Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Autumn pleasures

Over the last week or so I've noticed the days are growing shorter and every day I seem to draw the curtains earlier. Ben misses his evening walks - over the summer months we developed a habit of taking a second or even third walk up through the woods behind the village while Amy remained at home snoozing happily on her bed.

For all the drawing in of the days I love autumn, the way it smells, fruity, damp and smokey, the colours of the leaves drifting down from the trees, lying crisp and crunchy underfoot until it rains again. Autumn fills me with nostalgia for old school days, the start of a new term, clean exercise books and new beginnings even as the year draws to a close. I love the clear bright mornings after a night of rain when the air is crisp and chill and a mist rises over the tree tops by the stream.

In the garden a few last apples lie rotting on the ground, decaying gradually into the soil as the birds have taken all they want. There are chutneys in the larder, dried herbs in jars and blackberries nestling in the freezer ready for autumn feasting. The painting above reflects the final summer harvest and will soon be featuring on some tea towels and canvas totes for Stokeley Farm shop, just a mile or two down the road.

Autumn is also a great time to enjoy indoor pursuits - for me painting is a major pleasure, but I also love sewing and have just taken up knitting again as one of my very best friends is expecting a baby in the spring. I was helping her sort through some very old boxes and we came across some lovely vintage knitting patterns. I particularly liked one for a knitted tea cosy, taken from a 30 year old magazine ......

Back of teacosy.

It was designed by a lady with the wonderful name of Mrs Halcyon Green. The back of the cottage has a single window and three Welsh sheep. I think the front would look even nicer with maybe some embroidered roses around the door. If you'd like the pattern then please click here to download it as a pdf file. I think I'll practice my rather rusty knitting skills for a while before attempting this, but I'd love to know if anyone does try it out, it would make a great Christmas pressie!

And finally ... another couple of exerpts from Vita Sackville-West's epic poem "The Land" (one of my all-time favourites) - from the Autumn verses.....

"If you may snatch before the rain
Crisp days when clods will turn up rough;
Gentleman robin brown as snuff
With spindle legs and bright round eye
Shall be your autumn company....

...Then may you shoulder spade and hoe,
And heavy-booted homeward go,
For no new flowers shall be born
Save hellebore on Christmas morn,
And bare gold jasmine on the wall,
And violets, and soon the small
Blue netted iris, like a cry
Startling the sloth of February."

Monday, October 13, 2008


I'm a great fan of the Demented cartoon strip by Jacky Fleming which comes out in the Mail on Sunday magazine. I particularly enjoyed this week's offering which I think just about sums up the last few months .....

.. and not just the weather!! Enjoy.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

News from Ben

Hi everyone!

It's me, Ben Dickson, reporting in. Shockingly Mum hasn't posted in our blog for a whole month ... that's one whole month without Amy and me getting mentioned on the internet. UN-BE-LIEVE-ABLE!!

So .... what's been happening here in deepest darkest Devon? Apart from rain that is! Well, we've been to the beach a lot ....

We don't go too often in the summer as it gets very busy and Mum says me and Amy do not behave very well. But all the families with baby humans have gone now so I can charge around at 100 mph on the sand and go swimming again. All the families with picnics have gone too, so Amy can't plonk herself in the middle of their picnic blankets and refuse to move until they give her food.

We had our own picnic on the beach, Mum and one of her friends and our most favourite people, Elona, took lots of nice food - good - but sat up on the rocks where we couldn't reach the sandwiches - BAD BAD BAD!!

We sat and looked at them to show them how thin we were and to try to make them give us their food but they just laughed! Huh! We will call the Dog Rescue People!

Mum has bought us new collars. She said it's no good buying us leather ones because they just go mouldy and funny with all the swimming so she would get webbing ones. There was a problem though. It was easy to get a collar for tiny little Amy who only needs a size 24". But big strong me needed a 27" and Mum couldn't find one anywhere in webbing, just leather.

Then she found this wonderful American site called Big Dog Boutique. She chose a very pretty girlish one for Amy called "Pink Lemonade" and "Seaside Stripe" for me - very masculine. Here we are modelling them. It was very hard to sit with our backs to the camera but we managed it for oh about 0.1 of a second. Mum said she was very impressed with the site, the collars arrived in less than a week and not too expensive either.

Mum has been busy upstairs in her workroom for EVER. She says it is something to do with Christmas. But I don't understand. That's not for ages yet. I remember last year that I was responsible for pruning the Christmas tree while Amy helped with the cooking. Now I'm older and wiser I'm going to cook as well! Mum is sure to need my help too. Mum's been busy with some downloadable stuff for Halloween - this bunting thing again. Here's the Halloween bunting ... lots of it is black - just like me, so I know it's very attractive!

And finally ... for other Devon dwellers - you MUST get Devon Today October issue. An article about our Mum is in there!! A picture! And our names are there too - a whole page just about DevonBears. So we is famous after all.

Goodbye from your favourite newfie
Ben Dickson.
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