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A Wet and Windy Sunday


What better way to start a wet and windy Sunday than in bed with the morning paper (that husband has kindly been to collect from the local shop) and a bowl of porridge with Lyle’s Golden Syrup? (And husband made the porridge when he’d returned from the shop with the paper)  Indeed, I’ve not done much today except change the bed linen …

and then make a prawn salad with new potatoes for lunch (plus a leek & potato soup for our supper) …

I have plenty of cleaning to do, but really nothing is more important than having a restful Sunday afternoon, enjoying reading by the fireside.  Our little grandson has been to see us (he stayed for an hour and a half before his mummy called back for him – they only live around the corner from us so ideal for brief visits; our son and daughter in law know that we tire more easily now we’re older and don’t leave him with us so long that we’re tired out. They are really thoughtful) and shortly I will make a pot of tea for the two of us and toast a hot cross bun each.

Speaking of cleaning, after Marie Kondo and all her tidying, cleaning is the next big thing.  For two weeks running the Saturday Telegraph has ran articles on what are now referred to as ‘cleanstagrammers’:  women (I don’t think there are any men, but I’m prepared to be corrected) who, you might say, are cleaning up (oh, I’m working well today!) demonstrating in their IG photos how clean their homes are (clinically so, I’d say) and how ours can be the same if we follow their examples.

However yesterday’s article warned that there is a “darker side of cleaning to perfection” (something I will never personally experience; my cleaning is of the little-and-often school which is gradually diminishing to the little-and-not-quite-so-often) because for some people it’s displacement therapy:  by cleaning continually it takes their minds off other problems that they should be tackling.

Furthermore, if we’re not careful, our clean houses can end up controlling us.  I had a look at some of these clean homes on Instagram and, believe me, I’d rather live in our home with it’s feathering of cobwebs and frosting of dust because it’s a home and not a laboratory. One home I saw had a totally white-and-pastel-grey colour scheme (I say colour scheme but it was colour that was lacking!) and I was instantly bored witless by it. Who wants to live in a rain cloud?  But if you have a white and pale grey scheme, any little mark will show, so small wonder these women spend their day cleaning, only to start again the next morning (if, in fact, they sully their beautifully made beds by actually sleeping in them.)

Yes, cleaning is important but by the way it is being shown on these IG accounts one might be forgiven for thinking it’s something new.   But fret-ye-not, those of you who aren’t quite as swift with the Swiffer!   All these women who are showing us how to use detergent and bleach are all rather young.  As they age and their bones and muscles begin to seize up – especially after so assiduously cleaning – they will naturally slow down. They might even allow the dust to settle!

Yesterday, we drove to Waitrose for our ‘free’ paper which cost us around £40.  I jest, but while there I thought I might as well make the journey worthwhile and stocked up on toothpaste (why is Sensodyne so expensive compared with other makes?), L’Oreal face cream …

(you’d not think this sort of advertising, i.e. anti-sagging + anti-age spots would sell a product, would you?  Makes me laugh.  I buy this as it’s a good moisturizer at what I think is, for today’s products which can go through the roof for high end lotions and potions, a reasonable price)

… some more daffodils, a new magazine, another bar of Lindt chocolate … as you do.  What a wonderful ploy it is of this company to offer ‘free’ coffee and newspapers. I know I’m spending more than I’m saving, but having said that we never get things that we don’t use; they aren’t impulse buys, only we’d not normally buy them until our next big shop.

Instead of having ‘free’ coffee yesterday we decided to drive along to the Headland Hotel and have coffee there and bacon sandwiches.  It was a windy morning, quite chilly, and so we didn’t sit outside but I took the view below as we parked the car.

After that we drove home and had a quiet afternoon reading the paper by the fireside.

I bought the latest edition of House & Garden. I really think I might subscribe to this magazine, it really is classy. I tried House Beautiful, but that really wasn’t for me.  I still enjoy The English Home best of all, but this one is also excellent.

The daffodils I bought and which I thought were cream-coloured doubles are turning out to be cream, but singles, but still they are rather pretty.

The flower, bottom left (above) is the last of the amaryllis flowers which I’ve cut and put in a bud vase.

