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Have you ever hesitated to paint a picture or even take a photograph of the landscape, wary, perhaps, of representing it in colours other than its own?  Sometimes it is good to allow things to make their own marks. 

As the autumnal leaves ‘turn’ on the trees, you may see that the landscape is quite capable of painting itself.

Perhaps like the fictional hero Giles Winterborne who remains unobserved being ‘the colour of his environment’2, you can allow things a chance to colour you.

A measure of gin will extract grass-green from a swathe of lush pasture.  Imbibe before the colour spoils and drink a toast to the Common!

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2 Hardy, T. (1974) The Woodlanders, London: Macmillan, pg 181
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Neroche project/insert 1
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  1. Make a collection of edible jellies3 from autumnal leaves
  2. First collect some leaves, no more than a handful from any one tree.  You could choose Beech, Oak or Hawthorne
  3. Simmer the leaves in water until they yield up their colour
  4. Strain through muslin and use the coloured liquid to soften 1lb (500g) of crab apples.  (These may come from your own garden: they are your base colour – what you yourself cannot help but add to the mix)
  5. Strain the pulp through muslin and add 1lb (500g) of sugar to every pint (600ml) of juice
  6. Bring to a rapid boil, fearlessly skimming off any scum as the colour clarifies and begins to set
  7. When the mixture reaches a temperature of 221 degrees F (104 degrees C) pour into warm, clear jam jars
  8. Enjoy at tea time - take on the colours of the landscape, a present from it to us!
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3 The utmost care must be taken to ensure that leaves are non-toxic.  In the Miss Marple story A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie, the character Rex Fortescue was poisoned by taxine from yew berries administered to him in his morning marmalade!