Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Burn Baby Burn - Three Days of Summer

Hello! Thank you so much for the lovely comments on my last Distancing Diaries. I'm not finishing blogging, it's been a part of my life since 2009, it's only the title of my posts that have changed now that social distancing is no longer mandatory in England besides, as festival traders, there's no chance of our lives returning to normal until at least 2022.

This week has mainly been about bikinis and basking in the sunshine. Our glorious heatwave continues and I'm loving every minute, temperatures creeping into the low 30s by the day and not falling below 20°C at night (now officially called tropical nights). The Met Office have even declared their first-ever Amber warning for extreme heat. Needless to say, social media has been filled with people moaning about it being too hot (funnily enough, the same ones who whine about rain and cold the rest of the year) so I've been exercising some social distancing of my own and avoiding the negative nellies. 

My theme for my eBay listings on Monday morning was blue & white, the colours of the Greek flag which work perfectly on a dazzlingly bright & gloriously sunny day. I was out photographing stock before 7.30am, just after my first workout of the week. Grown-up stuff of the way, I spent the rest of the day on the lawn where Jon joined me after the post office and supermarket run. Monday may have been Freedom Day but he returned to report that almost everyone was still wearing masks and the tiny minority not doing so, had them dangling from their ears and chins just in case.

The lads spent the day slumped in the shade and the heat was so intense that that glue holding my book together melted, a phenomenon I usually only experience in the tropical heat of India (another reason for owning an Ereader). It's a shame as I won't be able to donate The Music of the Spheres back to the charity shop, it'll end its days in the recycling bin.

Continuing with my experiments with the contents of my herb bed, I made jasmine tea infused with the grapefruit mint we'd bought from Hidcote. After watering the garden we attempted to follow BoJo's press conference but ended up cracking open a beer and sitting in the garden instead. 


On Tuesday morning, with two days to go before the fortnightly collection day, the stench coming from the grey wheelie bin made my eyes water.  I opened it up, tipped out the bagged rubbish and found it was alive with writhing maggots. I double bagged the contents and blitzed the maggots with bicarb of soda and the hosepipe. I blame the leftover chicken Madras Jon made for him and Tony when England played Italy. 

 Jon suggested we drive over to our favourite charity shopping town for a bit of a rummage. Before we left I experimented with my plaits, devising a new way of wearing them which eliminated the visible parting at the back of my head. At 31°C it was the perfect day for the vintage Adini sundress, kind blog reader Helena had sent me. I added my gold Lottas, the metallic leather tote bag, some vintage sunglasses and a stack of brass & silver jewellery. 


 Just as Jon had reported yesterday, almost everyone wore masks (including us), used the hand sanitiser available at the charity shop entrances and observed social distancing.  

What did we find? For the womenswear rails: A vintage 1970s sequin embellished Roland Joyce "After Six" maxi dress; a Pretty Vacant (a hip, retro-inspired Brighton boutique) summery tent dress; a hot pink Fuse by Preen belted shirt dress; a pretty handmade 1950s cotton day dress; a 1980s black leather skirt; a luxe Marco Polo silk shirt; a vibrant 1980s midi dress and an Aquascutum wool tank top.



For the blokes' rails: An English-made tweed gilet; an Emporio Armani sports top; a Swedish wool gilet; David Watts, London raincoat; 1980s leather and wool jacket; 1960s Bolt workwear dungarees with tags still attached; 1960s Hardy Amies raincoat; Autograph wool fedora and 1970s St Michael leisure shirt

For us - a canvas jacket by Indian streetwear label, Breakbounce; a cat thermometer (measuring 21°C at 5.30am); Astray by Emma Donoghue (if it's half as good as Home, it'll be a cracking read); a 1970s canvas bag and something I've been after for ages, a little straw shoulder bag - I've seen modern-day high street versions appearing in the charity shops but this is the real vintage deal with an intricately woven fastening (not a cheap clasp) and a proper leather strap...I love it!

