Tuesday, 30 November 2021

London visit; a birthday; snow and Omnicron!


I can't believe how quickly the fortnight goes by and before I know it, it's time to post on my blog again...

The top was bought from the 1.00 rail at Barnardos last Monday. It's by Manteray and what I like about it it's fully reversible. The other side is blue striped and both sides have pockets! Jeans by Next; charity shopped as was the scarf; boots online retail. Not much jewellery as I didn't bother with ring and bangle or even a necklace - see below why...

The walks I led on Wednesday (7 miles) and Thursday (5 miles) were well attended and enjoyed by everyone including me. We had truly brilliant weather on Wednesday; warm and sunny with just a small breeze. When we stopped for our break we were basking in warm sunshine - in the middle of November! The weather was equally as good on the Thursday walk but it was breezier and became cloudier as the day went on. I wore what I have on in the photo above on Thursday; just added walking boots and socks and wore my new to me red showerproof jacket. Thursdays are busy days and I wanted to be able to go straight out to do the shopping once I'd finished leading the walk. Shopping done I went to collect a parcel from the sorting office only to find they couldn't find it! It was a book from Amazon that I'd ordered with the balance I had left on a giftcard and this book was the last copy available. I was told a manager would investigate and get back to me. I made a vegan Shepherd's Pie which was ok but I don't think I'd make it again. My daughter really enjoyed it though!

I picked up a Lidl veg box for 1.50. It's very good value for money. It had a cauliflour, a leek, a punnet of mushrooms; a swede; 3 lettuces; half a dozen small potatoes, 4 bananas and 8 oranges. I'd bought bananas, a cauliflour and mushrooms in the weekly shop; they alone cost more than 1.50. I just took them off the conveyor belt and gave them back to the checkout guy. The veg boxes are by the furthest checkout and easy to miss if you don't know where they are. I got the last one left on Thursday and now I know where to look in future. If there's too much for OH and I, I can always share with daughter and daughter-in-law. I didn't think we would use the lettuces so I put them back in the box once it was emptied out and left it outside side the front door with a sign saying 'FREE' - someone took them!

I love the colours of the trees at this  time of year; the colours seem to be lasting longer this year than they usually do. I took this photo just around the corner from me. The fence you can see behind the trees is a block of flats that has been 7 years in the building and it's still not completed! There has been no activity for weeks. The flats are complete; they have windows and an entrance has been put in but there is still brickwork to finish at groundfloor level; of course I have no idea what the interior of the building looks like. I can only assume that the builders keep running out of money; hence the stop start progress
I had booked a swimming session for Friday morning at 9.30 pm. I was so pleased with myself as I broke my own record and swam 48 laps in 60 minutes. 48 laps is 1 mile - yay!!
After coming home and getting ready properly as above I went to drop off 3 bags of charity shop donations. I went to the Sue Ryder Hospice shop as they are the only charity shop that has parking right outside the front door and the donation bags were full and heavy. I had a quick look round whilst I was there but it's a shop I rarely buy anything from as it is very overpriced in the main. From there I went to The Cat's Protection League to drop off 2 bags of cat litter the food bank had given me to donate and I had a good look around. I bought a tunic 4.00; a pair of animal print trousers 3.50;  an animal print warm scarf 1.00 and some beads 50p. I also bought a raffle ticket for an Xmas hamper; I don't know what I'd do it with it if I won it but I've only ever won a raffle twice in my 67 years so it's unlikely to happen! On both of those occasions I won bottles of alcohol.

The dress was via Vinted (online 2nd hand shopping site I used during lockdown). Brown tights and boots charity shopped. Fur trimmed poncho from my Barnardo's a few weeks ago. I also wore my few items of copper jewellery; the necklace was found in Norwich recently; I'm wearing a copper bangle (not seen) that I've had for about 15 years that was also charity shopped.

Having had an enjoyable rummage I then went to Home Bargains to pick up some bird food supplies and to Lidl again as I'd forgotten to buy olive oil...When I got home my book from Amazon had been delivered. I had no idea what was delivered on Tuesday as I wasn't expecting anything. Hopefully all would be revealed in due course.

Saturday saw a drop in temperature. OH and I went to London to see his family which was lovely; we were home by 5pm but we did find a charity shop in Harlesden. I bought a bunch of padded hangers and OH bought nothing at all...

