Tuesday, 29 June 2021

The Distancing Diaries - 28th & 29th June, 2021

 I awoke on Monday to rain, grey skies and gloom, in short, a typical British Summer's day. I braved the wet to gather a few strawberries, did my WII Fit workout and put away the previous day's washing. After breakfast, Jon went shopping and, as the new-to-us range was arriving later, I set to work on cleaning our cooker. I'm no domestic goddess and a cursory wipe-over has done the trick over the years but as it's in good working order it needs to be in tip-top condition before it goes to a new home. When Jon got back he disconnected the cooker and we moved it into the middle room. He scrubbed the empty alcove whilst I mopped the floor.

After a sandwich - no gas for noodles - Liz popped round and we caught up with her tales of adventure as she'd just returned from her first solo art exhibition in St Ives. By now the rain had stopped so we had a meander around the garden as she'd not seen it since we'd laid the turf outside the front gates. Whilst we were wandering Jon, the neighbour, his son and a mate manoeuvred the range into place and by the time Liz had left it was plumbed in and working.

As I'd run out of oven cleaner I had a play in the garden. Do you remember the packet of wildflower seeds we'd found hanging in the forest when we visited Attingham Park last month?


On 8th May, where our garden becomes wild and woody, I'd cleared a space, dug the ground over and scattered my found seeds, planting a newly-acquired scabious in the middle. Jon had made wigwams and planted out the sweet peas we'd grown from seed alongside the hardy native wood peas that have grown wild in the garden for decades. He'd used some of our stash of logs to edge the border.

Seven weeks later...

We have the makings of a wildflower corner! 


Alongside the still-blooming scabious, the wood peas, Empress of India nasturtiums and the foxglove I'd rescued last week we have cowslips, corn marigolds, lady's bedstraw, great leopard's bane, honeywort and oilseed poppies.


All this rain is causing new things to pop up all the time and it's all rather exciting.


If you're thinking I'm some kind of an expert in identifying British wildflowers - I'm not! To travel I need to show proof of my double jab status so Jon's given me an old mobile phone to access the NHS app. Needless to say, it lives in a drawer, I never take it out with me and haven't even sent a text but I've downloaded a free app called PlantLife with which I can take a photo of what's growing in the garden and it'll tell me what it is.


Tea was early - quiche cooked in the new oven and accompanied by a salad - as it was a big night for the Euros, starting with Croatia vs Spain and followed by France vs Austria, six thrilling hours of football. No wonder we call it The Beautiful Game, both matches were incredible and we were emotional wrecks by the time Mbappe missed the last penalty. 

On Tuesday I gathered a few strawberries on my early morning wander spotting the first of the geraniums & the imminent arrival of an agapanthus. Afterwards, I did my Wii Fit workout and wrapped my eBay sales parcels ready for Jon to drop off at the post office before he visited Tony, who'd swapped his day off to coincide with England vs Germany game.


After breakfast, to take my mind off the match, I touched up my roots at the kitchen table and dyed my eyelashes. After Jon left I headed outside and spent the morning in the garden. After I'd sorted out the dead leaves on the Yukka I weeded a couple of beds, planted out my artichokes and potted up some red basil and tomato seedlings.




When Jon got back we had noodles for lunch and while he tinkered with Gilbert I watered the garden and basked in the afternoon sunshine.



It was the first time I'd worn this embroidered Indian cotton cami I'd snaffled for £1 from the charity clearance shop back in October. I'm loving it with my Anokhi skirt.


It's been almost 25 years to the day since England lost to Germany on penalties in Euro '96. We were in Tunisia as a terrible terrorist attack in Sri Lanka meant our original travel plans were cancelled. We were the only Brits in a swanky, French-owned hotel in Hammamet and, with no pub culture and no residents at the hotel interested in the England match, we sweet-talked one of the room boys into let us watch the match with them in the staff restroom, which was the size of a broom cupboard. I'd share some photos of our Tunisian adventures but the album is at the back of a spider-infested shed behind two bicycles and a cast iron fireplace (hoarders, us?!)

I'm off to change into my lucky red bikini. I'll leave you with the greatest football song of all time and New Order's only ever number one. 

See you on the other side!


