Tuesday, 22 February 2022

After the Storms

Hello again!
Just waiting on the third pot of hyacinths to bloom; the smell when you come into the house is heavenly. I didn't used to like the smell but as I've got older I do.

Well, that was a bit weird. As many of you will know I write my blog almost daily; I have to otherwise I'd never remember what I did. I'd written up about 3 days of what I had been up to but when  I went to carry on with today's entry it had disappeared. Where I don't know - into cyber space, whatever and wherever that is! 

Sorry about the demon eyes again...

On Wednesday I walked with my group from Moggerhanger to Willington to Great Barford and back along the river; a 7.3 mile walk with very little mud so my new walking boots still look pretty clean. That won't last! Someone told me in the group that there is an open water swimming club at Great Barford. I tried to find out more online but there was no information about a swimming club. Luckily, my daughter knows someone who swims at Great Barford in the river Great Ouse and will put me in touch with them. I wouldn't want to swim alone in the river and all the advice on open water swimming concurs.

I stayed in my walking gear on Wednesday; this was Thursday's outfit. Everything charity shopped except the boots which were from M&S but bought via a  local Facebook buy and sell group.

Beads charity shopped but the earrings came from eBay. On Wednesday after the walk I went to Aldi to buy stuff for dinner and then I picked up the youngest grandson from school. I made dinner for both grandsons. In the evening we continued watching 'Deadwind' on Netflix. 

Thursday was busy as usual. I went for a swim and managed 48 laps or 1 mile; it's becoming a habit. It shows with practice how you can improve. I was looking back at my blog and in one post I say I had managed to swim 30 laps in the 60 minutes we were allotted for the session. I started swimming weekly in September 2019; in March 2020 the first lock down out  put paid to that for some months. I recommenced swimming in July through to November 2020 but then we were locked down again just before Christmas until about Easter 2021. Once we were allowed to return to the swimming pools in 2021 I began to go twice a week as regularly as I could and now I can swim 48 laps in 60 minutes. From swimming I went to the hairdresser and then to Sharnbrook Farm shop for kindling, to Lidl and Sainsbury's to do the food shopping. Back home to unpack it all, sort out the fire and cook dinner. More 'Deadwind' watching in the evening; we'd almost finished the first series.

I met up with some walking friends on Friday for a coffee - and in my case a slice of chocolate cake. We met in the Visitors Centre at Priory Park/Marina; I walked there and back a total of 5.5 miles. The reason for the meet up was partly social but also to discuss the reinstatement of our Friday bus walks. This was exciting news for me as the last bus walk I went on pre-Covid I had to pay full fare. Now I can use my bus pass...it doesn't take much to excite me I'm afraid! I'm going to lead 2 bus walks when the programme starts in May. The bus walks are particularly interesting as we catch a bus to somewhere quite local; have a walk and catch a bus back. It gives the opportunity to walk with a group to those who don't drive or have access to a car. My walk was along the river on Friday and here it is looking good with the light sparkling on the water.

I also walked past this below; Castle Mound; the original site of Bedford Castle. Children and adults alike enjoy scrambling up and down the mound. Built after 1100 by Henry 1 in the motte and bailey style; the mound is the site of the motte. 

Everything was charity shopped. Top by Uniqlo via Barnardo's, kimono from the independent charity shop in Bedford, boots from the Cat's Protection League and the jeans I can't remember. All jewellery charity shopped. I lost one of those earrings walking to the meet up.

Once I got back to town I went to the cobblers and asked him about my boots. He said he wouldn't be able to do anything with them. The other cobbler was closed - another Covid casualty I wondered? It was very disappointing but then I remembered I was going to visit my ex mum-in-law with my daughter on Sunday and that one of my ex sister-in-law's would be there who  took the same size shoe as me. Maybe she would like the boots? 

I needed some spices and seasonings from the International supermarket and after buying what I needed there; had a wander around the High Street charity shops en route to home. I bought a Clements Ribiero jacket in the 'Bedford Autism' shop. I had seen it in there about 2 weeks ago; liked it but thought it wouldn't fit. This time I tried it on and it did! I wouldn't be able to wear anything bulky underneath and would most likely wear it open anyway but I was very pleased with it at only 5.00.  On my way along the High Street I passed a cafe called 'Bedford Cat Cafe'. You can see why. There's always at least a couple of moggies in the window and these three were basking in the afternoon sunshine.

Here's the jacket below. I wore it on Saturday. Knitted dress by M&S as were the tights; boots by Manteray via Barnardo's as was the scarf. All jewellery charity shopped.

