Tuesday, 19 September 2023

Naahh, Luton Airport.

Hello - it's that time again! 

Time is certainly flying and we're definitely into autumnal mode now. Schools are back; leaves are falling and grandson is back to basket ball practices several times a week.

Going back to the first Wednesday of September; it was another very hot day. I hadn't been checking the weather forecasts as I knew the whole week was going to be hot and sunny; in fact there was an amber alert weather warning for our area, which meant temperatures were predicted to reach 30 degrees Celsius and above and to take precautions in the heat. The Ramblers group were walking in Luton that Wednesday but as I was going to walk in Luton on Friday with the small group (unofficial bus walk group) I didn't want to drive to Luton. Instead I went for a 7 mile walk on my own to reacquaint myself with some of the routes I hadn't walked  in months.

In so doing I also totally ignored the heat precautions; to stay out of the heat between 11 am and 3 pm and I forgot my hat; but I did wear sunglasses and had water with me in my rucksack. I was sorry I didn't wear my linen trousers which would have been cooler than the Next jeans I wore. Short sleeved shirt by M&S. Everything pre-loved. Sandals retail.

I walked 7 miles, was extremely hot and tired by the time I finished, but it was so good to be walking my old routes again. I have several routes to check out before I decide which one I'll use when I lead a Rambler's walk in mid November. The landscape changes so much from season to season that I didn't always recognise where I was; next time I must take my map with me. The reason I walked later in the day when really I should have gone in the morning; was when I got up on Wednesday I decided to cull my beads and necklaces. I had far too many and filled a carrier bag with about 30 odd necklaces and beads; some of which hadn't been worn for years. I would drop them off to a charity shop on Thursday on my way back from food shopping.

In the garden some of the plants were having a renaissance. Some of the sinetti came back; the verbena returned and both of the dahlias kept re-blooming. I do deadhead most of the plants frequently and it seemed to repay us. The honesty plant now has silver pennies on it which pleases me no end.

I finally looked at the weather forecast on Thursday and the heat was set to continue into the next week. I wore this pre-loved cotton dress bought from Vinted during the first lock down. All jewellery pre-loved and sandals; local retail. I went swimming first thing; then got ready and went to do Lidl and Aldi shopping. I dropped off my heavy bag of jewellery to the Children's Society and had a quick browse in the other 2 charity shops. I found a small white rucksack which I'll use on my Friday walks; just large enough for a squishy rain mac; a water bottle; my purse; phone; some tissues and hand sanitiser and of course a mirror and some lipstick. After that I went back home; unpacked the shopping and put it away. I collected grandson from school; made dinner for both grandsons and then took the youngest to basket ball practice. Unfortunately, his electric scooter is out of action other wise I wouldn't need to collect him from school or take him to basket ball practice. I'm hoping his mum gets the scooter sorted soon...

Some months ago I went for a BP check and medical check up. When I was weighed; I was 12 stone. I rarely weigh myself trusting as to how snug or not my clothes are fitting to know if I'd put on weight, but that was a shock. I should be around 10 stone for my height, so I decided to take action. I stopped eating sweets for a start. I was addicted to blackcurrant and liquorice sweets and ate between 5 - 6 a day; sometimes more. I stopped having a biscuit every time I had a cup of tea. I then decided, a fortnight ago to try intermittent fasting as I don't do diets. It's quite simple; I make sure I've eaten my final meal and drank my final cup of tea by between 6 and 7 pm each day and then eat nothing until 16 hours later; but drink water or other non-sugared liquids. I've never really snacked in the evenings (except for the sweets!) so I haven't missed out there; but I always ate breakfast almost as soon as I got up so I have missed my early breakfast. However, I've found it quite easy to skip it and if I'm at the food bank or charity shop or walking; I make a sandwich or something and eat it at the appropriate time to break my fast. It seems to be working as I've lost 10 lbs (to date) and would be happy if I got to 10.5 stone. I was always very slim until my early 50s when, as a result of the menopause and giving up smoking, I gained weight and never lost it. I try to eat healthily; eating very little meat preferring fish; I eat lots of fruit, veg and some grains; drink very little alcohol and my only indulgence tends to be a cake when I'm on a Friday walk with the group. I love chocolate but stopped buying it last year as part of the weekly shop, as I would just eat it all. OH still buys chocolate but I can see it in the fridge and ignore it!

