As the wind begins to pick up, we are braced and ready ahead of tomorrow's incoming storm. I hope any damage will be minimal, I've already secured everything that I can in the garden.
Last weekend, coinciding with the equinox, we experienced our first proper taste of autumn. Saturday began all dewy and fresh, becoming warm and sunny by mid-morning. I decided that I would get outside while I had the chance. The challenging week at work had taken it's toll, and getting caught in the crossfire of some strained relationships had left me feeling rather discouraged. Fresh air was called for, so the weekly shop and household chores could wait until the following day.
Not too far from home we have one of my favourite National Trust properties, Sizergh Castle, where even when I don't much feel like walking very far, I can easily be persuaded to visit, as the gardens there are so beautiful. Even better, at this time of year the orchards are full of apples and pears.
We took our time walking around the garden, following the paths in the same direction we always do, with Lily being extra careful to avoid getting too close to the beehives :) Familiarity means we get to appreciate the changing seasons there, and the Rock Garden, especially, is displaying some beautiful rich shades of autumn colour.
The Kitchen Garden is always worth a visit, and where we often catch a glimpse of Charlie the cat.
And it was there that they had all their different varieties of apples for sale. I paid for a small bag, which would provide me with more than enough cookers to make two batches of apple sauce and some crumbles, as well as five Ribston Pippins to go in the fruit bowl.
And the following day, while the expected wind and rain kept us indoors, I spent a lovely afternoon in the kitchen, filling the house with the delicious aromas of warm apples and cinnamon.
Last week, we enjoyed visits to two prospective secondary schools. Between us, we must have clocked up miles walking along corridors :) Lily has now made her final decision and yesterday we submitted her application. It won't be until March that we find out whether or not she has secured a place, but I gather it is highly likely that she will be successful. It was quite a difficult decision in the end, but I am very happy with her choice. We are very fortunate to have some excellent schools in this area.
Following a couple of chillier nights, yesterday I made the switch to our winter weight duvets. The summer ones will now be aired, before being stored away until spring. The central heating came on very briefly the other morning, and I now am watching carefully as to when the grass will need it's last cut of the year. Autumn is here.