I know I'm supposed to enjoy this season of mists and mellow fruitfulness but, quite frankly, I don't. It's another season closer to winter and I don't even want to talk about that.
I live in a part of the world that is absolutely wonderful - unsurpassable even - if your most eager wish involves the early onset of rheumatoid arthritis, but for anything else it's pretty much useless. The weather is so relentlessly drab that autumn marks what is effectively the end of all colour for a period of roughly half a year.
A friend recently applauded my beautiful "black and white" photograph of a hillside scene. I thanked her, naturally, but then had to point out that, actually, it wasn't a black and white photo at all; that was just how things look round here. And that makes the point, I think. I'm a creature who loves leaves and sunshine, warmth, colour and long hours of daylight, so this time of year feels like the start of a very long decline.
Oddly, though, when we should sensibly be retiring indoors and trying out our most curmudgeonly facial expressions, we in Britain fill the time with peculiar events and celebrations. No sooner has Halloween instilled in our children an abiding passion for accepting sweets from strangers than along comes Bonfire Night and all its many enticements to play with fire and explosives. Perhaps it's a vestige of some ancient ancestral policy aimed at thinning out the tribe before winter and leaving the settlement with fewer mouths to feed...
Of course, it's also the season when retailers develop an irrepressible Christmas spirit and assail both our senses and our airwaves with invitations to commence our shopping early. (In mid-July, ideally, but November will do at a pinch.) Quite unbidden, they'll then start to count down the days before we must all endure that other ghastly annual ritual - the one designed to rid us of our cash and get us all drunk in the company of relatives we'd otherwise choose not to meet. (A family friend works in forensics and he once told me that there is always a huge spike in the murder rate around Christmas time. I'm not at all surprised.)
However, I have a plan. Work, family and limited funds preclude the possibility of over-wintering in the Seychelles but perhaps I can derive some vicarious pleasure from the sunny words of other writers. Over the next few months I'll be inviting one or two fellow indie authors to contribute a post to this blog. Some of them live in quite splendidly warm locations so I'll ask them first; perhaps they can lend this place a bit of much-needed colour.