In praise of Autumn

I am an autumn girl, and now that I have small children I love it even more. But with the clocks having gone back and summer clothes packed away, I know there are many who don’t share my enthusiasm. I won’t pretend I don’t understand why – there are many reasons why you might feel anti-autumn (it being immediately followed by winter being one), but there are also so many things to love about this time of year.

Just look at the leaves, for one. My husband has now had enough of me asking him to admire the leaves, so I’m taking to the blog Autumn treesinstead. Sorry. These are just some trees at the end of our road – at any other time of year I wouldn’t look twice at them, but autumn lover or not, you must admit they look pretty special. It helps when the sun is shining, of course, but even on an overcast day the autumn colours turn a few normal trees and bushes into a spectacle – even the trees by the side of the M25 were looking rather splendid last week. And as I watch my boys running through the leaves and searching for conkers, I always think what a magical season this is for little ones. Not many things beat a stomp through some woods on a bright autumn day. There are leaves to kick, leaves to collect, even leaf-based crafts when you get home if you feel so inclined (we often don’t). Everything feels likes an adventure at this time of year – remember that feeling of getting wrapped up in multiple layers, hats and ear muffs to venture out for the fireworks? It’s a highlight of childhood, or it was for me anyway.

The temperature may have dropped by a few degrees, but much of the time the weather is just right if, like me, you don’t mind wearing a layer or two. It’s not too hot AND you are not constantly attempting to apply suncream to escapee children – this alone is a perfectly good reason to love the autumn. But it’s not so cold that your fingers are turning blue, which is a bonus if you have children like mine who refuse to wear gloves but still cry because their fingers are about to drop off. A jumper and jacket will normally do – no need to wrap up in 27 layers, but equally no children moaning that they’re melting (and, speaking of melting, no ice-creams melting over distraught children either). And personally, I find autumn/winter clothes so much more appealing than summer clothes. Chunky knitwear, tights, boots, scarves, fluffy dressing gowns – the swap from the summer to the winter wardrobe makes me happy. I spend the summer staring at my clothes thinking I have nothing suitable to wear, but as the weather gets colder there is something comforting about cosying up in as many layers as possible.

rainy day

The Great British Summer

Perhaps if we lived somewhere that had proper summers, I would be slightly down on autumn too. But let’s face it, summer is often one big disappointment in the UK. There might be a couple of promising weeks early on, but then it all goes downhill as soon as the schools break up. I feel relieved when autumn arrives – any nice days (and there are often plenty) are a bonus, but if it rains you don’t feel cheated.

Yes it gets dark earlier, but for me this means there is no need to feel guilty about being in my pyjamas by 8pm if I feel like it. I’ll admit, even in the summer I rarely spend my evenings in the garden drinking cocktails. Instead, once the children are in bed, I’m usually on my sofa eating sweets. The darker evenings reassure me that this is normal behaviour, although I’ll soon be replacing the sweets with mince pies. There aren’t many places I’d rather be than tucked up at home eating a pie on a dark, cold evening. If you have a nice garden, I can understand you might miss this as the nights pull in; but if, like me, the main features of your garden are weeds and over-grown ivy, then it is probably a relief not being able to see it.

Believe me, by February I’ll be as ready for spring as everyone else. But for now, I’m embracing the knitwear, enjoying the better quality television, and more than ready for mulled wine and mince pies on the sofa.

Autumn is a winner. And if you’re not convinced, here’s another tree.

Autumn tree with boys

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