Tuesday 21 July 2020

Last Post before Ireland!

The Montbretia has started to bloom at the front of the house. Monbretia grows wild in Ireland and it made me feel very homesick. I planned to book the ferry this week, so I will be able to get to Ireland quite soon.

 I went to the food bank on Tuesday and even though it was the 16th week since the UK official lockdown began back on 23rd March; we carried on in the same way as we did from the beginning of the lockdown. In the afternoon I went to town to run some errands including buying more bloody bird food. I haven't been able to buy big bags of mealworms anywhere in the last few weeks. Everywhere seems to be low or out of stock and it's so uneconomic to buy the small 90 gramme bags which run out in a couple of days. I spotted a sparrow and her baby today in my garden so I am happy to feed them if they are successfully rearing their young again on my patch. No further sightings of the Siskin, though. I have also spied young magpies and young jackdaws since writing this and it's no wonder the food is going so fast. I am wondering if due to the pandemic and subsequent changes in the environment; the birds have had extra broods?

 Town was looking decidedly different. Our high street has been reduced to one lane with the other lane demarcated with red and white striped bollards for pedestrians to social distance; and to form queues outside shops! The banks continue to have queues and sometimes the big supermarkets. There were a few cafes open; one had diversified since the beginning of lockdown and now sold house plants as well! I noticed the library was still closed and most of the charity shops. I picked up one of my new pairs of glasses. The other one won't be ready for another week.

Tuesday's outfit. Everything charity shopped. Skirt by Berketex (BHS own label). Top picked up in Daycare Hospice charity shop for 1.00; denim jacket by Next and shoes by Clarks.

All jewellery charity shopped.

It was quite chilly on Tuesday and it rained off and on. We dug out the second of the tiered plant stands we bought early last year; and OH assembled it  - with many curses and swear words! It helped to get some more of the plant pots off the ground; and I think it adds interests to the planting when it's on different levels. 

My mantel shelf arrived at the weekend and I was hoping it would have been put up on Tuesday; but I was still waiting at that point.  It had come packed in a nice long wooden crate which I thought we could use as another (low) planter. in the garden. The mantel was very heavy and needed two people to get it out of the crate. Then just as we were debating whether or not we should try together;  OH got a phone call from his job asking him to return to work - the next morning! I was so pleased for OH as I think he was worried he might not have a job to return to; but it would be back to cooking everyday for me which I hate...I think if I lived alone I would live on toasted sandwiches and cheese on toast! Anyway, back to the possible new planter. I had noticed a rather nice scaffolding plank outside a nearby house and wondered if it was being thrown away - it would sit nicely on top of the wooden crate and be a solid base for the containers to sit on. I must go and investigate further...updated to say I did and it was gone!
One of my new pairs of glasses. They have an animal print design. I think the other pair are also animal print but have slightly more winged frames; I'm not quite certain and will have to wait and see when I go to collect them! All jewellery charity shopped.

I took Grandson to school on Wednesday morning and collected him after. OH went to work and I had the house to myself for the first time in almost four months. I pottered about; deadheading and pruning in the garden; did some washing; tidied up, sorted out outfits for  rest of the week; I made pancakes for brunch as I only had a cup of tea at breakfast time. I needed to go to the post office so another trip into town. I noticed Oxfam was open and popped in for a look. The Marie Curie was lit up and people were busy doing stuff so that will probably open soon. I noticed one of the pubs in the High Street said it would open next week and being Wednesday the market was in full swing. On reflection I think about 50% of the usual shops have opened since lockdown easing. Most of the chazzas are still shut, no nail bars or beauticians are open, our independent bookshop isn't open either.  By the time I got back home it was almost time to pick up the grandson. The time simply flies...

In the evening my mantel shelf was finally put up:

I'm really pleased with it. I've added different things to it since this photo was taken but you get the idea. The bronze hare was a birthday present from  my son this year; and the Buddha head a present from my daughter many years ago. I picked up the metal Etruscan figure at a car boot sale.  The sunflowers were bought last week at Aldi; and the jug they're in is a Victorian relief work jug made in 1878. I picked it up for 1.50 in the Keech Hospice shop in Kempston. I think I might drape some fairy lights around the mantel - what do you think?

