of pumpkins and cider and autumnal delights

The girls and I were delighted Friday when we spotted a big box of them at the grocery shop. The English don’t share our national passion for this veggie-fruit and every year as the air has grown cooler I’ve begun to fear that there won’t be any this time. And then, there they are for a brief and under-appreciated season: pumpkins, at last!

This morning was crisp and sunny–perfect for celebrating the coming of October. We walked into Summertown for pumpkins and cider. (Well, pressed apple juice. “Cider” over here isn’t a beverage for children.) The girls loved choosing pumpkins.

It wasn’t quite like the lengthy deliberations over a Christmas tree. We wanted large but not huge, round but quirky, and with plenty of stem. We were pretty quick in choosing two for £3 and headed home for lunch and a carving party.

I put the cider on the stove with cinnamon and cloves until the flat was filled with the right smell. Meanwhile, Harriet fortified one of the pumpkins for the ordeal ahead with a baby bottle.

Then we dug into a slimy pumpkin up to our elbows.

Even Harriet helped dig out the seeds for roasting. She gave in to temptation and tasted–but only once.

After deliberations we determined to carve a face this year, designed by Daddy. Norah (after toying with “Jemima” and “William”) promptly named our pumpkin “Henry.” (And no, that will not be the baby’s name.)

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