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Autumn is here

 

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!)

The ingredients:

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.

 

About Margaret Powling

Margaret Powling
Margaret’s main interests are her husband and family, her friends, her home, her garden, writing, literature, architecture, décor, social history, photography, historic houses and gardens, and towns, villages and the countryside. She writes about the things she enjoys: flowers, scent, fine soap, monthly style magazines, and other such small indulgences, such as afternoon tea or simply enjoying her summerhouse with a book. She invites you to enjoy this virtual visit to South Devon, England.

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16 comments

  1. Your hydrangea bush is beautiful – the colour is stunning. I understand the colour of the flowers is determined by the pH level of the soil but can’t provide anymore beyond that, I’m sorry !

    I don’t do a seasonal clean as such. Probably the most noticeable change would be our bedding when the cool weather starts and then ends all to soon (here in sun-tropical Australia).. My energy levels are about 50% of what they used to be (on a good day) due to chronic health issues so as a result I’ve had to lower my expectations/ standards somewhat. I still like our home to be clean and tidy. It’s pretty much always clean and the tidiness can become less-so if I’ve been out and about alot but is soon restored. I’m the tidier one, my husband thrives on a certain level of chaos and mayhem ha ha. He is forever ‘misplacing’ items – he uses this term, saying he doesn’t lose things but misplaces them – and after many years together I have learnt to wait it out as his things eventually turn up. He once discovered his watch after several months in an obscure pocket in his golf bag….. I have ornaments, photo frames, etc of sentimental value but try not to let get out of hand otherwise I’d feel I really would need to dust etc more often.

    What are Kentish cob nuts ?

    • Margaret Powling

      I’m really sorry to hear that you have had serious health problems, Lara, and that your energy levels are so depleted. But yes, age has meant that we can’t always do the type of cleaning that we once did, we have to overlook some things at times! My husband is the tidier one here, I have far too many books and magazines and ephemera of all kinds, particularly here in the study!
      Kentish cob nuts are what the supermarket called them. They are actually hazelnuts from Kent, the “cob” and the “hazelnut” being interchangeable names for the same nut.

  2. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    There is a nip in the air indeed I am feeling quite cold this morning, the rain is lashing down which always makes me feel the chill, last night a tot of raspberry vodka was in order, that was nice and warming. We seem to get lots of spiders here the skirting boards are very poorly fitted and their are big gaps, I go around every evening with my spider vac, it is a tube which sucks them up and then I release them into the garden.

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, its getting chilly of a morning now here in the northern hemisphere – we had the heating on for an hour to warm the house before we got up.
      I’ve never heard of a spider vac, what a good idea, for spiders are our friends. We seldom see any in our house. At one time we used to have a lot of crane flies (daddy long legs) but not for many years.

  3. Hello Margaret, I agree with you about the cleaning, I have been feeling the need for an ‘autumn clean’ wanting to get the home ready for the winter before the days get too short. I also like to swap around my summer and winter wardrobes and look forward to wearing warmer clothing and boots instead of sandals. Like you, I prefer the spring but autumn is also a lovely time of year, just not liking the thought of winter around the corner!. The hydrangea you purchased is just beautiful, haven’t seen one like that before .We have acidic soil here in this part of Cornwall, perfect for hydrangeas. We have several in our garden but they are all a lovely deep blue. The photo of the spider’s web is lovely, they are such amazing structures aren’t they. Have to admit I am not keen on the very large spiders, we have had a couple in the house recently, the size of my hand, and I have had to ask my other half to take them outside in a duster. Bless him, he’s not keen on the very big ones either! X

    • Margaret Powling

      I hadn’t realized you lived in Cornwall, Dot, and yes, the soil tends to be acidic there, doesn’t it, what with all those rhododendrons growing wild. I love blue hydrangeas more than the pink ones, but this deep crimson one is wonderful. It’s even darker than what it looks on the photograph. I also like to get out of sandals and into boot again. Indeed, I will need new boots this year. I bought some last year but had to return them (they were Van Dal and they were lovely but they just weren’t comfortable enough) so I’ve not had new boots for several years now. I’m not worried about spiders provided they don’t suddenly dart across the room. Most of them I can ‘capture’ by putting a glass tumbler over them and then sliding a card underneath so they have to hop onto the card and then I can carry them out safely and deposit them in the garden.
      I’ve made a start on one of the bookcases this afternoon, that room is a tip right now, but you can’t make an omelette without cracking eggs, as they say; no cleaning done without a bit of sorting-out-mess to start with!

