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Autumn Colour

While I’ve said long and often that spring is my favourite season, I still love to see the changing colours as we slip from summer into autumn, and there is no better place to see this change than in Ilsham Valley, between the small village area of Wellswood (really just a parade of shops on a gently sloping hill) and Meadfoot beach.  This is where we go most weeks after we’ve done our food shopping in Waitrose, where we take a sandwich to share with our ‘free’ Waitrose coffee (I say ‘free’ because obviously this is paid for in the price of the goods we buy; there is no such thing as a free meal or, in this instance, coffee.)  (You would laugh because some time ago – well, a few years ago – I received a kind freebie from Farrow & Ball, the paint manufacturers:  two tea towels made from a couple of their materials.  I put these in the car, the blue one for husband, the pink one for me, and we use these as napkins when we have sandwiches in the car, to save crumbs going everywhere.)

The above photo was taken from our car and looking towards the sea.  I turned around and this photo below is the road we had just driven down.

On the right (above) are some very attractive houses, but bear in mind that this is a valley, and their back gardens rise steeply to woodland at the top, as does the ‘matching’ hillside on the left of this photo.

Looking up the valley towards Wellswood

Looking down the valley towards Meadfoot beach

And as I sat in the passenger seat of our car (on the left, of course, the driver on the right) this was the lovely tree in front of me, with the sun shining through the leaves.  Autumn is certainly here.

I didn’t buy any flowers yesterday.  Most of them were far too expensive and others looked as if they might die before they arrived home.   But on Monday I bought some alstromeria in Totnes, and they are now beginning to open up nicely.

And then, this morning, I decided I would change a few things on the mantelpiece (or chimneypiece to give it its correct name).  My mother collected a number of lustreware jugs. I wasn’t terribly keen on them then, but she really liked them. They were quite expensive to buy in those days, but now I think they can be found for much less than she would’ve paid, as they’ve fallen from fashion.  However, they look rather nice, I think, for an autumnal look, so here are three of them.

I admit they don’t look as good as when filled with flowers, and so I hope to buy some apricot or pink roses when next I visit the shops and then the display will look more like this, below (photo taken a couple of years ago):

The same lustreware jugs but looking much prettier with roses in them, and the Crown Derby lidded box between them 

I have put another lustreware jug on the breakfast table, in which I’ve put some leaves from the garden.  It is surely autumn when the new season’s oranges and tangerines, apples and pears arrive in the shops.  I am ready for some citrus fruit and apples by late September, early October.

And now to go and watch more of the Ryder Cup, which I’m really enjoying.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

Until next time.

About Margaret

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 have read your blog from the beginning and now eagerly await each new instalment – keep it up!

  2. I do enjoy seeing pictures of your various excursions. I was just wondering if you ever take trips to other parts of the UK or to other countries on the continent?

    • Margaret Powling

      My husband used to travel to Europe quite a lot, Jeannine, when he was working, but I have never travelled. When young we simply could not afford to and now, with some health ‘issues’ (as they are called today) they would make travelling difficult for me, but I’m happy to have excursions to parts of Devon. We used to go away for short breaks regularly in this country and really, it’s just laziness now that prevents us, and of course, we do not like to drive more than 100 miles in one day (husband is 83 in November, and finds that while he can still drive, he becomes tired more quickly) so that would mean a lot of hotels on the way to our destination, even in our small country. Then we look at all that and think, is it really worth the effort? Maybe it would but we’re happy just to potter around Devon and perhaps the neighbouring counties of Somerset and Dorset and perhaps into Wiltshire. We might go away, we’ve not ruled it out, but the longer we leave it the bigger the effort, eh?
      I will come clean: my health pronlem is that I have had my gall bladder removed and very often, when we are out, I need the loo urgently. This usually happens after a meal, and it doesn’t matter what the food has been, either. It might even be something as innocent as a scone, but it might be after fish and chips or even a salad. I could imagine the scenario: Margaret on a gondola on the Grand Canal in Venice and suddenly needing the loo! It sounds funny, but I have been taken short and it’s no laughing matter, believe me. So this is really what puts us off from going very from home.

      • Totally understandable, on all counts. I was just curious as to whether traveling farther and wider was something you once did or if it was something that just isn’t for you. I have traveled many places (to me) in the United States, but have only been to Canada as an out of the country trip. Cost and time has been my reason for not traveling further – although US travel can be quite the distance. My husband and I are considering a European river cruise in the year of our 40th wedding anniversary (2020).

