Home / articles / A Monday Walk

A Monday Walk

Someone’s little entrance at the bottom of a tree? I wonder who could be small enough to go through this doorway?  (As seen in Paignton Zoo today – lovely to see that the Zoo keepers have a sense of humour.)

In April we renewed our membership of Paignton Zoo.  That day, you may recall, we had overlooked the fact that we’d had heavy rain the day before and as the car park was full to bursting, we attempted to drive over some grass to where we could see a place to park the car.  Big mistake, our car became stuck in the mud and the Zoo employees came to our assistance and pushed the car out.

That day the Zoo was very crowded, we were nose to tail with the world and his wife and their many children, and after about 20 minutes we decided to call it a day and return home, it simply was unpleasant.

And so today we decided, as we’d woken up early, we’d be at the gate when the Zoo opened at 10 o’clock.  And we were, only to find a queue of people there already!  But they were queuing to pay the entrance fee.  There wasn’t a queue at the season ticket holders desk so we went straight in, literally stealing a march on all those waiting to go in.

We actually went today not to see animals – although it’s nice to see them – but simply for a walk.  We decided to use a different route from the one we have usually taken, via the Reptile & Tropics House, which then leads through the Dessert and on up to Monkey Heights and the Elephant and Giraffe House.  We went, instead, through the Aviaries but we saw few birds – we think they were still roosting.  And on to the Asiatic Lions and the Sumatran Tigers enclosures.  There is actually a walk-way which takes you high above these enclosures so if the animals are out and about, rather than snoozing in the shade as they were today, you have a very good view of them.

At one of the play areas we saw that the café was open, so we treated ourself to ices … vanilla for husband, strawberry for me, which was delicious, a vanilla ice with actual strawberries in it, much nicer than the strawberry-flavour ice, which is usually bright pink.

We were the first people there but shortly afterwards other families arrived, the children running to climb the wooden towers and clamber onto the swings.

The Zoo is quite hilly, so that even in 3/4 hr we felt we’d given ourselves some exercise, and began our journey back to the car park, passing the lake in the centre of which is Gibbon Island and also some spectacular Chusan fan palms …

Just at the entrance/exit is Flamingo Island, and here are the birds, sunning themselves in the early morning sunshine …

Once home I set about making lunch which we had in the garden.

Flowers from the garden on the garden table

The day became rather hot and we were glad of the shade from the walnut tree.  It was a simple lunch …

Fresh baguettes bought on the way home, French Comte cheese, a tomato/feta/red onion/basil salad, Italian salami and olives, and this was followed by whipped cream, strawberries and amoretti biscuits, a sort-of Eton Mess but without meringue.

And as there was some whipped cream left over, I made strong black coffee and put some whipped cream on top, not something we have regularly. Indeed, we have this rarely but oh, it was so good.

We spent the afternoon in the garden – husband finished painting what has been the toy box for our grandson and is now the receptacle for garden compost, and I sat and read. And then our elder son and our little grandson called on their way home from school, and Grandson showed us his latest reading book and promptly read it to me while husband and son had a chat.  I am truly impressed with the standard of teaching in his school if a child who has only just celebrated his 5th birthday can read fluently and, when he comes to a word he’s not seen before, through having been taught phonics, can work it out for himself.  Thank goodness that the Look and Say method of teaching (a picture of a ball and the word BALL next to it, no phonics involved) which our sons received has disappeared down the hole from which it should never have emerged, and phonics are again being taught in our schools.

And finally, and for no other reason than we’ve been to the Zoo , I thought I’d show you Brian who lives in our garden …

Those of you old enough to remember the children’s television programme The Magic Roundabout will understand why we have named this garden ornament Brian.  It was a present to me on my birthday in 2010 from a dear friend who died three year ago, someone whom I still miss and will always miss, I’m sure.  Seeing Brian in the garden reminds me of her. We’re not ones for garden gnomes but Brian is lovely and he sits near the hellebores.

On that note I will close.

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

Royal Nuptials and Other Things

Today we witnessed the second royal wedding this year, that of Princess Eugenie of York, …


  1. Lovely pictures! I particularly love the first one with the small door. They should have placed a nameplate on it, or a sign “staff only” :)))

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, I feel I should write to the Zoo and suggest the Staff Only notice on the little door. We’d never seen it before on all the visits we’ve made to the Zoo (we took our an annual subscription last year and have renewed it this year.) I find little things like this very appealing.

  2. I do love your Brian Snail, Margaret, he is gorgeous. How wonderful to remember a good friend that way. (It is a great pity he cannot chase Real Snails away!) We have a pottery cat in our garden that my mother gave me, and I always think of her when I see it nestled away in it’s corner. These objects are little treasures full of precious happy memories, and truly a pleasure to have in our lives.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I love Brian, too, Margaret! It was such an unexpected present from my friend who usually gave me things like votive candles or pretty soaps, but husband had recently built my summerhouse (for it was for me, he’d never have built it for himself) and she thought it would be something nice either to put in the summerhouse or just outside it. Yes, such treasure as Brian and your pottery cat do bring back happy memories and enhance our lives.

  3. So many of your lovely interesting posts to catch up on Margaret.
    I have been traveling in Arizona enjoying a Wild West reenactment no less, so have only just had opportunity to read your adventures.
    I am enjoying all your excellent photos and news, thank you. The Trooping of the Color is a most spectacular sight indeed, our Queen is an incredible lady.
    Your pictures from the tv are really good, well done.
    Pam in Texas.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, my goodness, Pam, what a wonderful holiday you have had in Arizona! We had friends, both sadly now deceased, who in retirement spent their winters each year in Arizona, flying from the UK in November and returning in the spring thereby missing our nasty UK winters.
      Glad you liked the pix of Trooping the Colour. I was a little disappointed with them, I should’ve closed the curtains, I just forgot to do this. Yes, our Queen is truly incredible.

