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A Sunny Saturday

I thought I’d start today’s post with flowers – these pink roses are in the sitting room.  They are so perfect they look almost like sugar roses which sometime decorate cakes.  At the other end of the sitting room, close to the bay window, are lisianthus …

Lisanthus are such pretty flowers, and they are usually available in shades from white, through pastel pink, to deep cerise, lavender and purple.

As it has been such a glorious summer’s day, we have spent time in the garden, and not just working either.  While we had breakfast in the kitchen, as the sun doesn’t reach the back garden until mid-morning, we had morning coffee outside, while reading the Saturday paper (of which there are many sections.)  You can see just garden tools in the background, where husband has been clearing a very untidy border.

As I was making the coffee, the doorbell rang – a postal delivery of a book (what else!)  It is the latest novel by historical novelist, Katharine McMahon, The Hour of Separation.  Oh, how I look forward to Katharine’s books, she is one of my favourite novelists.  With our coffee we had each a warmed brioche  with apricot jam.

Then more gardening – interspersed with chatting with a neighbour, and his lovely chocolate-coloured dog, who was walking past and had stopped to say hello – generally tidying up, dead-heading, and planting the new gaura that we bought in the Avon Mill Garden Centre earlier in the week.

Not long afterwards the doorbell rang for a second time, this time a courier delivery – Joanna Trollope’s latest novel, An Unsuitable Match

Sweet William flowers from the garden

The problem, when two books arrive almost together, and they are by favourite writers is, “which one shall I read first?”  A nice problem to have!

As husband tidied up the border, cutting back so now there is rather too much bare soil for my liking but we will soon fill it with new plants I’m sure, I made lunch. Just a nice easy prawn salad followed by pears in lime jelly, an old favourite (with a smidgen of cream.)

The salad is little gem lettuce, cucumber (de-skinned and de-seeded and chopped), salad cress and spring onions (chopped).  I don’t put a vinaigrette dressing on the green salad when it’s a prawn salad as I make a quick-and-easy marie rose sauce – just combining salad cream (that old retro condiment, but still useful and not as greasy as mayo) with some tomato ketchup and lemon juice, salt and black pepper.  We usually have granary bread with this salad but today we had new potatoes, with butter and chopped garden mint.  To drink, Katy cider, which is our favourite as it’s a light cider from the Katy apple.  And pears in lime jelly with cream for dessert.  Such an easy meal for a summer’s day.

Pears in lime jelly with a little cream

By now the sun was on the back garden and it quickly became quite hot, and so we watched football on the small TV in the summerhouse.  Later we will sit outside, under the walnut tree and have a cup of tea, on the steamer chairs. We have yet to decide whether to put a clear varnish on them or stain them a darker colour.  It was just coincidence that the new cushions for them are almost the same colour as the summerhouse, i.e. more luck than judgment.

And, at last, the geraniums which are in pots near the back door, are beginning to flower …

And now it’s almost 4 o’clock and time for a cup of tea.  I wonder what you have been doing this Saturday, working hard or taking life a bit easy?

Until next time.

PS  I fear that some comments which arrived during the time when I was having computer problems have been lost.  I know there was one from Claude in France, and I attempted to ‘Approve’ this so that it could be published, but that is one that is now missing.  My apologies to Claude and to anyone else who has sent a genuine comment that has disappeared. If you would care to re-send, please do so.




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. I’m glad to see that you were able to get the hosting problem sorted out and that you are posting again. I enjoy seeing the ways you make the most of your daily life through buying fresh flowers, reading interesting books, and preparing lovely meals. You provide this retiree with inspiration! Many thanks!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Cindy, and thank you not only for reading my posts but also for leaving a comment. Yes, it took a while to get the blog up and running again, and I must thank all who read it for their patience and sticking with me.
      Today’s post was really a typical Saturday for us. As we’re retired we tend to go out, if we need or want to go out, during the week, as it’s so busy everywhere (especially in the summer, as we live in a holiday resort) and it’s lovely being in the garden when it’s sunny. If you are about to retire, or have recently retired, you will fill your days, let me assure you of that! It has been such an easy day, and really I’ve not done very much, but it’s been pleasant, a nice antidote to the days recently when I have been very busy.

  2. Well Margaret, if you wonder what some of us have been doing, we’ve been on the beach and I have had a paddle in the North Sea, not too cold, brrr! Followed by a Cromer crab sandwich, very nice.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, I love crab sandwiches – I shall have to persuade husband to have a walk in Brixham and then we can stop at the harbourside Shack and have crab sandwiches and a pot of tea. As for a paddle in the North Sea, no thank you! “Not too cold” does that mean a degree above freezing?

