Tuesday 30 November 2021

Ths and that

 First to report that Mr Winkle has survived intact thanks to friend T this morning moving him a bit further along and into a safer place.   He refuses to believe that Mr Winkle was shifted by the strength of the wind.   All I know is that I watched the wind make him wobble back and forth when it was at its height.   But, whatever caused him to move, I can report that he has come through the storm unscathed and with all bits and pieces intact.

It seems ages since Priscilla and I ventured out in the weather.    (As somebody said - there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing).   To be totally frank, at my age I can - if necessary - use the weather as a perfect excuse for not venturing out and that is what I have been doing.   Looking out this morning, every single flake of snow had disappeared overnight, the sun was getting up and it promised a possible walk day.   But it has gone steadily downhill since then and is now a miserable damp day.

Friends are promised to come for the day on Thursday but as it involves coming over the top of the Pennines whichever way they come, they are understandably waiting until the last possible minute to  make up their minds.   They are bringing the main course with them, a friend is preparing the veg and cooking them in my microwave and I am defrosting a key lime pie and serving it with local Madagascan Vanilla Ice cream.  So not much to do for any of us.

I do hope they come.   They are amongst my dearest friends and it is a long time since I sawthem 'in the flesh' and Zoom is just not the same.   So let's hope there is not another downturn in the weather.

Friends S and T have just called and we have coffeed and chatted.   Their much loved and cossetted hens are shut in because there is an outbreak of bird flu not far away.   They get incredibly well-looked-after and I must say their eggs have the most golden yolks I have ever seen.   Typing this has prompted me to think I might well have a couple poached on toast for my tea.

It is almost dark at four in the afternoon in what my mother always called 'the dark days before Christmas' - then the days will begin to get longer again.    Can't come soon enough can it?   See you tomorrow.

Monday 29 November 2021

Poor Mr Winkle.

I think I told you of my statue - a gift from my gardeners for my patio.   They bought it for me and brought it one Monday when I had Book Group here, so although I waved to them I had no contact with them other than that.   When I went into the back garden later in the day there he was.   It is actually a statue of Hercules with the Lion but they christened him Mr Winkle - yes you can guess - there is no hiding his masculinity as he leans nonchallantly against a lion.   The next time I saw them they told me they hoped he made me jump when I opened the bedroom curtains the next morning.

 I laughed and told them I had caught them out - when I came out of hospital I moved into the computer room at the other end of the bungalow.   Well they came again this week - my gardener has been poorly and they haven't been for ten weeks apart from to mow the lawn.    This week they did a massive winter tidy-up and yes- you have guessed it.   When I drew back the cutains in the computer room next morning - there he was - looking into my window.

We have had an awful blizzard with snow and winds of getting on for ninety miles an hour .   When I looked at Mr Winkle the gale had blown him (he is far too heavy for me to move) right to the edge of the wall.   An inch further and he would topple off.   He is far too heavy for me to move and in any case I can't climb the steps, so there he sits precariously.   Luckily the wind has died down.   I have friends calling for lunch on Thursday weather permitting so hopefully he will balance there until then.

Snow here is disappearing by the minute. 

Sunday 28 November 2021

What to write about today

 Well, going out for a walk is certainly not an option today.   It was quite pleasant  when I got up (just after six as it is my carer's week end off and my reserve carer comes just  after seven to fit in with her other commitments.)

But by the time I had washed and dressed, breakfasted and cleaned my teeth it became obvious once the blinds were drawn back that the roads were icy and there had been a fall of snow overnight.   And within the next hour or so it snowed again - all morning.   Now there has been about an inch of the pretty but horribly inconvenient stuff, the clouds are clearing away, the sun is coming out and the sky is clear blue. 

I am wearing my new, delightful and beautifully knitted socks from Jenny (My Life in Flip Flops on my side bar) so at least I am warm.   And apparently we can say good-bye to this weather today for a day or two or though it does not promise to be much warmer.

I find my thought today drifting back time and again to the refugees in those dreadful camps by Dunkirk.   Whatever one's view on the refugee crisis, nobody would wish to see those young men women and children out under canvas in weather like this - thank goodness for the volunteers who seem to be supplying them with warming food.   What kind of life the children will have after a start like this I just can't imagine.   Nor can I imagine what it must be like to be so afraid in one's country that fleeing thousands of miles across often hostile country in search of a better life is preferable to staying put. 

We look at - and complain about - so much here.   We need I think to stop and think as the winter draws in that we have much to be grateful for.

Wrap up well dear friends - see you tomorrow.

Saturday 27 November 2021

Winter blows in with a vengeance

The first storm of Winter blew in last evening. angry red and orange shaded areas appeared on the map of the country and - sure enough - it all showed up just as it was getting dark and by bed time the storm was  at its height.

One of the advantages (very few I add)of being deaf is that when you go to bed you can take out your hearing aids, arrange the bedcovers so that your 'top' ear is covered and hopefully get to sleep - and I did.

Drawing back the blinds this morning very early (it is my reserve carer) outside was just as I expected - a covering of snow, slushy roads and a tremendously strong wind.   As the morning has progressed the wind has abated a little so it does look as though the storm is on its way south, which is what it is destined to do.

I can't expect any callers today - everyone will be like me and will have battened down the hatches.   It is certainly a day when I am pleased I don't live on the North East Coast.  'Strictly' tonight for those of us who watch it - wonder who'll go out this week?   Dan??

Friday 26 November 2021

Out here in the quiet depths of the country.

Do not let anyone kid you! this last few days here have been chaotic.   If nobody comes all day I feel 'alone':  if there is a constant stream of visitors throughout the day I get frustrated by the trek back and forth to the front door.   The last week that is just what it has been like.  Walking with a frame is slow work.

Don't misunderstand me - friends are always welcome - in fact I love all of them being here and rejoice in the fact that I am so lucky to have such good ones.  (where would I be without you T - solver of all my problems - do call and see my lovely shiny stop tap which has replaced that bodged up job that was there before) .

