Tuesday, 13 September 2022

Walking and a visit to London

Hello again! 

Welcome to Barton Hills in Bedfordshire. One of the very few hilly bits as Bedfordshire (and Cambridgeshire) are notoriously flat! This was where we walked last Wednesday also taking in Galley Hill and Warden Hill. A lovely walk of 6.75 miles; my first Wednesday group walk since late May or the beginning of June when I developed Plantar Fascitis and had to rest my foot. It was great to catch up with lots of people.

This was the last week of the summer holidays with no Thursday morning swim. I went to do the Lidl weekly shop and also stopped at Aldi as on the way back. I went into to town to return library books and had a quick wander to the Castle Road charity shops. I bought two stainless steel pots with holes in the bottom; possibly part of a steamer originally but perfect for plants and only 3.00. I also bought a book at the library - all paperbacks 55 p! Everything I wore on Thursday was charity shopped; trousers by H&M; shirt by Dunne's Stores and charity shopped in Ireland a few years ago; the cardigan by White Stuff. I have no clue where I picked up the brown sandals other than it was a charity shop...all jewellery charity shopped except the earrings which were bought from Sainsbury's. It wouldn't surprise  me if the necklace also originally came from Sainsbury's as it matched the earrings perfectly but I bought it in a charity shop.

On Friday I walked with my group again; this time a bus walk. The first one I've done this year. We caught a bus from the bus station to Great Barford and walked back along the river. After a few miles we reached the Danish Camp in Willington where we stopped for coffee and cake.History tells of the Danes sailing from The Wash to Willington, where they made a homestead and repair harbour. The layout of the land that can be seen today certainly suggests a substantial settlement. This historical site has always been known as 'Danish Camp' and was opened to the public in August 2007.

We stayed at the Danish Camp for about half an hour bumping into a group of health walkers; some of whom were Rambler members of old. They do short walks of 2 -3 miles and many are in their 80s. We then set off for Bedford via Priory Marina and the river meadows; walking almost 9 miles in all by the time I reached home. I spent the rest of the day with my feet up; reading and catching up with blogs and blog writing. In the afternoon my second pair of new glasses arrived.

I wore this Monki shirt and General Research jeans both from Barnardo's with walking boots and just put the Birkenstocks on when I got back.  Jewellery all charity shopped. It was overcast for much of the morning but warm and humid at 23 degrees. The sun came out later. I managed to lose another pair of sunglasses; I think I left them on the bus and as it was cloudy I didn't need them. I only realised when I got home...

A Cyclamen bloomed! The foliage had been fresh and green since Spring when it was last in flower.

OH was off to London on Saturday for a reunion with old school friends and neighbours. The last event was cancelled because of a rail strike. Saturday was another warm and humid day which was quite overcast at times. I went into town to the butchers, to Iceland and to return the last of my library books. The Sue Ryder charity shop had an end of summer sale on and I popped in for a look. I found a pair of River Island beige linen trousers for 1.00 and as I'd been looking for a pair like these for ages I was chuffed. Hopefully, I'll still get some wear out of them over the next couple of months...I was so glad I decided to have a look. I did two washes during the day and hung both out to dry which they did in a couple of hours. In the winter we dry our clothes indoors; on the radiators but also on an airer or clothes horse. I was reading something online about using a dehumidifier to help dry clothes indoors. It helps reduce condensation and dries the clothes quickly and are apparently cheap to run. Anyone out there have any experience of doing this? We are going to have to cut our fuel consumption drastically. I certainly don't want to be paying out over 300.00 per month for gas and electric!

Everything charity shopped. Shoes by Clarks; skirt by M&S (Per Una to be precise as is most of my secondhand M&S stuff). Top by Amari; which coincidentally is the name of my youngest grandson. The bag was found at the Cat's Protection League shop in the last couple of months. All jewellery charity shopped. In the afternoon I went for 4.2 mile walk...

The first part of the walk away from the main roads is this footpath which runs behind the Brickhill allotments and to the left is the industrial estate where the food bank is. In fact, when I took this photo I was almost directly adjacent to the food bank. As I began to take the photo the view ahead was clear but somehow I seem to have just caught this random person. It's a busy footpath with lots of dog walkers; walkers and some people were out black berrying as well.

Kaftan Sunday! No make up to give my skin a rest. I bought the kaftan at Barnardo's last Monday. It was very easy for swimming on Sunday morning. I swam 48 laps or 1 mile as usual. The light is very muted; I don't know why. The day was warm but mostly cloudy with the threat of rain all day although in the end there wasn't a drop. OH and I did the weekly house cleaning and OH also made dinner for everyone; my daughter brought a vegan dish for us. I did help by prepping all the vegetables! In the evening we started to watch a 'Walter Presents' Italian crime series called 'Redemption'. 

