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Out and About in Mizzle

Regular readers might recognise the building (photo above) which I have written about before.  It is the Headland Hotel in Torquay which was originally built as a holiday home for the Russian royal family, the Romanovs.  It is now a very nice hotel and, indeed, it is where our elder son and our daughter in law were married in 2016.

But yesterday instead of bright sunshine we had low clouds, mist and drizzle which we in the UK refer to as “mizzle”.  The view from the lounge/bar where we were sitting looked thus …

At first, both husband and I thought that the slightly darker line of blue/grey was the sea, with the horizon the top line, but no, we suddenly realized it was the protective glass at the end of the terrace!  On other occasions when we have been to the Headland Hotel for coffee, the view looked like this …

Here, you can see the sweep of Torbay across to Berry Head in the distance.

It was a truly miserable day yesterday, it was dark all day long as if,  as if it was about 4.20 in the afternoon all day long.  We had mushroom soup (home made) for lunch (I had some in the freezer, my painful back prevented me standing doing much cooking yesterday) and while mushroom soup doesn’t look appetizing, it being brown and looking more like mud, let me assure you it was very tasty …

We had it with granary bread and cream crackers spread with cream cheese.

Later, I suggested to husband that instead of being holed up indoors for a third day because of bad weather, we drive over to the Headland Hotel for a cup of tea, just for a break.  And that is what we did …

This hotel is part of a group of three hotels, one of which is the Palace which we visit reasonably regularly for coffee or a sandwich lunch.  But while the Palace has an indoor pool and gym, the Headland now has a spa, and if you look at the photo above, you will see, at a distant table close to the bi-fold doors, two women who are in white towelling robes.  They had just been in the spa and as they left I asked them if they had enjoyed themselves, and they said it had been lovely and they would certainly recommend it.

And so, when we left I asked for a leaflet on the spa and, you never know, I might try it myself one of these days – there are various options from just using the spa pools to having massages and other various treatments, such as manicures and pedicures, and even lunch with champagne.  In fact, while I’ve never shelled out on such things for myself, I could imagine that on a dull day like yesterday, it would be very nice to slip into a warm pool and/or have a massage, and someone attend to my nails on hands and feet.

Just a couple more photos of this lounge/bar area, above and below …

I took these on a much sunnier day, and I assure you it’s not always empty like this!  I think we just caught the hotel on one of its less busy moments. Also, this room is an extension to the main building; it certainly wasn’t like this in the days of the Romanovs, although other parts of this lovely hotel are still very much in the traditional style. Below are photos of the entrance area (with a portrait of HM the Queen and Prince Philip when they were much younger!) and the dining room …

Once we’d had our tea we returned home, but we went via the supermarket so that I could look for a magazine I particularly wanted.  Unfortunately, the latest edition wasn’t yet on sale and so I bought another one (and a bar of chocolate – it was a chocolate kind of day!)

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 glad you managed to get out, it’s all too easy to stay at home when the weather is miserable and then you end up miserable too – or is that just me? We had a lovely day yesterday, very cold and frosty to start (-4C when I looked first thing) but it was sunny with blue skies and I even mostly dried some washing. It did freeze to start with! Today it’s dull again and it’s just started raining.

    Still even if the skies are dull, we’re still one day nearer to Spring.

    I’m trying to be more Tigger than Eeyore but I’m not sure I’m even convincing myself.

    I hope your back eases up soon.

    • Margaret Powling

      I have to admit that husband needed a bit of persuading to go out. He was happy as Larry on a project in the garage but I think he could understand that a little trip out, even if only across to the other side of town for a cup of tea, was beneficial. And you are right, it’s another day closer to spring, my favourite season. Thank you for the good wishes re my back. It’s painful again this morning, but it will get better, I just need to give it time.

  2. I love the Romanov hotel, Margaret. Graciousness from another era. I remember you posting about it before, & I loved it then, too. Tonight is a red moon, supersize moon and red moon, all in one. But I can’t see it, because of the wind and clouds. Bother!!

    • Margaret Powling

      What a shame you can’t see the red-and-supersized moon, Ratmurti. This often happens. We have the meteor showers at various times of the year (shooting stars) but they rarely coincide with clear night skies so we can’t see them! Yes, the one-time holiday home of the Romanovs is a beautiful old building with such a lovely view – when you can see it!

    • mistake – red, blue and supersizes

  3. I am sorry to hear that you are still in pain, but delighted to read that you enjoyed your day. Spa pampering sessions can be a wonderful treat but, going out for a cup of tea, a new magazine and a big bar of chocolate are pretty good, too! Now I must go and check on whether we have enough mushrooms to make soup, it is far too long since I made a batch.

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, it was lovely to go out and even though we were out for under a couple of hours, Elaine, I felt refreshed … and the bonus was a new magazine and a bar of chocolate! Tea for two in this hotel, with four biscuits, is £4.80, so that’s just £2.40 per person and for that you can get at least two cups of tea and in pleasant surroundings, which I think is a very reasonably priced indulgence. It costs more for a carry-out carton of coffee, I think, from such places as Starbucks and Costa Coffee, not that I’ve ever bought a carton of coffee – the cartons we have are free in Waitrose (although, of course, we pay for this freebie in the cost of our groceries).
      I bought a punnet of mushrooms yesterday in Waitrose and will make soup with the contents even if, having had mushroom soup yesterday, I then freeze it. Today, it will be cauliflower cheese for lunch, I think. That is easy and quick to make – I can’t stand for long at the moment and my National Trust magazine has arrived so that will encourage me to sit down and read later on. Not that I need much encouragement!

