melting Autumn sun
soft against the silver sky
nips at Summer’s heels
melting Autumn sun
soft against the silver sky
nips at Summer’s heels
Sunlight dripping through the summer haze
Bright fingers drift through branches
Honey-like running off the comb
Dripping golden light from leaf to twig to bough to ground
Summer and autumn mingle there
On leaves not yet dry, nor truly green.
Heat has had its crescendo
Rain will reign again soon enough
Today’s muggy warmth will not last
but its sort-of-peace will do for now
One of these little beauties nearly hit me on the head when they fell from the horse-chestnut tree near where I parked the car. One nut attracted to another you might say. The loud thud on the car roof made me wince even though I was several feet away and made we wonder what might have happened if I had been standing where the car was parked. Hence the title of this post.
Well, it was an excuse to collect a handful of conkers. I doubt I shall enter any competition, but their shininess has its appeal.
It was a mixed bag of weather – rainy most days – when we visited the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. We stayed five nights in a holiday flat. As accommodation went it was OK but it was very much a Summer holiday flat – not the best place for a cold and wet November. So we fed the hungry gas and electric meters while making sure we had enough layers on; two or three pairs of socks, for instance.However, there were some interesting places to see in the forest and in the rest of Gloucestershire. Here are some photos of some of them.
Puzzlewood was OK but the gloomy weather did not help. I reckon that more sunshine would have improved things; ironically by making the shadowy places seem darker. It is supposed to be “atmospheric” and has been the location for some sci-fi/fantasy TV shows and films. Having said that, the first thing that caught my attention was the car park sign which is clearly quantum:
This might give you an idea of what it was like
Westonbirt Arboretum, across on the other side of the river Severn, really deserves an entry all to itself. This is just a small selection of the photos I took. A number of people mentioned that the colours of the autumn trees were not as good as most years. The weather this year has been unseasonable: much, much wetter than usual. Also, the frosts seem to be later in arriving this year which may seem like a nice idea except that much of nature uses them as a trigger to go into Winter-mode – leaves falling, hibernation etc.
We paid a visit to the city of Gloucester itself. One new thing I learnt is where it got its name from. I already worked out that there was a Roman connection from the suffix “-cester”; what I did not know was that the place was named after the Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus.Loosely translated, Gloucester means “Gus’s Barracks”.
Once we worked out where to park the car we visited the Cathedral and the city docks including the canal museum.
The first two photos were taken inside the Cathedral.
These two are of the docks.
We would visit Gloucestershire and the Forest of Dean again – but in warmer weather.
The weather had been oppressively dull for days: cloud, rain and fog vying for dominance and relentlessly gloomy whichever way you looked at it. In the middle of this, for a brief few minutes, the sun tried to break through but did not quite succeed. At least we were treated, albeit briefly, to this spectacle. I’m not sure if it is classified as a halo or a corona. Either way it looked striking and the photo doesn’t really do justice to it.
The good news was that the gloomy cloudy days had gone, it was not foggy or rainy, and now the sun shone in a blue sky. The downside was that it had turned much colder with a bitter North wind and frosts were forecast. However, our trip to Irchester Country Park benefitted from the sun and the respite from the wet rain. Some of our group went on the adventure climbing course (zip-wires, ropes and the like) for about an hour but we also enjoyed a walk and the play area was an added attraction. I can’t vouch for the restaurant but the hot chocolate was OK.
Some photos of our morning:
I’m quite pleased with how this one turned out. The wind did not want to co-operate and the auto-focus favoured the background. Yet we got the shot we wanted eventually.
And finally a reminder that we are never far away from human artefacts in our countryside:
It must be autumn, not just because the heating has kicked in and I have put away my summer coat. The equinox passed me by without notice. We’ve still got plenty of tomatoes on the plants but they are ripening very slowly and it is only a question of time before the first frost bites. For some reason the water cress has done rather well too…
Meanwhile it has been raining rather a lot – we have, fortunately, escaped the floods that have affected many other parts of the country.
For those of us prone to getting depressed, it would be easy to let the end of summer, the decreasing daylight, and the gloomy days, to get to us. And, of course, Autumn may indeed make us sad. My reflection about this – as I struggle to settle to work or even to play – is that while I may get sad, I don’t have to get sad. I am not fated to sadness and I don’t have to go looking for it. And if, perchance, I do get sad it is worth remembering that it will not last. It helps me when I remember that.
