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A Perfect Day (well, almost!)

To start this post, I must mention yesterday … our little grandson’s ‘other’ grandmother is on holiday staying with our son and daughter in law (her daughter) and our grandson, and she kindly brought with her this lovely bouquet of flowers for me. She always brings me either flowers or a plant, which is so kind of her and is very much appreciated.  I just wanted you to see them … the carnations actually have much deeper-purple edges to their frilled petals, my camera always shows purple more as this magenta colour.  The scent from the two sprays of Brompton stocks and the single lily is wonderful.   The roses are quite spectacular, huge creamy white ones, but sadly they have no scent. Never mind, the lily and stocks makes up for this.

And so to today.  We awoke to sunshine.  Oh, how lovely it was to feel the warmth on our faces and see the blue sky.  We had a cooked breakfast, starting with fruit (tinned cherries, pineapple and banana) …

and then we had grilled (broiled?) bacon and Portobello mushrooms.

And then we decided that once we’d done a few jobs we’d stop work and go to the Zoo.  As much as anything I wanted to renew our Zoo subscription for the year. This allows us to visit the Zoo as often as we like and also similarly to visit Living Coasts in Torquay.

We should not have been surprised that the world, his wife and all their children would be at the Zoo today!  It is still the Easter school holidays (the children return to school on Monday in our part of Devon) and I think they were all in the Zoo today, with all their families, too.  It was packed to capacity, ditto the car park. And so as we made our way around and around, seeking a parking space, it became necessary to just go onto a small patch of grass.  Big mistake!   It has rained incessantly for days and as soon as husband drove onto the grass, the car’s wheels sank into deep mud.  We were stuck fast. And felt very silly!

I was on the point of phoning the AA (the Automobile Assocation breakdown service for those outside the UK unfamiliar with the name “AA”) when a female employee of the Zoo came out and told us that she’d seen we were in difficulty but that we weren’t the first to have become stuck in the mud, and shortly some Zoo employees would be along to get us out.  Wasn’t that kind?

And within a minute or two along came five chaps, four of whom pushed the car while husband drove …

It didn’t take long to free the car from its muddy parking lot, and we then found somewhere on the hardcore to park.  But husband did feel silly – he knew it had been raining, he should’ve known not to drive anywhere near grass!  We really appreciated the kindness of these chaps, I’m sure this was above and beyond their work requirements.

After that we went to the main reception area and renewed our subscription and then we went for our walk around the Zoo.  This was quite difficult as there were just too many people there today, but I enjoyed seeing so many trees and shrubs now bursting to life again …

The scent from this mimosa (wattle) was wonderful

I don’t know what this tree is, but it had lovely pendulous ‘blossom’

And lots of lovely magnolia stellata with their star-like flowers

And there were lovely clumps of primroses everywhere. They are truly my favourite spring flower

I didn’t photograph many animals today, just these giraffes, as we were really out for a walk but this was curtailed by the sheer volume of people in the Zoo and after about half an hour we decided to call it a day and visit again after the children have returned to school for the summer term.

Aren’t giraffes strange, although wonderful, animals?

Once home we opened up the summerhouse and I made some salmon sandwiches (using tinned salmon) and cups of tea for a light late lunch.  Then husband decided to wash all the mud off the car and I made a toffee apple cake.  This turned out very well, although we decided that the rhubarb cake which I  made last week for the first time, and made to the same recipe but substituting rhubarb for apples, is much superior.  Anyway, we enjoyed a small slice with a little low-fat cream (is there really such a product, or is this simply a good sales pitch?) and then husband decided that a walk around the Zoo, plus cleaning the car, was insufficient work for one day, and then got out the mower and gave the back garden’s grass it’s first cut of the season.

I took just a few photos of the tulips and narcissi as they are coming into bloom in the back garden.  So far they’re looking good.


The garden needs a lot of attention … the garden wall needs painting, the summerhouse needs a spring clean, the borders need weeding, the new ‘arch’ needs erecting (the old one collapsed in the winter), and plants need, well, planting.  But oh, to see the sun today has been wonderful!

