Autumn: Reasons to be Cheerful Part 1

Last year I moaned about Autumn and was roundly told off by Emmat for doing so. This year I'm endeavouring to be a better person and to appreciate all the good things on offer this season. After all it's all too easy to do so in the spring or summer, not like now when there are darker days ahead.

So here's my guide to what I'm loving about autumn this year:

  • Leaf colour, naturally. Apparently they're due to peak at Westonbirt this week, so I'm off there on Sunday with my SUP pals D and S. It seems to be a little earlier this year - what do you think?
  • Kicking my way through enormous piles of leaves. I've done this since ever I was a small child, in spite of NAH's dire warnings nowadays of finding dog poo in there. I never have, but it must have traumatised him somewhat because he warns me about it every flipping year
  • Hot, buttered crumpets after all that leaf kicking
  • Giant firework displays - this post is rapidly exposing how much of the small child is still left in me. By way of variation, our choir will be accompanied by them [fireworks that is, not small children - Ed] up on Solsbury Hill on November 7th
  • Sausages, jacket potatoes (i.e. baked whole in their skin) and beans - the traditional accompaniment to bonfire parties held on Guy Fawkes night (November 5th). Even better if the jacket potatoes are baked in the dying embers of the fire
  • Somerset carnivals - a more local tradition, also associated with Guy Fawkes. Bridgewater is the one to go to - it's the largest illuminated carnival in Europe
  • Traditional mop fairs - a hiring fair for general labour held around 'old' Michaelmas Day (10th October), though usually more of a funfair nowadays. I always used to go to the one in King's Norton with my friends; the one in Marlborough's my nearest one nowadays
  • Longer evenings - more time to snuggle up and read the stack of books that's been piling up steadily over the summer and for blogging of course!
Do I hear you asking when's Part 2? Right now - do start things off in the Comments section below :)


  1. *Long walks on beautiful hillsides where you can see for miles in the crisp air, then back for mulled wine with friends in front of a blazing fire!

    *Finding out that toads really have moved into the toad house I built them.

    You have made my mouth water at the thought of jacket potatoes done in the bonfire - and made me think of Bonfire Toffee!
    Wonderful! :)

  2. Having more time to catch up with blogs I love. :)

    Ditto - Nutty Gnome's comment about walks above.

    The smell of Autumn, particularly of bonfires

    The colours of everything

    Making plans for what I shall grow next year

    Generally having more time (Currently I have 162 unread blog posts in google reader ... sigh)

  3. VP ... I am still laughing about your hubby warning you on the dog poo traumatizing factor underneath those lovely leaves ? that was too FUNNY !! ..
    YES !! to all of those wonderful events in Autumn, a thousand times over because it is done so quickly we hardly have time to savor it all. Every day is a little gift to unwrap : )
    My feelings are hurt that you didn't list ME as a certainty in Autumn .. to enjoy my nuttiness ?? LOL
    I'm glad you are a convert to loving AUTUMN more now : )
    I hope the second part of this post is about HALLOWEEN ??? LOL

  4. Jacket potatoes? Not sure what these are, but they sound yummy. Sausage, I totally get.

    Okay, here's my start to part 2:

    1) a break from the heat
    2) autumn rains
    3) a break from the heat
    4) the sounds of the university band practicing a couple of blocks from my house
    5) a break from the heat
    6) early morning runs, which are absolutely marvelous because of...
    7) a break from the heat
    8) the return to woodworking in my shop, where i throw the windows wide open and smell the cool autumn air

    There are probably more, but these are the ones that pop up in my mind right away.

  5. We don't do bonfires here, in fact we don't really 'do Halloween'. The Belfast city council is trying to get things organised like trips to graveyards at night but I don't find that scary, I think they are the most peaceful places! We used to carve turnips and eat toffee apples but no more. I guess the best thing is the leaves, the walks in the forest (i love kicking leaves too) and a cold day with a beautiful blue sky. Oh and the drives in the country side where there aren't any lights, just sheep eyes reflecting, ooohhhh. Apart from that, I want spring!!!! I may hibernate. Though Joy is starting to change my mind...

  6. I love "kicking piles of leaves" part!

  7. Oh god I can't even remember telling you off.... Sigh. This is a good list though. You have left off reading the Lakeland Christmas Catalogue though, I can't imagine why.

  8. the wind changes tongue--chill in the air, grey tints clouds, geese cry 'coming thru' keep together'. apples & (american) apple cider. my grandchildren's birthdays. my favorite colors bloom-oranges reds yellows-like jewels. planning a (container) garden while the earth rests.
    remembering 25+ years ago, when one raked the leaves into the curb & burned them! no thought to mulch or pollution...

