Monday, 29 June 2020

One Hundred (and 101) Days of Solitude

When I called the blog post published on 2nd April Love in A Time of Corona, little did I know that I'd be bastardising the title of Gabriel García Márquez's other masterpiece three months later. For someone who lives for festivals, loves pubs and gets twitchy if she doesn't go charity shopping at least twice a week I thought lockdown would have me climbing the walls. How wrong I was! One hundred and one days since we made the decision to self-isolate (four days before BoJo told us that we had to) and we've enjoyed every moment of our lockdown time.


In 2005, after stripping Stonecroft down to a shell, we'd planned to spend months restoring it but unexpectedly we sold our other house to a cash buyer within an hour of it going on the market and had three weeks to pack up everything we owned and move into a building site. We've lived in chaos ever since, half finishing one room and moving on to the next, at first while holding down full-time jobs, then having me out of action for six months following a total hip replacement and since 2007, running our own business. In between, we've dealt with not only losing Jon's Mum but also my Grandma, my Mum and my Dad and had to empty their homes, sell their houses and deal with all the often-complicated legalities associated with the death of close family members.


Lockdown may have robbed us of an income and a social life but it's given us the gift of time. Stonecroft is finally getting the care and attention it deserves and both house and garden have never looked better, Jon and I have spent over three months almost exclusively in one another's company and you know what? We're happy. I have no wish to visit non-essential shops, go to the pub or rub shoulders with a quarter of a million Brits on English beaches.

Today we're celebrating 101 days in solitude!


Anyway, back to lockdown life.......

I was first up on Sunday morning (day 100). Whilst waiting for the tea to brew, I applied a third coat of paint to the kitchen cupboard then took our mugs back to bed and stayed there reading until 8am. It was too late to wash my hair when I'd showered the previous evening so I did it when I got up. Jon made sausage sandwiches using the spelt loaf he'd baked on Saturday afternoon while I painted my nails at the kitchen table.


After watching the Andrew Marr Show I got dressed and put away the washing that had been hanging up in the utility room since I'd rescued it from the rain the previous day. Jon popped round to Tony's as he'd collected our tiles for us, unable to pick them up ourselves due to Jon's back being knackered.

Lockdown nails - Barry M's The Way You Make Me Teal
It was blustery but dry so I headed out into the garden.

WEARING: 1970's Van Allen cotton maxi dress (eBay, 2002)

I dug over the plot from where I'd pulled up yesterday's turnips, raking in some homemade compost and covering it over with plastic to deter any naughty cat using it at as a toilet. I weeded the patch of land by the water butt, cut back the bamboo, brambles and bindweed threatening to engulf the ferns and dug over the area beneath the apple tree ready for planting with something fairly shade-tolerant later in the week. 




It's been unusually windy for June and over the last couple of days, the blossom from the huge lime tree has covered everything in 2inches of yellow fluff - including the cats, the vehicles and us whenever we venture into the garden. Using a hand brush I swept under every pot on the patio and deposited four dustpans of sweepings into the compost bin. Doing it didn't half make me cough, I bet anyone passing by thought I'd succumbed to the plague.


By now Jon was back with the tiles and a bottle of fizz for me (a present from Tony). We had a coffee (most welcome after several hours of physical labour) and, feeling more flexible, Jon sanded down my freshly painted kitchen cupboards, applied a coat of waxed and attached the burnished brass peacock handles we'd bought from the roadside in Goa last year.


Jon decided to tackle Gilbert's solar panel as it wasn't working properly while I rummaged through the woodpile behind one of the sheds for some planks to use in the kitchen. 



I think it'll be a while before we need to buy any wood. Fly-tipping is a massive problem in the UK (and Walsall in particular) but occasionally the inconsiderate bastards who do it leave us with something useful like the pile of pallets that were chucked over our garden wall a couple of years ago (we've used three-quarters of them so far) or the empty 15kg bottle of butane gas dumped outside our gates last month, which will save us £15 when we take it to the camping shop to be refilled.



Planks sorted, I cut back the ice plants that were going crazy in the window boxes - the experts tell you to remove these at the end of the season and throw them in the compost bin, I've no idea why, this is their second summer and they look fine to me. Next, I decided that the patio plants could do with watering. Within minutes of finishing it started to rain. Good old British summertime.


SOURCE

Tea was pizza and oven chips. Before episode three of The Luminaries, we watched Black Panthers, Vanguard of the Revolution on the BBC i-player where we were rendered speechless by J Edgar Hoover's cointelpro infiltration of the movement using blackmailed provocateurs and the murder of 21-year-old Panther's leader, Fred Hampton by the Chicago Police acting on tips from the FBI. Well worth watching.





Here's my alarm clock, which Jon brought back from touring Japan with The Charlatans back in 1990, now thirty years old, it's officially vintage. It went crazy during the first week of lockdown and, regardless of what time it was set, Winnie The Pooh started shouting in Japanese at random hours throughout the night (any idea what he's saying, Allie Jane?) Not that it matters, I was always awake before it went off anyway and now, during lockdown, I seem to wake up even earlier. This morning (day 101), it was another 6am start.



After my weekday Wii Fit session, I dusted and swept the lounge and mopped the hearth and had just finished when Jon came downstairs to join me for our fruit & yoghurt breakfast.


