Monday 1 April 2024


Hello everyone! 

Yes, I am now a septuagenarian - more of that to come...posting later than usual because of our 2 week to trip to Ireland but lots to tell you and show you. I'll do my best to catch up with your blogs over the next few days.

Let's back track first to the few days before set off for Ireland.

Wednesday turned out to be a lovely day so I went for a long walk of 8 miles. No muddy fields only hard paths and pavements in warm sunshine with just a bit of a breeze. Perfect walking weather. I wore walking trousers and boots then changed  into these palazzo trousers when I got home. Everything pre-loved except the boots which were retail from New Look.

These are actually the second pair of identical palazzo trousers; the first pair was by Jane Norman; also pre-loved but I wore the bottoms out through them trailing along the floor. A few weeks after getting rid of them I discovered another identical pair; this time by QD, in a charity shop. Polo neck as before; top by M&S and very old.

All jewellery pre-loved.

Once I'd had a cup of tea and a sit down after the walk I went into town to get my eyebrows done and spend some of the birthday money my brothers had given me. I stocked up on useful things like new knickers, new black opaque tights and I bought 2 summer tunics by H&M in the 3:16 charity shop. I'd also ordered myself a pair of silver earrings from Etsy and still had a little money left over.

In the evening we began watching the second series of 'The Mire'.

After a foggy start; Thursday brightened up. I went for a swim in the morning to make up for missing my Sunday swim when Hilary was down. I swam 45 laps then went home to get ready and do the weekly shopping. There wasn't much to buy as we were going away. On the way back I went to the Daycare Hospice shop on London Road where I hadn't been for a while and spent the last of the birthday money. I found a Monsoon knitted dress and an M&S cream tank top. I planned to wear the Monsoon dress on my birthday.

Thursday's outfit; everything pre-loved except the floral leggings from Store 21 and the boots bought locally. Dress by Tu. I have another dress in a similar colour but it has longer sleeves and a tie belt; that was the one I meant to wear but put this one on mistake and couldn't be bothered to change. I also forgot to wear any jewellery other than earrings and my watch but added some  after I'd taken these photos...

I made dinner for the grandsons and took the youngest to basket ball practice. He had his final game of the season at the weekend and then he had to rest his knee which he'd strained. His mum took him to the doctor's who advised rest. He was also referred to the orthodontist by his dentist just before lock down began; that is March 2020. His first appointment has just come through - 4 years later! We think he may need braces...

Friday was a lovely day but busy. I met up with the unofficial bus walking group at Stewartby and we caught a train from there to Bow Brickhill. From Bow Brickhill we walked through mostly woodland to Woburn Sands where we stopped at a pub for refreshments and then on to Woburn Sands station to return to Stewartby. This small branch line (Bedford to Bletchley) is running a special offer at the moment £1.00 per ticket and it's even cheaper with a Senior Citizen rail card or bus pass. I don't have a Senior Citizen rail card; preferring to use a Network Rail card as I travel mainly to London, but one of my fellow walkers paid 1.30 for the whole journey. Woburn Sands has 3 charity shops so I'm going to take OH there - on the train; when we get back from Ireland.

Typical woodland on our walk; the trees were slowly greening again. Thank you to Sandra for some of the photos.

We couldn't go into the church - the door was padlocked.

Val (who is 84!) and I.

When we stopped for a short break in the woods Val and I gave a skipping demonstration to a fellow walker who said they couldn't skip anymore. I don't mean the skipping with a rope type of skipping, but the one you do out of sheer joy when you're a child. I'll have to find a skipping rope and see if I can still do that sort of skipping...

This lovely house and its grounds had a public footpath running through it.

In Woburn Sands.

This was what most of the group had when we stopped at the pub. Not me, I only had a cup of tea! Only because later that day I was out with my daughter for afternoon tea at the Swan Hotel in Bedford for a Mother's Day treat and was saving myself! And it was lovely afternoon tea indeed...

