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Midweek Medley

There was another beautiful sunrise this morning.  There is no better painter of colour than Nature herself.

It’s not been an exactly busy week, but I seem to have been busy all the time nonetheless.  On Tuesday we called in at B&Q (the DIY store) as we were close by, so that we could stock up on light bulbs.  Unfortunately, we have to take some back as they are the wrong size.  When I was a child, even when we were newly married, and indeed up until just a few years ago, buying light bulbs was a simple affair.  Now, it’s a minefield of possibilities … Halogen or LED?  Warm light or white light? Bayonet or screw in?  As for the lumens which have replaced watts, don’t even go there.  One pack we bought says “2800 Kelvin” and also “702 Lumen”.  It does say “46 watt” but you have to search on the packet for that, and of course, while you get 46 watt of luminosity, you aren’t burning 46 watts (so husband says) but much less electricity (which is good, of course.)  Oh, how easy it was to understand the descriptions when we had three main kinds of tungsten filament bulbs:  40 watt, 60 watt, and 100 watt.  Yes, you could get 150 watt  bulbs but rarely did we buy those.  And they were all bayonet fit, as all the lights had the same kind of fixture.

We bought some screw in bulbs yesterday for some more modern lamps that we have, but we chose the small screw in by mistake – or was it the other way round?  Husband deals with these, I just get more and more confused.  It could be that we need the small screw in and the ones we bought are large ones!

I mean, where do you start?  When I see an array of light bulbs like this (above) I just want to run screaming from the store!  One of these days I will march in with a lamp and demand of an assistant that he or she finds bulbs to fit!   There really is too much choice.  Life becomes ever more complicated and, to me, unnecessarily so.

The other problem – and it’s not a small one – is that light bulbs are expensive and they don’t last five minutes these days, we’re always changing them when, years ago, they lasted, well, years!

Right, I’ve had my say.  On to nicer things.  Yesterday I had my manicure and because my nails have a tendency to split vertically, I had then filed quite short to try and help prevent this problem.  I take my own nail polish along so that I have it to ‘touch up’ with when they become chipped.  This is my go-to colour, Sally Hansen’t Aria Red-y.  I love it.  It goes with everything I wear, and looks good especially with navy/indigo.

My hands look all wrinkly here, but in fact they don’t like half as bad as this.  But my manicurist exfoliates my hands and arms, and creams and massages them, so that the blood is brought to the surface and the skin looks more reddish than usual, but this does the hands good.  They feel silky smooth after a visit to my manicurist.

When I returned home, Postie had brought me a book.  Sadly, on 10th October, the novelist Evelyn Anthony died.  She was a favourite writer of mine in the 1970s/1980s, and I bought her books as they were published, as I do with some authors today (Joanna Trollope, Jacqueline Winspear, Charlotte Betts, Katharine McMahon, Kate Morton, Rachel Hore, Jane Thynne and many more) but as space is finite, I parted with my Evelyn Anthony collection some years ago.  However, a friend has recommended one book in particular and I remembered enjoying it more than 40 years ago and so decided to buy a 2nd hand copy …

This is a nice clean copy, published in 1973, and I know I shall enjoy it all over again.  Coincidentally, this is about France during WW2 while I’m currently reading The Collaborator by Margaret Leroy, which is set on the island of Guernsey during the Occupation of the Channel Islands during WW2.

Today we had some errands to attend to and then, after a quick visit to Wellswood for birthday cards (it’s been a busy two months for birthdays, September and October) it was on to Waitrose for the weekly food shopping.  After that, instead of having our free coffee and buying a sandwich to share, we decided to visit Rockfish on the harbour in Torquay, rather than driving over to Brixham.

We parked in a car park overlooking Torquay Harbour, from where there are lovely views …


In the foreground of the photo above are the ramps from which boats were launched for D-Day, and close by there is a commemorative plaque:

At Beacon Quay, just behind these historic ramps, there are some rather pretty Regency houses, some of which are now restaurants:

We walked along to Rockfish, which overlooks Torquay inner harbour:

But we found that they were closed, although the door was open. A young woman explained that they were having some renovations done in the kitchen.

So, rather than chancing one of the other restaurants along the sea front – for there are many – we decided to go back to the car and drive over to Brixham and visit Rockfish there after all.  It didn’t take all that long, we were there before 1 pm.

Today, as it was rather windy, we decided to eat inside the restaurant.  It was very busy but the waiter found us a table and we ordered our now-usual children’s portions of cod, chips and mushy peas, with a pots of tea.

Really, you can’t beat this on quality or price; it was all freshly prepared and piping hot.  And it wasn’t the only thing that was hot!

This large wood-burning stove was next to our table! I would imagine it would be cosy on a cold, winter’s day, but today, with the sun shining, it was a little superfluous to requirements.  And yet they kept piling on the logs!

