Good morning dear reader and welcome finally, to a lovely sunny Sunday at Comb Towers. Our meteorologists promise us a couple of fairly good days and then the temperatures may drop back again.However, I hope I find you in good fettle and enjoying the Bank Holiday weekend. I am feeling quite chipper this morning and looking forward to going out into my garden, in spite of a bit of a domestic hiccup during the week.
You may remember, dear reader, that last week I related the tale of Spouse and the rather luscious lady he met at a party in France. I never, in my wildest dreams, expected to be following it up with another tale of a lady this week. But there you are, dear reader, you just never know ...
Last week I was in the process of switching from one mobile phone provider to another and falling between two stools, so to speak, I was going to be without any service for one day. It so happened on that day that I wanted to text my sister about a gardening matter. No phone - next best best thing - Spouse's phone. Yes, I know you know where I am going with this and so I am!
Spouse was down at the bottom of the garden, still wielding the large axe and chainsaw on that horrid old tree stump. But his phone was in his den. I opened it up and lo and behold - there was a new text message. 'Thank you for the beautiful flowers and chocolates. They are lovely. See you soon. Miss D.'
Oh really ... Miss D? And who in the name of glory is Miss D? And why is Spouse sending her flowers and chocolates? And how come she's getting some and I'm not? Softly, softly, catchee monkey here. I resisted the temptation to rush down the garden, demanding to know who the hell Miss D is and then brain him with a spade - although I might have felt better for it.
No, I waited until I was setting the dining room table for dinner and mused aloud to Spouse as I too..d and fro..d with cutlery and plates. 'Seems a long time since we had any fresh flowers in this room,' says I. 'Flowers really lift a room, don't they?' 'Hmm,' says Spouse noncommittedly. 'What's that?' 'Flowers,' I said with emphasis. 'I said flowers really lift a room, don't they? Perhaps we should buy a bunch of flowers.' 'Mmm,' said Spouse and returned to his book.
That lure, having got me nowhere, I tried again after dinner. 'I quite fancy a chocolate,' says I. 'We haven't had chocolates for a while have we? Not since Easter. 'A lovely box of chocolates,' I said through gritted teeth. Spouse sighed and put his book down, removed his reading glasses and glared at me. 'So, you've been reading my phone.'
'I have,' I said. 'I don't have a phone today and I wanted to text my sister.' I'm sorry to say, dear reader, that I slightly lost the plot at that point. 'And who the hell is Miss D? And what's with the flowers and chocolates?' Oh my, my, dear reader. Why did I ask? Did I really want to know? Sure as heck I did.
'Miss D is a lady of our acquaintance,' says Spouse. 'Is she by jove. Well, she won't be for much longer,' I said indignantly. 'Oh keep your hair on woman,' sighed Spouse. 'What are you imagining? A little light flirtation with Miss D or even a torrid affair? Perlease, get your brain into gear. I haven't got the time or energy for all that nonsense. Living with you is quite enough for any man. Think, woman. Think ... Miss D ...'
'Never mind this "Miss D" nonsense. Why have you got her on your phone in the first place and why are you sending her flowers and chocolates?' 'She's on my phone because she sometimes gives me a little advice on what not to get you for a present, when I have some wilder notions and she got flowers and chocolates because she's just passed her driving test and I wanted to congratulate her and thank her for being such a help. Now can you connect with Miss D ...?
Mmm, dear reader. The penny dropped and I knew who Miss D was. A delightlful young lady of our acquaintance who has been so kind and helpful to us during both lockdowns. I think I have to award myself first prize for being an eejit. My dear Mama was right. How many times did she tell me I was an eejit? Too many to remember, so maybe there is something in that after all.
The upshot of this little hiccup is that Spouse is now permanently in the smug zone, complete with irritating smug grin on his face. And the postscript is that he bounced in the door with a bunch of red roses and a box of chocolates for me the very next day. All is harmonious at Comb Towers once more.
