housed in the right place.  Colin died  years ago now but I am sure members of the show committee miss him still.  When people like that go they leave a large hole in the  community. 

I am actually typing this the night before the Show. I just looked out to see if there was a light on the showground and I couldn't see one.  I wonder if the cattle are left in the huge stock tent alone all night or if there is someone there with them.   I know they are usually alone and outside at this time of the year but here we are talking of one or two cows from different farms, all strangers to one another, and surely finding it difficult to settle in such a situation.  Or maybe, as my carer suggested this morning (it is now Saturday) they are left in the trucks all night.   Does anyone know?

These shows are taken very seriously up here.   The farmer's mother was an excellent cook and baker and always won the cup for baking at the Wensleydale Show every year.   One year she won the cup for the best Sausage, Brawn and Pork Pie at the Great Yorkshire Show and was horrified when a butcher wrote to her and asked if he could have her sausage recipe.   She refused (I would have been flattered!) 

It is a beautiful day - warm, sunny, perfect for the goings on just one field away.   Usually I go up the steps into my garden and peep over the wall to see how many cars there are in the field.   But this year I can no longer get up the steps so I shall have to wait for my neighbour M to tell me when she arrives home.   Indoors, even with the patio doors open, I haven't heard a thing.

My outside job has been to give my containers by the front door their last tidy up.    They are almost past it and will shortly need emptying and the tubs refilling.   After deliberation I have decided on Violas again.   They start their flowering in Autumn, lie fairly dormant over Winter and then burst into bloom again at the first sign of Spring.  So Viola 'Pot Pourri' plants are on their way to me and should be here at the beginning of September.  And so the seasons move relentlessly on.  I think anyone who gardens is possibly more aware of the change in the seasons than anyone else, don't you?

Friday 27 August 2021


Friday morning - the start of the last Bank Holiday week-end before Christmas.  Quite a chilly, Autumnal start to the day but a promise of something better as the day goes on.   I can't go on my walk until my Amazon order for garage door batteries has arrived.  I have had the confirmation that they (and a torch a friend has ordered) have been despatched so I suppose it depends now on where I am on the delivery round.

I sometimes question just how my brain works.   I suppose it is getting old and a bit rusty in parts.   In order to keep it working I always do the Times Mind Games each morning - this means a couple of Codewords, a couple of Sudoku, a Set Square, a (so called) Easy Cryptic Crossword, and a killer number puzzle (which I love until the end of the week when they get too hard).   Some mornings I sail through them all and my brain feels as though I am still teaching,   another morning I struggle and can't finish them all.   It is frustrating and usually when I open the page I know what kind of a day it is going to be.   Yesterday I just could not finish one of the Codewords - I knew as soon as I started it that I have chosen the wrong letter but I ploughed on until, of course, I came to a full stop.   I had gone wrong.   This morning I opened the codeword page, looked at the empty square, put in the given letters and saw immediately what went where.   I had finished it in two or three minutes - everything fell into place.   Now why is that?   I cannot tell you how frustrating I find it.

I don't kow whether it improves one' s skills to do this but doing the Mind Games, being a member of a Book Group so that I have to read a chosen book each month whether I am enjoying it or not and make notes on it so that I am capable of joining in the discussion when we meet, walking and chatting to various people on my walks.......all these things are done with that aim in mind.   I try to watch at least a couple of programmes on television each week which stretch my mind a bit and add to my knowledge.   At present our transmitter is down and we are limited to BBC in what we are able to watch so it is not so easy to do this - although tonight's Gardeners' World is a start.

And, speaking of gardens, I walked round my garden yesyerday.   The most of it is looking good - I have asked my gardener to leave the Autumn tidy up until Spring (there is still a lot in flower - things like Hellenium, Scabious, Gallardia and Achillea.    A  lot of bright yellow Antirrhinums which I left last year seeded themselves and there is now a nice bright patch of yellow which was late coming and is at its best now so I am leaving that so that it can do the same over winter this year.

Always plenty to fill the mind if you look for it even it the old legs don't work as well as you would like. 

I am off now to leave a message on my Gardener's answerphone saying when he is in my area can he drop his assistant off with her weedkiller spray to just go along my patio and kill the unsightly weeds poking up between the slabs.   If they are done soon the weeds should have died when my visitors come the week after next.   They are keen gardeners and they have come to see the plants and the design not the variety of weeds.

Have a good day.


Thursday 26 August 2021


 How quickly the week-end comes round.   This week-end is a special one up here in Wensleydale.   At one time - before I came on the scene and persuaded the farmer to take a holiday each year- this August Bank Holiday week-end was the highlight of the year for him and for many other farmers.   Most were dairy farmers so unable to go off for a few days and leave their 'milkers' so tomorrow was the highlight of the year.   'The Wensleydale Show'.   Now the dairy farms are much bigger as the smaller farms have been sold off and bought by farmers and turned into much bigger dairy farms - and even often diversified into other activities.   But the show goes on.   The feed merchants have their tents (we alwas had our lunch at 'our' feed merchants - Jamesons - a small pork pie, a few tasty sandwiches and a piece of home made cake.   And a cup of tea of course.   All served at tables in a tent.  ) Lovely.

Then there would be all the cattle to look round (and later look again to see which ones had won the various cups).   And the sheep - very important up here.   And then there was the Produce Tent (every fruit and veg you can think of) and the flowers and eggs.   And let's not forget the handicraft tent with all the knitting, sewing, painting, childrens' classes - the list is endless.

In addition  there are activities in the ring all afternoon - usually the local hunt does a parade and often heavy horses, so beautiful and yet rarer every year.   All that is needed is perfect weather to make it an afternoon enjoyed by all.

I am not mobile enough to go and haven't been for some years, but I shall hear everything over the tannoy because the Show takes place  near to my bungalow.   The field which will be the Car Park tomorrow is the field just over my garden wall. and the field beyond that is the show field itself.   I am hoping for fine weather for them. Good luck to them all - a lot of hard work goes into this day from both the Committee and the Contestants.

Wednesday 25 August 2021


 Sad to hear yesterday of the death of Charlie Watts.   I suppose we have reached the time when one by one the musical legends will begin to die off.   Charlie was eighty - the one of the Rolling Stones who for most of his life kept on the 'straight and narrow' only deviating for a while in middle age and even then taking himself in hand before things got too bad.  He was married to the same wife for over fifty years - she will miss him greatly.

