Autumnal flowers and fairies
My daughter lost her first tooth Halloween morning. She was standing at the basin in her Batgirl costume getting ready for school when suddenly I heard a scream. I ran in. Helena had a toothbrush in her mouth and was dripping minty foam—not an uncommon occurrence in our home at 8:15 a.m. Then I noticed. She was holding a tiny tooth in her hand. “Mummy, my toof fell out! Am I thtill allowed thweets Tonight?”
That weekend, we stayed with my husband’s family in Buckinghamshire. On the way in, we stopped off to buy some autumn flowers for his mother. I chose blue hydrangeas. It was the first weekend where the weather wasn’t just chilly but noticeably cold. Even my Scottish mother-in- law talked about lighting a fire. We didn’t, but that’s not the point. The fact that it was up for discussion means it was properly cold. Not Aberdonian cold, but cold enough to note.
Pubs, fires, dogs and walks in the rain
With no fire on the hearth at home, we went to the pub two days in a row. On Saturday, we went to The Royal Standard of England, which claims to be the oldest freehouse in the country. Some people might argue this point, but I don’t care. Here’s something you can’t argue: Their pies are actually the best around. I’m talking top and bottom crust. Not just a puff pastry hat sitting atop a stew. Then on Sunday after a lovely roast lunch and a few bottles of Riesling, we looked outside at the rain and decided it was the perfect time for a walk. So we put on our boots and through the fields and autumn flowers we went. Six miles later, we made it. For me, a good pub needs several things—a dry sparkling cider (preferably Aspall’s), a fireplace, and dogs. Because Dog pubs are the best pubs and pub dogs are the best dogs.
Prentend you’re a firework
On Bonfire Night, we watched fireworks on the heath and my daughter has been pretending to be fireworks ever since. She thinks it’s the most brilliant game. So modern dance, watch out! Helena’s the new Martha Graham. We were supposed to meet our friends, but none of our phones were working. Finally, I got a text saying they were by the people holding sparklers. There were a lot of people and sparklers there that night, but in the darkness, amongst the throngs, I heard a laugh I recognised. It was our friend’s son, my daughter’s good buddy.
Flowers are forever the theme in my life
After the fireworks, we went to theirs for raclette, which really was the best way to end a glittering night with friends. Speaking of friends, fashion designer Erdem Moralioglu is an old friend of my husband’s. They were flatmates in East London about fifteen years ago. Erdem’s designs are quintessentially English. His fabrics and prints are full of flowers. Wearing a dress of his is like wearing a garden. Recently, he collaborated with H&M. Henry and I attended one of the press events and I wanted it all. In the foyer of the hall where the event was held, there was an impressive pop-up field of autumn flowers. Dahlias, Nigella Damascena, Roses, Irises, and Poppies. When we got home, I snapped a photo of my husband. Freddie’s lovely lilies were at the edge of the frame. No matter where I go, flowers are forever the theme in my life and for that I am grateful.
Reasons to be thankful
This week I’m particularly grateful, as American Thanksgiving is Thursday. For those of you who don’t know, Thanksgiving is a federal holiday that was proclaimed by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Over the years, its meaning has evolved. For me, it has nothing to do with celebrating the Pilgrim Fathers. It is about giving thanks and sharing what you have. It is a day to invite not just loved ones and friends, but also strangers into your home. It is a day to volunteer and feed the poor. Of course these are tenets that should be part of our daily lives, but Thanksgiving highlights them. It reminds us of the kindness and generosity of spirit we should embrace the whole year through. So with a thankful heart I wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving. And thank you, Freddie, for the gorgeous flowers that will be my centrepiece.