Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Life In Lockdown - Day 74 & 75



I awoke on Tuesday (day 74) to yet another glorious day. At just after 6am, I was giving the revamped chests of drawers another coat of varnish in the garden before my daily Wii Fit session and a blog catch-up. As we were expecting a visit from friends later, Jon went out straight after breakfast as he needed some work done at the tyre fitters on the other side of town.


Even though the weather was set to change, I decided it was finally safe to pack away my velvet maxis, polo necks and the last of my synthetic dresses (blame me if it snows at the weekend) so I got the suitcase down from the top of the wardrobe in the spare room and did just that before throwing on yesterday's dress and watering the garden.


When Jon returned from his mission we sat in the garden with a coffee contemplating the tasks for the day, Jon's plans were to continue working on Gilbert while mine was to turn some unwanted bits and pieces into garden planters.


Jon got out his cordless drill and added a few drainage holes to a dented Victorian copper kettle, the old galvanised mop bucket, a rusting 1950s Tala cook's measure, an empty can of paprika and an enamel teapot and I got started.


I didn't have any new plants so used what I'd already got, ivy, houseleeks and some of last year's annuals I'd refused to throw away. 


Just as I was finishing up the delivery driver appeared with my new watering can. Talk about fortuitous timing! I know you've already seen the dress I thought made me look like a sack of spuds but didn't but check out those Mother-of-Pearl buttons down the back and the superb pattern matching. 


Our productivity was interrupted by Kitty, next-door's crazed tabby, who'd managed to catch and kill one of the mice living in our rockery, just as she vanished over the garden wall with her prey clamped firmly between her jaws, Frank, despite half his teeth missing, appeared minutes later with another dead mouse, which he tossed in the air and played with for over an hour in the blazing heat until collapsing exhausted on a deckchair.


Just as we'd disposed of the corpse, Stephen appeared from his mid-morning nap and decided that he too needed to kill a mouse. That's after we'd caught him trying to use Jacob's new enclosure as a litter tray and, after being shooed off, having a wee in the gravel. Cats! They might look elegant and classy but they don't act it.



After noodles, our visitors Liz and Al cycled over and we sat in the garden chatting and drinking at a safe distance for a couple of hours. It was the first time we'd seen each other in months. Lockdown was announced just before Liz's birthday and, as her presents were too big to pop in the postbox, she had a belated unwrapping session in the sunshine. They'd been wrapped up for so long that I'd forgotten what was in there myself.


Izzy arrived with the post while we were sitting together in the sunshine. It was the 5m length of Anokhi fabric I'd bought on eBay on Friday night. It's just as gorgeous as the photos, if not more so.


Liz & Al left at just after 3pm, time to crack on with a few more jobs. The groovy vintage deckchair Frank had laid claim to was a car boot sale find a couple of years ago. It wasn't actually for sale, the elderly couple with the stall had brought it with them to sit on, but I think they found my unbridled enthusiasm for the amazing print hilarious and insisted that we took it with us.


The fabric had started to fray in places so I cut up some tiny pieces from a square leftover from my last patchwork project and handstitched them into place.


I'd forgotten all about this deckchair. I'd spotted it back in November, dumped in the street after an all-dayer in Wetherspoons and had insisted on bringing it home with us despite the torrential rain and being a bit unsteady on my feet. Someone had replaced one of the plastic armrests with a wooden one and it was a bit on the rusty side but the seat was sound and it seemed a crime to let it go to landfill.


I had a rummage through my collection of tester pots and disguised the miss-matched arms with a couple of coats of orange paint and a layer of yacht varnish to keep it water-resistant.


Jon headed back across town to pick up his wheels and I spent the rest of the afternoon reading in the sunshine. Once the sun had disappeared behind the trees I harvested some of our crops; lettuce, rocket, oriental mixed leaves, radishes, Summer savoury, parsley, mustard and curled cress and gave the garden a final watering.


Tea was half a sourdough pizza from Jon's trip to the Co-op, salad and the rest of yesterday's potato salad.


