Late November, and the colour is slipping from the trees; down, down to the gardens and lawns, down to streets and pavements, grass and slabs strewn with discarded finery in shades of scarlet and copper and gold. The wind has been fierce, whipping the leaves into a frenzied dance, a kaleidoscope of burnished flecks whirling around me as I walk, swooping and bobbing in front of my face. I watched a leaf trapped in a doorway, caught in the eddying wind, unable to break free and find the way out like a fly by an open window, exhausting itself with frantic effort while being unable to comprehend that the simple way out of its present situation lies less than a few inches away.
Thursday, 21 November 2013
It would seem that the grass has at last had the decency to stop growing, or at least to slow its rate of growth to a level appropriate for the time of year. This is fortunate: the ground is getting wet and claggy now as our local clay is wont to become at this time of year, and continued trundling back and forth with mower and heavy boots is liable to compact the soil and exacerbate any drainage problems. Some traffic will still be necessary until all the leaves are off the trees – and then off the grass – but for a few weeks over winter it will be good to give the turf a rest. In spring when the risk of ground frost has past we can think about aerating compacted lawns, but it will need to be drier than now or else the clay smears and becomes impermeable, making matters worse.
Posted by Andrew OBrien at 12:24
Thursday, 14 November 2013
Posted by Andrew OBrien at 20:39
Tuesday, 5 November 2013
Undeterred by the weather or the state of my clothing – billowing precariously in the chilly wind which had by now replaced the morning’s rain – I continued with the day’s toil, barrowing leaf mold and manure to the borders and coppicing overgrown hazels in the woodland area, all the while thankful for the capacity of the lawn grasses to survive a thorough muddy trampling.
It was gloomy and muddy and damp and cold – so far from the ideal autumn day I carry with me in my head. And while it may have been the frisson caused by the knowledge that at any moment a freak gust of wind could overpower the last remaining fastenings on my shorts and see me chasing my dignity across the rose garden, I think it is more the raw and elemental quality of the days at this time of year that makes me feel particularly present in the moment, particularly alive. I snapped a few hasty pictures on my phone on one trip back from the bonfire in an attempt to capture something of the feeling. Some are even in focus.
So here’s to autumn days, whatever the weather. And here’s to long autumn evenings by the fire, sewing on buttons.
|Some elements of this composition are in focus. Just not the ones you’d expect.|
|Ivy stems on oak trunk|
Posted by Andrew OBrien at 18:27