Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Covid Chronicles - Weeks 4 and 5 UK Lockdown

Hello; I hope you are all bearing up. At the start of writing this blog post the UK government had just announced another 3 week period of lockdown; the position would be reviewed again on 7th May.

I gave up with the blanket and turned it into a cushion cover.

Don't worry my hands aren't idle; I've started a basic granny square blanket instead. It's a great stash buster. I started with some of the leftover blue and then began on the green stash. I'm hoping by the time I've finished it it will cover most of a double bed. It will be my second contribution to 'Knit for Peace'; a charity that sends knitted items to conflict zones around the world and to people in need. A big thanks to Mim HERE for telling me about them.

On Wednesday, I walked 7 miles following a walk route I've led in the past. It was a lovely sunny, warm day and it was a pleasure to be out. I saw a fox crossing a field but wasn't quick enough to take a photo.

Like most of the bloggers I follow we are all revelling in our gardens. I was almost orgasmic on Thursday when I got to Lidl for the weekly shop and found they had busy lizzies! Then, needing to pop into Aldi for a few other bits; I found they also had (reduced) busy lizzies! OH replanted some in the window box that had ranunculus in it. I bought the ranunculus and had no idea it would grow so tall and wasn't well suited to a window box. Gardening to me is very much trial and error.

Here are some pictures of the garden which is finally beginning to bloom and show some colour - especially for Sheila!

By the kitchen door.
We have gooseberry, strawberry and blackberry plants; some roses, lupins, marigolds (not my favourite plant but OH loves them) and some night scented stocks and busy lizzies. The pebbles cover a drain...

Along the back wall. 
To the near left you can see a magnolia flower. There are pansies, geraniums,  night scented stocks, rhododendron, tiger lilies, ranunculus (replanted from the window box), lavender, cyclamen, wallflowers, a camelia and fuschia plus the unnamed purple flower.  I'm trying to grow a pyracantha bush as the birds love the yellow berries. If it's successful it will come out of the pot and be planted in the very narrow strip of earth that runs round three sides of the garden. There's also a kiwi plant  in a pot - I'm interested to see if it bears any fruit!  Growing up the (rickety old) trellis which came from my mum's garden; is a honeysuckle, a passion flower (which fruits) and there is a buddleia tree to attract butterflies. The branch you can see growing up the wall nearest to camera is our grape vine. We had grapes for the first time last year but the birds ate them! Against the fence we have clematis, more lavender, canna lilies and a hibiscus bush (out of shot) which has now turned into a tree! The birds like to eat the buds and I hang a suet block for them in the tree. It still manages to provide lots of flowers in the summer. There are also strawberry plants here.

Left hand side of garden. 
We're planning to buy trellises (when things return to normal) and put them up near the top of the wall that demarcates the neighbours garden. Update - we bought some trellises in B&M and ordered a jasmine; another honeysuckle (pink) and a yellow clematis; called 'Bill Mckenzie' from the local nursery. The trellis will give us and the neighbours a bit of privacy and the climbing plants should smell lovely! Can you see my overripe banana hanging on the free standing trellis - it's to attract butterflies. The bowl is a bird bath. It's almost 50 years old and used to be a taller pot with a narrow neck. The frost got it and all I have left is the base. It has lived in my garden since my mum died in 2009. The pot was originally made by a close friend of the family when he was 14; somehow it came to my mum and she kept it indoors! We have a red robin in a big pot;  a hydrangea; more ranunculus; montbretia, irises, more wall flowers (1.00 in the farm shop);  the mad succulent; more stocks, some newly planted busy lizzies and cyclamen. The fatsia japonica was bought about 8 years ago in Lidl and was about 18 inches high originally - it's nearly as tall as me now. We moved the pot of lavender back as we now have a pot of deep pink dianthus on our doorstep instead - thanks to B&M again! You can see one of the seed kits on the ground in the sun.

Now with added trellis...