OH and I went to Emmaeus on Saturday morning to look for plant pots. The wind was bitterly cold and we didn't want to stand around in it for too long. Unfortunately, there were no suitable pots but OH did buy a couple of things. I bought nothing.  I went to the Dental Hygienist in the afternoon and had my teeth cleaned. It used to be (up until last year anyway) that when I went for a six monthly check up; the dentist cleaned my teeth. Cost about 25.00 - I go to an NHS dentist. Now, if you want your teeth cleaned you see the hygienist; the cost is 60.00! OH made dinner and we watched the final episodes of 'Deadwind'. We'd start watching the final series of 'Bordertown' on Sunday evening.

On Sunday I went for an early swim and swam 48 laps/1 mile. Then after getting ready my daughter and I set off for London to visit my ex mum-in-law. She's 89 this year and still goes to Church via 'Dial a Ride' on Sundays and does her own food shopping. She had asked me to pick up some shopping for her and daughter had made dinner for all of us so we took that with us. It was lovely to see her and she was so pleased to see us. I gave my ex sister-in-law the boots and she was thrilled with them. She tried them on and they looked fab on her. I'm just so glad someone could make use of them. Now I'll have to carry on searching for the perfect pair of black knee high boots! To get to East London we had to go on the North Circular Road and the traffic was horrible both going there and coming back. It also rained all day and was very chilly. I was very glad to get back and relax by the fire. OH made dinner for the grandsons who had gone home by the time I got back.

Next jeans bought last week in one of the Castle Road charity shops; top by Seasalt and jumper underneath by Primarni picked up from Barnardo's 1.00 rail; boots present from daughter. I wore my Clements Ribiero jacket again plus scarf and gloves!

All jewellery charity shopped.

Another very cold day on Monday. This was what I wore to Barnardo's. Pinafore dress from New Look; can't remember; top by Principles from Barnardo's 1.00 rail, tights also charity shopped somewhere and boots bought online. I wore a long sleeved tee from Primarni underneath and should have folded the sleeves up underneath the Principles top but forgot!

Luckily there was no further cleaning required at Barnardo's; I spent the morning processing donations and putting them on the rails. It was Valentine's Day and OH sent me a beautiful bunch of flowers which arrived before I left to volunteer. He also came home with a box of chocolates. He's such an old romantic. I went to town went I got back from the charity shop to buy a Valentine's Card and a small gift for him. I did a wash, sorted out the fire and made dinner. I spent the evening catching up with blog land and we watched further episodes of the final series of 'Deadwind'. I'm going to miss it but there are lots of good things to watch out there so I won't miss it for long.

I wore my small collection of copper jewellery to go with Monday's outfit - all found in charity shops or car boot sales. I haven't been to a car boot sale for months and look forward to them starting up again; they usually re-start from Easter onwards.

On Tuesday the rain was torrential and it was still cold. We had storms coming by the end of the week but the weather was initially going to get warmer and windier as a result of Storm Dudley. I went to the food bank and made up dozens of hygiene packs. When I got home I was very pleased not to have to go out again; swimming now swapped to Sunday mornings. I had the rest of the afternoon free. 

Tuesday's outfit.

Everything found in charity shops. Skirt by M&S found in the Marie Curie shop; jumper with collar by George; jumper underneath by Primarni; 1.00 rail at Barnardo's; suede boots were 1.00 from the Barnardo's in Ampthill.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I made a butternut squash, chickpea and lentil Moroccan stew in the afternoon and made lamb chops for OH to go with it. I always cook enough of any vegetarian or vegan dishes so that I can share with my daughter and keep at least one portion to freeze and eat on a 'no cook' day. I spent more time catching up with blog land and reading the third of my Laurie Lee trilogy. The first and second books in this trilogy by Laurie Lee, I remember, were on my school reading list. I had read 'Cider with Rosie' but not as 'I Walked Out One Midsummer's Morning'. We were given the list, which was quite considerable, in the fourth form of my grammar school; it was to direct our reading right through to fifth form when we were to take our GCEs (General Certificate of Education). I never made it to fifth form getting expelled in the summer term of 1969. A week later I was working full time in Kensington High Street for North West Thames Gas Board aged 15! I still remember many of the books on that reading list and have almost read all that I can remember. There are 2 books outstanding; 'The Red Badge for Courage' by Stephen Crane and 'The Small Back Room' by Nigel Balchin. One day I'll get round to reading them. I also continued to catch up with blog land, hanging up the washed bed linen (not outside!) and made dinner as above. We started watching a new BBC 4 documentary series in the evening called 'Sex and Sensibility; the Allure of Art Nouveau'. There are only 3 episodes featuring 3 European cities and it was fascinating. We also continued watching 'Bordertown' having only 2 episodes left until we had finished all 3 series.

