Friday, 28 July 2017


.It was a usual July Friday morning - teaming with rain of the thundery kind - as we went in for our morning coffee with friends.   I had to call at the Sorting Office for a package - still pouring with rain but only a short distance from car to door - and then friend W pulled up at the door of the shop for me to do a last little bit of shopping for my lunch party tomorrow.   My grand-daughter and her husband and their baby daughter, Ula, are coming to stay for the week-end with my son and I am entertaining them for lunch.

With the exception of my daughter in law and me the rest are all vegetarian, which makes for a rather more complicated menu.   Also, because almost everything that I possess is packed ready for my move, I am not even sure that I have five of everything; I know I have no salad bowls out so shall be making the salads in whatever dishes I can find. 

We are having jacket potatoes (a very easy option with an Aga) with a selection of butter,grated red Leicester cheese, baked beans in tomato sauce or coleslaw as a filling.   I shall serve this with a selection of salads - all new and slightly experimental, so I hope they work.

The first is for French beans - lightly cooked and then quickly cooled - baby plum tomatoes roasted for a short while at the top of the oven - black olives scattered through and then the whole with a dressing of olive oil and white wine vinegar and finally a scattering of Parmesan.

My second I shall make up as I go along.  I shall cook some Giant cous-cous a la risotto using vegetable stock and maybe a drop of white wine and when it is cool I shall mix it with tomato, cucumber, spring onion, all chopped small and then a scattering of mint and a honey dressing.

The third will be little gem lettuce with halved hard boiled eggs arranged around the plate along
with pieces of chopped pineapple.

Pudding will be a fruit salad with cream - so far I have strawberries, raspberries, black cherries, apricots, pineapple and melon - I shall cut them up small and leave them to marinate (not in wine as my great grand daughter is only eight months old and really into eating solid food!)

I will report back on the success of the salads at a later date!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

No time

I have just realised that I have not put a post on since Monday.   The fact is that I have just been too busy.   
Tuesday I went with my friend W to Kirby Lonsdale - a beautiful drive over in lovely weather, a delicious meal and a lovely drive back by a different route, round by Sedbergh.   For lunch I had salmon covered in sweet chilli sauce and served on a lovely salad.   I would never have thought of putting that sauce on salmon, but it was a delicious combination.

Yesterday was our Poetry afternoon - and as usual that was the most relaxing afternoon with lovely poetry.  It is one of my favourite afternoons in the month.

Today, as well as shopping for a lunch party on Saturday (my grand-daughter, her baby daughter and her husband are coming down from Glasgow for the weekend at my sons) I have been to Bainbridge to Sycamore Hall care home to play ukuleles and sing to the residents - it was a lovely afternoon too.

 Now I am tired and ready to go to bed.  It is 9.40 and almost dark outside and my Horlicks is calling me from the kitchen cupboard.   See you tomorrow.

Monday, 24 July 2017


By lunchtime today it was a pleasant day here in North Yorkshire.   Perhaps a little too much breeze and from the North West, which made it a little chilly,   but it was a great improvement.   Now, at 8.03 (isn't the time indicator in the corner of the computer screen handy?) the wind has dropped, the sky is clear and blue and the sun is shining.

Walking round town just after lunch I saw that there were many holidaymakers here and most of them were sitting outside pubs and restaurants having lunch.   I noticed one pub in particular - tables outside and people eating fish and chips, pie and chips, mountains of food - well it is holidays after all, although I did notice that most of the folk eating were rather overweight.   But what horrified me was how so many of them were smoking (they were outside, not in the restaurant) and then coming on to the forecourt to stub their cigarettes out on the top of an upturned plant pot and then poke the rest down the hole.

There was a time when it really was socially acceptable to smoke - in fact it was very sophisticated.   My Aunt Nell in the thirties and forties considered herself to be a very 'modern' woman.   In her mushquash coat and her beautiful hat (her sister was a milliner) she was a smoker par excellence.   Never outside of course, but after lunch out would come her smart orange box of du Mauriers and her elegant cigarette holder - I used to think her the bees knees.   (coincidentally she did die of lung cancer at quite an early age).

Now, visiting hospital, it is quite usual to see really ill people outside the door in their wheelchairs having a smoke.   What are they thinking of?   Or is it me who is a killjoy?   I would like to know what you think.   Are you happy to 'live and let live' or does it worry you to see people killing themselves after all the medical evidence?

Sunday, 23 July 2017


The 1940's week end was set to end at around five today.   Yesterday torrential rain fell in the morning for a couple of hours and then it was a lovely  day.   Today dawned fair and the sun has shone for most of the day.   At about a quarter past four the sky filled with black clouds and by half past four heavy rain was falling again.   So I would say that the people who arranged the weekend have been jolly lucky.   All those posh uniforms, all those elegant hats, fur stoles and glamorous dresses can go back home and be stored in their wardrobes in pristine condition.

I didn't go.  Instead we went for our usual Sunday lunch - all four of us today - and then sat in the bar over tea/coffee until almost half past four.   Now I am home and shall put on the News to see whether Chris Froome was triumphant - I do hope so, it was richly deserved.

After that I intend to watch 'Wild Alaska'.   The farmer and I went many times to Canada and the US and the one trip we intended to make and never got to do was to go up the inside passage to Alaska.  So I shall watch it from the comfort of my armchair;  now that I am so immobile the chances of going are getting more remote by the day.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

1940 again

It is our town's 1940's week-end and although it was pouring with rain (and I really mean pouring) this morning, when I drove through on the way to take my son and his wife out for lunch, the town was heaving with RAF officers, Army officers, Naval officers, French resistance couples (berets and striped shirts and red neckerchiefs) and couples wearing the civilian clothes of the era (women in the most delightful hats) - I didn't see a single private - they all seemed to have a commission!
By afternoon the sun had come out and everything was going with a swing.   We went for a short drive around the lanes.   The river was a raging torrent

Friday, 21 July 2017

New people

Today, out to lunch again (again? well yes, I was out on Wednesday and am out again on Sunday and then next Tuesday), the restaurant got busy and the waitress asked if we minded sharing a table with two other people.   Of course we didn't mind, especially as we were at the coffee stage and would soon be ready to go.

How lucky we were to have said yes.  We met two of the nicest people imaginable and had a lovely half hour chatting while we waited for their lunch to arrive.   These chance meetings can turn out to be a delight and frankly should never be turned down.   Having the chance to have a conversation with someone new can be very refreshing.

We exchanged the names of restaurants,  shared places we had visited, chatted  about trivialities - all with a lady of ninety and her son perhaps in his sixties.    He obviously adored his mother and she likewise and together they made a fascinating pair. I hope they thought the same about us.

As my father used to be fond of quoting (Rabbie Burns I think but I am sure someone will put me right if it is not so) 'Oh would some power the giftie gi' us, to see oursel's as others see us'!

Thursday, 20 July 2017


This afternoon we played ukuleles for a group in Richmond - these were people with forms of dementia and it was a pleasure to play for them and their carers because they enjoyed it so much and sang along with such gusto.

Now I am home again and the Chiropodist has been and I feel as though I am walking on air.

Coming into the empty house is hard and I am still at the stage where I need to keep busy.   My son has been back to the Specialist today and can carry on as normal, so let's hope all is well this time.


Wednesday, 19 July 2017


Well they always say there are rarely more than two hot days together in an English Summer.  Well here in North Yorkshire the last two days have been pleasantly warm and sunny but today I wake up to dull, cloudy conditions with a light rain falling.   But much preferable to the weather in Coverack in Cornwall - a really desirable holiday destination just gearing up for the season.

In the village last night they had a flash flood with the river rushing through four feet above normal.   It was all over in minutes but holiday lets and residents' houses alike were flooded.   The Dunkirk spirit seems to have prevailed and the villagers assure holidaymakers that all will be back to normal in double quick time.   Let's hope so - the holiday industry is the main source of income down there and also of course many people are looking forward to their holiday break.

