Monday 31 January 2022

Business affairs day

My heart sinks at the very word but I knew I had to do some 'office' stuff this morning.   First I had to arrange to go down to Hear and Now, the hearing clinic where I bought my new hearing aids (they are brilliant incidentally)  It all has to be tied in with the taxi service who take me down to Ripon and first of all they said they couldn't do it but then rang back to rearrange it - so now I am able to go..  So that is one tick on my list.    Then I had to rearrange a visit to my doctor - I need to see her to discuss my legs and whether or not I shall soon need a wheelchair.   That was soon ticked off.   Then I decided I would up my Times subscription to include Sundays - always a dull day for me so why not fill it with a Times, like I do all other days - that's another tick.   Then two bills came this morning -cheques made out and put into envelopes and ready to post- so I can forget about them.   All this took me all morning when it would once have taken me an hour at the most to do the lot.   Best not to think about it - too depressing.

After very strong winds all week end  there is still wind this morning but it is on the wane and it has been another very sunny day so not a lot of central heating needed - cooling down now though at four in the afternoon.   I am one of those who still enjoy Antiques Road Trip - not so much for the Antiques as the road trip bit.   So after this it is get a sandwich ready so that by four-thirty I can sit down with a sandwich and a pot of tea, all blinds drawn, heating on, all hatches battened down because we are in the inbetween time when by the time the sixo'clock News comes on all is settled for the night.   Then all that remains is to decide whether or not to listen to Boris's excuses (probably not).  See you tomorrow. Sleep well.

Sunday 30 January 2022

Stormy Weather

Yesterday's storm - I have forgotten its name but I think naming them is a bit daft anyway- has disappeared from up here after causing a couple of deaths - a sixty year old lady in Gateshead and a nine year old boy in Staffordshire.   Not sure I have them the correct way round but in both cases death was caused by falling trees.   This morning the sun rose beauifully without a breath of wind.   Not a leaf stirred as the thousands of rooks flew over as dawn broke (yesterday as quickly as they flew over the gale blew them back).

Bearing in mind the forecast (an even worse storm later on today) Priscilla and I set off straight after breakfast to do our circuit and by ten o'clock I was drinking my morning coffee.   Now it is 3pm, cloudy and there is a rising wind.   And Priscilla and I are feeling quite righteous - it looks increasingly uninviting.

It is vital that every day I am able to go out (ie no vcry strong wind, no slippery icy patches, no pouring rain) I do so.   Every day I miss I notice it - or rather my knees and hips and balance do.

From today my carer is having a week's holiday (to Spring Clean!) and until a week tomorrow it will be my relief carer.   I shall miss J - she brightens up my day - but she does need a break and is hoping to have two or three days going out if the weather is good enough.    But these storms seem to be coming across the Atlantic thick and fast at the moment.

A visitor arrives - my neighbour with our local paper which comes each Friday and sadly almost always contains details of a local death (we are all getting old together).    I shall go and  make myself a sandwich and watch the early evening news - don't expect that will cheer me up at the minute.  Until tomorrow dear friends.


Saturday 29 January 2022

Bright and early

Good morning Bloggers - bright and early while my brain is still in top gear.  I have come to the conclusion that my brain is in top gear - more or less- during the morning- but it is downhill all the way after that and  by bedtime it has gone in to reverse.

This was confirmed for me yesterday when off and on all day I thought about a post I might put on 'later'.   When I came to doing so late in the afternoon I could barely remember what it was going to be about let alone the 'very wise' thought I intended to post on the subject.   When I finally raked it up from the depths my hands were shaking too much to do it.    So this morning on to another subject but already too long (ish) phone calls -one to tell me that the lady opposite has died during the night sadly and the other to a chat with my son- that I am once again in danger of forgetting today's entry!

Robert Crampton in today's Times Magazine speculates on what one would do if suddenly one had more money 'coming in' - not mountains of the stuff which (I guess we would all agree) would just become a nuisance and a worry, but just an extra sum to spend on this and that.  Somebody said they would like access to all the Newspapers every day.  I have always said that my Times is the very last thing I would give up and when anyone tells me I can get it on line if I care to I tell them I have absolutely no desire to read it on line - I want the newsprint in my hand.

My son's birthday is coming up shortly I had thought a globe would be a possible present for his desk (I love globes and would like one for my desk if I could find room but I can't) - but he would rather have a morse code thingy to update his present one (he is an amateur radio enthusiast) giving as his excuse - and demonstrating it - that he could bring up Azerbijan on his tablet and even find an individual street in a city there.   Time marches on.   I do enjoy my computer but there are some things I have no wish to update in my brain.

So let's have it today:

If you suddenly had -say - an extra ten thousand a year what would you  do with it?  (I am always struck by how people who win on quiz shows never say they are going to put their winnings 'in the bank') -there are all kinds of suggestions given at the party -

a chef:  a meal planner: weekly masssages and spas: and Crampton rather liked the idea of a batman.   Me?  I really can't think of anything which would enhance my life.   If anything occurs to me during the day I will let you know.

Thursday 27 January 2022


I know I mentioned it before but I am reading Jan Morris's 'In My Mind's Eye' perfect evening reading when the mind is too tired to take in more than a couple of pages.   One hundred and eighty odd very upmarket blog posts - every one a jewel.   And one in my short read last evening brought back a memory from the past.

My parents were happily married for well over fifty years and my mother sadly died first leaving my father bereft.   My sister, who lived in the same village, made him a sitting room cum bedroom in her bungalow and he lived with her for almost a year before he had to go ino hospital with a severe kidney illness.   He never came out and died shortly after - peacefully in his sleep.

