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A Relaxing Saturday

My leading photo for this post is a bar of chocolate as I think it represents the day … a relaxing day, no real rush, which has contained some nice things …

But first husband and I went for our annual ‘flu jabs.  Yes, that’s a ‘nice thing’ because it prevents (or I hope it does) having a very nasty illness.  I have had ‘flu twice in my life and never want to have it again.  Am I old-fashioned, I wonder, in putting an apostrophe in front of ‘flu?  We all say ‘flu now, don’t we? Seldom do we refer to influenza.  It’s a bit like putting an apostrophe in front of ‘bus when the word “omnibus” has vanished from or vocabulary.

And speaking of vocabulary, four year old grandson is learning phonics in his Reception class at school.  He came home the other day to tell his mummy and daddy that two letters together that form one sound is a digraph.  When our son told us this he remembered what our grandson had said, but not the word for the two letters together – our son has a poor memory!  So today, when we were speaking on the phone, I asked him to ask Grandson what the word was, and so he asked him and a little voice in the background said, clearly, “Digraph, Daddy!”  So there you have it.  Here’s me, a writer all my life, grammar school educated, and I had never heard of the word digraph!  Digraphs can be found in such words as “bread” and “chin” – it is the ‘ea’ in bread, and the ‘ch’ in “chin”.

But I have digressed.  Our relaxing day started with our ‘flu jabs.  It was open house at our doctor’s surgery and when we got there the place was empty bar the staff, so we were jabbed right away.  Then off to Waitrose for some provisions. Not all that many as I was well stocked up, just some things we had run out of.  I know one blogger suggests that to save money we don’t buy things when we run out of them, we plan our meals and buy only the ingredients we require for those, but when I run out of something I’m afraid it goes on the shopping list to be replaced.  I’m going to need it sometime, and if I don’t buy it, that sometime will come all too quickly!  But each to her own way of shopping, variety is the spice of life (no pun intended).

Basic ingredients here except for the luxury of a bar of chocolate.  I know I bought one a few days ago, but this doesn’t mean I will over-indulge. I only have two small squares each a day, and husband has two small squares of Waitrose’s own dark chocolate with hazelnuts.

On the way home we stopped at the Hospice Boutique in Wellswood so that I could offload some books – my Alan Titchmarsh novels which I’d enjoyed but I knew I’d never read again, plus some art books, heavyweight books (literally!) and which I don’t think I will be reading – I bought them for research for an article.  The shop windows looked lovely again, one with clothes for autumn walking, and I spotted a rather nice bag but thought it would be rather heavy even before I’d stuffed all my things into it! And the other window was filled with all kinds of boxed sets – I wish I’d noticed Sex and the City as I’ve never seen this series and thought it might be fun to watch.  Has anyone seen it?  Have I missed something good, or is it simply tacky?

And then we drove home via the garden centre (where we were yesterday) because after planting all the bulbs which had arrived,  I was left with six pots to fill.  Yes, I could leave them, pop them somewhere ner out of sight, but it’s nice to have a good splash of colour in the spring and so while husband was buying more bags of compost for the pots, I bought …

I have always liked Queen of the Night – really dark purple cup-shaped tulips – and Thalia are dainty (that’s another word you don’t hear often, so I thought I’d use it!) and while they are classed as a ‘dwarf’ variety, it says they grow to 14 inches/35cm, which isn’t all that tiny to me!

And so to home, where I made French onion soup for our lunch, topped with cheese croutons.  I allowed the onions to cook for well over an hour until they had reduced to  1/2 the quantity that were first in the saucepan, and then added rich, beef stock.  No other seasoning was required, it was really tasty.

I spent the afternoon reading the paper. While not as sunny as yesterday, it has been a blustery autumn day and I even managed to get some washing dry on the line.  Yes, a rather nice, relaxing day.

