Tuesday, 7 July 2020

The Distancing Diaries - Day 108 & 109


It was a lovely sunny start to Monday (day 108) when I got up at 6.15am, I fed the lads, caught up with the blog world and did my Wii Fit session but by the time I'd taken a mug of tea up to Jon the skies had clouded over.


After our fruit and yoghurt breakfast the sun had reappeared & Jon decided that today was the day he'd cut back the bamboo. Once dressed, he set to work with the strimmer while I did my daily raking up & sweeping of the lime tree detritus. 


When he'd finished we put everything through the shredder, creating three bucketloads of mulch to top up Jacob's enclosure. I love that we can see both buddlea bushes from the kitchen window now, they seem particularly beautiful this year or maybe they always were and I was just too busy to notice. 



We were having to limbo beneath the crocosmia to get to the table so Jon staked and tied it back while I'd planted out & watered two of the dwarf French bean plants I'd planted a couple of weeks ago (no sign of life from the other two) we rewarded ourselves with a posh coffee.



After our lunchtime noodles Jon popped round to Tony's as he'd managed to get him a couple of grocery items he'd been unable to find in his local shop. Meanwhile I emptied out the last of the kitchen cupboards ready for Jon to work his magic on later on in the week.


 I rescued last night's baked bean tin from the recycling bin, drilled a few holes in the base and planted it up with houseleeks and spent the rest of the afternoon reading. Sitting sheltered from the breeze, the sunshine was warm and rather lovely.


The lads agreed.


The 35th book of 2020.


Monday's outfit was a 1960s Chelsea Girl chocolate brown cheesecloth maxi dress with rainbow smocking which I found on eBay last year.


If you're British and over 50 you'll doubtlessly remember Chelsea Girl with as much fondness as I do. Before the days of cheap fashion you'd have spent your teenage years swooning over their clothes, frantically saving your wages for the garment of your dreams. Founded in 1965, it became River Island in 1988. The Chelsea Girl label was relaunched in 2011 and chances are, if you see Chelsea Girl listed in the vintage section on eBay it'll be a modern garment as the originals are surprisingly rare. How do you tell if it's modern? The early pieces go by sizes 1, 2 and 3, not by the standard UK 8, 10 or 12 and the country of manufacture won't be Bangladesh, Turkey or China. The label will usually advise you to Hand Wash.


Before tea I gave all the patio plants a thorough watering. We ate veggie sausages with mixed vegetables, spiced potato fairies & Yorkshire puddings and watched the series finale of Scotland's Best Home. I was delighted that my three favourite homes, all old buildings filled with antiques, inherited treasures and ecclectic secondhand finds made the final.


When I got out of bed this morning at 6am (day 109) I'd been awake for what seemed like hours. After my Wii Fit I took Jon a mug of tea, checked up on the garden and dyed my eyebrows & lashes. When Jon was up we had our fruit and yoghurt breakfast and I caught up with some blog reading before getting dressed.


Today was a big day - and possibly the reason for my lack of sleep - I was off to the hairdresser, my fifth visit since 2010! I'd last been in February. The festival season, a week on the beach in Greece and five weeks in India had taken their toll on the condition and I was determined that 2020 would be the year I would finally invest in my hair. I was due to go back in May but with the pandemic, all UK hairdressers were forced to close their doors on March 23rd and only reopened this saturday (4th July). I've never been keen on getting my hair cut but, coupled with it being the first time I'd been into Walsall's town centre for 109 days, it was a daunting prospect.


We only live a mile from the centre of town so it's an easy walk. Weirdly, it was ten minutes before I saw another human being, so much for life being almost back to normal. As I was early for my appointment I wandered around the town centre, a ghost town at the best of times but in the aftermath of Coronavirus, even more shops had been boarded up. I could see one person in the town's enormous Primark, the shutters were down on all the chazzas and there wasn't a single stall on our once-thriving market. The gang of junkies and ne'er do wells that gather outside the town's fountain, drained years ago after people kept tipping washing-up liquid into it and engulfing the marketplace in bubbles, had tripled in number and two of them, already off their heads on Special Brew by 9.45am, started yelling at me to join them. When I ignored them they got up and proceeded to chase after me, luckily the salon doors were now open and I was able to escape their clutches.


On arrival, the receptionist, wearing a face shield and sitting behind a perspex screen, welcomed me in. I was already wearing my mask. A electronic device checked my temperature, I was asked to sanitise my hands and then taken over to a chair by my stylist, Keri (also wearing a face shield) where we discussed what I wanted done. Before she washed my hair, in a sink partioned off with perspex screening, Keri helped me into a polythene overall and apologised for not being able to offer me a drink. There was only one other client in the salon and one of the staff was continually sanitising every visible surface. I'd paid 50% of the bill over the phone last week and the remainder was paid contactless via their card reader. Despite the masks, face shields and screens I felt safe and relaxed - and that's coming from someone not all that keen on visiting the hairdressers. I'm determined to maintain the condition of my hair so I've booked another appointment for three months time. I wonder what the world will look like then?


With nothing to hold my interest in town I walked home. It had started to rain but, amazingly for me, I'd had the foresight to take an umbrella. Jon had been out trying to fit new tyres to his bike but rain had stopped play. For lunch we had cheese and Jon's wholemeal spelt bread drizzled with olive oil.

