The leaves are turning from green to red. From green to yellow. From green to pink.
Yesterday I drove to Brighton and sat in for Danny Pyke on Radio Sussex, he’s broken his collar bone. I’m sitting in for Danny again on Monday, and possibly all week.
My front tyre was flat, so called ATS, they were chockah, the old git said to pop in on the way back and make an appointment. They told me to come back at 4.00.
Got home and lay on a quilt in the garden. The hot October sun lulled me into a deep sleep.
When I awoke I had missed the appointment.
Sat at the end of the garden in the middle of the bending Borage, the slug eaten cabbages, the monumental dahlias, so big and white they look like they are made out of porcelain, sat on the bench in the sun and re-made an appointment for today. The boughs bending from the ripening apples, the lemon balm and sage as bushy as they could be. The runner beans, the courgettes, beetroots and carrots still throwing out their fruits.
This morning I woke before the alarm. Climbed into my little red car and drove through the mist to the garage. Handed over the keys and walked home.
The unmissable smell of autumn. Damp leaves, dew dripping. Those spiders webs that are so miraculously crafted in the hedgerow, on the red berried Hawthorn. I counted twelve on one bush. Webs of such spectacular precision. I remembered that the Cathars had used those threads to mend wounds, laying them over the damage and watching them heal the skin. Walking to school, aged ten, those webs had the same affect on me. My finger tips nipped by the cool air didn’t this morning, and didn’t when I was a kid, stop me from standing over those wonderful webs and counting the rings.
Past humungous mushrooms, shrivelled black berries – don’t eat them in October they are the devils fruit, so says the country myths – cracked acorns, dying damsons, the drip, drip, drip of October dew.
Got home, chilled.
Ten minutes later the garage called to say they couldn’t fix anything because they couldn’t find anything wrong. No charge, when the tyre goes down again drop the car in and they’d figure out where the puncture is. Local diplomacy.
The old git drove me to the garage and when we both returned home made brilliant bacon sandwiches, I made the perfect cafetier of coffee, watched ‘Strictly’ on BBCiPlayer, and wept at the swooping and dipping of the minor birds and the lesser spotted boys. I’m too old now to even consider dancing ilke that, back and ankles rusting, but my old man was a Jitterbugging champion, and even though I look like him and my knee dips like his did, the chances of me getting a glitter ball for me fleckles is as remote as me racing Yaks in Mongolia.
Bumped into an unknown neighbour on my walk back.
‘Thank heavens the badger is decomposing well.’ She said.
I had noticed, what looked like a huge rug lying in the hedge. It was old Brock the Badger rotting down in the undergrowth.
‘Didn’t you teach singing in my school?’ she asked.
‘Yup’ I said.
‘And don’t you do Radio and all that kind of stuff?
‘Yup’ I said.
Asked for her telephone number – remembered it – which is one of my talents – and vowed to get six women from the Publet, where we live, round for apple pie and local gossip.
If you can’t dance with the stars then what better than a table of local women who can blabber about them.
‘Strictly come Slandering’, perfect as the evenings close in.