Friday, 30 December 2022

Reminiscing

 A long trailing chain of thought coming on folks - hope if all hangs together.   I shall start and see how it goes:

An old, well known local farmer has died - he has lived here all his life, done very well and his sons now are the most successful employers in the area.  At his funeral earlier this week his cortege went through the town with his coffin on a farm trailer, pulled by a tractor - I have no doubt that - just like my farmer's, the church would be full to overflowing and the food would be good and plentiful at the reception afterwards.   Because that is how it always has been.   In fact my carer, who showed me the photograph this morning (and who has herself lived here all her life) tells me that there is a bit of a tradition of (especially men) folk in the village who live alone going to funerals   of folk they hardly know,  just for the food afterwards.

Is all this going to gradually change as we get more and more incomers and fewer and fewer 'locals' - the farmer once did a count of the locals in his village and there were only eleven left.   Less now I'm sure.

Surely this makes for other changes.   To quote Ronald Blythe again (sorry but I am eagerly reading his book) he wasborn thereabouts and never moved far in his whole life,)   He speaks of field names and one in particular which is called  Constables and has been since it was owned by the Constable family (John Constable the famous artist) since before the time of the Napoleonic wars.

And that made me think of the field names on our farm (now owned by several people as it was split up when the farmer died (small farms are no longer profitable)between several farms).   When I first married into the family I used to listen to my farmer and his father talking almost another language as they spoke of the fields, which all had names (the only one I remember was Matt's (I think named after the man years back who had once owned the field.)  Maybe the field still exists but I am sure the name doesn' t - maybe the hedge has been grubbed out to make two small fields into one larger one.   But surely the name has died - forever

Does it matter?   Maybe not in the giant scheme of things.   Housing estates cover acres and the names disappear.   Maybe people call it progress,   And in many ways it is.  But in other ways it is sad.   I think.  Do you?

Thursday, 29 December 2022

water

 Living in  an area like this you are never far from water  - we are on the Eastern edge of The Pennines and hills and dales suggest water (another area which suggests water is that of the lowland - areas like Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk - areas where our distant ancestors drained what they could to keep it at bay).

I sat thinking about it this morning over my hot chocolate;  the sky had been clear blue - a cold blue and windy with it which suggested "changeable" and sure enough as I sat down the heavens opened and it poured.

Where I live I am mostly above the flood area - I can see the lie of the land from my window and a steep 'dip' suggests maybe a river - and sure enough in that dip lies the Ure - the river that drains Wensleydale, carrying the water out into the North sea at the Humber Estuary.  

But when I had my back garden redesigned a couple of years ago the man doing the work behind the retaining wall shewed me just how far down the water was.    He dug down about eighteen inches to plant a shrub and the hole filled with water (no need to water the shrub in!) and once during the five years I have lived here we had a horrendous thunder storm which lasted all afternoon and which washed away bridges and several cottages further up the Dale.   Here the water ran out  of the field behind my bungalow (and those around it) - through my garden into M's garden next door, along the road a little way and then down another garden and out of sight, flooding one or two houses on the way - randomly -  for water chooses where it wants to go.

Many of the farms around here are not privately owned but are part of large estates belonging to families who have lived here for generations.   In many cases the same family has rented the same farm for generations too.   One such farm housed folk who were friendly with my farmer's family and now and again the farmer and I would pop up to see them - only a couple of miles away.  E and M, brother and sister - both long dead now - had been born in the  old farmhouse which was built into the side of the hill. When it rained heavily E and M stoked up their log fire, donned their wellies and opened the kitchen door;  the water flowed through and M kept the brush handy to brush it across the brick floor and out of  door - not even bothering to look at it or remark on its presence.

Since their deaths the old house stands empty, slowly  sinking into the ground and unlikely ever to be lived in again-  the land tagged on to the adjoining farm and the house no longer needed - or tolerated in these days of central heating and all 'mod cons' - the items which E and M had never even considered necessary.

Incidentally a friend of Ms (both strict methodists) took M to the Holy Land on holiday not long before she died.  I never saw her to ask what she thought to the whole episode which must have been mind blowing.

Tuesday, 27 December 2022

The whole day.....

 I have mentioned many times on here that my sitting room window faces more or less due South.   It is now - at the turn of the year - that I notice it most.   It is a big window and at the Solstice - the Winter one - I more or less get the dawn, the whole day and the sunset before my eyes,   Now that I am more or less chair-bound I find this very fascinating.   The whole day spreads itself out before my eyes and I notice it - no two dawns are alike;   sometimes the sky is suggesting dawn at seven with a red streak here and there (and an early string of rooks going over.  ) Another day, like today, it is still almost dark at eight o'clock and you know the sky is cloudy and even the rooks are tardy.

It is now 10.15 and I suspect it is going to be one of those days when it doesn't ever really get light and there is no sign of any weather out there which beckons 'come outside'.

So I get out my new Ronald Blythe (which in fact is just a compilation of the best snippets from all his other articles in the Church Times over the years when he wrote a weekly column for them).  I have all his books but it is no hardship to have them  again in one book.February - 'Entrepreneur' - this is where  I have got to in my reading and this has me getting my book on Constable off the shelf and also getting my Road Atlas open at page 18.   He talks of Theme Parks and of John Constable and of 'them' trying to get permission to turn Mistley and the Stour Estuary into a Spa in the 18th century.  It  didn't happen in spite of Robert Adam designing a church there.

I find Mistley on  the road map and read his lovely picture of  'scores of swans grooming themselves' on the banks of the Stour and old ladies 'wrapped up like Innuits' because the wind 'blew in from the Arctic'.   He then talks of going on to Harwich to see Captain Jones house (he who captained the Mayflower)and him walking on to Dovercourt and here I stopped my reading because it reminded me that my first husband's mother came from Dovercourt so that gave me plenty to do today because I haven't thought of that side of my son's family history for a long time so I shall ring him shortly and ask how we have got on with that.

And that is how Ronald Blythe's enquiring mind gets me working.  I am in no way at all religious but can skip the religious bits if necessary but what I would give to have been born with the kind of mind Blythe has - leaving school at fourteen and now - now still learning and fascinated by everything.

Off to make the hot choc.   See you tomorrow.


Monday, 26 December 2022

Boing Day

 Nearly over for another year.   At present the sky is pure blue from horizon to horizon,   There is a slight breeze and it is chilly.   After a poor night's sleep I am finding it hard to keep awake so am off to make a cup of hot choc and have a read - this will probably send me off to sleep so will be back later to write.

Sunday, 25 December 2022

Th Big Day

 Well, here we are.   The big Day has arrived and all over everywhee - every Christian country at least - stockings are being emptied, parcels unwrapped and sadly this year parents left heavily in debt bec..ause they can't really afford all the presents they are buying for their children but they don't wish to disappoint them.    And it is no good looking backto the 'old days' when we didn'texpect much and only got one or two presents.   Times have changed or are changing as Bob Dylan said.

I had a pleasant day yesterday with various callers - friend J with her adopted Border Terrier Jack was one highlight.   Jack's 'Mum and 'Dad'have gone to their flat in Thailand until the Spring and J has adopted Jack - or maybe it is the other way round.   He is very well behaved, very friendly, and made me miss my own dog Tess terribly (a few tears after he had gone.)

The other highlight of the day was watching Carols from Kings - always broadcast on Christmas Eve and for many years watched with my dear friend J, long dead now.  Another tear-jerker I'm afraid as   I listen and reflect on our friendship for many years and our many Christmasses spent together.

I reflect as I get older and more infirm and more and more old friends 'drop off the perch',   Is it better to die 'younger' or is it better to live long enough to see one's great grand children growing up?  We have no choice of course - but each side has its fors and againsts.

Santa brought me lots of presents - it took me all morning to open them all and get rid of all the wrappings.   T and |S came and T got rid of all the rubbish forme.   Now they have gone and an hour remains before my carer brings my lunch so Ican go, put my feet up and read the new Ronald Blythe book that Santa brought me - I have almost finished the book about rooks - my pr- Christmas present to myself he brought me.   Have a nice day friends.

Thursday, 22 December 2022

It gets nearer....

..It gets nearer and then it is over for another year.   Sorry no post yesterday but the day began on a dramatic note and my hands had a shaking day as a result and shaking days (Benign Essential Tremor) mean that my typing tends to produce gobbledegook..... 