Back to Barnardo's on Monday. Processed donations all morning and got lots done. Outfit all charity shopped. Trousers by F&F; top by Nomads and denim kimono by Paul Costello. Pumps also charity shopped and all jewellery except earrings Sainsbury's retail. I bought nothing at all. What a warm and sticky day it was although we had rain in the night. I'm off to the hairdressers tomorrow as she's back from holiday; I was so looking forward to having my hair trimmed and tidied up.

I did, however, pop into Keech Hospice shop which is across the road from Barnardo's on my way home and have a look at their stuff. I bought a nice pewter Celtic style brooch for 2.00.

These were taken before I got to the hairdressers on Tuesday after I'd been to the food bank. Everything charity shopped except the dungarees which were bought in Bedford Market as secondhand - there's a mend where the label should be. Shirt by Charles Tyrwhitt; shoes by Clark's. I forgot to wear some beads!

I spent the first half hour to forty-five minutes at the food bank unpacking toiletry donations and putting them away. Then I made up 50 family hygiene packs leaving just 3 bottles of shampoo and 3 tubes of toothpaste for the afternoon shift. An order of toothpaste (one where the food bank actually pays for the goods) should have been delivered on Monday but the supplier was out of stock! After the hairdresser's appointment I went to B&M to see if they had any plants - they didn't but I did stock up on some bird food supplies.

Wednesday's group walk was wonderful. We started from Oakley, walked toward Stevington along the river Great Ouse then onto Pavenham and back to Oakley. It was warm but there was a breeze so it was  perfect walking conditions. We walked 8 miles in total. The thatched cottage is one of several we passed. The spot by the river is where we stopped for our coffee break.

I wore this top plus walking trousers and stayed in the outfit all day but here's the haircut. The sides and back are now much shorter as the hairdresser used the clippers before trimming with scissors. We continued watching 'Redemption' in the evening which has proved to be a really gripping watch.

This was what I wore on Thursday. I started out with a 1 mile swim; it was good to be back in my normal routine. Then off to Lidl to do the weekly shop. Everything charity shopped. Trousers by Top Shop; tee shirt by Whistles; jacket from Vinted and sliders as before. All jewellery charity shopped. There were no plants at Lidl but I did buy some tulip bulbs for the Spring.

I'd been looking forward to Friday all week as I'd planned to go to London and stay with my cousin Marian and also visit my friend Bernie whilst I was there. But first of all on Friday I had Grandma duties and took the youngest grandson for a dental appointment. After dropping him off I went into to town to collect some school uniform items for him and a second year A level text for the middle grandson from W.H. Smith. Then I set off down the motorway and got to Marian's within an hour; she lives very close to the motorway.

For the first time in I don't know how many months it actually felt chilly when I got up on Friday morning! When I took grandson to the dentist it was 15 degrees but by the time I drove to London the temperature had climbed to 19 degrees and in between showers the sun shone. I wore this outfit. The dress came from Barnardo's; the linen jacket is very old from Age UK. I started out with the sliders but my feet were so cold I later changed into socks and white pumps. All jewellery charity shopped except the ceramic brooch bought in a Co. Donegal gift shop and the earrings were a present from OH.

In the afternoon Marian and I had a walk around Hendon combined with a trip to the chemist to pick up a prescription. This beautiful house; 'Church Farm House' built in the 17th century and Grade 1 listed; is in the heart of Hendon and  now part of the University of Middlesex. There was a blue plaque on the house but obscured by Wisteria; as far as we could make out was once the home of Mark Lemon; the co-founder and first editor of Punch magazine. I confirmed this later with Professor Google...

St. Mary's and Christchurch; Hendon. Dating originally from the 13th century. Marian was married in this church.

The church interior.

Norman christening font.

The vicar of the church was sitting working on a laptop when we arrived. They'd opened the church especially and started a book of condolences for the Queen's death which occurred on Thursday.  On our way back we walked through the cemetery and came across this rather wonderful gravestone:

It contained the remains of Thomas Woolner, RA who died in 1892. A sculptor and poet; also one of the founding members of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood. See HERE if you'd like more information.

This was Saturday's outfit. Tunic by Fenn, Wright and Manson via my Barnardo's last year. Linen trousers by River Island and picked up for 1.00 last week. White pumps by Primarni and all jewellery charity shopped.

On Saturday, I also visited my friend Bernie who lives quite close to my cousin and we went out for a meal to 'Mildred's' in Soho; which was delicious. Bernie and I caught a bus from her house to Edgware Road; we then walked to Marble Arch as I wanted to look for something for my daughter's birthday next week. From there we walked to Oxford Street towards Carnaby Street and on to the restaurant. I hated the West End crowds! 