After we'd eaten we thought we'd make the most of what was possibly the last warm and dry evening for a while and adjourned to the garden for a beer. We call this The Cat Chariot, both lads wait for Jon and then walk a foot or so in front of him side by side. Last night they led him to the top of the garden to explore the wilderness. Later we watched Jay Blades' DIY Fix and the second episode of the excellent House Through Time before retiring to bed with our books.

Jay Blades (Source)

Wednesday morning (day 75) rolled around and there was no early morning sunshine streaming through the curtains waking me up, it was dark and gloomy and had just started to rain when I got up at 6.30am and, when I opened the door to let two disgruntled cats out, the temperature had plummeted by about 10°C. Oh well, it was good while it lasted. After scurrying outside to rescue the deckchairs, I did my Wii Fit session and caught up with Blogland.


Last week one of the feet on my Wii Fit board disintegrated and was too far gone to glue back together. I was horrified to discover that a new board costs in excess of £100 but, after a search on eBay, found a secondhand replacement (including postage) for £20. Within minutes of finishing our fruit and yoghurt breakfast, the lovely MyHermes driver arrived with my new-to-me board. I can't really complain, the last one lasted over 12 years!


Since I'd painted the tiny chest of drawers that I keep on the dressing table, the top was looking terribly shabby in comparison so, while Jon was outside tinkering with Gilbert, I removed all my paraphernalia, dusted and sanded it down. The dressing table is aged creamy-white but the only pale paint we had was dazzling white but, you know me, I refuse to buy anything new if I can make do with something we've already got, so I gave the top a coat of white paint, left it to dry then applied a layer of beeswax from a tin I found underneath the sink. I scuffed it up with an old rag until the paint took on a more aged looking shade of white. 


Jon called me down for lunch which, by way of a change was a delicious Gorgonzola & salad sandwich on sourdough bread studded with Kalamata olives and a fistful of Kukure.


The postman arrived and handed over a couple of packages, both for me (doing well today, aren't I?) One was a lovely surprise from our dear friends, Lynn (follow her blog HERE) and Philip, a book celebrating the Swinging Sixties along with 6 groovy prints and a selection of Vogue postcards featuring iconic covers. Wow!



The other package wasn't quite so exciting, a pack of eco-friendly dye to filter out ultra-violet light and control algae in ponds. I'd seen it featured recently on a garden makeover show and managed to get some on eBay for a third of the normal price.


It might be peeing it down outside but, you know us, we had to try it out straight away. I love the drama of the deep blue dye, hopefully, it'll sort out all the slime without harming the frogs that live in it.


Time to get back into the warmth and put everything back on the dressing table.


Meanwhile, Jon was taking everything down from the walls and shelves in the kitchen. With days of wet & unseasonally weather ahead of us (I knew it was tempting fate when I packed those dresses away yesterday), it's finally the time to decorate the kitchen and I'm beyond excited.

WEARING: Vintage Mayur Indian gauze midi dress (local selling page), Lotta from Stockholm clogs

It's far too wet to contemplate outdoor photos today and despite only being seen by Jon, the postman and the MyHermes driver, I still wore a decent dress and lipstick. I'm not me unless I do.


The central heating's just clicked on (I've turned it back off), the curtains are drawn and there are vegetables & halloumi roasting in the oven - what a difference a day makes, it feels like March rather than June. Still, we've got rum & cola ready and waiting and The Great British Sewing Bee on the TV at 9pm, so it's not all bad.

Stay safe, happy and healthy! 

43 comments:

  1. You are a master of reuse - love your growing pots. Also, great save on both deck chairs, they couldn't be more you! You could be the poster child for "Make Do and Mend" lol. Enjoy your rum. I can't have any alcohol for a long time so am a bit jealous!

