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Happy Easter

by Margaret Powling-

We have been enjoying a quiet, restful day. 

The last few weeks have been busy – or so they have seemed to us:  searching for a washing machine and then a tumble dryer;  going out to lunch on a couple of occasions with friends;  going out to breakfast a deux (sorry I can’t manage accents); plus the usual shopping trips for food, visits to garden centres, and walks in an attempt to keep fit. 

As well as all this, researching my next article, trying to keep on top of housekeeping, letter writing to some friends who do not use the internet, cooking, looking after Barry-the-dog,  and all manner of other small jobs.  And so, as it has been too chilly to work in the garden, today we have done absolutely nothing.  It has been bliss.

Yes, I know; it’s not healthy to sit around all day, but sometimes it’s better to do that, just to rest, eat when we feel like eating, have cups of tea, and watch television than to engage in frenetic activity.  Once in a while it doesn’t hurt to rest, provided you don’t sit around all day, every day.

We are not great TV fans.  We don’t watch soaps; we have never watched Dr Who; we don’t watch reality shows.  We haven’t to clue what Broadchurch is about and we’ve not watched the American version of House of Cards.  We enjoy history programmes but sadly rather too much drama and too little history now seems to be the order of the day.  I say bring back David Starkey and Simon Schama and let’s have a bit less of ladies-dressing-up.  However, we have enjoyed the recent historic buildings restoration programme, where Cardigan Castle won the Restoration of the Year Award by The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.  This series was led by a presenter who didn’t wave his arms around like a windmill, it had knowledgeable experts who explained about the various restoration projects, and all without an over-intrusive sound track.  Indeed, it was the very model of a modern historic houses programme. 

And so it came as something of a surprise when we found ourselves engrossed in the American series, Homeland.  We began watching the first episode on Netflix and are  now totally hooked.  Indeed, we have been watching it all day long, with breaks for lunch and supper.  And as we are only half way through the second season we have loads more episodes to watch.  I never thought we’d enjoy a series about the CIA, but boy, is it good. 

Now you might be wondering why there are photos of tulips decorating today’s post?  For no reason other than April is the month for tulips here in the UK, and while not all our tulips in the garden are in flower yet, and it’s far too cold for me to venture outside to take photos of the ones that are in bloom, I thought instead I would show you some we’ve had in the garden in previous years, and some in the house, too. 

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, do have a lovely Easter Day tomorrow. 

Happy Easter, everyone.

 

 

Margaret Powling

17 Comments

  1. Lara

    Margaret, your quiet day at home sounds lovely. I agree that’s it’s nice to have a quiet day to yourself ‘to catch your breath’, so to speak. When the weather is hostile, it’s especially nice to have a day inside. There is nothing at all wrong with enjoying each other’s company and indeed, your own lovely environs.
    As always, I am envious of your tulips. Those colours are stunning. I will be brave and go out on a limb here and say we don’t get all of those colours in Australia. (Some gardening enthusiast from a colder climate could well correct me). The purple is amazing.
    I love period dramas, any period really. I’m a sucker for beautiful costumes and back drops. ‘Downton Abbey’, ‘Call the Midwife’ and many other wonderful British series have been very successful here.

    16 . Apr . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, some of the tulips I have bought over the years (for the garden, I mean) have been wonderful. I buy them from a company here called Sarah Raven. Sarah is married to writer Adam Nicolson who is the grandson of Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville West. You mightn’t have heard of Vita and Harold, but together they created one of the most beautiful gardens in England, the garden at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent. It was a ruin when they bought the property – or properties, as it consists of several buildings, including an Elixabethan tower – and they transformed it and, as I say, created one of the loveliest gardens in England. So, in a way, Sarah and Adam, at their garden at Perch Hill, are continuing in his grandmother’s footsteps. There are other bulb companies from whom one might buy bulbs, and of course, all the garden centres, but I have found that Sarah’s selections are the most unusual.
      Yes we also love period dramas, but they have to be well done, such as Downton Abbey but I’ve never watched Call the Midwife. I missed it to start with as it ‘clashed’ with a programme we watched (can’t remember what) and I’ve never developed an interest for it. But I quite like Grantchester (perhaps that hasn’t arrived in Australia yet?) about a vicar who helps his policeman friend solve crimes. I hope you are understand the British accent, especially some of the regional accents which even we find difficult!

