Hello again and a very happy International Women's Day to all you wonderful women out there!
Photo from December 2021
I had a lovely 6.5 mile walk with the group on Wednesday. We walked from Ampthill Great Park to Houghton House ('House Beautiful' in Pilgrim's Progress) across fields to King's Wood and back through the town to Ampthill Great Park.
'Ampthill Park has a bit of everything - tremendous views from the Greensand Ridge, a fascinating heritage from Henry VIII to Capability Brown, and a diverse collection of flora and fauna. The Park is most notable for being the site of Ampthill Castle where Henry VIII stayed and Katherine of Aragon spent a year whilst her marriage to Henry was annulled. Despite its name, this was actually a palace/manor house and not a traditional castle. Katherine’s Cross marks the site now and can be seen on the ridge'. SOURCE.
This is Baxter. He didn't come on the walk with us but I stopped on the way back to my car to admire his onesie! Note the discreet toilet opening...
I stayed in my walking gear on Wednesday so no outfit photo to show you. I picked the youngest grandson up from school; came home and sorted out the fire and then after a bit of catching up with blog land I made dinner. I make the same thing every Wednesday, by special request from OH, and both grandsons. Chicken wings, garlic bread, broccoli, corn on the cob and chips. I don't make the chips but one of the grandsons fetches them from the chippy round the corner - a weekly treat only. Usually fresh from the fryer; golden with a crisp outer skin and soft inside. As for me I'll eat something vegetarian I or my daughter might have made and frozen.
It was dreadful waking up to the news of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on Thursday morning. What on earth does Putin think he'll achieve by this? My heart goes out to the Ukrainian people and the Russian people. They know, as we do, what it's like to have an idiot for a leader.
This was what I wore on Thursday to go swimming. I swam 48 laps and got out a couple of minutes before the whistle blew. I went to the farm shop and to Lidl to do the weekly shopping after my swim. I also did a wash and hung it up, sorted out the fire and made dinner.
Everything charity shopped. Boots as before; dress by Tu and jacket by New Look. The jacket was just for extra warmth. A friend of my son came to visit in the afternoon and asked me why was I so dressed up, where was I going? Ha! All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings bought from Sainsbury's many years ago.
We started watching the second series of 'Deadwind' in the evening and I started a new book.
Friday was bright and cold but the sun graced us with its presence for a lot of the day. I met up with some of my walking friends for a coffee in Cardington and afterwards we went to Moggerhanger Park for a bit of a walk (2 miles) in the woods to see these:
Snowdrops and the start of the daffodils.
Moggerhanger House is a Grade 1 listed Georgian Historic House set in 33 acres of parkland and woodland. It is recognised as the most complete surviving example of Sir John Soane's work set in stylish grounds and woodlands sculpted by Humphry Repton. Originally built for Godfrey Thornton; Deputy Governor of the Bank of England. Whilst strolling around the grounds we met the new manager who told us of his plans having just received funding from English Heritage. He was planning to restore the walled gardens and open the house to the public. Currently the house is only open for weddings and conferences. Moggerhanger Park is a popular place to visit with a lovely cafe and a very tiny museum in the grounds so the new developments were good news. They were based on a ten year plan so it will be a while before they're completed.
Everything charity shopped except the kimono which was a present from my daughter about 7 or 8 years ago. Jeans by M&Co and top by Uniqlo; all jewellery charity shopped except the cuff; a present from my friend Ann. As Moggerhanger Park was close to Sandy I went there afterwards for a mini rummage; they have 4 charity shops. I hadn't been to Sandy since the summer. I might have picked up a few things including this lovely shaped jug (Art Deco?) from the Keech Hospice shop.
I got up and went out for a walk on Saturday. It was breezy but with lots of sunshine. I had a really invigorating walk of 6 miles and had an idea of incorporating part of this walk with part of another of my walks to make a new one to lead for the Ramblers Summer Walks Programme. I'll have to recce it (I didn't have time on this walk as we were going out later) to see how long it would be. My guess was 7 to 7.5 miles; which would be fine for a Wednesday walk. We were going out to eat in the evening to celebrate brother Julian's birthday and needed to leave Bedford by 5 pm. I went into town to go to Superdrug when I got back from the walk as I needed some face wash and my mascara was about to run out...
