Village Life and a Touch of Autumn


A couple of days ago I was chatting with fellow blogger, Lynn – from Lynz Real Cooking – about the lovely colours of Fall. Lynn suggested I do another post about the village in which I live and show what the autumn lanes looked like. The lady on the horse, above, is a neighbour and retired teacher, like me. There are so many people with horses in this village, and the clatter of hooves is a common sound. (Nothing to do with autumn – just part of village life.)


As you can see, much of the landscape around our village is holding on well to its summer green. The trees are turning gold, some species more so than others, as to be expected. But the good old oaks, always the last to give way, are still pretty green, whereas most of the ash trees are bright yellow.  Deep amber, horse-chestnut leaves also litter the ground, with shiny conkers amongst them:


Most of the berries that filled the hedgerows a month ago are now becoming wizened; only the hawthorne berries (haws) still bright red. Haws can usually be seen well into winter, as the birds don’t seem to like them much, and only eat them when all the juicier fruits have been devoured.

The photos below show a mix of lanes, hedgerows and trees, in varying states of ‘browning’. We have little of the blazing red colours common to parts of North America, so our colours tend to be a mix of golds, ambers and browns, with the deeper red of the odd copper beech here and there. We do have the occasional red maple, and they make a wonderfully bright splash aamongst the rest. Many of the fields are now sprouting spring wheat or barley, ready to grow with all haste once the winter’s done:


Here are a few more photos from my walk down the lanes immediately round our house…

And here’s a selection of views from around the village. We have a mix of houses – old and new – some dating back a few hundred years. The church of Saint Helena dates back to the 11th century and old telephone box is definitely past its sell-by date, but there’s still a useable phone in there. I’ve never seen anyone using it, so whether it actually works is anyone’s guess. The dovecote is a rare old thing, too, built in the 13th century (last picture). The amusing name of Washtub Lane has two possible origins, both related to a farmhouse once located there. The name could refer to the lines of washing hanging at the farm, or to the big tubs standing there,  for washing leather and tannery.

Well, that’s it until winter comes along and I can take some frosty pictures, if not snowy ones.  Next Saturday the clocks go back in the U.K. and the dark nights will descend earlier and earlier. Now that is a really depressing thought. 😦

Misty Moisty Mornings And Spiders’ Webs

008 Spider' webs 1

This past week we’ve seen many signs that autumn is nudging its way in and summer is gracefully retreating (not that summer this year was anything worth holding on to!). Much of the U.K. presently has a high pressure hovering over it. Skies have been quite clear rendering night-time temperatures low and giving us mornings of ‘misty moisty’ wonder (depending on your point of view on those, of course).

For anyone unfamiliar with the phrase ‘Misty Moisty Morning’, it’s from an old nursery rhyme:

One Misty Moisty Morning

One misty, moisty morning,
When cloudy was the weather,
There I met an old man
All clothed in leather,
All clothed in leather,
With a cap under his chin.
How do you do?
And how do you do?
And how do you do again?

All I can find out about the origin of this rhyme is that it’s based a traditional English poem with several verses. Here’s the first verse of another version:

One misty moisty morning, when cloudy was the weather,
I chanced to meet an old man a-clothèd all in leather.
He was clothèd all in leather, with a cap beneath his chin,
Singing ‘How d’ye do and how d’ye do and how d’ye do again’.

On Monday morning, when I was out on my walk I took some photos of the village and surrounding fields and lanes. Here’s a few from the lanes, giving lots of glimpses of autumn. The hedgerows were bursting with hawthorn and elderberries, sloes and rose hips, and the leaves on trees were turning really golden. I got a close-up of some conkers too. Some of the fields were still golden with stubble, others had already been ploughed and disked.

I also took some photos around the village on my way back. There are some quaint old buildings and interesting gates – and the church dates back to medieval times.

Well, that’s all about autumn for now. I was supposed to be doing my WOW post, but thought I’d just do this one while it was on my mind.  Who can ignore the “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”? It certainly inspired Keats to wax lyrical bout it . . .

Besides, I rather like spiders – except when they completely cover my washing line with their webs.  🙂

004 Spiders' webs 2


A Winter Walk


We actually had some snow on Boxing Day. The first flakes began to fall in the early evening – very large ones – and within a short while the ground was white. I don’t know at what time it stopped but it had eased off by the time we went to bed and we’ve had no falls since.

I know that what we’ve had here this year is nothing compared to what you people in the U.S.A. and Canada have had for weeks. Most likely other parts of Northern Europe have been the same. In England, the particular fall we had around Lincoln seems to have been limited to more southerly regions, further north having escaped it this time round. The lanes around our house have been really icy, even those which carry traffic, because the gritting lorries don’t come out to most villages. And ours is a very small village, consisting of only eighty houses, a church and an old hall – although it’s no longer owned by local ‘gentry’.

Now we have ‘the freeze’. The two days since the snowfall have been very cold, with night-time temperatures dropping well below freezing. Of course it’s been nothing like the temperatures of 2010, which really was ‘The Big Freeze’. Then, -17°C was the norm for weeks. But when I went out for my walk at nine this morning it was still only -3°, which seemed pretty cold to me.

I was attempting to take a few photos along my route, but my hands were so cold I knew before I even looked at them, they’d be abysmal. I’m no photographer, even when my hands are warm! I leave all that to one of my daughters, who is excellent and well experienced at it. I usually stand out of the way and let her get on with it. But I was on my own today. Anyway, here are a few of them:

The ‘header’ picture is of our little village church, St. Helena’s, which is a Grade 1 listed building, dating back to the eleventh century. It is a little more than a hundred yards from our house. I must add that this is a very limited view of it, taken from the lane as I passed this morning.

I took lots more photos, of course, but many are very similar in outlook and I don’t want to bore anyone to death. So I’ll leave it at that. No doubt I’ll get the big critique from my daughter, Louise, when she sees them. But I just wanted to show the frozen landscape and how pretty it looked. The sky was so blue and the snow and ice glistened in the sun. It was very slippery underfoot in places, but then, I rarely keep to ‘the beaten track’. Even though the sun was out, it had done little to raise the temperature and melt the pockets of ice along the lanes.

It will soon be 2015 and I’m not sure whether I’ll post again this year. So I’ll just wish everyone a very Happy New Year now. May the year be a good one for you all.