Birdsong and bulbs
Wow February, you’ve treated us here today in the UK. The early mist gave way to bright blue skies and the first warm sunshine of the year. The birds have been in full voice, blue tits popping in and out the next box, and I flung open the shed door to attempt to burn off some of the layer of winter mildew that has inevitably settled on every surface.
I put the lemon tree outside to sit in the sun and opened every single window as wide as it would go to let the fresh air clear out the cottage. Best of all, the sun has worked its way just high enough to shine on my favourite sitting spot. Spring is really coming along! I love to think of these days as full of birdsong and bulbs, as little green shoots begin to pop up and feathered friends begin to seek out nest locations. The magpies are beginning to tentatively return to their nest from last year – roosting on the branch just below, hopping in and straight out, playing around and around. I hope they’ll stay there again this year.
I know there will be frost to come, and the forecast shows rain for the days ahead. But this one day gives me a much-needed lift, a glimpse of longer, warmer and brighter days ahead. I’ve pottered around the garden a little this morning, cutting back last year’s teasel heads, scattering the remaining seeds on the cobbles for the birds.
The bright days lift my mood massively. I find myself dragged down by the endless grey of UK winter – at first a novelty, but after a few months it becomes a weight. I think everyone feels it, somehow – the explosion of joy that a sunny day brings in winter is quite fun to be a part of. People out and about walking, gathering, having a chat, exchanging pleasantries as they pass on the pavement or towpath. The buzz of distant DIY power tools echoing down the valley as soon as the sun comes out, even if it’s still in the low single figures. One or two bright days in the middle of the seemingly endless grey is such a treat here!
So today, I try and get as much washing done as possible to hang in the sunlight. I wipe windows and feel an urge to move the furniture around (my favourite thing to do) and generally come out of hibernation a little. Do you feel this in spring, too? We’re still part of this big, ever shifting wheel. We feel the seasons change, even now, even if we forget those parts of us long hidden.
With tea in hand, I head out to enjoy the last few rays of sunshine, and hope for more tomorrow.
My mind is full
My mind is full, and it’s ok. I learnt recently from a lecturer that they weren’t able to read any fiction books during their doctorate, because their mind was full of information for their studies. It made me think about how I’ve struggled to get back into reading for pleasure, struggled to get into doing anything, really, for the last year or so. After beating myself up for this repeated failure to get anything done, I’ve realised that’s probably happening to me, too. The reason isn’t because I’m useless, as my brain keeps helpfully suggesting. It’s because my mind is full.
When I say full, I don’t mean full of knowledge, although I wish that was the case. My memory keeps hold of any given fact for approximately 3 seconds before chucking it over its shoulder and moving on to something more shiny. Instead, my mind is grinding away in the background, forging connections and figuring things out when I’m not paying attention. I feel like I’m not doing a lot, and it’s true, I’m not – but my mind is there, munching through information for me, until suddenly I wake up and am able to add some more words to my word count, analyse some more numbers, put something across in a way that finally makes sense.
Figuring out how to work with my brain, not against it, is a whole new ball game. I’m trying to comprehend this newly discovered neurodiversity, understand how I process information (or not) and divert the tempting feeling of regret into something more powerful. I’m nearly 40 and it’s the first time I feel like I might be tentatively trying to make friends with my mind. It’s there, always full of a million things, seeing infinite connections and possibilities every hour of every day. It’s exhausting – but also exhilarating. How do I work alongside it?
I’m finally working out why I can’t remember anything that happened in the last few hours, days or weeks. Why I’ve spent three years learning a subject and can’t remember even the most basic facts about it, but I know every boyband lyric from two decades ago. Why my mind is empty yet crammed full at the same time.
The constant bit of a song or two on loop, the half-formed images that constantly replace each other, the quote from a tv show that plays round and round, the chattering, the lightening-quick overview of any problem and a million and one solutions, the big thinking and infinite ideas, but no clue how to actually start anything. Constantly losing things, but picking up on almost imperceptible information about a situation. White-hot anger and the deepest joys. It’s all still settling with me – yet I feel a kind of peace, too.
I know now that I can feed it some complex problem, forget about it, and a few weeks later, my brain will have figured it out by itself. I’ll wake up one day and suddenly, I’ll be able to do The Thing that just recently was absolutely impossible. I trust that I will be able to produce work absolute last-minute that will be, if not perfect, to a decent standard, without having to draft and re-draft and re-draft. I try not to feel bad that I have to follow the whims of my brain – if it’s not into something, then it’s absolutely impossible to force it. Funny old thing.