I’m concerned now that my posts are all becoming rather similar – shopping, cooking, books, gardening (well, if you can call stuffing a few bulbs into some pots “gardening”!), visiting the charity shop with books – I dare not look along their shelves, I might return home with more than I’ve given them!  So my apologies for the similarity in posts, the last thing I want to do is bore you witless!

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’m definitely not bored by your posts, Margaret. They have actually inspired me to (get around to) plant some flowers. I now am eating better. I am looking at ways to make wee cottage nicer. And I get to see parts of England which I have so longed to see! All from your blog! I had a chuckle about your ‘flu spelling comments. I call influenza “flu”, being short for influenza of course, which exasperates my 29 year old, who get very annoyed and tells me it’s “the flu”. She’s a nurse, so I suppose it’s the new grammar.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, I am so relieved that what I write isn’t boring you, Ratnamurti!
      Yes, I’ve heard people call it “the flu” but whether this is correct or not, I really could not say and I’m not going ot argue with a nurse, ha ha! Yes, maybe its the new grammar.
      How lovely that I have inspired you to plant some flowers. I’m delighted to know, too, you are eating better and looking at new ways with making your small cottage nicer. This can be done with spending oodles of money, I can assure you. Sometimes gathering a lot of your possessions together and then sorting and re-sorting them, into styles, colours, textures, whatever. It’s surprising how small changes can make a difference, just moving cushions around, putting a book with a similarly-coloured dust wrapper close to a cushion and flowers of similar colours can make a room look more pleasing. Sometimes this happens quite by chance, sometimes you have to work at it a little.

  2. Hi Margaret, it’s always a joy to read your posts. Aren’t grandchildren amazing? Your little grandson reminds me of my grandson; they learn so much in school today. I love the idea of planting the bulbs in pots! I have some empty pots that would work great (sorry, no blue ones!) My husband and I have it on our to do list to get our flu shots. Better safe than sorry. When I go grocery shopping, I always restock my basic supplies since I never know when I’ll need to use it. Today I baked my Christmas cake. It’s a new recipe so hopefully it will turn out OK. Best regards, Pat

    • Margaret Powling

      Hello, Pat, and I’m so glad you enjoy my posts. Yes, grandchildren say some wonderful things, I just love it these days wyen we ask our little chap how he is? And the reply, “I’m fine, Granny!” Yes, at four, ‘I’m fine’, that makes me laugh, such a modern way of say, ‘yes thank you, I’m well.’
      I’ve always planted tulips and narcissi in pots rather than into the ground, this way I can move the pots around the garden where I think they look best in spring. Well, I don’t physically move them myself, but ask husband or son to do this for me!
      I’ve never made a Christmas cake very early, indeed I’ve been known to make one the day before Christmas Eve and have put the almond paste and icing on on Christmas Eve, and it’s always tasted good. I think the tradition for baking cakes for Christmas early was that years ago there wasn’t the modern methods of preserving fruit and so the cakes had to be made when the fruits were available. I’m sure you cake will be delicious!

  3. Hello. I love your posts. Yes, our generation is pedantic, that’s why we call it ‘flu! I’ve had it twice in my life and that’s why I would do anything to avoid it! I too, am planting loads of bulbs. They’re our insurance, that winter will pass!

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, I’ve had ‘flu twice, Sue, and it’s a really nasty illness. The first time was when I was 13 and the second time was when I was pregnant with our second son and I can remember feeling very ill indeed. People who say they have “a touch of ‘flu” are really suffering from a heavy cold. You don’t get ‘a touch’ of ‘flu, it floors you!
      So glad you enjoy my posts!

