Monday, 18 July 2022

Walking by the Thames in heat wave July.

I couldn't get my remote clicker to work on Wednesday and these photos were the best I could do. The setting was also stuck on 2 seconds; I had 2 seconds to get back into position before the photo was taken. You can see it didn't work; I'm still in motion on the right! On Thursday, however, everything was fine as I realised the clicker wasn't working because I had forgotten to enable Bluetooth on my phone so it wasn't picking up the clicker's signal - doh. Anyway, this was my outfit on Wednesday. Loose blue speckled trousers by M&S; a top by F&F and navy blue Mary Janes. All jewellery and clothes charity shopped. 

All of us except OH had not been feeling well. Me, since Tuesday. We all had coughs, runny noses, lots of sneezing and feeling achey and shivery. We all tested negative for Covid but grandson didn't go to school on Wednesday. I kept dosing myself up with Paracetamol and Ibuprofen which kept the shivers and the aches under control. I went into town to run a few errands and on the way back stopped at the 3:16 charity shop which I hadn't been to for ages. They had a half price sale on all the clothes and bags. I found a festival bag for my daughter who was off to the 'Wireless' festival on Sunday/Monday;  a Jasper Conran loose fitting shirt for me for 2.00. I made dinner and chilled out reading in the evening.

Thursday started out as a dull day but by noon the sun was out and it was beautiful. I went swimming and managed 45 laps - we were late into the pool and I wasn't feeling to push myself to get 48 laps in. Some days I do and some days I take it easier and manage what I can in the time we're given. I wore the Jasper Conran loose shirt bought yesterday; it was washed and dried within an hour. Next jeans frayed by me and black sandals as before. All jewellery charity shopped.

After swimming and hanging out a towels wash on the line I got ready and went to do the weekly Lidl shop. Listening in the car on the way there to the news of Boris Johnson's resignation. Thank the Lord and the pass the gravy! What an abhorrent human being he is and he should have had the grace to go ages ago. The news did cheer me up I must say, although it appears he'll be hanging around like a bad smell for another couple of turned out to be a glorious afternoon with heat, sunshine and cloudless blue skies.

I had just enough time to unpack the shopping then I walked to the Mobile Breast Screening Unit at Bedford Hospital North Wing to have my breasts squished between x-ray plates. Thank goodness it's only once every three years and I know how lucky we are to have such a (free) service. God bless our NHS. North Wing was once the site of the Bedford Workhouse and although now fenced off in a state of dereliction awaiting demolition; there were patches of wild flowers all over the area. These are sweet peas above which had no scent so were probably the everlasting sweet pea type. Our sweet peas in the garden have been reluctant to produce more than a couple of flowers at a time although they have a wonderful scent. I think next year I'll go for the everlasting ones and forego the scent...

Back home I made dinner and did a bit of a catch up with blog land before watching the demise of Boris Johnson on the TV. 

I knew it was a hot day as soon as I got up on Friday morning. My face starts to sweat before I've even done anything when it's hot and that's what happened. It was 27 degrees all day and just about as much heat as I can tolerate...

I have SPF Factor 50 on which makes my face quite shiny but better that than sun burn or worse still, skin cancer!

I didn't bother with much in the way of my outfit; yesterday's jeans and a short sleeved tee from Dorothy Perkins; I ditched the Vans for my Sainsbury's sliders; they were cooler for my feet. Everything charity shopped including earrings. I took my trolley and went into town to Wilko to buy bird food supplies. Pulling my trolley along always makes feel ancient but it's so useful! I also popped into Oxfam and asked about pick-ups and they do collect books. Yay! I had a bag of heavy, hard back, non-fiction books ready to be donated but couldn't carry them there. Once home I had something to eat and then set off for Pells; a local farm shop and nursery where I bought some plants. The mini begonias in one of the front window boxes had died and we needed replacements. I bought some mini chrysanthemums, some large begonias and some bidens; which are very bee friendly. That was more than enough for the window box but we had a few empty pots that needed refilling. I had hung out a wash earlier and by the time I got in it was bone dry. As we would be in London on Saturday I needed to try and get the washing done otherwise it would all have to be done on Sunday which is a busy enough day. I chilled out for the rest of the day doing lap top stuff and reading.

In the garden the fuchsias are blooming well. There are two more; one is in bud and the other which has very tiny flowers is just about to bloom.
We have a white Agapanthus, too!

