Home / articles / Refurbishments


The trees are lovely at this time of the year in England.  I do think that trees more than almost anything else indicate the passing of the seasons – the skeletal branches in winter, the acid green of the emerging leaves in spring, the dark green canopy in summer, and the golds, russets and  oranges of autumn.

The passing seasons also demonstrate that time is always passing, it never stays still, and reminds us that we are ageing.  And so, to try and make life a little easier we have bought another freezer so that – hopefully – I can embark on some batch cooking, making meals for days when I don’t feel like cooking and I can simply remove something for our supper from the freezer.  We have always only had a small freezer as part of a fridge/freezer, never thinking an extra freezer was necessary – after all, we have more supermarkets in our area than you can shake a long-life plastic bag at, why stock pile food at home?

But stock-piling isn’t my aim. No, I intend to make home-made meals and pop them into the freezer for, as I say, days when cooking is all a bit too much of an effort.  Why has it taken me so long to consider this An Excellent Plan?

Here it is (not exactly exciting, is it?) in the garage.  The make is Blomberg and it is one that is ice-free. Also, should the external temperature drop below 10C, then the power to this freezer won’t cut out.  Well, so we’ve been told.

I have yet to buy all the ingredients I need for a cook-in session, but I’m getting there. I plan on making two-person portions in suitably-sized containers.  Anyway, we’ll just have to see how this pans out (no pun intended!)

We have lived in our house for almost 32 years and some things, quite naturally, now need attention.  We bought our large sofa soon after moving in, and it was reupholstered in 2002 but the seats had lost their bounce – if you sat on them you felt you were sinking into the floor.  And so we have just had the long seat cushions re-filled, and they are now comfortable and supportive once more.

The front edges of the seats and the base and the valance are now faded (thank you sunlight, from the bay window!) but then almost anything would fade after 17 years, would it not?  One can’t expect material to remain pristine after that length of time.  Once again this sofa will be comfortable for husband or myself to sit and read.  Having two sofas we tend to have one each, but now we might fighting over this one!  As for reading, three more Alan Titchmarsh novels have arrived (all 2nd hand but in good condition).

I have now read several of Alan’s novels and while I’ve enjoyed them all, the later ones demonstrate that he has improved in his characterisation and plotting with each one.  So far I enjoyed The Haunting best of all.

And now for a cup of tea and a snooze on the sofa.

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.

Check Also


People have often asked me who has been most influential in English interior design, both on …


  1. We’re (well just me really) dithering over whether to have our suite recovered or buy new. We’ve had it about ten years but it was third hand when we got it. It is still really comfortable but the covers are grubby but also wearing through so it’s not just a case of cleaning it. But once again, we’re waiting on the cat. She can only get up onto my lap by pulling herself up the side of the chair which has obviously contributed to the wearing through!

    At this rate, I think she is planning to outlive me. At least then I won’t have to decide what to do!

    • Margaret Powling

      Oh dear, Alison, first the carpet waiting on the cat, and now the sofa. But there is little point in spending oodles on having a sofa reupholstered (or even loose covers made for it) if the cat is going to wreck it right away. I would suggest only having a sofa reupholstered if it’s a good one and the structure sound (and this is regardless of it being 3rd-hand.) Our sofa is still very good, the frame is excellent and sturdy, and while I don’t mind that the material has faded, it is clean and little-worn, and therefore having the seats re-filled has extended the life of this sofa. But re-upholstery isn’t a cheap option, so if you do decide to have your sofa re-upholstered, do get advice from a reputable upholsterer as to whether the sofa is worth the cost of refurbishment.

      • I will do that. Part of me would like new because I’ve never had a new suite but without spending lots of money I’m not sure the quality would be as good.

        Anyway, a problem for another day 🙂

        • Margaret Powling

          We had a chat with the upholsterer and he said that people often want an old sofa re-upholstering which isn’t really worth it, a lot of modern sofas haven’t been made to last, simple as that. But if your old suite (presumably a sofa and two chairs) is a good one by a reputable furniture maker (say Duresta, Collins & Hayes, Ercol) then it might be worthwhile having it re-upholstered, especially if you like the style. But, as you say, another problem for another day.

  2. Your sofa looks lovely – just goes to show that quality lasts! My mum’s sofa is about 30 years old – still in good condition apart from the cushions being a bit flat. Our sofas are coming up to 20 years old and considering they’ve been abused by 3 children plus cats over many years, they’re still fine (I can remove the covers though for washing). In our garage we have an old Queen Ann style fireside chair – good frame but the upholstery has gone. I might just investigate having it done up.

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, it was a good sofa, Mrs Hughes, it is by Collins & Hayes and it was from their Romantic range, called the Keats sofa. It is very comfortable and has feather back and side cushions. If your Mum’s sofa’s seats have flattened out she could have them re-filled as we have done. I can assure you it has been worth it.
      Oh, how lovely have the frame of a Queen Anne style chair, that would be lovely reupholstered! Maybe even in a lovely modern fabric which would contrast with the traditional style of the chair or, as I’ve seen in lots of the style magazines over the past few years, the back a different fabric from the front.

  3. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    Glad you now have a second freezer, something I wish we had done a long time ago, for instance I wasn’t feeling great on Sunday and at least I didn’t have to cook from scratch because I had taken a homemade chilli out the freezer the night before. I have decided that I will no longer be have a stockpile in the cupboards, as long as we have plenty of homemade meals in the freezer and fresh fruit, veg and salad thats all we need.

