Monday 16 August 2021

London, Jamaica and a couple of celebrities...

Well, that two weeks flew by! Where does the time go? Before I know it we'll be setting off for Ireland; I can't wait!

On Wednesday my daughter and I had a trip to London. My daughter had asked that we go charity shopping in London over the summer break so we set out for Camden to start our rummage. There were about 7 charity shops in Camden Road and we saw lots of lovely things but neither of us bought anything. I did not need anything but was happy to browse books and bricabrac. I did see an amazing Bruce Oldfield brocade swing evening coat for 60.00; but it was too expensive for my budget.  I didn't need another evening coat anyway; I have two and rarely go out in the evenings to wear them! I opted to wear my dungarees to London as it was a hot day and they're both cool and comfortable. The striped tee is by Matalan; the dungarees had no label and both were charity shopped. Worn with charity shopped white pumps and headscarf.

On the train and on the underground I wore my mask. I was very surprised to see that lots of people didn't bother with their masks. This did surprise me as I thought it was compulsory on London transport or TfL. I didn't see anyone without a mask challenged by any station official or any other member of the public. 

All jewellery charity shopped.

 Unfortunately, the 'Curse of Camden' struck again. You might remember the last time I went to Camden with my daughter; my phone along with with my debit card and bus pass in the same cover; was stolen from my bag in a distraction robbery. (I have to thank that incident for my switch to cross body bags and the ditching of handbags). This time we weren't robbed but my daughter lost her Travelcard and although we back tracked to every charity shop and the cafe where we stopped for coffee; no one had seen it or handed it in. She had put it in the back pocket of her jeans. We had to go back to King's Cross station where she was issued with a replacement ticket to get home but we had to blag our way through the underground stations...

From Camden we moved on to Notting Hill. There were only two charity shops there and I bought this bangle for 2.99. My daughter was tempted by a dress in one of the shops but resisted then wished she hadn't; she fretted about it all the way home. We've all been there haven't we? The 'if only I'd bought it' moments...

From Notting Hill we walked towards the West End. My grandson works in a vegan restaurant called 'Mildred's' in Soho where we had booked a table. We caught a bus that took us to Regent Street where we went to Liberty. One of my most favourite shops in London.
I didn't take enough photos. Top; some of the famous Liberty silk scarves and some of the beautifully carved doorways in the shop.
 I spotted the blue plaque to Sir James Barrie author of Peter Pan; on the Bayswater Road. Kensington Gardens is on the other side of the road. As children, we used to walk from where we lived in Paddington; to Kensington Gardens with Milly, our dog, every weekend. As I got older I spent many a Sunday walking with my friends along the Bayswater Road; admiring the artwork that was always on view and for sale along the railings of Kensington Gardens. Carnaby Street (above left) was another place I went often with my friends in the l960s to admire and sometimes buy clothes in the shops. 'I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet' was popular for military clothes; and of course there was Lord and Lady Jon. As a teenager OH spent a summer at Lord Jon; assisting his eldest brother who was a tailor working above Lord Jon producing the clothes they sold in the shop below.


I found this photo on line and have included it as I had an almost identical dress made of pale pink mohair wool; it was handmade (crocheted) by someone for me in 1969!

We had a lovely meal at Mildred's and there was time for just a short catch up with eldest grandson - the restaurant was very busy. Whilst we were there we saw Akala (rapper and author) waiting for takeaway food and Bernadine Evaristo; joint winner of the 2019 Booker Prize; having a meal with a friend.

I picked the new car up on Thursday morning and dropped the old car off with no regrets! The new car is a Toyota Yaris Hybrid. It uses electric power on speeds below 30 mph; at traffic stops such as traffic lights and in traffic queues. It was a pleasure to drive to Lidl for the shopping without worrying if I was going to break down!

Everything charity shopped. Wrap around skirt by Kaliko; t shirt by Principles; denim jacket as before and green pumps by Sainsburys bought in their sale a few years ago.

Headscarf and all jewellery charity shopped.

