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Busy doing nothing, working the whole day through …

Freesias bought last week and now open (they smell wonderful)

Yesterday, I had a busy day.  But like many a busy day, when truly I was “working the whole day through” (as in the song) by the the end of the day I hadn’t much to show for my labours.

Just for fun then, I thought I’d jot down all the things I did, even the things which we tend to do automatically – such as answering the phone – but all of which take time and effort.

I don’t for one moment think my list will be much different from anyone else’s, but I did iT just to see exactly how I spent my time and why I had little to show for it.  So here goes:

Got up and made coffee;

Once husband was out of bed and in the shower, made the bed;

Showered, dressed, dried my hair, did my makeup, spritzed with perfume;

Laid the table and made breakfast;

Cleared away breakfast and filled the dishwasher;

Emptied the washing machine (things that had been washed late last night);

Hung out the washing on the line;

Filled the washing machine with a dark wash;

Emptied all the dead flowers and washed the vases;

Refreshed the water in the freesias;

Emptied the re-cycling waste, the food waste caddy, and the residual waste;

Cleaned the sink and draining board;

Checked the bank statement online;

Answered the door to the postman;

Re-charged my mobile phone;

Tidied our bedroom;

Added items to the shopping list which is on the fridge (to be transferred to the main list on the computer in due course, and printed to take to the supermarket);

Cleaned the hob;

Tidied the kitchen and swept the kitchen floor;

Dead-headed the roses and geraniums in the garden;

Swept the garden path;

Made mid-morning cup of tea for husband and myself;

Emailed a book seller re a less than Very Good copy of a book (just a comment, not a complaint);

Answered phone call from Garage where car currently is having attention;

Texted elder son;

Checked my blog for comments;

Checked my emails;

Went with husband to collect car from Garage;

Made lunch, laid table, ate lunch, cleared away lunch, filled dishwasher;

Brought in dry washing, hung out 2nd machine load;

Did the ironing – a huge pile which included 10 pillow cases, 3 large flat sheets, and 4 single duvet covers, not to mention 10 shirts/tops and countless other things;

Answered door to courier;

Put the bed linen into the airing cupboard;

Put away shirts/tops/jeans into our wardrobes;

Put 2rd machine load of washing on and, when finished, hung it to dry;

Answered door to 2nd courier (something for husband);

Made mid-afternoon cup of tea for husband and myself;

Made coffee later, as painter arrived to start painting our garden wall;

Cleaned shower room;

Made supper, ate supper, washed up (only a few things, so not worth putting the dishwasher on);

Later … turned down the bed, i.e. removed and folded the bed cover,  put out our glasses of water, and had a shower.

And thus ended a busy day, with little to show except a pile of clean, ironed laundry! And I still hadn’t done any real cleaning of the rooms, such as vacuuming and dusting.

And so to other things …

The courier delivery yesterday brought a lovely new flat sheet from Sophie Conran

I had already bought the green embroidered scallop-edge pillow cases so have bought the flat sheet to go with them.  I thought they would look rather pretty with the cream wool cellular blanket, and they do.  Very pleased, lovely quality cotton.  I might indulge still further, in due course, and buy the coral pink embroidered scallop-edge sheet, as I already have the pillow cases.

Yesterday was a bumper day for books, too; some arrived via royal mail, some by courier.  I have occasions when I tend to go mad, especially if I see copies of books I want that are listed as Very Good for just 1p plus postage.

The books I have bought are …

Actually,  the Veronica Henry novel arrived on Monday, and as I had started it I’m going to finish that before even opening any of the others. And here are their covers …

Four fiction, one non-fiction, but oh, such lovely books which I’m so looking forward to reading.

Today has been less busy, but I did make pea and mint soup for lunch and then decided to make a salad as well, so made a tomato/red onion/basil/feta cheese salad, new potatoes, a little ham and salami (we keep our intake of processed food to a minimum) and a green salad, with some coleslaw and houmous.  No wonder we have only needed some cheese and chutney sandwiches for supper with melon for a dessert.)

