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Almost the Weekend

What a wonderful blue-sky day it has been. Even I would love autumn more if every day was like today, rather than murky, misty and grey.

Above is the view above our neighbour’s laurel hedge towards a lovely tree in their garden.  It is just changing colour and looks so pretty against the blue of the sky.

This evening we had a meal from Freddy the Freezer.  I made a couple of cottage pies the day before yesterday and one found it’s way into Freddy.  Early this morning I asked husband kindly to bring a meal from the freezer; I said, “You choose what you would like,” knowing full well that chilli didn’t stand a chance!  So he said, “Write down on a piece of paper what you think I will choose and we’ll see if you are right …”  So, off he went and I wrote down ‘Cottage pie’.  Of course I was right.  He’s sooooo predictable!

So, cottage pie was our supper meal this evening, with minted peas.  Something nice and simple but nourishing and tasty and, of course, home-made.  Why has it taken me 53 years to decide a 2nd freezer would be useful?  No, don’t answer that …

“One I made earlier!” (with apologies to *Blue Peter!)

[*For those of you not in the UK, Blue Peter was a children’s programme in which the presenters showed children how to make simple toys and things, often from the cardboard roll from a used loo roll and sticky-backed plastic, and they always had a finished example, i.e. one made earlier,  hence this oft-used phrase.]


Yesterday I invited our elder son, his wife and our little grandson, and our daughter in law’s mother (as she was staying with them from her home in East Anglia for half term week) to supper. We were to eat at 5pm so that our little grandson could be home in good time for his bath, story and bedtime by 7pm.

I decided to make a high tea with the addition of baked potatoes and crusty bread.  So I loaded the table with ham, salami, coleslaw, grapes, various cheeses, a mixed green salad, butter, salad dressing seved separately (I usually ‘dress’ a salad but I wasn’t sure whether our daughter in law’s mother likes salad dressing) , chutney and tomatoes.

There was still the baked potatoes and the crusty bread to add to this high tea, and afterwards we had cheesecake which, I confess I bought. To drink, H2O from the tap, or sparkling Badoit (my favourite sparkling mineral water.)

I also baked rock buns yesterday.  Oh, how husband loves rock buns!  Apart from Christmas cake, which I make every year to the same recipe since I first had this recipe in 1968, rock buns are his favourite cake.  Mind you, I love them too …

They are cooked at 180C for exactly 15 minutes in the middle of the oven, and then removed from the oven while still a little soft –  the heat of the tray continues to cook them sufficiently for them to be crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle.  Served with a little butter, they are delicious.  I expect you know that “rock” bun describes the shape, like a little rock, not the texture!

As demonstrated in the leading photo, it has been a lovely day, and the sea was a shade of deep blue …

Not a particularly good photo as I have to take it through the glass of the side window in the bay window in the sitting room.  This evening the sky had mellowed to a pale pink just above the water, and there was a narrow white line along the horizon …

Barry was here today, and of course, he found a patch of sunshine …

He had his harness on so that I could easily attach his lead when he needed to go into the garden for a call of Nature.

Perhaps one of the nicest things today was the arrival of some pieces of china.  Well, pottery to be more accurate.  It’s made by Burleigh and I just fancied some blue & white plates, something we’ve not had for many years.  Husband isn’t keen on blue and white, but I think by the time he’s got food on these plates he won’t complain!

I thought I’d buy just these two medium sized plates and two side plates (sometimes called bread & butter plates) to start with and if I liked them I would send for two dinner plates, which I have now done.  I don’t need to buy whole sets of six, just pairs of plates are sufficient for us now.   I think they’re really pretty, but then, I like blue & white!

Have a lovely weekend.

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. your High Tea sounds delicious! I love home made food. I always find that when Autumn comes I am longing for some respite from the heat. Then, when it does come, I am thinking: ‘what was I thinking?, bring back the warmth!’. But the trees, like your neighbours one, show such beauty in Autumn.

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, high tea is lovely, Ratnamurti, nice and simple and easy to prepare. Normally, high tea would only be crusty bread, butter, ham, cheese and chutney with perhaps fruit cake to follow, and a cup of tea, but I added a few extras. And yes, the trees in autumn are so beautiful. I hope tomorrow will be as lovely as it has been today, we might be able to go for a walk in the sunshine, that would be lovely.

      • ah, ha! thanks! now I do know what a proper high tea is.

