Saturday, 13 August 2022

Paradise lost

Hello, and welcome to another interruption of my travelogue for a July update.

After all, the events I'm writing about here have happened just under a month ago. No fear of them disappearing into the mists of time any time soon, though, as life has been a bit of  a rollercoaster lately.

It was the day after our flea market - the calendar tells me this was Monday the 18th of July - and I wasn't exactly ready for another working week.  My colleague was on holiday, so that I wasn't able to take the day off to chill out and take stock after a day of trading.

We were quite exhausted when we called it quits on Sunday, but I still managed to put away my unsold items, shaking my head in disbelief at some of the things for which there hadn't been any takers.



Take this joyous floral cotton Summer dress, for instance. After falling in love with it in a vintage shop in Bridgnorth during our 2018 holiday, I'd only wore it the once. It's a handmade cotton shift dress closing with a front zipper but, as much as I was swooning over its fabulous colours and print, it just didn't feel right on me. Hence its relegation to the flea market rail! 

With a short but fierce heatwave forecasted for the days ahead, the temperatures expected to climb towards 40°C, I knew its crisp cotton fabric would be just the ticket, so that I was willing to give it another try. This time, it felt just perfect, so it's a keeper after all.

I kept it simple by adding my green swallows-in-flight brooch (bought in Cardigan many years ago) and a wooden beaded necklace (charity shopped) which is picking up all the colours of the dress.

The squishy pink belt threaded with green was a recent sales bargain from Mango, which I'd been stalking for months, waiting for that final reduction.




If at 35°C the temperature was already more than I could bear on Monday, the weather gods pulled out all the stops on Tuesday, the mercury climbing to just under 40°C that day. 

Trimmed with white broderie anglaise at the bodice and hem, this 1970s pink cotton sundress sprinkled with posies of flowers, only comes out to play on the hottest of days. Again, I kept it simple, adding a mustard yellow vinyl belt and a necklace featuring tiny tiles in the same colour.

I wore my by now ubiquitous haori style cover-up to keep the chills at bay in my air-conditioned office. I might not be a fan of the latter, but the sweltering, brain-numbing temperatures left me no other option!




In order to avoid having to go home when the day was at its hottest, I took the afternoon off, taking shelter in the relative coolness of Dove Cottage's darkened rooms. 

I only ventured into the garden to water the poor patio pots at around 9.30 after the searing heat had somewhat worn off. 

Exceeding expectations, the Sweet Peas seemed to be taking it all in their stride. Aren't they glorious? 





Much to my relief, the uncharacteristically hot temperatures were only short-lived, and by Wednesday we were down to an infinitely more bearable 26°C. We were even treated to a shower mid-morning.

It was still warm enough to continue wearing my cotton Summer frocks though, and this time it was the turn of one of my all-time favourites. A Think Twice sales bargain in June 2017, it has been with me for well over 5 years now. At the time, I couldn't believe my luck that its funky florals were still gracing the rails when prices were down to a silly € 4.

I always seem to be wearing either pink or orange with it, and often both, like I did this time. It definitely wasn't the first time I pinned the pink straw flower brooch to its collar!




On Tuesday the 21st, it was Belgium's National Holiday, so I had the day off.  As the weather was supposed to cool down to just 21°C, we'd earmarked the day to tackle a rather unpleasant task we'd been putting off while it was too hot. Now wasn't it just our luck that we woke up to rain which lasted until the early afternoon?

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while might remember me mentioning the passageway which leads between our kitchen extension and the garden wall once or twice. Both our kitchen and dining room look out on this paved area, which is about 1,20 metres wide and 5,5 metres long, and which we'd filled with a window box, as well as a corner unit and an old table brimming with plants and general bric-a-brac. 



The wall separates our property with that of our neighbour's, which is basically the mirror image of ours.

When he moved in about three and a half years ago, our neighbour divulged his plans to extend his kitchen to the full width of the house, which would mean that the communal wall would have to be removed and replaced with the wall of his kitchen, which would obviously be a lot higher than the current wall. 

Not having heard anything further about his plans for all those years, it came as a bolt out of the blue when, just after our return from holiday, he told us things would go ahead at the end of July. This meant that we had to clear the passageway, move the contents our lovingly created slice of paradise elsewhere as well as remove the climbers growing up the wall in record time. With no further time to lose, we were out there once the rain had stopped and emptied the area, planning to start cutting back the climbers over the weekend. Sigh!



