Friday, 9 June 2017

A trip to London and down memory lane...

Last Wednesday, I walked with the Ramblers after a break of two weeks;  I was invigilating on the two previous Wednesdays. There are some evening walks coming up which I am looking forward to. I love evening walking. There's a special evening walk on the 21st June which will be the longest day of the year and it's starting at 8.30 pm - in the pub!

I changed into this outfit after walking 7.5 miles. I bought the scarf with pearls in a charity for 1.00; the top and trousers are also charity shopped. The scarf is to compensate for a low neckline; it was too warm to put a camisole under this top. All jewellery charity shopped.

The trousers from M&S have gone to the charity shop bag. They're too long and too big and do nothing for me even though they are cool and comfortable in the hotter weather. My new pink floral trousers  bought on a recent rummage in Stevenage and Hitchin are their replacement; one in and one out wherever possible...

These are my new (retail) shoes. They have a t strap which you can't see in this photo.

I walked again on Thursday - another 7 miles. It was a very warm day; 25 degrees by the time I finished.  I was trying to recce a new walk for the Ramblers Winter Programme. I tried a footpath I hadn't tried before but it took me nowhere. Not because it didn't lead anywhere but because the footpath was so overgrown I couldn't see where it was meant to take me. I walked around the perimeter of a huge field; climbed over a gate in a farmyard (naughty Veronica!) and found myself a few feet away from where I started!

Everything is charity shopped. The linen top is a French label but I can't remember where I found it; likewise the three quarter leggings.

Mary Jane's bought in a charity shop in Ely in May 2016.

Headscarf and all jewellery charity shopped. The earrings were one of  the three for a 1.00 I bought on last Saturday's rummage in Hitchin.

On Friday, I took my middle grandson to London for a day out. He wanted to go to the Houses of Parliament so we had a guided tour. This was taken on the tube to Westminster.

The  House of Commons terrace where you can take tea...

I look very rotund in this photo taken outside Westminster Abbey!

Tunic; charity shopped; trousers; Lidl last summer; Mary Jane's charity shopped; all jewellery charity shopped except earrings bought online. I bough the African print bag at a car boot sale a couple of weeks back.

We had a lovely day; we went to Canary Wharf (his choice); the Monument and then I took him on a tour of the area where I grew up and went to school i.e. Maida Vale/Paddington.

This is the first house I ever lived in; 144 Elgin Avenue, London W.9.  I was born in 1954. Mum and Dad rented one room in this rather posh house. I checked today's house prices on this street; a one bedroom flat for 785.000; three bedroom flat 999,900; a four bedroom flat over a million. These are flats not houses! It is absolutely incredible and to my mind, obscene.

When my brother Mark was due, Mum, Dad and I moved here:

I spent the next 13 years of my life in this 3 roomed basement flat with my parents and two brothers. We had no bathroom, an outside toilet; no central heating or hot water. I shared a room with my brothers until I was almost 15 years old; my parents slept on a sofa that converted to a bed all the years we lived here. Relatives from Ireland came and stayed - sometimes for months at a time until they got established and moved out.

Again, I checked the prices of properties in this street; a three bedroom maisonette; 1,395.000. A four bedroom house 1,800,000. My parents privately rented throughout the 1950s and 1960s; in the early 1960s Mum and Dad got the opportunity to buy the entire house above for a little over 700.00! My Dad didn't want a mortgage - he was a strictly cash up front person - so they declined the landlord's offer...

In 1969 having been on the housing list since I was born; Mum and Dad moved to a council maisonette in this house in Portnall Road, W9.

The top left hand window was my bedroom - the box room! We had a bathroom and indoor toilet; a separate living and dining room; Mum and Dad had their own bedroom and my brothers shared a bedroom. It was heaven to us.

I checked the prices on this street, too. A one bedroom flat; 500,000. Two bedroom maisonette; 699.000. Not as pricey as the other two streets but a whole house must sell for over 1,000,000. Astonishing - and still obscene. How on earth are ordinary working people ever going to afford to buy anywhere to live in London? The rents are also ridiculous; eldest grandson spends 70% of his earnings on rent.

This was my old school - Paddington and Maida Vale High School for Girls (PMVHS). It was situated in Elgin Ave near to the first house I ever lived in and it took me less than 10 minutes to walk to school.