On Sunday Marian and I set off for Fenton House in Hampstead to look at the gardens. Fenton House was a 17th century Merchant's house and bequeathed to the National Trust in 1952 by Lady Binning. We didn't want to be tied to a time slot so didn't bother booking a visit to the house. Both the house and gardens were quite modest in appearance which made a pleasant change from the usual excess and opulence I've seen in some of the places I've visited.

The gates to Fenton House

Fenton House.
Plan of the garden

The orchard. We were allowed to pick up any windfall apples or pears.

This interesting relief work was on a building adjacent to Fenton House.

Another beautiful Georgian house on the same street as Fenton House. Hampstead is quite high up and full of lovely buildings and quirky streets. It's the sort of place OH and I would like to explore in more depth and probably have a rummage at the same time. In the evening OH and I watched the final two episodes of 'Redemption' - another highly recommended series.

Monday was a warm and very humid day

I wore this outfit to Barnardo's. Jeans by Next; top by H&M, shoes by Clarks; all charity shopped. The long denim shirt was a recent Bedford market buy. I thought it was a denim dress but the slits at the side are too high for my liking so I've designated it as a long shirt; it's  going to be a 'really useful' garment I can tell. I was a bit too warm in it even though the air conditioning was on in the shop.   All jewellery charity shopped. We processed donations all morning and got a lot done; it's good to come away with a sense of having achieved something. I did two washes and hung both out to dry; washed the kitchen floor and made dinner. I also caught up with blogs and blogging; Monday comes around so quickly. In the evening we started to watch a Netflix series called 'Kleo' set in East Germany during the cold war period and the fall of the wall. So far I'm uncertain but there are 7 more episodes so will reserve judgement until I've watched some more!

It was grey and overcast on Tuesday so I cheered myself up with colour. The sun came out at times but the temperature was much cooler at 19 degrees and looks set to remain so for the next week at least. I'm not complaining but not ready to get the winter clothes down from the loft yet. Everything I'm wearing was charity shopped. Trousers by M&S; top by Tu from 1.00 rail; yellow top worn as a cardigan by White Stuff; all from Barnardo's.  Vans pumps and all jewellery also charity shopped. At the food bank the toiletry situation was dire. I ran out of washing up liquid; washing powder; shampoo; and toothpaste very quickly. There were no back up supplies. The toiletries order placed a week ago was out of stock on all those items and the manager said they may do a quick trip to the cash and carry in the week. I started the day packing away the toiletries that had been donated during the previous week and there wasn't much at all. The supermarket pick up arrived before I left and I also packed those toiletries away; again very little. A sign of the times we're living in I'm afraid.

I will be recce'ing a couple of my walks this week and therefore may not walk with the group on Wednesday. In fact the Bedford Walking Festival started on Saturday and there were walks planned for every day for 7 days; should one have wanted to go for a guided walk on a daily basis! We are going 'en famille' for my daughter's birthday meal to a local restaurant on Sunday; for the workers among us they will have the following day off on Monday which was declared a bank holiday as the day of the Queen's funeral. I'll see you in a fortnight as usual!


  1. Ah, I love your posts, Vronni! A little bit of history, some lovely scenery, and your fabulous outfits! I feel like I should have a cup of tea and then we'll be all caught up. I've heard about the energy/power shortage in the UK - how scary that prices have gotten so high. I'll be watching the Queen's funeral on Monday for sure.

    Your new glasses are awesome - they suit your face very well. Love your caftan, your red long chain necklace and your fresh haircut! So chic and yet also very fun. That denim duster (long coat/topper) is awesome - I bet you will wear it a ton. I remember the area around Carnaby Street in London being insanely busy, full of tourists (of which I was one!).

    Have a great couple of weeks, my friend!

    1. Thank you, Sheila! I won't be watching the funeral; I'm a republican through and through.

      Hope you have a fab weekend, cuddles to V...

  2. Lovely to read that you're back into your usual group walks!, good news!.
    Looking fab in your outfits, love your comfy&elegant style: trousers, sandals, interesting prints and cool accessories!. Totally inspiring!
    That kaftan looks really lovely, so beautiful print, totally my kind of piece!
    Love your red trousers and denim kimono, and love your earthy shades outfit too. Looking cool and elegant in your polka dot dress!
    Totally tired myself of overcast days. I'm missing some chilly mornings and autumnal weather.
    Always delightful to see some interesting architecture and beautiful gardens, thanks for sharing some photos.
    Lovely denim dress/vest and a great layering piece!. Also lovely outfit in yellow and fabulously printed blouse, gorgeous colours and gorgeous you!

