Tuesday 28 November 2023

Blogoversary and some other stuff

Hello again!

When I left you last I showed you my latest TBR pile. What I realised later on that day was I had already read two of them. What I thought was Richard Osman's latest book was his third which I'd read already, and the Ann Tyler I had read also. Off to the bookshelves I went and selected two replacements. I also spent a bit of time weeding out (non-fiction) books I no longer wanted; making a bit more room on my bookshelves upstairs. I filled one of those large shopping bags for life with unwanted books and contacted Oxfam who do a book collection service.

The Ramblers walk on Wednesday went really well; no one seemed to mind it was only 6.5 miles instead of 7.5 as at least we avoided the muddiest parts near Yarlswood. It was muddy however; very muddy in places. There were 32 of us in total and although it was chilly the sun shone in a clear blue sky throughout the whole walk. My new red walking boots were mud coloured by the end of the walk and they're not waterproof. I will relegate them to summer walking boots and/or dry day walking boots. I found a pair of virtually new Gelert boots on Vinted for a tenner. I've had Gelert walking boots before and very good boots they are, too.

We watched this Chilean/German TV series on ITVx called 'Dignity'. Recommended and with eight episodes it kept us going for a while. 

Thursday was colder than Wednesday. Under this pre-loved M&S Per Una skirt I'm wearing the 1.00 green thermal leggings I found in my Barnardo's the last time I was there. Pre-loved Uniqlo polo and tank top also pre-loved but can't remember where. Pre-loved boots by Tu as before. All jewellery pre-loved.

I went for a swim and swam 45 laps. There was a lovely surprise at the pool; the showers had been fixed and all 4 were working. It must be almost a year since all showers were working. I believe the new company have taken over now. That's a really good start as far as I'm concerned. Now they need to fix the dripping tap...updated to say I read online the new company take over in February 2024 so the current company did finally get their act together.

I went to both the farm shop for kindling and the local Lidl for grocery shopping and got back in time for Oxfam to collect my book donations bag. Youngest grandson has a basket ball match after school almost every Thursday now and it's a bit of a rush to pick him up from there; feed him and everyone else before we set off again for evening basket ball practice...the joys of being a grandparent!

It was back to the unofficial bus walks on Friday - yay!

We caught a bus from the bus station to Wixhams. We walked for 4.5 miles in total and stopped for coffee and cake in the garden centre before catching the bus back to town. This was my walking outfit; no need for walking boots as we walked on hard surfaces all the way. Pre-loved jeans, boot cut by M&S; top by Izabel also pre-loved. Boots last year from Sainsbury's. All jewellery pre-loved.

Wixhams is actually a small town containing 4 separate villages; Lake View, Harrowden Green, Willow View and the central part unnamed as yet; it's still under construction and will contain the station. We walked here earlier in the year but there has been a lot of development since then. Lots of lakes and good footpaths.

On Saturday we went out for a birthday celebration with my brothers, for Tony's 66th birthday. Another pensioner in the family...

Everything was pre-loved except the boots as before. Wide leg trousers by Phase Eight; shirt by Isle; tank top by Zara. All jewellery pre-loved.

We went to the Tollemache Arms in Harrington, Northants; had a delicious meal and just managed to get home as darkness fell. Poor OH was afflicted with my bug. We made a right pair; coughing and nose blowing all evening on the sofa. We finished watching 'Dignity' and began watching the new Australian crime thriller ' Scrublands' on BBC4 on Saturday evening.

Sunday was the usual; swimming, housework and cooking dinner. Everyone came for Sunday dinner. It was a surprisingly mild weekend with temperatures reaching 14 degrees on both days.

Monday was a busy day. I went to Barnardo's; I'd missed not going the week before when I wasn't feeling too good. A week on and I still had the cough and the blocked nose but felt absolutely fine. We had lots of donations and although I processed donations all morning and served on the till; the donations pile was still the same size when I left! The good news was the post office across the road from the charity shop had re-opened so no more trips to do the banking at Bromham or Kempston post offices.

