It turned out that feeling knackered, bruised and battered wasn't because of our week at Glastonbury, we'd come back with Covid! Yes, after almost two and a half years, the bastard virus had finally caught up with us. Whilst I had nothing more than a tickly cough, poor Jon had every symptom going and was flat-out in bed for 48 hours but thankfully, with days to go until our next festival, we're now symptom free, our tests are negative and normal service can be resumed.
I used my isolation time well, I've sorted, priced and packed fresh stock for the next festival, replaced zips and done some dressmaking, I've sunbathed (despite the weather not being up to much) and I've read three books, including revisiting my childhood favourite, Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals. When Jon was finally able to get out of bed, we caught up with The Great British Sewing Bee and binge-watched Back in Time For Birmingham, the BBC's excellent fifty year history of the British Asian community along with The Undeclared War, the gripping Channel Four spy thriller.
During the great lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 we lavished lots of love and care on the garden and our hard work is paying off, although still very much wild & untamed, its not quite the wilderness it used to be. There's perennials we'd almost forgotten popping up all over the place and the lavatera I bought in a titchy little pot from Wilko for £2 last Summer is now so huge we can't see out of the kitchen window.
Jon rigged up a cheap irrigation system for our patio plants, it comes on for five minutes twice a day. The only work we have to do is sweep up the mess from the dreaded lime tree (it's that time of year, again!) and harvest the raspberries, strawberries and redcurrants planted two years ago and now growing in abundance.
I dug out this photo of Mum and I in Hope Cove, snapped by Liz in 1985 just after we'd taken our A Levels. Every year both my family and Liz's would holiday together, spending a fortnight in South Devon during the Summer and a week in the Lake District for Autumn half-term. Thirty-seven years on and we're about to go away together again - she and husband Al are crewing for us at Cornbury! My hair colour's changed but I'm the same weight I was when I was eighteen and I'm still wearing Barry M lipstick & nail paint. I wish I'd still got that TopShop two-piece (or co-ord, as the kids call 'em), it's properly vintage now.
Whilst having an in-depth chat about insecurities with the girls at Glastonbury, I mentioned how, in 2019, I developed an aversion to my arms and spent the last few years hiding them beneath sleeves. My new fitness regime has changed all that and, at 55, I've never felt better about my body, wonky arms and all - not only from the mental and physical benefits that exercise provide but from the frequent compliments I get on my swimming technique. I can't tell you how empowering it is to be admired for my physical prowess rather than how I look.
Whilst vintage is still my first love, I get so much pleasure from experimenting with the amazing variety of contemporary clothing I find on my charity shopping adventures. This Free People "Hot Tropics" culotte jumpsuit (£2, Banardos) came with me to Crete back in May and got another outing, teamed with some secondhand Lotta of Stockholm silver clogs, when I popped into town this morning.
This was what I wore the day before we travelled to Glastonbury. I know loads of people loathe ripped jeans but I was drawn to these TopShop "Mom" skinnies when I spotted them in the clearance chazza and, at £2, it was no big loss if I hated them - but I didn't - who knew that high-waisted jeans were so comfy? I wore them with a chambray blouse (originally Gap) also from the clearance shop, a vintage Kashmiri waistcoat (a hand-me-down from Cheryl), secondhand gold Lottas (eBay), a fair trade leather tote bag (from Jaipur) and a charity-shopped Yasmin Le Bon gilt necklace.
four five dresses (three are secondhand, two are cheeky retail buys).
It's set to be a crazy week - we get back home from Cornbury on Monday evening and the following morning we're flying to Greece (airport chaos permitting). Whilst our last two trips have been all about exploring, adventure and sight-seeing, this is going to be a lot more chilled. We're returning to an island we adore, with our days spent mostly on the beach and laid-back nights whiling away the evenings in traditional tavernas. I'm taking
Secondhand accessories - bikinis x 2,
Superga organic cotton plimsols, some leather chappals picked up in India years ago, Ancient Greek "Crystos" handmade leather sandals (they retail at £195 - I paid £18 - ya gotta love eBay!), a wicker bag, a straw clutch and my oversized basket. The tan leather "comfort sole" gladiators are from a proper shop.
TopShop "Mom" shorts, gingham shorts, Superdry Indian cotton camisole, Broderie Anglaise off-the-shoulder top and Joules straw hat (all charity shop buys).
See you on the other side!