Tuesday 2 August 2022

The novelty of a hot summer and summer clothes


We survived the heat wave - just!

My balloon plant (left) flowered. I bought it last year. OH treated himself to yet another Tiger Lily; this time a white one and it bloomed, too.

On the hottest day of the year I drove back from London with son and grandson. The air conditioning made it bearable but I saw heat buckled tarmac for the first time on the motorway. Scary! It was a busy day and the temperature gauge measured the outside temperature at 40 degrees at one point. In Bedford, it stabilised at about 38 degrees. Then after 7 pm we had some rain which cooled things down and I managed to sleep - unlike the night before. It's wonderful having my son back home again...

This was what I wore on Wednesday. Still very warm at 27 degrees and quite muggy and overcast. I was expecting a thunderstorm all day but nothing happened. The dungarees are too big for me and I'm re donating them. However, the looseness was appreciated on such a humid day. Tee shirt by M&S; both charity shopped at the Daycare Hospice shop. Birkenstocks as before. All jewellery charity shopped except earrings brought back from a Spanish holiday years ago; by my brother Mark.

I had to go into town to run some errands in the morning and then I went to Aldi for part of the weekly food shop. Youngest grandson had half day to day so I collected him from home and made dinner for all of us before taking grandson home again. I managed to catch up with blogs and blogging in the evening; a few days later than usual.

It was surprisingly cool on Thursday with temperatures averaging out at about 21 degrees. Such a contrast to the past week! I went for a swim as usual but only swam 36 laps or 0.75 miles; I had plenty to do. After getting changed and made up I went off and did the weekly Lidl food shop; then collected the youngest grandson who was staying with me for a couple of hours. I hung a wash out before I went swimming and it was mostly dry by the afternoon. I made dinner for OH, son and I and chilled out in the evening. I felt the need to wear green so I did. Trousers by Papaya, (last worn to the London blogger meet up) top by Talbots; home made vintage jacket all charity shopped. Jewellery all charity shopped, too.

The week had flown by. I usually write my blog posts on a daily basis but I had to look back to Friday just now as I'm writing  this section on Sunday! As I've stated previously I've been waking up very early so on Friday decided to take advantage of the cool morning and went for a proper walk. Walking boots and socks on and I did one of my frequent walks of 5 miles. Along the river to Queen's Park to Great Denham to Biddenham and back. I set out before 8 am and hardly met a soul. Once I'd had breakfast I went upstairs to get ready and was surprised to find OH was still in bed. He had a day off and forgot to tell me! I decided to go to the Castle Road charity shops for a rummage and I found a very smart white pleated skirt by Country Casuals for 4.00. After that I chilled out; for a change I made dinner for all of us. I don't usually cook on Fridays.

I wore a cotton maxi dress for coolness. I thought this one came from Vinted the online secondhand shopping but I actually found it in a charity shop; soon after the first lock down ended. The jacket is an old Primark jacket bought at the Children's Society a week back. In the event I didn't need the jacket; it was too warm. All jewellery charity shopped. Birkenstocks as before.

It was the River Festival at the weekend in Bedford. It's a biennial festival and was last held in 2018. Did we go? No. I like the live music but it was too hot to sit about in the grass. As for all the other things at the festival; we've seen them before and it gets very, very crowded so we didn't bother. I went for another early morning walk; doing 7.5 miles  in total. I was very shocked to see this on my walk:

We had wild fires in Bedfordshire between Renhold and Ravensden during last Monday and Tuesday's extreme temperatures and I walked in Ravensden. Luckily, the fire was halted before it reached the village hall; which is on the left of the photo above but out of view. There were many burnt trees lining the road. The smell of smoke and fire still lingered on Saturday.

However, I was delighted to see this - a common blue butterfly

I changed into this when I got back and went to town to run an errand. I made some flapjacks for son and daughter when I returned. Later in the evening after Julian arrived; we went over to Kettering to celebrate my brother Mark's 66th birthday. We went to  'The Hare' in Loddington and had a lovely evening.

