Hi everyone

I thought you might like to see two charity shop dresses I bought in June in my local charity shop in Brighton.  Here’s one I’m really happy with.

It’s made of 100% viscose which is quite sustainable and it’s great to wear in the hot weather. And yay it has pockets!

We are having such strange weather these days – we have days and days of cold winds and rain and then it’s too warm and humid.  So I find wearing a pair of leggings and a tee-shirt under a shift type dress has been the best kind of dress to wear as I feel warm with the leggings if it’s cool, but if I’m mistaken about the weather and its unexpectedly warm I nip into a charity shop to try on some garments and whip off the leggings and tee, and there you are, it’s a floaty dress that keeps you cool.

And here’s another dress with asymmetric hem that again I wear with leggings and a tee. This is made from a mix of viscose, cotton and linen.  Both dresses cost £8.

Behind me you can see part of the reconfiguration of our flat.  We do like (as in, I like ) moving the furniture around!

Anyway, apologies! I’ve got behind with the blog. But how was your June?  As you know we went away on a vacation twice; once at the beginning of the month to Lewes, and once to Woodbridge in Suffolk at the end of June. We had quite hot weather in Lewes but the weather in Suffolk and around the whole of the UK was mostly cold and wet and we continue to have this rather odd weather with a lot of rain.  It can get warm but the heat is never that predictable and there’s been more rain this month than sun, so the raincoat I bought in Woodbridge is getting a lot of use!

Both the two holidays were wonderful though, in that they gave us that longed for change of scenery. We had planned to get away somewhere throughout the summer and into the Autumn and, indeed, we do have a holiday cottage booked for mid-September. But somehow I don’t feel the same enthusiasm as earlier in the year when we talked through some of our plans for trips to London to exhibitions and to see relatives further afield.  It’s this Delta variant. And avert your eyes now if you don’t like any criticism of this government!

The thing is we are a small island and yet our Prime Minister took a long time to shut down our borders to people coming in from India with the result that cases are rising exponentially. The vaccines do appear to have broken the connection to very serious illness needing hospitalisation, and death, as these numbers are still low, but here’s the thing, people who are doubly vaccinated are getting this variant and feeling very ill with it and with numbers rising the NHS will eventually become overburdened. Furthermore, with a large number of cases there is always the danger of another variant appearing and what we don’t want is a variant that is resistant to the vaccine. But our leader has always wanted to follow the policy of herd immunity and he’s certainly going to do that now.

What’s more, while the Delta variant rampages across the country by mid-July all restrictions will be removed including mask wearing as it will now be up to individuals to decide whether to wear a mask or not. Personally I think it’s crackers, as in, absolutely insane, and I just wonder how many cases, and how much illness, and, crucially, how many deaths Johnson will tolerate, or maybe the question is how much illness and how many deaths will the public tolerate? Because be assured, this is a policy of never mind the old and vulnerable and the yet-to-be-vaccinated. If you’re my age (75) we live not just in challenging times with this government, we live in dangerous times, because we are being put through an experiment and this government freely admits that more deaths are inevitable. Well I don’t like being in the grip of a government that is not looking out for its citizens.

Btw, I am restraining myself mightily in the above paragraph I can tell you, because I could say far more, furthermore I’ve hesitated and wondered whether I should just shut up and erase all of the above, but no, this blog looks at events every month and I have written about this because this is what’s happening in the UK, and the continuing course of this Delta variant will impact us all.  But I don’t get angsty all the time. I do enjoy life and we are seeing a lot of our new grandson, Oscar.  It is so lovely to see him grow – he’s now 8 months old.

Films, television and books

And turning to what I watched and read, we only watched 3 films this month and not much television either, mainly because we’ve been away and that has broken our dependence on watching the television as a distraction, which is very much winter thing, that somehow we seemed to carry into the summer, instead I read loads of books – more about those in a moment.

The first film seen in June was Nomadland with the wonderful Frances McDormand, which we saw in the cinema no less!  Gosh that was great, mainly because I’d forgotten the sound of cinema, that full throated low growl of the base notes. And then there’s the size of the screen.  I believe Frances McDormand said to try and watch Nomadland on the largest screen possible because of the vast vistas of the American mid-west, and we did!  Huzzah! The film itself is unique and original with not much plot, just the life of Fran over one year as she goes from a home owner to living in her small van.  I thought it a 5* film and that it thoroughly deserved its Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actress and the historic win of Chloe Zhao as only the second female film director ever to win an Oscar. Sadly I won’t be returning to a cinema – why? See above!

Then we watched Summerland (Amazon) which was a sweet watch of a crotchety writer taking in a child evacuee during the Second World War. Through flashbacks we see her doomed love affair and oooh, there’s a twist! It’s Ok and as I said, quite sweet but not brilliant, so it’s 3* from me.

And finally we watched A Quiet Place (Amazon) which some of you might not like as it’s a sci fi horror but actually it’s an excellent watch. The jumps are there but it is intelligently acted, the script is well written and I believed in the story arc of the characters. It therefore gets 4* from me.