I spent a lot of Thursday on the phone and laptop; changing over my insurance; cancelling my breakdown cover; (the car came with 12 months free European breakdown cover) and sorting out my residents parking permit which would take a few days to arrive. As the car doesn't have a CD player I had to find room for the CDs that lived in the car and that meant reorganising the DVDs and CD collection in the living room...I made dinner for middle grandson and OH. Middle grandson had been working with OH since Tuesday. It was good experience for him plus he earned some money. He seemed to enjoy it and was looking forward to his pay packet on Friday.

I took the car for a longer drive on Friday and it was a joy to drive. I went to St. Neots which is about 14 miles from Bedford and went for a rummage. I bought a book and a bangle - both 99p each and a skirt from a 1.00 rail.

Dress by Zara, Kimono by Peacocks; leggings by Primarni and Bjorn clogs; all charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped.
The Hibiscus bush (left) has started to bloom. This is more like a small tree and started as a foot high 1.99 plant from QD. Before the flower opens it is purple but once opened it turns pink. Above right is the first of the Hollyhocks to bloom. The other one didn't even have any buds on it. The Crocosmia has just started flowering, too. The white splashes are bird poo - this plant is below the feeder in the Hibiscus tree.

 I set out for an early walk on Saturday morning. It was warm and cloudy. The hay was spread out to dry in windrows in this field and will be gathered into bales soon for winter silage for livestock. I started my walk from Milton Ernest where I haven't been for a while; it was a lovely walk of 8 miles.

Saturday was also Jamaica Independence Day. Usually, I'm in Ireland for August so haven't been to any Jamaica Day celebrations for a while. This year the local council renamed Harpur Square in town, 'Jamaica Square' for the day! They provided a stage for a range of performers; local talent Donna Marie; Levi Roots;  some local sound systems and DJs and a Steel Pan Band. There were also a range of stalls selling food, drink and cultural artefacts. Jay Blades (from BBC's 'The Repair Shop' programme) was helping at one of the stalls run by my best friend's brother-in-law. I forgot to take a photo... people dressed in the colours of the Jamaican Flag and even the police van was covered in Jamaican flags. OH didn't think to put his Jamaican shorts suit on and you can see what I wore.

Everything charity shopped except the leggings bought in a Store 21 sale. Dress by Tu and yellow shoes from a Donegal charity shop.

All jewellery charity shopped. I went into to town in the afternoon and saw the Steel Pan band; OH and I went  back together about 5 pm and saw Levi Roots performing. We celebrated until about 9 pm; when we realised we hadn't eaten and went for fish and chips on the way home. I haven't drunk so much Red Stripe lager in ages! Luckily there were no after effects and I woke up hangover free on Sunday morning. I ventured out for another walk. Sunday was a cooler day, quite breezy with a bit of drizzle. I walked 6.8 miles from Bromham bridge; to Great Denham across the golf course; then along the river to Queen's Park and home.

This wonderfully fruitful Buddleia bush was spotted in Great Denham on the walk. Look at all those blooms...

I wore this and just added walking boots and a raincoat. Everything charity shopped except the white pumps from Primark. Jeans by Next, t shirt by F&F and blue shirt from M&S.

Headscarf and all jewellery all charity shopped except the silver ring from Sainsbury's.

OH and I went to the garden centre in Poddington where we bought a mini greenhouse. We decided to chop down our non functioning honeysuckle (it's growing from a pot which is the problem, I think) and put the greenhouse there. We had seeds aplenty on the fox gloves and alliums to start us off and we had plants we could split and take cuttings from. We successfully separated a sempervivum (House leek) a few weeks back and planted it up in a separate pot where it's doing well. I love sempervivums and bought my self a six variety pack  whilst at the garden centre. We did the housework when we got back from the garden centre and I cooked dinner for us and the two grandsons. I was busy reading or on the lap top most of this week in the evening so we hadn't found anything to watch on TV. I was definitely experiencing 'The Border' vacuum...

It was great to get back to Barnardo's on Monday. Two of  my friends from the walking group popped in to say hello as they were walking in the area. I hadn't seen either of them for quite a while. We'll meet up again on 21st August when there is an 'Oranges and Lemons' London walk where we will visit all the churches in the old nursery rhyme. I am so looking forward to it as we will be walking in the City and out towards the east end of London.

This was what I wore. Palazzo pants no label; top by F&F and jacket by Precis both 1.00 rail or in the case of the jacket 1 euro rail in a Dublin charity shop. The pants were also charity shopped but I couldn't remember which one. Clogs by Seasalt from a Devon charity shop.

