Monday, 10 May 2021

The Distancing Diaries - 9th & 10th May, 2021

A torrential downpour on Sunday morning woke me at just after 5am and half an hour later I'd abandoned trying to go back to sleep and had a wander around the garden in the drizzle instead. After emptying the bins and spritzing the seedlings I made tea, took it back to bed and read until 8am. This book's a gripping read, a British We Need To Talk About Kevin.


We had poached eggs on toast for breakfast. We couldn't concentrate on The Andrew Marr Show so, after I'd painted my nails (in Barry M's Japalpeno), we had a rummage to see what we could donate to the charity shop filling a bag with two towels, a pair of desert boots, a pack of blank computer discs, a packet of hair slides, a couple of sarongs and four books. 

The second outing in a fortnight for my Dilli Grey dress (via eBay), worn with charity shopped velvet boots & necklace and my artisan-made metallic tote bag from Jaipur, made from recycled leather.


The charity shop had just opened when we arrived and, after handing over our donations, spent about 40 minutes browsing. There was a huge queue outside the Holiday Hypermarket, after 16 weeks of travel being illegal, the restrictions are to ease from 17th May and bookings have gone into overdrive.

What did we find in the chazza? A grisly Victorian crime novel set in the Black Country (for me!) and a 1960s gents raincoat, 1980s denim jacket, vintage military shirt and snazzy dinner jacket which are all destined for the stockroom. I've been searching for some affordable & bastard massive copal tribal beads for years, I can't believe I found a set for 50p. The 1970s tiered cotton slip will be perfect under my sheer Indian cotton dresses, my vintage nylon slips can go back to the charity shop next week. As you know, Jon collects vintage watches so when I spotted this 1980s Citizen Digi-Ana I soon grabbed it. I was amazed to discover that they're rather desirable and often sell for a few hundred quid - this cost £1!


After the early morning rain, it had turned out to be pleasantly warm and sunny. We had our lunchtime noodles, got changed into our gardening gear and continued with our clearing. We filled the brown garden waste bin and four builder's sacks(which we'll take to the council tip at some point) this week. After a good raking Jon created a border using logs, leaving several piles for any visiting creature to use as a home.

Using the rocks from the old rockery I'd dismantled a few weeks ago I created a border on the pond side of the path. The bluebells usually annoy me but they've been beautiful this year. 


Tea was a Greek feast with Jon's homemade tzatziki and feta and watermelon salad. Later we watched more of Johnny Vegas's Glamping programme and a couple of episodes of Waking The Dead.

On Monday I slapped on some conditioner, did my Wii Fit workout and washed my hair. I wrapped the weekend eBay sales and had just about managed to catch up with blog comments before Jon got up. Richard arrived with the post, which included a new Maybelline lip ink for me. I've not worn red lipstick since a brief flirtation with it in the 1980s and after finding it on eBay for a third of the retail price, thought I'd give it another try. 

I love discovering new combinations with my vintage block prints. The Alpnani tunic and Third Eye wraparound are perfect together (well, they are in my eyes and that's all that matters!)

Jon whizzed round to the post office whilst I rolled up my sleeves and cracked on with the garden. The weather was ridiculous and I had to keep downing tools and running inside to shelter from the torrential rain.


In the end, I managed to pot up my Black Velvet nasturtiums, planted out last year's strawberries, moved a couple of clematises, attached a couple of cornices bought from a car boot sale donkey's years ago to the wall, scrubbed out some of my makeshift planters and filled a chimney pot. Jon made me a planter from a couple of drawers we'd rescued from a 1930s dressing table which I planted with nasturtiums which he positioned on the top of the coal house roof.


This shed is earmarked for demolition but, in the meantime, I drew up a plan to prettify the space surrounding it. The rain stopped play but hopefully, we can get stuck in later in the week.


