Sunday, 23 October 2011

Ringing the Changes

Today, a rare thing happened. I had a bit of free time... and nothing pressing to fill it. I had done my editing, cleaning and illustrations, and had an afternoon free of prior engagements. At first I was at a bit of a loss. What is one to do in these situations? I racked my brain as I pottered about at a decidedly loose end for an hour before I came up with my master plan. I would go for a walk. Not some 8 mile hike around Hampstead Heath or anything, but a potter down Stroud Green Road. Last time I had been in the area, I had found a shop with a few potential Christmas gifts in stock, and it was en route to a rather lovely boulangerie and the Finsbury Park Cycling Shop – both establishments that I was keen to visit, even if for very different reasons.
So, I threw on my hoodie and set off. Sadly, the gift shop I had set my sites on was closed, as was my local bike shop, but, thankfully, I was able to purchase the slice of carrot cake I was really hankering after. Not fancying sitting in the cafe on my own, I headed over to the park and found a spot underneath an amber and gold-leafed tree to sit and enjoy my Sunday afternoon treat.
It was perfect. A drumming group provided the soundtrack from the nearby arts centre, squirrels provided me with an entertaining display of acrobatics and, despite my close proximity to Seven Sisters Road, the air was sweet with freshly cut grass. My cake wasn’t bad, either.
Wrapped up in my fleece-lined top, I was decidedly content. More content than I have felt for ages. Maybe I was just well overdue some good old-fashioned me-time, or maybe it was the brightness of a crisp autumn day that had left me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. You see, I love autumn. In fairness, at the beginning of every season I tend to say the same thing, but I really think autumn ticks all the right boxes. And this week, it was well and truly here.
On Wednesday, it started. First, my woolly hat made its first appearance for well over six months. Secondly, my first cold of the season hit before I even had a chance to get my flu jab. On Friday I was forced to admit defeat and picked my remaining green tomatoes and covered the strawberry plants on my terrace with old net curtains to protect them from the perils of the coming months.
Then there are the shops. I admit it, when I see a nice Christmas gift now, I buy it. Okay, so it’s only October, but I am desperate to be a bit more organised this year. More scarily though, is the realisation that Halloween, Guy Fawkes Night and (eek!) my birthday are all less than three weeks away. The surplus of pumpkins and display cabinets of rockets can no longer be sniffed at with contempt. Autumn is here. And winter is lurking just around the corner.
So, if you’ll excuse me, I have a Lemsip to make, the heating to put on and birthday party to organise. Not to mention a Yuletide game-plan to work out. But the best thing about this turning point in the season? Yesterday, I had my first Gingerbread Latte of the year.
What’s not to like.

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