Monday, 17 June 2019

Blackbird news, blogger meet ups and other things...

Blackbird update! We got another look in the nest and there was at the time of writing this - 4 eggs in situ. A second clutch, as Mim said in her comment on the original of my last post. Watch this space!
Further update - I saw Mrs. Blackbird taking food to the nest; I think the eggs may have hatched!

But to return to the weekend of our London group walk. We began our walk from Blackfriars station. This pub was across the road from the station - can you see the Black Friar on the front?

 From Blackfriars we headed for the embankment where we walked to St. Katherine's Dock and Limehouse Basin. From there we walked to the Old Docklands area of London which is full of dwellings made from converted warehouses now; but once were filled with wharves. Their original function lives on in the building names and streets. The vessel with the sails (top left) is an original Thames barge once the workhorse of the river; seen in  St. Katherine's Dock. Bridges or walkways connected the warehouses or wharves to each other (top right);  now people fill them with plants in containers. It's their garden in the sky, I suppose.

L - Gun Wharf.  R - Thread Wharf. Guess what used to be stored in these warehouses?

From there we continued to where a large area of Docklands was demolished to make way for; (bottom left photo) Canary Wharf! London's second financial centre; the first is in the City of London; a square mile delineated by dragons, so you know when you enter and leave.

This rather resplendent building on the bottom left is a pumping station (originally for pumping sewage out of the Thames) and the plaque (top right photo) was on one side of it. It commemorates the departure of a group of navigators who set off in the 16th century to explore the North Seas. The street sculpture (top left photo) is of a herring gull. Very plentiful down by the docks! I really liked this sculpture and as the collage doesn't do it justice I've repeated it below:

Ain't he cute!

We continued the walk through Wapping (which was where the sculpture was situated) and Shadwell. The pub below is the oldest riverside pub in London; 'The Prospect of Whitby'. Just to the side of it is an example of the numerous 'Watermen's stairs';  in this case called Pelican Stairs. The stairs gave those who worked or travelled on the river, easy access to the banks of the Thames. Just through Pelican Stairs and hanging over the Thames was this gibbet with a noose still attached (bottom left) just to remind us that once upon a time people were executed here...

  We then continued walking along the river until we came to a rowing club where we were able to stop and have a drink and admire the spectacular views of Greenwich from the terrace. Greenwich is a borough in London, on the banks of the River Thames. Known for its maritime history, it's home to the Cutty Sark, a restored 19th-century ship (top left photo), the huge National Maritime Museum, and the classical buildings of the Old Royal Naval College. Overlooking peaceful Greenwich Park, the Royal Observatory is the site of the Greenwich meridian line. The meridian line is that rather uninspiring metal strip in the ground in the bottom left photo. It represents the Prime Meridian of the world; zero degrees longitude; every place on Earth is/was measured in terms of its angle EAST or WEST of this line.

The Painted Hall was filled with beautiful detail on walls, floor and ceiling (top left and right photos). This giant ship in a bottle  (bottom right photo) caught my eye outside the Royal Maritime museum.

We crossed to the other side of the river by walking through the Greenwich Tunnel where we walked up to Greenwich Park and the Royal Observatory.  The views over London from here were spectacular. By this time we were pretty knackered and very pleased to walk back to the river where we caught a Thames Clipper vessel back to London Bridge; along the Thames and thence home. We walked just over 11 miles.  It was good to sit down again, I can tell you! The Thames Clipper went extremely fast and is probably a much quicker way to travel around London as there is much less traffic to contend with - although it is expensive. Our tickets were 9.00 each from Greenwich to London Bridge -  the route ended at Westminster Pier.

On Monday, I volunteered as usual and wore one of the items I bought the previous Friday in Barnardo's. This dress/tunic/long shirt is by Tu and I loved the pattern of repeating fans. I think it was 3.50. Navy trousers retail from Matalan some years ago and navy top from a 1.00 rail somewhere. It's also old maybe 6 or 7 years and of course it wasn't new when I bought it!

Shoes retail.

Scarf and jewellery charity shopped.

