Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Reasons to be cheerful

I've got every reason to be cheerful these days. The sun has been gracing us with her presence, for starters. Then, last Friday, I finally got my first Pfizer vaccine jab, leaving me with no nasty side effects apart from a slightly sore arm on Saturday. And last but not least, as if to put the icing on the cake, I became a step-nana courtesy of Jos's son, whose partner gave birth to a beautiful baby boy called Cas  on Saturday! Who said life couldn't be sweet, even in these uncertain times!



But while the two last events were still almost a week's worth of days away on Sunday before last, we had already been enjoying a handful of gorgeously sunny days by then.  

Fully aware of the weather's fickleness, we wanted to make the most of the balmy temperatures by going for a walk before the weather gods would change their minds.

Going for a hike, however, is no excuse for not getting dressed up, the only concessions I'm making being in my footwear - I opted for a comfortable pair of lightweight walking shoes - and my trusty walking stick. The latter does make all the difference, offering the necessary support for my rickety knees and back.



Our destination of choice was once again Blaasveldbroek, the magical nature reserve which some of you have accompanied me to quite a few times before.

With its 675 hectares and myriad of paths to choose from, we were practically assured of some solitude, even if more people seemed to be out and about than usual. And who could blame them, really, after those wet and miserable couple of weeks? There's more than enough room for social distancing and, apart from the odd group who, mind-boggling as it is, still seemed to struggle with the concept, people were generally courteous and well-behaved.



Mere minutes after we started out, we veered left towards the jetty I'm standing at the end of in the opening photo. This is a quiet and enchanting place to stop and stare for a minute or two. 

A fancy duck glided by, two playful ducklings in tow, when all of a sudden the stillness was shattered by squabbling and squawking when the family unit came across a rival hiding in the undergrowth.

Continuing on our way, we soon approached a T-junction, where we turned left again, the path snaking between lush summer meadows and reed bordered ponds. A chorus of frogs erupted in song when we passed, their ear-shattering whirring and croaking drowning out the far-away calls of a cuckoo.



Even if the majority of this watery wonderland is barely above sea level, I don't think we have ever seen it this waterlogged, except perhaps one Winter many years ago, when this meadow had turned into a shallow lake. Don't be fooled by its current appearance, though, as the grassland and its abundance of wildflowers are up to their ankles in floodwater. 



Parts of the network of paths had been flooded too, so that we had to alternately wade through the resulting puddles or try to skirt them by way of the grassy verges, with treacherous brambles often lying in wait.

We enjoyed a picnic sitting on a bench overlooking one of the main lakes, then continued along a path which lead us through other-worldly half-submerged woodland. 

Legend has it that in ancient times fairies and marsh spirits lived in the area, which used to be virtually inaccessible. With the sunlight diffused through the canopy of the trees and throwing dappled shade upon the opalescent water, it isn't hard to imagine those fairies and marsh spirits still living the life of Riley here in these woods.


The path we took eventually passes a large, tree-bordered meadow where we usually stop for outfit photos. Here, the grassland was waterlogged too, which rather limited our options.

Still, we found a dry-ish area, where I could prance around in my Diolen frock of choice, with the high grasses tickling my legs. I should have known better, as in spite of wearing tights, one or two hungry insects which preferred to remain incognito, had a field day on my left leg. 



I love how the impressionist print of my dress, and in particular the white brush strokes, seems to echo the meadow grasses.

Orange is my default colour to wear with this dress, and if my memory does not fail me both the orange belt and the blue blazer with its pattern of orange leaves have accompanied it here on the blog at least once before. 



Perhaps I was even wearing the same orange beaded necklace? The orange cat brooch is a recent purchase, so at least that one is a first.



Back at home, we delighted in the variety of blooms in the garden. The warmth of the sun on top of all that life-giving rain had caused quite a growing and blooming spurt!

Clockwise from top left are the first of the pastel coloured Sweet Peas, which have joined Aquilegia 'Crimson Star', Trollius 'Lemon Queen' and Aquilegia alpina.



And what about fiery red Geum 'Mrs. Bradshaw', deep indigo Petunia 'Picotee Blue', festive yellow and red striped Gazania and delicate white, maroon speckled Mimulus?

Isn't Mother Nature magnificent?



Yet another reason to be cheerful followed on Monday. 

A quiet office day courtesy of Memorial Day in the US, the continuing sunny weather lured me outside during my lunch break. A spring in my step carried me to my favourite Think Twice shop, which I used to visit on a weekly basis before Covid threw a spanner in the works.

