Tuesday, 5 September 2023

...and I lose a father...

Hello again!

You might remember in my last post I said on a Friday walk we stopped for coffee and cake and the Equestrian Centre in Keysoe? Barry took this photo of me when my cake arrived and only sent it to me a week later- too late for the blog post, but don't I look pleased to see it?

I wore this outfit on Wednesday. I'd arranged to spend the day with my sister, Mandy, (I love being able to say that). I took her to visit our father's grave in Kensal Green Cemetery in London; after I picked her up at her house. I met my niece and nephew for the first time, too! From the cemetery we drove back towards Mandy's house to avoid the dreaded London rush hour traffic and had a meal at a local pub. It was a brilliant day and the weather was pretty hot; 26 degrees the car temperature gauge said at one point. Mandy and I have such a lot to catch up on/find out; we never stop talking...

Retail sandals, trousers by Tu; bought in sale and pretty old now; pre-loved top by Pepperberry. All jewellery pre-loved except the earrings which I bought on Monday from Barnardo's new goods section.

We started watching a BBC TV series called 
'Wolf' on Wednesday evening. We'd watched the first episode before going to Ireland and as it seemed a bit weird we decided to watch more. Weird it most certainly was...

It's the Primarni jeans again. Pre-loved tee shirt; very old by Papaya; pre-loved jacket by M&Co and Monsoon sandals. Earrings and necklace also pre-loved.

I went for the usual 46 lap swim; walked to collect a parcel from the parcel shop; then went to Lidl and Sainsbury's to do the food shopping. Once the shopping was unpacked and put away I caught up with blogs and blog land then made dinner.

Another lovely warm day on Thursday but it got overcast around 5 pm. Would we have rain? The last time it rained as far as I could remember was on the train coming back from the London Bridges walk...no rain fell.

It felt odd on Friday not having an unofficial bus walk but I went for a walk anyway in the afternoon of 4.5 miles. It was warm, humid and overcast - thunderstorm weather. The walk was very pleasant; most of the fields were harvested or being harvested. I saw a combine harvester at work in one of the fields below:

And I stopped for a chat with a couple of horses. They were masked up against the flies but I couldn't see why they had their coats on; it was far from cold. I know nothing about horses. These were very friendly and came right up to the fence to say hello; I expect they thought I might have something for them but it's not usually a good idea to feed the horses; at least that's what the signs always say. I once saw one that said 'Please don't feed me; I'm on a diet'!

After the walk I went to Pells; the farm shop and nursery, which was quite close to the area I was walking in to see if they had any plants. The small window box at the front needed replenishing and I was tired of pansies. Unfortunately, that was all Pells had but I did buy some new potatoes and some greengages.  Greengages are a sort of yellowy green plum and I love them. Pells is the only place I know that sells them when they're in season. 

I stayed in my walking gear all day. OH brought pizza home from work (courtesy of one of the many sales reps who buy edibles for the staff when they visit the company). There's always too much pizza, so he brings home the leftovers to stop it from going to waste. I'm not a fan of pizza but Friday is a no cook day and I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth...

By Friday I'd almost finished reading 'Demon Copperhead' by Barbara Kingsolver. It'd taken me ages to read it mostly because I was so busy with other things and researching on Ancestry in the evenings. I knew the final book in the series about Dr. Ruth Galloway by Elly Griffiths was being published in August and treated myself to a Kindle copy; that's what I'll be reading next.

Well, I expect you'll want to know about my DNA test results won't you? 

They arrived on Thursday and I also spoke to a very helpful adviser about the results. My two brothers on my dad's side are full siblings with a probability of 99.7%; whereas my DNA matched to each of those brothers is very, very low in comparison. Therefore the most obvious conclusion is that we do not share a biological father and that's why my DNA ethnicity is very mixed and completely unlike Mandy's. 

Nevertheless; we have all agreed we feel and will continue to behave as full siblings; only now I'm one of 5 siblings! 3 half-brothers from my mum's side; and my half-brothers' half-sister from my dad's side!  How complicated is that?  How do I feel about the fact my dad was not my biological dad?  As I said in the previous post, he reared me and loved me and will always be my dad. I sincerely believe my
 dad didn't know he wasn't my biological father; and I can't even be sure my mum knew (it's possible) so I don't have that awful feeling of having been lied to for most of my life.

