I started bemoaning the end of summer in mid-March as the temperatures started to slip. Then suddenly, about six weeks ago, I was making articulate Facebook postings like “Brrrr.” But after a few days of wintry temperatures, winter backed off. And since then, we’ve had a long, balmy autumn, with the warmest May on record. This week, temperatures have dropped again, and we’re getting highs now of only 15 or 16 degrees, but with superb sun, little wind and cloudless skies. The atmosphere around the bays today was one of celebration. Everyone was taking advantage of the glorious weather, even though it felt quite odd with the low sun and long shadows, only three weeks from the shortest day. This pilgrimage to the sea was clearly unexpected by the powers-that-be, as the beach was inaccessible, taken over by workers ready to restore the inner city beach, huge piles of sand waiting to be distributed. The warmer temperatures have kept me in lighter outfits, my spare room covered in summer clothes not quite ready to be put away for the winter, my winter clothes poised to take their place in my drawers. (OK, I can’t think how else to phrase that!) But still, they’re not quite needed yet.
But, you know, as much as I don’t like being cold, I’m ready. I like summer, and I like winter. But I don’t really like hovering between the two, in a kind of weather limbo. I like brilliant warm days, but I like good storms too. I like seasons. So, winter, do you hear me? I’m ready. I’m ready for the cold. Bring it on! I’ve bought a bright new red winter coat this year (finally, after several years of looking), and I want to wear it. I’m ready for the scarves and gloves. I have my boots out. I didn’t even need to wear my hat last year. I’m ready to wear my hat. I’m ready for cosy nights in with lamb shanks or hearty stews and red wine, and even puddings with custard. I’m ready for the woolly jerseys, the thermal underwear. I’m even ready for the frosts. And yes, I’m ready to complain about you too. Because without winter, how can I ever be ready for spring?