Monday 21 November 2022

Two towns and a village...

 Hello again. It seems like only 5 minutes since I pressed publish and my blog post went out to the world but here we are again already!

I left you on a Monday in my previous post and on Tuesday it was back to the food bank. I made up hygiene bags as usual and as per usual we had run out of essential items by the time I finished. We'd had a great response from Harvest Festival donations but the toiletries weren't as plentiful as the food donations. A request had been sent out the week before asking for people to volunteer for a few extra hours to get the food donations sorted and stored but I was too busy on the day that was suggested.

I haven't worn this skirt for a while but I wore it to the food bank on Tuesday. The skirt by Armani was bought for me in the Mind charity shop in Camden by my daughter; on a birthday trip to London in 2019. The top by Whistles was a recent charity shop find; the mustard suedette jacket was found at Barnardo's on Monday. It had been hanging around the back of the shop for months and I finally bought it. Boots also charity shopped; as was all the jewellery. The belt was donated by my daughter.

Our boiler had been playing up for weeks giving us hot water intermittently -  which wasn't good enough. The engineer came last Friday and said we needed parts which were ordered and finally fitted on Tuesday afternoon. I left OH with the engineer and went for a Tuesday afternoon swim; swimming 46 laps. I think I have to stay with Tuesday afternoons from now on. There weren't many people in the pool which was great but I don't know if that was due to the time or the weather which was wet and cold. Time will tell I expect.

I changed up the routine on Wednesday and postponed dinner for the grandsons until Thursday. I went out for a 5 mile walk along the river to Priory Marina bright and early. When I returned OH and I went to Kettering for a rummage and then out for a late pub lunch with my brothers. The rummage was a bit disappointing; Kettering has 10 charity shops (that I know of) and there wasn't much of interest. Lots of Christmas tat everywhere which I wasn't interested in. I bought 2 more books (which I need like I need a hole in my head!); a jumper which was overpriced but in a brown animal print and I wanted it; plus a pair of earrings. Lunch with my brothers was in a village a few miles outside of Kettering called Pytchley. It was very tasty and we all enjoyed the food and the company. The new owner of the pub/restaurant even shared his recipe for a relish he invented!

I gave the 'new to me' mustard jacket an outing again and wore it with this cheerfully patterned dress by Vesta. The jewellery was all charity shopped except the earrings bought from eBay. I also added a mustard scarf and a mustard cross body bag bought from the Sally Army in Rushden but I felt cold. The wind was chilly. The weather had been mild but the wind made it feel much colder. On the way back from the meal we dropped brother Tony off to his daughter's house and popped in to say hello. It was his grandson's 11th birthday and the house was filled with balloons. Happy birthday Charlie!

Thursday's OOTD. Skirt by M&S; jumper by Seasalt; boots as before (all charity shopped) and I wore green footless tights bought online. All jewellery also charity shopped. 

I had a slow puncture in my front tyre so I was at Kwik-Fit as soon as they were open on Thursday morning. Leaving the car there and hoping the puncture was mendable; I went for a 46 lap swim. Just lately I don't seem to be able to get 48 laps in; at least not before the whistle blows. I like to be out of the pool either before or just as the lifeguard blows the whistle. Otherwise I feel rushed and that's something I hate...

Once I was home and ready I checked to see if the tyre had been fitted - it had; I needed a new one.  OH and I set off to collect the car and do the weekly Lidl shop. It was very pleasant to have someone to do the shop with and to unpack it afterwards. We also went to the farm shop in Sharnbrook to pick up more coal and kindling. We try to not put the heating on when we're by ourselves and stay in the living room with the fuel burner stove. I collected the youngest grandson from school and both grandsons stayed for dinner after which I dropped the youngest one off to basket ball practice. We started to watch this series. Showing on the Alibi channel we watched it on catch-up. It's a slow burner...

Friday is bus walk day. Every fortnight there is an official Ramblers/Ivel Valley bus walk and on the other Friday a small group of us walk together; an unofficial bus walk in that it's not advertised. This week was an official walk and we caught the bus from Bedford bus station to Ickwell Green. I had never been before and what a pretty village it was. Lots of thatched houses; plus it has a Maypole on the original village green!

The maypole!

The two tallest trees concealed telecoms aerials and are not real trees!

We walked back to Bedford from Ickwell Green via Old Warden; Cople; Cardington (where we stopped for coffee and cake) and into Bedford - walking 10 miles in total; my feet were very tired when I got in...