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    1. Thank you! If it stands still for long enough I'll plant it! I've always loved repurposing stuff but since I've lost all interest in shops I'm determined to make do with what I've got, thank goodness Jon's a hoarder of DIY materials!
      That's terrible you not having any alcohol, you'd even stocked up. Hope you start to feel much better soon. xxx

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  2. Just catching up with your posts and I noticed somewhere that you mentioned 'Cardinal'. It's on tonight at the same time as Sewing Bee!The Repair Shop's on too just before it! Spoiled for choice tonight.I was chuckling at you standing on your bed with your clogs on!I had a dressing table similar to yours but donated it to my sister. Looking forward to seeing your kitchen makeover. x

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    1. What on earth are the Beeb playing at? Foreign thrillers are for Saturday nights. I'm going to watch The Bee and save Cardinal for the weekend!
      You don't miss a trick, I meant to take my clogs off but couldn't be bothered. naughty!
      I'm looking forward to the kitchen, too. It looks awful at the moment! xxx

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  3. No rain here yet but I'm sure we'll catch up. I'm going to miss sitting in the garden.
    The cat chariot is a bit surreal, animals are so funny, when Ziggy wants something he pokes me on the leg with his nose.
    I like your planting up and deckchair repairs.
    Im looking forward to seeing the decorated kitchen. xxx

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    1. It's been relentless here all day. I know it's good for the garden but it isn't half depressing!
      Animals are so weird, I like Ziggy's way of grabbing your attention. When they want him to get up Stephen taps Jon's face and Frank licks Jon's ears!
      I'm looking forward to the kitchen being done altough looking at the crumbling plaster, missing skirting boards and leaking back door it may take some time! xxx

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  4. Love your assortment of bits and pieces turned into planters. Of course, my eye was drawn immediately to the Tala Cook's Measure! Cats! It's been a while since Phoebe actually caught something, but she was eye in eye with a juvenile crow which had landed in our garden earlier today. I could actually go without touching distance of it, and it just sat there flapping its wings. I'm not sure if Miss P. would have actually caught it, but I breathed a sigh of relief when it flew away! Both deckchairs are amazing, by the way, I love how you revamped the arm rests! Must have been lovely catching up with your friends! We are expecting your rain tomorrow, by the way ... Love the book Lynn & Philip sent you, and I've got some of those fabulous Vogue postcards as well. Now that I think of it, I got them from Lynn too. How funny. I guess our gardens do need a bit of rain, but I do hope we'll both see the return of the sunny days pretty soon. xxx

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    1. Funnily enough I grabbed that Tala measure with you in mind hoping that I could clean the rust off it but it was beyond rescue. Hopefully it'll fare better as a planter!
      Thank goodness Phoebe didn't get the crow, the babies don't have a clue , do they? there's been a few moments this Spring where our hearts are in our mouths watching baby blackbirds passing within inches of the cats to feed!
      I had to rescue that deckchair, you can never have enough of them.
      Lynn must have a stash of Vogue postcards. They're gorgeous, aren't they?
      It's stopped raining this morning but it's grey and chilly. Never mind, thee's plenty in the house that can be done! xxx

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  5. i must admit to being tempted to finish the decorating i started months ago and abandoned because the paint wouldnt dry , i did put away all my winter stuff monday but im glad one jumper was in the wash , it was lovely underneath the big sycamore shovelling compost out of the rain

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    1. I bet your shovelling session soon warmed you up.
      We've been meaning to redecorate the kitchen for years, the return to the usual rubbish Summer means we've got no excuse not to. x

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  6. I spent the morning at the dentist getting a cleaning and a crown. It's the longest I've been away from home since March 23rd! Good thing I'm a homebody and haven't gone stir crazy

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    1. Oh no! That doesn't sounds like the first fun outing you wanted after lockdown. Our dentists don't reopen till next week and they didn't even find out until they happened to it on the daily briefing. Hope you're okay. xxx

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  7. Lovely post again! Ahh your dressing table brings back memories, my Mum had all second hand stuff when we were growing up and she had the dresser with those little drawers, I loved it. I was giggling at the story of the deck chair being brought home after an all dayer. We have a rustic garden (near the secret path we are finding) so all the old tools, milk churns etc live there and get planted up. Love this make do and mend mentality as it is how I was brought up(Mum did not have a choice0. Keep creating as it obviously makes you so happy ( and we get the benefit lol)x

