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Hot Soup for a Cold Day

I confess that the photo above, showing homemade vegetable soup and homemade cheese & chive scones is from a few years ago as we’ve not yet eaten the vegetable soup I made today – that is for our supper this evening.  Furthermore, I’ve not made any scones but we will have granary bread.

Vegetable soup is the easiest to make, but it’s the soup which – well, by this method – takes the longest to cook.  This soup needs long, slow cooking, the longer the better, at least two if not three hours on a low heat.

I start with the largest saucepan I have and fill it to around half way with boiling water.  I then investigate what vegetables I have in the fridge but, as I’ve said before, while you can ‘use up’ veggies which are past their best, you will have a much better soup from fresh veggies.  Common sense, really, although as I’ve also said before there is no such thing as common sense otherwise it would be common to all, when clearly it’s not!

I then chopped up two large onions and added them to the water. There is no saute-ing in this soup, no oil is required, so it’s extra-healthy.  I then peeled and chopped  what I had in the fridge:

three sticks of celery (plus the celery leaf tops)

two trimmed leeks (sliced, not chopped)

2 large carrots

2 small white turnips

1 medium parsnip

1 courgette (zucchini)

1 de-seeded red pepper

1/4 of a small Savoy cabbage (finely shredded)

After adding all these to the water, I then added 5 vegetable Oxo cubes (crumbled), salt and pepper to taste, about a heaped teaspoon dried Oregano, and a dessert spoon or thereabouts of tomato puree. I allowed this to simmer for a couple of hours and then added a handful of Basmati wholemeal rice and a drained and rinsed can of haricot beans. I then allowed it to simmer for a further hour.  It is now switched off but the residual heat in this soup will allow the vegetable to continue to soften.  This will make an excellent supper, a meal in itself, with granary bread and perhaps some grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese on top.  There will be sufficient here for three meals for the two of us, I will freeze what we don’t eat this evening.

What is also lovely about vegetable soup is its bright colour, it’s cheering to see.

As well as soup, we have a good selection of fruit at the moment and although I keep most fruit in the fridge until the day before we think we will require it, some fruit is on the kitchen table, it’s just such a cheerful sight.


Indeed, at this time of the year we need all the colour we can get, I think (today has been a very dull, rainy, cold day.)  At last, the tulips I bought last Friday have opened up and look amazing.  One flower, though, keeled over. Perhaps there was an airlock in the stem and I saw this too late to prick the stem close to the flower with a pin, so I’m afraid that one was removed.

Another hint of lovely summer salads to come is a new pot of fresh Basil on the windowsill.  I  love both the scent and the taste of Basil, and although I do manage to keep a plant for a few weeks, there comes a time, especially in winter, when the flavour and scent isn’t as strong as when it was new, and so a replacement plant is required (these pots of Basil aren’t actually rooted plants although they might look like they are, so it’s a miracle that, even with watering, they last a month or more.  I take if off the windowsill at night so it doesn’t get cold.

I think herbs such as Basil are as attractive as house plants and, what is more, you can eat them!  In other pot I have parsley, but that now needs replacing – I should’ve bought one with the Basil yesterday.

I had a rather nice surprise yesterday. A dear friend, a person I’ve known since school days, sent me a book.  It’s lovely to receive a present, isn’t it, when it’s not a birthday or Christmas?

I have read one of Tracy Chevalier’s books, but not this one.  I hope I shall enjoy it even though the subject matter is an uncomfortable one:  the slave trade and how some people did their best to rescue slaves in the south of America so that they could escape to the northern states and even beyond to Canada.

One of the things I enjoy (particularly at this time of the year when I sometimes feel almost too tired to give a book – novel or non-fiction – my full attention) is to arm myself (literally, sometimes) with a pile of my magazines, and leaf through them, enjoying them all over again.  If I go back a few years they almost seem like new magazines.  I did this yesterday and spent a rather nice time looking through several copies of The English Home for 2016 and 2017.