Truly, I’m not really a fan of these heating devices.  They burn fossil fuel and surely, wood and coal are carcinogens?  I do believe they are a fashion thing, like ‘islands’ in kitchens and Belfast/butler sinks ( you dare not drop your best china in one of those!) and those large free-standing roll top baths which are often placed against a wall which makes me wonder how one cleans behind them?  One of these days all these things will be replaced by the next big thing.

I rather like the pictures at Rockfish …

And I’ve just spotted Mitch Tonks’ (chef/entrepreneur) latest book, Fish, on sale.  There are now Rockfish restaurants in Plymouth, Dartmouth, Torquay, Brixham, Exmouth and soon there will be one in Exmouth, too.

We then walked back to the car (we had put the freezer/fridge food into an insulated chiller bag with ice packs in it so that the ice cream, etc, wouldn’t melt) and I took a couple of photos of the outer harbour, looking really pretty in the autumn sunshine …

The top one looking towards Torquay, and the one above looking back towards Brixham

If every autumn day was as lovely as it has been today, I’d be a very happy person!

Wherever you are, north or south of the equator, east or west of the UK, I hope you have also had a lovely day.

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. Hello Margaret, I wouldn’t know where to start finding a light bulb in amongst all of that, that is my husbands department. Last time you mentioned Rock Fish I was meant to say last year a won a voucher but there were none near us so I sold it on Ebay, I wish I had kept it, I would have let you have it.

    • Margaret Powling

      What a kind thought, Marlene, but I’m sure whoever bought it from you will have enjoyed their visit. I am just so glad, though, that on our first visit we were informed we could have children’s portions. Had this kind soul not told us, we’d have been ordering adult portions and sending half the food back as we have small appetites. I wish more places offered smaller portions as Rockfish do. I also have a loyalty card and once that has been completely ‘stamped’ we can have £20 of our next bill. That would cover a meal for husband and myself.

  2. I so want to go to Rockfish! You make it sound so lovely. Trying to think of why a mini break to Brixham etc is justified just on the need for that

    • Margaret Powling

      There is a Rockfish in Exeter, Heather, perhaps that would be a little close to you, Exeter about 30 miles from Brixham and therefore closer to where you are. And there is one in Exmouth. Now, I’ve not visited these, only the one in Brixham, and Brixham is lovely … I’m sure there isn’t a better excuse for visiting this lovely little fishing town! Mind you, this week is half term week, so lots of tinies around, you might do better to leave it until after half term! I would also say that there are lots of lovely things on the menu, too … it’s just ourselves who stick with children’s portions of cod & chips & mushy peas for £7 a plateful!

  3. I’m with you on the number of choices these days – it becomes baffling and overwhelming – and in this case, just to pick out lightbulbs. I haven’t noticed that they don’t last very long, as you mentioned. Maybe you’re getting the bad ones in all those choices?!

    • Margaret Powling

      It’s mainly the halogen which don’t last long, Jeannine. Well, not with us they don’t. You only have to touch them and that seems to make them fail. LED ones are much better, but much more expensive, too.

  4. It makes my head ache just thinking about lightbulbs. It all used to be so easy! And I get very annoyed when they made us all change to halogen and now they want us all to change to LED. For good reason no doubt, but I do wonder whether it’s also to keep making us buy new ones. There’s an ironmonger near us where you can buy bayonet “normal” lightbulbs 😉

    We’re going to Exmouth next month, I’ll have to look out for Rockfish.

    • Margaret Powling

      I’m not the only one then, Alison, who has difficulty with light bulbs. It’s something we all have to buy and yet there’s nothing easy about it. I have found the LED ones last longer, but they are far more expensive. Yes, there’s a shop in St Marychurch where we are able to buy the old tungsten filament bulbs still, but even those don’t last long these days.
      I’ve not been to Rockfish in Exmouth, so I’ll be interested to hear what you think of it (if you do go there for a meal, I mean.) Have a lovely time in Exmouth, though, and perhaps you might even go upstream to Topsham, too? If so, I can recommend The Salutation for lunch and you know, of course, how much I love the Quay Antiques Centre.

      • I just hope the weather is OK so we can get about a bit 🙂 We are getting out of the way while our hall stairs and landing is decorated, at least for the wallpaper stripping and plastering bit of it. I think the painting will still be going on though…..

        • Margaret Powling

          Oh, how lovely to go away while the decorators are in, Alison! Husband has always done our decorating, but I do think that the hall, stairs and landing might be a step to far for him now (he would say not!) I hope it’s all finished by the time you go home, or the worst of the wallpaper stripping and plastering done, as you say.

