Thursday, 1 April 2021

Easing out of Lockdown

Hello! Posting later than usual but here we are...

 I forgot to put in my previous post that on Friday the evening of the 13th March; my brother Julian sent us an invite to an online concert he was giving from his studio. It only lasted about 45 minutes and was thoroughly enjoyable. He sang the song he wrote about his arrival in the world and my mum; which always makes me cry to this day. Anyway, it was a lovely way to spend the evening although not as good as in person but it won't be long now...

Back now to the Tuesday before last at the food bank we no longer had to wear our masks in the warehouse. Everyone had had their vaccinations. If we need to go into the office we wear them or in the picking area, but in  my part of the warehouse where the doors are always wide open to let the vans in and out there is no longer the need. What a relief. I did the usual; put toiletries away; and filled the shelves with cereals and tea bags in date order. I managed to finish everything which is always a good feeling knowing you have completed a task. I hate having to leave things unfinished.

This was what I wore. Everything charity shopped except the boots bought online retail. Trousers by Dunnes Stores; my Pepperberry top and this labelless jacket. It wasn't cold in the warehouse and in fact it was quite a mild day so I didn't need a coat over all my clothes.

You don't often see me in my glasses although they're usually the first thing I put on once I'm back in the house. I've needed glasses since the age of 9 but refused to wear them. I used to throw them in the Grand Union Canal or flush them down the loo then pretend I had lost them! Then aged 26 I realised I needed glasses badly and wore them regularly, but only for close work and reading. About 10 years ago I was told I should wear my glasses all the time but I still don't wear them out and about; or for daytime driving. I see perfectly fine without them. As soon as I find I need to wear them out I will.

The house painting continued. It entailed having the front door open all the time which made the house chilly and I couldn't get warm. I made soup on Tuesday afternoon and went into town for bread. I caught up with blogs and comments and read my book. I seemed to have been reading it forever and wanted to read something different.

 My Mother's Day bouquet and the little Fittonia plant seem to blooming well; I think I may have to move the plant into the bathroom as it's too close to a radiator on the hall table...

When I looked at the weather forecast for Wednesday it seemed to better for walking in the morning so I set off soon after 10am. I wanted to try and recce a different walk; I aimed to walk from Ravensden to Wilden; following a bridleway I've often wondered where it led. Now I know! I got lost as I always do, but I had brought the OS map with me; I had to back track several times. I walked 6.7 miles in total, mostly in cloudy, drizzly weather. Towards the end of the walk the sun came out and stayed out for most of the afternoon. The weather forecast was the wrong way round! I made a South African dish; 'Cabbage Beedie' for dinner and finally finished my book. In the evening we also finished watching 'Deutschland 89'. What a terrific series it was and how very informative about that particular era in Germany. I almost began to love 1980s fashion, thanks to this series!

Thursday's outfit. Everything bought from a charity shop except the dark burgundy boots which were donated by my daughter. Trousers by Papaya; top by Anthology.  Faux polo neck - one of a set of inserts bought from eBay. I ordered these ages ago and had completely forgotten about them until they arrived on Tuesday. My pack of three contained a royal blue, black and brown. Very useful and they keep my neck warm. I wore the blue one on Wednesday under a red jumper but forgot to take photos.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Yes, I've had my hair cut. I went to my hairdresser's house and sat in the garden wearing my mask while she cut my hair, wearing a mask. It was lucky it didn't rain and lucky I don't have a hairstyle that requires blow drying! After that I went to two different farm shops and three supermarkets to do the weekly shopping. It's a good job I'm retired and have the time. When I worked I just wanted to go to one place and get the lot done in one shot. The farm shop/garden centre where I went on Saturday has loose, reasonably priced vegetables. The one in Sharnbrook where I buy coal, logs and kindling, only sells ready made up packs of vegetables and fruits and they are expensive. I bought almost all the vegetables I needed  
at Pells; plus a rhubarb plant. I love rhubarb. The potatoes I bought had earth on them as did the cabbage. When did you last see earth on vegetables in a supermarket?

