Tuesday 1 October 2019

On being a pensioner...

All jewellery charity shopped.

 Hello again!
I've been pleasantly surprised at how lovely the weather has been since our return from Ireland. It's chilly at night and first thing in the morning, but I'm still wearing my summer wardrobe...just.
This top is by Nomads and was bought for 3 euros in the Animals in Need charity shop in Donegal town. Martina cut my hair in Ireland and cut it very short, so it's just beginning to grow back a bit now.

Everything charity shopped; lace jacket Barnardo's 2.00; white Next jeans, can't remember. Shoes; 3 euros in Killybegs charity shop about 3 or 4 years ago. All jewellery charity shopped.

School runs, charity shop volunteering and food bank volunteering are all back in the weekly routine. I did a fair amount of child minding the first week I was back as it was my daughter's 41st birthday that week; (oh, that makes me feel so old writing that) and she celebrated in style!   A weekend in London, plus a day out in London, a meal with friends on her birthday and I took her to see Downton Abbey at the cinema and out for a meal, as well. We both really enjoyed Downton Abbey - we got into it when we spent May half term in Cornwall last year and watched a DVD of the first series; then we we were hooked and had to watch the entire series over the next few months!

 Another Ireland top. This one is by George (Asda) and was 2.00 euros; I love the sleeves and find I wear it a lot. White goes with everything and I love the pattern. Linen trousers 1.00 rail somewhere and shoes as above.

Cardigan by F&F; for the chilly evenings; charity shopped for £2.00 in my Barnardo's.

All jewellery charity shopped; these earrings were picked up in Sligo town for 1 euro.

I got back  into walking, too. I walked with my group in Woburn Sands on the first Wednesday I was back and a really lovely 7 mile walk  A lot of climbing into and out of woods. As the name suggests it's very close to Woburn Abbey and Safari Park;  but a nice village with its public loo in a Shepherd's Hut! I didn't take any photos - too busy catching up with everyone's news.

On Thursday I walked 9 miles. I wanted to recce the walk I'm leading in October; starting from a different place, but realised after 4 miles it would be too long; so just walked an old route back to the start which came to 9 miles in total! 

I'm wearing one of the three jackets I bought in Ireland This one was 5 euros and is by

The top underneath came from the 25p basket in my Barnardo's as did the scarf. All jewellery charity shopped.

These were charity shopped Next jeans I was going to donate but chopped the bottoms off and frayed them. Shoes from Sainsbury's earlier this year.

I also wore the jacket in Ireland, too: this was taken when we had a drive around the beautiful mountain called Ben Bulben in Co. Sligo. We wanted to walk a part of the mountain called the Gleniff Horseshoe; but several days of torrential rain caused several land slides and walking there was not a sensible idea! Another thing to do for next year.

Everything charity shopped except shoes; on line retail.
Trousers are by H&M and can't remember where I got them; the shirt was from the 1 euro rail in the Animal charity shop in Donegal, but can't remember where the lace top came from. It's because I buy so much from charity shops...

All jewellery charity shopped. My scarf had started to untuck itself here; OH didn't notice and neither did I, till I saw the photo! This scarf is an infinity scarf which folds to be an almost square, so I fold it over into a triangle and then fold it over several times into a rectangle. I've experimented with a 'Rosie the Riveter' head wrap, but need to wait till I have a bit more hair to fill it before I show you as the scarf covers the whole of the head!

Rosie the Riveter.
On Friday, I kept to my pledge to swim regularly once I was back in the UK; having enjoyed it so much whilst in Ireland. I swam 20 lengths of my local pool which is 50 metres long and not 100 as I thought originally. Anyway, I swam a kilometre and I want to try and gradually increase to 30 or even 40 lengths. which will be 1.5 or 2 kilometres.  I met a walking colleague in the pool and she said to me "oh you're a real swimmer". I wasn't quite sure what she meant. I wasn't in the fast lane (I use the middle) and I try to do alternate lengths of breast and back stroke. I'll ask her when I next see her! I enjoyed the swim but it isn't a patch on sea swimming. However, 80+ miles for a sea swim is a bit far on a weekly basis so the local pool will have to suffice.

