Home / articles / Frolics, Food, and Flowers

Frolics, Food, and Flowers

Pairing up

First, the “Food” part of this post

At last I have put my matching pair of Dartmouth Pottery vases to good use.  A dear friend gave me a lovely bouquet which comprised mainly spray chrysanthemums, but also included 1 spear of sweet Williams, some eucalyptus foliage, and a single red rose.

I think when such bouquets are made up for supermarkets, if they have some flowers which they think might not stay the distance, to use a horse-racing term, they pop them into bouquets with other flowers rather than discard them, and if this is the case, we the consumer are the ones who benefit.  The rose in question isn’t in either of these vases, though, but on the breakfast table, in isolated splendour, in a pretty cut glass bud vase.

I think the two arrangements – which took less than ten minutes to complete – would’ve been even better had I totally stripped the flowers from the stems, giving me an endless supply of single blooms. The downside then would’ve been very short flowers and they wouldn’t have been suitable for these quite deep vases.  (I’m now beginning to think I should’ve done what 99% of people would’ve done … popped the bouquet just as it arrived (sans cellophane wrap, of course) straight into a vase!  But I have so wanted to use these vases for their intended purpose!

Under “Flowers” I would also add that we paid a brief visit to the local garden centre yesterday and, perhaps for the first time, I was able to find all that I hoped I might get:  three heucheras, a couple of heliotrope, some white trailing lobelia, a new chives plant as Barry-the-dog has a habit of ‘watering’ the one in the garden which has ruled out using it for culinary purposes!  We also found white antirrhinums, pink antirrhinums, white cosmos, pink cosmos, a gaura lindheimeri (which has spires with pink flowers, and is a perennial) and a new hosta to add to my small hosta collection – we  were never able to grow hostas – the slugs and snails ensured that –  but since we  put them into pots, and then put sharp grit on the top of the soil, and also stood the pots on gravel, we’ve not had a problem.  I hope I’m not speaking too soon!

The first roses are appearing on Gertrude Jekyll …

And the pelargoniums by the back door are doing well …


Now to the  “Frolics” part of this post

Our little grandson had his 5th birthday party today in a local village hall (a very nice, modern village hall, I might add).  It isn’t his actual birthday until next week, but the party was held today, and it was enjoyed by all. Lots of nice things to eat, a very pretty birthday cake, and two bouncy castles (indoor variety) which the little ones really enjoyed – and music to dance (or run around!) to.  But no photos of this event as it is not my policy to show photos of our family.  You will just have to imagine 20 or so four/five/six year old, boys and girls, charging about having two hours of unmitigated fun (getting them to the tables for their tea party was, as the saying goes, like herding cats.  But eventually they all sat down and I have to say were very well-behaved.)

And finally, to the “Food” part of this post

… where you can see not only our breakfast this morning, but also the single red rose from the bouquet.

This was a simple breakfast, but one we enjoyed … porridge for husband and a warm brioche with apricot jam for me with some lovely early English strawberries, and a cup of tea.

As this was just a very light breakfast, for me in particular, we had a little mid-morning snack with a cup of tea.  Just a few Carr’s Cheese Melts with a scraping of low-fat cream cheese and a single slice of cucumber (without the skin or the seeds removed.)

Lunch was nice and simple, too.  I decided to make a tomato salad, but adding a few extra ingredients to make the salad into a full meal (and even adding a slice of ox tongue to husband’s plate, but not to my own.)

It doesn’t look a lot, does it?  But it was delicious and I felt full after eating it.  Into a bowl I put slices of ripe vine tomatoes, some chopped red onion (I only chop them when they are large and slightly woody, as some onions go – once I find small red onions, I will add them as thin slices), torn up fresh basil leaves, a couple of chopped spring onions, sea salt grains and black pepper, and then I added my own vinaigrette (the usual mixture, 3-to-1, i.e. three tablespoons of cold pressed *rapeseed oil, 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and a dash of runny honey – I didn’t add any wholegrain or Dijon mustard today – all into a screw-top jar and given a good shake) and then gave the whole lot a good mixing in the vinaigrette before piling onto our two plates. Then I added some cubes of feta cheese, cut up a single rasher of bacon, fried the small pieces until they were crisp, dried them on kitchen paper and sprinkled them over the salad. Finally, I added some salad cress, and then quickly fried some small cubes of bread in the oil in which I’d cooked the bacon and made a few croutons for each of us.  We enjoyed this with slices of bread and butter. [* good quality olive oil could be used instead]

If you want an easy, tasty summer salad, then this is it.  This is something I could eat every day in summer.

And now, as there is (yet again) nothing I wish to watch on television, I am going to read the paper and also my latest magazine which arrived this morning …

Another predominantly pink cover – very pretty and light and summery.  However, I’d rather have bedside tables (than chairs) with reading lamps and somewhere to park my glass of water, spectacles, and a book!

Have a good weekend, everyone.

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.

Check Also

Animal Magic

Yesterday, our son and grandson invited us to go to the Zoo with them.  It is only …


  1. Having a 4 year old grandson I can imagine the party scene quite well. I love seeing children having fun and listening to their laughter and chatter. There is so much sadness and angst in the world so spending time with youngsters having fun is my happy place.
    Your flowers are beautiful in their white vases and I can almost smell your tomato salad from here. Lovely!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Pieta, and I’m glad you could imagine the party scene – the children were rushing around, whooping with joy. One bouncy castle was just that, for leaping around on, and the other had a little staircase at the side and then a slide down to the bottom, and they loved that! Our son texted me after the party to say all had gone well, no child was sick or injured and they’d all enjoyed themselves! It was just so lovely to see them having such fun.
      Yes, the white vases look lovely with flowers in them, and I think they will look good at Christmas, with greenery in them.

  2. Good morning Margaret, I think the flowers look very striking in the vases and how nice that you have finally been able to use them. Yes you could have just simply placed the whole bouquet in one vase but this way you have three floral decorations instead of just one.
    I have to confess that I much prefer summer eating in general and your salad looks delicious, the combination of tomato, feta and basil is a particular favourite of mine and something I dream about in the depths of winter when the weather is dreary and tomatoes, on the whole, are tasteless.
    I am up early this morning, it’s a beautiful morning here in East Anglia, and I struggle to stay in bed once it’s light, so the small dog has been for her constitutional and the bird feeders have been filled up. All the feeders hang in our apple tree and the birds are so tame that they sit now and wait in the branches whilst I do the top-ups. Only downside was that I spotted a casualty laying in the grass, a small rabbit had obviously been caught by one of the foxes and the remains left on our lawn, I’m not particularly squeamish but thought I might have a cup of tea or two before I tackle that!
    Hope you enjoy your Sunday Margaret, we have no plans to go out so will have a gentle, pottering type day, I will listen to the Archers omnibus and no doubt at some point the cricket will magically appear on the television ☺️

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, I’m like that, Elaine … in the depths of winter, when we’re living on a diet of casseroles and baked potatoes, thinking of tomato salad with succulent tasty tomatoes and fresh basil! I’m like a cat with cat nip when I smell fresh basil, I just love it!
      Sadly, we aren’t have a nice morning here, it’s dull, grey and wet! But we need the rain, for it’s not rained in a while and even this morning it’s not really rain just a dampness in the air.
      Oh, that paints a lovely picture, with the birds in the apple tree, waiting for their breakfast! But a nasty clear-up job to start the day, too. Nature raw in tooth and claw
      Today, we’re going to elder son and daughter in law and grandson’s home for lunch (with other family relations of daughter in law) and I’ve promised I will make a lemon drizzle cake, so had better get into the kitchen! I’ve never listened to The Archers. I once tried it, but it wasn’t for me, but I can imagine the attraction, the lives of so many characters – and the scenery, so I once read, is so much better on the radio!

      • I first remember listening to the Archers when I went to stay with my grandparents as a teenager Margaret, it was a ritual of theirs to listen in after lunch and it’s the only soap that I have followed regularly since. It brings back so many memories of being with them and in the snug, cosiness of their home.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          That is such a lovely memory for you, Elaine … listening to the Archers with your grandparents. Do you also remember Mrs Dale’s Diary, or perhaps you are not sufficiently old enough for your memory to go back that far! I caught onto this when I was having bed-rest with a threatened miscarriage in 1969, just before the BBC axed the programme and it was replaced by a serial called Waggoner’s Walk (which, I might add, didn’t last very long, even though I enjoyed it!) I seldom listen to the radio thee days, it’s just a habit I have got out of. I used to have the radio tuned permanently to Radio 4.

          • Sorry, I don’t recall Mrs Dale’s Diary, I am 54 so perhaps a little young for that one. We listen to a lot of radio in our house and especially like the plays and comedy programmes on R4extra, it’s good to turn the television off in the evenings and spend it listening to the radio instead.

          • Margaret Powling
            Margaret Powling

            Oh, you’re only a spring chicken, Elaine, not an old boiler like me! I am 74 this year, so little wonder you don’t recall darling Mrs Dale who was always “worried about Jim”, aka her husband Doctor Dale! Indeed, “I’m worried about Jim” became something of a national catch-phrase. I must remember to turn on the radio more often – I used to love I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue in the days of Humphrey Littelton.

  3. You are as far away from being an old boiler as anyone could be Margaret, good taste and style is timeless after all!

  4. The colours of each of the flowers (and foliage) in those photos are stunning – so bright and so clear. I can see why spring is such a special time for those who live in countries where the winters are long and cold. As if the emphasise the contrast to my life here in Australia, a group of kookaburras (I don’t know if there is a collective noun) are making a racket outside. As if on cue ha ha. It is a late autumn day for us and I’m wearing knee length shorts, tshirt and a light scarf. The sky is dull overhead and looks like we may get some rain.

    Your salad lunch looks delicious. I also love the taste and smell of bacon cooking but we try not to eat it very often. Why is it that the yummy things in life are either fattening or no good for us – or both. 🙂

    I agree with your comment about the bedside tables. Chairs may look pretty but not very practical. But then I suppose the stylists who design the displays for the photos in magazines aim for just that – style. I also enjoy looking at rooms, fashions, etc in magazines and online (such as Pinterest). Style and practicality don’t always go hand in hand. Kitchens with vast amounts of benchspace and no day-to-day clutter are usually just for the magazines. I like everything clean and tidy but also like my home to be comfortable.

    I’m glad your grandson’s birthday party was fun and respect your decision not to include photos in your post.

    ps I agree with Elaine’s comments – you are not an old boiler. Thank you for another lovely post to read.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, Lara, I wish we could get away with wearing knee-length shorts in autumn! You would feel very cold here in autumn, I’m sure! Yes, this is no doubt why we long for the spring after the length of autumn and winter, for our year might technically be chopped up into four parts – spring, summer, autumn, winter – but it’s more like two seasons, winter and July! Glad you like the photos of the flowers, etc.
      Yes, looking at homes in magazines is fun, even the very grand ones that we can’t possibly aspire to, but there are ideas for colour schemes and furniture placements, etc, or using old things in new ways (popular recently has been old wooden ladders as towel racks, and an old trunk for a coffee table, not to mention piles of old suitcases stacked up … all three are now interior design clichés, I think. Oh, and there’s the large ‘gold’ initials, possibly representing the owners of the house, and something which is totally ridiculous – books organized by colour!)

  5. Yes, I’ve giggled at the concept of organising books by colour ! 😉

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I saw this, yet again, only this week, when there was an article on TV personality/explorer, Ben Fogle, and his wife photographed in their home in front of a bookcase of colour co-ordinated books… one shelf yellow, the next green, the next red and the next blue (well, not sure of the order, but you get the picture!) How do people find books when they’re not in alphabetical order by author, or if non-fiction, not in sections, such as history, biography, art, topography, etc? Next, they will arrange them by size! I did this when I was a child, from largest to smallest, but I’ve grown up since then!

  6. May I join the conversation about Mrs Dale’s Diary? I’m slightly younger than Elaine, so don’t remember it, but have always been curious…so I have searched Amazon, where I found several books related to the series, which I shall read with relish. I do, however, feel a little middle-aged in clearly recalling Dan and Doris Archer. If I remember rightly, the actress who played Doris, Gwen Berryman, lived for several years in the apartments near the Grand Hotel in Torquay.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Samantha, and yes you are right, Gwen Berryman lived in the apartments next to the Grand Hotel on Torquay sea front. I have never listened to the Archers, but I can understand how people enjoy this programme. Torbay has been host to a number of celebrities, 1950s/1960s entertainer, Max Bygraves, had a house in the Bay, also 1950s/1960s singer, Ruby Murray, and also the couple who will be forever known as The Krankies, and the twins who, with their older sister made up the singing trio of The Beverley Sisters also have (or had) a flat in the Bay.
      I hadn’t realized that any books had been written about Mrs Dale’s Diary, no doubt early radio tie-ins. I hope you enjoy them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *