October stories

October has flown by, and wasn’t it beautiful? Every day was another of those clear, bright, autumnal days that so often get obscured by low clouds, heavy with rain. All over our patch of Surrey the trees have put on a firework display with their changing leaves, vibrant splashes of green, yellow, orange, gold, and finally astonishing shades of red. The garden has been slowly giving up its final yields of plums, then apples, and finally a beautiful giant pumpkin, just in time for Hallowe’en. Those bright, sharp days, and dark, moody evenings where we huddle in doors and tell scary stories are everything about this time of year. This is a time of fire, and spirits; ancient, powerful, and hugely evocative.

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Plans for the autumn

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).

Last autumn was a whirlwind of moving house, travelling in California, jet lag, and unpacking boxes. This year I want to slow everything down and make some simpler plans…

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Grubby green fingers

When I was about ten I planted one row of radishes and one row of lettuces in a corner of my parents’ garden. Slugs destroyed the lettuces in that single-minded way that slugs do, but the radishes flourished and even managed to taste quite respectable.

Those radishes were playing on my mind over the weekend as I shouldered my fork and trowel to start some spring planting. Up until this point, I wouldn’t call myself a gardener, save for the carnivorous plants I tended lovingly on my London windowsill. But our new garden in Surrey comes with a garden. A rather beautiful garden, lovingly laid out and planted. Over the past few months we’ve watched in awe as the borders spring to life, first green foliage, then white snowdrops, yellow daffodils, golden primroses, bluebells, delicate forget-me-nots and best of all, big scarlet tulips all blooming from the soil.

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California photo diary #2 | Sobriety and rattlesnakes in Sonoma

A couple of hours north of San Francisco lies Sonoma Valley. Slightly less famous perhaps than its wealthy neighbour Napa, but none-the-less beautiful and utterly beguiling. Vines, woods and dark earth baking in the California sunshine.

There are two things to do in Sonoma. The first is to get outside and explore the countryside. Because it’s beautiful. Dreamy hazy movie sunshine beautiful.

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New home

One grey, wet Thursday morning, two days before flying halfway around the world, Chris and I moved house. In the space of a few hours we ceased to be Londoners, and picked up the keys for our new home in Surrey.

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