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St. Luke's Little Summer

"Since the gale the weather has turned soft and warm.  Mr Willet tells me it is Saint Luke's little summer, and very welcome it is." -from Village Diary by Miss Read

white-lined sphinx moth - Hylas lineata - a handful in our yard today
 Here we call it Indian Summer, but in England it is referred to as St. Luke's Little Summer.  It refers to the those warm, golden days that feel like a gift in October, as October 18th is St. Luke's feast day - not to mention my wedding anniversary. I've read quite a few books by Miss Read (Dora Jessie Saint, 1913-2012), but the first three in her Fairacre series are my favorites:  Village School, Village Diary, and Storm in the Village.  These all take place in the English countryside and revolve around Miss Read's charming school.  Much about her school reminds me of Charlotte Mason  and some of her methods are used, too.  At least while Miss Read is in charge.

The quote above begins a passage about a nature walk.  Here is a little more:

Miss Jackson and I decided to take the whole school out for a nature walk, to enjoy it all.  We made for the little lane that turns off by the Beetle and Wedge and rises steadily until it peters out high up on the windy Downs.

The children dallied in the lane, scrambling up the high banks to collect the hazel nuts which flourish there.

"Gi'e us a bunk up!" rang the cry, and one would obligingly put his shoulder down and hoist his friend higher in the hedge.  We meandered along eating nuts and blackberries and even sloes and damsons which grow thickly, powdered with a blue bloom, among their spikes.

We found a patch of dry grass half-way up the slope, sheltered by a clump of stunted thorn bushes, and here we sat to rest.  The view of Fairacre below us was clear in the limpid October air.  There is a unique atmosphere about a fine October day.  The sky is a burning blue, which combined with the golden and auburn glow of the trees creates a sparkle and glory unseen ay other more-vaunted periods of the year.


At first glance, they look like hummingbirds!
This sort of weather needs to be savored.  You will hear people around these parts say, "Now this is why we live in Minnesota!"

From joy to joy,
Nancy
puzzle action going on - these are favorites





11 comments:

  1. Love Miss Read books too and this blog about St Luke's Feast Day.
    Here is one of Malcolm Guite's sonnets for St Luke : http://malcolmguite.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/a-sonnet-for-st-luke-the-evangelist/

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    1. Thank you, Bonnie! I enjoyed reading that.
      From joy to joy,
      Nancy

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  2. Oh I do love the "Miss Read" books! Thank for the reference to St. Luke's feat day...and accompanied by such lovely, gentle photographs.
    As of late, we too have been blessed with mild, precious weather. If only we might bottle these lovely days and draw them out in the cold of winter. It is possible really...tucked within treasured memories.
    Wishing you much joy ...
    Judy

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    1. Dear Judy,
      Your notes are a little like one of these days! Thank you.
      From joy to joy,
      Nancy

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  3. Thank you Nancy, I just love when I'm introduced to a new author. Her books sound delightful!

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    1. Dear Jenny,
      So glad I could pay you back, Jenny!
      From joy to joy,
      Nancy

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  4. I love the Miss Read books too. Thanks for sharing the quotes. I much prefer the earlier books to the later ones.

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    1. Dear Linda,
      It's funny, but when I mention that I enjoy them, so many people pipe up that they love them, too!
      From joy to joy,
      Nancy

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  5. I think I commented on your blog before that I LOVE Miss Read books. I first heard about her from reading that they were Jan Karon's favorite books. I ended up buying all of her books I could find because I can read them over and over again, unlike most other books. These books are what I turn to if I need to relax, take a bit of escape time, or when I'm sick. I think they are gentle fiction at its best. The familiarity of the characters make them feel like old friends each time I read them! I like the volumes you mentioned as well as Further Afield and At Home in Thrush Green. I can't decide if I like Fairacre or Thrush Green better - I just like them all!

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    1. Dear Honeybee,
      I couldn't agree more! I haven't made it to Thrush Green yet, so I have a lot to look forward to!
      From joy to joy,
      Nancy

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  6. I LOVE Miss Read's stories and remember specifically the quote about the nature walk! :) I also enjoy the hominess of them...stopping for tea, housekeeping, etc...such lovely stories. Those puzzles look lovely! :)

    Bless you, Nancy!

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