Tuesday, 8 June 2021

I think it might be summer - at last!

 Hello again!

We really enjoyed our trip to the cinema last Monday evening; even though we started out at the wrong cinema and had to hop in the car and drive to the other cinema venue! I'd got so used to walking into town to the cinema I'd almost forgotten there were two cinemas. There were only about 12 people in total in the cinema we finally arrived at; all well socially distanced. I was so glad not to have to wear a mask throughout the screening. We really enjoyed the film (Nomadland) even though not a lot happened. It seems we have our own tribe of RV (recreational vehicle) dwellers here in the UK; according to a recent Guardian article HERE.

Tuesday's outfit - practical for the foodbank and swimming in the afternoon. I wear minimal makeup and remove it just before swimming; my costume is on under my clothes.  I thought we might be able to have showers at the pool since the further easing of restrictions on the 17th May but not so far. Everything charity shopped; jeans by Next; top by M&S; cardigan had a Canadian label but I cut it out as it was irritating my skin. I bought myself a pair of white pumps from Primarni in anticipation of wearing them with summer dresses - if the weather ever becomes summery!

Another colleague returned to the food bank on Tuesday and intends to carry on; that will make 4 volunteers and 1 manager there on Tuesdays on a weekly basis. Occasionally, the warehouse manager is in on a Tuesday as well. The plan is for all the volunteers to return by September, but I know several of the original ones won't be returning.

Although I booked as soon as I could there were no places left on the Rambler's Wednesday walk. It's one of the things I dislike most about the pandemic; having to book everything. It does reduce the joy of spontaneity. I thought I might go for a walk by myself later in the day but never made it. The weather forecast said no rain but I just didn't trust it!


Everything charity shopped. Trousers by Wallis; jacket by Classic; top by Miss Look and yellow shoes charity shopped in Donegal.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Wednesday was pretty busy. I went to the hairdressers in the morning and then went to Home Bargains to buy yet more bird food supplies and a couple of household bits. I came home and walked into town to get my eyebrows done and run a couple of errands.  On the way back from town I stopped at the food charity and bought some flowers; stocks and lisianthus.

I cleaned out the fire and relaid it ready to light when OH got in from work. Our weather forecast was showing warmer and sunnier weather from Thursday. I was hoping I wouldn't need to buy anymore coal as supplies were running low and it would mean I could save some money. We don't normally light the fire this late in the year. I spent time in the afternoon catching up with blogs; I booked next week Rambler's walk and I tried to book for cousin Marian and I to go and visit 'The Red House' in Bexleyheath. I was hoping to take Marian there as a birthday treat in June, but the National Trust seemed to be releasing booking dates only one or two days ahead at a time. 'The Red House' is the Arts and Crafts home of William and Jane Morris who were central to the 'Pre-Raphaelite' movement in the 19th century.

The long awaited change in the weather on Thursday was remarkable. It was warm and sunny with the temperatures peaking at 19 degrees in the afternoon. I did the food shopping in the morning (Lidl and Aldi). I decided to make the most of the warm sunshine and go for a good walk rather than a swim. I'd also had my hair done the day before and wanted to keep it looking nice longer than a day! The walk was wonderful; 8 miles across fields. I saw brimstone and peacock butterflies; rabbits; a pheasant, three partridges and red kite eating carrion on the ground. It flew away with the carrion in its mouth when it saw me but dropped it. The air was full of the sound of birdsong.

There were several of these flowers in one particular area on my walk. I looked them up when I got back and they're Salsify. I believe you can eat the root.

Trousers by Whistles charity shopped somewhere; top Bedford Market; 1.00 rail and Mary Janes by Clarks also charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped.

On my way over to the starting point for my walk; I spied this in a skip and rescued it!

A radiator cover. It has a little hole in it but I can disguise that. I knew it would fit my bedroom radiator and it's now given me an extra shelf for storage.