        • Margaret Powling

          A river cruise sounds lovely, Jeannine. I don’t think even I would mind that but you wouldn’t catch me on an ocean-going cruise liner. I would feel trapped at sea, and I don’t like being on the water all that much, even though we live by the sea and I love to look at the sea. I have been to France and to Germany (mind you, to Germany was when I was only 16, so a very long time ago!) and we had a long weekend in Bruges (Belgium) about ten years ago, but we tend to holiday in the UK. We spent out 40th anniversary in a lovely hotel in St Mary’s, the main island in the Isles of Scilly island group. This had been organized for us by a friend who was a hotelier and afterwards I wrote about our three days there for Cornish Life magazine.

  3. Heather’s words could have been mine! It’s been lovely to read through your archives.
    I hope you have a peaceful and enjoyable weekend.

  4. I inherited a lusterware teapot, creamer and sugar bowl from my grandmother. Now I know what this set is called! I never knew it was lusterware until I just read your post. Perhaps now I can look for the cover to the sugar bowl which mysteriously was not with the pieces when I opened the box from my grandfather. Mine is plain without the decorative painting. I also bring them out in the fall and put them on a small black tray on my coffee table with some pinecones and tiny pumpkins in a bowl. I learn so much from your blog Margaret and it’s a pleasure.

    • Margaret Powling

      I shall have to write about lustreware, I think, Donna. I have written about it for magazines, so I could include part of one of those pieces. I have some pink lustreware, too – just six cups and saucers so not a full tea service (they call them tea sets these days, but we called them tea services; tea sets were what little girls had for their dolls.) Your lustreware would look lovely on a small black tray with pine cones and tiny pumpkins! I am going to put bowls of the walnuts from our tree around as soon as they have dried completely, otherwise they stain everything with which they come into contact (a nasty yellow stain.)

  5. Although I don’t have any, I think lustreware is really attractive and I’m always drawn to it when mooching around antique shops. I love the depth of the colours.
    Lovely autumnal colours in your photographs too.

    • Margaret Powling

      I have grown more fond of lustreware over the years, Eloise, and it’s ideal for displaying in autumn, i think. Autumn is also lovely for photography, with the various colours of the leaves, spiders’ webs on the hedges, and lots of shiny berries.

  6. About the gallbladder issues. Talk to your GP. It sounds like you have dumping syndrome, it’s not uncommitted. There is a drug called cholestryamine/Questran. It’s used to reduce cholesterol levels, but it is also very effective in reducing dumping syndrome diarrhea. Saved my quality of life after my surgery

    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you for that information, Linda. I already take a statin to reduce cholesterol, but this information is really useful and I will copy the name of that drug down and will certainly mention this to my GP. I’d not heard of dumping syndrome.

  7. Britain in autumn is really beautiful, judging by the photos. I can imagine the difficulty that you have with the gallbladder thing, Margaret. I suffer hayfever, don’t handle anthistamines too well (my liver doesn’t like them), and I love spring so much. But on another level – it’s no fun with the pollen. It affects my lungs. I also have small airways which are narrow at the ends, so more breathing problems, and long walks etc are so hard for me. Plus I am allergic to tomatoes, or, as I like to call them: deadly nightshades. Eating out is like negotiating a minefield sometimes, and it’s just easier to have a scone, or eggs, or chips. (I am truly whingeing here….. ) I have found that as I have gotten older, all of these things have become a bit more difficult. But, Devon is so beautiful!! Why not enjoy it, as you obviously do. Better than travelling afar & missing the beauty that is close to home.

    • Margaret Powling

      That sounds really awful, Ratnamurti, your breathing problems, and the pollen making it so much worse. I think it’s truly awful that some people, such as yourself, have allergies because you have to be so vigilant all the time regarding what you eat or drink. No, you are not whinging, your health and breathing depend on not having tomatoes.
      Yes, Devon is beautiful and we do enjoy the beauty close to home. I suggested the other day a walk through the woods at Cockington again, but the paths can be steep – OK going down, but it’s the getting back up again!

  8. Ilsham Valley is indeed very pretty. I hate grocery shopping – there are many domestic chores I’d rather do instead – so the idea of having a treat afterwards appeals to me. I usually go straight home to unpack after my food shopping as our warm climate means that things can spoil quickly (even though I use an insulated zipper-seal bag for the perishables). In the warmer months (November to April) I often take an esky and ice brick to transport meat, milk, etc. My ‘treat’ after grocery shopping is knowing it’s done and that I don’t have to do it again for several days ha ha.

