It seems Summer is over! Meteorologically Autumn started on the 1st September, but 'equinoxically' it's 22nd September, I think.
For me this year, Autumn most definitely started on the 1st of September. Overnight the leaves started to fall, the ducks moulted (they do this twice a year), it rained and the temperature dropped to jumper level.
The photos above were taken at the end of August, just when our chilli harvest was ready and the first of our Italian spiky cucumbers were appearing. Usually this blue sky weather continues until the Musician Husband's birthday on the 8th of September. Here are the skies from the last two years:
This was London on the 8th of September this year:
It rained on and off and was really overcast. Both of us were at a loss - I don't think rain has been part of his birthdays since we've been together.
The plan was to go to London (Covent Garden), have lunch, then see a play in the evening and stay over. I imagined us sitting in Covent Garden in the afternoon with a G&T under a blue sky. I imagined cocktails early evening on a roof garden somewhere before the play. I imagined wandering back from the theatre and enjoying the late Summer air.
As you can see from the photo, none of that happened. It did stop raining after the play. For a bit.
We had lunch inside at The White Hart, a pub on Drury Lane that claimed to be frequented by Dick Turpin and was reputedly the oldest licenced pub in London. We found out later the building was much newer than suggested and the real White Hart pub was originally on the other side of the road, its building now long gone.
The play - The Ferryman - was at the Gielgud theatre and came highly recommended by a friend who was lucky enough to be a guest at the press night. She wouldn't tell me anything about the play other than it was based in Northern Ireland in the early 1980's and I had to go and see it. I got the last two tickets for the 8th and they were right down at the front.
As we're not really theatre goers I was a bit concerned that we wouldn't enjoy the play that much. We've been to a few plays in the past, the most memorable being Hamlet at the Globe (we took an inflatable shark), but often we just don't 'get into' what we're seeing. Not sure why.
So, we were in the 2nd row of the stalls and it was as though we were sitting with the actors on the stage, right at Aunt Maggie Far Away's feet (lady in the chair). Normally I would avoid this big time, but they were the only seats I could get. It turned out to be just great. Before the play, the MH and I were discussing how theatre never really captures you in the way that film does, that somehow you can't forget that you're watching actors on a stage and it's all a bit false. As soon as someone starts projecting their voice I lose interest, and there's always one actor who isn't quite up to their part and I end up watching them all the time and cringing. So, I'm more than pleased to say that when the play started I was captivated from the first few words. Totally and utterly lost in the family scene playing out, totally emotionally gripped. Not one bad bit of acting in the whole thing. I won't spoil it by telling you the plot, but I will say that it's one of the best things I've ever seen. Truly! On our night it had three standing ovations. Even the Musician Husband was impressed. What more can I say?
Continuing with the birthday, these delights came all the way from Japan. I ordered them from Amazon and they were...well...different!
Some of them were nice, some interesting (green tea and red bean paste) and others were just weird (wasabe). Green KitKat just doesn't seem right.They're much smaller than UK Kitkats but seemed richer (more than 2 made us feel a bit sick). We ate them all though, over a period of three days.
Other goodies I have to buy by law on his birthday:
A bottle of Ardbeg. It's become a tradition on his birthday and at Christmas. This one is a limited edition so quite special.
The tasting notes say it has aromas of oily peat, salty seaweed and tarry rope. It's aged in virgin Black-Sea oak casks and bourbon barrels and has notes of pepper, treacle toffee, Turkish coffee, dark chocolate and smoky bacon. Wow! Makes me feel hungry (not for the tarry rope though). It is a much gentler more complex whisky than all of the other Ardbegs I've tried.The Musician Husband loves it and says he will try to go easy on it as it's a limited edition. Even after an extra birthday added to his many years he's still funny!
If you haven't come across it before, the VPud is vegetarian black pudding. I don't really remember the taste of black pudding that well, but our carnivorous son says it's pretty close to the real thing. You can order it from Amazon or straight from the makers themselves - The Real Lancashire Pudding Company. I'm going to make the MH some Scotch eggs using VPud and quails eggs and see what they taste like. I'll post about it if they work out.
We've found a great place to walk the dogs up on the Weald. Trees and moorland - miles of it. The chalk against the heather and grass is just beautiful and the Bear loves running around chasing rabbits which he has no chance of catching. Even though Charlie is 11 now and definitely an old man, we still don't trust him not to disappear in pursuit of some small animal, so he has to stay on the lead for these sorts of walks.
If you're interested the Weald is quite a big area, so it's not very informative when I say we've been walking on it. It crosses four counties (the bit in darker green - high or low weald). I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I don't actually know the name of the place we walk, we just drive there and park. We found it by accident on a trip out once. It might be near Duddleswell...possibly. Next time I'll try to jot down where exactly it is - one thing I do know is that it's in the Ashdown Forest. I think...
Somewhere in there...
Returning home is the always the best bit. I never get tired of coming home to Toad Rock Street.
The dogs have treats - Charlie's favourite is licking out the remains of the yoghurt pot. Kodie's is eating anything.
Then we all settle down to serious dog cuddling.