After our record-breaking temperatures, today had plummeted to 12°C so it was back to long sleeves.

WEARING: Vintage Indian block printed cotton maxi (eBay)

The garden was still damp from yesterday's showers so there was no need to wrestle with the hosepipe.



Anything new in the garden to report? I'm still anxiously awaiting the blooming of the crocosmia and agapanthus but two of the four dwarf french beans I planted last weekend have sprung into life, the Empress of India nasturtium which I thought bore red flowers instead is a spectacular combination of yellow, orange and red.  The delphinium has another pretty blue spear and the common poppy which appeared out of nowhere a fortnight ago has flowered once more.


The trailing geraniums we planted in pots on top of the trestles we'd rescued from the parental home are just beautiful (thanks for the recommendation, Eileen!) and Mark's marigolds provide us with a daily reminder of India.


Too windy and cold to stay out for longer than necessary, I decided to play around with the shelves in the kitchen, staying out of Jon's way as he was busy tiling.


Terrible photo. One of our legendary buffets back in the days when we used to have house parties (remember them?)

These shelves are part of Project Coffee Table, Jon's quest to upcycle the beast made from an antique Rajasthani door, that was far too big for the house and had languished under a tarpaulin in the garden ever since we'd replaced it with the glass-topped G-Plan Galaxy table we bought for £1 from a jumble sale in 2011.



Using the ornately carved edging strips from the sides of the table, a couple of planks from the top and the chunky rivets that held them in place, Jon made me some rustic shelves.


You've already been introduced to my Indian brick moulds. Before you tell me not to put plant pots on wood, I promise you that they are completely dry & I've laid plastic underneath as a precaution. The verdigris metal Buddha was an Indian flea market find back in the noughties and the Swedish Dala horse was out of the 50p bucket in the clearance charity shop.


The Rajasthani wooden merry-go-round is one of a pair, my Grandparents bought them for me back in 1972. The papier-mache chap (Kashmiri, I think) has a loop at the back and tips his basket up over his head when you pull it and was another 50p charity shop find. 


After our lunchtime noodles, Jon finished the tiling while I had a lazy afternoon, repotting my Chinese Money plant and the remaining two basil plants I'd grown from seed (the rest got eaten by slugs), catching up with blog comments and letting the lads in and out about a hundred times as neither was sure about the weather.


Tea was salad, cheeses, olives, pickles, coleslaw and some of Jon's homemade spelt bread.


Tonight we'll be watching the final episode of the Art of Persia with the heating on, it might say June on the calendar but it feels more like March.

Stay safe and keep in touch!

86 comments:

  1. Hi Vix
    im glad you said you were putting the heating on, we have just done the same! I was feeling guilty for putting it on in June but it is cold. I love, "The Art of Persia" it is such a beautiful country. I would love to visit it and experience it for real. Your posts are fab! its lovely to hear your thoughts on things, i find i'm thinking just what you say as you are saying it very often. This was true of the lockdown comments, we are so enjoying it and, like you, are still very happy in each others company, despite being together for 48 years. I am aware that there are lots of people who are having very difficult times at the moment and that we are lucky that we are retired and healthy. Nevertheless, for us, lockdown has been a gentle living full of quiet pastimes and home care and your posts have been part of that and for that i am very grateful, thank you xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Shelagh! I don't feel so bad about having the heating on now I know I'm in good company! Hasn't the weather been disappointing? It looks like we're set for rain, gloom and mediocre temperatures for the next week or so - I blame everyone who moaned about the heatwave on social media!
      Wasn't The Art of Persia a wonderful watch? I surprised Jon (and myself) by reciting some of Omar Khyam's poems, my all-girls grammar school ditched relgion in school assemblies and substituted prayers and hymns with Persian poetry. I thought I'd forgotten them.
      Although we are in the midst of a pandemic and there's been so much death and sad stories on the news lockdown, for us who are healthy and in good, strong relationships, really has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pinch Allie-Jane's comment, hit the reset button. To realise what's important to us and to think about how to spend our days rather than going around on auto-pilot following the same old routine.
      Thank you for your lovely comment and well done on 48 years of happiness, that really is a fantastic achievement. xxx

      Delete
  2. I absolutely love the reuse of the coffee table into shelving, it sure shows off the carving nicely. I see you have the "cat in cat out" problem and I have the "dog in dog out" problem lol. They do give us a bit of extra exercise letting them come and go, don't they? Jealous of Jon's bread making skills. The Winnie The Pooh just makes me laugh, shouting Japanese at odd times

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! Project coffee table was one of those ideas I fired off at breakfast the other day, expecting Jon to tell me not to be so daft like most of the crazy stuff I come up with.
      What is it with animals and the weather? I've been sitting at my PC shivering in a cardigan with the door open for the cats, taken a mug of tea upstairs to Jon and all three of them are wrapped up in bed!
      Winnie the Pooh has lost the plot! xxx