WEARING: Vintage embroidered Indian cotton maxi dress (belonged to ex-blogger, Sabine's mum in the 1960s), 1960s Vogue umbrella (car boot sale, 2008), vintage Raj-era silver tribal neckpiece (eBay), Lotta from Stockholm clogs (from my collection)

 New hair! Shiny ends instead of horribly frazzled ones and waves, too. Keri was so excited by her handiwork and by my vintage dress and groovy mask (made by Liz using the leftover fabric from my Treetops dress) that she photographed me for the salon's Instagram feed. I'll share when the boss uploads it.


After lunch Jon went on an emergency grocery top-up shop (we're nearly out of rum!) and, as we're off on an adventure tomorrow, I made something to take with us.


I modified a recipe I'd found online as we didn't have all the ingredients hence the metric measurements, I'm strictly imperial.

Savoury Spelt Flour Scones 

225g spelt flour (Can't find spelt flour? try eBay!) 
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1tsp English mustard
1/4 tsp strong paprika
2 tsp baking powder
40g butter (cut into cubes)
100g grated vegetarian Cheddar
50g vegan Parmesan
1 large egg combined with milk to make 175ml liquid

  • Pre heat oven to 180°c
  • Sieve flour, seasoning, spices and baking powder into a bowl
  • Add butter and rub in until mixture resembles breadcrumbs
  • Mix in cheese (put aside 25g)
  • Make a well, add milk and egg mix (reserving 10ml) and English mustard and mix
  • Turn out onto a floured surface and roll out until 2cm thick. 
  • Using a 5-6cm round cutter cut out approx. 10 scones
  • Place on a lightly greased baking tray, brush with remainder of the milk & egg mixture and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese
  • Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown

Plans for tonight include a shop bought pizza with salad and some TV although I'm not sure what, yet. I suppose I ought to dig out our festival macs for our day out tomorrow, the rain looks set to stick around.

Having now been out there and experienced town centre life, I'm more concerned about pissed-up blokes than I am by coronavirus. I did say that I wasn't interested in going to the pub but I must admit I was tempted to nip in for a cheeky pint when I walked past on my way back home. Maybe next week.

Stay safe & see you soon!

77 comments:

  1. Well, your ne'er do wells are very cheeky! Chasing you indeed; how dare they? I loved the thought of the fountain filled with washing up liquid and filling the square with bubbles though...

    I always love all your outfits, Vix, but that blue dress is my all time favourite. It's so pretty, flattering and so very feminine. The Chelsea Girl dress was lovely; I had no idea they became River Island. Everyday a school day!

    And as for the locks they look absolutely wonderful - do you feel like a new woman? I did! Your hairdressers sound very on the ball. Mine informed me she didn't believe in the corona virus and that it was all a plot;then proceeded to tell me that Trump will be spilling the beans on Obama and Hillary Clinton soon; something to do with sex trafficking and Haiti! I kid you not. I seriously thought she had lost her marbles or she was off her face on something. Then after all that, not wearing a facemask or gloves (I offered to wear one she said no need) she then proceeded to scrub and sanitise the chair and counter - things she never normally does! I go to her house, by the way, so this of course is a different experience to going to a salon. I've been with her for nearly 17 years now with 15 of those going to her home and I'm not stopping even if she is a mad as a box of frogs!

    The scones looked delicious - cheese scones are my favourites and of course I eat them with cheese.

    Hope you have a lovely day out - it's so chilly here I've got the heating on!
    Take care
    xxx

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    1. The ne'er do wells are a nightmare, I felt like I wandered onto the set of one of those post-apocalyptic zombie films on Tuesday!
      I do have a soft spot for that blue dress, I can't believe it's the first time I've worn it this year. I nearly died of excitement when I found it's white twin last year - I haven't worn that since last September either!
      Your experience with the hairdresser made me laugh, mine said exactly the same and - to make matters worse - so did our new postman last week! I think lockdown's sent everyone mad!
      Hasn't the weather been atrocious? It's only rained for three days but it already feels like months!
      Stay safe and don't watch any weird YouTube videos - they mess with your mind! xxx

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  2. Love the upcycled bean tin. I agree life is just weird at the moment. Fortunately l haven't been chased by any drunkards. Someone l know has been to the pub three times since Sunday ­čśé

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    1. Three times since Sunday? Madness! xxx

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  3. Hi there, what an adventure you've had! Glad you made it to the hairdresser's safe and sound in the end, well worth it judging by the results! Love the outfits. The garden is just wonderful! The bamboo plant looks so beautiful and exotic! Wow, 35 books, I was aiming to read more, set my goal at 50 but I've only managed about 20 so hopefully will be able to catch up during the holidays! We've had another serious outbreak of Covid 19 in Lleida(one of the 4 regions that makes up Catalonia) so they're on lockdown again. My son's a teacher and today his poor students had to sit their university entrance exams wearing a mask! So worrying, let's hope it doesn't start to flare up again all over the country! Have to stay positive! Take care, you've really made me chuckle today, thanks for brightening up my day! Lots of love from Barcelona! xxx

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    1. Hello Diana! I'd seen that Spain was suffering another spike in Covid and certain areas were in lockdown, hope you're keeping safe and you're not being affected.
      I find wearing a mask really trying, I'd hate to have to sit an exam in one!
      Who'd have thought a walk into town and a trim at the hairdressers would be such an adventure? Despite the unsavoury men it felt good to do something normal after so long!
      Are you on holiday yet? I need to slow my reading down, I've hardly got any books left on the shelf and there's no chance of stocking up at the chazzas if our local ones are anything to go by!
      Stay safe! xxx

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    2. Almost on holiday,in August I'll be as free as a bird!!
      Such a pity we don't live close to one another, I literally have hundreds of books, just can't seem to let go of them, and a lot of them would be just up your street. My son says I must have a bit of "Diogenes"!! Well, who cares, could be worse. Have a wonderful weekend!! xx

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    3. Not long now, then! I wish we did live closer, preferably me living in Spain. I watched an old episode of Salvage Hunters the other night where Drew visited an amazing secondhand market in Barcelona, the stuff was so good! xxx

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  4. Firstly brave girl!!Vix, I have a near phobia of hairdressers and what with that and lockdown for so long well brave girl glad not much was lopped off and it looks lovely! No wonder she wanted a pic. Those lads added a dimension to your outing you did not need. I have not really ventured out yet no need but feel I should soon. I just found a hairdresser I like too before lockdown but we'll see. Jon did a great job on the bamboo. Love those dresses. Both look beautiful(as always) well I hope I feel more motivated tommorow. Love Shazxx again bravo for going out

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    1. Hello Shaz! I was terrified of the hairdressers for years. My problem was I wasn't assertive enough in my youth and when the stylist suggested anything I'd meekly nod my head and come back home absolutely hating what they'd done and cry. These days I tell them to take off as little as possible!
      This week has been really hard motivation-wise, I feel your pain. I don't feel inclined to do much when the weather is so horrible. You're allowed a few lazy days, it'll be better tomorrow, honest!
      Loads of love. xxxx

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  5. Our hairdressers don't open until 15th. Mine has such a backlog she can't a see me until end August but I'm not in a hurry. I'm embracing my silver locks now that I've managed to grow out my former redhead look (used to henna my hair back in the day and what a faff that was!). Sorry you had a horrendous experience. Should have wielded your brolly at them! Glad you enjoyed SHOTY but apologies for previous spoiler!I used to love shopping in Chelsea Girl in Edinburgh until they became River Island.Lovely looking scones.Enjoy your adventure.xxx

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    1. I probably could have waited a bit longer, I've been known to go 7 years between visits but it was lovely to do something "normal" and my hair feels better than its felt in ages. Silver locks are fabulous, there's a group of older Italian women I see in Goa every year and am green with envy over their long silvery locks, they're like mermaids!
      Don't you worry about the spoiler, I was intruiged by the Trump-ish flat you'd mentioned and both of us loved the entire series! xxx

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  6. Ps Love your 'new do' and blue is deffo your colour as far as that beautiful dress goes.x

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  7. Your hair looks wonderful! Looks like she trimmed off some of the dead stuff on the ends, and gently layered it. I'm glad you had a good experience at the salon, Vix, although being chased by street folk is a little scary! Our downtown shut its aid centres as soon as lockdown went down here in March, and the streets were FULL of homeless people, many of them with severe addiction and mental health issues. I feel bad for them, and donate to the groups that help them, but it doesn't help the small businesses in our downtown when they're being broken into, or the staff doesn't feel safe! I worry about downtowns.

    But, on better things, Jacob looks gobsmacked on all that new mulch! I also love your dress - I have never seen any Dollrockers here (which is a bit surprising, since we have a lot of UK ex-pats in Canada). That brolly is fabulous - what a good find.

    Good luck with your outing tomorrow! Sounds like an adventure!

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    1. Thanks so much! Yes, I was very brave and told her that I wanted as much of the length kept as possible but that the dry ends needed to go. Fortunately Keri was a fellow long-hair so didn't try and scalp me!
      The homeless situation is so sad, it seems to be getting worse and worse. I'm all for live and let live but when they try and involve me in their crazy lives I'd rather be left alone and, like you, donate the appropriate charity.
      Jacob loves his new mulch, he hasn't bothered going into his hut for days, much prefering to burrow like he would in the wild. xxx

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  8. Glad that you had a relaxing experience at your hairdressers and enjoyed it!, despite those stupid lads yelling and chasing after you. It's such a disgusting thing, aren't they tired of this stuff yet?.
    Hand sanitizer and mask are compulsory here, you have to use them every time you go into a shop, and sometimes there's only one person allowed into the shop!. Same happens at my hairdressers, so it looks quite safe.
    Love your cheesecloth maxi dress, particularly because of the rainbow smocking, I love this kind of details!. And Love your fabulousness in the blue maxi dress under the rain!, and your hairstyle looks wonderful, those waves rock!

