- About the Author
- On Active Service
The summer of 2013. We thought it would never end. Yet how swiftly we’ve slid from summer to autumn.
And as I stand in the kitchen at half past six in the evening peeling sprouts, looking out at the fading light of the day, it seems only yesterday I was washing salad ready for dinner on the patio, the kitchen window flung open, the sun still high in the sky. Those long evenings sitting outside, dinner plates still on the table, the warm air, the sound of evening birdsong and the swallows and swifts swooping overhead. It felt like we were on holiday somewhere. The South of France maybe.
And it wasn’t just dinner outside. Breakfast and lunch were al fresco occasions as well. Indeed our sheltered patio area became so hot we moved the table up to the top of the garden under the huge old hazel tree, and on Sundays, when other people queued in cars to get to the beach, we sat in the dappled shade reading our books.
Day after day we woke to blue skies and sunshine. The novelty of being able to hang out washing in the morning and find it bone dry a few hours later. Being able to plan days out and barbecues days ahead, knowing it would still be fine. How accurate the weather forecasters are nowadays. They tell us to the very hour when it will cloud over, when it will be windy, when it will rain.
But here we are now. Late September. Mists and mellow fruitfulness. I’ve always loved autumn. The cool misty mornings, often presaging hazy sunny afternoons. The sun hangs lower in the sky. A golden light special to this time of year. The changing colours. Ploughed fields. Blackberries in the hedgerows. Being held up in the lanes by tractors laden with hay. Harvest festival. It’s an elemental time. A time of new beginnings, of back-to-school, of scuffing in leaves, of conkers on the ground. Time to knuckle down after the long hot summer. An all-too-short season. Soon we start the rush to December. Speeding past Halloween and Bonfire Night, thoughts begin to turn to the annual retail fest and that all-too-familiar question. “What are you doing for Christmas?”
Bethany Askew is the author of five novels:
The Time Before, The World Within, Out of Step, Counting the Days and Poppy’s Seed.
She has also written a short story, The Night of the Storm, and she writes poetry.
Future projects include a new short story, this one for the young adult market, and another full-length novel.
In her spare time she enjoys reading, music, theatre, walking, Pilates, dancing and voluntary work.
Bethany is married and lives in Somerset.