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Clocks, Fall Back!

No, I don’t mean the clock literally to fall back, but in the UK – and I don’t know if this happens elsewhere – we ‘change’ the time twice a year, and at 2am this morning, the time reversed to being 1am.  Thus we are now on British Standard Time instead of British Summer Time, and in order to remember whether to put the clocks forward or back an hour, we were taught as children the little homilty:  Spring forward, Fall back (Fall meaning, of course, Autumn).

So, why do we, on our comparatively small island, do this?  It all began when a keen horseman, William Willett, was incensed at the ‘waste’ of useful daylight first thing in the morning, during the summer. Though the sun had been up for hours during his rides through the local woods, people were still in bed. William’s idea – which came to be known as Daylight Saving Time – of altering the clocks according to the season was laudable: to prevent the ‘waste’ of valuable daylight hours when any work for which daylight was necessary could be extended. But it wasn’t until 1916 (during the First World War) that the practice was adopted.  Of course, changing digital watches and clocks simply involves pressing a button. Not so in 1916 when many clocks and watches risked being damaged by their owners turning the ‘hands’ backwards in the autumn. This could, and often did, break the mechanism. In order to prevent this, it was necessary – and still is on antique clocks – to move the ‘hands’ forward by 11 hours when Summer Time ends.

I don’t like this changing of the time. I feel out of kilter for several days, and as a one woman protest (not that that anyone would notice) I keep the time on my mobile the same all the time.  It’s such an old mobile phone that it predates those which automatically correct themselves (I presume some do?) Well, it will be correct for 6 months of the year, and during the other months I merely mentally deduct one hour!

* * * * * *

Yesterday, we decided to do a small top-up shop in Waitrose because if you spend £10 or more you are entitled to a free newspaper (as well as your usual free coffee).  Silly, I know, to drive all the way there, about five miles, for a free paper, but we enjoy the drive, anyway.

I always find what people buy fascinating, perhaps because I’m such a nosy person! I peer into their trolleys unashamedly, and cringe when I see large bottle of fizzy drinks, jumbo packs of crisps and sugary cereals.  OK, we all fancy a fizzy drink occasionally, and a small packet of crisps (although I can’t abide sugary cereals), but at least they don’t take up 3/4 of the trolley space.  I love it when I see people loading their trolleys with lots of fruit and veg, wholemeal bread, milk and ingredients for cooking proper meals (i.e. not frozen pies and chips).  We tend to have what I call a good mix – lots of fruit and veg, wholemeal bread, milk and so forth, but we have our weaknesses, too, and like a Danish pastry (but only one each, not a mountain of sweet things) and a bar of chocolate once a week.  Here is what we bought yesterday.

The pears are delicious at the moment, they are Red William pears, and there are new season nectarines, too.

Treats included …

I had a look at the magazine yesterday afternoon and while the homes shown are nice and ‘Christmassy’ they aren’t quite to my taste (of course, others will disagree.)  I shall just have to see what The English Home and House & Garden offer when those two magazines arrive.

After we finished our shopping we decided to pop into the Palace Hotel on the sea front for a snack.  It came as little surprise that even though it’s not yet Hallowe’en, the Christmas trees are up and decorated.  I forgot to take a photo of the tree in the foyer, which reached to the ceiling, but there was another one (for there are several) next to the table at which we seated ourselves.

As usual we ordered a beef club sandwich to share.  As it comes with a side salad and several chips, we ask for a 2nd plate and we shared this between us.  With a drink (we each had half pints of beef) it was sufficient for a snack lunch, especially as they serve olives and peanuts with the drinks, too.

By the time we returned home, post had arrived.  I was surprised when I opened one small packet as out fell several items of skin care and make-up products, and a large make-up bag.

One product is to help reduce ‘puffy’ eyes, so I’m having a bash with that, but quite frankly, it’s just wishful thinking!  I am also trying the mascara, but the other products are going, unopened, along with the make-up bag, to the charity shop.  These came as I’d taken out a subscription offer for House & Garden magazine; I’d quite forgotten this gift would be coming.

