Autumn storm blows in, William Frederick

Autumn storm blows in

Early this morning at the crack of ten, I was in the kitchen manfully holding a mug of nearly hot coffee whilst looking out of the window at the majestic array of autumnal colours that bedeck the mature trees lining the banks of our local river.  In its turn, the river was tumbling joyously down the glen to pass by our isolated home at a distance of some thirty yards before it headed on down to the loch.  The leaves displayed every hue and shade of earthy red, turmeric yellow and brown selected from the brief autumnal colour spectrum.  The rich golden ochre of the silver birch gave way to the golden red foliage of our rowan trees.  The golden brown oaks blended into the golden bronze of the hazel, which in its turn vaulted purposefully into the deep golden brown of the alder before being brought to an abrupt halt as the author had run out of autumnal colours, even golden ones!

An image of autumnal trees by a Scottish loch
Autumnal trees by a secret loch in Scotland

I had but one thought in my head, that being, what a lovely view this would afford our friends as they approach along the track towards our house when they arrive tomorrow for a few day’s break.  I also spared a thought for my camera, thinking that I must take some photographs later, when the sun showed its face.  Okay, that’s two thoughts really, or three if you count the dissatisfaction with the temperature of the coffee.  Nature resplendent in its pre-winter raiment.  Lovely!  There, that’s four thoughts now.  I’m not surprised that I was feeling so tired at the time.

An image of an Acer tree
A tree with red leaves (Acer family, I think) not native of Scotland but it has chosen to make its home here.

A few hours later brings us right up to now and I am sitting here writing (stating the blindingly obvious) as an autumnal storm screams its way around our log home causing roof timbers to flex and the wooden ceilings to creak.  This feature of our self-built log dwelling took some time to get used to but nowadays I have stopped feeling that the roof is about to be torn off and can just about bear the anxiety.  Currently, the wind is outrageous, the rain is scandalous and as I can personally attest since I have just opened and closed our gate to allow Beloved to drive to a local friend’s house for a visit, that if you stray outside you will be soaked to the skin within thirty seconds.  I say to the skin because the wind tore my trousers off at twenty seconds.  It’s fortunate that I am such a large chap, otherwise I might have been blown into the river which has now changed from its joyous mood and is throwing a downright tantrum.

I started writing this piece because my chum, who is bringing his new lady love (an obvious Russian spy) to stay for a few days, is due to arrive tomorrow afternoon.  His agenda is to spend his time doing some serious loafing and teaching his partner of the opposite sex how to relax.  He then plans to concentrate on fine tuning his lounging techniques.  This does not give Beloved or myself any problem since we need to get into training ourselves as the long dark of winter is coming.  Indeed, as winter draws on, as we say, we tend to go with the season nowadays and in winter, slothfulness is the order of the day.  Spring is downright tiring with all that unauthorised springing going on, so then, we have to take it easy.  Summer is generally soporific in nature, involving plenty of naps and autumn for the most part is mellow, sleepy and of course, misty and fruitful.

Image of Scottish castle surrounded by autumnal trees
A typical Scots house in Scotland, in the autumn.

Don’t pass this on but my chum works for our covert, clandestine, Secret Services so I can’t tell you much about him.  His name name is Alex Craimant and he actually makes an appearance in the marvellous book, Extra Sensory Spy, what I wrote.  He lives in Paris and works at The Sorbonne… but I can’t tell you that either, so mum’s the word!  If you read the book, which is very well written, funny and as cheap as chips, he makes his appearance in the last chapter.  It’s well worth it as he is like our hero Agent Bertram, a thoroughly decent chap and plays his part well.

Here are a couple of links that I can recommend so you may see for yourself just how lovely a Scottish autumn can be.  It is perhaps understated when compared to New England but it is adequately sufficiently for us.

Wild About Scotland – 10 Great Places to see in Autumn

BBC Scotland – Autumn Colours Gallery

After Beloved disappeared down the track and I stripped off my wet things and donned my dressing gown, in order to settle down and have a nice hot mug of freshly brewed tea before enjoying a richly deserved cat nap, after which I will spend my time making a vegetable curry for tomorrow evening’s meal.  It is to be a veggie tikka masala and will be accompanied by Bombay potatoes and one of our staples, Gujarati-style spicy carrot and cabbage.

An image of Conkers
A favourite with boys of all ages, conkers (horse chestnuts)

This leads me on nicely to another job that needs doing.  When we were clearing out the utility room yesterday I came across a package of conkers (horse chestnuts) that had been given to me by my chum Dave from Liverpool – you might know him.  Weather permitting, I shall steel out into our wilderness garden and plant them down by the river sometime tomorrow morning.

To continue today’s narrative.  As Beloved clambered into the car, I checked the two humane mouse traps that we have stashed within to find a further pair of cheeky mice!  This time Beloved has taken them away with her so she can let them loose some miles away by her friend’s house.  I suggested letting them loose in her friend’s house but that impish thought was rejected by my Beloved wife and best friend, otherwise known as The Opposition.  As my chum Pete tells me, if mice are released within a couple of miles, they can find their way back home but any further and they can’t.  It’s one of those nature things.  I think that this is something to do with the amount of bread crumbs that they are able to carry in their pockets.  Either that or their mousey sat-navs have a very limited range or are still using NiCad batteries.  We have caught nine back seat driver mice in our car so far this week.  Perhaps I should borrow Lady Pong, our friend Sue’s cat and leave her in the car.  (Lady Pong not Sue).  However, Lady Pong, apart from being a highly skilled hunter of small furry animals of all kinds, would probably steal the car and make off for the wilds.

To close…  After my nap I made another pot of tea and again stood by the kitchen window whilst drinking it.  Sadly, after the storm had subsided, there was not a leaf in sight!


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Agent Bertram. Bertram spends most of his time at The Ministry fulfilling his role as an intelligence analyst, looking after the interests of Her Majesty The Queen and finding ever more ingenious ways to ensure that The Duke of Edinburgh stays out of trouble... When the need arises Agent Bertram is seconded to The Netherlands Secret Service to help his chums fight dastardly crime in Amsterdam. This is where he has most of his thrilling adventures.

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