Two hours of hard work last night at our Ukulele practice evening - very enjoyable but intense concentration needed.   Today I am out to lunch with friend D - we meet about once each month to catch up on our news.   That is the extent of my activity today so I may well pack a few more boxes, although I have nearly reached the stage where I can afford to relax until I get a firm moving date and then bring in a few helpers.   If I am not careful I pack something and then realise I need it (e.g. shoe cleaning kit).

Tuesday, 18 July 2017


This morning was our monthly Strugglers meeting at the Quaker Meeting House.   Here about ten of us meet once a month, sit quietly for a while and then discuss whatever happens to come up.   It is a really refreshing hour and a half of  serious discussion.   Well, I say 'serious' but sometimes it is anything but.   However, the topic really doesn't matter; what matters is that the folk involved get something off their mind, are able to sort it out in their mind with other like-minded people and perhaps as a result get worries or troubles into some kind of proportion.

Living alone does often involve bottling up some worry or other until it takes over the whole of one's thinking and often keeps one awake - as mine did the night before last when I really had hardly any sleep at all.   At least last night I slept like the proverbial log.

Lunch out afterwards for two of us (Seafood Platter - Smoked salmon, prawns, smoked mackerel, green salad, mayo and a nice warm brown roll -  afterward we succumbed to a tartlet of cream topped with raspberries, kiwi and the like).  At least I shalln't starve.


Monday, 17 July 2017

Sorry but I accidentally pressed the wrong spot on John's (Going Gently) post and I seem to have messed the whole thing up.   As my son is laid up with a detached retina, I am just hoping that this works and also that I can answer some posts today.
If not hopefully all will be well in a few days when he is upright again.

Lovely views

This morning early Tess and I    walked across the newly silaged field which was wet with dew.   Already the sun was warm, the grass was short enough to walk easily and the rabbits were about, much to Tess's delight.

Each time I walk amongst the fields I am conscious that my time here is coming to an end, that I shall be living in an altogether different environment - but I am also sensible enough to realise that it will be much better for me to be in a bungalow and nearer to services.   If my walking
gets much worse I can always get myself a buggy to get from a to b.

As we walked suddenly a hare got up at our feet and ran.   Tess saw it but didn't attempt a chase - I expect she knew that, given the hare's speed, it was a totally pointless task.   As you know, the hare is my favourite animal, so I was thrilled to bits.

Ukulele practice this afternoon so all my jobs were done early this morning - now I  can sort out my music ready for this afternoon.

Sunday, 16 July 2017


Sunday - it comes round so quickly but now that we have got into the habit of always eating at The Golf Club Sundays have become bearable.  There are five of us, all widows, going today and the visit usually takes up around three hours so that by the time we all get back home it is almost evening.

E and T's Golden Wedding celebration was lovely.   After a very dull and windy day the sun finally came out just in time.   Although it was windy their garden is very sheltered so we didn't notice.   In fact the garden was very pretty with a lovely display of one of my favourite old roses - American Pillar.   Around fifty people enjoyed a great selection of nibbles - I ate far too many but they were too good to resist.

Today has dawned with a little more sun promised and much less in the way of breeze.   Time to get dressed (dressing gowns are  so comfortable when one lives alone) and take Tess for a pleasant walk down the pasture, which has been recently silaged so that the grass is short.   We might even get as far as the farmer's resting place - a spot we love to visit.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Busy day

 At present that is the kind of day I like.   This morning Tess and I went into town to buy a Guardian and then called on the way back for a walk down her favourite lane.   We met a Labrador and a Spaniel, so she had two doggie chats too.

I just had time for a quick read of The Guardian before I made a quick lunch (yesterday's leftover new potatoes and sweet potatoes fried in a little bit of butter and then an egg added to the pan (ages since I ate a fried egg so I enjoyed it).

I have just tuned my ukulele ready for the off as friend W is calling this afternoon to give me a lift to ukulele practice and then straight after that friend J is joining us en route for The Golden Wedding Celebration of T and E - hopefully drinks and nibbles in their garden.   At the moment the rain is holding off but it doesn't look too promising - but at least it is warm.

Saturdays and Sundays are always the very worst days of the week because families are doing things together and that makes it hard when one lives alone.

But today is a full one and tomorrow it is our usual lunch out - five of us this week so we shalln't go hungry!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Tomorrow is another day.

Yes, the sun is shining and a new day has dawned and we all move on.    The funeral was a moving one and a few tears were shed but today things are back to normal (whatever that is at the moment).

My son rang me last evening to tell me that once again his retina has detached on his eye.    It has happened several times and that they took him into hospital immediately and he had an operation on it.   He came home and now has to lay flat for a week, only sitting up for ten minutes maximum in each hour. As the Tour de France is on television at the moment he said that he thought that would get him through.   It is a worrying development but he is having the best care.

My day is fairly free today apart from my usual hair appointment, so I shall get a few more boxes packed and also ring my daughter in law and offer my help with household shopping as she awaits a hip operation and finds shopping difficult.

The sun is shining and it is a perfect Summer day.
The new shower has been fitted in my new bungalow (the buyers (who are moving in here and I am moving into their bungalow) have kindly allowed me to have it put in now), so after the hairdressers I went to choose the vinyl flooring and underlay and they were going up later today to measure up and get it fitted.   As the plumber has taken the bath out the vinyl of course just doesn't fit, so it is the first job done.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017


After quite a wet morning (although warm) this afternoon has turned out very pleasantly warm and sunny.

The morning was spent firstly drinking coffee in our usual coffee house, but as friend W couldn't make it we bought her a scone and I took it up to her on my way home.

This afternoon was spent with the solicitor and then Tess and I had a gentle walk down 'our' lane.
As my computer is not fully cooperating with what I want it to do and I have also run out of black printing ink, which I need to complete the tasks anyway, I shall switch it off and go back to reading my book club book - Tim Winton's 'Cloud Street'.   Have you read it?   Tim Winton is an Australian and it is set in that country - I am really getting into it and thoroughly enjoying it.   Give it a whirl if you get the opportunity.

Monday, 10 July 2017


Friends - where would we be without them?   Some people seem to manage quite well without any, but my friends are really important and I love them dearly.

I have lost touch with some as I have moved around the country so much both with my first husband's job and then since retirement, but living here in The Yorkshire Dales is the longest I have ever lived in one place.   I have lived here for thirty years this September.

I was born in Lincolnshire and grew up and went to school there.   I am still regularly in touch with one friend there, a friend I made on my first day at infant school.   We used to visit one another frequently but as we are now both over eighty the visiting has faded away - and all I can say is 'thank goodness for the telephone'  (she doesn't do computers).

Once my son was born we moved deep into the countryside in Lincolnshire and I made a friend there - my neighbour actually.   We still write to one another at Christmas and last year I actually called in to see them - and what is more, after all this time, she recognised me. 

From there the move was to Lichfield in Staffordshire and again it was my neighbour who became a dear friend.   I am Godmother to her only daughter (she is the one I meet for lunch frequently as she now lives up here).   Sadly both my friend and her husband died some years ago and when my God-daughter got married a few years ago I 'gave her away' at her wedding.

Then the move was to Wolverhampton for my son's schooling and also for both my husband's and my jobs (both teachers).   Friends there were numerous and still writing and contacting by phone.

Finally the move on retirement was up here into the Yorkshire Dales and it was here that my first husband sadly died and after a couple of years I married the farmer.  Yorkshire folk are straightforward and friendly - they tend to call a spade a shovel (as we say round here)- and it is very easy to make friends.   It is that circle of friends who have now gathered round to support me when I most need it - this particularly applies to friend W - without her I would be no good at all at present.

One dear friend and neighbour up here has sadly died and her funeral is on Wednesday.   She had just moved away to live with her daughter but her heart remained up here and she is to have her funeral up here by her own choice.   I shall be there along with many villagers who loved her.

Where would we be without our friends in time of need?