Having decided not to walk with my group on Wednesday I woke up to sunshine, a strangely mild temperature and very strong winds. Later in the day the temperature reached 15 degrees; which after the past few days where it was cold, wet and windy; 15 degrees felt almost tropical. Taking advantage of the decent day I mooched around the garden taking note of what was happening. Lots of growth I'm pleased to report with Osteospermums, Geraniums and some Pansies blooming. As usually happens although I'd carefully labelled almost all the pots; some had lost their tags and I'd have to wait and see what the green shoots turn into!  I decided it was time to sow the Honesty seeds so I did. All was duly noted in the Garden journal. I spotted the rat again from the upstairs window; OH's disposal methods have not worked.....

I wore this warm pinafore style dress by Quetzl (can't remember from where I bought it) over a M&S jumper from Barnardo's 1.00 rail. Green tights by M&S and boots by River Island; both also charity shopped from Barnardo's. All jewellery charity shopped. After making porridge for breakfast topped with honey and lots of fruit; I ventured into town to run 2 errands. As I was staying close to the bus station and its environs; I looked in several charity shops close by. It was a jewellery finds sort of day. I found 3 pairs of earrings; 3 bangles and a ring. Everything was 50 p; except for one pair of earrings and the ring which were 1.00 each;  one bangle was 29 p! I stopped at the bank and went to the Irish bakery where I bought a large soda bread loaf. My only attempt at making soda bread was quite recent and it was horrible; hard and dry.  I shall have to try a different recipe some time. When I returned home I hung out the towels I'd washed earlier to take advantage of the strong winds. Needless to say they dried quickly but the clothes prop was blown down several times and required repositioning. I should have gone for a walk but the wind deterred me. I am a fair weather walker; I won't walk in heavy rain, high winds or ice and snow...

The sun was shining brightly when I got up on Thursday morning. I went for a swim and had just got to the end of my 48th lap when the whistle blew. After getting ready I went to do the usual Thursday shopping; farm shop for coal and kindling; I also bought a large bag (20 kg) of logs to try. OH buys them in B&M or Morrison's and they only come in 10 kg bags. I hope they burn well as I'd rather buy from the farm shop than big chain stores but OH is very fussy about the logs. We shall see. Then it was off to Lidl; home to unpack, hang out a wash and sort out the fire. I had time to put my feet up and read for a while before I made dinner.

Cropped trousers by White Stuff, jumper by Laura Ashley; polo by Isle. All bought from charity shops. Boots bought online and the blanket scarf was a present from  my daughter many years ago. Although it was sunny there was cool breeze at times and the scarf was needed. All jewellery charity shopped; the earrings were one of the 50 p pair I bought on Wednesday.


It's been half term week this week and middle grandson and I had a date on Friday. I'd asked youngest grandson to come along too but he said he'd be out with his friends! I'd planned to take middle grandson to the Oliver Cromwell museum in Huntingdon as he is doing the English Civil War as part of his 'A' level history course. Of course Friday was the day Storm Eunice was set to hit us and it was indeed very windy but not enough to deter us from going to Huntingdon. The streets and roads were littered with twigs and branches but we arrived in Huntingdon safely. The museum was tiny; only the size of the entire ground floor of my house. Grandson seemed interested and took some photos but he's not actually covering the English Civil War until the second year of his course so this visit was a bit premature; never mind we can always return. We then went for lunch at a place that was the carbon copy of the Albero Lounge in Bedford right down to the menu. It must be a chain. I had a vegan brunch and grandson had the most expensive burger on the menu!  There was a book swap shelf and I picked up a copy of 'The Constant Gardner' by John Le Carre. I'd seen the film, but not read the book. Next time I go to Huntingdon I'll bring a book with me to leave in its place. We went for a wander around Huntingdon town centre after our meal (Grandson's suggestion) and almost got blown away at times. On the way back to the car park I popped into a local community charity shop (I always forget about this one when I come for a rummage with OH; it's a bit off the beaten track) where I picked up a hand knitted navy waistcoat for me; a cardigan with leather elbow patches for OH and a short tweed jacket by Alex and Co; 2.00 for all 3 items. 

Oh dear. The beads were outside the jacket and the cardigan was hanging down; what a scruff I look. Jacket from the Donkey Sanctuary shop in Ballyboffey, Co. Donegal. Bag by Betty Jackson via Vinted last year. I've just realised that the jacket which I've owned for several years; is a take on Desigual coats/jackets. This one has the label 'XOXO'.

Boots as before. Everything else charity shopped. Cardigan by Fatface; Marilyn jeans by M&S as was red top underneath. All jewellery charity shopped. The red bangle was a 50 p find in the week.

I lost one of these earrings whilst out. I'd only recently shortened them, too! I also managed to lose one of my black gloves...