We haven’t been watching much television either.  But what we are watching is 3 sporting events that are my all time favourites, and no, I’m not talking about the footie! Congratulations though, to the England team, they appear to be doing well. Their manager is a good egg and maybe it’s down to him. Anyway, first of all, I adore every minute of the Grand Prix races (Channel 4). Mind you I only watch the highlights, but still I find the races exciting, as I do the Tour de France (ITV4).  I really, really love the Tour and have watched it for years, ever since it passed the top of our road in Brighton many years ago. What an experience that was, as it was when we went to Yorkshire for the start of another Tour in 2015, so now we are very familiar with the teams and the complicated rules of this type of bike racing and we are thrilled by the comeback of Mark Cavendish and his 3 stage wins – so far – this is beyond exciting! And then there’s the tennis at Wimbledon (BBC1&2) which I don’t get quite as excited about, but still, that familiar sound of the balls being knocked from the back of the court is just the epitome of summer.

Otherwise, we are still watching Call My Agent (Netflix) and very fine it is too. But we’ve stopped watching The Underground Railroad (Amazon) as it is so grim. We might pick up on it again but we’ll have to be in the right mood. For a feel-good factor hour is anyone watching Sweet Tooth (Netflix)?  It sounds a bit barking as it is all about a virus called ‘the sick’ that has killed off half the planet but the kicker you don’t expect is that from the virus onwards all children are born half animal. Our young hero has antler horns but the rest of humanity hunt these children down and it is the story of his survival and the people he meets that is, well, just lovely. Honestly, it’s good thing to watch.

Now for the six books I read in June. I had several given to me for my birthday and how very good they were.

After being very disappointed with Richard Osman’s book I read The Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead. Oh what a contrast. It’s beautifully written book and an intricate and rich depiction of two women’s lives several decades apart. One is an aviator and the other an actress, but I really can’t emphasise enough that you dive into this book and enter their lives and believe every word of their story. This is a book to get lost into and is for me the best read of the year so far.  Then I read The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and this was another good read telling the story of light-skinned African-American twins whose lives diverge with one passing as white and the other remaining in her home town. Very interesting and engrossing and as well as loving the book I learnt a lot as well. This btw, was a recommendation from Tricia Cusden who wrote a blog post on her reading and I do urge you to have a look at all the books she recommended.  I’ve made a list from this blog of books that I hope to read.  Then there was The High House by Jessie Greengrass which is actually a cli-fi rather than a sci-fi.  It’s about time, I thought to start reading about the coming climate crisis, which is, of course, practically here. The book has its faults but overall, I was pleased to have read it although I can’t say I enjoyed it. And if it has any message it is that we are tuning the warnings out, which, of course, we are. It was an interesting read.

And three of June’s books have been about extraordinary families. First was The Mitford Girls by Mary S Lovell, which actually states on the cover that it is ‘The Biography of an Extraordinary Family’ and it is, of course, an excellent account of the Mitford sisters and their one brother. It’s a good read and your jaw will drop at the antics of the Mitfords, especially the parents. Nancy Mitford’s books, of which I read two last month (The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate) are very auto-biographical and so funny!  Then two other memoirs will also make your jaw drop and wonder why Social Services wasn’t involved from the get go. These were The Consequence of Love by Gavanndra Hodge (finished) and Priestdaddy by Patrical Lockwood (half way through). Both are well-written reads and made me realise what a very conventional upbringing I had in comparison to some.

Well there you are, that was June. We continue to rearrange our flat but are finding that things we wanted to get are out of stock apparently due to a combination of Brexit, Covid and the blockage of the Suez Canal so we continue to look (for two armchairs) elsewhere including second-hand stores. Sometimes I think instead of the career I had I should have been an interior designer!

Here’s another shot of that dress which is perhaps the best buy of the month.

And here’s a close-up of the charity shop necklace and bracelets worn with the two dresses.

Do let me know how your June went – I hope you’re still able to get away this summer.

With love Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper

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48 thoughts on “The (late) June review – 2021

  • 7th July 2021 at 11:15 am


    Although they’re not my style I think you look great in both your dresses.

    Interested that you visited Woodbridge for a break as I live in the town. I hope you enjoyed visiting all the charity shops we have here. I used to work in the town centre and many of my lunch hours were spent hunting through them. Most of my wardrobe originates from charity shops for that reason!

    Did you get to the St Elizabeth Hospice shop in nearby Martlesham? It’s only about a five minute drive from Woodbridge and is huge! It ssells furniture, kitchenware, etc as well as clothes and is one of my happy places!

    Happy hunting!


    • 7th July 2021 at 3:35 pm

      I love Woodbridge and we’ve been there 3 years running (almost) in 2018, 2019 and 2021. My parents lived in Felixstowe for 20 years (until 1995) and although we visited them regularly we didn’t do much exploring of the surrounding countryside. We’ve certainly made up for that now! My parents loved Notcutts btw and visited Notcutts regularly.

