Autumn comes to Beetley

Despite the unseasonal weather, (it was 24 C here today) it is more than obvious that Autumn has arrived. I spent a fair amount of time this week collecting the first fall of leaves and twigs from the oaks, as well as attempting to shift some of the many acorns. Another good few hours were spent trimming the leylandii hedges that shelter two sides of the garden. I had neglected them last year, and paid the penalty for this, with hard work. Standing some ten feet high, and almost five feet deep, this is not a job to be tackled lightly, or in bad weather. Most of the difficult bits have to be got at from the top rung of a ladder, with almost all of my body at full stretch, perched precariously on the bulk of the hedge, as I reach across. The thickest branches had to be dealt with by sawing, and each remainder would have made an acceptable Christmas Tree, for an average room. The unexpectedly good weather allowed me to get on with this job, which I could no longer put off. The end result is a satisfyingly neat double row of hedge, and more light allowed into the gardens of the neighbouring houses. I also have the scars to show battle was done, with marks from twigs, the strange redness of an allergic reaction to the pine needles, and muscles aching all over my legs and wrists.

It is getting foggy in the mornings, and dark earlier. By 7.30 in the evening, our lights are on, and by 8, it is completely black outside. The fields nearby are being ploughed, and at times the smell of the manure, and other fertilisers, is all-pervasive between here and Dereham. The leaves are turning; gold before brown, some pale and lifeless. Walking with Ollie today in the afternoon heat, we wandered in the direction of Gingerbread Corner. The vast acres of blackcurrant bushes have now been harvested; the fruit that was rejected by the farmer now fought over by hundreds of starlings. They in turn are mobbed by dozens of crows, swooping down from high nests in the Poplars lining the Holt Road, their cry of ‘caw-caw’ building to an unpleasant cacophony. Squirrels are much in evidence, rapidly gathering nuts to store against the coming winter. So many are scurrying around, Ollie is unsure which one to chase first, and just stands and cries in frustration.

Once at the plum orchards, lack of rainfall, and the cessation of watering by the farmer, shows in the remaining crop. This time of year normally sees many unpicked plums still hanging in plump clusters on the short trees. Today, all that was visible were hundreds of shrivelled and blackened fruits, dehydrated and dead on their stalks. A little further on, there is a pleasant area left fallow this year, home to attractive wildflowers, and recently, scores of sunflowers; not cultivated, just growing randomly. Their huge yellow heads, with the dark centres of seeds, helped to brighten a familiar walk. On inspection this afternoon, they have lost petals, the seeds are dry, and the heads are beginning to droop down, as if the flower is sad, or unwell.

This summer of mixed blessings will soon be just a memory. Clear nights, cold winds from the north, Halloween, Bonfire Night, and other seasonal festivities will replace the joy of light evenings, and wide-open windows. Autumn is here.

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9 thoughts on “Autumn comes to Beetley

    1. Our seasons are very defined here, in rural England. It must be strange to only have two seasons to anticipate. One day, you will have to experience a European winter. I am sure you would find it unusual.
      Best wishes as always, Pete.

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      1. We are in a tropical country that is why. We also experience cold weather here from December to February (maybe just like your fall season but a bit humid) but that is all there is to it.

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  1. Lovely to read your description of Autumn and the autumnal countryside in Norfolk Pete, and great to hear you have lots of Starlings, it must be a good year for them as there are a lot more up North too this year too. Enjoy the seasonal festivities as they come along, although I’m sure Ollie will be safely tucked indoors on bonfire night! Best wishes as always Jane x

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  2. Autumn has not yet come to Southern Nevada, although i would imagine that the quaking aspens on Mt. Charleston are beginning to color their leaves gold. The temperature today is 36 Celsius, so at least we are past the hot summer temperatures.

    I was not familiar with leylandii. A quick search on the internet cured my ignorance. I found this anecdote at BBC.com:

    Standing stark naked in his garden with his two dogs running around, he tells of his love for his leylandii, which he carefully prunes.

    “When I moved here, the lady next door said, ‘How do you fancy taking this hedge down?’ and I said, ‘I could, Rose, but I do walk around the garden with nothing on’.”

    (Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-15018807)

    Sometimes it’s good to stand one’s ground.

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    1. It does shield us from the neighbours David, but I doubt I would ever cavort naked in our garden, especially whilst pruning!
      Enjoy your 36 degrees. I have never experienced those temperatures in the UK, but I have been in similar heat some years ago, once in Tashkent, and also in Singapore. On both occasions, it was humid and overcast though, so most unpleasant.
      Very best wishes, Pete.

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