Friday 25 February 2022

I Felt The Earth Move

After Storm Dudley, Eunice and Franklin, on Monday night Walsall was shaken by an earthquake - not as big as the Dudley one of 2002 but unsettling nonetheless.

On Tuesday I donned my 1960s tissue silk Treacy Lowe dress, again with the vintage suede waistcoat Liz bought me years ago, and went charity shopping, finding a few interesting bits.

A 1980s Lesley Fay USA-made tartan jacket, a 1960s sheepskin coat by Scandinavian Furs, Anthropologie cotton biker jacket, a 1960s wool shawl, another Philippa Gregory novel, a Ralph Lauren chambray shirt, a 1990s cord blazer, a 1980s Stephen Oliver 100% snakeskin belt, a 1970s Prova safari jacket, a Rowan all-wool cropped cardi, a rayon leisure shirt 

And a vintage bud vase (for £1.25) to add to our growing collection.....

After lunch, I walked down to the beauty salon for a pre-eyelash allergy test before an afternoon of laundry and travel planning. We spent the evening watching the rest of the Art Nouveau documentary series we'd started watching last week as well as a couple of episodes of season two of Young Wallander,

On Wednesday after ticking some mundane household chores off my to-do list, Jon & I went for a walk around the block. I wore my trusty Dilli Grey block printed maxi skirt, a vintage Ayesha Davar shirred cheesecloth blouse and a fake fur gilet which was originally Zara but I bought secondhand.

I'm in the middle of Operation Wear My Shoes In. Although these Superga organic cotton platform plimsolls are secondhand and ridiculously comfy, I'm leaving nothing to chance and have been going for long walks in them daily to make doubly sure that my feet won't become a massive blisterfest after a day of pounding the Spanish pavements. 

We spotted the burgeoning signs of Spring in our garden. I've no idea where those tête-à-tête daffs came from, they popped up last year and their pretty faces are most welcome.

Leaving Lord Jon to clean the windows, I spent the afternoon engrossed in my latest Philippa Gregory novel and by teatime was a lot more knowledge on the Wars of the Roses. 

Wednesday was rum and cola night and one of those rare occasions where I cooked, nothing earth-shattering, just a cauliflower and broccoli mornay which was even better having worked out how to use the grill in the new oven. Later we watched the rest of Young Wallander.

With Thursday's bleak news of Ukraine's invasion and the grey skies, I was delighted when I did a blog catch-up after my Wii Fit workout and saw this post from my friend, Ivana. She's so talented. Check her out HERE.

All set to go charity shopping, Jon got a last-minute notification of an imminent delivery of car parts so our plans were abandoned. Instead, I sat at the PC for most of the day and worked my way through this year's festival applications with the news on in the background and snowflakes fluttering past the window.

Nothing new to see here, just one of my vintage Afghan dresses, a chazza shopped Art Nouveau belt and Mum's Biba boots. Jon's sorting out my roots at the weekend, they've not been touched since 3rd January and my parting's getting wider by the day.

We watched the excellent British spy drama Official Secrets before our weekly Apprentice fix (although it's probably more my fix than Jon's). I have to admit that my style of management was similar to that of Harpreet's, no wonder I burned out before I was 40.

Friday was charity shopping day and a bright, but cold morning. I wore my Dilli Grey birthday dress with a vintage suede jacket and my secondhand Doc Marten Divas.

What did we find? A 1980s rayon leisure shirt, a 1980s silk, cotton & lambswool beaded jumper, a 1970s tweed jacket, a strange fake fur-trimmed linen coat with pointed cuffs, a British army parka, a 1970s nautical handknit, Toast side-zip ankle grazers (the first time I've come across Toast in a chazza, and marked down to £1, too!) , a 1970s novelty print shirt, a vintage Jaeger midi skirt, a Joules wide-brimmed hat, a St Michael 1980s midi dress, a 1980s English-made leopard embellished jacket, a 1980s Bernshaw wrap dress and a vintage African basket.

I know I said I was on a book buying ban but Lawrence Durrell, Philippa Gregory and Elizabeth I for £1? I couldn't say no!

Here's some local street art I've not shared before, it's Women's Work by Rose Garrard, unveiled in May 1998 by the now-retired Labour MP Clare Short and situated in Bilston town centre, this morning's charity shopping spot. 

Standing four metres high this bronze sculpture of a female beside a pit-head gantry commemorates the impoverished women working in the 19th-century coal and iron industries of the Black Country. Women's Work is situated close to the site of a former ‘fold’, a cluster of small hovels where families lived and the women of which forged tiny items such as nails, chain links and pulleys, selling them to merchants in order to survive.  

