Tuesday 5 March 2024

A weekend visitor and an exhibition


 I'll soon be off to Ireland so let me tell you what I've been up to over the last two weeks. I'll start with a whinge about the weather and then I'll try not mention it again. It's been very wet, windy and cold. More flooded fields and streets etc; in other words it's been bloody miserable! I wanted to recce my walk on Wednesday but it rained heavily all day so no recce took place.

Instead OH and I went for a rummage to Wellingborough, Northants where we hadn't been for a while. There was a road closure and we had to find a detour; not the best start to an afternoon's rummage but once we'd parked up in the free (!) car park we were fine. We know of 9 charity shops in or around the town centre with one - Barnardo's a bit of a walk away. We visited 7 of the 9 shops as one was closed. I found a couple of books; a pendant to add to my collection and a lovely home made skirt to add to my summer skirts. It's very colourful and I'm so looking forward to wearing it. We stopped for tea and cake after our rummage and were back home before the rush hour traffic built up.

Everything I wore on Wednesday was pre-loved. Boots found in Barnardo's Ampthill for 1.00 in a sale about 3 years ago. Brown corduroy skirt by M&S; shirt found in a Hertford charity shop with sister Mandy last year and tank top by New Look found in Ampthill last Saturday. All jewellery pre-loved except the earrings which were a Sainsbury's buy about 6 or 7 years ago.

All jewellery pre-loved.

Once we were home and had dinner made we settled down to watch the start of the third series of 'Undercover'. It's been a really good series and I would highly recommend it. I have to say I was most disappointed with the final episode of 'True Detective: Night Country'.

I lost one of these earrings. Haven't worn them for at least a couple of years and then I go and lose one...

I went for a swim on Thursday morning and it was very crowded. Unsurprising really as it was half-term week. Once I was home and had eaten and got ready; I raced to Lidl to do the food shopping; I realised I had time rather than leave it to OH on Friday. Once the shopping was unpacked and put away we set off for Papworth Hospital which unknown to us was actually on the Addenbrooke's Hospital campus in Cambridge. Having realised this once we arrived at Papworth Hospital in Papworth Everard; we made it to the right place with 4 minutes to spare!

Everything pre-loved. The sparkly top by Only was found at my Barnardo's on Monday; it had puffed shoulders which didn't sit right with this tank top over it. Skirt has been seen on the blog several times and boots found at Barnardo's and now in their 3rd year. All jewellery pre-loved

 We were at the hospital for about 2.5 hours. OH said it was a horrible experience but it was necessary and now we just wait for the results. OH has also now resigned from his old job as he can't work full-time in such a physical job. However, his paid employment won't officially end until the end of March. He'll be looking for part time work after we come back from Ireland; 2-3 days a week. That's his choice; as I reminded him he could give up paid work altogether! Once we we were home from the hospital we had fish and chips for dinner and carried on watching 'Undercover'.

On Friday, I finally got to the see the exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London. Cousin Marian came along and my friend Bernie too; she met us at London Bridge station. I wore this outfit; all pre-loved. Skirt by Next; red top by Weird Fish; tank top by Evening Wear; red boots found in the Cat's Protection League. All jewellery pre-loved except the blingy earrings from Sainsbury's.

The elasticated waist on this skirt always makes me look as if I have enormous hips...I do love this skirt but I've since had to put it in the donations bag. It had a couple of stains on it I noticed;  I sprayed stain remover on it - big mistake. When it was washed and dried where I'd sprayed the stain remover could clearly be seen - several large patches; even worse than before I applied the stain remover. I was very cross with myself.

It was cold and wet with the addition of a hailstone shower when we came out of the exhibition. 

I found the exhibition surprisingly small but very interesting. Entitled 'The Fabric of Democracy' it focused on showing how textiles have been used as a way of circulating propaganda by governments; regimes and corporations.  These dresses were two such examples . The one on the left commemorates VE Day and is made of pale blue cloth with motif of allied flags; Churchill; aeroplanes, tanks and guns in red, black, blue and yellow.

The dress on the left was made during WW2 in the UK and shipped abroad to raise funds for the war effort. It's covered  in slogans of the day. Click on the image to get a closer look I have a Persephone book with the same fabric design as an end paper and it has a matching book mark, too.

There were a lot of head scarves; especially by Jacqmar:

This scarf had the names of pubs (in London?) written all around the perimeter.

