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Ups and Downs

For the past couple of weeks neither husband nor I have been firing on all cylinders, and yesterday I gave in to that feeling of being not-quite-well, and spent a day relaxing, much of it lying on the bed, reading, with a rug to hand as I felt alternately hot and then shivery.

I feel much better today, but still not quite 100% but I’ll get there.  But when you get ancient – let this be a warning to those much younger than me! – you seldom feel 100%, so I tell myself “get over it!”  You’re still here, be thankful for that.  You have all your limbs, your hearing and your sight, life is wonderful!

But really, why should I feel the slightest bit guilty for lying (and the word is ‘lying’ not ‘laying’ as some say.  There is a little homily that my English teacher taught me:  hens lay eggs, people lie down) on the bed for much of the day?  The time police aren’t going to check up on me and make sure I’ve done my quota of housework, are they?  Husband never complains if I need to rest, and yesterday he made supper for us – well, “made” is pushing it, but he put salad onto plates, boiled some new potatoes, carved up some cold chicken, and made a vinaigrette for the salad (after I’d explained the basics:  3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar plus a dollop of wholegrain mustard … I didn’t want to complicate things for him by mentioning he could use lemon juice instead of vinegar, or that he could add some runny honey and/or freshly chopped herbs. I thought he could cope with remembering just three ingredients, but I reminded him that whenever he makes a salad dressing, it’s always more oil than vinegar.)

The morning post yesterday brought my latest issue of The English Home which is my very favourite magazine.  I’m not keen on magazines stuffed with ideas on how to make things, lovely though they are, but making frou-frou things for our home isn’t me at all – bobbly things in wool, macramé flower pots, embroidered do-dahs. You know the sort of thing I mean, I’m sure.  Fun if you like making things, but I’d rather read a book.  Much looks like making-for-making’s-sake, a bit like embroidered tray cloths as seen in some of my 1920s household management books.  And, in any case, if I made such things, I’d have to find places to put them and the sitting room would end up – as I’m not clever at making things – looking like a display area in a primary school’s Reception class.

The English Home is filled with lovely homes plus just a few recipes (usually from a recently-published book, all good free advertising no doubt) and some gardens’ pages, too (not too many as the sister magazine is called The English Garden, another gorgeous publication.)

These two rooms (above), the double page spread at the top and the one on the right at the bottom – in the current issue of House & Garden –  are my kinds of rooms.  Not too formal, gentle colours, lots of comfy chairs and sofas, paintings, flowers, and basically symmetrical, or rather well-balanced.  And these rooms are in my favourite colours of soft greens and pinks.

I am showing these two rooms together as, to me, they are similar but not the same.  I think they are good examples of how rooms can successfully be put together even if you don’t own a manor house deep in the Cotswold countryside – a modern estate house in suburbia could be decorated in this way.  It might mean replacing a modern narrow skirting board for a deeper one, and replacing the doors for panelled ones, but it would be worth it to achieve a country house look, I think.  Well, if like me, you like this look. Not everyone does, of course.

Although, as I say, we’ve not felt 100%, we went to Waitrose this morning and I have bought the Mexican Lime Juice Cordial that Fiona recommended.  Indeed, I have a glass of it beside me now, and it’s delicious and thirst-quenching.  Thank you, Fiona, for telling me about this cordial.

It was about an hour later than our usual early start this morning, so more customers browsing and stocking up for the weekend.  In the foyer this week, a display of Italian wine and sparkling water.   I’ve never had Aperol and really, I wanted to try it (making an Aperol spritz with Prosecco and mineral water) but we also wanted to buy a bottle of gin and the one we drink, Plymouth Gin, isn’t the cheapest; also we needed to buy a bottle of something to give as a raffle prize at our grandson’s school, so I left the Aperol for another time.  Has anyone drunk it?  Is it similar to Campari?

It sounds like we’re right tipplers, but when we buy a bottle of gin it lasts for many months; we have about two a year.