Enjoy the sunshine, my dear reader and the Bank Holiday. See you next week, axes and chainsaws allowing.
Good morning my dear reader and may I wish you a very happy Pentecost Day. We are home again after a short break away and it's lovely to be in your company again. The weather was atrocious but the accommodation and food were excellent - so lovely to have someone else do the cooking. As you know, Spouse is not allowed in the kitchen, a bull in a china shop is less dangerous. But there again, I keep out of his shed, which I confess, I am happy to do - just the sight of all those huge and dangerous looking electric saws gives me the heebie jeebies, so we are both happy. The weather is still pretty ropey. My garden is looking very sodden and like me, hanging in there and waiting for the sunny days to arrive.
During the week a few old memories came to the fore which cause us great merriment. One such is worth sharing I think. When we were out walking on one of the drier days we passed a house built very much in the French country style. This prompted a few memories of our time in France.
Now, you would never imagine Spouse as a bit of a lothario would you? But ... do not be deceived, dear reader. Once at a very jolly soiree, Spouse fell into converse with a very attractive and buxom lady. I, at some distance across a crowded room, could see much animated flirting going on - she, looking up at him, all heaving bosom and fluttering eyelashes and he, quite entranced by her but trying not to stare down her cleavage too much. Our hostess drifted across to me and suggested that maybe I should go and rescue him. 'Doesn't look like he needs rescuing to me,' says I. 'far from it, he's having a whale of a time.'
'She's renowned,' said my hostess. 'Now she's found her man, she'll whisk him off - she know all the quiet places here - he won't stand a chance. She eats men for dinner and spits them out for breakfast.' 'Well, he's a big man,' says I. ' And he's had his dinner so we'll see how far she gets.'
Ha ha, my dear reader. The good lady must have made her move, edging Spouse towards the door. I could see the moment the penny dropped with him as to what her amorous intentions really were. He rapidly backed off and edged his way around the room - to stand behind me! 'Bit too rich, was she?' I asked. 'She's a maneater!' says Spouse. 'I'd never get out alive.' Well, of course, dear reader, I thought it was all hilarious and told him he'd got his just desserts.
For the rest of the evening Spouse was as a limpet clinging to a rock. We might as well have been joined at the hip. Much to his chagrin, the buxom lady occasionally looked across the room to him, smiling a knowing smile as Spouse blushed and pressed even closer to me.
It was quite a while before Spouse recovered himself and was ready to venture out socially again. Before we set out from home to our next soiree, I mischeviously said, 'I just hope Madame X is not there again.' That made the colour drain from Spouse's face. Naughty of me. I knew she wouldn't be there, but a little reminder did no harm.
Meanwhile, dear reader, back to the present day in North Yorkshire and life is a little more mundane. Not a buxom wench in sight only an enormous tree stump that is slap bang in the middle of the ground where my new shed will be - I hope and so the stump has to go. Unfortunately, with the heavy rains the site is sodden and muddy and Spouse is having a tough time of it. Weather permitting he will persevere with the task this week and I shall speak nicely to him as he wields his massive axe at the stump!
Take care, dear reader and have a good week. I am back to barrowing new gravel on the drive again. Much more of this and I will be putting out the deckchairs and pretending I'm on Brighton beach! See you next week - the mad axeman of Yorkshire permitting.
Hello my dear reader, just a short note to let you know that I am getting time off for good behaviour, as Spouse has decreed this coming week a holiday. Having just unloaded and distributed the latest 3 tons of gravel for the drive, we are going to have time away, now that England has opened up again.
We will meet up again next weekend and in the meantime, have a great week - possibly in spite of the weather!
Good morning dear reader and welcome to a lovely sunny Sunday at Chez Comb. What a change from the rest of this last week, when it has been perishingly cold and wet. Any more rain and we will be needing webbed feet! I hope you have had a good week and enjoyed the rain, hail and occasional glimmer of sunshine. Once again Spouse and I are enjoying peak marital harmony - he is down at the bottom of the garden playing with boys toys and I have been a domestic goddess indoors.
