Wednesday, 18 September 2019

The days grow short when you reach September

Although I still have two more episodes of my travelogue up my sleeve, I thought I'd squeeze in a little catch-up of what has been going on and, more importantly, what I have been wearing, since we came back from our short holiday.

As my blog is more or less my online diary, it just wouldn't do to publish a post highlighting the outfits I was wearing in the second week of September only several weeks later. Besides, chances are that in spite of extensive photographic evidence, it will have all but disappeared into the fog my menopausal brain often seems to be wading through.

So, let's make a start and journey back to just under a week ago. On Thursday, I got this glorious, pink-hued bouquet of flowers delivered to the office. It was a birthday present from my lovely bosses, who'd ordered it all the way from Miami.

Taking them home on the tram during rush hour, while simultaneously carrying my handbag and a wicker basket, was quite an undertaking, and it was nothing short of a miracle that they made it home without any casualties. 

That's me wedging them between my knees and the back of the seat in front of me on the top left, where you can catch a brief glimpse of the blowsy floral pattern on the skirt I was wearing.

As you can see, Phoebe was a big fan of them as well! I had a bit of a hard time keeping her away from them.

And here's what I was wearing on my birthday. The circle skirt with its abundance of flowers was a sales bargain from last Summer, but everything else I'm wearing is second hand. The vintage peplum top with its attached belt has already made several appearances on the blog and I'm sure my denim jacket does not need any introduction either.

The raspberry suede shoes were a charity shop find, as was the delightful squirrel brooch, which I picked up in Poperinge's small charity shop on the last day of our holiday.

A quick round-up of what else I've been wearing that week. 

From left to right: plums, pears and hydrangeas are part of the print on this lovely vintage dress I wore on Monday, while Tuesday's going-back-to-work outfit consisted of a vintage Lee Cooper denim skirt (a gift from my friend Ingrid) and a charity shopped short-sleeved King Louie jumper. 

Wednesday was brightened by this fiery orange and caramel, dagger collared vintage dress, topped by an abstract print blue cardigan, which was a charity shop find from earlier this year.

In spite of this being a short working week, the weekend couldn't arrive fast enough.

The week had been a mixture of sunny and dull days, and Friday firmly belonged in the latter category, with the gloom only lifting slightly by the end of the day.

This vintage dress, which skillfully combines several shades of green and blue, is another one which has made it to the blog more than once. I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear that it's one of my favourites! I added a white vinyl belt to define my waist and chose a turquoise beaded necklace, but opted for a totally different colour for my brooch, a lovely orchid in a delicious caramel shade, which can also be worn as a pendant.

I went for a quick rummage in one of the Think Twice shops during my lunch break and pounced upon this navy shirt which has the cutest of prints. 

Their sales had started that day and everything was 30% off. Prices will keep going down until at the end of two weeks all that is left is going for € 1 a piece. I'm pretty sure this gorgeous shirt wouldn't have lasted until then!

We'd been promised a weekend of Indian Summer weather and for once they got it right as this is exactly what we got. Hurray!

Too good to be wasted indoors, we combined our usual Saturday charity shopping trip with a walk in the park.

There are several decades between the 1970s vintage skirt I'm wearing and the top, which was a sales bargain a couple of years back, but I think their combined naive flower prints are a match made in heaven. 

I found the skirt, which looked to be in unworn condition, in the charity shop in our village last Spring. In fact, I had to undress one of the shop's dummies for it, leaving the poor thing indecently exposed.

My outfit was accessorized with a red belt and necklace, while the gorgeous weather was asking for another outing for my Clarks slingbacks charity shopped in Bridgnorth when meeting up with Vix back in June. They might very well be my most worn shoes this Summer.

Oh, how I love this time of year! I'm sure there are a lot of you out there who prefer Summer, but I am definitely an Autumn girl!

And although this year's greenery has long lost its freshness by now, I love the mellow sunlight which has replaced the harsh glare of Mid-Summer.

The other thing I love about Indian Summer is that the heat of the days is book-ended by cool mornings and nights, making them all that more enjoyable.

From the park, we walked to the charity shop down the road, which is spread out over three floors.

We usually only have a cursory glance at the ground floor, which mainly has furniture, but I'm always having a browse at the jewellery display near the tills. Then it's off to the first floor, which has everything from household goods and decoration to books and records.

Our final stop is the basement which is completely dedicated to clothing and textiles.

