Friday, 18 November 2011


Sorry! A temporary health blip on the radar.......

But I feel blessed with all the friends who rallied round.

I am like Lady Mary or Sybil in Downton Abbey- arranging flowers and being chauffered round- though I fell for my chauffeur a lot of years ago!

Life has moved on through the last flowers of summer like the hollyhocks

into the produce of autumn.

The roses are still blooming.

The shower is still leaking.

The acer has turned and today lost its leaves

As I walked the bounds today past sedum starting to give in to winter today, I glimpsed the tops of bulbs spearing a tip through the soil.

Meanwhile the fence glimmers with winter jasmine.

Indoors the various Christmas cacti are getting timing wrong again this year!

They are the ideal plant for people who have a life and housework does not enter into it- you should not move Christmas cactus partic when they have flower buds- so do not move them for dusting!

It has been a good year for fruit and berries which in country folklore means we have a hard winter coming; this time least year we had deep snow already. 4 pm and it is almost dark- roll on the Solstice.

I am wondering if I can make Christmas puddings tonight........

Tuesday, 11 October 2011


What a weekend a group of us had to celebrate the ruby weddings of M&T,J&E who have had 40 years of married bliss....

On the train we were like a group of kids with our bottles of wine and great hilarity!

The Cedar Court looked good but was not so out of the ordinary as it should have been; but it was central for the station and the old town.

I love York!

Ambling down the Shambles; there was a large Food fayre on; Alan Bennett's show on at the theatre; and a service at the Minster (on the Saturday the ringers had a full peal going.) We took a Hop on/Hop off bus which was handy. The river boat ride was interesting and good value too.

The Minster is always beautiful especially the rose window; I would love to have seen John Sentamu, the archbishop- a man I have a lot of time for- would take a religion forward with joy not back preVatican II like the Catholic bishops. Fish on Fridays and twiddling round with liturgical language?? - Come off your pedestals and catch up to 2011 !

Wednesday, 5 October 2011


Time goes on and the shower is still leaking- only 4 months now at least. H1 is useless at DIY and is not interested in the house so how do I get a shower base sorted out? Every plumber I have contacted says 'Yes! I can put that right but No! I won't put in the shower base you want and have trawled round for months choosing - I have an account at the Plumb Centre so choose out of their catalogue'. Said catalogue contains tiny pictures in which I can not see what they have to offer.

Some weeks ago we three decided to visit somewhere out of the rain- the Bowes Museum with the mechanical silver swan.....

We never got there! We stopped off in Staindrop for grub - purely in the interests again, of supporting rural economy- duty calls!

The church was holding a flower festival and we got waylaid. The community were originally holding the festival to buy a toilet for the congregation; however thieves had stripped lead off the church roof- and churches can only insure for up to £5,000 so forget the loo- they need to find another £15K to put the roofing in proper order again. How sad is that?

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Like the dawning of the morning.....

and so it is..... my plan...... isolation till.... given time to calm the situation ... then I go back and ask if we can talk over a cup of coffee/tea.

Outside we sit, survey, contemplate. H1 says
"I've had an idea. It doesn't seem fair to slump the heap against a fence so why not........"

Bingo! We work out where to try & I persuade him it is not important if we make a mistake (already I am thinking will our hedgehog find the new location of the heap before hibernation- there is snow forecast for October- IT IS OCTOBER TODAY!)

Meabwhile the silence of the patient wait affords me time to read my book from cover to cover. The Faithless Wife is set in Menorca and I recognised most of the places mentioned.I had not realised there was such Menorquan resistance to the Franco Fascist takeover.

It is a beautiful island set like a jewel in the Mediterranean; white houses grouped round pretty calas; turquoise sea wrapped round headlands;it was very hot when we were there. Our hosts walk daily among wild tortoises of every size in the land near their home. I tried to scale them so you could appreciate the sizes and colours of their shells.

My neighbour says I am a girl on a mission today- but weddings (first time and 40 years of rubies) and holidays leave no time for housework so I have blitzed- and now I am going to stuff a marrow!

I shall return to insert photographs.

The moral? Plant the seed and wait to see what grows......


Orange light peeking over the horizon. Black rooftops. Pink streaks silhouette a line of ridge-tile pigeons watching the sun come up with me. Gentle grey dusts across the everchanging celestial vista. The sky glows highlighting a vapour trail. A flight of birds move high above my heaven. The day begins with the soft coo of a ring collar dove.

I am awake. I hate arguments. I just leave them... walk away from the protagonist.... cut them out in order to get away from them- like dead wood. It is what I do- step away and isolate myself. I do not want to face them. I do not know how to handle them so I leave them. It looks cold but it is not- it is the reverse- they can leave me in a limbo of confusion. How do I face the meeting up?- usually pink with embarrassment- so at the rendezvous I always seem to do/say the wrong thing. People make up things to cover their backs when they recount to other people what has happened and I can not believe they have told fibs. Why bother? Is it SO important? I can't be bothered with working it out so I walk away. Ah! There is the sun staring at me now.