But brains aren’t infinite as much they feel it. It’s just recently I’ve realised just how much I’m asking mine to do. No wonder I come home and zone out watching youtube, scrolling, or floating away to the deep wub of drum and bass. That little lump of grey matter is munching through universes in the background. Studying for a PhD has upped the game, and I almost physically feel the limits. No wonder I find it hard to get anything started for this blog, much as I want to. My brain’s already pre-occupied and working full pelt.
So, I’m going to try and cut my brain-friend some slack. I’ve spent 40 years at war with it, really, when it didn’t deserve it at all – it was just a little different from the norm. Of course it was.
In those 40 years, my mind has never been empty. I never realised that you could think of nothing, or even just one thing at a time. It’s been like a 40-year rave inside my head and I’ve been like the spoilsports that call the cops and try and shut it down.
I think it’s time to learn to dance alongside it, finally, although I think I’ll also need to make sure there’s a chill-out room, too…!
Books, snails and the start of spring
The sun is streaming through the window, painting rainbows from the myriad of crystals hung from the curtain pole. Dust is dancing lazily in sunbeams, and although it’s still cold, both inside and out, I feel like spring is starting to make an appearance. One brave crocus and a single snowdrop have popped their heads up under the birch tree, the slowest start, but a sign that we are tipping over into spring. They’re a week earlier than last year so a good sign things are shifting!
It is joyously light at 5pm now here in Yorkshire. Arriving home in twilight instead of pitch black, the tantalising promise of longer days to come. This week has seen the dreary January grey give way to crisp February days. Marking Imbolc at the beginning of the month lifted that heaviness of the long UK winter for a while, at least.
I’ve been reading a little more, which has been a pleasure. Since going back to university I’ve found it very hard to have enough ‘brain’ left to be able to read anything outside the mountains of information I have to absorb for my studies. I love reading, but I only managed 11 books last year, and seven of those were the Harry Potter series I read in seven straight days when I had covid. I miss reviewing books on the blog so really want to bring that back. The lure of escaping into a book is strong at the moment!
The start of spring brings an urge to plant every single seed in the seed tin, way too early, but I’m resisting. Our spring seems to take a while to get going here, and it’s usually April really before the growing season kicks in. I’ve planted things in February before and paid the price! Last year we inherited a heated propagator which we filled with much enthusiasm, before realising it was still too cold to transplant the energetic seedlings anywhere else. So we’ll try and hold off on that too. I’ve stocked up on flower seeds from Higgeldy Garden and veg from Real Seeds, as well as some seed saved from last year – mainly runner beans and field beans- I’m really looking forward to planting!
My aim is to grow at least one vegetable that doesn’t get eaten by the mammoth snails we get here that could eat their way through a stone wall if they tried hard enough. They’re a different breed, I’m sure they have sharp teeth and muscular jaws.
The cottage rumbles on – the January rain has somehow made its way through the thick stone walls into the living room, we’re hoping due to a leaky gutter that we have had fixed, so fingers crossed it’ll dry out soon. I’ve been attempting to motivate myself to clean by making ‘cleaning caddies’ with exciting-coloured sponges and cloths, alongside various homemade cleaning potions. It’s yet to work but has been fun to put together. I feel like if I leave the caddy in the middle of the floor of the room I want to clean it’ll remind me to do the cleaning whenever I fall over it.
This week’s book is The Square of Sevens by Laura Shepherd-Robinson – I’ve just finished her previous book so was really excited to get the ARC for this one! I’ll review it over the next couple of weeks. It sounds right up my street, and a great distraction from university.
I think that’s everything. I’m off to sit in a sunbeam for a while 🙂
Book Review: South by Babak Lakghomi
From the publisher: “South is a haunting and hallucinatory reimagination of life in a world under totalitarianism, and an individual’s quest for truth, agency, and understanding.
B, a journalist, travels to the South of an unnamed desert country for a mysterious mission to write a report about the recent strikes on an offshore oil rig. From the beginning of his trip, he is faced with a cruel and broken landscape of drought and decay, superstitious believers of evil winds and spirits, and corrupt entities focused on manipulation and censorship. As he tries to defend himself against his unknown enemies, we learn about his father’s disappearance, his fading love with his wife, and his encounter with an unknown woman. A puzzle-like novel about totalitarianism, surveillance, alienation, and guilt that questions the forces that control us.”