All jewellery pre-loved.
There was a definite shift in the weather on Friday; it was much cooler and in the late afternoon rained but not heavily; I noticed it was dark by 8.30. When we first arrived in Ireland less than a month ago it wasn't getting dark until about 11 pm...

OH was going to visit his mum in London on Saturday so I decided to go on a rummage. The last time I went for a rummage was in Co. Derry; I was overdue one...I decided to trawl all the charity shop in and around Bedford town centre as it had been a long time since I had. There are 9 in total and I visited them all. I got caught in a very heavy downpour and sheltered under a tree for about 20 minutes until it had stopped. Of course the washing that had been hung out on the line was absolutely soaked when I got back and had to be be spun again.

Everything pre-loved. Trousers by M&S; top by Olsen and bought when in Ireland on 1 euro rail. It's the palest of blues which you can't really see in the photo. I cannot remember where these sandals were bought; they have a small heel which was useful as it stopped the trousers trailing on the ground. I didn't wear a jacket to town or take an umbrella; hence the tree sheltering. I found some books on my rummage; a M&S winter skirt; a tunic which I can wear in winter with a jumper underneath or in the warmer weather over trousers; a Desigual maxi dress and a short sleeved navy linen top. I had a quick sort out when I got home and put several items into the donations bag which was full to bursting by then. I'd drop the bag off on Tuesday on my way back from the food bank.

Sunday was the usual swimming, housework and cooking dinner. Everything pre-loved except the sandals from Monsoon. All jewellery pre-loved. I bought the cardigan in Burton-on-Trent when I went there for my Aunty Joan's funeral and left my funeral outfit at home...

Monday was a Bank Holiday. When my grandchildren were small we used to try and take them to the seaside on bank holiday weekends but hadn't been for many years. I didn't think they'd want to come aged 13 and 18 years but they both said yes! I decided on Sheringham in Norfolk and what a good choice it was. It was lovely traditional seaside town but with a very pebbly beach. It took us a while to get there as it was mostly single lane A roads and once you're stuck behind a slow driver that's it. We came back via a different route with more dual carriageways and got back a bit quicker.

Trousers La Redoute sale years ago (they must be getting on for 10 years old); H&M top bought on Saturday's rummage. Pre-loved Primarni jacket. Timberland sandals pre-loved from Vinted. They are the most comfortable sandals and I feel like I'm bouncing along when I wear them...all jewellery pre-loved.

The grandsons astonished me by bringing their swimming togs and actually venturing into the sea. They didn't swim but rolled around and played about in the waves. The beach was very pebbly and swim shoes were needed. I was sorry I didn't bring my swimming gear and have a swim too; there were lots of people swimming in the sea so it couldn't have been that cold. The last time I swam in the sea in the UK was when we were in Cornwall with the grandsons on a half-term break in 2018; I think...neither of them went into the sea that time. The weather was beautiful; warm and sunny all day. We tried for a round of crazy golf but were too late; we were also too late for a trip on the steam train, the North Norfolk Railway; 'The Poppy Line' which runs between Sheringham and Holt; a 5 mile journey along the north Norfolk coast. 

My phone ran out of battery after I took these photos and the following photos were taken by OH.

The slipway

Fishermen's cottages

There were dozens of beach huts along the promenade which stretched far into the distance; apparently it goes as far as Wells-next-the-sea which is another very picturesque seaside town we've visited several times before. OH and I said we'd like to come back and do the walk and there were 5 charity shops in Sheringham we didn't get to visit...

Salty Sea Dogs
Murals painted all along the promenade walls about life in the past in Sheringham.

My hair was in dire need of a cut so I went to the hairdressers after the food bank on Tuesday. I also finally dropped off 2 bags of donations at the Daycare Hospice shop where I learned they were merging with Keech Hospice shops - a local hospice charity in Bedfordshire. 

Always feel better when I've had a haircut!

