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Saturday Reprise

John Snelgrove Memorial, Wellswood, Torquay (the ornate fountain on the reverse of the water trough)

Our Saturday morning has been much like last Saturday morning, hence the title “Saturday Reprise.”  We went to Waitrose so that we could get a few things which would then entitle us to a free newspaper.  After that we drove to Wellswood, parked the car and walked to Me and Mrs Jones (so that we could buy some sausage rolls.)

Old bicycle, painted shopping trolley and flowers outside Me and Mrs Jones

On the way to Me and Mrs Jones, we first passed a lovely Tudorbethan house (i.e. mock Tudor, all cables, black-painted woodwork, white painted walls) which I think is really attractive but I wonder whether the rooms might be a little dark inside …

We were considering stopping in Me and Mrs Jones for coffee, but after I’d bought a couple of sausage rolls (to take home) I said to husband that it really was too noisy in there – all the knives and forks and plates clattering, people talking loudly, the coffee machine kicking off, and as well as all this noise reverberating around the walls, fairly loud ‘background’ (!) music.

Pasties, pies, sausage rolls in Me and Mrs Jones

I had to ask the assistant serving me to repeat herself twice because I simply couldn’t hear her! (And I do not suffer from deafness.)

By the till stood this flamingo.  I’ve no idea why it was there – perhaps to give customers “the bird”?

And so we paid for the sausage rolls and decided to have coffee in the little café in which we had coffee last week, just down the road from Me and Mrs Jones.  Oh, it was so nice and peaceful!  We sat in the window, again, and had coffee and this time indulged in toasted tea cakes and jam.

I’d been wearing my panama hat, hence my hair had been well and truly flattened.  Never mind, I’m having my hair done on Monday. I decided to wear a dress I seldom wear, it’s half cotton, half linen, but I fear I don’t really suit blue, it’s a rather harsh colour.   However, I like the dress, it’s cool in summer, and so might send for one in lilac, which I think is a ‘kinder’ colour.  Besides, I’ve had this dress for four or five summers and it’s looking a little ‘worn’ now.

On the way to Me and Mrs Jones and the little café we passed The Snelgrove Memorial(top collage). John Snelgrove (1815-1903) was one of the founders of the London department store, Martshall & Snelgrove in Oxford Street.  After Snelgrove’s death the company merged with Debenham’s.  In a book about Wellswood, it says that he was “well regarded as a caring employer, introduced the half-day closing of his shops in 1865 and received an illuminated handwritten plaque from grateful workers in recognition of ‘the high appreciate and valuable aid you have given in establishing the Half Holiday on Saturday.’

Snelgrove lived in Torquay for 18 years and it says in the book, “The community … benefited with the gift of an ornate memorial drinking fountain and water trough.” After years of neglect, this memorial has been restored to its former glory and in spring it is surrounded by beautiful daffodils.  Around the base ae engraved names of 17 prominent people who are connected with Torquay.

And then we strolled back to the car and drove home, just in time for me to receive my latest Alison Bruce book … I had ordered three, to complete the set to date, and two more are on their way.  I am  enjoying them, they are well-written and intricately plotted.  Real page turners.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend,

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’m reading your post and when I get to your picture I think to myself that I’ll have to comment how nice you look in blue! Then I read, “I fear I do not really suit blue”. Maybe the picture deceives, but I think you do suit blue! I know I’m bias as blue is my favorite color, but I am also discerning – for instance, my husband does not look good in that shade of blue. I’m so with you on the noise in cafes/restaurants. And don’t get me started on the music! I went with a couple friends to a lovely place yesterday, but the music . . . please turn it down and only play instrumental music, at least that’s what I say.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you, Jeannine. After I’d posted that, I thought to myself, “Oh dear, it sounds like I’m angling for compliments,” but I assure you I was not. I have green eyes and I always think I look better in colours other than blue and this blue is a strong turquoise blue (it’s come out more blue than turquoise on the photo) and to soften it a bit, I put on a chunky necklace with colours other than blue in it. I’ve now sent for the same linen/cotton dress in what is called ‘amethyst’ which is a lilac colour, so I hope that will look good. It’s just a straight button-through dress, nothing fancy at all.
      I do think that if various towns and cities opened cafes and restaurants that were quiet, they would be welcomed. Why do these places always assume we want to eat and drink to the accompaniment of pop music, or any music come to that? I truly hate it. I have asked for music to be turned down on many an occasion, and sometimes this is done, but sometimes they make a bit of a show of doing turning it down, like I’ve asked for the moon, and then within minutes it’s back up nice and loud again.

