Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Off to Ireland and back again!

Since I last posted on here I've been to to Ireland and back again but let's just backtrack a little....

To look at what I'm wearing below you might think I am very patriotic. I'm not and as for the football World Cup I was not very interested...oh dear my secret is out! I did, however watch Argentina v France in the pub when we went out with my brothers in Kettering for an early birthday meal in July. where we also went for a bit of a rummage...

All jewellery charity shopped.

In this photo everything I'm wearing is charity shopped except the sandals from Clarks.

I bought this red/white/blue vest from a bargain
 rail on our rummage to Kettering. I also bought a necklace, some earrings and a brooch. That's it. Nothing else. OH did remarkably well and bought 7 tops; including a rather nice linen one that I spotted on a 50 pence rail!

Navy linen trousers by Next; cotton jacket by F&F.

Do you like my new hall table? I 'rescued' it from a skip. It just needed a good scrub. The baskets have white cotton liners which need to be ironed and so far I haven't been bothered. The L hand drawers house OH's collection of caps and the R hand drawers hold some of my scarves - all nicely folded and rolled and all my gloves. The top shelf will be used for things that need to be picked up or dropped off to members of the family or others. There's always something; in this photo there's a football sticker book belonging to youngest grandson and a book of mine for the charity shop.

On the Tuesday before I left I volunteered at the Food bank. This was what I wore. When I return from Ireland in September I'll be volunteering every week as I've given up the library. I'm also thinking of becoming a 'Befriender' at the Yarlswood Immigration Detention Centre, which to my shame is located in the village of Thurleigh in Bedfordshire. I shall find out more about it when I'm back and make a decision. It's something I've been thinking about for a while.

 Everything is charity shopped. I just can't remember where I got this homemade lightweight jacket but it was  few years ago and I love it. I love the colours; the length is good for trousers or skirts and the material has a metallic sheen which lifts it out of the ordinary.  The snake print jeans are by Next and the green top by M&S. I got this top in the Red Cross shop for 1.99 and I wouldn't be surprised if the jacket didn't come from there, too. Can't remember where I got the black sandals from.

All jewellery charity shopped.

In the week before I travelled to Ireland I tried to take things easy. I had errands to run in town and managed to  walk 5.75 miles  on Wednesday, but when I got home my knee hurt a bit going up and down the stairs, so I rested it all afternoon. 

The last of the lilies from the garden.

Everything is charity shopped except my shoes which are from PJ shoes. Trousers are by Select and again I can't remember where I got them from...

I bought the top from a sale rail at the Sally Army shop in Rushden for 1.00. I felt a bit miffed I didn't find much on our rummage to Kettering, so I visited Rushden for a quick peek on Tuesday afternoon after the food bank. I also bought three pairs of earrings and some books (they had a book sale on) in the same charity shop.  I bought three geranium plants for a 1.00 at  a florist shop as well, They always have bargain plants.

All jewellery charity shopped; the earrings picked up from the Sally Army in Rushden.

This is what I wore to travel to Ireland in on July 8th. The kimono top is actually a dressing gown; I bought it in the 3:16 shop on the 1.00 rail. Everything I'm wearing is charity shopped.  Top by Next 1.00 rail. Blue shoes by Clarks also charity shopped.

On the ferry out I was accompanied by this seagull who spent a lot of the crossing eyeballing me inside!

What a fine fellow!

I spent 8 weeks in Ireland and it was a wonderful break from the usual routine but it was bittersweet in many ways. My uncle who was in his 80s had a stroke before I left for Ireland and died shortly after I arrived. I attended the funeral and met up with several of my mother's cousins whom I had never met before. It was lovely to meet up with lots of family even though it was a very sad occasion. There's only two maternal aunts left now.

I wore the same outfit to the funeral but with different trousers. Those are my cousins Linda and Doirin at the front with me and two second cousins behind; Sean and Eamon, and my uncle's best friend Michael. This is the graveyard where my maternal grandparents are buried and several of my mum's sisters.

Then 6 weeks later my cousin Richard died unexpectedly. It was very shocking and it hasn't really sunk in even now. He was only 49 and left two children aged 6 and 4.  Life is very cruel sometimes. Again, I attended the funeral and went to the cremation but this time OH had come out so we went together.

RIP Richard. You will be sorely missed.

I spent most of the time in Ireland on my own. I visited cousins, did some walking, my daughter came out for a few days and OH came out for the last week. One day, I took myself off to Fanad Head in Donegal.  It is the furthest North I've been in Donegal and next year I must make it to the very furthest north of the county.  On the day I went to Fanad Head it was one of the few nice days I had in terms of the weather. Most of the time it was grey, very cloudy, drizzly and sometimes torrential rain. It was never cold though although the temperature was usually a a good ten degrees lower than in the UK.

I bought this jacket in Oxfam in Kilburn for 2.00. All jewellery charity shopped. I took very few personal photos as I forgot my selfie stick.

The one and only occasion I got to swim in the sea. It was glorious and the sea was warm once you were in. It was only the salt water in  my eyes that made me get out...

I went walking with cousins. On this occasion we walked in Union Wood, Co. Sligo and up to Union Rock. Cousin Caroline and cousin in law Martina, with Willow and Taylor - two beautiful dogs.

The orange shirt I'm wearing was one of the very few items of clothing I bought in Ireland. From a charity shop in Donegal for 2 euros. In total I bought 2 tops; 1 dress and 1 hat. I bought a few items of jewellery and quite a lot of books. I also read a lot of books; 26 in July and 20 in August. Have a look at my 'Books Read' page if you'd like to see what I read.

If you look carefully in the background of the picture above you can see two famous Co. Sligo mountains. To the right of me is Ben Bulben and to the left; Knocknarea. At the very top of this mountain, just discernible, is the cairn of Queen Maeve. The first time I brought my family to Ireland in 2005 we climbed this mountain and laid a stone on top of the cairn.

It's a bit more obvious in this photo.

On my walks, I:

Met a hare

Picked wildflowers; Monbretia and Meadowsweet.  
And I did a very special walk of 20 miles! 2018 is the 460th anniversary of the sinking of a number of ships  from the Spanish Armada along the Sligo and Donegal coast. The walk I did was to commemorate the walk of shipwrecked Spanish sailors from the 'La Duquesa Santa Anna' off the coast of Donegal. The sailors encamped near Rosbeg at Kiltoorish and then walked 20 miles to Killybegs to join some Spanish ships that had taken shelter there from the dreadful storms that had caused their shipwreck in the first place.

This stone will be placed at the starting point of the walk. As you can see it is not properly mounted here.

These two guys were dressed in Spanish sailor and soldier costume from the period. They were part of a re enactment group and gave us a very interesting talk and demonstration of weapons; costumes and social history.

The walk was split into to two parts. 7 miles in the morning; back for lunch at the Ardara Community Centre (above) then 13 miles to Killybegs in the afternoon. I made it, but oh boy was I stiff the next day!

Ceremony in Killybegs to lay the plaque to denote the end of the walk.

Spanish Armada 1588
The last steps of the 1200 crew of La Duquese Santa Ana  and La Girona on Irish soil.

I really enjoyed the walk; I met some lovely people and I have a new personal best in walk miles!

It's very good to be home. I'm loving the beautiful warm sunny weather here. I really missed my grandchildren and children so I've been spending the past few days with them to make up for lost time.

In my next post I'll fill you in on what else I did on my holidays!

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!