Thursday, 23 September 2010


The autumnal equinox occurred this morning at 4.09am. Day and night are of equal length today, the first day of autumn.  From now on the days are shorter than the nights as the year moves through autumn towards winter.

Autumn is a time of endings, the end of summer and warm weather, the end of the growing season for many plants as they produce seeds and berries before settling down to the relative dormancy of winter. However, perhaps because the new school year begins at the end of summer, it also feels like a time of beginnings, a time for new crisp exercise books and freshly sharpened pencils.

I will be taking eldest son back to university on Saturday to start his second year. The end of the long summer break and the start of a new term.

Endings and beginnings, the berries in the hedgerows marking the end of one season but the seeds inside those berries containing all the information needed to start a new plant next year. The end of a summer of long days and the start of a winter of short daylight and longer darkness.

The equinox, a moment of balance between day and night, between summer and winter, and now the cycle of the year continues.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


A last family day trip this summer before the start of the university term. We took the train to Bath and had a gentle meander around the centre of the city.

Bath is such an elegant place and there is something to photograph round every corner. The bridge is Pultney Bridge with its little shops lining each side.

It is such a lovely place to visit. Apart from when I was at university and for a few years afterwards, I've always lived in the country but as I wandered round the streets of Bath I wondered what it would be like to live in a city.

There would be plenty of interesting streets to explore

and flowers to admire in the immaculate parks.

For the moment I'm quite happy to live in the country but sometimes when visiting a different place its fun to imagine what it would be like to live there.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Plums and tomatoes

I haven't been able to do much gardening this summer but I still have something to harvest. At the moment it is plums and tomatoes.

Four years ago I planted a small plum tree "Marjorie's Seedling" in the front garden. I have picked a few plums each year but this year the tree was very productive and I harvested almost 10 pounds of fruit. These have a lovely flavour fresh or stewed. Plums are now thought to be a "superfood" so as well as tasting good they have health benefits too.

My tomatoes have suffered from blossom end rot this year and many of the fruits have been affected but some plants have yielded perfect fruits. I have nine plants in pots on the patio. They get only a few hours sun a day and so ripen fairly late in the summer but in the last week many have ripened. As well as enjoying them raw I have made a tomato "sauce" in the oven.

I mixed chopped tomatoes and shallots with olive oil and black pepper and then baked the mixture in a medium oven for about an hour. Cooking tomatoes increases the bioavailability of some of the nutrients so this simple pasta sauce tastes good and has health benefits

I have been getting a bit grumpy about not being able to garden this summer, I am still very stiff and unable to bend enough to reach the soil, but this harvest from the garden has made me feel a lot better

Monday, 6 September 2010

Holiday photographs

It is raining this evening and feeling distinctly autumnal, yet it was only just over a week ago we were spending sunny days on the beach.

This was my first time to the Northumbrian coast and it really was beautiful.

We had a very gentle sort of holiday, strolling, taking photographs, noticing the details

and making the most of the sunshine.

The beaches were lovely,

vast swathes of sand

and endless sea and sky.

Calm, subdued colours by day

and then bright and golden in the evening.

A wonderful holiday.