The house side of the garden. The wall is painted a pinkish red. As it's an East facing garden; the sun stays until about 3pm; then it's sunny at the front until sunset. That is if we have any sun! That gate is the entrance to our alleyway and leads out to the street. It's currently filled with stuff that needs to go to the tip (closed); gardening equipment; spare chairs for outside and other bits and bobs. Years ago the children used to use the alleyway to come in and out of the house as they were always losing their door keys; but now it's almost inaccessible. The planter on the wall you've seen before. I don't know what the plant in the pot is but I think it's some sort of fruiting plant; we shall see! The wisteria has recovered from the brutal chopping I gave it but it's too late to flower now - we've only ever had one flower on it so I have high hopes for next year. The next thing to do is to plant up some hanging baskets. At least lack of time isn't an issue at the moment!

Our very small front garden area. Basically, it's about 2 foot wide and runs under the front windows and behind the brick wall that separates the house from the pavement!
A hydrangea; more monbretia/crocosmia; geraniums and pansies in full bloom.

Freshly planted window boxes; busy lizzies on the left and fuchsias on the right. I'd love to have plants in pots on the wall but they would get nicked or knocked over by drunks and rowdy clubbers on their way home. We've had our wheelie bins taken for a walk to the other end of the street; once a very drunk young guy tipped out the entire contents of the bin; and tried to use it to transport his black plastic bags full of his belongings (his girlfriend had thrown him out). I made him put all the rubbish back and gave him a couple of huge shopping bags to put his stuff in! One of the few disadvantages of living in the town centre.

A pot of lavender on my doorstep.

On Thursday I did the weekly food shopping. I didn't bother with the big Sainsbury's and just did the usual Lidl shop and Aldi. I bought the few bits I needed from our Sainsbury's Local. It's just around the corner from me. I bought my house specifically because it was near the town centre. I reasoned that when I was an ancient old crone with my zimmer frame; I'd still be able to make it into town to shop at Sainsburys - we used to have a branch there. Of course it closed down soon after I'd moved in but the Sainsbury's Local  is great and very close.

In the afternoon I went for a 5 mile walk. Another beautiful sunny day.

Jacket/Kimono Challenge - Day 2

I've decided to incorporate kimonos into the jacket challenge because I need to amuse myself and I wear both interchangeably.

Everything is charity shopped except the kimono - a present from my daughter years ago.

Camouflage leggings; my Barnardo's, red top 1.00 rail somewhere. Chinese embroidered slippers bought from the British Heart Foundation last summer.

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped.

Jacket/Kimono Challenge - Day 3

Friday's outfit. I had a break from walking.
Everything charity shopped except leggings bought in Forever 21 sale. Dress by Tu; Cat's Protection League. Shoes bought in Kells charity shop in Co. Meath.

All jewellery charity shopped except ring from Sainsbury's.

 Kimono by Indigo, M&S; can't remember.

Jacket/Challenge - Day 4

Trousers; La Redoute sale. Tunic by White Stuff; 1.00 rail and kimono (home made) from my Barnardo's. Shoes from Donegal charity shop.

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped.

OH and I walked 8.6 miles on Saturday afternoon. We walked along the river to the village of Cardington. A woman runner who passed us shouted at me that she liked my outfit and that I looked amazing - what a lovely compliment!

Jacket/Kimono Challenge - Day 5

Shoes by Clarks but can't remember where I bought them.

Sunday's outfit. Everything charity shopped. White top by M&S; 1.00 rail;  cotton homemade jacket; my Barnardo's and the jumpsuit, too. I had a break from walking.

Monday brought us to Week 5 of 'Lockdown'. So far, so good.

My task for Monday was to go for a walk, which I did in the afternoon. A sunny day but the wind was quite fierce. I walked 6 miles in total.

Everything charity shopped. Trousers by Zara; cardigan by H&M, top by Primarni. I got the cardigan at my Barnardos but can't remember where I got the rest.

All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.

