Tuesday, 20 December 2022

Red, blue and a bit of green...

 Hello again and festive greetings to you all!

I went swimming on Tuesday afternoon which is where I left you in my last post. Another cold and grey day. I swam 48 laps. Once home again I caught up with blogs and blogging before making dinner. I wouldn't be making dinner on Wednesday (yay!) as it was our annual 'Ivel Valley Walkers Xmas Lunch'.

Once again I didn't fancy the Wednesday morning walk; I'd done it before. It was just as well as those that did said how muddy it was and you know how I hate mud! I wore this 1.00 rail bargain Jaeger dress with Nike camouflage leggings and my red boots to the meal. The jacket, also pre-loved was bought in an Irish charity shop and is by Gerry Weber. As it was another bitterly cold day I wore a huge blanket type scarf and gloves just to drive to the meal venue and back again. The meal was very good; we did a quiz and sang Christmas carols. I have a CD of Christmas carols somewhere and must find it as Christmas carols (and presents!) are the things I love most about Christmas.

I tried a mirror selfie - it made me look cross eyed!

All jewellery pre-loved.

Feeling thoroughly stuffed after a meal in the middle of the afternoon; which I'm not used to I spent what was left of the afternoon sorting some things out. I went through three drawers of scarves I had in the hall table and reduced them down to one drawer; putting the unwanted ones in the donations bag - which by now was busting at the seams. I fitted all my gloves in the second drawer and the top drawer remains full of umbrellas, masks, sunglasses etc. I was able to dig my berets out of where I stored them and include them under the hall table as the glove box had now been decanted to a drawer. I was hoping I might wear more of my berets as I could actually see them. They get forgotten about when they are out of sight. Unfortunately they leave me with 'hat hair' too so I will usually
only wear a beret if I plan on washing my hair the next day. I was on a roll after that sort out and tackled my collection of Virago books (more than 200); moving a shelf full of Persephone books (about 70) into the living room to free up more space. As I read through my crime books I'll free up even more space for the rest of the Persephone books and they'll be together eventually, with all the Virago's together in the bookcase in the dining room.

Woke up to frost and freezing temperatures on Thursday. Off for a swim  first thing managing 48 laps again; then home to eat breakfast and get ready. Off to the farm shop for more coal and kindling and then to Lidl for the weekly food shop. I wore red again. Everything pre-loved. Boots by Asos; skirt by M&S; jumper by Simon Jefferies and polo neck from Primark. All jewellery also pre-loved. It's definitely long boots weather...

I popped along to the Castle Road charity shops and picked up a long green striped cardigan and a red short, pleather jacket that won't get worn until the weather warms up! I collected grandson from school, made dinner and dropped him to basketball. A typical Thursday for me in other words...

Another freezing day on Friday. The group walk was cancelled as the leader was ill. I'd volunteered to go to the bus station to see if anyone turned up who didn't know the walk was cancelled. I only live a 5 minute walk away. Luckily, only one person turned up and decided to do the walk anyway using their OS map - intrepid soul! I actually wore my fur coat for the first time on Friday and it kept me lovely and warm. I bought the fur coat in a charity shop last year after looking for one for years. The rest of the outfit I wore was all pre-loved too. Cropped trousers by White Stuff; jumper by Tu and polo neck by Zara. Green boots as before and all jewellery pre-loved.

I went into to town to run some errands and did a bit of Christmas shopping whilst I was there. I was walking about for more than two and a half hours going from one shop to another and was pretty tired when I got home. I forgot to stop and get my eyebrows done but I can go on Monday after the charity shop. I moved the rest of my Persephone books collection to the living room and put my crime and poetry books in the book case in the dining room. Now the Persephone's are together again! I  added a couple to my wish list for Christmas. I do enjoy my books; not just reading them but looking at them, smelling them and handling them. I love to be surrounded by them; they give me so much pleasure...

I sorted out a bagful of books to go to Oxfam and will see if someone will collect them as they did before. Much too heavy to carry into town and the Oxfam book shop is on the far side of town to me. Or, I could load up my shopping trolley (yes, I have an old lady wheeled trolley) and take the books that way. It won't happen until next week anyway as on Saturday my walking group is walking in London. We are meeting at Hampstead station and walking to the West End to see the Christmas lights. Should be fun and we should keep warm as we'll be walking...it was and we did!

A street full of Georgian houses in Hampstead;  this edifice on the right was seen at St. Pancras International station. Made of cardboard and in honour of The Princes Trust.

 Gracie Fields house; Hampstead. An actress, singer and comedienne particularly famous during the second world war.

We walked all over Hampstead and spotted lots of plaques which made me very happy!