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Open Gardens

Today has been Open Gardens in our village, so the whole of the place has been really spruced up for the event and everywhere looks lovely.   As I live a good mile out of the village I never take part but as I always go out with friends for Sunday lunch I drove through the village at mid-day and it was heaving with people - a good sign for village funds.

My son and his wife always open their garden and I had a tour round that last night.   It is on several levels, which is  always an asset I think.   There is also a little pond with a tiny trickling waterfall - a lovely feature.

There is a scarecrow competition too and there were various ones scattered about the place - some of them very good indeed.

Sundays are perhaps the worst days of the whole week when one lives alone - but the four of us friends have now been out to lunch for about the last eight Sundays and it takes up a large part of the day with eating, laughter and chatting with other regulars.   Can't be a bad thing.

Back to doing a few boxes packed tomorrow.  I am nearing the end of things which can really be packed in advance.   Once I have a moving date then I can really advance quickly (I hope).

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Not a good day

In spite of going out for Lunch with friend, w, and then back to her house for a cup of coffee, then   later  to my son and daughter in law's house to look at their garden and their scarecrow (it is the village's Open Gardens and Scarecrow Day tomorrow) this has really not been a good day.

It is a sad fact in bereavement that one has good and bad days for no apparent reason whatsoever.   I have tried to keep cheerful all day but without much success.   I now intend to take Tess for a walk in the late evening sunshine which, hopefully, will put me in a better frame of mind.

Friday, 7 July 2017


Rabbits have materialised again after an absence of several weeks.   Suddenly the hedges are full of them.   Perhaps they were missing because the grass was long and they could hide.   Now the fields have been silaged it is much easier to see what is going on in the hedge bottoms.

Once Tess sees a rabbit she can focus on nothing else and becomes totally and completely deaf.   It is pointless calling her so once I locate her I have to put her on the lead otherwise I would be standing waiting all afternoon.

Out for our usual coffee this morning and then over to Middlemoor Farm Restaurant for our lunch - W had Minestrone and I had Thai Mango and Coconut soup, then W had goat's cheese salad and I had brie and bacon quiche with salad.  Delicious all round.

Now back home I have ordered some new ink cartridges for my printer, taken Tess for a walk, taken down three pictures to go to the Charity Shop (one of my two jobs planned for each day) and I am now going to sit down and read The Times (half past two in the afternoon).

Thursday, 6 July 2017


I didn't sleep too well because just before bedtime I suddenly (for no apparent reason) couldn't actually remember ever insuring my new car.   When I went to bed I went through the insurance file and could find no trace of doing so, so I resolved to ring my Broker at nine this morning and make sure everything was in order.   I couldn't of course drive down to Masham to talk to him about it because I was scared I wasn't insured.  This morning I took the file down stairs to look through again over my breakfast and there was the Insurance Certificate on the top of the papers!

The other thing which happened when I camec down stairs was that I did so in a violent thunderstorm.   Switching on the television I saw the weather girl standing at Wimbledon in glorious sunshine while here it was absolutely teaming with rain.   I think the storm has passed over but it is still very dark and gloomy.

Thursdays are the day for my hair appointment and today for a manicure too.   It is also a day when I usually eat at home so I shall clear a bit more of my freezer out - today honey and vegetable parcels which look very nice on the packet; I will report on the taste later.

Suddenly being left on one's own does leave one vulnerable to these feelings of uncertainty about whether things have been done or not.   In spite of the fact that I have always done the farm accounts and taken care of any administration I must say that finding out that I really had done the insurance for my car was a great relief and I do begin today on a much higher note.   I hope you do too.


Wednesday, 5 July 2017


tter Forc
No post yesterday because I had a busy day.   In the morning we had our usual coffee morning and then after lunch I had to have a good ukulele practice because in the evening I was playing with a larger group.   And I really enjoyed the experience.  It certainly kept me on my toes.   There is no looking around for a chord - if it doesn't come immediately to mind you have to miss it out because the tune has moved on.

Today Tess and I went to Sedbergh to meet my God-daughter for lunch in The Three Hares.  We had a pleasant journey over (32 miles) through Wensleydale - no views because the cloud was very low and it was slight rain all the way.    We stopped for a short walk at Cotter Force (Force being the local name for a waterfall) but we were running a bit late so it was only a short one.

Delicious lunch - it really is a lovely little cafe if you are ever over that way.  (Asparagus and Pea soup with a sandwich for A and a ham and cheese omelette for me) and then it was back home.   This time Tess and I did walk all the way down to the Force - about a quarter of a mile, so there and back was quite a long walk for me.

When I arrived home I was very tired and have been sitting down ever since.   My arthritis is governed by the weather so is quite bad today and that didn't help, but the walk certainly did me no harm.

 Now I am looking forward to watching Joanna Lumley's programme on India at 9pm - a country I have always wanted to visit but never managed it, and it is too late now.

Monday, 3 July 2017


Rain fell quite heavily this morning for a time and it is forecast again for tomorrow in some places.   Once the rain cleared the day has been very breezy and quite warm and sunny.   So it was quite important to get the silage in today.   As I write this the tractors and trailers are passing the hall window with their loads, followed by the loader which will unload the bales to be stacked.   Before any overnight rain comes all will be safely gathered in - always a good feeling.

This morning was my Book Club - my first meeting.   Just five of us discussed 'The trouble with Goats and Sheep' by Joanne Cannon.   Not my favourite book as I found it rather complicated to follow, in spite of having read it through twice.

Our next book is Tim Winton's Cloud Street.   Has anybody out there read it - and if so what do you think of it?   I would be interested to know - I have ordered it today.


Sunday, 2 July 2017


The farming year rolls on - one of the things that I love about it (and shall miss) is the continuity of it all.

A forecast for fine and sunny weather for a couple of days at least means one
  thing - second silage cut.   And that is precisely what happened yesterday.   There are now three fields cut and lying and they smell lovely.

Another thing about them is that the grass lays in lines and between them is a 'path' of cut grass which is ideal for walking Tess, so that is what we did this morning.   The sun is out but there is a strong wind blowing so I find it quite cold.  (dare I tell you I put my thermals back on last week!)

Another thing which I found interesting is that there was not a single rabbit to be seen.   There were such a lot and suddenly they seem to have disappeared.   That suggests that maybe myxamatosis has struck.   It decimates the rabbits and they die a  slow and horrible death.   The farmer used to go round the fields looking for them and putting the out of their misery.

Out for Sunday lunch at 1.30 today.   What shall I have? (the menu is quite long but it is always the same).  At present I am torn between salmon florentine or one of the four vegetarian choices and as I cooked salmon for myself yesterday it may well be the vegetarian options.   But I may well change my mind when we get there.

I have packed one box today and shall pack another - probably books - on my return.   Where I am going to put it all is another matter.   There are going to be a lot of boxes in the garage for quite a while, that's a certainty.   But at least when that happens I shall be in!

Saturday, 1 July 2017


Well another month bites the dust and we are into July and still no sign of me moving.   I am just trying not to think about it.

My day out yesterday made a pleasant change and did me a lot of good.   We were unable to go our usual way past the Ribblehead viaduct because the road was closed so we had to go and return on the same Sedbergh road.

Lunch, as usual in Avanti, was perfection.   I had prawn and chorizo risotto - the others had blackened salmon, Caesar salad and plaice with Mediterranean vegetables and potatoes.   Their standard of cooking is marvellous.

This morning I did several jobs really early - taking a load of old towels and an old duvet to the tip was the first.   Did you know that duvets go into Landfill?   I thought this was sad when I think of all the homeless people there are.   But of course they would not wish to cart a duvet around with them.   Then Tess and I had a walk, although it is so windy that I found walking difficult, so it was only a short walk today.  Several items went to the Charity Shop and then it was on to the Village Hall for the Coffee Morning.   Finally home for a lunch of salmon steak with Jersey potatoes and  mixed vegetables, followed by fresh strawberries and coconut yoghourt.

