Tuesday 21 July 2020

Last Post before Ireland!

The Montbretia has started to bloom at the front of the house. Monbretia grows wild in Ireland and it made me feel very homesick. I planned to book the ferry this week, so I will be able to get to Ireland quite soon.

 I went to the food bank on Tuesday and even though it was the 16th week since the UK official lockdown began back on 23rd March; we carried on in the same way as we did from the beginning of the lockdown. In the afternoon I went to town to run some errands including buying more bloody bird food. I haven't been able to buy big bags of mealworms anywhere in the last few weeks. Everywhere seems to be low or out of stock and it's so uneconomic to buy the small 90 gramme bags which run out in a couple of days. I spotted a sparrow and her baby today in my garden so I am happy to feed them if they are successfully rearing their young again on my patch. No further sightings of the Siskin, though. I have also spied young magpies and young jackdaws since writing this and it's no wonder the food is going so fast. I am wondering if due to the pandemic and subsequent changes in the environment; the birds have had extra broods?

 Town was looking decidedly different. Our high street has been reduced to one lane with the other lane demarcated with red and white striped bollards for pedestrians to social distance; and to form queues outside shops! The banks continue to have queues and sometimes the big supermarkets. There were a few cafes open; one had diversified since the beginning of lockdown and now sold house plants as well! I noticed the library was still closed and most of the charity shops. I picked up one of my new pairs of glasses. The other one won't be ready for another week.

Tuesday's outfit. Everything charity shopped. Skirt by Berketex (BHS own label). Top picked up in Daycare Hospice charity shop for 1.00; denim jacket by Next and shoes by Clarks.

All jewellery charity shopped.

It was quite chilly on Tuesday and it rained off and on. We dug out the second of the tiered plant stands we bought early last year; and OH assembled it  - with many curses and swear words! It helped to get some more of the plant pots off the ground; and I think it adds interests to the planting when it's on different levels. 

My mantel shelf arrived at the weekend and I was hoping it would have been put up on Tuesday; but I was still waiting at that point.  It had come packed in a nice long wooden crate which I thought we could use as another (low) planter. in the garden. The mantel was very heavy and needed two people to get it out of the crate. Then just as we were debating whether or not we should try together;  OH got a phone call from his job asking him to return to work - the next morning! I was so pleased for OH as I think he was worried he might not have a job to return to; but it would be back to cooking everyday for me which I hate...I think if I lived alone I would live on toasted sandwiches and cheese on toast! Anyway, back to the possible new planter. I had noticed a rather nice scaffolding plank outside a nearby house and wondered if it was being thrown away - it would sit nicely on top of the wooden crate and be a solid base for the containers to sit on. I must go and investigate further...updated to say I did and it was gone!
One of my new pairs of glasses. They have an animal print design. I think the other pair are also animal print but have slightly more winged frames; I'm not quite certain and will have to wait and see when I go to collect them! All jewellery charity shopped.

I took Grandson to school on Wednesday morning and collected him after. OH went to work and I had the house to myself for the first time in almost four months. I pottered about; deadheading and pruning in the garden; did some washing; tidied up, sorted out outfits for  rest of the week; I made pancakes for brunch as I only had a cup of tea at breakfast time. I needed to go to the post office so another trip into town. I noticed Oxfam was open and popped in for a look. The Marie Curie was lit up and people were busy doing stuff so that will probably open soon. I noticed one of the pubs in the High Street said it would open next week and being Wednesday the market was in full swing. On reflection I think about 50% of the usual shops have opened since lockdown easing. Most of the chazzas are still shut, no nail bars or beauticians are open, our independent bookshop isn't open either.  By the time I got back home it was almost time to pick up the grandson. The time simply flies...

In the evening my mantel shelf was finally put up:

I'm really pleased with it. I've added different things to it since this photo was taken but you get the idea. The bronze hare was a birthday present from  my son this year; and the Buddha head a present from my daughter many years ago. I picked up the metal Etruscan figure at a car boot sale.  The sunflowers were bought last week at Aldi; and the jug they're in is a Victorian relief work jug made in 1878. I picked it up for 1.50 in the Keech Hospice shop in Kempston. I think I might drape some fairy lights around the mantel - what do you think?

