Every year, Autumn comes as a surprise. That sounds ridiculous. It’s not a surprise that it arrives, I know it’s coming. But I love summer. I enjoy the warm weather, days out paddle boarding, surfing, wild swimming and being around the water. Family time while the girls are off school. Long, hot evenings sitting outside in dusky light until late. So, I dread autumn. I think about the grey days, the rain, the cold. Spending less time outdoors, being busy getting ready for Christmas and ferrying the girls around to shows and parties. Then when autumn actually arrives, I remember how much I love it.
Autumn has been a tough one for me this year due to the flooded river. Last year we swam every week, almost without fail. This year, we’ve waited for the flood water to go down. And waited. And waited. Over the past few weeks though, we’ve found other places to swim. It has meant putting aside most of the day for swimming instead of a couple of hours. Feeling guilty that I wasn’t working or getting things done around the house. And then realising how much more productive I am for making time to do the things that make me feel alive.
This weekend, we spent an afternoon at our favourite National Trust property. Bubbles came with us, so we stayed outside. The leaves both on the trees and on the ground were vibrant colours. It was a dull, drizzly day but being outdoors made everything feel so much better.
Within ten minutes of arriving, Libby had fallen into the biggest, muddiest puddle on the whole estate. I took the opportunity to get her to lie down in the beautiful fallen leaves for a photo. After all, she couldn’t possibly get any more dirty. After a walk, we had hot drinks and cake sitting outside the cafe. At last I felt like we were making the most of autumn.
A natural talent
Libby has been having singing lessons for just over a year. Her voice is improving and she can sing quite loudly. It doesn’t come naturally though, so getting good at it is a real achievement. This weekend, she took part in a singing concert, singing on her own with only a piano accompanying her. It’s was her third concert and I enjoy listening to her singing improve. I was particularly impressed with how loud she was because the church had quite difficult acoustics for little voices. The other difference this time was that she wasn’t the only member of the family to sing.
Lia has been singing with a group since September. She has the same teacher as Libby, so when I received a generic email about the concert, I had to check whether it was Libby or Lia the teacher wanted. It was Libby, but since I’d asked, she said Lia could sing as well. I wasn’t sure whether she’d want to, but she did. Having always had her lessons as a group, Lia had never sung alone. She is nowhere near as confident as Libby, so I was concerned she wouldn’t do it.
I was wrong. Lia was the first to sing. Initially she stood there looking rather shocked. The piano music started and her cue to come in came and went with not a sound. Then the teacher told her to come and stand next to the piano and gave her a nod to come in. This time, she sang. Very quietly, but perfectly in tune. The teacher approached me afterwards to say what a good voice Lia has. Because unlike Libby, singing comes as naturally to Lia as walking and talking. Now she just needs to work on being louder and more confident.
Thursday photo #290
I took this photo in the beautiful autumn leaves at Croome. I love how happy they look and the yellow leaves make the photo seem even more cheerful.