Friday 31 December 2021

Bright and early.

 Good morning bright and early - very breezy (far too breezy for Priscilla sadly) but sunny on and off.   Thank you all for your best wishes yesterday about my BET - yes, it does tend to run in families.  My father was afflicted by it for the last ten years or so of his life - it did get worse and before he died he could not get his cup to his lips but had to get his lips down to his cup!   But he never complained and put up with it with good heart - and I try to do the same.  My sister was similarly afflicted.

What unseasonable weather we have had over the festive season - each day warmer than the last.   But sadly each day it has been windier than the last and, as you know, Priscilla does not care for the wind so trips out have been minimal.   I have been reading my Christmas book (Felicia's  Journey' by William Trevor) and watching some TV.   I particularly enjoyed watching 'The Drawing of my Life' Quentin Blake which Rachel recommended and the sheer escapism of the film 'Shirley Valentine'.  In addition friends S and T for coffee and a Christmas chat, H next door for the same and various friends phone calls.   So plenty going on.

I looked at the weather report on The Times this morning and really, surely anyone reading it must agree that it has been a horrendous year and surely an indication of climate change wouldn't you agree?   'Catastrophic floods' in Germany; Huge tornados in the US, and a second year of more than usual Atlantic hurricanes.   Then there were the temperatures - record breaking - forty nine degrees in British Columbia (highest ever in Canada),  such high temperatures in many places so that huge wild fires broke out.   Interestingly in Greenland it rained for the first time on record on the summit of Greenland's ice sheet and for a long spell there was melting of the ice.   Fifteen degrees above normal remperatures in Siberia.   When we look at them all together then the prospect of Climate change does become a bit scary doesn' it?  See you tomorrow dear bloggy pals.

Thursday 30 December 2021


 Sorry but I have a condition called Benign Essential Tremor which makes my hands shake and it is particularly bad today for some reason.   This means that every time I get so far with today's post my hands catch a key and the whole post disappears.   It is most fruatrating but having tried four times and still not managed it I have decided to not do a post today.   I will try putting one early tomorrow as the condition is always worst in the evening when I am tired.  Sleep well.


Wednesday 29 December 2021


 Looking at Giles Coren this morning in the Times - he was writing a 'tongue in cheek' article about Country Pursuits, one of which was killing and eating sparrows.   It jogged my memory of my father speaking of doing just that.

He was born into a family of eight children - he particularly was born in 1880.     His father was a Minister in the Methodist Church, but with eight children they didn't have much money and he used to tell stories to me about his mother catching sparrows in the back garden.   His father had built a brick square 'trap'.  On the top he balanced a garden sieve propped open with the copper stick and attached to a piece of rope which went through the open kitchen window.   He would put food of some kind on the grass inside the trap, wait until it was full of argumentative sparrows each intent on getting their share of the food, then he would pull the rope which would fall on the grass and hopefully the sieve would fall and trap the sparrows.   According to my father it didn't always work but - as my father used to say - when it did they would have a splendid sparrow pie for lunch.   Fancy a slice?

My mother's favourite pie, which we had often as she dressed poultry for the village butcher, was giblet pie (some people didn't want the giblets left inside the carcase - in those days they were cleaned and left inside to be made into stock for the gravy.  I can't tell you what it tasted like because I would never eat it - on giblet pie days I had to take potluck.

Pies are very popular up here in the North.   Pork pies especially  and when I came up here to live when we retired from the Midlands, we would have Pork Pie and salad for tea.   But oh no.   Up ere Pork Pies are put in the oven to heat up and are eaten hot, often with peas.

I would love to hear of any other popular pies that are eaten in your part of the world - and how they are eatcn.   Of course apple pie reigns supreme here as it does almost everywhere.   And as they say up here 'Apple pie without the cheese is like a kiss without the squeeze' so if you haven't tried it that way - give it a go and see what you think.



Tuesday 28 December 2021

Dull and Dismal.

Is it just me or have things changed?   Christmas decorations apart (and most of them I find tasteless)  I mostly find everything so dull looking down a modern day main street in a town.   Most of the big shops have disappeared - now doing most if not all of their sales online so that only the biggest cities have an actual shop that you can step over the threshold into and actually finger the goods.   'Do I want that blue jumper or would I prefer that red one' kind of thing.   That means that in place of those shops some of the windows are bare, dark and waiting  for some entepreneur to   have a  bright idea - that means no models, no colour and - at this time of the year- no Santas on sleighs or reindeer or anything in the windows.   There will be a few coffee shops (of varying qualities) the odd tea shop (and if you live anywhere near Harrogate the lovely Betty's.   But will they ever recover?

Over the last few days the News has been totally taken over by Covid - the variants, the hospital admissions, the vaccination programme, what can open and what can't open under the next lot of complicated and ever-changing rules.   So the News has shot after shot of the High Street - and it has brought home to me just how dull it is.   The weather is wet, everybody's overcoat these days seems to be an anorak and they are almost one hundred percent navy blue or black.   Yesterday - a Sales Day the High Street in whatever town it was - London I expect - was quite crowded.   If the camera had suddenly taken out all  those in black or navy anoraks there would have been about ten people left - and over half of those would have been in fawn.

I wonder if, psychologically, we would all feel better if there was more colour about.  Would it make any difference to how we felt and  how good or how bad our reaction to Omicron was.   Of course I am sensible enough to know that the variant is extremely infectious but I do also know just how important our state of mind is when it comes to meeting bugs head on.

I find myself over and over again thinking back to streets in Seville many years ago - streets just off a main square and they were lined with Seville Orange trees.   I have been there twice - once when the trees were being pruned and once when they had oranges on.   The colour stays with me.

On the News at lunchtime today we went to Kabul where there is now huge unemployment, terrible poverty, almost starvation - three little boys no longer at school and roaming the streets cleaning shoes to earn enough to buy one slice of bread to share.   The streets full of litter and rubble and the whole with an air of hopelessness. 

