Hell fire, autumn arrived quickly. ‘Hell fire’ is one of those things my parents used to say a lot. You don’t hear it much these days. Perhaps one day I’ll write something about the things my parents used to say that you don’t hear much anymore. Or maybe I just have. The point is that we don’t seem to be enjoying one of those ‘Indian Summers’ everyone always rattles on about. Of course we’ve never really had an ‘Indian Summer’ because if we did we’d all melt. And complain.
As everyone also keeps saying August was a bit rubbish, but don’t they remember that August is always a bit rubbish. Like every country we practically revolve our year around the school calendar, not the seasons. This means that the real summer, that being the bit with the really good weather and the properly long evenings and the delicious blue mornings, has pretty much been and gone by the time we get to our ‘summer holidays’. August these days is just an excuse for everyone to bugger off somewhere else and moan there instead.
May, June and July is the real summer and August is just the ice breaker for autumn which is why, in fact, we shouldn’t be surprised that it’s suddenly ‘got a bit nippy’ and ‘the nights are drawing in’ and ‘it’s starting to feel damp’. These and a bucket full of other cliches which, cliches or not, are all true. All of a sudden we have to start thinking about the best time to mow the lawn. If you mow it too early it will grow a bit too much and then get too wet to mow again and then you’ll spend the next 6 months gazing wistfully out of the kitchen window, itching to cut that mess of green you had to leave behind.
All of a sudden you’ve lost all those days when you could hang out your washing. ‘The wife’ is brilliant at suggesting we should hang out the washing in the middle of October because ‘the sun’s out’. She’s almost as brilliant at suggesting it as I am of suggesting that she’s wrong and then suggesting that if it doesn’t dry we’ll have to hang it up all over again inside. I say ‘we’ but it ends up being me who hangs it outside and me who’s right about it not drying and me who ends up taking it in and re-hanging it in the spare room. Not that I’m bitter.
And all of a sudden you have to pop the boiler on to check the radiators still work. And the coat you’ve not touched since early April makes a surprise appearance. And you don’t have to decide whether to wear shoes or flip-flops. And one of you mentions the winter duvet. And when your partner touches you in bed their hand feel like a Magnum. Even more so if you’re married to Tom Selleck. And the days start to seem to end before they’ve begun. And someone, somewhere will mention Christmas.
The light, on a morning like this, in early autumn, is truly a beautiful thing. You feel much more grateful for the sun in autumn and it gives everything a special glow that can’t be replicated at any other point in the year. I like autumn. Not for the creep of cold and dark and damp but because it feels like Britain’s default season. Spring, with it’s hope and new life and a bunch of daff’s for a pound is the season we’d all like it to be but autumn is the season we deserve. That doesn’t make sense to me either but for once at least give me credit for not just bellyaching all the time.
I like autumn. It’s just come along very quickly, that’s all I’m saying.
G B Hewitt. 09.09.2017