Saturday 28 August 2010

Summer's End

Almost over then. Another summer that never was. It seems an eternity since we last enjoyed a weekend lunch in the garden or sat on the patio steps late on a balmy evening. I think the last really decent spell we had was early July and thankfully those few good days in Cornwall. Since then there's been the occasional warm day but mostly we have dodged relentless heavy downpours and this holiday weekend is no different.
We should be away in our caravan really, enjoying a weekend with our dearest friends but they are all ill with a rotten virus and so we've postponed until September when maybe an Indian summer will appear.
I'm not too sad about missing our trip because it has rained and rained and we've had what I'd class a pretty perfect weekend so far. I enjoy life's simple pleasures so a homemade curry and a new magazine in front of Gardener's World last night was bliss.
Today I've browsed the Collector's Market (under a brolly but I did find this colourful saucepan and a lovely old whisk) while the boys went swimming. Back at home it's been an afternoon of colouring books, the final Test Match on the radio, Airfix models and a few favourite videos. Tomorrow we will toast the change of seasons with our first Sunday roast for months with Grandma for company and an apple & blackberry crumble to share.

Who knows what we'll get up to on Monday but autumn preparations are on my list. New curtains to be made and some jam and jelly making perhaps.
I love it when the calendar flicks over at the end of August; very relieved to see the back of a disappointing, dreary month. I'm sad for the boys having to say goodbye to the holidays, but we're entering the best time of year now. We won't be into autumn proper for a while but meanwhile we will revel in this golden, harvest time. Whatever the weather, September will bring a change of season and all its joys.

:: Bountiful hedgerows
:: Misty mornings
:: Golden afternoons
:: Harvest suppers
:: The first English apples
:: Michaelmas daisies
:: Extra layers
:: Blankets on the bed

Just a few simple pleasures that make me smile.

Sunday 15 August 2010

Greatest Show on Earth

August is a month of celebration in our house. Two small (but growing up far too quickly) boys have birthdays and there are more in the family too. And being as it's the holidays we put the bunting up, enjoy lazing around and go on a couple of special outings too. Last weekend it was a trip to see dinosaurs at a big city museum and the next day to the circus that's arrived in our town.
Now that circuses don't feature poor, bedraggled looking animals performing with so much sadness in their eyes, I'm quite happy to go. There were some beautiful horses which looked extremely well cared for and some sweet little budgies but nothing more and Zippo's was still full of lovely old fashioned fun and wonderment.
It was an amazing spectacle with some of the most talented performers I've ever seen. The trapeze and hire wire artists performed without a net, jumping over each other 30ft from the floor. I think I have only just recovered from the knot in my stomach.
But the star of the show was the without doubt the ringmaster - yes it was him, the picture of a ring master who comes into you head and appeared on all the TV circus shows in the 70s and 80s! Norman Barrett is unbelievably still going strong. It was like going back to my childhood and when our little birthday man got to go into the ring with him for a birthday greeting I was thrilled and a little envious.
The smell of sawdust and canvas was just as I remembered. Little faces looked on in awe and even though I can't usually bear clowns, Zippo's were harmless to be honest.
Old fashioned fun. Just our cup of tea.

Monday 9 August 2010

Summer Moving On

Sunset over our valley - at 8.30pm. It's definitely getting earlier and even though I'm hanging on in there full of hope that summer might really return, I can definitely feel the tiny changes in the season. Late summer has arrived, certainly around our way.
All our early summer veg has cropped (peas, potatoes, salad leaves, broad beans, strawberries etc) and the new flush of colour in the borders are the tones of reds, oranges and hot pinks that signal the gearing up for the final few weeks of summer.
And there are plenty of weeks left for the weather to sort itself out. Indian summers have been wonderful here for the past few years (as well as hot Springs) so hopefully late August and all of September will bring warm days to ripen the tomatoes and enjoy a few nights out under the stars.
Mostly though I enjoy this time of year because it heralds what comes next - autumn, my favourite season.  I'm not ready for it yet but summer is definitely moving on. Our swifts have already flown back to sultrier climes and the housemartins in the eaves have hatched another brood.
The combines are in the fields further south in the county (no wheat here, too hilly) and the rowan tree outside my window is thick with berries.
And I don't know if it's just me but these changes have come so fast this year. Can we really be here already? Even I was surprised by the autumn catalogues that arrived at the weekend, but secretly thrilled!

So time to sit back, watch the shadows lengthen and the days shorten a little, but enjoy the glory days of summer - especially if the sun shines.

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Aaah, that's better!

Wouldn't it be a good thing to get a week in Cornwall prescribed by your GP? It's made a world of difference to my little family let me tell you. We're a simple bunch. Nothing more complicated than sea, sand, pasties and ice cream required for the perfect week of r&r.

We spent many early hours and late evenings, taking in this lovely view from the sitting room window of our flat, just a stone's throw from the beach. We saw the fishmongers open up the fish cellars each morning and watched the daily clear up after the seagulls. Port Isaac is the perfect place to watch the world go by.
On sunny days the beach called. We rockpooled, fished for crabs and swam in the cold, cold sea.Watching my two chaps and their daddy have their first ever sea swims were special, magical moments. Its a long while since I swam in the sea and easing myself into the chilly waters at Readymoney Cove brought back fond, fond memories.

Back in the village, fish and chips eaten on the beach most nights was the perfect tea as the sun shone.
The rain did come. But not too often and the seaside has its own special charms on a dreary day.
But as soon as the sun peeped out again we were back to the beach and into the waves this time at Trebarwith Strand with its amazing rollers and giant sea caves.
And we ventured up to the cliff tops too, looking for sea birds and back to our most favourite hideaway.
And at the end of our days, (after following the silver band up the hill) we were back snuggled in our cosy bolthole, watching the world go by. Joyful days. We'll be back again, very soon.