It was back to work on Friday, when we were treated to sunny spells with the mercury stuck at 22°C.

After wearing dresses all through the week, Friday's outfit was a skirt and top combo featuring old and new items, their common factor being they were all second-hand finds, apart from my sandals. 

The green top with its pattern of eye-confusing squares was charity shopped on a particularly successful day in July  2021, while the skirt was a more recent buy, snapped up from a vintage-per-kilo shop in Antwerp back in April. My necklace and woven belt were charity shop finds ant the enamelled brooch came from a flea market.



I remember going for a walk during lunch break that day, visiting Think Twice and a couple of other vintage and second hand shops and buying ... absolutely nothing! Quite possibly, my heart wasn't in it with all these garden woes!

In fact, it was (and still is) all I could do to stop myself from crying whenever I caught sight of the sorry state of affairs outside. And it was going to get so much worse ...



We cleared most of the ivy on Saturday morning, only leaving the arch of ivy and climbing Hydrangea over the compost bin, which our neighbour said he would get rid of. But not without complaining about the amount of greenery later on. 



We, on the other hand, have been forced to look out on to a mountain of rubble in his garden from our bedroom window for years. Yes, Bess, those are my feelings exactly!



While I was still in my gardening gear, I planted out our Gaillardia "Kobold" (top right) which wasn't doing very well in its pot, and seems to be much happier now. 

The heatwave, however short-lived, had burnt our Hydrangeas to a crisp, but the uninvited Nasturtiums (the offspring of last year's) carry on producing blooms regardless. As does Clematis jouiniana 'Mrs Robert Brydon' (bottom left), whose tiny pale lavender flowers are a magnet for bees.



After lunch, we declared that we needed a reward for the morning's efforts, so I changed out of my gardening gear and we went for a rummage.

The main ingredients in my outfit were picked up in the UK. Having been on the lookout for a denim maxi skirt for ages, I finally found what I was looking for in the Shropshire Cat Rescue charity shop in Shrewsbury in June. The deadstock 1970s top was bought in Cardigan in June 2017. The latter, by the way, had also been on my flea market stall, but I realized my error of judgment just in the nick of time!



As usual, it were the charity shops and flea markets which supplied my accessories. I snapped up the Clarks sandals - up there with my Cloudsteppers for comfort - in the sales in a Shropshire town back in 2018, and my handbag was a cheeky high street buy a couple of years ago.



We'd originally planned to visit two shops, but then we ran into my friend Inez in the first one, and ended up catching up over cups of coffee in the on-site cafeteria. 

It had been ages since we'd rummaged together, so that was fun too, pointing out hilarious stuff to each other just like we did back in our pre-Covid Think Twice shopping afternoons.

Picking weren't too great, but I still managed to find these two floral Summer tops, coincidentally originating from the same Belgian high street shop Lola Liza ...



... one of which I already wore on Sunday, when we once again left behind the moderate mid-twenties for 30°C. 

Finding a companion for it was a doddle, as this hand-made green cotton circle skirt with its tiny white checks and red dots couldn't have geen more perfect.

I ended up feeling cool and collected all day, although admittedly I didn't do all that much. Having wistfully pottered around the garden and filled a bag for the charity shop, I flopped down on the sofa with my latest read.
 


Before I go, here's a look at my accessories, which include one of my stretchy chevron patterned belts, a green wooden necklace by Belgian label Les Cordes, charity shopped in 2020, and a brooch, bracelet and bangle, which were all flea market or charity shop finds at one time or another.

Oh, and the hat, although brand new, was found on a flea market as well.

I'll be back with the final installment of my travelogue shortly, that is, when the ongoing building noise allows!


Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Cloudscapes

It has been a tough couple of weeks here at Dove Cottage, with disruptive and at times excessively loud building work going on next door, which has been playing havoc with anything involving the use of my brain.

Although taking a look in the rear-view mirror at our UK holiday in June has been a blessing, selecting photos and stringing sentences together for a blog post has been quite another kettle of fish. 

Therefore, this one has been cobbled together whenever I could snatch a rare moment of peace and quiet.


For my travelogue's penultimate installment, I am taking you back to Saturday the 25th of June.

