It’s the end of the month again so here’s another round-up of thoughts on these unusual times. As you can see from the title of this post, I now see myself as being in a semi-lockdown situation, because I have moved a little on my hard-line position. Wearing a mask I allow myself to go into the little local shops that let just two people in at a time and I have been to our GP’s surgery. Bless the NHS, it’s moved into the 21st Century, and for my appointment last week I spoke to the doctor via a version of Zoom, which worked very well, but for my situation I needed an actual physical visit, and was happy to do that, especially as when I arrived there were no other patients in the waiting room – rather a contrast to how it usually is. It was something occurring on my skin. Yup, my Scottish skin that now has numerous blemishes and sun spots needs constant vigilance. Around about this time the year I usually have an appointment with the Mole Clinic in London, but not this year, because of Covid. But something was not exactly right. So I don’t dilly dally with this and I get it seen. I’m expecting an appointment with a specialist shortly.  I hope anyone reading this who possesses pale skin is also super careful and that you get your skin checked regularly.

This month we also visited two sets of friends: one for lunch and one in the afternoon for a cup of tea and scone, and we also pop over to see our children at weekends.  But all of these visits have been in their respective gardens. Two things: we bought our flat on the understanding that we’d be entertaining many visitors, but without a garden we cannot do this. I know I say that I don’t mind not having a garden, as I have the sea and the beach so near, but I do rather regret not being able to entertain visitors. And this brings me to the second point, so what will it be like in the winter?  I rather think I might be getting out my fur coat for the garden visits as it is so toasty. I’ve not worn it for 2 years now, but I hung on to it and am so glad I did.

And gosh the change in the weather here in the UK is quite severe as it seems to be absolutely freezing now what with this north wind blowing down from the Arctic! It’s not exactly cold enough for the fur coat (!) but in the morning it’s definitely put the heating on (in August!) and wear a warm jumper weather! What a contrast to only a couple of weeks ago!

Here I am wearing a yellow wooly jumper bought from Warehouse earlier this year, which I see has started trading again. It’s paired with a skirt bought more recently from Mango.

And here’s the skirt again, this time with a cardigan bought in a charity shop, not locally, but on a 2015 cruise to the Faro Islands and back. I found it in a Shetland Isles charity shop and it’s still a favourite Autumn cardigan.

As a consequence of the weather I shall definitely start sorting through my summer clothes and getting out the Autumn/Fall jackets. In fact I have bought a Fall/winter long coat from Asos and I’ll show it to you shortly (not arrived yet) but did you know September is meant to be Secondhand September?  This is a campaign spearheaded by Oxfam beseeching us to forsake buying new clothes in September and instead urging us to go to our local charity shop for any clothes you might need/want.  I think I can do that and more about that in a future post this coming month.

What I am watching

Films: There will be no visits to any cinemas for the duration, so no seeing Tenet on a large screen. I shall wait for it to arrive on the small screen but I wonder has anyone seen it?  I find the director Christopher Nolan rather tricksy so am wondering whether I’ll like it – there’s a lot of hype, is it any good?  The thing is we tried one of his earlier films at the beginning of August, Inception, and had to stop watching after half an hour. What utter tosh, which was a surprise as I remember loving it when it first came out.

Anyway, we continue to watch films on the television but unlike June when practically every film we watched merited 5***** August has not been a particularly brilliant month although two films were really good and that includes the outstanding:

Dark Waters, starring Mark Ruffalo who also produced the film, which tells the story of how Dupont dumped poisonous chemicals for decades close to West Virginian farmland. I got a lump in my throat watching this film as it was truly wonderful seeing, with the help of the lawyer played by Ruffalo, ordinary everyday folk pitted against this heavyweight corporation and finally (because it took years) winning their well deserved payouts.  But oh my word the damage done and not just to West Virginia but to the world. I had a good look at my non-stick pots after watching that film! Overall it was an excellent watch and is available on Amazon.

The next best film we watched was How to Build a Girl, which was a sweetly funny coming-of-age story loosely based on the real life exploits of the journalist and author Caitlin Moran.  The American actor Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart) plays the nerdy teenager and, my goodness, she manages a really authentic Wolverhampton accent. Well worth watching it’s also available on Amazon.

Two nights ago we watched a rather odd film, The True History of the Kelly Gang on Amazon, starring George MacKay (1917) and adapted from Peter Carey’s novel. Not sure about this one; beautiful to look at but did I actually like it? Not really. The part I did like though was of Ned Kelly as a child, but once the gorgeous George MacKay came on the scene as the adult Kelly, it lost me. I think the director was aiming to be arty, but it didn’t do it for me. There were 3 other films we watched this month that are not even worth mentioning. Not a good month, although if you watch any of these, do try Dark Waters – it is extraordinarily good.

