Hi everyone

I wonder how long I’ll be doing a post at the end of the month on what is now my version of lockdown?  Maybe for some time. We’re going to restart visiting family again, I hasten to add, in their respective gardens (which we stopped as there was a case of Covid in our block of flats, which felt a little close) but I have no intention of visiting any of the many places and shops that are open now, nor will I visit any other shops and services, such as hairdressers or the pubs that are opening on the 4th July. To be absolutely clear as to why I am doing this, it is because our government has reduced the UK Alert Level from 4 to 3. Level 4 is the virus numbers are ‘high and rising exponentially’ and Level 3 is ‘Virus is in general circulation’. Well in that case….

I must sound such a killjoy, and I think I might be behaving differently if I hadn’t been ill at the beginning of the year and left with a long road to recovery.  But hey I am recovering and I love my walks by the sea. The two pix below were taken a couple of weeks back and it wasn’t as hot as it’s been recently, hence the deserted beach.

The cropped white cotton pants and a tee-shirt are both old, and they both came from a charity shop! That is the first pic you’ve seen of me wearing thrifted clothes for some time.

They’re also cool to wear. We Brits are such wimps when it gets hot, or what we think is hot. A few days ago it was super hot for the UK reaching 30C+ (86F) in some parts of the country. The majority of housing in the UK is old and was built to withstand cold winters, the rain and the damp, summer heat was not considered, and probably isn’t now as modern building is all about energy conservation. Consequently, it should be no surprise, even in relatively modern blocks of flats like ours, that we do not have air con in our homes, and on one of the hottest nights, and being on the top floor, our bedroom was an uncomfortable 28C (82F), uncomfortable because that heat is humid. Phew, we didn’t get much sleep. The next day we had a ‘sea fret’ which is a sea mist that rolls in and is a very common occurrence on this coast. As I sat at my desk the hill in the distance was covered in mist and I couldn’t see the tops of some high rise blocks nearby. The thing is that people in London or the surrounding area might have been driving down in the sunshine raring to get onto the beach (oh my word have our beaches been crowded these past few days) but once in Brighton they would be unable to see out to sea because of the ‘fret’.

I’m not going to say much about the government apart from telling you that the message from our leader, that he wants the buzz to return to our lives, has resulted in hordes of people descending on seaside towns (for some reason Bournemouth seems to have had the most visitors) to the dismay of the people who have to clean the beaches after the crowds have gone home. We will take some sandwiches to the nearby Downs and walk there, and I’ll let you know if it is as crowded inland. I think, though, that this problem of crowds descending on to beauty spots and beaches might continue through the summer as a lot of people will be having staycations in the UK. Have you thought of having a holiday this year?  It looks as though travel to foreign climes to places like Spain, France and Greece might be allowed soon, we await a statement from our PM. We might consider a cottage in the countryside, maybe we will and maybe we won’t. Personally, I’ll be watching the stats over the next few weeks.

In the meantime the pots on my little balcony have done very well. I’ve been delighted to see two bumblebees hovering around this pot.

And this.

And here I give you a mix of urban weeds and flowers growing on the kerbside by a hot pavement.

I love urban life!

Our routine hasn’t changed much. Both me and Mr F have our projects, which we tackle in the morning. Four days of the week are taken up with our respective hour-long Zoom Pilates classes. Here’s me in my hot weather shorts (M&S) ready for the Pilates class on the hottest day of the year so far! I have to say that I am absolutely converted to online shopping, converted in that I used to avoid it at all costs, mainly because I sent 90% of the purchases back. But so far, I have been very lucky with my recent purchases, which have also been quite reasonably priced.  Once I start going back to the dentist, beautician and hairdresser though, all online shopping will cease and I’ll be back to shopping in a charity shop – my purse won’t stretch that far!