      16 . Apr . 2017
  2. Rosemary

    Magnificent tulips Margaret – have a lovely Easter Sunday, the sun is bright up there in the blue sky today – the two of us are enjoying your nut roast recipe over this holiday.

    16 . Apr . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Oh! My goodness, Rosemary, I am delighted you are enjoying the nut roast! When I mentioned to my husband that I’d posted the recipe on my blog he said “Well, when are we going to get our nut roast, then?” So I might make one again very soon! It is a sunny morning here, too. Have a lovely day.

      16 . Apr . 2017
  3. Eloise

    Happy Easter, Margaret.
    I love a quiet day now and again. Today has been quiet in parts. This morning I popped to my son’s with Easter eggs for my granddaughters and then later my other son brought my grandsons here and we walked over to the pond (about 300 yards away) to see the ducks.
    What a coincidence that Rosemary has made your nut roast; I bought the nuts yesterday and they are waiting to be turned into the very same tomorrow morning! I’ve planned a cooking day and will makes cakes too. We never venture far bank holidays. Those purple tulips are stunning and complement the red ones so well. I currently have pale pink tulips and white roses in the house. I especially like white flowers and I’d like to visit the White Garden at Sissinghurst – it is supposed to be spectacular but Kent is an area I have never been to. One for the list!

    16 . Apr . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, Sissinghurst is lovely, especially the white garden. I enjoyed our visit there even though it isn’t my husband’s favourite garden. He’s not that keen on gardens such as Sissinghurst and Hidcote where there are garden ‘rooms’, he prefers more open spaces and landscape gardens. I tried white flowers here, but what I’d failed to realize was that Vita had dark green hedges or brick walls and we have a cream-coloured wall around our back garden and so white flowers looked all wrong!
      I hope you aren’t disappointed with the nut roast and hope you will really enjoy it, either as a roast meal, with veg and gravy, or cold with salads.
      How lovely to have a pond not far away with ducks, the grandchildren will love that. Our little grandson came over this afternoon with his mummy and daddy for his chocolate bunny, and I’d made a lemon drizzle cake for us to enjoy with some whipped cream. Now for more episodes of Homeland, my goodness, it’s gripping.

      16 . Apr . 2017
  4. Eloise

    Haha, sounds like you’re hooked! I haven’t watched Homeland. I do like a good drama and really enjoyed Downton, especially Lady Mary’s divine dresses. We do watch Broadchurch and think it is very well written and acted. I usually find the fifteen minute test works. If something hasn’t gripped me by then, I know it won’t.
    Chocolate bunnies, lemon drizzle and whipped cream….sounds like heaven! Knowing that I love chocolate but really struggle to maintain a reasonable weight, my daughter in law bought me a tiny chocolate bunny. I savoured the entire two mouthfuls!
    It is nice to have a pond nearby but it really doesn’t t compRe with views of the sea! It contains lots of huge carp and they come right to the edge and pop their heads out of the water. They are terribly ugly fish but the children are fascinated. Today we also saw two swans which are not always there. I have no idea where they go in between times. Have a good day tomorrow.

    16 . Apr . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, hooked on Homeland, ha ha! And we loved Downton, and the gorgeous costumes. I think the best costumes were on the first productions of Mapp & Lucia in the 1980s, they were wonderful (as were the later series with Anna Chancellor and Miranda Richardson). But the 15 minute test is a very good idea, I ought to try that.
      It seems odd that the swans come to the pond and then disappear. Might they have a nest somewhere? I’d never thought of carp being ugly fish. Monkfish are pretty ugly creatures, too! I’ve only seen them on a fishmonger’s counter, but my goodness, they are horrible. Well, unless you’re another monkfish!

      16 . Apr . 2017
  5. Joy

    Hello Margaret, it is a fantastic beautiful day here in the mid U.S. Perfect temperatures and a cool-ish breeze. Your tulips are beautiful, lovely colors. I have a few myself, some yellow, peach, and a pinkish red. Your day sounds wonderful and there is nothing that gives my mind more peace than being settled at home in a good chair, with either an interesting book or some hand sewing to be done.

    16 . Apr . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Hello, Joy. Great minds think alike, even across the globe … a comfy chair and good book (I’ll pass on the sewing because that is one accomplishment I’ve never mastered, sadly.) Your tulips sound lovely, too. Indeed, all tulips are lovely.