Shoes by Hotter; charity shopped in Stevenage. On Tuesday I wore the same trousers with a yellow jumper to the food bank. It was the same three of us; all practising social distancing. I went to collect a prescription from the chemist in the afternoon - what an exciting life I lead! The weather was fine and sunny with a bit of a breeze. The plants in the garden are loving the sun and OH religiously waters them every evening; front and back.

Wednesday - too hot for a jacket!

Went for a 5 mile walk checking out a route I haven't walked for a couple of years; it was very warm 23 degrees. Everything charity shopped. Trousers; 3:16 charity shop; top 1.00 rail, lace shirt; can't remember or where I got the shoes.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Before I went out for a walk I went through my fiction books picking out the few I'd read and didn't want and those I wondered why I bought in the first place! I put them in a box outside the front wall with a sign saying 'free - help yourself'. Just lately on my walks I've found a few freebies. On one walk there was a box full of jade plants in pots and on another walk someone had books and magazines outside with a similar sign. I picked up some interior design magazines to drool over...

Jacket/Kimono Challenge - Day 6

Thursday's outfit. I wore this to do the weekly shop. The weekly shop has turned into the highlight of my week! How sad is that? I've given up on big Sainsbury's as the queues are never ending no matter what time I go. I only buy a few things in there anyway and what we can't have we'll go without. I went to the farm shop but this time there was no queue. They had started selling plants and I bought a trailing fuchsia to go in one of the hanging baskets and the usual coal and kindling. Although the weather's been pleasantly warm the evenings are mostly chilly so we've been lighting the fire.

Everything charity shopped except jacket Beales retail about 4 years ago; green shoes online retail.

All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.

Skirt by Betty Jackson bought in my Barnardo's and top by Toast bought in Daycare Hospice nearest my home.

Wisteria envy... passed on my walk on Friday in the village of Biddenham. I walked a 6.4 mile  walk covering another route I hadn't walked in a while. There were plenty of people about; walking, cycling, running. strolling...I started from Queen's Park; walked along the river to Great Denham; through the estate over the golf course into the village of Biddenham; and then home. I passed my Barnardo's on the way -  I am missing it but not as much as I thought. The thing I miss the most is being able to go swimming.

Jacket/Kimono Challenge - Day 7

Saturday was a lazy day - like all the others really. I didn't go for a walk although I had planned to and spent hours poring over my OS map to look for a new route. When I walked on Wednesday I forgot my walking boots and socks and was too lazy to go back and get them. So I walked 5 miles just wearing my comfortable shoes and no socks; but ended with blisters on both heels. The one on the left heel had got progressively more painful as the days went by and I couldn't face it on Saturday. I had three plasters on it, too!

Everything charity shopped. Kimono by Topshop; can't remember; trousers by Papaya, my Barnardo's; top by M&S; Red Cross shop. Brothel creepers/beetle crushers 3:16 charity shop. I've had to bin these as one of the soles tore away from the upper. It could have been restuck but the faux suede coating was crumbling in places so out they went.

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped.

Sunday was the usual housework and cooking Sunday dinner but first I got up and went for 6.5 mile walk in Milton Ernest. A beautiful day with the air full of birdsong.

On Monday I went into town to get some items in Boots. When I got back I went for a 4.5 mile walk. Monday was a cooler day but still very pleasant. It also marked the beginning of week 6 of the lockdown. This was Monday's outfit:

Everything charity shopped; trousers by New Look; white top by Next 1.00 rail; tunic charity shopped in Ireland, I think but can't remember where. Shoes on line retail.

All jewellery charity shopped.

My hair looks ok when it's just been washed but other wise it's gone mad; I cannot wait to get to a hairdressers but I fear it may be a while yet...