All jewellery charity shopped except the brooch made locally in Co. Donegal.

I went for a swim on Monday evening and did 43 lengths (1.4k) it was pretty crowded so I swam mostly breast stroke.

Back to the food bank on Tuesday where I made up food packs; one of the two volunteers who usually makes them up was off. I soon got back into the rhythm of it and packed 20 single person packs; bagged them up and labelled them ready to go out to the distribution centres. I prefer putting the toiletries away and making up the hygiene packs but a change is as good as a rest so they say!

I wore jeans again - very practical in the warehouse. I have a Food bank tabard but haven't worn it much as I get very hot with the lifting, stretching and bending but I guess I'll be grateful for another layer once the weather gets cooler. Jeans from Next; top by Jessica Graaf 1.00 rail and kimono from 1,00 rail at Barnardo's. Clogs via Vinted. The heel had fallen off one of the clogs by the time I got home. Last time this happened the heel was in the car and OH glued and nailed it back but I think I'll have to go to the shoe mender's and wondered if it was worth it as the clogs were only 2.00!

The top is very, very pale lavender and the kimono has pale lavender in it too, so I matched them with  purple jewellery - all charity shopped.

Our new neighbours have almost moved in. They are a young couple and told me at the weekend they liked the green colour I had painted the exterior woodwork of my house so much; they were going to paint their door and its surrounds the same colour. And they did! When I got back from the food bank it had been painted and very good it looked too. They have also painted their steps which reminded me I still had to paint ours. I had abandoned the idea back in May when we had such horrible wet weather. I must do it before we go to Ireland in September.

I wore this pant/trouser suit on Wednesday. I bought it last year in a charity shop
but hadn't worn it. I like the jacket but not the trousers so I donated the trousers and kept the jacket to add to my jacket collection. It has a very similar print to the Kimono I wore on Tuesday. The striped tee was by Jaeger and the red shoes were bought online.

All jewellery charity shopped.

My group walk was a bit too far away so I set out mid morning by myself on a very warm (23 degrees) sunny day. I walked 7 miles in total; from Mowsbury Park car park to Ravensden Church End; along a byway to the water tower then across fields and tracks back to the start point. As I was climbing up the bank from a foot bridge; my foot slipped and I fell - straight into a hugely overgrown clump of nettles! I was wearing the striped tee as above and both my arms were stung from wrist to above the elbow on the inside. I was tingling all day...I did look for dock leaves but didn't find any until about 20 minutes later when it was too late. Dock leaves rubbed on nettle stings are meant to soothe them. It worked when we were kids but doesn't seem to do the trick anymore!

I saw this huge piece of machinery cutting the grass and laying it into windrows on my walk:

I went to Lidl when I got back from my walk to do some of the weekly shopping. I was off to London to see cousin Marian and visit the V&A on Thursday and food supplies were running low...I spent Wednesday evening belatedly catching up with blogs and comments.

We had a fabulous day out on Thursday. I totally forgot to take an outfit photo but I took plenty of photos at the V&A. It was Marian's and my second visit  here together and we still only managed to get halfway round the the first floor! We've planned another trip for the winter months as there are still 2 more floors we hadn't explored. I could have taken hundreds of photo; I was too busy looking and wondering but here are a few things that caught my eye.

This must have been the original sign at Gloucester Rd station (above). South Kensington station was closed and will remain closed until Spring 2022 so Gloucester Road was the best alternative station for us. Left; the tearooms designed by William Morris's company 'Morris & Co'; one of their first commissions was for the V&A museum. On the right the outside space where we ate our cream tea and watched children frolicking in the pool. The picture below does more justice to the tearooms; they had spectacular ceramic columns...

The V&A museum was founded in 1852 following the huge success of the British Exhibition in 1851 at Crystal Palace;  its collections were intended to be a resource for students of Art and Design. Originally known as the 'South Kensington Museum' it was opened on the current site in 1857 with the aim to acquire the best examples of decorative art from all periods.

The museum holds 2.25 millions objects (2017 stats) but only about 250,000 are on display at one time. The BBC has been screening a TV series called 'Secrets of the Museum'; which is all about the V&A and it's where the public can get to see some of the usually hidden items. It's a fascinating series and highly recommended.

