Tuesday 28 May 2024

Shocking news...

 Hello and welcome! That fortnight have just whizzed by. I had to check the date of my last post as it only feels like I posted lasted week. So here we go again...

The good weather continued into the weekend after my last post and was set to continue into the following week. I have more summer clothes than winter clothes and I enjoyed getting the chance to wear them. Since Rain has arrived I've found I visit charity shops less often and am therefore spending less money. That's got to be a good thing, right? I tend to rely on my Barnardo's to refresh or jazz up my wardrobe and I don't miss the rummaging. Maybe that will change but somehow I doubt it.

I wore this outfit to spend the day with my son and grandson on Thursday. Grandson had the first of his A level re-sit exams the following week so this was a bit of respite from the studying for him. We visited the nearest shopping centre to where my son lives for some essential items for him and later on went out for a Jamaican meal. Very tasty it was, too.

Everything pre-loved. Skirt by Primarni via my Barnardo's; top by Next, now about 7 or 8 years old. Denim jacket seen numerous times on the blog before. The white pumps were a recent retail buy from Tu. I left a pair in the caravan and forgot I had so needed a replacement pair. Earrings very old from Sainsbury's and all other jewellery pre-loved.

I do spot some interesting things on my early morning walks with Rain. Recently whilst walking in the cemetery I spotted a Jay; such lovely birds but very shy. We can thank Jays for the many oak trees we have here in the UK. They cache the acorns by burying them. You can read this article HERE if you're interested in finding out more.


If you look very carefully at the photo above you can see the remains of a teddy bear's picnic; there's one wee bear sitting on the table. I spotted this in someone's front garden on Friday morning's early walk with Rain . I'm glad it didn't rain overnight...

Our garden was blooming well and has a lot of colour. I love Calendula and hope to add some to the garden. If it's not too late I'll grow them from seed. OH's Calla lilies didn't flower this year which is a first. We can't complain though as they were a cutting from a work colleague of his a long time ago and came up year after year. We must find some more.

Scratch my tummy, mummy!

On Friday afternoon I took Rain for a 2 hour walk along the river to Great Denham and Biddenham. She was having a mad half hour here; wriggling around and jumping up, very playful. She then zonked out for a couple of hours sleeping  in her bed in the garden.

Tasty pumps...

Everything pre-loved except the pumps as before. The linen jacket is at least 10 years old and the dress was a Barnardo's find a couple of years ago. All jewellery pre-loved.

Saturday turned out to be a shocking day. By that I mean I had a shock. I let Rain out in the garden at 06.50 on Saturday morning for a wee before we set out on our early morning walk and was faced with this. 14 rows of bricks had collapsed from the back wall but luckily not into our garden! This wall is not our wall and in fact originally there used to be a wooden fence in front of this wall surrounding a 3 foot wide path that runs from the side of the house to the left of me; along the back of our garden and into the alley way. It's quaintly known as a 'barrow way' and is to allow access to the shared drain for 3 of the houses. (I'm the 2nd house in a row of 4 terraced houses). Both my neighbour and I removed the fencing many years ago as it gave us 3 foot of additional space in our very small gardens. Why the wall collapsed I don't know; it was very old. It collapsed around 11 pm on Friday night according to 2 neighbours who heard the noise. To make matters worse the neighbour whose wall it was was away for the weekend. What a horrible surprise they had on their return. We had a conversation about it on Sunday evening with them and were both in agreement that it was lucky no one was hurt. The neighbours are going to sort the wall out.

If you look to the left of the photo you can see the height of the original wall before it collapsed in the middle...my garden feels a little less private now.

We had a family birthday meal on Saturday evening for OH's birthday. We met up with 2 of my brothers (Julian was still on tour) and my sister Mandy and her husband Paul; my daughter also came with us. We went to the Red Lion in Cranford near Kettering and had a lovely meal and a very enjoyable time. I hadn't seen Mandy for ages (they were away on holiday in Vietnam and Cambodia for most of March) and this week we met up twice! No one remembered to take any photos...

Everything I wore on Saturday evening was pre-loved except the white pumps; a recent retail purchase. Skirt found in a Derry charity shop; top by Karen Millen via my Barnardo's and the homemade vintage jacket was an old Red Cross find from 2016/2017. All jewellery pre-loved.

