Sunday, 17 December 2017

Sunday

A lethargy descended upon me after my Spa day on Friday and it hasn#t altogether lifted yet.   After a large lunch at our usual place today, I have come home and am trying hard to type this without falling into a deep sleep.
 
I had to nip into town this morning as I have a very busy day tomorrow and was going to run out of mince pies (no I don't bake them this year).  It is my turn to host our Book Club in the morning (my cleaner is coming early - at 8.30am - so that she can be finished before they arrive at 10.15) and straight after lunch other friends are calling to see me and to look round the bungalow.   In the evening I intend to make my red cabbage dish for Boxing Day and when it is cooked and cooled I shall freeze it.

This may well be the last year I cater for a Boxing Day party.   I love to have them all but whether I can cope with them all remains to be seen.   Time will tell - certainly the freezer is bursting with food.   My main worry is that I have only used my electric fan oven once after twenty years of using an Aga.   It can't be that difficult can it?

Today we have all four friends been out to Sunday lunch as usual - and delicious as usual.   I had one of the starters as a Main Course - Salmon Goujons with sweet chilli sauce, served with chips and a good salad and I followed this with a delicious Christmas Pudding with brandy sauce.   Indulgent.
I came home, immediately took Tess round the block and now intend to sit quietly and relax.   Hope you are able to do the same.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Christmas Present.

My son and his wife took me into Richmond this morning to choose my Christmas present from them.   The last thing I needed to complete the move into my new bungalow was some curtains for the dining room patio doors.   The room faces due North so they needed to be thick, warm curtains.

We managed to find a pair to our joint liking.   Then we had lunch in a fine old pub in Finkle Street, just off the Market Square.   We all had sandwiches - me prawn sandwiches with chips and a nice salad, my daughter in law hot pork sandwiches with chips and salad and my son cheese and pickle with chips and a salad. 

On arrival home I made the coffee while my son took Tess into the fields (not out of the goodness of his heart to Tess but because he is rather averse to picking up dog poo.)  After the coffee son insisted upon fixing up the curtain pole and the curtains himself with no interference from us!  Now they are up and hanging in the hopes that all the creases will fall out by morning.  Then he also removed one of the light bulbs in my hall - they are recessed bulbs and not easy to remove and in any case I dare not climb up on anything to do this operation.

I took my camera so that I could take some photographs of Richmond to show you.   It is a beautiful old market town with a wealth of history.   But I am sorry to say that once there I completely forgot that I had my camera with me.   Another day perhaps.   Today there was a mass of Christmas shoppers so perhaps it was the wrong time anyway.

I am now going to sit down and watch the final of Strictly Come Dancing  - a good way to pass a Saturday evening.   Enjoy yours.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Sheer Indulgence.

Today friend W and I have been really indulgent and have had a Spa Day at Swinton Park, which is about ten miles from here.   It did strike me as I was typing this that it is something that would have been completely beyond the comprehension of my parents.

You can imagine that this has been a very stressful year for me and as the year has gone on my shoulders and rib cage have become more painful.  In fact the upper part of my body has been totally tensed up with stress.

We arrived at around quarter past ten.   This morning W swam in the heated pool while I dabbled my feet in the shallow end. (shoulders too painful for a swim).   Then we went into the steam room, the sauna, the jacuzzi, had a footbath - had a delicious two course lunch - and finally had a one hour massage.   By the end of it I was a limp rag I was so relaxed and was very grateful that I wasn't the one doing the driving.

I would certainly repeat the experience.   When I came out of the jacuzzi I decided to swim out - maybe only a dozen strokes but it is the first time I had swum in possibly thirty years and I could easily get used to it again.

Back to earth with a bump tomorrow with organising Christmas festivities.   The day itself will be spent with three friends, Boxing Day all my family will be coming here for a Buffet lunch and evening meal.  That means I have a lot of lists to make, so better get on with it.

 

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Things are beginning to draw to a close.

At long last - after nine months - it does look as though things are at last getting sorted out for me.   I shall be glad to return to some sort of normal and so begin to pick up the pieces.

