Sunday, 1 July 2018

Pheww - what a scorcher!

Sorry about the title. I believe itwas a 'Sun' (British tabloid newspaper) headline some years ago. Knowing the 'Sun', the headline was probably repeated on Page 3 over a photo of a bare breasted woman in a scanty pair of knickers. I don't read the 'Sun', never have and never will.

The weather has been absolutely glorious. Beautiful cloudless blue skies. Hot sunshine all day. It hasn't been humid and so far I have coped even to the extent that I've been out walking in it. Unfortunately, I have been having problems with my knee.  It hurt particularly going up and down the stairs and I couldn't kneel or squat down without considerable pain. I went to the minor injuries clinic (it's quicker than waiting for a GP's appointment) and I had strained the medial collateral ligament and had inflammation of the meniscus - so there! A combination of age and over doing the walking.  Anti-inflammatory medication, elevation, ice packs and movement are the cure. It means my walking will have to reduce for a while; short walks instead of long ones. Sigh...

All jewellery charity shopped.
Is that a moth I spy up there?

Orange paisley tunic; 1.00 rail Barnardo's in Kempston. Trousers from Next; also charity shopped.

I didn't really need to wear this mac but it goes so well with my tunic!
Orange mac; charity shopped from Red Cross; 1.99. Flip flops from Primarni. I use flip flops as indoor slippers  in the summer...

I have finally finished my granny square blanket and am now a devotee of the JAYG method of joining the squares together.

Almost finished doing the border...

  Finished! It's one of the largest I've ever made but it's for my living room not my bed...

Flowers from the garden...

Pansies, violas and stocks. Small glass containers found in charity shops.

 Lilies from the garden.

I've also been doing a lot of reading. Inspired by Downton Abbey, I've read my way through 'The Cazalet Chronicle' by Elizabeth Jane Howard - all 5 volumes and now I'm stuck into 'The Balkan Trilogy' by Olivia Manning. All are highly recommended. I shall take 'A Dance to the Music of Time' by Anthony Powell - 4 volumes - to Ireland with me. I have lots of books in the caravan and of course I have my Kindle so I shall never run out of reading material. What a relief that is. Before I had a Kindle I always carried a book with me as I was terrified of being stuck somewhere with nothing to read. That's why I always carry a largish handbag - a habit that persists to this day. I use the Kindle mostly on holiday but it's always in my handbag just in case...

Black and White Trouser Outfit No.7

This is my second pair of black and white spotted palazzo pants. The first pair I bought new many years ago, in a local Bedford clothes shop but they frayed badly at the bottom. I bought a replacement pair in a charity shop but can't remember which one. These are by Jane Norman. I remember buying a bright blue shaggy Jane Norman jacket from Oxford Street in the 1960s....

Both the vest and jacket are from Next and charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Green trousers charity shopped in Donegal charity shop for 3 euros; as well as the shoes. Top from M&S and tunic by H&M both charity shopped but can't remember where.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Necklace bought in RSPCA for 3.50 in Ampthill on a recent rummage with OH. Earrings; 1 euro in a St. Vincent De Paul charity shop in Co. Sligo.

I went to see my son last week and wore this as it was a baking hot day.

Necklace; 2 euros in a charity shop in Tralee, Co. Kerry and earrings from ebay; 99p.

Top 1.00 in Bedford Market.

Trousers and sandals charity shopped. Trousers from Next and sandals bought in RSPCA; Ampthill for 4.50 on a recent rummage with OH. The scarf, which I thought was charity shopped, was actually a present from my friend Natalie in Cambridge.

There's a story behind this dress (below) which was bought in the Tu sale (Sainsburys for 11.00. I've always saved my coppers and five pence pieces for the grandsons. The coins are put into three containers and when they had filled up a couple of months back I told the grandchildren to empty them and take the money. They didn't bother, so I did, and treated myself to this dress! The containers are filling up again nicely and the grandchildren get pocket money from me every month...

Three quarter leggings charity shopped and the sandals were bought in the Cats Protection League for 4.99 in Kempston.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Last Sunday OH and I went to a local car boot sale in a garden centre. It's a very small one but it starts at 10 am and it's not very far away so it's ideal for us. I bought these beads here for 1.00. Earrings Christmas present from OH; bangles and scarf charity shopped.

Everything charity shopped except the faithful Clarks sandals; retail.

Dropped waist dress 3.50 in the Marie Curie charity shop.

The medication for my knee made such a difference after one day - amazing -  so as well doing the food shopping I ventured down to the 3:16 charity shop for a rummage on Thursday. I spent 2.00 on 3 balls of wool... I'm thinking of my next crochet project for after I've finished my Willow pattern blanket which I'll do in Ireland.