Well wrapped up against the cold on Saturday.  Wearing animal print trousers (leisure wear I think, made of tracksuit material but very comfortable) by M&S; bought from the Cat's Protection League yesterday, as was the the animal print scarf. The animal print cross body bag was picked up last week at the Daycare Hospice shop. It was clearly an animal print day! And I almost wore animal print boots...the gloves were a present.

Animal print top by Masai; charity shopped. Boots by Papaya also charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings which were bought from e Bay.
We finished watching 'Guardian of the Castle' and will be looking for something else to watch in the evenings. I finished watching 'The Outlaws' watching the last two episodes on BBC i player.

The cold weather coninued on Sunday but it was sunny was much of the day. I love it when the weather is like this because you can always wrap up against the cold and you soon warm up when you walk. I went for a 5 mile walk in the morning and then did the usual boring housework and cooked dinner for grandsons, OH and I.

Barnardo's on Monday, where I was pleasantly surprised to see the old manager there as well as the new one. She'd come over to sort out some files. I spent the morning decoding women's wear; reducing some items; putting some items on the 1.00 rail and ragging the occasional item.

This is the tunic I bought at the Cat's Protection League on Friday. The polo by Next was bought at the street jumble for 1.00; fleece lined leggings online retail and I can't remember where the boots came from.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I spent much of what was left of the afternoon catching up with blogland; sorting out the fire and lighting it - another chilly day on Monday -  doing two whites washes and cooking dinner. OH and middle grandson went to see 'Dune' at the cinema in the evening. Youngest grandson and his mum had watched it on Saturday evening. I finished the book Vix sent me and have started on my book from Amazon - another country diary.

Off to the foodbank on Tuesday where once again it was very cold. I wore my Donegal Donkey Sanctuary knitted coat and didn't take it off at all. My hands were freezing. As demand for food parcels and hygiene packs has risen so much in recemt months I am going back to the foodbank on Thursday afternoon to help out. I can always do the shopping after I've been back to the foodbank.

Wearing trousers and boots as above. Animal print tie neck blouse was a present from daughter in law. I cannot remember where I got this man's jumper from but it's been in my cupboard for a couple of months now.

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped.

I went for a swim in the afternoon managing 45 laps or 1.5km. Then it was home to sort out the fire and refill the coal bucket; unfortunately I couldn't light the fire until OH got home as we had run out of logs and kindling. I usually light the fire around 5pm and as OH doesn't finish work until 6 pm I have been lighting it instead; except at the weekend.  I made a chicken stew for dinner which will hopefully last OH for two days. I planned to make a butternut squash and courgette bake for my daughter and I on Wednesday but needed to buy chia or flax seeds as egg substitutes in the recipe which would mean a trip to Sainsbury's after Wednesday's walk. I listened to my first ever podcast (go me!) in the evening called 'No body recovered'; a true story of a little girl's disappearance in 1977 from Cashelard in Co. Donegal. I shall be looking for more to listen to and they would be great for a long drive such as when I go to Devon or when we drive to the ferry port.

The group walk on Wednesday was from Henlow to Arlesey and back to Henlow - about 7 miles. It wasn't too cold but very misty and moisty. I took some photos of me in my walking gear; not very good ones as the light was awful but this was me ready to set off:

The rucksack was a  present from my eldest grandson; everything else was charity shopped. The red showerproof jacket was 2.00 from the Daycare Hospice shop; the thick warm trousers by Slazenger came from Barnardo's. Under the fleece I had a very warm pink merino wool top over a fleece by Cotton Traders; both charity shopped of course. The boots were also charity shops but not my walking socks. When the weather is really cold I add a beret and if it's going to be muddy I add gaiters to my trousers which protect the lower legs from mud.

I didn't need a scarf as the fleece had a high neck but I often also wear a scarf when it's cold.

 From the walk I went to Sainsbury's to buy ingredients for dinner and for the week's vegan/vegetarian dish which was a courgette and butternut squash bake. The recipe called for eggs and as my daughter only eats a plant based diet I needed to buy an egg substitute - chia seeds! Who knew? You mix them with water ro make eggs, but I'm not sure I'll need to make up chia eggs for this recipe. I said in my previous post I get the recipes from IG - that was a lie - it's actually Pinterest! I also bought some dates to make some apricot, date and nut energy balls as well. I collected youngest grandson from school; cleaned out the fire, filled the coal bucket and made dinner for both grandsons, OH and me.

