Wednesday, 4 August 2021

London Calling

eBay parcels wrapped, Wii Fit workout done and nothing pressing on our to-do list, on Tuesday we headed to our favourite Black Country town for a charity shop fix.

We managed to find something in almost every shop we visited but, engrossed in a rail of dresses in the final one, I overheard Jon telling Jane, our favourite volunteer, that his year had just been made. Nestled in the 50p album crate, amongst the Jim Reeves, Val Doonican and K-Tel country and western compilations, he'd only gone and found himself a copy of The Clash's iconic double-album London Calling in unplayed condition. To further add to the excitement he discovered tintom etched on the dead wax (the bit between the grooves and the label), meaning it was the first pressing.


An original punk, Jon (with his natural blond hair, above) bought London Calling when it was released in 1979 but swapped it with a mate for something else and never managed to find a replacement. 


Those prices are insane!! Not that it's going anywhere. It's Jon's birthday tomorrow, he couldn't have bought himself a better present.


In addition to his rare vinyl, we found a few bits for the Kinky Shed: a 1960s casual jacket; a 1970s fake fur; a 1980s oversized applique tunic; a 1960s lurex hobble skirt; a 1970s Bermonda Trend fedora; a 1980s silk Mickey Mouse waistcoat; a hand-embroidered FabIndia camisole in organic cotton; a 1980s leather jacket; a cotton and crochet trimmed skirt by East; a Punjabi brocade and velvet-trimmed coat; a 1980s Indian cotton & linen applique blouse; a 1960s zip-up jacket and a Hawaiian shirt


I treated myself to these Babyliss tongs (PAT tested, never used) and these chunky wooden beads (originally Freedom @Topshop).


A proper antique! I couldn't resist this solid brass hot water jug in the Lizard pattern, made between 1890 and 1910. Stamped JS & S (which stands for Joseph Sankey & Sons), these lizard pattern jugs came in three sizes, 3, 4 and 5, mine is stamped 4 and stands 10" tall. 


Joseph Sankey and Sons were a Black Country institution. Although my jug is of the Arts & Crafts aesthetic, it's in the style of rather than the real thing as these jugs were produced in their thousands and proper Arts and Crafts design is unique and handmade. It's still a gorgeous bit of Black Country history though and a bargain at £9.95!



With a warm(ish) and dry (ish) day forecast, I wore my Pitusa cotton maxi dress I'd bought from the same town a couple of months earlier for a bargainous £3. People kept stopping me and going into raptures over it, asking where it was from. I took great delight at pointing at the Barnardos charity shop and saying, Over there!


I'm not used to all these ruffles, it's rather daft and over the top and an absolute delight to wear. 


The weather stayed warm and dry all afternoon. Jon did some car stuff, I pulled up the bindweed and spent the remainder of the day reading on the lawn. Tea was half a quiche with some salad. Later, we continued to watch My Unique B&B on the BBC iplayer which we'd enjoyed the previous evening.


The plan for Wednesday was to crack on with some jobs around the garden as the forecast was for another dry day, apparently hitting the heady heights of 23°C. I did two loads of washing and pegged them out on the line before my Wii Fit workout. After breakfast, we sat in the sunshine drinking coffee with the lads slumped by our feet. 


I walked around the corner to post my eBay parcels in the Priority Post Box, a concept introduced during lockdown. Anything that needs to be sent via prepaid postage (including Covid tests) is scanned by the Royal Mail on collection as opposed to having to visit the post office. The only trouble is that it's a wall-mounted postbox and you can only post very small packages through the slot - luckily yesterday's sales all fitted into A5 envelopes.


I've only worn this vintage India Imports of Rhode Island dress as a pinafore previously but today it was teamed with my new-to-me 50p beads and the £2 Gharani Strok leather slouch bag I bought from the charity shop on Sunday morning, no blouse required.






Back at home I hand-cut the grass in the meadow (avoiding the profusion of pollinators feasting on the wildflowers), swept the gravel and pruned the laurel bush. Meanwhile, Jon got to work on the outdoor electrics, installing a new fuse box. A torrential downpour had us grabbing the washing and scuttling back indoors although by the time we'd eaten our noodles the sun was shining again. While Jon got the festoon lights Storm Ellen had destroyed last August up and running again, I ironed the laundry, repaired a couple of the garments we'd bought yesterday and steamed a hat back into shape. 


After bottling another jar of Poor Man's Capers (recipe HERE) I had a wander around the garden to check on everything. The veg crops are looking good (but not as pretty to photograph) with black, cherry and moneymaker tomatoes, patty pans, tomatillos, chillies, peppers, courgettes, red cabbage, cauliflower, two varieties of lettuce, Greek and broad beans, Shiraz peas, carrots, parsnips and sweetcorn all flourishing.


Considering I haven't fed any of my pot plants for ages, they're doing well.  Packwood's Phlox are surviving and red hot poker has grown a couple of spikes. I was curious as to what colour the hydrangea I'd moved in the Spring would be, it was previously blue and it still is.  


The Chocamocha cosmos smells so good that Jon and I keep running outside to sniff it. We planted it last Summer for some Autumn colour and were delighted that it survived several moves.


We never planted this magnificent Crocosmia Lucifer (below), it just appeared one Summer and expanded. The torrential rain for the last week or so has battered the stems so we've had to stake them. 


We found another Bear's Breeches (Acanthus Mollis) growing wild up by the pond so we transplanted it in the border next to the other one. Apparently, they can be thugs and take over, I can live with that! It seems to have survived the upheaval.


I'm off to wrap the birthday boy's presents before starting the celebrations a day early. Well, it is rum night! 



56 comments:

  1. I am in awe! The Clash was MY BAND before other sin my school even knew who they were. I passed tha tlove onto my kids and my son did aprt of a project on the Clash. Did you ever see the film, London Town? Jon would perhaps like it a lot. Your other finds are terrific too,and you look stunnign with your brainds and new dress.

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    1. I love that your were a Clash fan, Sam! I don't know that film but I shall hunt it down. We used to love hanging out at Strummerville at Glastonbury, named in honour of Joe who loved the festival. xxx

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  2. I too bought a copy of London Calling probably the second I could. The 12x12 album cover went nicely with the giant-size poster that matched. The thing took up a whole wall! I still have it somewhere. One of my friends worked at Tower Records and got all sorts of swag.

    Happy Birthday, Jon!

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    1. I rememebr you telling me that you were a huge Clash fan. I'm glad you've still got the poster, it could be your pension in years to come! xxx

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  3. Hi Vix, lucky Jon, what a great birthday present, I loved the Clash too!! My first year at Uni I was a punk, goth, whatever, my parents thought I was on drugs or something! (I wasn't, just trying to find myself) You look wonderful in both dresses!! The garden is looking spectacular, so lush. Love the solid brass hot water jug! And the good news is I fell downstairs whilst watering my plants, have broken my foot and I'm waiting for a CAT scan to see whether I need an operation or not!! So that's put paid to my holiday plans. Trying to look on the bright side and not feel too sorry for myself!! lots of time for reading and meditation! Have a great birthday celebration tomorrow! Lots of love from Barcelona!! xx

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    1. Oh Diana, I am so sorry to hear about your poor foot and hope it can heal without too much trauma. Sending you loads of love and healing vibes! xxx

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  4. Oh how pretty that Pitusa maxi dress is, Vix. I love-love-love it! Don't you just love how the landscape flourishes this time of year? Makes the heart soar, at least it does mine... and I'm guessing yours too. Much love~ Andrea xoxo

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    1. Thanks so much, Andrea! I dodn't think there's a more beautiful time of year than Summer, everything is flourishing and the colours are spectacular! xxx

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  5. I think you need a set of castanets to click next time you wear that gorgeous ruffled dress. A rose between your teeth would be good while you whirl and twirl.

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  6. Could Jon be any happier on his birthday than when he found the Clash album. How are you going to topmthat.
    Give him a kiss from me and a hug from Philip. Hope he has a good day.
    Philip’s country music club reopens this week, he’s not sure about going yet.
    I do like your hair when you put it up it looks so pretty.
    Pouring with rain here tonight but it’s very welcome. It was a stifling 30:degrees when we got in the car earlier.
    Lots of love from us two xxx

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    1. He was so pleased with himself, even our lovely volunteer lady called him a jammy bastard! He had a lovely day and the festivities shall continue for anothe couple of days at least! xxx

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  7. Your dress looks lovely. Great find for Jon, I love finding things that are incredible like that. Hugs to you and Happy Bday to Jon!

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    1. Thanks so much, Tammy! Sending you loads of love! xxx

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  8. Lucky Jon finding that record one day before his birthday! I never find any good records in opshops nowadays.

    Vix, your ruffle dress sure is something special! X

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    1. Thanks, Jess! Decent vinyl is a rarity in charity shops here, Jon couldn't believe his luck! xxx

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  9. I love your Rhode Island vintage dress - perfect for a warm day :)
    I am rather envious of your flower filled garden - mine is too shady (I immediately have mean thoughts about the neighbour's trees!)

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    1. Thank you! Our garden is shady too, I cram all the colour at the front of the house. I blame our neighbour's humungous tree, too! xxx

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  10. Wow, what a find, a first pressing of London Calling! Happy Birthday, Jon! What a stupendous gift to himself! I love the Clash, but didn't discover them until "Rock the Casbah" was released as a single.

