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Out and About

Our first port of call this morning was to an upholsterer.  We bought our Collins & Hayes sofa early in 1986, not long after we moved into our new home in 1985, but by 2002 it needed upholstering.  Even though that was 17 years ago, and although the front has faded, it is still in good condition – in 2002 we chose a lovely Colefax & Fowler material called Byron weave in a warm terracotta colour.  However, the seats have flattened out over the years and so we took them to an upholsterer to have them re-filled.

While we were there we asked for a quotation on having two Chippendale-style chairs reupholstered.  They were a wedding present from my late uncle in 1964.  He had bought them – 2nd hand, of course! – way back in 1939, and it is my guess that they were made as reproduction furniture in the 1920s.  They are pretty chairs but the seats, we had reupholstered 28 years ago,  have worn and, quite frankly, we never liked the pink velvet which the upholsterer at the time suggested.   We were asked to send in a photo of the chairs and we would be sent a quotation, so watch this space. We might (or might not!) have them done!  They are occasional chairs, one lives in the hall and one lives in our bedroom.

From the upholsterer, to the local petrol station to fill up and then on to B&Q for tile sealant, so that husband can renew the sealant/grout in the kitchen, where the tiles meet the worktop, and in the shower room behind the basin.

From the petrol station we drove to Asda as Eloise (of the blog This is Sixty) had kindly emailed to tell me that this supermarket sells Pyrex-style dishes with plastic lids which are suitable for the freezer.  I lost no time in locating them and bought four, ready for the delivery of our new freezer (for the garage) next Monday. I expect I shall buy more, in different sizes, in due course.

While there I saw a small vacuum flask. We have only a very large one, so I thought this would be handy for when we decide, on the spur of the moment as sometimes happens, to take sandwiches and a hot drink when we go for a walk.

From Asda we drove about a mile or two to our usual supermarket, Waitrose.  Just a top-up shop today.  I confess I really do like this supermarket, we like the layout of the store, the produce, and the friendly staff.  We also get a free newspaper, plus free coffee, with our My Waitrose cards.

Items for Hallowe’en are on the shelves, so on my next visit I will be buying some of them for Trick or Treat night.  While we don’t particularly like Trick or Treat night, or rather Hallowe’en as we still prefer to call it, many children do enjoy it, but it does seem to have overtaken our traditional Guy Fawkes (or Bonfire) Night, on 5th November.

I found some pale pink roses in Waitrose, one of the supermarkets which still packs roses in single-colour bunches.  I love to see pale pink roses in our bedroom. I’d not want them everywhere, but against the grey/green of the walls, they look very pretty.

When we returned home, I cleaned out the fridge and put the fridge-goods away.  We then had a light, but rather late, lunch – spelt bread with Stilton and  Cheddar cheese, some olives, grapes, chutney, and tomatoes.  This evening we’re having leek & potato soup (reheated from the freezer) and more of the spelt bread.  Unfortunately there were no Marlborough buns in Waitrose.  I mentioned this to the assistant on the checkout and she said “Oh, we never have many of those, they’re not popular!”  Well, they are with us!  Perhaps they’re not gooey and sweet enough for most people!

When we returned home I also found that my monthly copy of Homes & Antiques had arrived …

… so something nice to read this evening after a day of errands.

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 find Marlborough buns very sticky and sweet, my hands stick to everything after. I prefer a Chelsea bun which they used to serve in their cafe but they seem to have stopped them in favour of the Marlborough bun. I tend to have a cheese scone instead nowadays.

    • Margaret Powling

      I love Chelsea buns, too, Alison, but I agree, the Marlborough buns are sticky, but I don’t find them overly sweet. When we are in a café I often choose a cheese scone, too, but I find that in most places what they have done is use a plain scone dough mixture and topped it with a little grated cheese. That’s cheating in my book, it’s not a dough with cheese in it. The only way I can have a really lovely cheese scone is to bake my own.
      Unfortunately the branch of Waitrose that we visit is too small for a café. The company bought the old Co-op building and before that it was a Gateway supermarket.

  2. You do have a good balance Margaret. A busy day of housekeeping followed by a day of pottering. I wonder how much your upholstery quote will be. I had two of my grandma’s chairs upholstered recently. They are Victorian ‘stuff over’ dining chairs. I’d stripped them right down to the frame intending to do the job myself but after a full day on an upholstery course all I managed was a simple Victorian drop-in stool, I was more than happy to hand them over to a professional. And using my fabric my Petworth-based upholsterer charged £40 a chair. I’m a Waitrose shopper too and I also visit my local high street where we have an excellent greengrocer, butcher and fishmonger – and a cashpoint in the wall of the old bank. A ‘small’ Waitrose has recently opened just around the corner from our office and one has to be very disciplined NOT to pop in around 4pm when they reduce the buns, especially when it’s a cycling day!