      Sadly we haven’t visited Martlesham yet, so we’ll try to get there next year – thanks for the tip. I’m already looking at the Suffolk Secrets website to see what I can book for 2022. I love Suffolk and it’s still seems quite unspoilt although there are a few tourist traps but we try and avoid them if possible.

      Thanks so much for your comment.

  • 7th July 2021 at 11:20 am

    Hi Penny. I love your two dresses. They’re perfect for our current on/off weather…..3 seasons in a day! We’ve just not had the snow yet! Fashion and clothing is, at least, a way to cheer ourselves up at this troubling time. You should be glad not to have the garden at the moment, as the rain and warmth is resulting in massive overgrowth of everything and I can no longer keep up with it….thankfully someone mows for me, so I only have to contend with the 7ft nettles and triffid like weeds that keep popping up. So much for my semi wild garden 😆 Re the Boris, I agree entirely. He and ‘ Saj’ are putting us through some sort of trial by COVID. I assume he thinks the useful, taxpaying and less NHS needy will survive anyway, and businesses will thrive; but older people like you and I do a lot to support the daytime economy. I won’t be out there as much if the rules are done away with. Relaxation I could cope with, but the more or less certainty of rampant Covid-19 running through town centres is enough to put anyone off. I want things to go back to normal but they can’t. It seems to me that a bit more caution wouldn’t go amiss. New Zealand certainly doesn’t seem to have any problems with the cautious route and they are COVID free. People will be begging to go and live there when this is more under control. Those with money are already seeing New Zealand as the place to hang out. If that is what he wants for the UK, he’s going about it the wrong way. I’m in favour of liberty but not at the cost of the NHS and peoples’ lives.

    • 8th July 2021 at 8:00 am

      Hi Trish and I too am in favour of liberty and doing more. I would be supporting the economy by having more appointments at the beauticians/hairdressers and so on, and going up to London and travelling to exhibitions elsewhere like Manchester for the Grayson Perry Art Club exhibition and then seeing friends, but not now, not with this mad scheme to get the economy going come what may – what an awful government this is!

      Good luck with the garden – it’s still nice to have one. Thanks so much for the comment 🙂

    • 10th July 2021 at 2:04 pm

      Hi Penny,
      We are in Stage two of our lockdown here in Toronto, so I managed to get some highlights in my hair and a good trim. I actually prefer my hair a longer length, much easier to manage. It was my thrill of the week! I’m horrified that the U.K. is opening up completely at the end of the month, and will watch with bated breath, as Canada seems to follow the U.K. in Covid numbers and government decisions. I fully expect to be wearing a mask well into 2022. I read that scientists in the U.S.A. have found that double vaccinated people are getting the Detlta virus, not displaying any symptoms, but are passing the virus on to those who are not vaccinated. I must say I am losing patience with those who refuse to get the vaccine.
      I am loving sifting through my closet and mixing and matching clothes that I’ve had for ages, and achieving ‘new looks’ my husband is flabbergasted that I haven’t bought anything, but am wearing things he thinks are new.
      The shops are open but very restricted in numbers allowed in at one time, and I refuse to queue in record breaking humid temperatures. So no shopping for me other than essential food items.
      My life revolves around my grandchildren, who I am loving spending time with. As long as I can see my family, I am content to spend the rest of the summer reading in the air conditioning. If this heat we are having continues, my summer will be spent inside, as it makes me feel quite nauseous.
      Love your dresses, so easy to wear, and both look great.

      • 14th July 2021 at 8:47 am

        Hi Gerry
        Our lockdown is ending shortly (Monday next week) and half the country is horrified and half not. Personally think what Johnson is doing is so very dangerous, it’s herd immunity, and as a leader he seems to care not one jot for any of the vulnerable, old or yet to be vaccinated. As for the NHS because of the sheer numbers of cases it will have to gear up again to many many hospitalisations. I think it’s near criminal but the government feels it can do anything.

        We have a forecast for some good weather over the next few days – I shall wear my dresses – yay!

        Thanks so much for your interesting comment – aren’t grandchildren wonderful!

  • 7th July 2021 at 11:31 am

    The black and grey dress is stunning on you. I have missed charity shopping during Covid – though have become a dab hand at VISIBLE mending. So now I do not need new (charity) clothes. I love charity clothes as I look for the older clothes as they are usually better fabrics. Bit chilly so today I am wearing a bright orange deep V neck cashmere made with long fibres – which cost about £10.00 (new it was nearly £400).
    Agree totally with you about the random legislation on Covid. It scares me that this Govt appears to beleive that unless we drop all social distancing etc we cannot go back to work. Especially as no scientist appears to think BJ is making the correct call.

    • 8th July 2021 at 8:04 am

      Oooh, that cashmere V-neck sounds amazing and what a colour 🙂

      I see scientists and experts around the world are cautioning Johnson and saying it’s madness to unlock in this way. And all down to his usual hesitation to crack down at the earliest possible point. It is so absolutely not the right call. Thanks so much for your comment.