Apart from one or two things you'll get to see later, this is what I found. It's been quite a while since I had such a great haul!

There was a short-sleeved top by Belgian label Lucy Has A Secret, as well as two long-sleeved shirts, which purely by coincidence are all in a similar colour range.

In stark contrast are the neon shades of the green printed cardigan and the massive dayglo pink chain which, after a minor intervention by Jos, I will be using as a belt.

Two necklaces and two bangles (one of them in painted wood) were my other jewellery finds.

A colourful vintage C&A dress was a surprise find, as vintage dresses are few and far between at the charity shops outside of their retro events. Its label was pristine and its polyester fabric still a bit stiff, as if it came straight from the C&A rails, so I don't think it was ever worn.

Then there was some interesting reading matter for Jos (and me as well, of course).

Last but not least, I happened upon this tiny Italian souvenir doll, still in her original box. I picked it up, remarking to Jos that it had probably been an unwanted present, when the illustrations on the box made me realize that this was proper vintage. 

It was obvious that the doll had never been out of the box and, as she is kept hostage by the elastic holding her in place, which has solidified and has permanently attached itself to the box’s back, she probably never will. For € 0,50, however, she has now found her forever home at Dove Cottage.

So, that was it for now. I'll be regaling you again with my travel adventures in my next post. 

Hope you'll join me again then.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

It's raining cats

The sun was still sulking behind a solid layer of grey when we got up on Wednesday morning, which frankly speaking was a bit of a letdown.

Consulting our phone's weather app didn't bring any solace either, as rain would definitely be on the cards that day, putting paid to any plans for a longer walk or a visit to the seaside.

Instead, we thought our best bet would be to go to Ypres, which is the nearest town of any size, and only about 20 minutes down the road. 

As there was still no sign of any precipitation after breakfast, we once again made use of our little balcony with a view to make that day's outfit photos.

While we were packing for our holiday - a job I'm absolutely hopeless at as it forces me to assemble a temporary capsule wardrobe - Jos insisted that I took this vintage navy and white polka dot dress. I'm pretty sure that it has never made it to the blog. In fact, I don't think I've even worn it in the last two years. 

I've really got no idea why I have been neglecting it, as it's such a classic, isn't it? I love its contrasting collar, which has navy dots on white, and the two bands of white piping running down the bodice to the hips.

I pinned my light blue birds in flight brooch to it for good measure and added a cardigan - a King Louie one charity shopped last year - in the same colour. 

Although the dress came with its own belt, I opted for this shiny red vinyl one instead. It's one of my favourites as it has an ususual square plastic buckle. Further dashes of red were provided by my red and white beaded necklace, red plastic ring and my faithful Clarks Cloudsteppers.

Posing on the steps up to our little studio, I thought that this was as good a time as any to show you around. The entrance is up the steps at the front of the cottage which faces the road and the hop fields beyond. Poperinge is the main centre of hop cultivation in Belgium, and the town even has a Hop Museum, which we visted a couple of years back.

The little balcony is at the side of the cottage and faces the lake which is teeming with wildlife and which can also be seen from the breakfast/dining nook part of the studio.

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while might remember my posts from previous years where I've shown you the studio's interior. If you're so inclined, you can have a look here, as I didn't take any inside photos this year.


So, off to Ypres! Or Ieper, as we call it in Flemish. The name of this gorgeous town, which is completely immersed in First World War history, is obviously well known all over the world. During the First World War, Ypres (or "Wipers" as it was commonly called by the British troops) was the centre of the Battles of Ypres between German and Allied forces, and was all but obliterated by 1918. But more about that later.

Having visited the town a couple of times before, we know our way around a bit, and are also aware of the fact that parking is free at the station. From there, it's a straightforward 10 minute walk into town. 

If like us, you are not pressed for time, and would like to approach the town in a more fitting way, there's the 2,6 kilometer ramparts walk, which conveniently starts almost opposite the station's car park.

Here, the former ammunition store (top left) cannot be missed. It was built in 1817 by the Dutch army on the foundations of a French equivalent.

On the bottom right you can catch a glimpse of restaurant which occupies its own island in the moat and is only reachable via an idyllic little bridge. We stopped there for coffee in 2017, when we sat out in the garden on an otherwise gloomy afternoon.

The route then meanders past lakes and ponds, which are the remains of the moat, and the walk is a delight, as it is a perfect combination of history and nature, with the odd work of art thrown in along the way.

