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Midweek Missive

I seem to be seeing red everywhere right now.  Yesterday, we shopped in Waitrose and I was tempted to buy red roses. Not a harsh red, more what used to be called Crimson Lake in my childhood paint box.  I have never bought red roses for our bedroom before, and I’m truly not sure whether this colour looks right; I’ve always chosen pastel pink or white, but red they are, and they do add a lovely splash or colour.

Similarly, I bought the latest issue of the magazine which was my favourite in my childhood in the 1950s – Homes & Gardens.

Unfortunately, it was in a sealed plastic bag so I couldn’t have a quick glance through it to see whether I wished to part with money for it, which is what I decided to do.  I thought it would be nice fireside reading for a wet and miserable afternoon.

The first fire of the autumn (Living Flame gas fire) yesterday afternoon

Sadly, while Homes & Gardens is undoubtedly a beautiful magazine, the homes in it aren’t quite to my taste; very attractive to some, no doubt, and also to their proud owners, but somehow they just miss the mark with me,  and as I buy style magazines to see lovely homes, this magazine will soon be on its way to the charity shop.

Today, both husband and I had appointments at Specsavers.  All was going well until I was called to the desk with the frames of my new reading and distance glasses to finalize the details.  I had heard one of the assistants call my name so I went and stood in front of her at the counter. Or, at least I stood in front of who I thought had called my name.

And then a voice behind me called, “Mrs Powling?” and I turned around and saw that another woman some distance away was dealing with my details.  When I was young, all elderly people tended to look alike.  Now there’s a bit of role reversal and these two women looked – well, to me they did! – alike. They were both about the same age, the same height, they were wearing the same Specsavers uniform, they were both – how can I put this without causing offence? – somewhat tubby, both wore similar glasses, and both had long blonde hair.  And it was no use someone saying, that I “should’ve gone to Specsavers …” as in the TV adverts … I was already there.  But I did feel very stupid!

We don’t visit our local town very often, but this morning it was quite quiet and we managed to park our car easily close to the small park in the centre of the town.


The sun was shining through the autumn leaves on the trees, and the flower beds have already been planted, ready for spring.  We are fortunate, I think, in having even a small green space in our town, an oasis of calm.

Once home I found that the latest issue of one of my magazines had arrived, the Christmas issue. Oh dear, lovely though the magazine is, I don’t really want to look at Christmas trees just yet!  But this is how the magazine world operates; a magazine arrives even before  Hallowe’en and there are Christmas trees in it everywhere.

In the fireplace, the alstromeria flowers which I bought over a week ago are now fully open and look lovely in the autumn sunshine.

I still haven’t changed things on the mantelpiece for something less summery and more autumnal – I’m just lazy about such things these days.  Too busy writing blog posts, ha ha!

And now to some cooking, not only for our supper but also for the new freezer.  Yesterday, we had a chicken curry from the freezer – it was lovely being able to raid the new piece of kit in the garage, i.e. not having to cook the evening meal apart from some rice; it was like having a take-away but at not at a take-away price!   Once, many years ago, I thought it might be fun to try take-away pizzas for myself and husband.  I phoned Domino’s – or some such chain – and made enquiries, but one pizza was about £10 with the delivery free.  Do people really pay such prices for a piece of cooked dough with some topping?  I said I fancied a pizza, but I didn’t fancy one that much, thanked them, wished them a good evening, and put the receiver down.  I expect it was their turn to think “stupid woman!”

Until next time.

A bit of late news, just coming in, as they say:

This afternoon my computer guru has brought me a new printer, and also installed more ‘memory’ into my computer.  The printer, an HP Envy 5540 prints both sides of the paper, thereby being more ‘green’ than those which only print on one side. OK, you can turn a page around and print on the reverse of a sheet, but this does it automatically if you provide it with the instructions.  The wonders of the modern age!

I have also been cooking for the freezer this afternoon – three meals for two of chilli now in the fast freeze section, and a cottage pie will soon be joining the chillis.  I now have at least a weeks’ supply of meals for two.  I trust I shan’t become a slave to Freddy the Freezer, but it will be lovely to have a ready supply of meals simply to de-frost and re-heat in the winter when we move from salads and cold meats and cheeses to casseroles and cottage pies and chillis.

Until next time

Stop Press:  I have just realized that this is my 250th post!  How the time files when you’re enjoying yourself!



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. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    Hello Margaret, I love your red glass, such a rich colour. I know exactly what you mean about the specsavers assistants, perhaps they clone them in a warehouse and send them to stores throughout the country. It has been a lovely day for a walk in the park, very mild here today. We purchase a new printer this year and it does allsorts, sometimes it is essential to keep up with latest technology I think. Freddy the freezer is a god send, I love having a home made ready meal to hand when we have busy days.
    Have a lovely evening.

