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Commonwealth Day

Today is Commonwealth Day and members of the royal family and a congregation from all corners of the Commonwealth celebrated with a service this afternoon in Westminster Abbey, London.

What was so lovely about this service was that many children and young adults had been included as guests and celebrants.

The royal family was led by HM The Queen and was accompanied by the Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) and the Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla), and also the Duke of Cambridge (Prince William), the Duchess of Cambridge (Katherine), Prince Harry and Miss Meghan Markle, The Princess Royal (Princess Anne), The Duke of York (Prince Andrew), The Duchess of Wessex (Sophie), the Duchess of Gloucester (Birgitte), and Princess Alexandra of Kent (who is the Queen’s cousin.)

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (the Duchess is expecting her 3rd baby in May) with Prince Harry and Miss Meghan Markle

Much of the music was modern or from the country of the performers, such as a wonderful Maori choir …

in traditional Maori dress.

There was also a gospel choir who performed Bridge Over Troubled Water, the Simon and Garfunkel song, but it didn’t bear much resemblance – in my opinion – to the original.   All in all a jolly service, if you can say for that for a service in Westminster Abbey.

HM The Queen being greeted when she arrived at the Abbey.  Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was not attending as he has now retired from official royal duties

I took my photos from the television, so apologies for the poor quality.

* * * *

I enjoyed sitting, watching, and listening to this service. It made a nice break – with a cup of tea, of course, and a few small Café Noir biscuits – from the housekeeping in which I had been engaged earlier in the day.  After a quick journey to and from our younger son’s home – a mission to take some things from our elder son and collect some things for him – I spent a couple of hours engaged in housekeeping, with my little helpers …

Above, the steam cleaner and, below, the housekeeper’s box … (and of course the vacuum) …

I have had this housekeeper’s box (I’ve included an apostrophe – it’s missing from the box!) for over a year and I have found it really useful – it holds all the items I need to clean, from white vinegar spray to disinfectant (which I use sparingly), rubber gloves (not those I use for washing up) and cleaning cloths and dusters.

I swept and steam-cleaned the kitchen floor, cleaned the shower room, and dusted and vacuumed the sitting room and hall.  I didn’t clean all the rooms, that would’ve been too much in one morning/early afternoon, but I achieved more than I thought I would.

Of course, cleaning would be so much easier if I were a minimalist, but as you know from photos of our home, I am certainly not a minimalist!   And it takes me time to do even some small jobs, such as making sure that the coasters are clean and the glass in which we keep our toothbrushes gets its weekly wash (this ‘lives’ in the bathroom cabinet and so is hidden from view. I have an aversion to having toothbrushes standing around in a bathroom in which there is also a loo.  If Kirstie Allsopp stated that a washing machine in a kitchen was unhygienic,  how come she didn’t  mention this toothbrush habit which is even more unhygienic?

I wouldn’t say that what I have been doing is spring cleaning, more general housekeeping.  If we keep on top of the housework all year round, it we don’t allow rubbish to pile up (by which I mean old newspapers, flyers, re-cycling items) unless we have open fires so that the resultant dust and grime manages to get just about everywhere, there is little need – as in days of old –  to strip a room bare and wash everything from top to bottom.  Even vacuuming, wiping clean the skirting boards, door frames and handles, perhaps even taking the curtains to the cleaners (or if they are un-lined, washing them) can make a difference.

* * * *

When we saw your younger son earlier today, he gave me this lovely basket of white chrysanthemums from himself and our daughter in law as he wasn’t able to see us yesterday for Mothering Sunday …


And now to make supper – omelettes tonight, with a side salad and granary bread.

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. Your photos from he television are very clear. Thank you for including their given names in parentheses after their official titles. As many things Australian, we are quite casual and so the media don’t always use the full titles of the royal family. Despite the push to become a republic, the younger members of the royal family are very popular with Australians. I love their outfits – they all look incredibly stylish.

    The white chrysanthemums look lovely in the white basket. It’s nice to be able to extend your Mothering Sunday over two days 🙂

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Lara and I thought it might be helpful to include the titles of the royal family for those in Australia, New Zealand and Canada and even those unfamiliar with them in America. Similarly, in the UK we talk of William and Harry, Kate and Meghan, Charles and Camilla, and so forth. One member of the royal family who is becoming more prominent in her charitable works and taking on more and more public duties is Sophie, the Countess of Wessex (she is married, obviously to the Earl of Essex who is the Queen’s youngest son, Prince Edward.) I am sure as she ages the Queen will participate in fewer such occasions although she seems in remarkably good health for a woman approaching her 92nd birthday in April (this is her actual birthday, not her ‘official’ birthday in June.)

