Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Coming out of Lockdown #3

On my last post I forgot to show you the lovely flowers my Valentine bought for me. 12 beautiful roses in an array of colours - and a box of chocolates, now long gone, sadly. The painting is called 'The Flower Seller' by Diego Rivera; husband of Frida Kahlo. I bought it in a Sligo charity shop in 2019; where I spotted it in the window when the shop was closed. I went back the next day with my two cousins to find a lady enquiring about it. As soon as she heard me saying I had seen it yesterday and had come back to buy it; she most kindly let me have it. I think she was a bit uncertain about it anyway. I'm sorry to say that as I loved the painting so much I don't think I would have let her have it if the situation had been reversed. She was clearly a much nicer person than me!

I wore this to the food bank on Tuesday which was where I left you on my previous post. A lovely mild day it turned out to be. Just to be on the safe side I wore my thermal leggings underneath and sturdy warm boots; I wanted to wear my deep red ones but the floor in the warehouse is made of concrete and pretty cold underfoot. The skirt was picked up in QD but is by George; stretch top by Primarni and cardigan by Joseph W - both charity shopped. Boots bought in Sainsbury's sale. I have these stretchy tops in most colours as they are very useful items for wearing under things.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I work with two other volunteers in the food bank both older than me. One had had her vaccination on Friday and the other was having hers on Friday 19th. Both the manager and the warehouse manager are in category 6 so they may  have to wait  a while. I'm hoping once we are vaccinated we can stop wearing masks in the warehouse. In the afternoon I went to collect my Vinted parcel and did a few errands in town.

On Wednesday, after a trip to the post office (thrilling!) to send a parcel to my son with some belated birthday presents in it; I set off for a long walk. I walked 9 miles across fields, paths and farm tracks and was very sad to find this:

A dead hare. The eyes, the lips and soft tissue from the mouth had already been eaten by  other animals. It was on a farm track and I wonder if it got hit by a tractor or some other farm vehicle. I love hares, they're such beautiful and slightly mysterious creatures. On a more positive note I saw and heard lots of skylarks.

My reading for February seemed to be mostly non-fiction. I've read about living on a narrow boat; a very angry book about living on the poverty line; one about things found on beaches and another about wintering - or resting and retreating; which is something a lot of us can relate to since the outbreak of this pandemic. I had a bit of a splurge on Kindle  taking advantage of the 99p offers and a lot of the books I read in February were on my Kindle. And talking of retreating I also watched with fascination a documentary on BBC4 called 'Retreat; Meditations from a Monastery'. It was following Benedictine monks in a range of monasteries. There was no commentary; just the occasional written piece of information. They cooked, gardened, carved, wove, sewed, made wax candles and honey; and went about their daily lives.  It was both incredibly interesting and soothing at the same time. The BBC were running this as part of their 'Mindfulness' project during this lockdown season. I do enjoy watching programmes without commentary. I've previously watched one about a trip down the Avon and Kennet canal waterway and another one with someone carving a chair by hand. Totally engrossing!

 I had treated myself to this lovely blazer from Vinted and wore it on Wednesday. A steal at 3.50, I thought.

Boots bought online retail; trousers by M&S and black and gold top by Mint Velvet. Both charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped.

The sparkles on my top matched the sparkles in my blazer. I don't have much in the way of 'gold' jewellery as I much prefer silver; I don't possess a single gold bangle or bracelet. Another thing to add to my charity shop list ready for when I can go for a good old rummage again.

Before I knew it Thursday has rolled around again. I wore this to do the Thursday shop. Everything charity shopped except the OTK boots. The skirt is by Acne Studio and was 6.00 from a charity shop in Sandy. The cardigan is by Susan Bristol and was also charity shopped.

You can see the skirt has pockets! They're really deep. I bought the necklace at an independent shop in Bedford called 'Lola and Simi' which has now closed down. The earrings, ring and bangle were charity shopped. The earrings are Indian and are green on the outside and red inside; you can see the red side here. Unfortunately, I lost one probably at the farm shop loading logs into the car. That was the third earring I'd lost since last Monday.

When I had finished the shopping and packed it away; I successfully used the pressure cooker  for the first time. It took 35 minutes to cook the oxtail; whereas the original recipe stated 3.5 hours in the oven. I did finish it off in the oven for 90 minutes and it was delicious. I'll be making more use of the pressure cooker now I'm confident in using it.  I should have gone for a walk; it was a beautiful warm day with lots of sun but by the time I'd finished everything I had to do I was too tired. In the evening we binge watched the last three episodes of 'Monster'; a Norwegian drama which was brilliant but both bizarre and surreal. OH described it as 'deliciously insane'.

