Tuesday 26 September 2017

OOTDs and Edward Bawden

Look - a sunflower! Probably courtesy of one of the birds who feed at my bird feeding station - they dropped a seed and it grew and grew. We used to have a huge sunflower on the other side of this one but after several years it has ceased to bloom. That's okay we have a replacement now.

 A Saturday outfit. All jewellery charity shopped.

This outfit excluding the jewellery cost 7.98 in total!

Trousers from Tesco; 99p rail at Barnardo's in Ampthill; tunic Tesco Outlet 5.00; jacket, 99p rail Age UK, Wellingborough. Pumps; 99p at Barnardo's Great Denham.

Scarf, present from my friend; Natalie.
On Saturday 16th, OH suggested a visit to Emmaeus which is in a village called Carlton about 10 miles from Bedford. Emmaeus is  a UK based charity and community working together to help the homeless. It was originally started by the Abbe Pierre in France but there is a network of shops all over the UK.

 They sell mostly second hand stuff but very little clothing!  Hurray - no temptation for me! We were looking for a stool for the bathroom; our old one broke last week; and a wok and cafetiere to take to the caravan. We found neither cafetiere nor stool, but I did find this gorgeous dressing table set for 1.00. Most women had one of these on their dressing tables when I was growing up in the 1950s and 60s.

I also bought this lovely throw which I'm going to use as a Christmas tablecloth.

It's doubled over and look it has tassels! It was 2.00.

We also bought  an elephant cushion for the caravan; we have two already so this one makes the third; a wok for 5.00, and a a kitchen bin for recycling with a slow close lid for 2.00. Bargains galore at Emmaeus on Saturday.  They do lovely tea and cake, too. Only another month to go before I can have another rummage...

Some OOTD photos.

Friday 15th September outfit. Linen trousers (which for some reason look shiny in these photos) 1.00; Red Cross Shop, Navy blue top 5.00 sale Forever 21; Kimono - (1 of 4 that I bought in Ireland); 3 euros in a Donegal Town charity shop.

Pale pink suede shoes 3 euros in Killybegs charity shop.

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings and watch. I need a haircut...

During the week of 11th September I managed to get some wear out of my linen tunics/dresses. I don't get to wear too much of my summer wear when I'm in Ireland (it's usually too cool) so I was trying to get as much summer wear worn as possible using leggings/cardigans/jackets for warmth. Transitioning, in other words! I wore a vest/camisole under my tops throughout my stay in Ireland and have continued with it since I got back. I'm turning into an old lady...

Deep blue dress/tunic, made in Italy; charity shopped; striped top underneath M&S; charity shopped; orange shoes; charity shopped. Leggings; M & S; charity shopped. My feet are a mess; I have sun burnt patches in the shape of my Mary Jane shoes and where the sun didn't reach, my skin is pale. The end result looks as if I have dirty feet!

All jewellery charity shopped.

Navy blue linen tunic also from Italy charity shopped; top and leggings charity shopped. Shoes from PJ shoes but they've been relegated to the charity shop bag as the red coating is beginning to wear. Look at those white legs...should have put on some fake tan.

All jewellery charity shopped. I was wearing three bangles; two red and one navy, but I took them off to do the washing up and forgot to put them on for the photo!

I've managed to get back into a walking routine. The first week I was back I was walked twice on my own: 6.5 mile walks each time. The week of 11th September I walked three times; I did 10.5 miles trying to recce a new walk and got lost - so what's new? Then a 6.4 mile walk and on Sunday 17th bright and early I did 4.1 miles making a total of 21 for that week. The week beginning the 18th I did my first walk with the group in about 2.5 months. It was good to meet up with everyone again. We walked 7.2 miles from Westoning to Harlington; onto Pulloxhill and back again.

We saw these lovely creatures:

Alpacas! They have the cutest faces and were very friendly.

I wore this to the Food bank/library on Tuesday. There were only three of us in at the Food bank so we were busy. The dress was bought for 1.99 in the Red Cross before I went to Ireland; I didn't take it with me because I didn't think the weather would be warm enough, but I had a brainwave and put a top underneath it  (charity shop 1.00 rail) and a pair of green leggings (Sainsburys retail). Shoes are from PJ shoes. Scarf charity shopped. These dresses were being sold on Bedford market in a range of colours for 15.00 each back in June.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I had a dental appointment on Thursday 21st and finally managed to get to the Edward Bawden exhibition at the Cecil Higgins  Gallery in Bedford.