I was reminded of the week of his death vividly by one of the episodes in Jan Morris's book.   Not long before she died she was in hospital with a severe kidney infection and one evening, dozing in bed - suddenly through the ward came an ornate, decorated carriage pulled by beautiful horses and filled by beautifully dressed people.   When the nurse came by she asked her what the occasion was.   It turned out there was no occasion and nobody would have seen it but she.   Kidney infections sometimes lead to vivid imaginative hallucinations and this is what had happened.

The night before my father died my sister was sitting by his bed in the hospital ward when he turned to her and said our mother had been given an important job.   She was in the ward that afternoon organising an important Indian burial with all the ceremony.   He was particularly pleased that she was dressed in the most beautiful sari and she looked young again and her hair was black again.

At the time we found it quite moving and not at all distressing.   All his life my father was interested in India - its religions, its customs - his dearest wish had always been to go but of course in those days there was not that kind of money about was there?

See you tomorrow when another Friday bites the dust. 

Wednesday 26 January 2022

First things first

 Has anyone out there ever tried a Circulation Booster to help with  foot and leg swelling (like Revitive)?   I am contemplating buying one but would like an opionion from someone who actually uses it.   So if you do then could you please drop me a reply on here?


Now to yet another day's post - how quickly they fly by.   And how quickly Prime Minister's Question Time comes round each week - and with it the question as to whether Boris has survived another week or not.   Frankly, as more and more revelations come to light (if they are all true and not the work of someone Hell Bent on bringing him down) I just wish it was all over and we had another person (male or female) in charge who I could trust to be in charge.   As things are I just feel I am poised on the edge of a hearthrug waiting for someone to pull it from under my feet at any second.   And, frankly, I don't want to think about what the history books will make of it all in fifty years time.

                            * * * * * * * * *

On a slightly lighter note - my carer has just gone - once a month she goes through my bungalow for me 'like a dose of salts' (even this morning the inside windows cleaned).   The whole place looks sparkling as it always does when she has been, and a load of washing is already in the tumble drier.   Outside there is a January wind blowing and it is cloudy - not a day to venture out unless it improves after lunch (pork steak with honey and mustard sauce, cauli, sprouts and carrots - and mashed potato).   I may have to find something to read instead.

I have already read February's Book Group choice and spoken of it on here.   It is  'The Song of Achilles' by Madelaine Miller - a very good book - I enjoyed it hugely not least because of its portrayal of love -pure love - in no way related to sexual love entirely.

March's choice is Jan Morris's 'In My Mind's Eye' another very enjoyable book.   I love her books - I think this is probably her last. **  She calls it 'A Thought Diary' and it is 188 entries - one a day each one a sort of very upmarket blog -each one food for thought.   I have loved it. **  She died in November '20 aged 94.   I would say a nice book to request (if anybody asks) because it is one for dipping in to.

Until tomorrow dear friends...

Tuesday 25 January 2022

Chilly weather

It has been dull and chilly here most of the time for the past few days - and we are unused to it - because here - at any rate - we have had such a lovely, sunny January. So for the last couple of days I have been feeling under the weather and not in the least like posting.   However, tonight I have perked up a bit so thought  I would pop on just to say hello after putting my Tesco order on. 

What to write about   Well the blackbirds are singing - there is no doubt about that - and that  does the soul good doesn't it.   The resident blackie in my garden is a joy.  And there is a very prominent robin in the garden and he is a delight to see - alright - not in the same league as blackie song-wise but that wonderful red chest of his cheers the place up.   Do you feed the birds?  I have fed them every morning for many years but not since I came to live here four years ago.   My sitting room and my kitchen (which is a dining kitchen) are  South-facing and get the sun all day and there is a large lawn - open plan and a busy road.   Nowhere at all for a bird table.   The back of the bungalow faces due North and in order to reach the patio I have to go out into the front lawn and push Priscilla down the steps and round to the back garden and many days in winter it is just too slippery or too cold.

But seeing the blackbird and the robin this morning I am tempted the buy a bag of meal worms (both love meal worms) but Iwould have to make the same journey unless I just fling a couple of handfuls on to the lawn and I don't think that is a good idea.

Well that's it for today.  Not feeling one hundred percent - maybe a good night's sleep will do the trick.   See you tomorrow.



Sunday 23 January 2022


 Well another day bites the dust.   They no sooner come than they go.   Nothing much planned for today but T and S called this morning on their brisk walk through to town - just a good walk for a day like this - very little sun, a sharp wind and cold.   They called on their way down, left their car here and promised to call in for coffee on the return journey.   And they were back surprisingly quickly - what it is to be young!! (well a good ten years younger than me).   After eating my lunch I thought I would wrap up well and walk myself but after sticking my nose out of the door decided against it.  So a lazy day really - my son called late in the afternoon and I offloaded a pile of books on him - books he thinks I should read but which are too 'deep' for me these days.   Do you still read deep. what I would call heavy, books or are you - like me - past taking on the heavy stuff?

One more week and January is behind us for another year.   How quickly time flies by and how, this time of the year, we all hanker for the beginnings of Spring.  A friend's daffodils, popped through my letter box yesterday, are opening in my kitchen today.   By morning they will all be out.   See you then.

Saturday 22 January 2022

Yet another day of sunshine.

 We near the end of the month and at present there is no great change on the horizon.   By next week-end we shall be almost into February.   My winter duvet coat has not been out of its summer wrapping bag yet.