It was cloudy on Friday but still very warm and very humid. Seven of us met at Bedford station and travelled to Luton Parkway which is close to the airport. You can now catch a monorail called the 'DART' from Luton Parkway to the airport; it was only completed this year. We were met at Luton by 3 other fellow walkers who live in Luton and off we set...

A view of part of the airport - the runway was adjacent to the red building. I tried very hard to get a close up of a plane taking off; which they did every couple of minutes, but wasn't successful.

Chiltern Green farmhouse

After climbing some steep hills and descending for several miles; we arrived at this Greek Orthodox church where we stopped for a break. I had made sandwiches and brought some fruit with me. There were no coffee or tea facilities at the church BUT there were toilets - always a bonus on a walk...

The church had a beautiful interior but before it became a Greek Orthodox church it was the Parish church of nearby Luton Hoo. You can read more about Luton Hoo HERE. Hoo is a Saxon word meaning the spur of a hill.

Such intricate carving.

I love icons as an art form and this church was filled with them.

Beautiful detail in gold - whether it was real gold or not I don't know. There were people in the adjoining hall so the church was open. I expect it's locked when there is no one on the premises.

The mausoleum of the Wernher family of Luton Hoo; found in the church yard attached to the church we visited.

By the time I arrived home I'd walked 9 miles and had a cup of tea and a sit down to recover. A very hot and muggy night but I was off to spend the day with my son on Saturday. It turned out to be the hottest day of the year (33 degrees plus) and it was brilliant to sit in the car on the way back with the air conditioning on after sweltering for most of the day. I wore this for coolness:

Sandals retail. Pre-loved skirt by Rapp bought at the Guild House when I used to volunteer there; linen top recent find on a Bedford charity shop rummage.  Matthew Williamson pre-loved bag. All jewellery pre-loved.

Sunday turned out to be a very sad day. OH's mum died at 12.43 in the afternoon; just as we got back from a wander around the Castle Road Jumble Trail. He'd had a phone call late on Saturday evening to say they didn't think it would be long and it wasn't; less than 24 hours from when the change was first noticed. She was 99 years and six months old; a wonderful woman; an amazing mother and will be missed so very much. OH set off for London in the middle of rain and a thunderstorm. It didn't last long and was back to being hot and very humid less than an hour later.

In an effort to stay cool I wore this pre-loved linen dress bought last year from the Sue Ryder shop; retail sandals and all jewellery pre-loved. Didn't bother with much make up; just highlighter, blusher and lipstick plus sunglasses...

I made dinner but no housework was done. There was more rain in the late afternoon and a little bit of thunder. We needed a really good thunderstorm to clear the air...

Monday, thankfully, was cooler but very humid. I was at Barnardo's as usual and worked with a new volunteer who seemed lovely. Last week the back had been cleared of donations and there was floor space; this week the back was full to bursting and half the shop floor was covered in donations. By the time I left we'd cleared a lot from the shop floor but the donations were piling up again. I was glad to leave; it feels like running to stand still sometimes. Also, the new policy is that we now put precise labels on everything. Clothes are broken down into types for both sexes and children's clothes are not only by sex but by age; all other categories (entertainment, bric-a-brac etc) have sub-categories. Lots of printing of labels which means more paper, more ink and more wear and tear on the printers. We're not even sure why we're doing it!

I was sorry I didn't wear my black linen trousers as they would have been cooler than my jeans but the opportunities to wear white jeans were diminishing. I don't follow fashion 'rules' but white jeans are not practicable in cooler, wetter weather. Jeans; retail Primarni; sandals and top pre-loved; all jewellery pre-loved.

I had errands to run in town when I got back from Barnardo's. I had a parcel to pick up which was part of my daughter's birthday present - she'll be 45 next week! I had a reserved book to collect from the library and I went on a hunt for some hair wax for my hair. It was not easy to find. The current one I'm using is by Umberto Gianni (vegan and cruelty free which I like and it has an added shimmer for shine) but I have  only one third left in the jar. It seems as if it's been discontinued and I found only one other brand of styling wax; of which I already had a small jar. I popped into the Black Hair shop and they had a couple of choices. I will have to look online but I'd much rather buy from a shop... once home I caught up with blogs and blogging and made dinner. I spent the evening reading my new library book:

If it's Tuesday it must be food bank...
 I made up 16 crates of toiletries and put some stuff away and before I knew it it was time to go home. Lynne had made a delicious chocolate cake using courgettes and beetroot which she'd brought in for us; she gave me the recipe which I'd like to try.