Has anyone else in the UK noticed just how long the strawberry season has gone on this year and just how absolutely delicious the strawberries have been?

This afternoon the lady who is swopping homes with me came round and we went over one or two points and took out the tape measure to one or two alcoves.   Now we are just impatient to get on with the job.

Another walk with Tess ensued, then tea and now settling down for the evening to sew up the jumper I have been knitting.

For tea I tried to replicate a recipe my mother used to make when I was small - a sandwich spread which she always called 'mock crab' (although I can't for the life of me think why.)  I cooked and finely chopped onion in butter and then added some chopped tomatoes and cooked those.   Then  put in a lot of grated cheese.  When the cheese had melted I poured in a beaten egg and immediately took the pan off the heat and stirred the mixture until it was cooked.   Then I left it to get cold. It was my best attempt yet but I still haven't got it to taste as I remember it.   Does anyone have a recipe which fits this description?  Maybe the cheese wasn't strong enough.

Well, tomorrow is another day - dare I hope that the move will take place in July?

Friday, 30 June 2017

Early on Friday morning.

Sorry no post yesterday - just too busy to manage to put one on.   Today friend W and I are going on one of our favourite jaunts, across the Pennines to Kirby Lonsdale to meet our friends P and D for lunch in Avanti, our favourite Italian restaurant.

My friend, G, rang last night to say that she was not happy about Tess being left on her own for so long and could she fetch her for the day?   Could she fetch her for the day???  Tess will be ecstatic when G arrives - she adores her anyway and to go out will be an extra and will also make me feel much better about leaving her.

The restaurant where we go allows dogs but W takes her Jack Russell Sophie and She is not a sociable dog so they really can't both go.   W says she is happy to leave Sophie at home so that Tess can go, but Tess has never been in that kind of situation before and there are usually quite a few dogs there on Fridays, so I really don't know how she would behave.   Also, managing Tess and my stick would be difficult.

If you think I am going out a lot at present (I played Ukuleles at Singing for the Brain in Gayle, a tiny village near Hawes yesterday afternoon - and a brilliant afternoon it was too with everyone having such a lovely time) you would be correct, but to be honest I feel that I am only just hanging on to my sanity, what with grieving for the farmer, packing, dealing with admin from being an executor for his will, along with the solicitor, and still having no firm moving date.   I know everything will come right in the end but the whole process is something I could have done without.   It has all come together and it is almost too much to cope with.

We are hoping that as we drive West the weather improves today.   At present it is very dull and cool too.   The first fifteen miles of the journey are the same as the journey we made yesterday afternoon.   The road runs alongside the River Ure and yesterday it was 'banking' in places so we are hoping there has not been further rain overnight and that the water has gone down somewhat.   There is another road through Wensleydale, one which runs higher up above the river but there is always the possibility of flooding.

Friend G has just rung to say she is on her way to collect Tess - so off for a shower before she arrives.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

A New Job

I have found myself a new job this morning and it is one I am going to enjoy.   Reading through the blurb of a local removal firm I read that a sensible idea is to allocate a coloured sticker to each room and then stick that colour on each box which is to go in there.   Then add an arrow to each box indicating This Way Up.  Anything which helps to facilitate ease of moving suits me, so I shall go round and do this later on this morning.

There are now so many packed boxes that I begin to doubt the contents will go into the bungalow, so a lot of them will have a 'garage' sticker and the car will stay on the drive until I decide what to do with the surplus.

It is another very wet day here - and cold with it - so W and I are going out to lunch (again? I hear you say) so that at least part of the day is passed in a cheerful atmosphere.

It is a Friday when we go across to Kirby Lonsdale to meet our friends.   Rain, snow, hail or blow we go (no, not the first line of my latest poem) because we so enjoy the food, the friends' company, and - not least- the journey there (forty one miles).   It just serves to remind us both that we live in one of the most  beautiful parts of the country and we should be grateful for it.   We might not have the warm zephyrs of the South of England or the days of warm sunny weather blowing over from the continent, but, by golly, we do have the beauty and grandeur  of the Pennines.   And that more than makes up for it.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017


Today has been cool, wet and quite unpleasant here, but when W and I went into Northallerton
it was much brighter, so maybe the really miserable weather was localised.

The reason for going to Northallerton?   To buy my own ukulele!!  Now I can return friend S's instrument and music stand and break in my own instrument.   I have just played it for half an hour and find it very different although enjoyable and I am sure that  after a bit more playing it will be more comfortable.

The other reason was to look for a new mattress for the bed.  The mattress we had is about twenty five years old and well past its sell-by date.   I have ordered a new orthopaedic one.    For some reason the delivery date is eight weeks away  but I don't suppose that time really matters.

Of course we had to have lunch out - a cheese and chorizo toastie with cole slaw and salad - absolutely delicious.

I do hope the weather improves.   Someone who reads my blog (Frances?) has come up from Hertfordshire to Northumberland for a week's holiday.   She did ask me to order good weather for them and yesterday the weather was so good that I thought the order I put in had done some good but looking at the forecast it looks to be all downhill from now on, so I do apologise for it.  Be assured that we do get some nice weather up here.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Magic Lanterns.

I have just watched 'Flog It' on BB2 over my tea.   One of the items which was sold was an old Magic Lantern - I think it fetched over £200.   But it certainly brought back such memories for me - I really think that maybe today's children do miss out on somethings because when I was a child in our village in Lincolnshire Saturday night was often Magic Lantern Night.

All of us kids gathered together in the Methodist Chapel Sunday Schoool Room and somebody put on a show for us.

First of all there would be 'stills' of places like India or Africa or perhaps the mountains of somewhere like Switzerland.   These places were so remote and so foreign to us all that they seemed like another planet.

Then there would be 'real' films and the magic of a Pop-eye and Olive Oil film or a Mickey Mouse Film and we would be glued to the screen enjoying every single minute of it.

Now of course kids are glued to computer screens or to their own televisions and what they are missing is the interaction with others of their own age.   And somehow it isn't the same.

Saturday, 24 June 2017


The rest of the country South of here still seems to be basking in warm,sunny weather.   Here it is a typical Northern Summer day - cool, overcast, breezy.   So on my usual drive into town to buy a Guardian, followed by a walk down to Givendale wood with Tess on the way back, I needed an anorak as well as my usual things - handbag, stick, dog lead, scarf in case it rained (looked as though it would).    But the walk was very pleasant - especially so as the Cow Parsley has now finished and in its place the Lane is lined with Meadow Sweet; the beautiful smell is almost overpowering.
The walk was made more pleasant by the fact that yesterday the doctor gave me some tablets (I have a built-in resistance to taking tablets, but she finally persuaded me to give them a try) to combat my shaking.   I come from a family of shakers and, apparently, this condition does occur in 
families.   As I get older I shake more, so that on some days I can;t carry a cup of tea - and my handwriting becomes illegible.   Anyway, enough of that.

Rachel's post gave me pleasure today because she put on some family photographs and they reminded me of happy times years ago with my family.   I just got up to take a photograph of my favourite snap of my brother, my sister and I together so that I could put it here, only to remember that it is one of the things I have packed.

Another thing which has given me pleasure in Blogland today is that Heather (Ragged Old Blogger) has posted for the first time since April. She too is moving house and her position is exactly like mine -  makes it easier when someone else is suffering the same stalemate doesn't it? 

Another week-end passes, another two boxes to pack - all will be well, common sense will prevail and the day will come when I am settled in my new abode with my memories of our twenty four happy years together.   My mantra.   Enjoy your week-end.


Friday, 23 June 2017

Friday comes round again.

How quickly it becomes Friday again and our meeting of friends for coffee.    This morning this meeting extended itself into a tour round Tennants Auction House followed by a Caesar Salad in the cafe for two of us - and very nice it was too.

The weather has been dull, chilly and windy here today although a friend has just rung from Hereford and the weather is lovely there.   If you are reading this Mags - do get well soon and get that old leg moving again.

