Tuesday, 13 April 2021

More lockdown restriction easings...

On Wednesday, I went for a 5.3 mile walk in the morning. It was the same walk I'll be leading in June and I wanted to get the route fixed in my head. It was a cooler day than Tuesday which was 23.5 degrees in Bedford, but still sunny in the afternoon and pleasant. I didn't even bother with a jacket.

 Top by George, trousers by M&S both charity shopped. Shoes bought in an Irish charity shop and all jewellery was from a charity shop except my Labradorite ring; a birthday present many years ago from my mum and brother.

I drove to Edgeware in the afternoon to pick something up and I spent the rest of the day making dinner and catching up with blogland. 

As our lockdown easing took effect from 29th March I had made plans to visit my cousin Marian in London on Thursday. By the time I arrived at her house at Thursday lunchtime, the sun was out and it was very pleasant sitting in her garden.  I gave her my rhubarb plant as I had no ground space for it and it won't thrive in a pot. We had a lovely lunch and caught up with each other's news; of which there wasn't much thanks to the lockdown. It was wonderful to see her and the family. She's hoping to come with me to Ireland in the summer and stay for longer than the last time; we may still have to quarantine on arrival or maybe, because we will have have had both doses of the vaccine by then we won't. Anyway, that's all in the future and we must live in the present especially now...

I wore this outfit which was all bought from charity shops. The boots were bought online and I thought they'd bring out the deep red in the kimono jacket. Both the trousers (M&S) and the jacket (home made) came from Barnardo's and I bought the paisley top in a charity shop in either St. Neots or Hitchin, I seem to recall.

All jewellery was charity shopped.

I'd been re-reading some Angus Wilson books which I enjoyed immensely and on Wednesday evening started a book by Fred Vargas - who is a woman. I had never read anything by this author before and was sorry I hadn't. A French detective series set in Paris with a very likeable chief character. I shall be scouring the charity shops when they re-open looking for more in this series.

As I was in London on Thursday that meant I had to do the weekly shop on Friday. Everywhere I went (Lidl, Aldi and Sainsbury's) it was very busy but no queues- thank goodness. The farm shops weren't open as it was Good Friday; a bank holiday in the UK but luckily I didn't need anything. I thought I would pick up some kindling on Saturday from Sharnbrook as there was enough to be going on with. It was still quite chilly in the evenings and we were still lighting the fire. It seemed this week we had both summer and winter weather 23 degrees on Tuesday with Friday a grey and chilly 7 degrees. I wore thick tights under this outfit and a half slip under the skirt. I can't see me swapping my wardrobe over until at least the end of April...

Everything charity shopped except the boots bought in Sainsbury's sale. Top by M&S; skirt by LC and jacket by River Island; a real bargain at 50p from Barnardo's.

All jewellery charity shopped.

We went to my daughter's for dinner on Friday sitting in the garden. They have a fire pit so it wasn't as cold as it might have been.  We hadn't been there since Christmas Day. It was very nice not to have cook, but both OH and I would be busy with cooking and food preparation on Sunday; as all 3 of my brothers were coming for a barbeque. I hadn't seen two of them since early November and one not since summer last year. 

As it was Easter weekend I bought the grandsons and OH an Easter egg each; I treated myself to one as no one has bought me an Easter egg ever! It was delicious and I ate it over the Easter weekend with great relish.

I bought this black dress about three years ago in a charity shop and the kimono was a 1.00 rail buy from the Bedford Daycare Hospice shop; bought when my sister-in law was staying with me back in October 2020. Tights; charity shopped a very long time ago and boots as before.

Saturday was another cloudy and chilly day at 7 degrees again. I went to Sharnbrook for kindling and logs and picked up the youngest grandson; who was going to stay overnight. He was back to playing basketball on Sunday; as outdoor sports could recommence as part of the easing of lockdown restrictions. 

All jewellery charity shopped.

I was so excited about Sunday. It was a lovely sunny day but chilly. I went out for a quick urban walk of 3.85 miles quite early.  We did the housework in the morning; then I made salads, coleslaw and potato salad and got things ready for a BBQ. OH had also made a curry the day before. I picked up my two brothers from Kettering and Julian arrived from London. It was so good to see them all. We ate and drank plenty sitting in the garden until it got too cold then I took two of the brothers home. Neither of them drive but Julian does. As per usual I forgot to take photos, so I can't show you the outfit I wore of an animal print matching top and skirt that I bought at the start of the current lockdown; from the 'Re-Fashion' site.