My daughter wanted to go for a charity shop rummage on Saturday so we went to Northampton. OH had stuff to do and didn't come. It was a very windy, wet and cold day. Our first small umbrella blew inside out and was only fit for the bin; then the second large umbrella broke too as it lost its tip and collapsed. It was that sort of day. Daughter did very well finding lots of new Topshop and Asos clothes - all at half the marked prices. I found some stuff for the house including some brand new tea towels from Cancer Research and I bought a colourful tunic top in Scope and a pair of earrings in the RSPCA. We were both very pleased with our purchases and celebrated with a cup of tea and a slice of homemade shortbread for me and a coffee for her. When I got back home the third hyacinth had bloomed; a white one.

Everything  charity shopped including the rose sprigged woolly tights; boots from New Look via Cat's Protection League; the dress came from the Independent charity shop in Bedford; polo underneath from Bedford Market. All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings from Ebay. I wore my warmest coat and thick gloves and still felt cold! I lit the fire when I came in; OH made a delicious vegetarian dinner and we chilled out watching the new BBC 4 French drama; 'The Promise' in the evening. I also booked the ferry to Ireland in April. Now it's been booked I can start looking forward to spending Easter in Ireland and visiting the extended family over there. I just hope the recent storms haven't left the caravan too damp....

On my way to swimming on Sunday morning there was tree down close to the swimming pool. Thank you Storm Eunice!  I just hope no one was underneath when it fell. The footpath was blocked and it meant walking around to get to the pool. I shall be watching this tree with great interest now to see what happens to the huge gash left where the branch was. Will another one grow back? Will it get a great big bole forming? Will more bark grow over the gash? I'd seen the crocuses on Thursday morning but forgot to take a photo. They really are Spring like.

It was quite busy in the pool and I was delayed by getting the 1.00 coin stuck in the locker. By the time I'd got it sorted I knew I wouldn't have time to swim 48 laps but I tried. I managed 46 instead and that was fine. I went into town to Iceland to pick up some bits and then did the house work with OH; made a bread and butter pudding from the Christmas Panettone and made dinner.

It doesn't look very elegant but tasted delicious and I only used half the Panetonne...

Trousers are old favourites bought new from La Redoute sale years ago. Top (no label) bought from Scope in Northampton on Saturday. I like to wear my 'new to me' items as soon as possible. Boots present from daughter.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Storm Franklin arrived late in the evening on Sunday and when I left for the charity shop on Monday morning it was still very windy. During the course of the day the sun made one or two appearances but the wind didn't really let up at. At times it sounded as if the roof was about lift off in the charity shop and of course the 1.00 rail stayed inside....I've had it with the storms now. Can they stop please? From 24th February most Covid restrictions in law will  cease. The announcement was made on Monday. No more self isolating if you test positive or come into contact with anyone who has Covid.  No more free lateral flow tests from the end of April. The emphasis is on personal responsibility now and not government sanctions. In my opinion I think it is the right thing to do but I foresee things will never get back to 'pre-Covid' times again.

Tuesday was a storm free day here in Bedford. It was a bit windy at times but there were also bursts of very welcome sunshine, too. I am walking in Ampthill with my group on Wednesday and expecting it to be very muddy...I went into the food bank as I always do on Tuesday mornings and made up 46 family hygiene packs and 15 individual hygiene packs. This was Tuesday's outfit:

Everything charity shopped except the boots. These animal print boots and my black patent 'bovver boots'  seem to go with everything and I have worn them both a lot this winter. 'Mom' jeans by Next as was the sleeveless top worn over the polo neck by Isle. Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped.

I ran errands after the food bank going to B&M. I also went into the Day Care Hospice shop which is close by and picked up a couple of bracelets for 75 p each. I broke them up to use the beads for earrings. I need to find some longer bars on which to thread the beads so will do some on line searching today and failing that we have a 'Hobbycraft' shop at the retail park which has an extensive jewellery making section. By the time I next post I hope to have made at least 4 or 5 new pairs of earrings. 

See you on the other side!

Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Signs of Spring...

 Once again that fortnight has simply flown by; it's true what they say about time speeding up as you get older - which seems very unfair!

I left you on a Tuesday having gone to the food bank in the morning. I was asked if I could go in again on Thursday to help out. The food bank now needs more volunteers especially for Thursday afternoons. Several volunteers have not returned since Covid and although there have been some new volunteers; one has to be pretty physically fit to do the work in the warehouse as it's quite demanding. Not all the new volunteers were able to do what was required so now we need to recruit more suitable volunteers. Meanwhile we are all mucking in. The food bank didn't used to open on Thursdays; it was the day the bulk of the admin got done but because of increased demand for food and hygiene parcels; it's become just another working day.

Warm and practical dressing on Tuesdays for the food bank and swimming afterwards. I managed another 48 laps or 1 mile - in 56 minutes!

