Friday 30 June 2023

In the morning early.

 Yesterday my gardener came  (so this morning there is no sign of Birds Foot Trefoil but give it a couple of days and it'll be back).  My male gardener D mows my two lawns, tidies the hedges, prunes back any wayward plants and weeds the paths and patio.   And while he is doing that his partner, J, dead-heads and weeds the steep back garden.   J is a friend and I usually take Priscilla round the back and sit and chat to her while she works.   But yesterday I stood, leaning with my elbows on the wall, showing her which Aquelegia needed pulling out before they seeded and which she needed to leave.   Some have such beautiful flowers, others are quite weedy.   Now all that are left (all have finished flowering) are the ones I hope will serve me well next year (the bees, of course have other ideas).  I should have known better.   I have had virtually no sleep as my back was objecting to my daytime behaviour.

So here I am at 4am sitting in my chair, blinds drawn back, watching the dawn.

What a different world it is at this time.   First of all I actually watched the Milkman deliver my milk - it is several years since I saw him.   Then J and Sammy strolled past.   J is a lady in her late eighties who lives about 5 doors further up the road and as I haven't seen her for weeks I thought she must be ill/away.   But no, obviously like me she is a rotten sleeper.   She was up, showered, smartly dressed and walking her usual 'wee and poo' round (poo bag in hand).   Sammy as usual was weeing up every blade of grass - he certainly makes sure all the bitches who walk the same route know he's there.

How different it is at 4 in the morning.   Light in a funny sort of way - dull, so no vision of the sunrise and totally still - not even a leaf on the silver birch across the way was moving.

The svelte female black cat was out nice and early as cats like to be.   She came strolling towards the waste ground opposite my window where she sits and listens to what is going on in the long grass which she seems loth to enter (must seem like dense jungle to her but I think she must hear something rustling (mice?_) in there.)

Suddenly round the corner, also out for his early morning stroll, comes the local, large ginger Tom.  Like a shot from a gun she is off - no good-morning, within a few seconds she had gone.

Two blackbirds and a starling are wandering about the front lawn, now and again poking a beak into the ground and devouring some poor, innocent beastie.   Do you ever wonder what birds think - or can they think - they are certainly creatures of habit.  Jackdaws, the odd rook, various garden birds fly purposefully back and forth.   Where are they going?  When they take off from their perch wherever it is, do they already have in mind where they are going?

Cars (mostly men who I presume are off to work) begin about 5am with the odd one now and again; but  by six o'clock the exodus from the estate begins in earnest.   Curtains are drawn back in the few windows I can see.   Everywhere there is sudden movement - here and there a dog-walker, a steady stream of cars, some stopping by the letter box (I reluctantly have to say that women are the real culprits here and tend to abandon their vehicle for the time it takes to put the envelope in the box.)   When a man has to post he seems to abandon his vehicle but at least it is on the edge of the road so other drivers can get past.

I see even the leaves on the Silver Birch have woken up and begun to move.   Yes - in this part of the world we have woken up good and proper - I shall go and put the kettle on.

Thursday 29 June 2023

Think what you like

 Many years ago (and I mean many), at College studing Poetry in general and RS Thomas in particular, I was really interested in one of his poems.   It was at the time when Nuclear Disarmament was high on the agenda and during the discussion I mentioned that I thought the poem was about this, although it was not mentioned.   No-one agreed but I decided to write to the poet and ask him. He wrote back saying that that was the whole point of his poetry - that you could think whatever you liked to think so long as it really made you think.

I have never forgotten that.   I was reminded of it yesterday (as I so often am) when I had occasion to go into town.   It is a long time since I went into town - it has become almost  a chore - the getting ready, the list of things I need to do while I am there, the organising of transport now that I no longer drive.   But I had saved up a list of important jobs and a friend, who was going to her exercise class offered to take Priscilla and me.

So I emptied Priscilla's shopping bag of a handful of dead pansy heads, a pair of secateurs and a hand-fork. gave her a wash and brush up - and myself too and away we went.   Luckily two places I wished to go - solicitors and savings bank were in the same building so that made for less trouble.

While sitting there I looked at a painting on the wall - I remembered it from pre-Covid (the last time I was there) and I had admired it then.   It was part of a church wall (I thought) and its reflection on a wet pavement.   Very colourful - lots of reds and yellows (artistic licence?) and it was 'shot' across with a series of  fractured lines.

What did it mean I wondered - maybe the artist was suggesting that religion was gradually 'disintegrating', would eventually completely fracture and die out.(I know some wonderful paintings (The Haywain) are purely and simply landscapes which you can look at, admire and get pure pleasure from the scene, but others (Guernica) make you think deeply about the state of the world and the way it is going.)

When the man I had gone to see came back into his office I asked him what were his thoughts on the picture.

It was not a painting at all.   It was a photograph (a brilliant one I must add).   It was a photograph of the reflection on the pavement of a section of Bradford City Hall (a Grade 1 listed building) on what was obviously a very wet day.   Blown up large, unframed and very colourful I found it stunning.

How wrong can you be?  But does it matter?  And I thought back to RS Thomas's letter saying how pleased he was that his poem had made me really think.  Surely that is the purpose of all art forms - to make you think.   Whether you like what you are looking at is not really the point - if it makes you stop and think it has served its purpose.

I thought of what Maggi Hambling said of her scallop shell on the beach near Aldeborough- loved by many, disliked by many.   She loved Britten's 'Peter Grimes', she put the scallop shell near the sea, where Britten walked almost every day.   She said of it, 'I want people to interact with it - whether somebody climbs up on it to sit down and watch the sea or whether a couple creep under it  to make love - only then will it be complete.

And I thought, as I always do when pondering the idea of what any art form is for, of Picasso's Guernica - after he had finished the painting it toured the World and helped to bring the Spanish Civil War to the world's attention.   Anti war, anti fascism, the embodiment of peace.

Does it matter as long as it makes you stop and think?

Tuesday 27 June 2023

Brain firmly in charge!

Is it my age - are bits of my brain going into a state of suspended animation - am I slowly going ga-ga?  If so then I am not alone because most of my friends (and they are not all in my age bracket thank goodness) have the same experience.   Here are a couple of examples:

John (Stargoose and Hanglands) put a photograph on his last post of THE most exquisite moth.  (I must state here that in 'real life' I have a phobia of moths.  I love pictures of them because many of them are so beautifully marked but I cannot bear to be incarcerated in the same room as one. (this does not apply to butterflies for some reason).   But the photograph on John's post of the harlequin-patterned Scarlet Tiger Moth is nothing short of stunning.   I told him so in my comment and said I would like a Summer Housecoat in that pattern please.

