Sunday, 2 October 2016

Hello October



Well, September was a bit of a blur. I did a lot of extra hours at work which, while I really enjoy my job, always impacts on everything that is going on at home and makes life feel rushed and disorganised. (I think I could definitely work full time, so long as I had a wife at home. Someone to think about what's for dinner, shop and cook, do the washing, remember when someone has a birthday coming up, remember when it's Forest School day, do the cleaning, write this blog.) Then, last weekend, I came down with a really nasty head cold that lingered and lingered. I thought I was fine on Friday but then woke up on Saturday morning feeling absolutely terrible. We had to go shopping - the kids have outgrown all their clothes overnight, apparently - and we stopped off at Wagamama for lunch. I had a bowl of spicy ramen and it was the best thing ever, just what I needed. I spent the rest of the weekend lying on the sofa moaning and crocheting in equal measure, then spent this week recovering. My work hours have returned to normal now and I can feel the pressure easing already. I am so behind with everything; blogging, emails, admin. I think I should go back to my Make, Bake, Sew, Grow posts - they give me a good focus when I want to pop up here and say hello but don't feel like I have any time or anything to say. And while I may not have much time I always have something to say.

Thank you all for your kind words on my scarf. I haven't worn it much lately as I've been trying to make the most of my poncho. The Poncho Window, as I like to call it, is short - September was much too warm and it will soon be too cold and I'll need a proper coat - so I have to make the most of it! Thank you also for sharing your weekend plans with me. I really enjoyed reading those. I like how similar our weekends often are, how we all try to find a balance between being inside and outside, spending time on chores and relaxation, being at home or away.

There has been a definite shift in the seasons and weather. We haven't turned the heating on yet, but I feel like it won't be long, and we lit our first fire of the autumn last night. I bought the November edition of Country Living and that always makes me feel cosy. Recent cooking has taken a turn to the autumnal, with lots of slow cooking, stews, pies and roasts. I saw some plums in the shop yesterday and suddenly had an urge to make a plum cake. We used to have a plum tree in our old house in Leeds and, until the tree died, I would make this cake every year with some of the huge glut of fruit that it produced. I forgot how good it is. The recipe is from Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries (recipe here) although I leave out the walnuts as I'm funny about nuts in cake, unless they're ground almonds, which I love. I'm going to stew the rest of the plums and have them on my porridge for breakfast. 

Talking of trees, our ornamental cherry tree, pictured above, is really not well at all. It produced hardly any blossom last spring and has been shedding leaves all summer. I think it's dying. I suspect it was planted when our house was built so it must be over forty years old, and I am told they do not live that long. We have another tree, a laurel, which needs to come down as it's growing over the boundary and into our neighbours garden and stopping them replacing their fence, so I think we need to get a tree surgeon round. I'm reluctant to be chopping down trees but luckily we are not that overlooked, there are many of trees around us anyway, and we have a really good relationship with our neighbours (who are lovely) and I want to keep it that way. Maybe I should plant a plum tree! 



25 comments:

Christina said...

Glad you are feeling better Gillian. It is perfect poncho weather here in Glasgow, if you happen to pass. I love your nascent poncho coloured christmas stocking. Not long now until it will be needed (sighing to myself). I lost my quince tree this year due to building work. I think I am going to plant an apple tree instead, apples can be stored, unlike plums. If I was living were you live, I would plant another quince tree. Sorry, I am rambling....Have a lovely Sunday. x

Isabelle Hulm said...

O boy, this is so recognisable; every single bit! All the best there, Gillian.

Life With The Crew said...

Some cozy scenes from your house Gillian. My husband treated me to the September Country Living for our recent road trip to Maine - they do have a knack for putting you in the Autumnal mood! I know what you mean about the "Poncho Window" - I have been wearing my capelet/shawl as much as possible since they really are not practical under a winter coat.

Mac n' Janet said...

When I worked I often thought I needed a wife at home and our daughter was grown. I know it must be much more stressful with young children. Glad you're feeling better.

Melody A. said...

I am sorry to hear you have been under the weather. I love your posts so however you feel you can do them is wonderful. Take care . from Iowa, USA

Jo@awholeplotoflove said...

I'm sorry you've been feeling grotty and am glad that you are feeling better. Plum trees are good to have in the garden, less damage from the birds! x

Jennifer Hays said...

I hope you're feeling back to normal soon. I've been totally out of commission for weeks now, blogging and everything else has really taken a backseat while I convalesce, help everyone else while they convalesce, and still try to keep everything else going. I really hope October brings healthier times for all of us.

CJ said...

More wood for that fire I think! And the pleasure of choosing a new tree or two. I hope you're feeling better soon. Germ are circling here, I can feel them. Two down already. CJ xx

Louise said...

