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Mellow Yellow …

At last, rain.  Indeed, I might be predisposed to say at long last, rain.  Substantial rain.  A downpour.  And already the green shoots of recovery are making themselves visible, the grass already becoming less straw-like.

It was lovely, though, not to have the horrendous heat this weekend and after a quick trip to Wellswood on Saturday morning we spent the rest of the weekend at home.  I confess to not having done very much, just kept things ticking over – bed made, meals made – and I spent a lot of time reading this novel (above) by Alison Bruce, the second in her crime series set in Cambridge (and two more are on their way to me as we speak.)

Today, lovely post!  A book I had ordered arrived …

This is the fourth in a series by former fashion editor, Karen Wheeler who, in her mid-30s gave up her job in London, hung up her Manolos, and set off for a new life in France.  As you do.  The first three books are:

I have enjoyed them all and so I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment of her life in France.  Only this isn’t just about France.  In Sweet Encore, and accompanied by her 16-year-old niece and her little dog, Biff, Karen goes on a 3,000-kilometre trip around Spain and Portugal.  I think this will be fun and it will be a rather nice literary palate-cleansing sorbet between the various crime novels of Alison Bruce.

As well as the new Karen Wheeler book, the latest House & Garden arrived, the September issue.

Because I’ve bought glossy magazines for as long as I can remember (even the late-lamented Nova in the 1960s – wish I had those copies now!) I am now able (or so I like to think!) to spot trends.  I might be a little behind the times sometimes at spotting them, after all I’m no interior designer, but it is obvious that neutral has bitten the dust (thank goodness;  I have never in my life painted anything builder’s magnolia and I don’t intend starting now.)  No, the complete opposite of neutral, today everything is vibrantly coloured.  I actually love this eye-popping yellow!

Another thing I’ve noticed is that lampshades are no longer plain, pleated silk in cream.  I’m afraid I am right behind the times here as our lampshades are all ivory silk, and here are just three of them …

I don’t think I will be changing them any time soon, and they do give a good, clear light, but right now patterned and coloured shades are right “on trend”, as they say:

Maybe one of these days I might change just a couple of shades to patterned ones, perhaps those on our hall desk even though I’m not a follower of ‘trends’; if it’s become a trend then it’s already on the way out and passe, but these patterned shades are really rather pretty.

On Wednesday we are celebrating a dear friend’s 80th birthday and today we drove to a favourite garden centre close to the River Teign …


Not a good photo, taken while husband was driving and I was trying to dodge the high hedges.  Tide almost out, as here the river is part of the River Teign estuary, and as you might see, the fields are not the bright green that they usually are, but parched and yellowed after so many weeks of sunshine.

We bought a rose for our friend and we hope that he will like it, and we’re looking forward to the get-together in celebration of this birthday on  Wednesday.   Of course, right now the garden centre is gearing itself up for autumn.  There are Sales of garden furniture, and some rather lovely pots of dahlias, but we were on a mission simply to find a suitable rose for our friend.

There were plenty of roses from which to choose …

And in the end we chose …

It is sitting in the summerhouse, out of the wind and rain, until we take it to our friend on Wednesday. It is called Charlotte.

This post has been very much about the colour yellow … the yellow of the Batternberg cake with my cup of tea on Saturday afternoon, the yellow on the title of the crime novel and on the cover of the latest issue of House & Garden, the interior with the vibrant yellow paint, the mustard-yellow on Karen Wheeler’s latest book, and now this rose and even the parched straw-yellow landscape close to the River Teign.  A good thing that yellow is one of my very favourite colours.  I knew there would be a connection between a disparate group of topics if I looked closely enough!

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. Dear Margaret, I’m so glad you chose the “Charlotte” rose as my grand daughter “Charlotte” was gifted that particular rose for her 5th birthday by a little boy. She just turned 13 a few weeks ago and the rose is simply beautiful and elegant with a delightful old rose scent. Your recipient will surely be pleased. Lucy

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      How coincidental is that, Lucy! And as well as our friend’s 80th birthday, it is the birthday of his 13 year old grandson on the same day, but as we don’t know the young man (and we will all be celebrating together) we have bought him chocolates (we don’t know his interests, and we think chocolates are always acceptable unless not so on health grounds) and will slip some money into his birthday card. How lovely that that a little boy should give Charlotte a lovely Charlotte rose!

  2. … literary palate-cleansing…. chuckle….

  3. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    The recovery of lawns is impressive…a good downpour and the colour starts to return. Nature is certainly to be admired. All my lamps, and they are in every room including the kitchen, have plain cream/neutral shades too. My decor is generally neutral with pops of colour in cushions, a throw, some coloured glass. It makes it easy to ring the changes. But something we don’t have in common is a love of yellow. I do like yellow roses and I have one pair of yellow shoes (which are about 15 years old!) but that’s about it. I’ve noticed that book covers often conform to trends

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, neutral does help one to ring changes with accessories in colour. I think these startling colour schemes are for those who have the wherewithal to change things when they feel like it and, what is more, having an interior designer and their crew to complete the task. Yes, book covers often go with a colour trend … and publishers still think we women fall for pink and turquoise blue chick-lit style covers (and, I suppose, we do!)

  4. Battenberg. My favourite tea time treat! Unknown here in my part of Canada.

    I’m happy to hear the weather is more comfortable for you and the husband.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, what a shame that your part of Canada doesn’t have Batterberg cake! I’ve just finished the final slice this evening. Sadly, the cakes are smaller than they used to be, but still a lovely tea time treat.
      Today has been hot again, Linda, and we’ve been told it’s going to get hotter towards the end of the week. I don’t think summer is over quite yet.

  5. One of our daughters always asked for Battenberg cake for her birthdays, she still likes it now. Yellow is an uplifting colour isn’t, I had two previous sofas covered in a tough yellow linen, finally had to part company with them a couple of years ago, they needed frequent washing so they were quite hard work.
    Hope you all enjoy the birthday Margaret, I’m sure your friend will love the Charlotte rose. Will look up the books you mentioned.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I love Battenberg cake, too, Heather, just like your daughter, but it’s so sweet! I think of all the sugar when I have a slice and cringe! But it is tasty. Yes, yellow sofa covers would be difficult to keep clean, but there again, we have ivory coloured ones on one sofa. I tend to use a throw over the seats in winter, but they’re too warm to have on it in the summer when we want the coolness of the fabric.

  6. I hadn’t heard of Battenberg cake. It looks very pretty. Is it a sponge ?
    Yellow is very bright and pretty but it’s not my colour at all. I don’t own any clothing or accessories.
    I like plain lampshades, too. I can’t see the point in dark materials as lampshades – very little light would pass through. Our bedside lights have ivory fabric and are excellent for reading.
    Your pink teacup and saucer are very pretty. I much prefer to drink my tea from a nice cup or mug – it adds to the experience.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Lara. Yes, Battenberg cake is sponge. It’s made in two colours, the usual creamy colour of sponge cake and some to which pink colouring has been added, and then put together with jam to form a block, and wrapped in marzipan (almond paste.) It’s delicious but very sweet.
      No, I don’t have any yellow clothing but I am considering buying a yellow short rainproof jacket, but only considering at the moment, not so much the style but the colour. Not sure whether yellow is my colour, but it would certainly brighten my usually-navy wardrobe.

  7. What a coincidence to see a picture of battenberg cake in your blog. Our friend from Leeds is visiting and brought it for us. I am eating it for the first time and really enjoyed it, especially the taste of the almond marzipan. I must confess that I have a sweet tooth and love cakes and desserts of all kinds 🙂
    The dahlias are spectacular, such vibrant colours. I love the colour of the rose you’ve picked. Just perfect for summer!
    I think a yellow rainproof jacket would look quite nice 🙂

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Kavita, and my goodness, what a coincidence that your friend has brought you a Battenberg cake! So glad you like it. I was almost tempted into buying another one when we went shopping yesterday but as I’d bought some chocolate (one bar to last me a week) I decided against it.
      Yes, dahlias come in wonderful colours but we’ve not had any success growing them as the slugs and snails love them, too!
      Yes, I might well buy a yellow rainproof jacket, it would go well with all the navy blue that I wear, but I’m still not 100% convinced with grey hair it would look good – but it’s worth a try!

      • Our friend is visiting again in October. Could you please tell me the names of some typical British cakes I could ask him for? I’ve already asked him for Marlborough buns :):)

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          I don’t think your friend could bring Marlborough buns, Kavitha, as they are made daily and are loose on a rack in the suspermarket, a bit like bread – they wouldn’t ‘keep’ longer than a day, they’d be stale. Dundee cake, which is a bit like a Christmas cake, is rather nice – rich fruit cake with almonds on the top. Also a McVitie’s ginger cake, which is very soft and sticky. Batternberg, provided he doesn’t squash it, is always nice as you now know. I will have a think and mention other cakes if I can think of any. Perhaps other readers might have some ideas here? Perhaps a carrot cake would be nice, too?

  8. Thank you so much 🙂 I’ll tell him to forget the buns and get a Dundee cake instead. Ginger cake sounds good too. The battenberg survived the long journey quite well, i must say, it was in very good condition when it arrived. He got it from the food section of Marks and Spencer.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Getting cakes from Marks & Spencer is great, Kavitha, they should be good and if well packed, survive the journey. I hope he can find a nice Dundee cake for you and a ginger cake!

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