Everything was pre-loved except the Doc Marten's sandals; trousers; no label; top by Masai. 

All jewellery pre-loved. The earrings were one of half a dozen pairs of different sized silver hoops by Pull and Bear (BNWT); bought for 50 p from the car boot sale last Sunday. I also bought myself a BNWT purse from Principles for 1.50 and a pottery bowl to use as a planter for 20 p from this week's street jumble which was quite disappointing in that most of the stalls were full of children's clothes, books and toys. Updated to say I lost one of the earrings on a supermarket visit on Tuesday afternoon...
We had torrential rain that afternoon and as it had been very humid all day our back door was open as usual. By the time I realised how heavy the rain was the kitchen floor was awash with water which took ages to mop up and dry. The street looked like a river and the cars drove very slowly and cautiously along it. It certainly cooled the weather down and made it feel fresher - thank goodness.

We have a double oven and the fan oven stopped working on Sunday. Luckily, we have second-hand white goods shop at the bottom of our street so one of my errands on Monday afternoon included calling in to see if they had a suitable replacement. They did and I waited in on Wednesday morning for it to be delivered and connected. It should have been delivered on Tuesday afternoon but the shop also got flooded by the heavy rain.

I walked to Cardington village and back along the river. I walked 8.8 miles and just by the new bridge and opposite the further education college; I found a small white box which contained an air pod. I took it home with me as I hoped whoever had lost it would be able to track it via their phone. Sure enough, at about five o clock there was a knock at the door and a teenage lad (and his Dad) told me he had lost his air pod and tracked it to my address - just as I expected. The teenager was visibly relieved when I told him I had it and where I found it. He was a student at the college. That was my good deed for the day done.

I had only just ironed this linen top but it looks as if I hadn't bothered! Everything pre-loved and found at Barnardo's except the sandals by Monsoon. All jewellery pre-loved.

As the weather was cooler and a bit overcast I wore my white denim jacket on my walk and was glad I did. It was a lovely walk and one I hadn't done for a while:

This is the back of 'The Barn's' which has now changed its name; although the medieval tithe barn remains. You may remember we had a Rambler's Christmas Lunch here a few years ago.

A view from the bridge over Priory Marina.

Once back from my walk I harvested as many tomatoes from our tomato plant as I could and made green tomato chutney. I washed and sterilised 5 old glass jars in the new oven; then proceeded to forget all about the chutney simmering on the stove until OH came home from work and asked what was burning! Yes, I'd burnt the bleeding lot. I put the horribly burnt pan to soak with soda crystals and boiling water and crossed my fingers it was salvable. It's a deep heavy pot; perfect for soups and curries and it would be badly missed if I couldn't save it...

After soaking the pot overnight and scraping a lot of burnt matter off with a spoon; two Brillo pads later the pot was back to normal. Unfortunately the burnt smell still lingered in the house...

I went for the usual swim and wore this Next pre-loved dress with pre-loved leggings underneath and a pleather pre-loved jacket. It was cool with sunny periods all day. I almost didn't go for a swim as my legs were still tired from Wednesday's walk but the swim did them good.

All jewellery pre-loved. 
Once I'd had my breakfast and got ready I went to Lidl to do the weekly food shop. From there I went to look at the newly opened RSPCA charity shop in Kempston and found one of the Elly Griffiths books in the Brighton series I was missing. I only need to find one more and I'd have the complete series. OH went to London straight from work to sort out funeral arrangements with his family and I made dinner for grandsons and us.  I received a message during the day to say the unofficial bus walks would not run again until 6th October. I will carry on re-discovering my old walking routes and who knows maybe even devise a new one.

I've been wearing a lot of neutral coloured clothing the past week I've noticed; not really been feeling the colour and because it's been quite hot needing to wear cottons and linens. Sandals; retail. Linen H&M trousers pre-loved; cotton shirt found in my wardrobe with no recollection of ever buying it! Probably from a £1.00 rail somewhere; all jewellery pre-loved.

