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A Sunny Sunday

I confess I have cheated:   the above photo was taken in May 2015, but yesterday the countryside  looked much like this … but more of that later.

First of all, I was up early yesterday but, of course, the hour had moved forward into British Summer Time, so it wasn’t quite as early as I thought it was.

Nonetheless, I thought a cooked breakfast would make a change from porridge or brioche (yes, porridge is cooked, but I think of it as hot cereal) and so we had prunes and lychees to start  …

followed by grilled bacon & tomatoes on toast, then toast, butter & marmalade, and tea …

I am using the little cut glass ‘salts’ I found in the Quay Antiques Centre for butter and marmalade, for which they are ideal

You can just see part of husband on the left, waiting to be ‘allowed’ to start … the conversation thus:  “Have you finished?  Can I start?  It’s going cold!”  Only joking; I’m very quick when it comes to taking photos … years of experience, a’hem!

You might also notice that the freesias I bought last week are now fully open and looking beautiful.  However, while the three deep blue hyacinths look splendid, whenever elder son comes into the kitchen (he only lives about 50 yards away in his house with our daughter in law and grandson) he says, “Oooh, what’s that smell! It’s like the monkey house in here!”  He can’t stand the  scent of hyacinths and I have to admit, they are a bit strong!   Husband is fine with them as he’s totally lost his sense of smell. This is a shame as he can’t smell nice things or nasty things, and it’s also a tad dangerous as he can’t smell gas or burning, either.  I’m his ‘nose’ from now on!

I wouldn’t say that the hour going forward has ‘upset’ our equilibrium too much but we both seemed to be a bit out of sorts yesterday, not quite knowing what to do, whether to start some household chores (it was too chilly for actual gardening even though the sun was shining) or to go for a walk (we actually felt quite tired) so in the end I suggested our local garden centre where we could have a cup of tea, look at the lovely view and perhaps buy a couple of plants.

So that is what we did. The first photo above is the view from the café and little tea garden at this small garden centre, and here is another, although similar, view …

I was so mad with myself for having forgotten my camera. This is the 2nd time recently I’d forgotten my camera; I had downloaded the photos of breakfast and left it on my desk.  However, I have several photos of this garden centre, so I am using those, although I wasn’t able to photograph their lovely Easter displays, both of plants and also of garden ornaments (even though I wouldn’t want a pottery rabbit, lamb, cat or even a pig.)

Inside the centre they have an area where they display kitchenalia, and that is where I usually head, as they have some attractive items.

And outside, of course, lots of lovely plants …

Again, this photo was taken in May 2015, so the flowers weren’t quite as advanced yesterday as shown here

We decided first to have a cup of coffee and when I saw the various cakes on the counter of the coffee shop, I decided to buy a slice of Easter Simnel cake so that we could share it, as the slices are generous.  Here is a photo (again taken in May 2015) of some of the cakes (the prices have gone up a bit since then, I might add.)

This doesn’t, of course, show the lovely selection available yesterday which included a wonderful coffee & walnut sponge and the Simnel cake.  But all the food is home-made, and very good.

I was on the hunt for a hellebore plant (I love hellebores but we’ve only managed to get one, so far, to grow well, the others are small and don’t seem to want to grow even though they are in partial shade, which is the environment they like) and I bought this one …

It will have to remain in its pot, parked temporarily on a square plant pot, until it’s warm enough for gardening; we don’t garden in cold weather, we’re now beyond that!

I also bought two red primroses for the dining table at Easter.  Yes, I know!  Red isn’t ‘my’ colour!  I wanted pastel yellow but husband saw these and said, “Oh, I like those red ones!” And really, I have my own way re décor 99% of the time and felt it only right he could have red flowers on the table if that is what he wanted, so they will be on our dining table, shining like beacons, at Easter.  Subtle they are not.

I have popped them into a pair of cups and saucers … I might find a more suitable pair, but for now this is where they are, on the sitting room mantelpiece.

I also bought a couple of packs of small (but not the tiny ones for decorating cakes) chocolate Easter eggs, and these are also for the Easter dining table … I admit I’m gradually being sucked into the world of Easter commerce!  This kind of behaviour must stop.  Now!

Today, I think we might venture forth to the emporium that is Lidl. I need to stock up on basics, such as dishwasher tabs, washing machine liquid detergent, foil, kitchen caddy biodegradable waste bags, and so forth.  I also want to look, tentatively, for some curtains (not in Lidl, of course) for our hall for the summer.  I’ve never changed the curtains in summer and winter as our grandparents used to do – thick in winter to keep out cold and draughts, and thin in summer to float in the breeze but allow some privacy at night.  I rather fancy some cream, unlined curtains, to bring some airiness to the hall, but privacy at night. Of course, when I see the prices, I might change my mind, but it doesn’t hurt to look, does it?

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. My husband often has to wait while I take a photo before he can eat his food too! When he is plating food or setting the table he’ll ask if it needs to be “Insta worthy” to know if he needs to be particularly neat or creative. He teases me but I think he likes making the photo pretty as much as I do!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, husband is now used to asking whether I need to photograph the table – aren’t we funny, who would have thought we’d be taking photographs of our meals a decade or so ago! Even five years ago!

  2. It does make sense to change curtains for warmer and colder weather, although to be honest, I had never thought about it before. I am now so used to ignoring Easter commerce (love that description!) that I more all less barely see all of the chocolate shoved into our view. Luckily, I really don’t like chocolate……..

