Thursday, 16 February 2017

Thank you

Sincere thanks for your thoughts, prayer and good wishes.   They are helping tremendously.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Thank you.

I have just put on my computer for a moment and I find almost ninety lots of wishes, prayers and positive thoughts from all of you around the world.   I just can't thank you enough - the power of blogland - and the knowledge that I have so many virtual friends is so comforting and touching.   Thank you all so much from us both.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

The Farmer

For those of you who know, I can't thank you enough for your thoughts and prayers - it does help.   For anyone who has not yet heard = the farmer has a brain tumour.   He has not been well for some weeks and was undergoing tests.   It has now been confirmed that he has a brain tumour.

He has been in James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, where they have looked after him wonderfully.   On Wednesday he came home, with masses of steroids, and we are both due to see the Specialist on Wednesday when we shall know more about what is happening.  

You can imagine we are both totally stunned by the news but are bearing up as well as we can.   I do sincerely thank you all for your group hugs, your thoughts and your prayers.   They are helping.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Coffee morning.

Our Church Coffee Mornings have started up again into the new year.   I am not a church-goer but I always go (the first Saturday in the month) because as I live out of the village it is a good way of seeing one or two friends I might otherwise not see.

There were a lot of villagers there this morning and the usual buzz of conversation - a lovely atmosphere altogether.   A thermos of coffee on each table and a plate of biscuits.   A raffle table, a card stall, a jig saw and book stall - and most delightful of all - a home-made food stall with cakes, pies, marmalades and jams - and delight of delights Ann's Turkey Lasagnes.   She always saves me two which I freeze.   They are delicious and come in handy if I go away for the day and have to leave the farmer his lunch.

 Today I gave friend J a lift home afterwards - she suffers with a bad knee and a bad back - always worse in sharp weather like it is today.   Yesterday when we came home from the market it was ten degrees, today when I arrived home from the coffee morning the dashboard showed a temperature of one degree above freezing.   Quite a change.

Clear skies  - and my goodness how much lighter it is suddenly in the morning and how light it is in the evening - the rooks are not coming home to bed until after five now.   As so many have said in blogland this week - Spring can't be far away now.

Thursday, 2 February 2017


I am in the process of having Gas Central Heating put into my cottage in the village.   At the moment it is Oil Central Heating (which we have here on the farm, along with an oil-fired Aga) but the boiler is not fully efficient so I decided to change over.   It will be more efficient and - I am assured - cheaper to run. 

The gas has already been brought to the house so now we are waiting for the inside work to be done.  This is scheduled for the week after next and I understand that the weather is scheduled to turn wintry that week - sod's law I suppose.   My son and daughter in law live there and as my daughter in law is in poor health I am quite worried.   Various friends have offered electric appliances and I too have an electric convector heater they can have, and they also have an open fire in the sitting room and an open staircase to upstairs from that room, so perhaps things will not be so very bad.

I was talking to a lady yesterday who does not have central heating - from choice.   She does not care for it being too warm.   Each downstairs room has a fire place and she takes a hot water bottle to bed.   This time of the year we have our heating on from 6am to 10am and from 4pm to 8pm.   In addition we have the Aga going all the time and a woodburner in the living room.   We still have an electric blanket which goes on an hour before we get there and if my feet turn cold in the night I have been known to switch it on for a few minutes then!

Are you a cold person or can you manage with less heat in the winter?   I am sure I have got worse as I have aged - perhaps my blood is thinner.

Although the temperature here (according to the car dashboard) today was nine degrees at lunch time, because it is dull and damp with a sharpish wind blowing, it seemed cold to me.  I suppose that proves that it is all in the mind.   A bit more leaping about would probably warm me up - but you can rest assured that my leaping about days are well and truly over (if they ever began).

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Keeping going.

Nothing like persevering when one feels like not doing something.   I have undergone two very bad night's sleep - in both cases mostly because of cramp in my feet.   And, as I am sure you all know, if you can't sleep then unwelcome thoughts which you hoped to forget while you were asleep, pop into the head to exacerbate the situation.

Today is my exercise class, which I know is very good for me, and I was determined to go.   To that end I went back to bed after tidying round after breakfast.   I awoke several times with foot cramp but did manage two hours, getting up again at half past ten for a shower and to get lunch.

The first half hour of our class is 'top half' of the body and brain exercises and these I found most helpful.   But the second half is done standing up and really, after ten minutes, I was just too tired to continue so I sat down and watched.   In one way it was good in that I was able to watch the rest of the class and it was pleasing to see that I was nowhere near as bad as I thought I was compared with the rest of them.

But I must say that arriving home I had no energy left and was happy to sit by the fire.   It is very much warmer today - ten degrees for a while early afternoon, once the fog had cleared.   But a storm is approaching from the West.   We over here in the East are hoping that it is not quite as bad over here and that, perhaps, it doesn't get so far up the country as here.

