Tuesday, 22 June 2021

The Distancing Diaries - 21st June & 22nd June, 2021

 It felt more like March when I went for my early morning garden wander on Monday and was soon back indoors, clutching a handful of freshly picked strawberries. I caught up with Blogland and was halfway through my Wii Fit workout when Jon got up, an hour earlier than usual, so I had a mug of tea awaiting me when I'd finished.


My sewing machine wasn't running very well so I took it apart and dusted it and got Jon to oil it. 

Jon left to do the supermarket shop and to call in on Tony and I got to work on giving the laurel a haircut. It had only been a month since I'd last done it but Friday's rain must have spurred it on. Richard delivered the mail, a parcel from &Keep with some plastic-free supplies bought with a £10 loyalty voucher they'd sent me.


I'd just finished pulling up the last of the spent bluebells when Jon got back with the shopping and a gift from Tony, two large bottles of Greek beer. After a break for noodles, we loaded the van with two sacks of garden waste and drove to the tip to dispose of them. As always I was incredulous by what people were dumping. I watched in amazement as a couple chucked a car boot load of Xmas decorations away - while I loathe the things - surely they could have given them to a charity shop (ours are crying out for donations)? 

Back at home, I weeded a couple of borders leaving Jon to chat with our neighbours who are downsizing and moving over the border to rural Shropshire next month. He dashed back and asked me to come and look at their cooker as they had no room for it in their new kitchen & wondered if would be any good to us. Somewhat bemused, as I didn't think there was anything wrong with our existing cooker, I went over the road with him and saw that it was a duel fuel, British-made Rangemaster in cream - the exact model I'd always wanted but could never justify the expense! It's only 18 months old. I'm so excited I might even start cooking!


The temperature hovered at a very unseasonal 12°C all day so it was my trusty camo jacket and long sleeves. I kicked my Birkenstocks off to do some weeding. Apparently, our Winter solstice was warmer than the summer one...good old British weather! 

WEARING: Vintage interlinks block printed wraparound midi skirt, British Army jacket, Topshop bodysuit

We watched North Macedonia vs The Netherlands, shared a beer and had grilled Haloumi & veg for tea. Later we watched Belgium vs Finland and needed an early night after all the stress!

It was another chilly start to Tuesday. After I'd harvested some strawberries I did my Wii Fit workout, washed our vintage glass and gave the lounge a clean, ready for the England match later. After breakfast we drove to B&Q as the sink in the utility room had sprung a leak and Jon needed some plumbing gubbins. I left him to search for the bit he needed and wandered off to the gardening section.

Needless to say, I ended up buying plants - all rescued from the clearance shelf. I found a foxglove (Digitalis Purpurea), a primula Noverna Deep Purple (very appropriate for a Black Country garden - the home of heavy metal), two trays of geraniums, a Hidcote Lavender, a Rhodanthemum Marrakech (Moroccan Daisy) and a Dianthus Fire Star. I gave them a thorough soaking as soon as I got home.


Back at home, there was another parcel awaiting, a pack of 5 Mexican Fleabane bare-root plants, bought from a nursery on eBay after seeing them planted on the steps of Canons Ashby last week.


WEARING: Charity-shopped Indian cotton top with vintage Anokhi maxi skirt and Lotta from Stockholm clogs


I thought I'd give the £1 Indian cotton top I found on Thursday's charity shopping trip a go (blame Sheila, she made me do it!). The straps need shortening as they won't stay on my shoulders - possibly the reason it ended up donated - but an easy enough thing to rectify. I've no idea where it originally came from, it's well-made with French seams & a decent pattern alignment but I don't recognise this little logo. 


 Any idea?


After our noodles, I left Jon swearing at repairing the leaky sink, got changed into my gardening gear and planted the morning's finds. The lavender went next to the gazebo, the primula in the wilderness, the Moroccan daisy in the patio bed and the foxglove in amongst the wildflower seeds we found hanging from a tree at Attingham.


I'd just started making another wooden planter when Jon came out bearing posh coffees which we drank on the lawn before he took over. I planted my newly acquired geraniums in terracotta pots and dotted more in the borders. Once the planter was finished I planted it out with the new Dianthus along with some London Pride, houseleeks and a succulent salvaged from elsewhere in the garden whilst Jon planted the Mexican fleabane.


