1. This week has been 'Tinnitus Week 2021' to raise awareness of this sometimes quite debilitating condition.
I can't remember when I last heard silence and I can't remember when I
suddenly realised that my ears were making noises it just sort of crept
up on me. I'm guessing about six years ago now. I thought at first
it was high blood pressure but it didn't go away. As I type this post I
have what I can only describe as steaming/hissing kettles in my ears, when I go
out and about it seems to reduce in scale but the worst aspect is the way loud noises make me anxious and sometimes tearful if they make me jump. Generally I just 'get on with it' I can ignore it but sometimes it makes me feel fragile and unable to concentrate. I have my first Covid 19 Vaccination on Monday, I expect the tinnitus will reach high peaks for a couple of days afterwards just as they do after my ordinary flu jabs. I have to go to a Methodist Church for my jab it was either that or the Scout Hut. How strange life is!
2. The new National Trust handbook arrived in the post early this week.
I wonder if, when things get back to some kind of normal, we will be able to use it? I hope so. I've missed visiting our local National Trust places like Biddulph Grange, Little Moreton Hall and Shugborough. As well as walks at non National Trust places like Trentham Gardens and Westport Lake. Paul said to me the other day that he just wanted to visit somewhere interesting and sit drinking a coffee looking at a view, I agreed but also said I wanted to be able to visit a museum or historic house, I do miss being able to do that.
3. A New Be-Ro Book
We've had both of the two older books for years. The larger one is dropping to pieces. The blue one I bought from a Be-Ro stand in a supermarket over twenty years ago to replace the larger one, but both still get used. Many of the pages of both have been stuck together over the years and when separated parts of recipes have disapeared. It's a good job I know the most popular ones by heart. I sent for the new one from the Be-Ro website. It has the old favourites and some new recipes in it too. The coffee and walnut cake recipe I use each November to make a cake for a friend's birthday is still inside. Recipes for Lavender Highlanders and Heart Shaped Lemon Puffs are new. I'm looking forward to using it.
I've enjoyed reading 'Down in the Valley' by Laurie Lee. I loved his descriptions of the countryside of his childhood in the Slad Valley in Gloucestershire.
" Just down here by the stream there used to be a gathering place for us kids from the village to come and play on Summer evenings. This was where the sheep wash was, a stone bath, cut from stone and a stone bridge"
This reminded me of the Derbyshire village I grew up in and the sheep wash down the lane, past the vicarage, over a field and just into the edge of the daffodil woods. In the summer, during the long school holidays, we would sit on the stones chatting and laughing and dangling our bare feet in the water which ran in from the brook.
Last week there was a piece on 'Winter Watch' about bird song being local to specific areas as the generations of birds mimicked each other. We noticed when we first came here there was a particular set of notes that the same blackbirds sang year after year. Laurie Lee wrote about this in the book. He returned to the Slad Valley after twenty years away and when he woke on the first morning home he thought he heard a Gloucestershire blackbird, then realised he was in Gloucestershire.
"and then, when I was fully awake, I realised it was a Slad blackbird, it was a Gloucestershire blackbird. I had not heard it for twenty years but it was instantly recognisable because they mimic their fathers and mothers."
February is the month for Snowdrops. Last year just before lock down I bought a couple of snowdrop plants and a bright yellow winter aconite from the covered market in Leek. We planted them togther in a large pot as we've never been able to get them to grow in our heavy clay soil. The snowdrops have grown again this year and seem to have spread but there is no sign of the aconite which is a shame. Both flowers remind me of the fact that last February we should have met with my cousin and his wife at Hopton Hall in Derbyshire. It was heavy snow and the meeting was cancelled. A month later lock down happened and my cousin had been diagnosed with cancer and undergoing surgery and chemotherapy as well as coping with the pandemic. Unfortunately he has to undergo more treatment and things don't sound so good. Snowdrops are I think for most of us a sign of hope so I've added some more photos from a previous visit below.
Hopton Hall, Derbyshire, February 2018
Take care everyone.