Oh September! How we love you.
June is nice. We have great swells, lovely sunny days and a few fresh greens from the garden. This year I ate chickweek and sea beet, samphire and rocket.
In July we also had some sunny days. Hot sunny days. I ate fresh garden spuds with home grown mint and butter. I love those.
August was ok. The kids were off school and the roads were a bit busy. It rained a little. But you know. That’s ok. The fresh garden peas and lettuces were good this year.
But we soon forgot all that.
September crept upon us with clear starry skies, dewy mornings and late evening surf sessions.
I don't know anyone who doesn't love September, especially among the surfers. The waves, which have whimpered for a couple of months, return with a bang as hurricane season kicks in on the other side of the Atlantic. Long range groundswells invade our beaches with tall, powerful waves. The sea temperatures are the best they will be all year. With a couple of months of warm days behind them, they will stay that way long into the Autumn. Cold feet walking down the beaches at dawn find a steaming, late year Atlantic oddly warming. The beaches, now abandoned by the summer hordes, are deserted. Rockpools heat up quickly, so our kids are happy on beaches they can call theior own again.
September, oh how we love you.
The mackerel arrive at last in late August, drawn in by the promise of large shoals of sprats to push onto the shore in giddy mats of shimmering silver. If we are lucky enough to bring our bucket a few will beach themsleves onto our plates. A little flour, a crack of black pepper and a pinch of chilli flakes is all it takes.
Occasionally the mackerel take my bait too. This year we've had the chance to experiment. Usually it's just garlic, butter, bish, bosh, bash and then they are done. It's a good sign that we've fish to spare. And it's not about my fishing skills. The sea splashes and boils with joyful gluttony.
We've had mushrooms too. If only we'd been a few days earlier we might have had the full crop. But someone got there first and left us a just a few little ones. Until we went a little further off the path and found our own secret stash. Chanterelles on toast. Beautiful, especially when you've gone just that little bit further to find them.
Then there are blackberries. Apparently, there are hundreds of varieties, each with its own unique taste. I found a bush whose berries tasted like apples and blackberries. Odd but delicious. And another that was so sweet we picked the lot and ate them all. None left for pie or jam or vodka this time. We came home with happy, juice-stained lips and faces.
Never mind, it's September. There's plenty more where that came from.