  3. Those roses are so perfect – but are they scented? Otherwise not quite perfect! It’s rare to get cut roses that actually smell good. I know, I’m fussy 🙂

    It’s been a lovely day here too but I haven’t done much. I did get all the curtains washed and back up (horrid job), they dried in about half an hour. We had a walk but not too far because it was quite hot. I made cheese scones for tea which my husband picked over and then threw away. Makes it all worthwhile. They tasted OK to me.

    I’m feeling restless now but I’m listening to my favourite radio programme of the week (Liza Tarbuck), I enjoy the wide range of music she plays including lots from my youth and “even older”. I know, hard to believe….

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Sadly, the roses not perfect, no scent whatsoever. How can they breed the scent out of a rose, I wonder, but this seems to have happened, with all roses bought in supermarkets.
      My goodness, washing all the curtains, that’s a task and a half, is it not? Oh, but cheese scones – lovely! I’m sure they tasted lovely, what a shame that your husband didn’t enjoy them. Maybe, as with a lot of men, his taste buds have been compromised in some way. My husband has lost his sense of smell, and with it a lot of ‘taste’ has gone, too, so what tastes lovely to me, doesn’t taste of anything much to him.
      I’ve not listened to Liza Tarbuck’s programme. We seldom have the radio on these days, so seldom I might say “never” have the radio on. We have simply got out of the habit, and as I’ve grown older I prefer peace and quiet even to the music I used to love.

  4. They are beautiful roses, such a glorious colour but like you say not many nowadays have any scent, it’s such a shame.
    Like you we have spent most of the day in the garden but these are the easy days of summer when all the work previously put in comes to fruition and all that’s left to do is dead head and water, perfick! We are lucky enough to have a garden that completely surrounds the cottage so can choose either a sunny or more shaded spot, I sat on the swing seat in full sun for a while and read my book. It’s a detective novel, part of a series that’s sets in Cambridge, and it’s lovely to read about familiar places.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Although detached, one side of the houses faces the road, and the other just has a narrow path between the house and next door’s laurel hedge, so the back garden is really the only place we can sit, the front being grassy banks on either side of the drive. How lovely to have a wrap-around garden, Elaine. Oh, I like the sound of the novel set in Cambridge? Might I make a guess at the author? Christine Poulson? James Runcie? There must be other series set in Cambridge, but I can’t bring any to mind right now.

      • It’s the Alison Bruce’s series of detective novels Margaret, a good read and I’m already on my third book in the series. In the last one the action extended to villages surrounding Cambridge and ended up on a level crossing approximately one mile from our house, I almost rushed down there to see what was happening!

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          Thank you for telling me, Elaine. I’ve not heard of this writer, so that is another writer I can ‘look up’ and, hopefully, read. I have only visited Cambridge on a couple of occasions, many years ago (husband had business trips there and I accompanied him, and on one occasion we stayed at a rather nice hotel on Jesus Green and while he was busy that day, visiting a company, I had the day to myself, and ambled around, visiting bookshops and seeing Kings College Chapel, and so forth) and loved it. I felt as if I already ‘knew’ the city and felt quite at home there, which was strange, but mot enjoyable.

  5. Bit of a lazy day for me as well.My husband was at work,so I pottered about,bit of hoovering,ironing and finding a solution to get rid of pigeons from our back garden.They are becoming more prevalent and apparently their deposits they leave are full of contagious things!Your corner of your garden with the summerhouse and walnut tree looks a very peaceful place.We are just watching Germany v Sweden and tomorrow we will be glued to the tv for England’s game.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I really needed to do what you did, Margaret – the ironing pile is huge. I always say I won’t let this happen and I always do! I didn’t know that the pigeon poo contained contagious matter. We have a few of those, and also magpies. Yes, we have been watching the Germany v Sweden match. What a cracker of a match it has been, too. I suddenly thought that Germany would score in the final minutes, and they did. And tomorrow, the England match to look forward to.

  6. I like it when you give recipes or how to directions on foods you make. Thanks for that. Such a lovely day in the garden – and not working!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I’m glad you like that I mention how I prepare such things as salads, Jeannine. It really was a simple one for lunch. I always buy the smallest prawns I can buy, too. I don’t like king prawns because, as with large vegetables and fruit, the bigger they grow, the tougher they tend to become. Yes, it was lovely in the garden and (for me) not working. Husband did quite a lot, though, while I made the meals.

