Don’t you just love spiders’ webs? OK, this isn’t a recent photo that I’ve taken, but one from a few years ago. I happened to see the Pyracantha which grows against the wall at the front of our house covered in webs one autumn morning and I thought it would make a nice photo for this piece
But while, as I’ve mentioned before, spring is my favourite season, I am learning to embrace autumn: Yes, it’s darker in the mornings (and in the evenings) but it’s still not winter. I want to clean the house, as I do at the first hint of spring, and prepare it for the autumn and winter days ahead. This morning I felt the first chill in the air when I woke up and wandered into the bathroom for a shower, and popped the central heating on, just for an hour, to warm the house up a bit. It wasn’t cold but it wasn’t warm either. Time for Chai Latte again rather then Earl Grey without milk. For ginger nuts rather than macarons.
As we’ve been out every day this week so far, tomorrow I’m hoping that I can have a day at home for housekeeping (yesterday we visited a lovely garden centre but my camera battery was dead. I thought I’d charged it but obviously I’d plugged it in but not switched it on!) As well as the day-to-day things – the bed to be made, the kitchen counter tops to be wiped down, the vacuuming to be done – I want to start on real cleaning: the Venetian blinds, the skirting boards, the bookshelves. I wonder if anyone else feels this need to clean in autumn as much as in spring? Or are you all superb housekeepers and keep your homes so pristine that you don’t need to do a deep clean every so often?
I’ve only included this Ladybird book because it fits the mood and the season
Of course, our diet will change slightly as the seasons change. Fewer salads of the lettuce variety, but still lots of fruit and vegetables and, joy oh joy, soups!
I was looking through my autumn-related photos and came across this one of cream of spinach & courgette soup, a recipe from my Cranks Recipe Book and I might try this one again.
I took this photo a few years ago and today I now use cold pressed rape seed oil as it’s supposed to be even better for us than olive oil (well, until the next ‘expert’ finds something wrong to say about it!)
Medium-sized onion 1
Large courgette 1
Medium-sized potato 1
Spinach 4oz (100g)
Oil 2 tbs (30ml)
Few sprigs parsley
Vegetable stock 2pt (1.2 lts)
Fresh double cream 1/4 pt (142 ml)
Salt & pepper to taste
Chop the vegetables. Heat the oil in a saucepan and saute the onion and courgette until the onion is transparent. Add potato, spinach, parsley and stock. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, cove and simmer for 20 minutes.
Allow to cool before blending (in liquidizer or hand-held blender in the saucepan). Return the soup to the saucepan (if you used a liquidizer) and stir in the cream and adjust seasoning to taste. Reheat gently without boiling. Serve topped with a swirl of double cream.
(If preferred, you could substitute crème fraiche for the double cream.)
Autumn is also the time to have a change around of ornaments in the house. I might dig out these copper lustre items for the sitting room or hall.
When we were in the Cider Press Centre in Dartington recently, I sprayed myself with the fragrance After the Rain by Arran, the perfumery on the Isle of Arran. I liked it but didn’t buy it then and there, I wanted to make sure I did like it. And so later that day I ordered a bottle of eau de toilette and soap from this company. It has a citrus fragrance, perhaps more suited to spring than autumn, but it’s still a very pleasant fragrance. I think I might push out the boat, though, and buy my favourite autumn fragrance: Guerlain’s Mitsouko. (Photo below from when I last had this fragrance)
One of my favourite garden shrubs is the hydrangea. I liked then even before they became the must-have interior decorator’s flower (they’re everywhere right now, in the magazines, just as a few green apples on a white plate were once ubiquitous!) Yesterday I found one in the deepest shade of crimson, with tiny blue centres. I just hope I can keep it this colour; I believe you have to feed with ericaceous compost, but if any horticulturists out there know the secret of keeping this colour, please let me know!
It has yet to be planted, but we need to do quite a bit of gardening … another task before autumn really sets in. Plus ordering the bulbs.
And finally, some Kentish cob nuts I bought in Waitrose today, a bit of an extravagance at £5.50 a kg, and so I only put a few in a bag, 69p worth to be exact – it’s nice to try things when they are in season. I think Mr and Mrs Squirrel have had all our walnuts again this year! I’m beginning to fall out of love with Mr Squirrel and his family and friends. Rapidly.
Enjoy Friday wherever you are – almost the weekend.
Until next time.