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Winter weather, spring flowers

It has been a very blustery day here in South Devon, but we dodged showers and had it not been for the wind it would’ve been a lovely winter’s day.  First port of call was to the barber for husband.  He now looks much tidier, his thatch having been trimmed.  While he was there I popped into the charity shop (it styles itself a boutique) to off load some magazines.  This is the first time I can remember that I’ve voluntarily parted with some of my vast collection of style magazines but once I’d made up my mind to clear some space, I found it didn’t upset me at all. I just took a year’s supply of this magazine off the shelf and placed it in my shopping basket and next time I go there, another complete year’s supply will go, too.

The window in this charity shop is always well dressed and today was no exception.  In the right hand window are currently some rather nice architectural prints. I didn’t investigate the prices as I wasn’t interested in buying them myself, but they were in excellent condition and would look superb in the right setting.  The other window had evening dresses …

The windows are very difficult to photograph as there is so much reflection from the cars parked close by and the school and trees across the road.

On my way to the barber’s, where husband was being attended to, I popped into a mini-market for bread and saw some bunches of lovely purple and white lisianthus … how could I resist those?  They don’t usually last long, unlike chrysanthemums, but I think they are much prettier.  I associate chrysanthemums with autumn and now I crave the colours of spring, and purple and white fit the bill.

I haven’t arranged them yet; I’ve cut an inch or two off the stems and they are having a good long drink overnight; tomorrow I will decide which jug or vase to put them in.

We then went to Waitrose, our favourite supermarket, for  few things (not much as we still have items from our pre-Christmas, pre-New Year shop that are still suitable to eat) and then we went to our favourite sea front hotel where we had sandwiches and hot chocolate.

This was a lovely treat after being incarcerated for so long … apart from Christmas Day at younger son’s home, Boxing Day at elder son’s home, and a quick visit to Waitrose last Saturday morning (and then dashing straight back home again as I just didn’t feel well enough even for coffee out) this was our first trip out since before Christmas, because of the cough and cold we have both had, and the very cold and very wet weather.  The beef sandwiches were lovely, and the hot chocolate was delicious.

Then home, for a snooze in front of the fire with my latest magazine which had arrived while we were out …

The new jigsaw puzzle arrived yesterday and that has been started … it is entitled The Man Cave.  I wonder who first coined this expression?  Anyway, it’s filled with all the things that the artist assumes that men like … an old juke box, a bubble gum machine, a dog curled up on a leather chair, a dart board, a model airplane, demi-johns brewing beer, cricket bat and pads, a rugby ball … none of which my husband is actually interested in, but it certainly makes for an interesting puzzle as there are no great expanses of grass or sky of trees to fill in, which can be boring and laborious.

By the same post yesterday, my latest book arrived …

I have photographed it on my red, black and white silk scarf as I think it suits the book, but whether the book will suit me is another matter!  It just seemed like a good idea at the time, but not quite sure now!

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. I’m not one to do puzzles, but your new puzzle does look like a good one – like you said, no large expanses of grass or sky. Very clever to photograph the book on your scarf. You could be a stylist!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I was looking for a different scarf on which to photograph the book, Jeannine, one that was off-white with red spots and a red edge, but the black, red and white one appeared first out of the drawer. I like styling things. I don’t go to much trouble, though, I just use what’s to hand. Husband has now made a start on the new puzzle. The dining table will be out of action for a little while longer – thankfully, we tend to eat most meals at the breakfast table in the kitchen.

  2. How nice it must to have been out and about Margaret, the sandwiches and hot chocolate look delicious and what a good idea to pick some spring colours for the flowers. It can be quite depressing this time of year can’t it, especially when the weather is dull and grey, we have had a lot of wind and rain the last couple of days so any bit of sunshine is very much appreciated.
    Re the jigsaw puzzles, did you know that you can buy large cases to use for them? Basically they are like a large envelope with special fabric that hold the pieces in place so they can be moved, saves losing use of the dining room table for any length of time.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      The spring flowers have really brightened up a corner of our sitting room, Elaine, and if they don’t last long I shan’t mind, they’re worth it for the glimpse of spring-to-come.
      I’ve only recently learned about the boards/cases for jigsaw puzzles but we do one so infrequently – the ‘house’ one was the first in over a decade, perhaps longer – that I don’t think I will buy one, but if we did them regularly, then that is something I would most certainly buy.

