Wednesday, 3 May 2017

A very happy week was spent with...


This is my cousin, Linda. She is the oldest of the cousins on my mum's side and we first met when I was 7 (in 1961) in my granny's house in Ireland.  Linda had never visited England before so she came to spend 5 days with me in April; we had such an enjoyable time.

In the photo above I'm wearing an  embroidered wool waistcoat from a charity shop which Linda bought me.  I'd seen this same waistcoat on a rummaging expedition with the OH last year and didn't buy it. I'd been regretting it ever since!

 Linda and I spent a whole day charity shopping and a couple of hours on another day. We went to the Ampthill and Great Denham charity shops and quite a lot of the Bedford ones.  There were still seven charity shops in Bedford we didn't have time to visit  so that's for Linda's next trip. Did Linda find anything? Yes! She found some beautiful cardigans;  some trousers, a sweater and some shoes. I found a pair of jeans; some colourful trousers; a skirt and some pictures for Ruby Super.


We went for dinner at my daughter's one evening and also managed to fit in two six mile walks on two different days. On one of our walks, Linda marched up the drive marked 'Private Property' and in the photo above is at the door of Clapham Park House which was:

'Originally built in 1873 for the Howard Family, founders of the Britannia Works in Bedford, Park House is a magnificent striking piece of Victorian architecture in a French Gothic style.' (From the Rightmove website).


We went to London for the day on Saturday where we saw the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the Treasury. This was taken in Parliament Square. We also went to the Tower of London.


We set out to visit the Perspehone bookshop in Bloomsbury but got there too late...


We went to Harrods at Linda's request and splashed out on some pastries - I'd scoffed mine by the time I took this photo. Linda's is still in the bag...

I'd never been to Harrods before. I was wondering why the sales assistant was staying so close to my side in the women's wear department as I was stroking a white suede and fur coat. Then I looked at the price tag - £35,000!!

We spent the rest of the day in Chelsea where we paid a flying visit to my eldest grandson at work and then met up with my brother and went out for a meal.

On Sunday the family came for the dinner.


These are the colourful trousers I bought in a Bedford charity shop and all the other items I'm wearing are also charity shopped. 

I took Linda to the airport last Monday and was very sad to see her go. I always wanted a sister when I was growing up and feel that I have a sister in Linda. 
Life resumed as normal on Tuesday with a stint at the Food Bank.


Everything charity shopped. Purple velvet jeans; Red Cross 1.99. Grey waistcoat is from Gap and patterned shirt is from M&S. 


Boots - Christmas present from daughter.


Beads present from OH but charity shopped as are the earrings, bangles and watch.



On Wednesday I invigilated at the university where I used to teach. I shall be doing more invigilation in May and in June shall be poll clerking on election day. All the little extra cash is most welcome as I still have another 2.5 years before I get my state pension...


Everything, except the boots, is from a charity shop. The tunic, which has a French label was 1.99 at the Red Cross - the collar has a row of hook and eyes fastening as do the sleeves. I chose to leave them open as the beige (gah!) trim made a nice contrast and went with the beige M& S trousers. The waistcoat was from the 99p rail in Barnardo's. All jewellery is charity shopped except the earrings which are from Sainsbury's. The headscarf is a recent acquisition (must stop buying them - the picnic basket where I store them is filling up) from the 3:16 shop for 1.00.


On Thursday I did the usual food shopping and went for a 6 mile walk. My youngest grandson is staying every Thursday evening now as my daughter has taken up boxing and has a late training session. I take both grandsons to and from school on Friday so it is just as easy for him to stay overnight with me.

This is the tunic/dress I bought in the Killybegs charity shop for 2 euros. It's by Apricot and I loved the red orange flower display around the bottom. Everything is charity shopped including the boots, but the grey leggings are from Sainsbury's Tu range.


All jewellery charity shopped including this necklace which I also bought in the same Killybegs charity shop as the tunic but about two years ago. It's a bit of a treasure trove that charity shop...

I went on a bus walk with the Ramblers on Friday and we walked from Henlow to Langford and back again; about 6.5 miles. I kept my jacket on the whole time as although it was a nice bright day the wind was chilly. 


This is the Holy Trinity Church in Clapham, London and the site for the origins of The Bible Society.

I walked again on Saturday; only this time it was in London and the 34th 'Unlock'  London walk. You can read about the 'Unlock' walks HERE in more detail, but they are essentially fund raising walks for urban charities, visiting a range of different churches in different parts of London.

This year the walk was in Battersea and Clapham. It's the third consecutive year I've done this walk and it's always very interesting. It attracts those of a religious persuasion (not me!) and walkers.



This is St. Mary's on the Thames path near to Battersea bridge. It wasn't one of the seven churches on the walk but I rather liked it.