Now that Severn Trent have filled in the holes in the road from their pipework replacement and Gilbert's timing is fixed, we're taking him on a National Trust adventure in the morning, so Jon gave him a whizz around the block just to double-check he was running smoothly. He was!


Leaving me on watering duty, something that is taking longer and longer each week and gives me so much pleasure.


The bulbs I planted in the Spring are shooting up and the nasturtiums & nepeta are going crazy, I don't think it'll be long before my beloved Aganpanthus bloom and I can dream I'm back in Greece.



Tea was salad and garlic bread with homegrown lettuce, mizuna leaves, rocket, summer savoury and Shiraz peas fresh from the garden. I'm off to have a shower, change into my lucky red bikini, crack open a beer and watch the build-up for the match.

Come on boys!!!!

49 comments:

  1. I can't believe the winter solstice was warmer than the summer but then again this is England.
    My husband and sons are all getting ready for the match while I will be sitting in the snug reading my book.
    Have a lovely evening and enjoy your trip out. x

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    1. We should be used to it, should we> the British weather never fails to catch us out! xxx

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  2. I've got a Belling cream range very similar to that one and I love it. How brilliant of your neighbours to think of you. We had a busy weekend visiting my Dad so this weekend I really need to get back in the garden tidying up. It's a never ending job.

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    1. Those Belling ranges are lovely and very similar to the Rangemaster. I much prefer cream appliances, white is far too clinical in an old kitchen.
      I hope you had a lovely time with your Dad! xxx

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  3. Well that cooker is unbelievable - I would be scared to let it out of my sight in case they forget they promised it to you!!! Your garden is getting better each week, always new things to see but I can see it takes a lot of hard work. The little top is pretty, worth keeping - would look nice with your cropped denim shorts too. Betty x

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    1. I know! The buyers must be mad not wanting that lovely cooker, you can't buy better!
      The garden always used to look half decent up until this point and then Glastonbury would happen and then we'd be on the road for three months and it would all go downhill and feral once again. It's lovely to have the time to spend in it. xxx

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  4. Nice of your neighbors to give you the Rangemaster and so glad it's what you've always wanted. Of course we all want to see what you cook. Maybe that will become another new hobby! The garden looks fantastic, it sure is a lot to tend to. I'm looking forward to seeing the next National Trust adventure! xxx

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    1. It's funny, we always wave, take in parcels and exchange Xmas cards but didn't really get to know each other until lockdown. These crazy 15 months have been very kind to us! xxx

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  5. Your garden is looking spectacular! What else can I say?
    You were quite close to us at Canons Ashby last week. Northamptonshire, county of Spires and Squires. Never been but will get there one day!! It is stunning. Love all these NT visits; you show them all off in such a wonderful light. Yes, I know they're great, but you 2 give it an extra filip! Seriously...you think Jon's ever going to let you on that range??!! Zxx

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    1. Thanks, Z! I wondered how far you were from Canons Ashby, it was a gorgeous place and I know you'd love the planting.
      I reckon Jon will be very prorective over that Rangemaster, I'll have to bake something at 6 O'clock in the morning while he's still in bed and can't nag me! xxx

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  6. We’ve got the ceramic top version of that cooker Vix. It’s 13 year old now and it’s been great. I love mine.
    I’m just looking at the ferns n your garden, ours having gone mad this year. They’re enormous and have sprouted up everywhere. I’ve had to cut loads down have you ?
    We’ve got Pat coming over today for a visit and lunch out. It’ll be nice to see her.
    Gail did Stockport vintage last week and said it was fantastic.
    I’m ready for a bit more sunshine now aren’t you xxx

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    1. Thirteen years and still going strong, that's good to know! I do remember your lovely cooker now I think about it, there was lots of gorgeous stuff in your house to distract me!
      We've dug up a lot of our ferns and split them up, it had been a bumper year for them. The little garden centre up the road sells them for £35 in terracotta pots - we could make a fortune selling them at the gate!
      I hope you had a fabulous day with Pat.
      I thought Stockport would be deserted what with the glorious weather and the footie. I'm glad Gail did so well! xxx

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  7. OH, the gods of serendipity have decided to bless you with that cooker of your dreams! This is your reward for rescuing all those homeless plants from the discount shelves at the garden shops -- and supporting all the State Homes in need of visitors. We look forward to views of the delicious dishes you shall prepare upon it, clad in your lucky red bikini.