There is, somehow, over the whole world a terrible feeling that something has gone so terribly wrong = I watched "Call the Midwife" last night on TV for want of something to watch - the scene is the East End of London in the thirties - the dirt, the poverty, the lack of colour anywhere.   Don't let us drift back to that.

Sorry if I sound depressed.   I am not, not at all.   I feel very lucky to still be alive at 89 and to be able to lead a comfortable life with plenty of friends, but it does make me sad that colour= in its widest sense= seems to be disappearing from our lives at a very rapid pace.   Convince me I am wrong.

Monday 27 December 2021



Like somebody(I think it was Derek) said the pavements have been wet for weeks.  Everywhere is sopping and has not been dry for what seems like weeks.  I  had thought just the same when I had looked out earlier from my computer room window.  Everywhere and everything is sopping , the sky is grey and today - as the morning has worn on - the fog has got thicker.   Alright the weather girl tells us it will get warmer as the week wears on.   Warmer it might get but it is dismal, unpleasant weather.  And if I am honest I don't like four Bank Holidays in a row.   4 days when everybody seems to have gone to earth.   No cars on the road, short dog walks because the weather is so horrible, nobody about at all.   Thankfully my carer came for an hour and later inthe morning my son rang for a chat so it is not all doom and gloom.

And with all the channels towatch there seems little I want to watch.  Of course we are all different - I don't watch any of the soaps and I rarely find a serial I enjoy (80 days is pleasing so far) and I have caught up this morning on A Very British Scandal because I remember it happening very clearly and scandal with a capital S it was indeed.   The second episode is tonight.

One nice thing - friends S and T bought me three hyacinths in a lovely pot like the bottom of a tree trunk with a door in it and a little holly wreath on the door.   We decided that the Hobbit lived in the tree trunk.   This morning, dead on cue, all three hyacinths (dark pink ones) are out and smell lovely.  Another pot  this time with blue ones in sits next and they are just showing their colour.   My poinsettia is doing well, I have tete a tete daffodils coming on well on the kitchen sill and iris bulbs now in the cupboard in the garage in the dark - so that is colour for months to come hopefully. 

I can't see any of my garden bulbs up but the trouble is that because there are steps I can't get up there so have wait and see what has survived.  Another case of 'If Winter comes can Spring be far behind?'


Sunday 26 December 2021

Deep and crisp and even.

Well it was when I got up at 6.30am (my relief carer comes at seven) but once the traffic started along the road, although there was not much about, it soon turned to mush.   And now - in the evening - there is still some snow lying, it has also turned warmer and I am sure it will all be gone by morning.

I have had a quiet day today - a couple of phone calls, a few e mails, H next door came round for a cup of tea and that's it.   My carer insisted on bringing me a nice home cooked gammon and salad lunch and friends S and T had brought me some small Christmas puds and a tub of brandy sauce, so again I have eaten too much.

The highlight of my day has been watching the first two episodes of Jules Verne's 'Around the World in Eighty Days',  I rarely enjoy a serial on television but just occasionally the BBC do a really good one and this one really fits the bill.   The first two episodes were aired today, one after the other and I found it gripping.   I haven't read the book and I suspect I would find it a bit slow,but the BBC have really livened it up - I shall be interested to read what the critics have to say about it tomorrow.

I shall nowgo and make myself a cup of tea and read a bit more of the William Trevor book my son bought me for Christmas.   See you tomorrow.



Saturday 25 December 2021


It is a long time since I felt as full as this.   I have just eaten a three course meal brought by my carer - cooked by her mother.   Good, plain Yorkshire food, well-cooked (and well-eaten).  I don't feel as though I ever wish to eat aagain.   Prawn cocktail, turkey with pigs (minus the blankes), gravy, stuffing,roast and mashed potatoes, sprouts, swede mashed, roast parsnips, peas  and finally Christmas pudding and brandy sauce.   I shall make the coffee and sit and drink it (to keep myself awake while I watch Strictly)

I did watch The Queen - did you?   I thought what a stalwart she is.   She looks very old today - missing Prince Phillip - the first year is always the worst.  But she does keep going through  thick and thin.

I have gone through widowhood twice - once after 39 years and once after 23 years.   On the whole one doesn't think about it until it happens - luckily. And happen to us all it does - either we are the  one  to stay or the one to go.  And we have little choice over which it is.

It will soon be new year - only another week and then we start with a clean slate.   Let's hope for reasonable weather through the next eight weeks, plenty of sunshine and as little snow as is possible.

Enjoy the rest of the holiday.

Friday 24 December 2021

Almost there.

Well - anything which is not done now is not getting done.   I have wound down.   The last card has been delivered, the parcel from Hermes has gone (and it has left a nice, tidy kitchen).   I had a short walk but it really has never got properly light today.   It isn't cold but it is dark, dismal and slightly damp.   There is nobody about but the dog-walkers and even they look a bit reluctant today.   I walked just a little way down the road (from number 19 to number 37) to put a late card through a letter box - had a chat there and then walked back with a friend who had been shopping.   That is the extent of my socialising today but after my two hectic days it is rather nice to be quiet.   

I have had a personal letter and parcel from Santa and his helpers via my email and I intend to reply to it on here.   It was such a delightful surprise.  After replying I shall switch off,  draw all blinds, lock all doors, make myself a jacket potato with lots of salt and butter (yes I know salt and butter are bad for me but it is Christmas), and get ready to watch Carols from Kings with a glass of sherry - and Christmas will have begun.


Merry Christmas to you all. 

Thursday 23 December 2021


 If you think I was making a fuss about nothing and should just relax and let the world go by, then all I can say is you are probably not almost ninety, totally immobile without walking aids and still trying hard to manage alone witha carer for an hour each day.

