Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Lockdown Blues

It's February - nearly Spring!

All jewellery charity shopped except the lapis lazuli ring bought retail many, many years ago.

Tuesday's outfit worn to the food bank.
We're finally managing to make some space in the food bank; I think a lot of stuff was taken to our other temporary warehouse about 5 miles away so we had space in places I haven't seen free for several months. I packed away all the toiletries and then I put away cereals. I do like organising things and making them look tidy!

Plaid trousers by Red Herring; jumper by Principles and boots by Vanilla Moon. I meant to change into my red boots when I got back from the food bank but forgot. Everything was charity shopped. 

It was a much warmer day on Tuesday 11 degrees. It's been a while since we've such temperatures but we were awaiting the arrival of Storm Cristophe bringing more flooding across the country.

These sleeves were most impractical for cooking.  When I got back from the foodbank I fancied cooking some Dhal (curried lentils) for dinner with chicken for OH; and I had some pudding rice to use up so I made a rice pudding. I dipped my sleeves in both more than once! I do love milky puddings which is very old fashioned of me, I know. I was the only child in my class who would go up for seconds of semolina! I  must get it from my father. His name was Anthony; but his family nickname was 'Ago' (rhymes with sago) as he was such a lover of milky puddings like tapioca, semolina, rice and sago pudding...I wonder if you can still buy tapioca and sago at the supermarkets? It's usually quite a search to find rice pudding rice so I'm not holding my breath...

Dhal in my Dutch Pot donated by OH's sister-in-law.

Rice pudding; no it's not burnt! I just like the top caramelised and I stir the skin that forms on the top ot the rice pudding into it several times whilst it's cooking. I also put a lot of nutmeg on it. I like my rice pudding solid rather than runny, too - and I like to eat it cold...

As you know, we are still in Lockdown No.3 here in the UK; and certainly the rhythm of my week has changed since it began. If I am not at home which is most of the time; I'm only out for a walk, to do essential food and household shopping, or to go to the foodbank on a Tuesday morning. I thought while I have the time I would do something different so I've started to explore classical music. I know nothing about classical music; but luckily before this third lockdown I picked up two 10 CD packs of classical music composers for 1.00 each at the Cat's Protection League. I'm working my way through them and can now put some names and composers to pieces of classical music I've heard on TV or at the cinema. For example the theme tune to the 'Old Spice' advert in the 1970s (remember that?) is Carmina Burano by Carl Orff. Now, I'd never heard of Carl Orff; but I did enjoy Carmina Burano - the whole CD! I did know 'The Hallelujah Chorus' from Handel's 'The Messiah' (from school) and I have also really enjoyed the Handel CD. At this rate I might have to start listening to 'Classic FM' as well BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 6!

There has also been quite a lot of good TV viewing. 'The Great Pottery Throwdown' is back which I love. I'd really like to try my hand at pottery; and when things are back to normal might look for pottery classes to join. There are at least half a dozen 'Walter Presents' series we haven't watched yet; and 'Spiral' a French crime series continues to make compulsory Saturday night viewing. We also watched a new drama series on ITV called 'Finding Alice' which was blackly comic.

I haven't worn this jacket by Jaeger for quite a while; and as it wasn't too cold on Wednesday I wore it to walk into town for a few errands. I bought it in 2015 from the British Red Cross shop where everything was 1.99. It has  silver and gold thread running through it as you can see in the photo below. When I was in Iceland (the shop not the country for non UK readers); a woman said how much she liked my outfit and that I had cheered her up in my bright yellow trousers!

All jewellery charity shopped.

Indoors I wore this black and white Next cardigan; with the M&S trousers and the yellow patterned top; all charity shopped from my Barnardo's.

As well as running errands in town I renewed my resident parking permit online; made a butternut squash, sweet potato and kale soup and did a towels wash. Middle grandson had a phone interview for 6th Form College and it seems he has a place for September; as long as he gets his predicted grades. He will be studying Politics, History, Sociology and Computer Science for his 'A' Levels. I also picked up a cross-body bag bought from our local buy and sell facebook group for 2.00. Good for trips out and when I'm doing urban walks. I bought what I thought was a cross body bag from my Barnardo's before the lockdown; but it wasn't long enough. It was a Liz Claiborne shoulder bag and I shall redonate it when the charity shops open again.

