It seems to be a time of endings - the end of the summer that never was (I think there was one of those in the 18th century but I can't remember which year), the end of the holidays (Princess Bunchy has gone back to school), and in some ways the end of an era in my life for me, as both my big boys will be reappearing from the blue yonder where they have worked away the summer only to disappear back to university, leaving a little princess and her aged Ps.
The Little Stranger has been to her last puppy party before emerging into the world as a fully socialized member of the doggie world, or rather that was the idea. Princess Bunchy and the Head Chef took her to the earlier sessions, and apparently she was the life and soul of the party, a living advertisement for her breed.
Not today, though, when I had the honour of taking her.
Puppies should be getting the hang of house training by now, said the veterinary nurse, as the Little Stranger made a large deposit in the corner. There was a party game of find the biscuit - each puppy went up in turn. Little Stranger was not interested.
How are you getting on with the Lie Down, said the vet nurse, let's all take turns. Needless to say, the Little Stranger was not getting on with the Lie Down.
She is not herself, said the nurse, as the Little Stranger slid her rear end around the floor, and tried to chew her tail and scratch her behind. Worms or fleas, I thought, or possibly just utterly slack parenting. Perhaps she sat on a wasp, I offered weakly.
We will be invited back to a fancy dress Christmas puppy party. I am not sure that I want to go.
And the joys of the garden are coming to an end, too. The melons, after much careful nurture by the Head Chef, have been deemed a failure (not enough sun).
The tomatoes are slowing down, ripening only reluctantly. The aubergines are distinctly small, and the peppers stay defiantly green (not enough sun).
But the apples are crunchy, and sweet and juicy, straight from the tree; there are pears, too, and beans, and even half a dozen cobs of sweetcorn (not really enough sun for them).
And I have a wonderful book which appeals to the squirrel in me, A Green Guide to Traditional Country Foods, edited by Henrietta Green, divided into such mouthwatering sections as The Dairy, The Bakery, The Sweetshop, The Pantry (I will leave The Butcher's and The Smokehouse to the Head Chef).
It talks about sourcing good food, and finding the best traditional producers; you can go about making bread and cream cheese and butter (potted ham and chorizo for the Head Chef, focaccia and sourdough for me).
There are wonderful photographs and much about the philosophy of sourcing and producing the best things to eat - I think it is a book with which to curl up on the sofa next to the fire and dream of hams smoking in the inglenook, and making chocolate truffles and marshmallows as Christmas presents. In fact, I think this book would make an excellent Christmas present for foodies everywhere.
I am feeling the urge to spread a little happiness around the world, so I am going to give away a copy of this book to one of my lovely followers. This time I am going to pose a little task for you - not a difficult one at all.
Just tell me about a blog that you think I would like to read (preferably one that I don't know about, of course). Open to all, as ever - I will pick a winner in about a week, I think.
And do come back for my second Organic September giveaway on Monday - it might be of interest to those of you who feel in need of a holiday (which I certainly do, and am already pondering the unfamiliar concept).
PS The Little Stranger has shown no sign of indisposition since she has been back at home (possibly emptying the contents of the other end of her digestive system into the boot of the car solved it all).