This has been the final week of the summer holidays, and I have tried to dispel the yearly sense of gloom by trying to make the most of it. My youngest and I will be back to school and work next week, and in a couple of weeks or so my two older ones will be heading off to the first and final years of university. I have always found this to be a bittersweet time of year, as I mourn the passing of summer, but absolutely adore early autumn with its ripeness and abundance. So, despite the rain and having a bad back this week, I have managed to cross a few things off my seasonal 'to do' list.
1) I have been picking small bunches of flowers from my garden, as well as sweet peas which are still going strong, and roses which are in their second flush.
2) Windfalls from our little apple tree have started to litter the lawn, and I have used them to make Norwegian Apple cake from Mia's excellent recipe. Served with creme fraiche, it was delicious, and my good friend Jane and I enjoyed a slice with a cup of tea when we had one of our creative get-togethers.
I love the fact that in just three days in it's already gone a lovely rich colour.
4) With the rest of the damsons I made damson ice cream which was yummy, and very pink.
5) I am working madly on a granny square blanket that I'm making for my son when he starts university. Not long to go now, and it's not as far along as I'd hoped. Oh well, he won't need it yet as it's not too chilly.
6) Despite the rain I've been popping out in the garden to pick blackberries and raspberries which are ripening fast now. The raspberries also seem to be having a second flush, as I already picked lots back in June.
7) The roses and peonies which, like the lavender, I dried in the airing cupboard, make very pretty pot-pourri. The colours do fade quite quickly, and I add a few drops of essential oil, but they are a lovely reminder of summer.
I love the intense colour and crinkliness (if that's a word) of these dried roses.
8) This morning (Sunday) is wonderfully warm and sunshiney after all that rain, so I've taken time to sit on my favourite bench in the garden with a cup of tea. Despite the garden being a bit untidy in that end-of-summer way, I'm concentrating on how good it feels to be almost in September - bring it on!