As we take the first breath of fresh air after a sticky and stifling summer, the prospect of autumn – that ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ has rarely been more welcome. Crisp mornings, leafy lanes, cockle warming casseroles and open fires all beckon invitingly.
But just as you weather the summer’s heat with sunscreen, salads and iced drinks, autumn makes its own demands, and here again preparation is the key. With that in mind we offer some tips for savouring its pleasures and surviving its rigours.
Kicking through the leaves in Hatfield or Epping Forest is a not-to-missed seasonal treat – especially with the trees in a blaze of autumnal colours from pale yellows and bright oranges to dusky ochres and ruby reds. Wrap up warm in sweaters and scarves and invest in pair of stout brogues or Doc Martens. The crisp air will give you an appetite for a pie-and-pint lunch at the local pub!
They say autumn is a season of ‘mellow fruitfulness’, because now is the time – if you have a vegetable patch or fruit trees – that the harvest comes due and there’s plenty to do lifting spuds and picking apples. Or if you’re a flower person you’ll be kept busy pruning and cutting back plants or covering and bringing them indoors to make sure everything comes up lovely next spring.
If you’ve got fresh fruit and veg to freeze, pack or pickle so much the better. If not, now’s the time to stock up with tinned and frozen foods for the days when the weather closes in and you don’t want to venture out. And don’t forget to lay in a stock of honey, lemon, ginger – and maybe a bottle of whisky to see off those winter colds and chills.
If summer is about sunbathing, beach cricket and barbeques, autumn is for board games, box sets, parties and pastimes. Take up knitting, pick a few chords on your guitar, settle back with a good book or open a bottle of wine and watch Casablanca for the umpteenth time. Having said that, Netflix has upped its game with a whole new library of films and TV shows to catch up on.
Well you knew we’d get to the boring – but essential – bit sooner or later, didn’t you? But if you think about it having hot baths and a cosy, centrally heated home is the ultimate luxury in the autumn and winter months. Prepare for them now with a boiler service or upgrade from Harpers. An efficient boiler not only ensures against breakdown, but offers real energy savings.