Monday 25 May 2020

Covid Chronicles - Weeks 8 & 9

Jacket/Kimono Challenge - Day 13

Can you spot the difference?

I had a wardrobe dilemma on Wednesday. I started out with this Masai dress; bought in the Day Care Hospice shop in Castle road.  It was 8.00 but I've put it in the charity shop bag as I don't like it on me. It's too long but I do like the neck!

I could have worn a brooch on the jacket - damn!

I swapped it for this Warehouse tunic also charity shopped. Joe Brown leggings; retail, shoes retail and jacket by Fenn, Wright and Manson also charity shopped at the Red Cross. The jacket was part of a skirt suit; but the skirt was too long and difficult to hem because it had a fancy trim at hem length; plus the waist was a bit tight. The jacket is all that's left. I only ever wore the skirt suit once to OH's niece's christening.

I'm on my third bag of charity shop donations now and my wardrobe has slightly thinned out. At this rate I'll end up with a 'capsule' wardrobe by the time lockdown is over! 

OH was not been called into work despite the Prime Minister suggesting that by Wednesday all who could do so safely; could return to work. OH will find out in another two weeks what is happening with his company and he is planning to enjoy whatever furlough time he has left. The new catchphrase is 'stay alert'. I haven't got a clue what that's supposed to mean; but shall carry on doing what I've been doing since lockdown began.

I combined a trip to town with a 4 mile walk; walking along the Embankment and coming home the longest way round. Another chilly day with a sharp wind and not much sun but better weather was  soon to be on its way.

Jacket/Kimono Challenge - Day 14

Everything charity shopped. Jacket by M&S; Red Cross shop, jeans by M&S; and top charity shopped in Cancer Research shop. Shoes from Donegal charity shop.

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings bought in Donegal gift shop and made by an Irish jewellery maker. I'm fed up with corona hair. I tried using a mousse and scrunching it so it went curly (my hair has a natural wave/curl) but it's not long enough yet. Thank goodness I have my headscarves to fall back on!

Thursday was shopping day and the highlight of my week during this lockdown period. I managed to get almost everything in Lidl;  but also popped into Aldi for a few bits and round the corner to Sainsbury's Local for the last couple of bits. When the shopping was unpacked and put away; I put on my walking boots and socks and set out for a long walk. I combined two previous walks together and walked 9.5 miles. The wind had died down in the afternoon and the sun stayed out so it was really pleasant. I was a bit sore after 9.5 miles and slept like a baby on Thursday night but then I nearly always do. I tend to go to bed early and get up early. I'm most definitely a morning person. OH isn't but he's always very pleasant in the morning; not grumpy or moody at all. He doesn't go to bed until the wee small hours....

Friday was a leisurely day. I had a rest from walking; did some washing; caught up on blogs, continued with my Crime Fest reading; and bought bread and milk from Sainsbury's Local.  I dug out the linen for Friday's outfit:

I've had this M&S linen shirt forever. It was a charity shop buy but can't remember where. Paisley trousers and Clarks shoes also charity shopped.
I forgot my bangle and ring whilst taking the photos so added them for the final one. All jewellery and headscarf charity shopped.

I've not been having any luck with sending my crocheted blankets to Knit for Peace. I made arrangement with Hermes online and paid them. The parcel was meant to be collected by a courier on 8th May; it wasn't. I made a phone call  on Tuesday 12th which took more than 20 mins to get through; and was told it would be collected in the afternoon. It wasn't. Another phone call with another 20 minute wait assured me it would be collected on Friday. It wasn't. Yet another phone call on Saturday morning with a 35 minute wait (at 7p a minute, mind you) saw me telling them I wanted it collected that day or to refund me my money. They refunded my money. The moral of this story is don't use Hermes Courier Service; in my opinion it's crap!

More linen on Saturday; top by Monsoon charity shopped in Co. Longford charity shop. Trousers by Tu and Mary Janes by Clark's also charity shopped.

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped.

I went for a 5 mile walk on Saturday and uprooted a Euphorbia plant (about 4 foot high!) which was growing under and on the other side of a fence by the golf course. It's now planted in the garden next to the Buddleia tree and I have high hopes for it. We have now decided that we will level the garden  bit at the front of the house with a container of gravel that our next door neighbour recently donated. There are some broken paving slabs that need to be removed first; then we need to remove all the plant pots - one of which is a very large wooden one rescued from a skip. Then we can pour on the gravel; rake it level and replace the pots. We have hollyhocks that grow out of this piece of ground so I hope the gravel won't deter them from growing back...I've lived in this house for almost 29 years and they were here when we moved in. OH and I had an exciting trip to the Garden Centre on Saturday afternoon. Garden centres were allowed to re-open in England from Monday 11th May. It was quite busy but not enough to not practise social distancing; we may have bought a few plants while we there...