I bought this jumpsuit in Bedford Market about two weeks ago
 from the stall that sells rag industry rejects. This one had had the label ripped out and the resulting holes had been darned. Tee shirt by Next; leather belt and all jewellery charity shopped. Sainsbury's sliders as before.

The jumpsuit had snap fastenings so it was easy easy to remove...

Here we are having eaten, drunk and made merry; just waiting to pay the bill... brother Tony took the photo so he's missing. My nephew Michael (Tony's son) came with us.

I spent Sunday in my new to me pink kaftan; picked up at the Willen Hospice shop in Olney on a rummage with OH a few weeks back - but forgot to take photos. It was a pretty hot day again registering 30 degrees at  one point. The kaftan was lovely and cool and I put my new to me cotton half slip on underneath. It was the usual Sunday; swimming in the morning x 46 laps; house cleaning and cooking dinner. The first Sunday dinner with my son for quite a while! We caught up with 'Trom' in the evening having missed it on Saturday night as we were out gallivanting. I wasn't sure if the series had ended or will continue next week...

Back to Barnardo's on Monday where we were closed for my entire shift as we were stocktaking. It was a warm, humid day but cloudy. I wore these Next charity shopped trousers; Masai top from my Barnardo's and sandals as before. All jewellery charity shopped. We were asked to do some further training on Wednesday morning and I could do it. I bought another dress in the half price sale for 2.50; some winter shoes and new leather belt. Both of the belts I wear most often are about to fall apart. I visited only 1 charity shop last week and bought only 1 skirt so I didn't feel too guilty about Monday's purchases. Another charity shop donations bag has been started as my son had sorted out his stuff and I found a few more items I no longer want to wear.

Meanwhile in the garden the hibiscus tree had bloomed. In our garden I am proudest of this tree and my Fatsia Japonica bush. Both bought as tiny plants; one from Lidl and one from QD and both have flourished year on year.

And the asters had bloomed, too. The colours remind me of sugared almonds...

I've been really enjoying wearing my summer wardrobe this summer. It doesn't get much wear as I am normally in Ireland for 6 to 8 weeks of the summer. Where we stay in Donegal the temperature can be 10 to 15 degrees lower than the UK and I tend mostly to wear spring or autumn like clothes. It's also helping me be more selective as I'm wearing more of the summer clothes and deciding what I don't want anymore.

On my walk around the garden on Tuesday morning I spotted this:

Gladioli. I planted these from bulbs bought from Wilko and felt very proud of myself!

On a typical Donegal day at this time of year I would most likely have needed to wear a jacket on top of this outfit. Everything I wore was charity shopped. Sandals by New Look; jeans from Next; tee shirt from Dunne's Stores and shirt from M&S. All jewellery charity shopped except the necklace; a gift from my daughter about 10 years ago and the earrings were bought online.

At the food bank I learned  things are going to change from September. Instead of operating on a half day basis it will operate on a full day basis (due to increased need from community) with picking and unpacking items going on all day and a gap in the middle of the day for stocks to be replenished. It means there will be a morning shift and an afternoon shift on a daily basis but the shifts will only be of 2 hours duration; currently we work for 2.5 hours. I will stick with Tuesdays but finish at 11.30 instead of 12 noon. That suits me perfectly; I'll have plenty of time to do things in the afternoon if I want...

By Wednesday we had cooler weather but it was still very pleasant. We had two short showers during the day and early evening but the gardens and the crops were badly in need of rain. Unfortunately, the forecast did not include rain anytime soon. I wore this tunic which had been charity shopped from Barnardo's; the trousers were an old 'La Redoute' sale buy from about 9 years ago. All jewellery charity shopped except earrings bought online.

I had Aldi shopping to do and lots of cooking so had a  pretty busy day on Wednesday - starting off with the training at Barnardo's. Quite frankly it was a waste of my time and everyone else's time. There was no sound as the PC in the shop had no microphone; as the session went on it appeared that most shops participating were having the same problem. The solution was to log off and we were emailed a link which meant we could watch the presentation but as there was still no sound it was all a bit pointless! Still, I met up with a volunteer colleague who used to work on Mondays with me and it was great to catch up with her.

The 'King Humbert Gold' calla lily re-flowered but this time with red flowers; very strange but very pretty!

A very similar day on Thursday and just as busy as Wednesday. I got up and went out for an early morning walk of 5 miles incorporating a visit to the sorting office to collect a parcel I'd missed on Wednesday. After breakfast and getting ready I went to do the weekly Lidl food shopping and then took my son on various errands; it's strange being a taxi service again! Fortunately it won't be for long.

More yellow trousers today this time from M&S and charity shopped from my Barnardo's as was the dress by Monsoon. All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings which were bought online.

Had a less busy day on Friday.   As it's the school holidays the swimming pool timetable had changed so there was less in the way of lane swimming. I had booked for a midday swim and swam 48 laps. It was a pleasant day but a bit overcast and I sat in the garden and read my book after running some errands and doing some dead heading; garden tidy up and plant pot swap around. It's amazing to see how quickly a plant will flower or flourish when moved into a sunnier environment or conversely into a shadier one. It's all a learning game this gardening lark. We watched Carol Klein's 'Summer Gardening' programme in the evening. Such an enthusiastic presenter and excellent at explaining all things gardening. I like her as much as I do Monty Don and that is a big compliment!

I wore this unlabelled possibly home made dress; bought from Barnardo's half price dress sale along with a Next lace jacket also charity shopped somewhere. I tried wearing it with a denim jacket but it was just too warm. Sliders as before and all jewellery charity shopped.

The weekend flew by.  I went for an early walk on Saturday morning walking another 5 miles. OH cooked on Saturday evening and we had a barbecue on Sunday. We did the weekly house clean and I went for the usual Sunday swim and managed 45 laps. We'd started watching a new Polish drama called 'The Sins of the Father' on Saturday evening and I even watched some of the women's football final on Sunday. I also watched some of the Commonwealth games swimming events and it spurred me on to try and develop my freestyle. Since I began swimming regularly I've developed my backstroke and now need to concentrate on something else. I can only just about manage half a lap as I get very breathless and it's my breathing I need to work on. I'll get there....I didn't take any outfit photos at the weekend; I wore jeans and top on Sunday and on Saturday I wore my Artigiano tunic over white Next jeans. Every thing charity shopped of course.

On Monday, I wore this dress bought in the half price dress sale in Barnardo's last week. I've had this Italian linen jacket for years  bought in Age UK; bought the sandals in the Cat's Protection League at the end of last summer. Monday was the first day I didn't wear Birkenstocks, sliders or shoes with orthotic inserts. I'm glad to report my foot was fine despite standing for 3.5 hours in the charity shop. I spent the morning serving customers and processing donation. They had had a 1.00 sale at the weekend and there were lots of gaps on the rail that needed to be filled. I didn't buy a thing!

Barnardo's had this same dress in their half price sale but I didn't buy it as it was a size too small for me. Instead, I bought it at the Cat's Protection League last Friday when I popped in for a quick browse whilst running errands. It's by Fenn, Wright and Manson and the white cotton cardi/bolero is by Marisota and has been in my wardrobe for years where it gets an occasional wear. Birkenstocks as before and all jewellery charity shopped.

It was pretty quiet at the food bank on Tuesday morning. I made up food packs for a while; a colleague has changed her weekly volunteering day because of grandparent duties. There wasn't too much to be made up and I returned to making up the hygiene packs and finished 20 minutes earlier than usual. That was just as well as I had to go unto town and buy bird fat balls from Wilco and pick up a few bits in Lidl. I walked; taking my trusty trolley with me. I had a new book to start in the afternoon and in the evening OH and I would catch up with the Polish drama which had become pretty gripping. We should have the series finished by Wednesday evening. Meanwhile here is something from the garden I've waited ages for:

The hellebore has finally, finally flowered. There is another bud, too.

