Showing posts with label Autumn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Autumn. Show all posts

Monday, 22 January 2018

Going Back

Sitting on a commuter train from London Bridge last Autumn on my way to visit family, I was musing about how sometimes I find myself coming full circle. It might be a book I am re-reading and find it is set in a place I know well now but which was completely unknown to me originally, or as in this case, a place where I once lived, which was familiar to me on an everyday basis but which I have long left behind.

As we passed through the familiar stations, I was transported back through the years to a younger version of myself. A girl new to London who regularly travelled on this commuter line in another life. A life I rarely even think about now as the present is so all-consuming.


The next day, I was curious to revisit the life I had so many years ago, to bridge the gap between the girl I was then, and the woman I am today. I would never wish to revisit my early twenties, sometimes a painful and disconnected time of life, when family and childhood are left behind and the life you will build for yourself is still in the future, but still it was interesting to be back in the place where I made that transition and reflect on that transient and unsettled time.


Autumn Trees in Dulwich Village
So I took the train back to Dulwich and walked into the pretty village, much more vibrant and fashionable than the sleepy village I knew then, but still a lovely place to spend time with its beautiful, spacious houses and wide tree-lined streets.

One of the prettiest houses in Dulwich Village
I stopped off at Gail’s Bakery, sitting outside in the sunshine and watching the world go by, sipping a cappuccino and eating a delicious fruit scone, amused by the woman telling her daughter that they didn’t have almond milk, only soya!


Later I walked into the Park, admiring the trees and remembering other times I walked here long ago, then I wandered into the stunning Picture Gallery with it’s permanent collection which includes my favourite Rembrandt, 'Girl at a Window'. I had a the poster pinned to the walls of my flat in London for years till it fell apart.  I bought another print to frame and keep as a memento, a link.



Walking back through the village, I passed the newly refurbished Crown and Greyhound pub, once my local and always known as ‘The Dog’, almost unrecognisable now as the scene of so many informal social gatherings, including my first date with my first husband.


Lots of water under the bridge, many ephemeral relationships that have vanished into the ether, but what endures for me is solid and strong and it was good to be back in that place and to be the woman I am now.

Do you sometimes find yourself drawn back unexpectedly into your past, turning full circle?


I wrote this post back in the autumn, hence the autumn trees, but wasn't able to post it due to technical problems.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Woodland Walk


There is a perfect moment each Autumn, when the trees are hanging onto the last of their leaves before the storms strip them bare for the winter...


... a secret place for two lively dogs to explore




This wet little spaniel has never seen Autumn before but he had no trouble finding the stream at the bottom of the valley


We are so lucky to have this ancient woodland just a few minutes walk from our home and usually have it all to ourselves, apart from bluebell time when it is full of families enjoying picnics and making dens.  We tend to avoid the woods then as the dogs don't take kindly to being walked on a leash and are strangely unwelcome, storming through someone's idyllic picnic!

Monday, 17 October 2016

A 'Hygge' Moment


I love the changing of the seasons, and after an unusually long-drawn-out and busy summer both here in Suffolk and in Scandinavia, the change of pace in Autumn is more than welcome!  

It's time to be cosy, hibernate and get into the hygge (hoo-gah) vibe, light the stove and the candles, invite friends and family round for kitchen supper, snuggle down under a warm throw and watch box sets or put on the layers for bracing dog walks in the ever-changing countryside, before dropping into a welcoming country pub.  

Of course we have all been doing this for ever but the Danish definition of hygge is the ritual of enjoying life's simple pleasures. Friends, family, graciousness and cosiness.  What could be better?

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Sadness


Relentless rain is falling today and I am feeling sad.  End of summer sad, back to reality sad but mostly sad for my father-in-law.  We should have been in Wales with him this week, enjoying a family get-together, but a stroke has intervened and taken his independence away from him.  At 97 he was doing so well, driving himself around locally, swimming regularly and having some social life. My partner is with him now, trying to sort out his end-of-life care, always a difficult and fraught time as I know only too well, having been there so recently with my Mum.

So, I'm thinking of him now and hoping that things will come together for him this week, that he can leave hospital and move into the next, the final stage of his long, long life.  Hoping that we can all somehow make it as easy as possible for him.


Here's some autumn flowers for John and beautiful piece of music, exquisitely played by Yo-Yo Ma.






Monday, 4 November 2013

Gratitude - Autumn Walk



Today I am grateful for... 