Now I didn't mean a housecoat at all.   The fact is I sat for five minutes trying to think of the right word for what I wanted and couldn't so put the next best thing.   In the middle of the night I woke "KAFTAN" sprang into my awareness - illuminated, music playing, no-doubt-about-it shouting forth.   Had my brain cells being searching for that word in my very full and probably very untidy brain library?   For ten hours??? 

Another recent example (I can remember both of these examples so why not a simple word or phrase?)  I wrote for my post my own Obit for Lord Bolton, our local and much-admired Landowner.   In it I told of my favourite story about the Bolton Estate's ruined tower on a hill opposite Bolton Hall.   Could I remember the name of the tower?   I have known that name ever since I came to live up here over thirty years ago.  Da-da - three in the morning it came to me and in this instance I got up and went across to my computer (only 5 steps away from my bed) and typed in the two missing words - POLLY PEACHAM! [Polly Peacham - a character in John Gay's operas - and the first Polly was sung by Lavinia Fenton who happened to be married to the Lord Bolton of the day}].

Now you know why I keep a Thesaurus and my Chambers Dictionary close by my computer - along  with a magnifying  glass.  (Prompt - ring the Optician and book an eye test today).

Monday 26 June 2023


 My brain is having one of those 'stream of consciousness' days today so I am sorry to say you will have a choice of either 'going with it' or 'giving it a miss' today.

'The pen is mightier than the sword but the tongue is mightier than them both put together' - we all know that saying (Edward Bulwer Lytton (1839) in his play about Richelieu - we don't remember the play but the phrase has stuck hasn't it?) I thought this briefly when I looked out of the sitting room window on to my lawn this morning.   Today  - Monday - is usually 'Lawn Day' for my gardener when he goes round all his customers and gets his lawns 'out of the way' for the week.   No sign of him yet.   We had a ten minute very heavy shower at tea time yesterday so perhaps he is giving the sun an hour's start on his labours.

Why did I think that?   I smiled and imagined him up and down the lawn with his mighty (but noisy) mower - sword-like it definitely is - all our discussions on the beauty of Birds' Foot Trefoil - in full bloom - and white clover and our disagreement over these two versus how the lawn looks are for nothing where that saying is concerned.   The sword wins every time.

One third grass, one third white clover, one third BFT (or Lady's Fingers as I prefer to call it as a hark back to my childhood) - all three in full June flow are for nothing - after he attacks it it will for a day or two be three thirds lawn grass.   Then it will be back to how it chooses to be.   So forget the quotation (and its application to many more situations I suppose)

So lets move with my streaming brain on to the tongue.  I switched on at 9pm to watch Elton John at Glastonbury.   Sorry Cro, I have to disagree - he was magnificent.  Walking (very badly I thought but he is after all 76) out onto that stage in his silver suit in front of literally thousands of cheering fans he from that moment on brought the house down.  Make no mistake - as Olly Alexander (Years and Years Frontman) said of him- 'his impact on music cannot be overstated'.

I  am a musician (of sorts) and by his age had given my piano to my son because my arthritic fingers could no longer do Schubert's Impromptus justice. In my book you either play properly ( and practise every mistake over and over until you don't make it) or you don't play.   I watched his fingers on the keyboard - they were magic.

As for his 'Candle in the Wind' at the end - surely I wasn't the only one to watch and listen with tears streaming down my cheeks for a variety of reasons.  I am not ashamed to say that they are doing so now as I write this.  My brain made associations not just with |Princess Diana but with a whole variety of people 'loved and lost'.

The people opposite where I live went on holiday with their caravan yesterday to a site they love which is a couple  of miles from Glastonbury.   I am sure as they settled in they would be able to hear every word and sound.  But for sure they would sleep better after it was all over.

I heard on Breakfast this morning that it will take several hundred workers six hours to clear up the rubbish today - after which it will be back to green fields for another year and the people in the many houses close to the venue will get good night's sleep again.   But at least for three days and nights they got free entertainment whether they liked it or not - and they didn't have to pay £335 to get it - but they missed perhaps the most important thing of all - the incredible atmosphere and the sight of all those zany people (of all ages - they were not by any means all young) going 'off the scale'.  (best to draw a veil over the many 'goings on' other than the music.   I might be 90 but in some areas I am as innocent as a 5 year old).

See you tomorrow.

Sunday 25 June 2023

Lost for word today

 "I have nothing to say

   and I am saying it

   and that is poetry  

   as I need it."

 John Cage

Saturday 24 June 2023

Lord Bolton

 Lord Bolton - Rt Hon 8th Baron Bolton 1954 - 2023- our local landowner has, sadly, died aged  69.  His funeral was held yesterday in the church at Wensley and I am sure the church would have been full to overflowing.   He was a much loved and very popular, down to earth man.   As a young man he was seen as a dare devil, had a pilot's licence and was also an amateur  jump jockey.   Together with his eldest son Tom they undertook a lot of restoration work on Bolton Castle - a very prominent landmark in Wensleydale, standing as it does in the tiny village of Castle Bolton, close by the main road through the Dale.

There is a good picture of him in Tatler, which I was hoping to show you here - but is easy to find on the Tatler page.   It shows him in a typical Lord Bolton pose - in shirt and working trousers and wellies- pulling a garden roller up and down the lawn they had created just below the semi-ruined castle.

He did a large amount of voluntary work in both Bosnia and Ruanda.   Everyone in the Dale will miss him - be it his Tenant Farmers, his Employees, and the ordinary folk in the Dale to whom he was a familiar figure.

His eldest son succeeds him to become 9th Baron Bolton.   He is seen around Leyburn and known to all - and much admired.   He won The Military Cross in Iraq.

The story I have always loved is that of Polly Peacham's Tower, the ruin of which stands opposite Bolton Hall (driving from Hawes to Leyburn Bolton Hall stands on the banks of the River Ure just before the bridge into the village of Wensley and on the opposite side of the road, high on top of a hill stands a ruined tower.   It is said that a earlier Lord Bolton, married to a singer, Lavinia Fenton who was an actress and singer got so tired of hearing her practise her singing that he had a tower built across the road and up the hill so that she could sing there to her heart's content and he couldn't hear her!  Nobody knows if this story is true but it is good tale anyway.

I believe  the Bolton Tombs rest in a corner of Wensley Church (a redundant church now) in which case I expect that is where he will lie - in peace after his death from oesophageal cancer.

The end of life for a man well and truly admired and loved by all who knew him.

Friday 23 June 2023

We plot our own lives (if we are lucky enough)

According to Philip Larkin's poem  he suggests that 'sexual intercourse' began in 1963 and that fell mid-way between the lifting  of the ban on Lady Chatterley's Lover - and the very first LP brought out by the Beatles (late 1963.)   All I can say to his first suggestion is 'actions speak louder than words' and had he been right the human race would have died out long before that date was reached.   He was of course speaking of the introduction of the Birth Control pill.

