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Primary Colours


Earlier in the week, this bright blue ceramic bowl was host to white hyacinths.  They became ‘leggy’ and so I’m letting them finish off their last few days in our hall as cut flowers.

Hyacinths on the hall table

I love this blue bowl.  It is such an intense shade of blue.  It doesn’t ‘go’ with anything else in the house, but that doesn’t bother me in the least – I love it for itself, and this is how I think we should decorate our homes.  It’s having something that stands out, something that isn’t matchy-matchy that makes our homes individual and interesting.  I love individuality even if I don’t always love some o fthe individual items I might see in others’ homes.

This bowl isn’t by any studio potter, and it didn’t cost a fortune.  I saw it when my mother and I were shopping together in a supermarket many years ago (I think it might’ve been Sainsbury’s) and because we’d both admired it she kindly offered to buy it for me.  I don’t always have it on display, but it was ideal for white hyacinths and now it hold tangerines – yes, it requires more of them; it needs to be filled to the rim, but we’ve been eating them!  I shall buy more when I go shopping tomorrow.

And so to the theme – if there is one? – of this post.  In our hall I have changed a watercolour of the harbour at St Ives (Cornwall) for a print which I bought over 30 years ago.  I saw it on the wall of a Totnes gallery (sadly, no longer there – the chap there framed a number of my mother’s and my pictures – by that I don’t mean we’d  painted them!) and I just loved it. It had already been mounted and framed …

It is difficult taking a photo of this print, as the light shines on the glass from every angle. I have hung it on the wall opposite the staircase.  The title on the print is “The Clerk of His Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, in Ordinary” and dated 19th July 1821. Even then this fellow might’ve appeared slightly over-dressed, would he not?  But there again, perhaps not.  George IV, formerly the Prince Regent (1820-1830) had been on the throne for just 1 year in 1821.   So this print pre-dates the reigns of William IV, Queen Victoria, Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII (the little fellow who abdicated in order to marry Mrs Simpson), George VI and our present Queen Elizabeth (who became Queen on the death of her father on 6th February 1952, which was 67 years ago yesterday.)  I have had this print in the loft for many years, I simply couldn’t think  where I might hang it, and now it’s in our hall.  Yes, it possibly clashes with the wallpaper, but it’s certainly a splash of colour!

Still with colour …

Three inexpensive T-shirts from M&S which arrived this morning. I intend to be summer-ready for when the hot weather arrives.  I’m often caught on the hop without any decent summer clothes, so I thought (as with items for next Christmas!) I might start selecting-and-collecting them now.  They are all cotton, have 3/4 length sleeves (my preferred length for T-shirts, elderly women’s upper arms not the most attractive parts of the anatomy) and a slash neck.  Lovely with chinos, linen trousers or jeans.

Not a very good ‘selfie’ as I don’t have a smart phone or iPad, but this is the red/white T-shirt.  My hair is to be highlighted next week, it is more than ready for it.

As well as the T-shirts, the March issue of The English Home arrived this morning, so I sat down about 11 o’clock and had coffee and a quick look through …

It is my favourite monthly magazine. Others are very nice, but this is the cream of the crop. Well, in my opinion.  However, the cover this month I find a little less than inspiring.  If I didn’t know this magazine well,  or didn’t buy it on subscription, I don’t think I’d have been enticed to remove it from the shelf in the supermarket …

But I do know the magazine, and I do have it on subscription, so I could overlook my perceived lack of inspirational cover, ha ha!

And finally, today’s lunch.  I need to do some cooking for the freezer  – you know what I mean; replacing things we’ve eaten – and this was the last pork casserole that I’d frozen.  I allowed it to thaw before re-heating it, and served it with new potatoes (with a sprinkling of basil leaves as I didn’t have any fresh parsley), and cabbage to which I’d added Normandy butter and nutmeg.  Nutmeg really makes cabbage so tasty.

I like the old dinner service which I inherited from my mother as the dinner plates have a little ‘well’ in them, so that you know to put the food inside the ‘well’.    Modern rim-less plates don’t have this and some people are therefore inclined to over-fill their plates, there being no guide line where they should stop!

I have to say it really was very tasty!

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 t- shirts look so fresh and will be nice to have on hand for the first warm days. Great idea to do this ahead of time! I don’t think it will be too long before you’ll want to wear them. Hopefully some warm days are on the way!
    The English Home is my favorite magazine and the only one that I have a subscription to anymore. I look forward to it so much. I would like maybe to subscribe to one more, so I’m thinking about which one to get.
    Your lunch looks wonderful! We like cabbage very much and the next time I’ll try a little nutmeg.

    • Margaret

      I do think, Kay, that after The English Home (which we both love and really look forward to each month) others are OK but none of them really comes close to it in my opinion. I used to love Homes & Antiques but it seems to have gone a little too far down the ‘quirkly’ route, although I still subscribe to it. I had House & Garden for a year when I took out a cut-price subscription, but that’s much more ‘designer’ than The English Home. I have tried Homes & Gardens but while nicely presented, again it’s not quite what I’m looking for. And then there’s Country Homes & Interiors, which I used to have on subscription right from when it started in the 1980s, but that is now rather meager, quite a think magazine. Country Living is lovely, plenty of reading, but fewer homes – but then, it’s a country magazine (or so it styles itself) rather than a homes magazines. Yes, very difficult to know which to choose!

  2. You have inspired me to take from storage as pot stand which I bought many years ago at a fete because I liked it so much. The colours in it go with nothing in my house so it never saw the light of day. What a shame. It is now displayed on the console table in my kitchen where I’m sure to get pleasure from seeing it daily.
    I now need to think about what I can do with my pink pressed glass which I buy because it is so pretty, but never display. Crazy!
    I recently moved a picture from the landing and replaced it with one that has been in the loft for ages. It’s good to move things around and what a good reason for not de-cluttering too much.
    The t shirts are lovely – very summery. I never, ever do short sleeves for the same reason as you. Can’t stand them and always go for three quarter. I find winter clothes so much easier to buy than summer ones. I never seem to find much that I like.

    • Margaret

      There you go! Something brought out of storage and given a new lease of life! Yay!!!
      Oh, you must think of a way of displaying your pink pressed glass! I’ve seen glass displayed on glass shelves across a window where they prevent people from looking in but do not obscure the light. But maybe they’re too large for such a feature. You need shelf or area where they won’t be damaged, too.
      Summer clothes are difficult to find, I agree. Trousers are the worst because if they’re comfortable in summer, loose fitting, then I look like a parcel badly wrapped. And if they are smart and fitted, they are hot!

  3. I do love that blue bowl (but I am biased as blue is my favorite color)! I like your new t-shirts – 3/4 length sleeves and a boat neck are very becoming, in my opinion. I really like that cover of the The English Home magazine you show – it is something that would cause me to pick up the magazine. Different tastes. The only magazine I get by subscription is The English Garden, but I have considered The English Home.

    • Margaret

      I can see how the cover could appeal, Jeannine, it’s not over-colourful or fussy as some of them are. Indeed, it is elegant but perhaps I’ve just become used to their colourful covers. It is the sister magazines to The English Garden which I also used to have but I cut back on my magazine subscriptions when I ceased writing for all the various magazines about a year ago. I do think you would like it and you could perhaps try a sub for just a year and see how you get on with it?
      Yes, I’m pleased with the T-shirts and 3/4 length sleeve is always my length of choice.

  4. Lovely colourful photos today Margaret to cheer us up on the most horrid wet and windy day. You are very optimistic with your summer clothes purchases. I always remember itching to wear my new summer dresses and freezing (I was like Milly Molly Mandy; a trip to the sewing shop to choose fabric was one of my highlights and I did not wear shop bought clothes until I was 13 and my darling dad took me to London for my birthday treat and let me choose my clothes. My mum did not come as she must have felt so rejected but I do remember she loved what I chose and I also remember those special clothes from October 1973 – brown bell bottom trousers, brown skinny rib jumper, and a camel three quarter length coat with a tie belt – quite sophisticated for a young girl on the cusp of being a teenager!). I love the cosiness and warmth (visually speaking) of your hall and must focus on ours once the new bathroom has been fitted. We inherited a hard stone grey floor, pale yellow walls and oak doors, although the front door is painted in Lichen by F&B. My print of the Snail by Matisse, a momento of my first visit to Tate Modern in 2001, injects some colour, and we are using our daughters oak console table as a hall table which holds a lamp and various bits and pieces, but I think we need a chair and a rug to soften the hard edges and repainting the walls is on my list too. I was looking today at David Hockney prints on line as I went to a very interesting talk about his artwork this week and there is certainly no shortage of colour in his recent landscapes and treescapes. Interestingly I bought the Feb edition of The English Home because the front cover appealed to me. I just love ‘playing houses’ and moving things around, one of my most favourite things to do!

    • Margaret

      I have just spent several minutes replying to your lovely comments, Sarah, and then lost it! Oh dear, will I ever learn? But I wanted to thank you for your kind comments and I’m glad you enjoyed seeing the colour in yesterday’s photos.
      How lovely that your Dad took you to London to buy clothes as a birthday treat. Yes, I expect your Mum would’ve felt a little bit rejected, but a teenager in 1973 wouldn’t have wanted hand-made clothes, she’d have wanted Mary Quant or Laura Ashley or something equally modern. I remember those shirts and blouses with the long collars and ‘tank’ tops. I never had bell-bottomed trousers, though, I never liked them. The coat sounds lovely, I once had a lovely pale grey Jaeger coat with a tie belt and I loved it.
      I don’t know the Matisse print, but I’m sure it’s lovely and a rug will certainly soften the floor and make your hall more cosy.
      I bought Period Living today, so have that still to look at. I’m sure I keep the magazine industry afloat single-handedly!

  5. Nice bright colours cheer up the winter months Margaret, hope you enjoy wearing your tee shirts later on. I can’t wear boat necks they never look right on me but they suit you! I’ve been getting the house type magazines recently, I have magazine “spates,” looking at new fabrics etc and peeking into other people’s houses (however much re-arranging has gone on for the photo shoot!) It’s probably better to have a subscription, they cost less for a year and might prevent the thing I sometimes do, buying the same one twice as I’ve forgotten I’ve got it! 😊

    • Margaret

      I actually like V-necks, Heather, but the only V-necks I could find for T-shirts on the M&S website have short sleeves, which look awful on me, so it had to be what they call slash necks (what I’d call boat-shaped.) Oh, I’ve also bought a magazine twice, too! I’v e now sent for the navy blue striped T-shirt, too.

  6. I like your new T-shirts – I also like 3/4 length sleeves as I don’t like long sleeves at all. It’s as if anything flapping about my wrist annoys me to bits and as I live in such a mild climate I rarely need long sleeves anyway. I think boat necks are flattering on most (all ?) women. You are certainly prepared for the next season. I don’t need to buy any clothes for our coming autumn/winter as the past two years have been so mild that much of my clothing for cooler weather didn’t make it out of the wardrobe or was worn only once or twice. I personally much prefer dressing for the cooler weather – nice jeans, ballet flats, 3/4 sleeve T-shirt and a nice scarf is pretty much my ‘uniform’. I have two skirts and one or two dresses (which I can wear with footless tights underneath) to round it all out. Easy peasy. No flushed face or frizzy hair from the humidity which I find so oppressive for the better part of three months, either. Those dinner plates are very pretty.

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