Christmas will of course not feel like Christmas, but I shall make some sort of effort for the sake of my grandchildren (and three great grand children!).   The shops here in our little town are looking very Christmassy - and for those who asked for pictures of the shop windows - I haven't forgotten, just not had the chance yet.   Today I intended to do it when I went to the Hairdressers, but it was pouring with rain.

People on our estate are very kind.   I stepped out of my front door with Tess on the lead this morning just as a car stopped and a man wound down his car window and called to me not to walk as the footpaths were so very icy.  How kind of him.   We walked round the edge of my lawn instead - she did several wees and that was enough as she was later to go on her long PetPals walk.   They call and take her each Thursday and Friday which is a great help.    As a friend takes her most Wednesdays too I know that at least she gets three good walks a week.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Wednesday

Today was the day earmarked for Christmas Dinner at The Creamery in Hawes with friends P and D from Windermere.

Some years ago the cheese factory in Hawes in Upper Wensleydale threatened closure with the loss of quite a few jobs.   Luckily the Management saw its potential and there was a buy out.   Since then Hawes Creamery has gone from strength to strength and is known everywhere for the quality of its Wensleydale cheeses of various varieties.
There is now an efficient factory with tours each day, a shop, a cafe, a restaurant and all efficiently run.

The day started off well as we woke to find all the snow gone overnight and sunshine.   But as we set out it began to rain.   It is only half an hour to Hawes but it absolutely poured - the sort of rain which only falls in hilly areas - and by the time we reached The Creamery there was a huge amount of surface water on the road and the River Ure down in the valley was banking and threatening to overflow, which is does quite happily. 

Lunch was delicious - we all had a glass of wine with it - we all had a pud (well, I had cheese and biscuits) and then coffee.   By the time we left our fears were confirmed - the river was over and we had to come home by a circuitous route and at one point W had to negotiate quite deep flood water.   Luckily she has a four wheel drive vehicle and there was a similar one coming the other way which gave us an idea of how deep the water was before we set off through it.

Home to find that friend S had taken Tess on a lovely long walk (on a bitterly cold day too) which meant that I didn't have to brave the weather again.   Now all the blinds are drawn, the bungalow is warming up and we are settled in for the night.   Wherever you are and whatever you are doing - keep warm and enjoy your evening.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Snow

Here in Wensleydale, at 600+ feet, we have been very lucky this time and not had more than a faint covering of snow.   It has indeed been bitterly cold, but the sky has been blue and the sun has shone all day for the last few days.

There was a time, not recently of course, when I would have been overjoyed to see the snow and the thought of snowballing, building snowmen, sledging and the like.   Now I hardly dare venture out of doors for fear of falling over and breaking something.

But today I had to go out as I had quite a lot of business to attend to as well as meeting friends for the usual Tuesday morning coffee (and tea cake for me - self indulgent as I am today) and doing some shopping.   But by the time I reached the centre of town the paths had been cleared of our tiny amount of snow (barely a covering).

It is promised to get slightly warmer over the next few days before turning colder again at the weekend, although not as cold as it has been in some places further South.

I haven't forgotten about photographing the shop window in town.   Their decorations are superb, as usual.    You can imagine, I have absolutely no wish to decorate this year - this has not been my favourite year.   But for the sake of my great grandchildren, who are coming one day to lunch, I am making a bit of an effort and have made sure to have some little thing in each room.  I always get a lot of cards and they will also make the place look Christmassy, so all is not lost.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Let it snow.

This wintry weather - as always - has caught us all by surprise.   In my case the worst thing is how I am missing the warmth of my Aga - a warmth which heats the whole fabric of the house.   My central heating (gas) is very efficient but it is not the same.

We have been lucky in that we have missed all the snow here in North Yorkshire.  The nights have been bitterly cold and the days have been wall to wall bright sunshine and blue sky.   According to the weather forecast at teatime today the snow is disappearing and tomorrow (after a bitterly cold night) will be marginally warmer - even up to four degrees in some places.