These items have been fused into the clothing of the statue, her head is a small anvil and her forearms are the tongs used for holding the hot metal.  Her feet are flat irons, whilst the back of her skirt is composed of stacked cooking pots as local women were later employed in nearby factories making cast iron cooking pots and flat irons as well as in large laundries where they put the irons to use.  The figure is stooped over to support her burden of coal, the constant position of a ‘pit-bank wench’ paid to work bowed down all day to reclaim any usable lumps of coal from the slag heaps at the pit head.

After photographing and laundering our finds, I stripped off my makeup, walked into town and spent two hours in the salon having eyelash extensions applied, I've only visited beauty salons a handful of times in my life and on the rare occasion that I do, I wonder why I don't do it more often, it's wonderfully relaxing.

I'm off to drink rum. Sending love to you all. See you in March! 


  1. Aaargh to your earthquake 😱. A few years ago there was one of a similar size about 20 miles from here. I didn't know at the time what it was, but for a few moments I was convinced a large truck had driven into the house wall, even though I knew that was impossible.

    Drooling over your vase collection (which is a bit daft for someone who will not have cut flowers in the house!)

  2. I remember the Dudley "quake" well - we had scaffolding attached to our house at the time and it nearly shook our teeth out! Loving the outfits, especially the vintage Afghan dress, which is very special. Hoping you've worn in your new platforms. Will they be as quite as white when you return I wonder? They certainly wouldn't it they were mine! Weirdly, I have never been to Bilston, but that's an impressive sculpture. Your friend Ivana is certainly very talented - I adore those elongated fashion illustrations. Lovely! Enjoy your Spanish getaway! xxx

  3. Doc Martens! Biba boots!.... sigh..... In New Zealand, it's not uncommon to suddenly feel small earth tremors. I think that we're a bit blase about those. But yes, the bigger ones are indeed scary. NZ is part of The Ring Of Fire around the Pacific, and so there will always be some sort of activity. We're grateful that it's mostly minor.

  4. Having eyelashes done is something I would love to try but too scared so far. Your friend Ivana has captured you well (I intend to make you a project one day soon!).

  5. Woo, enjoy your Spanish adventure, Vix and Jon!

    Glad to hear all is well from your earthquake (being in an earthquake zone, we're always alert to them), phew. Wonderful outfits (swooning over that tissue silk dress) and such great finds in the charity shops!

    I love Ivana's drawing of you in your green velvet - she is so talented!

    I appreciated the full breakdown of that statue - it's very moving. So many women (doing "women's work") have been forgotten.

    I hope the rum was flowing - happy vacation and looking forward already to seeing your pics of your trip! Take care, my dear friend!

  6. How lovely to see spring flowers. The colours are so beautiful. You’re a lot braver than me Vix having eyelash extensions. I only went once to have them dyed and had to give up, I couldn’t stand having my eyes messed with. I do love reflexology and hot stone massage. I’ve not been for two years with covid.
    The book on Keith off the pottery Throwdown is brilliant. What a lovely guy he is. My sister and mum want to read it next, I’ll pass it on to you after if you fancy it.
    Off to Pontefract to celebrate Philip’s brother’s 80th birthday tomorrow. I won’t be doing any hugging though. Don’t want that nasty covid again.
    Have a lovely holiday if you’re away before your next post xxx

  7. You just casually mention earthquake and just go on as usual lol - I would be totally freaking out! Love all the outfits and your great finds. Glad you treated yourself to a little salon time too. Enjoy your trip! xoxo

  8. The statue is amazing. I am glad there was not much damage from your earthquake. I grew up in earthquake country and most were ignored.

  9. Smart lady getting those shoes broke in. You can justify the price of the books for travelling and not worry about forgetting. Exciting to think festivals may be up and running again.

  10. That earthquake might have prompted the local feral cats to seek out new homes -- I suspect both Ollie and Lewis knew about it before you and Jon. I experienced a 7 (old Richter scale) directly under my home once upon a time, heard a *pop*, and later discovered a single brick had popped out of the chimney in the space between the ceiling and the roof. Had to reline the whole thing (and rejoiced I had paid extra for earthquake insurance covering masonry).

    Your combination of dark iris blues with lively violets is enchanting, Vix! So much less funereal than dreary corvid black!

  11. I didn't know there was an earthquake. That one reason I like to look at blogs, one get a different view of world. I believe your charity shops we call thrift stores.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

  12. Ohh you had a baby earthquake ! How exciting lol . We haven’t had one for a while. Now I will go and jinx it won’t I !
    I will have to send you our emergency kit we have lol!!! Yeah mum said the weather is being funny . She was going to go to the tulip fields but now Russia has kicked off she won’t go.
    My dad was in nato so yes I was an army brat . And the stories he told me shook me to the core. Hence to say he is keeping a close eye on this. I wish someone would knock putin off his septic chair but that’s never going to happen is it?
    I love toast, we sometimes get it in here. Love those superga’s I used to have a rainbow pair but I wore them out. Have a fab break and book buying is allowed lol

