40ACTS2019 :: 31 :: Better Threads

Hello everyone! Yesterday was a busy day, even though my last two students cancelled. One was a late cancellation, with no explanation, so I ought to charge them 50% of the lesson cost – it’s written on my bill! – but it didn’t really inconvenience me, and they’re good customers…So I might just let them off with a warning! The other was Valentin, who was recently in a car accident. The poor lad was quite seriously hurt, and now has a body brace to wear, which restricts his movement, and, of course, is struggling with the after shock and ongoing pain from the accident. He’s been too tired for his lesson the last three weeks – I’m not heartless enough to charge for these missed lessons! When I got home I cooked dinner (usually Mr FD on “Chicken Wednesday” but he had a job to do for M across the road, and I was home early enough) and then we watched the episode of “Line of Duty” that we had missed. Oh, that’s such a good series!! If you don’t watch it I recommend trying to find all the series on the i-player, or whatever.

Today I have a later start than usual on Thursday – so I’ve prepped dinner (Mr FD is doing the shopping) and now have time to write today’s 40 Acts blog post. I still have to track Pomme down to give her the pill – she has secreted herself somewhere and is keeping quiet. Sneaky cat…

But Pomme’s doing it right!


PROMPT: Picture this: you’re looking at a cheap-as-chips shirt, wondering what on earth happened to make it that cheap, and before you know it, you’ve gone and bought it. It happens to most of us. But today, we’re getting thoughtful about our threads. What’s the history behind our clothes? And what makes ethical clothing generous?


ACTS: Green: Make up a list of places you’re happy to shop for clothes, and places to avoid that aren’t ethically sound.

Amber: Do an inventory on your clothes. Sort through them and see how many are ethically dodgy. Take anything you don’t need to a charity shop.

Red: When you need something new, buy ethically instead, and get a new habit started.

“Be under obligation to no one – the only obligation you have is to love one another…” (Romans 13:8 GNT)

This is an Act that has come up in various guises in the last couple of years, I think – and it’s important. It’s not just clothes that we in the developed world want to see sold cheaply: food, clothes, anything really – we want it cheap and we close our eyes to the real cost to both other people AND to the environment.

I love a bit of Primark, me – I try to go into the shop when I’m in Liverpool. Mostly for tops, but I can sometimes strike lucky with trousers…And each time I go in there’s a niggling thought: who is paying (and how are they paying?!) so I can have such cheap clothes? And then I see a stripey top and that thought flies out of the window!

When we lived in the UK I was happy to shop in charity shops for clothes – and I still explore them (in addition to Primark !) – when I go back. But here in France they are much fewer – and a lot less clean! The only time I’ve ventured into one the musty smell really put me off browsing. The other problem is that any French clothes shops don’t seem to believe in “big ladies” – anything over size 14 is labelled “Big Sizes” and is spectacularly uninspiring, and if you need a 31″ inside leg (what’s that in cm?!) for trousers you can forget it! So if I find something nice and affordable that fits, I’ll snap it up without thinking about much else!!

However, these are all excuses. There ARE mail order shops, with a good choice of sizes and styles, which are ethical and deliver to France…But they are expensive. Yes, good quality but I will look at the price and think “I’m not paying that for a top!” But then, really, I need to consider: Do I need a top?  I tend to buy clothes on a whim – I see it, I like it, I can afford it, so I buy it. I don’t need it. Which is why I have a plethora of stripey tops!

So perhaps I need a different challenge – or I need to look more closely at the Red Challenge: WHEN you need something new… I need to think more closely about what I need, and not what I want. If I don’t buy that stripey top will I feel the loss? Probably not. I have at least 5 more similar ones in my wardrobe! So before buying something new, I will consider if it is needed…and where it comes from. And then where I’m going to buy it from.

And for anyone who’s interested, these are two mail order firms I’ve used who claim to be environmentally and ethically sound:


Gudrun Sjoden

(and if they’d like to send me anything to try and review I’d be very happy to do so!!!) (😊) No, really…


And those are two garments that definitely should NOT have been bought!!

A right Royal event.

I was very busy last Wednesday writing scheduled posts, as I thought I’d be wiped out until at least Tuesday of next week. However, this dose of chemo has affected me differently – I guess the leg pains will start in earnest tomorrow, which I think was the pattern last time, but at least I have a better idea about how to manage them this time round. On Friday, I stayed in bed until after lunch, and then got up; I watched TV most of the afternoon, but I did go for a tiny stroll. Then yesterday, (I’m writing this on Sunday, but scheduling it to publish tomorrow, Monday) I felt great – I’d slept well on Friday night, so I felt up to accepting the invitation of Friend Richard to go to watch the Royal Wedding at his place, together with Friend Cathy. Mr FD turned down the invitation, preferring to stay at home to watch the Giro d’Italia, the rugby, and the FA Cup Final.

I’m not a Monarchist, but nor am I a Republican. I think the role of the Monarchy needs to change – and I think, very slowly, it is – but I think that generally the Royal family probably bring in revenue to the country. I don’t really know much about it though. Whether the reported £ 30 million  spent on security for this wedding should have come from the tax payers’ pockets I don’t know – but presumably, for other public events (concerts, FA Cup Finals etc) the public purse pays, so why not for this.

ANYWAY – I probably wouldn’t have bothered to watch it had I been at home by myself, but with a couple of friends, it seemed like a fun idea. So, in the morning, I made an elderflower cordial and lemon cake, just like Meghan and Harry’s wedding cake.


I bet you can’t guess which one I made!

