Tuesday 31 October 2023

Washing Machine Blues

Back again...

This was Wednesday's outfit. I had planned to spend the weekend in Devon so had swapped my Sunday swimming session to Wednesday instead. I did the usual 46 laps. I swam in the medium lane as it was very crowded in the slow lane. Once home I had a couple of errands to run in town. There was no cooking required as we were going out to eat with my daughter in a new Asian restaurant that had a a good vegan menu called the 'Chaat Haus'.

I'm so glad we went; the food was delicious. I had an aubergine, lentil and chickpea curry with a naan bread from the vegan menu. Everyone's food was delicious. Excellent service and quite reasonable in price. I'll definitely go back there again. We walked there in torrential rain but my daughter gave us a lift back as it was still raining heavily.

Boots retail from New Look. Sleeveless jumper/tank top retail Sainsbury's sale - (cheaper than a charity shop as it had been marked down so much) pre-loved cropped jeans by Toast and pre-loved shirt underneath by Punt Roma. All jewellery pre-loved.

I was back swimming again on Thursday morning; then home to do the weekly food shopping accompanied by Dawn who bought some groceries too. I woke up on Thursday morning and decided not to go to Devon. I'd had a very busy couple of weeks and wanted a quiet weekend at home with no long distance journeys. The weather forecast was looking pretty dire for Friday, too. Storm Babet was wreaking havoc around country especially in Scotland. Hilary was disappointed but understood. I'd still be driving to Birmingham on Friday to take Dawn back, but Birmingham is only about 70-75 miles from us; whereas Devon is at least 200 miles!

Everything pre-loved. Skirt by Betty Barclay; tank top by Next; striped tee by Principles. You can't see my boots but they were Biker boots from Sainsbury's and found in my Barnardo's last year. All jewellery pre-loved, too, except the earrings which I found in 'Bodycare' on Wednesday. I didn't know they did jewellery.

Dawn and I set off about 9.30 am on Friday morning for Birmingham. I was back by 1.30 pm and I stopped at a post office en route to post a recorded delivery letter for my grandson. Conveniently, the post office was opposite the Cat's Protection League charity shop. I had to have a look in there, of course, and found two tops by Berschka. The staff in the shop told me they are closing down in a few weeks. Apparently, they were meant to close before Covid but were given an extension. They just don't get the footfall they need. It's such a shame as it's a lovely shop and one of my favourites. It's in Kempston in a very small shopping precinct; opposite a school. I only discovered it a few years ago and also in the precinct was a second hand bookshop. Unfortunately, when I discovered the bookshop; it was in the process of closing down, too.

It was a gloomy and very wet day which can you see from the poor light in the photos.

Friday's outfit; everything pre-loved. Next jeans; top by Phase Eight and picked up in Newport Pagnell on Wednesday; coincidentally I found the boots in the Cat's Protection League a couple of years ago. The polo neck  was bought on Bedford market.

All jewellery pre-loved. I need a haircut!

It was so good not to have to wake up early and be somewhere on Saturday. I got up and pottered about. I culled some earrings;  realised I was never going to make earrings with all the beads I'd accumulated and put them in the donations bag and put a whites wash on. I got ready and eventually ate my breakfast. My daughter gave me some podcast links about Intermittent Fasting or Time Restricted Eating. Her Master's degree was in nutrition so she's very informed and passionate about this area. The health benefits are so beneficial that never mind the weight loss aspect; I want to continue with it forever. By fasting and then eating within a time restricted window, blood pressure is lowered; blood glucose is lowered; inflammation is decreased; anti-toxins are released; cognition improves and sleep improves. The key researcher in this area is Satchin Panda and I listened to this PODCAST called '6 lifestyle habits to to improve your health'. The part about IF or time restricted eating starts at about 45 minutes in if you're interested.

Pre-loved skirt by M&S; unlabelled top found on the trip to Newport Pagnell on Wednesday with Dawn; boots retail; they're metallic animal print but it's hard to see in the photo. All jewellery pre-loved except for retail earrings.