It rained a lot on Wednesday, but it wasn't cold. Thursday was the same. I did the weekly food shop; filled the car with petrol and I finally booked my ferry to Ireland. I leave on 28th July and will get back in September. As there is a 2 week self-isolation restriction in Ireland; it is unlikely I will have any company at the caravan this year; but at least once I've done the self-isolation bit I can get out and about to see my family and spend time with them. Only two weeks and a bit to go! Sad news from OH's place of work. They are having to make three employees redundant as there aren't enough sales to warrant the number of sales staff currently employed. We're going to see a lot of this as the months go by, I'm afraid. We've already had the announcements of job losses and redundancies from lots of big businesses here in the UK. Those poor people...

Only the top is charity shopped from the 50p rail at my Barnardo's pre-lockdown. The jacket was bought from a Beale's sale; the trousers were bought from a La Redoute sale and the shoes from a Sainsbury's sale. I don't like paying full price for anything if I can help it!

All jewellery charity shopped.

Grandson and I had a pleasant day on Friday. They break up for the summer holidays next Friday so next week will be the last of our Fridays together. We baked a cake together using a recipe posted by Mary of 'The Pouting Pensioner' HERE and we went to the local Nature Reserve and saw this:

A rather dead frog.
 Grandson was thrilled and made me take this photo so he could show his friends!  Aren't kids weird? We did see lots of large tadpoles (hopefully newts of the future) who were very much alive.

 I think the light upstairs where I take my outfit posts can be very strange. Compare the photos below with the final one taken downstairs...

All jewellery charity shopped.

All charity shopped; jeans by Next and top by Vero Moda 50p; my Barnardo's.

I will have to try taking them downstairs from now on. We had no rain on Friday which was rather nice. I walked to Aldi to get some skincare items to take to Ireland with me. I passed a Vicarage on the way there and there were items free to take away outside. I helped myself to a small camping table which will make a good potting table or spare garden table when we have ALL the family round; and it can go at the end of the dining table to extend it for Christmas dinner. It's always good to plan ahead...

Saturday's outfit.
I started off with blue harem pants but decided I didn't like them and put them in the charity shop bag. I did a bit of a  clothes sort out and filled a bag to take to the charity shop; and I now have a little more room in my chest of drawers.

Everything charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped.

It was a dry day on Saturday and I set out for a walk along the river to Cardington and back; 9 miles walked. I saw a hare sunbathing in a field. When I got back I went to see my friend Ann. It's so good to be able to see and visit friend's again. Not only did she make hundreds of scrubs for the NHS when the lockdown began; but she's now making masks using the national flags of a range of countries. I've put in an order for some to take to Ireland with me.

I also went for a walk  again on Sunday morning and walked almost 10 miles. It was a very warm sunny day and there were a lot of butterflies about. I managed to get this photo of a  Peacock butterfly and the one below is a Comma.

I passed a field with Alpacas (?) in it and when I stopped to take the photo they started to come over to me. They are such strange looking creatures; like sheep but with long legs and necks and they have the face of a camel...

They look as if they had been sheared. It was very warm on Sunday so just as well!

  Back to Barnardo's on Monday. The donations were non-stop. We're only taking them one day a week on Mondays now. Sandals bought in a sale in Donegal last year, trousers by Monson and top by MIss Look both from my Barnardo's.

All jewellery charity shopped. 

It was announced today that it will be compulsory to wear face masks in shops or public spaces where one can't keep socially distant from 24th July. We can face a fine of up to 100.00 if we don't comply. It's been compulsory on public transport for a few weeks now. I'm glad I'd asked Ann to make me some masks. And talking about public transport; at Emmaeus a few weeks back I picked up a fascinating book called 'Bus Pass Britain'. It has lots of fascinating bus journeys you can take using your free senior bus pass including information about places of interest to see and visit on the way. I fancy the Northampton to Leicester route but will have to wait until later in the year or even next year.

After the charity shop I went into to town to try and find some mealworms for the birds. I bought some at QD in the end; but had to buy 5 x 100 grammes packets as it was cheaper than buying one 500 gramme bag! Town seems much busier but I have really noticed the lack of traffic. I can normally tell the time;,without checking my clock, by the volume of road traffic outside. Not since the pandemic! Also driving anywhere now is a pleasure as there is so little traffic. I also haven't got used to the sight of buses with only one or two passengers on board.

White Top Challenge - Day 6

My new glasses arrived on Tuesday; just in time for me to wear them to the food bank. They have a purple animal print on them and the other pair are a brownish colour.

Everything charity shopped. This white ruffled top is by H&M; the trousers by Et Vous; the blazer/jacket by Warehouse and was one of the 50p bargains picked up at Barnardo's last week. Shoes by Clarks.
All jewellery charity shopped. I only have one more session at both the food bank and the charity shop and then I'm off to Ireland! In the afternoon I went to Rushden to see if the Sally Army charity shop was open. It was! I bought some books and a top from the 1.00 rail. They usually have lots of jewellery but had very little on display.

