Thursday evening is bell ringing practice in the parish church behind our house. One of my favourite things is to open one of the velux windows in the attic, and lean out, listening. The waning Harvest Moon lights up a cluster of clouds from behind, casting a soft glow over the darkening sky. The bells peel out across the mellow Autumn air. A plate of nasturtium seeds sits on the sideboard, drying. Finch has collected them with plans to stealth seed bomb the park in the spring.
It has been extremely mild here, sunshine tinged with the freshness of the changing season, scented with apples and dry leaves. At the weekend, we joined a local community group to pick apples in steep orchards a couple of miles away. It was warm and still between the trees. As we trundled up and down the grassy slopes with bags of red and gold produce, we soon shed our jumpers and coats. Babies, toddlers and dogs all helped out. It was a festive gathering, picnics spread out in the sun, apple picking baskets on long poles dancing through the laden boughs like jigging maypoles, and regular excited shouts for help with a particularly juicy looked branch load.
Our loving Wren wanted to kiss each apple. Finch and his friend found a badger set. They rolled a few of the best apples they could find down the tunnel so Mr Badger might have breakfast ready and waiting for him outside his front door when he got up that evening.
We lugged the harvest down to the barn where the apples will be sorted, and, in two weeks, pressed in the village hall. The juice will be given out to anyone who comes with a container, sharing the wonderful bounty of Autumn.