A Medley of Unrelated Topics

by Margaret Powling-


Before I go further with today’s post, I’d like to mention blogs and as I don’t have a sidebar on my blog with others’ blogs, I really don’t know how I might do this (I will ask my computer man) so in the meantime, if you have a blog perhaps you could add the blog address to any comment and then readers of this blog will be able to access it. 

* * * * *

And so to today’s post.  As my title says, it’s a medley of unrelated topics.  I will start with the photo above.  We were in the village of St Marychurch earlier in the week. That is where I lived as a child from the age of six to 17, my “formative” years, starting as a mere child and ending up with my boyfriend who became my husband.  My parents had the village newsagent’s shop and there were several little alley ways connecting cottages close by.  We walked through one of these alley ways from a car park to the shopping precinct and I noticed this little flower bed between a garden shed and an old wall.  It wasn’t particularly tidy, but I thought it was rather pretty, and so took a photograph.  It demonstrates that even in the most unlikely of places there is beauty.

* * * *

Next, the book Historium, another in the Welcome to the Museum series which I posted about a short while ago.  I have to say that this isn’t quite the book I expected but the cover should have been indicative enough for me to assess its contents.  It’s not about the Tudors, the Elizabethans, or even Medieval times.  This book is about ancient history. 

Human beings are astonishingly creative.  For over a million years they  have been making and innovating – not merely functional tools but elaborate objects and intricate artwork.” 

This book shows some wonderful illustrations of items from ancient civilisations, from Africa, America, Asia, Europe, The Middle East and Oceania.  The Curators (i.e. writer and illustrator) are Richard Wilkinson (illustrator), who is self-taught and has worked with The New Scientist, Intelligent Life, and TIME, and Jo Nelson (writer) has studied Modern and Medieval Languages at Cambridge University and has been researching and writing non-fiction books for 15 years.  This is about the only book in my rather large collection of books which deals specifically with the ancient world.  and I am very pleased that I bought it.

Photo Credit:  Historium, illustrator, Richard Wilkinson (Big Picture Press)

* * * *


A couple of months ago my local branch of a certain supermarket had Cleanolgy products on promotion. They had a large display stand showing all kinds of items in the range, and very nice it all looked. So nice that I bought one of the bottles of spray household cleaner, seduced by the sound of Wild Mint and Green Tea.  It said that this product was non-toxic and made from natural oils.  And what is more, I was very pleased with it, it did the job.

However, when I returned to this supermarket I could not find any Cleanology products. I made enquiries only to be informed that they weren’t going to stock them, they had only been on promotion.  Perhaps they were a trial to see how many customers bought these products?  Maybe they didn’t sell all that well?  But to have them there and then not stock them seemed rather odd to say the least.  But supermarkets’ ways are a law unto themselves.

And then I thought, perhaps these products are available online?   And yes, they are, although I had to spend money on postage; I have been able to locate these excellent cleaning products which do not harm ourselves or the planet.

* * * *

Next, still with cleaning but of the human kind, I treated ourselves to this lovely box of Neste Danti Romantica soaps.  I’ve bought them before and know just how lovely they are. These are a treat in store.

* * * *

Next, after writing the post on Children’s Illustrated Books I rather fancied a copy of Nicola Bayley’s The Patchwork Cat and found a very inexpensive one online, not the original edition one but a nice copy.

Photo Credit:  The Patchwork Cat, illustrations by Nicola Bayley (Jonathan Cape and, this edition, Random House)

This is a lovely addition to my illustrated books collection.

Next, a lovely box of postcards, Botanicum, which are complementary postcards to the book of this name, a box of 50 postcards featuring Katie Scott’s illustrations. 

Photo credit:  Botanicum postcards, Ilustrated by Katie Scott (Big Picture Press, Templar Publishing)


Every postcard is different and each one is a miniature work of art.  They would look lovely framed.  I am thinking of putting some of them on the board I keep for displaying postcards in the summerhouse (applying them to the board with Blue Tack so that I may remove them at the end of the summer.) 

And finally to this morning, when we paid our local garden centre a visit. We were on the hunt for a birthday present for my husband’s brother, and decided upon some blueberry bushes as he loves gardening and best of all, he enjoys growing things to eat.  We had a quick look around but it was very cold, even though we were well wrapped up, wearing our winter coats;  the weather is now different from last week when we were enjoying strolls in the Zoo and in Living Coasts wearing T-shirts.   And so we quickly made our purchase and then enjoyed coffee and scones (cheese scone for me) in the café.  What a pleasant way to spend a Tuesday morning.

As I said, a medley of unrelated topics! 

Until next time.

Margaret Powling


  1. Marlene Stevens

    What a mixed bag, the top picture is so pretty, I love the little cage with the plant in , I saw something like this on Instagram with a much larger cage, I am thinking of doing something similar.
    Those postcards are very pretty, and those soaps sound simply divine. I haven’t used “normal” supermarket soap for ages now, I have been converted.
    That cheese scone looks so yummy, I am drooling I just fancy one now.

    09 . May . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Glad you have been converted to good soap, Marlene. Quality pays in the end. Supermarket soaps and the cheaper brands might seem good value but they quickly go squidgy and good, triple milled soap, doesn’t do that unless it’s been left in a puddle of water. I was always taught to buy the best of anything that I could afford but on the other hand not to waste money, which might seem contradictory statements, but I think you know what I mean. For example, I buy good soap, good scent, good shoes, but I don’t buy takeaways, popcorn, crisps (unless for part of a meal such as to have on the plate with a summer salad), fizzy drinks, wine, any form of what I call knick-knackery (we have far too many things in our home as it is!). So by cutting out all unnecessary things – well, unnecessary to me, I mean! – I can afford (even as a pensioner) to have what others might consider luxuries. This isn’t the only range of soaps that Nesti Dante produce, either, there are other fragrances (which I’ve not yet sampled). But I can recommend these soaps, also all Roger & Gallet soaps, Penhaligon’s, Floris, and the soaps from http://www.frenchsoaps.co.uk.
      I think I will be making scones soon – I’ve been asked to post a good scone recipe and I will do that at the same time.
      The little flower bed in the alley way was quite a revelation, it was so pretty and in such an unlikely place.

      09 . May . 2017
  2. ratnamurti

    I agree about not wasting money, Margaret. I was taught in my teens, to look after what I had, wash, clean, mend, polish. And it does leave money for nicer things when one is not buying “knick knackery”. It also means that my belongings last, However, I have made a few changes in my life since reading your blog: it IS ok to have coffee and a scone when one is out & about; soup for lunch is fantastic. And yes, I love books too. And scent, even if mine is in the form of body oils. Ah yes, life’s wee pleasures.

    09 . May . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      You’ve hit the nail right on the head there, Ratnamurti: look after what we have; keep things repaired (if this is possible), clean, polished, and in good order, and then our belongings will last. And how lovely that you are enjoying coffee and a scone while you are out, and having soup for lunch. Indeed, we had coffee and a scone today, as I mentioned, and in this little café which is part of the garden centre, coffee and scones are a very inexpensive treat. Books, flowers, scent, soap and magazines are my weaknesses, though, more than clothes, shoes or make-up, but when I buy books I try and buy them as inexpensively as I can and all spare books, those which haven’t met expectations or those which I know I shall never read again, are taken to a lovely charity shop which supports our local hospice.

      09 . May . 2017
  3. Lara

    Well here on this side of the world, I am sitting in tshirt and shorts whilst typing and enjoying the late autumn sun on my legs and feet. Cat is next to me on our ‘nest’ of cushions and rug that I originally placed out her for airing but then thought I’d sit on them. It was 17deg C here at 6:30am so winter is coming ( well, winter for us, anyway) and I am thrilled as my perimenopausal thermostat had me sweaty and irritable and with frizzy hair for so many months that I was like a bear with a sore paw !! By the way – I am now officially menopausal and am disappointed there are no greeting cards for such an event. I mean we have birth, birthdays, graduation, Easter, Christmas, engagement, kitchen tea, wedding, anniversaries, get well and sympathy cards but nothing for ‘congratulations on reaching menopause – and not strangling anyone in the lead up’. I see a niche market here ha ha.

    The picture of the rotund kitty cat tickled my fancy. My cat has sat beside me for about half an hour now after securing the BEST position on the rug and cleaning herself from top to toe. I know from past experience that the minute she has finished she will look to me for a pat and then fall asleep purring. What a lovely life we lead 🙂

    The postcards look lovely. I think they could make nice thank you cards perhaps xx

    11 . May . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      I wish our ‘autumn’ was around 17C, that’s a lovely temperature for working in or going for a walk.
      Oh, that’s so funny, a Happy Menopause card! What a brilliant idea, especially as all women go through the menopause! We could throw menopause parties, with lots of cold drinks and chilled desserts to cool us while we have hot flushes (or hot flashes in America, I think they’re called.)
      Your cat (what is her name?) sounds as if she has you wrapped round her little paw! But cats have a habit of getting their staff to do their bidding!

      11 . May . 2017
  4. Lara

    Yep she’s snoozing now 😉

    11 . May . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Ah, lovely. I find looking at a snoozing cat quite soothing.

      11 . May . 2017
  5. Lara

    Madam’s name is Maisie. I got her from a shelter ten years ago. She was very thin after nursing a litter of kittens. After a few years of a good life with me (and then husband some years later) her vet ordered we put her on a diet !! Shock horror !! They have increased risk of diabetes, arthritis, etc just like us……Two (long) years later she went from almost 7kg to 4.6kg. I prefer to think she wasn’t fat, simply Rubenesque 😉
    You see, husband is the biggest softy in the world and would feed her every time she cried at the cupboard where her food was stored – which was often. So you see, getting our cat to lose weight wasn’t just a whole behaviour program for the feline but for husband and I as well ha ha.

    11 . May . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Maisie is a lovely name for a female cat. We have neighbours who have a cat called Maisie, a dear little tortoisehell cat. Oh dear, men do need training up, don’t they? Earlier this week, our fairly-new Prime Minister, Mrs Theresa May and her husband, Philip, were interviewed on an early evening TV chat show, The One Show, and they talked about how they divided the household tasks, and Mrs May said that there were boy jobs and girl jobs and this has caused a bit of a furore on Twitter (not that I look at Twitter as I don’t subscribe to it or Facebook or any of those social media sites) and today in the paper there is a whole article (diatribe?) on this subject, but there are some boy jobs such as going to the dump, cleaning out the car and so forth, and emptying the bins. However, if you want a job doing right away, it’s best to do it yourself, I think; men say they will do something, but that means in their own good time, and you have to remind them, and remind them … I have just about managed to get my husband nicely trained up to tidy up BEFORE be vacuums, but it has taken 52 years!

      11 . May . 2017
  6. Eloise at thisissixty.blog

    What a lovely full post. I love the postcards, and what a pretty little garden. Sometimes a very small display can make a greater impact than something much larger.
    I think we all have to decide what our luxuries are, especially once our incomes have reduced. There are things important to each of us and we choose which others we are prepared to sacrifice. I’m with you on good shoes as you know! I like an organic liquid soap but nice bars aren’t high on my list of priorities. I’m happy to forgo takeaways but would hate to give up coffee shop visits. I am happy to buy fewer clothes so long as I can get my hair done regularly.
    There are definitely girl jobs and boy jobs in our house. Some may object but it works for us. I suspect most households are the same in reality.

    11 . May . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Hi, Eloise. Yes, the postcards are lovely and they do a box of 50 Animalium ones, too, complementary to the book. The trouble is, they are all so lovely I won’t want to use them!
      Like you I wouldn’t want to forego having coffee out (I don’t mean those cartons you see people carrying everywhere, not unless its free coffee from Waitrose, I mean coffee and scones in a nice café or tearoom) and like you, I’m happy to have fewer clothes provided I can have my hair done every five weeks and highlighted on every third or fourth visit. We have liquid soap in the kitchen, an organic lavender one as lavender is slightly antiseptic – and it smells lovely, too.

      11 . May . 2017

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