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. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    What a beautiful bouquet, how kind and thoughtful.
    You are certainly making the most of the zoo subscription, I never tire of seeing animals and having a lovely walk in beautiful surroundings. I like the way you got out of the car to take the photo of the car stuck in the mud, I was just imagining it as I was reading about it, it did make me chuckle a bit (sorry).

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      We enjoyed our rather brief visit to the Zoo, even though we got stuck in the mud. But that could’ve happened anywhere and we were fortunate that the Zoo chaps were happy to push us out! We saw a number of animals, and I loved seeing the baboons on their island, swinging down from trees, one with a baby clinging on to its parent (not sure whether it would be mother or father – I said to husband “Oh, look, it’s clinging to its mother!” and he said, “It might be its father … it’s called ‘parenting’!” jokingly! It is a lovely Zoo, and quite hilly, so our legs get a good work out. Of course, I had to take a photo of being pushed out of the mud. I thought the car would be lighter for them to push with me out of it (no comments, please!) and then thought, this will make a good photo op! That’s the journalist in me coming out again. Glad it gave you a good laugh!

  2. I’ve been to Paignton Zoo (it’s brilliant) and I remember how hilly it is. We saw a sign that said the elephants were being fed in about 10 minutes so we marched to the top of the hill and got there about 2 minutes before the stated time, to find they had already been fed. What a swizz!

    Still dull here. We had heavy rain for several hours yesterday and it was very cold. Milder today but it feels like the clouds are sitting on my head. I would love some sun. Might clear my head – my cold has left me with the usual sinus problems and every time I bend down or turn too quickly I feel sick and giddy. Unfortunately I can’t take any medication, I’ve tried various kinds and they just make me sick, so I just have to put up with it (but not without complaint ;)).

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Alison and yes, it’s a climb up to the elephant enclosure. Indeed, yesterday, it looked like a field adjoining their enclosure was being overhauled in some way, perhaps to extend their enclosure – I hope so. While they are safe from ivory poachers in the Zoo, it’s rather like a luxurious prison in some ways. They used to roam the plains, and now they have an acre or two. Having said that, they are well looked after, and have thing to interest them in their enclosure.
      It’s another lovely morning here (Thursday at almost 11 am as I write this). What a shame you have rain yet again. Colds are awful, I know from the severe one I had in the winter. Just be kind to yourself, don’t try and do housework, just drink plenty and rest.

  3. Lovely flowers Margaret and how thoughtful.
    Oh dear re the car being stuck in the mud but obviously the zoo staff are used to pushing people out, at least you managed a picture for the family album ☺️
    Another one here who is envious of your sunshine, we have had wall to wall cloud here for a couple of days, in fact it was so misty yesterday afternoon we switched the lamps on early and even lit some candles to help lift the gloom, honestly anyone would have thought it was November and not April.
    The horses are due to be moved onto the summer paddocks at the end of April but we are estimating that the fields are about a month behind grass growth wise so will be staying put for a few weeks yet, my hay supplier must be rubbing his hands in glee!
    We will be visiting the South West for a weeks holiday soon, but will need to wave as we past Devon on the way down to Cornwall. We have booked a farmhouse near Boscastle and will be bringing the little dog as it’s on a 140 acre farm so plenty of space for her to run around, it’s her first holiday away since my old dog passed away so we wanted to make sure she has plenty of entertainment!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Sorry to hear you have bad weather still, Elaine. It’s sunny again today, too. Yes, I think the Zoo staff must be used to idiots getting their cars stuck in the mud, they were out to help in next to no time!
      I hope you have a lovely break in Cornwall and your little dog will love being able to run around all those acres!

