At this time of year my mind often goes to spring and I wonder where the summer has gone – not this year!
As I pick the sun-ripened grapes around the door of the farmhouse I forget how hot it was and value all the long hours of sunshine that has made them the sweetest in memory.
With record breaking temperatures I don’t believe a drop of rain has landed on any of our brides this year and you can count the number of wet days on one hand – and as we stride into autumn it is only getting better. The leaves are beginning to change into their robes of gold and red – and our ‘aisle’ up to the ancient oak is beginning to be pathed in warm rich tones. The turning seasons are perhaps my favourite time here at Middle Coombe.
I love sharing natures bounty with all our guests. Farming organically and softly we embrace nature’s rich bounty our hedgerows seem more stuffed than ever – and at this time of year everyone is welcome to pick wild mushrooms, crab-apples, elderberries or blackberries that scramble in the hedges. The sweet chestnuts are fattening after the recent rain and we will soon stash them like mice for the Christmas Stuffing… if only there was more time to pick and make more jams, pickles, wines and preserves to get us through the winter in style. As my own children grow older they still enjoy sharing time simply picking and eating straight from the hedge – and as I watch our lucky autumn visitors doing the same, their children running freely I wonder what delights will be made in the kitchen to bottle and take home as a memory of their family holiday with us in Devon.