Just a short walk round the block today.   I did meet a charming retired greyound - a newcomer to the area - he is the most beautiful lavender-grey colour and such a gentle chap.  So different in temperament from the terriers - of which there are many around -when there are so many different breeds around  it is interesting to pick up characteristics.

Friends W and H called for a cup of tea and a couple of hours chat this afternoon, which passed the day on nicely.

Just had a long chat with my son and now I am going to watch episode three of the old Around the World in 80 days - an old Michael Palin version.  Then an early night calls.   See you tomorrow.

Friday 21 January 2022

Friday again

Friday again and another pay day past.   How quickly they come round.   The days pass by so fleetingly that I rarely know what day it is apart from Friday - pay day.

For some obscure reason my arthritis is very bad at the moment - probably something to do with the weather - beautiful sunny day after day but very cold and very damp with it.   I started out this morning but gave up after a short while as it was so bitterly cold.   Lucky that I did as friends T and S called within the next five minutes, while I was chatting to friend and neighbour M on the garage doorstep

Poor T , who has only had his new hearing aids for about a fortnight, seems to have broken the tube on one and the phone in the office where you report such things seems to be only manned at some odd times.   So he is back to being hearing aid less which is a bit frustrating.   As we went to the front door T found someone had pushed a bunch of beautiful daffodils through the letterbox - didn't take much detective work it out.   I know W had to go to Ripon today and that when she goes she usually shops in M and S Food.   I also know that around this time of year W always buys me a bunch of daffodils - and these were from M and S.   So if you are reading this W - thank you so much for putting the first sign of Spring into my house.

I have decided to have cheese on toast for my tea - always a comfort on a cold day.   Would prefer it to be crumpets but one of my resolutions was to eat less crumpets.   I have gained weight and by no stretch of the imagination can crumpets be called slimming -even without the butter!

So until tomorrow dear friends......


Thursday 20 January 2022

Can I opt out please?

 A bit of a rhetorical question because I think I have done over the last year or two and nobody in the whole world will have missed me.   And when I die - which will not be all that far into the future as I shall be ninety in October- everything I think, feel and talk about will disappear into thin air - and all my possessions will either become those of someone in my family or they will go to the salerooms for sale and become the property of someone else - and all traces of me will disappear apart from a few faded photographs and a few memories which  will gradually become less distinct and fade away.   And that is as it should be and as it is for everyone.

So, when I look at the disgraceful goings on in Parliament I think I am entitled to just ignore it -, or the shield-bashing in the Ukraine, or the possible mishandling of the Covid crisis, or the state of the NHS, or the poverty in our so-called civilised country- I could go on but I won't- because all my  worrying about it, all my discussing it with others, all my expressing of my feelings have for the last eighty nine years altered things not one iota and they won't do now.   So from hereon in I shall enjoy the days of sunshine, enjoy the company of my friends and family, appreciate the love and friendship they bestow on me and try to live whatever time I have left in peace.

    And I must say as I always do that you all contribute greatly to my life and for the I thank you most sincerely.

Wednesday 19 January 2022

Busy old fool

  1. Busy old fool indeed - I can't remember a January when the sun shone so much - day after day for the last ten days or so we have had wall-to-wall sunshine.  It can't of course last for ever and there is still February to come - but it is a short month and by the time March arrives we know that whatever the winter throws at us it will not be for long because it will be getting warmer and more importantlylighter.

And I was thinking today as I did my walk round , how lucky I am to live in a temperate climate and at the latitude I do.   I am not a hot weather person so I would hate to live in a tropical place and one where the weather (give or take climate change) is more or less predictable.

The nearest I have been to 'hot ' is North Africa and much of my time there was spent  up in the mountains.   But I have been above the Arctic Circle and - wearing a good anorak - I found that (on midsummer's day) quite pleasant.

Of course there is also the matter of hours of daylight and darkness but that too I find so much better in our temperate climate.   Sitting having a coffee in a street cafe at midnight in Tromso in the daylight was an experience and watching Alexander Armstrong in Iceland  at midnight in the daylight was interesting.   But then  one has to contrast that with the opposite - in winter it barely gets light.

No, I don't know about you but my feeling is 'all things in moderation'' .   See you tomorrow.


Tuesday 18 January 2022

Any Ideas?

 What to write about today any ideas anyone?   Not a lot has really happened.   Tuesday is the day I don't have a carer so morning jobs seem to take twice as long.   However I was late getting up - my only chance of any kind of lie -in as both carers come very early.   By the time I had eaten my porridge and banana and had a couple of cups of coffee the sun was already in the sitting room window.

If you are one of those who try to keep a bright mind by doing any Mind Games then I am sure you will agree that they are always much easier to do first thing in the morning than at night when the mind is weary.   I managed to do the maths ones - early in the morning they seemed easy.   I found the crossword 'do-able' but I just  couldn't get a start on the codeword.   So I left it on my table, put on my coat and went for my daily walk.

When I came back three quarters of an hour later, after walking a little bit further round the block and stopping to chat to one or two dogs and their owners. I glanced down at the codeword lying on the table waiting for me to pick up the pen on my return - and immediately (it had the i's and the one s in - that's all) and I saw that the word across the middle was invisibility.   How strangely the mind works doesn't it?

It has been a really lovely day  here - no breeze, sun all day and really very pleasant.   It is lasting so long that we will all be acclimatised to it and when this giant ridge of high pressure goes - as surely it will - we shall all miss it to say the least.

Sleep well tonight John - see you all tomorrow.