Sunday was a lovely day and we ate dinner in the garden. I went for a 5.5 mile which brought my total miles up 30 for this week!

Everything is charity shopped. Jeans by Next; tunic by Oasis; no label shirt/blouse and clogs by Seasalt bought on my last trip to Devon.

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped except earrings from Sainsbury's.

Monday was a very warm day and the beginning of week 9 of lockdown. I met up with my daughter for a walk and we managed 4 .5 miles but it was too hot to walk for much longer. I also did the housework; did a wash and hung it up. In the heat it was dry within an hour. We have a week ahead of hot weather; I am comfortable with about 23 degrees but any hotter and I start to wilt. If I want to walk I will have to go out early in the morning before it gets too hot or later when it cools down.

Jacket/Kimono Challenge - Day 15

I didn't wear the jacket in the end it was too hot!

Jeans by M&S; shirt no label; jacket by M&S bought in a Kettering charity shop. Shoes by Clarks all charity shopped.
 Jewellery and scarf charity shopped.

Tuesday was OH's birthday and the food bank. I spent the time at the food bank making up food parcels.

I've been wanting some wide legged, high waisted jeans for a while. I caved in and bought a pair from Evans in the Debenhams sale. Very comfortable.  Jacket from M&S and top by Next; both charity shopped. Shoes from a Donegal charity shop.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Corona hair. It's not too bad when it's just been washed but OMG I am missing the hairdresser!
Tuesday was also OH's birthday. I had planned for us to drive out somewhere, in the absence of places to go because of the lockdown, but OH had to wait to collect his car from being serviced first. Unfortunately, it was gone three when they called him so that meant we couldn't go that day.

Wednesday was the hottest day of the year so far - 26 degrees!

Everything charity shopped except the pumps from Sainsbury's. Excuse the wet patch on my t shirt; I'd just splashed something on me...

Skirt by Kaleidoscope; t shirt by M&S; both from my Barnardo's.

All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.

 We had to wait in for a new mattress to be delivered in the afternoon so would go on Thursday for a day out. We decided to get on with sorting out the front garden. We removed all the pots except the largest which is too heavy to move; weeded; removed old broken flagstones; bits of old wood and junk. We raked the existing gravel level and replaced it with the donated white gravel from our neighbour. Finally, we replaced the plants.

The lavender might do better in this spot at the front. This front bit's got a bit of a Mediterranean feel, I think. The weather was certainly Mediterranean! The orange and yellow flowers at the back are called Beedance  and designed to attract bees and butterflies. We bought it at the garden centre along with more hollyhocks; peppers, chillies, sweet corn and cucumber. There's Dianthus, Begonias, Cyclamen and Lampranthus. The front gets the sun from about 3 pm onwards and many years ago when I first lived here; I used to sunbathe at the front here - much to the embarrassment of my kids!


Monbretia and a Hebe which I gave a good prune; it's another supermarket plant that has grown into a bush, from QD, I think. There are also Geraniums, Hollyhocks and Stocks in pots behind this wall. The plant on the windowsill is a Verbena.

The plant above on the right on the window sill is a climbing Geranium; and there are Fuchsias (just about to flower) and Busy Lizzies along the front. Vix  HEREis right; gardening is the new charity shopping!

We have a tree growing at the front.  I checked it out using Plant Snap and it seems to be a walnut tree. It's probably got there by a squirrel burying some of its stash. I think it's taken about 10 years to get this tall and we prune it from time to time. Just under the trellis is the Pyracantha; with a bit of luck it will start to climb up the trellis soon and when it grows its bright yellow berries it will be a source of food for the birds. That's the street entrance to the alleyway below.

When we  did the work at the front almost all the plant pots were out on the pavement. A man asked us if we were giving them away. He had taken some of the books previously I'd put out for free. He seemed quite disappointed when I said no!

Along with the mattress delivery we also received delivery of our toilet paper  made from recycled paper order from 'Who Gives a Crap' HERE.  They also use some of their profit to build toilets in areas of the world where sanitation is an issue. I've heard a lot of good things about this so decided to give it a try.

When it had cooled down I went out for a 5 mile walk. I passed this majestic Cedar of Lebanon tree on my way.

Look at that cloudless blue sky.

Thursday was another gloriously hot and sunny day. After doing the weekly shop at Lidl and Aldi; OH and I set out for a change of scenery. I wore this. Everything charity shopped except the shoes; online retail.