It rained a lot on Wednesday, but it wasn't cold. Thursday was the same. I did the weekly food shop; filled the car with petrol and I finally booked my ferry to Ireland. I leave on 28th July and will get back in September. As there is a 2 week self-isolation restriction in Ireland; it is unlikely I will have any company at the caravan this year; but at least once I've done the self-isolation bit I can get out and about to see my family and spend time with them. Only two weeks and a bit to go! Sad news from OH's place of work. They are having to make three employees redundant as there aren't enough sales to warrant the number of sales staff currently employed. We're going to see a lot of this as the months go by, I'm afraid. We've already had the announcements of job losses and redundancies from lots of big businesses here in the UK. Those poor people...

Only the top is charity shopped from the 50p rail at my Barnardo's pre-lockdown. The jacket was bought from a Beale's sale; the trousers were bought from a La Redoute sale and the shoes from a Sainsbury's sale. I don't like paying full price for anything if I can help it!

All jewellery charity shopped.

Grandson and I had a pleasant day on Friday. They break up for the summer holidays next Friday so next week will be the last of our Fridays together. We baked a cake together using a recipe posted by Mary of 'The Pouting Pensioner' HERE and we went to the local Nature Reserve and saw this:

A rather dead frog.
 Grandson was thrilled and made me take this photo so he could show his friends!  Aren't kids weird? We did see lots of large tadpoles (hopefully newts of the future) who were very much alive.

 I think the light upstairs where I take my outfit posts can be very strange. Compare the photos below with the final one taken downstairs...

All jewellery charity shopped.

All charity shopped; jeans by Next and top by Vero Moda 50p; my Barnardo's.

I will have to try taking them downstairs from now on. We had no rain on Friday which was rather nice. I walked to Aldi to get some skincare items to take to Ireland with me. I passed a Vicarage on the way there and there were items free to take away outside. I helped myself to a small camping table which will make a good potting table or spare garden table when we have ALL the family round; and it can go at the end of the dining table to extend it for Christmas dinner. It's always good to plan ahead...

Saturday's outfit.
I started off with blue harem pants but decided I didn't like them and put them in the charity shop bag. I did a bit of a  clothes sort out and filled a bag to take to the charity shop; and I now have a little more room in my chest of drawers.

Everything charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped.

It was a dry day on Saturday and I set out for a walk along the river to Cardington and back; 9 miles walked. I saw a hare sunbathing in a field. When I got back I went to see my friend Ann. It's so good to be able to see and visit friend's again. Not only did she make hundreds of scrubs for the NHS when the lockdown began; but she's now making masks using the national flags of a range of countries. I've put in an order for some to take to Ireland with me.

I also went for a walk  again on Sunday morning and walked almost 10 miles. It was a very warm sunny day and there were a lot of butterflies about. I managed to get this photo of a  Peacock butterfly and the one below is a Comma.

I passed a field with Alpacas (?) in it and when I stopped to take the photo they started to come over to me. They are such strange looking creatures; like sheep but with long legs and necks and they have the face of a camel...

They look as if they had been sheared. It was very warm on Sunday so just as well!

  Back to Barnardo's on Monday. The donations were non-stop. We're only taking them one day a week on Mondays now. Sandals bought in a sale in Donegal last year, trousers by Monson and top by MIss Look both from my Barnardo's.

All jewellery charity shopped. 

It was announced today that it will be compulsory to wear face masks in shops or public spaces where one can't keep socially distant from 24th July. We can face a fine of up to 100.00 if we don't comply. It's been compulsory on public transport for a few weeks now. I'm glad I'd asked Ann to make me some masks. And talking about public transport; at Emmaeus a few weeks back I picked up a fascinating book called 'Bus Pass Britain'. It has lots of fascinating bus journeys you can take using your free senior bus pass including information about places of interest to see and visit on the way. I fancy the Northampton to Leicester route but will have to wait until later in the year or even next year.

After the charity shop I went into to town to try and find some mealworms for the birds. I bought some at QD in the end; but had to buy 5 x 100 grammes packets as it was cheaper than buying one 500 gramme bag! Town seems much busier but I have really noticed the lack of traffic. I can normally tell the time;,without checking my clock, by the volume of road traffic outside. Not since the pandemic! Also driving anywhere now is a pleasure as there is so little traffic. I also haven't got used to the sight of buses with only one or two passengers on board.

White Top Challenge - Day 6

My new glasses arrived on Tuesday; just in time for me to wear them to the food bank. They have a purple animal print on them and the other pair are a brownish colour.

Everything charity shopped. This white ruffled top is by H&M; the trousers by Et Vous; the blazer/jacket by Warehouse and was one of the 50p bargains picked up at Barnardo's last week. Shoes by Clarks.
All jewellery charity shopped. I only have one more session at both the food bank and the charity shop and then I'm off to Ireland! In the afternoon I went to Rushden to see if the Sally Army charity shop was open. It was! I bought some books and a top from the 1.00 rail. They usually have lots of jewellery but had very little on display.

