Lifting the gloom

I woke up this morning feeling rather glum. I knew why, and I had I known that it was likely I’d feel this way, so I had already planned a number of activities that could fill my day. Today my son and his family are moving house. Not to the other end of the country by any means but a lot further than the couple of miles away that they have been living until now. I have friends whose children live not only in other countries but on other continents so I fully appreciate my exceptionally good fortune in having easy access to my three, and therefore to my beautiful grandchildren. I know that I’ll still see the family regularly and I understand their reasons for moving  but nevertheless, glum was how I felt.  Son had declined help. There’s plenty we can do over the weekend but today we’d have just been in the way.

My day began with a hair appointment. I am very lucky to have a hairdresser daughter-in-law (obviously not the one moving house today – that would have been a request too far!). Once I’d been ‘silvered’ (a little plug here for Charles Worthington Ultra Violet shampoo which has at long last given me the tone I’ve been craving for years) and blow-dried I was off to the gym. I love my gym and have been a member for seven years. Don’t be lulled into admiring my commitment too much – whilst in theory I go for the exercise, it’s actually the coffee and the company of a great group of ladies who have become friends, that regularly spurs me on to attend. I wrote about this great facility, aimed specifically at ladies over forty, a while ago:

Having not yet spent the M&S giftcard that I’d received for my birthday, I had planned to drive over to Longbridge, about ten miles away, where, in late 2015, the most enormous branch of M&S was opened by Twiggy. Don’t you think she look more and more fabulous as she gets older? I wanted to buy a skincare product that my local branch doesn’t stock. We have a small branch which is a long, long way from being ‘top of the range’. One of my gym friends hadn’t been so, on the spur of the moment, decided to come with me.  We had a good look at the Christmas clothing range (including a beautiful rich blue sequinned skirt. It was love at first sight. Sadly unrequited, but it would look wonderful on a size ten),  had a coffee, bought the item I’d gone there for and then went into the food hall. It doesn’t quite compare with the amazing Harrod’s food hall, but it very, very good and there were lots of samples of the new Christmas specialty foods on offer. We had a free mini-lunch full of tasty morsels. Can you believe it, the store even has a champagne bar! No, we didn’t.

Longbridge, until 2005 was home to the Rover motor company. In its heyday the company offered employment to around 25,000 workers and it is where the original mini was built. The site had been abandoned for almost ten years and The Daily Mail reported years later that unfinished cars could still be seen rusting on the production line. It was later reported that a one billion pound regeneration project would see the vast 468 acre site turned over to housing, business and retail. Apparently it may take as long as twenty years to complete.

The journey there had been a bit tedious as we slowly worked our way through the roadworks so I chose a different  route home. Some of the journey was through a quite rural area and it was really uplifting to see the lovely colours of the countryside in the autumn sunshine.

Once home it was inevitable that I would turn to my usual stress buster … cooking. First, for a late lunch, was Red pepper and tomato soup. Although this soup bowl is very small, I use it because it’s so pretty. One of a set of four, I inherited them from my mum. I’ve no idea where she got them from for they are not the kind of thing she would have bought for herself. No yummy crusty bread because I put on 2lbs after my recent holiday and I want it off by Monday’s weigh-in.


Then I made up a chicken recipe using chestnut and shiitake mushrooms, onions and mange tout. The sauce was a simple blend of oyster and soy sauces. We ate it for dinner with ‘giant wedges’. These are made by cutting baking potatoes into four lengthways, sprinkling with sea salt and black pepper, spraying with oil and popping in a hot oven for half an hour. I like them better this way than baked. The chicken was so tasty! I’ll definitely be making it again.


Finally, I made a lemon Madeira cake for Husband. Just a small one as there was some chocolate cake left from the last baking session. I’m hoping that I’ll manage to resist.


So that was my day. No so bad in the end.


  1. Hello, Like you, I find keeping busy takes away my worries. Our middle son (27) and his partner are moving further away from us – they’re currently about an hour away but are moving about 2hrs away. Understandable though as our future daughter in law wants to be nearer to her mum, especially as they’re getting married next June and want children too. Our other 2 grown up children live local to us so we get to see our 2 granddaughters quite a bit. I’m happy for them to be moving but I’ll miss them being closer.
    That large M&S store sounds wonderful! !


    • Hi L, Yes it’s same here. My son’s partner wants to be near to her mum and sister. I totally understand that…but I will miss them.


  2. That sounds a pretty good day to me, Eloise. The M&S sounds wonderful, I’d like a mooch around that store!
    Sad about Longbridge. When we bought our Mitsubishi Galant all those years ago (and we still have it) we were toying with the ide of a Rover 75. Glad we chose the Galant, though, it’s been a great car. 468 acres is an enormous site! A pity that it can’t be turned, partially at any rate, into a Nature Reserve or something that the community could use, plus new houses of course.
    I also use the Charles Worthington Ultra Violet shampoo (and the matching conditioner) but it really needs to stay on longer than the couple of minutes I give it, I think. I wash my hair in the shower each morning and although I put it on my hair first, it doesn’t take five whole minutes to get washed, so the shampoo isn’t really on sufficiently long for the silver look I want, but I’m trying to leave it on longer. Five minutes standing there under the shower seems a long time when you’re waiting for the shampoo to ‘work’!
    The food looks good. I will be doing more cooking and baking once the new freeze arrives on Monday. I might make a cake today, though, even though there is half a banana and walnut loaf in the freezer (the fridge/freezer I mean.)
    Best of luck to your son and family in their move.
    Margaret P


    • Oooh, you would love the M&S store, Margaret. Really, it’s almost a day out – or at least a half one. The Christmas decoration department is spectacular. Not necessarily all to my taste but beautifully put together, and the children’s clothing department could quite easily relieve me of several hundred pounds in one fell swoop! When daughter-in-law is away or I am on holiday and I use a salon, I find that they are always very happy to use the CW shampoo if I take it with me (including the one I used in Brixham). I ask them to leave it on and they are always very obliging. Perhaps your own salon in Totnes would do this too.
      Yes, Longbridge is a HUGE site. It takes ages just to drive past it! You make a very interesting point regarding the community so I looked into it further and found the local Council’s community structure report. I’ve learned that there will indeed be ” a focus upon developing and supporting local sport, culture, leisure and heritage initiatives”. It’s very long so I’ve only skimmed through but there are plans (some already implemented) for schools, a college, churches, playgrounds, grasslands and an angling lake. Thank you for raising that – it’s been interesting finding out. I have a large freezer with six shelves but still run out of space! Thanks for your good wishes for my son.


  3. Sorry to read that your son and his family are moving away, but you certainly made the best of the day. Good luck avoiding the cake! It’s so easy to gain weight and so hard to lose it, isn’t it?


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