03 October 2017

last hurrahs

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?"

If only.


materfamilias said...

This is a lovely post -- and it sent me off to find out what a carder bee might be. I don't think we have them here.
We've got sunshine here this week and although the temperature hasn't been getting much above 16 Celsius during the day, it feels warm enough in the sun that we're tempted to go out in shirtsleeves -- and then end up shivering a bit , , , I pulled my felted-wool Glerups slippers out the other day, noticing that the tile floor feels a bit chilly, and next will be to hunt out my gloves. . . Still, there are hollyhocks and campanula and a few roses blooming on the terrace, so I'm still pretending. . .

Gina said...

I loved this post... it could have been me! Although I enjoy harvesting veg from the garden there is almost a feeling of relief when I know it is over. Part of the whole cycle of life I guess! And for me too there are so many projects that just need an hour or so and they would be finished with just a little push. And sleep... I dream of sleep!

colleen said...

Materfamilas: And I had to look up Glerups!It is definitely time to abandon my flip-flops and fid some decent clippers. May have to investigate the Glerup further.

Gina: Good to know that I am not the only one with too many nearly finished WIPs. Strangely though, after writing this I did get finish one of them which was enormously satisfying.

annjennyg said...

That sounds like a grand selection of different squash. I think i must branch out next year and grow some different varieties. And those beautiful sunflowers- sunshine in a vase!

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

I like your sunflowers better than Van Gogh's. I saw them at a National Gallery exhibition once and was disappointed to find he'd painted masses of sunflower pictures - and that they were all a bit dull. (Though I also know someone who burst into tears when she went to the same exhibition because she was overwhelmed by their beauty.)
I find the description of your house very warming. I'm discovering the difference between the cheerful chaos of a house creatively lived in and the depressing chaos and loads of work of a house where things are still not all unpacked.

E15 kids said...

If you haven't seen it you might enjoy the film Loving Vincent which is doing the rounds at the moment. It is an animated film exploring the death of Vincent Van Gogh and is made up entirely of thousands of oil painting painted by hundreds of artists. Some of the dialogue is a bit clunky but it is absolutely beautiful and when I came out from a matinee of the film I went straight off to buy flowers. It was, it has to be said, quite disappointing to emerge in to Stratford rather than somewhere much more colourful. Incidentally, I seem to remember your John was involved in the Manor allotments and I just wanted to say what a huge pleasure the new Pudding Mill ones give me as I travel past on the DLR or on the Stratford to Liverpool Street TfL rail line (just occasionally now in one of the very swish new Crossrail trains). I know it is no compensation for what was lost on the Olympic site but it is wonderful for us travelling by.

Best wishes, Joan

Liz said...

I'm loving the autumnal colour palette and the changing light but it's still far too warm. Even here on the north east coast, we're all mafted! Also loving your mantle. (Have just been reunited with my Concise Oxford, one of a number of books in a big box which someone had tucked away in a corner in the loft. Thank goodness for the Scouts and their annual jumble sale!).

colleen said...

Liz: That dictionary is actually a button tin, but very realistic. I wondered why I was having a. long conversation with my brother in law about the Concise when I realised he too had been taken in when he stayed with us.

Joan: Yes - I must make sure that I get to that film before it disappears. I heard it reviewed on front Row. I might have made it by now if the weather hadn't been so warm and sunny. Love to go to the cinema in the cooler months, but not when I might be missing out in Vitamin D.

If you go by Pudding Mill Allotments on the DLR, give us a wave, do. We're number 1 , the black shed, the first and closest to the railway going east to west. You may even have recognised the sunflowers. We've actually had commuters write to us saying how much they've enjoyed seeing the plots flourish.

Lucy: Don't they say if you can live without something for a few months you probably don't need it? Liz might disagree with that now she's rediscovered her Concise English Dictionary.