Monday 17 January 2022

Making a List

 I had a friend coming for coffee this morning and it occurred to me just before she came that there really are  some things in life that you look back on as being so very enjoyable - they might be expensive, they might be free  but you remember them because they 'fitted the bill'. So here are a few of mine - can you add any?

1.   Sitting with a friend enjoying a drink.   This applies to any drink - anywhere, but in my case sitting in the sitting room, the January sun shining through the window just mulling over events. This is what happened this morning with friend M, who only lives at the bottom of the road opposite.   She walked up for half past ten and stayed until half past twelve and we chatted about this and that -  books we are reading or had read - our families - things happening in the world - no subject barred.

2.   Sitting in a garden chair in the middle of Summer straight after finishing all the weeding and getting the garden straight.   Yes, when you have done this, just for a day or two the garden is pretty perfect until weeds begin to grow again - so sit down with a drink and enjoy it.

3.   Trying on, buying and wearing 'the perfect dress' - the one that is exactly the colour you imagined, fits perfectly and is not too expensive.  (and being complimented for how you look in it).


4.     Walking either with your dearest one,  with a group of friends, your rambling group - any pleasant company - on one of your favourite walks on a perfect day - admiring the glorious views, having a lovely picnic and arriving home just tired enough to have a nightcap and an early night.

5.     Arriving at your favourite holiday destination with your chosen companions, stepping off the plane, arriving at the hotel and knowing you have your whole holiday in front of you.

6.    If your dog is in kennels  seeing how pleased he/she is to see you when you arrive back in the kennels after the holiday.

We must all have different ones - what can you add?

Sunday 16 January 2022

A Good Book!

 There is no doubt about it, if you are a reader , nothing beats a Good Book.   And make  no mistake 

about it - this month's Book Group choice (M's) is a good book.   M is coming up for a coffee in the morning - she only lives at the bottom of the road and we are both fully vaccinated - and the bungalow will be nice and airy in this pleasant weather.   As 'The Guardian' says in the blurb on the back - 'An exciting, sexy, violent Superman version of 'The Iliad'.    It has only recently come out in paperback (£9.99) and worth every single penny.   It really is unputdownable.  It is 'The Song of Achilles' by Madeline Miller.

Alright - if you know anything about Greek Gods and things like The Trojan Wars then you know what happens, but it is so beautifully told.   So often love stories ruin a good book for me because the 'making love' part is so badly told.   But here the text is so beautiful and the story so well woven into it that the love scenes - and same-sex love scenes at that -are just an intimate part of a beautiful story.

We must of course avoid speaking of it in the morning as it is not Book Group until the first Monday in February - mustn't jump the gun.   But really it is the best book I have read in a long time - please do give it a try if it sounds your sort of book.

And while on the subject of entertainment is anyone else watching Jules Verne's 'Around the World in 80 Days' - I am enjoying that too.   It is actually on twice at the moment because there is also a much older Michael Palin version on which is not dramatised and it is interesting too.

 Looking out of my computer room window I can see the odd touch of white where there is a large patch of snowdrops.   I think.   Bu can't get up the steps to look.


Saturday 15 January 2022


 Sorry I didn't put a post on yesterday.   Please don't tell me there is no need to put a post on every day - there is a need for me.   When you are old , it easy so easy to slip into the mode where you never actually do anything.   I have a carer who takes care of my major needs, I have a cleaner who cleans right through the bungalow once a month and cleans places like the kitchen every day.   My carer changes my bed linen  every other Wednesday and takes home anything which needs ironing to iron with her things and she cooks my lunch every day.   I have a man who does my garden and a man to clean my windows - that doesn't leave me an awful lot to do does it?   My son lives closed by for any emergencies that arise and I belong Lifeline.

So all in all let's keep up things like a daily post to keep my mind sharp for as long as I can so that when I can't think of anything to write I can  put rubbish like this on to keep me going.

Our television mast came down in a gale some months ago and since then - while presumably they are building a new one - some days we can't get BBC television unless we watch it on iplayer.   It is a nuisance to say the least - I can excuse it for a month or so but it has gone on for much longer.  Nobody mentions it on the television as though it is a guarded secret.

The weather here this week has been beautiful - sunny, relatively warm, clear, beautiful dawns and dusks.   Today has been a little exception in that after a good clear start the River Ure in the valley began to fog over and soon the mist crept up the fields and over the town.  But after lunch it cleared again and it has been a sunny afternoon.  Weather Forecaster at teatime said although it will be a bit colder we could with luck expect this weather for another day or two. April in January eh!   Just as long as we don't get January in April - after I have packed my duvet coat away.   See you tomorrow.

Almost a month now since the shortest day and already the nights have pulled out by about an hour and the sun has got higher in the sky so that although it shines into my sitting room window it no longer shines directly into my eyes - it begins to shine down on my face.  I had never before realised how much having a living room facing South teaches one about direction.   In winter the sun rises in  one side of my window and sets in the other - in summer it both rises and sets round the back of the property.

Thursday 13 January 2022

Windy day

 It has been a very windy day here but also a brilliant sunny day - the sun has certainly provided me with central heating in my sitting room as it has shone in all day.

It should have been our recycling collection day on Wednesday and they always come very early in the morning.   As it was they didn't come at all but they did instead come very early (while it was still dark) this morning.    I can only assume that perhaps many of the staff were off with Covid (we are in one of the highest areas in the country).

The dawn here was exquisite - a very deep red band across the Eastern sky - again visible from my sitting room window.   This time of the year it is right in my window.   By the time June arrives I don't see the sunrise at all - not only am I still asleep but it comes up at the back of the house.   I have never before been so conscious of the direction as I am now.   

