Outside the air is damp, tinged with the scent of woodsmoke. Mushrooms emerge under the birch trees where the odd stubborn golden leaf clings to the almost bare branches. The mist seems to permanently settle in the nooks and crannies of the hills and forests.
Things may be slowing down outside, but inside the wood stove is on overdrive as we preserve what's left of the autumn harvest. Every surface in the kitchen is cluttered with trays of quinces, bowls of hazelnuts, pumpkins and wild pears. Medlars ripen in boxes and green tomatoes reluctantly turn red on the windowsill. Garlic bulbs, stored in a basket under the sink, optimistically start to sprout green shoots, reminding me to get those cloves planted in the garden now.
There are pastes drying in the warming oven, pear or apple or damson. While the cupboards groan with the weight of jars filled with pickles, jam and sloe gin. It's a time of abundance coupled with cosiness, of hearty stews, damson puddings and roast lamb on Sundays. The days are shorter, the nights are longer and winter's closing in. I start to worry if we have enough firewood.
But for now, favourite holey jumpers are on and so is the kettle. And that's the autumn break.