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.