Friends in the Lakes sent me a sweet little book of 'Ten Bedtime Poems' this morning - I am getting rid of books but this is a delight to read and will be perfect for our next Poetry afternoon.   So thank you P and D if you are reading this - I know you often do read it.

With regard to that Red Admiral butterfly, a friend told me this morning that a butterfly is a sign of rebirth.  It has all been such an uplifting experience - I hope it happens again.

Until tomorrow my friends.

Thursday, 22 June 2017


Silaging has been going on all around me today.   The grass was cut early in the week on our land (by the two farmers who are buying it) and left to dry.  Despite the fact that heavy rain and storms threatened and happened all around us, somehow we were lucky and they all missed us.   Today there is a strong breeze and (this afternoon) sunshine and now, at tea time, all the grass has been baled and wrapped and the weather can do its worst.

I had a busy morning.  Solicitor early, followed by shopping for food, then the Physiotherapist.   After lunch it was my usual hairdressing appointment and, by the time I got home I was very tired.   Sitting in the chair to read The Times I fell asleep
and slept for two hours (this is exactly what the Physio says I must do - sleep when I feel tired).

Poor Tess had a short walk early this morning and that was all, so I decided it was time to take her.  As the fields were short grass and so easy to walk on we walked down to where we had scattered the Farmer's ashes.   He had been silaged and I think he would have liked that - it made him part of his farm.   I could no longer see where we had buried him but knew more or less the spot.

It was peaceful, the wild roses were out on the hedge, I could hear the sound of the beck running by and I stood a minute and chatted quietly to him.
As I stood there the most beautiful Red Admiral butterfly landed on the grass at my feet and stayed there for a minute or two.   It was quiet and the sun was shining.   Tess sat by my side.

I took it as a sign that all was well.   I am not a believer in God, or the after life - and you are quite entitled to think it silly of me, but I can't tell you the comfort that moment gave to me in the week that held his birthday.


Wednesday, 21 June 2017


Silaging is in full swing here with many fields of grass down.   This morning there is thunder about and thunder means heavy rain.   Tess and I had a very early walk (7.45am) and then a trip down to our feed merchant in Masham for Layers Pellets, Corn, Farm Cat food and Dog Food.

One of the assistants had a seven-week old Border Terrier Pup - Ted - absolute delight.   I had forgotten just how beautiful Tess was when I first got her.

On the way back it was obvious that while I was down there there had been a thunderstorm as the roads were swimming with water.   But by the time I got home there was no sign that there had been any here so we must have missed it.   This is lucky as most of our fields are down and being silaged by a contractor.

We didn't even have that scorcher of a day yesterday - but I found it intensely hot in the night and hardly slept at all.

It is our Poetry afternoon today.   I have chosen my three poems and a piece of prose too  - I will post again later in the day with more about this.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The heat rises and I find it very wearing.   It seems churlish to complain but although it is lovely to see the sun in June I find it difficult to find enough energy to even water my pansies and ferns in their pots.

Sleeping (even 'au naturelle' (not a pretty sight I assure you))  under just one sheet is hard so that energy is lacking during the day anyway.

This morning there is heavy cloud here in the east of the UK and also thick mist.   There is also a slight breeze blowing - but it is still very hot.

'Strugglers' this morning followed (hopefully) by a lunch out if anyone fancies it in this hot weather.
Yesterday I made my own lunch at home - various green veg stir-fried with a few spring onions and then topped with pineapple chunks chopped into small pieces and sprinkled with a few chilli flakes.
I topped this with a few slices of grilled streaky bacon which I needed to use from the fridge and the result was surprisingly good.   Strawberries for afters - hasn't it been a wonderful year for them?

Today - June 20th - would have been the farmer's 74th birthday.   Happy birthday my dear one, wherever you are - I think about you all the time and remember the happy times we had together.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Another very hot day with a lack of air.   I have not attempted to take Tess for a walk today as if I do she lies down every few yards to recover, so I figure she is best left quietly to rest.

I had an afternoon playing ukuleles with the group and we had a jolly time. For getting together with other people there really is no better way than playing music together. 

Since coming home I have done very little - it seems airless and movement of any kind is an effort.   No boxes packed today.

Events at Finsbury Park I find so distressing.   Why can't we all live together in peace and harmony and respect one another's way of life and religion?   Is it so very difficult?

Events this year so far have really made it a dreadful year as catastrophe after catastrophe heaps up - not just here but throughout the world. 
Where will it all end.

Sunday, 18 June 2017


The weather is rarely, if ever, right for us in the  UK.   Perhaps we have just got used to finding something wrong with it all the time.   If it is cold then we complain and if it is hot we complain.   Today it is hot; the pollen count is high. the sun is at its highest (the Solstice is on Wednesday) and really the day is best viewed from a chair somewhere in the shade.   Poor Tess desperately wants to go for her walks but as soon as we set off she has to keep lying down for a rest in the grass, and I only take her in the coolest parts of the day.

I don't ever remember the wild roses (Rosa Canina for the most part) being as good as they are this year.   They have climbed to the top of so many of the bushes and small trees and, if you can get near enough to smell them, their delicate scent is exquisite.

Sunday lunch out was the order of the day again today - four of us - the other three having salmon and me having mushroom and red pepper stroganoff.   Sunday is a family day and we four agree that it is the hardest day when one is alone, so what better way to pass it than with friends.  Next week one of our four will be away and another is busy so we shall be down to two.

I have a busy week this week luckily.  Everything seems to be moving so slowly with the farm and I need to fill my time so that there is little time left for thinking about things.  The weather is set to get a little bit cooler towards the end of the week and I am sure that will please Tess - fur coats are not the best clothes to wear in this heat.

Saturday, 17 June 2017


Our little market town is very busy today; busy because it is a local 'Food and Drink Festival'.   One of the roads through the Market Square is closed off and tents and stalls have been put up in order to show the best in food and drink in our area.

There are of course some things which need no advertising - Black Sheep Ale, Wensleydale Cheese for example - but there are various artisan producers who take this as an ideal opportunity to show off their wares.

Rather than find somewhere to park in the town I decided to go in super-early.   I was there by eight o'clock this morning  to post an important letter, 
buy The Guardian, fill up with petrol and then take Tess for a walk down the Lane.   By the time we got to the Lane at nine o'clock, it was almost too hot for her to walk - so for the rest of the day we are just lazing about at home.

Because the boiler engineer is coming to service the boiler on Monday morning I decided to do the week's washing today and it is merrily blowing on the line in what breeze there is. 

And I am reading The Guardian.   So many pages are still taken up with the terrible fire in London - pages which make almost unbearable reading - it just makes me realise what a different world we live in up here.

Enjoy your week end whatever you may be doing.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Sorry Jem -

Sorry folks!!!   Especially sorry to Jules- I tried to put you on my side bar blog list and I have somehow done it all wrong.   Now I must wait for my son to call in and correct it for me.

Another Friday bites the dust.

Another Friday, another week gone by, another week when nothing seems to be moving, another week of frustration.    But there is nothing to be done; these things take time and I must just be patient.   The trouble is that the word 'patience' is not normally in my vocabulary and I am therefore finding it very difficult.      Most of my boxes are packed and I am ready to go.   The plumber is ordered to alter the bathroom and the patio doors are ordered.   Now I must just sit back and wait.

I have decided 'no more boxes for a few days' - I shall do other things.   I have a new step-great grandson arrived yesterday (a little boy, no name as yet) so tomorrow I shall make it my business to fill up with petrol and then go and find him a welcome present.

Today, after our usual coffee morning friend W and I drove up the Dale to Hawes and had lunch in The Creamery.   The Wensleydale Creamery was created some years ago when there was a Management Buy-out.   It has gone from strength to strength and now has a lovely cafe and shop.   We had grilled ham topped with Wensleydale cheese and pineapple, served with chips and salad. We finished off with a cup of coffee and then drove home through a beautiful Wensleydale.   How lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place.    I have so much to be thankful for - I must not lose sight of that.

