Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Set in false anticipation, I'll be waiting in the photo booth

This embroidered ramie top, snaffled from the clearance charity shop, leapt out at me when I looked in the wardrobe on Sunday morning and my 1970s Anokhi maxi skirt seemed like the perfect accompaniment, teamed with the vintage Kashmiri woolwork belt I picked up from last Thursday's chazza expedition.


The clearance chazza was delighted with the six bags of clothing we dropped off, especially as most of it was menswear, something most charity shops are desperate for. 


We came back with a pile of books (we've both already read Mick Herron's This is What Happened but it's so stupendously good that it deserves a re-read), a 1980s Leslie Fay midi dress, a 1980s Shelana lurex cocktail dress, a Ben Sherman shirt from their "Vintage" range and a handmade midi dress.


After a walk down to Wilkos for Spring bulbs, we had lunch, stuck our clothing finds in the washing machine and spent the afternoon photographing and listing the rest of the footwear in the stockroom.


I'd harvested the rest of the patty pan a few days earlier and, as no more flowers had appeared, pulled up the plants and threw them in the compost bin. Frank promptly claimed the bed as his own.


We cooked more of our crops for tea - potatoes roasted with peppers and onions and red onion & courgette fritters (made with the rest of the mouldy cheese) and seasoned with herbs from our bed. We finished watching the rest of The Hunt for a Killer and Gone Fishing.


On Monday, after my Wii Fit session, I ironed the previous day's charity shop finds and wrapped the eBay sales which Jon dropped off at the post office after breakfast. The postman called, bringing with him the Bank Robbers aka Clarks' Desert Treks I'd scored for Jon from eBay but alas, still no sign of my passport. 


I fired off an email to the UK passport office enquiring as to why my application status was still displaying "old passport received", almost a month after I'd sent it off. Meanwhile, Jon tried yet again to contact the planning office at Walsall council. One of the branches on our huge London planes (Platanus x hispanica) has snapped and is suspended on the lower branches, dangerously overhanging the fence over the avenue. As they have preservation orders we can't do any work on them without prior permission from the officer in charge of the borough's trees.  Over the last month, Jon's sent him two emails and tried calling every day, only for the line to go dead each and every time. Yesterday he managed to get through to a receptionist on the main council switchboard only to be told that the officer he needed to speak to was in the office but wasn't answering the phone. Jon left a message with her (and sent him another email) saying that he was getting a tree surgeon out in the morning as he feared a car, or a passer-by, was in imminent danger if something wasn't done soon. We risk a huge fine but doing this but neither of us wants someone killed by one of our trees. Bloody, buggering bureaucracy!



Frustrations aside, it was to be a momentous day, after an 18-month hiatus we were having a Wetherspoons all-dayer.


After the heat of the previous week, the temperatures had dropped back to normal. Jon wore his Gabicci wool fine knit top, Levis and beeswax Bank Robbers and I wore my vintage Janet Wood for Monsoon Afghan dress with a matching waistcoat.


After popping into the cobblers for a can of suede protector for Lord Jon's new boots, we made our way to 'Spoons, meeting Tony at 1pm and tipping out 8 hours later. We're disgraceful!


 To anyone twitchy about pubs, 'Spoons felt perfectly safe, with plenty of space between the tables and decent ventilation.



The boys had Empire State burgers which they reckoned had increased in size since last year and just about managed to finish them.



The simple Mangalorean roasted cauliflower & spinach curry was new to the menu and, my goodness, was it good! My plate was empty in minutes. We spent 24 hours in Mangalore back in 2017 (HERE) and their cuisine really was incredible.


On Tuesday I was wide awake at 5am. It was still dark and the rain was bouncing off the paving stones. After my Wii Fit workout, we did our lateral flow tests, which again came back negative.


With still no word from the council, the tree surgeons arrived and spent the morning sorting out the London plane. Meanwhile, I checked my emails and discovered one from the passport office saying that the photo I'd submitted over a month ago 'doesn’t meet the photo standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation' despite the fact that when I uploaded the photo (which Jon had taken with my digital camera) the app on the website said that it was good and that it "reached their standards".....arghhhh! 


