The Countryside in August and free Appley Dappley pattern

The weather has changed this week – the heat has gone and it’s cool and wet now, much more like the summers we’re used to here in England. The fields and meadows around our village are greening again, but there are berries ripening in the hedgerows and some of the trees, most notably the horse chestnuts that line the eastern edge of our village playing field, are already beginning to change colour, turning from the rich green of summer to a tired, and somewhat crispy, brown.

If you are a regular reader of the Bustle & Sew Magazine you will remember that last year we included a series of vintage essays about the changing seasons here in the English countryside, and I thought it would be fun to share the August one now, along with one of my favourite photos from this time of year – Ben and Daisy returning from a blackberrying expedition way back in 2013…

“Filled with the hubbub of harvest and the zest for holidays August passes by. The stairway of summer days has mounted through the blue and growing weather to its journey’s end in August – the month of fulfilment when the sun has seemed pinned in the sky, held there against what always seems the sudden decline of September. Yet already the shadows of the heavy apple trees lengthen noticeably along the grass, and the dews lie later beyond the reach of the morning sun. Sunlight itself is less fiery among the dark tired leaves, and in the lassitude of the season many of the birds have fallen silent.

Quickly, dramatically the changes pass over the countryside in harvest time. One day and the great shoulder of land across the narrow valley is gracious with the billowing of silver barley; the very next with the passing combine and baler, and the evening sun goes down upon the shaven stubble. Another twenty-four hours and the stubble is turned and the land striped brown against the autumn sowing. Dramatic, the changing panoramas of harvest-time, with the honey-breath of the purple clover fields blowing across the soldierly stooked wheat at sunset; speedwell, pimpernel, yarrow and mustard yellow ragwort in the sunken road; the peace of the millstream by the river’s edge where the young swallows flutter in the evening sunlight. The sunlight of the shortening days; for shortening they very clearly are when the lights are on behind drawn curtains soon after half past eight, and the village children who seemed summer long to have perched like sparrows upon the bridge over the brook far into the night, are suddenly gathered up and gone at this oddly early hour.

In the orchard the plump fruit hangs, awaiting its fulfilment in the warm September sun.”

And, thinking of plump fruit – this year has been an excellent one for apples – at least in my part of Somerset as the little tree in my cottage garden is bowed down with the weight of its fruit.  So perhaps now might be a good time to share another golden oldie – my Appley Dappley cushion pattern (above) – a particular favourite of mine as it’s so easy and quick to stitch – and a great way to showcase remnants of pretty fabric.

Just CLICK HERE to download the free pattern if you’d like to make your own Appley Dappley cushion cover.

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