Autumn is officially Hot Tub Season
Autumn is a season for the senses. The sound of trees rustling in the wind; leaves changing colour, from lush greens to vibrant reds, golds and brown. And my favourite, the smell of crackling bonfires and wood-burners which fill the air day and night.
Full of colour
When autumn arrives it's not just the leaves that provide a wonderful, coloured background. It's all the delicious fruits and seeds as well. Hedgerows full of blackberries, sloes, elderberries and rose hips. Gardeners busy picking apples, pears and figs. Even the children can take part collecting conkers and pine cones, and playing with sycamore 'helicopter' seeds which spin round as they fall to the ground.
In Europe autumn this year 'officially' starts on the 22nd September but try telling that to Nature. Migrating birds don't have calendars and clocks to go by so as soon as it starts getting cooler birds like swallows and swifts fly south. They will fly thousands of miles to Africa because the winters are too cold for them. And there aren't many bugs for them to feed on either, so that's another good reason for them migrate for a few months. Wouldn't it be lovely if we could all do that?
For most French people autumn starts on the 1st September and they even have a word for it, La Rentrée. It literally means the return. Kids go back to school after a long summer holiday (even longer this year because of covid!). Tourists head home and France returns to normal for the locals and a few lucky visitors. And I say 'lucky' because when there are fewer tourists the beaches and car parks are quiet. Our favourite tourist locations are less expensive and less crowded, but the weather is still wonderfully warm.
If we are not busy delivering hot tubs to happy customers then we spend as much time as possible in the garden. There's not as much mowing or hedge-clipping to do in the autumn, and it's still nice and warm. When the berries are out we do a bit of foraging as well (and maybe a bit of 'scrumping' if we spot any apples trees nearby!).
It's a hard life
After a hard day foraging or walking in the woods, there's nothing more relaxing than a long soak in a wood-fired hot tub. Warm bubbles of water soothing your aching limbs, and softening your skin. Fragrant pine cone wood smoke drifting through the air, and a delicious glass of mulled cider with apple brandy, or vin chaud. Hot tub heaven.
So what do you like most about autumn? Is it the sights, sounds and smells? Or is it the fact that autumn means that it's getting close to Christmas? Maybe it's all of these things.