Taken in and around Barnes
'Autumn days, when the grass is jewelled
And the silk inside a chestnut shell
Jet planes meeting in the air to be refuelled
All these things I love so well
So I mustn’t forget
No, I mustn’t forget
To say a great big thank you
I mustn’t forget.' Estelle White
I love the lyrics to this hymn which I first heard when I sang in choir at primary school. Having only ever known the first verse, it always comes back to me in October when I am reminded of the beautiful autumnal leaves, however I've only just discovered that the first line is Autumn days not Autumn leaves! The leaves are particularly stunning this year as the sunny weather has let them change gradually over time, maturing and deepening the colours on display. I love the array of hues as they turn and change. Walking through parks, you can see various varieties of trees making splashes of paint over the landscape. Inches of rainbow carpet pile up beneath your feet, looking as if an artist has splashed his palette over the floor and created a magical carpet. Russets, magentas, deep yellows and vibrant purples compose a seasonal rainbow. As the lyrics above remind us, we mustn't forget to be thankful for all the beauty around us and take it for granted but enjoy the Autumnal spectacle while it lasts.
The Cobweb Tree
Taken on Barnes Common
As Halloween approaches and we get close to the darker winter months, shop windows shine with artificial light and are filled with miles of fake spiders web, strings of lanterns and the odd carved pumpkin. However darker nights often mean brighter mornings which are filled with dancing sunlight and frosted grass. At this time of year, spiders seem to become particularly busy decorating, as garden gates and branches are covered with their ornate designs. One morning on Barnes Common, I came across a short tree covered from head to toe in glistening web. It was magical as the sun chose which designs were visible. The dew made the cobwebs look like strings of fairy lights. Halloween decoration can add some magic inside, but I think that the magic of the natural world is altogether more spell-binding.
Taken at Morecambe Bay, Lancashire
Autumn's colour palette is traditionally warm. Burnished tones set trees alight and fire the ever duller skies. Yellow leaves brighten the twilight and fallen leaves crackle under your feet. By the sea it's a different story. Coasts are beginning to be battered by the first wave of encroaching winter weather and the colours of the seascape are colder. When we visited Morecambe Bay, the air was deliciously brisk and clear. Blue sky reflected off the sea, tinting the light blue. Sun caught the waves and crusted them with crystal as rugged grey rocks protected the bay. Everywhere felt clear and clean as if it had been scrubbed down ready for the start of winter.
The Life-cycle of Halloween Pumpkins
At this time of year, pumpkins cover the supermarket shelves in different shades of orange, all shapes and sizes. And as clocks go back, carving a bright pumpkin can improve anyone's mood as the nights grow darker. As you cut off the lid, you discover the internal organs in all their disgustingly squishy glory. Then playing 'surgeon' you extract the seedy and stringy stomach, covering all available surfaces in stringy orange thread. Finally you get to the juicy flesh and scoop it out with a spoon till the sides are smooth and ready to be carved. Then you have the fun of designing something too difficult and cursing the knife that cuts the wrong way and ruins your masterpiece. The crowning glory is when you light it with as many tea lights as you can muster and enjoy the soft glow. However, my favourite part is yet to come - delving into a large portion of pumpkin pie, which finishes the life cycle off nicely.
The Colours of Autumn