Dress made for the 'Festival of Britain' in 1951.

Two dresses made for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

The museum holds different exhibitions throughout the year and as such has few permanent displays;  the three dresses below are part of that permanent display.

Worn at the Epsom Derby in 2017.

Instantly recognisable Mary Quant design with daisy. There was also a daisy incorporated into the tights.

I've completely forgotten who designed this dress and couldn't find it online but I'd wear it and the hat in a heartbeat!

The next exhibition is 'The Biba Story 1964 - 1975' opening on 22nd March and on display will be over 40 outfits charting the evolution of the founder of Biba, Barbara Hulanicki's work over a decade in fashion. I would very much like to see it.

 Where we stopped for a coffee on Bermondsey Street we spied this very strange sculpture down a small side street leading to a housing estate. The creator's name was on the side; which I've forgotten but it was made in 2014.

We stopped for lunch in the Hay's Galleria on Tooley Street where this rather amazing steam punk boat complete with movable oars caught my attention.

It was such a pleasure to wake up to sunshine on Saturday morning and once I was ready I set off to recce the walk I'd be leading next Wednesday. When not walking on the hard paths; a lot of which had very deep puddles, the ground underfoot was soggy, squelchy and slippery. It was such hard work that my legs were still aching on Sunday. To make matters worse I did the longer version of the walk (by mistake) which was 8 miles; rather than the shorter version. Once you're underway you just have to keep going... I'll lead the walk on Wednesday so that the last 2 miles of the 7.5 mile walk follows the same route back as that at the start; that way we can walk on more hard paths and less through soggy, muddy, slippery fields. I don't think anyone will mind. 
I had a sit down and a drink of chai from my flask halfway round on the recce; where on the trunk of the tree I sat on was this rather interestingly beautiful fungus.

Other things I saw on this miserable walk were a dead buzzard entangled in a thorn bush with half its body missing; goldfinches flitting in and out of the hedgerows. A group of goldfinches is known as a 'charm'. What a charming name for a charming little bird. And finally on the very last leg of the walk I came across a muntjac deer grazing contentedly about a hundred yards away from houses. He didn't even bound away when I came into his sight.

I went for the usual Sunday morning swim in fog and came out to sunshine. OH got stuck into the garden and we delayed the house cleaning until Monday. Everyone came for dinner and I made a roast chicken with all the trimmings. That meant soup for dinner on Monday...In the evening we finished watching the last of Series 3 of 'Undercover' and 'The Great Pottery Throwdown'. My money's on Donna and I've thought that since the first or second episode.

I wore this outfit on Monday to volunteer at Barnardo's. Everything pre-loved. It was strangely quiet in Barnardo's; I was there for 45 minutes before we even had a customer!

I'm trying to wear as much of my wardrobe that hasn't been worn this winter. This skirt by Primarni being one. I don't love it but it goes very well with a lightweight floral vintage jacket which I do love so I'll probably hang on to it until the summer's over. Updated to say when putting the skirt in the wash I spotted a couple of mysterious stains; they were still there once washed; off to the donations bag this went...

Shirt by Lipsy; jumper by Tu and boots by Zara. All jewellery pre-loved.

There was a large pile of donations at Barnardo's which was mostly bric a bric and by the time I left I had processed it all. Home to do the cleaning and make soup for dinner. I also booked tickets to see 'Wicked Little Letters' at the cinema with the wonderful Olivia Coleman. We saw the trailer on our previous visit and it looked like a lot of fun.

I slept badly on Monday evening/Tuesday morning as I was coughing a lot. I decided not to go to the food bank but to try and catch up with some sleep which I did for about an hour and then got up. I phoned the food bank and left a message as it was only about 7 am when I decided not to go in; and also texted a colleague Lynne just in case. Once I was up and ready I went to Aldi for some things we needed and then went for a swim. The water was very cool but I like it like that; it makes me swim faster. We enjoyed the film on Tuesday evening but saw nothing in the film trailers for forthcoming films that grabbed our fancy.

Tuesday's outfit. Polo neck; Sainsbury's retail; boots retail from local shoe shop. Cropped wide leg trousers by Phase Eight and tank top by New Look as before. Both pre-loved.

All jewellery pre-loved

 I went to bed as soon as I got in from the cinema as I still felt a bit rough but a good night's sleep sorted me out and I was up bright and early to lead my walk on Wednesday morning. There were 33 of us walking with 4 other people getting stuck in a traffic jam on the way to the walk and not making it in time. I stuck to the right route this time which cut down the muddy fields considerably; the walk came in at just on 8 miles. Everyone said how much they enjoyed it and I did too after Saturday's horrible experience!

Here we are the start when the walk leader tells the group about the walk and welcomes any new walkers...

Thanks to Martin for the photos.

I'm wearing gaiters (below my knees and over my boots) in an effort to stop being covered in mud...On the very last leg of the walk we saw a dog chasing a Muntjac deer across the same field where I saw one on Saturday. The deer easily outran the dog (thank goodness) and the dog's owner was frantically trying to get the dog to return...should have kept it on the lead, methinks. Everyone local knows there are lots of muntjac deer in that area.

Started a new TBR pile when I got home from the walk and I also decided to include an additional detective/crime novel; starting with this Nicola Upson book. It's the second in the Josephine Tey series. In the TBR pile I've had 'The Sealed Letter' and 'The Road to Little Dribbling' on the shelves for years and it's about time I read them...

I am a complete plonker. I wore this dress by 'Damsel in a Dress' (geddit?) via Vinted for the third time on Thursday; and only realised when I was getting ready for bed; that the snap fasteners at the neck can be done up to create a polo neck; which is much better than this split neck effect! I decided to wear it again at the week end in the polo neck style. Striped top underneath also pre-loved as were the boots. Leggings old retail buy.

I wore a pre-loved wool jacket; 2.00 bargain from Willen Hospice over the dress when I went out. You can just make it out in the photo above. All jewellery pre-loved.

 Once I was up and dressed I changed the bed linen on the spare room bed and made the room ready for Hilary's arrival on Friday. Whilst I was doing this I was also child minding middle grandson's little brother while his mum was doing one of her jobs. He's six and delightful and was off  school with a tummy bug. He came with me to the farm shop in Sharnbrook as he said he wanted to see some animals; unfortunately it's an arable farm so they don't have any animals. Anyhow, we continued on from Sharnbrook to drive past many green fields - none with any animals -  until eventually we passed a few sheep in a field. Success! I told him about the alpacas we saw on yesterday's walk and there were also horses nearby, too.  I plan to take him out when we're back from Ireland to go and see some animals in the wild.  Who knows we might even spot a deer! Wellies will be compulsory, I told him. You forget how utterly charming small children can be; well at least I had.

Once he was dropped home I continued on to Lidl and Sainsbury's to do the weekly food shop. I made dinner for us all and took grandson to basket ball practice. Only one more week of doing this and then we'd be in Ireland; the basket ball season is nearly over apparently.

While I waited for Hilary to arrive on Friday morning I went for 4.7 mile walk to Clapham. I took my umbrella with me and needed it. OH went for a walk when I got back and 5 minutes after he left there was a heavy hailstone shower. He got drenched...

Everything pre-loved. 'Marilyn' jeans by M&S; tunic bought in Ireland in 2013 (I think). 

All jewellery pre-loved except earrings bought from Superdrug.

When Hilary arrived, after quite a stressful drive from Devon, we had a catch up and went for a meal at the Thai restaurant round the corner. 

On Saturday the three of us went to Kettering for a rummage. Hilary found lots of books and jigsaws. I found another pendant and a few pairs of earrings including a yellow pair; as my yellow earring collection had been depleted by two losses recently. In the last charity shop we visited (Cancer Research UK) the manager asked me if I'd like to be a model in a fashion show they're holding for Stand Up to Cancer. She said she liked my style. I was very flattered but declined the offer...

We stopped for refreshments and when we'd had enough of rummaging we met up with my brothers in the pub for a few pints and the craic was mighty (as they say in Ireland). As I've known Hilary for 58 years she knows my brothers well. i was  I was designated driver so drank only apple juice. 

Everything pre-loved. Polo and tank top by Zara. Skirt by New Look; boots retail present.

All jewellery pre-loved except earrings as before.