Then it’s lunch and a walk afterwards, a cup of tea and reading in the afternoon and in the evening, I do admit to watching 2 hours of television. Through the month of June, on each Saturday, we watched four really good films. They were: 1917 – excellent; The Godfather – still very good; A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood  – just lovely and my best film of the year so far; then Armando Iannucci’s The Personal History of David Copperfield starring Dev Patel, which was excellent, funny, and quite bonkers. This Saturday it was Emma, as the price of this film on Amazon Prime had finally gone down to £4.99. It was fine, and very well acted. But I’m going to dismay some people, because I can’t say I like Jane Austen all that much, and I found this film was one of those dressy-up costume films that I don’t exactly warm to.  As I said the film was fine and many will love it, but it’s not quite my cup of tea!

I am utterly bereft that the Great British Sewing Bee has ended. What a heart-warming, sweet and very creative programme it is. They filmed it last summer so I’m hoping that somehow another series might appear next year as per usual, but there could be several favourite shows missing in 2021. Well, here’s to the programme’s return, which it must, as it is a national treasure. You can still catch this latest series on BBC iPlayer.

We also finished watching The Morning Show(Apple Tv) starring Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carrell and Reese Witherspoon, which was very good. We tried another Steve Carrell vehicle Space Force(Netflix) and found it rather tedious, so that’s a no. Anyone tried the Reese Witherspoon series, Little Fires Anywhere(Amazon Prime)? Is it worth giving it a go?

Other television we’re watching includes The Luminaries(BBC iPlayer) which looks to be intriguing, Alex Rider(Amazon) which is surprisingly good, and Perry Mason(Now tv) starring Matthew Rhys (who’s rather yummy, I think) but it’s a don’t watch to those who abhor violence as it’s a tough watch in parts. Plus, there’s very little resemblance to the original Perry Mason, do any of you remember that one? The earlier Perry Mason was broadcast between 1957 and 1966.  I definitely remember watching it on the one channel of TV that we had at the time.

A documentary we’ve just finished watching is McMillions(Now tv) which was very good, and we continue to watch Snowpiercer(Netflix) which is absolute tosh and quite barmy, yet mesmerising at the same time, so we continue to watch.

I’ve finished Vassily Grossman’s Stalingrad. It took me nearly a month to read as it is a gigantic, colossal tome, and as I thought contained a whole universe. The writing, his prose, in describing one of the worst Stalingrad battles around the railway station, for example, was extraordinary and sublime. I will have to read it again and quite soon, maybe in a couple of years. Am settling down to read Ann Pratchett’s The Dutch House, which is going to be a good read.

I promise to not talk about Covid-19 or say anything about the government’s handling of it for another month, but overall, I think there is an uneasy acceptance that lockdown is loosening. I also realise that my take on lockdown, and the way I’m living is extreme and that it is so important for small businesses and those whose jobs are on the line to get the economy working, but take care people, take care.

And finally, to show you how fast the weather changes in the UK, yesterday walking towards the seafront I had to hang on to Mr F or I would’ve been blown off my feet it was so windy!  From one day to the next we can go from hot to cold and from gentle breezes to a howling gale. Here I am  literally hanging on to my hat and the rail!

That’s all for now, thank you so much for reading this post.

With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper

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38 thoughts on “Lockdown diaries – 29 June 2020

  • 29th June 2020 at 9:27 am

    I am lucky I live on the Isle of Man and we, along with Guernsey are covid free and have been for 36 days!
    We are a crown dependency and have our own government and laws, our Chief Minister whilst listening to Boris, closed down everything and especially the borders!! Flybe went “west’ easyJet stopped so no flights and no passengers on the daily boats only freight. We were well and truly locked down and still are borderwise, local shops, restaurants and pubs all started deliveries in order to keep going. Our normality started two weeks ago, schools are all open without having to obey the 2 metre rule, hairdressers, beauty salons the same.
    All I can say is that living on an island does sometimes have its advantages.
    I look forward to your blog, and love reading your thoughts, sadly I am the polar opposite of you being short and round, but fashion and style is the same regardless.

    • 29th June 2020 at 10:21 am

      Nice to hear from the IOM Chadena. It’s on my wish list to visit next year!

