Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Bad news and good times

 Hello again!

I found 6 Joyce Carol Oates books on my bookshelves including a short story collection - no need for the library yet...

Woke up to rain on Wednesday and it persisted throughout the day. I didn't fancy a group walk so set out on my own at 9.30 and walked 7.8 miles; Biddenham-Bromham-Great Denham-Queen's Park part of 'The Ouse Valley Way'. This map needs updating as it doesn't include Great Denham (a relatively new village built in the last 10 years). The Ouse Valley Way starts at Syresham in Northants and travels 150 miles to the sea at King's Lynn (in Norfolk). I'd love to do that walk one day.

As I got to the Queen's Park part of the walk I spotted this casualty of the storms we had a few months ago:

A huge branch had been torn off this poor Horse Chestnut tree. I always feel terribly sorry for trees that lose their limbs...

After my walk I came home to hang out some washing and after pottering about a bit went to collect youngest grandson from school. We stopped at Sainsbury's on the way back home to pick up some stuff for dinner. I had time to start reading another of my books before I started dinner for us all:

It's a pretty fascinating read. It focuses on 5 housekeepers and 5 houses in the UK; one of which was Wrest Park where I visited with my brother last week!

Thursday was a cool day with a bit of breeze. I wore this and as the white top was sleeveless my arms were cold all day. The jacket material was very thin. Once I was home I put on a thick cardigan! I went for a swim and swam a mile in 57 minutes. I saw another swimmer who goes regularly on Thursdays; struggling with her back stroke; I tried to show her how to stop at the end of the lap without banging her head against the side. She was stopping about 2 metres from the end of the lap because of this. I've whacked my head on the side before in the early days of swimming backstroke; I've learned that the final overarm movement of the final stroke should enable the arm to touch the side before the head does!

Everything charity shopped. Trousers by White Stuff, top by Karen Millen (1.00 rail - it had a stain on the front which I removed using bleach). The jacket is the vintage jacket I bought at the Vintage event in the Children's Society charity shop a few months back. Shoes by Hotter also charity shopped as was all jewellery.

After the swim and hanging out more washing I set off for Lidl and Aldi for the weekly food shop. When that was packed away I went into town as I had banking stuff to do. I went into the YMCA  for a look and bought some YELLOW pumps - how could I have left them behind? In my size and only £3.50? And they're not clothes which I'm not buying but shoes so they don't count. So there. You can tell I felt guilty can't you? I spent time catching up with blogging when I got home and then made dinner for OH and I. We lit the fire in the evening as we both felt chilly the first time since the weekend

A much brighter day on Friday but still the breeze was quite cool. I set out to meet up with a small group of walking friends. I'd planned to walk to the start point along the river but was running late so drove there instead. I was about 5 minutes late;  they usually start with a coffee anyway and we were meeting at the cafe in Priory Park and Marina. Only, when I got there, no one was around. I rang a couple of people but got no reply so after a second check in the cafe, I left. They must have set off promptly at 10. One of the group got back to me in the afternoon; he had left his phone at home and neither of us knew how we missed each other!

I love this jumpsuit. In the early 1980s when they were the height of fashion and I was a follower of fashion; I never had one. I rarely bought clothes when my children were small; couldn't afford them. I think that helps explain my excess clothes buying; I'm still compensating for the hard times of the past! When I saw this jumpsuit by Tu (we called them 'flying suits' in the 1980s) in a charity shop somewhere last year; Daycare Hospice Shop I think, I snapped it up. It's a bugger to get off for the loo, although I've got the hang of it now. You unbutton it all the way down and wriggle one shoulder out. I wore this for the first time when I went to the family reunion in November in Norwich. I needed to use the loo when we stopped for a coffee. It took me so long trying to work out how to to take it off; OH came looking for me fearing I'd been abducted! The top worn underneath was a Barnardo's find by MissLook two years ago; the Vans pumps were found recently also in the Daycare Hospice shop along with another pair. All jewellery charity shopped, too. 

I thought I'd go for an urban walk later in the day so went to have a look in the Castle Road charity shops and junk shop; all conveniently within close proximity to each other.  Talk about putting temptation into my reach! I found a plant pot in the junk shop and was very tempted to buy some vintage material home made curtains which wouldn't have fit my windows anyway...I bought the middle grandson some shorts; myself a pink necklace and a chicken shaped egg cup. My last one broke so this was a replacement. Having satisfied my rummaging urges I went home and chilled out for a bit. I finished my book about housekeepers; I'll pass it on to Hilary, she'll enjoy it, too. She rang and is planning to come down sometime next month. Something to look forward to. Another thing I had to look forward to was next weekend when I take OH away for his birthday. He doesn't know where we're going as he asked for it to be a surprise but I can tell you - we're going to Lincoln...