...the wind in my hair, 
the damp, green autumn grass under my feet, 
the sunlight streaming through the trees, glinting on the last of the falling leaves, 
the quiet embrace of the empty woods and the peace that I find there, 
the muddy stream running through the valley, 
the uncut, faded grass in the meadow where wild flowers grow in the summer 
and the ecstatic freedom of my beautiful, bouncing, bounding, young yellow Labrador as she keeps me company on my walk, 
but most of all I am grateful for the lives and the love of my three beautiful boys. 


Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Autumn Blues (again)

I make no apology for re-posting this piece - it is one of my favourite blog posts and one I feel proud to have written.  Another time, another place, another life but still the essence of an English Autumn for me.  I miss my orchard so much it hurts!




"Leaves and fallen apples litter the grass in the orchard now. It has an air of faint neglect and spentness, the hammock stashed away, no more time for lazy afternoons. The bonfire has burnt itself out and the charred remains smoulder gently in the light breeze. A lazy wasp investigates the fallen fruit as I wander through the trees, wondering when I will find the time to cook the apples to a fragrant pulp and mix them with the blackberries that grow so abundantly in the hedgerows as I walk through the quiet lanes.

Jars of plum jam are stored in kitchen cupboards or have been given to friends and family. Pears have been pickled with cinnamon, cloves, juniper berries and peppercorns and glow palely as they marinate in their spicy vinegar, waiting to be opened when winter bites. Logs are stacked in the woodshed and the year begins to unravel slowly towards it's busy end".

Monday, 16 September 2013

Sunflowers (2)



There's something about sunflowers 
 bright, bold and brash. 
But still I love the way they brighten up a corner of my kitchen today

Monday, 13 October 2008

Indian Summer

"Butterflies
drifting through a sunlit garden.
A leaf falls"

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Sunflowers


Today is my day off. I'm listening to the 12 o'clock news on Radio 4, the only sound in my quiet kitchen apart from the traffic that swishes past my house on the wet road; white noise now.

Since I tore myself out of my warm bed after a restless night, woken by the shrill alarm clock, I have driven my 17 year old son to school, shopped at roadside stalls for bramley apples, proper free range eggs and brightly-glowing sunflowers. I have bought a large round pumpkin with the earth still clinging to its bottom, to be stored in the woodshed until Hallowe'en.

I have mucked out the messy rabbit, cleaned up cat sick and spread the ashes from our weekend fire around my recently planted parsley to keep the scavenging slugs at bay. I have washed dishes, sorted laundry, put yet another load in the washing machine (where does it all come from)? I have got to the bottom of my son's pile of discarded clothes, a once a week task I cannot quite relinquish - yes I know he should do it himself, but I live here too. Smelly socks, dank CCF uniform, crumpled suit, rank shirts - what is the problem with deodourant?

There are a hundred things to do in my home today, yet I'm sitting at the computer writing up my blog, dipping into other people's lives, because I have to do something for myself. It is, after all, my day off.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Hallowe'en

It's only 5 o'clock, but it's already dark outside this Hallowe'en. I still cling on to the family traditions from the days when there were three young boys in the house with me every day, along with an assortment of dogs, cats and rabbits. These traditions helped to keep me sane when my world was falling apart and so, today, the pumpkins that rather surprisingly grew in the vegetable patch this year - how? why? - have been carved into macabre faces and lit with tea-lights then placed outside the front and back doors to ward off the spirits that roam tonight.

I have spent a lot of time recently walking alone through the beautiful empty autumnal countryside that surrounds me here, a sure way of calming my turbulent thoughts, longing for a dog to keep me company. We have been dog-free for four years now, and I am trying to resist the temptation to fill the dog-shaped hole in my life. My animal family has gradually reduced to two cats and a rabbit. Very manageable. But just recently the desire to have a new little creature in the house has been overwhelming, so a very small ginger kitten is going to join us on Friday. I won't be able to take him for long walks with me, but I can sit and cuddle him on long winter evenings as I read my book by the fire. My son and I have very different ideas about naming him and negotiations are ongoing. Any suggestions gratefully received...

Friday, 14 September 2007

Autumn Blues

Leaves and fallen apples litter the grass in the orchard now. It has an air of faint neglect and spentness, the hammock stashed away, no more time for lazy afternoons. The bonfire has burnt itself out and the charred remains smoulder gently in the light breeze. A lazy wasp investigates the fallen fruit as I wander through the trees, wondering when I will find the time to cook the apples to a fragrant pulp and mix them with the blackberries that grow so abundantly in the hedgerows as I walk through the quiet lanes.

Jars of plum jam are stored in kitchen cupboards or have been given to friends and family. Pears have been pickled with cinnamon, cloves, juniper berries and peppercorns and glow palely as they marinate in their spicy vinegar, waiting to be opened when winter bites. Logs are stacked in the woodshed and the year begins to unravel slowly towards it's busy end.