Thursday 17 May 2018

Catching Up and My Black and White Challenge

Necklace bought on Saturday rummage with Hilary at the 3:16 charity shop, 1.50. All jewellery is charity shopped.
My best friend Hilary came to stay with me at Bank Holiday weekend. And because it was a bank holiday she stayed an extra day which was wonderful. We spent Friday afternoon catching up. On Saturday we went for a rummage to Rushden and Kempston. Hilary loved the Sally Army shop in Rushden and declared it to be one of the best charity shops she had ever been to. I know Kelly of  'Mother of Reinvention' here would agree! I bought some necklaces and a pair of thick winter walking socks. An odd combination I grant you. In Kempston I bought a t shirt  (see below) and a pair of sandals. My charity shopping mojo had been revived!

On Sunday we went for a walk in the village of Sharnbrook; here we had walked up a little lane to see what was there and I took the opportunity to take a photo. I also took Hilary on my 'Bedford Blue Plaque Walk' on Monday. She had never seen so much of Bedford before and I've lived here for 37 years, now!

Hilary bought a couple of sunhats in Primarni - they were much needed it was a very hot weekend!
I was sad to say goodbye to Hilary but we're off to Cornwall in half term (daughter and I and two youngest grandchildren) and as Hilary doesn't live too far away in Devon she's going to come and stay for a few days.

This is the t shirt I bought for 1.99 in the Cat's Protection League. The jacket was bought retail a few years back in Beales sale - our local department store; the trousers were from the Guildhouse 3.50, and the shoes were retail.

All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings which were from Sainsbury's.

When Hilary went to Primarni on Saturday morning to pick up a few things I bought this lipstick there for 1.50. It's called 'Dark Pink' and is a lovely colour; a pinkish brown. Unfortunately, it doesn't last very long because it has a glossy finish; even though I blot and reapply several times. Glossy lipstick just does not stay on which is why I don't often wear it.

I'm suffering from Wisteria envy!
I took photos of the glorious flowering wisteria on my Blue Plaque Walk which I led for the group last Friday. We have wisteria on our back garden wall and it has crept up to the second storey of the house BUT after 5 years of growth we have only ever had one blossom!

I wish this wisteria was mine...
People enjoyed my Blue Plaque walk and several said that although they had lived in Bedford for years they had not noticed all the plaques I included in the walk...16 in total and 7 miles of walking.

On Saturday I went to see my son. It rained all day...

Everything is charity shopped except the bag - online retail. The shoes were bought in a charity shop in Ely; trousers were from the 1.00 rail in the British Red Cross shop; the tunic was from there at 1.99 as was the jacket.

I do miss that shop. When I was volunteering there just before it closed down last October; this lovely turquoise linen M&S jacket had been on the rail for weeks - at 1.99! I couldn't understand why no one had bought it. It wasn't for me because it was a size too small. One day I was feeling very sorry for the jacket and decided to try it on anyway and guess what - it fitted! The motto here is always try things on and pay little attention to sizing unless it's obviously really tiny or too big...

All jewellery charity shopped.

Now, here's a strange thing. I have 8 pairs of  black and white summer trousers in my wardrobe. How did that happen?   They're all different and one pair - a pair of palazzo pants I've had for years. I love black and white and there are obviously lots of black and white trousers around and so I've picked up pair after pair. As I have so many pairs I am setting myself a challenge to wear all 8 pairs over the next couple of weeks each outfit being completely different with the exception of the footwear. So, here's Number 1 of 8....

                                                                                                                                                                                 I wore this on Sunday. We went to our local car boot sale but it was cancelled. I must paint my toenails...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                    Everything charity shopped except the kimono which was a Christmas present. I can't remember where I got the zebra print trousers from.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                           More Wisteria envy. 
I passed this house in Biddenham village whilst out for a walk on Thursday. And I've also had to insert an image to avoid a huge gap and some weird stuff going on with my alignment....                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
I've been busy reading Jane Smiley's 'The Last 100 Years' trilogy which follows the fortunes of an American farming family for three generations and is essentially a history of the USA in the last 100 years. All three books in the trilogy are fat paperbacks, the last one had 703 pages. 

I've also been  watching the series on BBC 4 on Saturday nights 'Salamander; 'The Split' on BBC 1 on Tuesday nights; (I love Nicola Walker - such a good actress) and of course the new series of 'The Bridge' on BBC 2 on Friday nights. 

When I'm not reading or watching TV in the evenings. I am carrying on with the 8 row Granny crochet squares I should soon have enough to join all 49 together with the JAYG (join as you go) method in cream wool.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They're stacking up nicely. I block the squares using a method saw on Pinterest. Cheap kneeling pads and wooden skewers used for kebabs and in my case testing whether or not my cakes are cooked in the middle.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         On Monday as it was such a beautiful day I decided to go for a long walk. I recced a new walk but it was 9.3 miles; a bit too long for the Wednesday Rambler walks, I think. Anyway, I really enjoyed it because I had tried to recce it before and took a wrong turning.

