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A Summer’s Day in Spring

Oh, what a glorious day it has been.  The second warm sunny day in a row. Indeed, the second hot day in a row.  I love it when we’re at home on such a day, not having to go anywhere, no appointments, no shopping.  I didn’t sleep well last night, no real reason, I just didn’t sleep until around 4 am, and so I wasn’t up at the crack of dawn as I was yesterday, and took things a little more slowly.  Breakfast was late, and simply a slice of toast and a cup of coffee in the summerhouse (husband made himself a bowl of porridge and then went to collect our newspaper) but I made chicken curry for lunch, keen to use up the cold roast chicken.

We ate our lunch outside. Our old garden furniture has seen better days, but even were it  minty new I would still use a cloth on the table.  This cloth is, in fact, not a table cloth but an old cotton Provencal ‘throw’ which I bought many years ago when I used it to cover our sofa which was in need of reupholstering.  Over the years it has been washed countless times but I love its old faded look.

I love the jug which has colours which, to me anyway, seem just right for flowers on the garden table.   I opened a new bottle of elderflower cordial … it must be spring, even approaching summer, if we’re drinking elderflower cordial topped up with iced water or sparkling water!  (A pity curry always looks so unappetising)

I’m afraid I haven’t done much else today although husband has been very busy, cutting the grass and scraping the old paint off our garage door in preparation for fresh coats of undercoat and gloss.  My computer man called in the afternoon to install a new backup system for my computer and then I sat in the summerhouse and read.  I’ve still not cleaned out the summerhouse (it’s not that bad, actually; but I feel I want to do it so that it gets a thorough clean once a year in the very least) and for any readers who haven’t seen my summerhouse which my husband built for me in 2010, here it is (photo taken a couple of summer’s ago) …

The watercolours of birds were painted by my husband soon after he retired 20 years ago – I love them and think it is appropriate to have wild-life paintings in this garden house.

This evening, wanting only a light meal and not wishing to spend a long time preparing or cooking it, I made an omelette (which we had in the garden).  I just sautéed some spring onions, added the eggs, then a handful of chopped parsley, then some grated gruyere at the last minute before folding the omelette (and cutting it in half so we could have half each) and serving with some sweet chilli sauce and wholegrain bread.  All done within ten minutes.  That’s convenience food to me!

The tulips are now in bloom. Indeed, some of them are over, but there are several pots still to burst into bloom, including my favourite Queen of the Night.  I hope that we can get the rest of the garden tidied up before all their petals fall.

I have to say that the tulips, while looking spectacular, aren’t quite the colours I’d intended.  I bought them from Sarah Raven again, but I had thought the colours would be more peachy, more apricot than they have turned out to be, and that is bright orange in some instances.  Orange is a colour I’m not keen on.  I think next autumn I will be reverting to some of my old favourites and not trying out new selections!

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 lovely spring day you’ve had Margaret. I’ve been away on vacation but still faithfully read your lovely blog posts. Those tulips have blossomed beautifully! We have some beautiful clouds here today in southern California and a huge downpour of much needed rain earlier this morning. I always love the freshness after a rainstorm. Enjoy your evening and I hope you can sleep better tonight! Pat 🌷

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Pat, and yes thank you, I have slept better. WE came to bed quite early, about 9.30pm, and apart from one visit to the loo, I’ve spelt until now, almost 5am. I thought I’d slip on my dressing gown, make a cup of tea and have a look at any comments that have come in overnight, so here I am! I might return to bed, but once it becomes light, I prefer to sit here and just rest and watch the sunrise – I find that quite relaxing. Yes, the freshness after rain is lovely, I totally agree with you there.
      I hope you are having a lovely vacation – how kind of you to look in at my blog even though you are away from home. Thank you.

