I realised that I hardly ever write about what I do day to day. So today I thought I'd fill you in on some of the things I've been doing in the last few days.
Halloween came and went, and on the day itself we had an afternoon birthday party for our niece whose birthday had been the previous day.
I made a birthday cake, wholefoody style because that's what our family likes. It was carrot, orange and nut with, diplomatically, just one candle...
The next day, we went to Hertfordshire for a day out on the bikes, starting along the canal from Rickmansworth. There's nothing sadder than an abandoned Halloween pumpkin, is there?
Some of the boat people were scratching their heads about where the oil you can see on the water came from.
Our aim was to catch the last of the autumn colours. You get on the Grand Union Canal quite near the tube station, at Batchford Lock, where there's a Waterways Trust shop and info point, plus a nice outdoor cafe. We were aiming at the beautiful Whippendell Woods, towards Watford. It is not very far, but we took it slowly and wandered off the route a lot.
When we began, it was quite misty.
Everything was still and silent, and this rope figurehead looked a little chilly in the mist.
But the weather soon brightened up. Soon the fog burned away and it turned into a really perfect Autumn day.
Canals seem to attract residents who like to live life differently, and one day I plan a post all about the boats to be seen on an amble down the towpaths. But although many of the boats are highly original, I hadn't seen anything like this before. At first I thought the car was parked on the boat.
but no...... .
We picked lots of very late blackberries, and what's more, they were tasty. Usually the saying is that the witch spits on blackberries picked after 1 October, but she hadn't managed to get to these ones. Perhaps she'd lost her broomstick over Halloween. I didn't want to break the web, which was covered in dewdrops from the mist.
Leaves and reflections
Judging from the number of rose hips, the area must be spectacular in June when the red, white and pink roses are out.
We didn't reach the woods till the sun began to sink, around four pm.
but we cycled across the hill on a carpet of fallen leaves and got back to the canal, and thence to the station, before it got completely dark.
At some point, another niece invited us to her birthday party which was at Save the Date cafe in Hackney, created by Ruth (below) and her partner James. It's an unusual place, hand built with a storage-container kitchen. It is a cafe with a mission, and uses exclusively overstocked// surplus food donated by supermarkets and other organisations. Our meal was from the veggies that had formed part of the Royal Horticultural Society's autumn show. Really good!
Our niece's buddy, who runs a company called Kookybakes, had spent hours doing her a golden birthday cake. I never even knew edible golden spray existed! Everyone loved this magical golden forest - can you see the bears and pinecones?
There were sparklers too, which are always fun.
Things haven't all been nice by any means. Sadly, a friend also died last week, after a very long and difficult illness. We will be going to her funeral on Friday. We also had to cancel out of going to see the bonfires in Lewes, Sussex, on Guy Fawkes Day, November 5th, and there are various other issues, as there usually are with everyone, of course. We've done lots of stuff around the house, loads of admin.and quite a bit of babysitting
But I cycled in to London yesterday and although I didn't spend long there I took a peep at Selfridge's Christmas windows, which are on theme of "Space" this year. I will return and take more photos but I loved this embracing couple with heads like dandelion clocks
I think each window was meant to represent a different planet. I am not sure what this one was.
And I'm reading this book, which describes how the wild and licentious 18th century changed into the unutterably stuffy, priggish Victorian age. It's very well written and it's telling me some downright astonishing things I never knew before. So I can highly recommend it.
Finally, I have named the Malaysian stuffed monkey "Durante"! And here is a photo from just outside World Travel Market on the day I got him. The fog was still there but the sun was breaking through.
So that's what I've been up to!