I love the way he adored clothes and almost always wore Saville Row suits, expensive cologne and was always turned out to perfection - unlike most rock musicians - but then of course he was primarily a jazz drummer and I suspect that is how he will wish to be remembered.

I was never a great fan of this kind of music - by the time they all came on the scene I was married with a child to bring up and a husband who had been a professional musician and had no time for rock to say the least.   But it is great to read all the tributes to him in today's papers.   May he indeed rest in peace.

Tuesday 24 August 2021


 Where do you stand on swearing?   I may have told you this tale before, it is not long since it happened.   I had a scam phone call about paying for my e mail.   As I pay each month by Direct Debit I couldn't see why, so after the call (when they said their 'supervisor' would call me at nine the next morning) I rang my supplier and they said it was a scam.

I told my carer (who is noted as my dear farmer woud have said) for calling a spade a shovel.   She insisted in staying until, dead on 9am, the scammer called,   My caller answered - here in total is what she said:

"Get off this f******phone!"

If you ever call this f******number again

I'll call the f******police!"

at which point she slammed the phone down.

When I told her how shocked I was at her language and said I had never, ever used that word in my life her reply was that I should start as these days it was the only word these scammers understood.

I was reminded when reading about swearing and I thought it an interesting subject.   I never ever heard my mother swear and the only words my father ever used, usually both at once, were 'damn and blast'.   I never ever swore.   If my mother heard anyone swear her comment was usually that they needed to wash their mouth out with soapy water.  If I had sworn - which I never did - I would have been told to go to my room until I could speak proper English.

Now it seems that everyone swears.   I did once remark to the farmer that I had never heard him  swear.   I said,

"Do you swear David?"     His reply spoke volumes for the kind of man he was.

"Not in front of ladies."

Do you have an attitude to swearing these days at a time when almost everyone, whatever sex, swears as part of their normal vocabulary?

Monday 23 August 2021


 Last evening it was the time to make the final choice of the twelve photographs for next years 'Country File' calendar.   For any readers outside the UK - Country File is a Sunday evening programme about farming and the countryside and every year they run a competition on a given theme and then the photographs are judged and the final twelve chosen.   The calendar is sold for the Children in Need appeal - it always raises at least three million pounds.  It showed us all twelve photographs last evening and now the public are asked to vote for the winner who gets a thousand pounds worth of equipment.   The judges talked about the photographs and discussed one or two they hadn't chosen - one of which was a fantastic one of a spider.   The judges said never choose a spider as so many people hate them and would never buy a calendar if they had to look at a picture of a  spider for a whole month. 

Interesting I said to myself.   Two hours later, on my way to bed, I called in the bathroom for my last go to the toilet.   Put my fingers inside the cardboard inner roll of the toilet roll and what should shoot out and dash up my arm at breakneck speed but a very large spider which had been having  a rest inside the loo roll!

Do spiders have ears?   Can they hear loud human screams?   If so then that could have been the reason it dropped off my arm like a stone and shot across the bathroom floor and under the bath mat.

I got into bed and tried to put the whole incident out of my mind.   Difficult and this morning I peered down the inside of the roll before picking it up.   Once bitten twice shy so to speak.

Glorious day here - pure blue sky, really hot sun, the last days of Summer.   Are they called the Dog Days - I think so?  ***

Until tomorow.

***Seems not - it seems to refer to the hot days of summer.

Sunday 22 August 2021


   The whole world at present seems enveloped in tragedy of one kind or another.   It is easy to lose heart to such an extent that one gives up hope of things ever getting any better.   As individuals we can do so little.

I have been reading in yesterday's Times about Global Warming and this year's wild fires.   It does not make for easy reading.

Yakutia is a province in North Eastern Siberia and its capital is Yakutsk.   Yakutia is as big as India but its population is only a million.   The capital is    three thousand miles from Moscow so that fighting the fire with planes is impossible.  This means that whole areas of the Taiga (forests which form a belt around the world basically) have been left to their fate and have therefore been destroyed.  Greenpeace reports that the blaze is most likely the largest ever reported on the Planet.  It is without a doubt larger than all the other fires this year put together.

In 1989 my first husband, Malcolm, and I travelled this area through the Taiga on the trans-Siberian express (I know Rachel has done this journey more recently) and apart from a couple of stops, where elderly Russian ladies, cloaked and headscarved, stood on platforms selling hot jacket potatoes (delicious) there was no sign of human habitation.

We alighted at Irkutsk (I think Rachel went all the way to Moscow on the train) and there the houses - mostly like sturdy log cabins - had triple glazing to keep out the extreme cold of winter and already in August had mountains of logs in store.   In other words extremes of temperature were an annual expeerience.   This year their Summer has meant fires hanging over the place all Summer.   The area has seen over 800 million tonnes of Carbon Dioxide since the beginning of June.

Yes - they expect fires every year but this year that amount since June is more than usually emitted by Germany (Euope's largest polluter) in a whole year.  And that in an area  not much larger than Portugal.

I do remember being staggered by the mile upon mile of taiga - such beautiful forest (much of it now destroyed along with much of its wildlife) it is more than we can imagine - and this is in one summer.   The fires are still burning.

If only all countries could work together rather than spend their time fighting over ideologies maybe together we could begin to do something about it.

In the meantime it is really a case of Nero fiddles while Rome burns.


Saturday 21 August 2021

Saturday ,

Yes, Saturday again  and wet and chilly with it.  And, as my regular readers will know only too well, not my favourite day of the week especially as it is such a di smal day.

It is my Reserve carer C this week end as J has her week end off.  And because of other commitments C comes half an hour earlier so arrives at seven o'clock.

As usual, looking out of the window there is nobody about at all, no dogs, no people.   I expect everyone has a bit of a lie in with it being week-end.

But as usual days like this are what you make of them.   Once my carer had gone I spent the next hour reading The Times and doing the Mind Games.  Then I came on here to say Good Morning to you all and start off today's post.   By then it was lunchtime and time for a rest.