I spied violets on my walk...
Velvet trousers from M&S; present from OH back in the days when he used to get an M&S voucher for his Christmas box from his employers; top by H&M via Barnardo's; black polo underneath from Bedford Market; boots donated by my daughter.
Such a contrast of lighting between camera and selfie view... I was definitely quite flushed as I had been running around the house. Earrings from Etsy bought with birthday money last year and all other jewellery charity shopped.
And here we all are. We went to the Red Lion in Cranford near Kettering. The food was excellent and we had a lovely get together.
Daughter and daughter in law came came too....
Me and the 3 brothers.
3 brothers, Mark, Tony Julian and himself.
I went for a swim on Sunday morning; swimming the usual 48 laps. Julian stayed overnight so I made us breakfast then he set off back to London to meet with a friend and watch the cup final. OH and I did the housework; I hung out a wash as the breeze was quite strong at times. In fact, it was a beautiful day and if I hadn't had so much to do I would have loved to have gone for a long walk or to recce the idea for new walk. I made another bread and butter pudding and some flapjacks. I lost my original flapjack recipe which I got out of a magazine years ago; I've been improvising to make them vegan and guessing the quantities. I've been using maple syrup lately instead of golden syrup and I used too much this time so the flapjacks didn't 'set'. The resulting crumble mix (!) I shared with my daughter and would put mine on cereals and mixed in with yogurt instead. OH made dinner. We watched the semi-final of the 'Pottery Throwdown' and the 'Antiques Road Show' in the evening and I read more of my book (A Death in Vienna) set in 1902. It's a locked room murder mystery and the 'new-fangled science' of psychotherapy is put to use to help solve the crime. I enjoyed it and passed it along to Hilary who told me it had been made into a TV series...who knew?
This was Monday's outfit. Everything charity shopped except the tights from Snag. The dress by M&S was 1.00 rail bargain from charity shop in Sandy; bought on Friday. Country Casuals boiled wool jacket from Cat's Protection League some years ago. It was very quiet in the charity shop. No donations were allowed and there weren't very many customers. We processed mostly bric-a-brac as we had a hanger shortage.
All jewellery charity shopped. The cat brooch was bought in Cornwall last year in the community charity shop in Porthleven.
I bought another jigsaw from Barnardo's for Hilary and a book which I'll take down when I visit her this weekend. I was so looking forward to seeing her. And talking of jewellery, I received the 'eyepins' (for threading the beads for earrings on) that I'd ordered from Etsy but they were a little too long. I went to 'Hobbycraft' after I'd finished at Barnardo's and bought some more eyepins of the right size. I planned to have an afternoon of earring making during the week.
In the evening I caught up with blogs and wrote my own. We watched the final episodes of 'The Promise' which we had missed as we were out on Saturday evening. We also had several episodes left of the second series of 'Deadwind' to continue watching throughout the week.
Tuesday's outfit worn to the food bank where I made up 39 family hygiene packs and 25 single packs. Everything I wore was from a charity shop. Polo neck by Zara, no label jumper from Barnardo's on Monday; plaid trousers also by Zara and green boots by River Island.
All jewellery charity shopped. I took a donation bag into the Daycare Hospice shop after the food bank and also went to Aldi to buy ingredients for tomorrow's dinner. I bought a dress whilst I was in the Daycare Hospice shop and another bead necklace to cannibalise for earrings. In the afternoon I did the usual washing and sorting out the fire. Last week in Lidl I bought an ashcan accessory for our vacuum cleaner which is proving to be very useful as the bags in our 'Henry' vacuum cleaner won't need to be changed so frequently. I washed the kitchen floor and descaled the kettle, too then made dinner for OH and I. Tuesday was cold and miserable with a bit of rain in the morning. Not the weather I'd hoped for on the first day of Spring! I was hoping for better weather on Wednesday for the group walk from Woburn Sands but the weather was just as miserable on Wednesday so I cancelled the walk. It's not much fun walking in the rain and I didn't even want to think about the mud. I hoped if it improved later in the day I would go out and walk on my own. It didn't. It more or less rained off and on the entire day.
Instead, I drove to Rushden to have a rummage around the Salvation Army charity shop. The food bank still needed bowls for cereal and the Sally Army always has plenty of crockery. I bought 9 bowls in total; a frame for my Laura Knight poster; a scarf and a necklace. I dropped the bowls off to the food bank before collecting the youngest grandson from school; then went to Waitrose to pick up a present from my brother (some Clarins perfume). The remainder of the day was spent doing a wash, making more flapjacks (Sunday's ones were a disaster) sorting out the fire and cooking dinner for both grandsons and OH. We continued watching further episodes of 'Deadwind' in the evening.
Everything except the boots from charity shops. Top by Laura Ashley; from 1.00 rail at Barnardo's. Trousers by M&S from the Daycare Hospice shop. The trousers look black and white but they are a maroon and dark blue check. All jewellery charity shopped.
I woke up to brightness and sunshine on Thursday. What a relief! I went for a swim completing my 48 laps with a couple of minutes to spare. Then it was time to get ready and head out to do the weekly shopping. After buying coal and kindling from the farm shop in Sharnbrook I drove to Lidl. When I went to get a coin out of my purse for the trolley I couldn't find my purse anywhere! I realised it must have slipped off the box of kindling I carried to the car. I tried to phone the farm shop to ask if they had found my purse but there was no phone reception. Trying not to panic I turned around and drove back; praying they had found my purse. As I went to park the car back at the farm shop; I spotted my purse lying on the ground where I'd parked my car previously. Whew, that was a very lucky escape indeed. I have a terrible habit of carrying my life around in my purse which I need to stop. If I hadn't found my purse it would have meant losing my driving licence; my bank cards; my bus pass; my international health card; my loyalty cards; organ donor card; membership cards of various organisation and a photo of my mum! As soon as I'd finished the shopping in Lidl I removed the driving licence and the international health card from the purse and put them somewhere else. I use the rest on almost daily basis so they remained in the purse. Lesson learned.
Once the shopping was done I had a a drive to Castle Rd charity shops where I happened upon a vintage event at the 'Children's Society' and of course I couldn't resist.
I bought a skirt for 2.99; I need to move the button at the waist otherwise it would be too tight but it has a pocket! The dress was 3.99 and looks much better on; it has ties at the back so it becomes much more fitted looking. I also bought a lovely purple multi coloured top/jacket which at the time of typing was in the wash. But the best news of all was I found a fur coat! I almost wished for a really cold snap so I could put it to use but I didn't really want it to become colder. The coat was 7.99 so a real bargain. It's not vintage, I don't think; there are no labels and it wasn't included with the vintage event items but I was thrilled to have finally found a fur coat at last. Strangely it was tagged a 'Small' but luckily I ignored that and tried it on.
The top above wasn't bought at the vintage event but picked up in Barnardo's on Monday. The manager had saved it for me as she knows I like vintage clothes. Just look at that label 'For the Little Lady' - how patronising but as I think the top dates from the 1950s or early 1960s it's just a reflection of attitudes to women at that time. I love the top and it had lovely buttons on the pockets as well as the front. Updated to say that the top is just that bit too tight so will be worn open as a lightweight jacket.
I was getting ahead of myself there telling you about my Monday purchase; I now to return to last week on Friday when I set off to drive to Devon to see my friend of 56 years, Hilary. The journey was uneventful with no traffic and consequently only took 3.5 hours. I wore wide legged jeans by Oasis; the label less tunic top and boots were a Christmas present from my daughter.
This was taken at Knightshayes Court, Devon where we went for a 5.6 mile
Camelia in bloom, Magnolia tree, Rhododendron and Japonica.
I can hardly bear to say this; I lost one of these earrings on Saturday when we went to Budleigh Salterton. They were by Butler and Wilson and Art Deco in style. We retraced our steps and turned the car inside out but it was nowhere to be found. I bought them from Etsy last year with birthday money from my brothers. As far as I'm aware they were an unique pair but I am going to contact the seller again to see if she could find/make another pair. They were the most favourite of all the earrings I've ever had since I got my ears pierced aged 16! Updated to say the seller purchased them herself and sold them on - to me. They have definitely gone to the big earring place in the sky. I am gutted.
