This weekend we have had what you might call an Indian Summer, in miniature. Do not expect it to last much past the weekend, as dire portents are on the radar from Tuesday onwards, but the last few days have been glorious.
Glorious in that way that only Autumn can do properly, and which leaves me vowing every year never to move to a country where they don’t have proper seasons.
The sky has been that stunning cerulean blue, the harvest is finally coming in (go Andrea!), the swallows/swifts/small swoopy birds are dive bombing around going mental, and the leaves are slowly turning, as the summer, such as it was, starts to leave us for good.
The world smells good. There is a hint of woodsmoke, a bit of wet leaf. All the best smells.
And the sun is beating down.
It’s been pretty perfect.
Apart from the fact that I have started with a rotten, stinking cold again. I have a roughly sandpapered throat, a snotty nose and a tight, wheezy chest. AGAIN.
And I have diabolical PMT and keep falling over every five minutes unless I am permanently tanked up on food.
At which point I generally cry.
Despite this, we have had a lovely weekend.
Yesterday Jason had to work, so the kids and I scampered off with mum and dad to Kedleston Hall, where they had an antique fair in the grounds. Mum and Dad usually stand it, but this time they were buying stock, and we were just along for the ride, and a bit of a treasure hunt.
I have done well this week. I went with them to another fair earlier in the week and picked up treasure, mostly of a chipped, unloved by anyone but me variety. Yesterday I got a fabulous London Transport vintage poster advertising Twickenham by tram, a beautifully hand thrown pot by a modern ceramicist called Emily Myers, and a copy of a beautiful William De Morgan tile with a gryphon on it.
I took pictures of none of these things. It seems I am only drawn to take pictures of things which either disturb me, or make me laugh:
There is a great deal of badly executed and/or moulting taxidermy for sale these days. I always feel sorry for such things, much in the same way I always want to adopt the three legged dog that nobody else wants. If I were wealthy I would have a museum called: ‘Taxidermy of Shame’ and buy all these animals and let small children come and pet them and dress them up, and give them a generally happier existence.
This is the bestest thing I have seen all weekend though. The question that went through my mind as I spent several long and obsessive moments staring at it was:
I still haven’t come up with a satisfactory answer.
We had a great time, despite being partially boiled to death, and Oscar whining to beat the band.
We stopped at the OK Diner on the way home and drank glorious, very bad for you milk shakes until we felt slightly sick.
Then we came home to an evening of top Dr. Who action and a takeaway curry.
It was pretty perfect.
Today I was meant to be going to the theatre with Andrea, but combining takes precedence, and the weather is good, and the harvest needs to come in, so the theatre was put on hold. Oscar was very sad about this. The girls were going out with my cousins to the local maize maze, which he is still rather little and nervous to appreciate, and as I was going out, he was going to get his dad all to himself.
Then he wasn’t.
So I went to another antique fair with my mum and dad, which was no hardship for me, and left him deliriously happy with his dad all to himself.
The fair was distinctly meh! But there was this amazingly named coach outside the hall, which cheered me greatly:
I really hope there is actually a Wilfreda Beehive. I would love that.
On the way home we stopped at a beautiful village called Lubenham, which, apart from the giant road going through it, is one of those chocolate box perfect places which is only enhanced by high, blue skies and Autumn in the air.
This was the weekend of their annual scarecrow festival. Most of the houses in the village make a scarecrow and display it in their front garden. Each scarecrow ensemble has a different theme going on, and some are very ambitious indeed. You, as a visitor, can go on a guided tour of the scarecrows, and to keep you there just that bit longer there is a huge, old fashioned fete on the village green.
There were scarecrows dressed as Boris Johnson dangling from a zip wire. There were lots of Olympic scarecrows this year, and a fair few royal ones. There was a particularly spectacular Titanic one, which included the boat, and a scarecrow Kate Winslet hanging from the prow.
There were even scarehorses:
It was the fete that got me, though. I haven’t been to a proper village fete for at least a hundred years. It was lovely.
There were proper white elephant stalls, and book stalls on wobbly tables. There was a wonderful; ‘Bull in a China Shop’ stall, where you could lob balls at teetering shelves full of china, and thrill when you smashed a whole load:
I was a bit anxious until I had checked that there was no gorgeous pottery being smashed to smithereens by over enthusiastic children, but it was all horrible, and truly deserved a good smashing.
There was a steam engine, and pony and trap and tractor rides. There were a few ancient fair ground rides, including one of the smallest, ricketiest big wheels I have ever seen. There was a hook a duck stall, and candy floss melting in the sun. There were plants to buy, and chutney in jars with frilly lids, and lots and lots of people wandering about enjoying the sunshine and laughing at toddlers covered in ice cream.
This made me laugh:
I wonder how it is possible to become a specialist in grated cheese?
The truly excellent thing was that there was, amongst all this nostalgia, also a cracking curry stall, where people were thronging to eat sag aloo and paneer tikka massala, and bhajis by the bucketload, and you know what? It was as English as you like.
It was great.