Thursday is always a busy day for me but this Thursday was extra busy as I was going into the foodbank in the afternoon for a couple of hours to help out. I started out in the morning with a swim managing 46 laps (1.5km). I had a chat with a fellow swimmer who told me he was 85 and swam 16 laps everytime he came to pool. I hope I'm able to do the same if I make it to 85!

I had to go to B&M for bird supplies and popped into the Daycare Hospice shop which is close by. I found some cropped wide legged trousers in green so they came home with me.

 Thursday's outfit featured an M&S skirt and an M&S cardigan (don't know why I closed it) both from my Barnardo's. The floral top was from the vintage kilo sale and the boots were donated by my daughter. Those are footless tights charity shopped somewhere.

All jewellery charity shopped.

From B&M I went to the food bank where I made up lots and lots of hygiene bags and put the toiletries away. I was only meant to be there for an hour and a half but stayed for two and quarter hours to get everything finished. One of the managers had just come down with Covid and combined with increased demand from food bank users it was all hands to the pump to meet the demand. From the food bank I went to Lidl to do the food shopping and after unpacking it and putting it away, cleaning out and lighting the fire; I sat down for the first time at 5.45pm! Needless to say I had a late dinner... We had a surprise visitor later in the evening. Our old next door neighbour Dave popped by to say hello. It was lovely to see him and we're looking forward to visiting him and his partner when they've finished their new house renovations.

On Friday, I set off for London to go with cousin Marian to visit Kenwood House. We had a lovely day - tea and cake were involved, naturally. It wasn't too cold but as the day went on it got colder and wetter; I had dressed appropriately for the weather so all was well. I wore my OTK boots (online retail) which was like wearing extra thick tights; wide legged cropped denim jeans by; a polo under my jumper from Tu; and a head scarf to keep my head warm. I wore my yellow coatigan and a thick scarf and gloves as outer wear.

Looking very glum!

All jewellery charity shopped.

As you approached the drive to Kenwood House all the trees and bushes were lit up with different coloured laser lights; blue, purple and pink. It was quite magical.

Kenwood House, on the edge of London’s Hampstead Heath, was probably first built in the early 17th century. Between 1764 and 1779 Robert Adam transformed it into a neoclassical villa for William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield, and the interiors include some of Adam’s finest surviving schemes. Kenwood is now home to the 1st Earl of Iveagh’s renowned collection of Old Master and British paintings, which includes works by Rembrandt and Vermeer. 
The view from the back of the house on the left and below the landscaped grounds by Humphrey Repton.

The entrance

The library and the painting on the plinth is a 21st century painting of Dido Elizabeth Belle. 'Dido was the illegitimate daughter of a formerly enslaved young black woman named Maria Bell and Mansfield's nephew Sir John Lindsay. It was extremely unusual at this time for a mixed-race child to be raised not as a servant but as part of a British aristocratic family'. Dido, her cousin and her aunt lived with the Earl of Mansfield and his wife who were childless, from about 1766.


Marian and I had great fun guessing people's characters from their portraits. Marian was very offended by the poor renditions of some of the hands in the portraits. One portrait had a huge index finger of about 8 inches! I know hands are notoriously difficult to draw and paint. The English Heritage volunteers at Kenwood House were both enthusiastic and very knowledgeable.

The British aristocracy are very confusing as they have two names. Their family name - in the case of Kenwood House this was William Murray (1705 -93) but also their title (AND they can have more than one) in this case the 'Earl of Mansfield'. It is most confusing of all, I find, if you're reading an historical novel and the author refers to the person sometimes by their familial name and sometimes by their title. If you didn't know you might think they were two different characters! In the highlighted information above about Kenwood House; it also refers to the 1st Earl of Iveagh (title) who was Edward Cecil Guiness 1847-1927 (family name) heir to the Guiness fortune. He saved Kenwood House from dereliction in the 1920s and 'The Iveagh Bequest Act of 1929 stipulated that Kenwood should be open free of charge to the public with the ‘mansion and its contents … preserved as a fine example of the artistic home of a gentleman of the eighteenth century’ SOURCE

We stopped in Golders Green on the way back and had a rummage in about 5 charity shops; 4 of which were hospice shops. Most of them were very expensive and I bought nothing.