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    1. I had a lovely time, not only did my hair feel a million times better but I really enjoyed being normal again. Those drunken men though!
      Spain seems to have a much better grasp on the hygiene situation than we do, the hairdressers were brilliant but most shops still don't seem to mind if people don't wear masks. xxx

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  9. That Crocosmia really is enormous. I'm now having second thoughts of putting one in our tiny little garden! The houseleek planted into the baked beans tin is genius! Love the Chelsea Girl dress. As I'm not British, I only know it by name. I never knew that it later became River Island, which we used to have in Antwerp at some point. I'm glad your trip to the hairdresser's turned out to be comfortable and relaxing. I felt quite same as mine, although the measures taken here aren't so extreme to include temperature taking, nor a sink partitioned off with perspex screening. I wouldn't feel comfortable with people yelling at me and following me either. So scary! I'm loving your embroidered Indian cotton maxi - that is such a gorgeous colour on you. And those scones look utterly delicious. How funny, we also made a batch of scones a couple of days ago. Not to be taken on an adventure, though. Can't wait to hear all about it. xxx

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    1. Hello, Ann! Our crocosmia must be some kind of weird hybrid, even the stuff we saw in the National trust garden yesterday wasn't as big. Catmac mentioned montbretia being a relative, I think that must be the smaller orange variety we also have in the garden, that'd be fine ofr Dove Cootage, I'm sure!
      Fancy you making scones as well, we're on the same wavelength again! xxx

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  10. Oh I loved Chelsea Girl! Also, cheesecloth, I had a lot of tops made of cheesecloth back in the day! Your hair is looking fabulous. I have my appointment tomorrow. Industrial strength hair dye required for these white roots. Goodbye badger! I have ventured out to charity shops here, got some books which is good. Also, took my pile of books back to a little library, now all stripped out of many books and a space age till to take out your books, it was a very strange experience! Enjoy your day out tomorrow, rain permitting.

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    1. Hello Carole! Hope the hair appointment went well and you're feeling fabulous (and grey-free) after your pampering session.
      Cheesecloth was fab, wasn't it? It's one of my regular searches on Ebay.
      Aren't you lucky to have your charity shops open? My reading pile is getting worryingly low. I'm hoping our out-of-town clearance shop might be open and I can stock up with their 3 for a £1 specials! xxx

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  11. sounds like your hairdresser was in the same gear as my dentist yesterday. Your hair looks nice. I love looking at The Lads, they are so freaking cute. News flash: my University just announced face masks to be worn in all campus buildings. Good, I just went back to work yesterday and now my mind is more at ease.

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad your dentist was as hot on the hygiene as my salon.
      I bet it feels so good to be back at work and seeing people again! xxx

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  12. Well, every day's a school day as they say! I never knew River Island was Chelsea Girl. I remember buying the most lovely dress in there in the early 80s - do you recall the fashion for everything having a deep V in the back and buttoning down? It was that style, I'd seen someone else wearing it and asked her where she'd bought it - the antithesis of you Vix lol! Nowadays I'd maybe fit my leg in it but those were the days! x Kate

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    1. Hello Kate! Yes, Chelsea Girl became River Island almost overnight, their clothes were labelled "Charlotte Halton" back in the 1980s. I do remember the back buttoning clothes, not being well blessed in the bust department I loved them! xxx

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  13. Like you and other readers, Chelsea Girl was part of my youth but my old age never knew it became River Island. Can't believe the town centre was unsafe because of yobos. For tentative souls who have rarely ventured out, that really is off-putting. Why is this allowed to happen? Any hoo. You did it, you survived and you look gorgeous. Hairdressers not yet open in Scotland and how much of a queue (with or without drunken hecklers???) will there be before getting an appointment??? I have been using wash out spray for weeks which feels sticky but at least covers the natural grey highlights! Oh and Vix, I am also an Imperial Girl! Part of my brass cleaning was my old balance scales I still use with imperial weights (must confess, I did buy some metric ones fairly recently so that I could use them for any recipe). Glad you survived the mission, good hair is a great motivator!!!

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    1. Hi Catmac! Chelsea Girl was fantastic, wasn't it? The good old days when we'd save like mad to buy new clothes and treasure them.
      Due to austerity measures Walsall police station closed in 2016 to save money, the nearest one is 3 miles away which, for a borough of 285,000 is completely mad. There was a recent report on Sky News about how the town centre had become a no-go zone during lockdown and that the few police on duty were struggling to keep the unsavoury element under control. It's best avoided!
      My hairdresser emailed the entire client database last month asking if people wanted to go on a VIP list and get priority bookings. As soon as the government gave the word that English salons could open I got the call. They're fully booked for the next two months and working seven days a week so everyone can be seen and safe distancing can continue.
      Those root touch-ups do make your hair feel horribly sticky. I'll keep everything crossed that you get booked in after 15th July!
      I really struggle with metric measurements, I have to use an online conversion gadget if clothes on Ebay are measured in cms! xxx

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    2. Respect to your hairdresser! Even after months of inactivity, a seven day week is a challenge! It shows, however, how much she understands our lock down hair depression!

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  14. Your hair looks great with the trim and the waves. It must have felt nice getting out, even if you were chased by drunks. Potato fairies are a new one to me, but generally speaking, what's not to like about anything potato?
    I'm getting more and more frightened to go out. I have a dental appointment next week-that should be interesting to see how they handle it.

    Someday you'll have to tell us the story about that fountain in your town centre. It is wonderful, with or without water.

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    1. Thank you! It was good to plait it today and have equal length plaits!
      Fairies is a Black country term, you see it on the price lists at fish and chip shops and they're fried potato slices, often in batter. We oven cook ours.
      I'm sure your dentist will be as hygiene conscious as my hair salon.
      The official name for the fountain is "The Spirit of Ingenuity" but it's known locally as "The Hair in the Square". xxx

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  15. Ohh my gosh, I remember Chelsea girl, my mum gave me a dress and a skirt which I still have and love, they only come out for special occasions, I had to get them altered though.
    Shinjuku is nice and quiet as it isn’t full of tourists and street hawkers trying to get you into their over priced bars. It’s kind of peaceful. I am getting my hair cut next week as my hairdresser has just had a baby so she has had a bit of time off. I love the curls in your hair, I can’t grow it that long I get irritated so I am going for a Mary quant 5 point bob next week. It’s been a pixie for ages. It’s past my ears now!!

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    1. Hi Allie! Were they your Mum's Chelsea Girl pieces or bits she'd found in chazzas? A few years ago I bought a huge job lot of 1970s Chelsea Girl from Ebay - I'd forgotten all about it until I searched my blog for Chelsea Girl to discover the last time I'd worn that maxi dress - I'm kicking myself for not keeping some of it now!
      God, those fools trying to hustle you into bars, I haven't come across any of them since my Club 18 -30 trip to Faliraki back in the early 1990s! xxx

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    2. They were my mums she was really stylish. I don’t know we’re it went!! ohh street hawkers are illegal and the police put out regular announcements during tourist season. It’s just one area in shinjuku that is really bad. I won’t fall for it . It’s always the Americans. They fall for the pretty young girls they use.
      It’s known as a tourist trap that part as the Godzilla hotel is there and he actually moves and makes noise. A lot of locals didn’t want it. But they won.

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  16. Love the hair, what a fabulous shine! I went on Monday, similar routine - hadn't been since September, I had a wonderful time there. Oh Chelsea Girl, I saved up to buy a fake sheepskin coat from them, in fact even if you couldn't afford to buy something you still hung out in there, browsed with your friends and listened to piped music, which you would then know you should have in your record collection; it was always very dark in their shops so sometimes the purchases turned out to be a different colour in daylight!

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    1. Thanks, Betty! I'm so glad I went, I was wondering if I was being completely reckless when I booked the appointmant!
      Chelsea Girl was fab, wasn't it? You're right, the music was always good. I remember the West Brom branch being really cool with exposed bricks and a visible ventilation system painted in red gloss, it would still look cutting edge 50 years later! xxx

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  17. I can see why the salon took your photo for their Instagram , not only does your newly refreshed hair look so good , the vintage dress is a stunner. Glad to hear that other than the troublesome lads your first venture out wasn,t too bad.
    Love the buddlia bushes , do you find they are magnets for bees and butterflies. Like the sound of the scones too. Hope the rain stays away for a while. xxx

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  18. I'd like to think your 'admirers' were harmless but it couldn't have been much fun being chased through the town centre like that.
    I'm also not a fan of going to the hairdressers, so I'm currently still sporting my frazzled ends. I'm going to take the scissors to it this week, and I'll trim Lily's hair too. X

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    1. I was attacked by a man when I was in my early 20s and took a self defence course although I'm not sure if I'd remember anything these days. I'm sure they didn't mean any harm, probably just annoyed that i didn't want to sit on a bench with them drinking strong lager!
      Nothing wrong with a home haircut, I've been doing it for years! xxx

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  19. Hi Vix, I love Jacob's enclosure, he must be a very happy tortoise, at least you know he's safe in there. Sorry to hear about your experience with the drunks/louts, must have been very frightening especially when not many people around. I felt frightened just reading about your experience. I will print out your scone recipe, they sell spelt flour in Waitrose, I saw some in ours when I had a look around there the other day, its too expensive for me to shop in there but you can often get things in there which cannot be found in the other supermarkets. xx

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    1. Sorry forgot to say your hair looks gorgeous, love the waves. xx

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    2. Hello, Marlene! Jacob is really loving his new enclosure, he seems so much happier now with all the greenery, shrubs and places to shelter.
      Those men really are horrible and you're right, it's worse at the moment as there's so few shops open and not many people around if you need help and it doesn't help that our police station shut down 4 years ago either.
      Of course, I bet waitrose would sell spelt flour, they stock lots of interesting things . It's a really good flour, a lot lighter than the normal stuff! xxx

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  20. Your dresses are gorgeous. Good on you for going to the salon, your hair looks fab and I am glad it was a good experience. I hate it when louts and drunks think it is ok to hurl abuse. Maybe next time get John to walk you down there.

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    1. Thank you! I hate those horrible men who take offence if you're not flattered by their attentions, they need to concentrate on their beer and leave us women alone. xxxx

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  21. Things here in Japan are much the same - perspex and face shields everywhere, you must sanitise your hands before entering and they take your temperature on entry. It does make me wonder why more people aren't taking it seriously when it's very obvious something is still very wrong. There seems to be a second wave of it starting too despite the precautions.
    I have a sweater from River Island's relaunch of Chelsea Girl, I remember not knowing what it was in reference to when I bought it and saw the different label. It's still one of my favourites 9 years after buying it.

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    1. That sounds like its still being taken really seriously. I was very impressed with the hairdressers and was pleasantly surprised by how many people were wearing masks in the town centre and observing social distancing, too. If you belive the media everyone in the Uk is behaving like idiots, they clearly aren't (other than the junkies and down and outs assembled by the fountain!)
      The reissued Chelsea Girl stuff was really good, I had an amazing pair of crochet bellbottoms! xxx

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  22. beautiful hair!!
    hard earned - being chased by the drunks sounds traumatically - but it was worth facing the town center. your stylist is a good one, social and work wise.
    like others here i always love to see that blue dress - the maker must had you in mind..... black one is lovely too. i should bake more! your recipe reads yummy - i would use real cheese, maybe goat or sheep cheese. your crocosmia is huge and what a fab color!
    your rain is here now - but under the tin roof of the summer salon it´s comfy - with a sweater on of cause.
    xxxxx

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    1. Thanks, Beate! I'm really happy with my hair. The stylist was a new one and just lovely, I knew we'd get along when I saw that she had long dark hair with loose waves, I told her that I wanted hair like hers and got it!
      I do love that blue dress, I can't believe it's the first time I've worn it this year. Mind you, I haven't really been anywhere to warrant it!
      I'm not much of a baker but when I get round to doing it I love it. I might add some chopped olives next time! xxx

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  23. Your hair looks gorgeous. I still have not ventured out for a hair cut yet, though finally colored my own on June 12th. I got tired of sitting under anything with blue, and people on video meetings commenting on my blue hair-really gray with the blue refection. I look forward to hearing about your upcoming adventure. I think a get away after all your hard work each day is deserved, even if to wander on a Trust garden. I haven't been baking much-even cheated making cookies with already formed dough. I have plenty of baking ingredients and we are due for a homemade pizza night. Smart you carrying an umbrella. I got anew one this spring and once I head back in the office even if only a day or two, I look forward to using it.

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    1. Thanks, Sam! I wasn't sure if I was being a bit reckless by going to the hairdressers but it felt so safe and it felt great to do something normal again!
      We love our National trust visits although trying to book a slot is a bit of a nightmare, everyone's after one! xxx

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  24. As a fellow thrifty bird I thought you might be interested to know you can make your own Modge Podge by mixing one third pva to two thirds water apparently. Arilx

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  25. The result was worth the ordeal! The deep burgundy highlights add lustre and depth to your black curls. I've just made my own first-time-in-3-months foray to the salon. The protocols were identical. One does miss the posh coffee and trashy People magazines!
    The thug encounter has also been reported by my friends who ventured into downtown Indianapolis which is now a depressing post-riot wasteland. We're mostly motorists rather than pedestrians; however, if one stops for a light, the "protestors" step before the car to determine one's level of "support" for "the cause". A cash gesture is highly recommended.

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    1. Thanks, Beth! I didn't have it coloured but the colour looks very different, doesn't it? When the stylist showed me the photo she'd taken I hardly recognised myself.
      Yes, the coffee is always excellent at our salon (although they don't have the trashy magazines) and it was much missed.
      The thug encounter was something I was half expecting after several national news reports about Walsall's town centre being taken over by the unsavoury element following lockdown - I bet that's what they wanted, cash for beer. Mind you, they're probably the only people who deal in cash these days, I forgotten the last time I handed any cash over! xxx

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  26. Your hair looks great. I like the subtle curls and the highlights. It is good you had a nice hairdo experience. I visited hairdresser a while ago, wore and mask and didn't really feel worried. One of the benefits of having a long hair is not having to visit hairdressers as much (not that I mind hairdressers, but it is nice when visiting them more than once a year is optional). Sorry to hear about that incident with the junkies. Bring back childhood memories, the junkies were everywhere in the nineties because that is what happens in wars. Now the only junkies are the tourists but they have their own drug dealers who travel with them so fortunately one completely ignore and avoid them by avoiding touristy places.

    That dark brown Chelsea maxi is gorgeous. The necklace you paired it with is perfect. Such a great look! The blue maxi is beautiful as well. I always love how you wear your maxi dresses.

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    1. Thanks so much, Ivana! The colour hasn't changed but the cut has made the sun-lifted highlights in the lengths really shine through. You're right, long hair doesn't require as many trips to the hairdressers as shorter styles and it's possible to get by with trimming at home most of the year.
      Your comment about junkies is very thought provoking, I've seen the same in North Goa (somewhere we've avoided for years). xxx

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  27. Jacob has a five star life! That lime tree sounds like a total nightmare job, I'm not surprised you don't much like it.
    I love your Chelsea Girl outfit, reading about it took me right back to the one I went to!
    Your hair looks lovely, it's in great condition, not much fun being chased through town though!
    I love cheese scones, mine have cheddar, is vegan cheese a good substitute?
    Hope you've had a good day out. xxx

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    1. He's very happy with his mulch, it's deep enough the bury himself and get protection from the elements now, very welcome with the lovely weather we're being treated to at the moment!
      I was already wondering if I'd done the right thing by booking a hair appointment and being chased by crazy people was making me question my motives even more but the good hair made it all worthwhile.
      I'm not a fan of most vegan cheeses but the Parmesan is pretty good. xxx

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  28. I love all the memories you are triggering for me. I was brought up by a rather weird foster family, and FINALLY being allowed to buy and wear something from Chelsea Girl was an absolute red-letter day. I may have had to swear an oath that owning such scurrilous clothing would not immediate turn me into a pot-smoking hippy :-)

    Sorry you had to ensure the local p*ss-heads. M. and I regularly comment that (sadly) a large number of people were complete and utter idiots before the pandemic, and now they are still idiots but sadly possibly more visible. Before the lockdown there would have been more people around - might that have distracted the junkies from chasing after you?
    But your hair looks wonderful so I hope you feel the excursion was worth it.