I walked with the group on Wednesday in Ampthill; 7 miles. I was weary when we finished and came home to sit down and chill out; catching up with blogs and blogging and reading my latest book. I'd finished the final Elly Griffiths on Tuesday evening. Sad to think there'll be no more Dr. Ruth and Nelson shenanigans to look forward to. I have, however, started to collect some of the series set in 1950s Brighton by Elly Griffiths and look forward to reading those. There's about 5 or 6 books in that series;  whereas there was 15 in the Dr. Ruth Galloway series. The walk was lovely by the way and the weather was fine; although it started out as quite cool. No photos as it's somewhere I've walked often and there was nothing new to show you.

A much cooler day on Thursday and the sun didn't shine at all. 
I went for a swim and did my 46 laps. I felt less tired today after swimming than I have since I came back from Ireland and think I've got my mojo back. I just can't do as much as I used to and find after a busy morning I need to sit and rest a while before getting on with something else - so that's what I've been doing. I've changed my hairdressing day to Tuesdays as Thursdays are just such full on days during the school term; I'm starting at 10 am at Barnardo's from next week and doing 3 hours instead of 3.5 hours. I find standing for hours like that really makes my back ache now and I've also stopped volunteering on Bank Holiday Mondays. My friend Hilary likes to have a nap in the afternoons; I'm not one for napping in the daytime but never say never!

I can't for the life of me remember where I got this crinkly pleated skirt. It may have been The Children's Society at the end of last summer; when the charity shops are keen to get rid of their summer stock and have a sale. Anyway, it's by Warehouse; pre-loved tee shirt by Dunnes; and the Co. Derry charity shop bought jacket. Monsoon sandals as before.

All jewellery pre-loved; earrings bought from Oxfam as new goods.

After eating a late breakfast and getting ready I went to Lidl to do the weekly food shopping. I've stopped going to Aldi on a weekly basis as I found I was buying too much and will now only go when we need something from there; the way I do with Sainsbury's. Both grandsons came for dinner but basketball is on a 2 week break so no there was no need to take youngest grandson for basketball practice at 7 pm.

We were meant to be doing a train walk this Friday but the ASLEF strikes put paid to that idea. Instead we walked in the village of Stewartby. It's a local village but I had never visited it or walked there before. After the second world war a lot of Italians were recruited from villages in Southern Italy to work in the brick works in Stewartby and Bedford still has a well established Italian community today; although the brick works ceased to operate in 2008. You can read more about the Italian experience in the brick works; HERE. Before the arrival of the Italians in the 1940s;

'Stewartby was effectively the creation of the London Brick Company and its inhabitants worked almost exclusively for that firm. Stewartby was, in many ways, a Bedfordshire version of Bournville in Birmingham, a model community established by a large manufacturing company for its workforce'SOURCE

This, for example, is the reading room for the elderly residents of the village. It used to have an open air swimming pool which was also open to the public but is now closed. We walked around the outskirts of the village crossing the level crossings twice; then made our way to Marston Vale Forest Centre where we stopped for coffee and cake and then walked back to Stewartby passing several lakes en route. 

It was overcast but very humid and a very enjoyable 5.6 mile walk. Several of the small group were off to exciting holiday destinations in the next few weeks. One was off to Uzbekistan and another was crossing the USA by train! Makes my stays in Ireland seem very dull, but I am thinking of taking a short holiday abroad - not in Ireland, in November; if OH can get the time off. I'll tell you where when it's finalised...

I also found some Toadflax on the walk (left) which I'd not seen before and I liked the mottled effect of the leaves of the horse chestnut. I'm not sure if it was a disease or the beginning of the leaves changing colour for the autumn.

I had errands to run after the walk and wanted to wear an outfit where I could just change my footwear and go. Everything pre-loved except the sandals, as before.  Jeans by Next; striped tee by Principles and shirt by M&S. 

On Saturday we were off to OH's sister-in-laws's surprise 80th birthday in Luton so my errands were to order a floral bouquet and buy a birthday card and a few other bits and pieces.  OH's brother and his wife moved from Luton about 20 years ago and retired to Jamaica, but were over here on holiday. Youngest grandson was staying overnight with us so I made dinner despite it being a no-cook Friday.