  5. Hello Margaret, we’ve had our minds boggled by the choosing of light bulbs too, it doesn’t seem simple at all. I much preferred the old style bulbs, there’s a shop a few miles away that has them but they don’t last long at all. the last couple we replaced only lasted a few weeks. I don’t like the halogen bulbs, that horrid sickly light when they’re warming up and apparently they’re not good for our health either. We’ve got some of the LED bulbs now, for the price we paid I hope they last a long time!
    Your fish lunch looks delicious and your nails look lovely, that’s a really nice shade of red.
    I sent for some of the sateen jeans in two lengths, I used to be a ‘long’ in M&S many years ago, then a ‘regular’ but now it seems I’m a ‘short’ yet I’m still the same 5 ft. 5 and a half! I do like them and they fit nicely, neither too tight or too baggy. It’s good to have clothes recommended.
    I do look forward to your daily happenings, they might be similar to the sort of things we do but you describe them so well and they’re always interesting. I like the simple pleasures to be found in caring for our home, shopping, having lunch or coffee out, pottering around the house. I do like a good potter!
    I hope you have a lovely and peaceful weekend and I’ll look forward to hearing about it.

    • Margaret Powling

      We have found that if we buy the old-style filament bulbs that we always used to have, in the days before halogen and LED, they don’t last long, either, Jan. Maybe they’re made abroad and the quality is perhaps questionable? I really don’t know why they don’t last, but they just don’t. I do think this nightmare scenario re light bulbs is something that hasn’t been addressed. They are something we all have to buy, but we just tend to put up with parting with good money for them to fail after a very short time. Yes, we have mainly LED lights now, we don’t buy halogen any more.
      Thank you for your compliment re my nails and the colour of the polish. I really like this colour and I’ve even bought a ‘spare’ in case they decide to discontinue it.
      I’m sure sizing has changed in M&S clothes. I used to be Regular at 5ft 2in, but I have a short body and long legs for my height. Now the Short ones are a bit on the long side for me, and yet I’ve not lost any height (well, not yet!) But I’m glad you like them – I think they are quite good for the price.
      Thank you, also, Jan, for saying you “look forward to our daily happenings.” I’ve just posted such a post, not a quarter of an hour ago – a busy day for husband and myself, in garden and house. And speaking of the simple pleasure of caring for our homes, there was a delightful item on our local 6.30 pm News this evening. A school in Totnes has started getting the children (this is a primary school, and this class of children were about seven years of age) not only to tidy the classroom at the end of the day, but also to clean it! The headteacher has seen this done in schools in Japan and it helped the children to take a pride in their school. It also prepared them for adult life when they’d have to care for their own environment. There is now a vacuum in each classroom and the children take turns to use it – although none is made to use it if they don’t want to, after all they are still very young. But I remember being taught to care for my own bedroom when I was young and I loved to clean and polish even then. When children learn at an early age that if they make a mess then they have to clear it up, surely this must help prepare them for adulthood?
      Oh yes, I love a good potter around, too, Jan! Especially early morning – my very favourite time of day if the sun is shining (not if it’s raining, then I curl up in bed with a cup of coffee and a book!)
      Yes, you have a lovely weekend, too, Jan.

  6. If you choose to tell us of course!

    • Margaret Powling

      What was I thinking of telling, Jan? I’ve read through the post, Midweek Medley, and I can’t think what I’ve not told you. Please remind me.

      • I’m sorry Margaret I should have explained that comment was an addition to my previous comment, “I hope you have a lovely and peaceful weekend and I’ll look forward to hearing about it – if you choose to tell us of course!”

        Such a good idea to encourage youngsters to clean and tidy. Although my granddaughter aged 9 is a good helper in the classroom yet tidying her own bedroom certainly isn’t one of her favourite things to do! It’s such a shame that many of the things we were taught in school have been stopped, housekeeping and cookery for instance. The cookery lessons not only included the actual cooking itself but also planning meals, how to budget and shop for them and of course the cleaning up after the cooking. I still iron husband’s shirts in the exact way I was taught in housekeeping classes, first the collar back and front, then the yoke, the sleeves (both sides on each sleeve) then the body of the shirt starting on the right front, the back then the left front. A final touch of the iron to the collar if it still needs it.
        Pottering in the morning is the best time for me too, I do tend to get more weary these days as the day goes on. Oh yes, curling up with a warm drink and a book – one of the best simple pleasures there is!
        Now a new post to read, I’ll go there now, another simple pleasure to enjoy.

        • Margaret Powling

          Now I understand, Jan, and of course, if I think readers might be interested in our weekend exploits, I will mention them – but we don’t have anything remotely exciting planned (maybe a trip to B&Q to return some light bulbs which are The Wrong Size!)
          Yes, I enjoyed our cookery lessons at school. My mother taught me to cook from an early age and at my grammar school it was called Domestic Science (to make it sounds more important than “Cookery” no doubt!) and we did meal planning and learned about nutrition. We weren’t taught housekeeping but I learned to iron at an early age, too, so that when I married, I had all these skills – literally – at my finger tips. I iron shirts much as you describe, too.
          Thank you for referring to my post as a simple pleasure, that is really lovely!

