Saturday 30 October 2021

The Ring of the Door Bell.

The telephone bell and the doorbell have vied with one another today to make the most noise.   Grandchildren, friends, distant family members, the post man - quite a day really.   Now, as darkness falls, all the shelves are covered with birthday cards, there is a pile of parcels to unwrap in the morning and all being well Pizzas to eat tomorrow evening.  I am so lucky.

See you tomorrow.

Friday 29 October 2021

This week-end

 This is a red letter weekend for me and takes the same form more or less every year.   First of all there is always Hallowe'en - it does become slightly more important each year I think as customs spread over the Atlantic and it becomes a more acknowledged festival here.   Hallowe'en has of course always been my birthday but it is only the past few years when there have been any festivities.   It is also usually the week end when the clocks go back and the nights get darker.   Now, in very old age (I am 89 on Sunday) the whole event has become far less important to me.  Friends ring to wish me a Happy Birthday, my son and his wife are coming round for a take away Pizza (after Covid tests) and I chat to my Grandchildren who all live away from here.   Then it is November.   And a Countdown to Christmas.

We used to often have a Pizza delivery at the week end but since Covid we have only had one once, so that in itself makes it a Red Letter Day.  Let's hope there is an improvement in the weather - it has been a dodge the showers kind of day today.   But let's spare a thought for those in the West of the country who have had to cope with such a deluge of rain over the past few days.

Thursday 28 October 2021

Ear time again

 It was down to Ripon by taxi again today about my ears.   None of the lovely weather of last time; today was heavily clouded, very windy but not cold.  Taxi again and this time J took me so we had a very different conversation girl to girl and I enjoyed that too.   The first thing on arrival was that, after a week of putting drops in my ears, I had my  ears syringed.   Not particularly pleasant but it didn't  hurt and they felt fantastic afterwards.

Then I had the moulds taken.   For the five minutes it took the moulds to set I had to sit very still and not talk - in fact I almost dropped asleep and woke up with a start. 

Then I rang my taxi driver in the car park and she drove round the one way system to collect me.   During this time I had a lovely conversation with the man who is making my hearing aids.   Now it is wait three weeks and he will ring me when they are ready for him to fit.   I have to say I feel bettter for the syringe and can hear better.  Can't imagine what 'gunge' he got out of there.

Now I shall settle down to watch The Hairy Bikers in the North of England - my home countryside.

Back tomorrow.

Wednesday 27 October 2021


 The word 'image' has featured largely in the media over the last two days and I have found it interesting because really we are all guilty of it (if that is the right word),   Some (no names, no packdrill) would insist they are not but then one could argue that the sheer fact of not being guilty of it is in itself being guilty of it.

I suppose what sparked it all off was the Budget today and the image that Rishi Sunak, our Chancellor of the Exchequer, has chosen to present to 'the people' - and don't try to argue that it is coincidental - he must have invited the photographers to photograph him working on the details of his Budget lounging on a settee, Nova his dog cuddled up by his side, his hand lovingly placed across him.   Rishi is wearing a grey sweatshirt, casual pants, and with flip-flops on his feet.   By his side a Twix Bar and a Sprite.

The Times this morning reminds me of two images from the past - Winston Churchill, rarely seen without his cigar and Harold Wilson, rarely without his pipe, although in fact he rarely smoked a pipe, preferring cigars.

Now this morning Carol Midgley talks about Body Image, saying that Research suggests that men are  judged less successful and less attractive if they are bald.   And Men's Health magazine found that two thirds of their readers who responded to their Questionairre admitted to being insecure about their appearance and that many of them were dieting for their appeaance rather than their health.

I think perhaps we are all guilty of it to some degree - look at women on television at the moment - almost without exception every one has long hair.   And so many of the men are sporting natty beards.

Please don't think this is a criticism - I think it has always been thus - part of our make up is to follow the herd, to try and look alike and yet a little bit different.

As Rabbie Burns so rightly put it "Oh wad some Power the giftie gie us"

Tuesday 26 October 2021

Antiques anyone?

 As I am 89 on Sunday I think I am a bit of an antique myself, but in this instance I am talking about antique objects and how they stir up memories.