    • Margaret Powling

      Oh, how lovely to live in or close to Petworth, Sarah, famous for its antiques shops as well as Petworth, the wonderful NT property (and where I believe the Art Gallery has recently been re-roofed to protect the original roof.) Yes, it will be interesting to get the quote for the two chairs. If we do decide to go ahead, I hope I can find suitable material.
      How lovely to have a small Waitrose close by, but such a temptation, eh? There are some small shops still in our local town, but there are even better ones in an area of Torquay that we visit, or in Totnes. But yes, we like a day or two at home followed by a day going out, even if just errands.

  3. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    Glad you found the dishes and didn’t have a wasted journey! I buy very little in Asda, apart from these, as although it is the closest to us, it is not at all my favourite supermarket. I really like Waitrose but we don’t have one here. The nearest is about six miles away but it is quite a small branch. The nicest one is in Worcester and I always pop in when I’m in the area. The local Tesco is huge and I do the bulk of my shopping there. Occasionally I do an online order with Ocado.

    Halloween does seem to have overtaken And although my instinct is not to agree with this, as you say the children like it. My granddaughters love dressing up as witches (usually rather ghoulish ones) and my daughter in law often puts on a party for their friends. I have been asked to contribute garish orange or purple iced cakes from time to time!

    • Margaret Powling

      I was delighted to find the dishes, Eloise, but they only had one size. But fortunately this size is ideal for a two-person portion, so they will be ideal for batch cooking, I think.
      Our nearest Waitrose is about five miles away, Eloise, but we don’t mind the drive there, it’s such a nice store. I’m not keen on huge supermarkets, the this branch of Waitrose is just the right size for our needs. We also shop in Lidl’s, but only when we want to stock up with cleaning products, coffee, and their lovely tinned William pears.

      • Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

        Yes, the two-portion size is perfect. I’m really quite passionate about those glass dishes – I’ve told so many people about them. Haha. I must pop into Lidl and get some of those pears.

        • Margaret Powling

          You should tell Asda how much you have helped promote these dishes, Eloise! They might give you a free one, ha ha! Yes, we need to buy the tins of William pears in Lidl. They don’t always have them, but we stock up when they do.

  4. Halloween is becoming quite popular here in Australia, too. I have mixed feelings about it – yet another American practice that doesn’t really add to our culture, lots of cheap plastic decorations in stores that are designed for single-use and so will all end up in the rubbish bins soon after. Gee I sound like a Grinch, don’t I ha ha. I’m obviously not in the right demographic.

    Reupholstering good quality furniture makes such good sense. Older pieces are generally much better made – sturdier, heavier – than much of the ‘budget’ stuff you see advertised in many of the large warehouse places (where much is sold in flatpack). Better for the environment, too, rather than taking it to the tip.

    • Margaret Powling

      Like you, I dislike all the plastic tat in the shops for Hallowe’en, which has been overtaken by Trick or Treat, that American invention. Why do we import such things when we have our own perfectly good traditions. At Hallowe’een children used to bob for apples in a barrel of water, not go around pestering neighbours and screaming “Trick or Treat!” at them. Husband is wont to say, “Show me a Trick, then?” and with that they tend to stand on the doorstep wondering what on earth he’s on about! I tell them they don’t understand his kind of humour, they’re little, just give them a sweet!
      Yes, reupholstering good quality old furniture makes sense, antiques are the ultimate in ‘green-ness’!

      • ‘Tat’. Such a good word. I think I’ll use it one day 🙂

        I’m smiling to myself at the image of your husband confusing the trick-or-treaters with his Dad joke. I like that one, too. :):)

        • Margaret Powling

          Hello, Lara. Yes, husband always trots out this very stale joke each Hallowe’en! The children stare at him (usually through ghoulish masks!) in total disbelief, as in “What on earth is he on about?”
          I had no idea that “tat” wasn’t a word Australians used. Another expression for knick-knacks or things with little merit but which is produced and/or collected is “old tut”. As in “It’s just a load of old tut!”

  5. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    What lovely chairs, I am with you on the pink, I like pink flowers but have never had any furniture with pink on.
    I shall be popping up to Asda to look for some of those dishes soon, you are all prepared now for your batch cooking, would love to hear about it when your freezer arrives.

    • Margaret Powling

      We never cared for the pink velvet seats but as they were occasional chairs we never did anything about it until now. I must send those photos to the upholsterer and he will then send us a quotation for the work.
      I doubt whether I will be doing much batch cooking right away, Marlene, I need to get some ingredients first, I didn’t buy things like lean steak mince yesterday, but it’s on my list – I can turn 500grams of that into lasagnes or cottage pies of even chilli. Yes, I will certainly be writing about the freezer in due course! It’s another mouth to feed, ha ha!