The drama was that I fell out of bed - or rather slid out.    I was putting on my dressing gown when just for a split second I got a wobble on (I can barely stand unaided) and sat down quickly on the bed to stop myself falling.   But I sat down at the bottom of the bed - beyond the rail along the side which stops me falling out of bed in the night.  And I could feel myself sliding off the bed.   I didn't wish to fall out so I let myself gently  slide out thus not hurting myself.   But then of course I couldn't get up (my carer was due any moment).   I reached up on to the unit and got my mobile and rang my son and he came round quickly and together the two of them had me up immediately but I was shaken up enough to start a shaky day.

My only job done was to remove things shelf by shelf on the Welsh dresser in the hall - dust them all - polish the shelves and put everything back.   Looks a lot better for it (the lady who cleans for me has covid).

Today I shall attack the top of the kitchen units - especially the corner where the tea/coffee/horlicks and chocolate live.

What else did I do?   The Times mind games and slept a lot of the day.  Any time awake I read 'Crow Country' (thank you John (by Stargoose and Hanglands ) - a fantastic read if like me you love rooks.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 20 December 2022

Solstice

How quickly the Winter Solstice has arrived this year - I have now got to the stage of wondering if it will be my last one.   It seems always to be the middle of January before one notices it getting any lighter but at least one knows that it is on its way.   This morning when the rookies went over they were so much further away that I needed my specs on to see them. But there was the beginnings of a clear blue sky and a lovely crescent moon.   Now, at a quarter to eleven, the sun is shining, all vestiges of snow have disappeared, there is a westerly wind blowing to dry things up a bit and this time next week Christmas will be but a memory - can't be bad.

In an hour my hairdresser will be here - and I have remembered to leave my special perch where it is  as a  dining chair is a no-no for me now - I need to be higher in order to get out of it! 

The lady who cleans for me has Covid so I am trying to clean and tidy a bit before Christmas. Yesterday it was the book shelves I tackled, today it is my two trolleys - one by the side of my special chair (there I keep my various drugs and leg creams etc. and the other I use for walking about, going to the door etc,)   They don't know it yet but after lunch they are to get a good clean with a disinfectant spray

I am just too tired to do any more after doing the two trolleys and as luck would have it friend D called so I couldn't have done any more anyway.

 See you tomorrow.

Monday, 19 December 2022

Slightly warmer.

 After the big freeze of yesterday when everyone stayed put indoors because it was literally impossible to stand up because everywhere was so icy, today is relatively warmer - at least above freezing.   At Hawes - fifteen miles or so up Dale they had nine or ten inches of snow (we had none here) it thawed so quickly that the river 'came over' = a regular occurrence.

It isn't a particularly nice day but at least for the time being it is not quite so cold.

A question for you today.   There have been two big televised events here his week-end.   One, on Saturday evening, was the final of "Strictly Come Dancing" and the other on Sunday afternoon the Final of World Cup Football between Argentina and France.

Let's just think about the first one for a moment.   Four couples in the final - three women and one man and in each case taught by a partner of the opposite sex.    We all had our favourites of course - in my case I favoured Hamza a young man from I think Nigeria (certainly an African country) and I thought his dancing was wonderful.   The judges noticed that in one of the three dances on the final evening he went wrong but quickly picked up without dropping a step.   I suppose you could argue that this should have lost him the contest but in the event he and his partner won the cup.   They were all brilliant and the winners were chosen by the public.   Derek on my blog in his comment suggested that he was always helped by the fact he was so easily moved to tears which gave him  public sympathy.

In the football final the next day I am sure you all know that after a thrilling final Argentina beat France and I have to say looking round the  spectators that after the final whistle there was hardly a dry eye in the house - Argentinians crying with joy because they had won, France in tears because they had lost.

Derek suggested (and if I misread you Derek I do apologise) that grown men don't cry and that one shouldn't call on the tears button to sway the imagination.  I thought  back to the men in my life to see how they fitted into the equation.

As far as my husbands were concerned neither were  over emotional - the only time I saw either of them cry was upon the death of their mothers.  A friend caught my husband in tears once when I was taken into hospital by air ambulance.

But my father, who I loved dearly and who was a good, solid, hard working man all his life was moved to tears at the drop of a hat.   He loved poetry (today I was struggling to tidy my bookshelves while holding on to my walking aids and I dropped a book on the floor -  'The Way to Poetry' - I opened it on the title page and it said 'To Dad for Christmas 1949 (I was 17)  with love from Pat ,that brought tear to my eyes for a second).

But he could and did cry often.   He read   poetry often and would cry while reading it -   especially if it was about nature and the countryside.   But the incident I remember most - and i may have told you this before - was when only he and I were left at home on my wedding day, waiting for my flowers to come and he said something along the lines of I mustn't mind if he cried when they came - it didn 't mean he didn't wish me to marry M (my first husband) it was just that he loved me.   Such a fond memory.   And did it mean he was a weak man or that he was after my sympathy?   I think not.

Saturday, 17 December 2022

Saturday

 Oh dear.   After a week of drawing back the blinds to an apricot sky full of rookies flying over purposefully making their way to the  pastures 'up dale' where grubs and worms are plentiful, let me describe the scene this morning:

I draw back the blind to a leaden sky and a row of silver birches across from my bungalow, their wet, black branches dripping snow which is falling heavily.  Wet snow  two or three inches deep, thrown up onto the footpath by early traffic is not a pretty sight, although of course it does advertise the fact that it doesn't intend to hang around for long.   And indeed I switch on the Today programme to hear the weather forecaster say that somewhere in the Borders the temperature was minus eleven last night but in a couple of days will have jumped twenty degrees to plus eleven.   It does make the sight outside my window slightly more bearable.

I have missed the rooks, all but the last tardy few - are they the old, tired ones struggling to get up and get going (I know the feeling rooky friends)or have they stopped off on their journey over the three fields from their rookery because their sharp eyes spotted a worm in the wet snow?

It is indeed a dismal sight out there but bearable when you know it marks the beginning of a warmer spell - "from the great freeze to the great thaw" as the weatherman goes on to say.

John (By Stargoose and Hanglands)- thank you for the book on rooks recommendation (and thank you Amazon Prime for the very prompt next day delivery in spite of the postal strike).   Lovely book.  And John - can we have an explanation where you got your site title from please?

Half past nine - blue sky is appearing and drops glisten along my clothesline like Christmas lights.  My windowcleaner C came yesterday (I can see cleanly and clearly out of m y  windows now! ) and thank you C for going all the way round the footpath round my bungalow shaking grit so that if I go out I don't slip (he doesn't know I no longer go out and it does mean anybody calling doesn't slip either.)  C has cleaned my windows ever since I came to live here - I knew his Mum well (she died a couple of years ago) and he has become another friend as he has been coming a while.

I have just noticed a few seagulls about.   When I was a child you only seemed to see seagulls at the coast but I understand they nest here too now in suitable places.   Does anyone know?   I can't imagine why they should when there is usually a fairly plentiful supply of fish and chips to steal at the seaside!   And have 'our' local seagulls ever tasted fish and chips?

See you tomorrow.


Friday, 16 December 2022

Friends

 Friends - I couldn't do without them and they will never know just how much they mean to me.   This morning a conversation with my son made me realise that I needed drugs from the pharmacy - and the lady who usually collects them for me is away until tomorrow.   The specialist is completely changing my main epilepsy drug but it has to be done very gradually on certain days,   Because of the very poor health of my son's wife he keeps well clear of our little town (there has been a 22% rise in Covid infections in the past week)   I had not realised that the next drug change is tomorrow when a 500mg tablet changes down to two 200mg tablets.  But another friend has stepped into the breach and is collecting them for me this aternoon.  All it took was a phone call - and she offered before I even asked.  As I said at the beginning - what would I do without them?

Friends, knowing I can no longer get out pop in for ten minutes for a chat (this has happened four times this week), friends ring if they are going near town to see if I want anything.  I don't usually because my carer has also become a dear friend and has eyes in the back of her head as we say here - if she sees I need anything she gets it before I have a chance to ask.

I had a long chat with an old school friend (also 90) the other day - both of us housebound but both in good heart most of the time.

And then of course there's 'you lot' - most of you dear old friends now and new  ones joining all the time.   Old friends amongst you will know that I like to imagine us all together in my sitting room with a drink (cup or glass) but new ones are always welcome.

And you never know what comes out of our 'chats'; a couple of days ago I sang the praises of my dear friends the rooks who in their thousands fly over my bungalow morning and evening.   John (By Stargoose and Hanglands)* mentioned a book he thought I would like about rooks.   No sooner said than done - two seconds later and two presses of the Amazon button and the book is 'winging' its way to me and would be here today wereit not for our postal strike.