Television: We’ve finished watching I May Destroy You (BBC iPlayer) which we found both fascinating and addictive.  I love the actor Michaela Coel and so admire her writing. This is a series that’s almost mind-blowing but it is not for the squeamish as amongst other things it is about her sexual assault. The final episode was just amazing…. anyone else seen it?

We’re currently watching Lovecraft Country (Now tv) which is so very, very good. Again rather like I May Destroy You, all the main protagonists are black and we see them making a dangerous journey across the States, but I do really like the science fiction that plays an important part in this series – think of the title   🙂

Just started watching Russian Doll (Netflix) which is quite daft, and for a touch of class have you tried Philharmonia (Channel 4 – Walter Presents) which is all about a female conductor taking over an orchestra and shaking it by the scruff of its neck? Throw in a murder or two, and a deadly hereditary illness and you’re got a heady mix – with lovely music of course!

Here’s another moody shot of the sea and the sky.

Those bars.  I’ve seen them even more crowded. What’s more on a warmer day the beach is heaving. People are not self-distancing all that much and it’s not helping as cases are rising in the UK. Take care people, take care.

With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper



26 thoughts on “(Semi) lockdown diaries – 31 August 2020

  • 31st August 2020 at 9:23 am

    Good Morning Penny from beautiful, sunny Kirkcaldy in Fife. I’ve just returned from a walk along the prom and it was glorious – the water was so calm, the tide was out – and my heart was lifted. Sadly I didn’t take a photo, maybe next time.
    I’m having a late breakfast because of my walk so I was really pleased to see a post from you. Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy them, always good to hear how other people are coping and love the clothes photos. I’ll be doing Second Hand September too and think there may be many more people joining us.
    Hope you get an appointment soon and meantime take care.
    Thank you.
    Kathleen 😁

    • 1st September 2020 at 9:20 am

      Your walk does sound glorious. I am like you as my heart lifts when I see the sea. You take care too and have a great week :))

  • 31st August 2020 at 9:29 am

    I was mesmerised by I May Destroy You with its sophisticated dissection of the many aspects of consent. The last episode was thrilling and the choices could be applied to any traumatic event. PS I’m the same age as you and I’m being similarly cautious. PPS Thank you for the tip about Dark Waters.

    • 1st September 2020 at 9:23 am

      I’m sure you’ll enjoy Dark Waters, although that’s not quite the right word. But it was heartwarming to realise that there are good people out there willing to go that extra mile.

      As for I May Destroy You – what a woman, what a writer. I really admire Michaela Cole. Have a good week 🙂

  • 31st August 2020 at 10:47 am

    May I say your hair is looking lovely and healthy Penny? I would be interested to know which products you use. I have let mine grow a little over the last six months or so, but getting a good shine on it is tricky.

    • 1st September 2020 at 9:24 am

      I will write a post on hair, but the thing I wholeheartedly recommend is using a serum after you dry your hair. Will write more shortly – thanks for asking about this.

  • 31st August 2020 at 11:03 am

    Hi Penny,
    Thank you, I so enjoy reading your news. You have certainly helped me with all your sensible views and comments.
    We are downsizing at present and I want to look back at your experience.
    It’s so hard, but so necessary.
    All the best

    • 31st August 2020 at 11:59 am

      Hi Penny
      Good to hear from you again I always enjoy reading your thoughts.
      I too loved I May Destroy You. I thought it was such a clever and thought provoking programme. I watched her Chewing Gum programme a few years ago and loved that too. I have also watched Philharmonia which I thoroughly enjoyed. Have you watched on Walter Presents Mafia Only Kills in Summer. There are two series and I loved it. Very amusing and lovely characters in it.
      Have also recently watched Three Billboards for the second time and was absolutely bowled over again by it. Frances Mcdormand plays a wonderful character so brilliantly and it is just a brilliant film I think. Good luck with your consultant appointment hope it goes well.
      Jo B

      • 1st September 2020 at 10:21 am

        I May Destroy You would not be everyone’s cup of tea, but oh yes the whole business of consent was analysed in the most clever, entertaining and thought provoking way. That last episode……!

        Thanks for the tip on the Walter Presents series. There are some excellent programmes on this platform.

        Watched Three Billboards some time ago and my word I agree it was so good.

        Thank you Jo, and take care 🙂

    • 1st September 2020 at 9:35 am

      Ah, yes, downsizing. We didn’t find it all that difficult to do, but there were some things we thought through and pondered and then decided it really was the best for us, which I did write about. I might revisit our decisions again and thank you for spurring me on to do this. Because what I do acknowledge is that the buying of our flat was based on the pre-pandemic life we all had, so there are now some issues that have reared up, which would not have if Covid had not appeared. Outside space or a larger balcony is one thing I wish for, but that is a wish that will disappear once normal life returns.