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    1. Thank you! I do love those little drawers, whenever I can't find anything I look in them and discover it, chucked in there after a frantic tidying up session.
      I do love the sound of your secret path and rustic garden. Whenever I see a milk churn or rusting piece of machinery on the Antiques Road Trip or Bargain Hunt I'm always shouting that it would be great in the garden.
      Like your Mum did with you, we were brought up the same way. If the outcome of these strange times led to people thinking more creatively & reusing what they'd already got instead of the endless pursuit of buying new, it could be a real positive. Sadly, looking at those idiots on the news last night causing traffc chaos to get to McDonald's makes me think that most folk will emmerge from lockdown even more stupid and selfish than they were before. Sorry, bit of a rant there!
      Loads of love to you, stay fabulous and thanks as always for your lovely messages. xxx

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  8. I've been painting doors, very boring but they look so much better. I'm digging the make do and mend thing, definitely taking this with me out of lockdown.

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    1. Well done on getting those doors done! It is a really tedious task (I've put it off for far too long) but it bet they look miles better.
      I was watching Gardener's World the other night and even they had got in on the act, making do with old tins and boxes rather than going to the garden centre for planters. It would be such a positive thing to take out of lockdown if we all started thinking about reusing and making do instead of constantly buying more. xxx

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  9. LOve the ever so slightly shabby chic look you gave to your dressing table. Some of my happiest years were spent having to "make do", so I love reading about how you rustle around and use what you have. And the "new" garden plant hioders are charming.

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    1. Thanks, Ratnamurti! I think that making do, either in your home or with your wardrobe, looks far more authentic and allows one's personality to shine through. xxx

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  10. My goodness, you never stop! Your new Anokhi fabric is very pretty, interested to see what you decide to make. The dressing table paint job worked really well. Watched the last of Killing Eve - brilliant.

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    1. I can't sit still, I find it really hard even more so if the weather's rubbish!
      My head's buzzing with ideas about the Anokhi fabric, I'm scared to take the scissors to it, I might wait until we're allowed to spend time in friend's houses then I can have a sewing day with Liz so she can supervise me.
      You wouldn't wait for the finale of Killing Eve either! xx

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  11. Hi vix, the good thing about lockdown is that you get lots of things down, sadly it affects your wages !!! the plants have gone on a mad growing spree as it is rainy season here. Humidity and rain do not mix !!! Love the dressing table, I like using eco paints were I can as I have a child that likes to bite everything!!! that includes furniture.
    I just hope she grows out of it. Your food always looks yummy. Infact I had an urge to have onion bahjis on Tuesday, they were lovely. It’s quite hard to get Indian food, you can get anything else food wise but Indian is quite hard. But Paul found some. You should make one of those beautiful dresses you make out of that fabric. It would look awesome. Take care and keep safe

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    1. Hi Alison! You're not wrong there, after years of neglect the house and garden are finally getting sorted. Even when life returns to normal we'll still be gardening and maintaining stuff, it's like like we have an income to spend at the moment so staying busy keeps us out of trouble - as long as I can avoid eBay!
      Well done to Paul for finding bhajis. I used to make my own, in fact I bought gram flour last time I went to Johals especially and it's still sitting in the cupboard untouched.
      That's funny about your bite-y child - I was one of those!
      Loads of love to you. xxx

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  12. What a peaceful interlude for me to spend time with you on this post. I needed it. Even the cat and mouse thing! ūüĎč

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    1. Awww, thanks Rebecca! It's lovely to hear from you. I think the cats were anticipating the change in the weather and went a bit mad before the rain and cold returned. xxx

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  13. Oh, dear, a leaking back door and missing skirting boards? These are omens that more than new lampshades may be involved. Good luck to Jon, and may what he needs be in your sheds!
    Cats vs. rodents is a game that requires supervision in my household, lest the losers be stashed in my bed. I've yet to see mice in my new town home; however, we do have shrews. These bits of venomous energy afflicted a neighbor, who came to borrow my biggest tomcat as an exterminator. He got the job done -- while her three large dogs hid behind her on the sofa. "Nature raw, in fang and claw..."

