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!



  1. What a coincidence, Jon suggested we visit Norfolk at some point as neither of us has ever been. Your photos make it all the more appealing especially Blickling Hall, what a gorgeous house and garden. You do look cold though, I saw your OH's gloves and shivered!
    Great idea with the gardening note book. I might have to nick that idea.
    Loving that 1980s tartan dress on you, it's stunning. The yello cardi was well worth the splurge, I do like you in yellow! Great result finding a leather jacket to replace your pleather one. I've seen Gerry Weber in charity shopps here and the quality is really good.
    Loving the family get together photos and salivating over the veggie shepherd's pie, we haven't had one in ages!
    Philippa Gregory is marvellously descriptive, the way she describes Henry VIII's stench and describes the food consumed during those huge Tudor feasts makes you feel like you're at court. Great stuff!
    Have a fabulous fortnight! xxx

    1. Thank you, Vix!

      Norwich is definitely worth a visit and full of history. I'm enjoying the PG book very much.

  2. Loved your pictures of Norwich, especially as I live here!!! If course, when you live somewhere you walk past buildings and take no real notice, we just wander by. Blickling is a lovely place. My friend lived in a little cottage opposite Blickling Hall, we would go for a wander around the extensive gardens and grounds frequently. I am pleased that enjoyed your trip to Norwich.

    1. Thank you, Carole!

      Lucky you living in Norwich. My cousin's husband was born and bred in Norwich and was able to tell me about interesting places to go when we go back - which we will!

  3. norwich ist very picturesque and very very old indeed!!
    one day this craziness ends i really have to visit england - so many gorgeous historic sites and pretty landscapes......
    and if - by then - you´r fed up with the tartan 80s dress, i come and pick it up :-D its fabulous!
    your grandson is so sweet - a happy, contented kid. no wonder with such a lovely family around.
    speaking of - how nice to meet the long missed members - looks like a wonderful event. and the hotel seems quite posh.......
    stay warm! xxxxx

    1. Oh yes, Beate, please come and visit and you can stay with us, for sure!
      I'll keep the tartan dress for you on that condition...

      Norwich was a lovely place to visit and we will definitely go back one day.

  4. Norwich looks glorious, as does Blickling Hall. Alas, I've never visited to that part of England.
    The tartan 80s dress you wore for your family gathering is stunning. I've recently seen a similar one at Think Twice, but wasn't sure if it would fit.
    I'm loving the chunky yellow cardigan, I think in need one like that in my life too.
    Other favourites are the black and white outfit worn with the Gerry Weber jacket (what a find!) and the teal/turquoise tunic worn with the red Breton top and opaques.
    Vix's Philippa Gregory book sounds intriguing, I have never read anything by her. And how delicious does that sweet potato and lentil chili look! xxx

    1. Thank you,

      Yes it's worth a visit for sure, Ann. I was very pleased to find the dress which was 6.00 and for once I actually tried it on before buying.

  5. Norwich looks interesting. One to visit when travel is possible again.
    I loved all your outfits, even that strange knitted pinafore, but I can understand why you moved it on.
    What a lovely family gathering. I'm so happy you were able to get together. I hope your brother is feeling better soon.
    I do love lentils of any sort and that looks utterly delicious.

    1. Thank you, brother fully recovered now!

      The lentil dish was even better when I had the last frozen portion for yesterday's dinner!

  6. How lovely to see Norwich - I grew up about 16 miles south of the city. In fact, I have a feeling one of my friends had her wedding reception at Dunston Hall. Norfolk does get bitterly cold in winter. When the wind's in the right direction, it can come straight from Siberia.

    Your veggie meals look really tasty, and also full of texture.

    That tartan dress is really lovely. The jade/turquoise colour really suits you.

    1. Yes, I loved Norwich but probably not in the winter so much!

      The veggie meals have been wporking out well so far; this week I;m trying courgette, butter nut squash and lentil bake...

  7. Norwich is amazing! I would love to go there and check it out. Loving your turquoise plaid dress and that yellow dress - so bright and cheery!

  8. Sounds like a wonderful family reunion. I've never been to Norwich and had no idea it was so historic! Love the blue check dress. It reminded me of one I had in the 80s which was grey with an attached scarf. I've shared your post to my link- up xx

    1. Thank you, Gail. The dress was green - my favourite colour! Thanks for the link up.

  9. It looks like you had such a good time in Norwich! I love how colourful your outfits are but the tartan dress you wore for the reunion dinner and the mustard pants and cardigan outfit are my favourites in this post, just beautiful on you! :)

    Hope that your week is going well :) Another rainy spring one here!

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    1. Thank you, Mica. It continues to be cold and dry and we even had some sun today!


  10. Lovely outfits and great ideas!. I love first outfit with the dress-as-a-coat so brilliantly layered and the red accessories.
    Great tip on keeping a garden notebook with ideas, really useful!.
    I like this new theme in your blog, light and easy to read!.
    Lovely visit to Norwich and also lovely visit to the National Trust property, there are so many fabulous buildings!. But the best thing is that you could enjoy a family gathering!
    Love your 80's plaid dress, so classic design and really elegant and cool!
    And glad you got some literature too, I'm a huge fan of D.E.Stevenson's 'Miss Buncle'.
    So great that you found that yellow cardi, you Rock It! and love your leather jacket and geometric print dress, looking particularly Fabulous!. Great monochromatic ensembles too.
    LOve specially your fleece dress with red tights, it's something I'd wear just now myself!

    Sorry I'm so late in my commenting!, sometimes I don't have time to comment even if I read your posts asap!

    1. I always appreciate your detailed responses, Monica so thank you for every one! I loved Miss Buncles's Book. I I have a whole D.E.Stevenson collection on my Kindle waiting to be read!

      Have a fab weekend - it's freezing here .

  11. I'm glad you had such a lovely time in Norwich,I remember going to Blickling Hall on a school trip many many moons ago. So many fabulous outfits as ever.

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