And now to make a cup of tea and toast the hot cross buns and continue with my book. I’m reading a novella by Ruth Saberton …

This is set in Cornwall at Christmastime, and so not quite a book best read in spring, but as today’s wet and windy, I’m finding it a rather nice read.  In a way it’s a bit like a modern Miss Read, a cosy read (no pun intended.)  It is under 100 pages long and I was a little disappointed when such a short book arrived, but I am enjoying it nonetheless.  Ruth’s most recent novel, The Letter, I finished last night and I loved every single word. A lovely and very moving story.

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. Well Margaret that read like a good Sunday, a trip out, a nice hotel for a bite to eat and then seeing your grandson before having a rest with a book! I don’t hold with the cleaning gurus of late and some of the stronger cleaning products make me cough and splutter. I don’t want to say my final farewells with a duster in my hand! As for the H&G mag I’ve always liked it, they find some lovely interiors and decorative ideas, often expensive but usually translatable to the likes of me who won’t be spending £100s on fabrics or whatever. Anyway it’s a good escapist read. Enjoy your evening, I’m hoping the strong winds will disappear soon.

    • Margaret

      Hello, Heather. I don’t think I made it quite clear that we went to the hotel for coffee and bacon sandwiches on Saturday morning and stayed in all day Sunday as it was so wet and windy. But having coffee at the Headland was really pleasant even though their bar and eating area for the daytime and non-residents in the hotel is more like a cafe than the rather nice conservatory at their ‘sister’ hotel, the Palace in Paignton. But both are nice and the Headland has the benefit of bi-fold doors which, in the summer, are open to the terrace and it has that wonderful uninterrupted view of the sea.
      Yes, a lot of cleaning products are strong and possibly not very good for our health. I have started to use Zoflora as a disinfectant, but even though that smells pleasantly floral, I still use it sparingly.

  2. Wet and windy here most of the day too but now mostly windy. Some very gusty winds this evening. I haven’t been anywhere except the local shop for the newspaper.

    We don’t have to look after our grandchildren very often because my daughters know we can’t do too much. My son left his two with us for four days last summer and nearly finished us off. I had to speak up and sadly things aren’t as good between us any more but it had to be done.

    I subscribe to Good Housekeeping and I have just taken out a subscription to Woman and Home, the first copy should arrive in the coming week.

    • Margaret

      Yes, it was a very wet and windy weekend, Alison, wasn’t it? Thankfully (I’m writing this on Monday morning) it’s fine and sunny right now.
      Looking after your grandchildren for four days when you and your husband are not in the best of health yourselves was more than a bit much, I think. Perhaps your son feels a little guilty that he asked you to do this now, or perhaps being young he doesn’t quite appreciate how tiring children are once we are older. I hope things will come right before too long for you and him.

  3. Your Sunday sounds just about perfect to me. I mind my now 5 years old grandson on a Thursday. He lives an hours drive from me and I leave home at 6:50 am and return about 8:30 pm. This year he has started school and I have 6 hours of ‘rest’ between drop off and pick up. I am not nearly as tired as I used to be! We still go to a park after school for an hour but I can sit and watch. While it does tire me I love having the time with him before he grows up and will find more exciting things to do than spend time with Mama.
    I subscribe to The English Home on my iPad and love reading, and rereading every issue.
    I hope you weather improves soon; we are experiencing our hottest start to autumn in a long time and bush fires are still raging. I am so grateful we live on the coast and experience a sea breeze.

    • Margaret

      Hello, Pieta. So many of us now help out with grandchildren, don’t we? We don’t help out as much as we did when our little grandson was born as he is now at school, but sometimes during the half terms and holidays we help out. But our son and daughter in law live only yards away, so bringing him around and taking him back is no problem, as there’s no car travelling involved. Our grandson is also five, he will be six at the end of May.
      I hope the weather cools for you before too long, a hot autumn after a record-breaking hot summer is just what you don’t need right now, and it’s awful that bush fires are still raging.