Another change since I've got back is that I am now officially an OAP (old age pensioner), a Senior Citizen or an oldie. After having my state pension age delayed by 5.5 years thanks to changes in government policies; I am in now finally in receipt of my state or old age pension. I also have a bus pass which I'm itching to use. I may use it soon as I need to recce the bus walk I'm leading in December and I can catch a bus - free! - from the start point. No sooner had I received my first part payment of my state pension than I got a letter from the tax office telling  me my personal allowance code has changed. Yes, I'm taxed on the state pension, but not directly; my personal tax allowance is reduced by the same amount of annual pension I receive! There is no escape from the tax man...

I seem to have a smudge  on my cheek - not noticed when taking the photo...
I did a bit of rummaging in Bedford the week I was back. I did buy a few things. 
Now, the top I'm wearing here is several years old and was bought from a 1.00 rail somewhere. In the RSPCA charity shop in the week I spied the matching skirt for 4.50 and of course I had to have it.  A lucky find. It's by Adini.

Shoes as before and all jewellery charity shopped.

I picked up quite a few winter things during the week apart the skirt; 2 dresses and 1 lightweight maxi dress and a jumper. I had several things to do in town on different days so popped into the nearest charity shops whilst I was there...

I got very lucky in Barnardo's on Monday. I bought some brown leather OTK boots for 5.00; a SeaSalt raincoat for 5.00 and a lovely yellow necklace for 1.00. All plus discount!

All jewellery charity shopped.

This is what I wore to the charity shop on Monday. The trousers were bought in Ireland in the NCBI shop in Donegal for 3 euros. The shoes were bought in the same place as the orange pair in the first photo above. Killybegs charity shop 3 euros. The top is by Dunne's stores and was about £3.00 but bought here in the UK. The Next jacket is a 1.00 rail bargain and is several years old. I always have to roll up or tuck under sleeves as I have short arm - and legs!

Tuesday was the day the weather turned. It lashed down all day and was very dark and gloomy but the sun did venture out at times. I had to wait in for our new bed to be delivered and missed volunteering at the food bank. Our metal frame bed collapsed one night before I went away to Ireland, but I can't complain - we've had it for 17 years! Mind you, the bed in my spare room; a wooden one; was bought in 1993 which makes it 26 years old and it's still perfect. It was very expensive when I bought it and I suppose it shows that sometimes you get what you pay for.

I went for another swim on Tuesday and managed 22 lengths; I think I can do 30 on my next trip but the pool can get quite crowded; and as I like to swim backstroke as well as breaststroke, the more crowded the pool the more likelihood I could crash into someone. The pool filled up very quickly on Tuesday afternoon. I think Friday's are less crowded but I planned to walk again on Friday.

I forgot to post these photos of my great grandfather and grandmother's final resting place on my previous post.  We visited here, cousin Marian, me, Linda and Doirin. Their names are not on this gravestone; I don't know why; but their son; my great-uncle Harry's name is. We think this Michael Kerr is a relative of my great grandfather (not a sibling as we know their names) as they all came from the same area. The carved figures above came from the abbey of St. Fraoch founded in 570 BC. You can just see the abbey above the wall and it is behind this wall that my great grandparent's grave can be found.

I have posted about the famine pots in Ireland before but here is a little more information about the one in Donegal Town; I took Marian to see it.

On Wednesday I walked with my group again; this time in Olney. It was a lovely walk and we did 7.4 miles. We had a couple of brief showers of drizzle but not enough to put us off. I paid a quick visit to 2 of the 4 charity shops in Olney and bought a lovely maxi dress for 5.00 in Age UK. It has an American label called Tua/Fua (?)
    Source: Attic24.typepad.com
I am beginning to feel like picking up my crochet hook again. The last thing I crocheted was a very large hat at Easter which I donated to a charity shop. This blanket is the Hydrangea Stripe pattern from Attic 24 here and is my next crochet project. I just need to pick my colours which is the easiest part!

