Location:United Kingdom

An avid tea-drinker who likes nutmeg in her coffee and warm lavender-scented quilts. She knits, crochets and partakes in random acts of craftiness (and kindness). She likes obscure works of literature, philosophy and the idea that her mind exists separately from her body. She enjoys moving furniture around, literary criticism and baking bread. She writes haiku about nettles, would like to swim with seals and become completely self-sufficient. She writes as if her life depends on it, listens to beautiful music, and loves her darling husband Mr. VP.

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Sunday 24 September 2017

Autumn solstice

I am sitting at our dining room table and the light is dull, a sort of warm grey as the light filters through the clouds. The greens at the bottom of the garden, the huge expanse of blue-green pine and yellow-green ash and hawthorn are not as bright as they were even a month ago; the hawthorn is well on the turn, now a sallow yellow colour, and beginning to drop its leaves, while the ornamental cherry I love so much is beginning to smoulder before it bursts into full flame.

I thought as I was walking yesterday, out in the fresh air, about time and how we perceive it as we age. How a week would seem to take a lifetime and how long weekends would take to come around. Time is such a luxury now, time to enjoy and savour, even the little moments. There is not enough of it, there’s not enough time and I feel that all the coffee spoons (or teaspoons in my case) are being lined up too quickly. I perpetually feel like I’m chasing my tail and not making the most of the time I have, even though I’m trying to be better.

There is a plate of apples and pears on the table in front of me. It’s that time of year for wonderful British varieties. The current lot are Lord Lambourne, a tad disappointing on the flavour front but pleasingly tart; the last lot were Red Windsor and were some of my favourite. They had the most wonderful, fragrant flavour (thanks to the Cox’s Orange Pippin in their heritage) and a lush red skin. The next lot are ‘Santana’, which smell so strongly of pineapple and which fizz in the mouth.  I remember this wonderful day and I am sad that we don’t have any PYO orchards in Northumberland.  It’s just not a very apple-y place up here.

I’ve been focusing on rhythms recently, trying to sort things out in my head and also in our house. It all started with me reading Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up. Whilst I’m not fully on board with all of her thoughts about tidying up and some of the more esoteric elements of it, I get that her particular method is effective, and going through my clothes I found it easier to ‘thank’ the clothes and let them go. It almost felt like I was freeing myself from this weighty burden of guilt.  I managed to get rid of 6 large bags of clothing that I’d been carrying around through multiple house moves. Old clothes, trinkets, boxes and bags of stuff that I knew I wouldn’t use again, or didn’t like or kept just because I felt obligated to. Sadly, this is just a drop in the ocean and I’ve still got the rest of the house to declutter but it does feel good seeing us lightening the load.

The autumn solstice was yesterday, though I’ve been noticing the leaves and the smell for a while now. Summer has been a bit of an odd one for us. I don’t know about you, but the weather all summer has been a splendidly mixed bag of torrential rain and mild, warm days, then wind and more rain. I don’t think we’ve had a ‘hot’ day since May/ early June. Not that I minded the cooler weather, in fact I quite liked it. There were enough long langurous sunny days to allow us to spend them on the beach. I think I’ve rockpooled more this summer than I have for many, many a year. It has been a summer of buckets and spades, jellyfish, crabs and plennys; walks in the woods and the odd weekend picnic.

The shops are now full of pumpkins and the odd Christmas display. Soon it will be Halloween and bonfire night and then the rush into Christmas. The beech leaves are beginning to turn orangey brown before they curl, some hanging on until spring, some falling almost immediately. We went for a walk, just Little VP and I, around a lake that we’ve grown to know and love. It’s a good walk, about a mile around, and we do it slooooowly but have a good laugh as we do. The smell of the leaves and the honking of the geese, the odd hiss of the swans and the wing beats of the birds flying over the water, the sound of beech mast or conkers hitting foliage as they fall to the ground and the fascinating chats we have as we make our way round.

3 thoughts on “Autumn solstice

  1. Marie says:

    This is such a lovely, reflective post. Like you, I remember the long days of childhood and how the weekends and holidays seemed to take forever to arrive. Now, I look at the calendar and can hardly believe that it is almost October. Savour these days with little VP to treasure in your heart. Marie x

  2. Mimi says:

    I think of you often, and wonder how you and Mr VP and little Miss VP are getting on. Jessica is 4 already, I feel like time is melting before my eyes. Sending you love xx

  3. Mimi says:

    I think of you often, and wonder how you and Mr VP and little Miss VP are getting on. Jessica is 4 already, I feel like time is melting before my eyes. Sending you love xx

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