My 'best' time (as Robert Herrick suggests in his poetic advice to virgins) is 'that time of life which is the best, when youth and blood are warmer'.

This train of thought has been brought about by the fact that it is Glastonbury week-end - and shock horror - Glastonbury has swept Monty Don and Gardener's World completely off BBC2 tonight - instead it is wall-to-wall Glasto!  The first Glasto was in 1970.   It cost £1 to go in and that included free milk from the farm. 1500 attended.

So we can equate all these things - well I can.     In1960 I was  late twenties, married with a young son.   All this seems to have passed me by.   I never took 'the pill'; I never listened to 'pop' music (played lots of classical music on my piano but rarely listened to anything else); did read Lady Chat but then didn't everybody?   It was said that if you bought a second-hand copy it would fall open at the 'offending' page.

I looked at Breakfast television this morning - 200,000 tickets sold for Glasto this year and another 63,000 kept back for staff and performers.  Cost of a ticket - £335 plus £5 booking fee and the queue for showers this morning was about half a mile long (teenagers are not scruffy if that is proof).

I sat here thinking that a whole chunk of 'modern' life had completely passed me by.  But then, reading the list of performers over the years I have come to the conclusion that this is not the case - it is the reverse - I have passed it by.

Look at some of the 'oldest' performers - Sir Bruce Forsyth, Sir Paul McCartney and this year Sir Elton John - none of them are Spring Chickens are they?

And looking at the Shower Queue this morning quite a lot of them looked to be already drawing their Old Age Pension. 

No, I have to face facts.  It is a case of 'horses for courses' where pop is concerned.   I can't turn the clock back and tramp around Glastonbury in my wellies with my camping gear on my back.   I feel another poetic quote coming on.   It is all a case of Robert Frost's 'road not taken'.   I turned off the road a very long time ago and went down the Schubert, Beethoven and -later on- Monteverdi road and there's no going back at 90!

I might try a snatch of BBC2 tonight but I am pretty sure I would rather be looking at Monty among the ox-eye daisies.

Thursday 22 June 2023

Oh dear!

Is it me?   Am I old-fashioned?   Have I failed to keep up with the way the 'modern' woman thinks and acts?   Or have things gone too far?

Today there is as usual a 'leader' column in Times 2 and today, reading it, has brought into question something I really do disagree with.

The writer (sorry but I haven't brought the paper into the computer room with me and can't remember her name) is horrified at how Queen Camilla dressed for the carriage ride down the course at Royal Ascot.   She is very unflattering in her remarks.   She also criticised her hair style saying that she had had the same style for many years and it was time for a change (in passing I would say our late Queen had the same hairstyle all her life as Queen as far as I remember).   Apparently Camilla once said (when asked about her hair) that she kept it like that because that was how Charles likes it. Good for her!

If it was old-fashioned me and my husband liked my hair style then I would keep it.   Not because I thought I had better do as he said, or not because I have not got a mind of my own, but simply because I like to look how he likes me to look - I was married to him for goodness sake. 

And as for what Camilla wore - (she is not a fashion model )at her age I am sure that she knows what she likes, she knows what is comfortable - and she also knows how uncomfortable it can be riding down the course on a hot afternoon in full sun.

And I am sure the last thing she wants at her age is to have some much younger woman criticising how she looks - because at her age it is all tiring and that has to be taken into consideration.

The writer even criticised  how Camilla fiddled with her 'fringe' when she was being crowned in Westminster Abbey.   All I can say is get a grip on real life and find something to write about that is not so hurtful.   When one is in the sort of position the Royals are in, whether you are 'for' or 'against' is beside the point - you do your best in those sort of situations (do you sit still and let somebody plonk a crown on your head or do you fiddle with your hair a bit making sure the crown stays where it should be rather than topple off on the walk down through the congregation which followed.)

And while I am at it - if the Princess of Wales's hair is too long and needs a few inches cutting off the bottom as you suggest in the same article, then that is also her choice.

Please Times 2 writers - do try to write your readable articles without too much criticising things which are so unimportant.


Wednesday 21 June 2023


 This post really came about because I wanted to check my spelling of the title.   My Chambers rather scathingly, I thought, suggested one 'f' - commenting that it was 'sometimes' spelt with two f's as though they rose above such spelling.   I have always spelt it with two - but henceforth I shall - on the rare occasions I use the word - make sure I  spell it with one.   Chambers is my bible and I am on my fourth or fifth one - I look several times a day for something in it - spelling, meaning, a letter in the Greek alphabet for the quick crossword (there was a time when I could rattle it off - but sadly I get half way through now and then start to get the letters in the wrong order.)   They are good  on obscure Wedding Anniversaries and Chemical Elements too should you ever need one for a word game.   Its down-side is its size and weight.  Not kind on the arms, especially Shingled ones.

However back to my subject - for reasons of economy on my finger ends I shall henceforth refer to the folk in my title as straightforward 'fans'.

I have never been a fan of sport - I hated it at school.   As a Scholarship girl in a fee-paying school pre-1944 Education Act my parents could never afford either Tennis racket or Hockey stick so I had to spend one afternoon a week either playing Netball or Rounders (both words make me shudder to this day).  My worst memory is of the Netball day when for some unknown reason (I was tall for my age) I managed to get the netball through the net a lot of times and as a result was chosen for the team to play against another school.   At the match I never scored a single goal and was dropped afterwards.

My Dad was a footie fan - ran the village football team for years, went to the Cup Final every year (so many tickets allocated to village teams) until one year - he was in his early sixties by this time - he got carried along by the crowd - both feet off the ground!  He never dared to go after that.

One of my carers is a Leeds United Fan, another is a Horse racing fan and a third follows Darts.

But last evening I watched the cricket and boy was it exciting.  Usually I think of it as a rather sedate, gentle game.   But last evening, right until the very last ball, it was breath-taking.   Either team could have won, both teams gave it their all and when the Aussies finally won the whole crowd erupted regardless of which side they supported.

I think I might get to be an aficionado of cricket.   One thing is for certain - I would rather have been watching it than living in Edgbaston last evening - or indeed anywhere in the Birmingham area - the noise of the watching thousands would have raised a few roofs.   Anybody wanting a quiet evening in the garden would have been disappointed.



Tuesday 20 June 2023

Proper rain

I honestly can't remember when we last had 'proper' rain.   We have had plenty of black skies resulting in about a dozen heavy drops; we have had plenty of drizzle;  but this morning the sky promised rain at seven and by eight it was good, old-fashioned 'downpour' rain without being heavy enough to batter.   And not a puff of wind.   The 'imaginary' sound of light, flowery singing from my back garden was beautiful and in harmonic duet with the garden birds (still no robin).