I finally finished 'Vanity Fair'. I enjoyed it so much even if it was 672 pages! It was amusing in places; very satirical and strangely modern for a novel that was published in 1877. I finished it on Wednesday afternoon when I had come back from my first group walk in over 3 months. There were 5 of us in total and we walked from the village of Eltisley (12 miles from Cambridge) to the village of Caxton; a lovely walk of 7 miles. We also passed another field full of Alpacas; but I didn't bother to take a photo.

This is Caxton church and the houses were bordering the village green in Eltisley.

I spotted these on the walk. Above; St. John's Wort; bottom left Wild Geranium; bottom right; Chicory. It was very good to see some of my walking friends again; I'm walking again on Thursday; and I am leading a walk next Wednesday.

On Thursday we walked around the village of Risley; it was a 5.5 mile walk and we stopped for a coffee at the Giddy Goat afterwards. I was good and didn't order cake. There's still a couple of slices left from the one I baked last Friday with the grandson; the birds will be having that because guess who is the only one who has eaten the cake so far? Yes, me. It was delicious cake as well...

I bought this jumpsuit during lockdown in the Asda sale; the material is more suited to winter wear ;but I wanted to try it out; I ended up removing the leather belt and just wearing the belt it came with. This was the outfit I wore to do the weekly food shopping after I came back from my group walk. The white top is a 1.00 rail bargain from M&S. Shoes online retail last summer. As it tends to be cooler in Ireland than here I shall be taking this with me as it's very easy and comfortable to wear.

All jewellery charity shopped.

The garden is continuing to do well. Friday's brilliant sunshine might have encouraged a few more blooms.

In the back garden the Coreopsis (left) we bought last year from an 'Open Garden' weekend visit to a house not far from us; and is doing really well. I have another in one of the buckets on the plant chair which looked as if it was dying. It's perked up now; but no signs of blooms yet. The rose is one of three rose bushes we have and the only yellow one. It has no scent but isn't it pretty? The other two roses are a light and a deep pink. The deep pink does have a scent I'm glad to say. The Salvia was bought from Sainsbury's on last week's food shop and is doing very well.
At the front everything is flourishing. The trailing geranium (top right) is trailing all over the place and the Veronica (bottom right) has shot up about four or five inches since we bought the three plants reduced to 50p each. Just waiting for some blooms now. It sits on the doorstep.
The front window boxes; left; Verbena, bottom right Bacopa; both 99p from B&M. The reluctant fuschia is reluctant no more!

Skirt by Next; top by Monsoon and sandals by Gap. All charity shopped. The skirt was bought in the Daycare Hospice shop on my first visit to a charity that wasn't Barnardo's since lock down began.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I walked into to town on Friday morning to run various errands and in the afternoon Grandson and I walked to the little Nature Reserve. He was horrified to see that the dead frog was now a skeleton with the tadpoles feeding hungrily on the last few bits of flesh! That's Nature red in tooth and claw...

In the evening we watched the last of the Huey Morgan's Latin America Adventure on BBC 4. I've also been enjoying the series of river walks on BBC 2; taking in the Dart, the Severn, the Nidd and the Lea which we walked a few years ago. The Lea actually starts in the Bedfordshire Chilterns; but the group walk started at Tottenham Hale and ended up in Limehouse Basin where it meets the river Thames. It was one of the best walks I've ever been on.

I recce'd my 8 mile walk on Saturday and saw a Common Blue butterfly and one with red stripes which on reflection may have been a moth; as well as lots of Comma butterflies. It wasn't as warm as Friday or as sunny but it was good walking weather. When I got back I changed into this outfit and OH and I went to B&M. Me to buy yet more bird food supplies and OH to buy some plants to replace the extremely leggy and gone over petunias in our pallet planter. He chose pansies.

Everything charity shopped. The top was a 1.00 rail bargain in the Rushden Sally Army; the trousers are by Jaeger and were bought in the Sue Ryder shop before lockdown; when they had reduced all the women's trousers to 2.00 each. Shoes from a Donegal charity shop and all jewellery charity shopped. I'm not wearing a bangle or a ring on my right hand as I normally do; and the reason is that when I get back from a walk my hands and fingers are usually a bit puffy. I call this having 'fat fingers' and it's hard to get a bangle on over the hand or a ring on one of my fingers. It comes from walking with hands down by your sides and goes back to normal after a couple of hours.

