Monday, October 3, 2011

It Is October..... A List

It Is October

It is a gift foretold by a whistle of wind.
Arriving on my doorstep, wrapped up in the velvet of moss.
I loosen its ribbon of sunlight and like Pandora before me, slowly and carefully I open the box. On a wave of woodland laughter, it flies past me like desire - all its apple-scented orangeness, full moon mystery, azure blue - sailing up to the treetops and in through my windows like the breath of new life. And it changes everything. The food that I cook, the clothes that I wear, my music, my outlook, my plans - all now are painted with its technicolour brush.
It is an occurrence as dependable as dawn, and yet, every year, I am always surprised.
It is the answer to all the questions I had not yet asked.
It is October.
A list for this most luscious of months......

1. Country House Weekends
I have always loved descriptions in literature of the English Country House Weekend. You know what I mean.... friends gather at a sublimely situated house in the bucolic countryside, usually in the autumn, bringing along elegantly weathered suitcases full of tweedy garments, riding boots, and lilac-coloured cashmere shawls. There are always glasses of sherry and appropriately atmospheric books sitting beside the four-poster beds, and oak fires roar under mantels of stone. Dinners are long and lavish, lunch is served in the old stone folly somewhere on the grounds and Jack Russells and Spaniels abound. Of course, in books, someone usually ends up dead in the library, knocked into eternity by a candlestick wielded by the most unlikely suspect. But no matter. In a couple of weeks, The Songwriter and I are heading off to join friends at their sublimely situated house in Maine, and I cannot wait, especially as a murder isn’t expected to be on the menu. I’m thinking these are the perfect accoutrements for such an excursion....
The perfect country weekend bag....

Find it HERE

The perfect country weekend coat....

Find it HERE

The perfect bedside book....

I just re-read this for my classics book club. What a treat!
Check it out HERE


2. Knitting
Like most knitters, my needles are flashing all year long. Christmas presents are often being knitted in June. But also like most knitters, I really get going when the weather cools. Chilly, windy October nights are simply made for a knitter. A cup of something hot in the perfect mug, and a challenging pattern to keep your interest... heaven.

The Perfect Mug for a Knitter....

Find it
and The Perfect Hat Pattern....
(which just happens to have been written by my very own knitting teacher!)

Find it
And the perfect place to keep those needles....
Aren’t these charming?

You can make a set of your own from the pattern


3. Gourds
Several days ago I ventured into my local farmer’s market to buy some late season peaches and early season apples. I was happily filling my cart when I turned to the left and saw them. Gourds! Like fruit from an alien planet, strange and curious in both shape and colour, they were piled up on tables and boxes, tumbling over one another in a tantalizing display. Potbellied turbans the colour of fire. Ten Commandment gourds, twisted and overgrown, like the beckoning finger of an October witch. I was enchanted. As I began to fill up my basket with as many as it would hold, I became aware of someone standing quite close to my shoulder. Turning around, I spied an immaculately coiffed older lady watching my every move with interest.
“Might I ask”, she ventured, “what exactly are you planning to do with these?
As I began to tell her that I make a sort of witch’s garden every autumn... wrinkly purple cabbages and orange pansies, gazing balls and pumpkins... her eyes grew wider and wider. “Walkers, runners, and especially children love to pass by it every day”, I said.
She stood there a moment, staring at the gourds in my basket and sighed,Ah, you’re one of those creative types, aren’t you?
I hurriedly went on... “But you could also decorate for a dinner party with these. Just imagine them all lined up down the center of the table!”
The penny dropped. You could see it in her eyes, and I left her there loading up a cart of her own with these fabulous autumnal treasures, no doubt planning a dinner party in her head as she did so. Look for these wonders in your farmer’s market now. They really are so much fun.


