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...


  1. Hello! I am so glad that you are back and that your blogging mojo has returned. I missed your posts. They are always so interesting, especially the ones from you travels. I loved the walk though London, so many interesting landmarks. I do love William Blake for his artwork and Crossbones Graveyard was somehow very sad. Really great outfits and I am in love with your super-stylish leopard print coat and those lovely earrings. Your new kitchen is just fabulous. It is such a perfect colour. I must look out for the cat next time I am in Sharnbrook. Xx

    1. Thank you, Kelly.

      I thought the idea of an outcast graveyard sad, too, but at least those people are remembered on the ribbons etc attached to the railings and not anonymous people in a pauper's pit. I want to go back there and see more and stay longer; something you can't do on a guided walk!

      PS - My friend Hilary loved the Sally Army charity shop in Rushden - one of the best she'd ever been in, she said. I think we agree with her...

  2. I'm glad to hear your kitchen is finally in order and you are getting back into a less chaotic routine. The kitchen looks beautiful! How wonderful that your brother was able to join you in Ireland.

    1. Yes, it was lovely to have Julian in Ireland and to meet the last remaining aunts and uncle as they won't always been around. All are in their late 70s and 80s now!

  3. Hello! I'm so glad you're back-I've missed reading your blog,seeing your lovely photos & hearing about your charity shopping & your walks!Your kitchen is lovely & exactly my kind of kitchen!

    1. Hello Mona!

      I'm so glad you like my blog - it's always to encouraging to hear from the people who read the blog and it makes it all worthwhile. Thank you for commenting.

      My kitchen is very small which why I was surprised it took so long...

  4. Glad to see you back and also glad to see that your kitchen looks so modern and cool!, not having a working kitchen could drive anybody crazy!
    It's lovely to see all these London details which caught your eye, so interesting spots!. And Dublín looks really appealing too (despite the hen/stag parties, argh)
    I switched between seasons too early too, because of that warm weather week!, I felt cheated!

    1. Monica, thank you. I think the subway tiles give the kitchen a modern look but I chose traditional Shaker style cupboards as they have a timeless feel to them.

      Dublin is a wonderful city but very expensive - the charity shops are pretty cool!


  5. Hello so nice to see you back Iam sure you are taller slimmer and younger than when I last saw you.!!! I love your kitchen I see you have a gas cooker can you tell me how you stop or deal with the awful sticky (grease) that seems to come from gas cooking.

    1. Polly - I'm exactly the same height, weight and age since I last blogged but thank you for your extremely kind words.

      I know only too well what you mean bu the sticky grease BUT I thought all cookers/hobs did that. Mind you, it's been a very long time since I last had an electric cooker/hob.

      I find I have to take a blunt knife to scrape the grease off around the cooker; clean the hob frequently and wash the area around the cooker (tiles/work surface) frequently. Luckily, the oven is electric and needs cleaning less frequently.

  6. So glad your blogging mojo is returning, you got me worried there Vronnie, and even more so when you mentioned you didn't have your usual interest in charity shopping and clothes ... But I do understand life can be pretty chaotic at times. I'm loving your new kitchen! I was a bit reckless with my wardrobe change as well, which meant I had to dug up my Winter coat again when the temperature suddenly dropped again. Whenever I see the mountain of clothes when I'm doing my swap, I tend to get a bit discouraged, but there's no better time to fill up some bags for charity. I'm loving the bluebell wood, the thatched cat and your monochrome outfits! xxx

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one, Ann. I feel as if I never have to buy another garment for as long as I live when I see the huge pile, but of course we get bored with clothes; or change our minds about them;
      or don't feel comfortable in them so we recycle them and buy some more!

  7. So good to see you back in Blogland. Your travel photos are fab, loved the London walk and the photos of you and Julian. The bluebell wood is beautiful and your kitchen looks wonderful.
    What a shame the posh hotel didn't live up to expectations. I can't say I was terribly keen on Temple Bar, we popped into Bono's hotel (the name escapes me) and ordered four cocktails, horrified when the bill was £80! It's a tourist nightmare. xxx

    1. Thank you, Vix.

      Between me,you and the gatepost, OH didn't look at the reviews for the hotel - if he had I'm sure he wouldn't have booked it! I do love Dublin though just not the tourist prices.

      Do you know since you've been doing your doll's house projects, I haven't seen one single item of dolls house furniture in the charity shops. Weird.


  8. Aaah, Yeats was a fantastic poet. Nice to see he has such a big memorial. It's strange to see one to Spike Milligan's dad! (My own grandfather had an Irish passport, which I still find bizarre as I don't think either he or his father ever set foot there. Perhaps it was a thing people with Irish roots in Asia tended to cling to.) You do see the most fascinating places on your walks, they must be as good for the brain as the body.

    Don't feel guilty about your clearout. So much of your stuff is affordable from charity shops to start with, and you're sending it back to one... think of all those £2 and £4 bargains as rentals!

  9. That's a good one to think of it, Mim!

  10. Glad to see you back and that your mojo is returning. xx

    We had a huge kitchen in our old rented house and this one has just 2 cupboards!?! I did get rid of a load of things but I hate that the rest of my kitchen currently lives in plastic stacking crates!

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Lost earrings, birthday and some sad news.

Hello!  This was me in my walking outfit on Wednesday; plus waterproof coat, scarf and gloves. It was both a wet and cold day.  I'd put ...