  4. Another very nice post Margaret, I love peeping into your daily life.
    Other peoples lives are interesting I always think.
    I enjoy the British soap operas for the same reason, day to day goings on and a bit of escapism.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Pam in TX.x

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Today, if you peeped into my life, you would’ve seen me cooking this morning, hanging out washing and shortly I’m off to plant bulbs in pots, all very ordinary but nonetheless enjoyable things, Pam.
      I used to watch Coronation Street, which is totally unlike life, but such fun. When it started in the early 1960s it might’ve been a little bit like life is in the north of England, but I don’t think it reflects society there today. Mind you, I’ve not watched any soaps for at least a dozen years, I went right off them and now watch very little television. And I don’t like EastEnders at all, it’s not the London accent that I dislike, it’s the way they all speak so badly, and as if they have a fwog in vare froats! And they tend to whisper rather than speak, or shout! I do hope that people in other countries don’t think we Brits live life as in Coronation Street or Albert Square!

  5. You had a more relaxing day than I did Margaret but I never find your posts boring at all.
    I always enjoy reading about your days, unfortunately I haven’t been able to post a comment until now, when you changed your blog layout it seemed to confuse my tablet and the there was no option to post a comment.

    Isn’t it amazing, the things children are taught at school these days. I find this with my grandchildren.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      That is kind of you to say that, Sue … that you never find my posts boring. I’m so glad you can now leave comments, that is great news. I love to hear readers’ comments, even if sometimes readers disagree with me, it’s fun to be able to discuss things. Yes, grandchildren say amazing things (and soon pick up words they should not be saying, too!)

  6. Please don’t think your posts are boring in any way Margaret, I always look forward to a new one and enjoy seeing how you have spent your day. I always think it’s the small, gentle, every day rhythms of life that appeal the most.
    We had a very wet saturday but today is dry with the ocassional blue sky peeking through the clouds, there are a number of things that we could do including clearing out the understairs cupboard (oh the joy) but after a very busy week we are giving in to the temptation of a quiet day at home, perfect.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Elaine, and again thank you for saying you don’t think my posts are boring. Yes, I find just doing the ordinary things enjoyable, and shortly, as I’ve said to others, I will be out in the garden planting bulbs, one of the most enjoyable aspects of autumn.
      We don’t have an understairs cupboard. The builder was on the point of putting one in but we said no thank you. We have lost a space to hide the vacuum and so forth, but we have a more spacious hall, and a place for my old desk. But the airing cupboard needs attention and I have plants for a re-vamp there.

  7. Good morning, Margaret. I always find your posts and pictures interesting. I am newly retired and enjoy seeing how others spend their days at home and on errands. Your home is always so clean and lovely. It inspires me to keep my own the same way. Like you, I love to garden, read and cook. So, do not worry about being boring!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I don’t know if my home is always clean and lovely, Susan, but husband and I both try and keep on top of the clutter/dust! I’ve been reading a feature in today’s Sunday Telegraph about how shabby is your house, or something like that, so this might form the basis of a future post! I say “might” … I might go right off the idea once I’ve read the article, earmarked for later with a cup of tea in the summerhouse.
      I am sure you will enjoy retirement; we’ve been retired for almost 20 years (I mean husband has been retired for almost 20 years, I gave up the day job before then.) You will find your days are filled without really planning them, believe me. I hope you will look in again.

  8. I never find your posts boring, I love to read about people’s lives. I hesitate to comment very often because I don’t think I have anything interesting to say.

    We had our flu jabs about 10 days ago with no after effects. Even if there were, it would almost certainly be better than coming down with flu.

    I haven’t done much interesting cooking lately. My husband has had to cut back even further on sugar so I have stopped making cakes altogether. Saves me eating them too, but I could really fancy a piece of sponge or something. I have made soup a couple of times this week when two very big leeks turned up with my online grocery shopping order. Tasty.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I love to receive comments, Alison, never fear you have nothing interesting to say! Every comment is much appreciated, and I’m glad you don’t find my posts boring.
      A long time ago a friend gave me the recipe for a sugar-free Christmas cake and I’m sure there are options in diabetic cookery books for cakes without sugar (or perhaps you have tried them and they’re not very nice!) Don’t deny yourself a cake occasionally. Bake a sponge, cut it into four segments and freeze them individually. A Victoria sponge freezes very well, if it is well-wrapped. Then you could just get out a portion when you feel like having a slice (or slices) of cake.
      I love leek & potato soup and have a box of that in the freezer right now. It’s one of my favourite soups.

  9. Hi Margaret. Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog, which I’ve recently discovered. You’ve mentioned a couple of times recently that you hope it’s not boring. This has prompted me to comment and assure you that it’s far from it. I find it a comforting and relaxing blog to visit and it inspires me to appreciate the simple things – the garden, flowers, lovely soaps and scents, good books, a nicely presented meal, coffee with a friend, an outing, a good TVprogramme… things to which most of us have access but don’t always appreciate as we chase the bigger things or get caught up in the rat race. I’m a long way from retirement and life can get quite hectic, but your blog helps me to slow down, take a breath and pamper myself a bit. So thank you! Susan from Australia (born in UK) 😀

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Susan, and what lovely comments you have given. Yes, life can be hectic, I remember it well, when I would literally run around the house, tidying up before I went to work. Good exercise, yes, but oh, so stressful – always having to be on time somewhere, on time to get the children ready for school, on time to get husband off to work (we always shared a car, I’ve never had one of my own), on time to get myself to work, on time to collect children from school/husband from work and also taking my elderly mother shopping twice a week. I was forever chasing my tail. This is what I now love about retirement. We can do much as we please and if we get up late of a morning, so what? The time police aren’t going to caution us!
      But being able to do much as please doesn’t mean we are without certain responsibilities. We help both our sons with their joint business (they have an online business) and I do occasional pieces of writing, and we keep our garden reasonably tidy (but not perfect, but what true English garden is ever perfect? We also help, when we can, with grandson, and then there’s the house to keep, if not up to scratch, then at least in reasonable order. But I’m so glad that my blog is where you can sit and enjoy some time out from your hectic life. That is just what I aimed for when I started my blog – I wanted it like a personal magazine, filled with the things I enjoyed with the hopes that others might enjoy hearing about them, too. Do look in again.

  10. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    You never bore us Margaret, you always find interesting things to write about.
    I agree with you on the food side – “I’m afraid it goes on the shopping list to be replaced”.
    I have heard of the Sex and the City, I think it is quite popular. I really must go and get some more bulbs, the pots did very well last Spring, I like to keep the garden colourful all year round but the summer plants are past there best now, so I think I shall get some cheery pansies as well.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Kind of you to say that, Marlene, the last thing I want to do is writing a boring blog. But I suppose everyone’s life, although they do similar things (shop, cook, eat, read, garden, whatever) is just slightly different to make people want to read about it.
      I have been wondering about the winter flowering pansies, but don’t they last just until about Christmas and then you have to dig them out? I’ve never had much success with them. But it’s sad to see all the pots empty now until the spring.

  11. Your blog is always interesting and never boring dear Margaret! Love hearing about your home, your interests and your trips out. Last week my cousin was spending a few days in Cornwall and we had a couple of trips out together. Prompted by your post we visited the Dartington Cider Press Centre. Following a good look around the shops and lunch in the cafe we took the long uphill walk to Dartington Hall. Having spent quite a while chatting and catching up over lunch we didn’t have time to have a proper look at the gardens but we sat outside the bar with a coffee before the mile long walk back to the car. We wouldn’t have done that had we not seen it on the blog. The following day was spent at Coleton Fishacre at Kingswear, a wonderful National Trust property formerly owned by the D’Oyly Carte family. If you have not been there I highly recommend! A subject for your blog maybe! I always read your articles even though I don’t always comment . Best wishes Dot x

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, how lovely that you visited Dartington. Not only that, but also Coleton Fishacre, one of our very favourite houses now in the care of the National Trust. I’ve written about the D’Oyley Cartes who lived there several times, such a wonderful story of how Richard and Dorothy were sailing past that particular little valley in South Devon and decided that is where they wanted to build a house – and they did! I have written about Coleton Fishacre on one of my posts, but I can’t remember how far back! It’s a place we love to vitit, and the food in the café is good, too!
      I’m delighted you read my posts and that you don’t find it boring! I have been overwhelmed by all the lovely comments I’ve received.