      Good luck with your decision-making, I may have said it was not that difficult for us but we did think about it a lot. Take care Vivien, and all the very best with this.

  • 31st August 2020 at 12:54 pm

    Hello again Penny, nice to hear from you again. The weather certainly has cooled down and we’ve put the heating on again as well. I’m still hoping for another spell of good weather before the winter, it often happens. We are not going out much, just the PO and the library. I’ve been into town a couple of times but I hate wearing a mask and the experience does not trump that! Getting very bored and fed up as activities no longer happening but get through the days somehow.
    We watched a film on DVD the other day but it only made me think of how I’m missing going to the cinema. We’ve liked Walter Presents so may try the ones you mention. Also missing my daughter who lives in Leeds who we last saw in December. We’re thinking about a trip up there next month.
    I’m not changing my clothes just ye,t although I’ve had to wear tights a couple of times recently. I intend to keep September as a no-clothes buying month as August has been. When I’m tempted on e-bay I go and have a look in my wardrobe and breathe in the guilt. Still buying costume jewellery as I regard it as my hobby and love getting the parcels. Not selling much though despite reducing prices but I think people are right to be cautious about spending. I’m lucky that I still can and I think I should to get some money out of my bank and into circulation!
    I know Covid cases are rising again but serious infections are very low. We will have to see what happens over the next couple of months. I would not go abroad at the moment but anyone who does should do so on the basis that they will have to isolate when they get back. We must get things going again so those who can’t work from home can start earning again. Unfortunately our economy is based on services and consumerism but we can’t change that immediately. I believe that the balance between protecting health and protecting jobs, the young and general well being must now be towards the latter.

    • 1st September 2020 at 9:49 am

      I wear a mask only to go into the small local shops and that doesn’t happen all that much – once a week, maybe. I shall attempt to find some more charity shops which also being small, let in only 2-3 people at a time. And I acknowledge that wearing a mask is uncomfortable especially in the heat – I find that most of the time my glasses steam up which is so annoying, so I get that people don’t like wearing masks, but until, you know…., they are a necessary fact of life.

      And you have such a good turn of phrase there, you really nailed it, ‘breathe in the guilt’ oh yes!!

      It is interesting that while cases are rising there are fewer deaths and fewer people in ICUs. Which is good. This is something that scientist haven’t quite worked out, but it is probably that while older people like you and me are still being super-cautious, younger people are not self-distancing all that much and are therefore getting it. Also the medics do know more, plus, the viral load might be lower with mask wearing (a real positive if that’s the case). There is also the possibility that the virus is weakening?????

      I’m really conflicted about all this getting back to school and work and don’t trust the government one bit to back teachers and office workers – it is all about the economy. I get it, I really do, that the economy matters and it is so important for those who cannot work from home. But even so, I really worry for those who have to return to work and for the nation’s children. I wouldn’t so much if the systems were in place – like a good track and trace which is still in the hands of a private company which still is not doing all that well. We’ll see over the next few weeks how this pans out.

      Thanks Lynda 🙂

  • 31st August 2020 at 12:54 pm

    Afternoon Penny,
    Thanks for this enjoyable posting and for the heads up on Dark Waters and How to Build a Girl. Recent viewing we’ve enjoyed The Plot Against America with John Turtorro on Now.
    During lockdown I’ve done a lot of cooking (which I love) but it was good to take advantage of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and found the gastro pubs we visited pretty good on safety precautions. It was nice to have an opportunity to ‘get dressed up’ a bit. I miss that.
    Regards the weather: what a drag! Like you we’ve had the heating on and I dug out the electric blanket a couple of days ago – not used, but prepared!
    All the best, Mary

    • 1st September 2020 at 10:02 am

      I long for an occasion to ‘dress up’ and there’s been precious little of that. Very in-between weather at the moment, isn’t it. Not quite cold enough for Autumn clothes but nearly. And so different to last year when I definitely remember there was good sunny warm weather until late September. Hoping for a mini-Autumnal heatwave!

      You will enjoy Dark Waters – although enjoy is probably not quite the right word but it is an excellent film. All the very best to you too Mary

  • 31st August 2020 at 4:32 pm

    Hello Penny, I think you and I have different tastes in television and films as I just don’t enjoy watching any form of suspense even mild suspense. However my family do, and over lockdown they really raved about a Spanish Netflix series called Money heist. It is apparently very clever. They binge-watched it. So if you have Netflix it may be worth a go. Take care.

    • 1st September 2020 at 10:06 am

      Thanks Penny! Always in need of a good tip on watchable television as really there’s an awful lot of nonsense and rubbish out there on these platforms.

      You take care too and thanks again!

