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A Busy Saturday

While husband helped elder son finish off his fence repairs today – at first our son was only going to replace panels that had blown down in the winter storms, but then decided to replace the whole fence – and as it was a dull, chilly morning, unsuitable for gardening (well, unsuitable for me for gardening!) – I decided to do some housekeeping.

I’ve started the post with a photo (above) of ‘my’ end of the bench which is wall-to-wall in our shared study (window above the monitor looks due West; to my right as I sit at my computer, there are patio doors which give onto our back garden, which faces due North.)

As you can see – well, I hope you can! – I am keeping it all tidy.  The roses have been moved from the bedroom – I often move flowers around the house, depending on where I am at the time, especially if I have fewer flowers than usual in the house (as is the case at the moment.)

The lamp is one which I used to have on the kitchen windowsill, along with it’s partner which is now in our bedroom, on the dressing chest.  Therefore, I thought I’d have it here in the study instead, as we already have two table lamps in the kitchen, as well as overhead lights. and worktop lights.  But as this is quite a small lamp (I’m not keen on small lamps – you often see rooms in magazines which are beautiful but for the tiddly lamps, or paintings hung far too high up a wall  – but these were purchased for a windowsill, hence their small stature) I’ve put it on the wicker basket.

Anyway, I moved all the items off the bench/desk, wiped it down with a damp cloth and then gave it a good spraying with Pledge and buffed it to a nice shine.  I also cleaned the windowsill and the edges of the bookshelves, so all is now clean and tidy once more.

As well as cleaning the study, I changed the bed linen (I do this each weekend and change the pillow cases half way through the week, too) and cleaned our bedroom, then the kitchen, and then the shower room.  We had a ham and salami salad for lunch when husband returned from elder son’s house (only to return to son’s after lunch) and I also hung out washing to dry once the dampness in the air gave way to some late afternoon sunshine.

Around 4 o’clock I decided I’d done enough, and sat down with a cup of tea and a slice of McVitie’s ginger cake …

and I enjoyed reading a few chapters of the 1940s’ crime novel Fire in the Thatch, one of the British Library Crime Classic titles.

As well as this book, which I’m enjoying (even though it’s obviously written in a more stilted style than novels being written today; I can’t imagine people speaking as they do in this book, but of course, in those days people were much more formal and weren’t on first name terms right away as they often are today; there are also descriptions using words that have fallen from favour, but overall, a good read) I took delivery this morning of this book, recommended to me by novelist, Judith Lennox.

I had written to Judith,  telling her how much I had enjoyed her latest book, Hidden Lives, and asking her whether or not the houses in that book had been inspired by the  Modernist house, The Homewood, now a National Trust Property?

I found that the descriptions of the houses (for there are two in Judith’s book)  uncannily like The Homewood, right down to the main rooms being on the upper floor, and a colonnade under the house, even the colours of the furnishings.  But no, Judith kindly responded, the Homewood wasn’t her inspiration, but instead when she was researching her previous novel, The Jeweller’s Wife, a pair of houses she saw at that time, in quite a different part of the country, inspired the Modernist houses in her latest novel.

But what she did tell me was that the house in an earlier novel, One Last Dance, was inspired by Coleton Fishacre (again, National Trust) which isn’t far away from where we live.  And yet I’d not recognised its from the book!

And now I’m going to return to the sitting room and read – I shall give The Eurovision Song Contest a miss!  Surely, it’s not really ‘cool’ to win this?  Or perhaps I’m mistaken, and it’s the pinnacle of achievement!

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. Another one here avoiding the Eurovision! We’ll be watching the last of Britain’s Most Historic Towns at 8pm. Staying nearer to your part of the world this week Margaret, having a good time so far but tired with all the walking and fresh sea air 🙂

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, I might watch that programme, too, Alison. So glad you are enjoying yourself in our area, Alison! The sea air will make you tired!