  2. Hello Margaret. I loved seeing the photos of the Royal Family as they are quite popular here too in the US. What a great idea to have a Housekeeper’s Box! It makes it much easier to have everything you need in one place. I’m a bit late in wishing you a wonderful Mothering Sunday. You received such lovely flowers for this special occasion. After reading the comments in your post about this holiday, I wanted to set the record straight for Edna’s comment. In the US, Mother’s Day was started by Anna Jarvis from West Virginia back in 1908 to honor her own mother. President Woodrow Wilson designated Mother’s Day the 2nd Sunday in May as a national holiday. From what I read about the history of your Mothering Sunday, it dates from the 16th century. As an American, I was offended by Edna’s “ghastly American invention” remark as you can see, they are two separate holidays with completely different beginnings. I don’t think it was a ghastly invention for Anna Jarvis to honor her beloved mother. Have a wonderful evening dear friend. My best wishes to you, Pat

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Pat, and I’m delighted you enjoyed my showing photos from the Commonwealth Day service yesterday in Westminster Abbey.
      On a quite different subject, I do love my Housekeeper’s Box! How daft is that, to love such a mundane item, but it makes life easier when you are doing the housekeeping, and it’s also neat and tidy, and quite professional-looking. If I answer the door with my apron on and the Box handy, I feel like I ought to say, “The Powling residence, who shall I say is calling?”
      Thank you so much for clarifying how Mother’s Day started in the USA. I had no idea how it started, and it’s lovely to be told the actual history of this day. Yes, I thought Edna’s comment was a little extreme, Pat, and I hope by my response I made it clear I did not share her view. As you have clearly stated, Mother’s Day in the USA wasn’t started simply as a commercial venture, but to honour of someone’s dear mother and is now a public holiday. As I say, thank you for clarifying this for us all.
      On yet another subject, the weather has been beautifully spring-like today, but we’ve been ‘promised’ cold weather again at the weekend, around 2C, with “maybe snow!”

  3. We do pomp very well in Britain, I think. I like Sophie, Countess of Wessex. She is very dignified very gets on with the job and, from what I’ve read, The Queen is very fond of her.

    Haha, good for you, Margaret – Kirstie Allsop caught out! Our bathroom is fitted with cupboards and drawers and we have a drawer each for our ‘bits and pieces’ including toothbrushes. I like it very uncluttered.

    Steam cleaners are amazing! I got one a couple of years ago and wished I’d done so years before.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, Sophie Wessex is a very elegant, thoughtful and caring person by all accounts and yes, I’ve also heard that the Queen is very fond of her.
      How lovely to have a bathroom with cupboards and drawers. Husband made our bathroom cabinet – we had a small corner one and he simply followed the design as a template, but made it taller. I asked him to ensure that one gap between the shelves was at least tall enough to fit a hair spray canister!)
      That is my 2nd steam cleaner, yes, it saves getting down on hands and knees although the edges and corners sometimes need a bit of help in that way.

  4. Hello Margaret, it was nice to see your photos of the Commonwealth Day service, I somehow missed it! The Countess of Wessex seems to attend lots of royal occasions, but we don’t see so much of her husband, the Duke! Perhaps he is occupied elsewhere on royal duties.
    I, too, have a little ‘trug’ for household cleaning products and find it most useful for keeping everything in one place and carrying from room to room. You have reminded me I need to purchase a new steam cleaner. Mine gave up several weeks ago and have been washing floors on my hands and knees since! A trip to Argos is in order I feel! X

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Do you know, Dot, I was thinking exactly the same thing? Where was the Earl of Wessex, i.e Prince Edward? No mention was made of him at all as far as I’m aware. Even the Duke of York (Prince Andrew) was there, but not Prince Edward. It isn’t as if this was a quickly put-together event, it must’ve been on the royal calendar since the last Commonwealth Day service a year ago. I know the Princes Royal’s husband, Commander Timothy Lawrence, doesn’t always attend such events, but he never has taken on a ‘royal’ role. Perhaps, as you say, Prince Edward was occupied elsewhere.
      I went to look for a replacement for my spray Pledge today. I like the one for ‘wood’ but I couldn’t find it in the shop where I usually buy such things, so must search for it elsewhere. Yes, buy a new steamer, Dot. We can’t have you scrubbing floors like a 19th century maid-of-all-works!

  5. I think that should be Earl of Wessex, not Duke, sorry! X

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, that is correct … Earl of Wessex, he’s the only one of the three royal brothers not with the title ‘Duke’. No idea why he has a title one rung down the title ladder. I wonder what title will be given to Prince Henry of Wales (i.e. Prince Harry) upon his wedding to Miss Markle?

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