Autumn Days When the Grass is Jewelled

When I was in lower school, every Wednesday we had ‘Singing Assembly’. By far my favourite song to sing was a catchy tune called ‘Autumn Days’ by Estelle White. The lyrics go like this:

Autumn days, when the grass is jewelled
And the silk inside a chestnut shell
Jet planes meeting in the air to be refuelled
All these things I love so well

So I mustn’t forget
No, I mustn’t forget
To say a great big thank you
I mustn’t forget.

Clouds that look like familiar faces
And a winter’s moon with frosted rings
Smell of bacon as I fasten up my laces
And the song the milkman sings.

So I mustn’t forget
No, I mustn’t forget
To say a great big thank you
I mustn’t forget.

Whipped-up spray that is rainbow-scattered
And a swallow curving in the sky
Shoes so comfy though they’re worn out and they’re battered
And the taste of apple pie.

So I mustn’t forget
No, I mustn’t forget
To say a great big thank you
I mustn’t forget.

Scent of gardens when the rain’s been falling
And a minnow darting down a stream
Picked-up engine that’s been stuttering and stalling
And a win for my home team.

So I mustn’t forget
No, I mustn’t forget
To say a great big thank you
I mustn’t forget.

It really takes me back to the Autumn days of my childhood – you know, when the fallen leaves were so deep that you had to wade through them up to your knees, you had to start wearing your knitted fairisle or arran jumpers in the early mornings and evenings, and thanks to a bumper crop of apples, apple crumble or stewed apples were the dessert of choice for Sunday lunch.

It’s been a funny year, weatherwise. I suppose in many ways we’ve had a ‘normal’ year, in that we’ve had a long, cold winter, a beautiful spring, a hot summer, and for the most part a very wet August. My recollections of my childhood summers are tinged with reds and oranges – sunshine, long warm evenings, burnt grass, as well as (I imagine) the eye-wateringly bright neons that defined children’s fashion of the late 80s. Throughout my teens in the 90s, I seem to recall that a great deal of the summers I experienced in the UK were slightly dull, grey and wet. But now it seems so strange that it’s been so… well, almost normal?

The thing I really love about living in England is the fact that I get to experience all the seasons. There’s something refreshing and invigorating moving through each part of the annual cycle. Although it’s a slow, constant change, there’s so much familiarity there too. I know what I have to look forward to, what I need to prepare for, and when it comes I’m so very ready for it.

And I’m definitely ready for Autumn. Despite the persistent rains of August, I’m over the long, hot days of summer. It’s like a ‘Back to School’ feeling. I’m ready for the slight evening chills, the colour changes and most of all, the abundance of Autumn. You see, food-wise, Autumn is categorically my favourite time of year. I might be the fussiest vegetarian in existence, but I’m a great lover of seasonal Autumn food – root vegetables, squashes, preserves, jams and chutneys, brassicas, herbs, beans, peppers and crusty fresh bread with everything. I think that the inherent prehistoric cavewoman still residing within me knows it’s a busy time to collect, store and prepare for the long winter months ahead, and there’s something I really like about that. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s a comforting, calming feeling.

This year I also know that financially, it’s going to be a tough few months ahead too. So I’m already planning ahead and thinking about how I can frugally line my cupboards, navigate my way through the festive season, whilst preparing for the next growing season. I need to pull down all my preserving books, look through my recipe books and think – how can I make the best of what Autumn offers?

So as I find them, I think I’m going to put up some of my favourite Autumn comfort food recipes. Let’s face it, there’s not left in my Smallest Smallholding veg plots to use – a few squashes, some runner beans, damsons and plums (I’m hoping next year I’ll have my first sloes to pick from the blackthorn bushes), and the remnants of this year’s raspberry crop. But the thing with growing your own – and something I’m still learning about – is that you’re always looking and planning ahead, and I always find that a very exciting prospect.


  1. I appreciate all those things about changing seasons, too – the colours, the smells, the different foods – but I could definitely live very happily without Winter. Every year I find it a little harder to get through.

    It’s not the weather, which is merely an inconvenience. It’s the long, long hours of darkness. Mid-Nov to mid-Feb is torture for me, and I dread it.

  2. I’ve never heard that song before. The one I remember most vividly is ‘Daisies are our silver, buttercups our gold, these are all the treasures we can have or hold’ – and I never knew that jet planes met in mid-air to be refuelled???? or is that poetic licence?

