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A Quiet Day


And so, dear friends, we enter October.

We were very sorry to hear that our visitors, for whom we had been preparing, would not be able to come and stay as one of them was unwell, but this was, in a way, providential as I wasn’t well myself at the weekend and am not quite well again, although much better. We will re-arrange, possibly for the spring when the weather should be better than it has been of late.

And so, not being particularly well, I’ve been doing a lot of sitting, reading, sipping water and  also doing gentle housewifely things (and I use this term – housewifely – in its most general sense) such as a bit of light dusting, and even bringing in some leaves from the garden, and placing them in a dark brown earthenware jug on the kitchen table.

Yesterday, Monday, I felt slightly better than I had at the weekend, and enjoyed some breakfast rather than just a cup of tea.  I had half a grapefruit (it was quite sweet, not too acidic) while husband had prunes, and then he had porridge while I had bran flakes with a few sultanas on top, and cups of tea.

As I’d defrosted some pork loin steaks I needed to use them, and therefore cut the four steaks in half into eight smaller pieces and made a pork casserole (with onions, shallots, leeks, a sweet apple, and a stick of celery, all cut into bite-size pieces, plus cider, veggie stock and some dried sage and a couple of dried bay leaves.)

This photo is when the casserole with all the ingredients is just coming to simmering point on the hob, and then it’s removed, covered, and placed in the oven

This cooked in the oven for 1 hr on about 160C (fan assisted oven) and then I switched off the oven and allowed the casserole to cool and we had a portion (re-heated) for our supper last night with some new potatoes.  The rest of the casserole has been divided into two portions (each for two people) and popped into the freezer.

Yesterday was beautifully sunny and the white gladioli in the sitting room, which I thought were never going to come into bloom (they were in tight bud when I bought them) have opened and look lovely.

And on a nearby table (the largest of a ‘nest’ of tables) the alstromeria have also bloomed (they were also in tight bud when I bought them.)

Indeed, the sunshine in the sitting room yesterday was more like a summer’s day and the room was flooded with bright light.

In the hall, I have a small lusterware jug and in that I have placed some cream-edged-with-pink carnations, but these have yet to open fully. When they do (if they do!) they will fill the jug, but if they fail to open I shall add some leaves to fill in the gaps.

And our sitting room at dusk,  just before the curtains are drawn but with the lamps switched on.  For once it is tidy!  I need to expect guests more often to get the housewife in me motivated!

* * * * * *

Today, Tuesday, has been equally relaxing.  Husband had gone to do some work at our younger son’s house, and so I decided to walk to the local shops about 1/2 mile away, for bread.  It was a fine sunny morning and I thought the exercise would Do Me Good.  Not too far to be strenuous but far enough to get a breath of fresh air.  On my return I made coffee and had it with a Danish pastry while reading the paper and looking at one of my many interiors books (and an appropriate one for early autumn, when our thoughts turn to the comforts of home.)

I admit I’ve not done much else today, but once I’d had my coffee and Danish, I decided it was time to tidy the airing cupboard, so that was done and some items are now ready for the charity shop.  It won’t stay tidy for long, believe me, but at least it is for now!  And no, you don’t need to see a photo of piles of sheets, duvet covers, and spare loo rolls!

I then had lunch, just a salmon and cucumber sandwich, crusts removed, the sandwich cut into three ‘finger’ slices.

And with the sandwich, just a glass of chilled tap water (it tastes better from cut glass rather than a lumpen supermarket tumbler – this is one of my favourite 2nd hand chubby glasses, bought earlier in the year from Topsham’s Quay Antiques Centre – it’s now my favourite glass to drink from.)

And just as I sat down, the doorbell rang. It was my latest book, about Robert Adam.

I think the work of Robert Adam is a bit like Marmite – love it or hate it. I love it.  Some dismiss his Neo-Classicism as “wedding cake” architecture, but I’d certainly like a slice of this wedding cake in my home.

And the wonderful hall at Kedleston, in Derbyshire, with its Corinthian alabaster columns (the back cover of this book.)

And to end this post, just two more of the books I’m browsing through at the moment.  I have had them in the summer house for a couple of years, so about time they came in from the cold, at least for the autumn and winter.

