Friday, 28 August 2020

The Distancing Diaries - Day 160 & 161


On Thursday (day 160), after my Wii Fit workout and our breakfast, we got dressed and got cracking in the garden. The Midlands been issued with an amber warning for rain so we wanted to get as much done as we could.


You did take a before photo, didn't you? Jon asked, halfway through clearing the border. Oh dear, in my haste to pulverise the pile of buddleia and magnolia branches we'd piled up yesterday I'd completely forgotten. This is the only photo I could find of how that area looked before Jon set to work. 


At a less than impressive 12°C , Thursday definitely wasn't bikini weather. I'd just got to the bottom of the pile of branches when Jon called me in for noodles. The forecasted deluge arrived shortly after lunch. We dashed outside to recover the tools, disconnect the shredder and drag it under The Egg ready to resume work in the morning.


Wearing: Vintage block printed kaftan and 1970s quilted jacket (both eBay), tooled leather belt and Clarks' Orinoco Club Chelsea boots (both charity shopped),  vintage umbrella (car boot sale)

With gardening plans thwarted I did a bit of mending, resewing the rouleaux loops, on the kaftan I'd had made from a vintage sari in Jodhpur earlier this year, as always accompanied by 6Music.


Did I mention that we'd booked accommodation for our first couple of nights in Greece? Well, unsure as to the travel situation, we cancelled the reservation last week while we were still within the free cancellation window but as Greece remains a government approved travel destination (at the moment) he's started looking again. We were hoping to travel around but the Passenger Location Form (PLF) that the Greek government have made mandatory for all foreign tourists only allows for two addresses within Greece so Jon got the Rough Guide out and attempted to draw up an itinerary but with so many amazing destinations he abandoned his studies and started to sort out his travel clothes instead. 


I cooked! Tea was roast peppers stuffed with couscous, sun-dried tomatoes, chopped olives & Feta cheese. We harvested our first courgette yesterday so I made a Greek yachni using a recipe I'd adapted from the lovely book our friend Lynn sent us.


As I'd only got one courgette I added a handful of frozen okra. The book says that, when using tinned tomatoes, Greeks often add a dessertspoonful of Worcester sauce to bring out the flavour but, as a vegetarian, I use tamarind sauce as it's fish-free.

Courgette Yachni


8oz courgettes (roughly chopped)

1 large onion (chopped)

Tin of tomatoes 

Dessertspoonful of Worcester / Tamarind sauce

Olive oil

Fresh chopped parsley

Ground black pepper

Ground sea salt

1 tsp sugar

2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar


  • Sweat the onion in olive oil until translucent
  • Add the rest of the ingredients
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes

 After tea we watched a few episodes of Gone Fishing on the BBC i-player. Jon's already seen a few and loved them & I'm late to the party. Who'd have thought that a programme about two middle-aged men going fishing would be such fun?

On Friday I was up at 6am to book a slot for our next National Trust adventure. The sun made a brief appearance as I did my last Wii Fit workout of the week but soon descended into the same old grey murk. We'd just eaten our fruit & yogurt breakfast when the My Hermes driver arrived with a parcel. Earlier in the week I'd visited the website of one of the several UK stores on the brink of closure and bought Jon four pairs of shorts, reduced by 75% in their Summer sale. All four pairs got the thumbs up and fitted perfectly so yesterday's packing is going to have to be re-thought.

Jon wasn't the only one being treated, look what arrived for me (although I think we'll be sharing it!)

Despite the rain we cracked on with the border clearance, Jon lopping and sawing and me shredding beneath The Egg. Those are the surviving garden lights, the ones closest to the house were destroyed by Storm Francis.


After a break for noodles we continued for another couple of hours. The lad hadn't shown any interest yesterday and were totally bemused by the changes when they braved the rain in the afternoon. Stephen Squirrel is most put out that his mousing corner has been razed to the ground.

The postman arrived with the new-with-tags Zara bikini I'd treated myself to from eBay. I tried it on and left glowing feedback for the seller. 


Despite the fact it was tipping it down and we'd got the heating on I decided to play around with my holiday clothes...


So far I've put aside....two skirts, two cotton camis, two kaftans, a midi dress, two maxi dresses, two bikinis, a sarong, a long-sleeved wrap-over sari top, two pairs of sunglasses, a raffia clutch, a straw bag, a maize fedora, leather chappals and a pair of Lottas. I'll be throwing in jewellery, my eReader and some face masks closer to departure.


