This was the light on the hill last week but now it has gone dark with all the suddenness of winter. Ten minutes ago I went out to lock up the hens and could still see in the gloom. Now it is truly dark and the shape of the pigsties and the bakehouse has disappeared into blackness. Across the valley a single light shines and the line of the hill is still just visible, deeply black against the nearly black sky.
We have been collecting leaves today, not all the leaves, that would be as impossible up here as heating the world with a patio heater (hate them, such a stupid idea, why not go inside if you want to be warm, rant) but the leaves from by the bottom gate and in front of the pigsties and the bakehouse and those from the path in front of the house. Twelve bin bags full are stacked in one of our many out of the way corners, holes poked in the bags with a handy ash stick, and will slowly moulder into a lovely leaf mould for the hellebores and cyclamen. If only I knew where the cyclamen had gone to.
Ian has had to go back to work for a dinner tonight and has fitted that in with a trip to see ailing relatives. I think I have the better day today. I have been potting up bare rooted perennials; Rudbeckia Goldsturm, Knifophia Bees Lemon and Eremurus, the Foxtail Lily. I have been moving perennial wallflowers and watering the cold frames, filling bird feeders and sorting laundry, and checking the holiday cottage for some visitors who arrived as the light began to fade.
And now there is the question of what to do with an evening to myself. I have a DVD of "Lost in Austen" from the lovely bodran to watch and an uncharacteristic urge to paint my toenails. This last is as a result of my favourite new activity, yoga. This has to be done with bare feet and I am hoping to comfort myself for the inflexibility of my hamstrings with pretty toes. Both watching DVDs and painting toenails are not part of my normal routine. Then there is the looming of Christmas. I am never going to be the sort of person who has done all their Christmas shopping by the end of September but I am starting to get a bit oppressed by the sense that I have done nothing whatsoever.
And so a plan is emerging: an hour or so's shopping on the internet for Christmas presents which will save me from the horrors of real sweaty shopping, followed by a bath and a sit by the stove with "Lost in Austen" whilst I paint my toes. Then if I am really lucky Ian will not stay away overnight but will drive home in the middle of the night so we will be here together in the morning.
Oh, and fish pie for tea. Small things but good ones.


Comments

  1. Well, when you write about your garden in future I shall think of painted toenails under your wellie boots! Seriously though enjoy your evening. We too are out for a dinner - a family occasion. Lovely blog as always. Yoga is excellent therapy.

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  2. The small things are always, always the best ones. Enjoy your dvd. What colour are the toenails going to be?

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  3. How bizarre - I recieved Lost in Austen from Amazon this morning in an attempt to quell my soul!

    Know exactly what you mean about the light and it definately being winter now. A week ago it was still golden, bathed everything it its warm light now it is thin, sharp and cold.

    Here is something you didn't know about me .... I have never painted my nails, not once not never! Never heard the urge either... wonder why?

    Zoë xx

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  4. Well I have - and often but am currently leaving them ' au naturalle' for the winter.....lovely pictures Em. Will we be having a get tog before Christmas?

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  5. Your day sounds perfect to me, just my kind of thing, even the fish pie. But what colour are your toes?

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  6. My toes are cherry red Cait. Not a terribly tidy cherry red, I am not a great manicurist, but it is cheerful enough!

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  7. Very beautiful photographs. Lost in Austen started slowly for me but I was indeed charmed by the end - enjoy! And the best tip for a pedicure is don't worry about painting the skin around the nail too - while sitting in a hot bath, ideally after a long soak while reading a good book - the varnish on the skin just scrapes off with a little persuasion from your fingernail. Cherry red is vairy chic!

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  8. What wonderful pictures. Any clues as to foxtail lillies? I planted 5 last year and they just disappeared. So sad.

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  9. Oh, I love those evenings when one finds oneself alone with no one to hamper those little indulgences like painting one's toenails or pottering around the kitchen until nearly midnight as I have done tonight. Would be interested to hear what Lost in Austen is like. Enjoy.

    xx

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  10. Thank you for the beautiful photo. In this city around this time of year, just before all the Christmas lights go up, it does just seem to suddenly go dark just before 5. Not enough transition.

    I am with Zoe, never had polish (varnish) on my toes, and think I last had it on my fingers about 15 years ago. Over here, "nail parlors" are all over the place, ready to take care of toes, fingers and even throw in a massage. I wonder how they will do as our recession deepens....

    Hoping that we will eventually get Lost in Austen, because it does sound intriguing.

    Best wishes.