So a heartfelt thank you to you all - near and far.   When you reach 90 by golly you really do realise just how much they mean to you.

*Good to have him back with his wonderful photographs isn't it?

 

Thursday, 15 December 2022

Christmas

 Christmas indeed and don't we all know it.   It is plastered all over our newspapers and television screens and our computers too.   The other day somebody on here asked me to write about Christmas when I was a child.   Well the first thing to say is that it did not take over our lives like it does now (if we let it)

I was 7 when the war started in 1939 and my dearly loved brother was in the army (and was at Dunkirk).  So Christmases were muted to say the least.   I do remember one Christmas when he got leave and we didn't know until in the middle of our Christmas lunch he suddenly knocked on our side window!   My mother fainted away.

Because we had a spare bedroom we had to have either an evacuee from one of the 'threatened' cities or a civilian worker off the airfields (living in Lincolnshire - a flat county - we were surrounded by airfields. )  My parents chose a civilian worker and we had a variety throughout the war years.

We used to hear hundreds of planes go off nightly to cities in Germany  on bombing raids to  places like Dresden and Hamburg - such dreadful losses of life on both sides -( just as in Ukraine today - all so pointless). 

So to some extent Chistmas was a very muted affair - for example fairy lights (even for those who could have afforded them) were a non event because of the blackout ("put that light out" as the warden would have called on his nightly round)

Presents?   We had one or two - often home made (there wasn't that kind of money about).   I tried to remember any I got.   I had a Tan-sad doll's pram - bright red I remember- and once I had two very pretty nighties and a dresssing gown.  Then I saved up with the bits of money I got from various aunts and uncles who called and bought myself slippers to match.

Dinner?   Well my mother loved dressing poultry and was very good at it so dressed poultry for the village butcher - chickens, the odd turkey but mostly geese in those days and we always had roast goose .  We always had plenty of good, fresh veg as my father was a keen veggie gardener and my mother always made a pudding.

And that's  about it really but we enjoyed it -once we knew my brother was safe.   When he first joined up in 1939 he was in The Lincolnshire Regiment which I believe was an Infantry Regiment but later, when REME was formed he was transferred because he was a mechanic before the war and there fore had the right skills.

As an afterthought - my mother dressed some birds called (I think) capons.   Can anyone enlighten me - I rather think they were something like cockerels which had been castrated.   And I think it became banned.

I read this back and think how we looked forward to and enjoyed our Christmases and contrasted it with today when bombaarded with television adverts and the like we can become pressganged into spending money we haven't got.   I heard on this morning's news that the average credit card debt on presents this Christmas is just below £500.  As there must be many who did as I did years ago and have no credit card debt I can't imagine what some folk must have,   What did I do - I got out the scissors and cut it in bits.   And what a good feeling it gave me.

Wednesday, 14 December 2022

Please come a bit warmer.

 It has been so cold over the last ten days - not at all the kind of pre Christmas we are used to is it?  But if you can ignore the cold then today has been a lovely day.  I drew back the blind this morning to a pure apricot/turning to blue sky and it has been like that all day and this evening graced with thousands of rooks.   Set to turn warmer over the weekend and then back to colder again.   This is when I miss the log burner (but not chopping the sticks and cleaning it out.)

My lunch consists of a fresh salmon steak and a salad (plus a jacket potato).   I always add baby beetroot in sweet vinegar and then dress it with a yogourt and mint dresssing.   Delicious.

On dayslike today often the rooks 'drop off' on their way home and spend half an hour or so in the field behind my bungalow - I used to climb up to the top of my garden to watch them chatting away (wish I could speak 'rook')  but I can no longer get up there - but I can still hear them. 

Keep snug and warm all of you in the UK - I feel lucky here in the Dales - heavy frosts and a lot of fog around but so far no snow.  Hopefully I will find something to write about tomorrow,

Tuesday, 13 December 2022

Freezing fog.

Not nice weather at all here in The Dales - at least no snow lying but very cold and freezing fog drifting everywhere - one minute the sun is out, the next I can't see across the road.    The central heating is full on all day and hot hocolate is the favourite drink today.    The overnight temperature in Braemar last night was minus seventeen - only minus seven here - and that was cold enough.   I seem to remember the weather forecasters telling us we were set to have a mild winter - seems it will get a bit warmer at the week end and then go cold again.

Plenty of fairy lights burning electicity along our Grove while The National Grid struggles (and before the bills come in).   I'm afraid that apart from my cards (which I love and look forward to every year - a link with old friends) I no longer bother.  I had a lovely visit from E, an old friend and neighbour his afternoon.   She has just gone on her way delivering their cards by hand.

I watched the dance off of Strictly Come Dancing last evening - now the last couples dance off next Saturday evening, one couple will win and then it will all be over until next year.   I shall miss the programme.

Two more local cards to deliver and that is me finished.   Hope you are all nearly at the relaxed stage (but I doubt it).  See you tomorrow,

Monday, 12 December 2022

Cold

 My goodness it is cold.    It is not long since we were told by the weather forecasters that we were in for a mild winter.   As is is it has been bitterly cold and foggy for days.    There seems no end in sight.   Now that I can no longer walk unaided it seems to be colder than ever.

But - happy to say - I have finished my Christmas shopping and sent it all off ahead of our postal strike.   My dear carer is providing my Christmas lunch and I can now relax and let it  wash over me.

When I think of Christmas in 'the old days' I am sure we enjoyed it justas much - maybe half a dozen presents at most, a Christmas dinner, maybe games round the fire in the afternoon - and that was it.    Now it seems to go on for days.

Ice is gathering on and around our lakes over the last week - sadly still thin ice and yesterday three young boys - the eldest ten - killed by falling through thin ice - and a fourth fighting for his life.  So tragic, especially so near to Christmas.   Our thoughts go out to their families.

Take care all of you, wrap up warm all of you unless you live where the sun is beating down of course,   Hopefully see you again tomorrow.

Thursday, 8 December 2022

Farmer's wife.

 Sorry to have missed a day or two but would you believe it when i say I have just been 'too busy' to put a post in?   But now my Christmas list is getting shorter I have decided my post is first on todays list: so here goes - let's talk about coming to farming late in life as I did.

Iwas 59 when after being a widow for just over two years I fell in love again with David - a batchelor farmer   I did know what I was letting myself in for - my mother's brother farmed in the Lincolnshire Wolds - no water laid on - they fetched it from a spring every morning in a barrel pulled by a dear old mare called Maisie - I loved her dearly.    I spent most of my school holidays there and dreamt  of being a farmer's wife - in fact I had a proposal from a farmer in his early twenties when I was 17 - he lived in the wolds too.   I had enough sense to turn him down (gently he was a lovely young man).  But then I met Malcolm, my first husband and father of my son, D.    We fell in love and we had almost 40 years together - we both taught and in our spare time as well as boating, walking and meeting with friends we made early music together. Then sadly he died of kidney cancer.   We already knew D, my farmer and walked his land and chatted most days.  I knew his mum well too.

Once married I was landed immediately with doing "the books".  D used to put everything in a box. hand it to his accountant once a month and go in and sign the cheques.  Then the Cattle Movement Service came into being and I had a computer and was reasonably Computer Literate so I took that over.

Every morning before milking D had three slices of home made currant bread (plum bread as we call it up here. )   His mum taught me how to make it and each week I would make it and put the bowl on the front window sill in the sun to rise.   His mum would come round to the window and let me know when it had risen enough.  Another job learned.  

I read up on calving and disagreed with how our calves were being reared  (in individual pens and reared from day one from a bucket.)   I had long discussions with D and his dad and eventually they let me take the whole operation over (one big pen where they were all together and fed by bottle so that their heads were up as they would be if drinking from the tit).

And so it went on - feeding any orphan lambs was next - in a morning the minute the back door opened there was a cacophony of bleating until I was out there with the bottles.

Comfort and support were needed when we actually caught Foot and Mouth and every animal on the farm - apart from Tip the sheepdog- had to be destroyed.

But we soldiered on and for over twenty years had a wonderful life together.    Those were the days.

Sunday, 4 December 2022

Wet (ish)

 Not snowing but promised.   Not at all Christmassy here - a fine covering of snow would probably help, although it is far too early anyway.   But these are the thoughts of somebody who finds Christmas almost too much (this is likely to be the last year that I send out cards).   I don.t possess a single decoration and have thought  I might buy some battery operated lights to put along my sitting room window ledge.

