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Friday Sunshine and Shopping

I was up with the larks again this morning, made my first pot of coffee of the day as it grew light outside, and at around 5.45am this (above) was the view over the sea … a glorious pink morning.  I watched as the sky changed, first to deepest pink, and then to burnished gold.


Isn’t Nature’s paintbrush wonderful? 

Sunshine on this little Oriental  figure on the mantelpiece in the sitting room (and please overlook the splatters of wax on the mirror from the candle!  I keep intending to remove this! Indeed, it wasn’t until during the week that I noticed it!)

I suggested to husband that we did the shopping early and so we were up and out of the house by 8.15, joining people in cars going to work and parents taking children to school.

I had my List with me, and we weren’t long going around the supermarket.  I wonder if you always take a List?  And, if so, how do you arrange it?  I have a magnetic pad which I keep attached to the fridge and when I finish something or something is running low, I scribble it on the pad and then before I go shopping I  transfer the items to my typed list (which I keep on computer file) removing some items I don’t need, adding those I do need, and printing it.

I write the List in the order in which we navigate the store; I find this is the best way for me although I’m sure others might do it differently, perhaps writing the items under section headings, such as Veg, Fruit, Dairy, Meat, Household, etc.

I love rubber-necking, seeing what’s in the trolleys of other shoppers.  Here are today’s purchases, plus the milk (already in the fridge), ice cream (already in the freezer), the ‘free’ newspaper, and the baguette, Marlborough buns, and a croissant for my breakfast tomorrow.  Under the bacon is a chicken breast which can be roasted or I will cut it in half and make two separate meals from it.  Treats today are the Belvoir (for those not in the UK, this ‘Belvoir’ is pronounced ‘beever’) Ginger Beer and a bar of Lindt chocolate for me and hazelnut chocolate for husband.  (All these goods are now either in the fridge, freezer or larder.)  We collected our ‘free’ newspaper and also a ‘free’ cup of coffee each, now using our re-usable coffee cups.

From Waitrose we drove to the Rowcroft Hospice Boutique (this now has an eBay shop, too!) where I handed over several bags of books.  I wished I’d had more time to browse, but husband was parked on double yellows outside and the traffic wardens are like mustard, or so we’ve been reliably informed, so I quickly took some photos, and then the lovely Manager and one of the volunteers asked – as I was taking the photos for my blog post – if I would like to take a photo of them to include with those of the boutique?  Of course, and here they are …


The staff of this charity shop are a delight, so welcoming and friendly. And then I asked where the books had disappeared to?  The area where they usually were had been filled with other things …

They then said, “Haven’t you seen our back room, then?” which is where the items brought in by the generous public used to be sorted, and this has now been transformed into a room for menswear, books, DVDs and CDs. Indeed, I photographed the Manager and her volunteer in front of the books, DVDs and CDs.

I loved one item in this room, but even if I had wanted to spend £180 on it (because it is brand new) I wouldn’t have had anywhere to put it.  But my goodness, it is so stylish …

If you had a neutrally coloured room, this would look stunning, would it not?  Or perhaps in a large bath/shower room decorated mainly in black and white, or with navy blue walls, this would add a zing of colour (that’s my version of “pop” of colour, which is now a dreadful cliché!) and somewhere to sit as you dried your feet or painted your nails!

All the displays are so attractive, I just wanted to spend more time there, but I could imagine husband chomping at the bit in the car …



As you can see it’s not your average charity shop! And the window – which admittedly is difficult to photograph because of reflections – now advertises that M E N are well-catered for …

I’m so sorry about all those reflections – I tried various angles, but nothing prevented them, unfortunately

While I was cleaning out the fridge and then packing the food away, there was a delivery of a book (when is there not a delivery of a book?)  Another for the To Be Read pile.

And the flowers today … red freesias which I trust will be scented, unlike the cerise ones bought last week, and also sweet Williams (below) which I have put in the sitting room.  Unfortunately, these have little-to-no-scent, which strikes me as strange – perhaps, although it says “Display until 21st” they are really a little old now, and their scent has disappeared?  I should’ve bought the white stocks which had a glorious scent!   Mea culpa!

The freesias are on the kitchen table, and I hope when they open up they will look and smell wonderful … (sadly, melons just aren’t very photogenic!)

As well as shopping and putting all the food away, I quickly made us a snack lunch which we had in the garden – the 2nd portion of watercress soup from the freezer (I would say that this soup does not freeze well and although it tastes the same, the colour changes to a slightly muddy colour, so I’d not advise freezing it) and baguettes with cheese and olives.

