And another week has whizzed by!
It was the first week of March, and the weather was strangely at odds with the prevailing feeling of disbelief and sadness caused by the devastating news from Ukraine. We transitioned into meteorological Spring, but although the mercury kept flitting around the 10°C mark like a butterfly, and sunshine was plentiful, this somehow failed to set my heart a-flutter. Nevertheless, after a frosty start, the temperature often managed to climb into the low double figures on most days. Day by day, though, I could feel my neck and left shoulder seizing up and by Thursday evening, I could hardly move my head or lift my left arm without being in considerable pain.
But lo and behold: although I could still feel an unmistakable stiffness in my neck, most of the pain had gone by Friday morning with the prospect of a couple of days off.
We could have had a lie-in, but the sun was shining and the weathermen had promised - hand to heart - that it would warm up to 12°C, so we didn't want to waste precious time.
Besides, it was Friday, which meant that another charity shopping trip was on our itinerary. Admittedly, the thought of a good rummage never fails to take my mind off things.
We visit our favourite shops on rotation and this week it was the turn of the three-storey one in Duffel again. As the shop is only a stone's throw from one of our favourite parks, a rummage here is often followed by a walk. Thus, with the weather gods in our favour for once, we packed a picnic and went off.
I'll take you through what I was wearing later on, but for the moment I'm allowing you to admire my vintage green wool jacket with its delightfully soft faux-fur collar.
By the time we left the shop, there was a faint rumbling in our stomachs. Arriving at the park, we went in search of a suitable bench to eat our sandwiches, preferably one in a sunny spot. But we weren't the only ones taking advantage of the balmy Spring weather and the most covetable benches turned out to be already occupied by people on their lunch breaks.
After some walking around and a spot of bickering about where to plonk ourselves down, we finally settled for the bench you can see on the bottom right in the above collage. It had a view across the pond towards our very favourite bench, which is sheltered by a thicket of shrubs and, at this time of year, has clumps of cheerful daffodils at its feet. We'd just finished our sandwiches when we noticed that the lady who had been sitting there was about to leave, so we wasted no time in crossing the bridge across the pond and making our way towards it, if only to admire the flowers at close quarter.
Signs of Spring were everywhere, with the first of the blossoms appearing on shrubs and trees and a lawn full of precocious daisies. The brilliant blue sky was the perfect backdrop for a flowering Forsythia, and the park's collection of Hellebores were now resplendently in bloom.
Instead of walking towards the castle ruin we decided to circumnavigate the largest pond in a clockwise direction. Although quite close to a busy road this part of the park is rather wild and unkempt and the weeks of almost non-stop rains had left partly flooded and muddy paths in their wake.
Here, the view across the pond is particularly enchanting, even if its mirror-like surface was strewn with branches dislodged and tossed about by the recent storms.
In search of the perfect backdrop for taking outfit photos, we were stopped in our tracks by a white blossomed shrub growing in the shelter of the river's embankment.
It was balmy enough to shed my jacket, hanging it and my scarf from a conveniently placed branch, and show you what was going on underneath.
I'm sure you'd already noticed my skirt, with its fruital pattern in delicious berry colours. Charity shopped back in November, this was its very first outing.
I wore it with a contrasting yellow jumper, which was an old retail buy from a long-gone local shop, while at my waist I added one of my chevron patterned stretchy belts. Further accessories were a wine red beaded necklace and ring and a vintage brooch featuring a lady wearing a gorgeous red and turquoise hat. My own hat was a pink and white marled knit beret. An extra layer was provided by a fuzzy burgundy cardigan. All except the jumper and belt were either charity shop or flea market finds.
I frolicked around under the frothy white blossom and couldn't resist snapping this final photo of these delightful harbingers of Spring!
Although we walk in this park in all seasons, we seem to have a particular penchant for its Spring and its Autumn incarnations. In fact, I've lost count by now of all the times you have walked here vicariously with us over the past six years.
It didn't take long for it to make its debut on my blog, as it featured in my one of my first ever blog posts back in March 2016. I've still got this dress, which is a regularly worn favourite. In fact, I think I've still got everything I'm wearing here, although I'd forgotten about the shoes.
March seems to be a favourite time of year for a visit, as here we are again, in March 2017, sampling the first of the balmy Spring days in a dress I no longer have but now wish I'd kept.
March 2018, and I'm wearing a dress that's still gracing my wardrobe but is long overdue an outing. A bit chillier than the year before, as I'm wearing my belted Tweed jacket and my frilly turquoise scarf, which is still making regular appearances on my blog 4 years later.
Our final Pre-Covid visit, in March 2019. This dress too needs another outing, as does the handbag. I wonder what happened to that beret, but only just wore the cardigan and opaques a couple of days ago.
I'm sure not everything was as rosy as it seems in hindsight, but I can't help thinking that we were living in the age of innocence back then. If not without a care in the world, there was a lightness of being which seems to be gone forever. It's a blessing that we had no idea of the enormity of what was about to hit us. Halcyon days, I miss them so.
I'm trying to shake off the maudlin mood, and get back to the matter at hand, as I couldn't possibly end this post without showing you Friday's charity shop finds.
Leafing through the rail of nightwear in search of the ever elusive vintage slips, I came across this vintage dress, its label proclaiming Paul Mauser, Paris, which is pictured on the top left and right.
The skirt with its Paisley-esque pattern is somebody's handiwork.
These two lightweight pleated skirts ended up in my shopping trolley too. The off-white one on the left, sprinkled with orange, pink, yellow and blue spots, is from an unknown-to-me label and is fully lined.
The moss green one on the right is unlined and is from New Look. Time will have to tell if this one's a keeper but I'm pretty sure about the spotty one.
Among the € 1,50 jewellery, I triumphantly unearthed the celluloid Scottie dog brooch on the left. I've got a similar one with a green base and a red Scottie in the middle which came with a considerably heftier price tag!
I also picked up the necklace with its graduated pink translucent beads, and the scarf clip with its posy of violets and pansies.
My final find of the day was this glorious embellished handbag, looking all brand new with its plastic price tag loop still attached. I couldn't believe my eyes when I opened it and spotted the Sacha label and lining. Sacha is a Dutch shoes and handbags retailer. I'm not sure of its original retail price but at € 4 it was definitely a bargain.
We ended our visit to this shop as always having cups of coffee and hot chocolate bought from the vending machine in the cafeteria which, as you can see, we had all to ourselves!
I'll be back with what we did during the rest of the weekend in a couple of days. Until then, do keep safe and sane, wherever you are!