    • Margaret Powling

      I can’t wait now to have a cook-in session and make things for the new freezer, Marlene. I was so disappointed when I couldn’t buy the mince I wanted today, as it was out of stock. Never mind, I have other things I can make. I shall make some chilli, too, once I have the mince, and providing I don’t make it too hot as husband likes only mild flavours. But don’t forget when you remove something from the freezer you will need eventually to replace it, so don’t allow stocks to diminish too much. We only keep one of each thing (that we use, I mean; others might have different items, of course) in the larder, but as soon as that’s been used, a note is made on the shopping list to replenish it.

  4. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    When you have a good quality, comfortable sofa it is definitely worth having it re-covered. We had a new suite early this year. The old one was sixteen years old and had had new covers (it was a loose cover one). We’d also had new cushion pads but it needed the arms re stuffing, new cushions again and new fabric so we decided to replace it. The Style was so ‘right’ for us that we chose exactly the same make and style for the new one.
    My freezer has six shelves/drawers but I still run out of room after a bulk cooking session! I love planning for bulk cooking. As my husband and I differ quite a lot in our tastes I make a lot of individual portions as well as 2 person portions of the things we both enjoy.
    The Autumn colours of trees are just beautiful. Although we live Close to a town centre, even the dual carriageways are very heavily populated with trees (i.e. the edges of them!), and we are very close to lovely countryside so we get to see lots of variation in colour.

    • Margaret Powling

      That’s an idea, Eloise: individual portions of things that we each like! Why had I not thought of that! Great idea – I can just make chilli for myself and a small cottage pie for him!
      How lovely that you were able to find exactly the same make and style of sofa again, to replace your old one. Ours is really old at getting on for 32 years old but, as I say, it was a good one and we love the style.

  5. When my beloved moved in with me several years ago Margaret as part of his dowry he brought with him a recently purchased corner sofa which came from a well know high street retailer. I have to say it’s been a real case of style over substance as it’s not as practical as you would think and is already showing real signs of wear. I tend to avoid it and sit on what was my sofa as it’s not so low but also higher backed so I find it much more comfortable, like you we tend to have a sofa each.
    It’s been agreed that a second freezer would be very practical but as the space in the office is relatively small we need to find something that fits, watch this space! I was listening to the radio today and they were discussing things that people had put into the freezer and forgotten to label. Apparently one lady took out what was supposed to be chestnut stuffing and used it to stuff the Christmas turkey, only to find when it was cooked that it was fish cake filling, yuck enough to put your off turkey for life 😒

    • Margaret Powling

      Oh dear, Elaine, I must bear in mind this warning and carefully label all the things I put in the freezer. I always think I will remember them but a tomato and courgette soup can look very like a veggie curry when it’s in a container and frozen!
      That is a shame about your beloved’s sofa. Some companies are very good at marketing their products and even if you pay what is considered a reasonable amount of money it doesn’t always follow that the item is always well made. However, we have been delighted with our Collins & Hayes sofa, it’s now in it’s 32nd year, and our Multiyork sofa is also still excellent after 10 years’ use (ever day as I tend to use this sofa and husband uses the Collins & Hayes.) I must state this isn’t an advert for these companies, only I am mentioning them as their sofas have been good in our opinion. Indeed, we like our Multiyork knole-style sofa so much we had new covers made for it last year.

  6. We have a similar sized “second” freezer. Best thing the spousal unit ever did was lift it up from the floor and put it on a table. No more bending down to floor level to get to the bottom!

  7. The large jacaranda trees in our region are all in bloom and can be seen from quite a distance. Although they were introduced to Australia ( and so very out of vogue these days) I still love them at this time of year.

    I giggled to myself when I read your comment about temperatures below minus 10 degrees. Our temperatures rarely go below 10 degrees (that’s above zero, not minus !).

    Yes, not labelling containers of leftovers to go into the freezer could well result in a few ‘surprises’ or lucky dips.

    • Margaret Powling

      Oh, dear, Lara. I meant 10C not -10C! However, we do experience temperatures of -10C in winter sometimes, it’s getting more common to have low temperatures in winter.
      I have now written a list of items in the new freezer in the garage and attached to the fridge/freezer in the kitchen so I can keep aware of what is in it! How long this organization will last remains to be see (or not!)

  8. Margaret Robinson

    Hi from California –

    We’ve a regular refrigerator in the garage and it holds a lot of things, though we are just 2 in our household. Means we can have our special coffees stored in the freezer (I know lots of people swear this is not good, but it works great for us) and left-overs or things that were purchased for later meals. We use a lot of milk, half and half, creamer and diet drinks, plus water and wine so having this extra space means we can have needed things on hand in the freezer and refrigerator in the house.

    You’ll love having the second freezer and feel good about making the extra goodies to have on hand when you just don’t feel like cooking (esp. the separate meals – a great idea). MMR

  9. Glad you now have a second freezer, something I wish we had done a long time ago, for instance I wasn’t feeling great on Sunday and at least I didn’t have to cook from scratch because I had taken a homemade chilli out the freezer the night before. I have decided that I will no longer be have a stockpile in the cupboards, as long as we have plenty of homemade meals inzscasdfdasdas the freezer and fresh fruit, veg and salad thats all we need.

    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you so much, Allen Rose, for leaving a comment. Yes, the extra freezer has already been worth it as I wasn’t well last week and it saved me having to make meals when I was really better off resting. Husband can make meals but his repertoire is rather restricted! We had homemade chilli last night, from the freezer, and it was lovely. I don’t have a microwave so I have to remember early in the day if I want something out of the freezer for our evening meal, but I’m used to that, never having had a microwave (by choice, that is.) The day before yesterday I made two cottage pies and two lasagnes, and also a large amount of tomato/courgette[zucchini] and red pepper soup for the freezer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *