Autumn has always been one of my favourite times of the year. It is such a beautiful season – each year the trees seem to have more hues of red, orange and yellow than I remembered existed. And such a wonderfully playful time – games with conkers, crunching leaves underfoot and kicking piles of them in the air. Plus, if I’m honest, the opportunity to ditch the summer salads and start eating comfort food has always had a big appeal – pumpkin risotto, parsnip soup, apple and blackberry pies with big spoonfuls of custard. Yummy.
Here in Moscow, Autumn is also a time to prepare for winter. There is a rush to finish road and building repairs before the temperature drops. Like trees shedding leaves, the cafes are losing their outdoor terraces. I suddenly feel like a squirrel hurriedly collecting nuts before the snow comes. Have we got the kids winter clothing sorted? Have we booked the mechanic to fit the car with winter tyres?
Last Autumn was my first in Moscow and the playfulness of the season completely passed me by while I panicked about the coming winter. Was I going to cope when the temperature dropped below -10, -20? Would the stroller get through the snow? Were the kids going to be warm enough? Was I going to slip over on the ice and break a bone?!
So this year, in between buying snow boots and balaclavas, I’m savouring the Autumn season. We’ve been playing with leaves and making pictures with them; we’ve been hunting for chestnuts and conkers; we’ve been eating pumpkin and sage risotto. It is a wonderful time of year and I’m making the most of it.