Thursday, 15 June 2017


My two boxes today consisted to two boxes into the Charity Shop early this morning.   A job quickly done and quite satisfying with it.

I had to go in early to the hairdresser and then to pop into the Solicitor.   After lunch it was out with the Ukulele Group to play for the Alzheimer's Society - play for them to sing the old songs.   Another pleasurable experience.

Now I am home and after two sort walks I am just too tired to take Tess for another walk so I have opened the back door and she is free to roam - all gates on to the road are closed so she can't go far.
In fact she is rarely straying from the back door, preferring to sit on the mat and look out.   Perhaps, after her long walks yesterday, she is tired too.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017


Today's news of the absolutely dreadful fire in the tower block in London has certainly driven all thoughts of the Election and Politics off the news.
The pictures and the commentary are  ghastly and all out thoughts must be with the poor people who did not survive, those still searching for their families, and those who did survive but will be so scarred either mentally, physically or both, that they will take many months to recover - if ever.

For those in the US it must have brought back memories of the Twin Towers.   For anyone who lives in one of these tower blocks there must now be a fear that it might happen to them.

It seems wrong to have had a pleasant day in such
circumstances.   Tess and I drove the thirty five miles or so through Wensleydale to Sedbergh.  I
had to go to Hawes on business and that was half way.   We drove on and called at Cotter Force, a pretty waterfall in Cotterdale, where we had a walk.   Then I met my God-daughter for a really pleasant lunch in a cafe called 'The Three Hares' - nice, homely food (Drovers Platter of Stilton, Pork and Pigeon Terrine and Ham with salad and sourdough bread and butter) - a lovely chat and then back to work for her and home for us.

I must say that I was very tired onmy return, but had only been in five minutes when friend Sylvia called to take Tess for a walk - Tess came back ready for a sleep and I didn't have to take her out.
Sylvia enjoyed the walk - so all three of us were satisfied.

An early night for me tonight.

Monday, 12 June 2017


Have you noticed how beautiful the wild roses are this year?  The sight of them rambling through the hedges round the fields makes the farmer's death all the more poignant because he loved them so.

Sadly, the weather today has not matched their beauty.   It has been cloudy, breezy and not particularly warm.   Tess and I have had our three walks but can't say I have enjoyed them.   Unless it is pouring with rain I don't think she notices what the weather is like. 

I went into town to do various jobs, cooked myself some lunch, read The Times (pretty depressing reading at the moment) and packed my obligatory two boxes (thank you Jamie for bringing me another pile of boxes).

Yesterday I emptied my big old freezer.   I have had it almost twenty years and now that I am moving I really don't need two freezers as I shall be living alone and having no vegetable garden.
Today a scrap merchant friend came and took it away for me and I must say the space where it has stood for the last twenty years looks much better (and cleaner!) without it.

All  I have left to do now is to get half a dozen jig saws from under the stairs to take to a friend tomorrow.  She is a keen doer of jig saws and will then do them before taking them to the charity shop.   And that will leave another space.   Can't be bad.  Until tomorrow.....

Sunday, 11 June 2017


I am replete.   In other words I have eaten too much.   Out to lunch with three friends - salmon on a bed of spinach with Hollandaise sauce, roast potatoes, mixed veggies, followed by Orange sorbet.   Then coffee in the bar - a lovely lunch and four hours of pleasant company.

Weekends are difficult when one lives alone as most people spend it with their families.   We are all four widows and we choose to spend it together.

Today's job (I have run out of boxes) was to defrost my large old freezer and get it removed to an outhouse as I wish to throw it away.   It is more than twenty years old and has gone rusty along the bottom.   It doesn't owe me anything. Now all my remaining frozen food is in my smaller freezer and it should be easy to eat it all up during the next month so that the freezer can be defrosted and go to my new home ready to be filled again.  So that is a satisfying job done.

I have just returned from my lunch and taken Tess for her walk down the Lane.   Now I can relax over a cup of tea - so until tomorrow.....

Saturday, 10 June 2017


This is the third post I have written and in spite of pressing 'save' I have lost the previous two.   Very frustrating - so I try again.

Saturday - another wet day all day.   It is now half past six in the evening and although the sun has just appeared it is still pouring with rain.  Very depressing.

Weekends are always the hardest I think, but friend W and I treated ourselves to a pleasant lunch today (a rare occasion!!!) - Caesar salad followed by Raspberry cheesecake and two cups of coffee.   Sheer indulgence as we are going out to lunch tomorrow too (five of us), but much needed at present.

Only one box packed today as I have run out of boxes, so I must begin to search for more.   It is going to be some weeks yet before I move so there really is no hurry now that I have got so much packed and my dear niece has said she will come and help me on moving day.

After our lunch I went into town to buy a Guardian newspaper but so much of it is taken up by election news - and I don't want to read any more about it thank you.


Friday, 9 June 2017

Tomorrow is another day.

Yes.   I am taking your advice and taking each day as it comes.   Today, in spite of the shock election news which I got when I switched on at 6am (not necessarily a bad shock on reflection - maybe just a wake up call to politicians), the day started off on a better note.

But sadly a friend who died ten days ago had her funeral today and I thought I really must go.   Only eleven weeks after I lost my dear farmer I did find  the funeral service (in the same church and also in the church where we were married (and the church in my header)) very difficult.   But I survived - supported by various friends - and maybe I shall be stronger because I did it.

I have packed my two boxes which is another plus.

Our Chinese meal last night was absoloutely delicious and a lovely night out.   Friend S - who was one of the four last night and who was also at the funeral  this morning - suggested she take Tess for a walk this afternoon (I cannot walk far, so although Tess has three walks each day they are not long ones. )   Did Tess have a birthday?

She was gone for such a long time and had a gloriously long walk on her very long lead.   S quite rightly decided not to let her off the lead in the fields in case she wouldn't come back when called.  I don't know whether she would or not - but not worth the risk.

When they returned, after coffee and saying goodbye to S then I bathed Tess in the downstairs wet room.   The vet advised it when I went to get Tess her allergy tablets yesterday.   Apparently 
dogs give off a certain amount of yeast and if they scratch a lot they distribute the yeast and develop a yeasty smell - so now Tess smells nicely of dog shampoo. 

So there we are.   Another day passes.   No nearer moving but I just try not to think of that. I shall carry on with my two boxes a day and my niece has kindly said that she will come up from Derby and help me nearer the moving date - maybe July now.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Another day passes

I am not feeling myself at present and am beginning to feel the strain of it all.  The trouble with packing (only two boxes a day remember) is in deciding what to take and what to give away.  At the moment I live in a large farmhouse - I am moving to a smaller sized bungalow which just will not take the same amount of 'stuff' as my decorator friend called the things I have around.

In addition I have not felt well for the last couple of days but as my son has felt the same we have decided it must be a bug (election bug).

It has rained almost all the week here and rained heavily at that.  Yesterday was sunny but very windy and then today it has rained again until a short time ago.   Rain is forecast for tomorrow too - pity the poor folk who are up here on holiday (we live in a great holiday area).

Tonight friends are taking me out for a Chinese; I am sitting writing this waiting for them to arrive. Perhaps I shall feel more myself after that.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017


Although I seem to have been busy today I have also been very tired.   It was Writers' Group this morning but I was too tired to go and went back to bed after my breakfast and slept until eleven o'clock.

Then Tess and I went into town with a long list of things to do - I always make the list in the order of shops I pass so that I don't miss anything.

Coming home I popped a ready meal in the Aga (how handy these are when you live alone), but I must say it is not one I shall buy again; I didn't really enjoy it.   It was pasta with butternut squash and spinach and with pumpkin seeds scattered on the top.  Still, you can't win 'em all.

This afternoon Tess and I had a walk and at four o'clock we went to the vet's.   Tess has an allergy to grass which really troubles her in the summer, so she has to take tablets for it.