The previous owners of our house left behind an enormous old oil drum which we would like to take to the scrapyard, so Spouse has been having fun cutting it up with his electric grinder - sparks flying in all directions and too near to a wooden fence for my comfort, so I have been lurking indoors away from the action. I have manically spring-cleaned the house amd polished up all our old wooden furniture. I don't think our home has ever looked so handsome or squeaky clean. Quite scary really. I think I need to mess it up a bit to make it feel like home again.
We had a day out to Teesside this week. The neighbours who lived on the farm below us in the Durham Dales, (Sylvia and Derek of the gaffa tape incident), have retired to Teesside and the weather forecast for once being clement, we motored over for lunch in their garden. Naturally the talk turned to our smallholding days and our many adventures in snowy blizzards and glorious sunshine. I though it might be nice to share a couple of these memories with you, my dear reader.
One snowy winter's night, the four of us were having dinner together, Sylvia cooking a wonderful meal and Derek being an attentive host. Relaxing afterwards by a roaring log fire, we enjoyed an after dinner liquer. Then Derek said, 'Hey, I've still got some of my Grandfather's Apple Schanpps. Would you like to try some?' I passed on the Schanpps, memories of a student drama tour many years ago, still too vivid. However, Spouse is always ready to try new things and readily agreed. My dear reader, he took to it like a duck to water and between them they made good inroads on the bottle. Eventually it was time to take our leave and we headed off into the icy starlit night.
In the normal course of things Spouse and I would walk slowly up our lane, getting a full cardio-vascular workout as we made our way up the steep farm track. But that night, dear reader, filled with rocket fuel-strength Schanpps, Spouse raced ahead of me like an Olympic runner and didn't appear to be at all out of breath when I finally caught up with him at our garden gate. In fact, dear reader, he had no idea how he had got there at all. 'Teleported,' says I without a blush. 'It's my new skill.' Ha ha, I think he believed me and in great harmony we went home. I'm sorry to say our journeys up the lane were never so easy again. Sporting a very fat head the next day, Spouse abjured the Schnapps ever after.
Another memory that surfaced was from the opposite season - a hot sunny August day. The water supply to the two houses was piped underground from high up on the fell and delivered first to us and on to Sylvia and Derek. Rainwater was collected in an enormous tank sunk into the ground and was filtered through gravel beds to clean it before it flowed on through the pipes. That particular year we had enjoyed a hot summer and our water supply was becoming intermittment. A walk over the fell to the tank revealed the low levels of water and ... a great deal of accumulated muck and detritus at the bottom of the tank.
The next day, Spouse and Derek in dungarees and wellies and armed with spades, shovels, ladders and brushes headed off to spring clean the tank. Sylvia and I trailed behind laden with picnic baskets - after all - calories expended by vigorous shovelling would require replacing by a fresh intake of fuel - so they said. By the time we arrived on the scene both men were hard at work, shovelling the muck into buckets and shinning back up the ladders to throw it into a cart. It was hot, dirty work. Sylvia and I kept at a safe distance and began to set out lunch. And then, 'Yo! Man down!' Running over to the tank we saw Derek lying on his back almost swallowed up in the slime at the bottom of the tank. Spouse shimmied down the ladder and waded in to help him up. Not just so easy, dear reader. Derek had been well and truly sucked in. Spouse heaved and tugged at him with all his might and then with a sudden whoosh, Derek came unstuck ... Spouse lost his balance and he toppled over, face down into the mire. Not their finest hour, dear reader, and it took several attempts to get themselves out.
When they finally ascended to the surface again, they were covered in black muck and indescribably smelly. But, dear reader, boys are boys and they were as happy as any boys could be - having a whale of a time. To eat our lunch Sylvia and I stayed upwind of them and at a distance. A cursory rinse of their hands in the filter beds and they ate their lunch with huge appetities and enthusiasm and happy to head back to the tank afterwards to finish the job.
