One autumn morning, sitting in an A Level English Lit lesson, I remember a discussion about what made a book or play a classic. How it could be set in any time period and its message would still make sense. Pick up the characters and change the venue. Dress them in different garb. Adapt the language, perhaps, but the story would still work. A classic. Timeless.
Looking through my photos from this week, they feel timeless. Our cottage is 270 years old. Putting aside the lack of cameras in the early days of its existence, the photos could have come from almost any of those years. Give or take a few give away signs of the decade. The story is still true and relevant.
It’s a good week to feel timeless, as the clocks fell back an hour on Sunday, in the UK. We’re on half term holiday this week, and I appreciate one less reason to be clock watching, as we get used to the darker evenings.
I spent my extra hour on Sunday, taking photos of the purple mushrooms that are growing in number in our garden. They really are mesmerizing.
Tuesday, we headed over to my parents to pick up our carving pumpkins. I know. I know. I grow pumpkins, for goodness sake, but tradition always wins. I play it to my advantage and grow pumpkins that I’d like to cook with, and leave the youngest members of the family to choose one each (plus one for their grandparents) to carve from the farm.
This year was a turning point. Usually they pick the biggest pumpkin they can find. We negotiate and they each leave with a medium sized orange pumpkin. It takes a good half an hour to reach this point. As we visit the farm en route to my parents, I build it into our travel time. Half an hour extra.
This year, it took us 5 minutes. They chose the smallest pumpkins they could. No debate. No talk down. Done and paid in record time.
They have figured out that small pumpkins take less time to prepare and carve.
Somewhere along the line and over the years, I think I’ve instilled a life lesson here. The penny has dropped. Life is too short to spend hours on the likes of carving a pumpkin. Make it short and sweet.
My job is done. I can mark up another parenting achievement. Also meant that, for the first year ever, we drove through my parents’ gate on time.
(The pumpkin is not one of the ones the children chose.)
My sister was also at my parents, so I was able to give her the gloves I’d knitted. Vintage knitting pattern using vintage yarn, I’d picked up from a charity shop. Timeless again.
We had a lovely day. I stayed longer than I meant, as my father and sister began to talk about two of my great aunts during the second world war and it was fascinating. I could have listened longer as they talked about the two sisters. Strong women with an amazing story. One in Singapore and the other in London.
I’m glad my three children were there listening too.
Meet Mildred. She arrived on Wednesday. Julie from Black Isles Yarn sent Mildred to me after I won her Sourdough starter kit giveaway on Instagram. I’ve fed and watered Mildred, and hope to bake with her this afternoon. She’s a lively old girl. Fingers crossed for yummy bread before the day is out.
I couldn’t do a round up this week without mentioning Halloween. No trick or treaters have ever made it to the house in the last 20 odd years. I don’t blame them. It’s pitch black, lonely and there might be a large dog out in the garden. This year was no different. Instead we make our own entertainment, with lots of tradition. Eric the skeleton made an appearance. Carved turnip beef stew is always on the menu in the evening. I grow little turnips especially for this meal. Carving is very easy. Each face is different and comparing the resulting turnip on everyone’s plate, is part of the meal.
Going out on a limb, but heads up, children, I suspect we may be the only family with this particular tradition.
This year’s pudding was brain mush served with eye balls. The eyeballs I’ve made before and they are a really tasty combination. Blueberry in a raspberry, in a lychee. Bit too realistic apparently. The broken up jelly (jello) gave them an interesting background to sit in.
In the evening, we watched Halloween movies and ate spider’s webs (candy floss with spiders) and other ghoulish treats. Another fun day.
Half term is almost over. I wish it would last longer. I love having the children around, but time stops for no-one.
Right. Before I head off for my afternoon with Mildred, it’s time again to join in with Anne’s Word of the Week. I’m going to sum up my week with the word timeless. What’s your word?