Our walk on Saturday was excellent - but oh my goodness was it hot. We were lucky enough to walk mainly along the Thames pathway and therefore have a breeze off the river. The walk was called 'A Right Royal Ramble' and was a celebration for the Queen's Jubilee organised by the Ramblers. We got off the train at Farringdon and took the (newly open this year) Elizabeth underground line to Woolwich Arsenal; (OH did his training here in 1971). From there we walked along the Thames to the Thames Barrier. Past the 02 dome;  through the Greenwich tunnel which goes under the Thames to Greenwich; then  to Mud Chute city farm; the biggest city farm in Europe, apparently. The plan was then to walk to Canary Wharf and catch the tube back to Farringdon. OH and I dropped out after 9 miles at Mud Chute farm. My foot was protesting and OH's knees were also protesting. It was a glorious day and lovely to see so many of my walking friends again. I know I feel able to go back to my normal walking routine having completed 9 miles with not too much difficulty.

Can you spot us? I'm standing next to the walk leader, Roger. I've got my V&A sunhat in my hand. OH was trying to wander off but got caught...

Anthony Gormley statues at the Woolwich Arsenal
Above and right; the Thames Barrier with Canary Wharf in the background. On the left is Canning Town home to Tate and Lyle Sugar Refinery.

Behind the Thames Barrier.

The Emirates Cable Car across the Thames.

Some of the sculptures seen along the Thames and the Olympian Way. Left; 'Mermaid' by Damien Hirst. Above right; 'Quantum Cloud'. Bottom right made of driftwood; 'St. George and the Dragon'.

A mini beach by the Thames.

The entrance to the Blackwall Tunnel.

One of the almshouses at Greenwich.

We arrived home footsore and very tired. We actually took a taxi from the station as I couldn't face anymore walking and my PF thanked me for it. OH made us something to eat and I had an early night. I was up bright and early on Sunday and swam my 48 laps. I felt back to normal on Saturday so whatever the bug was I had it lasted only 4 days.

It was another very, very hot day and although I'm wearing a jacket here I didn't wear it out - too damn hot. Everything charity shopped except the tee shirt; Primarni retail. Shoes by Hotter; Cat's Protection League. All jewellery charity shopped.

Sunday was a super busy day. After getting ready I had to go to the big Sainsbury's for a couple of things for dinner; then I hung out the wash and started the house cleaning. OH went to London to see his mum. I picked up grandson and ex son-in-law from basketball; finished the house cleaning and made dinner. OH was back in time for dinner and after dinner I took middle grandson home to pick up his computing gear as he too was staying overnight; his mum was also at the Wireless Festival. I then sat down and put my feet up for the rest of the evening watching the final episode of 'The Outlaws'. A new 'Walter Presents' Nordic noir had started on Saturday so we shall catch up with that in the week.

If it's Monday it must be Barnardo's!

I bought this linen dress last week at the Sue Ryder charity shop. It's baggy and shapeless but it was lovely and cool to wear. It's been relegated to 'wearing round the house when it's hot' status. Black sandals as before and all jewellery charity shopped; except earrings from Sainsburys and very old now.

31 degrees today and it was hardly bearable. Temperatures were set to rise even higher over the next few weeks. I suppose we must learn to live with it and the blessing was it wasn't humid as well as hot. That type of weather makes me wilt like a limp lettuce and drains my energy. It wasn't very busy at the charity shop and I spent the morning processing as many of the donations as I could. We now have a shortage of hangers which makes getting the donations processed and out on the shop floor somewhat difficult. We have to label and price but put no date and store the items in bags until we have sufficient hangers. I bought my daughter a hoodie from Topshop from the 1.00 rail and a Phase Eight top for me also from the 1.00 rail. I'd put quite a lot in the donations bag at home last week as had OH; I have almost another full bag to be dropped off this week. Oxfam came on Sunday to collect the books. I hung out a wash when I got home and took middle grandson home. OH made dinner with the left-over chicken and we watched the new Nordic noir series 'Trom'.
It was a very warm night but I managed to sleep. Tuesday was forecast to be as hot as Monday.

It was less sunny but just as warm. We also had about a minute of rain! My go to clothes in this type of heat are cotton dresses preferably without the need for a half slip underneath. This green dress was bought from 'Vinted' during the first lock down and doesn't need a half slip. Sandals by New Look; charity shopped as was all jewellery. I spent my time at the food bank making up food parcels as I covered for someone who was on holiday. When I'd finished at the food bank I went into town to get my eyebrows done and to run some errands. I spent the rest of the day catching up with blogging and blog land and making dinner. We had more rain later that day and it cooled down considerably with a nice cool breeze. OH still had to water the plants. And on Wednesday there was the first nasturtium! Yay!! There's a second one coming through, too. Last year Vix sent me some seeds but they didn't develop into anything unfortunately; this year I bought some from Sarah Raven and this is the result. Apparently they self-seed so I can share them with Ann and my neighbour Anna.

