I am the only person out in the soft rain and the squirrels ignore me, rustling industriously through the beech leaves. I can hear the thin shriek of a kite high overhead and the muffled flap of wood pigeons as I disturb them. The creaking bellow of a stag resonates from tall bracken close to the path. He watches me as I cautiously walk past and I am relieved when he eventually turns away.
In my head I am making a shopping list: braising steak, eschallions, smoked paprika, chorizo, passata, soured cream. Tonight we will have spicy red goulash and I can see broccoli, bright green in contrast, and creamy mashed potato on my blue plates.
I walk on between fields to the edge of the woods, seeing the shine of limp leaves and the sodden linings of chestnut cases. The sky is a damp, pallid grey. This is autumn and there is no going back but there is so much to look forward to that I hurry onwards.
This post is for Nicola to say thank you for the very thoughtful email - it was much appreciated.