After I'd eaten I set off on a 5 mile walk from Biddenham village along the river to Queen's Park. We'd had lots of rain and the river was quite high and fast flowing.

It was lovely to see the trees turning into their glorious autumn colours along the walk:

This is one of my favourite trees in the whole of Bedford; closely followed by a nearby Cedar of Lebanon, not seen; both are in the village of Biddenham.

Virginia creeper along the back wall of what was Charles Wells brewery in Queen's Park.

Not sure what these were but a very  cheerful sight on a grey, wet, gloomy day.

Hindu Temple, Queen's Park.

Once home I made a Polenta Lemon cake for my daughter and did some more washing. OH cooked dinner. My daughter gave me her air fryer as she was bought a super-duper multi purpose one for her birthday, so I was looking forward to experimenting with the air fryer during the coming week. We spent the evening watching Julia Bradbury's current series on Ireland.

I started Sunday with a 6.5 mile walk along the river towards Willington. I saw a group of men on both sides of the river near the town's newest bridge and realised they were 'magnet fishing'. My Uncle Jerry in Ireland issues fishing licences for the Grand Canal that runs from Dublin through Edenderry in Co. Offaly and on into Shannon harbour.  He told me about magnet fishing when we were last in Ireland up until then I hadn't even heard of it before. It's a bit like metal detecting but done in water. I watched the men drop their magnets in the river and on the opposite bank another man hauled his magnet out; but I couldn't see what he had found. Perhaps one day an historic haul of metal objects might be found using this method...

 OH and I then did the weekly cleaning and I made dinner. There was a bit of blip with dinner preparation as the electricity kept cutting out. Having established it was just our house it was happening to; and after speaking to our electricity provider; it turned out to be the washing machine causing the electric to cut out. OH was able to find the problem and fix it so we had dinner a bit later than usual. I spent a pleasant and restful evening reading and watching the last of the aforementioned series. I also had a long chat and catch up with Hilary and she will be coming down to see me in the New Year.

On Monday morning I put a whites wash on first thing and bugger me didn't the electricity began to cut out again a few minutes into the wash. After some phone calls to OH; his colleague's husband who's an electrician will be coming to check the electrics on Tuesday morning. Meanwhile the washing mounted up; I had 3 lots of whites washing to do (duvet covers, sheets, pillow cases, tea towels and towels, plus a bedspread).

Leaving the washing behind I went to Barnardo's where we had lots of donations as usual; so I spent the morning processing as many as I could and I did the banking. I wore this outfit which has been seen on the blog before and is a good advert for Barnardo's; both the skirt by Next and the top by Pepperberry were found there. Denim jacket by Susst or Sussi also pre-loved. OTK boots; online retail about 3 years ago. All jewellery pre-loved. I forgot to put earrings on when I left home that morning and bought some at Barnardo's from their new goods range; good value for 3 pairs of studs for 3.00. I can't bear not to wear earrings; I always feel under-dressed without them. Now the weather is back to normal we're lighting the fire most evenings and that means another daily chore for me of cleaning it out and laying it ready to light. Monday afternoons are also one of the days I try to catch up with blogs and blogging...

I started this book on Monday evening. It's the third by Raynor Winn I've read and like her first book 'The Salt Path'; she concentrates again on a walking journey; this time the 200 mile 'Cape Wrath' trail in North-West Scotland. I like books about walking almost as I like walking!

Tuesday was cold. The chill was perceptible. I wore these very old pre-loved Zara trousers with a pre-loved top by Papaya; pre-loved Sainsbury's boots and online retail black denim jacket.

It was only me at the food bank on Tuesday morning and I soon warmed up. A bit later another volunteer came to assist with making up food parcels; it was the first time she'd done this. It was a bit more interesting for her than dating and sorting out the food donations. The manager told us a bit more about the new warehouse. We'll be able to roll the trolleys we use to fill the food crates on and off new scales reducing the amount of lifting we have to do. I don't actually mind the lifting; but we still have to remove the crates from the trolleys then stack them up ready to go on the vans. Once I finished at the food bank I went to the hairdressers for a much needed cut.