After our haul had been detagged, washed (or spot-cleaned) and pegged out on the line, we followed them out into the garden. The afternoon's refreshment was black tea with bergamot and some fresh lemon balm. I gathered some of the nasturtium seed pods and left them to soak overnight in sea salt and water ready to turn into Poor Man's Capers then spent the rest of the day basking in the heat. 


Record-breaking temperatures call for intense watering although we're doing our best to keep it to a minimum as, no doubt, there'll be a hosepipe ban if the weather continues. The Crocosmia and Agapathas are almost all out now and after a disappointing 2020, the clematis is looking spectacular.


After a salad, we sat outside with the lads drinking tea. We'd watched a couple more episodes of Baptiste the previous evening and watched another later, two more to go. It was 24°C at 11pm. Did we have a sweaty, restless night? No. Do we own a fan? No! Air conditioning? Unheard of in most British homes (especially 270-year-old ones like ours!) We simply do like they do in Greece, keep the upstairs curtains and windows closed during the day. We sleep with 100% cotton sheets & pillowcases with a cotton bedcover thrown over the top and a cat snuggled up on either side of us and sleep like babies!

This morning I was up at just gone 6am and does it sound dreadful to say that I was already looking forward to my Wednesday night rum & coke? I might be a yoga practising, life-long vegetarian but I never claimed to be clean-living! After discovering that our sweet peas were finally starting to flower, I ironed the dresses I'd bought & washed the previous day, photographing & listed them on eBay following my Wii Fit workout. After breakfast, we drove to the local garden centre as we were in need of compost and, inevitably, ended up buying a few plants. Our garden centre used to be very old-fashioned but it's finally joined the great gardening revolution, selling British wildflowers, some fantastic perennials in peat-free compost and all manner of interesting herbs. Although we didn't wear masks outdoors we wore them to go inside and pay, the staff were all in masks as were the customers. 


Jon bought this 1980s shirt from a charity shop earlier this year, I wasn't sure when he picked it out but I love it on him!


The weather makes me feel like I'm in Greece (minus the beautiful sunsets, hidden beaches, glorious ruins, bouzouki music, amazing food, raki, £4.50 a carafe wine and the wonderfully welcoming people) so out came the skirt I always take away with me, bought new from a proper shop four years ago. The Broderie Anglaise top came from the clearance chazza a couple of weeks ago and the vintage tourist bag was also a charity shop find.


Frank photobomb!


I couldn't resist another pair of Ancient Greek wood & leather sandals from that eBay seller who is my body & foot double. I love the wing-shaped buckle, inspired by Mercury (that's the Greek messenger god as opposed to the lead singer of that vastly overrated band). I can understand why they retail at upwards of £145, they're the best things ever.


I was just watering the new plants when our mate Kev popped round, we had a wander around the garden and a catch-up before waving him off and having lunch (noodles, what else?) We stripped down to our sunbathing gear and spent the rest of the day in the garden. Jon broke some rocks in the hot sun, like a crazy man and I did some weeding and nasturtium pulling, they're taking over! 

We drank rose tea with black peppermint and read in the sunshine. Jon went off to start tea (halloumi with roasted veg) leaving me to finish the watering and cobble together a blog post. He's just handed me an ice-cold San Miguel so I'm going back outside to drink it.

Cheers!

47 comments:

  1. So lovely that you've been enjoying the summery temperatures, basking in the sun!, totally agree about closing windows and blinds during the day to keep the house cooler!. I like to sit outdoors in our balcony and read, but these days it's too hot so I have to stay in home until dusk (when I go for a walk).
    Always lovely to see your eBay listings and also your chazza finds!, so many beautiful pieces!. Love the blue&white inspiration. And love your 'greek holidays' outfit, the cool skirt and white top, and you've got the perfect bag!
    I also like Jon's 80's shirt, it's difficult to find cool men's shirts in my usual chazzas!. Also glad you found the round straw bag, it's really fabulous (and I totally agree that leather straps and quality fasteners make a difference)
    besos

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    1. We're loving these high temperatures and sunshine! The British way is to throw all the windows and doors open ona hot day, not realising that they're making their homes even hotter!
      Jon's first point of call in a chazza is the shirt rail, he can't resist a funky shirt! xxx

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  2. I still nervouse about not wearing my mask in public. And with the upcoming fall semester right around the cornor with students (12,000) coming back from who knows where, I'll be masking back up at work.