  • 7th July 2021 at 11:43 am

    Totally agree about the crackers idea of using us as ‘lab-rats’ in the face of the Delta strain of Covid. I don’t feel at all confident about going out in public yet to gatherings of any sort. Stupidly agreed to go to a lecture that my friend’s daughter is giving before I thought through the implications. Now i wish I had not said I would go.

    • 8th July 2021 at 8:07 am

      Oh yes, so difficult. Thing is could you do a risk assessment and then follow your gut instinct? I think ventilation is key. You could ask yourself: is the lecture indoors? If it is, how is it ventilated? Are people wearing masks? Is the audience mainly the unvaccinated young? Etc. etc. I think you’ll soon know whether you can or can’t go. Good luck.

  • 7th July 2021 at 1:38 pm

    Hi Penny, Love your two “new” buys specially the black patterned one. I,m very keen on wearing dresses over trousers or leggings as my legs are not good and I have to wear elastic stockings most of the time…..horrible if the weather is hot, so I quite like cool weather. Another idea for slim dresses that seems to work is shorten them slightly and open up the side seams about six inches and then they are a lovely tunic to again wear over leggings
    Re the constant covid problem ,I and husband will be wearing masks for years to come I think, specially on public transport. My youngest daughter is a Doctor in a big London hospital and she tells me that the wards are getting fuller everyday with Covid cases . Not so many dying but people are extremely ill and staying in hospital for much longer! It’s
    much too soon to talk of being out of danger .
    Best wishes Judy Sparks.

    • 8th July 2021 at 8:14 am

      I know, particularly the first dress with the lovely viscose feel to it, very cool, just need the weather to wear them without leggings although wearing leggings is very practical. Your tunic idea is a good one.

      Yes, you’re hearing the truth from your daughter, a truth that of course the government ignores. Even if this pandemic wanes (if) mask wearing mitigates against flu’s and colds so I can’t see the problem and like you I shall be wearing one for ever. Best wishes to you too Judy 🙂

  • 7th July 2021 at 1:40 pm

    I just wrote a nice long comment and my internet connection got disconnected, grr! I do love your 2 new dresses and the idea to pair them with leggings is a good idea for extra warmth. Our June has been a mixture of busyness and quiet and July is going to be similar. Lots of tennis camps and one of the boys is also doing an art camp. I am glad it is keeping them busy but still allowing some downtime. The boys are excited for our first plane ride in two years this weekend.

    • 8th July 2021 at 8:16 am

      The dresses are great aren’t they, and unlike over the pond our weather is very tricky so it’s leggings one day and bare legs the next!

      Ah yes, busy days in the school holidays – I remember that well! Have a lovely time 🙂

  • 7th July 2021 at 2:15 pm

    Hello, Penny,

    You look so pleased wearing your dresses and rightly so because they are very you. Ooh, aren’t charity shops fun?

    I know we’re often on different sides of the political spectrum but on the Covid issue I am so in agreement with you. Not closing the country at the start was an ill-judged mistake, we’re an island for crying out loud, it could have been done! I do despair at today’s Government and like you, I’m sure, could detail so much that it’s got wrong, and that’s not hindsight talking, just plain common sense, but hey, how long have you got?!

    Now, on a more pleasant note, is that a Poole pottery jug I’ve spotted on your third shelf on the, ahem, reconfigured part of your home? I ask because I/we have one the same minus the handle, making it a vase! Sixty years ago we returned from honeymoon to find something extra had been added to our luggage by the hotel owners with a sweet note wishing us well and saying how one little piece of confetti had given us away. This June, our family treated us to a return celebratory trip to Paignton where we spent some time trying to find ‘our’ hotel, but with no luck. But we still had a wonderful time. Seeing your jug just now was another reminder of all the lovely years…

    Have a good week

    Zepherine 👵🏻

    • 8th July 2021 at 8:25 am

      Oh yes, Zepherine we are in total agreement about this awful, negligent government – but I won’t say anymore although we could both say soooo much!

      And what a delightful story about your Poole pottery vase. I love my two pieces of Poole pottery which are of the older style Poole pottery, and come from my parents who always had them on display. Yes, wasn’t sure if you’d seen the second piece, the vase, which is on the top shelf slightly tucked in by a photo. They are family heirlooms now!

      You have a good week too 🙂

  • 7th July 2021 at 2:51 pm

    Your books are so tidy you’ve inspired me to tidy and clear out mine. Love your green dress. I’m couch surfing the Tour de France. If you have CNN there s a brilliant travel/ food programme on Sundays Stanley Tucci searching for Italy. I think it’s on at 19 hours in the so called ‘United’ Kingdom :). We are worried about the Delta variant too I think Al Johnson is getting his herd immunity wish.

