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November in August

Yesterday – Friday –  was a very rainy day.  Not only rainy, but cold also.  I am not going to complain about the English summer weather, that’s rather a cliché!  But what I did do was to nip into the garden, as quickly as I could to dodge showers, and rescued some of the very last of the roses.  Dark red Ingrid Bergman, pale pink You’re Beautiful, and the delicate rose pink bud of Gertrude Jekyll.  They made a pretty display in yet another corner, this time on the worktop in the kitchen, next to the red kettle.  They have been a cheerful sight on a rather dark day.

However, to further brighten a dull, damp day there were nice things in the post.   But how, do you ask, can the arrival of  two aprons be cheering?  An apron spells “work”, does it not?   I’ve not only received my lovely new ironing board cover from The Stripes Company, but also these two aprons.  I  love the variety of striped goods that this company has to offer.  I will enjoy wearing these either for cooking or for housekeeping.

Here the two aprons are, against the ironing board

It was that Beth M who mentioned a book to me, upon reading my recent post on the art of interiors.  How could I resist buying this when it was only 34p plus postage, a mint-condition hardback, much less than what I pay for a monthly magazine!  What a lovely book it is, thank you, Beth M, for mentioning it.  It shows daily life from medieval times to the 20th century, people in bed, people washing, doing the laundry, checking the laundry, eating meals, sweeping floors, writing letters, reading.  I particularly like the section on Dutch interiors. Furthermore, there is so much history to be gleaned from these paintings – for example why doors were generally open to the street in the Dutch paintings and their emphasis on their pristine floors even in days before proper drainage systems so that effluent and rubbish might very well be in the streets outside.

I particularly like the painting of the two servants ‘ear-wigging’!

And the other book which has arrived is …

I even have a suitable postcard to act as book mark, one featuring apples.  I’m looking forward to reading this book, it even mentions Burrow Hill (a dome shaped hill with a single tree on top) in Somerset …

and the Somerset Cider Brandy company (one of their old buildings below) …

and which is situated next door to the B&B where we stayed two years ago.  Our B&B was right opposite Burrow Hill. This was a lovely B&B, we had a very happy time here.


Burrow Hill B&B, Somerset

Back to what Postie brought:  I recently used my last personalized correspondence card which shows a little design of a inkwell and pen, and had ordered another box which arrived yesterday.   The company that sell these cards has several designs, but this is easily my favourite (especially as I still use a fountain pen, but not a smart one like the one shown on these cards, just a bright yellow Lamy Safari pen.)

These things, two books, two aprons, correspondence cards and the last of the summer’s roses, really cheered a somewhat wet Friday.

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. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    Hello Margaret, it has been feeling rather chilly hasn’t it, I even had to put a pair of socks of one day this week.
    I am a big fan of aprons I always have been, I have ones for cleaning and ones for in the kitchen, saves the clothes getting messy doesn’t it. I like your personalised cards such a nice touch.
    Have a lovely weekend.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Those aprons are lovely, Marlene, I was just spoilt for choice as there are many different stripes from which to choose. I’m not into frilly 1950s retro aprons, though, those aren’t me at all. Or even the tiny ones just from the waist down, that waitresses sometimes used to wear, with a frill round the edge. Pretty but also pretty useless!
      The correspondence cards are lovely. There’s just sufficient room to say “thank you” or leave a message.
      It was certainly a woolly sock day yesterday here in Torbay!

  2. Oh you will enjoy Pete Brown’s book. He read it on “Book of the Week” when it was first published and I enjoyed it so much I borrowed a copy from the RHS Wisley library (the best perk of being a member is access to their wonderful library). I too write with a fountain pen, a Parker. I like the way it makes me write regularly and properly (I am a journal keeper and write a couple of times a week to my daughter who is just about to start her Masters in English and writes with a sky blue Lamy fountain pen!). Two aprons is a very good idea – one on and one in the wash – I may be checking out your source Margaret.