    • 29th June 2020 at 2:17 pm

      Hi Penny, thank you for the movie recommendations, always good to have a guideline.
      Our lockdown here in Toronto is lifting, shops are opening, with restricted numbers. Everyone is very patient here, and stands in line 2 metres apart, until some one leaves the store, allowing the next person in line to go in. Most people are wearing masks. Our numbers are dropping rapidly now, restaurants are only opening their patios, with tables 6 feet apart, and a two hour limit to eat your meal.
      Libraries are open, 😀 for kirbside pick up only.
      I ventured to my hairdresser last week, I got highlights done, opted not to cut, and walked out with my hair wet, to cut down time. I had to wear a mask the whole time as did my hairdresser. There was no sitting in the waiting area, I had to sit in my car, until my hairdresser called my mobile, saying she was ready. There is now a practise in place here that you fill in a form, with you name and address, so that there can be contact tracing if there is an outbreak. I am really happy with the way our provincial government has handled things, including keeping our border with the U.S.A. closed, which is essential, looking at the US Covid numbers.
      My husband and I have started seeing family, but fully intend to keep within our family circle for some time. With all the extra time on my hands I have taken to ironing my clothes again, my what a difference, even my oldest clothes look fantastic, when ironed with a quick spray of starch. I have skirts from M & S which I’ve had for nearly 15 years, I think the quality was much better back then. Global warming is very evident here, incredibly hot and humid, my garden looks like late August already, so very grateful for air conditioning, can’t wait for Autumn, I don’t do well with humidity.
      Stay safe Penny, you are being very sensible, looking at some of the pictures coming out of the U.K. there are some incredibly selfish people totally flouting the guidelines.
      Content in my bubble.😊

      • 30th June 2020 at 8:16 am

        Hi Gerry
        The lockdown in Toronto and Canada generally appears to have worked very well, and it’s interesting isn’t it that other countries are not looking at what worked successfully in some countries like yours and Germany and South Korea and so on.

        It’s really good to hear how Canadians are behaving as your lockdown eases, especially re: the near universal wearing of masks. My dismay with our government continues unabated as the move to ease lockdown conditions seem to carry on regardless of the high numbers of deaths and cases. Yes, they have decreased considerably but our daily numbers have plateaued and are not going into single numbers. And then the messages are so mixed, on the whole, the population seems to be no longer self-distancing or wearing masks. Basically I think our leader is not far from the US view of the ‘freedom’ one ought to have to choose….. ye gods…. and of course, it’s all about the economy, which I get, but even so. I shall write about that soon in My Other Blog.

        You take care 🙂

    • 30th June 2020 at 8:01 am

      Hi Chadena. Yes, like Lynda, I rather think that a holiday in the Isle of Man at some point (as in not now)would be ideal and it’s on a list of all the places I need to catch up on.

      Very well done, your Chief Minister for acting responsibly. When I think of how certain people, or person really, dilly-dallied over the UK restrictions…. Considering we are an island it would have been so easy to shut the airports and lockdown our island, but no.

      I so agree with you, fashion and style is for everyone, now matter what size, shape or purse. Thanks so much for your comment 🙂

  • 29th June 2020 at 11:04 am

    I’m in no rush to go to the pub at the weekend, I’m just as happy to have a couple of friends round to sit and enjoy a glass of wine in the garden, where I know we’ll keep a safe distance! It just seems crazy to relax that ruling on a Saturday but hey ho …
    The photos of the beach at Bournemouth were ridiculous – I’m keen to get some sand between my toes, but not sitting next to hoards of others. It must be horrible for the local people to have so many people descend on their town and to add insult to injury, leave all their rubbish behind.
    I loved The Sewing Bee, and like you I really hope it returns next year. I predicted the winner as the series progressed, and thought she deserved to win. We watched an interesting series on Netflix called Unorthodox, based on a true story and only four episodes long, one of those programmes that both of us enjoyed.
    Your balcony flowers are looking beautiful, they are really thriving in the glorious sunshine we had been enjoying!