      17 . Apr . 2017
  6. Mary, The Pouting Pensioner

    Happy Easter! We watched the last in the latest series of Homeland tonight. Riveting!

    16 . Apr . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Hope you have had a good Easter, Mary. We have a lot of episodes to watch before we can watch the latest series, we’re only half way through the second season! But, oh, we love it! Never in our lives have we watched back-to-back episodes and we watched three yesterday afternoon, suddenly it was dusk and we had to put the lights on, we’d not even noticed the light fading, we were so engrossed in the story. It is so good, the acting excellent even though we don’t always hear exactly what the characters are saying, and this isn’t just because of the American accent, but the speed of delivery of the lines but more often lines which are mumbled. But overall, a wonderful series.

      17 . Apr . 2017
  7. Lara

    Yes I watched a couple of episodes of Grantchester with my mum. Robson Green is very charismatic and the actor who plays the young vicar is quite dishy ! Australian tv (free-to-air and pay tv) features many British shows. Many American shows, too, but I think that when it comes to comedy and dramas, you Brits are much much better 🙂

    18 . Apr . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, we Brits (or in our case, English) have a great sense of humour; comedy series such as Only Fools and Horses and Dad’s Army go on forever and we still laugh at the old jokes even though we know they’re coming! I think to be really funny, something has to bear a close resemblance to real life, such as the mishaps that Del Boy and his family have, never quite making it to being millionaires. And in Dad’s Army, the characters are so like those you would find in any small town or village in the 1940s, the bossy one, the cantankerous one, the sensitive one, and so forth. I have never found American shows very funny. A friend loved Frasier and bought the DVD of it for me, but I didn’t find it particularly funny. The shows bordered on farce, but that style of comedy seems to have disappeared from our screens these days (with the exception of Miranda, with Miranda Hart, and I don’t find her remotely funny.) A lot of people doing silly things, rushing in and out, very frenetic. bordering on slapstick. Not my kind of humour at all.
      The actor who takes the part of Sidney Chambers in Granchester is excellent. He also played the part of a murderer in the crime serial, Happy Valley. That was truly excellent. So he’s played both saint and sinner!

      18 . Apr . 2017
  8. Sarah

    Your replies to comments are often as interesting as your blog posts Margaret. We recently subscribed to Netflix (one of 100m around the world) and last night watched “Mr Holmes”, a film you may enjoy too. It had a special resonance for us as it was filmed at Wickham Manor, a NT tenanted farmhouse where we have stayed as Bed and Breakfast guests a couple of times. It isn’t far from Rye and a few years ago Lamb House had a small exhibition of Anna’s marvellous Lucia costumes. I adore Sissinghurst (have you come across “Gloomsbury” on Radio 4 – it is so funny for aficionados) and it offers a perfect courtesy stop when delivering or collecting my daughter from university, luckily she loves it too. We were at Nymans last week and in the secondhand bookshop I found a copy of Anne Scott James’ book about making the garden at Sissinghurst. I’m a fan too of Sarah Raven and have used three of her recipes this weekend: asparagus lemony pasta, rhubarb tart and foraged wild garlic pesto. I also sow her flower seeds in my cutting patch and plant her tulip bulbs at home and at the allotment. Your tulips are absolutely beautiful, I hope my apple blossom and tulips will not be too hard hit by the hard frost forecast tonight.

    18 . Apr . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you so much, Sarah, for your kind words re my own replies to readers’ comments. The comments often set up further thoughts on a subject, and although we have seen the film Mr Holmes, which we enjoyed, I didn’t know of Wickham Manor. I hadn’t heard of Gloomsbury, so must look that up! And although I’ve not visited *Nymans, I wrote about it for Britain magazine a year or two ago (I have written about many NT properties, many I have visited, some I have not.) At one time I had a whole collection of books relating to Vita and Harold (of Sissinghurst) but have since parted with them, but I do have Anne Scott-James’s book Gardening Letters to my Daughter, and also her early book In the Mink, an autobiographical novel about life in fashion.
      Those recipes sound lovely, especially the asparagus lemony pasta! *One time home of the mother of the late Lord Snowdon, the former Anthony Armstrong Jones.

      18 . Apr . 2017
  9. Elaine

    Breathtakingly beautiful colours! Of course, as I was admiring the tulips, I found my head tilting to one side to read the book titles on your shelves. It sounds like a lovely way to spend the day.

    20 . Apr . 2017

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