When the recycling men have been they naturally leave the plastic boxes on the side of the road.   Doing this this morning was a bit of a disaster as the strong wind blew all the boxes down the road and away.   Luckily my carer came just as they moved on from my house and she was able to grab my box and bring it into the garage before it had time to blow away.    But now I have one neatly put at the bottom of the drive which does not belong to me but has come down from higher up.   So the recycling boxes are recycling themselves.

I got all togged up for my daily walk but when I got out on to the road it was far too windy for both Priscilla and for me, so I just walked round the shortest part of the block and came back home.   Neighbour M saw me coming and was just about to set off on a walk and we stood in the shelter of my bungalow and chatted for a while - obviously about the Prime Minister and what he should do and also about Prince Andrew.   These are indeed troubled and controversial times aren't they?

Until tomorrow>

Wednesday 12 January 2022

No post today.

I have been busy all day today, doing various jobs and just getting on with life really.   It was our recycling day but although my carer and I put out all the recycling before she went it has not been collected.

After lunch and the News (pretty depressing stuff)and a doze I came in my computer room intending to cook up something but almost immediately friend M rang to say she would come round with our next Book Club book which she had ordered and bought for me in Richmond - lovely.   I put the kettle on and shortly she arrived - she only lives a short walk away on the opposite estate .  While we were chatting the window cleaner C came.   Every  operation is a major one for me.   I had to go with my walker and get my handbag, then negotiate the way to my front door and open it to pay him.   He really is the most cheerful chap and I always enjoy his visit (and the windows look a jolly sight cleaner when he has been).

Glorious sunny day - beautiful dawn and as M was going the sky was golden - such beautiful weather this week.   Now time for The Repair Shop so an indulgent hour.   See you tomorrow.

Tuesday 11 January 2022


Sorry there has been no post today so far (10.30pm) but I have been very tired all day and have not even managed a walk.   It was the day for my Tesco order  and also the day when my carer doesn'tcome so I usually get up a bit later (around 8am) by the time I have done all the jobs my carer does in an hour (bed, commode, kitchen, breakfast. bathroom and help getting me dressed) it was almost 11am the time my Tesco order was due to come - and indeed it did.   So it had to sit in the garage until I had washed out the fridge and wiped the kitchen cupboard shelves before putting the food away.   By the timeI had done that and put the food away and eaten today's lunch (roast chicken and five vegetables plus Yorkshire pud) it was mid afternoon and I dearly wished to make my first lot of hummus. (Cro spurred me on the other day by talking about making it - and like him I never find any in the shops as good as home made).

So I made my hummus, putting up with the aching back which had arrived by this time.    It is certainly better than that I have been buying from Tesco but I am sure I can still improve on the recipe and before I switch off I intend  to ask Cro if he will share his recipe with me.  Do you think he will or is it a closely guarded secret?

At half past four I had my fortnightly Zoom with friends P, D and W.   For some reason I always have difficulty getting on to the correct place - I really struggle and am usually a quarter of an hour late getting on.   I find it very frustrating and begin to think there are better methods of communication.    I see friend W regularly,  Every now and then friends P and D come over for lunch from Grange - I am not sure Zoom is worth the hassle for me - is it perhaps time I stopped trying to do it or do I persevere


It was brilliant to read of all the colour you can all see in your gardens and in the countryside.   We are lucky indeed to keep the colour going almost throughout the winter aren't we? 

Finally thank you Rachel for the instructions for retrieving my blog post when it disappears.   It has just done that and following your instructions I have retrieved it! 

Monday 10 January 2022


Yes, there are signs of Spring; but you have to search for them.   Here at six hundred feet they are not shouting out 'Look everyone.   We are here!  '  Much more subtle than that. Like the true Yorkshireman - they play their cards close to their chest,

I happen to know a garden (my previous one) where, if you know where to look (just under the sitting room window where it is sheltered and where the winter sun can sneak in if there is any ) there will be a large patch of golden aconites out now - and how I miss searching for them and shouting out to the farmer to come and look when the first one appears.

And down along the beckside in the big pasture, any day now the first golden marsh marigolds will be out.   I miss them too.   But out of bounds now I search for the first signs of Spring from my new base.   Plenty of green shoots poking through the ground and I did report the other day that one of my tubs had a single purple viola out.   My Helleborus Niger - Christmas Rose - has plenty of pure white buds about to burst open.   And this morning, on my walk, I followed the sound of the gardening workmen and there they were - pruning.  Slashing back the laurel bushes  and all the bushes that over the Summer have encroached on the footpaths.

Were they going to spare the hazel catkins - out in all their glory, shining golden in the morning sunlight?   Here they are always first to ring the bells of spring as the dangle and shake in the breeze.   Yes - they have been spared and shine - lifting the spirits of all but the most unseeing individuals (yes there are some who never notice such things).   A few pure white Christmas roses (Helleborus niger) are just coming out and that's it.  Anything to add to my list?   I know Si has snowdrops out in Newark - and aconites - and John has seen a few things.   It would be nice to make a list of flowers already advertising Spring - have you anything to add?   If you don't blog but read my blog (and I know some who do) and have seen Spring lurking around then send me an e mail and I will add them to my list.

Sunday 9 January 2022

Pushing the boulder.

 Lots of interesting stuff in Saturday's Times magazine yesterday.   Plenty of food for thought.   But the article I have chosen is one about getting old.   Getting old means 'Pushing a Boulder up a hill' - it gets harder and harder to do and eventually we give up and as soon as we give in and step aside the boulder rolls away down the hill  and we can never catch it again.   I thought it a perfect description - some days that boulder takes some holding where it is, let alone pushing it uphill.   But it is still important to me to keep trying.   Something to do with still enjoying life I think.   And one of the major things that makes me still enjoy life is this very thing - still being in constant touch with all of you around the world.

