Year: 2021 (page 1 of 3)

HELLO, October

Hello, October! You’ve arrived so swiftly on the wind that I’m not entirely sure what has happened to September? It has passed in a haze. But, we’re happy that you’re here with all the heady scent of autumn and magic that you bring. 

We’re ready for a chance to be still for just a little bit as that was not an opportunity we were given last month. We’re ready for the evenings to draw themselves in sooner. We’re ready to make our first batch of butternut squash soup for the season, with crusty bread to dip into it and a plate of sliced apples and cheese to go alongside. 

We’re ready for crisp clear autumn days to hike in the nature reserve with a sprinkling of rainy Sundays thrown in so we can curl up and read books with a cup of tea close at hand. We’re ready for our front porch to be decorated with pumpkins and mums to bring a smattering of colour to grey days.

We’re ready for our annual household festivities to begin in the lead up to Halloween, with decorating and witches’ hats and bowls of candy scattered around. We’re ready to feast on marshmallow popcorn balls while watching some of our favourite old Halloween movies. 

We’re ready for all that you bring and the enchantment that you hold, for you are truly the month that walks us into autumn and all of her glory. 

{Laurel Goodwin modeling for E.J. Brach & Sons, 1966 Halloween Ad HERE // Pinned HERE}

Beneath The Amber Moon

Today we celebrate the Autumnal Equinox. And without a doubt you can sense the transition of moving from one season into the next. The light is changing and so are the shadows. There has been a nip to the first blush of dawn air this past week, before the day fully awakens and gradually begins to warm up.

In autumn of last year, Fortnum & Mason held their second annual “Chocolate Library Short Story Writing Competition”. They had selected a number of titles from their chocolate library collection. A starting point for each bar was given and the writer had free rein to create a tale around the decadent chocolate bar of their choosing. Not including Fortnum & Mason’s opening, the story had to be kept to a maximum of 500 words. 

I read each chocolate bar ingredient description and the suggested jumping off point and one in particular stood out to me. For the fun of it, I thought I would enter the competition. I didn’t win, but it was an excellent exercise in working towards a concise story. Drafting, writing, cutting the fluff and ensuring that the tale you have woven has good “meat and potatoes” and not too much gravy. 

I wanted to save it for posterity and so I thought I would share it here, an autumnal story for the official start of the fall season.

Beneath The Amber Moon

On a cold autumn night, one of Britain’s smallest villages will become the country’s most infamous, with the perplexing disappearance of all its inhabitants.

She arrived on the wind; her gold stockinged feet landing amongst the crisp russet autumn leaves. Her skin hummed with magic underneath a velvet cape. Soft orange curls, tinged with highlights of garnet, framed a delicate face and the bridge of her nose was sprinkled with chocolate hued freckles. She smelled exotically of spice and musk.

She had heard tales of this hamlet while sitting on her grandmother’s knee by the fire. The shadows dancing and leaping along the wall transformed into shapes that told of a village filled with strange folk. A folk who made a concoction of velvet fire that tickled your nose and filled your belly with a radiant heat that traveled down into your toes. They celebrated this caramel hued elixir one night a year when the amber moon hung low and bathed the world in a shimmer of gilded beams.

She knew that one day she would seek out this mystical village to bring this epicurean liquid back to her land. It would be the singular ingredient that distinguished their hot chocolate above all others. Now, after the passing of many moons and her unceasing exploration, she stood at the edge of the oak woods and sniffed the air.

Dusk was not far off. The villagers were gathered round a radiant bonfire that had been lit upon the tor. For on this night of the amber moon an illustrious feast was held to toast the harvest. There was music, dancing and merriment as whiskey passed from one hand to another. 

Silently, she stole through the town, observed only by an ebony cat perched on its doorstep. As she approached the bonfire the revelry was in full swing. Weaving through the crowds she came to stand in front of the flames. From within her cloak she produced a small copper pot and a bar of milk chocolate. Nestling the pot amongst the embers she broke the chocolate into it. The sweet aroma of warm cacao drew the curious villagers around the stranger.

Suddenly, a hand thrust out a finger of whiskey. Taking the offered dram she poured it in. The mixture bubbled and frothed. Decanting the brew, she took a sip and was momentarily overcome; she had found the ingredient she had long sought. From one villager to the other it was passed while she whispered an incantation. They all imbibed and the goblet never ran out.

The air around them sizzled and sparked. With every word that fell from her lips, their dancing became more frenzied, their singing more raucous, and the fiddling more thunderous. They were bewitched. And, with a snap of her fingers they all vanished. A hush fell over the village. 

No one knows what happened to these poor souls. But, as night falls, beneath the amber moon some say you can still hear the merriment of laughter and song; catch the potpourri of chocolate and whiskey in the air; and see the bonfire flickering on the tor. 

HELLO, September

Hello, September! August moved too quickly for me even though we savoured each and every moment. I could spool that thread out a little longer before it is woven into the tapestry of this year. And now, suddenly we’ve ushered in September! We await to see what she brings as the air has been cooler the past two weeks. So, we’ll see if she will carry that on, or give us a delicious Indian Summer, where we can bathe in the last warmth of summer just a touch longer. 