I think back to Christmas and New Year when the farmer was here and we had a house full and I cooked a turkey and had parties at New Year (most of the folk who used to come now long gone). 

And sitting thinking about it all I suddenly remembered an incident which will probably amuse you.   When we were newly married and I was 'playing' at being a farmer's wife I thought hens might be lovely wandering about the place (well you need hens on a farm don't you?) I bought a dozen free range hens (we soon became inundated with eggs and living on a lonely road it wasn't easy to sell them at the gate - we almost lived on delicious quiches- until we found an outlet for them.)

Then I bought a clutch (two hens and a cock) of bantams.  My farmer's dad was still alive and was not amused.   When they laid their first egg I took it round for  the farmer's mum to boil it for his tea!  By golly how they ruled the roost.   Then two ducks flew in from nowhere and adopted us (attracted by the food I suppose.

Farming friends had geese,   When one of my hens went broody he gave me two goose eggs for her to sit on.   she  produced two adorable fluffy chicks.   But oh dear - baby geese might be adorable but adult geese are a different matter.   The only things they took notice of were the bantams - all other feathered things and also the farmer's wife were easy meat (I was scared stiff of them and they knew it).   My dear farmer said nothing and the geese did as they were told when he was around.   Finally I got so that I dare not go down the yard  when they were around.

One day the goose farmer rang - he would love them if I no longer wanted them.   I couldn't get rid of them quick enough.   It was suggested we had roast goose for the Christmas party - but no thanks - I wasn't that hard hearted.


 

Saturday, 3 December 2022

Saturday

 Lists - a word which tends to be uppermost in everybody's mind around Christmas - I have actually got round to beginning to make one today and I have got out a box of cards to begin writing them.   Oh dear - my hands are very shaky all the time and it is no easy task.   Still, it;s a start.

Thursday, 1 December 2022

Cold

 It is a very cold day with no sun to warm us up.  I read The Times (did a few mind games again) and made a cup of hot choc.  I drank it, fell asleep and woke up at lunch time very cold in spite of the heating being on.

It is one of those very still and quiet 'nothing' days and I try very hard not to put the TV on on these sort of days (not difficult at the moment as my interest in football is nil)(sorry Rachel).

There is not  a breath of wind and now that my son has taken the last of my garden rubbish (lawn clippings) to the tip everywhere looks pristine.   I must say we have an absolutely excellent collection service here.   Once a fortnight we have collection of black bin rubbish - all the   usual household stuff and the other recyclables.. Then for an extra £25 a season (April through November) we can have a green bin for garden rubbish.  I wish I had somewhere for a compost heap but as my garden is  'layered' up steep steps it would be of no help to  wild life (hedgehogs) and now I can't climb the steps no help to me either.

My fingers are frozen with typing so off I go to make a cup of tea.   Wish you could join me.

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Improving

I have made a leap forward in that I have completed - and got right - both The Times Sudoku and the crossword.   I am getting back on track.   Also I have read - and commented on - most of your posts over the last week or so so I really feel I am getting there.

For the first day this week we have been fog-free here;  no sun and very cold but  also clear.   Friend and neighbour H came round for an hour this afternoon and we had a pleasant chat about this and that.

I do so love blogland - now that I am not very mobile, I get such inspiration from all my friends - both those calling in on me and those of you writing in blogposts  -that it is good to be getting back to taking part.   If you haven't already done so and find a moment to press a few buttons, do please read John Going Gently's post for today.   Sometimes he paints such lovely word pictures and today is one of those days.

Hopefully see you all tomorrow.

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Trying again

 I am trying again but now am having trouble keeping a post on line - and I have forgotten how to retrieve.   But here goes - I'll try again.  Almost a century - heaven forbid that I should live another ten years that make that true.   But if I look back to my school years everything has changed.   Friend M called yesterday - she had been helping at her church sale at the weekend.  Jumble  sale? No way - don't have those any more.

I suppose in a way Charity Shops have replaced them.   I have been reading Barbara Pym - read her many years ago and all I can cope with at the moment.  The way Lady M sent her last years 'cast offs' and the way the church 'elite' looked through them to see which they could buy and adapt for next year.   None of that any more - seems this years sale had hand-knitted Christmas tree ornaments which sold like hot cakes.

As we agreed clothes aren't made to last any more;girls watch television, read the fashion pages and buy the up to date  stuff and wear it to death.

I look in my wardrobe and see a coat I have had at least fifteen years (and still wear).


Monday, 28 November 2022

Sunday, 27 November 2022

Try again

Try, try, try again so here goes.   More hospital visits which were a waste of time, still gradually changing my drugs which is making me very tired - coupled with very dull and wet weather which is depressing anyway and leads me to speculate on what I would feel like if I didn't live in a so-called temperate climate.

I have spent Christmas in Moscow when  they were shovelling snow off the roads and into canals, in Beijing when you could barely walk because it was so icy,  Mongolia up in the mountains.   What they all had in common was a lack of wind  and often plenty of sun. Here for the last fortnight it has been cold, wet, windy and no sun to speak of and jolly cold and miserable.     But would I rather spend my days somewhere very hot?   No thank you.

I suspect that round here everyone's resolution to turn their thermostat down a notch has flown out of the window.   What about you?

 

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

I am OK thank you.

 Thank you dear blog friends for your enquiries,   I am feeling a bit better every day but until my drugs are completely changed my brain is not always in gear.    Some days I feel more like putting a post on than others.   It is now my bedtime but because so many of you are sending me e mails asking after me I am just putting an up date on.   Tomorrow I will attempt to post properly - I promise.

Saturday, 19 November 2022

Saturday

 No better = grey, cold and wet.    Friend W called and we chatted for a couple of hours, which passed a pleasant morning.    At least my computer sits next to the radiator so I am warm as i sit here chatting to you.

This week there seem to  have been so many car accidents round us - at least one each day and some days two.   One of the problems is that we live only a short distance from the largest army garrison in Western Europe and so of course near to a large YOUNG population.   This doesn't help.

Earlier in the week a kind reader sent me a link to a drone flying over East Witton F ell.   This morning I managed to get it and to spend a quarter of an hour happily zooming over it,   I wish I had not lost your name but thank you so much 

After a busy morning I am off to have a nap.    Take care everyone - see you tomorrow,

Friday, 18 November 2022

I don't think I ever remember such an awful day as yesterday.   It was pouring with rain when I drew back the blinds at seven and it was still pouring with rain when I went to bed.  There was enough fog to  make it impossible to see much further than across the road.

How different it is this morning.    I am sitting here just after twelve, the sun is out, there is enough breeze to have cleared away the fog and looking out of my sitting room window I can see -( looking through three almost leafless silver birches and between the houses) my beloved East Witton Fell.  I always think of this as the Eastern edge of the  Yorkshire Dales.   Most days that view tells me enough so that I don't ever have to listen to the weather forecast.   And in addition it treats me to a magnificent display of heather every August.

I really am no longer able to go out but I have plenty of views to look back on  in a cupboard full of photographs from around the world.   I am always intending to start but never do - I might start this afternoon.   Yesterday I watched a programme  on Plymouth, Massachusetts and as I watched, so many memories came back.

 See you tomorrow,

Wednesday, 16 November 2022

One day at a time.......

 Yes - each day a little improvement.   Today it is such a grey day here - a totally grey quiet day  - all of which helped me to go back to sleep sitting in my chair with today's Times immediately after my carer had gone at just after eight.   I woke up at a quarter to twelve!!   I have just eaten the lunch she left for me - garlic mushrooms and salad to which I added baby beetroot in sweet vinegar - and have just come to my computer,feeling a bit more perky.   I am assured by my doctor that this intense tiredness is all to do with this total change of tablets bit by bit and that once I have totally changed things will return to normal (whatever that is).

Yesterday one or two people commented on the performance of the N H S.    So I just wish to say here - I do understand that many folk are unhappy with the treatment they have had but I can only speak for myself when I say that I am 100 percent happy with the way things have gone for me - perhaps the wrong words to use but I can almost say I have enjoyed the last few weeks.   I feel that right from my seizure everyone has gone out of their way to be kind, reassuring and comforting.

I feel stronger each day and little by little my brain is returning to normal.    It is as though my brain was a finished jig-saw broken into many pieces by my fall and bit by bit somebody is redoing it.

