Sunday, 22 September 2013

Autumn: the most wonderful time of the year

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”

Shockingly not my own words, but those of George Eliot. Post English degree, you no longer get quite so many chances to hide behind the words of people far more intelligent than yourself. But more importantly, Eliot sums up my feelings towards autumn, which seems to have descended upon us all of a sudden this year, far better than I ever could myself, and certainly a lot more succinctly than I’m about to. 

I have absolutely no desire for the arrival of an elusive ‘Indian summer’, a phrase banded about at this time of year by those who aren’t quite so ready to give in and get their coats out. Personally, once my tights are back on, I have no intention of taking them off for a good five months, and I always welcome this season of leg constriction with open arms.

For me, winter clothing in general is a million times preferable to the skimpy items you find yourself in during the summer. I love warm jumpers, woolly hats, patterned scarves, hefty boots and layers, OH layers. I also have something of a coat fetish, and my room probably bears a close resemblance to Kat Slater’s dressing room, with fur coats currently hanging all over the gaff.

Admittedly, bright skies and sunshine have their appeal, but there’s still a certain something I feel autumn has over the summer months. Perhaps it’s the eternal association – long after you’ve left school and September means anything especially different – of fresh starts and new beginnings. September will always be the seasonal equivalent of a blank page, more so than spring, when the bleating of new born lambs passes me right by, and most definitely more than January, by law the required time of hangovers and regret. What can I say? A crisp autumn morning just makes me want to go out and buy some stationery.

The majority of my favourite past times also seem wrong and generally out of place in the summer. I usually run the risk of the cardinal sin of WASTING the weather, a phrase teenagers holed up in their bedrooms across the land in hot weather are no doubt accustomed to hearing. Pulling the curtains closed to get rid of the glare of the sun on the TV screen can make the most innocent of boxset binges feel like a horribly sordid activity. Cinema trips are similarly more appropriate in the autumn months – film viewing becomes an enjoyable escape from the chilly reality, as opposed to the refuge for albinos it can feel like in the summer.

Another factor is certainly that as autumn approaches, so too does the season of mince pies and merriment that is Christmas. While I consider myself a fully-fledged christmasphile, what I really love is not the big day itself (which is always about as much of an anti-climax as the Eastenders Christmas special) but the festive build-up – never ending plays of Slade and all. Don’t get me wrong – I find Christmas stock appearing in shops in September as horrifying as the next person, but it’s nice to remember that while you might be freezing your arse off pretty soon, just around the corner is that magical time of twinkly lights and obesity. And while I can definitely do without Halloween, a ridiculous American import which I still completely fail to understand the point of, the equally pointless but far more enjoyable British custom of Bonfire night is also a great stop gap before the festivity really begins.

Perhaps most important of all, though, is that when it’s 30 degress outside, brewing up is not a massively acceptable activity. But as autumn arrives, tea-making becomes one of life’s regular necessities. Wrap up, curl in front of the fire, stick a film on and sip on your cup of tea…ahhhhh. I’m off to put the kettle on.