I have also phoned our painter (he painted the gable ends of our house the year before last) and left a message – we would like him to paint our garden boundary wall; and also I have phoned Oven Kleen, and booked to have our oven cleaned next Friday.  Hard to believe that it’s eight months since this was done.  I wipe the oven out after use, but having it professionally cleaned periodically keeps it looking good and hygienic.

I am now going to make a pot of tea and have it in the summerhouse.

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. Hello Margaret,
    Being up at the crack of dawn is magical I think, everything calm and quiet, before the hustle and bustle begins. I did an early morning shop today as well, and think I will more often now, yes the traffic may be busy but the shop was quieter. That is a very smart charity shop, I wonder if they read your blog?

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, you are right, Marlene – being up at the crack of dawn is truly magical (on a lovely calm and quiet morning.) I don’t even mind the sound of a few cars going up the road, early workers making their way from home to work, or night workers returning home. When we got to Waitrose at around 8.30 am, even though it is a Friday the car park was almost empty, we had a complete choice of where we would park, and the shop was quiet – so lovely to walk around in the coolness of the shop, all the shelves filled, and the store almost to ourselves!
      I have no idea if the charity shop people read my blog – I did mention the blog title, so they might have a look-see.

  2. I always go shopping with a list Margaret, this is initially started off on the blackboard in the kitchen and then the night before we are due to shop I transfer everything onto a notepad, in the order that everything can be found in the shop. I also make a rough meal plan for the week ahead and make sure that I have all the ingredients needed for that. It might sound a bit of a faff but has worked well for me over the years.
    I can see why you were so drawn to that seat, what wonderful colours and how stylish, lovely.
    The volunteers at the hospice shop obviously take a lot of pride in their displays and interior, well organised and colour coordinated, much easier to find a little bit of treasure I would imagine!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      It’s best to be organized, isn’t it, Elaine? Your jotting down on a blackboard is similar to my jotting down on my magnetic notepad (no room for a blackboard). I have a main list on my computer and, as I say, I just change it a bit to accommodate what I require that week. Anyway, your system works for you, and my system works for me, which is all that matters. I don’t tend to meal-plan; I used to years ago, but now we have more or less what we fancy, day to day, and when for example, I’ve roasted a chicken, then the next day it will be chicken curry or a pasta dish with chicken or a Caesar salad (but using the cooked chicken.)
      The hospice shop looks lovely. I really should take a long view of the shop’s interior, but I do my best not to capture on camera members of the public shopping in there. Yes, they take a great pride in the displays, both in the windows and in the shop.

  3. Margaret, your sunrise pictures take my breath away! I’m a morning person, too, and I can’t tell you how much I enjoy seeing “your” sun! Lovely!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Beth, and I hope that ‘my’ sun shines on you today, too! I love early mornings. Today dawned bright and clear and we decided to go to our local garden centre not only for a couple of plants but also for breakfast … but more of that on my next post, perhaps. And as soon as we left the house the rain clouds gathered … Still, we’ve had two sunny days! And now, 2.20 pm on Saturday afternoon, it’s bright and sunny once more and I’m just taking a break from sorting out paperwork at my desk, getting rid of hundreds of bits and pieces, a good clear out of ‘stuff’!

  4. Margaret Robinson

    Love reading your blog (and it can alway be helpful as well). However, I never knew you could actually hire someone to clean your store/oven. That is amazing and ever so nice to have done. In California I guess we’ve just never thought of that and with a lot of people now having “self-cleaning” ovens, suppose the idea gets lost, but wow! that would be so nice to have a service like that.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Margaret. Yes, there are professional oven cleaners in the UK and these have been plying their trade for a number of years. Some ovens are self-clean (some carbonize the dirt, others steam it off.) I have a self-clean facility, I put water in the bottom of the oven with a little washing up liquid and set the oven to steam for about 15 minutes, but then you have to wipe it all out, and while it does a good interim job, it’s nothing like as good as when the professional oven cleaner comes and the oven looks new after he’s done his work. It costs about £70 to have it done, but it’s well worth it twice a year.

