Nov 9, 2014


Lawn with fallen golden leaves
Despite my complicated feelings about the darkening days, Autumn is one of my favourite seasons to go out. I love the colours and the soft sunlight and the way the grass looks when it's covered by early frost. Sadly my plans to have a weekend away in October or November so I could enjoy it all properly came to nothing this year — mostly due to a mix of inertia and bad planning, and also to the fact that the unseasonably warm weather prevented the leaves from turning properly until very recently.

However, we did have a series of lovely crisp mornings during the week when I start work a little later, so I was able to go for early morning walks and take some pictures:

Tree with golden leaves

Fallen leaves on the path

Avenue surrounded by trees

Oaks and fallen leaves

Market stall with squash

My walk home on Halloween.

Jack-o-lantern by a doorway at night

Carved pumpkins by a doorway
Not quite as dramatic in the daytime.

Another thing I managed to do was visit Oxford again — which I'd been meaning to since my weekend there last year — and go to the wonderful 26 Characters exhibition at The Story Museum. The exhibition features a series of photographs of authors dressed up as characters from children's literature: Philip Pullman as Long John Silver, Frances Hardinge as The Scarlett Pimpernel, Neil Gaiman as the Badger from The Wind in the Willows, Malorie Blackman as The Wicked Witch of the West, etc.

I thought it was just going to be a photo exhibition, but it was even better than I expected: some of the photos are in rooms decorated to look like scenes from the books in question, so you have the chance to step into Narnia (through a wardrobe, of course), visit Long John Silver's ship, enter Badger's hole, etc. I had a ton of fun going from room to room, and left full of appreciation for The Story Museum and all they do — it has now joined Seven Stories on my mental list of Awesome Places I Desperately Wish Were Closer to Me (and Were Willing to Hire Me). The exhibition has been recently extended until February, and I really recommend stopping by if you're anywhere near.

A few pictures:

Inside the Bodleian
Inside the Bodleian. Unfortunately photos are not allowed in the upstairs reading rooms, which are the most exciting.

Bodleian ceiling

The Norrington Room at Blackwell's, because it's still awesome.

The Vault tea room in Oxford
Tea in a vault.

Entrance to The Story Museum, sign signs pointing to Narnia, Neverland, etc
Entrance to The Story Museum.

Alice in Wonderland display

Philip Pullman as Long John Silver
Philip Pullman as Long John Silver. If you ever wondered whether Pullman would make a good pirate, the answer is absolutely.

Inside Badger's Hole
Inside Badger's Hole.

...and Just Williams' hut
...and Just Williams' hut.

The dressing up room
The Cosplay room (I'm serious).

Wardrobe full of character costumes

Inside The Story Museum
How about you — have you been up to anything fun this Autumn? I'm hoping to be able to squeeze in another outing if the weather on weekends cooperates; if not next up for me are my now traditional days in London before Christmas, which this year will include The British Library's Gothic Imagination exhibition and an event with Sarah Waters (!). I can't wait.


  1. What fantastic photos! Thank you for sharing them with us. :-)

  2. Beautiful pictures! The Story Museum looks amazing. On my to-do list for next time I'm in Oxford (why have I never been before?!!)

    I hope you don't mind, I have just mentioned you in my review for Jo Walton's "My Real Children". I discovered this book through your blog and absolutely loved it, so I wanted to say thank you :)

  3. Cath, I'm glad you enjoyed them!

    Laura: I don't mind one bit - quite the opposite :D It makes me really happy to know I encouraged you to pick up the book and you enjoyed it. Also, I think The Story Museum is quite new. I'm not sure if it was already there when I first visited Oxford last year (or at least I hadn't heard of it!).

  4. Narnia was the best bit of that exhibit for me I think :)

  5. That looks so fantastic. I am insanely jealous.

  6. Beautiful picture, Ana! Autumn is also my favourite season too - the air is so crisp and beautiful and the colours are wonderful. The '26 Characters Exhibition' looks so wonderful! Nice to see Philip Pullman as Long John Silver :) And you are meeting Sarah Waters during Christmas?? So jealous, jealous, jealous! :)

  7. Oh my gosh, this post is just made of 1000% awesome! I don't think I would have wanted to leave The Story Museum!

  8. So many lovely photos! I enjoy autumn but dislike the lack of light as well. My favorite part is when the leaves start to fall and the wind swirls them around - it's like the leaves are dancing. The only thing I've really done this Fall, other than run my kids around to all of their activities, is go apple picking (and then peel & chop 60 lbs of apples to freeze for winter).

  9. What a marvelous museum! I'll have to see if I can make a trip there when I'm back in England. (Optimistically assuming I'll get to England any time soon... oh dear, I sure wish I were rich.)

  10. What a wonderfully fun museum! Winter has arrived here already, we had a couple inches of snow the other day and have not been above freezing since and probably won't again until spring. Early and abrupt but at least we missed the brown ugly days that tend to be November here.

  11. Amazing pictures - autumn is beautiful, but I agree that it's sometimes hard to enjoy the dark and the growing chill in the air.

    I am still sorry that I couldn't come to Oxford! I don't think I will be going much of anywhere until Christmas now, but I am certainly going to make the most of that when it comes and I get a bit of a break. I hope you enjoy the rest of your autumn too!

  12. Oh wow! I wonder if I've ever seen a sky that blue. (Where I live the sky's usually white-ish, yellow-ish in the haze, or a pale sort of blue) So pretty! All the photos are gorgeous, really :D Now I'm wishing for autumn, which is my favourite season, too.


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