    • 29th June 2020 at 4:22 pm

      Hi Penny,
      I loved A Beautiful day in the Neighbourhood. Tom Hanks is always good value isn’t he. Another film we enjoyed on TV a couple of weeks ago was Joy. It told the story of the woman who designed the squeegee mop. It was bonkers but heartwarming and very enjoyable. I’m about to read Ann Patchett The Dutch House. I’m sure it’ll be good as I’ve read a couple of her other books.
      Like you I loved the sewing bee. So sad it’s over.
      What a crazy scene in Bournemouth last weekend. You can understand people wanting to get out but the overcrowding was crazy. Plus the litter they left to be cleared up afterwards was shocking.
      You look great by the way but your charity shop finds are missed. Goodness knows when we’ll be confident enough to go back into the shops. I’ve not been to any clothes shops since they opened.
      Stay safe and fit in Brighton. X

      • 30th June 2020 at 8:42 am

        Hi Ellie
        Oh excellent, I too have seen Joy, which I agree is a very enjoyable film. And the Sewing Bee, I do hope it comes back at some point next year, we’ll miss it so, if it doesn’t. It’s such a good formula and good-hearted too.

        It was the litter at Brighton that was so bad. Nobody minds crowds, beaches used to be like that anyway and definitely back in my time as a child on holiday at the seaside, but I don’t remember a problem with litter.

        Ah the charity shops, I so miss them, and actually the one nearby is open, but I can’t see myself going back into it until the stats drop right down to zero. But I think I must try eBay.

        You stay safe too 🙂

    • 30th June 2020 at 8:27 am

      Hi Deb
      The beaches around Bournemouth stretch for miles and I bet they weren’t as crowded near and beyond Boscombe. We get the same thing here. The Kemptown beach area gets a little bit crowded at the weekend, and especially so with last week’s hot weather, but what you see further up the beach towards the pier and the centre of Brighton, where you’d reach it if you go in a straight line from the station, is a very, very crowded beach. It’s as though people can’t deviate from the place they first find the sea. The litter left behind was truly disgusting. I don’t blame people for wanting to get out, but I do think they could have taken their rubbish back home.

      Ah, the Sewing Bee, it was so lovely, and yes, Clare and then seeing her in her PPE, bless her, bet she’s been busy. I’ll look again at Unorthodox, which I dithered over a few weeks back, thanks.

      Poor flowers are a bit battered with this wind we’ve been having!

  • 29th June 2020 at 11:53 am

    Afternoon Penny,

    Thank you for another interesting blog and for your viewing recommendations. As a result of your last blog we saw Tom Hanks’ film, A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood. Like you, loved it. You asked if anyone had seen Little Fires Everywhere. I have. We struggled with the first episode but as our grandson had recommended it we decided to try Ep 2 … and so glad we did. We binged on the eight episodes over three nights. On the other hand, our daughter didn’t take to it at all.

    You asked about online shopping, I much prefer shopping in shops but, during the lockdown – needs must – I’ve purchased a couple of items from M & S and yesterday lunchtime I ordered a blouse from John Lewis which arrived half an hour ago – amazing. Like you, I like a bargain – it was £65 reduced to £20.

    I’m not bursting to go out and have cancelled a holiday to Dorset planned for 11 July. So, as ‘compensation’, I’ve booked a hair appointment for 13 July.

    All the best, Mary

    • 30th June 2020 at 10:24 am

      Thanks for the recommendation – we’ll try Little Fires. A Beautiful Day was interesting in that we have no knowledge of Mister Rogers in the Uk but it didn’t seem to matter and what a person he was. He was good, and we have to remember that there is ‘goodness’ out there. He was the personification of it.

      I’ve started to look at eBay as I’ve got to stop buying new clothes online! But I have now got all the ‘casual’ clothes I needed.

      We’ve cancelled a cruise inAugust and a cottage holiday, which should have been the first week of June. Will hopefully do both next year.