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    1. Haven't they just? I knew I was doing the universe a favour by rescuing all the reduced to clear plants, I do appreciate my reward! xxx

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  8. Recently our weather feel like mid July to mid August. Way to hot, nothing I can do about it. I bet your wonderful cook. I real like those bottles and the dill is quite fancy, I just like the look of it.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

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    1. I wish we could ahve some of your hear, we had sunshine yesterday but back to grey skies and mirk this morning!
      That's actually fennel but it does look very similar to dill! xxx

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  9. Your garden is so perfect. Packed to the brim with wonderful plants. 12 degrees ? That’s winter!. We average 26 - 30 where we are. 30 is too hot for me. Has always made me want to sleep. All the same I hope our summer doesn’t follow yours. Next day you are in a bikini ? Am getting help for an extra 1/ 2 hour twice a week to help me start walking again. Means I will get to see my garden again and make plans for spring. My Mouse man came this morning to rebait the poison boxes. The outside ones had been washed out after days of torrential rain. I haven’t seen any. They are pretty sneaky but he showed me nibbled bait by my bed đŸ˜± and there was a dead one on the front porch yesterday. He said he can’t keep up with the demand. Perhaps they’re swimming over from NSW. Can’t wait for flowering time. I think the most beautiful rose in the world is Just Joey. I don’t see any roses in your plots. Perhaps you are not a road person. Must ask, is that home made herb butter on your bread ? That plate looked so delicious. x

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    1. I didn't realise New Zealand had such hot summers, I thought you had a similar climate to us! Yesterday was 24°C and sunny, today it's wet and miserable. No wonder all the Brits ever talk about is the weather!
      I'm very happy to hera that yourgetting help and can make plans for spring. I don't like the thought of mice near your bed, though!
      I've never been into roses but after seeing some incredible rambling ones in some National Trust gardens we've treated ourselves to a couple for the garden - Cuba Dance. I've just looked up Just Joey and I see that they're by David Austin. His nursery is half-an-hour away from our front door, we'll have to book a trip and share some photos of the gardens!
      That's garlic butter with some herbs from our bed! xxx

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  10. You are so lucky getting that rangemaster my mum has one in British racing green and I love cooking on it. I would love an aga, but they are not heard of in japan.
    That brand is a French surf brand but I cannot remember it’s name for the life of me. The print is lovely though.
    The garden is taking shape quite nicely. My dad likes your planters he smiles when he thinks of people being up cycling he loves it.
    Paul watched the football but feel asleep it in the middle of it. He doesn’t think it is very interesting. Poor him . I am visiting my hairdresser who I used to see today for a Color and a cut as it’s a bit wild and sad looking. It’s going pink!!!! Take care and keep safe love and huggs allie

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    1. We've actually got an Aga in the garden! Jon bought it as a do-er upper years ago! I might be a pensioner by the time it's useable. I can't beleive that cooker though and in the colourway I'd always wanted!
      Someone ought to invent an app to idenify garment logos.
      I do love a bit of upcycling although I need to knock a couple more nails into the latest planter, the back is looking a bit wonky.
      I'm quite relieved that there's no footie till saturday, I'm emtionally drained from all the excitement.
      Good luck at the hairdressers! xxx

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  11. Weather's been great up here, too hot for me some days but today it's gone all 'typically Scottish Summer' again! Don't even mention the football!!Such high hopes up until the second half!Your garden is sublime. I've been on the lookout for spare wood and yesterday, I found a skip loaded up with pallets but when I tried to lift one, it was too heavy so had to put it back!

