Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Perfect Pumpkin Picking Practise

On Saturday, we decided to continue making use of The Lull and embark on an expedition to fully embrace the return of decent autumnal weather. We went pumpkin picking!

We hadn't been out to pick pumpkins since my first autumn back in the country. We were both still living in London at the time and two recently-married friends convinced us to come along with them to a Pick Your Own (fill in name of fruit/veg here) farm out in northern Surrey. We went, we picked two pumpkins...and then shamefully never carved them. They sat in the kitchen of the boys' house in Wimbledon for a week or two. With all of the best intentions, we even scoped out various carving patterns and methods online, intent to have a fun, messy, crafty evening together gutting and massacring some produce. Somehow or other, those plans never came to fruition, and so - fun though the trip was - our pumpkins were something of a waste in the end. Not this time!

After running a few errands in the morning, we packed up a lunch and set off for Garsons in Esher. (It was only the result of some tenacious Google searching that I even found the name of the place again.) The sky was a bit overcast, but there was a gentle breeze, and the air was crisp and cool: it was perfect weather to go out and find a pumpkin! It was the first time in the season that I've had to break out my gloves and scarf. I feel the need to strike up a cheesy swing orchestra and start singing..."It's the most wonderful time of the year..."

We pulled the car over by a nice village green just in front of the farm and took the time to have a nice lunch with the windows cracked and a fresh breeze blowing through. The scene was really quaint and adorable in a way that actually didn't make you want to induce vomiting or kick a puppy to restore balance to the universe. Plus, all the leaves on the trees were falling ("...to the sound of the breezes that blow." Sorry. Moondance moment over.) and changing colours, which is always something that I'm happy to stare at. Raking dead leaves and shovelling snow are two activities I don't think I'll ever get tired of. ...Unless I have an aneurysm and move somewhere like Quebec or Toronto or Glasgow.

Thankfully, this year we went a bit earlier in the season than on our last visit, so there were still fields full of perfectly proportioned pumpkins just waiting for us to come and take them home.

We wandered around and began our search. Nothing too big, since we don't want the carving to take ages to complete, but nothing too small that restricts our creative outlet. I need an ideally-scaled vegetable to act as the canvas for my quirky and insane genius. Needless to say, we ended up with a group of similarly-sized pumpkins, all lined up like finalists in a Miss America pageant. Their respective merits were considered and weighed against our personal preference and prospective carving needs...then we took some fun pictures.

In the end, of seven highly respectable contenders, this little beauty was the winner:

We wrapped it up in a plastic bag, paid a tiny fee to remove it from the premises, and then left the Pick Your Own fields. We did not, however, leave the Garsons farm at this point. Oh no. Now, it was on to the shop, because within the four walls of this shop is a colour-coordinated wonderland of Christmas ornaments and decorations that simply could not be missed. Indeed, this was half of my reasoning for taking the trip out to Esher in the first place. But, for now, I'll refrain from waxing eloquent on the wonders of shopping for Christmas ornaments...we're not quite at that point in the season yet. Presently, it is still time to savour the smell of wood-burning fires, kick the dead leaves across parking lots, and revel in the glory of a season that encourages you to decorate your home with tiny mutant gourds. It's autumn, people!

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