I was asked if I could a spare few hours on Friday as the shop was stock taking that day so of course I said yes. I did have time for a look around on Monday and bought three items from the 1.00 rail: a winter skirt by Boden which I've put away; a pair of jeans (see below) and a pink short trench jacket.

I wore this to the Food Bank on Tuesday. Jeans; as above, jacket bought from the 3:16 charity shop for 2.00. Top underneath bought from a 1.00 rail; possibly the RSPCA in Ampthill.

Shoes charity shopped in Co. Donegal.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Wednesday was quite busy. I took my grandson and his Dad to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge in the afternoon as grandson had a follow up appointment to his middle ear implant op earlier in the year. All was well and they were pleased his progress; so much so that he doesn't have to return in September for a further appointment. In the morning I had errands to run and managed a quick visit to my two closest charity shops; the 3:16 and the Day Hospice Boutique. I bought a brooch for 50 p in the 3:16 shop and a beautiful cotton maxi skirt made by Rapp in the Day Hospice for 4.50.

This linen top (I love linen) was bought a few weeks back in my Barnardo's for 4.00. It's by Valentyne.

Trousers from a Tesco outlet store some years ago and shoes retail; Sainsbury's.

All jewellery charity shopped.

 This is one of two linen coats I possess; both charity shopped and both by M&S. This one was 7.00 and came from the Cat's Protection League. The other linen coat is a pale grey; but I cannot remember where I bought it from and I've had it longer than this one.

I've been meaning to show you these for ages. I bought them about two months ago from the British Heart Foundation for 5.00. Aren't they sweet? I've worn them once but didn't take photos that day.

On Thursday afternoon after doing the food shopping and some errands; I went to Newport Pagnell  for a rummage. As part of the D Day celebrations they have a vintage theme in all the shops; every one dresses up in vintage clothing at the weekend; there are stalls and entertainment and old Spitfires etc on display. Although they are celebrating D Day this year it's something that happens every year; so one of the women in the Age UK shop told me. It's their manager who has knitted the house; allotment and 'Dig for Victory' scene in their front window. The vintage shop always has lovely window displays...

This was what I wore. Everything charity shopped except the shoes local retail shoe shop.

Trousers; unknown label but from 1.00 rail last year; top by Next; 1.00 rail in RSPCA Ampthill; jacket by M&S 1.99 in the Red Cross. I bought the necklace in my Barnardo's for 1.00; and the earrings I bought in Newport Pagnell for 2.00 I cleaned them and wore them for the photo as they went so well with what I was wearing.

All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.

On Thursday evening I met my best friend Ann for a meal and a catch up. We meet in a pub near the university where I used to work but because England was playing it was so noisy!  Once we'd finished our meal, we decided to go to town and try one of the (several) pudding/dessert restaurants. Have you noticed these lately? They've been springing up everywhere. I know of 3 in our town alone. Anyway, I had a delicious pudding and we were able to converse and hear each other.

You may have noticed I haven't mentioned any walking this week. That's because after the weekend walk and standing for 4 hours in Barnardo's on Monday by Monday afternoon I had  a very painful thigh where the ball and socket joint is. I couldn't get comfortable -  whether I was sitting; standing or lying down. Luckily, I remembered I still had some anti-inflammatory tablets left from the knee episode last year so I took them. By Thursday evening I was pain free but erred on the side of caution and decided not to walk until next week.

This was Friday's outfit. Everything charity shopped. This is the skirt by Rapp I bought in the week for 4.50. The blue top is by East and was from 1.00 rail somewhere. The jacket by M&S was 1.99 in the Red Cross. Yellow shoes; 3 euros in a Donegal charity shop.

All jewellery charity shopped. The earrings were brought back from a holiday abroad by my brother, Mark; but they've turned towards the back in this photo and look white. They're actually yellow, teal and a deep red:

I took youngest grandson to his clinic appointment at our local hospital on Friday morning and on to school. Then I had a hairdresser's appointment and after that I went to Barnardo's where they were stocktaking. I spent the entire time counting new stock: cards, wrapping paper and sweets! From there I went to pick up both grandsons from school.

Saturday was a rather special day and here's why...

