Rides have been limited for the past few days. Frustrating as it is to be confined to the house when the indian summer (albiet a somewhat chilly one) we'd hoped for finally arrives, the excursions into the outside world have been brief, mildly energetic and beautiful. The leaf colour is stunning, we seem to have had more localised frost than most visitors and so the paths and lanes are lined with every shade of golden, from transparent lemon to waxy ginger, and in places deep red and luminous crimson too, immigrant species but welcome punctuation to the spectrum.
The peace and quiet of a drifting autumn has passed now, though. I nipped out for a quick half hour on the cross bike this evening - having spent a lovely but lazy day not doing a lot apart from talk and eat - and the challenge being to get back before the half-drunk mug of tea on the desk got cold. It was past dusk and raining when I opened the door, fine, jacket on, go anyway, don't be lazy. By the time I got to the Anchor and turned south to cross the flood plain, the wind was howling down from the hill and blowing the rain across the beam of light in shards. A mile of steering into the squall, right ear filling up with water, tights resembling shining black seal fleece, squinting hard to keep the lenses in my eyes and the spray out, more like sailing than riding, and then as suddenly as it came the rain ceased and left with the wind alone, whipping through the trees and sending sheets of leaf fall spinning to the ground. Black tarmac swathed in orange and umber, occasional tyre tracks, floods and puddles papered flat with colour.
It's dark now, and late, and in the morning the view out of the window will be less rainbow and more monotone, the wood a wet and shining black against a silver sky, the red brick houses diminished and small. With the wind and Rachmaninoff alternately gusting against the window from either side, I have a hat on and yet more tea beside me and the balance has tipped suddenly and without doubt towards winter. I can't say I am looking forward to it...