I love the word amateur:  It comes from the French word meaning ‘lover of’ and I proudly bandy the word about in my own life.  I am an amateur cook, an amateur naturalist, an amateur gardener, forager and photographer, I’m an amateur parent, which I guess most of us are.  I collect images, learning, experience and ‘hobbies’ that make up what I think is a luxurious life even without enough readies to lead what most people regard as a luxurious life.

And in November I can practice some of my favorite amateur past-times: spotting mushrooms, creating pickles and wondering at kids and other strange beings like birds.  Woodland Bluets, striped beetroot, migrating birds ( have the thrush mob arrived from Scandinavia or is it just a few scouts?)  and the smell of wood smoke are enough to lift any winter blues.  And then there are the festivals, including the Harvest Festival, All Souls Day marking the end of Autumn and Fireworks night, and those are just the traditional British ones.  (Divali is this week too).

As we go into winter though it’s worth remembering that there are other more professional beings out there!  And in the circle of climate scientists you would be hard pressed to find one who isn’t shouting for change at the upcoming meetings in Paris.  Which makes me wonder, if the world really is one degree warmer since the industrial revolution (MET office advises this to be the case) then how long will our seasons remain distinct and how long will we enjoy the shifts from one to another and celebrations that mark those seasons?

Girl with a brown bird
Multicoloured beetroots