Everything is charity shopped except the shoes which were bought at the Tesco outlet shop. The kimono is one of the 4 (!) I bought in Ireland.

Have you noticed I've changed where I take my photos? I was bored with the sitting room as a backdrop so changed it to the hallway. Did you spot a basket sitting on the stairs? It's a special stair basket designed in a step shape. The idea is you put the things that need to go upstairs in it and take it upstairs all together.   I'm the only one who bothers! I bought it ages ago in a charity shop for 4.00 but can't remember which one.

I bought this necklace at a car boot sale about 10 years ago for 50p. Earrings donated by my daughter.

Now to the exhibition:
During the years 1981 to 1989, Edward Bawden donated the contents of his studio to Cecil Higgins Art Gallery. This collection of over 3000 items covers his entire oeuvre, from his early student days at the Cambridge School of Art in 1919, to commissions from the Folio Society in the 1980s, and includes a series of linocuts based on commissioned work, and printed specifically for Cecil Higgins Art Gallery. The association between Bawden and Cecil Higgins Art Gallery began in 1977, when he was commissioned to design a tapestry to celebrate the tercentenary of the publication of Bunyan’s 'The Pilgrim’s Progress', and Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee. For source see here

This had pride of place in the exhibition

The Edward Bawden (1903 - 1989) exhibition was very small but very interesting. What a prolific artist he was.
From posters for the tube...

Designing dinner services for Wedgewood to be used on cruise ships


Film posters

I didn't spend as long as I would have liked at the exhibition as I had to get back for middle grandson who was coming for dinner but I will visit the exhibition again; there's plenty of time as the exhibition doesn't finish until January 2018.

I finally got my hair cut on Friday and walked 5.5 miles I walked with a different group on Saturday and did 7.4 miles making my total for this week 21 miles.

On Sunday I went to see my son. Everything charity shopped. Top by East; white jeans unknown label; Navy loafers by Next BNWT, 5.00 last summer.

All jewellery charity shopped. I bought the necklace for 3.00 in the week from Cancer Research. I'm not buying clothes but if I spot a nice bit of jewellery I'm not going to pass it by now am I? I only popped in to say hello to the lady I used volunteer with at Save the Children. She now volunteers at Cancer Research and I'm at the Red Cross - but only until the end of October.

On the way back from visiting my son we stopped to take a photo of this house (just outside Newmarket) with the dancing/boxing hares on the roof! I've seen pheasants, cockerels, foxes and even a duck made of straw on a thatched roof but this is the first time I've seen dancing/boxing hares. Aren't they fabulous?

I have another cultural event lined up for early October. Through reading 'Jane's London' blog here I found out that there are a series of literary walks around London. Two of my favourite things combined; books and walking! I have to choose which event to go to and it will probably be a Thursday so I'll tell you more about that in my next post.

Sunday and Monday were lovely warm sunny days. This is what I wore to the Red Cross on Monday. I had a cardigan underneath but had to take it off as it was too warm. The tights were fine and didn't feel too warm; they were 60 denier which isn't very thick.

Skirt from Old Navy; charity shopped for 99p at Barnardo's. It's gone into the charity shop bag - it's not me. Shirt; 1.00 rail at Red Cross. Denim jacket; Dorothy Perkins; charity shopped years ago; Navy loafers as per Sunday's outfit.

Beads charity shopped; earrings from Sainsbury's.

This is what I wore to the Guild House and library on Tuesday. I bought the dress on the 99p rail in Barnardo's in June and put it away for transitional weather wear. The black top worn underneath is from Primarni retail. Shoes and jewellery charity shopped.

I've just had a lovely girl from IPSOS on the phone doing a survey about use of media. I was able to say quite truthfully that I spend less than 30 mins a day on my laptop and phone apps. I couldn't have said that a fortnight ago...

Wednesday 13 September 2017

Things are different...

I'm now well and truly back to my 'normal' life and it prompted me to think about some differences that I noticed between here and Ireland and to tell you about some differences I am making in my life...
First, it gets darker later in Donegal. When I first arrived in early July it wasn't getting dark until 11pm; then 10pm and the week we left it was dark by 9pm. I notice it's dark here by 8pm.