I felt like wearing animal print on Thursday. I wore an animal print top, an animal print cardigan; animal print boots and animal print earrings. Everything charity shopped except the boots bought in a Primarni sale about three years ago. Navy skirt by Femme; blue and navy animal print cardi by Dash and top by Tu.

All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings bought in a Debenhams sale.
I have lots of cardigans and need to wear them more; lightbulb moment - I could button them up and wear them as jumpers!

I think I have a very good skincare routine and have always taken care of my skin since I was 14 years old; but I have noticed so many new wrinkles in the last few months. It's to be expected of course, I'm nearly 67; but I'm sure the lockdowns have something to do with it! Anyway I took myself and my wrinkles to do the weekly shopping. I drove to Sharnbrook for logs and kindling; and saw many still flooded fields. I am going to brave a field walk at the weekend and hope my usual ones aren't flooded. I then went to Sainsburys, Aldi and Lidl for the groceries. Having packed it all away I set off to Home Bargains to buy more bird food. I saw quite a lot of roses and bulbs while I was there and think I shall get OH to come with me at the weekend and we can choose some Spring planting. Updated to say we decided to wait as snow was forecast - yet again - for the weekend. Neither of us fancied planting in the snow...

One of our cyclamens has burst into bloom!

On the way back my daughter called with the results of their Covid tests. Her partner's daughter had tested positive for Covid at the weekend; and although she doesn't live with them they had had contact; and thought they should have a test as her partner was feeling unwell... Her partner tested positive and was going to self isolate at their house. My daughter gets tested every time she goes to school; but she also had had another test with her partner; and hers, luckily, was negative.

I finally went out for a walk on Friday  afternoon; having home schooled grandson in the morning, as his Dad had to go to work. I did an urban walk of 5 miles but  am so bored with walking in and around town now.

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings bought from Sainsburys some time in the distant past. They were longer but I customised them as I do with lots of my earrings.

On Saturday I went for 10 mile walk in the afternoon across muddy fields, footpaths and bridleways. I planned the walk carefully so it included some farm track and single track roads and ended up with a 50:50 split. It was such hard work walking in mud. I wore this outfit but added walking boots and socks. I had to change out of my leggings when I got home as they were splattered in mud. I should have thought to put my gaiters on which protect the lower part of my legs from mud splashes.

It was a cold day; 3 degrees at the warmest and my face was frozen. There were bursts of sunshine which helped thaw my cheeks out. I was so happy to be having a 'proper' walk even though I was pretty exhausted when I'd finished; and the temperature had dropped to 1.5 degrees.

Everything charity shopped. Top by Oasis; dress by TU; boots by Vanilla Moon. Leggings by Matalan are about nine years old and were bought in the January sales.

Although this is not pretty or picturesque I passed this huge solar farm on my walk. On the left is the entrance; the right photo was taken from the path that runs behind it. It is a truly enormous solar farm; and what is interesting is that sheep were also grazing under the panels.  Creating renewable energy and providing grazing for animals seems like a win win situation to me; ugly as the farm maybe. I believe the solar farm was once the site of a WW2 RAF camp; below the solar farm are several camp sites complete with Nissan huts. One has been partially redeveloped turning the old Nissan huts into stables for a riding school.

The view from the dining room.

On Sunday, the promised snow finally arrived. On the left was the snow when it started at around 11am and on the right is the snow an hour later. Heavy snow had been predicted and it was right! No Sunday walk for me...in fact it snowed all day and by Monday it was frozen. I spent Monday homeschooling youngest grandson; Poetry and poetry tools for English; Angles for Maths; Spellings; ie and ei spellings; and PSHE was alcohol, tobacco and drug use! Grandson had to design an information leaflet on alcohol, so he chose to aim his leaflet at his 16 year old cousin; pointing out he could drink wine, beer or cider with a meal in a restaurant or pub when accompanied by an adult; BUT NOT without one!

The view from my bedroom window.