  2. I like the colour Margaret and the necklace sets it off nicely. Hope you’ve had a relaxing day with your books. It’s been so hot, I don’t think I’d enjoy a noisy café in this weather, nicer to be somewhere calm and cool.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Heather. We don’t like noisy cafes in any weather. If you can’t hear someone talking to you, the whole place loses it’s raison d’etre as far as I’m concerned; we go to a café to relax and chat over a cup of coffee, or if we just want a few quiet moments – we don’t always have to talk to one another. I know a lot of married couples can look glum when they’re not speaking to each other, but with us, we just like having each other’s company and we know we’re not being miserable if we simply don’t chat 19 to the dozen. But neither of us can stand noise.
      Thank you for your kind comments re my dress and necklace. I hope the lilac coloured dress will be nice and I will then have to look through my bits and pieces for a suitable necklace for that – or it will be an excuse to have a look at jewellery in my favourite charity shop! (Or better still, the lovely jeweller’s shop in Totnes which sells one-off pieces of lovely modern jewellery.)

  3. Hello Margaret. What a lovely Saturday you had enjoying these wonderful places near your home. Those pasties and sausage rolls look so, so good! And, I too, think the blue dress suits you perfectly. Although, the lilac you spoke about is one of my favorite colors. Yesterday, my husband and I took our beach chairs and umbrella and sat in the park above the ocean to enjoy our coffee and pastries. We had a bit of an early morning and I thought it would be perfect to drive to the beach and enjoy breakfast. I enjoyed reading about the history of Marshall and Snelgrove department store. Years ago, there was a famous department store in Chicago, Marshall Field’s. I inherited a lovely wool scarf made in Scotland especially for this store. It perked in interest so I looked up the history of Marshall Field’s. I found out that Harry Gordon Selfridge was the head guy at this store back in 1887 before he started his famous Selfridge’s in London. Our department stores now are a shell of what they once were. In the old days, I loved the formality of the stores but now many of our department stores are in financial stress with the advent of internet shopping. Enjoy your evening. We’re having a warm (actually hot) afternoon here in SoCal. Until next time, Pat xx

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Pat. Yes, it is really nice to be able to visit these places which aren’t far from our home, within ten to fifteen minutes (depending on traffic) we can be in Wellswood or at Waitrose. How lovely to take chairs to a park and see the sea (you call it the ocean, but then it would be the ocean, whereas here we only look out to Torbay, which is part of Lyme Bay which itself is part of the English Channel which goes into the Atlantic, but no way could our sea coming ashore nearby be referred to as “ocean”.)
      I have heard of Marshall Field’s dept store and a few years ago I researched the history of dept stores, something I might use on my blog. Yes, as you have also found, dept stores are having a difficult time, they are up against the internet which give customers such a worldwide choice of goods, and some of them, such as British Home Stores (known as BHS) have gone to the wall, and it looks like House of Fraser is going down the same path and Debenham’s isn’t exactly secure, either. I wonder if you have seen the TV series (there were at least three series) called Mr Selfridge? I loved it. It was all about Harry starting Selfridge’s in London, but it was also a lovely drama series – I preferred it to Downton Abbey.
      The weather has returned to very hot here in the UK, it was 30C in our hall yesterday by late afternoon – we don’t have air con here as the norm, but we use a portable electric fan when it gets too much for us. These temps in the UK are very unusual. The mid 20sC in summer is the norm, and not for prolonged periods. Rain, right now, would be lovely. Never thought I’d say that!

      • Hi Margaret, sorry to hear you’re having another hot day. This summer has been quite unusually warm for many of us. Mr. Selfridge was shown here on PBS and I enjoyed watching it each season. The history of it was quite interesting. Stay cool dear friend.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          Yes, we are doing our best to keep cool, Pat. We have the doors open to allow air to flow through, and there is at least a slight breeze today. Our elder son (wife and our grandson) have just arrived back from visiting her relatives in Northamptonshire, which is about as inland as you can get here in the UK and our son says that it was stiflingly hot, we don’t know how lucky we are living by the coast as even when it’s hot there is usually a breeze. He said he felt totally “shut in”. Our elder son even feels claustrophobic inland, even in wide-open countryside, if there isn’t the coast close by.
          Glad you were able to see Mr Selfridge. I loved it and Jeremy Pivens as Harry Selfridge was excellent. I’d never seen him in anything else, never even heard of him!