My lovely birthday cake is almost eaten.   My son has taken over the distribtion of my tablets and my carer bought one new tablet box and my son bought another.   He called this morning for last week's now empty box (to refill for next week) just as I was making my after-lunch coffee and I saw him looking at my birthday cake so suggested he cut himself two slices for their after-lunch.   He had no difficulty finding the knife.   Like his father before him fruit cake is near the top of his list of likes.  It is now 31 years since his father died and after 39 years of happy marriage I count myself very lucky to have had 23 equally happy years marriage to my dear farmer.   And while we are  on such things as dates - interesting to read that Petula Clarke was also 90 this week and has been married for over 60 years to the same man.   And is at present singing "Feed the Birds" on the West end Stage.

Such is life dear friends.

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

Wet! Wet! Wet!

An absolutely horrible day here -it has never stopped raining/   I suppose the one thing in its favour is the fog has more or less cleared.

Thank you all for your foot hints - T and S are already trying some of the hints out - how wonderful the internet is.

I have had an interesting day.   A lady who works for  the  Health Service throughout Lancashire and North Yorkshire called to assess that all my care needs were being met and we decided that I was jolly lucky with the care I was getting.   Thetie up with our local GPs seems very impressive to me and I do sometimes think we under-estimate the care we get.  Especially in areas like here with (I would guess) an ageing population.

Each day my addled brain is sorting itself out bit by bit and - hopefully it will continue to do so.   Then my legs need to start working again.


Until tomorrow dear blog friends.

 

Monday, 14 November 2022

Good morning World!

 Much more like my world this morning I am pleased to say - still gaps but comforting words on here yesterday from some of my US readers.   I shall hold on to those for a day or two.

So now another medical plea.   I feel sure that you are all such  an energetic lot that somebody might be able to help (several people helped me considerably yesterday and were very comforting).    

Plantafacilitis.   My dear friend T has suddenly developed it in his foot,  (it is rather like trying to walk with a marble under your heel. )  I know I had it in my young, "energetic" days but can't  remember how I got rid of it.   Getting a doctor's appointment these days is like getting hens' teeth) so hope somebody has something helpful to say.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, 13 November 2022

Here again

 Back again.   My brain still seems slightly addled and I have to sort through it to find the right words but I am getting there slowly.   How strange itis to have my brain in such a mess but it does get easier to communicate each day so I do have to keep trying.

It is especially cold; the forecast said sunny but not so here - fog until late morning now misty and dull. typical November day. Does anyone remember the poem with the lines "no butterflies, no bees, November?"   If so, please remind me.

Back tomorrow.

Friday, 11 November 2022

Definitely Autumnal today - not cold but windy, cloudy, damp and as I am not moving fast at the moment I am needing the central heating on.   Although I am here alone I have just observed the two minutes silence - quite important to me.   There is a darling old man, Matt, who has collected round here for years and everyone supports him.

At this point a friend called and we stopped for a coffee.   Now two hours later I am trying again and struggling so shall not write any more today. See you all tomorrow.

Monday, 7 November 2022

Getting there.

 Well I understand from various sources that my  messages have not been getting through - I have been pressing the wrong buttons, so here I am trying again.

Here is the 'low down' on the state of play.   I seem to have developed Grand Mal Epilepsy and have just been in hospital for a fortnight after a very bad fit  not nice  for any of us.  I was in Darlington M|emorial  Hospital -delightful staff from all over the world - lovely doctors- lovely food and nothing at all to complain about.   Now bit by bit my drugs are being changed.   I am feeling strange and not thinking straight.

Thank you all for your concern and good wishes.   I will be back when I feel well enough. In the meantime much love dear bloggy pals - missing you.

Thursday, 20 October 2022

Thursday already.

 Thursday already -not sure where the days go but I assure you all that the days have sped by and I have just not had any spare time.

Tuesday P and D came over from Grange over Sands and together with mutual friend W, we all four went to Tennants, our local Auction  Dealers,for lunch and very nice it  was too.    I(didn't need any rocking off to sleep that night)!

Wednesday - well I am always tired the day after I have visitors.   That doesn't mean I don't enjoy having visitors but it does mean I have to watch it the day afterwards.  I always enjoy Wednesday evening television.   First of all Michael Portillo's train journeys - at present through Vietnam (how very civilised and peaceful it all looks after years of savage warfare) and then a quick switch-over to Channel 4 for the country's finest woodworker.   Isn't anyone else watching this - it is fascinating and such talented individuals? Then another switch over to Doc Martin.   We are nearing the end of a really enjoyable series over the years (I thought it was the last one last night but it is next week) - the last series of all.    I don't suppose the residents of Port Isaac, where it is filmed, will be sorry to say Goodbye to it.   By this time it was half past ten and I was ready for bed.

Because of my recent seizures I keep a bag packed - my "hospital bag" and when I go to bed I leave both pairs of specs in the same place so that my carer can put my specs in the bag at the last minute if necessary.   This is the last job I do before 'lights out'.   Crisis.   Half past ten at night and I can't find my reading specs!!!!   I usually carry them around with me and leave them on the desk in my bedroom,    They weren't there.

After searching for an hour I gave up and got ready for bed.   Then before I got into bed I thought I would look round one last time.   They were where I always put them but because the specs case is black and they were sitting on my black printer they just had not shown up.   By now it was midnight.

I usually get up at a quarter past six (my carer comes at  seven on the dot ).This morning I was awakened by a furious banging on the window - I had slept in.   It was seven and my carer  was getting wet we  were experiencing the worst thunderstorm she could ever remember.  The flashes of lightning were an electric blue the noise of the thunder was horrendous and the rain was literally 'sheeting down'.   An exciting start to today.   Still pouring when the taxi came to take me to the hairdresser; still raining heavily now at halfpast three. See you tomorrow.


 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Sunday, 16 October 2022

Language

Lovely bright morning again - not sure how chilly it is and I haven't had my walk yet but I would guess there's a nip in the air.

I am here with a moan today and I am anticipating you will all disagree with me but I am keen to know what you think.    As a teacher of English there was a time when I would have debated this with a class and I know they would have disagreed with me strongly but I still cringe when I  hear somebody on the television say "different than".   In my day, according to my revered English teacher, Miss Ryder, it was always "diferent   from".  And any divergence away from this would have received a severe reprimand.

 

And secondly - how to receive a compliment.   I only noticed this last evening while watching "Strictly Come Dancing".  The judges sive a judgement on the standard and then a score (out of  ten).  Do the two contestants say "thank you"?  No  - they put their open-palmed hand on or near their heart and give a little bow/nod and say 'thank-you'.

Is this how we move forward language-wise?   If so I hate it.   What do you think?

Saturday, 15 October 2022

Rejoice!

I am so glad that I vowed a long time ago not to be political on my posts - alright I have slipped back a bit now and again but on the whole I have kept my promise haven't I? 

The other non ending debate of course is the weather.   We had a lovely day about three days ago, since when it has gone steadily downhill.  - this evening is clear-skied very chillyand frost forecast- so that is farewell to my autumn flowers.

I made myself go for a short walk = I shall keep it up as long as I can.   My son came for half an hour and filled a few more in in The Times crossword.   My paperboy is not my favourite person this morning.  When he came it was pouring with rain and he left the paper half in/half out of the letter box.   By the time my carer saw it the top half was sopping wet.   It wasn't dry until it had   been draped about until mid afternoon.   I must watch out for him in the morning.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, 14 October 2022

Perfect Day

 It is a perfect Autumn day today - hardly a breath of wind and wall to wall blue sky and sunshine.  It is so quiet you can hear it if you know what  I mean.  I had a walk along the patio and back but it has been windy and I found it too much.   I really must walk at every opportunity or I shall lose the ability.   The last few days of sunshine have brought out various  clumps of different colours in my osteospermum - pink,white,yellow and several two tone ones - and also a patch of the Johnson's blue geranium and a few clumps of Michaelmas daisies.  Sadly it will be their swan song and I shall miss them when they go and look out eagerly for those first patches of white - the snowdrops and the Hellebores - the Christmas Roses.

We have moved on a day - I never got round to finishing this post so it is Friday now - the day when for tomorrow and Sunday I have my relief carer and then I am back to J again. After that one lovely day weather-wise we are back to distinctly Autumnal weather.   But I have made myself have a short walk - yesterday's struggle gave me a bit of a shock so I am determined to make myself go every day unless it is raining.

