Read my columns each month in Cardiff Life Magazine
Autumn is my favourite season. It is the beautiful season. It is the season blessed with the most indulgent of colour schemes. However, it is also fated as the season before the ‘jolly’ one and our anticipation for snow, sleighs and snuggling by the fire in motif Christmas jumpers and big woolly socks more often than not succeeds in upstaging the months that precede it.
The writer George Eliot had the right idea when she declared autumn ‘delicious’ and said ‘my very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.’ Boy, they knew how to express themselves in the nineteenth century, didn’t they?
What has brought on this sudden seasonal sales pitch, I hear you ask? No, I have not been visited by Vertumnus (he’s the Roman God of seasons in case you hadn’t googled mythology recently). Rather, I’ve been plagued by many a social media comment ushering in Santa long before – in my opinion – his scripted entry. One of my friends thought it necessary to mark the 100-day countdown and another to post their first purchase of mince pies (you know exactly who you are!). The latter not a difficult feat of course, when there are already several festive aisles creeping into most of our supermarkets/garden centres/department stores…
Why must we be in such a hurry to arrive at Christmas and to bypass the autumn, when September through to November has so much to offer? I do admit I am somewhat biased. October is when my birthday falls (no pun intended) so, for me, it is a season with ready-made nostalgia. I have satisfying recollections of childhood birthday celebrations with my school friends – our breath misty on the air as we played amongst a crisp carpet of coloured leaves, which crackled beneath our feet.
But my vote for autumn is down to more than just personal fondness. Whilst spring and summer boast blossoms and blooms, autumn stakes its own worthy claim as ‘the season of mellow fruitfulness’: hedgerows and trees laden with blackberries, plums and pears to name a few. And let’s not forget Halloween’s pumpkins and Fawkes’ toffee apples too.
Sport is also ripe with fresh competition. After a bumper Six Nations and an historic Lions tour on the rugby field, this year’s hunger for rugby couldn’t be bigger. A new season of Pro 12 and Heineken Cup action whetting our appetites for a bumper series of Autumn Internationals, that sees clashes with South Africa, Tonga and Oz being served up at the Millennium Stadium.
And the TV schedules are heavy with their richest pickings of the year. Topping my list are Sky Atlantic’s ‘The Newsroom’ back for a second run, and the new series of ITV’s ‘Downton Abbey’. And it seems I’m not alone, with almost 10 million others tuning in for the first episode of season 4. Indulging yourself in new one-liners from the Dowager Countess can only be one more good reason not to fast forward through to winter just yet.
So, as you drag yourself away from the comfy sofa and a plethora of televisual delights to make your way into the city centre for the big game, why not take a moment to really savour the sights of the beautiful season: a Welsh fairy tale castle nestled in a hillside carpet of orange and gold, a rainbow of oaks shedding their leaves in Bute Park and a tide of fans all wrapped in red creeping through the streets, gathering its numbers to sweep its team to autumn victory.
Don’t misunderstand me, I love winter and the Christmas jollities that come with it as much as much the next person, but for me the countdown need not start until the final whistle has sounded on the pitch and the first door of the advent calendar is open. Only then should we taste our first mince pie. Only then should we hang our first bauble.