        • Margaret Powling

          High tea is called thus as it is taken seated around a table, i.e. high off the floor, and Afternoon tea was sometimes called Low tea because the people were seated in low, easy chairs and there were small tea tables, i.e. lower to the ground rather than sitting bolt upright at a table.
          A High tea is normally taken as a main meal, around 6 pm, unlike Afternoon tea which is taken between around 3 pm and 5 pm and is really a luxurious indulgence. Sandwiches are first served, crusts removed) regardless of the bread, whether brown, white, wholemeal or granary, plus scones (pronounced as in the name Don, and not as in the word Throne), jam and either cream or butter, and then delicious pastries and cakes with which to finish off. High tea always has more substantial fare – crusty bread freshly cut from a loaf, thick chunks of gammon ham, Cheddar cheese (and other cheeses if you prefer, such as Stilton, Gruyere, Brie or a lovely locally-produced cheese), chutney and even pickled onions, and tea to drink. To follow, perhaps a lovely rich fruit cake or chocolate cake and perhaps shortbread biscuits. Hope I’ve not made you feel hungry, Ratnamurti!

          • yes, you have made me hungry! Fascinating how customs develop.High Tea sounds like it would make a lovely dinner, really. Afternoon (low) Tea was always a ‘must’ for my children, it just kept them going after school and before dinner. I love English fare, it has happy memories for me, so I find your food bits and pieces most interesting.

          • Margaret Powling

            Yes, High Tea is like a cold dinner, Ratnamurti. I know some people don’t care for Afternoon tea because once they’ve had it, it has ‘spoilt’ their appetite for their evening meal and then about 8pm they feel hungry again. But I love Afternoon tea, it’s a lovely treat of a meal. Glad you enjoy my food posts!

  2. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    Gorgeous views, the weather has been good, the weekend here is going to be good, we still have a few summer flowers in the garden, not bad considering it is November this week. Funny how dogs always go for the little patch of sunshine, Barry looks so peaceful, bless him. My husband is the same as yours Margaret, loves his traditional British foods. We often have a tea as above with meats and cheeses, etc. Lovely plates.
    Have a lovely weekend.

    • Margaret Powling

      We consider ourselves very fortunate to have even this slight sea view, Marlene, over the rooftops. But I have never minded an urban view, I like to see people and traffic and rooftops just as much as I enjoy views of the countryside.
      A high tea of breads, cheeses, ham, salami etc, is always enjoyable. Just putting together what there is available in the fridge.

  3. We had our first frost last night and woke to 3 degrees! I think the weather this autumn has been beautiful. We had a day out to Battle yesterday,little bit disappointed,it’s only when you are away from your own home county you appreciate it more!Enjoy your weekend.

    • Margaret Powling

      Many years ago, I think 1967 when we stayed with friends who lived in East Dean near Eastbourne, we parked the car in Battle but I don’t think we walked far. Indeed, I can only remember parking there but not what we did after that or how long we stayed!
      It was chillier last night, but this morning we woke to a wonderful sunrise and blue sky. Sadly, that has now disappeared and we’re back to our usual autumnal greyness everywhere. Yes, you enjoy your weekend, too, Margaret.

  4. Barry does look so comfortable Margaret, our dogs do much the same in following the sun around the floors, when we are lucky enough to get some of course! Yesterday was beautiful, bright and sunny but as soon as the sun set the temperature dropped with clear skies as well.
    Your high tea looks delicious, am sure your visitors enjoyed it very much, as do the rock buns have to say.My beloved made a request for Parkin this week so I made that yesterday and it now sits in the cake tin maturing nicely, there is enough Mincemeat Buns left to give it a day or two of reprieve.

    • Margaret Powling

      There has only to be a minuscule portion of sun on the sofa or carpet, Elaine, and Barry will find it! I had the curtains partially drawn on that afternoon in order to watch Escape to the Country (a repeat, but I knew at once it was one episode where I liked the houses, so I watched it again) but Barry found the sliver of warm sunshine on the carpet.
      Oh, I love parkin but not made it in ages. I even have a recipe for a marmalade parkin cake, not as dark or as heavy as tradition parkin, but very tasty nonetheless. Mind you, it takes a lot of marmalade and golden syrup. But good, traditional parkin, after it has matured, is delicious.

  5. I was expecting a duller day today after looking at the forecast last night but it has turned out to be another beautiful blue sky day. Warm in the sun but cool in the shade and it was definitely cooler this morning, about 5C when I looked at the thermomenter about 8.30 am. I managed a walk to the park today. I’ve had a cold for two weeks now with an accompanying cough and dizziness from the catarrh and I’ve had a few attempts at walking over the past week but had to give up. Hopefully things are starting to improve, although I still feel a bit like I’m on the sea when I’m walking along!