I managed a walk round the block to build up my leg-strength again and on the return journey I met a charming Labrador/Retriever (golden) who came bounding up to Priscilla and me to say hello.   His master had stern words with him and I was cross because he was gentle and doing no harm.   But it did result in us having a pleasant chat (chat two of my day after my carer) about dogs.   I had a lovely German Short-haired Pointer, Oscar.   He lived to be around fourteen I think and was much loved.  The chap I was talking to had had five Pointers in succession and we had such a pleasant chat about them.I went home feeling much happier after my walk and the chat with someone who I hadn't met on the estate before.

I just got back home in time before it began to rain heavily again and shortly afterwards my friend and neighbour H came round with a lovely bunch of sweet peas (she is cutting them every week without fail and they are doing so well as a result). 

So here we are, after tea now, having had three long talks to different people and having had some delicious ham and coleslaw sandwiches.   Our transmitter is still out of use so little of interest which is watchable on television but I shall not be late going to bed tonight after my very early rise this morning and I still have plenty of Bruce Chatwin to go at.

Have a pleasant evening - see you tomorrow.

Friday 20 August 2021

Another dull day

 The day is dull and chilly and the forecast is for a wet day tomorrow.   I suppose my garden can do with a watering so it is not all bad news.   I am not back to doing my walking and have just started today doing the short version with a view to building up again to the full version.   But I have just about managed my quota of people to speak to.   My carer is always a perfect first source of morning chat - always with something to tell me and always cheerful - we always have a laugh and when she goes I always feel better for her visit.

Next to chat was my dear friend S, who called today without T who was busy with his bees.   She is a wizard with the television.   Our transmittter at Bilsdale burnt down about three weeks ago and in order to watch (only the BBC channels) I have to go in through iplayer - I have learned the technique and  am managing very nicely and certainly watching all I need to watch (tonight The Duchess of Cornwall discussing her garden with Monty Don on Gardeners' World and then Celebrity Master Chef which I have never watched before but which is a bit of fun)).   But S rang to say some programmes were available again and she would call and retune me - but before she could do this the programmes had gone again.   But we had a nice chat and she brought me delicious fresh runner beans and courgettes from their garden.

After lunch Priscilla and I had a short walk round the block and I met a couple of chihuahuas I know who are totally boss of their owner but charming to chat to and we had a short chat and then my neighbour M came out when she saw me coming and we caught up as I haven't seen her for a few days.   While we were chatting P from across the road came back from her walk and we all three had another chat only parting when there was a heavy shower.

My son came round to collect half the vegetables S had brought me so that they could have them for their tea and so by tea time I had had quite a lot of mental stimulation.   I find it so important to my wellbeing.

Now with all your today's posts read and my post written I shall go and read a few more chapters of Bruce Chatwin's 'In Patagonia' - I am so enjoying it - brilliantly written by a man whose life was so sadly cut short by Aids.   I read it many years ago but it merits reading more than once.

Enjoy your evening - and see you tomorrow.




Thursday 19 August 2021


 My knowledge of the history of the region around Afghanistan is sketchy to say the least.  In fact I am ashamed to say that I would find it difficult to put my finger on it on the map.   You can imagine my surprise therefore when I read the 'On this day' paragraph in The Times this morning - and I quote:-

'In 1919 Afghanistan gained Independence from Britain after the signing of a Treaty on the 6th August.'   So in 102 years not a lot has changed really has it?

It all seems such a long way away Geographically but how much closer than when it first gained independence.   And twenty years of having British and American troops must have had a huge influence on the population - how difficult is it going to be to revert to how it was before?   Let's just all hope that it doesn't descend into bloodshed.   That does nobody any good at all.

It just always seems that regimes like that value life so much more lightly than we do, but maybe that is just how it is presented to us by our media.   We have no way of knowing.    And what can we believe about what anybody says.   All we can say with certainty is that at present Afghanistan  dominates the News.

I've searched the newpaper for the next 'most important' (ie where in The Times it appears) story and it seems to be that of Geronimo, the alpaca 'condemned to death' because a test has shown him positive for Bovine TB and his owner is trying to get his death sentence overturned.   Any farmer who has gone through this with some of his cows will know the feeling only too well and the futility of trying to appeal against it.   Not sure what it says about our society that the one is considered almost as important as the other.

Chilly grey day here .in fact now, in early evening it is still grey and chilly with a distinctly Autumnal feeling in the air.   Already at half past seven in the evening the light is beginning to go and last night I noticed that the street light came on before nine o'clock.

For the last year I have had some kind of mole along the side of my nose - very itchy.   Today I got my son to take a photo and send it to my doctor.   The upshot is that he wishes to look at it and I have to go in to the surgery in a fortnight to see him.   It will be interesting to hear what he has to say.

Well folks that is the sum total of happenings as far as I am concerned today.   I still am not back to walking and exercising again although today I would say I am almost back to getting ready to start again - maybe tomorrow if the weather is a bit warmer.   Take care everyone - and have a good evening.

Wednesday 18 August 2021


It struck me this morning - as it often does - just how lucky we are to have so much information at our fingertips.  When I was a child we had a radio - I think it had valves (somebody will no doubt enlighten me, it is all a long time ago).   It was made out of what I presume was bakelite and it was circular on a little stand.   We thought it was the bees knees and gathered round it in the evening to listen to programmes like ITMA.   As for the news - yes there was a short bulletin at set times each day but in our household at least' proper' news came from the Daily Herald - my father read every word and given half a chance would pontificate on it (as it was a red hot Labour paper to say it was politically biased was an understatement)

Now there is  news to be had all  day every day - a special News channel, a Breakfast News special each morning, regular news broadcasts every few hours on every channel, plus of course a surfeit of newspapers depending upon one's political preference  (no longer a Herald though - it went the way of all flesh years ago).   This means that we are bombarded with news; so much so that we get tired of the lot of it and mentally switch off.

But where we are so very lucky is in that huge wealth of information which means that we no longer have to have giant bookshelves full of Atlases, Encyclopaedias and the like. Now at the touch of a button we can bring up almost everything on the screen.   And we bloggers can exchange information with a blogpost or an email, without the need for a stamp, a trip to the post box  and a wait for a reply.

