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Friday 1 March 2024

Holbein, Drones and London Fashion: February in Review

The mosaic house in Chiswick, London, one of the stops on a walk undertaken by Is This Mutton's Gail Hanlon

Dear friends.  There were lots of different activities to share for February. The month went very quickly,  unlike January which was endless. 

I've picked up from Jan 26. 

Progress on my #WordoftheYear,  Laughter, is at the bottom of the post. 

Fri 26 Jan

Beautiful day, sunny and warm. We did a forest walk. Sorted out new S24 phone - unbelievably fast and easy to do these days.  Started Criminal Record, Apple. 

Sat 27 Jan 

Yesterday wasn't repeated, back to being cloudy and v cold again. Went to yoga. Was quite challenging,  didn't feel very stretchy. Had a relaxing afternoon reading. Started Masters of the Air (Apple). 

Sun 28 Jan

Sun out. We did walk, unfortunately J's calf sore so it was a short one. Did an hour's weeding.  Roast beef. Made myself laugh with childhood faves Sooty and Sweep (WOTY Laughter). It was the episode where Sweep's brother comes to stay, and as he's identical to Sweep, some mayhem ensues. Find it on YouTube.

Mon 29 Jan

Cloudy, 12 degrees.  Did walk. Took old phone, which I traded in,  to the post office. J was waiting in for gas service engineer.  Worked on blog.  Started Hidden Assets series 2 (BBC iPlayer), Irish/Belgian drama. 

Tues 30 Jan

Took my measurements. Although my weight is unchanged, I've gained on thighs and waist. Cloudy. Walked to Waitrose, 5 miles, to get fancy veg. Worked on blog. 

Weds 31 January

Did a Meetup, Turnham Green to Kew.  Very pleasant walk and good group. Saw the Mosaic House  (top pic), which is quite incongruous in a quiet Chiswick street. It's the work of artist Carrie Reichardt. More info here. 

Saw a gold post box outside the old Chiswick town hall. After the 2012 London Olympics, various post boxes were painted gold to honour Olympians in their home towns. This one recognises Pete Reed who was in the Men's Four rowing final. The post box is an old one, dating  between 1901 and 1905.

Lunch was at Chiswick House cafe.  I had my Huel outside with some others who'd brought packed lunches. We had some good laughs. 

Good mileage, finished on around 9 miles. I was chilled to the bone by the time I got home. 

Thurs 1 Feb

February at last! Sunny day. Couldn't wait to start on garden. Weeding is now up to date at the front, and got rid of encroaching plants from next door. Pruned and weeded at back. Swept up leaves. Meanwhile J has fitted new valves on radiators and assembled a new radiator cover in the front room.  Did an order with Sarah Raven for dahlias and a Mother's Day present. 

Fri 2 Feb

Cloudy. Went to Museum of London to see the Fashion City exhibition:  how the Jewish community influenced global design. Very interesting. The men's fashion shop Mr Fish was recreated. David Bowie was a keen customer. 

David Bowie's dress from the cover of The Man Who Sold the World was featured in the Mr Fish shop.

Then went round the mother ship John Lewis at Canary Wharf. Quite a small one, didn't buy anything.  

Sat 3 Feb

Cloudy. Gas engineer out again to set up Hive. Did yoga followed by a walk afterwards. Feeling tired. Watched film The Creator, 7 out of 10 (Disney). For once AI was not entirely a villain. 

Sun Feb 4

Cloudy. Did a blog shoot, 3 outfits.  Roast chicken. Started Mr and Mrs Smith (Prime). (It was a No from me). 

Mon Feb 5

Went in town to get bits in M&S.  Cloudy. Announced that the King has cancer. Was upset. Found out I was in Platinum magazine, March issue.  Supplied the photos and answers a few weeks ago. I think it's been out for a couple of weeks because it was quite hard to find a copy. Managed to find one in 3rd shop.

Tues Feb 5

Did walk with J, not v long as he's still taking it easy. Saw the cows. First part of Sarah Raven delivery came, seed shakers for mum. Did a welcome post for any Platinum readers who visited the blog. 