On Easter Monday it decided to snow! It snowed steadily for about 30 minutes; a constant, light fall of snow which didn't settle, luckily. I had planned to go for a walk with my daughter and we walked 5 miles together in the morning. In the afternoon OH and I went to visit the garden nursery where we bought plants from in the first lockdown back in March 2020. We used to ring and place an order; OH would go and pick the order up at the gates. This time we were able to wander around in the greenhouses and along rows and rows of plants. Heaven! I bought three Anemones and a Nepeta plant and a half price ceramic plant pot. We then went to OH's happy place; B&M's garden centre (!) where we bought two reduced Lupins and three Senetti plants; which were planted in the new plant pot as soon as we got home. I had also ordered some Sweet Peas from an online garden plant company and they should arrive by mid May at the latest ready for planting. We both enjoyed the scent so much last summer and being able to cut bunches of sweet peas for the house.

This is how the garden is looking at the moment. Not much colour as not a lot has bloomed. I live in the middle of a town and only have limited space to grow things...

This is the front garden space - a few feet behind the front wall.

This is what the newly painted front of the house looks like. Palest grey masonry; muted olive woodwork; front door and gate painted in black. I put window film on our front windows for more privacy as we live on a busy street. I had the windows cleaned by a window cleaner my next door neighbour knows. It's very hard to find window cleaners these days who are prepared to climb ladders and do domestic properties. 

One day, I will replace the glass in the front door which is original to the house built in 1906; with stained glass. I have bought some doorstep paint and will get around to repainting the steps at some point soon.

And the back of the house. By painting the back wall it seems to have opened up the space more.

It was back to the food bank on Tuesday. We had a surprise visitor. The High Sheriff of Bedfordshire paid us a visit and presented us with a plaque from the local community - how nice.

Trousers by New Look bought from 'Vinted; jumper by Divided; charity shopped. Faux polo underneath bought online as were the boots.

All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings which were donated by my daughter.

I wore a coatigan and gloves over this at the foodbank; it was 5 degrees outside and about the same inside. There were several photos taken of us beside the Food Bank van. I went into town when I got back and ran some errands; then it was home to clean out the fire, do some washing and make dinner. I also caught up with blogs and blogland.

During the lockdown I have tried to stick to my normal routine. On Wednesdays, I nearly always go for a walk. In normal times I'd walk with my walking group, but on my own mostly in lockdown. I walked 8 miles in sunny but very cold 6 degrees. I wished I'd worn a cardigan on top of this outfit for extra warmth. Everything charity shopped. Boots by Vanilla Moon; jeans by Next and tunic by Wallis.

All jewellery charity shopped.

When I do go back to leading walks with the Ramblers I now have 3 new routes that I can lead which should take me up until the autumn at least. Then I'll need to find some more...

 I stayed and had a cup of tea at my daughter's house; and some rice crispy cakes my grandson had made.  I had parked my car on the estate she lives on as it's a place I start a lot of my walks from. And it's very convenient for a post walk cuppa!

I didn't get to sit down on Thursday until it was time to eat my dinner at around 6.30pm! I did the shopping in the morning; unpacked it and put it away.  I also bought quite a few bedding plants; Busy Lizzies; Geraniums; Sweet Peas, Osteospermums and some trailing Begonias for the hanging baskets. Then I went into Barnardo's from 12.30 to 4.30 pm to help get it ready for opening. There was plenty to do and we were all looking forward to the opening; but also slightly dreading all the donations we were bound to get. Where were we going to put them all?

Everything charity shopped; dress by Gallery and bought in a Co. Longford charity shop; polo top underneath from John Lewis and boots both from Barnardos. Tights by Snag; bought online. I think they have discontinued this orange colour; I waited nearly three months for this colour to arrive and it seems to be no longer on their website.