Here they are laid out on the dining room table. I had to stand on a chair to fit it all in. I'm incorporating the purple and lavender I bought for my Willow square blanket project. I made 20 squares and got bored with it! I will continue with that project after this one but I'll do the remaining squares in a variety of colours, instead of just two and that will stop me from getting bored.

Here's the first few rows done. They blend quite with my skirt!

Thursday's outfit. Linen top by Wallis 3.99 and trousers by Quiz 2.00; both from my Barnardo's. I'm wearing a sleeveless wool jumper underneath which was from a 1.00 rail somewhere and I tucked it in which I think was a mistake. Shoes charity shopped in Ely; I think.

All jewellery and scarf charity shopped except earrings bought in a Beale's Christmas sale years ago.
I used my bus pass on Thursday and took the bus to Milton Ernest - for free!! Then I walked back to Bedford which came to a total of 10 miles. I still had to do the food shopping when I got back but surprisingly I wasn't feeling tired at all.

All jewellery charity shopped.

It's the Adini skirt again plus the linen top I bought from my Barnardo's for 3.99 before I went away.

Shoes from local PJ shoe shop.

On Friday I visited the Castle Road charity shops for a rummage. I had wanted to do the group bus walk but my knee was a bit twingy (is there such a word?) after the 10 mile walk on Thursday so I thought I had better take things easy. This was my haul. The bag is by Next and was 2.99 - I just need an occasion to use it now! The necklace came from the same place as did the oval brooch; both 1.00 each. The ceramic fish brooch - I love it - and the primary colours necklace came from a new Hospice shop in Castle Road which must have opened whilst I was in Ireland. We now have a total of 5 hospice shops in Bedford; 2 are Keech and 3 are for the day hospice including one which is on the premises of the hospice itself.

I went to see  my son on Saturday and wore this.  One of the dresses I bought last week. 2.00 from the Mercy in Action charity shop.
Cardigan also charity shopped in my Barnardo's, I think...

All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.

Tights made of bamboo were 5.00 from Traid in Brixton and shoes are from Primarni 5.00 in their sale last year.

On Monday I volunteered at Barnardo's and wore this:

Everything charity shopped. Dress from Salvation Army (no label) 4.00 bought last week. Jacket 1.00 rail in Age UK, Wellingborough. Can't remember where I got the boots from. They were 4.00 as they still had a price sticker on them! I bought them in the summer and put them away for autumn/winter.  Scarf from Barnardo's. I'm showing my slip here; or Charlie's Dead!!

All jewellery charity shopped.

I missed out o n the foodbank again this week as I took my daughter in law to the Passport Office in Peterborough. She and middle grandson are off to Trinidad after Christmas!

An animal print, brown and beige theme going on here. I just fancied it when I was deciding what to wear. I'm wearing two scarves as they are quite fine ones and I bought the necklace in Ireland in a charity shop somewhere.

Trousers are old; brown top a recent 1.00 rail addition. It's too short for wearing over trousers so it will be worn with skirts in future. I don't have a plain brown top only a shirt/tunic so I though this would do. It won't. Cardigan charity shopped and boots as before. I can't remember where I bought any of these from!!

I'm going out for the day this week with my cousin Marian and on Sunday she and her family are coming to us for a get together. If the weather is fine we'll have a BBQ but if it's not we'll eat indoors. The forecast does not look promising. Since I wrote about the good weather since I came back from Ireland the last few days have been wet but it is still warm and muggy. I've put my sandals and shoes away and dug out my boots and winter shoes; I'm not ready to swap my clothes over - yet! I'm hoping to hang on for a couple weeks. Have you done the swap over yet?

The blanket is growing....

Wednesday 18 September 2019

Ireland and after 2019

I started a blog post before I left for Ireland and it seems a pity to waste it -  so here it is and my current post starts further on....