It was bloody freezing on Saturday with high winds; the result of Storm Arwen. There was talk of snow...

I'm wearing green fleece lined leggings (online retail). Zara denim dress and Zara polo underneath; also from Barnardo's. Vintage kimono/jacket via Vinted; secondhand online shop. You might recall I've been looking for a denim dress for a while. I found a maxi denim dress a few months back and last Monday found this one; I won't be wearing it  again as a dress but as a long shirt...

All jewellery charity shopped except the Art Deco earrings from Etsy - bought with birthday money last year.

We were meeting up with my brothers to celebrate Tony's 64th birthday in the evening so on Saturday morning I went into town to buy him a present. In the afternoon OH and I went for a quick rummage to Newport Pagnell; it was a very windy and cold day but we had no snow.  I bought a couple of books and a pretty jug; OH found hinself a warm, padded gilet. We set off for Kettering in the evening where we picked up my brothers and went to 'The Hare' in Loddington for a very nice meal; a drink and a catch up. No photos taken as we were all too busy chatting!

I had a really nice lie-in on Sunday morning and decided on a 'can't be arsed' outfit; one not worth taking a photo.  I also had a make up free day. I spent the best part of the morning in the kitchen making the courgette and butternut squash bake and some apricot and date energy balls. I also did the housework and then made a roast dinner for everyone. The vegan bake was ok but I wouldn't bother making it again. My daughter loved it and as there was lots leftover she took some home and some energy balls, too. It finally snowed in the afternoon. Daughter and grandson were hoping for a 'snow' day on Monday. It didn't happen but there was a hard frost; the first one this year for us. It killed off the pansies on my doorstep and the last of the buzy lizzies, too!

More change at the charity shop. The new most recent manager had been transferred to another shop and we now had the remaining deputy manager; the original manager and one new person covering the shop over 7 days. In future I could be working with any one of the 3...I really don't mind who I work with so it makes no difference to me.

This was Monday's outfit. I picked up the wide legged cropped trousers by White Stuff at the Daycare Hospice shop. The striped tee by F&F was a 1.00 rail bargain and the cardi was bought online. I also wore my yellow scarf all day for extra warmth as it was - 1 degree C when I set off for the shop and only 3 degrees when I got back home in the afternoon. Boots also charity shopped. I made soup when I got home; did a wash and sorted out the fire.

All jewellery charity shopped. Earrings from Bedford Market. We have the Barnardo's stall at the local Christmas Fair in the Community Centre on Saturday and I'll be there to help out. I'd not done the Christmas Fair before so was looking forward to it. Unlike The Boomtown Rats I really do like Mondays. I look forward to going into Barnardo's and I enjoy the feeling once I'm home again that unless I want to go out again I can stay indoors and potter about for the rest of the day!

I was very busy at the foodbank and made up loads of hygiene packs and put toiletries away. I've already been asked if I could do an hour or so Thursday afternoon as we are still two people down this week with one manager away and the other one with Covid. We were also asked to wear face masks in the picking area but luckily where I make up the hygiene bags is in the large warehouse where the doors/shutters are always open so I didn't need to. Face masks are once again mandatory in shops and on public transport thanks to the Omnicron variant of Covid.

I wore my black and red coatigan over this outfit all day but forgot to take a photo. Everything charity shopped; trousers by Yessica; jumper by Simon Jeffrey; polo underneath by H&M. Boots by Topshop and donated by my daughter.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I went for the usual Tuesday afternoon swim managing 46 laps (1.5 km). I'm walking tomorrow in a place called North Crawley which is quite close to Milton Keynes, I think. I'm hoping that our Christmas lunch for the 8th December wont be cancelled in light of the rule changes around the new variant but I'll be able to tell you when I'm back again in fortnight.

Stay safe everyone!

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

A Family Reunion...in Norwich!

Hello again!

