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Just an Ordinary Thursday

I couldn’t resist starting this post with lots of blue … blue sky, blue sea, even a blue rail by the edge of the car park where we had gone after our visit to Waitrose, with our prawn sandwich and coffee.  But more of that later.  This is Meadfoot, and just over the hill is Torquay.  Holiday makers don’t always find this area, and of course, there aren’t any shops – mainly because of the steep hillside covered with trees –  apart from the beach cafe at the far end, which makes it a rather nice, tranquil place to walk and admire the sea views.

Last night’s sunset was pretty and yet there aren’t many places in our house from where I can photograph a sunset easily – here I was facing due east (yes, I know in the northern hemisphere, the sun sets in the west, but this was the lovely pink sky in the east.)

I love to see the silhouette of the trees against the wintry  sky. This was very much a What to Look for in Winter (Ladybird book) evening!

This morning, the sky was golden, again such a pretty sight.

You really can’t beat Nature’s paint box, can you?

Today, we did our weekly food shopping. The List was quite a long one. I even warned husband that it was long and he wasn’t to pull a face when he saw how much it was going to cost because it balances out against last week’s List which was quite small, having stocked up at Christmas.  He was very good and there wasn’t so much as a huff or a puff!

When we were at the checkout the lady behind us admired the trolley bags.  These have been admired by so many people, all of whom have said they would go online and see it they could get some that it’s a pity I’m not on commission from this company!

Anyway, I chatted to this woman and she said that I was lucky as I “had a helper”.  By now husband was busily putting not only the goods onto the conveyor belt but, as they went through the till, he was putting the back into the trolley bags.  I said something like, “Yes, he’s very good but it’s taken over 54 years to get him trained up!” She then said that I must look after him as she’d lost two husbands to cancer.  How sad is that?

Anyway, we continued to chat while husband continued to deal with the purchases, she admiring not only the trolley bags but also the flowers I had bought, including some yellow tulips, which she said were “the colour of friendship.”  I felt we could’ve chatted all day, but once husband had the groceries repacked into the trolley, I paid and we went to get our ‘free’ coffee.  I then saw bunches of daffodils at the end of the checkout, so bought two bunches.

As I said, we then went to Meadfoot with our sandwich and coffee. My goodness, it was cold, but we were cosy in the car and it was so lovely to see the sunshine after many days of clouds and greyness.


Again, that (above) is the promontory of Berry Head in the far distance.  How lovely to see an almost cloud-free sky.

Once home, I had the groceries to put away (trolley bags and a freezer bag.)

Once that was done, I put the flowers in jugs and vases …

The daffodils are in the kitchen and in the study.  They will look better once they open out from their ‘pencil’ stage.

Tulips in the sitting room, their colours go rather well with the sofa.  I also bought yellow ones and I might put the two bunches together in one larger jug or vase, not quite made my mind up about that yet.

And alongside the yellow tulips, my latest novel which this afternoon.  I enjoyed Marius Gabriel’s previous book, The Designer, and I’ve great hopes for this one, too.

When we returned from shopping I had a little amble around the garden (that didn’t take long, it’s a tiny garden!)  just to see what was coming up, and then saw that the white camellia had loads of buds.  I just hope that there isn’t a really bad frost or snow, but camellias originated in China, so it should be able to cope with the climate in Torbay, perhaps the warmest part mainland UK.

As well as the new book, we have lots of fresh reading matter.  However, seeing so much paper I feel slightly guilty – I hope that more recycled paper is being used for such things.  The Times was a freebie in Waitrose, as was the Waitrose weekly paper, and also the new ITV magazine, and I have the February issue of Country HOmes & Interiors to look at this evening.

And finally, who says that the art of the handwritten note is dead?  I have been delighted to have received no less than nine lovely notes since Christmas. 

And now I’m off to the kitchen to cook some steak mince.  We eat very little mince, and so I shan’t feel too guilty in making some cottage pies for us to enjoy now that we’ve been advised to eat no more than a burger’s worth of red meat in a week.  I don’t think they actually mean a burger, but the equivalent in weight of a burger.  I can’t remember when I last ate a burger, it’s time out of mind.

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. It looks like spring in your house Margaret, with all those lovely flowers, even if it does not feel like it outside. I always think what a bargain daffodil and tulips are at this time of year, for the joy and uplift they bring.

