(* the process by which random thought is produced by the collision of fleeting ideas whilst walking)
I love the autumn, the long low light, the snap in the air and the crackle underfoot, but most of all the colour. Spring and summer are ephemeral, all pink and blue and frothy, with darts of primary colours, but autumn brings us colours of old master velvety substance, deep reds, burnt orange and all shades of brown from mustard to mahogany. We have a friend who is colour blind but seems to see many more tints and hues in brown and ochre than the rest of his family. He will drag them over to see a stunning photograph of vibrant hues and get the weary response “yeah its brown.” (Recently his spider sense came into its own when he was able to easily identify the ripe pears on the tree… ) On a morning walk with Lyra today I was reminded of this and struck by the ripe, rich and complex beauty in the many shades of “broon” in the newly ploughed fields and seedheads in the verge. Lyra found her own favourite brown, the shiny grey brown of fox poo, in which she rolled extatically.
Brown is a hard colour to master. When you are painting, to get to brown you need to mix at the very least least three other colours. It is well nigh impossible to get the same shade twice. You never seem to get the exact mix again. I see this too in the shifting autumn light, the underlying base of red or blue or yellow seems to wink through if you look long and hard. And looking long and hard is my favourite thing at the moment. I has my cataracts removed early this year and the lenses replaced (sounds yeuch but actually pretty quick and painless). As a result, for distance I now have 20/20 vision or near as damn it. It is phenomenal. The really big difference is the ‘panavision’. Looking through my bottle end glasses I had next to no peripheral vision and limited depth for detail. I can now see, at a glance, the whole horizon and in considerable detail. I have sheep vision! I cannot overstate the impact this has. To see the texture of the stubble weaving out in converging rows and the tracery of trees against the sky is a joy. Much to Lyra’s disgust, I often just stop and stare. If this is how everyone else has seen for years, I can’t think how they got anything done. The importance of standing leaning on a spade/fencepost looking moodily into the distance chewing a straw now seems clear. Spaghetti westerns finally make sense.
Autumn is also the time for rib-sticking comfort food – another point in its favour. Crumble, gloopy pumpkin soup and cheesy bakes are “in”. I have uploaded a few recipes on the recipe blog, though this stuff is all so “chuck it in and whiz” a recipe seems rather otiose. Still, there may be someone out there in the aether who is new to crumble (and what a treat they have in store….)