Friday was a miserable cold day with a blanket of grey cloud everywhere. I decided to go for a long walk as it was just as cold indoors because of the painting and having the door open all day. I walked a new to me route; I was sensible and wore my gaiters; took my map and ruck sack and still got hopelessly lost. At one point I had to climb down into a ditch and up the other side to get onto the road. Then when I wasn't too far away from where I had parked my car; I decided to follow a path which I thought would be a shortcut - hah! It added at least 2 miles to the walk. There were curses and swear words at that point. I walked 9.2 miles in total and was extremely tired by the end. On several occasions I had to cross ploughed fields. Have you ever walked across a wet, ploughed field? It's like walking with concrete shoes on as the mud sticks to your boots and just gets bigger and bigger and heavier and heavier. Despite the mud and the boggy ground I did enjoy the walk; it was good to try new footpaths and walk a completely new route.

Everything charity shopped except the boots. Top by Indulgence; shirt underneath by Tu and red jeans by Laura Ashley,

All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings; present from ex mum-in-law.

Waking up to a much warmer day on Saturday I decided to have a chill out day. I finished my book whilst eating my breakfast. After feeding the birds; I showered and dressed drove to 'Home Bargains' to pick up some bird food supplies. I saw a blackbird this morning perched on our glass recycling container. She had a piece of twig/grass/straw in her beak and was dipping it in the rainwater which collects on the recycling container. She then jumped down behind it. I  wondered was she was softening the twig/straw/grass for nest building and if so was the nest in my garden? You may remember we has a nesting blackbird before who laid two clutches but only one lot fledged. I always leave mealworms out beside the glass recycling container and a female blackbird is always the first one to appear and start eating them. I have no way of knowing whether it's the same one but I do hope so!

All items charity shopped. Jeans by Next. Top; no label, polo neck with added sparkle by Tu. Boots also charity shopped and all from Barnardo's.

Sorry about the smalls drying in the other photo; here's one without...

Earrings from eBay and other jewellery charity shopped. Two more pairs of earrings arrived from eBay on Saturday.

Have you ever heard of or tasted mangold wurzel? When I was out walking on Wednesday I walked past a mangold wurzel field. There were loads lying about so I picked one up and put it in my rucksack. Stealing, I know but would the farmer miss one mangold wurzel? I knew they were grown for animal feed but I wasn't sure if they were edible for humans. Professor Google informed me they were related to beets and they could be cooked or shredded into salads. I peeled and sliced the mangold wurzel up when I got home; tasted it raw and then boiled some with water and a bit of salt. I'd prefer it shredded in a salad but I doubt I'll ever bother again. Still one has to be open to new experiences...

When I got up on Sunday it was bright and the sun was out. The weekend had definitely warmed up from in the week and I hoped it would continue. I had to go to Iceland to pick up a couple of things; on the way back I decided to walk along the river to the marina and then home. I walked 5.4 miles; there were lots of people about. The river is a popular place for people to walk and picnic and generally hang out. I met another walking friend and we had a socially distanced catch up.

Except for the boots (Sainsbury's sale) everything I'm wearing is from a charity shop; jeans as Saturday's outfit; top by Oasis and blazer by Next which I've had for a good few years. I did put it in the charity shop pile once but rescued it and I'm glad I did.

Ring from Sainsbury's but all other jewellery and the belt was charity shopped.

It was the Spring Equinox on Sunday and I watched to see when the sun set. At 6pm it was still light but when I remembered to look again around 30 minutes later it was dark! Still it means we'll have longer days as it will get dark later and I'm all for that. We watched 'Line of Duty' on Sunday evening which will be our regular Sunday evening viewing for the next 7 weeks.
Monday started out bright and sunny but after I'd dropped the grandson to school, the clouds arrived and stayed all day; making it both gloomy and cold. I had plenty to do indoors but I did go into town to the bank and to the post office to post some books off to my son. I also spent a chilly half hour outside holding the ladder while the masonry in the gable was painted. Monday was also a year to the day we began our first lockdown across the UK.  I would have never thought one year on we would still be in a lockdown! Only one more week to go before things begin to ease. We watched 'Unforgotten' in the evening - the penultimate episode. I have to make a correction; I stated in a previous post the theme tune to this series was by Agnes Obel; and it was through hearing it I investigated Agnes Obel's music further. In fact, Agnes Obel's song 'Riverside' was the theme tune to a TV programme called 'Next of Kin'.

I wore this outfit to the food bank on Tuesday. Everything charity shopped except the boots from Sainsbury's. Thermal tights, skirt by Next; poloneck by John Lewis and the cardigan's label had been cut out; it is 100% wool and very warm. We observed a 2 minute silence at 12 noon to remember all those who died with Covid 19; may they all rest in peace.

All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings from eBay.