While I was still feeling a bit tired and lightheaded, most of my migraine's symptoms seemed to have done a runner. Unfortunately, the same couldn't be said about the substandard weather. By the time we'd finished breakfast and were ready to go, we'd already seen grey skies, drizzle and the odd fleeting ray of sunshine. What's more, our weather app said there would be "highs" of only 14°C!

We had to do another food shop, so we drove down to nearby Bishop's Castle, the wonderful little town where we'd started our holiday just under a week ago. 



As the rain seemed to be holding off for now and the clouds had parted to show rare patches of blue, we started by walking up and down the high street, where I was struck by the wonderful variety of door knockers and noticed that the town seemed to have a penchant for elephants. Couldn't help snapping a couple more of those road signs of bygone times either!



We struck lucky at the town's one and only charity shop, where Jos fell in love with a butter dish and I found a label-less lightweight cotton maxi dress. 

I found the brooch on the bottom left in a small second hand shop I forgot the note the name of. 
The lovely owner kindly informed me that the flowers in the brooch were woven from silk and used to be given away with Kensitas cigarettes in 1933 and 1934, contained in a protective card. Intrigued, I proceeded to do some googling, and was amazed to find a whole website devoted to them. Here I discovered that mine belonged to the first series dating from 1933!



By the time we'd done our round of the shops and stocked up on food, ominous looking clouds had gathered and were in the process of obscuring the last of the patches of blue. 

It started raining while we were on our way back to the cottage and as there was still no let-up after lunch - indeed, by then, a gale force wind had joined forces with the rain - we decided to stay put and ditch any further plans for the day. 

The afternoon was spent reading and hemming a slightly too long maxi dress I'd charity shopped in the weeks before our holiday and which had gone straight into my suitcase. 




The weather forecast for Sunday was pretty dismal and as we didn't feel comfortable visiting any National Trust properties with inside possibilities on busy weekend days, we were at a bit of a loss.

Then, by pure chance, we discovered that the weather would be mainly dry and several degrees warmer if we ventured south, so that the gorgeous gem of a town called Ludlow would be the perfect destination.

For once, our weather app was right, as blue skies with innocent looking fluffy white clouds and a temperature of 19°C were on the menu. Admittedly, there were strong gusts of wind as well, which warranted the wearing of my raincoat and scarf.



If I remember correctly, this was our sixth visit to the town, travelling from Herefordshire in 2008, 2009 and 2010 for the first three, so that it is safe to say that we know our way around a bit. 

Looking back at my old albums made it clear that I'm always photographing the same things, such as the famous timber-framed Feathers Hotel (above). The oldest part of the building, including the stunning timber façade, was built in 1619, during the reign of King James I, by Rees Jones, a successful attorney in the town. The name springs from the motifs of ostrich feathers carved into the gables of the façade.

The Feathers has a well-known reputation for being haunted both inside and outside, and on a number of occasions, an apparition has been seen crossing the road from the direction of The Bull Hotel (also haunted) opposite.



The latter is not to be confused with Ye Olde Bull Ring tavern (above, top and bottom right), another magnificent timber-framed building. Built in the 14th century and with a history dating back as far as 1365, it is believed to be the oldest existing public house in Ludlow. 

The Smith & Co. ghost sign at the gable end of the house (top left) refers to the grocery business of Gaius Smith, who in the late 1800s had shops at both 42 Bull Ring and 6 King Street.

I also spotted the beautiful old mosaic at the Boots the Chemist shop. I couldn't find any reference to its age, but it must be quite rare as all the photos I found on the Internet were of this particular shop.




We never fail to visit the stunning St Laurence’s Church either! The church was established as a place of worship when the Normans founded Ludlow in the late 11th century. Often referred to as the "Cathedral of the Marshes", its 135 feet (41 metres) high tower commands excellent views of the town and surrounding countryside.

Notable features include fine stained glass - the lovely Nikki recently devoted an entire post to them - as well as an extensive set of misericords in the choir stalls (below).




Misericords are medieval choir stall seats designed to be raised during services, so that the occupants had to stand. If they became tired, they could rest their bottoms against the small ledges protruding from the bottom of the seats; a small mercy of the heart (or misericordia).

With its 28 mercy seats dating from the 14th and 15th century, St Laurence's has one of the largest collections in any parish church, and the carvings on each one are fantastic. There seems to be an misogynistic theme going on though. The mermaid, for instance, being symbolic of the woman luring men away from the path of salvation. She is holding a mirror in one hand and a now missing comb in the other, and is flanked by two snarling fish. 