      You take care too x

  • 29th June 2020 at 12:35 pm

    Your plants are a nice splash of colour Penny. I do want to go out again – hoping to have a lunch out for my birthday next week – and desperate for a hair cut. However, staying in or around where I live has become a bit of a habit now and I fear a retreat to the familiar. My life outside the home is what has made retirement bearable up till now and it makes me feel so old that I spend most of my time at home. That’s what people do when they have no alternative!
    I started The Dutch House but gave up quickly although I may try again. Just got a 2nd hand copy of ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ which is a cult book at the moment but may perhaps have been over-hyped. We shall see. At present I’m reading The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry and I’ve got We Need New Names for the next book club virtual meeting. It’s better than nothing but I can’t say I enjoy it much. There is just no substitute for a group of people in the flesh! Video has been great for keeping up with my PT but it was so much better when she came to me last week and we were in the garden. It was a very hot day but luckily I have a large tree for shade.
    I’ve noticed before that you sound a bit apologetic about watching TV. I’ve been watching a lot and it has been one of the best things for stimulation as I don’t do social media. Grayson’s Art Club is great, the railway journeys narrated by Bill Nighy a revelation ; I just want to take them myself. Of course the Sewing Bee is great. I really like Joe Lycett and even my husband likes his consumer show (Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back ) which is so funny but with a serious agenda.There’s a new antiques/collectable programme too. I always record things so I don’t have to endure the ads! We’ve also caught up with Line of Duty which we somehow missed and I now understand the plaudits. Talk about riveting, we binge watched the last series over 2 nights which is something we’ve never done before. We’re also buying some concert recordings to help the artists whose income has dried up.
    Young people are now the ‘guinea pigs’ for the lock-down easing which must happen. Considering there were a lot of mass gathering back in May we have not seen the expected spike in infection needing hospital care. It seems as if there are particular circumstances when the virus spreads rapidly and of course there are many people who have had it but neither they or the authorities know about it. I was surprised to hear that the survey data suggests that up to 80% of those who test positive are asymptomatic – I wonder if that’s accurate?
    Anyway we must keep positive. As Grayson Perry says ‘See you on the other side!’.

    • 30th June 2020 at 10:41 am

      Yes, the Essex Serpent is excellent and I really, really liked it, but I wasn’t keen on Perry’s next book, Melmoth. Read the 1* reviews on Amazon and they just about sum up my view of that book. Crawdad’s will be the next book I read after The Dutch House, which is good, give it another go. After that I have the book you recommended, Days Without End. It’s a good feeling to have books waiting to be read and I can get quite anxious if there isn’t at least one of those nearby.

      Talking about anxiety, I think over half the population must be feeling some anxiety at the easing of lockdown. And moving away from being at home all the time. I don’t think we would be feeling like that if our numbers were the same as some other countries. Fingers crossed over the next few weeks.

      Yes, I don’t know why I’ve been apologetic re: watching TV as actually it’s a gateway to so many aspects of life, society and culture as well as just being enjoyable. I’ll moderate my wording next time! I have put Grayson’s Art Club on my list of things to watch as you’re not the only one to praise it – he’s altogether a good guy.

      All the best

  • 29th June 2020 at 1:45 pm

    Hi Penny,
    A very interesting post as usual. I have no wish to be out and about in a hurry either, I think it’s still quite risky. However we have had our first garden visit from my sister-in-law, niece and great niece, it was lovely to see them but felt quite strange. I know that they’ve been extremely careful and we were quite safe but I feel we’ve lost a lot of confidence during the lockdown and it will take a while until we feel comfortable in socialising. I am desperate nevertheless to have people over to eat again, it’s a big part of our social life to have friends and family for lunch and to visit them for the same.
    When it comes to shopping all has gone very well. We have an excellent Farm Shop in the village who did deliveries or call and collect, and an organic dairy farm who sell their own milk, yoghurt and clotted cream at the gate, I made ice cream with the clotted cream – excellent! Tesco click and collect has been a revelation – I’m quite happy to carry on with that forever – I don’t find any pleasure in trecking round a supermarket, particularly in the winter! If nothing else that’s good comes out of this I hope it will encourage people to support our local shops and our farmers, they’ve really stepped up to the plate in our area. I hope it will also prove to the powers that be that we should be producing as much as possible here and not relying so much on goods from abroad.
    Food seems to have been a big focus for most of our friends and family. I have always cooked and baked the vast majority of what we eat but have felt the need to expand my repertoire in both to relieve the boredom. Some things have worked and others been not so good, at least it’s been interesting!
    I’m glad to know that you’re still improving, you’re lucky to have that fabulous sea front for your daily walk, we’ve missed taking puppy Lizzie to the beach, maybe that will happen in the next few weeks.
    Stay well, stay safe.
    Best wishes Chrissie