I also went into town on Friday to look at an exhibition 'Celebrating Women of Bedfordshire' at the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery. It is just one of many exhibitions and events all over the country to celebrate the centenary of (some) women getting the vote in 1918.  It was a very interesting exhibition and I learnt a lot. I also went to find two further blue plaques people had told me about since I did my Blue Plaque Walk a few weeks back. I found both of them, eventually, and by the time I had done all this I had walked almost 5 miles and my knee was fine. Hurrah!

Everything charity shopped except the shoes which are from PJ Shoes in Kempston. Trousers: 1.00 rail as was the navy top which is from Next; M&S jacket; Red Cross 1.99.

All jewellery charity shopped.

All clothing charity shopped. Skirt M&S, can't remember. Top 1.00 rail somewhere. Shoes from PJ Shoes in Kempston.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I have just over a week to go before I set off Ireland.
This will be my last post for a while as you know the wifi is almost non-existent where I stay in Ireland, but I'll do my best to keep up with your blogs and comment when I can.

I wish you all a wonderful summer and who knows I may actually get some decent weather this time in Ireland!

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Summer outfits and summer walking

Badly in need of a haircut here...and it's a wonder I don't have square eyes as I've managed to watch four series of Downton Abbey and the finale since my last post! It's all over now.

Hello and I hope all is well in your world.
What have I been up to since my last post? I've been meaning to show you this for ages. I pass this on one of my walks. Angry birds as a bird scarer, it rotates constantly. I tried to get the video link to work but I couldn't. Blogger kept downloading an empty blue screen. It's a shame because I've also noticed that I no longer get Google notifications of comments on my blog - anyone else noticed that? I am also getting fewer comments; maybe people who follow me aren't getting notifications when I post. Let me know if you have noticed any changes, please. Bloody technology!

I led a walk for the Ramblers on Wednesday; there were 37 of us! Everyone found the bird scarer pretty funny. I've been doing a fair amount of walking as the weather has been good; warm, mostly dry and some sunshine.

Everything charity shopped except the trousers from the La Redoute sale a couple of years ago. The top was from the Mercy in Action shop for 2.00. The Gap sandals were 1.00 in Barnardo's and I've had the  Italian brown linen jacket forever. It came from Age UK and was 3.99. It is so useful in the summer; I'm wearing it again with another outfit below.

Necklace charity shopped in the 3:16 shop for 1.50. Earrings also charity shopped and scarf.

OH and I had a rummage at Emmaeus last Saturday. I bought 5 balls of wool at 50p a ball (and there I am making a granny square blanket to use up my stash of wool) a necklace and a bangle.

I got my haircut.
Shirt 1.49 from hospice shop on our Royston rummage a few weeks ago; jacket M&S; charity shopped in Kettering for 4.00. Trousers bought from Tu sale (Sainsbury's own label); sandals; Clarks retail bought in the sale and now in their 7th summer!

All jewellery charity shopped. The brooch is one of the first I ever bought and was 2.99 in the Heart Foundation shop. It maybe on upside down here...the earrings came from Oxfam in Dublin and  I bought the necklace when Hilary came to stay with me in early May at the 3:16 shop. Excuse the wet patch on my top; I 'd dripped something down myself and had to wipe it off with a wet cloth....

I've gone all metallic and shiny here. Trousers 1.00 rail; as was the top; jacket as before - I said it was useful... T strap animal print shoes 99p in Barnardo's. Total cost of outfit 7.00! 

All jewellery charity shopped.

The picture to the left is a poster of 'La Turandot' by Puccini. I bought it in Italy in 2013 and I've been looking for the right frame for it ever since. I finally found one in the Reuse centre for 1.50 last week. It's only taken me five years....

I bought this striped tunic in the Mercy in Action charity shop in town. It's an outlet shop for the organisation and things are pretty cheap; this striped top, which is by Warehouse, was 2.00. Jeans from the 1.00 rail in Barnardos, Ampthill and the long sleeved top is from Primarni. Sandals, Clarks retail as before.

Photos courtesy of youngest grandson

All jewellery charity shopped.

Black and White Trousers Outfit  - No. 6

Trousers by Tu bought in sale last year. Black lace top M&S charity shopped, I've had it for years; black shirt by Dunnes bought at an Irish jumble sale for 1.00 euro. Shoes; 2.99; Barnardo's.

Jewellery charity shopped. Necklace from Emmaeus; 1.50.

I did a lot of walking last week. On Monday I went for a 4 mile evening walk with the Ramblers. We passed this lovely thatched house with my favourite sort of garden - the classic English country garden. The photo doesn't do it justice at all; it was full of delphiniums,  wallflowers, foxgloves, holly hocks, roses, lavender and lots of flowers I don't know the names of.

This is how our garden is looking. We have strawberries at last and youngest grandson is the chief strawberry picker  - but it's a battle to pick them before the birds do.

