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A Sunny Saturday

The above is a pot of dwarf tulips on the point of flowering – a lovely present, with the pot, from younger son and daughter in law for my birthday last year.  Just think, a week ago, and they were under a thick duvet of snow!

Although the day started rather wet and misty, by midday the sun had broken through the clouds and it is now a very pleasant day.  We decided to go to Waitrose for a top-up shop and to get our ‘free’ newspaper (if you spend £10 and have a My Waitrose card, this entitles you to ‘free’ coffee and a ‘free’ newspaper – no doubt the cost of these items is paid for by the slightly higher price of some of the product,  although they are not always higher than other supermarkets.)  I could’ve cut our bill substantially if I had not bought flowers, a magazine, chocolate, Marlborough buns,  and an Omega3-rich chicken rather than a basic chicken.  But as a dear friend says, “There aren’t any pockets in a  shroud,” i.e. you can’t take it with you!

Much is being said both on TV and in the press about plastic right now, and how the oceans are filled with the wretched stuff.  Mind you, I’ve never bought a plastic straw in my life and don’t intend to start now. I know how to drink from a glass or a cup.  Babies and invalids use straws.  And looking at the volume of plastic we have either to get rid of (whether recyclable or not) I do think that companies who over-package goods – whether it’s food or a toothbrush – need to look at other methods of packaging them.  Indeed, so many things are ready-wrapped now it’s not always possible to buy the items you want unless they come with a lot of packaging.  But we can all cut back, and so instead of our disposable coffee cups today, I bought two re-usable coffee cups which I’ve now washed and they will go with us on our next visit to the supermarket for our ‘free’ coffee.

From Waitrose we drove to Wellswood to Me and Mrs Jones, the deli from where I bought steak pies and salads on Thursday.  We enjoyed the pies so much we thought we’d buy some more, some for today and some for the freezer.  I couldn’t resist buying a mixed medium salad, too, and I was able to choose three salads from the several they had available. I chose the three in the front of this photo, below …

from left, red cabbage and carrot and various other things, next a couscous and bean salad, and then a brown rice salad with bean sprouts.  Husband might have a little, but as I say, he’s a lettuce, cucumber and tomato salad man.

When I paid I thought that I had paid rather a lot for what I’d had, so asked the young woman to tell me exactly how much the pies are and then how much the medium salad was.  The pies are £3 each (total £12) and the salad was £4.50, so that was a total, if my brain still functions, of £16.50.  My bill came to £19.50.  Then she sought help from a colleague as to how to give me a refund on my card, but what I found amazing was that she didn’t offer any kind of apology.  I wasn’t rude, I just happened to mention that I had been overcharged £3.  Perhaps she is still at school and this is a Saturday job for her.  Perhaps she’s not yet mastered tables yet.  I jest, but really, I was given the strong impression that it was I who was in the wrong!  I will shop here again, the food is good, but I shall certainly make sure I add up my goods before presenting my card again.

Off then for petrol for the car and then home, where I defrosted a large baguette I bought on our last visit to Waitrose and had popped in the freezer – we had that with lovely strong cheddar and chutney.

I wish now that I’d taken photos of all the wonderful flowers on display in Waitrose today.  My goodness, they looked gorgeous.  Not the dark red roses which were stacked sky-high for St Valentine’s Day (and how I dislike red roses, especially for brides, where they look like blood against a white wedding gown) but beautiful  pastel shades of lavenders, lilacs and pinks for Mothering Sunday (and yes, I do call it Mothering Sunday rather than Mother’s Day; I like the traditional name.)   I chose two bunches of pastel pink tinged with creamy yellow, I couldn’t resist them.

The new mast-heads of the magazines are gradually changing from winter colours to lovely spring colours, and the latest Homes & Gardens is no exception, it being a rather nice shade of pink …

This will be my reading later today

And finally … the roses on the hall table are gradually opening up …

Wherever you are, I hope you will have a very pleasant weekend.

