This morning Mr S brought me a bouquet of cabbages. Well it is Halloween, and cabbages are a lot more seasonal at this time of year than roses. They are actually beautiful – green and pink and white – and are sitting proudly in a vase beside the fire.
I love this time of year. Rather like at bluebell time, Mr S and I go hunting round Dorset for the best crop of colours beneath the trees. In the morning we went to Duncliff, where we found a toadstool circle in the middle of the wood – surely a portent today of all days. Then, late in the afternoon we walked from our front door across the fields to a copse of beech and sycamore trees. The last of the evening light filtered through the leaves and turned the ground beneath gold – it was as if we crunched through sunlight.
Days like today are so English: the smell of woodsmoke as we return to the cottage, short autumn days, eating russet apples from my mother’s orchard. Mr R is such an English book, a celebration of days like these and as I tramp through Delcombe, Fifehead Wood or through Stourhead, I am amazed that Jack and Sadie have found friends so far away.
Jocasta sent me a gorgeous message from a bookseller in New Zealand, where my publishers held a tea for Jack. All I can say is that Jack, Englishman that he is, would marvel at having such wonderful foreign friends.