Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ode to Autumn! -- Anna Campbell

by Anna Campbell

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun.

How's that for a classy way to start a blog? Kant go wrong with some Keats, kan you?

Actually Keats was talking about a Northern Hemisphere Autumn. Here where I live in subtropical Queensland in Australia, there's not much mist! And the sun well and truly hit maturity when it was pounding down and baking us all through the summer.

We don't get the spectacular change of the seasons here that people in more temperate climates get. There's certainly a shift in temperature but it's hardly drastic. There's a few different plants flowering in the garden and the days get shorter. That's about it.

Nonetheless with the arrival of Autumn, there's a crispness in the air and a freshness to the days that you don't get during our long, hot summer.

I'm not built for the heat, sadly, so I suffer and whine from late November through until early March. All those Northern European ancestors put together a genetic package that is built to withstand Arctic temperatures. So I'm someone who hangs out every year for those first few cool days, especially through February when I feel like the sweltering, sultry weather is never going to end.

Of course, summer isn't all misery and there are things I miss about it before it rolls around again.

One is diving into my swimming pool as a nice break from sweating over my computer. Yes, that is me posing as a bathing beauty, snort! Another is that the wild bearded dragons who live in my garden go into hibernation and I don't see them again until the weather warms up. I love these little guys - it's like having mini dinosaurs hiding in the shrubbery. I miss the long evenings sitting out with my friends under the pergola and looking at the lake. Nothing like a lovely glass of sauvignon blanc and great company and a leisurely summer day.

But all of that finishes pretty much with Easter. I can sometimes squeeze in a week or so of swimming after the big bunny has been, but basically that's the end of summer for us.

But aside from the cooler weather, there are other things I look forward to in Autumn. And not just chocolate eggs!

I love the summer fruits, cherries and peaches and apricots and nectarines and mangoes. But my favorite fruit are the mandarins that kick in late March and hang around for most of the winter. I can eat them by the hundred - and I do. In fact, I turn a nice shade of orange during mandarin season. Well, slight exaggeration, but I bet my innards are orange!

Another thing I love about the cooler weather is that I replace my swimming with nice long walks. It's just too hot, even first thing in the morning, to go far in summer. And there are some pretty places to explore near my house. This is a picture my friend Sharon Archer (who writes wonderful romances for Mills and Boon Medicals) took of the beach five minutes away from me.

All round, I think the cool change will be extremely cool!

And if you'd like something new and fresh to read as the seasons change, why not enter my latest website contest? I'm giving away an advance reader copy of my June release MY RECKLESS SURRENDER. All you have to do is read the excerpt on my books page and tell me the old proverb that the Earl of Ashcroft quotes to Diana Carrick. Here's a clue - it's for the birds! Then email me on with your answer. For more details, please check out my contest page. Good luck!

So what's happening with the seasons where you are? I'm off to dive into the pool - feel I should take advantage of it while I can!


Serena said...

OMG can I possible be first here?? I wonder if someone will sneak in while I type. LOL.

I'm in Melbourne and I LOVE autumn! It's the best time of year. Sunny days - sometimes a little hot - I am soooooooooooooooo not a hot weather person so the but lovely cool evenings which means I can sleep!

March is by far the most popular month for family birthdays and anniversaries, and of course there's Easter.

Now, after a week of rain (and some amazing hailstorms!) today was bright, sunny and just gorgeous.

Hope you enjoyed your swim, Anna.

Annie West said...

Hi Anna and Serena.

We've had our first touch of autumn here now and it's lovely! I can sleep at night instead of sweltering and I don't feel sticky every time I sit down to type (now that's a good excuse not to work). But, even though I love autumn, it means winter's on the way and I'll miss that summer slothfulness!

Enjoy your pool while you can, Anna. It won't be long...And not long till your newest release - YAY!

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Hi, Anna! Your garden's looking lovely. I love autumn. Mornings are getting nippier. Today I even wore a coat to work. A coat! Strangely, it was hot and humid yesterday, so anything could happen tomorrow.

Helen said...