Now, at three o'clock bits of blue are showing above, the clouds are drifting Northward and there is that clean, 'after rain' smell in the air. A perfect English Summer's Day.   I do hope it stopped at Edgbaston soon enough to allow the first Test Match to conclude.

I have only been vertical for a couple of hours.   I have had a string of very bad nights with heat causing my shingles 'scars' to be sore and my right leg being uncomfortable (I think I have somehow pulled a muscle).    I got up, washed and dressed with my Carer's help at seven and sat in the chair to read The Times but I couldn't keep awake.  After half an hour of 'nodding off' I went back under the duvet and woke up just after 1pm feeling very disorientated but got up and had lunch.   Since then I have done one or two tidying jobs and read your posts.   In another hour W, another carer, will be here to ready me for bed - a short day but I shall stay up until ten.

What a sad story about the submarine down looking for/at the wreck of the Titanic - they hadn't found it by the one o'clock news and time is fast running out.  The remaining oxygen supply is fast running out.   The Atlantic is a big place.

W, my carer with Bengal cats. is missing a cat and I rather think she has taken up semi-residence in my garden.   A stripey she-cat was on the patio wall most of the day yesterday and I watched her eating something she had - presumably- caught although whether fur or feather I was too far away to see.   Her owner is tonight's carer so I am hoping both call at the same time.

The day after tomorrow would have been my farmer's eightieth birthday - wish he was here to celebrate it.   I shall be thinking of him and all the happy times we had together.

See you tomorrow. 

Sunday 18 June 2023

Let it rain...

 To mis-quote - 'Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain'.  I am sure all gardeners among my readers will agree - a quick, sharp shower does more good in the garden than all the hose-pipe (pre ban) waterings.   I think it is something to do with the humidity in the atmosphere - the leaves stand ready with their mouths open at the first sign of humidity in the air don't they?   To pull up the blind early this morning (4am before going to make a cuppa - couldn't sleep- post shingles and humidity don't mix well) and see a very unfamiliar line of drops on the washing line was a joyful surprise.   A hazy sun is out now and my carer tells me her phone shows a 90% chance of heavy, thundery showers by tea time.   (the wonders of modern living - all I have is an old-fashioned push button affair that tells me nothing - or if it does I have no idea how to find it.)   But my barometer is on the wall by the front door and each evening I twiddle the silver 'wand' to match its counterpart and rely on what they  tell me.  All of you in the 'Eastern Counties' will hopefully be jumping for joy in the next few days.

It is now 4.30pm and the sky is clouding over and a slight breeze has erupted out of nowhere.   Friends T and S have been and have sorted my central heating out between them and all radiators are now cold.   (a sure sign that this is the end of the heat wave and I shall need the heating again.

I have been utterly useless when a problem like my heating this week occurs.   Between them they had it all sorted and reset within half an hour then off they went 'a-beeing'.   I sorted out my drugs order, made up my next week's daily dosage and tidied all away.  I have been considering buying myself a wire sculpture of a curlew - a bird I love and a poignant reminder of my life on the farm with my dear farmer.   On one side of my hearth I have a bronze of a hare (my favourite animal) and I thought what a nice 'partner' a wire curlew would be on the other side.   Then earlier today I caught sight of my wooden Oyster Catcher, so I have lifted him from the top of the book shelves and put him on the hearth and I must say he makes a perfect partner for my hare.

I shall now go and put my feet up and have a cup of tea and see how the cricket has fared.   See you all tomorrow and try hard to have something a bit more 'meaty' to say.

Saturday 17 June 2023

A very short chat today

 Only a very short chat today.   I watched Trooping the Colour this morning, as I always do every year.  What a wonderful spectacle it was, as usual.   I love those massed bands, I love the timing and the precision - literally to the minute throughout- I love the horses.   They are such beautiful specimens, so well cared for and so well trained - as were the riders for hardly a foot wrong from those wonderful beasts.  I smiled when the King's Horse shook its head and looked as though it might 'play up'.  The King, who had one hand on the reins and one (his right - ready for saluting) by his side.  He raised his other hand to the reins, checked the horse as he rode and when it obeyed he leaned forward and patted it on the neck.   The sign of a well-practised rider. Interesting when Huw Edwards commented that the late Queen stopped  riding at the Ceremony when she was 60 and the King took to the saddle in his 75th year - and took to it with aplomb!

Oh and weren't those big drum horses magnificent?

Friday 16 June 2023

A Country Girl

As the saying goes (or something like) 'You can take the 'girl' out of the country but you can't take the country out of the 'girl'.

For a large part of my life I have travelled widely, enjoyed every minute of it and now have many, many happy memories of the places I have been and the people I have met.   Now I am 'past it' as they say and memories are important. 

I have recently read 'Why Women Grow' by Alice Vincent (who is a columnist for  The Guardian and Gardens Illustrated).   The book is subtitled 'Stories of Soil, Sisterhood and Survival' and is a fascinating collection  which as Katherine May says 'shows the beauty and grit of tending the soil in difficult times'.

It set my mind working = sometimes these days it needs a bit of a push to get going.  'Survival' is a word easily applied to the elderly.   Slowing down and not being able to walk much means one has to have something to occupy one's mind.   And what occupies my mind a lot of the time - apart from family and friends - is the countryside and plants.

I have my garden and D, my gardener, who is here in the garden as I write this.  I can't tell you just how much pleasure I get from watching yet another self-sown flower pop up.

But it struck me last evening as I sat looking out on the piece of waste ground opposite my window.   The whole of life is there from birth to death and beyond.  There are two hawthorn trees - I have watched the leaves come out on trees which were just a bit of hedge when I came but are now two youthful trees - this year giving a fantastic show (and scent) of May blossom.   There are half a dozen young Ash trees;  cut down every two years they are really Ash Shrubs and at present just a clump of eight or so 'smallish' bushes.   The rest is grass - all kinds - just seeding and waving beautifully in the slight breeze.   There are several large clumps of daffodils in Spring and along the edge a large patch of wild geranium in full, deep pink flower at present. And standing guard at  the bottom is a tall, graceful Silver Birch tree and two hazels which shivered with catkins earlier in the year and in the Autumn will drop plenty of hazelnuts.

I have just chatted to D out of the computer room window and we plan - in the Autumn when the grass on the plot has been strimmed - to throw a few handfuls of foxglove seeds (my garden is full of self sown foxglove flowers at present)  willy nilly into the mixture.   If I am here next year that is another thing to look forward to.

For like us all there is birth, childhood, youth, middle age, elderly and dying going on in that plot.  And the only thing likely to last longer than us humans (who have no right to think ourselves more important) are the trees - for they will be here long after all of us are gone.

Thursday 15 June 2023

Trying out 'the button.'