Luckily we had a no cook Saturday. We went to Luton in the afternoon for the party and ate lovely food and delicious rum laced birthday cake. A beautiful day weather wise, too. When Norma and Rupert lived in Luton we often went to visit and it was great to catch up with her children and grandchildren of which there were several more plus a great grandchild...

Here's the birthday girl, Norma and her husband, Rupert; OH's elder brother.

OH's sister Winifred and her husband Andy.


I wore my 1.00 BNWT F&F dress; I found it at the Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre sale a few weeks back. Pre-loved Precis jacket found in a Co. Dublin charity shop. Timberland sandals via Vinted.

Pendant; gift from OH many years ago; all other jewellery pre-loved except enamelled brooch bought in Co. Donegal gift shop featuring the work of local craftspeople and artists. The party was in the late afternoon and we were home by 9.30 where we commenced watching the second series of DNA; a Danish series on BBC 4. We really enjoyed the first series and only discovered by accident the second series was currently showing.

Sunday was hot. We are in for a week of hot weather; it always seem to do this when the children go back to school in the autumn term. We had quite a lazy Sunday. I went swimming and swam 48 laps; then OH and I went to our local car boot sale which meets on the first Sunday of each month. I bought some earrings, a brooch; a dress and some beach mats ready for our next trip to the seaside.

It was 29 degrees on Monday. I wore a pre-loved Jigsaw linen skirt and pre-loved top with no label; both from Barnardo's. All jewellery pre-loved.

I started at 10 am at Barnardo's and was busy all morning processing donations. I worked with a paid member of staff I hadn't worked with before. Our Christmas cards and wrapping paper are out for sale already!

Only 2 of us at the food bank on Tuesday morning. When we move to the new premises in mid-October it seems there's enough room for 4 for us to make up food parcels; it's likely that's what I'll be doing as the toiletry bags are a thing of the past now. Even when I make up the toiletries for the distribution centres; I usually only make up 3 lots of 4 crates and that only takes about 30 minutes to do. 

I took these outfit photos in a pool of sunlight...

Sandals as before. Pre-loved dress bought at the car boot sale on Sunday for 2.00. All jewellery pre-loved.

When I got to my car to drive to t he food bank it was covered with leaves; falling leaves means Autumn on its way...

It was another very hot day. On Monday I hung out towels and bed linen on the line and it was dry in a couple of hours; it's one of the best things about a spell of hot weather. And talking of bed linen I bought us some new fitted sheets. All my old sheets had been bought in charity shops and were in a very shabby state. I had to go to Asda in Rushden to collect some new sheets and of course I had a rummage whilst I was there. I bought some books in the Salvation Army; middle grandson a mug with his initial on; and in Extra Care shop I bought a checked top on the 1.00 rail. Then it was home to write and publish my blog and catch up with blog land in general. I'll be walking in Luton on Friday on the unofficial bus walk which is actually a train ride - last time the walk was cancelled due to the train strike. I can use my Senior bus pass to get 50% off my train fare to Luton; in fact I can travel as far as St. Alban's at half price which is very handy as Mandy only lives one stop on from there!

See you in a fortnight...



  1. I'm not sure how I'd feel if DNA tests showed that my dad wasn't my bio-father! What a situation! But family is family, and how exciting to have new siblings, Vronni!

    Another exciting fortnight of news and goings on! I always enjoy hearing about your life and all the things you do - much of it so foreign and different than over here. I've never even seen a bathing hut!

    Loving your white jeans, your dark jeans (you really suit that wide leg), your new dress and your outfit for the 80th birthday party!

    1. Thank you Sheila! Beach huts are fabulous; I should have taken photos of some of the interiors. Not only are they used for changing into and out of swimming costumes; they often have mini cookers to boil a kettle or make a quick snack and also used as places to store all the beach equipment - deckchairs, windbreaks, buckets, spades etc etc.

  2. Well done on coping with your new family. Every outfit was fabulous. Hugs and love.

    1. Forgot to say I have enjoyed the Harbinder Kaur series by Elly Griffiths, only three so far.

    2. I have one of the Harbinder Kaur books and look forward to finding more...

  3. blood is overrated imho..... what ´s counting is the love and the behavior between people. coming from a dysfunctional family i always said "i was switched at the hospital" - but when looking in the mirror i´m very sure i was´t........
    all your family photos radiating so much love!!!
    and of cause young men - your grandsons - have to play in the ocean when at the beach :-D
    totally love the peach pink outfit you wore to the party! and that portrait photo with the white shirt and big gray beads you can use when you apply for mayoress in your hometown - you look gorgeous and very competently.