Anyway, after lunch, we walked into town - it had finally stopped raining - and went to the approved photo booth for UK passports within Asda (the first time I'd been in a supermarket for 19 months!) Using his phone, Jon logged on to the passport website, we entered the barcode on the photos and submitted them remotely. It seemed rude to be in town and not visit the chazzas so we had a rummage before heading back up the Hill of Doom.


I can't decide if this insane red coat is Mongolian lamb, (the previous owner has removed the labels), the '80s mohair jumper is handmade as is the 1960s metallic evening jacket. This vintage St Michael shirt just screams Autumn, doesn't it? 


 Don't adjust your screens, I'm wearing trousers! These were from the bag of goodies Cheryl gave me the other day, they're 1970s flares (as rare as hen's teeth!) The vintage suede jacket was also one of hers - isn't it fab when your friends are the same size and have the same taste in clothes? The 1960s Jeff Banks W1 blouse was a car boot find about 20 years ago and the Reiss fedora & Toast cowboy boots were eBay purchases. Several people stopped me and told me that I looked amazing, fabulous and gorgeous. I'll have to wear them more often!



Back at home I checked my emails and discovered that my passport application had now been approved and was in the process of being printed.....will we leave these shores in 2021 or will we be banged up after getting our tree illegally pruned? Watch this space! 


PS If you're wondering about my blog title, it's pinched from the god-like genius that is Pete Doherty.



41 comments:

  1. no wonder you got lot of compliments while wearing the cool trousers ensemble - you look like a star!
    but the dress/waistcoat and blouse/skirt styles are fabulous too......
    the pub day sounds like great fun! and you found great stuff at the chazzas - love the fiery red fluffy coat...... (but it looks tiny).
    why did the passport office not inform you that the photos were wrong?? and what happened to the guy in the tree department - someone should go and have a look, maybe he´s lying dead under his desk since months? and i thought our - the german - bureaucracy is the worst....
    thanx for pete doherty!!
    xxxxx

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    1. Thanks, Beate! I was thrilled with those trousers, the perfect length, too!
      That jacket is fabulous (and rather small), I hung it up immediately, one of the lads would have made it into a bed in no time!
      When I submitted the passport photos the app on the website said they were good and a month later they change d their minds. If I hadn't sent that email yesterday I'd probably have been waiting for my passport for months!
      I love Peter Doherty! xxx

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  2. I exclaimed Babyshambles the minute I saw your post's title! Bureaucracy can be utterly exhausting! Both the passport photo story and the tree branch story are truly exasperating. Glad you got the first one sorted, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed you won't be banged up as a result of the second :-)
    Can't believe the time for Spring bulbs has come around again!
    Loving all of your outfit, but the vintage flares and suede jacket one in particular. I've always admired that Jeff Banks blouse, and it's absolutely perfect in this outfit! xxx

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    1. Yay! Another babyshambles fan, don't we have great raste in music?
      I'm sure these government departments are using Covid as an excuse to work even more slowly. I can't believe the tre man was at his desk and wouldn't even pick up the phone. It's so exasperating!
      I can't believe it's bulb planting time again, I want millions next Spring.
      Those trousers got a lot of love today, I shall wear them more! xxx

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  3. you look fab. I think there is an exemption to the planning rules where there is a risk of danger to life or property - hopefully your tree surgeon can vouch for you (did you take photos?) - often they have quite a good relationship with the tree officers. I know there are very few tree officers at the moment - 2/3 of the local councils here don't have someone in place as they've all gone off to do other things post Covid, which means that no applications are being dealt with at all. V Frustrating. You look fabulous and the all dayer sounds like a lot of fun. Nice to be getting back to some normal things. I went into our nearest city for the first time since Feb 2020 today and whilst I was a bit nervous, it seemed fine and was lovely to be in the hustle and bustle - noticed though it was all people my age and older still wearing masks and all the young 'uns (16 -18 college kids) were not!

