Fashion and Photography
I love this time of year. Even though days can be dreary and dull and the nights long there is always the excitement of watching for the leaves to turn and then fall in waves, the possibility of snow and frosts and lots time to catch up with friends at the weekend. There is so much variety at this time of year â€“ sunny frosty days or dull wet ones, people rushing around under umbrellas or wearing bright knits and brighter smiles, and dashing out into the cold knowing you will return to a warm house and a reviving cuppa. In this edition of Scene we explore different ways to get the best out of the season. There is something to suit everyone â€“ weekends away in the country, skiing in the Alps or just an afternoon in the park with friends . So, brew your tea, put something comfy on, curl up in a chair in front of the fire and grab your copy of Scene and join me on this wintery journey.
Content winter Blazing Cosy Fireplace Timeless Chunky Knits Roasting chesnuts Hot Chocolate Tea and Crumpets Wholesome Snowflakes Icy Droplets
Crackling Fires and Colourful Landscapes How to Enjoy Winter
Ascot, Henley, Wimbledon and Glastonbury are over. Wet tents,
pretty frocks and outrageous hats are packed away for another year. Autumn is here, the nights are drawing in and leaves are turning glorious colours bringing brightness to our parks and countryside. The ground is covered with a thick carpet of orange, red and yellow leaves and children and adults alike are running through them trying to catch any that are still falling. Berries festoon the holly and hedgerows. Winter woollies and fur lined boots are taken from the cupboard and given an airing. New chunky knits, bright coloured scarves and wrist warmers are to be found in the shops. Vendors roasting chestnuts are on the street corners and the occasional group of carol singers huddle in shop doorways. Of course, not everyone enjoys the cold, damp winter in England, so thoughts amongst impoverished students turn to finding work abroad â€“ maybe in the Alps. If you can cook, clean and generally enjoy other peoples company then the role of a seasonnaire might be for you. Failing that escape to the country with friends and enjoy the brighter days winter offers. Whatever you choose, do not panic. Delicious hot casseroles and overly gratifying sticky puddings will cheer everyone up. So, letâ€™s enjoy winter and gear ourselves up to bracing walks, black ski runs and shivering bus queues.
Tea Time Escape It’s cold outside, the wind is blowing
Well there might be if they were not glued to their laptops, iPods and iPhones and newspapers! Not only that, they have now migrated to the armchairs in front of that wonderfully inviting fire.
and the rain starting to fall. Close the shutters and draw the heavy curtains. Tea and crumpets in front of the fire – how dreamy is that? Well, for a start, someone has to clean the fire out, lug the logs and coal in – if they have remembered to order them in time – find the matches and plenty of puff to get the wretched thing going. Hopefully the chimney sweep will have been so there are no surprises lurking half way up the chimney, which might catch fire.
So, off to the kitchen to find the tea, the crumpets, the butter and the jam and a tray big enough to put them on. Mission accomplished, tea and crumpets can be carried through and placed ceremoniously on any available flat space large enough to take the tray after feet have been removed. Before you have blinked the plates are empty, buttery fingers are being licked and wiped on…. well, better not to know what! Any left for you? Not a chance. Ah well a glass of wine in front of the fire is just as good and it must now be time for that. Who’s washing up? Oh… and the log basket needs filling too. Such fun!
However, having achieved the end result of a roaring open fire – dust filled lungs and an empty box of matches – you are probably too exhausted to toast the crumpets and boil the kettle. Never mind, there is always someone else in the family who can take on that mantle.
Something About the Woods There’s something about the woods. All alone surrounded by God’s magic. Peace and quiet in my solitare moods. No worries, people or events so tragic. Crisp, cool air in my lungs. The whisper of forest breeze. A break from climbing life’s rungs. A special time on my memory to freeze. A paradise of contentment, to restore my souls energy. No worry about advancement. Basking in nature’s sweet synergy. No more of life’s fast frame. Back in control of my time. Each day not more of the same. Money no issue I don’t need a dime. There’s something about the woods. Only here can real peace be found. Not a crowded nieghbourhood, where all is one busy loud sound. Nothing can compare to star lit canopy. A hot steaming cup of campers tea. The preservation of my sanity. I escape from life’s endless sea. Larry D Matthews
The Perfect Winter Weekend
If you choose to stay in England through the winter forget the essay, the research and the dissertation for a moment and find a friend whose family lives in the country with a large enough house - and willing parents – to take in a bunch of lively students for 24 hours. An Aga to huddle round would be a bonus, as would a bevy of dogs to walk.
