Tomorrow, I will load our family – six of us plus large dog – into two cars along with six bikes, two inflatable kayaks, six pairs of hiking boots, six wet suits, and at least two anoraks of varying weights per person and head to the Highlands for a wet week of route marches and mosquito bites.
In our family, this is our idea of fun (or so I tell them) and if we get an hour of sunshine during the week we will deem it a major success. Sadly, our holiday spells the end of summer. The harvesting is already all-but done and the day after we return, school/college begins again and all we will have to look forward to will be the last of the blackberries and the dark days of winter.
Hence, I’m now suffering my annual late-summer grieving period, heightened this year by the fact that I have spent just six and a half days outside in the sunshine all summer, slaving over a hot computer inside on the other sunny days.
There have been highlights; I’ve served up mountains of lush berries in summer puddings, trifles, and in the gorgeous Charlotte Russe on our Just Desserts page, and our woods will provide a freezer full of blackberries to keep us going all winter. Our apple trees have failed this year, but we have friends who will provide box-fulls for winter crumbles.
But I’m not ready for the change in season, which is why I offer the recipes in this edition with a heavy heart. They are lovely, but the fact that they are autumnal means I am not quite ready to acknowledge them. I hope you are more open to persuasion. No doubt the autumn trees, when they come, will help to lift our hearts, and we will enjoy re-discovering the comforts of game casserole and sweet potato soup. In the meantime, roll on next May…