Saturday 30 May 2020

Imitation of life

Isn't it funny how time seems to fly by even faster in these pandemic times? Well, at least it does to me. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I'm working less hours, which results in strangely stunted weeks, interrupted by my two office days.
Whatever the case, it is almost beyond comprehension that tomorrow we will be bidding farewell to the fair month of May, and herald the coming of the first Summer month on Monday.

As traditionally June is our holiday month, the next few weeks will be a bit of a bitter pill to swallow. I'm not really feeling the need for time off as I've actually already been on a semi-staycation for two months. Therefore I have cancelled the two-week holiday I'd chalked in, preferring to keep those precious days for better times, when they eventually come.

We have also managed to change our UK holiday cottage booking to next June without any cost.

For now, I am continuing the pandemic diaries, for which I'm taking you back to Friday before last.

After Thursday's hot Summer weather, we woke up to a moody grey sky accompanied by muggy temperatures on Friday. By the time we'd finished breakfast, however, the sun had made one or two brief appearances. She even accompanied us on a walk into the village. While I visited the organic grocery shop, Jos went to pick up a newspaper for us as well as for our elderly neighbour, at the newsagent's around the corner. 

These errands finished, we walked along the high street to a shop selling all manner of homewares. At this time of year, they often stock garden items, so we wanted to see whether they had a small garden table and two chairs for our little courtyard. There was a queue, which would have made us turn heel, if we hadn't spotted the exact thing we were looking for in their window. Turned out that they were having a clearance sale - hence the queue - so that we were able to buy this lovely yellow set at half price. Result!

Hating the sight of the ugly white plastic parasol stand - a welcome gift from  a friend - I made it a cover by cutting up a never-used grey polka dot rain poncho bought in Bruges (top right) while on the bottom right you can see the famous solar powered garden spot, which we put in an abandoned pot, its soil covered with a generous layer of marbles.

Soon after these photos were taken, it started pelting down, but not before I'd positioned the pots of plants we'd bought on Tuesday into their planned future spots.

Oh, Phoebe, what will people think when they see you splayed out like that? Do think of your reputation! 

The Nasturtiums I sowed have all come up, both the ones in the biodegradable pots and toilet roll and the ones I sowed around the wire obelisk in my new border. 

It cleared up again by evening, enabling us to take some outfit photos. 

First wear for this vintage, red floral, butterfly winged frock. Judging from its label, it was made for me, as it's got my name on it: Lady ❤ Ann!

I pinned a pale green flower posy brooch to it and wore a darker green beaded necklace as well as an ivory coloured plastic bangle and a flower painted wooden one.

We were treated to a truly spectacular sunset that night, which I watched and photographed from our kitchen window.

Look at that amazing pink and indigo sky, blending and dissolving like clouds of paint into a glass of water, illuminating the garden with a magical glow.

Then, as the sun kept sinking lower, it set the sky on fire with a luminous blend of tangerines and oranges.

Sights like these make it even harder to fathom that all's not right with the world at large.

Saturday's weather was another blend of sunshine and clouds. Another day of pottering and watering, a task which - as remarked upon by Vix - seems to be taking longer every day. Not surprisingly, with the rate at which we've been adding more and more plants to our collection.

With the chronic lack of rain, there's talk of water shortage ahead, but we are lucky to be blessed with a water well, from which we can pump up fresh and cool water by way of a hand-pump in our bathroom. A bit cumbersome, with the pump itself being a bit of a hindrance from time to time, but at least we are able to save on mains water for quenching our garden's thirst.

I was wearing a vintage C&A faux-patchwork dress in blues, oranges and yellows. A charity shop find at the tail end of last Summer, I only wore it once before putting it into hibernation.

Again, it fit me better than it did last September, as I seem to have definitely lost some inches on my hips and waistline. 

I spent the afternoon planting out our latest acquisitions in their designated places, so that the new border has now been extended with both Oriental and Iceland poppies, Lamb's Ear, Penstemons and another Erigeron or Mexican fleabane, which I'd cheekily added to our cart on Tuesday.

The two wire structures (actually upside down plant hangers) next to the Penstemons have been put there to deter Phoebe from doing naughty business in that particular spot.

While I was digging up the border to accommodate the Penstemons, my trowel hit what at first looked like a flat reddish stone. Digging it up, it turned out to be a stone toadstool head. I'd never seen it before, so it must have been there since before we bought the house. It actually felt as if I'd found treasure!  After a good wash to remove most of the soil, it is now taking pride of place between the two lost-and-found bunnies. I loved the shade thrown on it by one of the Erigeron flowers!

The temperature had skydived on Sunday, leaving us with cold and windy weather.

With nothing to tempt me outside, I thought it was time for a bit of ironing. I'd been adding to my ironing pile for a couple of months, always finding another, more pleasurable job, to do instead.

It turned out not to be too bad, with a CD of soothing classical music playing in the background, but I was still glad it was finished.

Afterwards, I was still on a roll, so I decided to strike the iron while it was hot  - pun totally unintentional - and continue with the cleaning extravaganza.

Having left the kitchen behind me, it was now time for the adjoining dining room, starting with the 1930s display cupboard we scored for next to nothing in a charity shop about six years ago.

The beautifully decorated wooden panels at the bottom of its doors hide a multitude of sins. But it's the top half which, apart from the bevelled glass door panels, has glassed sides as well as a mirrored back, that holds some of our most precious treasures.

There's the blue Heatmaster tea set with its typical chrome insulated covers, picked up in a charity shop in Aberaeron, Wales, in 2015. We'd left it behind on a Saturday, regretted it on a Sunday, and made a one-hour round trip to buy it on a Monday.

Another Welsh souvenir, the 1930s green glass vanity set was a Cardigan car boot sale find on the first day of our holidays that same year.

The two tiny glasses in front of it (top right) are vintage eye baths from a local flea market.

This ornately decorated Art Deco style vanity set is made from so-called depression glass. It was love at first sight when we spotted it at an outdoor flea market in September 2014. We were amazed the asking price was only € 12.

By then, I'd run out of steam, so the Bakelite in the final compartment will be for another time.

It had turned even cooler in the meantime, accompanied by the odd drop of rain, so that I couldn't be persuaded outside for outfit photos.

Bar the top - I was wearing a green short-sleeved jumper on Sunday - I wore the outfit again on Monday, when the sunny weather had made a return.

I topped the Art Deco print white, green, yellow and navy pleated skirt with a a green polka dot peplum top, one of my all-time favourites. The finishing touches were a navy and white beaded necklace and a vintage brooch, its flowers made from tiny plastic beads.

More home and garden adventures to come in my next post. I hope to see you again, but in the meantime, please do stay safe!


  1. Your garden is looking fabulous! Love your new table and chairs, gorgeous colour.

  2. Oh, the sight of your yellow garden table and chairs makes my eyes so happy!

    Your outfits are gorgeous as well!

    I loved having a look at your green depression set and can't wait to see your bakelite set! X

    1. Thank you Jess! It makes my eyes very happy too :-) xxx

  3. that 30s cabinet is a dream!
    do you know that the glowing green color of the glass comes from uranium? if you go by with a geiger counter it starts ticking.
    but the dose is minimal - no danger :-D
    do you switch off the garden spots for the night? #light pollution.
    the mushroom head is a fun find - i found a "stocknagel" yesterday, but the image was completely gone.....
    i never iron anything - except while sewing - that is neccessary - and then i wet the finished garment before wearing it first time - because i hate that stiffness of ironed fabric.
    tons of hugs! xxxxx

    1. Thank you Beate! Yes, I did know about the uranium thing! I loved finding that mushroom head, I guess most people would have discarded it, but to me it's treasure. It's a pity the image on the stocknagel is almost gone. We do not switch off the garden spots. I'm sorry. There's a very bright street light outside our house, so I guess that's where the real light pollution is :-) xxx

  4. Hello Ann. I'm totally in love with your yellow outdoor table setting. How beautiful it looks amongst all the lush greenery of your garden. And that sunset is spectacular! It's lovely how we're all slowing down and paying attention to these things now.