Sunday was the usual housework and cooking Sunday dinner. Both grandsons came for dinner. I also walked 5 miles along the river to Great Denham and Biddenham with my daughter. Another lovely day for walking. I also popped round to Ann's to pick up my masks. Here's me wearing one of them. She also made me filters for them. God bless her. OH has one with the Jamaican flag on it and the middle grandson and his mum have ones with the Trinidadian flag on them. We're all set for Friday when they become compulsory  to wear in shops.

Monday was my last day in Barnardo's until I return in September. Once again there were so many donations. Your heart shouldn't sink at the sight of people carrying boxes and black plastic bags in through door but mine did,; one after the other. after the other; ad nauseum. The manager is very good and gets them allocated in to the right places quickly;  but the processing bit will take weeks. We are sending a lot of the donated bags onto other Barnardo's stores as we don't have the room to store it all; and luckily as some shops still haven't opened the van is collecting on a daily basis.

This was my outfit on Monday - another warm sunny day. Everything is charity shopped. Skirt by Anokhi for East; Age Concern in Newmarket a few weeks back; jacket by M&S; Red Cross shop and the turquoise top also by M&S; one of the buy 3 and get the third item free from The Bedford Daycare Hospice shop. Shoes from an Ely charity shop - I think.

All jewellery charity shopped except the ring which was a present from my daughter when she went to South Africa to her Grandpa's funeral in 2003.

There were more bloomings on Monday; left more Canna Indica; bottom right not sure what this is called but it's the first bloom. OH likes these tropical looking plants particularly. Top left are some of the hydrangeas I cut and put into this silver plated container bought for 50p - I don't know what it is! I love how, as the hydrangeas fade, their colours change so subtly. One of these blooms started out as pink, faded to lavender and now has hints of orange of in it. I won't be here this summer to to cut and dry the hydrangeas as I did last year. I wonder if I can trust OH to do it?

Last day at the food bank on Tuesday. I made up 30 hygiene packs and put all the toiletries away. Everything I'm wearing is charity shopped except the shoes which were bought in Sainsbury's last year. The skirt is by Alex and from a Donegal charity shop; top by Papaya from 1.00 rail somewhere.

All jewellery charity shopped.
There was an announcement on Monday that a vaccine which was being trialled by Oxford University was looking very promising. Wouldn't it be wonderful if it worked?

The middle grandson had been staying with us for a couple of days. I took him home when I got back from the foodbank and then got on with my packing for Ireland. I'll be travelling to Wales on Monday and away for 6 weeks in total. I don't have access to a very good internet connection in Ireland so I won't be blogging but taking a break. I will try and keep up with you all; but probably won't comment as it's difficult on a phone screen!

I hope you all keep well, stay safe and fabulous and I'll see you again in September!

Monday 6 July 2020

Covid Chronicles - Weeks 14 and 15 - The Final Stages?

Hello again! It was all change for us on in England on 4th July. The PM made an announcement on Tuesday 23rd June. The 2 metre social distancing rule will be relaxed to 1 metre plus. Cafes, pubs, restaurants, theatres (no live performances, though) hairdressers, outdoor gyms, places of workshop; can all open as long as they are Covid-19 ready. Holiday accommodation can reopen and we can now stay away from home overnight. I can start thinking about booking a ferry to Ireland for later this year; but I think I will have to self-isolate for 14 days once there; unless Ireland changes this directive.

White Top Challenge - Day 5

Tuesday 23rd June was the start of our heatwave. The food bank was nice and cool and I was the only one in this week. I did a lot of marking up where you put the use by date on tins, bottles and packets. Boring, but necessary...I wore my new floral loose trousers on Tuesday with a white ruffled top and forgot to take photos. The heat turns my brain to mush!  As I was coming from the food bank which is situated on an industrial estate; I saw a pile of boxes by the road and a sign on the boxes saying 'Free - come and get some free crystal'. I didn't need to be asked twice!  There were several people there already. I can only assume that the business was having a clearout or maybe even had to close permanently. What was on offer were a range of crystal glasses some of which had dates on from 1999. I took some wine glasses for us and some for grandson's mum. Later on in the evening despite the heat; I went for a 5 mile walk with my daughter along the river to Great Denham and Biddenham.

This was Wednesday's outfit. Shoes by Loretta; charity shopped; I can't remember where but I swapped them later for flip-flops - much cooler. Trousers by Zara and top by Mary Portas bought at a Leighton Buzzard car boot sale. It's a bastard to iron but nice and cool to wear.

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped.