This is known as a boreen in Ireland - a little narrow country road often with grass growing up the middle of it!
The second thing is the difference in the country side between here and Ireland. Of course, there are similarities, too. The fields in Ireland seem larger but I think this is due to the lack of hedgerows dividing the fields. I don't think Ireland was affected by the Enclosures Act of the eighteenth century in the same way as England was. Some fields in Ireland have dry stone walls as enclosures and some have wire fences but mostly there seems to be little in the way of hedgerows except those that abut the roads.

 And that brings me to the next difference. Whilst the hedgerows by the roads are in many cases very similar to those here; what is beautiful and different about the ones in Ireland is that frequently they are made up of Fuchsia bushes (see above and below). Also in Donegal, in August,  orange Monbretia/Crocosmia flowers are everywhere in the hedgerows, and I do mean everywhere.

Purple loosesrife
And then still on the subject of hedgerows; add in the Purple Loose strife that flowers everywhere too, and the hedgerows are an absolute riot of colour; fuchsia pink, bright orange and purple; like a 1960s psychedelic dress! Groovy hedges baby!

Interestingly, fuchsia originates from China and Monbretia from South Africa so I am assuming that these were originally garden plants that became wild and then rampant in Ireland.

There are many, many other wildflowers in the hedgerows and one of the things I did was to photograph them and try to identify them using a wildflower book. I did have a lot of time on my hands and I do like to learn new things. It's good for the ageing brain...

While I was in Ireland I did, of course, go charity shopping and in a variety of places. I went to Donegal town, Killybegs, Ballyboffy, Stranorlar, Sligo, Strabane, Derry, Castle Island and Tralee in  Co.Kerry. I was trying to be restrained as to what I bought as I have lots and lots of clothes already, but here's the list of what I bought while I was there:

A black linen Gudrun Sjoden coat for 6.00 euros. My best bargain!
Three tunics - 1 Anthropologie and 1 other seen in previous post and 1 pictured below
Two pairs of trousers - 1 of which I left in the caravan

3 pairs of shoes; I pink, 1 yellow and 1 patterned - the patterned ones were 1.00 euro in the St Vincent De Paul in Donegal town. The other two were 3.00 euros in the Killybegs charity shop.

1 plain black shirt -  Jumble sale 1.00 euro - I needed this!
I handbag - Jumble sale - 1.00 euro

1 green patterned dress - Animal charity shop in Donegal;  3.00 euros.

A silver matching dress and coat - £8.00 in St. Vincent De Paul, Strabane.

I night dress
1 pair of summer PJs
4 kimonos (Yes, I'm afraid I bought 4)
A couple of necklaces; 3 brooches at a car boot sale and a couple of bangles

I expect you're saying if that's how she shows restraint what does non restraint look like!!

This is was what I wore on Monday to the Red Cross.

The tunic is one of the two I bought in Ireland in a Donegal charity shop for 3.00 euros. The trousers and top underneath the tunic are charity shopped; trousers by Oasis and top by Primarni. Shoes from PJ shoes in Kempston now on their third year of wear...

Now the weather has turned cooler it was a good opportunity to wear the red sleeveless jacket that my cousin Linda bought me in April - from a charity shop of course!

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings; present from grandson's mum and watch; Christmas present

When I began to unpack from my stay in Ireland, I was quite horrified at how many clothes I do have and here I was adding more with my purchases from Ireland. I did clear out quite a few items and as I transition my wardrobe over to more autumnal (read warmer) clothes; I will be clearing out more. But I am definitely going to reduce what I buy. I know I have said this several times before but I am determined this time. Another difference! I will no longer go to charity shops on a weekly basis as I have been doing although it doesn't help when you volunteer in two charity shops...I was very good on Monday and only bought one dress and it wasn't even for me! I shall go for a rummage about once a month with OH and will buy only what is an absolute bargain or what I absolutely love. Watch this space...

I will put what I would have spent in the charity shops towards more cultural things. I'm determined to make more use of my National railcard (one third off) and go to more exhibitions, museums and art galleries in London. I want to go to the theatre more often and I want to go to more live gigs. This week I  am making a start as I am going to a local exhibition of Edward Bawden's work; 'Bawden by the Sea' on Thursday.

