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A Gallimaufry For You

Cosmos in the garden an hour or two ago (and yes, I need to get out there, dead-heading!)


I can’t say that there will be a single topic in this post, hence the title; instead a motley jumble of things which I think describes our week which has been busy and relaxing in equal measure, so here goes … 

* * * *

To kick start the week I was expecting a dear friend to lunch on Tuesday and so on Monday I prepared the food because I find this is easier than rushing around on the morning of a lunch party, trying to get everything done plus making sure the house is clean and tidy.

And so on Monday I spent time in the kitchen.  I decided on a light lunch of a quiche (in this case leek and cheese – I made two because it’s just as easy to make two, one to freeze for another day, as it is to make one) with various salads, and a lemon drizzle cake for dessert, but with the drizzle cake I would include (on the same plate, I mean) a loganberry syrup (from the juice of the loganberries), and some raspberries and sliced strawberries, and whipped cream on top of the lemon drizzle cake, all topped off with a spring of fresh mint, Very Master Chef. 

I also thought that if my friend wished to have a light afternoon tea later, it would be nice to offer a  different cake, and so I made a coffee sponge, filled with coffee butter cream (I make it with Bertolli, olive-oil spread and icing sugar and Camp coffee essence) and decorated with walnuts.

Two quiches, hot from the oven

Table laid for lunch party (my place setting off the photo, bottom right)

However, things went awry as such things often do, and my friend’s car wouldn’t start on Tuesday morning and – as the garage couldn’t fix it and it had to be taken away – she was left car-less.  We’ve agreed she will come again another day. 

My friend and I were both so sorry that we didn’t have our little lunch party, but these things happen and no food was spoilt; I could freeze one of the quiches (we have eaten the other one), and the coffee sponge, and we are munching our way through the lemon drizzle cake – no hardship, there! 

Also, as Tuesday was a very wet day, perhaps it was best that my friend didn’t come as we couldn’t have enjoyed afternoon tea in the summerhouse.  Well, we could’ve done but it wouldn’t have been as nice as on a sunny day!   However, the weather has meant that the garden is now more jungle than garden …

A lot of the flowers are almost over, except the antirrhinums, which tolerate both dry and wet conditions rather well …

And there are even some pretty pentstemons …

Best of all, I love white geraniums (even though brilliant white isn’t an easy colour to have in a garden unless it is mainly white and has, say, stone walls and not the cream-coloured rendered ones that we have) and I’m even considering over-wintering these indoors, although a centrally-heated house might be less kind than leaving them out of doors, close to the house wall and swaddled in fleece against frost (I don’t take cuttings as we don’t have a greenhouse or a suitable place to keep cuttings.)

Yesterday, Wednesday,  we watched tennis from Wimbledon and I also did some writing research, and then husband and I had supper early. This was a good thing (having supper early, I mean) because as the Roger Federer match was taking place there was a power cut and our electricity was off until the early hours of this morning.  We do tend to have a couple of power cuts in our Close each year – no one seems to know why – and last night’s was quite a long one.  So lorries, vans, diggers and electricians arrived and began digging up the pavement opposite our home.

Thankfully, it didn’t get too dark to read until around 9.15 pm, by which time I was tired anyway.

We went to bed to the sound of workmen outside, and we eventually fell asleep. The electricity came on again during the night and nothing in the fridge or freezer was spoilt.  And although we have an electric oven we have a gas hob and so can cook meals on the hob and heat water and milk for drinks in the event of power cuts.

This morning, Postie brought me a new (new to me, I mean!) book, the first in a series …

No idea what it will be like, but I liked what I read about it.  We shall see!

This morning we had a few errands and the first one caused us to walk through the churchyard of our parish church, i.e. from where we’d parked our car to our destination.  I’m not a church-goer, indeed I’m not religious but I do love old buildings and this is a cracker.

The Parish Church of St John the Baptist, our Parish Church, is (so it is believed – no pun intended!) the 3rd  church on this site, built around 1260AD, although the west doorway is Norman …

dating from around c1100. I recognised this round arch doorway as Norman (pat on the back for that, ha ha!) as I’d been reading Harry Mount’s lovely book …

A Lust for Window Sills (I recently read the companion volume How England Made The English and I can recommend both these books) which explains so much about architecture and how to ‘date’ buildings (or in this case, parts of a building). 

Or course, as with many buildings of this age, it has been altered and extended over the years, from Decorated Gothic to mid-19th century.   I love this lamp in the churchyard, perhaps originally a gas lamp, not with electricity …

And the lych gate at the entrance …

The lych gate (according to Harry Mount, these are usually Victorian and this one certainly looks Victorian to me) literally means a corpse gate, lych coming from the Old English lic, ‘body’. The lych gate was where coffins were sheltered before the vicar turned up for the burial service.  (Here endeth my little history lesson, a’hem!)