I hope to be 100% again soon (or as near to 100% as the ancient bod can be!) and then cracking on with planting the spring bulbs, which I’ve been informed are on their way as we speak.

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. I hope you will soon be completely well, you sound as though you have still accomplished a lot though. All the best.

  2. Change of seasons time is always when I get some ‘thing’ as well, Margaret. I wonder why this is so? I have spent the last two days mostly in bed sleeping off something. And I’m glad that you are on the mend. All of those lovely flowers dotted around your home are such a lovely touch, sure to lift one’s spirits.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, I love having flowers in the house, Ratnamurti. But I’m so sorry that you have been unwell, too. Maybe it is a change of season, thing. I do know that when I’m stressed it always goes to my stomach, and I’d been doing rather a lot, so that was possibly my own fault. But I am also without a gall bladder (had emergency surgery three and a half years ago) so some foods upset me, although I never know which ones, it can vary. But as I say, on the mend again how, thanks.

      • I do understand about the “foods upset me” thing, Margaret. I am 100% allergic to tomatoes, I can seldom eat any nightshades, and strawberries are off the list, quinoa makes me very sick…. although mine are allergy and sensitivity based, I know how hard to can be, isolating what is in our food that is disagreeing with oneself. Last night was my family birthday dinner at a lovely Thai place. I noticed how everyone ordered food that would agree with me… which I appreciated! In your case, I suspect that it would be much more difficult.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          To my knowledge, Ratnamurti, I’ve never had quinoa, but it’s so annoying when a variety of things make you ill. It really helps if you know the foods you must keep away from, but with me I’ve not been able to work this out. I tend to keep fat consumption as low as possible, which sounds silly when you know I bake cakes, but I don’t bathe all my desserts in cream, and we have skimmed-milk to drink. But then bread will affect me, or salad things. Maybe it’s just an age thing, our elderly innards become less resilient to some foods.

  3. Sorry to hear that you have been poorly Margaret, do hope that you continue to improve. The weather has turned colder here in East Anglia and, after spending a chilly afternoon at the stables, I am grateful to be home in the warm.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Elaine, and lovely to hear from you. Yes, feeling better today. As I’ve just commented to Ratnamurti, I’m without a gall bladder so some foods upset me, and I can never tell what’s going to do it – something like cream with fat in it, or something with ‘roughage’ as we called it in my cookery classes at school, such as bran flakes, or even salad things and fruit. But we have to eat, don’t we?
      Sorry that the weather has turned chilly in East Anglia, it’s been a mild sunny day here in South Devon, let’s hope it lasts!

  4. Your posts are the epitome of perfection, Margaret! They seem to feature so many things I adore. Your home is so very lovely, and so are your beautiful flowers. Your meals look delicious and attractive to the eye. And I love that you are a true bibliophile since books are a passion of mine as well. Thanks so much for sharing your home and life with us! Continue to feel better! Bess

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Ooh, Bess, carry on like that, dear lady, and I won’t be able to get through the door, my head will be so swollen with pride! Thank you for saying my posts are “the epitome of perfection”. What an accolade! I l like – if possible – to include several ‘items’ in my posts, so that there is always variety, something for everyone (rather like a magazine; well, that was always my intention, that it would be magazine-like). Yes, I love books, all kinds and not just these rather stylish interiors books. I would say, though, that the new Robert Adam book is very heavy (physically, I mean) and I will need to read that while I sit at a table in which I’ve placed the book, it’s far to heavy for me to read in bed!

  5. The food looks wonderful and your home so inviting 🌷 The book Country Houses of England looks to be an interesting one. Hope you are feeling better.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you, Jane! Yes, I’m feeling much better, thank you. The Country Houses of England is a rather nice book, one I bought 2nd hand a few years ago.

  6. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    Sorry to hear that your guests had cancelled but maybe a blessing if you were not feeling very good yourselft.
    I know you like reading , so rest, relax, read and recuperate.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you for your kind words, Marlene. Yes, we were very sorry that our guests cancelled because of ill health, but there will be another time, perhaps in the spring, when they will be able to come. I’m feeling much better but still not quite 100%. But, as I say, much better, thank you.

