Sunday, 5 November 2017

It's all Greek to me!

Hello again! It seems a very long time since I've posted but it's just one day late.
Middle grandson and I had a very pleasant stay in  Kontokali, Corfu.

Corfu Old Town - a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Image courtesy of

We stayed here at the Hotel Telesilla in Kontokali a ten minute bus ride from Corfu town. Spotlessly clean; lovely staff and fabulous breakfasts. Highly recommended.

 Here I am in not so sunny, but nicely warm, Corfu Old Town on our second day (Monday). Everything I'm wearing is charity shopped except shoes which are retail. 
We wanted to go to the water park, Aqualand - Grandson's top priority, but unfortunately it had closed for season on 8th October, so we took the bus into Corfu town and explored...

I was very taken with this lovely door way in the Old Town. It was home to a dental surgery. The architecture in Corfu town is very interesting. A mixture of Venetian, French and English neo-classical and some Greek. Corfu was occupied or colonised by a variety of nations in the past; all of whom have left their mark on the buildings and landscape.

This is the lighthouse at the top of the Old Fortress (which you can see in the very first picture above). Grandson and I had an interesting afternoon exploring the fortress and climbing up to the lighthouse.

There are three fortresses in Corfu. This is the 'New' Fortress viewed from the Old Fortress.

We had an 'Island Highlights' day excursion on our third day and went to visit the Monastery at Paleokastritsa, which the lovely Vix also visited earlier this year. You can see her post about it here.

It was a lovely place and the weather veered between sunshine and showers. There were cats everywhere in the monastery. You can see one behind me in the photo above. Grandson was much taken with them. As well as cats, the grounds were also filled with flowers and plants and the whole place had a tranquil atmosphere despite the tourists -  and wonderful views out to sea.

Everything I'm wearing is charity shopped and has been on the blog before except the necklace which I bought in a charity shop in Tralee, Co. Kerry in the summer for 2 euros. It had little leather tongues interspersed with the beads but I didn't like them so I cut them off.

We then headed down to Paradise Bay where we took one of these little boats to explore some caves. No life jackets or anything! There were no rain  showers on our little cave jaunt which just as well as ours wasn't a covered boat...

The view from Bella Vista - a small village at the very top of a mountain  where we had lunch. I believe that is Paradise Bay below.

We then went on to visit the summer home of the Empress of Austria, Elizabeth; the Achilleion Palace built in 1890.  Grandson and I are on the terrace at the Achilleion Palace above. In the far distance you can see the coast of Albania.
We finished our day excursion with a trip along the coast  towards Corfu town taking in Kanoni and Mouse Island (Pontikonissi) which has another monastery; Mon Repos (birthplace of Prince Phillip); ongoing archaeological excavations on the outskirts of Corfu town and places of interest in Corfu Old Town itself. It was a great day out but I was completely knackered at the end of it!

Kontokali Bay beach - ten minutes walk from our hotel.
It was on a hill above this bay that the Durrells lived  in their second house in Corfu - the Daffodil or Primrose Yellow House. Kontokali has another more recent link to the Durells, but this time the recent TV series. The family, who ran the hotel where we stayed, their son had a part in the series. There were photos of him and other members of the cast in the restaurant of our hotel. I didn't watch the series so I don't know what character he played. Sorry. He was a pretty handsome bloke though...

We spent the morning of our last full day (Wednesday) on this tiny beach. We were going to go on a day trip to Albania originally but the seas were too rough so it was cancelled. It was a lovely sunny day and the temperature was about 21 - 22 degrees. Just perfect for me!

There was a dead sea turtle that had been washed up by the sea. It could have been washed up on the private hotel beach next to this one and someone put it on the low wall that divided the beaches. Poor thing. It had clearly been there for a while and the stench when you got close to it, was horrific...

 There was a lot of plastic litter on the beach so I picked it all up and put in a black sack that was already there. Why people can't pick up their own rubbish beats me. It only takes a few seconds to do. It was mostly plastic bottles; discarded flip flops and suntan lotion containers.

On a more positive note - if I'm not mistaken that's a banana tree/plant! Grandson took this picture on the same beach as the washed up sea turtle.

