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Autumn Has Arrived

Autumn is surely here when we experience sunsets such as this, albeit it a rather limited view.  But even a glimpse of such colours is something to behold.

But before I go further, I must write about the problems that many readers have been experiencing on the Comments column.  I have done my best to eradicate the problem of their personal details being published, and sometimes even names and emails which have nothing whatsoever to do with the person writing the comment have attached themselves to their comments.

I asked my computer man about this and he said it wasn’t my computer at fault – I have anti-virus software which is up-to-date and no virus has infected my computer.

I then got in touch with the host, Blue Host, and was on the telephone to Arizona for 3/4 hr, and it would’ve been even longer had not the battery in my phone expired, but they also couldn’t find anything wrong, they were unable to see any of these (what I shall call) ‘rogue’ email addresses.

I then got in touch with a webmaster who had transferred me from my previous host to Blue Host a few weeks ago, and for which I’d paid quite a lot of money. I how had to pay yet more to him, and he has done what he can to eradicate the problem, too.

So, dear readers, I have done my very best to get rid of this problem.  Indeed, the webmaster has said the following:

“Well, it seems she [one of the readers I mentioned] had old site cache data.  At this moment new users will not see autofill data.  I told you if any user has enabled auto-fill in his browser (default) then it will populate data in input fields. Ask [this reader] to do hard refresh by pressing Ctrl+F5 and if possible then disable autofill in her browser by watching this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eU0Gttr8GU  It is not your website or server issue, it’s the latest update in internet industry especially browsers to save time and act intelligently.  Read this article here: https://www.lifewire.com/using-autofill-or-autocomplete-in-browser-4117435  Once user does hard-refresh of the website then they will not see this happening to them again.  I’ll test this on different computers today to check if this issue still exists.”

Now, I’m no computer buff, so I really don’t understand any of this but I do hope those who need to can understand and follow his advice, and make the necessary adjustments so that their names and emails do not appear in the Comments column.

* * * * * *

And now, as they used to say on the Monty Python show, for something completely different!

I said I’d mention my latest (secondhand) book, and this is it.  And what a lovely book it is.  I read about it in a conversation between interiors photographer, Derry Moore, and interior designer David Mlinaric, in the latest issue of House & Garden, and then I searched for it on the Abe Books website.  It’s an ex-library copy.  How can a library get rid of such a book?  Perhaps they might consider mounting displays of books that are rarely removed from their shelves in order to encourage borrowers, or in some cases to challenge borrowers!  But their loss is my gain, and a double gain because it contains the most adorable illustrations as well as being written by historian, John Cornforth.

Of course, you already know of my love of paintings or interiors – not long ago I showed you some of the architectural prints I have in a portfolio – and this book is filled with such illustrations, both in colour and black and white.  John Cornforth says:

“Many of the pictures have little claim to be considered as serious art, but that is not why they have been chosen.  Of course there are exceptions:  occasionally Turner painted marvellous evocations of rooms, as at Petworth.  But he was not primarily concerned with the details that intrigued topographical artists or amateurs, and it is their work that provides the most vivid illustrations for those interested in domestic life or decoration in the first decades of the 19th century … The period is a comparatively narrow one, and these illustrations amount to a minor genre that owes something to the Georgian conversation piece, rather more to early 19th century narrative painting, and its virtual end to photography.  However, simply because so many of the pictures are the earnest and rather artless results of the amateur’s patience they have a particular kind of appeal, bringing to life rooms that have been destroyed, altered or often left virtually unused for two generations.  They are complementary to descriptions in letters, diaries, topographical publications and novels, and so form part of the patchwork of leisured life in England over a hundred [at the time this book was written] years ago.”

With the arrival of this book I have been encouraged to seek out another of Cornforth’s books (I already had one other) and that is on its way to me now.  And I’ve not paid a king’s ransom for either. I might hate the internet when it lets me down, but oh, the infinite variety of books now available through the wonders of the world wide web is absolutely wonderful.

And so to today … first, we went to Lidl where (as well as the more mundane things such as washing up liquid) I bought three bunches of flowers as they were so inexpensive – where else can you buy four sprays of lovely lilies for £3.29? Also, a lovely bunch of spray chrysanthemums for £2.19 and a bunch of pink roses for £2.09?  No wonder I pushed the fiscal boat out today!

Then we drove on to Wellswood so that husband could visit his barber and while being shorn I popped into the hospice boutique to give a basketful of items that I know I shall never wear again – and that included a scarf I bought only last winter (a mistake, the colours just aren’t ‘me’).