  4. Oh Margaret, you make me smile with your descriptions of the instagramers and their cleaning frenzies. I understand completely what you mean about houses that don’t seem like homes – as we’ve discussed in the past. I’d rather read or quilt or bake than be constantly cleaning. We are in for the deep freeze again tomorrow – not that today isn’t really cold as well, but tomorrow promises to be much more so.

    • Margaret

      Hello, Jeannine, and glad I made you smile! Yes, some of these instagrammers who are cleaners (and promoting the cleaning products sometimes, although not all the time) seem rather fixated by cleaning for cleanings’ sake. It’s all very well having a clean and tidy house but while I don’t actually dislike housekeeping, the old bod is now preventing me from doing it all day long that even if I wished to! I love to sit and read, but I like my sitting room clean and tidy, too. It’s all a matter of balance, I think. Some housekeeping, some relaxation time. These instagrammers have turned it into a spectator sport it would seem!

  5. Wet and windy here yesterday. We have our 4 year old granddaughter today and it’s a non stop 12 hour day.We have her twice a week and it’s not getting any easier.She will be going to school in September and have told her mummy,my daughter, that I don’t mind picking her up from school on those two days we normally have her but I won’t be getting up at six to get over to my daughters to take her to school! We are not getting any younger and it’s too much!
    Lovely catching up on your blog, hopefully you haven’t been too effected by this adverse weather we are having.

    • Margaret

      Hello, Margaret. I think you have done very well to look after your little granddaughter for a 12 hour day for so long. I think all we grandparents find it a strain but it’s something we do for the love of our family. Women are putting off having children, often through financial necessity or for work reasons or even personal reasons, until they are older these days and that means that grandparents are also much older. We are 74 and 83 and find having a five year old even for an hour and a half can be tiring however much we love the little fellow. Yes, once September comes it will be easier for you, no early mornings to collect her.
      The weather yesterday was awful, high winds and rain, but this morning it’s fine and sunny again. Well, so far!

  6. I like a clean and tidy house but truth be told, I don’t enjoy doing housework – I just like the result! I like a house to be a home, not cluttered but I’m definitely no minimalist. It’s really a case of each to his or her own when it comes to our homes, isn’t it? I know only too well the perils of popping into a shop for something (like a free newspaper) and coming out having spent £40! Still, so long as we don’t buy too much fresh stuff that can’t be used before it goes off, it all gets eaten or used up eventually. My trouble is that I enjoy supermarket shopping. I wish I didn’t!
    Ha, I long ago gave up believing the promises of the skincare industry. I like certain products but am under no illusions that I shall miraculously look 10 years younger overnight. I wish!
    We escaped the worst of the storms. It was wet and windy but nowhere near wild, though I did hear that a tree blew down on a nearby estate.

    • Margaret

      Yes, I enjoy supermarket shopping, too, Eloise … you could say I’m like a kiddie in a sweet shop! It’s all the fresh produce that I love, and also I browse through anywhere that has pretty boxes, for instance Prestat and Charbonnel & Walker chocolates and so forth.
      I do think the skin care industry’s often ridiculous claims ought to be investigated as some of them do seem rather far-fetched. Also the way they talk about peptides and Q10 without explaining what such things (if they exist!) are! They must think we’re all totally stupid. The problem is, we’re being sold a dream and as those with more than a brain cell know, dreams are not reality.

  7. I’m with you all on the enjoyment of having a comfortable home that’s clean and tidy by our own standards and not bothered by what current trends demand. Instagram accounts can be fun to browse – I follow a few myself – but I’m sure there are many weird and wacky ones out there. I like clean and tidy but I also like to be able to flop on the couch or my bed with cup of tea, cat and iPad or book.

    • Margaret

      Yes, I think all sensible people take this attitude to housekeeping, Lara. What is necessary to make a home clean and tidy to our own standards, and where our own priorities lie. I like the idea of flopping with a book, a cat and a cup of tea – perfect!

  8. I totally agree about the cleaning/tidying thing. Not me at all and I’d hate to live in such a clinical environment!

    • Margaret

      I don’t mind cleaning, Joy, but I haven’t turned it into a hobby or a lifestyle. But having had a look at one of the cleaning blogs, the home in question looks not only sterile but totally empty of character or personal identity.

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