On Friday, I got up very early and set out for Kettering. My youngest brother, Tony, was having an angiogram and stents inserted into his heart. I took him to hospital and picked him up 8 hours later having had two stents inserted. All done through his wrist; it's astonishing really. He watched the video replay of his heart's blood flow prior to the insertion of the stents and after. He said the difference was amazing. Our NHS is truly wonderful. He's back to work on Monday! I stayed over  in case of any issues, but was back in Bedford by 8.45 am on Saturday which was another lovely, warm sunny day.

Everything charity shopped except the animal print faux clogs which are from Sainsbury's. I got £5.00 off as I had 5.00 worth of vouchers. Orange trousers from F&F bought from my Barnardos as was the turquoise paisley top.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I met up with my daughter and walked the walk I'll be leading  in two weeks time. It was only 5 miles but such a pleasure walking in the warmth of the sun. We met a few frisky horses in a field; luckily they were fenced off from us. I love them, but they're so bloody big close up!  I spent the rest of the day preparing for a trip to the seaside on Sunday with the two grandsons. I had to dig out my as yet unused wicker picnic basket (bought from my Barnardos) out of the under stairs cupboard and my cool bag. All the picnic cutlery and crockery needed to be washed and I put ice packs in the freezer for the cool bag. I walked into town to buy individual cold drinks and snacks for a picnic. I cooked chicken pieces for the grandson and made filled  rolls, coleslaw and salad as well. I made lemon pesto chicken for dinner and then we settled down to watch the cup final. I didn't, I'm not very interested in football. My three brothers are all Chelsea fans so they had all been looking forward to it. Instead I finished the last in the sequence of Barbara Pym books I have and now have to fill the gap with the missing books before I read any more. I like to read things in the right sequence where I can. I picked up three new books in Kettering when I was there on Friday having a rummage and waiting for the brother to phone me; I also found a couple of necklaces and a bangle.

The few days of sunshine have brought changes in the garden. The rhododendron bloomed at last as did the irises. The dahlias, too.

There are quite a few purple flowering plants; alliums, sinetti, delphiniums, lavender, wallflowers and although you can't see it clearly in this photo there is a periwinkle which smothers the back wall lower down; and higher up there is some campanula.

The flower chair. I still haven't painted it but can't quite make my mind up; I like the weathered look of the wood...

Sweet William

On Sunday, my daughter and I took the two grandsons to the seaside.  When the two older grandchildren were younger this was a yearly ritual on May bank holiday weekend. We went to Hunstanton, Norfolk;  a Victorian seaside town which is our nearest seaside;  just under 90 miles away. We couldn't find anywhere to park when we got there so drove a mile or so up the road to Old Hunstanton beach. There were no amusement arcades or rides or 'Sea Life' here; just a cafe selling seaside paraphernalia and ice creams. We found a spot on the beach and ate our picnic. The grandsons and I walked down to the sea which was very far out and had a paddle. We played ball games on the sand then went to get a ice cream. When we finished our ice creams it was time to go home and we drove back in two hours. There was traffic on the way there and back; in fact I haven't seen traffic like it since pre Covid-19 days. Things really were returning to normal!

I wore this to the charity shop on Monday. The shop isn't particularly warm so the fact I was wearing tights when the temperatures were 21 degrees outside didn't matter. Everything was charity shopped. The pinafore dress; a little bit too big, was from F&F via the 3:16 charity shop. I couldn't be bothered to find something else to wear. Tights and shoes can't remember; and the top is a regular in my outfits.

All jewellery charity shopped.

On Tuesday the fuschias had bloomed.

This was what I wore to the foodbank. Trousers by H&M; top by Next;  both charity shopped   Black kimono present from my daughter and white pumps from Primarni.

All jewellery charity shopped. The necklace I found in a Kettering charity shop last Friday is by Coast.

It was actually warm in the food bank; unsurprising as the outside temperature rose to 24 degrees by the time I finished at 12. I went swimming in the afternoon and did my 40 laps; it was a bit of a struggle as it had been almost a week since I last swam. I had the swimming lane to myself for the last 20 minutes; except for 3 young lads who were just mucking about and not really lane swimming.