South is a novel that has taken me a while to process – the bleak, blunt prose is divisive and initially hard to get along with, but since I’ve finished it, my mind has filled in more and more layers. I think it needs time to digest, and it’s a novel I will definitely return to.
This dystopian story follows B, as he goes undercover to join the crew of an oil rig. The world is stark, grey and jarring. It is almost our world, yet it is not. B’s mission to write a report about recent strikes on the rig slowly falls apart, and in doing so, reveals more details about B’s past, his father’s mysterious disappearance and his relationship. As the novel unwinds, so does the structure of B’s life – the surveillance and authoritarianism of this dystopian world packs a punch against a hazy, dreamlike background.
The writing is minimal and almost harsh, with Lakghomi eschewing details that initially I wished were present. I finished the novel feeling confused and almost empty – a feeling which, on reflection, echoes the style of writing well, and is not necessarily negative. Lakghomi conjours the feeling of a world that is not just teetering on the brink of something dark but has stepped over the precipice and is now in free fall. There is a creeping, insidious sense of dystopia that lodges itself in your mind and really makes you think. It is a haunting and somewhat uncomfortable read, but that is what makes it great.
South is published on 12th September 2023.
Dundurn Press (Canada, available 15th Aug 2023)
Thank you #Netgalley for the ARC of this novel!
Hello from a dreary Yorkshire day -the cloud is hanging low down the valley, bringing a sort of quiet dampness which I love. In this weather the birdsong seems louder, the colours more vibrant against the grey background. The river runs peat brown, dark depths. I wandered up the valley earlier, just to get out the house, relishing drizzle on my skin and the lack of anybody else around.
2023 has been a funny one so far. After the tumult of last year, it sort of seems that all the pieces of me that have been flying around are settling, finally. I feel solid, somehow. I’ve been in a contemplative mood recently – the prospect of turning 40 this year has meant I’ve been looking back, in a way. My thirties have been a decade of discovery, for sure. I left a few jobs, started others, left them, picked up a chronic illness. I worked through depression and put on a lot of weight. I also got a master’s degree and started a PhD. I began therapy, properly, which has been a huge help, and still is. I’m also one of the large number of ‘older’ people, especially women, finally finding out that they are neurodivergent. It’s been a wild ride, but for the first time maybe in my life, I can say I’m beginning to know myself.
I think I’ve needed to wait until now, to start this blog properly. To feel in tune, not only with the turn of the seasons and the passing of the days, but with myself, too. I’ve always felt slightly outside of the norm, just that bit out of place, but not been able to explain it. I fought against it, maybe my whole life. But here I am now, four decades in, understanding it all finally. Sort of starting again, creating a space where I fit perfectly. I’m looking forward to not trying to be someone else for once, worrying about fitting in. I can fit into my own place, just for me.
I feel the pandemic was a turning point for a lot of us – a point where things could fall apart. Through the loss, hurt and pain, we could see the things that were really important. Our stories are personal, yet somehow shared against the same background. The world trying so hard to get ‘back to normal’ is leaving so much of that new wisdom behind. Collective trauma needs time for grief, time for recovery. Grief for loved ones, for life as it was, for the world. It’s a time to follow our hearts now. It’s time to bring change, and I feel that personally.
The sun is breaking through the cloud now, the last few minutes of golden light peaking over the fence to next door’s garden. Soon it will rise high over the rooftops, bringing heat, light, new growth, long days. Not long now. I’m being pulled back to my path, back to the wheel of the year, and I feel comfort in that. Deep roots, new growth.
So what does this all mean for this blog? It’s going to be a place to drop in and find rambling midlife thoughts, quiet places away from the shoutiness of general life, introspection, a lot of nature, growing things, and seasonal bits. Terrible crafts. Folklore, liminal places, travel, connectedness. A place that doesn’t really fit in, but welcomes everyone who also feels that way, too. We can all fit in here, together. Or fit out. Embrace the weirdness! And bring tea. Oh! And there will be books. Of course.
I’ll make a visual version of this post over on YouTube, too. Mostly I’ll just be reading it, but maybe another thought or two will pop into my head as I go?! Who knows. I really enjoy making videos, and although they’ll probably be terrible quality for now, it’s a way to gain momentum at least! You can subscribe here if you are so inclined.