I try hard, with the help of my carer, to pace myself, to keep going and to make the very best of life.   Most days I succeed and go to bed very satisfied with how well I have managed and what a good day I have had.   Yesterday was not one of those days and I went to bed tired, frustrated, and feeling totally inadequate to face the trials of the modern world.

This morning, still feeling totally at sea I went into the kitchen to draw the blinds and view the huge parcel on the work top.   I was nowhere nearer solving the mystery of the parcel.   And then my carer arrived.   I know I sing her praises every day - well all I can say is they should be writ large.

Within five minutes she had three quarters solved the mystery.   She was born in our little town, went to school in our little town, married and had her family here and now still lives here.   She went to the local Compreh ensive School.   In other words she knows everybody - went to school with the majority of the working population.   Needless to say she knew - and had the phone number of - a driver for Hermes.

She rang him on his mobile and to cut a long story short I am to stick the sellotape down carefully and he will call for the parcel some time today and take it off my hands.   The mystery of how it got here in the first place was solved half an hour later when my son had a text from his first wife to say that she was worried I might have received a parcel - she had ordered the coat and she thought it had probably come here by mistake (something to do with this being her default address as she sometimes sends me M and S flowers )

(don't ask - I don't understand it either).   All that remains is for the driver to call and collect it.   Oh and to add to the complications I have had an e mail from Hermes to say that the package I have ordered (three black surgical masks) will be here between two and six this afternoon).   At least they wont be as heavy to carry in!

And speaking of deliveries - I live on a busy little road and the delivery vans today have been absolutely non stop - Tesco, Waitrose, Morrisons, Royal Mail plus a whole range of vans delivering parcels for Santa to a variety of houses.   In a way it saddens me because I wonder just how long the High Street stores can remain open when computers and delivery lorries rule the world.

'Til tomorrow.....

Hermes have just been with two  legitimate parcels for me - all back to normal thank goodness.

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Hectic Day

It is just getting dark and I have had another hectic day with no time for a walk.   Now it is raining heavily and I suppose if we were a little higher it might be snow.   Something to do with a warm front meeting a cold front head on.

This morning it was dealing with a lost on line gift token; this afternoon it has been dealing with a huge M and S parcel wrongly delivered.   My son told me off saying I shouldn't have accepted it from Hermes but accept it I did.   When opened it was a huge XXL black overcoat.   There was no paperwork in the bag at all so I couldn't follow the instructions of the Hermes driver and fill in the paperwork and ring them to collect it.  Their phone line is useless - if you don;t give the delivery number or some such the recorded voice just says sorry but can't help you.   I am now, at tea time, a more or less wrung-out wreck.   I shall try and forget about it until tomorrow - a new day - and then start again.  

It has never really got light today and the dark has descended quite quickly.    Tom tells me that the light returns at a rate of twenty minutes a week.   That will be lovely.   And Anne reminds us that yesterday was the twenty first day of the twenty first year of the twenty first century.   Wouldn't that be a lovely day on which to be born?

I am looking forward tonight to the Christmas edition of the Great British Sewing Bee - that should pass the evening nicely along with the Hairy Bikers.   What did I do with out television.   Read all the time I suppose.   At present our Book Group is reading Cold Comfort Farm and contrary to expectations I am loving it although it is a bit dated.

I shall now go and toast some currant bread and cheese (present from T - thank you T) make a cup of tea and sit down and try to forget Hermes until morning.   See you then.

Tuesday 21 December 2021

My care-free day.

 Yes in both senses of the word.   I could stay in bed as long as I wished  - and I did indeed stay in bed until half past eight instead of half past six -dozing and dilly-dallying about getting up.    But when I get up at that time on the day when I have no care package in place I am chasing my tail all day.   Everything takes much longer than when my helper is here.   Making breakfast and wheeling it through on my trolley, washing, getting dressed (particularly irksome)  - the whole operation takes me about two hours - it is probably quite good for me and I expect I use muscles I neglect, especially in my arms.   But by the time I have done that and then done all the usual household jobs like washing the breakfast pots (I don't use the dish washer unless someone comes for a meal - the dishes have to sit too long).  This afternoon meant th e arrival of two Christmas cakes I have had made and the packing of a hamper which was my last present. It is a good feeling to have everything organised.   Looking back on the days when I used to cook a Boxing Day lunch for ten - and really enjoy it (thanks to my Aga)- are long passed.   Now I rely on someone else doing it and very kindly my carer's mother is 'putting one on a plate for me' when she dishes up the Christmas lunch.   As usual, I am so lucky.

Christmas lights twinkle in windows all round me.   I am not a lover of them I'm afraid - each to his own - and I am always happy when they all come down after the festive season.

Today is the shortest day I believe - I am too tired to go through to the kitchen calendar to look at the date to confirm it.   All I know is that we are always well after Christmas before we notice any difference in the amount of daylight.   And my mother always used to remind me that  at this time of year "as the days lengthen the storms strengthen" let's hope that is not true this year.

Sleep well dear friends - see you tomorrow - warmer and a little sunshine promised.   M aybe Priscilla and I will get a walk in.

Monday 20 December 2021


Old age is definitely creeping up on me.   I do try very hard to keep active but some days it is hard.   Only a few things to do today - take a present round next door for Theo the dog, who lives in Pocklington.   I know his 'Gran' is going down shortly for the Christmas break.   This involves opening the garage doors (mechanical up and over) walking along the front of my bungalow, over the threshold of next door's drive and then along the front of that bungalow eventually reaching the front door.  'Granny' is out and the present (a long wriggly snake which Granny has said she will wrap for me) will not wriggle through the letter box and I go back home.

The door bell rings.   It is my Tesco Home Delivery.   The Tesco men are marvellous - he helps me unpack onto the work surface in the kitchen (I am unsteady if I bend down).   Before I put the things away I always wipe out the fridge and the cupboard shelves - that done I can use Priscilla's cousin to put everything a way apart from the one or two things which are to go into a Christmas box.