  2. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    I wonder if ANYONE watches the Eurovision nowadays, and yet it was a real highlight when I was a little girl. I watched it when Sandie Shaw sang Puppet on a String and soon learned all the odds, singing it endlessly!
    I enjoyed visiting Coleton Fishacre when I went some years ago. How nice that Judith Lennox responded to you. I wrote a few years ago when I was studying to Dr David Crystal, author of more than 100 books on language and he sent me a lovely, very encouraging reply.
    It’s been quite chilly here today but I’ve had plenty of jobs to do, though I didn’t get around to the ironing as planned.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, it was THE prog to watch when we were young, wasn’t it? The first time I saw it, in the late 1950s, a married pair of singers called Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson (who sound like the dancing couple in Hi-de-Hi!) sang a silly number called “Sing Little Birdie” and it was truly awful (not sure if it won, I don’t think so, but fewer countries took part in those days.) Then of course we had Sandie Shaw with Puppet on a String, and Lulu with Boom Bang a Bang, and Brotherhood of Man with something or other, and of course, Cliff with Congratulations. What was different, regardless of how awful the songs were, is that the songs, for the most part, were sing-able. Now most singers sound like someone’s trodden on the cat. Loads of screeching.
      Best was Abba with Waterloo. They were a breath of fresh air. I loved Abba songs, better than the Beatles in my opinion. They might’ve looked ridiculous in their silly outfits, and their lyrics didn’t make any sense (for the most part), but oh, the songs were wonderful.
      Yes, it was kind of Judith to reply to my query. I really enjoy her books.

  3. The Homewood is quite a bleak Modernist house definitely showing signs of wear and tear (it is tenanted by a young family) and situated on a very busy road that runs between Cobham and Esher. I did not much care for it, although the garden in the autumn when the acers are on fire is wonderful. Talking of acers the garden and grounds of Endsleigh House Hotel near Tavistock is one of the best places to see acers in a beautifully quiet setting. We went for lunch on my birthday on 29 October a couple of years ago and it was quite magical. Alexandra Harris is a favourite non-fiction writer. She wrote ’ Weatherland” and also a very accessible biography of Virginia Woolf and grew up a few miles from where we now live. I agree about tiddly lamps and splashed out on a new pair of bedside lamps yesterday that stand around 50cm tall. Our new house is taking shape according to our taste and it was a huge relief when the electrician came on Friday to remove several not to our taste light fittings including the huge ceiling fan light and chrome wall lights in the bedroom which we’ve replaced with a simple shaded pendant (ivory linen) and bedside lamps (painted wood candlestick design with linen shades). I am enjoying sourcing new and secondhand items and my best buy so far is a pair of new Nina Campbell linen curtains (Hollybrook fabric in blue) from a local antiques place that fit perfectly the window in a guest bedroom. I used to love Eurovision as a child but have not watched it for decades. Open Mills day today so we shall be cycling to a couple of local mills. Hope the sun is shining in Devon too.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you for telling us about The Homewood, Sarah. I have only the NT guide book and, obviously, from your experience the reality leaves much to be desired. I know of Endsleigh and how Olga Polizzi transformed it into a lovely country house hotel, but we’ve never been there, but thanks for your recommendation regarding seeing the acers there. Also thank you for your endorsement of the books of Alexandra Harris, whom I’d not previously heard of.
      So glad you are now settling into your new home, and changing those light fittings will make a huge difference. And what a bargain, to find Nina Campbell fabric curtains, 2nd hand, which fit perfectly one of your home’s windows! Yes, the sun is shining here in Devon, too!

  4. Eurovision isn’t such a big deal in Australia although I understand interest has increased following the addition of Australian entrants in recent years. Mind you, it could be immensely popular and I’m just not in the loop 🙂 ABBA were very popular here in the late 1970s and many people associate them with Eurovision. (ABBA and their music had a resurgence during the mid 1990s as a result of two Australian films, ‘Muriel’s Wedding’ and ‘The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert’, both of which had soundtracks which featured many ABBA hits).

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I didn’t know that Eurovision reached as far as Australia until my cousin emailed to say that Australia was in it! I think it’s cheesy to the point of embarrassing! The total opposite of chic-ness, indeed, not only would I not want to be in it, I’d certainly not want to win it, ha ha! I never watched the films you mentioned although I know of them, and I certainly never went to see Mamma Mia (the film) as I didn’t wish to see Meryl Streep cavorting with Pierce Brosnan. Conversely, I love Abba music!

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