The floral display looked lovely as always, and I was truly spoilt for choice, but bearing in mind I’d splashed out on gin plus the raffle-prize-Prosecco, I bought just one bunch of mini gladioli. I’ve not bought these before, but they are very pretty.


Not a good photo, they will look even better once the buds have opened

We drive to Waitrose taking one (inland) route and return home using another (sea front) route.  We stopped in Ilsham Valley to enjoy our ‘free’ Waitrose coffee and then came home via Torquay sea front.

There is one promontory which I love, near the Livermead Cliff Hotel.  But unless you are walking, taking a photo from the car as we drive past is difficult as the road dips down, and suddenly the view is obscured by the sea wall.  This is the best I’ve managed, having tried to ‘snap’ this view many, many times. One day we will walk along here and I can then take some half-decent photos!

I think this is rather an Italianate view, even though I’ve never been to Italy, with the pine trees on the headland and some red roofs of houses on the coast.  It is one of my favourite views in the area.

We also had to stop at red light near the 130-year-old Grand Hotel, so out came my camera so you can see this rather elegant chateau-like building. (I must reassure you that husband was doing the driving.)


The above is a postcard of the Grand Hotel so you can see the conservatory-style “Compass” lounge which is a pleasant place for morning coffee or afternoon tea.

Once home, I packed the groceries away, and then another book arrived …

Pellegrino the writer, and Pellegrino the sparkling water, and an Italian wine … all is Italian in the kitchen right now.  Pass me an olive!

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. I hope you feel 100% fit very soon, Mrs Powling. I suppose the weather has something to do with it.
    Your picture of the Grand Hotel is so good, it could be made a postcard too. The white building against blue skies looks stunning!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, maybe our unusually hot weather has something to do with this slightly-ill feeling, Kavitha. But going out this morning did us both good, I think.
      The Grand is a lovely old building, one of the iconic buildings in the Bay.

  2. I meant to ask, do you add something to the water when you arrange fresh flowers? It looks frothy in the photographs..

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      How observant of you, Kavitha, to notice the frothiness of the water! Yes, I add a cut-flower food; I had this little sachet from another bunch of flowers some time ago when I had two bunches of flowers but hd only used one sachet of flower-food (they are usually free with the flowers, although not all flowers have them if that makes sense.) This one is specially for flowers grown from bulbs, as indeed gladioli are. The plant food froths up when you add water, but the frothiness disappears within a few minutes. I took the photo soon after I’d put the flowers in the glass jug.

  3. Sorry to hear that you have been feeling poorly Margaret, think that you did absolutely the right thing by resting for a day. The very warm weather continues here in East Anglia but for the first time today it’s felt too close and muggy, or headache weather as my darling Mum would have said. We had lunch out today and actually chose to sit inside of the pub rather than outside in the heat, far more comfortable.
    Hope you continue to improve and enjoy your Italian spell ☺️

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you for your kind words, Elaine. I feel a bit better this evening, but am now very hot whereas earlier I felt chilled (and I don’t mean in the modern sense, as in chilled out!)
      Yes, I should imagine that it would’ve been too hot in East Anglia today to sit out for a meal. We had our supper in the kitchen, it was still too hot outside, even with the shade of our walnut tree. We hadn’t had much to eat all day, being off our food a bit, so I just made a light salad for our supper.

  4. First of all, may I say, you are not ancient! Second, a good friend has found herself with a nasty case of pneumonia, so do continue to take care of yourself and lie down and rest as needed. Third, your posts are so entertaining – this one with your talk of not being into making all kinds of things which often seem to be just for the purpose of making them (and then what do you do with them!). Hope you feel up to par real soon.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Jeannine, and thank you for your good advice – I had a pneumonia jab some years ago (they update these things every so often, I think the jab is good for few years) so I trust it’s not that. I just need to rest, the heat has got to us all, I think, especially as we’re not used to it.
      I didn’t want to cause offence to anyone who is good at making things, but yes, a lot is making-for-making’s-sake, I’m sure. Craft work is again popular, but I often wonder if the end results are worth the effort, and how many items are actually of any practical use or of real artistic merit. But women, for it’s mainly women I think, do seem to have this longing to make things, and if they enjoy the activity, that’s fine. But it’s just not for me.

