Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Ireland and before...


The week before I went to Ireland I was at Barnardo's on Monday as usual. I spent the whole  morning 'decoding' the stock on the shop floor. It was called 'culling' at the Red Cross, which brings images of dead seals to mind! Anyway, it means getting rid of stock that has been out on the shop floor for a while; checking the date on the label, deciding whether it is to be sent on to another shop or ragged or even reduced. Whilst I was doing this the Manager was reorganising where the clothing went and generally refreshing the whole shop. It certainly worked, because as an example, a rather nice pink coat from Zara, which had been languishing on the pink rail (the shop colour codes the clothes) for weeks was moved to another part of the shop and bought ten minutes later by a young woman! I enjoy the decoding as it gives me a chance to look through what there is on the shop floor in detail; and I put aside four reduced items for myself. A bright green M&S cardigan; a dark blue summer cardigan by M&S; a pair of red patterned floral - or so I thought - leggings by Nike and a cream tunic also by M&S. All the M&S items were reduced to 1.50 each and the leggings to 2.50.


Everything charity shopped. Tunic by Adini and leggings by Nike from Barnardo's. The pattern on the leggings is actually camouflage not floral! Oh well! The jacket is by M&S and was charity shopped in Kettering. Black Next boots charity shopped in Oxfam.



 All jewellery charity shopped. Scarf from Primarni.

I had a wander around a few of the Bedford charity shops on Tuesday afternoon as I had stuff to do in town. I bought a book and a shoe rack. This purchase triggered off another bout of reorganisation when I got home; this time of shoes and boots. I now have four storage boxes under my bed two of which contain shoes - soon to be boots - when I swap over to my Spring and Summer wardrobe; but that won't be until after I come back from Ireland and will depend on the weather! The new shoe rack is filled with my shoes and when I clear my boots off the existing shoe rack I will have space for all my shoes and sandals in one place and can see what I have. Usually they're in several different places and I like the idea of them being together.


I didn't want to get up early again on Wednesday and walk with my group, so I set off in the afternoon to walk from Sharnbrook to Felmersham. I absolutely loved the aubretia outside this house in Sharnbrook and what the photo doesn't show is that it continues along to the right and round a corner!


I spied a thatched cat!


Cherry blossom is still around but it won't be long before there are petals everywhere...
I had a very pleasant 5.5. mile walk. I heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Green Woodpecker or Yaffle. They make a sound like a maniacal laugh and it can be quite startling when you're  walking alone!  I  caught a glimpse of it a few seconds later. I also heard Great Tits and Skylarks.  I saw Blue tits, Coal tits, a Blackcap and the usual suspects; Wood pigeons, Magpies, Rooks, Blackbirds and Robins. I think I saw what is called a Reed Bunting but I can't be 100% sure; the blasted things never stay still long enough for me to fix them in my mind's eye so I can check in my bird books when I get home! And as soon as I whip out my binoculars for a closer look they fly off..


This was Thursday's outfit. The trousers are loose above ankle ones; my first pair of these and bought as part of a 3.00 BOGOF deal at the 3:16 charity shop; which in effect makes them free. They're by Boden and I like them!


Kimono by Top Shop charity shopped last year but can't remember where; the top I've had for a few years now was also charity shopped but can't remember where.


Mary Jane's charity shopped somewhere and all jewellery charity shopped.

On Friday,  I went to the hairdressers then walked with my friend Lynne. We walked 10 miles. From Biddenham to Bromham to Kempston West End and back to Bromham.  Part of where we walked followed the 'Clay Trail'; so called because it used to lead to Stewartby village where the London Brick company was located for many years. Bedfordshire soil is famously clayey or claggy and ideal for brick making. We stopped for tea and cake at Bromham Mill and then walked to Biddenham where Lynne lives and where I'd left my car. A lovely walk and it got quite warm and sunny near the end.


A cowslip meadow.


Some early bluebells.


I bought this dress in the Keech Hospice shop, I think; it was only a few months ago but I can't remember how much it was; under a fiver anyway. The tights were a birthday present from my daughter. Boots; Matalan retail.


Oh dear! Charlie's dead. (My slip is showing!) This is what we called it in London where I grew up.


And again...


All jewellery charity shopped except necklace bought from a local shop called 'Simi and Lola'; sadly now online only.

Saturday's outfit.

I spent Saturday washing and packing for Ireland. I have to write a list and then tick everything off because if I don't we'll leave something important behind. One year I drove off leaving our brand new electric heater for the caravan behind!


Everything charity shopped except the boots; as above and blue top under the tunic/dress which I bought in Primark ages  ago. The dress/tunic is by Lily and Me.
The tights were bought in Traid in Brixton on one of my recent London forays. They're made of bamboo and were brand new; still in the packet, very warm and I paid 5.00 for them.


All jewellery charity shopped.

The rest of Saturday I spent catching up with final episodes of 'The Missing Series I' which OH and I started to watch after watching the recent series; 'The Missing Series 3'.  We also watched The Missing Series 2' so we've watched the whole series now, but in reverse order; 3.2.1! I've also nearly finished reading 'The Corner' (628 pages). I'll be able to finish it in Ireland and then I have plenty on my Kindle to read and there are lots of books in the caravan waiting to be read.

 We got up early on Sunday and caught the afternoon ferry from Holyhead. This is us docking at Dublin Port. For the first time in the five years I've been travelling this route we were asked to produce our passports and driving licences! I'm blaming Brexit...

We stayed with my cousin Eamon and his wife, Ann for a few days and had a really lovely time. They live in Kells, Co. Meath. We went sightseeing and managed to find a few charity shops in Navan where I bought a pair of 'ruby slippers' for 2.00 euros.


The view from Slane Castle

Castle at Trim


Lovely Georgian door in Kells town.


An ancient Celtic cross in Kells church yard dating from around the 9th century. They keep a facsimile of The Book of Kells in this church but it was closed when we visited. The original Book of Kells is in Trinity College, Dublin. We spent a day in Dublin where we did an open top bus tour of the city:


The GPO building in O'Connell Street.


Lovely Georgian houses in a Dublin Square.


Another lovely Dublin building.


The Mansion House in Dawson Street home to the Lord Mayor of Dublin.


St. Patrick's Windmill or the Guinness Tower.


 Áras an Uachtaráin
Home to the Irish President and situated in Phoenix Park.


National Museum of Ireland.

We made it up to Donegal on Wednesday...

There she is! Ruby Super; our second home. It's the one with the car outside in case you're wondering...


Apart from generally chilling out, visiting relatives and having a great time we spent the remainder of our time in the caravan. There were several charity shop expeditions to Donegal town, Killybegs, and Ballyboffey; as well as a visit to Sligo to see various cousins.  We also made it to Leitrim to see my elderly aunts and a cousin.

Everything above was charity shopped except the boots. Dress by Masai; cardigan bought in a charity shop somewhere years ago, tights can't remember and scarf from my Barnardo's. This was taken by the River Garravogue in Sligo town.


All jewellery charity shopped.


The Irish Famine memorial at the quayside in Sligo.


There are hundreds of these memorials all over Ireland and Famine pots that were used to feed the starving Irish during the famine period  (1845 - 1849) or 'The Great Hunger' as it is known in Ireland. I
The Donegal town famine pot and money for food during the famine was donated by the Choctaw Nation to the people of Donegal. I must take a photo of it when I'm back in the summer.



The blue boiled wool jacket was from the 1.00 euro rail in a Dublin charity shop; animal print dress 1.00 rail in RSPCA; Ampthill. Leggings from Tu retail and boots as before.

All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.

Donegal has some wonderful beaches

The sun had gone in here but came back out again. This is Coral beach at St. John's Point.


Here it is again with the tide in...


This is Narin Strand at Portnoo.


And although you can't see much of it here this is Rossnowlagh beach. I'm wearing my beach shoes - an old pair of Clark's loafers charity shopped years ago. Skirt by Apricot; charity shopped and although it doesn't look it in this photo it is green. Striped top 1.00 euro in Killybegs charity shop and green cardigan 3.00 euros in same shop.

All jewellery charity shopped.

It was a lovely break and we had a wonderful time but it's good to be back! I'm off to catch up with your blogs now as the Wifi was non existent at the caravan park. I wonder what you've all been up to?

Monday, 1 April 2019

Another birthday!

Hello again!


 I walked with my group again on Wednesday; we started from the marina in Bedford and had an urban walk  of 6.5 miles through different parts of Bedford. One of my fellow walkers, who has lived in the town for 50 years, wasn't aware of some of the paths we took! It was a totally windless day - such a contrast to the previous week.


This was Thursday's outfit. Everything charity shopped. The blue trousers were bought from the 3:16 charity shop last week in a BOGOF deal for 3.00. The top was a 1.00 rail bargain from Barnardo's. The white Mary Jane's were bought from Oxfam in Newport Pagnell for 10.00. All jewellery and the scarf were charity shopped. The beads are navy blue but look black in this photo!


I had a pretty busy day on Thursday. I went walking by myself in the morning; 7.5 miles; did the food shopping; delivered a couple of no longer used tables to grandson's mum; did a whites wash; cleaned out the wood burner and cooked dinner.

Middle grandson is very interested in politics and we watched with great interest the news that evening; the latest Brexit  revelations  - or should that be the 'couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery' fiasco?

Primroses in the wood...

My walk on Thursday was to recce the bus walk I'll be leading in June. When I'd recce'd it before it was too short at under 6 miles. I needed to make the start, which is from the village of Sharnbrook, a bit longer so it brought the walk up to over 6 miles. I'd tried three times to extend the start of the walk and I finally cracked it on Thursday. I found the right footpath just a a couple of hundred yards further on. My plan is to  recce the whole walk on Sunday right through to Pavenham village, which is where the walk ends and we catch the bus back to Bedford. OH will pick me up in Pavenham and take me to Sharnbrook where I'll pick up my car.  Hopefully it will be nearer to 7 miles now that I've managed to extend the start. Nearer the time I'll recce the whole thing again but this time catching the two buses.


This is an old windmill in Sharnbrook village built in 1880 and converted into a house. It has an observatory on top and next to it is a Huf house. 'Huf Haus is the world's leading firm in selling houses in the Bauhaus architectural tradition based on the German Fachwerk.' (Wikipedia). Each house can be constructed according to individual floor plans. I saw my first ever Huf House when it was featured on a British TV programme called 'Grand Designs'.


Friday's outfit. Everything charity shopped. Trousers 3:16 charity shop: 3.00, black Next top 1.00 rail; yellow linen shirt by Wallis; 4.00 bought from Barnardo's. The manager kept this for me as she said it was 'me' and I do like it but it's too small; I can't do it up. It doesn't matter, I just keep it open! Mary Jane's as before.


All jewellery charity shopped except earrings made by an artist in Donegal and bought for 18 euros.


On Friday I had a sorting out day. I had errands to run in town first and then got on with it. I made more shelf space on my non fiction bookshelves in my study by weeding out most of the academic textbooks I no longer need or use. I haven't done any teaching for more than five years so they're off to our local Oxfam bookshop. I also sorted a black plastic bag and a half of clothes for the charity shop. I reorganised the study while I was sorting out the books and went to pick up the children from school feeling I had achieved something. I do like a good sort out and now I have a bit more room on my bookshelves upstairs.


Saturday was OH's mum's 95th birthday. We set off for London soon after midday stopping at Marian's on the way to say hello and for me to introduce OH to her.

This was what I wore. Black swing coat; home made and bought at a car boot sale for 2.50. The brooch, which is of a bird of paradise was bought in a Baldock charity shop for 1.25. It was the first wearing of it.


Everything charity shopped except the black velvet trousers. These were from M&S and I bought them at the beginning of 2013, in the sale with an M&S voucher I got for Christmas. I wore them a month later to meet my brother Julian for the first time.


The jacket and matching vest are made of a crinkled material which is drip dry (hurrah!) and are by Chest -  I've never heard of them. I was in Barnardo's; Great Denham about a year ago and the manager was just putting them out on the shop floor; I snapped them up for 3.99. The headscarf was also bought there about two weeks ago.


All jewellery charity shopped, Beads; 3.00 from the Day Hospice boutique last week.

Now for some birthday party photos:


OH and his mum.


OH's daughter and her Grandma.


OH's grandchildren.
The boys are twins but so not identical! There are three sets of twins among OH's siblings...


Two of several birthday cakes...

There was singing and musical instrument playing and there may have been dancing but we had left by then - it was a truly wonderful day. Imagine being 95!

On Sunday I woke up to a beautifully sunny day so I decided to take advantage of the good weather and recce my bus walk in its entirety. OH picked me up at the other end  in the village of Pavenham. The walk will be about 7.3 miles in total but I walked 8.3 miles because I missed a foot path twice and had to retrace my steps.


A lot of the walk is by the  River Great Ouse. This is Felmersham church in the distance about 4 miles into the walk.


Felmersham Bridge built in 1818.


I love this house! Felmersham village.


On Monday I volunteered at Barnardo's. They had a sale on all the dresses 1.99 per dress so I bought two! A navy cotton one by John Rocha and a red tunic style one by Adini. You can't look a gift horse (or bargain) in the mouth - as the saying goes!


Everything charity shopped except leggings; 5.00 Forever 21 sale and boots online retail.
The pale blue top is a tunic by Ghost bought last week from Barnardo's. It's been on the rails for weeks and I thought I'd better grab it at 3.99. It's really a summer top but topped with a cardigan it was warm enough for a quite mild March day.

Scarf and jewellery charity shopped.