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    1. Hi Julie! Yes, Jon sent photos via email to the tree man at the council. The tree surgeons are on the approved list so at least we didn't break that law! We've been dealing with the chap at the council for 16 years and know him fairly well. I can't believe he was in the office and wouldn't answer his phone. I don't think we could have done any more, Liz has offered to bake us an apple pie with a file in it, just in case we need to break out of jail.
      Well done for being brave and visiting the city. I've noticed that it's the young 'uns without masks, too. xxx

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  4. OMG do you two know how to have fun. I live in old age vicariously through you. You look so stunning in red Viv and how does Lord Jon get more handsome by the year. Is it the rum and coke? Your garden divine and I too would have got those tree surgeons in. Our country NZ still in lockdown. Only Auckland our largest city in total 4 lockdown. The rest of us in 2 which still means masks. Auckland cuts off half our country but most people accepting. We don’t want Delta down here. I remember in the 1970s making those flare trousers. I used to love making the first of what was in overseas. So many commented. It was great fun. I was so ill yesterday but feeling much better today. Have a no resuscitation notice on my bed drawn up by Dr. and Lawyer. Even though I have a gardener I still adore planning my garden. All the bulbs are out. My cook takes photos for me. 😊 I get them picked for inside. Isn’t gardening fun ! So look forward to your blogs and glad you decided to stay safe from festivals. ❤️

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    1. Hello Sally! Lovely to hear from you. I'm glad you're feeling better today.
      We've just been updated regarding the government's plans for winter, us 50s and over will be getting a third booster jab, the roll-out is due to start next week.
      That's lovely that your cook takes photos for you so you can enjoy Spring in your part of the world. I could have gone mad in the bulb aisle. The ones we've bought will go in the front lawn and be naturalised, we'll buy more in a few weeks time!
      Stay safe! xxx

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  5. Ihad to do calculations in my head of the currency coversions when I saw your menu-still even withthe higher conversion, what a bargain your 'Spoons is. I'd have had a hard time moving on if I was enjoying myself as well. I would love to find some vintage flares-how wonderful. We have to get a dead tree down in our yard, an dI want to try and save a tree form another part of the yard. I love your green and lush yard.

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    1. 'Spoons is super cheap - especially on a Monday when it's £1.80 for a pint of lager. The food is brilliant, plenty of options for us veggies and vegans with clear allergen advice and calorie information for those interested. Next time you visit the UK you'll have to visit a few!
      I saw a gardening programme recently where they'd left a dead apple tree, pruned it back and grown a clematis up it, it looked beautiful! xxx

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  6. What a fun post! I love all your outfits - that yellow blouse is wonderful, as are the rockin' 70s flares!) - and was cheering for your day in 'Spoons! So good to get back to our old favourites, isn't it? Love Jon's wool jumper (classy), and seeing Frank protecting the compost (good lad, Frank).

    Eeee, re: your tree! I think that documenting all the attempts to reach the gov, plus keeping your emails, is the safest way to prove that you tried to reach them, that the branch was unsafe and that you acted in the public's best interest. They can't ding you for not wanting to be liable in case of an accident - and hell, they should reimburse you for the work!

    We aren't allowed to touch the trees on our condo's property - anything over 10cm diameter is "owned" by the city and you have to get permission to even trim them.

    Hope your week is full of good times, dear Vix!

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    1. Thanks, Sheila!
      It is so good to get back to normal, I can't believe we managed to spent 8 hours in Spoons and wake up with clear heads, we thought we might have forgotten how to do all day drinking!
      Yes, Jon sent loads of photos to the council. Here we own our protected trees but aren't allowed to do anything with them without permission but still have to pay for the work and only use surgeons that are on the council's approved list. Fortunately the ones we used were approved, that's one thing in our favour when we're up in court! xxx

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  7. Whenever I think of home I think of spoons. The English pub in japan which has branches all over is called the hub and it is overpriced and terrible and it is also full of young Office workers who think they are Cool. Love those trousers they are everything!!!
    The local parks department has to come and cut our willow tree. But I love the height of it as it blocks out the office blocks perfectly. Plus the paperwork is a nightmare!!! i love the name of Jon’s shoes . Mum has just ordered me some new dr martens in the sale that had £100 off well I couldn’t say no could I
    Nice haul again

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    1. Spoons are just brilliant, aren't they? When the pandemic started there were loads of lies spread about how they didn't pay their staff and let the breweries down, most of the news[paers have had to print grovelling apologies. Jon took a couple of his friends to task for sharing the stories on Facebook.
      English pubs abroad are so weird - they just can't get the atmosphere right.
      Doc Martens have some amazing slaes, your Mum did well! I shan't go and look as I've alreday scored a pair of clumpy boots off eBay this week! xxx