From Barnardo's I went to the hairdressers; then to stock up on bird food supplies at Home Bargains. From there I had to collect my Vinted parcel; my new to me waterproof boots. Once I was home I had washing to hang up, the fire to clean out and reset. Only then could I sit down for while and catch up with blogs and blogging.

I wore my pre-loved green thermal leggings under this vintage pre-loved skirt. Top, pre-loved from my Barnardo's; no label; jacket from New Look but also via Barnardo's; as were the boots. All jewellery pre-loved. The photos were taken at the end of the day so the light wasn't very good and there were strange shadows being cast...

I was very excited to see the new food bank warehouse on Tuesday morning. The new premises are about 200 metres away from the old food bank warehouse but much bigger; huge in fact. There were 2 enormous rooms for goods in and sorting; we have a kitchen, office, meeting room; staff room and a goods out area. There is also a mezzanine which is not currently in use and best of all 3 rooms dedicated to non- food stuff items. One of the rooms is for all things baby - milk/food/nappies/toiletries. The second room is for toiletries: loo paper; shampoo; shower gel; soap; hand wash; toothpaste and toothbrushes; deodorants; razors; shaving gel and sanitary towels and tampons. The third room is for household cleaning materials; washing powder, washing up liquid; surface cleansers etc; dog and cat food and cutlery, crockery and pots and pans. I stayed on for a while extra and made sure everything was in the right place in the right room and I unpacked several crates and a cage of non-foodstuff goods in. I had a real sense of satisfaction when I finished.

Everything pre-loved and seen on the blog before. Boots retail last year.

From the food bank I walked into town to run a range of errands. I posted a gift card and birthday card to my brother. I went to the international supermarket to buy some seasonings and to QD to buy some black sunflowers seeds for the birds. They have really gone up in price and I think it's actually cheaper to buy them at the farm shop unless they have raised their prices so much, too. I'll be going there to buy coal and kindling on Thursday so must add the sunflower seeds to my shopping list. I made dinner and in the evening OH and I started watching this Irish crime drama. My son recommended it to me ages ago but it's only just come to BBC and BBC i Player:

My middle grandson had a job interview on Wednesday morning so I drove him there and he caught the bus back. Fingers crossed he gets the job...He did! Once I was back home I did a towels wash and made another fruit cake freezing half. Then I set out for a walk on what was a really bleak day; but not particularly cold at 10 degrees. I walked most of the walk route I led last week, but did it in reverse and cut off the bit at the end to avoid muddy paths; it was even muddier than last week. On the way home I diverted to have a look in the Daycare Hospice shop and found a couple of Christmas items. Yes, I've said the dreaded C word. Some more Christmas table mats and another wooden decoration to add to my collection. The charity shops are a great place to buy Christmas stuff and usually have loads.

This was Wednesday's outfit. I wore walking socks and boots but stayed in my skirt for walking. Pre-loved brown corduroy skirt by Next; retail (Lidl) jumper and retail boots. I thought I should have worn mustard tights instead of brown; but by the time I had that thought it was mid afternoon and I couldn't be bothered to change them. Earrings pre-loved. I wore a browny-pink lipstick for a change. I bought 2 of them because I liked the colour from Wilko's range called 'Essence'. Never to be seen again as Wilko closed down nationally a couple of months ago. No cooking required as I made OH a pork casserole on Tuesday enough for 2 days. OH went to the doctor as the bug was affecting his chest. He was diagnosed with a chest infection and was prescribed antibiotics.

OH didn't go into work on Thursday but it was the usual Thursday for me. Swimming followed by breakfast and getting ready to go to the farm shop, Lidl and Sainsbury's.