This is Gouvia Marina; two minutes walk from our hotel. We visited it on the way back from the beach where there are the remains of the very small fishing village it once was. We spent the afternoon chilling out at the hotel pool. It wasn't heated and Grandson didn't spend very long in it. I don't mind the cold water as once you're in and sufficiently numb you warm up!

Taken on the balcony on our last morning.  Everything I'm wearing is charity shopped.
We had breakfast and then went to catch our mini bus to the airport. It was a lovely sunny day of about 23 degrees.

Necklace present from OH and bought in Donegal town. Earrings from The Guild House; 2.99. 

I would love to go back to Corfu with OH and do some proper grown up exploring...

We came back on Thursday to rain and cold and it was quickly back to the normal routine. 
We went to see my son on Saturday and drove in great style to Suffolk. OH had bought a new car while I was away. He'd been looking at some before I left. It's a big car that will be very useful for going to Ireland in as it has a capacious boot and runs on diesel.

I got back into walking on Sunday and walked again several times the following week; on one of which I stopped and had a long chat with this thatcher in the village of Biddenham.

Monday was the first day in 2 years, apart from holidays and bank holidays, that I didn't volunteer in the charity shop. I didn't have a chance to miss it as I had to look after the youngest grandson -  it was a teacher training day.

This was one of the outfits I wore during the week. Scarf, dress and cardigan charity shopped; the cardigan, originally from Monsoon, was from the Red Cross, 1.99. I expect the dress was also from there but can't remember exactly. The boots are from Sainsbury's retail and the leggings are M&S retail.

All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings which are from Oxford Market; a present from OH.

I picked up this checked tunic in the Cat's Protection League a couple of weeks back when I dropped off some donations to a nearby charity shop. It was 2.99 and I'm wearing it with jeans from the same charity shop; daughter donated boots and a M&S jacket from Kettering charity shop. I picked up the necklace in the 3:16 shop for 1.00 on my way back from volunteering last Tuesday.

I walked with the Rambler's group on Wednesday. We walked 7.5 miles from Sandy to the villages of Beeston; Hatch and onto Northill. I spied these creations on a thatched roof house on Beeston Green but they are solely made of metal.

I had a mooch around the charity shops in Sandy as it had been more than a week since I had even seen a charity shop! I bought a top (see below) for 1.99 in Barnardo's and a pair of trousers for 2.99 in the Wood Green Animal Shelter shop. I also picked up some bits for the grandchildren in this shop. too.

Thursday's OOTD

Everything charity shopped.

My middle grandsons' mum told me about these silver grey velvet brogues on sale at Primarni for 5.00. Very comfortable.

All jewellery is charity shopped. The brooch is made of leather.

On Friday I walked with Lynne from the food bank. We walked the old railway line -  a victim of Dr. Beeching's cuts in the 1960s - through the village of Cardington. Cardington is famous for its hangars which originally housed the Airship and are now home to Airlander; see below. It was a beautiful day for walking; we walked 7 miles.

Picture courtesy of
On Saturday OH and I went for a rummage in Market Harborough and then onto Kettering.

In Oxfam in Market Harborough; I bought these two books.  The 1960s and 1970s scrapbooks. We had the entire collection when I was teaching at the university; they were part of the trainee teachers' resources for teaching practice. The books start with the Victorian era in its entirety and then progress decade by decade from 1910.

I was born in the 1950s when rationing was still in force and Winston Churchill was still the Prime Minister; and although I remember quite a lot from the 1950s, it's the 1960s and 1970s I remember most. These books are a visual photographic record of everyday things and brands from those decades.  A big nostalgia fest for me but I think the grandsons and my children will enjoy them. I'm on the look out now for the 1950s copy; there's one on you know where...

Did you know that fluoride toothpaste was introduced in 1962 with Kolynos, followed by Colgate in 1964? That Twix and Marathon (now called Snickers) chocolate bars were introduced in 1967? That the first Bond film, 'Dr. No' was released in 1962?

Ceramics from the 1960s.

Footwear from the 1970s.

This is what I wore on Saturday. I had a scarf and gloves as well; it was a chilly and quite wet day on Saturday. The homemade vintage swing coat was bought at a car boot sale earlier this year for £2. 50. The lady who sold it to me told me she was very glad I was buying it as she could see I would appreciate it and love it. I do! It's heavy but not particularly warm. Although you can't see them, it has big diamond buttons on the sleeves.