But this is the pattern for the afternoon.   a) the doorbell went (Westminster Chimes and very loud - you can't miss them).  Two chaps stood on the door step, one of them smiling as though he knew me well.   Oh yes, he did but he has grown a beard (who hasn't - even half of the MPs seem to grow one every time there is any kind of a break which gives their whiskers time to shoot up).   By the time I had shown them the offending stop tap in the kitchen (for the outside tap and best turned off in winter, especially when wintry temperatures are forecast)., my tea had grown cold.

They were here for an hour putting in a stop tap.   As they went down their drive another vehicle drew up so I didn't both to close the door.  "Come in and I'll get my cheque book out of the Computer Room "and pay you". I maywell become the last person not to bank on line.   A lady who lives just down the road kindly shops mid week for anyone who wants groceries (bananas, oranges, grapes, bread, ((crumpets)) -for a small charge.   It is a super service for anyone like me who has difficulty getting out.

As I said good-bye to her the Post Van drew up and - what fun - socks and mittens from Ilkley/Italy arrive - Blogland is filled with such lovely characters. Jenny Peacock has knitted me some gloves and some socks - I can't wait to open the parcel.   So that is the order of the day - draw the blinds, lock all doors, turn the fire up. toast the crumpets and open the parcel.   Thank you so much T for seeing to the tap, advising a new stop tap and chatting to the plumber for me and thank you Jenny in advance for the socks - I will thank you again and post off the wool when I go near a Post Office next week.   Tell you this though - the parcel will not be as professionally packed as yours is.   Only a couple of days back after that long journey and you can manage a parcel like that - brilliant.

Wednesday 24 November 2021

The best laid plans........

 Well I had planned to get down to organising things today but I woke at four and didn't get back to sleep so I have not been very active today I'm afraid.   It has been a pleasant day though.  Sunny and cloudy in turn and a chilly wind blowing so I have not missed much in the weather stakes and very cold weather forecast from tomorrow so I may be shut in.

This morning the Lifeline lady called.   For anyone not familiar with Lifeline, it is an organisation for the elderly.   I have a button on my wrist which I never take off apart from when I have a shower.   It costs me just under thirty pounds a month and is connected to an organisation which deals with emergency calls.  I made full use of it when I fell in the sitting room and broke my hip just over a year ago.   I pressed the button and a disembodied voice issues forth from a mechanism on a side table and asks me if I need help.   When I told her I thought I had broken my hip (I heard it 'crack') she said to stay exactly where I was and she would get the ambulance and shortly afterwards both my son and the Ambulance arrived together.      After the Landline lady had gone it was time for my lunch of scampi, chips and beans - delicious (chips and scampi in frying pan and beans in microwave).

Various small jobs done (a load of washing done in the washing machine by the carer transferred by Priscilla and me to the tumble drier in the garage), small amount of washing up done, and then S and T called.   I was more 'with it' today and happily made us a cup of coffee.   They stayed about an hour and we chatted and it passed a nice afternoon.

Now it is time to heat a nice big bowl of veggie soup (brought this morning by my carer who made it in her soup-maker yesterday evening. )    That is my tea sorted - and a good one too.    See you tomorrow.

Tuesday 23 November 2021

What a day and a half.

 Well folks, I have been 'on the go' every single minute of today.   I am tired out, my legs are swollen with too much exercise and I am just trying to keep awake until a reasonable time.

Tuesday is the one day when I don't have a carer.   This means I have to do everything for myself.   You might think this is a good thing but believe me it takes most of the morning to do what my carer does in an hour.   I do not make my porridge - I usually have cereals and a banana when I have to get it myself.   But getting all blinds opened and curtains drawn back, making my morning cup of tea and taking it into the sitting room so that  I can watch "Breakfast" takes quite a while.  And this morning the television was playing up as it has been for several days now.

Once this is over the paper has arrived.   I always stay in bed a little while longer on Tuesdays - it is the only chance I get for a lie in, so I didn't get up until just after eight.   The paper is too much of a temptation and the Mind games too much of a draw so I  sat and did those.   Then, just as I was about to go and have a wash and get dressed my two Gardeners arrived.   It is quite a long time since they came and the lawn was very long and the winter tidy up had not been done so I knew they would be here some time.   D has been ill with his heart and I had resigned myself to not having them again until Spring.    This estate is extremely tidy and everyone keeps their gardens neat.   I used to enjoy doing some of it myself but I can no longer do that so they have to do everything.  It costs me of course but it has to be done.They were here all day but now it is nice and neat and tidy for winter.

While they were here S and T arrived for Tom to do a little job for me.   The stop tap to my outside tap needed turning off and I couldn't do  it.   (Last year my gardener did it for me but of course I asked T before I knew the gardeners were coming.)   I provided the gardeners with tea mid-morning and a slice of cake - and that takes me an age to prepare and get out into the garden.   Then at lunch time I made them cheese and crackers and another cup of tea - I reasoned that they just could not go all day without food.

But all this activity really takes it out of me.   I made S and T a cup of coffee but I made it too strong and I started to push the trolley without pushing down the strainer on the cafetiere and - yes true to form -I knocked it over and coffee went everywhere.   S kindly mopped it up.  What would I do without them.

When they had gone the gardeners finished their work, told me how much I owed them and off they went.   That was my day.   I closed the blinds and curtains, turned up the central heating, sat in the chair and promptly fell asleep.   Tomorrow is another day as they say.

Monday 22 November 2021


 Are you a list-maker or do you muddle through life doing jobs as they occur to you?   My sister who was more than twenty years my senior and long gone, once said to me that she made 'mental lists' before she got out of bed in a morning but usually found that by evening she had only done about one thing on the list and it was most frustrating.