    • they most definitely do. type it into google and you can see pics of it happening. I live near an airport and wee see it fairly regularly

  3. I love Autumn but like Soilman I would happily pass on Winter. It won’t be long now before I start leaving for work in the dark and returning in the dark and only seeing the garden, never mind my allotment, at weekends. Obviously squash, parsnips, soups and lazing about at the weekend are things to look forward to but I will be sorry to see the balmy evenings go.

  4. I love that song! We used to sing at primary school! I’ve never heard anyone else remember it!

  5. blimey that takes me back a quarter of a decade to exaggerated singing and fits of giggles!

  6. I remeber this one! And Jet planes can certainly be refuelled mid-air! Soliman – have you tried a light box – you like many others may be suffering a small winter drepression from a lack of Vit D – or put another way you miss the sunshine too much! you can get special blubs that can help.

    It’s Harvest Time!
    Harvest Time again.
    A time to say, Thanks to the sun and the rain.
    A time to take, and a time to give.
    A time to say that its a joy to live!

  7. Rev Val Gibbs says

    Autumn days is a hymn and can be found in the Coma and Praise hymn book. Published by BBC Radio for Schools.

  8. I sang it when i was about 9 in my school but now im 23 but it reminds me of Autumn.

  9. Esther mandale says

    I just tried to google this song and your blog came up I can now finally sing the other verses now xx like you I love the seasons and autumn is my favourite month too xx

  10. haha my daughter just came home singing this, I can’t believe the schools are still teaching kids this, i guess great lyrics never get old.

    Although there are a few parts that i don’t remeber, Like the Jet plane thing.

  11. sophie taylor says

    i used to love this song when i was in year six aww year 6 was great huh

  12. Like Esther, I just googled this and found your blog.

    My husband and myself are teachers. He has been enlisted to play in assembly this week and is currently practising (Make me a Channel of your Peace!) but it reminded me of may favourite school hymn when I was young. Over two decades ago, but It does sum up this time of year!

  13. Nicky Davies says

    Thank you so much! I used to love singing this song when I was at school. And just like so many other people on here, I have never heard it anywhere else. Just googled it as well, and found it on your website. It was lovely to sing all the words again!

    • Epic! Lucy, BIG thank you for posting this. Its difficult for me to hear or read this song without bursting into laughter or having intense nostalgia. It brings back the best memories of my school days. I randomly walked home and starting humming the song. By far my favourite ‘assembly’ song. Every single stanza strikes a chord.



  15. Hi, i usally sing this on a harvest assembly, my little bro assembly is coming up and they gonna sing that song, i decided to sing along with a tune and they are also singing cauliflowers fluffy song! 😀

  16. Neil Harrison says

    I loved this song at school. All the boys who followed soccer would sing ‘and a win for my home team’ in a really deep, soccer chant voice.

  17. Thank you for this post – my friends and I were discussing our favourite school hymns we could remember and it was great finding the lyrics 🙂

  18. Neil Welton says

    I sang the hymn ‘Autumn Days’ at my infants school between 1979 and 1982. Our Morning Assembly was held in the school hall three times every week. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. I have vivid and powerful memories of us singing such songs with a projector projecting the words on a big screen so we could all sing them. Our teacher bashing the piano and invariably telling us to sing a lot louder as God would just not hear us. Indeed the ‘Come And Praise’ hymn book was central to the collective worship at my school – right up until I left in 1985 when the last hymn we sung together was ‘One More Step’. I must admit I’m grateful for the spiritual journey ‘Come And Praise’ encouraged me to take. For being able to worship at school was the only opportunity to worship God and to experience God that I had. It was only when I started at school that I first began to learn about God. To learn of the Christian Faith. Call me old fashioned but I am just so grateful ‘Come And Praise’ was a central part of this. Looking back now, as I approach the age of fifty, I can honestly say the hymn ‘Turning The World Upside Down’ has the most resonance for me. It encapsulates life’s journey. It’s trials. It’s tribulations. It’s challenges and it’s difficulties. Yet God can turn this world upside down as we now know but, if we have faith in Him, we can turn the world upside down too. For the better and for everybody we encounter.


  1. Week 34: Things You Like About Autumn - says:

    […] smooth and shiny. The “silk inside a chestnut shell” is also mentioned in the song Autumn Days When The Grass Is Jewelled, which I remember well from primary school. The lyrics to this song probably mention all the things […]

  2. […] in September. Into Autumn days when the Earth is jewelled, with silk inside the chestnut shells . Into term, into teaching. As my English colleagues lament the end of Induction week, I am well […]