The only drawback is that most of these houses are cold so what to pack is an issue. Lots of layers, jumpers, boots and warm jackets are essential – as is a hot water bottle! The food will be delicious, warming and wholesome. Lots of fresh air as the dogs will need exercise, a chance to join a small informal shoot on Saturday morning before collapsing in front of the fire and the rugby in the afternoon. The weather is bright and crisp. The frost shimmers on the leaves and grass and the world has been transformed. It’s cold, but a good brisk walk will soon warm everyone up. The dogs are excited and friends appear in a mish mash of clothes begged, borrowed and (hopefully not) stolen. Perfection! The afternoon is for newspapers and relaxation. Guilt sets in as the host fetches more logs and the hostess is slaving away in the kitchen – offers of help are turned down. Fresh air hits and soon everyone is enjoying a snooze in front of the fire. Nothing beats that content feeling after coming in from being outside in the cold. Fingertips slowly regaining warmth back into them, and cheeks getting even rosier from the heat of the roaring log fire. Crumpets and tea again. The students life is a good one. And that’s only Saturday. Sunday is still to come. Those carefree days with no responsibilities will soon be gone, but the memories do not fade.
The seasonnaire meanwhile is bustling about in the kitchen preparing a delicious meal â€“ its Monday so it must be a goats cheese and tomato tartlet for starters, followed by a succulent venison casserole and finished off with a rather indulgent sticky toffee pudding.
In the Alpine resort, things are
somewhat different. As a seasonnaire there is no one to do the job for you â€“ you are in charge. The guests come in off the slopes with glowing cheeks, frozen fingers and toes and smiles on their faces. Crumpets and tea are placed in front of them; they eat then snooze and wait for a call to dinner.
The seasonnaires life is a busy one and reality must set in. Up early to cook breakfast, see the guests off to the slopes, clear up, prepare dinner then maybe a few hours to join friends for a short ski. Blue skies and sparkling snow look different in the Alps. There is little more invigorating than hurtling down the slopes on such a day. Just time for a quick hot chocolate and a bowl of chips before returning to the chalet to cook dinner.
Before the first guests arrive there is time to enjoy the majestic scenery of the snow-covered mountains. This can almost be seen as your chance to escape everything and forget for a time where you are and what worries are on your mind. When the sun shines the land around you sparkles, the snow crunches underfoot and at a distance the skiers look like an army of ants making their way down the slopes. The ski lifts seem to take you right up into the sky, the views are breath taking and you feel on top of the world.
Six months is a long time to be looking after people on holiday but there is plenty of time to enjoy the glorious scenery, hone skiing skills and make new friends. The air is fresh, the sun does tan, the aprĂ¨s ski is party time and the weight piles on and because of that the CGA (chalet girls arse) is evident! Each seasonnaire has a different story. There are good times and bad but you can be certain that most will want to return.
Of course, there are days when huge snowflakes fall and the cloud never lifts off the ground. Visibility is nil and only the intrepid skiers venture out. Cars are left in a central car park and rarely used - walking and skiing being the preferred mode of transport.
The Alps are magical but when it snows at home there is also an excitement. Landscapes are transformed, even if not quite so dramatic, the hills and valleys look so different. Roads become impassable and sledges emerge from garages and garden sheds. Everyoneâ€™s gardens become their own private wonderland. Tracks have been made by the robins and rabbits foraging for food before the residents of the house whoâ€™s garden they are in awaken.
Although itâ€™s not quite the same as the Alps, it is still just as beautiful in its own way. The scenery may not be quite as striking and you might not be able to hear that comforting sound of the snow machines in the distance but you are still transported out of the current hustle and bustle of everyday life. Almost as if someone has slowed down the pace of time. Rivers have frozen over and in the process have formed swirls of white ice covering the surface. Branches are covered with icy droplets that dip into the frozen pools. The land has been turned into a winter wonderland, as if a snow globe has been shaken for the first time once it has been unpacked from the Christmas box in December and the flakes begin to settle on the little figurines inside the glass dome. 55
Snow A pure white mantle blotted out The world I used to know There was no scarlet in the sky Or on the hills below, Gently as mercy out of heaven Came down the healing snow. Alfred Noyes 57
The Snowflake Before I melt, Come look at me! This lovely icy filigree! Of a great forest In one night I make a wilderness Of white: By skyey cold Of crystals made, All softly, on Your finger laid. I pause, that you My beauty see: Breathe, and I vanish Instantly. Walter De La Mare
â€œ Nature will bear the closes
us to lay our eye level wit take an insect vie
st inspection. She invites th her smallest leaf, and ew of its plain
- Henry D. Thoreau
And Last but not Least Cracked It!
At home or abroad autumn and winter can be enjoyed. Whether
snuggling up in thick knits, colourful scarves, hats and mits to hit the slopes or go for a bracing walk in the country, it matters not. Thoughts of summer sun and swimming pools have faded with the effort to keep warm against the odds. Winter is a good season. The longer evenings mean more time to gather with friends for cosy chats over tea or supper or even going for a few drinks at the pub. The blazing fire creates a soporific feeling. Jack Frost is working his magic outside changing the ordinary into the extraordinary.