    Isn't it a wonderful feeling to be able to fit into dresses that were once a little snug! I'm the opposite over here, have gained a couple of kilos and am finding things a little clingy! Nevermind, there are worse things to have to deal with!

    All three outfits are beautiful. The red floral dress with butterfly sleeves is so flattering on you. I'm also fond of the green polka-dot top.

    Can't believe that winter begins here tommorrow. Where did autumn go? I've been so busy tending to my dad with his ailing health the last couple of weeks that I've hardly paid attention to autumn's golden hues. Enjoy your Sunday.

    1. Thank you Suzy! It is indeed a great feeling that those snug dresses now fit me again. Not sure how long it will last, so I'd better make the most of it. I've always been one for watching sunsets, or the birds in the garden, but you're right, we now have more time to do so! xxx

  5. That table and chairs set is wonderful, it compliments the enamel sign perfectly! Well worth enduring the queue for.
    Your garden is looking more and more fabulous by the day, with all the work you're putting into it no wonder time is running away with you.
    Great idea on the Phoebe proofing. Stephen's suddenly developed a fancy for our row of beetroot but I saw a tip on a TV show this week about laying spiky leaves across growing plants to deter naughty cats, pruned the holly bush and it seems to have done the trick.
    That glazed wooden cabinet is gorgeous! Love the Heatmaster set you & Jos returned to the charity shop for, too.
    All your outfits look fabulous but I particularly love that red dress on you.
    I'm so happy to read that you've rebooked your holiday, this time next year we're going to be quivering with excitement, aren't we? xxxx

    1. Thank you Vix. The holly prunings sound like a good idea. We used to have two huge hollies, but even now they're gone, there are still some of their offspring to be found all over the garden! We were so relieved that Heatmaster set was still there. And that we were able to rebook our holiday, too! It's still such a long way off, but I'm sure we'll be super excited, even more than usual! xxx

  6. That floral dress is beautiful on you and I really like that skirt you wore at the end! :) It's nice seeing how well your garden is going and that you are enjoying having time to tend to it. I'm finding our days are flying by so quickly, the kids keep me busy and now that school is back I'm actually getting a lot done at work which helps I think.

    Hope you are having a great weekend :) We celebrated our wedding anniversary yesterday, just at home with takeaway but it was nice :)

    Away From Blue

    1. Thank you Mica, and Happy Anniversary! A takeaway sounds about right, it doesn't have to be fancy, does it? xxx

  7. I'm amazed too that it is June already. I think time runs faster because nothing happens so to speak. There are no events that brighten up the daily life. Anyway, I am glad I know how to enjoy the time at home. We also cancelled our vacation plans. However, as a teacher there is a holiday in each season. Summer break means "Grand Tour Switzerland" as we have planned before Corona.

    Tomorrow is another Sunday. I thought it was okay to clean four windows this morning when nobody was up and could see me. ;-)

    I also marked the essays of my students. Now I have this good, satisfying feeling.

    How exciting to go on a walk this afternoon. ;-)

    All the best to you!