This is the White Stuff tunic bought at the Daycare Hospice shop last Friday; Next jeans underneath and the boots by New Look; orange top 1.00 rail, all jewellery - all from charity shops.

It was another grey, cloudy, gloomy day on Tuesday -  so the light was very poor for taking photos. Middle grandson came to stay; I picked him and his gear up. This included his gaming computer; an X box; 2 rucksacks and a large computer monitor.  I wondered how much revision he'd get done with all that to distract him. In the event he didn't even set his X box up! I made dinner after doing a whites wash and sorting out the fire. I lit it a bit earlier than usual as it was so cold. In contrast it reached 10 degrees on Wednesday and in the afternoon it was bright and sunny. 

The weekly Wednesday group walk was fully booked up so I couldn't go, but I had lots of errands to run instead and the youngest grandson to be collected from school. I needed bird supplies from B&M and Home Bargains, had to return my library book and buy household cleaning items as well bits and bobs from Aldi. When I went to buy the bird supplies; I stopped at the London Road Daycare Hospice charity shop and bought - yes, you've guessed it - an armchair for my study! I originally had a (second hand) tub chair in the study but it wasn't very comfortable; after sitting a while in it my bottom becomes numb.  I had planned to use it as my reading chair when I bought it but because it was so uncomfortable not a lot of sitting in it took place. The 'new to me' armchair was a wing armchair, a style which I like; very comfortable and in a pale blue plaid. It would be delivered the following Tuesday.

Thursday was brighter and not so cold. I went for a swim but got there a little late as I forgot my entrance pass and had to go back home for it. I still managed to swim 42 laps or 1.4 km which was fine with me. I wore this outfit; M&S trousers; top by Primarni; both from charity shops;  polo underneath bought in Bedford market and boots were a Christmas present from my daughter. Jewellery also charity shopped.

After coming home and putting on a wash and getting ready I went to the food bank where I stayed for almost 2 further hours making up hygiene bags. From there I set off for Sharnbrook to buy more coal and kindling and then on to Lidl to do the weekly food shop. After that it was time to sort out the fire, hang up the wash and make dinner but we opted for a takeaway as middle grandson is such a fussy eater; he had KFC and I had Prawn Fried Rice from the Chinese takeaway.

We finished watching all the remaining episodes of 'The Responder' on catch up in the evening. A very tense drama; I found myself hardly daring to breathe in places! Martin Freeman was outstanding in the lead role and I'm sure he will win lots of awards for his performance.

I set off to view yet another art exhibition on Friday morning and ended up viewing 2 instead.  Both were in 'The Higgins' Bedford's art gallery and museum based in the Castle Quarter of Bedford near the Embankment. The first exhibition was called 'Going to Town' and featured the town of Bedford over the past 200 years in paintings. And the second was an exhibition of 'Edward Bawden: Artist Plantsman'. It was officially due to open on 29th January (Saturday) but I was allowed to view the exhibition as the staff had finished setting it up. It was a tiny exhibition; confined to one room but I had it all to myself!

I had a really enjoyable time and learnt a lot about Bedford from the exhibition. It was interesting how little some parts of Bedford had changed and were still recognisable today. The Higgins holds 3000 artworks by Edward Bawden (left to the museum in his will) and they have regular exhibitions of his work featured under different themes. This one was about his love of plants and gardens and how that spilled over into his work.

Design for Wedgwood

Designs for Fortnum and Mason

It was a chilly day but bright and dry. Everything I wore below was from a charity shop. Trousers by Zara, polo by John Lewis; tunic no label; boots as before. I was able to wear a headscarf and not worry about a mask as masks were no longer compulsory as from Thursday 27th January. I for one was very relieved. I believe some supermarkets were requesting shoppers still wear their masks and of course I would comply in that case. Luckily, Lidl didn't require me to wear one when I did the weekly shop yesterday.

All jewellery charity shopped.

On my way back from the exhibition I went to the cobblers to get some boots re-heeled. Whilst I was waiting to have them done I had a look in a couple of charity shops in the High Street. I found the perfect denim skirt by Dorothy Perkins in the Marie Curie shop. Knee length and A line and only 4.00; it was just what I wanted and had been looking for for months. I re-donated a denim skirt to the charity shop bag when I got home. I also found a Laura Ashley black velvet maxi dress for 5.00 in the Cancer Research charity shop; it was half price. I don't know when I'll wear it - for my birthday maybe but it's something I've always yearned for and now I'd found one. It was definitely my lucky day although after paying 16.00 to get the boots re-heeled it was a pretty expensive day. Especially, when I factored in that I had bought a book for 6.99 (reduced from 19.99) from the museum. I mean how could I have resisted? I'll have to have a no charity shop spend next week to make up for it...

