Summer is beginning to drip away. The chestnut is turning russet and yellow, while the split silk of its conker cases are being squashed by cars parking underneath. Along Friars walk, in the stone wall and railings that mark out Stephens Close, small pale pink and white cyclamen have flowered. The blackberries have unfortunately been cut back, but the hips on all the roses are ripe and swing like pendent earrings in the slightest breeze.
In the kitchen the steady drip through the jelly bag announces damsons deep crimson juice is ready to be bottled. It goes really well with our apple crumble, as well as an ingredient in sauces and stews.
We were fortunate to be given a small crop of local pears, grown in a high walled garden. Ludlow is replete which such spaces. The tall Georgian houses each hiding a walled back garden. How romantic. One of my favourite books is Hodgson-Burnet’s “The Secret Garden”. First read as a dreamy child, it is still taken down and read from time to time.
We lightly poached these pears in a red wine syrup and serve them with chocolate ice-cream. Local pears with a local ice-cream, what a great combination. Autumn is full of good combinations; from apple and blackberry to venison and cranberry. It will soon be time to think about mixing mincemeat, that evocative seasonal blend of fruit, nuts, and a tipple or two of alcohol.
Autumn is coming in all the colours of a good fire in the grate. A good book by the fireside, a poached pear, chocolate, lovely!