Part of the precious metals displays.  Gold Monastery doors on bottom right and bottom left is a Bible cover designed in 1997.
This was part of the modern age design display. Above; a plywood chair and plywood bookcase; specially designed for Penguin paperback books which were introduced in the 1930s. The tea set is by Susie Cooper. The chair made me think of a womb and Fallopian tubes! On the left is an African design chair with a wallpaper section behind; both designed by Caribbean artists in the 1940s/1950s.
An electric kettle dating from the 1930s; a Slipware jug with a  pewter lid and below; two Slipware teapots from the 18th century. The embroidered pieces are cushion covers from the 18th century.
An Art Deco fireplace and decorative over mantel;  left an English designed four poster bed in the Chinnoisierie style popular in 18th century. I thought it looked pretty contemporary except for the dragons on the top...
This wonderful glass light fixture was actually a living organism!
I could have spent all day and all night exploring but by about 4.30 pm we were both pretty tired and set off for home. I was able to buy a miniature souvenir book packed with useful information from the V&A shop; and as they were reduced from 5.00 to 1.00 I bought one for Marian, too. You can even find a bargain at the V&A, it seems!

Before I set off for London on Thursday morning I had picked up middle grandson and took him to his old school as it was the day students were receiving their GCSE results. He did well! He got a 9 the highest possible grade, (in History) 2 x grade 7 in Maths and Biology; and the other 6 subjects were 6's and 5's. 4 is the pass mark. We were all very proud of him and he  enrols in Sixth Form College next week with his successful grades.

This was Friday's outfit. Everything charity shopped. Trousers by M&S; white top by Karen Millen from the 1.00 rail at Barnardo's and yellow linen shirt by Wallis also from Barnardo's. Yellow shoes as before.

All jewellery charity except the green ring which my daughter bought in South Africa for me in 2003. I went to Lidl, Aldi and Sainsbury's on Friday morning to finish off the shopping. I went to town in the afternoon as I had some errands to run. I booked a couple of swims for next week and a walk on Wednesday with my group. I made dinner for OH and I spent the evening reading my souvenir book from the V&A.

This was how the garden was looking last week; you can see the first flower on the Canna Lily; 'Yellow King Humbert'.
The Hollyhock was in full bloom; a bud appeared on the Magnolia. Below left; the Agastache which had had to be staked as it grew very quickly and on the right is the Begonia bought last Sunday at the Garden Centre.

Saturday was a very warm day and I set out for a walk with the North Beds Ramblers; they only walk on Saturdays and start at 1.30 pm. We had a lovely 7.5 mile walk from Pavenham,  to Felmersham, Radwell and back to Pavenham. There were 16 of us in total. I wore this outfit plus my walking boots. Leggings bought from Store 21; tunic from Warehouse and tee shirt by Lily and Me; both charity shopped. Sandals; retail from Clarks - ten years old.

All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings bought from eBay.
OH made dinner and we started to watch a new Bulgarian drama TV series from 'Walter Presents'  called 'The Devil's Throat' on More 4 in the evening.

It was another lovely day on Sunday; warm and sunny. The daughter was off camping with her family in Norfolk so I hoped the weather was good for her there. Everything charity shopped. Trousers by Next; linen top by Valentyne; green mules bought in a Cornwall charity shop in April this year.

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped.

I had nothing planned for Sunday other than doing the usual housework and cooking a roast dinner; when I spotted an advert for a Vintage kilo sale in the Corn Exchange on FB. I booked a ticket for 1 pm - the earlier slots had sold out. Luckily, I didn't go with high expectations as I expected the best stuff to have gone early. There was an awful lot of denim; sports wear and men's shirts and shorts none of which I was interested in; but I did find two pretty tops which cost me the princely sum of 2.55. The jewellery was very tempting but expensive so I resisted. If I go to one again I'll make sure I get there early! I started to watch 'The Boleyns - A Scandalous Family' and became so engrossed watched all three episodes!

Back to Barnardo's on Monday. I bought 3 tops from the 1.00 rail and a Tommy Hilfiger shirt for my daughter. We're still without a manager but I believe the post has been advertised.  Everything I wore was charity shopped except the faux clogs from Sainsburys. Skirt by M&S 1.00 rail in St. Neots; top by Tu 1.00 rail somewhere. The linen jacket is about 8 or 10 years old bought in Age UK when we had one in Bedford.

