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A Misty Wednesday

Early morning sunshine soon disappeared and in rolled sea mist.  I completed a few housekeeping chores  and then a dear friend (an ex-colleague of my husband) called and we had coffee and put the world to rights, as you do.  He left just before lunch time and we then had a snack lunch of tomato & courgette soup (which I made yesterday) and some salmon and cucumber club sandwiches.

We had this on our knees while watching the News on TV and then we decided to drive to Babbacombe and take a walk along Babbacombe Downs.  But by then it had turned even darker and colder.

On top of the cliffs there used to be a lovely house and garden, but when the cliff crumbled in 2012 (it had been crumbling long before then, but 2012 did for it totally) the house fell down with the landslide.  Fortunately, it was empty.  It had been a landmark house in the Bay for many years; it had been home to one of the Tate family (of Tate & Lyle, the sugar company).

This is what the view looks like on a fine sunny day …

And here (above) you can see the house that eventually collapsed, along with its garden and the cliff (obviously I took this photo before that awful happening.)

I love the view of the whole of Lyme Bay when the sun is shining and the air is clear.  On a very clear day you can see right around the coast as far as Portland Bill in Dorset.

Who would not want to be in Devon on such a day?  I am so thankful that my father and mother made the decision to move from a very industrial Lancashire, famous for its Victorian cotton mills and factory chimneys, to the rural beauty of Devon, only about 350 miles away but actually a different world, long before motorways were even thought of.  But the 1950s, those immediate post-war years, were so very different from today.   No supermarekts, and pubs closed at 10.30pm and were only open until 11pm in the summer months, and if you went to a dance on a Saturday night it had to end at midnight, as it wasn’t permissible to extend into Sunday morning (unless the hotel or wherever had applied for an extension of the licence).  How times have changed.  On TV this evening, an 18 year old young woman was talking about living in her small town in Dorset where there was little to do for young people, and if she wanted to stay out at a club until 1am or 2am she would have to get a taxi home, etc, etc.  I suddenly thought what my parents would’ve thought of me rolling home at that time of night aged 18!  They’d have been worried sick and no doubt called the police.  Yes, times have changed, many things for the better, but by no means all things.

Oh dear, this wasn’t meant to be an introspective post!  So to other things.  At last plants in the garden are beginning to grow, and there are buds on the camellia and the wallflowers are bushing out, and daffodils are coming up.


As soon as it’s a little warmer, we will be out there, tidying up the garden, weeding, and opening up the summerhouse. I can’t wait!!!

The 2nd pot of white hyacinths that I had on the kitchen windowsill had become ‘leggy’ and so I’ve removed the blooms and used them as cut flowers in the hall, where I think they might last for just one more day before they begin to discolour.

The morning’s post brought me a new Sarah Raven catalogue (I might get dahlias to plant in pots for the late summer/early autumn, as we’ve had little success with them when we plant them directly into the garden soil, but we love dahlias) and also a 2nd hand paperback.

It often happens that a magazine or catalogue arrives along with a book where both covers have been designed or been coloured in a similar way – this happened again today.  Pure coincidence.

Tomorrow, our plumber is coming to service the boiler (furnace to those of you in the USA or Canada) and do a couple of other jobs.  We asked him to come in the summer but this didn’t happen so he will be here tomorrow.  Well, we hope he will!  Hence our walk today because we have to be here for his visit tomorrow.

And now for bed and my book (not the one above but The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton by Anstey Harris, which I’m enjoying very much.)

And to take to bed …

A cup of …

We haven’t had Whittard’s Luxury Hot Chocolate before. This was a kind gift and we had some this afternoon after we returned from our walk. Quite simply, it is gorgeous!

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. Nice post, and I love the little dish with the sheep. So sweet!

    • Margaret

      The little dish with sheep is another inherited piece, Kay. You have good taste. It’s a piece of Meissen (or so I understand, although many of the factory marks were copied by lesser porcelain factories, but it does have the Meissen mark on the back.)

  2. I agree that some things have not changed for the better. I find it quite spooky that children no longer play together on the front or back lawns, or parks, with an adult just being there, keeping an eye. And what the heck are people doing taking kids to cafes when they could be running free in the park?

  3. We’re lucky here because the houses are set out around a small green where our children played growing up and children still play out there today. Of course now we’re old and miserable we sometimes don’t appreciate that but we keep it to ourselves! When the council grass cutters come round the children still make grass houses by laying out lines of the mown grass that look like a house plan. Our children did the same thing, it must be instinctive to build little houses/dens.

    • Margaret

      How lovely to live in such an area, with a green where children can play, Alison. Oh, grass houses, what fun for children! That reminds me that when I was a child living with my parents in our newsagent’s shop, I used to make plans of houses with plasticine, and then try and make furniture for the rooms! Yes, it must be instinctive to create or build houses, even those made of grass or plasticine!