    Ruffles can really make one's mood lift, can't they? I bet you were a vision, swanning about in it, Vix!

    I am not good at plants, but I'm fairly certain that the colour of hydrangeas is determined by the soil, not the plant itself (the default is white). Depending on your soil, it will be blue, pink or any shade in between. Here's a very science-y article about it: https://www.americanscientist.org/article/curious-chemistry-guides-hydrangea-colors. My mom always liked blue so she added something to the soil to make sure all her hydrangeas were blue.

    Happy mid-week!

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    1. Hi, acid soil for blue, alkali for pink. You can change their colour by adding either or. I love blue ones too. Best wishes from New Zealand.

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    2. Sheila, you're right. The hydrangea colour is dependent on the acidity of the soil. Bizarrely both of mine were were adjacent to one another outside the front of the house and were different colours despite only being a couple of feet apart!
      Ruffles do lift the mood, they're so daft you can't help but smile! xxx

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    3. PS Sally. I've read that you can bury copper coins or a rusty nail in the soil to change the colour. x

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  11. I just adore your black frilly maxi dress. It looks wonderful on you. Happy Birthday to Jon. What a hunk with all that blond hair. Did he have it when you met him ? Does he sing ? Not that he needs to. Just standing there is enough đŸ„°
    You have such a variety of beautiful plants. What a great shot of the bee. Your weather is strange. Rain comes and goes. We either have a wet day or a fine one. No rushing to get the washing in. Your quiche looked sooo good. Being gluten free is not fun. Did you make it or buy it. My cold curried rice is tasty but looks very boring next to your photo. Look forward to your next post. xxx

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    1. Thanks, Sally! That dress feels very lovely to wear, it's supposed to be a beach dress (when I looked the label up on the internet) but there's no chance of that living in the landlocked Midlands!
      Jon can sing but he's a guitarist. We used to call him Walsall's amnswer to Billy Idol back in the 1980s when we were giggly schoolgirls!
      I make a great quiche but I'm too lazy most of the time. You can make one without the pastry bast though, they're really tasty! xxx

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    2. Lucky you. I always wanted to marry a singer when I was really young. Because of my limitations I will see if my cook can do a quiche in the hour I have her. You truly add to making my life worth while. Just ordered a Coxes Orange pippin. Really the only apple I really love. Might take 2 seasons but fingers crossed. 😂

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  12. So excited for Jon finding that dream record.

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    1. Isn't it thrilling? Charity shops are the best! x

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  13. I was a fan of The Clash myself so can appreciate Jon's excitement over that record find - what luck! it couldn't have gone to a more appreciative home and is a real peice of treasure. Happy Birthday Jon! You look lovely in that frilly dress, it would look amazing on your next trip to Greece too. The garden is just so full of wonderful things and now, with the effort you have put in to encouraging wildflower - I am super jealous (in a nice way) as you are going to reap the rewards with lots of wildlife :) Betty x

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    1. He's really happy! The charity shop usually goes through all the albums and sells anything good for £10 but must have missed London Calling. It just goes to show that it's always worth a rummage.
      Your garden will be just as lovely this time next year! xxx

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  14. happy birthday to jon!!
    and congrats to that clash album! back in the days behind the iron curtain we had only tapes of this - xxx-times copied and noisy......
    looove the ruffled dress!! i have to sew me some ruffles soon!
    wonderful that the bees are flocking to your garden - is the best reward. all the blooms are awesome. @hydrangea: my pale pink when bought one stayed this color for years - but this year it has bright pink AND azur blue flowers..... the wonders.
    would you believe that the german post banned sending other things then paperworks in an envelope?! even a kerchief one has to pack in a box - which costs much more of cause. grrrr*
    xxxxx

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    1. Thank you!
      Argh, the dreaded cassette tape. Nothing beats the sound of vinyl, does it? Not that this one will ever be played!
      I was admiring a hydrangea in a neighbour's garden with a mix of vibrant pinks on blues on the same bush, I've never seen anything like it before.
      That sounds like a really silly rule regarding your post. xxx

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  15. Congratulations on Jon's amazing vinyl find - what a stroke of luck!

    I love your ruffled maxi. I must admit I'd probably talk myself out of wearing something so deliciously over the top but it looks great on you!

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    1. It made his year, what a find!
      Don't fear the ruffle, they are a bit silly but get so much love from other people! xxx

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  16. Happy birthday to Jon. I agree that he couldn't have found himself a better present than London calling...and what a great find, only half a pound. It proves it pays to shop well.
    You look stunning in that black ruffled maxi. I also love you grey maxi!
    Have a nice day!

