The school holidays have come to an end, with children already hunkered down in the new school year.
University students are settling into their accommodation before the studying begins, and college kids are getting used to a different routine every morning.
I love autumn and that change in the seasons, from the hurly burly of summer to a more contemplative, meditative time of year.
New beginnings and all that.
For me, that means returning to that wonderful place of learning, The Open University, where I'm just about to start a masters degree in creative writing. At fifty-eight, it was now or never because my eligibility for a student loan runs out at the age of sixty.
As soon as I discovered that, the choice was already made. It was, in an expression I absolutely loathe, a no-brainer.
My degree years with the OU from 2007-2011 were among the most creative I've ever experienced. The culture of supportive learning was a real tonic and stood me in good stead. I'm hoping for good things from this course, not least the joy of studying with like-minded people.
In the meantime, I've been reading my socks off, immersed in fiction and enjoying it as much as a bath in ethical bubbles from The Body Shop.
This represents some of my summer reading pile:
My copy of Sweet Sorrow by David Nicolls - which left me bereft when I finished reading it because I loved it so much - is currently out on loan to two good ladies from Lush Places, as is Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield. I adored both of these books for different reasons.
Of the pile pictured, Circe by Madeline Miller was particularly superb, and so much better than her The Song of Achilles which I didn't like much at all.
My read of the year has to be Lanny by Max Porter, which I devoured in one sitting on a rock overlooking the harbour at Tresco on The Isles of Scilly. The beauty of the writing and setting stirred me to my bones.
I'm lucky enough to be blogging for this year's Bridport Literary Festival at which both Nicholls and Porter are appearing. I can't wait.
In the meantime, suitably nourished by all these books, I am now all set for my two years of study at The Open University.
Wish me luck.
That's about it
Love Maddie x
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