I was 70 on Saturday. I am now officially a septuagenarian. I still feel about 20 inside my head which is the weird thing about growing older. I was up soon after 8 am on Saturday and had a very lazy morning. OH had bought me a new Kindle as my old one had died; I spent a while re-downloading my books onto the new Kindle; I tend to use the Kindle most when I'm away on holiday. OH also bought me a gift voucher and some perfume. He is such a sweetie.

This is the Monsoon dress I found at Daycare Hospice shop on Thursday. The brown suede ankle boots and orange and navy checked tights were also pre-loved as was all jewellery with the exception of the earrings which were bought from Etsy with birthday money.

After breakfast and getting ready; I went to Rushden to browse the charity shops - all 4 of them. I was looking for a small carry on case for the flight to Ireland and guess what? I found the perfect one made by Samsonite. It would hold my laptop; Kindle, chargers, my latest book if I hadn't finished it by then; my make up bag and jewellery, (mostly earrings); plus the things I usually have in my handbag - purse, keys; phone; glasses;  and of course  boarding passes and passport. We had a suitcase each which would need to be checked in on arrival.

We went to my daughter's soon after 5 pm. OH had made dinner and we  took it with us and would eat dinner there and cut my birthday cake.  I knew something was up as soon as we arrived as the living room door was firmly shut. My daughter wouldn't let me open it until OH got in from parking the car. When I did - what a surprise! My 3 brothers; 3 grandsons plus one partner; middle grandson's mum; her little boy and her friend; and a friend of my daughter were all there. I was so shocked and pleased to see them all. What a lot of lot of planning and plotting must have been going on! I was completely unaware of it all...

I received some wonderful presents. My daughter bought me these 2 William Morris prints and frames.

And this beautiful green Oliver Bonas bag which I'll use as my carry on luggage; OH will use the Samsonsite carry on case I found in Rushden. My son gave me money but couldn't make it to Bedford. Never mind, he's soon moving closer and will be able to get to family gatherings.

My daughter's friend bought me this Anthurium. I've always wanted one.

In addition I received 4 boxes of chocolates; one for Mother's Day; one from eldest grandson's partner and two from grandsons. Julian bought me a beautiful scarf and some perfume from Zara. Middle grandsons' mum and friend bought me a plant; candles; a toiletries bag; some perfume and  also made me some Trinidadian rum punch. Eldest grandson also bought me a gift voucher. How lucky am I?

We had a wonderful evening; eating, drinking and making merry. When we finally got home my friend Ann and her husband Harvey came round. Ann bought me a book; 'Dreams From My Mother' by Dame Elizabeth Anionwu who set up the first sickle cell/thalassaemia counselling service in the UK. She recently came to give a talk to a group of retired African-Caribbean nurses in Bedford; which is a project Ann is involved in. I shall look forward to reading it.

Lots of beautiful cards.

We had a quiet Sunday; no one came for dinner.  I packed my suitcase and sorted out other stuff for most of the day, which was rainy and cold. We watched the final episodes of Season 3 of 'The Mire' and the final of 'The Great Pottery Throwdown' in the evening. As predicted Donna won; what a talented potter she was; it was evident from early on in the programme.

I had a Shingles jab on Monday morning at the the doctor's and then went to Home Bargains to stock up on bird food and other non grocery items. I recycled my defunct Kindle at Curry's and from there went to the hairdressers.

Everything I wore was pre-loved and all seen on the blog before.

I was so excited to be going to Ireland I found it hard to sleep on Monday evening. We arrived in Ireland to rainy weather (no change there then) and got to the caravan around 6 pm on Tuesday evening. We stopped in Donegal on the way to shop at Lidl. We had a restful, quiet holiday. We visited cousin Liam and his wife Martina in Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo and stayed over a couple of nights. We visited my only remaining maternal aunt in her nursing home and my cousin Susan and her husband Pat in Co. Leitrim. We met up with cousin Caroline in Strand Hill, Co. Sligo for lunch and a walk. We went to Derry for the day; where our plan to walk a cross the Peace Bridge was scuppered yet again by heavy rain and wind, but we did have a very satisfying rummage after a break from rummaging of 10 days! We tried to go for a 3 - 4 mile walk everyday but could only manage it when the weather permitted. I didn't even contemplate a sea swim. I read lots. Now that OH has retired we plan to go back to Ireland for a longer stay of 4-6 weeks around September time. I can't wait.