I didn't want to go out on Monday but I had to buy bread and pick up some parcels in town. I hate walking in the frozen snow and ice as I'm scared of falling and breaking bones. It's not just an age thing, either. When I lived in Nottingham in the 1970s; I lived at the bottom of 2 hills; (the point of the angle if you want to be precise!) and coming back from or going on night duty when it had snowed and frozen over; was a nightmare. I used to whimper with fear at the thought of walking down or up the slippery hill...

The reason I was picking up parcels was I'd missed the charity shops and having a rummage so much this lockdown;  I checked out some second hand clothing sites; namely 'Re-Fashion' and 'Vinted'. I bought a matching skirt and top animal print outfit from Re-fashion; and four dresses (for £21.00 including pp) from Vinted. I've received 2 out of the 5 items so far and am pleased with them. There is no bidding on these two sites, which I like. As I typed this an advert came up on the TV for Vinted! I made a sausage casserole for dinner and after Saturday night's thrilling episodes of 'Spiral' decided we couldn't wait a week for the finale and watched it. It felt like saying goodbye to old friends. 

Tuesdays outfit. Boots by M&S; local buy and sell group. Black Marilyn jeans by M&S; striped polo neck by John Lewis; and jacket by  all charity shopped.

The snow was still here on Tuesday when I went to the food bank; but it did rain during the day and washed some of the frozen snow away. Tuesday was actually a busy day for me. At the foodbank I made up 48 toiletry packs. It was extremely cold and my feet didn't thaw out until I got home. The industrial estate where the food bank is situated was like a skating rink; not one business or organisation had even attempted to clear the snow around their premises and so it had frozen solid.

All jewellery charity shopped.

In the afternoon I cleared out the alley of broken lamps and other broken household items; bricks and broken paving slabs; and loaded my car up with the unwanted stuff ready for a trip to the 'Household Waste Recycling Centre', or 'Tidy Tip', on Wednesday morning. I'd booked a slot a few days ago. I was quite excited by the thought of a trip to somewhere different. You can see what this lockdown has done to me! I normally avoid the tip as I have tendency to 'rescue' things and have often come home with more than I've got rid of. After that  physical  workout I cleaned out the fire and did a towels wash then caught up with blogland. We had a takeaway curry in the evening which meant a break from cooking.

I woke up on Wednesday to see the snow had completely gone. Hurray! The trip to the tip was very quick and well organised. I still have two boxes of old paints to be sorted and taken to the tip; but there wasn't even room to turn around in the alley before the trip on Wednesday, so that will be a job for the weekend and I'll have to make another appointment. As the tip was near the Marina I decided to go for a walk along the river there and walked 5 miles. On the way I met 4 of my walking group friends; they were walking in 2 pairs; we laughed about meeting up as we haven't seen each other since before Christmas; and here we were just like buses one after the other. We had a socially distanced chat and moved on. What a nice coincidence that was! In the evening OH and I continued watching 'All The Sins' a new 'Walter Presents' crime series set in Finland.

I could do with some sort of vertical dividers in this cupboard...

Gail of  'Is This Mutton' HERE expressed interest in clothes storage and especially when there's a lot of clothes and not a lot of storage space...(me). I thought I'd show you some of my storage solutions to this problem. I realised some years ago that hanging everything in the wardrobes took up too much space, so I reclaimed this cupboard from OH which I bought many years ago in the British Heart Foundation charity shop; and made it my own. I hang all my vests/camisoles from hooks on the inside of the doors; neutrals to the right and colours to the left.  I got this idea from Pinterest.

In case you're wondering the baskets are full of my bangle collection! Behind them are hat boxes full of hats and neck scarves.
On the top shelf are some (but by no means all) of my trousers; the really lightweight summer ones are packed  away in the loft. There are also, on the left, all of my linen tops. Below that are 2 metal hanging shelves bought from Lidl many years ago. In one of these I store my bras; and in the other my swimming costumes and cover ups. On the bottom shelf I fold my cardigans and store them on the left and on the right are my folded jumpers. In the big drawers below I store PJs and leggings in the top drawer; long sleeved tops in the middle and short sleeved or sleeveless tops in the bottom drawer. I use drawer dividers in all 3 drawers to try and keep some order. In the wardrobe spaces I have I hang blouses/shirts; some longer length cardigans and some lightweight jackets in one; in another I hang all my skirts (the summer ones are in the loft) and tunic tops. On my third hanging rail I hang dresses; jackets and a couple of dressy outfits. Finally, I share a hanging space with OH in the cupboard next to our bathroom. I hang my maxi dresses and some lightweight coats in this one. Coats and heavier winter jackets are on the coat rails up and downstairs.

