Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Ireland and after 2019

I started a blog post before I left for Ireland and it seems a pity to waste it -  so here it is and my current post starts further on....

 Here's a lovely summery picture for you. It's called 'Along the Shore' by A. Southall and it hangs in my hallway to one side of my hall table (which I rescued from a skip). I bought the painting for 10.00 a few years ago from the 3:16 charity shop.

The good weather continued for my final week in England. It was quite a busy week - as always. I volunteered on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, I took my youngest grandson and his friend bowling in St. Neots and out for something to eat afterwards. On Thursday, I finally went out for a walk as it seemed a little cooler. I walked 10 miles recceing a new walk but it's too long. The difficulties with trying to find new walks is not the walks themselves; there are dozens of walks that I've discovered by myself just out meandering through the countryside; I also have three books of Bedfordshire walks (all charity shopped of course!) and there is a council website that has some as well. 

No, the difficulty is with the parking. We have to start from a venue that has somewhere to park and as there are up to 40 cars to park at a time this is not always easy. It was a really nice walk but my poor legs were feeling it by the end. It was a fortnight to the day since I'd done any proper walking so I wasn't surprised. I tried again on Saturday starting from a different place and I managed to get it down to 8.5 miles which was better; but still a bit too far. I decided to try again when I get back from Ireland to see if I can find a shortcut and knock at least half a mile off. Wish me luck! I've got till almost the end of October to perfect it.

These are some of the outfits I wore this week. Everything charity shopped. Top by Glamorous from my Barnardo's; 2.00, I think - when we had the 2.00 on everything special offer. Trousers by H&M but can't remember where.

On Monday at the charity shop I bought myself a fancy pair of flip flops with diamonds on them; for 2.50. I should have worn them with this outfit! All jewellery charity shopped.

I was being brave here and wearing my top tucked in. The skirt by M&S (it's striped denim) was also 2.00 in my Barnardo's. I've had the Paris top for ages and can't remember where I got it from. Trusty Clark's sandals; retail about nine/ten years ago. All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.

Another Barnardo's buy but 3.99! It's a Joules top and I wore it with the red Simon Jefferies skirt I bought at the car boot sale for 2.00.

Green shoes; online retail. Headscarf; Barnardo's 1.00.

All jewellery charity shopped except the necklace which I bought from a local shop called Simi and Lola; alas now only online.

Went to see my son on Friday and wore a new to me Masai top that I bought at Barnardo's on Monday along with my posh flip flops. The top was 3.00 and I like it but it has a cowl neck which I don't like. I folded it inwards when I wore it and I'm going to cut the neck so it folds inwards and lies flat. It is blue with a big floral print but I'm afraid I forgot to take photos. I wore it with navy linen trousers.

On Saturday, after my walk and taking my car for a much needed wash; I spotted a sign on the way home that said a garden was open for charity - so we went for a nose. It was part of the National Garden Scheme and what a beauty it was. Not only were the flowers spectacular they had ducks, a couple of geese and some chickens! The bees were everywhere. It was just an ordinary Victorian villa with a bay window at the front but they had transformed every bit of outdoor space with flowers and plants. Absolutely lovely. 

At the back of the house a wall of sweet peas with the most wonderful scent. I couldn't stop sniffing them. If anyone knows of a scent that has a sweet pea smell please let me know; I'll buy it straight away!

Another flower bed at the rear of the house. We bought some of those yellow and red plants at the bottom of the picture.

At the front of the garden.

Also at the front.

This was a postcard with various different scenes from the garden.
I had seen several notices around Bedfordshire villages advertising Open Gardens but this was the first I actually managed to get to.

Well,  now I've got that out of the way, hello to you all! I hope you've had a wonderful summer. I have. I didn't want to come back from Ireland and could have happily spent another 6 weeks there...this a beach photo heavy post so you've been warned! I completely forgot my tripod so not that many OOTD, though.
The necklace was a Donegal charity shop purchase as was the white top (3 euros); trousers; La Redoute sale years ago and yellow cardigan from my Barnardo's. Headscarf same place.

This was taken on a Co. Sligo beach I'd not visited before. It's called Streedagh (pronounced Streedjah) beach. Beaches are called strands in Ireland. This one (see below) had very big waves the day we visited so I wasn't sure about swimming there -  but apparently it's very safe to swim there; it will just have to wait until next year now. 
On the same strand, these rocks were completely covered with Goose Neck Barnacles. The barnacles are alive and pop out their heads and wave them about which is rather creepy...

A coolish day in Donegal.  We were off to Letterkenny for a rummage. Trousers; Tu sale some years ago, black dress 1.00 rail somewhere. Part of my caravan wardrobe. The jacket was bought in the Donkey Sanctuary charity shop in Ballyboffy, Co. Donegal, this trip, for 5 euros. Although you can't see the detail on the front there are a lot of  different buttons sewn all over and the back embroidery detail can be seen below. You can see why it called to me!

All jewellery charity shopped.

I spent quite a lot of time  in the sea whilst I was away. Not because the weather was great because it wasn't. It was cloudy, grey, but never cold and of course we had rain and it was very windy at times.  There were some sunny days and on one giddy occasion it reached 20 degrees! But I had a revelation whilst I was there and that was at this time of the year - late summer/early autumn; the sea is warm (ish). Now, in the UK I live at least 80+ miles from the sea and don't get to the sea side very often, so it's taken me all this time to learn this. In Ireland I went swimming when the air temperatures were 13 and 14 degrees and the sea was lovely! It's all to do with the Gulf Stream, I've been told.

 This was Muckross Bay in Co. Donegal. Didn't manage to swim here but there's always next year!

Everything charity shopped - this is part of my caravan wardrobe. Beach shoes are old Clark's loafers.

Muckross Head. Taken from a viewing point looking down on the bay.

Now this beach I did swim at. The Silver Strand at Malin Beg or Trá Bán in Gaelic. The a in Trá  and Bán have a 'fada', which is like the French accent symbol.

A beautiful place to swim - a very special place to me.

I was astonished by this sea weed. At the top of the photo you can just see two spiky objects; these were part of the sea weed and felt just like rubber balls. Yes, I squeezed them to see what would they felt like!

We visited this Court Tomb which was close to the Silver Strand. Both of the strands are in the Gaeltacht or Gaelic speaking part of Donegal.

On the Silver Strand. Everything charity shopped.

I liberated these hydrangeas from a bush on the mobile home site...

This was taken on Rossnowlagh Strand., Co. Donegal. The coat is by Gudrun Sjoden and was bought a few years ago in the charity shop in Killybegs for 6 euro. I have three other summer coats so I left this one behind. Everything charity shopped but can't remember where I bought the trousers. They were bought in the UK somewhere and in the last couple of months.

A not very good selfie!

This lovely garden is on St. John's Point where I did a good bit of walking. There was also this one further down St. John's Point:

It was my paternal Uncle and Aunt's 50th wedding anniversary whilst I was in Ireland. The party was in Co. Offaly where they live and I saw lots of relatives some of whom I last  saw 50+ years ago. These three ladies are my father's sister's. The eldest is Aunty Maggie in the middle who is 90 years old. She has lived in this nursing home for the past 9 years and doesn't know anyone anymore. Aunties Maura on the left and Joan on the right. Aunty Maura is 85 and was not off the dance floor!

Here we are having a dance! I bought the vintage 80s (I think) dress from Etsy and the sandals are by M&S; charity shopped in the Killybegs charity shop about three years ago; jacket bought in a Beales sale some years ago. This is a photo of a photo so the quality is not very good...

My Aunty Maggie looks so much like my Granny it made me cry when I saw her. My Granny (on my dad's side) died when I was about thirteen or fourteen. On a lighter note you might have spotted that I've painted my nails in this picture. The only time my nails grow to the same length and don't break is when I'm here in Ireland. It's because I do very little housework while I'm here!

The wedding anniversary couple - Uncle Jerry and Aunty Ann and my six cousins; from L to R; Martin, Terry, Fintan, Mary, Philomena and John Paul.

Mullaghmore Harbour, Co. Sligo. This is where Lord Mountbatten, his grandson, his grandson's grandmother and  a local boy, who was taking them lobster fishing; were blown up by an IRA bomb in 1979. The grandson's parents and his twin brother were seriously injured. My cousin and his wife live here and I visit them a lot when I'm in Ireland. They're about 40 miles away from me and are geographically nearest to me. I haven't swam here yet but that's another one for next year. My cousin's children have all gone pier jumping from the steps you can see at the entrance to the harbour. This photo was taken outside the restaurant where we often have something to eat.

My frequent walking companions; cousin's Caroline; Martina (my cousin's wife) and Willow, the dog! We had walked around Rosses Point in Co. Sligo on this day.

There is always a week in August in Ireland known as Heritage week. You may remember last year I did a 20 mile walk as part of Heritage Week; which was to commemorate the 460th anniversary of the sinking of some of the Spanish Armada ships off the coasts of Donegal and Sligo. This year I went to some very interesting talks on Donegal women in history and St. John's Point in WW2. The Eire sign picked out in stones and painted white (above) was No. 73 in a series of lookout posts (you can just make out the lookout tower in the very far distance) all around the Irish coast. Used to guide aircraft to safe landings or just to orientate the pilots. Ireland remained neutral during WW2 but whether that was actually the case was part of the discussion. Both events were fascinating. There were two further events I wanted to attend but both were called off because of heavy rain!

This is the Peace Bridge in Derry. I always visit Derry when I am in Ireland and I had planned on this day to walk all around the walls, as it is a walled city; but once again I had to abandon my plan as the rain came down and down...

These murals were found just off the side streets in the main shopping centre.

And this one was especially for me!  My name plus a bird (and a skull and some bones). I don't know what is was. It may be the back of a shop which is called Veronica's and sells women's clothes. I will have to check it out next time I'm there...

I went to listen to some live music in Sligo Abbey with Martina one Sunday afternoon - and very good it was too!

These carts or traps were very common when I was a child visiting Ireland. This one is left outside a pub in Dunkineely, Co. Donegal and is a bit of a tourist attraction. They are rarely seen nowadays although I did see one in Co. Waterford and in Dublin, both pulled by ponies.

A man gutting his catch in Killybegs, Co. Donegal. The gulls were flocking to him...

My cousin Marian came out to Ireland with me and stayed for a week. We went to visit relatives in Co. Leitrim and here we met some second and third cousins. From L to R; cousins Marian, Linda, third cousins Harriette and Sinead and cousin Doirin. Harriette and Sinead are hairdressers and this photo was taken in the salon in Mohill. Marian really enjoyed her stay and can't wait to come back. 

OH and I went to spend a weekend in Co. Waterford with my cousin Sinead and her husband, John. We did a lot of bird watching which I loved and John spotted a quite rare bird called a semi-palmated sandpiper. All I saw was a blur...

BallyMcCaw Bay, Co. Waterford.

We had a lovely weekend and Waterford is a lovely city and one I'd not visited before.  It's on the south coast and is warmer than Donegal in the north west, but you know I prefer Donegal with its rain and all!

On our way back to the UK we stayed a night in Dublin and went to visit my cousin Richard's (who sadly died last year aged 49) wife and children who moved to Dublin earlier this year from Co. Leitrim. It was lovely to see them again and we'll be regular visitors to them in Dublin as we were when they  lived in Leitrim.

So, between visiting relatives, walking, swimming and rummaging you can see I had a marvellous time in Ireland. The crochet bag was not even opened! I read quite a few books and watched one DVD. I did quite well on the rummaging front. I bought 3 jackets (oops!) three tops, two tunics, a pair of trousers, two bags, and two dresses = 43 euros in total. It's been a few days since I got back and  normal routine has been re established. In fact, Ireland seems but a distant memory now. But it's good to be back in the blogosphere - I missed you!


  1. I missed you too! But what a lovely long read of a post you've given! Wonderful pictures, and I'm amazed that you can swim in the sea there. I'm on the west coast of Canada, and it's brrrr cold for swimming here. NO way! Welcome back, Vronni!

  2. Looks like a great time was had by all. A beautiful place and a break away from the usual routine works wonders for the soul.

    1. Doesn't it just, JayCee. I can't wait to go back at Easter and I'm tempted to go in October half term, too...

  3. It's good to see you back in blogland! Glad you had a good time in Ireland! Love your outfits as usual!

  4. Welcome back! It looks like you had a lovely time. Those beaches are so beautiful, swimming off them must've been heavenly.

    I love the way you've mixed patterns in that black and white outfit.

    The yellow and red plants look like gaillardia - I've got some of that and it's perennial, so you should have it for a few years to come.

    Ew, I've never seen live gooseneck barnacles - they look pretty creepy. Aren't those the shellfish that sell for big money over in Spain (percebes, they're called there)? Someone in Ireland could be raking in the Euros!

    1. Yes I seem to recall the guy who sold them to us called them that; I'm so glad they're perennials!

      I have no idea about the barnacles, I'm afraid. I do know they attach themselves to flotsam and jetsam in the sea; I found one once attached to a flip-flop on the beach. I nearly wet myself when it poked its head out!

  5. Welcome back Vronni! I loved this post as I have Irish ancestry. Now that I am based in Europe and not Africa maybe I will get to visit. Btw you look great in the outfit with the tucked top - you should do it more often. Lise

    1. Thank you, Lise. You must visit ireland; it's a wonderful place to visit and very small so you see a lot in a short space of time. The Irish are very hospitable and friendly people.

      I might give the tucking in thing another go, thank you!