 I wear a 'Lifeline' button on a string round my neck and I know it gives both family and friends assurance that I am well looked after.

Yesterday - in spite of the heat- I seemed to have plenty of energy.  That is always a time when I have to watch my step as it is easy get careless in such circumstances and one false step and I am down like the proverbial 'ton of bricks' but I did too much in my enthusiasm and when I got into bed (after watching a very poor episode of 'Sewing Bee' = I shall watch one more week and if it doesn't improve I shall stop watching.   I have always enjoyed it so much but being given a pile of crocheted blankets to create an outfit is not my idea of fun) . I had over-active muscles in my swollen  right leg and every couple of minutes or so the spasm pulled my knee up.   After coping for a couple of hours I began to get anxious so I pressed my Lifeline button.   After listening to my tale of woe the Lifeline lady said she would put me on to the doctor on duty and it could be anything up to a two hour wait.   I found sitting up in my chair much more comfortable.

In the event it was only  ten minutes before the doctor rang and we discused symptoms and he assured me that none of the symptoms I described suggested a stroke (my fear) and he thought if they didn't go away I should ask to see a Physiotherapist.  I returned to bed and it took me another two hours to settle.

So today I am weary and ready for bed (at 7pm!).  My evening carer W has just gone - so just a short post - I will be back again in the morning bright eyed and bushy-tailed.

Wednesday 14 June 2023

This and (hopefully) that!

In other words can't think of a topic today.   Pure unbroken blue sky, hot but helped by a sharpish wind blowing from the East which cools us down nicely.

My phone gave up the ghost so I ordered another one on line.   It has just come; trussed up like the crown jewels on the move - so much packaging and all sealed with a very strong glue.   To stop pilferers I guess but if they had struck they would have been disappointed to find that all they had in the box was what my son calls 'a very old non smart push-button affair' - cost under £40 but suits my needs perfectly. The blurb on the notes about putting in my old Sim card is too complicated for me so I shall wait for my son to call.

'Gloire de Vivre' - my sole rose - has burst into life today with eight perfect blooms - sadly in full sun so I had better make the most of them - they will be gone in a day if this sun keeps on (still the same would be true if it poured with rain so I suppose c'est la vie.)

The cut on my leg progresses well.   A Nursing Sister came - charming lady.   She was equipped with a lap top and spent half an hour building up a profile of me to put on the Data Base - weighed me, measured my height, discussed and noted things like my 'Do Not Resuscitate' card and where I kept my yellow envelope.   She put a dressing on the 'wound' (even to call it that is somewhat of an exaggeration) and is coming again on Friday.  By then she expects it to be healed.   From now on a nurse will call each Friday to keep an eye on me.

I have two Hydrangea 'Cloud Nine' coming today (I hope) - one for me and one for friends S and T - a thank you for a lovely day out last week and a reminder of a small tree we spotted which we think might be at least a relation.   I do hope they arrive today because transit in this weather can't be good for plants.   As I typed this there was a sharp rap on the front door but by the time I got there the delivery man had departed and the box holding the said plants was on the step.   They were, as always with Thompson and Morgan, well - packed but they were warm (but damp) so I spent time unpacking them and they now sit in the garage in the shade and out of the quite strong wind - tiny little shrubs but they look sturdy enough.   Now to send S an e mail to ask her to pop round and take one home.

Well, for me at least, a busy day with lots of moving about rather then sitting; I shall make myself a cup of tea and put my feet up for an hour until W, tonight's carer. comes.

See you tomorrow.   Sleep well if you can in this hot, sticky weather. 

Tuesday 13 June 2023

Monday night/Tuesday morning drama.

Good neighbours.   Be thankful for good neighbours I say.

Yesterday was unbearably hot here especially for those of us who are more or less housebound and 'knocking on a bit'.   My wound on my shin was still leaking badly so I had my leg up on a stool and all day had to keep dabbing the wound gently with a tissue to avoid the liquid falling on the carpet.   By tea time I was hot, frustrated and frankly 'ready for bed'.   Hot weather and me do not go together.

By 5.30pm I had  locked up, drawn the sitting room and kitchen blinds, made myself a cup of tea and retired to the bedroom.   I undressed (right down to my birthday suit), piled up the pillows, propped up my bad leg with a pillow and the obligatory towel and climbed in with my book.   The window was wide open and overlooking the garden there was no traffic noise and I settled down to a good read.

By ten o'clock I was restless, so I got up and wandered round, made myself a drink, took my final drugs for the day and prepared my bed for the night.   Could I get to sleep?  No.

I tossed and turned, each time having to readjust the leg-pillow and towel.   Finally, in desperation I got up,  wandered into the sitting room, switched on 231 and watched the World News.   I kept dozing off and waking up.   At 1am I went to bed, turning off the lights as I went.  I decided it would be sensible to 'have a wee' before settling down, so (still in my birthday suit) I sat on the Commode (which rests by the side of my bed.  Then, being too lazy to get up I reached for my book and sat there -beautifully cool.   Suddenly I heard a noise.   Looking up from my book, my son was standing in the doorway!!  (he made no comment at all on my state of undress)

A neighbour and friend J had noticed as she turned her TV off that there were lights on all over my bungalow and wondered if I was alright.   She wanted to ring my son and tell him (he only lives a mile away) but she didn't have his number, so in spite of the late hour - maybe 1am - she rang friends S and T to ask them for it.   Then she rang my son and said she was worried about me.   He got up and came round!

Isn't it good to have such supportive friends and neighbours?  Now, in the daylight, it is all rather amusing but darkness always puts a different slant on things doesn' it?

Sunday 11 June 2023

Which regime???

 I had a very minor accident yesterday lunch time.   I closed the door of the fridge and left my leg in the way.   Pulling up   my trouser leg to look if it had broken the skin on my ankle I found that not only had it broken the skin, it had shaved the top layer of skin off, leaving a small triangular 'wound'.  In ordinary circumstances just a nuisance and best ignored (I'm sure you have all done something similar once or twice- I certainly have).  But these days I don't deal in the 'ordinary'.   Boy was it bleeding - puthering out - straight down into my shoe.

There were tissues on my walking trolley,  I grabbed one and pressed on the wound hoping to stem the bleeding but as I take Clopidogrel to thin my blood it wasn't programmed to stop 'just like that'.

Picure the scene - me poised mid-kitchen, holding on to trolley with one hand while the other hand was (hopefully) stemming the blood.   I can't walk without both hands on the trolley.

I eventually struggled to a kitchen chair and sat down, lifting the offending leg on to a nearby kitchen chair.   I could have pressed my Lifeline button but didn't feel it was fair to ask the person on duty to drive from Northallerton for such a stupid reason.

Eventually the bleeding stopped, to be replaced by a watery, colourless discharge which I should know by name but have forgotten.