OH had the day off on Friday and apart from walking 5.6 miles along the river I didn't do much at all. A lovely man came to professionally clean my oven. It looked like new again.

Everything charity shopped except jacket from Vinted so it's second hand or preloved.  It's by Nightingales which is one of those mail order catalogues which specialises in clothes for women of a certain age; you know the kind I mean; frumpy and boring.  I put their catalogue straight into the recycling bin when they send it to me! This blazer is not their usual run of the mill stuff and even my daughter admired it. Jeans by M&Co; jumper by Oasis. Red boots bought online.

Saturday was so warm it was like Spring. 15.5 degrees on the car temperature gauge when I drove back from my walk. I walked 7.4 miles and checked out a route for a walk I was supposed to lead this month;  I couldn't see that happening unless Boris surprised us with his announcement on Monday 22nd!

I did spot this a 'Netted Iris' or 'Iris Reticulata' growing in the middle of a field. It's not a wild flower as far as I know but maybe it had been seeded by a bird. My car was due it's MOT on Saturday and for once it passed with nothing needing doing. What a relief.

I went into town on Sunday to buy the middle grandson a scientific calculator. The only place I could think to go was W.H. Smith. The downstairs section where the calculators should have been was closed off to the public as part of Covid precautions. A lovely member of staff went and fetched me a couple from downstairs and I was able to buy one for middle grandson who was very pleased with it. After the trip to town I did a whites wash and dried it; did the usual housework and as OH was cooking dinner I made a pecan pie for dessert. We only have dessert on Sunday and I try to make it wherever possible. Of course, there's the usual issue of not everyone liking the same things. When she comes for dinner daughter doesn't eat dairy; everybody likes chocolate except OH; youngest grandson has nut allergies. I discovered he likes Tiramisu so that's what he had - courtesy of Lidl!

Dress by Apricot, charity shopped; Snag tights in 'Shepherds Delight' and red boots M&S; local buy and sell group.

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings; a gift from Vix at Vintage Vixen HERE. There are little bits of mustard in this dress so I wore the red necklace which has a bit of mustard in it, too. Matchy matchy! All day on Sunday I kept thinking about home-schooling starting again on Monday...

The return to home schooling went well; decimals in maths (yikes!). Philip Pullman's 'Northern Lights' for English (I suggested grandson also watches the 2019 BBC TV series) SPaG was words ending in 'cial' and PSHE was about how grandson learns best. Just  one more week to go...

  Boris' announcement on Monday 22nd February saw us coming out of lockdown in a cautious and considered manner. All schools will be able to reopen from 8th March;  many will stagger the return date across that first week.  Also two people from different households can meet outside and even have a coffee on a bench! Outdoor exercise venues can reopen from 29th March and the stay at home rule will end; but people should stay local. The really crucial date for me is 12th April; the third phase of the restrictions easing. Non essential shops can open as can indoor exercise venues. I can go back to volunteering at the charity shop; go rummaging and go swimming all in the same week - yippee. Also in that same week UK staycations can take place away from home. I feel a trip somewhere coming on. By June 21st we may be back to a normal existence! No social distancing, no masks, no Covid dance everytime you pass someone on the street.

Tuesday was sunny and bright but very windy. I pulled something in my back at the foodbank stretching up to put something from a shelf. It was painful for the rest of the day so I put my feet up when I got home; caught up with Blogland and read. I also searched for somewhere to stay for a week in April and decided on Cornwall as OH had never been. Although OH had 12 weeks of furlough in the first lock down; he didn't have a holiday or break away from home and I think it's important to have a change of scenery. 

I didn't wear this to the food bank I forgot to take photos on Tuesday. This was Wednesday's outfit. Everything charity shopped. Marilyn jeans by M&S; top by Glamorous; jacket no label. Boots; local buy and sell FB group.

My back was back to normal on Wednesday and I put out a box of books for people to take first thing on Wednesday morning.  Soon after, my doorbell rang. It was our postman asking if he could take 2 of the books. He had seen the 'Free - help yourself' sign on the box but wanted to to ask first! How very polite....

If it hadn't been for lockdown I would have been leading a Rambler's walk today; I think we'll be back group walking from the end of March; when outdoor group exercise can re-start. I decided to go for a walk anyway.