4. Woodland Gardens
For years my back garden has wanted to return to the forest it was before we moved in. The old trees do not want a lawn, they will not accept roses, and they make certain we never attempt such affronts by blanketing all they survey with the shadows of shade. They will, however, tolerate hydrangeas, animals and whimsy.
So at the end of a pathway under the trees sits a frog. Not just any frog, mind you. This chap is made of copper, is as tall as a man and he’s sitting on a stone toadstool, reading a book. He’s a magical sight in any season of the year, but especially when the leaves on those old trees begin to change all around him. For some reason, he looks especially contented just then.
I realize gardens are generally expected to be best appreciated in summer when blooms are at their most riotous. But I dearly love woodland gardens in autumn. Truly enchanted places. Is it any wonder forests and woodlands are so ubiquitous in fairy stories?
I’d love to create something just like this in mine.

You can visit this glorious lady yourself, HERE.


5. Chilly Mornings
Better than any meteorologist, Edward can always be relied upon to let us know the very first morning the weather changes. Bounding, jumping, his fur puffed out like a fat, white chrysanthemum - you’ve never seen a happier dog. I share his love of these colder mornings when the air is clear as a goblet of crystal and I have to reach for a warm dressing gown when I climb out of my bed. Coffee smells like perfume on mornings like this. I love to linger over a beautifully set breakfast table, reading papers, writing letters......
I’d love to stumble to the breakfast table in this exquisite dressing gown.
And it even has a hood!
Be still my heart.

Find it HERE.
Aren’t these plates amazing?....
I can just see them on my October breakfast table,
maybe with some of those gourds here and there,
and bouquets of orange mums at every place setting?

Find them HERE.
And, I’d pour my tea from this charming autumnal teapot...

Find it HERE
Yes, I do still write letters by hand.
And I have a childish fascination with stamps.
A little bit of art on an envelope of white.
I’d so love to be in Britain just now to get my hands on these wonderful William Morris stamps!
Aren't they gorgeous?

See more HERE


So many more things to list here....
would anyone mind if I perhaps added more favourites mid-month?


  1. I am never disappointed when I visit you Darling. This is a fun post. Fall is also my favorite time of year.


  2. Great pictures. There are so many things there I'd forgotten about, like Wilkie Collins' book I left unfinished years ago. Am a tea addict, so love the teapot. Aren't those stamps fab? If you can't buy them online, I could send them on a postcard.

  3. You certainly do capture one's imagination in every post, but this is extraordinary...I love the painting you chose as I feel a special connections with lanterns and I am looking forward to reading more of your October list..and November's and December's ......

  4. Your trip to Maine sounds exquisite! I will be waiting to hear all about it. As a knitter, I understand your passion for a new creation at this time of year. I will note the book you mentioned and look forward to reading it.
    Your post and all the wonderful items are magical and thank you so much

    I cannot wait to see more of your items on your next post.
    Helen xx

  5. I so enjoy your list posts. Beautiful selection as always, I covet the coat, but at least I can get the stamps!

  6. I've been oo-ing and ah-ing at all your list!

    That hat is going to be my next project, so adorable.

    Wonderful, magical images!

  7. Your posts make my world BIGGER and BRIGHTER! Thank you! and happy Autumn!!!

  8. We are perplexed and disconcerted by high temperatures this week - up to 25 degrees. It's just not right for autumn, and reading your post I find myself wishing for the 'real' autumn to hurry back.

  9. Pamela, I love that you and The Songwriter are coming to Maine. It's lovely here right now. Can you share what county you'll be visiting?

  10. oh you of excellent taste. wonderful stuff as are so beautiful. The W.Morris stamps look like something to ask my sister in law to send me...I love him.

  11. Pamela, Autumn is my favorite time of year!! We love so many of the same things! Do you sell your knitted caps by chance?


    Art by Karena

  12. Hello Pamela;
    waht can we possibly say? This post is an absolute delight to read, beautifully illustrated and complete with so many references to follow up and explore. Your writing here is positively magical, so in keeping with this atmospheric season of the year, and your 'list' is one we too should so wish to copy. Have a lovely time with your friends in Maine.

    Kellemes hétvégét.