I hadn't been there since September, and my 10 minute walk there from the office felt strange and familiar in equal measure.



As the shop had reached its full capacity, I had to wait outside for a couple of minutes. No surprise there, as they were in the middle of one of their famous sales. That day, everything was going for € 5.

Feeling like a child in a toy shop, I browsed the aisles, finding several things that tickled my fancy. 

My catch of the day included a 1970s chocolate brown polka dot wrap skirt and a blue, russet and white exotically patterned skirt in a lined, viscose-like fabric, which I suspect is somebody's handiwork.




From the full to bursting rail of dresses, I selected a Crimplene multi-coloured jigsaw print one and a delightful floral cotton frock in delicious shades of green and blue. The latter's crisp fabric and label, proudly proclaiming its Austrian origins, leads me suspect it has never been worn.



Judging from the stiffness of its 100% cotton fabric and pristine label, the same can be said for the brown and grey sleeveless dress. On top of its dotty stripes, sewn into a chevron pattern in the skirt, it zips down the front and, best of all, boasts two inseam pockets as a bonus.

The tunic/blouse with its riotous yellow, blue and cream pattern, was the only top which made the grade. 

Last but not least, I fell hard for this wicker and faux-leather shoulder bag, which I'm planning to us as my working bag this Summer.


A final reason to be cheerful, and one which has been a constant for three months now, is the presence of Bess in our lives. 

She loves sitting on the dining room window sill, from where she can keep an eye on what's going on in the passageway. Jos found her making friends with a grey neighbourhood tabby sitting on the adjacent kitchen window ledge the other day, We had to rescue the houseplant sitting to her left, as she started digging its soil, and she even managed to "type" on my grandfather's Corona typewriter sitting to her right!

Just like Phoebe, she loves helping (bottom right) but unlike Phoebe she can be quite rowdy. One morning we woke up to this (bottom left). Apparently, she'd made another dent in Snooze Bay, turned it sideways and dumped an interactive cat toy topsy-turvy on top of it!

And on that cheerful note, we've come to the end of my post. Hope to see you again next time. Do stay safe, sane and sensational until then, my friends!


40 comments:

  1. Oh, what a lovely dress/jacket ensemble for your ramble in the park. I'm swooning over the blue skies and the greenery! Love your outfit, Ann - and as long as one element's different (the adorable kitty brooch), it's a new outfit (hee).

    So happy to hear you've had your first jab with minimal side effects, and congratulations to you and Jos on your nana- and papa-hood!

    I'm also admiring your lovely flowers - Mother Nature's creativity knows no bounds! Look at our Bess there, looking so innocent! She's so funny, typing on the typewriter(!) and dumping her toys around. They are fun when they're teens, but such a handful!

    Love your new purchases, especially that grey/brown dress! Pockets!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sheila, and yes, I agree, even if one thing's different, it's not the same outfit. The dress and jacket are so good together I'm sure I'll be wearing them again and again. Bess certainly is a handful, but we get so much pleasure and love from her, so we don't mind putting up with her teenage years :-) xxx

      Delete
  2. Yay! I'm so pleased to hear that the jab went well with no ill effects and huge congratulations to all of you on the birth of baby Cas!
    Your walk looks magical, I can totally believe that fairies and nymphs inhabited those woods, I think they still do.
    Loving how fresh and cool that Diolen dress and blazer look on you. Your hair is looking really lovely, too.
    Some great finds in the chazzas, I'm especially liking the chevron dress and the shoulder bag, perfect summery vibes there.
    Bess is such a cheeky little scamp. It's fab that she's learning to type, maybe she could do a guest blog post soon? xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Vix! We've met baby Cas in the meantime, and he is adorable. Not half as much as Bess, though, although I'm not sure Cas's parents will agree :-) xxx

      Delete
  3. Don't you look fabulous on your walk! The best looking walker I've ever seen, for sure! Loved the sunshine and scenery. Congrats on being a step nana! Xx

    ReplyDelete
  4. Part3! Sorry, couldn't help myself(don't know if you understand my little,, joke,,)
    Like Sheila I am thrilled to see that gorgeous blue dress in the bright green meadow. I love both skirts! What a bargain. And that gorgeous pink and burgundy dress! What a joy is the garden now, I'm enjoying ours too. And all the birds singing! Oh Bess is doing so well! So cute!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Nancy! And yes, of course I understand your little joke! In fact, I am very pleased that at least one of my readers "got" the post title :-) xxx

      Delete
  5. Congratulations to you both on the joyous birth of little Cas. Also well done on getting your first vaccine.
    Your garden is coming on a treat with all your lovely flowers. Your sunny walk in the woods looked wonderful, I can imagine fairies hiding there. Your blue dress looked so pretty , you are the best dressed walker I know. Enjoy your sunshine .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Jill! I always insist of dressing up, even when going for a ramble. And yes, of course, faeries are still living there! xxx

      Delete
  6. A blog post full of goodness that made me smile. Congratulations Ann to you all on the safe arrival of baby Cas.
    The nature reserve we overlook from our house has a fairy glen with a waterfall and it’s definitely inhabited as I’ve seen the glitter off their wings.
    We are at the caravan now and last night we watched a young deer eating from a tree right outside our door. I couldn’t get a decent photo as I didn’t want to move and disturb it. It was a magical moment.
    Enjoy the sunshine dear friend xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad my post made you smile, Lynn! How lovely does that fairy glen sound! And absolutely magical to be able to watch a young deer from up close! xxx

      Delete
  7. Oh a baby congratulations! 🌸 And you had your Corminaty 🥳 and sunny weather! 😁
    I am cheerful too in these days.
    with a very huge hug Tina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Tina! I hope you're enjoying your holiday in paradise! xxx

      Delete
  8. love to go on a nature walk with you!
    wonderful photos - and the bright blue with bright pink is fab!!
    my best wishes to the newborn!!
    bess´ behavior made me laugh! typing on the machine and re-decorating the house..... what will come next? ;-DDD
    hugsies! xxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for tagging along, Beate. And Bess certainly provides us with lots of laughs. Such a funny little creature! xxx

      Delete
  9. Congrats on becoming a nana! :) And what a beautiful dress too - the orange is such a nice colour with it, I really need to wear orange more often, it goes so well with blue! :)

    You got some great thrift finds as well!

    Hope your week is going well and you have a nice weekend ahead of you :)

    Away From The Blue

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Mica! I just love blue and orange together! xxx

      Delete
  10. Congratulations on becoming a step-nana!
    Your walk looks idyllic, and your Think Twice finds are lovely, I love the floral skirt!
    Nice to see Bess has settled in and is causing havoc :)
    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Hazel! Bess is such a lively little thing, and she certainly loves her cuddles! xxx

      Delete
  11. I'm glad life is sweet for you at the moment. It was good to hear of the new member of your family, Cas, over on IG, with Bess too, things have been busy for you.
    The riot of colour in your garden is amazing and each bloom looks perfect.
    Have a great weekend. xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sally! Life isn't always that sweet, but sometimes there are reasons to be cheerful galore! xxx

      Delete
  12. Congrats for becoming a step-granny to Jos' grandson and congrats to him for becoming a grandfather (and his son and partner on becoming parents as well). That's fantastic news indeed. We need cheerful news in these difficult times. I have become a great aunt myself recently, a son was born to my nephew-in-law and his wife.

    That is a beautiful blue dress on you. The impressionist print is so pretty. I love how you accessorized with a red necklace and belt. The nature where you hiked looks so beautiful and serene. I can understand that you were not the only ones looking for some peace in the greens. It's good most people were well behaved. Social distancing is not that difficult in nature isn't it? It's good you were able to enjoy your walk even if some paths were flooded. I can believe there were fairies living in this area, this place is so beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Ivana! And congratulations on becoming a great aunt too! xxx

      Delete
  13. I'm so glad you're getting out to walk in the lovely nature reserve again. I expect with a bit more sun the waterlogged areas will dry up soon.

    Loved your finds - didn't you do well? I particularly like the tunic top; such lovely colours. And the straw bag was fab, too.

    Welcome to the grandma/nanna/nanny/granny/nan club!
    xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Vronni! I'm sure all those puddles must have dried up by now with the high temperatures we've been having lately. xxx

      Delete
  14. Blue sky? What a blessing. The colour matches your dress exactely. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Immense congratulations on becoming a step-nana (and to Jos on being a grandfather). That really must be such a heartwarming, special joy that shines all the more powerfully during these ongoing days of global darkness.

    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Autumn! It was an extra special blessing as he was an unexpected surprise for his parents. They'd all but given up on ever becoming parents! xxx

      Delete
  16. Congratulations on the new arrival, and on getting your jab. It must really help reassure you that better times are just around the corner.

    You had some great finds in that sale!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Mim! I'm counting the days until my second jab on July 9! xxx

      Delete