    I love to hear you talk about cake making and see the photos. I don’t much enjoy cooking but I do like baking but my husband can’t eat them now so I’m not making them any more just to give him some support. I’ve got a few ingredients left in the larder so every couple of weeks I make a cake for my daughter. My other daughter has coeliac disease so I can’t use my flour up on her.

    I’ve dried some washing in the sun which always pleases me and later I’ve got to go to my daughter’s to get her washing in because she’s gone to a wedding today.

    And then before bed – remember to put all the clocks back 🙂

    • Margaret Powling

      I’m sorry to hear you have been laid low with a cold, Alison. Colds can make you feel so unwell even in if you know they will clear up in a couple of weeks. I hope you will continue to feel better and enjoy walks again.
      Perhaps your husband does not eat cakes now because of diabetes? Perhaps Diabetes UK might be able to suggest a diabetic cook book with sugar-free cake recipes? I’m also sorry to hear, too, that a daughter has coeliac disease.
      I really don’t like putting the clocks back. It’s such a waste of time, literally! Indeed, because I just wish that we didn’t have to faff with our clocks and watches twice a year like this, I keep my mobile to the time it is now and just deduct an hour when I look at it to check the time. It will be right again next March, I only have six months to wait! (My mobile is a very old one, at least eight years old, and doesn’t automatically change the time.)

  6. What a lovely view you have, Margaret. Your high tea sounds delicious. Love the blue and white plates, but then blue is my favorite color so I would, wouldn’t I?! I must confess that when I first read your mention of “rock buns” I envisioned buns that are heavy as rocks! Haha!

    • Margaret Powling

      Oh dear, rock buns! They really don’t sound very nice, do they? Solid little hard lumps that you could break your teeth on! No, it’s the shape, Jeannine, that gives them that name. When you make the dough, you just put lumps of it on the baking tray (which I like with baking parchment) and then pop them into a hot oven and they come out as little rock-like cakes, but are simply delicious.
      Glad you like the plates – dinner plates on their way to me as we speak. Strangely enough, blue isn’t my favourite colour, although there are no colours I actually dislike (well, perhaps purple, which I know a lot of people love, but I find it rather harsh – think Premier Inn, where it is the corporate colour) as much depends on how colours are used. For example, I love purple gladioli when they are available, but I’d not want a purple bed cover, although perhaps a lovely soft woollen throw in purple might look lovely and rich over our terracotta sofa.

  7. Your High Tea looks delicious, as does all the food you prepare. I agree with your husband re the cottage pie, it is one of my favourites too. Spurred on by the rock buns, I decided to make some this afternoon. I don’t tend to make cakes any more as my other half is diabetic but they are not too sweet. We enjoyed one each with a cup of coffee, so nice when they are fresh from the oven and still slightly warm!
    I never used to like purple either, it wasn’t a colour which suited me. However, since my previously dark brown hair has lost all it’s warm tones and now has lots of grey, I find that purple shades suit me and often get compliments when I wear it. I had my ‘colours’ done a couple of years ago (which prompted a massive wardrobe clear out!) and the cool rich jewel tones look best now. As we get older and everything starts to fade we have to adapt our clothing and make up accordingly. You always look lovely in navy, definitely your colour! X

    • Margaret Powling

      Oh dear, I can see that I shall be in trouble soon, posting photos of food and thus encouraging readers to bake and eat cakes! But rock buns are a lovely treat and they are so easy to make even if there are quite a number of ingredients all which need weighing. But then it’s just a case of rubbing in the fat/sugar/flour/spices and adding the fruit and then binding with egg/milk and you have the dough.

      I have only ever had one item in rich purple and that was a lovely winter dress I bought when approaching our Silver Wedding anniversary way back in 1989 (husband had lunch at the Burgh Island Hotel, famous for having been used in several films of the Poirot books by Agatha Christie). I had a lovely shawl in purples and greens to go with it which I wore – as was the fashion then – over one shoulder, as Dame Jenni Murray still does (from photos I’ve seen of her.) Anyway, back with rock buns … we have just enjoyed one each with a cup of tea, using my new blue & white plates.
      Thank you for complimenting me on wearing navy. Yes, it’s kinder to my colouring even than black, which can be draining (although I do wear black sometimes, too.)

      • The purple dress and shawl sound lovely and very elegant. Yes, wearing black can be draining but the addition of a necklace or pretty scarf in a flattering colour helps enormously.
        Lunch at Burgh Island Hotel sounds lovely. We did go over to the island many years ago (on that wonderful contraption, is it still in operation?) but the hotel was closed at the time. It was a particularly cold and windy day as I remember so we didn’t stay long!