Tuesday was bright with sunny spells and it was much warmer at 11.5 degrees and pleasantly warm in the sun. I wanted to go for a walk when I got back from the food bank but I was pretty tired after a full on morning and I've learned to listen to my body. I did walk into to town for a few errands. The painting of the front of the house was finally finished. I bought online a new letterbox and some new door numbers to put on the freshly painted front. Just two windows at the back left to paint and I also decided I wanted the back wall painted in the same pale grey as the masonry at the front. By the time I post this I hope it will all be finished.

I was very pleased to hear the clunk of a parcel landing on the mat on Wednesday morning. I knew it was my new letterbox plate -  but imagine my disappointment when I opened the outer packaging to find that the fleur de lys on one end of the letter box had snapped off. The letter box plate was made of cast iron and it may have snapped when the postman lobbed it through the gaping hole that was our letterbox - or it may have happened in transit. It was very carefully wrapped, but what a disappointment. 

I wore this swapping brown boots my walking boots when I went out for a 6.5 mile walk along the river to Great Denham and Biddenham. Everything charity shopped; dress by Zara; red top by Primarni and  brown boots all bought at Barnardos.

All jewellery charity shopped.

On the way back from my walk I deviated from the usual route and spied two new blue plaques on a road called Spenser Road. There must be 30 blue plaques now in and around Bedford that I'm aware of. I must re walk my blue plaque walk one day and do a recount. The Stannards were a Bedfordshire family of watercolour painters. I looked their work up online; Theresa's work I didn't like very much; being very chocolate boxy. I did, however, like the work of Henry John Stannard; especially his boat yard scenes.

As it was Thursday it was time to do the weekly food and supplies shop. I went to the Sharnbrook farm shop for coal and kindling and then to Pells; the other farm shop for fruit and veg. I had a quick look at plants while I was there but resisted temptation. The back of the house was being painted and I couldn't get to the plant pots even if I wanted to... I also went to Lidl and Aldi and popped around the corner to my Sainsbury's Local for OH's sausages and bacon. It rained on off from midday onwards so I didn't bother going for out for a walk. I'll make up for it over the next few days. The few rain free days we'd had would have dried the ground out a bit, but with Thursday's quite heavy showers I can't be sure and won't know till I venture across a field again.

Skirt by New Look; replacement present from OH who sliced the original one when chopping logs in the garden! Cashmere jumper by F&F; German label shirt underneath, both charity shopped. I wore animal print boots but you can't see them as my skirt covered them. All jewellery was charity shopped. I think I'm cursed with these skirts; this one got masonry paint on it. I washed it but the paint was still there...

I had a pottering about sort of day on Friday. It rained a lot which put me off walking but it got quite nice around 3.30pm. By that time I'd done a wash; cleaned out the fire and relaid it; put a box of finished books out on the front wall for people to take; reorganised my baking shelf and made a macaroni cheese for dinner and a boiled fruit cake. I continued reading Angus Wilson's 'Late Call'. I have several of his books on my shelves and am reading my way through them. There are quite a few gaps on my book shelves so when I return to rummaging I won't feel guilty buying more books!

I wore this for pottering about; jeans by M&Co, top by Per Una, long sleeved top underneath by Lily & Me; cardigan has no label. All charity shopped. Boots by Primarni. All jewellery charity shopped. Apart from highlighter, blusher and lipstick I didn't bother with any other make-up. Today the schools broke up for the Easter Holidays. Middle grandson had been having mock GCSE exams all week and was looking forward to some downtime.

I went walking on both Saturday and Sunday, walking 6.4 miles on Saturday and 5.5 miles on Sunday with my daughter. I wore jeans and jumpers for walking so didn't bother taking photographs.  I spotted my first cowslips on Saturday's walk.

Monday 29th March was the day when we could at last start to met others outside; sticking to the rule of 6 or two households. No longer was the message 'stay home' but 'stay local'. Outdoor sports could resume. We have had two households all the way through the lockdown; we had been in a bubble with my daughter's household, as I child mind the youngest grandson. However, Monday's changes meant I'd be able to meet up with my brothers and my cousin very soon. Yay! Plans have been made and agreed...

Also on Monday, I went back to Barnardo's but to the Kempston shop. The manager at the Great Denham branch was moving to the Kempston shop, which has to be at least four times larger; it sells furniture so that should give you an idea of the difference in size. I spent the time assembling clothes rails and filling them with clothes that were hung on hangers and tagged. I wasn't able to buy anything as the tills weren't operational - just as well; I could have brought quite a few things home with me! .