I took youngest grandson to school on Wednesday morning then came back and had a mooch around the garden deadheading and tidying up. I put a couple of plants on the front window sills as we were getting a bit crowded at the back with plant pots. My daughter's partner gave us some beetroot on Sunday whilst we were there and that seems to be flourishing. I bought a 'cut and come again' lettuce a few weeks back and it has made several salads; and seems to be producing more leaves. It looks as if the snails/slugs have been at the peppers and the corn. If it's not them then it's the squirrels burying and digging up their supplies from the flower pots. We have juvenile squirrels at the moment and they seem very tame; they don't scarper if you come into the garden and let you get quite close to them. You will be pleased to hear that the reluctant fuchsia has finally got some blooms. About bloody time!

I accompanied OH on a trip to B&M where I bought some some more cobblestones to go at the front and picked up a reduced yellow foxglove; that's two reduced foxgloves I've bought in a week.  We also picked up 2 gerbera in the reduced section - both looking very sorry for themselves. It was really far too hot to walk about on Wednesday at 30 degrees plus. I did 2 lots of whites washing, hung them out and they were dry within an hour -  including towels. I

I've decided it's time to put up an over mantel or a mantel shelf over the stove in the living room; and as our local architectural antiques shop had reopened I went to have a chat with the owner. He said for what I want it's cheaper for me to buy it online and get it fitted myself as he had nothing suitable. We can't have a mantelpiece with surround unless it was made of cast iron or heavy stone and they're out of my price range! Anyhow, after a browse online I found exactly what I wanted and have ordered it. Daughter's partner will be able to put it up for me as he has a heavy duty drill. I've also got a definite hair appointment for the 4th July; I'm so excited! We watched the final of the Great British Sewing Bee; I was hoping Nicole would win; but Clare won with her beautifully sewn kilt and 1930s evening gown. There will be a big hole in Wednesday evening viewing now!

The heatwave continued on Thursday - 31 degrees:

Everything is charity shopped. The skirt by Country Casuals was my first ever clothes purchase in Emmaeus; not on our most recent trip but pre lockdown. The linen top is by M&S; orange sandals by Gap.

If it hadn't been so hot I was going to wear this jacket by Precis (Donegal charity shop) with it; but it was far too hot...

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped.

I did the food shopping and went to Lidl, Sainsbury's and Aldi. The only queue was for Sainsbury's and it didn't take very long. Then I took my car for its much needed and well overdue wash and polish. With the heat being so oppressive we've taken to opening both front door and back door to allow a breeze to blow through. The only problem is that living on a busy street the noise is constant; especially of cars passing by every few seconds. I can remember when the lockdown first began the cars passing by were few and far between. Aaah, lockdown I miss you already....no I don't!

In the garden today there were blooms and some new additions:

L - The dianthus came back; bottom R; one of the gerberas looking much more perky now and top R; a Canna Indica. The flower has little red spots on it if you zoom in.

Both grandsons came for dinner and the youngest stays on Thursday nights as part of the new routine. We'll head off to the Nature reserve again on Friday to see if any frogs or newts have emerged. We didn't go in the end it was just too hot. We were expecting thunderstorms in the afternoon but they didn't materialise. I cannot wait for the weekend when the temperature is due to drop by about 10 degrees; I am just a sweaty, miserable heap in this hot, humid weather.

By Friday my hair had become unmanageable. Even though I had just washed it it was a total mess. I had to resort to an Alice band. It keeps the fringe out of my eyes and keeps the hair behind my ears; much cooler than a scarf; but I haven't worn an Alice band since I was child....

Everything charity shopped except shoes; online retail. Skirt  by M&S (per Una) bought recently at Emmaeus; T shirt from Cat's Protection League and jacket also by M&S; from the Red Cross. Hairband from Barnardo's.

This was my hair in 2009 at my son's 29th birthday meal; longer, naturally curly/wavy and not coloured:

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings from Sainsbury's a long time ago!

I did venture into town on Friday. Our QD store had reopened and I wanted to check out the bird food prices but B&M remains the cheapest so far. I am spending a fortune on bird food at the moment; at least once a week I'm having to stock up on suet blocks/fat balls/mealworms/peanuts.  Lots of sparrows have returned to the feeders which  I'm delighted about. The neighbours on the other side of the garden wall removed the ivy covering their pergola about two years ago and with it went the sparrows nesting places. Their pergola is still bare but the sparrows are back! 