My son came round, equipped with a smart first aid zip-up bag, sprayed it with Melolin and put on a loose dressing so that it was covered but the air could still get at it.  (I am a great believer in fresh air being the best cure for such things.)

I spent the rest of the day with my leg up so couldn't do my daily walk aimed at getting my mobility improved. I slept with that leg out of  bed on top of the duvet  and laying on a towel (long before this the dressing had fallen off soaked through by said 'colourlessliquid'.)

It doesn't hurt and looks fine this morning but when I walk 'colourless liquid' flows freely so leg up again(it stops then).

This may sound like  a 'storm in a teacup' but old ladies (yes I am old even if I feel 30 inside)  and men too, easily get leg ulcers - and that is a road I am now trying hard to make a road not taken.

Onward and upward I say.   The computer room window is open, the blackbirds are singing, the garden is shouting out ' we are thirsty' but no thunder clouds in sight so far.  And 'Gloire de Vivre' - my only rose, is covered in buds about to burst into bloom.   So all's right in this part of the world at any rate.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday 10 June 2023

Sunny, warm Saturday.

 Not a day for serious thinking - one of those rare sunny, warm but not too hot, blissful days when it is just built for 'lolling about'.  Unfortunately my skeletal layout no longer lends itself to lolling.   Those loungers on most peoples patios, just meant for days like this, are absent from my garage (in Winter) patio (in Summer).   I suppose I could with great difficulty get down on to one but I know for certain I could not get upright again without falling in the process.   The ground is desperate for water.   Most farmers have completed first (and best) cut silage but now the fields are turning brown so second cut looks  a long way off.

The patch of ground opposite my bungalow is a sea of grass which has gone to seed.   Only then can I see that all kinds of grass are mixed together.   If I was a bit more agile I would walk across and cut a bundle so that I could see exactly what was there,   As it is I just love to see it waving gently in the slight breeze. And thinking about grass, does anyone remember a quite short, slender grass which had separate tiny seed heads?   We used to hunt for it as kids - we called it 'tottering Johnnie' - I haven't seen any for years.   Any ideas?

The slim black cat who prowls the area is spending a lot of time wandering up and down alongside the grass.   Every now and then she stops and peers into it and I wonder what she can hear.   Some small creature rustling around I guess and I want to be able to speak 'mouse' or whatever to warn it not to come near enough to the edge for her to pounce.   I dare say to her, standing stock still on the path and watching is like us facing a tall forest.

At least a tall forest here would hold nothing dangerous - unlike some of the National Parks in Canada and the US where BEWARE OF BEARS is real and on the occasions  when I have been in such a situation has certainly deterred me from putting a foot forward!

And speaking of forests there is an amazing story this morning of four children aged something like 1, 4, 11 and 13 - the only survivors of a plane crash in which their mother and 2 pilots were killed - who have been found alive deep in a forest (I think in South America somewhere) after a month of searching.  I think  they belong to an indigenous tribe from the area, which may have helped as such folk often have a fund of knowledge about what can be eaten from the vegetation in the surrounding area. Quite miraculous.

Lunch calls (Prawn salad).   Sorry to have rambled on so and said really nothing.   See you tomorrow when, hopefully, something worth saying will have arrived in my brain cells.

Friday 9 June 2023

Are You Superstitious?

 Or have superstitions 'died out'?   So many existed when I was a child - if you spilt salt you must take a pinch from the salt pot with your right hand and throw it over your left shoulder; see a pin and pick it  up , all your days you'll have good luck, see a pin and let it lie, someone close is sure to die; if you drop a glove never pick it up yourself,, always ask someone else to do it for you; if you forget to say 'rabbits' on the first morning of the month, say 'white rabbits and turn round three times!

Yes they sound really daft in these days when AI is upon us but my mother stuck to all those - I suppose I did as a child but once I reached teenage years I realised just how ridiculous they were.

I do remember neighbours sitting under the stairs during thunderstorms - my mother would have liked to but my father ridiculed it and would not allow it - in fact he loved them and would stand with the back door open watching the lightning and the heavy rain - and reassuring my mother that thunder was just the delayed noise of the lightning as light travels faster than sound.

Remember the (now 'old fashioned' but if you wait long enough they will become high fashion again)bowls which folk hung from the ceiling to cloak the light bulb?   We had one in the dining room and one winter's evening when my Aunt Kate was staying we had the light on and as we ate a cloaked hooded black figure went round the room.  I was only small and caught their horror so we all three sat there mesmerised until my father came in and pointed out it was a fly walking round the inside of the light bowl!

Oh how times have changed and how blase we have become about such things.   But will there be things we do which future generations find hilarious and pooh-pooh?   I'm sure there will.

Looking through the book my niece sent me I find many which can be laughed at: July 1677 ' Beware of violent heat; and sudden cold, which are the great Distempers of this month and produce Pestilential Diseases; and June 1677 'use a light and thin diet for the stomach is weaker now than in former months'.**

**British Merlin 1677

Thursday 8 June 2023

One lovely day

 What a lovely day I have had today.   I knew I was going out to lunch and that friends T and S were collecting me at 12 noon.   I was ready with Priscilla at the bottom of the drive as T drove up in his car and soon we were off and away to the village of Carperby again - as last month - for a lovely lunch in the Village Hall - this month it was quiche with green beans, new potatoes, broccoli followed by a meringue with strawberries and cream and chocolate sauce.   Coffee to finish off with - lovely meal, lovely table companions with plenty of chat.   This is the last lunch meeting until September - but that will be here before we know it.

But then rather  than coming straight  home - and I am sure knowing how much I miss the countryside although I am happy in my bungalow. they took me through many of the villages I had not been through for seven years at least.   What a joyous ride it was; all the trees in full leaf - horse chestnut trees some with white 'candles' and one at least with 'red' -May blossom just beginning to fade - lambs beginning to lose their babyhood and put on weight, milk cows out in the fields between milkings.  And, as we neared the village of Hornby which all seems to be built in a rosy-coloured brick/stone we came upon fields full of deer, all part of the farm attached to Hornby Castle.   The castle has been there since the late thirteenth century but much of it has been demolished and only a very small amount remains (one doorway is part of the Burrell Collection housed in Glasgow).   We turned in the gates (it is a private residence but T and S keep their bee hives there and they thought I would like to see where they were.   Indeed I would as we drove deeper and deeper down grassy tracks into woodland peppered with blackbirds and squirrels (grey) and with lovely trees one of which I think S had correctly identified as a Hydrangea (I searched when I got home) which one normally associates with being a shrub.   This was a small, low-growing tree.

We came home by a different route passing our old farm - quite sad it being the first time I have been past since I left almost six years ago, but I felt no sense of wanting to return - my farmer is no longer there.

