Friday 10 April 2020

Some days are better than others

There are days when I'm jumping out of bed, refreshed and impatient for the day to begin, mentally ticking things off my to-do list even before breakfast.

They come in leaps and bounds, these days, even in this strange time when I'm constantly teetering on the edge, my nerve ends frayed almost beyond repair.

Such days tend to be more frequent when the sun is there to greet me, so that I can join nature in pretending nothing's wrong among the fresh green foliage of our garden.

But there are days when even the fact that the sun is shining cannot get me going and a dark mood is threatening to descend any minute.

Still, I manage to get dressed and even find pleasure in choosing my outfit, piling on colour as if there's no tomorrow.

That almost forgotten midi skirt with its green plaid pattern is soon joined by a blue long-sleeved blouse, its colourful print of circles and flowers vying for attention. A navy leather belt is added, as well as a pair of fuchsia opaques. The final touches are provided by a pink beaded necklace and a brooch with a bouquet of blowsy flowers.

The bathroom awaits with its lotions and potions which promise to banish the bags under your eyes and wake up tired looking skin.

And hubby has made the usual Saturday breakfast of eggs, bacon and cherry tomatoes, accompanied by cups of strong of coffee to get the juices flowing.

There, that's better!

Wandering upstairs after breakfast, I started folding some woolly Winter skirts, ready for their annual sojourn in the linen chest, and tidied away a couple of books on the shelves in the spare room.

There, my eye was drawn by a sumptuous piece of pink and gold ribbon peeking out from a basket on the desk. Seeing this made me a bit teary-eyed again, as in its former life the ribbon was tied around a parcel of joy I got from Vix last June. Not being able to make holiday plans and arrange our yearly meet-up is one of the hardest things for me.

The basket also contained several notes and postcards from blogging friends, so then I had the brainwave of creating a memento by pinning the ribbon to the bookshelf and adding the notes and postcards with some tiny wooded clothes pegs I found lying around.

From top to bottom, there's a card from Vix, a photograph of Lynn, a postcard  Kezzie sent me when she was staying in Gent, a little note from Tina which accompanied a bar of soap I'd won on her blog, one of the cat brooches Goody sent me, and one of Lynn's delightful Doodly Birds.

With the weather too good to be wasted inside, we decided some exercise wouldn't go amiss so, closing the door behind us for the first time in days, we went for a little neighbourhood walk.

This took us to a park which is almost literally on our doorstep but which we hadn't visited in a long time.

The park is part of a domain which used to belong to an order of nuns, but which was taken over by the local council in the 1980s.

I grew up in the village we are now living in and, while the park itself was private property during my childhood, the adjacent large playground, opened in 1961, and run by the nuns, was a major attraction which put our drowsy village on the tourist map during the Summer months.

Nothing is left of the playground nowadays. It closed in 1986 and where once the cafeteria stood, where we were lured by ice cream and lemonade, an ugly concrete building  was erected to house the few remaining nuns.

Apart from a couple of joggers and one or two families and individuals out for a walk, the park was reasonably quiet, making social distancing relatively easy, the only problem being that some of the paths are quite narrow and required a bit of maneuvering.

But it was all worth it, even if only for the daintily nodding wood anemones which was carpeting the park. 

And true to ourselves, we even managed to get lost!

My spirits properly restored, I was feeling happier on Sunday. The weather did its best to cooperate, nudging the temperature towards a balmy 20° Celsius.

Time to ditch the long sleeves and bring out the first of the short-sleeved frocks! 

That day, the honour fell to this red vintage dress, its white polka dots joined by blue, red and white stripes at its hem, collar and cuffs.

I wore my Mum's navy, white buckled belt with it, and a turquoise necklace and ring. And look, the lady on my brooch is wearing white on red polka dots too!

And short sleeves just beg for bangles and bracelets, don't they?

Feeling more energetic, I tackled a kitchen drawer and cupboard for starters, then cleaned up the area just outside our back door, getting rid of a small mountain of dry leaves and other garden waste which had accumulated between the pots and underneath our cast iron boot scraper.

Here and there, the fuzzy little flowers of yellow dead-nettle were rearing their heads. They were inherited with the garden and, with their silver spotted leaves, they are always a welcome sight in Spring.

Another regular is Honesty, with its profusion of purple flowers, giving way to papery seed-heads looking like silver coins, and thus providing interest for several months.

It self-seeds freely around the garden, always turning up in the most unexpected of places, but welcome wherever it decides to grow.

I'll be returning with further home and garden adventures in my next post.

Until then, take care and stay safe!