I try to make a bit of a list and one thing that is first at present is to UPDATE FILES.   I have only one son.   You may find this thinking macabre but I hope that when I die (let's face it however much longer I live one thing is certain - I have lived far longer than I have left on this earth) I leave my affairs  (no not that sort) in such order that he has as little work as possible to sort them out.   To that end my filing cabinet (a set of drawers in my computer room) has labelled files.   They are all in the process of being updated.   One has been done, updated and ticked off the list (and that one is the organisation of my funeral arrangements - with the proviso that if he wishes to change the whole thing that is his prerogative.)   So that file is now the only one in the drawer.

The next one I intend to tackle is the Utilities file - Gas, Electricity etc.   I shall start on this the minute I finish this post.   I don't feel like it but I shall take it into the sitting room, tip the contents out onto the   carpet in front of my chair and then update them as I put them back.   Drastic it might be but when I have sorted every file out I shall feel 'cleansed' - a good feeling.

Now to other things - we have had a couple of cold days but the sun has shone non stop and the sky is a clear blue.  Priscilla and I walked the walk this morning we saw only one couple (I always try to speak to everyone) and I was able to say to them "Good to see a joint effort" because each had a bucket of soapy water and a cloth and each was tackling washing one side of the same car.   We had a bit of a laugh about it before I walked on.   I didn;t find the walk as arduous as yesterday but I am tired now.

When I arrived home I heated up my roast pork and veggies in the microwave and then took my fruit salad and coffee into the sitting room.   Then I watched Simon Reeve on iplayer in The Lakes - an absolutely excellent programme - so different from the usual 'travel' programme.  Now it is almost tea time  and the heating has just come back on.   I hadn't switched it off but once the sun gets into my South-facing windows they soon warm up the whole bungalow.

Looking out of the window into the back garden I see it is a mass of self-sown yellow antirrhinums.  I put  them in as bedding plants  at least five years ago and left some at the end of the season to go to seed- now they are everywhere and I love their feast of late colour.   I wish I was able to get out there and do a bit of work but I'm afraid my gardening days are now long over.

Back again tomorrow - in the meantime sleep well and stay well.

Sunday 21 November 2021

Nice afternoon.

Short post today as I want to watch the results from Strictly Come Dancing which will be on TV shortly.   I have had a pleasant day - it is cold but sunny and I had to walk down to pay the lady who does my mid week fruit shopping so I carried on round the block.   As I have not had the opportunity to do so all week  I am  out of practice  and it really tired me out and I had to put my feet up on my return.

Shortly after lunch H my friend and neighbour brought me round sweet peas which are still flowering in  her sheltered back garden - only a few but they smell nice and add the last touches of summer to my sitting room on what is a cold Autumn day.

We chatted about this and that all afternoon and it passed a pleasant Sunday afternoon.   Who could wish for more?


Saturday 20 November 2021

Good morning

 Good morning bright and early.   Well it would be wouldn't it?   Lots of visitors (all very welcome) but tired by Friday and then sleeping in on Friday morning, dozing on and off for most of the day on Friday.  Staying up until eleven thirty on Friday evening because I wasn't tired and here I am - fresh as the first daisy in Spring - waking at four this morning, lying in bed until quarter past five - going through the geneology of various families in the village to try and persuade myself to drop off again and at six o'clock up and in my dressing gown doing a few minutes on the computer before I go and make myself a cup of tea.   That'll learn me as they say up here.

But it will have done  my brain no harm at all to go  through the geneology.   When friends S and T called, they were talking about somebody I used to live close to when o n the farm and I had difficulty in recalling their family for a few minutes.   Now, lying in bed this morning I was thinking about them, thinking about their parents and their brothers and sisters and getting them all in order (didn't help me to get back to sleep again of course).   And it did strike me that up here - until fairly recently looked at in the long term- transport and wages and opportunities to travel meant that you found a partner in the vicinity in most cases.  And so still in many cases grandparents, parents and children  live in fairly close proximity to one another - although the young people now are beginning to spread their wings as opportunities to do so present themselves.   And methods of meeting and forming relationships have changed so much since my day with computers opening up the world.

I shall now go and make myself a cup of tea to drink with my annoying tablet I have to take one morning each week when I have to stay upright, drink a full glass of liquid and have nothing to eat for at least half an hour afterwards.I shall return later.

Back to my original theme - do you think it matters whether you stay in one place all your life or move around?   When you die your life's experiences die with you so it is easy to say it makes no difference but of course you pass so much on to your children - so much of your experience of life is helped along by interaction with others - and I happen think that is vital.   Without that interaction we are depriving our children of so many experiences.

Nothing much has happened today - it has been a very quiet day.   The only thing different is that my Tesco delivery came this morning which meant that after my carer had gone i had to close down whatever job I was doing and wash out the frudge and wipe down the shelves in the cupboard so that I could put the food away when my  order came.   Three boxes of pigs in blankets.   I read somewhere that there was likely to be a shortage this year so in case there is i have ordered three bo=xes of one and a fourth as an insurance policy.  As I am quite likely to eat Christmas lunch alone here in my bungalow maybe the sixty 'pigs in blankets' I have ordered and stored in my  freezer are a bit excessive.

I am tired again and keep falling asleep at my computer as I write this  so I must sign off and get my head on that pillow.   See you tomorrow......

Friday 19 November 2021

The Obvious Outcome.

 Yes, I should have known.   You will know from my posts that for me I have had a very busy week.    Well at last, this morning, it caught up with me.   I woke at six thirty and thought I would have another five minutes before getting up (my carer comes at half past seven),   The next thing I knew a voice was calling 'wakey, wakey' and a hand was shaking my foot.   Yes - I had gone back to sleep.

Once up and in my chair she brought what she had promised - scrambled eggs for my breakfast.   It is ages since I had them and she had scrambled them very well.   Some folk over-scramble but these were just the right consistency and I enjoyed them very much.

When she had gone I did what I always do - got out my pencil and pen and did the mind games- my mind is always sharpest first thing in the morning before it fills up with 'rubbish'.   Mind games done I promptly fell asleep and awoke at half past eleven!

