Home / articles / A Lazy Bank Holiday

A Lazy Bank Holiday

We woke up early this morning.  Very early.  Four thirty three to be precise.  The birds were singing and husband made us a cup of tea.  We sat in bed listening to the dawn chorus until gulls decided they’d had enough of the sweet chirruping and started their raucous screeching.  But that is to be expected if you live close to the sea! Songbirds are no match for seagulls!

By six o’clock the sky was blue and we were showered and dressed.  It was lovely being up before the world and his wife; as I’ve said before, there is nothing like the early morning light in spring and summer.  I made the bed and then made breakfast.

Had it been a little later in the morning, we might’ve had breakfast outside but the sunlight hadn’t yet made its way around to where we sit close to the summerhouse, so we had breakfast in the kitchen:  fruit juice (apple for husband, clementine for me); fruit (melon, pineapple, raspberry, strawberry and banana, with a few slivers of stem ginger on top); egg & toast for husband and a warm brioche with blackcurrant jam for me; and tea.  A nice easy breakfast.

My plan was to do gardening, but it became too hot rather quickly, so instead I decided to take things relatively easy.  I went through the house, simply tidying up, straightening the sofa cushions, putting away shoes, taking out the old newspapers to the re-cycling boxes, changing the water in the flower vases, and hanging out bed linen to line-dry – it had been washed late yesterday evening. I didn’t do any actual cleaning today, but it’s surprising how things can become slightly messy looking if you don’t keep on top of putting things away, and so this was just half an hour of tidying up today.  Then I read the paper, with coffee to drink, in the summerhouse.

Eventually, it was time to pop a chicken in the oven to roast and, while it was roasting, I prepared some vegetables – just a few small new potates (halved), a large carrot, cut up; a couple of small parsnips, a couple of shallots, and four radishes.  As *white turnips are no longer available and as large radishes are very similar in taste, I decided to roast them with the other veg and they were delicious!  I par-boil the potatoes just for 5 minutes, drain them, add the rest of the prepared vegetable to the saucepan, add a splash of rapeseed oil and salt and pepper, and then pop them onto a roasting tin and cook them for 1/2 hr in a hot oven just before serving.  I also made gravy and sage & onion stuffing to go with the roast chicken, over which I sprinkled dried oregano, and this made a nice easy lunch.

[*When I enquired, a few weeks about white turnips in the supermarket – as none were on display – I was told it wasn’t now the season for root vegetables, but this seemed strange when parsnips and carrots were in plentiful supply!]

I served some slices of roast chicken with some stuffing and a little gravy, putting the rest of the gravy into the gravy boat, and popped all the veg into a small tureen, and sprinkled over chopped parsley and mint.  (We had a dessert, which I’ve not photographed:  some Eton mess ice cream with fresh strawberries, which we had in the summerhouse.)

After I’d cleared up the kitchen we spent the rest of the afternoon in the summerhouse. Indeed, having got up so very early we were both flagging and so we swapped the two chairs in the summerhouse for the steamer chairs in which we could lie back and snooze.

Later, husband decamped to the garage  to some work he was doing there, and I made myself a cup of Earl Grey …

It’s a bit of a squash, having the steamer chairs in the summerhouse, but we used to do this before we had our ‘new’ chairs (they’re hardly new now, they’re four years old) but when it’s hot it’s nice to be able to lie down and snooze.

I took this photo, above, in summerhouse in 2011,  and it shows the old cushions on the steamer chairs (they were from the previous recliner chairs and they were really falling apart, hence the new cushions on the steamer chairs, plain green piped in cream.)  The board had a selection of postcards which were free with a magazine, and this was before the tea trolley was pressed into service to be a stand for a small TV set.

The walnut tree’s leaves are now well out, it that makes sense, but that lovely pinky colour doesn’t last long, I try and make the most of them before the leaves turn to a normal leaf-green. They also have a lovely aromatic scent.


I don’t know what happened to the rain we were ‘promised’ but it’s been a glorious day here and I hope that the holidaymakers who have, no doubt, flocked to our part of the country have had a wonderful time.  We have had a very peaceful day doing not very much, but it has been so enjoyable – even bringing in the dry laundry from the line and smelling its freshness has been a joy, not to mention waking to birdsong and even coming in out of the garden to the coolness of the sitting room.  Wherever you are, I hope you have had a good day.

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. Margaret I’ve been doing exactly the same tidying magazines,sorting out which ones to pass on,emptying the recycling box and just tidying bits and bobs. We’ve just had a heavy shower here which has cleared the air,it’s been so sultry here and very sticky. Barometer in the conservatory reading 35c! I love the collage you’ve created on your wall,very fresh,we inherited salmon walls in our conservatory with salmon blinds,I think I need to change the colour scheme but I don’t really want to change all the Venetian blinds,so I’m trying to think of a colour for the walls that would go with salmon,any ideas?The colours in our garden are starting to come out now,the birds are singing,water is trinkling away in our stone fountain,I think after we’ve had dinner it could be a time for a summer Pimms.Enjoy the rest of your evening,take care,Margaret.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Margaret. The array of postcards on a board that husband made for me so that I could change them around (they’re just stuck on with Blue-Tack) is no longer there, but in it’s place one of my husband’s paintings. That photo was taken in 2011 but I might do a postcard display again sometime.
      We’ve been watching the News and seeing the flash floods in the Midlands. We had no idea this had happened, it must be devastating to be flooded out and this is the 2nd time this has happened in two years.
      Very pastel grey would ‘cool’ down the salmon pink blinds, Margaret. There is a lovely grey shade on the Farrow & Ball paint chart called Peignoir, and I love the shade called Bone which we have in our bedroom, and some of the whites produced by F&B would be good, too, as they’re not really white, but various shades of white mixed with greys and creams. Much depends on the furnishings you have in there, too, of course. A lot of people think grey is dull, but with the right colours it can look wonderful, especially if you have pictures to put on the walls, too, that might have gilt or black frames.