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    1. Hello Jayne! They did sound like a weird family thinking wearing Chelsea Girl would turn you into a degenerate!
      I think you & M are right about how the idiots are now more visible with the lack of normal people on the street.
      I wasn't sure if i was being completely reckless by going to the hairdressers but not only is my haira million times better but it's made me realise that there is life outside Stonecroft and it's nothing like the hoardes of selfish people the media would have us believe. xxx

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  29. Oh my word Vix, what an adventure you had going to the hairdresser!! It must have been awful braving the drunks, and seeing the town looking so deserted. Your hair looks awesome now, though! Thanks for your visit to my blog - your hairdressing visit score pretty well matches my own. I just don't go! My hair grows so quickly and I've always coloured it myself (apart from the first time I had wacky colours) and now I'm just letting it be grey. I trim the ends myself and OK, I don't always get it quite even, and at the moment, one plait is longer than the other lol!! Perhaps if I kept my head on one side, nobody would notice... I'm just hoping that when I go to the hospital for my bladder scan, I won't have to wear a mask. I hate anything over my face and so far, have managed to avoid wearing one.

    I didn't know Chelsea Girl morphed into River Island! You learn something new every day... I used to rave over all the Carnaby Street stuff, and Biba and all that fabulous dusky dark makeup, but had no money so could only dream!!

    You have certainly been busy in your garden and it's all looking fantastic. So glad you liked what my hubby has done in ours. I just wish the weather was nice enough for us to sit out and enjoy it. The kitties aren't that keen on going out at the moment and are happy to get down to the hard work of sleeping off their breakfasts on the bed.

    Love your maxi dresses! The brown one with the smocking is fabulous... I used to do a lot of smocking and I did some on my wedding dress too. I'm glad you liked my purple outfit. I must show off the red top sometime, too - I got them at the same time.

    Your scone recipe looks great. I've never cooked with spelt flour - I can probably get it from my online whole-food supplier.

    You are right about not messing with girl kitties!! They know their minds OK. We always tell ours that the majority of kitties worldwide do not know what it means to be adored, and have to survive by eating out of dustbins and sleeping under cars. They just look at us as if to say, "So what? Give us ... (insert whatever) and do it NOW!" They are very affectionate though, and love to be with us, and 90 percent of the time they love each other too - it's always Ruby who initiates the spats and biffing sessions and she chases Lily - we think it's jealousy because Lily is #1 kitty in the pecking order and Ruby likes to assert herself a bit, nearly always before their evening meal. They always kiss and make up, though. We had a crazy tortie too - Sophie - she was my first kitty and when I met my hubby it was a case of "love me, love my cat" - and he did! She was extremely mixed up and the vet said she had a tortoiseshell brain as well as a tortoiseshell coat and they were often really wacky. She used to purr and growl at the same time and get rigid with rage over nothing!! I loved her to bits though. All our kitties have been girls, with the exception of one of Sophie's kittens that I kept (before I knew my hubby) and unfortunately he died of feline viral leukaemia at only 2 years old.

    Yes, great to have my cleaning lady back, and my hubby is pleased too as he's now off cleaning duty! He did really well, though.

    Had a really busy session in the kitchen preparing salads to take for our lunch out tomorrow in E. Dorset. A fairly early start to get us there in time for lunch and I've got a few finishing touches to do before packing the cool box.

    Shoshi x

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    1. Hello Shoshi!
      After I'd booked the appointment I wasn't sure if I was very brave or foolish but I must admit that I was reassured by the precautions the salon had in place. The reason I started going there was that I'd noticed that the majority of the clients have long hair which is always reassuring! Like you, mine grows lopsided, my plaits were staring to look very strange.
      I haven't been in River Island for years but back in the early 2000s they did some gorgeous clothes, embroidered, tie-dyed cotton maxi dresses and gypsy skirts and pretty blouses, well-made and nicely finished. It's all gone a bit footballer's wives these days, neon trousersuits, tailoring and bags with huge logos - each to their own, I suppose!
      Girl cats are bad ass! They are so terratorial. Frank moved in the day after we lost Polly after living rough in the garden for months. He freaks us out sometimes as he does things that Polly used to, sleeping in the same places & playing with her tys, even his miaouw is very similar. Stephen absolutely lotahes other cats but has no problem with him. Next door's crazy tabby sounds like your Sophie. She purrs, spits and growls non-stop, she loves a bit of fuss that turns on you!
      Have a lovely day out! xxx

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  30. Your hair looks great - I like the curls on the ends! My part of town has a large population of homeless and standing at my local bus stop can be challenging depending on the time of day. Many of them are riding the bus because they stopped collecting fares in April during the lockdown so passengers could board the bus by the back door and they are not wearing masks, or social distancing, so it can get uncomfortable.

    I love those two maxi dresses. The blue one looks so lovely on you, and I would wear that Chelsea Girl one with the coloured stitching on the bodice. I have a Hawaiian print maxi that I haven't worn yet this summer because its been much too hot to wear a long dress.

