Sometimes it seems as if we live under a permanent avalanche of leaflets.
They fall out of newspapers, and through the letter box; they are thrust upon us as we walk along the street; they lurk blandly by check-outs.
Leaflets for night clubs, cheap tyres, pizza parlours, window cleaners, estate agents, chair covers, insurance, hearing aids...
Even leaflets, bizarrely, about leaflet distributors.
Frankly, Vallombrosa* has nothing on it.
At this time of year, though, I have one small consolation.
Outside my window there is a very large ash tree. Now the leaves of ash trees are rather fern-like, and each section of each leaf is called, yes, a leaflet.
At this time of year every single one of those leaflets is letting go of its hold on the tree, swirling elegantly to the ground, and then DYING.
Which means I spend the whole winter looking forward to the tree coming into leaf again.
Spot the frippet: leaflet. This word means small leaf, of course. Leaf is an Old English word. It's related to the Gothic laufs and the Icelandic lauf.
By the way, there's a scrumptious word, unijugate, which means consisting of two leaflets, but I'm still looking for the chance to use that one.
*Vallombrosa is in Tuscany, and Milton mentions it in Paradise Lost: "autumnal leaves that strow the brooks in Vallombrosa".