I finally finished 'Vanity Fair'. I enjoyed it so much even if it was 672 pages! It was amusing in places; very satirical and strangely modern for a novel that was published in 1877. I finished it on Wednesday afternoon when I had come back from my first group walk in over 3 months. There were 5 of us in total and we walked from the village of Eltisley (12 miles from Cambridge) to the village of Caxton; a lovely walk of 7 miles. We also passed another field full of Alpacas; but I didn't bother to take a photo.

This is Caxton church and the houses were bordering the village green in Eltisley.

I spotted these on the walk. Above; St. John's Wort; bottom left Wild Geranium; bottom right; Chicory. It was very good to see some of my walking friends again; I'm walking again on Thursday; and I am leading a walk next Wednesday.

On Thursday we walked around the village of Risley; it was a 5.5 mile walk and we stopped for a coffee at the Giddy Goat afterwards. I was good and didn't order cake. There's still a couple of slices left from the one I baked last Friday with the grandson; the birds will be having that because guess who is the only one who has eaten the cake so far? Yes, me. It was delicious cake as well...

I bought this jumpsuit during lockdown in the Asda sale; the material is more suited to winter wear ;but I wanted to try it out; I ended up removing the leather belt and just wearing the belt it came with. This was the outfit I wore to do the weekly food shopping after I came back from my group walk. The white top is a 1.00 rail bargain from M&S. Shoes online retail last summer. As it tends to be cooler in Ireland than here I shall be taking this with me as it's very easy and comfortable to wear.

All jewellery charity shopped.

The garden is continuing to do well. Friday's brilliant sunshine might have encouraged a few more blooms.

In the back garden the Coreopsis (left) we bought last year from an 'Open Garden' weekend visit to a house not far from us; and is doing really well. I have another in one of the buckets on the plant chair which looked as if it was dying. It's perked up now; but no signs of blooms yet. The rose is one of three rose bushes we have and the only yellow one. It has no scent but isn't it pretty? The other two roses are a light and a deep pink. The deep pink does have a scent I'm glad to say. The Salvia was bought from Sainsbury's on last week's food shop and is doing very well.
At the front everything is flourishing. The trailing geranium (top right) is trailing all over the place and the Veronica (bottom right) has shot up about four or five inches since we bought the three plants reduced to 50p each. Just waiting for some blooms now. It sits on the doorstep.
The front window boxes; left; Verbena, bottom right Bacopa; both 99p from B&M. The reluctant fuschia is reluctant no more!

Skirt by Next; top by Monsoon and sandals by Gap. All charity shopped. The skirt was bought in the Daycare Hospice shop on my first visit to a charity that wasn't Barnardo's since lock down began.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I walked into to town on Friday morning to run various errands and in the afternoon Grandson and I walked to the little Nature Reserve. He was horrified to see that the dead frog was now a skeleton with the tadpoles feeding hungrily on the last few bits of flesh! That's Nature red in tooth and claw...

In the evening we watched the last of the Huey Morgan's Latin America Adventure on BBC 4. I've also been enjoying the series of river walks on BBC 2; taking in the Dart, the Severn, the Nidd and the Lea which we walked a few years ago. The Lea actually starts in the Bedfordshire Chilterns; but the group walk started at Tottenham Hale and ended up in Limehouse Basin where it meets the river Thames. It was one of the best walks I've ever been on.

I recce'd my 8 mile walk on Saturday and saw a Common Blue butterfly and one with red stripes which on reflection may have been a moth; as well as lots of Comma butterflies. It wasn't as warm as Friday or as sunny but it was good walking weather. When I got back I changed into this outfit and OH and I went to B&M. Me to buy yet more bird food supplies and OH to buy some plants to replace the extremely leggy and gone over petunias in our pallet planter. He chose pansies.

Everything charity shopped. The top was a 1.00 rail bargain in the Rushden Sally Army; the trousers are by Jaeger and were bought in the Sue Ryder shop before lockdown; when they had reduced all the women's trousers to 2.00 each. Shoes from a Donegal charity shop and all jewellery charity shopped. I'm not wearing a bangle or a ring on my right hand as I normally do; and the reason is that when I get back from a walk my hands and fingers are usually a bit puffy. I call this having 'fat fingers' and it's hard to get a bangle on over the hand or a ring on one of my fingers. It comes from walking with hands down by your sides and goes back to normal after a couple of hours.

