Tuesday 22 February 2022

After the Storms

Hello again!
Just waiting on the third pot of hyacinths to bloom; the smell when you come into the house is heavenly. I didn't used to like the smell but as I've got older I do.

Well, that was a bit weird. As many of you will know I write my blog almost daily; I have to otherwise I'd never remember what I did. I'd written up about 3 days of what I had been up to but when  I went to carry on with today's entry it had disappeared. Where I don't know - into cyber space, whatever and wherever that is! 

Sorry about the demon eyes again...

On Wednesday I walked with my group from Moggerhanger to Willington to Great Barford and back along the river; a 7.3 mile walk with very little mud so my new walking boots still look pretty clean. That won't last! Someone told me in the group that there is an open water swimming club at Great Barford. I tried to find out more online but there was no information about a swimming club. Luckily, my daughter knows someone who swims at Great Barford in the river Great Ouse and will put me in touch with them. I wouldn't want to swim alone in the river and all the advice on open water swimming concurs.

I stayed in my walking gear on Wednesday; this was Thursday's outfit. Everything charity shopped except the boots which were from M&S but bought via a  local Facebook buy and sell group.

Beads charity shopped but the earrings came from eBay. On Wednesday after the walk I went to Aldi to buy stuff for dinner and then I picked up the youngest grandson from school. I made dinner for both grandsons. In the evening we continued watching 'Deadwind' on Netflix. 

Thursday was busy as usual. I went for a swim and managed 48 laps or 1 mile; it's becoming a habit. It shows with practice how you can improve. I was looking back at my blog and in one post I say I had managed to swim 30 laps in the 60 minutes we were allotted for the session. I started swimming weekly in September 2019; in March 2020 the first lock down out  put paid to that for some months. I recommenced swimming in July through to November 2020 but then we were locked down again just before Christmas until about Easter 2021. Once we were allowed to return to the swimming pools in 2021 I began to go twice a week as regularly as I could and now I can swim 48 laps in 60 minutes. From swimming I went to the hairdresser and then to Sharnbrook Farm shop for kindling, to Lidl and Sainsbury's to do the food shopping. Back home to unpack it all, sort out the fire and cook dinner. More 'Deadwind' watching in the evening; we'd almost finished the first series.

I met up with some walking friends on Friday for a coffee - and in my case a slice of chocolate cake. We met in the Visitors Centre at Priory Park/Marina; I walked there and back a total of 5.5 miles. The reason for the meet up was partly social but also to discuss the reinstatement of our Friday bus walks. This was exciting news for me as the last bus walk I went on pre-Covid I had to pay full fare. Now I can use my bus pass...it doesn't take much to excite me I'm afraid! I'm going to lead 2 bus walks when the programme starts in May. The bus walks are particularly interesting as we catch a bus to somewhere quite local; have a walk and catch a bus back. It gives the opportunity to walk with a group to those who don't drive or have access to a car. My walk was along the river on Friday and here it is looking good with the light sparkling on the water.

I also walked past this below; Castle Mound; the original site of Bedford Castle. Children and adults alike enjoy scrambling up and down the mound. Built after 1100 by Henry 1 in the motte and bailey style; the mound is the site of the motte. 

Everything was charity shopped. Top by Uniqlo via Barnardo's, kimono from the independent charity shop in Bedford, boots from the Cat's Protection League and the jeans I can't remember. All jewellery charity shopped. I lost one of those earrings walking to the meet up.

Once I got back to town I went to the cobblers and asked him about my boots. He said he wouldn't be able to do anything with them. The other cobbler was closed - another Covid casualty I wondered? It was very disappointing but then I remembered I was going to visit my ex mum-in-law with my daughter on Sunday and that one of my ex sister-in-law's would be there who  took the same size shoe as me. Maybe she would like the boots? 

I needed some spices and seasonings from the International supermarket and after buying what I needed there; had a wander around the High Street charity shops en route to home. I bought a Clements Ribiero jacket in the 'Bedford Autism' shop. I had seen it in there about 2 weeks ago; liked it but thought it wouldn't fit. This time I tried it on and it did! I wouldn't be able to wear anything bulky underneath and would most likely wear it open anyway but I was very pleased with it at only 5.00.  On my way along the High Street I passed a cafe called 'Bedford Cat Cafe'. You can see why. There's always at least a couple of moggies in the window and these three were basking in the afternoon sunshine.

Here's the jacket below. I wore it on Saturday. Knitted dress by M&S as were the tights; boots by Manteray via Barnardo's as was the scarf. All jewellery charity shopped.