  13. LOvely post Vix. I found a Toast coat in a chazza about 15 years ago and I loved it but it was too big for me and I didn't want to get it altered so sold it on ebay. I remember it went to an academic in a college at Cambridge. I loved to think my Toast find was keeping one of Britain's biggest brains toasty warm!
    I hope you enjoy your eyelash extensions. I started having them done in January after seeing my son's girlfiend (who lives with us) wearing them.
    They are a gamechanger. I wake up and when I look in the mirror I look wide awake. Its worth it for the lift it gives me and no more mascara running down my face.
    Enjoy your travels. I look forward to seeig what you got up to. X

  14. stunning sculpture - and a very neccesary reminder that not all victorian women were ladies of leisure sipping tea the whole day in lacy dresses........
    speaking of dresses: you have worn some pretty ones to do your work! and you were successful - the chazza finds are fabulous!
    ivana did a cute drawing of you - lovely!
    i´m pondering getting my lashes dyed - thei´r so very faded and mascara drives me mad......

  15. Oh be still my beating heart... That glass vase collection is setting me all aflutter.

  16. Absolutely love the statue. Very thought provoking. Thanks for sharing its history. Arilx

  17. An earthquake! Well, that must have been a bit scary! I only remember experiencing one when I was living in Antwerp in the early 90s. We were in bed and initially thought our upstairs neighbours were moving around furniture in the middle of the night.
    Fabulous outfits, as usual: the Treacy Lowe dress, Dilli Grey maxi skirt with the cheesecloth blouse and furry Zara vest, vintage Afghan dress and your Dilli Grey birthday dress are all stunning.
    Great chazza finds too, and I can't believe you found yet another bud vase. Don't they look fabulous lined up on your window sill?
    The Women's Work sculpture is very poignant, thank you for sharing the history behind it.
    Two hours at the salon! To be honest, that would drive me mad!
    Have a most wonderful time in Spain! xxx

  18. Ooh, I love that tissue silk dress! So special and floaty!
    You did well in the Chazzers! Intrigued by that fur linen coat.
    Your navy suede jacket is gorgeous.
    The glass vase is so attractive!
    Ivana is clever. That's a beautiful picture of you!

  19. Ivana's illustrations of you are so lovely Vix. Wow, I didn't realise there was an earthquake! The Women's Work sculpture is very striking, and depicts very well the physical graft involved. Your bud vase collection looks beautiful in your window. I did catch a bit of the Games pitch on The Apprentice t'other week - hilarious!!! Good luck with 'project wear your shoes in' xXx

  20. It's so lovely to see a few signs of spring. I bought a bag of crocus bulbs for £2 in Wilko and randomly planted them in the front lawn and they make such a difference.
    Glad to hear you survived all the storms and the earthquake!

  21. Very sensible to wear those shoes in well before your holidays. Travelling light does mean that everything has to be almost perfect for it's intended use.

    Yes, book buying bans sometimes just HAVE to be ignored don't they :-)

  22. What wonderful outfits. My favourite was the silk dress with the suede waistcoat over it. A match made in heaven, I'd say. I loved the sculpture of a 'Woman's Work' it reminded me so much of my beloved mum whose two favourite sayings were 'a woman's work is never done' and 'who'd be a woman?'

    You do find amazing things on your rummages. I have a Toast top and I have seen a Toast cardi in a chazza but it was too small for me...

    Of course you can't pass the book bargains by. I have been finding lots of John Le Carre's recently and have 3 waiting to be read. Ivana's drawing of you was brilliant!

    I loved the Art Noveau series and will have to look up the UK spy drama. We still have to catch up with the final episode of 'The Promise' and the remainder of series 2 of 'Deadwind' first...

    I hate beauty salons. I hate getting my eyebrows done but am thinking about getting my eyelashes dyed to save me having to use mascara everyday. Dare I do it?

  23. The Women's Work sculpture is so powerful, especially after you understand all the pieces that are incorporated into it.

    I've always wanted a pair of platform sneakers but haven't found any that are comfortable. I hope those work out well and carry you through the streets of Spain in comfort and style. I have always wanted lash extensions because mine are pitifully thin and short, but they take a lot of time to apply and upkeep, and I rub my eyes so much because of allergies they wouldn't be worth it for me.

  24. I love the vintage suede jacket!
    I've never had eyelash extensions, but I do fancy it. Definitely one for the next time we go to Ibiza.
    Have a brilliant time in Spain. Looking forward to reading about it 🙂 xxx

  25. Many years ago we had an earthquake in the region of Manchester that I lived in, and I virtually slept through it ... I just thought a super big truck had thundered past on the road and drowsily swore at it.

    Isn't it lovely seeing all the fresh daffodils growing everywhere.

  26. The earthquake must have given you quite a scare. We experienced a minor one here a few years ago, but I managed to sleep through it. X


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Lots of love, Vix