I did a recce of my walk on Tuesday and on Wednesday led the actual walk; both days walking 6 miles. On Thursday I walked with a friend from the food bank and we walked over 8 miles. I don't know if it was walking four days in a row but I had a sore knee on Friday.

Here I've got 2 rows joined using JAYG...

I've finished crocheting my granny squares; in fact I miscounted and did 3 extra. I'm now fully immersed in joining the rows using the JAYG method -  helped enormously by You Tube videos by Crochet here. I found them very helpful.

Once I've completed this one I can start on my Willow pattern squares. I shall complete this next project in Ireland as I booked the ferry this week and there are only three weeks to go! I took a basket of wool with me to Ireland at Easter to start the Willow pattern squares but because I hadn't brought the right pattern with me I didn't do any crocheting for the two weeks I was there and the wool travelled back with me!

All jewellery charity shopped.

I'm not sure about this as a dress; I like the colours and got a compliment from another woman when I went into town wearing it. It's open from the thigh down though, so I think next time I wear it I'll leave it open and wear it as a long jacket over trousers. It was from the 1.00 rail in Ampthill, Barnardo's bought last year and not worn until now.

I have no memory at all of where I bought this African print skirt other than that it was from a charity shop about 2 years and was about a fiver. Top is by Next; also charity shopped; 1.00 rail Red Cross shop and the shoes were charity shopped in Ireland for 3.00 euros.

Why wear one necklace when you can wear three?

All jewellery charity shopped.

One day in the week I went for a rummage..

I bought this Kameez from the 1.00 rail in the 3:16 charity shop. All jewellery charity shopped.

 I bought both these items on the same day. The trousers are by Next and were 4.00 in the Day Hospice shop. I also bought a dress for 3.50 in Marie Curie.

I've done the usual school runs and volunteering this week. I've decided I don't want to continue at the library doing the shelving of books as it is very boring. There is no variety in the task and it's not the sort of place you can be very sociable in, so when I'm back from Ireland in September I might be looking for something else to do on a Tuesday afternoon...

I have enjoyed watching the complete series of Downton Abbey (oh the costumes!) and let me say it would have been cheaper to buy a second hand complete DVD box set than do it the way I did, with library reservation charges at 70p each item and 1.50 charge for each DVD  - the special (usually Christmas) episodes being stand alone and costing 1.50 as well. I wouldn't watch it again so at least I don't have a box set of DVDs to get rid of.

Having been immersed in historical drama for the past two weeks it has spurred me on to read some of the historical book series I have had for years in my collection  waiting to be read. The first is 'The Cazalet Chronicle' by Elizabeth Jane Howard, which follows a middle class family through decades of family life starting in 1937. There are five books in this series so I'll be taking some of them to Ireland with me. Then I intend to read 'The Balkan Trilogy' by Olivia Manning and finally; 'A Dance to the Music of Time' by Anthony Powell' a quartet of books each named for the four seasons. I believe all of these book series have been televised so I may want to follow them up when I'm back in September...

Anyway, I have my summer reading sorted and not only will I have achieved something I've wanted to do for ages I'll also have cleared some space on my book shelves - at last!

Monday, 4 June 2018

Birthdays and holidays

Gabbing as usual! Did I tell you that at our Ramblers Christmas Lunch all the tables had a title. Our table - full of women - was called 'The Chatterboxes'!

It was OH's birthday on Saturday 19th and we went for a rummage in Baldock and Royston in Hertfordshire.  Both are small market towns. I'd been before but OH hadn't. It was a glorious day. 

Everything charity shopped. The M & Co. tunic is a recent 1.00 rail purchase from the 3:18 charity shop. Next shirt.

 I bought these beads a few months back but the first time I tried to wear them the chain at the back broke. I crocheted a replacement in some purple wool and so far it's still holding the beads together!

All jewellery charity shopped.
Things are blooming in the garden!

I tried to hold back on clothes purchases; too many clothes already blah blah, but I just can't resist a reduced or 1.00 rail. I bought two tops on the reduced rail in Barnardo's in Royston (6 charity shops)  for 1.49 each. I bought a green wool tunic for winter wear for 2.99 in Age UK and an earring hanger for 1.99.  I've hung all my black earrings and some of the silver earrings on the new hanger. At last, I have some space on my main earring hanger and can see more clearly what earrings I have. I just need to find another one for the the other side now...

I also picked up these two brooches in Royston; the large bird brooch was 1.99 in the Wood Green Animal Shelter shop and the small pin, 99p in the Garden Hospice shop. The only thing I bought in Baldock (2 charity shops) was a pair of sunglasses to replace a pair I lost on a recent walk.

My brothers came over early on Saturday evening to watch the cup final. After that was over we went out for an Indian birthday meal. We had a lovely day and OH really enjoyed the whole thing. He also scored some great finds in the charity shops...