Not tonight Josephine!(anyone  know where the expression comes from? - it was one of my father's stock of sayings)   I see from today's Times that, contrary to expectations, nine months after the first Covid lockdown the  birthrate fell across Europe.    The research was carried out by the University of Lausanne.  The researchers  say it is similar to previous crises - also long days of lockdown dulled the nation's passion.   And at the beginning researchers were not sure how Covid might affect unborn babies.

I think folk around here are beginning to be aware again of Covid as steadily but surely it is beginning to rear its ugly head again.   Now everyone aged 50 and over is advised to get another 'jab'.  I, and most of my friends, are now vaccinated up to the eyebrows.  What is the position where you live (or are you anti vac?) 

Whilst I have been writing this the wind has dropped, the sky has cleared and is blue and the evening sun is shining.   But the central heating has come on!

See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, 12 October 2022

Wednesday

A weak and watery sun hangs overall and, although I haven't been outside I would guess it is probably one of those days when it is warmer outside than in because   there is hardly any wind either.   But it is not warm sitting here at the computer.   My thermostat is set nineteen (I put it up to twenty in the evening) and I have added a mohair shawl round my shoulders and a body warmer to my usual layers.  I have a feeling I shall weaken and turn up the heat shortly.   How does everyone else compare?  Really I suppose I suffer by not being able to walk quickly - in fact without the aid of wheelie I can't walk at all.

Interesting,  when I still had my car and could go out and meet friends for lunch wherever we decided to go, I never gave it a thought - I just took it forgranted.   Now, of course. I can no longer drive, I have found most places we used to go inaccessible to wheelchairs because there are steps so I am entirely dependent upon others and I find it  rankles.  Luckily I have enough friends to keep me going.   Next Tuesday friends P and  D are coming over from the Lakes for their birthday visit.   Priscilla fits easily into their VW and Tennants, our local very grand Auction House has fascilities for the disabled - two retaurants and both are fully adapted so that wil be my Birthday jaunt.

And on my birthday itself I am just having a  "pop in" - helped by J in the morning and S in the afternoon.   Wish you could all "pop in" - wouldn't it be lovely to meet and chat?

Well I shall pop into the kitchen and make myself a cuppa (and turn the thermostat up a notch  on the way. )  See you all tomorrow.

Tuesday, 11 October 2022

Book Group

 Book Group morning again - how quickly these monthly meetings come round and how much all five of us enjoyed discussing "The Night Tiger" - it generated more discussion than I ever remember before.  Accompanied by a Garibaldi and a cup of "Lazy Sunday" coffee - perfect.   I don't think I would like a biscuit named after me though!   And how interesting that more or less all of us had lived and / or worked abroad -   looking back to when I was young - very few folk had "been abroad".

The first time I went overseas was in 1953 on a slightly delayed honeymoon when we went to Paris for a week and stayed in the Hotel Rembrandt on Rue Caumartin.  (interesting that I can't remember  what I intended to put on my Tesco order five minutes ago and yet I just dredged this up from almost 70 years ago.)  I also remember that my mother asked not to be told which day we were flying (out on an Elizabethan and back on a Viscount with BEA) because she knew she would be sitting on the toilet all day!   Now of course we nip over to the States for a holiday and think no more of it than crossing the road to go into the supermarket.

And as for Supermarkets - I can't imagine how my dear mother would have viewed them when I think of the village shop where she shopped for the whole of her married life - the same order each week:  sugar, butter, marg, lard, tea, coffee. yeast. dried fruit= and from which she fashioned delicious bread and cakes and pies (jam and fruit from the garden).   Women staying at home and having their man's tea on the table when he came through the door.

Those were they days (or were they girls?)

Monday, 10 October 2022

Too many things happening to write a post

 Sorry but another hiccup - tired and callers adds up to no time to blog for two days.   Hopefully back to normal whatever that is today and a lovely sunny day it is too.   Still plenty out in the garden, especially Michaelmas Daisies and what a glorious purple they are too, especially with the sun full on them.

As so often friends S and T called yesterday with two splendid little LED torches - one for the side of my bed and one for the side table in the sitting room.   As Cro quite rightly says, we should be ready for all eventualities over the winter = and if my two Tesco lanterns arrive with my order on Thursday that's another tick.

Friends have persuaded me that I should hold a get-toge.ther for my ninetieth.   After feeling very tired the other day after my jaunt to the newspaper shop I had more or less decided not to hold an  y festivity at all.    But J my carer and Smy friend have volunteered/been roped in to give me assistance and I have decided to just invite friends for sherry, wine or coffee and a piece of the cake S and T have kindly provided.  So it is 10 to 12 and 2 to 4 on my birthday.   I just hope now that some folk can get otherwise that's a lot food and sherry!   Wish you lot could get here - that would just be an extra layer of icing on the cake!

Now before I finish the second reading of my book for Book Group in the morning just to say to Heather if you are reading this - as usual I have your lovely little Autumn Sketchbook you sent me several years ago out on my dresser and it looks just as lovely and gives me just as much pleasuree as it did the first year you sent it.  See you tomorrow,

Friday, 7 October 2022

Friday

After a miserable wet day it is suddenly a clear blue sky and sunshine.   There is a sharp wind blowing and it is not warm - at nineteen degrees the central heating has come on and I have just put a shawl round my shoulders.  But what a difference the sun makes.

I have been tired all day today and have done little and casting my eye over the television pages for this evening there is nothing particular I wish to see except Gardeners' World.    So it is a good night for making a few notes ready for Book Group on Tuesday.

My son has just been round for half an hour for a chat and H my neighbour has been round to borrow my scales so that she can make a cake, so not a day without company to chat to.

See you tomorrow, 

Thursday, 6 October 2022

Tired!!

 Well dear fellow bloggers, I exhausted myself in the first two hours or so this morning and as a result I have slept most of the afternoon.   I suspect if I did the same thing every day it would soon get easier.

My fortnightly hair appointment , as usual, was for half past nine.  My taxi could only take me at nine (and the journey into town takes no more than five minutes.  I did a quick think while on the phone to  J my taxi driver and then said yes to nine because   the next slot was half past nine and I didn't want the hairdresser to start late right at the beginning of the day. And I had several jobs I could do (I hoped).

M dropped me at the newsagents and I did everything I needed to - buy a book each of first and second class stamps,  choose and buy at least a dozen cards suitable for birthdays, blank for other occasions.   Then pay last month's bill and go back across the Zebra and along the footpath to the hairdresser.   I arrived just five minutes late with all my jobs done.

I arrived home about half an hour before the lady from the Fire Service came to check all  the electrics in the place (I had invited her).  I passed with flying colours apart from my smoke alarm which for some reason had stopped working.   She fitted me a new one (no charge) which means I have two side by side on the hall ceiling (the alternative was bare wires until the electrician came to remove the old  one).   She was a very pleasant lady and we had a lovely chat.

By then it was lunch time.   I put the bed clothes out of the washing machine into the tumble drier, ate my salad lunch with a jacket potato, sat down to watch the news and woke up two hours later,   Just read your comments on yesterday's blog and am now off to make my tea.   See you tomorrow.

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Wednesday, 5 October 2022

Chilly dismal day

The thermometer tells me it is warmer today but my body tells me something quite different.   It is grey and it is raining on and off.  A string of "beads" hangs along the washing line. It will be nice to get all closed up for the night - the doors locked and the curtains drawn and one or two programmes I enjoy on TV.   At the moment there is  a programme on to find the best woodworker in the country.   So far competitors have made a dining table in Week 1, a clock in Week 2 and now, tonight a toy.   They are such gifted people I am sad that people have to be eliminated.

I must also - as promised - tell you the book we are reading in this month's book group.   It is "The Night Tiger" by Yangsze Shoo - a story set in Malaysia.  Both my friend M and I are enjoying the book immensely. 

What a difference the sun makes.   As I have been sitting here doing my blog the sun has emerged and the wind has dropped and it is altogether a much nicer day.   I might even have a stroll along the patio.   See you in a few minutes...... 

Two hours later huge black clouds have loomed in and beads hang heavy on the washing line again.

A couple of days ago, when friend M called we were talking of what we did as children before television and we both remembered the same things.   On Winter evenings my parents and I (both my older siblings had by this time left home and were out in the wide world and friend M was an only child )played 'pencil and paper games' - and how it widened our general knowledge: capital cities of the counties in the British Isles, capital cities of the world, rivers of the world, wild flowers, birds, and many more topics,   I loved it (probably because I swotted up and usually won but I guess that is why my parents encouraged me to play.)    I do notice now that on University Challenge contestants have a very scant knowledge of these areas but incredible knowledge of much more 'serious' subjects.   How times have changed  I only am able ro answer when there is a question on wild flowers or birds;  my son beats me every week!