Yesterday Rachel told us she had been up to London to see the Paula Rego exhibition.   I thought it sounded good and told her so.   By return she told me there was still a programme on iplayer about her.   This morning I watched it - absolutely fascinating stuff - if I had to sit an exam on her work and I watched the film a couple more times it would give me a good grounding for further research.   So thank you Rachel (Rachel Phillips) - I am going now to watch the programme again over my tea,

Tuesday 17 August 2021

What has happened?

 What indeed?   I went to bed happily as normal and slept well but have woken up this morning with such pain in the hip I broke last October that I can barely walk.   It is my carer's day off but she kindly came round and made me a cup of tea and my breakfast, made my bed and brought me a flask of coffee as usual.   I can't see any point in ringing the doctor - I think I must have slept awkwardly but whatever it is I am sure anyone I rang would say give it a day or two and see if it improves.   I have now been up four hours and it is certainly no worse - maybe a little less painful.   It is the first time I have had any pain in the hip I broke.   So fingers crossed.

It is certainly Autumnal to say the least here today.  Yesterday was pure blue sky and warm sunshine - today is mostly dark clouds and a sharp wind blowing.  Nothing has happened to write about and head in the sand means I am not watching the News for a day or two - I find it too distressing and can do absolutely nothing about it.   Hopefully something worth mentioning will occur.   One thing is for sure - I shall not be doing my usual walk!

Now, mid afternoon, the sky has cleared to a clear blue again and the sun is out.   Not particularly warm but a lovely day nevertheless.   As the day wears on I certainly feel less under the weather and more mobile, so hopefully things are returning to normal.   So it does look as though it is all to do with sleeping awkwardly.

Having now read A Farewell to Arms twice and made my presentation notes all ready for our meeting, I have started to read Bruce Chatwin's 'In Patagonia' - what an inspirational book.   I do remember reading it at the time it was written and reading it with the world atlas spread out on my knee.   I need it there again so am waiting for someone to come and get it out for me as I can't reach that far on my bookshelves.  One of the good things about Chatwin's writing is that he writes very short chapters, each one about a different part of Patagonia  and that really does make for east reading.   I remember him well because of course he died of AIDS at the height of the epidemic - so sad as he was still only in his late forties.   So many sad stories around that time.

My hip is much better this evening, so I am hopeful that I shall soon be walking every day again and back to normal.   We shall see what tomorrow brings.  See you then.

Monday 16 August 2021

Thank you

 Thank you all for sharing your thoughts on this topic.   I was so surprised by your answers because I expected everyone to say they thought asking Politicians such banal questions was ridiculous.   I intentionally put it the way I did so that I could say this.   Rishi Sunak obviously takes his job very seriously indeed - as I said yesterday - whether you agree with his politics or not is in this instance beside the point.   Also in my own case I find it very hard to answer this sort of question because, like some of you say, 'favourites' change from day to day.  Does it make any difference to how good an MP you are talking to when you know his preferences for what he does in his leisure time?

So as I promised I will tell you my answers but they will be what I feel at this moment - my answers might be totally different if you ask me tomorrow:

1.  Any travel book by Patrick Leigh Fermor.

2.  Tonight I would rather like to look at Hobemma's  "Avenue" - tomorrow it may well be anything by Matisse.

3.   "Ride On" sung by Christy Moore.

4.   "Recuerdos d'Alhambra by Terrega if I am in one mood.   Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis" if I am in another.

5.   After eighteen months without them (because of Covid) a really good plate of fish and chips.

6.   Don't get to the Cinema or Theatre much but do love Midsummer Night's Dream.

7.   "All Creatures Great and Small"  mainly because it is beautiful local scenery.

8.   Don't watch football so can't say.

9.   Chocolate one.

10. Quite partial to Lemon Meringue Pie. 

I suppose what it really tells us is that sometimes journalists 'scrape the bottom of the barrel' when looking for something to write about.



My Favourites

Hilary Rose has an interesting column in Times 2 today - so I thought I would share her thoughts with you and the thoughts it then stirred up in me.

She says politicians, when asked about their likes and dislikes don't always tell the truth - she thinks they like to project a certain imagine.   She gives an example of David Cameron who when asked which was his favourite football team gave one answer and then later forgot and said another. Then apparently  Gordon Brown first refused to name his favourite biscuit and then later changed his mind, saying it was any biscuit which had a bit of chocolate in it.

Why should they you might ask, but she (and me too) would argue that they are public figures - they chose to be so, so should be prepared to answer when  they are landed with answering a few questions.

The article is actually praising The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak (my local MP here in  Richmondshire - and a very good local one at that whatever one's political views on his handling of the economy.)

Apparently he happily named Taylor Swift and Mariah Carey as favourites, said his favourite song is Blinding Lights by The Weekend, and loves watching Bridgerton.   She criticises BJ for his crumpled fashion style, his jokes in Latin which few understand, writing biographies of Churchill and Shakespeare and praises Rishi for 'sticking to English' and saying his favourite books are fiction.  I would argue with her that he is entitled to write whatever books he likes and full marks for having the ability - but lets keep  it on the lines of her argument - let them all be truthful and speak the truth when asked.

I could go on - she says Rishi knows which football team he supports (Southampton) and definitely owns a hairbrush.

I wouldn't criticise anyone for loving the  classic painters, preferring classical music,  for loving Dickens and Shakespeare - but what puts me off is folk (especially our politicians) who rather than tell us they read chiclit (if they do) pretend they read something a bit more highbrow.   If they can't tell the truth on things like this how can we believe them on the big issues they deal with every day?

So let's have a go amongst ourselves.   Answer the following questions if you fancy joining in.   I will give you my answers to add to them tomorrow. 

1,   Favourite book.

2.   Favourite work of art.

3.   Favourite song.

4.   Favourite piece of classical music.

5.   Favourite meal.

6.   Favourite film or play (or both)

7.   Favourite TV Programme

8.   Favourite football team? (if you are a supporter)

9.   Favourite biscuit.

10. Favourite pudding. 

See you tomorrow. 

Sunday 15 August 2021


 Walking quite early this morning, as soon as the sun appeared because the forecast is not brilliant, I suddenly realised that my daily walks and exercises have begun to show.   Today is the easiest I have walked for a long time.    Now I really must keep up both the exercises AND the walking every day where it is possible.    Winter is a long time and there could be weeks when I can't go out.   Now I must root out some old balance exercises and see if I can improve my balance too.   It is just after nine in the evening now, almost dark (nights are drawing in) and this is the first chance I have had to return to my post.