It was a gorgeous day on Saturday; I woke up to blazing sunshine. By 9.30 I was off for a walk. I decided to recce one of the 3 walks I'll be leading for the Ramblers in June. It was so hot; I almost took my jacket with me and I was glad I didn't . The car registered 23 degrees C on my drive home. The walk should have been 8 miles but two thirds of the way in I decided to walk through the village of Clapham back home instead; walking 7 miles in total. I changed into this when I got back. Everything charity shopped except the green shoes from Sainsbury's. Vintage home made jacket bought years ago in the Red Cross, I think. Trousers by H&M; lace top no label. All jewellery charity shopped.

 I went into town to B&M as we were running out of bird seed.The birds are eating voraciously at the moment. As fast as I fill the containers they're emptying them. My daughter went to London for a friend's birthday so I collected youngest grandson and he came to our house to wait until it was time to go to his Dad's house. I made him a late lunch and also made a bread and butter pudding using up some leftover brioche rolls I'd got from the food bank on Tuesday. A bakery had donated a pallet load; as it was non-perishable it had to be distributed quickly. OH made dinner and after I'd dropped grandson to his Dad's I blogged and read. In the evening we started watching the new BBC 4 series of 'Beck' - a Swedish detective drama. It started last week and somehow we'd missed it.

Sunday's outfit

All charity shopped. I realised I'd forgotten to put on my jewellery at one point when taking these photos. The faux clogs from Sainsbury's retail. Dress bought from Vinted online second hand shop; denim jacket found last year somewhere. All jewellery also charity shopped.

It was still a warm day but we had rain for most of the afternoon. I'd done a wash and hung it out but just left it in the rain out as I hoped it would eventually dry. I started out the day with a swim of 46 laps. We were let in late as they couldn't find the key to unlock the gate... When I got back I spent a few hours in the garden; dead heading, swapping pots around and finally planting out the Nasturtium seeds I'd bought from Sarah Raven. Vix kindly sent me some last year but they didn't grow and I was so desperate to have some nasturtiums. Fingers crossed these will grow. I planted some seeds into two pots directly and then planted up the rest of the seeds in seed trays and set those in the mini green house. It will be interesting to see if there's a difference; if they grow at all that is! I sorted out the greenhouse; took cuttings from a Trandescantia plant and potted up a couple; dipping them in rooting powder first. I had to go to Sainsbury's to pick up something I needed for dinner, then OH and I did the weekly house cleaning and I made roast chicken. We caught up with another episode of 'Beck' in the evening and are quite up to date now. We've also been watching and enjoying the Sewing Bee. 

Two weeks into my no clothes shopping ban and I'd only bought one pair of yellow pumps...

Everything charity shopped. Trousers by Topshop; bought recently but before the ban. Jacket by Roman and top underneath by Matalan. Can't remember where I got the pumps from. All jewellery charity shopped.

If it's Monday it must be Barnardo's. No donations accepted today as there was a glut at the weekend. My colleague stayed in the back trying to clear them. I stayed on the shop floor also processing donations and serving customers. Our new card machine is now up and working. We''d been without a card machine for almost 6 months and it was making life difficult for us and customers. The new machine is super fast and much simpler to use. I bought a couple of household items but even though I had a really good look at the clothes; I didn't buy any. It turned out to be a beautifully warm, sunny day.  I had chicken left over from yesterday's dinner so I made soup; never mind the warm weather. I washed the bed linen and hung it out to dry. Monday is the day we strip and change the bed linen. I also washed the kitchen floor as there wasn't time to do it yesterday. I caught up with blog land as I usually do on Mondays and Tuesdays.

I planned to wear this outfit to the food bank on Tuesday morning but realised after I took the photos it would be too hot. The jacket was quite thick. I swapped it for a coral coloured lightweight jacket but couldn't be bothered to take more photos! Everything charity shopped; skirt by Wallis; t shirt by Primarni and jacket by John Rocha; Vans pumps charity shopped recently.  At the food bank I made up the usual hygiene bags but came to a stop after 50 as we had run out of toothpaste. An order was due in that afternoon, luckily. As we're away this Sunday I'd booked a swim for 2 pm and did 48 laps. OH came home early and made dinner so I had a leisurely evening doing very little although we had a bit of excitement later that evening. I'd gone to bed; OH was still up (he's a night owl and I'm a lark). It was after midnight when I heard the sound of a breaking flowerpot from the front. I rushed down stairs to find a broken flower pot full of petunias on the ground and my extremely heavy Buddha statue next to it. How the person lifted it on their own I'd no idea; OH and I carried it out to the back garden together; it's so heavy. The falling flower pot spooked who ever it was. Honestly, is nothing safe? The Buddha statue I picked up in last summer's street jumble for 1.00 was also stolen a few months back, but it was very light and one could lean over the wall and grab it. This heavy Buddha was embedded among crowded flowerpots! It's now resident in the back garden where no one can steal it.

Everything charity shopped except the pumps from Primarni - retail. Trousers by Jasper Conran; shirt by Lakeland; 80s jacket from Oxfam in Kilburn a few years ago. It had huge shoulder pads which I removed.

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings from Sainsbury's and now very old.

Wednesday was busy and another hot day at 22 degrees. No group walk as I was taking grandson for a hospital appointment at 9.45. We walked to the hospital and back as it saved looking for car parking and the walking did us good. From there I went to the sorting office to collect a parcel; into town to get my eyebrows down, to buy a card for OH's birthday tomorrow and to buy some bread. I went home and had some lunch; then drove to the retail park to the M&S Food Hall where I picked up a birthday cake and some candles. Unfortunately, I scraped another woman's parked car as I was trying to get in a very tight parking space in the retail park; whilst worrying about hitting the concrete planter on my side...There was very little damage to my car but a small scrape on hers. We exchanged details and I contacted my insurers as soon as I got home. I still have my maximum years no claims bonus as I'd paid  the insurance premium to protect it. Whew! It's been more than 25 years since I'd had an accident where I was at fault.  I spend the rest of the afternoon tidying up the garden where daily there are surprises...

The delphinium is blooming again. What I thought to be a foxglove and then a sunflower is in fact a foxglove!
The sedum has gone mad and the fig tree which I thought I'd killed is in rude health.

The irises have bloomed.  I bought the red lantern plant recently; it now has yellow bits on the lanterns...

The petunias in the window box, along with a resident snail, have had a growth spurt.

More petunias and a Lewisia Cotyledon bought last year which has bloomed constantly. I made dinner and we watched 'Sewing Bee' in the evening.

Another hot day on Thursday. Pumps as before; dress from Vinted and denim jacket from an Irish charity shop. All jewellery charity shopped.

Thursday started with our first rose blooming:

I went for a swim and swam a mile. After getting ready and having a good breakfast of avocado and tomato on toast I set off to do the weekly food shopping. I went to Sainsbury's and Lidl and then another trip to B&M for more bird food supplies. It was OH's birthday and he had the day off so helped me unpack the groceries and put them away. Everyone came round with presents and cards for OH and we had a drink and birthday cake to celebrate. When everyone had left I made dinner and spent the rest of the evening reading.

All week I had been suffering with a pain in the sole of my foot under the heel which made walking, at times, painful. I didn't know what it was; just hoped it would go away if I ignored it - my usual response to aches and pains. However, I decided not to meet up for a small group walk on Friday morning as planned but rest it a bit. It didn't hurt at all when I was swimming and only hurt when I got up from a sitting position and put weight on my feet. I planned if I still had it after the weekend I'd go to the local walk-in clinic on Monday. Trying to get a doctor's appointment requires major planning and it can take weeks and weeks before you get one, anyway. I spent a lot of  time on Friday helping youngest grandson's dad move his stuff; he was coming to stay with us temporarily. In between the picking up and dropping off; I dropped off a bag of charity shop donations. At this point I'd gone 12 days buying only one item - the yellow pumps above from the YMCA in town. I'm wearing Mom jeans by Next, top by Zara and jacket/kimono top by 'Staring at Stars'; all charity shopped as was all jewellery. I thought what was wrong with my foot was Plantar Fascitis; an inflammation of the ligament that runs between the toes and the heel. OH's younger sister has suffered from it for years and uses a stick to walk. I looked up some exercises to help to reduce the inflammation and started on those that evening.