Pre and post haircut. 
I think my hairdresser finally understood how I want my hair. It's quite difficult for her as I also want her to not display my bald patches (alopecia areata - mostly at the back) if at all possible. Feeling a bit lighter; it was home to clean out the fire and I made rice and dhal for dinner and a bit of steak for OH. The washing machine was still not working as the expected person to look at it had not turned up. I would have to find a local company and ask them to sort it out as soon as possible...I was able to do that later in the evening and they were due to arrive on Thursday afternoon. I was crossing my fingers it was fixable.

 I had been praying for dry weather on Wednesday. My daughter and I went to Cambridge to the Fitzwilliam museum which neither of us had been to before. First we stopped for lunch at a vegan cafe that makes the best almond slices I'd ever eaten. I tasted my first almond slice from here when Hilary and I came to Cambridge the last time she came down.

It was another chilly day; the highest the temperature reached all day was 10 degrees. I wasn't sure what to wear and wished I'd worn tights under these pre-loved linen, Commoner trousers; shirt by Lipsy and tank top by Next. All jewellery pre-loved.

I wore this pre-loved suedette long jacket bought for 3.00 from the junk shop in Castle Road and pre-loved scarf from Barnardo's.

The Fitzwilliam museum in Cambridge. 
We came to visit the exhibition 'Black Atlantic: Power, People, Resistance.

The very grand entrance and roof.

'The exhibition asks new questions about Cambridge’s role in the transatlantic slave trade and looks at how objects and artworks have influenced history and perspectives. In 1816, Richard Fitzwilliam donated vast sums of money, literature and art to the University of Cambridge, creating the museum that is named after him. But Fitzwilliam’s generosity was only possible because of the wealth his grandfather accumulated in part through the transatlantic slave trade. Acknowledging this story for the first time has led to new discoveries about the objects Fitzwilliam donated, the people who collected them, and the cultures that created them'. SOURCE

This exhibit entitled 'The Coloureds' Codex' (Enlightenment Edition) 2023, by Keith Piper; 'critiques the way plantation managers used skin colour as a means to identify and control enslaved people and challenges 'colourism'.

From the exhibition we had a quick look at the contemporary art section where this painting jumped out at me:

Marie Louise von Motesiczky 1906 - 1996
'At the Dressmaker's' (1930).

We had a wander around the porcelain collections:

Iznik pottery from Turkey and Iran

English pottery based on cauliflowers!

Dutch pottery

Japanese pottery: I thought the Arita hare was modern but dates to the 18th century.

Japanese Arita Porcelain

English porcelain

The museum was the sort of the place that needs at least a day to explore and we only we had a few hours. I'd like to come back with OH; he likes all things Egyptian and they have an Egyptian section waiting to be explored and there's more I want to see...

I think I made a reasonable job of blow drying my hair after swimming on Thursday morning... I was told by a fellow swimmer the pool will be closed from/after Christmas for some much needed refurbishment. There weren't any notices up about it, but I do know the company that runs the facility had not had their contract renewed and a different company
 will be taking over. If it does close I hope it's not for too long; I'd miss my twice weekly swims; they've become such a part of my weekly routine even though sometimes I feel knackered after a swim. Today was one such day...

I started out wearing a long denim dress which I'd bought from the Children's Society a few weeks back. I decided it didn't look good on me and put it in the donations bag. Instead I wore this pre-loved dress by Izabel with a Sainsbury's retail polo neck underneath. Boots as before and all jewellery pre-loved.

Soon after midday the washing machine engineer arrived. Luckily, it was only the heating element that had gone. Unfortunately, as my machine was an older Bosch model there wasn't one in his van; which meant he had to order one. It will probably be next week before a replacement can be fitted. I can still use the machine but it won't heat the water. Once the engineer left I went to do the weekly food shopping and stopped at the farm shop for more kindling. I picked up a purple cauliflower whilst I was there - never had one of those before!