For a change it was bright and sunny and on the way back from shopping the car temperature was registering 14 degrees, but once the sun went down it got very cold. I  wore this pre-loved home made felted wool skirt which was very warm. I remember buying it in the Animal Care shop in Donegal town in the summer for 3 euros. It has a floral patterned, asymmetric layer on top of a plain brown underskirt; it's a bit weird but I like it. White tank top pre-loved by Dotty P (Dorothy Perkins); polo neck underneath retail from Sainsbury's last year and boots from Cat's Protection League also found last year. All jewellery pre-loved. Pre-loved leather jacket by Gerry Weber. Think I might have got this in Ireland too, but I can't remember...

I was right about the sunflower seeds for the birds. They were much cheaper at the farm shop and I shan't buy them anywhere else now. Once I'd unpacked the shopping I made dinner for both grandsons and then took grandson to basket ball practice. This week his basketball match after school was on Wednesday and next week it's on a Tuesday then it will revert back to Thursdays. Oh well, it will soon be Christmas holidays...

I'd been looking forward to Friday all week. Mandy and I met up for lunch in a small town called Hertford in Hertfordshire. It was lovely to see her again and we had Eggs Benedict for lunch followed by a mooch around some of the charity shops; we also visited Hertford's museum which was tiny. It was a bitterly cold but bright day with an icy wind and I should have worn a warmer coat...I was frozen.

Pre-loved suedette coat found in the Castle Rd junk shop. Scarf by White Stuff; trousers by M&S; tank top; no label, all pre-loved. Blouse; present and boots retail as before.

Earrings were an old sale find at Debenhams and are about 5 or 6 years old.

We remembered to take a photo! Even if I did chop my own head off...

Hertford was a fortified Saxon town built by King Edward the Elder, son of Alfred the Great in 912 and has its own castle. It's an historic market town with four rivers meeting in the town; the Rib, Beane, Mimram and the river Lea.

It was too cold a day to take many photos but the pargetting on 'The Salisbury Arms' caught my attention.

The sea life collage above the fishmongers was knitted, crocheted or made of material.

The delightful small garden of Hertford museum. That's a Moroccan fig tree in the background complete with round figs.

This is the Reverend Samuel Stone; a Puritan minister; native of Hertford, England who went on to found the city of Hartford in the state of Connecticut in 1636.

By Friday evening we'd finished watching 'Kin'. Can't wait for Series 2.

I had a pottering about Saturday morning; putting on and hanging up a wash, tidying up, making breakfast and getting ready; then I took youngest grandson to get his locks re-twisted at the hairdressers at noon. 4 hours later he was ready to be collected. I just couldn't sit still for that long so it's just as well I don't have locks!  I went out for 5 mile walk along the river while I was waiting for him to finish, Once I had taken him home OH made dinner and we chilled out by the fire. A very cold day again. I finished 'The Testaments'  by Margaret Atwood and we watched the final episodes of 'Scrublands'. We need to find something to watch for next week in the evenings...

Everything pre-loved. I found the shirt in Hertford on Friday in the Heart Foundation charity shop. Tank top, no label via Barnardo's; trousers by iRossi and I can't remember where I found them, but they've been in my wardrobe for several years now. They're made of a warm wool type material so very appropriate for this cold weather snap.  Boots by Manteray and found in Barnardo's. All jewellery pre-loved. I wore an orangey coloured lipstick for a change.

I like to listen to pod casts or the radio when I go to bed and recently have been listening to 'Legends' on BBC Sounds about Joni Mitchell. There are 6 episodes in the series and I'm up to episode 4. They are released on a weekly basis so I have to wait for the next 2 episodes. I also listen to a lot of podcasts from RTE (the Irish broadcasting authority) especially the 'Documentary on 1' series of podcasts. Listening to 'Legends' made me revisit my Joni Mitchell collection of CDs and listen to them in the order they were released; only to discover the 'The Hissing of Summer Lawns' was missing from its CD sleeve. It probably fell out of the sleeve in my old Corsa which had a CD player; fell under the seat and I didn't notice. I'll have to look for another copy or download one or my collection will be incomplete. I've been listening to Joni Mitchell since I was 16, so that's 53 years her songs have been accompanying me on my life journey. I still have 2 of my original Joni Mitchell vinyl albums  somewhere in the loft. One day OH and are going to clear the loft out; probably when he retires because we'll need to hire a skip! I also don't want my poor children to have sort through all that stuff. To be fair there a lot of empty cardboard boxes up there. OH keeps every box that anything electrical comes in so it looks a lot worse than it is. That's what I'm telling myself anyway...