Stay well, friends 🙂
A New Year
Hello everyone and of course, happy new year for 2023. It’s here, 2022 has finally faded into the distance, although I can’t help but feel I should be watching my back somehow in case it hasn’t quite left. I hope everyone is feeling ok and can look forward to the year ahead at least somewhat!
For me, it seems that the little idea-seeds I planted in my mind back at the end of October seem to be wanting to grow after a few months ‘thinking time’, so I’m here, riding the wave of enthusiasm, and hoping that those little seeds will grow into something more. It’s been a weird time in life, but amongst all of that, this blog seems to be emerging. So this post is kind of ‘watering’ it, I think!
I’m great at imagining the end product, and terrible at every step in between now and that end. I know where I’d love to take this blog and associated bits and bobs – but how to get there, I’ve no idea. I’ve made many false starts, mostly now confined to the desktop recycle bin or the great cloud in the sky. But I’m planning on sticking this one out! I have an exciting-looking mic arriving and one of those magic circular lights. After trying to squish this blog into some sort of order or shape, focusing on ‘one thing’, I gave up and finally decided to let go and just make it a reflection of myself. A bit chaotic, a bit distracted by shiny things, and a place where I’d like to hang out on the internet, too.
The mic and the light will hopefully encourage me to finally start putting my actual self out there – my short lived youtube channel for my previous blog was one of the most fun things I’ve done, so I’d like to do more of it. I’ve bitten the bullet and set up a new one for the Ginger Feather – you can subscribe here. The blog, of course, will finally start to fill up with books, things I find interesting, terrible crafts, day to day thoughts, nature, and hopefully become a nice space for people to virtually visit.
I think it’ll begin to reflect a bit of me as I expand back into a sense of self after a few years of ‘discovery’. I’ll be 40 this year and I’m rather looking forward to it – my 30’s have been a wild ride, mentally and physically and I’m ending the decade a very different person to when I started. This will be a place to settle, to explore my 40’s, to document whatever life brings.
Welcome to the Ginger Feather!
Book Review: The Revelations
The Revelations, Erik Hoel 5/5
An intellectual soup of consciousness, genius and animal testing with a suspicious death thrown into the mix – The Revelations is hard to describe, but very, very good.
After an intellectual breakdown of sorts whilst studying his previous PhD programme, Kierk is living in his car, having left the PhD programme. However, he has an offer of a place on a prestigious programme to study the nature of consciousness. Last minute, he decides to accept the place.
I was expecting to dislike Kierk, but found him surprisingly likeable, along with the other students on the course. Following Kierk’s manic thought processes is great – there is a lot of discussion of consciousness theory which I found fascinating but not overbearing, and I enjoyed the lengths he puts himself through to push his mind to the next level.
The sudden death of one of the students places the others under suspicion, along with an animal rights group that has been infiltrating the consciousness research facility. Along with fellow student Carmen, Kierk sets out to discover just what happened. The descriptions of the testing facility are very realistic and could be upsetting – I found myself clearly picturing the suffering these animals go through.
I enjoyed the slightly disconcerting atmosphere of the book, toying with our idea of reality. The ending was sudden – and I think I’m going to go back and re-read it – I imagine there are more layers to this than I picked up on the first reading! Overall I really enjoyed it – a book that challenged me and really made me think.
Buy this book here:
These are not affiliate links
(This review previously appeared on my past blog, One Empty Shelf. Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book).
Book Review: The Dictator’s Muse
The Dictator’s Muse, Nigel Farndale 4/5
The Dictator’s Muse is set during the Berlin Olympics of the 1930’s. Hitler is taking power and the book focuses on Leni Riefenstahl, a film-maker popular with the Third Reich, whom Hitler has requested capture the Olympics.
Competing in the Olympics is British athlete Kim Newlands. Along with his socialite girlfriend Connie, he joins the Blackshirts, who sponsor him to compete. Alun Pryce is a communist set on infiltrating the Blackshirts. Acting undercover, he finds his way into Kim and Connie’s lives, and the three become inextricably intertwined, a relationship built on lies and misdirection with heart-wrenching consequences.
As the three arrive at the Olympics and meet Leni, the story unfurls. Leni is moving in dangerous circles, and the writing is suspenseful and gripping, showing us the knife-edge that Leni is balancing on in her relationship with the Third Reich and Hitler himself. In the present day, Sigrun Meier is attempting to piece together Leni’s life and work. Via her investigations, we discover what happened to the Leni’s film of the unknown athlete at the Olympics, and also what happened to Alun, Connie and Kim.