I asked my grandson what he thought of where I grew up and his reply was - 'all the house you lived in are the same'. This was very true; all Victorian terraced houses. There was a huge house building boom in the Victorian era and many of us continue to live in and love these old houses.

On Saturday I went to see my son. Everything charity shopped except the shoes. Dress by Mantaray; jacket by M & S bought in Kettering for 4.00.

All jewellery charity shopped except watch.

Necklace bought in Derry for 2.50.

Woke up on Sunday to more terrible news.

Top; Store 21 sale; trousers; Primark, charity shopped 99p rail at Barnardo's, Great Denham. Orange shoes also charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped. Necklace bought at Oxfam in Newport Pagnell last summer for 2.50.

On Monday, I volunteered at the Red Cross shop. I do so enjoy working there. I have a laugh with colleagues; we sort a mountain of stuff and sometimes I find wonderful things. My special area of responsibility is the jewellery. I found a rather 'good' piece on Monday in some stock from another Red Cross shop - a gold bracelet with purple stones. I showed it to my colleague, as I could see it looked special. He has a jeweller's eye glass and it was marked 18 carat gold. He took it to a a local jeweller who buys gold and silver; who then confirmed it was gold -  and the purple stones were real amethysts. He gave us (Red Cross)  95.00 for it!

This was Monday's outfit. The green harem pants are from Next and I bought them on my first visit to the new Barnardo's in Great Denham last year. When I got them home the elastic in the waist was gone, so I never wore them at all last year. This year I had the idea of wearing a large elasticated belt I have around the waist of the trousers to hold them up - unfortunately you can see the belt outline  under my yellow patterned M & S charity shopped top! The jacket came from the Guild House and the Mary Jane's were charity shopped in Ely last year.

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings which were donated by my daughter.

On Tuesday I went to volunteer at the Food Bank and in the evening I had Poll Clerk Training for the election on Thursday.

Jewellery and tunic charity shopped. The tunic is from Red Cross 1.99. The earrings were bought in a shop in Bath on my 50th birthday with birthday money I was given by my family.

Navy trousers, Primarni; cardigan, Studio catalogue about four years ago and shoes local retail.

I invigilated for the Open University on Wednesday all day in Luton and on Thursday I poll clerked. My day started at the polling station at 6.15 am and I finished at 10.50 pm. There was a steady stream of people coming in to vote all day and it went surprisingly quickly, but I was really tired when I got home. Luckily the polling station is only across the road from my house!

The Chrome Book is holding up although there are more distractions on the screen in the form of coloured lines but hopefully it will last until I can afford to buy a new one.

I plan to chill out all weekend to compensate for my extremely busy week. I hope you all have a great weekend; the forecast is looking good...


  1. Wow, what a busy week! I love that you toured your grandson around the houses you lived in and preserved that history here and in pics. It's incredible how housing prices creep up! We have a similar issue here in my city - husband and I bought our condo for $118K 20 years ago, and now it's worth over $700K. No one can afford to buy here anymore!

    Love your tunic over leggings outfit, your awesome jewelry (all outfits), and your lovely maxi dress. Also good on you for getting that bracelet evaluated and some good hard cash into the Red Cross! Our hearts go out to the UK!

    1. Thank you, Sheila.

      I really don't know what will happen to property in London; surely it can't keep on going up and up and up...

  2. Wow, you really had a busy week. I loved your trip down memory lane and I was absolutely shocked when I read the housing prices. You are right: it really IS obscene! I only lived in two houses when growing up, but I don't remember much about the first one, in which my parents rented a flat. We moved to the house where I spent the rest of my childhood and youth when I wasn't even three! No wonder they put you in charge for the jewellery at the Red Cross shop. You always have the most amazing jewellery. How clever of you to have spotted the value of that bracelet! xxx

    1. Yes, I was very chuffed to spot the bracelet last week. No such luck today, though!


  3. I couldn't afford to live where I grew up-homes list in the millions now. I can remember taking my grandmother to visit the neighbourhood she lived in when she first arrived in the US. It was dangerous enough that we didn't linger too long! Today (thirty years later) it is gentrified.

    Your handsome grandson has the very best smile.

    I love all your outfits this week, but you saved the best for last. I adore that necklace.
    Have a great weekend.