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    1. I've seen that you've been having some lovely weather up there, let's hope it holds for the school holidays. What a shame about the footie, I can't wait till Tuesday - England vs Germany. I shall be a nervous wreck!
      Those pallets are really heavy, what a shame you couldn't snaffle a few. xxx

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  12. its freezing at yours!
    no wonder as we got all the heat here over last weekend - 3 days of 38°C........ i´m glad its over.
    i´m green with envy about the new stove - such a beauty. at least our kitchen has not enough room for such a huge thing...
    the new blouse is pretty!
    xxxxx

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    1. It's been so miserable and cold. Yesterday was glorious and it's back to grey and gloom again today. I'm so envious of your heat!
      I was thrilled about that cooker, Jon actually built an alcove in our kitchen large enough to accomodate a range cooker when we moved in so the space is ready to be filled. We'll just have to recruit all the strong neighbours to help us shift it! xxx

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  13. Our temperatures have taken a nose dive as well. I'm not very good with hot weather, but this feels more like March indeed.
    We do no longer have "tips" as such here in Belgium. If you need to get rid of things, you have to take them to what is called a "container park", where only a limited amount of things can be dumped for free, garden waste being one of them. The rest gets weighed and you have to pay for dumping it! The upside of this is that people think twice about what they're dumping, so automatically things like X-mas decs will be taken to the charity shops.
    I can't believe your neighbours are getting rid of that Rangemaster. Lucky you, though!
    I'm glad to hear you got some Erigeron (Mexican fleabane). Be prepared for them to self-seed like mad, though I'm sure you won't mind.
    I'm loving the Indian cotton top, but I'm afraid I do not recognize the logo. It looks absolutely gorgeous with the Anokhi maxi skirt!
    The upside of the cooler - and rainy! - weather has been a brief reprieve from the watering duties, but we had to do an emergency pruning session yesterday as a whole bunch of ivy was threatening to topple over and crush some of our precious plants. All my Nasturtiums have flowered by now, and new self-seeded plants seem to appear overnight. It won't be long until they are taking over the garden! xxx

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    1. When our tips were closed at the beginning of lockdown it led to more people driving to the countryside to dump their rubbish! The last time I was there I saw a man throwing four traditional deckchairs away. I wish we were allowed to dive in and rescue stuff, I'd have soon had them away!
      I hope that fleabane goes wild and invades the garden, it's so pretty!
      It was raining first thing this morning and Jomn's first words were, at least we won't have to water the garden! xxx

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  14. "The" perfect RangeMaster cooker . . . yes please! That's exactly the one I fancied when I had the kitchen tarted up but no way could I justify the expense. Will you keep it cream or paint it a far more interesting colour đŸ€Ș

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    1. They are things of beauty, aren't they? I'm happy with the colour, it would have been my first choice - it matches the quarry tiles and stands out a treat against the Arsenic walls! xxx

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  15. Wow, the cooker is amazing! What a stroke of luck...

    Your garden is looking fab. I loved your new top; such a pretty pattern and colour but I didn't recognise the label at all.

    Monday was a chilly day indeed; we went to the cinema but I had originally planned to do a summer solstice walk and watch the sun set with my group. I'm glad I didn't as it rained all evening!
    xxx

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    1. I know! I couldn't beleive my eyes!
      A few of the other shoppers were admiring that top as I walked around with it last week. I'd love to know where it came from, I'd be adding it to my favourite searches on ebay.
      Monday was so cold and I don't blame you at all for calling off the Solstice walk. In normal times we'd have been at Glastonbury, a sure sign that the waether would all go to pot! xxx

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  16. How exciting about the Cooker!!!!
    I really like your Indian top. No idea what the make is. It's not Mistral is it?
    Bravo on the rescue of plants. Last year, I took my mum to the garden centre to buy herself a birthday present and she chose a Verbena Bonariensis from the reduced section. It's now thriving.