    • 30th June 2020 at 10:51 am

      It is so abnormal this life we’re all leading. The garden visiting is lovely but I’m still debating whether we should share food. I know some people would think that over-cautious but as far as I’m concerned I think the numbers in the UK are still too high.

      Yes, I agree how important it is to support the local shops! We have a lovely little deli with great veg that has been open all through lockdown with a 1 in and 1out policy, also a wonderful local bakery. Those are the very first shops I shall return to. But our big shop will always be delivered by Sainsbury’s.

      I too long for those Sunday lunches that I used to cook for family and friends. And looking out of the window I shall brave the rain and walk by the sea as per usual.

      Best wishes to you too 🙂

  • 29th June 2020 at 2:12 pm

    Hi Penny, the Jane Austen movies irritate me to no end. I know others disagree. I have tried to watch them from time to time, with an open mind, but usually throw in the towel before half way through. I think you are wise to keep your guard up even though the govt is loosening things up.

    • 30th June 2020 at 10:54 am

      Honestly and the books! I know they’re meant to be classics and revered by so many, but I just can’t….

      And yes, let’s see what happens. I want to live a normal life but not yet.

  • 29th June 2020 at 3:29 pm

    I hope you enjoy catching up with your family. We’ve been binge reading Barbara Kingsolver her books are very good stories but with a little bit of truth in them which leads you to Google things she mentions and leads to new discoveries. As far a tv goes we have a good channel, Arte, in France so that’s enough for us. We wanted to give our small flat, 60 sq meters, a complete paint job and could not find anyone to do it, first the lock down then the decorator catching up on their work. Our ceilings are about 11 feet high. We bought a scaffold and so far we’ve taken 3 days to paint the living room. My husband is 80 in October so we are really proud. The bedroom next. 😷

    • 30th June 2020 at 11:04 am

      I just googled Arte, looks good. And yes, Barbara Kingsolver is a brilliant author, so many books are above and beyond the usual.

      Oh my word, Flora, well done you and your husband for the painting of the living room, and such a high ceiling. Good luck with the bedroom!

  • 29th June 2020 at 4:27 pm

    darling that 85F is so hot for you Brits! i live in northern california where it’s been 104F! i originate from San Francisco where is never was really ever over 80F…moved up north and very hot–body gets used to it though…104F is the extreme…summers are usually 99-100F for 2 months straight….we are in phase 3 of lifting quarantine–huge political battles over wearing a mask or not–and as a result cases have spike again!
    me personally, i stay home and keep busy sewing–still want to watch the sewing bee! i usually binge when i am in the process of creating a new upcycle!
    xo eva

    • 30th June 2020 at 11:13 am

      Oh you are a hoot, Eva! But yes, it was soooo hot for a Brit. Those temperatures you have – I’d pass out, but perhaps it’s a dry heat? Anyway this week we have cooler temperatures, grey skies and pouring rain, which I shall ignore and go for a walk as per usual! And yes, we watch the news and hear about the situation in the States – you take extra care Eva.

      We started watching the Great British Sewing Bee about 4 or so seasons ago and one of the contestants was an army colonel who made all his wife’s clothes. I think Mr F was so taken with the skill needed to make clothes that he became as hooked as I was. We watch it together and both feel the same sense of excitement and, literarily, the love for the contestants. I have just gone on your blog which looks so interesting and really lovely. You would simply love the Sewing Bee. Do hope you can get it over the pond.

