. . . .and indeed some morning mist, which quickly burns off.
Personally I have never been much of a fan of Keats’s favourite season, being more of a sun worshipper myself, but there are compensations in this gentle, tranquil autumn period. The late afternoon sun pours down the hillsides like golden syrup, touching the vivid yellow flares of the mulberries and catching in the dull burgundy leaves of an old pear tree by a garden wall. Nature is drowsily preparing for bed but there are still rich pickings to be had in the woods and hedges.
It’s a great moment for mushrooms: field and parasol mushrooms in the pastures and a few chanterelles in the woods. We appreciated a couple of ceps, brought round by a friend who is better at finding them than we are!
A bumper crop of rosehips tempted us to try our hand a Swiss delicacy, known as Hagebuttemost or Buttemoscht – great spread on bread and butter or used to flavour plain yoghurt. It’s a bit of a fiddle to make but absolutely delicious and full of vitamin C!
As usual we have masses of quinces, but it is something of a gamble as to whether they will ripen or rot first. We can generally pick enough to make a few jars of compote, and although it is a fight struggling to cut through their woody flesh, their scent and the glorious rich colour as they cook is worth the effort.
We have eaten the very last of the figs, but the medlars will need a sharp frost before they are ready. The slightly squishy fruit has a custardy flavour and texture.
Perhaps a bit of an acquired taste but they are unusual around here and we are glad to have one growing below the garden wall.