Anyway, ‘tis the First of September, and there’s already an autumnal feel to things; the nights are drawing in, the trees are beginning to change colour, and this is the second morning I’ve woken to find the world outside shrouded in mist. Yesterday it turned nice and sunny when the mist cleared, but today it’s drizzled on and off, but after the hot summer we’ve had I think cool weather and rain is wonderful!
September, of course, was originally the seventh month of the old Roman calendar, which only had 10 months. I had always assumed this was due to the creation of July and August, created to honour Julius Caesar and the Emperor Augustus, but apparently both months merely involved the renaming of existing months, and it was January and February which were introduced by the Romans at some stage. However, September, October, November and December were never renamed to take account of the change, and some 2,000 years later we still use those ancient names, which is pretty amazing I think.
The Romans harvested their grapes and made wine during September, a practice which continues to this day. Some of the old Books of Hours feature wine making scenes for September (although many show ploughing, which was - and still is - an important farming activity at this time of year).
I love this picture from a Book of Hours created in Paris in 1490. A September illustration, it shows worker treading grapes, and another tipping fruit into a vat, while in the background someone seems to be sneaking a sample of the end product - presumably checking that it is fit for purpose! The book is on permanent loan to the State Library of South Australia from the Anglican Diocese of Adelaide, and cab seen at their website http://www.winelit.slsa.sa.gov.au/topdozen.htm