On Friday we had a date for lunch with 2 of my brothers. The third brother was on tour for the next couple of months; we won't see him until early December. We went to the 'Overstone Arms' in Pytchely, Northants and had an enjoyable lunch. After we'd eaten we went for a short walk and popped along to the church but unfortunately it wasn't open.

All Saint's Church; dating from the 12th century.

It was a chilly sort of day and the sun only came out as we were on our way home. I wore this outfit topped with a leather jacket, scarf and gloves!

Everything pre-loved. The tunic was bought in Ireland before we even had the caravan so that makes it at least ten years old.

The necklace was bought from Barnardo's on Monday; I'd worn it two days in a row so you can tell I like it. I lost one of the earrings but luckily discovered it in the foot-well of my car on Saturday morning.

There is a large Salvation Army charity shop near to where my brothers live so OH and I stopped off there before heading for home. I found a pair of boot cut jeans which I haven't got in  my jean collection and this book:

It will be very useful for next Spring and Summer...

Pre-loved dress by Zara looking a bit wrinkled here; leggings bought at Store 21 in a sale years ago and boots retail from Sainsbury's.

Leather jacket from Vinted and bag by M&S pre-loved.

All jewellery pre-loved.

It wasn't so chilly on Saturday and after a 4.7 mile walk around the local area; OH and I went to Stevenage for a rummage. Youngest grandson had stayed over on Friday night and I made him a hearty breakfast before we left. Teenage boys seem to have insatiable appetites. 

Stevenage was a bit disappointing and we found only 4 charity shops; one shop was closed and another shop was closed down permanently but no one had let Professor Google know. I found an orange tank-top and a linen jacket for next summer; OH found a few things. We've both agreed we'd give the Stevenage chazzas a miss in future. We should have gone to Letchworth which is close by but never mind, next time...

It's almost November and I'm surprised at the amount of things still blooming in the garden. I have four of the plants above; initially I thought they were chrysanthemums but they're osteospermum. I'm so glad we decided to hang on to them and see what developed. The orange and yellow one had been blooming for over a week; the pink and deep red had begun to flower this week. The white one's buds look like they may bloom any day now...

This sedum has been blooming for months.

My three bargain begonias - 50 p each. They're big and blowsy and some might consider them vulgar but I love their exuberance.

This is the third time the nasturtiums have bloomed having died and bloomed again. I'm so pleased with them.

On Saturday evening based on a recommendation from brother Tony, we began watching this series on Netflix. Weird isn't in it....

Our clocks went back overnight and we're now back to Greenwich Mean Time; GMT. That meant an extra hour in bed so I set off for my swim an hour later than usual. Once I'd done my 46 laps it was home for breakfast; then to do the weekly cleaning and cook Sunday dinner. The plan was somewhat disrupted because our Henry (a vacuum cleaner) died. He was very old and his demise wasn't unexpected. In the last few months that's the third electric appliance in our house that has either died or broken. Let's hope that's it now for the next few years...

If it's Monday it must be Barnardo's:

All pre-loved jewellery.

Top by Bershka and skirt with label cut out - both from Barnardo's. Boots from New Look retail last year.

The shop manager calls me Barnardo's 'Poster Girl'; very accurate regarding today's outfit. The jacket by Topshop was also found in Barnardo's...

We had a new volunteer start today and I spent most of my shift training her. It was a busy morning with lots of customers. From the shop I went back to my hairdressers to have a little bit more cut off the sides of my hair. From the hairdressers I went to collect our new Henry vacuum cleaner. Once home I made chicken soup for dinner and a boiled fruit cake. I've been hankering after a fruit cake for a few days but was too busy at the weekend to make one. I like a moist fruit cake and this recipe 'Nan's Boiled Fruit Cake' is my favourite. You can find it HERE. I'd been reading a new to me Elly Griffith's book called 'The Postscript Murders' and only realised after I'd finished it it was the 2nd in a series of 3...aarrggghhh, I'll have to go to the library tomorrow and try and find the first in the series.