OH and I went to Emmaeus on Saturday morning to look for plant pots. The wind was bitterly cold and we didn't want to stand around in it for too long. Unfortunately, there were no suitable pots but OH did buy a couple of things. I bought nothing.  I went to the Dental Hygienist in the afternoon and had my teeth cleaned. It used to be (up until last year anyway) that when I went for a six monthly check up; the dentist cleaned my teeth. Cost about 25.00 - I go to an NHS dentist. Now, if you want your teeth cleaned you see the hygienist; the cost is 60.00! OH made dinner and we watched the final episodes of 'Deadwind'. We'd start watching the final series of 'Bordertown' on Sunday evening.

On Sunday I went for an early swim and swam 48 laps/1 mile. Then after getting ready my daughter and I set off for London to visit my ex mum-in-law. She's 89 this year and still goes to Church via 'Dial a Ride' on Sundays and does her own food shopping. She had asked me to pick up some shopping for her and daughter had made dinner for all of us so we took that with us. It was lovely to see her and she was so pleased to see us. I gave my ex sister-in-law the boots and she was thrilled with them. She tried them on and they looked fab on her. I'm just so glad someone could make use of them. Now I'll have to carry on searching for the perfect pair of black knee high boots! To get to East London we had to go on the North Circular Road and the traffic was horrible both going there and coming back. It also rained all day and was very chilly. I was very glad to get back and relax by the fire. OH made dinner for the grandsons who had gone home by the time I got back.

Next jeans bought last week in one of the Castle Road charity shops; top by Seasalt and jumper underneath by Primarni picked up from Barnardo's 1.00 rail; boots present from daughter. I wore my Clements Ribiero jacket again plus scarf and gloves!

All jewellery charity shopped.

Another very cold day on Monday. This was what I wore to Barnardo's. Pinafore dress from New Look; can't remember; top by Principles from Barnardo's 1.00 rail, tights also charity shopped somewhere and boots bought online. I wore a long sleeved tee from Primarni underneath and should have folded the sleeves up underneath the Principles top but forgot!

Luckily there was no further cleaning required at Barnardo's; I spent the morning processing donations and putting them on the rails. It was Valentine's Day and OH sent me a beautiful bunch of flowers which arrived before I left to volunteer. He also came home with a box of chocolates. He's such an old romantic. I went to town went I got back from the charity shop to buy a Valentine's Card and a small gift for him. I did a wash, sorted out the fire and made dinner. I spent the evening catching up with blog land and we watched further episodes of the final series of 'Deadwind'. I'm going to miss it but there are lots of good things to watch out there so I won't miss it for long.

I wore my small collection of copper jewellery to go with Monday's outfit - all found in charity shops or car boot sales. I haven't been to a car boot sale for months and look forward to them starting up again; they usually re-start from Easter onwards.

On Tuesday the rain was torrential and it was still cold. We had storms coming by the end of the week but the weather was initially going to get warmer and windier as a result of Storm Dudley. I went to the food bank and made up dozens of hygiene packs. When I got home I was very pleased not to have to go out again; swimming now swapped to Sunday mornings. I had the rest of the afternoon free. 

Tuesday's outfit.

Everything found in charity shops. Skirt by M&S found in the Marie Curie shop; jumper with collar by George; jumper underneath by Primarni; 1.00 rail at Barnardo's; suede boots were 1.00 from the Barnardo's in Ampthill.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I made a butternut squash, chickpea and lentil Moroccan stew in the afternoon and made lamb chops for OH to go with it. I always cook enough of any vegetarian or vegan dishes so that I can share with my daughter and keep at least one portion to freeze and eat on a 'no cook' day. I spent more time catching up with blog land and reading the third of my Laurie Lee trilogy. The first and second books in this trilogy by Laurie Lee, I remember, were on my school reading list. I had read 'Cider with Rosie' but not as 'I Walked Out One Midsummer's Morning'. We were given the list, which was quite considerable, in the fourth form of my grammar school; it was to direct our reading right through to fifth form when we were to take our GCEs (General Certificate of Education). I never made it to fifth form getting expelled in the summer term of 1969. A week later I was working full time in Kensington High Street for North West Thames Gas Board aged 15! I still remember many of the books on that reading list and have almost read all that I can remember. There are 2 books outstanding; 'The Red Badge for Courage' by Stephen Crane and 'The Small Back Room' by Nigel Balchin. One day I'll get round to reading them. I also continued to catch up with blog land, hanging up the washed bed linen (not outside!) and made dinner as above. We started watching a new BBC 4 documentary series in the evening called 'Sex and Sensibility; the Allure of Art Nouveau'. There are only 3 episodes featuring 3 European cities and it was fascinating. We also continued watching 'Bordertown' having only 2 episodes left until we had finished all 3 series.