And just another view of the church, simply because I rather like it.

After our appointment in the town we drove to Babbacombe, just around the Bay, about 4 miles away, for coffee,  We had this, with toasted tea cakes, at the Babbacombe Bay Hotel’s café/bistro.  This is on the ground floor of this hotel, with its wonderful view over Lyme Bay.

I confess to taking these  photos – above and below –  last year because today there were some delivery vans parked outside and also all the tables were occupied and it seemed rude photographing what would’ve been a whole group of people. 


While these view remain much the same, apart from different flowers on display, there are now new tables and chairs on the forecourt and so on my next visit I hope to take photos showing them as they are much nicer than the ones shown here. 

This is the 1930s’ viewing platform from where you can see the whole of Lyme Bay (well, on a clear day!)

And inside, the café is really pleasant, too …

We then made our way to the village of St Marychurch, which is within walking distance of Babbacombe, and on the way we passed these rather pretty cottages …

I had photographed them a couple of years ago when they were painted in slightly different colours. I now like playing “spot the difference” i.e. the lemon yellow cottage above surely had wrought iron embellishments a couple of years ago?

I love seeing how people decorate their homes and even with such tiny front gardens, seeing how they have planted them.

And so to St Marychurch precinct …

This is where my parents had their newsagent’s shop when I was a child … but in those dim and distant days of the 1950s there was two-way traffic through what is now a shopping precinct.  Hard to believe that double-decker buses would pass each other, often mounting the pavement on either side of the road so that they could pass each other (and sometimes getting wedged so there would be a scraping of paint from the vehicles.)  How much prettier it all looks today, with trees and flowers and tables and chairs outside the many cafes.

We went to the precinct because I wanted to buy a new jar of Quince Jelly from the only shop in the area that I know that sells it;  I love this on Scotch pancakes, either for breakfast or afternoon tea.

Just a small photo so you can see the lovely rich colour of this delicious jelly.

To close this somewhat long, itty-bitty post with no real subject but just a few details of a normal week for us, I will show you the flowers in the sitting room. I bought two bunches of gladioli in Lidl. They were in tight bud last Sunday morning but they have now opened up beautifully. I don’t think I’d have chosen two quite contrasting shades as this, one very dark, one very light, but they were in tight bud and I couldn’t see what colours they would be, so it was fun waiting for them to open and this is the result …



Wherever you are, I hope you will have an enjoyable weekend.

Until next time.

About Margaret Powling

Margaret Powling
Margaret’s main interests are her husband and family, her friends, her home, her garden, writing, literature, architecture, décor, social history, photography, historic houses and gardens, and towns, villages and the countryside. She writes about the things she enjoys: flowers, scent, fine soap, monthly style magazines, and other such small indulgences, such as afternoon tea or simply enjoying her summerhouse with a book. She invites you to enjoy this virtual visit to South Devon, England.

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  1. Marlene Stevens

    What a very busy and interesting week you have had, the new tablecloth looks nice. It is such a good idea to be prepared in advance for entertaining, less work and more enjoyment for you on the day. I enjoyed seeing your beautiful garden.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you, Marlene. Yes, a busy and interesting week. I must buckle down to some writing soon, though; two deadlines loom. The garden does look quite pretty now, but not as tidy as your own! Tomorrow, if fine, I must at last dead-head and water the pots while husband will cut the grass.

  2. Margaret, I so love reading your posts about the local area. It is so picturesque and with so much history. And, mysteriously, from regularly reading your blog, I now have fruit with breakfast, and soup for lunch…….

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Ratnamurti! Not heard from you for a while so I’m delighted you are still reading my posts! Oh my goodness, I’m responsible for changing your eating habits! I do hope you are enjoying fruit for breakfast and soup for lunch … but then, you’d not have these things if you didn’t enjoy them. We had leek & potato soup yesterday. We’d been to Babbacombe and St Marychurch as I said in my post and when we returned home it was about 1.30 pm and I quickly made soup. We were eating it by just gone 2 pm. Thank you so much for leaving a comment.

  3. Gallimaufry, I’ve never heard that word before, I had to look it up to see what it meant before I started reading your post but now all is clear. What a shame that your friend couldn’t make lunch but at least the food didn’t go to waste and I’m sure a meet up will be arranged again soon. I’m not a regular churchgoer either but I do enjoy looking around old churches, I find them fascinating, and indeed churchyards too. I always enjoyed the church trips when I was researching my family tree.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I was testing readers’ vocabulary, Jo, te-he! But I’m not turning into a female version of Boris with his love of outmoded or little-used words. I quite like “gallimaufry” and I think it suitably describes a post where there isn’t any real focus but lots of unconnected subjects, from garden flowers to quiches, from church architecture to a pretty tablecloth. I have been having fun reading Harry Mount’s book A Lust for Window Sills and have learned a few more new words/things, such as entasis and a broach spire. I think it’s time for an architecture post!