When I finally got home I made a vegan goulash using a Delia Smith vegetarian recipe; making it vegan by using vegan yogurt instead of soured cream. It was quite tasty. 

There are signs of Spring in the garden: Primulus bought from Aldi. They've been planted in one of the window boxes on the front window sill.

The Fatsia Japonica has seed heads/blossoms...I think they're blossoms; if I remember rightly they turn into white flowers...

In the mini greenhouse there are lots of green shoots!

On Saturday morning I went to recce the walk I'm leading next week, walking 7.3 miles. I spotted snow drops growing wild by the roadside - Spring was definitely on it's way! When I got back OH had gone to see his mum in London so I had the house to myself. I made mincemeat crumble slices and my daughter came round to collect hers - she's a big fan of mincemeat crumble slices....

This was what I wore on Sunday. (I stayed in my walking clothes on Saturday). I wore new walking boots to break them in.  They were a birthday present from OH in 2020 but this was the first time I'd worn them. Jeans; label removed; jumper by Tu and polo by M&S; all charity shopped.

Scarf and jewellery all charity shopped.

I went for another walk of 5.3 miles on Sunday morning - hence the walking boots in the photo. Then back home to do the housework and cook a roast lamb dinner for everyone. I had more vegan goulash for mine. I meant to take part in the 'Garden Bird Watch;' organised by the RSPB, which I have done every year for the past few years, but I just didn't have the time as it's dark soon after 5 pm. We watched the 'Great Pottery Throw Down' and 'Trigger Point' in the evening and I made a start on my  Bedford spy book.   

We had heaps of donations at Barnardo's on Monday which we are always grateful for but unfortunately a lot of it was thrown away. I don't understand why people think charity shops want their chipped china and ornaments; dirty clothes and clothes that are very well worn or washed out. If it isn't good enough for you then it's not good enough to donate to a charity shop! Monday was very cold and windy (remnants of Storm Corrie) and we had to bring the 1.00 rail inside the charity shop as it kept blowing over in the wind...

This is the skirt I found on Friday by Dorothy Perkins; cardigan by Susan Bristol; jumper by M&S; boots by New Look and plaid tights, belt: all charity shopped.

All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.

I usually book my swimming slots on Fridays but I forgot to do it last Friday and at the weekend. I tried to book them when I got home from the charity shop but both my usual sessions were booked up. I was, however, able to find a couple of slots for Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning instead and booked those.  That will teach me to do my bookings on a Friday! And talking of bookings; the walk I was to lead on Wednesday was fully booked up by last Saturday, too. I wonder if we'll ever get back to not having to book everything in advance? Once upon a time you could just turn up at the pool and pay your entrance money and go for a swim. Not all Rambler's walks have to be booked in advance either; it's been left up to the walk leaders. I stick to the booking procedure whilst I can as I'd rather lead 24 people on a walk than 54 - which has happened in the past...

I spent Monday afternoon doing a towels wash, sorting out and lighting the fire, making dinner and catching up with blog land. 

The armchair arrived promptly at 9.30 am on Tuesday morning. It's very comfortable to sit in and I look forward to many hours of sitting and reading or even crocheting... the throw, cushion and pouffe were all found in charity shops.

This was what I wore to the food bank on Tuesday. It was such a mild day I didn't need to wear a jacket or a coat. The one I'm wearing was very lightweight from Peacocks; but I had a polo neck on underneath the black dress and thick woollen tights. Boots by Manteray and everything was found in a charity shop.

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped.

It felt funny not going for a swim after the food bank but I had some errands to run and did those instead. I picked up my repeat prescription -  and one of my birthday presents! When I went to the cobblers last week I noticed he had branched out into antiques and collectables in his tiny little shop. I'd spotted a lovely Arts and Crafts pewter dish in the window and thought I'd ask OH to buy it for my birthday present. When I asked OH he said: 'why don't you buy it and I'll give you the money for it?' How romantic - I don't think! Anyhow, that was what I did on Tuesday afternoon.  I also popped into Boots and looked at the clearance section. They had a lot of make up reduced to 1.00; mostly discontinued lines I think. I bought a couple of red lipsticks. I continue to search for the perfect red lipstick. When I got back home as it was such a mild day with a gentle breeze; I hung out the bed linen I'd washed earlier and then made a casserole for dinner. I also tried to book a visit to Osterley Park House in London for Friday with my cousin but it wasn't open until March. We opted for the British Museum instead; I'd never been something I feel a bit ashamed of but that will be rectified on Friday. I was looking forward to catching up with Marian as well.