The ending seemed a little far-fetched and convenient for me, and I felt that the author could have delved into Leni Riefenstahl’s relationship with the Third Reich further, as well as the history of the Blackshirts and those who worked against them – as someone with little knowledge of this period in time, I felt as though the political factions took somewhat of a backseat to the characters and their stories and would have appreciated more background on what each group represented.
The characters themselves are excellently portrayed, however, and this is what makes the book such a great read. I was gripped by this book, more than I expected. It is a subject area I know little about and this book has piqued my interest, I really want to find out more about Leni Riefenstahl and her relationship with the Nazis, as well as the events surrounding the Berlin Olympics and the athletes competing.
I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting a thrilling, intense read.
Buy this book here:
These are not affiliate links 🙂
(This review previously appeared on my past blog, One Empty Shelf. Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book).
Greenhouse Clear Out and Tidy
I’ve been putting off clearing out the greenhouse for months. Actually months is a lie, it must be at least a year and possibly (probably) even more. But last weekend, the great greenhouse clear out and tidy finally happened, so I thought I’d take a few photos to document it along the way.
I must say, I did hardly any of the actual clearing out (or putting back in), that job was valiantly undertaken by Mr GF, who bravely wrangled the resident huge angry spiders to a new home (round the corner of the house). I don’t mind a distant spid, but when they’re massive and waving their hairy legs at you in rage after being ousted from their favourite tea-towel I come over all wibbly.
Here’s a few shameful before pictures. Over the last few months/years, the organisation I had at the beginning went to pot and I ended up just shoving everything wherever it would fit. I’m terrible for keeping garden bits to ‘make something out of’ in the future, which almost never actually happens. This time we unearthed a hessian sack, two empty compost bags, an entire bucket full of plastic bottles cut in half (no idea), a couple of glass windows, endless seed trays and pots, a jar containing a marble and a bit of wire (also no idea) and handfuls of wooden coffee stirrers liberated to write plant names on (we kept those!). Originally I had some baskets and drawers found in charity shops for all the bits, organised in themes, but the bottom drawers had become spider hotels and I had avoided them ever since.
We decided the best way to go about it would be to remove everything, then jig around as we needed before replacing everything that we wanted to go back in. Mr. GF removed and I wiped plant pots, organised tubs, cleaned tools and once everything was out, washed down the whole inside of the greenhouse with warm water and a good squirt of Dr. Bronners. We ripped off any tired masking tape and duct tape, but left the bits that were still sticking the panels together effectively – I’ve found this is the best way to stop the panels disappearing down the valley in the winter winds. I’ve taped the inside and outside and yes, it looks terrible, but it works!
You may have realised by now that this isn’t going to be an amazing transformation! Definitely no bunting here. Our greenhouse is pretty functional and is never going to be one of those Instagram-perfect glass houses with a sofa in and fairy lights! It’s full of worms, mud and spiders, and it leaks water through the roof moss into an old mushroom tray. I think if we had a posh greenhouse it would just blow away in the wind anyway so there’s no point!
Anyway, back to the job in hand. After Mr GF had cleared everything out, there was loads more room to move around. After whirling around inside for a bit in excitement, we decided to move the big pallet shelves to the side and keep one of the old sets of grey shelves (you can spot them in one of the photos above), but remove everything else. The shelves were really useful – originally part of those small stand-up greenhouses with see through plastic covers. I’d found them years ago in the Wilkos sale for £2 each and after a few years use the plastic had given up, but the shelves are still in great condition.
A quick sweep up and it was time to move around! Luckily, the pallet shelves and the grey shelves were the perfect fit for one side of the greenhouse.
We made these pallet shelves out of some spare wood. They are just two half-pallets, one at either side, joined by a length of wood along the back. The ‘shelves’ are just planks of wood balanced into the spaces in the pallets, so we can move them around as we need. Sturdy and easy to disassemble if needed! After moving the shelves the greenhouse seemed much bigger, mainly as we can now get the the back of the greenhouse. It’s strange how just moving one thing can make it seem so much larger!