I also went to the 1.00 shop looking for plant holders and found a few pretty little metal buckets for my chair planter. When I went to see about my mantel shelf on Wednesday; I popped into the junk shop and bought what I thought was a wall mounted hall/hat stand in wrought iron for 5.00. I've repurposed it as a wall mounted plant holder. When I find a plant to fill it I'll hang the third bucket on it from one the hooks below the shelf. 

The sedum (Hylotelephium Sieboldii ) above has been growing exponentially in a  large planter. It's been divided and shared several times (see below) and seems unstoppable! The plant next to it; a type of Canna Lily is actually a house plant but I was giving it some sun here.
On the chair planter there's more of the sedum in the right hand bucket; a Coreopsis in the left hand bucket; (updated to say not doing very well); the larger plant is Brugmansia (Angel's Trumpets) bought from Wilco as a reduced plant a few weeks back. There is an Antirrhinum and a Begonia the same pot next to a pink Cosmos. When the weather cools I may well paint this chair as it's very weather beaten. The birds used to like using it as a lavatory!

The weather finally broke in the early hours of Saturday. It was much cooler and it rained throughout most of the day. I was so pleased not to be dripping with sweat. This was what I wore on Saturday and put my hair back in a teeny-tiny ponytail...along with about a dozen hair grips to hold it in place.

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings which were donated by my daughter.

Everything charity shopped. Trousers by Dorothy Perkins; t shirt by M&S; jacket no label. Black sandals from The Cat's Protection League.

On Saturday afternoon OH I went to visit a garden centre in Willington. It's years since we had visited this particular one. True to our usual form we bought quite a few reduced plants; including 3 Veronica's - of course I had to have those! I also bought an orange Osteropeum for the last remaining bucket and a reduced terracotta plant pot. Instead of spending money in charity shops I'm spending my money on plants!

Sunday was cooler; it was quite windy; the sun shone in bursts and there were a couple of light showers. perfect walking weather so I got up and did an 8 mile walk. Last week was definitely too hot to walk and I missed it. This coming week looks fine for walking and I shall strive to make my 30 miles. I only managed 13 this week...

Everything charity shopped. Sandals as before; jeans by M&S and the top is from Barnardo's. The first week I was back the Manager had put some things by for me she thought I might like. This was one of them; the coral tunic I wore last week was another and there's a white cotton kimono I haven't yet worn. All cotton or linen items; she knows my taste!

All jewellery charity shopped and the scarf, too.

More sweet peas bloomed so I kept cutting them back...we even have a stripy one!  Everyone came to us for Sunday dinner. Only 3 weeks before the schools break up for the summer holidays. Daughter and youngest grandson can't wait.

Off to Barnardos on Monday. We had two Directors visiting so we were busy making sure everything was as it should be. Luckily, the collection van came early and took away about 100+ bags of donations. We just don't have the room to store it all; especially as it has to be quarantined for 72 hours so it gets sent to other shops in the UK. I've found quite a few people are quite snotty when you say 'no donations, today'. I think a lot of people are using charity shops as a dumping ground; as in our town you have to have an appointment to take things to the tidy tip!

Everything I'm wearing is charity shopped. I can't remember where I got anything from!

One of the other volunteers came in today for the first time; it was good to see her. Another volunteer returns on Tuesdays so we are slowly getting back to normal  - a bit like the rest of the country, I suppose.

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped.

Although the shop is usually closed on Wednesdays;  I'm going in this week to assist with the stocktaking. A busy week ahead.

I read an email from the Ramblers when I got home; and it seems we are going to try and organise proper walks again; but in groups of six people maximum and keeping our distance. The local group committee will report back when the details of organising this have been ironed out. This means there'll be regular Wednesday group walking again soon; another thing to look forward to! The bus walks have been suspended until 2021 which seems very sensible to me. I also rejoined the National Trust buying joint membership for OH and me and opting to pay it monthly. It's only 10.00 per month so it won't make a huge dent in my budget. I now need to investigate a few places to visit to make the most of OH's remaining furlough time!

Back to the food bank on Tuesday. The full complement of volunteers was in this week. If you remember I was the only one in last week. I made up hygiene packs and marked up again. It looks as if the arrangement of fewer volunteers on a daily basis will remain as it stands into the near future. It allows us to stay at safe distances and it seems we are getting as much work done as when we are full up with volunteers!

Earrings bought in a sale from Debenhams;  trousers picked up in Bedford market;  necklace; gift from OH; everything else is charity shopped.

Top by Monsoon; charity shopped in a Co. Longford charity shop. Shoes from Clarks.