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, the cranberry glass is rather pretty – again, inherited pieces, Marlene. I actually parted with a couple of pieces and now wish I hadn’t but Mum died at the height of the minimalist look and lots of people fell for getting rid of things, like those who follow a certain woman who tells us all how to tidy and get rid of surplus stuff. If we all did that there would be a lot of soulless houses around, wouldn’t there? We can all manage with less, but our homes would look barren and totally uninteresting. It’s the personal things which make a home, not the table and chair and sofa and TV.
      Oh, how funny – I’d not thought of cloning the assistants from Specsavers! But this pair certainly looked alike. I don’t suppose they’ve had thanked me for pointing it out as I’m sure they don’t see it themselves!
      Freddy the Freezer now has a weeks’ supply of main meals for the two of us, I am delighted with it thus far. How can I have got to my age and not considered a 2nd freezer!

      • simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

        I wish I had a second freezer a long time ago Margaret, but now we each have one we can batch cook and find more time to relax and do other things. Oh yes I think I know about the woman you mean, I don’t like clutter but I’m not getting rid of everything, it wouldn’t be home else would it without beautiful things and finishing touches.

        • Margaret Powling

          I have been really enjoying batch-cooking, Marlene. How long this state of affairs will last is anyone’s guess, but it’s lovely, especially in winter, not having to cook every day, just being able to remove a meal from the freezer, and now one I’ve bought but made myself.
          I could never be minimalist!

  2. I’m glad you are finding your new freezer as helpful as you hoped. Perfect for those days when you just don’t have the energy to cook from scratch but much better for you than the “ping” meals you buy in the supermarkets. At least you know what’s in there.

    It’s been a lovely sunny day here but it’s rapidly cooling off as the sun goes down. I’ve just come in from cutting the grass and pruning the roses. It was a bit damp but at this time of year it never really seems to dry out properly and it was getting a bit too long. Done now though. My hands are telling me so!

    My Good Housekeeping magazine came a few days ago, I haven’t started reading it yet but I can see from the cover that it’s all about Christmas. I need to read it so I can pass it on to my daughter but I might ask her to pass it back again so I can have another look nearer to Christmas. I love to look at the receipes and then not make any….

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, Alison, that’s what I like about the meals I’m preparing for the freezer – I know what’s in them (well, as far as we can from the basic ingredients; none of us know exactly how they’ve been grown unless from our own garden or allotment, but at least no preservatives have been added.
      It’s been a lovely day here, too, but the morning was taken up with Specsavers and the afternoon with computer man and batch-cooking. But I feel the day has been profitable, lovely meals ready and waiting now.

  3. 250 Posts, woo-hoo Margaret, a virtual glass being raised in your direction!
    I too have received my Good Housekeeping magazine for all things Christmas, had a quick flick through and placed it in the basket for another day, it all seems too early for me still although I did pick up a large jar of Waitrose mincemeat today but only because it was on special offer and that expired 31/10.
    The red roses are very striking Margaret as is the glass, as for that person who encourages us all to de-clutter our possessions all I would say is that everything in my home sparks joy in my heart so there they will stay!

    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you, Elaine, cheers! My virtual glass is an ice-cold G&T, ice and lemon.
      How lovely that everything in your home sparks joy in your heart, what a lovely way of expressing your thoughts regarding your possessions. I think it rather unnatural to want to rid our homes of things and have only what we ‘need’ to function. Mind you, this person must’ve made a shed-load of money telling us all how to fold our clothes and tidy up! Perhaps I ought to write a book on how to keep our possessions but not become a hoarder. I don’t have mountains of detritus around the place, I empty the re-cycling stuff every day, also the food waste, I keep the house clean and tidy, but I wouldn’t part with my beloved paintings, ornaments, books for the world. They are part of who I am, part of my family history. If we all de-cluttered to the extent to which we have been advised to de-clutter, there would be nothing for historians in the future. There will be little for them anyway now that everything is electronic, no letters these days, just lots of emails floating in the ether.

      • Cheers Margaret, seeing as we are now well into Autumn, my virtual glass is a smooth, warming glass of Pinot Noir.
        I have been lucky enough to inherit various pieces of glass, china and even paintings, they are a cherished addition to my home and a constant reminder of my loved ones.
        Yes, the person in question has made a good living out of telling us how to fold our socks but I guess all power to her, she has obviously found a niche market.

        • Margaret Powling

          How lovely that you have also inherited some pieces of glass and paintings, Elaine. Yes, every time we look at or use such things, they are a reminder of our loved ones. How lucky we are to have such ‘treasures’ in our homes.