Weds Feb 6

Did a walk, cloudy & cold. Radio 2 wants to create an extension to lure back older listeners. They're losing listeners big time to Boom and Greatest Hits Radio. Serves them right for abusing their core audience and getting rid of some of our favourite presenters. Not to mention hardly ever featuring the 70s in Pick of the Pops.

Thurs Feb 8

Rained all day. Got online 10.30 to secure a booking at the Devonshire Arms. Put 2 sales on Ebay. Sold a Samsung smart watch right away. Didn't fancy going out. Spent an hour looking at my former homes on Street view.

Fri Feb 9

Went Pilates. Cloudy but mild. Listened to Great Lives podcast about Terry Hall. Did an online National Gallery session "Tudor Liveliness." Watched the last 2 episodes of Under Fire.  What an amazing series.

Sat Feb 10

Cloudy. Went to the garden centre.  A riot of colour. Got primroses, anemones,  tulips and purple primulas. Did yoga, was struggling today, don't know why. Did a walk afterwards. Rachel & Olive came round.

Sun Feb 11

Not a bad day, planted the tulips and primulas.  Had roast beef. Did some cleaning and ironing.

Mon Feb 12

Sunny. Went to Jodie to have hair coloured. Traffic was OK. Back by 1pm. Did a blog shoot, then forest walk. Keen to get these done because it's raining tomorrow.

Tues Feb 13

Cloudy with rain. Had 3 blog posts to write and photos to take. Took nearly all day. Started Fire Country (Disney)  a drama which takes a bit of a Disney view of the fire service  (it's a No from me). 

Weds Feb 14

Had Valentine's card from Olive. Did walk in the rain. Forgot to wear Fitbit but Google captured the  mileage. Isn't it great how they always know what we're up to ūü§£. Did a workout for 1st time in ages.

Thurs Feb 15

1st bike ride of the year. Just to High Beach as J was having gear problems. Was sunny, 15 degrees.  Then walked to Pilates. Started using Dr Sister eyelash conditioner and crepe cream. Below: at the High Beach tea hut.

Fri Feb 16

Colder than yesterday. Went to Morden Park Hall for a meet up of the Colourful Croydon Coffee Club.  Wore purple wool coat as it was a dry day. Here are some of the ladies who attended - a few had left by this point. 

Watched Kettlewell spring preview when I got home.  Saw The Grand Tour, new series (Prime). 

Sat Feb 17

Cloudy, mild. Didn't sleep well, had pain in left side. Was difficult finding comfortable position. We didn't go cycling.  I did a walk after lunch and felt a bit better. Mum has a broadband issue and I hopefully sorted it by reporting it --- this is done online now  (not always great if your BB is not working!). BT confirmed it was a fault at their end and they would fix it.

Sun Feb 18

Raining so we did indoor workouts. Moved my sofa so I don't have to sit on the squashed end, which doesn't help my back.

Booked to see Yoko Ono exhibition.

Mon Feb 19

Went out for 1st proper bike ride this year, Lee Valley park, 19 miles. Mum's phone issues finally repaired. Started Aussie drama series on Netflix,  Secret City. 

Tues Feb 20

Did 2 outfit shoots. Weather not great. 

Weds Feb 21

Raining.  We did a walk. Busy day sorting out my social channels to promote a collaboration I did with Cotton Traders. Booked to see Kylie Minogue in Hyde Park in July. New rain jacket came from Craghoppers in my seasonal colours, peach and pink.  Also a new cycling jacket from Siroko. Watched the last episode of Criminal Record. Started Constellation (Apple) - that one is a No from J. 

Thurs Feb 22

Raining all day. Read book after doing some cleaning. 

Fri Feb 23

Not raining for a change! Did forest walk then Pilates. Dropped J off at a friend's 70th. Had fish n chips. 

Sat Feb 24

Sunny start. Walked down to DHL via the cemetery to return a top. Was dressed for spring but it was a bit too cold. Champing at the bit for that warmer weather.  Saw this cheeky squirrel. 

Sun Feb 25

J has a new drone. We took it to Yates Meadow for its inaugural flight. After a few false starts he got it following us. Will be a great tool for when we do the cycling holidays. 

Mon Feb 26

Did a bike ride to Olympic Park. Was v cold and windy on way back. Coffee shop and huts were closed. Had to divert a couple of times, the Wetlands were closed and a bridge was closed because of floods.

Tues Feb 27

Did a workout.  After lunch went to Cambridge for a creative writing workshop with Oxana.  First we popped in the Fitzwilliam Museum. Saw some beautiful pictures and ceramics. I loved this picture, Flowers in a Glass Vase, by Jan Davidsz.de Heem, c 1660.

The workshop was in a beautiful building, a church conversion opposite Pembroke College.  The first hour featured a very constructive critique of two texts supplied by students, and the second a talk from prize winning author Monique Roffey. I used the park n ride which was great. Will definitely do it again. 

Weds Feb 28

Launched the 2024 Is This Mutton survey about books and reading. Take the survey. 

Cloudy.  Not so cold. Wore 4 layers anyway on bike ride to Lee Valley.  Booked to see 10cc at the Royal Albert Hall  Started watching Shogun (Disney). Looks promising. 

Thurs Feb 29

Rained all day. Holbein at the Tudor Court exhibition and lunch Devonshire Arms.  I adored the exhibition, being such a big Holbein and Tudors fan. It made me quite emotional. 

Lunch was great: I had potted shrimps, beef cheek and Guinness suet pudding, and bread and butter pudding. No dinner for me! 

The month ended with an invitation from Jacynth at the Bias Cut to take part in a pro ageing video, along with other IG'ers.  I gladly accepted. More on that next month!


My word of the year is Laughter. I'm thrilled to have reconnected with my bestie from the sixth form, Susan.  I don't know how we lost contact. She is the funniest person I know. I was thrilled when someone asked her, on a Zoom call, if she was having a "Gail moment," as she was snickering. 

She reminded me that I dared her to mention Plastic Bertrand in her French A Level oral.  Goodness knows how she managed that.  Here we are in the prefects' room, where we had no right to be, but rightly deduced they wouldn't throw us out. 

(If you haven't lost the will to live - What We've Been Watching)

One Day (Netflix)

I didn’t think it was as special as most people think it was. I just couldn't see any chemistry between the two leads. Just me?

True Detective (Sky, Now TV)

I loved Jodie Foster in this but we gave up after 4 episodes.  It was just too dark in terms of lighting (which of course it is in Alaska in the winter), and the plot didn't seem to be developing at an acceptable pace.

Criminal Record (Apple)

I loved this. Every scene between Peter Capaldi and Cush Jumbo crackled with tension.

Criminal Record - an outstanding drama says Is This Mutton

Under Fire (Netflix)

This Belgian drama about a fire station in Ostend was so good I was gutted and nearly cried when it finished.  Really good character development. Hope there will be a 2nd series.

Masters of the Air (Apple)

Very similar in its treatment to Band of Brothers, except that it's nowhere as good. I'm afraid every drama in the skies looks the same, and there isn't the emotional bond between the air men. The Brits inevitably come across badly.

Secret City (Netflix)

Enjoyed this Australian drama starring Anna Torv, who was also in The Newsreader which we liked. 

Loudermilk (Netflix)

Wry, dry and sweary comedy about a group of recovering alcoholics. Love. 

Trigger Point (ITVX)

Who knew all these bombs are forever going off in London?! Vicky McClure's character seems to have a bit of an unsatisfactory record with her unexploded devices. Glad she wasn't in charge of the real life WW2 detonation in Plymouth recently !! 

I hope you enjoyed my month's shenanigans. What have you been up to? Share one or two highlights in the comments. 

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1 comment

  1. Love this little update - especially the pics. I really love Netflix but I'm scared to watch One Day cos it's so sad!


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