Sunday, 21 September 2008
I was talking to my mum on the phone the other day, she was complaining about how autumn’s here now and that it’s just going to get really cold and miserable. She moaned about how she won’t be able to get the washing dry, that she’s having to put the heating on during the evening, and Lord knows what else.
Every season has it’s drawbacks but they all have their good sides too. You don’t get bugged by mosquitoes and wasps the whole time during autumn, after all, and sweating your kiskers off isn’t a problem.
I personally try to make the most of every season and there’s plenty to do in autumn that you either can’t do in summer, or just isn‘t quite the same.
Kick leaves in the park like you did as a kid. There’s no shame in being ’childish’ - we need to just have spontaneous fun now and then.
Take a walk in the woods or just around your neighbourhood and admire the colour changes. The bright flowers of summer may well be disappearing fast but they’re being replaced by some fantastic reds, oranges and yellows that can be beautiful as a single tree - like the fiery colour of the hornbeam - and absolutely breathtaking when viewed en masse.
Bake an apple pie. Autumn’s apple season and home-made apple pie with lots of cinnamon tastes soooooo much better than shop bought varieties. Hot with cream or cold with warm custard... how can you go wrong? If you don’t want to make pastry, try a crumble instead. They’re dead easy and there are loads of recipes on the web.
Have a picnic. Just because it isn’t summer any more doesn’t mean the picnic seasons over - as long as you dress appropriately, a picnic on a crisp, sunny autumn day can be really nice too. Think cheese & pickle sandwiches, pickled onions, pork pies, sausage rolls, coleslaw, hot drinks, slices of fresh apple pie, and all those wonderful berries.
Make jam. Gardens and hedgerows are full of juicy berries in autumn just waiting to be turned into delicious sweet jam. It isn’t as difficult as you may think and you don’t need lots of special equipment either. In fact, I used to make loads of ‘jam’ just by crushing berries with sugar and freezing them. Delicious when thawed on fresh bread.
Get crafting. The dark nights don’t exactly inspire people to go visiting the way the long light evenings of summer do, but they’re great for settling down inside with some knitting, sewing, card-making or whatever other craft you fancy. Let your imagination run riot. Make stuff.
Enjoy your comfy autumn clothes. I love wearing a good pair of soft, comfortable jeans, a well worn t-shirt and a wooly jumper that’s just a bit too big and luckily that’s the perfect get-up for going out for walks in autumn. Shorts and vest tops are all very well and good but there’s something very comforting about big, baggy sweaters.
Visit a maize maze and get lost or a while. Lots of farms do these to make some extra money so there’s a good chance there’s one near you. We spent a couple of hours looking for our way out last time we went so it’s a good idea to take a few sarnies and a drink with you.
Fill yourself up with stews and casseroles. As much as I love the light foods of summer, once autumn arrives I can’t wait to get the stew pot out and start cooking rich, hearty food. Make use of all those lovely root vegetables that are about now - they almost all combine really well in stews and casseroles and there’s nothing easier to cook than a one-pot meal.
Bring out blankets and cuddle up in them during chilly evenings. A blanket, a good book and a cup of hot chocolate…. Heaven!
Richard and I are off to Cholmondely Castle Gardens for a picnic today. There's no point sitting indoors when the sun's shining and double Gloucester cheese sandwiches made with bread baked fresh this morning are up for grabs.
Is there anything you particularly love about autumn?