Jacket/Kimono Challenge - Day 16

Trousers by Next; top by Debenhams and kimono by Primarni bought in a Devon charity shop.

All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.

As there are no places of interest open to the public during this lockdown period; it was a case of finding somewhere to go out in the open. My walking group had walked here earlier this year and as I didn't go on the walk - it was too far - I thought it might be a good place to visit. I was right. Where did we go? We went to a place called Lyveden New Bield which is an uncompleted Elizabethan summer/lodge house in the parish of Aldwincle in East Northamptonshire, England, owned by the National Trust. It is a Grade I listed building, classing it as a 'building of exceptional interest. SOURCE: Wikipedia. It dates from about 1604/1605 and was built for Sir Thomas Tresham. There is a moated  garden and an orchard. The gardens will be developed by the National Trust.

Sert in the beautiful Northamptonshire countryside it was like being in another world. No noise other than that of nature in all her glory. A river ran through the estate and there were shells along the footpath; discarded by birds such as heron, I wondered. They were broken shells but originally quite large and a rounded triangle in shape. I heard the first cuckoo of the year here (they're becoming rarer in the UK although I've heard them in Ireland) and saw my first swallows. They're very late this year and I've yet to hear a swift. Usually by this time of the year you can hear swifts screaming up high in the sky over my house.
We also visited the village of Aldwincle which was very pretty with two lovely churches and some lovely houses. We stopped at the village shop (note Covid -19 precautions!) where we bought a soft drink for OH; an ice cream for me and some delicious fresh apricots.

My crime reading fest continues. There was a shelf and a half;  now only one remains and it's not quite full. I have three more Scandi Noir to read after my current one; including one which was delivered on Friday. I'm also going to reread 'Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow'. I will then assess if I've had enough of violence and death (!) and move onto something more gentle. I am spoilt for choice with books having a huge collection at home and of course I have the Kindle, too.

I haven't done much in the way of crocheting; only added 2 pink Solid Willow squares to my project. The others were crocheted in Ireland in 2018.

We did the usual clap for carers on Thursday evening but I won't be doing it next week. I think we should be persuading the government to reward the carers instead. I also feel that other workers need appreciation too; the delivery drivers; refuse collectors, supermarket and other shop staff; the teachers who have been going to work through the lockdown and many more who go under the radar.

Friday brought cooler, breezier weather but it was still very pleasant. I had to venture into town for more bird food - peanuts and mealworms. I spend quite a lot of money feeding the birds but feel it's money well spent. I went to Wilco and the queue was humongous; half way down the Hugh Street. I persevered and after about ten minutes it was my turn. I believe from 1st June our non-essential shops will be able to open. I can only say I haven't really missed them; as I can buy what I need from what is currently open. I met up with my daughter in the afternoon and went for a 5 mile walk.

Everything charity shopped except green pumps as before.

Skirt by Phool; linen top by and denim jacket by Next.

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped.

 We actually had some rain showers on Saturday! It meant OH didn't need to water the garden but our plans for a BBQ were thwarted. Everything charity shopped. Skirt is actually a sleeveless, strapless dress with an elasticated bodice. It's by Clockhouse (C&A) and probably classed as vintage now! Can't remember where I picked it up from. Top is a 1.00 rail buy and is from Next; and the jacket by Precis was bought in the Animal Welfare charity shop in Donegal. The shoes are also from a Donegal charity shop.

Jacket/Kimono Challenge - Day 17

All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.

I'm still experimenting with getting the size of my photos right but I think these are a little too big!

Sunday was a quiet day and the only thing I did was go out for a 6 mile walk.

Monday, saw the start of week 10 of the lockdown, a bank holiday and a truly beautiful sunny day. In  normal times this bank holiday Monday is our seasonal family trip to the seaside. In recent years we've visited both Suffolk and Norfolk beaches as a family. Our nearest beach is Hunstanton ( about 80+ miles away) a lovely Victorian seaside place; Brancaster, a few miles up the road from Hunstanton; Walberswick and Southwold. In Norfolk we've visited Cromer, Wells-next-the Sea and Holkham. We were planning to go to Great Yarmouth en famille this year; but that will have to wait until lockdown is over. Meanwhile, I set out for a 7 mile walk from Milton Ernest and on return tackled the housework. The housework always needs doing as does the washing; cooking and shopping whatever crisis is unfolding!

Everything charity shopped. Trousers and top both from M&S bought in my Barnardo's. Shoes from Donegal charity shop.

All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.