This time I used my OS map extensively and it worked. I felt such a sense of achievement. It felt so good to say; right after this by way I should come to a road - and I did! Or, once the footpath forks to left I should cross a stream  - and I did! On the other hand I forgot to bring my hat and got a bit sun burnt on my face; not good for the wrinkles at all.

This was what I  wore to volunteer on Tuesday at the Food Bank and library in the afternoon. Another beautiful sunny day.

Everything charity shopped. The skirt was from the Red Cross 1.99 and I think the yellow M&S linen jacket was, too. The shoes were bought in a Donegal charity shop for 3 euros. I've had the camisole for years and years.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I bought the earrings in Donegal - made by a local artisan; I like to support local artisans when I can.

 Black and white trousers outfit no 2.

Everything charity shopped. Coat 1.99; Red Cross. Tunic 99 cents; Dublin charity shop. Black shirt; 1 euro jumble sale in Ireland. Can't remember where I got the shoes, scarf or trousers from which are by H&M.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I've got a busy weekend ahead as it's OH's birthday on Saturday and we're off for a rummage in the day (definitely got my charity shopping mojo going...) and meeting up with the brothers in the evening for a birthday meal. Next week I am invigilating at the university where I used to work; I am hoping to go walking on Monday by myself and with the group on Wednesday and Friday. Next Saturday we set off for Cornwall, so there will be lots to tell you about in my next posts -  and there are 6 pairs of black and white trouser outfits to get in as well. I bet you can't wait!

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend.

Thursday 10 May 2018

Mostly Monochrome

A photo from earlier this year.

First of all I would like to thank you for  your words of encouragement and support. Thank you all!

The title of this post reflected my mood when I got back from Ireland. Mostly it was down to coming home to an unfinished kitchen, no heating or hot water. I had naively thought the kitchen would be finished, but with hindsight that seems positively stupid now. After all it was done by a family member on his own!  

Then after I had been back a few days, we had five gloriously sunny and hot days during which I swapped my winter wardrobe over to my summer wardrobe. Big mistake! I was quite depressed horrified shocked at the huge amount of clothes I had.  I had to store several black bin liners full of clothes in the loft. Now, I know winter wear is bulkier and takes up more room but nevertheless it was too much. I sorted out three bags of clothing to take to the charity shop. Of course, having done all this the weather then reverted to winter mode again but it's been lovely for the past few days...

So, to backtrack a bit. Before I went to Ireland at Easter I went on a Monopoly walk with my walking group. This was Part 2 of the walk. I missed Part 1 which was held last summer when I was in Ireland. The idea was to visit as many places as possible on the original Monopoly board. This walk focused more on the East side of London whereas the first walk focused on the West side of London. The walk was great fun and about 9 miles in total. We started from St. Pancras and walked to  the Old Kent Road. 

This was in Clerkenwell.

The Old Red Lion Pub; now a theatre in Clerkenwell, London.

I loved the symmetry of the windows and the dramatic planting in the window boxes on this building.

Christchurch; Spitalfields. An area in London famous for its silk weaving. The weavers were predominantly French Huguenots who fled religious persecution in France in the 18th century.

A typical silk weaver's house in Spitalfields

 Bunhill Fields Cemetery. (Where non-conformists were buried).  The final resting place of John Bunyan. You can see the carving of Christian, the Pilgrim of Pilgrim's Progress, on the side of the tomb.

Another inhabitant of Bunhill Field's Cemetery - William Blake.
Daniel Defoe is also buried here but his tomb was very dilapidated and the writing was difficult to discern.

Tower of London and Tower Bridge. We stopped for lunch here.

I finally got a picture of the Shard. These interesting glass pods were part of a restaurant near the Tower of London.

There was once a menagerie at the Tower of London. These sculptures were so very lifelike.

The Cross Bones Graveyard in Southwark.

This is Cross Bones Graveyard, an unconsecrated memorial to the thousands of prostitutes who lived, worked and died in this once lawless corner of London. This is, at least, how it started out in the late medieval period. During this time, the local prostitutes were known as “Winchester Geese”.  Over time, Cross Brones Graveyard started to accommodate other members of society who were also denied a Christian burial, including paupers and criminals. With Southwark’s long and sordid past as “the pleasure-garden of London”, with legalised bear-baiting, bull fighting and theatres, the graveyard filled up extremely quickly. Source:

 A fascinating place. I'd like to go back and explore it more. Hundreds of ribbons tied to the railings and dedicated to the outcasts of London. Here is one dedicated to Mary 'daughter of a water man' (a boatman or oarsman).

Blackfriars bridge with St. Paul's in the background.

The Globe Theatre on the South Bank of the Thames.

A Banksy piece of art which had been graffitied! This was by the Barbican.