Ingredients for the pea and mint soup, and then when made, a dollop of crème fraiche was added before blending with a stick blender

And lunch was served …

Rather than in bowls, I served the soup in large breakfast-size cups

This evening we re-potted an acer we bought last year, and also I potted two heucheras (I still have a third one to pot – I hope that they have a better chance of survival in pots with grit around the tops!)

Now to have my evening shower, make a cup of tea, and then watch the final part of Love in the Countryside (BBC2) which I have really enjoyed.

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 favourite flowers with a scent more beautiful that anything else
    And that was a whole load of ironing! Well done!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I really should not allow the ironing to pile up like that, Joy, but other things always seem to take priority, and I think, “Oh, there’s only a couple of things in the linen basket, they can wait another day …” and before I know it, there’s a week’s worth of laundry to iron.
      Yes, the freesias are gorgeous. The scent meets me when I go into the sitting room in the early morning to draw the curtains open, it’s lovely.

      • Exactly what I do, Margaret. I’m looking ruefully at my full basked as I type! 😉 x

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          After almost 54 years of married life, Joy, you would think I’d have learned by now not to allow ironing to pile up! Of course, the answer is buy non-iron clothes and bed linen, but yuk, cheap man made fibre bed linen … an abomination! Cool cotton sheets and pillow cases for me.

          • Very definitely. Anyway, getting into a bed with crisply ironed sheets is a joy and delight.

          • Margaret Powling
            Margaret Powling

            Last night I got into bed with the pretty new sheet on the bed, plus the new wool cellular blanket, it was lovely, bliss. And once the pile of ironing is all put away neatly in the airing cupboard and I know I have all the clean things at my fingertips, I feel quite glad I tackled the bumper bundle!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, the freesias are lovely, Joy, and they scent the sitting room beautifully. As for the ironing, I always promise myself I won’t allow it to pile up like that … and then there’s another pile!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I have sent two replies, Joy. This was because the first one didn’t ‘take’ and I switched off my computer and then I wrote another before I saw that it had, in fact, ‘taken’. Apologies.

  2. The new top sheet looks very pretty. I also like to have nice bed linen. Good quality bedding is money well spent for husband and I. We both like our sleep and read in bed each night. Settling in with nice sheets, pillowcases, etc and reading the day’s newspaper or doing the crossword is a nice way to end a winter’s day. We are finally experiencing cool weather here – Monday was 15 deg.C – and I am relishing it after our long summer.

    We had very heavy rain for much of last night. I woke in the early hours and couldn’t get back to sleep so after an hour or so decided I would get up to have a warm drink. It was only 5am when I went into the kitchen so I think it’s going to be a long day. The nice thing is that I can now hear the many birds outside greeting the morning 🙂 My cat is currently nestled on my lap, cosy between my fluffy dressing gown (which she considers hers) and a cotton throw rug. She is purring away contentedly and keeps me quite warm, so it’s a win-win.

    The artwork on three of those book covers is so similar that it could almost be by the same artist. Your lunch looks lovely – and also healthy. I made a large pot of soup a few days ago with sweet potato, potato, carrots, onion, garlic, cumin and chicken stock. After I’d zhooshed it with my stick blender I added (precooked) green lentils. It was delicious and I have several small containers in the freezer. I like having soup if/when I’m getting bored with salads.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      We’re both delighted with the new sheet, Lara, it’s really pretty, and a nice, silky cotton. 15C isn’t too bad a temperature by our standards, we like it around 20C – 21C, that is what we’d like all year round. Nice enough to be outside but not hot.
      Oh, early morning birdsong is a pure joy, isn’t it? I just love early mornings. Right now it’s 12.20am, just gone midnight, and I wasn’t able to sleep and so I’m up replying to comments with a cup of Ovaltine. Do you have Ovaltine in Australia, or is it just we Brits who drink this malty, milky drink?
      Cats know when they’re well off, don’t they? How cosy your cat sounds (perhaps you will tell us her name?)
      Yes, artwork on books of a certain type does tend to be similar these days.
      Your soup sounds so tasty, and just right for your autumn, and so nourishing, too. And it’s lovely when you have made a whole vat of soup and can decant it into freezer containers, goodness for another day.