I do love those photos and I am so over summer this year and so looking forward to the cooler months the first week of autumn here in Sydney was very nice then it got really hot again and now the weather is cool and cloudy and there has been a definate nip in the air I love it as Annie said trying to sleep in summer is just awful and I need my beauty sleep LOL.
I too love mandarins and can eat them all day so I am looking forward to picking some up very soon. And of course we are getting closer to the release of My Reckless Surrender YAY

Have Fun

Deb said...

Hi, Anna. It's in the beginning stages (soon will be) of spring here---unless we get another snowstorm in March or April. (It can happen. When I was a kid, we had a blizzard on April 9, 1973 and 15 inches of snow!)

I look forward to the budding trees and flowers in spring; unfortunately, after 40 inches of melting snow, 45-50F. temps the last 3 days, and rain last night, everything is quite a muddy mess.

Fall is pretty here in Iowa with gorgeous reds, oranges, yellows, and burgundies showing their colors in the trees, shrubs, and flowers.

Summers can be hot and humid, typically. Last summer was not; it was a fairly perfect summer with very few humid days.

Bronwyn said...

Anna, I truly am jealous! I had pictured you living on the edge of a beach with white sand and little waves rolling in but to see you in the pool... Damn it! I need a pool like that! No wonder no one wants to leave your house parties (well, I suppose there is the desserts).

Autumn in the Adelaide hills means today only got to about 20C but it tries to lull you into a false sense of seasonal change and them WHAM! You get hit with a week of 40C before winter, my fave month- settles in with thick fogs and the best excuses to stay at home and write. I think I'd like to live in Brissy for a bit but I love it here. We live on the side of a valley so we get the birds singing and the cows mooing. It's great!

I was going to write something like, enjoy your pool biiiaaatch, but then I toned it down :P Have a great Autumn, I'll see you nearly at the end of it.


Okie said...

Hi, Anna :) The birds are starting to chirp outside my bedroom window and my tulips and daffodils are pushing up through the ground-spring is just about here! I am looking forward to warmer temps, vegetable gardening, a little fishing, and a wholelotta swimming.

Enjoy the last days of summer and the beginnings of Autumn.

Julia Smith said...

I love your bathing beauty pic, Anna! And the view of the water behind you, too. Your wee garden dragon is unbelievably cute.

I'm of course in the temperature rollercoaster known as spring on Canada's east coast. Frozen in the morning, warming up throughout the day, frozen in the evening. Snow flurries one minute, too warm for a coat the next. I was never a fan of spring until I started to garden. Now I'm doting over every little shoot and bud.

Virginia said...

Hi Anna, I am so ready for spring here, its been a bad winter! Past few days we have had tempts in the 60's and I have been going for walks but today the rain comes in and the tempts are getting cooler again. There goes my walks!(sad) Maybe it want be long until the tempts warm back up again.

Anna Campbell said...

Good morning, Miss Serena! Lovely to see you. And I'm sure if Lee had a stray chook, she'd pass him on to you ;-) You've had such wild weather in Melbourne lately, haven't you? Hope you and yours emerged unscathed. We've had really, REALLY heavy rain for the last few weeks so I haven't actually been in the pool very much. On the upside, it's definitely cooler and more comfortable.

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Annie! Thanks for swinging by. Only a couple of months until 25th May and My Reckless Surrender on the shelves. Can hardly wait. I must say I sleep better when it's cooler at night and I hate feeling sticky and hot and tired all day. Roll on, autumn, I say!

Anna Campbell said...

Vanessa, I really love winter clothes. One of the things I loved about living in London is that I could wear big heavy coats and boots for a substantial portion of the year. And I loved waching the guys all dressed up in their winter gear heading off to their City jobs.

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Helen! So glad you're looking forward to the release of MY RECKLESS SURRENDER. I'm madly in love with that cover! February just seems to hang around in all its stucky glory forever, doesn't it? I don't even mind the rainy weather if it means it's a bit cooler. I too need my beauty sleep ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Deb, I actually loved living in a place that had definite seasons. It seems to mark the passing of the year. They have a tourist slogan where I live now "Beautiful one day, perfect the next." And basically most of the time, it's pretty true! All that lovely weather can get a bit dull. And of course we don't get that wonderful explosion of color that you're talking about. Hope you have a great spring!

