It is damp this morning, we have had rain during the night.     Yet it still feels warm and I do not feel the need for a coat, despite the smell of more rain in the air.   As we start our walk, I feel the first ‘spit’ of rain on my face. 

Daisy and I head out past the sheep, clustered together beneath their tree, in the first meadow.   I like them.  They are very interested in the goings-on around them.  I have no idea where they came from. They appeared mysteriously one day, some time ago now, and I expect that one morning we will find them gone in equally mysterious circumstances.   

In the same field as the sheep there is a small tree with wonderful lichen formations on it.     I cannot believe how lovely they are, although this photograph really does not do justice.     

Daisy is keen for her walk and so without further delay we head off down our favourite, if muddy, woodland path towards our regular stopping off point at the beech tree.      The smaller leaved trees are now casting off their leaves and the path is strewn with the fallen.   They look like stars against the darker back drop of fallen foliage which forms a thick mulch beneath my feet.

All of the wood looks like it is resting beneath a huge patchwork quilt.   The leaves of the beeches are brandy-snap curls of amber, the birch leaves are yellow, the sycamores are dropping firecracker red leaves, the ash leaves are a yellowy green.   There are fat, black leaves which may come from a poplar tree, although I cannot be sure.    Yet in the corner of one of the fields, a blackberry bramble is flowering.  It has delicate, perfect pink and white flower heads.   

We sit beneath my favourite beech tree and listen to the rain.    It is coming thick and fast at the moment but we are safe under the great canopy.    I love this space, it is a few moments respite every day, from the rest of the world.   We are hardly ever disturbed.   We often spot the odd dog walker but they do not seem to use this lower gate and we sit mostly unnoticed as they cross the field.  

In the distance the sky is an odd mass of cloud.   Lower down on the horizon dark grey clouds move very quickly, like smoke, behind the trees.   Behind them there is a massive mountain of cumulus, white peaked in a rapidly diminishing patch of blue sky.   Above the cumulus are long ribbons of grey and white cloud, stretched and whispy.   The sun, very thin and watery, casts half-hearted shadows across the grass.  A glance to my left reveals iron-grey clouds massing fit to burst.     There is a sudden chill in the air.

The Dita von Teese tree is almost completely naked now although she manages to maintain a little decorum, to the relief of her neighbouring dowager birch tree , as her lower extremities are still covered by a thin veil of determined yellow leaves.     She still wears the red flower behind her ear, however, although it too is faded now.

As I look out across the meadow to the Linden trees at the far edge of the field they remind me of ballroom dancers in those full, frothy dresses layered with net.   All three of them have a wide skirt of leaves, burnished copper and yellow in colour.   I imagine them whirling around the field in an arboreal Viennese waltz, leafy skirts swaying and rustling to the music of Strauss.   The thought makes me laugh out loud. 

The whole woodland now looks quite stunning beneath its array of autumn colour.

The weather vane fox, who ran so erratically south and south west yesterday, when the wind was up, seems to have made up its mind and now points resolutely south.     

I gather some kindling, a few fallen twigs and Daisy and I head home.   We shall have a fire, tea and toast and sit and watch the rain from the comfort of the sofa.

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