Thursday 31 March 2022

Off to Ireland again....

Just a quick update as by the time this is published we'll be on our way to Ireland. I'm backtracking to last Wednesday when I walked with my group from a village called Preston; which was near Hitchin in Hertfordshire. It was a beautiful day. We'd been enjoying a week of warm sunshine and it makes for a beautiful walk. Hertfordshire is not flat like Bedfordshire and so we were climbing up and down small hills; a lovely walk. When we stopped for our break on the walk on Wednesday we stopped in a church yard and the ground was littered with huge fir cones. I stuffed my rucksack full of them as they make good kindling for the fire. I stayed in my walking gear all day and went to Aldi on the way home to buy stuff for dinner and picked up the youngest grandson from school. In the evening we finished watching the Belgian drama 'Black Out' and I started to watch 'Hidden;' a current BBC 4 Welsh drama series with subtitles for those of us who don't speak Welsh. I've enjoyed both of the previous series of this drama; it was very dark and slow moving but worth watching.

On Thursday I led my walk of 5.5 miles; an amble. There were 6 of us plus me and it was enjoyed by all. We started at the garden centre in Milton Ernest then walked in a loop to Thurleigh and back again. The wonderful weather helped. I came back and changed then set off to do the Thursday food shop and farm shop.

Everything charity shopped. Wide legged pants by White Stuff; polo neck by Zara; navy blue lace shirt; no label and coral sneakers by BJ. All jewellery charity shopped.

Yet another glorious day on Friday. I met up with a few of my walking group friends and we walked in Codicote in Hertfordshire; between Hitchin and Welwyn. We saw some magnificent houses:

This was Node Court. I adored the thatched roof turret and the the bridge on the drive. It was closed off so I had to take photos from behind a metal barrier. A Grade II listed building; Node Court was built in 1928 for an American businessman as a model dairy; then further developed as racing stables until 1972 when it was sold off to various business interests. It was the victim of arson attacks in 2015 and 2019. According to our walk leader it had been bought by someone and was being slowly restored.

This 16th/17th century beauty sat in extensive grounds.

The public footpath ran along the left hand side so we were able to have a really good nose!

Side view.

This beautiful pond, part of the above estate, was well stocked with huge fish and Koi carp and had been planted with coloured heather which made it very striking.

Not far from the above house we passed a plant nursery. Run by Isabel aged 81 years as a charity to help homeless people, people with mental health problems and ex-offenders; and called  'Making Life Beautiful' we were welcomed in and offered tea! I bought some lovely Saxifrage plants in deep pink and pale pink which I picked up after the walk. The nursery was in Isabel's 0.3 acre garden where I had my photo taken alongside a life sized metal giraffe!

In a few weeks this wood will be carpeted with bluebells.
Below, Magnolia blossom.

Once part of the Danesbury Estate; this fernery was where we stopped for a break. It looks so peaceful and tranquil but the A1 motorway runs along behind the trees in the distance.
After our 7 mile walk we stopped for some lunch at a local pub then I drove home to get ready for my Mother's Day outing.

I bought this dress at the 'Mercy in Action' shop for 5.00 last week. The label had been cut out but it's made of broiderie anglais. The jacket by BHS came from a 1.00 rail and the shoes were bought online last summer. It was the first day I went without tights or socks. The red bag was a birthday present from my daughter. All the jewellery was charity shopped. We went to the Swan Hotel in Bedford and had afternoon tea. It was delicious and I couldn't finish it all. I brought home a doggy bag containing a mini lemon curd tart and a mini carrot cake which I ate the following day - for part of my breakfast!

Our week of fabulous weather had reached its penultimate day on Saturday. I still had birthday money left to spend and wanted to go for a rummage. OH had a busy day ahead as he was going to try and fit the new shower. I set off for Newport Pagnell alone at 10 am and had a very enjoyable morning browsing. I found some (more) walking boots but in leather this time. (I gave the pair I had bought previously to my daughter who tends to wear trainers when she walks. Walking boots are far kinder to your feet). I also bought a red tiered maxi skirt; a black and white spotted James Lakeland winter jacket; some bangles, a necklace, 2 brooches and a terracotta plant pot. In Age UK, I also found a rather nice pewter jug (4.00). It's by Craftsman of Sheffield; an offshoot of Viners dating from 1926 -1939. I then went completely mad and found the matching teapot and sugar bowl on eBay and spent the rest of the birthday money on them! I removed a few items from my wardrobe and filled a black plastic bag ready for donating to a charity shop.