  2. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    Queen of the Night is a great favourite tulip of mine too…so rich in colour. I also love white ones. We too have had two very sunny days; today was exceptionally warm. Our garden needs a good tidy up. Husband has been working on the small front garden today and it looks much tidier but has a habit of spending a little too long so that he gets exhausted! We have lots and lots of grape hyacinths.
    Our garden furniture is quite old too, but I made ‘new’ covers for the seat cushions (from the discarded quilted bed throw when we redecorated the bedroom). Such a pretty summerhouse.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I think the first time I saw Queen of the Night tulips, Eloise, was several years ago when we were in Kent and visited Sissinghurst (National Trust) the former home, as I’m sure most people reading this will know, of the gardeners/writers Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville West. There, they created a magical garden adored by the British public and foreign visitors alike. The best way to see that garden, is from the tower, where Vita had her writing room, and from there you look down over all the garden ‘rooms’ they created. The Queen of the Night tulips had been planted in large terracotta pots and looked magnificent, a whole avenue of them.
      And, like you, I also love white tulips, but in our garden, with the cream-painted house and the cream-painted boundary wall (which needs a fresh coat of paint right now!) white tulips just don’t look as good as coloured ones. The selection I chose and which flowered last year were better than this year’s choice – my fault entirely – but even though white isn’t good, neither also is bright orange, I don’t think (they weren’t supposed to be orange!) The grape hyacinths seed themselves, as do forget-me-nots. They are everywhere, but I don’t mind them, they are so pretty! Well done on making new cushion covers from a discarded quilted bed throw – that’s economy as well as inventiveness for you!)

  3. It was a beautiful day wasn’t it Margaret, you had a busy few days with your book sorting, I am sure you enjoyed a lighter/not so busy day. Love the table cloth, so pretty, oh how I would love a summerhouse, maybe one day. I am the same orange is not a colour I am keen on either, but still a magnificent display.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      It was a glorious day, Marlene, and it’s lovely again today. I’ve heard the weather is set to go back to ‘normal’ again by Sunday so we are making the most of it. I took the books to the charity shop this morning, but more of the charity shop later (on my next post.) Yes, one day you might have a summerhouse. A project for your husband and son, perhaps?

  4. How pretty your garden table looks Margaret, especially the jug of flowers.
    I chose red and purple tulips this year but like you am not quite sure so will probably revert to my colours of previous years, that is cream and pink.
    I gave our garden furniture a good wash down yesterday and we then spent the day in the garden, mostly under the umbrella I might add as, being fair skinned and freckled, I can’t take too much sun exposure. How lucky we are to have such a taste of summer in April so I will make the most of it and spend today outdoors as well.
    By the way we also had an egg based supper yesterday, goats cheese and red pepper frittata, great minds and all that!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I love red with purple tulips, but it’s getting them to be in bloom at the same time, isn’t it? I have two colours of tulips in some of the pots, but while they were sold looking as if they flowered at the same time, this hasn’t been the case. Cream and pink look lovely, too.
      Yes, I usually sit in the shade, I have pale skin, too. Yes, lucky to have a taste of summer as early as this, but as I said to Marlene, I think by Sunday it’s set to return to ‘normal’! Your frittata sounded lovely!

  5. So lovely, Margaret. I do love your tablecloth and that jug of flowers. We still have snow! Do you keep your furniture all in the summerhouse year round? Just wondering how that works with winter weather or maybe it isn’t a problem at all!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, my goodness, Jeannine, SNOW! I do hope it vanishes quickly, snow still in late April is awful. And yes, the furniture stays in the summerhouse all year round. It is double-skinned, husband built it and insulated it very well indeed, and nothing gets damp in there. Indeed, with electricity in the little summerhouse, we could use it in the autumn and winter had we a mind to! I have used it in autumn, and it’s lovely and cosy in there, with the lamp on and a little convector heater (which you can’t see on the photograph I don’t think, it ‘lives’ under the window on the side (husband made the window himself, too, and the doors … the first pair of doors we bought from the DIY outlet, but they were internal doors and didn’t last five minutes although he gave them several coats of paint; then he decided to make his own, much more sturdy doors.) We think it might be in need of a coat of paint now, it’s eight years old but still looking good.

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