On Saturday we set off for Lincoln arriving around midday. We had a lovely day. The city is dominated by the cathedral which was quite simply magnificent and the walk up to the cathedral was up 'Steep Hill'. Never was anything so well named! It was a very steep climb indeed but well worth it. We also found 10 charity shops to browse in. I bought a pair of earrings; a bangle; a necklace and lovely scented soap in an egg shaped tin. OH found a shirt; we were both pleased with our purchases. It is actually quite easy to not even look at the clothes rails in the charity shops...I wore this:

The kimono was a present from my daughter about 6 or 7 years ago. Trousers by F&F; top by George and pumps all charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped.

The entrance gate to 'Steep Hill'

Some of the detail on the stone carvings on the cathedral.

Lincoln is an unusual city. A level crossing runs through the High Street and a canal runs through the town as well.

The detail on these tiles was exquisite.

And of course Lincoln is also famous for its castle. We saw it in the distance but couldn't get much closer. By that point my foot was really sore and I needed to rest it.

I spotted these fabulous cowboy wellington boots for 89.00! If I could afford to pay that much for a pair of Wellingtons I'd know I was rich. Lincoln had lots of lovely independent shops as well as all the usual chain store suspects...

Sunday's outfit. Everything charity shopped including the infamous yellow pumps. Wide legged cropped jeans by Toast; top by Next and jacket by M&S. All jewellery charity shopped.

After breakfast at the hotel we set off for Belton House near Grantham but still in Lincolnshire. I'd always associated Grantham as the place where Mrs. Thatcher came from and I wasn't very impressed with what we saw of the town. It seemed a little down on its luck. Except for this wonderful old pub:

Belton House itself was fabulous but the gardens were a little disappointing. No walled garden or kitchen gardens but lots of lovely grounds to explore with pools;
 statuary, mazes and temples. We had a pleasant afternoon looking and exploring but once again my sore foot put an end to all our gallivanting and we returned home. Just to give you an idea of some of the splendour of the house: 

Belton House is a Grade I listed country house in the parish of Belton near Grantham in LincolnshireEngland, built between 1685 and 1688 by Sir John Brownlow, 3rd Baronet. It is surrounded by formal gardens and a series of avenues leading to follies within a larger wooded park. Belton has been described as a compilation of all that is finest of Carolean architecture, the only truly vernacular style of architecture that England had produced since the Tudor period. It is considered to be a complete example of a typical English country house. SOURCE

The chair on the right looks like an accordion chair. I assume it collapsed down when you sat on it and when you got up it expanded to lift you into standing position...

An original ceiling.

Queen Adelaide's bedroom.

 The dining room at Belton House was used in the film 'Pride and Prejudice' - the one with Colin Firth as Mr D'Arcy. There was a lot of conservation going on in the house; hence the scaffolding and the room was closed to the public.

The Orangery

The gardens were described as Dutch and Italian gardens.

And finally:

Two beautiful plants spotted at the weekend. Left; Salvia Cistus spotted in a garden in Lincoln near the cathedral; right; an Iris spotted in the grounds of Belton House. The markings are beautiful.

I need to take this dress up; it's too long. Bought from Vinted; denim jacket as before. I'm wearing some Mary Jane's by Adesso also charity shopped but cannot remember where. All jewellery charity shopped; the necklace was a present from middle son's mum years ago.

After Barnardo's on Monday I went to our local walk-in clinic where after an almost 2 hour wait; the doctor I saw confirmed I have plantar fascitis and told me to rest it - aarrgghh - for about 6 -8 weeks and gave me a sheet of exercises which I've been doing religiously since. I had to cancel all 3 of the Rambler's walks I'm leading in June. I really don't know how I'm going to cope without going for walks but I'll have to...I'm not a person who likes to sit down for long periods or stay indoors much. It's going to be difficult! I booked an extra swimming session for this week to partially compensate. If I need to; I can sit down for periods of time at both the charity shop and the food bank so I shall continue to volunteer.

Everything charity shopped. denim jacket as before; Clarks Mary Janes; skirt by East and top by Primarni. My hair needs a trim so covered it with a headscarf; I'm off to the hairdressers on Thursday.

All jewellery charity shopped.
I went to the food bank as usual on Tuesday. We were short in the food parcel department so I made up food parcels instead of hygiene packs. One of the other volunteers who works in the office told she had plantar fascitis last year and it took 6 months for it to improve........I came home; rested my foot and set off for a swim in the afternoon as we're away again at the weekend. We're going my aunt and uncle's 50th Golden Wedding Anniversary celebrations in Gainsborough. I spent some of Monday evening trying on outfits for the weekend and finally made my choice which I'll show you in my next post. It's been more than three weeks now with no buying clothes ban - go me!

See you in a fortnight!

Thinking about stopping...

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