Then I sit  down for a while to recover my equilibrium.   Time for lunch - roast pork and all the trimmings today - heated in the microwave and delicious.   It is now mid afternoon and I still have not done the Mind Games.   Soon my "mind" will be past it today - I like to do them first thing the morning.

My MUST DO job today is to do my nails.   It has got to time for my ZOOM with friends and I still have not had time to do them.   The post lady came with a mysterious parcel - quite a heavy one and from my God daughter.   A mystery this as she has already bought me my present (a year' subscription to Country Living.)   I resist the urge to open it.   The post lady and I inspect it - shake it  - smell it - and agree it is not eatable so it can wait.   The child in me loves opening presents in Christmas morning.

I have a nice chubby little Melton Mowbray Pork Pie from my order today for my tea together with Tesco's potato salad, cole slaw and a tomato.  But first my Zoom at 5pm.   I have had trouble getting on for the last few times (we meet once a fortnight) and I have just had an idea today.  I wonder if the trouble started when we changed the time - I didn't have it on  automatic change.   I have changed it and - keeping my fingers crossed - hope I might get on easily tonight.

I still have not come down completely to earth after Strictly.   That really was television at its very best and I don't think I have ever been more moved by a programme.

I heard from my relations in Australia this morning - lovely to get a phone call from them - so very far away and J sounds as though she is in the next son, about a mile away from me over a couple of fields, often sounds as though his voice is coming from Australia.   So thank you J for calling me - and Christmas wishes to you and toJ.

Sunday 19 December 2021

This and that.

 Wasn't it good to go to bed feeling nothing but joy from seeing the joy of Rose on winning Strictly?   And also seeing the pleasure John and Johannes got in seeing them win.   As the scores showed - there was no difference in their performances and John actually said they didn't mind whether they won or not, whereas Rose was desperate to win and John actually said he had still enjoyed every moment from start to finish.   The whole programme must have done such good for the deaf community and - hopefully - for the gay community too.    Yes, we have come a long way in our acceptance of the gay community but we are not there yet by a long way. I have gay friends and I have a trans grand child - both are happy in their relationships and as far as I know are well accepted.   But I think one would have to be a member of the community and have experience of living alongside everyone before one could really say how it was.   Hopefully after John and Johannes more people will have learned to accept it.

Very sharp frost here this morning - the coldest night of the year so far.   This morning a very sharp frost - my front lawn is white - and drifting fog - gone one minute, here the next.   I dare n't venture out with Priscilla until all vestige of ice on the footpath has disappeared.

It is now bedtime and I have recalled my blog to add a bit more to it.   The promise of sunshine and blue sky disappeared as soon as the fog began to clear and it has been a dull, dismal day but not particularly cold.   I forced myself to get hold of Priscilla and walk round the block.   I didn't feel like it )don't think Priscilla did either)) but by the time I got to the bottom of the drive I knew I had done the right thing.   I met a lady with an elderly Labrador and we had a five minute chat - very pleasant, and then M next door saw me coming up the road and popped out for a chat, so that plus my carer, then both my God daughter and my son on the phone meant five nice chats altogether.   So important I think.

When my son rang he was also watching the Snooker final with Ronnie O'Sullivan playing Neil Robertson.   We talked about O'Sullivan's 'cool', My son said he got there with only   aQuarter of an hour to spare one day in the week - his excuse was that he happened to be passing Marks and Spencer and he fancied a cream scone and a cup of coffee so he nipped in for one.   - He won- a cheque for £100,000 - I wondered what my father (a keen snooker fan) would have thought of that sort of prize money (or indeed the weekly pay of some of the top footballers) - I am sure he would never believe it.

Stay safe from Omicron dear friends - see you tomorrow.

Saturday 18 December 2021

Weather and other things

I got up to thick fog.   My carer came in sunshine but by the time she went it was thick fog again and has been all the morning.   Just looked out of the window and the sun is shining again - so off to eat my lunch and then hopefully a walk.

By the time I had eaten my quiche and salad and had a cup of coffee the fog had drifted in again and it was that sort of cold, clingy fog -- December fog I suppose - so I have given up the whole idea.   I don't move  at a speedy enough pace to withstand the onslaught of that sort of cold.   I am getting plenty of exercise answering the door bell to the post lady, collecting the Times from the letter box, putting yesterday's papers and used envelopes inthe blue bag, taking a couple of tins round to the dustbin.   As long as I keep doing this kind of thing I shalln't seize up altogether shall I.

Looking out of my computer room window at my garden - bathed in winter sunshine now I have decided not to walk and it is dusk- there is still some colour.   There are self-sown antirrhinums which are here and there where they blew and almost all yellow (a couple of red ones I see - heaven only knows when I had red ones in the garden) and they are still out everywhere.   I shall leave them and they will hopefully come again next year.   There are two or three heucheras still out with varying leaf colours and a couple of purple perennial wallflowers in that familiar purple.   Down the side of the garden every Osteospermum is still covered in bright pink flowers - what good value for money that plant is.

It is at this time of year that the evergreen shrubs come into their own and each a different green from almost yellow to very dark green and how pleasing they are too.   And on the bits I am able to get up to all the Spring bulbs are poking through - not far through but showing their tips and shouting to the world that they are on their way.

There is not all that much to be cheerful about this Christmas is there?   Apart from this awful Covid which keeps changing its coat to try and catch us out, as always there are tragedies.   Yes, not that it makes any difference whether it is Christmas, New Year or any time of year - but somehow it seems more poignant at Christmas doesn't it?   Four little boys - two sets of twins= burned to death in a house fire, children enjoying a bouncy castle special for Christmas blown thirty feet into the air and four of them killed and others very seriously injured, someone stabbed to death on a London street.   Was it always like this or has it got worse?