    • 8th July 2021 at 8:35 am

      Al is the most dangerous PM we’ve had ever. The huge rise in Delta cases is all due to his tardiness in closing our borders – he just can’t do bad news and then there was the trade deal with India he hoped for (what happened there?). So now with cases doubling every few days we are going to have apparently 2 million by midsummer. And we have all restrictions removed? It’s just mad.

      I totally love the Tour and watch it every day. Cav is in brilliant form, which is astonishing really and so up-lifting. This feeling must be similar to how the footie fans are feeling and gosh do we need uplifting at the moment!

      That set of books is really all about display – we have many more in the second bedroom which is now my office. Will look for the Stanley Tucci programme, as think we might be able to get CNN – thanks Flora 🙂

  • 7th July 2021 at 2:53 pm

    I love, love, love everything about that first dress! If ever you decide to get rid of it, please can I be first in line?
    I do despair of our Gov and the way our country is going, especially for future generations. Dare I say that, in my opinion, Covid has worked well for the Buffoon, by way of a distraction from Brexit. I could say a lot more but I won’t…
    As I devoured ‘Call My Agent’ almost in one sitting, I have now found another Netflix series set in Paris, called ‘L’agence’. It centres round a real family (parents & 4 sons) who run an upmarket estate agency, selling luxury properties worth millions. Pure escapism, with the most wonderful Parisian scenes – I love it!

    • 8th July 2021 at 11:44 am

      The dress label is Masai and I’ve found that this is a Danish firm that aims to be ethical and sustainable, hence the viscose, which is much better for the planet than cotton. Items are a bit pricey so it was great to find one of their dresses in a charity shop. Here’s the link https://www.masai.co.uk

      This government …….

      We had a look at L’Agence and Mr F fell asleep! Call My Agent is just the business isn’t it and I look forward to the film that is apparently being shot plus another series????

      • 8th July 2021 at 2:51 pm

        Ah Masai! I know of them and have had a look at their clothes on line. They are pricey so your find was a total bargain as well as being fabulous!

  • 7th July 2021 at 3:00 pm

    How I agree with you about the govt and its Head, now being egged on by Javid. I expect him to say to Starmer ‘ya boo sucks’ one of these days – has noone told him this is what an opposition is supposed to do?
    Normally I stay in my son and family’s house at the northern end of the Central Line, looking after the cat while they are away. It is a heavensent opportunity to catch up on galleries and – well, London – for a week, but – what to do this year? I shall be there (a welcome change of scene, anyway) but shall I be sitting on the tube going westwards? no, I don’t think so. I shall have to factor in congestion and parking charges and drive into Central London and pretend it’s part of a proper holiday. Statistically their area has a high Covid rate, so shall I avoid the big Waitrose down the road (probably a good time to start that diet…) or drive north of the M25 and do some exploring there? A change is as good as a rest, they say… (and yes, I wondered about the Poole Pottery too).

    • 8th July 2021 at 11:49 am

      Oh I absolutely get it, I mean our experience is nothing to your stay in London but we stay in Lewes when our daughter is away for the change of scenery and to get the Lewes vibe and scene which includes a wonderful independent cinema. We shall still do this in August but it won’t be the same with this awful wave of Covid – entirely brought about by Johnson fudging the closure of our borders. So I get your disappointment because we were planning so many trips including the London galleries. Maybe next year…..

      The two pieces of Poole Pottery are family heirlooms now as they were always out on display in my parent’s home as it is in mine now.

  • 7th July 2021 at 3:17 pm

    How I agree. My 15 year old grandson has underlying conditions but as his respiratory system is not affected, under our Health Authority, he cannot be vaccinated. Covid could be fatal for him and others like him but our government seems to regard these children, the vulnerable and the elderly as simply collateral damage. The economy comes first. I fully appreciate that we must open up but slowly, slowly.
    Also freedom for some means restrictions for others. We took the plunge some weeks ago and booked tickets for The Mirror and the Light in London in November. We were wary but planned to travel from Bristol and back in a day, confident that there would be social distancing and mask wearing in the theatre. Now not so, a full theatre and no compulsory masks. We are reconsidering whether we can do it.

    • 8th July 2021 at 11:55 am

      Yes I get it, I feel that all children should be given the chance of vaccination – don’t understand why they’re delaying this as other nations that were behind us are now offering it to youngsters.. I know it’s adults first but the vaccination numbers are slowing (? reluctance) and I know my 15-yr-old grandson really wants to be vaccinated.

      Yes, I too want everything opened up – we long to do more, but not now! This is too much like an experiment and never mind the NHS and the vulnerable. What a ghastly government this is! Re: your theatre trip, I wonder if this current wave will have peaked by then? It’s difficult – good luck with your decision-making.

  • 7th July 2021 at 3:31 pm

    What great buys those dresses were! I love a tunic dress as you can wear them with leggings or trousers or without. Very versatile and suitable for the changeable weather. Loved the accessories, too. It’s great fun moving the furniture etc around I used to do it a lot but find I do less of it as I get older…

    Yes, although I am looking forward to the end of the lock down but also feeling slightly nervous about it can I say this:

    1) Lots of people will continue to wear masks in crowded places. I will wear one on public transport and anywhere else I think is crowded; I believe lots of people will continue to do this. In fact I shall be carrying a mask with me wherever I go; just like I always carry tissues with me. I’m not the only one.