There was nothing else for it but to have a look at the family tree and to continue cross-referencing the names on my inherited family tree with Ancestry.com. As mentioned previously, Andrew (the gardener) and Harriet Chapman, my 4 x great-grandparents, had nine children. James Robison Chapman emigrated to Australia in 1849 and my 3 x great-grandfather, Robert Chapman (b.1808), was an architect who lived in Staffordshire all his life. Robert had seven children, Sarah, Robert, John, Andrew, Lucy, Eleanor and Constance. I thought I'd look at the life of Andrew Edward Chapman (b.12th May 1856) and guess what? 29 years after his uncle's epic voyage, in 1878, at the tender age of 21, Andrew arrived in Queensland on the Aberdeen-built ship, Southesk (pictured below). I was able to access the immigration documents and discovered that he'd taken advantage of the assisted immigration programme, which was subsidised by the Australian government for those with useful occupations. His voyage, as a single man, would have cost £4 but sadly, couldn't access any information about his occupation once he arrived in Australia.


In 1885 Andrew married Margaret McKenzie, who was born in Hampshire in 1859 and had immigrated to Australia with her parents as a child. Andrew died on 24th June 1921 and Margaret less than eight weeks later and are both buried in Balmoral Cemetery. 

Queensland, C.1880


With both James and Andrew immigrating (so far), I can safely say that wanderlust is in my DNA. I'm so excited about the prospect of some overseas travel later in the year that I ordered all my holiday toiletries last week, also delivered today.


Tea was halloumi with roast veg accompanied by Bojo's press conference and a large glass of wine. Jon had a panic earlier as he thought we'd got no bread for tomorrow's National Trust trip sandwiches but he found some lurking in the freezer. The pigeons enjoyed last week's leftover chilli bread.


Oh, look...we've got a double rainbow!


I'm off to watch the final Johnny Vegas programme and more of Waking The Dead, we're on series nine now.

See you soon!

53 comments:

  1. We Need To Talk About Kevin is one of my favourite books - I read it a few years ago and think I may need to read it again even though I know the ending. Will hunt for a copy on Ebay. I so enjoy reading your blog - had to start at the beginning a few months ago and had tears rolling down my face reading one post about what women should wear. OMG - it was so funny had to read it to my husband who nearly choked on his cuppa.

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    1. Hello Julia! I loved We Need To Talk About Kevin, too. I'm always wary about films based on favourite books but I wasn't dispointed with that either.
      I'm so glad you're enjoyed the blog and always happy to meet others on my wavelength. Aren't those articles about how women ought to dress infuriating? xxx

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  2. Always very interesting your posts ... it's wonderful to see you surrounded by the greenery of your garden .. a caress to the cats .. A hug!!
    Carmela

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  3. 'We need to talk about Kevin' was an absolutely brilliant book and your new find looks pretty good, too. I loved your tribal beads; fabulous!

    Love the outfits and the fab accessories.

    Your gardening never seems to stop! Love the cornices and although I don't like nasturtiums I do like the sound of the black velvet ones; looking forward to seeing them in bloom.

    Isn't it strange how couples often die so soon after one another? I wonder if it's a case of a broken heart?
    Have a great week,
    xxx

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    1. Now Julia's mentioned rereading We Need To Talk About Kevin I think I'm tempted, too. An incredible read.
      You don't like nasturtiums? Them and geraniums are my favourites. I can't wait to see what the black velvet ones look like.
      It does seem really sad when couples die within weeks of one another although someone mentioned that the Spanish Flu epidemic might ahve been responsible as it arrived in Australia later than it did in Europe. xxx

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  4. I feel lazy about my yard after reading your blog, but we've got a mower issue and husband out of commission. My girls will mow it if he can get it started. I suppose more and more festivals will be back on-I hope so for your Kinky Rails store. Where will you be planning to travel first?

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    1. Don't worry about the mower, we only do our lawn twice a year! I hope your husband's foot is on the mend, horrible for him to be out of action.
      I'm hoping we can get to Greece in the Autumn! xxx

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  5. I see a double rainbow there! Extra good luck to you!

    So glad to hear that travel restrictions are being lifted there, Vix! How exciting!! We are still not permitted to travel outside of our health region (for us on the island, we have to stay on the island), but at least reservations are now open for everyone to get their first shots. Phew!

