One of the joys of going to speak to groups is that I get to see parts of our wonderful countryside that I wouldn’t otherwise have no cause to visit. I learn a great deal and find some lovely places and bits of Yorkshire in particular - and occasionally a bit further afield - to admire. I meet some wonderful people and for this I am very grateful. This week has been one such period.
On Tuesday, I headed up to Ripon, to re-visit the Ripon Blind group that meets at the British Legion complex. They are mainly rather elderly but great fun with some entrancing characters. They laughed and chuckled and we discussed the differences of living in an urban environment to the joy of country living. I drove home and managed to get the dogs out for a short walk before retreating into the warmth of home.
I was out again the next day, heading north this time to the village of Sherburn to talk to a group of ladies there. I rather unthinkingly set off on the journey across the tops by Givendale. The scenery is always beautiful, looking out for miles over the Wolds. Then I hit the snow. It was sleeting and there was a bit of snow on the road. I stopped on the tops to admire the view. It looked a little threatening with dark clouds. I have a four-wheel drive car so had no problems continuing the journey and arrived to find the village hall, a very smart establishment.
The ladies were a fantastic audience and we laughed rather a lot. I was asked to judge the best four-line Santa joke competition which was hard because they were all good. Before I left I was given ties and they extracted a promise that I would return.
I needed to do shopping and other tasks on Thursday but Friday was busy. I was expecting the plumbers to come in the morning to fit some new bath panels. They were delayed however and I had to head off to an important appointment at the breast screening van at Shiptonthorpe in the afternoon. The staff there are always so cheerful and perform a vital service. I rushed back and found the plumber had arrived. The young man made a very good job and left the place spotless.
On Saturday, I got up and went to walk the dogs. My Doberman Sharpei cross, Looroll, does not like water at all and took one look out of the door and immediately got three points for a refusal. I left her and my old Collie at home and took the other three for a short walk up at Millington Woods.
That evening I had been asked to talk to a group at The Methodist Hall at Norton-on-Derwent near Malton. When I set off the fog was dire, and I drove very carefully indeed as visibility was down to less than 50 metres in places. I wish I had the super human vision of those who overtook me at speed and disappeared into the fog ahead. I expected to come across the crashes every few yards but they were lucky. I did notice there were a lot of ambulances with blue flashing lights travelling past me at one stage.
I had allowed plenty of time, because I always do and because of the road conditions, and arrived very early but was made most welcome by the ladies cooking the meal for a group of about 40 who were attending the supper. One lady rather anxiously asked me if I was a vegetarian, and was much relieved when I said I was not.
Before long I was in great company, and was served a delicious meal. After the supper, I gave my talk and was given huge bags of great ties to take home with me. I came back on the main roads, as a precaution and only really hit the fog again about three miles from home. On this occasion, I also saw a few ambulances rushing off to emergencies.
My voice is still not fit for singing and very croaky. I missed church and took the dogs out for a walk, and then dismembered the huge pile of ties I had been given. These needed cutting up, washing and ironing.
I had just finished that when I discovered the dogs had been in the garden and then rolled on my bed and made rather a mess. I washed all the bedding too. Thankfully I have a tumble drier and a good washing machine.