The year's final month tiptoed in on a Tuesday. In stockinged feet, time only left the faintest of footprints as it passed the threshold into December. The clocks tick-tocked on relentlessly, another handful of minutes of daylight shaved off each day until the Winter Solstice turning point.
The weather gods kept having the last laugh with temperatures up and down like a yo-yo and the sun playing a game of tag with the clouds.
On the menu that Tuesday, intermittent drizzle, followed by a peek-a-boo appearance of the sun and a dessert of heavy showers, the mixture drizzled with a neither here nor there 10°C.
That morning, my wardrobe offered a seasonal symphony of greens and reds, which started with the soft-as-silk faux-suede bottle green skirt.
Both the skirt and the lightweight jumper have their origins in well-known high street shops, but while the skirt was last Winter's sales bargain from Uniqlo, the mid-century look jumper is Zara by way of a charity shop.
Short enough to wear over my skirt rather than tucked in, I treated the jumper to a square buckled belt in exactly the same shade of green as the skirt. My jewellery collection came up trumps with a beaded necklace in a similar colour as well. And speaking of mid-century, the vintage brooch I pinned to the jumper, a flea market find with an Edelweiss in the starring role, is the real thing.
As we had an errand to run, a generous helping of burgundy was added in the shape of my boots and tweed-and-knit vintage jacket. I kept to green with my beret, but added a dollop of blue, orange and magenta with my wavy knit scarf.
Zipper teeth rather than moths had left several holes in the scarf, so in order not to make matters worse, I dug into my stash of charity shopped darning wool and settled down to some mending.
With the day a definite write-off on the weather front, my next task was selecting new reading matter from the shelf of unread books in our spare room.
I'm trying to be severe and only keep those books that have really gripped me and redonate the rest. However, I'm still fastly running out of space and have already resorted to creating double layers as well as cramming books into every available nook and cranny.
The piles on the bottom shelf below are just the tip of my reading iceberg, picked up in charity shops here as well as on our UK holidays over the years. As I still keep adding to it, there's no fear of a reading black hole here at Dove Cottage!
An old IKEA uplighter with added reading lamp, it had lived next to our sofa for many years. Lately, however, it had started leaning precariously, as the tube was detaching itself from its base.
Jos's attempt to do some temporary repairs failed bitterly, and as it looked as if toppling over was imminent, which would have caused quite a bit of damage in the process, we needed to replace it without delay.
We'd already tried a local DIY store, without success. Nor did our visit to a well-known lighting shop bring any solace, as apparently they were having a closing down sale, which resulted in the inevitable queues.
On Thursday afternoon, after consulting several shop websites, we finally found what we were looking for in another DIY store a bit further afield. As we are restricted to solo shopping, Jos went into the shop to get it while I waited in the car, keeping myself amused by taking a selfie and snapping the view through the rain-streaked windshield.
And here it is in situ! I'm not sure I'm too keen on its streamlined look, but it does do what it's meant to do, and much better than the ancient uplighter too. Besides, we can always customize it by replacing the lampshade with something more appropriate later!
The good thing is that we didn't have to spend any money on it, as we were able to pay with Ecocheques. These are vouches which most Belgian employees get on a yearly basis and which can be used to purchase energy saving devices and all kinds of environmentally friendly stuff.
For my outfit, I took the lead from the plummeting temperatures by selecting a vintage, midi-length wool-blend dress, baskets of flowers dotted liberally on its black background.
Accessories were a multi coloured beaded necklace, an ice blue cat brooch, a translucent aqua flower ring and a turquoise belt. All of it second-hand finds, apart from the brooch.
The watery sunshine Friday started with was no match for the clouds which soon chased it away, leaving us with a dismal, cold and windy days.
This meant that our new lamp was already put to the test, working overtime to lift the daytime gloom. Its position right in front of the display cabinet in the corner did however show up the accumulated dust on the glass shelves, which were long overdue a thorough clean. This would be my task for that morning.
The cabinet in question holds Jos's collection of EXPO 58 memorabilia, his fascination for the 1958 Brussels World Fair dating back to his visits to the fair as an impressionable young boy.
His modest collection got quite a boost on the World Fair's 50th Anniversary back in 2008 when lots of forgotten items were unearthed from attics where they'd languished under layers of dust for years. Often commanding absurdly astronomical prices, unfortunately.
In the afternoon, I continued with a task I'd started over Summer, weeding through stacks of holiday brochures and leaflets and putting them into appropriately labelled box folders.
When visiting National Trust, English Heritage or privately owned properties, we always try and buy a guide book, and I was happy to rediscover those of William Morris's Kelmscott Manor, visited in 2006, and Virginia Woolf's Monk House, visited one year earlier.
The Black Country short breaks and days out guides took me by surprise. Apparently, back in 2007, when we were trying to decide which area of the UK to visit next, I'd applied for these online. We eventually went to Herefordshire that year, but little did I know I would meet Vix, who is a Black Country girl, several years later!
There must have been a break in the clouds later that day as not only were we able to take outfit photos in the garden, I am squinting in bright sunlight here. As a matter of fact, most of the photos we'd taken turned out far too bright and bleached of colour, so I'm using the best of the bunch here.
I was wearing a long-sleeved navy Diolen dress printed with sky blue and sea green motifs, yet again using greens for my opaques, belt and necklace, but adding a splash of orange with my brooch.
The blue boots were a charity shop find from just before Lockdown 2.0.
I might have been squinting in the sun, but there's no denying our micro-climate little garden is relishing the rare rays which are keeping some of our flowers going well into December.
Aren't they a cheerful sight on a bleak December day?
I'll be back in a couple of days, but in the meantime I hope you are all staying safe, sane and fabulous, my friends!