    • Margaret Powling

      I have just started Pete Brown’s book and am loving it! Poor chap, fascinated by apples and orchards and yet allergic to this fruit!
      I used to use a Parker 51, it was the first birthday present my husband gave me, and I loved it. Still have it, but its innards are no doubt perished by now. But I love my Lamy, too. I have them in yellow, red and black, but the yellow is my favourite. Husband has a Lamy blue fountain pen and a bright yellow ball point.
      I’ve not yet washed the aprons so I’ve no idea how they fare in the wash, but the cotton is good and thick, and they are long, so you get good coverage. I’m not a journal keeper, my blog will have to act as a journal, but I do write a monthly letter to a friend, so copies of that could be a journal.

  3. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    I am so glad to read that you use a fountain pen, Margaret; I fear there are few of us left. I do like your note cards. I have been using a set of Lautrec (and similar) French prints of late.
    We are also experiencing a rather autumnal August and even found that the summer quilt was not warm enough last night.
    I have also brightened my day by picking flowers. Sweet peas are my version of your roses, and certainly cheer. They smell gorgeous but it is disappointing that, apart from a couple of dark purple ones, my supposedly mixed plants are almost all a very pale pink.
    The interiors art book looks very appealing. The level of detail in some paintings never ceases to amaze me.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, I love highly-detailed paintings, too, so that each time I look at them, I see something I’d previously missed.
      Our garden is a wreck at the moment, we’ve simply not looked after it this summer – it was fine before the heatwave and then we had torrential rain, and now things are looking decidedly over. Also, if we do one or two jobs in the day, that is all we can manage now. But hey ho, it’s not that bad, just a bit gone-over now. A day or two weeding and removing dead stuff will sort it out, and before long I will be ordering tulips for spring. I always buy new each year, the expense is worth it as the tulips are forced and really only good for one season unless you have a large enough garden to naturalize them. I love sweet peas but we’ve never successful grown them.
      The correspondence cards were a little indulgence, I do have other note cards and all the Botanicum Postcards which I posted about some time ago.
      Yes, I love my Lamy pen, it’s not as attractive as my old Parker 51 (an iconic shaped pen) but it does the job.

  4. Somerset apple cider (alcoholic) is available here in Australia. Ciders have become very popular here in recent years.

    Your photos are always beautiful. The B&B looks very pretty. The hanging flower baskets against the stone wall look just picture-perfect 🙂

    I, too, like a nice pen. I’m not fussed on the brand or what it looks like but the feel of it in my hand. Mind you, I write very little by hand these days, compared to say 30 years ago. Computers (iPads, smart phones, etc) have all but killed good penmanship. I used to write letters to my late dear grandmother during my 20s and 30s – daily happenings, my studies, etc. It was a habit I greatly enjoyed. These days I send postcards to my mum and two aunties when on holidays, even if only a few days away, but this too seems to be a disappearing practice with social media and so on prevailing. I love receiving postcards.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, the B&B was lovely. The outside wall is right onto the main road. Well, it’s a lane really, a narrow road. Burrow Hill is directly opposite the B&B, it was a really very pretty setting.
      Yes, I used to use a fountain for my letters, too, Lara, and would send postcards to my mother and to some friends even if I went away for a day. I recall when husband used to have business trips to Cirencester in the Cotswolds (an area of outstanding natural beauty, or what we call an AONB) and while he visited the business he was going to see, I would amuse myself in the lovely town for the day, usually ending up in a lovely café with a collection of postcards which I would write after I’d had my lunch. We rarely receive postcards these days, and that seems a shame, they were such a lovely thing to receive and I used to stick them to the side of the fridge. I can’t remember the last time I received a postcard.

  5. I have been chuckling reading this post and comments. On the underneath of the world, in New Zealand, we have had an exceptionally rainy and freezing winter. However it only snows in some regions. Yesterday I turned off my small oil heater which has been on, and not turned off, for months. And put washing outside today. I can believe that it’s almost spring… even though I know that it is not. I love the way that there is so much thought by some people regarding flowers in the home. And your arrangements, Margaret. Artistic.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Glad you like my floral arrangement, it was just a mad moment, a dash out into the rainy garden and then finding three small glass vases close to hand on the windowsill for the roses. This morning (Sunday) is really beautiful. Not warm as August should be in England, but with a blue sky and sunshine. A good ‘drying’ day as we say, for washing!

  6. I’m so glad you got the book and like it! It really is a nice read! Love all the pictures in this post, too.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you for pointing the book out to me, Beth. I have really enjoyed reading it – not read it all by any means, but it’s lovely to learn history of interiors through art.

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