  1. Cross-posting!!
    Funnily enough I had a pang of sadness earlier when I realised that we'd normally be excitedly emailing with our meet-up plans. Can you imagine how giddy with anticipation we'll be this time next year?
    Jos is the king of the cooked breakfast, you certainly look like you're enjoying that feast.
    Your walk looked wonderful, what an interesting place. That bridge reflected in the water makes the most tranquil photograph.
    I love both your outfits and your Mum's belt, how special! Jos's jacket is rather fabulous, too.
    You're doing well with your sorting and tidying. Apparently tortoises love honesty and I haven't seen any in the garden for years.
    Wishing you, Jos and Phoebe a calm, peaceful and sunny Easter. xxx

    1. I know! I try not to dwell on it too much, as it would make me too sad. Can't wait for next year though. The park is a wonderful place, but it's about the only place we can go to around here, so it tends to be too crowded. Thank you for noticing Jos's jacket, which I found for him in a charity shop last year! xxx

  2. It's good to hang onto the "good" days, isn't it? I haven't shared it on the blog, but one of my dearest friends just found out that she has Stage 4 breast cancer: it's in her lungs, bones and brain, so it's not looking good. We have all been devastated by it, but apparently the brain can get used to almost anything, and we go on living day-to-day. It's heartbreaking not to be able to see one's friends.

    I would love to send you something to add to your ribbon! My email is in my profile, if you click on the "about me" - I will send you something in the mail! Seeing Vix's comment above, I love the "this time next year" attitude - we have to keep that in mind, and look forward to things.

    Your outfits are so cheery and fabulous, from all the colours in the first one, to the polka dots in the second (with matching brooch, of course!). Lovely that you and Jos made it outside for a walk, even if you did get lost! Hmmm...L never cooks breakfast for me!

    A very happy Easter to you, Jos and her majesty, Ms. Phoebe.

    1. It saddens me to know about your friend, Sheila. That must be incredibly hard to deal with. Yes, we do have to hang on and try to find things to look forward to. Oh, and Jos is the main cook here ... xxx

  3. Such a lovely idea to pin down and arrange postcards and notes from your blogging friends on your book shelf. Yes, not seeing friends and/or family is the hardest part of this whole situation. All plans of meet ups and trips cancelled.

    That park that used to belong to nuns looks lovely. A nice place to take a stroll in...and one that brings back memories. I find myself getting lost in time more frequently as of late. Maybe because I had spent so much time on this island while I was growing up and now I find myself here again. It is a shame that the playground wasn't preserved, I'm sure it was a nice place. Well, at least you can walk in the park. I imagine that it being nearly deserted makes social distancing easier. It is an easier thing to do in places that aren't very populated. Since the government banned non residents from coming to Croatian islands and the measurements being enforced quite strongly, the streets are very deserted here. I haven't spoken to a soul in person apart from my husband in who knows how long (I do talk with friends and see them with the help of technology). Here there aren't many people to start with so even during those rare moments I get out, I don't see or talk to anyone. It is starting to become a bit odd. One misses talking with people in person. I suppose it is worse for my husband, he felts trapped here. I have my work so it is easier for me...still it is hard not being able to see my grandmother and family....but we must be patient.

    That green plaid midi dress is so pretty. I love the printed top you paired it with. The red dress you've got on is beautiful as well. Polka dots are always so feminine and chic. The blue necklace looks great paired with that red dress btw.

    1. Thank you Ivana! I think the government made a wise decision. We are not allowed to travel to the seaside either, even if one has a second home over there. It is indeed quite odd not seeing or speaking to anyone .. xxx

  4. The days have very much been of the up/down variety here as well. I'd love to get out for a walk somewhere other than my immediate neighbourhood but people were crowding into them so horribly the mayor had to close them. I understand the decision, but am still a bit sad about it.

    Your green and white skirt is such a joy. The pattern and colour are just perfect for spring. And short sleeves at last! There's something to celebrate.

    1. It's much the same here, parks and green spaces are either closed or far too crowded. I find it sad too - I'm craving my usual nature fix - but find it much safer staying at home as much as possible! xxx

  5. It's good you could get out and enjoy the nice weather, and I really like your Sunday outfit! that's such a cute dress and the blue accessories look nice with it :)

    Over here it would not matter if the playground was still there - all of our playgrounds have been roped off or had the swings zip tied to the frames so you can't use them, because of the virus, with big signs up everywhere. I hadn't been taking my kids out to the park because I was worried how I'd handle the "we can't use the playground even though it's there" conversation, but now it's fenced off we walked past it the other day and they were very understanding it was just as I told them, only for a little while until the germs go away!

    Hope that you are having a lovely Easter weekend :)

    Away From Blue

    1. Thank you Mica! Actually, all our playgrounds are roped off as well. It mustn't be easy explaining the situation to your boys! xxx

  6. We shouldn't think to much. There is nothing we can change. Well I am very angry about this "Corona" app and find it most disturbing that poeple actually agree to it.