    Love that metallic leather tote (tote-ally - har har! - my style) and those yellow beads you found. I do like my jewelry to be bigass, and I think we share that inclination! One of my coworkers collects vintage digital watches - it's amazing what they sell for now!

    I can't wear those matte ink lippies - they dry my lips out too much - but you do look amazing in that bright red, Vix! I hope your week has started off well!

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    1. I know, dead special we are with our double rainbow!
      I'm very excited about travel restrictions lifting, we're happy to wait until the Autumn but to have something to look forward to is just brilliant.
      We'd definitely be in our element jewellery shopping together - I always love your stuff, too!
      Each color in the lip ink range is a completely different formation. The red one feels a lot drier than the pink and orange ones, very odd! xxx

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  6. Well done Jon on spotting the watch, what a bargain. I think we might venture into the chazzers on Saturday. We are off to Tod market to stock up on savoury tarts from Sharon on the market. I stock pile them in the freezer. We’ve booked lunch at Honest John’s bar. Thankfully they have heaters and a covered area. Fingers crossed the weather is fine.
    We’ve been watching Johnny Vegas glamping, it’s brilliant. Keep an eye out for postman pat I’ve sent you a little something xxx

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    1. The postman has landed and I'm thrilled to bits, thank you so much!
      We did a proper charity shopping morning yesterday and it was absolutely fine, it felt like the last 14 months had been a strange dream!
      Isn't the Johnny Vegas programme wonderful? xxx

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    2. I agree with you about it seeming like a dream. We said the same thing yesterday. Glad you like your little surprise.
      Love the Johnny Vegas series and At Home With The Richardson’s xxx

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  7. What a great blog to wake up to.it is late Autumn here and early evening yesterday we had fog rolling across up the fields to the house. Really strange but beautiful. No roses on the bushes. I think winter might. Be here. Please keep posting. đŸ„°

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    1. There's something spooky but rather lovely about Autumnal fog, isn't there? xxx

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  8. Happy Monday Vix! well here we go Vix, life may be getting back to a bit more normal it seems. How excited you must have felt when your friendly postman delivered your travel goodies. I love both outfits you look so young and full of life (which you are). Went to lunch in a beer garden today with my bestie and it was not crowded and boy did we talk and talk. The poor chap kept coming over to clear my plate but I just apologised and said I am talking too much ha ha. I am excited to see what you do with that area in front of the shed. How exciting you have traced rellies back to Qld (where I lived) Mum went over on the £10 scheme with her Mum back in 1960. It took six weeks to sail out.When we are allowed it will take 23 hours by plane. I often wonder what our anceseters would think. Love the pidgeon pic! You dear lady deserve a double rainbow for all the colour you bring to us all hugs Shazxx

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    1. Happy Thursday, Shaz! Where does the time go?
      Throughout my entire adult life I've never gone longer than a few months without booking a trip somewhere. Everything's so up in the air at the moemnt and it may be postponed or delayed but at least I can dream about it for a few months!
      So your Mum was a £10 Pom? What a trailblazer she was, I'd have loved to have done that!
      Sending you lots of love. xxx

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  9. There is a great newspaper search sites for Australia called Trove. Go to the newspapers advanced search and you can put in all combinations of words, names, phrases plus filters for dates and states. Your Andrew Edward Chapman appears there. Plus your other Aussie Chapman.

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  10. Trove.nla.gov.au/search/advanced

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    1. That's absolutely brilliant! I wasted ages reading newspaper articles on there. Thanks so much. xxx

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  11. You two always amaze me and make me feel like a sloth lol. Your garden is coming long so beautifully and you got some great scores at the charity shop. Oh and I love the sweet Dilli Grey dress. Have a fantastic week! xo

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  12. My son Mother in law brought a watermellon salad, and it was out of this world.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

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    1. Watermelon and feta are a match made in heaven! xxx

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  13. i´m green with envy - i´m searching since ages after such huge yellow tribal beeds! yours are fab!
    of cause the blouse and skirt are a match in heaven - very lovely outfit. and the dilli gray dress together with the cool golden bag and velvet boots is trés chic too.....
    do you want visit australia now?
    xxxxx

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    1. I couldn't believe it when I saw those beads hanging up and waiting for me! They are so expensive in India!
      I'd love to visit Australia, maybe it's an option now India's off limits. xxx

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  14. That garden of yours is going to be absolutely stunning this summer. You'll be able to charge admission at this rate :-)

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  15. Lovely metallic bag - they are about 80 quid on Whitestuff website! I like the way you mix your vintage prints. Nice nail varnish - I have a lot of Barry M its great quality. I can't imagine how big your garden is - but it must be massive - you have so many project going on and all of it looks so pretty - I love the idea of old drawers as planters :) I have put Ancestry on hold now I have reached end of free trial - just not enough time what with work and stuff so we decided to postpone until the Winter when we are indoors and less busy but it's great to see how far back you have gone with yours and how the story twists and turns :)

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    1. Mine wasn't cheap but it wasn't £80! It's my hand luggage bag, it's just the right size for kicking under the plane seat and squishes up really easily.
      Our garden is huge. I think we've done more to it in the last 12 months than we have in the 16 years we've owned it! Everytime i come back from an NT visit I have more ideas!
      xxx

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  16. I am getting jealous with these charity shop bargains!! Whilst I am stuck in a covid hotel. I could have stayed with mum and dad, but 10 days not being able to go anywhere and 10 million questions we decided to stay at the covid hotel.
    We just sort everything out remotely. We only have 7 days to go. Mum has got me plenty of treats. Hence the empty suitcase.
    Love what you are doing to retrace your history my dad wants to do his again, which Is great. I cannot wait to see the garden. Love and huggs

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    1. 10 million questions! Oh yeah, I remember it well.
      Far better to be in a hotel and retain a bit of privacy and independence, you've nearly through it now and you can go rumaging through all the Primarni and plastic shoes for some proper treasure!
      Ancestry tracing is so much fun especially when the weather's too crap to garden.
      Loads of love and sanity! xxxx

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  17. Your horticultural efforts all look so healthy. I can't get my veggies planted yet because of the weather, although it's mild in the daytime, still inclemently cold at night. I think I got a bit carried away with the tomato seeds but I've managed to give some seedlings away in my quest to declutter through the 'Buy Nothing Project'. My doorstep's never been busier with folks coming and going to collect stuff!My Ma used to put her red lipstick on and take her rollers out of her hair every night before Dad came home from work. Those beads look ginormeous!!Are they for wearing round your neck?

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    1. We're getting overwhelmed by all the seedlings around the house and have thrown caution to the wind by planting some stuff outside already. We haven't had frost for a couple of weeks but the poor things will probably be beaten to death by rain instead!
      You are good with your decluttering.
      I can't see the point of discreet jewellery, it's got to stop traffic! xxx

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  18. Hasn't the weather been horrendous? I'm sure our gardens appreciate all that rain, though.
    I've read two of Rosamund Lupton's books, Sister and The Quality of Silence, both of which were gripping, and I have a third one, Afterwards, in my reading pile. I'll have a lookout for Three Hours!
    Your Dilli Grey certainly deserves multiple outings, and as always I'm loving your vintage block print mixes!
    Great chazza finds, especially the watch and the tribal beads, and I guess I would have picked up a Victorian crime novel set in the Black Country as well.
    I love seeing all your gardening endeavours and reading the developments of your research into your family tree.
    Fingers crossed that we can travel again soon - we were once again able to transfer our UK holiday to next year, by the way - and sample some of the old normal. Until then, I'll enjoy a double rainbow now and then! xxx

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    1. It really has! Rian every day without fail for what seems like an eternity! It is good to see plants thriving though but it would be even better to be able to sit outside and enjoy the fruits of our labours!
      If I was a rich girl I'd happily buy every Dilli Grey dress they make.
      I was excited about the beads and by a book set in The Black Country! Hooray for charity shops!
      Hopefully this time next year we'll be planning a meet-up! xxx