 Here's a lovely summery picture for you. It's called 'Along the Shore' by A. Southall and it hangs in my hallway to one side of my hall table (which I rescued from a skip). I bought the painting for 10.00 a few years ago from the 3:16 charity shop.

The good weather continued for my final week in England. It was quite a busy week - as always. I volunteered on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, I took my youngest grandson and his friend bowling in St. Neots and out for something to eat afterwards. On Thursday, I finally went out for a walk as it seemed a little cooler. I walked 10 miles recceing a new walk but it's too long. The difficulties with trying to find new walks is not the walks themselves; there are dozens of walks that I've discovered by myself just out meandering through the countryside; I also have three books of Bedfordshire walks (all charity shopped of course!) and there is a council website that has some as well. 

No, the difficulty is with the parking. We have to start from a venue that has somewhere to park and as there are up to 40 cars to park at a time this is not always easy. It was a really nice walk but my poor legs were feeling it by the end. It was a fortnight to the day since I'd done any proper walking so I wasn't surprised. I tried again on Saturday starting from a different place and I managed to get it down to 8.5 miles which was better; but still a bit too far. I decided to try again when I get back from Ireland to see if I can find a shortcut and knock at least half a mile off. Wish me luck! I've got till almost the end of October to perfect it.

These are some of the outfits I wore this week. Everything charity shopped. Top by Glamorous from my Barnardo's; 2.00, I think - when we had the 2.00 on everything special offer. Trousers by H&M but can't remember where.

On Monday at the charity shop I bought myself a fancy pair of flip flops with diamonds on them; for 2.50. I should have worn them with this outfit! All jewellery charity shopped.

I was being brave here and wearing my top tucked in. The skirt by M&S (it's striped denim) was also 2.00 in my Barnardo's. I've had the Paris top for ages and can't remember where I got it from. Trusty Clark's sandals; retail about nine/ten years ago. All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.

Another Barnardo's buy but 3.99! It's a Joules top and I wore it with the red Simon Jefferies skirt I bought at the car boot sale for 2.00.

Green shoes; online retail. Headscarf; Barnardo's 1.00.

All jewellery charity shopped except the necklace which I bought from a local shop called Simi and Lola; alas now only online.

Went to see my son on Friday and wore a new to me Masai top that I bought at Barnardo's on Monday along with my posh flip flops. The top was 3.00 and I like it but it has a cowl neck which I don't like. I folded it inwards when I wore it and I'm going to cut the neck so it folds inwards and lies flat. It is blue with a big floral print but I'm afraid I forgot to take photos. I wore it with navy linen trousers.

On Saturday, after my walk and taking my car for a much needed wash; I spotted a sign on the way home that said a garden was open for charity - so we went for a nose. It was part of the National Garden Scheme and what a beauty it was. Not only were the flowers spectacular they had ducks, a couple of geese and some chickens! The bees were everywhere. It was just an ordinary Victorian villa with a bay window at the front but they had transformed every bit of outdoor space with flowers and plants. Absolutely lovely. 

At the back of the house a wall of sweet peas with the most wonderful scent. I couldn't stop sniffing them. If anyone knows of a scent that has a sweet pea smell please let me know; I'll buy it straight away!

Another flower bed at the rear of the house. We bought some of those yellow and red plants at the bottom of the picture.

At the front of the garden.

Also at the front.

This was a postcard with various different scenes from the garden.
I had seen several notices around Bedfordshire villages advertising Open Gardens but this was the first I actually managed to get to.

Well,  now I've got that out of the way, hello to you all! I hope you've had a wonderful summer. I have. I didn't want to come back from Ireland and could have happily spent another 6 weeks there...this a beach photo heavy post so you've been warned! I completely forgot my tripod so not that many OOTD, though.
The necklace was a Donegal charity shop purchase as was the white top (3 euros); trousers; La Redoute sale years ago and yellow cardigan from my Barnardo's. Headscarf same place.