Now I am checking my e mails and my blog and desperately trying to stay awake until bedtime.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017


Last week the weather was lovely, the sun shone and it was warm.   This week it is very wet, very windy and cold.  The vagiaries of our English weather.


I put my coat on after tea  in order to take Tess round the hay field for a walk, stepped out of the back door and the gale almost blew me over.   If I fall onto the floor I find it more or less impossible to get up so I dare not go on.


I rang my son and he has just driven the mile round to the farm and taken her for her evening walk - not a brilliantly long one (he is not a dog lover at all) but at least a utility walk and the rabbits have had a bit of peace as she had to stay on the lead with him and was therefore unable to chase them. 


Each morning for the past week when I have drawn back the curtains, there has been a baby rabbit on the lawn.   Tess would dearly love to catch it.   I dread it happening because were she to injure it I would be totally unable to kill it.


I am going now to watch Yorkshire Vet on television - one of my favourite programmes.   I would guess that Thelma (North Stoke) watches it too - it is filmed in her area.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Ukulele class.

First and third Monday afternoons means Ukulele Class - six of us in the class and an hour's really hard work.   I practise the bits at home - playing and singing (no you would definitely not like to hear them) but when I get to the class and have to play them up to speed I tend to panic and miss quite a bit of the strumming out.   Still I am determined to get better.

 Then after tea there will be one more box to pack.
I make myself  pack two boxes a day.   The house is now full of boxes (very unsettling) but |I just cannot leave it all until the last minute - I am too old to spend the whole day doing it and two a day suits me fine.  It is very unsettling seeing all the boxes packed and stacked against the walls - after all, this is the longest I have ever lived in one place (twenty four years) and it will be hard to leave a place where I have been so happy with my beloved farmer.

Off now to make my sandwiches and sit down with them and a cup of tea to watch the antiques programme.


Sunday, 4 June 2017

What to do.

Living up here in North Yorkshire we seem a long way away from yet another terrorist attack in the capital - and more families shattered by the loss of their loved ones, or lives altered by terrible  injuries.   What should we do?   Should we just put it to the back of our minds and carry on as usual, should we worry in case it happens up here?  I don't know the answer; I think most of us are just so appalled at the loss of life, both here and in those countries in the Middle East.   When will it all end?  And what - if anything - can we do which might help in some way - both to stop the awful slaughter everywhere and to halt the alienation of so many people?

I suspect that most of us away from the Capital will carry on as normal today, going about our ordinary lives.

I shall go out for Sunday Lunch as usual with my three friends and while yes, we shall no doubt talk about the tragedy, we shall choose our lunch, eat it and enjoy it without giving too much thought to the starving children in the Yemen and Somalia.  And this will happen everywhere because there literally is nothing we can do about it.

The Police say 'Be vigilant' - we will be for a few days - but that does nothing to solve the problem, nothing to address the underlying causes, nothing to feed the thousands of hungry, displaced and distressed people - many of them children who look as though they may spend the whole of their lives in camps, their way of life destroyed for ever.

What is the answer?   I wish I knew.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Almost a Day Off.

Today friend W and I had what is one of our all time favourite days - we went across the Pennines to meet our friends P and D in the Italian Restaurant in Kirby Lonsdale on the edge of the Lakes.

I took Tess for a walk around the fields before I went off at 10.45 - perhaps I should take her to help her to socialise now that I am moving into town, but frankly trying to walk with a stick, a handbag and an umbrella (it was raining) is already far too much without having a dog on a lead as well.   And she seemed quite happy when I returned.

Three things stand out from today.   First of all the wonderful scenery.   It is always a lovely journey but today it was even better because the trees (quite a lot of the time we were 1000 feet) were newly green, the 'candles' on the horse chestnuts were in full bloom, the May blossom, which has about finished here, was still in full flower - and the buttercups - oh the buttercups- almost every field we passed was golden yellow.

Then the 'travellers' were on the move.   Soon it is Appleby Horse Fair, when travellers from all over the country journey there, and the road was peppered with gypsy caravans pulled by lovely old 'carthorses' as we used to call them - piebald in the main, heavy hooved and gentle.   Sadly a few of them leave a mess behind when they move on (they stop overnight on green spaces) and that does get them all a bad name, but I like to think that the majority act in a law-abiding way and their traditional wandering is brought to life just for a short time again (many of the live in houses now and some have Professional jobs and just enjoy the atmosphere 'on the road'.)

Finally meeting our friends is always enjoyable as we swap news and get 'up to date' - and the food in Avanti is exceptional.  W and I both had the same thing - prawn and chorizo risotto garnished with rocket and a side dish of mushroom, tomato and green beans.

When I got home I took Tess for another walk round the field (it has just been silaged so the grass is short again).  Then I packed just one box today - all my table linen, table mats and that sort of thing.  So that is another drawer empty.   Still plenty of drawers to go (and no rude jokes here boys ).

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Normal Service

Sorry I have been off line since Saturday but we had an awful thunderstorm which blew my hub and completely destroyed it.   BT were very good but of course it was Bank Holiday so my new hub didn't come until this morning.

I have now caught up on my e mails, but have a busy few days ahead - so it might be next week before I really get back into my stride.

Friday, 26 May 2017

First name terms.

The two men who organise the tip and I are almost on first name terms, I have been so often over the past few weeks.  My golden rule is to visit the tip once a day and pack at least two boxes each day.  Yesterday I excelled myself by doing even better.
When we bought our Aga cooker new twenty five years ago a whole lot of baking tins came with it.
After all this time they are beginning to look a bit worse for wear, but I do want to leave them where possible, so I set to work to give them a special do.

Armed with Brillo pads, rubber gloves and plenty of hot water I was busily scrubbing the Aga cake baker at twenty minutes to eleven last night!   It definitely thought it was having a birthday and is glowing this morning.

Today - our coffee morning with friends - I didn't get in until eleven o'clock but set to immediately and gathered together another car boot load for the tip - old items of farming clothing (milking smocks, woolly hats and gloves for winter milking mornings), a couple of old casserole dishes, a couple of roasting tins I no longer want and two outside folding chairs long past their sell-by date.)
Each load taken brings about a kind of cleansing.

It is very hot here but luckily there is a cooling breeze blowing, so on the way back Tess and I did our lane walk.   Now we are home; we have both had a drink and after one more cup of tea I shall do my next job - pack and label a couple more boxes.   The job is endless but I am clearing out such a lot of things I no longer want - the charity shop is taking it happily - and one day it will all be finished.   Won't it?

Thursday, 25 May 2017


It is good for me to be busy but you can have too much of a good thing and really, when it comes to bed-time I drop asleep the moment my head touches the pillow.

I am surrounded by boxes - my hairdresser dropped off around fifty this morning - and I try to fill at least a couple a day.   I also try to go to either the tip or the charity shop each day.   This is my one opportunity to seriously thin out my possessions.   When I pop my clogs somebody else will have to do it, so it is best for me to do it now.  Today it was the turn of the charity shop to receive three bags full of things to sell.

Today was my first ukulele concert - and it went off alright.   The one piece which I felt was too difficult for me - I was able to air strum large parts of it, only actually strumming the C and G chords - and hopefully nobody noticed.   The concert was at the Annual General Meeting of the University of the Third Age, which is very popular up here and has a good following.   There is a whole range of activities on offer - I enrolled in the book group, which meets once a month on a Monday (a good day for me) and the lady who runs it is going to e mail this month's book title to me.

Nothing is settled yet - I am in limbo - but I am keeping busy; there is such a lot to do.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Overdone things.

I have overdone things a bit today and am now very tired.   This morning a friend C and I drove into a town twelve miles away for knitting wool.   The shop was closed so I drove on into Northallerton and bought some there but that is further away - fifty mile round trip.