I went swimming on Sunday morning and swam 40 laps; I'd taken Rain out for an hour's walk first. I was feeling a bit peaky and tired so I went back to bed and slept for a couple of hours. Feeling much better, OH and I took Rain for a 5 mile walk along the river to Great Denham and Biddenham. It was a glorious day but we were all pretty tired by the time we got home. I made as roast dinner for everyone and then spent the evening watching more episodes of 'Bodkin' on Netflix. It's a good watch and a dark comedy.

Bodkin (Netflix)

I got another shock on Monday when I walked into Barnardo's! There wasn't a single bag of donations and the back room where we store and sort was clear except for crates of books waiting to be collected by World of Books. The manager had obviously had a very good sort out last week. Before long however the donation bags began rolling in...someone even donated a double bike trailer in pristine condition.

I was going to wear a 'new to me' green linen dress I found in one of the Castle Road charity shops the last time I was there but unfortunately having washed it and spent ages ironing it; it didn't fit properly, too big, so I quickly grabbed some jeans. These were a recent find by Next; top by M&S and very old; jacket by Viyella found last year. The navy floral Vans were also pre-loved as was all the jewellery. 

OH and I did the housecleaning on my return and whilst he cooked dinner I took Rain out for an hour and a half's walk along the river. It was another beautifully warm day and a gorgeous evening.

Back to the food bank on Tuesday after an absence of 2 weeks. No Kettle Packs needed making up so Tracey and I unpacked toiletry delivery items and put away all the donated toiletries/house hold cleaning stuff/baby stuff. Everything was finished by 10.45 am. It's amazing how much you can do with 2 people. I'll be on my own for the next 2 weeks as Tracey is away on holiday.

I wanted to wear this top which is an old favourite of mine by New Look; pre-loved some years ago. I wore it on my birthday trip to London in 2018 so it's at least 6 years old. I didn't make a good choice with the bottoms though. They're wide legged black cargo jeans; found in Barnardo's last week but they're too long. I need to get the scissors at them. Anyway; this was what I wore to the food bank and a black pre-loved denim jacket.

Everyday I start my day with an hour's walk with Rain. One of the things I really enjoy about our morning walk is having a good old look at people's gardens. There are many garden delights at this time of year but I was surprised to spot this blue plaque on the wall of a large Victorian villa close to where I live on Tuesday morning's walk. I hadn't seen it before. A tribute to the first Mayor of Bedford; Joshua Hawkins, the driving force behind the development of Bedford Park and the Embankment and his wife Hester Periam Hawkins; an amateur astronomer, author and a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. Close to this house but not on the same street is another house with a plaque to Admiral William Henry Smythe who was the Founder/President of the  Royal Astronomical Society. I wonder if the Hawkins and the Smythes were acquainted? I'll never know, of course...

Did I say it rained for most of the day on Tuesday and was very grey? In fact this week was a lot cooler, wet and cloudy. That weather continued on Wednesday and I had to drag Rain out in the rain for a short (toilet) walk in the morning. Once she'd been toileted she pulled me all the way home wanting to stay out of the rain! I don't mind the rain since at Barnardo's on Monday I found a knee length coat in a Stockman's style which has a cape and a big hood. It's also waterproof so the rain can't get in. I had a similar coloured but hood less coat from M&S so that's been donated. I have another full bag of donations waiting to be dropped off. The rain stopped briefly in the afternoon; I took Rain out for a walk; the sun made a brief appearance and then disappeared again. In the morning I went to the dentist and ran some much needed errands in town.

Bedford Cemetery. My go to walk place with Rain. I saw a jay again on Wednesday but didn't manage to snap it in time before it disappeared into a distant tree...

One of my most favourite things to do is to choose a new TBR pile of books. 1 crime novel; I Persephone; I Virago; 1 non fiction and 2 modern novels. I'm thinking of adding a classic novel to the next TBR pile...the last one I read was 'Vanity Fair' by William Thackeray. Not sure if I haven't already read 'Staring at Lakes' but time will tell. I know it's set in Co. Leitrim where my mum's from.

Wednesday's outfit all pre-loved. Jeans as per yesterday but I'd taken the scissors to them; boots by Tu; top by M&S and jacket by Reserved. The black jacket was a mistake as it got covered in dog hair by the end of the day.

I forgot to add a bangle and a ring which I did later; both in silver. All jewellery pre-loved.

Whilst running my errands in town I popped into the 3:16 charity shop which I check out regularly. They had a sale on so I bought a reduced top; a  reduced Kaftan and a Whistles skirt for 5.00. I also found a pendant for 1.50.

