I've Fallen for Autumn
Apparently I'm a little obsessed with this time of year...
I don't know about you, but this time of year makes me come over all wistful and longing for cosy knit jumpers and hot chocolate, whilst looking enviously across at our American cousins (on Instagram, obvs) and wondering how they manage to do this time of year so fricking well.
I love this season so much that I always build it into some kind of whimsical Hallmark movie in my head and am bitterly disappointed when all my fall dreams fail to materialise. I’m dreaming of wrapping up in scarves and bobble hats as we make our way through a sea of crunchy fallen leaves in local woodland, on our way to a pumpkin patch where we jokingly chase each other into piles of raked up dried leaves. Oh how we'd laugh… Sure, we have the glorious British countryside, harbouring swathes of trees, bursting into every shade of orange and russet as the daylight hours dwindle. And there are those perfect autumnal days when those trees are framed by beautiful blue skies, a low golden sun bathes the land in light and there's a slight nip in the air that makes you long for roaring open fires in a countryside pub, where you can sip a glass of red wine that warms your cockles. (Hmmmm, maybe I have gone full on Hallmark with that description). But let’s be honest, we have approximately 4 days a year when the planets align and this type of day occurs. The reality of the situation is that for 95% of a British autumn, it will be cold, grey and wet. And those glorious multi-coloured leaves will end up as a nightmarish excuse for why our sodding trains aren’t running on time.
But hang on, this post is supposed to be expressing my love for this time of year, not recounting various British autumn fails. So am changing course and am going to go all in with some hard love for fall and share my favourite autumnal things. And yes, I don’t care what you think - I like the word “fall” and I’m bloody well going to use it.
Pumpkin patches - essentially children running round a field littered with gourds all shapes and sizes as you consider what exactly you’re going to make with the three dozen squashes you’ve collected in your wheelbarrow (how much soup is too much soup exactly?). All whilst dodging Instagram influencers who are draped over a random bathtub prop, jammed packed with pumpkins.
Hayrides - ok, so I've never been on one, but I’m lead to believe by Americans that they are very cute, and provide opportunities for teenagers to have a cheeky snog (or maybe that's just in an episode of Bob's Burgers). The moment I find a willing farmer with a trailer, combine harvester or at the very least a tractor, I will be jumping on and demanding a tour of their corn fields (that’s what every farmer grows, right?)
Plaid flannel shirts - I’m a lumberjack and I don’t care
PSL - or pumpkin spiced latte for those not in the know (got to be honest with this one, it’s not my favourite. Am a straightforward skinny americano kinda girl myself, but I’m willing to be a champion of this drink for the autumnal cause).
Spiced apple cider - Pimm’s warmer, spicier cousin. Perfect if you want an alternative to all that red wine you’ve (I've) been glugging
Chunky knits - anything knitted. Jumpers, scarves, hats, willy warmers - you name it, if you can cover it in wool, I’m here for it.
Chutney making - this one might just be me, but lurrrrvvvvee getting my jam on in the kitchen. Because this gives me an excuse to buy exotic cheeses to go with the chutney. And eat the cheese. Eat it all. All winter long.
Pumpkins - have I mentioned these yet? In this case, not the eating kind, but the various ceramic, plastic, raffia, concrete and velvet ones I’ve collected over the years to decorate my house like I’ve got some kind of gourdy fetish (the irony of the situation is that with lockdown, it’s only me, the OH and two very uninterested cats who get to appreciate them).
Halloween. Oh of course Halloween.
Ok, I'm going to say it. I bloody love Halloween. I love pretty much everything about it. To be honest, they way I’m utterly obsessed with it - and everything else I've mentioned so far - I’m pretty sure I should have been born in America.
I go all in when it comes to All Hallows’ Eve. Events are attended (the immersive Zombie apocalypse in a deserted factory in East London a few years back being one of the best I’ve ever gone to. We’re off for a ghost tour of St Albans Cathedral this year - I’m guessing there’ll be less of living dead lurking about the place that night). My house gets decorated, pretty much from top to bottom - and ideally with a different theme each year (my bank account is crying at the memories of all the props I’ve invested in over the years). Halloween themed dinner parties are held, spooky accessories are worn (I have a disproportionate amount of cat ear headbands), huge tubs of sweets are mounted on my scary prop butler stood by the front door and pumpkins are carved. All for one night.
I think it should be mandatory for everyone to attend at least one fancy dress Halloween party each year. And I’m expecting serious effort people. I’ve had the pleasure of attending some great parties over the years, some with very questionable outfit choices. Most where an excessive amount of alcohol has been consumed, and one where we spent hours preparing for the event by injecting alcohol into sweets (side note, jelly babies hold up well to this torture, marshmallows - not so much).
There’s no parties this year (booooooo), but having taken a COVID enforced break last year, the front of my house is definitely getting a makeover to celebrate spooky season. No graveyards for me - no, this year it’s a lunatic asylum, complete with barred windows, desperate bloody hands reaching out from a large grate in the ground, an ominous looking dude in a straight jacket and Hannibal Lector mask (disappointed that I had to settle for a Trump head for that dummy and not the Boris Johnson one I was really looking for). All topped off with a small girl mannequin in pyjamas, rocking back and forth on my doorstep, looking like something out of the The Ring. (Ok, maybe the rocking piece is a bit too much for me to achieve). I’m not just looking to scare the local kids, I’m going to be making sure they never sleep again...
Oh, and of course, there'll be the mandatory pumpkin sitting on the doorstep. One that I will have mangled as I've tried to carve an intricate design into it and will have given up halfway through. I mean, I've got to do something the car boot full of the things that I have dragged back from that blessed pumpkin patch...