Bye bye Summer
Summer is over. Beach days are done. The green parrots of London are flying south
to Spain. The blackberries have wilted and died on the vine. School has started and
there is an ever-present chill in the air. It’s that time again. Time to swap sandals and
sundresses for tights and woolly jumpers. Sure, I’ve already lost my tan a little but I
can hardly complain as we move into my favourite season– Autumn or what I like to
call sausage roll season.
MUM’S THE WORD
The soft fruit of summer is gone, yet somehow my magnum chrysanthemums from
Freddie are still thriving. Three weeks on and they’re still alive. How’s that for
flowers by post?! Not only are they gorgeous to look at, but also they are extremely
hardy. The only flowers I grow that are as robust are my geraniums and my verbena.
Recently, I saw beautiful verbena in the Butterfly House at the Horniman Museum. If
you haven’t been, I recommend it. And make sure you buy a chocolate walrus biscuit
on your way out.
BREAD AND BUTTER
Inspired by the return of The Great British Bake Off and the upcoming Jewish
holidays, I’ve been making lots of challah. Challah is a kind of bread a bit like brioche
as it’s enriched with eggs, oil, and sugar. I also put a few tablespoons of honey in
mine. It can be plaited in many ways, but at this time of year it’s traditional to shape it
into a round. The reason for this is to remind us of the sobering notion of wholeness,
of the cyclical nature of life and death, of joy and pain. Let me tell you what a joy it is
when the whole flat smells of warm challah. It’s on par with getting weekly flowers
THOUGH SHE BE BUT LITTLE, SHE IS FIERCE
Across the summer months, my daughter shot up as fast and as much as our sweet
peas did. Which is to say a lot. We thought she’d become really tall and as woman
who is a cheater 5’3” I was happy for her. Then school started and we realised the rest
of her class had growth spurts as well. It turns out she is still diddy, as her dance
teacher put it. Her swim teacher too.
Thankfully, something wonderful has happened . My tiny girl has found her fire. She
is no longer as delicate a flower as she once was. She tears through our flat in a Bat
Girl costume, practicing her jetés and conquering imagined evil. She is learning to
speak up for herself and she is becoming fearless. I see it when her swim coach
pushes her into the water each week and I see it at the playground. Where she used to
be scared of falling from heights, she now she climbs whatever she can and I’m the
one who is left feeling a bit frightened.
LIFE IS A GLORIOUS CYCLE OF SONG
Earlier this year, I wrote about Mary Cicely Barker’s Flower Fairies and how they are
a celebration of the cyclical. As are Freddie’s flower arrangements. I have been a
customer for almost eighteen months. Not only do I have a better knowledge of flora
and fauna than I did pre-signing- up for these weekly flowers by post, but I have
acquired a better sense of the seasonal.
Lilies are lovely, though their beauty is no longer my only thought when I look at
them. They are a signifier of the end of summer, a reminder to take one last picnic and
to gather more brambles before they’re gone. So when their petals drop and orange
pollen covers the table where they’ve been displayed, I don’t get sad. I smile because
I know larkspur is on its way, bringing with it all the flavours and festivities of fall.
Misti Traya fell in love with an Englishman and moved from Los Angeles to London in 2009. After her daughter was born, she began a blog called Chagrinnamon Toast that won the writing category at the 2014 Young British Foodies. She was also named runner-up for the Shiva Naipaul Prize. She has written for Gawker, Jezebel, Look, Mslexia, The Pool, The Spectator, and Stella Magazine.