I confess that having just transferred all my photos from this afternoon onto my computer, I'm dazzled. After a morning of little spurts of domesticity, like hanging out the washing and then running like a mad thing to rescue it, more or less dry, from a sudden shower, like reviving my sourdough starter for making bread later; or the more congenial activity of doing several Italian exercises on Duolingo, we decided that all this hanging about pandering to creaking bits of anatomy wasn't cutting it for us. We took ourselves off to Benmore Gardens, which will officially close for the winter in a week, and the day was transformed.
I didn't know which photo to choose to represent two hours of delighted wandering, dazzled by colour, tempted by new vistas, new highlights just crying out to be photographed, so I've gone for a view that I've never really thought of before. I had to have representatives of both the red and the russet, and this does it, as well as giving a bit of the sky that turned obligingly blue just before sunset. Almost everyone had gone home; several dark red squirrels darted across the grass and chased each other up and down trees; leaves fell whispering to the ground with each breath of air.
As we drove home, we felt the road beside the grey water of the Holy Loch was considerably darker than the magical land we'd left only ten minutes earlier.
I've added an extra of the view over the gardens from the hill, because I love the way the deciduous larches on the hillside are also turning golden. Soon the colour will be gone and the afternoon will turn to evening before we're ready for it, and the strangest winter will be here. I need to remind myself that all this was real, today, for now.