Home / articles / A Social Weekend

A Social Weekend

Don’t let this photo of tea and a book fool you.  For once we had a very social weekend!   But that didn’t begin until late on Saturday afternoon, so I was able sit and simply read for a couple of hours.

We woke very late on Saturday morning, not having slept well.  I can’t remember when we both slept until 10.20am unless we’d been ill, but we were simply tired. And so we took it easy on Saturday, and I found time after basic housekeeping, to sit and read another Alan Titchmarsh novel (above).

I’ve seldom read a whole series of books by one author since I read the cosy detective novels of Veronica Stallwood (featuring historical novelist/amateur sleuth, Kate Ivory) but I have been really enjoying Alan’s books. Well done that lad!

The fireplace wall as it is now

We have been contemplating hanging some of our paintings, currently stored away, on our sitting room walls.  When we painted the walls in 2002 we liked having them plain (apart from the three watercolours of Italian fishermen on the wall opposite the fireplace, seen reflected in the mirror, and two Oriental prints at the far end of the room).   We found it restful not to have to look at anything other than the plain walls.  Now I’m wondering whether some paintings on either side of the fireplace would look nice again, and of course, paintings – in particular landscapes and seascapes –  extend the view through the wall, so to speak.

Therefore, we’re contemplating digging them all out and having a look-see; perhaps we won’t like them sufficiently enough to re-hang them; perhaps some of my architect’s prints of rooms in a portfolio I have would look more attractive, if mounted and framed.

Anyway, the Jury’s out on this one for a while.

At 5pm we went to our son and daughter in law’s house, nearby, for supper.  They eat early so that our little grandson, just 4 and a half, can keep to his bedtime of 7pm.  Daughter in law’s mother is staying with them for half-term week, and it was lovely to see her again. She lives in East Anglia, almost 300 miles from where we live here in Devon.  The dear woman brought me some pretty flowers and they are now gracing the kitchen table.

Our daughter in law cooked a delicious roast chicken supper, followed by individual lemon meringue tartlets.  What a lovely evening we had, and we left just before grandson’s bedtime.

Yesterday, Sunday, we were invited to the 80th birthday celebration of a dear friend, a widower, whom we have known for almost 50 years.  Very sadly his wife died three years ago but he has a lovely lady friend now, a widow herself, and together they planned this celebration which was held in Paignton Club, a classically designed building which (according to John Pike, a local historian) replaced a row of fishermen’s cottages.

The Club (originally for businessmen of the town) was opened on 22 January 1885 and has remained in use ever since.  The semi-circular bay window is that of the dining room (below). It is now open to members of the public for coffee, lunches, teas, and functions such as weddings, christenings and wakes, and birthday celebrations.

The dining room had been beautifully arranged and decorated for the 36 of us having lunch, and a very tasty three-course lunch was served, followed by coffee and chocolates.  I chose melon and a blackcurrant sorbet to start, followed by roast chicken, and then a dessert from those available.

I had been undecided what to wear for this celebratory lunch but in the end chose my navy blue lace dress and with it wore my navy suede shoes and a vintage navy leather bag.  I assure you the shoes look better on than off! They have low, Louis-styled heels.


The bag which belonged to my mother dates from, in the very least, the 1950s or early 1960s.   It is a very ‘structured’ bag, as bags often were in those days, with two ‘pockets’ with flaps on the front, decorated with Turks’ head knots in leather.  The handle is leather tightly wound around a frame, very elegant.  I’m not one for jewellery but wore a wide chased silver bangle which I’ve had since childhood (it’s one that is adjustable for the size of wrist.)

Today we were on our way to the upholsterer (where we recently had the two long seat cushions on our large sofa re-filled) but there were road works in the area and traffic was at a standstill, and so we headed back home.  We were going there to request some pattern books of materials from which we could choose one suitable for two Chippendale-style chairs which need re-upholstering.  They were last re-upholstered some 28 years ago when one of the chairs needed repairing and we said to the cabinet-maker who was making the repairs to have them re-upholstered at the same time. Somewhat naively we suggested he choose some suitable material, and we’ve never liked his choice of pink velvet!  Why it has taken us 28 years to have them re-done, I cannot imagine!