On Tuesday I was at the food bank and after I had finished I took my unwanted books to Oxfam and a bag of stuff to a charity shop. I had a quick rummage at the Castle Road charity shops and bought two necklaces for 99p each at the Children's Society. I then came home and spent a few hours sorting out my scarves. I started a new bag for the charity shop having decided to get rid of more than a dozen scarves. Now my head scarves are all together in one place, and I keep the square ones in a hat box on top of my cupboard just next to them. These are only my headscarves. I have 'normal' neck scarves on the coat hanger downstairs and two drawers in the hall table full of more folded up neck scarves. I have a box of Pashmina and Devore scarves under my head and a box of shorter 'tie round your neck only' scarves under the bed as well!


I used the old scarf hanger to hang my blue and red necklaces on and added three further hooks on the other side of the cupboard for my ever growing necklace collection. I shall go through my necklaces before I go to Ireland in April and bring a few more to leave there - yes, I've got more necklaces in Ireland but only a few!





I know. I have a problem...

Talking of necklaces (!) I went back to the Day Hospice Boutique on Wednesday after my walk and bought a necklace I had seen the last time I was there. It was still there I'm pleased to say! You can see it above just above the right grey boot.

I wanted a lie in on Wednesday morning. I've been waking up very early lately; often just before or just after 6 am. I get up at 6.30 am on Mondays and Fridays, when I do the school run and at 7.15 am on other days. So, rather than get up and join my walking group I decided to walk on my own. I set off at midday having done some jobs around the house and decided to walk from Milton Ernest and recce the walk I'll be leading in May. It's the reverse of the walk I led in February. It was a lovely walk of just over 7 miles; it wasn't cold and the sun ventured out near the end. I did see a lot of dead things, though. The remains of a female pheasant; an eviscerated rabbit and a desiccated rodent of some sort. Then I spotted these:


Spring lambs! And these:


Wild violets.

Nature is always balanced in the end.


I'm dumping this tunic; it's by Apricot but it's not the right length.  Can't remember where I got it from; possibly Ireland. At least you can see my lace effect leggings by M&S. Christmas present from daughter. Black boots by Next;  5.00 in the Salvation Army in Rushden.


All jewellery charity shopped.

Thursday's outfit.


Everything charity shopped except boots and leggings; online retail.


Tunic by Adini 1.99 from Barnardo's this week. M&S kimono charity shopped for 3.50 on a trip to Kettering earlier this year.


Only bangles and watch charity shopped. Necklace about 5 or 6 years old; Christmas present from daughter. Ring bought in Sainsburys and earrings were bought in Debenhams in the sale for 3.00 in January.


Friday's outfit. Dress by White Stuff and bought from Barnardo's; Great Denham for 3.99.
Orange shirt by Next; can't remember but probably 1.00 rail somewhere; boots present from daughter. Scarf also charity shopped.


All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings; Sainsbury's.


On Saturday I went to visit my son and in the evening my daughter took me out for a Mother's Day dinner. We went to a local Turkish restaurant where I had a vegetarian dish which was delicious.


All jewellery charity shopped except earrings; Sainsburys.


Everything charity shopped except brogues; Tesco outlet shop 5.00. I am breaking all the Fashion Police's rules here - I'm wearing navy blue and black together!! Shock, horror!!  Arrest me!
The navy skirt is by M&S and was bought in Oxfam, West Hampstead for 2.49. Jacket; 3:16 charity shop 1.00 rail; ruffled blouse by H&M; can't remember. Lace tights bought so long ago I can't remember but I think they're at least 10 years old.


This was my Mother's Day present. Homemade flapjacks (scrumptious) and a teeny tiny cactus in a pot. When we were in London for my birthday, I ventured into Urban Outfitters with my daughter and after 20 seconds was bored. I spotted some home ware and went to have a  look where I spied this tiny cacti. I didn't buy it because I thought it wouldn't survive the journey back to Bedford but my daughter bought it unbeknown to me!

Sunday's outfit
Brown's and greys.


I was feeling the neutrals at the weekend, it's good to ring the changes now and again. Tunic by Masai; can't remember which charity shop; cardigan by Jigsaw 1.00 rail 3:16 charity shop; leggings M&S retail; boots by Next 5.00; Salvation Army in Rushden.


All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings which were a present from OH soon after we first met almost 21 years ago. The necklace (3.50) is the one I went back to the Day Hospice Boutique for.

On Sunday I went out for a walk, The clocks had gone forward by one hour and I was bit time restricted, so I walked locally to Queens Park; along the river to Great Denham; through the golf course to Biddenham then along the by pass and back home. 6 miles in total. It was a windy but sunny day and I was really glad I ventured out. Sometimes it's so tempting just to stay in and lounge about...

We're off to Ireland at the weekend so I will be taking a
blogging break of about 3 weeks. There is only very poor WiFi at the mobile home park as you know; but when I can I will try and keep up with all of your blogs and comment.

I'm so looking forward to seeing Ireland again and dear old Ruby Super!