It’s my first autumn living in a tiny village in Hampshire. In years past, my autumns in London were always a magical time. The leaves in Hyde Park would fall lightly and softly like snow, all reds, browns and yellows, gathering at your feet as you strolled. The people in outdoor cafes would sport thicker sweaters and tie on chunky plaid scarves. Even the dogs walked in fashionable new jackets and jumpers to keep warm at the first sign of a slight September chill. This year, this autumn, there are new traditions to be had, new moments to make us smile, in a new home in Hampshire. I have no idea what to expect, but I have had my first experience with an autumnal themed festival in a neighbouring village and I am smitten. This is the Great Whitchurch Scarecrow Trail, a village celebration where local residents share scarecrows of every variety on their doorstep. We saw a little bit of everything, having no idea what was in store for us on our weekend walk.
On the weekend, we grabbed coffees and headed out on a walk around Whitchurch to discover the scarecrows scattered here, there and everywhere. Most people were out and about with their families, some consisting of three generations or more, and all slowly walking from street to street, mindful of social distancing while they wandered.
There were scarecrows set up to honour the Netflix hit of lockdown – The Tiger King. Harry Potter also had a big showing, with some of the scarecrows even coming with a soundtrack playing from a nearby window. I mean, Harry Potter on a broomstick, with an owl over his head and the original soundtrack playing is devotion to the craft on another level, right?
We also saw several pirates, the Loch Ness monster, a parachuter, a groom in wellies and a rather curious flasher. That’s one thing I never expected to see – a little scarecrow bum.
I have no idea what to expect next, but I must say this sets the season up for great expectations. I want more. There are no pumpkin spiced lattes just yet, in the three coffee shops that exist in our village. But I’m hoping I can convince at least one to take this tradition on board. Do you think apple cider doughnuts would be asking too much as well?
I’ll be reporting back regularly on what’s happening. But for now, I’ll leave you with more scarecrows than I’m sure you ever expected to see in one place, in Whitchurch, Hampshire in the UK.