    • Margaret

      I love having flowers in the hous, Margaret, and they really do hasten the feeling that spring is just around the corner, even if this evening snow is forecast in north parts of the country. The daffodils are real bargains at £1 a bunch.

  2. Winter blue is so appealing; I especially love blue sky against a blue sea even though they are both the same shade. Your tulips look lovely and spring is heralded by daffodils!
    We are experiencing the 5th day of extreme heat with a cool change forecast for tonight or tomorrow morning. Living on the coast I shouldn’t complain as I get a sea breeze most days but the humidity is still very high.
    Your husband must be commended for being such a help with the shopping and I feel for the lady who has had two husbands pass from cancer.

    • Margaret

      Yes, Pieta, talking to the lovely woman (she told me she’d been a nurse) was rather sobering, and she was write, I must treasure husband (and of course, I do.) The blue winter sky was lovely, it was pure joy to see it yesterday but we’re back to normal – rain – again today! I wish I could send you some to cool your temperatures down a bit! Extreme heat must be very trying, we really don’t know how fortunate we are living where temperatures of any kind don’t last very long – even last summer’s heat wave was relatively short, just a few weeks, before things were back to their normal changeability again!

  3. Ooh your comment about a burger piqued my attention – as only the other day I’d told my husband that I’d had a craving for several days but as nowhere within cooee of us does decent old fashioned burgers I’d have to go without. He then said he knew where they made great burgers that we’d both really enjoyed – a place in California we’d visited on our honeymoon several years ago. Then laughed himself silly. Hmm. So as yet, I haven’t satisfied my craving. In Australia, hamburgers include sliced beetroot with the salad ingredients – to do so otherwise would be …. well, it just wouldn’t do. And it must be tinned beetroot, not fresh. In fact I didn’t even know what ‘real’ beetroot looked like or how to cook it until I was in my mid-20s and saw one in a friend’s kitchen 🙂 ….. Your scenery photos are stunning…. My husband is excellent at eating the food whereas I do most of the cooking these days. I will occasionally rope him into coming into the grocery store with me – him lifting the heavy bags into and out of the car and then into our house is a load off me, literally – but as he works full time (and I don’t) I tend to go on my own most of the time. We always spend more when he comes into the shop as he likes to buy in bulk – toilet paper, cat food, soap, kitchen towel, you name it – which always makes me smile as it’s not like we are miles and miles through snow or snake infested waters from the supermarket or that war is likely. His father is same – buying longlife milk 12 x 1 litre tetra packs at a time, for example – so maybe it’s hereditary 🙂

    • Margaret

      I can’t say I’ve ever craved a burger! I’m not that keen on red meat anyway, and have always found burgers indigestible and fatty. Maybe I’ve not had a good one, ha ha! Oh, your husband has a wonderful sense of humour, just like mine here! I’m not all that keen on beetroot, but one supermarket does freshly cooked beetroot with juniper (the flavouring in gin) and they are small and lovely, I could eat the whole box of those!
      Husband and I do the shopping together as we’re retired, although I’m quite capable of doing it myself. And he is helpful although once we’ve got all on the List, he’s off to the checkout like a rat up a drainpipe, whereas I like to browse the toiletries and so forth, and magazines, just for a few minutes. We’ve never bought long life milk – we buy fresh milk in the local shop, it’s excellent milk from Cornwall (the advert on the side of the delivery vehicle to the shop used to say the milk was “from happy Cornish cows” but that seems to have disappeared, perhaps it contravenes advertising laws because how does one know if a cow is happy? I did ask the delivery woman once and she said, “Believe me, you’d know if a cow wasn’t happy!” but she didn’t say how! We tend to use semi-skimmed milk for general purposes, a two litre carton is £1, but in some places it can be £1.30. For tea we use skimmed milk, a 1 litre pack is around 87p. We do tend to use a lot of milk for only two elderly people.

  4. Such lovely photographs, Mrs Powling, I know I say this all the time, but somehow the colours seem to just pop out. The blues and yellows and oranges, such a treat!
    It’s wonderful to read about how you and Mr Powling do most things together. It is the togetherness that younger people like me who is still busy with teenage sons and a working routine, aspire for, in later years. I wish you both many many years of this caring and concern that you share for each other 😊

    • Margaret

      Thank you, Kavitha. I think, especially when the sun is out and the sky is blue, all the other colours actually are so much brighter, too. And I love colour in the home. Not garish colours, but colours nonetheless. I could never live in a house which was decorated in shades of grey/beige, I’d have to inject colour, even though these homes look very elegant. Thank your so much for your good wishes, Kavitha, and yes, we do try and care for each other. I’m afraid that a lot of people, if they have been married a very long time such as ourselves, tend not to notice their partners, or don’t treat them well, but we have always done our best to look out for each other, it’s just how we have always lived. I tease him, of course, and he does the same to me, but this is how it should be. Thankfully, we have the same sense of humour, that really helps a lot.