    I would be interested in reading about lustrewear and seeing photos of your pink tea service. I love children’s tea sets – I had a plastic one as a child which lived at my maternal grandmother’s home and I would often coerce my younger male cousin (and his loyal teddy) to play tea parties. We made some great cubby houses, too.

    I like going on holiday but also enjoy coming home, especially these days. Whilst overseas travel has become much more accessible for the masses, we Australians must endure long haul flights to reach most places. Holidaying and exploring our own country could be a full-time job as the land mass is huge – plus all the islands. It’s about a five hour (or more) flight from Sydney (east coast) to Perth (on the west coast). Most Australians live in cities and towns dotted along the coast.

    • Margaret Powling

      I don’t have grocery shopping now that we go to Waitrose. The store isn’t a huge one but it has all that we need, and we get our cleaning products from Lidl, the cheaper store. I always make a list, as I’ve before, and in the order that we go around the store, so that we can do the shopping fairly quickly. We now have the special trolley bags which makes packing the groceries so much easier, and husband has commented on several occasions that they were one of my better buys! So, if you really hate grocery shopping, plan a treat in with it – either something inexpensives to buy, a small bar of chocolate or a favourite magazine, or even as we do, go somewhere on the way home, although if you’re like me, you will want to get the journey over with and the food packed away ASAP. It’s juse that Waitrose give you free coffee and we used to sit in the car park drinking this and then we decided why not take our drink to Ilsham Valley or Cary Park? So this is what we now do. I’ve not heard of an esky or ice brick to transport meat, only our insulated cool bag into which I put a frozen block from the freezer. I also think that if you are doing the shopping on your own that can be more tedious, although you can then spend longer browsing. Husband here doesn’t care much for browsing and soon wanders off with the trolley in search of the next item on the List.
      I had a look in my Documents file on my computer and find that many (more than many, loads!) have simply disappeared when I had all the computer problems. I think this is perhaps because they were not re-downloaded, as I had them on backup. I will ask my computer man if they can be re-installed, but if they’ve gone, then I have to get used to the idea. All my writing work going back over a decade. But I have the printed published versions, its just that I like to have all my research work to hand, too. But I will write about lustre ware as I can dig out my published article and write up some of that.
      Yes, it would be impossible for you to visit another country without a long haul flight involved. But you have a huge country to explore, even if most people live in towns and cities along the coast.

  9. I love Autumn the colours of the trees when they turn are exquisite.We had some money coupons off for Sainsbury’s this week,thought we would give them a try,well people say our usual supermarket Waitrose is expensive but it isn’t.We bought exactly the same things and even with the money coupon off (£9 off £60 shop) Sainsbury’s was more expensive! So we will back to Waitrose this week where we know where everything is and the staff and customers are polite and courteous. Looking forward to reading your article on lustre wear.

    • Margaret Powling

      Hurrah, someone else who says that Waitrose is no more expensive than, say, Sainsbury! I think that Waitrose has an undeserved reputation for being more expensive when most of the goods are the same price as in the other supermarkets. We just find it such a joy to be in such a pleasant environment. After all, if we have to part with money, we might as well do it somewhere pleasant. The staff are polite and helpful (and other shoppers are also pleasant – we had a laugh and a joke with a young woman at the checkout yesterday as one of our items began to fall on the floor and she quickly caught it and we admired her speed at doing this!) and there is no awful noise (either from piped musak or the people themselves.) Also, the ailes are wider than in most supermarkets so you aren’t having to push past other trolleys that are in the way. Indeed, most people don’t leave their trolleys in the way, they are too polite! And if you look in the trolleys of other shoppers, you don’t see mountains of junk food and whole cases of either alcohol or fizzy drinks. The aisles are quiet, people talk nicely to one another, there are no children running up and down the aisles or riding on the trolleys … I rest my case. I think people find the supermarket they are most comfortable in, just as they find the right clothes, and we like Waitrose best of all.

  10. If you can find your archived article, I would love to read about your visit to the Isles of Scilly; one of my favourite places.

    • Margaret Powling

      Right, Shenley, I will see what I can do. Our trip was taken in October 2004 so quite a long time ago, and I’ve found that I have lost all my articles on my computer although I had back up for the hard drive but they seem to have gone somehow. But I have my published version so I would need to go to that the copy type it. I could precis it, of course, and cut out some of the article, so perhaps I shall do that. It was fun to write as October – the time of our visit – was when all the ‘twitchers’ (bird watchers) were there. But I write about this in the article, so won’t say more right now!

  11. Will look forward to hearing about Lusterware Margaret, I imagine it came into it’s own in non electric homes years ago, it must have added a pleasant glow amongst the shadows.

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