All jewellery and headscarf charity shopped.

It rained overnight and rained again on my way back from Barnardo's. I had thought I might go for a walk but the rain decided against it. Instead I made Lemon Chicken Pesto and chicken soup from the leftover Sunday chicken; did some washing and caught up with blogs and comments. The sun did come out later in the afternoon for short periods although it was a much cooler day today - a distinct autumnal feel.

Here's the latest from the garden:

Top left - we have a sunflower! I'm surprised we don't have hundreds as I feed the birds sunflower seeds. Top right; Rudbeckia or Black Eyed Susan. Bottom left; Passionflower. When I moved to this house 30 years ago there was a Passionflower in situ; it flowered every year and even had orange fruits growing on it. Then it disappeared so a few years ago we bought a replacement. Another QD 1.99 job I think. Bottom right; some of the Sempervivum I bought at the garden centre.

I'm back at the Food bank tomorrow and have booked a swim for the evening so I'll see you in a fortnight!

Tuesday 3 August 2021

'Baby, you can ride my car'

 Hello again and very happy Tuesday to you!

In my last post I had just got my car back so I was able to meet up with the walking group for a 6 mile walk from Woburn on Wednesday. It was the first time we'd had so many walkers on a walk (thanks to lock down) and I saw quite a few people I hadn't seen in over a year. It's been left up to walk leaders as to how many people they want on a walk. If the numbers are limited people have to email or text the walk leader to say they want to attend the walk so the walk leader has a record of attendees. If the numbers are unlimited (the Rambler's norm) then everyone's contact details have to be taken before the walk commences. It was so incredibly hot that the 6 mile walk felt more like 12 miles! It was a really nice walk; we saw a huge herd of deer on the move: we didn't really walk close to the safari park but more across fields and through copses in a big loop and back to the start at Woburn Church.

This was the view we had across the field at the start of the walk. Owned by the Russell family; the Dukes of Bedford have been living here since 1575. This particular building was erected in 1744 by Henry Holland and Henry Flitcroft for the 4th Duke of Bedford and his wife, Anna Russell; who is credited with the introduction of afternoon tea to the country. Thank you, Anna!

This was what I changed into when I got back. Tunic/dress by Gudrun Sjoden (can't remember if it was from the Daycare Hospice or The Cat's Protection League) leggings by Primarni but charity shopped. These sandals have no manufacturer name that I could see;  they're my second oldest pair about 6 years old, I think; originally charity shopped. I wore a headscarf as I didn't need to wear a mask and my hair was a mess having worn a sun hat throughout the walk.

I had to run some errands in town in the afternoon otherwise I would have happily stayed home in a cool room! I believe it went up to +30 degrees F at some point...

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings bought at Sainsbury's several years ago. I made dinner for OH and I and we watched the last of the new series of 'Baptiste' in BBC i player. We needed to find something else to watch for the rest of the week...

Despite more glorious weather on Thursday it was not a good day for me. I got up early and was ready to set off to do the weekly food shopping at Lidl; when I realised I had locked myself in the dining room. The catch on the dining room door is faulty and if the door is closed properly it can only be opened from the outside. The window was wide open so I climbed out thinking I would come in via the back door but I'd locked the back door already in preparation for going out! No neighbours were in on either side; otherwise I could have gone through their house and through the front room window. Not wanting to call OH home I went into the alley way and had a rummage around. I found a slim trowel and with a bit of manoeuvring managed to 'pop' the lock on the dining room door - phew!

This dress didn't get a single wear last year so it was time it came out of the wardrobe. I know I bought it at the 3:16 charity shop a few years ago and I think it was very cheap. I couldn't resist it as it's cotton and it has spots! No pockets though. Leggings as before and Clark's sandals BNWT from Cats Protection League; I think.

All jewellery charity shopped.
Did the day improve? No, I'm afraid it got worse. I set out for Lidl and had reached a major roundabout junction when the car just cut out and wouldn't start again. I couldn't believe it. I rang the breakdown company and using the 'What 3 Words' app on my phone I was able to let them know my exact location. "Every 3 metre square of the world has been given a unique combination of three words". See HERE if you 'd like to know more.

I asked that the car be taken straight back to the garage that had repaired it. Once the car had been dropped off; I walked into town and did the shopping at Lidl and took a taxi home. I noticed quite a lot of empty spaces on Lidl's shelves and it was the same last week; it's to do with the 'Pingdemic', I believe. I heard a discussion on the radio that morning where the head of 'Iceland' food chain and the CEO of a haulage company were asking the government to make food industry workers and lorry drivers key workers who, if they'd had both vaccinations or had proof of a negative test, wouldn't' need to self-isolate if they got a 'ping' from the Track and Trace system. Apparently, there were some food product shortages and some supermarkets were having to reduce their opening hours as so many staff were self-isolating. The numbers of cases of the Delta variant of Covid had continued to rise daily but was now beginning to slow down. The garage called me to say the fuel pump had gone - more money spent on the car! I went swimming in the afternoon and swam 1.5 km (45 laps). Lane swimming was limited from the following week as it was the start of the school summer holidays. I booked an evening swim for Monday and if it wasn't too crowded on Monday; I would book another one for Tuesday evening.

It was a bit cooler on Friday morning. I took my time getting ready and opted to wear this skirt by Per Una which was bought from a local buy and sell group earlier this year. The top by Next was from 1.00 rail at the Salvation Army bought yesterday when I went to Lidl. I wore the top outside the skirt in the end and not tucked in. Jacket and pumps as before - both charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped.
I walked to Daycare Hospice charity shop where I found 2 sleeping bags for my daughter and a pair of M&S trousers for me. My daughter and her family are camping later in the summer and had no camping equipment other than tent. I ran a couple of errands while I was out then came home and did some washing; including the sleeping bags and pegged everything out to dry. On the way back home I picked up some Freesias from the food charity for this week's floral display. 

My lovely next door neighbours moved out on Friday to a nearby village; I was very sorry to see them go but looked forward to meeting the new neighbours. In our row of four houses I am the longest resident; moving to this house in September 1991  - almost 30 years ago! In the evening we started watching another Polish drama called 'The Border'.

A cooler and fresher day on Saturday. My daughter and I went for a 5 mile walk; there was a brief shower so we took shelter in the woods and then continued on. In the afternoon we went to Wellingborough for a rummage and daughter came, too. My daughter did very well, as did OH and I didn't too badly either. I bought myself a paisley man's shirt by Linea; a blue gingham short sleeved top and a book. I also found a packet of cutting boards which will be useful for when I'm framing my pictures. Made of rigid plastic they provide a firm surface to cut on; be that paper, plastic, glass or even fabric - as long as it's not too large. I thought they might also be useful when I'm making earrings as well - at 1.00 for 3 it would have been to rude not to buy them! We stopped for coffee in Wellingborough and then dropped my daughter home.

Everything charity shopped. Linen dress by Woolovers bought at the 3:16 charity shop last year;  it looks grey in the photos but it's the palest of lavenders which is why I wore purple jewellery with it; I found the same dress on line for 65.00 on the Woolovers website. White top by George now about 4 years old; Mary Jane's by Clarks. You can see I'm wearing headscarves again as we no longer needed to wear masks indoors.

All jewellery charity shopped. 
We went out for something to eat to an Indian restaurant called Radhuni situated on the Embankment opposite the river. We had meant to try this restaurant some time ago but along came Covid which put paid to eating out for a while. As I was leaving the restaurant; a group of women who were sitting behind us told me they liked my style. I find women can be very complimentary to other women so thank you all you complimentary women out there! I often admire other women's style/clothes jewellery too and tell them so. The restaurant was next to Russell Park and we went for a short stroll round before we drove back home. I loved the wildflower planting:

On the subjects of plants the garden continues to grow. Some of the plants have died back; the Sweet William; some of the Dianthus; the Geums; the Gazania;  one of the Lavenders (which I replaced courtesy of Lidl on Thursday) most of the Osteospermums; a purple Salvia and the Penstemon. However. there are new plants appearing; top right is Mandevilla or Rock Trumpet; also a Lidl buy and below another Lidl buy 'Cotyledon Grandiflorus' or Balloon Flower; so called as the buds look like little balloons. The red rose bush had lots of blooms; the pink one had only one at a time and the yellow rose had disappeared; I did prune it  hard so hopefully it may come back...