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  17. Great Album. I still have my vinyl copy but it wouldn’t be a first pressing. Hope Jon enjoys his birthday x

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  18. As soon as I read the title of your post I had London Calling going around in my head, love it! I really like the jug, great design and texture. xx

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    1. Thanks, Marlene! I'm surprised I don't find more Joseph Sankey in the chazzas considering it was made here! xxx

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  19. Oh well done, Jon! What a fab birthday present for himself - and oh my gawd the prices are ridiculous. Mind you, it explains why in every charity shop I go to there are always MEN (I've yet to see a woman doing it) combing through the LPs on their knees in a very devotional way...Jon was very cute with the blonde hair.

    You found some wonderful things. I just adore the jug - never seen one before and I loved your wooden beads; I would have snapped those up, too! Loved your frilly maxi dress and the pinafore style dress was lovely. How fab to be able to wear it without anything underneath; the weather was lovely on Wednesday.

    The garden plants look fabulous; love the Chocamocha - I bet it smells chocolatey. Looking at it made me want to lick it - I love chocolate!

    Hope Jon has a fab birthday.
    xxx

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    1. Thank you, Vronni! Crate digging is a mostly male pursuit. I love my vinyl but can't be arsed wading through huge piles of it and having to check for scratches when there's pretty clothes to look for!
      I know you love a jug! I was delighted to spot that one.
      That chocoamocha smells absolutely divine, how one earth can nature create something like that! xxx

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  20. I totally get that Jon's year was made when he found that album! Like Jon, I got the album when it first came out but courtesy of a jealous ex it is no longer with me, more's the pity! There's an anecdote connected to the album, too. The day after I bought it and had been playing it on repeat ever since, I got a stomach bug, after which it took me months to listen to it again without feeling sick!
    Lovely to see that magnificent ruffled dress again, as is that Pinafore, which looks gorgeous teamed with those beads and leather slouch bag.
    Your plants are looking fantastic in spite of not having been fed for ages. Our Crocosmia is about to burst into bloom and I've just discovered we've got one Agapanthus flower after all, hidden away in the border. But no sign of our Chocolate Cosmos, unfortunately! xxx

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    1. Oh no, fancy getting that sick feeling every time you used to hear London Calling!
      I do love my summer clothes and Tuesday was just crying out for some daft ruffles.
      Great news on the Agapanthus, my final clump have almost all flowered now. I wonder what happened to your Chocamocha? xxx

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  21. Corrrrr, Jon looks a bit alright as a young punk doesn't he !?! Big happy birthday to him. You look so lovely Vix in your Pitusa dress. How do you stop from twirling round in it? No wonder everyone was stopping you to ask. I used to have London Calling (such a good album) but I stupidly sold all my vinyl in one of my moves up and down the country. That is officially the silliest thing I have ever done :0 What a find on the brass jug and beautiful garden colours. Lulu xXx

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    1. Walsall's answer to Billy Idol, wasn't he?
      I do feel all silly and frivolous in that dress, I love a ruffle or three!
      I've sold most of my wardrobe when I've been strapped for cash but somehow I managed to keep every piece of vinyl I've ever bought. xxx

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  22. How exciting about the London Calling record! SUCH a lucky find! I like the Fabindia to-so Pretty!
    I've got such Nasturtium envy!

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    1. I love a bit of FabIndia, I can't wait to go back and shop in their Indian branches!
      My nasturtiums are crazy, I've never seen the like! xxx

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  23. WOWW, finding the London Calling album in such condition and Price is totally Amazing!, I spied one for 22€ at our (second hand) music store recently (and it didn't look so pristine, but I was tempted!).
    You rock this Pitusa dress, so fab ruffles and style!, even its name is cute!, love that you had some compliments!. Your pinafore dress looks fabulous by itself with the wooden beads and some lovely jewellery, love the way you styled it!
    Lovely to see some colourful details of your garden, looking so gloriously summery!
    besos

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    1. 22€ wasn't a bad price at all! I remembered you loved The Clash. You've got that London Calling phone case. xxx

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  25. I hope Jon had a great birthday, though it looks like he found his own perfect present. You both had some great finds there - I think my Pete would fight you for that jug!

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    1. He had a fab day, thank very much! I did think of Pete's wonderful brass planters when I spotted that jug, maybe I'll find one of those next! xxx

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  26. I hope Jon had a great birthday, though it looks like he found his own perfect present. You both had some great finds there - I think my Pete would fight you for that jug!

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  27. Congratulations Jon - that is a fantastic Birthday score, and a first pressing too! The ruffled dress is definitely a party in a dress. You have such a beautiful rainbow of colours in your garden.

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Lots of love, Vix