I have not been out at all today but have sat in my chair and dozed after my salad, chips and scampi lunch followed by a fruit salad of grapes, orange and banana which I made for myself.   Now at around half past eight in the evening I have suddenly come alive - hope I sleep tonight.

See you in the morning.


Thursday 18 November 2021

Busy, busy and very tiring.

 Isn't it annoying that busy days always all come together rather than space themselves out?   This week has been enjoyable mostly, irritating in parts and very tiring.   The irritating part of course was going all the way to Ripon in a taxi (hugely expensive) only to find that the hearing aids were not any use and having to start again, which entails yet another visit.

Monday was my visit to the doctor which went off well and finished with a lovely walk back down the road looking at the gardens and enjoying the warm, sunny weather.   Tuesday was the hearing aid day - and even then the journey was pleasant and the Autumn leaves were so pretty everywhere.   Wednesday - yesterday - I did put more on my post that was readable but at the last minute (as happens often) I lost the lot.   There is no doubt that my shake is getting much worse and I catch something which wipes my post off.

So - yesterday half way through the morning I had a phone call from a friend who had been trying to contact me by email to say could she come for coffee (after she had gone I searched and - annoyingly - the email had gone into Spam.)   She set out immediately and not only did she stay for coffee but we shared the lunch my carer had left for me (home-cooked gammon with a good salad, piccallilli, cheese - to which I added my favourite baby beets in sweet vinegar and good bread and butter) and then I went with her to a poetry afternoon at W's.   By the time I got home again I was very tired but it had been an enjoyable day.

Today was hair cut and blow-dry day.   My taxi could take me down but not bring me back so I had arranged with my son to collect me.   Then this morning early he rang to say his wife, who is an invalid, had been very ill overnight after her third Covid jab yesterday.   He dare not leave her.   But luckily friend S stepped into the breach and arranged to collect me.   That went off without a hitch and back home she came in for a cup of tea and stayed a while.  A mutual friend rang asking for help on her computer and that took up quite a large part of the visit (S is my first 'port of call' too on computer issues - she has wide experience and also has a good, analytical mind).   After lunch another friend M rang and said could she walk round - she came and we had a good old chat for a couple of hours and now it is almost tea time.   Phew!   what a busy few days.

Luckily this afternoon my son rang to say the paramedic, the ambulance and the doctor had all been to his wife and after treatment with hydracortisone she was steadily improving and had actually requested something to eat.   The whole episode had been triggered by a third Covid  jab yesterday.

It is now 7pm and I shall go and find something for my tea -not sure what as a piece of my birthday cake this afternoon has rather taken the edge off my appetite.

Wednesday 17 November 2021


Great News.    I am a great grandma again.   Hewie Conor - born last evening and weighing in at 9lbs 6oz.   Born in Glasgow.   It is always nice when things are over and have gone well.   He is a chubby little man and doesn't look like a new baby at all.  I can relax now that he is here.  Had a busy day so too tired to write more.   See you tomorrow.





Monday 15 November 2021


 I am up early (a quarter to six) because today is the day my taxi collects me to go and get my new hearing aids.   It also happens to be the day that Tesco (I have mobile shopping and order on line for delivery) open their Christmas delivery slots and thought if I went on line straight away I might be able to get one.   How wrong can you be!   I quote - "You are 177,879 in the queue for a slot - the queue is moving fairly quickly.   Your estimated wait time is approximately one hour."  Don't log out because you will automatically lose your place in the queue and it may have lengthened.  That last sentence is not an actual quote because by the time I had typed the beginning I had forgotten the actual wording  - but that is more or less verbatim.

I'm not waiting.  I shall not starve but no way can I wait an hour - nor do I wish to.   My son says I can order on his list, friends and neighbours who do their own shopping say they will help.  I already have a good freezer full of food and am not intending to go anywhere in any case.   So if you want to join the queue - good luck!! 

Chatting to a friend later in the day and find she got the same information several hours later!  My son managed to by-pass as we both have priority booking and we now both have a slot booked nearer to Christmas Day and are quite happy with that.

My visit to the Hearing clinic we not a success.  I can't go into detail as it is too technical for me but after a lot of trying the man in charge tells me that because my hearing loss is profound the hearing aids we chose together are not going to work.   They were quite unbearably noisy in my ears with static and high pitched sounds.   The upshot is that we have had to start again.   I have to go back to ones with batteries (but he has supplied me with a tiny stick with a magnet on the end which enables me to change the batteries much more easily.)   New moulds have been taken and they will ring me when the new models are ready (two to three weeks).   A wasted journey but a pleasant one as the Autumn leaves were so beautiful everywhere. 


A new nose.

A trip to the doctors this morning for her to check that new healthy skin had grown along the side of my nose where I had a mole which she treated with chemo therapy cream.   My new skin looks very healthy and so it was only a short visit.   My son collected me from home and delivered me to the Medical Centre, not all that far away and left me there. 

The doctor looked at my nose, pronounced the new skin healthy and that was it.   I was ready for home.  But the Medical Centre is not all that far from home - just on the next estate.   I have always wondered if I could walk there so I decided I would walk half    way back - as far as the walk way through to my estate (you can't drive through)- and ring my son from there asking him to collect me.   It worked out well and I had time to look in all the front gardens as I passed.   Some beautifully laid out and with a good variety of interesting plants - obviously the home of a keen gardener - and some just planted with all kinds of things plonked in.  I really enjoyed the walk and saw several plants I rather liked the look of.   I had already seen one on 'my' estate last week which I am looking out for.   That was yet another Helleborus - Helleborus Winter Sunshine - a splendid plant which seems to flower almost the whole year round.

Then it was home, press the button on the microwave and five minutes later I was eating today's lunch brought for me by J, my carer:- roast beef, Yorkshire  pud, mashed and roast potato, sprouts, carrots, green beans and cauliflower in cheese sauce and all with the most delicious gravy.  Never quite as good heated the next day in the microwave but a far better lunch than I would ever cook for myself. 

