Thursday had looked like being the driest (but coldest) day of the week weather-wise, hence the reason I'd booked our National Trust excursion for then but, after I'd done my Wii Fit workout and Jon had joined me for breakfast, the skies turned as dark as night and torrential rain was bouncing off the paving stones. Despite this we wrapped up, packed sandwiches and set off down the M6 to Baddesley Clinton, the moated manor house that had remained home to the same family, The Ferrers, for over 500 years.
Friday, 20 November 2020
The Distancing Diaries - 19th & 20th November, 2020
As luck would have it we'd left the rain back in Walsall and Baddesley Clinton remained dry throughout our visit.
You might remember our last visit back in July HERE. Back then the garden had been under the sole care of Lucy, the head gardener, due to lockdown. Now back at its full compliment of four staff, the grounds were immaculate, swept clean of leaves and with plenty of colour still in the borders.
It was the coldest day of the season so far and we were well wrapped up. Lord Jon wore his Diesel waxed jacket and super cosy fleece lined boots along with a burnt orange wool bobble hat, all charity shop finds.
I did wonder if I was foolish not to have worn my wellies but the ground was surprisingly mud-free so my mum's fleece-lined original Biba boots were just fine.
This time we remembered to bring some stale bread with us and Jon revered to childhood by feeding the ducks and geese, something he hadn't done since he was about 8!
The car park was rammed but, as usual, everyone followed the social distancing guidelines and keep at least two metres away. Nobody ever tries to overtake or push past and people are always happy to stand and wait if you want to take photos. The National Trust attracts the nicest folk.
Even on a cold and grey November day Baddesley Clinton is beautiful. We felt alive and invigorated after our bracing woodland walk, eating our picnic in the van and then heading back to Walsall. It was odd driving through the town of Shirley on the way home with almost all the shops closed and the normally bustling streets deserted. It's easy to forget there's a lockdown when we spend almost all of our days at home.
Back home, after a coffee in the shelter with the lads, I wrapped up my ebay sales parcels and Jon nipped down to the post office with them.
Here's what I wore for my National Trust visit. The Whistles velvet scarf was 99p from a charity shop five years ago, back at home when I researched it I discovered it was still in store and retailed at £99! The vintage Phool suit was an IG buy, I rarely wear both pieces together. The riding jacket was from Anokhi from their flagship store in Jaipur back in 2018, it's the most I've ever spent on a garment and it gets complimented wherever I go.
Tea was a few oven chips with salad, plaka gigantes and some spicy quinoa. Later we watched Spooks (just for a change!) and I left some plants in the bath overnight to soak.
On Friday morning I booked next week's National Trust adventure before my final Wii Fit workout of the week. When I stepped on the board it told me that it was our 4000th session! Doesn't time fly?
Jon got up just as I'd finished my plant watering and swapping around session. After breakfast I caught up with blogland and watched a crochet tutorial on YouTube for my next project. Confident that I was up to the task I ordered wool from Shaws Direct. In normal times I buy it from their shop in West Bromwich, currently closed due to the lockdown. At least I can still support this fab family business.
Today's outfit is the off-white version of the 1970s Ayesha Davar blouse I was wearing on my last blog post and a vintage Anokhi maxi skirt with a quilted hem (both eBay). By coincidence my Phool waistcoat matches the suit I wore yesterday and was bought from Eyewood Vintage at Vintage Village in Stockport a few years ago. I think wearing a block printed three piece suit might be a step too far, even for me!
Back in the days BC (before Covid) it was easy to fritter £5 away a day in charity shops, the odd garment that would do for workout sessions, travelling or gardening, quirky bits for the house, might-be-useful homewares or pieces of fabric with potential. Only visiting the clearance shop once a week - and not at all in the past three weeks - and my purchases are fewer and more discerning, like these Lotta from Stockholm clogs bagged for the bargain price of £15 from eBay a fortnight ago.
Jon had a to-do list to plough through which included a grocery/cat food run, popping Frank round to the vet for a check-up, paying the joiner's bill and fitting some magnetic closure strips to the kitchen cupboard. Last week Mark & Keith brought it to our attention that the mortar on the brickwork outside the bedroom window had perished and was leaching water into the house. Jon called our retired brickie pal Dave who popped round to assess the damage and said that he'd fix it on Saturday (tomorrow) if we could find some ladders long enough. Jon did some ringing around and discovered Liz & Al had a set, which Al offered to pop round later - at a safe Covid-free distance, of course! The joy of old houses, there's always something that needs fixing.
On a brighter note lovely Elaine (visit her website HERE) sent me a parcel of joy, a sensational length of Indian batik cotton featuring peacocks and an amazing East Bollywood motif top which will be repurposed into something else. I can't work out who the actress is, I need to do my homework. Also included was a postcard featuring some of her beautiful artwork, Glencoe.
Lunch was a Ginster's vegan Moroccan pasty, it was delicious!
A damp, grey and cold day like today isn't the most conducive to productivity. I managed to fill the afternoon by pottering about in the bathroom, polishing mirrors and dusting picture frames in between some blog reading and a bit of paperwork.
Tea was posh pizza with sweet potato wedges and a bottle of beer. The alcohol consumption will continue with rum shortly and, no doubt, more Spooks. We've nearly finished watching all ten series now.
Stay safe and see you soon!