Autumn is the year’s last, loveliest smile – William Cullen Bryant
Our columnist’s got everything in hand as the leaves begin to turn and the days start to have a nip to them
Column by Lara Protheroe
It has been a wonderful summer with our one-year-old, especially as he is full of the joys of running, climbing and getting into whatever water he can find, even if only a dog’s bowl. We took a very late summer break to visit the heaven that is The Isles of Scilly. Flying into St Mary’s in the tiny plane was an exciting, if a slightly nerve-wracking experience for mummy, but the boy took it in his stride.
As a family we spent a glorious time at the Sea Garden Cottages on Tresco and then a blissful few days at Hell Bay Hotel on Bryher. The turquoise waters surrounding the islands appeared magical, and we couldn’t believe how lucky we were to be experiencing such a beautiful spot with so few people around in the last blessed sun of the summer.
Life moves at a different pace on the islands, and our young toddler relished the freedom he could have in a safe and car-free environment, racing around any and all pathways and roads, paddling enthusiastically on the beaches and shouting ‘Baa! Baa!’ at the beautiful herd of red cows grazing by the picturesque island church.
October has brought a more autumnal nip to the air. The shift in temperature has caused me to repeat my (by now annual) tradition of dying my hair a shade just slightly darker than would readily complement my pallifying skin tone – thereby leaving me feeling that little bit readier to re-enact the emotional journey of a Kate Bush song in a video that will never be made. I love October. This is no secret. If you’ve been following this column you’ll know I love the return to training black cats to follow me and dressing in sombre-coloured cashmere.
I was inordinately thrilled to find that the Chinti & Parker AW17 collection has a touch of enchantment to it with ‘conversational cashmere’ pieces emblazoned with Déjà Vu and Abra Cadabra. The collection is influenced by folktales and mysticism, perfect for wandering through enchanted woods and looking a bit wan, by all accounts two of my favourite pastimes.
I spent several weeks in early August (yes, August) styling Halloween food. Many a happy hour was passed balancing sugar eyeballs on various cakes, standing rice paper ghosts up on biscuit burial mounds, drawing spooky faces on mini marshmallows, making pastry bones and carving a series of terrifying pineapples. I was delighted to discover the gorgeous skull sugar cubes from Dem Bones – for a seriously cool-looking absinthe they are an absolute must!
Now, I don’t want to get ahead of myself (well… actually of course I do), so I’ve been building Luther an Ikea kitchen for, and I shall but whisper it, Christmas… He has watched with great interest in the garden as I have been customising it using exciting rattily cans of spray paint and then delving into a treacly looking pot of blackboard paint. He’s already been throwing things into the sink that I have sprayed gold and trying to put toys (some of them eminently cook-able) onto the mini hob. I think he’ll really enjoy it – probably mainly banging the cupboards, as that’s what I seem to spend a high proportion of my time trying to stop him from doing in our own grown-up kitchen.
My dear mother remarked that a friend of hers was impressed that I was making him – a little boy – a kitchen. It hadn’t occurred to me that this might seem like a girl’s present. I am hoping he’ll be a man that cooks, enjoy it and will certainly be able to feed himself healthily and one day make lovely meals for any future partner he may have. His father cooks up a storm; he learned from his father (a priest whose tapestry has won prizes), who in turn learned from his father (a naval man, who was not only an accomplished cook but could sew a button onto anything that moved, and pretty much anything that didn’t).
I would like for him to be accomplished in life’s basics and this will include ironing his own shirts. Or at least hanging them up the right way when wet so that you can almost get away with not ironing at all (a skill that my darling husband has honed over years and surely represents, to man or woman, one of life’s great wins).
Enquiries: Frankie & the Lamb www.frankieandthelamb.com