October was another of those months where I felt as though all I did was work, but looking back over my photos I seem somehow to have managed to do some fun stuff in between. October is probably my favourite month of the year; pleasantly chilly, without being too cold, and lots of lovely misty mornings like the one pictured below (taken at the airfield at dawn one day last week).
Now that the weather’s colder I’ve noticed more birds coming to the garden in search of food, including this beautiful woodpecker. You may notice that the bird feeder is rather crumpled. This is the legacy of last year’s ‘Storm Doris’, which blew the bird table over onto the aforesaid feeder!
Another storm brought some exceedingly odd weather to us this month. The remnants of Hurricane Ophelia drew up Saharan dust and turned the sky a weird shade of brown. The sun appeared blood red in the middle of the day – an exceptionally bizarre experience. In town, everyone was stopping to photograph the sun.
Hurricanes aside, the stillness of these lovely autumn mornings has also brought the hot air balloons out, and one came right past the house the other day. I love to see them – there’s something so serene about them. (And hot air ballooning was the best aviation experience I’d ever had until I started flying helicopters!!)
On the subject of helicopters, I’ve had a few more lessons this month. The best one was a low-level navigation exercise in the R44 to Bruntingthorpe, pictured here. It was a nice change to get out of the circuit and roam about the country a bit! I’m still loving helicopter flying, and I’ve now got 30.5 hours (45 minimum needed for the licence). I’ve also passed another exam (Aircraft General Knowledge), leaving me with just two more to go.
I’ve also been flying the beloved Robin this month. I had the most fabulous solo flight the other day, on a gorgeous calm day. The Robin practically flew itself, and I felt as though the plane sort of became an extension of me.
I flew over Broadway Tower (below) and then down towards Stow-on-the-Wold and back.
Another day I took my lovely friend Lucy up for her first flight in a light aircraft. It’s so nice to be able to introduce people to the joys of flying, although it was a bit windy, which made for a bumpy first flight for poor Lucy!
Lucy and I also had an excellent meal at Koto in Oxford one evening. It’s a delightful little Japanese restaurant on North Parade, where I took this photo. I’d definitely recommend it, as they do other Japanese food as well as sushi if that’s not your cup of tea.
I’ve done well for meeting up with friends this month. Last weekend I took the train down to London for the day to meet up with a couple of old university friends at a fabulous Covent Garden restaurant called Dishoom. Amazing food, and the chocolate pudding was perfection itself. Definitely going back there.
Another excellent dining experience this month was Sunday lunch at one of my very favourite Cotswolds pubs (I admit I have many favourites), the Ebrington Arms. I couldn’t stop admiring the amazing fireplace.
It’s a very cosy pub, the sort of place that’s at its very best in winter.
This brownie, let me tell you, was the most sensational I’ve ever tasted. I’ve never had one so gooey in the middle, which to my mind is perfect.
After lunch, Blockley was the ideal place to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather (again thanks to that hurricane). I took loads of photos and I’ll put them in a post of their own soon.
October is also Mop Fair month in Stratford-upon-Avon, a time that always reminds me of when I first became self-employed. Amazingly, 11 October marked four years since I went freelance. I remember walking out of the office for the last time and in the evening going to the mop fair, feeling the most incredible sense of freedom knowing that I wouldn’t have to work for someone else anymore. So I always like a wander around the mop to remind me of that.
Me being me, I naturally favour the old-fashioned fairground rides over the garish new ones!
On an unrelated note, how cute is this little soul? One of my favourites from this month’s Guide Dogs volunteering.
I always enjoy the Halloween festivities at the end of October, and this year I decked out the fireplace with a few decorations.
My friends and I have a now long-standing tradition of gathering to eat, drink wine, chat and carve pumpkins at Halloween. Here are our efforts for this year; mine’s the traditional one on the right (my design never varies, I’m sorry to say!).