Here we are -  London blogger meet up! From L to R: Fig, Monica (all the way from Spain!), Vix and me at King's Cross station. It was so lovely to meet everyone and I felt as if I was meeting old friends. Having followed their blogs for some time; I felt I knew everyone really well! Such is the strange world of online blogging but I am very grateful for it. After a cup of tea/coffee we wended our way towards Spitalfields where we oohed and aahed over wonderful clothes, jewellery, and other accessories. We had something to eat and lots of conversation - it was such a lovely day and we want to do it again. A big thank you to Monica who was here on holiday and who suggested the meet up. The photo above was taken by a man (a professional photographer) who spotted us on the tube - and Vix in particular! He wanted to take her photograph, which he did and then he took this one of us. Thank you!

I took this one using Monica's camera. That's Christ Church, Spitalfields in the background. A Church built by Nicholas Hawksmoor between 1714 - 1729.

My yellow and black trousers were 2.50 from my Barnardo's. Underneath my David Emmanuel coat (see below) I wore a yellow linen Wallis tunic also from my Barnardo's 3.99; and a black lace top by Next from Save the Children; bought when I volunteered there. Shoes; 3 euros, Donegal charity shop. All my jewellery was charity shopped. My bag was also charity shopped from the 3:16 charity shop but can't remember how much it was; but less than a fiver.

I went to spend the day with my son on Sunday and wore this:

Everything charity shopped except the trousers; La Redoute sale some years ago. Coat by David Emmanuel; 6.00 in Red Cross shop. The brooch pinned to it was bought in my Barnardo's last week.

Top by Wallis and charity shopped somewhere a few years ago. I can't remember where or how much I paid for it.

Shoes 3 euros Donegal charity shop.

Ooops; there's one of my slippers. Some people have cats who photo bomb them; I have to make do with slippers...

Bangles, necklace and watch charity shopped. Earrings were from New Look at Christmas; I paid a fiver for them.

Monday was a horrible, chilly wet day. A complete contrast to Sunday which was warm and sunny. I dressed in bright colours to alleviate the gloom...

Earrings and brooch bought retail in Donegal. Both made by Irish artists/designers. The earrings are enamel and the brooch is ceramic. Necklace bought in Cancer Research many years ago.

All clothes charity shopped. Dress by Asos from my Barnardo's: 1.50.  Navy jacket by Whistles; 1.00 rail in the 3:16 charity shop. Navy leggings by M&S; 1.00 rail in Barnardo's, Ampthill.

Shoes as above.

It was so chilly I wore a scarf and a raincoat when I went out. Scarf; charity shopped somewhere. I volunteered at the charity shop as usual on a Monday. The Manager is a fresh air fiend and likes to have the door wide open all the time. It was perishing! I went and shut it a couple of times as did a couple of customers but the Manager is suffering from hot flushes so gets hot really quickly. I remember what that feels like...I bought a necklace, two brooches and two scarves and a football kit for one of the grandsons.

Guess who these two are? These are two female juvenile blackbirds who were in my garden on Tuesday. One was rootling around in one of the flowerpots. I believe they are the fledged first clutch from Mrs. Blackbird! As well as snapping this photo, I went to the food bank on Tuesday morning. It rained all day the same as Monday and it was chilly. I was glad to get home and get warm! I had to venture out again in the afternoon as I needed to return my library book, so of course I had a little rummage. Once again I visited the High Street charity shops of which there are 6. The first one I went in; Mercy in Action Outlet shop, sells everything for 2.00 or sometimes 1.00. I found a lovely Italian made grey and white spotted tunic/dress; a brown linen Laura Ashley maxi dress and a black and white  linen jacket by Rosie - all 2.00 each. I looked in all the other shops but didn't buy anything else; until I reached the Independent charity shop on my way home where bought some brand new animal print ankle boots which have been put away for the autumn/winter.

Wednesday's OOTD

Note: I'm wearing boots - in June! All jewellery charity shopped.

Everything is charity shopped. The jacket as before. Skirt: 4.00 from The Guild House it's by East Artisan with Anokhi -  I didn't realise this until I looked closely at the label. I've worn it before as well! Vix here  is a great fan of their clothing. Red lace top; can't remember. Boots: retail by Matalan. I also wore socks and a neck scarf!