This was Saturday's outfit. I bought the dress in the summer in a charity shop. It's handmade and lined. The top was a charity shop find originally by Papaya and the pumps were retail from Primarni; bought in the summer. All jewellery charity shopped. I spent the afternoon making a Butternut Squash, Chickpea and Green Lentil Moroccan Stew. I also took my grandson to buy his mum some flowers for Mother's Day and read my book. Daughter and I went out for a walk after 5 pm and walked for 4.5 miles; it was almost dark when I got home. In the evening we started to watch a French drama called 'Trauma' part of the 'Walter Presents' series and found it both gripping and bizarre. It will keep us going until we leave for Ireland. Sunday was a cooler day but we still had spells of sunshine. I made dinner for us all on Sunday and did the usual boring housework. I received more cards and presents; plants, chocolates and flowers as it was Mothering Sunday here in the UK. I am such a lucky woman!

You might have noticed I didn't mention swimming on Sunday. I didn't go as firstly I actually got up too late; the clocks changing always discombobulate me;  secondly after walking for 4 days consecutively I felt I needed to give my body a rest. The last time I walked for 4 days in a row I ended up with a painful knee. I will be swimming on Thursday morning as usual and was looking forward to it.

This was Monday's outfit worn to Barnardo's. I bought the denim pinafore dress by Tu recently but can't remember which charity shop. The top was from a 1.00 rail and the tights and boots were bought online. The necklace is the one picked up on Saturday's rummage in Newport Pagnell; all other jewellery charity shopped, too. 

It was stocktaking day at Barnardo's and the shop was shut until we had completed it. We finished by 11.30 am - there were 4 of us in - and then I decoded the men's section and processed donations. I went into town in the afternoon to get my eyebrows done and to run a few errands for things for the caravan. A Poundstretcher shop had opened recently at the back of the bus station so I checked it out. I bought some dehumidifiers for the caravan and picked up some new nailbrushes for home; another plant and a plant pot. As an opening incentive everything was 50% off in Poundstretcher which was fine by me. After sorting out the fire - yes, we're still lighting the fire in the evenings even though the days have been warm and sunny; I hung out my towels wash and washed the kitchen floor.  I then made dinner and caught up with blog land. I also started on my packing for Ireland. Only 3 days until we left for Liverpool! OH continued to tinker with the shower assuring me I'd be able to have a shower in the morning - at last. Unfortunately, it didn't work; the water was freezing. Help was needed to get it working properly...

There was a definite change in the weather on Tuesday. As I was about to leave for the food bank I realised it was raining and that my washing was still on the line. I rescued it before it became thoroughly wet again and set off to the food bank where it was chilly and the rain drummed on the corrugated iron roof the entire time!

Boots bought from local FB buy and sell group; skirt picked up on Saturday's rummage; polo neck by Primarni via Daycare Hospice shop and jumper by M&Co; from the 1.00 rail at Barnardo's some time ago. All jewellery charity shopped. After making up 50 hygiene packs and restocking the crates at the food bank; I stopped at the chemist on my way home to pick up my prescription. I also went back to Barnardo's as I bought 2 skirts whilst I was there on Monday and forgot to take them with me. They're both cotton patterned maxis but are coming to Ireland with me;  I'll wear them with leggings underneath. One is red (I've gone from having zero red maxi skirts to 3!) and the other one is orange with a yellow trim. When I got home I finished the bulk of my packing; packed away heavier winter skirts from my wardrobe to go into the loft; and hung up my bed linen wash. I missed hanging the washing outside already.  It rained all day and remained chilly. I finished my book and caught up with Blog land then did the fire and made dinner.

Everything I wore was charity shopped except the boots which were donated by my daughter and the Snag tights. Skirt by Red Herring; jumper from Barnardo's. Scarf and all jewellery also charity shopped.

I got up on Wednesday expecting to walk with my group but when I went to check the postcode for the Sat Nav; I realised I'd got the date wrong and the walk was scheduled for next week - when we'll be in Ireland. Undeterred I put  my walking boots on and set off on a new walk. I walked 8.5 miles from Ravensden to Wilden to Renhold and back to the starting point. With a few tweaks it will be a walk I can lead for the Autumn Walks Programme. It pays to be organised! On the last leg of my walk I bumped into a small group of the Saturday group walkers; it was good to see them as I hadn't walked with the Saturday group in a while. A little while after that I saw the black pigs that are kept on the estate I was walking through and was delighted to see a mummy pig with 3 gorgeous piglets. I gave them the biscuits I'd brought with me but there were no photos taken as I'd left my phone at home; doh!!

I came home and got changed then went to Lidl to do a very small shop as I had a 10.00 off voucher and didn't want to waste it. I bought stuff we can take to Ireland. Ireland's food prices are more expensive than here in England so I took advantage of it and did some of my food shopping, for Ireland, here. Of course, I couldn't buy anything perishable. I also went to Aldi for a couple of things and to Sainsbury's to buy some printer ink. Something I'd forgotten to do for more than a week. Having ran all my errands; I picked the youngest grandson up from school. After cooking dinner and taking grandson home I completed my packing except for the very last minute things. Only one day to go...

I woke up to snow on Thursday morning! Great big fluffy flakes in huge swirls. It didn't settle and by the time I'd walked to the swimming pool; where I swam 46 laps; there was no sign it had snowed at all! Then it snowed again in the afternoon once or twice. In fact the afternoon was also sunny but very cold and there was a strong wind. Just think, last week girls were wearing sleeveless dresses....OH and my daughter's partner could get the new shower to work so it's going back to the shop and we'll sort it out when we come back from Ireland. 

We don't have internet connection at the mobile site in Ireland and my eyes are not good enough to cope with reading much on phone screens so I won't be able to read or comment on your blogs for a couple a weeks. I shall miss you all. I hope you stay safe and well and warm!


  1. I'm so excited about your trip to Ireland - I get just as giddy about friends taking a holiday as I do when I'm going somewhere!
    The Swan Hotel is gorgeous and I love that wonky timbered buildinga nd that wonderful pond, too. The garden centre sounds utterly fabulous and you look quite at home nestled between the greenery and the bronzed giraffes.
    Get us, both in green trousers this week, do you think we've started a micro trend? I love all your outfits especoally the Broiderie dress, that looks like the kind of piece you can have loods of fun changing up with accessories.
    That pewter jug is lovely and good for you tracking down the rest of the set on eBay. Far better to spend your birthday money on something to love and admire than fritter it away on bits and pieces you'll get tired of.
    Have a brillinat holiday and fingers crossed Spring returns soon! xxx

    1. Thank you, Vix.

      The weather has been wet. windy and cold since last Sunday - but we don't come here for the weather.....

  2. I loved accompanying you on your walks, it certainly has been the weather for them, hasn't it. Such a pity we're being catapulted back into Winter again, complete with snow!
    Node Court looks quite fascinating, I've never seen anything like it. Love the timbered building with its pond too, and the garden centre sounds like a wonderful place, complete with metal giraffes!
    Wonderful outfits as always. I particularly love the broderie anglaise dress.
    The pewter jug is gorgeous, and well done for tracking down the matching teapot and sugar bowl!
    Have a most wonderful time in Ireland, can't wait to read all about it! xxx

    1. Thank you, Ann.

      I saw on FB you had a fab time in Bruges!

  3. i´m in love with the outfit you wore for posh tea at the hotel! so elegant!!
    no wonder you get so much presents on mothers day - you really sound like the person who is holding together the whole big family of yours!
    well done to find this cute pewter jug and the rest of the set! its a fab design.
    your walk looks wonderful - all the flowers and gorgeous houses - but who led fire to it?
    wish you lots of fun and relaxing in ireland! xxxxx

    1. Thank you Beate!

      Who know's who and why people commit these wanton acts of destruction? There is a possibility in this case it may have been an insurance fraud?

  4. Hi, I too like Vix think the black broderie anglaise dress is beautiful. Well done! I am slightly amused that you are watching a series in Welsh, speaking as a Welsh person who has learned Welsh. I live in Scotland now but local people tell me whenever they have come across an interesting drama series in Welsh. Have a great time in Ireland.

    The pewter jug is just my style too. Lovely!

    1. hello and thank you for commenting on my blog. My great grandmother was an Alysia bit spelt with a 'c and no y' and shortened to Alice. I love a sub-titled series/film and there is this Welsh series and another one whose name I can't recall featuring a brooding male detective....

  5. Lovely to find your blog via Gail - Is This Mutton. You've worn some stylish pieces, I love the red skirt with the grey jumper. Nice to meet you too. Jacqui Mummabstylish.

  6. Have a wonderful time while you're in Ireland, Vronni! I love your new red maxi - that's so funny that now you have 3 (that's always how it goes!).

    1. Ha! I'm back Sheila and I had a wonderful time, thank you!

  7. Love the outfit with the olive pants! Enjoy Ireland!


Very proud mummy.

  Hello and welcome!  No, I'm not pregnant but I do have a new 'baby'. More on that later. After a two week holiday and a long E...