Autumn light

My feet haven’t touched the ground lately and I’m not sure I’ll be able to string sensible words together to form an interesting blog post but here goes. I’ll keep it brief(-ish) as I just really wanted to say hello. I hope you’re well. Please forgive the random nature of what follows.

The light outside has been wonderful lately. I rushed indoors to grab my camera yesterday afternoon, took one photo and the battery ran out… These photos were taken over the last couple of weeks. As you can see, it’s also been warm enough to lie about on the grass. I wish! Cassie has been making the most of it.

I’ve been picking apples and pears before the insects get them – David made the first apple pie of the season yesterday – and raspberries galore. Any raspberries that aren’t scoffed straightaway or sprinkled onto muesli are turned into precious ruby jam. Most of our lovely giant tomatoes have been partly munched by flipping snails but the cherry toms are ripening well at last.

I haven’t kept up with my ‘end of month views’ of the garden; I missed August…

I’m project editing a food book at the moment. It involves being organised and on top of everything, keeping the work flowing and knowing what’s where and with who, and I love it. There’s been exciting work for Agnes lately, too – I had to interview someone over the telephone which took me right out of my comfort zone but it was great. I find I’m much more willing and likely to test myself these days.

My sunny younger son turned 17 last week. His brother made the usual coffee and walnut birthday cake (because he has much more time on his hands at the moment than I do) and we celebrated in a low-key fashion which was just what he wanted. He’s keen to start driving lessons as soon as possible and had his first go around an empty car park at the weekend. David sat in the passenger seat, I got out of the car and watched from a safe distance… We’ve promised him some proper lessons with a qualified instructor.

My first-born child is heading off to university on Saturday. David and I will be driving him and all his stuff there; his siblings are staying at home. He doesn’t want all of us there, squabbling over who’s carrying what and generally embarrassing him because, let’s face it, we are the most embarrassing family ever. His sister is a little put out by this but she’s not making a fuss. He and I have talked food budgeting and making the most of a pack of mince, I’ve imparted my 101 ways with a tin of tomatoes, we’ve discussed laundry (I am an optimist), hygienic bathrooms and enjoying Freshers’ Week but not so much that you miss when actual lectures start. He’s excited but also a little anxious. To be honest, I think he just wants to get there and get started; all this waiting isn’t good for any of our nerves. We’ve yet to discuss an acceptable level of communication with home (I suspect that a text a day might be too much) but we have agreed that we’ll wait until his birthday in November to go and see him. I know that David, who works about an hour away from the uni town, will find an excuse to drop by before then. He won’t be able to help himself.

My rational brain knows that this is all exactly as it should be – it is the order of life. My emotional brain is a complete mess and it wouldn’t take much for me to weep copious tears. Ridiculous, I know.

On that note, I bid you a good night. I’ll write again soon and let you know how it goes.

In a vase on Monday: in denial

Joining in with Cathy’s Monday gathering of vases is a lovely way to keep an eye on what’s going on in the garden and to mark the seasons passing but my garden is still merrily ignoring the fact that it is 6th November. For my vase today, I’ve picked a snapdragon, osteospermums, nasturtiums, a single pink rose, a stem of hesperantha, some sprigs of rosemary, a few scented pelargonium leaves and a few stems of guelder rose (Viburnum opulus) to add some autumn colour.

My garden is in denial and so am I. Yes, there’s now a chill in the air and there was even a little frost in the fields this morning but it doesn’t seem that long ago that the children went back to school after the summer holidays. Bonfire night took me by surprise and I’m certainly not ready to be seeing festive adverts on the tv and the shops full of glitter. I haven’t made cake or puddings (we have one from last year in the cupboard, so maybe I’ll skip pudding-making this year), or really thought very much about it. I would quite like time to Slow Down!

How about you? Are you organised and in the zone or are you taken by surprise by the unstoppable Christmas countdown?

Whatever your calendar situation, I wish you a lovely week ahead.


In a vase on Monday: Octoberfest

The leaves may be turning on the trees, conkers may be falling, berries ripening and seed-heads forming, but there are still plenty of summer flowers in my garden. Cosmos, osteospermum, snapdragons, verbenas, nasturtiums – all continue to produce blooms in jewel-like colours. Joining these flowers in my Monday vase are a few Crocosmia seed-heads, a length of hawthorn heavy with berries, a twig spindle leaves, a sprig of old-man’s beard (wild clematis) and some field maple which is just starting to turn.

October (before the clocks go back and it starts to get dark in the afternoon) is one of my favourite months. There’s the prospect of a walk through crunchy leaves, burnished and shiny conkers to find in the soft autumn light, and fruit, berries and seeds to harvest. It can be warm enough to be outdoors in a t-shirt (like today) or chilly enough to need a coat and scarf. Whatever the weather, it’s a month when you can really sense the seasons turning and I find that reassuring and comforting.

Thank you to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting all the Monday vases. Click on the link to see her lovely collection of persicaria and links to many other vases from around the world.

Wishing you a good week ahead.