    1. Thank you so much, Beate. I've been told all my life I look 'foreign' - now I know why!

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  5. I half expected a comment saying ‘me’ after the one saying us. Don’t ask me why but I was having a silly session 😂

  6. Regardless of your DNA it’s great that you feel you were loved and supported by your father that’s what counts. Would you have felt able to ask your mother when she was alive?

    1. Hello Anonymous! I couldn't ask my mother (she died in 2009) and I've only found out about my father not being my biological father in the past month...

  7. I wonder if you'll ever discover the truth behind all these surprises? Like you say, you loved and were loved by your father regardless of blood and you've gained a sister as well.
    Love the family photos and the snap of the grandsons playing in the sea. Those beach huts are so pretty. I don't think I've ever seen any in real life - the British beaches I visited with my parents were always remote and deserted!
    Gorgeous outfits particularly the two pink outfits, that shade really shows off your gorgeous hair.
    How appropriate that you've been watching DNA. I vaguely remember the first series. We've finally watched Sherwood on the i-player, it's absolutely brilliant.
    Enjoy the sunshine! xxx

    1. I'm very doubtful if I will ever find anything out about my bio father, Vix. If he was alive he'd be in his 90s; I don't have a name and only his ethnicity as a clue. I do have distant relatives on my paternal side but none of us can work out how we're related. In the mean time I'll just wait and see if any closer relatives pop up on Ancestry and claim me!

      We loved Sherwood, too - very gripping.

  8. Kathryn and the Ancients8 September 2023 at 19:44

    Just a quick note from us today to tell you how much we enjoy your posts! It might be everyday life for you, but for us here in dreary old mid-west US, it is a wonderfully exciting and rich life we get to have a peek at! Thank you for sharing your gorgeousness with us! We love you!

    1. Well, an exciting and rich life is not how I'd describe my life but thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoy the posts and hope you keep on following my exploits. Best wishes and hugs to you all.

  9. Hi Vronni, you seem to have adjusted so well to the DNA results. Of course your brothers are your brothers and now you have a sister too.

    I loved Demon Copperhead, I think it will be my fave book of the year.

    1. Yes, the sister is a bonus! I loved Demon Copperhead, too.

  10. That must have been hard to take.. good to see you are handling it all so well.
    I love you hair.. and all your outfits.. so beautiful and well put together.
    Looks like your grandkids had a good time at the beach.

    1. Hello Hena and thank you so much for commenting! Hope you keep visiting and commenting...

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  12. Although, like always, I loved seeing your wonderful outfits and joining you on your outings, I immediately scrolled down to read the results of your DNA results. And although it might have been what you expected, and you'd already more or less made your piece with it, I presume it still came as quite a shock to see your suspicions confirmed. But yes, your Dad is still your Dad, whether he was your biological one or not, your brothers are still your brothers, and having gained a sister must be such a lovely, unexpected surprise! xxx

    1. When I realised in Ireland that my Dad wasn't probably not my bio dad; I was heart broken but I got over it. Having a sister is a wonderful experience!

  13. I love the photo of you with the cake! Well done for your very philosophical approach to the DNA results. It must still have been a bit of a shock.
    Loving the coral F&F dress. What a find.
    I don't think I've ever read a Ruth Galloway so that's a rich seam to explore xx

    1. Thank you, Gail.

      Yes, I'd highly recommend the Ruth Galloway series.

  14. It was interesting to read of your tiredness creeping in, no surprise with the hectic life you lead! In recent years I’ve succumbed to an afternoon nap most days. Our bodies aren’t as strong as they used to be eh, and as for the standing, oh yes how that hurts the back, I can relate! I work a four hour shift in an SA community cafe; when I get home I can barely straighten my back as I walk in through the back door! But we can still stand straight, (most of the time!) so we’re doing well eh.
    Love and hugs Mary x.


Naahh, Luton Airport.

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