The first red autumnal leaves have started to appear in our garden. The oak trees that overlook the railway cutting are just starting to change, one leaf at a time turning to vivid red. And every now and again, the air has that slight chill, a crispy twang to remind you that something colder, and darker, is just around the corner. (We’ll ignore the part where the UK had the hottest September ever).
Chris and I have fallen under the spell of Alastair Humphreys, the writer and proponent of ‘microadventures’. Eighteen months have passed since our three month wander around the world, and we’ve got more than just a tickle in the toes. We’re both stagnating a bit under weight of the daily cycle of alarms and commuting and office hours, and need to find ways to shake up the system a bit. So the idea of small adventures, little incursions into the outdoors to try new things, was like a tonic to the imagination. Something as simple as a candlelit supper in the garden, wrapped in blankets with the embers of the barbeque to see by. A world away from another meal on the sofa in front of Poldark.
Chris is already working on our next microadventure and buying a tent… watch this space!
Complete a sweater
OK, so we know that I have a problem with commitment when it comes to sweaters. So if I can complete even one before winter kicks in, I’ll be doing well. Luckily, the hard part of this Quarterback sweater from Wool and the Gang – that delicious scooped back detail – is done. Just the sleeves and the front to go.
Go to the seaside
My parents always used to go away on holiday in the October half term while we were at school. They would book a cottage in Pembrokeshire, and for one glorious week we would live in wetsuits, with salty hair and sandy feet. Long walks over the cliffs would finish with a roaring log fire, a glass of wine, board games, and ghost stories. Sure, the wind is cold and the days are short, but that’s sort of the point. We made the most of the precious daylight, and even more precious sunshine, roaming about the coastline and racing into the surf. And made the most of the dark stormy evenings with warmth and comfort and good food.
For the first time in a while, we have a little October seaside adventure planned, and already I’m dreaming of donning my beloved wetsuit, getting cold through in the surf, poking into every rock pool I can find, and braving the elements to watch for seals in the Irish Channel. Actually, while I think of it, no autumnal holiday would be complete without…
There is a Victoria plum tree in our garden, doubled over under the weight of its own fruit. Every evening when I get in from work, I’ve taken to wandering down to have a look at those plums, giving each a tentative tug to check for ripeness. Ripe plums and apples from the garden, combined with blackberries, running rampant over the hedge from the railway cutting, can mean only one thing: crumble. Apple crumble was my favourite pudding as a child, and as an adult it is still my favourite for experimentation, with different fruits, different sugars, and different spices. Cardamom, or maybe a touch of ginger, piping hot from the oven, served with a splodge of plain yogurt.
Light a few candles, slip into your best jim jams, grab a spoon, and put a good film on. This is winning.
The joy of socks
Apologies to anyone who doesn’t like feet. At least I had the courtesy to cover mine up in a delicious pair of socks.
Is there anything better than a really cosy pair of socks on a chilly autumn day? If you’re anything like me, then cold feet are a daily feature of life in the northern hemisphere, and a good pair of socks is tantamount to a religious experience. Technical and hardy, tucked into sturdy boots for a long walk in the twilight, or soft alpaca bed socks worn with thermal pyjamas. A good pair of socks is the stuff that dreams are made of.
What plans do you have for the autumn?