Come on, England!

53 comments:

  1. I'll be watching through my fingers!

    I can't believe how well that cami goes with the skirt. They look great together.

    Your wildflower patch looks heavenly. Foxgloves are one of my favourites, I have a lovely picture of them by Liz.

    See you later! xxx

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    1. What a match! Mind you I had to show Jon the red card halfway through the first half and send him off into the kitchn, the constant commentary was driving me mad! xxx

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  2. Just watching it now 2-0 with 4 minutes injury time to go.
    Finger's crossed. XX

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    1. Those four added minutes were the longest of my life! xxx

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  3. I don't want to speak too soon, but your lucky red bikini seems to be working Vix!!! I am sat here supping tea, feet up, Monsieur heckling and doing his annoying commentary along to the match. I was going to ask how your friend Liz got on with her St Ives show. Did she enjoy it? That new cooker is a beast! What a nice, saucy back that cami top has. Love the teapot on the shelf by the nasturtiums and can't wait to see your wildflower, log lined bed in flower. Lulu xXx

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    1. Monsieur and Jon sound remarkably similar, I showed him the red card and sent him off into the kitchen.
      The red bikini has been washed and is ready and waiting for Saturday night!!
      Liz had a wonderful time in St Ives, she goes every year but it's the first time she'd exhibited there and she had loads of positive feedback and sold well.
      I do love a knackered tea pot planter! xxx

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  4. I love this post, full of flowers and a beautiful new stove. Your gardens are so lush. We are desperately dry here, we really need some of your rain here.
    Take care!
    Robin

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    1. Hello Robin! Thanks so much. Keeping my fingers crossed that you get rain soon. x

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  5. Enjoy that new to you cooker! Your garden is looking more beautiful by the day. I love the embroidered Indian cotton cami, it looks fantastic on you. Enjoy the game! xxx

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    1. Thanks, Martha! Jon's loving his new toy! x

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  6. I love a nice gardening post and this is lovely. That cooker looks gorgeous and is right at home there isn't it.

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    1. Thanks, Cherie! I love it when it's dry enough to spend all day in the garden! x

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  7. Oh, love your new cooker!!! NICE.
    Dawn P. Albany, GA USA

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  8. No interest in the footie but it was magic to hear the young lads next door losing their minds with excitement and running up and down the stairs squealing each time England scored lol

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    1. I can imagine it - we were just as bad! xxx

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  9. Really quiet shift this afternoon/evening thanks to the footie! the men here were glued and I had to nip in and cook their dinner on my 1 hour break or everyone would have starved! Your garden is full of surprises, the wildflower area is really lovely. Your new to me cooker is unbelievable - what a whopper! and what generous neighbours. The top is very pretty, backless tops like that can only be worn by the chosen few :)

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    1. Somebody else said they were driving home and couldn't understand why the roads were so uiet until they realised England were playing. The country really does come to a complete standstill, doesn't it?
      I keep popping up to the wildflower border and tmy meadow outside just to see what's popped up overnight!
      I do well with backless tops, they aren't for everyone! xxx

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  10. Your garden is a fairy land of beauty. I do love the colours. Regarding the weather in NZ , it is quite different in small areas. Wellington gets rain a lot, Auckland is muggy. Down south is cooler to cold and Canterbury is hot and dry. We used to say there is a little bit of the whole world tucked in here, from boiling mud pools and geysers to mountainous ski slopes. We have irrigation for the garden in summer. It needs a good two hour soak three times a week. I like the idea of your app which tells you what a plant is. You have such fun with your sport. I’m not really into it although used to watch all the All Black rugby games before Covid. Won’t be the same with Ian gone. I miss him so much. Can’t believe it’s 13 months. I do love your lads. My cat always followed me round the garden. She respected it hugely. Never saw her use it for a toilet. She would go behind the garage. đŸ„°

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    1. Thanks, Sally! You do get quite the variety of weather. It's funny that here I can write about rain or snow and yet friends 2 miles down the road didn't have any!
      Our boys have a little area tucked away in the wilderness that they use as a loo. They're good boys!
      I can't imagine watching the All Blacks without Ian is the same, sending you lots of love. xxx

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  11. Wow your garden keeps getting better and better every time I look it ! I love bushes and trees, but I also love old fashioned plants like alpines like you do. I decided to trim mums tree for her yesterday and now it looks odd!! I always over trim it when I come home but it hasn’t been cut for over 2 years!!
    I hope lizs art exhibition went well and she sold a couple of pieces. We have a few pieces of local English artists back home and they are my prized possessions.
    Yes England did well except I fell asleep!! I am so glad they are doing so well. Coffee and a morning walk dad is meeting me. Take care love and huggs to you all!