I needed to go into town so went in the afternoon. I noticed 2 charity shops had opened; Cancer Research and the Salvation Army. Naturally, I had a look and bought - nothing! When I was at Barnardos on Monday I only bought 2 items from the 50p rail; both of which had been on the shop floor for a long time and both of which I'd had my eyes on for a while. When the manager put them on the 50p rail I couldn't resist. It will be interesting to see the town this time next week when the cafes and restaurants can open again.

Another email from the local Ramblers committee looking for volunteers to lead small group walks. I volunteered. I also booked for OH and I to go to Anglesey Abbey in Cambridge on Thursday with our new National Trust membership. Only the gardens are open but that's fine by us; they also have a plant shop that's open!

It was stocktaking at Barnardos on Wednesday. I counted flowers, elves, Christmas cards; Christmas decorations; Christmas gift bags; fascinators, socks, hats, gloves, tights etc. Barnardos has its own range of products which are sold in the shop and it was that which we had to stocktake.

All jewellery and scarf charity shopped except the Art Deco brooch which was a gift from my son and the earrings which were donated by my daughter. The dress was from eBay; jacket by Fenn, Wright  and Manson from my Barnardos;  and the shoes by Hotter charity shopped but can't remember where...

I managed to read 14 books in June.  I checked my reading record and found that my monthly all time reading record was 26 books. I haven't had the urge to do any crocheting at all lately so I tend to read  in the evenings if there is nothing I want to watch or catch up on. I always try to read both fiction and non fiction and for sheer guilty pleasure reading I read crime.

 On Thursday, OH and I set off for Anglesey Abbey which sounds as if it should be on the Isle of Anglesey but it isn't;  it's in Cambridgeshire. However, I'll just backtrack a little to show you further floral developments in the garden:

This pretty spotted lily has fully flowered - spot the spots!   You can see the Ostereopeum we bought  from the Garden Centre last Saturday in its 1.00 shop bucket below.

The Buddleia has blossomed and the Clematis has many flower,s now. This is my little purple corner. I bought the Buddha head in a charity and it is standing on an old 3 tier corner bathroom shelf that is slowly rusting away; also bought from a charity shop.

Anglesey Abbey was originally a Hospital of St. Mary during the reign of Henry 1 (1100 - 1135) and then a Priory for Augustinian monks endowed in 1215 . It was closed in 1536 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII. It was lived in by several families until in 1926 it was converted to a country home and  became the home of Lord Fairhaven; a very wealthy son of an American oil mining family. He made numerous additions and changes to the house and grounds and purchased Lode Watermill near by. The Jacobean style house stands in 98 acres of grounds and includes various gardens; an arboretum; a woodland walk; a riverside walk and a small nature reserve. You can find out more about its history HERE.

We didn't really pick the best time of year to go. Everything was shut except for the Rose Gardens, the Arboretum, the Woodland Walk and the Riverside Walk.  We did and saw all of those and bought a plant - a Salvia from the reduced section in the plant shop. I can now say when it flowers this is my Anglesey Abbey Salvia! We shall go back later in the year when more of the grounds and the house are open. It was only about 30 miles from Bedford.

Top left is part of the Rose Garden and the remaining pictures are all from the herbaceous border which was huge - wide and long and went round in a gentle curve. The wind and rain had badly battered lots of the plants but there were the most amazing Delphiniums. There were statues like the one in the Rose Garden all over the grounds.
The Rose Gardens had many varieties. Planted in squares of 4 rectangles there were about 40 species. We smelled them all except for 'Judy Dench' which was too close to the ground to sniff! The ground was very soggy and I didn't want to get the knees of my jeans wet. The three above smelt glorious. They are;  from the left 'Gertrude Jekyll'; top right 'Charles Darwin' and bottom right 'Royal Jubilee'.
An unusual Viking ship weathervane; 2 more of the herbaceous border; and if you look very carefully at the photo with the lily pads you should be able to spot a grey wagtail. My first siting in the UK of this bird; I saw one in Co. Waterford, Ireland last year when out birdwatching with my cousin's husband and we saw that one on the shore. They're birds that like water!

After our visit we decided to drive to Newmarket which was quite close; and one of the reasons Lord Fairhaven bought the house; for its proximity to the race course and to his stud. We found a coffee shop open doing takeaway coffees; and then we found an open RSPCA charity shop! In fact there were 8 charity shops in total in Newmarket so we will definitely do a return visit for a rummage in the future. In the only charity shop open in the town and very close to closing time, I found an Anokhi for East maxi skirt reduced to 1.75 and a lovely turquoise enamelled ring for 1.50. How lucky was that? The lady in the shop was very disgruntled and was telling me how rude some customers had been; as the RSPCA, too, had stopped taking donations through becoming overwhelmed.