H1 and I have had a row! He has to win at everything.... and he has taken over my last refuge- my garden. He doesn't understand that gardens are a journey of discovery; you get it wrong- plants in the wrong place, soil, aspect; always changing and never the same. So I want the compost heap location changed! Big deal? Honest! How come a scientist shows an inability to cope with change? Surely their world of theory , hypothesis, experiment, research is everchanging? He does everything to the least possible...Does that go with the gender? If I was an employer I think I'd employ mainly women- they are particular..... So..... I have asked him not to put compost directly against the fence but to put a piece of ply between the grass cuttings and neighbours' (or our own) fences so they do not decompose with the warming heap(the fences not the neighbours!). This has proved a major source of inconvenience/irritation to H1 who (upon my request) did it eventually and once but asap has abandoned the idea and moved along the fence to dump again on unguarded perimeters. Such a big deal?! Can you believe it?

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Moving on

I finished Alan Titchmarsh this morning; guilty thoughts hit me constantly- I should be out there now, working in the overgrown, pots need watering, wizened tomato plants, dead nasturtiums, garden- not reading about working in the garden.

We are experiencing a glorious Indian summer this week so why am I sitting reading and writing on a computer? I am treating myself as I carried out the removal of a massive pile of ironing last night dashing away with the smoothing iron almost till the witching hour. Until this week I had thought the ironing basket heaped with white cutoffs and palmtree shirts would be laid to rest till next year.

The roses have come into their own.

We stood at the kitchen window and watched nature in the raw; a sparrow hawk tearing a woodpigeon apart- oh heck! I don't interfere with nature - survival of the fittest and all that (except when wellfed cats 'play' with their victims) but killing does not rest easy with me.

There are drifts of leaves brushing pavements and lawns; there is a nod at the change of season.

I am moving on to my gift from K & P......'The Faithless Wife' by Jo Eames.

Monday, 26 September 2011

The lady with the pearl earrings

No matter her age and what the state of her health, she was always well groomed- coiffured, manicured and pearl earringed. I visited her regularly and we had coffee, chat - and a ginger snap.

Yesterday I cried as I drove past.

But it was time well spent.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Hitting the ground running.....

Be the truth known we have never stopped sprinting for weeks!

Before the wedding( where did 3 tiers of fruit cake go? I insisted on having a few pieces for up North- which I claimed but....)

Before the wedding we went 'en famille' to the Rennington Scarecrow Festival; smashing especially in the church with Margaret & Andy Watchorn on the Northumbrian pipes.....then on to the Seahouses RNLI Fayre.

The new moon? tide was higher than I'd ever seen it.

Then there was the wedding.......

I have got to go to bed- and I haven't told you about Staindrop,


or events since the wedding...

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The wedding- you all wanted the details.......

J and M have tied the knot!

5 bridesmaids, their husbands/partners, the bride's family, R the photographer all descended on the Pretty Maid Guest House where Sue and Andy looked after us like family. We brought 3 tiers of wedding cake, favours made & iced by J, all the dresses including the bridal gown. J & J (Master of Ceremonies) and H1 & I decorated the barn then semi-undecorated it as it looked lovely without our muslin drapes!

I had taken down champagne and flutes for the nerve-calming while the hairdresser worked! H1 gave J the traditional, old silver (a 6 pence) for her left shoe; so she had 'something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue' (a tiny blue bow sewed in to her gown by M. the seamstress). E had made J a garter; J was set and ready to go!

Posies of roses and buttonholes arrived. 25 minutes before the ceremony we discovered we had left the veil in the North!! B, L and Andy sped to the rescue buying an identical veil!

We wended our way, behatted and posh-frocked, along sunlit, country lanes to a tiny, flint-encrusted church in Kent.

A white London cab brought J and her father to the gate. J's godparents joined the bellringers and rang the bells in the church tower to welcome us all. The organist played on to cover the longer than usual and traditional late arrival of the bride- while M remained calm?!!

The vicar declared " A miracle".....

B and I lit candles to symbolise 2 families coming together. Reverend Chris performed the marriage ceremony under a flower wedding arch then had everyone rolling in the aisle.

We sang; 3 of us read; we showered the married couple with petal confetti. L presented J with a traditional horseshoe (filled with luck) and 60+ of us strolled down to the wedding barn where we sipped on a sunny lawn.

It was a delight to be with our daughters, their partners and 8 friends who had travelled down. We had already met M's Yorkshire contingent in the pub after the rehearsal! There were people I missed but ' que sera, sera.'

The caterers, under Nina's expert guidance, kept us all supplied with aperitifs and hors d'ouevres. The venue belonged to an Elizabethan manor house with gardens; I was in seventh heaven exploring deep borders with my BBB, A - with bubbly in one hand, my hat in the other - and my shoes left somewhere on the lawn.

The barn was twinkly and birdcages burgeoned with flowers. After our meal (ending with cookies and After 8s of course!) and fab speeches by father of the bride ( yes to all the enquirers- he did SO well!), the groom and the best man- J & M cut the cake and had their 'first dance' then we danced and danced and danced.

J and M looked so happy- long may they be as happy!