      • I think you have made a very apt observation about some long term couples not noticing their partners. I know of several,couples who fit into that category and find their company draining or a bore or both. I have two aunties who each married young (one 19 and the other 21), have been married for 45 and 50 years (respectively) and who show love and respect to their husbands. Both uncles are favoured by me, but I digress.

        • Margaret

          My husband would laugh if he said I showed him respect, he’d curl up, screaming his head off laughing … seriously, we do love each other but we also tease each other all the time. Oh, and we argue! Of course, he’s always right even when he knows I’m right! And, of course, I’m always right!

  5. It’s nice to be close to the sea Margaret, a good way to spend some time after the shopping. I don’t do “big” shopping anymore, so don’t have regular trips out for it, maybe a quick visit to M&S food each week if I’m in town and then an occasional visit to a supermarket, which is quite nice as I see things afresh. I hope your camellias survive we have a very large bush in full flower, it seems quite tough even though it’s facing the worst way to the east where it could get caught by overnight frosts and early sun.

    I am mooching around on my laptop today, I’ve sprained my ankle so can’t do anything!

    • Margaret

      I wouldn’t say it’s a very big shop, Heather. I don’t bulk buy, I never have, but we just seemed to run out of things like canned tomatoes, caster sugar, basics really. I seldom go to M&S, perhaps once a year for some clothes, but I really dislike the store – nothing against it particularly, it’s all just too large and such a muddle and so crowded. As soon as I go in I think to myself, “This is a mistake!” and I want to turn around and go home right away. The camellia is at the back of the garden, sheltered behind a wall, close to the summerhouse. It has been OK thus far, but you never know, one year it will decide that it’s going to throw a wobbly and all the lovely buds will fall off!
      Oh, poor you, with a sprained ankle. That is so painful. You must rest it as much as you can.

  6. I like ordinary days the best, the older I get the more I like them. I really like your pictures and descriptions of your ordinary days too.
    The shopping trolley bags look ideal, I’ve had a look online. The ones for smaller trolleys would be fine for me.
    We’ve got snow forecast here in the North West, it’s a bit sleety now. I hope you have a lovely and peaceful weekend.

    • Margaret

      Yes, Jan, a cousin has emailed me to say that it’s sleeting where she lives in the north. We’ve just had heavy rain instead.
      Yes, I like ordinary days, too. But this afternoon we went to see the film The Favourite. I will mention that in my next post. Glad you have the trolley bags, we’ve found them very useful and they are really quite sturdy, too.

  7. I live right by the Gulf of Mexico, and often notice that the “opposite sunsets” appearing the eastern sky as the sun goes down are spectacular, especially when the late day sun is providing the clouds with a soft orange-gold glow that’s truly ethereal. We always look at the big show, but the best parts of nature are often tucked to the side, waiting to be noticed. I love the way you notice and capture your world, Margaret!

    • Margaret

      Thank you, Beth, for your lovely comments … I was taught to “look with my eyes, not with my hands” as a child (so that I’d not damage anything precious, I suppose! Children are seldom taught not to touch these days and they often learn a lot by touching, I’m not saying my parents’ way was correct) and this has made me perhaps rather observant, or perhaps it’s just in my own nature to notice things, who knows? It seems strange to us that your sunsets are in the east, for that is where ‘our’ sun rises, and sets in the west.

  8. May I firstly comment on the title of your post – there is nothing ordinary about living in such a beautiful part of the country, Margaret! At least, it’s never ordinary to me but then I only get to visit. This does mean lots of ‘looking forward to’ though! Th promise of summer holidays sustains me through the cold winter. Not that I live in a horrible part of the country; Worcestershire is pretty but we don’t have any sea and I miss that.
    Nature’s paintbox is certainly unbeatable – especially when it comes to sunsets.

    • Margaret

      You are right; there is nothing ordinary about living in Torbay, ha ha! All parts of the UK have lovely areas and not-so-lovely areas, but we are blessed with a very high percentage of lovely areas, including the sea! How I would miss that if I lived inland!

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