  4. Hello Margaret
    It’s just a guess (because I haven’t consulted Mr G) but I think the pendulous flower is on a Laburnum tree.
    And talking of flowers the gifted ones look just right’ in that little corner windowsill with colours that go so well together.
    Your delicious breakfast certainly made my starchy porridge with toast and marmalade look sparse. Unfortunately bacon has been off our menus for a while now however eggs are allowed so poached scrambled and boiled feature now and again.
    We are still having above average temperatures for April – 29c today. No rain though, desperately needed, forecast for the weekend so we are all waiting with bated breath to see if ‘they’ got it right 😎🌂
    Take care

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, those might well be laburnum flowers just on the point of flowering, I’d not thought of that! And yes, the bouquet of flowers looked lovely on our deep windowsill, but as it was so sunny there this morning, I’ve moved them to the other end of the room away from direct sun.
      We don’t have bacon every day, only about once a week, and so when we do we really enjoy it.
      My goodness, 29C is really quite hot to us! I hope you have some soon … pity we can’t send some of ours!

  5. How lovely that the sun has come out! We had a few days of a storm which caused quite a bit of damage all over the country, and this officially heralded the end of summer, although it has actually been autumn. We are now very cold. I always love it when spring flowers appear, they seem to herald something really good about to come. And your bouquet gift is beautiful.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, the sunny weather has been lovely, Ratnamurti, and the spring flowers are a joy to see after our long, cold, and very wet winter. I love to see primroses even more than snowdrops, they are my absolute favourite, but all spring flowers are good to see after the long winter.

  6. Lovely photographs as ever. Yes, I think you’ll have a more relaxed time once the school holiday is over! So long as you don’t go near the mud, that is. It’s good that the zoo staff were so helpful.
    We’ve had a few dull days (sunshine is a rarity here at present), so dull in fact that I have worn boots to work for three days. The promise is of better weather at the weekend. I do hope so.
    What a nice combination of flowers in your first picture. A welcome gift indeed.
    I’ve not bought tinned cherries but think I will try them. I had some Tesco frozen ones but they weren’t very nice. The frozen raspberries are very good though.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I felt like singing the old Flanders and Swan song yesterday, “Mud, mud glorious mud, nothing quite like it for cooling the blood …” but thought better of it! It was funny, but only retrospectively! The Zoo staff were great, but we reckon they must be used to silly people getting stuck like that.
      Tinned cherries are nowhere near as nice as fresh ones, but to put into a fruit salad when there are few soft fruits around, they are OK. We both love fresh cherries and will pounce on them as soon as they are in the shops. I sometimes buy frozen fruits of the forest and use those in a summer pudding.

  7. Your garden, and that of the zoo, is looking lovely with all the spring blooms. I have a zoo pass and try to visit once a month with my grandson. Most times we avoid school holidays but depending on the weather there are always school children and lots of tourists. Thank you for sharing your story about being stuck in the mud. What nice people to help you out.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, the Zoo plants are beginning to look great again, Pieta. It is a botanical as well as a zoological garden with many lovely trees and shrubs. Yes, we will avoid the school holidays in future but this might be difficult during what will, hopefully, be the sunny days of July and August. But, of course, we have the influx of tourists to the area then, too, which swell the numbers in the Zoo. Yes, the staff were really helpful, lovely chaps who got us out of the mud in next to no time.

  8. I once bogged my car so deeply in mud that it took two burly blokes and a tow truck to get me out. I was so embarrassed at what a good job I’d done !

    Those flowers are lovely. What a kind person she is to bring you flowers each time.

    I agree that giraffes are odd looking animals with their front legs longer than the back legs. Sydney’s Taronga Zoo has a successful giraffe breeding program so often have baby giraffes on display. I’m not sure what the technical term is – foals ?

    I was delighted when I checked your website this morning and saw you’d written four posts while I’ve been doing only-goodness-knows-what in recent days, so I’m ‘binge reading’. Ha ha 🙂

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, dear, that’s two of us who got ourselves well-embedded in mud, or rather our cars stuck in mud.
      I hadn’t thought what the correct name is for a young giraffe, but foal sounds appropriate. What I can’t understand is why young lions are called cubs, when this term is usually applied to dogs and bears, rather than cats. Why don’t lion’s have kittens, I wonder? Oh, what a thought … binge-reading my posts, like a boxset, ha ha! Hope you aren’t bored witless! At least there’re no adverts to skim over!

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