    The sun makes a difference. Anyway, I don't like that much Sundays in a row. I'm glad it's Saturday and I can do some chores. Yesterday was a "Chicken"day today will bei household.

    Take care!

    1. It's indeed the best thing not to overthink things too much, and I am actually managing quite alright, even if I'm a natural worry-wort. I certainly won't be agreeing to any app! xxx

  7. those colors - wonderful!!!
    should dig out my colored tights/opaques - spring (and autumn) with its in-between temps is the only time i like to wear them.....
    how nice to have a park nearby - big enough to get lost :-D and thanks for the sneak peek onto your bathroom shelf.
    i think its totally normal to have good and bad days/moods. once i tried a plant medicine that smoothed this out - it felt very weird after a while! instead i made a habit of welcomming the bad day too by slowing down, cancel social contact and, if possible, staying in bed. no pressure to be nice and pretty :-D
    tons of hugs! xxxxxx

    1. Thank you Beate! I am actually living in coloured opaques :-) Ha ha ha, that park isn't big enough to get lost in at all. We just hadn't been there for a while and took a wrong turn! I think you should go with the flown and let bad feelings in when they are there. Smoothing them out isn't healthy. My colleague constantly does that - always outwardly happy-happy - and then she got a burn out! xxx

  8. It's hard to think of all the things that we won't be doing, but we are gaining time to be at home, to be together, I'm planning on enjoying what I can and looking forward to the rest as and when we can resume normal life.
    How can you forget that green midi? I really should finish the zip on mine, I've taken the old one out and am plucking up the courage to put the new one in, or attempt to anyway!
    I've just planted some Honesty seeds, I hope they grow. Our gardens always offer some form of distraction, we're installing a hand pump in the pond today so I don't have to worry about my water butt being empty. I'm so excited to use it!
    I like your idea of a memory ribbon, it's really pretty.
    Take care

    1. Thank you Hazel. In fact, I think being at home together and enjoying some quiet time is priceless. I've even got time to dig out half-forgotten items from my wardrobe ;-) xxx

  9. Not being able to make holiday plans is one of the hardest things. You just have to keep finding joy and solace in other things like the garden and trust the better times will be back. xx

    1. Thank you Gisela. Trying to find joy in my home and garden has been very beneficial. I hope you are coping OK? xxx

  10. Being outside is calming isnt it? I've been walking everyday and taking notice of nature.
    I love that you have the same attitude to gardening that I do. These beautiful 'weeds' that self seed are more than welcome in my garden too. I like it natural.
    I'm glad Jos is looking after you so well, cooking you breakfast, I hope your spirits are up and sending you both Easter greetings and warmest wishes for peace and joy. xxx

    1. Thank you Sally! I'm all for beautiful "weeds". I once dug up some lesser Celandines from the wild and put it in our garden where it thrived for many years. xxx

  11. I found some honesty growing in our little nature reserve when out with the grandson last week and wondered if it was the same as the one with the silvery discs as this one was a sort of cerise pink. I checked it out on PlantSnap which is an app on my phone.

    I'm glad you're having sunnier and warmer weather - it really lifts ones spirits, doesn't it?

    It's great you live close to a park - I do too. I loved the yellow dead head nettle what a fab flower to have in your garden.

    Fab outfits as always.

    1. I've read that there are pink and white varieties of honesty, although I've personally only seen the purple ones. I do love the silvery discs! The yellow dead nettle actually came with our garden! xxx

  12. I feel the same Ann. I've only left the house a few times to let the dogs run in the field near our home. I'm just coming into my sixth week of isolation due to doctors orders for my dearest. Some days I find joy in having so much time on my hands and other days are just so long! xx

    1. You can't be too careful, can you? My husband is in his 70s, and thus at a risky age. Take care Laurie! xxx

  13. Short sleeves and bangles go together like PB&J, blue skies and sunshine, or fall and all things pumpkin spice. I'm with you there completely and just adore the vibrantly lovely pairing that you put together for that wonderful warm weather ensemble, dear Ann.

    Autumn Zenith ­čÄâ Witchcrafted Life

    1. Thank you so much Autumn! I'm making the most of my large collection of bangles. I usually have to take them off in the office, as they make it hard working on a keyboard. xxx

  14. Lovely green skirt and fab outfit, such a beautiful color combo, love your pink tights and the purple jacket!, You totally rock!. Glad that you could go for a walk and enjoy the park (so interesting to have a look at those old pics!)
    And totally lovely polka dot dress, and so delightful that weather was warm enough to enjoy short sleeves!. I'm loving this color combo too, and the fab accessorizing which put a smile on my face!
    Hope that those not-so-happy days will be fewer as spring comes. Wish you lots of sunshine!

    1. Thank you so much, Monica! I'm so glad my outfits put a smile on your face. Yours actually have the same effect on me! xxx