Where has this month gone? I cannot believe I’m doing an end of the month post again! But I am! Anyway that was our summer gone, actually I’m exaggerating a little as we still have some quite warm weather but there’s a lot of rain about with thunderstorms and flash flooding in some parts of the UK. During the hot weather in the middle the month I managed to get out most of my dresses and wear them at least once and that’s quite a record as I am usually such a skirts and top person, but it’s been too darn hot for clothes that touch the waist. And btw, I do feel for all the people who are suffering around the world from extreme weather events because, really, how trite of me to being crowing about wearing dresses when actually it is time to acknowledge that this world is going through a warming-up that is just not normal. I’ll stop there as if I continue I shall end up shouting about politicians who only think 4 or 5 years ahead, so I might write more about this on My Other Blog.
Anyway here is a charity shop dress I wore during our week-long heatwave.
It looks a rather plain cotton dress and, possibly, slightly boring, but on the hottest days it skimmed my waist and was exactly what I needed to wear.
It’s label is Boden (a good make) and it cost £7.
This and that
Yes, it does feel as though this month flashed past and I don’t think I did all that much. We visited friends for lunch dates plus we saw a relative who lives some distance away from us. Bridget is one of my two remaining aunts (aged 95) and it was great to connect once again with her and my cousin Rachel, but there was quite a lot of driving. If we were living in ‘normal times’ I’d make much more effort to go by public transport. I wonder how we can change from our dependence on the car? I mean, we also visited an old friend who lives an hour away and it would be impossible to visit any other way. And yesterday I visited a friend and I could have gone by bus but what with you know what, I didn’t, and actually you can have a laugh here as the day started with torrential rain and then became warmer so I set off wearing jeans and a loose top with a sunhat and sun creme in the car, just in case it was warm and sunny, but I also took a raincoat, and extra layers because I had no idea on arrival what the weather would be, and that’s the UK for you, it can turn in a minute from one season to another!
In the event I needed those extra layers as it was incredibly windy. We had lunch in a great little bistro by the river and the wind! Honestly we thought at one point the tables were going to get lift-off!
But still (sorry I’m back to climate change) we have to change our ways. Fossil fuels are, if not exactly killing us off now they will. I mean look outside the UK at the floods in Germany and the fires in the Americas. If it carries on like this my two gorgeous grandchildren won’t have much of a life. What do you think on this? As I said, it’ll be the subject of my next piece on My Other Blog but it’s always interesting to hear of other’s views especially from those outside the UK.
Other events are that Mr F got delivery of his new Mac which is his present to himself for moving out of his office. It is a beautiful artefact and you can get a glimpse of it here. It’s a lovely yellow colour as are parts of the mouse and the keyboard and all of the leads – the box it came in was a work of art in itself!
And here is how we’ve arranged the other side of the room with an Ikea reading chair bought for a song from Facebook Marketplace.
It was quite a bargain at £25.
Next month we plan to go to Lewes again and stay in my daughter’s empty house and just potter around the town centre and chill in my daughter’s garden. I feel safer there than in Brighton which has a high number of cases and it also goes some way to make up for the thwarted plans we had to go to London (for the Tate and V&A) and Manchester (for the Grayson Perry Art Exhibition). In comparison to last month I won’t say all that much about the pandemic, but I still think the UK is in a dire situation and that reducing all restrictions including mask wearing is mad. However, it is good to see people in shops still wearing their masks. Before we visit our family we test ourselves with the Lateral Flow kits that one can get from the chemist, as do our kids and our 15-yr-old grandson – everyone has been negative so far, thank goodness.
What I watched and read
This month our television watching has been dominated by sport: the Tour de France (what a joy that was to watch); Wimbledon; the Grand Prix and now the Olympics, which I only watch in the morning during our breakfast. I am always slightly conflicted by the Olympics as I enjoy watching some of the events but it does seem awfully extravagant and rather trickier this year with a pandemic going on.
We finished watching two series, both of which I highly recommend. The first was the third season of The Kominsky Method (Netflix) starring Michael Douglas ably abetted in the first two seasons by Alan Arkin when it was very much about two slightly cantankerous old, in every sense of the word, friends. But the third season without Arkin was OK and continued to be a light-hearted portrayal of ageing and friendship and a great show-case for Michael Douglas who went up in my estimation after watching the series as he did not seem to mind making fun out of his own ageing. And Sweet Tooth (Netflix) also ended. It does sound bonkers to have as the hero a young boy with antlers growing out of his head, but it really is the sweetest thing to watch.
