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A Wednesday Miscellany

The Ness, Shaldon, South Devon (taken 2014)

Husband and I are gradually feeling better and this is perhaps because the weather, especially today, has lost that roasting heat that we have endured for far too long.  We have taken things as easy as we can, and yesterday we thought we’d have a run out in the car – how Very 1950s that sounds! – to The Ness at Shaldon for lunch.

The drive along the coast road is a pretty one, but at this time of the year there are few actual views of the coast, all the greenery having sprung up, obscuring the sea.  The road is very twisty-and-turny but also very pretty.

Indeed, this is a typical South Devon road, overhung with trees.

The Ness is two things:  1, it is a promontory at the mouth of the River Teign here in South Devon, “ness” meaning “nose”, i.e. a piece of land jutting out into the sea (see photo above, taken in 2012), and 2, it is a rather attractive Georgian house (photo at the top of this post), now an hotel/pub, built 1820.  It has a verandah supported by cast iron columns and around the ground floor are c1850 French windows giving onto a wrap-around conservatory.

Not having felt particularly well we didn’t want very much to eat, and so ordered a ploughman’s lunch, just one portion that we could share.  I asked for an extra portion of bread and an extra plate, but when the ploughman’s arrived, we were astonished at the size – this was a portion which normally would be for one person, not for two, and we struggled to eat it!

That is a meat-dish size platter on which you could serve the Christmas turkey!  But having said that, it was an excellent meal, with everything you could wish for, from two kinds of cheese to hard boiled eggs, gherkins, apples, onion marmalade and various kinds of chutney, and crusty bread (the extra bread was a bit of a let-down, they gave us white sliced of the cheapest kind.)

The view from where we were sitting was rather nice, too. Not keen on  all the bunting but perhaps it’s there to deter the marauding gulls!

And another shot, below, showing Teignmouth on the opposite side of the estuary of the River Teign …

Inside, The Ness it is now a mish-mash of various designs. Here, is the ornate bar area with fancy mouldings …

and a rustic area where halves of boats (or pretend-boats) are being used as seating.


These look quite fun, but really I think I’d prefer to sit on a chair to eat my meal!

Another area is more like a traditional sitting room …

Indeed, there is no cohesion to the design of the interior, but I expect this is a Listed building and the proprietors have to work around what is there and which cannot be altered.

Even though we enjoyed the drive in the car from Paignton to Shaldon, and our meal, we simply hadn’t sufficient energy to walk down to the riverside beach as we normally do, and instead walked back to our car and drove home.

Today has been sultry again, not nearly as hot as it has been, but still with no sign of rain.  I decided it was high time I cleared the laundry basket and so I tackled the ironing, plus several more machine loads of laundry which I’ve washed and dried in this lovely fine weather, so that there is absolutely nothing left to wash, dry or iron … well,  until tomorrow!  I even tidied part of the airing/linen cupboard, a boring-but-necessary job. How can it get in such a muddle?  All the pillow cases are now in their correct ‘pairs’ and are neatly stacked.

I also decided that as it was fine but not roasting-hot, I’d clean out the summerhouse.  In the eight years since husband built it in 2010, it hasn’t been necessary to clean it out more often than once i.e. at the beginning of the summer.  With all this hot weather it became very dusty, especial the floor, and so husband and I removed the chairs, table, rug, trolley, TV, lamp, etc, and I swept it out (I always feel a bit like Mole, spring cleaning his little home in The Wind in the Willows!) and then steam cleaned it.  I shook out the rug, and then we put the items back, so it’s all clean and tidy again (I wish I could say the same about our house!) Even the table received some Pledge polish.


I then rustled up a quick lunch of salad, tinned mackerel in a basil and tomato sauce, and some new potatoes, followed by fresh fruit salad …

I then did a bit of dead-heading in the garden, and took some photos of the flowers that have survived this heat wave (not many have!):  two heuchera plants that we put in pots and which have enjoyed the shade beneath the walnut tree; some verbena; and some white antirrhinums.


Earlier today I took delivery of a bottle of nail polish, a Sally Hansen one called Berry Important (who thinks these things up!)

It is just a fraction more pink than Aria Red-y, which is one of my all-time favourite colours and which appears to have been discontinued. Why do companies discontinue things that I like?  Perhaps I’m the only person who has bought it!!!  Anyway, I eventually found Aria Red-y on Amazon, and have ordered a bottle, so that when the one I’m using is finished, I have another one.

Husband has just finished sweeping the little terrace where we have our garden table and chairs, and I am now going to prepare our supper before we settle to watch the England v. Croatia football match, the semi-final of the World Cup.

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. So pleased you are feeling a bit better. Like you I find this heat overwhelming.
    Charming pictures and interesting blog entry thank you.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you, Jill. The Ness is a lovely old building and we enjoyed our very brief time out yesterday; when we returned home we each settled down on a sofa and dozed.

  2. The Ness looks lovely, my daughters had a weekend in Shaldon with their children last month and had a really good time. I could just eat that ploughmans now.

    I do love heuchara. So many different colour leaves and even though sometimes the flowers are tiny the bees still seem to love them. I can always find room for a heuchara 😉

    I’m glad you are feeling better and indeed better enough to start extra housework, but go steady! It’s due to be hotter again over the weekend so pace yourself (sometimes easier said than done).

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, Shaldon is a lovely village, and the walk up river to the next village (or hamlet) of Ringmore is a delight, Alison.
      Heucheras are lovely plants – in front garden (although the hot weather might have done for them!) we have some with deep red flowers and they are lovely when in bloom, far better than you’d expect from a heuchera, grown mainly for their lovely leaves.
      Yes, we both need to pace ourselves during this hot, humid weather. Although it’s not as hot as it was, it is still very sticky.

  3. It’s been much cooler here today although it still seems very close. I’ve not been to The Ness but I’ve added it to the list – it looks lovely! I’m not keen on driving down to Shaldon by that road. There are one or two corners I’m not keen on at all. In fact some people who stayed at the holiday cottage I own with my sister set off to Shaldon and turned round as they said they weren’t brave enough to drive down that road.

    I’ve not lost any plants so far but it’s taken an awful lot of watering to save them.

    Nail varnish names are ridiculous sometimes – what’s wrong with good old red and pink?

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      My goodness, I’d not thought of that road as being particularly hairy, Fiona. Although I was put off when I was 17 and started driving lessons – my instructor in those days took me on that road as far as the filling station at Maidencombe on my first driving lesson. I gave up after 5 lessons with him, but learned with a new instructor when I was 25. Yes, there are some S-bends but if you take it nice and steady, it’s a lovely road to drive.
      We have watered our pots but the plants in the garden, apart from a couple of roses (for we have a very small garden) have had to fend for themselves, we’re being very careful with our water. I even put a bucket in the shower to catch the spare water, but it took up too much space, so had to give up on that!)
      As there are so many shades of nail polish, I think they could just number them.

  4. Such a pretty drive! Glad you’re feeling better, even if you’re still not quite up to par. Yes, why do companies discontinue products we love?! I have had that happen numerous times also – wish I would have known ahead of time so I could have chosen to stock up, if I wanted to. Love those blue pots with the lovely flowers growing in them – I know they aren’t quite your cup of tea, but they really do look very nice.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, the pots are rather nice, but I think I’ve had them so long I’ve just gone off them, Jeannine. They are rather bright and I prefer black or terracotta. In fact, I find them hard to plant up, as few plants look good in them, they are so bright they distract from the flowers which isn’t what one wants. Hostas look good in them, but I’ve put hostas in black ceramic posts at the back of the garden.
      It’s still very hot here this evening, can’t wait for a good downpour to happen! But overall, both of us are much better, thanks, Jeannine.

  5. In New Zealand, a Ness would be called a Head. You would think that with so much British influence here, that it would also be called a Ness, but no. I also love the look of your flower pots!! Here it has been s-o-o cold, and I do not live in a snowy area. I’m thinking that our coming summer will be like yours.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Ratnamurti. Yes, we sometimes use the term “head” also for a piece of land jutting out to sea, such as Flamborough Head, I don’t think “ness” is usually used, but it this piece of land in south Devon has always been known as the Ness.
      It’s hard to imagine you being so cold while we are basking in sunshine when this isn’t usual for us, even in summer. Our temperatures do reach dizzying heights in summer, yes, but not for such a prolonged spell, that’s what has made this heatwave unusual. Thankfully, this morning it’s a little cooler. Also glad you like the blue flower pots – I fear they are here to stay (had them about 20+ years anyway!) as husband says it would be wasteful to dispose of them, and he’s right.

