Secondhand Rose?

We are very much Secondhand Rose round here. LK is being clothed, in lieu of Granny going to the charity shops, by eBay. Sandals. Tops. Slippers. A sunhat. A sunsuit (I don’t recommend getting sunsuits secondhand – you can’t see where they’ve worn through, and LK seems to have skin that turns pink at a moment’s notice, unlike mine, which tends to brown easily).

A ‘new’ changing mat (because her first one is held together by so much duck tape, it’s grim).

A ‘new’ potty for downstairs: she is beginning to communicate that she has done, or wants, a wee or a poo. It’s hit and miss. Two nights ago it was miss-the-potty and hit-mummy’s-foot, then tell us she’d done a wee. Yes darling, I know. At least I wasn’t wearing socks.

A ‘new’ set of step stools to reach the basin, as we keep wanting the kitchen stool in the loo and in the kitchen simultaneously. All these things that you don’t need for very long, but which make life so much easier. Being at home all the time means that things we wouldn’t have bothered with at all, are now rather more handy (step stools, frinstance. And a newish mat – if you think, she has 4 nappy changes at nursery 5 days a week, which are now at home, so it’s getting more wear and tear, so it’s hardly surprising that it’s beginning to crack under the strain). I’ve also plumbed the hand-me-downs bags. We are doing well with those. Makes for some interesting outfits, though (the dress was new in the Sainsbury Sale about a year ago).

Managing to sell what she’s grown out of is more challenging. However, two of our NCT friends are having babies in the Autumn, so there’s somewhere to pass these things to. One of them is having twins. I have promised her all the LK stuff for a girl.

I have bought some new, new vests for LK. Baby vests seem to take a beating. Toddler vests, I suspect, likewise. And they tend to come in pale colours, so the beating is very obvious. The new, new vests will arrive in the Ocado order. Why yes. I brag. We have, after the initial panic (the one where I was so worried about feeding both LK and my parents, I sort of stopped eating, as though that would help matters, and lost about 9lbs in 4 weeks), got a reasonably regular Ocado order going again. I’d just signed up for a reserved slot in mid-March, we’ve been customers for about 10 years, if not longer. This seems to have given us a degree of priority: compared to other supermarkets where I’ve signed my parents up but cannot get a slot. Three weeks, we get the food delivered to us. The fourth week, my parents get the slot and we work our way through the freezer. My mother is adamant that my father is not to go to the supermarket, as he’s too congenial, and is also useless at remembering to wash his hands, use hand gel, use anti-bact wipes etc.

Going to the chemist for a prescription is pretty exhausting – I have to reward myself with extremely expensive chocolate (i.e. a bar of Lindor) from the display. Which then sits in quarantine for three days until I can eat it. So, tomorrow, I get the chocolate from Saturday’s trip for inhalers. It’s quite quiet in our large Boots, but there’s always the panic that someone’s going to stand too close, or that someone has touched something. I assume that everything is Covid-19 covered. See the empty carpark. Surreal.

Running, however, is easier. I have sussed getting through the level crossing gates with the buggy – I have a glove, and a plastic bag. Use the glove on the gate, the bag over the glove on the handlebars of the buggy. Sorted. My long runs – no buggy. So I take an old fruit bag, and bin it when I’ve got through the crossing on the way out, and a second for the way home. Easy peasy. It’s taken me weeks to get this sorted out and second nature, though. And people are so kind, wanting to hold the gate when I have the buggy and violate my 2 metre distance. The best bit about a run, and the level crossing, is the crossing guard. We love our conversations with Uncle Dave. He’s the only person we get to talk to other than each other. My god, it’s needed. And we can just pootle up to say hello, stand the other side of the tracks from him, and have a good old chin wag without risk. He’s a very convivial fellow. LK loves him, and waves enthusiastically when she sees him. She’s very disappointed when he’s not on duty. I saw a nesting moorhen on my last run. And a grey wagtail.

Finally, I’ve managed to set up Zoom Guides. 3/4 of the unit are joining us. We do one activity during our 40 minutes, and have to pause to go and #clapforcarers half an hour in. This week coming, we’re making bowls out of old magazines. Next week we’re going to try some backwoods cooking skills. It’s lovely to just have the contact with them. Our LiC is completely leaving me to it – I think she sees this as her get-out-of-Guides card, as she didn’t really want to be in charge of the unit anyhow. After a couple of years of being in the back seat, I’m ready to navigate, if not steer again. And – someone else is doing the accounts (and I hope it stays that way).



It’s the little things

Both good, and bad. They start little and turn big.

Today has involved disaster. N put the cupcake carrier on the hotplate. LK managed to turn the hotplate on. Some time later, we had a hideous stink, a melted cupcake carrier, dried out to totally singed muffins and an extremely upset me. Disproportionately so. Then LK got upset. And lunch turned into a disaster area for about an hour.

Burnt out

N spent naptime trying to remove the carrier from the hotplate. I went for a short, angry, run and achieved a sub 8-minute mile. No idea when I last managed that. N reports most of the carrier is off, and that assuming he’s identified the correct spare part, if he can’t get the rest off, it’s £70 to replace. Plus VAT and postage.

It’s such a little thing, putting stuff on the cooker. But it’s turned into such a big thing. And it could have been huge. There could have been smoke poisoning. Flames. The fire brigade. Hospital. All things we really don’t want.

But, we had a lovely little thing. Yesterday N made me coffee.