    1. Thank you Regula! You might be right about the reason why time is running so fast. Nice to hear you'll be doing Grand Tour Switzerland this Summer. We finally got the green light that we can travel inside Belgium, so our trip in September can go ahead as planned. xxx

  8. Congratulations on snapping up the table and chair set, it’s such a lovely pop of colour.
    I’ve been thinking about you and how you’ll be missing your annual holiday. I’m glad you’ve managed to rebook for 2021 Ann, better safe than sorry.
    You and Vix are doing a great job on recording what lockdown means to you. I on the other hand have reverted back to my journal. I did something last night I never do. I read it through from the start and I was amazed at how much has happened since the start of Covid19. Although my journal doesn’t have pictures I still feel it is better for my mental health than blogging. I am more open in it.
    I’ll carry on enjoying your lovely posts and do occasional ones on mine.
    Till next time. Lots of love from us two xxx

    1. Thank you Lynn. There is no way we would have been able to travel to the UK anyway, so it's a blessing we were able to rebook and not lose our money like we'd feared. It is true that one is more open in a personal journal. I am keeping one too, and edit a lot out in my blog! Sending you lots of love right back! xxx

    2. We are so alike Ann. Take care my lovely friend xxx

  9. There are some beautiful items here Ann. I love the head masters set and fancy finding that treasure! And as for ironing piles, that's minute to mine! Oh well, saved for my rainy day! xx

    1. Thank you Laurie! That was only part of my ironing pile, mind you! And I've got another one waiting for a rainy day as well :-) xxx

  10. Such a beautiful sky, looking at a beautiful su set is always so peaceful.
    I love the yellow table and chairs, such a happy colour.
    The red dress looks fab, it suits you so well.
    I'm glad you were able to rebook your holiday. One of these days perhaps we'll meet up when you're over here:)
    I love your green glass.
    Have a good and safe week ahead. xxx

    1. Thank you Sally! I love a sunset! And yes, it would be lovely to meet one day. We've never been to Cambridge ... xxx

  11. I adore green depression glass-that set is a beauty.
    The garden is looking great.

    1. Thank you Goody, that green depression glass set is one of my favourites. xxx

  12. That Lady Ann dress was definitely made for you, Lady Ann! ;) Such a beautiful print and style. I love all your colourful outfits! That green glass set sure was a wonderful find! Your garden is looking fabulous! Those sunset photos are amazing too. I was indeed shocked to see Miss Phoebe in such a compromising position! Haha ;) ;) Hope you had a relaxing weekend and have a wonderful week ahead, Ann! XXX

    1. Thank you Sasha :-) I know, wasn't Phoebe acting disgraceful? xxx

  13. Phoebe, really!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I love your new additions to the garden (I realllly want Nasturtiums too- can't seem to find any...or any seeds anywhere!)
    How cool to find the Toadstool!
    Yessss, the watering is taking SOOOOO long now!!
    How good you have that well though! I've been dilligently taking the bucket into the shower and using that each day. CBC has also been doing it, albeit a bit grudgingly at first!!
    I love your depression glass set- so beautiful!
    I agree thaht the time is going so quickly! With me too!
    Your yellow chair and table set is beautiful and so nice it was half price!
    I was chatting to my neighbour over the fence yesterday and he runs a garden furniture company and he was saying that everyone is going mad for garden furniture here so he's completely out of stock, even on the really expensive stuff!

    1. I know!!! Strange that you cannot seem to find Nasturtium seeds, but then again, I can't find any Nigella seeds! Well, not in the garden centre we frequent anyway. I can certainly imagine people spending more time and money on their gardens right now. xxx

  14. You have such a lovely little garden.. an oasis.

  15. Ooh, I love the bright yellow table and chairs - so sunny and cheery! They match the antique sign so well. I laughed at Phoebe's pose - I bet she would snap at you if you tried to rub her tum! Your garden is looking amazing, Ann!

    Love your red butterfly-winged dress, and oh, the sunsets are so beautiful this time of year, aren't they? Your blue and red outfit is wonderful - how amazing that you dug up that toadstool treasure! What stories it could tell! Your green Art Deco skirt is truly wonderful, and perfectly apt that it goes with your Depression-era glass!

    Here's to another week, my friend! Stay safe, and chill.