    On a lighter note, your garden looks more beauitful by the post.

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    1. I'm more than happy to keep wearing my mask if it makes other people more comfortable about being out and about. You're quite right to keep wearing yours with all those students around! xxx

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  3. I love all things pink so really like your pink Adini dress and also the blue and white skirt. L is the last one to finish school tomorrow so at 3.15 we will be off to the beach for a swim to celebrate and maybe a cheeky little ice cream!

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    1. I avoided pink for years but I love it now! Hope you enjoyed your first day of school run freedom! xxx

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  5. I'm with you m'dear, anyone who wants to complain about the heat can do so out of my hearing.

    Went food shopping a couple of days ago and also found nearly everyone was wearing a mask, using sanitiser and being generally sensible.

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    1. Hear, hear! Us sun lovers seem to be a tiny minority. I absolutely love this weather!
      It's really refreshing to see that the vast majority of people are taking "freedom" with a pinch of salt, being sensible and thinking of others. Long may it continue! xxx

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  6. Now imagine another 10 degrees hotter, and you have our June heat, Vix! Homes here don't have AC either.

    Lovely pink dress and good call on the sandals - when you find a brand that works for you, and they're hugely marked down from retail, you have to go for it! I love your women's wear purchases - that steel grey down is magnficent!

    I like Jon's shirt, but hmmm...needs a cat. ;-D Frank the photo-bomber!

    We are twins again! I have a woven round "canteen" bag just like yours, only mine has a leather strap and snap closure (also leather straps). Is yours lined inside? I like that my bag's lining keeps it from gaping open.

    Here's to getting back to normal! Things are in Phase 3 here, with Phase 4 (basically, back to the old normal) in about 6 weeks. Masks are still recommended, and I plan to keep wearing mine when I'm in a crowd of people indoors.

    Have a great week and enjoy that chilled beer, my dear!

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    1. And you had to work in those temperatures, too! I don't envy you that!
      I'd dithered about getting a second pair of those sandals, I'd been eyeing them up for a week and at less than a tenth of the original retail price I'd have been mad not to especially when they're so comfy!
      You, me & Ann need a Sisterhood of the Woven Bag day to show ours off. Mine isn't lined, I'll have to watch it when I open it or my camera will be in bits!
      We're the same with our masks, I'm used to them now and if it makes other people feel more confidenet about going out then I'm happy to help! xxx

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  7. That many nasturtium.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

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  8. Your sundress is so pretty and how lovely your hair looks. You’ve got that style off to a tee now Vix.
    We went to the market yesterday and as Jon says folk are still wearing masks and rightly so, we will continue with ours inside shops. I think we will still keep with the quieter for now. We did enjoy Tod on Saturday though. It was so nice to go back to having lunch and a drink before coming home.
    The colours in your garden are wonderful. Can’t wait to see it.
    I like Jon’s shirt too, it’s the colours. Philip is wearing a mottled grey Italian tee shirt he bought in Lake Garda over 15 years ago and it’s a favourite of mine. The colour is perfect on him. I’ll have to get a photo xxx

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    1. Thanks so much, Lynn! I love the heat but hate my hair on the back of my neck when it's hot, I love watching hair-styling tutorials on YouTube and getting inspired!
      We're just like you, we're more than happy to continue wearing our masks indoors and in busy places especially when there's so many older people very nervous about venturing out, if it makes them feel more confident it's a small price to pay!
      I bet Philip's Italian teeshirt is a stylish thing!
      We can't wait to see you!! xxx

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  9. You have definitely got that man of yours well trained. I love to see a nice shirt on a man and that one is gorgeous. I need to get Tony to ditch the t shirts and buy more shirts.