Sunday was the usual housework and cooking Sunday dinner. Both grandsons came for dinner. I also walked 5 miles along the river to Great Denham and Biddenham with my daughter. Another lovely day for walking. I also popped round to Ann's to pick up my masks. Here's me wearing one of them. She also made me filters for them. God bless her. OH has one with the Jamaican flag on it and the middle grandson and his mum have ones with the Trinidadian flag on them. We're all set for Friday when they become compulsory  to wear in shops.

Monday was my last day in Barnardo's until I return in September. Once again there were so many donations. Your heart shouldn't sink at the sight of people carrying boxes and black plastic bags in through door but mine did,; one after the other. after the other; ad nauseum. The manager is very good and gets them allocated in to the right places quickly;  but the processing bit will take weeks. We are sending a lot of the donated bags onto other Barnardo's stores as we don't have the room to store it all; and luckily as some shops still haven't opened the van is collecting on a daily basis.

This was my outfit on Monday - another warm sunny day. Everything is charity shopped. Skirt by Anokhi for East; Age Concern in Newmarket a few weeks back; jacket by M&S; Red Cross shop and the turquoise top also by M&S; one of the buy 3 and get the third item free from The Bedford Daycare Hospice shop. Shoes from an Ely charity shop - I think.

All jewellery charity shopped except the ring which was a present from my daughter when she went to South Africa to her Grandpa's funeral in 2003.

There were more bloomings on Monday; left more Canna Indica; bottom right not sure what this is called but it's the first bloom. OH likes these tropical looking plants particularly. Top left are some of the hydrangeas I cut and put into this silver plated container bought for 50p - I don't know what it is! I love how, as the hydrangeas fade, their colours change so subtly. One of these blooms started out as pink, faded to lavender and now has hints of orange of in it. I won't be here this summer to to cut and dry the hydrangeas as I did last year. I wonder if I can trust OH to do it?

Last day at the food bank on Tuesday. I made up 30 hygiene packs and put all the toiletries away. Everything I'm wearing is charity shopped except the shoes which were bought in Sainsbury's last year. The skirt is by Alex and from a Donegal charity shop; top by Papaya from 1.00 rail somewhere.

All jewellery charity shopped.
There was an announcement on Monday that a vaccine which was being trialled by Oxford University was looking very promising. Wouldn't it be wonderful if it worked?

The middle grandson had been staying with us for a couple of days. I took him home when I got back from the foodbank and then got on with my packing for Ireland. I'll be travelling to Wales on Monday and away for 6 weeks in total. I don't have access to a very good internet connection in Ireland so I won't be blogging but taking a break. I will try and keep up with you all; but probably won't comment as it's difficult on a phone screen!

I hope you all keep well, stay safe and fabulous and I'll see you again in September!


  1. I'm so excited that you're off to Ireland even though I'll miss your posts and comments. How lucky that you've ordered lots of masks from Mary, I bet they were first in your case.
    The new glasses are great and really suit you. I'm loving the Anokhi for East skirt (you knew I'd say that) and the red polka dot with denim jacket and the George jumpsuit looks great, the length is perfect.
    I love your new mantle, I spotted that Etruscan figure a mile off. Loving the artwork above and that wonderful hare - what a fab present.
    Your plants are looking beautiful, I bet you'll be a bit sad to leave them behind!
    Stay safe and have a fabulous break! xxx

    1. I knew you'd like the Etruscan figure!

      Thank you for your lovely comments, Vix and I hope you have a fabulous summer, too.

  2. Have fun on your trip to Ireland, Vronni! I'm glad to hear you have to do the 2 weeks' quarantine - it'll go fast, hopefully. I love both your new pairs of glasses, especially the purple ones.

    Lovely outfits, and in particular the long patterned skirts catch my eye (Anohki!). So swooshy!

    For your puffy hand/arm, bend your elbows when you walk, and gently cup your fingers into a shape as if you were holding an ice cream cone. It takes a bit of getting used to, but will help. I race-walked for years (that funny hip-wiggling sport) and that's the standard arm position.

    I love seeing all your flowers! So gorgeous! I also really like your new mantel! What an amazing piece! The hare and the Buddha head are awesome, but I really love the prints you have hanging above it.

    Enjoy your trip to Ireland! I hope you have awesome weather!

    1. Thank you Sheila!

      Sometimes I carry a water bottle - just to stop the fat fingers thing but I'll give your tip a go.

      Have a fab summer!