    1. Thank you, Monica. Never mind autumnal weather will soon be with you.

      I have had a yellow kaftan for years and had never seen another one in the charity shops - in a size that fitted me. Just lately I've found 2! They're great for Sundays when the only place I go is to the swimming pool and then home for the rest of the day.

      Have a great weekend

  3. love the dainty brown sandals from the start.... and the gray with pink and pretty little saddle bag - and mustard with turquoise is fabulous!
    the tortoiseshell glasses are very chic!!
    you did a lot of walking - bravo! - and i guess nobody was lost ;-D
    as for the toiletry situation at the food bank: i guess its time to think about simple classic soap again.... we use it for almost everthing since ages (no fancy liquids at BWH) - it saves a lot of money and the environment.
    thanx for the pictures of the ancient houses and gardens - so soothing.....

    1. Thank you, Beate.

      Yes if you have soap you will never be dirty. Luckily it's been ages since we ran out of soap at the food bank. I wash with soap rather than shower gel as I always feel cleaner. When I was married an Indian friend of ours lived with us for a few months. He washed the dishes with soap and a wire wool scourer - the dishes never tasted of soap as he thoroughly rinsed them! The dainty brown sandals are not good for my PF - too flat and no heel support; such a shame.

      Have a great weekend

  4. Really enjoyed my visit to your blog today
    I was reading in the garden in gorgeous sunshine- after spending yesterday avoiding rain
    Fabulous outfits and such a busy fortnight again for you
    I feel surprised at how sad I have felt at the Queens death- and my roots are staunchly Irish Republican - but what a life she lived.
    I am unable to travel to London for the lying is state as my husband is having palliative cancer treatment and is not well enough to go ( and I am not leaving him)
    What a life she led though
    Have a fabulous fortnight
    And I hope the PF is not troubling you - I know how painful that is
    Siobhan x

    1. Thank you, Siobhan.

      You will be able to watch the funeral on the TV at least. They're doing a special big screening of it in my town for those who want to go. Like you I'm staunchly Irish Republican and only felt on hearing her death what a long life she'd led. I feel sorry for her family who will miss her.

      I hope the palliative care treatment is going well for your husband.

      Glad to hear there's sunshine where you are!

  5. Barton Hills do look lovely, and I'm hearing you there, as my part of the world is notoriously flat as well :-)
    Oodles of gorgeous outfits as usual. The first one is a particular favourite, and I'm sure the necklace and earrings do have the same origins indeed.
    I loved your second pair of new glasses, but what a shame about losing another pair of sunglasses.
    Unfortunately we have nowhere, either in the garden or inside the house, to dry more than a handful of clothes at the time, so we do need to use our tumble drier a lot. I guess we'll have to make cuts somewhere else, with energy prices being what they are :-(
    That kaftan is a stunner, as is the dotty dress from Barnardo's which you wore to London, and the denim dress worn as a long shirt worn over jeans and stripy top.
    I loved tagging along on your walk around Hendon, and your visit to Fenton House too.
    The Bedford Walking Festival sounds great, hopefully the weather gods behave for it! xxx

    1. Thank you, Ann.

      I walked in Barton Hills a few years ago and it was such a memorable day as we were so high up we were looking down on a group of red kites who were riding the thermals. Usually you have to look up to see the red kites!

      I won't manage any of the walking festival walks as I'm recce'ing 2 walks of my own this week. The weather is much cooler so good for walking!

      Have a great weekend,

  6. What a fortnight, as always.
    I would love to visit the Danish camp.
    The first three outfits are particularly precious, beautiful colours and the Monki shirt with black jeans is a simple two piecer but sooo striking and stylish.
    Love the new glasses.
    Wishing you a fab fortnight.

    Mary xxx.

  7. I love visiting all these fascinating places with you. Glad to hear you're back walking. Can't beat a good kaftan, can you? That one's a beauty.
    The new specs are identical to a pair I had back in the 80s-amazing how everything comes back again. They look much better on you.

    1. Oh thank you, Goody.

      They're a little bit 'cat eyed' which appealed to me...

  8. It must be wonderful to be out walking again. You find such interesting walks. Great selection of outfits as per. My favourite is the dungarees. I have a hankering for dungarees! I'm also wondering about drying clothes. I used to use a combination of clothes horse and tumble dryer in the winter, but noticed the room where I had the clothes horse was showing signs of damp. Seems like a dehumidifier is needed. I'm also looking at a heated clothes horse. They're a lot cheaper to run than a dryer apparently.

    1. Thank you, Gail.
      Yes, I found my dryer airer cost 12p per hour to run and if I use to dry lighter clothing it should be dry in a couple of hours..xx

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