We welcomed September this morning, or I should say, she welcomed us, by gifting us with an enchanting walk to school. We saw three dolphins in the water, swimming at a steady pace and sometimes diving down to fish. My heart was beyond filled with JOY! Our morning was entirely sprinkled with magic.

We’re not quite ready to go back to school, but we are ready for cooler mornings where the light takes a little longer to arrive. We’re ready for crispy apples dipped in caramel as an afternoon snack and popcorn and hot cider next to us while we watch an evening movie. 

We’re ready to gather the the last of the blackberries coming in on the vines and eating our weight in all manner of fruit pies dolloped with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream. And we’re ready to savour the last of the yellow squash and heirloom tomatoes before they disappear till next summer’s bounty arrives.

We’re ready for hikes in the nature reserve when the leaves are starting to turn and stopping to feast on cheese and chutney sandwiches on the rocks overlooking the water. 

We’re still holding on to those last remnants of summer, but September, we’re ready to see what you hold for us. 

{Selkie by Lore Pemberton // Pinned HERE}

HELLO, August

Hello, August. We’re waiting to see what you bring us. July ended with a bit of a nip to the air and we’re hoping that you bring warmer days and calmer waters our way, because we’re ready for early morning swims and hot coffee on the beach from our thermos.

We’re ready for bowls of fresh watermelon for lunch and early morning walks up to the nature reserve when the world is quiet. We’re ready for days spent reading our books and finishing our jigsaw puzzle and drinking sweet tea and feasting on sugar cookies as an afternoon snack as the breeze blows through the windows. 

We’re ready to stay up late watching old movies and playing scrabble. We’re ready to eat our weight in fresh corn on the cob from the green grocers and cheeseburgers loaded with slices of heirloom tomatoes and to gobble up fruit cobblers with a heaping scoop of homemade ice cream on top. 

But, mostly we’re ready for a chance to catch our breath and to just be. 

{Sand Shark Bar, Janet Hill Studio}

School’s Out For Summer

School’s out for summer and I couldn’t be happier! We’re celebrating tonight with a pizza party, homemade vanilla ice cream sundaes and we’re watching “Dazed and Confused”, which is our last day of school tradition.

Hello, Summer! We are more than ready for YOU!

{Deena Martin as ‘Shavonne’, Christine Harnos as ‘Kaye’, and Michelle Burke as ‘Jodi’ in a publicity still from Dazed & Confused, 1993 found HERE}

HELLO, July

Hello, July! We’re ready for you to bring warmer weather our way and keep the rain at bay for just a little bit. We’re ready for early morning coffee on the beach when the world is quiet and we can go swimming and have the water all to ourselves. We’re ready for homemade ice cream after dinner and dancing around the kitchen to the ‘60s music groove we’re in at the moment. 

We’re ready for school to come to a close for the year and the chance to stay up late watching old movies on the projector and eating popcorn and making ice cream floats. We’re ready for our annual Christmas in July party and this year it might last more than a day, it might be an entire weekend of Christmas music playing and Christmas movie watching and Christmas feasting and just general Christmas happiness. 

We’re ready to devour more books while sitting on the beach and then lazily strolling up to the house to make cheeseburgers that have thick slices of heirloom tomatoes sitting on top of the melting cheese and fresh corn on the cob smothered in butter. 

We’re ready for all that you bring and we hope it is filled with love and laughter and light. 

{Slim Aarons / Getty Images: Mrs. Charles Rogers sits on a submerged bar stool in the Villa Vera Spa & Racquet Club pool, Acapulco, Mexico, January 1961 // Pinned HERE}

HELLO, June

Hello, June! We’re ready for the closing of the day to take longer to come. We’re ready for breakfast on the beach with hot coffee and croissants and then diving into the water with the cool rush of the waves beating against our skin.

We’re ready for date nights with the windows open and dusk falling as we watch a double feature projected on our old screen while we share a bowl of popcorn. We’re ready for BLTs stuffed with the first heirloom tomatoes of the season that are pouring into the green grocer’s stand with crunchy salty potato chips and sweet iced tea.

We’re ready for evening strolls and quiet star filled nights and making dinner together while 1960s beach music fills the air and we dance and laugh and live.

{Slim Aarons, “Oberon’s Lunch”, Acapulco, 1966 // Pinned HERE}

Seventeen

Seventeen years ago, on a balmy Saturday afternoon, I walked down an aisle to join you and we’ve been walking together ever since. Here’s to seventeen more years of being side by side.

{Jane Fonda & Robert Redford in a publicity still for Barefoot in the Park, 1967 // Pinned HERE}

HELLO, May

Hello, May! We’re ready for you to bring us more sunshine and usher in a few warmer days here and there. We’re ready for sun kissed blueberries to start arriving on the farm stand so we can gobble them up by the handfuls while we read our books. 

We’re ready to be greeted by the beginning of the heirloom tomato season at the green grocers so we can feast on our first delicious BLTs of the year on homemade bread while the juice runs down our chins. 

We’re ready for evening to draw in a little slower so we can keep the windows open longer. We’re ready for hot cups of coffee on the beach in the early hours when the world belongs just to us, as we watch the waves roll in. 

{Strawberry Bouquet, Becca Stadtlander // Pinned HERE}