      Delete
  3. We;ve been very hot here, and now today a bit stormy, but still hot. I think it is a gift to have enough to occupy your mind and hads, and the health to do both. Well done. I hope in future festival seasons yu will make up for the down year. I am not a big oe for corwds, but woudl ike to go to a real UK festival sometime in my lifetime-and a car boot sale!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh for some heat! Last week seems like a distant memory now as i sit here wrapped up in a cardi!
      Now is the first time in my entire adult life that I've ever had spare time to spend at home, I was always either on holiday or racing around planning for the next festival or event. It's wonderful to live in the moment, look outside to see what the weather's doing to decide whether to do something in the house or the garden.
      Festivals and car boot sales really are a true slice of the best of British life, people of all ages and backgrounds getting together, nobody really knowing what to expect! xxx

      Delete
  4. Who would have thought that we would all be happy staying home with no idea of when we will been seen out in society again. We are quite happy doing what we are doing but would just like to add a bit more face to face chat with friends to the mix with a few beers thrown in.
    We just had Linda McCartney veg red onion and rosemary sausages for tea. I’d forgotten how good they are. I was telling Philip about Jon’s spelt bread and you having it with veggie sausages. I can see that being added to our menu.
    The kitchen shelves look good, I’m after a bigger rug for the living room and I’ve seen some nice pics of interiors using welsh wool tapestry cushions & throws so I’m going to keep a look out for them as well.
    We just missed a free conservatory suite that we could use in the garden rather than paying a bomb for proper garden furniture.
    If this is retirement I think I’ll like it. Even Philip said he’s not been bored. Here’s to more lockdown days haha xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! A few months ago staying at home was on of those boring inevitabilities between all-dayers in the pub, charity shopping and car boot sales. Now it's to be relished. What to wear? What needs doing or (more importantly) what do I feel like doing? Will it be inside or outside? Every day is an adventure!
      Veggie sausages are the best. We've converted a couple of hardcore carnivore friends to them over the years. Cauldron also make lovely ones!
      I'm not sure what the prices of Welsh tapestry blankets are at the moment, they were creeping higher and higher. There's a seller on ebay who sells some gorgeous old kilims, Afghan carpets & cushion covers made from rugs too worn to sell. I've bought from before and he's always happy to accept a cheeky offer. (erugs14)
      What a shame you missed out on the conservatory furniture. Garden furniture is expensive and it all looks like office furniture these days, grey and angular.
      Lockdown extension? Bring it on! xxx

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the tip off on the rugs. I’ll let you know how I get on. Went to see the rug man on Tod market. Shame he didn’t have anything. Xx

      Delete
  5. We were talking the other day about what we miss and the answer was nothing. I've been schooling and working so it's been tough sometimes but hey ho. I'm an introvert so happy pottering about at home and keeping people at arm's length..!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have had your hands full with work and home schooling. Isn't it strange how for so many of us, the things we thought were so much part of our lives (charity shopping and pubs for me) really weren't that important, after all? xxx

      Delete
  6. Hello there Vix!This was such a beautiful post and I loved every single picture. Now those rustic shelves are such a great idea and of course the spider babies look great in there terracotta pots! along with the brick moulds. The green shows them up perfectly.Those peacock handles are amazing. Cannot wait for the whole "room reveal". Don't blame you not getting rid of the ice plants I don't follow the rules of gardening. One of the best bits w here is where I just throw them in and see what happens. I was told my hibiscus would not like it and lo and behold it is going great years later. Your home is just shining with love and creativity and I love the fact that you get your housework over with in the morning so you can "play". You two really have done the 101 days in style and I have a feeling that if things ever do get back to normal a lot of us would miss your posts every two days , and peaking into your wonderful home and garden. Love Shazx ps those maxis are beautiful as always.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Shaz! Thank you so much! I've got more spiderlings on the way, I do love them.
      I love what a great background colour that arsenic green is, everything I've tried against it really seems to take on a whole new look.
      I reckon it's the fauklt of the internet, in the old days I'd buy a plant and just put it where I felt like putting it, now you can Google it and be overwhelmed by information.
      Yes, housework is a lot more enjoyable when I do it early and can get on with something more fun. Have a fabulous Wednesday! xxx

      Delete
  7. We're having a pair of days of relief, under 30ºC and even under 20ºC in the night!. But it's forecasted more heat for the coming days. Not happy with this.
    It could sound strange, but I managed our lockdown really well and felt no anxiety. It is now when I feel more worried as I have to deal with people!.

    Love both dresses, the colorful first one is beautiful and the fuchsia color and sleeves of the second one are amazing!, these prints are so fab!
    Lovely pictures of the new shelves and the brick moulds, they stand out from the background!. And such a gorgeous color for the kitchen walls!, it enhances everything!. I love your indian door handles, they totally rock!
    Lovely to see your garden more and more lush and your pets enjoying it (so handsome they are!)
    besos

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no! Send some our way, we've got a week of grim weather ahead although yesterday turned out to be a lot better than expected and I was able to spend most of it outside.
      It's definitely sleeve weather here at the moment, that's one advantage at least!
      xxx

      Delete
  8. Frank has such a funny little face! He looks like a human... I find it intriguing (and alarming) every time I see him in a photo. Stephen looks incredible for his age; what a coat on him! Beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, thanks Mei! Stephen's is good shape for an oldie! Our friends say that Frank's eyes are just like the girl out of Avatar, we've never seen it but Googled it and they really are! xxx

      Delete
  9. I've been enjoying The Art of Persia too and The Luminaries, 3 episodes in and I still haven't got a clue what the hell is going on but I'm gripped! I finally have some french beans coming too. I'm on my 3rd sowing, for some reason the others just didn't grow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved the Art of Persia and The Lumineries has Jon confused, too. When I read the book I had to keep going back a few pages just to work out what was going on. I'm really enjoying it, gorgeous costumes and spectacular scenery. I only found out last week that the actress that plays Anna Wetherall is Bono's daughter!
      It's spinach with me, I'm sure my packet is cursed! xxx

      Delete
  10. Interesting how things change. I always told my kids that it was good to be able to be alone with oneself at times, and really I wanted them to be self sufficient emotionally and thought that this would help. How rewarding that you and Jon have had time and space to pour love into your home. It shows.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My parents were the same, my brother and I are both self-sufficent and as happy in our own company as we are with others. xxx

      Delete
  11. I can understand how you feel about staying at home. I haven't minded it and am most put out that I'm now going to have to go to school 3 days a week instead of 2 "to get me into the swing of it" again. Humph.
    I love the garden - your flowers look so beautiful! I love Delphiniums!
    I really do love your Indian Block print maxi- I keep trying to find something similar but I never manage to find anything reasonable!x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no, that must be a bit daunting after only having to travel to school twice a week.
      That's the first delphinium I've ever had, I love it. It seems to have gone on for ages.
      I'm astounded at how much vintage block print maxis are going for at the moment - often well over £150! xxx

      Delete
  12. Reading your posts regularly from Northern BC , Canada. I am curious as to the number of rooms in your house. I see photos of the kitchen , bedroom and spare room, but as I love old houses, I wonder if there are other rooms unused, or not.
    Barb

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sending love to you in Northern BC, Canada!
      Stonecroft is quite deceptive to look at. In the 18th century it was comprised of three single room dwellings for farm labourers so is only one room deep.
      Downstairs the house has a utility room, the kitchen, the room I sit in to use my PC (officially the dining room), the hallway, the lounge and Jon's music room.
      Upstairs (accessed by a staircase that leads off the dining room) is our bedroom, the spare room and a landing (originally a third bedroom but Jon partioned it to make an upstairs bathroom). There is a hatch on the landing and in the spare bedroom which allows access to the attic but the roof is single pitch which means you can only crawl in it! Hope this helps and thank you so much for reading and commenting. xxx

      Delete
    2. Thanks so much for the reply. It sounds like you utilize every bit of space. Back in the 70's I dressed as you do, but made most of my outfits. The long patterned cotton dresses bring back great memories. Take care.
      Barb

      Delete
    3. Thanks so much, Barb! One of these days I shall do a walk through video like I did with the garden a few months ago and hopefully the layout will be a bit clearer!
      I haven't made any clothes for months, that's one of the disadvantages of lockdown, I haven't been to any charity shops or car boot sales to stock up on vintage fabric! xxx

      Delete
    4. A walk through video of your wonderful home one day what a great idea! Shazx

      Delete
    5. I'll have to do a lot of tidying before I do it - the dining room looks like the Amazon warehouse at the moment, full of boxes of DIY stuff and the things we've moved from the kitchen! xxx

      Delete
  13. Helllo! You wonderful alarm clock is telling you to get up, my kanji is ok, but if someone tries to have an in-depth conversation with me I just say hi a lot or get my 6 year old to translate. To learn it properly is on my bucket list.
    I mean I haven’t come home with the wrong thing so far or the wrong child, so I must be speaking Japanese ok. And my food comes as I like it. Yeah my boss is the bomb, he makes me laugh as he calls me his little blue fairy. As I am short with blue hair and tattoos. He thought I was going through a midlife crisis when I got them done.
    I love the handles, I would look fab on my drawers that I am restoring at the moment.
    Its funny we were talking about lockdown at work the other day and a lot of us don’t want it to go back to crazyville it’s as if this is the big reset button we needed in life. It’s a nasty reset button, but we agreed we all felt like life was starting to get way out of control and this is what had to be done. I talk to my friends a lot more. I see my family a lot more. Paul has been doing jobs he hasn’t had time for. He works from home and he is happy.
    I know normality will return soon. But I am enjoying this moment while it lasts. Take care and keep safe x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Allie! Thank you so much! I suspected as much although Jon said how funny it would be if Winnie had been shouting obsenities at us for decades!
      I do have a bit of a thing about handles, I buy them even when I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do with them but hoping they'll also come in useful one day.
      I love your description of lockdown triggering a big reset button, that's so true. I think so many of us have slowed down, started to appreciate the smaller things in life and really started to look at the nature around us. My friend and I sat outside watching birds yesterday, normally we'd be rummaging through my wardrobe!
      Have a lovely day. xxx

      Delete
    2. Haha funny you mentioned the wardrobe scenario!!! It was raining yesterday and I went through the left side of my wardrobe again!! And got 5 bags of clothes to sell back to work. I have the the middle section and the right side to do. I think I have had enough of clothes tBH, they have lost their sparkle and appeal, even if I did buy to pairs of converse off eBay yesterday for £7.00 each!!! Whoops.

      Delete
    3. Go you! That's brilliant to have thinned the wardrobe out so much and even better that you'll make some money from your efforts. Just think of all that space to accomodate your bargain Converse now! xxx

      Delete
  14. Vix, thank you for another gorgeous post. I have come to look forward so much to the colour, style and ideas you bring to us every other day, thank you 🙂. I’m refusing to use the “N” word in respect of future life, but I do hope that however we settle down into whatever becomes ‘regular’ in future, it will include multiple posts from you and Jon!

    100 days . . . who’da’thunk it? I saw a headline whilst scrolling through some news feeds this morning about the frightening volumes of traffic expected this weekend - like you, we’re staying at home and enjoying it. When I couldn’t go out of course I wanted to, but now I (theoretically) can, the campervan is staying firmly on the driveway.

    Love your new shelves, the terracotta and plants look brilliant against the green walls. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Jayne! I'm so glad you enjoy my ramblings.
      You're right, the "N" word should be avoided. I've always associated it with the mundane and the ordinary, it even leant it's name to an ugly way of dressing "normcore".
      I cannot believe how quickly those 100 plus days have gone. I'm dreading what the weekend will bring with the pubs reopening. Gilbert is quite happy on the drive, away from the Covidiots! xxx

      Delete
  15. What a great post, Vix! 101 days (well 102 now!!!). How time flies! What an innovative way to use your old coffee table. The shelves look terrific and are perfect for holding your knick-knacks. I noted spotty plates on the coffee table in its coffee table heyday - are they Royal Vale? I have a Royal Vale tea set with sapphire blue spots which I love dearly. I had always prided myself on my (red) bargain Swedish Dala horse, bought for £1 in Glasgow in 1984. Cheated!!! Your crocosmia is about to bloom while mine is a clump of green. Either mine is in remission or it's the difference 300 odd miles makes!!! It really is a stunning plant in flower. You have a stunning house and garden which you have made your own. Glad Jon is on the mend. What excellent taste he has with that hilarious Winnie the Pooh alarm clock! What a laugh!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, Catmac! Welcome to day 103. I've always loved that coffee table but it was far too big for us, we'd dithered with giving it away to friends but I was too sad to see it go so chopping it up meant that at least we could appreciate the different components.
      You have got eagle-eyes. Those plates were indeed Royal Vale. In a fit of madness I grabbed them and sold them at a vintage fair but they went to a lovely girl so I was happy.
      Ha! Fancy being robbed with that Dalad horse (not!), can you believe the price of them in proper shops?
      I've got a few clumps of crocosmia, the one by the pond is just leaves and often flowers weeks after the others have died back as it's so dark up there. I love the sculptural look it has.
      Jon's loads better, thank you (unlike Winnie The Pooh!)
      Have a lovely day! xxx

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the heads up on the crocosmia. Fingers crossed mine does come into flower later.

      Delete
  16. I'm another one who has found this such a peaceful time. I didn't realise how much stress there was in life BC. Things have been much simpler with the lack of choices and decisions. I want it to continue and I want to keep enjoying your fabulous blog. I love the colour you bring into my life. Thank you, Vix.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, Ruth! I'm with you there, I never felt like my life was particularly stressful but after all these weeks in lockdown I feel so much more relaxed, I can think clearly and enjoy just sitting for half an hour enjoying my surroundings. I'm loving the change.
      Your kind comment meant so much to me, sending you lots of love. xxx

      Delete
    2. Just popped back to catch up on the comments before the treat of your latest blog. I do hope you realise how much delight you bring to so many of us.

      Delete
  17. Your beautifully recorded Days of the Lockdown blog is already a book, Vix, lacking only covers and an index. I'm certain other followers join me in finding comfort and inspiration in your reports of what you and Jon are building, growing, eating, wearing and reading. And because you're both adults with a wide experience of the working world, we're interested in your observations about the changes you've seen in the town of your upbringing. There is much to be said for "cultivating one's own garden" -- and sharing in your busy, restful, thoughtful and playful "Days of Solitude" continues to be a rewarding journey. Thanks, Vix! Thanks, Jon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Beth!!! I really look forward to Vix's blog and take inspiration too.

      Delete
    2. Thank you so much Beth (and Catmac!)
      When I started these every-other-day blog posts at the start of lockdown it was for selfish reasons, to keep Jon & I motivated. If we did nothing then I'd have nothing to write about. I'm bowled over by the kind comments and messages I get telling me how much my witterings have helped other people through these strange times.
      xxx

      Delete
  18. your clock made me smile would love to know what he's saying.. we have a mosque clock that gives the call to prayer, that's pretty tacky, it would be fun to know what other kitsch or quirky clocks people have! I like the peacock door handles, very pretty, am enjoying glimpses of your kitchen - what a fabulous window to gaze from whilst washing the dishes :) I like seeing your cats too - am starting to feel we should have a kitty here again, it's so empty without Ambercat. Heavy rain today - great for the garden!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aparently Winnie is saying "Wake up!" according to my lovely friend Allie who lives in japan! I'm glad it's nothing rude! I'd love to see your clock, I remember seeing something similar in the Pakistani hardware shop down the road and it did make me smile.
      I think you need a cat to fill the Amber-sized hole in your home although they do drive you mad when they can't decide whether they want to stay in or go out. xxx

      Delete
  19. We miss lockdown. We only had 5 weeks and as an essential hospital worker, I kept going out to work. I didn't miss the traffic, shops or pubs although it would have been nice to see friends. Now we are back to normal here in New Zealand, and I miss the time spent at home.

    So enjoying your lockdown journey. I look forward to all of your updates.

    Julie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your fabulous country managed lockdown brilliantly, Jacinda is the eny of us all with her good sense and compassionate nature. xxx

      Delete
  20. Hi Vix,
    I've loved reading your blog over these past 100 days. Your house and garden are looking wonderful. I love the new shelves - they look great.
    Like you, I'm finding I'm doing things that have been waiting for years - the battered old shed is now waterproofed in bright blue (a woman's allowed the odd Country Living moment) and a linen scrap quilt in a sort of Japanese Boro style, for example.
    Anyhow, please keep up the good work. Take care! Norma x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How lovely to hear from you, Norma!
      Your blue shed sounds rather lovely there's nothing wrong with having lofty ambitions. I'm loving the sound of your quilt, too!
      Much love to you! xxx

      Delete
  21. Hi Vix! I've been reading, but haven't had a chance to comment lately, until now.

    Ah, those peacock handles are wonderful - I do love details like that!

    Like you and Jon, I haven't really suffered from lockdown fever either. It's been an opportunity to work on my own neglected interests (family history and genealogy), and I like my own little house and my husband's company (we've both been working from home throughout) very much, so it's been no hardship to spend more time in both. I'm not one for shops or crowded public places, so I haven't missed those one bit, and we've had a chance to really appreciate the wildlife in our tiny, scruffy garden, including nesting birds and multitudes of interesting little critters. We have missed our holiday this year (our annual pilgrimage to Cornwall), and I'm craving sushi like nobody's business, but it will all still be there waiting for us.

    Of course, I've also been enjoying your blog throughout, and I'm really appreciating your regular updates!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Fran! Lovely to hear from you and pleased to know that you and your husband have enjoyed the extra time you've been able to spend together.
      Funnily enough, Liz popped round yesterday and we were both saying how much we'd loved watching the birds during our enforced house arrest. Normally we'd be rummaging through my wardrobe or the stockroom, yesterday we looked at plants and sat and watched the birds on the feeder!
      I'm sorry you've had to miss your beloved Cornwall but, like Glastonbury, you'll love it all the more next year.
      Take care! xxx

      Delete
  22. Hi Vix, I enjoyed reading your paragraph about early Stone croft days. Like you, I have enjoyed the solitude of lockdown. The shelves are gorgeous as are the peacock handles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, Carole! Thank you!
      Another lockdown fan. When it started who'd have thought that so many of us would embrace our enforced solitude, that we'd learn so much about ourselves and we'd discover what was really important in life? For me it really has been a positive experience. xxx

      Delete
  23. It is quite amazing that once you get out of your regular routine how you can still find ways to fill up your time. I was somewhat worried after we sold our Florida house and moved into our apartment in New England that I would be bored because of all the coronavirus restrictions. Was I ever wrong! Didn't realize just how many projects I had been putting aside for when I had more time. Plus I've been able to do much more cooking and baking and exploring beautiful outdoor places for hikes. Your photos do make me wish we had a garden like yours, though. It is so lovely. As are those two maxi dresses!


    Theresa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is! AS I'd mentioned earlier I really thought I'd be climbing the walls by now. I can't believe it's been 103 days and I've still got a mental list of stuff that needs to be done.
      I know you're dispointed about your trip but it must be great to sort out your new home and to find time to relax and explore the area. xx

      Delete
  24. Lockdown has certainly been to your and Stonecroft's advantage! Dove Cottage definitely needs some TLC as well, but it's our garden in the first place that has benefited from it all. Those peacock handles are stunning, and I'm loving both the Van Allen maxi and the Indian block printed one you've been wearing. I would be so annoyed if someone tipped things over our garden wall, but I agree those wooden pallets might have their use. Trailing geraniums are gorgeous, aren't they? We have them every year, and I've just bought some more to replace some of the annuals which weren't doing well. That Winnie The Pooh alarm clock is brilliant. I had a feeling it said Wake Up, which I'm glad to read was confirmed by Allie Jane :-) Those shelves are fabulous, but judging from that beast of a coffee table/door, I'm not surprised it did Jon's back in! xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, who'd have thought it? I should be sulking about not being in the van on the way to the Coltswolds for The Cornbury Festival like we have on this day for the last seven years, instead I'm wondering what chore I shall tackle first - and being quite happy about it!
      The Indian block printed dress reminds me of your Ritu one!
      I love trailing geraniums, I wasn't aware of them until a facebook friend suggested them, the flowers really are abundant.
      I was happy that Allie confirmed that Winnie wasn't being rude although we've been very rude to him lately when he insists on shouting all all hours of the night! xxx

      Delete
  25. our weather has turned into the usual humid and hot nonsense. Which means if I plan on doing anything outside in the garden I have to finish up before 9am! We're not having any problems being in lockdown either. Is this what house arrest is like?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Humid and hot nonsense would make me so happy, our heatwaves rarely last for more than a couple of days and then it's back to the usual mediocre British weather.xxx

