Some Call It Autumn…Some Call It Fall…I Call It Gorgeous.

31 Oct
Hurrah! ‘Tis Autumn!

Sorry it’s been ages since my last post; (actually this post is very late; it was written at the beginning of October but I thought I’d stick it up anyway). I don’t need New Year resolutions. I need monthly resolutions. I get too distracted by things going on to keep my mind successfully to one task for too long, hence the challenge with the Shunt Donation Project (more on that soon).

Conkers and candles...oh, yes baby.

Conkers and candles…oh, yes baby.

For now, my focus is hugely on my surroundings as I don’t want to miss a second of Summer slowly but surely turning the corner into Autumn, because Autumn is my favourite season (followed by Winter, Spring and Summer…in that order). Now I live in the country, I’m surrounded by the browns, oranges, reds and dark greens appearing on the trees and the misty fields in the early mornings.

Lovely colours; they match my hair.

Lovely colours; they match my hair.

Every evening now there is a faint smell of bonfire smoke on the wind and every day my lovely landlord or his wife knocks on my door with an outstretched arm holding a bag of apples/runner beans/tomatoes/courgettes (delete as appropriate). I know many of my friends think I’m a flapjack short of a picnic for listing Summer as my least favourite season (I can’t handle heat! I’m a redhead with pale skin and freckles; heat is not our friend!) but I care not.  Cosy evenings, chilly days, pulling on your knits, drinking hot chocolate every day (low-fat variety, don’t worry), buying pumpkins, butternut squash and marrows at the market and then spending the following four days looking at them taking up room on your kitchen worktop and wondering what the heck you’re going to do with them all…or even how to start cooking them…it’s all. Damn. Good.

Someone had a good harvest this year....

Someone had a good harvest this year….

Every evening at twilight I go either for a walk around the village or a run around the village (depending on my head symptoms).  It’s my favourite time of the day – well, that and early morning.  There seems to be a freaky mist at these times which descends on the hills above the village green and everything gets very quiet.  The only thing you can hear are the birds.

The rolling mists over the rolling hills.

The rolling mists over the rolling hills.

Then you get to skip home (well, I skip in my mind; in reality I walk) and make a hot chocolate because that’s what you DO in Autumn; you go for walks and look at the mists and reds and oranges and browns and you drink hot chocolate and pumpkin spice lattes (not had one yet but I’m SOOO doing that tomorrow in town) and eat things which are comforting (last night I had hot chestnuts roasted in my oven…and hot chocolate).  It’s a virtual snug-fest of all-things-yummy.
I also love Autumn because it houses my birthday.  Which is on the 24th of this month.  Last year (my 40th) was a washout to say the least; I spent the day on the sofa with a raging head following a month in hospital during which I had a very rare and very adverse reaction to having an ICP bolt removed.  I was so ill I couldn’t even look at the birthday cake my family brought me, let alone eat it.  Not exactly how I’d hoped to celebrate the grand entrance into my forties.  This year, however, I’m going to be kicking some serious birthday ass for my 41st.  I am having a party.  A BIG party.  For the last five years I’ve been unwell on my birthday and have usually had to cancel any plans, all thanks to my head.  This year however, I have somehow managed to stay well without the need to return to the hospital!  For an entire year!  Result.  So on the 25th, I shall be making up with five years-worth of pent-up parties, just begging to be unleashed.  It’s being held in my friends home – and it is quite literally the most amazing ‘home’ ev-ah.  It’s called Angel House (have a looksie) and Phill (my friend) has just completed a six year-long renovation project to return it to its original Regency townhouse splendour.  And boy, has he done it well.  It is like stepping back in time when you walk through it and you feel an urge to dress up in fine clothes and talk with finesse.  Phill is a dear friend whom I met about twenty years ago through my brother.  He has always been incredibly supportive and understanding when things have been rough for me medically and ironically, he himself has now become the proud owner of an incurable chronic condition (complicated but all to do with the gallbladder and liver) and faces very similar day-to-day challenges to myself.  His generosity and zest for life hasn’t waned in the slightest, however.  We now compare notes fairly frequently (he won hands down at ‘Beat The Scar’; his post-surgery one was so long he could have done a sponsored walk around it) and I suppose you could say it’s made us even closer than before.  I shall post about the party later, as it happened last week and was, frankly, the Best Birthday Party In The World, Ev-ah.
So today it is Halloween.  I am debating whether or not to buy and carve a pumpkin.  I have a group of friends coming over to mine tonight, all of whom contributed in some way to making the Best Birthday Party In The World, Ev-ah happen.  We’re going to eat the second birthday cake (yes, there were two) and reminisce on the lovely day.  It is not a Halloween gathering, but I feel pumpkin-obliged.  I did one a couple of years ago which I was quite pleased with, but not having the proper tools made it a bit of a mission.

Not bad for a first attempt, methinks.

Not bad for a first attempt, methinks.

But there was a sense of pumpkin pride at the end which I’m kind of craving again today.  We’ll see.  Of course one doesn’t have to go far to get an impressive array of home-grown pumpkins when living in a village.  I love the many little pop-up stalls appearing outside the homes of neighbours with their gloriously-coloured produce, a notice of how much everything is (or a suggestion of how much you might want to pay) and an honesty jar.

I mean, seriously...hard to resist, right?

I mean, seriously…hard to resist, right?

I have learned since moving here that villages = trust.  You’d never find an honesty jar in Brighton.  And if you did, it would last about five minutes before it was stolen.  Anyway, I must away to town to consider pumpkins and carvings and to try and resist buying any more hot chocolate.  Embrace the cold, dear readers and make the most of this fantastic season.  Stay cosy.
P.S: I had to update this post due to the mind-boggling mysterious arrival of the biggest pumpkin I have ever seen in my front garden yesterday.  In the morning it wasn’t there.  At midday I literally looked up and there it was.  It’s so big I can’t lift it at all and I didn’t see anyone come in (it was broad daylight!  Someone must have seen something!) and nobody knows anything about it at all.  Pumpkin fairy…..?


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