Then my feet up for half an hour.   There should be a Zoom at four o'clock with friends but I have somehow not managed to get on to Zoom the last twice.   My son came, intending to wipe it off and reinstall it.   But he could find nothing wrong with it - the problem is not my computer - it is me.   I shall try once more today and if I can't get on then I shall retire from Zooming.   Life is too short for the frustrations I am having with it all.

Rather a grey day today but not all that cold.   The weather forecast is that next week we shall have very cold weather.   Almost every year this happens - a few days of intense wintry weather - so shall have to look out some real winter woollies.

Off to get my new hearing aids in the morning - taxi is collecting me at ten fifteen - just hope I can manage to get them in!   Then it is new specs next - there is no doubt I am wearing out.

Sunday 14 November 2021

Making a life.

 It struck me as I was typing the title of this post how lucky we are that we can indeed make a life when in so many parts of the world people are stuck with the hand they happen to be dealt.   The migrants risking their lives to cross  the world's busiest shipping lane in a flimsy craft to get to what they consider will be a 'better life' - it certainly will be for anyone coming from Afghanistan at the moment.   We might complain but really compared with so many places we are so very lucky to live here 'in the West'.

But I suppose we all try to make a better life for ourselves.   Some of us stick to our roots.   I was thinking here of my dear  farmer, now four years gone and it seems like yesterday.   In the days he was born in I suppose he had no choice over his life - family farm, oldest son, helping out within a couple of years of being born  - destined to take over the family farm and undoubtedly until I came along (me 59 and a widow who had been around and he a 49 year old bachelor) no other idea in his head.   Others can't wait to spread their wings - some in this country, some to go much further afield.

An interesting article in the week-end Times magazine speaks of three who have come home - it makes food for thought.   One couple from Hong Kong - always intended to return permanently eventually after 19 years there they did just that and what they noticed most was that they had a 'cultural gap' to catch up.   Husband says 'Strictly Come Dancing' what the Hell is that?

People seemed obsessed with the idea that they were having to miss their Summer holidays - did it matter?   Although returnees thought not it wasn't long before this small somewhat crowded island meant that they too fancied a week end in Paris and were frustrated they couldn't go.   Did you know that fifty eight per cent of Americans don't possess a passport - there is so much to see there, so many places to go.

Interestingly one couple who returned and then moved out into rural Suffolk found it very hard to make friends.  Finally the wife saw someone on Facebook saying they were new to the area and wished to make new friends.   She responded and now there is a group of a hundred all eager to make friends.   So perhaps it is hard although I (a country girl at heart although my teaching life was spent in cities)never found it so.

The couple returning from the US said it was a good place to live so long as you were never ill, poor or vulnerable.

Here one couple found us 'obsessed with house prices'.

So it seems that wherever we go nowhere is ever perfect.   This is nodoubt due to what my father always used to say -    wherever you go you take your own self with you.

And to that I would add - whether you are a home bird, like to fly the nest, like to cross the world - when you die you take all that experience, all those wonderful places and experiences you have had with you and this old world carries on as though you had never been.

Saturday 13 November 2021

Going South

 Almost every morning this week my breakfast has been interrupted by skeins of geese flying South West in the early morning light.    Led by one goose they form a V shape as they go across the sky and I feel a sense of excitement each time I see them.   How do they sense it is time to go?   How do they know where to go?   How do they usually arrive at the same place they spent Winter last year?  ?

Birds and animals are so much cleverer than we give them credit for aren't they? Most of the time.  But their sense of direction does sometimes go awry.   In today's Times is a story of a penguin who has made a 1,800 mile detour this year.   An Antarctic Penguin has this year made an unexpected 1,800 miles journey - a detour -  from the Antarctic, across the icy ocean 1800 miles to New Zealand.A young Adelie penguin, native to Antartica coastline has made landfall at Birdlings Flat Beach near Christchurch  in New Zealand.

A man walking along the beach saw what he though was a child's discarded toy but as he bend to pick it up it moved its head and he saw that it was a very emaciated and weak penguin.  It was very dehydrated and weak and has been fed on plenty of fish and given plenty of fluid.    He has made regular calls to the Royal New Zealand Air Force who have regular flights on the route but all requests to take the bird back have been rebuffed and now back to full health it has been released near to where it was found.   You would think they could have found room on a pland for one little bird wouldn't you?


Friday 12 November 2021

This and tha

I apologise for no post yesterday and a mix up so far today.   Because my hands are so shaky I am prone to  put up a post and before I have a chance to press 'publish'  I catch another key somewhere (can anyone please tell me which key or how I can  get  - the post back) and the whole thing disappears completely for ever and no amount of searching can find it.

So here I am having another go.   What I said was that yesterday at the Summit an old familiar face suddenly loomed into view as I watched the one o'clock News.  It would be face familiar to everyone in the  UK .despite which side they favoured.  'Two Jags', John Prescott, a   Labour MP now well into his eighties and long retired.   But, may I say, still able to speak out about subjects dear to his heart in spite of having had a major stroke two years ago - a stroke which affected his walking and his speech.   He was Labour MP for Hull for many years and is still passionate about the Humber Estuary and the state of the water flowing into it - rivers from up here in the Dales, rivers like the Trent from the Midlands.   As I think I said in a post the other week - flying over the Humber estuary on my way to Amsterdam made me realise just how huge and just how important it is.   John once was famous for using his Jag to go just 250 yards.  Now he made it clear yesterday - he has got rid of both of his Jags and would like to be thought of as 'Zero Jags'.   I must say that in spite of his age, his disability and the fact that he is no longer a force to be reckoned with (many of you will no doubt say he never was) he is still an impressive figure and it was a pleasure to see him still going strong. 