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. Lots of lovely flowers – I bought some daffodils on Tuesday and they are only just beginning to open. Two are out and the rest are still in bud, I hope they all come out in the end. The carnations I bought over two weeks ago are still going strong though.

    We’ve had mixed weather today with some rain (it rained hard overnight) but it has been very mild, so different from last weekend when I was shovelling snow to get to the dustbin!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      When we had the last lot of daffodils from the supermarket, Alison, we had to ‘help’ them to open, by pinching the buds and removing the brown part (not sure of the name). Then they opened up beautifully, but I think without a little bit of help, they would have just withered on the stems. Carnations do tend to last well, I’ve found. I don’t think the tulips will last a full week, but I shall enjoy them for the time we have them, I just love their pastel colour.

  2. I opted for yellow tulips this week Margaret, such a bright cheery colour and perfect for the spring weather we are enjoying at the moment. Mild with sunny intervals and such a change from the blizzards of last week, I spent most of the morning in the garden, cutting back the honeysuckle and other climbers.
    How rude not to have even apologised for making a mistake when adding up the bill, sounds like a little customer service training is required!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, yellow is a really bright, cheery colour, Elaine, and perfect to bring a bit of spring into our homes.
      Yes, I was a bit taken aback when the young woman didn’t apologise for the error, she didn’t say a word but sought some advice from another of the employees and then did the refund using my Visa card. A simple apology doesn’t cost anything, does it?
      It’s been mild here today, too, and after a rain start a very pleasant afternoon followed.

  3. Margaret Robinson

    I love your blog site, but today I just had to write………………….more than “babies and invalids” use straws! I use one everyday and more and more people are using them around here where we live (yes, it’s in the US and not only that, we live in California). According to my dentist, using a straw for drinking can help avoid staining on teeth. A problem one has if one drinks coffee.

    I don’t often use a straw when in a restaurant/cafe, but I use one every morning when I have my coffee. The coffee stain has disappeared from my teeth and all it took was using a straw.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I think straws have become almost a fashion thing, Margaret, like carrying a bottle of water around with you all the time, or a cup of coffee, almost 21st century accessories. Yes, a straw might help prevent staining of teeth but at what cost to the oceans? I have never drunk coffee through a straw and actually, I don’t think I’d like it, but I can’t say I wouldn’t like it as I’ve not tried it. So many things stain our teeth, mainly red wine, but we’d not think of drinking wine through a straw, would we? Dear soul, I think we will have to agree to disagree on this. I’d rather the oceans were plastic-free than I had non-stained teeth. Speaking of which, I visit my dentist this week, I might seek his opinion on the use of straws (provided my elderly brain remembers, ha ha!)

      • And yes, Margaret (Mrs. Powling), at what cost to the oceans AND wildlife, indeed? There are highly publicized images and videos of a sea turtle with a plastic straw stuck up its nostril. That poor creature received human aid in the straw’s removal upon being discovered with a bloody nose and looking weak and in distress. It’s a truly sad affair. Many marine creatures also mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and ingest them thinking they’re food.

        I applaud your action on acquiring reusable coffee cups, preventing more disposable cups from polluting our waterways or ending up in landfills!

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          Thank you for your kind comments re our acquiring reusable coffee cups. I’m not totally Green, if I were I’d stop buying a daily newspaper, and buying only fruit and veg that wasn’t pre-packaged, but while we detest the pollution of our oceans, I think it’s almost impossible now to do without plastics, they are in everything, including the computer I am using to type this. But all we can do is our best to dispose of things properly and hope that councils will recycle as much waste material as possible. I shudder when I think of the suffering we have caused to countless creatures through our thoughtless actions, though, especially the sea creatures.