See you in a fortnight!


  1. Thank you for taking us on your fortnightly adventures with you. I wish I did a quarter of what you achieve, but my husband has had unwelcome news from his Oncologist and her started palliative radiotherapy


    1. Oh Siobhan, I am so sorry to hear this. I hope the radiotherapy is successful. You'll be in my thoughts.

  2. ohhh - so many fab hot weather outfits!
    love both dotted dresses, the all green look of cause :-D and the geometric yellow necklace especially.....
    shorter shifts ad the food bank sound great - its a hard job i guess from your descriptions. good to hear that your foot has healed!
    the burned field and trees are shocking indeed. saw a drone video today from our still burning forests - where has all the green gone?!
    i have a hibiscus bush too, found more death then alive in an abandoned garden - and it has started flowering last week too! they are so very pretty!

    1. Thank you, Beate!
      I love the hibiscus tree but ours starts to drop its flowers almost straight away - does yours?

      Our poor green countryside. Let's pray it can recover.

    2. nature will recover for sure - if it rain of cause......
      no idea what´s happen with your hibiscus - mine has the usual long lasting flowers.... is yours in a pot? i think they need plenty of water and a good rich soil......

  3. I'm glad you made it through the heatwave. Wildfires are terrifying. We have some burning just to our west and the sky has been hazy enough to provide cover from the sun and lower our temperature a couple degrees. Then again, once it is over 100 a few degrees hardly matter.
    Your flowers are so beautiful. Glads are such a delight when they bloom. I have one left that doesn't want to seem to open. They're very much a flower that can withstand whatever the elements throw at it.
    Beautiful outfits too! Obviously, I adore the green outfit, but I'm also fascinated by that yellow necklace that looks like tiny blocks. You have such a great collection.

    1. Thank you, Goody.
      The fires are indeed terrifying.
      Gladioli were my mum's favourite flower and they remind me of her
      The yellow block necklace catches on my skin tags around my neck, unfortunately so it's not the most comfortable item to wear ..

  4. So many great outfits here, Vronni! I'm enamoured of your green trousers, tiger dress, and the giant dot dress in particular (it looks stunning on you!). Such weird weather - these heat waves are just paralyzing. I'm so glad that fire was contained - as you recall, we get wildfires in our province every summer. Your garden is looking amazing! I love the glads, and well done on your hellebores!

    1. Thank you, Sheila.

      It's sad to think wildlfires will become commonplace here as they are in BC but we'll have to learn to live with it ..

  5. Sad to hear that heavy demand means the food Bank has to open for longer hours. Your garden is looking beautiful. You have some very interesting plants. I don't have much luck with gladioli and haven't tried hibiscus because the majority of the garden is north facing, sadly. We'll done on all the swims and long walks. I'm not doing as many walks as I was, but I'm using my gym membership a bit more. In winter I will probably have time for both. Lovely outfits as always, my favourite is the green one. Lovely vintage jacket and trousers x

    1. Thank you, Gail.

      I'm still not walking with my group yet - a bit too busy at the moment but it's good to be able to get back into a walking routine.

  6. Wasn't that heatwave simply horrendous? And I think it was even hotter where you are than it was in Belgium. I did survive those crazy temperatures only just as well! The garden really suffered though. Yours seems to be still fresh-looking. Loving the Hibiscus and Asters, and how wonderful that your Hellebore has finally produced a bloom, even if a bit out of season.
    Well done on going for walks and keeping to your swimming routine. I'm sorry to hear about the wildfires, so far it seems we have been spared here.
    Loved seeing all your gorgeous outfits. The green Papaya trousers are swoon-worthy, as is that floral M&S shirt. Other favourites are both of the dotted dresses at the end, particularly the last one which looks stunning on you! xxx

    1. Thank you, Ann!

      The Hellebore is certainly out of season but I'm very happy it finally flowered. Glad you've been spared the wild fires.