Time to get myself some tea - not sure what until I look what's available.   Until tomorrow:

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Honey cake

I was sitting here just trying to get on to a site selling a possible birthday present for a friend when the same friend and her partner arrived with cheese scones and a slice of honey cake which has just won him a cup at a local show.   Since then we have chatted for an hour and they have just gone.

It isn't a cold day here but it is a damp, windy, chilly day with no sign of the sun - and that is really so much worse.

The bins are out for morning - my carer does that before she goes.   A green bin for garden waste (I have nowhere for a compost heap), a blue bag for newspapers and a plastic box for tins and plastics.

When it is windy like today they have to be well-anchored  otherwise they are prone to blowing down the road.   This fortnight (the other week is ordinary dustbins) all my hedges have been cut and my lawns too so there is an excess which will have to wait for next fortnight.

In the old days when I was  child I remember we had the dustbin men who came round every week.  As for garden rubbish everybody had a compost heap - or a "muck heap" as it was commonly called and absolutely everything went on it.

That's it for today.   I have been busy finishing my Book Group book for next Tuesday.   Now I have until next Tuesday to make notes.   It has been a really good choice this month.   See you tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, 3 October 2022

Sorry

 Two day gap but both days, just as I started a post, friends came. I do like to post every day because it aids the 'continuity of thought' in my brain - difficult to explain to anyone younger I think but if I miss a couple of days I tend to lose the thread and I have to do a bit of a search through my brain cells to find it again.  But friends - actual human beings here in my bungalow and actually touchable - are so important and have to take precedence don't you agree?   (although all of you are so important and keep me in touch with reality)  so "Good morning bloggers and dear bloggy friends!"

Now what did I intend to post about?   Well, first of all about Gwynneth Paltrow (or Gwynnie  as theTimes calls her) who has reached fifty and wishes to be noticed in a really big way.   So how does she go about it?   She takes all her clothes off and covers herself in gold paint!!   Well, in another 28 days I shall be ninety and when I get out of bed and look in the mirror I can say with certainty I shall look more or less the same as I did the previous day.  Time marches on and how ever much I spend on creams, potions, beauty products, ready meals and sex aids , in spite of Gwynneth's  advice  nothing can really - in the real world -stop the march of time which always wins in the end.    So my philosophy is to live one day at a time  and just make the most of it.  No pills and potions on earth make much difference.   On the scales of life you (or me) sit on one side and fate/time/ call it what you will sits on the other and sooner or later you lose.  So what do I intend to do on my 90th birthday?   Not sure yet - depends how well/agile I feel but one thing is for sure - if I paint anything gold it will be my front door!

See you tomorrow dear friends.

Friday, 30 September 2022

Acts of Kindness.

I don't see myself as a particularly kind and thoughtful person.   During my working life - mostly with children from fairly disadvantaged backgrounds I loved my job and worked jolly hard to do my best for them all - but let's face it I was getting well-paid for it.  Since retirement I have with both husbands had wonderful holidays all over the world,  great friendships, much fun with music.  I could go on but enough to say that I don't recall ever seeing myself as doing good particularly.   Both husbands did.   They were both good at spotting when somebody was in need of something being done and then they would step in and do it.

But fast forward to now.   An act of kindness yesterday (after I had finished having a bit of a cry) just made me realise how lucky I am.

I had got all locked up for the evening - it was not a particularly nice evening and it was jolly cold.   I was just thinking what to have for tea - lights on, blinds drawn, when my front door bell rang.  "Who's this bothering me at this hour?"   I unlocked the door to find my gardener D's partner standing on the step with a dish in her hand -handing it over she said "D's made you this".   "This was an apple crumble."   I beckoned him out of his van and gave him a kiss!!   Only after they had gone did I have a little weep.  What a kind thought.

During the evening I thought of the many acts of kindness I experience all the time and wonder what I have done to deserve them - I am in no state to reciprocate and yet they are so good.   My friends T and S - T has a permanent screwdriver in his hand and goes around looking what needs doing (and doing it).  I couldn't begin to list the jobs they do for me all the time - the help they give me without being asked.  S similarly helps me all the time. They call - they spend an hour or so here, they keep me company, they make me laugh,  they are here for me and I can't possily tell them how much I appreciate it.  J my carer does so much over and above what I pay her to do - usually something in the fridge she has cooked for me and constant texts  to keep my spirits up,   When my husband was in hospital twenty five miles away with 'End of Life' care with his brain tumour friend W took me to hospital every single day because she could see I was in no fit state to drive myself.

 Lots of other little acts too - I am so lucky - and not forgetting all of you out there - you bloggers who constantly cheer me up and keep me going.   And this is just a little thank you from a soon to be ninety year old - what would I do without you all?

Thursday, 29 September 2022

Showery

Just as the weatherman said this morning - showery - heavy downpours interspersed with bright sunshine - and very cold.   As I look out now the sky is intense blue and it is very sunny but black cloud bubbling up on the horizon.  And it is cold.  I have to keep reminding myself that it is Thursday.   Going out to Ripon yesterday has thrown my days of the week out completely.

Friends S and T came this morning and have sorted my night lights out for the winter.   T has the sort of mind that deals with such problems and S was not happy about my having candles  in the event of a power cut.  (the way things are at present quite likely) .   He found that my two lamps in constant use are worn out,  but S has fitted me up with a nice light for the side of my bed which I can switch on just long enough for me to see my bedside lamp and switch it on.  Now it is just a case of looking for one in the sitting room.   No use waiting for it to happen.   Maybe "camping" lamps are what I am looking for.

I keep wondering how our friends in Florida are surviving .   Our weather girl, Carol, said this morning to imagine a Double Decker bus and then realise that that was the height of a storm surge hitting the shore, accompanied by winds well over a hundred miles an hour.

Well what to have for tea?  I rather fancy a tuna sandwich so shall go off and prepare one.   See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

A Timely Haircut

Well today has been the day.   A "bitter" day to quote my carer I must say I have an unlikely thickness of layers on for September - added a fleece to yesterday - but at nine this morning my gardener walked past my window in his shirt sleeves with his hedge-cutter aloft.   And by lunch time all my hedges had been cut, their tops had been aligned and the whole place was neat and tidy for the winter.   I have to keep going to look out of the window to make sure how good it looks.

Next a giant thank- you to Debby for continuing to write to me having assured me that she will continue to do so although she understands that I no longer feel able to write back.   Debby I love receiving your lovely long newsy letters - I read them over and over again but being realistic at my age writing my blog almost every day is about as much as I can manage.   But your letters are truly appreciated.

I have to say I too 'enjoyed' HM the Queen's funeral.   I watched it all day and I do agree that as a nation we do those sort of things well.   I also loved your story abour Mandela - if it was in our TV version I missed it.

On the subject of gifts(I probably put this on my blog at the time) but when my six year old great grand daughter came a few weeks ago I wrapped up six little gifts and hid them in the sitting room.    She had to find all six and then she could open them - the pleasure it gave her to search and find them and the pleasure  it gave me watching her open them made the whole thing more than worthwhile.  I am speaking inexpensive gifts - a ballet tutu; a pencil case; a set of .from 3H through to 3B pencils; a packet of crayons and a sketch book all inexpensive from Amazon,  I added a small pack of sweets and that was it.  I shall certainly  do it again.

Just to end by saying our thoughts are with Canada and the terrible storm.  I will be back tomorrow - I am having my ears 'serviced' in the morning.

Monday, 26 September 2022

Not chilly - let's be honest - cold!

 Very sharp wind blowing down from the Arctic and really no other way to describe the day than a cold one. H, my friend and neighbour, is ninety  today - this is where she has six weeks or so on me -I am ninety on Hallowe'en.   Priscilla and I went round early with a pretty card and a small present.   The small present I have ordered has not come - just a letter to say it is out of stock and they will send it as soon as new stock arrives in.

Friend W called in this morning and we had a pleasant morning chatting about this and that.   Our friend D, who is gay, has got the star letter in Saga magazine this month and we speculated what he might do with the £100 star letter prize!

Friend H has just arrived.   We said we would have a tea cake toasted this afternoon so I shall close down and come back when she has gone.   It is now six o'clock and she has returned home so here I am again but with nothing much to add.    We have chatted all afternoon so her birthday has passed pleasantly enough.   Now that the sun has gone down it really is chilly.   I have a feeling that British summertime ends anytime soon.   I can't be bothered to go and look at the calendar but once 'proper' time kicks in and it gets dark early then it really is Autumn.