Friend and neighbour H came in after lunch for a cup of tea and a chat - passed a nice afternoon.   Sundays always seem so long.   It has stayed fine all day which means the world and his wife have been out with their dogs.   There are so many on our estate - I would go so far as to say that there is almost one per household -  I know there are a lot of houses without dogs but there are also a lot where there are two and  even three.  

I suppose the over riding breed is the Labrador - both black and golden (I know two black ones intimately - lovely, friendly animals).   But over the last week or so I have been noting the different breeds.   I have never once in the four years I have lived here seen an unaccompanied dog or one off the lead, but there are few which are not pedigree and such dogs are expensive so it is hardly surprising.   Most of those which are probably not pedigree are the sheepdog/border collie type - again lovely, gentle dogs.   A good breed to keep.

So here are a few of the ones who live around me - two Labradoodles on my bit of road.   Both of these are very well=trained animals always walking to   heel.   A very friendly Whippet and a Greyhound (who this morning - in August- already had his winter jacket on).   Three if not four Schid-zus, a Pekinese, a black Pug (I used to own one called Algy) several Border Terriers (my last dog in the photos here was this breed - Tess), a Great Dane, a few Fox Hound types and one or two Schnauzers.  As always various Parson Jack Russell terriers and one Airedale Terrier (haven't seen him lately).   There are also a few Spaniels around, one lives directly opposite me and friends lower down the estate have two.   I would love to have another dog for company but sadly Priscilla and dogs don;t mix.

I am finding it difficult to stay awake while typing this after a not particularly busy day so I shall sign off with a Woof!   See you all tomorrow.

Saturday 14 August 2021

Car Park full

 Yes, it is that time of year again.   The time when all locals get thoroughly frustrated because it is impossible to park anywhere in town, impossible to have a coffee in any of the nice little local cafes,  best to stay at home and do jobs like mow the lawn and cut the hedge (exactly what the man opposite is doing today).   Why?   Well, this week all the horse-drawn traffic going to The Appleby Horse Fair has been going through at a lower 'horse-power' than we are used to and now they are gone we are back to school holidays which means all the holiday cottages are fully booked, every parking place is permanently taken and every cafe and shop in the town is full of browsing tourists.   In addition bus loads pass through and stop off here for their morning coffee on their way to The Wensleydale Creamery for lunch already booked in (so no good going there 'on speck' because there won't be a table).

My carer, who collects my medication for me and several other of her clients, says she will 'nip in' tomorrow while her Sunday lunch is cooking to the Pharmacy which opens for an hour at lunch time in the hopes it might be less busy.

Everybody complains.   Well I don't suppose the shop owners do - it must be a real boost for their trade and I am pleased for them, especially this last couple of years when trade must have been so bad.

Caitlin Moran has written her column this week in The Times from Cornwall, where after queuing for two hours for chips went back to their holiday cottage and cooked oven chips instead.   I must say I might have bought ordinary potatoes in the first place and never stepped outside the door, but each to his own.

She argues that we - mainly the middle classes- have bucket lists of places we wish to go both in this country and abroad.   The places she specifically quotes are Venice, Kyoto, Barcelona, The Forbidden City, New York, Istanbul.   And, she says, while we are busy doing this we ignore places like Ayrshire, The Welsh Marches, Cumbria (and I of course would add he Yorkshire Dales)  All these places are struggling to cope with the number of tourists.   She says - and here I quote -"Despite the world being full of dozens more places" we will go to just these and nobody enjoys it - it is all too crowded.   And Cornwall itself where she speaks of one holiday home which is advertised at costing seventy one thousand pounds a week!!

Her answer is to ship a lot of the 'treasures' we 'plundered' on our colonial past back to where they came from - repatriate things like jewelry, crowns, statues, paintings- thus creating new places for the bucket list.   Not sure it would make a lot of difference to Cornwall though are you?

Friday 13 August 2021

Better spirits again.

Thanks everyone for 'chatting' to me yesterday - beween you all and my 'target' six people I try to chat to in person I usually manage to stick to my 'positive thinking' outlook.   I seem to be back there this morning thank goodness.   Being almost ninety is no joke (I suppose the alternative is worse) but at least if one can keep a reasonably positive angle on things life goes on happily.

I have to get up earlier on Fridays to take my weekly tablet which dictates I drink a glass of water and then stay upright for half an hour before my porridge.  The sky is blue, the sun is up and there is that lovely clear, clean feeling that there always is first thing in the morning.   I shall go and watch  'Breakfast' for half an hour before J comes.

My carer has now gone and once I have done this paragraph I shall go into the dining room and do my exercises.   Then I can sit and watch the first episode of the programmes on Hemingway before I go for my walk - I have to space out my day otherwise I get overtired.   I am working on the theory that if I do both walk and exercises every day then eventually I shall find I can do both without it proving too much exertion.   Hasn't happened so far but I can but try.

Well it is Friday the thirteenth with a vengeance today.  Knowing I have to give a presentation on Hemingway on the first Monday next month I watched the  first of the   six programmes again this morning and made notes intending to type them  up.  And what do I find?  When I come to print them off only part of my notes has printed. Having already done my strenuous exercises for the day I am just too tired to repeat type them so they will have to wait until another day.   I did intend when I had finish to walk round on my daily walk but not now - I feel like sitting down witha cup of tea and a scone. 

Thursday 12 August 2021


 I almost called today's post 'Futility' because that is the mood I am in today but then I reasoned that we just must not let ourselves get like this, so I changed it to the day of the week.

But looking at the News this morning (yes although our transmitter is down 'indefinitely' I can watch BBC programmes on iplayer) there was nothing at all to be the slightest bit cheerful about.

It is perhaps apt that I happen to have just made a second reading of A Farewell to Arms and Ernest Hemingway's take on the first World War which is my choice for our september Book Group.   Whatever impression Hemingway gives about his macho attitude to war, the overriding impression  I get from reading the book is the sheer futility of it all - the death, the dest ruction, the thousands killed or suffering by the side of the road waiting to die, and for what - often half a mile of territory gained or lost.

