Puddle in the forest

Every year I brace myself for November. Always hectic, it’s the month to keep your head down and just get on with it, whatever your ‘it’ happens to be. I’ve been filling up plenty of notebooks this month. Pen and paper and a million lists. I’ve been finding my feet and plunging in to new business challenges. I’ve been doodling, talking and singing. All the typing done has been for reports, plans or miscellaneous paperwork.

Looking up at trees

So, Hello blog, quiet little corner that reminds me where my heart lies: in those swaying branches high above my head, standing deep in the forest, with the dog at my feet, amongst the wind and bundled leaves. When we take that sharp turn down the hill on our quick lunchtime route, I finally remember to breathe.

Yesterday we escaped in to the last of the day, right after the dark skies had swept through and left behind some late pink light. A few trees were felled in the storm, so we scrambled over the bark’s wet moss and ducked below smooth old twigs. As usual, the dog handled it far more gracefully than I.

Spider web

Holed up in my office, on these rainy days, I’ve become a ridiculous fan of white noise (wind/rain/chatter). I’m terrible at paying attention amidst any background distraction (unless in a coffee shop, of course). The white noise feels like focus over distraction and, more crucially, stops Rolo from barking at random happenings outside. When I’m not filling up on white noise, I’ve been listening toHighasakite, The Jezabels, and Beth Ditto.

Wednesdays have become the beginning of our ‘weekendlet’: a little break midweek. Tom now doesn’t teach on Thursdays, so we steal a lie-in and drink coffee over books like there’s no work round the corner. It’s funny how even a couple extra hours in the middle of the week feels like this beautiful, precious, elusive thing. Hard won, but worth the fight. So, here I am, grabbing a moment of calm in the storm that is November, just to remind myself how sweet it feels to take a moment and simply write.

Dew on grass

Early Autumn


September has heralded in the most perfect autumn days. Suddenly there’s mist in the morning, defusing the light and giving the bark on the pine trees a pink glow. It’s chilly enough to warrant some knitting, or at least to go home and browse patterns.

We hold the sun’s warmth on still afternoons with barely a breeze, dozing under old oak trees. The twigs feel snappier under foot, everything a little dried out, having spent its summer sap.

Before too long, I’ll be lighting the first fire and choosing some fat historical novel to read. Any suggestions?

That Familiar Feeling

The sun through wild grass

We’ve had such a good summer of sunshine and adventures, and now September has brought with it the full force of autumn loveliness. My road to work is covered in fallen leaves and the broad avenues are shifting to a palette of auburn and gold.

It’s a world away from lazy California days, but it feels good to be back. Good to be reacquainting myself with these familiar roads, this beautiful stretch of sea and this welcome dip in the armchair.

Sea at Gurnard

September is always a flurry of newness round here. With so many of my family members working an academic calendar, in August it can often feel like I’m the only person using an alarm clock!

We’re adjusting to the new timetable, the dark morning starts, and the accelerating pace. I’m busy at home making plans for my new business. It’s a whole new world of legalities and processes: companies house, tax returns, business insurance. It can be intimidating at times, but the pure excitement of it all keeps the fear at bay.

With so much newness, I’m happy to be on my old home turf: an anchor amidst all this change, reminding me why I love to call this place home.

Seagull with union jack flag in the background


Picking Sloes

Cluster of sloe berries on a branch

Tom found a blackthorn bush on his run yesterday, laden with sloes ripe for the picking.  So we returned today, eager to fill a box.  I’ve heard mention of sloe gin before, but it wasn’t until Tom was given a bottle for Christmas last year that I realised what all the fuss was about.  A sweet, red liqueur with a warm burn just perfect to be sipped by the fire in December.  Sloes are a beautiful berry, far more satisfying to pick than blackberries as they don’t crumble in your hands, and there seems an abundance of them on each bush.

Bryony reaching up high for sloe berries

Close-up of picking sloe berries

Beyond the grunting of pigs in the field behind, the countryside was quiet.  It seems noone really uses this path, so we were free to pick in piece.  On such a grey day, this, our first sloe-picking expedition, was the perfect excuse for some outdoor time before the rain set in.  Now we just need to turn this box of beautiful dusty purple fruit in to some winter liqueur worthy of its fine reputation.

Close up of collected sloe berries

Bryony walking home with sloe berries

Knitting for the Chill

Three conkers in Bryony's hand

There is a distinct snap in the air today: a chilly wind and an almost-frost.  I finished these mitts off in the nick of time.  This pair have been hanging around on the needles since last winter (after all, who wants to knit something they’ll have no reason to wear in the heat of summer?) so I only had one cuff and a thumb to polish off in time for the October chill.

I abandoned the pattern after I decided I had to use this tweed yarn that was much skinnier than what was advised.  So they’re a little tight, and the thumbs spent last night being stretched out by a carrot.  Not a very stylish beginning, but these are everyday gloves- perfect for chucking on when it’s chilly, with no delusions of grandeur.  I’d really love to knit some fair isle but for now my fumbling fingers will have to settle for standard stripes.  I am revelling in some chilly days and a excuse to wear a newly finished project.