This was taken on a Co. Sligo beach I'd not visited before. It's called Streedagh (pronounced Streedjah) beach. Beaches are called strands in Ireland. This one (see below) had very big waves the day we visited so I wasn't sure about swimming there -  but apparently it's very safe to swim there; it will just have to wait until next year now. 
On the same strand, these rocks were completely covered with Goose Neck Barnacles. The barnacles are alive and pop out their heads and wave them about which is rather creepy...

A coolish day in Donegal.  We were off to Letterkenny for a rummage. Trousers; Tu sale some years ago, black dress 1.00 rail somewhere. Part of my caravan wardrobe. The jacket was bought in the Donkey Sanctuary charity shop in Ballyboffy, Co. Donegal, this trip, for 5 euros. Although you can't see the detail on the front there are a lot of  different buttons sewn all over and the back embroidery detail can be seen below. You can see why it called to me!

All jewellery charity shopped.

I spent quite a lot of time  in the sea whilst I was away. Not because the weather was great because it wasn't. It was cloudy, grey, but never cold and of course we had rain and it was very windy at times.  There were some sunny days and on one giddy occasion it reached 20 degrees! But I had a revelation whilst I was there and that was at this time of the year - late summer/early autumn; the sea is warm (ish). Now, in the UK I live at least 80+ miles from the sea and don't get to the sea side very often, so it's taken me all this time to learn this. In Ireland I went swimming when the air temperatures were 13 and 14 degrees and the sea was lovely! It's all to do with the Gulf Stream, I've been told.

 This was Muckross Bay in Co. Donegal. Didn't manage to swim here but there's always next year!

Everything charity shopped - this is part of my caravan wardrobe. Beach shoes are old Clark's loafers.

Muckross Head. Taken from a viewing point looking down on the bay.

Now this beach I did swim at. The Silver Strand at Malin Beg or Trá Bán in Gaelic. The a in Trá  and Bán have a 'fada', which is like the French accent symbol.

A beautiful place to swim - a very special place to me.

I was astonished by this sea weed. At the top of the photo you can just see two spiky objects; these were part of the sea weed and felt just like rubber balls. Yes, I squeezed them to see what would they felt like!

We visited this Court Tomb which was close to the Silver Strand. Both of the strands are in the Gaeltacht or Gaelic speaking part of Donegal.

On the Silver Strand. Everything charity shopped.

I liberated these hydrangeas from a bush on the mobile home site...

This was taken on Rossnowlagh Strand., Co. Donegal. The coat is by Gudrun Sjoden and was bought a few years ago in the charity shop in Killybegs for 6 euro. I have three other summer coats so I left this one behind. Everything charity shopped but can't remember where I bought the trousers. They were bought in the UK somewhere and in the last couple of months.

A not very good selfie!

This lovely garden is on St. John's Point where I did a good bit of walking. There was also this one further down St. John's Point:

It was my paternal Uncle and Aunt's 50th wedding anniversary whilst I was in Ireland. The party was in Co. Offaly where they live and I saw lots of relatives some of whom I last  saw 50+ years ago. These three ladies are my father's sister's. The eldest is Aunty Maggie in the middle who is 90 years old. She has lived in this nursing home for the past 9 years and doesn't know anyone anymore. Aunties Maura on the left and Joan on the right. Aunty Maura is 85 and was not off the dance floor!

Here we are having a dance! I bought the vintage 80s (I think) dress from Etsy and the sandals are by M&S; charity shopped in the Killybegs charity shop about three years ago; jacket bought in a Beales sale some years ago. This is a photo of a photo so the quality is not very good...

My Aunty Maggie looks so much like my Granny it made me cry when I saw her. My Granny (on my dad's side) died when I was about thirteen or fourteen. On a lighter note you might have spotted that I've painted my nails in this picture. The only time my nails grow to the same length and don't break is when I'm here in Ireland. It's because I do very little housework while I'm here!

The wedding anniversary couple - Uncle Jerry and Aunty Ann and my six cousins; from L to R; Martin, Terry, Fintan, Mary, Philomena and John Paul.