All jewellery charity shopped. 
It was warmer on Thursday at 12 degrees but pretty cloudy for most of the day. OH came home with Aquilegia plants and French Marigolds; that'll keep him busy over the weekend planting up all the latest purchases! I'd also ordered some garden plant labels which arrived. We buy plants and after they've bloomed and die back we then can't remember what they are. Their labels often blow away if they have any to start with. Currently, I'm not sure what has happened to the Stocks I bought last year from the nursery and spent quite a bit of money on. I labelled all the plants I could  with the new labels, so this doesn't happen again. I have a horrible feeling the Stocks were dug up and thrown away as dead plants; I hope I'm wrong.

I was able to get up at my leisure on Friday. I needed to pick more coal from the Sharnbrook farm shop. My plan was to go for a walk from Milton Ernest which isn't too far from the farm shop, but it began to rain on the way back and in fact rained off and on for the rest of the day. Instead, I took my car to be washed at the attended automatic car wash. The car was filthy and covered in bird poo which had dried on - even I was ashamed to look at it any longer! I find those automatic car washes frankly terrifying and only go to them as a last resort. I'm convinced the steel bar is going to come crashing through the windscreen and crush me to death... I also need to hoover the inside of the car which will mean a trip to Sainsbury's garage at some point over the weekend to use their facilities. We can't park outside our house  and do it as we live on a street with double yellow lines.  I spent the afternoon pottering around and finally settled down to read my latest book 'A Spell in Winter' by Helen Dunmore. Updated to say I'm on a Helen Dunmore reading spree at the moment; I had at least 6 books of hers on the bookshelves and to date have read 4 of them so far.

Saturday was another day of rain showers. We are off to Cornwall next week and I've been praying the weather will have improved by then. The forecast was looking fine for that week so keep your fingers crossed for us. We're going to stay in a rented cottage at Praa Sands which is halfway between Penzance and Helston, I believe. What I'm wearing here is very appropriate as it's a Seasalt of Cornwall dress; called the 'Mill Pool' dress! I wore this denim waistcoat for added warmth and opaques from M&S. Everything found in a charity shop except the boots which my daughter gave me. She was going to have a sort out of her wardrobe when I was there on Wednesday; more boots might be coming my way!

All jewellery charity shopped.

Although all our non-essential shops will be open on 12th April as part of our easing of lockdown restrictions; I had been trawling Vinted in the week. I bought a few summer items; a couple of skirts and a couple of summer jackets...two of the items arrived at the parcel shop on Saturday afternoon. I went into to town to collect them. It was horribly cold out.

Sunday was brighter but still cold. I went for 9 mile walk along the river to Cardington and back along the opposite side of the river. It was lovely to see the river being used again for rowing and kayaking.

On Monday I returned to my 'normal' weekly routine. My first proper shift at Barnardo's since before Christmas. We weren't as busy as we thought and we had quite a lot of donations but we weren't overwhelmed. I met our new manager and spent the morning hanging and tagging donations and getting them out on the shop rails.

Lace jacket by Roman; bought from Vinted, top no label; trousers by F&F; boots by Vanilla Moon. All charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped.
When I got back from the charity shop I had a few errands to run in town including getting my eyebrows done! I last had them done just before Christmas and I haven't touched them since. I never pluck them but get them waxed and tinted; usually once a month. I collected a prescription, went to the bank and the cash point and picked up bread and milk. Town was the busiest I'd seen it in a long time. I hung out the washing when I got home and made a soup from yesterday's left over chicken. Then I caught up with blogland after cleaning out and lighting the fire.

I was sad to read on Monday that my favourite bookshop in London is moving to Bath in May this year. No more popping into Persephone Books in Lamb's Conduit street when I'm in London and treating myself to a book or two. Still, they do have mail order and I'll have to make a trip to Bath one day to see the new shop...

Tuesday was a glorious Spring day. It was warm in the sun and the sun shone all day. I was at the foodbank in the morning doing the usual. I walked back from the foodbank; then I went for my first swim since before Christmas; it was wonderful! I managed 35 laps in the time I had. I've slowed down a bit as I could manage 40 laps in 55 minutes but I'm sure I'll be back up to speed with another couple of swims. I also realised when I got out of the pool that I could have worn my Fitbit in the water; as it's waterproof up to a depth of 50 feet. Never mind, next time!

Dress bought from Vinted, top underneath and tights charity shopped. Boots bought online.