Everything is charity shopped except the boots from Lidl. The top was bought in Barnardo's in Sandy and the yellow blouse is from Dunne's Stores and bought in a Donegal charity shop in 2016.

All jewellery charity shopped.

As well as the books, I only bought a necklace in Market Harborough.  The charity shops were very pricey. It's a really nice shopping centre with lots of independent shops. There are 7 charity shops in total but two of those are bookshops. They also had a posh European themed market with French, Belgian, Italian and German food stalls. The last time I was in Market Harborough was many years ago with my mum and OH and brother. Mum was still well enough to want to go on day trips out for a rummage. Oh happy days! Mum died in 2009.

This is the old Grammar School in Market Harborough, placed on wooden stilts to allow the Butter Market to be held below. It dates from about 1614.

Picture source - Wikipedia.
This is the church of St. Dionysius next door to the Old Grammar School. The church dates from the 13th century.

 Whereas Market Harborough is an affluent and middle class town; Kettering is proudly working class and this is reflected, amongst other thing,s in the charity shop prices. Much more reasonable!

I bought a top in Sense for 2.99, a cardigan from the 1.00 rail in the Salvation Army, two bangles in Extra Care; a pair of trousers and a brooch in British Heart Foundation and two pairs of earrings for 1.00 each in Marie Curie. I also picked up a couple of things for grandsons, so a very good day's rummaging all in all.

I'm looking forward to a free Monday - no charity shop and on Tuesday morning there is a meeting at the Guild House where I shall tell them I shan't be volunteering there anymore after Christmas. I am so looking forward to 2018!

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Off to Greece in the morning!

Yes. it's an early start tomorrow. Middle grandson and I are off to Corfu on a 6.25 am flight. We are both looking forward to it. Meanwhile this is what I got up to since my last post.

My trip to the new cinema to see 'Blade Runner 4049' was wonderful but oh the noise! I thought my ears would bleed; it was so incredibly loud. I had a headscarf on but at certain points in the film (fight scenes. chases) I literally put my fingers in my ears because of the loudness. Several other people commented on the loudness when we came out.

The seats were very comfortable but the price of seats ridiculous at £12.00 each. The film was a  dark, dystopian tale. I would like to see the original film having now seen the sequel. (Postscript; OH got the DVD and we watched it this week). The cinema is a Vue cinema and they show filmed concerts, ballets and theatre performances, so I can see more than just films in the future.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Everything charity shopped. The navy lace shirt from the Red Cross; 1.99, can't remember where I got the top from or the trousers. Shoes; 1.99 from Barnardo's.

Everything charity shopped.

I bought this dress by George (Asda in UK, Walmart in the US) in a charity shop in Killybegs, Donegal for 3.00 euros. Leggings M&S retail. Gold shoes; 99p in Barnardo's. Grey cardigan 1.99 in Red Cross, I think. It's one of the most useful items in my wardrobe.

I wore two silver necklaces both charity shopped; as is all the jewellery.

Everything charity shopped except the silver loafers from Lidl. Green trousers from 1.00 rail in the Red Cross.

Earrings from Sainsburys many years ago; all other jewellery charity shopped; the necklace was bought on one of my charity shop visits in Ireland this summer.

Saturday morning football - oh the joys! I've dropped off, picked up and stood in the freezing cold watching all three grandsons playing Saturday morning football games. for the past 17 years. Thank goodness it's not every Saturday I have to do it. Youngest grandson seems to be finding his knee tasty!

We went to visit my son on Saturday as well. It was a lovely day but it is getting dark so early in the evenings it makes the day seems so much shorter. Or is it just that time passes more quickly as you get older?

I look as if I have lost my feet in this photo but it's because I'm standing with one leg bent forward for the 'pose'. I wore my new (to me) black and grey Mary Jane's with this outfit but didn't realise, until my daughter commented on it, that my skirt is actually navy blue not black! I bought it from the 99p rail in one of the Barnardo's before the summer. I found out on my recent trip to the Barnardo's in Great Denham that they have got rid of their 99p rail - much gnashing of teeth from me!  They have also increased their prices. The M&S jacket came from a Kettering charity shop last year before Christmas; 3.99. The blue/yellow/brown patterned top was also charity shopped but I can't remember where...

This necklace is pretty special. I took a shine to it in the window of a Donegal boutique. OH bought it for me; bless him. All other jewellery is charity shopped except the earrings which were donated by my daughter.

I went out walking on Sunday morning and with my 7.3 mile walk it brought my weekly total to 21 miles for the week beginning 9th October. I had further boot problems though; see below.

 I also sewed up one side of my crochet blanket and have started on the other side. There's only the 100 hexagons to sew the ends in for and then sew together and make a border. Hopefully it will all be done by Christmas when I can post the four blankets off and start a new one. I love choosing what I'm going to make next. I'm very tempted by an African flower blanket. It has four changes of colour though and that means 8 ends to sew in per flower. If I make 100 flowers that's 800 ends to sew in plus the sewing together. Maybe I won't!

Image courtesy of Google images 

This was worn to the Food bank and library volunteering on Tuesday 17th. Everything
charity shopped. I bought Apricot tunic in the Cat's Protection League charity shop before the summer for about 3.99. I felt Tuesday was the first proper cold day since I returned to the UK on 2nd September. I needed the layers for warmth and I wore a denim jacket for outerwear. Blue top underneath by East; 99p rail somewhere; jeans charity shopped; as were the orange shoes (Oxfam, last year) and scarf.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I had to drop off several bags of clothing to the charity shop on Thursday. I swapped my summer wardrobe over to warmer clothes so I had a good sort out and got rid of quite a lot of stuff. It took me three hours to swap over with lots of trips up and down the loft ladder. I picked up this necklace for 1.99 in the Mercy in Action charity shop - well I had to have a look didn't I? Everything is charity shopped. Skirt, East; Red Cross shop 1.99; Laura Ashley cardigan same place same price; M&S top 1.00/99p rail somewhere. Tights 99p in a charity shop somewhere; I always buy coloured tights when I see them if they're cheap and my size. I can't remember exactly where I bough the shoes from but they had been reduced to 99p; in the Barnardo's in Ampthill, I think - they'd never been worn...

I bought these earrings in a shop in Bedford many years ago but all the other jewellery is charity shopped.

I haven't walked very much this week. It's the boots you see; or rather the lack of them. When the sole fell off my boot on my walk with Lynne I ordered a cheap pair online the same day. They arrived on Monday 9th - free delivery. I walked three times that week but on the last walk I felt a stone in the heel of the right boot. When I got home I found the heel had developed a split and a stone had worked its way in. I sent the boots back on Monday and had to rely on trainers for walking; mainly around and to and from town. I'm hoping to compensate the lack of walking by lots of swimming when I'm in Greece.

I bought this tunic in Donegal for 3.00 euros. The jeans were from the Cat's Protection League, 2.99. Brothel creepers/beetle crushers also charity shopped from a shop in Wellingborough. All jewellery charity shopped. The zip brooch was 20p from the independent charity shop in town!

Saturday 21st was the last day for the Red Cross shop. It's been in Bedford for 24 years and now the nearest Red Cross will be in Luton. I went in from 9 - 1 pm to help. It was a very sad occasion but the shop was doing a roaring trade - everything 50% off! I have been buying things all week from there as it would be silly not to snap up the bargains. My best purchase has to be this tapestry cape; it cost 2.99 with discount.

It was still in its dry cleaner's plastic.

This was Saturday's outfit. Everything is charity shopped except the boots which were donated by my daughter. I cannot remember where this jacket came from but I know it's handmade and I know I didn't pay very much for it. It may even have been the Red Cross - I have bought so much from them over the years. The dress was from 99p rail in Barnardo's in Ampthill.

All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings which I bought from an Etsy shop online.

It's pretty heavy this brooch so will only be suitable for coats and thick jackets...
I managed to buy a decent pair of walking boots in the Red Cross for 1.00 in the sale! They are a size too big, but a couple of pairs of insoles will do the trick. I got OH a lovely blue t shirt and the youngest grandson some jeans and a football top. I also picked up a sweet dog brooch (above) and a fountain pen; I do like to write with a fountain pen when I need to write letters or cards. Talking of which I got a beautiful card from the shop manager. There is a farewell get together with nibbles and drinks next week but I will be in Greece and will miss it.

I'll be back in a fortnight by which time I expect my Greek holiday will be but a distant memory...

A bientot!