Summer. It’s such a lie.
Grey drizzle prevails throughout June. The sun makes a cameo appearance one icy, blustery day in July, and everyone in Scotland takes off their clothes. We shiver stubbornly, on beaches and in parks, across hills and glens. We go swimming in lochs, and get out quickly and pretend that we’re crying because the barbecue smoke got in our eyes. The parks in Glasgow become the site of spontaneous anti-establishment no-pants raves, until the police arrive on horses and tell everyone to stop. Then the rain returns.
If summer was your boyfriend, he would be a lying liar. He would promise you the moon – an actual trip to the moon – and then you’d find out it’s not really possible because the waiting list is already way long, and it costs millions. Disappointment doesn’t cover it.
If autumn was your boyfriend, he would just cuddle you. He would give you a straight answer and also, fondue. He would always text back.
Autumn is obviously better than summer. If anyone tells you that summer is their favourite time, they are playing a film of Imaginary Summer in their head rather than remembering things.
I couldn’t even wait until we were into the halcyon days of October to post this – we’re just past the start line of September, and I’ve already got to tell you about all the wonderful, just wonderful things that await you.
Cuddles in abundance
Cashmere. Wool. Autumn-leaf patterns. As The Guardian pointed out today, the latest offerings being perambulated around in Fashion Circles are uncannily similar to the style of a young Deirdre Barlow, off of Coronation Street. Handy picture showing Deirdre as the genesis of modern hipster sensibilities:
I love my glasses (they save me from walking right by friends in the street who are waving to me), and I love jumpers. I love calling them ‘lovely woollens’ without embarrassment. Saying things like ‘oh, that is a handsome knit’, out loud. If I could wear a wool cape, I would. Actually, maybe I will. I have been stocking up on cashmere from charity shops (obvs; I’m not living in a castle made of diamonds) and then just folding my arms so I can squish the cashmere in my hands. Autumn is the time for cuddles in abundance.
Autumn is Basic
I recently finally figured out what basic means, when young cool people on websites say it. I don’t think they mean it in a nice way. So apparently it’s unsophisticated, or, y’know, basic, to get really excited about drinking spicy hot chocolate on a cold Autumn day. You know what I love, though? ALL OF THE BASIC THINGS. I gave up smoking and drinking a while back, so all I want is nice things now. Damn right I love hot chocolate, and other Autumn things like pyjamas, and candles, and slippers, and the Great British Bake-Off. Also cardigans, bunting, kittens, and napping. I dance around my flat to Taylor Swift songs. I spend a great deal of time thinking about how much I love vanilla. Sometimes I just don’t even watch the news. I paint my nails instead. It felt really good to say all that.
Staying in is so much sweeter when you can hear rain drumming on the roof. No guilt, no missing out. It’s better in here. Get cosy in your bed when it’s cold outside. From Herman Melville in Moby Dick, that feeling: “The height of […] deliciousness is to have nothing but the blanket between you and your snugness and the cold of the outer air. Then there you lie like the one warm spark in the heart of an arctic crystal”.
When you get tired of doorstoppers – read The Red Tree by Shaun Tan. A miracle, a masterpiece, which will pick you up when the gloom of the approaching winter is getting you down, and you feel stressed and lonely and bored and scared. It is full of crackling, crisp orange and blood-red and gold, and it warms the dark.
It’s important, if you are aware of the hovering presence of s.a.d, to balance your viewing like you balance your diet: with a lot of sugar to level out the boring good stuff. Sure, watch a documentary about Seaworld, but make sure you have a lot of outrageous, fluffy, fictional romance to turn to when you need to step off the Carousel of Barbaric Reality. Try Casablanca (swoonsome romance with a really dark touch), Brief Encounter, and Sabrina. All of the doomed love and clipped accents and tiny improbable hats that you could wish for. Watch these on an exquisite relaxed Sunday morning, by lamplight, with home-made popcorn, and I guarantee that you will feel you are living your best life. Repeat anything Audrey Hepburn says, but especially, ‘I am learning to live in the world, and of the world’, as she slowly gets over heartbreak in Paris, in Sabrina. Utter. Gorgeousness.
Spicy hot chocolate is obviously coming into season now, following the spicy chocolate harvest. Also in season: figs, pears, pumpkins, and apples, apricots and aubergines. A feast of purple and orange. Buy them all (treat yo self), stack them up on your kitchen counter and survey your riches.
My favourite autumn recipe is pear clafoutis. Best made in a warm kitchen with an oven door you can rest your bum against, and someone sitting on the counter talking and telling you secrets, and getting dusted with icing sugar now and then. You could try pumpkin seed granola. It sounds swell. And also, cauliflower, lemon and rosemary soup, with cheese on toast. Edit: melted cheese on everything actually.
I love Christmas (so deliriously basic) but before that, there are night-time celebrations to brighten your heart. Bonfire night (the smell of fireworks, sparklers, and melting marshmallows! The joyous celebration of er… thwarted terrorism and state-ordered torture? I guess this celebration has drifted a little from its bloodied origins) and Halloween. Night of creepy fun! Night of dressing up all creepy, for fun! OOooOoh fun. For more information on creepy fun, please see here – Amelie on the ghost train. Awooo.
Good eating, warm jumpers, long night-times, safe dreams and eiderdowns, apricots and pumpkins, fireworks, bonfires, and old black and white movies. Autumn is better than summer. And it’s finally here.