Glad you are feeling better now. I hate it when I don't do my normal hours too and usual routines are gone! It's always hard getting back into it in September without doing extra! Hope October is better :)

Mereknits said...

Being sick is no fun at all, it makes being behind from a few busy weeks even worse. I hope you are feeling much better now. I think I could use a wife, too!
Meredith

Jo said...

Go tree shopping and plant a tree! Nothing is better for the soul than planting a tree, taking a photo of your kids by it and watching it grow. I love that wife phrase, that is SO true. Last week on my two home days I helped my dad on the farm on one and had a poorly child on the other and there goes the days that make all the others run smoothly. BANG! Hope you find your rhythm soon. Jo x

AnnieOBTextiles said...

Hope you are feeling much better now. A fruit tree sounds like a great replacement for the laurel or maybe even more than one! Today was a perfect day for poncho wearing here, hope you had the autumn sunshine too.

Claire@homesweethome2015 said...

That poncho is lovely can you remind me where I can get the pattern? Xx

VeggieMummy said...

Your plum cake looks delicious. Sadly, our plum tree had hardly any fruit this year. I think I may have to buy some and give that cake a whirl. I think this week may be our first lit stove of the season. We did think about it today but held off in the end. Happy poncho wearing and get well soon. xx

Catherine said...

I agree wholeheartedly with taking laurels down. We had 8, yes 8, all round the garden when we moved here. After we had them taken down the garden became light again and the birds returned.
Love the poncho with the roll neck. Where is the pattern from? If I got started now I could finish one for next year.

mrsrobinson said...

Loving the poncho wearing window! Such gorgeous autumnal photos. Do hope that you are feeling much better...

Anonymous said...

So many autumnal delights here, Gillian - Country Living (which is also one of my treats), plum cake, favourite knitwear (that poncho!), a lit woodburner, and the gorgeous autumn light. I have to confess that I thought the crochet-in-progress was a beanie until I read Christina's comment above! Hope you're on top form asap and you get time to enjoy all these lovely things. Sam xx

Librarian said...

Sorry to hear your weekend was largely head-cold-dominated... I hate having a cold and am probably one of the worst patients ever!
Planting a plum tree when the ornamental cherry and the laurel have to come down sounds like a good idea, especially looking at your plum cake :-)

It's cold enough here at nights and in the morning for me to turn the heating on in those rooms where I spend most time, but it will have to be really cold and wintery before I turn the heating on in the kitchen and the Third Room.
Lovely time of year here with the vineyards full of grapes of all colours, and the leaves turning.

Sarah said...

How exciting - a tree planting opportunity. I don't think you will miss the laurel when it's down. I had a huge laurel removed this year and it allowed so much extra light into the garden - even the grass has improved. I planted a magnolia stellata in its place with a clematis to scramble up the fence behind and lots of bulbs and hardy geraniums at its feet. If your purple-leaved prunus tree is beyond saving it would be advisable not to plant another prunus tree in its place. For blossom and Autumn fruit a crab apple is hard to beat and in a smallish garden a Sorbus (Rowan or Mountain Ash) with Autumn berries and interesting leaves could also work welll. I planted Sorbus hupehensis which has sea-green leaves and pink tinged berries now which stay on the tree until the field fares arrive from Scandinavia in January. Enjoy choosing Gillian and I'm sure some cosy poncho wearing and a slice or two of that delectable cake will have you feeling tip top soon.

cassie said...

Thank you so much for the link to the cake recipe! I've been wanting to make it ever since you posted the photo on instagram. It looks so good! Your wood stove pics always make me want one. Sigh...

Gillian Roe said...

Of course, it's available from Ravelry.http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cowl-neck-poncho-3

The Creative Academic said...

I loved reading your Autumnal post. It's turned quite chilly here tonight...I'm considering turning the heating on but am too lazy to leave the sofa! Glad you're feeling better - I hope you've been having poncho weather! That cake looks lovely. I do love Nigel Slater. His recipes are things you actually wnat to make and whilst it's cooking you can lose yourself in his writing! I'm off almonds here with the biggest girl and the nut allergy (although previously she was OK with them!) I wonder what would happen if I left them out? more butter needed? hmmm. Have a great weekend xx

sandra gilbert said...

Your photos are lovely and really evocative of Autumn :)

Penny said...

Hope you have recovered fully from your cold, a bad cold can be very debilitating. Lovely photographs as always X

Gillian Roe said...

Hi Catherine,

Sorry for the delay. The pattern is from here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cowl-neck-poncho-3
I hope you've still got long enough to make one - it's chunky yarn and quite a fast make. :-)