For example I spoke in my post a couple of days ago about the Eskimo and I called him an Inuit.   Rachel queried this and asked why I had used this word and mentioned Red (Hiawathas House) who had taught up there in the far North.      She suggested I asked him so I did and got an immediate interesting reply.   Next to being in the same room as him this has got to be the next best thing don't you think?

When we look at photographs of ourselves when we were young we can still recognise vestiges of ourselves - in my case my fringe - I have always had a fringe of some kind throughout my life - I would be lost without it.   This is often not true when we look at photographs of others.   A friend mentioned the other day looking at a photograph of the yound John Wayne and as he was as an old man - she couldn't see the young man in the old face.

Had he had it 'doctored'?   Quite likely I guess or maybe not - maybe content to develop into the rugged look.   Because it is the face we look at first isn't it?   Coco  Chanel said , Nature gives you the face you have at twenty but at 50 you have the face you deserve.

So as we push the boulder up the hill, do we just carry on regardless or do we also try to keep up appearances, do we dress with care, try to some extent to keep up with fashion trends or do we just collapse in a slough of despond and 'wear the bottom of our trousers rolled' as Jenny Joseph famously said?


Saturday 8 January 2022


 I have been totally lacking in any form of inspiration today.   Several times I have put on my laptop to perform various jobs - adding to my Tesco order, paying a bill, checking my e mails - my hand has hovered over my blog but I couldn't think of anything inspiring to write so have switched off.   Now I am on my way to bed and can still think of little to say.

I did watch Michael Palin's Around the World in 80 days - I don't know when it was made but Palin is a young man with young kids who come with his wife to see him off on his journey.   I shall enjoy it - it will be interesting to watch that and the other 'new' version on at the same time.   I love travel programmes above all else, especially now that I can no longer travel.   Rather like my dear old dad, who loved all gardening programmes and yet was really an armchair gardener and had to often be bullied by my mother in the veggie garden.

Until lunch time today it was a pouring wet day here and so absolutely nobody about.   Late in the day it stopped but no sun appeared.   H next door called after walking round the block and came in for a cup of tea.   As usual we had a good old natter about 'the old days' in this case about illness and doctors in our childhood - all those illnesses which have more or less disappeared these days but were almost death sentences to children and young people in our day = polio, diphtheria, TB, pneumonia and the like.     And we marvelled at the introduction of antibiotics and vaccinations - and we remembered the old M and B tablets - were they the first anti biotics - we weren't really sure?

Friday 7 January 2022


 By bedtime last evening the snow had more or less all gone and the weather man said there would not be a frost here last night it would stay 'just above freezing' - 'ah Priscilla and I might just get out for a stroll in the morning'.   I unlocked and opened the front door this morning to a heavy snowstorm and an inch or so of lying snow.   So going out can be consigned to the filing cabinet again for the time being.   Now the sun is blazing down, the snow is dripping off the roof and it is going again.I wonder if everyone in the world has the weather as the main topic of conversation.   I don't suppose they do.   I was just looking at my favourite photo of the farmer which I have in a frame in my sitting room.   I took it myself and we were in the Lofoten Islands and it was around Midsummer Day when it hardly gets dark at all.  And where, of course, it gets jolly cold in Winter.   I don't suppose they ever discuss if they will have snow or do they.   I also once  read how many words the Inuit have for snow - can't remember how ma ny it was but it was a lot.

And of course many places in the Tropics never need to know what the weather is going to be like (I think that would be rather boring don't you - at least it is something to discuss(and believe me don't I know it having been married to a farmer)What was right for one job was often totally wrong for another - apart of course from silage, haymaking and harvesting when my farmer could often be seen in the middle of the night, having been to the bathroom, peering out of the window to get the low down on the weather conditions.

This is another of those days when my laptop and I are not the best of friends.   Having got almost to the end I lost the lot and had to start again.   Then the doorbell went.   By the time I got there with my indoor walker the caller had gone round to the back and I knew then that it was my little new year present to myself from Amazon.   Their drivers are very pleasant and helpful but they do expect you to be hovering just inside the door ready to open it.  However the driver kindly went round the back and brought my box round to me .   After reading Cro's post about making hummus I remembered how I used to make my own until my blender got broken in the move here.   So I bought myself a nice little new one - just the right size for me.   Then of course I had to unpack and assemble it.   Took me ages and I still can't get the lid to fit so I shall have to wait until friends S and T come - either one of them will fit it in a flash and give me instructions.   I can't make any hummus until my chick peas and lemon juice come on my Tesco order on Tuesday so I hope they will call in before then.

Time for Antiques Road Trip shortly.  I enjoy it for the countryside, for the personalities and the lovely stuff in the shops.   Sometimes they do seem to buy the daftest things (two very ordinary dining chairs last evening which one of the contestants bought for what I thought  was the silliest amount and which sold for next to nothing thus losing her money she could ill afford to lose)

Just about dark, big black clouds looming.   See you in the morning.

Thursday 6 January 2022

Shipping Forecast

 How those words used to fill me  with excitement.  Going back to Radio only days the forecast used to come on about four times a day and the areas would always be read out in the same order - almost like a poem.   I could recite them in the right order - now I can only remember some of them.   Sitting here, a mixture of snow and rain falling, central heating full on at lunch time, only a light breeze - I suddenly for some reason thought of it - Faroes, Fairisle, Dogger, Lundy, Malin, Hebrides,  - Rockall, Shannon - that's about all I can rake up from the depths.