The other maxi skirt I wore recently with this label Rapp. I'd never heard of it before but I must say that both skirts have a nice quality to them and both are fully lined.

I didn't walk with my group on Wednesday as the walk was quite far - in Cambridge. I had planned to walk by myself but by the time I had pottered about doing various things indoors it had begun to rain and it continued for the rest of the afternoon. Again; I had to venture into town in the pouring rain so I had another rummage in the charity shops around the bus station of which there are 6. I bought a plant and a book; both a 1.00 each. I had spent enough money yesterday so it was just as well!

You may remember I was attempting to reread my way through Mary Wesley's books. Well, after reserving and picking up 6 from the library; (having already read two I picked up in charity shops) by the time I had read a third I realised I didn't want to read anymore. They were too similar with the same themes and character types repeated in each book.  There was also a very strong feeling that she was deliberately trying to shock her readers by having unusual sexual relationships as one of the themes. I have absolutely no interest in anybody else's sex life - even in fiction! Having paid 80 p for each reservation I was a bit miffed at returning them; but life's too short to read books you're not enjoying - so back they went. I am currently at the beginning of a journey to Scandinavia; Sweden to be precise in the very capable hands of Camilla Lackberg. I have four of her books to read and a whole shelf of Scandi Noir to get through so this is a start. I do love detective fiction or police procedural books; they're my guilty reading pleasure...

I did a bit of organising on Wednesday as well. My brooches live in a box on my chest of drawers and are divided up into types; gold, silver, vintage, floral, ceramic, enamel and animal/insect, but in separate bags. Herein lay the problem; I could never remember which brooches were in which bag in the box; and what I had in each category. I decided that if I decanted them into my miniature chests of drawers I could at least see what I had. Now, I can see at a glance what I have and even have a couple of (small) drawers left to put more brooches in...
My gold collection on the left and right my brooch storage system. If only I could fit these into my bedroom; but I can't -  they'll have to live in the study.

My walk on Friday had one participant - and me! The weather had been so awful (four and half days of solid rain) and not conducive to walking so I wasn't at all surprised. I still had to catch the bus to Sharnbrook in case anyone was waiting for us there; there wasn't so I caught another bus back straight away. The weather did finally brighten up on Friday afternoon - hurray!

On Saturday, OH and I went for a rummage to St. Ives and St. Neots both in Cambridgeshire.

Everything charity shopped. Linen dress by Laura Ashley; 2.00 and jacket by Rosie also 2:00; both bought from the Mercy in Action charity shop. Sandals; can't remember possibly Oxfam and I paid 5.00 for them.

All jewellery charity shopped. Scarf and necklace both from my Barnardo's.

I'll show you all my finds in my next post. See you then!


  1. Thank you for the blackbird update, Vronni. Also, your London photographs make me long for a city trip ... It's been far too long since I was there. But I have been to that magnificent pub! I think we did a similar walk once. Wonderful, colourful outfits as usual. I'm particularly loving the first one, with the colourful long tunic. The green linen coat is gorgeous too. Oh, and that Anokhi maxi skirt. And the shoes, obviously: so cute! I also loved reading your account of the blogger meet-up. Isn't it extraordinary that you're feeling you've known them forever? I had the same with Vix and Lynn last year. They were exactly how I'd imagined them to be! Love your brooch storage system, I agree that having them in drawers makes life so much easier! xxx

    1. As you are a regular visitor to the UK, next time you come (I mean next year as I know you're here already) set aside a day in your trip and we could meet up in London. I know we are all looking forward to meeting up again. I found it was as if I was meeting old friends despite having never met in person before!

      Hope your holiday is going well.

  2. Oh, I wish I could have been there for that meet-up (not possible, but I'd love to meet y'all!), it looks so fun, and how awesome to meet all those lovely gals.

    I adore your outfits as usual; your linen pieces are fantastic, as is that tunic with the fun arms panels. I just enjoy seeing what you're wearing - it's always so much fun.

    Sorry to hear your weather has been horrid, I hope it gets better soon!

    1. Thank you, Sheila. I always enjoy seeing what you're wearing for the same reason!

      Maybe you'll come to the UK soon and we could arrange a blogger meet up; it would be brilliant!