And what could be nicer than looking through a pile of magazines on a cold winter’s afternoon, cosy and warm by the fireside, and with a bar of delicious chocolate.  I have been sampling various new flavours by Green  & Black recently, but the last one with raspberry really wasn’t up to snuff, and so I’ve returned to one of my favourite chocolate producers, Lindt, and one of the flavours which goes so well with chocolate … orange.

I only have two squares a day, this bar should last the best part of a week, but oh, such lovely chocolate.  It really is  worth spending a bit extra on quality chocolate; you really don’t need much of it to enjoy an intense, rich, chocolate flavour.  My vote, as with most things, goes for quality over quantity.

And yesterday evening was the conclusion of the ITV 6-part drama, Girlfriends. It was  a totally ridiculous story, but with actors of the quality of Miranda Richardson, Zoe Wanamaker, and Phyllis Logan (housekeeper, Mrs Hughes of Downton Abbey) it was extremely watchable; it kept us on the edge of our seats (metaphorically speaking, of course!) wondering what dreadful thing was going to happen next and how the three friends would wriggle out of yet another awkward situation which, thus far, had involved:  a criminal son who has been ‘tagged’ and under curfew, an elderly mother with dementia, a lover who suffers a heart attack, a son who is gay but has two children with two different mothers and has set up a menage a quatre with the two women, the children and his boyfriend, and if all that wasn’t sufficient to keep you wondering what was going to happen next, one of the friends murders her husband by pushing him overboard while on a cruise holiday!  As I say, totally bonkers, but oh, so very entertaining!

Now, to lay the table for supper and warm up the soup,

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. What a coincidence today as I’m making homemade soup and I’m going to serve it with your wonderful cheese scones from the recipe you shared awhile back. I made them a couple of weeks ago and they were excellent! So, that’s what on the menu tonight here at my home. I don’t know if you realize how you inspire so many of us readers with your delicious recipes, beautiful fresh flowers and lovely dishes! I am a dish addict and although I have way too many, I always love to add to my collection. How nice to receive such a lovely book from your friend. This is a very sad but interesting part of US history. Last year, I visited Plantation Alley in Louisiana for the first time. Being from the west, the southern states are so different from where I live. It was not only beautiful but so historical. If you wish to read about my adventure, you can access it here: http://lillymycat.blogspot.com/2017/05/a-glimpse-into-plantation-alley-in.html (sorry for the link but I don’t know how else to tell you…) I hope you are feeling better and that you continue to rest, don’t work too hard and enjoy your lovely home. Pat xx

    • Margaret Powling

      First of all, thank you so much for that link, Pat. I will most certainly look at that. Second, thank you for your good wishes, I am feeling much better now and was able to cook – not that making veggie soup is really cooking but it necessitated standing and chopping veggies – today, and also this morning a friend, an old colleague of my husband’s, called for coffee. I think in American you refer to such people as coworkers (which I always want to pronounce cow-orkers, as co-workers would have a hyphen in our language, as in co-operative and not cooperative, as that sounds like coop-erative!)
      I’m delighted that you have enjoyed baking and eating the cheese scones, it’s a nice easy recipe. I don’t go in for faffy food and I’ve never made a cup cake in my life (not those with all that sickly, swirly cream stuff on the top, anyway – little fairy cakes, as we used to call them, yes, but not modern cup cakes) but I like good ingredients and plain, good food.
      I have just been watching a series (every evening for half an hour for four weeks) on TV with our ex-politician but now TV presenter of railway travel shows, Michael Portillo, about the American railroads and he’s been touring part of the area around San Francisco this week, and oh, it is so interesting and the scenery is breathtaking.
      I am humbled that you say I inspire so many readers, and thank you for that; it’s now a lot for me to live up to, Pat!