On Sunday we were up quite early and I drove Hilary towards Milton Keynes to show her the road to take to Buckingham. She always has issues getting to Bedford and although I've explained it's much easier to follow a certain route to our house; she's never managed to find it. I was determined this time she would! It was pretty foggy on our short drive but when we set off for 3.5 mile walk on our return, most of it had disappeared. After a late breakfast Hilary set off for the return journey and texted me when she was home to say she'd managed to follow the route and got home in record time. Yay! You'll have to come more often now, Hilary. In the evening we finished watching the first series of 'The Mire'; a Polish crime drama. Two more seasons to go...

I woke up to a sunny day on Monday. Hooray! I wore this outfit to Barnardo's for my last day of volunteering for the next 3 weeks. Everything pre-loved. Dress by Kaleidoscope; boots as before; tank top by Tu. All jewellery pre-loved and the necklace I found in a charity shop in Tralee, Co. Kerry when we stayed with cousin Linda a few years back.

The dress has an ochre dotted swirly pattern.

I wore this pre-loved jacket by Denim (a older Primark label) over the dress. Although I took several full length photos of me wearing it; strangely none of them came out; you can just catch a glimpse of it in the photo below.

We had a lot of donations and I cleared several bags and boxes. There were two bags of donations from the same person and almost every single one of the 20 plus tops they donated had to be 'ragged'. Nothing wrong with the tops; lovely colours and from good brands; but every single one had dried food down the front and other stains. Isn't it common sense to wash everything you donate so it's clean? Instead of making 25 p on top of  every pound we might have raised from those gift aided items (approximately 4.00 per top so with gift aid + 1.00 = 5.00 each x 20) we might make a 1.00 for a couple of rag bags. Such a shame and a waste. I think some people think we have washing machines on our premises and that we wash all the donated clothes. We don't, and I doubt many charity shops do; where would you dry them? I once had a person ask me if we washed all the clothes we receive...sorry, rant over.

Back to the food bank on Tuesday; I didn't like not being able to go last week. Between our new volunteer and I we made up 10 extra Kettle packs to go with the 20 already made up and unpacked 10 crates of toiletries and put them away. Then we sorted out the baby nappies and labelled the shelves with the different sizes of nappies in the baby room. There were TV cameras filming from ITV; the local channel I assume; 'About Anglia'. I kept well out of the way...

I try to dress practically for the food bank and for warmth. Everything pre-loved; boots as before; trousers by Zara and jumper by Gap. The gilet was a Barnardo's find ages ago and it used to live in my car boot but I've replaced it with the sleeveless, hooded puffa jacket OH gave me. Always good to have an extra layer available if needed when out walking. I also keep a dry pair of walking socks and some summer type walking shoes in the boot of the car in case I need them.

All jewellery pre-loved.

As there's very little time between the day of my birthday and the day we fly to Ireland; we're going to leave my birthday meal until the end of March. Hopefully Mandy and Paul will be able to make it as they should be back from Vietnam and Cambodia by then. Julian will have finished his tour with Charley Dore, too. They do a couple of tours together every year see HERE. On my actual birthday we're going to my daughter's for birthday cake. The day after my birthday is Mother's Day or Mothering Sunday here in the UK; my daughter is taking me out for afternoon tea at the Swan Hotel in Bedford on Friday as she is working on Mothering Sunday. We went to the Swan Hotel last year and it was lovely. 

I've booked a Shingles jab for Monday as I'll be 70 by then (oh, the excitement!) and we're off to Donegal on Tuesday. Middle grandson will be staying at ours while we're away; feeding the birds and looking after the plants. I won't post again for just over three weeks; in the meantime look after yourselves and I'll see you on the other side when, I have no doubt, there'll be lots to share with you!


  1. I had to google the deer as we don't have them in the US. Fascinating species.
    Have a happy birthday and good trip to Ireland.

    1. Hello anonymous! Thank you and thank you for commenting.

  2. The weather has been bloody miserable here too. I'm keeping my fingers crosses it has approved by the time you travel to Ireland!
    I'm keeping my fingers crossed for OH's test results, and I guess resigning from his full-time job was the right decision under the circumstances.
    The exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London sounds right up my street and I would very much like to see The Biba Story too. Perhaps it's time for that long-overdue trip to London ...
    Isn't it horrible that people donate unwashed clothing? The people at our charity shops often do not even notice and put them on the rails, stains and all. Ugh!
    Have a wonderful birthday and a fantastic trip to Ireland! xxx
    P.S. Loved seeing all your outfits as usual!