I had a great walk on Wednesday of 7.5 miles around Sharnbrook and Souldrop;  villages about 6 or 7 miles from Bedford. We walked through quite a lot of woodland and this notice caught my eye. The woodland was cleared to provide feed for animals at London Zoo! I love that a use was found for the leaves and branches; and of course trees can grow more branches and we can grow more trees. The Colworth Estate was partnered with the Acer Conservation Trust to do this. Take note other landowners! The Colworth Estate is a science park owned and run by Unilever. After the walk I went to Aldi and Sainsbury's for some stuff for dinner and then picked up the youngest grandson. I made dinner for us all and then took him home.

Swam the usual 45 laps on Thursday morning. It was strange coming out of the pool into a chilly outside. The coldness of the weather won't deter me from swimming though. This was Thursday's outfit. Everything charity shopped. Jeans by East; top by Classic and dress worn as a kimono/jacket by Boden. I think I bought these boots online the year before last or they may be charity shopped; I just can't remember...

I went to do the weekly Lidl food shop after my swim and then came home and waited in for a couple of deliveries. I finished my book and did a wash whilst I waited. I also took in a delivery for my neighbour from one of the delivery drivers. I had a wander around the garden; we still have fuschias blooming; a stray dahlia has popped up and we have some orange chrysanthemums blooming. The small begonias in the planter are still going strong as are some of the busy lizzies, pansies and cyclamen. I'd picked up a small notebook from a charity shop reccently for 50p and decided to use it as the garden notebook. I've recorded all the plants we have and those we can expect to return year on year. I'll also use it to jot down ideas for plants and useful garden tips and hints

All jewellery charity shopped.

I decided to tart up the blog by changing the theme etc on Thursday evening. Not sure if I didn't make a big mistake but don't seem to be able to get it back the way I want. Oh well. I should have remembered 'if it ain't broke don't fix it'!! Anyhow it's done now and all the same features can be accessed by clicking on the arrow at the top and then menu bar at the top of the page...

What on earth is she wearing, I can hear you say. Well, I agree. This is a weird knitted pinafore type thing I bought from a 1.00 rail in the Daycare Hospice back in the summer. I'd put it away and forgotten all about it. I wore it on Friday with leggings underneath (M&S retail as were the boots) and a Chico's shirt over a Next tee shirt - both charity shopped.  I don't know if it would look better over trousers; possibly my thick black and white checked winter trousers? I'll hang onto it and try it with something different before I decide to get rid of it. I wore this outfit for a walk (4.8 miles) along the river accompanied by a scarf and gloves and it kept me warm!  If I'd remembered I could have worn a beret as well. Pinafore thingy has buttons along the side under the arms but a big slit up to the top of my thighs...

Hmmm - it's not very flattering is it? I seem to have the most enormous chest in this photo...all jewellery charity shopped. Updated to say it went in the charity shop bag!

As well as going for a walk on Friday, I sorted out my bangles; putting some into the charity shop bag that were too small for me; potted up some Trandescantia cuttings for my sister-in-law and cousin,  and recorded stuff in the garden notebook. OH had the day off as we were going away for the weekend so we did the housework and the washing in order to have a free day for exploring Norwich on Sunday. I also did most of my packing as we wanted an early start on Saturday morning.

My brother didn't come with us in the end. He'd come down with Covid a fortnight ago and still wasn't feeling up to a weekend away. He was gutted as were we but it was probably for the best. He is recovering but hadn't quite fully regained his sense of taste or smell...

This was where we stayed; Dunston House hotel just outside of Norwich.  The reason why Norwich was chosen as the venue was that it was roughly a 2 hour drive for everyone and we came from Bedford, Brighton, Croydon, Gainsborough and Wisbeach..

We explored Norwich once we'd arrived. Norwich is the most complete medieval city in the UK and we took in quite a few of the sights and about 8 charity shops. It was a lovely city and we would like to go back again and explore further.

We started here at part of the city's walls which were conveniently opposite the car park and a RSPCA and a PDSA charity shop!
St. Peter Mancroft church
Beautiful Art Deco flag pole bases overlooking Norwich Royal Market.

Norwich Guild Hall front and back.

This building had been a church but now seemed to be a cafe. The photo on the bottom right is the entrance to to St. Ethelbert's Gate.
You can see it was a chilly and blustery day! I wore a jumpsuit picked up from Barnardo's on Monday. By Tu it was only a size 12 which I didn't think would fit me but it did. What a bugger it was to get out of when I needed the loo; not very practical but very comfortable to wear and it had pockets; always a bonus. I wore a patterned polo neck top underneath. Everything I'm wearing in this photo bar my underwear was charity shopped.
Some of the buildings we came across on our wanderings around Norwich. The top right photo was of one of the houses in the Cathedral Close.