We stopped for morning coffee and, after browsing some of the town's charity shops, the majority of which were open on a Sunday, we walked towards Castle Square. By then, the sun was making up for lost time. We sat down for a picnic on a bench overlooking the square, accompanied by live music courtesy of the Ludlow Fringe Festival.


From the Castle Gardens, we walked down to the river, following the lane downhill  - a steep 25% gradient - then crossing over over the River Teme via the picturesque Dinham Bridge, where the  wonderful and famous view of Ludlow Castle opens up.

We'd planned to do the Breadwalk, which leads up and over Whitcliffe Common, but by the time we'd found the start of the footpath, we'd already run out of steam, and decided to return to the town centre. After all, we still had to climb back up that 25% gradient!

Back at Castle Gardens, we took the path skirting the castle walls. Built by the Normans in the 11th Century to repel a Welsh invasion, Ludlow Castle is one of the town's finest attractions, which we last visited on a hot Summer's day in June 2019. Here, here and here are some impressions.




Back at the cowshed, we stepped onto our terrace for outfit photos. I was wearing a beloved vintage maxi skirt, which I paired with a green and navy striped Breton top. This too was picked up in a charity shop in the weeks before our holiday. Like the maxi dress, this went straight into my suitcase. 

The flower brooch, necklace and belt were all bought on the high street.




The outlook on Monday's weather still being uncertain, we hedged our bets and drove south again, where the mercury was supposed to climb to 18°C and a mixture of sunshine and clouds had been forecasted.

This time, however, we left Shropshire behind once more, driving over the border with Herefordshire which, having holidayed in the area for three years running, wasn't exactly new territory for us. 

With our NT Touring Pass still burning a hole in our pockets, we selected Croft Castle for our next property, which would be number 5. By now, we'd already more than recovered our costs!

The present, Grade I listed building dates from the 1660s, replacing an earlier house some thirty yards to the west. Owned by the Croft family since 1085, the castle and estate passed out of their hands in the 18th century, before being repurchased by the family in 1923. In 1957 it was bequeathed to the National Trust. 



Our first visit to Croft Castle dates from 2009 but, while I can still clearly remember the walled garden, the parkland and the adjacent church - now sadly covered in scaffolding - I couldn't recall whether we'd actually been inside the house.  

The interior features Jacobean panelling, 18th century Gothick plasterwork and woodwork, Rococo chimney pieces and fine neo-Georgian decoration. 

I loved the opulent wallpaper and gold embossed overmantel mirror by Thomas Chippendale in the Ambassador's Room. This room was named in honour of the Austrian Ambassador Albert Count von Mensdorff-Pouilly-Diestrichstein, who was was due to visit Croft Castle in the summer of 1914 and whom this room was painstakingly prepared for. However, when Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated while on a visit to Sarajevo, triggering a chain of events that led to the start of World War One, the Ambassador and his would-be British hosts were now on opposing sides, so that the visit never happened.




Oh, and there's a rather splendid old water closet too!

After a visit to the loos, followed by lunch in the Carpenter's tea-room, we were ready to explore the three-acre walled garden.The garden, which even has its own small vineyard, is maintained by two full-time gardeners and a team of volunteers. 




The cloudscapes were truly dramatic that day, putting on a variety show of dark and menacing ones threatening rain at a moment's notice one minute, and marshmallow ones drifting in a bright blue Summer sky the next.

Having had our fill of horticulture, we thought we'd conclude our visit with a walk on the estate. 



From the way-marked trails on offer, we selected the Ancient Tree Walk, a gentle wander into the heart of Croft Castle's parkland. 

The walk offered stunning views across the Herefordshire countryside and took in the so-called Spanish Chestnut avenue, planted in the formation of the Spanish Armada around 350 years ago, and a 1000 year old Quarry Oak along the way.




Once we passed a cattle grid, there were sheep grazing everywhere, most of them not taking any notice of us at all, just the odd lamb bleating pitifully for its Mum on spying this weird-looking, red floral trousers wearing creature.



There was an impressive and somewhat eerie tree graveyard as well, contrasting starkly with the bright blue of the sky and the lush green of the grass.

The blissful quiet was only pierced by bird calls and the bleating of sheep, providing a soothing soundtrack I now desperately long for. 