It was a very enjoyable day's walking.

Ireland was wonderful, as always. My brother Julian got to meet his maternal aunts and uncle for the first time and a cousin he hadn't met before. He stayed with us in Donegal for a couple of days. The weather was grey, cloudy, wet and cold for most of the time we were there. When we first arrived the mountains were covered with snow. I'd seen the mountains tops covered with snow last Easter but not the whole mountain. Hey ho - we don't go there for the weather!

Julian and I in the caravan. I bought the necklace for 99 cents in a Donegal charity shop. Everything charity shopped except boots which were a Christmas present.

That's Donegal Bay behind us...

This is W. B. Yeats - a native of Sligo and famous poet. His statue stands outside a bank in Sligo town and is known locally and fondly as the 'Wank at the Bank' - don't ask me why! The sculpture is covered with verses from his poems.

We went to Sligo for the day and did some rummaging. I bought very little as I didn't need anything at all. I did buy a fabulous pair of earrings for 99 cents!

Someone else with roots in Sligo town...

I wore a lot of black and white in Ireland - another reason for the title of this post. Everything is charity shopped. All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings which were a Christmas present from OH.

Oh look - a rare bit of sunshine...

We started our break in Ireland with a stay in a Dublin hotel in Temple Bar. We should have known better. Temple Bar is party central and full of hen parties and stag parties. It was very noisy and remained so until about 4 am! Not much sleep and then there was a four hour drive to Donegal... I drove OH's 4 x 4 for the first time. It was perfect for the rugged terrain and pot holed roads in Donegal. The pot holes in England are also pretty dreadful. I hope they do something about them before next winter...

Some street performers in Dublin.

View from our balcony in the Dublin hotel. That's the River Liffey. I can't recommend the hotel; it was expensive and not very good. Such a pity as OH planned it and paid for it as a treat. We did have a good old rummage in Dublin while we were there. I bought a lovely blue and green summer skirt from Kew for 6.99 and a coral jacket from the 1.00 euro rail. I also bought several pairs of earrings in Oxfam for 2 euros each.

I had planned to start a new crochet throw whilst I was in Ireland but I had brought the wrong pattern book with me! I managed to get a partial download of the pattern I needed from the internet and printed it out at the Tourist Office in Killybegs. I had to work out the rest of the pattern from the pictures but after doing just one square - which turned out pretty well now I think about it - I decided to finish my granny square blanket off first.  At the time of writing I have made 36 squares and have 13 left to make...

It may not look it here but the dress and cardigan are navy. The cardigan was from the 1.00 rail in the 3:16 charity shop and the sweater dress also from the 1.00 rail somewhere. Patterned tights charity shopped and all jewellery too. Velvet brogues and scarf; Primarni. Outfit worn on one of our more recent colder days...

I haven't managed much walking with the group since I came back from Ireland but I did make the 7 mile bluebell walk:

 I have been out walking on my own though and whilst walking in another village called Sharnbrook, I spied this thatched cat on a thatched roof. That's pheasants, roosters, chickens, foxes and dancing/boxing hares I've seen so far on thatched roofs.

My kitchen was finally finished the first week of May.  I'm very pleased with it and strangely it seems larger, which is probably down to the new back new door letting in more light. We just have to paint the walls and paintwork -  but I need a break from all the mess first!

I would love a new kettle and toaster but there is nothing wrong with the ones I have, so I will have to wait until they conk out. I know some people would replace all their kitchen stuff with brand new but that seems profligate to me. I bought a new matching kitchen canister set from Tesco and a grey basket to put the cooking stuff in from QD. I did look around a few charity shops for a basket (and canisters) but couldn't find any. That's when I realised I had no interest in looking at the clothes...oh dear what was happening to me?

This is my fridge and freezer next to the tumble dryer - which is only used about once a week in the winter. For the first time in 27 years I have both a fridge and a freezer in the kitchen. In the past they have always had to stand in the hall, either separately or together, but not anymore! I lost two base cupboards by doing this and therefore had less storage space which meant I had to get rid of some of my kitchen stuff. I filled three cardboard boxes with unwanted stuff; labelled them 'FREE - HELP YOURSELF' and put them outside on the pavement. Almost everything was taken!

Although I have been getting dressed everyday with my usual penchant for colour and colourful accessories, I just haven't bothered with photos; partly to do with relying on other people to take the photographs and an irritating issue for me. Often I can only get photos taken at the very end of the day when I'm frazzled and crumpled and rumpled. I have a solution though. I'm going to buy myself a tripod and take my own photos. That way I can take photos as and when I feel like it!

My blogging mojo is returning but I'm somewhat hampered until the acquisition and mastery of said tripod, but in my next post I'll tell you about my bank holiday weekend spent with best friend Hilary here in Bedford; how I got my charity shop mojo back and there even maybe some outfit posts.
Until next time...

Weird weather...

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