Tuesday 2 May 2023

London walking and sore knees...

Hello! Once again that fortnight just flew by... 

I woke up to sunshine on Wednesday morning so there was no excuse not to go on the group walk. The sun didn't come out again on the walk itself but put in an appearance in the afternoon. There was a brisk breeze so when I got home from the walk I was able to put the towels wash on the line to dry. The walk from Wilden to Ravensden and return was most enjoyable at 6.5 miles and it was good to see people I hadn't seen for a while. I also chatted to a couple of new members. The walk took in some of a route I walk by myself but the walk leader then went on to a footpath I didn't know. I'm quite excited now to try that out for myself and hopefully create another walk that I can lead. I feel a recce coming on...I stayed in my walking clothes all day so no outfit photos were taken that day.

 More sunshine on Thursday morning and the sun remained for most of the day but there was a strong wind which cooled things down. I wore this tunic (it's too short to be a dress) by Blue Vanilla found at Barnardo's a while back with a H&M polo neck underneath; also from Barnardo's. Leggings and boots retail buys.


All jewellery pre-loved.


I went for a swim and just about managed to swim 45 laps before the whistle blew. Then it was home to eat breakfast and get ready. I went to the farm shop for one bag of coal (I'm not buying anymore; it's almost May for goodness sake) and some kindling; then onto Lidl for the weekly food shop. I collected the grandson from school; made dinner and took him to basket ball practice and dropped the middle grandson home as it began to rain heavily. Middle grandson had been at our house all afternoon revising for his exams. He has a younger brother and things are a bit quieter in our house, he says!



It was still raining on Friday morning so I cried off the unofficial bus walk. I realised on Thursday evening that my resident parking permit was about to run out so I spent time online renewing that as soon as I got upI ran some errands at B&M and went to the library in Kempston to pick up a book.  I fancied a rice pudding so I made one when I got back from running errands. I find rice pudding such a comforting food and I like mine with a brown crust and quite solid in texture. It was lovely; I also added dried gojii berries to it. The rain continued on off all day interspersed with short lived sunny spells so no regrets about not going on the walk.


I wore red Laura Ashley jeans; a H&M tunic and my black lace up boots; all pre-loved as was all jewellery. I had a bit of a sort out of my wardrobe in the afternoon and managed to fill a black plastic sack with donations; although a donated coat of OH's took up at least half of the bag. Having not watched TV all week we watched 'Gardner's World' and continued watching series 2 of 'The Blood Pact' in the evening.


Saturday was bright and dry. I met the group at the station for 8 am (far too bloody early) and we set off for the 40th Unlock walk. The Thameslink service wasn't operating fully due to engineering works; it was also the football semi-final at Wembley so there were huge crowds everywhere. We were warned to avoid travelling after 6 pm because of the crowds returning to the north of England from Wembley Stadium. Luckily, we had finished the walk and were on the train home by 16.45pm but I had never before seen an official queuing system in place at a railway station. There were sectioned areas where we queued for our trains and the transport police stopped people joining the queues if they became too crowded. What a nightmare it was. I hope it's better next week! We began our walk at Abbey Wood; walked to Thamesmead; onto Plumstead and ended up at Woolwich Arsenal having visited 7 different churches on the way.


This was the first stopping point; visiting Lesnes Abbey, the abbey in 'Abbey Wood'.  Founded in 1178 by Richard de Luci Chief Justice of England and the King's chief adviser. Closed by Henry VIII during the Reformation and demolished in 1534 only the ruins remain today.




A green area in Plumstead. There was a car boot sale going on; I wished there was time to stop and have a look but there wasn't...


Anthony Gormley sculptures at the Woolwich Arsenal.


My camera must have had something smeared on the lens (butter from sandwiches possibly!) as all my photos were murky and fuzzy and just total crap. Thank you to Sandra of North Beds Ramblers for these photos. 