    2) Heard on the radio an owner of a chain of restaurants saying that customers will have to wear masks in his establishments if they want to eat there; he has young staff most of whom won’t be vaccinated for a while and he has a duty of care to them. I bet he’s not alone in this. And of course if people don’t want to wear masks in his establishments they can go elsewhere. Heathrow have said people will still have to wear masks. Not sure if they meant in terminals but don’t see how they could impose this on the planes as they don’t own the planes; but see above.

    3) I think a key point will be the availability of more choice in total. If you don’t want to wear a mask in crowded situations don’t go there; there are plenty of places where you can go and wear a mask. Those who want to continue to wear masks will frequent the places that encourage it and those who don’t want to wear masks will frequent the ones that don’t. It’s also quite easy to social distance oneself if that’s what one wants to do; but quite frankly I’m sick of avoiding people on the street (in particular – we’re outside for goodness sake) and having them avoid me.

    We went to see Nomadland and there were 6 couples in total in a great big space. I’ve just finished reading the book. Loved the film. I’ve also read ‘The Mitford Girls’ and ‘The Pursuit of Love ‘ just recently but haven’t been able to track down ‘Love in a Cold Climate’. At least I can now visit the library and see if they have a copy!

    How nice you have something in September to look forward to!

    • 8th July 2021 at 1:08 pm

      It’s interesting Veronica, you’ve got a very measured calm view of events, and I agree with a lot of what you say. Mask-wearing will continue including airports and airlines, and gosh I do hope, all means of public transport, but just as many will wear a mask, many won’t. And what with this doubling of cases every few days there really ought to be a more cautious approach to the relaxation of lockdown. It’s the total ‘end it all’ because ‘if not now when’ attitude of the government that is so verging on the criminal and I deplore their negligent approach to the old, vulnerable and the yet-to-be-vaccinated which includes the 15+ age group. My grandson is desperate to get vaccinated and when will that happen?

      I do have something nice to look forward to, though, and this year is different to last year’s summer when vaccines weren’t even on the horizon, so we need to be thankful for that.

      Thanks so much xxx

      • 13th July 2021 at 9:39 am

        I was on a train on 2nd July which was busy – no seats cordoned off like on buses. In my carriage everyone appeared to be wearing masks but not necessarily correctly. A young man was occupying my reserved seat but as there was another seat available I didn’t want to ask him to move & get close to me. As the toilet next to my carriage was out of order I had to pass through 2 others where there were 2 groups of young men drinking and without masks. I do not know if the train manager spoke to them but apparently people who are eating and drinking use that as an excuse anyway. I shall be avoiding young men in public spaces as they are most likely to be unmasked, unvaccinated and carrying the infection, more so than young women. I think that now masks are only advised my daughter, whom we have not seen for 1yr and 7 mths, may not be willing to travel by train to come down for her Fathers’ 70th. She lives in an area where cases are rising rapidly & although she has had 2 jabs she will worry about bringing Covid to us.

        • 14th July 2021 at 8:32 am

          Honestly Lynda, at the very least masks should be compulsory on public transport. We were planning to get to London in August and Manchester for the Grayson Perry Art Club exhibition but not now. My cultural life will have to wait. I shall go to Lewes for a couple of mini-breaks where numbers are fewer than Brighton which is currently a hot spot – but when will it end. I know we have to live with it but not with so many cases – hopefully next year will be better!

          So sorry you haven’t seen your daughter.

  • 7th July 2021 at 4:10 pm

    Fabulous dresses Penny! I like the 2nd one as much. Rgds, Lise

    • 8th July 2021 at 11:56 am

      Thank you so much Lise 🙂

  • 7th July 2021 at 5:00 pm

    Great stage today in the Tour. Made up that Cav is doing so well but really love the big mountain stages.

    • 8th July 2021 at 11:57 am

      I used to be the same but the sprint flat stages have suddenly become more exciting with Cav’s comeback which is amazing really. The Tour is very good this year 🙂

  • 7th July 2021 at 5:18 pm

    I forgot to mention A Quiet Place but we enjoyed it too! I liked the first 2 episodes of Sweet Tooth but then it lost my interest. Nomadland is now available on TV so probably a weekend treat.
    Those 2 dresses are fabulous on you, the asymmetric style suits you to a tee and they look funky with leggings and sandals.
    Fully with you on Johnson. I’m fuming today about the £20 increase in universal credit being cut. Along with the ridiculous and insulting nurses’ pay ‘rise’ they are happily reverting to The Nasty Party. I don’t forget….so I haven’t forgotten the millions given to party cronies for useless PPE that didn’t work!

    • 8th July 2021 at 12:05 pm

      Sweet Tooth is just that, really sweet and we watch it as antidote to the news! Yes, A Quiet Place was brilliant and I’m looking forward to A Quiet Place 2.

      Those dresses were good finds weren’t they! The weather is so strange and it’s usually jeans to cover up and then all of a sudden you’re too hot! Still we’re not getting overly hot like poor Canada!

      And don’t forget the useless Track and Trace at £37 billion, I mean you couldn’t make it up… But the reality is this is a terrible government that does not care for its citizens. I think I’ll watch an episode of Sweet Tooth tonight!!!

  • 7th July 2021 at 5:56 pm

    A dress with pockets is always good! I agree with what you are saying. The delta version is rising here too. How long do we have to be careful! I want to live. The grand prix is very exciting, obviously, and I love Wimbledon, always have! Have a great July!

    • 8th July 2021 at 12:08 pm

      The dress was such a good find! And I know, I too feel quite robbed of what will turn out to be years of this awful pandemic. Still there are things we can enjoy and at least you don’t have a leader like ours! And then there’s the football, the tennis, the Grand Prix and the Tour De France – all of those are really so enjoyable! Take care Nancy x

  • 7th July 2021 at 8:12 pm

    Hi Penny. Both dresses are great finds, very versatile and adaptable to warm or cooler temps, both your style. I actually purchased a skirt online but have not received it yet. A very dark blue, Ink they called it. I thought it would look good in the summer with tee shirts and sweaters in the cooler months. I have so few skirts and you have inspired me to give it a try. I will report back in a later posts when I receive it. I share many of the concerns you do regarding Covid. I get so angry at those who refuse to get vaccinated and make it a political statement. To me it’s insane. It is such a pleasure to be able to see friends and family now. Over out forth of July weekend my neighbor had a barbeque for the complex and then we walked to the local high school for fireworks. I did enjoy the display but worry about the effect it has on pets and even people who might have PTSD . A guilty pleasure. I had not gone in recent years but allowed myself this outing this year. the following day another friend has rose’ Sundays or in this case rose’ Monday. she is French and really knows how to entertain. her family owned restaurants and she herself had been an event planner pre Covid. so myself and our group of friends had a good time, even the weather was perfect. I have been doing a fair amount of reading. I have just finished Horse Crazy by Sarah Maslin Nir which is a memoir by a NY times reporter about family and the horses she has known, and as I am a horse lover right up my alley. Also, The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult. I always enjoy her books, this one was OK, a lot about Egyptology, which was sort of interesting but I felt got in the way of the plot. I read Hamnet by Maggie O’ Farrell, beautifully written but tragic. You kind of have to prepare yourself to read it, even though you know how ends. Also read The Authenticity Project by Claire Pooley, a lighter read and enjoyable if not great. and lastly I will mention Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, which was a selection for one of my book clubs. It is about a traveling library on horseback during the 40’s, also about a group of people with a rare genetic mutation which makes their skin appear blue. it deals with how they were segregated and looked down upon. a very good story. As of now my vacation to Virginia is still up in the air. meanwhile I am having some small renovations done in my home, mostly painting and sprucing up the bathroom. So that’s about it from New York. Love, Darby

    • 8th July 2021 at 1:18 pm

      The dresses were great finds! And good to hear about your new skirt. It’s interesting as having a vaccination in the UK isn’t about making a political statement or even connected to faith in the UK, as people of all parties and faiths have very much wanted to get vaccinated, which is probably something to do with our NHS which is loved by all here, although it’s getting such a battering what with dealing with the Covid cases. But there are the hesitant who are being persuaded with careful arguments from the NHS and then there are the sceptics and the down right nutcases, I’m hoping that the government will insist that all NHS workers must have a vaccine as there are some who’ve avoided vaccination.

      I love to hear your recommended reads. I really can’t bring myself to read Hamnet – I know it’s good but I just can’t. I’ve heard about this blue skin mutation, fascinating, so might pick up on that book. Fingers crossed with regard to your vacation in Virgina – do hope it goes ahead. Thanks so much as ever 🙂

  • 7th July 2021 at 9:21 pm

    They are great buys and I love that first dress especially! it’s good you got some time away as well, and that you’ve read and watched so much!

    Sorry to hear cases are rising too 🙁 it’s good you all have access to the vaccine though! We have the quarantine so people returning from overseas don’t spread it to us, but sometimes the virus does get out and it’s frustrating it’s because not all the hospital workers have been vaccinated. It’s not fair on them. But our government is in no rush to get us vaccinated, end of the year they say maybe 🙁 At least we are back to 0 cases in the community!

    Hope you are having a good week 🙂

    • 8th July 2021 at 1:26 pm

      The dresses were great finds especially the first one which I found out was from a Danish company, Masai. I see they’re a bit pricey so it was great to find it in a charity shop.

      Oh my word, the cases are rising, big time, you’re lucky to have such strict regulations about coming into the country. Our government has been so very lax.