Sylvia was quiet as we packed up the picnic. I knew what she was thinking. 'They'll have to strip off at the back door,' I said. 'There's no way their clothes are coming into the house. We'll get the old bathtub out and throw the clothes into that.' And you know, dear reader, when they ambled happily home they could not understand why they had to strip off outside ... 'Smell? What smell?' Happily for us the rains came again and our water flushed clean and fresh through the pipes again. But, I have a sneaking feeling that that was one of the best days of their lives, dear reader ... no accounting for taste is there?
I hope you have a great week dear reader and the sun shines on us. Until we meet again, take care and stay safe. I only hope Spouse does too, he's back to his cutting equipment tomorrow - let's hope the sparks only fly outside.
Good morning my dear reader and welcome to Comb Towers where we are warm and cosy inside, but outside it is cold and wet, typical weather for a Bank Holiday weekend. Spouse and I will be staying at home, recovering from a very busy week. Marital harmony has been at peak levels - he has been working outside and I, inside, meeting up for meals and occasional cups of tea.
I say I have been working indoors, but a lot of time has been spent outdoors, ministering to the needs and indeed, demands of our garden birds. The birds are nesting all around us and with their increased activities, come increased appetites for food - almost at a level to rival Spouse's and believe me, dear reader, that takes some doing. Competition amongst the blackbirds for the raisins is fierce. I have created a very secluded place to feed them in my garden and it is great fun to watch them flying in and out of the shrubbery where their feeding station is. Miraculously, the bigger birds have never discovered the spot. I divert their attention by putting the seed and fatball feeders elsewhere.
One morning last week, the raisins must have been very quickly eaten. I was in my little writing room, beavering away when I became dimly aware of a blackbird running up and down on the top of the fence outside my window. As I say, I was only dimly aware, until he flew on to the windowsill and knocked on the window with his beak, to gain my attention. Numpty me - only then did I realise what all his racetrack activity was about and went out to renew supplies - and whilst I was at it wash out and refill the bird baths.
I think one of the best sights in the world is watching a blackbird taking a bath. Sometimes I'm amazed that I get any work done at all, as I cannot resist watching the birds in the bath. Blackbirds are so thorough, as they beat their wings to splash water over themselves. By the time they have finished there is very little water left in the bath and I have to go back outside to refill it. Thus I have become the bath attendant. And as of yesterday, a seagull has started visiting the bath fairly frequently and just sitting in it, only not just sitting in it but adding to the contents too. Out I trot again to change the water Maybe his usual watering holes have dried up due to lack of rainfall. Let's hope that situation changes soon.
As I mentioned at the beginning, Spouse has been working outside, working away with pickaxe, cold chisels and masonry drill to dig out a trench at the entrance to our driveway and then inserting kerbstones, to keep the gravel in the drive and not drive it out every time we leave home. The entranceway is wide and the work is hard, as lumps of old stone and concrete have to be mined and so Spouse works up a healthy appetite.
It so happened that our young friend, Olivia, was with us on one of these days. The weather was lovely and to keep to the lockdown rules we had lunch in the garden. Spouse ate his lunch and half of mine as I wasn't very hungry and then he went indoors looking for a little snackerel to finish off with. Olivia knows Spouse has a healthy appetite, but by the end of lunch she was round-eyed in wonder. 'Does he always eat that much?' she asked. 'That's nothing,' says I. 'He's not on top form today, quite restrained for him, really.' She was quiet for a few moments and then exclaimed, ' Now I know what that huge brass spoon hangs on the dining room wall for - it's his pudding spoon, isn't it!' Mmmn, might not share that thought with him.
Well, I see I need to go and attend to the bird bath again. Whilst I have been writing this, 2 blackbirds, a seagull and some sparrows have visited. No rest for the wicked. I hope you have a good week, dear reader and the temperature rises this month. I, for one, am ready to give the winter woollies a rest.