The Unlock walk was in its 40th year and is a way of raising funds for a variety of charities and welcoming people into a range of churches. Each year a different part of London is selected. There are always refreshments on offer (there was more cake this year - yay!) and some of the churches are beautiful. The 7 churches we visited this time were mostly modern and so nothing very interesting about their interiors or exteriors but the people are always so welcoming. It's about the fourth or fifth 'Unlock' walk I've done and over the years we've visited a Norwegian church; a Greek Orthodox church and a seaman's church to name just a few. I'd walked 10 miles by the time I got home and OH had made me a lovely dinner.

Top right; Honesty; bottom left; Euphorbia, bottom right; Bellis.

I was so pleased to find we have 'Honesty' blooming in the garden. I can't remember if this is one of the plants I bought on a trip to 'The Manor' in Huntingdon with my brother last year; or if I bought it on my last visit to the garden centre in Wymington last autumn. I had initially sent off for honesty seeds but the company sent me lupin seeds by mistake. Anyhow, finally I have honesty in my garden and now I can't wait for the silver penny seed heads. On the walk to Priory Marina there is some honesty growing wild so I could always take a cutting if this one doesn't survive...having checked my gardening notebook I noted that I bought more honesty seeds and strew them around the garden! That explains why there's an honesty plant growing next to the drain just by the back door...


i went for a swim on Sunday morning and disaster struck. I was on the first lap of my swim and realised something was dangling on my wrist. When I looked closely the face had fallen off my Fit Bit watch and all its innards were hanging out. It was a birthday present from my daughter last year but luckily it was still under a 2 year warranty as we (the UK) are in the EEA (European Economic Area) but not the EU. I planned to return the watch to Argos where my daughter bought it from but when I went there on Monday morning they gave me a phone number for Fit Bit. Once I'd made the call Fit Bit said they would send me out a replacement immediately albeit with no strap and no charger, but of course I still had the original ones.


This was what I wore on Monday to Barnardo's - only there wasn't any Barnardo's. When I got there the shop was closed! There was a sign on the door saying it was shut on 24th April but no one had let me know. I was a bit miffed as I could have stayed in bed longer, but I'm guessing it was some sort of emergency and there wasn't time to let me know. That's how I was able to go to Argos on a Monday morning. Everything I'm wearing was pre-loved except the boots; a retail present. Skirt by Next; top by Dorothy Perkins and the quilted jacket was found in a Birkenhead charity shop. All jewellery pre-loved.

I used the free morning I'd acquired wisely. I walked into town to collect a prescription; bought some seasonings from the International supermarket; returned two library books and went to Superdrug for a new mascara and treated myself to a new lipstick, too. I also had a look around the High Street charity shops; 6 in total, for more Ellie Griffiths books but didn't find any. Once home I made soup with Sunday's left over chicken and rested my right knee. It had begun to pain me on Sunday and I knew I needed to rest it especially if I was going to be pounding London pavements again next weekend...




More black and white was worn on Tuesday for volunteering at the food bank. Everything pre-loved including all jewellery. Shirt by Monki; trousers by M&S; boots, belt and polo neck as before.

At the food bank I made up crates of hygiene products; put some hygiene products away and then spent the rest of the time marking up donated tins; i.e. putting use-by dates on each tin. They will then be sorted and stored according to date order and type - beans, fish, meat, fruit etc.

After finishing at the food bank I stopped off at Aldi to do the weekly Aldi shop; for some reason I seem to have transferred the weekly Aldi shop from a Wednesday to a Tuesday. After putting the shopping away I ventured into the garden and was thrilled to see yet another honesty plant had popped up in a different pot. That spurred me on to finally plant up the cyclamen bulbs and I put them into the mini greenhouse as overnight frost was still a possibility for the next few days.