  2. Margaret, your walnut tree looks fabulous. I’ve never seen a walnut tree at spring, not that I’ve seen many of them in my life, they are not common in our climate.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you, Maria, the tree is lovely and gives us much-needed shade when in full leaf and we have a hot summer (rare, but it does occasionally happen!) Where are you? You must have a much colder climate for walnut trees not to grow.

      • I am in Moscow, Russia. I saw walnut trees only on my summer vacations in some warmer places but it was in summer, not in spring. In Moscow we have some horse-chestnut trees that have just ceased to bloom. They are beautiful in bloom.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          Hello, Maria in Moscow. I expect we will see more of your country when the World Cup Football starts next month! Oh, horse chestnut trees are lovely, with their ‘candles’. There is a street in our area where there are several horse chestnut trees, some with white blooms and some with dark pink blooms, and they look stunning.

  3. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    Oh those beautiful leaves. I’d no idea that they were aromatic. What a wonderful colour. It’s strange to see such an autumnal shade at any other time of year. I love nuts, especially walnuts.
    I tried roasting radishes and thought they were very good. A roast dinner is my favourite meal.
    We are fortunate not to have suffered in the floods but not far away, it has been awful. When we were at the wedding yesterday, a young couple at our table received a message from their babysitter to say that all the roads into their village were flooded and that they’d be better off staying away overnight! We had a huge thunderstorm on Saturday night. I’ve never before known lightening to last for so long. The rainwater was running down the street in a torrent. But surprise, in the morning it was dry and sunny.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, the walnut leaves, if you crush the between your fingers have a lovely aromatic scent, nothing like walnuts I might add, and when they first emerge, with the catkins (which later become the nuts), they are such a pretty colour. But a few days later, they are green, like any other tree.
      I’d never thought of roasting radishes before, and they were delicious. Why have I not seen a recipe which includes them roasted, I wonder?
      Yes, we saw the flash floods in the Midlands, Eloise, and awful they were, too. How devastating for all those people who had been flooded not that long ago to be flooded yet again.

  4. At 4 o’clock this morning here it was thick fog and I couldn’t see across the road! It took a long time to clear and stayed dull and humid most of the day with only a little sunshine late in the afternoon. Not cold though. There seems to be a wide range of weather across the country over the last few days, we had a huge thunderstorm yesterday morning, with torrential rain.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      We sometimes have thick fog like that, Alison, more a sea mist that we can see approaching up the hill from the sea, enveloping everything. But this morning was glorious, blue sky and sea, wonderful. Yes, there has been a very wide range of weather across the country – electrical storms over Torbay that we totally missed the night before last when we were fast asleep!

  5. Root vegetables have been mostly kept in cold storage since last autumn, which is why Jersey Royals and, my favourite at this time of year, Cornish potatoes are such a treat, while white turnips are for me a delicacy in late summer. I sow seed direct around the time of the longest day and 6 – 12 weeks later I am harvesting white turnips the size of golf balls – absolutely delicious. I guess they could be sown earlier but in the spring we growers are so busy planting potatoes, sowing parsnips and carrots and transplanting our celeriac that the little white turnip gets overlooked. It has been a scorcher of a day here in Sussex, punctuated by two short showers. We had a circular walk this morning to an old farmstead at Egdean near Petworth to view a summer exhibition of paintings and sculpture and while my husband went cycling this afternoon I was very virtuous and cleaned the windows with my new Karcher window cleaner toy. It certainly takes the elbow grease out of cleaning windows. We also had our first swim of the year on Saturday – absolute bliss. We now live 12 miles from the coast in the South Downs and are loving our new house and garden so much. Local smoked trout, jersey royals and the first home grown salad leaves for our supper tonight, followed by rhubarb frangipani tart and cream watching Springwatch. Perfect!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, someone else who enjoys white turnips. My mother used to mash carerots and turnips together. So many think turnips are like swede and they’re so different, they’re delicious!
      Your walk sounded lovely. We went to Petworth House once, many years ago, an austere-looking house, but with wonderful works of art inside. Ooh, I’d wondered about getting a Karcher window cleaner. We have a window cleaner do the exterior, so I was wondering whether it was actually worth bothering with one for indoors. We just use a sponge cloth and soapy water and then a squeegee.
      So glad you are enjoying your new house which isn’t that far from the sea. Jersey royals … oh, I could eat some now – and the rhubarb tart sounds delicious!

  6. It sounds like you achieved a lot in one day. I would definitely be in need of a nana nap if I was awake from 4:33am ! Your summerhouse is so pretty. I enjoy seeing the photos and reading your descriptions, especially when you show us ‘old’ photos so we can appreciate the changes in decor, colours, furnishings, etc over time. (I say ‘old’ photos as they are only from a few years ago). I haven’t tever seen a walnut tree, either. I wonder if they grow in Australia. How exciting that you have a new reader in Moscow. Hello to Maria !

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Lara, and yes I am excited to have a reader in Moscow. By coincidence, I’m wearing my nail polish which is called An Affair in Red Square! A fabulous colour, I might add. Not the plummy shade I have been wearing, so today I’ve had to change my lipstick accordingly.
      So glad you enjoy seeing my ‘old’ photos, I have plenty of those, and pre-digital old ones, too, when I can summon the energy to wade through the hundreds of boxes of prints! Glad you have enjoyed seeing pix of the summerhouse, even though it’s tiny, a mere 6ft by 8ft.
      Walnut trees grow in hot counties so they might grow in Australia, Lara, but I’ve no idea.

Leave a Reply

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