20 September 2016
I’m always glad when we move into autumn. Each year we have such high expectations of summer, but it inevitably rains a lot and our heatwaves last a day - and in that fleeting 24 hours, we complain it was too hot and sticky anyway. I’m not sure why we think the British summer will be any other way.
With autumn, we know where we are. Colour wise, it’s our most spectacular of seasons with the leaves turning every shade or brown, orange and red. In my garden is the most gorgeous dark-red Japanese maple which turns vibrant pinky-orange in autumn before shedding its leaves.
Growing up, autumn was marked by Brown Owl getting out the papier-mâché red and white spotted toadstool to dance round at Brownies. I remember picking blackberries - and discovering white worms wriggling in the fruit, some time after you’d wolfed down a load!
It was also a time when I sought out the best conkers ready for battle in the school playground. Of course, the idea was to smash your opponent’s conker as it dangled from a piece of string, but I remember coming away with bruised knuckles. Fun, but maybe why it’s sadly banned in a lot of playgrounds today!
Conkers are still one of nature’s wonders to me today, I love their bright-green spiky hedgehog cases which house the most beautiful highly-polished tactile creations. We also had a beech tree in our school field and used to eat the nuts, even though we weren’t allowed. Old-school health and safety! I also remember taking a tin of baked bins to Harvest Festival and belting out, ‘We Plough the Fields and Scatter’.
An older friend says she remembers picking rosehips and would sell them for four old pennies per lb. Her buyers would make roseship syrup swearing by its Vitamin C content. She would collect blackberries for her mum - and her mum would make blackberry vinegar - their cure all for winter coughs and colds. Autumn seems to have been more medicinal back then. Rather worryingly, she used to pick woodland mushrooms and fry them up. I’m glad she’s here today to tell her tales!
What’s interesting is the generations are brought together with shared memories of crunching through and collecting fallen leaves and making brightly-coloured leaf-print pictures in infants. The teacher then displayed our creations - complete with paint drips - on the classroom wall. Why not bring vibrant autumnal tones into your home with our colourful Autumn Woodland bouquet?
Enjoy the magic!