 The weather started out cool and windy but developed into warm, sunny and windy. It was interesting to see so many more people out and about; whether that was the weather (!) or the easing of the lockdown rules, I couldn't say, I wore this outfit and didn't bother with a jacket. Everything charity shopped. African print trousers; homemade, top by Next and cardigan is a Canadian label. Boots also charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Watched the final episode of 'Unforgotten' on Monday evening - tears were shed. 

Back at the foodbank on Tuesday and did the usual. The weather was glorious; it felt like summer had arrived! The new letter box plate arrived or rather I went to the sorting office to collect it, as an attempted delivery was made whilst I was at the charity shop on Monday. Unfortunately, the letter box in the door needed to be made larger to accommodate the new letter box plate and that won't happen until the weekend. I'll show you photos in my next post by which time we'll have entered yet another phase of our easing out of lockdown...


  1. Vronni, first of all I must apologise as I seemed to have missed your previous post somehow. Belated Happy Birthday!
    I understand your feelings about wearing glasses. I had to wear them from the age of six and hated it with a vengeance. Mine were the awful, ugly NHS frames back then. Shudder. Yours look very stylish!
    Good news about your lockdown restrictions being lifted. We are slowly getting through our vaccinations up here so we may be able to follow you soon.
    More gorgeous outfits for me to envy in this post. My favourite is the jeans, blazer and Oasis top. Very stylish yet casual xx

    1. No, need to apologise JayCee but thank you all the same! As a child mine were the horrible pale pink NHS ones, too - hated them.
      Good news about getting through your vaccinations.

  2. Lots of lovely outfits as usual. I know what you mean about Unforgotten - I loved the series but the last episode was watched with tears streaming down my face.

    1. Thank you,
      Monday evenings won't be the same without it!

  3. How exciting to have all that painting nearly done! What a shame about your new plate, that it broke in transit!

    I'm in awe as always at the amount of walking you do, Vronni! Trudging through all the muddy highways and byways sounds exhausting.

    Love your outfits, especially that lovely Zara dress, the long skirt (oh no about the paint!) and ha ha, the Canadian cardigan!

    I'm so glad you can work in the warehouse without masks - how wonderful that everyone's had their jabs! I should be able to book mine in the next few weeks, fingers crossed. We've had huge surges here, however (gah, young people, you are not invincible!), and while we can still meet up to 10 of the same people outdoors, all the restaurants have now been shut for in-person dining. Sigh.

    Good to see you, and always love reading your posts. :) Take care, my dear! Happy Easter to you and hope you get to see more of your family soon!

    1. Thank you, Sheila,

      Shame about your restaurants - you'll miss your brunches!
      The thing is that young people do believe they're invincible. I do hope you get your jab soon.

  4. I'm glad to hear restrictions are slowly being released in the UK. It must be such a relief that so many of you have had there jabs. I still haven't got the slightest idea when I will get mine. The vaccination situation here is lamentable, to say the least. Even Jos hasn't been invited for his yet, and he's in his 70s. Consequently, we are yet again in some kind of lockdown :-(
    You surely did a lot of walking these past weeks. I'm hearing you on trudging through those muddy ploughed fields, though!
    It took me long time to take to my glasses. My long vision eyesight starting deteriorating in my late teens, and by my mid-twenties it started to get so bad that I needed glasses. I only wore them inside for the longest time. I had contact lenses for years, but went back to glasses in the early noughties. Now I am wearing them full time!
    As always, it was lovely to see your colourful outfits. I particularly love the pink and red trousers combined with flower print tunics, and the Zara dress with the red top. The New Look maxi skirt is gorgeous too. So sorry you got masonry paint on it :-( xxx

    1. Thank you, Ann
      I am very surprised at the slow rate of vaccinations in Belgium and can only pray that it speeds up for both Jos and you. I'm sorry to hear about your return to a kind of lockdown..

      I have myopia in one eye and long sightedness in the other so my eyes compensate for each other. That's probably why I manage not to have to wear them out of doors. I do sometimes wear them outside and I always wear them driving when its dark as they have anti glare coating on the lens.

