What I like most about autumn in London

Posted on November 13, 2013

While I do like the summer best of all, there is something very relaxing about autumn in London. In Japan people are keen on going to the countryside to see the changing colours of the Autumn leaves and there is even a particular name for this, “Momiji-gari”. My Japanese students ask me where they can go around London to see this and are often surprised we lack a particular word for this in English! There are lots of places where you can see wonderful red and golden leaves around London, especially in Hyde Park.

If this is your first Autumn/Winter in Europe you must try mulled wine. It’s a hot, sweet spiced wine, you can get it in bottles in supermarkets or make your own from spice sachets and add wine. Pubs have started selling it too if you want to try different recipes. Some pubs also sell mulled cider which is also delicious and often has a lower alcohol content. Dictionaries I have looked at don’t show proof of similarity in the origin of “mull” as in “to heat, sweeten and spice” and “to ponder” as in “We’re just mulling over her proposal”. I feel as though the wine has been sitting and pondering as the spices infuse.

There are lots of Christmas markets starting around now such as the one at the Southbank Centre (16th November – 24th December) where you can drink mulled wine, eat mince pies and buy traditional European winter food and presents. German markets are especially popular. Did you know that the word “German” derives from the Latin “Germanus” meaning “genuine”? Of course there is always Christmas itself to look forward to – although I overheard a customer in Boots yesterday crossly ask the cashier that the Christmas music be postponed until it is actually near Christmas.

Fancy going further afield? You could always “Skith” as an Old Norse speaker may have said, “skith” meaning “a stick of wood” or “snow shoe”, or “ski” as we say in modern English today. I don’t know, however, whether Old Norse speakers were as keen on verbing (turning nouns to verbs) as English speakers are or whether they would have tutted and lamented the decline of their language by young people today. Oddly enough, in French  “snowboarding” is called “le surf”.

What do you think? What is your favourite thing about this season? Please let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

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