  • 29th June 2020 at 5:21 pm

    Your balcony flowers are lovely!

    I do hope you get to see your family soon – you must all be missing each other so much. But you have to be careful and sensible. That’s what makes me laugh about the crowded beaches; people must know that everyone else will have the same idea and that it won’t be possible to socially distance…but on they go regardless. And the mess that is left behind is shameful.

    As well as Ebay for 2nd hand clothing there is something called Depop – haven’t looked at it yet but daughter told me about it; very similar to ebay in that it’s all online. And don’t forget a lot of charities do online shops as well. I’ve just bought 3 pair of shoes retail – well, one is a pair of boots for the colder weather – in the Sainsbury’s Tu sale. They were too good to miss.

    I shall miss the GBSB so much!

    Keep on living your good life and stay safe.

    • 30th June 2020 at 1:34 pm

      I have started looking at eBay – bought nothing yet as feel rather a newbie, but I dare say I could get to grips with it. Will look at Depop after this, thanks. Tu is also a good online shop.

      Will be visiting family (son and partner) next Sunday when I hope the weather is better (pouring here). That’s the trouble with garden visiting it is so dependent on the weather.

      Brighton is used to crowded beaches and the telephoto lens rather distorts, but it was the rubbish left behind that was so awful.

      You stay safe too xxxx

  • 29th June 2020 at 6:07 pm

    It’s so great to see your boardwalk and the sea. What a beautiful place for a walk every day. You asked about vacation plans. We had reservations for 2 weeks in England for late August. We have cancelled and will go probably next year. Since we aren’t going (and I love to go there), I’m glad that a friend discovered Escape to the Country and told me about it. I’ve been watching them every day and loving it. Like a visual vacation. Your weather has really been hot, and I want to recommend something that makes a huge difference for us. We also don’t have air conditioning, so we have ceiling fans in the main rooms. There is a type that doesn’t require cutting a hole in your ceiling and connecting it your electrical wiring. You just screw a large hook in your ceiling and hang the fan from it. A cord runs from it to an electrical outlet in the room. They also come with a light included if you want to use it. I can’t tell you the difference it makes with our high humidity and 90s F/30s C temperatures. It makes our bedroom bearable and actually comfortable for sleeping. Thank you for your posts as always. Our thrift stores are open now, but the dressing rooms are not. I’ve bought several things, kept a few and re-donated a few that didn’t fit! Do you ever order from online thrifting like Poshmark? Have you had success?

    • 30th June 2020 at 1:45 pm

      Glad you’ve found that programme which can be a boost if one wants a green countryside vista.

      Thank you so much of the information about the fan. After the first hot night (last Wednesday) we ordered a Dimplex oscillating column fan, that can do a nighttime quieter fanning of the room. It arrived on Friday which was still hot so we had the benefit of it through the afternoon and into the evening. But that night was cooler so we didn’t have it running through the night. I’m so glad we’ve got it. You too have high humidity? My sympathies!

      I looked at the Poshmark website and as I tried to register I saw that it was only available in the States and Canada. But these days I’m looking at eBay.

      Take care 🙂

  • 29th June 2020 at 6:24 pm

    Love your posts! Your newsletters are a highlight of my day especially during COVID-19. We, here in the USA, are still “in the muck” secondary to a lack of knowledge from our government leaders and refusal of certain low intellect individuals to behave safely. It is what it is as my adult children say. Take good care; you are smart to be abundantly cautious. My Best, Kate (Washington State, USA)

    • 30th June 2020 at 1:49 pm

      Greetings to you in Washington State. We hear on the news of the situation in the States. So very challenging. I look around at the different countries and note who has low stats and who has high. I often wish we had a competent female leader like Angela Merkel or Jacinda Adern in New Zealand. You take extra care too 🙂

  • 29th June 2020 at 8:32 pm

    Your flowers are stunning, I’ve been doing my pots and hanging baskets and love how they look. Stay safe and well Penny. Jacqui x

