Uncertainty brings more stockpiling – and buttered pikelets

Have you thought about your supplies? I have tinned peaches and some weird rice my husband panic-bought in March

A call from my stepfather causes consternation: our Bad Tortoise, banished to his yard for sex crimes, has vanished. We’re not too worried – he once disappeared for 18 months – but my husband goes to investigate. It is autumn, after all, the season of weighing tortoises on kitchen scales before boxing them up in the fridge for winter (correct tortoise husbandry practice, he claims).

I have never been more conscious of the shifting natural world: the blackberries on the cycle path have shrivelled, a squirrel is competing with Yard Rat for the seed in my bird feeders and every dog walk feels less green and more yellowy-brown. I love it – mists, leaves, blah, I’ll spare you – but I now understand how bereft summer people feel when they furlough their barbecues and comtemplate closed-toe shoes. It’s goodbye to more than sandal chafe and wasps this year – as daylight recedes we are losing the brief, perhaps unwise, burst of freedom summer brought; what my friend Marianne called “the sense of life as a gift waiting to be unwrapped”.

Continue reading…