I shall try hard to keep cheerful.   Poor old AJ pulling out of the final of Strictly because she has badly torn ligaments so only two in the final tonight.   I badly want them all four to win they are so good it seems a shame to choose.

Take care, keep warm and cheerful and keep up the blogging.   Many bloggers like me live alone and you are all my company and Christmas cheer so let's enjoy each others virtual company.


********HAPPY ********CHRISTMAS*******


Friday 17 December 2021

Heart strings

How many of you have been watching the Professional Masterchef competition in which Professionals from all over the country have competed in regions and then the finalists nationally?  Last night was the final, where  the final three young men (there were young women 'lower' down the competition but they had all been eliminated by the time it got to the final three) had to cook a three-course meal of their own devising for the resident judges.   To say it was tense was an understatement.   It was so tense that I kept wanting to switch off as I could not bear to see the young men - all so earnest and all trying so hard- suffering so.

In the end the young Chinese man won.   Earlier one of  the three had left some piece of Langoustine which should have been removed from inside.   The horror on the poor lad's face when it was revealed was so awful to see because  he and all the viewers knew from that moment that although his meal was superb, unless one of the other two made an even greater error, he would not be in the running.   The young lad who won - just before the judges ate the food - said quietly to his friend (yes they were by this stage all good friends) - 'I just want to go and sit in a corner and cry' - that is how tense it was.

 Good television I suppose - at least it wasn't another Game Show where people compete for great sums of money.   Here at least the contestants were seriously trying to jump start their careers which were already on their way.   Yes, most of us probably do not go in for this kind of 'fine dining' (although I must say I do love Langoustine) - what was so  fascinating was the young mens' dedication, their enthusiasm, that extra something which made them so earnest as they made their elaborate dishes.

Thursday 16 December 2021


 There is a really interesting item in today's Times about litter and rubbish left around on our streets and how distressing this is to some of us and how others can happily walk past it every day and hardly notice it.   I suppose it is just another aspect of how some of us are fanatically neat and tidy and others are happy to let things stay where they are inside our houses.  

But Janice Turner in today's Notebook speaks of one particular mattress - a double one, which had been 'abandoned on a grass verge outside a block of flats' where it stayed for a long time getting wetter, dirtier, more difficult to move and making the whole area seem more neglected.   She passed it every day - as must thousands of others have done.   But nobody moved it.   No council rubbish lorry stopped and collected it, no individual dragged it to the place designated as the area to dump the rubbish from the flats.

And so on a dismal, damp, darkish afternoon she decided to take the law into her own hands and drag the wretched thing - thick with slugs on the back - the one hundred metres or so to the council tipping space herself.   The next day it had gone.

She says, "This is the most rewarding thing I have done all week."   And as a result of that and reading David Sedaris's Book 'A Carnival of Snackery' which is about how he is obsessed with clearing away other peoples' rubbish to make the countryside more attractive she has put a litter-picker stick on her Christmas list this year.   What a brilliant idea!

The whole idea of rubbish is such an annoying one and makes such a difference to our countryside apart from often becoming dangerous and even fatal to wild life.   Living on a housing estate as I do now - albeit an attractive and sought-after place to live- it is astonishing how much rubbish accumulates - plastic bottle here (either thrown there by somebody or dropped accidentally from a rubbish bin on collecting day) or maybe just a milk bottle top which can lie in the gutter for weeks, or a crisp packet which blows out of the collecting bag on recyclng day - but as Priscilla and I walk round I often notice these things for weeks.   And before you ask why I don't pick them up myself I will remind you that I just cannot bend down without falling over.

Does it matter that in the giant scheme of things a green plastic milk-bottle top lies in the gutter outside my bungalow and has done for the last month, or that a crisp packet blows up and down the road and has done for some time (it is a good indication of which way the wind is blowing)?

Wednesday 15 December 2021


 It has taken me ages this evening to get on to my blog for some reason.   At present I am very shaky about the hands )Benign Essential Tremor) and it isn't always easy to hit the right keys which doesn't help.  But anyway I am here now.   After just listening to the News about the awful spread of the new variant of Covid and the speed at which it is spreading things are really in a sorry state aren't they?

I am sitting here wondering whether or not to go to my usual hair appointment by taxi in the morning or whether it would be better to cancel.   I intend to stay home over Christmas anyway so my hair is not desperately important.   And the first check up on my new Hearing aids (which are very good by the way) really can wait a week or two if they have to.   Perhaps the most sensible course of action at my age is to lie low and stay put.

Apart from a walk to the other end of the road delivering by hand one or two Christmas cards today has been quite uneventful apart from a visit from friends S and T - always a real delight.

I have had my annual Christmas card from my paper boy - the time has come to distribute gifts to our local helpers.   He is a good lad and delivers my Times every morning on the dot so well worth a small gift.   It is all ready by the front door to give him when I hear the paper come into the letter box in the morning.  A small thank you does no harm at all.

Sorry it is a bit of a boring post but there doesn't seem to be an awful lot happening and what there is is not very cheerful.   See you tomorrow.

Tuesday 14 December 2021


Hopefully I will be back to normal tomorrow - I have felt my usual  self today but not inspired enough to think of anything to say.   I set off to hand-deliver some of my local cards because it looks a nice day but when I rounded the bottom of our hedge it was blowing a howling gale.   I must have mentioned before that our road runs due west to east which means that our prevailing winds do tend to hit you hard when you step out on to the footpath.

However, nothing ventured and all that - I did manage four and also one which had been delivered wrongly by the postie but when I took it to the address the lady there didn't know who it was for.   But looking at Priscilla and I, by this time quite schrivelled by the wind she took pity on  us and took the envelope from us.

See you tomorrow. 

