It’s the end of October already. I have never been as ready to hibernate for the rest of autumn and winter! I would miss all the new on hysteria surrounding the American election. I would miss dark cold wet months. I would be curled up in a little ball under my big winter duvet.
What will the rest of this year have in store? I dread to think! My fear is more shoplifting. More families going into debt because they feel obliged to spend money they don’t have. Retailers bemoaning their losses, declaring they have no choice but to close stores and make redundancies.
Whereas the real plight is of those who are losing hope, those who are overwhelmed with stress, those who are in anguish as they sense foreboding but do not know who has the solution to a diseased corrupt world political economical system.
But there are others who know what is happening and why. Still, I imagine even they have times when they would like to hibernate through what is ahead.
There is no point even trying to pretend anymore. Summer is over! Autumn has ruled here in England for over a month – rain and grey skies, sometimes blustery breezes. The temperature has fluctuated. But it is starting to become more and more chilly!
So now is the time to make extra effort to stay warm. The writing prompt from Sarah Elizabeth Moore gives me the chance to think about the best ways to warm up on a chilly Autumn night.
I have been out with Jack walking in autumnal woodland, my wellingtons and my Scarpa boots are plastered with mud. But it has been a pleasure! Nothing quite like the feeling of a warm hand holding yours and lots of lovely hugs.
I have noticed I have had to pull out warmer clothing from under my bed and swap the contents of my wardrobe. I have jumpers and woollen scarves all ready to be used through the next few months, and my big thick winter coats too.
Jack and I have eaten a lot of ready meals recently, because we have often been staying away somewhere, so we have nipped into the supermarket to find something we could heat up in the microwave or oven. But when he has stayed here at my little nest, I cooked and I baked! And I am looking forward to doing much more of that for Jack. Cold weather means lovely warming stews, casseroles and pies!
We both really like spicy food. What better way to warm up on a chilly autumn night that a big bowl of vegetarian chilli? I made some gingery biscuits for Jack a couple of days ago. I used to bake cookies all the time when we lived together, and for some reason I haven’t made biscuits for the past four years (I’ve done plenty of other baking), so it was really nice to do something that reminds me so much of our time together. You might remember that one of my first ever posts was all about the strain between Jack and I when we were living together:
It all seems so strange now. It’s hard to imagine a time when we were ever awkward and uneasy with each other.
After a walk in the woods, followed by a nice warm meal, there is nothing nicer than relaxing for the rest of the evening together. We have had the chance for plenty of talking. We have been doing lots of normal boring things (it’s only boring to do normal things if you don’t do other interesting things. But normal things are very welcome when your mind and body are normally occupied with all sorts of other activity). It feels so good to chillax together, lots of talk, a little music, a little television, cards, games, more talking. So nice!
The perfect end to a cold day is to get an early night. Nothing like a cosy bed with lots of covers to help you fall into a deep and sweet sleep. I would recommend making sure you have a gorgeous human hot water bottle to snuggle up to.
Of course the very best way to warm up on a chilli autumn night also includes things you can only do with your beloved…but as this is supposed to be a family friendly blog, I won’t go into any detail. But Jack is making sure I stay very warm this autumn.
Just in case you are not familiar with this blogging award, here is a reminder of the rules that come with it:
• Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to them – thanks Jane!
• Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
• Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
• Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts.
• List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post.
Jane’s questions to her nominees:
01. What are you currently reading right now and are you enjoying it?
Recently, I bought two books from Amazon that were written by Teresa. The first I loved…and I am working on a book review (I have not attempted a book review since I was at high school so it is taking me ages to perfect it).
I have just started reading the second book I bought “Life In River Hollow” and yes, I certainly am enjoying it. I absolutely love Teresa’s flash fiction. I think she is a huge talent and I wish her every success in her writing. She seems to be an endless fountain of ideas and I love the twists she consistently throws in to her short stories.
02. On average about how many books do you read a year?
That has changed a lot. I was working in healthcare and I had to read a huge amount of training books and manuals to keep myself updated. I had to keep a record of my reading and I still have it. Here is a friendly looking training booklet. A lot of what I have read was rather grim.
I am going to go and count how many medical books I read in the twenty months I worked directly with patients in healthcare in a role where I had to offer advice on minor ailments and lifestyle habits. Right I have just counted – I read 176 medical training books and manuals in twenty months. Sigh!
Because of all the reading for work I had to wade through, my reading for pleasure dwindled, but for pleasure I have read the classics “Heidi” (Johanna Spyri), “Persuasion” (Jane Austen) and “Howard’s End” (E. M. Forster) and also “Me Before You” (JoJo Moyes) in the past year.
03. When was the last time you sent a handwritten letter in the mail?
I still do so regularly. I write handwritten letters to family, friends and Goldfinch. The last handwritten letter I posted was on Thursday.
Although I do use e-mail a lot (especially for family and friends who live in other lands) I love a hand-written letter.
04. Do you know how to write and read in cursive?
Yes…I love cursive handwriting. Reading and writing in it.
I loved that at school I recognized everyone’s handwriting. When I receive a letter in the post, I can usually tell by the way they have written my name and the postal address I use, who has sent it to me.
05. How do you feel about schools having stopped teaching cursive?
I did not realize that schools have stopped teaching cursive. Is that in America? I can’t imagine children in England not learning cursive or joined up handwriting. But I guess some may feel it is no longer necessary in this modern technological era.
