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Rainy Weather = Relaxing at Home

It has been a wet and windy week – oh dear, this alliteration will have to cease! – and this kind of weather makes me lethargic.  I must be closer to the animals (not the human ones!) than most, because when the days are perpetually dark, I lose interest in just about everything and simply want to crawl back into bed and go to sleep.  I believe animals settle down to snooze when it’s dark, don’t they?

But, of course, this isn’t practical.  Meals still need to be made, shopping needs to be done.  Yes, I could get shopping delivered via an online order but I have done this in the past and really, unless one is truly indisposed, I prefer to make a list and go and choose the items myself.  And so we did the weekly food shopping yesterday, just a few extras for Christmas but I’m not feeling pressured as many women feel pressured into providing just about every food and drink  item known to (wo)man because the younger generation has now taken on the task of hosting Christmas Lunch.

And so first the food shopping, and then we moved on to Lidl so that I could choose some flowers.  I make no apology for buying flowers. I know some people might consider this an unnecessary extravagance but flowers give husband and myself so much pleasure they are worth the small extra expense each week, and those in Lidl are very reasonably priced.


The spray chrysanthemums are a very pretty peach colour. I have cut them down considerably as I don’t like to see a lot of stalk. They are rather a ‘wooden’, un-bendy flower, and so benefit by being cut down, I think, and made into a short posy.

On the mantelpiece a bunch of apricot-coloured roses and on a corner table (below) pink roses …

We went out this morning, braving the elements. The plan was to buy presents for our little grandson, plus a present for daughter-in-law’s mother, and we managed both but by this time we were cold and decided instead of motoring on to our next port-of-call for presents, we’d go home instead.  A wise decision, there is still loads of time to buy a few presents, and some I can get online, too.

And so we went home and I quickly made spaghetti with a home-made tomato sauce for our lunch.  I don’t buy passata or cook-in sauces; I use an onion, a little veggie stock, a can of chopped tomatoes, a teaspoon of sugar, dried and fresh Basil, some tomato puree, and a dollop of  creme fraiche.  And I serve it with freshly grated parmesan.

I just wish that spaghetti with a tomato sauce looked more presentable, but I can assure you it tasted good.  I know it’s correct to mix the spaghetti with the sauce but I prefer it poured over the top.

On the way home we called to collect our paper from the local shop and I spied boxes of After Eight mints.  We’d not had any of these for years, not even at Christmas, and so I thought a box would make a nice treat to watch with a DVD this afternoon.


And so after I’d finished clearing away the few saucepans and so forth and putting the dishwasher on, I made tea and cut two slices of rich fruit cake (not home-made this time) and carried the tray into the sitting room and then put on the old Alfred Hitchcock film/movie, Rope, to watch.  We have Paused it for a little while and will return to it shortly.

(Again, some of my late mother’s china – I think this is really pretty. The cups don’t hold much, but that doesn’t matter, we can always have a top-up.  Cups were always smaller years ago as tea was an expensive luxury and was used sparingly.)

I have been buying books again, but always as inexpensively as possible, and I’m currently enjoying Salley Vickers’ book, The Librarian.

I tried a couple of this writers’ books before and didn’t take to them, but this has a charm I am finding irresistible.  I also have these two lined up to read …

I learned that Kate Humble (for readers overseas, Kate is a writer, a TV wild-life presenter and also has a smallholding) now has her own line of toiletries, and I sent for a couple of items to give to some friends for Christmas.  Silly me. They are on sale in Waitrose and I could’ve saved myself the postage.

I have enjoyed two Evelyn Anthony books recently and have now bought this, again 2nd hand.

I have also received one of my monthly magazines for which I have a subscription, another has yet to arrive, and I also bought the latest Country Homes, so I’ve lots of lovely reading for over the Christmas period.

These are the January 2019 issues, but of course they are on sale long before Christmas and are filled with Christmassy things, and are very pretty to look at.

I’m now off to continue watching Rope – I think it calls for a fresh cup of tea.  I wonder whether we will spot Hitchcock, who always plays a cameo role in his films?

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. Your flowers are a welcome and charming addition to your home Margaret. On these dark and miserable days of winter they add beauty and cheer to our day. How joyful!

  2. You live very well Margaret…you take the time for lovely touches: chocolate, tea, a good movie. I can’t wait to retire. Anyway, please review The Librarian for us. I heard some mixed reviews. I’m dying to get into a delicious novel now that my vacation is upon me.

    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you, Donna, for your kind comments. I will let you know how I enjoy (or not) The Librarian. I’m enjoying it thus far, but if it continues in the same way, there might be too much of just one style of writing, one viewpoint – that of a young librarian in a 1950s children’s library, helping the young rascals, especially those who don’t have much access to books. So far it’s OK, not earth shattering, but a pleasant enough read which I hope isn’t damning with faint praise!
      However, I can recomment the two books I’ve just read by Evelyn Anthony, written in the 1980s, The House of Vandekar and The Occupying Power. Also, Catherine Gaskin’s The Summer of the Spanish Woman (I recommended this to my cousin and she’s absolutely loving it. Again, a book from the 1970s but still as enjoyable today.) Add the Clara Vine novels by Jane Thynne to your book list, Donna, but read them in the order in which they were published. These are highly recommended.

  3. Ah, Voices on the Wind…wonderful. I do three Christmas food shopping lists – Cupboard, Freezer and Fridge/fresh Th cupboard list will be done on Monday, the freezer one next Monday and the Fresh one on Sunday 23rd. Daughter is planning to come on the final day so no doubt a few extras will find thei way into the trolley. I occasionally do an Ocado online shop but I actually like food shopping and never see it as a chore.

    • Margaret Powling

      I’m so looking forward to reading Voices on the Wind, Eloise, thank you for suggesting it to me. I loved The House of Vandekar but thought The Occupying Power was the better novel. What a brilliant plan to have three lists like that. But now we don’t host any of the Christmas meals, we buy more or less normally, but the stocks are all kept fairly high anyway. There will be additions of course and I will volunteer to make a trifle or whatever, and I always make a Christmas cake. I like food shopping, too. How can it really be a chore when we have such wonderful fresh food in our country?

  4. I can recall liking The Occupying Power (though not what it was about – after all we are talking decades rather than mere years here). I think that The House OF Vandekar was a later novel (may be mis-remembering ) and I wasn’t so keen.
    I will be entertaining on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day so there will be a lot of food in!

    • Margaret Powling

      The Occupying Power was about the German occupation of France during WW2, and paritiularly how it affected one village. The HOuse of Vandekar was what I’d call a good read but not as well-written as The Occupying Power, or perhaps it has become more dated in its use of words. But still a good read.
      Best of luck for all your Christmas entertaining – it’s fun to be in charge of the event, and I used to delegate all the veg prep to husband, who was better at cutting carrots into juliennes than I was! He liked them all as tiny matchstick-size pieces and that seemed to take ages but he enjoyed doing it.

  5. I think a lot of us want to go back to bed when it’s dark – or at least take a nap! Your spaghetti looks quite tasty. I’m always inspired by your way with flowers and other small luxuries.

    • Margaret Powling

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who would like to crawl into bed for a nap when it gets dark in the daytime, Jeannine!
      Thank you for your kind words regarding my “way with flowers and other small luxuries.” I truly don’t spend long ‘doing’ the flowers, I just find the jugs in the cupboard or from other rooms in the house, cut the flowers to size, remove any greenery that will be below water level and put them into the jugs or whatever. Simple as that. I have an idea for some Christmas displays for the sitting room, but whether they will work remains to be seen! Watch this space!

  6. Your lovely photos of the flowers in your home brighten my day. I enjoy your book recommendations. I read Bella Figura and couldn’t put it down. A real delight. I’m cutting out dairy so I was very pleased to learn that there is a “yogurt” made from coconut. Yesterday I picked some up to try it out. Oh my! So yummy. My bedtime snack tonight was yogurt topped with granola and a cut up apple. Served with an immune boosting tea.

    Tonight I travelled an hour and a half to hear a candlelight concert of Lessons and Carols. The choir director has recently taken the position. He formerly directed the music at the church where I was married. He played the music for my husband’s funeral. It was a perfectly delightful evening, as I was confident it would be, with a lovely brass ensemble adding to the choir. Before Roger’s taking up this position, the choir had produced a CD which was given out to those attending. I put it in the car’s CD player and the miles just flew as the music wafted me over the expressways. Some of the songs brought back memories of my childhood and other events over the years. So I travelled through time as well as space.

    • Margaret Powling

      Hello, Honey Bee, and thank you for such lovely comments. Yes, a lot of products now cut out dairy and it’s interesting to hear that the yogurt made from coconut is so tasty.
      I am very sorry to learn that your husband has died, but how lovely that you heard this concert where the director conducted the music for your wedding ceremony, and then to have a CD which really brought back so many memories for you.

  7. When have had a hot and humid week which also makes me lethargic 😉 Yesterday morning at 8:30am I heard the radio announcer say it was 90% humidity and I knew it was going to be an uncomfortable day…….. Your flowers are all beautiful. As always ! You have the knack for displaying them ‘just so’……. I tend to have low key Christmas these days. I see all of the advertising on the tv, in the newspaper, in the junk mail (which I love reading but rarely buy anything) and in stores – much of which seems to be encouraging people to spend spend spend to buy the perfect this and that for their mother / sister / child. There is alot of pressure to buy alot of stuff. I enjoy seeing kids riding new push bikes on Christmas morning or with new boogie boards, swimmers, etc on the beach but I’m more than happy with delicious food and a glass of bubbly at lunch as my husband and I don’t buy each other Christmas presents anymore…..Your cups of tea and slices of fruitcake whilst watching an Alfred Hitchcock movie together sounds just perfect to me. Enjoy your new magazines and books xxx

    • Margaret Powling

      The weather, so humid, sounds really difficult to cope with, Lara. I hope you have a break in this humid weather soon, even if real rain instead of just high humidity. It is actually music to my ears that you also don’t buy presents for each other, as there is no real need is there? You don’t think any the less of each other just because custom dictates we should buy presents at a certain time? I’m sure many people have, over the years, thought we were odd or mean because we don’t buy each other presents, but it just removes yet another layer of stress, the “what can I get her/hi?” stress.
      I am reading both Evelyn Antony books at the same time, well not right at the same time that would be impossible, but you know what I mean. I read a few chapters of one and then a few chapters of the other, both are very good!

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