Autumn comes to the summerhouse

As the seasons change, it’s time to look at the trees and appreciate the colour and growth that another year has brought

The long dry summer is over at the Danish summerhouse. Every rain brings green. The grass is back, the tree cover mostly intact. The giant oaks at the rear appear to have panicked. So many acorns, I could feed a pig. They litter the deck, clatter off the rooftop, cluster in the grass.

We spot the black squirrel running through branches, tufted pointy ears cocked, entirely unconcerned.

The three apple trees have been at their best this year. The fruit pink, abundant and sweet. I leave the last in a bowl, like flowers, autumn-scented.

There are a couple more grass mowings to do before the machinery is packed away. I walk around with the rip saw and loppers. We are in the time of tidying up, cutting back older overgrown growth, making light and room to encourage shoots.

I am obsessed with the silver birch leaf. Shot through with greens and yellows like a watercolour, the leaves dance and dive in the sea wind, and stick to the deck in the rain as though with school glue.

We try to calculate how much the trees have grown since we planted them just over 10 years ago. The two larch times 10, the five birch times four, the multiple pines times six or so; it is hard to tell.

Some of the older, senile trees have been tidied up or away. We heat the house with them. I light the fire in the dark in the morning as the nights take back control.

I walk to the beach with the dawn most days. It’s still scented by roses. I am joined by gulls mapping the shore, and streams of geese heading west. The oaks here are stunted by winds, shorn by storms, like army Elvis.

We may not be back before Christmas when we will deck a red pine with outdoor lights, though I will need a longer ladder.