      You have a good week too 🙂

  • 7th July 2021 at 11:07 pm

    Really like the first dress, will look good with a fine-knit polo-neck under it in Winter.
    I’m in Dundee, Dundee/Tayside is currently top of the list for number of cases in Europe, never mind the UK. Apparently, “Scotland has low natural immunity”. My oldest g’son (18) is the only one of his friendship group to test negative this week, we’re talking at least 25 people of a similar age. He works part-time in MacDonalds, and there are 28 out of around 40 staff currently off, all of whom tested positive. The majority of these two groups have had at least one vaccination, and up to now, none of them are seriously ill thankfully.
    My daughter was stunned to hear that a friend of hers who works on a Maternity ward hasn’t been vaccinated, she claims “I never go anywhere”! (there are no contra-indications against her being vaccinated, it’s pure choice). She regularly goes drinking on her days off, and had a few days in Aberdeen the other week, besides the fact she works in a hospital. My daughter is truly shocked and disgusted with her, and I know will have very little to do with her in the future (the language my daughter was using when she was telling me about it was “choice” to say the least. A nurse chum of mine reckons that although the NHS can’t force anyone currently employed to get vaccinated, what they can do is make it a requirement for getting an interview in the future.
    Scotland is going to be a bit behind England in relaxing the rules thankfully, I think the whole July 19/Freedom Day is madness. They’re obviously just going for “herd immunity”now, no matter what or how it affects any particular group.
    Re. books, I recently read Hamnet, and although I appreciate it was beautifully written, I can’t say I overly enjoyed it (it’s in the charity shop pile).
    I’m nearly at the end of The Mirror and the Light, it will not be going in the charity pile, although tbh, I haven’t enjoyed it as much as Wolf Hall or Bring Up the Bodies. I think HM has been quite self-indulgent with the writing, I def think it should have had a tougher edit and lost lots of fairly repetitive bits. Having said that, it’s a wonderful trilogy which I shall def re-read in the future.
    I’ve not seen any great films recently, but I loved The Pursuit of Love and am currently watching Spooks from the very beginning, I’d forgotten how many “well-kent” faces have been in it.

    • 8th July 2021 at 1:33 pm

      Thanks re: the first dress and what a great tip about wearing it in the winter – it’s from Masai https://www.masai.co.uk and I see it’s very ethical but a bit pricey so it was good to find it in a charity shop.

      Interesting about the stats in your part of the world – thanks goodness you do things differently from England, Wales too, both countries have sensible leaders!!! Honestly I really do think all NHS workers should be vaccinated – it’s only fair to their patients.

      You know I just can’t bring myself to read Hamnet, I know it’s good, but I just can’t! I loved all 3 of Hilary Mantel’s trilogy but I know what you mean about the lack of editing. They’ll all stay on my book shelves though, as one day I’l re-read them. The Pursuit of Love was brilliant – loved it – so now I want read everything about the Mitford’s.

      Thanks so much for your interesting comment.

      • 9th July 2021 at 6:39 pm

        Guess what? My daughter’s chum who I mentioned above tested positive yesterday. I wonder to how many others she has passed COVID?
        Re. The Mirror and the Light – finished it, and I think the closing part, from when he goes to the Tower is wonderful, best written part of the book for me.

  • 10th July 2021 at 9:46 pm

    I lived in Ipswich in the 90’s as an expat/art student and loved exploring the whole area. I do remember unstable weather patterns that made dressing a daily puzzle to solve. The textile design on your first dress is so special! By the way, I love getting movie ideas from all of your commenters. I recently discovered Netflix’s The IT Crowd and literally can’t stop laughing throughout the show. Humour is so underrated for lifting the spirits!!! @fancified.ca

    • 14th July 2021 at 8:35 am

      You’re so right about the changing seasons all in one day. We definitely get that in a week and often it will rain and then be warm and then be chilly in the evening. However, we are forecast to have some lovely weather over the next few days. I shall get out my dresses – yay!

      Oh yes, humour is the best thing ever!

  • 13th July 2021 at 10:55 am

    Hello Penny , sounds like you have had an enjoyable June with your trips away from home. The dresses are both lovely and so versatile . I have been reading about viscose lately and not all is manufactured the same way , the cheaper ones use a lot of chemicals .
    I had been thinking of you as we watched Boris on the news announcing the complete removal of all restrictions in the UK even with increased cases of the Delta variant.
    I am enjoying the Tour de France for the scenery as much as the cycling , although I follow local boy Ritchie Porte ( I went to school with his mother) .
    Enjoy the rest of your Summer .

    • 14th July 2021 at 8:40 am

      The dresses will be worn over the next few days as tho weather is forecast – yay!

      The cases are rising so high and I know the vaccines are mostly working but it’s dangerous nevertheless, what the man thinks he’s doing…. Half the country thinks he’s mad, bad and bats, and half the country thinks he’s amazing and great! We are a divided country!

      The Tour de France is a joy and Richie Porte is such solid performer – I think he got caught up in those dreadful falls at the beginning. This year we’re amazed by Mark Cavendish and watch with bated breath at every flat final stage!

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