Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Three Little Boys and a Vaccination


Three of my grandsons live in London, this was their Christmas gift to me - a wonderful portrait of the three of them with my husband and myself, not forgetting Toby the dog.   Each and every item shown was chosen with care - my husband does a lot of gardening and it is alleged that I do a lot of dog walking and have occasional mad bursts of sewing and creating.   How well they know me!  

The three boys have their favourite toys and activities scattered around them.   The boys are all recognisable, especially the dark haired one.   The picture is a delight, I will treasure it always, boys.

I hardly dare say it but the internet seems to be working well now.    

It only took two visits and a new hub sent through the post.   I confess that I got pretty stressed by the two home visits, especially as one of the men needed to use the facilities.  In normal times this wouldn't be a problem but these are still not normal times.   I did an awful lot of cleaning and beaching afterwards.

Not having the usual easy access to the internet meant that I had to amuse myself in different ways.  Books, books, books, being my first choice, so all was not lost.    When I tired of books I got to work on a silk patchwork cover which has been three or four years in the making so far.  In between times, weather permitting, I walked Toby through sodden fields.    

I hope you are all keeping well and happy during these unusual times.

My husband had his vaccination yesterday.   A sore arm is all he has to report today.

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Wassailing the Old Apple Tree

I filled an old jug with cider,  grabbed a couple pieces of toast and an old wooden spoon.  Twelfth Night.  Time to wassail the oldest apple tree.  

One of these days I feel sure that someone is going to see me and wonder why I am wearing a flower bestrewn old straw hat as I walk around an apple tree, pouring cider from the jug, beating the tree with a wooden spoon.   They may catch sight of the toast lodged up in the branches and wonder even more as they hear me recite:

Here's to thee, old apple tree
Whence thou mayst bud and thou mayst blow
Hats full, caps full,
Bushel, bushel bags full,
And a little heap under the stairs.
Hurrah! Hurrah

It was great fun.

The excitement for Thursday was the delivery of the vegetable box.   Keith and Dawn, landlords of the village pub, offered this service way back when Lockdown I began and when it was difficult to get a supermarket delivery slot, they were also able to obtain bags of flour - at that time it was almost impossible to obtain flour any other way.    I make most of our bread, so I was very grateful.

Friday dawned, daughter and son-in-law were both in school.   I kept an eye on the grandchildren.

The internet connection continues to give problems.   Sometimes everything is as it should be, then it disappears.  Worse things happen at sea.  

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Lockdown Life in Lincolnshire

I am not quite sure how this is going to work out but, I am going to attempt to keep an occasional diary of my life during 'Lockdown III'.    Lockdown life is not too terribly different from my old quiet life, but it is different.   I am different.    Are these changes reversible?  Time will tell.

Here goes.

I walked Toby down the old railway line and out to the back of the village, skirting around the old gravel pit fishing lake then along the farm track to the next village.  Home through the fields.   It was cold but dry.  Underfoot was squelchy and slippery.   I had to 'jump' in several puddles to clean about half a pound of mud off each boot.   The day I don't enjoy washing my wellies in this way will probably be the day I hang them up for good.

Toby was so muddy that it was a two-towel job to get him clean and dry.   His reward was a handful of dog biscuits, my own,  a large mug of tea and a bowl of creamy porridge, perfect for a chilly morning.

The supermarket delivery was booked for 10am and he arrived exactly on time.   The virus has changed things, made this simple process so much more complicated. Masks, social distancing, disinfectant.  Nothing too arduous, just time consuming and tedious.

Having trouble with the internet connection again.  This kind of thing often happens here.   BT are sending someone out but s/he won't be here for almost two weeks... Great service.

My next small task is to write a postcard to my granddaughter.  Since Lockdown 1 we have been exchanging notes, letters and postcards.   The pace is entirely set by her needs.   These little notes of hers have filled me with delight.   Messages from her heart.   All the shades of emotion, light through to dark have been covered.   I often think they have run their course but then she lets me know that she is missing our exchanges.

The ones I have received have been tied with ribbon and are placed in boxes, along with old letter from my mother, father, aunt, great grandmother, to be kept safe until the day comes when she will come across them and remember the fun we had.

Friday, 25 December 2020

A Magical Moment

Happy Christmas!

Twenty-twenty has been somewhat lacking in the joy and 'magic' department, but this morning I had one such moment.

Well before dawn,  I harnessed up Toby Too and headed out towards the village.   I had one last Christmas gift to drop off, a surprise for a friend.   The lane was ankle deep in mud and standing water, but the air was still and cold, no rain, which was a real bonus after so many wet and soggy days.  It felt good to be out and about.

Apart from one or two cottages which had bedroom lights ablaze, the village was in darkness.    No traffic passed, no early morning dog-walkers, just a Tawny Owl hooting and the sheep, across the road, bleating.  It was beautiful.

Mission accomplished, I decided to take a quick walk around Owl Wood, say 'Hello' to Old Toby who is buried in that place which he so loved.      

I had just spoken the words "Hello, old boy" when snowflakes began tumbling from the inky sky.     It was very special, it felt like a reply.  

Things may be very different from normal, but I hope you are able to find a little magic in your day.

Happy Christmas, everyone.  


Tuesday, 22 September 2020

When Two and Two Don't Add Up

 The doorbell gave a soft "Ting" sound, so Toby gave his deep rumbly bark and raced outside to see who had dared to ring it.    I reluctantly followed and walked down to the front gate, only to find the man who sold us a lovely old country cottage, some two decades ago.    He and his wife were in the area and had decided to call in.

We hadn't seen or heard from them in several years, so it was something of a surprise, but we hid it well, I think!   We chatted away, caught up on their family news, gave them ours.

Then the real reason for the surprise visit came out, they had read a newspaper notice to the effect that I had died.   The cutting gave my name and my husband's name, they were upset to think that I had gone.

That's the trouble with names, Elaine was quite popular, back in the fifties - same with my husband's name.  Our surname is also a local one, even though my husband's family are actually from the Newcastle area.   

I am glad to say that two and two didn't make four in this case!

My sympathies to the other family, of course.

Thursday, 3 September 2020

What I Did in the Summer Holidays

It is many years since I was faced with having to write an essay on that particular theme, but I have been away from Blogland for so long that I almost feel I should do so today.    Trouble is, I don't have anything of interest to relate.

Life here has rumbled along pretty much as normal.

Fruit and vegetables have been grown, harvested and eaten and the lawns have been mowed.   Meals have been cooked and eaten, bread baked and shared.

The septic tank has been emptied.  The old septic tank man retired, we had to find a new one.  He arrived early so I raced around closing all the windows, waiting for the usual stench to pervade the house... nothing.   The new man did the job, swiftly and efficiently, leaving the air around the cottage smelling of nothing out of the ordinary.   

That was, perhaps, the highlight of the holidays.   😉

Moving swiftly on - life in a small village does have some pleasant surprises.   Doorstep finds being one of them.

During the last week I have found a large bag of succulent plums left by a neighbour who is desperately trying to empty her plum trees to be rid of a wasp invasion.    Another gift of a huge bag of Pink Lady Apples, even the grandchildren enjoy those.   The most unexpected surprise was to find a large bag of library books had been left for me.

Now that the mobile library no longer calls at our village I have been moved onto their 'Click and Pick' van, which means that I can go online and order books and they will deliver them, once a month.  If I don't order any, they will simply make the selection for me.   They will also take away the books I have read.

Of course the lockdown meant that library services were suspended for many months and as I hadn't received any notification that things were about to get going again, this was quite unexpected, but a very nice surprise.     I have managed to find their new timetable, so I will be ready and waiting for them next time.

Much of my time seems to have been spent trying out various mask patterns, trying to find the most comfortable ones, as well as the easiest ones to sew.    The grandchildren have to wear masks on the school bus, and the oldest one must wear his at school, so it was important to get it right.

I spent several hours up at the A&E Dept of the hospital in Louth, waiting to see a doctor because I was suffering from an extremely painful back spasm - it was the weekend, of course.   GP's can rarely been seen anyway and you can forget it if you have a problem over the weekend.     Trying to be seen by someone involved several telephone conversations and much waiting for permission to see an out of hours GP at the hospital.

Buzz into the foyer, answer more questions, temperature taken, wear a mask, sanitise hands, enter the next door.   Wait in the room which had about six very socially distanced chairs.   Wait, wait, wait.  The wait became two hours, the terrible pain diminished with every minute as the stress levels increased.      Eventually I was called through. 

More questions, including where does it hurt?   I had to admit that the pain had completely gone, driven away by the raging stress hormones.   Luckily the doctor believed me and I left clutching a prescription for strong painkillers and muscle relaxants.   I am glad to say that my back is back to normal now - not great, but I can live with it.

Long dog walks have featured, as they always do, but Toby is showing his age now and I have to tailor the walks according to how he is on any given day.      The cats continue to catch rodents, but only the cute little ones which I feel sorry for.  The job they are paid to do is catch rats but they don't seem to do that any more.    Now that the farmer is harvesting the barley field around our house, perhaps we will find a few on the doorstep.   That would help to justify all the expensive cat food which they enjoy so much.

To sum up - I haven't really done much of anything.   I seem to have wafted around in a fairly enjoyable way but non productive way, nothing to do with the strong painkillers, truly!

Now that the grandchildren are back at school it is time that I took myself in hand.  Get back to normal life. 

I hope you haven't found yourselves wasting as much time, or if you have, I hope you enjoyed it.