  7. Margaret we are on holidsy in Drvon so this afternoon we went to the Avon Mill Garden centre having read your post about it the other day saying It is a proper garden centre.
    Well it is one of the nicest we have been to. So thanks for that.
    Had coffee and walnut cake and tea on the upper deck and found some white English Lavender there.
    Have been searching for some for ages, so that’s going home with us.
    This morning we were in Dartmouth and there is an excellent craft fair in the park, well worth a visit in this beautiful weather. It is on Sunday to.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, that’s great, Linda! I’m glad you also found this garden centre as lovely as we do, and you were eve able to find white English lavender. If the weather is fine on our next visit we will go onto the upper deck as we’ve not been there, and how fortuitous is that, that you found white lavender there?
      Dartmouth is lovely but it’s often difficult to park. We tend to leave the car in the car park about the town and use the park and ride bus, but not always, as that an be just as difficult (we have often waited ages for a bus!) What we do like is a walk from Dartmouth town out to Dartmouth Castle on the headland, through the narrow road with glimpses of the River Dart to the left. One of Marcia Willett’s novels is set in Dartmouth at the time of the Regatta; having visited the town this is a book you might therefore enjoy. The title is: Summer on the River.

  8. Am using a tablet (which seems to have a mind of its own) rather than my laptop so excuse above mistakes, maybe you could correct them. Thanks

  9. Lovely to see you are back.
    I went cycling with my daughter ( no Lycra involved you will be relived to hear!).
    We wheeled our bikes through the grounds of Hampton Court Palace.
    The scent in the walled Rose Garden was gorgeous.
    I had a sniff around. It seemed the pink blooms had the strongest perfume.
    Look forward to reading more of you posts soon.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Do you know, Virginia, I’ve never ridden a bicycle! When I was young I lived with my parents in their shop in a narrow village street and they said it was far too dangerous for me to cycle there, so I never learned to ride a bike. But how lovely to wheel your bikes through the grounds of Hampton Court Palace. A dear friend has recently been there and said that the scent of the roses was wonderful. Yes, I’ve noticed how pink blooms tend to have a stronger scent, too. But all roses are wonderful, I love them.

  10. A beautiful sunny morning in Devon today, what a lovely place is Devon Margare
    There were lots of perfumed roses at the garden centre yesterday.

    We stayed in Dartmouth in May and noticed a plaque near the cottage daughter was staying in.
    Apparently the lady who wrote Larkrrise to Candleford lived there.
    I will look out got the book you suggested.

    Today a visit to Compton Fishacre or Overbecks or maybe Agatha Christies Greenway all with lovely gardens.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      So glad you like my adopted county of Devon (I’m born of Lancastrian parents and we moved to Devon when I was almost 7 years old.) Yes, there are lots of perfumed roses to buy, I was meaning those grown commercially, i.e. cut flowers, in supermarkets, that have no scent.
      Yes, Flora Thompson (who wrote Lark Rise to Candleford and other books) live in Devon, in a cottage at Brixham (this according to a book I have: Exploring the West Country, a Woman’s Guide by Jennifer Clarke) and she is buried in Longcross Cemetery, Dartmouth.
      A visit to Coleton (not Compton) Fishacre is lovely, we have been many times. I prefer it to Greenway, myself, but that really is a shrine to those who are fans of Dame Agatha.

  11. Hello Margaret. What a lovely day you had in your beautiful garden. I’ve never seen such perfect roses as the pink ones you shared. I’m sitting on the balcony, watching the sky and sea and sorting out the new tapestryry wool I purchased. I feel like a child in a candy shop! The prawn salad looks delicious as does the dressing. Thank you for sharing another recipe with us. Enjoy your evening, Pat

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Those pink roses are now on the table in the garden, Pat, as we will be spending much of the day out there, shortly. We have already had breakfast outside, and I thought it would be nice to move the roses out there with us, no point in them being in the sitting room where we cant see them. You sound to be enjoying yourself, with a wonderful view and lots of tapestry wool to enjoy! I am absolutely no good with anything like that – my mother tried to teach me to knit when I was a child (and embroider) but soon had to give up!
      It is almost midday on Sunday as I write this – shortly, we will go into the summerhouse to watch the England v. Panama footy match, and we will also have lunch outside again. Enjoy your day, too, Pat.

  12. How nice to read two posts from you in quick succession. The roses are beautiful, the ones from your garden as well as the ones from the supermarket. Such a soothing pink!
    Your meals look so appetising, makes one want to dive in with a fork and take a bite 😊

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, I will do my best to write several posts in quick succession, Kavitha, to make up for the week-or-more that I had computer problems.
      Yes, the roses are a soothing pink and the ones from the garden have a lovely scent, unlike those I buy in the supermarket.
      We have just had another salad lunch, sitting at the table in the garden. We try and make the most of sunny weather in England – it’s not exactly a rarity, but our weather changes sometimes not only by the day but my the hour.

  13. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    I do pears in lime jelly too – also mandarin oranges in orange jelly and raspberries in raspberry jelly. The delicious sweetness and fresh taste of fruit in jelly is something I really enjoy.
    The flowers are beautiful. I have lots of lavender out now and in the morning will pick a large bunch for the kitchen table.
    I don’t watch football, can’t stand it.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, I do those jellies, too, Eloise! I love mandarins in orange or tangerine jelly, and I almost made that this week, but Sir wanted pear and lime. I don’t mind as they’re all delicious, especially this hot weather.
      A dear friend of mine has the most wonderful lavender hedge and she sent me a photo of a lovely bunch of lavender she has cut and put on her kitchen table, too.
      I never liked football, but I’ve been enjoying the World Cup matches, especially the England matches.

  14. Wonder why my post said Compton rather than Coleton, as I said, this tablet ready does have a mind of its own😊
    We went to Coleton yesterday (Sunday). It was quite quiet, maybe it was to hot for people.
    The NT shop was closed for works, seems odd to close it in the height of the season.

    I noticed a big notice board outside the book shop in Dartmough advertising 2 books by the author you mentioned, and it said the author would be there soon to sign copies.
    I look forward to reading them.
    Today I might suggest finding Wellswood for a wander, it sounds nice

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      If you go to Wellswood, park close to the shops if you can and have a little wander – there aren’t many shops – and then perhaps find your way down to Ilsham Valley, where you can park and then walk down to Meadfoot Beach. You mightn’t be able to go on the beach if the tide is in but it’s totally unspoilt. At the far end of the beach, near the beach buts (purpose built ones on the headland) there is a very nice beach café for a cup of tea or a snack, a lovely place to look out to sea on a day like today. Further on, if you go up Meadfoot Road and then turn left and left again towards Daddyhole Plain, down a little lane you will find the Headland Hotel which is OK for a light lunch or coffee (it’s where elder son got married two years ago.) Have a nice day, as they say!

  15. I agree with others’ comments about the beauty and seeming perfection of those pink roses. They really are beautiful !
    The photos of your backyard look good enough to be in a magazine, Margaret. You certainly have an eye for arranging things ‘just so’. Of course, some credit must go to your husband seeing as he built the summerhouse – but the bulk of the magazine text in my scenario would be about your style and influences ha ha. The steamer chairs look very inviting with their new cushions. I also love tinned fruits (as we call them). Tinned fruit with custard (or jelly or ice cream) was one of my favourite desserts as a child / teen and tinned pears were my all time favourite. Our local supermarkets stock a brand (can’t think which one now and my cat is far too comfortable on my lap for me to even consider moving her in order to check !) which makes tinned sliced peaches in mango juice. In a plastic container with screw top resealable lid. I love these with yogurt in the evening or on my porridge / muesli in the morning. Thank you for another inter sting post xx

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      You can only see the tidy part of the garden, Lara, on the photos. We have a little untidy patch which needs attention, but we are waiting to buy a new arch up which we hope to grow a rambling rose. The old metal arch blew down in winter storms, it was rusted through anyway and was only held up by a wing and a prayer, as they say. But we think we will push out the fiscal boat and buy a wooden arch, instead, as that will look so much nicer. The arch is to a tiny path which we have to have as the water meter is at the end of it, and the chaps from South West Water need to be able to read it occasionally. It is almost like a triumphal arch leading nowhere, ha ha!
      Husband really should have all the credit as he does the gardening (under instruction, of course … “Where do you want this plant?” “Oh, over there, please …”)
      Yes, we love tinned fruits, too, lovely with cream, ice cream or custard, but unlike you I’m not keen on the flavour of mango. This morning, we had just melon for breakfast followed by toast and either orange marmalade, lime marmalade or honey, a very simple breakfast.
      Thank you for saying I have an eye for arranging things ‘just so’. I don’t really do it with much thought, I just decide on which table cloth and then think, “the white bowls won’t look good on a cream cloth, I will use the cream ones …”, simple as that.

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