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Friday 28 June 2024

June in Review: Vivienne Westwood, Greece and More

 Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton on an Epping Forest walk. She reviews the month of June 2024.

Dear friends.  June has been a satisfying month. I did quite a lot, and the weather improved. Highlights included a visit to the Kettlewell Colour Studio, a beach holiday on the Greek island of Skiathos and a couple of cycling adventures.  I also saw an excellent exhibition of Vivienne Westwood's private collection, prior to auction. 

Sat June 1

Awoke at the Travelodge in Ilminster, Somerset.  Today I'm going with a friend to visit the Kettlewell Colour Studio, not far away.  I wrote a longer post about the experience. 

Woke up 6.30, decided on purple/green outfit  (gave myself a choice of two).  The studio was buzzing with around 20 ladies, all pre-booked. I tried a few things on and bought a dress and tee. After lunch we left and it took a long time to get home.  Traffic was terrible. Below: with my friend Margery (who writes as Maddie Grigg). 

Is This Mutton with a friend

Trying on a dress, which I decided to buy. 

Sun June 2

Sunny. Went to Tesco Epping to restock. Did roast lamb. Started Red Queen, Prime.  It's a No. 

Mon June 3

Cloudy with sunny intervals.  Had a hellish drive to Wallington near Croydon. There had been a couple of motorway incidents so the sat nav kept diverting me off the M25. 

Met Clare (pictured) for  a lovely afternoon tea courtesy of Dobbie's Garden Centre.  Didn't have any dinner after the huge cream tea. 

Tues June 4

Did 35 mile bike ride to Chipping Ongar in Essex. Hard on way back, wind. Had a pre-holiday pedicure.  Tried Eric, Netflix,  but it's a No.

Weds June 5

We did a forest walk, bit of a route march! Got a nice pic in Yates Meadow (Epping Forest). 

Then had my hair done.  Opted for a shorter cut than normal as it'll be useful on the upcoming cycling holiday. Plus I can wear dangly earrings! 

Thurs June 6

A busy day. We're off on holiday tomorrow so I like to leave the house spick and span. Did the ironing, changed the beds, several loads of washing, wrote a blog post and email for next week; did packing, watered garden, printed boarding passes. 

Booking opened for members of the National Gallery for the Van Gogh exhibition, and booked for J and me. 

Fri June 7

We're off!  Smooth passage to and through Gatwick airport. Bought a Pret sandwich for lunch and a pair of flip flops. I always book extra leg room seats as J is tall.  We were lucky to get 3 seats to ourselves.  Arriving in Skiathos the baggage came out almost immediately. Bliss to feel the warm sunshine. Had dinner in one of the hotel's restaurants. Caprese salad shared as a starter, and lamb burger. 

Sat June 8

Lovely first day. Delicious lunch. Reading an actual paperback, Northern Boy. Read my review. Saw the hotel cat, much adored by the guests, and her timid kitten. We have been to Skiathos 8 times (seven times at this hotel) and as we've explored the island and been on trips previously, we use the time to relax on the beach with books and podcasts with the occasional swim/snorkel. We do a lot of physical activity in our normal lives, so this is a truly relaxing break. 

Got the water taxi into town (10 mins) to go to one of our favourite places, Paraxenos. Had sesame seed feta cheese parcels with a delicious jam as my starter, and moussaka for main course. Rather too much.....! 

Sun June 9

I always have binoculars on hand to watch all the Greek ferries and boats going past, but hardly any today.  V hot. A member of the Is This Mutton WhatsApp group, Trish, made contact: she is also in Skiathos. We  arranged to meet on Tues. 

Went into town to a restaurant called The Secret Garden, our first time. Had grilled mushrooms,  shrimp linguine.

Mon June 10

A blog post went live. I'm now reading The Wrong Woman by OJ Mullen on my Kindle. We had dinner in the hotel, and my first Cosmpolitan cocktail. I had tartuffo risotto. Really good. 

Tues June 11 

29, sunny. Met Trish and Terry and had coffee in town. Lovely to meet them. Saw a swan on the beach. It seemed to be waiting for the water taxi.  It's our 14th wedding anniversary.  Had dinner at the Windmill with its spectacular views of Skiathos. I had stuffed mushrooms and lamb shank. Lovely evening.

Weds 12 June 

29 with a few cloudy spells. Usual blog post went live. Swam a bit more today. Need to go in to cool off. Dinner in town at a  new place to us,  Basilikus. Traditional food, rustic. Had a cheese pie which was huge, and mushroom/truffle risotto.

Thurs 13 June 

30 degrees but cloudy some of the time.  Went in town at lunchtime. Saw the huge ferry Superstar preparing to leave. Was thinking of buying a kaftan but didn't bite. 

Saw a billboard which showed the Skiathos cheese pie  (I had one last night, had I known it was so much bigger than the usual Greek cheese pies I would have chosen something different!)

