September has always felt the start of the year for me rather than January. It’s probably the overhang from life in school, college and university; the academic year has a strong influence on all our lives. So each September becomes a time of forward planning, putting new plans in action and of looking ahead. Maybe also it’s the realisation that we need to prepare ourselves for a period of introspection that the longer nights mean more thought time rather than doing time. It’s the time of year when we start to become more cerebral, we look for books to read, projects to take us through the dark evenings.

We also seem to walk more in the Autumn, the delight in the beautiful changing foliage, the crisp leaves beneath our feet, the sense of calm that comes from walking out your thoughts whilst being all wrapped up in the crisp air and then coming in to the warmth and smell of a log fire and a pot of tea.

When we lived at Harp Cottage, the fires were part of our daily routine. Coming in from the weather to the warmth of the fire seemed to connect us in some way to the changing of the seasons. I think living in the countryside does that. And living in an old stone cottage that was built to protect one from the weather, reminds us of the need to retreat to the safety and comfort of the hearth as the season changes. The reconnecting of our thoughts and plans as we slow down into the gentle turn of the year into Autumn.