Sunday 28 November 2021

Stormy Weather

With the rain lashing against the windows and the winds battering the trees, Storm Arwen had already arrived when I rolled out of bed at 6.30am on Friday morning, having had a wonderful night's sleep beneath the new wool duvet. 

Our brass Eid lights cast a welcoming glow in the kitchen on a miserable morning.

 After breakfast, we decided to tick a few jobs off the to-do list. First was cutting up the old duvet and using it to restuff some cushion covers, saving it from landfill.

I bought these hand-embroidered climate change cushion covers from my favourite fair-trade company, Ian Snow's sale several years ago, follow the link at your peril, there are about a hundred things on there I'd buy if I could.

Jon repotted the cheese plant. When he'd finished I tried out a tip I'd learnt the other day and polished the leaves with the inside of the banana skin, they came up a treat.

My tradescantia cuttings had finally developed roots so I potted them up in the handmade £1.50 ceramic planter we'd bought on our charity shop trip the previous day.

I was going to hang it in the bathroom but the green is a perfect match to the arsenic walls in the kitchen so I hung it up in the inglenook instead.

The other £1.50 planter we'd bought did end up in the bathroom.

Between showers, I managed to dash outside and take some stock photos and list a few things on eBay whilst Jon mended the bannister which had been hanging at a strange angle for far too long.

After lunch, we walked to the postbox on the corner to post a parcel. I did have a coat on (it was freezing!)

WEARING: Kharibu block printed dress (eBay), vintage Indian cottage waistcoat (Last year's Xmas present from Liz), Mjus boots, planished silver bangle & '70s sheepskin hat (charity shop finds), Heatgen thermal polo neck & leggings (M&S seconds, bought from eBay)

In recent years the UK has embraced Black Friday and when he got up I'd told Jon that I'd bought a massive telly and an American-style fridge the size of a garden shed while he was still asleep. Funnily enough, he wasn't fooled!

Stephen Squirrel had spent most of the day slumped on landing, across the heating pipe. He managed a couple of hours rampaging around the garden before the heavens opened and the winds raged with renewed ferocity. We could hardly hear the tv above the noise outside.

The forecast had warned of wintery showers but we were surprised by how much snow greeted us when we opened the curtains on Saturday morning. Stephen refused point-blank to set paw outside and instead lay with us in bed while we read until 8am.

After veggie sausage sandwiches, Jon went out on an emergency dash for rum as supplies were running dangerously low. Meanwhile, I cracked the ice in the birdbath, topped it up with water and replenished the feeding station.

WEARING: Schott NYC pea coat, Fat Face cashmere jumper, canvas cap and Clarks' boots (all charity shop finds), Levi 510s (eBay), Antiqued leather cross-body bag (bought in Rhodes)

Lord Jon wore the Schott NYC woollen pea coat he'd snaffled on Thursday. He'd unbuttoned and washed the detachable fake fur collar before I had to chance to photograph and feature it in last week's collage of charity shop finds.

His coat currently retails at £428 so the £5.95 he paid was a bit of a bargain. Who needs Black Friday deals when you've got Black Country charity shops? 

WEARING: 1980s Indian block printed dress (Olds Cool Traders), Frye Campus boots(eBay), me-made hat and vintage Aran cardi (charity shop)

As costs per wear go, I've had this £3 cardi a week now and I think it owes me money!

With it blowing a gale outside, I spent a lazy afternoon sewing a craftism banner.....Lynn sent me the book, it's so inspiring.

Before curling up in the lounge with the wonderful Matthew Shardlake, finally reaching the end of the 650-page book I started a fortnight ago.

The old fella's got a particularly fluffy coat this Winter, I wonder if we're in for a bad one?

Tea was Jon's paneer & bindi (okra or ladies fingers, depending on where you're from) Punjabi-style curry which we ate whilst watching a surprise government update where BoJo informed us that masks in shops and on public transport would be mandatory from Tuesday in a bid to slow down the new Omicron variant. No change for us as we never stopped wearing them.

It was an evening of rum, cola and The Americans. We're 15 episodes in now, with 60 more left to watch.

On Sunday morning, I followed Stephen outside, poured boiling water on the birdbath only for it to freeze over moments later. I took mugs of tea back to bed and lay reading till almost 9am - I love Jo Nesbo even when his books don't feature Harry Hole.

After negative lateral flow tests, buttered toast and the Andrew Marr Show, we got dressed and headed into town for our weekly clearance charity shop rummage and it looked like most people had already taken heed of yesterday's government update and were pretty much all wearing masks.

With the exception of his Farah jacket, a reissue of a 1943 military pilot's uniform, bought in a charity shop four years ago, and some vintage leather gloves, Lord Jon's wearing exactly the same as he did the previous day.

I'm wearing a vintage '70s Anokhi skirt, a Reiss felted wool fedora & Mascob for Liberty velvet Badin jacket (all eBay), Mum's Biba lace-up boots, an embroidered leather Kashmiri belt (charity shop), a hand-embroidered blouse bought in Greece, a gold leather bag (India) and some wool beer-mittens, knitted by Liz.

We came back with a canvas Helly Hansen jacket; a 1980s orange leather cartridge bag; a fold-up barbeque, a couple of paperbacks; some leather combat boots from Zara; a Light of Asia, Madras Indian cigar box (McDowells, makers of the white rum we always drink in India, sold the company in 1951 so its at least 70 years old) and a pair of 1970s crepe-soled Italian sheepskin-lined suede boots which fit me perfectly - hooray!

It's still icy cold, the snow is still falling and to add to my woes, Jon's only gone and passed on his cold. I never get colds and this is the second in six weeks. I'm off to take a couple of echinacea tablets and curl up in front of the fire with Jo Nesbo.....I'll see you soon!

