Saturday, 26 November 2011

Goodbye Autumn

Not long left of my favourite season now but it really has been fabulous this year. The lack of frosts meant the colours turned quite slowly and perhaps weren't quite as vibrant as other autumns, but I have loved and savoured the mellowing and turning of the year towards the darkness.
It's been so mild, week after week, that we've been out and about a fair bit and seen the season move on across the countryside. There have been walks with friends, trips out to nature reserves and plenty of strolls to school where we've noticed the subtle transformation from high summer in October, to this weekend when winter is most definitely knocking at the door.
I've really enjoyed the occasional days of crisp sunshine, mornings of low mists and mellow late afternoons when the shadows have been enormously long and dusk has crept up on us. I even like the fog and love those days when its grey, almost dark and feels like the sun hasn't got out of bed all day.

The right weather at the right time of year is all I want. I love the atmosphere of bleakness and dreary days now because that's the trade off for it still being light at half past ten in June.
Yet again Autumn has flown by. Spring can take an age to arrive and eventually turn into summer can't it, but Autumn always disappears in a flash, especially as it didn't really get going until mid-October this year and it's been almost warm ever since.

Today I can feel it has waved goodbye. Looking out of the kitchen window this afternoon I can see right through the hawthorn hedges that bound the garden, not a leaf left. Across the fields the great beech trees on the hill are already completely bare and the sky is lowering all the while. The grass is a dull, dormant green now and down the valley the wood is every shade of brown and black.

A keen wind is buffeting the hens as they peck around my forlorn looking borders and their feathers are ruffling as they go. Black headed gulls and rooks tumble through the air over the fields and I've glimpsed the occasional flock of redwings and field fares streaking over the hedges in search of berries.
The garden birds are few and far between at the moment; a few blue tits, some male blackbirds and the robin of course but I hear this week the temperature will fall a little more and I'm hoping to see the first reed buntings return along with the finches. We've had one unusual visitor, a yellow-browed warbler spent an afternoon flitting around the hedge. I've never seen one before and they're rare visitors to these part of the country apparently.
There's so much to look forward to now. Until the end of January I'm in love with winter. More time for cosy cooking, quiet afternoons with the paper by the fire and playing Lego with small boys. I've got a list as long as your arm and the festive build up section looks like this:

:: Go ice skating at the outdoor Christmas rink
:: Make more soup (Butternut Squash has been November's favourite)
:: A walk in the woods with my friend to gather greenery and a few berries then make wreaths for our doors
:: Sunday afternoon trip to see Arthur Christmas
:: The Christmas tree hunt
:: Christmas curry night with friends
:: Mince pie and jam tart making session
:: Carol & Gift services
:: Learn to make hot chocolate from scratch

So you can see I'm looking forward but I'm a little sad to say goodbye to the colour and magic of Autumn. Here's to staying cosy Xxx

P.S. My boys are back from Turkey safe and sound, very tired but full of news - thanks for all your lovely wishes.

P.P.S Thanks to everyone who's shopped at Curlew Vintage this past week. More new arrivals will be in the shop in a week or so's time. Thanks again!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Curlew Vintage - Late Autumn Arrivals

A new range of vintage homewares and lovely decorative items have made their way onto Curlew Vintage today. There are things for Christmas, books from memory lane, something to wear and a colourful crochet blaket to curl up in too.
You can also find vintage Pyrex, some period kitchenalia and pretty things for the home
Enjoy having a browse and I hope you find something that takes your fancy. Thank you to everyone who has shopped at Curlew Vintage already. Xxx

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Gearing Up...

It's been a fairly busy tumbly old time this past week or so. What with cats needing emergency vet visits (Bertie is back home and perking up no end now thankfully after fighting off a massive infection), big presentations at work, birthdays and trips of a lifetime to prepare for, things have all been a bit chaotic.
Which is why a trip out today with a really lovely friend was just what I needed. We woke this morning to heavy mist that thickened to fog and a chill in the air that deepened through the day. A belated brithday outing, (I had a lovely day last week and was properly spoilt with homemade cards, lovely flowers, another trip to Ludlow and a new frock!) this was a special trip over the hills to Chatsworth House to peruse the sparkly, seasonal gifts and decorations that's been on our to do list since the summer and it didn't disappoint.
We were both very restrained though and despite much oohing and ahhing at gorgeous things we came home with a couple of small trinkets and family presents; I think we enjoyed the beautiful journey and a chance to chat more than anything. Feeling very festive now, definitely the thing to put us in the mood - although to be fair, my friend P and I are always ready for Christmas, even in June!
Preparations wise we're not doing too badly this year and might even be a little bit ahead of the game (gone and jinxed things good and proper now haven't I!) I've been hoovering up festive magazines and squirrelling away treasures and bargains for weeks and we're not far off for once.
It's a good thing really as next week I've got the chance to wrap and indulge myself in festive things as Woody and B will be away. Far away. Almost on another continent. They were really lucky to be picked for a school exchange as part of a British Council initiative to link up 3 schools across Europe.

On Monday they fly (with 2 other children, plus a parent, and  2 teachers), to a town close to the Turkish capital Ankara for a 5 day stay. Amazingly all the costs are paid for so the children get the opportunity to share and learn and visit amazing places they'd never have the chance to otherwise.

I can't believe he's going. The idea that he'll be the other side of Europe without me is bizarre and unnerving. Of course he'll be with his amazing daddy and great teachers but our little family has never been apart before so its going to feel so very strange. He's only 8! News of earthquakes and terror arrests over there don't make me feel any easier either. I know its all going to be fine and we're giving him a truly brilliant experience, life is all about risk and adventure I suppose, but next Friday night really can't come soon enough..
So Little Arch and I will be at home alone and we've made lots of plans. Tea at a Chinese restaurant with Grandma and Grandad, a visit to the library for festive books, a trip to the Christmas lights switch on and  market in a neighbouring village and lots and of lots of reading, drawing and game playing by the fire. Notice anyone trying to distract themselves...?

Saturday, 5 November 2011


Christmas Eve aside, tonight is my most favourite night of the year. There's something magical and a bit primal about crowds of people walking through the dark night, towards the brightness, to gather around the fire on the hill.
We like to make a bit of a party of this colourful night with friends and a few garden fireworks to get things off to a bang. A special feast is called for too. Jacket potatoes, oven baked sausages with honey and grainy mustard, butternut squash soup, good cheese, garlic mushrooms, then ginger cake and mulled cider to wash it all down. Delicious.
The magic of sparklers never lessens does it? Or the nervousness!
Then we join the throng walking up the hill and head for the first of the two big village displays this week, with bangs and flashes filling the air all around us.
Eleven years ago Woody and I had our very first date on Bonfire night. What a long way we've come. It's a special, special night for us.
And after having had this camera for two years, at long last I've finally figured out the firework setting. There's no stopping me now! Just a few more I promise.
Marvellous stuff. Hope you had fun too.
P.S. Thanks so very much for all your kind thoughts and wishes on my down in the dumps post. They really did cheer me up and helped me to focus on the positive this last week which really rubbed off on what I was doing at work. I've managed to push a few important bits of things forward and spoken up about what I was finding difficult or unrealistic. Can't thank you all enough. Blogging is a brilliant thing. Thank you. Xxx