      Delete
  26. that door handles are so beautiful!
    your flower garden is on a good way - and as always 2-3 weeks earlier than mine. and is´t it wonderful to eat fresh veg/fruit from the garden? what will you plant next?
    the windy weather has reached us... but without wind it would be very hot.
    house parties? whats that? i hope for a bit of mini-garden party thought.......
    xxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was so happy to finally have a use for those handles! I've been carrying them around the house and holding them up against things for months. I love that they're in the kitchen and I can admire them every day.
      Several of the bloggers I follow are further down south than me so it's a relief to know that we're not particularly slow with our growing and nothing's gone wrong with my planting! There's finally flowers on our tomatoes now although we could do with another blast of heat and sunshine to encourage them further.
      A garden party in your Summer salon? I'd love to visit virtually! xxx

      Delete
  27. Stonecroft must be loving all the attention, it certainly looks beautiful. I really love the peacock handles, they're absolutely stunning.
    We use pallet wood too, it's so versatile and I love how it looks. The coffee table shelves look amazing.
    Your plants and flowers look healthy, our garden is looking a bit battered and bruised from all the wind, at least its dropped today. xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stonecroft looks happy when I stand in the garden now although the more I look, the more I can see that the window frames will need painting before the Autumn, it's never ending!
      Pallet wood is fab, isn't it? I love the almost instant rustic effect.
      We were spared the rain yesterday but today dosn't look too promising. I'm glad i did my planting earlier in the week! xxx

      Delete
  28. Such a contrast in the weather - it's quite a shock to the system! I understand exactly where you're coming from with the solitude; but it does help if you're a solitary person anyway. I know I am.

    I am loving the cupboard; oh those handles! And the rustic shelves are just gorgeous. I had no idea you shouldn't put plants on wood; most of my house plants are on a wooden tray on a wooden table in the dining room - and they're staying there!

    Lovely maxi dresses and the nail polish is a lovely colour; love the play on words...

    We have one or two crocosmia blooms and our trailing geranium continues to trail beautifully.

    Take care ( just look at what's happened in Leicester!)
    xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right, I've always enjoyed my own company (and Jon's) and although it's lovely to catch up with friends I'm perfectly fine carrying on as I have been for the last 103 days!
      I saw those handles early one morning when Jon and I had been out walking along the beach. It's a tiny roadside stall that sells the most wonderful repro but, as the Indians still make stuff in exactly the same way as they have done for generations, the workmanship is just as good as the real thing. They did seem a strange thing to buy before breakfast but when you see something and love it then it has to be done.
      Oh yes, damp plant pots or cups of tea on wood is a bad thing. I make sure my plants are bone dry and cut circles from a bin bag to fit underneath the pot just to be on the safe side.
      My agapanthus are peeping through and there's two crcosmia's this morning. Come back sunshine, they need to be tempted out further.
      They keep mentioning Walsall as another place that may be locked down again. I shall definitely not be going to the pub or the shops this week! xxx

      Delete
  29. Ha, we call that weather "June-uary"!

    I've also felt pretty good during the lockdown/pandemic. L and I have been solid, and I've held close to friends. I do miss house-parties, but we're able to do small ones now.

    Ah! There are the pictures I referred to in my other comment.

    Love those peacock handles - proof that you should buy things you love and figure out a way to make them work. The shelves are amazing - incorporating bits from your old table is such a great idea.

    Amazing dresses as always, Vix. Give those furry boys a big snuggle for me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. June-uary is about right! For the last seven years, 24 hours after returning from Glastonbury, today's the day we head to the Cornbury Festival which is always boiling hot and glorious. Today's drizzle makes the afct we're missing it slightly more bearable!
      The Trechikoffs! They became hip in the late 1950s and early 1960s and were sold really cheaply as "disposable art", as everyone threw them out when they stopped being fashionable they're rare and sell for £££s. I'm lucky to have picked mine up before they became hip.
      That's a philosophy I share with you, buy it and it'll come in useful one day, from a flamboyant frock or an insane hat to a peacock door handle. if you love it you won't go off it if it doesn't get used (or worn) immediately. xxx

      Delete
  30. Excellent post title! I'll take some of that chilly weather over here please. We are looking at highs in the mid-30's for the next couple of weeks and I'm already wilting at the thought of it.

    The lockdown has been a mixed blessing for you, but you have made the best of a challenging situation and done so much work on your house and garden. I still have my income but have managed to accomplish basically nothing during the last 3 months (I did have an initial burst of motivation at the beginning but that's gone away). Even your Pooh Bear alarm clock sensed that the world was going crazy ;)

    Those peacock handles are gorgeous, and I like how you've done your shelves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I've had it in my head for months never imagining I'd ever have to use it!
      Your weather is hot (and I'm jealous!)
      You've been working so I think you're perfectly fine in not accomplishing anything other than holding a job down and being a cat slave to Sylvester.
      I'm excited about the kitchen, there's still loads more to do but, as Jon keeps reminding me, there's no rush, there's got nowhere we have to be! xxx