Saturday was bright and sunny. OH and I decided to go out for the day and the enjoy the weather. I wore this skirt which has no elastic in the waist whatsoever and has to be held up by a belt. It inevitably falls down at some point during the day, but luckily it happened at home when we were back and not out in public! Jumper by Simon Jefferies and vintage shirt underneath by Peepers of London; all pre-loved. Boots as before and leather jacket by Gerry Weber bought in Ireland. All jewellery pre-loved as was the grey cross-body bag. 

And talking of jewellery; I did very well on our Saturday visit to Buckingham and Stony Stratford. We'd been to Stony Stratford before but not Buckingham; which is a market town about 25 miles from Bedford, in the county  of Buckinghamshire.  We visited 10 charity shops in total;  one of which was a bookshop only; where I bought a book. I also found a skirt with a Chinese (Dankschping?) label; 2 pairs of earrings; 2 necklaces; a silver bangle and a pewter brooch with a Celtic design. The silver necklace had come apart at one of the links when I got it home so out came the jewellery pliers to repair it. I put 2 necklaces into the donations bag to make room for the two new additions.

Buckingham Old Gaol erected in 1748. Now a museum.

Chantry Chapel owned by the National Trust and the oldest building in Buckingham. The Norman door dates to 1260. The building is now home to a secondhand bookshop.

WASPI stands for 'Women Against State Pension Inequality'. More than 3 million women in the UK born between  April 1950 and April 1960 have had to wait longer for their state pension; due to the pension age being equalised for men and women. For many women, myself included, this meant waiting more than 5 years longer to receive a state pension. There is no problem with equalising the state pension ages between men and women; the problems arose when the Coalition government in 2011 decided to escalate the planned programme of age increases; and the failure to inform the women affected by the changes. It has meant that for many women who expected to retire at 60; they have had to work a further 5 or 6 years. Many have not been able to continue working and have had to claim state benefits; pushing them into poverty and many more have died before receiving their state pension. For more information see HERE.

Spotted in a car in Stony Stratford

I'd love to live in this house!

I love the phrasing on this plaque and of course you all know how much I love a plaque...

Beautiful carving around the door of the 'Cock Inn' in Stony Stratford.
Once home again we spent Saturday evening watching 'Black Sands' after OH made dinner.

 On Sunday, I cooked dinner and made a pineapple upside down cake for pudding. Both grandsons came over for dinner and neither wanted the cake! OH and I did the weekly housecleaning and I put a towels wash out on the line but took it back in several hours later - still damp.  You may remember I bought a heated clothes airer a while back in an effort to dry washing economically;  we had hoped not to have the radiators on for long or for often - thanks to hugely increased fuel costs. The heated airer works okay for lighter items like underwear, socks and tea-towels but not towels or jumpers; in other words heavier clothing or textiles. I have to admit to being disappointed with it. Once the grandsons had gone home OH and I watched the final two episodes of 'Black Sands'. We had already planned to start watching series 3 of 'Deadwind' for the following week's viewing. I wore this on Sunday; easy, comfortable and warm!

This is a 'Seasalt' dress I've worn before on the blog but it is reversible;  here it is in reverse! I found it at Barnardo's last year. The jacket, which I kept on all day, was by M&Co; also charity shopped as was all the jewellery. I bought the blue floral boots online and they arrived on Friday morning. Blue cross-body bag also a recent Barnardo's find.

I walked into to town on Sunday morning to go to the library and pick up a reservation; I also found a copy of Miranda Seymour's 2022 biography of Jean Rhys:

I particularly enjoy writer's biographies and autobiographies.

Back to Barnardo's on Monday.

Both the skirt and the jumper were bought recently. The top by Zara; in a Kettering charity shop last Wednesday; the skirt the week before in one of the Castle Road charity shops. Boots bought in a Sainsbury's sale last year. The beads and bangle were found on Saturday in a Buckingham charity shop. Diesel belt donated by my daughter.

One other volunteer was in on Monday morning and we had a very productive morning getting lots of stuff out on to the shop floor. The Christmas gifts have gone very well and last week the shop hit its weekly target; which is good news indeed. After volunteering I went off to run a few errands; more bird food; prescription from chemist and some bread. Once the errands were run it was home; feet up and a visit to blog land and starting my new library book. OH cooked. I'd so enjoyed the break from cooking (and sorting out the fire) since he has been off work, I could get used to it...