  6. Those freezer boxes look excellent Margaret, it’s a shame our nearest Asda is in Cambridge but will try to remember next time that I visit for a hair cut. The nearest town to us has either a Waitrose or a Tescos (which I really don’t like ) so we tend to shop at Waitrose most weeks, ocassionaly we drive to the Sainsbury’s in Ely if they have sent us some vouchers 😊
    Another fan here of those Marlborough Buns, have to confess am not keen on doughnut type yum yum cakes and always prefer something with dried fruit.
    Have just heard the weather forecast and we are due some warmer weather over the next few days so it’s bulb planting time!

    • Margaret Powling

      We have so many supermarkets in Torbay, Elaine, we’re spoilt for choice, plus all the smaller ones that are in the towns rather than on the outskirts of the three Torbay towns. We shop mainly in Waitrose and Lidl (perhaps the most expensive and the least expensive! There is a large Morrisons just down the road next to the Zoo (there must be a joke there somewhere!) but we prefer the smaller Waitrose which is about five miles away. But as we say, we have a full complement – Asda, Aldi, Co-op, Lidl, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Waitrose.
      Some warmer weather would be lovely, although it’s not actually cold. Hope to plant the last of the bulbs this weekend if it doesn’t rain.

  7. Hello there,
    Once I’ve made room in our very old and awkward chest freezer in the garage I think I’ll invest in some of this dishes.
    I agree with your thoughts on Waitrose – I couldn’t have done all the family shopping there when our 3 were young and still at home but now there’s just the 2 of us I shop there regularly, even though the nearest one is about 15 miles away – and am even more determined after what happened to me earlier today!
    I decided to just do a quick shop in my local branch of T’s. Minding my own business I was browsing through the Halloween sweeties (for the grandchildren) when I heard an almighty scream from behind me. Naturally, I turned round to see what had happened. I was immediately met with a young mum’s glare and she started shouting at me for staring (along with numerous swear words thrown in) – then (stupidly) I found myself apologising to her saying it had made me jump out of my skin!!
    This has put me off my local town altogether – I avoid it if I can usually I’m sorry to say! It’s such a shame that this particular town in the north was voted the third worst place to live in the UK at one point.

    • Margaret Powling

      Hello, Mrs Hughes, and thank you for leaving a comment on my blog. What an awful experience in your local branch of T’s. I’m afraid what you described is becoming all the more common. I don’t know which northern town you are speaking about (“the third worse place to live in the UK at one point”, you say) but I do have a relative who lives in a north western town, known for a certain large MP (now deceased) who it has been claimed abused boys. My relative travels further afield in order not to shop in this town because it is now, shall we say, not what it once was? Unfortunately, there isn’t a Waitrose in the area. Waitrose might be a little more expensive than, say, Asda (and certainly more than Lidl and Aldi) but, as you say, now there are just two of you, why put up with an awful shopping experience when you can shop in pleasant surroundings, with well-mannered staff, and excellent produce. But returning to your experience, your reaction is typical of well=mannered people do – to apologise, even if the fault lies elsewhere, as it clearly did in your case! Again, thanks for your comment.

  8. I am an American who has enjoyed Halloween ( parts of anyway). To each their own. Draw your curtains and turn your lights off. I have so enjoyed this blog until now. 😞

    • Margaret Powling

      Hello, Jane. I am sorry if you have been upset by my remarks regarding Trick or Treat. It is just that I preferred Hallowe’en as we used to celebrate it – which was rather low-key, with Hallowe’en parties and not children going around knocking on strangers’ doors. I do know pensioners have been frightened by intimidating teenagers in this way. We always give children sweets (as I mentioned) but it seems a shame to me that our own autumn celebration, Guy Fawkes Night, is now almost overlooked, and what many consider an imported celebration has taken its place. Perhaps you would feel the much same if your American celebration of Trick of Treat Night were to be similarly been downgraded in favour of children taking a stuffed effigy of Guy Fawkes around the towns and villages yelling “Penny for the Guy!” which is what the children in this country used to do.

  9. Hi there Im commenting on an old post so you may have enough dishes now but Home Bargains sells the proper pyrex glass dishes with the lids.

    • Margaret Powling

      Hello, Emma, and thank you very much for telling me about Home Bargains. I have bought four of them from Asda and I don’t think we have a Home Bargains store in our area, but I will check that out. I could, I expect I could buy them online. However, for the time being, with the plastic boxes I have in which I can put soup and curry and chilli, with four Pyrex dishes with lids that I have, I can make cottage pies and lasagnes. But I will buy more in due course.

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