Here, Jos is walking along the edge of the Predikherentoren (Preacher's tower), one of two towers which were part of the 14th Century Burgundian rampart. In the French era the towers were lowered and transformed into artillary platforms.

Near the Lille Gate (top right) is the Ramparts War Cemetery, a small British cemetery where 193 Commonwealth soldiers are resting.

Soon we were catching glimpses of some of Ypres' towers between the trees. 

As we were nearing the Menin Gate, and the end of our walk along the ramparts, we passed the Indian Memorial (top right) which is dedicated to the 130,000 troops of the Indian Forces who served in Flanders during the Great War.

At that point, the famous, or should that be infamous, Menin Gate was looming in front of us. 

It is built on the site where, four years long, British troups left for the front, and is a memorial to nearly 55,000 Commonwealth soldiers fallen before 15 August 1917, who do not have a known grave. However many times you visit this impressive monument, you cannot help but be moved to tears upon the sight of the endless columns of names carved into its walls.

We left the ramparts at the Menin Gate and made our way to the town's main square. Glancing backwards, I was struck by the incongruity of the gaily fluttering bunting and the solemn and awe-inspring Menin Gate in the background.

The chocolate cats in one of the shop windows soon put a smile back on my face, although I wouldn't ever be able to eat one.

First-time visitors might find it hard to believe that Ypres' magnificent main square, seemingly surrounded by magnificent Medieval and Renaissance buildings, was almost completely flattened by the end of the Great War. As was most of the town, as a matter of fact.

Virtually the whole of the town as can be seen today was painstakingly reconstructed from scratch, stone by stone, and brick by brick, during the 1920s and 1930s, by referring to the Medieval sketches and diagrams which had survived.

By now, we were gettng peckish and went in search for lunch, at which point the first drops of rain were starting to fall. 

Jos's weather app kept insisting it was just a blip but by the time we had finished lunch, it was still raining on and off, and quite heavily at times, so that umbrellas were needed.

Among all the wetness and greyness and people wearing dark colours to boot, Jos clearly stood out in his mustard yellow trousers and green blazer!

We dashed across the square and into the passage running under the Lakenhalle (Cloth Hall), emerging on the other side in front of the Gothic St. Maartenskathedraal (St. Martin's Cathedral).

We'd never been inside so this was the perfect opportunity to pay it an extensive visit and shelter from the elements at the same time.

Reconstruction has beautifully retored its soaring Gothic interior and it is hard to believe that the church was actually completely rebuilt in the 20th Century!

I was quite moved by this contemporary sculpture by Jan De Wachter called Resurrection, of a man crying in desperation. If you look closely, you can see a teardrop hanging from his chin.

Back outside, we found that it was still raining, so we wandered around the museum shop where I was almost tempted by one of the cotton souvenir bags printed with Phoebes. Deciding not to give in to temptation, we went for a cup of cappuccino instead until we could see the number of umbrellas outside diminishing as the rain had all but stopped.

Not for long though, as only minutes after we'd resumed our tour of the town, the heavenly gates opened and treated us to a heavy downpour, so that we had to make another dash into a church.

St. George's Memorial Church was designed by architect Sir Reginal Blomfield and built to commemorate the over 500,000 British and Commonwealth troops who died in the three battles fought for the Ypres Salient during the Great War. It was completed in 1929.

There was a knowledgeable guide giving a tour to a group of British visitors, and we sat in the back listening in. 

We remained in the church afterwards until the interior was lighted by the sudden burst of sunshine streaming through the windows, signalling our cue to leave.

Once again, we made our way to the main square, passing underneath the Lakenhalle, marvelling at the difference made by the sun's rays on the greyish brick of the square's buildings, and the Lakenhalle in particular.

By now, you may be wondering about the golden figure perching on top of the pinnacled roof and what it is he is holding. Well, no longer keeping you in suspension, I can divulge that it is a cat!

What with the chocolate cats and those on the cotton bags in the museum shop, you might have cottoned on that the town has a link with cats. But what is it? Well, it's not a very nice story I'm afraid. 

Back in the 15th Centurty, when Ypres started to prosper as a reslt of the cloth trade, the wool they imported from England was stored in the Cloth Hall. This inevitably attracted mice, so it was decided to release a few hungry cats in the Cloth Hall. Everything worked well at first but it soon became clear that the plan had a flaw, as the cats started procreating, so that Ypres soon had too many cats. Nothing better was found than throwing the animals off the Cloth Hall tower as a means of pest control. The true reason will probably never be known.