  2. Thank you for the soup recipe Margaret, much appreciated.
    I have not heard of pricking a flower stem with a pin, what does that do exactly?
    I am glad that you are filling your home with color and nice things, lifts the spirits during these dismal days.
    Even here in TX it is cold and gray, we have had some extremely cold weather, I wonder how the birds and animals survive, certainly we are all ready for Spring.
    I hope you are feeling better today and continue to be back to full health.
    Best wishes,
    Pam in Texas.x

    • Margaret Powling

      I believe that pricking the stalk of a flower releases an air lock which is preventing the water from rising, and keeping the flower fresh. Whether this works, I do not know, I’ve never actually tried it. But this is what I’ve read in several articles over the years.
      Thank you for your good wishes, diverticulitis will go when it wants to, I’ve learned. You think you are fine, and then it recurs, but it will go eventually.

  3. What lovely tulips! I bought daffodils again today and enjoy seeing the flowers gradually emerging. I also bought a pink Kalanchoe plant which looks pretty in a cream pot. My sentiments exactly, Margaret , regarding “Girlfriends”- so many twists and turns but very entertaining! I must say I prefer simply iced “fairy cakes” rather than a lot of rich butter cream piled on top of cup cakes. I have just bought a couple of home magazines as I had to get rid of my collection for when we moved, and I will enjoy re-reading them later on when they can seem like new. You can’t beat home-made soup on a cold day and so good for you -worth all the chopping of the veggies.

    • Margaret Powling

      I’ve not bought Klanchoe plants but I have seen them in the florists and supermarkets and they are really pretty. I’m glad you also enjoyed the drama serial, Girlfriends. As you say, so many twists and turns but very entertaining. Those magazines I showed were just the tip of a very large iceberg of collections of magazines dating back to the early 1980s. Hundreds and hundreds of them. But I do love to get out a pile of old ones and read them from time to time, and over such a long period you can see how styles have changed.

  4. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    Exactly my thoughts on Girlfriends. Ridiculous but very entertaining. I think Mirands Richardson looks fabulous dressed up, but how wonderful to see her unmade up in her pjs too. She looked very ‘normal’. Its hard to imagine Phyllis Logan in Downton Abbey after seeing her character in Girlfriends. So different – the mark of a good actor.

    Vegetable soup is a great way of using up bits and pieces, but also I think, worthy of buying the ingredients specially. I agree, it’s nice to see its bright colour. A lot of my soups are pale. I hadn’t thought about that before. I love a pot of basil on the windowsill and use lots of it, but I hadn’t realised that it wasn’t rooted.

    Mmmmm, intense orange chocolate! Wonderful.

    • Margaret Powling

      So glad you enjoyed Girlfriends, too! I read in the paper that it was doubtful that there would be a second series as it was so bad (well, not the words in the paper but this was the gist of it.) Yes, seeing Miranda Richardson all dressed up and hen in her pjs was great. I first saw Phyllis Logan in Lovejoy where she was his friend, Lady Jane Felsham, living in a wonderful Georgian house. Of course, she was much younger than, but weren’t we all!
      No, I’m pretty sure the pots of Basil one buys in the supermarkets aren’t rooted, so that you need to return and buy more pots in due course. But sometimes you are lucky, especially in summer, for a pot to take root, I think. I’ve had summer pots that have lasted and lasted, but in winter, when it’s cold, even in a centrally heated house (for they don’t get sunlight which they crave as much as us!) they tend to die off after two or three weeks.

  5. I agree with Pat’s comments about the yummiest of homemade cheese scones. Alas it’s still to ridiculously hot here to even contemplating using the oven. The humidity has returned – I was suspicious that our several days of comfortable conditions wouldn’t last. Fortunately our Italian style meatballs in tomato sauce with spaghetti last night was delicious and there is more than enough for us to enjoy tonight. With a fresh salad it will be a lovely, easy meal. No cooking required 🙂

    Your tulips are stunning. The bands of colours are beautiful.

    I don’t think I’ve ever had orange chocolate. I’m not fussed on chocolate although I do like Lindt. I don’t like chocolate .cakes, brownies, biscuits, etc. Unfortunately cafes will offer those things for their gluten-free options and I have no idea why. Just as well, probably, as I’m never tempted. I crave chocolate once in a blue moon and when I do, I go for quality over quantity. Husband would hoover up whatever I bought ha ha. The little Lindt balls which are wrapped in either red, gold, blue or coffee (?) colour and come in gift boxes of various sizes are very nice when they’ve been kept in the fridge. In my case is best not to bring things like that into the house as I’m not good at resisting temptation !