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  19. Your gardening activities make me feel such a slob. I wait for a nice day when I'm not working and blitz the garden. As you can imagine - those days are rare.
    Your family history is so interesting. I do hope you get to travel soon. We are off to the Lakes next week. Can't wait. XX

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    1. It's like the weather gogds can read your mind, it always rains on the day you intend to do some serious work in the garden. I've decided to get on with it anyway, a bit of rain never killed anyone.
      Have a fab time in The Lake District! xxx

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  20. I'm so envious of your trip to the Chazza - we have been under a "Stay at Home" order since early-April and now there's talk of extending it until June 2nd. I don't need to buy anything but I miss browsing through other people's cast offs. It's been cold here for the past week too. I'm living vicariously through your gardening adventures and National Trust visits.

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    1. After four months of living under the stay at home rules it still feels a bit naughty travelling an hour up the road or popping intio a charity shop. These things will pass.
      Any news on your jab? xxx

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  21. That pigeon photo is superb. He looks rather pleased with the bread.
    Gardening between bouts of weather here as well. Not fun, but what can you do-the rain's needed after all.

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    1. He's such a messy eater, he chucks the crusts all over the place and expects the other birds to clean up after him - a feathered variety of the litter lout! x

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  22. I have not found anything in our charity shops - I could probably get books but I avoid looking at them as I still have such a pile at home. I really want to travel this summer but at the moment Europe is amber so looking unlikely. I shall be fed up if we have to move our Holland trip on another year - we're already on the the third set of dates for it!

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    1. I try to avoid the books in chazzas until I'm down to my last few.
      Aren't all these travel restrictions frustrating? I can't make head nor tale of them. We've booked flights for Autumn but can always change them. We're in a fortunate position not having to fit in with school holidays and able to isolate if needs be. xxx

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  23. Aha, the red lipstick does "march well" with the Alpnani tunic and the Third Eye wraparound! I depend upon it to defrost my appearance, now that my hair has silvered; however, I am obliged to also apply a wax lip liner to avoid feathering. One more layer over the sunblock takes only seconds...

    I agree with Goody: that's one plump, pleased pigeon! Trying to figure out the camera angle -- is he brunching on a bird table?

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    1. I've always been a bit scared of red lipstick but it's not too scary in these photos.
      Mr Pigeon is on top of the coalhouse roof so about 6" above my head. xxx

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  24. Yes, I agree the print mixing works well.
    I like the idea of lip ink. I always wore red lipstick back in the day but for some reason it just doesn't suit me anymore, shame as I love it.
    Those copal beads were a real find, it's good job you know what you're seeing when you find it!
    Glorious weather today woohoo:) xxx

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    1. Those lip inks are brilliant, they just don't budge. Isn't it trsange how colours we used to wear no longer suit us? I tried the Barry M lipstick I've worn for almost 40 years the only day and I looked half dead in it!
      I was amazed to spot those beads! x

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  25. The work you've done in your garden is impressive.
    The red lip ink looks lovely on you. I always love a red lip.
    That vintage watch for Jon looks so cool and what a deal!
    I agree with you- The Alpnani tunic and Third Eye wraparound are perfect together!!!!!
    Yes, no wonder you do have wanderlust in your blood. Always fun to learn about your family history.
    What a cute pigeon.
    I just love that last photo with the rainbow.

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  26. CBC'S auntie was a £10 Pom also! His mum is scared of flying so she's only seen her sister about twice in the last 40years!
    I love that combo of blouse and skirt! It's so pretty. I'm the same as you about synthetics. I am always reluctant to wear them and also they make me sweat!
    Annoyingly, the Wi-Fi on this train is rubbish so I didn't get to see the pictures of the charity shop treasures as they didn't load!

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    1. Fancy that! What a shame CBC's Mum is scared of flying and she's hardly seen her sister.
      I expect there may be a lot more charity shopping in the future, we're making up for lost time! xxx

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  27. How funny Vix, I just bought the same Maybelline lipstick a few days ago! I'm on a quest to find the best long lasting lipstick. This one is a bit better than the last Rimmel one I bought. Red will look great on you. X

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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