  4. How nice to get out and about Margaret, even on such a dreary day weather wise, I can just about do one whole day indoors if the weather is bad but after that cabin fever sets in! Although with the animals needing regular exercise and tending to some days there is not choice but to brave the elements, seem to spend half my life in woolly hat and gloves.
    Hurrah for the last day of January, spring can’t come quick enough. Another one here who will be checking the skies tonight for the super, blue moon, let’s hope the cloud stays away.
    Please take care with your back.

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, it was lovely to get out, Elaine even, as I said to Alison, husband needed a bit of persuading! We’ve only been to the supermarket and back (via the charity shop and via the podiatrist) in weeks now, apart from that one visit to Topsham a few weeks ago. However, I can’t say I envy you having to attend to animals in all weathers! Yes, the last day of January – my goodness, it’s seemed a very long month.
      Yes, I shall take care and try and rest my back. I find that resting is the best way for me, others prefer exercise.
      I will have a look for the blue moon tonight, weather permitting. Right now it’s dark, grey skies and rain and rather cold. Ugh!

  5. It’s always good to have a change of scenery, and what beautiful scenery. When I used to be at home with young children and the weather was bad and I didn’t fancy swimming and we’d been to the library the day before I often used to take them out for tea and one of our favourite places to go was Denbies vineyard for the views, the piano playing and the life-size Paddington bear. I’ve been working from home all morning, but the sun has just come out and the sky is blue so I’m going to wrap up, pull on my Wellington boots (everywhere is so muddy) and walk up the hill to Polesden Lacey for some snowdrop appreciation and browsing in the secondhand bookshop. I am sorry to hear your back is still bad. I went to yoga last night and I must say I’m feeling my muscles today.

    • Margaret Powling

      A vineyard visit sounds lovely, Sarah, and one where someone is playing the piano and a life-size Paddington bear. Our ‘local’ vineyard is Sharpham and we have visited there, but not in recent times. As well as fine wines, Sharpham also produce excellent cheeses. Polesden Lacey for the gardens and a 2nd hand bookshop also sounds idyllic.
      I’ve been resting today – apart from cooking lunch – and feel all the better for it, thanks. Hope your yoga-stretched muscles will recover soon!

  6. The days of mizzle are horrible aren’t they, I often end up with a thick head on days like that, it is so nice to get out for a break isn’t it. We decided we needed one today and went to the cinema.

    • Margaret Powling

      The long days of mizzle are depressing, Marlene. I’d rather have real rain than this murkiness. Good for you, going to the cinema. I wonder what film you went to see? We’ve been in all day today and I’ve rested and my back and feel better for that.

      • simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

        It was Darkest Hour about Sir Winston Churchill,we visited Blenheim Palace several times last year which was the birthplace and family home of Sir Winston Churchill.

        • Margaret Powling

          I understand that this is an excellent film, Marlene. We’ve not been to Blenheim, but many years ago we went to Chartwell, his home in Kent.

  7. It seems that no one likes to be cooped in for days on end. I am certainly the same – I feel like the walls are closing in on me. A drive for a pot of tea in nice surrounds sounds lovely. I’m sorry to hear your back is painful whilst standing. It’s fortunate that you have meals in your freezer to shorten cooking / preparation time in the kitchen.

    We also missed viewing the blue – supersize moon the night before last due to thick cloud. We have had two days of lovely and much-needed rain. Temperatures have dropped to a comfortable low 20 degrees Celsius and it is divine. I felt like I had energy yesterday for the first time in months. I’m heading to our local outdoor 50m pool this morning to swim laps and am looking forward to swimming in the rain. One of my favourite things 🙂

    As you all countdown the days until spring I am equally desperate for our ghastly summer heatwave to leave us.

    • Margaret Powling

      Thank goodness the temperatures are now much lower for you, Lara, but even the low twenties is quite warm by our standards!
      After having a lazy day (again!) today, my back is much better. Rest seems the only way forward for it. But the little outing for a cup of tea at the Headland Hotel was very nice, we don’t need to spend a lot to enjoy ourselves, or go very far.
      Yes, we’re heading towards spring, my very favourite season – the trouble is, it seems far shorter than the other seasons.

  8. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    I love my home but I get a bit stir crazy if I can’t get out for a few days so I can identify with your desire to go out even just for a coffee. A coffee out is one of my favourite cheap treats.

    Hoping that your back is improving.

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, just going out for a cup of tea broke up what was a really miserable day, weather-wise, Eloise. It actually made returning home pleasurable, whereas if I’d stayed in a moment longer, I’d have felt as miserable as the weather!

  9. I’m sorry your back is still giving you grief. What a lovely place is that hotel! In my world, it’s always a chocolate kind of day!

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, hot chocolate would’ve been the drink had it been morning, Jeannine, but in the afternoon I always fancy a cup of tea. I love hot chocolate and when we go to our favourite hotel down the road, we tend to have hot chocolate in winter. My back is a little better this morning (it’s Friday as I speak, at 9.40am), thanks.

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