Battersea Bridge built in 1890


We ate our lunch here. Behind this bridge (Battersea Railway Bridge, built in 1863) was a helicopter landing pad; the helicopters were arriving and taking off about every ten minutes.


I wondered about this building  in Comyn Road, SW11 - it looks like a boring red brick red modern building, but if you look carefully there are a couple of old fashioned, possibly Victorian, dresses sculpted on the front of it. Was it originally the site of a factory? An orphanage? A school? I wish I knew - and Google wasn't any help.


This beautiful flowering tree was in the sub tropical section of Battersea Park but I have no idea what it was.


This Victorian Gothic church is called St. Nectarios; it's near Lavender Hill and is now a Greek Orthodox church containing the most beautiful icons.


We walked about 7.5 miles on the walk and if I include my walk to and from the station it was more than 8 in total. We returned to King's Cross by bus and I just managed to snap this sculpture; behind Marble Arch, from the top deck front seat of the bus. It was almost like being back at school again!


On Sunday I went to see my son


Everything charity shopped except the boots which were a Christmas present several years ago; the necklace and earrings were donated to me by my daughter.  The Next corduroy blazer bought from Red Cross for 1.99 about a year ago.


White jeans bought in Derry and the spotted top was bought on my rummages with Linda, in the Ampthill Barnardo's.


I was quite excited as it seemed warmer and sunnier on Sunday. I thought I might begin the winter to summer wardrobe swap over but changed my mind as the day went on and it got colder and colder...


Monday was a bank holiday but it was business as usual at the Red Cross. I started at 10 am instead of 9.30 am but finished at the same time. Did I buy anything? Yes, I did. 2 more necklaces (naughty me!) one turquoise and one an orangey yellow colour. A yellow top and a cardigan both 1.99 each. Two books for my friend Hilary; whom I'm hoping to visit in Devon at the end of May or in June.


This is the Desigual tunic/dress I bought in  the Red Cross in Derry. The top underneath is from Primarni; the leggings were bought retail at Sainsbury's and the Mary Jane's are from a local shoe outlet. I had left them behind in the caravan and made sure I brought them back with me as I hoped we may soon start to have a summer...


All jewellery charity shopped and the head scarf was one of 3 bought at the 3:16 charity shop.

My crochet blanket is coming along nicely, but I'm not getting that much reading done. I never do when I'm crocheting. I did manage to read the last of my 'Furrowed Middlebrow' birthday books and have now read four in this imprint. I've enjoyed them all but none have gripped me in the way many books have and I doubt I shall be buying anymore. They are also very tightly bound and you have to 'crack' the spine or fold the pages back severely to read the books properly. I still have two new Persephone books (also birthday books) to read and then there's all those books on TBR pile...

I really want to start the winter to summer swap over but I daren't - it's too damn cold. Here's hoping it warms up soon!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Normal service is resumed

Hello everyone! 

It seems like a long time ago since I last posted but it's only been 24 days. In that time I've been to Donegal for two weeks and my cousin from Ireland came to visit me here in Bedford. I have had a wonderful three weeks and it was also good to have a break from blogging! I did miss everyone else's blogs and have tried to catch up since I returned.

I'm going to dedicate this part of the post to Fiona of 'Made in a Muddle' here. Fiona has a mobile home in France and asked me to do a post about about my mobile home in Ireland - so here goes.

The site we stay at  is at the top of a hill and has about 180 mobile homes in total. It is split into two separate areas by a road. There is a children's playground; a green play space with trees and tyre swings; a football/tennis/basketball pitch; picnic sites and a hut for wet weather activities, on site. There are also woods to the rear of the site, two nearby lakes and lots of local beaches.  Our mobile home is on the upper slope of the hill and at the end of a row. It is a truly beautiful spot and we are surrounded by mountains.

We are 17 miles from the town of Donegal; 3.5 miles from Killybegs and about 7 miles from Ardara. There is a garage cum post office cum grocery shop cum deli at the bottom of the hill, about 4 miles away and it's our nearest shop.

Image may contain: sky, cloud, house, plant, tree, outdoor and nature

This is 'Ruby Super' hereafter referred to as the 'caravan'. She is a static caravan or mobile home made by Atlas and was originally made in the mid to late 1990s. I bought her in April 2014 after I retired in March. I had the wooden decking/patio and base around the caravan made especially. Ruby Super has three bedrooms but can sleep eight people as the seating area in the living area pulls down into a double bed.


There is no central heating but I do have a gas fire in the living room and two other electric heaters. However, electric voltage is is limited in a caravan and you learn pretty quickly how many electrical items can be in use at the same time. When the electricity is 'tripped' it's only a short walk to the decking to 'throw' the switch. As it can get very cold, in the evenings especially, I always have a good supply of throws and blankets which are stored in the large basket.




I like the layout in the caravan  - apart from the sleeping areas and bathroom, everything else is open plan. From the kitchen window and two of the bedroom windows I can see St. John's Point which is one of the longest peninsulas in Ireland.  The peninsula is separated on either side by McSwyne's Bay and Inver Bay; which feed into Donegal Bay and the North Atlantic Ocean. On a clear day, I can also see Ben Bulben mountain  across Donegal Bay in Co. Sligo. If you look very carefully at the picture below, in the distance on the left hand side you can just make out Ben Bulben. There were very few clear days on this trip but when it is clear it's as if I can lean out of the window and touch the sea!



The kitchen is compact but has lots of storage space. I have no washing machine but there is a laundry on site with two washing machines and two tumble dryers. They are not free; unfortunately...


This is the bathroom. There is a shower to the left of the photo.


There is a separate loo



One double bedroom complete with another wardrobe of clothes, shoes, jewellery and perfume!


Two twin bedrooms.

When we've been away from the caravan between September to Easter, the caravan suffers from mildew. We leave plates of salt and humidifiers (non electrical) bought at hard ware shops to help with the mildew. This year we've left the blinds up and curtains open to maximise any sunshine and warmth; until I return in July. The caravan heats up really quickly when it's sunny. 

We also have to pack any clothing or textiles, including bedding, away in plastic bags to avoid them becoming mildewed. If we were able to visit more frequently this would be less of an issue. So far though, it has been the only problem we've experienced and we love Ruby Super. When I return in July, I shall be applying weather protection stain to the decking and washing the outside of the caravan with a mop and bucket. Thanks to Fiona for alerting me to this - it was in the terms and conditions,  but I had completely missed it!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Are you ready for some outfit posts? Not many I'm afraid; I was too busy having a good time!


I only managed one selfie with the selfie stick. Everything charity shopped. Cardigan; 50p at a jumble sale, top; £1.00 rail somewhere, can't remember where I bought the trousers.


All jewellery and headscarf charity shopped.

When OH arrived we spent a day in Derry.


Taken outside the Guildhall in Co.Derry. Everything charity shopped except the bag; online retail and the boots; Christmas present. The mac is by Max Mara and I bought it for 4 euros at my favourite charity shop in Killybegs, Co. Donegal. I also bought a pair of brown trousers and a green and black pair of trousers there for 2 euros each and a tunic by Apricot for 3 euros. It was a chilly day in Derry hence the gloves and scarf!




I'm standing against the wall that once surrounded the city of Derry. This plaque is in memory of all those who were killed  by weapon systems within the city and district of Derry.


Another part of the wall. 
OH and I had a really good rummage in the charity shops of Derry on Easter Saturday. There were nine in total that we found and only one was closed. I was quite restrained for a change (!) and bought a necklace in a hospice shop and a Desigual tunic top in the Red Cross shop; where I got discount bringing the price down from £6.00 to £4.80! On the way to Derry we stopped at Ballyboffey to have a rummage and I bought a pair of trainers and a pair of walking shoes for 99 cents each. In the Donkey Sanctuary charity shop I bought a ring for 5 euros and a couple of books.


This picture was taken in Letterkenny, where we stopped for a meal on the way back from Derry. I have no idea what the sculpture is and there was no information about it that I could see.

 We also spent a day in Sligo where we went rummaging as well as visiting family. I bought some white jeans for 2.50 euros and a couple of bangles. I also visited another cousin and his wife in Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo before OH came out. This the view of the Atlantic from their garden:

On that occasion my cousin's wife, Martina and another cousin Caroline, and I, went walking around the base of Ben Bulben. It was a beautiful walk and we had two dogs with us who were very well behaved throughout. 

And other than reading, eating, sleeping, a bit of walking, listening to the radio and starting (finally) a new crochet blanket, I did very little else! 

Only another 100+ rows to go....
I'll post about my cousin's visit in my next post. It's good to be back!

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Donegal is calling me...

Saturday was such a beautiful day. Warm, sunny but there was a chilly breeze at times. Spring is most definitely here with warmer weather forecast for this week.

OH and I had a rummage in Rushden and we also visited Emmaeus in Carlton on Saturday. Emmaeus is a charity for homeless people and is international in its scope. At Emmaeus they do furniture; household goods, electrical items, antiques and vintage items, bikes, garden equipment, clothes, shoes, bags. jewellery, craft materials, toys, books, DVDs, CDs and LPs. I bought a bangle and a ring, a small terrarium for plants, 2 succulent plants and a cafetiere for my daughter who's been after a small one for ages. I spent 6.50 in total.

This is how I started out. I soon discarded the scarf and gloves - too warm!