I had bought the apricot roses for the kitchen, but when I examined the flowers in the sitting room, I realized that they were all on the point of collapse, so instead the roses are now on the table behind the sofa and they look lovely, especially in the evening with the lamps on.

I don’t consider the rose an autumn flower, but their colours are so pretty I find myself buying roses more often than  chrysanthemums these days, plus they are easier to arrange as multi-headed chrysanthemums are rather rigid and only look good if you split them up and put them into posy bowls.

* * * * * *

Today, Sunday, has been bright and sunny and we enjoyed breakfast after the extra hour’s lie-in.  Husband had his usual porridge and I had half a grapefruit followed by a small warmed brioche with blackcurrant jam.

For lunch I made cauliflower cheeses, and extra for a meal tomorrow.  I find that cauliflower cheese doesn’t freeze well, but I always make sufficient for two meals even if it means having them on consecutive days.

For the cheese sauce I use three different cheeses:  Cheddar, Gruyere and Parmesan, plus a veggie Oxo cube for extra flavour.

And finally, the crimson roses in the bedroom are now looking at their very best, they have opened and look beautiful.

Wherever you are, I hope you are having (or have had) a lovely weekend and that you have found some time in which to rest and relax before the start of another busy week.

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. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    What a pleasant weekend yours sounds.
    Whilst I do change the time on my phone (also too old for an automated adjustment), I never change it in my car! I like the lighter mornings but hate the early darkness in the evening so it’s difficult to decide quite where I stand on the change to BST.
    Such pretty roses. I have a few left in the garden, and a few sweet peas too, but the cold will kill them off very soon, I think.

    • Margaret Powling

      How lovely to still have sweet peas in the garden, Eloise. I’ve never been able to grow them successfully, perhaps we don’t give them sufficient room in our tiny garden and most years the snails eat them, too.
      I’ve had a busy day, but not the way I intended. The plan was to write an article (deadline fast approaching) and cook for Freddy the Freezer, but neither happened. Instead I tackled a mountain of ironing, changed the bed linen, made cauliflower cheese (as mentioned in my post) and a fresh fruit salad, and other little household tasks. I simply must apply myself – as my teachers used to say – tomorrow!

  2. I understand that ‘applying oneself’, so well. I too am a writer & instead of getting on with it, today I shall be vigorously attacking hedges and trees with some borrowed hedge clippers. New Zealand has daylight saving and I too find that first week of altered clock time, disorientating. I could never figure it all out! But now that everything is automated (making us lazier and dumber I feel……) I don’t even know when it happened this month! Your flower arrangements look lovely.

    • Margaret Powling

      That is good to know, Ratnamurti, that you have daylight saving in New Zealand and that we alone on our small islands of the UK aren’t the only ones faffing with the clocks, ha ha!
      I’m sure that the hedges and trees now look better for a trim! Well done!

  3. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    Haha, my teachers used to say the same. That sounds like a very productive day. When we got home from my son’s I looked at the pile of ironing and decided that I couldn’t face it. As you say….tomorrow!

    • Margaret Powling

      The trouble with our house, Eloise, is that the airing cupboard is too small to hide a pile of laundry which needs ironing, and if in the wicker laundry basket, there’s nowhere to hide that, either, so I do try and keep the pile down but this week it had just grown and grown. But at least it’s all done now and I will put it all away shortly – or I might leave that until tomorrow!