  3. Hi Margaret,we have just popped out to Waitrose this morning and local butchers for meat. Still suffering,diagnosis from the doctor now is chest infection and kidney infection! Where have the bright cold winter days gone that we had in our childhood that killed off all these germs?!Sitting down with a cup of tea,fennel for myself and decaf for my husband,he has biscuits with his but I’m being a good girl and refraining! Hope you are both on the mend now,take care of yourselves,Margaret.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I’m so sorry you have not only a chest infection but a kidney infection, too. It seems that everyone I speak to right now is ill, or has been ill, or knows someone who is ill. Yes, the germs used to be killed off in winter, but there again, our houses were so much colder when we didn’t have central heating. It was uncomfortable but perhaps it was healthier for us, who knows?
      I’ve just been to have a cup of tea with a dear friend and we had lovely coconut macaroons, so I’ve not been as restrained as yourself! Get better soon, Margaret.

  4. Hello Margaret, Happy New Year!
    I am tempted to buy that book by Jamie Cat Callan. I have three other books written by her which I found interesting, but wasn’t sure if this might be more of the same. I am usually guided by reviews on Amazon, need to check it out.
    Agree with Jeannine, nicely styled!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I think perhaps the book I’m reading by Jamie Cat Callan is being aimed at a younger readership than myself, and perhaps for women seeking romance? I could be wrong, of course, I will have to read through to the end and then decide whether this is a book for the bookshelf or for the charity shop.
      Thank you for your kind comment re the styling of the book on my scarf. I do like this scarf and it was bought for me by a penfriend of many years, someone I’ve never bet, but she has always found things for me that I have loved using and this scarf is one of those things. I wore it today with black jeans, black polo-neck skinny rib jumper and my red trench. Perhaps Jamie’s book is influencing me more than I think – a very French outfit (and with red nail polish and red lipstick.)

      • Sounds like a great outfit, very stylish!
        I really like scarves. As well as adding warmth they can bring an outfit together and provide a touch of colour near the face especially when wearing darker colours like black which can be draining.
        You obvious have a flair for style. This is evident in your home and your attire.
        Have you thought about doing the occasional ‘outfit of the day’? X

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          I tend to live either in navy or in black, with accessories, Dot. I don’t know about my having style, or perhaps it’s just that I’m lazy and keeping to these dark neutrals I can add colours in gloves and shoes (I love coloured gloves – I didn’t mention that with the red/black outfit today, I had dark plummy purple gloves and boots, a bit of a clash that I quite like.)
          Yes, doing an outfit of the day might be interesting, but I have few clothes and so it might just be “today it’s navy” or “today’s it’s black”. But I certainly won’t rule it out for the future.

  5. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    I am sure the charity shop really appreciated the magazines Margaret, I am having a bit of a declutter/sort out at the moment. The flowers look really pretty, we have snowdrops and bulbs coming up in the garden and it reminds me that Spring will be with us before we know it. Will you both be doing the jigsaw or is this one just for your husband?
    Have a good weekend.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Marlene, and yes, the charity shop liked the magazines – I said that there were plenty more where those came from, so I will take another year’s supply in next time. I don’t like parting with my magazines, but space is finite and as I have four magazines a month it doesn’t need much maths to work out that’s 48 a year, and I need room for those.
      As to the jigsaw, well husband does the lion’s share and I try occasionally to find a piece or two! I like this one, though as there are so many items in it, I avoid jigsaw puzzles with acres of sky, trees and grass.

  6. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    I think lisianthus are beautiful, so delicate and graceful. Purple are my favourite. I don’t like chrysanthemums.
    I do think it’s nice that the charity shop always looks so well dressed. I’ll bet it’s very successful.
    Lunch looks tasty.

    • Margaret Powling

      I only like chrysanthemums in autumn, and the ones I like are the large ones that we used to find in shops but seldom see now, great bit cup sized ones, and not the spray chrysanthemums which seem all wooden stem and lots of buds and lots of leaves. Yes, they last a long time, but I’d much rather buy a more beautiful flower that lasts for a shorter time, and lisianthus, as you say, are beautiful.
      I wish I had the nerve to take photos inside the charity shop, it really is more like a boutique than a place where people have taken their unwanted items.

      • Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

        Why don’t you ask in the charity shop if you can take pictures? I’m sure that if you told them that you write a “highly successful lifestyle blog” they’d be delighted by the potential new customers! For example, I might visit it when in Devon.

        Reading Lara’s comment regarding her surprise at the array of flowers we have available to buy in the UK, makes me wonder what is available elsewhere. I’ve never really thought about it but perhaps we are the exception rather than the norm.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          Yes, Eloise, I might just do that: ask permission to take some photos of the interior of the charity shop. They can always say No, and they might just say Yes.
          I had also never thought about the availability of flowers until I read Lara’s comments on how expensive cut flowers are in Australia, and the wonderful array of flowers we have available here.