    • If using a straw is important to you, Margaret, there are stainless steel, glass and bamboo options on the market that you can try. They usually come with a straw cleaner (looks like a tiny bottle cleaner). I have 4 stainless steel straws myself and I use them often. They’re lightweight and virtually indestructible. Highly recommend them. 🙂

      • Margaret Powling
        Margaret Powling

        Thank you, Natalie T, for those comments and suggestions to Margaret Robinson. What a good idea to have stainless steel, glass or bamboo straws, that can be cleaned and re-used. But, might I ask (and I’m being neither critical nor facetious) why do you use a straw at all?

        • Thanks, Margaret. Oh, not at all, I understand you’re just curious. I use them mainly to drink smoothies and other cold, blended beverages. They can certainly be enjoyed straw-less, but their consistency is quite thick so it is a bit difficult to drink them like one would drink, say, a cup of tea (far less viscous), especially when one gets to the last bit of it near the end and can’t get it to slide off the cup/glass easily without a spoon.

          • Margaret Powling
            Margaret Powling

            Thank you for explaining that to me, Natalie. Now I can understand why it’s nicer to drink a smoothie through a straw than from the glass. Indeed, I confess to only ever having had one smoothie in my life and I have to say that the consistency put me off them! But I can live without smoothies, I think. I drink fruit juice and eat fruit and veg, so I get at least my five-a-day.

  4. Thank you for including those photos and descriptions of flowers. The tulips in the outdoor pot look beautiful. They are certainly hardy being able to withstand the blanket of snow.

    We are many days into rain now. It’s almost monsoonal rain in that it pours for many minutes, maybe an hour and stops for sometime and then buckets down again. As I have nothing pressing outside – no dog that needs walking or washing that needs to be hung out – I am enjoying the sound and smell of each downpour. My cat and I are snuggled up with each other, reading yesterday’s newspaper (our Saturday paper has many different sections and can take me two or three days to peruse) and enjoying any excuse to stay put. She detests getting her feet wet and will not go out in these conditions.

    I hadn’t heard the expression ‘there aren’t any pockets in a shroud’. It’s very clever.

    Those salads look nice. I like to have different colours on my plate and I also enjoy different textures. Having a bit of three different salads is the best of both worlds.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I don’t blame your cat for not going out in the rain, or the wetness after the rain, Lara, she’s a sensible old thing! And yes, both our Saturday and Sunday paper have lots of sections – indeed, husband has just been to collect our Sunday paper and I’m now off back to bed with a cup of coffee and the sections that I wish to read first; he’s having porridge in the kitchen and then will go and see his brother whom he’s not seen for a few weeks.
      It was my friend’s mother who used to say “there aren’t any pockets in a shroud” and very true it is. On the other hand, I don’t think it means one should be spendthrift, either.