          • Thank you for reminding me, our cookery classes were called Domestic Science too. I just couldn’t think of the words and Cookery seemed an apt title!

          • Margaret Powling

            It was in a period when housekeeping of any kind was turned into a pseudo-science, hence Domestic Science. It sounded better in a grammar school (which I attended) than Cookery, but it amounted to much the same thing. We didn’t learn about housekeeping, no table laying, bed making, ironing, that would’ve been a step too far. We also had Needlework, but by the 3rd form you had to choose one or the other, except for those in the lowest stream, and they did both as there were few expectations of them, the staff knew that for the most part, they’d end up as ‘shop girls’, the worst insult that could be afforded them. I was the middle stream, and those in the top stream didn’t do either Domestic Science or Needlework as they were destined for higher things, careers, or at least married to a chap with a good career so that they’d not have to know how to do these things, they’d have ‘staff’ , ha ha! That is how the minds of the teachers in grammar schools worked in the 1950s, I’m sad to say. But my Domestic Science lessons stood me in good stead, if not for the actually cookery lessons, then those about nutrition and meal planning.

  7. I’m rarely awak early enough to see a sunrise these days. When I worked full time I was always awake before dawn so that I could exercise, shower, dress and commute to work by 8:00am. (To work all day, drive an hour home and arrive in the dark in winter). It makes me tired just thinking about it !….. Your manicure is very pretty. I used to have problems with nails splitting or flaking but mine are now incredible strong and I think it’s because I take zinc tablets (under medical supervision). I’ve taken the tablets on and off for four years and my nails haven’t split or peeled in this time. Keeping them short can also help prevent breakage. I used to wear mine long and painted fuschia pink in the late 80s !!

    • Margaret Powling

      What a good idea, to take zinc tablets, Lara (under medical supervision.) I already take Vit B12 but no other supplements … well, yet! Yes, keeping my nails short has helped. Sometimes I’m tempted to let them grow and then the splits appears and they peel, too. Awful. So short and painted is the answer, I think.

  8. Light bulbs – they are a nightmare! Every darned light seems to need something different. And you’re right about them not lasting too.
    I get frustrated by excessive choice. Even in the supermarket there are so many types of some things. Yogurts are a case in point. Just how many versions of a strawberry yogurt do there need to be? I just buy the same thing over and over.
    As I am reading your posts in reverse order, I see that you refer here to the Evelyn Anthony book. I hadn’t realised that she had died. I think it was probably reading her novels back in the 70s which first sparked my interest in WWII fiction. I hope you’re enjoying The Collaborator. I am a great fan of Margaret Leroy and can recommend ‘The Drowning Girl’ (completely different genre).
    Oooh lunch at Rockfish – I am envious! I don’t think there is ever a time when I couldn’t eat fish and chips. I don’t very often but I’m just saying I could!
    I don’t like wood burners at all. I don’t like the look of them and there is increasing evidence that they are not good for one’s health.
    Note to Heather – you don’t need to justify a break in Brixham. It’s one of the loveliest places ever – so just go for that reason!

    • Yes, excessive choice, how I can agree with that! I take the List to the supermarket and do my best to stick to it unless I remember something which should’ve been on the List had I not forgotten to include it! There are whole aisles we don’t frequent, such as alcohol and crisps. We bought some crisps in the summer to have with salads, but now that’s ceased, we’re back to autumn/winter fare.
      Yes, Evelyn Anthony died, I think, on the 10th October, abed 92. I loved her books and now I’m sorry I parted with them. But hindsight is a dangerous thing, and I certainly can’t keep all the books I buy, space is finite.
      Hurrah, someone else who doesn’t like wood burners! Why are they so popular? I remember reading how bad for health sitting over a coal fire was, and then log fires, smitch from bonfires, etc, and yet people have these things in their homes when they can have much cleaner warmth from gas and electricity. Yes, they are made from fossil fuels, but they don’t leave a lot of unhealthy smoke in the home. I think there are some wood burners or multi-fuel burners which are a bit cleaner now than they used to be, but I’d not give one house room. Yes, Brixham is lovely! Fish & Chips at Rockfish or a crab sandwich at Claws by the harbour make it 100 times better!
      I have started The Collaborator and have broken off for a while to read the Evelyn Anthony, which is on the same subject – the occupation of France in this case, not Guernsey. I know I shall enjoy both! I have just read a long para in the Evelyn Anthony and I’m impressed all over again at what a wonderful novelist she was.

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