      • Grew up with Ovaltine, here in Canada. It’s in our supermarkets in two different locations. The Coffee/Tea/Hot Chocolate section and in the imported foods aisles.
        Often it’s cheaper to buy the imported stuff!

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          How strange is that, Linda? That imported items are often cheaper than home-produced items. When I make Ovaltine, I make it with two teaspoons of Ovaltine and a small teaspoon of hot chocolate, otherwise I find Ovaltine on its own a bit too sickly-sweet.

      • We have Ovaltine in Australia although it’s not terribly popular. Milo is a chocolate granulated mixture that can be added to hot or cold milk. It is VERY sweet, too sweet for me these days, but as I child I’m sure I would have eaten it by the spoonful if allowed, I’m sure ! Having a warm milo drink before bed in the cooler months was a real treat.

        Our cat is called Maisie. She was a rescue cat (from a shelter) and came to live with me over 11 years ago. The staff at the shelter didn’t know much about her life beforehand and had guessed her to be about 2yo. She’d had a litter of kittens who had been weaned only a few weeks before I adopted her. She was desexed, microchipped, vaccinated, etc and had been very well cared for at the shelter but was quite thin after nursing her babies. After a rough start in life, she is in remarkably good health and has a good life with us.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          No, I can’t imagine Ovaltine being popular in what is mainly a hot country, Lara. It’s a cold-weather drink in the UK, people don’t tend to drink it in summer.
          Yes, I seem to recall you mentioning before your cat is called Maisie. Our neighbour’s cat was called Maisie, too, until she went to that great cat home in the sky.
          Another word difference: you say desexed, for a female cat we say “spayed” although I don’t know why, and for a male cat we say “neutered”. I’m sure she has a wonderful life with you, she really fell on her little paws, didn’t she?

  3. I enjoyed your rundown of your day. Maybe you didn’t feel you had much to show for it, but you accomplished a lot, I would say! Your new sheet is very lovely. And your books all sound like fun. I know I’ve said it before, but you sure lay a lovely table.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      My day which I described, Jeannine, seemed to be just one long run of small jobs, nothing very much, but they all added up to my being really tired by the evening. Glad you like how I lay the table. I don’t have masses of different china because I’ve not masses of places to keep things, but I like to make it look inviting, even for a simple meal.

  4. I’ve just noticed – your cutlery is Viner’s Love Story, isn’t it. I used to use that and it’s so beautiful. x

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      No, Joy, it’s Oneida Community Plate, which we bought in 1971, and the pattern is Hampton Court. I don’t know Viner’s Love Story, but it might well be similar. I admit it needs a bit of a clean with silver polish right now!

      • It does look similar but, looking more closely, yes, it is different. Love Story was out in the early 70s too.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          From what I recall from when I wrote a while ago about this pattern, Hampton Court, Joy, it was designed for the Coronation of King George VI in 1936. We bought ours in 1972 so have had it some time. Unlike stainless steel it needs polishing, but we think that is worth it as it looks so much nicer – well, it does to us. And it’s not heavy. We have some stainless steel cutlery but it’s soooo heavy and it’s actually a bit unbalanced, so when you red your knife on the dinner plate, it tends to tip off the plate as the handle is so much more heavy than the blade.

  5. I do like your choice of bedding Margaret, very pretty and fresh looking for a summer bed.
    That seems a lot of doing nothing, ha ha, it is funny how some days you feel that you have constantly been on the go but when you look back feel that you have accomplished very little. It is all the menial jobs, done automatically every day, that keeps a house looking slick and span though.
    I baked a loaf today, country grain, and I had forgotten how much I enjoy making bread, all that kneading ( don’t have a bread maker) is one sure far way of getting rid of any frustrations etc, really must make more bread!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      It is year since I made bread Elaine, an although I bought a bread maker over 20 years ago (it must’ve been one of the first) I didn’t like what it produced, so passed that on to someone who actually liked it. There’s nothing nicer than home made bread!
      Yes, like the new bedding, it’s really pretty.