It is the first of February today - and I forgot.   It always say 'rabbits' and ceremonially turn the calendar over.   Someone on their blog has just reminded me, so when I sign off I shall have to turn round three times.   Yes, I do still retain some of my belief in these daft old sayings.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Contrary weather

The usual Tuesday morning here in the Yorkshire Dales - with friends C and W in our favourite cafe drinking coffee and hot chocolate and eating a scone, a toasted tea cake and a piece of ginger cake respectively.  And, of course, that all important hour of chat.   Outside the window it was pouring with rain, although the temperature was higher than it has been for a while.

After lunch it was driving the mile to sit and chat with friend M in her cosy lounge.   Our friendship goes back a long way and whenever we meet we always have lots of laughs - important today as the rain stopped and the fog came down.   Shortly after three o'clock I decided it was time to come home as the fog was really thick and I can't drive in the dark (it was certainly getting dark).   But by the time I arrived home it was raining again and miraculously the fog cleared as if by magic.

During our chats today I find the several things are changing - folk are moving house, a friend is ill in hospital and other friends are seriously ill too.   Of course I know that nothing ever stays the same but nevertheless I have always liked to see the status quo remain intact = any changes and I become  most unsettled.   And that is how I feel this evening - many things are 'on the move' and somehow I have to maintain my equilibrium.

In this I know that I take after my mother, who went into a decline at any changes.   We used to make fun of her, but now I know just how she felt.
I could make a list of things which are on my mind at the moment but of course I won't.   It won't make them go away and - hopefully - in a few month's time I will look back at this year's beginning and think 'thank goodness all that is behind me'.


Monday, 30 January 2017


Early yesterday I sat up in bed drinking my early morning cup of tea and watching the sun come up.  The sky was a picture as the sun tinted the underside of the clouds first a deep red and then, gradually, turned to orange as the sun rose.   At that point the rooks flew past - thousands of them - chatting away as they went, quite close to my window.   So I had my fill  of joy before I even got out of bed.

By the time we had had breakfast the sun was really up and lit up the paddock so beautifully that I had to go out and take a photograph or two for you.
Add to that the fact that my snowdrops and aconites are out and you know that Spring is on its way whatever the weather throws at us.
Today friend W and I are off to M and S at Teesside Park (about an hour away) to have a look round - the first time we have been for about six months - let's hope we get some inspiration for our Spring wardrobes.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

The Times they are a-Changing.

I was at the village school in Lincolnshire
from 1937 to 1942.   Yes, it was wartime, but the only trip out from school was a bus trip to Elksley Waterworks in Nottinghamshire.   I remember it vividly and just as vivid was the build up to it, deciding on the packed lunch, what to wear etc.

At Grammar School (1942 to 1949) I don't remember any school trips of any kind.

What about projects?  I remember one at the village school and I still remember the excitement of doing it.   We had to collect labels off tins which showed where they came from.   Remember this was wartime, so there can't have been that many surely.   Our teacher put a map of the world on the wall and we stuck a pin and a bit of the label in the right place.   Is that why I am still so interested in Geography?

At Grammar School I don't remember any - it was heads down, get learning. 

Today in our local, weekly paper (The Darlington and Stockton Times - published every Friday) is an article which shows just how much more exciting a place school is these days.

Two of our Primary Schools started by writing letters to one another - pupil to pupil.   Then, after reading about a character called 'Flat Stanley' they each drew Flat Stanley on card and coloured him in.   Then they sent their Flat Stanley to their pen friend in the other school, who sent theirs the same so that everyone ended up with a Stanley to call his own.

Now, for a week, each child kept a Diary about the adventures Stanley had with them.   Then both schools got together for a morning's Workshop of Art, Drama and Writing.   Back in their own schools the children are now in the process of writing stories about the character and the aim is finally to produce a book of stories.

Isn't that just a splendid idea?

I would love to know whether your school had projects and visits.   Times have changed so much.
In my day women teachers were not even allowed to marry (of course men could!!);  we only had one Mrs on the staff and she was a war widow.  Our Primary school teacher was one Miss Kirkbride - past retirement age but kept on because of the war years.  When the boys left to go to the Boys' School in the next village (at eight) their teacher was Johnnie Laws; a firm disciplinarian adored by all the pupils (and father of a large family).

Now my grand=daughter, who teaches in Glasgow and is on Maternity leave, is planning to take her baby into school to show to her class - all keen and eager to see her.

There is no doubt which is the best method is there, but we can't move ahead of the times in these things can we?


Friday, 27 January 2017


Today is mind (and everything else) numbingly cold.    There is a thick all-enveloping mist and the sky is uniformly grey.

The farmer went off to the Auction Mart as he always does on a Friday morning and I went for coffee with the 'girls',   I am sure it was warmer in the cafe than at the Mart.

This afternoon the long-burner is lit, the house is warm and we are forgetting that there is an outside to go to.  Parsnip and apple soup, followed by beef casserole warmed us up when we came in and we have just about warmed through.

This week-end sees the end of the pheasant shooting season, so the last shoot is tomorrow and of course the farmer will be going.   So friend W and I will go out for lunch somewhere and so another day will pass, another day to say goodbye to January and get ready to welcome in February in the middle of next week.   It is a long time since we had such a prolonged cold spell - and I do hope it is soon over.