  3. God, hasn't the weather been dreadful?
    Wonderful photos of your first London trip and lovely to revisit ours - I can't believe it's been over a week, have you? I had such a brilliant time.
    I knew immediately that your skirt was Anokhi for East, it's gorgeous and the artisan label is extra special, it would have cost well over £100 originally. I've got a couple of dresses on my rail with the same woven Rapp label, can't find a thing out about it but, as you say, the quality is great so I'm assuming it was a label stocked in nicer boutiques.
    Love the new brooch storage.
    Great news about the blackbird's and grandson's hearing.
    I've read a few of Camilla Lackberg's books but I'm often left a bit disappointed by the neatly wrapped up ending. Her characterisation is great though.
    Have a great week - none of that wet stuff here since Sunday - can it last? xxx

    1. Yes, Rapp are a bit of a mystery; I couldn't find anything about them either...

      I loved our meet up and can't wait to do it again!

      Have a fab time at Glastonbury.

  4. It has been Absolutely Amazing meeting with you and the girls and I totally agree that it was like meeting with old friends!.
    I'm missing London badly, so it's fab to see all these pics you took in your walks, so interesting! I'm taking notes for our next travel!. Love the first pic particularly, what a charming corner!.
    But let's talk about the clothes!. Your fans tunic is stunning and looks lovely with those beads!. I love all the beads and prints in your outfits actually!, you rock your mixed prints. The linen coat is gorgeous and I also love your green jacket with floral pants and cute matchy shoes!
    And I totally love your yellow outfits, you look fabulous in all of them even if my favourite is the one you wore at the meeting! so visible and elegant!!, also loving the last one because of the fab sleeves and necklace!
    And you rock in your bright colors outfit to cheer up a Monday! and your Anokhi dress is a fab piece!. So shocking that you had to wear boots and scarves once more. Well, it was also cold here last week (8ºC)!. And such a difference to see you in your sandals and linen dress in the next pic!, really elegant and beautifully accessorized!

    1. I loved meeting you too, Monica. I hope you managed to get a bit of charity shopping in before you left...

      Thank you for your lovely comments - it was receiving such lovely comments from you and Vix when I first started blogging that encouraged me to carry on.

      Hope your week goes well.

  5. Such good news about your grandson! The blogger meet up looks like you all had great fun.

    Danny really wants to go to London to stand on the Prime Meridian. Now that he's a teenager, I will probably take him if I can get one of those cheap weekend and back flight/hotel deals. The Docklands strikes me as depressing and soulless-if I had to work there I don't know how I could stand it. Looks like it has been built up quite a lot since I was last there.

    Such wonderful outfits! That blue and yellow skirt is amazing. Hope you get better weather soon. June is no time for boots and scarves!

    1. I'm quite astonished you can do London from the USA in a weekend! It is the 21st century after all so I shouldn't really be surprised. It would be fabulous if you could do it though!

      I was disappointed with the Prime Meridian and they were charging 5.00 entrance - I just snapped it through the railings!

      I'm not sure about Canary Wharf. The buildings are pretty soulless but there are sculptures everywhere and little green and open spaces and lots and lots of shops. The transport system is very good, too.

      My grandson specifically asked me to show him Canary Wharf when I took him on a trip to London last year; and he found it a bit disappointing! I don't know what he was expecting!

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  7. The Black Friar is my absolute favourite London pub! Have you ever been inside? It's incredible, all Arts & Crafts era marble and bronze bas-reliefs of monks brewing beer.

    It's great to know your grandson's recovery is going so well, and that your blackbirds have a second clutch. I hope your leg is better and you too are thriving now.

    Blogger meetups are so lovely - like you say, people are always very much in person as they are on a blog (when someone's writing longform I guess their personality has to come out) so it feels comfortable straight away. I love how your outfits are all so perfectly each of you!

    1. I'll make sure I go in next time, Mim. I thought the outside was pretty cool and to have a fab interior too is brilliant!

      I think you are right about the easiness of meeting other bloggers you've followed for years. You build up a relationship in that way and consequently feel as if 'know' that person already. I had a fab time! Hope we can organise another one with you included this time!