The manager and the volunteers in this shop should be awarded for their imagination, bearing in mind they only have the donated items to work with …

From Wellswood we went to Waitrose for the main food shopping, and then took our sandwich (which we share) and our free Waitrose coffee to Ilsham Valley. By now the early morning sunshine had vanished, but the view from the car, with just a glimpse of the sea, is still a pretty one.

As I say in the title of this post, autumn is here, and that is reflected on the covers of the October issues of the glossy magazines.  I bought this one so that I might be encouraged to ’embrace’ autumn (spring being my favourite season) which is what we are being encouraged to do, with lots of features on rustic cottages with rooms with unplastered stone walls, log burning stoves, and so forth, and adverts for heather-coloured throws and velvet cushions.  Indeed, they just fight shy of writing “101 things to do with a pumpkin”.   But, oh, even I have to admit that the rooms do look invitingly cosy.

Embracing autumn, I have bought three bundles of Sarah Ravens lovely candles.  Yes, I know. I’ve said I don’t like lighted candles, they are a fire risk!  They also pollute the air when lit.   I still believe they are a fire risk and a pollutant, but mainly I bought these for their colour!  Daft, or what?  I don’t think I will be lighting them any time soon, but I love to have coloured candles now whereas until recently I thought they were the height of naffness, and only had those lovely creamy ‘church’ candles or pure white ones in our candlesticks.  But right now, everything is brightly coloured, with lime green, bright orange and purple being very popular, oh yes, and mustard.  And all together, too.  The good thing is, people are at last brave enough to venture out of their neutral comfort zone.


Before my autumn mini makeover (only a very slight makeover – see if you can spot the differences with the photo below …

Indeed, this is only a partial makeover, as I think I might delve into my Resources Cupboard and extract some copper lustre jugs and give them an airing; also, perhaps my Dickensian Toby jugs.  They might end up on the kitchen windowsill – Mr Pickwick and Sam Weller can watch me wash up.

But for now, this chap (below) is watching me as I take his photo.  It’s a bit of pure 1960s’ kitsch which my mother bought, but actually, half a century later, I really like it, and the painting on this chap is really rather nicely executed.  She bought a number of these items in the early 1960s, and while I’ve parted with some of them – there were really far too many to keep – I kept this one and a few others.  Sufficient, at least, to have a change around of ornaments, and he certainly adds colour to the autumn mantelpiece.


And his costume goes rather nicely with the two Royal Doulton vases in a pretty celadon green.

Which brings me to the flowers …

Some of the spray chrysanthemums with foliage from the garden

Some from the same bunch of chrysanthemums, these are  in the kitchen – see how far a bunch can go when you break up the sprays (which tend to be rather stiff and wooden looking if just plonked in a vase as they emerge from the wrapper – yes, making up three vases takes a bit of time and effort, but it’s worth it, I think.)

And a small posy of the chrysanthemums on the hall table

Also from Sarah Raven I bought this tin plate.  She has a range of these and I thought the background colour was white, but it’s more a very pastel blue and really I can’t find a suitable place for it yet, but I think it will be fine in the summer for use in the garden.  I had it in mind to do a re-shuffle of the items on my dressing chest in the bedroom, but the colour just isn’t right in the bedroom even though I’ve photographed it on the pastel blue bed cover.  While the plate decoration is very pretty, the background colour is rather dull.

While in Wellswood, I went into the pharmacy to buy nail polish remover and couldn’t help but take a peek at the Mavala nail polishes, and decided that I liked this one, called Cadiz.  I’ve photographed it on a favourite silk scarf.

And when we arrived home, a book had arrived. I read the first novel by this author a couple of weeks ago and really loved it, so I’m looking forward to her second novel (yet another rear view of a woman in a red dress … can’t book cover designers devise any other scenario?)

If I were a betting person, I’d bet a £1 to a penny that this scene isn’t in the book:  a woman in a red dress, running down a landing stage. We shall see!

I do hope that if you are kind enough to leave a comment, your details won’t be published.  If you can follow the instructions my webmaster has given, this should prevent that from happening.

I hope you will have a lovely 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. Good morning Margaret! Well, it’s still morning here, and I’m up and around early (for me). My son and DIL arrive late tomorrow (after a 13-hour drive, poor things) so that gives me today and tomorrow to complete my cleaning and food plans. Not too much food on hand ahead because we are mostly leaving that to what everybody feels like at the time, which suits me just fine! We will eat out some, as circumstances allow.

