To Autumn

Ah Autumn!  It’s definitely my favourite season.  It used to be a toss up between Spring and Autumn but I have come to realise that Autumn wins hands down.  

I love it. 

I cannot help but think of John Keats most Autumns when I wake up to misty mornings. It was “To Autumn” that turned me into a Keats fan just when I was beginning to hate the man and his dreaded Odes!  But that single piece of work resonated with me so deeply and reflected so magically how much I love this season, that it suddenly helped me to understand the rest of his work and realise just how beautiful it is.

Because Autumn is truly wonderful.

I love the changing colours of the season.  All those fiery reds, rusts, yellows and browns are just beautiful to behold.  I used to love driving along the M40 to visit my daughter in Oxford in Autumn as the trees on the way there always seem particularly gorgeous.  The M3 is pretty stunning too!

And I love the slight chill in the air that makes it cold but not quite cold enough for a full-on winter coat and so sweaters come into play…..with fluffy scarves.  There’s something so comforting about wearing warm clothes when you are out, and after the humiliation of summer when those light t-shirts and tops exposed my fat arms and rolls of belly fat, it’s much more flattering for me to hide under those lovely extra layers.

And I love how safe and comforting it feels sitting inside a warm house with my hands wrapped around a steaming mug of tea while looking out of the window as the wind and rain throw everything around. 

I do fight against putting the heating on though.  It’s definitely not allowed on until October and even then only if it is unbearably cold. But once it’s on…. I love it.  There’s nothing more luxurious than being toasty and warm as you snuggle up on the sofa to read a book or watch TV.

And there’s suddenly so much more to watch on TV as brand new dramas get an airing and favourites like Homeland return – not to mention Strictly and XFactor which seem to define weekend telly in the Autumn.

One thing I don’t like about Autumn though is Halloween and I was a horrible mum as I rarely let my children go out trick and treating.  It didn’t even exist when I was a child and it seems to go against British manners.  I was raised never to ask and to always wait to be offered, so the idea of children (especially those out alone without any accompanying adults) demanding sweets with menaces upsets me a lot!  Saying that, I have just bought a tin of chocolates to appease the little blighters that will come calling on the 31st, just so they don’t scratch my car.

And as soon as it starts to get cold, my skin suffers.  The colder weather outside and the harsh central heating inside don’t do my poor face any favours and I have to slather on lots of Nivea at least twice a day to stop it drying out and showing up the wrinkles !  As for my legs, they go from lovely and shiny in  the summer heat to hideously cracked as soon as the first chill appears.  So unattractive….

Which means I have to start wearing tights.  I hate tights.  I mean I really HATE them.  In all these years, I haven’t mastered the art of getting them on without laddering them and then when they are on, they are so uncomfortable.  I try to avoid wearing them for as long as possible but by mid-October, my legs need protecting from the cold to stop the crocodile skin developing! Hold-ups are marginally better I suppose, but sometimes they refuse to stay up and I’ll often have one that keeps sliding down my leg, making me look like some dotty old lady with wrinkled ankles! The whole business is such a hassle. 

And of course, Autum wouldn’t be the same for me without a runny nose and a sore throat that heralds the start of a series of colds throughout the winter.  Though now that I am taking my Vitamin D, I have high hopes that this year won’t be so bad. 

There can be no greater autumnal pleasures than kicking leaves or crunching them underfoot.  It brings out the child in me.  Although saying that, I remember walking back alone from a piano lesson when I was about nine. It was only about 5.30 in the evening but it was dark and I was walking in the gutter kicking all the leaves when my foot suddenly hit something soft and I realised I had kicked a dead cat.  I ran home crying and even now I refuse to kick leaves in the dark.  

Kicking leaves might bring out the child in me but clearing them brings out the grumpiest of old ladies in me.  It’s a job I hate.  It feels so pointless doing it regularly while the leaves are actually falling as you are trying to gather them up. But if you leave it until the trees are empty, it’s a back killer.  I’m going to try and get out of it this year.  Thinking about it, the daughter is back home now. I’ll have to find some way of tricking…I mean persuading…her into doing it!

Food may help with that.  Like me, she’s enjoying all those soups, stews, pies, custards….and anything containing apples that are making a welcome comeback.  After all those salads and light meals in the Summer, it’s lovely to have all that comfort food back again.  But it’s all so fattening and the weight has already started to pile on…..

Getting into bed is such a pleasure in the Autumn.  It’s one of my favourite places to be once the heating clicks off for the night and how appropriate that the clocks should go back an hour giving us that glorious extra hour under the duvet at the end of October.

I just love it all.  There is only one word that sums up Autumn for me and that is….COZY.

But I guess, Mr Keats has a few better words:

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?                                                               Think not of them, thou hast thy music too

Oh yes Autumn, you so do….. and I’m singing along at the top of my voice ! 

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Time Flies When……..

Hmmm, once again, it’s been a while since I posted anything here.  But I’ve been busy!   VERY BUSY!!

Even so, I don’t really know where September went.  It’s frightening when time passes so fast and you can’t really account for how you’ve spent it.

Thinking about it though….

– there has been some socialising as I’m still catching up with friends I haven’t seen for years, and lunches and evenings out take time!

– I helped organise a book fair for the Talking Newspapers charity that I am involved with

– I’ve been planning and buying a new luxury bathroom together with a separate shower room for the house.  We’re waiting for delivery now and installation will hopefully take place at the start of next month.  It would have been this month but I allowed myself to be talked into a new boiler by a very charming young salesman and that will be fitted in a couple of weeks but it means that we are going to have re-organise our kitchen as a result.  More work…..

– I’ve led a couple of Church services and am organising two more for later in the year.  I will have to write more about that some time soon as when I left the Beeb, I did seriously consider becoming a Methodist minister!   I know that may come as a surprise to many, as those who know me will know that I enjoy drinking, flirting and have been known to swear like a trouper but that doesn’t change the fact that I have a deep faith.  Too much about that to write here, but I’ll make a note that it’s a post for a future date….

– I’ve been teaching English to an amazing young Romanian girl who is so eager to learn that it has been an absolute pleasure and has made me consider whether that’s a possible career option

– I haven’t been writing much but I have been doing some acting.  For a start, it looks as if I’ll be doing panto again this year (oh, yes I am!) so I’ve started familiarising myself with the script.  OK, it’s not Shakespeare but I’m sure I can persuade myself that Dick Whittington has similarities to say, The Merchant of Venice !!!  I’ve also been involved with a couple of immersive theatre/art installations which I absolutely loved and am booked to do some more again this month.  And I’ve managed to get myself some medical role-play work which I have really enjoyed and plan to do more of that sort of thing in the future, along with some facilitation!

– I planned and organised a huge do for my Mum’s 70th birthday. I guess that’s what took most of my time as I really wanted it to be a success for her. The whole family had to pull together on the day to make it all happen including my daughter’s lovely boyfriend who worked so hard.  Bless him! He must have slept for a week once that was over. I know for a fact it nearly killed me !!!

– The other thing that took lots out of me, physically and emotionally has been helping my son get ready for his new university life.  We took him all the way up to Liverpool last week, really early on the day after my Mum’s big do when we were all so tired that we barely knew what we were doing.  It was only when we got home that I realised my little boy has gone now, and I have spent this last week in a state of grief, calling him every few minutes and then having a stress attack when he doesn’t answer !!

I think I’ve sorted myself out now.  Enough to get on with life again and back into some sort of a routine.  Hopefully, I can keep better track of time now and it won’t be so long before I’m writing here again !