    • Margaret Powling

      Oh dear, and I thought you were now having some less-hot weather, Lara! But you have lovely meatballs which won’t require having the oven on to re-heat.
      Oh, I love chocolate! I love dark chocolate, chocolate caramels, and in a box of chocolates I love the ones with coffee in them. I’m not too fussed, though, about chocolate cake, but I do make one occasionally as the family enjoys it, and I’ve never made brownies as I’m not keen on those.
      The tulips are beautiful, but sadly they only last about a week if we’re lucky, and that’s with careful tending, replenishing their water and keeping them out of strong sunlight (if we have any!)

    • Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

      Whilst I’m not generally keen on extremely warm weather, Lara, I’d happily settle for about of yours right now. It is so cold here and the wind is biting!

      • Margaret Powling

        Husband and I have a very narrow window of ‘weather’. We like the kind of weather that is neither hot nor cold, when we can be outside with just a T-shirt on and not feel chilled but also don’t feel we have to rush into the shade, either, as the sun is burning us! There are actually very few days when the temperature is like that, but when they come, we absolutely love them. No wind, lovely light but not too bright, not cold, not hot. Ahhh!

  6. The soup sounds delicious. I, of course, shall steal the recipe….. I have home made soup nearly every day except in the heat of summer. I am not a chocolate lover but I do succumb from time to time, and always live to regret it. It just is too rich for me, and, along with ice-cream, makes me very queasy.

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, Ratnamurti, the soup is delicious and I portioned it out yesterday evening, and there are two boxes for the freezer, each containing sufficient for a meal for two of us, and a bowlful for later today or tomorrow which I will keep in the fridge. So that large panful of soup will have made us four meals for two people. With a sprinkling of cheese on top, and/or crotons and maybe some savoury scones, lovely, nourishing meals at very little cost.
      Oh, as I’ve said to Lara, I love chocolate, but I don’t want it in vast quantities, I just like a small piece of good quality dark chocolate, perhaps two little squares each day, but if I don’t have any, I don’t mind.

  7. Hi Margaret. As usual, your post was a delight to read. You have inspired me to start a blog! I so enjoy reading about your books, your outings, your meals, your charity shop finds, your little treats and your everyday comings and goings that I am compelled to record my own, as a diary of sorts and for anyone else who may find anything of interest. That book looks really good. I have added it to my ‘Goodreads’ app as a ‘want to read’. I find the app very handy for keeping track of recommendations, although the list is becoming a bit out of control! Susan

    • Margaret Powling

      That is very kind of you to say that, Susan, that my post was a delight to read. I was inspired to start my own blog by Fiona Ferris’s blog, How to be Chic, and several other readers of her blog also suggested it, perhaps because I used to write such long comments! Yes, a blog is very much like a diary, or even a correspondence magazine – I used to belong to a correspondence magazine in the 1970s/1980s where a folder of letters was sent around a group of people (all in different parts of the UK) and then once the last person on the list had read the letter, a new round of letters would be sent around. Difficult to describe to anyone who has belonged to such a ‘magazine’ but great fun, and we used to reply to the letters in the next ‘edition’, much like comments on blog posts today. Maybe you will now start your own blog; it’s fun to do.
      I must be a dinosaur as I have a very old mobile, not a smart phone so no apps for me. One day I will replace it, but not while it’s still working.
      It’s very cold here in Torbay this morning; husband has just been for the paper and he said he saw a few snow flurries! My goodness, it has to be cold to have snow here, we’ve not had any since 2010 and then it disappeared overnight.

      • Thanks Margaret! I am three posts into my new blog!

        I also adore Fiona’s blog and books.

        Being the middle of summer here in Perth, it’s hard to relate to your weather, although it’s not too hot right now here. I’m from England originally so I do recall the chillier climate.

        Stay warm!

        • Margaret Powling

          Congratulations on starting your own blog, Susan, and I will certainly be reading that in due course.
          Yes, it’s a very chilly winter here, Susan. But we are heading towards spring now, surely this cold weather can’t last much longer …

  8. That delicious soup certainly looks the ticket for a winter’s day Margaret, must admit that I have never made a batch that way, as in adding the veggies to boiling water but will certainly try now, as you say with no oil to fry the onion it’s a good low fat option. Although did have a titter over the particular brand of turnips, do they sell those in Waitrose then 😄
    It’s lovely to receive a surprise in the post isn’t it, I had a handwritten card on Tuesday and even though the subject was sad ( I recently lost my old dog ) it was so nice to receive something that wasn’t computer generated.
    We have also been watching Girlfriends which have to admit seemed to get more ludicrous the longer it went on but was just about saved by the good acting of the three main characters. From someone heading towards her mid fifties it was also refreshing to see what some would consider older ladies who haven’t resorted to ludicrous amounts of plastic surgery? No shiny foreheads or plumped up lips, just faces who have smiled and laughed their way through life, good to see.
    Grey and wet today in East Anglia, a day to snuggle up with a good book I think, perhaps with a square or two of good chocolate…

    • Margaret Powling

      Screamed with laughter when I re-read the description of the WHITE turnips, Elaine! How could that have slipped past me? I really laughed out loud. But, as they’ve been in the fridge for a couple of weeks, I think the original description is possibly accurate.
      Yes, it’s lovely to see actors (female – I wouldn’t be PC if I called them actresses now, would I?) look so much better without face lifts and Botox.
      I was sorry to learn about your old dog, such a sad time for you right now.
      Cold here, we’ve actually had a snow flurry which is almost unheard of in Torbay, although of course, like the rest of the UK, the 1963 winter was another matter – the sea froze along the shoreline. That was what you’d call cold.

      • Thought that would amuse you Margaret, it certainly did me!
        Thank you for saying about my dog, she was elderly for a Labrador and slipped away in her sleep so best possible way but oh how I miss her, to my mind it’s the only downside to having animals, how relatively short the time we have with them is.
        Gosh, didn’t know that about the 1963 winter, this one has seemed particularly long and cold to me, but we should count ourselves lucky in comparison then.

        • Margaret Powling

          It’s funny that no one else has mentioned it, Elaine, or perhaps people read what they want to read and not what is there? I laughed, I really did. But what a typo and actually a Freudian slip because, as I say, some veg were past their best!
          Oh, that’s wonderful, that you didn’t have to take your dear old dog to be put to sleep.
          My goodness, you missed a rare treat in the winter of 1963 … joking of course. Apart from the winter of 1947, which is supposed to be the coldest in living memory (my husband can remember it, he was 12 years old in 1947) and there was a fuel shortage, too, and the country was almost on it’s knees, virtually bankrupted by the war, 1963 was, if not the coldest, then the longest possible spell of snow, I think. And, in those days, both in 1947 and 1963 (when I was 19) central heating wasn’t the norm as it is today, we had coal fires supplemented by Valour paraffin heaters. The snow arrived before New Year and was still hanging around in pockets in May. Today we just turn up the heating and can even be in T-shirts in our homes if that is what we want. Not so in 1963, no double glazing, no central heating, no lined curtains. It really was bitterly cold, not only out of doors, but indoors, too!

