There is a joy to the bounty that is the autumn harvest, especially apples. For weeks now I have been eating bread and cheese sandwiches every work day and fried apples on toast at the weekend. Nigel Slater has a wonderful recipe for the fried apples on toast that is much tastier that it sounds. I also place a bowl of sliced apples, tossed with a teaspoon of lemon juice, at the homework table. It does not stay full for long. However, there is a creepier side to autumn harvesting.

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Every evening, either the lovely Sharon or I have to venture out between the raspberry canes to fill a colander. A daily colander seems enough for, raspberries with porridge (with maple syrup), raspberries for our break time snacks and raspberries for the little lady’s breakfast. A head torch is required as well as bravery. Nature can be rewarding but sometimes requires a high price. As soon as I step between the plants, the spider webs begin to accumulate on my head and face. There is no point brushing them off, it is a waste of time. I must embrace an attitude of stoicism, and just get on with it. Daddy long legs are disturbed, harvestmen fall on me from the higher leaves and moths fly straight to the torch attached to my head. Then there are the spiders. Little white and yellow spiders that crawl all over me. They often seem to become passengers on me and are discovered a short time later after having come in from the garden. I am sure I have been bitten by them, or something, on my arm, back and hand. Yet the little lady must have her breakfast. There is one reassuring thought in my foraging mind.  At least I know none of the spiders in the dark are the super big Huntsman spiders. No, at this time of year they have all gone indoors away from the cold, only to be seen as they run across the floor. Then our brains quickly try to figure out what it is seeing, before we scream and reach for a very heavy book to defend ourselves with.