chestnut book blog

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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

Autumn leaves, courtesy of

My favourite things about the Autumn are:


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?

Bedside table books

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Here is the rather wobbly pile of books currently on my bedside table. This is my active ‘To read’ pile.

Bedside table books

Bedside table books

It is a bit of an eclectic mix, but that is my preferred state of bedside table books! I obtained the Cecelia Ahern book from an event I went to recently held by Red Magazine – I left with probably the best goodie bag in the world, books and beauty products! I’ve read a few of Ahern’s novels (P.S I Love You is the only one I can think off-hand, but that was wonderful) and she is definitely one of my preferred chick lit writers.

Angelfall is the latest hyped young adult fantasy novel. I like to indulge myself a little on holiday and so this will be coming with me to Northumbria next week. I will let you know my thoughts!

Vanished Kingdoms just appealed to me in the shop. I like a bit of history now and again and the cover has a lovely tactile quality I couldn’t resist – shallow I know!

Les Miserables has been sitting here for a while, since before the film was released. I am determined to read it all rather than just seeing the film / musical but I’ve been delaying as it feels like a winter book somehow. Am I wrong? Do other people have ‘winter’ and ‘summer’ books as well?

Middlemarch, as you may remember, has been on my reading list for years but I have finally got myself a copy and a copy of the notes which I suspect I will find useful having not read much Eliot before. I made the big mistake of starting Eliot with The Mill on the Floss when I was a teenage and that rather scuppered me but I am now ready to try again!

Black Diamonds has a similar reason for being in the pile as Vanished Kingdoms, I like history now and again and a tale about a dysfunctional aristocratic Yorkshire family appealed. It may also be because I am missing my Downton Abbey fix and this is said to chart the changes these kind of families went through at the turn of the century. I’ve seen excellent reviews so am looking forward to diving into this whilst on holiday next week.