This week I brought the tenderest of my outdoor plants into the porch.
It's not a large porch by any means, but the vibrance and vitality of tumbling green-ness bursting from pots looks quite wonderful.
Nasturtiums trail across a Lemon Verbena, and potted Nepeta (Catnip) cuttings strive to warm themselves in the weak rays of early afternoon sun.
Yesterday I saw what I hope was the last bee of the year. A large furry-bodied chap, buzzing about the window-box, drawing sustenance from the yellow nasturtiums and the cerise flowers of the Blackcurrant Sage. I hope that he (she?) is now tucked away somewhere safe and dry.
I also spotted several just-ripe wild strawberries still clinging on under a rosebush. Picking strawberries at the end of November? They were perfect and edible, if not as sweet as in summer.
Today I am progressing in clearing grass from between the paving stones, and reclaiming several inches of path that the lawn had carpeted over. It's a slow job, but energising and just about right for this turning point in the weather from unseasonably warm, to damp and slightly foggy. The Bear was joyful to have my company outdoors, and dashed back and forth, batting at imaginary prey and rushing at me with excited 'Brrrr' sounds.
This evening, on drawing the curtains I saw a winter sunset from a Victorian painting. Chimneys and church spires, a few bare trees, and a sky of fat clouds lowlighted in pinks and lilacs, with streaks of gold stretched between them.
Winter is here.