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    1. I know! People are so kind commenting on how industrious we've been over lockdown but it's only because we've neglected so much over the years!
      We've learnt from past experience (frogs under the fridge, mice under the bed and half-dead birds flapping around the dining room) to keep the interior doors shut when the lads are outside so they can't get further than the tiny tiled hallway with their prey! Well done to your tomcat for saving the neighbour!xxx

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  14. the "schafskälte" (sheep cold) is arriving here the coming night..... i fear my beans are lost.
    clever idea to antique the bright white with wax. have to bookmark this.
    cats eh! but lisbeth gets extra love if catching and eating mice - this beasts are a real pest in the veggi garden.....
    the green dress has a lovely back indeed - love me some back interest in garments, its a sign of quality - cheap stuff has loads of details @ the front but plain backs mostly. we called this "sofa dresses" at the design school - pretty as long as you sit on a sofa.
    good work on the vintage deck chairs - both have a gorgeous pattern and match gilbert!
    xxxx

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    1. Oh dear, I love the name "schafskälte" but hate that it may have destroyed your beans. It rained so heavily last night I'm worried about what's destroyed in our garden, I shall have to put my waterproof on and brave it at some point today.
      Sofa dresses, that's exactly right. Most modern stuff is all about hanger appeal, no pattern matching, pretty details or French seams like the Indian made clothes. xxx

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  15. I read all the time but not sure if I have ever commented. Your posts cheer me up during these strange times and I love reading about your daily adventures home or not. :) I just wanted to finally comment and let you know you are a bright spot in my day.

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    1. Thank you so much for commenting & the thoughtful words, Jubi99, it's lovely to read your comment and know you're out there. xxx

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  16. I love the dressing table revamp - it looks so good.

    I also loved your deck chairs; crazy prints - and what a difference a lick of paint makes? How exciting about your kitchen; I wish I could summon up enthusiasm as our house needs decorating all over. The kitchen was painted when the new one was installed in 2018; but everywhere else it's at least 9 years since it was done. I don't do my own decorating, so I will have to save up and pay someone else to do it; but meantime the list of things to do that are more important pile up....

    Lovely parcels and the material looks superb. I loved your blue dress and
    I had something similar many years in the early 1990s wish I'd hung onto it but it probably wouldn't fit me now anyway.

    Such a shame about the weather...
    xxxx

    How lovely to have friends over! My brother are coming on Saturday and I'm so looking forward to seeing them.

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    1. Thanks, Vronni! It was hard to get the top of the dressing table suitably distressed without looking like hadn't bothered in the first place.
      It must be about 14 years snce our kitchen was painted, now Jon's taken everything down from the walls it's shocking although funny looking at the marks that have been left. The starburst clock has left an almost psychedelic pattern.
      The lady selling that blue dress lived in the next street, when I popped round to get it she said that her sister had given it to her in the mid-1970s but at 70 was too old to wear it. Such a shame she thought like that but all the better for me!
      Have a brilliant time with your brother. You'll have a lot to talk about after so long. xxx

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  17. I just could look at the lovely photos you post on your blog. Do you have any ideal when you will be able to go to market.

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    1. Thanks, Dora! The markets opened up on Monday, I might walk down next week, I've missed our local fruit & veg stall. Are yours open yet? x

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  18. I'm so happy you got to get together with your friends - isn't that awesome? That green dress is amazing, and I laughed at the grand mouse adventures the boys had. Cats are strange creatures. Your Anokhi fabric is amazing - what are you planning for it? Your chairs look great - I love the orange armrests. "The Cat Chariot" is hilarious. I often just go where Vizzini wants me to go (the deck, to protest the temperature, the library, to stare at the wall, or the kitchen, to beg for treats - these are the main destinations). That 60s Vogue packet looks like fodder for craft projects! The dresser top, maybe?? You did do such a wonderful job on that, though, Vix.