All jewellery charity shopped.

After my swim I walked into town to collect another two Vinted parcels; a Laura Ashley striped coat and a summer skirt. I hung out a load of washing when I got home and it actually dried on the line. I love the smell of line dried clothes. 

I've begun to pack for Cornwall and am praying the weather gods will be kind to us. I'll have lots to tell you in my next post. Until then, stay as lovely as you are!


  1. I'm so happy you were able to get together with your family over Easter. It must be so wonderful to see everyone.
    I haven't started switching over the wardrobe as we're still freezing about as often as we're sweltering. Oh well, at least there's no getting bored. The new blue lace jacket is fab. I've never seen one quite like it and you've styled it so beautifully.

    Hope you have a great trip and that all goes well.

    1. Thank you, Goody!

      Same here - weather has warmed up but still not warm enough for lightweight clothing...

      I saw my best friend of 55 years after a gap of 14 months - that was wonderful!

  2. the house looks gorgeous with the new paint - love the pale green on the wood and that shiny door!
    your yard will turn into a colourful garden soon....... so many pots and plants.
    lovely outfits! love big, bold jewelry and you wear it with panache!

    1. Thank you, Beate. I am pleased with the newly painted house.

  3. Your house looks absolutely stunning, I love the hritage paint colours you chose and the door looks very grand.
    How fabulous is your garden? I'm all about the pots and you've got hundreds of them. I haven't been to B&M since last March but they only thing we ever buy from there is wood, the plants are always half-dead - you must have a much better branch than ours!
    The weather is looking pretty good, if it's as lovely as it's been here for the last couple of days you're Cornwall trip will be perfect.
    Fabulous outfits as always. I love my Snag tights! xxx

    1. Thanks, Vix. I wasn't sure about the door; thinking I should have stuck with the 'muted olive' but it will get filthy quickly and at least the black paint disguises the dirt!

      The weather is lovely here in Cornwall.

  4. Look at your garden! I love all those pots grouped together. I'm sure they'll provide an explosion of colour come Summer. The newly painted front of your house looks gorgeous too, I love your choice of colours.
    The weather has let us down a bit, hasn't it? I've made a start with my wardrobe changeover, but only packed away the very warmest stuff so far. I'm still wearing one of my Winter coats most days.
    I'm glad to hear you were able to get together with your family over Easter, and I bet you're all excited for your trip to Cornwall!
    Last but not least, once again I loved all your gorgeous outfits. I particularly loved the first one, which is very Springlike, and the black and white Gallery dress worn with the orange Snags and black boots! Have a lovely trip! xxx

    1. Yes, when the pots are in bloom they look fab and colourful but at the green stage they're a bit boring.

      I've put a few heavy winter items away, too but even though it's sunny and relatively warm in Cornwall today it's not warm enough for lighter clothing!

  5. So nice that you are able to get together with family, your brothers and so on. Being back doing your volunteer work must be a great relief for you too. And you have so much planting to do after your garden centre purchases, it’s going to be wonderful to see them all planted and blooming.
    Your house is looking good, have you don’t all them painting yourselves?
    Oh that front door! It’s amazing that the house still has the original door, 120 years on. It’s going to look even more beautiful with the stained glass, but the framed glass panels are so pretty too. I love nice front doors, I photograph them when out walking through the lanes and I’ve taken to posting them on Instagram now.
    Enjoy your Cornish break, ­čĄ× for warmer weather.
    Hugs, Mary x.

    1. Thank you, Mary.

      My daughter's partner did the painting - he's a self-employed handyman. He also laid my new bedroom floors last years, tiled both kitchen and bathroom floors and fitted my new kitchen 3 years ago. I keep him busy!

      I love stained glass and lovely front doors, too!

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. I'm so happy for you that so many of your restrictions have been lifted, Vronni! We have firmly arrived in our 3rd wave of the pandemic, with cases rising rapidly, even as we get scheduled for our vaccinations. It's a bit scary in the east part of the country, although my city has only `40 cases a day - but that's a lot when you consider that last year, we only 40 in a month! It's taken a while to get here, we did such a good job of flattening out that curve.

    Anyway, enough of the C-word (heh). Look at all these fabulous outfits. I think my favourite is the black/white dress with the orange tights and accessories - just stunning. I'm a fan of the blue plaid trousers too.