Mount Vernon Hospital in Hampstead.
Some of the plaques seen in Hampstead.
This house and plaque dedicated to George Du Maurier, actor and the father of Daphne Du Maurier; was just around the corner from Fenton House where I went with cousin Marian earlier this year.
The Admiral's House, Admiral Walk, Hampstead. Lived in by a number of people; none who were Admiral's! You can read more about it HERE. It has a fascinating history...
This was an extension of the Admiral's House but completely separate.
 Hampstead was very village like and you can see how once London was just the City surrounded by villages such as Hampstead; there are several parts of London still with this village feel. After our tour of Hampstead we walked to Kenwood House via Hampstead Heath where we stopped for lunch. Don't let the blue skies in the photos fool you it was bitterly cold. After lunch we walked on to Belsize Park; Primrose Hill; Regent's Park; Marylebone; terminating the walk at Marble Arch. OH and I walked a total of 12 miles and were totally shattered by the time we got home...

Jack Straw's Castle - famous pub on Hampstead Heath.

A toll booth (near Kenwood House)

I loved this stained glass door seen in Belsize Park.

Church in Belsize Park

Views of London seen from Primrose Hill.

To the far left you can see the dome of St. Paul's Church. Once it would have been the tallest building on the City skyline; now it's dwarfed by many more buildings. On the far right is the Post Office Tower. I once went for lunch at the top; where they had a revolving restaurant; it was 1970 and I was 16 years old. I worked full time but continued to work at my Saturday job in a local wool shop. The shop owner, Mrs. Warren; who was married to an Irish man; had her Irish niece and niece's friend over in London on holiday and as they were a similar age to me; invited me along to lunch. The following year I accompanied them to Ireland on holiday at Mr. Warren's family farm in Co. Wexford. 

A house in Regent's Park? Yes please!

Nash terrace in Regent's Park.
Marylebone High Street left; somewhere near Wigmore Street, top  right;  bottom right; Oxford Street heading towards Marble Arch.  On Saturday evening it was -2 degrees.

 Everyone came for dinner on Sunday and we sorted out what to have for Christmas dinner. I will buy a whole leg of lamb (currently half price at Tesco) and a Turkey crown. My daughter will make a Salmon Wellington and a nut roast so that between us we've covered the vegans, the flexitarian (me), and the non-red meat eater!

We woke to snow on Monday morning after a weekend with temperatures that didn't rise above 2 degrees. I wore this to the charity shop. Everything pre-loved. Skirt by M&S recently found; top by Heatech;  jacket by M&Co; striped tights; a present and boots as before. All jewellery pre-loved. I found the belt at Barnardo's recently; it has a good bit of stretch in it.

We were not busy with customers or donations at Barnardo's. The snow had kept people away. My daughter's school was closed so she was very pleased to have a day at home! At the charity shop we spent time decoding, re-stocking the Christmas cards and the gifts section. I came home with some navy blue gloves, a jumper and a black suedette jacket.

From the food bank I went to Tesco and bought a leg of lamb which was originally nearly 33.00 but because of the half-price offer it was nearer 17.00. I took it to my daughter's to put in her freezer then came home sorted out the washing; the fire and made dinner. We had started watching an Icelandic series on Netflix called 'Katla' and watched the final two episodes on Monday evening. Once again, I went outside my viewing comfort zone, as this series was about people coming back from the dead in the form of 'changelings'. It was gripping if somewhat surreal...


Monday night was the coldest night so far at -6 degrees centigrade in our area. Neither OH and I could get warm on Monday evening; even though we were sat in front of the fire. We put the heating back on again for an hour and I took a hot water bottle to bed with me which I'd been doing for the past few nights;  I also made one up for OH to sit with as he goes to bed in the wee small hours...

Tuesday's outfit. Everything pre-loved. 
Skirt via Vinted; polo neck by Laura Ashley; cardigan by Weekenders (a Canadian brand I believe); belt donated by my daughter. The boots were knee length; bought from Sainsbury's in a sale about four or five years ago. I thought I had donated them along with a black pair but found them in the loft when I was changing my wardrobe over. The skirt has a fleece lining. All jewellery pre-loved.

The freezing temperatures continued into Tuesday.

I did it again! My polo neck is back to front...

The car registered -2 degrees on my way to the food bank and remained the same on the return journey. Unsurprisingly, the demand at the food bank had escalated; the hygiene packs were suspended temporarily so more food parcels could be put on the vans to deliver to the distribution centres. I packed donated toiletries away then helped make up food parcels and re-stocked items where needed. I kept my coat, scarf and gloves on in the warehouse and my feet were freezing; only thawing out once I got back into my car! I almost didn't go swimming it was so cold but was glad I did; slippery, icy pavements and all. For the first 25 minutes I was the only person swimming in my lane and only 2 others joined me. I swam 48 laps in total and was very thankful the showers had now been fixed so was able to have a hot shower afterwards and wash my hair. Caught up with blogs and blogging when I got home before making dinner.