Imagine my surprise then when I opened the door at the ring of the bell to find my little friend Liam on the doorstep and to see that he was covered in snow which was falling in large flakes around him.   Hopefully the snow looks like wet snow and may be the start of the slight thaw - I do hope so as on Wednesday friend W and I are set to meet our friends at the Creamery in Hawes - high up in Wensleydale - for a Christmas lunch.

Today Tess and I went back to the farm, had a short walk in the paddock (the ground was too hard for a long walk) and then called in at the farmhouse.   As we went towards the door, Blackie - the black farm cat - came rushing up to greet us and to rub around Tess in ecstasy.   It was lovely to see him again. 

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Christmas

As the day itself draws nearer I find it absolutely impossible to get any sort of Christmassy feeling about things.   I suppose, as it is only nine months since I lost my farmer, this is to be expected.   But I have no desire to put up decorations and make much in the way of prepation.
My family will all receive a present of money and friends have agreed to give presents a miss this year.    All my family will come as usual on Boxing Day and the big day itself I am spending with three other friends.
Menus are being planned so that much of the cooking can be done in advance.   Jacket potatoes and vegetables cooked on the day to add to various cold cuts of meat and a Christmas pudding - mince pies, cake and trifle for tea - not much to do then. 
We still have no snow here at all but the weather is bitterly cold.   My son came to take Tess for her morning walk today as it was icy and he has promised to do the same tomorrow.   By lunchtime today the roads and paths were dry so I was able to take her myself.
My great grand-daughter, Ula, is one year old today - so Happy Birthday little one.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Food,glorious food.

I took my camera into town this morning
intending to photograph the windows of 'Serendipity' the shop in our market town which has such lovely window decorations at Christmas.
Several readers have asked me to repeat this as they were so admired last year.   Dear readers - I forgot.   Sorry 

However, after visiting a very upmarket Craft Fair in the town we went out into the countryside on a beautifully sunny (but icily cold) day to find somewhere to lunch.   We ended up in The Castle Hotel in the pretty village of Snape.   There was a lovely fire burning in the grate, a friendly welcoming Border Terrier at the door and superb fish, chips and mushy peas to eat.   My only complaint is that now I have grossly overeaten. 
 
On arriving home it was to find that I had left  my walking stick there, so friend W went off home and I drove back with Tess to collect it.  Tess and the pub dog met for the usual bottom-sniffing session and then we drove home, this time round by the main road as the temperature was on freezing, so another cold night in store.

It has been a lovely day here - very cold but clear and sunny and the bare trees look so beautiful.   The only fly in the ointment was that we passed a pheasant shoot in full flow and it seemed so barbaric somehow that the beauty of the countryside should be bespoiled by such slaughter.

Another cold day forecast for tomorrow and then maybe snow on Sunday.   But then it is Winter.   Keep warm.
 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Cold.

The weather is set to turn cold as storms sweep in.
Scotland has been hit today with storms and winds of ninety miles an hour and the cold is promised to reach here tomorrow.   The one glimmer of hope is that it is supposed to be worse in the West of the Country than it is in the East and that is unusual at this time of the year. 

I am well-stocked up with food in my store cupboard and freezer - really there for Christmas.   But needs must and if necessary I shall stay indoors and raid supplies.      I do not care for driving on icy roads.

Today one of the Alzheimer's groups that we play ukulele songs with have held their Christmas lunch in nearby Richmond and friend W and I went along.  It was delightful and delicious.   We both had salmon with nicely cooked vegetables (we figured we would have our fill of turkey before Christmas was over) and then I had home made cheese cake and W had Christmas trifle.  Then we went back to W's for coffee.   In the meantime Tess went for her PetPals walk with her friend Jack, the Schnauzer.   By the time I returned she was fast asleep on her bed by the radiator. 

I see there is trouble in Jerusalem tonight - hardly surprising and surely anticipated by Donald Trump.   It is so sad as for quite a time all has been fairly quiet in that area and I began to think that perhaps folk were learning to live together.   But obviously it was not to be.

Also today there is joy in our area up here in the North East as the young men who have been wrongly imprisoned in India for the past two years have been freed and have returned home - what a lovely Christmas present for their families.