And no, these aren't them. It is an Autumnal image though...
We have a saying in my part of the Wetlands: when the Hawthorn berries turn red, Autumn has arrived.
And they have. Turned red.
And my predominant emotion is noooooooooooooo, I'm not ready!
Autumn means damp, and wind, and wetness, and getting up in the morning when it is still dark, and all too soon it means getting home in the dark as well.
And I'll feel like a frigging mole for months on end.
So. This year will be different. I have decided this single-handedly.
And to help myself along (and you), I will now proceed to list 10 reasons not to panic.
1. Toadstools are lovely. Even when there are no faeries sitting on them (if there are, they are even lovelier, or you have been at the wine again)
2. Autumn leaves are gorgeous and smell divine
3. Autumn is the perfect excuse for lighting the wood stove, which is the perfect excuse for making either hot chocolate or for opening a good bottle of wine
4. The grapes are ripe, which means I can do my thing and make grape juice and grape jelly and grape-and-apple confiture (no wine, alas, we do not have enough of them. Erm...is it me, or is there a very high wine content in this post?)
5. Most youngsters leave our communal park hang-out and move indoors. This makes our nights a lot quieter - which is good. Quiet is good, when you are over 55.
6. Temperatures dropping are a good reason for making stews and hotpots. Somehow these dishes do not appeal to a lot of people when the sun is shining and everyone is drinking either Radler or Rosé.
7. Autumn is the approach to Winter. And Winter in the Wetlands could (note the word!) mean ice, which in turn could mean ice skating on natural ice. Now, you do not know this, but we Dutchies are a bit loony where ice skating is concerned. My husband, for example, is known to drop everything and will risk his life to be one of the first ones to skate on 'virginal' ice. It is always business before pleasure; until the nearest lake freezes over. Then it is 'where did I leave my long underwear'.
8. Autumn means running up to Christmas. We, non- Christians, are big on Christmas in our house. Weird, I know. It is the lights, the cosy tree, the lovely shop windows, the planning of parties, the planning and making of dinners. (Not so much the music; when I hear Wham's Last Christmas one more time I'll probably puke)
9. Autumn means our own apples from our own Elstar apple tree. Without doubt and without boasting the best tasting apples ever. The non-wormhole ones we eat raw, the others we dissect and make apple sauce from with lots of cinnamon.
10. Autumn usually has dreamy quiet windless days in between all the wet windy ones. Those quiet days are gorgeous. You can feel the world slowing down. Nature winding down. Mosquitos leave. The starlings and jackdaws wheel through the sky in their hundreds and make up for the fact that the swallows and house martins have left for Africa. Spiderwebs make the garden a jewel filled treasure trove.
See? it's not so bad.
Enjoy your Autumn!