All jewellery charity shopped.

My walk was just over 8 miles and was a proper ramble. I knew where I wanted to start from and then I just went where my feet led me. It was almost a disaster, as when I'd parked the car up and reached for the bag with my walking boots and socks - it wasn't there. I'd left it at home. Luckily, I always have spare footwear in my boot; usually a pair of old loafers for beach shoes and summer walking shoes. 
I changed into the summer walking shoes with no socks; however it was an exceptionally warm day for this time of the year at 16.5 degrees. It was very windy though. I do enjoy a ramble and it always spurs me on to follow paths I haven't tried before. I found several new paths, followed them and now have a new route I can use to lead a walk in the future. I can also extend it by a couple or three miles and thought I might try that this week. I spotted my first butterfly of the year - a Brimstone.

When I got up on Thursday my hyacinth had bloomed! This was Thursday's outfit. Trousers bought from Vinted and are by New Look. Top no label;  yellow blouse underneath by Tu and boots; all charity shopped.

It was the usual trip to the farm shop, Lidl, Aldi and Sainsburys. Back home unpack the shopping and put it away. Did two washes and hung one on the line as there was a bit of a breeze. My daughter dropped off some unwanted household stuff and I listed some on Freegle and put some out on the wall for people to help themselves. All the books I'd put out previously had been taken. I finished my book 'Tiger in the Smoke' by Margery Allingham; one of the old green Penguin Crime Series. Both this book and another I read the other day; 'The Franchise Affair' by Josephine Tey were on my 4th form reading list when I was at school. I finally got round to reading them almost 52 years later! There were some amazing books on that list and I still recall a lot of them. I'm on a crime reading spree at the moment so not much crocheting is getting done. We watched the first episode of the new series  of 'Unforgotten' (a UK crime series). It looks like the final series as the key character has three months before she retires. It's been a wonderful series and also introduced me to the music of Agnes Obel who sings the theme song to the the series.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Friday was a glorious day. It wasn't as warm as Wednesday but because there was no strong breeze it felt just as warm. I went for a nice long ramble of 9 miles. I tried to replicate the walk from Wednesday but went wrong somewhere.

This was taken on the return part of the journey; I don't know where this path leads (without  looking at my map) so the next time I walk this way I'll walk it and see where it takes me. This is how I build walks; by following unknown paths on a whim and getting lost. I'm not a person who gets the OS map out and plots a route then walks it...I do the walk then plot it on a map!

You can see I was in the mood for animal print on Friday. Trousers by F&F from Vinted; top by Frank Saul charity shopped. Black wool shirt by M&S present from ex mum-in-law about 15 years ago. Boots by Primarni.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I had put a wash on before I left for my walk and hung it out as the weather was so good. It wasn't quite dry but almost. Two people came to collect the items I'd put on Freegle; a rice cooker and a slow cooker. The slow cooker was too large for my daughter's family so someone else can make use of it now.  A few weeks ago when I was in Aldi doing the Thursday shop; I happened to notice they had slow cookers reduced to 1.99. I bought two; one for middle grandson's mum and the other I was going to give to youngest grandson's dad; but he said he wouldn't use it. When I told me daughter she said she would use the slow cooker which is for 4 people; and give her old one (which was for up to 8 people) away. The rice cooker I bought in a charity shop for her but she prefers to cook her rice on the stove. I had also put out some other kitchen utensils and crockery for people to take and everything went. In the evening we watched the new Finnish drama on BBC4 'The Man in Room 301'. It's looking very promising...

Saturday's outfit. Everything charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped.

On Saturday after a 5.7 mile walk along the river, OH and I went to B&M. I bought some plants; my first this year. 2 hellebores, 2 foxgloves and a tray of pansies. I went for a walk on Sunday too; it was another lovely day. I just did an urban walk then came back did the housework and made dinner. The Great Pottery Throwdown on TV was up to the quarter finals which means there'll only be two episodes left. We've decided to watch Deutschland 83 from Monday night based on the good things I've heard about it;  and it was Walter's Intro what sold it to OH. There are three series 83, 86 and 89 to watch so that's our viewing sorted for at least the next three weeks.

On Monday, I did my last ever (hopefully) homeschooling session with the youngest grandson. More decimals and writing summaries; sentence clauses and conjunctions. We didn't do PSHE in the afternoon but baked a Bakewell Tart instead. Grandson enjoys cooking and I have to say that my son and three grandsons have always enjoyed cooking when they were young. Both my son and eldest grandson cook regularly and even more so since the lockdowns.