Then I watch Breakfast and the pictures of the Taliban in Afghanistan.   And I think of the twenty years or whatever that 'we' spent there and then we suddenly all pull out and leave them to their fate.   I heard a Taliban leader speaking yesterday - quite a reasonable man if that is what you believe in - saying that the Taliban will take over the country as quickly as possible and everyone will live under strict Islamic law.   People will die along the way because that is what happens in war - so the quicker it is over and Islamic rule is established then the sooner things will return to normal.

And the futility of it all hit me.   Was there a reason why we went there?   I don't know much about the reason so maybe someone can enlighten me.   I don't know the rights and wrongs of it all.   All I know is that I see the women and children hungry, in Kabul to which they have fled, the children frightened, the women desperate for themselves and for their children and I am pretty certain they just want it all over too.   Maybe I am wrong - there was hardly a man to be seen - maybe the men are away fighting on one side or the other.   But isn't it always the women and children who suffer?

Then the next News item is about children being killed in the bombing in the Yemen.   Imagine one's family being bombed and killed and again - for what?   Please tell me someone.

Following this the wildfires  and according to my taxi driver some of them started deliberately in the Olive Groves because olives are no longer a really good cash crop and more money could be made if permission was granted for houses for holiday homes to be built on the land.   Is this true and if so what dreadful devastation of peoples' homes as the fires get out of control.

We complain about things here but goodness me how lucky we are to live in a stable country with an elected Government.    Everyone ought to be thinking about ways in which we can try to improve things in our own small ways rather than just complain about them all the time.

There - I have got it off my chest and I feel better for offloading it all.   Not that it will do any good.

Wednesday 11 August 2021

Life as we now know it.

Well folks, it looks as though we have to contemplate life without TV as we know it 'indefinitely' according to the message on line.   The transmitter has been on fire (6 fire engines and smoke pouring out of the top of it according to my informant) and if you look it up on line it just says out of order indefinitely.   Still available on iplayer for those of us on more up-to-date sets.   It is my book next on our Book Group and I have  chosen Hemingway's 'A Farewell to Arms' - I must do a presentation on it on the first Monday in September and as I have now read it twice I shall now watch all eight programmes on him on iplayer again so that I am well-prepared.   It's an ill wind.   The trouble is our October book is In Patagonia (Bruce Chatwin) which I read and absolutely adored years ago - I am desperate to start it again but must get my notes for my 'presentation' ready first.

What fascinates me is that there is no mention of the fire at the transmitter on line, there is not a single word about it in The Times today - it seems to be a non event.   Now that I have worked out, with the help of friends and my son, how to still get any programmes I wish to watch I am happy to wait.

Friends S and T called for a coffee (I managed not to throw it all over the carpet this time) and a chat.  They brought runner beans, tomatoes, a cucumber, a courgette and a patty pan from their garden and I was able to exchange them for some huge cultivated blackberries brought to me this morning by my carer - I shared them, eating my half in a fruit salad at lunch time.

After a lovely day yesterday it begins to look very much like rain here now at teatime.   I don't suppose my garden would say no to a drink. 

I am rather cross with myself.   On leaving hospital last October I was  given a series of exercises to do which were aimed at strengthening the hip I had broken.  I did them for some months until I got strong enough to walk daily with Prisilla, which - as you know - I am still doing.   Yesterday I tried to do the exercises again and found that I could no longer do any of them - my muscles were no longer capable of stretching far enough.   So I have started doing them again every day - so far yesterday and today.   I find them very tiring but already I can feel myself loosening up - obviously I have to do both.   Let's face it winter will soon be here with its slippery paths - I will not always be able to go out with Priscilla so now I must concentrate on getting those muscles strong and supple again.   I will keep you posted on my progress.

Raining gently - big black clouds  - see you all tomorrow.

Tuesday 10 August 2021

Warm again

 Suddenly, after days of variable weather - anorak one minute,, scarf the next then no need for either, we have a day of warm, pure unbroken sunshine and open all the windows.   As this coincides with the day when my carer doesn't come and I am on my own, I don't go for a walk round the estate.   By the time I have done all the jobs it takes J an hour to do three hours have passed and it is time for lunch and by the time I have had lunch I am ready for a sit down and time for the Mind Games in The Times.

My neighbour S has just been to ask if I have any spare room in my Green Bin - it is recycling in the morning and on looking in the bin my gardener has left about two feet at the top so S can manage to squeeze a bit more in for recycling.   I wish I had room for a compost heap in the garden but sadly it is not that sort of garden particularly as most of it is up steps and I can't get up the steps in any case.

I was pleased to see S as I got confirmation that our televisions are not working.   I switched on for the News at lunchtime and suddenly the picture disappeared and reported 'No Signal' - it seems that nobody has a signal, so we must all just sit and wait for it to come back on.

I am missing The Olympics but at least they are over before the signal goes - that really would have been frustrating.

Friend W called with a couple of books to read.   I shall leave them for now because it is my book for Book Group this month.   I have chosen 'A Farewell to Arms' by Ernest Hemingway - I have read it once - and thoroughly enjoyed it- and I have also watched the programmes on Hemingway.   Now I am reading it again and making notes.   I am not enjoying it so much second time round although looking at the programmes it seems it is the book which made his name and gave him the reputation of being 'the best American writer since Mark Twain'.

Tea time calls - just toast and honey today I think.  See you all tomorrow - maybe there will be more exciting things to report.

Monday 9 August 2021


 A friend arranged to come for coffee this morning and to bring a couple of home baked scones (they came warm, comforting - you will see why they were needed) for us to have with it.   She was returning a book she had borrowed and also bringing me one of our Book Group's forthcoming books as she had more than one copy.  We had a lovely morning - I enjoyed almost every minute of it - so let's get the not 'lovely' bit out of the way first.

I made the coffee - I had laid the trolley all ready to push in - wheeled it in with the 'pusher' still sticking up.  Just as I got to the fireplace I caught the pusher with my arm and knocked the full coffee pot over all down the fireplace and all over the carpet.

I am not a fast mover and my friend, who also has mobility problems, is not either.   But she was on her hands and knees with the towel before I had a chance to wonder what to do.   I found some carpet stain removed and she did the rest.

I made a fresh pot of coffee while she buttered her scones - they were absolutely perfect and so comforting after the bad start to our get together.

