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Outdoor Living

The weather is still glorious.  Three days of continuous sunshine is unusual in this country, believe me.  But from dawn until dusk it has been warm, and only today is there a very gentle breeze.

Therefore, as we have not had any appointments or anything that we simply-must-do, we have been able to make the most of our small garden (“yard” to those in America, although to us a yard is just a small concrete enclosure, not a place where you would relax, with grass and flowers).

The photo above is actually of a very small rose on a standard rose tree, one we thought we had lost during the winter, but it has survived.  It isn’t in very good health but it has managed to produce a few blooms and this is one of them.  But it is a very pretty colour (please don’t ask for its name, I have no idea.)

I’ve mentioned it before, but it won’t hurt to mention it again, but I love the early morning sunlight at this time of the year.  For about an hour – certainly no longer – once the sun is up over the horizon, it shines from the east and filters through the leaves which are bathed in a golden light.

This photo, above, was taken about 5.30am this morning (through the kitchen window)

It has been lovely to eat out of doors these past few days.  Yesterday, for breakfast, husband had porridge (which he enjoys  regardless of the time of year) and I had bran flakes with banana and sultanas on top, and we also had bowls of fruit.

I love this striped garden table cloth, it makes a change from everything floral.  In the background you can see two green tubs.  In these are tomato plants, and one plant now has tiny tomatoes forming.  But whether they will grow sufficiently large enough for us to have a meal remains to be seen!  They are outside the patio door which lead to our study where I am writing this.

Lunch outside was similarly easy.  I roasted a chicken but instead of having a roast chicken lunch, with all the usual trimmings, I just cooked potato wedges (home made ones, not a packet from a commercial freezer) and a tomato salad.

This morning, a change of cloth and a very easy, light meal – the weather being so mild means we don’t have to eat as much, we aren’t having to struggle to keep our bodies warm, as in winter.

Melon to start with and then toast with orange marmalade, lime marmalade, or honey.   This afternoon I shall sit in the summerhouse or on one of the steamer chairs and read.  How I love outdoor living at this time of the year. We don’t have a hot tub, or a BBQ, or anything like that, just a small garden, a tree for shade, and our  summerhouse.  Then, at 3 pm there is another football match which we might watch.  And if we don’t like to hear the often inane commentary, we can switch off the sound.  Thank goodness for the Mute button. We are finding that as we age we use it more and more!

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. The mute button gets used a lot in this house by me as Husband and son argue with the commentators more often or not!!! We’re just eating salad and meats and the moment – far too hot here for anything else. We do have two large trees in our garden which give us some shade but sadly we can’t eat out too often as the seagulls take rather a close interest in our food!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, the gulls! Love or loathe ’em, we are stuck with ’em here by the sea! There used to be a holiday camp nearby (it’s not been there for years) and we were in direct line between the camp and the sea, so the gulls used to fly over (in search of food at the camp) and often would come into the garden and some even nested on a neighbour’s house roof. One day, as I stood at the kitchen sink, a gull waddled in through the back door and into the hall and then into our shower room. I thought, I’d better not shoo it out otherwise it might start flapping it’s wings and cause damage, or worse, tish somewhere, so I just waited and after having had a good look-see, it waddled out again!

      • They are, indeed, handsome birds. In fact one tried to come in through my front door yesterday but I’m afraid I chased it out. I haven’t heard the female commentator but have to agree that sometimes their voices do grate. And, regardless of sex, I prefer commentators that have actually participated in the sport they are commentating on as I feel they are more likely to know what they are talking about. I’ve summoned up enough energy to make a roasted vegetable lasagne tonight but it’s being served with the inevitable salad.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          Oh, I love vegetable lasagne, Fiona! But quite a lot of work on a hot evening.
          Yes, commentators who have participated in the sport on which they are commentating are often the best. Of the footy pundits, I like Alan Shearer and Rio Ferdinand the best.

  2. It’s mostly salad here too – much the best in this warm weather and pretty healthy as well. No complaints from me. I don’t get troubled by seagulls here and I love sitting under the birch tree in the dappled light. Beautiful.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      How lovely to have a birch tree, Joy. Ours tree is a walnut and we used to have loads of nuts from it each winter, but now the squirrels raid it and don’t leave us any! We don’t get troubled by gulls any more – they’ve learned that the holiday camp is no longer there but it took them quite a few years to learn this! As I speak, there is a solitary gull on a neighbour’s roof. I think they’re quite handsome birds but others will disagree.

      • It’s actually in next door’s garden but right next to the boundary fence so I get the benefit without the responsibility! Mind you, I do have to cut it back a bit as the leaves are touching my washing line!
        Gulls are lovely but they can be a nuisance. I’m glad you’re not bothered by too many of them.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          No, thankfully, Joy, we only occasionally have a few gulls parking themselves on the roofs here, now and again. Yes, occasionally we sometimes need to cut our neighbour’s laurel hedge back, too.

  3. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    The weather really has been fabulous, hasn’t it? Lovely to catch the sun on those leaves. Although I’m often awake early, I almost always go back to sleep and get my best quality sleep at that time. 5.30am starts are not for me! Your tables, as always, look lovely.
    Haha, my husband invariably complains about football commentators too!
    i love the sound of seagulls but then I am not plagued by their other activities all day long!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, wonderful weather, Eloise!
      There was a piece in today’s paper about a female football commentator and someone has said (and I think, rightly) that some female voices aren’t suitable as commentators as they are so high-pitched. I don’t think it’s sexist to say this; it’s a fact that women’s voices are, in the main, high-pitched, and I agree wholeheartedly with the chap who made the remark (poor chap has been called a dinosaur because of this remark.) At one time we had to switch off the commentary by a female commentator as her voice grated so much. Indeed, in general, I dislike a lot of female voices on TV (a couple I could mention read the Weather!) Even Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had voice coaching to bring her rather shrill voice down a level or two (and thereby lend gravitas to it; high-pitched voices aren’t taken as seriously as lower-pitched ones – perhaps because they sound more like children?) There are some excellent female voices on TV but they are few and far between, sadly. I think others reading this will disagree and say I’m not being kind to the sisterhood, but this is not a sexist matter; I’m simply stating facts: women’s voices are, in the main, high-pitched and even for me – a woman – many of them are truly awful.

  4. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    I just said to husband and so, “There’s a female football commentator then.” They both said simultaneously that she was too shrill.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I can only agree with them, far too shrill. And as they get excited, so their voices rise still further.

  5. Hello Margaret, it has been a glorious few days hasn’t it and set to continue until Sunday when it forecasts 90% chance of rain here , but who knows it may never happen although the plants would appreciate it, we also eat all of our meals outside, I haven’t bought frozen chips or wedges for a long time now, preferring the taste of homemade. Enjoy the next few days of sunshine.
    Best wishes

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, a 90% chance of rain on Sunday, Marlene – I’ve not seen a weather forecast for days, now, as the only TV I have been watching has been the football. Yes, me, football. I never thought I’d say that! But I have found some of the matches excellent and some abysmal. Refereeing in many matches just not up to snuff, and all that arguing with the Ref when he has awarded a penalty has just been time wasting. I’d make it a rule that arguing with the Ref was unacceptable, players would instantly be sent off! Bad behaviour should not be tolerated. Ditto, obvious ‘diving’ – that would get a yellow card. Oh, I’d soon have the game ‘sorted’, believe me!
      Homemade wedges are lovely, and so much nicer than any you can buy from a frozen food aisle. I sprinkle ours with dried herbs and flakes of sea salt (about the only thing apart from tomatoes, that I add salt to, because we are all told to reduce our salt intake.)

  6. Your blogs are always such a joy to read, and your photos are always so interesting, so am very happy to have you back blogging again. Love hearing about your warm summer and outdoor living, especially as we have had cold wet weather the last few days and are now right into soups instead of salads. I try to enjoy the differences in each season, but must admit warm sunny weather always sounds more inviting!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      It is so lovely, Margaret (in NZ), to hear that my blogs are a joy to read. I sometimes think that when I write about simple things such as doing the ironing, the shopping, having meals in the garden “these are things that everyone does, make it more interesting, girl!” But then, I tend to write about what we have been doing, and if our days consist of such things, that is what I write about, a sort-of pictorial diary. I’m sorry you are having cold, wet weather, but believe me, our sunny days right now are unusual, even for summer, for in the UK we seldom have two sunny days together – these are to be relished, and then when the rain comes, it will be appreciated.

