International Coffee Day, Chocolate Week, Halloween, my mum’s birthday, the extra hour in bed: some of the reasons I love October. But here’s my confession; I don’t like ‘spiced’ things – lattes or biscuits, I can’t stand pumpkins (except carving them), I’m no fan of trick or treating (American import) and I don’t like dark afternoons. I do like getting cosy though and starting the move towards winter hibernation and everything hygge. To the Anglo-Saxons this time of year was known as ‘Winter Fylleth’ because at the full moon winter was supposed to begin.
I used to think blackberries were only for picking in September; a truly autumnal fruit, so I thought. Every year I was disappointed to have missed the best of the crop. Amateur. Because the secret to blackberry picking is to go earlier than you think. The last couple of weeks of August is probably the best time, before the birds have pecked at them, before the weather rots them and before others pickers have been out. This year they seem to have ripened even earlier.
I have always gone foraging for blackberries – even in London on Putney Heath. Blackberry picking offers rewards …
August, the height of summer, some may think. Or perhaps its depth.Either way this year has been the kind of summer that children store up as memory of all summers. Sunshine and barbecues, icecreams, open windows on hot nights and paddling pools.
In one of those neat word plays, August is named after Emperor Augustus, (after the latin for venerable or consecrated) and originally had only 30 days. It was thought necessary to add another day in order that Augustus might not be in any respect inferior to Julius. Thus Augustus was exceptionally august in altering August. The only Augustus I can think of is …
The bliss of June has already arrived. We have passed from spring to young summer and the delights the new season brings could not be surpassed by John Clare’s poem;
‘Now summer is in flower and natures hum Is never silent round her sultry bloom Insects as small as dust are never done Wi’ glittering dance and reeling in the sun And green wood fly and blossom haunting bee Are never weary of their melody…’
We have been away for four days and there has been a heady mix of rain and heat and now the garden seems full of green, and colour everywhere. I …
Finally. It’s here; the lime chlorophyll of new leaves clashing against the periwinkle blue sky, so bright and vibrant it almost hurts the eyes; but I can’t look away because I can’t get enough of it. There is fullness where once there were naked skeletons. As the saying goes, no winter lasts forever and no spring skips its turn. The soil is warming, there is green abundance along the roadsides, purple mosaics of bluebells, dazzling yellow dandelions. I’m a pretty careful observer of nature in the garden, but one blink and everything has grown again, or blossomed or bloomed.