Friday, 24 November 2017

Jack Frost

There are some beautiful things about a cold and frosty morning - and this is one of them.   My friend, W, took this photograph of one pane of glass in her conservatory roof this morning - isn't it beautiful?

It was slippery underfoot so I took Tess for just a short walk and I chose a route where it was just possible for me to walk on the grass all the way.  (it is amazing how quickly when one lives in a town that wees and poos become an obsession ((to me I mean, not Tess - who couldn't care less as long as she is out of doors).   Forty wees and one poo later we were back home.  (sorry about that).

Morning coffee for us all as usual and then later home again for me to have a Roman blind fitted in the computer room - looks very jolly.   Just a couple of pairs of curtains to go and then I am home and dry.   Keep warm.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Reading instructions.

Our Roadside recycling collections have all changed.   One week it is Dustbins - fairly straightforward - contents of dustbin wrapped in plastic bags and taken to the bottom of the drive.
The other week is Recycling week and since I moved - and all the instructions changed - I haven't got it right yet.

We have a variety of boxes and bags.   Here are the instructions:-

Blue Bags:   All paper, all card, egg boxes, brown card, cardboard tubes.   No to:  Takeaway containers, polystyrene, used tissue and wallpaper.
Boxes:   Plastic bottles,pots, tubs and trays; glass bottles and jars;cans, aerosols, cartons.   No to:  Broken glass, paint tins, plastic film and bags, plant pots, black plastic.

I sorted everything carefully yesterday and put it out at the bottom of the drive, but they didn't take it.    Did I do it wrong or did they just not see mine?   I will never know, but this morning, in the pouring rain, Tess and I drove up to the tip and handed it all in.    So all nice and tidy again.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Being British

Being British there is always the weather to talk about.   In fact I suspect it is our main topic of conversation.   It is either too hot or too cold, too wet or too dry, too windy or we could do with a good strong wind to dry things up a bit.   Maybe there are one or two days - most likely in Spring - when the weather is 'just right' for us all.  And we wallow in it.

Well today was definitely not one of the just right days.  You wouldn't call it a grey day - more of a black day.   Great black clouds have puthered across the sky all day and the rain has fallen heavily.   In addition the wind has been too strong for me to walk far.

Luckily it is the day when friend S sometimes calls to take Tess for a walk and she called today and braved the weather to take her up to the top of the road and then into the field.   Tess would love that as I know she misses the grass.

Now, at five o'clock, it is pitch dark.   My son has just been and helped me to organise my garage in a better way.    That doesn't mean I shall be able to get my car in but I shall be able to use my tumble drier.   I think the car is destined to stay on the drive but when I look down the road almost everyone seems to leave their car outside overnight.    Do you leave your cars out or do you put them away?   I would be interested to know because several folk have told me it is actually better for the car to stay outside.
 

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Too busy

Some time ago, friend W (who is only a little younger than I am) announced that she really was going to cut down on what she was doing.   I thought this a good idea and followed suit.   Has it worked?

Certainly it hasnt worked if today is an example.  This morning it was 'Strugglers' - a group of us (anything from half a dozen to around ten) meet in the Quaker Meeting House for an hour and a half of quiet contemplation and a time when any of us  can talk about anything we wish to talk about and discuss.   Sometimes this is a jolly meeting and sometimes it is sombre.   What it always is is a support group through thick and thin.

Four of us went out to lunch afterwards - just across the Square.  (a prawn baguette with salad for me).   Then I went home to make a meal in my Remoska - a sausage, red onion and apple casserole (half for my tea this evening, the other half for the freezer) and a snooze on the settee.   Friend W went on a hospital visit twenty miles away.   This evening we both went to two hour ukulele practise.

I have come in pretty exhausted.   Can't imagine how tired W must be.   In other words - neither of  us is sticking to our resolution.   How much work should us eighty year olds be doing?   I have also had three walks with Tess - albeit fairly short.   Off to bed.  Good night all.


 

Monday, 20 November 2017

Making music

The ukulele is such a fun instrument.   I am a keyboard player and have also played in an Early Music ensemble playing a variety of 'old' instruments - harpsichord, virginals, rebecs, recorders, crumhorns and the like.   But the ukulele is a completely new experience and it is a good thing at my age to take up a completely new thing to do.   It exercises a different part of the brain.

I have a condition called 'Benign Essential Tremor' which means that my hands shake when I write or when I try to carry a cup and saucer for example.
People tend to think it is the start of Parkinson's disease but my condition has been investigated and it is really quite harmless - irritating but not serious.   It runs in families - my father shook and my sister too.   And reading about it on the internet I see that the actress Katherine Hepburn
suffered greatly from it from an early age - not just in her hands but even her neck and head too.

Oddly enough I don't shake when I play the ukulele.   The doctor informs me that this is because it is a new skill I am learning and that uses a different part of the brain.  So yet another reason for taking up something new.   

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Home sweet home.

Yes, it feels like home.   Not the farmer with his dear self in it, but I have to be realistic - he is not coming back - just the memories of him - and I find those easier away from the farm than I did while living there.   I have the bungalow more or less liveable and am getting to know folk round about - everyone is very friendly.

This morning the sun is shining brightly on to a very frosty world.   My sitting room faces due South as did the sitting room at the farm, so when the sun is shining the rooms soon warm up as good backing to the central heating.   I have a louvred blind at the window so there are shadows on these photographs and because of the restricted space  things seem at an angle - but you get the general idea.


It is a long room and there is pleny of space.   The blanket (which I made from an old sample book of tweeds) on the settee back is handy for my legs in the evening (and Tess rather likes to sleep on the bottom of it too).

If any of my US readers can remind me what the figure on the left of the mantel shelf is called I would be grateful.   I love it - bought it at Mesa Verde some years ago - but keep forgetting his name.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Five Weeks to Go.