    1. Thanks, Ann. I've been trying to persuade OH to go part time or retire for the past 4 years so I am very relieved. test results will be another 2 --3 weeks.

  3. here the drought has again settled in........ no rain since 3 weeks. but i hear you - sunday we walked on a very muddy path (the forests are soaked thankfully) only a short time but so exhausting.
    the fashion exhibition looks fabulous! and i would wear those dresses anytime :-D thanx for the photos!
    i wish you a wonderful time in ireland!!
    still all fingers and paws crossed for OH´s health!

    1. Thank you, Beate. Hope you've had some rain by now...OH gets results from scan in 2-3 weeks time.

  4. Happy birthday! Also wishing you a lovely trip to ireland. Keep your eyes out for the northern lights it is apparently a great year to see them.

    1. Thank you, Maeve. I'd be over the moon to see the Northern Lights...

  5. Happy birthday. Fingers crossed on the test results. Safe travels and I hope Ireland is a good break. Disgusting and wasteful people donate dirty clothing. All my donations are clean and I clean everything before wearing it. I actually volunteered at a small thrift that washed dirty donations. As this is in North America, they had an electric dryer. I personally don’t own one. It means more loads in the winter but the clothes last longer. Hugs and love.

    1. Hi Marjorie, thank you and good to hear from you. It's just the very occasional few who donate dirty/stained clothing thank goodness. I have an electric dryer but use it only for towels in the winter; there's something wrong with it at the moment (it's pretty old) and might need replacing. Sigh...

  6. Happy Birthday Vronni - fellow Pisces - and safe travels. Lise

  7. Wishing you a very happy birthday and a lovely break in Ireland.
    I don't understand why people donate dirty clothes to a charity. I have bought cd sets where one disc is missing or watched a dvd and there is a fault at the end, ruining the film. I only donate good quality, clean clothes. Charity shops have enough to do without sorting out rubbish. A shop local to me has to hire a skip periodically to take away the damaged, dirty unsellable donations.

    1. Thank you, Carole. What a shame about having to hire a skip - more money taken away from the charity in question. Unfortunately some people use the charity shops to avoid a trip to the tip....


  9. I hope you had a lovely birthday, Vronni! You've had a bad run with pleated skirts - they can be awful when they get stained, can't they? I ruined my old grey Marc Jacobs one when I tried to wash it, sigh. I always wash all my clothes before giving them away/selling them - isn't that just polite?? I can't believe someone donated dirty clothes - that's just gross. Loved the pic of the goldfinch, and I love your Zara trousers with the red stripe! Enjoy Ireland!

    1. Thank you. Sheila. Let's hope that's ot with pleated skirts now...

  10. Happy Belated Birthday, Vronni! I hope you have a wonderful time in Ireland and manage to escape the rain. I didn't realise how much it had rained whilst we were away, looked like we timed our escape perfectly!
    Fabulous outfits as always. You really suit those wafty pleated skirts and tank tops.
    You wouldn't believe how many people think that charity shops wash everything before they put it out on the shop floor, what planet are they on? I wouldn't dream of donating anything that wasn't clean and ready to wear, anything tatty gets used as dusters or chopped up and thrown on the compost heap.
    The Fabric of Democracy looks fantastic, the dress worn at the Epsom Derby is my favourite - I love the cut of it. The dress with the hunting scenes is by Lachasse London - maybe it'll pop up on Vinted, stranger things have happened.
    I'm dying to see Wicked Little Letters, I hope it's still on now my eyes can deal with lights again! I read Fredrik Backman's Beartown recently, he's such a great storyteller, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading it.
    Bon Voyage! xxx

    1. Thank you, Vix. I'm.afraid I gave up on the Fredrik Backman book having zero interest in ice hockey! Hope you get to see 'Wicked Little Letters'. Glad to hear the eyes are improving...

  11. Belated happy birthday! I hope it was a good one, and that OH is well and able to find the right sort of job.

    That exhibition looks like a really good one; I'd hoped to see it but missed it. I know they've got the Biba one up and running now.

    I'd never donate anything to a charity shop that I wouldn't be prepared to buy; how people could donate dirty or tatty clothing is beyond me.

  12. Thank you for being a guiding light and a voice of reason.

  13. You had me at Goldfinch. I do love anything about birds so thanks for sharing. Do join my Chicandstylish linkup every Thursday. Jacqui x


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 ...