  6. It’s all those little jobs that we do in the day that keep the house in a reasonable condition. Only a few days of not bothering would make a big difference. Much better to keep at it than let it all pile up and then have to blitz it (I’m not talking about your ironing! I iron very little so I am in no position to criticise).

    Beautiful freesias. I saw some sweet williams in the supermarket the other day but didn’t buy them, and now I wish I had. I expect I’ll get another chance.

    Your new bedding looks just right, very fresh and pretty.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, it was a busy day but nothing much to show for it. I prefer a day when I clean and the house looks spic and span, furniture dust free, etc. I bought two bunches of sweet Williams today in Lidl as they were so inexpensive at £1.30 a bunch, and as they are woody-stemmed flowers, they tend to last a quite a long time. I also bought some purple freesias in Waitrose – I can’t resist them.

  7. I absolutely love the cushions on your bed, as well as the new sheet. The soup looks absolutely delicious too!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      The cushions were from a company that was, at the time of purchase in 2016 (when we decorated our bedroom) called Cushions Online, but I think they’ve recently changed their name (or been taken over by another company), Jane. They make lovely cushions that are relatively inexpensive (the ones on our bed are silk – I do like natural fabrics), and I think I might look at their selection again as I’d like some for the summerhouse – and it’s about time I took down the bunting in there, that’s too much of a décor cliché now (along with those large gold initials that get propped up on top of dressers, and so forth; and little piles of Observer’s books without their dust jackets of course; and the old ladder in the bathroom for towels … oh, I’d better not go on, I might cause offence, ha ha!)
      The soup is easy and cheap to make. I used fresh mint yesterday but I found that no matter how much I added, it wasn’t quite strong enough for my taste, so I added a really good dollop of concentrate mint sauce. Then it was lovely.

  8. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    I love your peas soup, Margaret, and make it often.
    The sheet looks so pretty. I want a pretty sheet!
    Your list of ‘nothing’ is enough to exhaust just from reading it, but I think if I listed everything I do in a day, it probably would be similarly lengthy. We are truly superwomen!
    Having recently read an Ella Griffin book, I’d bet on the one you have pictured being a worthwhile read.
    Who cares if bunting is a cliche…it’s YOUR summerhouse for YOUR enjoyment.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I love the sheet, and you can get it with a coral pink scalloped edge, or plain white. But I’m sure you’d find something from one of the companies who sell lovely bed linen, such as Cologne & Cotton and The White Company. I love white bed linen.
      Yes, it was rather a long list of “doing nothing”, wasn’t it! But I felt at the end of the day I’d achieved very little – not that I need to ‘achieve’, but when you’ve been working steadily all day with nothing much to show for your efforts, it can be a bit disappointing!
      I might buy some different bunting … of course, what has taken over form pennant bunting are fuzzy bobbles, but really, do I want little furry bobbles on a line in the summerhouse? I think not.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      We finished the pea soup today for lunch, Eloise, it was really tasty after a morning doing errands.
      Yes, it was long list, but little to show for my efforts at the end of the day. Never mind, we all have these jobs to do that just make life more pleasant if they are done, such as washing out the bathroom tooth mug, and the soap dish, emptying the waste paper basket in the study and so forth.

  9. Reading about your day of doing nothing as such, has left me totally exhausted 🙂 !!!! I know I have school and club runs and an allotment but I wish I had half your energy. Your bedroom looks beautiful.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Writing that long list left me feeling exhausted, Fiona, and I’d done all those jobs, ha ha! Seriously, it was a day of just doing one thing after the other but with little to show for my efforts. But most people running a home would feel much the same way, I’m sure, I’m not unusual in that instance.
      Thank you for your kind comment regarding our bedroom. Husband decorated it in the spring of 2016 and I love it. It had not ben done for over 28 years! Mind you, it wasn’t awful, if it had been we’d have done it sooner, but it just needed a totally different look

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