Apparently it was delicious – I couldn’t taste it – and so I will be making it again when my taste returns. If you should be interested, I used this very easy recipe.

Friend Cathy picked me up, and we drove over to Richard’s where he had the Union flag flying outside! We had both chosen to wear patriotic clothes – I had my red trousers, white shirt and blue tunic top, and Cathy had a white skirt, red T-shirt and blue cardigan! While I was tying my blue turban/scarf round my head, I suddenly remembered I had a Union flag scarf, which I had bought for Summer School last year. I’d thought about either wearing it, or pinning it up in the classroom. Finally, I did neither, as we decided it seemed a bit “National Frontish” , but it seemed like the perfect thing to wear today!

Richard has an enormous TV, so it was a bit like being in the cinema! While he plied us with delicious nibbles – vegetarian Nems (spring rolls) and little vegetarian “sliders” (I believe they’re called) – we watched the guests arriving, and critiqued the outfits.


As the service started we had a cheese-and-tomato toasted sandwich. I enjoyed the service very much – Richard, a confirmed atheist, disappeared into the kitchen until Michael Curry had finished his address.

I think Bishop Michael is an inspiring speaker, and I could listen to him preaching quite happily – however I felt this address was maybe just a few minutes too long. It was, however, a great message, and I think it fitted the mood of the service very well. It was a bit tricky guaging the reaction of Her Maj, however – she did rather look as though she was sucking on a lemon some of the time!

As the married couple drove around Windsor, waving at the plebs, we enjoyed the cake, with strawberries (I can still just taste strawberries!) and then, as I was starting to flag a little, Cathy drove me home.

Here we are in our patriotically coloured outfits.

Mr FD was firmly ensconsed in front of his sporting events, so I sat and snoozed, and stroked cats. With pizza for dinner, and some recorded comedy programmes that rounded off a good day.  I was in bed by 10.30 and went to sleep about 11.30. Unfortunately there was quite a bit of cat action, with Bib giving me quite a nasty nip, so I was awake from about 4.00 am through to 6.30, listening to Kermode & Mayo’s film review – very soothing voices, which sent me to sleep.

And now, I’m up again, and trying to keep moving (although with the fatigue it does take it out of me ) because all advice seems to be that the more one moves around, the better it is for the neuropathy, as the movement gets the blood pumping to the very ends of the nervous system.

What I’m wearing: Friday at work

But I can’t show you!! I have mislaid (or possibly lost!) my camera, so I have no photo. Sad face.

I was, however, inordinately pleased with my outfit. I have a new black skirt. It is a real innovation for me, as it is knee length, and practically every skirt I have owned, ever, has been mid-calf. But this is just above my knees. I don’t like my knees as they’re a bit squidgy, and ever since my accident with Gavroche (scroll down here to the section titled “My Version of River Dance”) my left knee has been very puffy. But with opaque black tights they’re not too horrendous.

I have a pair of black-and-grey oxfords – they were light grey all over, which didn’t go with anything I had (but I bought them cos they were cheap!!) until last October when I got a Sharpie pen and coloured them black, except for the tongue. The laces are also still grey. So I wore those on my feet, which looked fine.

On the top I wore a long navy-and-grey tunic. I wasn’t totally sure about the navy with black but it looked okay.

But I was very pleased with the skirt…I had been looking for one for a while, but don’t often get the chance to look round the shops. I can squeeze in about 30 minutes on a Wednesday before my lessons start, and so three weeks ago I did a very quick trawl round the shops. I found a black skirt in Armand Thiery, and not having time to try it on, took it home. It was not at all right, so I took it back for a refund the following week. Popped into M&SModes and saw another black skirt. Again, not having time to try it on, I took it home. Not at all right (and a size too big, which was a pleasant surprise, as I’d taken what I thought was my size!) . So I took it back the following week for a refund. And just popped back into A.T. to have a last look at the sale rack.And there, reduced by 60% to 13€ was the exact skirt I’d been looking for – and (as I’d discovered I was smaller than expected!) in a size I could fit into!

It’s a look I’m planning on exploring a little bit more.

This is the look I was going for, but my skirt is shorter and I’m nowhere near that thin!!


What I’m wearing – Sunday at church

Yesterday I mentioned I’d bought a new tunic at the sales, to try to look a bit smarter & more professional when going to businesses to teach. I tried the outfit out today to go to church


Both pictures are a bit blurry – and do not look at the tip that is the bedroom. I think I need to practise these photos-of-oneself-in-a-mirror! The top comes from the French clothing chain Depeche Mode, the leggings from who knows where and the boots from Noz. Oh, the bargain of the year! Leather, fur-lined lace-up boots for under 20€!! The only downside is that they take 5 minutes to puit on becauseof all the lacing!

Any comments?

What I’m wearing – Saturday at home

Jan over at The Great Escape  is trying to have a smarter image than her default jeans-and-hoodie look. To encourage herself, she is posting her daily look, and I have to say she looks very good in the pictures so far. I wish I could look as good!

Inspired by her I thought I might try an occasional What I’m Wearing post. I want to try to look a bit smarter than I have been – especially when going out to teach in businesses – so I thought this might encourage me. I went to the sales yesterday and bought myself a tunic/dress which I plan on wearing with leggings & boots. Hopefully picture tomorrow when I wear it for church.

But this is me today – a Saturday at home:


Fleece and baggy jeans. Sorry it’s a bit dark, but obviously I couldn’t use a flash, and the only place with a full length mirror is in our rather dark bedroom. And here are my slippers (I really should have arranged my jeans better!)