I'm just about to start my 15th book since the start of May and may even hit 16 or 17 by the 31st. The PM has also just announced that outdoor markets and car show rooms can open from 1st June. From 15th June non essential retail shops can open if they can be Covid 19 ready. Does that mean Barnardo's will re open? Watch this space!


  1. love the linen shirt with wide patterned trousers looks!! and the dress to skirt skirt too. your outfit for the day trip ist fab and elegant!
    your hair looks good in this soft waves.......
    gorgeous english landscape - thanks for the photos. and the mild english weather made for a lovely display of plants in front of your house - most of them would die over our winters here - especially in pots (and the terracotta pots too!) how cool to have donated gravel to freshen up that little patch.
    here the shop are open since mid may - i was´t in a single one since.......
    stay save my dear! xxxx

    1. Thank you, Beate!

      How good you are not to have ventured to the shops yet. I've had to go today as we were running low on essential toiletries and I treated myself to a new lipstick!

      Take care

  2. There's a lot of blue in your outfits in this round-up and I'm loving all the different tones of it on you it works so well with your gorgeous hair, love how much it's grown.
    Your garden is lovely, all those pots bursting with life and my favourite, gravel! I bet that man thought it was his lucky day and he was going to score loads of pots for free.
    One of our friends works in furniture retail, his boss opened one of the branches yesterday - reasoning that if the government could bend the rules then so could he!
    Michael Gove said that shopping won't be like we're used to, no handling goods, trying clothes on or testing make-up which, of course, made sense, but I'm at a loss to see how that would work!
    I know what you mean about ScandiNoir, I have to alternate between genre or I'd go a bit crazy.
    Stay safe, I know you're already alert, we'd be in a coma if not! xxx

    1. Thank you, Vix. Yes, I have a lot of blue in my wardrobe and I don't know why; my favourite colour is green! When you shop 2nd hand though you don't always get to choose the colours you want...

      That's interesting about the furniture shop. I wonder if he'll be ok. As long as everyone is sensible I don't see why not. I've had to venture out to Savers as we're running out of essential toiletries; but I did pick up a new lipstick and am feeling very chuffed!

      Take care

  3. When I noticed the amount of blue you seemed to be wearing in this post, I initially thought it was a new challenge! Whatever the case, I think blue really suits you! My particular favourite it the third outfit, with those gorgeous printed trousers and multi-coloured necklace! You and Vix are both right in that gardening seems to be the new charity shopping! In my case, it's a matter of rediscovering an old love, and I'm so glad I did. Trips to the garden centre seem to be our only outings! Your garden is looking lovely, and I love that you rescued that Euphorbia. I've been known to do something similar. Our shops, including charity shops, have re-opened, but I haven't been yet, nor do I have any plans to do so. Rules are so strict that it takes the fun out of shopping anyway. I'm fed up with my hair too, it doesn't even behave when I've just washed it anymore. But help is at hand: our hairdressers were allowed to re-open and I've got an appointment for June 3! xxx

    1. Thank you, Ann.

      The Euphorbia has not taken kindly to being uprooted and I think is in decline...

      Very envious of your hairdressers appointment; I have to take my care to the garage that day so will think of you!

      Take care

  4. Lucky you, all that lovely hot weather! I wilt at about 24-25 as well. Too hot!

    My favourites here:
    - Both pairs of wide-legged palazzo pants (funny to see them SO on trend right now! I remember them from the mid-90s).
    - That beautiful white blazer - the angled front is great.
    - The wide and high-waisted jeans - fabulous on you, Vronni!
    - The Primarni kimono - LOVE IT. So awesome.
    - Your coral and lace outfit with the flounced maxi skirt. I LOVE big pictures! I am always in favour of BIG pictures. I like to see all the details without squinting, and I do not mind scrolling through them all. Yes to big pictures!

    Your hair is quite wild! I like it, but I get that it's getting annoying for you. My hair is so long - it's also frustrating me (the ends are very fried). I've got a cut booked in a few weeks.

    We have the almost all-clear for shops opening, but many of them are taking their time due to the very strict rules for customers, plus they've been warned about inspections to make sure they are adhering to the rules. I really want the thrifts to re-open, but I get that it's so much work for them all.

    Your walks sound lovely (I adore your pictures), and I love seeing all your plants - great work on your front former-sunning area (I laughed at your kids being embarrassed).

    I've been reading a lot more than usual, but nowhere near your volume! I'm always boggled by it! I've read "Smilla's Sense of Snow" ages ago when it came out. I just finished a Philip K. Dick novel.

    Good to see you, Vronni! Happy Birthday to OH (what does that stand for, anyway? Original Husband? Old Husband? ha ha!).