Lissadell Strand in Co. Sligo where we went for a walk one sunny morning.

At cousin Susan's in Co. Leitrim where I was treated to another birthday cake with 7 candles for each decade!

At Strand Hill, Co. Sligo with cousin Caroline.

Mount Knocknarea in Co. Sligo. Queen Maeve's cairn is on top of the mountain but can't be seen very clearly here; I always think from the distance it it looks like a pimple on the top...

Ancient site of Killaspugbrone church in Strand Hill, Co. Sligo and graveyard which dates back to the period 1150 - 1220; the original structure was reputedly built some time in the fifth century. Its original name Caislle-Irrae suggests it was most likely enclosed by a stone fort or 'cashel' typical of an early Irish monastic settlement. SOURCE.

Fan an Charta Friary, Ballysaggart. St. John's Point, Co. Donegal.

One of my favourite places on St. John's Point is a tiny community of about 5 or 6 houses; the ruins of the Friary above and a tiny harbour. An elderly man I got talking to some years ago and who lived in a small cottage here; told me he'd watched whales in this bay. Sadly, on this visit his cottage was empty and being extended and modernised by a development company.

I would love to live here. This little cottage has its own boat house - seen to the foreground in the photo below.

Below; view from the caravan window across to Benbulben in Co. Sligo across Donegal Bay.

We stayed over with cousin Liam and Martina on Monday evening and after taking the dogs out for a walk around the head of Mullaghmore and having breakfast; we returned to England in the early evening on Tuesday in heavy rain and wind. We had a takeaway curry as neither of us could face cooking and I unpacked my case before having an early night. It's strange how tiring travelling is...

Having not done much shopping before we left I needed to stock up on groceries so my mission on Wednesday was to do the weekly food shopping; albeit a day earlier than usual. It was cold and wet again so I wore this pre-loved fleece lined dress with the broiderie anglais trim. Pre-loved cardigan and pre-loved green boots by Zara. All jewellery pre-loved.

I'd hoped to go out for a walk later in the afternoon but the heavy rain continued for most of the day.

OH went to his work place on Wednesday for a farewell party. He received an engraved watch;  a generous garden centre voucher plus a beautiful personalised retirement card. I always find it peculiar that on retirement when there is less need to clock watch; the retirement leaving gift is often a watch or a clock! I asked him if he was sad to say goodbye and know he wasn't going to return there after nearly 17 years and he said, NO!

On Thursday morning I took the youngest grandson for his long awaited orthodontic appointment. I had hoped to go for a swim to make up for missing my swimming whilst I was in Ireland but I like to help out with my grandchildren when asked. I took grandson to school after making him some breakfast and then went to the farm shop to pick up some kindling. I had a dental appointment  in the afternoon but when I got there I'd got the date wrong! By then it was time to make dinner for the grandsons before dropping the youngest grandson off for basketball training. He now has a two week break thanks to the Easter holidays.

Dressed for warmth on Thursday. Trousers (pre-loved) by M&S; gone to the donations bag. Pre-loved jumper by Whistles and pre-loved tank top by New Look; boots retail.

All jewellery pre-loved.

It was good to get back walking with the unofficial bus walk on Friday. We walked in Henlow mostly alongside the River Hiss and the River Ivel. There were a few showers on our 6 mile walk but luckily not heavy showers.

 We stopped for refreshments at an aquatic centre where, for reasons I couldn't understand there was a mini putting range complete with totem poles and a crashed aircraft...

Thanks to Sandra for some of the photos.

What was fascinating was within the aquatic centre was a shop selling reptiles, birds and small mammals. These tiny tortoises were so cute, but at £350.00 each I won't be buying one. I don't have the right sort of garden for tortoises anyway.

Wild forget-me-not

And of course no walk is complete without a look at a parish church or two...St. Mary's Church, Henlow. A Grade I listed church with the original construction dating back to the 12th century. It wasn't open unfortunately; it had some huge stained glass windows along the sides I would have liked a closer look at.

