Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Welcome to autumn

"This is the weather the shepherd shuns;
And so do I,
When beeches drip in browns and duns,
And thresh and ply,
And hill-hid tides throb throe on throe,
And meadow rivulets overflow,
And drops on gate bars hang in a row,
And rooks in families homeward go,
And so do I."

Today made me think of this little poem by Thomas Hardy. The rain drips off the bird feeders as they make brief visits, shaking their feathers as when arrive. There is not much that looks more miserable than a soaking wet sparrow.
It is quite a contrast with yesterday which was sunny and much warmer than I expected. On the roadside the seed heads on the Burdock caught my attention. When I was young there was a fizzy drink called Dandelion and Burdock. I didn't fancy it then, and looking at them now, the thought still makes me shudder.
The best thing about all this rain is that the pots and tubs have had a really good soak and the water butt is full. In fact during one heavy shower there was so much water that the guttering and down pipe couldn't cope. I don't remember it being too bad last year. Perhaps it is time for a man and a ladder!

Saturday, 21 September 2019


What a wonderful week we have had. A couple of days dawned misty, but the sun soon got through. Yesterday the car told me it was 20.5, and this in late September! I have been so preoccupied  with the clouds of butterflies that I had failed to notice that the last of the swallows have left. When they are gathering on the wires I always think of Gray's Elegy,
"The breezy call of incense breathing morn,
The swallows twittering form the straw built shed,"

I often find myself with a head full of poetry that I learned as a youngster. Last week I felt moved to write to the Oldie Magazine as Virginia Ironside had suggested that it was Christopher Robin who took great care of his mother. In fact it was -
James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree
Took great care of his mother though he was only three.
James James said to his mother,"Mother," he said, said he,
"You must never go down to the end of the town
Without first consulting me."
I had to point out the problem.

It's been quite a good week on the progress front. The kitchen in the cottage is almost complete and I think it is perfect. I am so glad I found a small firm who would make it to fit the space. I have bought the curtain poles and now need to contact the lady who said she would make them for me. The other half has finally managed to get his ears syringed so at last I can turn the volume down a little on the TV. I have even managed to make some progress on my current pair of socks. Not bad.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Sox Appeal

Another glorious morning, just a hint of a chill in the air, but not enough to deter the butterflies which seem to be everywhere. I was having a close encounter with the iron! Suddenly it flashed a red light at me and said it wanted a new cartridge. (why do these things have to be so complicated?)
Well, that put an end to the ironing for the time being, it needs to cool down.
I have been thinking about Bryony's question in regard to toe up socks. I don't think there is a much better feeling than putting on hand knit socks. I can't remember how I came to do toe up originally,  probably a long gone mag. pattern. However, I have one book which was passed on by a friend. I only use it if I want to do a short row heel, as it saves working out the numbers. It is " Toe Up Socks" by Wendy D Johnson and it is an american publication, I think. ISBN 978-0-307-44944-3
There are also lots of videos on You Tube, especially useful ones like "Judy's Magic Cast On." So good luck with that.
I have done so many socks now I don't really use a pattern, and I still prefer to wear socks with little or no lace as they feel smoother. I'd rather let the pattern in the wool make them interesting. I really must get on with the current pair as I need more pairs for Christmas!

Monday, 16 September 2019

Butterfly Heaven

What a glorious morning. The butterflies are out in force: Red Admiral; Small Tortoiseshell; Peacock, and even painted Ladies. It seems strange to see them so late in September. Surely they can't still be on their way North. I assume they are now following the warmth back South so that their incredible cycle can begin again at the turn of the year.

Yesterday , after a lovely lunch out we did a slight detour; along the Common Lane to meet the road up from West Witton at the top of the Staups (local name ) and the across Melmerby Moor. We usually stop to have a look at the patchwork of Coverdale spread out before us. Three weeks ago the Heather was a brilliant counterpane of colour over the rolling landscape. Yesterday there was barely a pinprick of purple remaining. How the year moves on.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Superb in the sunshine

On the patio I have the most glorious Rudbeckia Goldsturm. When I bought it last year it was a miserable little green thing. I planted it in the raised bed and it did nothing. This year it has positively burgeoned and must have at least 40 blooms on it. I had put Geum Mrs Bradshaw next to it, and the two have produced the most wonderful combination. The Geum has been flowering for many weeks, and now the Rudbeckia has joined in they are superb.

I had some success on the techno front yesterday. While the other half was buying some wood to make a new carrier box for the quad bike, and we were in an area with mobile signals, I had a go at pairing the new phone to the car! Well, the car couldn't find the phone. The last time I tried this I got a youngster to help, but there wasn't one available. Undeterred, I tackled it from the phone, and after some fiddling, the phone found the car! Success. I can now phone from the car - hands free. Will I ever need this facility I wonder?

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Almost the Middle of Nowhere

Its has been almost a month since I wrote anything here. Doesn't time fly when things are not exactly going to plan! Tempted by a cheap offer I bought a tracking watch. When I got it home I could not pair it with anything. The Kindle tablet is the wrong technology. The laptop needs an intermediary device. The mobile phones were too old. I suppose in my heart I knew this, as both phones are hand-me-downs and I have been resisting biting the bullet for some time. The Vodaphone account only works by courtesy of a sure signal box as there are no mobile signals in this neck of the woods. The man in the Vodaphone shop was sympathetic but said I needed a more up-to-date phone. Quelle surprise! He kindly transferred the sim for me and by the time I got home (30 miles ) it was, in theory, working. Except that it wasn't. It took three phone calls to Vodaphone and almost a week to get the Sure signal box re-registered to the new phone. It is now all working. The point of this was to motivate myself to walk more. Today was supposed to be a lovely day for a walk, but now it's pouring down. Good job I filled up the bird feeders this morning.

My other half found a lady standing in the village. She was staying in a holiday home. She had found something on the internet!? which suggested she could catch a bus "into town". He gently explained that the only bus which ever passes through this village is the school bus. If she wanted to go somewhere he would take her, but she would need to get a taxi back. She stayed put.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

The Birds

It has been a lovely day. Blue sky and sunshine, if a little breezy. I filled up the bird feeders and did a lot of dead-heading. One of the bean pots looked a bit dry so - lots of watering cans, and everything that looked dry has had a can full. As soon as it rains the water butt will fill. Because the guttering collects from the whole of the roof it fills amazingly quickly. Rain is forecast for tomorrow.

There is a jackdaw trying to cling on to the feeders, he's having a bit of a struggle! As soon as he moves on the little birds come back, and there are dozens of them. The year we have had 16 different birds on the feeders as well as some on the ground beneath. The only disappointment has been the non-appearance of long tailed tits, who visit a friend less than a mile away as the crow flies. At the moment the goldfinches are absent, but I imagine there are lots of seeding thistles close by. There are baby swallows in the coal-house. I wonder if they will fatten up enough for their long journey. We shall never know.