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    1. I know! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it! Aren't the buyers crazy for not wanting it?
      I'm not familiar with Mistral but I've just looked them up and their clothes look lovely. By that unbleached cotton care label I'm thinking it's a fair-trade label and possibly organic cotton.
      I love rescuing plants. B&Q have some cracking bargains and mostly only need a bit of water. xxx

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  17. I love dianthus, I have multicolored ones in my front flower bed this year. I love your new to you top, even if it needs adjusting. Your gardens are so lovely and that cooker! Yes, you must start cooking :)

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    1. Dianthus are gorgeous, aren't they? This Fire star variety comes back every year, too - I love perrenials! xxx

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  18. Tee hee, I'm happy to be the little voice that whispers, "Keep it for yourself!", Vix! Thanks for the blame (I mean, shout-out!), ha ha! I do love the top on you, so I was right all along. *wink*

    I love that beautiful stove - what a magnificent beast it is! I'm boggled by what people will throw away. I've been trying to give away our deck table and chairs (for free!) and haven't had a single taker. Jeez!

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    1. Yep - you're an enabler, young lady!
      I still can't believe I'm finally getting the cooker I've always wanted. It's true that if we wait long enough what we want always turns up secondhand in the end! xxx

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  19. Oh Vix, we just had that cooker installed (and importing it to Australia certainly added much $$). You will love it, we chose the black colour and it is just wonderful. Incredible luck and such generous neighbours. ENJOY it.

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    1. No way! Fancy us being cooker twins! I love the black model! xxx

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  20. Your probable new cooker resembles in almost all particulars the 70 year old hob I'm buying from the nicest elders you can imagine. Anyhow, heard this? https://youtu.be/9dGjeozmgzA

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    1. Now that's a tune! I've just had a dance around the kitchen!
      The cooker is based on the Kitchener, which was built in England from 1851 so I bet this modern version is very similar to your 70 year old beauty! xxx

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  21. Hi there Vix! more wood work is there nothing you can't turn your hand to? You look so youn in the braids. Wow how kind of your neighbour I reckon you will cook up a storm . I so know what you mean about waiting for things. My friends (who aren't patient and must have perfect homes) have been known to comment on my patience. But do you ever appreciate it more when the thing you have always wanted comes your way.(like your cooker) Your collection of glassware is stunning! Now confession I am being monitored for high blood pressure I will be trying to eat more like you as I am sure a healthier diet will do it some good! As always an uplifting post dear Vix. hugs Shazxx

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    1. Hello Shaz, you know me, I'll have a go at anything although cooking won't be top of my list!!
      I completely agree, you really do treasure and appreciate things you've had to wait for. I don't get those people who have to have perfect homes immediately, surely they need to evolve over time and reflect the owners? You can't do that if you rush out and buy everything brand new!
      I hope you get that blood pressure under control. Jon's friend Tony struggled for a while but he's rethought his diet and it's all good now. xxx

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  22. Does that soap smell as nice as it sounds. I love patchouli. Takes me back to my teenage years.

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    1. It's absolutely gorgeous! I'm mad about patchouli and sandalwood. It lasts absolutely ages, too. x

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  23. I love that look with the camo jacket. French braids suit you so well, I cannot believe you haven't worn them until recently. I rather miss the March weather. It's been over 40 C here for a few days and I'm having a hard time adjusting. I just want to escape into the mountains. So wonderful that you got that cooker from your neighbours. Nice of them to think of you and Jon.

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    1. That camo jacket's becoming a staple item in my wardrobe, it goes with everything and is just the right weight for gardening - it doesn't show up the dirt either, always a bonus!
      40°C is lovely for holidays but not much fun if you have to work in it.
      I hope you get to escape to the mountains soon! xxx

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  24. I think Shelia was very wise to make you try that top on! Great job on the laurel haircut. Oooh, I do love a good rummage in the dead or dying shelf in B &Q. Got a great blue perennial Salvia last autumn that has sprang back to life with a bit of tlc. Your patio is look absolutely super.. full of colour, texture and interest... oh and can you whip me up some of those planters please ;) Lulu x

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  25. woww, I'm totally amazed about this cooker from your neighbours, it's really a Fabulous Thing!, no wonder you've always wanted this model, so beautiful!.
    Love both skirts, love their red colour, and glad that you tried this top and give it a chance, it has a delightful print and colours!
    Thanks for the photos of your garden, they totally cheer me up!
    besos

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  26. What a beautiful stove, and it will definitely inspire more cooking. I would even cook more things if I had a fancy cooker like that to use instead of my crappy ancient stove.
    The top is quite pretty, and if the straps are a quick fix, then it was a bargain at $1.

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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