    • 30th June 2020 at 1:50 pm

      Thank you Jacqui – it’s been a blessing to have a balcony. You stay safe too x

  • 30th June 2020 at 11:04 am

    Hi Penny
    so here in the USA we are having a resurgence of the virus in many states. after opening up, things have to be shut down again. or not, as the local governments decide. just an awful lack of leadership. at least here in New York things do seem to be improving. fingers crossed. our family dining out adventure went well. actually, our family is planning to travel to a the state of Virginia, to a small coastal island where we vacation most years. We are renting a house, will be mostly at the beach or at the wildlife refuge, so lots of open space. of course, these days one must always be prepared for a change in plans. I did mean to thank you for your encouragement of my writing. I seem to have a bit more creative lately and have written a few more poems. your balcony is very cherry. I love to sit on my patio with my various pots of flowers and herbs , listening to the birds and observing whatever wildlife is there in my small suburban setting. I must say you look very well in shorts. I almost never wear them anymore. so stay safe and continue to enjoy your life to it’s fullest
    Darby in New York

  • 1st July 2020 at 10:48 am

    Hi Darby
    Yes, we get the news of the situation in the States – it’s good that New York has a reduction in the number of cases and deaths but other cities have this big rise. Oh, my, word, our respective leaders….. have I said this to you before? But how I wish for a sensible woman in charge! Your vacation sounds ideal and quite lovely – enjoy.

    Those legs are Pilates legs I used to have quite wobbly thighs, but Pilates is a wonder and not just for core muscles. Carry on writing and stay safe in these challenging times 🙂

  • 1st July 2020 at 12:16 pm

    Never heard of the term “sea fret” – very evocative. It reminded me of a song called Sea Fog by the group Keane – from Battle in Sussex.

    You’re no way a kill joy, we won’t be going to any pubs or restaurants either! I want to minimise any risk of getting Covid before I see my mum on the 15th. I don’t think my lockdown life will change much except that we can now see more family members. Once I’m back from Plymouth I’ll be going into London to catch up with art exhibitions including the Titian.

    Love your three-quarter length white trous. I had a pair I loved a few years ago. Need to find another pair! Great to see you at #WowOnWednesday.

  • 1st July 2020 at 12:18 pm

    Oh – and Little Fires Everywhere is worth a watch, first episode is a bit slow but it picks up. I enjoyed it.

    • 5th July 2020 at 7:46 am

      Thanks – it’s now on our next-thing-we’ll-watch list!

  • 1st July 2020 at 1:10 pm

    I think the hardest thing to adjust when visiting in Europe is the places without AC like our friends house. Most of the hotels that we have stayed at have had the units in the rooms. We sure are used to it here. With the heat and humidity, we are very thankful for it. Glad you are able to enjoy some walks by the sea.

    • 5th July 2020 at 7:50 am

      The thing is we long for air con in our homes for those few days of hot weather that we have, as in, those hot humid days I was kind of complaining of? That weather lasted all of 3 days and we’re back to really cool days with lots of rain and wind. We’re getting off quite lightly in the south, the north of England is covered in constant rain! So really our houses have to be built, and are built to withstand colder wet weather.

  • 3rd July 2020 at 6:26 pm

    I love the shorts! I find dressing for the heat tricky, I’m really more an Autumn – Winter girl.

    Space Force divided opinion in this house, my husband found it hilarious while I sat there wondering what was so funny. I like Snow Piercer enough to watch all the episodes but I’m not sure what to make of it.

    Lovely blog, I’ve just found you so I’ll enjoy browsing!

    • 5th July 2020 at 7:53 am

      Hi Helen – how nice to meet you!

      ‘Fraid we both sat watching the first episode of Space Force thinking, this is not as funny as it thinks it is!!!! Snowpiercer is weird with a huge of plot hole of who maintains the rail network?! But it’s kind of gripping at the same time.

      Thank you so much for your kind words about the blog 🙂

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