I’ve always enjoyed the arrival of September. Being a teacher, it heralded new beginnings; new classes, new timetables and – best of all – new stationery!

In France, the return to school and university has always been used as a great marketing opportunity in shops. I keep meaning to take photos of the shop windows filled with tempting new notebooks, folders and writing equipment. I love French notebooks. The paper inside isn’t just white and the pages are often filled with small squares.

Photo by Frans Van Heerden on Pexels.com

This September is different, of course. We normally would have returned to France by now and it feels quite strange not to be there. Unfortunately, we heard last week that our house has been broken into. The couple who look after the house, when we are not there, were able to reassure us that there was no internal damage and that, as far as they could tell, nothing had been stolen.

We don’t keep any computers in France, travelling only with a laptop. Any jewellery that might be there is costume jewellery, of no real value. Mr FF thinks that his electric drill may have been pinched but, overall, it could have been an awful lot worse.

No one likes to think of strangers rifling through personal belongings but our house has never been empty for such a significant amount of time.

On a more positive note, the weather in September is something that I enjoy. In general, it’s neither too hot, too cold or too wet.

The photo below was taken a couple of years ago, on one of my favourite walks around the ‘grand bassin’ of the Canal du Midi in Castelnaudary. It was a perfect September day.

One member of our family will be starting school this September. Zeph is beginning his dog training classes! Normally, he would have started sooner but Covid regulations delayed the beginning of puppy school.

The photos below show how much Zeph has changed. Same plant, bigger dog!

Last weekend we took Zeph to Reading where my eldest son lives. This was quite an adventure for the pup! We took him to the Thames Valley Park Nature Reserve which includes over 80 acres of wetland habitat alongside the River Thames. It’s one of my favourite places for walking, not least because of the diverse range of wildlife that live there.

This month I met a friend at Denbies Vineyard, near Box Hill. I often think how lucky we are to live in the Surrey Hills where there are so many beautiful walks. Surrey is the most wooded county in England which is surprising when it’s so close to London.

After an outside coffee at Denbies we took the ‘Stepping Stones’ walk, at the foot of Box Hill. This is another one of my favourite walks, for a variety of reasons, not least because last time I went, I spotted a pair of kingfishers.

How is your September going? It certainly is going to be challenging for most of us, in one way or another. Do you normally enjoy September? I’d be interested to know!