Just as I do for rush hour on one of the country lanes leading back to the cowshed.


Thursday, 4 August 2022

Catching up is hard to do

I'm once again pausing my travelogue to give you a brief update of what's been happening in July - which isn't much, actually - and to show you what I've been wearing. As we've finally established a proper routine and have been photographing my outfits on an almost daily basis, this will be a mainly outfit-based post. There will be 7 of them altogether so, lending one of Sheila's catchphrases, which I hope she doesn't mind: grab a cool drink, or a warm beverage depending on where you are, then sit back and relax. 


Blogging about my travel adventures means that I'm even further behind than usual, so let's hop into that time machine and alight on Monday the 11th of July.

This linen blend dress - the polyester content keeping it from wrinkling too much - is one of my all-time favourites. A lucky € 3 Think Twice find last August, I was looking forward to wearing it again this Summer. However, after its out-of-season sojourn in the linen chest it was in need of a bit of ironing. As I'm sure you know by now, the latter is a seldom seen activity here at Dove Cottage!



Anticipating hot weather, I'd spent the weekend in a frenzy of ironing my cotton Summer dresses, so that it was now ready for its first wear of the season. That Monday, with the mercury climbing towards the mid-twenties, couldn't have been more perfect for this.

It's a classic fit and flare dress and I love how the bodice's red, blue and yellow deckchair stripes develop into a chevron pattern in the skirt. And it's got pockets too!

Red was my colour of choice for my accessories, all of which you've seen before. The wooden brooch with its carved cornflowers, poppies and edelweiss is vintage and was flea market find.




The weather gods cranked up the thermostat to 29°C on Tuesday. 

Enter the maxi skirt I'd cheekily bought at C&A back in May. With its full-on flower meadow print and two fuchsia pink crocheted lace strips at the hem, who was I to say no? I instantly knew its crisp organic cotton would be ideal for a day like this, and I wasn't wrong.



Paired with a bright orange cotton blouse by Gigue - a fairly recent charity shop find - I felt cool and collected all day. That is, until I braved the bargain hunting crowds after work. By the time I'd reached our pick-up point, sweaty pools had collected in my armpits, which I did my best to hide during our photo session by keeping my arms pinned to my sides.



Our Sweet Peas, which we planted as two tiny things back in May, had just started producing their first blooms in the week before our holiday. Judging from the seed pods I had to remove when we came back, they must have put on a real show while we were away. 

They've since put on a repeat show and their fragrant blooms in colours ranging from palest pink to a deep burgundy have been an absolute joy to behold. Daily removal of seed pods is obviously required to keep the show going, as is regularly picking stems to carry their delicate scent inside.



Now, where were we? 

Wednesday saw a repetition, not just in terms of weather, but also in the wearing of that wonderful C&A maxi. This time its companion was a green, cap sleeved blouse edged in pink rick-rack and with a row of buttons in the same colour. From the Belgian Who's That Girl label, it was found for a pittance in a charity shop in Poperinge while on holiday in Belgium's west country in September 2020.



I added more pink in the form of my beaded necklace and owl brooch. 

One of my chevron patterned stretchy belts came out to play, as did my gold Gabor sandals, both of which were retail buys.

I couldn't help but notice the similarity in colour between the rick-rack and buttons and the gently nodding flowers of Anemone hupehensis ‘Hadspen Abundance’. Abundant it is indeed, but it's also rather early, as it's only supposed to flower in September!



In other garden news, our Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium caeruleum, top right) with its fern-like foliage and clusters of lavender flowers, has finally seen it fit to produce some blooms, while it is actually supposed to flower in late Spring, which it duly did last year.

The pots of Osteospermum and Nemesia (top left) and Mimulus (bottom right) have both benefited from the haircuts they received when we came back and have repaid my efforts by another round of flowering. 

And then there's the pink Petunia (bottom left), the offspring of one of last year's, which decided to settle into a crack between the paving stones in the courtyard.



Thursday was another sunny Summer's day, but with a tiny drop in temperature to a much more bearable 24°C.

It was a quiet day at work, and after my hairdresser's appointment during lunch break, I went to check out a recently opened charity shop a couple of doors down. Apart from a most delightful red and white striped Zara jacket, which alas turned out to be a bit too snug in the chest area, the stock was of an altogether boring variety.