I mentioned coincidences in my last post and I'm now going to tell you about a really, really strange coincidence. OH and I met almost 22 years ago. We did online dating before there was on line dating - in those days it was teletext or newspaper columns.  He lived in London and I lived in Bedford. Anyway, after knowing each other for 2.5 years OH moved in with me, permanently. One day I was showing him my photo album when he suddenly exclaimed 'I know that woman'! That woman was my ex-sister-in-law. Many years ago, when OH was married to someone else; he and his wife met my ex sister-in-law and her daughter in a hotel in Spain where they were all on holiday. In fact, they became so friendly that OH and his wife went to visit her several times at her home in Cardiff. This was before she met up with my brother-in-law and therefore before I even knew her!  Is that a coincidence or what?

On Tuesday I was up at 7 am, showered, ironed my clothes, dressed and was eating my breakfast when the phone rang. It was the food bank saying that I wasn't needed as there had been very little in the way of food parcels distributed on Friday and Monday and consequently no need for more to be made up. How strange given that the demand in general was up by 50% in previous weeks.

Never mind; I have this book to be getting on with and the blanket is almost complete - just needs a few more rows before I use up all the wool.

This  is my TBR pile (to be read) - all fiction. Once I've read the fiction pile my plan is to read through a shelf full of detective fiction. Once the lockdown is over or things start to ease; I can scour the charity shops for more!

I wonder if anything will have changed much in two weeks time?


  1. What a riot of colour your garden is! If anything, are gardens are getting a lot of attention, which is of course greatly helped by the wonderful Spring weather we have been blessed with. We are having rain today and although it is more than welcome, I can't help feeling a bit deflated. Love the lavender on your doorstep. I got exactly the same one in the garden centre last week. It's lovely to see that you haven't given up on dressing up in your usual colourful attire. My favourite is the one with the ochre yellow La Redoute trousers topped by that lovely kimono, although your jumpsuit and maxi skirt outfits are serious contenders too! What a strange coincidence indeed about your OH and ex-sister-in-law! Oh, and I don't know if it's just me, but I can't see your TBR pile photo ... xxx

    1. Drat the rain! It's the same here...

      I've fixed (hopefully) the photo issue, Ann.

      Stay safe and don't let the weather get you down!

    2. It seems to be fixed, Vronni, I can see the photo now! xxx

  2. coincidences? england is a small island.... ;-D
    love your colorful kimonos - i should wear mine more often..... but the stunner ist the outfit with the petrol maxi skirt & the cream jacket!!! the mix of colors & prints and the proportions are pure art!
    many many flowers and even some fruits for such a small garden! it must look like a victorian greenhouse/wintergarden in the summer! wonderful!
    stay safe, my dear! xxxxx

    1. Thank you, Beate!

      I'm usually in Ireland at the height of summer so I only get to see the garden when OH sends me photos. I have a feeling that I might be seeing this year, though!

      Take care,

  3. FYI, Blogger is having issues with photos not showing up - that's what's going on in your last pic (if you edit your post, then remove and reload your pic, it should show). It's a "known issue."

    Anyway, thank you for the shout-out! I saw your post in my reader and thought, "Ooh, clothes and plants!" Ha! It's like you knew I needed to see some greenery (I'm over to Vix's post next for dose #2). I love your wee backyard and garden areas - that's my kind of yard! I love all your beautiful plants - please keep posting updates so we can enjoy them blooming.

    Loving all your outfits - your kimonos are fabulous, and you've inspired me to get mine out and wear them soon! I love the all-yellow looks (it's a good colour on you), and the outfit with the long swooshy skirt. I'm not surprised that someone hollered at you - from what I've experienced, people are starving for interesting outfits!

    How strange that your OH knew your ex-sister-in-law! The world is a much smaller place than we think!

    Hope you are having a good week - I'm slightly (hee) inspired to dig out my crocheting and see if I can make something after all these years! Hugs to you, my dear!

    1. Hopefully I've fixed the photo now, Sheila.

      Hope you manage to make something with the crochet - a mask? Err, no thanks! It's good to get creative and there is so much stuff online if you're rusty.

      Thank you for your lovely comments.