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    1. I love to see a man in a nice shirt, too. I'm not a fan of teeshirts! xxx

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  10. Imagine having your first Amber warning for extreme heat! Rather you than me, but I know you relish this kind of weather, so enjoy it while it lasts. We are in the mid-twenties, which is perfect for me, although in our tiny walled garden it adds up, and there's been a lot of toing and froing with the watering can after work!
    I love jasmine tea and I'm thinking grapefruit mint will be perfect with it. Must try that, if I can find grapefruit mint, that is.
    Your pink sundress is delightful and how fun is that cat thermometer! Like Sheila, I have one of those round wicker bags but with leather straps, which was a flea market find. We are triplets :-)
    Glad to hear that in spite of Freedom Day, most people are stil being sensible and are wearing masks when necessary.
    Your "Greek" skirt worn with the Broderie Anglaise blouse is gorgeous, and I'm loving Jon's 80s shirt!
    Glad I'm not the only one pulling up Nasturtiums. I felt pretty guilty at pulling up mine! xxx

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    1. I'm loving' it!! I decided to repot everything I could yesterday as I figured that my patio pot plants were drying up because of lack of root space. It killed me and my nials but they're all still damp and lush this morning!
      I spotted strawberry mint at Ashwood Nurseries last week but it was too hot to carry it the two and a half mile walk back to Claire's. It's a great excuse to go back!
      We'll have to have a round wicker bag day with Sheila, like the Sisterhood of the Fake Snake Boots!
      I've yet to wear that "Greek" skirt on a day cooler than 30°C! I wish I had more opportunities!
      I love my nasturtiums but some cheeky ones had self-set in my patty pans and courgettes and were strangling them! I stripped the seed pods before sticking them ion the compost heap! They didn't die in vain! xxx

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  11. OOh all that lovely swag - loving the Marco Polo shirt in particular (averts eyes, quick, like)

    I wish our old house (1897) had your old house characteristics - we are up early to fill the upstairs with cool air, then whack down the blackout blinds and shut the secondary glazing until around 9.30pm and it's still like walking through soup. Downstairs - not as bad - but then we're shaded by trees. I think it's because we're south-facing. Honestly considering sleeping in the cellar lol.

    Thanks for the straw bag reminder - mine have been kicking around since last summer, unused ... love them. As a VPP (very pale person) I shun the sun - seriously - to the extent that I need to take Vitamin D because I became deficient in it. I burn so quickly, I'm like a vampire lol. I do like to see folks enjoying the sun - but the lobster-people scare me.

    Freedom Day seems to have passed most of us by up here - one lady in Lidl was sticking to her mask because she "didn't believe a thing that bugger says" - I'm assuming she was talking about our glorious leader, lol.

    It breaks my heart that there are such a lot of people, plainly absolutely terrified of being out and about amongst others - but absolutely thirsting for company and conversation. Gah.

    Never mind - let's stick to the garden! Delivering in some work tomorrow for a real live group show in a bricks and mortar art gallery - feels quite strange.

    Take care all; Maryland - have an ice cream from the secret stash lol x

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    1. Hello Elaine! It's a lovely thing, that Marco Polo top, fortunately too big across my shoulders as the colour is just glorious!
      I was surprised not to see more lobsters out when we ventured to the chazzas this week, just a man in shorts who looked like his legs had been slapped! I can't get enough of the sun, I'm out as soon as I wake up, it's like a drug. Mind you, it feels a bit cooler this morning, its 6.50am and the cat thermometer is saying 20°C.
      We spottted hardly anyone without a mask this week, I even saw a couple of people who never wear them in them! I wonder if that's a message to our glorious leader?
      Good luck with the art submission, real life beckons! xxx