  4. Our daylight savings time begins next Sunday, November 5th. I like the “fall back” but it’s hard when it’s “spring ahead” as I don’t like losing an hour…haha. You always write such interesting posts. Many times I find myself looking into other people’s shopping cart when they are checking out. Maybe because you and I both like to cook from “scratch” so to speak, that I’m shocked to see all the ready prepared foods people buy. It’s not only expensive but not healthy by any means. But, maybe they don’t like cooking or don’t know how to cook. Cooking has always been one of my hobbies and I enjoy my time in the kitchen. Speaking of the kitchen, I baked rock buns for the first time today. Your blog post inspired me. I used a recipe I found online from the BBC and they turned out great. I love the crunchy outside and soft center; a perfect treat to have with coffee or tea. Enjoy your evening (it’s still morning here in California). And, have a great week, too. Pat

    • Margaret Powling

      So glad you’ve had a go at rock buns, Pat, as they’re so easy to make and really tasty. As I’ve said to Ratnamurti in New Zealand, it’s good to know that we here in the UK aren’t the only ones who change the clock twice a year. I’d no idea this was done in America – I thought the time zones would’ve been a complication enough! I had no idea that other countries in the world did this so I’ve learned something today (and I like to learn new things!)
      Yes, springing forward isn’t as easy as falling back, but what I love is that I feel so much better in spring, it’s my very favourite season, new green shoots of plants, leaves returning to the trees, the dawn chorus of birds singing again, crocus, snowdrops, daffodils all coming into bloom, daylight before 7am. I now feel a bit gloomy until 21st December, the shortest day, and then I know I’m going forward to spring.
      Like you, I enjoy cooking and baking. Nothing fancy, just good nourishing food made from ‘scratch’.

  5. We have ‘daylight saving’ here in Australia where clocks are put forward or back one hour and I also use the ‘spring forward and fall back’ to remember which is which. I also feel like I fumble the first week of the change and when I worked in large offices (with anywhere between 40-100 people), many others would state the same. It was as if we were showing our most primal selves, being so set by the angle of the sun as to whether we would stop for lunch now or on the ‘new’ time. I imagine dairy cows and other creatures with a strict schedule would laugh at us humans 😉 But to complicate matters here in Australia, not all states switch the clock back/forward twice a year – for example New South Wales (NSW) which contains Sydney (with a population of over 4,000,000 and is our largest city) and has the largest population does switch clocks but Queensland which sits directly to the north, does not. So if you live near the border of NSW and QLD and live in one state but work or do business in the other (which many people do) you spend half of the year trying to remember to adjust for time difference. I have friends and colleagues who have missed planes and other important appointments due to this anomaly.

    I, too, will often look at others’ shopping trolleys and am always horrified when I see fizzy drinks, bags of chips, white bread (you may as well eat the packaging), bottled water, etc. Many towns in Australia are pushing to stop the use/sale of bottled water due to the large volume of plastic bottles which enter our waste stream. Living on the coast, we are also encouraged not to use plastic bags but to bring your own reusable bags into shops. Sadly many turtles and other sea creatures ingest plastics and can die a slow, painful death.

    Your roses look lovely. I noticed that you used one of your new blue and white plates for your breakfast. As always, your table setting is so pretty. Husband and I rarely eat breakfast together as he wakes so early – hungry – whilst I’m still dreaming ! I prefer to be awake for a while before I can eat my breakfast and of course only after I’ve had my cup of tea – that first cup first thing in the morning really sets my day on the right note 😉

    Your cauliflower cheese sounds delicious. I’m not a fan of plain cauliflower – I think I was fed overlooked cauliflower mush in my younger years and developed a strong dislike for it. So I often make a vegetable soup and use cauliflower as one of the ingredients. In fact, raw cauliflower has such a nice peppery taste that I’ll often nibble on florets as I’m chopping it up for the soup. Mind you, with ‘cauliflower rice’ and ‘cauliflower steaks’ being all trendy here at the moment, thanks to the ‘Paleo diet’ and certain ‘celebrity chefs’, cauliflowers which once went for next-to-nothing in the shops are now priced at $AU5 as if they are a luxury item. I’ll be glad when this trend dies and the foodies have moved onto some other vegetable and the price comes down to a saner level. Good luck for the cauliflower farmers, though.

    • Margaret Powling

      My goodness, Lara, I’d no idea that the various states of Australia changed the clock, some doing this and others not. I think we humans often make life more complicated than is really necessary.