The tradition is still honoured by a triennial Cat Parade at the end of which cats are still thrown from the tower. But don't worry, as these days the cats are of the stuffed variety!

I'm leaving you for now with this autumn flavoured photograph of the impressive Cloth Hall with its 70 metre high belfry tower and the adjacent town hall (the building on the far right) basking in the mellow September sunlight, the row of rust-leaved trees enhancing the patches of pale blue of the sky visible between the white cotton-wool clouds.

Monday, 9 September 2019

All quiet on the Western front

If only I could stop the hands of the clock, I mused, even if just for a little while.

The early September sunshine warming my face, I was standing on the steps of Poperinge's town hall, savouring the delicious feeling of having a whole week's holiday stretched out in front of me.

It was Monday, 2 September, and we'd arrived in Poperinge, a sleepy little backwater in Belgium's west country, in the early afternoon. 

Too early for our 3 pm check-in into our cottage at the edge of town, we walked towards the town centre to reacquaint ourselves with the place which has been our base for touring the area since 2012.

Taking pride of place on the Grote Markt (market square) is its town hall. Built in neo-Gothic style as recently as 1911, it looks considerably older than its years. Proud of its buttery bricks, its decorative arches and stone carvings, not to mention its gleaming gold weathervane, it was preening itself in the shop windows opposite.

Its tower, together with those of the town's ancient churches, the 15th Century St. Bertinus Church (top left) and the 13th Century Church of Our Lady (top right), dominates the town's skyline, which can be seen from far and wide.

Making the most of the, according to the weathermen, short-lived sunshine, we enjoyed a cup of coffee while sitting on the terrace of one of the market square's cafés.

The gold sculpture of the girl with her serving tray belongs to another café on the square, La Poupée.

She isn't just there to attract customers, but commemorates Eliane Cossey, an attractive red-haired girl who worked at her father's café during the First World War, and was given the nickname of Ginger. Such was her fame that officers of all nationalities came from miles around to see this stunning continental beauty and her father's establishment soon became known as Ginger's instead of its French name La Poupée.

Although during the Great War, Poperinge was part of unoccupied Belgium, poignant reminders of its devastation are all around. This wall full of poppy-adorned wooden crosses (top left) can be found in the town hall's courtyard, next to the authentic execution pole. This a painful reminder of the fate which awaited many so-called ‘deserters’ during the Great War. Most of these frightened men were suffering from shell shock but, instead of receiving compassion and understanding, a terrifying example was made of them.

Our town walk then took us to a picturesque walled courtyard lined with little white-washed cottages. These were built in the late 18th Century as some kind of almshouses for poor widows. The flaming heart and cross above the entrance refers to the responsible charitable organization.

As always on the first day of our September holiday, we ended up at the local park, and the town's green lung, which was established in 2002, and named after one of Poperinge's most famous sons, Dirk Frimout who, in 1992, was the first Belgian in space.

By then, it was past 3 pm, so we beat a hasty retreat to our car and, after stocking up on provisions at the local supermarket, drove down to the little cottage which would be our home for the next six days.

A little studio apartment above the owner's carport, it has everything you can possibly need, but our favourite feature is the magnificent view over the lake, which is part of the owner's domain, and towards the hills on the Flemish-French border in the distance.

We know from past experience that, as long as the weather's dry, this is the perfect backdrop for daily outfit photos so, starting as we meant to go on, here is what I wore on Tuesday.

This sky blue Diolen dress sprinkled with clusters of orange, yellow and white flowers has a twin sister in mustard, which I actually wore during last year's September holiday (see here). 

I accessorized it with an orange belt and a yellow beaded necklace. As we had some serious uphill walking in mind, my footwear of choice were the pink floral sneakers I charity shopped in Shrewsbury back in June.

As you might have noticed, Monday's blue skies had disappeared, making way for a blanket of dull grey and, even though it was still in the low twenties, this put a bit of a damper on things. Especially when we were treated to some light drizzle upon reaching our destination.

We were headed to Kemmel, a picturesque village in the hilly country south of Poperinge. 

We'd planned to do the walk we would do today on the final day of last year's holiday, when unfortunately we found our plans thwarted by a cycling event which would have been a great hindrance. Not having a death wish, our plans were aborted and we did something else instead that day.