Mullaghmore Harbour, Co. Sligo. This is where Lord Mountbatten, his grandson, his grandson's grandmother and  a local boy, who was taking them lobster fishing; were blown up by an IRA bomb in 1979. The grandson's parents and his twin brother were seriously injured. My cousin and his wife live here and I visit them a lot when I'm in Ireland. They're about 40 miles away from me and are geographically nearest to me. I haven't swam here yet but that's another one for next year. My cousin's children have all gone pier jumping from the steps you can see at the entrance to the harbour. This photo was taken outside the restaurant where we often have something to eat.

My frequent walking companions; cousin's Caroline; Martina (my cousin's wife) and Willow, the dog! We had walked around Rosses Point in Co. Sligo on this day.

There is always a week in August in Ireland known as Heritage week. You may remember last year I did a 20 mile walk as part of Heritage Week; which was to commemorate the 460th anniversary of the sinking of some of the Spanish Armada ships off the coasts of Donegal and Sligo. This year I went to some very interesting talks on Donegal women in history and St. John's Point in WW2. The Eire sign picked out in stones and painted white (above) was No. 73 in a series of lookout posts (you can just make out the lookout tower in the very far distance) all around the Irish coast. Used to guide aircraft to safe landings or just to orientate the pilots. Ireland remained neutral during WW2 but whether that was actually the case was part of the discussion. Both events were fascinating. There were two further events I wanted to attend but both were called off because of heavy rain!

This is the Peace Bridge in Derry. I always visit Derry when I am in Ireland and I had planned on this day to walk all around the walls, as it is a walled city; but once again I had to abandon my plan as the rain came down and down...

These murals were found just off the side streets in the main shopping centre.

And this one was especially for me!  My name plus a bird (and a skull and some bones). I don't know what is was. It may be the back of a shop which is called Veronica's and sells women's clothes. I will have to check it out next time I'm there...

I went to listen to some live music in Sligo Abbey with Martina one Sunday afternoon - and very good it was too!

These carts or traps were very common when I was a child visiting Ireland. This one is left outside a pub in Dunkineely, Co. Donegal and is a bit of a tourist attraction. They are rarely seen nowadays although I did see one in Co. Waterford and in Dublin, both pulled by ponies.

A man gutting his catch in Killybegs, Co. Donegal. The gulls were flocking to him...

My cousin Marian came out to Ireland with me and stayed for a week. We went to visit relatives in Co. Leitrim and here we met some second and third cousins. From L to R; cousins Marian, Linda, third cousins Harriette and Sinead and cousin Doirin. Harriette and Sinead are hairdressers and this photo was taken in the salon in Mohill. Marian really enjoyed her stay and can't wait to come back. 

OH and I went to spend a weekend in Co. Waterford with my cousin Sinead and her husband, John. We did a lot of bird watching which I loved and John spotted a quite rare bird called a semi-palmated sandpiper. All I saw was a blur...

BallyMcCaw Bay, Co. Waterford.

We had a lovely weekend and Waterford is a lovely city and one I'd not visited before.  It's on the south coast and is warmer than Donegal in the north west, but you know I prefer Donegal with its rain and all!

On our way back to the UK we stayed a night in Dublin and went to visit my cousin Richard's (who sadly died last year aged 49) wife and children who moved to Dublin earlier this year from Co. Leitrim. It was lovely to see them again and we'll be regular visitors to them in Dublin as we were when they  lived in Leitrim.

So, between visiting relatives, walking, swimming and rummaging you can see I had a marvellous time in Ireland. The crochet bag was not even opened! I read quite a few books and watched one DVD. I did quite well on the rummaging front. I bought 3 jackets (oops!) three tops, two tunics, a pair of trousers, two bags, and two dresses = 43 euros in total. It's been a few days since I got back and  normal routine has been re established. In fact, Ireland seems but a distant memory now. But it's good to be back in the blogosphere - I missed you!

Very proud mummy.

  Hello and welcome!  No, I'm not pregnant but I do have a new 'baby'. More on that later. After a two week holiday and a long E...