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Sunday – A Busy Day


Retirement isn’t all gadding about, visiting garden centres, or having coffee in our favourite hotel on the sea front.  Oh, my dearie me, no.  There are jobs to be tackled, housekeeping to attend to, meals to be made and, for husband, painting and decorating, washing the car (he will not take it to the car wash; I think he actually enjoys doing it, men love playing with water, don’t they?) and, of course, the lion’s share of the gardening.

We awakened to sunny skies but by the time I’d laid the table in the garden for breakfast, the wind was strengthening and grey clouds were appearing.  Nonetheless we had breakfast in the garden …

Fruit to start – melon, grapes, pineapple and raspberries with a sliver or two of stem ginger.  After which we had …

Tomatoes and bacon on toast.  I actually fried the tomatoes this morning rather than grilling (broiling) them, hence the rather burnt look to them, but they tasted lovely. And coffee to drink.  By the time we’d had this we didn’t even want any toast and marmalade.

Husband then continued scraping the old paint off the garage door in readiness for re-painting, and I cleared up the kitchen, set the dishwasher to work, put a 30 minute wash load into the washing machine, and then changed the bed linen …


It will be so nice to get in between clean sheet and duvet this evening, and clean pillow cases. Of course, I never allow them to get what I would call ‘dirty’, they are changed too regularly for that, and I change the pillow cases mid-week, too.

We have single duvets on a double bed, hence a little ‘bump’ in the middle of the bed where the two duvets meet and also, we have one of those modern mattresses with a foam top, one you can’t turn, so after almost three years’ usage there are two slight “wells” where each of us lies, and I can do nothing about this – if it was a turn-able mattress, this wouldn’t happen.  But there again, a mattress is now far too heavy for us to turn; we simply haven’t the strength to do this, so perhaps a good thing it’s a non-turn-able mattress!

By now the 30 minute wash load was complete and so I hung that on the line and  put in another 30 minute load (the first was a dark-coloured load, the second a light-coloured load) after which I put the bed linen to wash, which is a 2 hour cycle;  this is why I do that last -I like to get the short loads done first so that they can be drying.

While the washing was chugging away in the machine, I decided to continue my work in the study.  I cleaned, tidied and weeded the little cupboard next to where I sit.  I found things in it I didn’t know were there!  I was as ruthless as I could be, but even so, I kept several files of greetings cards and letters.  The cupboard is now looking much tidier and no longer do things fall out when I open the door to look for the Sellotape …

I really don’t know why I’ve kept all those Lyle Golden Syrup tins, but they were special editions, and I kept thinking I would use them for bulbs for the spring.  I must remember when I buy bulbs in the autumn that I still intend to do this!  I think they would look pretty with a white hyacinth bulb in each, or perhaps purple crocus.

I made a salad for lunch – shredded lettuce, salad cress, watercress, new potatoes, slices of ham, tomatoes, coleslaw and houmous, after which I decided to tackle the ironing.  The laundry basket was already full, and there was also the washing I’d done this morning and line-dried.  So out came the ironing board, iron, and lavender laundry spray.  I timed myself, just for fun, and although I wasn’t racing the clock, it took me just an hour to complete the ironing:  12 shirts (mine and husband’s) and Breton tops of various kinds, including two of my nightshirts …

Then 5 pairs of jeans and chinos, a tablecloth, and a few sundry items.  And then I put all the ironed laundry away, and the basket is now empty … well, apart from the bed linen which I will bring in from the line shortly.

And so, we’ve both had a busy day.  But there is a degree of satisfaction having done some jobs which I’ve been putting off for ages; cleaning and tidying can be very cathartic.  There are still many jobs to do after we have allowed things to slide during the prolonged winter months when we tend to go into a state of semi-hibernation – the garden, yet more cupboards and our wardrobes, the windows on the inside, the Venetian blinds – but there will always be those jobs, won’t there?  Housekeeping is an ongoing process and this is why, in many ways, I actually enjoy it, for there is little point in resenting the activities which make the place in which we live as clean and comfortable as possible.

I am happy to report that the red freesias are opening up nicely, and while their scent isn’t as strong as the white freesias of a couple of weeks’ ago,  it is very pleasant.

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. Freesias are my husband’s favourite flower but it’s not always easy to get scented ones nowadays is it? I do try though.

    I did lots of cleaning and tidying yesterday after having family to stay for two nights – two small girls make a lot of mess! And I’ve been keeping up with the washing while it’s been dry, although one lot did get wet on Saturday afternoon when we had an unscheduled shower. I got it back out later and dried it though.

    I don’t enjoy housework but I don’t like looking at muddles and mess so I just get on with it. At least nowadays the house stays tidy for a bit longer than it did when I had children at home!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      You are right, Alison … the scent, as with roses, appears to have been bred out of freesias, which is so sad. Scent is such an important part of these lovely flowers.
      You, too, have been busy then, cleaning and tidying after your family has been to stay. It’s lovely to see family but it’s also nice to return to a slower pace of life, isn’t it?
      Yes, housework can seem relentless at times, and it is. I can’t say I’d not prefer to sit and read rather than clean the kitchen or vacuum the carpets (actually, husband does much of the vacuuming) but I like to see the place clean and tidy and resenting doing this makes me all the more miserable, so I’ve attempted (not always succeeded, mind!) to change my attitude. The work is still the same, but I don’t mind doing it quite so much now, especially when (a) it stays clean and tidy longer as our children are no longer at home (they have homes of their own to run) and (b) I can really see a difference after I’ve done some housekeeping and our home looks all the better for my efforts.

  2. Freesias are my favourites. I dearly love the scent and they are just so very pretty. They rank alongside lily of the valley, sweet peas and lavender – all beautifully scented and very attractive.
    J x

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, you have picked my favourites in the flower world, too, and I love the delicate scent or peonies, too. Oh, and what about old-fashioned garden pinks, they have a lovely scent, too.

  3. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    Those freesias are an amazing colour; beautiful.
    It is very satisfying to sort, clear and tidy cupboards. If I am feeling particularly stressed about something, I find it a good antidote.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      The freesias have opened out even more and are stunning, so beautiful (ha ha … beautiful, see my reply to your comment on Books & Covers). Yes, cleaning and sorting out have therapeutic qualities, antidotes to stress.

  4. Your table settings are always so pretty, Margaret. And good on you for pushing through and eating breakfast outside.

    Your bedroom and bedding looks very cosy. I like having good quality bedding, too. Each set of sheets, doona cover, pillowcases, etc I’ve bought when on sale or when I’ve saved up the money for and always bought the best I could afford at the time. It has repaid in spades as it has all lasted well – considering how many hundreds of times it has been washed. I have two lovely white pillowslips with a small panel of white (machine stitched) embroidery which belonged to my great grandmother. I don’t think she ever used them but I have used (and washed) them regularly on my pillow for many years. They are only now started to look a bit worn if you look closely but I didn’t want to store them, only to bring them out years later to find them moth-eaten or ruined by those awful ‘rust spots’.

    I admit I’m not one for ironing. When I would wear long-sleeved buttoned shirts for work in the winter months I would grizzle to myself at the effort involved. I don’t miss it, that’s for sure !

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      That’s a new word for me, “doona”, which I think is our “duvet” (pronounced the French way, doo-vay.) Yes, good bed linen really does repay in spades, as you say. Ours are pure cotton. I love the sound of your pillowslips with embroidery. I had some in the 1960s but they are long gone, sadly, but they were so pretty. I don’t enjoy ironing, but husband does a lot of it, especially the bed linen.

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