  7. Hello dear Margaret. I do hope you’re feeling better. I so enjoy seeing all the delicious dishes you prepare. I’m going to try and make a nut roast and also this pork casserole you shared. I think Kedleston Hall is so interesting. I watch a show from Japan that features Venetia Stanley Smith who was born at Kedleston Hall, her mother being a Curzon. She went back and visited a few years ago. Venetia has lived in Japan for over 40 years. Fascinating history! You’ve inspired me to buy some fresh flowers for my home. I just returned last night from six weeks in Turkey. Enjoy the rest of your week. Pat

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, thank you, Pat, I am feeling much better and even more so after a quiet evening watching two TV programmes that I enjoy – Location, Location, Location, which is about finding properties for people searching in various areas of the UK and this evening the search was in my home town and areas close by. And then dear old Doc Martin. Not sure whether this programme has reached America, it’s totally off the wall, absolutely bonkers, but very good entertainment, and of course, the scenery (it is set in a small seaside village in Cornwall) is stunning.
      I don’t know the programme you mention featuring Venetia Stanley Smith who was born at Kedleston Hall, but I would love to be able to see that.
      Fresh flowers are a must in our house, I just love them. Even on the rare occasions that I’ve not bought some each week – and I don’t overspend on them, believe me – I cut leaves from the shrubs in the garden and put those in vases, even the greenery which is bright and fresh makes a room look 100% nicer (well, it does to me.)
      How wonderful that you’ve just had six weeks in Turkey! That must have been quite an experience.
      The pork casserole is one I made up ages ago, and as long as you have pork, onions/shallots, some celery, leeks, stock and cider, you have the basis for this casserole, you add anything else you fancy. It’s quite a think gravy, but I don’t mind that, but it could be thickened with slaked cornflower, or you could add some potatoes to it and those, being starchy, would thicken the gravy.

      • Thank you for the info. Yes, we get Doc Martin here in the US on our PBS station (Public Broadcast System), along with lots of other British shows. I’m a big fan of Doc Martin! Venetia’s show is At Home With Venetia in Kyoto broadcast on NHK World. You can see her show via You Tube, too. Just search and add English subtitles. Take care 🙂

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          Thank you for that info, Pat. Later today I will have a search for that programme via You Tube (I’m writing this at 8.02am British time, on Thursday morning – just got up and made myself my first pot of coffee of the day!)

  8. I’m sorry that you are feeling unwell and wish you a full recovery. Tummy upsets can be most upsetting.

    As always, your photos are stunning and I have enjoyed reading your post. Only a short comment today as I’m ‘a bit under the weather myself’. I need to rest this morning. All the best 🙂

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you, Lara. Yes, I’m feeling better with each day. I do have periods of upsets like this occasionally as I had my gall bladder removed three years ago (perhaps that’s too much information, ha ha!) But rest is what usually helps, so I must learn to do this! And you are under the weather yourself, so I hope you will be really better again soon. All good wishes from Devon!

  9. Dear Margaret….I’ve emailed a couple of times with no reply (not like you) so wanted to try a different approach. The blog is lovely….you know how to appreciate gracious touches! Love you and Sir ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Lovely to hear from you, Meg. No, no emails have got through. I’ve had one or two problems with emails that I’ve sent to people bouncing, but I will email you again shortly.

  10. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    Gradually catching up on your posts which I couldn’t access when away. I’m so glad that you were feeling better by the time we met up. I’d hated to have missed that!
    The pork casserole looks, and sounds, very tasty. I don’t eat pork but often substitute chicken in pork recipes and make something not too dissimilar with chicken, parsnip, leek and apple.
    I have my grandsons today whilst their parents pack ready for a house move at the end of the week. Just taking a few minutes to read blogs whilst the baby is asleep.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, Eloise, you could use chicken for the casserole. That would be just as good, I’m sure. And I was glad I was feeling up to the trip into Brixham to meet you … I had been a bit wonky early that morning, but I was determined to be there!
      My goodness, I’ll bet the little ones keep you on your toes!

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