  4. Wow! that is a coincidence, how freaky. It's almost like you were destined to be together in the end.
    Your garden is gorgeous, so much colour and interest. Trellis will be the icing on the cake. Your pallet planter is looking wonderful and I love your window boxes, too. We are all going to have fabulous gardens this year.
    All your kimonos look great, they really suit you. I'm not surprised you get complimened by strangers.
    The crochet is gorgeous, I've had to limit mine as I keep getting a really stiff neck.
    I love living within walking distance of the town centre, too - not that I've been near it in ages.The thought of living in the countryside fills me with dread!
    Enjoy that book, it looks great.
    Stay safe & fabulous! xxx

    1. Thank you, Vix!

      I found the coincidence uncanny.

      What a shame about your stiff neck. I end up with a callus on my index finger....

      Take care.

  5. Your garden looks lovely Vronni. So many pretty things.
    I really like that jumpsuit you are wearing there. I keep looking for one but haven't found anything I like in my price range.
    What a wonderful coincidence about your OH and your sister in law. A small world indeed.

    1. Thank you,

      I don't really like the jumpsuit on me, JayCee. I have no discernible waist and neither does the jumpsuit! I'll give it one more go and then decide.

      Take care,

  6. What a beautiful garden. So many interesting, colourful plants to look at. My garden faces the street and the worst I've had is people using my planters as ashtrays.

    You have the best collection of kimonos. They're all so wonderful, it would be impossible to pick a favourite.

    I've not been walking much (at all, really) and know when the lockdown is over I will have a very long struggle back to normal activity. I'm glad to hear you've been able to get in walks.

    Have a good couple of weeks.

    1. People do the same to my 'front' garden! Beer cans, left over take away, fag packets, empty bottles of spirits...what can you do except clear it up and curse them!

      I do hope you can get to normal re your exercise once this is all over, Goody. Baby steps...

  7. woww, so many plants and such a cute garden!, love particularly the left hand side, love those green layers of different heights. It looks like you'll have some serious lush greenery soon!. Here we have only patios or small balconies (except wealthy houses), so it's something amazing to look at your english gardens!
    Sorry that you can't have plant pots on your frontal wall, it has happened exactly the same to a friend of mine, she can't have anything beautiful outside (even if it's screwed to the floor!).

    I'm totally in love with your kimonos fabulousness, and how brilliantly you styled them!. Love them with leggings and tunics, and love every mixed pattern you created. You rock them in red, in blue, in yellow or in monochrome, all of them are fab color combos!. And love your Day#6 jacket and skirt, the colors and textures are so fab!, and cute necklace too!
    It's totally amazing that you've crossed paths with OH in the past, Serendipity!.

  8. You've discovered your inner Rachel de Thame, Vronni! What an array of fine plants. Fatsia Japonica can quickly become a monster!
    My hubs said a few weeks ago that there's a danger we'll come out of this as gardeners as, like you, were out there most days.
    Wishing you a fabulous fortnight, we'll get through this together, x.

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  10. I love what you have done with your garden, i never listen to people who say there are certain plants you can't grow in pots, if nothing else when you rent you have to keep your garden mobile! I wish i could get in more walking I do envy you your daily beautiful walks.

    1. Yes, I'm with you on the pots, Gisela!

      As for daily working - you are still working and I'm retired. I bet you'll walk a lot more when you retire...

      Take care

  11. Lovely to get a good nose round your garden! The wall planter is like an old fashioned auricula theatre, I've always wanted one but I've heard that auriculas are a bit fussy so not sure I have the patience. I have a "TBR" folder on my Kindle and I've been busily going through all my books and moving ones that I want to read again (or that I never actually read) to this folder. It's keeping me busy! Good to read about your walks too. Stay safe xx

  12. I've never heard of an auricula theatre so I shall look that up, Gail.

    I always have a TBR pile of books on the table next to the sofa. With Kindle it's a case of 'what do I fancy'?

    Take care and thank you for stopping by,

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