        • Margaret Powling

          Yes, the sea tractor is still in operation at Burgh Island, Dot. It was about ten years ago since I visited Burgh Island, I was going specially to write a review on the restaurant. I felt on both the occasions that we visited, and each time the hotel was under different ownership, that the hotel was the star and the food, sadly, wasn’t. But I’m speaking of a very long time ago and I trust it is much better now.

  8. Barry is so adorable taking his nap in the sunshine! What a lovely tea you made for your family. I’m sure they enjoyed the delicious food you made for them. I think you have the same likes/hobby as me; you love dishes! Your new Burleigh plates are so beautiful. That’s a great idea to buy enough for the two of you. I will have to remember this. In my collection, I have a set of ten dinner plates made by Burleigh in the Blue Calico pattern. Isn’t it fun to use and enjoy these beautiful pieces? In my blog post this week I shared about using my collection of English teacups for tea. I hope your Saturday is off to a great start. Pat

    • Margaret Powling

      I had a look at the various blue & white designs that Burleigh offer and saw the very pretty Blue Calico. This company also produces the Asiatic Pheasant design and not only in blue but in pink, which I think is very pretty, too. There is even some black & white pottery, I might try that, too … oh dear, I must not add pottery to my little indulgences … fine soap, magazines, books, flowers, perfume, etc, etc!
      Yes, Saturday has been very pleasant and we have just been watching the Hallowe’em Strictly Come Dancing programme which was a lot of fun, Pat.

  9. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    I like blue and white China to look at but have a preference for white to eat from. So the name of rock buns describes the shape – do you know, I never thought about that, or the fact that they are actually quite un-rock like in texture. I don’t recall having made any for donkeys years. (Why donkeys?)
    Tea looks very nice. I like a ‘pick & mix’ meal.
    Like you, we had a very cold night. I was glad of my hot water bottle which is primarily used to fend of leg cramps, but I really valued it for its intended purpose last night.

    • Margaret Powling

      The plates we have used for the past four decades were our Royal Worcester dinner service with the lovely Verona pattern, i.e. pure white plates with just a little gold leaf. They were so elegant but we only have a few left now, plus the gravy boat! I do like to eat off white, too, but I think blue & white for breakfast (which we’ve had in some rather nice B&Bs on occasion) looks rather nice – egg and bacon and tomatoes off blue and white always appealed to me.
      No idea why we say “donkey’s years”, perhaps because they live to a ripe old age?
      I also get leg cramps, more so when I’ve been walking that day. We have an electric fitted mattress cover as well as each of us having a h.w.b!

      • Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

        …and cake in the afternoon may be served on the prettiest of plates, of course!

        • Margaret Powling

          Yes, I’d forgotten to mention that afternoon tea was an ‘occasion’ and was always served on the best china, the prettiest of plates, cups and saucers!

  10. Oh yes, those blue and white plates are stunning. Beautiful colours and pattern.

    Your table for your guests looked delicious. I would be delighted to arrive at someone’s house and see such hearty fare 🙂 As I’ve said before, we definitely ‘eat with our eyes’.

    Lovely to see a picture of Barry again. Dogs (and cats) are very good at making themselves comfortable, aren’t they ? My cat is on tenderhooks (is that th right word ?) at the moment as it’s her dinner time and she is unhappy that both husband and I are ignoring her. I swear she can tell the time ha ha. No doubt she will look as relaxed as Barry once she has had her fill 🙂

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, Barry certainly makes himself at home now, Lara. He likes to sit on the chair behind where I sit here in the study, making a little nest for himself with the cushions.
      The word you were seeking is “tenterhooks.” This is a term from the woollen industry in this country, where (many years ago, not now of course) in fields tenterframes would be set up upon which the woollen cloth was stretched – as part of the process of producing the cloth – and held in place by tenterhooks. So many terms come from the woollen industry, as other terms come from other industries, such as spinning a yarn (telling an unlikely story) and wool gathering (day dreaming). English pub names also come from the woollen industry, such as The Woolpack and The Fleece, and surnames also come from the industry, such as Weaver, Fuller and Tucker. (The reason I know this is because my late uncle was a group manager in the 1940s/1950s for some woollen mills, and about ten years ago I researched this industry for an article.)
      Thank you for your kind words re the high tea food, Lara.

      • ‘Tenterhooks’ makes so much more sense than ‘tenderhooks’ – even as I typed the latter in my above comment I knew it wasn’t quite right 😉 See – I learn something from your blog every time. Learning is a wonderful thing. To be curious is to be alive, I say.

        • Margaret Powling

          So glad you enjoyed my little bit of history about the word tenterhooks, Lara. Yes, it’s fun to learn, and I love what you say – that to be curious is to be alive, and I wholeheartedly agree with that.

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