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Friday 24 November 2023

November: My Birthday Month

&  What's Been on My Calendar 

Is This Mutton's November including a birthday, memorable walks, Frans Hals, Monty Don and a mews street party

Dear friends.  November was a lot busier as I'd thrown off the lurgy. Plus, it's my birthday month and I always try to do that in style. NB: oops, published this a week too soon. Will keep updating it for the remaining days of November.  

Weds Nov 1

Returned from Plymouth, where I'd spent a few days seeing Mum and attending a fun reunion with former colleagues.  Uneventful trip home. J met me at the station, which was useful as my suitcase weighed a ton. 

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton by a train

Thurs Nov 2

Storm Ciaran was supposed to hit. We had rain but no wind. Walked to the gym for Pilates. Watched the first episode of the new series of Shetland. Had hoped it would be better without the miserable Douglas Henshall, but it was rubbish. 

Fri Nov 3

Sunny. Met Jill  from Grownup Glamour for the first time, with Penny from Frugal Fashion Shopper, at the V&A. Very busy so I couldn't get into the Diva exhibition.  We had a fun lunch. Caught in rain on way home. No umbrella.  Unfortunately no picture of the 3 of us, but here are the style mavens. 

Style bloggers Penny from Frugal Fashion Shopper and Jill from Grownup Glamour

Sat Nov 4

Not a nice day but did walk anyway.  Hardly anyone in forest. Another Premium bonds win. Did housework. Saw fireworks from sofa. 

Sun Nov 5

We did a brisk walk, nearly 5 miles. Muddy. Christopher, Katie and the children came round to give me my birthday present.  Stayed a while. Had roast lamb.

Mon Nov 6

Nice morning.  Walked to Tesco. Travelator wasn't working, the steps were blocked off, and only one lift operational. Very poor. Did some blog photos and created 2 posts.

Tues Nov 7

My birthday.  Lovely morning,  did weeding watched by a robin. Planted 40 Negrita tulips in containers. 

In the afternoon I watched the film Nyad (Netflix). I always like to watch a film on my birthday. 

Then we went into London and had a pre-theatre dinner at The Jugged Hare followed by Monty Don at the Barbican Centre. I didn't know what to expect but Monty came onto the stage alone and spoke for 2 hours. Very eloquent and entertaining. Even J approved and he doesn't like gardening.

Getting out of the Barbican Centre was like a comedy for us and everyone else. It's a stylish building but lacks signage (I imagine it would detract from the architect's vision). 

Below:  before the show started, with seats filling up. 

The anticipation grows before Monty Don in Conversation at the Barbican Centre in London

Weds Nov 8

Busy on blog front with 2 posts going live, one a collaboration. Rainy but did walk.  Spoke mum. Saw a webinar, curator's intro to Frans Hals. Going to see the exhibition on Saturday. Dealt with another missive of doom from Google:  robot txt issue. I dread their emails.

Thurs Nov 9

Walked to place where J had to give blood. Am mysteriously a Vine Voice again.

In the evening went into London for J's sister Kate's tour of Christmas lights and mews party. We swerved the lights because it was raining. The party, with family and neighbours, was fun. There was a burger van and we had burgers to order, followed by a mince pie.Signalling probs meant we had a bit of a circuitous route home.

Below: Kate and J on the right.


Fri Nov 10

Rain intervals.  Much colder. Went to Pilates and used cardio machines first. Did my first ever cover reveal for a book on Twitter/X,  The Actor.  Started 2nd series of The News Reader (BBC iPlayer). Saw  last episode of Island Crossings (BBC iPlayer).  This was a pleasant series about the largest ferry company in the UK, Caledonian McBrayne, and their hundreds of crossings of the Scottish isles. 

Sat Nov 11

Beautiful sunny day. Went to the National Gallery with Oxana to see the Frans Hals (1582- 1666) exhibition. He isn't as well known now, but in his time he was as lauded as Vermeer.  I really enjoyed it. Below: two of my favourite paintings. His subjects were less wooden and more relaxed. 

The Lute Player by Frans Hals

Sun Nov 12: Remembrance Sunday

Did big clear out in my office. Watched Cenotaph proceedings on TV.  Roast chicken.  Spoke Mum. Watched film The Killer, 8 out of 10

Mon Nov 13

Fairly warm, 16. Have some birthday vouchers to spend. Went in town. Bought pair jeans (below: trying them on). Planned to buy more with gift vouchers but couldn't find anything, style or colour-wise. Had a nice lunch. Storm Debi blew in, it was windy late pm. Finished The Actor. Started Robbie Williams documentary (Netflix) although I find him a bit boring. 