Looking back at my previous post it's strange to think that a month ago we were still wearing sandals! Tuesday was definitely boots weather. Wet and chilly first thing and in the warehouse at the food bank. Celia was back - hurrah! I unpacked toiletries crates all morning and making room for everything.

I wore this pre-loved Cos dress which is thick and warm. I should have worn a polo neck underneath but opted instead for a vest. Boots as before and tights were a Christmas present and I've only just got around to wearing.

After the food bank I went home and ate some lunch; leftover soup from yesterday. I made some fudge using up some soon to be out of date tins of condensed milk. I've always wanted to make fudge and it came out well. It was vegan condensed coconut milk and I added chopped nuts to it. I'll give most of it to my daughter; otherwise I'll just sit and eat it all.  I also boiled some of my tea towels to see if I could brighten them up. They had turned a nasty colour. Unfortunately the colour didn't improve with the boiling and I managed to splash bleach on my Cos dress. Just a tiny splash which I might be able to disguise with a green felt tip pen. I hope so.

I then walked into town to the library once the rain had stopped. We had showers off and all day. The book I wanted was on the shelves but I'll need to go to Kempston library tomorrow to pick up the third in the series. Tomorrow I have to wait in for the washing machine to be fixed and then I have about 6 loads of washing to do; in-between I need to squeeze in a walk as I won't be able to walk with the group. So much to do and so little time! See you in a fortnight...


  1. so sorry to hear about your hazzle with household electric appliances - but glad your washing machine was fixable!
    i had piling up washing lately too - but because of the weather: it was too wet to line dry but to warm to heat the tiled oven - no chimney effect if the temps are over 14°C.....
    fabulous outfits as always - love the pattern on the 10yo tunic and the bershka top which has a gorgeous cut. and you´r doing your hair very well!
    totally understand the need to stay at home for a weekend and doing almost nothing.... especially in this time of the year recharching batteries takes longer.
    i had mildew spots (a lot!) on 2 white pillow cases i used in the hammock in the summer salon - after trying this&that i´d go for chlorine bleach which worked perfect - but felt very dangerous! was wearing an apron and rubber gloves and opened the bathroom window wide......
    have a fab autumn! xxxxx

    1. Thank you, Beate. I tried some bleach in the pot with the tea towels but it made no difference; they were coloured tea towels and not white; but even so there comes a point where they lose their colour and look horrible. I'm disappointed as I bought them from the Cancer Research shop as part of their new goods range. On the other hand the towels I bought from there have been marvellous!

  2. Great hair! Always good when our hairdressers "get" what we want. Pity about the cats charity shop. I didn't think about footfall but I guess it means profits too. I'm leaving Devon today after a long weekend. Storm Ciaran arrives tonight. Love the tunic bought in Ireland. I keep meaning to read The Salt Path xx

    1. Thank you!

      The charity retail sector seems to me to be quite demanding of its outlets, Gail. There are constant sales targets to be met and gift aid targets to be met and some of the figures seem laughable. I wouldn't be a charity shop manager that's for sure!

      The Salt Path is well worth a read.

  3. I'm glad to hear your hairdresser gets what you want. I've been going to my wonderful hairdresser Michel for over 28 years now!
    Sorry to hear about the washing machine playing up. What a relief it is fixable, though.
    Some fabulous outfits here as always. I particularly love the one with the Betty Barclay skirt, the one with the Next skirt, Peperberry top and denim jacket, and the pleated skirt with the Bershka top. I love it that the manager is calling you Barnardo's 'Poster Girl'. That's quite an honour, no?
    I loved tagging along on your walks and to the Fitzwilliam Museum, which looks very interesting.
    Jos wants to buy an air fryer as well, so I'm interested in how you get along with yours! xxx

    1. Thank you, Ann. It is indeed an honour to be called a Barnardo's 'Poster Girl'.

      I've been going to my hairdresser for almost 20 years now but this particular style seemed to throw her. It didn't help when at first I commanded her to 'shave it off the sides and back'!!