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  12. You should have called it the re emergence dairies and let us know how you get on. Mum said it is business as usual but the spikes are awful and they have some of the highest in the country.
    I cannot believe how selfish some people are by jetting off!! We are in a state of emergency and it doesn’t even feel like the olympics are here. I haven’t even watched any at all. Sad really. It just reminds me of akira all over .
    Still your looking as pretty as a picture love the cat thermometer, I would like the cat clock with the swinging tail but they are really expensive. I emerge out of my own mini lockdown on Sunday and i am glad. Keep safe and be well love and hugs

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    1. Welcome home! I could have calle them "Same old, same old" as Freedom day hasn't made an iota of difference the way we live our lives - still wearing masks, haven't been to a nightclub, a wedding, a funeral (thank goodness) or stood at a bar! xxx

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  13. Greek skirt with those super comfy sandals is one of your best outfits ever! glad it's not just for Greece. Your garden is just crammed with loveliness - you will have to start opening to the public!! I like the way you have adapted your braid. Think Jon's shirt is great - he has good taste. your cat thermometer made me smile. Glad your posts are back to the fun titles again. Enjoy your weekend - Betty x

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    1. Thanks, Betty! I do have a soft spot for gingham and was really excited when it had a fashion moment four years ago. I'm getting quite excited about the garden now having spent all day yesterday and - hopefully- all day today moving a few things and rejigging areas!
      It's a shame more men don't embrace loud shirts rather than swelter in tee shirts, they're so much cooler - to wear and in looks! xxx

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  14. i´m glad you have the perfect summer weather!
    and the perfect pink sundress! love the gold accessorizing and the hairdo - looks gorgeous. and the sweet photobomb!
    i guess your greece inspired, high summery kinky melon collection sold fast....... good that jon and the BW do not shop in the same 2.hand shop - they would fight over the funky shirts i fear ;-D
    garden is as colourful and pretty as it can be. all your work pays out. now you can enjoy it by lounging on the lawn......
    xxxxx

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    1. Thank you so much, Beate! That dress is a dream to wear and even better with my hair off my neck!
      A lot of the Greek-inspired stock sold in minutes, great minds think alike! xxx

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  15. It appears that you are doing the heatwave in style Vix. I had to unceremoniuosly throw bottle of luke warm water over my head whilst hiking back from work, then strip to my undies as soon as I got through my front door and pass out on the sofa! I have rediscovered the joy of cold frappe coffees though, which I haven't had since visiting Zakynthos twenty years ago :) Your garden is looking as colourful as your beautiful clothes. Lulu x

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    1. I had to giggle at you chucking a bottle of water over your head...sorry!
      Oh, I love a Frappe. I keep asking Jon to make us one but he says it wouldn't taste as good in Costa del Walsall! xxx

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  16. Apart from all the washing, ironing, photographing and packaging of clothes for Kinky Melon and eBay; it sounds like you've been on holiday in your garden! Which is looking looking glorious btw. Our crocosmia has not yet flowered; OH will be most jealous when I tell him yours has.

    I loved the new plait style and the summer clothing you're wearing. The footwear; especially the new sandals look fab. I also loved your wicker bag and the fab cat thermometer - how cute is that? Jon looks very cool in his shirt.

    I can't believe the glue melted from your book; how weird is that? What I hate is when the tarmac bubbles up with the heat and it gets stuck to your shoes. It is slightly cooler here today for which I'm grateful.

    Have a lovely weekend
    xxx

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    1. Our MyHermes man was panicking about his Crocosmia not flowering so I told him that you were still waiting and he's a bit happier now!
      I remember the tarmac melting in Goa back in May 2020, my flipflops had platform soles and weighed a tonne! xxx

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  17. I've been a bit hiney about the heat-sorry, but it's the lack of rain I am more concerned about. Things are crunchy here and fire is a serious risk. I like the attitude though of thinking of the heat as being part of a vacation elsewhere and there are few things more satisfying than an ice cold beverage on a hot, hot day! Te pink dress wit our braided Updo is so lovely. It does say vacation!