The bank holiday weekend weather picked up on Saturday which became a lovely, sunny day and 14 degrees. OH and I went out for a 5 mile walk along the river to Great Denham and Biddenham. We spotted these vibrant purple flowers:

They're called Balkan Anemones and had clearly escaped from somebody's garden where they'd taken up residence at the side of a ditch. 

This was Saturday's outfit. Everything pre-loved except the boots. Skirt by Jigsaw; jumper by Tu and shirt underneath found in the Keech Hospice shop in Great Denham when I dropped some donations in the week.

All jewellery pre-loved.

I made Sunday roast lamb dinner on Saturday and invited everyone. My daughter and her partner  were going away for some of the Easter break and the youngest grandson was going to stay with his dad in London; Saturday was the day they were all still around. As for what we'd been watching lately, we began watching an Irish crime drama series called 'Love Hate' on ITVx in the week which someone in Ireland had recommended. Originally shown on RTE between 2010 and 2014; it was very similar to 'Kin' but with a much younger and more working class group of characters. There are 5 seasons and we'd reached season 2 by the end of the weekend.

We did the usual housework on Sunday and I went out for 3.5 mile walk in the afternoon. The clocks went forward overnight and it always seems to take me a day or two to readjust. I usually wake up naturally between 7 - 7.30 am in winter, but overslept and woke up at 8.30 am (it would have been 7.30 am if the clocks hadn't gone forward!) too late for my Sunday morning swim. Now the clocks have gone forward I'll be waking up between 6.30 and 7 am which could be very useful as there may be an addition to our household in the near future and if it happens I'll tell you all about it in my next blog post.

By Sunday evening, OH began experiencing problems with his foot which after a discussion with the NHS 111 service appeared to be gout; a side effect of one the medications he was taking for the heart failure. Advised to take Ibuprofen and Paracetamol, he did so and was out of action for the rest of the weekend. Our planned trip to the Garden Centre on Monday to spend his voucher had to be postponed.

This was Bank Holiday Monday's outfit. Everything pre-loved. I left my other black patent boots in the caravan;  on our rummage in Derry a week ago I found another pair by Next which I'm wearing above. I didn't go Barnardo's as I no longer volunteer on bank holidays.

Pre-loved striped top by M&Co; cropped trousers as before;  tunic by Select. It was a 'cold shoulder' tunic but I cut the sleeves off. I hate to have cold shoulders.

All jewellery pre-loved except the earrings, present from my friend Ann.

The coming weeks will be a return to the 'normal' weekly routine. I'll be back to the food bank on Tuesday (hopefully OH's foot will have improved if not it will mean a trip to the GP or hospital). We have planned a day out with my brothers next Friday and on Saturday there is a walk in London to walk part of the Thames Path with unofficial bus walk group who usually walk on a Friday! And of course there maybe a mysterious new addition in my life. You'll find out in a fortnight...


  1. 70!!! :-D congratulation again! feeling young inside, being active and interested in people and culture make for a fabulous *Septuagenarian* - i take notes!
    your birthday cake looked gorgeous and what a wonderful surprise party you had! so lovely!
    loved your ireland report and photos - totally get the charm of the little village at the coast........
    fab outfits as always - my favs being the ones with black and green - very chic colour combo in my books.

    1. Thank you, Beate. The surprise party was lovely and 70th birthday very memorable!

  2. Happy 70th birthday Vronni, and obviously you're only as old as you feel, which in your case is 20 :-)
    Loved the Monsoon dress you wore for your birthday, and oh my, weren't you spoiled with presents. The WM prints and the Oliver Bonas bags are fabulous! How wonderful that your daughter arranged that surprise party! We did the same when Jos turned 70, and he had absolutely no idea!
    Thank you for sharing a bit of your Ireland trip with us. I'm sorry the weather wasn't better behaved but it sounds like you had a fabulous time regardless!
    Hope OH's foot gets better soon! xxx

    1. Thank you, Ann. I rarely feel more than 20 but my physical body tells to add at least another 50 or years every now and then. OH is now waiting for a GP appointment but is keeping the pain at bay with pain killers...