Having decided not to walk with my group on Wednesday I woke up to sunshine, a strangely mild temperature and very strong winds. Later in the day the temperature reached 15 degrees; which after the past few days where it was cold, wet and windy; 15 degrees felt almost tropical. Taking advantage of the decent day I mooched around the garden taking note of what was happening. Lots of growth I'm pleased to report with Osteospermums, Geraniums and some Pansies blooming. As usually happens although I'd carefully labelled almost all the pots; some had lost their tags and I'd have to wait and see what the green shoots turn into!  I decided it was time to sow the Honesty seeds so I did. All was duly noted in the Garden journal. I spotted the rat again from the upstairs window; OH's disposal methods have not worked.....

I wore this warm pinafore style dress by Quetzl (can't remember from where I bought it) over a M&S jumper from Barnardo's 1.00 rail. Green tights by M&S and boots by River Island; both also charity shopped from Barnardo's. All jewellery charity shopped. After making porridge for breakfast topped with honey and lots of fruit; I ventured into town to run 2 errands. As I was staying close to the bus station and its environs; I looked in several charity shops close by. It was a jewellery finds sort of day. I found 3 pairs of earrings; 3 bangles and a ring. Everything was 50 p; except for one pair of earrings and the ring which were 1.00 each;  one bangle was 29 p! I stopped at the bank and went to the Irish bakery where I bought a large soda bread loaf. My only attempt at making soda bread was quite recent and it was horrible; hard and dry.  I shall have to try a different recipe some time. When I returned home I hung out the towels I'd washed earlier to take advantage of the strong winds. Needless to say they dried quickly but the clothes prop was blown down several times and required repositioning. I should have gone for a walk but the wind deterred me. I am a fair weather walker; I won't walk in heavy rain, high winds or ice and snow...

The sun was shining brightly when I got up on Thursday morning. I went for a swim and had just got to the end of my 48th lap when the whistle blew. After getting ready I went to do the usual Thursday shopping; farm shop for coal and kindling; I also bought a large bag (20 kg) of logs to try. OH buys them in B&M or Morrison's and they only come in 10 kg bags. I hope they burn well as I'd rather buy from the farm shop than big chain stores but OH is very fussy about the logs. We shall see. Then it was off to Lidl; home to unpack, hang out a wash and sort out the fire. I had time to put my feet up and read for a while before I made dinner.

Cropped trousers by White Stuff, jumper by Laura Ashley; polo by Isle. All bought from charity shops. Boots bought online and the blanket scarf was a present from  my daughter many years ago. Although it was sunny there was cool breeze at times and the scarf was needed. All jewellery charity shopped; the earrings were one of the 50 p pair I bought on Wednesday.


It's been half term week this week and middle grandson and I had a date on Friday. I'd asked youngest grandson to come along too but he said he'd be out with his friends! I'd planned to take middle grandson to the Oliver Cromwell museum in Huntingdon as he is doing the English Civil War as part of his 'A' level history course. Of course Friday was the day Storm Eunice was set to hit us and it was indeed very windy but not enough to deter us from going to Huntingdon. The streets and roads were littered with twigs and branches but we arrived in Huntingdon safely. The museum was tiny; only the size of the entire ground floor of my house. Grandson seemed interested and took some photos but he's not actually covering the English Civil War until the second year of his course so this visit was a bit premature; never mind we can always return. We then went for lunch at a place that was the carbon copy of the Albero Lounge in Bedford right down to the menu. It must be a chain. I had a vegan brunch and grandson had the most expensive burger on the menu!  There was a book swap shelf and I picked up a copy of 'The Constant Gardner' by John Le Carre. I'd seen the film, but not read the book. Next time I go to Huntingdon I'll bring a book with me to leave in its place. We went for a wander around Huntingdon town centre after our meal (Grandson's suggestion) and almost got blown away at times. On the way back to the car park I popped into a local community charity shop (I always forget about this one when I come for a rummage with OH; it's a bit off the beaten track) where I picked up a hand knitted navy waistcoat for me; a cardigan with leather elbow patches for OH and a short tweed jacket by Alex and Co; 2.00 for all 3 items. 

Oh dear. The beads were outside the jacket and the cardigan was hanging down; what a scruff I look. Jacket from the Donkey Sanctuary shop in Ballyboffey, Co. Donegal. Bag by Betty Jackson via Vinted last year. I've just realised that the jacket which I've owned for several years; is a take on Desigual coats/jackets. This one has the label 'XOXO'.

Boots as before. Everything else charity shopped. Cardigan by Fatface; Marilyn jeans by M&S as was red top underneath. All jewellery charity shopped. The red bangle was a 50 p find in the week.

I lost one of these earrings whilst out. I'd only recently shortened them, too! I also managed to lose one of my black gloves...

My daughter wanted to go for a charity shop rummage on Saturday so we went to Northampton. OH had stuff to do and didn't come. It was a very windy, wet and cold day. Our first small umbrella blew inside out and was only fit for the bin; then the second large umbrella broke too as it lost its tip and collapsed. It was that sort of day. Daughter did very well finding lots of new Topshop and Asos clothes - all at half the marked prices. I found some stuff for the house including some brand new tea towels from Cancer Research and I bought a colourful tunic top in Scope and a pair of earrings in the RSPCA. We were both very pleased with our purchases and celebrated with a cup of tea and a slice of homemade shortbread for me and a coffee for her. When I got back home the third hyacinth had bloomed; a white one.

Everything  charity shopped including the rose sprigged woolly tights; boots from New Look via Cat's Protection League; the dress came from the Independent charity shop in Bedford; polo underneath from Bedford Market. All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings from Ebay. I wore my warmest coat and thick gloves and still felt cold! I lit the fire when I came in; OH made a delicious vegetarian dinner and we chilled out watching the new BBC 4 French drama; 'The Promise' in the evening. I also booked the ferry to Ireland in April. Now it's been booked I can start looking forward to spending Easter in Ireland and visiting the extended family over there. I just hope the recent storms haven't left the caravan too damp....

On my way to swimming on Sunday morning there was tree down close to the swimming pool. Thank you Storm Eunice!  I just hope no one was underneath when it fell. The footpath was blocked and it meant walking around to get to the pool. I shall be watching this tree with great interest now to see what happens to the huge gash left where the branch was. Will another one grow back? Will it get a great big bole forming? Will more bark grow over the gash? I'd seen the crocuses on Thursday morning but forgot to take a photo. They really are Spring like.

It was quite busy in the pool and I was delayed by getting the 1.00 coin stuck in the locker. By the time I'd got it sorted I knew I wouldn't have time to swim 48 laps but I tried. I managed 46 instead and that was fine. I went into town to Iceland to pick up some bits and then did the house work with OH; made a bread and butter pudding from the Christmas Panettone and made dinner.

It doesn't look very elegant but tasted delicious and I only used half the Panetonne...

Trousers are old favourites bought new from La Redoute sale years ago. Top (no label) bought from Scope in Northampton on Saturday. I like to wear my 'new to me' items as soon as possible. Boots present from daughter.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Storm Franklin arrived late in the evening on Sunday and when I left for the charity shop on Monday morning it was still very windy. During the course of the day the sun made one or two appearances but the wind didn't really let up at. At times it sounded as if the roof was about lift off in the charity shop and of course the 1.00 rail stayed inside....I've had it with the storms now. Can they stop please? From 24th February most Covid restrictions in law will  cease. The announcement was made on Monday. No more self isolating if you test positive or come into contact with anyone who has Covid.  No more free lateral flow tests from the end of April. The emphasis is on personal responsibility now and not government sanctions. In my opinion I think it is the right thing to do but I foresee things will never get back to 'pre-Covid' times again.

Tuesday was a storm free day here in Bedford. It was a bit windy at times but there were also bursts of very welcome sunshine, too. I am walking in Ampthill with my group on Wednesday and expecting it to be very muddy...I went into the food bank as I always do on Tuesday mornings and made up 46 family hygiene packs and 15 individual hygiene packs. This was Tuesday's outfit:

Everything charity shopped except the boots. These animal print boots and my black patent 'bovver boots'  seem to go with everything and I have worn them both a lot this winter. 'Mom' jeans by Next as was the sleeveless top worn over the polo neck by Isle. Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped.

I ran errands after the food bank going to B&M. I also went into the Day Care Hospice shop which is close by and picked up a couple of bracelets for 75 p each. I broke them up to use the beads for earrings. I need to find some longer bars on which to thread the beads so will do some on line searching today and failing that we have a 'Hobbycraft' shop at the retail park which has an extensive jewellery making section. By the time I next post I hope to have made at least 4 or 5 new pairs of earrings. 

See you on the other side!

Very proud mummy.

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