I like watching programmes on television which involve antiques.   In particular I like Antiques Road Trip and I like Flog It.   And tonight, watching both one after the other they stirred up such memories.   It seems to be a week for memories and images from the past - must be something to do with my birthday I suppose.

First of all there was a chest - the kind that almost everyone had when I was a child - a good, sensible, hearty chest which held all one's foldable clothes.  One drawer for knickers (no silly words for them in those days), one for brassieres and vests, and then the other two for the man of the house - one for underpants as they were called (long ones for winter) and one for vests and shirts.   No nonsense in those days.

And I remembered the one my Grandparents had in their house - my grandma used to polish it weekly so that the bedroom always smelled of lavender polish.    And more importantly, later in Flog It, I was reminded of what stood on top of the chest throughout my childhood - The Family Bible.   Three, in a very dilapidated state, were sold on Flog It.   The one on my Grandparents chest was immaculate.   The chest had a white cloth on it, with a crocheted edging (done by my Grandmother) and the Bible stood on the cloth.   By the side there was always a small glass vase of fresh flowers.   The area was almost treated with reverance and when ever a new baby was born, or anyone in the family died,my Grandfather would bring The Bible downstairs and record the event in beautiful, copper-plate handwriting, on the blank page at the front left for just that purpose.   I believe it went to my brother when they all died and I rather think, if he has kept it, it now belongs to his son.

And then of course I was reminded of my Grandparents themselves.   My Grandfather, John James, was a local Methodist preacher, so it was always a strict no alcohol household.   He went blind overnight and only lived a short while after that, dying in his mid seventies.   My Grandmother, Martha (Patty after whom I was christened) lived on for another ten years, and she 'ruled the roost'.   There were four of my father's sisters who never married (remember we are speaking of directly after the first World War when young men were in short supply).  My Grandmother, who in my memory is always wearing a long black skirt and a tan and cream striped high necked blouse with a cameo brooch at the neck, had a chatelaine at her waist and took her daughters' wages on Friday nights and doled out pocket money.   One daughter, my Auntie Pat, whom I adored, stayed at home to do the housework and shopping, two others were tailoresses and the last one was a milliner.   What dismal lives they must have led.   I know that one of them had a child 'out of wedlock' as they said in those days and it was taken away and adopted immediately.  (I only found this out long after I left school).  I do know that she always adored other peoples' babies.

So there we are:   one family bible, one chest of drawers on a television programme and I am away again.

Monday 25 October 2021

The Sun

 Have you noticed how, this time of the year, as Autumn progresses, the Sun seems to take on a different kind of light - the kind of glowing light which is telling us 'make the most of me because I just might not be around quite so much for a while.'?

Today folks have been passing  with their dogs (at the same time as usual - I could set my clock by them all - and have been in their shirt sleeves or at the most a short jacket.   Me?   I did my usual walk round the estate in thermal vest, jumper, cardigan and winter anorak.   Yes - once I got going and while the sun was out - I was pleasantly warm.   But half way round large blobs of rain fell on my head and bounced off Priscilla's seat.   And for about five minutes it rained heavily and I was pleased for the comfort of my anorak.

Meeting all the dogs is as pleasant as meeting the people.   Almost all the dogs are pedigrees - probably half a dozen 'mutts' at the most.   When I was a child we rarely saw a pedigree in the village - maybe a few Border Collies on the farms and the odd Labrador or Spaniel shooting dog at the heel of one or other of the land owners but mostly 'accidents' I suspect when a dog got out somewhere when a local bitch was on heat.   I remember at the farm we lost Tip (our Border Collie) one day.   When the farmer shouted him to go and work the sheep (he was usually there like a shot) there was no sign of him.   Shortly afterwards friends with a Cocker Spaniel rang to say Tip was camped by their gate and Jill was desperate to get out for a meeting!

I remember when I was a child some people who we considered to be very 'posh' rented a cottage in the village for a Summer and they had two Borzois, I remember the whole village talking of these two exotic dogs.   Now so called exotic dogs are two a  penny and cost a lot more than a penny these days.  Labradoodles are a very popular breed up here and cost hundreds of pounds.

When I write this and then think of the item on the New at six about the hunger now present in Afghanistan and how families are having to sell their children, particularly daughters, because they are starving it does bring home the fact that there is something wrong with the world.   Wouldn't you agree?

