I HEARD the first cuckoo this week, happily singing away in the woods near my house. I hadn’t heard one for a long time.
If I needed anything to convince me that spring was well and truly with us, this was it. Everywhere looks so beautiful.
The brilliant yellow of the oil seed rape fields makes me sneeze rather a lot but I can live with it. It doesn’t seem to affect the dogs but one sortie beside such a field left my collie, Fair, looking a rather yellowish tinge.
I went with a friend to collect our share of the council compost for the garden, It is very good stuff and the staff doling it out were so pleasant.
One of my neighbours had a new fridge delivered, and I offered to take his old one down to the tip as I have an estate car and it was easier. Once we got there, the staff immediately offered to unload it for us and dragged it off to the appropriate place. I suppose looking old has its advantages!
Earlier in the week I had a very busy day. I had an afternoon talk at the wonderful and quite charming village of Barwick in Elmet, and upon arriving very early, as I tend to do, I took myself to the pub and had a coffee there. They generously allowed me to leave the car parked in their car park, and as I was drooling over their fantastic lunch-time menu I spotted a rather interesting old book on one of the shelves nearby.
It is one of those pubs that has old books on display, I think for aesthetic reasons. I asked if the book was for sale and the lady went away and came back and accepted my offer. It was neither rare nor in very good condition, and having been published in 1934, very old fashioned but I have enjoyed it. It is called ‘Britain’s Wonderland of Nature’ and it is quite a hefty volume, full of facts about all I can see around me in the countryside.
The talk was in the All Saints Church, a beautiful and impressive building which seemed to be the centre of the village. As I walked up the path it was like walking through pink snow with the blossom of the cherry trees in the church yard.
They were a lovely group of ladies, who were also an excellent audience. One lady gave me a bag of ties, which I was most grateful for. I had taken a cushion with a cover of floral patchwork from ties for their group, and they are to raffle it at a future coffee morning.
From there I headed towards my next talk, which was to be in Goole. I had plenty of time and drove off towards Tadcaster, where I was quite impressed with the huge and rather majestic brewery.
I passed through a series of villages, which had very descriptive names, then stopped in Selby for a while, and did some shopping and then moved on to Goole.
My talk was at the splendid community centre, the The Courtyard, where the caretaker was most kind and before I gave my talk to the Historical Society I had time to do a bit more shopping. I found an Eastern European store where I managed to purchase some black bread of which I’m rather fond.
The talk went very well and they were a fascinating group. They even gave me a posh certificate afterwards for speaking to them. I got back home in time to make it to the pub for the after-rehearsal social drink.
I have been sticking very strictly to the fat-free diet my doctor had suggested and in three weeks I had lost about half a stone, much to her and my amazement. It has taken a degree of will power but if it is that effective it has given me the incentive to continue although I do find the food a little boring. It is a good thing I like salad.
On the Saturday I went for a talk at the Weaving, Spinning and Dyeing group at the Farming Museum at Murton, just outside York. They had asked if I could bring some fleeces so I managed to provide the ladies there with quite a few; I still have plenty in my loft.
I got some broad bean plants for my vegetable patch from the garden centre nearby - I have some digging to do this coming week.