On the left; the second of the Hydrangeas at the front has burst into bloom; as has the Lantana (top right) and the Lupin (bottom right) has a second flower spike. I noticed it has an antiseptic smell which I find strange; whilst the Lantana's leaves have a wonderful citrus smell. OH made himself mint tea with the mint we bought last week at the garden centre. Our gooseberries; raspberries; red currants and white currants have also finished; not that we had much produce from them in the first place. They may need replacing as they're a few years old. The grape vine produces nothing but leaves; I tried to persuade OH to chop it down but no luck so far...

Sunday was overcast and cool with light showers. The first thing I did when I got up was to rescue the washing which had hung out overnight. I spent time in the garden dead heading, weeding and changing plants around from front of house to back and vice versa. I then walked into town to drop off the last of my library books and post a letter.

Everything charity shopped. Jeans by East; top by Next and Kimono by New Look. Shoes charity shopped in Devon.

All jewellery charity shopped.

OH and I did the weekly housework and I cooked dinner. Both grandsons came for dinner. The youngest grandson ended up coming back and staying the night as the neighbour's house next door to his Dad's house caught fire and everyone nearby had to evacuate their homes. Their roof (the neighbours) was totally destroyed but no one was hurt; thank goodness.

I wore this to Barnardo's on Monday. The trousers looked a bit weird and ended up in the charity shop bag. They're too short and wide; but not like the wide leg cropped trousers that are quite popular at the moment. I did think about cutting them down into shorts but I haven't worn shorts for a very long time and doubted I ever would again. Trousers by M&S; top by Monsoon; both charity shopped. Shoes; online retail.

All jewellery charity shopped.
I went for a swim in the evening; it was no more crowded than the day time session so I booked an even later slot for Tuesday at 8 pm. I did my 45 laps (1.5 km) in 55 minutes and wanted to try to get to 48 but needed to go to the loo desperately by that point and got out of the pool. I managed to swim faster on Monday as I swam mostly breaststroke which I'm faster at than backstroke.

Off to the food bank again on Tuesday. I wore this M&S shirt from the 1.00 rail in Barnardo's. It had been in the shop for ages and I took pity on it. I love the pattern and the vibrant colours but I didn't really need another linen shirt! I have a habit of doing that unfortunately; taking pity on clothes no one has bought. Jeans by Next also charity shopped and clogs bought in Sainsbury's.

All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings which were also bought in Sainsbury's a few years ago. As I no longer go to Sainsbury's on a weekly basis I no longer stop and look at their earrings and am tempted to buy some. I noticed quite a while ago that the range of earring designs they did was quite limited; I think they must have changed designers or decided to reduce what designs they had.

Very busy at the food bank making up hygiene packs and putting crates and crates of hygiene products away. I walked there and got a lift back as I was picking the car up in the afternoon.
I was able to collect youngest grandson from summer school and would do that for the rest of the week. I went swimming at 8 pm on Tuesday evening and it was very crowded which surprised me. I was hoping that people wouldn't bother as it was quite late in the evening but apparently not!  I was too fast for the slow lane and had to move to the middle lane; where I had to swim mainly breast stroke and swim faster than I wanted to. I gave up after 30 laps (1 km) and will avoid that time slot in the future. I like to swim both breaststroke and backstroke and feel a little cheated when I can't...

Wednesday's group walk was from the village of Harrold onto the village of Odell and the Santa Pod race track through Odell woods and back through through the two villages; 6.3 miles in total. On the way back I stopped at the Rushden Salvation Army  charity shop where I bought a book for the youngest grandson; a Willow pattern jug for me and a knitted dress which has been put away for winter. I also stopped at the charity shop with the strange name - so strange I can't remember what it was! I picked up a pair of Hotter shoes BNWT and two pairs of earrings for 50 p each. I stayed in my walking gear all day but strangely the woman in the Salvation Army shop admired my 'look' even though I explained it was my walking gear. I think it was the headscarf she liked and I had coordinated my earrings and my beads to my top - of course! It was very warm and I didn't need to wear my waterproof jacket/anorak. Yes, I have an anorak.