Although it was a lovely mild day on Thursday it was a bit grey so the light for photos was poor. Everything charity shopped except the red boots as before. Black maxi dress by Items; and jacket by Indigo Moon; both charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped.

After a breakfast of porridge and fruit I did the usual grocery shopping and also went to Sharnbrook for more coal and kindling. In the afternoon I made a beef with soy and ginger dish for dinner. We watched the rest of 'All the Sins' and I started a new book; one of my Persephone collection. It's taken me almost 2 weeks to finish a biography of Gertrude Jekyll. It was a proof copy and full of typing and spelling mistakes which annoyed me intensely. As it was a proof copy there were no photographs and I missed them; as I always enjoy the photographs in biographies.

On Friday, I went for a walk of 5 miles sticking to paths and avoiding fields. In the morning I went into town to pick up some cleaning and toiletry supplies. I also needed a birthday card for my son. He, too, has Covid and apart from loss of taste and smell, was recovering after a few days with a sore throat and feeling generally tired. I haven't seen him since September - he lives a 2 hour drive away - but I was very worried when he rang me and told me he thought he had the virus. He got a positive test result on Wednesday and will be out of self isolation this Tuesday. I cannot wait for this damn lockdown to end. I'm used to meeting up with my brothers, my son and my cousin and friends and I'm missing them all so much.

Saturday was wet and sleety all day. Luckily none of the snow was able to settle as the ground was wet...phew!

My daughter and I met up on Sunday and went for a 7 mile walk.
I wore this plus my walking boots. There were snowdrops! It was wonderful to see more signs of Spring; lots of the trees and bushes had green buds. When I got home I did the usual Sunday housework then spent an hour sitting in the dining room counting the birds in my garden for the RSPB Big Garden Watch. There wasn't a single bird for the first ten minutes and I was getting a bit worried but then they arrived. I do this count almost every year and have only forgotten to do it once.

Everything charity shopped. Boots from my Barnardos as were the Next jeans ; the F&F checked top; and the John Rocha blazer.

All jewellery charity shopped.

On Sunday evening as well as watching and enjoying 'The Great Pottery Throwdown' we started watching the second series of 'All the Sins'. I also looked online to see if there were any pottery classes near me as I fancy doing something creative when this bloody lockdown ends. Unfortunately all the pottery classes were booked up and all the jewellery classes; I shall hopefully sign up for one of the next courses which will run after Easter, I presume. They seem to be about 6 weeks in duration and ranged in price from 115 - 170.00 plus materials. As I've saved money by not charity shop rummaging I'll be able to afford it.

This is one of the four dresses I bought from Vinted. Including postage costs it was less than 5.00 so comparable to charity shops prices. It's purple although you can't see it in the photo and I wore matching purple tight. The boots were charity shopped from my Barnardos.

All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings from Sainsburys.

I opted to wear this jacket by BM over the dress for extra warmth;  having ruled out the 2 below: all jackets charity shopped.

Monday was home-schooling. Figurative Writing for English; the start of algebra - linear sequencing in Maths; spellings (words with mit) and positive body image and self esteem in PSHE. I'm pretty shattered by the end of Monday; but I did manage to do two white washes and hang them up, as well as making breakfast and lunch for youngest grandson. I dropped him home about 4pm. I'm ashamed to say I spend most Mondays now in my PJs and only get changed to take grandson home...

On my way to the foodbank I noticed the gym car park had now been converted into a Covid 19 vaccination station. There is also one at our Gurdwara. My cousin, Marian, has had her vaccination even though she's not 70 yet; her GP Practice told her they were ahead of themselves with their vaccination programme.

Tuesday foodbank outfit - warm and practical. Boots from my Barnardos.

Top bought from Vinted (too short for a dress but it makes a cool tunic); cardigan by Next and jeans; both charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped.

By the time I next post we should know a little more about whether some of the Covid restrictions are being lifted or if they will continue. Let's pray the restrictions will be lifted!