This was what I wore to the food bank on Tuesday. It was a chilly day at 5 degrees and I needed this thick cardigan from Next; charity shopped from my Barnardos as were the trousers from M&S and the top by White Stuff and the scarf. It's amazing how warm a neck scarf can be and if it's cold and I'm at home I always wear one. Boots also charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings from eBay.

At the foodbank I put away toiletries, put away cereals and spent the last hour splitting boxes of 80 bags of teabags into 2 x 40s. We put 40 teabags in a single person's food parcel and currently we only had boxes of 80 teabags. We still have plenty of donations coming in and we have cleared our other temporary warehouse a few miles away; as the council needed their premises back. I never cease to be amazed at peoples generosity to the foodbank. Thank you to all of you who donate.


By the time I next post I will have had my birthday. I'll be be 67 which I find hard to believe as I'm only about 20 in my head. It's when I do the occasional physical thing that reminds I'm not 20 anymore but in my 60s. Unfortunately, because our lockdown will still be in effect; I won't be able to do the usual birthday thing which is to go to London for a day out and a family get together for a meal  in a restaurant. However, I have booked a week away for OH and I so we'll be off to Cornwall in April when we can travel again. That's something to look forward to at least! 


  1. sending you all my best birthday wishes in advance - but do open up the parcel just at "the day"
    the new jacket is gorgeous and its colours suit you perfectly - guess the catalogue people got wind that out there are some "women of a certain age" who don´t buy into the dull&drab category.... but my favorite outfit is the one with the zebra trouses - extremely fabulous!
    i wish our country went as far as yours with the vaccines - its still very slowly here and complicated...... sigh. i have two friends over 80 and 70 - they not even got a call yet!

    1. Thank you, Beate! I am very sorry your vaccination programme is progressing so slowly. I am feeling very relieved as I now know if I get Covid-19 I am unlikely to die from it.

      Best wishes

  2. Wishing you a happy birthday ahead of time! I'll be 60 in September and I find that hard to be believe as well :-o Love the jacket! I'm hearing you on the catalogue, though. I get sent catalogus from a similar company catering for ladies of a certain age, and I'm always outraged when I get one!
    I'm loving your parade of colourful, inventive outfits as always, and I'm totally swooning over that painting. I can't believe that lady let you have it!
    Vaccination is as slow and complicated here as it is in Germany. Jos is 73 and he MIGHT get it from end of March onwards. Big sigh!
    I bought my first batch of plants for Spring too. They include some Iris Reticulata, which I find absolutely stunning. Never seen any in the wild, though, the one you found must have "escaped" from a garden! xxx

    1. Yes, Ann, that was my feeling exactly when one of 'those' catalogues popped through my door when I was in my 50s - outrage!

      I do hope you get vaccination soon; I feel so relieved.

      I'd never come across that Iris before until I saw it growing in the middle of nowhere. No houses nearby just open fields but a very pleasant surprise!

  3. Advance Happy Birthday wishes to you, Vronni!
    I love the Diego Riviera picture, that lady sounded far too nice for her own good. You posing by the washing machine made me giggle!
    The black and white outfit is sesnsational. Tha blazer looks great, lovely colours.
    Wasn't Monster fantastic? It could have been really bleak but all the nudity made it a lot more lighthearted.
    I didn't know about that Finnish drama, I shall check it out. I'm way too excited about the new series of both Deutschland 89 and Line of Duty and always love Unforgotten - Walsall got a mention on it last night!
    Glad your back has eased off and am keeping my fingers crossed that you get to go away in April. We're so tempted with flights to Greece for September but keep getting cold feet! xxx

    1. Thank you, Vix!

      I chase the light round the house and if I have to pose by the washing machine - it's actually a tumble dryer - then so be it...!!

      I love 'Unforgotten' - I just think Nicola Walker is a terrific actress. She has such an expressive face. I thought of you when they mentioned Walsall.

      I do hope you manage to book for Greece - I'd love to go myself but OH doesn't have enough holidays to go to Ireland and Greece.

  4. Happy Birthday, Vronni!! I hope you had a lovely day!

    I'm so glad to hear about all your planned lifting of lockdown and other restrictions. I'm so angry at our Canadian government for dropping the ball - I will likely not get vaccinated until mid-JULY, and we might not be able to be social or able to travel until September! We are in a shameful state compared to the rest of the world.

