Where I grew up, we don’t really get four seasons the way you do here… and I never really noticed that until I moved here. In Ballina you get summer, and you get ‘winter’ but the winter is more like the spring here. It never really gets to temps much below the 20s and it certainly doesn’t get what you’d call ‘cold’.
But here… here you get these amazing seasonal changes. The summer is gorgeous with its long daylight hours, picnics in the park, summer fruit and veg and the warm days, and the spring is stunning too with the lovely spring blooms absolutely dominating all of the parks and the crisp air and the sunny days, and winter can be lovely too if it snows, covering everything in a beautiful white and the places around you filling up with fires and the smells of mulled wine and stodgy food.
But the best season in my mind is autumn. Despite the dark, and darkening days with the sun not getting up until after 8am and going down around 4pm, which by the way I despise, the colours of this season are amazing. Actual autumn leaves fall and the trees change to all these amazing colours like red and orange and yellow. It’s cold, but not so cold that you can’t go outside – we can go on the most beautiful bike rides and lovely walks in the parks without feeling like our faces are going to fall off.
It makes me feel like I’ve stepped into another world, the world of books and childhood stories that I grew up on. The world of Christmas movies, or Beatrix Potter’s world, or, as I got older, Jane Austen’s world. The changes of colour aren’t the only thing… the food changes too, with mushrooms and pumpkins and winter berries coming into season and the English countryside lending itself so well to the colour scheme too.
Seasons are definitely something I took for granted at home, and while growing up I always thought we had four distinct seasons, I now realise it was really only two and now I really know what the four seasons are like.
It’s that festive time of year that I love so much again, with the bonfire and fireworks nights happening all of this weekend, the chestnuts being sold at the markets, the carved pumpkins dotted around people’s windows, the Christmas menus being put out, the geese and turkeys going on pre-sale, the mulled wine spices being ordered, the Christmas markets being set up, the ice skating rinks open for business, the fireworks stores popping up around the place and the beginnings of those early, cosy nights where you eat by candlelight rather than sunlight and wrap up warm before you go outside and you start to hear the Christmas carols being played in the distance…
I’ll be living in a bubble of festive happiness for the next two months, loving that Christmas is just around the corner, being taken in by the romance and magic of it all, until January rolls around… when the festivities are over and the cold is no longer a novelty but everything is grey, and the trees have no leaves, and the ground is sloshy from the melting snow, and we’re sick and tired of living in the dark and all we do is look forward to the spring.