The photo the Guardian have asked me to write a short piece about ~ see text

The North wind doth blow ...

Miserable weather ~ cold, wet and windy ~ thank goodness I no longer have to worry about putting the heating on ~ this morning even though it's been on since 6.30am the temperature up here is barely 19 degrees.   Mike Dawson came for coffee on Friday morning ~ I'm glad to get to know him better ~ he has a soft gentle Irish accent ~ he is (as Chaucer might have said)  "a verray parfit gentil knyght" ~   In the afternoon Lucy turned up with card, chocs and calendar for my birthday so had a cosy cup of tea by fire ~ now she is settled into her new flat she seems much more cheerful, so that's a blessing ~ we all know what a frightful stress moving house is, and especially as we get older.

Yesterday finally settled down to order hyacinths for all my loved ones for Christmas ~ with being housebound, this is really all I can manage nowadays.   But what is nicer than a basket of sweet scented hyacinths ?   I've ordered them each year from Thompson & Morgan which has earned me a freebie for myself and each time they have flowered no less than THREE times ~ having cut off the first blooms as they flopped over and put them in a jug, a second flower appeared from each bulb, and eventually a THIRD ~ these flowers were smaller than the first ones but still smelled heavenly ~ and then of course the bulbs went out into the garden for another flowering come the spring !   Astonishing !    Ellen tried the same thing with hers, but without success ~ I wonder whether it is something to do with my Aga-warm kitchen ! 

 Monday December 1st :Cold and wet and fierce wind again ~ thank goodness I don't have to venture out ~ just sent order to Sainsbury's which will be delivered in the morning and which should keep me going for at least 10 days ~ such a marvellous help.   My good friend Barbara is hooked on Snooker which I'm afraid I rather pooh-poohed ~ it didn't worry her a scrap fortunately ~ it reminds me of Daddy ~  in his old age he too became hooked on the Snooker but they only had black-and-white telly !    Teasing him about this and trying to encourage him to get colour, he got quite cross : "I will not have colour TV in my house . . . "   When I pointed out that LIFE is in colour he just became crosser and went back to his black and white snooker  bless him : "I'm too old to cope with change."   The joke was that he apparently had no idea of the rules of the game but would sit there mesmerised !!

At last I've produced the first draft of the 400 words the FAMILY section of the Saturday Guardian asked me to write about our Mother ~ a commission from the Guardian !  Never mind how small !!   Can't understand why it's taken me three weeks to make a start on it.   In fact, to fit our dear old Mum into 400 words is not easy ~ hope I'm getting it right.   I give you the photo that sparked an interest in the FAMILY editor ~ it absolutely captures her lust for life, her enjoyment of everything no matter how small ~ and she must have been well into her eighties when the photo was taken.   When I've got the piece right, I'll copy it for you .   In any piece of writing the start is terribly important to ~ if you get THAT wrong you are done for and simply tie yourself in knots.

Tuesday evening 9.30pm : another dreadfully wet day but nowhere near as cold ~ in fact I've taken the big chrysanthemum quilt off my bed ~ though December 1st and I have gone into vests but not long johns yet.   Have been reading this interesting book Will and Agi gave me for my birthday : A Woman on the Edge of Time by Jeremy Gavron, his  efforts forty years after the event to discover why his mother committed suicide leaving him a toddler ~ a slow process for him but a gripping story.   They also gave me a box of mixed mint chocs !!

Sue came this morning ~ arriving soaked ~ and cleaned the kitchen window, the top half of which I can no longer reach, not even with steps ~ then I cleaned top of Aga and window knick-knacks while Sue cleaned bathrooms, landings and stairs ~ she really is a gem.   Using up oddments in the fridge, I made leeks au gratin and had just got it in the oven when Sainsbury's delivery arrived ~ by the time I'd dealt with that and had lunch I was completely knackered.

David Cameron is hell bent on bombing Syria and expects to get easy majority in the Commons tomorrow ~ he is allowing a 10 hour debate so that's something ~ DO NOT BOMB SYRIA protests all day, but like Tony Blair before him, he seems determined to go to war ~ maybe if the leader himselfas in days of yore (Henry Vth and Agincourt) had to lead his troops into battle it would at least make them all think twice before sending others to their deaths.   Some hope.   It seems quite possible in spite of all the shouting about protecting our people that no sooner has the vote been declared for bombing than the first attack on London will occurr !   Much to everyone's surprise !

Tonight I have the second disk of Ely Cathedral singing shanties and (this one) hymns ~ with picture of our / my Henry Freeman on the cover (see blog 374) ~ such lovely stuff as Will Your Anchor Hold, Eternal Father Strong to Save, Lead Kindly Light, God be with you till we meet again etc ~ I can sing along lustily as there is nobody next door and the family at no 5 can't hear me !  I've been to Ely Cathedral ~ Nancy and I went there when she took me to meet Lucy Boston at Hemingford Gray all those years ago !

Of the 13 Angus children, the eight surviving girls, Louie second from the front