  6. Another lovely post. The gardens looked so beautiful and I love your coat with embroidery on the back. We went to Powerscourt garden in July when on a cruise of the UK. The son of the owners who is the head gardener gave a small group of us a private tour - so interesting. The backdrop of the Wicklow mountains is just magnificent.
    I don't like sea swimming, other than floating about when it's very warm abroad and I think you are very brave! On the shopping front I've just seen a beautiful new looking turquoise Per Una coat (14.99)with a fancy lining in a local charity shop but I was not sure about the frills which fall down the front. Maybe it's a bit young for me.I'm thinking about it but if it's sold when I go back then it's fate!

    1. hello and thank you for commenting! How lucky you were to have a private tour! You've reminded me I have a National Trust Pass which expires in december and I'v only used it once so far - the shame...

      I do hope the coat is still there for you! I do the same; if I'm not sure and I go back and it's still there, it was meant for me. The cpat sounds lovely and if you like it ot doesn't matter what anyone else thinks!

  7. It was so lovely to see your post pop up in my reader, as I've certainly missed you too. You've had a lovely time, by the looks of it, in spite of it not being the best of weathers. But I'd rather have 20 degrees than a heatwave. It must have been wonderful to catch up with your family, some of whom you hadn't seen for 50+ years! And I'm sure it wasn't easy to say goodbye to Ireland after so many weeks away and getting back to "normal". The beach photos are gorgeous, and in Flemish a beach is called "strand" as well. I love the painting in your hallway and all your colourful outfit, and the fact that you have a caravan wardrobe! That 80s maxi you're wearing at the dance is fabulous! xxx

    1. Hello Ann and thank you for your comments. I wasn't sure about the maxi but I wanted something long and different and I got a few compliments. I didn't try the belt on with the dress when it came and on the day the belt was too small and wouldn't do up! I've got to think of a way of extending the belt now...any ideas?

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  9. She's back!
    I love hearing about your visits to Ireland and seeing all your beautiful photos.

    About the Sweet Pea perfumes: Demeter has a Sweet Pea soliflore though I haven't tried it. They do such great scents, I feel confident suggesting it anyway. Miyake's Pleats Please is also a sweet pea scented perfume. Anyway, don't know how much help that is.

    Glad you're back.

    1. Thank you, Goody!

      I shall check the two you mention out. I'm sure I can sample one at Boots - the Miyake; but the other one I may have to send off for. I'll keep you posted!

  10. welcome back - vronni!
    beaches are called "strand" here in germany - the "a" spelled as an "A", not "e" like in english language.... :-D
    such wonderful pictures of strands and flowers and vronni in fabulous clothes and her lovely relatives! love the "dance" dress - so arty!
    @walks&parking: know this problem too - although i would never go on a hike with 40+ people!! this seems more of a military action then a wanderung to me ;-D

    1. Thank you, Beate,

      Yes, the increased numbers of people coming on our Rambler's walks is becoming a problem. There's the parking but also leading 40+ people - and not losing any, can be difficult. Still, it's good more people want to walk in the countryside...

    2. Welcome back, Vronni, and with a rip snorter of a post too! You had a fantastic holiday by all counts. And some fantastic outfits, as always.
      Strand is beach in Scandi languages, so probably a viking inheritance in the language.
      Looking forward to reading your next post.
      Hugs, Mary x.

    3. Thank you, Mary! That's interesting that the Scandi languages use strand as well - every day's a school day!

  11. Welcome back, Vronni! Lovely to see you and your marvellous outfits.
    Sligo Abbey, Waterford, the beaches all look fab but it's the murals that really excite me, proper bit of social history from a very dark time.
    I'd love a cottage garden like that beautiful garden scheme villa you visited.
    Love your black and white outfit, so many lovely prints in one go!
    A. Southall! His painting of women shoppers on Bull Street in Birmingham is at the entrance of the Birmingham Art Gallery & Museum and hung on my parents' wall at home growing up - a brilliant Brummie artist!! xxx

    1. I didn't know he was from Brum! I feel some research coming on...

      Thank you, Vix, for your always lovely comments. And welcome back to you too!

  12. what a lot of fab pics!, it's lovely to read you back and see all those amazing landscapes and all the fun with family and friends!. Love the cottage garden too and those fabulous beaches (do you know that barnacles are considered a delicacy in the North of Spain? ;DD)
    Love your black&white outfit and the brilliantly mixed patterns, and also love particularly that floral top with the red accents and leaves necklace!, gorgeous!. Love your 'Art Life' jacket, totally understand that you bought it, it's so appealing!
    Glad that you could swimm in the sea, it's one of my favourite activities but I also live far away from sea!. Love your casual&cool outfits too and the fab accessories!, you totally rock!
    Lovely to see all your relatives and all the fun!, I totally understand that you had a marvellous time visiting relatives, walking, swimming and rummaging!.
    Glad to see you back!


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 ...