    How nice your new book is! I do like looking at paintings of interiors. I bet one could pore over your book for ages, picking out all sorts of fun details. Your colored candles add a special and bright touch to your room, along with your pretty chrysanthemums (love all your bouquets, and the lilies are gorgeous). Wow, so many wonderful things in this post! Enjoy your weekend!

    • Margaret Powling

      My goodness, Bess, that’s a long drive for your son and daughter in law. I hope they take regular comfort stops along the way. And yes, it’s nice to make food when everyone is there, when they’ve decided what they would like to eat.
      I have another new book which arrived this morning and it’s equally a delight as the one on interiors but in a quite different way although there are a lot of interiors in it! I won’t say more, but will write about it next time.
      The lilies are now beginning to open. I can’t say I care for the scent but the flowers are lovely. They are pink lilies, not the bright pink Star Gazer ones, but a very pastel pink and really quite beautiful. Husband, when he saw the candles, asked “where are the yellow ones?” as yellow is his favourite colour, and I had to tell him that the ranges (for there are three) didn’t include any yellow ones. Never mind, I like the ones we have, even though the orange is really very bright orange indeed!
      Have a lovely weekend with your family, Bess.

  2. I just commented on your previous regarding the ‘rogue’ data and now see that you have talked about it here. How frustrating that you had to spend so much time trying to sort it out, but it does seem to have no gone away, so thank you (even if it wasn’t anything to do with your blog). I’m with you on not understanding – I’m pretty competent with packages such as Word, Excel etc. but when it comes to the background (hosts and operating systems) I am clueless.
    Aren’t those arched windows on the cover of your interiors book absolutely wonderful. I guess the curtains would be pretty costly though! The paintings inside are so interesting – one could spend ages (I’ll bet you do) just looking at the fine detail.
    A few items changed can make a room look very different. I’ve also carried out an Autumn mini-makeover using items from store plus a couple of new cushions. It lifts the mood to have a bit of a change.

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, it has been weeks of trying to wort out the ‘rogue’ data problem, and even throwing money at it, didn’t solve the problem. I now hope it’s ceased to happen, but who knows? I’m still using Blue Host for webmail and much prefer Office Outlook which currently has failed to work, so I am hoping my comuter man will be able to help there (in due course.)
      Yes, those arched windows are wonderful. I love Venetian windows best of all – they have a lovely Venetian window in the Saloon in Saltram House (the room designed by Robert Adam.)
      I am thinking of a new throw for the sitting room. I’ve seen it in the Oct issue Country Homes & Interiors. It’s by Bronte by Moon, and it’s in Blackcurrant (a mix of blackcurrant and lime colours) … but would it look too OTT in our sitting room, I wonder? But I love the colours! How strange that in autumn we start to nest build rather more than in spring! Changing our furnishings a bit, making our homes cosy for winter …

  3. Well, I have to admit that, like you, those instructions don’t make any sense to me whatsoever but it doesn’t matter because it all seems OK now, thankfully. What a hassle it has been for you!

    • Margaret Powling

      Oh, Joy, I do hope the problem has been solved as it’s cost a lot of money, twice to the webmaster and at least once to my computer man, not to mention changing my host. I can’t follow instructions like that and now I’ve had instructions on how to correct things that have gone wrong for me in registering for the patient access that we all now seem to have to do to get our prescriptions renewed. I was happy with the old system which worked, but the system has changed and we have all got to do it again, and it is so frustrating not to be able to get it done. I was almost in tears yesterday, going round in circles with the computer and the patient access website, and in the end I found their email address and sent them a very terse (aka rude) email. I’ve had a stock reply, telling me what to do, and I can’t follow the instructions!!! I’ve only used a computer for about 25 years, but it’d still double Dutch to me (is that phrase allowed now? Perhaps not as it casts aspirsions on the Dutch and their language, so apologies to the Dutch before someone tells me off!)

  4. Margaret, just out of interest the rogue data is now missing from your older articles but appears on your latest one.

    • Margaret Powling

      Oh, Heather, this is so weird and awful at the same time. Honestly, I am so fed up with this happening and I really don’t know what to do. My webmaster has said it’s nothing to do with my computer, Blue Host say the same, and so does my computer man. They don’t appear for me, I am seeing your correct email under your name on my Dashboard page (which readers can’t access) but no other rogue data. I just hope that in time it will simply go away, but perhaps that’s wishful thinking!

