Tuesday 31 October 2017

Autumn Joy

The surrounding countryside has taken on a distinctive russet hue, trees are almost aglow with gorgeous Autumn colour, drifts of leaves line the lanes and cover pathways and there is a comforting scent of  wood smoke in the air. There can be no doubt we are in the midst of our Autumn season and all the beauty it has to offer.
Yesterday's morning frost made way for a stunning, bright clear day which set off the Autumn scenery in all it's glory. A wonderful treat following some dark and overcast days.
The clocks going back has meant some cosy evenings in. It's so satisfying to draw the curtains, light some candles and make use of the blankets scattered on the sofas. Alongside this simple pleasure there have been some delicious aromas emerging from the kitchen. Apple and cinnamon crumble and sticky ginger cake are perfect sweet treats at this time of year.

Last week we spent a few days in Edinburgh, which always seems to happen at this time of year. We took some time to enjoy the city and relax in familiar surroundings. Princes Street Gardens are beautiful in the Autumn and there are always plenty of nooks and crannies to explore. This time we discovered a delightful walled garden just off Canongate which we had never noticed before. Lily busied herself trying to catch the leaves falling from the trees and we sat and soaked up the sunshine. Some more photographs from our previous visit can be seen here.

Since our return I have mostly been keeping busy with visiting a family member in hospital. I do feel like I have been chasing my tail the last few days but I have managed to find a little time to enjoy some walks and another bike ride to the seafront (I really, really need some padded shorts!!!)
Thankfully, within the next few days life should return to a reasonable level of calm once again but for this evening we're lighting up the pumpkins and getting ready to welcome some 'trick or treaters' and with any luck I'll have some treats left over for myself.
Happy Hallowe'en!
J. X

Tuesday 17 October 2017

In Search of Autumn

October is marching on, and although I've settled into a 'sort of' routine I haven't managed to post as much as I would like. I think it has just taken me a little longer to adjust than I originally anticipated.
Life is very good, however, and with weekdays now being filled with work and school it has been even more important for us to make the most of our precious time together at the weekends. Therefore, when Lily came home from school last week with a little note requesting we go out and search for signs of Autumn, it didn't take much persuading for us to gather together our warm socks and boots and head off into the woods.

We ambled through the fields, which have become incredibly muddy over the last couple of weeks. Being careful of my footing I was very glad of my new 'sorry I forgot your birthday' field boots. The hedgerows are full of berries with bursts of red everywhere and there were still plenty of Rosehips for the picking, the birds having seen off the last of the elderberries. Although the sky was grey, the air was warm and still and it didn't take long for jackets to be removed.                         
Since our last walk the woodland floor had become covered with leaves. On the pathway beneath the now scant canopy of the trees they had turned brown and squelchy, but in the clearings where the track opened up there was a great variety of colour, the russet, yellow and orange underfoot in sharp contrast to looking upward at the black silhouette of the tree branches against the murky sky.
At this time of year my inner child never tires of kicking through the leaves, so when Lily is around I make the most of every opportunity, along with trying to catch some as they fluttered down on us from above. We gathered leaves of each colour to take into school along with a handful of conkers.

At the farm shop there was a gorgeous display of locally grown pumpkins for sale. I couldn't resist taking a photograph.
I think we found Autumn.
J. X

Sunday 1 October 2017


We have finally reached the end of Lily's first week comprising of full days at school and thankfully all is still going well. 
Following some employment changes over the Summer months, as a family we have now settled into a new pattern which works for us and I am slowly realising that dealing with school paperwork, requests for my time and sudden changes to term dates etc. amounts to a full time job! It is never ending.
Lily appears to be keeping the teaching staff busy (there was a running rogue on to the school field incident!) and although she is thoroughly enjoying her days at school I can tell she misses the freedom of being outdoors, so I am keen to make up for this at the weekends to enable her to burn off some of her endless energy.
We've been out for some shorter, although lovely walks recently. The light is beautiful in the woods at this time of the year, the trees are beginning to shed their leaves now and it won't be long before we will be walking on a carpet of red and gold.

The Autumn Equinox (over a week ago now) brought with it some wetter weather, yet it is still fairly mild here. I have some gardening jobs which need completing once the weather decides to co-operate and the grass might need cutting back one last time.
I'm finding that I'm spending more time in the kitchen, which Autumn lends itself to so very well, filling the stores in anticipation of the Winter months. I finally got around to making my blackberry jam - five jars and enough blackberries left in the freezer for five more. I've made various soups and the daily packed lunch box always contains some delicious homemade flapjack or ginger biscuit.
I have started running again. Hurray! After several months of inactivity I decided (once I knew Lily was settled at school) to make a huge effort and went out for a short run every morning last week to give myself a kick start. It gave me such a boost and my plan is to go out running on only three days this week but to increase the distance slightly. I'm enjoying it so much and I didn't realise how much I had missed that time spent just for myself. So important, but easily overlooked.

As much as I am always so very ready for the Summer months to arrive, along with the freedom and unpredictability they seem to bring, I do find I'm now craving the routine and steadiness of these Autumn months.