On Friday morning I had some more errands to run in town. Birthday cards for my niece's 18th birthday on Saturday and my daughter's next week; I collected grandson's school tops from the uniform shop and picked up a couple of other items. Bedford town centre has become very sad looking as so many of the big chain stores have left and there are lots empty shops; our second Iceland had closed down, I noticed. The latest casualty is Wilco which is part of a national closure of this chain of shops. However, there was a new Edinburgh Woollen Mill outlet shop which had newly opened and that contained within it another franchise selling home linen ware. There's also a new shop selling sneakers and of course the Irish shop closed a few weeks ago; no more soda bread for me! At the other end of the High Street however a regeneration project is underway. The photo of the Sally Army charity shop is the latest in the project; looking very much as it would have done many years ago as a draper shop.

I found this cast iron pot stand in the Impakt shop that sells second hand and upcycled furniture. I thought it would make a good plant stand for some of my succulents...I started on the first of the Elly Griffiths Brighton series which I'm enjoying but not as much as Dr. Ruth.

In the afternoon I went out for a walk checking out another old route. It was a very warm day and after 6 miles I stopped. I have an idea now of the route I want to use when I lead my walk in November; it's just trying to keep it within the 7 - 7.5 mile limit we have for Wednesday walks. Look how the trees are changing colour. 

On Saturday my brother Tony came over and we set off mid morning to travel to Bracknell for his grand daughter Chloe/my great niece's 18th birthday party. The journey both there and back was a bit of a nightmare with delays due to accidents; diversions and hold ups of one sort and another. We had a lovely afternoon sitting in the garden eating, drinking and making merry. It was lovely to see all my nieces and great nieces; nephews and great nephews together. Including Mandy's son and daughter (who is also called Chloe) I now have 3 nieces; 3 nephews; 2 great nephews and 3 great nieces.

Chloe's mum Kimberley decorated the front of the house...

Michael, Fiona, Kimberley and Daniel - my nieces and nephews.

Himself and Tony.

The birthday girl!

I didn't have time to take outfit photos on Saturday but I wore the Desigual maxi dress I found in the 3:16 charity shop sale a few weeks ago with a pair of pre-loved but BNWT sandals I bought in a Co. Donegal charity shop whilst on holiday. I also took my Betty Barclay jacket with me but didn't need it as it turned to be a very warm day.

A quiet Sunday. Swimming, followed by a bit of a tidy up in the garden and housework. OH made dinner - it was just us. Next Sunday, we're having a big get together with Mandy and Paul, my brothers, my eldest grandson; his girlfriend and the Bedford crew. We're hoping to have a bbq but if the weather lets us down it will be a buffet - I don't have enough room at the table for everybody!

It started out as warm and sunny on Monday but by the time I left Barnardo's it was lashing down and stayed wet and cool until evening. It was almost chilly in the evening and I closed lots of windows that had been open for weeks. Barnardo's was chock a block with donations both at the front and back so we stopped them and tried to process the pile on the shop floor.

Feeling a bit more colourful on Monday. Skirt; no label from Barnardo's last year; t shirt M&S; pre-loved; vintage patterned blouse also pre-loved from Barnardo's last week; and sandals by Timberland via Vinted.

All jewellery pre-loved.

I went to the food bank on Tuesday and as a colleague didn't come in; spent the morning making up food parcels after I'd put away the donated toiletries and cleaning products. Tuesday was my daughter's birthday and I made her a vegan Lemon Polenta birthday cake. Once OH was in from work we'd be going to her house armed with cards, presents and cake. It only seems a very short while since I was bringing her home from hospital dressed in crocheted 'baby sleeping bag' - my first ever crocheted item! She's an amazing daughter and I'm so very proud of her.

PS - You might be wondering about the title of this post. It comes from a famous TV advert from the 1980s for Campari. The (very well spoken)man says to the woman he's pouring a Campari for 'Were you truly wafted here from Paradise'? and she responds in a strong Cockney accent: 'Naahh, Luton Airport'....

See you in a fortnight.

Naahh, Luton Airport.

Hello - it's that time again!  Time is certainly flying and we're definitely into autumnal mode now. Schools are back; leaves are fa...