  6. You do live in a very picturesque part of England, Mrs Powling. Your pictures capture it so well. So much greenery and the beautiful blue sea in the distance.
    Pity England lost the match. We were rooting for it too 🙁

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, thank you for rooting for England in last night’s match, Kavitha! Both husband and I found we simply couldn’t watch it, and mooched around the house, me doing odd jobs while I was half-listening to the match still on TV in the sitting room – but I managed to sweep and steam clean the kitchen floor, clean the shower room, wipe down all the ground-floor windowsills (very grimy after having had windows open because of the hot weather) and dust in here (the study). What a shame that England’s previous performances weren’t repeated, but they were up against such a very good team in Croatia. Considering no one expected much of this new young team, I think they did very well to reach the semi-final. Well done, England and waistcoat-wearing, Gareth Southgate.

  7. Margaret we often stop in Shaldon on the way home from Dartmouth and never thought the road was difficult, but then Husband is driving not me. Hes used to narrow twisting country lanes.
    We’ve stayed in various holiday cottages over the years in Shaldon and its a lovely place. Though the Antique shops etc. seem to have closed which is a shame, we used to like getting the ferry over to Teignmouth.
    Never been to the Ness, but agree it could do with redecoration, how about offering to do it for them next time you are there (the sitting room looks ok ). You’d get a shock if they said ‘yes please’. Nice project though

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Often when visitors come to our part of the world, Linda, they find the narrow lanes and roads difficult, but I’ve driven that road for decades and never found it a problem, either. But there are some double S-bends and, obviously, one has to take care, but it’s not especially narrow nor too hilly. Yes, I love the little ferry to Teignmouth and back. The boat is the same design (al be it with an engine these days!) as in Elizabethan times, which is lovely bit of history right. Yes, the Ness needs a bit of a make-over, but rather a make-under as I hate ‘themed’ places – everywhere for a time developed the ‘New England’ look, with lots of painted clapboard in pales blues and greys, and then there was the ‘industriel’ look, with concrete floors and the trunking for electrical cables in evidence. There is nothing wrong with just freshly painted walls and simple tables and chairs, but few restaurants recognise this simple fact.

  8. P.S, Margaret why not paint the blue flower pots a colour you like

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      The pots are high-glaze ceramic and I don’t think I’d like them painted, Linda, but it is always a possibility.

  9. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    The Ness looks interesting. I like quirky eating places (so long as the food is good). That’s is a very generous Ploughmans. Time was when such a meal was bread, cheese and a bit of onion, but I wonder did a ploughman ever eat pickled gherkins with his lunch? Haha.
    I’ve taken to getting up a bit earlier so that I can iron before it gets too hot (the weather, not the iron!) this summer. I have lots of holiday ironing to do now it’s all be washed and dried.
    Oh it is so frustrating when something we use regularly is discontinued. Nail polishes and lipsticks seem to be the worst.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I actually preferred the old-fashioned ‘ploughman’s’ lunch, Eloise, which I remember fondly … a nice slab of good Cheddar cheese, crusty bread, Branston pickle (as there was no other kind years ago, with the exception of Pan Yan pickle, not as nice!) and a large pickled onion, a crunchy one if you were lucky, or a soft rather brown vinegary one if you weren’t! That with a packet of crisps (with their little waxed blue paper with salt in it, to sprinkle on the crisps!) and a pint of beer was my ideal ploughman’s and very often that would be an evening meal with friends in a pub, too. An actual evening meal as one would eat today was only for special occasions, but a summer evening in a pub meant a pint and a ploughman’s. No boiled eggs, apples, onion marmalade etc, let along a slice of gherkin, in those days!
      Yes, discontinuing nail polishes and lipsticks is really annoying.

      • Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

        Pan-yan pickle! It sounded very exotic and I remember buying some with high expectation. It wasn’t a patch on Branston!

  10. Just catching up Margaret, we have been staying over the estuary in Exmouth and looking at your coastline. I didn’t know about the Ness, so interesting to hear about it and see the photos. Thanks.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Heather, and I hope you are enjoying Exmouth and the East Devon coast, another lovely area, especially Budliegh Salterton and Branscombe. I love Beer, and having crab sandwiches on the beach is a lovely treat. Enjoy our visit!

  11. I’ve been feeling under the weather myself these past few days and am now looking forward to catching up with your posts. Another interesting read – thank you for taking us on tour with you !

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