The pumpkin head out on the steps ~ in the rain !!

And a close-up ~ a pretty scarey character !!

Leeks galore !

The leek & potato soup is excellent and enough for today and tomorrow too.   Just what I need this grey chilly day.   Sue came and worked hard as usual ~ she always makes the stairs and bathrooms so bright and clean ~ I have hung some washing out but guess it will hang there desolately in the damp air ~ at least, out of the way for now ~it  can go round the Aga tonight ~ mad washer woman that I am, I realise it is only because of the Aga that I can be so extravagant in this respect ~ jeans, heavy jersies, bath towels ~ everything dries overnight on the Aga rail ~ marvellous !

David is here and popped up to show me the handsome plaque he has had made for number 4 ~ it so happened, Mary Smith was here at the time (over from Saltburn) and he invited her to have a look at the changes he has made in her old house.

Later : David gave me a Beamish coconut and a) punctured holes in top so that I could get juice out, and later b) smashed shell so that I could get at flesh ~ don't remember ever having one before but water was sweet and flesh is tasty ~ I'm shaving it off with sharp knife.   Already almost dark by 4.30 and once the sun goes in, pretty chilly ~ I'm regularly putting heating on after lunch though with new thermostat it only comes on when temperature falls below 20 ~ thank Gawd this year for first time I'm not having to shuffle out to the shed.

5.30pm and getting wrapped up for Tom and Mary's firework party though sadly it is raining quite heavily !   Hope I can get myself up all those steps ~ 12 and then 6 and then 10 all very worn and wonky ~ Ellen says if I can't make it she'll get the Ingram Brothers to carry me up with firemen's lift !   I was just finishing the ironing when Barbara came bearing PUMPKIN (see picture) which the Goths had dumped on her doorstep the other night ~ I was going to take it to the party but realising it will be swamped by all Tom's lights etc I lit it straightaway and it's out on the step as a beaco to guide people to the party !   It has a very good face,quite ET !

9.0pm : After the party ~ such a friendly gathering first in the huge kitchen with roaring log fire, Mary & Rose served baked spuds, then when the rain stopped out onto Peter's Patio to watch the wonderful firework display Tom set off from his top garden ~ about 8pm I suddenly came over limp and David helped me down the steps and home where I flopped on sofa for half an hour ~ and it wasn't the booze, folks !  Remembering the last time when I had to be carried home by the Ingram brothers, I made sure that one moderate glass of white wine was all I had, and no topping ups !  David and Alison were there from number 4, John and Kirsty and kids from number 5, Ellen, Steve Ingram and a couple of others that I did not know.   Thank you Mary and Tom !

John's name is GAUNT as in John O'Gaunt ~ interesting !    Kalen is 10  (an old Irish name) and Ellie Rose five ~ poor Kirsty, young as she is, has to use a crutch as her hip crumbled during pregnancy, but in spite of severe pain and difficulty getting about, they will not give her an artificial one as they have a life expectancy of no more than ten years ~ with such a young woman, she would need replacements throughout life whereas most people who were having the op with me will be dead before a second replacement is required ~ Kirsty is too young !   

Thanks to Will ~ lovely clean curtains !