  1. Lots of lovely outfits and how nice you cheered someone with your yellow trousers! Something positive in what has been a long grey month. Your dhal looks really tasty and like the dutch pan as well. I have a dahl recipe for the slow cooker which i think, off the top of my head, I got from Vix's blog so I think I might make that Saturday. Hubby and I always have curry on a Saturday night and its the one night we eat just the two of us without the children. I'm afraid , however, milk puddings are a big no no. As a child I remember my Mum and Gran making them and there was always skin! yuk x

    1. Hello and thank you for commenting!

      I actually love the skin on rice puddings...

      Curry on a Saturday sounds ideal to me!

      Take care

  2. I'm cheered that your vaccination schedules are ahead - hopefully you'll be able to get yours soon, Vronni! However, how terrifying that your grandson and daughter's partner have tested positive! I don't know anyone (or anyone who knows anyone) who's gotten it yet - we have only 145 active cases on the Island. We live with a constant sense of dread...waiting for it to strike.

    LOVE all these awesome outfits! I am impressed that you did a 10 mile walk in your dress and leggings - you go, girlfriend! Also, WHAT, you are NOT almost 67! Your skin is incredible! I have been wearing SPF 15 in my daily face cream (Oil of Olay) since I was 17 and stay out of the sun, but I'm starting to see the crepiness of menopause appear.

    Back to outfits! Standouts for me:
    - the sleeves on that red jumper (I know, the food-dipping thing - the things we suffer for fashion, ha ha!)
    - that great yellow/black/white outfit, including the amazing jacket. I'm not surprised you made someone feel happy in that - you are walking sunshine!
    - that fantastic Next cardigan. What a great piece.
    - the Indigo Moon jacket - such great detail, thanks for the close-up
    - I like seeing your cupboard organization. Book-ends (you know, those metal kind?) work great for separating piles. I bet you could pick them up cheap second-hand.
    - the mix of blues in the second-to-last outfit is awesome. You picked the right jacket!
    - I hate when colours don't photograph right. My purples don't quite work either.

    1. Sheila, thank you!

      The tip about the bookends will be explored at once; I have lots of spare bookends salvaged from the library at the university where I used to work. I rescued them from the bin as they were going to chuck them away. I think they'll work just fine so once again thank you!

      Take care

  3. I hope your son and your daughter's partner feeling better soon. What an awful thing this virus is. We have the UK variant now, and the South African one as well. It makes me wonder how many other variants there are that aren't being researched yet? I do hope you can get your vaccine soon.
    I used to make rice pudding in the slow cooker-you've made me think it might be worth getting back in the habit of making it even if I'm the only one that will eat it.
    Beautiful outfits, and those yellow trousers are indeed cheerful.
    I hope your lockdown gets lifted soon.

    1. Thank you, Goody!

      I must explore cooking the rice pudding in the slow cooker.Last year I bought myself (in Lidl) a gadget that's a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker and steamer all in one. I've only used the rice cooker function so far and need to use the others pronto!

      Take care - both daughter's partner and son are feeling back to their normal selves.

  4. I hope everyone's getting over Covid now. Great news that Marian's had her vaccine, the NHS are doing an amazing job. I hope it won't be too long before we get ours.
    I haven't had rice pudding since I lived at home, we always used to fight over the skin! back in my catering days we'd offer either rice, tapioca, sago or semolina as an alternative pudding every day. Semolina was my favourite, sago & tapioca taste okay but look a bit like frogspawn.
    So many outfits to admire! Your new tunic looks wonderful under that Next cardi, the lapis Lazuli jewellery is fabulous and the Jaeger jacket just shouts quality.
    Very impressed with your cupboard organisation. You've got more clothes than I have in my stockroom!
    I was relived we didn't get the forecast snow yesterday. I live in fear of falling over and breaking my other hip!
    Stay safe! xxx

    1. Thanks, Vix. Both son and daughter's partner are back to their normal selves now, thank goodness.

      I know I have far too many clothes but I keep what I like and I like a lot!

      I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only rice pudding skin lover around....