I went to the hairdressers first thing in the morning on Thursday; then I did the weekly shopping at Lidl and Sainsbury's. My brother had asked for underwear for his birthday so I went to buy them for him at Sainsbury's. After I had put the shopping away and put on a wash it was off to town to run some errands. The youngest grandson likes drawing and is quite good at it so I went to buy him some art supplies to keep him going over the summer. I was pleased to see his new secondary school is one that specialises in the arts. He is not an academic child and has been hampered by only having hearing in one ear; but he does try and works very hard. By the time I got home it was time to collect youngest grandson from summer school. They had had a trip to 'Gulliver's World that day. He told me in great detail what rides he and his friends had gone on and who was scared and who wasn't! He went to a presentation and party at his old (primary) school from 5 pm and I picked him up again at 8 pm; where I found out he had won a trophy for always putting in 100% effort. I was so proud of him.

This was Friday's outfit. Clogs from Sainsbury's; jeans by Next; top by Matalan; both charity shopped and kimono via Vinted. I took a bus to Kempston determined to use my bus pass as much as possible and visited the Cat's Protection League charity shop where I bought nothing except a Kindle cover that matched my lap top cover; from the donations box. I got home in time to miss the torrential and prolonged downpour which lasted most of the afternoon. I picked the youngest grand son up again from summer school - the last day, thank goodness...

All jewellery charity shopped.

In the evening we went to Kettering for a birthday meal with two of my brothers. Julian was on the Isle of Wight at the Ventnor Festival and wasn't able to come. We had a fabulous meal and a great catch up - so much so we forgot to take photos. That was a shame because I wore some 'new to me' lurex trousers; a coat and a pair of shoes none of which had been featured on the blog before - never mind, another time. We had time when we got back home to watch an episode from Series 2 of 'The Border'. It was one of the most gripping series we'd watched in a while and planned to finish watching it over the weekend.

This was Sunday's outfit. Phool trousers and top by both charity shopped as were the black leather sandals.

We did the usual Sunday housework and OH cooked dinner.  I went for a 7 mile walk to Bromham along the river to Great Denham; across the golf course; through Biddenham and home. As soon as I got in the rain came down! In the evening we finished watching 'The Border' and I felt a bit bereft.

All jewellery charity shopped.

You might have noticed I skipped Saturday. That's because it was a shit day. I set out at 9.45 in the morning to go to my daughter's to meet her for a walk. I got half way there and the car broke down - AGAIN. I was so fed up and when the breakdown service arrived they couldn't get it going. They said it was one of two things - both of which the garage has replaced in the last few weeks! By now I was spitting feathers and ready to do damage to somebody or something...the garage doesn't open at the weekend; the car was recovered to as close to it as we could get it. I then had to feed a parking meter every two hours until 6.30 pm on Saturday evening when free parking kicked in until Monday morning. I emailed the garage telling them what I thought and what I wanted. This final episode made me decide to buy a new car. I was planning to change my car at the end of this year and pass the old one on to someone in the family but I wouldn't want to burden them with it now. I'd lost my confidence in driving the car and just had to hope I could part exchange it for a new one or sell it to recoup the money I've spent on repairs so far. Rant over.

OH bought this Shasta Daisy on a visit to B&M; he's always wanted one.

I didn't go to the charity shop om Monday. Instead I went and bought a new car. I'll pick it up on Thursday and hopefully won't have to worry about breaking down on every journey I go on. I part exchanged the old car as part of the deposit on the 'new to me' one. I need to cut down on unnecessary spending now; I'll have to limit the rummaging! I spent most of the afternoon trying to sort out middle grandson's new phone contract and by the time I'd cooked and eaten dinner it was a bit too late to go swimming.

This was Tuesday's outfit worn to the food bank. 
Busy doing the usual hygiene packs and putting toiletries/household items away in their proper places. We had sufficient supplies of everything but our next big donation surge will be around Harvest festival time when we get lots of donations from churches and schools.

I'm off for a swim later and on Wednesday my daughter and I have to trip to London which I'll tell you about in my next post. See you in a fortnight...

Blogoversary and some other stuff

Hello again!   When I left you last I showed you my latest TBR pile. What I realised later on that day was I had already read two of them. W...