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  11. Lovely post elizabeth - I do think bright toe-nails are essential for yoga :)
    K

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  12. One of the best things in life is a easy viewing bit of tv/film. Enjoy it!

    What stunning photographs - such gorgeous autumnal colours and stunning sunlight. Emma x

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  13. What a lovely sounding self indulgent evening - good once in a while.

    Love painted toe nails - but I avoid bright reds as I always glance down and think I've got bloodied toes. Perhaps I need my eyes re-testing.

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  14. Small things are the best.
    I must also paint my toenails. Not many people get to see them but I do!
    Fish pie sounds great.
    I love your pictures, especially the second one.
    All that lovely leaf mould.
    Cyclamen do seem to disappear & then it is such a lovely surprise when you see them come into flower.

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  15. Lovely blog Elizabeth. I love the twilight at this time of year when it drifts into night. Love to sit by the firelight with no lamps on and watch it darken, listening to the peace. Not much chance for that these days! xx

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  16. gorgeous pictures. and i always say i can handle the cold of winter, but the dark is tough for me. i relish every sunny day of november because they are so few.

    good luck with the yoga. and i love the idea of pretty toes making you feel better about your tight hamstrings. a great metaphor for life in general, and all the compromises and consolations..

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  17. Sounds like a brilliant plan Elizabeth and an idyllic day. You really are living the dream.

    There is so much contentment and serenity in your blogs. I always look forward to reading you.

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  18. Fish pie is my favourite... such comfort food.
    Please send some of your wonderful serenity in my direction, we are still far too busy and don't seem to have time to breathe... or to make fish pie.
    Tonight is a hot pot thrown in the oven with the left over roast beef while I get all the tax stuff to go to the accountants tomorrow.. so no more bloggin' until another day.

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  19. Pretty toes are a must when practicing yoga! It gives me something to look at when I inevitably lose my concentration.

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  20. Hi,

    Don't feel offended. Put it down to having two small girls and a husband who travels and somehow I keep getting roped in to do stuff at the school. Apparently tomorrow I'm icing cakes all morning for the school fayre in the afternoon. Anyway, I do read but should turn from a lurker into a commenter or should that be commentator?

    E

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  21. Hi Eliane, welcome. I always read yours too and am interested in your journey towards greater self sufficiency. We have the chickens, the veg garden, the woodburner and the logs but are not being quite as brave on the heating front! Mind you all visitors do bring extra jumpers.

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  22. Ah, we had fish pie last night. Yum yum. Especially good with peas. Absolutely with you on patio heaters - was there ever a more stupid invention. I've taken to turning them off when I encounter them in pubs. Can't comment on painted toenails, but I absolutely loved Lost In Austen

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  23. I loathe all the Christmas preparations and have also got to gear myself up for it. Instead of yoga I'm trying Pilates at the moment to try to improve flexibility... and when I've achieved that I'll be able to paint my toenails!

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  24. Taking pleasure in small things - the secret of happiness . . .

    I shall be glad when it is the shortest day - I am juggling my list of 'fings to do' here plus redecorating our biggest room, shortening curtains etc. I could do with a summer morning or two right now, in order to catch up with the garden. You have inspired me to sweet up all the leaves and bag them though - at least that way they won't keep blowing under the front door and making themselves at home in corners . . .

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  25. I am enjoying your wonderful blog and all of the great commenters here. I think I was a welsh farmwife in some distant past life, but am now trapped in an american male teacher life. I hope you don't mind if I sit in?!

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  26. I followed my hubby Don over here and to Eliane's because he forced me, but I'm glad I came. The photos make me ache and I love what you wrote here. I do Pilates, and I can relate to the need for toenails polished. You actually inspired me to do Pilates today. Thank you.

    And you inspired some outdoor activity too. Happy Don found you.

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  27. Hi Don and Ruth. Thanks for reading and commenting. I have been over to yours and love the barn and the politics!

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  28. Thanks! In case you come back, synch-ro-ni-zing is my main blog, and I haven't been as motivated to huff at my political blog since a certain person was elected and now I'm just happy. I'm sure I'll find something else to huff about after a bit. :)

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  29. great post, interesting blog, I will return..or should l say I'll be back.
    would be interested to hear how the lost in austen is as I missed the tv...and thought l might get it for xmas..let me know..
    thanks for dropping by, will add you to my blogroll..

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  30. Hi FFF. I loved Lost in Austen. Started a bit slowly but got into if after a bit and found it witty and clever. I suspect it was better watching it on a dvd as I might not have watched a second episode on TV and would have missed a treat.

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