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  4. Enjoy your visit to Ireland, we are trying to book a staycation in japan as the government has offered generous discounts, but every place we have tried to book is full!! so Paul is having a word with his friend who is a travel agent to see if he can find anything for us.
    Looking fabulous as always, love the glasses, I want a second pair, but I cannot seem to find a pair I like.
    I am off work at the moment and housebound so I am enjoying going though my wardrobe, I am not one for staying in pjs all day! What is it with kids and dead stuff? My second youngest is in the middle of battling with real live stag Bettles yup it’s a thing in japan and he loves telling me the injuries his little warrior as he calls it does to the local kids. I just don’t get it ? it sits in his room in its cage thing just doing nothing, it’s creepy.
    Keep safe and enjoy your trip

    1. Thank you,

      Good luck with your staycation, Allie Jane; fingers crossed your travel agent friend finds something for you!

      Have a fab summer all the same,

  5. i will miss you!
    your new shelf turned out gorgeous - love its chunky-ness. but don´t ask me about fairy lights - can stand them only for party illumination :-)
    its hard to choose one outfit - they are all fab! but the navy(? or black?)/white one is a fav because of the jacket with the abstract flower print, white piping and cool cut... and i have necklace envy - the amber like and the turquoise aztec style are right up my alley.
    wish you a good and safe time in ireland and lots of fun with your family there! xxxx

    1. Thank you, Beate. I'll miss you too but I will be reading blogs just not able to comment.

      Hope you have a fab summer and good luck for driving test!

  6. New glasses and masks! You will be well kitted out for your holiday in Ireland. I'm sure those two weeks of self-isolation will whizz by, and you can get to visit your family afterwards! The new mantle is fabulous and so is that bronze hare! My favourite outfit is the first one. I actually thought it was a dress, as the top's bow matches your skirt perfectly! Sad news about your OH's place of work indeed, I do hope he's not one of the three redundancies! Have a fabulous time in Ireland, I will miss you and think of you. Stay safe! xxx

    1. Yes I am well kitted out and Ann came round today with two more masks made of the 'Tricolour' the Irish flag!

      OH has not been made redundant; thank goodness.

      I shall miss you too but will be following your blog posts just not able to comment...

      Take care

  7. Your garden plants are thriving and very colourful. This is the best time of year for colour isn't it?
    I love both sets of new glasses. They really suit you.
    Have a safe trip to Ireland and have a wonderful time. If the weather there is the same as here, don't forget your wellies!

    1. Thank you, JayCee!

      Yes, the cousins have warned me..


  8. Oh, hooray that you're getting to go to Ireland! That'll be lovely for you. And it's good news that OH has gone back to work; I hope his position is secure. My firm's making redundancies, tho it'll be a few week before I know if I'm affected. These are hard times; the work you do in the food bank is so valuable.

    On a happier note, your new glasses look fab! And thank you for not putting up a 'later' photo of the frog...

    1. Thank you, Mim.

      Fingers crossed for your job.

      I so nearly put up the horror photo; I'm glad I didn't now!


  9. Good to know charity shops are taking donations again, the ones round here don't seem to be and I have a huge bag! Your mantelpiece looks lovely, I was admiring the bronze hare. How amazing to see a hare in the wild sunbathing. I sometimes see a few rabbits in the forst (and last week some of the "small cattle" who return every summer). Love the jaunty red and white spots with the denim jacket, and the orangey trousers and beads with white jacket. xx

    1. I will see lots of hares in Ireland, Gail. The place where I stay is surrounded by them and they come out to play at night....

      Thank you for your comments and have a fab summer!

  10. I love your new glasses, you can't go wrong with a bit of leopard print! Have a wonderful time in Ireland I look forward to hearing all about it when you return.

  11. I'm probably late, but still wishing you a nice holiday!.
    Lovely new glasses and lovely outfits too. I'm loving particularly your red jewellery and the turquoise matchy pieces. You're so brilliant picking these pieces and making them work together!
    And you rock your maxi skirts!
    Looking forward to read you back in september!

  12. Yes, our birds are ravenous too, especially the sea gulls. We think the latter may be due to the change to recycling food waste as they used to have fast food aplenty in the open coastal tip pre recycling.
    I absolutely love your new mantle. Maybe you could do a pre-stove shot next to this pic to show what a result your hard labours have made?
    Sad news about the lay offs at OH's work, and other places too.
    So thrilling that you baked my almond cake, it was yummy eh!
    Lovely flowers, lovely outfits, lovely new glasses, lovely YOU!!
    Have a great relax and catch up with family in Ireland, hugs x.

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  14. Utidispros_nu Michele Burks link


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