This was my outfit on Thursday. Everything charity shopped. Top by Masai; my Barnardos; jeans by Next 1.00 rail somewhere; shoes by Clarks can't remember. The Masai top which I bought last summer had a cowl neck which I didn't like so I cut it off and tucked the remainder inside. I need to buy some Wonderweb and stick it down; I tried with my fabric glue but it had dried up!

Jacket/Kimono Challenge - Day 22

This is the white cotton kimono bought  in my Barnardos last week. Another bastard to iron and it looks suspiciously like a doctor's coat in this photo! All jewellery charity shopped.

On our way back to the car in Newmarket we went into a QD shop which had plants outside on a display. We bought 4; a white Clematis; an Escallonia; a  Cistus and some Goji berries. All 1.99 each and my aforementioned Hibiscus tree started out as one of these about 6 years ago...

When I got up on Friday I had a pleasant surprise. In the Hibiscus tree outside our back door I have a peanut feeder and a suet block feeder; munching away on the suet block was a Siskin; the first I've ever seen in our garden.

White Top Challenge - Day 6

Youngest grandson stays on Fridays. After doing the weekly food shopping; he and I went for a walk and ran a few errands including a stop for sweets at our local shop. Everything I'm wearing is charity shopped; except the trousers which I bought recently from a Bedford Buy and Sell group for 3.00. I can't resist yellow! White top by Next; can't remember where I bought it from but it's been a useful garment. Shoes by Clarks. I have possibly 2 more white tops to feature in this challenge but I'll do that in my next post.

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped. This was the last day of #Coronahair! Tomorrow was hairdresser's day!

Yay!!!! I felt so much better...all jewellery charity shopped.

I hadn't done any walking in the week as it was a busy week. Even though I hadn't walked I always manage to clock up more than 10,000 steps every day just doing my usual daily things. Anyway,  when I got back from the hairdressers on Saturday I decided to make up for the lack of walking in the week and went for a 10 mile walk. It was lovely and so peaceful; just me and the bird song and the occasional dog walker. When I got back OH and I had yet another trip to B&M; me for bird food stuff and soil for him; he also bought a couple more plants. On Saturday evening I started 'Vanity Fair' by William Thackeray. I've been meaning to read this book for so long. I do enjoy the classics; but don't read more than or two a year; if that. I need to up my game to read more. There are at least 6 more Dickens I'd like to read; and I've only ever read 'Silas Marner' by George Eliot and there a few more of hers I'd also like to read. One of my sitting room alcoves is filled with classic texts - an awful lot are waiting to be read...

Sandals; one of the 3 pairs I bought in Sainsbury's sale. Everything else charity shopped. Jeans by Next; shirt from my Barnardos; Fossil belt also from my Barnardos.

On Sunday I got up and did some dead-heading and pruning in the garden. I made myself oat pancakes for breakfast with honey, fruit and yoghurt. The pancakes are so quick and easy to make; They're light, delicious and filling. I make them about 2 to 3 times a week. Thanks to Attic 24 for the recipe!

1 egg
2 tablespoons of yoghurt (I use Lidl's Greek Yoghurt with Coconut)
2 tablespoons of fine oats (I use Readybrek)
Mix together and cook in pan. It makes 2 to 3 small pancakes.

After that hearty breakfast I went for an 8 mile walk. It was a beautiful walking day; warm, sunny but there was a wonderful breeze which cooled things down a bit. I managed to fall over and skin my hand but other than that it was a great walk. OH was busy planting up the new additions to the garden and generally clearing everything up so it looked tidy. On my way back home I spied an everlasting or perennial Sweet Pea growing wild at the side of the road so I grabbed a  couple of cuttings for the garden. When I came back I used rooting powder on them and planted them in a small pot. I'll be interested to see if they grow. I then made Sunday dinner for two grandsons and us.

Back to Barnardos on Monday. Everything charity shopped except the sandals. Trousers by Tu and top by Valentyne.

All jewellery charity shopped.

We were very busy and the alternate days of receiving donations seems to be working well. At least I'm not falling or climbing over bags of donations!

I do hope you are all able to enjoy a little more freedom now; all we can do is be sensible and assess our own level of risk and risk taking. Take care and stay safe; see you in a fortnight.

Fine weather, flea markets and funerals.

Hello and welcome! Posting a day later than usual; if you want to know why - do read on... (Pre-hair cut of course!) Wednesday was a lovely ...