See you on the morrow.

Sunday, 25 September 2022

This and that........

 as I think of it!

Yes - I shall watch Strictly - I enjoyed it, there were some really good dancers on the programme and it passes a Saturday evening nicely.   I had a nice long chat with my God-daughter after the programme ended - we can always find plenty to chat about  - especially when Strictly is on.

The weather has turned very cold here and although I vowed not to switch the heating on until the middle of October I  have changed my mind - at my age it is important that I keep warm.

Friends S and T have just been and we had a cup of tea and a chat.   S and I chatted about the teaching of French in schools.   We both were taught French early  in our secondary school lives in the same way:

French teacher:  Bonjour mes enfants.

Class:   Bonjour Mademoiselle.

French teacher:  Comment appellez vous?

Me:   Je m'appelle Collete  (my stage name).

We both agreed we have a reasonable vocab but as for stringing words together  - forget it.

Hopefully French is no longer taught in this way these days.   I do remember being asked a question in a written exam about what I might find in a sideboard.   The only thing I could think of was a bottle of White Horse whisky!  We were a non-drinking family too.

Many years later, sitting chatting on a bench in Paris I wanted to know the time.   I asked a passing Frenchman -

"Quelle  heure est il, si vous plait?"The Frenchman looked totally nonplussed.   Another Englishman sitting on the bench held the Frenchman' s arm : "Avez vous l'heure?" - we got the time immediately.

The reason we were speaking about the teaching of French is because my Great Grand daughter - she is almost six  - has recently started school and is being taught French as well as English.   Teaching to  receptive young minds - brilliant.

As I have been sitting here typing the sky has gone very black and the heating has come back on - Autumn has come in with a bang.

See you tomorrow.


Saturday, 24 September 2022

Almost back to normal.

But not quite.   Do be warned if you have not yet had your Covid jab.   In a lot of cases it is not nice.   I had mine on Wednesday afternoon at theChemists in Hawes.    And I was warned.     As he gave me the jab (totally painless) the chemist warned me that the after effects might be unpleasant and he was right.  For the next two days I have slept heavily  for most of the   day waking up now and again.   Bed has been early and I have slept like a log   all night too.. 

Many of the folk I blog with had the same side effects too,   But life has gone on just the same.   I more or less slept through the Equinox and now we are truly into Autumn.

Are you a 'Strictly Come Dancing' fan?   Each year I say I won't watch it again because I don't know any of the 'so called' celebrities.   It started again last evening - put off a week beca use  of the death  of H M the Queen and again - apart from the girl with Olympic medals for swimming I knew no-one.  So I shall give it a go this evening - what's the betting I get hooked. I find it odd who is a 'celebrity' these days - I never seem to know any of them.

So I really will make an effort tomorrow - that's a solemn promise.   Have a good evening.


Thursday, 22 September 2022

Tired

Actually my day yesterday was my top up covid jab in Hawes - a journey through lovely countryside in sunshine and a more or less painless 'jab' but today I am so very tired I can hardly put one foot in front of the other, so this is just an apology - hopefully I will be back to normal tomorrow - in the meantime - have a good day.

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Wednesday

Beautifully sunny day - perfect for the drive through Wensleydale for my Covid top up jab.   .My taxi driver contacted my carer yesterday to say that his taxi had broken down and to ask if I could manage to get into his minibus.   The answer to that is no - there is no way I can climb steps that deep so he is 'borrowing' his wife's car.   I hope the sun stays out because it is such a lovely journey to Hawes.

It is pleasing to see from The Times this morning that King Charles and the Queen Consort are already in Balmoral where they intend to spend a week in Private Mourning before taking up any royal duties. 

"Mourning" is such a strange thing isn't it - Matthew Paris discusses it in his weekly comment column in today's newspaper and I largely agree with him.    Certainly as far as our late Queen is concerned - the   death was by no means unexpected.  The signs of seriously deteriorating health have been there for some time in fact for a less determined character it would have meant total retirement from public life at a much earler date.  The fact that she 'invited' our new Prime Minister to form a Government only a couple of days before she died shewed the sort of person she was.   But although we can all feel sadness at her passing I am not sure any of us can 'mourn' in that sense - rather feel a sense of profound admiration that she kept on to the bitter end.   And so up there in Balmoral I hope the King and his Consort get out on the moors they so love and walk and just relax with their dogs (do they have dogs - if not then I am sure there are plenty around that they can 'borrow').

To those of you who suggested I turn the heating up a notch - thank you - I have done so.   I have no intention of being cold - it just seems so early to turn the heating up.   My carer who is a  what my dear old dad would have called a 'dab hand' on Facebook has found a shawl which fastens cleverly (I have several. all wool and very warm but all suffering from the same fault - they have no fastening other than tieing round the shoulders) with a buckle and she has sent for one for me (I will report back with details if it is as good as it looks).

In the meantime breeze is increasing and some rather big black clouds are appearing.

See you tomorrow.

 

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Chilly

 Autumn is here in NorthYorkshire with a vengeance and I had forgotten just how much I feel the cold th   ese days.   I set the heating to come on at eighteen yesterday and it never came on once but I was cold all day.   I have layers as though it was mid winter and have just ordered a fleecy body-warmer to see if that helps.   I shall have to break the news to my carer in the morning.   She thinks I have enough warm clothes to clothe the whole road.   Fortuitously an organisation came round with bags asking for clean, wearable clothes and we have been able to fill it read to put out early in the morning.  (with clothes which no longer fit).

Well its all over, everyone is on their way home and the Royal Family are now having a week of private mourning.   The King looks absolutely exhausted - what a job to take on at his age.   I hope he and his Consort spend a few days this week at Highgrove, which they love.  Do they have dogs?   I wonder what will happen to all the dogs.   I heard that Her Majesty has had seventy corgis in her lifetime and that Prince Andrew is taking over some of the ones living now.

Its funny how we all like different breeds isn't it?   The estate where I live is awash with dogs - almost all are pedigrees - lots of shid-zues, lots of Labradors/ Retrievers, a fair number of Spaniels and three or four Pugs.   One Red Setter I always notice when he goes past -a beautiful dog and a breed my father always loved (my mother hated dogs and refused to have one).   A large number are Cocker Poos or Labradoodles or some such.   There are also a fair number of retired Greyhounds which, apparently need little exercise and two or three Whippets.   And - I have to say - very little dog poo around - most people are exceedingly good at picking it up and putting it in the appropriate  containers for collection.

My garden is  providing me with a new crop of Autumn blooms - antirrhinums  in assorted colours continue to spring up everywhere as do osteospermums and michaelmas daisies.  crocosmias are continuing to flower.   I must say that rain now and again has continued to keep us damp too, unlike poor Derek who has suffered greatly until the past fortnight.

Well friends - plenty to look at on TV this evening which is nothing connected with the Royal Family - let them have the rest they deserve.   I think the BBC's anchorman -I'm not good on names but think it might have been Huw Edwards (I'm sure someone will correct me if I am wrong)- deserves some kind of award for his stalwart coverage don't you?

See you tomorrow.   Covid jab for me.


Monday, 19 September 2022

Brilliant

 I must say that I have been glued to the television screen all day today to watch Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's funeral.   And I have to say that the organisation, the spectacle, the way the BBC have presented it - all have been excellent in my opinion.   Hardly a hiccup and then only a small one here and there..   And one tiny touch I  found so pleasing - the new Prince of Wales had his son, Prince George who I think is nine, standing next to him during the service.   Surely at that age a very awe-inspiring and slightly scary experience.  At one point during the service he looked up at his father and the Prince of Wales put his hand down, took hold of his small son's hand and gave it a squeeze. What a loving gesture I thought.

I think all the family - and especially His Majesty King Charles III- look exhausted and drained - please let them have a few days break  now to grieve.

Meanwhile life has gone on. Now her late majesty has I believe been laid to rest by her beloved husband and I can get round to thinking about what to write to you about each day.

A free easy day tomorrow and then on Wednesday a trip twenty miles or so to have my next Covid jab.Thursday is my hair day and then everything back to normal.

My Covid jab means a journey through Wensleydale to the little market town of Hawes - about twenty miles through lovely scenery - the road follows the River Ure the whole way.   The last time I was there was  in the Spring with plenty of lambs frolicking - this time the leaves will be beginning  to turn.   How quickly the seasons pass.   See you tomorrow.