A rare scene of cloudless blue sky greeted me this morning as I opened the blinds and it beckoned me out to play.
First things first I served the garden birds with their daily dose of seeds, pellets and dried mealworms. Yum. My breakfast consisted of something rather more tasty in the form of creamy porridge with honey, followed by a deliciously ripe peach, a fruit that has become my first choice since riding the Camino last month.
I headed out for a good walk and as I turned the corner toward the local park I could hear the buzz of a large grass mower, munching its way across the park for the last time this year. I admired the trees as if for the first time, marveling at their multi-coloured coats as they turn from their summer display to their autumn, through many shades of brown, yellow and red, occasionally releasing a leaf for it to fall, carpeting the ground in a pleasant, crunchy-under-foot, coating.
Fifteen minutes later I arrived at the Figgate Park. At the start of the year the council had funded the creation of a wild flower meadow and had cleared a large area ready for seeding. Months later and there is now a field of bright little flowers, dancing in a slight breeze, bathed in autumn sunshine. It was a pleasure just to stand for a while and stare.
Below this area is a wooden walkway that snakes along one bank of the pond, which was built in an inspired move by the council last year. In the centre of the pond is a small island that visiting birds nest upon but which was all but deserted now. The occasional laughing duck and scavenging seagul were still busily swimming around, but other than that the pond was slowing down for it's winter hibernation. I wandered further along, greeting fellow meanderers as I went, greeting each other with a warm hello, but secretly paying more attention to the various dogs they had with them.
By noon I was sitting snugly at the window of the Beach House coffee shop, coveting their delicious cakes and scones while spooning the creamy froth of an excellent cappuccino into my mouth. I had with me a copy of Bill Bryson's book, The Thunderbolt Kid, which is all about his childhood in Des Moines, Iowa. As all of his books do, it made me smile and sometimes laugh out loud. It had been a recent purchase and I was drawn to it by the footnote to the title: This book will appeal to anyone who has ever been a child.
Refreshed and energised I headed home via the beach itself. By now a low level breeze had picked up, whipping up a thin, ghostly layer of sand, blowing it in a hurry toward the sea. The waves were gently breaking, like surfers waves in miniature and the retreating sea had carved a long pool of stranded water. I wandered back to the house to spend the remainder of the day tinkering with my old bicycle while pondering my next travel adventure.
No matter where that will take me though, I will always return to enjoy another Portobello Day.