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    1. Thanks, Allie! Pruning stuff takes ages, doesn't it? I have to keep stopping what I'm doing and looking to see if it's straight. It's very rewarding when it's finally done and I bet there's a real difference after 2 years!
      Liz's show was really good despite that G7 summit being on and all the crazy security. I didn't know there was a huge spike in Covid cases in St Ives because of all the press, security and entourages. Despite being double jabbed they've been testing themselves every day just to be on the safe side. xxx

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  12. You look great in the cami and skirt outfit! I enjoyed seeing the flowers and reading about your garden updates.
    xoxo
    Lovely
    www.mynameislovely.com

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  13. The new cooker looks really good. Are you pleased with it or should I ask Jon heehee.
    Catching up with Liz would be lovely, hearing all about her St. Ives adventures. I hope she did well. She is so talented.
    Didn’t the new wild flower patch grow quickly. I’ll admit I was impressed with your knowledge of the flower names, you had me fooled. I don’t have the tracking app thing on my phone. It seems one more thing to mither about to me.
    I’ve got a full day at home today so I’m hoping it’ll stay dry. Philip is off to pick up the new double glazed units for the kitchen and door. Hope you’ve something good planned xxx

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    1. Jon's very pleased with the cooker - he's even baked a loaf of bread in the fan oven just to test it out!
      Liz has such a distinctive style to her work, she's so talented. She loved the exhibition and had some great feedback. She usually spends a wek down there every year painting so to actually exibit and sell was wonderful for her.
      Jon says that Google Lens is good - my phone's too old to have it - it might already be on your phone. Plantlife's great as I can check something's not a weed before I pull it up!
      New double glazed units - is there nothing that man can't turn his hand to? xxxx

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    2. I’ll have a look at google lens. Thanks Jon xx

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  14. england has won!! yay! :-D
    love the black look with the pretty cami - fancy back!
    its wonderful that your new wildflower bed is coming along. in my experience after 2 years it will be in the best stage - after that you have to start weeding some invasive plants (and grass) out and plant/seed others back...... but all in all wildflower bed are very thankful and make not much work :-D
    my first nasturtium is blooming!!
    xxxxx

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    1. We're so excited - the furthest England have got in an international tournament since 1966 - it's lovely to see everyone so happy and optimistic again!
      That's really interesting about the wildgflowers being at their best in two years. I was doubtful that they'd take bt remembered how you'd mentioned that they like poor soil so this semi-shady patch seemed the ideal place - and it was!
      How exciting about the nasturtium! We've got lots now, I love them! xxx

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  15. I think you could "do" a Vintage Vix Vignette(and Jon) for Gardeners World Vix- Your garden is so interesting-I'm sure Monty and Carol would love it x

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    1. You're not the first person to say that, Flis! xxx

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  16. Well the lucky red bikini worked! Hey there Vix, your wildflower garden is amazing how quickly it is coming on. The top from the clearance shop is a perfect match for the skirt! at first I thought it was a dress. Your flowers are beautiful as always I would not be surprisd if you did know the names. I am thinking I may have to get a more up to date phone as my sis in australia may be more inclined to phone. emails are good but hearing someones voice is even better. I have some nasturtaims out at last!! we have a randome foxglove which ha appeared from nowhere and my goodness nature amazes guess what ? we have a plethora of poppies just seeded themselves?>? in the grubbed out bit from last year(by the secret path) Friends are starting to invite us here and there and even a three way 40th? I am hesitant and being honest with everyone. Sorry I should come on here to comment not witter on. anyways you look fab as ever! hugs Shazxx

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    1. Hello, Shaz! Hooray for the red bikini - let's hope it works its magic tomorrow night now!
      I can't believe how well that top goes with the skirt, don't you just love it when that happens? Wardrobe magic!
      I agree with a phone call being better than an email, it's so much more spontaneous. I've got a terible habit of reading an email and thinking I've answered it when I've only done it in my head!
      Don't ever apologise for wittering on, Shaz. We're all starting to face these dilemmas and I think it really helps that other people are feeling the same trepidation. I think being honest is best rather than worry about finding an excuse that won't offend. We've cancelled a big event in London next month as we just don't feel ready for it and it'll be a huge amount of work if it gets cancelled at the last minute. xxx

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  17. I guess wearing your lucky red bikini did the trick! Congratulations, England team!
    Otherwise, we have been sharing weather - isn't it awful - and I'm so glad I'm the only one who's not a domestic goddess. I doubt very much I'd ever be able to get our cooker in tip-top condition again!
    Loving the wildflower corner and oh, an imminent Agapanthus! I hope mine will flower again this year, but so far there's no sign of any flowers yet. I've heard of that PlantLife app - very clever. My granddad was very knowledgeable about wildflowers and used to point out things to me when were going on country walks. The result is that the names pop up unbidden whenever I come across wildflowers now!
    Your embroidered Indian cotton cami is stunning and looks absolutely perfect with the Anokhi skirt. xxx

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    1. That bikini really is magic, let's hope there's more to come tomorrow (and for Belgium later today!)
      Another neighbour is interested in our old cooker for her son so I'm really keen to have it looking immaculate. Today's mission is a trip into town fo more oven cleaner - what a rock and roll lifestyle I have!
      Aren't you lucky to have had a granddad to verse you in wildflowers? This app's brilliant for ensuring I'm not leaving invasibve weeds to take hold and for discovering the identity of the things Jon's grown from seeds he's snaffled at National Trust gardens and along Greek roadsides!
      Dresses are lovely to wear but there's something so rewarding for creating a winning combination from a skirt and a top you've owned for ages! xxx

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  18. Didn't they do well? I didn't watch it but heard the cheering and shouting from the pub nearby so knew they must have scored and then found they'd only gone and won!

    The new stove is amazing. Almost all my Irish relatives have this type of range. They still use coal or turf to fuel them, too. It goes perfectly in your kitchen.

    The new wildflower corner is gorgeous and what a contrast from 7 weeks ago. All that sun and rain has worked its magic and everything is looking very verdant and lush. I like the sound of your app; I used to have one but it was American and not very good so now I use Google lens mostly which does the job ok. There was something almost obscene about that Agapanthus plant about to bud!

    I loved your first dress and the embroidered cotton cami and the fab Anokhi skirt had me thinking it was a dress; beautiful.

    I hope you can contain your excitement for Saturday - a few rums might help?
    xxx

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    1. It was so exciting! I think you could have heard Jon and I yell over in Birmingham! I'm already nervous about tomorrow night.
      I can't believe the neighbour's buyers didn't want the cooker, we are so lucky they offered it us.
      Jon uses Google Lens but my phone's too old to have it. that Plantlife is really good, we'd tried loads of American and Australian ones which kept getting everything wrong, this seems to be pretty accurate. It even recognised Jon as a homo sapien!
      I can't believe how well that cami goes with the skirt, i nearly packed it away until the Autumn! xxx

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  19. The cooker looks really perfect in its new place!, so fabulous!. Looking really like belonging to your kitchen. Love when things fit in place organically!
    And your wild flowers corner is looking incredibly lush!, and so lovely that you found an app to identify flowers (sometimes mobile phones can be useful!)
    Love your colourful maxi dress and love the way your embroidered top matches your black skirt, so delightfully!
    I'm not a huge fan of football myself, and Mr.A. is barely interested, so we realize something is happening when 'aficionados' shout out their lungs in the street and honk their horns. We live a really quiet life!
    besos

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    1. Thanks, Monica! We'd always imagined a cooker like this in our kitchen, Jon built that alcove with it in mind - it's only taken 15 years to get one!
      That app is so useful, it stops me pulling up weeds and I take it out with me whn we go on National trust visits so if I see a plant I like I can find out what it is and put it on the wish list!
      Expect lots of shouting and horn honking later, Spain are playing! xxx

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  20. A veritable sylvan sanctuary! Several plants you named are not known locally, so I researched them by name -- and learned the UK grows many variations on parsley, some of which are deadly. Yikes! Do keep an wary eye on the parsleys!