    1. Thanks darling! You've got that right: trying to rub Phoebe's belly is akin to risking your life! I can never resist taking photographs of a sunset, even in our boring suburban setting. xxx

  16. Wow what a wonderful sunset.
    You can spent your holiday next June? 2021? Great! Time flys...
    And wow to you in art deco green skirt ♥
    A very huge hug Tina

    1. Thank you Tina! Isn't it wonderful we were able to rebook our holiday? At least that way we won't lose the money and already have something to look forward to! xxx

  17. What a lovely garden table and chair set - and half price, too! Very bargainous...

    Loved the outfits and I have fallen love with that green skirt with the fabulous print in the last outfit. Think of me if you ever get tired of it...

    The garden is looking very welcoming and your toadstool head find was indeed treasure! I also loved the pot of marbles with the solar light in it.

    I had no idea you could take the metal bits off the teapot set - how lovely it is. And I can't believe you have 2 green glass vanity sets both of which are absolutely beautiful. The cabinet is so cool,too.

    Amazing sunset pics!
    Take care

    1. Thank you Vronni! Yes, we were definitely very lucky with that table and chair set. It was the only one left as well! I'll think of you when I ever get tired of the skirt :-) The metal bit on the teapot has insulation inside, but obviously the milk jug and sugar bowl haven't. Two green vanity sets might seem a bit much, but they're sufficiently different, which I think is a good enough reason :-) xxx

  18. Hi Ann, I love the colours of your dresses. They are powerful, bright and full of strength. And your garden looks very nice, too :-)

    1. Thank you very much Susanne, nice of you to visit! xxx

  19. The lady Ann red dress looks amazing on you. It was obviously made for you. The second dress is also lovely and I like how you belted it. The blouse and skirt combo is very pretty too.

  20. You are not alone at all in feeling that time has been passing remarkably quickly all things considered. I did not feel that way by and large about March - the month when the pandemic really started to tear across North America - but April and May have, all things considered, sped by remarkably fast.

    While I want the pandemic to have been over yesterday, of course, it would be nice if the whole year didn't vanish in the blink of an eye. Chances are it may, so we'll just to make the most of each gift of a moment that we're fortunate to have while it's here with us.

    Wishing you guys a serene, super safe, sunny, and entirely lovely June, dear Ann!

    Big hugs,
    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life

    PS: I'm smitten beyond smitten with your marvelous vintage green glass collection. 💚

    1. Thank you Autumn! I do hope we still get to enjoy some of this year. They are easing the restrictions here, and we've heard we can now travel within our country, which means that at least - fingers crossed - we won't have to cancel the short holiday we planned for September! xxx

  21. So sorry that you had to cancel your british holidays! (I canceled mine a month ago, and I'm still hoping to see if my September holiday in Portugal could be possible!). And totally agree that time runs quickly these days, I'm amazed that spring is a thing of the past. It feels so strange to me!
    Lovely post and lovely to see your garden and the new yellow set in this cute corner which is looking more and more fabulous!.
    Love your Lady Ann dress, so joyful print!, and such cool accessories, the wooden bracelet is lovely!.
    Lovely photos of you watering the plants in your fab outfit, the 'patchwork' dress and red accessories totally rock!, love your headband with the red flower!
    I'm in love with your 30's cupboard and the magnificent blue set, and those glass vanitity sets, particularly the ArtDecó style one, such a beauty!
    And also loving your last outfit, I have a weakness for anything ArtDecó related!. And your top goes so nicely, such a brilliant ensemble. No wonder it's one of your favourite ones!. Gorgeous!

    1. Thank you Monica! We have just been told we can now travel inside Belgium, so that - fingers crossed - we can go ahead with our usual September break. I have a weakness for Art Deco too and that vanity set is one of my favourite finds ever. xxx

  22. Oh you were planning on going to the UK in June? We hope to go in September but I'm doubting it! That dress was surely made for you!It's gorgeous, fabulous sleeves!

    1. Fingers crossed for September, but of course everything depends on how things evolve in the UK, doesn't it? We can now travel inside Belgium, so at least our September break in the west of Belgium looks as if it can go ahead! xxx