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    1. Thanks, Shelley! The three stylists in the salon all had those loose waves, it must be a thing! Keri made it look so easy to do but I know I'd make a complete mess of it if I tried.
      Bus travel in your town does sound challenging, I image it's stressful enough in these trying times without the added intimidation by homeless chaps. A lot of the men in the town centre live in a lodging house called, somewhat inappropriately, Happy Times which is a short walk from the town centre. In the old days when we'd go to car boot sales we'd often drive past at 8am and they'd already be out on the steps halfway through a four pack of strong lager. I'm all for live and let live, I just wish they'd leave me alone! xxx

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  31. Hello Vix. Your new crowning glory looks fantastic. There's nothing like smooth, wavy hair to make you feel good. Glad your hairdresser took appropriate precautions - the masks, temperature control and hand sanitizer are required here in salons too. Must have been terrifying to be chased by those hoodlums, especially with no-one else around to help you.


    Your purple buddlea is beautiful. Wish I hadn't pulled ours out a few years ago. It used to flower ten months of the year. What was I thinking!! How very kind is Jon to do grocery runs for Tony! People helping others always restores my faith in human nature.

    Your recent book looks like an interesting read. And those scones look delicious. I just finished reading Ann's blog and she's made some too. Just out of curiosity, are you a 'jam on the bottom, cream on top' kinda lady? Lastly, your dresses are beautiful, as usual. The smoking on the brown maxi is stunning.

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    1. Thanks so much, Suzy! My hair feels so much better now and despite having inches off the ends it looks longer as the ends are properly cut and it's hanging better. I was really impressed with the precautions the salon took, they've been awarded best hairdresser in our region for the last few years and I can see why.
      Buddleas are seen as weeds here, the grow out of derelict buildings and on train tracks and can be a real nusiance but they're so pretty and its a real pleasure to watch all the butterflies enjoy it.
      Ann mentioned that she & Jos had baked scones, too! I'm more of a savoury girl and it's been a few years since I had a sweet one but it's jam first and clotted cream on top, preferably with a glass of wine on the side! xxx

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  32. Your hair looks fabulous! Definitely worth plucking up courage for. My hairdresser hasn't reopened yet, and I'm getting a bit desperate :)
    The Chelsea Girl dress is gorgeous. I had no idea they'd revived the label. I used to love that shop, but I'm betting the new stuff will be a shadow of it's former self.
    I can't believe how tall your crocosmia are. Mine are much shorter. They may be a different variety.
    I really will have to get hold of some spelt flour, the recipes you've posted look delicious.
    Looking forward to hearing about your next adventure xxx

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    1. Thanks, Annie! I'm surprised your hairdresser hasn't reopened, I suppose it must be costing them a fortune to install all these new measure!
      Some of the revived stuff is lovely - not as well made as the original stuff but well worth looking out for. it's fooled a few of my younger trader friends, they thought it was authentic!
      Normally Jon & I have garden envy when we visit NT places but smugly said to one another yesterday that ours crocosmia was better! xxx

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  33. Your hair looks awesome! So glad you were able to escape the drunks safely. I have an appointment for a trim on Saturday and I can't wait! I'm starting to look like Hagrid from Harry Potter (minus the beard). Those spiced potato fairies are making me hungry. Potaotes are probably my favorite food. Have a great time on your adventure and enjoy your scones.

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    1. Ha! Hagrid from Harry Potter indeed! I hope you have as lovely an experience at the hairdressers as I did!
      You can't beat potatoes, they're the best! xxx

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  34. Your hair looks lovely! I don't go very often as I never come out of a salon with the haircut I ask for but I do need to go and get the ends tidied up and my layers sorted.
    I wonder what the world will look like in three months time, I seem to constantly be wondering about the future at the moment.
    Your spiced potato fairies look so delicious. I've been living on pasta but I think I need to find me some spuds. I'm growing some but haven't dug any up as yet.
    I'm sorry, I had to chuckle when you mentioned fairy liquid in the fountain. It's a shame it was closed as it's a really lovely feature.
    xx

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    1. Thanks, Hazel! I must admit that was why I stopped going to the hairdresser, I always came out hating my hair. I'm more assertive the older I get, I'm adamant that I don't want much off the length and only really long layers at the ends to give it a bit more movement. I do love having nice hair again, I feel like I'm letting my clothes down when it needs doing! xxx

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  35. The demise of the high street does make me sad it's certainly been sped up by lockdown. Your hair looks lovely I'm still waiting for my appointment my roots are horrendous.

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    1. I dread to think what the state of our high streets will be like this time next year, with no charity shops open I have absolutely no reason to go into town, I'd rather order online for everything. xxx

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  36. Isn't your hair looking wonderful! I love it. Glad that the trip felt safe. I should get mine cut but I am waiting a little longer.
    It's sad about the market. I need to remember to cycle into town tomorrow to see if I can get some veg from our local market...if it is there.
    Your Chelsea Girl dress is really lovely- Cheesecloth and those lovely gathers make for a great fit! Thanks for the tip of how to spot genuine vintage!
    Er...what are spiced potato fairies??!??!
    x

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    1. Thanks, Kezzie! I feels so good to get my hair sorted, despite my initial misgivings about going I felt really safe once I was there.
      Fairies are sliced potatoes, in Black Country chip shops they're battered and deep fried, we just oven cook them! xxx

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Thank you for leaving a comment. If you have a blog I'll pop over and return the favour.

Lots of love, Vix