  3. A wonderful birthday! Be strong and keep being active. You have a very beautiful style and well done. Ireland trip looks fantastic! Have a great month and week💐!

    1. Hello Katerina and thank you for commenting. I shall pop over to your blog and say hello.

  4. Happy Birthday, dear Veronica!, so lovely to see you having fun with family and having cake and presents!, so fabulous!.
    And so lovely to read your posts, always lots of activities, walks and beautiful outfits!.
    Love that monochromatic outfit, I have a weakness for both polka dots and palazzo, and you rock them!
    Also lovely in bold colours, that red dress is really cool and love your colourful floral tunic over jeans!.
    I'm admiring your presents, those Morris prints and the green bag particularly fab!. And chocolates!.
    Those pictures of Ireland are so evocative, it looks so beautiful despite the rainy weather!. Lovely that you can enjoy them for a longer time now that OH is retired! (I've laughed when reading his 'No' when asked if he'd miss work).
    Also looking lovely in your 'dressed for warmth' outfits, so fab accessorizing and colour combos. Particularly lovely in green&blue ensemble you wore on Saturday!, so cool!. And so comfy&cool again in your monochromatic Monday's outfit, so fab layering!.
    Hope OH gets well soon and looking forward to read your next post!

    1. Thank you, Monica. Alas, the chocolates are no more and I have to be honest and say I ate the bulk of them..Yes, OH surprised me when he said NO, too!

  5. Ooh, a tease of a "new addition" to the family! Very exciting! But I'm getting ahead of myself - HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Vronni! Woo, 70!! You sure got a lot of nice presents and cards. Loved seeing all this lovely scenery on your travels to Ireland and on your walks. I hope OH's foot gets better! Gout is no joke!

    1. Thank you, Sheila. No, poor OH is really suffering and we've had to cancel our walk on Saturday as he can't walk very far at all...

  6. Happy Birthday, what a great birthday haul, your family must love you loads.
    What a lovely holiday that looked, no wonder you can't wait to head back for longer. You certainly have the life.
    Gout is certainly painful, so sympathy for your OH. My partner had it once ( also from a combination of different medications) and boy, the whole house certainly knew about it. One of my kids, who was a teen at the time, proposed chopping his leg off at the knee just to shut him up. We didn't consider it too seriously....... well not for long anyway.
    Have a great fortnight, Megan.

    1. Thank you, Megan. I'm a very lucky woman who's been blessed with a loving family. My poor OH is in pain but is keeping it at bay with painkillers whilst waiting for a doctor's appointment. I hope he will be prescribed something that can help...

  7. Welcome home. I am glad you had a lovely holiday and birthday. Outfits look fabulous as usual. Hugs.

  8. Happy birthday and welcome home! It sounds like you had a wonderful trip and it looks like you were rightly spoiled for your birthday. All those cards on your shelves made me smile. I love all your outfits but that first one with the walking pants and 2 sizes of polka dots is fabulous!

    1. Thank you, Joanne. The cards made me smile too; especially as several had lovely words inside from the senders...

  9. Absolutely love all these looks, the first look and the yellow are my fav! Ireland looks and sounds like was amazing! Love that you feel 20 in your head, sounds like you are 70 and fabulously still 20!

    xoxo, Midori

  10. You look amazing- as always
    Happy Birthday
    Siobhan x

  11. Belated birthday greetings! Looks like you were well spoilt, fully deserved. Your daughter did very well keeping the party a surprise!
    Love the yellow tunic dress. I've decided that's my ideal style of dress. Amazing that you found identical palazzo trousers.
    Love the pics from Ireland. We may cycle the whole of Ireland next year.
    Finally a question - your eyebrows always look great, what do you have done? I'd be interested in trying it xx

    1. Thank you, Gail. Cycling the whole of Ireland sounds like a lot of fun; but what a challenge!

      I get my eyebrows tinted and waxed about every 5 weeks at a local beauty salon in the town. I've been going to them for many years now.

  12. A very happy belated birthday to you! xx What wonderful pictures from Ireland. I do hope OH foot is better.


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 ...