Fall in love with fall: how to enjoy autumn’s darker days
We don’t have to be clinically diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder to feel apprehensive at the thought of being plunged into shorter days and endless evenings. As Brexit reality sets in, (hello, rising fuel costs and sad supermarket shelves) combined with potentially more Covid-related restrictions, there’s little cause for optimism as we set the clocks back an hour (in the UK) and officially welcome, The Dark, Season 3.
But is your glass of spiced pumpkin latte half-empty or half-full? There are certain things we cannot control, such as the economy and weather. How we deal with negative influences and our overriding attitude makes a difference. It’s perhaps more important than ever, for our mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, to offer seasonal gratitude. The idea of the Harvest Festival, where crops are reaped and food bounties celebrated, can be extended into many aspects of autumn life.
At this time of the year, I return to my hat box with enormous pleasure. The unfurling of scarves and pulling on of gloves is an autumn ritual like no other. If we don’t want to become seasonal hostages, then let’s brave the elements in our best finery. I’d also give praise for the wonders of cashmere because there’s nothing like pulling on your favourite sweater when the chill sets in. Provided, it’s not been ravaged by moths. Its fuzzy warmth is like a friendly embrace.
Hot drinks are another seasonal lifesaver. I’ve never forgotten a cockle-warming hot spiced apple juice in the Blackfriars Pub after a walk around the city. Hot whisky toddies remind me of Edinburgh, and this winter, I plan to visit to one of London’s many rum bars. In autumn, my tea palette shifts from fresh herbs to spice-based brews. Pukka Three Cinnamon and Celestial Bengal Spice are delicious but making your own with cardamom, allspice, cinnamon, cloves and ginger is more satisfying. Vodka heats from the inside and I’d give special thanks to my friend, Bison Grass.
Soup is a permanent fixture in my kitchen from September onwards. Last week, a neighbour brought round a bag of apples from his tree and I made a celery, leek and apple soup. This week, it’s butternut squash, kale and chickpea flavoured with paprika. ‘One Pot’ cooking generally scores high this time of the year and there’s nothing better than being greeted by a Moroccan tagine or traditional hot pot when you come in from the cold.
Whether spending valuable time with my 89-year-old mother, meeting with siblings or cooking for old friends, as the nights draw in, our companions, whether they have two legs or four, bring comfort. My No.1 favourite thing is writing in bed, surrounded by three cats curled up together. This never happens in summer (when they keep a tetchy distance). It’s one of the privileges of autumn and winter, as are the awe-inspiring canopies of changing leaves, extraordinary cold weather skies, the solitary flame of a candle or glow of an open fire. We’re already losing an hour, so let’s not waste more precious time in mourning. Instead, let’s celebrate the dark months and all the pleasures they bring.
Fall in love with fall-style:
Please note that affiliate links used may gain a small commission for That’s Not My Age.