Henry Freeman in the cork life belt which saved his life when all his fellow lifeboat men were drowned ~one of Frank Meadow Sutcliffe's famous photos ~ copyright of The Sutcliffe Gallery, Whitby.


The gardenia ~ in flower already !

The plants that came from T & M last week are GARDENIAS Chris tells me ~ he had one, and so did Ellen, and I have two though one of those is for Georgie ~ these two are both in flower with one startling white bloom on each ~ I've taken a photo for you.

The computer is very slow at the minute and a message keeps appearing on screen telling me the memory is nearly full, and that I should delete add-ons to make more room ~ but I don't know what add-ons are !   Will go through files in a mo and delete stuff which I am never going to refer to again and we'll see if that will help.

Absolutely glorious again ~ along with regular laundry, I put my lovely navy knitted poncho in the washer on its own and it's out on the line, soft and clean ready to be put away till winter.

My friend from York, Joan, turned up yesterday with her friend Rita and Rita's cute little curly-haired dog which rushed around inspecting everything before settling down on Rita's ample bosom !!   Friendly hour ~ both of them seem to have had gruesome marriages which they had stuck with through violence, drunkeness and eventually dementia ~ that bloody "till death us do part" syndrome !!    After a while, leaving the others with me, Joan went off to her private Whitby place for a few minutes quiet meditation ~ I've known her for years though I can't remember how we first met unless she was coming up the yard to look at number 7 where her aunt once lived.   She usually just turns up with which ever friend has driven them over, but after severe scoldings about it, this time she actually phoned the day before.

This morning, a couple were wandering up the yard (having identified it from the TV show) and having had a bit of a history lesson from me, I invited them to come in and see over the house ~ they were very appreciative and as they are staying for a week, may come back for Ribbon Readings.   So many interesting folk come up the yard, asking intelligent questions, and always so friendly.   One thing that amazes them is the fact that at its slummiest there would have been a good hundred in the yard ~ 15 houses, several in multiple occupation ~ I know from my Deeds that in Victorian times there were sometimes as many as thirteen in this house, including in the 1880s our famous lifeboat man, Henry Freeman, the only survivor of a terrible ship wreck ~ he survived because he was testing a new life saving invention, a cork life belt.

David Matthews from number 4 has left me a key so that someone can always get into the place in case of another starling drama, or similar ~ when he arrived, poor man had to set to and clean up feathers, shit and the dead starling which must have fallen down the chimney ~ at least the bird had not escaped to the rest of the cottage and all the mess was confined to the one room ~ kitchen/living room.   David is such a nice fellow ~ Joan told him stories about the yard in bygone times ~ Joan is my age, 81 but in better shape than me ~ full of GO !

The MEALWORMS remind me of the fisherman in the family, William ~ from about the age of twelve he would spend hours fishing in the Itchen or later going further afield on his bike with a friend, both of them loaded up with fishing gear !   They'd even do this in dead of winter and, when he eventually got a car, Howard sometimes used to go and collect them from (appropriately) Fishers Pond where they were virtually frozen in sitting positions and had to be more-or-less carried to the car !    They rarely caught anything and what they did catch had to be thrown back, but Boy, how they loved fishing !   Will still goes fishing today, and once a year has a week in Wales with a couple of buddies.   In those distant days, when a fishing expedition was planned, a jam jar of mealworms would appear in the fridge ~ live bait which he bought from the Pet Shop ~ if I protested about this, "I can't stand your disgusting maggots in the fridge" he'd explain patiently that they had to be kept cold or they's pupate and be useless as bait !    And to think, with no fisherman in sight, I end up with several pounds of mealworms in the kitchen, never mind that they were in a tightly closed bin !!   Later, as part of his Ecology studies, whenever he was home from Leicester there would be jam jars of insects in the fridge ~ I can't remember what they were called,but keeping them cold was vital apparently !

Popped over to see Annie ~ Whitby born and bred, apart from her large family, Whitby is her main interest in life ~ the customs, the dialect, the funny expressions, the traditions ~ I have to admit that with her Yorkshire accent and her excitement at sharing all this stuff with me, I can't always understand what she's telling me, but I hope I am as full of curiosity and enthusiasm when I reach 94.

When I got back, another couple came up the yard, again prompted by the telly programme ~ they often come to Whitby, they told me, but had never dared poke around the old yards which might be private, so again I told them a bit about the yard history, the terrace that was demolished in the thirties to leave us each a small garden, and they were so interested I invited them in to tell them about the Sanders family (living here from 1750-1829), how during the Victorian period the house, indeed the whole yard, was going steadily down hill most of the dwellings in ultiple occupation, mine included ~ for example around 1920 thirteen were living here ~ THIRTEEN !

After a brief flop made cup of tea and finished off the last of Sainsbury's double chocolate cookies ~ stupid of me as now I wont be wanting any supper.

Friday morning : Oh dear ~ as usual had a bath before making supper and left a note on the door : "Give me 10 minutes . . ."     But instead of going straight downstairs once I was out of the bath I started doing odd jobs on the computer until there was a shout from below ~ poor Chris had been hanging around out there for twenty minutes and more to return Brother Bill's book which he has read with tremendous interest ~ his only crits were these : Bill had used the expression NUBILE girls THREE times which Chris thought was a bit much, and something about the spelling of Hartlepool ~ otherwise absolutely fascinating, the insider's story of Parliament ~ this morning have sent his comments on to Bill who is considering them graciosly !   Chris is a Serious Gardener and had one or two helpful tips for me, and for Vicky next door who immediately got to work cutting back her climbing roses which, he told us, would then flower more abundantly.

Later Richard rang to ask what I want doing with that central patch around the clothes pole ~ at present it is bare ~ foolishly I suggested planting parsley, mint and rosemary, a herb garden,  and he will be over on Wednesday to do this, but then thought what I really need in that segment is a low-growing bright flower in contrast to the surrounding green glade ~ I must phone him again before Wednesday ~ there used to be a clump of bell flowers, producing a rich blue carpet ~ maybe that would be best, to plant that again.   Otherwise the only thing growing there is rhubarb, three roots which barely produce a couple of boilings a season.