Autumn stories

Autumn stories

As summer fades, I've been making plans and preparing for the colder months. To me, this isn't a gloomy prospect at all. I love being at home and enjoying quiet pursuits. It's a good job really as the house has just been photographed ready to go on the market and we'll need to keep it presentable in readiness for viewings.

It's a relief to have reached this point. The house was completely renovated two years ago, but there were a few niggling little jobs left to be done and now they have been. The garden's tidy and Jay heroically painted the entire (pebble dashed) gable end. It took months but it looks really smart now. He's finally lost that haunted look...

There's a good chance our move to Skye will not be a straightforward one. We'll need to rent initially and rental properties are very few and far between, even out of season, so there's the very real possibility we'll be starting out our lives there in a caravan. Joe's very keen for this to happen. Me, not so much. 

But that's part of taking a leap into the unknown. Something I'm very uncomfortable with but which I know we need to do. It's a 'now or never' moment and we don't want to look back in years to come thinking, 'What if?'

So, there's that. I'm not thinking about packing and decluttering just yet. We'll see what happens with the house sale.

I've been enjoying the village - walking, exploring - and there's a sense of making the most of it before we go. I grew up around here but it has, of course, changed over time. Some good changes, some not so good. But we're ready to make a new start and embrace a new way of life, so this is a kind of slow goodbye I suppose.

I was out recently with my camera and an old lady told me about a farmhouse I often walk past with Joe. Sadly, the elderly farmer and his wife had passed away within a few weeks of one another and the house is now empty. She told me that locals had been going in to pick the tomatoes and autumn raspberries from the (very overgrown) greenhouse and, spotting my tub of blackberries, suggested I go and help myself.

I said I would but it didn't feel right somehow. So instead I had a little wander around the garden and beyond the hedge found an abandoned little plot with the biggest hydrangea bush I've ever seen. It had gone completely native, spreading over a big clearing in the trees. Blue flowers just starting to go over. It seemed quite a find, but I couldn't quite get past the sad story of the old couple.

All this talk of staying local and we did actually have an impromptu trip to York at the weekend. Beautiful mild weather and autumn in the air. I got a few hours to myself to wander around the city before meeting up with Jay. We admired the seasonal wares at the Shambles market before escaping the crowds and sitting in York Museum Gardens.

Squirrels, robins, late summer flowers and even a wedding... there was a lot to see but there's something very special and relaxing about green spaces in cities. They really are little oases.

Back home, I've been working hard on product listings for my online shop. It's a real process: making, photographing and writing descriptions, uploading it all.. and it's taken a lot longer than I'd hoped. Still, I'm all done (for now) and have been busy writing. Next week's going to be all about making festive items for Etsy and perhaps one or two Christmas markets. I don't like the whole Christmas shop displays in September thing, but as a maker I do have to keep one step ahead.

Welcoming in autumn, I'm really enjoying being home at the moment. It's all about soup-making, candle-burning and tea drinking. And I've been eating plenty of chocolate too: the dark kind, studded with hazelnuts. It's like having a good book; if there isn't a bar in the house I'm worried.

This morning, once I'd taken Joe to school, I came back and had a hot bath. It all sounds incredibly leisurely and decadent but the reality is that whilst the water was running I was sorting through the laundry, tidying away the breakfast things and making the beds. But still. A morning bath is a wonderful thing, especially when it's raining outside.

Other things on my simple autumn comforts list: cake (the local cafe do an orange polenta one with dark chocolate ganache icing); fresh figs and plums; chicken soup (home made); an extra blanket on the bed; scented candles and burning oils; fresh coffee; evening knitting (a grey wool scarf); new season dramas on TV; rainy walks and coming home to a warm house; a good novel (I'm still reading The Essex Serpent)...

And yes. I am thinking about mulled wine already.