    Here's to enjoying the simple life!

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    1. It really was exciting to see Liz & Al! It was weird not hugging and having to remember to maintain a safe distance at all times but so lovely.
      The mouse adventures were hilarious. I'm glad all three of them managed to catch one and join in the fun although their antics have probably wiped out an entire family. Our lads will stare at Jon and shout at him to follow them, they are strange beasts.
      I shall have to think about how to use those cards. I sat in a really cool bar in India where they'd scattered postcards across the tables and added a glass top.
      Hope you're having a fantastic holiday! xxx

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  19. Such a lovely post!, I love your recycled planters, they make think on mediterranean villages and on my own childhood memories!
    I'm loving your green dress, its print is fab and it looks so summery!
    Love to read that Frank's behaviour is 'normal' (for a cat!) ;DDD. Lovely photo of him on the groovy deckchair!. And these Are groovy deckchairs, great job on the mending and orange painting!. I also keep some tester pots and painting leftovers because they're really useful (Mr.A. doesn't agree, minimalistic as he is!)
    And your dressing table is looking fab!

    Lovely that you had visitors at your garden, this makes a difference as any virtual chat can compare with the real thing!
    Looking forward to see your kitchen decoration and what you create with the fantastic anokhi fabric!. Lots of projects and fun!
    besos

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    1. Thanks, Monica! I always love seeing gardens in Greece and Spain when they utilise anything they can find to grow plants in. Nothing is ever wasted.
      Tester pots are essentials, tell Mr A he's crazy! xxx

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  20. Another lovely post, Vix. Your wardrobe looks like an Aladdin's cave - fabby colours!! I love your dressing table renovation too. I've got a vintage set which is quite pretty but rather boring and I am sure I could pep it up if I painted it. It's just a question of getting round to it when there's so much else to do, and limited energy to do it.Your kitties have been excelling themselves on the hunting front, just like ours, it seems. Well done, restoring the Groovy Deckchair just in time for Frank to relax on it after all his efforts. Your recycled planters are brilliant. The closest we can come to that is 2nd hand troughs and tubs (not very imaginative) but we do have a bright red bread bin! My hubby has made a water feature from an upturned tub and bits from Ebay and garden centre, and also a brilliant base for our sundial, from an upturned planter and the base of a broken urn. He's pretty good at knocking things together in the garden!

    Time I was off to bed. It's gone 2 a.m. That's my weird internal clock for you!

    Hugs,
    Shoshi x

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    1. Thanks, Shoshi! Having all this extra time really is a novelty for us, we're usually running around like crazy peopel trying to get everything ready for festival season. It's such a joy to look at things objectively and think about how we can improve them rather than just being frustrated and irritated by the chaos surrounding us.
      I love the sound of the bread bin planter and your homemade sundial!
      Much love to you. xxx

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  21. You made me smile with the cat tales. I think it is good that Frank still managed to do some hunting himself despite him being advanced in years and having teeth problems. It proves he still got it. Interesting how competitive cats can be.
    I love the art in your home....and the dress is lovely.

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    1. Frank's quite young, just tootheless, it's Stephen that's knocking on a bit but together they make a brilliant mouse killing team! xxx

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  22. You are the Queen of the Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle movement! Nice fixup on the chair - I love the colourful fabric on the seats and back too. Shame on Stephen for attempting to pee in Jacob's house! They are very effective mouse-catcher, those two. I don't know how Sylvester would react if he saw a mouse.

    I can't believe how efficient your post is over there! I've purchased a couple of things from vintage sellers I know in New York over the past couple of months, and it has taken 3 weeks for a package to get from NY to Ontario. I've sold a couple of things from my Etsy shop as well and they have taken forever to get to the purchasers.

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