Norwich Castle; a 12th century keep. Clearly undergoing some restoration/repairs given the huge crane beside it...
Some murals of cats and a dragon spotted on our wanderings.

Below on the right is Pulls Ferry, once a 15th century watergate. Out of sight in this photo below the path is the River Wensum. On the left is a view of the river, which runs through Norwich, taken from a bridge we crossed.

This was the remains of a Monastic infirmary 1175 - 1200 just beside the entrance to Norwich Cathedral (below). Norwich Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral whose building commenced in 1096 and was completed in 1145 with the stone spire being erected in 1480; the previous one being made of wood and covered in lead. There is a second cathedral in Norwich which is a Roman Catholic one; St. John the Baptist Cathedral.

The Cloisters.
Some details from within the cloisters.

As well as taking in the sights the charity shops provided us with some goodies. I bought a pair of animal print jeans; a skirt by Per Una, 3 necklaces and 3 pairs of earrings. I also bought 5 books; only 2 from charity shops; the other 3 came from an interesting shop we found in one of the indoor shopping centre we took a shortcut through.  Called 'The Honesty Library' -  where you are trusted to pick your books and pay the suggested donation at a shop two doors away! I found 3 books in here from the old Boots Circulating Library (1898 - 1966) by forgotten or neglected female authors; Elizabeth Goudge, D.E. Stevenson and Marghanita Laski. (The last two authors have had some of their books re issued by Perspehone books).

Once we had chilled out  back at the hotel and rested our aching feet; we got ready to meet up with the family in the bar and then onto a restaurant about 2 miles away.

I wore this dress which I found earlier this year in the 3:16 charity shop. It's from the 80s, I think, made of a warm woollen type material by and I wore it with thick tights and the grey boots charity shopped from my Barnardos. The pleather jacket was a present from my daughter some years ago but I noticed that the collar had begun to peel...

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped.

Here we all are; one aunt and uncle with their two daughter's; Rachael and Kathryn (my first cousins whom I'd never met) and their partners; three other first cousins (Martin, Trisha and Chris) and their partners whom I hadn't seen for over 50 years in the case of Martin and Chris; and over 40 years in the case of Trisha! We had such a lovely evening.

Me with the Uncle Johnny and Judy, his wife. I brought the photo album I inherited from my mum as it contained a lot of old photos of my father's family; some of which my cousins hadn't seen before. That's what's sitting on Judy's lap and why I've got my specs on. It was lovely to meet up with everyone. My father's family are all jokers and love playing practical jokes; just like my brother Tony....

I went for a 35 minute swim in the hotel on Sunday morning followed by a very hearty breakfast. We said our goodbyesto everyone; most of whom were spending another night at the hotel. Then we set off for Blickling Hall near Cromer; a National Trust property about 25 miles away from the hotel.

Entrance detail to Blickling Hall. The date (1619) is when the building of the Hall began. The Hall was built on the ruins of a previous house occupied by the Boleyn family and Ann Boleyn is thought to have been born here. Built for Sir Henry Hobart by Robert Lyminge who also built Hatfield House, it was later inherited by his son John Hobart who was created Earl of Buckinghamshire. It then passed down to the Kerr family; the Earls of Lothian. It became a National Trust property in 1940 when Sir Philip Kerr bequeathed it to the National Trust.

The kitchen.

The hallway and stairs.
The Long Gallery and detail of the stucco ceiling.

We had a  brief look around grounds and lake; apart from espaliered fruit and lots of vegetables in the walled garden there was also a flower bed full of dahlias which were just coming to an end...
Such gorgeous colours!
We stayed and had a cup of tea in the cafe and after a look around the shop (so much temptation!) we bought a jar of  Blickling Hall tomato and onion chutney; it was gone after 3 days...

