Life on Pig Row: Autumn is coming

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The Oldhams

High on the Saddleworth hills, the Oldham family have created an inspiring kitchen garden which provides a wealth of rich flavours for the kitchen and larder. This column, written by Andrew and Carol, follows their journey throughout the year

For more information, visit their website

RUSHCART HAS passed and autumn is coming. With the leaving of the dance comes the colder nights.

Though most of the summer in Saddleworth has been like a bad Morris dance of jumpers and t-shirts. Jumpers that have been flung off for t-shirts. Jumpers quickly yanked over t-shirts.

There was even the whole coat-gate debacle. Should we? Shouldn’t we? Is it too early to wear one? Is it cold enough? What will we do if we wear one and the sun suddenly comes out? Wearing a coat casually is one thing, carrying one leaves you red faced and sweaty.

It has been a year of layers and this has been reflected not just in our clothes but in the very landscape around us, though we had that wonderful first layer of spring which cosseted us and whispered sweet promises of summer, the second layer of summer became more like an itchy wool jumper.

The kind of jumper you’ve always hated in secret but lamented when it was full of moth holes. That kind of sums up our summer this year in Saddleworth.

There were days we all happily complained, it was too cold, too hot and it was never quite right. We became the Goldilocks of our valleys and villages, and when summer has finally left we are still whispering to each other about the promise of a late Indian summer.

We are hopeful. We have everything crossed ready, just in case we have a coat over our arm. We can count on one hand the Indian summers we have had, those late, fleeting hot days in September that sometimes stretched into October but those summers seem always to be in our childhood and those promised to us as adults never really lived up to the hype.

We may have an Indian summer this year but the possibility of the jet stream suddenly moving to the north of us is very slim.

The next layer of a disappointing year of weather is upon us and it is often a thick layer of waterproofs, cardigans and flustered faces that go from the wet and wind of autumn through the ever open doors of the overheated offices, shops and homes.

Autumn can be a glorious final flurry of colour in villages and hamlets, celebrate it whilst you can for September is the final song of summer and the opening volley of winter.


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