      • Loved Coleton Fishacre. It isn’t grand like many NT properties, just a lovely home with a wonderfully relaxing feel. Although the saloon is partially cordoned off, visitors are invited to use the grand piano in the cordoned area and we were delighted that a talented gentleman was playing while we were there. It was a first visit for both of us and we were very impressed by the way both the house and gardens were presented. We enjoyed a tasty lunch there too! X

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          I am so glad you enjoyed Coleton Fishacre. It really is a lovely house, built in the shape of a Y. Visitors used to be able to access the cove where the D’Oyly Cartes had a tidal swimming pool made, but the cliffs are crumbling and the tidal pool is now all but washed away, but how lovely to have gone down that garden straight to the cove for a dip on a summer’s morning or evening, and then strolled back for breakfast or supper in the loggia, with a servant in attendance of course!
          We like to walk the ‘top path’ as we call it on the left as you face the sea, and that brings you to a clearing on the cliffs with a bench seat where we have a picnic sometimes. Not many visitors find this, it’s through a small woodland and then the clearing opens out and you have the wonderful vista of the sea and the cliffs in front of you.

  12. Your posts are never boring and as I’ve said before I always learn something 🙂 I had never heard the term ‘diagraph’.

    In Australia we call it ‘the flu’, as if ‘the’ gives it full title or something ha ha. We have had a particularly bad season this year with many of our friends suffereing terribly (including a dreadful cough which lingered for weeks), saying they’d never had anything similar before. The experts (I love how the newsreaders will often say ‘Experts state….’ or ‘Authorities state …’ and I often wonder who these so-called experts are, but I digress) suspect it’s because the flu vaccine which was issued here may not have covered a particular strain. Vaccinations are encouraged for all and are given without charge to those who are over 65 or with pre-existing health conditions (eg asthma).

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I must make one small correction, here, Lara and the word is “digraph” not “diagraph”. I had to look it up and although similar they mean different things, but I’d not heard of “digraph” either! Two letters which together make one sound.
      Oh yes, I’d like to meet some of these so-called “experts”. No one ever says who they are!
      One of the phrases we dislike is that after a tragedy, such as the latest shooting in America, or the Grenfell Tower disaster here when a whole tower block went up in flames because of the kind of cladding on the outside which was obviously flammable, is that things are being done so that “it never happens again”. And then, of course, these things happen again, and again, and again …

  13. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    Your comment regarding digraphs intrigued me, Margaret. Having only recently gained a degree in English language I was surprised never to have heard of a digraph. I have numerous academic textbooks on linguistics and grammar so I did a bit of investigating. Not one of them mentions the digraph. However, I can see that educational websites do mention it, and as I am still in contact with the Heead of English Languuage at my university I am going to discuss this with him as I find it very puzzling.

    • Margaret Powling

      I had never heard of it, either, Eloise. But I looked it up online and found it! But to teach four and five year olds about it I thought was quite unusual. Still, better (I hope) than the Look and Read method, which tends to prevent children from working out a new word by phonics.

  14. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    I am 100% in support of phonics based learning to read schemes. I don’t believe that any other method yields such good results. I taught my eldest son to read pretty well before he went to school and I used a phonics method since that was all I knew. My other two children were far too lazy to want to learn before they had to at school !

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, I believe that our elder son and his wife have been teaching our little grandson basic reading via phonics, and he can put sounds together now. Indeed, he’s signed the anniversary card that they have given us, and even his writing is coming along well. We didn’t teach out sons to read because we were told “it would muddle them”. Of course, it wouldn’t have muddled them, they’d just have learned to read so much more quickly.

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