After Lunch (scampi, chips and a lovely salad since you ask) I had a list.   Somebody was talking in Blogland the other day about making lists - well I made one this morning:

Coffee with M

Walk with Priscilla

Book taxi for Hairdressers

Book a service for my Gas Boiler.

Put on a post for today.

So now dear readers I have just crossed off the last thing on my list and I can go and make myself some tea and sit and relax knowing I have done all I intended to do.  Oh and I knocked the coffee all over The Darlington and Stockton Times which H, my friend and neighbour, always lends me before she reads it herself.   I texted my dear Carer who lives near to the Newspaper shop and asked if she could please get me another copy and she has already texted me back to say 'job done' - so a satisfactory day all round.

Sunday 8 August 2021


 When you live alone Sundays tend to become non-days somehow.   I am not a churchgoer, people tend to be either out somewhere or at home with their families and, certainly on our estate, there are far less people about.   I suppose dogs must take their owners for a walk on Sundays just as they do on other days but Priscilla and I rarely see them.   This morning's regular walk round produced not a single person to speak to - we went around ten o'clock -until a hundred yards from our own front door M came out of her front door on her way to chapel  and we walked as far as my front door together. And we arrived at the same moment as large spots of rain - so just in time.

Well, The Olympics is over - Paralympics to come in a fortnight - and the closing ceremony has taken place.   I understand that the idea of holding the games at all in the light of the Covid crisis was not all that popular with the Japanese people and I hear today on the News that Covid has really raged in the country while the games have been running, so I expect there may well be some examination as to whether it was a good idea or not.   Time will tell.   These are troubled times indeed.

And now on the News today is the issue again of Climate Change with the dreadful wild fires raging in Greece and people being evacuated from their homes and even from some islands.  How terrifying that must be.

So, all in all, not an altogether cheerful post today friends, although it has been good to see the proud faces of all those medal winners who have striven to get up to winning standard over the past few years and who have made it - and thoroughly deserved to do so.   A sincere well done to them all and a sincere thanks to them for the pleasure they have give those of us who have been following their progress.

Saturday 7 August 2021


 Saturday again and I easily filled my quota of daily 'chats' - so important to me when I live alone.   Crossing the road to post a letter paying my monthly newspaper account I met B, a bachelor who lives alone a few doors down the road.   We had our 'usual' chat about possible weather for the week-end (wet) before separating and going our separate ways - he to presumably put his two heavy bags of shopping away, me to walk round the block before it rains - I dare not go on my usual longer walk because rain looks imminent.

Before I get back home B stops to chat.   She has been ill and in hospital having a stent fitted.   Now much better and having lost three stones in weight she was setting off on her daily walk suitably clad to turn any wet which might fall.

I haven't been home long before D arrives to mow my lawn and pull up all the wild poppies before they have time to shake their seed.   Much as I love them they are getting just a bit too much in my back garden.   How neat and tidy it looks with them up and in the green bin for collection on Wednesday.

After lunch T and S call in for a coffee and T kindly investigates my garage doors which will shortly need new batteries to keep them working up and down.   I feel much happier once T has done that little job for me and I know which battery replacements to buy.

Now it is half past five in the afternoon, slightly rainy - not at all a nice day- The Olympics are almost at an end - tomorrow is the last day.   I am sure the Japanese will consider it a great success despite Covid meaning that there have been no spectators.   Watching these young people pitting their strengths and skills one against another I have found inspiring.   That they should have devoted so much time and energy I find astonishing every time The Olympics come around.

So its back to normal next week.   Here we shall have Gypsies and Travellers passing through all week on their way to Appleby Horse Fair and of course it is not usually at this time of the year, when it is the peak holiday season, so it remains to be seen how the traffic will cope.

Enjoy the rest of your week end.

Friday 6 August 2021

A Story from the past

 Speaking to friend S on the phone earlier this morning, I was telling her a story from the past prompted by the fact that Tom Daley, the British Diver and, along with his diving partner, winner of an Olympic Gold medal, had knitted (and was wearing) a fantastic white jacket with Olympic symbols in red and blue in fairisle on it.   My friend commented on a man knitting and I immediately thought of my mother's two youngest brothers (she was one of eight).    She said I should tell you the story.   I know many of you enjoy a tale from the past - so here goes.

A and T were both Plate Layers on the railway.   They both lived in the village where they were born.   But there the similarity ended.   T was the black sheep of the chapel-going family - he never went to chapel, he was frequently fined for poaching; he had never married and lived in a little cottage and paid a local lady to keep it clean and tidy for him.   Various local ladies adored him and he was never short of a hot meal.

A, on the other hand, played the harmonium at chapel every Sunday, lived alone in the house where he was born - and looked after his elderly father, cooking all the meals and doing all the cleaning.   He gardened, so they were never short of produce for his cooking and he also had an all-consuming passion.   He was an embroiderer.   As each niece or nephew married he would produce a pattern book well in advance of the wedding date and invite them to choose tablecloth.    He would send for it and embroider it for a wedding present.   I chose a cut-out design which must have taken hours to work - but it was there for my wedding day.   I have it still - almost seventy years later.

As a matter of interest - they both married.   Uncle T married the lady next door who had been cleaning for him for years and had produced most of his meals.   They had some happy years together and when he died his funeral was huge - several Masters of various Fox Hunts attended with their followers and the horses led the funeral procession to the door of the church.   And there was a long write-up in the paper.

Uncle A got chatting to a Miss W (monied and living alone in a large house the garden of which bordered the railway line so that she frequently was able to bring him a glass of port wine to drink before his lunch!) and they too married and lived happily for many years.

My father used to poke fun at A I'm afraid, mainly because before either of them were married A used to take his sewing kit to work so that he could mend anything belonging to T which needed a stitch.

All of them, of course, are long dead.    Uncle A and his wife always invited us twice a year to tea when I was a child.    Auntie J's favourite game was Tiddleywinks and we always had to play after tea, much to my father's disgust.   I loved it.

Thursday 5 August 2021


August proceeds - here we are at the fourth day;  we shall be at the first week end before we know where we are.   How quickly time flies and let me assure you that from my ancient perch in life, each year flies past more quickly than the previous one.