After a lovely weekend it was back to the normal weekly routine. Barnardo's on Monday where we were busy, busy, busy. We had too many donations of summer clothes (nowhere to store them) and had to stop them. I sorted out the men's section and reduced items for the 1.00 rail. I bought myself a new pair of walking socks before leaving - much needed; I have holes in my old ones. I had to run an errand in the afternoon and on the way back stopped at the Daycare Hospice Shop where I found a Gerry Weber black leather jacket for 7.95 to replace my pleather one.The charity shop gods were obviously looking out for me on Monday! I spent the rest of the day making dinner and catching up with blogland.

I needed a long yellow cardigan in my life and as I couldn't find one in the charity shops, I bought this one online. Yellow trousers by M&S and grey boots from my Barnardo's; striped tunic/dress 1.00 rail somewhere. The scarf was out of the 50p box in my Barnardo's.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Tuesday turned out to be a surprisingly good  weather day and quite mild. I wished I had time to go for a walk but after the food bank where it was non stop; I went swimming in the afternoon and did my 45 laps; then it was home to clean out the fire, put a wash on and make dinner.

This was the Gerry Weber jacket I bought  on Monday and everything else I'm wearing was charity shopped.

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped. 
My hair needed cutting and that was happening on Thursday; meanwhile out came the headscarves plus they kept me warm. OH got his booster jab by going to a walk in pharmacy on Tuesday morning. He had no side effects other than a sore arm the next day.

On Wednesday I didn't walk with my group. Firstly they were walking in Woburn and I'd walked there recently with the Saturday group and secondly I needed to recce the walk I'd be leading the following week. It had been quite a while since I recce'd the walk and thought it was 8 miles; in fact it was just over 9 miles by end! Too long for a Wednesday walk so I'd have to do a different walk on the actual day. Blast! I was wet and knackered by the end of 9 miles; it drizzled on and off and my boots aren't waterproof so I pampered myself with a cup of tea and a slice of apple cake at the garden centre where I'd parked. There was a surprise waiting for me when I got in; a parcel from Vix HERE containing some long desired Nasturtium seeds and a book by Phillipa Gregory. Thank you so much, Vix! I'm sure I'll enjoy it and I can pass it on to cousin Marian who is a great historical fiction reader. It's the first time I've heard King Henry VIII described as a serial killer but that's what he was when you think about it!

I went to Aldi to buy chicken wings for the grandchildren's dinner and picked up the youngest grandson from school. I had a conversation with him on the way home as follows:

Me: What would you like Nanny to buy you for Christmas?
Youngest grandson:  The only thing I need is a glue stick; mine has dried up...
How sweet! He told me he didn't need anything else.

This was Thursday's outfit. I went swimming but only swam for 45 minutes as I had a hairdressers appointment to get to. It was a shame because I managed to swim 36 laps (1.2km) in that 45 minutes and if I had the remaining 15 minutes left to swim, I might have broken my own record and managed 48 laps or 1 mile...next time maybe.

The entire outfit was charity shopped. The Gerry Weber jacket was last Monday's find; the skirt  by M&S; the jumper by Next (daughter donated). Shirt underneath no label. Thick grey tights also charity shopped and the grey boots by Manteray were from Barnado's.

All jewellery charity shopped.

 Thursday meant food shopping but first I went to the farm shop to top up on coal and kindling before going to Sainsbury's and Lidl. Once I'd unpacked and put the shopping away; I cleaned out the fire and cooked dinner. In the meantime I had a long conversation with Bernie my friend in London - one hour and forty-nine minutes - thank goodness I get free phone calls in my phone package!

I got the youngest grandson his glue sticks on Friday morning in Home Bargains where I went on an errand run. I also went to Waitrose to buy soda bread; to the post office to post off a parcel and I also had a rummage in the Castle Road charity shops. I found a warm turquoise tunic dress (I've had the same one before but in a wine colour and it had been cut short - too short for me so it was redonated) a pair of blue floral Vans pumps; a red animal print jumper; a multicoloured necklace; an animal print cross body bag and a shower proof walking jacket that comes down to my knees. My current one is only hip length and has been redonated. I was so glad I went!

After a couple of days of neutral colours I wanted colour on a dull, grey day. These are the animal print jeans picked up in Norwich last weekend. They're by Bon Marche...the shop that caters for women of my age and is usually full of frumpy stuff. I never look in there but have to pass it on my way to the eyebrow salon. These jeans are an exception to their usual stuff, I think. Dress by Tu and striped top underneath by F&F. Boots by Primarni. Everything charity shopped as was all the jewellery.

I spent the afternoon doing a wash, cleaning out the fire and sorting out the front garden; cutting back plants for the winter and covering them in bark chippings to protect them. I was very surprised to see the stocks still had some flowers on them (when did they pop up?) and will cut them back once the flowering is over. It also looks as if the delphinium in the back garden is about to rebloom; it must be the mild weather we'd been having. I don't cook on Fridays so made scrambled egg and tomatoes for my dinner followed by yoghurt and fruit. I've been watching 'Dalgliesh' on Channel 5 - the 70s fashions and styles are so nostalgic. It's my Thursday and Friday evening watching although we've found a couple more 'Walter Presents' series we'd like to watch on Saturday evenings.

On Saturday, it was a grey and gloomy but dry. I debated walking with the Saturday group who were walking in Grafham in Huntingdon but didn't really fancy it. I walked into town instead to pick up a few ingredients for a sweet potato and lentil chilli I was making for Sunday dinner; along with roast chicken and all the trimmings for the rest of the family. It was easy to make and tasted great and should taste even better the next day. I wore the same jeans as I wore on Friday and a big, chunky yellow jumper; an outfit not worth a photo for the blog as it was a bit uninspired but practical.

I've gathered quite a few vegetarian and vegan recipes from IG and am planning to try them out on a weekly basis; next week's dish is 'Vegan Shepherd's Pie' also made with lentils but green ones this time. The chilli contained onions, garlic, celery, red and green peppers, sweet potato, sweet corn, brown lentils, spices and spinach.

I went for a walk on Sunday morning walking to Ravensden and back across fields and tracks; 6.5 miles in total.  I wore my new shower proof jacket but it didn't rain until later on in the day...I've passed these cottages numerous times on this walk but this time there was a pub sign outside. Apparently the cottages were once a pub called 'The Case is Altered' which was here from 1796 to 1996.

When I got back from my walk it was the usual Sunday housework and making dinner for the family.

This was my Sunday outfit. The skirt (M&S) was bought in a Norwich charity shop last weekend. The white top by Next; cardigan by Whistles and long suede boots all charity shopped somewhere.

All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings which were bought from eBay. The bangle was from a Notting Hill charity shop.

The light was really poor on Sunday and the best I could find for a selfie was in the bathroom...

I spent the evening catching up with blogs; writing my blog and reading. I also booked tickets for Kenwood House for me and cousin Marian for later on this month. I'm looking forward to it and we planned to go for a rummage in the Golder's Green charity shops afterwards. On Saturday evening we'd started watching a Croatian cold war thriller from 'Walter Presents' called the 'Guardian of the Castle' and we watched another episode on Sunday evening.

Monday's outfit. Tunic/dress broight from the Daycare Hospice shop in Castle Road. Red striped top by F&F charity shopped. Tights by Snag and boots bought online. It was a chillier day than of late and the tunic is very warm being made of a fleecey type material.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Back to Barnardo's on Monday where I was kept busy unpacking donations, hanging and tagging them. I bought a top from the 1.00 rail.

When I got home I cleaned out the fire and made chicken soup from yesterday's leftover roast chicken.  Homemade chicken soup has to be one of the most comforting foods and just right for grey, miserable days.  Middle grandson popped in to see me and I made him a cheese toastie and cup of tea. I hung up my washing and did more blog catching up and writing. In the evening I watched 'Outlaws' and finished my book of country diary pieces from The Guardian newspaper by women writers. I'm very fond of nature writing and always buy such books if I see them in the charity shops. I've now built up quite a collection and am reading my way through them.

The foodbank was busy today as usual. I put toiletries away and then made up 50 single hygiene packs and 12 family packs.  Afterwards I went for a swim and did 45 laps. I won't be swimming on Thursday as I'm leading walks on both Wednesday and Thursday this week; then that's it until the new programme starts in the New Year. We're having our Ramblers Christmas Lunch on 8th December so that's another thing to look forward to. I'll leave with you Tuesday's outfit dressed for a chilly grey day - again!

Skirt by French Connection;  wine jumper by Oasis; jacket by Elizabeth Scott. Boots as before. Everything charity shopped including the wine coloured tights.

All jewellery charity shopped.
That's it for another fortnight, take care and enjoy your week!


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