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Loose Connections

It was  suggested to me that when I next visit the charity shop, the one where I sometimes show photos of their lovely window displays, I also show photos of the interior.

And so yesterday, when I dropped off some magazines and paperback books, I asked if I might take photos for my blog and they were happy for me to do so.  They said to keep my eyes open, too, for their special window displays for St Valentine’s Day next month which they are already planning, so I must remember to go over to see those.

As I’ve mentioned before, the reflections in the glass make it very difficult to take even half-decent photos of the windows, but yesterday’s left hand window was lovely, with lots of black, white and red items (photo above).  The right hand window (below) showed some modern art.

Inside, on a mannequin, there was an unusual coat, I wasn’t sure whether I liked it or not. Perhaps suitable for someone very tall and slender.

The displays change all the time, according to what the generous public donate, but the staff always manage to make the various sections of the shop look interesting, especially the jewellery, shoes and the books/CDs sections.

Behind this bow-fronted 1920s display cabinet are two rows of black cocktail dresses, or what were referred to as cocktail dresses in my day, i.e. too grand for day wear but not grand enough to qualify as ball gowns.

And, high on a shelf, a lovely dinner service, complete with soup bowls and tureens.

You may wonder, if you have indeed noticed at all, the title of this post, Loose Connections.  This is because in the film Hampstead, which I watched on Wednesday afternoon (having bought the DVD), the role played by Diane Keaton is a woman who is a volunteer in a charity shop.  That is the connection … i.e. very loose indeed!

I have always loved Diane Keaton’s style:  shirts, jackets, berets, trousers, nothing fancy at all.  Of course, she is playing a role and the person she is portraying isn’t well-off and therefore her clothes might well be some she has purchased 2nd hand.  In one scene she fancies a new beret but then decides against it because of the cost, and then in another scene she is obviously throwing caution to the wind and is buying it.  Here, and I apologise for the quality of the photos as I took them off the TV, are some of her outfits. I just love the frilled white shirt and also her pulled-down beret.

We are not going out today, we went to Topsham on Wednesday, to the charity shop and the supermarket yesterday, and so today we will be at home doing housekeeping.  We have had a good, rather late breakfast …

Lychees & prunes for starters (my ‘black-and-white’ starter), followed by scrambled eggs on toast, and then a slice of toast with marmalade (just behind my mug of tea – I rarely use mugs, but I bought these as they ‘go’ with the Burleigh blue and white pottery … is one of the cut glass Victorian salts I bought in the Antiques’ Centre in Topsham, but filled not with salt but with marmalade. It’s nice to adapt things to one’s own requirements.)

Until next time.

Stop Press:

Flowers on Friday.  Just thought you might like to see the spray carnations which, this week, husband chose rather than my more usual roses or alstromeria.  They are too slight – but still pretty – for the sitting room, so they’ve ended up gracing the kitchen table.

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. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    What a lovely charity shop, very neat and tidy, I love the cabinet.
    I thought that was pickled onions in the dish before I read what it was. I see you have one of your new salts out, very nice, and I do rather like the jug, you have some very beautiful treasures.
    Have a lovely weekend.

    • Margaret Powling

      I like the jug, too, Marlene. I have two which are similar but not the same, and if in the summer I find bunches of sweet Williams that are inexpensive, I tend to buy sufficient for both jugs and have them as a pair, sweet Williams look lovely in these jugs. I do think you have to pair flowers with containers, the container can make or break an arrangement.
      Oh, funny … pickled onions for breakfast! But then again, why not it that’s what you fancy for breakfast! But lychees and prunes do make a very nice starter.

  2. Nice breakfast. The Charity shop looks very loved and cared for. I am moving soon so have already taken up bags of lovely clothes to our newish hospice shop, and, as I shall be sharing a house with 2 other people, I need to further minimise my belongings, so…. off to pack more.

    • Margaret Powling

      I do hope your move goes well, Ratnamurti, but sad you that again you have to minimise your possessions. But I know you will keep those most precious to you, and I hope you will be very happy, sharing with two others.

  3. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    I felt sure the charity shop wouldn’t mind you taking photos. After all, it’s free publicity (even if it IS unlikely that some of your followers would jump on a plane just to visit it) and who wouldn’t want to show off their display skills. It really is well ordered and I’ll bet it doesn’t have that musty smell that I have sometimes encountered in such shops. I occasionally look for odds and ends of glassware.
    Diane Keaton is what I would call classically stylish. Sometimes a flair for putting clothes together can look great on the person but feel wrong when tried on oneself. I generally like Helen Mirren’s style. I have a friend who always looks amazing whatever she is wearing. I think, ‘Oh, I’ll try that look’ but it often doesn’t work. I think that has a lot to do with her being tall and slim and me being neither!
    Glad you have already found a use for one of the salts.

    • Margaret Powling

      You were right, Eloise; I mentioned my blog in the shop and they were only too happy for me to take photos! I said I had readers not only in this country but in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and America and that those who had seen their lovely window displays said if they came to the UK or even if they lived here and spent a holiday in Torbay, they would love to visit the shop. It is a lovely shop, so clean and tidy, and always well styled.
      Yes, I wish I could be stylish like Diane Keaton or Helen Mirren, but I’m short and dumpy! I need to lose a stone or two and wear heels, but I simply can’t wear heels now because of arthritis, and one can seldom look elegant in ballerina flats unless about five foot ten. Five foot two in flats or brogues and, sadly, one can begin to look a little like a chap if one isn’t careful, especially if like me you have short, silver-grey hair, too!

  4. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    Haha, you looked very stylish when we met! We each have to do the best with what we have and create a style of our own based on what we feel ‘right’ in.

    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you, kindly, for that lovely remark, Eloise. Yes, we have to create our own style and I’m still trying to do that!

