Golden days and Autumn rambling

What a change in the weather!  From grey to gold in 24 hours.

I’m not really affected by the weather.  I have gone walking in torrential rain, including thunderstorms, because I enjoy it.  I love it when it is freezing hard and have climbed mountains when the waterfalls are frozen solid.  Heavy snow really makes me buzz.  So do strong winds: I’ve deliberately gone up mountains in winds of around 100 mph.  I revel in high temperatures and strong sunshine.  But I don’t like boring, grey weather. And unfortunately the seasons in the UK have started to become uniformly grey.  Since I got back from Greece that is how it has been.

I have come to the conclusion that it’s a form of SAD, about which there is a mass of information on the web.1 I like extreme weather of any sort.  Grey, claggy weather, flat calm, drizzle have never done anything for me but in recent years they make me gloomy, reluctant to go outside and do things, sap my enthusiasm.

So the last few days have been a tonic.  Golden sunshine on golden leaves.  People say with real feeling “I love Autumn” but what they mean is they love the bright colours of Autumn, which actually only last for a short time.  “Fall” in New England is much vaunted but in any one area is very short-lived, the peak lasting just a few days, with hotlines and websites to assist and encourage the visitor, and to prepare them for disappointment.2 The Forestry Commission in the UK carries an ‘Autumn Colour Watch’ on the web sites for its arboreta such as, most famously, Westonbirt’.3 Strong winds or heavy rain and the show is over in days, ruined.

So while it lasts it’s best to enjoy it.

I got up Saturday morning to a golden sunrise, like the one at the top of the blog.  I stood with the camera and watched the sun coming up over the hill.  .

The promise of things to come

Sun just peeping above the ridge

...... and clearing it

Then, as I have done for many years, after a quick coffee and slice of toast, I walked to the supermarket to do the grocery shopping.  But this time I took my camera and ambled there and back through the park.  It’s not Westonbirt but at the right time it can be very colourful in Autumn.  And not just oranges and reds, even the greens looked brighter in the clear light.  It’s very invigorating, really perks you up.

The Park Gates, now controversially painted green not black and gold

Home of the once famous Pontypool Rugby Club in its parkland setting

The bandstand

Leaves collecting under the trees

The bowling green

The sun was still shining on Sunday so I walked up the mountain towards the end of the afternoon.  Autumn colours still in evidence and at their best in the quality of light in the late afternoon as in the morning.

Holly berries add dazzling red

With the sun sinking lower towards the tops of adjoining mountains the high cirrus cloud was acting like a prism for a few minutes.  Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time …. and have a camera handy.

Low sun on cirrus cloud

Dramatic prism effect in the cirrus

I’m planning on adding a ‘Grumpy Old Man’ page to the blog but I think I’ll wait until the weather turns grey again.

1  See for example:

http://www.sada.org.uk/symptoms-of-SAD.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_affective_disorder

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_affective_disorder

2  See for example http://gonewengland.about.com/od/fallfoliage/ht/htpeakfoliage.htm

Where the warning is given:  Make your trip about more than just leaves so that you won’t be disappointed. There’s more to autumn fun in New England than peak foliage. Sip hot cider, pick apples, take a hay ride, hike, bike or attend a festival. Keep in mind, too, that even a hint of color can be beautiful”.

3   http://www.fowa.org.uk/your_westonbirt/autumn_colour_watch

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