The 10th October fifty three years ago was a special day, so today has been our 53rd anniversary
And in case you’re wondering, my small bouquet (as was the fashion of the day) was orchids, freesias and stephanotis, and it smelt wonderful
So today was a special day but we don’t tend to go mad and have huge celebrations, it’s not our style. So we got up late, husband made breakfast for us (and he’s learning to lay the table properly – it has taken him 53 years but we’re getting there!) and then we decided we’d drive to Topsham, the little town on the River Exe between the city of Exeter and the seaside town of Exmouth. I have written posts on Topsham and the Antiques Centre before, so those of you who have read those pieces, please bear with me.
This photo (taken on another visit to Topsham, in summer) shows the River Exe looking downstream towards the holiday town of Exmouth at the mouth of the river. While in the Quay Antiques Centre I happened upon a range of greetings cards by a local artist, John Abraham (www.johnabrahamartist.co.uk) and I think his work is beautiful. I only bought one card, showing much the same view as above.
I love Quay Antiques and rarely do I come away empty handed. Today, I happened upon two small items, but they aren’t for us. They are for a lady who has a standard poodle that she adores and, like most people with a special pet, she collects all kinds of pottery and porcelain poodles, too. How could I resist these, the tiny one is a Wade Whimsy and the larger one is by a company called Leonarde (which, I confess, I’d not heard of.)
I have a pretty box for them to go in. I like to give people unexpected presents, even small things like this, when it’s neither their birthday nor Christmas, as it’s such fun to give people a surprise! I shall tell her, of course, that if these items aren’t to her taste she is fully at liberty to dispose of them!
As we wandered round the various displays, all of them attractively set out and showing some rather tempting items.
And then husband called me to over to a display where there were items of silver-plated table ware, some of which were the same make and pattern as our table ware, i.e. Oneida’s Hampton Court pattern. We bought ours in 1972 and it had been in use every day since then and we had lost a fork and a knife along the way. Indeed, we bought some stainless steel flatware and cutlery several years ago, but it’s so heavy we’ve seldom used it. Indeed, I think it will go to the charity shop before long for someone with less-weak wrists to enjoy!
There were all the large knives and forks, and also the soup spoons, but we seldom need the large ones, nor the soup spoons for guests, but the smaller dessert knives, forks and spoons we thought would come in very handy (no pun intended!) They were in bundles of six, and at £14 a bundle I thought it was worth asking for a small discount. The kind lady on the desk suggested a £2-a-bundle discount, so I bought all this silver-plated ware, and in very good condition for £36. We are delighted, and what a lovely way to celebrate our anniversary!
We then walked from Quay Antiques into the little town, which has lots of interesting buildings and shops. One building always reminds me of Lamb House in Rye, which was, at one time, writer E F Benson’s home and where some of his Mapp & Lucia stories were written.
It isn’t exactly like Lamb House, but in red brick, it certainly reminds me of it. I have seen Lamb House, now in the care of the National Trust, but on the occasions we have been in Rye it has been on a day when Lamb House was closed.
Further up the town yet more shops …
This is a very nice cook’s shop, selling all kinds of things you didn’t know you wanted until you looked in the window!
There is just one thing that Topsham doesn’t have and that is a bank. The last one closed recently. There used to be three banks in the town, a Nat West, a Barclays and a Lloyds. Now the nearest banks are in the city of Exeter or the coastal town of Exmouth. Stock up on the readies before you visit Topsham, or make sure you have your plastic with you.
Not a very good photo, but a lovely bookshop and I couldn’t help noticing that the books had been co-ordinated for autumn, not by content but by colour.
We gradually made our way to The Salutation, where we have eaten twice before. I couldn’t help but notice a lovely display of flowers on the heavily carved door, no doubt a door that is centuries old and was used to close the carriageway to this former coaching inn.
This would’ve been the carriageway for when this was a coaching inn
It is my guess that there had been a wedding reception or even an actual wedding held here recently, and they had left this pretty floral display for others to enjoy.
We decided to have what we had on our previous visit, a cheese board for two to share, with an extra portion of bread, with a pot of tea for two.
This doesn’t look a huge amount, but with the bowl of bread, and the tea, it was more than sufficient for the two of us for lunch. Behind the bowl (photo above) in which are parmesan wafers and toasted fruit bread, is a bowl of delicious chutney.
As we were leaving one of the chefs came into the hall and returned some pastries from a chiller in the entrance. I said to him how much I had enjoyed our light lunch and then I then asked him how he’d made the walnut halves on the platter so tasty? He said (in broken English, as he was French) that he just added sugar and toasted them in a frying pan, and obviously waited until the sugar caramelized. I thought he’d perhaps used honey, but no, just a little sugar and gently toasting them. Simple, but a lovely way to serve walnut halves with cheese. The small pink cubes are quince jelly and totally delicious.
The tea pot is a lovely shape, but it was rather heavy (especially when filled with tea) and a little bit awkward to pick up – husband had to pour for us.
We then strolled back to our car and drove home.
Later in the afternoon, a knock on the door. It was elder son and grandson, just calling in (on the way to collecting daughter in law from work) with a lovely bouquet of flowers from him and our daughter in law, and our darling grandson had insisted he wanted to give Granny and Granddad a bunch of his flowers, too, so he chose the roses himself. Aren’t they all lovely? And younger son phoned us, too, to wish us a happy anniversary – we will see him and his partner within the next few days.
And now to make supper. Lasagne again as I wasn’t able to put the two lasagnes I made recently into the freezer because of lack of space, so they have had to be used up quickly as they were only in the fridge. I hope this state of affairs will be alleviated when we have the new freezer – arriving on Monday – in the garage. Smacked wrists if after that I don’t batch bake!!!
In all, a lovely day! We also received a lovely anniversary card from our bridesmaid who lives in Canada – every year this darling woman, my dearest friend who introduced me to my husband, remembers our special day and her card invariably arrives bang on time.
How lucky we have been, not just today, but for 53 years.
Until next time.