On my own today I am feeling a little melancholy, and the weather seems to echo and reinforce my mood. It is tempting to stay inside and hibernate. Exercise always helps, however, and the dogs needed a walk this morning, so I tipped them out of their warm bed by the Aga and off we set into the chilly rain.
Once outside, we all perked up a little. The colours are so beautiful at the moment, in their last glory, that they cannot fail to lift the spirits.
The cock pheasants share the colours of the beech leaves: you can just see one in this field, looking important as the cocks usually do.
Under the trees, there is still a fairyland of toadstools.
It was quite dark under the canopy of the trees. Not much was stirring except for the steady rustle and drip of the rain on leaves, branches and hat.
Up the steps towards the castle: these nineteenth-century steps have seen better days and seem to be crumbling back into the woods.
I like them like this, though. Mossy and sad and quiet.
Yesterday, a salesman turned up at the castle and tried to persuade me to buy some topiary that he ‘appened to ‘ave in the back of his van: potted box pyramids, pom-poms and twirls. I explained as tactfully as I could that we are not ‘that sort of posh’ . As he glanced around at our flaking stonework and shaggy trees, I think he realised that we were a lost cause. Perhaps he didn’t see the beauty in this crumbling melancholy.
For anyone who grew up with Jane Eyre and Tess of the D’Urbevilles, though, these surroundings are perfect on a dismal day.
Nevertheless, I am going to kick myself out of this mood this weekend. I am going to a craft fair organised by the joint talents of Lisa at Primrose Hill and Katie at Vintage Squirrel, where perhaps I shall find some lovely Christmas presents. And on the way, I shall cheer myself up by doing what I can only – out of common humanity – do on my own in the car: warble along like a banshee with Kate Bush on ‘Wuthering Heights’. Inspired by Emily Brontë, passionate, mad and impossible to sing without getting the giggles, this song has to be one of the best antidotes to Romantic melancholia that I know.