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Another Medley of Unconnected Things

by Margaret Powling-

Well, that is hardly something that could be said of me … lost for words, indeed!  Perhaps some would be happy if, now and again, I was lost indeed for words!

The above book arrived yesterday and I had a quick read of the first pages while in bed enjoying my early morning coffee.  Already I think I’m in for a treat; I love the voice that the author has given the main character in this first person narrative.  What with my non-fiction book, Rainbow Dust …

 

 I now look forward to my bedtime reading, half the time on fiction, half the time on non-fiction. 

* * * * *

Apropos of the small Sutherland table above, here I am, below, aged about four, standing against it in the family home in Lancashire, c1948 …

My parents gave us the table when we married, just one of the many items we have inherited.  The little dog on the table  was made out of white leather.  The photo was taken by my Uncle Tom who was a professional photographer. 

* * * * *

So what have I been doing today?  Cleaning and cooking.  Indeed, it has been a very ordinary Saturday, but one I’ve found enjoyable. 

The day was kick-started by husband making porridge for our breakfast.  He has a limited repertoire of meals, but making porridge is one of them and he is now so well-practiced in this particular meal that his porridge is just as Goldilocks would’ve liked, neither too thick nor too runny, too hot nor too cold. 

He then ironed the duvet covers which I’d left in the laundry basket which he said he’d iron as he knows, bless him, that holding up the covers and straightening them and placing them on the ironing board causes pain in my arms, shoulders and hands as I have arthritis.  I can cope with the smaller items but large things are, well a bit of a pain.  And then, instead of putting them in the airing cupboard and getting another set out for our bed, I thought we might as well put them straight on the bed (no, they weren’t damp.) 

I love clean bed linen and so I stripped the bed and loaded the washing machine, and together we made up the bed with the clean linen.  I love white bed linen as I’ve mentioned before. Some might think it clinical but I think it looks clean and fresh.  First the ‘bottom’ sheet …

Here I had shaken it out over the mattress topper … and next, the duvets. We have single ones on a double bed, we have found this much better than using a king-size double duvet which makes changing the cover very difficult when your arms ache. Well, difficult even if your arms don’t ache!

Next the bed cover (cream Portuguese cotton from The White Company years ago) …

With under-pillows under the cover and top-pillows on top of the cover.  These are my scalloped edge ones in white from Sophie Conran. 

Finally, just for a bit of colour, the cushions …

Of course, once I’d made the bed I decided that a few other jobs needed doing.  These would normally have been done before I made the bed (incidentally, we pulled the bed out last weekend, plus the bedside chests of drawers, and cleaned underneath, so please don’t think I’m skimped on the housekeeping today!) but they only involved the vacuum, some household spray and a damp cloth. 

I vacuumed the bedside chests of drawers and then, with a well-wrong out cloth, wiped the surfaces.  I moved my dressing chest and vacuumed under that, and vacuumed the top and wiped it clean before replacing the scent bottles and lamp.

Then I thought, “It’s almost a year since we decorated this room, I wonder whether husband would very much mind helping clean the top of the wardrobe …?”  This required a step ladder and the long nozzle on the vacuum, but 15 minutes later and the job was done (photo shows just two of the five wardrobe doors; the area that was cleaned is behind the plinth on top of the wardrobes.)

While he had the step ladder handy, he also vacuumed the curtain rail and the coving.  It wasn’t what you would describe as ‘dirty but it has certainly freshened the room.  By the time I’d wiped down the windowsill and skirting boards, and husband had vacuumed the carpet, the room was pristine (well, as pristine as we will get it!  He took down the pictures last weekend when he moved the bed, and cleaned behind them so they had already been dealt with.) 

All I had to do then was place a vase of roses on the dressing chest and give the room a spray with my rose petal room spray.

By the time all this was done, it was time for lunch.  There was some home-made  tomato and courgette soup in the fridge (made yesterday) so we had that with jalapeno bread, olives, cheeses and chutneys.  I would normally have decanted the chutneys into small dishes, but there was only a little left in the jars, so we finished those off directly from the jars. I know it might seem a bit prissy not to want the jars on the table, but I just don’t like seeing commercial jars on the lunch table.

This afternoon we spent some time in the garden. It turned quite sunny, I hung out washing – hey, this is getting too boring for words; who wants to know about washing! – and then elder son, daughter in law and grandson came over, the little fellow riding his tiny bicycle (with stabilizers.)  He stayed with us for about an hour while Mummy and Daddy went home to do some chores (fortunately they live only 50 yards away) and little fellow stayed with us, helping Granddad in the garden and then sitting with me in the summerhouse where we had a nice chat and he had orange juice and oat biscuits which he dunked in his juice.   I explained to him that Granddad had built the summerhouse before he was born, and that his Daddy had helped put the roof on, and that I had photos of all this on my computer, so he wanted to see the photos.  So in we came and we had a look at those.  His Daddy called for him a bit later, and off he trundled (Grandson, I mean!) on his bicycle. 

I then came indoors and decided to make a nut roast.  Although I posted the recipe some time ago I’d not baked this for some time and as I had all the ingredients to hand, it was quickly prepared and into the oven. We had it for our supper with tiny new potatoes (not much larger than marbles) and a small green salad with mayo.