Sunday 24 October 2021

How old is too old?

 I had my visitors for lunch yesterday - it was lovely to see them.   I love my God daughter dearly and don't see nearly as much as I would like to see of her as I do see her.   We lie literally opposite sides of the country.   It is good to see her happy.

I so looked forward to them coming, I managed to cook a lunch of sorts but I totally forgot about giving them a sandwich and a piece of my birthday cake before they went (and they were too polite to say anything).  I slept well and yet today I have literally been too tired to do anything other than sit and doze.   Even reading was too much of a chore.

The truth is that entertaining of any kind is becoming too much for me - I am going to have to admit to being too old.   The trouble is that I love people and having to admit to being too old is very  difficult.   At what point does one say 'I can't do this any more'?

My friend and neighbour H came round for a short visit late afternoon and we got on to the subject - I have suddenly found my blood pressure has rocketed and has to be investigated and she has problems along the same lines.    We agreed that we are both getting 'past it'.   In which case dear blog-friends you are going to become more important than ever to my well being.   Watch this space.

Saturday 23 October 2021


 Quite an eventful day today.   First of all it was the designated day for my flu jab and T and S had promised to take me down to the Medical Centre.   They turned up five minutes early - I was planning to be sitting at the bottom of the drive on Priscilla but they drove up before I even got the garage door open.   And - good friends that they are - they neglected to tell me that they had chosen to have their jabs early so had no need to go down to the surgery but were going especially to take me.   They came back for a coffee on our return and stayed for an hour, so the day started with a nice chat.

After they had gone I prepared the sausage supper for my visitors and popped it in the oven an hour before their planned arrival time.  Within a short time the whole house smelled divine of sausage casserole and I must say it tasted good too.

We spent the afternoon chatting.   They had driven almost across the country - a long way = to see me and they needed a good rest before their return journey.   Very kindly both of them cleared the table, stacked the dishwasher, tidied everything away and then made a cup of tea for us all so I had nothing to do.   (neither of them drink coffee).   Last night I had a very bad night and so I had a job keeping awake all afternoon.   I was a bit the same today but I had warned them and instructed them to keep chatting so that I didn't drop off.

They went about five o'clock and it was only after they had gone that I realised that the ham sandwiches and Birthday Cake I had intended to give them for tea were still unopened.   I have sent them an apologetic e mail but I really was sorry - it would have been lovely to share a slice of cake with them both.

Now, at half past nine, I am having a really early night.   I can hardly keep awake.   Only rarely do I sleep badly but last night I still had not dropped off at 2am, so got up and had a couple of Weetabix. Can't remember getting back into bed!

Quiet day tomorrow.   After a busy day with my dear friends I need a quiet day to recuperate but I did so enjoy their company.

Friday 22 October 2021


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

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

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

Thursday 21 October 2021


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 20 October 2021


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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 19 October 2021

Meeting New People

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

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

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

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

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

Time will tell.   See you tomorrow.


Monday 18 October 2021


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

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

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

Sunday 17 October 2021

Typical Autumn

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 16 October 2021

Saturday again

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

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

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

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

Friday 15 October 2021

Another nothing day.

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

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

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

Thursday 14 October 2021

A Nothing Day

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

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

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

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

See you all tomorrow.

Wednesday 13 October 2021

Yorkshire pud and other things

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

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

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

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

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

**for led bulbs




Tuesday 12 October 2021


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

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

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

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

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

Monday 11 October 2021

Sometimes I wonder.....

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you tomorrow.



Sunday 10 October 2021


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

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

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

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

40% amphinians

34% conifers

33% reef corals

31% sharks and rays

27% crustaceans

25% mammals

14% birds


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

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

b)  Intensive building on what was agricultural land


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


Saturday 9 October 2021


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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 8 October 2021

A Trip Out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 7 October 2021

Covid Jab Day

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

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

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

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


Wednesday 6 October 2021

A Countryside Observation

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Tuesday 5 October 2021

An observation

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

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

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

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

See you all tomorrow.

Monday 4 October 2021

Monday again.

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

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

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

Sunday 3 October 2021


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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 2 October 2021

What a day

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

Friday 1 October 2021


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

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

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

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