  13. A beautiful read on this chilly, windy first of have inspired me to fully embrace this enchanting month.

  14. Fantastic post never cease to surprise and entertain! William Morris stamps...thanks for the tip!
    I missed those!

    PS...on the London Book Review...I checked, you can get it and it is cheaper for you than me to do so.
    You can also read the articles online too..:)
    Jeanne xx

  15. I always love your lists. So inspiring!

  16. Your list could go on and on. I was disappointed that you stopped.

  17. Yes, more October love please. October always feels so settled to me; none of that frantic back-to-school feeling of September or the rush for Thanksgiving and Christmas that comes in dreary November. Plus, the colors of October can't be beat.

  18. Keep them coming Pamela as far as I am concerned. I love October too - it is my birth month (Hallowe'en) and I love those sharp mornings, those cobwebs heavy with dew drops, that gossamer in the grass (that is where I got my blog name), dark nights when the stove is lit early and there is a pile of wood in the hearth - I could go on for ever.

  19. yes!
    Let's celebrate joyous OCTOBER!

    Warm Aloha from Waikiki;

    Comfort Spiral

    / )

    > < } } ( ° >

  20. seriously. would anyone mind?!!!
    your posts are a visit to another place another time and yet firmly grounded in today.
    i breathe lighter when i read your posts...
    as if i could just fly away when i wanted to.
    lovely. simply lovely in every way.
    except for the sleeping lady.she's a tad scary to me. i like your frog better. especially since he's reading a book!
    tammy j

  21. Such lovely things, all! I also love to write letters by hand, and have recently jumped feet first into pen-pal letters. So far I have written to NY, TX, England, Scotland, and France. I've gotten some (that need to be replied to this week) from TN, MO, NY, England, and Norway!

    Stamps are addictive. I get 2 sets every time; one to send and one to keep. :) I love those from the UK, but I like ours with the ships that came out recently too.

    Happy Fall to you and Edward! How I would love to see him romping through the leaves!

  22. I keep coming back to look at the photos and make a comment and I love them all and cannot think of anything suitable to say... except that I would love to have that first picture/painting.
    I too would love to be in that forest garden, it is the end of winter here and I wish it were a New England autumn day too.
    The Woman in White was fantastic !
    Really really liked it .

    I wish I could knit :)
    Happy Autumn !

    besitos, C

  23. Oh yum, William Morris stamps and knitting. Thank you for the pattern; just what I need to start knitting again now that autumn's here.

  24. I'm feeling a bit like an audience member of Peter Pan, clapping for Tinker Belle. I'll clap very loud and say yes, yes, yes and hope that you do post more lovely things.

  25. Oh, how I love October! Your list was fabulous and your photographs truly awesome!

    More favorites, anytime!

  26. New England in Autumn, lucky you! I lived there for 12 years and Maine was always my favorite to visit - know you will have a wonderful time.

    The list, awesome as always Pamela. I need to quit knitting scarves and move on to pretty hats such as this one!

    Happy October - my favorite month and my Birthday! I'll celebrate this one on the expedition ship in the middle of nowhere - that will be different!!

    Hugs - Mary

  27. Delightul list, please add more items. Thank you for sharing&have a good Sunday!

  28. PLEASE add more...each of them is as scrumptous as you!!! And Mr. E, of course.

  29. I love your lists. And the rest or your posts, of course. Sadly, the Stella McCartney coat is a little out of reach.
    Greetings from a inusually hot october in the usually wet North of Spain.

  30. I always enjoy seeing your favourites!
    I love your idea of a witch's garden!
    (maybe you could share a picture?) It just sounds
    The gnomes are adorable and what a clever way to hold knitting needles.

  31. Love this list, Pamela! Yes, please give us your mid-month list as well! I imagine Maine will be a lovely break for all, and I share your love of those amazing gourds~

  32. I love William Morris too. We shipped WM willow fabric from England to make curtains to match our WM willow pattern sofa.

  33. Oh Pamela, I'm in heaven! Keep making these lists. At least once a month.


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