Thursday, 22 September 2016

Why We Love Autumn. Do YOU?

Autumn is the most exciting time of year, hands down. Spring is full of expectation for a summer we will never have. Winter is one month of fun and two months of misery and darkness… and UK summer.... the desperate hope that we will have a warm, dry summer…immediately dashed up the arrival of howling winds and driving rain on June 1st. Do kids these days even know what a hosepipe ban IS?! I think in this country especially, that’s probably a big part of why we love the arrival of autumn. Summer in the UK these days is just so goddamn disappointing. Dull, grey days, wind. Interspersed with a few nice days here and there. Possibly a one day heat wave bringing a big surge of hope that it’ll stick around only to wake to gale force ten battering your windows the following morning.

Of course there are (crazy) people who aren’t fussed on whether or not we have a hot summer. Fair people don’t like the sun because it means they have to cover up or stay in the shade, larger people don’t enjoy excessive sweating, unnecessary skin (flab) exposure, inner thigh chaffing and feeling faint if you stand too long in the sun. Written from my own experience by the way. The amount of times I’ve tried to discreetly wipe the top lip sweat from my face upon arrival ANYWHERE in the summer. And MOST people hate flies and wasps. City centres always reek of dried, sickly bin juice smells in the heat and ain’t nobody got time for those members of society who haven’t been introduced to deodorant. Especially on crowded public transport. So they LOVE the turn of the season.

I will say a quick note here about London. It has higher temperatures than the rest of the country. And it really does make a difference. I grew up in London and my summers of the 80s WERE always a lot warmer than the damp-fests I endure in rainy Cardiff. So while they might well have experienced a few months of fairly clement whether, the rest of us might not. The difference of 3-5 degrees is pretty significant. So whilst we’re feeling a rather cool 18-19 degrees, London will quite often be 22°, 23° or even 25°. And so then all we hear in the media is how we’ve all been “going crazy in the heat wave”, followed by some business types eating lunch with their trousers rolled up in some central park, whilst the rest of the country goes about its grey, damp day with their hoody zipped right up to their noses.

It’s like autumn gives us an excuse to stop all the false hope and expectation of glorious sunshine. It feels like a relief. We can look forward to something more real and predictable. Cool weather, darker nights, crunchy leaves, spicy autumn smells, bonfires and root vegetable stews. And it's so beautiful...all those reds, oranges, golds and browns! Autumn heralds a time where we can feel cosy and safe. We can rug up. Wear cardies, boots and scarves. Cwtch up on a sofa with a good book / Netflix and larger glass of red and not feel guilty that you should be outside enjoy this week’s ten minutes of sun.

It’s also the start of “holiday season”. Hallowe’en is rapidly becoming as big over here as it is in the States. I know lots of people get cross about the commercialisation of things like Christmas, Halloween, and Valentine’s Day. I actually don’t mind it. I love embracing seasonal things. I love celebrating what’s around now and being “present”. That has stemmed from my experience of anxiety and the need to be mindful and embrace the NOW. But it’s more than just that. I love the tradition of Hallowe’en. It’s comforting to do things in a cyclical way. So I enjoy the run up to it with carving pumpkins and swedes, then setting up the apple bobbing and donuts on strings and dressing up like scary loonies. What’s wrong with having another thing to celebrate? We don’t do trick or treating but again I love the community buzz on that night with processions of funny little monsters and witches stomping around the neighbourhood and coming to get sweets. And of course my kids get to stuff their faces with them too. It’s a lovely time of year.

Right I am off to make a hot chocolate, grab my toasty socks and stick on re-runs of the The Gilmore Girls. Who’s with me?

Petite Pudding
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