It’s that time of year when autumn seems to slide inexorably into the depths of winter. The maple tree outside our kitchen is slowly becoming less yellow and more painfully skeletal by the day and the clocks going back mean its dark by the time I finish work. This wintry feeling was reinforced last week by the first snowfall of the season and by my first sighting of a mall Santa. The snow lasted about four hours before petering out; Santa will last until Christmas, if he doesn’t get drunk and attack people. Yes Miracle on 34th Street featuring the hugely missed Richard Attenborough is among my favourite Christmas films. This mall Santa looked pretty bored; as well he should because it’s over 6 bloody weeks until Christmas!
I’ve enjoyed my first autumn in the US and if there are a lot of things that I’ve missed about the UK then there are some new discoveries that make up for them, cider doughnuts being one of the best. The weather is a lot drier here too which makes for less of those miserable days when the leaves on the ground coalesce into sodden lumps. Autumn in New England is more colourful than its counterpart in the UK, mainly because New England is so much more forested. The region is rightly famous for its foliage, it’s hard to describe how beautiful the reds and yellows and greens are when outlined against a blue sky on a sunny day. If I could just encourage the locals to tone down Halloween and adopt Bonfire Night then we really would be all set, as an American would say.
I’m a little nervous about the impending winter doom because I’m used to mild British winters and little snow. When it snowed on Sunday I texted a Canadian friend with a picture saying it was snowing heavily and it’s safe to say she wasn’t impressed with my definition of heavily. Next year she’s moving to Florida so she’ll soon be able to tell me I don’t know what real heat is either! I’m looking forward to playing in snow but I see a lot of slipping over on icy streets and falling into snowbanks in my future. I’m actually really excited about ice skating outside on the Frog Pond in Boston Common just not so much on frozen puddles. I’m sure Bostonians will get used to seeing a blue faced Englishman walking around the city wearing 86 layers and looking like the Michelin man. If it’s already slowing in November it’s going to be a long winter for me!
This weekend saw another first for me; my first cream tea in the USA. For those who don’t know, cream teas consist of clotted cream and jam spread on scones accompanied by a pot of tea. My sister in law had kindly given us a gift card for the upmarket Langham Hotel in Boston and we decided to try their afternoon tea. Cream teas are a big thing for me; I am from Devon in the UK where cream teas are a speciality and even putting the cream and jam on the wrong way round is considered a faux pas! The cream tea passed my test; the scones were warm and the cream and jam tasty and we had sixteen different types of tea to choose from! They even referred to the cream as Devonshire cream but as the food wasn’t served by a waitress who called everyone “my lover” I’m dubious. Have a nice Sunday everyone, I’m off to invest in another sweater. Or five…