    Awesome outfits here - and I notice not a single head-scarf! I am in love with some of your bottoms here: that Acne Skirt, the blue plaid trousers, the yellow ones, the leopard ones!

    I love your method of building a walk: do it, then figure out where you've been and how far you went. How delightfully chaotic.

    Glad to hear your back was only temporary. I'm becoming more aware of my own body's fragility...

    Take care and have a good week!

    1. Thank you, Sheila. Wearing a head-scarf and a face mask is just a bit too much faffing about for me so I'll only wear the headscarf when I know I won't be going into a shop or an indoor space where a mask is required...

      I am surprised at your government taking so long over the vaccination programme; i just feel so relieved!


  5. Happy Birthday!
    I just had mine and was sent a birthday card from my insurance agent trying to flog me extra life insurance because "Our insurance needs change as we age." Good thing I have a sense of humour about age.

    So sad about the hare, they're such beautiful animals. We don't have them in Nebraska-just small rabbits.

    Fingers crossed for your lifting of lockdown restrictions. I hope it goes well.

    1. Thank you, Goody.

      Your sense of humour is never in doubt but bugger those insurance companies. I keep getting funeral plan policy plans in the post!

  6. Happy Birthday Vronni, from a fellow Pisces. Lise

  7. Lovely flowers from your Valentine!, and a lovely painting too, isn't it great that Diego Rivera is known as Frida's husband nowadays?, it was the opposite not so long ago!
    You look fab in those red florals and black&white skirt, lovely combo!.
    So sad about the hare, they're beautiful creatures!.
    I'm a non fiction reader myself (most of the time) and also a huge fan of documentaries, so your reads look really appealing to me!.
    Glad that you were lucky with your Vinted shopping, this floral blazer is a stunning piece and looks fab with red boots and matchy necklace!. Also lovely with jeans and a golden pendant!, rocking it!
    Lovely green and blue cardi, and so cute leaves necklace!, those are fab colours!
    Pressure cookers are really popular in spanish kitchens, so I'm used to cook in them almost everything and save time and energy!. But it takes some time and practice to make the most of them!
    You look particularly fab in your dress with red tights and red accessories, and also in your black&white dress and monochromatic accessories, you know I'm a huge fan of these colour combos!. Looking really elegant and cool!
    Lovely plaid trousers and yellow accents, so joyful colour!, and very elegant in black with so fab bronze accesories that enhance the animal prints!. And love some mixed prints fabulousness and your last yellow ensemble!. You look fabulous!
    Glad to hear that restrictions are going to be lifted in the next months, so you will go out with OH to Cornwall!, it sounds like a delightful thing after so much time in lockdown!
    Hope that you can walk with your group soon too!.

    1. Thank you, Monica!

      I'll be contacting you with my pressure cooker queries if I have any; you sound like an expert. I have to admit to finding them pretty scary in the past!

      I've already been contacted by the walking group leaders about dates for walks from May...

      Take care

  8. I love your new picture Vronni, and your house is looking so pretty and beautiful, as are YOU my sweet!
    I love you in ochre, and your collection of beautiful stretchy cardis have been cleverly brought in to some of your outfits this past fortnight. Love everything about you, quite simply!
    Keep warm, keep safe, hugs Mary x.

    1. Thank you, Mary.

      I'm trying to keep warm but it's pretty cold outside...

      Take care

  9. Lots of lovely outfits and gorgeous valentine flowers. I will be heaving a sigh of relief tomorrow when I finish my final day of home schooling. It has been hard at times but I will miss having all the girls at home. However, I also need to get out on some long walks as I have some lockdown pounds to lose. Last summer I picked up about five lovely summer skirts in charity shops but they were all a bit snug - I am determined I am going to be able to wear them this summer x

    1. Thank you!

      Good luck with the new skirts. I noticed several of my trousers and skirts were also a bit snug so the lockdown pounds have been affecting me, too. I can't wait to get back to swimming as that's the thing that really keeps me in trim.

      Take care

  10. Those are some lovely outfits - it must've been so upsetting losing earrings though. I always get really annoyed when I lose one.

    It must be a relief to have finished with home schooling - here's hoping no-one has to start it again and lockdowns and vaccinations do the trick.

    I've been watching Unforgotten too! I adore Sanjeev Bhaskar, he's just brilliant.

    1. Thank you, Mim. I shouldn't moan too much about the lost earrings; I have more than 300 pairs so I can afford to lose a few!

      Really enjoying 'Unforgotten' too.


A trip to Leeds and other things

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