Tuesday was a cold day and as I was at the food bank I dressed for warmth. Everything has been worn on the blog before and everything pre-loved. The wool jacket was bought in the Donkey Sanctuary charity shop in Ballyboffey, Co. Donegal which alas is no was a very quirky shop.

Trousers by Zara and I've had them for years; jumper by Next and shirt by Hawes and Curtis.

I went for a swim in the afternoon and managed to squeeze in 48 laps before the whistle went...

The rain was torrential on Wednesday in the morning and walking with the group didn't appeal. Instead I had a lazy day. I went to Aldi in the morning and then popped into town to run a couple of errands. In the afternoon I took up the hem on a dress I wanted to wear on Thursday and finished my biography of Jean Rhys. Grandson had a basket ball match after school and we were off to the cinema in the evening so we arranged for the grandsons to come for dinner on Thursday instead. 

I don't think I've worn this pinafore dress before so this was the first outing. It, like everything I'm wearing here, was charity shopped but I can't remember where from. The boots were a recent retail buy online. We finally made it to see 'Banshees of Inisherin'. It was filmed on Achill Island on the west coast of Ireland in Co. Mayo and what a beautiful island it was. OH and I want to visit it now! The film was marvellous; funny but very poignant and slightly disturbing...

This was the dress I hemmed on Wednesday afternoon. Bought from the 1.00 rail at the RSPCA in Ampthill ages ago; it's by Jaeger. Leggings by Nike; also from Barnardo's. The necklace was bought in a Buckingham charity shop. The leather jacket by South was via Vinted.

OH went back to work on Thursday. I went for a swim on Thursday morning and managed another 48 laps. Then after getting ready it was off to the farm shop for kindling and Lidl for the weekly food shop. Once the shopping was unpacked and put away it was time to collect youngest grandson from school. I cleaned out the fire and laid it ready for lighting later in the evening and cooked dinner. After dinner I took youngest grandson to basket ball practice and OH and I watched a couple more episodes of 'Deadwind - Series 3'.

Seen in the People's Park, Luton - it made me laugh!

Friday was the unofficial bus walk day. We caught a bus from the bus station to Luton which is 19/20 miles from Bedford. The aim of the walk was to follow the route of the River Lea in Luton (which arises in Leagrave, just outside of Luton) and then flows eventually to the Thames; ending at Bow in East London a distance of 49 miles in total. We have walked a Lea River Valley walk in London in the past. On Friday, we didn't start at the source of the Lea in Leagrave but on Riddy Lane in Luton and followed the river through some green fields and into Wardown Park. We were meant to stop at the museum in the park and have a browse around and a coffee but unfortunately it was closed on Fridays. Nevertheless, we still had a coffee stop here sitting by the lake; we then walked across to the Peoples' Park and up a very steep hill where I took the bottom photograph (below) of Luton town. From here we walked to Crawley Green Road cemetery where I took the top photo (below).
This was a marker spotted along the route of the river. The inscription is hard to read and I have no idea why C.S. Lewis's name is on the bottom...

From the cemetery we walked along to Hightown area of Luton and ended up at the university; where we stopped for something to eat and drink; before making our way to catch our bus back to Bedford. It was a very pleasant 8 mile walk and although I'd worked in Luton for more than 15 years; I saw a lot I hadn't seen before. There was bad news at the interchange; our bus had been cancelled and it was an hour's wait for the next one. I decided to return by train; using my senior citizen's bus pass I only paid half price for the fare. It was a very enjoyable day and made even more enjoyable as we also watched some graduands processing along after their graduation in St. Mary's Church, which is next to the university and over 900 years old. The church was built in 1121 by Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester. I've attended several graduation ceremonies here over the years; both of my students and of my friend Ann and my daughter.

The design on the church building is called chequer board. The church also has a 'hagioscope' or leper's window which was common in medieval churches. Lepers were able to observe the service through the window as they were not allowed to mix with the general population for fear of contagion. The one is this church is just below ground level allowing a view through the hagioscope from a standing position.

It was wet, cold and miserable on Saturday. I needed to go to the supermarket for a couple of items for Sunday dinner and decided on a quick visit to the Sandy charity shops as I hadn't been for a while. I bought a new cushion for the living room sofa; a book and a blue polo neck jumper on the 1.00 rail so nothing very exciting but I was  in need of the blue polo. I stopped at Tesco on the way back for the food items.

I wore this outfit and everything was pre-loved except the long denim shirt which I picked up in Bedford market on the stall that sells the rejects or 'cabbages' from the rag trade. Jeans by M&Co; polo-neck by Uniqlo; all jewellery also pre-loved. The white boots were a recent find and originally from Primark.

Sunday was a much nicer day till it started to rain at about 3 pm and didn't stop for the rest of the day. Our higher than average temperatures for this time of the year had been replaced by below average temperatures. I went to the library in the morning where I met a fellow walker from the Saturday group who said Saturday's walk was the muddiest she had ever been on - all the rain we've been having lately, of course. I then went on a 5 mile walk along the river to the marina which was mainly on hard paths so not very muddy - mostly! In the evening we watched 'Bordertown - Murder Murals' on Netflix; which seemed to be a one off film of the series with the same name (minus the murder murals part).

Lots of boats out on the lake.

Once I was home again OH and I did the house cleaning; I fetched youngest grandson from basketball practice so his mum could study and then I made dinner. I was very pleased to see my Christmas cacti were both blooming and that there were green shoots on all three of my hyacinths!

I wore this on Sunday:

The Uniqlo top got another wear; the kimono was a present from my daughter about 8 years ago;  pre-loved trousers by F&F; boots as before. I wore my walking boots and socks plus a coat; which was needed when I went for a walk. I wore gold jewellery for a change all pre-loved, too.


We began watching this on Sunday evening after I'd taken the grandsons home. Written by the writer of 'The Killing' which remains my all time favourite Scandi Noir series. It was the first I ever watched and I've loved Scandi and Nordic Noir ever since. To my horror this series was dubbed but the story was so gripping I bore with it; at least the voices had Danish accents...

Another rotten day on Monday but as I was volunteering at Barnardo's and thus inside I didn't really mind. This was my outfit and I should have worn a jumper as I was quite chilly until I got home and added a thick, chunky cardigan for added warmth.

Everything was pre-loved. (It's shorter to type pre-loved than charity shopped so will be doing it more often...)
Boots as before; striped tee-shirt by Primark; skirt bought from a Buckingham charity shop; denim jacket as seen before countless times. The brown leather belt was another daughter donated belt. I wore turquoise tights but they can't be seen in the photos; I should have worn leggings for extra warmth! All jewellery pre-loved.

I'm off now to catch up with your blogs and find out what you've been up to. Stay warm to those of you it applies to and I'll see you in a fortnight.


  1. Lovely outfits ! Particularly liked the red Jaeger dress with the black leather jacket. Also the long blue denim coat .
    I am in the United States and marvel at the number of charity shops you mention ! I would think they would put the retail stores, selling new merchandise , out of business?
    Thanks for the update on your activities and the photos . Did you ever work in the fashion industry?

    1. Thank you and thank you for commenting!

      We have lots of charity shops here in the south east of England but unlike the ones in the States they are small. From what I've heard in the USA and in Canada you tend to have very large thrift shops often over several floors and where you need a trolley to put your goods in! I don't know if charity shops have put retail stores out of business; l somehow I doubt it as many people won't shop in charity shops there being a stigma attached, in some people's views, to buying used goods.

      No. I've never worked in the fashion industry.

  2. You can change settings from dubbed to subtitles ..... I did.

  3. Time indeed does have a tendency to fly lately!
    It's always wonderful to see your parade of gorgeous outfits, my favourites this time being the first one (with that stunning Armani skirt) and the last! As always, I'm admiring your collection of fabulous necklaces.
    Ickwell Green looks very picturesque, and how fantastic are those concealed telecom aerials? What a great idea!
    I loved joining you on your walks, and the view of the lake with its narrowboats is fantastic! xxx

    1. Thank you, Ann. I have far too many necklaces and need to get rid of some but it's so difficult....

  4. gorgeous outfits - dear vronni!
    my fav this time is the animal print on animal print - totally cool. and i love your "new" silver necklace - its a stunning piece. is that dress pink or red?
    what a picturesque village Ickwell Green is! and the cathedral in chequer board design is beautiful and i´m in awe about the age.......
    but that heated clothes dryer sound like crap - when does one need extra heat? for the thick materials of cause. tss. i´m glad we have the tiled, coal heated oven - i do place a clothes rail with items on hangers in front of it & the extra thick stuff (or the tiny bits) goes on top of the oven.
    no washing when we have visitors ;-D

    1. Thank you, Beate.

      The dress is red - bright red.

      I do put my non heated drying rail (known here as a 'clothes horse') in our living room with the coal/wood burner stove. If I leave clothing on the unheated radiators they stay wet for days so I no longer bother unless I put the central heating on. We too put things on hangers and hang them all over the house where they might dry - including the living room!

  5. Fab outfits, as always! I'm loving the necklace you wore with the red dress and the snake & leopard combo especially.
    Buckingham look gorgeous, the lovely stone reminds me of the Cotswolds, it always looks like the sun is shining on it even when it isn't.
    We loved all three series of Deadwind and I think The Chestnut Man was the first series we ever watched on Netflix when we signed up last year. Our version was definitely subtitled, I refuse to watch anything dubbed! We're currently watching Bitter Daisies between football matches - the Spanish do crime stuff really well.
    I've never heard of the term "cabbages" before, on our market they're known as "overmakes" and come from the garment factories up the road.
    What a shame about the heated rail. Jon built us a version of one of those Victorian drying racks using an old wooden cot and some broom handles suspended to the ceiling with a weird Heath Robinson pulley system, stuff can hang around for a few days but at least neither of us bangs into it!

    1. Thank you, Vix.

      Our kitchen is too small to have a ceiling airer - too many wall mounted cupboards but as you say if we had one we wouldn't keep bumping into the drying washing. I do put the airer (non-heated) in the room with the coal/wood burner. The only positive thing about the heated airer apart from the fact it dries light/small items quite well is that it generates a bit of heat when it's on so it warms the room it's in up!

      I know what you mean about the stone looking as if it has the sun on it - a lovely description.

  6. Love the black skirt with moon and stars, although all your outfits are just stunning. You have a knack for getting the best “stuff.” Our thrift stores here in the states are handling more and more run of the mill clothing and not unusual clothing items. The thrill of the hunt is waning! Stay warm, enjoy your blog. Thanks.

    1. Thank you, Claire.

      I would have to agree that most of the stuff in our charity shops is run of mill high street/chain store stuff but sometimes there are some great high street items to be had and by buying it we keep it out of landfill. I must say that I now try to look for quality clothing so more high end labels or for vintage clothing which tends to be better made in the first place.

  7. Pre-Loved is a great description for charity shopped clothing (or a divorcee :)
    That giant medallion necklace is beautiful. You find the most incredible necklaces, and they always look so good on you.

    1. Then I'm pre-loved, too! Thank you, Goody - praise indeed from the woman whose jewellery collection never ceases to amaze...

  8. Lots of lovely activities and lovely outfits!.
    Love that suedette jacket, as both the colour and the shape are cool!. I think that you look particularly fab in yellow-mustard, love the jacket with the embroidered skirt and big beads, and also love it over that fab patterned dress with red accessories enhancing it (looking very spanish in this!)
    Those bus walks look really interesting, always great to go for a walk in good company and discover new paths. Thanks for sharing some pics of landscapes and great architecture (and plaques!).
    Looking fab in that starry maxi skirt and red pullover ensemble, really cool but sorry that the skirt was not keeping in place (that sounds uncomfortable!).
    Lovely in your blue Seasalt dress and matchy jacket and necklace, rocking those boots!
    Those subtle earthy tones are fab too and love your monochrome outfit 'for warmth', particularly the jacket and the massive pendant!.
    Love your pinafore dress with turquoise-teal accents and those cute boots again!
    Looking really elegant in your red dress, and also rocking in the denim jacket and white boots and that monochrome ensemble!. Really love your talent to mix patterns looking elegant and cool!.
    But you've saved the best for last in my opinion, as your last outfit is my favourite one!. Love the colourful skirt with that denim jacket, and fab accessorizing!

    1. Thank you, Monica. The bus walks are really enjoyable and I am intending to go on them all!
      Have a great weekend!

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Hello Stella! Thank you for reading my blog and please do comments again - the comments are what makes blogging worthwhile!
      Have a great weekend,

    2. Hello and thank you Stella! Please do comment again; reading comments is what makes blogging worthwhile!

  10. Wow, so many fabulous outfits! I absolutely love the circle print dress with the red tights and boots. I found your blog via Gail's blog (is This Mutton?) btw. Your style is amazing!

    Emma xxx

    1. Hello Emma, thank you for commenting. I'm familiar with your blog but haven't commented before - must rectify that!


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