Frothy coffee

I felt normal. Proper coffee. With beans. And chocolate. At our superb kitchen table. It made such a difference to my day.


Make do and mend/Me made

N’s socks are disintegrating. This is the problem with using buttersoft yarn for a man who wears, and wears, and wears his socks.


Meanwhile, I made a sweater for LK, from yarn I’ve had for three years.

Yes. The neckline is wonky.

I miscounted the rows on one side of the back neck and only noticed when I took this photo. Life is too short to unravel.

Doesn’t notice.

Besides. She never keeps still.



LK doesn’t like bananas. Unless mashed up in custard. I don’t have the knack of that.

In this turbid time, while I panic over feeding my aged parentals, I give you snippets of good news (I think we have the food covered bar meat, as their local butcher is shutting for the duration. Trying to get an online order is a full time job in and of itself).

  • LK did a tiny wee on the potty this morning.
  • I was correct as to why my code failed, but woefully dumb at locating the problem.
  • I finished a sweater, using yarn bought just after 7/7.
  • I (bad) bought a pair of cycling shorts new in case of total lockdown.
  • The park is empty when we go for exercise.
  • I have lost the last of the baby weight.
  • We have seen an eagle, lots of robins, a long tailed tit, some thrushes and magpies in the park.
  • LK wore 8 bibs at once this afternoon.
  • LK can recognise yellow. And say circle.

Make do and mend

I’ve done some more darning, this time on a much loved and much mended sweater. It’s beginning to be more dark than sweater at this stage in its life. But there is plenty of life left in it yet.

Sweater darn

The darn in the middle of the photo is the one we’re most interested in. There’s something so satisfying about a good darn.

I do need to fess up a bit of a failure. I marshalled at the wonderful Trionium Leith Hill Half on Saturday: I was meant to run it, but after a short, sharp bout of pneumonia about a month ago, I made the sensible decision to marshal instead. There was no way I’d be fit and strong enough to run. But, in addition to my cooked breakfast after the duty was done, I did pick up my tech top. So, while I didn’t exactly buy it this year, as I had paid for it when I entered last year, I do have a new top.

I may also have bought LK some ballet shoes for dancing on Saturday mornings. I have plans to make her a nifty heavy metal tutu from some black net I’ve got kicking about.

Diddy shoes!

In my defence, they are slight seconds. The glue sort of escaped. And she will have no idea. And they are too cute.


Secondhand Rose

I’m wearing secondhand clothes…even my husband’s been married once before!

A video

With apologies to Barbra Streisland, but, Secondhand Rose has been my song. I wear a lot of secondhand clothes. I always have. The jeans in my last post were secondhand from eBay. Today’s jeans ditto. I do a grand line in secondhand coats and jackets, and dresses, and skirts. I used to love rootling round charity shops: now I tend to snatch a few minutes here and there depending on how fidgety LK is in the pushchair. From her perspective, the supermarket is vastly more interesting. More people. More bright colours.

Anyhow. Today is about secondhand bras. Isn’t this a beauty?

99p plus postage on eBay. I discovered I have 3 bras which actually fit me currently (I was a 30C/32B when I fell pregnant, and peaked at at 36D). What inflates, eventually, deflates. And there is very little point in spending money on anything that’s only going to be worn for a few months. However, 3 bras which fit isn’t enough to allow for nipple thrush prevention measures when on antibiotics (wash at 60deg or with Halo, clean bra daily) and a well fitting, comfortable bra is also fairly vital to my general demeanour. So off to eBay and I’ve got a total of 4 bras coming, and spent £11. I have also got 3 larger bras on sale, which look like bringing in about £10. And I can reuse the packaging the incoming bras arrived in for the outgoing bras. Score.

I’m not entirely done breastfeeding. I hope that when I am done, there can be another selling session. I am thrilled, though, that my pre-pregnancy sports bras fit again. My pregnancy/post-pregnancy ones have gone a very funny shade after a 60deg thrush wash. They lost brightness.


Make do and mend

So here is my first try at not buying anything new. My jeans have worn. When I was at uni, I had next to no money. Well. I had savings. I also had a father who checked my savings book monthly and demanded to know why I was taking money out regularly. “Food, books, that sort of thing. Nothing exciting like weed.” I think he was a little disappointed that i has not developed a drug habit. I did a lot of mending my jeans, just to hold decency together.

This time, I went for a nice cheerful blue embroidery thread to sort out the hold. So every time I catch sight of my inner thigh, I am cheered up.

Not too shabby? I do like a good darn.


Today, I remember Szyja Waisbrod

He was Born in Tarnopol, and he worked in import and export. His wife was called Neta. Their son was Khaim. He was murdered, aged 57 in the ghetto in Kupczynce, because he was a Jew. Neta was 45. I don’t know how old Khaim was. They’re recorded in Yad Vashem’s database by their cousin, Lea Shteinvurztel, along with 29 other members of Lea’s family.

On Holocaust Memorial Day, I light my candle, and decide to be more proactive about ensuring that it never happens again. And to keep being proactive. Regardless of how scary it is.

Standing up, speaking out. It’s important.

So, this is the challenge

Can I get through 12 months without buying any brand new clothes (other than knickers and tights) for myself and LK?

I think I can. I think I can also make 12 months without new yarn if I unravel LK’s slightly too small shark hat and use the yarn for her next size up hat.

Worth trying…