I love this time of year, I really do. Even living in London you can appreciate the full extent of the season change and none is more dramatic than the change from summer to autumn. Autumn to winter is barely noticeable (apart from the fact that you’ve got to start putting lights on at 3.30pm in the afternoon). Even winter to spring is gradual……lighter nights and pretty flowers pushing their way through the unforgiving earth. Spring to summer (not this year I hasten to add) is just as gradual, like sitting in an oven as the temperature rises.
But I love autumn the most. The smell of bonfires in the air – although they always smell best when you’re in the country I must admit. Sweet, strong, sharp, smokey, woody – whenever we’re out driving and we smell a bonfire we open all the car windows and just inhale. Even the idea of the clocks going back doesn’t feel me with dread. I love the idea of Halloween and Bonfire Night and hot comforting stews and cosy nights in wrapped in fleeces. The gradual arrival of Christmas lights and decorations in neighbours houses - unlike the shops that started stocking festive fripperies on August Bank Holiday weekend.
I love walking in the park with the dogs and a low winter sun that blinds you and prevents me from seeing Junior Dog chasing squirrels. Jumping in great big piles of leaves with Mac but without a thought for what’s underneath them. Breathing in that cool, crisp, smoky air first thing in the morning when letting the dogs out. Appreciating clear blue skies while you’re wrapped up in jumpers and jeans. Seeing the trees change colour, different shades of russet and brown. Of getting all those Christmas catalogues from supermarkets and random mail order companies and leafing through them in front of the fire with a cup of hot chocolate.
I was waxing lyrical about autumn to Janey on our way back from Katie and Surrey Quays yesterday and she fixed me with a bewildered look. “But it’s cold and horrible and nearly winter. How can you love autumn, it’s like the year is dying slow and painfully, just waiting for winter to come and kill it off for good”. I was so shocked at this earth shattering statement - she’s not usually so poetic – that I nearly ran into the back of a bus.
But autumn is a chance of new beginnings for me – I’ve just been tempted back to work - just for a couple of hours a week to help cover a maternity leave. It’s very ad hoc which suits me down to the ground and they can be flexible enough if I can’t make it in because of sick child/poorly dogs. I’ve been in today to see the old crowd and they were all delighted (or so they said!) to have me back and that we had “three and a half years of gossip to catch up on!”.
I’ve said I’d see them on Wednesday and I’d bring the digestives.