Thursday 25 November 2021

"It Was a Cold November Day and She Had Dressed Herself Up in Layers of Cardigans..."


On Tuesday morning I wrapped the eBay sales and Lord Jon dropped them off at the post office, doing a grocery top-up shop on the way back whilst I spent most of the morning listing party dresses on eBay.

Liz called round on the way back from her booster jab and we had a coffee and a catch-up before bagging up some of our leaves for her to take home. 

Propping up the bookcase in a Dilli Grey Indian cotton midi dress & Toast boots (both secondhand eBay finds) and my Rhodes Town turquoise beads. 

Jon was still suffering from his cold so had a lazy afternoon on the settee with Day of the Triffids & Stephen Squirrel. I left him to it and, after several attempts to take a photo using my camera's self-timer, I give it up as a bad job and read my book. After jacket potatoes with cheese and coleslaw we spent the evening watching more of The Americans and Who Do You Think You Are? which was really interesting despite neither of us ever having heard of the "celebrity", some social media influencer, whatever that might be.

On Wednesday, I decided to walk into town as I'd not been further than the postbox on the corner for days and Jon, feeling slightly better, offered to join me (taking a lateral flow test again, just to make sure). After dropping off the eBay parcels at the post office, we had a rummage in the town centre chazzas and found a few interesting bits.

Two vintage waistcoats with snazzy covered buttons, a 1990s Komodo denim jacket (one of the first ethical fashion brands), a leisure shirt which we discovered was actually a Xmas shirt (I blame Jon's cold for adding his brain), a fleece shirt, some cat print Super Socks, a reversible sari skirt with Kantha embroidery, a pair of Converse, another cardi to add to my collection and an Indian block printed cotton maxi dress from Monsoon, still with the £59.99 label attached.

WEARING: Vintage 1970s Mayur Indian gauze dress (Facebook selling page), vintage felted wool hat (charity shop), Toast cowboy boots and wool cable knit cardi (eBay)

Do not adjust your screens, I'm wearing another cardi (secondhand, obviously!)

After lunch, I laundered the finds and sewed tassels on my new-to-me dress as the ones I'd ordered from eBay had arrived in the post. I was intending to dye them black but rather liked the unbleached cotton when I pinned them to the dress so left them as they were.

Wednesday, as always, was rum 'n' cola night and we watched more of The Americans. By the way, those fairy lights have absolutely nothing to do with Xmas, we have them up (and on) all year round.

These teak candlesticks are re-purposed antique spinning bobbins from an Indian cotton mill. I bought one for Liz & Al for Xmas last year and promptly decided that we needed a couple in our lives, too.

On Thursday, after my usual morning routine of a Wii Fit workout followed by a flurry of eBay parcel wrapping, we had breakfast and took delivery of a new duvet. We've upgraded from our cheap and nasty ten-year-old synthetic duvet to 100% wool. Despite always having the window wide open, the heating turned off & sleeping naked I get really hot in bed whereas Jon feels the cold. According to my research, wool is a regulator, not an insulator and regulates your body temperature the same way as it does on the sheep. As the body temperature rises the wool has the amazing ability to transfer heat and moisture along with every fibre and release it into the cooler, drier environment, and when it is cold it keeps the heat in. The truly amazing thing about wool is that it will actually regulate the temperatures of two different people in the same bed. 

I put it on the bed immediately and shall let you know how we get on!

With Lord Jon feeling much better, we drove over to one of our regular chazza shop haunts for a rummage and came back with a rather lovely vintage Irish Tweed coat, a 1980s suede jacket, a Harrington, a limited edition Adidas Originals sports top, a 1950s St Michael Scottish-made mohair & wool scarf, some wonderful waxed green leather boots (far too small for my huge trotters) and two ceramic planters, destined for the bathroom.

The Black Country town we visit always seems to have vintage glass in at least one of its charity shops and over the last few weeks I've managed to amass a collection of 1960s & '70s bud vases (never paying more than £2 a vase). On their own, they're nothing special but lined up on the window ledge with the light shining through they're rather lovely. The yellow one was today's acquisition.

It was a chilly morning. I'd had to chip the ice off the wheelie bin to get last night's cola bottle in it before the fortnight recycling collection. Yesterday's charity shop cardi (worn under my suede coat) kept me lovely and warm when we were out and about.

WEARING: Vintage Treacy Lowe pure silk Indian screen printed maxi dress, Aldo trilby, Betty Jackson leather belt, wool-mix cardi, tribal copal beads (all charity shop finds), Lotta from Stockholm Calou Moa boots (eBay) 

After lunch, I repotted my spotted begonia, which this time last year was a poorly looking thing, rescued from B&Q's clearance shelf. 

It shares a corner in the hall with my brass lizard pattern water jug, made in the Black Country by Joseph Sankey & Sons between 1890 - 1910, which we found in a charity shop back in August. The Art Lustreware bowl is another local piece, made up the road in Burslem at around 1910 and found by my Grandma at a jumble sale in the 1960s. The handsome chap is a maternal ancestor. I don't know his name but Mum always said that he ended his days in an asylum. 

A few years ago I submitted his image to My Daguerreotype Boyfriend and nearly crashed the site. Be warned, if you click the link you'll probably lose hours on there.

Wondering about my blog title? 

Barbara Mary Crampton Pym (2 June 1913 – 11 January 1980)

It's borrowed from Barbara Pym's Jane and Prudence, “It was a cold November day and she had dressed herself up in layers of cardigans and covered the whole lot with her old tweed coat, the one she might have used for feeding the chickens in.” 

See you soon!