It Is October..... A List

Monday, October 3, 2011

It Is October

It is a gift foretold by a whistle of wind.
Arriving on my doorstep, wrapped up in the velvet of moss.
I loosen its ribbon of sunlight and like Pandora before me, slowly and carefully I open the box. On a wave of woodland laughter, it flies past me like desire - all its apple-scented orangeness, full moon mystery, azure blue - sailing up to the treetops and in through my windows like the breath of new life. And it changes everything. The food that I cook, the clothes that I wear, my music, my outlook, my plans - all now are painted with its technicolour brush.
It is an occurrence as dependable as dawn, and yet, every year, I am always surprised.
It is the answer to all the questions I had not yet asked.
It is October.
A list for this most luscious of months......

1. Country House Weekends
I have always loved descriptions in literature of the English Country House Weekend. You know what I mean.... friends gather at a sublimely situated house in the bucolic countryside, usually in the autumn, bringing along elegantly weathered suitcases full of tweedy garments, riding boots, and lilac-coloured cashmere shawls. There are always glasses of sherry and appropriately atmospheric books sitting beside the four-poster beds, and oak fires roar under mantels of stone. Dinners are long and lavish, lunch is served in the old stone folly somewhere on the grounds and Jack Russells and Spaniels abound. Of course, in books, someone usually ends up dead in the library, knocked into eternity by a candlestick wielded by the most unlikely suspect. But no matter. In a couple of weeks, The Songwriter and I are heading off to join friends at their sublimely situated house in Maine, and I cannot wait, especially as a murder isn’t expected to be on the menu. I’m thinking these are the perfect accoutrements for such an excursion....
The perfect country weekend bag....

Find it HERE

The perfect country weekend coat....

Find it HERE

The perfect bedside book....

I just re-read this for my classics book club. What a treat!
Check it out HERE


2. Knitting
Like most knitters, my needles are flashing all year long. Christmas presents are often being knitted in June. But also like most knitters, I really get going when the weather cools. Chilly, windy October nights are simply made for a knitter. A cup of something hot in the perfect mug, and a challenging pattern to keep your interest... heaven.

The Perfect Mug for a Knitter....

Find it
and The Perfect Hat Pattern....
(which just happens to have been written by my very own knitting teacher!)

Find it
And the perfect place to keep those needles....
Aren’t these charming?

You can make a set of your own from the pattern


3. Gourds
Several days ago I ventured into my local farmer’s market to buy some late season peaches and early season apples. I was happily filling my cart when I turned to the left and saw them. Gourds! Like fruit from an alien planet, strange and curious in both shape and colour, they were piled up on tables and boxes, tumbling over one another in a tantalizing display. Potbellied turbans the colour of fire. Ten Commandment gourds, twisted and overgrown, like the beckoning finger of an October witch. I was enchanted. As I began to fill up my basket with as many as it would hold, I became aware of someone standing quite close to my shoulder. Turning around, I spied an immaculately coiffed older lady watching my every move with interest.
“Might I ask”, she ventured, “what exactly are you planning to do with these?
As I began to tell her that I make a sort of witch’s garden every autumn... wrinkly purple cabbages and orange pansies, gazing balls and pumpkins... her eyes grew wider and wider. “Walkers, runners, and especially children love to pass by it every day”, I said.
She stood there a moment, staring at the gourds in my basket and sighed,Ah, you’re one of those creative types, aren’t you?
I hurriedly went on... “But you could also decorate for a dinner party with these. Just imagine them all lined up down the center of the table!”
The penny dropped. You could see it in her eyes, and I left her there loading up a cart of her own with these fabulous autumnal treasures, no doubt planning a dinner party in her head as she did so. Look for these wonders in your farmer’s market now. They really are so much fun.


4. Woodland Gardens
For years my back garden has wanted to return to the forest it was before we moved in. The old trees do not want a lawn, they will not accept roses, and they make certain we never attempt such affronts by blanketing all they survey with the shadows of shade. They will, however, tolerate hydrangeas, animals and whimsy.
So at the end of a pathway under the trees sits a frog. Not just any frog, mind you. This chap is made of copper, is as tall as a man and he’s sitting on a stone toadstool, reading a book. He’s a magical sight in any season of the year, but especially when the leaves on those old trees begin to change all around him. For some reason, he looks especially contented just then.
I realize gardens are generally expected to be best appreciated in summer when blooms are at their most riotous. But I dearly love woodland gardens in autumn. Truly enchanted places. Is it any wonder forests and woodlands are so ubiquitous in fairy stories?
I’d love to create something just like this in mine.

You can visit this glorious lady yourself, HERE.


5. Chilly Mornings
Better than any meteorologist, Edward can always be relied upon to let us know the very first morning the weather changes. Bounding, jumping, his fur puffed out like a fat, white chrysanthemum - you’ve never seen a happier dog. I share his love of these colder mornings when the air is clear as a goblet of crystal and I have to reach for a warm dressing gown when I climb out of my bed. Coffee smells like perfume on mornings like this. I love to linger over a beautifully set breakfast table, reading papers, writing letters......
I’d love to stumble to the breakfast table in this exquisite dressing gown.
And it even has a hood!
Be still my heart.

Find it HERE.
Aren’t these plates amazing?....
I can just see them on my October breakfast table,
maybe with some of those gourds here and there,
and bouquets of orange mums at every place setting?

Find them HERE.
And, I’d pour my tea from this charming autumnal teapot...

Find it HERE
Yes, I do still write letters by hand.
And I have a childish fascination with stamps.
A little bit of art on an envelope of white.
I’d so love to be in Britain just now to get my hands on these wonderful William Morris stamps!
Aren't they gorgeous?

See more HERE


So many more things to list here....
would anyone mind if I perhaps added more favourites mid-month?