  7. The windows of that charity shop are always beautifully arranged. I wonder if the person who does them was /is a professional for I’m sure it is an art form in itself. I wouldn’t know where to start ! I recently bought four men’s shirts for an older gentleman friend for $AU20 (a bit more than your £10) from a nearby op shop and they all looked brand new. Two were deemed unsuitable due to size and colour but I’d kept the receipt and were cheerfully exchanged for two others (also in near-perfect condition) and a pair of beige thick cotton (similar to denim in weight) men’s trousers for $AU5. Perhaps the original owners received them as gifts and didn’t like them. There were several nice long-sleeved shirts that would be suitable for nicely dressed office work that still had the original tags – we are such a wasteful society ! I’m glad that op shops exist for so many reasons – helping those on low incomes to afford the essentials (and treats), reusing / recycling rather than going to landfill, social interaction for staff and customers, and so on.

    Your lunch of sandwiches and hot chocolates looked very cosy and wintery. A good sandwich can be hard to come by – so often they’re sold as focaccia, Turkish bread, a million fillings or so large that they are cumbersome. As mentioned previously I am restricted to gluten free but occasionally splurge with a ‘proper’ sandwich or roll and oh my goodness is it wonderful 🙂 I think I get such a kick from the happy endorphins in my brain that it overrides any damage to my gut.

    Those flowers are very pretty. I continue to be intrigued by the different flowers you can buy so readily compared to us all the way over here in Australia. Your spot on the couch by the fire looks very cozy indeed, especially with a cup of tea and biscuit. I didn’t drink all of my first cup of tea this morning – my favourite of the day, prepared within minutes of waking – so am having another now. It’s about 11am, hot outside and I’ve been to the public pool and swum laps. My favourite form of exercise – excellent for my body and mind 🙂 I have the ceiling fan on high and am quite comfortable. My cat is nowhere in sight so I’m able to type this with both hands – unlike when she sprawls all over me and in front of the iPad so I am left typing with one finger which is very awkward. She also dislikes the heat so I’m sure we will both enjoy the air conditioning later today.

    Thank you for another lovely post xx

    • Margaret Powling

      Hello, Lara, and I hope your cat has shown up by now, perhaps she’s found somewhere nice and shady. We have an electric fan for hot weather, but rarely need to use it, but we did have some hot days last summer – if I recall, the temp reached 34C in parts of the country, but this is hot for the UK where the middle to high 20s is more than norm for a hot summer.
      The sandwiches were beef club sandwiches, which means there were two layers of beef and three layers of bread, cut into four quarters. You can choose to have white, brown or granary bread (we have granary) and the crusts on or removed (we have them removed, otherwise we find there’s just too much bread for us and we get indigestion.)
      The lisianthus were £4. I don’t know how much that translates to in Australian dollars, but I thought they were reasonable. I saw similar-sized bunches in Waitrose (a ‘posher’ supermarket than the Co-operative supermarket, where I bought them) and they were £5 a bunch. I would’ve bought another bunch there, they had white ones edged with deep pink, almost cerise, but they looked a little past their best and I didn’t want to spend £5 on flowers that mightn’t last until the next day.
      What wonderful gentlemen’s clothes you found in our charity shop, and were even able to return some when they weren’t quite right for the gentleman concerned. I love bargains! Indeed, I feel a trip to the Antiques’ Centre coming on again soon!

  8. I so agree with Lara – your sandwiches look delicious & I too dislike “cumbersome” ‘sandwiches’ made of focaccia, or some other big bread or roll, over filled and often having been sitting in a cabinet waiting to be heated in a microwave. I bought one of Jamie Cat Callan’s “how to be french” books a few years ago to read on a long plane flight. I must confess that I could not read it, as it annoyed me, and I gave it to the local op-shop.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Not all sandwiches in such establishments are like those we enjoy at our local hotel, many are huge and difficult to eat without the fillings falling all over the place! Like you, I dislike “cumbersome” sandwiches which are difficult to eat and on ‘fancy’ style breads, I just want plain granary sliced for a sandwich.
      I have been reading the Jamie Cat Callan book but I’ve yet to be convinced that this is my kind of book about France or Paris. It is the first book by J C Callan that I’ve read, perhaps the others are better, who knows? Obviously you weren’t too keen either, Ratnamurti, as the book you read was immediately passed to a local charity shop. Some of it is interesting, but so far it’s not one of my favourite reads about France or French (or Parisian) chic. But I reserve judgment until I’ve finished it.

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