  4. Eloise at thisissixty.blog

    Well, I have learnt something today, Margaret. I had not heard of a gallimaufry either. What an absolutely splendid word! It describes perfectly your varied post. I now feel compelled to make a raft of comments to show that I have been paying attention!
    Your quiches always look very appetising and the loganberry sounds delicious with lemon drizzle cake, soft fruits and cream. What a shame that your friend missed out.
    The antirrhinums look very pretty. As a child I remember that my mother always grew these, along with sweet Williams, in our garden. I’ve never grown any myself; my garden is mainly full of shrubs and roses.
    I’ve always found church architecture interesting, from the tiniest church to huge cathedrals. It never ceases to amaze that centuries ago, without any of the modern tools now available, that they achieved such stunning results.
    I love the contrast of the gladioli. They seemed to fall from favour for a while thanks to the dreadful Dame Edna character , but I think they are rather magnificent. I have a few vermillion ones in my front garden.
    And finally – how interesting that your parent’s newsagents was in what is now the Marychurch precinct -I would have walked past the very spot where you did some of your growing up!
    Lovely post. Eloise

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      That is amazing, Eloise, that you would’ve walked past my parent’s shop! We lived there from 1951 to 1962 and I attended school at what is now the Abbey School, just down the road from that shop, when it was called Hampton Court School in those days. I had no idea you had visited St Marychurch (maybe you have said you have, and if so I apologise as I’d forgotten.)
      You have certainly paid attention to my gallimaufry of topics! 10/10 for effort! And thank you for your kind comments re my quiches.

  5. Eloise at thisissixty.blog

    I probably haven’t mentioned Marychurch specifically as I hadn’t realised that it was there that your newsagents was. I’ve been many times to Devon, both north and south. it is a truly lovely county.
    Looking forward to more of your gallimaufries soon!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, I shall certainly post a gallimaufry again soon! I have several ideas, and the posts mightn’t have such disparate topics as the last one, but most tend to include some unrelated items!
      I have been looking at some old photos of my parents’ shop and might post about that before too long. It was fun growing up in a newsagent’s shop with so many books, magazines, comics and newspapers to read!
      Yes, Devon is a beautiful country. There is a north/south divide, the north being much more a farming area than the touristy south, but both areas have their special qualities.

  6. Another interesting and varied post Margaret, thank you. As always your food looks very tempting, what a shame your friend couldn’t make it but do hope you can catch up soon.
    It would be lovely to hear more about your parents shop, I worked part time in the village shop in my teens and have a lot of happy memories from that time. Bizarrely my favourite place was the small store cupboard where they kept all the cigarettes and tobacco, have never smoked myself but there was something about the smell of pipe tobacco that I really loved, like I say bizarre!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, I love the smell of sweet pipe tobacco, but not cigarettes. My parents smoked in those days, as did my uncle who lived with us, and it was like living in a fog but a consequence is that I never wanted to smoke, and never did.
      Yes, I will write more about living in a newsagent’s shop before too long, I think. It was certainly never dull! I loved chatting to the customers who referred to me as “the little maid” because that is a term of endearment in Devon, it doesn’t mean a servant but a daughter. My father was totally bewildered when we first arrived in Devon and customers would ask after “the little maid”. “We don’t have a maid!” my father would reply. It wasn’t long before someone put him right and told him they meant me!

  7. My Uncle and Aunt owned a newsagents shop in Cheshire and whilst it was hard work for them it was a delight for all the children in the family. The smell of newsprint, chocolate and tobacco should be bottled – you don’t get it these days when everything comes from the supermarket.
    I have been following your blog for a while now and cheers me up no end. It makes me appreciate all the lovely little things around that bring such joy. The garden, the seaside, cut flowers, books and all the other treasures. We are so lucky.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Jane, and yes, you are quite right – the smell inside certain shops, including newsagent’s and tobacconist’s, should be bottled! I love the smell of an old ironmonger’s shop, too. The plastic smell inside B&Q just isn’t the same!
      I am delighted that you have been following my blog and that is cheers you up. That really gladdens me as while I’m certainly no Pollyanna, as there is so much that is sad I the world, I want my blog to be a place if not of unmitigated happiness, then a place where we can share, as you say, the things which bring us joy.

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