  5. Thank you for showing the inside of the Charity shop – what a great place. Your blue and white dishes along with those new cut glass pieces you just purchased are lovely.

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, this is a great charity shop, Jeannine, and everything is so beautifully displayed. I have found a few things in there, a lovely silk Jaeger scarf and a Jane Shilton leather bag, both mint condition. I love my new glass salts, I lost no time in using one of them!

  6. The charity shop has such an abundance of beautiful things ! I agree that coat is stunning and I hope it finds the right owner to wear it with panache. It would look awful on me but on someone tall, leggy and with attitude it would look great. I love how they have styled it with the beads, belt and boots.

    Diane Keaton’s outfits are gorgeous. Very stylish. You did well to capture each of them so well. I wouldn’t have known you had taken them from the tv screen. Those outfits could be worn by women of any age, they are so stylish. I’m sure if I left my hair without its regular six weekly colour and pulled a beret down low I’d look more like a bag lady ha ha.

    Your breakfast looks delicious. Your table is always beautifully laid 🙂

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, I imagine it on someone, as you suggest, tall and leggy with attitude! Yes, I took them from the TV screen, those pix of Diane Keaton … if I see an outfit I like, or a house I like, I take a snapshot of it so that I can look at it for longer on my computer screen. But yes, Ms Keaton can get away with long hair and a pulled-down beret; if I tried it, I, too, would look like a bag lady!
      I don’t always do a ‘full’ breakfast, but felt like making it a proper meal yesterday. Some days it’s just a simple bowl of cereal of porridge, sometimes even just a piece of fruit or a brioche warmed in the oven.

  7. You have a reader now from India as well:) and if ever I was to make a trip to South Devon, I would definitely try and visit all or at least some of the places you mention regularly in your blog.

    • Margaret Powling

      I think it’s wonderful, Kavitha, that readers from all over the world are reading and, hopefully, enjoying my blog which often focuses on places that we visit, even humble places such as our favourite charity shop, and now I have you as a reader in India. I have never visited your country but my father was a regular serviceman in the Royal Air Force and was stationed in India for four years before World War Two when flying was in its infancy and he always spoke of fondness for your country (this, of course, was in the days long before partition.)
      I think I should point out that a lot of charity shops now look really lovely – there’s one in Totnes which supports Devon Air Ambulance and is really attractive, too. But the one in Wellswood, Torquay, is my favourite – also we’re able to park right outside in an unloading bay so that when we take along a pile of books or magazines (recently I voluntarily parted with some magazines for about only the second time in my life!) and not have to carry them a great distance. They also have a furniture outlet in another part of the town and that is where we found the mirror we have in our bedroom (my husband painted its frame to match the dressing chest.)

      • How nice to know about your India connection:)
        You may be speaking about your everyday life but you do it in a special way which is what makes your blog so interesting. And your pictures are always very attractive.

        • Margaret Powling

          My Dad joined the Royal Air Force as a very young man and was posted to India where he spent four years mainly on the North West Frontier (and some time in Karachi when that was in India.) Many of his photographs which he took were lost in various house moves, but I do have an album with some of them, a lot of them taken from aircraft which, in those days, were mainly bi-planes! They look like they were held together with string, no wonder aircraft jargon in those days referred to them as “kites”, for they were little more than kites with engines. But he always spoke very fondly of his time in India. Of course, this was the time of the Raj and I dare say he spent the time which wasn’t connected with flying in the confines of the RAF camp. I wish I’d asked him more about his time there, but as a child, you just don’t question your parents, do you? I just accepted the fact that he’d spent four years in India before he married my mother. I still have a pair of Indian shoes that he brought home for her … she had tiny feet and I used them as bedroom slippers when I was a child.
          Thank you for your kind remarks retarding how I speak about my everyday life and my photos. I have always loved photography, but there again, it must run in the family – my uncle was a professional photographer and my father also loved (and was good at) taking photographs and I’m speaking about the days when cameras were anything but automatic!

  8. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    Like you, Margaret, I do so wish that I had taken the time to ask my parents about their time in the services. I just wasn’t interested enough and had no idea that many years later I would be writing about their experiences in my book. What a wasted opportunity.

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, we live to regret not asking questions when we were younger, don’t we. I don’t know anything about my father’s parents, only that his father went to America and his wife (my father’s mother) was meant to join him there with the two children, my father and his sister, but his mother never went, but for whatever reason I have no idea. I do know more about my father’s wartime service though, as he was on Bomber Command and then on Training Command.

  9. This is a lovely post Margaret, much enjoyed by this reader in Texas USA.
    You made me yearn for a visit to your charity shop, they must receive most generous donations I would say, everything looks in such good condition.
    Are the prices reasonable?
    I so agree with the comments regretting not asking older family members about their life experiences. Looking back now, my paternal grandma had such stories to tell about life at the turn of the century and both wars in London. As a child I was not interested and avoided such conversations I am sorry to say. Now, I so wish I had paid attention.
    I wonder what the younger generation will find interesting about our early lives. I must say my grandchildren have no interest in knowing about my childhood.
    Best wishes to you and your readers.
    Pam in TX.

    • Margaret Powling

      I must check out the prices in the charity shop, Pam. Husband was champing at the bit to leave, and he was off to the car as soon as I had deposited the magazines, etc, with the shop. I think he was afraid I’d be buying yet more things for the house! But next time I will check out the prices. I’m sure they will be reasonable as these shops have to be competitive just as any other commercial establishments.
      Yes, I think most of us regret not asking more questions of our elders when we were young, but children simply don’t do this, do they? Again, thank you for your good wishes, Pam. It’s lovely to have readers in all corners of the world with whom to share ideas and experiences.

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