Baby brother and himself

Middle brother - something tickled his fancy here...

I invigilated at the University for two days. It's always an odd feeling to go back to where you once worked. I worked for this university for nearly 10 years and in the university sector as a whole from 1992; yet I don't miss it at all - and I enjoyed my job! I absolutely love being retired far more than I ever enjoyed working. Anyway, these were my outfits for those two days of work:

Everything charity shopped. The skirt was 1.50 from a charity shop in West Drayton; the yellow jacket was a Red Cross 1.99 find, I think. I cannot remember where the green top came from. The shoes were from a Donegal charity shop; 3 euros and the scarf bought this year in a charity shop for 1.00.

All jewellery charity shopped.

This necklace was 50p at a car boot sale years ago.

Black and white trousers outfit No. 4 - only 4 to go...

Again everything charity shopped except brogues from Primarni reduced to 5.00.

I bought the black and white kimono in Ireland somewhere; can't remember where, or where I got the black and white trousers which are by M & Co. The white lace tunic is from the Mercy in Action Charity shop and was 2.00.

All jewellery charity shopped. I think this necklace was one of the 1.50 bargains I found in
 the Sally Army in Rushden when Hilary was down on Bank Holiday weekend at the beginning of the month.

Black and White trousers No. 5

This was taken outside the front door of our holiday cottage in Polyphant, Cornwall.  We set off on Saturday morning nice and early. My daughter had bought a bike rack and we put it on my car with three bikes on it - I would walk, (not to Cornwall of course!) as always. The journey there was a nightmare.  A three hour delay on the M5 meant that despite setting off at 10 am we didn't arrive until after 5 pm. We stopped twice at service stations for a break but the worst of it is is that where we were staying was only forty plus miles over the Devon border. Had we been further on in Cornwall we may not have got there until even later.

Everything charity shopped. This is the first kimono I ever bought and it's from Peacocks; the trousers are from F&F and yellow blouse from Dunne's Stores; charity shopped in Ireland.
I bought the white Mary Janes last winter in Oxfam in Bedford for 4.99.

A not very good selfie...earrings bought from an Irish artisan and the necklace is charity shopped.

It's been many years since I was last in Cornwall. I went three times in the 1970s. Once with soon to be husband (now ex); once with same husband and some friends, and again with husband for a job interview at a hospital near Bodmin. I often wondered how life might have turned out if I had lived in Cornwall but I know my ex husband would still be my ex! I've been to both Falmouth and Newquay in the last ten years with Hilary and her family for a day out. Where we stayed this time was 5 miles from Launceston in Trevosper Cottages here. Highly recommended as a place to stay. The owners lived on the premises and were so thoughtful and helpful. We arrived to a proper Cornish Cream Tea, set out on the table.

What did we do in Cornwall?

Biked the cycle trails in Cardinham Woods Nr. Bodmin. I walked, up and up and up......

Went to Summerleaze Beach in Bude twice and I swam in the tidal pool; played rounders on the beach, buried one grandson in the sand, played football, ate fish and chips and ice creams.

Our nearest beach was called Crackington Haven. It was a beautiful little place. Here the grandsons are chilling out.

We walked to the top of the huge cliff to the right!

This was the view from the top...

More ice creams were consumed here as well as proper Cornish pasties. More games were played on the beach, rockpools were explored, waves were jumped. We've agreed we all want to try body boarding next  time we're at the seaside again. The sea was not too cold but I was the only person who ventured in for a swim. As we were so close to the Devon border Hilary came to visit and on our second trip to Crackington Haven she came too.

Here she is building rock sculptures with the youngest grandson...

In the evenings we tried to go for bike rides around the local lanes and fields. The Cornish lanes reminded me very much of Ireland; full of flowers and bird song. There was a prolific pink wild flower growing everywhere which I forgot to take a photo of and look up. If anyone knows what it is I'd love to know.

Middle grandson biked up hill and down dale!

The other thing daughter and I did was binge watch 'Downton Abbey' on DVD. Neither of us had watched it before and we were both hooked. We made it to the penultimate episode of Series 2 at the cottage and daughter has been catching up on A****n P***e since we got back! I'm going to look for the series in the charity shops and I bet I'll find some.

And talking of charity shops; Hilary and I went to Bodmin and Wadebridge and had a good old rummage. I bought a spotted blouse by 'South' found on the only 1.00 rail in a charity shop in Bodmin; I also bought two necklaces, a pair of earrings, a ring and three books.

It was a lovely holiday and the return journey was the complete opposite to the outward one, thank goodness! But it's good to be home.

Lost earrings, birthday and some sad news.

Hello!  This was me in my walking outfit on Wednesday; plus waterproof coat, scarf and gloves. It was both a wet and cold day.  I'd put ...