Tues Nov 14

J and I did an early walk, 5 miles. Quite warm. Rained this afternoon  scuppering plans for a blog shoot. Rachel and Olive came round. Spent afternoon writing post for tomorrow. Attempted to resolve issue of non-indexed pages, which is the latest missive of doom from Google

Weds Nov 15

Lovely day. Did bike ride, our first one for 5 weeks. J wants to run the batteries down. Lee Valley. 

Slept 8 hours 51 which is a bit of a record (still up at 6.30 but must have fallen asleep almost immediately with Kindle still in hand!). 

Spent couple of hours planting bulbs at the back of the border where there aren't many plants. Had to get rid of huge weeds. Fed a robin with worms. 

Thursday Nov 16

Didn't do much today! Shocker. Applied to be a 2024 poppy appeal volunteer

Friday Nov 17

Nice weather, finished off planting the bulbs then went to Pilates.  Fish n chips. Rachel and Olive came round bearing Pudsey cookies made by Olive (allegedly). 

Saturday Nov 18

Overcast. Took returns to post office.  Then we did yoga. My first time for about 3 years. Below: J, in pink,  limbers up before everyone else arrived.

Watched Plane with Gerard Butler. 6 out of 10. Very gripping plane crash but mercenaries a bit boring. Had hoped for dinosaurs.

Sunday Nov 19

Out walking early to have time to do a blog shoot before lunch. Saw J and Bob  running together.  Did 3 outfits including Teddy Blake bag for this post. 

Mon Nov 20

Did a Meetup, the 7 Hills of Croydon.  Clare, a friend from the Kettlewell colour club, came for the first time.  Weather stayed dry and we saw lovely woodland scenery and great views of the City.  The leader got lost a few times so we had a few bonus hills in addition to the seven advertised.  I didn't have lunch, we got to the cafe too soon and they didn't have many sandwiches. So I was starving and glad of a baked potato and sausages when I got home.  Fitbit says I walked 11 miles total today.

Spectacular views of the City of London

Tues Nov 21

Wanted to go to Yogalates but it was an early class and I guess it's a sign of getting older when you need to recover after a strenuous day. Did ironing, then worked on blog post for tomorrow. We watched the last episode of The Newsreader. I enjoyed the series. 

Amazon wouldn't publish a review saying it was contrary to their community guidelines. I asked them to explain why. It's quite challenging finding out how to do this, and to get to a real person. 

Weds Nov 22

Did a forest walk. Our next door neighbour has died. She was 91. She had lived there for a long time, many years before we moved in. 

Watched The Princes in the Tower  (Channel 4) which has explosive evidence showing that King Richard III didn't murder his nephews in the Tower. 

Thursday Nov 23

Sunny. I had hoped to go for a walk but had to wait in for a timed delivery, and then the groceries, so in the end I didn't make it. Had just finished this post and was making final edits when the whole lot disappeared. I kept pressing back button, and revert to draft  (it had been saved), but it was still blank. Very strange, and annoying!

Friday Nov 24

Definitely colder. Did some cleaning. Pilates. Rachel and Olive came round. At 16 months Olive knows what she shouldn't be doing, but keeps doing it. Banging Grandad's reading light and putting sticky fingers on his black glossy audio stand! I collected fish n chips, wore a woolly hat for first time.

Saturday Nov 25

2 degrees but sunny. Walked to Sainsbury's as we've run out of peanut butter and J likes a brand you can only get there or at Waitrose.  Went to yoga at the Orion Harriers. Nothing very interesting on TV so read. Started regime of Dr Sister Inner Beauty pills. Bought these via a Black Friday deal but the usual price is horrendous, so I will be in a dilemma if the pills really work!

Sunday November 26

Cold again,  cloudy.  Did forest walk. Roast chicken was delicious.  Quiet afternoon.  Ordered peacock wrapping paper.  Am obsessed with peacocks.

Monday November 27

Did walk. Cloudy. First day of my #7dayskirtchallenge on IG. 

Tuesday November 28

Sunny, went into London for a medical appointment.  Wore yellow coat. 

Wednesday November 29

Very cold, 2 degrees.  Did short cycle ride, wearing thick vest, gloves etc. Hands still cold. Lazy afternoon reading by fire. 

Thursday November 30

Sunny start, didn't seem quite so cold though was only 2 degrees. Did a forest walk, saw the Longhorns. There was a frost and I couldn't stop taking pictures.

 Did an outfit shoot to make sure I have a skirt picture for the remaining 3 days of the skirt challenge on Instagram. Then set up my festive blog giveaway which goes live tomorrow, Dec 1. Had curry for dinner.  

Longhorn cattle grazing on Chingford Plains, November 2023

How was your November?



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1 comment

  1. Hi, Gail - What a full November you've had. Thank you for sharing it with us at #wboyc. We greatly appreciate you joining us here!


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