    Not a football fan, myself, our version or yours; however, I still struggle to appreciate cricket. Your tale of sharing the employees' lounge telly reminded me of long ago afternoons at the historic French Lick Hotel, when I'd perch at the deserted sports bar to watch and learn as the foreign staff followed the matches. Something about a "China man..."

    Like Vronni, I thought the cami/skirt combo was a dress, and a lovely dress at that!

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    1. Hello Beth! Cow parsley is one of our prettiest and most common wildflowers but it's got several poisonous relatives and it is best left alone!
      Watching Indians watching the cricket in India is a guilty pleasure, they're as passionate about the game as we Brits are about football. It used to be an utter nightmare ordering a drink when we used to go in April, the height of the 20/20! xxx

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  21. I know England won, so congrats!! Lucky red bikini racks up another victory!

    Love your wonderful coloured dress, Vix, and your new black top is so perfect with the skirt, I had to peer through the plants to confirm for my own eyes - yes, they are separates!

    What a great idea that plant app sounds! I could have used it yesterday as my mum and I strolled through some gardens (you must check out my pics, and the video I linked to!). I was thinking of you and Ann the entire time!

    That new stove/oven is AMAZING. I have never seen such a thing before! I'll be expecting great things from Jon for dinner, hee hee!

    Take care and have a wonderful weekend, Vix!

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    1. I bet you could hear the cheers in Canada! The red bikini is ready for another outing tomorrow, come rain or shine!
      Isn't it funny how inspiration strikes and pieces that you've had for ages and never thought of wearing together come together and create magic? I love it when that happens.
      I loved your adventures with your Mum and that app is just brilliant, I know you loathe mobile phones as much as I do but that's one plus point! xxx

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  22. Such pretty flowers.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

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  23. That new range cooker is amazing, I see lots more delicious food on your horizon :-)

    We were round at the new place for the start of the match but luckily we got back in time for Alan to settle down with a cold beer and watch the second half and see the all-important goals being scored. As he's a rugby man he rarely watches football, but he did enjoy this match.

    When we were in Paris years we found a Scottish bar which was showing an England v Italy match ... we didn't know who to support!!

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    1. That cooker's a proper beast, isn't it? Jon's bread he baked in it earlier turned out really good.
      I'm glad Alan got back in time for the crucial second half of the match. I can take or leave league football but I've been obsessed with international tournament footie since I was tiny.
      That must have been a bit tricky in that Parisian bar! xxx

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  24. That cooker looks great. Love to see your garden. The plant identifying app is something I need.
    You look wonderful in your maxi dress. I also love the dark embroidered cami and maxi skirt combo. You always look fantastic.
    Here it is incredibly hot but I don't mind since I relocated to island Hvar. The heat bothers me less when there is sea around.

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    1. Thanks, Ivana! that app is really helpful and seems to get it right most of the time - I took a photo of Jon and it said he was a homo sapien and not a plant!
      The sea breeze always takes the intense heat away. I'e noticed this in India! xxx

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  25. Wow, that's a very serious looking cooker! Now don't be going all 'Nigella' on us, all hair flicking and flouty!!lol Great result from our Andy(Murray) last night again but I'd rather not mention the footie (if only to say, wish my national team had been so successful but they're a young team and just might catch up!). Love rambling round your garden!

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    1. Ha! That'll be the day!
      I've never liked tennis but it's good to hear that a fellow hip replacement recipient can still perform brilliantly, there's hope for me yet! xxx

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  26. Your range cooker looks fantastic, I bet you can't wait to get cooking. Love both your outfits and so many different flowers in your garden. I think I need a trip to a garden centre for some more plants. I did have foxgloves and lupins but they seem to have all disappeared this year.

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    1. I'm a lazy trout and am leaving it all to Jon! He made a loaf earlier and it looks delicious! xxx

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Lots of love, Vix