Friday the 4th of June was V-Day! V as in vaccination, not victory, although I was feeling quite victorious after getting my first jab. As I've already told you, all went well and I did not suffer any side effects to speak of. Also, to give credit where credit is due, I was very impressed with how smooth it all went, given that organizing all this must have been quite challenging. All the volunteers were friendly and helpful too and my own personal "jabbing guy" certainly wasn't lacking a sense of humour!
On top of all that, I was incredulous but obviously very chuffed to read that Belgium is currently the fastest country in the European Union when it comes to the number of vaccines administered per 100 inhabitants. I'm almost ashamed of being so scathing and skeptical of our country's vaccination strategy a couple of months back!
Here I am, one day later, on Saturday the 5th of June. The slightly painful arm I'd woken up with was more or less back to normal by late afternoon.
After having rained quite heavily overnight, we were left with a cloudy day and decidedly cooler temperatures of around 18°C.
The gauzy fabric of the vintage dress I pulled from my wardrobe wasn't nearly sufficient to go it alone, especially as only the skirt part is lined. I was wearing a camisole underneath - as much for coverage as for warmth - but still needed a cardigan when I stepped outside.
The dress's cerulean blue backdrop is enhanced by black and white squiggles erupting in a generous layer of blowsy flowers towards the hemline. This prompted my choice of belt - and one which certainly doesn't need further introduction - as well as my necklace, which numbers fuchsia pink beads among its black sisters.
Taking it from there, adding a fuchsia pink cardigan and ditto plastic ring was a no-brainer. A grey and white plastic swallow brooch, which is vintage and an old flea market find, was pinned to the former.
An early morning garden inspection round revealed a hint of blush pink in the first of the Lupine's flower spikes, while elsewhere the Alliums were still looking regal even if their purple florets were slowly but surely starting to fade.
Dashes of bright yellow are provided by Geum chiloense 'Lady Stratheden', while delicious strawberry and cream swirls are the crowning glory of Dianthus 'Megan'. Both are survivors from last Summer.
Alongside velvety Mimulus, with its profusion of different coloured flowers (top right) and moody Delphiniums (bottom right), which are both recent plantings, there are those garden stalwarts such as our gooseberry bush (top left) which has been rubbing along for years with its next door neighbour, hardy Geranium sanguineum (bottom left).
The sun reappeared on Sunday, bringing along highs of 24°C. While we were having breakfast, we spotted a pair of wood pigeons making their way towards our giant white current bush. After years of practice, they have learned how to almost strip it clean from the inside out. While one is standing guard, the other one lowers herself down into the bush, feasting on the as yet green berries.
I tried to take a photo from the kitchen window but the silly bird had just disappeared from view, and was probably sniggering at me from the depths of the bush.
It would be curtains for the tired looking pansies and bellis in the hanging basket on the right, as we were off to a local outdoor garden centre for replacements that day
Dress of the day was the cottage garden patterned teal-based one I found at the three-floored charity shop back in May.
I kept accessories simple, adding an old hessian belt, an aqua beaded necklace from H&M by way of a flea market and a rose-red butterfly brooch which was feeling quite at home among all those flowers!
The eagle-eyed among you may notice that I am wearing the red Gador shoes I charity shopped the other week.
Back from the garden centre, I emptied the hanging basket and a wall-mounted terracotta pot of its overly leggy and mildewed contents, replacing them with a selection of Petunias and Million Bells.
You'll get to see the finished results in a future post, as by then the sunlight was too harsh to photograph them properly.
It is almost a given that Bess is featuring in the majority of my posts. As suggested by Vix, soon she may even write her own blog post now that she's learned how to type on my grandfather's ancient Corona!
Here she is taking full advantage of her scratching post's new position beneath the dining room window.
We have reached Monday by now which, as an office day, usually doesn't get a mention. However, this one was different as one look outside the kitchen window while sipping my morning mug of lemon and ginger tea was enough to make my heart sing. Our first Oriental poppy had shed its furry shell and was showing off its ruffled scarlet petals for all to see.
There was no time to meet it up close, which I was only able to do that evening, after work.
The continuing sunshine had brought yet more colour to the Lupine flower spike, which I was happy to see would be the first of many.
That day's watering and deadheading routine turned up a tiny snail who'd made herself at home in a Petunia flower. Regretfully, this is just one of many as well.
Tuesday the 8th of June was yet another warm and sunny day, with the odd patch of clouds, and the mercury climbing to 25°C.
Aided by another round of noisy construction work, involving a succession of concrete trucks coming and going, the gorgeous weather made us seek out the peace and quiet of nature.
I'd learned my lesson and opted for a recently charity shopped pair of wide legged trousers. For good measure I was also wearing a cardigan on top of my short-sleeved blouse. Hand to heart, I swear I only removed it for the photos!
Our destination that day was Walenhoek, a nature reserve in the nearby town of Niel, which is just a 20 minute drive from Dove Cottage. Again, this is somewhere I've blogged about more than once before.
As usual we took a picnic, which we ate about half-way through our two-hour or so walk.
Being a weekday, there weren't many people about, and we had the reserve mostly to ourselves. I think we only met about five or six people in total, one of them a jogger who overtook us - slow couches -twice.
Crossing a cattle grid brought us to the grazing area where Galloway cattle were introduced many years ago. Not that we've ever seen any of these mighty but supposedly gentle creatures.
Our stomachs were rumbling faintly, but before searching out a suitable bench for our picnic, I descended along a slightly muddy path towards the edge of one the bigger ponds, where a stunning waterscape framed by a copse of dead trees awaited.
And here's proof that I was wearing that cardigan. Nevertheless, once again I was bitten and this time it was my left arm the as yet unnamed insects had taking a liking too. At one point, I could feel the sharp pin-prick of a sting going right through my sleeve. I didn't feel anything when that syringe entered my arm on Friday, but I did feel that undoubtedly tiny insect's sting!
By the time I got home, the tell-tale red welts had appeared, about six of them this time, the worst two being on my left upper arm. It's a good thing I got that cream the other week, so that I could start treatment right away. That is, right after some more outfit photos, as I would need to stay out of the sun once applied.
I exchanged my trousers - which had mysteriously developed a hole during our walk - for a wide flouncy skirt, black with a sprinkling of flowers and foliage in purple, green and orange.
The multicoloured and textured necklace, the pink squirrel brooch pinned to my blouse, and the vintage green and white polka dot peplum blouse itself are all the same as worn with my trousers earlier.
On my feet, the green, buckled Kicker shoes which jumped at me in a charity shop back in March.
As indicated by my journal, the rest of the afternoon was spent inside, nursing my bites, writing that day's blog post and catching up with blogland.
The latter is what I will do after I've clicked Publish!
Until next time, my dears, please do keep on staying safe and as sane and sensational as possible.