Everyone was kind in enquiring about my hospital visit yesterday but I need to explain more carefully why I was called in.   As regards 'them' not being able to find my pulse in my wrist:  after I broke my hip last October I was transferred to a 'recovery hospital' for a couple of weeks once I had rcovered from the operation to mend it.   And it was whilst I was in there that no-one was ever able to find a pulse when they came round twice a day to monitor blood pressure.   The sister on the ward said it was not at all unusual - towards the end of my stay they could find it in one arm but not the other.   That is why I was referred to a specialist.   Yesterday the Nurse Practitioner couldn't find it either but was expecting it to happen after reading my case notes.   A stronger, more sensitive machine together with a special cream located it loud and clear and she said that it was possibly due a slight thickening of the arteries at my age.   (We are a bit like old cars you know).

I am still here, I am still able to walk with the aid of Priscilla and J, my taxi driver, and I had a lovely drive into Northallerton on a pleasant sunny day and whole new buildings had sprung.   The forbidding prison in Northallerton has disappeared and in its place stand large Lidl and Iceland stores.   A sign of the times no doubt.

Since the advent of Covid hospitals (and G P 's surgeries) have  changed out of all recognition.   Yesterday it all seemed empty apart from a person on Reception and a Nurse who appeared, who took Priscilla and I where we needed to go.   The corridors were all empty, the chairs looked new and were spaced and fastened to bars, so that even if you had wished to pull them nearer together you couldn't have done so.   Masks were of course compulsory.


Enough of hospitals.   It is time I went for my walk. Priscilla is getting rstless and what started out as a clear blue sky is taking on an ominous look as heavy rain clouds drift in (it is forecast).    So I shall abandon this but hopefully I shall return.

I don't know about anyone else but I shall so miss all these young, strong, fit and healthy young people pitting their strength and expertise against one another in an effort to win the Gold for their country.   I am all for a bit of Patriotism when it is used in something like this.   I just hope no really young folk try to emulate their BMX skills.

Travelling to Northallerton yesterday we were reminded for the first of many times no doubt that next week is The Appleby Horse Fair and Gypsies and Travellers from far and wide are beginning to converge on Appleby in Cumbria for the annual event, which should have been held in the early Spring but was postponed because of Covid.   On the village green in Crakehall  - a village between Leyburn and Northallerton - there was a beautiful, colourful Gypsy caravan, together with various other vehicles, caravans, horseboxes, and of course three or four beautiful gypsy horses grazing off the greenery.   A lovely sight.   When I was a small child in Lincolnshire gypsies and their caravans were a common sight around our villages - the ladies coming round selling their home-made (and very efficient) clothes pegs and their mock chrysanthemums made out of dyed wood.  All long gone now of course.


Tuesday 3 August 2021

A Shorter Post

Just a short post today to put you in the picture.   I did not sleep well, knowing I had to be up, washed, dressed and breakfasted without my carer as this is the one day she doesn't come.   I couldn't fasten my bra (sorry chaps but this is 'girlie' stuff) and what I think is probably the first time since I became an adult, I had to go bra-less.   Then I ate my breakfast - just had a piece of toast and a banana.   I enjoyed the drive there - so much  has altered in the year since I last went on that road.   I didn't have to see the surgeon, I saw a vascular practice nurse and she told me that I had been called because the hospital had had difficulty locating my pulse.   They had difficulty this time but eventually brought some cream and a suction pipe.   After they had done this the sound of a strong even pulse came through loud and clear - it sounded as loud as an army on the march.  She went in and reported this information to the surgeon and he didn't need to see me.   I had some lunch and have sat in the chair half watching Olympics and half dozing all afternoon.   Hopefully I will be back to normal tomorrow.   See you then.

Monday 2 August 2021

A New Week dawns


 It always seems to be Monday - no sooner does Monday night arrive than Monday morning of the next week arrives.   Does anyone else find that?   It was understandable in the days when I taught in school - week-ends were precious and so they flew by;  but now all days are alike it is still the same

I have just had a Zoom with friends W, P and D - as usual it is good to catch up with what they have all been doing.   I hear what they have all been doing from here in my little bungalow where I rarely venture out other than a walk round the block or a trip to the hairdresser.   Tomorrow is a trip to the hospital to see the Vascular Surgeon (I am going by taxi rather than hospital transport) - apparently a necessity after a broken hip.   As I wear compression stockings every day and my legs seem more or less normal I don't expect I shall have to have any treatment - but time will tell.

At Book Group this morning we discussed Never Let me Go by Ishiguro.   Thank you Margaret Butterworth for telling me about the interview on U Tube with Ishiguro.   It was fascinating - do watch it if you have read the book.    I find listening to writers about books they have written so interesting - they open up so many aspects you haven't thought of.

Warm, sunny day here with a coolish breeze - maybe a faint suggestion of Autumn not being far away.   I shall go and forage for something for tea now - I will report in tomorrow after my hospital visit.

Sunday 1 August 2021

Goodbye to the poppies

 For the last few years I have allowed the tall pink semi wild poppies to self-sow themselves in my garden where the Mares Tail weed grows.   I love them.   My gardener D hates them and every year I have to tell him he must not pull them up once they begin to emerge from the ground in about May.  Over the Winter and the Spring this year over 200 bulbs have been planted into that bit of the garden and they looked splendid.   Then we decided to plant it up, accept that we are never going to completely eradicate the Mares Tail and relax about it.   To that end we have now put in about fifteen new plants and there are at least as many again which can be salvaged from the rest of the garden where plants, after three years, now begin to want digging up, splitting up and replanting.

So looking at my garden today I see that the newly planted side, now that we have had a good rain, begins to look something like.   I also have to admit (yes D I own up) than on the   side where the poppy plants are now going to seed (I am speaking here of about maybe sixty poppy seed heads) they really must be pulled up before the fateful day when they begin to drop their seed - (otherwise next poppy-flowering time you will not be able to see the wood for the trees).   So my first job in the morning is to ring my gardener and  ask him to do just that - and boy, will he be delighted to do so (,even do it without being paid).

A totally dry day - Priscilla and I had our walk round this morning, dropping off a cheque at L's who does bits of local shopping for me.

A couple of very heavy rain storms, each lasting about an hour, means that everywhere looks so much healthier - and it is a joy to behold.