I would sit and listen and find the areas on the tattered old map we had because even at that age I was fascinated by the idea of travel, of seeing places.   I was about ten I suppose and in our class at Primary school we were asked to bring in labels off tinned food from around the world and they would be placed on a map.   I brought in many more than anyone else - not because we had more, after all we were in the midst of World War II, but I went round all neighbours, friends, relatives - everyone who could supply even a meagre label.   And then at Christmas, for my present, I asked for a new Atlas and joy of joys, at the front it even had a picture of the shipping areas round our coast.

Shows how a simple thing can foster a lifelong interest.  After school, no chance of travelling because you needed money and we never had any to spare.   Then came marriage, buying a house, raising a son and it really wasn't until he had gone through University that there was any spare money..  Then we did travel as much as we possibly could.  There is nohing like it.

At present I am going round the World in 80 days - now on TV no longer for real.   But imagination is a wonderful thing isn't it?   Wouldn't have minded going right round the British Isles all those years ago, taking in all those shipping forecast areas.  Trouble is I am terribly seasick - sick at the slightest ripple.   What about you?

Wednesday 5 January 2022

Town versus Country?

Harriet Walker, writing in today's Times 2, discusses the pros and cons of town and country living because many of her London friends are moving out into the country.   She hates the thought but also hates the size of house they can afford in the Capital.

I am - and always will be - a country girl at heart.  Born in the Lincolnshire countryside, at school in the county town, living seven miles outside Lincoln until my husband's job moved him to Lichfield - a Cathedral City but still like living in the country - I was in my early forties before we moved to a real town of any size and then it was because of work and school - that town was Wolverhampton.   I worked in an inner city Comprehensive but we lived on the Shropshire border almost out of the town.  My husband worked in Bromsgrove - thirty miles away.   So you could say that really greenery has always been a most important part of my life - never without a large garden.   Now up here - twenty five years of living and helping out on a Dales Farm and now living just two fields away from the farm on the very edge of a town with about three thousand inhabitants.

Last year Londoners left the smoke for the countryside in great numbers -  they bought 112,000 properties and spent £55billion on them and this was up from 73950 properties with £27.6 billion spent on them the previous year.  Eighty one percent intended to move permanently, the rest buy to let or second homes.

Rachel and John seem to both love going to London - Rachel often going to special exhibitions she wants to see (Durer this week - she writes about it today and gives such an interesting report - as usual better than an official one.)  John on the other hand often goes to meet friends pulling in an exhibition or a film or  Show at the same time

I have not been to London (apart from to catch a plane at Heathrow or Gatwick) for the last thirty years and have now no desire to go.   The first time we  went on holiday to America was the first time my farmer had been to London.   I loved it when I was mobile - it horrified the farmer.

But what I do know for certain is that people coming up here to live - to walk in beautiful scenery, to enjoy the beauty of our countryside and to buy up property with money they made from selling their houses 'down South' - have totally priced our young people out of the housing market.  A friend put his bungalow up for sale - pretty village, nice scenery, lovely walks - and by tea time the same day had had three offers (all for the asking price) and all were cash buyers.)

Our young people have a choice - rent or move away to a cheaper area.   I guess most of the people have a perfectly good reason for moving.   But I know that if you pass an Estate Agent's window on a Monday morning when all the new properties appear in the window, by Friday they will all have either a SOLD or a UNDER OFFER sticker on them.

Are you a town or a country dweller and were you born to it?   It would be good to do a count and see where we stand in the giant scheme of things.

Now to change the subject completely - still snow lying on the ground and more forecast,   It has just gone from about the first two feet of the lawn where the sun is on it all day.   Open the front door and stand in the hall out of the brisk wind and it is a really warm sun, two weeks yesterday since the Solstice and because the sky is clear there is a noticeable difference in the time it gets dark, and the violas on my front doorstep have today produced their first flower.   Spring is on its way wherever you live!


Tuesday 4 January 2022

Monday evening/Tuesday morning.

 The last hour of last evening everything that can go wrong did go wrong.   My son finally convinced me after giving me 'a good talking to' this morning, that it had nothing at all to do with my age but was the kind of thing that happens to us all sometimes.

First of all I locked up everywhere and went into the computer room to tidy up the day on my computer and then get to bed (same room).   A friend rang, I took out my hearing aid to answer the phone on mobile.   When I had finished the call I just couldn't find my hearing aid.   I searched everywhere -taking off my slippers so that if I stepped on it hopefully it wouldn't break.   I went back and forth for a quarter of an hour searching everywhere (very tired and pretty tearful) until finally I spotted it.   I must have been sitting on the bed when I took it out and it was sitting there on the duvet.

Next I saw that my mobile account was running low (pay as I go) so decided to top it up.   The top up number seemed to have disappeared from my directory I couldn't see it anywhere - and on final searching I seemed to have accidentally taken off my mobile number too and I can't remember it.   By now things were pretty frenzied.   I decided the best thing was to go to bed and sleep on it.   Earlier in the evening I had already had a tussle with trying to order a book on Amazon to add to my confusion.

I can't say I slept well - I woke several times, always trying to solve my problems.   Finally waking and getting up late I had a quick breakfast and rang my son.   Within the space of five minutes he had taken the Amazon problem off my hands, told me my mobile number which I replaced on my machine while he held on, gave me the top up number (which was on my mobile when I looked again) and spent five minutes giving me a stern talking-to to convince me I am not going ga-ga but that we all have days like that (he reminded me of one he had a while ago which  involved his keys).

