seasons :: warm September days

Such warm and glorious September days at the moment; but without doubt the very last of summer is slowly slipping away. I never mind too much though and I look forward to this new season like I do every season as each brings its own rewards. Even though the last of the flowers are fading fast the hedgerows here are bursting with colour, bright red hips and berries, leaves turning to that rich golden brown and the majestic skeletons of thistle and cow parsley towering above the dying grassy verges. 

For me this is the season of gathering. 

Gathering in the last of the homegrown produce from the garden; tomatoes, apples and courgettes…. gathering free food from the hedgerows and restocking my pantry with dried fruits, lentils and chickpeas (shortages allowing) ready for those warming one pot meals that go well together with chunks of homemade bread.

But there is also a different type of gathering that I look forward to – gathering new recipes to try at this time of year – I probably do most of my baking during this season, gathering books to read – old and new and magazines that will provide inspiration for the coming months, and of course gathering together candles and my cosiest of blankets ready for those long lazy evenings by the fireside and best of all gathering the family together around the table sharing a meal and a bit of chit chat.

We have been at the cottage here on the Mull of Galloway for just over a week now, the village is sleepy quiet as most of the visitors have returned home. We have spent most of our time as usual in the garden and I can’t deny that it has been such hard work.  A mixture of old age causing tired and aching muscles and a garden far too overgrown through not having been here for the last few weeks.

I had planned to do some knitting and a bit of tidying in the caravan when it rains and we couldn’t work in the garden but guess what….it hasn’t rained yet other than a little overnight.

DH has spent most of the time in the garden trying to reshape the holly trees which is a mammoth task.  They have not been attended to as they should have been and are far too tall and a bit misshapen.  Getting them back into a pleasing shape is going to be difficult. There is much muttering going on.

Meanwhile, I have been crawling around on hands and knees weeding in all the borders. They need a good sort out this autumn.  Some plants need dividing, some are just in the wrong place, and some need cutting back drastically. There is an abundance of chickweed this year but it is easily removed along with the bittercress and red campion but the alkanet not so as the tap root goes down deep into the soil.

I have been snipping off the heads of the chamomile that self-seed around the seaside garden to put in the flower press, they make wonderful cards

Each morning we seem to be finding a cooking apple on the lawn which has dropped from the very top of the Bramley tree; it is too high up for us to pick them so we just wait until they fall off and hope we get to them before the wildlife.  Yesterday whilst we were roaming around the countryside we picked some blackberries too so I could put the two together and make a blackberry and apple crumble. I don’t keep flour at the caravan or have any sugar (I like my apples tart though) so I cheated and bought a packet of Tesco’s crumble topping and stirred in a handful of desiccated coconut for extra crunch.  It was amazingly good.

Once our evening meal is over and the washing up done we both flop for a while. I usually play a couple of games of patience but recently I have become addicted to those Codeword crossword puzzles. Normally I have just torn the odd one out of the back of my mum’s Woman’s Weekly that she passes on to me but this week I actually bought myself a book of them in Tesco.

After ringing my mum at 8 o’clock (when I know she will have watched Maigret which is being rerun at the moment) we settle down to watch a video which I can play on my laptop as we don’t have a TV here at the cottage and the radio is often not that entertaining.

Currently we are going through the Royale Family box set….howling with laughter – I know all these people in one way or another though thankfully I can say my dad was absolutely nothing like Jim Royale and luckily my daughters are not like Denise in respect of their childcare!

We did have a day off from the gardening last Sunday.  It was a gloriously warm and sunny day so we made mushroom soup, poured it into a flask and went for a drive along the coast road to the neighbouring village of Ardwell for a picnic.  We drew into the picnic site that overlooks the bay and watched the seagulls bobbing about on the waves.

Afterwards we did a couple of quick 5 minute sketches before moving on to the Castle Kennedy estate to the tea room for a cup of tea and a scone…..saying yes to both jam and clotted cream as a treat. I brought the little piece of dried seaweed home with me so I can have another go. The light sitting on the beach was so bright that it was hard to capture the depth of colour and often it is easier to see this in a photograph more than in real life.

It was too late in the afternoon to go around the gardens so instead we drove on to New Luce and had a pleasant walk around the village.  I feel every day of sunshine is now quite precious as all too soon the weather will change.