  5. I'm so happy to hear the lockdown has been lifted and that you can begin returning to a more typical life. I won't say normal because who knows what that will look like now?
    Love these outfits so much, but especially the African print trousers-they're beautiful. I have walked through muddy ploughed fields and you're right-it is quite the effort to manage.
    Hope the new letter box works out well after all the effort. Have a happy Easter.

    1. Thanks, Goody.

      Yes, what will be the new normal? I can see the social distancing carrying on for a while and possibly the masks...

  6. Nicola walker is such a brilliant actress, she made me cry in Spooks, too!
    It sounds like the house painting is coming on a treat, we've got to wait until July fro both the new door and the upstairs windows to be painted, you're so lucky. The letterbox sounds like a right palava, Can't wait to see it when it is fitted.
    I wonder what this big announcement Bojo has planned for Monday?
    Great outfits as always, loving the ones featuring the replacement New Look skirt and the Zara dress.
    Those paperbacks have gorgeous covers, I'd have them off the chazza shop shelves for the covers alone.
    Have a fab week ahead and don't forget your thermals! xxx

    1. Thank you, Vix!

      I didn't know about the announcement but will be agog - I hope it's good news!

      That series by Colin Cotterill does indeed have lovely covers and I've chosen books just for their covers and haven't been disappointed either! Whatever happened to 'don't judge a book by its cover?

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  8. I am in awe of how much walking you do, I've been trying to get out and about now the evenings are lighter as walking is about all I can do right now! I can't wait to see the finished door and new letterbox it sounds lovely.

  9. what you call cowslips has a much more poetic name in german: "himmelschlüssel" - heaven´s key :-D
    how cool to try the mangold wurzel! of cause there are much more edibles out there then the avarage supermarket has in it.... we buy our potatoes directly on the farm that produces them - complete with dirt. they have cows too and sell fresh raw milk via an automat - its the best tasting and digestible milk ever.
    of cause i walked plouged and wet fields - its like the walking in a nightmare. thankfully we have enough forest paths here, so actually we can avoid it most of the time. especially with my rotten knees.
    love your homemade african print trousers - the whole look! the black&white pattern mixing is fabulous too!
    will you show your fresh painted house??

    1. Thank you, Beate!

      That is a brilliant name in German for cowslips - I much prefer 'heaven's key'.

      Yes, I will post photos of the newly painted house on my next blog post.

  10. Oh Vronni, I’m loving seeing you in jeans! And all your spring florals and nice blazers have made some super outfits.
    It’s so nice that you enjoyed your brother’s online concert, what a treat that was.
    Eyes are fickle but amazing bits of kit! If you’re fine without glasses to do the important stuff like driving then that’s marvelous. I’ve been shortsighted since I was 20 and need glasses for distance and I have bad cataracts which doesn’t help. However, in the last year or so I have seen an amazing improvement in my distance vision, so much so that I found myself driving out of the doctor’s car park the other day without my glasses on! So I guess vision is continually in a state of flux.
    Higs Mary x

    1. Thank you, Mary.

      I hope you are on the waiting list to get your cataracts done...

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  12. Glad that you don't have to wear a mask in the Food Bank, this makes me feel hopeful, as it means that things are improving.
    I think you look fab in your glasses, they're elegant and cool. I've met some people who hate to wear their glasses, as they had to wear them since childhood. Totally understand this, even if I only had to wear mine since my twenties.
    Love your tunics over bright colour trousers, so stunning ensembles and delightful accessories. I've never heard of these faux polo necks, so amazing!.
    Looking fab in your new hairstyle too!.
    Lovely to read about your walks (despite the muddy paths) and see some blue plaques. I've never heard of a painting being very chocolate boxy, it's so accurate! (and witty!). Your adventure trying the mangold wurzel has put a smile on my face too. They actually look like beetroot, so not a bad idea! ;DD. I'm also a huge fan of real vegetables (sometimes with earth on them!) directly from the farm when possible.
    You look fab in jeans, and I'm glad that you rescued the jacket from the charity shop pile, its subtle animal print is really cool!. Also lovely in black and white, with the cute floral cardigan. And I love particularly your red dress, such a beautiful pattern and cute shape.
    Sorry that the replacement skirt was also damaged, so unlucky!.
    Lovely that you look so adorable even in your pottering attire, and wearing some fab jewellery!. I always love your necklaces!. And also love your african trousers!
    Hope that the painting of your house looks fine and that you can install the new letter box plate in its place. Looking forward to see it!

    1. Monica, thank you!

      The faux polo necks are very useful....!

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