As we don’t watch any television in real time, we somehow found ourselves left with watching two rather grim thrillers, Beck and Baptiste, both to be found on BBC iPlayer. We got into that awful, ‘we must continue to watch this to find out whodunit’. I mean both are brilliantly acted with Baptiste having Fiona Shaw in it, who I greatly admire, but apart from feeling I had to find out who… and what…it was a relief to come to the end of both! So, whilst thinking what on earth can we watch now, we suddenly thought of unsubscribing from one platform (Nowtv which was getting rather expensive) and subscribing to Disney no less! And why? It’s all because of the wonderful Tom Hiddleston! Yes, two nights ago we watched two episodes of Loki. Oh wow, I shall enjoy this series! It’s well written and, of course, set in the Marvel universe, which we are very familiar with, and then on top of that you have an earlier version of Loki (that’s essential to know as he died in the second to last Marvel film) played by the wonderful (yes I am a little breathless) Tom Hiddleston. Btw, Mr F also enjoyed watching this!
We have also been watching the gloriously funny Motherland (BBCiPlayer) and are halfway through the enchanting Secrets of the Museum (BBCiPlayer) which is all about the treasures of the Victoria & Albert museum and how they are conserved. There is nothing so soothing (after watching a particularly hairy episode of Baptiste) to see a conservator painstakingly retouching an ancient watercolour or tenderly brushing a tiny teddy-bear called Little Tommy Tittlemouse. It is the best thing to watch ever.
Because we’re in the summer with the lighter evenings we only watched three films of which one was rubbish (I know, but often I don’t feel like watching anything serious and we think let’s try that and … nope, too silly for words) but two films are worth mentioning. Because I’d written a post on My Other Blog about Afghanistan a cousin recommended two films set in that country. One was excellent and the other OK. The excellent one was the satirical War Machine (Netflix) starring Brad Pitt as General McMahon. It won’t please everyone, because it sure played on the idea that the US army was being led by idiots. But as I said in my post on Afghanistan, those ‘surges’ and the pleading for more men to finish the fight never works. However, this general’s downfall came about because he allowed a journalist to follow him and the resulting article in Rolling Stone was just too revealing of his negative views of the then President and Vice-President. And this actually happened to one of the US generals (with another name) so the whole film was loosely based on actual events, as was the second film Sole Survivor (Netflix) starring Mark Wahlberg where a unit became cut off and yes, there was one survivor. It was well acted and hard to watch but just not quite as good as War Machine because how can you depict a war like that? I prefer a more insightful and thought-provoking type of war film that makes you think of the wider context and the futility of war. Anyone seen ‘Come and See’? I rest my case with that one.
I’ve read or am halfway through several books. First is The Secret Countess by Eva Ibbotson which is delightful but not quite my cup-of-tea kind of book as it was just too sweet and lovely. It’s all about a penniless Russian countess who has fled the revolution and finds herself working as a maid in a great house. With a young Earl in the picture, and despite him being engaged the inevitable happens and after many slips and twists it all ends happily ever after. Actually do read it – it’s sweet, but for me it was like eating too much candy. To counter this I read Nomadland by Jessica Bruder which I thoroughly enjoyed as I met up again with the characters in the film. I do respect those houseless rather than homeless Americans that feature in the books and I learnt a lot about their plight and their resilience. I have started to read Humankind by Rutger Bregman, which is, as the blurb says, a hopeful history. It is an optimistic look at many different events which is a different take to so much of what I read, and I’m rather enjoying it. I am also half way through A Country Road, A Tree by Jo Baker which was a Tricia Cusden recommendation. Honestly I can’t quite get into it. I keep thinking where is this going. Not enjoying it.
I see the Booker Prize long list has been released and that The Great Circle, by Maggie Shipstead, which I wrote about in my last review is one of the books listed. It is perhaps my best read of the year so far and I thoroughly recommend it.
Finally, just to up-date you on the selling of the clothes that I usually take to charity shops. Thank you so much for all your comments on selling items on eBay and other platforms. I decided I wouldn’t go through the aggro of advertising and then packing everything up etc etc. but I have found a very good dress agency and I have had some successful sales there. Perhaps not as much profit but a much easier process. Thanks again for your helpful comments.
That’s all for now
With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper