Miss K watched the bonfire while Little L played with a ring of glow-sticks I had made. I tossed it out into the pitch darkness while she ran, squealing,to retrieve it. She would turn around, disorientated, and call out 'Mama!' I called her name so she could find her way back to me.
We sat on a picnic rug, covered with blankets to ward off the cold. Little L sat on my lap and burrowed her head into me and started to cry as the fireworks began, their loud bangs echoing around the valley. I calmed her down by telling her the fireworks were sending messages to angels in the sky and could she call out each colour as she saw the fireworks explode? Totally distracted, her tears stopped and she turned her face to the sky and watched the sparks shower down.
It's Friday afternoon, outside is grey and dusky already. The children have been kicking and playing in the fallen leaves and the blustery wind before coming indoors and nestling down under blankets to read their 'new' library books. Since we're back in Greenwich Mean Time and darkness is falling earlier, we've been lighting beeswax candles in the late afternoon.
We've spent the last couple of days at home, a slice of quiet time after a busy few days as the girls' cousins came to town combined with my annual hospital visit to London at Hallowee'n to check I'm still in remission from Hodgkin's Lymphoma . It was lovely leaving the city late in the day and seeing the streets covered in multi-coloured crispy leaves, kids playing on an urban basketball court in the Autumn light, windows slowly being illuminated one by one and a trick or treating child dangling a pumpkin basket as she held hands with her mother. These glimpses threaded together is what Autumn is to me, in that moment I felt so much gratitude for our changing seasons.
We went walking in the woods, dappled light filtered through the still-green leaves as the girls went on ahead. The British country-wear emporium joules sent them a couple of items from their range of girls coats, which dropped onto the doormat in its pretty floral wrapped package first thing that morning.
The timing is perfect so the children can wrap up now Autumn is here. The coats are lightweight but cosy and, most importantly, showerproof which is a must for the school-run here in the UK! They are both in love with their new coats because of there pretty design. What little girl wouldn't want to step out in such a colourful, fun coat?
With no electricity while we camped, our world narrowed, which made me cherish the simple things. Each evening, after the children fell asleep, I boiled water in the camp stove and sipped herbal tea. I spent time reading and noticed the sun setting and then the moon appearing. I looked forward to climbing into my sleeping bag with my hot water bottle, cosy under warm blankets and lying down next to Miss K as she slept soundly. I looked forward to waking in the morning and seeing the cream canvas of the bell tent moving gently in the breeze, the ambience so pretty.
There's beauty in simple pleasures.
We packed up our bell tent, crammed everything else into the car and headed out for a camping adventure to Dorset. The children kicked off their shoes and ran barefoot in the grass all week, the weather was so hot.
As we were staying in Hardy country, we visited Thomas Hardy's birthplace before seeking shade in the cool woods surrounding the cottage.
I remember reading Tess as a teenager.
We came across a woodland pond where the girls watched dragonflies dart across the water and play with sticks in the mud. Wild ponies appeared out of the trees and came to drink at the waters edge.
I will share our time at camp over the next couple of days!
These first days hold so much promise, long, lazy days stretching out ahead of us. Barefoot out in the garden, icecreams in the park, nights under the stars in the bell tent, sandy beaches and blue skies.