ATRIP to Northamptonshire in glorious late-autumn sunshine brought the working week to an unusually memorable close. The leaves of the oaks and beeches in the hedgerows turned the entire countryside gold and, on the way to a lunch at Lamport Hall, I had the opportunity to take in the recently restored Montagu and Buccleuch monuments at Warkton church. The result is a genuine wonder, the lifesize figures of the various marble monuments illuminated in cool sunlight, eerily drawing the visitor into the grief and loss they celebrate.
These delights made me reflect the next day on how distinctive London’s autumn is. The plane trees turn a distinctive yellow and shed their leaves less conclusively than their country cousins. Moreover, rather than melting with the first frost into a brown porridge, the drifts of their fallen leaves are remarkably resilient. Their survival would be less notable were it not for the determination of the children to wade through them at every opportunity. I now feel resigned to whatever they might pick up in the process.
Meanwhile, the postage stamp of ground that is our garden has yielded its last homegrown produce: a very sorry clutch of rhubarb stems. London winter begins. JG