Now to another subject entirely.  I am referring to the part of the National Health Service that we all experience from time to time= our local Medical Centres with our G Ps.   The role of the G P (General Practioner) has been changing for some time but has been speeded up by the arrival of Covid - the Pandemic none of us expected but which put a huge strain on GPs.   In the 'good old days' you scrolled down the appointments list and clicked against the doctor you wanted to see and on the available times to see him and back would come a confirmation that you were booked in. 

Life is no longer like that.   The procedure now is that you phone the reception desk and speak to a receptionist, telling her as much about your symptoms as you can so that she can relate this to a doctor who can then decide which doctor is suitable.   This in theory is a good idea.  It worked very well for me a month or two ago when I had what I thought might be a mole on the side of my nose.   I knew such things might be cancerous and the receptionist referred me to the doctor in the practice who is a skin speciast.   She telephoned me and asked if I could send her a photograph of it - my son took a photograph the same day and I sent it to her.   The receptionist rang the next day with an appointment to see the doctor, a couple of days later I went to the Medical Centre.   The doctor said the photograph had been very good and she had been able to diagnose immediately what she needed to do.   She gave me chemotherapy cream to put on it for one  month and gave me an appointment to go back - I go back next Monday but the mole has already disappeared.   The whole procedure worked well.   But it doesn't always.  Sometimes a simple appointment like I had with my annual check with the Phlebotomist a month ago, has dragged on and on-  it has been resolved but had I been able to see a doctor five minutes would have been ample time to sort it out.   As it was I had twenty minutes with a Phlebotomist, a quarter of an hour on the phone with a doctor (a charming man but with a quiet vice which I had great difficulty hearing) and finally a call from the Nurse Practitioner who didn't know why she was calling me but had a note to say would she do so.   We sorted out a simple problem which face-to-face could have been done in five minutes.   I am sure it must have been so frustrating all round.

Well friends, the sun is shining, the sky is black out of the Computer Room window but golden from the kitchen window.   Shall I risk a walk?   Maybe - shall review the situation after lunch which is going into the microwave now.   See you tomorrow.

Wednesday 10 November 2021


Had an interesting conversation with the window cleaner this afternoon.   Other than that a very quiet day - it is a grey day and although not particularly cold it is not inviting out there so I have stayed in and done one or two chores.

My  conversation with the window cleaner was about spiders.   My bungalow faces SSW and NNE - SSW being the front windows from the sitting room and the kitchen, the back windows the bathroom and the dining room and computer room and bedrooms. This time of year when the sun begins to get low in the sky my sitting room is warm all day.

But when I go round with Priscilla into the back garden whe re the windows get no sun at all in the winter, I find that the wooden frames and window sills are absolutely festooned with gossamer threads of spiders' webs.   They are really quite pretty but now that I don't walk easily I can't keep going round the back of the bungalow and wiping all the woodwork with a damp cloth so it really has to wait for a visit from the window cleaner.

I spoke to him today about it and he says it happens on all the window sills along my road.   How strange is that?

The only other thing which happened is that the place where I am buying my new Hearing Aids rang to say that they are ready for fitting.   Can't come soon enough for me as one of my existing ones has a permanent whistle.   I have fixed  up   the mechanics of the operation with taxi drivers and synchronised it all with collection from school - I have to make sure the taxi can get there, wait and return before the school run.  So soon I shall be whistle free I hope.

Spare a thought this evening for Gayle (two little square black dogs on my side bar) who has lost her beloved black cat.   It is always sad to have to bear the death of a beloved pet  - the price we pay for loving animals who have so much shorter lives than we do.

Until tomorrow dear friends.


Tuesday 9 November 2021

Nothing to report.

 Nothing of any import has happened.   Yesterday my walk really invigorated me and I returned home full of vim and vigour (relatively).  Today - a lovely day weather wise = I didn't feel like going but I made myself do so telling myself I would enjoy it once I got going.  S adly I didn't enjoy it - I found it jolly hard going from start to finish and had to sit down on Priscilla's seat a couple of times to rest.   I hadn't been back long when a friend called and we sat and chatted for an hour - I enjoyed that and since I have done absolutely nothing.   I am now going to watch Yorkshire Vet - another hour of watching the vet put his arm deep inside the rear end of a cow to pull out a calf that is stuck.   A scene incidentally which  have seen in real life too many times to mention.   See you tomorrow.

Monday 8 November 2021

Which way's the right way?


 Speaking with friends the other day we found we all had the same problem with remembering where places lie in relation to one another.    To what extent this is because of age,or  in my case no longer driving, or memory, we have no way of knowing.   But one thing is for sure - and I would be interested to know whether this applies to you too - sitting in my armchair I can recall almost any village in my home county of Lincolnshire.   But ask me how to get from here to Northallerton 'in my head' and I would struggle.   Put me behind the wheel of a car and I could obviously drive there but just doing the journey mentally is a different kettle of fish for me.   How  about you?   Try it for me please.

In my teens (late forties, early fifties) really the only places for 'dates' was walks, swimming in the river (the Witham) in Summer, the pictures (cinema) or Saturday night dances - the Co-op Hall (posh and preferred by our parents) or the Drill Hall.   The village Rector also ran Tuesday hops in the village hall but frankly most of us girls found the village boys a bit tame and wanted to go out into the big wide  world(although in the end many of the village girls married village boys).

The method of travel into Lincoln was of course by bus - no boys had cars.   And for  bus read 'Lincolnshire Road Car'.   They had green matching buses with gold lettering on the side and the buses lived in a garage on the High Street by the level crossing (wonder if it is still there?)  As time for your bus drew near the bus would glide into place and you were expected to queue behind the rail.   The Inspector in full, important uniform complete with peaked cap would step forward and announce the destination.   I can hear him now as though it was yesterday:"Standing now is the 10.15 bus to Sleaford calling at Washingborough*, Heighington, Branston, Potterhanworth, Nocton, Dunston, Metheringham, Blankney, Skopwick, Digby, Dorrington, Ruskington, Sleaford   I can still take you there and I haven't lived there for sixty years.   But ask me to name the villages from here to Northallerton - sorry, can't do it. *my village

The last bus to Washingborough was that 10.15pm one.  Miss that and it was walk the three miles home (judged by my parents as holding far too much temptation with a boy friend in the dark at that time) or go in and get the money for the taxi from my father when the taxi arrived at your door.  That would often be docked from pocket money.   The alternative - practised by us all - was to see the last quarter of an hour of every film before the rest - did rather spoil the story.