I made two decisions on Wednesday morning before I even got out of bed. I was still experiencing knee pain when walking up and down the stairs and when I had to bend it. The Unlock walk was clearly the culprit so I decided not to go on the group walk on Wednesday and definitely not go on the London walk on Saturday. I was very disappointed about the London walk as I had been looking forward to it, but a long walk on hard London pavements might just be too much for the knee. I didn't want a repeat of a few years ago when I couldn't go walking for about six or seven weeks because I strained the anterior cruciate ligament in my knee. My cousin Marian had recommended Hemp gel (she has problems with her knees) so I ordered some - both OH and I can use it; he didn't come on the Unlock London walk last Saturday because his knee was giving him trouble...


However, I still needed a bit of exercise so I walked to the library to pick up a reservation (book 7 in the Dr. Ruth Galloway series - I'm getting there slowly but surely) to Iceland for some groceries; the Irish shop for some wheaten bread and quick look round the town centre charity shops. I didn't find anything.

 Then it was home to hang up the towels I'd left washing; to clean out and lay the fire; and by then it was time to put my feet up and get on with Dr. Ruth...only interrupted by the need to light the fire after 6 pm. We had fish and chips for dinner and by bedtime I'd finished my Dr. Ruth book. Now to track down number 8 in the series...


After 2 days of black and white I wanted some colour in my outfit. Everything pre-loved; kilt skirt by M&S; jumper by Seasalt (both from Barnardo's) tights; a retail present; boots have no label but found in the Cat's Protection League. All jewellery pre-loved.
 

Yet another manic Thursday. Started off with a 45 lap swim.  Then onto the hairdresser whose road was shut off for repairs so I had to walk the last bit to her house. Home to get ready and have a late breakfast; then off to the Farm Shop and to do the Lidl shopping. Grandson was at home as his teachers were on strike so there was time to unpack the shopping and prep the dinner before picking him up from home. After cooking dinner for both grandsons, I dropped the youngest off to basketball practice. He was to stay with us for the weekend as his mum and her partner were off to Brussels. He had a basketball game on Saturday and more basket ball practice on Sunday...


I bought this vintage Mandy Marsh dress from the Birkenhead Scope charity shop. Jacket from Barnardo's; all jewellery pre-loved and boots retail. I'm not sure I'll hang onto the dress, I think it's a bit frumpy...

I began taking Ibuprofen and felt the difference in my knee straight away. I hate taking tablets and only take them if absolutely necessary. The hemp gel didn't seem to make any difference! On Friday I decided to test the knee out on the unofficial bus walk. What a wonderful walk it was, too. It was cloudy and we had a bit of brief drizzle but the sun came out on the last section of the walk; which was 7.5 miles in total. We walked from St. Paul Walden which is in Hertfordshire; the next county to Bedfordshire. Walden is from the Old English weald, "forest," and dene, meaning "valley.


 We walked from St. Paul Walden to Whitwell and back. It was mostly through woods so we could see the bluebells:




Here we are except the walk leader, Marcus, who took the photos. Roy decided to wear his Lidl jumper...


That's Fran at the front on the left and she interviewed me for the Rambler's summer leaflet:



Woods without bluebells.


There are only about 200 chalk streams left in the world; most of them are in the South of England. This one runs through Whitwell and about 24 miles further downstream flows into the river Thames.


We stopped in Whitwell for tea and cake in a converted barn. The tea shop had a display of old farm and domestic artefacts. Anyone remember the old mangles? We never had one but there was an old rusting one in our back yard in the house I grew up in. The thing at the front that looks like a spin dryer is actually for spraying crops...


We came across this in a hollow. There were long curved church pews covered in tarpaulin and then a very flat tiny field which is used as a living theatre. They hold May Balls and concerts there. What a lovely idea. I thought the date on the plaque was interesting - just after the first lock down ended...


A view across the fields to Stevenage. St.Paul Walden is between Hitchin and Stevenage. We met 3 other walking groups on our travels and a cycling club were having tea and cake at the tea shop when we were.

Some interesting buildings:




This I think was the Dower House and part of the estate of St. Paul's Walden Bury; an English country house Grade II listed with gardens Grade I listed. The late Queen Mother (Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon) was said to be born here and this was her childhood home. In other words, King Charles III's grandmother lived here!