  4. Thank you for another interesting post Margaret, the fairy door is smashing and what a good idea from fellow reader Maria to put a “staff only” sign on it.
    The Magic Roundabout was a favourite of us kids when we were growing up and I can remember being allowed to watch it whilst eating our tea in front of the tv ( we had school dinners so tea was sandwiches and cake) my favourite character was Ermintrude the cow.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Our boys loved The Magic Roundabout, it was just lovely wasn’t it? I was already grown up with children when it was on. Indeed, when I was a child I felt I was far too old for Andy Pandy, which was the children’s show of the day! My memories go back as far as television is concerned to Annette Mills (sister of actor John Mills) and her puppet, Muffin the Mule! Oh dear, that makes me ancient!

  5. Beautiful flowers Margaret, as good as any supermarket bouquet. I love the spotted bone china, whose is it? We have bought another climbing rose for the garden “Clarence House” which has a very strong fragrance,I like my roses to have perfume. Not so hot today, I feel a housework day today. Enjoy your day.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      The bone china in which I’ve put the garden flowers is actually a mug which I don’t use as a mug. It’s in the summerhouse right now, I shall have to have a look later and find out which company produced it, as I can’t remember. It was a birthday present some years ago, it wouldn’t have been my choice, but it looks lovely with flowers in it. Oh, I shall have to seek out Clarence House (the rose) … yes, roses should have a fragrance. That is their raison d’etre!

      • I meant the coffee cups and saucers.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          Sorry, the mug in which the flowers are is blue with ‘gold’ splodges and I thought you meant that, Margaret. The coffee cups and saucers from a local company called China Blue which is in Totnes, they make their own china but you might be able to buy it online. It is quite inexpensive, and I thought was just a bit of fun.

          • Thank you very much,I’ve found them online and you can order anything from their store,much appreciated.

          • Margaret Powling
            Margaret Powling

            That’s great, Margaret. They’re pretty. Of course, they are not Royal Worcester or Royal Crown Derby but then, nor are they Royal Worcester or Royal Crown Derby prices, just fun pieces.

  6. “We want Muffin, Muffin the mule!”. I have just watched a clip on Youtube, a really nice trip down memory lane.
    That strawberry ice cream sounds so good! A stroll around a zoo sounds rather fun, what a great way to use your season ticket!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, the strawberry ice was lovely, it was by a company of ice cream producers called Marshfield. And the Zoo is lovely for a walk.

  7. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    That’s a fairy door, Margaret. My three year old grandson told me when we saw a similar one recently at the garden centre!
    I like the idea of real strawberries in the ice cream. Flavoured ice cream is a holiday treat I always look forward to (along with crab sandwiches and handmade fudge).
    I am a total believer in phonics over ‘look and say’. I taught my eldest son to read before he went to school and fail to see how you can teach words that are neither verbs or nouns unless phonics are used.
    Oscar, my concrete rabbit, is the only garden ornament I have. Like Brian, he was a gift from someone special.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, I’d not thought of it being a fairy door, Eloise. Husband used to tell our two lads stories about a little boy called Jeremy and he found a door in a tree like that and went in … he didn’t find fairies, though, but that’s our little story for children, and he has even told it to Harrison (when he was a tiny chap, not now he’d a ‘big boy’ of five!)
      Ooh, crab sandwiches and handmade fudge, two things I also love! There are lovely fudge shops on the sea front in Torquay and in the town of Totnes.
      What a coincidence, you have your concrete rabbit and I have my metal snail. But no other garden ornaments.

      • Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

        Oh I KNOW there are some lovely fudge shops on the sea front in Torquay. There’s a nice on in Dartmouth, a couple in Brixham +++ haha!
        I think many of us have our own special story that we told to our children and then to grandchildren. I’m currently working (very slowly) on putting mine into verse à la Julia Donalson (The Gruffalo etc).

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          I simply can’t go past a fudge shop … I adore fudge. Sadly, there isn’t much in the confectionary line that I don’t like!
          Oh, what a good idea to put your special story into verse! Do you know, I’ve never read The Gruffalo! I expect out little grandson has the book, though. I did buy and read to him The Tiger Who Came To Tea – Judith Kerr, the author, is now 95 and still writing and illustrating children’s books!

  8. Your “simple” lunch looked very tempting Margaret, the strawberries too. I pour a slurp of Amaretto over ours, seem to be eating a lot of strawberries just now, I like them in season. A nice mix of subjects in your article, I’m glad the snail can’t eat your lovely flowers.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Often, something like the ‘simple’ lunch, which it was, takes more time than providing a stew that you just need to ladle out with some potatoes, Heather! A salad to prepare, vinaigrette to make, baguette to warm in the oven, salami and olive to put out, strawberries to cut up, etc, but it was tasty. That’s a good idea, to pour Amoretto over strawberries! Mind you, I’d have to buy some first, ha ha!

  9. I’ve enjoyed reading this post and all of the comments. Thank you for sharing your day with us. ‘The Magic Roundabout’ was on Australian television back in the 1970s. Dougal was my favourite 🙂

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, I think I liked Dougal best of all, too! I would watch it with our two small sons, they loved it.

  10. Oh, I just love Brian. He’s so perfect there in your garden.

Leave a Reply

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