      • I am a maker of things, but appreciate your honesty and find myself totally agreeing with you on the making for making’s sake. I do think there is a lot of that and I’m not for that either. I enjoy knitting dishcloths – useful. I’ve also crocheted afghans, again useful. And I am a quilt maker. Some of my quilts are, and I say this loosely, for “art” – as I hang them on walls. I have a spot at work where I hang a seasonal, small quilt. I enjoy making baby quilts for new babies. And also quilts for our beds. But making, just to make is not my cup of tea either. Hope you feel better every day!

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          Quilts are in a different league, Jeannine. I love them. My mother used to do patchwork covers, I wouldn’t call them quilts as they weren’t ‘quilted’, just backed with another piece of material, but I love quilts and have been to the American Museum at Claverton Manor in Bath to see them (although many years ago.) I don’t think of those in the same way as some of the little ditsy things to which I am referring. But dishcloths? Don’t bits of food get trapped in the knitting? I expect you can stand them in bleach overnight to kill any bugs, though. And what are afghans? I remember in the 1970s people used to wear what they referred to as Afghan coats (I never had one) but I don’t think you mean one of those, do you? But quilts are not included in my idea of making-for-making’s-sake – they are both useful and beautiful (to quote William Morris.)
          I have just been asleep, in the middle of the day. That really isn’t like me so I think it indicates I’m still a bit under the weather. But I will get there.

          • Knitted dishcloths are great, in my opinion (and many other’s). I don’t find that bits of food get trapped. I also use a fresh dishcloth every day. An afghan is a crocheted (or knitted) blanket. I did make a crocheted coat in the late 70s/early 80s – wore it a lot at that time. Now that I think about it, it’s one of those things I can’t believe I did – it was a lot of work! Keep resting/getting better!

          • Margaret Powling
            Margaret Powling

            I use a spongey type of dishcloth and that goes through the dishwasher at the end of the day and I get a new one out about once a fortnight. Once it’s stopped being a dishcloth I use it for the bathroom and then it goes to the garage for when husband needs a cloth down there, and then it’s binned. I’ve never had a crocheted coat – indeed, I can’t knit or crochet, although my mother attempted to teach me! I was a lost cause!
            We are both resting, have been watching the England v Sweden football match, indoors as it’s so hot outside, even under our tree or in the summerhouse.

  5. When I was about 65, a few years ago, I complained to my doctor: why did it take so long to get better when one has been unwell? Meaning me, of course. The answer, was, of course, was that I was older so now it did indeed take more time to recover. (bother…..) But glad to hear that you are on the mend, and I just love the way that you “helped” Mr Powling prepare dinner.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, our dear menfolk sometimes need assistance, bless them. He is actually very good with the things he’s made many times before, but things he’s only done a couple of times, like most of us, he doesn’t remember. So for those things, I just ‘help’ him a bit.
      Yes, it does take time to recover now we’re older, Ratnamurti. It’s annoying, but that’s just how it is. Or as we used to say in school when things went wrong, “Botheration!”

  6. I giggled as I read your description of making macrame, etc as I feel the same way about my limited skills when it comes to those types of handicrafts. I tried / learnt cross-stitching, quilting and other forms of embroidery (long stitch ?) back in the early 1990s when it was a real fad at the time. The ‘country look’ with ducks on everything – teatowels,, kitchen curtains, etc – was so popular and we all thought it looked gorgeous but now I cringe. But who of us doesn’t do an eye roll when we thing of how we decorated our first home or dressed as young adults (or when huge shoulder pads were all the rage). Many home magazines I flick through whilst at the hairdresser’s or in waiting rooms contain ‘looks’ that aren’t for everyone but then variety is the spice of life, I suppose. But then life would be very dull if we all liked the same things. My mother loved macrame back in the 1970s when I was a child so seeing anything macrame nowadays makes me break into a rash ha ha.