The first of our 2 hollyhocks bloomed, too.

The clematis was doing well.

This verbena I bought a few weeks back was such a beautiful vibrant shade of red.

Still warm on Wednesday but the morning was cloudy. I went for a walk with my daughter of 5 miles. Then I went to buy bread in town when I got back. The sun came out after 12 and shone all day reaching 26 degrees. Yes, I can cope with that...
I collected one grandson from school then took the other to the dentist. By then it was time to return home and start dinner. The day flies by so fast...

I have been living in these sliders bought in Sainsbury's sale a couple of years ago. They are so cool to wear being open and having a thick sole are very good for support for my PF. I am steering away from flat foot wear which rules out most of my sandals. I put the orthotic inserts in some of my shoes but they can't go in anything with an open back so it's a bit limited in the shoe department at the moment! I also found my favourite white top. It had been put away on the shelf at the top of the wardrobe along with a lot of shirts and cardigans. I have taken down only one shirt and no cardigans, since I boxed them up and put them away just before Christmas. I think I could probably donate the lot and not miss them! I'm still trying to decide whether to do this and will let you know. The top was charity shopped from my Barnardo's; as were the cropped loose trousers. All jewellery also charity shopped. I also have a correction to make. I recently featured on the blog several dresses that I hadn't yet worn. One of the dresses (short, navy blue with spots by M&S) had been worn before around the same time last year; I found it on the floor at the back of the wardrobe and assumed it hadn't been worn. I now know I wore it last year because one of those things popped up on my phone reminding me of what I was doing a year ago in June - wearing the same dress, apparently!

Thursday was also cooler with a pleasant breeze. I went for the usual swim in the morning and then couldn't decide which jacket to wear with the outfit. I could have gone without the jacket as it wasn't at all cold. Both jackets are new acquisitions The caramel coloured jacket was picked up at The Children's Society last week and the green linen jacket by M&S; I bought yesterday on my trip to town. Both were 5.00. I have wanted a plain khaki green jacket for so long. I wear jackets a lot and to this end I decided to look critically at the cardigans I had packed away on the shelf in the wardrobe. I kept a few neutral coloured ones but put the coloured and patterned ones into the donations bag. I did the same with some shirts that had also been packed away; keeping only 3 out of 6. I found more summer trousers in among the cardigans and shirts and put all bar 2 into the donations bag. I now have another bulging black sack ready for the charity shop - and a lot more room on my wardrobe shelf!

The canna lily; 'King Humbert Gold', bloomed today.

Everything charity shopped except the Birkenstocks; donated by my daughter. Skirt by Kaliko; top by Talbots and jackets as above.

All jewellery charity shopped.

After swimming I went to the hairdresser. She was supposed to be going away to Greece for a month so I had booked an appointment for just before she left; a week earlier than my normal appointment. She's not going now until the beginning of August. I may have to go back just before she leaves as she won't be back until September. The sides grow out quite quickly and I had the hair trimmed and not shaved. After the hairdresser; it was off to do the Lidl weekly shop. When I went to my car, however, there were a couple of people examining it and it transpired they had just hit my rear bumper. Lots of scratches and part of the trim on the bumper was out of alignment. We took photos; exchanged details etc. It's just a nuisance as it will have to go into the garage at some point to get the damage repaired. I emailed photos of the damage to the garage and will be sent a quote which I will pass on to the other party.

Look what OH came home with:

A blue hydrangea! I have coveted one of these for such a long time. They remind me so much of Ireland. Just before you get to Fintragh Strand in Co. Donegal there is a high roadside bank; which in the summer when I'm usually there, is full to bursting with lots of hydrangeas of all colours but especially the blue ones. It's a spectacular sight but very hard to photograph as the road is very narrow and twisty so you can't stop.

As for reading I'm currently being transported back to the middle ages and a Benedictine Monastery in Shrewsbury in the very good company of Father Cadfael; a mediaeval sleuth. My cousin, Marian, gave me two of Ellis Peter's Father Cadfael omnibus editions last year and I've only got round to reading them.