 

I have now cut the rest of the nut roast in half and put one portion in the freezer and the ‘other’ portion into the fridge for supper tomorrow.  We love nut roast hot or cold; when cold it’s like a rough pate.

I was delighted to see, just as the tulips have gone over, that roses are coming out and there are large buds on the peony. 

Gertrude Jekyll rose

You’re Beautiful rose

There is a lot of work to do in the garden, even in a garden as tiny as ours; weeding, cutting back shrubs, removing tulips from the pots and replanting with cosmos and putting antirrhinums in the border, but it will be done, all in good time. 

This has been a something-and-nothing post, has it not?  Books I’m reading, housekeeping in our bedroom, enjoying an easy lunch, making a nut roast, being with our grandson, and noticing changes in the garden.  But this is the kind of easy, non-eventful day I really enjoy.  Just ordinary things happening. 

Until next time. 

Margaret Powling

14 Comments

  1. Bess

    Your day sounds perfect in every way, Margaret! You sure have a way with the camera; you take beautiful photos.

    13 . May . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you, Bess, for your kind words. I have always loved using a camera although I have never graduated beyond using my compact camera or my two DLSRs (a Nkion D50, my favourite but on which the flash has packed up, and my Nikon D90) on ‘Automatic’, although I learned to use a camera decades ago when, at the age of 6 my mother gave me her old box Zeiss camera, and then aged 11 I had a Kodak 127, really a child’s camera, which I loved. When I was 15 my father bought me my first 35mm camera, an Agfa Silette (I later had a Pentax) but in those days, unlike today, reels of film for cameras and the subsequent processing, either as slides/transparencies or prints, were expensive so one had to be very careful how one composed a shot, taking one’s time, otherwise a whole film could be wasted with people with heads ‘missing’, or shots completely out of focus, or even sometimes taking two shots without moving the film on as this wasn’t done automatically. Today, it seems almost impossible to take a really bad photograph (although I have seen some which aren’t really good). I try and ensure that the photos I use on my posts aren’t too ‘arty’ but instead, while pleasing to look at, highlight the subject about which I’m talking, so I’m really pleased you like my photos. Thank you.

      13 . May . 2017
  2. Jayne Forbes

    Hello Margaret, I have recently been introduced to your blog by a friend, and I have to say I really enjoy it. As an English transplant to Vancouver, Canada, it is a pleasure to read about all things English. I really enjoyed today, as it reminds me of my Saturdays here in Vancouver.
    Thank you for taking the time to write your blog almost every day.

    13 . May . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Hello, Jayne, and thank you so much for your kind comments. I have a dear friend who lives in another part of Canada now but who once lived in Vancouver and she would send me lovely photographs and I thought how beautiful it looked. I’m so pleased to hear that you are enjoying reading my blog and that yesterday’s post in particular reminds you of your own Saturdays in Vancouver. I hope you will look in again.

      14 . May . 2017
  3. Marlene Stevens

    What a lovely post full of lovely things to see, I took notes on the nut roast and will try it sometime, it looks lovely with a bit of salad, a nice simple meal. Your garden is looking very pretty.
    Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

    14 . May . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you, Marlene! I sometimes wonder whether I put up too-few or too-many photos, or that they might be boring (a sheet being put on a bed, for example). But I think, “Well, I’d find it interesting as I like seeing how others do mundane things!” Yes, the nut roast can be enjoyed hot as a roast lunch, but we like it hot or cold with salad and new potatoes.
      Enjoy what’s left of the weekend, too, Marlene.

      14 . May . 2017
  4. Eloise at thisissixty.blog

    Lovely post! Having seen a photograph of you as you are now, I can so clearly see that the little girl is you! Your smile is exactly as it was then.I always amazes me how certain physical traits remain with us all our lives.
    Your bedroom looks so fresh and pretty. White bed linen is lovely.
    I agree – you do shoot some lovely photos. It is definitely not my forte even though my husband, who is a very keen landscape photographer, has tried to show me how to improve.
    Nice chutneys are one of life’s pleasures, especially ones like pear and ginger! One of my favourites is Waitrose apple and walnut. With crusty bread – yum!
    Grandchildren are wonderful, aren’t they? I’ve just spent the past three hours with all five of mine, which was lovely, if tiring! We all met up for a birthday lunch for my daughter who has just returned form her honeymoon (yesterday), which included time spent in Vancouver. They were awed by what a fabulous place it is.

    14 . May . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      So glad you have enjoyed this post, Eloise and yes, I suppose there is a resemblance between me of almost 70 years ago and now!
      Thank you for saying I shoot some lovely photos. I’m sure that most people would improve their photography if it currently disappoints by actually looking at what they really see through the viewfinder, whether this is one held to the eye as in a DSLR camera, such as my Nikon D90, or the screen at the back of a compact camera. A lot of people simply ‘gaze’ rather than ‘look’. One has to compose a picture, just as an artist composes a picture for a painting. A lot of people do not seem to be able to see whether there is something ‘growing’ out the back of someone’s head, such as a tree or lamppost, for example. After practice you do get to learn to look very carefully and then compose a picture.
      Ooh, I must look for the Waitrose apple and walnut chutney, that sounds lovely. My favourite chutney used to be Baxter’s spiced fruit chutney but they appear to have removed this from their range.
      How lovely to have five grandchildren, but thinking we mightn’t have any, we are truly grateful for our darling little grandson who, with his mummy, came to see us this afternoon. And how lovely that your daughter and her husband had their honeymoon in Vancouver.

