Apart from a few glorious weeks in June, summer 2017 was a bit damp and despite my hopes for an Indian summer, autumn is creeping in at speed. The hedgerows are splashed with the red of rosehips and hawthorn berries and soon the leaves on the trees will change colour and fall to the ground.
At night, I lay in bed and listen to conkers bouncing on the tin roof of the garage as they fall from the horse chestnut trees. This year there seem more conkers than ever and they litter the ground in profusion. We’ve already had the seasonal ritual of the first family conker fight, which I lost when the string pulled through my conker. I also discovered my aim is pretty useless compared to Bill, but apparently men tend to have a better understanding of trajectory because they pee standing up and so have applied the laws of physics from an early age! That’s my excuse.
The juicer has been retrieved from the cupboard in an effort to assuage my guilt at the number of apples lying on the ground in the orchard. In a nod to 5-a-day or 50-a-day or whatever arbitrary number health gurus are currently advocating, I’ve also started to throw in some beetroot, carrot and mint from the garden. It tastes surprisingly good, though not my preferred breakfast juice. Perhaps with a dash of vodka it would make an interesting pre-dinner cocktail.
Most of the flowers in the garden and field verges have formed seed heads or withered away but the mayweed flowers are still looking fresh. Ruth tried to teach me how to make “Suicide Lino Prints” though I see she’s listed it on her course schedule as the rather less dramatic “Reduction Lino Printing”. It involves printing a multi-coloured image using only one block of lino, which is gradually cut away as progressively darker colours are printed. It needed a great deal more concentration than my usual jelly printing, but it proved good fun. If you’d like to see more of the process, you can read more here.
Autumn officially starts on Friday and while part of me can’t wait (because it’s my favourite time of year), there’s a certain wistfulness that we’ve reached the end of summer.
Though I won’t be sad when I pick the last of the courgettes.