    I’m glad that you are feeling better after a full day of rest 🙂

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I’m glad it gave readers a laugh when I mentioned making things. I once remember a description by someone, years and years ago, of “macramé-ing a yoghurt pot”, a real send-up of much of the craft work that was being carried out at the time, and it just stuck with me as being the perfect description of the many useless items that are made. But as I say, each to his or her own, and if people enjoy it and nobody died, then that’s fine, but it’s just not for me. Oh yes, that country look in the 1970s, the Laura Ashley milk-mail look, with long skirts and large floppy hats, too! And yes, ducks on everything! Oh, yes the shoulder pads of the 1980s, what did we look like!!
      Yes, I shall rest today, I think. The heat is still with us.

  7. I’m glad you like the lime cordial. It’s also nice in a cold beer as in lager and lime. I’ve not been feeling too clever this week – I think it’s the heat related rather than age related. I’m pleased your husband put the salad together. I’m lucky – Husband here is a good cook and does a better roast than me or may be I like it better as I haven’t had to cook it The flowers look lovely – I haven’t seen those mini gladioli – they must be new in this week.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Lager & lime is husband’s go-to drink in hot weather, Fiona! I tell him he might even be fashionable as everything retro is ‘in’ and this is a very retro 1960s drink! Of course, he thinks I’m quite mad! “I just like it!” he says, and of course, that’s good enough reason to drink it. I made up my lime drink with ice cubes and Pellegrino, although I didn’t really want to buy it as it was in a plastic bottle. But I can’t see there will be a rapid change to glass bottles as plastic is so much lighter and therefore makes transportation less expensive. It’s how we dispose of it and re-cycle it that matters, and perhaps cease production of needless items in plastic, such as plastic drinking straws. What happened to the paper ones we had when we were children? Not that adults need straws from which to drink unless they are invalids.
      I’m sorry you aren’t feeling too clever, either, this week, but how lovely that your husband is a good cook. Husband here can do a roast as he’s done that often, but it’s other things, things he doesn’t do often or has only done a couple of times, where he needs a bit of ‘help’.
      I had seen the mini gladioli before in the store, but had never bought them. As they were not as expensive as the huge bunches of flowers, they found their way into my trolley. There were white ones as well as the pale salmon pink.
      Hope you will feel better soon, Fiona.

      • Oh dear! Not seeing flowers we stock and not noticing that a large fountain is missing. Keep taking the tablets Fiona!!

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          Oh, Fiona, you are funny! I told husband you’d not noticed the missing fountain, but then, nor had he as he tends to drive when it’s the two of us, I don’t like driving with him as a passenger – say no more! But you can’t know every single item of stock, it would be impossible.

  8. Hi Margaret,(
    Hope you’re feeling even better today! I’m certain it’s the weather making us all feel so ‘off’, a few cool, drizzly days would do us a power of good, and the gardens would be happy too!
    Our temperature here was 23c yesterday and it was lovely, the intense high twenties, low thirties was getting to be too much for me.
    Aperol’s nice, not as bitter as Campari, and about half the alcohol content too!
    Our son went to a ‘bingo’ evening with his work colleagues last night, they arrange these odd things to raise money for their chosen charity, which this year is a local childrens hospice. He was dreading going, but managers are expected to put in an appearance, so, off he went.
    He paid £5 for his ticket, which covered six games of bingo, a roast beef salad with ‘Artisan’ bread and a pint of ale from a local micro brewery. He actually enjoyed the event, and returned home with a small toy boat, which will be good for our grandson to use in his paddling pool, and a bottle of La Gioiosa Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene, from Waitrose! The Prosecco retails at £9-99, and that’s while it’s sold with 25% off! So, all in all, not a bad haul for a £5 ticket!
    My grandmother was always lucky, and it’s beginning to look as though my son has inherited her winning streak!
    Right, off to play football with our grandson on the prom, it may encourage him to have a little snooze this afternoon!
    Stay cool! Oh, that sounded a bit ‘hippy-ish’, it reminded me of Dylan, the Magic Roundabout’s spaced out rabbit!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, Colette, I loved Dylan the rabbit on The Magic Roundabout! What a lovely programme that was!
      Yes, it sounds as if your son has a winning streak – I’ve inherited much the same and my parents were both lucky, too, when it came to raffles and so forth. I know how your son feels about bingo – indeed, when I first started going to my hairdresser, not knowing (it being my first visit) how good this salon would be, I explained that I didn’t want to come out with a “bingo lady” cropped hair do! Just because I wear my hair very short, I don’t want the back to look as if it’s been shaved. She fell apart laughing and we still laugh about this, eleven years later.
      I think I will give Aperol a miss. I think I will stick with our dear old G&T, and not the fancy flavoured ones, designed simply to make the producers more money. Fancy adding a bit of rhubarb flavour and a fancy label and then sticking an extra tenner on a bottle. Not on, chaps, it’s not on!