Once again I was very lucky with the weather for my walk. It was bright, breezy and a bit cloudy. Everyone turned up and everyone said how  much they enjoyed the walk. I made sure to book a place on next week's walk as soon as I got home. I changed into this to go and pick youngest grandson up from school. Dress/tunic by Boden; worn over polo neck and black tights. Everything charity shopped. The boots were found in the Daycare Hospice shop last week and they've been re-heeled;  I struggled to get the zips up. They're at the back of the boots so you can't see in this photo but they're not zipped up to the top. The boots have elasticated sides so I don't think my calves are too big - although they maybe; I do a lot of walking after all. I just wished I'd tried the boots on before I took them to the cobblers!! OH tried pulling the zips up with pliers (!) and one of the zips broke but we fixed that. I'll now have to see if I can get the cobbler to replace the zips giving me a little more leeway to pull the zips up. I shall investigate and report back. I don't want to have wasted the money I spent on them; there must be a solution....

All jewellery charity shopped.

After picking the youngest grandson up from school I sorted out the fire (I'll be glad when we don't need to light the fire in the evenings) did some reading and then made dinner for both grandsons. Middle grandson had two exams in the week with the final one on Thursday. I'm hoping he has done well; he seemed quite confident that he had.

This was how most people saw me on Thursday. I didn't take the poncho off when I went to the food bank again in the morning to help out by making up hygiene bags. I made 50 single and 12 family packs by which time I had back ache. From the food bank I went to the farm shop in Sharnbrook and on to Lidl to do the weekly food shopping. Yesterday, I popped into Aldi before I picked the youngest grandson up and completely forgot to buy tea bags. I drink Earl Grey tea all the time and Aldi's teabags are my favourite brand followed by Morrison's. I shall have to go to Aldi before the week is out to buy some more. Both grandsons love their tea and drink Earl Grey, too - we get through it quite quickly! Lidl had some hyacinths in at last and I bought a small pot. I have hyacinths in a pot on the doorstep; a couple on the hall table and I put this pot on the dining room table. I love the way they scent the house but I have to wait for them to bloom first.

The poncho was bought from Barnardo's towards the end of last year. Jeans by East; the boots I picked up somewhere but cannot remember where or if I bought them on line...I wore a blue patterned top underneath. Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped.

After unpacking the shopping and putting it away; I sorted out the fire and hung up the darks wash I'd left in the machine. After a much needed sit down for 50 mins; I then made dinner whilst listening to the last and latest Podcast episode of 'Slightly Foxed'. It was about idlers in literature; both writers and characters which I found somewhat ironic as on Thursdays I'm the complete opposite of an idler! I do enjoy a bit of idling though. I once spent an entire day sitting on the sofa and thinking; only coming out of my reveries to cook dinner. Running a home means always having to interrupt the things you enjoy to do mundane tasks like cooking, cleaning and washing. Still, I'm grateful I can still do all those mundane things and still have the time to do things I enjoy.

Boots present from daughter; dress by Tu, long sleeved tee by Joules; jeans by East; all charity shopped.

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped. I took the scarf off in London as we had to wear masks on the buses.

It rained heavily all night and was still raining when I got up on Friday morning. I drove to London to Marian's house and then we set off via 2 buses to the British Museum. Using the bus rather than the tube means I can use my bus pass and travel for free. I can't do that on the tube but Marian can as people who live in London get something called a 'Freedom Pass' which allows them to travel on buses and tubes and some overground trains in and around London. It was a sunny day, bright but pretty cold and windy; thankfully the rain had stopped by then. It was an interesting visit to the museum but unless I take a grandchild I can't see me going back again. It's a huge place so we were quite selective; spending time looking at Chinese Ceramics,  the Islamic World, Ancient Iran  and Sutton Hoo and Europe  AD 300 - 1100, in some detail. We quickly looked at the mummies (Ancient Egypt) and the Assyrian artefacts. We also saw the famous Rosetta Stone; the Lewis Chessmen and I was totally fascinated by Lindow Man (Bog man). Unfortunately, as the light on this display was deliberately kept dim to preserve the remains; I couldn't see all the detail which was a bit frustrating.  I didn't take any photos as I wasn't sure it was allowed. Of the 7 eateries and cafes in the museum only two were open so things still hadn't quite got back to normal. Marian and I had a good catch up as well enjoying ourselves and from Marian's I went to visit my friend Bernie who only lives a short distance away. It was good to catch up with her, too.  I didn't get home until nearly 11 pm - what a dirty stop out!

