What a difference with a week ago on Friday! With the thermometer clocking a stifling 32°C, it was a question of un-layering rather than layering. First wearing of this handmade cotton maxi frock, an end-of-sales bargain at Think Twice at the tail end of last Summer.
With its flattering white on navy diagonal stripes and smattering of flower clusters featuring pops of fresh green, there was no need to add a belt. The length was just right for me as well: its original owner must have been as vertically challenged as me!
I kept my accessories to a strict minimum, adding just a longer beaded necklace, repeating the blue and green and adding brown as an accent colour, and a large green butterfly brooch.
The weather forecast was looking quite dire for the day, promising torrential rain and possibly 3-centimeter hail stones for the afternoon. Not wanting to be caught out in such inclement weather, we made our weekly trip to the garden centre by mid-morning.
The quest was for some Pelargoniums or annual Geraniums to replace some of our patio plants which were doing poorly. The pink Dahlia which had been shining brightly on our kitchen window ledge turned out to be riddled with leaf miners. Then, one of the plants I'd knocked off the crate, and which initially seemed to be unharmed, wilted and died within a couple of days.
But unless I walk through the garden centre's greenhouses blindfolded, I cannot help but be seduced by plants which aren't on my shopping list.
I'd hardly walked in when I spotted pots of well-developed Astrantias (top left and bottom right). This perennial, commonly known as Masterwort, has long been a favourite of mine. The Dutch name for them is Zeeuws Knoopje (translated as Zeeland button), a reference to its resemblance to the collar stud buttons worn by farmers in traditional Zeeland costume.
Commonly, the plant bears white pincushion flowers, but I fell in love with a reddish pink variety when visiting Hadspen Gardens in Somerset - nowadays the grounds of a boutique hotel - back in 2001. The one I got is called 'Abbey Road' and although it isn't the 'Hadspen Blood' variety cultivated in Somerset, it bears a close enough resemblance.
I also succumbed to Physostegia virginiana 'Summer Snow' (top right) and a plant bearing fluffy, pink tinged spikes which apparantly is a a kind of Salvia.
We did buy Pelargoniums as well, of course, including a vibrant red one to replace the poort Dahlia. Their red flowers almost match the red Snapdragons which are now in their second flush.
Another addition to our garden is a plaque won by my paternal grandfather for his allotment back in the 1950s. It had been pining away on a shelf ever since we brought it home from my parents' house, until I thought it would probably feel more at home amid the plants in the garden.
Of course, the forecasted calamitous weather didn't make it to our part of the world, remaining close to the French border and creating havoc in Belgium's west country only. We only got a couple of lost raindrops by the end of the day.
Saturday morning and it was still hot and sticky with temperatures in the high twenties. The sun had been joined by some clouds with which she kept playing a game of tag.
The sky darkened with a promise of rain, but then the sun got the upper hand again, so we took a chance and drove to the leafy park in the nearby town of Boom (the "oo" pronounced like the "oa" in roam) to stretch our weary limbs.
Another sleeveless cotton frock was worn for the occasion. Yet another Think Twice find, it has established itself as a firm hot weather favourite in previous Summers.
With its funky green, white, pink and orange pattern, it was a lucky € 4 find back in June 2017.
As always, I accessorized it with orange and pink. My Clarks sandals - bought on a hot day in Shropshire in June 2018 - were perfectly comfortable for walking, although not the best choice for a nature walk as sticks and stones had to be removed at regular intervals.
If the park we visited the other week was unkempt, this one was even more so, giving the impression of unbridled wilderness.
I even managed to photograph a flower fairy who, judging from its sad little face, didn't seem too happy about being exposed.
The park has a natural playground, which had only just been re-opened after the Covid-19 restrictions. It's supposed to be for children up to 12 only, but as nobody else was around I couldn't resist trying the tree stump stepping stones.
Here's a look at my brooch, a pink raffia sunflower which emulates the flowers on my frock so well that it always seems to be the obvious companion.
Boom's triangular shaped town park is laid out along the banks of a meandering brook. It used to be part of a larger wood which was turned into a 27-hectare park back in 1925.
In the heart of the park, the brook ends in a couple of murky ponds. There's talk of a complete overhaul of the park, which will eventually involve cleaning the ponds and restoring them to their former glory.
In fact, restauration has already started at the town end of the park, where there's a series of ornamental, so-called French ponds surrounded by and decorated with stunning groups of sculptures. We wanted to walk all the way up, but as restauration is in full process, there was no access to this part of the park.
Opposite the park is a magnificent Art Deco school building built between 1926 and 1930, and which happens to be Jos's old school.
After catching a glimpse of the empty ponds over the hedge surrounding the domain, we made our way back to our starting point along the paths on the other side of the murky ponds and brook.
It was then that the first raindrops started to fall. Nevertheless, with the the park's leafy canopy acting as a giant umbrella, we still managed to eat the waffles we'd brought while sitting on a bench.
The temperature had dropped considerably by Sunday morning and the overnight rain had given our garden's long-suffering plants a good drenching.
As it was still far too wet to plant out our new acquisitions after breakfast, I decided to wait until the sun had warmed things up a bit. Instead, Jos and I divided the task of giving the ground floor rooms a thorough dusting between us.
The dress lucky enough to have got an outing that day was a a full-on floral one with the most delightful butterfly sleeves. The belt I cinched my waist with is the second one from my recent accessory shop splurge during lunch break. I find myself wearing this kind of elasticated belts a lot these days, so you can expect to see this one at regular intervals. Needless to say, it was the buckle which made me add it to my shopping basket.
Other accessories included a yellow beaded necklace and a big flower-encrusted vintage brooch.
Eventually, I did make it into the garden to allocate the new plants their rightful place into the borders.
Only just in time, it turned out, as the heavens rained down on us again soon afterwards.
And that, I'm afraid, would be our lot for the next week. A typical Belgian Summer!