  9. Oops, a bracket for no reason, a missing apostrophe, I knew this heat was addling my brain!

  10. Margaret we went to Waitrose yesterday and right by the doors on offer for about £1.60 was Waitrose Lime Cordial . Not sure if its the right one but it was the only one I could find. Also bought sparkling water which is cooling in the fridge so I’ll try it later.
    Next to Waitrose is a lovely charity shop, and I couldn’t resist a very heavy cut glass rose bowl.
    Couldn’t believe the price of £4.50 – now I need some roses.
    Or will see what I can find in the garden, theres not a lot as this weather has spoiled most things so maybe some greenery.
    I love those 2 rooms, my dream rooms, I might treat myself the the magazine.
    I’ve bought a couple of others this week but the houses in them all seem to look the same to me.

    Did you watch Hotel Inspector this week, she went to help a couple who had a country house and the rooms were very similar to the above, just beautiful.

    I think this ongoing hot weather is making lots of people feel unwell, its even hotter today and its to get even warmer over the next few days.
    My bedroom has 2 fans going all night long but still can’t sleep

    Next doors Jasmine is smelling wonderful in the evenings, its covered in flowers, though husband said it was a bit overpowering for him.

    I still have my Laura Ashley books/catalogues and still love reading them from time to time.

    And have been collecting favourite vintage Laura Ashley fabric, with plans to make some cushions – one day.
    I’m not good at sewing – so we’ll see. I even have a couple of my long dresses in the loft from the late 70’s
    I don’t like all the flounces and frills but still think their vintage fabrics and wallpapers are beautiful
    However having bought a Duvet cover recently I don’t think the quality is there anymore – a great shame.
    Our hall paper is called Caroline, take a look online Margaret, see if you like it – very flowery

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, lInda, and yes, I think it will be the Mexican lime cordial as that was in the display in the foyer of ‘my’ Waitrose yesterday – perhaps a directive comes down from head office what each store will major on that week?
      My goodness, you had a bargain with the rose bowl! Cut glass (2nd hand, I mean) is currently cheap-as-chips (not chips in the glass, of course!) because it’s not fashionable. But hey, who cares about fashion when we’re talking quality? I love cut glass and it will return to fashion (as ‘brown’ furniture is gradually make such a return) and then it will become more expensive again.
      The two magazines I showed are (top) The English Home and (bottom) House & Garden. I love The English Home best of all. I think a lot of the style magazines are aimed at, shall we say, younger women, those setting up home. They do seem to all look much the same, they’ve painted the walls white with perhaps a feature wall in dark grey or teal, they have a large oblong or round table and then miss-matched chairs painted in either pastel or primary colours, there is always a floating shelf with either L O V E or H O M E in gold letters (a decorating cliché now) and houseplants have also made a return to favour. Oh, the painted iron bedstead, too, and Orla Kiely or Emma Bridgewater pottery everywhere … Yes, they all end up looking much the same.
      No, I didn’t watch Hotel Inspector. I must see if I can find that on catch up.
      I have two Laura Ashley books: Laura Ashley Home Decoration 1983 and A House in the Cotswolds. They are very much of their time, but some of the rooms wouldn’t look out of place today.
      No, I’m sure quality is lacking now in many things, simply to keep prices as low as possible. I will see if I can find the Caroline wallpaper. Our wallpaper is from 2002, long since discontinued, and it’s Colefax & Fowler’s Saltram Trellis.