      Thank goodness it's now cooler!

    2. Favorite outfits were the orange and blue floral jacket worn with jeans and the long blue and white dress with a geometric pattern and blue lace jacket . Such fun to see what you have done and worn for the past two weeks ! Loving your hair style . It must make you seem taller .

    3. Thank you so much!

      If my hairstyle makes me seem taller; I'm very glad!

  7. I'd sell a kidney to have those temperatures back - I know, I'm an utter freak.
    Unlike those terrible burnt-up fields, your garden is looking fabulous. Like you, I'm always inexplicably proud when a bulb grows, its like magic.
    I'm so pleased to hear that your foot's mending.
    Great outfits - you look fabulous in your jeans and the tiger print maxi with the cropped jacket is a gorgeous combo.
    I can't remember if we've seen Sins of the Father. We're currently watching Capitani, a cop thriller from Luxembourg on Netflix. We watched Seizure, a Norwegian noir on Walter last week - it was very odd.
    Isn't the Commonwealth Games gripping? I love the swimming - and that its all taking place in the Black Country! Have a lovely fortnight! xxx

  8. Isn't that calla lily beautiful even if it isn't meant to be red! I can't decide which of your dresses I love the best so many beauties. The heat was too much for me and how we desperately need some rain with none forecast in the foreseeable future I think we will be the next county with a hose pipe ban. How sad are the results of the wildfires? I'm glad to hear no buildings were caught.

    1. Yes, we don't like the heat too much h do we! Thank Gisela and I hope you manage to stay cool next week!

  9. Congrats on your hellebore flowering, mine have stopped. The hibiscus sounds and looks lovely and your garden is looking so pretty and colorful. I like the idea of your early morning wanderings through your flowers. I love gardening programmes too and what’s not to like about Monty eh.

    You’ve come up with some fab summer outfits, I especially like the all green (well done for getting most clicked in Gail’s link up by then way), the large spotted dress and the brown with white spots, straight out of Pretty Woman! That tunic with the large circle print looks lovely on you too. I too spend my summer in Birkies, I get very lazy with footwear. And so interesting that you’re actually getting to wear your summer wardrobe this year, both clothes and footwear. I can’t remember why you haven’t gone to Ireland this year but it was interesting to note the big difference in summer temperatures.
    So good that you’ve had some time with your son back home.
    And lastly for today, I do envy you with your weekly shops at Lidl and Aldi, I so like those supermarkets and we have neither here.
    Wishing you a fab rest of your fortnight,
    Mary xxx

    1. Oh Mary - how horrible not to have a Lidl or an Aldi! My friend Hilary who lives in Tiverton has only recently had Lidl open premises there otherwise it meant a trip to Exeter...

      My hellebore flower is green - is that normal?

      Thank you for your lovely comments. Hope you have a great weekend. One thing for sure is that it's going to be hot!!!

  10. Firstly, I'm sorry that you had a heatwave, We're having a really awful summer (and fires too!). But you're looking fabulous whatever the weather, dear Veronica, and so brilliantly accessorized and cool. Love your oversized dungarees, they look really cute!
    And your green ensemble is particularly fab. Same for the animal print cotton dress, you're looking gorgeous in these earthy shades. Rocking in yellows too and beautiful matchy jewellery and I love your blue maxi and lace jacket.
    Totally in love with both polka dots dresses, the brown looking more elegant and the big polka dots one looking really fab!. So amazing that you found same dress in two different sizes!, glad you got it in your size.
    Lovely to see your garden looking colourful and lush, here everything looks dry and even my geraniums look weary!

  11. Thank you, Monica. We know a bit what you go through in your hot spells and it seems we must get used to it!


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