  4. Garden catalogues are so uplifting and often demonstrate the triumph of hope over experience! Optimism is a very attractive quality though, isn’t it? You will experience spring far earlier than we do up here in North Yorkshire, so we always have a West Country holiday in March – we then experience spring twice. Have you had any training in photography Margaret? We can see from your home that you have a ‘good eye’ but your photos are always great and really enhance your most interesting blog. I love the way you write about every day things and make something of them. It is a gift to appreciate the small pleasures of life properly and I like to think I share this quality. Long may your lovely blog continue!

    • Margaret

      You are right there, Margaret! Catalogues certainly demonstrate hope over experience! But we still fall for the wonderful flowers that are shown in them!
      No, no training in photography whatsoever but my late uncle was a photographer (in the old days of print photography) and my father was very good at photography, too. I used my mother’s camera as a child, an old box Zeiss, a museum piece today. Then I had a little plastic Kodak Brownie 127 and I loved it, but it has a fixed lens, so you could only take certain things with it, no close-ups. Then for my 15th birthday my parents bought my an Agfa 35mm camera with which I took transparencies, I loved that camera. Eentually in 1984 I had my first Pentax SLR 35mm and took print film with that, it was one of the best cameras I’ve ever had. I graduated to a Nikon D50 (SLR) and then a Nikon D90 (SLR) but all the pictures you see on my blog and my Instagram account are taken with my compact Sony.
      I think people either have an eye for a good shot or they don’t. Perhaps this can be taught, but I try and make a ‘picture’ out of whatever I’m looking at, just as an artist would choose a certain aspect to paint. Fortunately, even as a child I was able to take a reasonably good shot – I didn’t cut off people’s heads or feet, or take lob-sided pictures (indeed, I’ve seen several IG accounts where the picture is always at an angle and this annoys the hell out of me, I just dislike having to have my head on one side, to try and see what I’m looking at!)
      I am humbled by your kind remarks that the way I write about everyday things makes them interesting. I will be writing again shortly (provided my photos of lunch today are up to snuff!)

  5. Those flower buds really do prove that spring is around the corner for you. Unfortunately we are continuing to feel hot and irritable here with temperatures of 30 deg.C and humidity over 80%. We had a good drizzle of rain for an hour or so last week which was exciting – using the windscreen wipers on my car, the beautiful smell you detect after rain, etc – but nothing since. I’d hate to be selling umbrellas for a living !

    I giggled when I read the label of your hot chocolate – ‘unashamedly rich’. I’m picturing other types of drinking chocolate with their head in their hands feeling the shame of being so rich ! I sometimes wonder how advertisers think of such phrases.


    • Margaret

      We had torrential rain last night, Lara; each time I woke up (for I wake several times during the night now) it was hammering down, but at least the temperature isn’t too bad, and certainly not in the minus category, or even your high summer temperatures. Oh, I love the smell of the garden after rain, especially when it’s been dry for so long! It’s something almost indescribable, isn’t it?
      Oh, that’s so funny, other drinking chocolates knowing that they don’t quite measure up to being ‘unashamedly rich’! I have daft ideas like this, too. I’m so glad I’m not alone. The other day, when Highway Maintenance came to dig up the verge next to our house in order to lay a new electricity cable to a street lamp, they had to dig right across our driveway, too, and that meant we took out our car and parked it at the back of our house as we knew that once they had dug the trench, we’d not be able to get the car out. And so it stayed at the back of the house overnight, on the coldest night (so far) of the year, and I said to husband that it would be most upset, left out in the cold when it’s used to being in the garage with, of all things, an old carpet underneath it! The carpet is there because when husband works in the garage it’s nice to stand on rather than the concrete floor! The trench has been filled in now, and repairs effected, so the car can now sleep in the garage again!

      • My friend’s grandfather used to place used carpet onto the floor of his garage for his car, too. The car was an early 1970s VW ‘bug’ which he’d bought new and had looked after it so well that much of it was original condition. He didn’t drive it over 60km/hr (35 miles/hr) and never further than several kilometres each time. Mind you, I’ve had nicknames for my cars over the years …..

        • Margaret

          Oh, Lara, the VW Beatle is an iconic car, and well done your friend’s grandfather for looking after his Beatle although it sounds like he cossetted the car rather too much! When I was 15, almost 16, I embarked on a student exchange with a girl in Germany – I went to stay with her and then she came to stay with me. While in Germany our group of English students toured the VW factory in Wolfsburg, and I can remember it to this day. We weren’t supposed to take photographs but, well, you know what I’m like with a camera … and somewhere in the loft are transparencies (now mouldy I expect) of that holiday and the car factory.

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