The Wednesday walk was cancelled because of the weather conditions so I had a lazy morning before venturing out to collect something from Sainsbury's and do the weekly Aldi shop.  I also drove to Pells; the farm shop in Renhold, where I picked up a Christmas tree. I was sorry I hadn't bought one a fortnight ago when both Aldi and Lidl had them but Pell's trees were much cheaper and grown locally so it was a nice bit of serendipity.

The fur coat is getting lots of wear. It is lovely and warm but the only thing is once I've added a thick scarf and gloves I feel like the Michelin man with so many layers on! Everything pre-loved. Cardigan by Gallery bought last week in the Castle Rd charity shop; top by Warehouse; jeans by East and boots as before. All jewellery pre-loved. The day started out at -3 degrees but then went up to 1 degree...

I had planned to get my eyebrows done but couldn't face the icy pavements on my walk into town. Instead I dropped my donations off to the Daycare Hospice shop and then went home and made flapjacks. I will get my eyebrows done on Friday when I get back from our unofficial Friday walk. I contacted Oxfam about collecting the books and they collected as promised on Wednesday afternoon.

This was the view of the garden on Thursday morning; 4 days after it first snowed. The snow is frozen in the pots. I hung my swimsuit out on the line after my morning 1 mile swim and the drips of water froze into mini icicles!

Friday was unofficial bus walk day. We met at Shortstown (the other side of Bedford town, so not far) and walked 4 miles across crisp, crunchy snow covered fields. We took a circular route and met lots of dog walkers with their dogs. All the dogs seemed to thoroughly enjoy the snow...

It was  minus 3 degrees when we set out and warmed up to 1 degree by the time we finished and stopped for coffee.

Those buildings in the distance are Cardington Hangars. Once where the R series airships were built and stored; they are now film studios.

The trees look so pretty.

More navy blue; I seem to be wearing a lot of blue lately. Wool dress by M&S and polo neck jumper underneath by Uniqlo; both pre-loved. Scarf; present from daughter. Boots recent online retail buy.

On my way back from the walk I stopped at B&M for some bits and bobs including suet pellets and meal worms for the birds. I popped into the Daycare Hospice shop where I bought a book; a reduced jumper and pair of ankle boots. I then went home and back out again to finally get my eyebrows done. It had been 2 months since I last had them done. I aim for monthly visits but often wait longer

I woke on Saturday hoping the snow had melted as the temperatures were set to rise over the weekend. Unfortunately it was still there and the pavement were just as slippery and icy as they had been for days... I wore the jumper bought yesterday with this no label skirt; polo underneath by Uniqlo and boots as before. In the house for extra warmth I wore my Gallery cardigan and long suede boots; a 1.00 bargain from the Ampthill Barnardo's a couple of years ago. All clothing and jewellery pre-loved.

I went to Sainsbury's and into town to collect a parcel. It was 4 degrees but felt no warmer than when it was minus 3 degrees! I wore my fur coat; big scarf and gloves. In the evening I took OH to his Christmas meal at a local restaurant. His company paid for taxis to take everyone home which saved me from a late night trek to pick him up again.

On Sunday I went out for a walk of 4 miles and on the way back it began to rain. By Monday there was no trace pf the snow and ice and when I left my house to go to Barnardo's it was strangely mild. Such a contrast to the freezing, icy weather we'd been having and so very welcome!

This was Monday's outfit with lighter layers to reflect the change in the weather. Skirt by Per Una (M&S); top by F&F; cardigan/jacket by Betty Barclay' boots as before. All pre-loved as was all the jewellery. Lots of donations came in; people were clearly having a Christmas clear out!

I ran errands after the charity shop going to Waitrose and M&S to buy certain festive items for my daughter and a delicious stuffing we have only at Christmas. Then it was home to do a wash, sort out the fire and make chicken soup with Sunday's dinner leftovers. We began watching 'His Dark Materials' on BBC on Sunday evening having watched the previous 2 series and loved it. It was on i Player so we watched more episodes on Monday evening. We should have finished watching the entire series by the weekend. I have the trilogy of books that make up the title but had lent them to my brother last year. I hadn't read them and now I really want to...

By now I expect you can see why I used 'red, blue and a bit of green' as the post title. More blue on Tuesday. Tights a present; Boots; New Look retail (they're burgundy) and dress by Boden with black polo underneath with no label. All pre-loved as was the jewellery.

It was organised mayhem at the food bank on Tuesday. There were mountains of food donations from supermarkets, organisations and individuals. As fast as we emptied one crate someone nabbed the crate to fill it with more incoming donations. I offered to go in on Friday if needed to clear some of the food mountain. I have a couple of busy days before then including the weekly food shop, hairdresser's appointment, swimming, walking with my daughter and going for mulled wine and mince pies with all at the charity shop. And talking of swimming I'm off to do my 48 laps now and I'll see you in 2023!

Lost earrings, birthday and some sad news.

Hello!  This was me in my walking outfit on Wednesday; plus waterproof coat, scarf and gloves. It was both a wet and cold day.  I'd put ...