This time, we weren't to be deterred! Nipping inside the tourist office for a map of the area, we were tempted by a sign pointing into the direction of the church opposite, where an exhibition of all things sweet was being held.

So, after a visit to the church itself, where we admired the modern stained glass and were enamoured by a clock without hands which we agreed would be perfect for our time-stopping plans, we made our way to the exhibition, where I demonstrated my ice-cream scooping skills.

Seeing all those sweets, cakes and biscuits had made us hungry, so we went in search of lunch, after which we were ready to start our intented walk.

This would skirt and climb the hill Kemmelberg. Berg is the Dutch word for mountain and, at 156 meters, the Kemmelberg is the highest in flat Flanders! Those of you living in countries with real mountains, please refrain from laughing! 

The start of our walk was in the local park, where the former castle of the Bruneel de la Warande family now houses Kemmel's town hall.

Initially, the climb was quite gentle, but once outside the park and into the provincial domain De Kemmelberg, the path starting climbing more seriously, meandering through the woods until, upon meeting a cobbled lane, a white wedding-cake building with an ornate tower could be glimpsed.

The building is a hotel and restaurant called the Belvédère, and its tower is a tourist attraction which can be climbed for a panoramic view. But as silly us only found this out after our visit, we'll have to return next year. 

Anyway, we still had another climb ahead of us before we were at the very top, which was marked by a stone pillar. They could have been considerate and supplied a bench for weary climbers to rest upon, but no!

Near the summit is an impressive French memorial which commemorates the heavy fighting which took place here in April 1918. 

The 18 metre-high column, popularly known as "The Angel", was erected in 1932 and looks wistfully over the battlefield where so many died.

A poppy wreath had been laid out on the stone pillar, and nearby we found a laminated photo of a soldier fastened to a tree. Written on the back was the soldier's name, Patrick Gammell, of the Royal Irish Fusiliers, who died here on 18 April 1918. 

Oh, these hills are alive with wartime memories!

Having reached the top, all was downhill from here. There were hazy views over the countryside to enjoy, as well as a field of sunflowers nestling in the Monet-like autumnal landscape.

Eventually we reached Kemmel's village square, where our car was parked. 

Driving towards our final destination for the day, a backward glance rewarded us with a view of the wooded Kemmelberg, the Belvédère tower appearing as a beacon among the trees.

A war memorial of a different kind is the Pool of Peace near the village of Wijtschate, 4 kilometers down the road from Kemmel.

This peaceful, secluded pool, 12 meters deep and with a diameter of 129 meters, is the site of the largest of 19 mines blown by the British Army under the German lines in the early hours of the morning of the 7th of June 1917, killing as many as 10000 German soldiers. 

As if on cue, the sky started darkening, with dramatically menacing clouds watching over this deceptively peaceful but war-riddled landscape.

Apart from that, it didn't look too well on the weather front. But more about that and what we did next in my next post.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Rainy days in August

In between packing our bags for our week away from it all - mopping our brows as this is sweaty business when it's nearly 30° Celsius - I'm squeezing in one more post to wrap up what's left of the month of August.

The last couple of weeks have been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me, so roll on next week, as I desperately need to recharge my batteries.

Roll on September too, as this is by far my favourite month of all. If she deigns to bless us with some Indian Summer days, they are so much more bearable than those in July and August, as it cools down considerably overnight. And I just love the sights, sounds and smells of impending Autumn!

But let's not get ahead of ourselves, as there's still the rest of August to talk about. 

We had a special treat in the week following our adventures in Wonderland, as the 15th of August, which fell on a Thursday this year, is a holiday in Belgium. We'd set our hearts on going for another walk, so wasn't it just our luck that the weather was damp and miserable? We just moped around the house feeling sorry for ourselves, until a brief break in the clouds finally drove us outside, making a dash for it between showers.

All dressed up and nowhere to go! We just went for a limb-stretching walk around the block, stopping at the rusty gates for some outfit photos.

I might have come straight from the eighties in this outfit, although it was by no means intentional. I was intent on wearing the funky print blouse I'd picked up at the charity shop the week before, and was struggling to find a skirt to wear with it when my eye was caught by this sky blue pleated skirt dotted with pink and green Paisley motifs. It was hanging with a handful of others at the side of my wardrobe as a reminder that I should wear them. 

And I hadn't worn this one before, ever. The skirt was picked up at Think Twice for a mere € 1 a couple of months ago and yes, this was its first outing. 