I sorted out a new TBR pile. 2 non-fiction books; 1 each from my Virago and Persephone book collections and 2 novels both by novelists more popular in the past; Rumer Godden and Winifred Holtby. My long term reading plan is to read everything on my bookshelves and keep only those that I would like to re-read; I'm getting there slowly but surely; I just need to stop buying more books.

Sunday was another very cold day. We'd had the heating on for most of the weekend until we lit the fire each evening around 5 pm. I went for a swim where the pool was surprisingly crowded for such a cold day but the water was pleasantly warm. On Thursday the water was quite chilly; although after a few laps I'm nice and warm and I don't really mind cold water anyway. OH made us a chicken curry for dinner and we did the weekly housecleaning. In the evening we started watching 'The Boat Story' which looks like it will be good viewing. It is but it's very violent - you have been warned!

I realised on Sunday that I've been blogging for 8 years this month. I started in November 2015. I enjoy blogging but I'm very sad that fewer people are reading the blog and commenting. I think it was January this year when bloggers began to notice and comment their numbers had reduced by quite a significant amount; which was something to do with Blogger no longer notifying people when new blog posts were published. Having said that I've noticed numbers continue to reduce but I shall carry on in the meantime.

Monday was wet, cold and miserable and the light in the house was very poor. I had to go downstairs to take these photos as upstairs was just too dark. Everything pre-loved except the boots as before. Skirt and tank top; New Look and polo neck by M&S. Underneath the skirt I''m wearing leggings. All jewellery pre-loved.

I had a change of venue on Monday. Great Denham Barnardo's was closed as the manager was ill; I was asked if I'd like to go to Kempston instead. A change is as good as a rest so of course I said yes. As luck would have it I'd arranged to meet a walking friend in Great Denham so I had to drive back to Great Denham when I finished in Kempston.  I took that opportunity to drop off 2 bags of donations to the Keech Hospice shop at the same time. Now the boot of my car has some room in it! 

Martin and I went for a coffee at the cafe which was just a very short walk from Barnardo's charity shop in Great Denham;  it was a bitterly cold day at only at 5 degrees. Martin was a regular walker with the Ramblers but about two years ago he needed heart surgery and has since developed lung problems so can't walk very far anymore. You may remember that he came to visit us in Donegal a few years ago when he was in Ireland visiting his niece. It was very good to see him again and catch up. We're both going to the Rambler's Christmas lunch in a couple of weeks time so we'll catch up again there.

I collected grandson from work on Monday evening; he finishes at 10 pm and I'll pick him up for a while as the local bus service stops running after 8 pm. He plans to buy himself a bike with his first pay packet!

This was what I wore to the food bank on Tuesday. Everything pre-loved. Dress by Boden; found in Barnardo's, Great Denham the last time I was there. Polo neck underneath by M&S; hand knitted waistcoat for extra warmth and I had leggings on underneath. Boots also found in Barnardo's.

All jewellery pre-loved. 

Over this I wore a sleeveless, hooded puffa jacket of OH's which he's donated to me. On top of that I wore my bright pink hi-vis vest in warehouse and looked like the Michelin Man! I spent the morning making up kettle packs which are 3 days supply of food for individuals who have no cooking facilities; only access to a kettle and hot water. We actually now have a room dedicated to kettle packs and cold packs in the warehouse. Cold packs are for individuals who don't even have access to a kettle. With hot water at least you can have noodles, cuppa soups and porridge as well as making hot beverages.

That's been my fortnight; how's your's been?

Blogoversary and some other stuff

Hello again!   When I left you last I showed you my latest TBR pile. What I realised later on that day was I had already read two of them. W...