  • 31st August 2020 at 7:04 pm

    thank you again for your interesting blog.
    We too have had the heating on briefly. I usually try socks and a cardigan or jumper first!
    We are not watching much tv at all, We do like thrillers and documentaries when we do watch.
    I am trying to get back in to craft work but am also having some tests done for a health issue.
    One present we have had is a bread maker which is a real treat.
    will definitely be doing the Second hand September – I have had a big clear out so when I can get a slot to take in my donations I will have to have a rummage!
    Best wishes, Sandra Lawrence

    • 1st September 2020 at 10:09 am

      Yes, cardigans have been worn! And the heating in August – that’s not what I expected a couple of weeks ago!

      I too like documentaries and relish something serious to get my teeth into. Currently watching Once Upon a Time in Iraq

      But I have to be in the right mood for this as it’s quite devastating to watch.

      Best wishes to you too, Sandra

  • 31st August 2020 at 8:41 pm

    The cases where I live have gone up substantially. Like many retired people we plan to do a lot in September but now we feel is it worth going on a train, bus or boat for a day or a weekend away just to regret it later. We’ve already had to cancel two big special occasions this year and my husband is going to be 80 next month. My family all live in other countries. However, what’s the alternative? We are fairly well off, in good health plenty to read and at the moment about 5 hours a day of the Tour de France on tv which is lovely for the scenery even if cycling is not your thing. If ever there was a time to be a glass half full girl it’s now.

    • 1st September 2020 at 10:14 am

      I’m definitely a glass half full person, Flora, and oh how I’m loving the Tour de France. Forget the pandemic do you think it feels slightly different without Froome and Geraint Thomas? It does to me but it’s really good to see other cyclists and teams do well. Fingers crossed all the teams stay safe and healthy to the end.

      All journeys abroad and even within the UK are not happening for us. Oh my word, Flora won’t we have fun booking up trips and holidays once this is over!!!!

      • 1st September 2020 at 2:29 pm

        Glad you are enjoying the TdeF I don’t miss Froome and Thomas as I’m a fan of Peter Sagan I think he really enjoys cycling and he seems popular with the others too. We are shopping for an exercise bike 🙂 as we got rid of our old one when we downsized. I see you are already wearing a Maillot Jaune.

  • 1st September 2020 at 3:48 pm

    How memorable to have a cardigan bought at a Shetland Isles charity shop. It looks splendid too. The hubs is watching the TdeF avidly. I like the sound of the Dark Waters film. Unfortunately I didn’t like the Caitlin Moran film – tried it for a short while, but she’s been so prevalent lately (there was a TV series on Channel 4, and another new book) that I’ve got a bit fed up with her “look at how wild and mad we all were in Wolverhampton” shtick.
    Have resisted the temptation to get the autumn/winter clothes down yet, or to put the heating on – although I did have to revert to PJs which I only do when it’s really cold in bed!
    I didn’t know about Secondhand September. I’ll try to resist buying anything new!

  • 1st September 2020 at 5:07 pm

    My husband was just watching Inception the other night! We’ve been revisiting some of our dvd collection for variety instead of watching the same things over and over on television. I can’t believe it is cold enough for sweaters! Might be a little tricky visiting this winter. That coat will come in handy!

  • 1st September 2020 at 5:12 pm

    We’ve had some pretty cool mornings here in New England but our days are still nice and warm. I too wonder what will happen to all our activities and social outings once the really cold weather hits and we aren’t able to get together out of doors.

  • 8th September 2020 at 7:58 am

    Dark Waters really was thought provoking wasn’t it?
    Just look how blue the sky is behind those clouds, now all you need is for them to part a little and you’ll have a lovely day out there! It really is no surprise that infection rates in the late teens/early twenties is rising, it is the same everywhere I think and it isn’t fair that this will impact on all of us who are still taking things seriously.
    This is a tricky time of year for knowing what to wear isn’t it, summer not completely over yet a definite chill to the morning air. We are off to Chichester for a few days at the end of the week and I’m in a real dilemma about what to pack – I think layering will be the order of the day!
    Keep safe.

  • 10th September 2020 at 3:28 am

    So glad to have you join our Sentence a Day link up with your month in review diary entry. We are coming out of full blown lockdown and beginning to test the waters ever-so-slightly here in El Paso, Texas. I would like to go to the gym and back to church but both environments seems somewhat worrisome still. But our daily case count is lower.
    Love both looks you created with that green (best color ever) skirt and the two completely different sweaters/jumpers.
    Taking note of some of what you have been watching. We watched Anne with an E on Netflix. LOVED it. And Little Fires Everywhere (based on a book) on Hulu. Both worth consideration.
    Hope you will join us again on the first Tuesday of OCTOBER??? what??? for our September month in review.

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