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Autumn: Five Favourite Things

Autumn is my favourite season, as you may already know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while. The winding down of the year and the run up to Christmas. It also encompasses one of my favourite nights of the year in the UK, the slightly eccentric Bonfire Night! Rather than associating Autumn with gloom and darkness though, I see it as a final flare of beauty from nature and a necessary period of patience before Spring can begin again.

Autumn leaves, courtesy of geograpy.org.uk

Autumn leaves, courtesy of geograpy.org.uk

My favourite things about the Autumn are:

Leaves

The leaves haven’t quite started turning here yet after a very long, warm summer, but it won’t be long. I love the rich reds, ambers and russets. Kicking leaves on the pavement and smelling the distinctive smokey, mossy aroma are both small joys on the way to and from home.

Open fires and wood-burners

I’m just getting over a cold and am revelling in my sense of smell returning. I can just about pick out wood smoke in the air on particularly cold days now. The by-laws in London to prevent smog mean that it is only when I go home to Yorkshire that I see a comforting little puff of smoke from most chimneys and smell the gorgeous woody scent

Stews, soups and crumbles

I was given a slow cooker years ago by my grandparents; every year it is brought out in October and pressed into service again. I love the routine of browning my meat, chopping bright vegetables and then returning later from a cold walk to the smell of a warming stew or casserole. For dessert, there is really only one choice for me in Autumn – crumble! Our lovely neighbours had a bumper year in their rhubarb patch, so my freezer is stocked with enough to see us through to February in rhubarb crumbles, my favourite!

Crisp walks

I will probably be on my own here but, whilst I enjoy warm, sunny days, I actually don’t like extreme heat. I could never live in a tropical country. What I do enjoy is a bright, sharp day where you shrug on your favourite cosy coat, gloves and ear-muffs and stride through the countryside with a slight frost still on the grass. I also enjoy winter snow, but as long as I don’t have to struggle through it to work!

Autumn television

I am watching less television the older I get, often preferring to pick up a book or read blogs online. However, I do have favourite programmes, the majority of which seem to be on in Autumn. Downton Abbey, Strictly Come Dancing and other new period dramas that seem to pepper the Autumn schedules mean that I am as happy as a clam most weekend evenings at this time of year.

What is your favourite season?

Autumny delights

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For a long time, I kidded myself that my favourite season was spring. I think this was because it seemed more fashionable and more positive than any other season. However, now I am older I can be truer to myself and come out as a person whose favourite season is actually Autumn. I stood in the garden this morning pondering on this and came up with a few reasons for this love of all things Fall:

1. I love leaves. They are my favourite motif and any leaf themed piece of clothing, jewellery or fabric has to be mine! I particularly love them in Autumn when they are at their most beautiful. It is my ambition one day to go to New England to see the ‘Fall’  but until then, here is a little display my own trees put on for me this morning in leafy North London:

Autumn leaves

Autumn leaves in North London

2. One of my favourite things in the world is cuddling up on the sofa with a book and a real fire in the hearth. This is intensified by the dark evenings and storms of Autumn. I also have specific books I like to read or reread in Autumn as they just feel right; does any one else do this? Every November I feel drawn to Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials and Wuthering Heights in particular.

3. One of my next favourite things is striding out for a walk in a crisp, sunny Autumn day. The smell of the leaves, the smell of bonfires and seeing the warm, cosy glow of people’s homes is lovely. If I’ve been organised and made a slow-cooker casserole before going out, the smell as you open the door after a crisp walk is the cherry on top of my enjoyment!

4. Bonfire Night! What is there not to love about Bonfire Night? It even comes with its own rhyme:

Remember, remember the fifth of November,

With gunpowder, treason and plot.

I see no reason, why gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot.

Bonfire Night is an English tradition where we celebrate Guy Fawkes failing to blow up Parliament in 1605 (there is more to the rhyme above which explains) The uniquely English, eccentric (bordering on batty!) festival is one of the best nights of the year for me. I have so many happy memories of being pulled into at least five pairs of socks and gloves by my mum and being bundled into the car to go to the local Rugby club to watch our ‘Guy’ (made by the local schools) being roasted on a bonfire. The year that the bonfire was just a little too close to the floodlights was a particular highlight! There are always wonderful fireworks and salty, buttery jacket potatoes to eat. It is also usually raining, but somehow it never seems to matter.  

 The one thing I do not like about Autumn is the dark mornings – getting up in the dark is extremely difficult! However, it is a price worth paying for all the things above!