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  8. Oh how I love that little red jacket. That passport is being dealt with as I type, There I said it so it has to happen :-)

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    1. I love that little red jacket, I wonder how long it'll be before I "borrow"?
      I think your positive thinking has worked, there's an emails saying that my new passport's in the post! xxx

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  9. Fingers crossed your passport arrives soon - I renewed L's at the beginning of the year ambitiously thinking we might need it this year and it was back within about 10 days!. Frustrating that your application has been sat doing nothing all these weeks until someone decided decided to tell you what the problem was.
    That curry looks amazing - I always used to enjoy curry night in Wetherspoons - can't beat the place for value for money and with six of us to pay for I can tell you we have visited a fair few over the years!

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    1. It's back now! I do wonder how long I'd have waited if I hadn't sent that email though! When I applied for my last one it took 5 days!
      Spoons is brilliant value, isn't it? People can be so snobby about it, they don't know wthat they're missing! xxx

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  10. Oh, you've really been up against it this week - flipping bureaucracy! Fingers crossed your passport will soon be on it's way. I'm sure mine must be due to run out soon - I'd better check, just in case I'm ever whisked off my feet for a spontaneous weekend in Paris :)

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    1. It's as well to be prepared! Mine' sback now and in a glorious shade of Brex*it blue! xxx

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  11. Augh bureaucracy! At least you were able to get your passport sorted; hopefully by the time you read this you'll have permission to get the trees done too.

    Those trousers really suit you - different, but still a very Vix look.

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    1. The passport's here but still no word from the council. Thank goodness one of our friends is a lawyer, we might be needing his services at this rate! xxx

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  12. That whole outfit with the trousers is completely fabulous!

    The tree situation really is a mess. Even if the Council officer responsible is still working from home, I don't see why they couldn't arrange a site visit. It's outside for heaven's sake. Arghhh!!!!

    Love the Spoons photos. Even though we were outside when I came over, I was felt perfectly safe on the terrace. We've been going to our local pub which has pretty good distancing and ventilation and there's been no problem. The curry looks fab, I often used to have their chickpea one. And the pizzas are fantastic too!

    Really hope the passport situation gets resolved soon xxx

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    1. Thanks so much, Annie!
      I don't get why the tree man wouldn't answer his phone if he was in the office, or at least give us the courtesy of relying to our emails, it's just downright rude! xxx

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  13. Can't believe you're planning for next Spring. I can't, for the life of me, get out of the bit and have such a long 'to do' list, I'm meeting myself in the middle! I love your flares ensemble and you always look gorgeous anyway! I'm having the same problem with my tree officer at the council. A rather annoying neighbour is complaining about the silver birch tree in my garden blocking her light, amongst other moans and groans and I've left three messages at the council offices but nothing has transpired. It's a £5,000 fine up here if you deal with the preserved trees by yourself so I don't want to risk getting the tree surgeon out but might have no choice, just to get this neighbour off my back. She lies in wait for me for another moan when I park my car!Ho hum! What a heavenly way to spend an entire day, eating and drinking with friends. Alien concept for me!!lol xxx

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    1. These last 19 months have changed me, I've never been so organised with garden stuff!
      It's the same here with regards to dealing with protected trees but I'm hoping all the photos we sent (and, so far, have been ignored) and using one of their approved tree surgeons might go in our favour. Failing that we've got a mate who's a lawyer and another willing to bake a cake with a file inside so we can break out of jail!
      Your neighbour sounds charming - not! One of ours moans about our trees blocking their light, the trees have been there over 100 years and we live in an avenue, its not like anything's changed since they moved in! xxx

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  14. keeping everything crossed your passport nightmare is now over; ref the tree we have some i the woods behind with preservation orders that need tidying up/pruning and the council ignore us too - it's all about money methinks - I don't blame you for going ahead, if safety is an issue. I love your trousers and jackett, they go really well and such lovely colours. we just had a few days away and had breakfasts and dinners at spoons - last night we had a crap restuarant meal elsewhere and were so hungry we went to spoons after for another dinner! they had a chicken curry on Managers special at 2.99 to get rid of a shed load so Steve was well happy :)

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    1. You can uncross your fingers - the passport has landed - yippee!!!
      The annoying thing is that we have to pay for any work on the trees anyway, it just needs the council bloke to look and say yay or nay, he can walk from his office to our house in 10 minutes, gah!
      Hooray for Spoons saving the day. You can always rely on good food and loads of decent veggie options, too! xxx

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  15. I last went to Spoons in January 2020 and had a tasty Vegan burger. I really like their food but don't get to go very often as C isn't a fan.
    I like your flares- they are really stylish! Pretty pattern and they suit the coat so much.
    The red fluffy coat is very cheerful!!