Sunday 12 December 2021


I am lacking in it today and now - on my way to bed - I am sitting here trying to think of something to chat about.   It is the first time I have had time today - friends S and T  came for  coffee this morning, no meal from my carer today for the microwave as my carer's oven has broken and she is having a new one fitted today.   Friend D with her mother came for a cup of tea and a chocolate eclair this afternoon and then there was Country File, Antiques Road Show and, of course, Strictly semi final to watch.   I had to agree with the judges that this year the standard is so high that it is really impossible now to choose.

Now, at a quarter to eleven I have come to get ready for bed.   I am gradually getting more and more used to my new hearing aids and they are certainly very successful.   Each day they feel more familiar in my ears and I expect that in about a fortnight - like with all new things - I shall be totally used to them.

The weather has turned just a little bit warmer but there is a lot of cloud and it is drizzling on and off.  As I said the other day - we are almost to the shortest day.   Then there is a week or two when the change is hardly noticeable and then suddenly people start  saying 'the days are drawing out' and we start looking out for the snowdrops.

And speaking of Spring bulbs, I now have two lovely bowls of hyacinths - one red hyacinths and one deep blue .   In  addition I have a lovely Poinsettia - all three Christmas presents.   Now all I have to remember is the hyacinths must never dry out and need to be kept  damp but  well-drained and Poinsettias need watering sparingly.   If I can manage to do that I might keep all three into the New Year.

Saturday 11 December 2021


Yes, I have to admit it.   I am absolutely no good at all at  reading instructions.   I open the box holding whatever it is and my mind goes a blank - the words might just as well be in a foreign language.   What I have to do - and it doesn;t come easily- is figure it out for myself.   And so it is with my new hearing aids.   All evening I kept thinking that when I went to bed I had to take them out and switch them off.   They are not all that different from my previous ones - just a much better fit and a more up-to-date design.   It can't be that hard.   Can it?

Well yes it can actually.   I sat on the side of the bed and took them out.   So far so good.   Now how to switch them off for the night.  I looked at the design, I looked at the hearing aid and decided that they probably were off if the battery cases were open (I didn't deduce this - there was a drawing) so I opened the battery cases - similar to those on my old aids- and a peeping noise suggested I was correct.  And that was it for last night.   Not sure I have done it all right this morning - I can still hear much better than before but not as well as I could last evening.

There will come a day when I can manipulate them perfectly - but it won't be for a day or two I promise.

The other thing that happened in the night!!!- my regular carer comes dead on the dot of seven thirty and has usually finished and is ready to go an hour later = not five minutes short of the hour, not five minutes over.   My reserve carer, because she has more clients and works longer hours comes to me just after seven so I am always aware that I have to be up and the doors opened and the lights on nice and early.  This means I always seem to sleep lightly on th e week-ends my reserve carer is on.

This morning I woke and looked at the clock - it was twenty to seven - golly  I was a bit late up for C coming.'Slippers and dressing gown on, blinds opened, kitchen light on,    front door unlocked and outside light switched on to illuminate the step to the front door.   As I went back into the kitchen I caught sight of the clock - it was three o'clock.   I went round and did up all the things I had undone, turned off all lights and went back to bed and oddly enough straight back to sleep.   It's almost as though I dreamt it.

Semi final of Strictly this evening.   One couple will be out and next week will be the final.  I think we all feel the same - it would be good if nobody had to go - but competitions are not like that are they?I for one will be glued to the screen tomorrow night and I expect  if you are a watcher you will be too.





Friday 10 December 2021

Big New!

 At last   The big day has arrived.   I have been down to Ripon in a taxi and am now wearing my new hearing aids.The 'noise' when the technician adjusted them was so loud that at present they are working at eighty percent until I adjust to them.   I go back in a couple of weeks to have them adjusted up.   They are lovely - I hear better and for another there is absolutely no whistling.    Glorious.   See you tomorrow.

Thursday 9 December 2021

Use it or lose it.

Well that's what they say isn't it?   Well, after today I do agree.   Two storms, one after the other, has meant that the strength of the wind has been such that I have been unable to get out with Priscilla for about ten days.   During that time, although I have walked around the house as much as possible and done jobs like writing my Christmas cards and then venturing across the road to the post box to post them I have felt myself seizing up bit by bit, joints have begun aching,bending down to pick up the post has been quite difficult.  

Well today has been a little kinder  weather-wise. I  needed to take a cheque down to L who buys my mid week fruit for me in town.   I can see her house from my window so getting togged up in hat, scarf, coat and gloves (still not very warm) I set off.  Put the letter paying a newspaper bill in the post box I carried on down the hill to L's house and put the cheque through the letter box.

Then I had to make a decision.   Do I come back the way I have come or do I take the longer route and go round the block on my usual walk?   Well, nothing ventured and all that.   Priscilla and I carried on.   But we hadn't gone far before I realised I had been foolhardy.   By now I was midway round the walk and whichever way I went meant no difference.   We carried on and struggled home.  I stopped for a chat with E, who told me a lovely story about her little two year old grandson.   She had him for the day last week and had promised to take him into town on the bus (only about a mile to the town centre).   His first bus ride and the driver let him sit on the seat by the driver.   He talked of nothing else all day - it was definitely the highlight of his day.   I was able to sit on Priscilla's seat for our chat which gave me a bit of a rest.   Then I struggled home.

After my shepherd's pie lunch (delicious) S and T called.   S made us all a cup of tea and friends that was all I did for the rest of the day.




Wednesday 8 December 2021

That tree

 For the first time since I moved in here alone four years ago, after my farmer died, I felt a sudden  Christmas loneliness on reading your blogs this afternoon.   And it came on reading about 'decorating the tree' - something I have not done since living here.   I no longer have a tree and I gave all my ornaments away to grandchildren.   It brought back a certain incident from fifty years ago.

