The turn of axis has begun, and Earth rolls out a carpet of copper leaves that whish and fissle underfoot: a welcome catalyst for eating bushels of flapjacks and squirrelling away in second-hand bookshops. We sit cross-legged of a morning, teaspoons stirring the daily ritual, rekindling knowledge of how cookies are made and wondering where the mittens went. Cast-iron skillets of baked eggs are plucked from the oven and mopped up with stalks of sourdough, while thermometers plunge into gurgling pans of damson jam.

With sunhats consigned to the drawer, the Dance of the Cardigans begins in earnest. We go gallivanting under beeches bewhiskered with ginger leafage, and rootle around chestnut trees in search of conkers. Later, toted home in bulging pockets, those mahogany marbles are put to work by little hands: strung on twine, forged into necklaces, and worn with pride to dinner. We keep the rest of the spoils for later, when they will go kabooming into the bonfire.

On blue sky days, we eat weekend breakfasts of pecan plaits and tea decanted from flasks. Siblings trundle on pathways bound for the paper shop, their windbitten hands cradling precious coins meant for procuring sweet treats: a rustle of toffee bonbons, milk bottles, some cherry wheels, and an offering of white mice for mum. And naturalists, still in their salad days, scribble noble letters to neighbours in crayon, informing of their plans to engineer a hedgehog highway.

When the sunshine yields to pats of rain we retreat indoors, having great long naps and becoming scholars of Swiss cheese. Under a soufflé of clouds, we put the place to rights, sweeping and stowing and sorting away. We go beyond the barricade only when we run out of butter, or have a hankering for an Outside Expedition: on those occasions, we pack on deep-pocketed coats to gather sloes from the blackthorn bushes and take whittling knives to a jumble of pumpkins. And we don’t spend too many hours looking back on midsummer revelries, or forward to a spring of blossoms, because our cheerfulness grows as we go — side by side, toe to toe.