Everything except the handbag is charity shopped. Trousers from Monsoon; felted wool jacket by Paraphase; bought in the Donkey Sanctuary Charity shop in Ballyboffey in Donegal. Apart from the lovely embroidery on the jacket; it has golden bugle beads up near the neckline. It cost 10 euros, but I love this jacket and need to wear it more often. Boots from Red Cross shop winter 2015; for 1.99.


I was getting a bit of practice in with my selfie stick. I'm off to Donegal on the 4th April for two weeks and OH won't be out for the first 8 days I'm there, so I'll have to take my own OOTD photos!

The floral top is from the Red Cross 1.00 rail and the cardigan was bought in Barnardo's in Golders Green for 1.99.


Both scarves charity shopped; watch, necklace, ring and bangles charity shopped. Earrings; a present from my friend Natalie in Cambridge. See my nice, clean, shiny kitchen? 4.5 hours it took me on Friday; my arms were aching on Saturday.

In Rushden I bought a grey dress by East for 4.00 in the Salvation Army. I may not get any wear out of it now but it will be useful for next autumn and winter. East clothing is very expensive so I had to snap it up. I also bought a small wool picnic/lap blanket for 1.00; this will be taken to the caravan as it can be very chilly in the evenings. I also bought a lovely velvet patterned top in Cancer Research for 3.00. All in all a good day's rummaging. OH did well, too.


I got up early on Sunday and walked 6.8 miles. With Wednesday's 6.7 miles my total for this week was 13.5 miles - 6.5 miles short of my target of 20 miles.

Sunday afternoon was tea at the Swan Hotel in Bedford courtesy of my wonderful daughter. It was delicious and I was so stuffed at the end of it.



This is the African print skirt I bought at the 3:16 charity shop last week for 3.50. The top is by Cotton Traders and the jacket is by Country Casuals; both charity shopped at he Red Cross for 1.99.


Headscarf and all jewellery charity shopped. Boots; Christmas 2016 present from daughter.

On Monday there was no Red Cross volunteering. The manager had rung me on Friday to say there was a flood in the shop from a leak upstairs and that the shop would be closed until Wednesday. It felt really strange not going into the shop but I had errands to run in town so walked past the shop anyway. There were buckets everywhere catching the drips! There was also what looked like a 1970s maxi dress on the model in the window! I decided to go back on Wednesday and see if it was my size.

 I had plans to go for a walk in the afternoon but the weather was so horrible I didn't bother. Cold and windy and grey...


On Tuesday I was at the Food Bank and in the afternoon I walked 8.25 miles. It was a good day; sunny and warm but with a cold breeze and eventually the clouds got darker and it rained a little.


Everything charity shopped except the loafers bought on sale at Tesco's outlet shop about 3 years ago.


Earrings; a present from my friend Natalie. All other jewellery charity shopped.

On Wednesday afternoon I went back to the Red Cross; wouldn't you flipping know it they had sold the dress from the window! I bought a brown patterned tunic and a Planet summer jacket in bright orange as a consolation prize; both 1.99 each. In the morning I walked with the group from Great Denham; we walked 7 miles and it was a a very pleasant walk. As we finished back in Great Denham I had a quick browse in Barnardo's and bought a white linen shift dress and a pair of navy blue leather loafers - both 99p each.

It was such a gorgeous day on Thursday! It registered 21.5 degrees centigrade on my car barometer.  It felt like a summer's day so I dug a summer dress out of the chest where I store my summer clothes. I bought this dress which is by Studio from a 1.00/99p sale rail somewhere at the end of last summer when it was too late wear it, so this is its first outing.

The jacket was one of the first things I bought at the Guildhouse when I started there; it's linen and made by an Italian company. I paid 3.50 for it. I wore tights and a long slip underneath the dress and the boots were a Christmas 2016 present from my daughter.


Headscarf, bangles, necklace and watch all charity shopped. Earrings are from Jamaica and are made of copper in the shape of steel pans...present from OH.

On Friday I went on a bus walk with the Ramblers from Kempston via Wootton and Bromham. We walked 8.75 miles culminating with tea and cake at Bromham Mill. The best way to finish any walk I think!  The weather was fine. By the time I got home I had to go straight to collect the grandchildren from school so stayed in my walking gear. My walking total this week was 24 miles over 3 walks.

On Saturday I went to see my son and wore this:


Everything is charity shopped except the loafers which were bought from the Tesco outlet sale about three years ago.



Necklace was a present from my youngest Grandson's dad some years ago. All other jewellery charity shopped.

I shall spend Sunday packing for Ireland; I've had the car checked, got my euros and the ferry's been booked for ages. I shall be taking a break from blogging and when I get back my lovely cousin, Linda is coming to stay with me. It will be her first visit to England and guess what she wants to do? She wants to come charity shopping! That can be arranged with no difficulty...

I hope you all have a lovely Easter and if you don't celebrate Easter that you at least get a nice break. Take care everyone and see you on the other side!