The clocks changed last night, it's going to be dark oh so early, and some cheery chappie on the radio announced this morning that winter had begun. My heart sinks at those dismal signs of the season of short days and long nights, of chill and damp, and leaden skies - but help is at hand in the persons of Emma from Silverpebble and her trusty friend, Mrs Thrifty Household. Together they have a cunning plan to avert the miseries of the grey days by Making Winter a happy time.
So I have heaved myself out of my incipient doldrums and tried to think of something nice about winter. And it being the time to hack into those poor pumpkins and give them scary faces, what came to mind were pumpkin soup, so cheery and warming, and another of my favourites, toasted pumpkin seeds.
Princess Bunchy has chopped away at Mr Pumpkin, and at my behest has given him a benignant face, and whilst she was doing the carving we gave her a bowl for the innards, in the spirit of waste not, want not, which prevails in our little cottage.
We took the seeds, cleared them of flesh, then spread them out on a baking tray. Sprinkle with olive oil and salt, then put into a hot oven for ten minutes or so - best to keep a close eye on them because the interval between crispy and burnt is a short one. They are done when they have browned and start crackling as the outer husk pops.
So that's a nice thrifty idea for a cheering winter snack, in the spirit of Mrs TH, who has a wonderful ability to conjure up goodies out of the orts and scraps of life. She sent me some of the most beautiful little lavender bags made out of vintage fabric - it was such a lovely package to receive in the post and I absolutely adore the willow pattern fabric.
If you go and visit Mrs Thrifty Household here, and Silverpebble here, you will find all sorts of Making Winter happiness - I am hoping that they can get me through January with a smile on my face.
I am also wondering if all the nice things in winter are edible - I have a horrible feeling that they are, and that is why when I emerge into spring I have a certain air of rotundity and all is straining at the seams.