Autumn colours…

I was beginning to feel a bit cheated by Mother Nature this autumn – what had she done with all the traditional colours?

Around here, the reddy-golds have been in very short supply.

But today I realised there were other little gems to discover…

The bracken fronds were dripping with diamonds…

IMAG3832_2Hips were doing an impression of a firework going off…

IMAG3828And hiding among the shiny wet leaves….

IMAG3836were these little chaps – yes, they really are that delicate colour!

IMAG3834Not bad.







Turning brown…

We seem to be having an odd autumn around here. I watched our local avenue of horse-chestnuts change from green to dusty brown without stopping at all in any part of the yellow/gold spectrum. Red seems to have been missed out almost completely – except for the holly berries which are trying very hard to fill the void. There are a few trees attempting to play the game, but it’s a half-hearted effort.

Then last week, the acres of green bracken suddenly turned a washed out beige.



Already though, this has begun to change, as the first light frost, followed by hours and hours of heavy rain, has started to turn the bracken black. And now it is all beginning to sag. Sometimes it feels like only yesterday that I was excitedly spotting the tightly curled emerging fronds, and now the vast growth, taller than me in lots of places, is all about to sink back to the ground.

Melancholy is supposed to be the emotion of the month, but I try hard not to go down that road – it can be too hard getting back. Instead I like to enjoy the changes.

I can already sense the woodland opening up as the leaves start to fall in greater amounts and the floor changes from a green mattress to a scrunchy brown and gold leafy carpet. Soon we’ll have a heavier frost and wake up to a spangled scene. And in the meantime, I relish the mornings when the sun streams through the canopy…



Impossible to feel melancholy with all that going on.






Childish excitement…

IMAG3288Hands up those of you who can honestly say you don’t sneak the occasional conker into your pocket at this time of year. I’m sure I’m not the only adult who still gets a little thrill finding a new glossy brown conker on the ground – a split-second regression to playgrounds and autumns past…

My dog-walking coat is currently playing host to a small collection – I start off intending to bring them into the house for a seasonal arrangement, but somehow the coat stays in the car for days on end and finally when I pull them out, they’ve started to shrivel.  (There ought to be a message there I feel sure – choose your own).

But although I get very excited finding conkers, I really prefer acorns. There’s something about all that pent-up energy, sitting in its own, beautifully crafted cup, that delights me every year.

Annoyingly, acorns also appear to be the current weapon of choice of our bushy-tailed tree-dwelling terrorist friends (AKA squirrels). Once again the delinquent dog and I are having to sprint through the worst of the danger zones, checking overhead for any signs that the little devils are preparing to attack.

Who said walking the dog was boring…





Daily devotions…

The wonderful thing about having a dog, is that whatever the weather, you are duty bound to take it out for some exercise. Although it was a family decision to have a dog, and we all had our individual reasons for wanting one, my rationale, was that I wanted a proper excuse to go out every day.

I had tried to get out regularly, but I just couldn’t manage to be sufficiently disciplined. I knew it was something I wanted to do – perhaps needed to do – but there was a gulf between knowing and doing.

But now we have the hound and I have my excuse.

It’s marvellous.

I’ve been trying to work out what it is about outdoors that is so compelling and the beauty of a daily walk, is that you have the perfect opportunity to spend time thinking.

What I’ve realised, is that I missed the regular exposure to the weather and the changing seasons. When I was growing up, I walked outdoors pretty much every day – walking to and from school, walking our dog, going for walks with friends – there wasn’t much else to do where I grew up. Without really being conscious of it, I was seeing the changes in the weather and seeing the same environment pass from winter to spring to summer and to autumn – the eternal cycle.

It wasn’t until jobs and family life detached me from this pattern, that I understood how important it felt to be part of it.

We’ve had the dog since early summer, so I’ve now had nearly half a year to get back into the circle of the seasons. Already I feel so much more grounded.  Now, we’ve moved from early autumn, where the colours are all lush golds and greens, to the later period – bronzes and browns, no longer lush, now brittle and decaying, but no less beautiful for that.

Each day, I become aware of more going on around me. I feel as if the clouds are thinning in my mind and I’m finding my way back to a better place.

I’m also realising how very little I know about the nature around me. What for instance is this? (please do let me know).

So unexpected to find pink flowers blooming in early October.

It feels wonderful to be closer to nature again – here’s to daily devotions and the onset of winter.