Anna Campbell said...

Bron, you seem to be suffering from pool envy. Bwahahahahaha! Actually I'm always kinda shocked I live in a proper house with something like a pool and an entertaining area. I always lived such a hand-to-mouth studen existence. I was the girl with a carton of decaying yoghurt, a limp carrot and 26 bottles of wine in the fridge! I love having visitors here. It's a really great house for entertaining. Again a surprise to me when I consider my younger self! In Sydney, anyone who visited had to sleep on the floor! I'm so looking forward to my visit to Adelaide in May for the Romancing the Novel day. I promise not to talk about the pool if you buy me a drink!

Anna Campbell said...

Okie, that sounds lovely. I remember when I lived in England how wonderful it was to see that first touch of green. I used to love it when the daffodils came out. They often still had to brave awful weather before spring really hit but they bravely stood up to it. Hope you have lots of lovely swims!

Anna Campbell said...

Julia, isn't it interesting how gardening changes the way we look at things. I think we notice details in the natural world more clearly, don't you? Love the sound of your garden. Actually my garden is really pretty at the moment - we've been inundated with rain and my roses have really decided to put on a show for autumn. I adore roses! There's kind of a homage to my roses in MY RECKLESS SURRENDER!

Anna Campbell said...

Virginia, it's so different here. It's just too hot for long walks in summer - even first thing in the morning, it's hot and sticky (believe me, I'm an early riser, I KNOW!). Hope your weather settles down soon and you get out and about. You guys have had a rotten winter over there although it's been huge fun over here to see the pictures of kids and dogs playing in all the snow. That seems so romantic to me in subtropical Queensland. Although I'm sure it wasn't nearly so romantic in real life.

denise said...

Spring is definitely in the air. I can't wait.
Look forward to your new release.

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks for swinging by, Denise. Ever since your visit to the Bandits yesterday, I've been craving brownies ;-)

Estella said...

Just entering spring on the Oregon Coast, in the USA.
Lots of rain and more rain.

Anna Campbell said...

Estella, it sounds like the Sunshine Coast (an ironic title today!) today. It's pouring here and the wind is blowing fit to take my house out to sea! Stay warm and dry and read a good book! Love reading in the rain. Well, when I'm inside and it's raining outside.

Annie West said...


Send some of that rain down this way - please!


Sue A. said...

Hi Anna, I really wish I was there with you.

If you watched the Olympics you know we've had an unseasonably warm winter in Vancouver. They had to helicopter snow in for the event. We've had early signs of spring for some weeks now, with cherry blossoms, daffodils, and other spring flowers. But today it's raining and somewhat cooler and with the 2010 Paralympics opening tomorrow that's to be expected.

And oh by the way the mountain they had to helicopter in snow for the Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard Venue finally got its snow this week.

Anna Campbell said...

Annie, I'll have a word with the weather gods and see what I can organise!

Anna Campbell said...

Sue, I remember seeing that on the TV, that you were having trouble getting enough snow. At the same time, I was hearing about friends on the east coast of the U.S. who had feet and feet of the stuff. The weather is capricious, isn't it?

Donna Alward said...

LOL Anna that Keats quote always makes me think of Notting Hill, so I laughed.

I adore fall. It's just trying to be spring here, so we're a season or two away. But it's my favourite season of the year.

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Donna! I'll have to watch Notting Hill again. I don't remember the Keats quote in it. I actually think that mellow fruitfulness line is really lovely - nothing like writer envy, hey? Although I'm not sure it would fit too well in a book. Actually maybe it would - I DO write historicals! Our autumn has come in with a really stormy start - floods and winds and storms. No damage around me but it's pretty wild out there!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Anna, how I envy your that pool! It's been such a hot summer it feels like it will never end--but one of the consolations is the swimming.
I swam at Sydney's famous Manly beach during the week in water so beautiful-cool, aquamarine, literally sparkling with sunlight--that I felt quite ecstatic. The next day it was gray and drizzling--the weather is changing. But autumn is a glorious time in the cold-winter Blue Mountains (near Sydney) so now there is that to look forward to!