The English are frequently accused of talking about the weather, that’s if you can interrupt them about it, but there’s just so much of the bloody stuff that it’s hard not to. Unlike Australia for example, were weather forecasts in Coober Pedy have remained unchanged since the 1940s. They just press play after the ‘news’. If you listen carefully you can hear Anzacs returning from the war in the background. Besides, the English can’t talk about tea all the time. Well, we can, but the weather’s a permanent option once you have a good cup of tea in hand.
October is a busy time of year, with the weather as predictable as a compass at a magnet party. The temperature plays it’s usual autumnal tricks of appearing far colder from the window than it actually is outside. Not that this stops many people forgetting all about Autumn and thinking Winter starts when Summer ends. They’re already wearing enough clothes to stock a charity shop even before the bikini has been put away. When winter actually arrives they’ll have run out of clothes and be wearing sleeping bags under bear fur.
Despite it only being October, heating is jacked up to 10 everywhere but your own house, mainly by staff wearing T-shirts, who aren’t paying the fuel bills, and lack any environmental conscience. Trains are hotter than they are in mid summer. For passengers this means peeling off layers of clothes, which the walk to the station has already exposed as being far too many, and which they clutch like the non swimmer at a busy skinny dip. It’s that, or pretending you want to be visibly sweating for 6 stops in a 28 tog scarf, and jacket you could put poles in and camp for a week on the polar ice cap (if it’s still there).
As the seasons change, there’s so much to do. Replacing the duvet, buying a hat you’ll never wear, and digging out the jacket with so many pockets you need Sat-nav to find anything, apart from last year’s lip salve, which is in every pocket.
There’s even leaves to sweep up, if you enjoy pointless tasks and not waiting until they’ve all dropped. Then there’s scooping out pumpkins, and living on pumpkin soup and stew for months, like the cold war never ended.
And then the clocks go back. No matter how long we’ve been doing this for, there’s still people asking ‘So, does that mean we get an extra hour?” like it’s the secret to eternal life. Perhaps, if we mess around with the clocks enough, we’ll live forever. It’s not that hard to understand is it? (As he googles whether they go back or forward, and what it means). This basically results in children now waking in the middle of the night, and it getting gloomy before you’ve had your afternoon tea, which is a novelty for the first week, after which the rush hour takes on the characteristic of a blackout, while mornings need a searchlight. There’s 200 year old men in China who are still asking if the clocks went back or forward and if so, does it give them an extra hour in bed, or less.
We go through this every year, our phones are smarter than us, and foam mattresses with a better memory. Apparently campaigners want to scrap the daylight saving to reduce accidents. However, this might mean the sun would not rise until 10.00am in Scotland, where there’s already enough reasons for wanting to stay in bed.
Autumn validates our constant moaning about the cold and darkness, but we should be grateful as the trees turn to russet, damp hangs in the air, and our hearts wallow in bittersweet reminisce of those sunnier days so swiftly passed. Let us not rush to quickly into the frosty arms of winter; let us breathe in deep the decay, and reflect upon how things always change.