October is my favourite month of the year. September feels rushed, like it arrives after summer too quickly, and all of a sudden everything is go. I always spend September, for some reason, feeling late. But October is cosy and crisp. It’s true Autumn before it gets just that little bit too wet and dreary.
Here are my top 3 reasons to love October:
Pumpkins are my favourite vegetable, so when they’re in season I’m very happy. I love them in savoury dishes – soups, curries, stews – but ultimately the perfect destination for a pumpkin is a pie.
As a child my dad would grow a pumpkin in the garden every year. We would watch as it grew bigger and bigger, waiting for that special day to come in late October. The one day my dad would take over the kitchen.
The pumpkin was harvested. Seeds were scooped and flesh was gouged out. The pumpkin shell was the draw for us as kids, it took equal billing with conkers as our Autumn highlight. We’d marvel at it, designing faces in our heads while my dad worked. Spices, pastry, evaporated milk. Pumpkin Pie day.
Of course, we later got to carve the pumpkin and light it with great ceremony, displaying it like a revered work of art until it crumpled and shrivelled.
I can’t let October pass without making at least one pumpkin pie. This year will be all the more memorable, the first one Baby Bee will be able to taste.
2. It’s getting darker
As much as I love the long, slow days of summer, I can’t help feeling a sense of relief when we pass the summer solstice and the days start getting shorter.
Through October we get to enjoy and savour those increasingly dark mornings. On a weekend, I hurriedly wrap my dressing gown around me, scooping Bee into hers,and we creep downstairs giving Daddy a few extra minutes to snore. Half-awake I make a pot of tea, gazing out into the garden still illuminated by streetlight, while Bee plays around my feet. I’m so grateful for that moment of stillness, cocooned in our little house full of lightness and warmth.
Hand in hand with darkness comes the opportunity for light. We took Bee to a Lantern Parade last week in our local park. It was like a giant outdoor sensory room for her and it made for some rather pretty photographs.
The Danish philosophy of hygge (hoo-ga) lends itself particularly well to darker days and colder weather. In the same way it’s easier to eat salads in the summer, cosying up and enjoying life’s simple pleasures comes more naturally during the colder months. And, dare I say it, as we build up to Christmas, there is a quiet gathering up in our hearts of all those loved by us. We draw together, friends and family. We light candles, eat, drink, play games, savour the slow.
My special mug comes out of the cupboard and 101 hot chocolate variations* punctuate our evenings. A pause. A moment shared. A reminder of all we have.
I’m yet to be convinced that any month is better than October. This list could have gone on and on.
I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.
– LM Montgomery
*New hot chocolate recipes gratefully welcomed