News & Tips

Ann’s monthly natter

The calendar tells its own story – it’s autumn. If that isn’t sufficient confirmation, the machines are out cutting back the hedgerows so that the lanes are clear for wintry weather. The consolation is the scent of freshly cut foliage – wonderful.

It’s been an interesting and varied month. On the subject of nature, I’ve chosen National Tree Week: 28 November to 6 December. There are so many good causes especially connected to health issues and while this choice might seem odd, there are connections to well-being. Often called the lungs of the earth not only are they beautiful but are providers of oxygen and fruit for humans and also homes and food for birds and insects. The world would be poorer in many ways without our tree inheritance; we should relish it.

Of course, the other link to autumn is leaving British Summer Time. Its introduction was the subject of discussion for years – certainly in 1907 – when it was thought that the dark mornings were a waste of horse riding time. The first BST date was 21 May 1916, beneficial to farmers who gained important extra time to gather harvests during the war years. The United Kingdom still carries out the annual changes. I wonder if it will ever revert. As technology moves on, changing the time on digital devices is quite a challenge. From my own experience, trying to change the time on my car clock ended up with a change of date to 25th December instead! As usual, I call on the younger generation to sort those mysteries out.

And there is also the question of clearing away leaves. I have to say I enjoy this chore, even though I think the trees look quite sad at having lost their glory. Of course, it’s yet another way of Moving It, a bonus indeed!

On the subject of technological mysteries, along with many others, I managed my banking on-line and during the month, my provider was the subject of a cyber-attack (whatever that means). It took me back to my first job in a typing pool, when the wages trolley came round every Friday. I was ceremoniously handed my brown envelope containing the huge sum of £5 for which I signed and the trolley went on its way. Life was so simple then. Is what we have now called ‘progress’? I wonder.

Mustn’t forget that other herald of winter of course – the annual ‘flu jab. Even with a bad reaction, nothing would persuade me not to take advantage of this. I’ve only had flu twice – more than enough to send me scurrying to join the jab queue a.s.a.p.

Had a really interesting and different experience on the 11th. How to celebrate a friend’s 80th birthday? She couldn’t think of a suitable gift. However, as part of a local Literature Festival, there was an offer of afternoon tea at a local highly rated hotel with Dinah Jefferies, the author of ‘The Tea Planter’s Wife’. This is only her second novel and it has quickly become a No. 1 seller. Tea was a very grand affair, white table linen and bone china, a variety of sandwiches and cakes, served very much in the style of afternoon tea at the Savoy. She spoke eloquently for an hour, reading extracts from the book and telling us about her life. 56 when her first novel was published and here she was, at 67 (looking for all the world like 47) full of enthusiasm and energy, planning a visit to Vietnam where her next book is to be set. It was a magic experience and here was another example of definitely ‘Moving It’.

It seems to have been a bit of a cultural month. I saw the film ‘Suffragette’. Afraid I don’t go for the shooting/killing/sex laden films with which the public is plied, so this was a good choice for me. It’s astonishing to think how recent this shocking history is, so cleverly brought to life by excellent acting. Certainly gave me food for thought. And so here we are, on the 30th October when we really have to let go of autumn, however much we might wish it to linger.

I’m bracing myself for the onslaughts of Halloween and Bonfire Night but more of that next time I expect.

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