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      We have been to a store this morning and I’ve seen some cream cotton material which I think might make nice summer curtains. The shop is going to have a sample sent to me so that I can put them against the wallpaper. Even with inexpensive summer curtains I do want them to look right (well, right to me!) When I was young people generally changed their curtains in the summer and winter. This also provided an opportunity to have the winter curtains washed or dry-cleaned when coal fires were the main method of heating a home. You are lucky you don’t like chocolate – unfortunately, I love chocolate, but it has to be quality chocolate otherwise I find it sickly, even if only a small amount.

      • Good luck with your curtains, hope the sample looks good. The dark chocolate is just too rich for my liver, despite it being a ‘superfood’, & I can happily leave the rest.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          I do hope the curtain material will be suitable. To me it looks like sateen lining material, just a slight sheen but not shiny. I only want something very fine for summer curtains. I might not to bother, or if I like the material with our wallpaper to have them lined rather than unlined. I don’t want to buy something that is so cheap it looks tatty – I’ve said long and often, “buy cheap, buy twice” but I shall just have to wait and see what it looks like in situ.
          A pity about dark chocolate. I love chocolate, it doesn’t seem to affect me in any way, but I do make sure that I only have a small piece at a time, and not every day.

  3. The view from your garden centre is utterly gorgeous! Photos of your breakfast always look so inviting.
    I didn’t know hyacinths had a smell…

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, Kavitha, hyacinths have quite a strong smell and it’s one – similarly, lilies – that you either like or dislike. We have been out this morning and when we returned home and I walked into the kitchen, I thought the smell was wonderful as it was freesias combined with hyacinths. Monkey house, indeed! (Our son’s expression for the smell!) It was really lovely.

  4. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    A monkey house!! Hyacinths smell wonderful, as do freesias (they were my mother’s favourite).
    I am absolutely hopeless at remembering to take my ipad out with me. This is what I use for photographs. We’ve often been out and I see something that I think might be interesting for my blog and only then do I remember. It’s very frustrating.
    Husband has a lot of fancy photography equipment but I have no interest in learning how to use it.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I have two large Nikons, Eloise, a D50 and then that was replaced by a D90, but with the large lens, it is so heavy and really I find that my little Sony compact camera, which is tiny and slips into a pocket, is perfectly good enough for the photos I put on my blog. Indeed, I can’t tell if there is any difference between this cheap camera and the expensive DSLR. We only bought the D90 because the flash gave up the ghost on the D50 and the chap in the camera shop said it would be too expensive to repair, de-dah, de-dah. So we bought a new one and it’s hardly been out of its box in almost four years. It’s so heavy!
      Snap, freesias were my mother’s favourite, too.

  5. ‘The emporium that is Lidl’ – what a wonderful turn of phrase! Made me laugh.

  6. I usually feel a bit discombobulated during the first week following the beginning/ end of daylight savings. When I worked in large offices I would notice the same with my coworkers as most of us had our lunch break and tea break at a set time during the work day so a change of the clock would throw us into disarray. We are certainly creatures of habit 🙂

    My husband can’t cope with the strong perfume of oriental lilies (I’m not sure if they’re called same in the U.K.). They are beautiful flowers and can last a relatively long time when bought unfurled but the perfume certainly pervades the house.

    One of our larger supermarket chains, Aldi (similar to your Lidl), has ceramic creatures to put in gardens featured for Easter. Like you, I struggle to see the relevance. Chocolate Easter eggs and hot cross buns, yes, but most of the stuff in this week’s brochure was of little relation to Easter. Most shops stretch a rather long bow, I’m afraid.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I wonder if anyone has investigated how the beginning/ending of daylight saving affects people? I wonder if accidents rise during the immediate period, for example? Or other health problems? I also wonder whether it affects we women more than men?
      I don’t like the scent of those large oriental lilies either, particularly the pink Stargazer lilies, therefore I understand how our elder son doesn’t like the small of hyacinths.
      I have drawn the conclusion there is no relevance to Easter at all in the knick knacks now on display in the various stores other than a means of getting customers to part with their money.

  7. Sorry but I am in the same camp as your son Margaret, whilst I love the look of hyacinths I really don’t like the smell so don’t have them in the house am afraid, now freesias are a different thing, lovely smell.
    We spent Sunday at the Norfolk coast, the sun was out but the wind was still very cold so we walked along the dunes rather than on the beach and then camped out at the local pub. There was a fair few of us so they blocked off the large conservatory just for us, the food was fairly simple but very tasty and the best part was the pubs welcomed well behaved dogs so my little girl sat under the table. We don’t like leaving her too much now she has lost her canine companion and have to admit she is being a tad spoilt but hey, she’s a little sweetie!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I admit that hyacinths begin to smell nasty as they age, but when they are fresh to me they smell lovely – how we all differ where scents are concerned – but agree re freesias, the loveliest scent of all flowers, on a par with old roses (not supermarket roses which, sadly, have had their fragrance bred out of them.)
      How lovely when a pub accepts well-behaved dogs and how kind you are in taking her and not leaving her at home, wondering when you are going to return. That is not spoiling her, it’s just being a good dog owner.

  8. Oh those views in those two landscape pictures – so beautiful and peaceful looking. And the green grass looks so beautiful.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you, Jeannine. We are very fortunate to live in a beautiful part of the west country of England, even though it is very hilly! I think I took that view in the spring time of the year, but a bit later than March. If you look closely, you can see a tall television mast in the far distance. We pass that on our way to the historic town of Totnes and it is also from where we received our television signal.

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