The past week has been one of near-perfect weather, neither too hot nor too cold and generally sunny. Working in the studio is a pleasure, a complete contrast to the damp that had prevailed. September often brings mixed feelings. On one hand, the weather is often like this, still warm and quite dry. The tomatoes are ripening, fruit is abundant and there’s a feeling of harvest-time wellbeing in the air. On the other, the days are markedly shorter, the evenings just that bit chillier and winter starts to feel that bit closer.
Many years ago, back in my student days, I spent a very happy September (and part of August) picking and packing apples on a fruit farm in Sussex. The farm hired in labour for the season and housed us in caravans onsite. There were showers (very basic and not very warm showers) installed in the barns and in the evenings, we had the run of the place. We were a fairly motley crew, a mix of students and travellers looking for casual work. I seem to remember a few New Zealanders, a couple of Aussies, a Polish lad (this was at the time of the start of the Solidarity movement, several years before the Wall came down.) and a South African rugby player. To conserve our wages, we lived on windfall apples and built bonfires to keep us warm in the evenings. I loved it. It was a million miles away from the occasionally intense, occasionally claustrophobic atmosphere of university, to which I returned with some regret at the start of October. I always did make a better hippie than an intellectual.
Bonfires, in fact any outdoor fire, seem to be good at providing nostalgic feelings and memories. Perhaps because of this, my thoughts turned this week to making glasses that would match these. So, here they are, my Hawkshead toddy glasses. Being borosilicate glass, they will hold warm drinks. And being handmade with unique coloured and patterned handles, they will make their own contribution towards that warm, amber-colour-feeling glow that should come from a relaxed evening out around the fire.