Another glorious day on Wednesday and perfect for the day's plan which was to visit sister-in-law Dawn; who moved back to Birmingham where she lived previously for 41 years and raised her children there. Her new home is across the road from this and this was the view from her living room window:

Blakesley Hall, Yardley.

Thought to have been built in 1590 by Richard Smalbroke; a member of one of Birmingham's leading merchant families. Blakesley Hall is a museum and under normal circumstances open to visitors. Unfortunately, it hadn't reopened since the first lockdown but next time I visit  Dawn we have both said we'd like to have a look around and a cup of tea in the tea rooms. There was a brief shower about 6.30 pm which cooled things down a bit; the temperature gauge in my car said 27 degrees as we drove home from Birmingham. This was what I wore and I didn't need the denim jacket at all!

Pumps as above; both jacket and dress charity shopped but cannot remember where. The last time I wore this dress was last September when we went to spend the day with my son.

All jewellery charity shopped.

It was very nostalgic visiting Birmingham again. It was about 10 years since I last visited and that was for a work related training course. I did a Clinical Nurse Teaching course between 1984 -1985 at Birmingham Polytechnic and did my teaching practise at Kings's Norton, Monyhull Hospital and in Kidderminster. I stayed with Dawn whilst I did the course travelling back to Bedford at the weekend; and my children went to school there for a year.

Thursday was warm and sunny. We've had a week of continuously warm and sunny weather and I've  enjoyed it so much. Just put on a dress and some footwear and I'm done. 

Everything charity shopped. The shoes came from a Redruth charity shop. The dress was bought last year from Vinted; an online secondhand buy and sell site. I had my swimming costume on underneath because it was Thursday  -  shopping and swimming day.

My new routine on Thursday is to get up early and do the food shopping as early as I can. As we hadn't lit the fire in over a week and hopefully wouldn't need to again until Autumn; there's no longer the need to go to Sharnbrook to buy coal and kindling. I finished the shopping by 11am and had a few hours free before I went swimming. I unpacked the shopping, hung out a wash and a did a second one as I had popped into Barnardo's and Keech in Great Denham and picked up a top (in Keech) and a kimono; some more books and some jigsaws for Hilary. I'm going to spend a weekend with her in Devon in a fortnight's time. I usually bring her books (she reads mostly non-fiction) and since lockdown she has a acquired a jigsaw habit...better than cocaine I suppose!

All jewellery charity shopped.

I swam 40 laps in the afternoon. I thought about a morning booking for next week's swim then I could get ready and do the shopping and have the remainder of the day free. Updated to say I had to leave this for another week as the boiler was due for its annual service the following Thursday and I would have to wait in for the engineer.

Friday was very different to the week of sunny weather we'd had. It was a lot cooler and rained for most of the day. I'd hoped to go for a long walk but the rain put paid to that. I decided to go for a long walk on Sunday weather permitting, instead. OH and I wanted to go for a rummage on Saturday. I went into town on Friday morning as I had several errands to run; to Boots, the Caribbean supermarket for seasonings and coconut cream and to drop a small bag of donations off to the 3:16 charity shop.

Everything charity shopped except the palazzo pants which were bought from Bedford Market last summer. Jacket by Fenn, Wright and Manson; top bought from Keech on Wednesday and the Sea Salt clogs bought in a Devon charity shop.

All jewellery charity shopped.


When I got back home a leaflet had been delivered about milk deliveries by a milkman. I went online and set up a thrice weekly milk delivery in an attempt to cut down on my plastic footprint.  If you're interested (it's a national scheme) see HERE. My trip to Boots was also an attempt to cut down on plastic waste; buying some solid shampoo bars they had on special offer. I've found the online buying of solid shampoo bars quite pricey. I'm using my second solid shampoo bar now;  but they were both sample size and were pretty small. I still use my purple toning liquid shampoo and conditioner for silver hair about once a month; when those bottles are used up I won't bother anymore. On my way back from town I stopped at the local food charity and bought some flowers.