My son went to a Cathedral School which was a Boarding School but did also take Day Boys.  We only lived a couple of miles from the school.   The Day Boys had the option of staying at school until it was almost bed time so that they then got a mug of cocoa made with milk and occasionally my son would do this.

It was Christmas and almost the end of term.   He was an only child but we did also have a Siamse Cat (anyone who has had a Siamese Cat will agree that it is almost like having a child).   On this particular evening we thought we would surprise our son - we got the tree into the window, we decorated it and put on the fairy lights.   It looked so pretty.

We both went to collect him from school in the car.  It was very dark and we lived at the end of a cul de sac and as you came round the corner from the main road the tree was the first thing you saw in all its glory.   Except when we came round the corner there was complete darkness.   We had only been gone about ten minutes but in that time 'Sam-I-am' had managed to completely strip the tree of all baubles and all lights.   The tree was on its side on the floor, the lights were everywhere  and the first step into the room brought the crackle of broken bauble so that my husband had to go in by the back door, put on the kitchen light and go carefully into the sitting room in his stocking feet.   We learned quickly that Siamese Cats and Fairy Lights are not compatible.

Tuesday 7 December 2021


 Well it seems that we in the North East of the country have, after all, got off rather lightly this time.  Storm Barra according to the six o'clock News, has not hit us in the North East has hard as was expected.   Thank goodness for that must be the response of those in Northumberland and Durham who have now been nine days without services.

My old school friend from Lincolnshire rang for a chat this afternoon and we were(as usual) soon  talking about 'the old days' when we were nippers (there's another dialect word for you S) and when, looking back, we were deprived - but of course it didn't seem so at the time.

No electricity so all cooking done in the side oven by the fire which was lit first thing every morning winter and summer in order cook the dinner, bake the bread and plum bread, top up the cake tin and (the opposite side of the actual fire from the oven) fill the boiler with fresh water from the standpipe in the street to keep us going with hot water all day.  And often (and the best bit) put a rice pud in the bottom of the side oven last thing at night to cook as the heat went out of the oven as the fire went out.   By lunch time next day once the fire was going again it would be perfect (or so it always seemed).

No central heating so everybody sat as close to the fire as they could get and all the women 's legs were red and burnt up the front and freezing up the backs.

Ah those were the days.  Oh and wrap the oven shelf in a bit of old sheeting and take it to bed.   In the time it took you to get undressed (no hanging about in a cold bedroom where the inside of the glass froze up if it was a hard frost) the bed was warm.   And when you awoke in the morning the water in the jug and bowl for your morning wash (no bathroom) would be frozen and you would need to break the ice in order to wash.

Thankyou for central heating - an even better invention than sliced bread.

Monday 6 December 2021

Book Group

Today has been Book Group and how we all love it.   Just five of us and we meet in my bungalow to enable me to attend these days.  We meet for two hours - coffee and a biscuit and then an intro by whoever has chosen the book and then a discussion. M's choice this month - Maggie OFarrell's 'The vanishing Act of Esme Lennox'  - a very well-written but disturbing book which brought back so many memories for all of us.   We really had the most fascinating discussion.   One which I feel could have gone on all day.

The weather has been pretty abysmal so that has been the sum total of what I have done today.   One minute a glishy sun through black clouds the next minute pouring rain.    Another storm (beginning with B this time after Arwen last week)promised for later in the week.   Hopefully this one is likely to hit the West more than the East - the poor North East has now had its ninth day without power.

It is certainly 'the dark days before Christmas' as my mother used to call them - four o'clock here and looking out of the computer room window it is pitch black.   Only fifteen days to the shortest day !

Sunday 5 December 2021


Yes. it is coming whether we like it or not and preparations have to be made whether we are doing anything special or not.   So I made a start today, wrote a series of letters to put into cards, wrote a few cheques for grandchildren and great grandchildren to put into their cards, addressed all the envelopes and got them ready for posting.   One big, and time consuming, job done.  As I am actually doing nothing special at Christmas once I get present buying and wrapping out of the way that will be a big weight off my mind.    Surprising how tiring I found it.

Friends S and T called after lunch with a delightful present - four red hyacinths ( still in early bud so hopefully will not be open before Christmas if I keep them fairly cool).   They are in quite a large 'pretend' tree trunk with a small door in it - and there is a Christmas wreath on the door.   We decided it was the Hobbit's house.   It is books like The Hobbit which keep the magic alive isn't it?

That is two lovely  -plants in one week - first a Poinsettia on Thursday from P and D and now the Hyacinths from S and T  - it really does begin to feel like Christmas. 

It has been quite a miserable day here today - dull and often rainy too.  Of course I watched the Strictly results programme - Dan went out at last  I have to say he has had a huge following .  Presumably this is because he is a popular figure on television anyway but he certainly has made huge strides forward with his dancing.   I was sorry to see him go but as it is the semi finals next week it would have been a bit of a travesty to keep him in any longer.

See you tomorrow when, hopefully, I shall have slept well and am feeling a bit more lively.



Saturday 4 December 2021



Saturday again and three weeks today will be Christmas Day - just another day says Derek and I do tend to agree with him.   Yes it was good when both my first husband and then my farmer were here.  But alone it really is just another day.   Kindly my carer is bringing me a Christmas dinner - but as she is not bringing it until late afternoon I shall most probably eat it on Boxing Day.   My farmer's party trick was setting fire to the Christmas Pudding on the big day.   He would pour a good helping of Brandy into a saucepan and set it on the Aga to heat.   He would tip the pudding on to a good decorated plate and when the brandy was very hot he would set fire to it in the saucepan and pour it - still flaming - over the pudding.

Now this year I am having the day alone.   I don't mind this at all.   I shall have had books for Christmas so plenty of reading material, I shall earmark what I wish to watch on television, I shall have a sherry before my lunch (which, if I decide to keep my Christmas dinner until Boxing Day, may well be Sausage and Mash which I have in the freezer).