We only caught distant glimpses of the house on certain parts of the walk but you can read more about it here HERE if you're interested.



All Saints Church; St. Paul Walden. A 14th/15th century church. I would have expected it to be called St.Paul's Church but here's the reason why it isn't:
The reason for the oddity is that until the Dissolution of the Monasteries the manor of what was then Abbots Walden was owned by the Abbey of St Albans. When the Abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII the manor was granted to the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral in London. The Dean and Chapter renamed the estate 'St Pauls Walden'.SOURCE

My knee was quite painful when I'd finished the walk but the ibuprofen I took sorted that out! I was hoping my fit bit might have arrived by the time I got home but it hadn't...


If you look very carefully you might just make out a tiny bird at the entrance of the nesting box above. I was so excited to watch this little blue tit land on the bird box; appear to lean inwards as if feeding something and at one point disappear into the box entirely. Do we have baby blue tits (no noises off were heard) or is mother blue tit sitting on the eggs and father blue tit was feeding her? I witnessed this on Saturday morning whilst drinking my tea at the dining room table and then again on Sunday morning. I picked up this handmade bird box in a Newark charity shop last year on our way back from my aunt and uncle's golden wedding anniversary bash in Gainsborough. It would be lovely if the box housed a blue tit family. I've had a thrush nest in the garden before...



We had a very quiet weekend. Youngest grandson was staying with us until Monday. Once he was fed he was off on his electric scooter to Bedford park to play basket ball with his friends; he did this Saturday, Sunday and Monday! He also had an official game with his basket ball club on Saturday so I had to drop him to his friend's house; his friend's parents took them both to the game and back - they won 82 -24. Saturday was a beautiful day; sunny with temperatures of 18/19 degrees. And on Sunday, youngest grandson also had official basket ball practice. OH took him and collected him as middle grandson and I went to spend the day with my son in Norfolk. I went for a swim first thing and swam only 36 (0.75 miles) laps as I wanted to leave for Norfolk quite early.


Even though it was a bank holiday Monday; I still went into Barnardo's but only for 3 hours as it was Sunday opening hours. We weren't very busy and I worked with the deputy manager who I hadn't see for a while. As I hadn't bought much last week I found myself a summer skirt; a Laura Ashley top; a tank top and 2 pairs of brand new socks. Everything I wore was pre-loved except the polo neck top; Sainsbury's retail. Skirt M&S; red jacket bought not so long ago but can't remember which charity shop; boots old Primark but pre-loved. All jewellery pre-loved, too. 

I spent much of the rest of the day helping OH to tidy up the garden. We've moved stuff around; discovered my poor little magnolia tree in bud behind the discarded Christmas tree. It may bloom still. Fingers crossed. We had a lot of empty pots to fill but I had bought stocks from Aldi; some petunias for a window box and in Norfolk on Sunday at a roadside stall bought 6 gazanias for 2.00. OH bought marigolds and some more geraniums to replace the ones at the front; we'd had the old ones for years and of course they don't last forever do they?


Middle grandson came round after dinner to revise and ended up staying the night; just as I'd said goodbye to the youngest grandson. They're both no trouble at all when they stay so I'm happy when they do. Soon they won't want to although the oldest grandson always stays with us at Christmas.


This is the tank top I bought at Barnardo's on Monday. I wore it to the food bank on Tuesday with these trousers from F&F; a yellow Primark top and Kicker boots. Everything was pre-loved including the jewellery. The Kicker boots pinched my feet at the widest part so I put them out on the front wall for someone else to have; they're a size 4 so they'll fit children as well adults. My neighbour had put out lots of pairs of unwanted trainers; I'm sure everything will go - it always does.



