Helen's brilliant picture of Bristol Suspension Bridge which has been published in The Guardian ~ how still the river is, how sharp the reflection !!!

January 1st 2016

A useful day but quiet ~ only woke at 9.15 and this although I had not stayed up to see the new year in !   Having tidied round and sorted out fridge, sat down to watch the first half hour of New Year's Day Concert from Vienna but remembering what Christopher had told me, switched off to get on with other things and I'll watch it properly later : BBC4 tonight from 7-9.   Found Annie had pushed a note through door thanking me for coffee party yesterday ~ she is a sweety and always says thank you !   Her hand writing is very small and neat whereas mine has recently gone haywire.

A chat with Kate who says the flooding has practically destroyed Hebden Bridge ~ all the shops and pubs along the river (the River Calder) are ruined ~ they went down to see if they could help but hundreds of helpers already hard at work ~ they seemed to have come from all over, including London ~ several bus loads of Muslims among them !   We have not heard of this philanthropy ~ why not ?   Luckily for them, Kate and Alan live at Heptonstall high up above the town, the river and the flood.

I mentioned the red cabbage I cooked earlier in the week ~ it made me 4 good helpings ~ I shall finish it tonight ~ instead of vinegar I added juice of 2 lemons, and instead of brown sugar a good spoonful of honey ~ and this using only HALF the cabbage ~ I was intending to pickle the rest but it is so delicious I may make another panful.   Once made, it only needs heating up while a potato boils, and with a couple of roast frankfurters makes a delicious meal~ talk about yummy, and so full of memories of my year in Switzerland when this was our winter treat.

Recently I've been thinking it's only NOW I've got my life together ~ through all the rest of my days I seem to have been lurching from one disaster to another as if sleep walking ~ what a waste, a terrible waste apart from the children, one and all ~ NOW as the end draws near, perhaps at last I have got my act together, though shaky, partially sighted and practically house bound ~ maybe better late than never.   Ah me ...

Helen (our youngest sister) sent us all an absolutely splendid photo of Bristol Suspension Bridge  which The Guardian are publishing ~ she said I could include it here but thus far cannot isolate photo from the email ~ maybe if I print email and cut picture out and then scan it . . .    worth a try.   No go !

The mats are always slithering about, so from Lakeland I got a roll of carpet gripper ~ Sue attached it to lime green mat on landing and it's worked a treat ~ no movement at all since she did it ~ I'll see if I can do the smaller rugs myself ~ along with other symptoms of Old Age I've become terribly ham-fisted ~ when my friends came for coffee yesterday I had to get Annie to deal with the FairTrade cake (which is truly scrumptious) and Mike to pour the coffee ~ I cannot see how much is in the cup !   Falling apart, Folks ~ definitely falling apart.

The time has come to re-apply for the Attendance Allowance on which two other allowances depend ~ the first time I applied I was turned down, but on advice of friends got in touch with D.A.G. who sent Mo to have another go which was accepted immediately, entitling me to the FULL rate plus the additional help : living alone and being so frail and housebound ~ together with the basic pension and pension credit this gives me a weekly income of virtually £300 exactly twice the amount I was getting ~ I have never been so well off in my whole damned life so hope I still qualify ~ it means I can have help in the garden (Richard), help in the house (Sue), that I can eat properly having a regular Sainsbury's delivery, and possibly most important of all I now no longer live in fear of putting the heating on !    Who would have thought I'd end my days in such comfort !   Praise the Lord !

As a result of this, though I can't really tell the Pension People this, with them threatening to fall down to my knees, I sorted out all my knickers ~ large bloomers which suddenly seem too big for me ~ I chucked them all out and ordered a dozen smaller briefs from Damart, some of them coloured ~ so that seems like a good move !   Hope I have not miscalculated ~ I've got size 20 which seem plenty big enough.

It's Handel I've got playing today ~ gorgeous anthems and choruses ~ I watched Gareth's Choirs programmes, and two final ones this week ~ he is such a warm character, seeing the potential in everyone and somehow enabling them all to achieve it ~ an inspiration.

Right ~ let me see whether I can get a copy of Helen's photo for you . . .