All I can say really is that M & S at Teeside Park at half past nine on a Saturday morning is pretty much mayhem.   Admittedly it was a twenty percent off clothing day, which I am sure made a difference, but finding a spot in the car park would have been nigh on impossible without my 'Disabled' badge and the poor assistants were already looking haggard.   Only another seven or so hours to go.

Watching my half hour of Breakfast television this morning - on a Saturday it includes a quarter of an hour of 'Click' - I watched with amazement a Production line putting together smart phones in China.   Long lines of operatives, each one placing just one tiny component in the phone and then sending it on to the next bay so that in double quick time it arrives at the end of the line and is complete.   No wonder the operatives get a two hour lunch break; most of them, heads down, were asleep at their posts.

All this made me jolly glad to be long-retired.

Oh and by the way - bought two lovely sweaters.

Friday, 17 November 2017

No Joke.

This is the third time I have tried to post this and each time, as I got the the end the whole thing disappeared into thin air, never to be seen again.   It has been most frustrating and does make me realise that old age/lack of real computer knowledge is a great handicap to blogging.   As it is indeed to everything else.

Yesterday, what started out as a perfectly ordinary day with not a lot on the agenda, ended up as a frantically hectic day which ended with my feeling like a wrung-out rag.   This was mostly due to old age.   Everything takes twice or three times as long to do - nothing is really easy any more. End of moan.

I would like to repeat yesterday's post so that you can read just what a hectic day I had but really the effort of remembering it in detail is just not worth the bother. 

Today has been less so, largely because it is our Coffee day and following on this friend W and I, as usual, went out for lunch.   We had a prawn and crayfish salad with trimmings and a bowl of chips each.   It was delicious.

My Insurance Broker came and we spent the afternoon (after the whole thing was sorted out) chatting.   He has just come back after a trip with his wife to Macchu Pichu and then a week going up a tributary of the Amazon.   One of the holidays I would have loved to have done when younger but just listening to the itinerary now was enough to make me want a lie down.

The weather here is bitterly cold today with a sharp wind blowing.   Even Tess seems reluctant to go out although if J, who often walks her in the early evening, rings the door bell I am sure she will change her mind.

Back to old age.   At our ukulele meeting for the Alzheimers and their carers the other day, one friend forgot her ukulele, another forgot his music and a third (who actually called for me) forgot to close his boot, so that the car kept pinging for the first half mile!  In today's Times I read of a man who lost his car twenty years ago (a VW Passat) when he just couldn't remember where he had left it.   It has just  been found by builders about to
clear a site for building!!   Traced back to the man the car is now quite undriveable of course but he acknowledges that it is still in the place he parked it all those years ago.


 

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Settling down.

Getting back into blogging is playing a large part in settling down to my new life.   Bit by bit things are getting done, a place is being found for everything (well almost) and the bungalow is beginning to look tidy.

Sadly I can't abide mess so all the boxes were unpacked in double quick time.   I had wonderful help from W and C who were at the bungalow to receive the stuff when it arrived.   By the time my helper J and I arrived they were well on with putting the crockery away in the kitchen cupboards.

Tradesmen all came when they said they would come so that everything was finished on time.   The electrician is here this afternoon putting a socket in the garage for my electric doors.   My dog walker has just arrived to take Tess for a walk with her dog, Meg. 

Ukulele has taken a back seat - my mind was far too full of other things to concentrate, but I am starting again tomorrow when I go with a small group to play for Alzheimers sufferers and their carers.   It is a lovely afternoon and we all enjoy it so a good place to start up again for me.

Sounds as though we are in for a very cold spell of weather.   If so then I shall miss my dear old Aga.
Gas central heating is good but nothing beats the Aga for good toe-warming.

The world and its affairs have passed me by completely although I am now watching Breakfast television for the half hour or so it takes me to eat my porridge and banana.   Zimbabwe seems to be the headline today, along with the terrible scenes of famine and displacement in Yemen.   Nothing changes does it - just the site of the problem.  As somebody said (and I am sure one of you will point out who it was) 'Mans inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn.'

Until tomorrow friends.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Normal service

It seems that I have been away such a long time - much of it thanks to BT who connected my telephone the same day that I moved but didn't connect my broadband for a fortnight so I have been champing at the bit.

The good side is that I am almost straight.   All boxes are unpacked.   I have had two rooms redecorated.   Quite a lot of electrical work has been done.   A new shower and patio doors have been installed.   Yesterday a new carpet was laid in the dining room (which was previously a bedroom) and it is now down to buying one new set of curtains for the patio doors and then I am completely finished and it is home sweet home.

Tess and I are settling in well.   This is a very friendly road and I already know quite a few people in it.   They, plus some I had not met before, have called in to welcome me and already I feel at home here and know I have made the right decision.   Tess misses the fields of course and the fact that she cannot be let off the leash because she has absolutely no road sense.   As I write this she is laid at my feet.   I try to take her for three walks a day.   Today I have only managed two as I had to go to see the specialist at the hospital early this morning but sometimes in the evening a friend calls to take her for a walk, so there is time yet.

I am finding gas quite scary - I have gas central heating and a gas hob; ovens are electric and after twenty five years with an Aga it is daunting, but I must get down to tackling it before Christmas.

The world has not changed in the three weeks I have been away.   Everything is just as it was and I have slotted back in.   Within a week I shall have forgotten I have ever been away.

The bungalow holds no memories of the farmer.   I have our wedding photograph in a prominent place.    I love the look of optimism on his face and I know that he would not have settled here.   He would have been back at the farm helping out at every opportunity.    Quiet retirement in a bungalow was never on his agenda.   So he rests in peace in the fields he loved.