I suppose that it might warm up again. It’s only September (although a whole third of that has already whizzed by) and you wouldn’t rule against the possibility of an Indian summer. However, while the trees may still fully shod in their greenery there’s a nip in the air (are we still allowed to say that?) and I was shivering slightly in my shirt sleeves on the walk in to work. We, my friends, are approaching the end game as far as this year’s summer is concerned.
Not that I mind that. Not really. A bit of late and lazy heat would be nice before we get mired in the cold stuff but I get a bit of a thrill from tramping through the curled, amber leaves and early twilight of autumn. I’ll be able to start wearing my winter coat again. That’ll be a treat. I’ve missed my winter coat. I feel a bit cheated when the summer starts encroaching and I have to put my lovely, long and swishy coat back in the cupboard for the duration. I could always get a nice long-tailed rain coat for the inevitable wet spells of the summer, but I think the wearing a raincoat brings with it the suggestion of being a journalist and/or a flasher (they’re not mutually exclusive) and I wouldn’t want to be mistaken for either.
There’s a twinge of nostalgia for me in the approach to autumn as well. It’s the season that most reminds me of childhood; especially the stink of gunpowder and smoke that comes with Bonfire Night. Set off a few rockets and hand me a sparkler and I’m that little fat boy in bobble hat and mittens again.
Not just bobble hat and mittens, obviously. I was fully dressed at all times. My family weren’t Bohemians or deviants. There was none of the autumnal nudity that you’d expect from the Swedes or the other Nordic types. We didn’t go in for that Viking tomfoolery. You don’t want to be wandering around with you winkle out on Bonfire Night. It’s cold and you’re only one brush from a hot sparkler away from agony.
I was a brush away from agony one Bonfire Night. My mitten caught fire off of a sparkler, but, luckily, a quick thinking adult plunged my hand into the emergency bucket of water and saved me from any injury. I still wore the mitten for a while after (no point wasting a good mitten, was there?) and I can remember the fifty pence-sized hole on the tip of the glove, ringed with a blister of burnt nylon. I couldn’t hold a sparkler without succumbing to a terrible anxiety until I was 13.
So, yes… Bonfire night. Good times.
And as the days shorten I’ll enjoy the walking home in the dark. I do enjoy that. Many don’t, but then many people aren’t a 6ft tall, something-teen stone man with swimmers shoulders and a perennially weary scowl when they’re walking home at the end of the day. It’s especially good fun when a nice damp mist descends. You would believe how much fun it is to emerge, Jack the Ripper-like, from the depths of a good, juicy fog. You’re best to avoid doing that to pensioners though, unless you happen to have a defibrillator upon your person.
But fear not, the summer isn’t over yet. There may be a second, glorious late-summer and we’ll all be in our shorts until late November. Not knowing is half the fun, isn’t it?