God is good, and his mercy lasts for ever.
A time of remembering and wistfulness – the mizzly (misty and drizzly) weather that characterises this time of year does not help.
This 19th century poem captures the gloomy spirit pretty well.
No sun – no moon!
No morn – no noon –
No dawn – no dusk – no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member –
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! –
For me it is a useful reminder that to feel gloomy, sad etc, is a reasonable response when the weather is dull, the nights are drawing in and there is less and less daylight as each day of the month passes.
This month also features All Souls’ day (kept by some churches on 2nd November for those who wish to commemorate ordinary folk who have died whom we know personally) as well as Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday with their recollection of those who have died in war and violent conflict. And if it so happens that November is when one or more members of your family have died … well, it can be a tough month. “Cheerless” is how James Reeve describes November in the following poem:
The buttercups in May,
The wild rose on the
The poppy in the hay,
The primrose in the
The freckled foxglove
Are things I would
When cheerless raw
Makes room for dark
At least it is only one month and maybe remembering happier ones can give us a bit of perspective. I have begun to learn that feelings, no matter how deep, wonderful or terrible, may last a short or a long time – but not for ever.
Peace be with you especially if you’re finding November particularly tough this year.
…’cause you’re not here”.
The cassette tapes are beginning to stretch and convenient, portable players are hard to come by, so I saved up my pennies and bought the CD set of Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of “The War of the Worlds”. It sounded different – the sound was less ’rounded’ at the edges. To put it another way, with the CD it sounded sharper – ‘crisper’ if you want to be more complimentary about it. I’m not sure I liked the ‘better’ quality but I’m sure it’s as much a matter of taste as technical standards.
Having not heard this for a long time, I put the CDs on and listened all the way through (even through one mealtime which is against our normal rule but at least everyone was able to hear it – loudspeakers, not headphones). It got a more favourable reception than I had expected.
Once you accept that this is a version of H G Wells’ classic and original science fiction you needn’t fret about how faithful it is. In both this and film versions I lament that there is no mention of where I grew up, whereas the book does make a fleeting mention of it.
This is not the genre of music I would usually subscribe to (think Vaughn Williams, Tchaikovsky, Elgar, Katelby and, perhaps, The Wombles) and was first released at the end of the 1970s as two LPs (vinyl). I think it would have been classified as ‘pop’ music. It was the decade when the first of the “Star Wars” films were seen.
One of the most popular tracks is probably “Forever Autumn” (I think it may have also been released as a single) which is a wistful song coming in the part of the story when the narrator is missing his sweetheart.
“Through autumn’s golden glow we used to kick our way, you always loved this time of year.”
He is also coming to realise that the world he was familiar with was changing deeply and dramatically – nothing would ever be the same again. So he concludes that “my life will be Forever Autumn ’cause you’re not here”.
I think “forever Autumn” describes a feeling, a sadness, a nostalgia, that many people would recognise and that song connects with that feeling in its melody and lyrics effectively. It is true to that moment, you could say.
I am also bound to say, that even when Autumn arrives early, or leaves late, staying longer than we’d normally expect; nevertheless, it is not forever Autumn in the end.
… containing not a mix of fruity tropical parrots but a variety of seeds.
Meanwhile, in a high street shop not so far away from the market stall where I saw that ambiguous notice, I wandered round with a voucher looking for a t-shirt or jumper I could buy. I needed both – the one for the warmer climate for our holiday, the other to replace one of the several jumpers that are now rather the worse for wear. I didn’t stay long. I wasn’t just that I couldn’t find any that I liked, but that they all seemed to be various shades of dull. Yes, there were red, green and purple as well as black and grey but they all seemed to be lacklustre. Now, it might have been the lighting, I don’ think it was my eyes (I did check later to see if I could see bright colours!) so I’m left with thinking that muted, pastel (or dull) is in this season.
Perhaps I was being a little unrealistic in expecting summer colours at a clothes shop in the middle of autumn. I know, Jesus told his disciples that they should not worry “what should we wear” so I’ll make do with what I’ve got a little while longer – and keep an eye out for fruity parrots.