Memories are to a large extent flawed aren't they?  Give any one event and every one who has been at it will give you a slightly different version of what went on - even the day after it happened, let alone fifty years after.   I would love to know some of your earliest memories.

Sunday 7 November 2021


 5.03pm and it is dark.   Not nearly dark - pitch dark and that after a cloudless sky all day.  Priscilla and I have not been out today in spite of the sunshine.  It is very windy and we don't feel safe in the wind.   But a nice chat with J, my carer - as usual.   Then H, my neighbour, came in to bring me the local paper as she does every week and we had a pleasant chat.   Later in the morning friends T and S called for a coffee.   Today is S's birthday and we had a nice chat about this and that.

While they were with me my son D called to collect the usual Remembrance cross to put on his Dad's grave.   Remembrance Sunday was always an important day for his Dad who lost so many dear friends during the war.   And although M, my first husband, has been dead now for thirty years I think it important on this one occasion in the year to recall on his behalf all those friends who died and also to be grateful that he lived, had a happy and fulfilled life for another 46 years and gave me a loving and loved son who reminds me of him every day.

How lucky I have been to have not one but two men and a son who have given me so many happy years.

Saturday 6 November 2021

One bag or two?

 Reading Carol Midgley in today's Times brought back memories of long ago which made me smile.   She talks about Timothy Spall and his tea-bag habits and that made me think of my mother.   No such thing as tea bags when I was a child = it was Typhoo tea in those little grey and red boxes of quarter pounds.   We had a quarter of Typhoo on our order each week and it had to last.   Come to think of it I might have been speaking of during the war when there was rationing anyway.   But one thing is certain = it had to be Typhoo.

Mother went through the same routine each tea making session.   Warm the pot while the kettle is boiling.   Put the tea in the pot (it was a secret she guarded closely how much she actually put in but in theory it should have been one tea spoon per person and one for the pot).   All I can tell you is that my father insisted that they had had a quarter of Typhoo for a wedding present and my mother was still using it.  He loved very strong tea and she liked to be able to see the bottom of the cup - in other words very weak.

Carol in today's Times reveals that Timothy Spall likes  one bag of Yorkshire tea and one  bag of Earl Grey mixed in the same cup and the tea bags left in the cup until you can "stand your spoon up in it."  Carol says it sounds "as perverse as mixing HP Sauce with Ketchup" or a teetotaller's (Spall gave up drinking some time ago)version of snakebite.

I love Yorkshire tea and I love Earl Grey - but not together.   I love Yorkshire tea when the water has just been shown the tea bag (in other words very weak as my mother took hers) and because it is quite a weak tea I like to leave an Earl Grey bag in the cup for a few minutes.

But it seems we all have our teabagging habit.   What's yours?

Friday 5 November 2021

That exciting feeling.

Long ago, before the farmer and I married in 1993,his father turned up a stone age axe head when ploughing up a field which had been grass.   He just happened to see it because the stone was green and unlike any stone around here.   York Museum identified it and said the stone  axe head came from the Langdale Pikes in the Lake District - the other side of the country.   We marvelled at how far a man would travel in those days.

And we talked about what history is probably buried under our feet.     And then the Middleham Jewel was found -  a gold pendant probably from around the 15th century.   Middleham is the next village from where I live - two miles away at the most.    And we marvel to think that Middleham (Middleham Castle was the childhood home of Richard III) must have held such treasure all those years ago (and is now just a village with a lot of racing stables, a lot of race horses being trained and a ruined castle).

Now near Sheriff Hutton Castle  - forty miles away -and also a home of Richard III- another treasure has been uncovered by metal detector.   It is a tiny bible 1.5cm long, weighing 5g and made of 24ct gold and beautifully engraved.   Experts think it possible that both the jewel and the bible were gifts to the same person, maybe one of Richard's relatives who was about to give birth because one of the engravings is of Margaret of Antioch a patron saint of childbirth.

That such fascinating treasures should lie beneath our feet and that such riches should have been so near and where most of the population around them would have been so poor and relying on farming for survival - it makes one wonder what else there is lying there waiting to be found,   Did the owner of such treasures consider them to be treasure, did she lose them, did she search in vain for them, did she mourn their loss, did she live or die in childbirth (plenty died in those far off days).   The find raises so many questions and we shall never know the answers.

When the Middleham jewel was sold in 1992 it went for £2.5million.   How much will the little book go for when it is sold?   And how people in Richard's time would marvel at those sums of money.

Thursday 4 November 2021


 What people don't realise is that walking with a Rollator is very tiring.   Luckily Priscilla can't read so she can't see that that is what I think of her.   But it is almost half past three in the afternoon and it wasn't until half an hour ago when friends T and S called that I had had a minutes peace other then five minutes to eat my lunch and that was interrupted by a phone call.

Let me tell you about my morning.  My carer came at half past seven to half past eight.   When she had gone I had to smarten myself up, tidy away various things, take my walker through to the bedroom in order to get my anorak out of the wardrobe, lock the front door, open the garage door, negotiate Priscilla on to the front of the garage, close the garage door, negotiate the steep front drive to the side of the road - and arrive just in time for the arrival of my taxi.

A short drive brought me to the Hairdresser where I had to wait for the driver to bring Priscilla out of the boot, open her up and bring her round and help me to get my hands on her handlebars and then open the door to help me into the salon.   Then it is take off my anorak while holding on with one hand as I am too wobbly to stand unaided, hang up my anorak, negotiate Priscilla to the washbasin, take out hearing aids and take off specs and put them on the shelf and then steer Priscilla over to the chair for my shampoo and afterwards back to the chair ready for the neatening up process.