  11. When we are used to moderate temperatures, this very hot weather can be utterly draining. I’m glad you are both taking it easy and being gentle with yourselves.
    I’m managing to sleep but am very thankful about the weight I have lost as previous heatwaves have left me like a wet rag. Not nice.
    Take care. xxx

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I could do to lose weight, too, Joy. I think you’ve done brilliantly well to lose weight. It’s not easy, especially when exercise is difficult because of arthritis. We don’t have huge meals, either, but I do like to have a biscuit or a Marlborough bun – but there again, we share a bun, we cut them in half and have half each. But the heat has been extreme for us, more used, as you say, to moderate temperatures. But with global warming, I expect we will have to get used to hotter summers.

  12. I love an Aperol Spritz though I top up with soda water rather than sparkling water. Aperol is similar to Campari but not nearly so bitter, plus the spritz drink looks so very pretty. I haven’t had any this year, must get some. I live in East Sussex but my mum is in mid Devon, we are off to see her soon. We haven’t visited Torquay in many years, we did go to Totnes last time we were visiting, I enjoyed wandering the streets there and found a lovely old fashioned tea shop at the top of the high street which serves the most wicked cream tea in mismatched bone China. Thank you for sharing your Devon home it makes me think of my lovely mum.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Lyn, and thank you for mentioning Aperol Spritz … I shall reinstate it on my shopping List! And also get soda water – this is what is recommended on a recipe for the spritz I have seen online.
      I think you might’ve visited Grey’s in Totnes, as that is right at the top of the town, through what is called The Narrows, as the road is very narrow. We’ve not been there for a while, but they also had (and might still have) a table where they sell 2nd hand china items which have been given to them to aid charities. I bought two of my tea services there. Totnes is a lovely town to visit, and if the weather is fine, perhaps take a boat trip from Steamer Quay down the River Dart to Dartmouth and back again. I’m touched that my blog posts make you think of your mother.

      • A boat trip down the Dart is definitely something we want to do one day. Yes you are right it was Grays.

  13. I do hope you are feeling better Margaret. Warm weather can be so taxing to one’s health and I dislike staying inside the air conditioned home. Hopefully, your heat wave will soon be over. I loved seeing those classic rooms you shared. I recently was in Venice and stayed in an ultra modern and newly refurbished apartment while my daughter stayed in a classic Italian style apartment with Venetian glass chandeliers and parquet floors. It could easily be my dream home with such character. I agree with you about making non useful “things”. I’m never without my needlework be it knitting, crocheting or my new passion of needlepoint which I have framed. My wish would be to attend classes one day at the Royal School of Needlework in London but first I’d need to learn to embroidery. I love the historical side of needlework and how it have survived through time. Enjoy rest of your week and please take it easy. Pat

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Pat, and thank you for your good wishes. It is Saturday morning here, I’ve just woken up and made coffee for both of us and still feel under the weather, which in this hot weather is a very timely expression.
      How lovely to have visited Venice! I would love to visit there, but because of certain health problems we are fearful of travel now, thinking how awful it would be to be ill while away from home.
      Yes, the Royal School of Needlework in London does some marvellous work, and I also love the historical side of needlework – well, the historical side of most things, such as knots, which were once used for securing everything in the days even before buttons and certainly before zippers or Velcro! And how knots appeared everywhere, from wood and stone carvings to knot gardens and, of course, in needlework.