      Yes, plastic bottles are the scourge of the 21st century I think. I have one plastic bottle that I refill over and over again with tap water if we go out, and when that eventually bites the dust, I will use an old plastic orange squash bottle, well rinsed out. Yes, we in the UK are urged to re-use plastic carrier bags and supermarkets (well, most of them) now charge 10p per bag, but if you buy one of their long-life bags and that splits they will supply a new one free of charge. Of course, there are now those who say that keeping re-using bags is spreading harmful bacteria from the fresh foods, such as meat, but we never fretted about this years ago when our mothers would shop with baskets and string bags, did we?

      Yes, I used one of my new blue & white plates at breakfast and this afternoon we each used one when we ate the last two rock buns, with a little bit of lovely Normandy butter. I’ve never in my life liked butter but some months ago when we were in Pierre’s bistro having lunch we were brought French bread to eat while we waited for our meal, and they served it with lovely French butter. It was pale and some would say it was insipid compared with our lovely golden butter, but we absolutely loved it and for the first time in my life I enjoyed butter on my bread and, since then, have bought two slabs of butter (Normandy butter from France, not English!) and have been enjoying it, but only on baguettes and rock buns.

      I’ve never heard of cauliflower rice or cauliflower steaks or the Paleo diet, so I must Google that, as they say. The medium size cauliflower I bought this week was £1, don’t know how that translates into your money, Lara. What puzzles me is why cauliflower cheese tastes so delicious and yet cauliflower while cooking (and after it has cooked) leaves such an awful smell in the kitchen and beyond. Today I had the extractor fan going and the windows open and still the house stank like drains, and it was all the fault of the poor old cauliflower!

      • I’ve just googled conversion rates for Aussie dollars to English pounds (and vice versa) and learnt that $AU5 = £2.90 and £1 = $AU1.70. So yes, cauliflowers are currently much more expensive in Australia. The current fad for cauliflower rice has a lot to answer for ha ha 😉

        • Margaret Powling

          It is strange that I’d not heard of cauliflower rice, Lara – Eloise has mentioned this to me, too. How can a cauliflower be turned into “rice”, I wonder?

    • Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

      It is interesting to read Lara say that some towns are trying to restrict the sale of bottled water because of the plastic. I try to avoid any foodstuffs or drinks it plastic bottles as I prefer glass but it is difficult. In the UK we can get VOSS water in glass bottles. I have to order it for delivery from Ocado (an online supermarket) as very few shops stock it.

      Margaret – I use cauliflower rice as I am not keen on ordinary rice. It is very low in calories. Tesco sell it fresh and it’s great with curry, though it does smell awful when cooking!

      • Margaret Powling

        I’ve never heard of cauliflower rice, that sounds very odd but if you say it’s nice with curry I might look for some.

  6. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    The changing of the clocks was welcome back in the days when we had to get up and work. You appear to be a very good shopper Margaret, not coming home with tons of shopping, sticking to what you need, with just an occasional treat, I have to say my shopping habits are changing for the better, my cupboards are not over stuffed with things I don’t use that often. Christmas trees in October is early isn’t it, but I supposed it will be everywhere from now onwards.

    • Margaret Powling

      It has surprised me, Marlene, to learn from readers who have left comments, that this business of changing the clocks goes on in Australa, New Zealand and in America! I thought we were the only country to do this and would therefore be the laughing stock of the world, but no, we all seem to be at it!
      I always try and have a shopping list, Marlene. Even if we go out with no intention of visiting a supermarket, I have an on-going list in my bag as I have a note pad attached to the fridge and I jot down things for he next shopping trip on that. On the day that we go shopping I whip off the list and then type it out and print, and take that proper list (in the order the items appear in the supermarket) with us. But if we go out before we really need to do the big shop, I take the jotted list from the kitchen with me, just in case (hope this makes sense!) Seldom do I go out without such a list. It can have everything on it, from collect medication from the chemist to buy batteries for the summerhouse clock.
      Shopping without a list is fraught with danger as it means you gaze up and down the shelves in every aisle in order not to forget essentials. That way your eyes are captivated by other things which then find their way into the trolley. I can whip around the store with my list very quickly, the less time you spend in a supermarket, the less money you part with (well, that’s my theory!) List Essential, let this be our mantra!
      Yes, Christmas trees in October is too early in my opinion. They will be rather dusty by December 25th. But as we live in a holiday resort and coach parties fill our hotels with Turkey and Tinsel holidays, it’s a wonder that some don’t have decorations up in July! Perhaps some do!