Tea was the rest of the other night's pizza as Jon had forgotten to cut them in half and freeze them. Tonight we'll be partaking in some rum & cola, served - as always - in charity shop tumblers. I don't think I ever shared the JH Lynch coasters I found for £1 in the charity clearance shop earlier this year. They make drinking in the house a bit more special. 


A year ago tonight, I was dressed in a Lurex halterneck maxi, sequinned coat and barefoot. We closed our shop at the Towersey festival and danced to The Selecter in a field. Tonight we'll be staying in with the central heating on, the curtains closed and watching programmes about fishing and gardening....what a strange year!

Stay safe, stay fabulous and see you soon!

53 comments:

  1. Happy Friday night Vix! hey rocking that bikini! Maybe if i ate like you and did half hour exercise 5 times a week hmm in my dreams. Anyway it's getting exciting about Greece! I bet you enjoyed sorting out your packing I used to love that part of going to Aus. You will be glad to get some sun won't you. We have had dismal weather here and yesterday saw me naughtily go to the boxes of clothes I supposedly had packed away for a year (well si months wasn't bad) and start swapping clothes over I was in need of a diversion from worrying or should I say thinking about Mum. got to play for a tiny while in the garden today but then the weather turned again. Must plant some bulbs soon. Anyway Vix enjoy your evening and have a great weekend! hugs Shazxx

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    1. Happy Sunday night, Shaz! Where does the time go? No chance of dancing around in a bikini this weekend, it's too cold!
      Hope rummaging through your boxes of clothes took your mind off worrying about your mum, I think you've done brilliantly not looking for six months.
      I might do my bulb planting tomorrow - I know it says September on the packet but I'm hoping being one day early won't get me into trouble! xxx

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  2. Gosh that I could wear a bikini like that! You look terrific in it, you are so toned and slim. Well done with your gardening efforts - not a romantic job but very satisfying and another part of your garden tamed. Weather here has not been good although today was dry. I think we get a bit of sun tomorrow which I plan to spend clearing up after Storm Frances. Hope you get your holiday, you're both ready for it in every way!

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    1. Thanks, Catmac! I hope I can get to wear it outside the bedroom this year!
      No, that clearing wasn't the most glamorous job, I've got the scratches and the broken nails to prove it but if it opens up the possibility of growing more produce and pretty plants I'm happy! xxx

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  3. Loving those coasters and the bikini is really gorg! I love Stephen Squirrels' face. He really does look quite miffed, doesn't he? Love to you all. Zxx

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    1. Yes, that little face is a picture!

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    2. Julia and Zoe, Isn't Stephen's little face pitiful? He can stare at us like that for thirty minutes at a time, we always feel guilty even if we haven't done anything! xxx

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  4. Thanks for posting the courgette (zucchini to us Canadians) recipe! I'm looking forward to making it.

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    1. Hello jbettyb - enjoy your zucchini! xxx

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  5. I do hope you get to go to Greece, probably worth quarantining yourself afterwards if they force you to (since you are almost doing that already). Take care

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    1. Me, too! I was convinced we wouldn't be able to go and now I'm starting to feel a little more hopeful. Fingers crossed, huh? Sending you loads of love. xxx

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  6. Yes indeed, what a strange year it has been, eh? Ah well... there's always hope for next year, I suppose. I was doing a bit of reminiscing in my blog post today too. Our motorcycle is crying the blues in the garage but we told her she simply must shush. :-) ~Andrea xoxo PS~ You look mighty fine in that bikini, young lady. I'm glad you had the courage to post. We women should have more courage to do things such as that.

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    1. Yes, there's always next year, Andrea! I'm the eternal optimist!
      I loved that photo of you & your husband, you're one cool pair.
      I pondered on posting that photo for about a minute then thought sod it! xxx

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  7. I think "strange year" is possibly the understatement of the year! The Before Times seem so long ago!

    I'm glad you're still planning on Greece, and hope that you're able to escape, Vix! HOLY SMOKES, WOMAN - you in that fringey bikini?? Whew! You are amazing! I thought of you when we had our recent pool party - I am so self-conscious about my body, and my recent transcribing of my 17-year-old diary is incredibly heart-breaking as I slag myself and call myself "fat" and "disgusting." I weighed 120 lbs! I know better now, but it is still so difficult to silence those voices that say we are not enough: not thin enough, not sexy enough, not young enough! Kudos to you, my dear friend.