After a pretty hectic day on Friday I chilled out on Saturday. The Honesty seeds I'd reordered arrived just as I made breakfast for me and youngest grandson who had stayed overnight. I got dressed and pottered about doing little jobs around the house including putting on a wash. It was still very windy out so I hung the wash on the line. I went for a swim in the afternoon; swam 48 laps or 1 mile finishing just as the whistle blew.  It was surprisingly not crowded which was what I was expecting; it being the weekend. I went to Sainsbury's for a few things that had been forgotten on Thursday then came home to chill out. OH made dinner and I read and spent time on the lap top looking at ferry bookings to Ireland for Easter. There seemed to be no travel restrictions to Ireland; just the need to show proof of vaccination. Thank goodness for small mercies.

Everything was charity shopped. Boots as before. Skirt by M&S (Per Una); top by Isle and cardigan by Masai.

All jewellery charity shopped. I lost one of these earrings when I went to Sainsburys; earlier in the week I lost one of a red pair that middle grandson's mum bought me years ago. Some weeks it goes like that...

I went for a swim at 9 am on Sunday morning and swam another mile or 48 laps. I was knackered at the end... I was very surprised at how relatively uncrowded the pool was on both Saturday and Sunday. I now quite fancy swapping my Tuesday swim to a Sunday morning one. After eating a hearty breakfast I decided to try and make some earrings to make up for my two recent earring losses. I made these 2 pairs above; using beads from old necklaces but unfortunately I didn't have any red beads. I also shortened some of my long dangly earrings as I find I wear dangly earrings less and less. They often are too long for my necklaces and they always get caught up in scarves. My favourite earring type is the ball type as above;  and square, rectangular or teardrop shaped earrings. After feeling pleased with my Sunday morning creative spurt; I made a 'Very Veggie Lentil Bake' for dinner for my daughter and me as well as making a roast dinner for the rest of the family. The usual weekly housecleaning was done before any cooking commenced. We watched 'The Great Pottery Throw Down' in the evening and started watching another Finnish drama called 'Deadwind'.

bought from a charity shop. Homemade dress (not by me); cardigan is very old; boots by Clarks.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Imagine my horror when I got to Barnardo's on Monday to be told the task for Monday was to thoroughly clean the shop! I hate cleaning. All donations had been suspended  until Thursday to allow the cleaning to take place. The first task was to remove any sellotape and sticky residues from the shop windows and doors. Then I cleaned our 3 display cabinets and wiped down and rearranged all the shelves and shelving units around the shop. I enjoyed rearranging the goods for sale on the shelves. All that took me up to 1 pm and home time. I left with a layering polo neck jumper I wished I'd bought a week back; luckily it was still there. I also bought a red spotted M&S skirt. When I was at the food bank on Thursday I was asked if Barnardo's had any odd bowls that could be used for cereal by the food bank clients; I said I'd see what I could find. I found 11 bowls in an assortment of plastic, glass and china and purchased those for the food bank. As we rag some of our unsold donated clothing we also pass on our unwanted bric a brac. I asked if in future any odd bowls that might be discarded by the shop be kept for me and I would buy them for the food bank.

The first thing I noticed when I got in was that one of the the hyacinths had bloomed. It was a very pale pink and not the deep purple one I like the best.  I did the usual sorting out of the fire when I got home; hung up a whites wash and made some vegan flapjacks and chicken soup from yesterday's leftovers. I also washed the kitchen floor as I ran out of time yesterday to do it. I had an unfortunate encounter with a rat in the garden. I have to stop putting food on the ground for the birds as clearly the rats are getting most of it. It's such a shame as some birds are ground feeders and won't eat from the feeders. The rat picked up most over the left over chopped up roast potatoes; carrying them off behind a large green plant pot. It then crossed the length of the garden to get to the other bird feeding station where it took what was left there; each time going back to behind the green planter. I shall ask OH to investigate; if I looked behind the planter and saw a nest with baby rats in it I would have a conniption! I had to admire the rat's endeavours all the same. I caught up with blogs and wrote my own in the evening.

This was what I wore on Tuesday to the food bank. It wasn't a cold day but I wore my jacket in the warehouse. They were pleased with the bowls I brought in from Barnardo's. I made up 30 single and 30 family hygiene packs and restocked the crates. I told them I wouldn't be able to do an extra session this Thursday as sometimes I find it's a bit much. I think I will do every other Thursday until they got more volunteers. It's a busy Thursday again this week as there is the usual swimming and shopping plus a  hairdresser appointment.

Everything charity shopped.
This was the M&S skirt and polo neck I bought at Barnardo's on Monday; boots as before and jumper by Simon Jefferies. 

I went for a swim in the afternoon just managing 48 laps or 1 mile. I'm hoping today's swim will be the last Tuesday swim for a while. I shall go swimming on Thursday and Sunday mornings instead; starting next week which will be more convenient. I can also run any errands I have on Tuesday afternoon. A change is as a good as a rest they say!

See you in a fortnight!

Lost earrings, birthday and some sad news.

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