A strong cup of tea and a read of the Times I am almost back to normal.   It is so easy these days for me to get 'in a state' if things go wrong.   I suppose the alternative is to sit about all day and do nothing - that way there is nothing to go wrong.

A friend W called this afternoon - she is more or less the same age and has similar days.   She related how she had gone into a craft workshop to have a look round, had come out and got back into her car only to find she had lost her hearing aid.   She went back into the workshop and got everyone looking everywhere.   Finally in despair she got back into her car ready to drive off only to find that in putting her coat on she had pulled her aid out of her ear and it was sitting neatly in her hair!

We have a covering of snow here.  It has been a beautiful sunny day but windy and icy and the snow hasn't gone.   Similar conditions forecast for tomorrow so Priscilla and I are grounded for now.  See you tomorrow -  better in head and heart I hope.


Monday 3 January 2022


 These days we switch the tele on without a thought, we complain if there is 'nothing on' and a night without it  seems a lonely night indeed for most people.   So it is hard to believe that when John Logie Baird gave the first public demo in 1926 most people thought the idea of television would never work- nobody would choose it instead of radio.

Interestingly too the BBC thought the idea of television  and having a set in every room would never catch on.   For a start it was far too cumbersome a piece of furniture and secondly it was far too expensive.

Then of course came Nazi propaganda - how the Nazis milked the TV to get its followers to sit up and take notice.   And it was then that we realised that we just had to do the same.

By the time the war was over things were certainly changing although radio struggled to keep pace.   TV rental was big and many started down that road in 1953 for that big event  The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.    I remember going with my newly married husband to my Grandmas's house = they had bought a set specially= and most of the family turned up to watch the grainy picture on the set.

I suppose the next really momentous 'outside broadcast' was 1969 with the Moon Landing and it was reading an article in today's Times that prompted me to write this.When asked 54 per cent of people did not believe in the Moon Landing? 650 million watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.  When asked sixty four percent of millenials (those aged between 24 and 35) doubted it.  Forty five percent of people aged over 55   said it was possible the landing was faked.   (the Flat Earth Society claimed that Stanley Kubrick  was hired by Nasa to film the footage with the moon only a film set.   All done as propagand between the US and Russia in the Space Race.  So propaganda still rears its head.   There are plenty more figures in The Times but I kept getting them in a muddle and it didn't seem all that important rather than just to show how gullible folk are.

Now television has become such a part of our lives that after almost a hundred years it is hard to imagine what life was ever like without it.   I wonder what the next 'big thing' will be - we have already seen computers push their way in.

Sunday 2 January 2022

Good Morning.od

 Good morning friends.   Looks as though this is the last day of this unseasonably warm weather.   So far today the sky is a mixture of heavy black clouds and bright blue sky; which will 'win' is anybody's guess.  So while the sun shines I shall go and sit in it and read the paper and do the crossword - back later to make conversation - if I have anything to say.

Not a bad day but too windy for a walk.   Nobody has rung, nobody has rung the doorbell, but on the plus side I have got one or two useful jobs done.   I took my sixty or so cards down - they kept falling down and I needed to dust; I spray-polished the furniture to smarten it up at bit (Book Group here in the morning - only four of us, masked and well ventilated and spaced; )watered the Poinsettia (anyone who wishes to know the trick for keeping them alive  it is never  let  their feet sit in water and only water them when they ask for it);  put away the token decorations I had put up; and that is about it really.

All had to be done in time for Around the world in 80 days (two back-to-back episodes this evening) which followed a very heartening Country File about our young people.   I am so enjoying the Jules Verne.    Anyone else watching it?

Now it is half past nine.   I shall go and make a hot drink and have an early night - it is so easy to get side tracked I find at bedtime.  Especially since my dear farmer is no longer here (5  years in March) - what I miss most is that bedtime cuddle and chat over the days events - there is usually something happened on a farm.   Until tomorrow......

Saturday 1 January 2022

A New Year Dawns

 And it has got to be better than the last one hasn't it?   There is now talk that perhaps Omicron variant is a sign that the virus is weakening - do let's hope so.

There is a saying here 'as the days length so the storms strengthen' - well certainly not so today.   Not a fortnight yet since the shortest day and today has been sunny and not cold and when I drew the blinds in the sitting room it was almost half past four, there was a beautiful sunset and the only 'fly in the ointment' was a strong wind - too strong for Priscilla and me to walk.   We set off down the drive, turned the corner round the hedge and almost got blown into the road.   So back up the drive we came and our walk had to be round the patio.   I can't get up into the garden because of steps but I could look what was about and it was heartening to see bulbs poking through everywhere and quite a lot of Helleborus Niger (Christmas rose) buds almost out.   In the tubs by the front door the violas look healthy and every time there is sunshine they seem to grow  a little.

I sat up late watching a very 'watchable film' - can;t remember what it was called but it was set in Hamburg after the war - not a laugh a minute but a good story and it passed another night when TV is not brilliant.   I did watch the final of the University Challenge alumni - as usual my son got in the twenties right whereas I got under ten.   How our knowledge fades into the background as we age.

I finished the William Trevor - didn't go the way I thought it was going to go.   So very well written - don't you feel good when you have read a book like that?   And so good to read it at the time when our B ook Group is reading Cold Comfort Farm - two interesting books to compare as far as style is concerned.

Well dear friends cheese and biscuits calls, together with a cup of tea - all that I fancy for my tea.   See you all tomorrow - and have a good first night of the New Year.