      I tried chips in the air fryer today - they weren't a success.

  4. Vronni, some gorgeous outfits here! And I really like your hairstyle. No one would ever know you're trying to conceal anything. So glad to find that you're a convert to intermittent fasting. I've been doing it every day without exception for 6 years and will never stop! As you said, so many health benefits. I did a post about it, two posts, actually. The first when I was quite new to it, and the second after about 4 years. I hope you'll check them out.

    1. Thank you, Jean. I most certainly check out the posts.

  5. Fab outfits especially the marvellously sculptural Betty Barclay maxi skirt, the Berksha top (I didn't realise they made anything stylish) and that chic Cos tunic ( I hope you can sort out the bleach issue) and your hair looks fabulous.
    The Fitzwilliam Museum looks fascinating. Cauliflower Ware is a new one on me. That Coloured Index is quite horrible unlike The Dressmaker, which would have jumped out at me, too.
    I'm glad you managed to get the washing machine sorted. That's one piece of household kit I can't live without.
    Our nasturtiums are going mad, they were really late this year and add some much welcome cheer at this time of year.
    We binge watched Bodies over three nights, we absolutely loved it. Apparently they've already commissioned a second series.
    My brother's a big advocate of the fasting and combined with joining a gym from being known as "Big Macca" a few years ago he's now got a six pack and would give Cristiano Ronaldo a run for his money.
    I can only recall reading two books about walking - Rachel Joyce's The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Cheryl Strayed's "Wild".
    I hope Storm Ciaron's not battering you today. xxx

    1. Thank you, Vix!

      We'll be watching the final episode of 'Bodies' tonight and I have enjoyed it even though I'm not a huge fan of fantasy/sci fi stuff. Well done to your brother for his transformation. I don't think I'm going to lose any more weight; I'm stuck at my present one but the benefits of IF is what really persuaded me AND I've managed to incorporate it into my daily routine which is the key, I think.
      It's been a bit windy and definitely wet today but thank goodness that's all!

  6. Maybe you should give your Cos dress a few more splashes of bleach - make it purposeful? I've done that to jeans (in my wayward youth) and it turned out well - I used a spray bottle and squirted bleach and it looked like a starry sky.

    I always look at your outfits first - you've got some beautiful skirts, Vronni! I also adore that suedette jacket - gawds, that's lovely. I'm a walking advert for WIN here, just as you're a Barnardos gal. Love the hair - isn't it nice when a hairdresser "gets" you? I hope your pool isn't shut down too long!

    Thank you for the lovely pics of your autumn trees, and for the pics of the museum exhibit as well (I love the rabbit). I've been hearing about the weather and storms battering the UK and France right now - I hope you stay dry! Good luck with the washing machine - we do all of our laundry on cold to save energy. It's a losing battle with tea towels, isn't it? Sigh.

    Thank you for the wonderful post - it was most satisfying to enjoy here over a cup of coffee. XO Sheila

    1. Thank you, Sheila!

      Not sure I'm brave enough to do the bleach thing, Sheila. A dab of felt tip should do it. It's in the chest region which I nearly always have covered with beads or a necklace.

      We have had a bit of wind, quite a lot of rain and that's it. We were lucky as Storm Ciaran seemed to pass us by...

      Don't talk to me about tea towels!!

  7. So many fabulous outfits! Sorry to hear about all your electrical problems, I hope you get them sorted soon.

    Emma xxx

  8. Great stylish outfits.Sick of rain but we have had a few bright days recently....

  9. Your pre-loved clothes are amazing, absolutely wonderful and at such good prices much better than where I am as prices are always around £10 and over, your maxi skirts are fab. Your hair is also fab - really stunning in fact. Very best to you, Vronni from Penny https://frugalfashionshopper.co.uk

    1. Lovely to hear from you, Penny, and thank you for your lovely comments.

  10. Love the hair cut and fingers crossed the washing machine is fixed. I also had to do 6 loads this week so I feel your pain!

    1. Thanks Gisela. I'm working my way through the back log as I type this!


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