  9. Ooohhh, now I can't wait for all my marvelous Japanese maples to flame to color, VP! What a wonderful, evocative post! The crisp blue skies, the incredible colors, pressing the best leaves, decorating with colored corn and pumpkins, enjoying the first bowl of curried pumpkin soup, the first homemade hard cider, the first hot mulled cider with dark rum, the first baked apples... mmmm!!! Best of all, watching the hawks migrating, the arrival of the Canada and snow geese, the winter birds appearing at the feeders.

  10. I also love kicking through leaves. When I was a kid, they were Burr Oak leaves, which have a much better crunch factor than the Maple leaves around my house now.
    It's funny all the Guy Fawkes activities you mention. I'm reading Diana Wynne Jones's "Witch Week" to the boy now, and he keeps commenting on all the references in it to Guy Fawkes. I'm certain he will never forget about Guy Fawkes after this.

    One thing I look forward to all year is toasting pumpkin seeds. Store bought ones taste like cardboard, they have to be fresh. I used to like carving Jack O'Lanterns til the squirrels started destroying my artistic efforts. Making giant leaf piles in the yard & jumping into them is still a favorite thing for me & the kids. I love the smell of autumn leaves. Oh, and hot mulled cider. And pumpkin ale and hard cider. And different varities of apples that you can get only in fall. And sweaters & scarves.

  11. You have sparked a bonfire of memories with this post, VP, thanks! The light, the colors, the air, the temps, the muhly, the sheffie mums, the changes and everything is pumpkin flavored. We have a very popular ice cream flavor at The Hop in Asheville run by our offspring and spouse, Pumpkin with various toppings and mixed with other flavors. A special treat only offered at this time of year. Makes it that much more special.

  12. I love the word Michaelmas. It reminds me of asters (of course), but also bonfires and that damp-leaves smell. Trick or treating has become more and more popular in our neighbourhood so this year we've decided to embrace Hallowe'en wholeheartedly with a huge display of jack o'lanterns and fairy lights in the front porch. I love autumn, actually, there's so much to look forward to.

  13. There is a certain crispness to the air and just the right scent of decaying leaves that makes me smile. I love, love, love the smell of burning leaves off in the distance, the golden colors that are autumn here, the first fire of the season, drives in the country all bundled up, with the heat on and the top down on the Mini, walking through the fallen leaves and sleeping with the windows open under a warm comforter.

    Thank you for encouraging us~~gail

  14. Oh I love Autumn. Here's my list:

    New shoes (throwback from schl days!)
    Misty Mornings
    Blackberry picking
    Making an autumnal shrine (loved doing this!)
    The leaves
    Harvest festivals (singing about fluffy cauliflowers with children)
    Bonfire night
    Hot chocolate
    Golden light and leaves


  15. Hi everyone - thanks for adding to the list. They're fantastic contributions :)

    I deliberately left out pumpkins and Halloween as I knew our cousins over the pond would have much to say on the subject, particularly Joy!

    Emmat has also replied at her place.

    Susan - Jacket potatoes are potatoes baked in their skins. I've amended the post so others will know. Thanks for asking :)

  16. Thanks for the clarification about jacket potatoes, VP. We just call those "baked potatoes" over here. I like y'all's name better. Conjurs up pictures of potatoes sporting mackinaws and muffers.

  17. Oops! I meant to say: "mackinaws and mufflers."

    My fingers don't type well.

  18. Susan - they're called 'baked' over here too. Confused? You will be...

    Don't worry - I got given the same style of typing fingers when they handed them out too ;)

  19. Here we go, if a little late:
    harvesting my Queensland Blues and making risotto and soup;
    english apples and more apples;
    apples for sale at the side of the road;
    apple crumble;
    the light;
    wild mushrooms, if I'm lucky;
    damson jam;
    the last of the dahlias;
    drying beans;
    tidying the plot;
    collecting seaweed for the asparagus;
    seeing how long I can last before switching on the central heating;
    enjoying the first time we light up the Belle Portable in the kitchen;

    I'll stop now.

  20. Nothing to do with gardening or the outdoors but getting into my pyjamas early on Saturday night and curling up to watch "Strictly Come Dancing" :)

  21. Colleen - NO! Don't stop - that's beautiful!

    Anna - I haven't got there yet with Strictly, but I'm sure I will be drawn in over the next few weeks as my niece loves it.


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