“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness…” This is how John Keats’s famous poem, the ode To Autumn begins, and it tells us a lot about England at this time of year. Everyone knows about English fogs! Many people think that the English live permanently in fog and rain. Well, maybe, but England is also famous for its so-called Indian Summers, days in autumn when the sun shines, the leaves change colour, and the “moss’d cottage-trees” are full of apples, as Keats notes. He also mentions the “cider-press”. Cider is one of England’s oldest drinks and is made from apples picked in autumn. It is not simple apple-juice. An English country pub is the place to have a pint of real cider but be careful – it is very strong! This is also the time when our visitors leave for a warmer climate. Many birds have spent the summer in England and now “gathering swallows twitter in the skies”, and set off on their long journey to warm and sunny Africa. “The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft”. This bird is the robin, which is often regarded as England’s national bird. It is the most loved of our native birds and appears on many Christmas cards! Keats also talks of the harvest – “the stubble-plains”, after the wheat has been cut. Harvest Festival is still a strong tradition, and people make bread in the shape of wheat and bring autumn fruit and vegetables to church. They also make corn-dollies. In ancient times people thought that the spirit of the corn lived in the crop, and making figures with the cut corn would bring good luck through the winter. Many corn dollies are very artistic and difficult to make. They present an interesting challenge for an art class!