These trousers were one of the pairs I found put away on the shelf in the wardrobe. They're handmade but not by me and along with the linen top by Valentyne both charity shopped from Barnardo's. I spilt oil down the front of the top later on on Friday and had to change. All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings bought in Debenham's sale years ago.

It's all change in our house over the next few days. Ex son-in-law moves out at the weekend and next week my son is coming to live back at home. I have missed him but he will be looking for his own place. Anyhow, with all this in mind I spent most of Friday cleaning. Yes, that's right; cleaning! I gave the kitchen what is called these days a 'deep clean'. I took everything off the counters and washed the tiles, then the counters; then everything on the counters. I cleaned the fridge; the cooker; the washing machine and the tumble dryer. I washed the paintwork and cleaned out some of the cupboards.  I swept and washed the floor. OH will clean the windows at the weekend. It took four hours to do the kitchen (I'll never get those hours back will I?) and then I washed down all the bathroom tiles. OH cleans the bathroom but never does this; the soap and grime build up over time. I used to do far more housework like this; washing paintwork every few months and doing this sort of deep cleaning much more regularly; now I just begrudge the time and would prefer to go for a walk; or read; or swim or anything else really! I did feel righteous when it was all done, though and made some flapjacks and caught up with blogging and blog land.

27 degrees again on Saturday. I wore this dress picked up at the 3:16 charity shop for 1.00  a few years ago but I don't like it  and it will be re-donated. Birkenstocks donated by my daughter. All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings which were a gift from OH many years ago; they're moonstone and silver. Believe it or not I have fake tanning lotion on my legs but they look awfully pale in these photos... I use Dove 'Visible Glow' self tanning lotion every other day on my legs.

I spent most of the day washing bed linen and towels ready for my son's return. OH and I did have a trip to the nursery at Poddington where we bought a few reduced to 50 p herbs; some pansies for the wall planter; 2 reduced verbiscums and some horticultural grit. Watching Carol Klein's 'Summer Gardening' and seeing her lovely display of verbiscums on Friday evening it felt like we were meant to buy some! As the garden nursery was very close to the town of Rushden we stopped there for a quick rummage. I bought a cotton half slip - all my slips are made of polyester and a bangle in the Salvation Army. It was looking strangely depleted of stock although I heard a volunteer tell another volunteer they had stopped donations as they were overwhelmed with stuff. They were clearly not processing them quickly enough and that may have been down to lack of volunteers. Rushden has an Asda (it's our nearest) so we also stopped off there to buy a few things I'd forgotten on Thursday's food shop. When we got home OH potted up some of our purchases and we made a light easy dinner and watched 'Trom' in the evening. It was the first time in about 7 weeks OH and I had the house to ourselves...

A Nordic noir set on the Faroe Islands...

30 degrees on Sunday. I went for the usual swim managing 48 laps just before the whistle blew. I had woken up really early and got up and had a wash out on the line by 7.30. It was dry when I got back from swimming. OH and I did the weekly house clean and I had a trip to Tesco to buy some stuff for my son. OH potted up the remainder of yesterday's purchases and very fine they all looked. There was no one for dinner except OH and me so it was a laid back kind of day - just as well in that heat!

This cotton maxi was charity shopped from my Barnardo's and was lovely and cool. Tee shirt also charity shopped from 1.00 rail somewhere last year - I pounced when I saw an orange tee shirt! I almost wore a pink and orange checked blouse with this but it had short puffed sleeves which were a bit too tight for comfort. Sliders as before and all jewellery charity shopped.

I was having a time off from the charity shop and the food bank this week so it was great not to have to get up early on Monday but of course I did. I had to go to the chemist to collect my prescription;  to drop off the big bag of donations to the Hospice shop; to the butchers for halal meat for my son and then to the retail park to buy him a rucksack. All was completed and I was home and chilling out before the temperatures climbed to their highest of 38 degrees in the afternoon.

I wore this Next cotton dress; black sandals both charity shopped; no jewellery - too hot. I didn't even bother with earrings! I am very hot and sweaty in the head and shoulders photo above and was for most of the day. Middle grandson and I drive to London this evening when it has cooled down and are staying overnight. We collect son in the morning and I am so truly thankful to have air conditioning in my car; on what is going to be the hottest day ever recorded in the UK...

Stay cool!

Naahh, Luton Airport.

Hello - it's that time again!  Time is certainly flying and we're definitely into autumnal mode now. Schools are back; leaves are fa...