  14. Margaret I have those very same Laura Ashley books dated 1983 and 1984
    and A House in the Cotswolds. I always wanted the sofa in the drawing room it looks so comfy and The Lavender Bedroom is a favourite, take away the frills and flounces and the rooms are just as nice today as they were then.
    The Trellis wallpaper is very classic in The Moss Green Bedroom.
    Like you I take my magazines to the charity shop sometimes but will never part with the above

    Another vey hot day.
    To hot to sleep despite fans whirring away all night

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Snap – the Lavender bedroom is my favourite, too. I was looking at it as I wrote my response to your comment yesterday, and thought, “that would look good, even today,” which underlines what I’ve said before, long and often: good style is good style, it transcends ‘fashion’.
      I have only taken my collection of Period House to the charity shop, I will never part with my early copies of Interiors and The World of Interiors which it became, or my copies of The English Home.

  15. Some magazines we just keep.
    My collection of The English Garden for one.
    Had them for years.
    One thing I noticed today when reading A Home in the Cotswolds are all the vases of flowers in the rooms. How pretty they are. Never noticed them before till today.
    Gosh its hot today, and getting hotter.
    My garden is a mess now , not blade of grass to be seen and the new shrubs planted are now brown and like parchment.
    I had planned to go to an open garden this afternoon but it was just to hot.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Our garden is the same, it’s yellow, apart from right under the walnut tree. I have watered the pots with a watering can, we’re not using the hosepipe at all. The grass will recover when it rains, it just looks a mess.
      It has been scorching here, too, far too hot for us to venture out. Neither of us feels very well, and so we had a very light breakfast outside and then have stayed indoors all day, with windows open, blinds and curtains partially drawn and a fan going.
      Yes, flowers can make a room, also a splash of colour somewhere. I always look at the flowers and how they are arranged and the vases or jugs that have been used. If you go through old magazines, also look for what I call the “peripatetic vase”. Sometimes you will see the same vase or jug used in a variety of rooms, which has saved the photographer or stylist from buying yet more flowers for the photo shoot!

  16. Hi Margaret! I’ve been able to pull up your blog posts for about a week now and have enjoyed catching up reading them. Have held my breath every time; so far so good. For about six weeks, it would say something like “took too long to respond.” There must have been a speed glitch on my end that has been rectified. Hope it holds because I so look forward to your posts. I, too, hope you will feel better, and that your hot weather streak is broken by some lovely “beneficial” rain. That’s what they call it here when it’s a nice rain that’s not torrential. I am reading my first Joanna Trollope (I think!): Girl from the South, and have made note of the Nicky Pellegrino books. Hope you enjoy a relaxing weekend.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, Bess, computers … they’re wonderful when they work! But they don’t always work! I sometimes have a glitch similr to yours, “Can’t access this page” when I want to check my own blog, respond to comments or write a new post!
      We could do with some “beneficial” rain here, the grass is now straw and in our UK homes seldom is there air conditioning, but we do have an electric fan which we had on for a time last night until the noise made us switch it off. It was already 25C in our hall at 6 am.
      I hope you enjoy Girl from the South. It’s not my favourite, but it is set in America, and I have been enjoying the Nicky Pellegrino novels, set in Italy. But for a summer read you can’t beat Marcia Willett – but I would say that, as her books are set in Devon and Cornwall (and mainly in Devon!)

  17. I hope you are feeling more the ticket today, Margaret.
    Another beautiful, elegant, and delightful post. A pool of loveliness on baking hot day.
    My son and his young family are in your part of the world this week, a lovely escape from London.
    Stay cool.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, I do hope your son and his family are enjoying South Devon, but it’s blisteringly how, Elaine. But, as we speak, we’ve noticed some clouds appearing, coming up from the West. Hopefully, it will be cooler this evening. I haven’t felt too great, but don’t wish to harp on about it, many people have suffered from the heat, I’m no exception, and I’m sure it’s the heat that has made me feel unwell. We’re just not used to hot weather in this country, that’s the top and bottom of it, I think. Glad you enjoyed my “pool o loveliness” on a baking hot day!

  18. Hope you are feeling better but probably not as it is as hot as ever. I’ve felt a bit off several times over the last few days, a bit light headed and sicky, but I’m sure it’s just the heat. It’s 38C in our back garden, there is very little shade until about 7pm, I just dash in and out of there as fast as I can to hang out washing or go to the bins.

