All Hallows Eve

so as it’s Halloween tomorrow here’s a bit of info about the day. Halloween has its origins in pagan festivals held around the end of October in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. People believed that, at this time of year, the spirits of dead people could come ‘alive’ and walk among the living. They thought that it was important to dress up in costumes when venturing outside, to avoid being harmed by the spirits. This may be the origin of the Halloween costumes seen today. In Puritan times, Halloween celebrations were outlawed, but they were revived in later times.

Did you know that the City of York has gained a reputation as perhaps the most haunted city in England and it is often known somewhat affectionately as ‘the City of 1000 ghosts?’

Usually on the way to the Lake District I stop off at Thorpe Perrow Arboretum which is stunning in the Autumn with beautiful tree foliage.
At the moment poor Cumbria (The Lake District) is having a lot of rain and there is a lot of flooding.

Halloween used to be called All Hallows Eve, or the day before All Saints’ Day, observed on November 1.

It can be called Halloween Bob Apple Night or Duck Apple Night but I’ve never heard it call that in North Yorkshire. Apparently, this comes from a traditional game played at this time of year and known as ‘apple bobbing’ or ‘apple ducking’. Some people believe that apple bobbing is a reminder of the way women accused of witchcraft in the middle ages were tried. They were tied to a chair and repeatedly ducked into a river or pond. If a woman drowned, she was declared innocent. If she survived, she was declared a witch and burnt at the stake. So, there was no way out for the women accused of being a witch!

Pumpkins and Gourds which we use to turn into spooky lanterns.
I remember having to carve a very sold turnip which took forever!

Some aspects of the modern Halloween celebrations, such as carving lanterns out of vegetables originated long ago. Many customs originated in the United States and have travelled back to the United Kingdom. All photographs are taken by SJ Butler Photography.

Indian Summer

Blue skies

Brilliant blue sky & hot Autumn sun today (Friday). How lovely to be sat basking in the garden.

The term Indian summer reached England in the 19th century, during the heyday of the British Raj in India. This led to the mistaken belief that the term referred to the Indian subcontinent. In fact, the Indians in question were probably the Native Americans.

The term Indian summer is first recorded in Letters From an American Farmer, in 1778.

“Then a severe frost succeeds which prepares it to receive the voluminous coat of snow which is soon to follow; though it is often preceded by a short interval of smoke and mildness, called the Indian Summer.”

Michel-Guillaume-Jean de Crèvecoeur:

The English already had names for the phenomenon – St. Luke’s SummerSt. Martin’s Summer or All-Hallown Summer and the French also referred to l’été de la Saint-Martin.

These have now all but disappeared and, like the rest of the world, the term Indian summer has been used in the UK for at least a century.

I think I prefer the term All Hallown Summer.

“An Indian summer crept stealthily over his closing days.”

Thomas De Quincy, 1855

Autumnal Equinox


While the county may be enjoying a patch of warm weather, today marks the end of summer months and the start of the autumn equinox.  

The autumn equinox, much like the spring equinox, is the date in the calendar when the days and nights are the same length, marking the start of the astronomical autumn season.

Both the northern and southern hemisphere will share roughly the same day-length of 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. 

It also traditionally signals the start of harvest, with harvest festivals happening on the Sunday closest to the time of a full moon. 

The word


derives from the French word


(MetOffice (web

The equinox technically refers to the time when the sun is directly in line with the equator, lining up in unison for a brief moment, which is set to happen today at 8.21pm.

Golden leaves

Season of mists


mellow fruitfulness


Golden Brown…

Today is chilly and miserable. I was really tempted to go out after work to take some photographs of the trees as they are slowly changing colour. The weather was not the best so I stayed in where is was warm and dry.

I thought I would post some images from this time last year, the fruits of the Sycamore tree and the seeds from the Sweet Peas (one of my favourites!)

Autumn is coming – photography SJ Butler

This year autumn begins on 22 September 2021 and ends on 21 December 2021.

8 interesting facts about autumn

The time of year that Keats called the ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’, autumn is a season famous for its harvest times, turning leaves, cooling temperatures and darkening nights.

1. Autumn begins

There are two different dates when autumn could be said to begin. Autumn, as defined by the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, begins on the equinox which falls on 22 or 23 September.

However, to record climate data, it is important to have set dates that can be compared, so meteorological autumn always begins on 1 September.

Rowntree Park

2. Trees prepare for winter

One of the most stunning signs of autumn is the turning of the leaves. The shorter days are a sign to trees to begin to prepare for winter.

During winter there is not enough light for photosynthesis to occur, so as the days shorten throughout autumn, the trees begin to close down their food production systems and reduce the amount of chlorophyll in their leaves.

3. The chemistry of colour

Chlorophyll is the chemical which makes tree leaves green and as it declines other chemicals become more prominent in the leaves.

These are responsible for the vibrant ambers, reds and yellows of autumn. The chemicals responsible are types of flavonoids, carotenoids and anthocyanins.

Did you know some of these chemicals are the same ones that give carrots (beta-carotenes) and egg yolks (luteins) their colours?

4. People born in Autumn live longer

A study in the Journal of Aging Research found that babies born during the autumn months are more likely to live to 100 than those born during the rest of the year.

Their study found that 30 % of US centenarians born during 1880-1895 were born in the autumn months.

The word


derives from the French word


(MetOffice (web

5. The days get shorter

The word equinox comes from the Latin equi (meaning equal) and nox (meaning night) accounting for the equinox marking the time when day and night are of equal length.

We often notice the nights begin to draw in from this point as after the autumn equinox, the nights are longer than the days, until this is reversed at the spring equinox.

6. A date for your diary – 24 September 2303

Generally speaking, the autumn equinox always falls on either 22 or 23 September, but not quite always.

Because the Gregorian calendar is not quite in perfect symmetry with the Earth’s orbit, the autumn equinox will very occasionally fall on September 24. This last happened in 1931 and will next happen in 2303.

7. Persephone’s return

In Greek mythology, autumn began when Persephone was abducted by Hades to be the Queen of the Underworld. In distress Persephone’s mother, Demeter (the goddess of the harvest), caused all the crops on Earth to die until her daughter was allowed to return, marking spring.

Season of mists


mellow fruitfulness


8. Autumn and Fall

We typically think of ‘fall’ as the North American version of the word ‘autumn’, but it was in fact in widespread usage in England until relatively recently.

Originally a shortening of the phrase fall of the leaf, the phrase was common in England in the 17th century.

The word autumn entered English from the French automne and didn’t become common usage until the 18th century.