  7. Ha, glad it’s not just me then who likes to take a good look in other people shopping trolleys, its interesting to see if their appearance matches up to what they are buying, gosh that makes me sound judgemental doesn’t it!
    The roses are such a pretty colour Margaret, I don’t often buy cut flowers in the winter as there isn’t always much in the way of choice and, like you, dislike the mixed bouquets that the supermarkets sell.
    Technically with the clocks going back we should have had an extra hour in bed but doggies bladders don’t know that and we were woken up at the normal time, my horse spent her first night in a stable since spring and wasn’t too impressed with the arrangement, she will get used to the new routine soon.

    • Margaret Powling

      I think a lot of us enjoy a good nose into people’s shopping trolleys! Sometimes I’ve been tempted, on seeing something that looked ‘interesting’ to add it to our own trolley, but not often! Mostly, I’m amazed at what I consider unnecessary items, the aforementioned fizzy drinks and sugary cereals, but then others would consider my lovely glossy magazine and bunches of roses an unnecessary extravagance.
      Oh, Elaine, some of the mixed bouquets are so garish. It makes me wonder who on earth decides on the combinations? Do they think we haven’t a clue which flowers we’d like to go together. I think the reason is that they can sell a mixed bouquet for more than they can sell single-bloom bunches.
      Yes, animals don’t know about the clocks, do they? And I’m sure your horse wondered what on earth was happening, spending the nigh in the stable when she is used to the outdoors. But I expect you whispered to her it was for her benefit, she’d not want frosted hooves!

  8. I love cauliflower but hate the smelll, it lingers for hours too. I rarely eat it nowadays because it upsets my husband’s stomach and although I enjoy it I don’t want it for three days on end. Now and again I indulge then go round frantically opening windows and lighting candles. I love sprouts too (not many people say that).

    It’s a lovely morning here but there was a frost for the first time this winter. Lovely to see the sun though.

    I love to look at Christmas things in shops but because they come out so early I find I’m a bit “Christmassed-out” by December which is a shame. I do my Christmas shopping early because I don’t like to be trying to find things when the shops are busy but I do like to browse when there is no pressure to buy. Mine is all done and wrapped so I don’t have to worry about it, I’ve already passed on some because my son visited last weekend and I may not see him again this year. I can just enjoy looking now 🙂

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, we love sprouts, too, Alison, provided they aren’t over-cooked and look yellow-ish.
      And yes, a lovely morning here, too. But I must stick to my plan to do my writing this morning, but at least I can see the blue sky from the window and not dull greyness.
      My goodness, you have planned well if you have everything bought and wrapped for Christmas, that is really efficient! I must make a start soon as if I leave it until December, panic sets in.

  9. No turning the clocks forward or back for us in India but the days do get shorter.
    Those roses look so gorgeous.
    Your pictures of the day’s shopping are always such an interesting mix, I love them:)

    • Margaret Powling

      It’s strange that some countries alter their clocks in order to extend daylight hours, and some don’t. Personally, I find it a nuisance, Kavitha, but I can appreciate the reasons for doing it (or the original reasons even if they no longer apply.)
      The apricot roses are still in their tight-bud stage and I hope they will eventually open up.
      I also find other people’s shopping interesting, that’s why I sometimes post a photo, even of ordinary things such as porridge oats and tins of chopped tomatoes.

  10. I am with you. Just leave the time alone! Our time will change this coming weekend. I don’t find the fall change as disruptive as the spring change. Losing an hour (as we do in the spring) really throws me off.

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