There were no other volunteers in at the food bank so I made up crates of food for one of our distribution centres; then put away all the toiletries and hygiene products. Although Tuesday was overcast and much cooler at 13 degrees after Sunday and Monday's highs of 18/19 degrees; my plan for the rest of the day was to take down my summer and lighter weight clothing from the loft and put the heavier weight stuff away. It's May already and needed to be done! I spent the afternoon taking down 3 black sacks of summer clothing from the loft and sorting it out. I still had 1 left to sort out which I'd do on Wednesday, as I'd had enough by then. 5 bags of winter clothing to go back up to the loft; 1 more bag full of donations.  Whilst I was sorting out stuff my replacement Fitbit arrived - at last!

I stopped taking Ibuprofen on Monday and the knee feels much better. I'll still be a bit cautious and not walk again until the end of the week. See you in a fortnight...

























26 comments:

  1. Just like you, I love Honesty ‘silver pennies’ and always on the lookout for ideas so far they have had their pennies painted in colours for all of the seasons, trimmed to be put into diffusers (instead of the sticks/rods) along with dried poppy heads and just big bunches of them displayed in any container that can be found!! Your blog is amazing please keep on with it and thanx. Jan in Castle Gresley

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    1. Hello Jan and thank you for commenting. The Honesty is lovely (i love purple flowers and I've got the 'pennies' to look forward to as well. Your use of the pennies sounds very creative!
      xxx

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  2. What a beautiful wardrobe you have - stunning and I love the colour. I'm in the process of bringing more colour back into my wardrobe after a recent declutter. The areas you walk in are lovely. I've read books one and two for the Ruth Galloway series - I love a British Crime/Thriller. Enjoy your week.

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    1. Hello and thank you for commenting - there was no name left so I don't know who you are! I'm so enjoying the Dr. Ruth Galloway books, too.
      xxx

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  3. You do lead an active life, Vronni! Your interview is fantastic and the architecture you've spotted on your travels is wonderful.
    Lovely outfits especially the one with the tile print Monki shirt and the Mandy March dress.
    That's very impressive customer service with the Fit Bit.
    Jon suffers terribly with his knees. He's three years overdue the steroid injections which help but his doctor is only doing 4 a week and they only give patients a day's notice when there's a slot, he's so desperate he's seriously considering private. He's tried everything from hemp oil, turmeric, CBD and glucosamine and says they're all rubbish. The only thing that makes a slight difference is the TENS machine (£19.99 from Lloyds chemist). Might be worth a try? xxx

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    1. Thank you, Vix. I am trying to slow down a bit as I think overdo things sometimes. Trying to make sure I sit down for a couple of hours every afternoon.

      Sorry to hear about Jon's knees; how shameful he has had to wait so long for his injection; I wouldn't blame him for going private at all. Our poor health service is on its knees. OH is having knee problems too, related to playing football in his youth, and will need knee replacement at some point. Working in fairly physical job for long hours aged 68 doesn't help either but he won't give up!

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  4. Fellow knee sufferer here! I try not to take anything for it, unless it's really bad. Might look into the TENS machine recommended by Vix ...
    Wonderful outfits, as always, the Blue Vanilla tunic, M&S kilt skirt and pleated skirt/Paisley patterned polo neck being particular favourites.
    I loved tagging along on your walks, especially the St. Paul Walden one which looked absolutely delightful! xxx

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    1. Thank you, Ann! This is only the second time I've had a problem with my knee and may have to look into the TENS machine; I just think I overdo things sometimes and sore knees are the consequence! Trying to rest in the afternoon for a couple of hours is my new plan....
      xxx

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  5. What a busy time you've had! Your walks look great as do your outfits :). I've read all of the Dr Ruth series and felt bereft when I finished them!

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    1. Thank you, Deb. I think I shall feel the same about the Dr. Ruth books but I still have 7 left to read!
      xxx

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  6. Yikes! The fitbit loosing its innards =) glad they are sending you a replacement. I love all of your colorful outfits as usual and the walk around London sounds really interesting.
    www.chezmireillefashiontravelmom.com

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    1. Thank you, Mireille. I have my new Fitbit and was impressed with the service.
      xxx

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  7. a lot of walking - no wonder your knee wanted a rest! mine hate it when i walk a long part on conrete or asphalt.... i use cream (kytta) with comfrey which reduces the pain, the swelling and the inflammation.
    and lots of fabulous outfits!!! my fav is the "there was no bernados" one - and no, the maxi dress is not frumpy because you styled it in a cool way and you are not frumpy at all!
    gorgeous flowers in your garden!
    xxxxx

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    1. Yes, Beate, I think my knee doesn't like long walks on concrete or ashphalt either...thsnk you for your lovely comments!
      xxx

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  8. I hope the knee is healing well. I love every outfit you come up with. Such style. I have the last Dr. Ruth here and haven't even opened it yet. It only came out in North America last week. I will be sad to say goodbye to them and wish you luck finding them in the thrift.

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    1. Hello Marjorie and thank you for commenting. I'm waiting on number 8 in the series to land at the library; I will need to reserve number 9 from the library too but I have books 10-14 at home that I thrifted - happy days!
      xxx

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  9. Sending you healing vibes for your (and OH's) knee, Vronni! I also only take ibuprofen or aspirin if I really need it - no other medication. Do you have Voltaren there? It's a topical cream for aches and pains. I use it on my hands and feet sometimes.

    My favourite outfit is the black trousers with that gorgeous wide belt! Your legs look miles long!

    Fantastic pics as always! what a gorgeous place you live in.

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    1. Thank you, Sheila! I'll look out for Voltaren when I'm next in Boots.
      xxx

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  10. Lovely post, I'm admiring you do so many activities and walks!. Hope your knee feels better after resting for a while.
    Lovely walks and lovely photos, so interesting!. I always enjoy to see some natural landscapes and some architecture too!.
    Lovely outfits, particularly love those monochromatic ensembles, and the cute green plaid skirt! (rocking it!). You know I love your accessorizing, so brilliant!
    besos
    (sorry that I've not commented for a while, was not feeling my best!)

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    1. Hello Monica - I was wondering where you were!. Sorry to hear you've not been feeling your best. Thank you for your comments; lovely as always.
      xxx

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  11. Kathryn and the Ancients6 May 2023 at 17:28

    From the Gang: ELEVEN of us here, reading your [bog] with Miss K typing on her machine. Such lovely ensembles! So interesting to see life in England! We enjoy you SO very much...cheers from the "Ancients"!!!

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    1. Hello, ELEVEN of you! Thank you for your comments and hope you have a great week ahead.
      xxx

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  12. Fascinating post as always, I loved seeing the London walk pics. I did Greenwich recently with MeetUp - I didn't realise they were Gormley statues, although it's pretty obvious really! Hope your knee is a bit better after a few days' rest. Always exciting to have nesting birds. I don't thik we have any this year, except the blackbirds in the tree, whose nest is so well concealed we can't see it. There are no robins or tits in the nesting boxes. Pop over on Weds, this post was one of the most clicked! We are off to the Lakes this week. xx

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    1. Thank you, Gail. Have a brilliant time in the Lakes. Great walking so I've heard...
      xxx

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  13. Wow Vronni, your outfits are all superb this week. The stand out for me is the green kilt outfit, stunning, just love how you patterned mixed with the striped tights. Such a good match. 2nd Favourite is the red/white striped outfit, I love a bit of nautical, so Springy. Also waiting for it to warm up here, a very cool 15 degrees max this week. Low for this time of the year in Nessebar. Take care, Rgds, Lise.

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    1. Thank you, Lise! It was 12 degrees here today with a chilly wind but tomorrow is forecast to be warm and sunny - hurrah! Hope you have better weather on the horizon, too.
      xxx

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Fine weather, flea markets and funerals.

Hello and welcome! Posting a day later than usual; if you want to know why - do read on... (Pre-hair cut of course!) Wednesday was a lovely ...