By: Blonde Two

At last, Autumn has arrived.  In Devon it did so yesterday in style like Mary Poppins, in a flurry of wind. This windy Autumn is a very welcome sight to a Blonde who, after a Winter/Summer in New Zealand and some very indecisive September in the UK, was still feeling a bit seasonally confused.  Walking the dog yesterday evening though, it was very clear to me which season Harry the Jack Russell and I were strolling through.

For Harry (and me), the best Autumn indicator is the crispy fallen leaves.  Last night, these were made even better by the fact that we could both hear them rustling in the trees and watch them being tossed to the ground by the wind.  Once they were on the floor, Harry and I enjoyed them in different ways but I think our pleasure was shared. He spent a lot of time scraping, sniffing and peeing all over them whereas I took my time choosing the best ones to stamp on (I did briefly contemplate us swapping roles but decided that I wouldn’t like sniffing them!)

Crunchy leaf stamping has been a favourite occupation of mine since childhood.  The selection of the perfect leaf is the key to a satisfying leaf stamping experience and even now, I can get it wrong.  Let me explain – the right leaf will be about 5 cm wide and 8 cm long, it will be at least 150 cm away from any dog excrement.  This perfect “crunch” specimen will be significantly raised up from the pavement by spiky bits – at least 1.5 cm.  Leaves in the gutter do not crunch as well as those on the pavement and these are even more satisfying if you catch them scurrying along.  Leaves that are blowing down the middle of the road are dangerous but very gratifying if caught (NB leaf catching is still illegal on the M5).  My long years of research suggest that brown ones are much more crunchy than yellow or red ones. The perfect “cruncher” is something that cannot be ignored and must be returned to once you have realised that you have missed it.

There are lots of things about fallen leaves that are annoying – for a start, they leave the trees looking a bit underdressed.  There is also the slippage factor (we all know how good this Blonde is at slipping) and the “who’s turn is it to sweep them all up this year” factor.  I would not, however, want to live in a world without Autumn leaves.  What would I stamp on every October?  I would have to line egg shells up along the pavement or litter the streets with chocolate wrappers (Quality Street – get it?) just so that I could get my yearly fix of stamping.

If you find the perfect leaf on your wanderings.  Don’t be selfish and stamp on it yourself.  Glue the corners down to the pavement, send me a grid reference and I will come and finish it off for you!