  5. Very enjoyable post Margaret, your home always looks so inviting.
    Oh my, how I would like to take a look around the charity shop, indeed, as you say they do a great job with their display.
    I will be interested to know your thoughts on the new book. The war years are a favourite time frame for me, although I was born after the war, I am fascinated by life in those times. The struggles and overcoming hardship, a lot to learn and consider in today’s way of life. I wish now I had listened and talked to my parents and grandparents about life in those times, an opportunity lost. Thank goodness for books.
    I understand your frustration with your computer problems, it seems so unfair. You put a lot of time, thought and effort into your writing which is much enjoyed and appreciated by your readers, I know that. Sometimes these things sort themselves out, I will be hoping for a good result for you.
    I also enjoy the comments and look forward to reading them.
    Pam in Texas.x

    • Margaret Powling

      Hello, Pam, and thank you for your kind comments re our home looks inviting. You can’t see the dust on the photos, ha ha!
      I haven’t started my very latest book yet, Pam, but I’m very much enjoying Rachel Rhys’s novel, Fatal Inheritance. A rather unhappily married young woman (still in her 20s) learns she is the benficiary in the Will of a chap she’d never heard of and, against what her husband (a boring old f*art, I might use that expression) advises, for he considers himself very much in charge of things, she goes to France, to the Riviera, to find out what it’s all about. This is 1948 and the Riviera has recovered far more quickly from England, where there is still rationing, it is a place of film stars, writers, casinos, beautiful villas and all by the Mediterranean sea, everything is glamorous and our young heroine is awestruck by it all. But you know something or someone is lurking in the background … really enjoying it, and beautifully written.
      Yes, it has been really annoying, all these computer problems, but I hope in time it will sort it self out, as yo say. I’m so glad you, and other readers, enjoy my blog. I have great fun writing it, taking the photos (whenever I go out I have blog photos in mind now!) and thinking, “I wonder whether readers would enjoy hearing about that …?” Now that I don’t do any writing for publication (for magazines, I mean) it’s a nice creative-writing outlet, with no Editor with a deadline to satisfy, either! Mind you, I was very fortunate, I had some lovely Editors.

  6. “The height of naffness” is officially my new favorite phrase! I was so glad this morning to see you were back, because I had missed reading your blog very much. But now I’ve got several entries to read, which is going to be the perfect way to start a week! Love the new candles as well!

    • Margaret Powling

      Hello, Beth! I’m glad you like my phrase, the height of naffness! But there are lots of those, sadly! Certain things are just not done in the best circles, as it were. For example, putting a little crinoline lady over the spare loo roll! This used to happen more when I was a child, people thought it the right thing to do, to cover the spare loo roll, but it’s plain silly. I can’t think of another example right now, but I’m sure some will come to me in due course!
      Glad you like the new candles, too. I really should light them even though I would put them out again, because it’s not really done – or so I was always given to understand – to have the pristine wicks showing.
      I hope you will enjoy the backlog of posts!

  7. I don’t understand the lengthy instructions from your computer person, either, and ‘Pam in Texas’ appears belowthe comments section so I will simply ignore. I’m sorry it cost you so much time and money. Hold onto your hat when you read your next phone bill (for the engthy call to Arizona) !

    Re the throw rug you’re contemplating purchasing – will Barry the Dog like it ? That was the first question which sprung to mind 😉

    I love autumn as for me in the sub-tropics of coastal Australia it heralds the end of our horrendous humid summer. The last two summers have broken nation-wide weather-keeping records so I know it hasn’t just been my imagination. Autumn also arrives when the kids are all in school (as our school year starts in late January, unlike the US system which starts in late August) so tourist numbers are lower. We have a bit of elbow room, so to speak 🙂 I can well understand why you (and others in areas where winters are cold and daylight hours are short) love spring.

    Thank you for another interesting post xx

    • Margaret Powling

      How strange it all is, Lara. I don’t understand what I’ve been told by the webmaster, either. AS I said to him, I can drive, but I don’t know how to strip down a car engine, which is what all this amounts to. I just want it all to ‘work’ properly!
      Oh, Barry the dog likes anything he can cuddle up to, me, cushion, throw …!
      Yes, you must really like autumn in Australia, with your very hot humid summers. And yes, once the children are back at school, we can visit places once again without hoardes of people being there, for children have parents and grandparents, too. It’s lovely to see them all enjoying themselves but places do become so crowded, especially the Zoo. More visitors than inhabitants! Our school year starts in September and ends in mid-July. But, of course, once the children are back at school, the area then begins to receive coach parties of pensioners. I’d not wish to be on a large coach with a group of pensions – I’m too young for that, ha ha – but many come on what they call “turkey and tinsel” holidays, where it can be Christmas in September and October. Perish the thought.

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