  5. My son’s girlfriend gave me some tightly furled daffodils yesterday. As soon as I put them in a couple of pretty jugs of water in the warm they started to open. From stems where the ends looked like artists brushes to fat yellow buds in a matter of hours. Oh my goodness – straws – don’t get me started! A friend and I removed 16 black sacks of rubbish from our village playing fields this week in advance of a welly walk (to raise funds for a new playground) we held yesterday. Plastic straws were endemic and so fiddly to pick up. I also visited a dental hygienist last week (only my second visit to such a person) and can thoroughly recommend the experience and life lesson. I used to be an occasional flosser when I felt a raspberry pip or similar between my teeth but I now floss every day and use a TePe interdental brush between my back teeth. I reckon if I can spend five minutes cleaning loos and wash basins every day I can spend five minutes in the morning on my teeth. Also so refreshing to see Mary Beard on the telly this week. I watched her programme twice because the content was so rich both in words and pictures. She has not had her teeth painted white and personally I loathe the trend for nearly everyone on the telly to have “faked” teeth. After an early start yesterday I am enjoying a lazy morning with yesterday’s Guardian and today’s Observer. I hope you are enjoying Mothering Sunday Margaret. I have just opened a special card from my daughter and we have our son and his girlfriend staying (she is like another daughter to me!) so feeling very blessed and appreciated. PS I bought the April copy of The English Home (I hardly ever buy magazines although I do follow Homes & Gardens UK Instagram account) because the front cover kitchen is very similar in layout to my new kitchen – yes, we hope to be on the move very soon – after 26 years here it is mostly exciting and just a little bit terrifying!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      That was a wonderful thing to do, to clear the rubbish from the playing field, much of which was straws. Sadly, until as a nation we fully comprehend the danger our lifestyles are posing to our planet, this kind of rubbish will simply multiply and we’ll soon be suffocating under mountains of plastic just as the oceans are being polluted and the sea creatures dying because of our behaviour.
      I do not have attractive teeth, my kind of teeth are inherited, so my dentist told me. They are naturally yellowish, and he said they are the strongest teeth as they have lots of minerals in them. I asked if I could have them whitened slightly, but he didn’t recommend it, it’s not good for teeth, apparently. However, I have a dental cleaning regime each morning which means I brush my teeth, then floss each individual tooth, then brush again, and finally mouthwash. I don’t worry that my teeth aren’t attractive as long as they’re clean. Indeed, my dentist complimented me on my dental hygiene and yet I cannot get husband to follow such a strict regime once a day (obviously I brush my teeth before bed) and he only uses floss if something is trapped between his teeth. And yes, if we clean our loos and basis, why not the same amount of time on our teeth?
      Yes, I am enjoying a lazy morning, too. But then, being retired, I can do this any day provided we don’t have an appointment. And yes, I’m enjoying Mothering Sunday, thank you (also thank you for calling it by it’s rightful name, Sarah), and our elder son and daughter in law have just been and brought flowers, a very pretty card, and lovely butterfly-shaped biscuits which our grandson helped to make.
      Oh, how lovely to have a kitchen like the one on the cover of The English Home, it is beautiful!

  6. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    Goodness me, Margaret – great minds and all that! I’ve only just opened this post and see that we both posted something about plastics yesterday, albeit with a different slant.
    I am not surprised that you were aware that you had been overcharged – perhaps it’s our generation. I automatically do a mental calculation of roughly what my shopping should cost and have identified errors a number of times.
    Prepared salads are always very tempting. I never feel guilty about buying them (not that I do it all that often) but there are so many bits and pieces in them that it would cost a fortune to buy the ingredients individually, though I do keep edamame (soya) beans and pomegranate seeds in the freezer so that I can add a few to my own salads. they look pretty and tasty.
    I’ve mentioned before that we have no Waitrose but on the occasions I travel to one I’m always impressed with their flower selection.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, it’s automatic to do a rough calculation in our heads so we have some idea what the total will be. But when I looked at four small pies and a little container with salad, I thought “Even in a deli, this shouldn’t be almost £20!” so I queried it. A pity I was a bit speedy in putting my pin number in to the machine, but there was a queue behind me, and that tends to make us rush a bit. But at least I noticed it and had a refund. It isn’t so much the £3 overcharge, although money matters of course, but that the young woman was so nonchalant about it, as if it didn’t matter that I’d been overcharged.
      I’ve never heard of edamame beans, I wouldn’t know them if they bit me on the derriere! And I’ve never bought pomegranate seeds, either, but if you can buy them to add to salads, that might be a nice thing to do. Are they in the freezer section or do you freeze them yourself?

  7. I can understand your dissatisfaction with the assistant’s attitude. It’s one I have come across too. Basic customer service training seems not to take place in some stores.
    Edamame beans, or sta beans look like small broad beans but are a bit brighter in colour. I buy them, and the pomegranate seeds, ready frozen in Tesco. Just a few of each add texture and colour and make the salad look a bit more deli-like.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I must look out for the soya beans and pomegranate seeds (frozen) in Waitrose. If Tesco have them, surely I’d find them I Waitrose, even though the branch we visit is a small one.
      Yes, basic training in small shops seems to be lacking. They might show someone how to work the till but how to speak to customers is another matter. They should not assume that young people (and older ones) have an aptitude for greeting the public and actually making conversation, or even, as in my case, offering an apology for an error.

  8. Soya, not sta!

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