Thursday, 19 January 2017

Giving to Charity.

A few weeks ago Elizabeth (About New York on my side bar) knitted me two very pretty hats for my new great grand-daughter Ula.   All she asked for in payment was that I should give a donation to a charity which worked with children.

I put a post on about this and since then have really done some research into which charity to make a Direct Debit to.    I finally chose Medicins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders).
I have today received a letter from them thanking me and including a paragraph about one of their projects.   I thought you might like to read it:
"I would like to take this opportunity to send a message from my colleague, Dr Emily Wise, who has been working in our tuberculosis programme in Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan.   ""As a British Doctor working for MSF in the field, I have first hand experience of how your money helps to bring quality medical care to those afflicted by a humanitarian disaster and give back health and dignity to people who would otherwise be completely neglected or forgotten.   I have worked as a  medic in many different and challenging circumstances, at home and abroad, but I have never before felt so fulfilled by my work or seen how a small number of well-trained staff can have such a dramatic impact.   Without donations from people I and other doctors and nurses would not be here.   Our drugs would not be here.   Many of our patients would no longer be here.""

It is worth looking at their site if you feel like helping a worthwhile project as a New Year Resolution.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017


I read somewhere that a naturalist found fifteen wrens huddled together for warmth last winter in a nest box one night.

We are very lucky in that we have plenty of house sparrows here.   They are supposed to be less common than they were but that is certainly not true here where during the day our holly hedge makes a deafening sparrow noise.   We have noticed that when we sit in the sitting room and have our afternoon tea, outside the windows there is a constant stream of sparrows flying up in front of the window.   We have discovered where they are going - they spend their nights huddled together in the house martins' nests under the eaves.

Although it is less cold here and the fog has mostly gone, it is still winter.   And as a friend quite rightly pointed out this morning - February is often an awful month.   I am hoping that she is proved wrong and that at the very least our snowdrops will be out and we will be reminded that spring is only just around the corner.

Keep warm.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Answers please

Or guesses.   I have had two jugs of holly covered in bright red berries in the house since before Christmas;  they have given me great pleasure but now the leaves have begun to fall.

Although I know that the birds love holly berries but never seem to eat them once they have dropped them on the ground, I scattered the stalks of berried holly around the bird table and waited to see what happened.   Although we had twelve male blackbirds under (and on) the table, none of them seemed to approach the berried stalks.

When we went to bed all the berries were still there.  When I drew the curtains back this morning all the berries had been eaten.   My question is - what had eaten the berries overnight.   A possible guess I suppose is mice.   Any ideas?

Sunday, 15 January 2017

First smile.

I have just received this picture of my Great grand-daughter's first smile.  It is such a lovely picture that I just had to post it as today's post.  It has certainly brightened up what is a very dull, wet day here in the Yorkshire Dales.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Friday 13th.

Do I believe in such rubbish?   No of course not.   But - really it is rather scary when snow, very strong gale-force winds, very high tides, full moon all coincide on the same day.   One does have to push such thoughts out of one's mind.

We seem to have got off lightly here in the Yorkshire Dales - certainly here on the Eastern edge.   The wind was very strong first thing this morning, there was a covering of snow and the temperature was below freezing (just) but as the day has gone on the temperature rose to three degrees, the snow began to go and the wind dropped to breeze.

Going out on my usual Friday morning 'jaunt' - wrapped in so many layers that I could hardly move - was, as usual, a good experience.   This morning we had a change of venue because our usual hostelry is closed for two weeks for redecorating.   We went instead to Tennants, our local Auction House and friend W very kindly took me there and gave me a lift home afterwards so that the farmer could feed up and bed down without having to stop to make the journey.

That was the good news.   The bad news is that Tennants cafe does the most marvellous breakfasts!   Now I had had my usual banana and bowl of the farmer's porridge so certainly did not need anything to eat but as two of our group had a breakfast I just couldn't resist a bacon bap (delicious).   As a result all I have had since has been a small bowl of vegetables at lunch time when I served up the farmer's lunch and a bowl of home made leek and potato soup at tea time.  I must say that the soup was jolly good and so warming on what has been a bitterly cold day.

A change of subject - I see that Tristram Hunt has resigned as an M P in order to take over the top job at The Victoria and Albert Museum.   Well done that man.   My own view is that with Corbyn in charge of the Labour Party the chances of them
ever becoming a force to be reckoned with are very slim.  And if I were he and offered the absolute Plum Job in the field which was my passion, I would jump in with both feet.   So I support him wholeheartedly.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Winter in all its rage.

The first 'real' taste of winter that we have had for several years has hit the country hard over the past couple of days and large parts have seen quite a lot of snow.   So far it has missed us here in the Dales.

Because the farmer is not one hundred percent at the moment he has not ventured out in the bitterly cold weather any more than he has had to.   Once the wild birds are fed, the farm cats are fed, the pregnant cattle are silaged and bedded down, the sheep have been looked at (he kills two birds with one stone and walks Tess at the same time) and the logs for the wood burner have been brought in, he brings himself in for the rest of the day.

I have had a busy afternoon - hairdresser, shopping for groceries for the weekend, collecting prescriptions from the surgery and finally driving to my Physiotherapist for a forty minute session - I arrived home at tea time just about exhausted.   One the way home, coming through a village with a thirty mile an hour limit, I accelerated just before reaching the sign to tell me it was no longer necessary to stick to 30mph and had reached about 35mph before I noticed a speed Police vehicle on the side of the road.   So now I have a wait to see whether or not I get a speeding fine.   Then, just as I turned into our land I hit and killed a cock pheasant.   This is a first for me as I always try to avoid them.   Sadly the local landowner had had a shoot today (I had seen all the cars on my way to the Physio) so this poor pheasant had managed to escape the guns, only to be killed by me.   Not sure whether the speeding or the killing of the pheasant upset me the most.

Now we are snug and warm. the wood burner is chugging away and we are set to play Rummikub.
All the curtains are drawn so if it snows we will not know until we draw them back in the morning.

I am thinking of the poor folk down the East coast who are being warned about an exceptional high tide.   I vividly remember the time when the coast of Lincolnshire was flooded and I believe around three hundred people were drowned.   Much of the land is reclaimed land and is very low-lying.   I believe the year was around 1957.  Hope to goodness it doesn't happen again tonight.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017


The weather here is contrary today.   I have been out to lunch with friend D - before she came the wind howled (60mph), the sky blackened, the sleet fell and the rainbow, against a backdrop of black clouds, was incredibly beautiful.

We went all of three miles to our local Golf Club for a Taste Platter (chicken, salmon, camembert and mushrooms - all deep fried - with chips and salad and there - I presume because we were sheltered - there appeared to be no wind, the sun shone and there was absolutely no sign of rain or sleet.

Home again at half past three in the afternoon and the black clouds have rolled in again.   Snow showers are forecast for tomorrow, but the west is expected to get it first, so by the time it gets over the Pennines and to here then I do hope it has weakened somewhat.

When I was young I loved the snow.   Now I hate it - the biting cold, the wind, the slippery conditions - give me a warm, snug room and my comfy slippers on days like that.

Keep warm.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017


So, it looks as though Winter is about to appear in the guise of snow and gales.  And it is set to come in from the West rather than from Eastern Europe.

Here in the Dales of North Yorkshire we are just hoping that the Lakes and the West side of the country bears the brunt of the snow before it reaches here.   I am going out with a friend for lunch tomorrow.   As the farmer has a quite long appointment at the doctor's in the morning for various tests, friend D is collecting me in her car and we are lunching at Tennants (our local Auction House).

Last Winter it was never cold enough for my heavy Winter coat (- I have had it for thirty two years - cashmere, camel coloured and a trench coat style it has never gone out of fashion).  Tomorrow may well be the day when it emerges once more from the spare wardrobe.

Simon - Careering through Nature - has a photograph of two aconites on his post.   I have a patch in my front garden - no sign of them yet and with this snow coming I don't expect there will be.
But plenty of winter jasmine out on a South-facing wall.    With this cold weather forecast we need to cast about for signs, however small, that if winter comes can Spring be far behind.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Out to lunch.

A pretty usual occurrence you must be thinking, and you would be right.   We were both out on Friday (me with friend W and the farmer at the Auction Mart); but today is a lovely, sunny day and we thought we would just drive to Hawes, only fifteen miles, where friends keep a restaurant - The Pantry - and have a good roast dinner.   We have both been a bit low as the farmer has health issues, so we decided it would do us good.

Tomorrow the car goes in (to Northallerton, twenty three miles away) for its annual service.  As I write this the farmer is giving it a good clean inside and out.   He has to have an X Ray in the hospital in Northallerton, so while he is there he will do both jobs.   I am going with him for company, hence the washing is merrily whirling around in the machine as I write.

It amused me no end that people were shocked that I could use the word 'ass' or 'arse' - a good old English word I might add, which has gone out of favour as polite - probably in Victorian times I would guess, when people even put frills around piano legs.   In any case, I was merely giving you the name of a blog to visit - Gwil's alternative blog is called 'zen my ass' and his post yesterday about UFO's was certainly interesting and is well worth a visit.
Sorry if yesterday's post was a bit on the gloomy side (Tom told me to lighten up ) but I must admit that I did feel a bit gloomy.   The feeling has largely gone this morning - with this sunshine in January how could it stay.   I just popped into the sitting room to look out of the window to see if my Winter hellebores (Christmas roses) were out - no such luck.   That would have just been the icing on the cake.


Saturday, 7 January 2017


I wonder why we all feel the need to predict what is likely to happen during 2017?   Twice this week I heard "winter isn't over yet - there can be some really bad snow in February.   I remember in 1979..."   Well even the Met Office is not always spot on so really I don't see why we need to even try.   Let's wait and see.

Look at Last year and Predictions - Donald Trump and Brexit to name but two.   If we lived in Syria, Iraq, Yemen - or many other places - predictions would be far from the top of the list for worrying.  Being killed, getting enough to eat, would be much more important.   Just staying alive.

There will undoubtedly be more killings - who knows where - I have no doubt there will be earthquakes, volcano eruptions, tsunamis, Avian flu in this country (it has already arrived).   There will be other things we haven't even thought of - good and bad.   We just have to hope that the good outweigh the bad.

I for one will just not be predicting anything - wait and see is to be my motto for the year (if I am still alive at the end of it - at my age it doesn't do to look too far ahead.)

If you want to see a U F O then go to Gwil's site (zen my ass) - now there's something to put you off predicting what the year might hold.