  4. With your meals you make for your freezer,do you just thaw them overnight in the fridge and reheat in the oven?I finally got rid of our microwave to the tip!we only heated our plates in it and it took too much room up on the worktop.Your flowers on the hearth are beautiful.I had a productive day in town today at the hospital,finally after being referred back in March,I have had hearing aids fitted.A whole new world has opened up to me,I can hear birds singing,rustling of leaves when I walk,it’s amazing!Weather here is beautiful and the trees this year have wonderful colours.

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, that’s the plan, Margaret, to bring up a meal the night before and pop it into the fridge. Or if I’ve failed to do that, at least in the morning and allow it to thaw on the worktop until about 6 pm when I would pop it into the oven if it’s, say, a cottage pie. If chilli, I can then pop it into a saucepan and re-heat on the hob. I’ve never had a microwave (nor have I wanted one) so I’m used to having to remember to remove things from the freezer in time for them to thaw out.
      I remember when my husband first had hearing aids fitted several years ago. He said how loud the traffic was whooshing by in the rain! He said that traffic was VERY LOUD! And he could also hear the birds sing. However, he says that he still can’t differentiate between sounds, so chat a P sounds like a B. We have some very odd conversations at times, believe me. But it’s wonderful that you can hear these sounds again.

  5. Greetings Margaret. Sorry that your new magazine wasn’t a pleasant read. That has happened to me before with a magazine that I can’t review beforehand. Speaking of homes, last weekend my husband and I toured model homes in a new development. They looked lovely, of course but not my style at all. I love my Egyptian made reproduction Louis XIV gold furniture along with crystal and all the dishes I collect. The homes were filled with “ugly knick knacks” made in China along with the latest geometric designed carpets with accompanying furniture to match. Not my style at all. I find these same “knick knacks” at my local Home Good Store where designers will shop and fill their carts with this stuff. Your home to me reflects a lovely home filled with special, beautiful, one-of-a-kind items that have a meaning to you. The crimson roses are lovely, by the way. Enjoy your evening. My best to you. Pat

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, Pat, in the magazine which I disliked yesterday, a number of the homes in that had the currently-popular geometric-designed carpets. I consider them headache-inducers! I’d be dizzy if I had some of those on the floor! The modern homes you visited don’t sound my cup of tea, either. Nice and new and bright and clean, no doubt, but perhaps lacking character.

  6. Congratulations on your 250th, Margaret! Well done! (You put me to shame; I’ve had my blog nearly 7 years and have only published about 400 posts.) Your town square looks very lovely. It just amazes me how green everything is there. Out of curiosity, do you know what your annual rainfall is? Your roses and alstroemeria are gorgeous. Happy cooking!

    • Margaret Powling

      No, I have no idea about our annual rainfall here in Torbay, Devon, Bess, but I expect it’s quite high. East Anglia (Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire) are the driest parts of the UK, I believe, and the Lake District (the clue is in the name!) is one of the wettest. The wettest part of Devon is around the town of South Brent, which is on the south side of Dartmoor and just before the historic dockyard town of Plymouth. But I will try and find out our annual rainfall.
      I don’t feel that I’ve written 250 posts since a year last August – that’s only about 14 months – but it still surprises me!

  7. Congratulations Mrs Powling on your 250th post. I have been following your blog for a few months now and I really enjoy reading about your corner of the world (I live in Bangalore, India). In fact, I like your blog so much, that I am now reading your earlier posts and catching up:)
    You live in such a beautiful part of England, I hope I will be able to visit there someday. I have been to Cornwall and so loved it.

    • Margaret Powling

      Hello, Kavitha. Thank you so much for leaving a comment and I’m delighted you have been following my blog for some months, and I hope you are enjoying my previous posts, going back to August 2016. Some of the photos, sadly, have now been deleted (I presume by the web server, certainly not by me) but there are still quite a lot there. Yes, we are lucky to live in a lovely part of England, but then much of the UK is beautiful as is, I am sure, your own country of India. Cornwall is right next to Devon but again, has a different look and feel as a county. Do look in again soon.

  8. 250 thoroughly enjoyable posts!!! Congratulations! I too enjoy seeing how you move things around in your house, the flowers too. I have always had quite sparse homes but now I’m in a wee cottage, strangely it’s nice to put flowers and more photos and ornaments out, and express one’s personality. I had a chuckle about the Good Housekeeping discussion. Because this magazine is imported, to New Zealand, it can be quite costly. I get them from our local libraries, and I get one to read every time I go to the library, whether I’ve read it or not. (I go to the library a lot!)

