There are leaves to sweep up wherever I am but, much as it is a chore, I do love this time of year, even with its damp and bone-chilling winds. I love the smell of the leaves, the leaden skies, the warm house to come home to with flaming nose and icy ears. I don’t so much love my numb thumbs after half an hour’s cycling or the umbrella that tips inside out when I least expect the wind to catch it.
These few weeks are precious to me, laden with expectation of Christmas, of visiting people long not seen, of sharing hospitality with friends. In truth, Christmas has often been lonely, with my children away and me playing lame duck at generous friends’ tables. But I cannot shake my love of this time of year. And this year is particularly poignant, as the Boy has announced his intention to move out in the new year. Not unexpected or in any way unusual at his age, it makes these few weeks, and the festive period that follows, possibly the last where I will have both my offspring resident at home.