Ate in the hotel's Mesoyius restaurant.  Was full. Shared a feta cheese starter and had chicken skewer and no alcohol.  Virtuous day. 

Fri 14 June 

Temp up to 31 but cooling breeze. The sea was quite rough - usually very flat -and the water taxi was suspended until 4pm. This also affected the Superstar, which does a round trip of Skiathos - Skopelos - Ionissos a few times a day. I don't think the captain was impressed, there was a lot of very loud honking when the ship was finally allowed to enter the Old Port. Below: Superstar, seen from our balcony. 

We went to a really wonderful restaurant called Marmita which has a new extension.  The food is amazing.I even had a dessert! My main was turbot and the dessert was chocolate ganache with olive oil and salt flakes. 

Sat 15 June 

Big changeover day today and nearly everyone on the beach was "new." The sea was quite rough and there was a strong breeze.  The water taxi was the smaller high speed boat. Quite a lot of hilarity on board as we jumped the wake..Went back to Paraxenos. Several people from the boat were also there. Had mushrooms in cream and garlic and slow cooked pork, a local speciality. 

Sun 16 June 

Our last day. Weather perfect. Had a long swim in the sea & used snorkel. Had dinner in the hotel restaurant. First England game in the European championships, v Serbia.  Didn't watch. 

Mon 17 June

My mum's 92nd birthday. We flew home today. Took my last picture. 

Long queues at Skiathos airport,  unusual.  Baggage at Gatwick bit slow coming out (no surprises there).  As we didn't get home until 5.30, and the cupboard was a bit bare, I got fish n chips from a different place, the usual place being closed. Awful! 

Tues 18 June 

Sunny, about 23. Did bike ride, Lee Valley via Epping and Nazeing.  Was amazed to have lost a pound in weight! 

Wrote 2 blog posts. Paul McCartney announced tour dates. Hope to get tickets for Manchester.  Had some bad news from Microsoft about my much loved PC:  it can't be upgraded to Win 11 and they will EOL that product in 2025. There's plenty of life and space on this PC.....

Weds 19 June 

Sunny. Met Penny from Frugal Fashion Shopper to see the Vivienne Westwood exhibition at Christie's.  Very good, better than we expected. Vivienne wa a very inspiring woman. The proceeds of her personal collection's auction will go to four charities. Had coffee at the RA afterwards. Check out Penny's blog as she is also writing about the exhibition today. 

Tried to get tickets for McCartney in the Co-Op presale for Manchester. Was in the queue but out and about, on my mobile, and kept losing 5G, Had to give up. 

Thurs 20 June 

Did walk. England v Denmark. V bad performance, 1-1.

Fri 21 June

Got train to Hackney Downs with our bikes. We followed a cycle route from a book Rachel gave J for Father's Day. From Hackney we went on canal paths and through Victoria Park, Stratford and Greenwich. A shandy and BLT toasted sandwich at the Cutty Park pub was very welcome on this hot day. 

We went on the free Woolwich ferry across the river (below) and also used the Greenwich foot tunnel. Unfortunately one of the lifts was out of action so J had to haul my 25kg bike up the steps. 

I was exhausted by the time we got home (we got a bit lost getting to the Olympic park). A bit dehydrated.  Tried again to get Paul M tickets in the public sale, but no go.  V disappointed

Sat 22 June 

Rained overnight.  Didn't feel too bad when I woke up. Decided to have rest day. Christopher  and family came round to give J his belated Father's Day present.

Sun 23 June 

We went for a forest walk. Weather pleasant. Roast beef.

Mon 24 June 

Sunny, 23. Had another cycling adventure. Using the Lost Routes of the South East book we cycled to Tottenham Hale to get a train to Elsenham. Mostly country lanes. We arrived at Finchingfield, said to be one of England's prettiest villages, for an early lunch at a pub overlooking The Green. 

The ride was 50 miles altogether.  The Fitbit agreed I had worked hard, with 3.5 hours in my vigorous and peak heart rate zones and 1.5 hours in moderate. I used a Camelbak hydration system this time as I find it hard to grab a water bottle as I'm cycling. 

Tues 25 June

Very hot. J took his bike for repairs. I was feeling high in energy but the weather put me off. Did 2 blog posts and book admin. 

England v Slovenia. Rubbish.  0-0. Couldn't sleep again, too hot even with fan. Scheduled a Kettlewell Hyde Park meet up for September. 

Weds 26 June 

Positive feedback on today's book review for Northern Boy  from the author, which was a thrill.  Started Gangs of Galicia, Netflix, which looks promising. Lots of flak for Gareth Southgate and the England team. 

Thurs 27 June 

Not as hot as yesterday. Did short bike ride (23 miles) to the Lee Valley country park. Ordered a few dresses as I'd like something new for an outing to the Biba exhibition at the museum of fashion and design on Sat. 

And that's a wrap. I'll be covering the Biba outing in next month's post. How have you been enjoying the hot weather?  And the Euros?  Do tell in the comments. 

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