  9. We arrived home yesterday evening after our night away at the Pig and I was so pleased I’d dealt with my last two Uchiki Kuri squashes on Tuesday and turned them into a warming soup with harissa and red lentils. After a delicious dinner and breakfast at the Pig it was good to return home to homemade soup and the satisfaction of using up all 36 homegrown squashes! I should say these small red squashes are about the size of a Galia melon hence the two squash soup. I adore the Lindt orange and almond chocolate too although at the moment we are in the middle of a passion for M&S dark chocolate mountain bar. It has to be chopped on a board with a knife so impossible to sneak a piece. We had a lovely time at the Pig and at Mottisfont (we saw masses of snowdrops and I was so not concentrating on my footing in rather muddy conditions I slipped elegantly onto my bottom) and Winchester (we climbed up and down an extremely muddy St Catherine’s Hill – no falling over this time!) I may find time to pen a post. I’ve never watched Downton Abbey – at least I watched some of a repeat once and thought it was dire, however I will never forget Sunday evenings watching the romantic chemistry between Lovejoy and Lady Jane (Phyllis Logan). My husband’s cousin was once engaged to Dame Maggie (she eventually married the actor Robert Stephens) and our cousin married Cherry Morris one of our finest Shakespearean actors. Cherry’s wonderful versatility was shown to great effect in one of her final roles as a grandmother in “Footballers’ Wives”. No, I’ve never watched it either, but I understand she was marvellous and had a ball. Thank you for the posts Margaret, I love how they stimulate conversations between your readers.

    • Margaret Powling

      The stay at the Pig sounded lovely, Sarah. We’ve not yet been to the Pig at Combe, and in a way I feel it might spoil the lovely memories of our stays there on many occasions when our friends owned this hotel – from what I’ve seen (and please don’t get me wrong; it’s no doubt lovely now in it’s own way and style) it looks very different with, in the Great Hall (the building is a Grade 1 Listed Elizabethan Manor house), a bar. Yes, a bar. But we can’t live in the past. Buildings, if they are to be preserved, have to earn their keep and if this means, in its current role, that the Great Hall benefits by having a bar, then so be it.
      I’ve only made butternut squash soup and I’ve never used harissa, but your soup does sound delicious! Nor have I heard of M&S chocolate mountain bar, but I might have a look for that if/when we next visit M&S (we only go about one a year!)
      Downton wasn’t bad, Sarah. I think we have to bear in mind it’s a drama and not a piece of social history, so there were things which were incorrect (I can’t think of them now, but I know there were), and the costumes were lovely. But as we know, a wonderful setting and gorgeous costumes don’t always a great drama make. On the other hand, I’ve never watched Call the Midwife, I just didn’t fancy it at all. Maybe had I watched it I might’ve enjoyed it.
      Oh, to have visited Mottisfont. We really must Make An Effort to visit there this year, particularly when the roses are in bloom.

  10. I read this post just after making leek and potato soup for lunch, it smells lovely but I fear it will be smelling lovely for the rest of the day! I may have to light a candle later.

    I was sorry to read the other day about your diverticulitis. My husband suffers with this, and suffers really is the right word. It makes life really miserable sometimes and there seems to be no direct link to what he eats so it makes it difficult to ease it.

    I remember 1963. I always say that’s why I’m so afraid of snow and ice and falling down. I was 10 years old at the time and it made such an impression on me. All those weeks of snow and ice and the pavements getting ever deeper with solid ice. Horrid. We had quite a snowstorm this morning but luckily it landed as wet snow and it’s all gone now, with some sun but a bitter wind.

    I do love chocolate but I cannot control myself around it. The only way I can control myself is by not buying it. I don’t mean I never eat it but I have to be very firm about not letting it in the house. My husband can eat a square or two at a time, but luckily he likes different chocolate to me so I don’t steal it 😉

    I need to get some more flowers, my last few daffodils went out this morning.

    Sorry to read about your old dog Elaine. My daughter’s guinea pig died yesterday, he would have been 10 years old next month so very much part of her family. He didn’t like people stroking him but he would always stand still for her 13 month old daughter to stroke him and she was so gentle with him. She (the daughter) walked past where his run was yesterday and held her arms out and said “gone”. So sad 🙁