So this is the ‘before’ picture of the chairs.  I just hope we can find some really lovely material, more in keeping with the style of chair and with the décor in our rooms.

I hope you have enjoyed a lovely weekend, wherever you are.

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. a very busy weekend! I love your bag, Margaret. Just shows that quality does last and stay fashionable.

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, it was busy for us, Ratnamurti! We tend to like the quiet life, but yesterday’s birthday lunch party was delightful. And yes, the bag, which I almost parted with when I went through my mother’s belongings on her death, is still giving good service. I have another bag from that era, in black patent. I haven’t purposely collected vintage bags, I’ve just not parted with these two which belonged to my mother.

  2. Sounds like a great weekend, some relaxing time with a good book and two lovely social events. Even if you enjoy cooking it is always nice to have a meal (or two!) prepared for you and to catch up with family and friends. X

    • Margaret Powling

      Hello, Dot. Yes, we had a lovely weekend, thank you. I still have to make more meals for the freezer (in a manner of speaking!) but before that I have to shop for more ingredients. I want to fill it with meals before I start to plunder the contents!

  3. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    What a nice weekend you had Margaret.
    Love the bag and the shoes, you must have blended in nicely with the carpet and chairs at the venue, those deserts looked really nice. I am not a big blue and white around the home fan, but I think your rug is really gorgeous, fits your gorgeous home perfectly, and I really like the architects prints, all framed and grouped on the same wall I think they would look very good indeed.

    • Margaret Powling

      Hello, Marlene, and yes, it was a lovely weekend. Oh, wicked … yes, I’d not thought of matching the carpet and chairs, ha ha!
      Strangely we don’t have much blue and white, either, but the Chinese rug, which we bought donkey’s years ago, is lovely. The blue is really inky blue, and the background is the same biscuit colour as the carpet, and with the Oriental-style 18th century bowl which ‘lives’ in the hearth, we quite like it. Yes, I’m more in favour of the prints being framed – all I have to do now is persuade he-who-must-be-persuaded, as he’s more in favour of using what we already have. I mean, it’s a bit daft, really, to have a loft full of lovely paintings and not use them, I suppose … I can see his point of view.

  4. Well, that was a nice weekend for you Margaret and didn’t involve too much cooking for you which must have made a nice change ☺️
    Like the idea of the architect prints being framed and grouped together, have done something similar with plant and flower prints going up the stairs in our cottage but am always on the lookout for more pictures!

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, I think I will persuade Sir that those prints would look the ticket, framed and on the wall (well not all of them, as there are about 22, I think!) And yes, it was lovely not cooking much at the weekend, Elaine. I will be busy cooking again, though, on Thursday with some of the family here for supper, but it will be a very easy meal, perhaps baked potatoes, salads, ham, etc. A sort of high tea, even with bread and butter and fruit cake, too.

      • A high tea sounds perfect, we don’t often have one but sometimes on a Sunday if we have indulged in a largish, late breakfast we skip any lunch and go straight for a high tea. A baked ham always figures, along with other savouries and then cake. Somehow it fits better in winter rather than summer?

        • Margaret Powling

          Yes, it will be high tea for the family except little grandson who informed me today that he doesn’t like baked potatoes but he does like spaghetti bolognaise! Imagine, at four years old, expressing a preference for spag bol – I didn’t know what foods were what aged four, I ate what was put in front of me. But there wasn’t much choice when I was four in 1948, and we were still on ration then, too. We often skip lunch and have a late breakfast, much as you do. Yes, it will be baked ham and salads, crusty bread, cheese and cake for the grownups and spag bol for the little fellow, Elaine. Well, that’s the plan so far!

  5. I think those shoes look quite charming. Like the bag as well – how smart of you to keep it. I’m sure you will make the right decision regarding hanging the paintings. Your rooms always look so well done.

    • Margaret Powling

      Hello, Jeannine, and thank you for the compliments about the shoes. I have them in three colours – a sort of grey/beige, red, and navy blue. Indeed, I bought two pairs of the blue for when one pair gets tatty, as I use a lot of blue. I like the red ones with jeans. I love the bag, it’s large enough to hold all I need, although I do refine down what I need when simply going out to lunch.
      Before we decide on the paintings for the sitting room, I think we will concentrate on having the two chairs recovered. We’ve not yet been to the upholsterer because of road works in our area, the traffic has been almost a grid lock these past few days, so as there’s no hurry, we will wait until things calm down a bit.

  6. I love that you have a handbag that belonged to your late mother. Such a lovely item to remember someone by, as well as it being a lovely bag. And yes, it shows that style and quality will always be in fashion. I’m sure you looked lovely in your navy lace dress. The venue for the 80th birthday party looks beautiful – such a handsome building, if that’s the right word !

    I, too, like red shoes with blue denim jeans. In fact, I just love red shoes. 🙂

    • Margaret Powling

      Hello, Lara. Yes, it was a lovely venue for the birthday lunch for our friend and the food was excellent. I don’t use that bag very often, it’s quite a ‘formal’ bag, but for such a lunch it was ideal. I love red shoes, too. My favourite reds were actually suede boots in the 1970s, they were a lovely soft suede in a rich tomato red and they were by the company called Bally – not sure whether this company exported to your part of the world, but they were the business in those days. The boots came just to my knees, not over the knees, and I used to wear them with grey much of the time, and I also had a red and white checked coat, and they looked good with that, too.

  7. How very lovely all round Margaret, nice to get dressed up and go to such a beautiful setting and enjoy.
    Your mothers handbag is very special and in such excellent condition.
    Sometime I would love to see a photo of your silver bracelet that you wore. You know me and jewellery, always enjoy it immensely.
    Your visit to your son’s home sounds delightful, what a treat.
    I think some of your pictures would look well on your sitting room walls, I will look forward to seeing what you decide.
    Pam in Texas.xx

    • Margaret Powling

      The silver bangle is nothing really special, Pam, I’ve just had it since I was a child in the 1950s but I still use it. I shall have to make a point of taking a photo of it and adding it to a blog post.
      I think it will be quite a while before we decide abut the paintings or prints for our sitting room walls … we will concentrate first on having our two chairs reupholstered, I think. We have still to make a visit to the upholsterer to get pattern books of fabrics – the road works in our area are awful right now and we’ve been avoiding those roads which lead to his premises.

  8. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    What a lovely setting for a party. And those puddings………. Oooohhhhhhh yes please! The room looks very smart and I’m sure you looked lovely too. Lace always adds a little luxury to one’s look, I think. I remember that my mother’s handbags were built around a frame. She would probably think that today’s soft leather bags were too casual. I see that in your response to Jeannie that you say you have the same shoes in three colours. I’m a great one for doing that. If something works, why not? I wanted some navy flats like my white ones but they weren’t made in red, so I got another pair and dyed them. Perfect!

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, the birthday lunch party was lovely and my navy blue dress was just right for such an occasion. I love lace – my wedding dress was lace.
      Regarding the shoes, I bought the three different colours before I realized that wearing these shoes all day isn’t an option, they are not that comfortable although this company has made a name for itself by saying its shoes are really comfortable. I don’t find them so. Of course, others might, but as these shoes are suede they are tight when you put them on and then, an hour later they’re slopping at the heels, even with the bar across the vamp of the foot. But they weren’t that expensive and they are ‘occasion’ shoes so I tend to wear them if going out to lunch, something like that, where I’m seated for much of the time. What a good idea to dye a pair of shoes the colour you want! Is there no end to women’s ingenuity!

  9. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    Not red! Why did I type red? NAVY!

Leave a Reply

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