On Saturday one of the clematis had bloomed!
It was another lovely sunny day with temperatures between 22 and 23 degrees. OH and I drove to Buckinghamshire to Aylesbury and then on to Leighton Buzzard for a rummage.

Jacket bought from a Beales sale many years ago.

First wearing of this dress; bought from Vinted during the first lockdown. Also wearing for the first time; although you can hardly see them some material Mary Janes with a pale blue platform; charity shopped in Penzance. I needed a bit of height to stop the dress dragging on the ground. The shoes were not a good idea. My feet swell in the heat and I had the imprint of the shoe material and very sore feet all evening!

All jewellery charity shopped; also hat and sunglasses.

OH found loads of stuff. I bought a meat plate (at last); a bowl to put our keys in; a bangle; a ring and a pair of black lightweight trousers to replace a linen pair I had to donate. I would have liked another linen pair but couldn't find any black ones in my size. I'll keep looking...I found one Barbara Pym book but I already had it. We were both satisfied with our day; stopping for tea and cake in Leighton Buzzard before we set off for home. We spent Saturday evening watching the beginning of the second series of 'Thicker Than Water' a Swedish drama from 'Walter Presents'. We've also continued watching 'The Great British Sewing Bee' and it's the semi final this week. 

I walked 10 miles on Sunday; meeting up with my daughter after 2 miles. Another warm but cloudy day. I cooked dinner for OH and both grandsons and did the upstairs cleaning and mopping of floors. Waking a bit stiff on Monday morning after the walk the day before I was thrilled to see 2 goldfinches of my bird seed feeder. I've only seen 1 before on the feeder and it was a long time ago. I do hope they become regular visitors. Then whilst hanging out the whites wash when I got back from Barnardos in the afternoon; I saw a blackcap on my neighbours roof singing its heart out. The neighbour also has starlings nesting in a hole just under her gutter and the parents and young are regular but very noisy visitors to the bird feeders in my garden.

I wore this outfit to Barnardos. Dress charity shopped in the Daycare Hospice Shop it says made in India but there is no manufacturers name;  denim jacket by Next; charity shopped a very long time ago and faux clogs by Tu from Sainsburys retail. My feet needed comfortable shoes after Saturday's exploits and Sunday's walking.

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings bought by OH for me  in Oxford market.

I bought myself another pair of plimsolls/pumps and an orange skirt in Barnardo's. I did two washes and both were dried and put away by the evening. Another wonderful thing about the brilliant weather we've had.

For a change it was really warm at the food bank on Tuesday! Everything was charity shopped. Linen trousers by Next; shirt and kimono bought on recent rummages. Shoes bought in Sainsbury's sale.

All jewellery charity shopped.
The garden has blooms in abundance. Bottom right; pansies from the garden on my hall table. Bottom left; this delphinium has many flowers. The other delphinium hasn't so much as a bud on it and it's not as tall; I moved its position in the garden to see if that would make a difference. Top right; we have quite a lot of dianthus in both back and front garden and its all doing so well. I can't wait for the sweet peas to bloom and then I'll have bunches in the house filling the air with their beautiful fragrance. 

I've got a busy week ahead of me. I'm going for a meal and a catch up with Ann on Thursday evening; one of my two best friends, we've known each other for 33 years. On Friday I'm off to Kew Gardens with cousin Marian and her daughter and I hope to meet up with another friend for a catch up in London on Friday evening. I'll need the weekend to recover after that! I haven't forgotten about the earrings; I have, in fact, made one pair so far and will show you when I've made a few more.

See you on the other side when it may be back to normal or it may not - watch this space...


  1. Some lovely outfits, Vronni! Particularly loving the hippy maxi dress, the tie-dyed one and the snakeskin print with the denim jacket. The hat really suits you.
    Hasn't the weather been amazing? I love that my washing dries so quickly, I actually go round the house looking for things to wash just because i love to see a line of washing pegged out!
    The garden is looking glorious, love all your pots.
    I'd love to visit Kew Gardens. I've not heard of Blakesley Hall, it looks gorgeous, what a shame it was closed.
    The National Trust opens up for bookings for the next week just after midnight every Friday, I'm usually online just after 7am when there's usually lots of places left.
    Lush do free delivery for orders over £45 so I usually ask friends if they need anything first as we're all Lush fans.
    Have a fabulous week ahead! xxx

    1. Thank you, Vix!

      I'll be booking more NT visits once OH starts his 3 day week in July, I hope!

      Kew was fabulous!

  2. looove all the maxi dresses! every piece is special and chic and all of them suit you so well - you look fabulous!
    and you wore some wonderful patterns - especially flowers - which give your pretty garden flowers a run for their money ;-D
    happy to hear you had some trips to enjoy!

    1. Thank you, Beate. We're lucky it's been summer dresses weather...

  3. Oh, I'm jealous of your warm weather! I love all your outfits, and in particular: the chunky turquoise necklace, the black and white outfit and your maxi dresses! Each one was better than the last. Sorry that your new platforms hurt your feet (I've been wearing my Swedish clogs around the house to break them in ), but "flat-forms" are the way to go with long flowy dresses.

    Your garden is looking so lovely (I like the bare, unpainted chair) and I enjoy hearing about all your mini-vacays! Here's to things looking somewhat normal again! Take care, my dear!

    1. Thank you Sheila, the weather remains lovely...

      I still have the marks of the strap from those shoes embedded in my foot a week later, Sheila, I think I'll be re-donating them. I have wide feet and not all shoes are a comfortable fit.

  4. Hasn't the weather been marvellous? Like ours, your garden is going from strength to strength, so many flowers blooming at once! My Delphinium, bought as a budding plant, is blooming its heart out, while the other one I planted as a small plant has all but disappeared.
    Wonderful round-up of outfits, as usual. My favourite must be the dress you bought from Vinted, followed by the palazzo pants and orange top.
    I too find the lack of spontaneity one of the hardest things of the pandemic, and having to book everything kind of spoils it for me, so more often than not we end up not doing very much at all.
    Do enjoy your busy week ahead, a visit to Kew Gardens sounds like music to my ears. xxx

    1. Thank you, Ann.

      The visit to Kew was wonderful. It's strange my delphiniums are the same except the runty one is growing well but no blooms so far! They were bought together, too.

  5. Your garden is looking beautiful. I'm glad the warm weather finally arrived.
    You can indeed eat salsify root. It needs a bit of treating by peeling and soaking in acidulated water to keep the colour from turning brown, but otherwise it is rather easy to manage. They call it a false-oyster and is used in recipes where you'd want oysters. I made it once with some cream sauce, but it was unremarkable.

    Have a wonderful time at Kew.

    1. Thank you, Goody. I'd read about Salsify in American books but I don't think I'll be bothering to try it. I didn't particularly like the mangel wurzel I found in a field last year!

      Kew was fab!

  6. Booking everything does kill the spontaneity somewhat - tho Pete and I are such homebodies booking things is a good way to force ourselves out; we can't change our minds. It must be really annoying when it comes to the walks, though.

    Hunstanton's your nearest beach? It must be a long drive for you. Family in Norfolk have mentioned the coast there is getting very busy again.

    If you're online with Milk & More, they're great. We've been having milk (and juice in glass bottles) deliveries for many years now. Probably saved a small hill of plastic in that time. And there's never any fear of running out of milk.

    Your friend has an amazing view!

  7. Thanks Mim. I can see how booking in advance and paying for it; encourages you to go out somewhere. I'm the same with swimming and booking.

    Our milk delivery is by 'The Modern Milkman'; I find I enjoy washing out the milk bottles for some strange reason!


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 ...