As the outfit was based around the blouse, I used all its colours for the rest of my attire. I added different shades of blue for my belt and necklace, green for my jacket and peachy pink for my ring and flower corsage.

On the right, you can see a close-up of my brooch. Apart from the blouse's blue and green, it is totally off-colour scheme with its purple background and yellow and red flowers.

Yes, yes, but what about that divine basket, I can hear you think. Well, it was a lucky find in a charity shop in Antwerp during one lunch break. I'm a sucker for a wicker basket as well as a seaside theme, and I swear to you, those two crabs were waving at me from afar. It was slightly out of shape and one of the edges needed restitching, but otherwise it was in perfect condition. And cute, obviously.

I had to be back at the office on Friday and - yes, you've guessed it - it was a sunny day! Argh!

Oh, never mind, there's always the weekend, we thought. But we must have been in the weather gods' bad books as yet again sullen skies and rain reigned on both days.

At least it stopped raining for long enough on Saturday for a stroll in the park en route to our favourite charity shop. There was even some watery sunshine to accompany us.

At first, not wanting to ruin my shoes by walking on the wet grass and muddy paths, we made some outfit photos at the newly installed fit-o-meter at the edge of the park.

Orange is such a pick-me-up on a dull day, isn't it? I love this polyester dress, with its orange abstract print on a pale peachy background, and solid orange buttons, collar and pocket tabs. Fake pockets, alas!

My brooch of choice is a delicate vintage one I bought from the Brooch Lady, and it doesn't often see the light of day. I'm forever worrying that one of the blue petals - which are some kind of elongated blue pearly beads - will break off, which would leave me heartbroken. But isn't it just perfect on the orange collar?

A white and orange striped vinyl belt with square buckle, bangles in blue and orange, as well as my famous blue handbag and faithful denim jacket completed my outfit.

If we didn't have much luck weather-wise, I'm pleased to say that the charity shop came up trumps and delivered some delectable goodies.

I found Jos a brand new H&M shirt, in black with a print of tiny white spectacles. Isn't it sweet?

This psychedelic sleeveless shift dress caught my eye and I was delighted that it was my size too.
It's by Caroline Biss, an upmarket Belgian fashion label, and would have retailed at around € 200. I'd never be willing to spend that much on one dress, but at € 5: yes please!

There was a jewellery sale too, and I admit I went a bit overboard.

Not much luck on Sunday either. It had been raining all morning, but we had to run an errand in a neighbouring village so that in spite of the dismal weather, we had to leave Dove Cottage's cozy confines.

Our errand completed, we found that the rain had momentarily stopped, so we headed down the road towards Hof ter Linden, a park established on the domain surrounding a Neoclassical manor house.

The crumbling house and its stable courtyard lie at the end of an enchanting linden avenue.

Restorations are still ongoing but one of the coach houses flanking the courtyard has now been turned into a brasserie, where we stopped for our customary cappuccinos.

It started drizzling again soon after we continued our walk, but I'd come prepared as I was wearing the groovy raincoat I'd scored in a charity shop in Church Stretton while on holiday in Shropshire in June. We were also carrying our big spotty umbrella which Jos tells me was purchased during a long ago UK holiday.

Nevertheless, we were glad of the house's portico, so that we could shelter from the rain and take some outfit photos.

Underneath the raincoat, I was wearing a long-sleeved charity shopped King Louie frock in burgundy with a pink, blue and green blowsy flower print. 

I added a hessian belt and one of the necklaces from Saturday's haul.

No sandals and bare legs that day: I was wearing nylons and my wonderful emergency booties, bought back in Spring when faced with a wardrobe malfunction while at work. They have certainly earned their keep by now and I even bought a second pair to avoid heartbreak when they eventually wear out.

Up close, the house's sorry state is all too apparent. I've read that restoration plans for the house are finally being finalized, but at the time of our visit, it had a definite air of desolation, which wasn't helped by the rain, which had by now increased in intensity.

There was nothing for it but to return the way we'd come, leaving the haughty sphinxes to guard the domain.

In the two weeks that followed, Summer returned once more and we even had another heatwave to contend with. 

But for now, we have come to the end of this post, so I'll have to show you the rest of my August outfits some other time.

Can't wait to start another series of adventures tomorrow. See you in a week's time!

Linking to Nancy's Fancy Friday - better late than never, as they say!