Where I currently live I am really, very lucky. It was hard for me to leave Norfolk again, to wake up to noisy sparrows dancing in the hedgerow, to constantly bump into old school friends in town, to take a short drive and have miles and miles of coast to walk up and down. But I have all that during trips home, and in the mean time the expanse of South West London's common lands have just the same appeal in a slightly more cultivated way.
One afternoon of late, during The Great Rains of Early November (official title), the clouds parted and we took our chances, packing a rucksack full of hot chocolate and bourbons before heading out with Maddie, who was verrrrrry excited to be asked on this, our latest expedition. I shan't romanticise our walk out much more than that. Yes, the leaves crunched under our feet, yes wooly jumpers were worn, but it didn't take long for the wind to pick up, and as such my dressing like I was in a Barbour campaign worked decidedly against me as my toes froze and eyes wept from the cold. The bourbons were still good though...
From where our little cabin is positioned we need only cross one road and then it's woods and streams all the way to Richmond Park through Wimbledon Common. It's a good ol' trek, about two hours in total and best done in wellies so you can squelch in as many muddy bogs as your heart desires.
Please excuse my wet knees, I was channeling David Attenborough when attempting to creep up on the deer in 'stealth photographer mode'. I have been called many things in life, but 'graceful' isn't one of them, as such I wasn't fooling the 'Bambi's' or 'Bambi Dad's' (again, technical terms), they were on high alert and promptly stampeded away from me.
A refuelling was much needed, more to thaw out our fingers over anything else.
Richmond Park is fiercely protected, and it's easy to see why. Besides the obvious appeal of handsome stags strutting around, the Park itself is full of wildlife and constantly provides you with moments that draw you into a fuller sense of existence with the world. For some, being immersed in a busy and vibrant city does the job, for others it's having a good traipse in the woods with cold cheeks and a warm heart.
Forest tones are a favourite all year round, so it's these few months that I actually look like I've co-ordinated my outfit for the season.
If you're not located in South West London, Richmond Park is easily accessed by Richmond station. Richmond is a treat in and of itself, so get yourself outside and visit the stags whilst their antlers are still sharp and the trees are still orange.