I came in, ate a quick lunch, fell asleep in the chair and woke up just in time to go to Ukulele practice- not getting home until almost four this afternoon.
Poor Tess has had just two fairly short walks today - and I feel guilty,   But I really am too tired to take her out again,  so I shall now go and sit down and watch the Chelsea flower show on television.

The Queen has just arrived to look round.   My goodness - she is walking round at ninety - I feel guilty complaining of being tired.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Lunch out.

Well, that's nothing new is it?   Today it was with three friends - L,C and W - set for one o'clock and delicious it was too.   L and C both had roast beef, W had roast pork and I had macaroni cheese (I was going to have salmon but by the time we ordered there was no salmon left; but there is a good veggie menu so I was happy to tuck into that.)
Afterwards it was coffee and a chat in the bar.   There were quite a lot of people there that we knew so the atmosphere was friendly.   Up here there is none of that crossing the road rather than asking how you are a few weeks after one has lost one's life partner, it is straight down the middle - tell it as it is, and all the better for it.

Friend L (Lavinia but Win for short) is ninety six years young and as we are all knocking on a bit we got to talking about lavs at the bottom of the garden and jerries under the bed in the night - and of houses with no bathrooms.   We came to the joint conclusion that today's youngsters don't know the half of it.

Then it was home to walk Tess, who was very pleased to see me.   I do feel guilty leaving her alone, but I try to walk her three times a day as far as I can with at least one of the three walks off the lead so that she can chase the rabbits (they are quite safe and they know it).   I need to get out as much as possible.

Tomorrow I go with friend C to buy more knitting wool in the morning and then in the afternoon there is ukulele practice.    I am not very good yet but I am making progress - and that is pleasing.  Playing with the rest of the group makes me keep up and improves my playing no end each week.  When I get a bit better I might put a clip on U Tube!!!

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Our Favourite Walk

But a short distance from the farm is a Lane; it is a Public Foothpath through the beautiful woodland called Givendale.   It is our favourite walk because it is safe for Tess to be off the lead (she has little or no road sense) and we rarely see another person - occasionally deer, often rabbits, sometimes a brown hare but rarely a human.

I was up with the lark this morning, having gone to bed quite early, and so off on our walk by half past eight.   I can make it a round trip - in this case call at The Lane for a walk (about half a mile there and back), drive on into town, collect a Guardian news paper (my choice on Saturdays),  drive up to the tip (itself a scenic journey through fields full of lambs) with my latest load of old clothes, dishes I no longer want etc., and then back home.

In addition to my newspaper I bought myself an indulgent small chocolate bar and when I got home I made a pot of coffee, ate my bar, drank my coffee and read the paper.

The next time I looked at the clock it was almost midday and time to cook my Jersey Royals with carrots, broccoli and mange tout and two quickly fried fillets of sea bass for lunch.

Here are some photographs of the Lane so that you can enjoy the walk too.   The first part is open to fields either side and then it is lined by Givendale Wood.   If we could walk far enough (for 'we' read 'I') we could carry on across the fields and eventually arrive back at the farm.

There are patches of pink campion - such a delightful pink - and patches of Lady's Mantle (alchemilla); the trees are coming into leaf and the birds were in full throttle this  morning; sadly no cuckoo (although both my son and my daughter in law have heard one this year.)

Friday, 19 May 2017

Tracking things down.

As you know I shall fairly shortly (all being well) be leaving the farm for the last time and moving into a bungalow.   This will be a wrench as this is the longest I have ever lived anywhere (twenty four years), but it is inevitable and in any case this house is far too large for one person to live in.

One of the things I shall be sad to leave behind is my Aga cooker, which has served me well.   We bought it new twenty four years ago.   It has kept us well-fed, kept the kitchen and the fabric of the house warm and kept the water very hot.   Now I shall be leaving all that behind.

There is one difficulty with Agas - it is almost impossible to clean them when they are 'on' (which is all the time).   The surface of the cooker is so hot that anything you try to clean it with dries before it has any impact.  So it is best to give the whole cooker a good going over when you switch it off for its six monthly service.

But one thing remains which has been troubling me.   There is a solid shelf, sometimes called the 'cold plain shelf' or the 'cooling shelf'.   I have used it constantly throughout the life of the Aga.   It started out 'silver' but is now black and no amount of elbow grease will get it back to its original newness.

I have written to Aga and to various suppliers and been totally unable to get a replacement.   I am useless at such things.   My daughter in law heard of my plight and in about half an hour had located one only ten miles away at an Aga supplier.  Brand new, it cost only fifteen pounds and this afternoon we drove over and bought it.   Job done.

As a thank you, on the way back, we called in a lovely new cafe which has opened and I treated us to  tea for me, coffee for her and two delicious cakes (Danish with raspberry jam for me and lemon merigue pie with ice cream for her).   So, a successful afternoon all round wouldn't you agree?

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Early Morning.....

.....the best time for spotting rabbits!

Tess and I walked down the pasture this morning at half past eight.   The birds were singing and the sun was shining but there was a chilly wind blowing.

Tess was in ecstasy at the number of rabbits there were everywhere and I had already noticed that they are busy trying to dig holes in the grass verges of the lane.   There was every size from teeny tiny ones up to old grandfathers.

Without looking it up (and I have no time as I go to the hairdresser at twelve today) I don't know what the gestation period of the rabbit is (no doubt one of you will look it up for me)  but I daresay that young rabbits are kicked out of the nest to fend for themselves at a very young age.

They really are so very pretty.  But, when the pasture is there for milk cows to graze, one can't afford to be sentimental.  I read somewhere that ten rabbits each as much grass a day as one cow.   Well I saw more than fifty this morning and I am sure that was only the tip of the iceberg.

We have three kinds of rabbit-catchers who come round - the man with a gun, the man with ferrets and the fox.   Don't know who will step in here, but I am sure that the fox will have such easy pickings from the rabbits that he will let my hens alone - unless of course he/she fancies a change of menu.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017


I had my first ever massage today.   To say it was soporific is an understatement - I went to sleep.

I think it is the first time I have truly relaxed in the last eight weeks and I am sure it did me immense good.   In fact I was so relaxed when I came out that I was apprehensive about driving the ten miles or so home - but so soon got going again once I got on the road.

When I got home the little boy next day, who is seven, had drawn me a picture and left it on the kitchen table for me to find.   It was a lovely surprise and it is now on the wall.
Simple things can give so much pleasure can't they?

As I put the car away in the garage I noticed how busy the swallows were, in and out of the space at the top of the barn door.   Yesterday was a wet day so there will at last be mud for them to put together their nests.   Flying all the way from Africa then building a nest and raising at least one brood, often two - what amazing birds they are.  What a wonderful thing Nature is - and how we notice it at this time of the year.

My Clematis Montana Rubens, which for years has just grown on an old tree trunk, has decided this year that it will meander along the washing line.  It looks splendid.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Much-needed rain.

It rained here all day yesterday and this morning I awoke to rain.   But my goodness how very pleased the fields and gardens were to welcome it.   Already the grass has greened-up and everything looks fresh and new again.

Now, at seven in the evening, there is a sharp breeze blowing but the sun is shining and it is warm.   The accountant has been here all afternoon going through the farm accounts for last year so poor Tess has been in for most of the day.

This morning was the 'Strugglers' meeting I go to - a group of us meet and have a quiet morning talking about things which are interesting us, or worrying us.   Such a productive and satisfying time I find it.   Afterwards we went and had lunch in The Posthorn in our little town.

So I have just walked down 'our' lane with Tess.   I didn't feel like it but I really enjoyed it once I got going and I feel much less tired than I did before I started out.   Tess enjoyed the doggy smells and I enjoyed the Spring smells - can't be bad.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Last Resting Place

Yesterday afternoon in warm sunshine we buried the farmer's ashes at the bottom of the pasture by the beck (just behind the fence) and the wood.   All the bluebells were out in the wood, the blackbirds were singing and he was laid to rest on the fields he loved.   May he rest in peace.

A stick marks the spot if you want to see exactly where we put them.