  8. Love your blogger meet-up photos. How cool that you met a professional photographer that took that photo for you. You all looked fabulous!

    I've taken several walking tours of London and it is one of the best ways to see London if you have the time.


    1. Thank you, Suzanne!

      I've not yet done a walking tour in London but I want to- very much. Another thing on my 'to do' list!

  9. Loved coming to London with you Vronni, I learned lots. I'm loving to you in jeans, especially with the super jacket. And lucky you to have a blogger meet!
    Have a super solstice, Mary x.

    1. Thank you, Mary!

      The solstice was fab as was the meet up!

      Have a great week.

  10. Some lovely pictures again, who was the fourth person on your London Bloggers photo?

  11. the blackfriars pub is in a cute house!!
    clever idea to wear the fan dress as a duster - perfect with this necklace and the color of the headscarf.... outfit 2 has some fab pattern mixing going on.... linen tops is very elegant, esp. with that chic green coat on top.... the knitted "dig for victory" scene is very cute! love the chinese mary janes!
    lovely photos from the blogger meet up - such a colorful bunch you are!
    the black/yellow tunic adds so much drama to the look with this sleeves.....
    sweet pic of the little missis blackbird, so good the parents can raise a second bunch this summer. here its hot & humid - i live in shorts & tank tops and the garden grows into a jungle...

    1. I do like a duster - it hides a multitude!

      Thank you for your lovely comments and your garden is beautiful; I would never describe it as a jungle! A lot of hard work though?

      Have a great week.

  12. Sorry I am a little late catching up with your post but I had limited WiFi access on my trip this past week. I enjoyed seeing the photos from your London visit. I love the view from Blackfriars station platform looking up and down the river. The East End is also where my mother comes from - my grandfather worked at the East India Docks between the wars.
    You look great in all your outfit photos. I think my favourite is your Sunday outfit, the yellow and black. Absolutely gorgeous! The final one is my second favourite, but they are all lovely.
    Glad to hear the blackbirds are thriving too.

    1. It is a brilliant view from Blackfriars station. I remember going to Gatwick on the train a few years back with my daughter and grandsons and we came through Blackfriars as the sun was rising; it was an amazing view!

      Lack of access to wifi while away is a pain but sometimes it does us good to be 'online'. I find this when I'm in Ireland as I can only access wifi away from the caravan site...

    2. that should have said 'offline' of course!

  13. We have blackbirds nesting too but this year they have hidden the nest very well and we can't see it, although you can hear the chicks cheeping above your head! They fledged on Sat and it was a bit nerve wracking with our ageing cat out and about, and a chick looking helpless in the hedge!

    I really admire how you create outfits with such clever use of colour and accessories!

    Loved your London walk pictures, I used to go out with a Meetup walking group and did all sorts of different walks around the capital. I always wanted to go on the Emirates cable car but still have to do!

    1. Gail, thank you!

      Unfortunately, the blackbird has abandoned the nest with 5 eggs! They must not be viable. I've counted three days in a row where she hasn't been sitting on the nest. Such a shame but at least she fledged two!

      Hope your week is going well

  14. Hi Vronni, I am getting your posts btw, but don't know why I haven't commented lately as your outfits are just amazing. I love the colours you wear and especially anything yellow which I think is the colour you suit best. The jewellery is just lovely. And the walk was good but 11 miles - wow! Not sure my feet could take that!!! I loved your blogger meet and we'll do that one day I'm sure :)

    Have a lovely rest of the week xxx

    1. Yes I'd love to meet up one day, Penny!I'm glad to hear it wasn't technical issues.. I always worry about that because I don't know hoe to fix them!

  15. hi i just found your blog, via Vix's blog. i love your style and can't believe those fab outfits were charity shopped for so little. i love beautiful clothes and have worn vintage since the1970's. I was also a nurse and a lecturer. I retired at 56 after years of Health Visiting and now live in Milton Keynes, we moved from the north east 4 years ago. I am delighted to have found your blog and will be subscribing forthwith! I am blown away by people like you and Vix who spend so much time and effort writing great blogs for no other reason than to share with others so thanks for a smashing read. I'm off to catch up on past post now.XX


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 ...