    1. Thank you, Sheila! I like the big pictures too, but they cover up a lot of the side bar. I see Blogger is introducing a changed format on 1st June; let's hope it doesn't cause too many problems.

      OH stands for Other Half - quite commonly used here in the UK.

      I'll be interested to know when your thrift shops reopen - no word about hours but non essential shops can open from 15th June.

      Take care

  5. More great outfits in this post Vronni. I love your colour combinations.
    I agree with you about the Clap for Carers. I think it may have run its course now and there are so many other workers that have also been out there all this time that deserve recognition too.
    Stay safe xx

    1. Thanks JayCee,

      Let's see what happens on Thursday evening. The woman who initiated it has said that it's run its course...

      Take care

  6. So many great outfits! My eye immediately went to that lovely Phool skirt. What a beautiful piece.
    Our front garden gets the afternoon sun as well, and it has taken a bit of trial and error figuring out what will grow there. I have sunflowers this year, which I'm hoping do well. I don't dare sunbathe but I have fallen asleep in a chair. Thank goodness the neighbourhood children didn't try to draw a mustache on me or some sort of prank.

    Our stores are starting to re-open but with strict limits on the number of people inside. I've only been to the grocery and pharmacy. As much as I'd love to have a quick look in a shop (I could use a couple of new lampshades) I just can't quite bring myself to go. Our cases are still rising which makes going back to normal seem rather too early.

    For what it is worth, I really like your hair right now! Of course ultimately, you need to like it, but from here, it does look great!

    1. Thank you, Goody.

      I think sleeping in the sun is one of the nicest things to do - ever!

      I'm sorry to hear your cases continue to rise and understand your concern and caution.

      I wish there was something that could make hair grow faster. I might be tempted to shave it all off soon....

      Take care

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  8. Wow, 15 books since the start of May! I guess I've been getting through a couple of books a week. On holiday I typically get through one in a day. Loved your pictures of Aldwincle. I see the RHS is reopening its gardens on June 4 so may go to Hyde Hall in Essex as an outing. Your containers looking good. I never have any luck with lavender which is a shame because it's my husband's favourite.

    My favourite outfit is the white trousers with floral kimono, and also the M&S linen shirt and paisley trousers. The necklace looks stunning with that outfit.

    Enjoy the warm weather and your walks xx

    1. Thank you, Gail.
      If I'm not reading I'm crocheting and the crocheting mojo is not working at the moment; I associate it more with wet, cold weather and our weather has been anything but that!

      I looked up RHS gardens close to us and was surprised at how may there are within a 25 mile radius. I feel a visit coming on...

      Take care

  9. Well I adore your coronavirus hair, with and without the headbands.
    Those linen outfits are the bees knees.
    The garden must be happy it's getting your charity shop time! Caution with euphorbia though, TPP cut some down on a bank holiday a few years ago, rubbed his eyes whilst cutting then we had to take him to A&E as the pain was excruciating and relentless. Apparently the sap can even cause blindness.
    The clapping stopped on Thursday; after the first week I extended my clapping to all essential workers as they've all done an excellent job keeping hospitals and the infrastructure going through this.
    And your wet patch made me kaugh, that happens to me so often; sometimes I'm aware of it and place my arms strategically for photos, sometimes I only spot it when posting. I'm messy in the kitchen!
    Hugs, Mary x.

    1. Thank you, Mary.

      Thanks for the info about Euphorbia; I didn't know. It's gone now anyway to that great plant garden in the sky...

      Take care

  10. Is it my imagination or are your head wraps larger than usual? Especially the lovely blue one in the first photo and the green one on your outing day have the look of turbans which I dearly love. I also love your hair a little longer. If you could stand it, you could grow it out and wear messy buns and low ponytails with your head wraps. It would look very funky, which would suit you very well. I love your eclectic wardrobe and the way you put things together. I particularly liked the pink flowered maxi skirt and the blue/green flowered kimono and top with the white pants and "turban" you wore on your day out with your "other half". We sometimes hear that here in Canada too. I always live vicariously with the stories of your weeks along with the OOTD. I find your lifestyle soothing to contemplate, even though you're very busy and it probably feels nothing like that to you.
    xo karen

    1. Karen, thank you!

      I don't think the head wraps are larger than usual it's just that I have more hair to tuck under/beneath them and more hair sticks out all around. I love turbans too! I have been thinking of growing my hair; but am not sure if I can take much more of Corona hair; its driving me mad - I can't do anything with it except wear headscarf over it!

      I find I am much less busy since our lockdown but that is slowly changing as the lockdown eases.

      Take care

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