into the coppery halls
of beech and intricate oak
to be close to the trees
as they whisper together
let fall their leaves,
and we die for the winter
Am sitting in the pub, possibly one of the most ‘infamous, or famous’ pubs in London for a quick spot of lunch today. Done the walk through for the actual ‘Belgravia Pubs’ Tour this afternoon. What another spectacular, Autumnal day it is. We have been spoilt, and possibly going to incur deluge from now on, but I have revelled in this season.
Though not doing any volunteering at Ham House at present, have popped in often to sit in the Kitchen garden and watch the turning of the soil, the squashes stacked like sweetie jewels and walk about to Richmond along the river. The gentleness of the season quite takes me by surprise. Hopefully I shall be back at Ham in time. The richness of the time is so evident in Richmond Park – stags and bambi’s in the bracken. But it is the trees, it is the leaves, it is the colours one cannot quite explain. This is why we English speak about the weather all the time – it changes so radically, is so specific and part of our psyche here. You had to be here for Halloween, children all of us, shop windows, houses and every available space draped in cobwebs and witchery – nothing unusual to see adults shopping in Waitrose for wine, full Halloween make-up and a cape or two, carrying a carved out pumpkin, before jumping on the tube.
Have not had the opportunity to get out to see Autumn in the countryside, but I did get to see the King’s Kitchen Garden, and Versailles, before they close for the winter. A day trip to Vaux de Vicomte, just outside of Paris, was a further treat. In the Autumn and winter months, the real structure of the gardens come to the fore – the lavish foliage and colour fades to reveal the bones of design, the linear shapes of hedges and box – the starkness of fountains, statues and follies – stripped and strong. This I shall write more about. Am still savouring my honey from the Jardin du Roi – more special to know the source of the food you eat.
The clearest sign ending the British Summer is the changing of the clocks. We now have an extra hour in the morning but it gets darker, earlier and personally, I would have it as is – I can handle more darkness in the morning, but to find the darkness come early, is usually when the black dog comes lurking out from behind the haunted house, so to speak. It makes for a very long evening and by December, feels as if I am permanently in a thick sludge of soup. Other than the past years, and so remembering when I first came to live in England, I am determined to be more positive about it. Don’t quite now how but if you have any ideas, please let me know.
Inspired by the Venetian jewel colours, I have so enjoyed adding a few new items to the Autumn wardrobe. Hobbs is spot on with their rich tartan skirt in burnt orange, I just had to have it, adding a divine matching cashmere polo neck top – the skirt is a statement; block coloured jumpers in a variety of shades and voilá, you are sorted. Fell in love with their classic, black jeans – in the basket it went. Marks and Spencer’s ‘could it be vermilion? matching trio of scarf, gloves and beanie just has me at ‘Hello Burnt Da Vinci colours’ – loving the new additions. My heavy coat is still back in Cape Town, but the layer dressing of – Uniglo‘s thinly padded purple jacket tucked under the good old faithful Barbour, really works.
Country Living would be proud. And now I have a grand puppy! One of the highlights of this Autumn in London, is being with my family and little George. The leaves in the park are almost bigger than him, but going for walks in Bishop’s Park, has opened up a whole new world for all of us. There is another society out there (we are new to this) of dog lover’s, more like dog-children lover’s which makes the Universe a much better place. George has brought laughter and happiness; he is so little and yet so brave. So curious and so loyal, and that soft George belly has me at putty in his little paws.
And of course … South Africa won the World Cup Rugby! Delighted that both the English and South African teams make the final but was rooting for South Africa all the way – the win means more than just the game. It means hope and injected a little more spirit into a beleaguered country, reminding us of the possibilities of greatness still lying within her midst. That was amazing. Well done to all of you.
As Bridget Jones would say ‘ must dash’.
Images: The Guardian, Secret London, Time out
Poem: Katherine Towers