  5. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    I am a writer of shopping lists, but too often forget to take them with me! I do a main shop once a month and top up (again too often) during the in-between weeks. The main shop is easy without a list as it comprises staples and I know exactly the quantities for the month. I tend to not shop with specific meals in mind as I try to make use of what is on offer, and when cod loin or salmon is reduced, I buy extra for the freezer.
    Now that we have no M&S I find myself making fewer impulse purchases which can only be a good thing both for purse and waistline!
    Sweet Williams look so prettily old fashioned; my mother used to grow them when I was a child. I’ve always thought how I’d love to fill a large vase with freesias – a great big bunch. Can you imagine the cost?
    The colourful seat would not suit my decor but I can imagine it in an ultra modern ‘loft’ type apartment. Our local charity shops are not half so lovely as yours.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Speaking of freesias in a huge bunch, when I was a girl of about 11 or 12 and living with my parents in our newsagent’s shop, one of the customers, a Mrs Seaton, had a brother who grew freesias and when they came into bloom she would come into the shop with an armful – yes, an armful – of them for my mother! I’ve never seen such freesias since, they were wonderful, long stemmed and huge blooms and can you imagine the scent! But today, a small bunch is £4, so to fill a vase for the week would be very expensive indeed!
      The charity shop which I have photographed on several occasions now is rather special, most of them are not as wonderful as this. Although, having said that, this charity has other shops in the area and they are all very good ones, but each with a style of its own.
      I couldn’t shop once a month for the staples because our house isn’t large enough to have space to store them, so we go about once a week. Oh, for a pantry or even a utility room where I could store piles of loo rolls, kitchen rolls, boxes of cereals, tinned tomatoes, etc, the things we need all the time!
      No, the seat wouldn’t ‘go’ in our home either; indeed, I’m surprised at the price tag even though it’s new, as I’m sure there are few people with a home plain enough to require such a brightly upholstered piece of furniture. I would’ve thought £60 would’ve been nearer the mark, myself, regardless of it’s original price tag.

  6. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    Oh an armful of freesias. How wonderful….and the smell…..I’m dreaming of them!!
    I used to have a pantry. Well, technically I still do but it is no longer accessible as we had the wall altered to make a recess for the fridge freezer.
    Agreed, not many peop,e could accommodate the colourful seat.

  7. I was delighted when I opened your website this morning and saw SIX posts to read. Where have I been the past few days that I’d missed them ?? I’d love to say I’d been overseas or camping in the desert (although ‘glamoing’ would be more my style) or on a five star yoga health retreat but alas, no. I think I’ve been using my iPad less and simply doing other stuff 🙂

    Yes I always take a list when shopping. Every time. Without fail. Otherwise you spend more and come home with bits and pieces you don’t need. I keep a piece of paper attached to the side of the fridge and we write items on it as we run out or run low. Then that piece of paper is taken to the supermarket. Like Elaine, I have two or three meals planned for the week ahead and ensure I buy whatever ingredients I need to make those. Unlike you, we rarely have leftovers (except for when I purposely make extra portions) as husband is a big eater. Dinner leftovers are often eaten for lunch the following day. His work is very physical, he exercises daily and his family are all big eaters (despite none of them being overweight).

    I used to write items out in the order they were stocked in the supermarket when I first left home – many many moons ago – as I didn’t drive and my then-partner did the ‘big’ shopping run and would often come home without items, hence listing items in that order as a way to help him. But as I do 99.99% of the grocery shopping, the current scheme is fine.

    My other important strategy is to never shop when hungry ! Or else you end up with chocolate biscuits, snacks and all other sorts of junk in your trolley. And if it’s in my kitchen I MUST eat it. I have nooooo willpower at all to resist once it’s on my property ha ha.

    Thank you for the beautiful photos of the charity shop. It is certainly not your typical op shop ! I love that little couch. Oh I would paw over everything in that place. It is all,set out so beautifully and I love that you photographed the staff. They were both dressed very stylishly 🙂

    Well it’s 7:07am and I’m hungry – I can’t blame your food photos this time – so I must get out of bed, make my breakfast and get the washing machine going as I have to be early today for a doctors appointment some distance away. I’ll look forward to binge reading your other posts when I return home later this morning 🙂

    ps we were up at 4:30am yesterday (25 April) to attend our local ANZAC Day Dawn Service with my 91yo father-in-law who is a WW2 veteran. It was a glorious dawn indeed. A chorus from kookaburras accompanied the official speakers and members of the large flying fox (bat) community were flying overhead, returning home from a night’s foraging. After several days of on/off heavy showers we were extremely grateful it stayed dry for us during the service. Lest We Forget.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Lara, and thank you for all your comments, especially the ANZAC Day Doan Service. I should’ve remembered it was ANZAC Day. Yes, Lest We Forget. I believe that the Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall laid a wreath to commemorate this special day yesterday, I caught sight of a TV report, but it was at the end of the report so missed most of it.

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