I love this wee cottage and the gardens beyond. Each of them displays the personality of the owners.

Not sure if Mary and Billy refers to the occupants, two dogs or maybe even two goats!

A cottage with a true upcycled garden full of repurposed artifacts. I especially love the fact that the owner has used the front of an old shed as an archway.

Yesterday we were in WH Smiths in town and I own up to the fact that I couldn’t resist purchasing this year’s Country Living Christmas magazine. Starting to think about Christmas this early does go against the grain a bit but I do need to think ahead and start planning especially as I want to make more homemade presents this year for friends and I need some inspiration.

Welcome as ever to new followers and readers – I am never quite sure why anyone wants to hear my ramblings but there you go – I know I always love to know what you are all doing.

back soon x

24 Replies to “seasons :: warm September days”

  1. I love reading your ramblings especially about how you are getting with your garden. So funny to read about your crumble as I was gifted a load of cooking apples this week and then sneaked a bag of Tesco crumble mix onto my shopping delivery 😃


  2. Your photographs transport me to another world. The moment I saw the lovely portal, I imagined going through. Sent my daughter a link and shared my imagining; she wrote back: There might be goblins on the other side. My response: I’d better take my aluminum foil sword next time! 😀

    Thanks for giving my imagination free range. Your photos are absolute pleasures.


  3. What plump berries! Season of fruitfulness! I just baked Mary Berry’s lemon drizzle cake with lemons “rescued” from a neighbour’s tree. They were overhanging into the national park and hadn’t been picked for weeks. I couldn’t believe the possums or birds hadn’t attacked them.

    I’ve also been doing some weeding. Bindi season. If we don’t pull them out, running barefoot is painful come summer.


      1. Bindi or bindi-eyes are what we call burrs which take over the lawn. Some yards becomes more bindi than grass. From a distance, it can look nice and green, but not nice underfoot. One type of bindi looks like clover. Clever things to fool us with looking like something benign or what we are trying to grow. It’s a usual thing to see people digging out bindis from their lawn.

        The lemons were monster lemons. Double the normal size and so juicy. My lemon tree stopped producing. It got overgrown with a vine and other plants. I will try to resurrect it next year.


        1. You learn something everyday! Our lawns often get overtaken here with moss because of the wet winters but it is quite soft unlike your Bindi. I have noticed that a lot of the weeds will set seed and become hidden amongst plants with a similar leaf shape (like buttercups thrive amongst the geraniums, the alkonet amongst the foxgloves). They seem quite intelligent at times trying to stay hidden it is then only when they flower they are given away!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Your posts are always a treat, Ali, both visually and informatively. Of course we are interested in your daily doings! The blackberry and apple crumble sounds inspirational!


  5. I must confess to also using a crumble mix. They come in very handy for when I get the sudden urge to eat a pudding which, at this time of year, can be fairly often 🙂


  6. As always, your lovely evocative photos are so charming.

    Can well imagine your and DH’s fatigue after a day/week of trying to tame the wilderness. We always think we can manage more than is possible and our bodies do have a nasty way of reminding us that might not be the case. Glad you took a day off to see the sights and do some sketching. A wonderful talent.

    Overnight, our weather has finally taken a turn down from the overwhelming heat and humidity of the last five months. It was actually chilly this morning (11c). Haven’t seen that temp since sometime early last spring. Most of our overnight lows have been in the 20s. Very much looking forward to autumn shades and a bit of coziness. Will have to pick up that magazine you mentioned when I get over there…could use some fresh ideas.


    1. That is warm – we have not had the heating on here at the van as it has ben quite warm here – not your kind of temperatures but good for Scotland. Let’s hope the weather is still reasonable in October for the exhibition.


  7. Oooh, is the new Country Living Christmas magazine out already, I have a lot of trouble resisting treating myself to this every year, this year I will not fight the urge, I have to walk right past all the magazines in Booths to get to the fresh food … they are SO clever!!

    Beautiful photographs as usual, and I love the name Violet Lily Cottage. Isn’t it nice strolling around beautiful lanes like that.


  8. lovely photos, and lovely blog post. my birthday is next week, so I do love fall. our weather in N Ca has still been @ 90 degrees. But starting today it’s dipping down to the 80’s and 70’s, so fall is in the air.


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