October

It’s unseasonably warm but I am loving October.  It’s nearly Hallow’een!  So exciting.

I love October

Over the past few weeks, we’ve had some men in, replacing the rotten windowsills (there were a few) and repainting all the outside bits that needed repainting.  They’re just finishing up now and are doing the front door.  I was a bit thrown when the man asked me what colour I wanted the front door – we’ve always had a dark red front door but I wondered whether it was worth getting a totally new colour as the door was being redone.  Plus my Mum said that everyone in the world should have a dark green front door.  In the end, I asked my son who is now six and said that he wanted it to be “completely the same, Mummy”.  Then I dithered a bit over whether to pick Rectory Red, Incarnadine or Eating Room Red (a bit too dark and “tasteful”).  So the door is or will be Rectory Red, which is a slightly lighter red than the colour it was before.  It’s also now in “exterior eggshell”, which seems to be more matte than the gloss.

The other day, one of my neighbours was outside, wearing a his-vis jacket and hanging out with the police.  So I went to have a nose – she was measuring the speed of all the cars and vans with one of those zappers and when anyone went over 25, the police pulled them over and gave them a ticket.  All of Islington is meant to have a 20 limit but a load of people use our road as a cut through and bomb it at nearer 40.  My husband almost never parks his car outside our house because people keep crashing into the cars parked there (a few years ago, one of them was his).  I found the whole Catching People Speeding Along My Road thing completely thrilling and signed up for a stint.  If it happens, I’ll let you know what it is like.  My husband asked why the police don’t just use the speed camera and catch people by themselves – I suspect it is a public relations exercise (which is fine with me).

Mushrooms

One thing I did notice on Hallow’een was how many mushrooms we have growing out our lawn.  I told the children that they were witches’ toadstools and that they were Not To Touch.

My photos are a bit crappy – my book on mushrooms says to take photos of them, you need to lie down on your front.  However, our lawn is sodden and I couldn’t face the extra washing.

My son wanted these to be Destroying Angel mushrooms (deadly poisonous) but I think they are Shaggy Ink Caps
My son wanted these to be Destroying Angel mushrooms (deadly poisonous) but I think they are Shaggy Ink Caps
Here they are
Here they are
Brown birch bolete (think this has been trodden on / hit by the robot lawnmower)
Brown birch bolete (think this has been trodden on / hit by the robot lawnmower)
Field mushroom
Field mushroom
It looks a bit boxy but I think this is also a field mushroom
It looks a bit boxy but I think this is also a field mushroom
Not sure what this is - perhaps Psathyrella multipedata?
Not sure what this is – perhaps Psathyrella multipedata?
God knows what this is
God knows what this is
Or this - probably another field mushroom
Or this – probably another field mushroom

All Saints’ Day

There’s something rather delicious about having done Hallow’een (putting up scary decorations, carving pumpkins, getting in a load of sweets for the Trick or Treaters, getting the kids in costumes and taking them Trick or Treating) and then getting to the day after.  Bliss!  There’s nothing left to do, it’s now All Saints’ Day (I’m told it is a public holiday in most of Europe) and we just have to potter about, not really achieving anything in particular.

Here are our pumpkins right after we carved them
Here are our pumpkins right after we carved them
Here they are, all lit up and attracting Trick or Treaters (admittedly only one group of teenage boys but that is okay)
Here they are, all lit up and attracting Trick or Treaters (admittedly only one group of teenage boys but that is okay)
The pumpkins on All Saints' Day.  I'll wait a couple of days then sneak them into my compost bin
The pumpkins on All Saints’ Day. I’ll wait a couple of days then sneak them into my compost bin

Hallow’een

I’m sure you know that today is Hallow’een.  Our plan for today is to carve these pumpkins:

These were £2 each at the Co Op
These were £2 each at the Co Op

I don’t know how supermarkets make a profit on pumpkins – they take up loads of space and don’t cost very much.  However, when we were in the Co Op choosing these, we bought a load of other stuff so perhaps they are a loss leader.

My son was inexplicably excited about decorating the house but his enthusiasm waned after the first four decorations were hung.  He suggested that I might like to continue decorating the house in a spooky fashion while he watched James Bond Moonraker with Daddy and Grandad.  Ha ha!  No chance.

Decorating!
Decorating!

Working out a new routine

As you may know, my son has started school.  This is a great new step but it does mean that I need to work out my new routine.  Our awesome nanny Leigh left at the end of July, my daughter is now spending more time at preschool and I need to get my son to and from school (with my husband’s help).

This week, he is only doing from 9:30 am to 12 noon.  I can see the rationale behind this – it gives him a chance to get used to the place before he starts doing full days.  However, as we need to get the bus, this does rather mean that by the time I have cleared up, put a load of washing on and done whatever jobs I needed to get done, it is time to catch the bus to pick the boy up.  Yesterday, I cut it rather fine – my husband had said that they were insanely early arriving so I didn’t leave the house until 11:30am.  The bus came at 11:39am – in that nine minutes I had been weighing up whether to run to a cashpoint and then hail a taxi but thought “This is stupid! I’m sure I’ll have time”.  So I got the bus.

The problem with leaving no contingency for delays is that it is mind bogglingly stressful.  I started reading my book but, after a few minutes of looking up every minute, just to make sure that the clock hadn’t jumped ahead, I gave that up.  It got to the point where I was getting wound up whenever anyone pressed the bell and sauntered out the door.  In the end, I arrived just as the church bell was chiming for midday.  I RAN to the door – which was open but thankfully my son wasn’t out yet.  He wasn’t the lone child left weeping because his feckless mother hadn’t turned up on time!  Hurrah!

I will do better next week and leave a ten minute contingency margin.  Now that I have calmed down, here is a picture of some lovely hydrangeas.

Hydrangeas
Hydrangeas

They’ve turned and are starting to look crispy but are still very pretty and autumnal all the same.  Once hydrangeas have turned properly brown, you are meant to dead head them (just so your garden doesn’t look appalling).  However, Pippa Middleton (in her marvellous book Celebrate) mentioned that vases of them can be very effective for Halloween.  Can I hang on until then?

Happy All Saints Day!

It’s quite atmospheric this morning, the mist has come off the sea and the foghorn is going.  I never knew the difference between fog and mist – my husband once said that it depended on whether you were inland or by the sea.  However, my good friend Wikipedia says that if you can’t see at least a kilometre ahead, it is fog.  Otherwise it is mist.

This might actually be fog
This might actually be fog
The bit where you can't see anything is actually sea
The bit where you can’t see anything is actually sea

One result of this fog / mist is that I can see all the spiders’ webs on the railings.  I must give them a clean at some point.

Would have been good for Halloween
Would have been good for Halloween

The pumpkins look rather soggy this morning.  In a few days, I will put them on my compost heap.  When the children have stopped being fond of them – yesterday my son sang songs to his pumpkin so it may take a while.

There's a reason you only carve pumpkins on Halloween itself
There’s a reason you only carve pumpkins on Halloween itself