Then I left the hairdresser, walked a hundred yards down the road, crossed on the crossing, walked back on the other side and into the Newsagents to buy stamps, birthday cards, pay last month's paper bill, then sit and wait for the taxi to arrive (I had forgotten my mobile but the assistant kindly phoned my taxi to tell them I was ready.)

Once home the builder had arrived to work on my drain - he has made a super, tidy job of it - it looks lovely.  I made him a cup of tea and then had my lunch (my carer had put it in the micro wave ready for me to switch on).  During lunch I arranged with my son on the phone for the builder to go round there when he had finished and look at a little job my son wanted doing. (that had a satisfactory ending).

Then the mail came and I opened it, disposed of some, filed some, checked my bank statement, filed it away, washing up the lunch pots (I no longer use the dishwasher unless  I have visitors - wastes too much water and electricity) drying them and putting them away.   Then it is - thank the builder (who is off to look at my son's job)-sit down to write my blog, answer the door bell, it is friends T and S - thank goodness - T and I between us make a coffee and for an hour we sit and chat in the sitting room.

Bear in mind all this has been done using Priscilla or her cousin who is quite like her but slightly lighter weight. Negotiating corners, missing furniture, generally 'driving' what is quite a cumbersome machine.

Now four o'clock and no walk today in spite of a very pleasant day.   There has been no time.   Every step, which once seemed so easy, is an effort.   But it keeps me mobile and upright and keeps me meeting and chatting to folk - and I wouldn't have it any other way.   But until it happens to us we don't realise just how muc effort is involved.   

Not a moan dear blog friends just an observation.   In the days when I was mobile the whole lot above would take an hour - now it takes a day.

Wednesday 3 November 2021

The very worst kind of day.

 Today is my least favourite kind of day.   After a promising start it quickly deteriorated to being cloudy and for the last few hours there has been a quite strong Northerly wind and it is steadily raining quite sharply.   As I sit here in the North-facing window the sky is a uniform grey and large drops of rain are running down the window.   I certainly have no inclination to go for my customary walk - that will be another day  - not a single walk of any length this week so far.

I have however managed a few chats in spite of this.   First my carer of course - a quarter past seven to half past eight (extra for my shower); then the builder who is coming to rebuild my outside drain under the kitchen window.   It is badly cracked and is an eyesore.   And now that the dark nights have arrived (with a vengeance if I may say so) I worry that a caller after dark might trip and fall.   Then A who does  a bit of local shopping for me - mostly fruit - brought today's bananas, grapes, oranges and a small brown loaf.  In addition I have had a chat to my son on the phone - so I have not done too hadly.

Now it is twenty to four and beginning to get dark.   How depressing these days are.    It seems especially so this year, maybe because it seems to have gone from Summer to Winter with no in between.   But with Christmas on the horizon now I suppose I must begin to think about that although one of the advantages of being at my advanced age is that everyone forgives me for just slipping a cheque in a card rather than trailing round the shops looking for a gift.  Our little town is in any case chaos at the moment because they are altering the road and putting a traffic island in and also starting a resurfacing programme.   There are times when I am happy that I no longer have a car.   It is now more than a year since I have driven a car - I wonder if I still can?

Until tomorrow dear blog friends.

Tuesday 2 November 2021

Better Day

 Maybe slightly wintry today temperature wise but there is still some warmth  in the sun (the tubs of violas outside my front door and up against the stone wall of the bungalow are suddenly growing like mad) but it has been a very pleasant day.   I have had to stay at home because our doctor's surgery conducts telephone appointments and I had one booked for today.   The doctor was most reassuring about my blood pressure so I feel happier  now that I have spoken to someone.

But it is on days like this that one notices the cold come down about three o'clock now that we have put the clocks back.   Once I had spoken to the doctor I resolved to go for my walk but having put out the recycling 'rubbish' for morning I realised  that all that would happen would be that I would get thoroughly cold on my walk and then take all evening to get warm.   So I 'chickened out', and came here instead.

4.39 and almost dark.    What long nights for the next three months or so.

I read about Cop26 leaders signing a pledge to 'halt and reverse deforestation globally by 2030' and then saw on TV incredibly poor people in Brazil sawing down trees to feed their families, and about the number of private planes arriving for the summit, and I do tend to rather agree with Greta Thurnberg's comment that it is often little more than 'blah, blah blah ' at these conferences.   Are we not almost always selfish about these things?   Can we do anything individually?  Do we always tend to blame it on someone else?

I think about recycling and how it has become part of our lives now, and that is an encouraging sign - I looked down our road when I put out the papers, the plastic, the tins and the garden rubbish tonight for tomorrow's collection at crack of dawn.   We have embraced that - maybe it is not too late to embrace other things as well.   We have to be hopeful don't we?

Back to normal tomorrow.


Monday 1 November 2021

Still tired

Still pretty weary - I have come to the conclusion that birthdays are not meant for people my age - all the getting up and down to answer the door bell, the postman, the parcel deliveries, the neighbours - all too much.   Today I am very, very tired.

This morning was Book Group here.   I had a lovely surprise when I wheeled in the coffee and birthday cake to find that M, a member of the group, had baked some cakes, stuck a candle in and lit one and pushed in a trolley while everyone sang Happy Birthday.   It was very touching.   I have been close to tears many times over the week end.   How ever much longer one has to live when one reaches 89 it is certainly less time than one has lived already and certainly less activity!!

I haven't done much since - too tired.   It is now well and truly dark - time to draw the blinds and make a sandwich for my tea.   See you tomorrow.

Had lovely Pizzas delivered last evening - they were delicious and rounded off the week end nicely - a present (along with a book) from my son and his wife - hopefully I will be back to normal tomorrow.