We've been watching the Chelsea Flower show each evening and the new series of 'The Great British Sewing Bee' started in the week. It's a series that's been running for 10 years now; although it seems like it appeared  on our screens only far more recently. I can just about sew a button on and take up a hem, but for some reason I absolutely love this programme. I think it's because it's always so interesting to watch people create things be they garments, pots or jewellery.

Thursday was dry and cloudy with some sunshine trying to break through in the late afternoon. As Thursday's always are it was busy one for me. I took Rain out for a walk first thing and then went swimming where I swam 42 laps with 5 minutes to spare. I had a leisurely shower and washed my hair and availed myself of the swimming pool's powerful hairdryers. I had the pool to myself again for about 15 minutes which was amazing. The staggered start times are working really well and there's no longer a scramble for the showers...

This is the Whistles skirt I picked up at the 3:16 charity shop yesterday; worn with a pre-loved Oasis short sleeved jumper and my colourful jacket from a Derry charity shop.Pumps from Tu retail about 3 years ago. Earrings from the same place all other jewellery pre-loved.

Once I was home and had breakfast I got ready and set out to do the weekly food shop. Yesterday I went to Aldi as one of the errands I had to do and today I went to Lidl and Sainsbury's. Once the shopping was unpacked and put away I made dinner for both grandsons and took the youngest to basket ball training.

Friday morning down at the river Great Ouse in Queen's Park, Bedford.

Everything pre-loved. Top by Next found in the £1.00 box at the 3:16 charity shop; cropped green trousers by White Stuff and lace sleeved top by Wallis. Pumps by Vans.

All jewellery pre-loved. The pendant I wore with this outfit didn't last long. On my way to the river with the dog on Friday morning it broke and fell to the ground. I though I might be able to re-thread it but one of the stones didn't have a hole to pass the thread through. I then drove to Northampton to pick up my son who was coming to Bedford for the day and apart from taking him to B&M for some shopping and taking the dog out for another walk in the afternoon; it was a quiet day. Son made dinner for us.

So far the longest we'd left Rain on her own in the house was 5 hours when we went out last Saturday evening for OH's evening meal. We decided to go out on Saturday afternoon and my daughter who was in and out of town during the day said she'd pop in and check on her and walk her if needed.  We decided to go to Cambridge for a rummage. I would have preferred visiting the University Botanic Gardens but OH had twisted his ankle in the week and didn't want to be walking too far. Luckily, Burleigh Street in Cambridge has 9 -10 charity shops all in the one street; so very convenient.

I didn't even bother looking at clothes; I have far too many as it is. I did look at and buy a couple of books; a pendant and 2 pairs of earrings. OH did well finding 2 pairs of  trousers; a new cap and a book.

Everything pre-loved except for retail white pumps by Tu.

All jewellery pre-loved.

Cambridge was heaving. There was a log jam on the river Cam as we passed by on the Park and Ride bus; dozens of punts jostling for access. Of course May is the start of the tourist season and Cambridge is a very popular tourist destination. We stopped for tea and lemon meringue pie (in my case) after our rummage in a favourite cafe of ours and then went straight home. We had a rapturous welcome from Rain and as daughter hadn't managed to walk her I took her to the cemetery for a walk.  She'd knocked a plant off the hall table and found a (new) bag of dog treats in the alleyway where I store the dog items and scoffed the lot; not too much mayhem anyway... I think we'll be fine leaving her on her own for 4 -5 hours in future if we want an afternoon out somewhere. 

There was left over rice and dhal from yesterday so I ate that for my dinner; OH treated himself to a takeaway.

Went for the usual swim on Sunday morning and swam 40 laps. I haven't felt the urge to swim 45 laps for a few weeks now; I don't even know if I will return to 45 laps but in the mean time I'll just go with the flow. The weather this week was decidedly cooler and on occasions a bit wet so I hadn't been able to wear many of my sandals. I did opt for these block heeled ones on Sunday; found pre-loved in Ireland if I remember rightly. My feet were cold all day!

The tunic/dress is by Biba and was found in my Barnardo's some years ago. Leggings old, retail M&S. All jewellery pre-loved. I'm not loving the Biba tunic so it's off to the donations bag; I need to drop that bag off soon as there's no room left in there for anything else...

As I've said before I don't usually volunteer on Bank Holiday Mondays but I did go to the Kempston branch of Barnardo's on this Bank Holiday Monday as the manager would have been on her own otherwise. It was quite busy and I tagged and priced garments to go out on the shop floor and served on the till. 

In fact Monday was a very busy day. I find I've been waking up around 5.30 am for the past few months usually because I need the loo. Needless to say I can't get back to sleep although I do try...I got up at 6.15 am this morning; ironed my clothes; had a shower; bathed the dog then took her for a walk. Once home I ate my breakfast; got ready and went to Barnardo's for a 3 hour shift. Once back home again I made dinner for OH and youngest grandson who was staying overnight; mum was off to a festival in London for the day. Then OH and I did the house work; I took the dog for another walk when that was finished and then collapsed on the sofa for the evening.

On our early morning walk in the small park near me Rain jumped up on me with muddy paws; what was I thinking of walking the dog in white jeans? I washed the muddy footprint off but you can see the wet patch. Jeans; pre-loved from Primarni; retail pumps; both tops pre-loved and all jewellery. The earrings were found in Cambridge on Saturday.

Pre-loved jacket; very old Primarni label, via my Barnardo's.

I was delighted to see when letting the dog out on Tuesday morning; the neighbour whose garden wall collapsed had made a start on screening off the broken wall. As it rained for most of Tuesday no further progress ensued but I'm hoping by the time of my next post we might have our privacy restored. Fingers crossed etc.

It's bamboo fencing which I like - luckily!

Everything pre-loved. Jeans by Next. striped top by Laura Ashley; shirt underneath by Marco Banco and pumps by Converse.

We had made plans with my brothers to visit Canon's Ashby (a National Trust property and gardens) near Daventry on Tuesday afternoon. My daughter was going to dog sit so we could take our time and not have to hurry back. Unfortunately, brother Tony didn't feel very well and asked us to reschedule the visit. Easier said than done as the only reason my daughter could have the dog was because of the half term holiday. Probably just as well as it wasn't garden visiting weather in the end...

All jewellery pre-loved.
I wore my M&S tweed jacket over this outfit but forgot to take a photo with me wearing it.

I was busy at the food bank in the morning. I made up 11 Kettle Packs to bring the stock levels up to 25. The stock level amount had been reduced as some of the regular Kettle Pack recipients had been moved from Travel Lodges (temporary accommodation) to Luton, 20 miles away. Once I'd finished; I packed all the donated toiletries away and was just about leave when I was asked if I fancied unpacking a just delivered pallet of toiletry and  household cleaning items. I did and managed to find space for everything  on the pallet. The last thing I did before leaving the warehouse was to flatten out all the cardboard containers from the pallet delivery and put the plastic packaging and the cardboard into the designated places. It lashed down all morning; the warehouse has a corrugated iron roof and the rain makes a drumming sound on it. If we had visited Canon's Ashby umbrellas would most certainly have been needed!

That's been my fortnight - how's your's been?


  1. Very nice outfits! I especially like the one with the green skirt!

  2. Goodness, that wall coming down must have been so startling! I remember several years ago, the terra cotta tiles on the roof of our condominium building started to slide off, and it was a similar panicky feeling! I'm glad your neighbours are on top of it, Vronni.

    I LOVE your new Whistles skirt - it looks like it's cut on the bias? Very slinky on you!

    Oh, Rain, what a silly girl, rolling around! And to put a muddy paw on those fabulous white jeans, naughty thing!

    1. Thank you, Sheila. Yes, I think the skirt is cut on the bias; a lucky find methinks!

  3. Kathy in Maryland29 May 2024 at 02:07

    I love your outfits! Your Vans flowered sneakers are cute. , Also I love your dog Rain-her antics remind me of our dog,O

  4. I'm glad it's not just me who feels that the weeks are whizzing by!
    What a thing to have happened with part of that wall coming down. I can relate as we had a similar thing happen many years ago. I did feel rather exposed, even if it wasn't very visible from the house and in the middle of Winter. I'm glad to hear your neighbours have made a start with screening it off.
    It sounds as if Rain is definitely keeping you on your toes, and even saving you some money by keeping you away from the charity shops :-)
    Your garden is looking brilliant, and I loved your round-up of gorgeous outfits as always. I do agree with Sheila that the Whistles skirt is looking very slinky on you. That outfit is definitely my favourite! xxx

    1. Thank you, Ann. I am feeling exposed in the garden; the neighbour's garden is on a higher level to ours and they can see into the back of our house very clearly. Also, I'm not used to greeting the neighbours as they walk down their garden path when I'm in my garden! Ah well, it will all work out in the end...

  5. The collapsing wall would have been a shock! Your pots are looking splendid. I love the New Look tunic worn over trousers. You're amazing volunteering on a bank holiday and doing extra work at the foodbank when a new delivery arrived xx

    1. Thank you, Gail. The thing is I've volunteered at the food bank since October 2015; I know everyone and wouldn't like to let them down. I've volunteered at Barnardo's for more than 5 years now and we are very short of paid staff so they are heavily reliant on volunteers. There is a paid post advertised but no one suitable has applied and it's been ongoing for the past 6 months...

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. It doesn't feel like it's been a whole fortnight since you last posted!
    What a shocker about the wall. Your garden is do lovely with all those pots, I'm glad the bricks didn't cause your side any damage.
    Rain's antics made me laugh, talk about photobombing!
    Gorgeous outfits, green's definitely your colour. Loving that floral tiered skirt especially.
    Arundhati Roy is one of my heroes and God of Small Things is one of the best books I've ever read (and I've read it a lot) so much so that we spent a month in Aymanan in the Keralan backwaters where the book was set!
    Let's hope that the next time you post we'll be in the midst of a heatwave! xxx

    1. The way time goes by is frightening at times...
      Fingers crossed for the heatwave!

      God of Small Things is a wonderful book and I'm looking forward to this one, too. I must re-read God of Small Things soon.

  7. goodness! i´m very glad the collapsing wall did´t caused any damage on people and on your beautiful flower pots! i guess one has to look if the rest of the wall is still solid.....
    gorgeous outfits and i have heavy green skirt envy ;-D especially the pleated/plissé ones. the biba tunic was chic but the colours were noting for you - waaaay to warm in tone. good move to donate it again.....
    pet the cute photo bomb from me!

  8. I love the green skirt too
    Your busy life is very different to my own
    I am finding this second year of bereavement even harder than the first / two very close friends have decided ( separately ) that they no longer want to maintain contact with me - and that has felt like another bereavement
    And my darling cat Milo has been diagnosed with arthritis, so he and I now battle twice a day to get his meds sorted.
    Siobhan x

    1. Hello Siobhan. I'm so sorry that your friends have decided they no longer want to maintain contact with you and I can see why that feels like another bereavement. Poor Milo - and you trying to give him his meds. Love the name btw.

  9. Goodness me, you manage to fit soooo much into your days. Rain must think she has hit the jackpot in coming to live with you.
    You have inspired me to try wearing green, its never been a colour I felt suited me, but I have found a green blouse to try.
    Your garden looks lovely, mine has been decimated by some caterpillar that eats absolutely everything. It started on the potatoes and then went everywhere, even eating the lambs tongue which I thought nothing touched.
    Take care, Megan

    1. Thank you, Megan. I think green is a much under appreciated colour there are so many shades of green everyone must have at least one that suits them!

      So sorry to hear about the demon caterpillar.. we have everything in pots and that gives them some protection from greedy insect life sometimes...something always manages to get the Hostas; even though I have them on a stand at least a few feet from the floor.

      As for Rain hitting the jackpot; she's certainly got me fit. Walking her twice a day I'm clocking up more than 20,000 steps per day on average!

    2. OMG 20,000 steps!!!!! I'll stick to my fat little corgi, I could never handle that much walking. Good on you for taking her in and looking after her so well. Megan

  10. Your garden is looking lovely. I adore calla lilies. I split mine so now have two plants flowering. I hope the wall is sorted soon. Rain is a delight and a bonus is saving money by keeping you out of charity shops. I popped into three yesterday and did think a lot of the items were quite expensive, but then everything has got more expensive everywhere! Maeve

    1. Thank you, Maeve. Yes everything, everywhere has got more expensive. I bought red potatoes today; they used to be just under £2.00 per bag but are now £2.25 and cooking oil has doubled in price. The prices in charity shop reflect the higher cost of living, too. I'm glad I don't look in them as often as I used to!

  11. How lucky that the wall came down when no one was nearby and didn't do serious damage. Isn't it strange how those things happen?
    I haven't been around much so I missed the arrival of Rain, who looks like a perfect companion.

    1. How lovely to hear from you, Goody! Rain is a great companion but is very naughty and behaves like a 6 month old puppy; despite being 3 years old!


Good Fences Make Good Neighbours...

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