      Take care

  5. good news that the vaccine business went ahead - here its going very slow and far behind.....
    your dhal looks extremely yummy - but i feel sorry for your red top that looked so gorgeous with the bright blue jewels. and you have some cool jackets - esp. the jaeger & indigo moon.
    you really have many many clothes! and that cupboard looks very organized. i have my tops/pullovers/cardigans in antique chests of drawers - an endless search after the right piece as one can see only the top layers.
    as someone who did grow up with meters of snow & temps around -10°C every winter and for months i always wonder..... its definitely a case of perspective - and the right shoes :-D
    stay warm and safe! xxxxx

    1. Thank you Beate,

      That's the thing with having so many clothes; it's hard to organise them so you can see what you have as what you can't see often doesn't get worn!

      You are right are about the snow - the right shoes/boots are the key. I don't mind the cold so much.

      Take care

  6. The sleeves on that red top are fabulous, but I'm hearing you on the cooking problem. I'm afraid I'm not a fan of milky puddings at all, or rice pudding, and pudding skin for that matter. I'm still slightly traumatized about not being allowed to leave the table until I'd finished my pudding and every spoonful made me gag!
    I love listening to classical music, and Handel is a particular favourite. I'm tuned in to a non-stop classical station as I'm typing this.
    I'm sorry to hear your son and daughter's partner have the virus and I hope they are both recovering well. So far, fingers crossed, we haven't got any family members or friends who've had it.
    I'm really impressed by the UK's vaccination programme, which is far more advanced that over here in Belgium and the EU in general. As I remarked to Vix, perhaps Brexit has a silver lining after all?
    Gorgeous outfits once again, the Jaeger jacket with the yellow trousers being a particular standout, as is the one with the Indigo Moon jacket
    Your skin is lovely, and doesn't like an almost 67-year old at all. I'm very religious with my skincare routine, but lately I've been noticing an increase in wrinkles around my eyes.
    Snow can look quite magical, as long as I don't have to go out in it, and I can imagine walking up or down that slippery hill was quite scary. I broke my arm slipping on ice as a 4-year old, and I've got a fear of it ever since.
    Your clothes storage looks very organized. It's a constant struggle here and it will continue to be so until I either win the lottery and can move somewhere with a huge dressing room or I finally admit I've got far too many clothes :-)
    Stay warm, safe and sane, Vronni xxx

    1. I freely admit I have far too many clothes!

      Thanks for your comments, Ann. I am really enjoying the classical music mostly - some of it I find far too dramatic and noisy...

      We can always blame the lockdown for our recent spate of wrinkles; I won't tell if you don't!

      Take care and I hope your vaccination programme progresses speedily...

      Take care and stay fab!

  7. Lovely outfits!, I'm loving your red jumper, despite being so impractical when cooking (I have an old jacket that I wear only when cooking, to avoid mess my clothes as I'm really clumsy!). Your rice pudding looks delicious, love the caramelised surface on top and lots of nutmeg. I have a weakness for 'old fashioned' desserts, including rice pudding and egg custard!.
    Love your yellow trousers (with both jackets), no wonder you received a compliment!, totally fabulous outfit and a fab colour!.
    Glad to hear that your daughter was negative in the test!.
    And love your teal-blue dress and beads with the leopard leggings!, you rock leggings!. Great news that you could go for a walk despite the muddy paths. Not funny!.
    I'm also afraid of walking on snow and ice, I've had accidents in the past so I'm a little squeamish!.
    Love the way you add textures and accessories into monochrome outfits, it makes a difference. And you look lovely in jeans and jackets, love particularly the outfit with those blue accessories!, so comfy&cool!. And your black&white cardigan is really fantastic!
    Glad that you could keep on rummaging in the internet!, your recent purchases look Fab!
    I admire that you're such an active person, particularly because homeschooling takes a lot of time and effort. You Rock It, dear Veronica!

    1. Thank you, Monica!

      Another milk pudding lover! I love egg custard too, and creme brulee and panna cotta and blancmange; anything milky really!

      Take care

  8. It's good to see you're getting on well with Vinted - I saw the adverts and thought it sounded good but was all for teenagers.

    I like milk puddings but my husband isn't keen - he hates the skin - so we never have them. He doesn't like bread and butter pudding either. Weird man!


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 ...