06. What is your favourite holiday?
My brother-in-law’s family try to have a massive family get-together once a year. They have it in the summer and have a BBQ and massive buffet feast. There are sports, games to include everyone (all ages) and lots of laughing. Bear in mind there are at least one hundred of them.
Overhead view of family and friends at a garden party having food and drinks.
Extended family playing with hula hoops on a sunny day
Other than weddings and funerals, it’s the only time the entire tribe can be together at the same time. Milly says they call it Family Day. I think it is a fabulous idea. I have only been there for it twice and had so much fun. I loved the chance to get to know members of my brother-in-law’s family I had not met before.
That is what holidays are all about – being with those you love. Being able to relax and have fun and enjoy lovely food together.
07. Do you have any fun Halloween traditions?
No, none at all. I have nothing to do with it.
I have heard that it tends to be fairly popular in the the USA. It is still not that popular in England compared to some other holidays. Throughout my school years there was no mention of it. The first I heard of it was when I lived in an area where there are lot of stone circles and a henge. But it was not observed the way I think it is in America. There was a very different atmosphere.
At one stage when I was living in a town with lots of families, I was shocked at how many front doors were covered with eggs. flour, paint, soil the day after Halloween. One year some youths demolished all of the drain pipes on the terraces houses in one street and vandalised every single car. There was a community project to build a flower garden for people to go and relax in. One Halloween a gang completely destroyed it, trampling all the plants and setting fire to the benches. When I lived in that town, I decided to just go away for a holiday to escape the terror. It was too disturbing.
What was heart breaking was how many cats and other animals were mutilated on Halloween. One year the local newspaper reported the remains of forty cats who had clearly met their demise by human hand were found. The police said some of what they found appeared to be some kind of “sacrifice”, which is one of the practices I saw evidence of in that town. My sister keeps her cat indoors for a whole week because during “Bonfire Night” or “Guy Fawkes Night” which is a few days after Halloween, some kids would try to attach a firework to cat’s tails. The photo here is of one of the cats that sadly did not survive the cruelty of some thugs who tied a firework to it’s tail.
I find all sorts of cultures and traditions fascinating, but Halloween has had me baffled since I realized what goes on that night. I don’t understand how people could be so cruel. I just don’t understand Halloween. Neither the encyclopedia explanation of how it originated nor the acts of terror carried out against people. The only tradition I have had is helping older neighbours to clean up all the mess the day after Halloween and debating what to report to the police.
I can only guess that America celebrate some kind of Disney-fied version of Halloween because otherwise how could it be so popular? Unless you don’t like cats or your neighbours? I am guessing Halloween in America is all candy and pie and “harmless fun” and fancy dress parties and watching creepy movies. That is not what I have seen of it in the areas it is popular here. I think that is what retail chains are trying to promote. That just about sums up a lot of holidays now…a big commercial bonanza.
08. Tell me one random fact about you that others may find odd.
I love ironing! Love it!
Ironing is not just a chore to me, I actually look forward to it and enjoy it. I feel a great sense of calm descend over me and find instant satisfaction in it. I love all cleaning and house-keeping tasks really. But ironing is my favourite.
09. Have you ever given advice to someone else that you did not follow yourself?
Probably…let me think about this one.
Hmm…how about don’t go to the park on your own…!!! Yikes! I mean how many times have I lectured friends when they have first moved to London on their personal security? Then I completely lost my senses and put myself in a dangerous situation…and well, as I have mentioned on numerous occasions, I woke up the next morning in an ambulance on my way to hospital!
10. What is your favourite activity in the fall season?
I guess walking in the woods with friends (especially Goldfinch) and seeing the pretty colours of the trees and then after being outside in the crisp air, heading back somewhere warm for a huge cuppa and some hot buttered toast….if it is really chilly, throw in a steaming hot bowl of soup – yum!
11. What kind of music do you enjoy listening to the most?
Oh deary…how hard to answer that question. My taste in music is very diverse. Because I am so in love with the adorable Goldfinch, I love listening to love songs.
I think if I had to pick my favourites to listen to…it would be a mix between the crème de la crème of karaoke crooners from the sixties mainly and movie soundtracks. Here is one that I have had in my head all day and I am loving it!
My questions for my nominees:
(A lot of my questions are food orientated, because I am hungry! I have not eaten because I am on my way to a ceilidh tonight and will be dancing for the rest of the night!)
WHAT IS YOUR OWN FAVOURITE POST FROM YOUR SITE OR THE ONE YOU WOULD RECOMMEND READERS CHECK OUT FIRST?
COULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM CAKE?
IF YOU COULD INVITE ANYONE ROUND FOR DINNER – WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE TIPPLE?
DO YOUR FRIENDS KNOW ABOUT YOUR BLOG SITE?
DO YOU EVER FEEL DISCOURAGED ABOUT BLOGGING? WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOURSELF MOTIVATED?
WHAT IS YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING MEMORY OR EXPERIENCE?
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE CELEBRITY CHEF OR BAKER?
ARE YOU A VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN, AND IF SO, HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN SO?
WHEN YOU HAVE TIME WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BREAKFAST?
IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE PERFECT DAY – WHERE WOULD IT BE? WHO WOULD YOU BE WITH? WHAT WOULD YOU EAT? (That is several questions rolled into one – but we would love to know what would make a perfect day to you.)