The shifting of the light, the cool mornings and hazy evenings, they all seemed to creep on me this year. One minute the sunflowers were towering magnificently above us but before long the pre-equinoxial gales had left them bent and battered. Some we managed to prop up again and those we couldn't came home and filled every vase and mantlepiece with a blaze of autumn. The dahlias are holding on on defiantly but pretty much everything else is sending out a final hurrah. The carder bees that took up residence in the detritus at the bottom of the mullein have disappeared although the queen is probably tucked up until spring.The courgette plants and tomatoes, apart from one hardy black cherry, have succumbed and the runners and French beans have handed in their notice too. Quite a relief to be honest. Whole families of squashes - butternut, Crown Princes and Queensland Blues have been cut and brought home. Yes. There will be soup, a lot of it.
At home the kitchen is dark as the sun dips earlier and earlier behind next door's mulberry, a late leaf-dropper, and denser than ever. Candles are lit at night but it's a matter of principle here to hold out as long as we can from turning on the heating. The woolies and warmer clothes were unpacked a few weeks ago while others have been added to the jumble pile. Elsewhere in the house half-finished projects are packed on shelves and hang on hooks. Pyjama trousers, a gaudy shift, a new apron, a refashioned tweed skirt, a longline check jacket - a final push would see them finished if I could set aside the time and focus. That's only the half of it. I spent the last three Tuesday evenings taking Sew Over It's Francine Jacket workshop. Hems and buttons and buttonholes would finish the project. A few hours by a sunny window might deliver a happy ending to that story and the sooner the better.
Hold on. That's the sound of the front door closing. A gardener has just returned from work. He just called up the stairs "Are you asleep?"