      14 . May . 2017
  5. Jo

    I love getting into a bed which has been made with fresh sheets, especially when the sheets have been dried outdoors. We’ve had some lovely weather already this year for getting washing out on the line to dry. I don’t have a drier so I have to use the clothes horse when the weather’s bad and laundry just isn’t the same when dried indoors. It sounds like you enjoyed spending some time with your grandson, it’s nice that your family live close by.

    15 . May . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, fresh bed linen is one of life’s inexpensive pleasures! I’ve changed the pillow cases again today. I often change them during the week and I might change them again before I change the duvet covers and ‘bottom’ sheet at the weekend. It’s pouring with rain here this morning, so no chance of walking (as in Jane Eyre) or even hanging washing out!
      Our little grandson is a dear little boy, he will be four at the end of this month. Yes, our elder son, his wife and their son live just around the corner in our Close, the home which I inherited from my late mother and which we passed to our sons (elder son buying younger son out so he, in turn, could also buy a place of his own, too – it was a complicated transaction, ‘gifting’ our 2nd property to our son and his wife, but we are glad we did it. A lot of people would’ve sold the house and spent the money on holidays and cars and so forth, but with us it’s always been “family first”.)

      15 . May . 2017
  6. Lara

    The photo of you as a youngster is gorgeous. As I was looking at it I thought how lucky you were to have your photo taken, as cameras and film developing was prohibitively expensive for many families, and so when I read the part about your uncle being a professional photographer I went ‘aha’ ! Even though I was born in the last 1960s I have only two photos of me under 18 months (and one of them could be of any random baby, to be honest) and a ‘Santa’ photo of me at two, three and four years old. Each December Australian kids are dressed in their Sunday best and taken to their local shopping centre (‘mall’), their hair is slicked down and faces wiped over with their mum’s spit and hankies and then they sit with ‘Santa’ and have their photo taken with him. These photos are often given to grandparents, aunties, godparents, etc.

    I, too, love getting into our bed when I’ve just changed the sheets and if time permits I like to let the mattress and mattress covers air a bit in between. Even better if sunshine is pouring in thru the window as UV light does wonders….. not that we have bed bugs, mind you, but I equate it with hygiene 🙂 Due to some health issues I can no longer put the doona in its cover and as hubbie generally isn’t home when I do this chore, I now merely lay the doona between the top sheet and the doona cover. It all works the same.

    Your nut roast dinner looks delicious. I made meatloaf (my late paternal grandmother recipe) the other night with mashed potato, corn on the cob, carrots and zucchini. Real comfort food. But we were even more excited the following night when the leftovers came out of the fridge. We’re easily pleased ……. 😉

    I second – or third – the vote that your photos are always stunning. I did black and white photography in my final two years of high school where we had a basic dark room set-up and a professional photographer who taught us for a term – fabulous and so exciting for a 17 year old girl in the suburbs. When you mentioned a Pentax, I became all nostalgic and dewy eyed as we used that brand. As much as I loved it, though, I feared it would be a struggle to gain meaningful employment and pursued other subjects at university.

    You are fortunate to be near your grandson – and he near you. My grandmothers were a large part of my life and I spent a lot of time with them and in their respective homes. Fond, sweet memories indeed. Unfortunately so many people can’t afford to live near their families in established areas these days and no one wants to live in a ‘granny flat’ anymore.

    16 . May . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Again, Lara, thank you for your lovely kind comments and I’m so glad you liked seeing my childhood photograph. I actually like this photo, especially as we still use this table in our hall. My father’s sister was a dressmaker and tailoress (as they were called in those days of feminizing trades) and even though there was rationing in those days for clothes and materials, I was always nicely dressed. But you are not alone in not having many photos from the 1960s because film and processing was very expensive in those days, unlike today when we can all shoot hundreds of photos at no expense at all once we have a camera.
      I like the way our duvet (pronounced doo-vay) cover has been translated to doona in Australia! And I notice that you call our courgettes “zucchini”, as they do in America and Canada. Maybe we are the only country who refers to them as “courgettes”.
      How lovely to have been taught photography at school, something that wouldn’t have happened in my time at grammar school (1957-1962). I loved my Pentax 35mm which I bought in 1984 and used until I had a digital SLR camera.
      Yes, it is sad that so many families don’t live closer – sometimes not only distance in our country separates them, but also oceans when families move to live abroad.

      16 . May . 2017
  7. Jeannine

    I love posts like this. I enjoy hearing about how other people live, what they enjoy, how they spend their time. Thanks for sharing.

    17 . May . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you for your kind comments, Jeannine.

      18 . May . 2017

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