  7. It looks so lovely the way you have laid your table for meals and eating outside always sounds like a good idea but I don’t actually like it. I don’t have a proper table in my garden so that makes a big difference I know, I just have a couple of benches and a single seat. But I prefer to be inside where there are no flies or wasps. I do sit outside but just to read when it’s cool enough and when it’s quiet, but living in the middle of a housing estate it’s not often quiet enough to concentrate on a book. If the neighbours are home there is music and talking (how dare they!) and if they are out the dog is barking.

    Moan, moan, moan!

    It’s another hot sunny day but with a breeze which is lovely for the washing. I’m officially tired of watering plants though. I must remember this next year when I’m putting new plants in….

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you, Alison. Strangely enough, we aren’t bothered either by flies, bluebottles or wasps, perhaps because we don’t have a veg/fruit garden and there is no food ever left out in the kitchen, it’s always put away the moment we have finished using anything, so as not to encourage flies/ants/anything nasty. We love to eat outside, but as I’ve mentioned before, we dislike barbecues and barbecue food, preferring to eat what we call ‘proper’ food, things I’ve prepared or cooked indoors, out of doors. Indeed, we treat that area of the garden in summer like an extra room. We also live among houses, they are all around us, even though our Close only has 20 houses, all different, and we have a corner site, away from all the others in the Close. However, even though the main road is at the end of our Close, there really isn’t much noise, and the dogs that do live in the Close don’t bark often. What a shame that people aren’t more considerate where you are, playing music too loudly, etc.
      I have been up since the crack of dawn, but I might mention that in my next post, so won’t continue with that theme for the moment!

      • I don’t grow fruit or vegetables and I never leave food about in the kitchen. We only get flies indoors if I leave the back door or window wide open. But I can’t influence what other people in the street are doing and our bins only get emptied once a fortnight now.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          Bin collections in the Bay have been terrible of late, Alison, so much so that Torbay Council, as far as I’m aware, are no longer going to be in partnership with a company called Tor2 who have been responsible for the bin collections and have failed miserably, with rubbish left and so forth. It has been said that there is a shortage of HGV drivers for the lorries and also that some lorries have been off the road because of need or repair, but we’ve had several missed collections. Our black wheelie bin, the one into which we put rubbish which can’t be recycled is emptied once a fortnight but, thankfully, food waste bin and the recycling boxes (one for paper, tins, plastic and the other for foil, bottles, cardboard) are collected weekly. And the more supermarkets pack their goods in plastic the more will have to be recycled and are their collections and recycling plants up to the job, I wonder?

  8. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a ‘mute’ button in life – like the other day when I had finished a doctor’s appointment and was standing at reception, waiting to pay when I heard a woman having a very loud conversation into her mobile phone. She continued for sometime. Very bad manners, I thought. A mute button would have been handy in that situation ha ha.

    I agree with the other comments about the lovely tables you have laid and the inviting nature of your garden. Although I’m sure if we all ‘invited’ ourselves into your garden and took over all of the chairs it wouldn’t be so tranquil. Just me being silly ! Our cool winter weather continues and we’ve also had some rain, which is good for our lawns, trees and everything in general. A nice excuse for being indoors watching a DVD and drinking tea, hot chocolate or whatever your favourite warm drink.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, a Life Mute Button, that would be wonderful, Lara! As I age I find noise one of the worst pollutants, and people with loud, raucous voices is just as bad as a radio playing too loudly. So many people, too, don’t seem to be able to go through life without using their mobile smart phones all the time for whatever purpose (I presume they’re not all making phone calls all the time, they’re simply ‘thumbing’ them, so I presume playing games or looking at Apps or whatever.) And more and more I see parents using their mobiles in one hand while dragging a child along with another, not interacting with the child at all.
      Thank you, once more, for your kind comments re laying the table in the garden. I love to eat out of doors, and it’s a rare summer when we have days on end with sunny weather, so we make the most of it. But for you, indoors with hot chocolate and a DVD sound just as inviting!

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