  4. I’m glad you are enjoying the books so much Margaret, I have just finished Cambridge Black which I believe is the last in the series and have to say enjoyed each and every one of them. Her details of the city are very accurate and therefore make it a major character in itself, just wish she had written more but I guess that it greedy!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I have just finished The Calling, which I thought was wonderful, a real page turner, Elaine! My goodness, that kept me on the edge of my reading seat, so to speak! I liked it better than the first two, Cambridge Blue and The Siren. What a great TV series this would make! I have only been to Cambridge twice, and only spend about a day or half a day there each time (while husband was visiting a factory on a nearby industrial estate) but I loved my visits – we stayed in an hotel on Jesus Green. This was before the internet and I spent my time mainly in the bookshops and in Culpeper, which I think is now defunct. I loved their Elizabethan pop pourri, it was the nicest pop pourri I ever smelt. I wonder whether she will return to the series after the stand-alone new book? I hope so. I still have four to read, which is great!

  5. I also thought you looked lovely in that picture and was surprised when I read that you don’t like that colour on yourself … but it’s important that you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing. I agree with yours and others comments about disliking loud music in shops. I like to be able to speak to my friend or who I am with and to be able to hear them. Same goes for tv screens. Why oh why do they crop up in all sorts of places. Even if there is no sound they are still a distraction. I am quite happy with silence – it doesn’t frighten me at all. The other day I was out running errands and stopped at an organic food store where they make lovely hot chocolate (drink) which isn’t too sweet. There was no music, just a scattering of local newspapers and magazines and stools at the one table. I ended up chatting with a young bloke who was perched next to me and it was very nice. No mobile phone zombies, just people chatting. Just like the old days !

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you for your kind words, Lara, re my appearance in my blue dress. Strangely enough, I’ve never been totally happy wearing any shade of blue except navy, and I bought this one because the only other option was a sort of beige colour (beige, stone, ivory shades are good but they have to be the first kind of material, the right shape garment and for this dress beige would just look like an overall for doing the cleaning in). Now, the company have come up with a lilac one, so I will see what that is like.
      Fortunately, we don’t have too many pop-up TV screens, but they are becoming more prolific, just like noise everywhere in general. What a lovely shop that sounds, the organic food store, with people chatting, no other noise, and people not thumbing their mobile phones all the time! I heard on TV this week that people check their mobiles, on average, now once every 12 minutes. Sad, or what?

  6. Love the blue dress photo, and you made me laugh with your bird remark. I loved so many of your entries from this week — the photos you took on that clear day are gorgeous, you can practically smell the fresh air. I’m also thoroughly enjoying all your pictures of various fabrics in your life — upholstery, table settings, clothing — I like all your choices. And that breakfast in bed! I find myself thinking, “I want to be Margaret!” Have a lovely day!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, my goodness, Beth, you wouldn’t want my aches and pains, ha ha! But the best way of tackling those is to try and ignore them (if you can, that is; I jest, and I know some people are in constant pain and that is different from my arthritis which I can cope with, and if not, I have a paracetamol and a rest and then crack on.) But bless you for saying you like my upholstery, table settings and clothing. That has made my day. Of course, a lot of the things I have are inherited but, thankfully, my late mother and I had much the same tastes when it came to many things, just as my husband and I choose the same things, often quite separately. We also like the same art and the same music. A lot of people would then say, “How boring, variety is the spice of life!” but it certainly makes for a more harmonious life if you enjoy the same things.
      Yes, even though it was warm on Babbacombe Downs the other evening, there was a gentle warm breeze, it was just lovely as we have now returned to very hot weather.

  7. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    A ‘Patra’ dress if I’m not mistaken. It’s a lovely colour which contrasts well with your silver hair but bright blue can drain a fair skin. I wrote to the company a couple of years ago asking them to consider a three quarter sleeve version but got no response. I love linen, or a linen cotton mix. Days which consist of no more than local pottering are often underestimated. I lame such days. I’ve not read anything by Alison Bruce. Thriller books are often similarly presented with black backgrounds. More evidence of the cover themes we mentioned recently.
    I hate noisy cafes and restaurants. Metal chairs on tiled floors set my teeth on edge especially.
    Mr Selfridge – a great drama series but to have worked so hard for so much but to end with so little was a great shame.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      10/10 for observation. Yes, a Patra dress! Typical of companies these days not to bother responding. I have been in touch with United Biscuits again about the broken biscuits of Café Noir but no response, either. And 3/4 sleeves in summer dresses are ideal, they aren’t too hot and they cover the tops of women’s arms, not always their best feature (certainly not mine!) I chose the blue because at the time it was the only colour that was close to suitable, but I hope the lilac will both fit and look good.
      Only a few of the Alison Bruce books have a black background, but I put them onto a black background for my collage as there wasn’t an overall colour that was suitable for all of the titles.
      Yes, metal chairs (or those very solid wood ones) on tiled floors – ugh!
      Re Patra, I’ve also ordered silk socks for husband. He’s had them before, they are lovely, very find and soft and ideal for summer wear or with shoes that are just a little tight but not too tight.

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