    • Margaret Powling

      Oh, we love leek and potato soup, Alison. At least the smell pervading the house isn’t as bad as cauliflower soup or cauliflower cheese!
      I’m sorry to hear your husband also has diverticulitis. As you say, there seems no direct link to what he or I eat, and to add insult to injury, I had my gall bladder removed four years ago this month and often – although this doesn’t happen every time – after I’ve had a meal, about half an hour to an hour later, I need the loo. Sorry to be so graphic, but that’s what happens. But I can’t find a link to any particular food so now I try and avoid eating a meal out unless we are going home straight away afterwards, just in case!
      Yes, the 1963 winter was dire, with all the snow and ice. My husband-to-be was off work with a bad back which meant he couldn’t work but he could walk, and so he walked in the snow from his home in an outlying village near Newton Abbot to my home in Paignton (my parents had a hotel on the sea front at that time) and he stayed for a whole month! Of course, in those days he didn’t share my room, that would’ve bene unthinkable in 1963!
      I can control myself around dark chocolate but not if a box of Quality Street or something really sweet enters the house, such as Turkish Delight! But we only have those at Christmas.
      Sorry also, in your message to Elaine, to hear of your daughter’s guinea pig. These little creatures really do become much-loved members of our families and it’s so sad when they die.

    • Thank you Alison, it’s very kind of you to say, likewise on the family’s guinea pig but have to say what a good age it lived to. Our fur babies are certainly loved aren’t they.

      • Margaret Powling

        That is a lovely message for Alison, thank you, Elaine.

      • We tend to have long lived pets in our family – my cat is 19 – it should make it easier to think they’ve had a good life but it still hurts.

        • Margaret Powling

          Isn’t that lovely, that your pets usually live to a ripe old age. We were in our car today, parked, drinking our Waitrose ‘free’ coffee, when a couple with what looked an elderly dog came past. As it was raining and cold, doggy had a nice coat on to keep his back warm, but he was limping slightly, and looked an elderly dog, so I said to husband, “I wonder whether animals, when they meet up, chat about their ailments like we elderly humans do? As in, ‘Went to the vet’s last week …’?” Another of my flights of fancy! By the way, many, many years ago, we had to have our little hamster put to sleep. I cried buckets. Over a tiny little rodent! Had that been a rat in the house, I’d have screamed and phoned pest control!

  11. Hi again, Margaret. I just wanted to comment that I am enjoying looking at Pat, Eloise and Ratnamurti’s blogs but am for some reason unable to comment on them.

    • Margaret Powling

      Oh, that’s strange, Susan. I don’t know how I can help? Maybe someone else can offer help? I’m hopeless where technology is concerned. Pat, Eloise, Ratnamurti … any ideas how Susan might be able to comment?

  12. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    Definitely soup weather Margaret, I have been cold all day, I know many have snow, but not here.
    I agree I love seeing fruit out, I filled up the fruit bowl, I have had a craving for fruit the last few days especially oranges. I grow herbs outside but I do love a pot of basil indoors, basil is actually my favourite herb.
    Have a lovely weekend.

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, soup weather, Marlene. We even had a slight snow flurry this morning but it was only for a few minutes, almost like blossom blowing off a tree and then ceased.
      Yes, I love putting fruit out but, as I say, most of it remains in the fridge and I bring it out as each piece is removed from the bowl on the table.

  13. Hope you are feeling better on this cold & frosty morning.
    I too have the Tracy Chevalier book. In fact, I have had it for some time. But because of the subject haven’t yet felt able to pick it up.
    I shall be interested to hear how you found it – though I know you don’t do ‘reviews’.
    I have read most of her other books and enjoyed them all, starting with The Girl with the Pearl Earring. (Loved the film as well.)
    Moving on to Sweet Treats…….I bought a box of Turkish Delight with Ginger at Chrustmas. As yet unopened. Something to look forward to – especially as I haven’t tried it before.
    Always look forward to reading your blog. Somewhere to come to read about the good things in life.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, the subject matter is a little daunting (in the Tracy Chevalier book), isn’t it? I’m currently reading Diane Keaton’s book, Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty. Not sure about it so far, it’s a little self-indulgent (from Diane Keaton’s viewpoint, I mean: a whole chapter in which she is concerned with her hair, for example.) I have The Girl with the Pearl Earring on the shelf, and loved the film but still haven’t read the book!
      Oh, I don’t think I could’ve left a box of Turkish Delight with Ginger unopened until now! That really calls for restraint!
      Thank you for your kind comments – I hope to be posting again before too long.

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