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    1. You're allowed to moan, sam! We've had the wettest May on record (and June wasn't much better) and there's no danger of forest fires here! Brits just love to complain - if it's not the weather it's the BBC putting Gardener's World late! xxx

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  18. Old homes were built to withstand a range of weather. Add in all those shade trees and I can see how you manage through the heat. My place was built in 1968 with central air conditioning and windows that they figured no one would use. Hard eye roll there.
    Your hair looks great, though the visible part looked good too.

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    1. The trees must help, it's as black as a bag in here these days, we need the light on when the trees are in full leaf! xx

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  19. When I saw those gorgeous shades of blue and white, my first thought was the ocean. The weather has been fabulous recently. I love hot sunny days and what's not to love about spending them in a bikini - my laundry has simply become swimwear and towels, with bed linen thrown in each week.
    Love the new 'do'. I've returned to my old faithful messy bun, but my hair has a life of it's own at this time of year, and it's much to warm to use a hairdryer. X

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    1. Hasn't it been wonderful? Nothing to wash but bikinis, makes the washing line look a lot more cheerful! xxx

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  20. Your days in the sun sound glorious, Vix. It is so cold here in Melbourne so your sunny photos and tales of sipping tea delight me.


    I loooove your pink dress and both sandals. They are perfect for summer. Also can't believe you're back to charity shopping after all this time- yay! X

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    1. IT'll soon be summer in Melbourne and I'll be huddled next to the PC trying to gte some warmth from your photos, Jess! xxx

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  21. I'm afraid I had to moan about the heat as my classroom was unbearable for the last 3 days. It's got only 3 high windows and I have to have the door open for ventilation but it made little difference. We were all roasting, me and the sets of 30kids I had in. They have very little room and it was stifling!
    Now I'm away, I'm enjoying It!
    Love your new sandals and your chazzers finds. WHY am I the only one not having any Nasturtium luck???
    We keep our curtains shut too and it works. We have a modern house which also helps in terms of insulation from the heat.

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    1. I bet you didn't moan on IG though! I don't know how many posts I had to scroll past with photos of the temperatures on phones...yawn! It's as bad as people posting that it's snowing like everyone else hasn't got windows!
      I'm glad you've broekn up and you're enjoying it. I shall send you some of my nasturtium seeds and this time next year you'll probabl be cursing me for them taking over the garden! xxx

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    2. This is true. I didn't moan on IG!

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  22. Evening there Vix, well I detect a new Vix hobby making different teas! you are clever and your interest in all different things is inspiring. I for one am so glad you are still blogging(Ithought you would) Loving the haul from the chazza esp. the straw bag. We had two massive storms last week so unfortunately my garden was looking a bit knocked about to show my friend who came over for a cuppa. Never mind - your flower shots as ever are beautiful and the close up of Frank is gorgeous. Dave the adopted cat has a very eratic personality but he is coming round. I like you do the pull the curtain trick and to be honest some people moan what ever the weather is. by the way you looked so pretty in the pink dress Shazxx

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    1. Thank you so myuch & Happy belated anniversary wishes, dear Shaz! I hope you and the hubster celebrated in style. We're at 30 years in 2022, where did the time go?
      Oh no, sorry about the storms, they were supposed to reach the Midlands but we escaped. I don't think we'll be quite so lucky tomorrow, I hope my sunflowers survive!
      It's early days for Dave. Frank wee'd on Jon the first time he stayed the night, he's as good as gold! xxx

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  23. Love the dress and the braids are spectacular.

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  24. You look so lovely and cool in your pink, and blue and white outfits. We are back into above 30 temperatures this week and I'm not a fan. I wouldn't make it through the summer without my A/C. Emma Donoghue lives in the same city as I do. I've read a number of her books, and I think Room is still her best one.

    I would have completely freaked out about the maggots ( I have a thing about worms) so kudos to you for being so practical and no-nonsense about it!

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  25. Your garden is my idea of perfection. Just beautiful.

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Lots of love, Vix