I'm home again now and waiting for my night-time carer, W, to arrive, chat, help me into night clothes and dressing gown and get me two honey and butter-filled crumpets (honey from the bees whose hives I had just been to visit and only 'taken off' last week.)

Tired but replete and happy to have such wonderful friends.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday 7 June 2023


 How lucky we are to have our little blogging community - many of you, like me, live alone - but never lonely.   Only to switch on my computer to be greeted by a group of dear friends.   We share each others highs and lows - John's Scotch eggs, dogs and new life awaiting him, Cro's stonking cold (and Lady M's too), Si's wander through fields of orchids and buttercups.   I look out of the window - still enveloped here in the East in heavy cloud which the Weather ladies say 'should' waft back to the North Sea but it doesn't always.   Monday it disappeared and we had a glorious sunny day, yesterday heavy cloud all day and chilly with it.   Grey today with a sharp Easterly breeze.   So sunbathe to your heart's content you lot over in the West but spare us a thought under our shawls.

My Shingles are taking their time to leave but they have abated enough to allow my carer to give me a gentle shower today and I feel much better for it.  And now to see she has left me a beautiful salad for lunch just adds to the pleasure.   Out to lunch tomorrow with friends S and T brings about a debate on what to wear with my carer (she is in charge of my wardrobe and I have to say she keeps it in much better order than I ever did).  

The big dilemma is (chaps look away now) shingles and bras don't go together - (at least not where I have got them)  and as I have said before - I admit to being vain - I go out rarely and like to look my best when I do get the opportunity to venture forth.  No changing from a to b to c in front of the mirror.  I decide, my carer gets the items from my wardrobe (all colour-coded and woe betide anyone who dares to put anything in the wrong place) and that's it.  So we shall see what emerges.

Incidentally the same applies to my airing cupboard.   All towels are stacked taking in mind size and colour.  Nobody but nobody puts the towels away when they emerge from the tumble drier but my carer.   As my cleaner says when she comes once a month to 'go through' as she says, when she comes in to start everywhere looks immaculate ( the Vacuum cleaner tells a completely different story when she finishes.   Wherever does it all come from?)

Well I couldn't think what to write about today so sorry if I have rambled on but give a ninety year old a bit of slack - there will always be the odd day  when things go pear-shaped.

Tuesday 6 June 2023

Old Days

My niece has sent me a book: 'One Woman's Year' by Stella Martin Currey.   First published in 1953 - it is a fascinating collection of country bits and bobs - a blog generator on every page!   I sat 'half-reading' it over my Weetabix and strawberries (first English ones and sweet) this morning.   Two words leapt out of the page at me - 'Friar's Balsam' and I was away down memory lane.

July 5th 1948 -Aneurin Bevan MP and the very beginning of the National Health Service.   Good old 'Nye' - in Northallerton there used to be a road on what was then a 'new' estate called after him - Aneurin Bevan Way - now changed to something a bit more flowery - can't remember what.   But I can still see Nye -  Welsh of course with a name like that - smiling face, big tummy, Labour of course.

I was 16 and remember it well; now it would be a pretty pointless name I suppose - there would only be a sprinkling of folk on the estate who would know who he was.   In those days - so soon after the ending of the Second World War, when Churchill's Government of the war years had been swept away and a good old fiery lot of 'real' men and women, fervent, good at the old chat and so well known to everyone launched into power with such high hopes for the country.   We all thought it was the beginning of a New World Order.

The fervency has slipped away now (is there such a word?) but the poor old NHS lives on, staggering from pillar to post enduring strikes, shortage of trained doctors and nurses, always a long list of complaints from folk, ageing population - I won't go on.   But I remember the pre NHS days - I remember them with a great deal of nostalgia - but then I wasn't in charge of a household and its finances.

Dr. Harrison was our doctor and 'looked after' two villages in Lincolnshire - Washingborough and Heighington.   You either had an Insurance Policy or you paid him per visit (I think).    I never gave that side of it a thought.   But I knew him well.   He lived in Heighington in a lovely house with a super garden, on the side of the beck which ran past the Mill and on through the village.   So he must have got paid for his services although I never saw money change hands so I don't know how it worked.   I do know everyone adored him and I can't imagine him not treating anyone who had no money to pay.   And I do remember his fairly frequent visits to me because I had troublesome tonsils!

He wasn't the first port of call when one of my frequent sore throats erupted.   Oh dear me no.   The first port was the cupboard at the side of the fire and the Friar's Balsam bottle.

Minor attack - five drops of the balsam on a spoonful of sugar - 'open your mouth' - down it went - nasty, horrible taste.   If that didn't do the trick - and it often didn't (I finally had my tonsils removed when I was 21) then it was inhaling time.  I remember it well (and with a shudder).   Currey puts it better than I can once my mother had put the balsam in the enamel bowl, poured over the very hot water, she bent my head over the bowl and made a tent over me and the bowl with a towel: 'breathe in hard, pull the steam in, shut your mouth, breathe out like a horse.   Do it four times and then rest'.   Oh yes - the  old routine.

If that failed call in Dr Harrison who usually proclaimed that I had 'Quinsies' (don't ask - its too disgusting).

Yes, like all families in those far off days we had the old remedies - always tried first.   Anyone remember Glauber's Salts (good for the bowels)?  My father drank a cup of the salts in hot water every Friday morning before breakfast - a ritual.   I had a sip once -ugh!- I never answered anything but 'alright' to my mother's weekly question 'How are your bowels?' after that.   Constipation was preferable to Glaubers thank you very much.

For lesser tummy complaints it was Andrew's Liver Salts or -failing that- Epsom Salts.   The old Scott's emulsion on a desertspoon once a week kept one healthy(?).

How on earth did we survive without anti-biotics (remember the old M and B tablets?).   Stewed rhubarb and custard was often on the menu - there was plenty of rhubarb in everybodies garden.   Best 'clearer outer' of anything in those far off days.



Monday 5 June 2023


Glorious sunny morning - a group of smiling pansy faces (well they are a bit like faces aren't they?) greet me when I look out of the window from my computer - what a difference the sun makes.   Maybe we like it even more because we don't see it every day; I guess it could be very wearing if one lived in the Tropics.

I have just read in The Times about a couple of 'famous actors' and it has sent my mind scooting off at a tangent.   What exactly constitutes 'famous' these days?   On TV we get 'Celebrity antiques Road Trip', 'Celebrity Mastermind' and the like.   I don't watch all that much TV and I no longer go to the cinema (can't negotiate steps and in any case I have no longer anyone to hold hands with when the lights go down).   But one thing is for sure - I rarely, if ever, 'know' the Celebrities involved in these programmes.  Is it just me?

