The autumn has been quite blissful in this little part of the world. Warm sunny afternoons with windows and doors standing open and washing drying outside. Around half past three I can feel a little chill descend so I close the windows to keep the warm air inside and I bring in the laundry before it gets damp.
We went on a bike ride this afternoon. I've had a couple of occasions to go into the countryside over the past couple of days and it's looking absolutely glorious. Low sunlight passing through layers of atmosphere so that it's filtered to a warm glow, all the better to light up the fabulous autumn colours. Big country apple trees still loaded with apples, far too high for anyone to reach without a ladder. Farmers working in the fields and people tidying their gardens away before winter.
We went past a community shop. Well, of course, we went in, not just past. They have all sorts of delightful things on the shelves; local honey, secondhand books, lumpfish caviar, Guinness flavour crisps, everything. The children had been promised ice-cream - it was either that or they'd have made us cycle all the way out and round the deer park, which is absolutely miles - but in the end they chose some salty snacks. The shop also sells hot drinks - coffee in little cafetieres and hot chocolate, and homemade cake. Just how I like my shops.
Then it was on up to the little church that stands on the hill. The views from up there are phenomenal. You can see out over the river, both bridges, our local church and castle, Wales, everything. I read some of the war tributes to local boys and men and sniffed a bit. One boy had joined up on the day that war broke out. He had come home for a while after his first stint. The writer had wondered if he had gone to the local pub for a drink and a chat with his dad about it all. He was sent to the Somme where he was killed. His body was never recovered and his name is on the Thiepval Memorial in Picardy. His mum kept a light burning in the window at night for the rest of her days in case he returned. He was 19.
The church is named for a local saint, whose head was chopped off by a youth when she refused to sleep with him. All very grim it was in those days. Today it's a beautiful, peaceful spot with benches where you can sit and look out over the river and rest your legs should they be weary. I tried very hard to keep up with the little people, but honestly, the energy they have. I did feel quite good afterwards though, we should definitely do it more often. Although of course the amazingly good weather helped a lot.
Wishing all a good Sunday. CJ xx