My View, Mel Hewitt: Autumn is not like it used to be in my day
September is hanging on to the summer, with even warmer days ahead than we had in June.
The sunniest season seems to be lasting longer than expected again – but this is not unusual these days.
Does anyone else remember not wearing a winter coat much last year? One can of de-icer saw you through the whole winter perhaps?
As temperature records seem to be being broken on an almost weekly basis, I’m hoping the traditional autumn mornings are still to come.
By traditional I mean the dewy, misty, rich earth-smelling season of mellow fruitfulness that Keats used to wax lyrical about. Or could it be my memory is playing tricks on me? Was it ever really like that? My old photos in family albums feature what appear to be white Christmases – me trying out a new bike on recently cleared roads, snowball fights and children almost immobilised by layers of clothing.
There were mornings waiting for the school bus when you could see your breath it was so cold and you had to stamp your feet to try and keep warm.
I know we live in an age of central heating, warm cars and shopping centres, so it may be more difficult to judge whether our climate is really changing.
I thought I’d check the white Christmas memories and although the statistics are based on whether or not we have snow on Christmas Eve or Day rather than before or after, we have had surprisingly few in the last 100 years. A quick trawl of the internet reveals that in the last century we only had seven Christmases that were officially blessed with the white stuff. It averages out, it seems, at about one every six years.
Our last picture postcard yuletide was in 2009, when parts of the country were covered in a blanket of snow – part of the ‘big freeze’ that began on December 17 and carried on into January.
So, seven years on maybe we are due for a Bing Crosby- inspired festive season.
While the chaos caused by proper seasonal weather is never to be celebrated – and why do we never seem to be ready for the fog, ice and snow? – there is a kind of stoic resignation that it’s part of life.
There’s something comforting about the weather doing what we perceive to be normal things.
While the thousands enjoying the Leger Festival this week will no doubt be glad of the sun and the warmth – 21C or more predicted for most of the festival – I can’t help feeling a little uneasy. Tropical nights don’t feel right when the new school year has already started.
Let’s see if things get back on track next week with, as tradition would have it, winter coming in on the tail of the last horse in the Leger.