It was the most flying of visits, getting to London on Monday afternoon and coming back late on Tuesday morning using the cheapest trains I could find. The tube strike was still on when I got up on Tuesday so I walked up from Waterloo, where my friend lives, to Euston station, taking my time, stopping once for a coffee and to read the paper, wandering, sauntering. This is my part of London: Waterloo bridge, Westminster, Fleet Street, Bloomsbury, all that area West of the City but not as far West as Oxford Street or the West End. I went to university on the Strand, worked on Surrey Street and came back, after a few years away having babies and living in the suburbs of Manchester, to work on the Aldwych . I still remember that surge of energy and excitement I felt walking over Waterloo Bridge on the first morning of that new job and feeling once more at the heart of things.
Up from the Aldwych I walked on through the squares that lie between Southampton Row and the British Museum. I like these too. They are quiet and calm away from the traffic and the rush of pedestrians. People sit in the squares or, if they are walking, it is the not the walk of the rush and the shove and the pointed elbow. Even if it is purposeful it is still a walk with an eye for what is in flower, for dalliance on benches and scuffles of sparrows.
It was good to be in London again and it was good to be back home. The hills were green and gold in the sun and the hens were pleased to be let out, scratching and gossipping under the yew tree. My salvia cuttings in the greenhouse were all ok. There were more tomatoes and more autumn raspberries to be picked. I felt as if I had been away for a few days, not less than 36 hours.
And this morning was perfect, utterly still and full of the glow of autumn light.
The dew on the alchemilla mollis.
The pears are ripening.
We picked bags and boxes and wheelbarrows of apples from the orchard at the weekend but the ones in the kitchen garden are always a bit later.
In the new mixed native hedge the rosa rugosa hips shine. Shall I pick them and have a go at rosehip syrup or should I leave them to be beautiful through the winter?
Here is the orchard closely mown following Ian's scything. I need to do more planning and sowing and planting for the wildflowers here.
I don't need to do anything at all here though, except look at it. It is good to go away. It is good to come home.