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Sundry Sunday Matters

It’s been what I call a faffing day.  I was up early after sleeping reasonably well again, making coffee at 6.45am, husband still sleeping.  I love early morning, watching the dawn break even though it wasn’t particularly sunny this morning.  When I went to open the curtains in the dining/sitting room, I suddenly thought, as you do, “I don’t like where I’ve put those yellow tulips, they clash with the painting!”

I mean, in the great scheme of things, why bother about such a footling little thing as the colour of the flowers? but they just grated.

And so I changed them around, the flame/yellow tulips for the yellow ones (which went elsewhere in the sitting room … I really should learn that yellow does not look good in our sitting room! I’ve made this mistake once too often! Jeremy Corbyn would be quite within his rights, in this particular instance, to call me a “stupid woman!”

Anyway, see what you think … I’ve taken before and after pix (above).  I prefer the flame ones as the colour tends to look better with the painting, in which there are some bright flame-colour sails on the boat in the foreground.

All this is what I refer to as faffing, or footling, or even as a friend says, “fonkling”, a lovely word she made up herself.

So whatever you call that aimlessness that doesn’t really achieve very much, that is what I did for the next hour or so.  Indeed, the two pictures are a bit like those “spot the difference” drawings that some magazines and papers show.  The only difference is that I’ve removed the book that the lamp was sitting on, and changed the flowers.

I then sauntered to the other end of the room … it’s a long room, all of 29ft long which is long in the UK for a dining/sitting room  unless you live in an historic manor house or even something grander. I’m only joking, but when we moved into our new home in 1985, the sitting room was so much larger than the one we’d left, which was 21st long, that husband stood at one end of the room and I stood at the other and we yelled to each other, pretending we were conversing across a huge void!

Of course, we’re used to the space now. Indeed, several years after we moved in we went to stay with friend in Norfolk in an architect-designed house, and they had a huge, and I mean huge, L-shaped sitting room at least 40ft by 30ft, with a separate dining room.  When we returned to our very reasonably-sized dining/sitting room we felt it had shrunk while we’d been away!

To continue – I’m good at side-tracking myself – I thought I’d photograph the little shelf (photo above) that husband made when he was constructing the bookcase at the far end of the room.  I had a collection of Spode miniatures – they were made in the 1970s – and I had nowhere to display them.  Husband had some perspex and constructed this little area so that I could display them safely, so that they couldn’t be knocked off the shelf and broken.  And on the top of the perspex I display some little ceramic boxes, and behind those are leather-bound 19th and early 20th century pocket books, books by Thomas Hardy, R L Stevenson, W M Thackeray and “Q” (aka Sir Arthur Quiller Couch.)

After we’d had breakfast, and after the usual housekeeping chores downstairs – bed making, filling the dishwasher and washing machine, cleaning the shower room – I decided to clean the guest bedroom upstairs.  Not that we’re expecting guests, but it had gradually become a bit of a dumping ground. The Christmas decorations were in there in boxes, and some books needed shelving, and so forth. Indeed, the spare bedding for the bed sitting room needed putting away in the wardrobe where it is kept, and the guest bed needed making up. I don’t like to see it unmade even when we’re not intending using it.  So I set to and cleaned the room and now it looks nice and fresh again.  I haven’t taken photos but I will include some which, of course, you might’ve seen before.

Apart from there not being flowers in the room right now, it looks much the same as this.

I like this room, which has a Velux-style window, that overlooks the back garden.

I made cauliflower and blue cheese soup for lunch yesterday and we had plenty left for today. Indeed, it was more than just cauliflower, as I added celery, parsley and courgette as they were in the fridge.  And I didn’t use Stilton cheese, but St Agur which is my favourite.

With a dollop of cream, it was a delicious soup, almost what restaurants refer to as veloute.  I made some croutons, and also served it with two kinds of crackers, olives and cheese (and granary bread for husband.)  We don’t often have desserts, but I made apple crumbles yesterday and we had two of those (by which I mean one each.)

I made hot custard to serve with the apple crumbles ( made them in small ramekins and then turned them onto the dishes.)

And finally, I thought I’d show you an area which needs some attention.  As you will be aware by now, I rather like books.  Understatement.  I love books.  Not all books, of course.  I couldn’t be bothered with sci-fi or fantasy or, for that matter, hard-boiled crime, nor much of what’s in the best-seller charts.  But I particularly love books on interiors, and have quite a collection.  So much so, that the overspill is now on the floor in the dining/sitting room, a construction of its own …

It’s not even a tidy pile, starting with the largest and working up to the smallest (not that any are really small!) but I do read them, and there are none I wish to part with.  I just need to weed other bookshelves in order to re-home these.

On that note I will close and make supper. We are both quite tired, and dear little grandson came to see us for an hour or so this afternoon, so even more tired now.  Chicken stir fry this evening.  Then Vera on ITV at 8pm.  That’s what I call a rather nice Sunday evening. Hope you have had a good Sunday, too.

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. Lovely post as usual Margaret, I was hoping for your review of The Favourite too ! xx

  2. I love all your built in cabinetry – did your husband do them all? I wish it was a skill I (or my own husband) possessed, as custom cabinetry is so expensive.

  3. Over here in Australia, in our stifling heat, and on Sunday night, I watched Vera too.

    • Margaret

      How amazing is that, Julie … each of us thousands of miles apart and we’re both watching Vera of a Sunday evening, although there will be the time difference of course! Our programme has just finished as I write this and we’re not off to bed on Sunday evening, at 10.15pm.

  4. The tulips in the second photograph look so much better (I’m ignoring the fact that they are tulips ;)).

    A day of faffing can achieve quite a lot, just making small changes or putting things away where they belong makes a bit difference in the house. Or so I tell myself.

    Just got back from the garden centre with my daughter and granddaughter. Didn’t stay that long because 2 year old was in a particularly awkward mood – we think she’s practising to be a teenager. She’s going to be great……

    • Margaret

      I have been faffing a bit again today, Alison. We expected the plumber to come to service the boiler and do a few more tasks – the boiler should’ve been done in the summer and we did phone the plumber but didn’t get a response from his voicemail message and really we should’ve followed this up but didn’t – but he phoned to say he was ill and couldn’t come and will try and get here by the end of the week. And so, having got up and were expecting him, plans changed and husband did some work in the garage and I decided to start tidying books and weeding some of them (as mentioned in my new post.)
      Oh, a two year old who is behaving like a teenager. I expect when she is a teenager her mother will say she is behaving like a two year old, ha ha!

  5. The flame tulips are far more pleasing to the eye, I would say. There is a lot of satisfaction to be gained by having just the right thing in the right place isn’t there?!

    • Margaret

      Yes, Margaret, somehow some things grate and yet others hardly notice them. I don’t like too-tall flowers in too-short vases, or too-short flowers in too-tall vases! Yes, I’m a fussy beggar!

  6. I think the flame tulips really enhance your arrangement – isn’t it satisfying when a relatively small tweak produces such a harmonious result?!

  7. Your guest room is so lovely and cozy. You have a lovely home, Miss Margaret, clearly cultivated so thoughtfully. And yes on Vera. We love that show!

    • Margaret

      Thank you for your kind comments on our home, Diana. Parts need attention, but that is always the case with a home, I think. And I’m forever trying to get a quart into a pint pot! Vera is an excellent drama series, but it can be rather depressing. And we also watch Grantchester although now that James Norton as Sydney Chamber has been written out, I wonder whether it will be as good. But we must give the new Vicar of Grantchester a chance. He arrives, on his motorbike, in next Friday’s episode.

  8. I also like all of the built in cupboards and shelves. Your husband is very clever, indeed. Your spare room is lovely – with all of the photos of your beautiful meals you are running the risk of having each of us turn up on your doorstep ha ha. I bought a cauliflower yesterday at our local store to include in my vegetable soup – I had refused to buy one in the supermarket in the weekend as they were asking $AU5.99 !!! I blame the latest fad of cauliflower rice for the markup in price. I hope the growers are getting some of the profits but alas it’s probably just the supermarkets. I agree the darker coloured tulips look prettier in that location xx

    • Margaret

      Ooh, I’d better not tell him he’s clever, Lara, his head won’t get through the door it will be so big! Seriously, he is a clever chap. He just seems to know how to go about practical things, he must’ve saved us countless thousands of pounds over the last 54 years.
      I’ve not heard of cauliflower rice, but there again, I don’t tend to read many food articles as they make me hungry! Also, they tend to mention in ingredients I’ve not heard of and I know would be difficult to find in our supermarket as we’re not living in a big city or London. Almost $6 Australian dollars for a cauli is very expensive!
      The tulips are still OK, but if we do our shopping tomorrow I shall look for something else, but perhaps some pink roses or tulips for our bedroom.

      • ‘Cauliflower rice’ is popular with those following diets eschew carbohydrates – so ‘normal’ rice is a big no no. From what I can make of it, there is a diet called the ‘ketogenic eating plan’ or ‘keto’ for short, which was designed for children with epilepsy who did not respond to drugs – this diet was found to reduce the number / severity of their seizures. BUT if an overweight adult does the keto diet – which is lots of meat and fat but no/little fruit, limited veggies and no carbs – they will lose a lot of weight. Quickly. So of course, every silly women’s magazine is plugging it. Our national,radio (ABC) was interviewing a dietician who explained the diet and the dangers of following it without close medical supervision or for more than a month or two. Mind you, I doubt that anyone could last a month on it, let along longer as it sounds like it would make anyone miserable. Me, I like carbohydrates. Rice, (gluten free) pasta and other such things are some of my best friends 😉

        • Margaret

          I’ve not heard of the Keto diet, Lara, but there again, mention a new diet and I glaze over! There have been so many, some obviously good and others a bit iffy. If this works for children with epilepsy, that is a good thing, but as the expert on your radio said, it’s best to seek medical advice before following a new diet, one that isn’t just reducing our food intake. Is cauliflower rice, a cauliflower grated to look like rice? I really don’t understand what it actually is?

  9. What a perfectly cozy guest room! So welcoming. I love this kind of quiet day, and yours always sound so pleasant. I’d love to sit down and read that stack of books, too!

    • Margaret

      Hello, Beth, and I hope this finds you well. I’m just “taking five” as they used to say in musical circles before I unload and then re-load the dishwasher, I’ve been baking and need to clear up the kitchen again, but needed the break first. Yes, the guest room is cosy, I love it up there, and there are plenty of books in that room, too (and in the bed sitting room.) I hope you will soon have time to sit and read.

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