      • Will have to remember that tip about the tumbler over the spider. But to be honest the spiders we have seen recently were rather large and I doubt we have a glass big enough! I suppose a pint glass might have worked but we didn’t think of that at the time! Good luck with your autumn cleaning, still thinking about mine! Have a wonderful weekend, and a very happy birthday on Sunday. Xxx

        • Margaret Powling

          Thank you for your good wishes for my birthday on Sunday, Dot. I can’t remember mentioning that it is my birthday on Sunday; did you read this here somewhere? And yes, that’s a good tip for capturing spiders, provided you don’t trap their delicate little legs (or long legs!)

          • I have recently been re-reading some of your earlier blog posts, you mentioned your birthday in September last year. Have a wonderful day! X

          • Margaret Powling

            My goodness, that is very observant of you, Dot, and I hope to have a lovely birthday. Little grandson is making cakes especially for me! September is a busy birthday month for our family, as is October.

  4. Belated wishes for a new year from your birthday Margaret. It is officially spring in New Zealand. Storms, incessant rain… but a bit warmer. Daffodils are blooming, lambs are frolicking. It is still too muddy to work in the garden, and has been so all winter. I shall be spring cleaning soon, but, like you, I must also do a spring clean each autumn. I must.

    • Margaret Powling

      Not belated yet, Ratnamurti … my birthday is on Sunday, but I don’t like to count them any more! Oh, I’d love to be able to spend spring in New Zealand and see the lambs and the daffodils – wouldn’t it be wonderful to spend half the year in each country, here for our spring and summer and then hopping over to NZ for your spring and summer. That way I could avoid autumn and winter altogether!
      Today I have made a start on cleaning bookcases, and have a whole pile of books for the charity shop already. However, what I can’t work out is how I have a huge pile of books and yet there space left on the shelves is minuscule!

  5. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    Just the other morning my husband called me into the garden to watch a spider making its web. They really are quite amazing. That is a great photograph you have shown.
    I love Autumn and my daughter says that she can remember me saying “October is my favourite month,” when she was a small child. It still is – there is a smell in the air that I love. Boots, black tights, jumpers, proper coats…..ooooh, I love Autumn for these reasons too.
    I have a blue hydrangea in my garden. They are such striking plants but I see far fewer of them today than in the past.
    What a shame about the walnuts. How frustrating. I love the blue/green glass dish holding the cobs; it is so pretty.

    Wishing you a very happy birthday for Sunday.

    • Margaret Powling

      All my photos are what I call pure chance; that photo was taken with my original (i.e. first) Nikon D50 which I still have and then I bought a D90 which I don’t like half as much, it’s just too heavy, so now all my photos are with my tiny Sony compact while the Nikon slumbers in a cupboard. Yes, I love spiders’ webs, they are amazing feats of engineering. I enjoy September and October as they are (a) my birthday month and as a child I always looked forward to that, as children do, even though it meant that I was often spending my birthday at school, and (b) October is our wedding anniversary month. But I still don’t like dark mornings and early darkness descending in the evening.
      My mother bought me the blue/green glass dish many years ago. I think it was in a supermarket somewhere, I really have no recollection other than she bought it for me as we’d both admired it.
      Thank you for your birthday wishes!

  6. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    That your pretty dish was a supermarket buy only goes to show that what is pleasing to the eye is far more important than provenance. I have a small ‘bronze’ statue of a ballerina which was bought for a few pounds in a gift shop. I am very fond of it.

    • Margaret Powling

      I have another blue bowl which is currently residing in a cupboard which I might bring out and put alongside the glass one. I have few blue pieces because blue doesn’t go with much of our interior decoration although I love it and if/when we re-do our kitchen I will keep it as neutral as possible so that I can have blue items in there for when a change is needed.

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