Budleigh Salterton beach. It's a pebble beach and there was a large fine for removing pebbles from the beach...
This is Budleigh Salterton Museum and Crafts Centre. Unfortunately for me not open until after Easter.
Wesleyan Chapel in Budleigh Salterton. I liked the clock in the tower. I noticed when we were in Cornwall last April how very grand some of the Wesleyan Chapels/Churches were. In contrast, in my part of the country they are notoriously plain and unadorned. I was married in a Methodist church in Walthamstow, London; although I was raised a Catholic but that was because the wedding was organised by my in-laws who were Methodists. If it had been left up to my ex-husband and me we would have got married in a Registry Office but we went along with in-laws wishes.
Naturally, Hilary and I had a rummage in the 5 charity shops in Budleigh Salterton. I bought a pair of BNWT summer shoes. We continued our rummaging by visiting Exmouth where I bought a lot of books (!) and some more jewellery to cannibalise for earring making. On Sunday morning I had a bit of a car disaster as I couldn't get the car to unlock. Luckily, I had breakdown assistance and the AA pointed out I had left my sidelights on (since Friday lunchtime - oops!) which made the battery flat! I learnt how to manipulate the key fob to open the car manually which was useful to know for future reference. Apart from that and the lost earring, it was a lovely weekend and I looked forward to visiting again in the summer. In the evening we watched the final of 'The Pottery Throwdown' and as expected AJ was the winner. We are now looking forward to the GBSB (Great British Sewing Bee) whenever that starts up again.
This was what I wore to Barnardo's on Monday. Dress by Next; bought from the Daycare Hospice shop last week; jacket by Elizabeth Scott charity shopped somewhere as well as the tights; boots as before. All jewellery charity shopped. The belt was my daughter's from years ago and I kept it when she no longer wanted it. I rarely wear belts as they emphasise the fact I have no waist. I used to have one but it went missing about 20 years ago and has never returned...
The newly appointed paid member of staff had started at Barnardo's on Monday and was doing training for her role. I was asked to show her how to sign customers up for 'Gift Aid' and how to process gift aided donations. She seems very enthusiastic and the time flew as were also decoding all garments on the rails as well as tagging and hanging items. Not too many customers giving us the time to do what was needed.
I spent the afternoon doing two washes, sorting out the fire and doing some admin. I paid the caravan site fees; renegotiated a new payment for my gas and electric that reflected the worldwide fuel increases predicted. The prediction was I would go from using £1300 worth of gas and electric per year to £1900. A big difference. I can afford the increase but so many people can't and will have to cut back on other things. I used to try and cut down on use of the central heating by not switching it on until the evening and putting on layers etc during the day. Although I still don't turn it on until later in the day; I am no longer prepared to be cold - unnecessarily. At least I have that choice. I also cancelled my Ancestry subscription as I use it so infrequently it didn't warrant the cost of the monthly payment. Feeling pleased with my savings I made chicken soup for dinner using up yesterday's leftover chicken. I spent the evening catching up with blog land.
I wore this to the food bank on Tuesday. It's the same colour combination I wore on Monday; cranberry and turquoise. The trousers by Next, jumper by Oasis and jacket by River Island were all charity shopped. I paid 50 p for the jacket!. All jewellery charity shopped.
I didn't wear the fur coat to the food bank but took a photo to see what it looked like on. I'm happy with it!
It was very cold in the food bank but as the day went on it brightened and warmed up. Driving into town afterwards it was 12 degrees. I had errands to run in the afternoon involving bird food supplies and Aldi shopping for tomorrow's dinner. I'm 68 tomorrow but I'll still be cooking dinner for the grandsons and OH. Some things never change!
OH is taking me to Oxford for a birthday weekend away which I am looking forward to immensely. We'll drive there and stay overnight. Coincidentally, I had been thinking for a while to take the bus which goes from Bedford to Oxford for a day out by myself and get the bus back again - all for free using my bus pass. I just needed to plan it in advance; especially the bus back to Bedford as I didn't want to be stranded in Oxford! I haven't found enough time in the past fortnight to spend an afternoon earring making as planned and my supplies have multiplied somewhat in that time. Friday is now looking the best day so far for that and I look forward to showing you some of my creations in my next post.