    I haven’t got any flowers indoors at the moment, I’ll have to look around next time I’m out. I was in Waitrose yesterday but I was going to my daughter’s after so I didn’t want to get flowers that would have to wait hours before I went home.

    Well, I’ve stripped and remade the bed, got two loads of washing on the line and dusted/polished and vacuumed the whole house. I’m cooking lunch now and then I’m going to collapse somewhere! My cat meanwhile is following the sun around outside, we keep checking that’s she’s breathing! She’s always loved the sun. Maybe it’s not good for her but at 20 years old I think it’s better to enjoy what you like rather than worry whether it’s good for you 🙂

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I’m sure the heat is affecting a lot of people, Alison, especially the elderly (and we are elderly although I don’t like to admit it – once you admit you’re “elderly” it’s just a slippery slope!) 38C in your back garden sounds horrendous, and to have little shade until around 7pm means you can hardly use your garden in summer, which is such a shame.
      I am doing very little housekeeping, just the essentials – keeping the basin and loo clean in the shower room and the worktops and sink clean in the kitchen. But as we’re having salad and just new potatoes, not a lot of actual cooking is being done. I hope your elderly cat manages to survive this hot weather, bless her.

  19. Margaret I feel for you,this heat is unbearable,haven’t been able to sleep even with a fan going at night! I’m not an advocate of fans they dry my eyes and make them very sore. Hope you and your husband are feeling a bit better,I think the weather is going to get a bit cooler by Tuesday/Wednesday hopefully.What an achievement by England,very intensive game and Wednesday will be as well. Take care of yourselves,speak soon,Margaret.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      We had to put the fan off last night, Margaret, it makes such a noise. We don’t notice it during the day, but at night when everthing is quiet, it really makes a din. It’s amazing, after such an awful winter, we’re now hoping for cooler weather, but we’re just not used to it in the UK. Let’s hope that we have a little rain shortly, to freshen the atmosphere and replenish the reservoirs. We are a little better, thank you, but I don’t think we’ll feel on top form until we have cooler weather. Yes, quite an achievement by our England squad! 32 teams whittled down to the last four and we are one of that four! Amazing!

  20. I love your blog, Margaret. Your photography is so pretty, it often reminds me of a still life painting. And I really enjoy your writing style.

    Yes the heat is hard to deal with. We live in the deep South in the U.S. and temps have been in the mid to high 90’s for awhile now. My husband , who never gets headaches, had them a couple of times lately. When the temp goes under 90, we’re so happy!

    Also, The English Home is the only magazine I subscribe to now. I get so excited to see it in my mailbox and try to savor every page w/o getting into too big a hurry! Want to also look into subscribing to House and Garden, but don’t know about receiving it here in the States.

    Hope you’re feeling much better now.


    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Kay, and thank you for such lovely compliments re my photography and my writing style. It’s strange, but I have always loved writing and when I look at some letters that I sent to my late uncle when I was about 14 and he went for a long holiday to his brother in Canada (he kept the letters and when he died my mother had then, and she passed them back to me) I notice that my writing style hasn’t changed at all. OK, the content is different – I mention events at school, the homework I find difficult, the school dinners I dislike, etc, but the style is the same so either I was a very precocious 14 year old or I’m a very immature adult writer!
      My goodness, we moan about temperatures which are around 30C but that’s around 90F I think.
      How lovely that you, in the deep South, love The English Home magazine. Speaking of which, I once had a pen friend who lived in Munson (if my memory serves me correctly), Florida and she once sent me a Munson Bulldogs zipped jacket, perhaps something like cheer leaders might wear! I sent her a chiffon head scarf! I expect we both wondered what on earth we had received!
      I expect you could subscribe to House & Garden, it’s a Conde Nast publication (Vogue being another of their publications.)
      I am gradually feeling better, but this heat has really got to us, we’re not used to it here in the UK. That sounds very wussy!

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