Friday 27 November 2020

Autumn Fading

The last few weeks have been a bit of an uphill struggle. Inconsistent working hours, dark damp weather, together with the general fatigue I often feel at this time of year, have all taken their toll and left me just a bit wrung out and drained. Most evenings I've been completely exhausted, barely moving from the sofa once I've eaten my dinner. Fortunately, after today, my hours are returning to a regular pattern once more and I fully intend to ensure they stay that way as we get closer and closer to Christmas.

I keep meaning to write some lists, aside from the ones in my head. It seems no matter how much I try and pare back our celebrations there is still quite a lot to organise. And even though I keep threatening this will consist of simply a long walk followed by a vegetable lasagne and glass of red wine on Christmas day, I'm not sure I could deal with the complaints from family members. I wouldn't want to disappoint them, so a proper Christmas dinner it will be. Although they are still unsure as to whether or not I am teasing, as only yesterday I had to offer reassurance that the apple sauce was already prepared and in the freezer :)

Anyway, I will definitely be making a start this weekend. I've already bought a few gifts and the rest shouldn't take very long to sort, once I put my mind to it. 

Even though it has been a difficult few weeks, I have been out for some lovely walks. I am so grateful I can do this, as it's a huge benefit to my wellbeing. Online, I saw someone referred to it as the Natural Health Service - this is so very true.

The landscape is beginning to fade, losing much of it's autumn colour and now that we are edging towards winter many of the trees are almost completely bare.

Last weekend, with the weather finally on our side, we climbed Place Fell, overlooking Ullswater. A beautiful morning, we set off from Patterdale walking in shade on the flanks of the fell. Looking up to the ridge line I saw the silhouettes of what I initially thought were sheep but, in fact, turned out to be a large herd of red deer. It was wonderful to see them against the bright blue of the sky, so much that I didn't take a photograph, choosing instead to enjoy the moment.

Following the initial gentle climb, our route took a sharp left turn to continue along the steep but clear pathway to the summit.

On our way up Lily was very happy to discover this heart shaped stone.

Looking into the morning sunshine towards Brothers Water.

It was a beautiful morning but the clouds brought with them some occasional light showers which, fortunately, we had prepared for. 

What I hadn't prepared myself for was the sight of some beautiful rainbows. We saw at least seven while we were out. After a brief detour we descended the fell along the clear path once again, stopping briefly to watch a red squirrel scratching among the leaves and scurrying along the top of a dry stone wall.

This weekend, I'll be taking things easy. I'm excited to make my Christmas preparations and I'm also thinking of posting a little something here each day during December. It might not be much, perhaps a photograph and a few words, just something positive every day.
Would anyone else like to join me?

J. X

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Autumn Days

There are many reasons I enjoy writing my little blog. It is especially important in  times such as this, when it feels like all I do is eat, sleep, work, repeat. Weekdays seem to blur into one another with rhythmic ease and  my weekend activity becomes less as the sun sets earlier each day and the nights grow longer. During these dark evenings it's lovely to have a reminder of the bright sunny days and to be reassured I do still get the opportunity to spend plenty of my time outdoors, even if sometimes it feels otherwise.

Recently we have seen some beautiful sunny days. Not enough to dry out the well trodden muddy fields and tracks but enough to enjoy some walks without the need for waterproofs, which at this time of year is often unheard of. 

Disappointingly, with the announcement of the second lockdown, our planned visit to Hill Top didn't get to happen but, having remembered to book in advance, last week Lily and I spent a lovely morning in the grounds of another National Trust property. It was lovely to see the change of seasonal colour throughout the gardens and we enjoyed a hot chocolate along with some delicious home made banana and chocolate loaf at a secluded little spot, overlooking the pond. It felt good to sit for a while in the warmth of the sun and it was hard to believe there had been a heavy shower of hail a few moments earlier.

Hallowe'en was a quiet affair this year, but we still carved our pumpkins and displayed them in the window. This year more than ever before I've been determined to be much less wasteful, and so I made a very tasty risotto with the flesh of the pumpkins and I can definitely recommend roasting the seeds. They don't take a lot of time to prepare and make for a delicious snack. It would have been very easy for me to have eaten them all at once but they do store well in an air tight jar.

On Bonfire Night we wrapped up well and went out into the garden to make some pretty patterns and write our names with sparklers. We could hear fireworks being set off in the distance but there didn't seem to be anywhere near as many as usual, which must have come as quite a relief for many pet owners. I was still anxious, however, as Mog headed out of the cat flap as always, completely unconcerned by them.

Last weekend, on another gloriously sunny morning, we went for a short walk up Gummer's How. It's always been a favourite little climb of ours, especially as for minimal effort we get rewarded with some of the most beautiful views across Windermere and the Lakeland fells. There was barely a breath of wind and we spent quite a while simply sat overlooking the lake, enjoying the view.

A few days later than I intended, I made some treacle toffee. It is something I always love to have at this time of year and is so quick and easy to make but, for some reason, I just hadn't got around to it. It seems to be a common theme with me lately, in that I seem to be constantly playing catch up. With this in mind I have recently turned my thoughts towards Christmas 🎄 and, in an attempt to be slightly more organised than usual, I think I need to start some planning. 

J. X