I shall chat with my son of course but going round means he has to cook three different meals (he is vegetarian, his wife and I eat rather different food from one another too) 


Meantime I shall raise a topic from today's Times.   How do couples  these days  meet,form a relationship and then either move in  or marry? Reading about it it all sounds so complicated but in my day it was always so easy.   You tended to marry a local lad or - if you worked in a nearby town you might spread your wings or if you went to University then the world was your oyster.

Now it all seems to be dating apps and the like. Have all the likely venues for meeting disappeared?  Maybe there are no longer dance halls, sports venues, parties and the like.   I just don't understand from my advanced age.   Is it really so very difficult to meet folk of the opposite sex for a night out?   Answers on a postcard please as John would say.

Friday 3 December 2021

A Post at Bedtime

 Well you will have heard of 'A Book at Bedtime' so why not a post at bedtime - to be frank, my lovely day yesterday was very enjoyable but although I slept well I have been tired all day today and have done just one or two little jobs and that's all.

I had a communication by post this morning which needed an answer - I intended to leave it but then I thought 'No, get it out of the way now' and I did and was then able to file it away.  Then I got out my Christmas cards ready to write - found one or two which needed a letter and managed to type one letter and one card.   Writing letters has to be done by typing as my handwriting is now unreadable and so difficult to do.   But at least I have made a start and I intend to hit it hard tomorrow.

That's all you are getting today - apologies but so ready for my snug bed.   See you in the morning.

Thursday 2 December 2021

A very successful day

And a very enjoyable day too - and might I add that friends looked after me very well so that I only had a little back and forth to the kitchen to do and most of that was before they came when I could take my time.   The result is that I have enjoyed the day immensely and now that they have all gone I don't feel over tired at all.

 Rachel said she expected it all to go well - and it did.   My mobility is such that it takes me a long time to get from a to b and I can't do it unaided and I find it very tiring.   Today passed without any of that.

P and D live in Grange over Sands which is literally straight across from East to West of the country.   Friends took two hours to arrive and they brought the main course - a delicious ready-made dish with smoked haddock.   Friend W lives in the next village to me and was responsible for the veggies.  They all three arrived at the same time - W brought the vegetables - broccoli, leeks, cauliflower and green beans - all of which she cooked to perfe ction in the microwave.  I had set the table yesterday at my leisure and also taken the pudding (a lime tart) out of the freezer.

And so we all four came together.   The oven was switched on so that the meal would be ready at half past twelve.  W disappeared at about ten past to cook and then keep warm the vegetables and dead on  half past twelve we ate - no alcohol as P was driving but white grape juice, which was very pleasant and didn't make us sleepy.   We all had a piece of the lime tart  with locally made ice cream and then the 'boys' finished it off between them.

The dishwasher was loaded and switched on, the coffee was made and we all sat down in the sitting room and chatted for a couple of hours before everyone set off home.  D rang at half past four to say they had had a good journey back and were home.   It has been a lovely enjoyable day = so thank you to all three of them for putting the effort into make it so pleasant. 

I shall now go and watch tonight's winter walk on television unless it is playing up.   I have somehow pressed something and it is not quite behaving as it should.   Friend D fiddled with it this afternoon - I am hoping he has 'righted' it - otherwise I shall wait for friend S to call - she is a whizz with the television.

See you tomorrow. 

Wednesday 1 December 2021


Yes, it's the First of the Month.   Do you say Rabbits! if you remember when you get up ( and do you change that to 'White Rabbits' if you forget until  later in the day?   Or is it just me?)

My Great-Grand-daughter is five in a few days time and it set me thinking as I lay in bed a while ago waiting for the clock to get to six before I got up.  Now and then I get a picture from her with a bit of writing on - and each time I get one everything has got a bit more 'grown up' - the figure has suddenly go a body instead of just a head and legs, she can write her own name unaided, bits and bobs - a flower, a bird - appear in the picture and gradually bits of scribble disappear.   It is fascinating to see the development of a young mind.

It set me thinking how 'fashions' change.   When I started school aged four in early 1937 there was little traffic on the roads - my mother took me on the first morning.  At lunch time I came home alone - I was supposed to stay at school for my lunch - apparently I announced that it had been 'alright' but I preferred being at home!   My mother marched me back immediately and informed the teacher that if I did it again she was to smack my bottom.   I never tried it again

We did not have pencils and paper we had slates and chalk until we could write our names legibly.   By golly that was a real incentive to get going.  While I was still at that stage it was row upon row of pot hooks (like elongated s) until they got really neat and tidy.   A boy across the room from me threw his slate in my direction in a temper and hit my cheek bone with it - cracking it.   (the cheek bone I mean, not the slate).

When I started teaching it coincided more or less with the arrival of the 'initial teaching alphabet' when children who were having reading difficulties were taught that ae was an easier way of spelling made if you knew that ae made the A sound.   Not sure if it ever helped anybody.  It probably played havoc with their spelling for many years to come.

Now I fear that texting all day amongst the young is to some extent destroying spelling - when I text (rarely) I spell YOU but any young people replying spell it  'u'.

The longer I live (and this evening after a bad night last night  I seem to have been alive a very long time) the more I come to the conclusion that children learn in spite of school  not because they go to school.


Friends are coming tomorrow, weather permitting, over the Pennines all the way from Grange over Sands to here - a journey of around two hours.   Because I now find getting a meal too much effort we are dividing the work load.   They are bringing the main course (it will need an hour in the oven when they arrive so they are ringing from fifteen miles away so that I can switch the oven on.)  Friend W is bringing the veggies and cooking them in my microwave and I am providing a Lime tart which at present is in my freezer and will emerge first thing in the morning and really good ice cream.   Then we shall all retire to the sitting room for coffee.   I do hope snow doesn't come again overnight tonight to spoil it all.   Many places up here have been totally without power for the last five days - it was quite a storm.