So - back to these two 'famous' folk.   They were caught in the park somewhere in London walking with Mr Kitty (their rescue cat) - he was sitting in a 'giant pet papoose' strapped to the chest of one of the pair.   He appeared to be enjoying looking out of an 'astronaut's observation bubble'.

This triggered off a memory that sometimes a lady with two Dachshunds walks past with one of the dogs sitting in a pram.   The lady looks to be a walker (stands up straight, long strides, head held high etc.) and the breed have very short legs.   So it begs the questions a) two identical dogs - is it always the same dog in the pram - or do they alternate to give their little legs a rest?  Or b) is one of them an invalid?

And this triggers off a thought about what makes one be seen as 'eccentric'?   For twelve hours or so my old, no longer any use, armchair sat at the bottom of my drive waiting to be picked up by the Council for disposal.   A friend who called the next day told me her husband drove past and saw it and presumed I had had it put there so that I could sit in it and chat to passers by.   Really??   Po-faced me, sitting at the roadside waiting for someone to stop and chat?   Me in an old armchair??  No way - not until I reach my dotage and then they would have to engage wild horses to get me down the drive.


Saturday 3 June 2023

Is it worth it?

Is it indeed?

I have neither the ability or the wish to be in the public eye - marriage, motherhood, friendships, hobbies and now what at ninety I can only call Super-retirement have suited me fine.   But watching Phillip Schofield being 'hauled over the coals', seeing his demeanour and his face in the few clips which were put on the News over the last couple of days has made me think a lot about things.   Sitting in the sun, unable to be active, leaves me with plenty of time to think and, I can tell you, I have been thinking.   That tortured face left me feeling 'drained'.

Has 'ordinary' life always been like this?   I suppose it has.   Are we 'above' animals?   We certainly think we are.   But sex has always 'reared its ugly head'.   There have always been what we will call 'indiscretions'. 

At one end of the scale is what I will call 'Physical Attraction'.  For the unattached then this is, of course, the beginning of a relationship.   But once in a loving relationship that doesn't mean that one never again meets/comes across other people to whom one could become attracted.  And that feeling can often be mutual.   But the 'loyal' personal even if they recognise the fact,  doesn't follow it up. 

"We aren't animals, we don't let our instincts take over"!  Or something like that.

But who are we to judge?    There always have been what I will call 'Broom cupboard incidents', the looks, the touching inappropriately, the things one regrets instantly.

But if one is in the public eye then the slightest thing becomes instantly public knowledge.   Now we read of remote controlled sex toys in  Parliament (really?), of indiscriminate sex - often regretted instantly -. 

It is easy to stop reading about all these indiscretions, easy to push the off switch on the TV remote control.

With our politicians do we expect them to be 'whiter than white'?   With public figures in Show Business do we expect them all (folk dressed to kill, made up to the nines, often in situations where they are almost expected to advertise their availability) to be innocent?

I am not speaking here of the Jimmy Savilles, the Rolf Harrises and the like.   I am speaking of Law Abiding citizens who pay their taxes.

Can any of us, hand on heart, say there have not been some situations in our lives when temptation has been put our way?  Some of us can say we did not carry it through, other may have done but regretted it.   That doesn't matter - it is personal choice.   What does matter that - providing the law is not broken - should it become public knowledge?

I am not arguing for or against.   And, frankly, I just do not care how many children Boris Johnson has fathered.   But what |I do care about is the public 'hounding' of individuals in the public eye just for the sake of a 'good story'.

Anyone breaking the law deserves investigation whoever they are - and punishment where any offence is proven.   But seeing Phillip Schofield's face and demeanour in that TV interview just made me think, probably selfishly, 'thank God he is not my son' - because I fear for him frankly.


Thursday 1 June 2023


Funny word isn't it when you think about it?  I can't help thinking of getting on your bike again and going for a ride! (I see folk riding past on their bikes and think if I got on one now I would just wobble across the road and fall off (hopefully on to the grass verge not the kerb).   Anyway - to the more serious stuff and away from frivolity.

I have a new chair.   It looks very smart and matches my other furniture beautifully and - more importantly - it is comfortable and has been specially made with my disabilities in mind.  I have fallen in love with it. (might even give it a name - any ideas?) 

It cost £1,400.   The reason I am telling you this is because of what comes next.

Most towns and a lot of country lanes and bits of spare land have become 'tips'.   I don't get around in my car any more but I don't expect things have changed since my driving days.  Near to the farm was a sort of lay-bye come lane - gated and full of wild flowers and long grass.  In the far corner was an old - very old - caravan and in the caravan lived a man;  in the old days he would have been called a 'tramp' I suppose.   He had an even older bike and once a week he would cycle into town (about a mile) get his pension from the post office, do his food shopping and then push his bike, now laden with carrier bags, back home.  A couple of the bags would be full of beer cans and the rest food.  For drinking water he used the tap in our calf house.   He had always used it.   I don't know whether he had ever asked permission - he just used it - never spoke just came with a bucket, filled it and went again.   The farmer never stopped him.

Where did his rubbish go - beer cans, bags, spare food that had 'gone off' ?  On to an existing pile in the corner of the lay by.  Over the years the pile got bigger and more smelly and occasionally (naturally) one would see the odd rat. )our farm cats frequented the area on a  daily basis as they roamed the fields for baby rabbits.   And occasionally a vehicle would stop and the driver would chuck something on to the pile.   In other words it became the local dump - well hidden by vegetation in Summer, open for all to see in Winter.

Eventually - after a year or two - the old man's health failed and Social Services moved him into hospital where he died.  The authorities arrived, cleared the rubbish away and burnt the caravan where it stood, completely cleared the site and disinfected it all.

So back to my chair.  Remember how much it cost me (excellent service, delivery and suchlike) - to take away my existing chair they wanted £70.   It was a good chair with a wooden frame but forty years old and worn out.   Had we still lived on the farm it would have gone on the bonfire.

I refused to pay £70 and after asking around I found our local council (was Richmondshire and is now North Yorkshire C.C.) would collect it for £51.   They are coming for it on Saturday. It has to be on the footpath at the bottom of my drive on Saturday morning by 6am and has to be suitably covered if it is raining as they won't collect anything which is wet.

I sent them a note telling them at 90 I couldn't get it down the drive but would leave it outside my garage where they could clearly see it.   If it is raining it will be just inside the garage and the door will be open. 

Hopefully it will disappear but it does beg the question - I wonder just how many such objects appear on tips in laybyes or chucked over the hedge into some field or some bit of waste ground.

Recycling is the eternal problem isn't it?  Even to simple things like crisp packets (do they go in the rubbish bin or do they go in the recycling box?)  I notice Kit Kat wrappers (Kit Kats are my weakness, along with Crisps - we all have weaknesses don't we?) can now be recycled.

I have an answer as far as these small things are concerned - I put it in the box in the kitchen for my carer to decide.