    Your home and garden are so beautiful! That is my kind of garden - I find huge ones with beds just too intimidating.

    1. Thank you, Sheila,

      Hoping you have an appointment at least for the vaccination.

      I used to have a large garden and it was unmanageable...

  8. Easter with your family sounds wonderful! Beautiful outfits and I really love how you accessorize them!

  9. Your house and garden look really lovely. Hope you have a lovely break in Cornwall - we are going there for the May half term week and I can't wait.

  10. It's lovely to be able to see people again isn't it even if outside. Here's hoping the weather behaves next week though I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time in Cornwall no matter what.

    1. It is lovely. I saw my best friend of 55 years yesterday for the first time in 14 months!


  11. So lovely outfits!, you're looking so fabulous and love the way you accessorize!. Brilliant!
    So glad that you could meet your family!, it makes a difference to see people and chat!
    And I'm glad that you're enjoying Fred Vargas, she's a favourite writer of mine (even if not everybody's cup of tea!).
    Love particularly the shiny teal jacket and maxi skirt ensemble, the fab colour combo and elegant style.
    Your garden is a gorgeous place, you've managed to have lots of pots and plants and also a big table for many people!. Paradise!. And your fa├žade looks really lovely (I have a weakness for brick architecture actually!)
    Lovely in your blue plaid trousers (and matchy jewellery!) and also lovely in jeans!. And you rock the dress with the orange tights, so fabulous!. Love your Seasalt dress and denim waistcoat and love your Vinted dress with bright colour accessories and tights, you know I always love your necklaces!
    Hope the weather improves quickly and you enjoy Cornwall!

    1. Monica, thank you for your lovely comments.

      I haven't been able to find any Fred Vargas books in the charity shops but I have reserved 3 from the library and 2 are ready to collect when I go home on Saturday!

      The weather here in Cornwall has been very pleasant.

  12. So much news in your post, I don't known where to start! The house painting and your garden both look fab - nice to see them! I can imagine how fabulous it must be to sit in your garden on a warm afternoon with all the scents!

    How lovely to have the high sheriff coming to the food bank. You and the other volunteers do such valuable work.

    Easter Monday - yes the snow flurries were a bit of a worry as we were also meeting up with family we hadn't seen for a while, and sitting in their garden for a couple of hours. But the sun came out so it was OK.

    I get the same feeling as you in the car wash. I can't bear to look when the dryer starts, it seems to only lift up from the windscreen at the last minute. I only go to the car wash when completely desperate. Normally John does it for me.

    My favourite outfits are the blue tartan trousers - very on trend! - and the animal print dress with orange accessories - what a pity the orange tights are being discontinued. It's a struggle finding tights that you want, I wanted some colourful ones in a light denier but couldn't find them anywhere!

    Finally - Persephone books. That used to be a real pleasure of mine, until I got a Kindle (part of the pleasure was the book cover and inner).

    Have a good rest of week xx

    1. Thank you, Gail, and I'm so glad I'm not the only coward when it comes to the automated car wash! I have got rid of a few pairs of light denier brightly coloured tights as I prefer the thicker ones - what a shame i didn't know; maybe you might have liked them Some I'd never even worn...

  13. If you do come to Bath to visit Persephone Books, let me know and we can meet for a cuppa :-) Work's making us go back to the office three days a week by September, so odds are I'll be in the city anyway.

    Your collection of pots is really lovely - they're always fun to rearrange and replant, I find. The brick wall behind them is really attractive too; it's got that old-wall charm.

    You're probably back from Cornwall by now - I hope it was fun!

    1. Thank you, Mim!

      Yes, the garden wall is actually the wall of a Georgian house and garden behind ours. We used to have a wooden fence all the way round enclosing a 'barrow way' but by removing the fence it gave us another 3 foot of garden!

      I would probably stop at persephone Books in Bath on my way to see Hilary in Devon which I plan to do in late May or June and I would love to meet up for a cuppa!

      Last day in Cornwall today and we've had a wonderful time.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.


Naahh, Luton Airport.

Hello - it's that time again!  Time is certainly flying and we're definitely into autumnal mode now. Schools are back; leaves are fa...