To some, November is the start of winter. 1 November, marking halfway between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice, brings the pagan/ Celtic new year. The harvest has ended and the seasons are changing.
This year, the first week of November brought the brightest oranges, russets and reds in the leaves, and with the hour just changed, the first noticeable long dark evenings. Many celebrate a festival of light of some sort, and we gathered with the rest of the local community for a bonfire and fireworks.
I’ve been working on gratitude, self-care and trying to find ways to manage my hormonal cycles and rages, so I spent a lot of October metaphorically hibernating… with November, I am trying to embrace the feelings of excitement that winter is coming, as is the lead up to Christmas.
Here are some ideas for embracing seasonal living in Cornwall this November:
I’m working on finding things to be grateful for every day, as well as a more American concept of thanksgiving. I am trying to find time to pause as the sun sets, notice the patterns of birds, listen more to what is going on outside and generally being more mindful of the seasons. November is a great time to start this – the birds have more noticable pattern to their activity and golden hour/sunset coincides with the short period after school before it gets dark.
Pause, reflect. Rest. Notice that the body naturally seems to want to slow down and enter a sort of mini hibernation mode once the hour changes and the evenings are longer. I’m trying to sit down for a few minutes as I come into the house, perhaps with a hot drink, and just sit looking out of the window. Letting my brain idle for a few minutes instead of constantly racing along in a high gear. Hand in hand with this comes trying to have screen free time at the weekend and evenings – I’ve set my phone so it goes into a different mode at 10pm and instead I’m trying to have a bath, or read, or just get into a cosy bed.
I recently discovered the joys of brushed flannel bedding and can’t recommend getting hold of some winter bedding more highly. Crisp sheets and linen is wonderful in hotter weather, but doesn’t half feel chilly when the temperatures drop. I bought some lovely brushed checks from The White Company and now when I get into bed, the sheets somehow feel warm. Then I add cosy socks and my hot water bottle and a hot drink, and it’s perfect!
Stir Up Sunday
This year, Stir Up Sunday is Sunday 25 November 2018. It’s the traditional time to make your mincemeat, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding. I followed Nigel Slater’s recipes from The Christmas Chronicles*, which I think might be my favourite winter book (alongside Flower Fairies of Winter!) Always the last Sunday before Advent, the name Stir Up Sunday comes from the Book of Common Prayer, which begins with the words, “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people”… it is said this always reminded the congregation that they needed to stir up their puddings. While we are not religious, I do like the pagan element of preparation and think of the long line of maternal cake makers in whose footsteps I follow, and so I get out my grandmother’s earthern bowl, mix and call the family in to stir and make a wish.
Prepare for Advent
Advent Sunday is always the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, and this year is almost as late as it is possible to be, being Sunday 2 December 2018. Last year I got the kids a pocket advent calendar and spent a few days thinking about a series of experiences and treats to write on little cards to pop in the pockets alongside tiny chocolates… things like watch a Christmas film, a Christmas outing to see Father Christmas and so on. Here are five ideas for seeing Father Christmas in Cornwall which I wrote for Mini Travellers. We are off to Bedruthan and also going on the Bodmin & Wenford Railway. We also have planned to visit Eden for some ice skating and to see the biomes lit up in the dark, as well as to watch a Christmas film. I will share a full blog post soon…
Join us for a Seasonal Winter Supper
We think such beautiful surroundings as Cornwall call for great wine to celebrate and complement the great food found here in abundance. We invite you to join us (Buchanan Wines Cornwall) and our friends at Surfside Polzeath for a two-course seasonal meal matched with intriguing and interesting wines (available by the glass or bottle).
Celebrating the beginning of winter and the community that lives in Cornwall all year round, we invite you to book a seat at the table and look forward to delicious food, wine and conversation. We will be eating by candlelight in the beach restaurant Surfside which is situated on the beach at Polzeath. As we near the winter solstice, it will be dark, possibly wet and definitely windswept, so embrace literal and gastronomical adventure and we’ll guide you (across the beach, and through the menu).
Tickets are £22.50 and include all food. Wine and soft drinks available to buy on the night.
Starling murmurations in Cornwall are an amazing sight… thousands of birds swooping and gliding. We are so lucky that some of them gather in the fields behind our house, preparing to join hundreds of others up on Bodmin Moor near Roughtor where you can watch them at sunset. Time it right (around 4.20pm this week) and they all gather before taking off en masse. Definitely worth a visit on a clear day.