Things I Like
- Pumpkin Pie. I learned to make pumpkin pie when I was teaching in an International school in Italy, and an American parent gave me the recipe. It is absolutely the best thing to do with a pumpkin. It’s a bit like a custard tart with added pumpkin puree. Start with 1lb of pumpkin puree. You can either boil the pumpkin flesh and then squeeze out as much water as you can, or you can roast it which gives a more intense flavour. Once you’ve pureed it with a hand blender, add a can of condensed milk, 2 eggs and some lovely autumnal spices such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg (freshly grated is best). Then mix it all up, pour it into a pastry base, and bake until a skewer comes out clean. This is a great way of getting vegetables into my vegetable-phobic son. Other things you can add to vary the flavour include maple syrup or brown sugar, although the condensed milk is so sickly that you won’t need any more sweetness. You could use cream instead of condensed milk if it’s all a bit too sweet for you.
- Autumn Leaves. I am lucky enough to live in Gloucestershire so I am within east reach of lots of places – such as the Forest of Dean – where autumn colours can be seen at their most glorious.
- Pears from my tree. I love fruit, and there is nothing better than home grown fruit. This is the kind of gardening I like because the tree does all the work without the need of any input from me. It’s so much more satisfying to go out and gather pears from the garden rather than buy them in a shop.
- Fireworks. I used to hate fireworks as a child but now I love them. I love watching the pretty colours sparkle across the night sky.
Things I Don’t Like
- Dark Afternoons. After the clocks change, I have to drive home from work in the dark. The daylight is all gone before I’ve even finished work. My older son has a half hour walk to get home from school, and soon he will be doing that in the dark. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), every year there is an increase in the number of pedestrians involved in road traffic accidents after the clocks go back.
- The weather is cold and damp, and my washing doesn’t get dry when I hang it outside, so I have to have it hanging all over my small house.
- Wet Leaves. All those beautiful leaves fall off the trees and get all slimy and wet on the pavement where they mix with dog excrement.
- Summer feels like a long way away. I love summer. I love the light evenings and the warm sunshine, and being able to go out without a coat. In the Autumn it feels like I will have to wait a lifetime for summer to return.