Nothing boring about the vintage dress I was wearing! This was another one of last Summer's charity shop finds. Trimmed with white bias tape at the collar and cuffs, with an abstract seascape decal and a wave-like pattern on the skirt, it was definitely love at first sight.




And no, I wasn't about to do any gardening! The red rake belongs to the man who rents the part of the communal garage we sometimes use as our photo studio. I know his lovely wife sometimes reads my blog, so if she does read this: hello there! 

I just couldn't resist posing with it as it perfectly matched my outfit ...




It was my final working day of the week, but unfortunately there was not much rest for the wicked, as we had a flea market to prepare for. 

I did, however, manage to finish my latest read, which was rather addictive. It was part of my book haul from various Shropshire charity shops, by the way. 



More deckchair stripes, anyone? Friday's outfit saw the return of an old favourite: a multi-coloured stripy jumpsuit which was a New Look sales bargain in 2018. 

Having done a fair bit of gardening in it over the years, it is becoming a bit worse for wear, with an unsightly patch of pilling, which fortunately isn't visible in the photos. Well, I guess that's fast fashion for you ... 

I'll wear it until it falls apart, though. This time, I took my lead from the blue stripes and added a blue camisole underneath, cinched my waist with a blue belt with a rather fabulous square buckle, and wore a blue glass ring. I paid tribute to the jumpsuit's multiple other colours with my cat brooch, necklace and sandals.


With Sunday's flea market in mind, we drove down to a bargain shop at the edge of our town to buy a batch of clothes hangers. 

Then we continued to our local charity shop for a rummage. There was a buy two, get one free offer on clothing, and this is what I found. The green twigs and birds fabric belongs to a skirt by Belgian label Wow To Go. Funnily enough, it was only when I got home that I twigged (pun totally intended) it was exactly the same pattern as the top I charity shopped the other week (above, bottom right).

I'd been on the lookout for decent yellow tops for months, so the pleated one, originally from H&M, was a welcome find. I only found the third item, which is the pink and white gingham top, at the very last moment, as it was in a box full of stuff near the till.



With the temperature still a balmy and bearable 24°C, this is what I wore on Saturday.

The yellow, red and black floral top is yet another recent charity shop find which was still waiting for its turn. It is by the Danish ICHI label.  It couldn't have found a better match than the 1970s black and white button-through skirt. The pattern is tiny flowers, not polka dots, as you can see in the close-up. With its three rows of white rick-rack and its pockets, it is definitely a winner!



While the skirt came from Think Twice, both the belt and the necklace were charity shopped. My brooch is war-time 1940s and an example of the era's make do and mend philosophy. The lady has been painted directly on a piece of fabric, obviously by someone very talented! It was a lucky flea market find and you can see it in more detail here.



Most of the day was spent going through my boxes of stock, selecting the best items for my initial rail. I would replenish the rail whenever an item was sold and a clothes hanger became available.

The majority are things which I no longer love as much as I used to, are no longer me, or have simply become too snug. Then there are those items I picked up at the tail end of various Think Twice sales for € 1 or € 2, bought specifically with our yearly flea market in mind. With you know what throwing a spanner in the works, of course, this would be the first one in three years ...



It was just gone 7 am when we wheeled out the rail, put our folding table outside and brought out th rest of our stock, which included shoes, handbag, costume jewellery and miscellaneous items. 

By that time, our street had already been abuzz with traders putting up their stalls for well over an hour. They were joined by early punters on bicycles out for the deal of the century. I soon lost count of the times we were asked whether we had any watches or mobile phones for sale.

My clothes and jewellery sold like hot cakes, but in spite of regular interest, there were no takers for the shoes. As they were cluttering up sorely needed space, they're now ready to be taken to the charity shop. I did sell all of the handbags, though, most of them in bulk at a steeply reduced price. 

At around 28°C it was too hot for a rummage, so I only went to say hello to a friend who had a stall a bit further on. I was given the tiny cat and mouse sculptures by the nice lady running the stall next to ours.



We called it a day at 2.30, which was later than we'd anticipated. In spite of our vintage parasol, it had become quite unbearable out there.

As Bess hadn't been too keen on the comings and goings outside our front door, we spent the rest of the day indulging her.

Those are Jos's fancy new pyjamas, by the way, straight from good old Marks & Sparks in Shrewsbury.

That's it for now. It'll be another installment of my travelogue in my next post, for which I hope you'll join me again.