    Frank looks rather nonplussed, but Stephen has murder on his mind! "Where did all my mousies go?" he's thinking.

    Love your vintage-looking coasters - I am always on the look for good ones for our house. My most recent find was rubber ones that look like 45 RPM records! L loves them.

    Have a great weekend, Vix! I hope you get some more summer weather before it's officially over! We're hovering in the mid-20s here all week, but being on the ocean, I've really noticed it's cooled off at night. Brr. Time for coats and jackets!

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    1. I'm hoping against hope that we get to go, Sheila. I'm pretty certain that there'll be no India for a while so a trip to Greece should keep our wanderlust in check until things eventually return to normal.
      The way our minds work. You looked amazing in your swimsuit when you went to that uber-glam pool party and I'm sad that those inner voices keep clamouring to be heard. I hear you, I've always had issues with how I look and avoided having my photo taken for years. You are fabulous, I'd love to give the young Sheila a hug and tell her what an amazing woman she'll become.
      Liking the sound of the record coasters.
      It's been a dry but really cold weekend, it feels like we've leapt into Autumn! xxx

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  8. Aye, such a strange year. Looking freaking amazing in your hot little number of a bikini. Roll on Greece!!!!

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    1. Strange indeed! if anyone had told me what this year would be like I'd have thought they were crazy! xxx

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  10. our cooking looks inspiring - do you eat quorn? I stuff my peppers with them and flavour the quorn with a little tomato puree, onions and Jamaican everyday seasoning powder (Dunns River), then put them in the oven. It must be fun sorting holiday clothes, I have 3 weeks booked out for November which my employers won't let me change - no long haul flights likely this year so don't know what to do with it all! Will look forward to armchair travel via your blog, to get some exploring without having to stay overnight, maybe something with trains would work for you, if they are allowing this (deleted earlier comment as had obsolete link).

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    1. Thanks, Betty! We haven't had Quorn in ages, Jon gets that Morrison's veggie mince which is really good, I could try your suggestion using that.
      What a shame that you can't change your holiday. I've whittled it down to two destinations and found some really good deals with car hire which my sales on eBay will pay for. No trains in Greece. xxx

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  11. Another recipe I just have to try. Thank you.
    I love that time before a holiday when you plan what you want to do while you're there and the clothes you want to take with you. It all adds to the excitement I think.
    Stephen Squirrel's expression is priceless. X

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    1. It's really good with new potatoes or tinned butter beans, too!
      Stephen Squirrel looks so pitiful, doesn't he? that's the look we get when he's waiting for treats or cat milk! We daren't say no. xxx

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  12. Loving the bikini you're nearly wearing!!There's a burlesque dance class (run by Sassy Von Sparkle)starting in September near me which your bikini top would be perfect for. Unfortunately, such exercise too high impact for me! I loved Gardeners' World last night, it was really interesting and also Diarmuid's prog on earlier showing his Florida Keys porch. I liked the way he said 'I want to clad and paint this part' then got an army of chippies in to do the job! Great result though. Re the info on the vintage clobber on your last post, forgot to tell you that there was mention of Prairie Dresses being the new thing and I thought 'pfft, Vix already knows that'! Have a good weekend everyone. xxx

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    1. ps also forgot to say, watched Rick Stein in India the other day and man, those curries they made had everything but the kitchen sink in them but looked legendary. Also, Rick Stein's second on my list of 'Men I'd Have in My Life'!x

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    2. Sassy Von Sparkle, love it! I'd probably put my other hip out in a burlesque class.
      Gardener's World was fab, loved the young man from Nottingham, his metal bucket garden and fluffy chickens were gorgeous & so inspiring.
      We laughed at Diarmiud having everything done for him, lucky so and so! The Florida keys porch was absolutely lovely though, I was appalled by the colour at first but it really did look stunning in the sunlight.
      Prairie dresses are selling for £££s at the moment. It's funny how vintage clothes go through trends too, a few years ago everyone wanted 1950s dresses & 1940s Utility and now you can't give the things away!
      I love Rick Stein, I don't usually atch cooking programmes but his India adventure was wonderful as he was so respectful and kind to everyone he met. We've eaten at the little beach shack in Mamalapuram that he said served the best curry in the world and was amazed to see it on the TV. Jon agreed, he loved their biriani! xxx