After much tea, it was time to put everything back in. We cleared out anything expired, and donated the excess of plant pots to friends and to freecycle, keeping a few of each size. My pile of ‘projects that will never happen’ was sorted and recycled, although we kept the hessian coffee sack for future use – they’re great for hanging basket linings. I organised the baskets, using one for tools, one for garden twine etc, and one for plant food. Mr. GF has a basket for his carnivorous plant things too. We brought the geraniums in from the garden, and put back the physalis (we’ve had 3 so far from it this year and very delicious they are too!) and the avocado-or-mango (we can’t remember which).
I have a wooden fruit tray from the local veg shop that I kept a variety of gardening related crap in, now it’s nice and organised! I balanced it on four pebbles to escape the water that leaks through the roof. And talking of that, I replaced the mushroom tray with a larger one, underneath where it leaks through the roof. There’s moss and it drips lovely filtered rainwater into the tray, which is then used to water the plants! I should probably fix it but I quite like it. The potting table is made from spare wood and the marble from our old fire surround!
The two big tubs are where we keep the bird food. Nice and mouse-proof, and they keep everything dry as well. We hammered a nail in to hang the riddle from, and the bags of compost fit nicely under the bench once more!
It’s been so nice to be able to actually get into the greenhouse now. It’s made such a difference clearing stuff out, and you know when you’ve been meaning to do something for ages then the relief you feel when you actually get round to it is immense. It’s a lovely little spot now and I’ve found myself popping in to talk to the geraniums, grab some bird food, or just perch on the edge of the pallet shelves and listen to the rain on the roof. I’m sure the spiders are moving back in as we speak, but it’s so much easier to find what I’m looking for now, and after getting rid of the excess mess my head is a lot clearer too. It’ll never win any Pinterest award for aesthetics but it’s an unapologetic working greenhouse, and now I can actually work in it, that’s more than enough for me.
Happy gardening, all 🙂
Natural Autumn Decor
The leaves are beginning to drift downwards from the trees, the days are shortening and the light settles into that familiar golden glow typical of October. As the season shifts, I like to bring a little of that autumn feeling into the cottage. I feel best surrounded by a natural, understated look, a few bits here and there rather than a big change of decor – I don’t have that many items, and I like to keep the same things year to year, switching them around as the months go by. Using natural autumn decor is kind of like free shopping – most of these items can be found in woodlands, hedgerows and in your own garden.
When I say items, I mostly mean the collection of twigs, cones, seeds and so on I seem to have wombled from my ramblings through the year. To bring a few of these indoors is comforting, keeping the cottage in tune with the changing energy of the season, keeping the heartbeat of the house in time with that of the earth. The faded browns of dried flowers and seed-heads mirror the colours of the leaves outside. I add a candle or two and my decoration change is done.
For an instant autumn feel, there are many natural things that are easy to collect. Conkers, of course, but also fir and pine cones, grasses, different coloured leaves to hang on thread from the windows, pebbles, twigs, seasonal veg, logs, the last of the flowers. This year I have Allium seed heads – most are two years old now and are still going strong. We left them to go to seed after flowering, then brought them in to dry out properly.
I also have a large pine cone from a reservoir walk over 5 years ago, and some honesty seed heads which have turned out brilliantly. Again, the Honesty has been a small labour of love – it takes two years to flower, grown from seed (I love the seeds from Higgeldy Garden), but this year was flowering year! After flowering, the seed-heads have dried well and look beautiful, shining ghostly white in the light. We had purple and white flowers and the stems reflect those colours. The purple makes an especially beautiful contrast against the translucent seed heads.
On recent walks I’ve collected some grasses to make small ‘pieces of places’ and a small posy of bog cotton and dried grass reminds me of a trip to the moors as the colours were just starting to change in early September. Collecting natural bits and bobs makes me feel more connected to the place in which I live, bringing evidence of the changing seasons into my home.
As well as this, you could collect twigs with seasonal berries (check they’re not poisonous first!) to make a display, or consider hanging ornaments from windfall branches. Filling glass jars with acorns or conkers makes a lovely display, and settling into the season by making jams, syrups, pies and more with the abundance that can be found in hedgerows this season. Always be mindful of who or what else is relying on the free decorations and food available – only take what you can use, leave enough for the local wildlife and for other foragers, too.
I hope there have been some useful tips here, I’d love to hear your seasonal decorating ideas too. Have you collected decoration from outdoors before?
Have a lovely, autumnal week (or spring week if you’re in the Southern hemisphere!)