      Delete
  31. One of the freebie books from the roadside was a breadmaker book. One recipe was with dried onion flakes and one with sun dried tomatoes. I had both so using the recipe we use all the time I just added the onions and the next one added the cut up tomatoes, both were delicious but we decided to try combining the two - kerching! That is some great bread.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds like a cracking find! I love the sound of the dried onion flakes (the flavour is so much more intense) combined with sun-dried tomatoes, you've got me salivating! xxx

      Delete
  32. Your garden looks great. It is great how you both made the most out of quarantine. The house looks great. You put time and effort into the house and the garden and it really shows. I loved following your and Jon's home DIY projects. Fantastic idea to turn your coffee table into shelves. Those peacock handles are gorgeous BTW. So many lovely things there! Great to hear you made the most out of 101 days of quarantine. I think it is wonderful when you can enjoy each other company 24/7. I read somewhere that this lockdown was hard on many marriages and partnerships, but for us it wasn't that hard because we're used to spending all our time with one another. My husband is retired and has been since before we met, I worked from home in the past as well, so it wasn't a great change from the ordinary. The only thing that was hard was not being able to go to our 'real' home because it is in another country, but since my work contract on Hvar is temporary I know we will get there eventually. Going outside after the quarantine ended was a bit harder, but since I had to go to work I really didn't have a choice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ivana! It would have been far too easy to sit in a sulk and complain about the festivals and fairs being cancelled but being active is good for the mind (and the house and garden) and I find it much easier to relax when I've spent the day being busy.
      It certainly has been a testing time for relationships, several bloggers I follow have decided to break up after being forced to spend so long together, realising that they don't have anything in common and have grown apart. xxx

      Delete
  33. Some drilling must have been involved to get your shelves up on those lovely old stone walls! Much admiration for your 'handyman'!! I've always wanted one of those coffee tables, in a small size since I live in a rabbit hutch! Watched Bowie's Glastonbury set at the weekend. He really was the man who ruled the world, the way he sauntered on to the stage. Made me feel sad that he's gone. Hopefully, you'll get there next year. xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lots of drilling and plenty of swearing! Mind you, Jon loves his tools relished the opportunity to use the new heavy duty drill bits he'd treated himself to at the beginning of lockdown.
      We were seduced by the reduced to clear price when we saw that coffee table, in hindsight we should have bought the smaller one at full price. It might be in bits now but at least we can appreciate it more than being under plastic in the garden!
      Bowie was magnificent, wasn't he? Gone far too soon. xxx

      Delete
  34. P.S. Amazing maxi dresses!!! That vintage block print Indian dress is a beauty. The seventies maxi dress is gorgeous as well.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Glad you have been able to make the most of your time at home , your house and garden really are looking wonderful with all the love and attention. The peacock handles were just made for your house . I do enjoy seeing the flowers in your garden as mine is Winter bare. You are also looking very trim and fit in lockdown too must be all the gardening. Take care. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jill! I never thought I'd adapt to lockdown, I've amazed myself. The non-essential shops have been open for three weeks now and even a couple of car boot sales ahev started up again and yet I have no interest in visiting. I'm a changed woman!
      xxx

      Delete
  36. 100 days! That photo of your buffet took me right back to your old posts. Another lifetime. :)
    Mark and I have always been used to doing a fair bit of stuff seperately, and I wasn't sure how we'd cope being stuck together for so long, but it's been great. I am starting to miss travelling a bit now, but hopefully we will be to get away in the campervan before the end of the Summer.
    Your garden is looking gorgeous. I enjoyed seeing your gardening and cookbooks in one of your previous posts. Carol Klein is lovely.
    I'm so impressed with Jon's shelves. They look fantastic. He really is multi-talented.
    You are looking fabulous! I do look forward to when we can get together in real life again xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I honestly cannot wait to see you again, it's been an absolute age. that's one thing to make me want lockdown to end soon - although I can't quite see it happening just yet, can you? xxx

      Delete
  37. You've been far more productive in lockdown than most. Our cases in the US are spiking again because the Covidiots won't stay home or wear masks, so perhaps I'll have several more months in isolation to finish some projects. I probably won't approach your level of ambition though.

    I grew up in Chicago in the 60s and 70s, and have what I consider a healthy distrust of the police...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The same is happening here, the city of Leicester was forced back into lockdown after a spike in cases - the government knew about it 11 days ago but didn't act until yesterday. We're all doomed!
      I was appalled by that documentary. You'd think that fifty years later things would have changed but it seems no different. xxx

      Delete
  38. Those peacock handles - such a lovely detail! The coffee table shelves are a genius idea and look absolutely super.
    Who;d have thought we'd still all be mostly in lockdown after 100 days, it does feel rather normal now, what used to feel normal will now seem very strange indeed, but then I guess we will emerge slowly and the transition will be less brutal than when it started. I've no doubt life will have changed as a result, for everyone, hopefully for the better.
    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Hazel! I knew those handles would come in useful one day!
      I can't believe it's been over a hundred days. When the government announced that the vunerable would need to shield for three months Jon and I wondered how anyone could stay in for a quarter of a year and now we've done it, too! xxx

      Delete

Thank you for leaving a comment. If you've got a blog I'll do my best to return the favour.
All spam will be deleted.
Lots of love, Vix