    1. Surely it's got to stop at some point though, Goody?

      It's funny several people have commented on Isaiah's smile...

  4. Hello Veronica! What a great post. It was lovely to see all the gorgeous houses where you grew up but oh dear how expensive they are. I agree, there is something a little obscene about spending so much on a house when there are people in London without the chance of a roof over their heads, let alone buying one. Your outfits are lovely. I love the first top & scarf combo and those beautiful blue & white, round earrings.You have a very handsome grandson. He has such a fabulous smile. Xx

  5. Such a busy week. Lovely outfit selection, it always impresses me how you mix colours so beautifully. Love the lacy pearl scarf. And love the tube selfie, what kind eyes your handsome grandson has. Such a nice idea for the two of you to have a day out together and to do a tour of your homes gave him a great connect with the family, I'm sure. House prices are so ridiculous. I live on an island so supply is limited and demand is high, so go figure!

    1. Thank you, Mary.

      I'd hate to think how much the houses cost on your Island!

  6. I have to echo what all the others say and yes, golly what a busy week you've had. I don't know how you fit in all that walking with everything else you do. It was great to have a guided tour of all of your previous homes - I'm sure it was fascinating for your grandson too. I love your maxi dress but my favourite outfit has to be the cropped checked leggings and that lovely french tunic - the proportions are just perfect for your height. I could run some elastic through the waistband of your harem pants if you want Vronni - send them and some elastic and I'll do it in a jiffy!

    Hope you've had a lovely weekend.
    Anna x

    1. Thank you so much, Anna, for the sewing offer. I'm going to ask my best friend, who is a wonderful seamstress, to do it for me and take in a skirt that's a bit too generous in the hips for me.


  7. London house prices are utterly ridiculous. I don't know how so many people can afford to live there. (Insert rant about the need for more social housing here.)

    It looks like you and your grandson had a brilliant day. He seems a lovely young man.

    1. He is, Mim!

      Yes, definitely not enough social housing anywhere in this country. What options do people have with rents so high and houses in some parts non affordable for ordinary people...

  8. What a lovely way to spend the day with your grandson. Has he got an interest in politics? How anyone except oligarchs afford to live in London is beyond me.
    I rather like you in the French tunic and the earrings with that outfit are lovely. Hope you enjoyed the rest after your busy week. X

  9. What a lovely way to spend the day with your grandson. Has he got an interest in politics? How anyone except oligarchs afford to live in London is beyond me.
    I rather like you in the French tunic and the earrings with that outfit are lovely. Hope you enjoyed the rest after your busy week. X

    1. Yes, he's pretty obsessed with politics especially with the election...

      I had a relaxed weekend, thank you!


  10. I love the sound of a walk from the pub! Very civilised.
    Gorgeous photo of you and your lovely grandson. What a nice way to spend the day.
    Loved seeing your old homes. We love admiring some of those huge London terraces when we're trading down there. It's a completely different world, isn't it? Round her you can still buy a house for under £50,000.
    All your outfits are great but I particularly love the linen tunic with the leggings, really suits your fab figure. xxxx

    1. Thank you, Vix!

      I expect there's not too much work in your area though and so although the prices are so cheap how do people live? Of course it's the reverse in London; plenty of work with higher wages but difficult to find somewhere affordable to live...

      Thank God I don't have to solve the problem!


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  12. Wow! Those prices are insane! My husband currently lives in the most expensive city in the world...Hong Kong. For 400 sq feet it is $3,600 US/mo.

    Here in Toronto and Vancouver as well we are also suffering from housing poverty. We are lucky we bought into the market some 15 years ago, if we had tried now we would never be able to afford it.


  13. So interesting that you could show the places where you lived to your grandson (such a cute picture of both you), all those victorian houses, and it's amazing how expensive is to live in London. Obscene is the word to describe it!.
    I love your outfits (as usual!), the cool color combos, those blue shades in the first ones, and yellows and red details in other ones. You rock your bijouterie and I love every detail! Last pics are my favorites, as I'm a huge fan of teal-turquoise and red: you're lovely!

  14. It was a nice day with your grandson . One of those days that will became pleasant memories. ( I still remember lovely days spent with my grandmother many years ago)

    London is a very interesting city but flats are extremely expensive there!!

  15. if we had tried now we would never be able to afford it.