    • Margaret Powling

      Hello, Ratnamurti, and thank you – it surprised me that I’d written 250 posts, believe me!
      Even in a small home it’s always nice to have flowers. I think flowers make a room, even a tiny room in a humble dwelling can look so welcoming with just a bunch of flowers.
      I hadn’t realized that our imprint of Good Housekeeping was imported in New Zealand. I used to read this when first married, but I prefer other style magazines now, such as The English Home and Homes & Antiques which are my two favourites.
      We have a lovely library in our town and today our little grandson went with his mummy there to story time which he said he enjoyed. I remember how I used to take our two sons when they were little similarly to story time over 40 years ago. Where have those years gone …!

  9. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    A fabulous 250 posts and always very enjoyable. Such a lot to comment on today…..I never used red in my decor until last year when I saw, and fell for, some embroidered poppy cushions. My suite is cream so I can use almost any colour with it. Coincidentally my new bedding has a red rose on it…….or perhaps more Crimson (I love that you remember the names of the colours in your paint box).
    I’m glad that you are finding the additional freezer space useful. The only drawback of batch cooking is that, if you enjoy cooking, sometimes you want to cook but really need to use up some of the freezer contents! My freezer is so full at present that I can’t fit any ice cream in it and I really did have a fancy for some today!
    Can’t remember the last time we bought a takeaway…..apart from fish & chips in Brixham but that’s not really the same.
    I like your story about Specsavers, and Marlene’s cloning theory. Haha!
    We have a HP Envy but not sure what model number. It’s a good printer, but aren’t ink cartridges scandalously expensive for the amount of ink?
    Looking forward to the next 250…

    • Margaret Powling

      Hello, Eloise, and yes, I love the names of the colours of the paint box. I might write a post on colour one of these days as it fascinates me. Yes, the colours of the paint box … Payne’s grey, Cadmium yellow, Crimson Lake, Vermillion, Chinese white … I loved painting when I was a child. Being an only child I didn’t have the distractions of siblings (and I was happy on my own; so many think only children must be either spoilt or lonely or both, and I was neither, unless having my parents’ undivided attention makes one ‘spoilt’!) And so I could paint in my room and be perfectly happy.
      Yes, you are right. I can’t now do any batch-cooking until we use some of the items I’ve popped into the freezer. The capacity is actually less – or perhaps the drawers are differently-sized – than the freezer which is part of our fridge/freezer and I don’t think I can get into it the volume of items that my original one can accommodate. We bought the new one (and it wasn’t cheap) because it doesn’t cut out if the temp drops below 10C externally, and that it is a frost-free freezer, too.
      My computer man suggested, as I don’t print a lot of documents, to opt for the HP offer which is 50 printed sheets a month for £1.99 and they send the printer ink as the printer begins to run out. Clever, or what? I will never have to buy cartridges again (well, that’s the theory!) And if you use more than 50 sheets, you just pay a bit more the next month, and if you don’t use 50 sheets, those sheets are added to the next month’s allowance. Anyway, we will see how this works out. But it will be lovely not having to buy cartridges which can be expensive.

      • Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

        Well. That sounds like a brilliant way to buy cartridges, and one that I shall look into straight away.
        The only paint Colour that I can remember is burnt umber. Absolutely agree…only child does not equate to spoilt child. I know several and they are perfectly nice people, writer included!

        • Margaret Powling

          Yes, I thought paying £1.99 a month for 50 sheets of printing, and having cartridges sent to me for free, so to speak, was pretty good value. And the first three months are free, too.
          Oh, I love the names (and the colours, of course) in the paint box … Prussian blue, Ultramarine, Cadmium Yellow, Chinese White, Alizarin, Scarlet Lake, Raw Sienna as well as your Burnt Umber … all names from my childhood paint box. Even the names make me want to go out and buy tubes of colour and start painting again!
          Oh, thank’ee kindly, for such a nice remark re an only child!

  10. Congratulations on your 250th post! ( Looking forward to many more!) The internet is wonderful in that people all over the world can read your blog. Love the crimson roses, a gorgeous splash of colour. Like adding a beautiful bright scarf to an otherwise neutral outfit. I have recently received Good Housekeeping too, but as I am always a couple of months behind in the reading it will probably be Christmas before I get round to it! X

    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you, Dot! My goodness, Good Housekeeping still seems as popular as ever. I sometimes see it at the hairdresser’s but if I’m asked which mag I’d like to read, I opt for Vogue as I never buy that and I like to see the rather extraordinary fashions and models (most of which look very strange – the models in the 1950s never looked emaciated, they looked glamorous; since when did emaciated become glamorous? Never, in my opinion!)
      The crimson roses have now opened out fully and look wonderful.

  11. Congratulations on your 250th post !! A wonderful achievement. I have enjoyed them all, including the many comments which we all contribute, and have learnt so many things. Wishing you many more xx

    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you, Lara. The time has simply flown since I started my blog a year last August. I’m glad you have learnt some things from it, I never set out to ‘teach’ but I like to share any knowledge I have on a variety of subjects that I find interesting.

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