Tuesday's outfit  worn to the Guild House - everything charity shopped.

I bought the cardigan at the Red Cross for £1.00. The gold pumps were 99p in Barnardo's in Great Denham. Can't remember where I got the tunic and trousers from.

All jewellery charity shop except earrings donated by my daughter and the watch.

This leads quite nicely into the volunteering developments or more accurately difference I mentioned in my previous post.

 I found out last week that the Red Cross shop in Bedford is to close; probably at the end of October when the lease is up. Once again the raised cost of rents is proving to be unaffordable; on top of that there have been problems with the premises for several years. Flooding, leaks, electrical issues and flooring problems; the repair bills have been huge. I shall have to move on. Only this time I've decided I won't look for a replacement charity shop but just continue with my other volunteering activities on a Tuesday and leave Mondays for the school run and after school care for my youngest grandson.  Then this Tuesday I found out that my colleague at the Guild House will be leaving at Christmas and I've decided I will as well. There isn't that much to do there; the shop  only opens on a Saturday and I do quite a lot of ironing when I'm there on alternate Tuesdays which I won't miss at all!

I've had two weeks of volunteering at our local library shelving books which I've enjoyed. I've also answered quite a few queries from the public which is very satisfying.  I shall stick with volunteering at the library every Tuesday afternoon and the food bank on alternate Tuesday mornings and spend the extra time I will have from not volunteering in the charity shops doing more reading, walking and crocheting.

I got a lot of crocheting done in Ireland.

There are 100 hexagons like this needing the tails sewn in, then they have to be sewn together and a border made.

I started and finished this V stitch blanket. Hilary helped me sew the tails in on this one.

I finished this Lazy Waves blanket but now I still have sew all the tails in...

This was my first 'Knit for Peace' blanket finished earlier this year.

The final difference is that I've decided to blog less often. I've been blogging for almost two years now. I love it and love reading your blogs, but oh my goodness it's time consuming! I am spending an awful lot of time on the laptop which means I read less than I like - I read 25 books when I was in Ireland. I also have to rely on OH to take photos and it's usually quite late in the day when that happens. The ideal time would be in the morning when I am dressed and made up but OH is usually long gone by then! Weekend photos will be fine and I may ask for a tripod for Christmas so I can take my own photos when I want. I am planning to post about twice a month rather than weekly. So after this post you won't hear from me for about a fortnight but I'll do my best to keep up with your blogs and comment when I can.

Thursday 7 September 2017

Back to life, back to reality...

Hello again everyone! I hope you've had a wonderful summer.

Back to life, back to reality is the title of a song by Soul II Soul and it perfectly sums up how I felt on my return to the UK last weekend! After eight weeks of holidaying in Ireland with no responsibilities, no commitments and just the need to amuse myself, it was back to household chores; volunteering, grand parenting, school runs, Lidl and Sainsbury's shopping, child minding etc etc. As you can tell I had the most marvellous time in Ireland and I really didn't want to leave. I did miss the children and grandchildren terribly, though...

The photo above was taken on our last day in Donegal and it turned out to be a lovely sunny day. I'm wearing my (charity shopped) Primarni kimono over charity shopped green top and trousers. I bought the necklace in a Derry charity shop for £3.00.

Here I am with my cousin Doirin and her husband, John. We went out for a farewell meal on our last evening.  That's Bundoran, Co. Donegal in the background. Doirin is a fashionista with a love for bright colours, sparkle and glitter. All my cousins are tiny and I always feel like a giant next to them even though I'm only five foot three inches!

The first few weeks in July were very pleasant weather wise. It was sunny and there wasn't much rain. I managed to sit out on the decking and enjoy the weather which is not always possible in Ireland...

Everything is charity shopped; necklace a present from OH bought on a Kettering charity shop rummage earlier this year.

A selfie in Killybegs.
Jumper by Marisoto bought for 4 euros in a Donegal town charity shop - it  must have been a cooler day.

Another sunny day -  again in Killybegs. Purple top by Monsoon; charity shopped in the UK for 1.00.

I spent the first fortnight on my own in Ireland and then Hilary came and spent a week with me. We had a great time walking, sightseeing, eating out, talking, reading...

We went to visit Slieve League cliffs (Sliabh Liag in Gaelic) - the highest in Europe, apparently. Here's Hilary looking very relaxed on our ascent to the cliff top.

Here's a view from further up the climb.


We also visited Glencolumcille Folk Park which I discovered last year. See here for photos. This switchboard was in one of the cottages in the folk park as an example of how things used to be. My second job in 1970 aged sixteen and a half involved the use of a very similar switchboard - a 'Dolls Eye' PMBX switchboard; so called because the extensions flipped up and down like a doll's eye! 

We visited Donegal castle.

There were some lovely sunsets.

When Hilary went back to the UK I was on my own until OH came out for the last two weeks. In the meantime I met up with a range of cousins and attended a family christening and a couple of the cousins came to visit me...

This is Martina and Caroline - we went to Slieve League and Glencolumkille again.

Here's me and Caroline. Tunic bought in a Donegal town charity for 3 euros.

Martina is a hairdresser and she cut my hair for me.

I bought the pink suede shoes in a Donkey Sanctuary charity shop in Ballyboffey, Co. Donegal. Purple shirt from the £1.00 rail at the Red Cross.

I visited my maternal aunts in Leitrim along with cousins Doirin and Linda and we stopped at a tiny little chapel in Carrick on Shannon on the way. This tiny chapel was built by one man for his wife and it is rather beautiful - as are the cousins!

When OH arrived in Ireland we went to Galway and stayed over night and explored Galway town and Galway Bay. This is the Spanish Arch at Galway Bay. 

I saw Dunlins and Oystercatchers at Galway Bay and got very excited as I always do when I see a species of bird I've not seen before - or in the case of Oystercatchers, not for a while.

I'm wearing an Anthropologie tunic I bought in a Donegal town charity shop for 7.00 euros and I bought my handbag at a jumble sale in Sligo for 1.00 euro! I was on my way to my cousin's in Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo (below) when I spotted the sign and popped in....

Here's himself with Galway Bay in the background.

We then set off to stay with cousin Linda, in Co. Kerry for a few days. We drove round the Ring of Kerry and on the way visited Kells Bay Gardens.

The gardens were beautiful and some trees had been carved into 7 different dinosaurs for the children to find. This is me, Linda and one of the dinosaurs. 
I bought the kimono in a charity shop in Galway for 4.00 euros. 

The gardens were filled with tropical trees and plants which seemed weird in south west Ireland but no different, I suppose, to tropical trees and plants in parts of Cornwall in the UK.

We also stopped at Torc Waterfall as part of our drive around the Ring of Kerry.

And of course no trip to Ireland could be complete without a donkey. This beauty was seen on the Ring of Kerry drive and we just had to stop and say hello.

We had a relaxed week back in Donegal. We went out and about visiting relatives in Leitrim and Offaly, but stayed local the rest of the time. We had a walk around Eske Castle grounds in Co. Donegal. 

A friend from my Bedford walking group; the Ivel Valley Walkers, came to spend a day with us. He was in Ballymena in Northern Ireland visiting his niece. We went out for a five mile walk - naturally - and then went to have something to eat. It was lovely to see a visitor from the UK.

We visited Coral Beach at St. John's Point. I only managed one swim here this summer but it was wonderful.

We found this cave at St. John's Point and went exploring...we've been coming here for four years now and this is the first time we noticed it! We found several other caves but exploring those will have to wait for next year.

On another day we went to see the newly renovated St. John's Point Lighthouse cottages which are now open for holiday lets. They are rather lovely but very pricey - nearly 400 euros for a 2 night stay...

 Information about the lighthouse on St. John's Point:
A harbour light designed to guide sailors from Donegal Bay, St. John’s Point exhibited its first light in November 1831, almost 250 years after more than twenty doomed Spanish Armada ships sent by Philip II of Spain to invade England washed up on Irish shores – three of them across the bay on Streedagh Strand. With two light-keepers’ cottages, this lighthouse is set on one of the longest peninsulas in the country, looking towards Mullaghmore and the County Sligo coast, and out into the North Atlantic. 
See here for source.

 So that was my eight weeks in Ireland. I'm back to reality and back in the groove. There's been some developments on the volunteering front and I'll tell you all about them in my next post.

It's good to be back!

Blogoversary and some other stuff

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