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  13. yep - strange year. and it´s not over now......
    sometimes i stare wistful at my glamourous clothes in the wardrobe...... i do miss the the urban events to wear them and the people i used to meet there. lurex, sequinnes, tulle or satin look a bit wrong in our "new normal" aka country life but without the parties......
    the garden is totally changed! no wonder stephen is wondering about :-D
    super cute bikini! we cross all fingers and paws that your travel plans will work out - the packing looks gorgeous already.
    thanx for the recipe!! xxxx

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    1. From what the experts say this could be the calm before the storm, time to embrace any opportunity we can get to be a bit more "normal".
      I was looking at my sequinned festival coat and wondering when on earth I'd wear it again, festival season feels like world away.
      Stephen and Frank think we've created a new litter tray, they are naughty boys. xxx

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  14. Your garden transformation is just brilliant, well worth braving the elements for. I can imagine Stephen Squirrel's dismay at the disappearance of his mousing corner, though! The Zara bikini was a great find and it looks absolutely stunning on you! I'm also admiring your travel wardrobe. Having just finished my own packing for next week, I know you can't start thinking about it early enough. I'm keeping everything crossed that nothing thwarts your holiday plans so that you'll be able to get away to Greece. Love the coasters, which of course you had to have! xxx

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    1. Thanks, Ann! Over the last few months we've noticed that the area gets sun on it for a large part of the day so it should be a good site for veggies and more plants - having overgrown shrubs seems such a waste when there's pretty plants out there.
      I was so happy with the bikini, not that I needed one but I'm glad I spotted it. I struggle with finding bikinis that aren't padded, underwired or with massive pants, not my style at all.
      I hope you're having a wonderful break! xxx

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  15. The photo of Stephen Squirell is classic, a picture painting a thousand words!
    The garden clearing looks like heavy work well done, it's no fun in this weather is it. Everything is a bit soggy.
    I've got my heating on, hope yours was in the bikini photo! It looks great, perfect for your hols. Just thinking about the heat and beaches makes me happy. My fingers are firmly crossed for your trip to go ahead. xxx

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    1. He's got such an expressive face, he nearly always gets what he wants.
      It wasn't the greatest weather for a project like that but at least it got us outside. the fun bit will be working out what to plant in the space.
      Oh yes, the heating was on when I took my kit off. Hasn't it been cold?
      I'm keeping everything crossed, we're almost in touching distance of our departure date now! xxx

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  16. Thank you, Vix, for adding "rouleau loop" to my sewing vocabulary. All these years I've been calling them "frog loops"... I mentioned this to a friend who said she'd found a mysterious doodad in her late mother's keepsake box, a loop of knicker elastic with a button on one end. Her auntie explained it was a device used to expand waistbands during pregnancy by slipping the loop over the permanent button and the button in the button hole. The things we find in those old sewing tins!

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    1. I hadn't got a clue what they were called until I watched The Great British Sewing Bee, a veritable mine of sewing information! I'm liking that gadget your friend unearthed, I could make those to sell to customers who fall in love with skirts but find the waistbands a bit on the snug side. xxx

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  17. Great bikini for you-and I hope your trip is a safe go. As I think we are only a couple years apart, though, I've had five pregnancies, you motivate me to get toned and healthy, I am not ashamed of my frumpy body, life happened, body but want to be healthy, and that is what you exude!

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    1. Thanks so much, Sam! It's all about being healthy. I've got a massive 14" scar that runs up my hip but being pain-free and able to walk without strangers asking what's wrong with me is a small price to pay. xxx

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  18. Cute bikini! Fringe makes everything just a bit more special.
    The garden must have been exhausting to deal with, but what can you do?
    I'm excited for your trip to Greece, and looking forward to hearing about it and seeing your photos.