    I do so hope you get your passport soon. CBC had to get his done earlier thus year and managed to get an 'acceptable' photo approved. Weird, eh!
    Where are you planning to go?

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    1. 'Spoons food is great, isn't it? That Mangalorean curry was phenomenal.
      There must be something wrong with that app on the passport application form, they said mine was "good". I wonder how long my application would have been sitting there if I hadn't emailed them?
      We've off to Greece - an island I first visited 30 years ago and haven't been back there for 20 years. Where does the time go? xxx

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  16. Hobbled to the first post plague jumble Sale at the weekend , spent a whole £1 but it was just so nice to do something normal

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    1. How exciting! Even the daftest thing is exciting after so long, we were even excited about portaloos at the End of the Road! xxx

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  17. Nice to see you wearing trousers. That's such a proper Autumn styling. I love the red maxi outfit as well.
    I hope that the tree situation gets resolved soon. Sometimes bureaucracy gets in the way. The digital passport photograph of you looks fine to me. Sometimes it is hard to know what they look for in a passport photo. I recall my ID photo being rejected because I was smiling.
    How cute is Frank claiming his bed🐈🐈🐈🐈!

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    1. Thanks so much, Ivana!
      Still no word, or even emailed acknowledgment from the council, I bet they'll blame Covid - I wonder if they'd accept that as an excuse if we didn't pay our council tax on time?
      xxx

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  18. Ugh, I've been having passport photo woes as well. Apparently I'm too tilted from scoliosis for my shoulders to fit evenly within the frame, etc. Finally got someone to take a photo (for fifteen dollars US$!!! an outrage)that hopefully won't get rejected and sent back. Anyway, I feel your frustration with it.
    Glad you're still testing negative.

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    1. What a mare. You'd think modern technology would come up with a solution for the tilted gait in those photobooths, even my camera has a level you can add to make sure the photo is straight! xxx

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  19. The 70s flares and the suede jacket were made to be worn a) together b) with a violet undershirt. Brava! for creating an ensemble perfect for a gorgeous fall day!
    I'm also admiring Jon's Desert Treks, elegant footwear for grown-ups. Hereabouts one sees clunky "sports" shoes with rubber soles and fabric tops worn in snow drifts -- and at the prices paid, they could be replaced by proper boots.
    I'm agog at the nasturtiums climbing the walls of the house. "Empress of India", are they?

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    1. Thanks, Beth!
      Jon's Desert Treks are very snazzy, aren't they? With that crepe sole they've got plenty of bounce - good support for his poor knees!
      Those are Empress of India nasturtiums. I've got so many seeds I might ahve to bag tem up and give them out to passers-by! xxx

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  20. Well hello Vix!! been missing for awhile with family sagas but just had an epic catch up of your posts. You are so disciplined in listing on ebay so your move to online will go well. I think you look fab in trousers all those compliments were well earnt. An all day er in Spoons hey! bet that confirmed that your normality is back! I am going out more but still not as much as before all the dreaded C started. I think you both looked fantastic for your return to the pub. No you aren't disgraceful it's been so long an 8 hour stint was called for ha ha I hear you on passports and other red tape matters and don't get me started on making a Drs appoint. anyway dear Vix you are still as fab as ever so will try and check in more Shazx

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    1. Lovely to hear from you, Shaz! I was strating to worry about you. I hope the family sagas are all dealth with and everyone's safe and well. xxx

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  21. Well thank the passport gods that it’s sorted at last. Hoo-bloody-ray that’s got to be worth another bender in spoons when it arrives.
    Both your outfits for your mammoth session are fabulous. Philip especially likes Lord Jon’s top and some of the gents shoes you’ve photographed. The trousers and jacket look really good on you as well.
    As much as I love trees they are a nightmare when they either belong to someone else or have an order slapped on them. Fingers crossed there’s no repercussions for you xxx

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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