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    1. Thank you! I do love a fringe, it makes everything a bit more frivolous and fun and we all need a bit of that at the moment!
      Jon's extended the irrigation system so, if we go, at least we can come back to alive plants.
      I'm sacred to think about Greece too much in case it doesn't happen! xxx

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  19. I love that bikini, mine would be granny knickers and underwired! Fingers crossed for Greece . We have just booked up for the snow festival in a Sapporo if it goes ahead in January. I love how you have the patience to repair and restore clothing that many people would throw away. You always inspire me to make more thoughtful choices when I purchase things. I used to be like a headless chicken, but I’m not now. So I thank you.
    My rat man has been and has put a box down, he says there has been a problem lately in this area. And he did mention the fish but I showed him were the fish food was stored which is inside . So he was baffled. I won’t go out now . When I told the boss he just laughed and told me not to be a baby and it is more scared of you . I suppose he is right. Take care and keep safe

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    1. Hello, Allie! Granny knickers and underwired! You're as bad as Cherie!
      Fingers, damaged toes, legs, hair and everything crossed for Greece. I long to sit outside a village taverna eating gigantes plaki & local bread with a carafe of chilled red wine - I know we can eat out here but Wetherspoons Walsall doesn't have the same appeal!
      That's such a lovely thing to say, when you love your clothes repairing them is a joyful pastime. A single charity shop visit a week and no car boot sales really has made me appreciate what i already own. I can make informed choices about what I really need rather than getting it 'cos it's a bargain. I love watching stuff on ebay but, by the time the auction is up I've usually talked myself out of it.
      I'm hoping that rat was just a passing visitor and that you won't see him again! Loads of love. xxx

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  20. Oh how I love anything with a bit of fringe. I'd need a bikini with double strength scaffolding and guy ropes to hold it all in place. I hope you do get to visit Greece although it's such a shame not to be able to do the tour that you both wanted. Strange times aren't they.

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    1. Haha! You do make me laugh, Cherie!
      They are strange times, we'd convinced ourselves that we wouldn't be going to Greece this year and I still won't believe it until I get on that plane! xxx

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  21. The difference in the weather is just mad, but I guess yesterday was classic Reading festival weather! Fingers crossed you get your holiday. xx

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    1. When you think of how glorious it was in April, August has been such a disappointment. You're right though, typical festival weather. V used to be this weekend as well and I was always wet through and freezing cold! xxx

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  22. What a mix bag of weather we are having. Never mind your clothes being on and off our heating has too. Bravo on showing us your bikini, you look fab.
    I’m glad the books came in handy. The bloody post office sent me a cheque to cover the postage on Jon’s lost birthday box. No mention of the contents. Don’t worry it wasn’t expensive stuff, it’s just annoying. I wonder if it will ever turn up.
    Fingers and toes are still crossed for Greece for you. Our Kim & Keeley and kids managed to get to Portugal on a last minute package xxx

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    1. I've just seen the weather forecast, apparently today will be the coldest August Bank Holiday since the 1980s! Thank goodness we had some decent weather earlier on.
      The recipes are fab, I love reading them and making up my own version with what's in the cupboard. The yachni tastes so much like the tangy tomato entree dishes you get in Greece I can forget it's raining outside!
      So annoying about the birthday box, I'm glad you were compensated but it does make you wonder when it ended up, lost parcels are so rare.
      I'm glad Keeley & Kim managed to escape for some sunshine, with the prospect of no India both of us are desperate for an escape. xxx

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    2. The weather turned out beautiful hooray xx

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  23. I didn't think it was ever going to stop raining! A the prospect of a trip to Greece must be so nice. Our cancelled holiday will have to wait until June 2021 as we have to accommodate teachers holidays and the farmer's calendar.
    I'm sure Stephen Squirrel will find where the mice have moved to... it won't take long :)
    xx

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    1. When it starts it seems never ending and make mornings like today, where you pop outside to feel the sunshine warming your back, all the more special.
      It must be a logistical nightmare to book a holiday with a group of people. I'm hoping against hope that we get to travel although the news this morning is very worrying. xxx

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  24. This has been a very strange and unsettling year so far. I hope your trip to Greece happens. Now that we are in September I realize how much I missed having any kind of vacation from work - not even a day trip somewhere. You are lucky you have your National Trust adventures to tide you over until you can really get away.

    Wow! You are looking fit and fab in that fringed bikini! You'll be turning heads on the beach for sure.

    It is starting to feel like fall here, with cooler nights but it's still warm in the daytime. It's getting dark a lot earlier at night too.

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    1. I hope we travel, too! Even though the R rate is significantly lower than the UK it's still so up in the air this morning. The uncertainty is so frustrating. xxx

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  25. Late to the party (again) so I’ll just add that the Lea & Perrins which Morrisons currently sell under the ‘Hendersons’ brand has no anchovy. I’ve just checked the label and it appears to be veggie-friendly. Haven’t tried it yet . . .

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Lots of love, Vix