The falling leaves


Well now autumn is well and truly  upon us.  There are two sides to autumn which particularly merit attention; the lovely golden, amber and yellow colours of the leaves on the trees as the chloroform retracts; and the pain of clearing up said leaves when they fall.  It also hastens the end of the year and the Christmas/New Year period, more of which later.  The air changes as well, with that certain dampness detectable in the morning and early evening. The worst part of this time of year is the nights ‘drawing in’. It always amazes me the capacity of the human race to cope with the reduction of light as winter approaches. Where a few months ago we were quite happy sit outside basking in the 8.30pm sun, now it’s dark by 6.30pm, earlier if its raining.  The upside though, for some, is the later morning light, I found the 5.00am sun up times makes you more awake than you want to be.  Still we’ve all lived this way since time immemorial (far northern areas excepted) so we should be used to it by now. It always amazes the differing levels of dress/undress people adopt during the winter months. I remember in the early part of 2012 a chap out shopping in T shirt, flip-flops, and shorts when everyone else was dressed to the nines for a cold day, which it was.  Tough type perhaps, didn’t feel the cold, or maybe he couldn’t afford any other clothes. One shouldn’t judge I suppose, except if you put yourself up for it. Like this blog for example, everyone who reads it must agree with everything I have said, because I rarely get any comments giving me their views.

The ‘Conference’ season, what a laugh: is there any point in the party faithful’s turning up at whatever major city venue and patting themselves on the back for their achievements or in most cases the lack of the same?  Sometimes a major politician comes out with a ‘policy’ statement. What’s that?  Something that will be implemented or they hope will be? It makes me laugh when the Labour party said at their conference: Our policy is so and so….it’s not, until they are in power, and even then there’s no assurance it will be. Who’d be a politician?  I don’t understand all this fawning of Boris Johnson either, he’s not even an MP yet, probably a small obstacle that will be easily overcome.   Sorry to bore the pants of our overseas readers, this UK politics won’t be of interest to them.

Aah Christmas, every year it comes around, every year they say it has become too commercialised, every year we all say it starts too early.  I saw Christmas cards and wrapping in the middle of September, but I bet people have seen Christmas stuff before then.  So what’s it all about?  In our family, Christmas presents since the children were small,  are low-priced little gifts, with the major purchases for birthdays. I don’t understand this predilection for spending 000’s on  Christmas, including expensive computers, cameras and phones. Why? The giving and receiving of gifts at Christmas was started by the three wise men,  does this mean that everybody who does this in modern times believes in the meaning of Christmas and that it actually happened?  No it’s just an excuse to spend loads of money on meaningless gifts that give neither pleasure or in the majority of cases, usefulness.  Due to the ‘downturn’, it may mean a huge cutback in Christmas this year, but I doubt that will affect the people who make the TV adverts. Do they actually make a measurable difference? Does anyone actually pay any attention to them?  This year more than ever the internet will pay a big part in the Christmas present market, I suggest that the yield from the internet will be far in excess of what is bought in the shops. It will even, perhaps, stop the Christmas Eve garage present syndrome for harassed husbands and partners; you know the one, where the husband has been too busy working/watching football/boozing to think about a partner’s present until  the eve of Christmas and hurries into a garage for a bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates on the way home that night.  Now, if he can find time to tear himself away from the football on TV, he can order something on-line in time for the festivities.  Will it happen; doubt it?  Back to the Christmas spend though, it is nice to get the family together for a celebration at least once a year, in our house this happens several times a year, but even this year fewer people are coming to our house for Christmas.

So, now we have the period between the start of Autumn and the end of the year which always seems to go much quicker than other parts of the year.  What have we got to look forward to?  Halloween, another over-celebrated American import and pagan festival (we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving next) which is blown out of all proportion to what us reserved Brits used to do to celebrate it, and Bonfire night or Guy Fawkes night, which is lost in the mist’s of time by most people as to why it is celebrated ( a failed conspiracy in 1605 by a group of provincial English Catholics to assassinate the Protestant King James I and replace him with a Catholic head of state).  Such jolly fun.  Halloween is I suppose quite harmless but it does frighten small children, and seems to my mind utterly pointless, although the Church seems divided on whether it is a good or bad thing, being initially a Protestant celebration of All Hallows Day.  Most churches don’t seem to embrace Halloween.  However, Bonfire night is a different thing all together. This year as every, young people will put fireworks through letter boxes (though not bangers since they were banned), and think they are the only ones every to have thought of doing that. Then there the terrible injuries caused by fireworks each year, someone always does, some are killed and the lesson is never learnt, why don’t the authorities ban firework sales in normal shops and only allow organised, licensed ones to be put on? We will always celebrate Bonfire night, so why not make it safe for evermore?  Preach over, just gets me that the same things happen every year.  One more rant and that is the so-called ‘British Summer Time’, an anachronism if ever I heard one.  We put the clocks back in Autumn and forward in the Spring, but we are never at the same time (save for a couple of weeks) as Western Europe.  When people had to contact me at work from Germany, they had to wait until their 9.00am to catch me in at 8.00am.  Why is that? Can’t we all be on the same time as Europe,; does the argument by Scottish farmers that they would still be in the dark at 9.30am hold water?  If they  go independent, they can have Timbuctoo time if they want, it won’t affect the rest of the country.

Right I’ve had enough of this, this time.  As before I would appreciate constructive comments via the ‘leave a comment’ selection below.

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About cliverh

Retired aerospace engineer, first with the Royal Air Force and then BAE Systems. Now enjoying a variety of activities and not getting bored. I was a Games Maker Volunteer at the London 2012 Olympics and a volunteer at the Rugby World Cup 2015 in England. I intend to blog about what interests me.
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2 Responses to The falling leaves

  1. TC says:

    Bah Humbug Dad? Seems you’ve got the grumps on with this blog. There are so many wonderful things about Autumn [I don’t need to tell you] but for me moreover it’s the feeling of change and development of the seasons. It’s a sure sign that things are moving forward. There are so many beautiful images around at this time of year too. As with fireworks night, halloween et al… maybe i’m at the right age but I just feel like a kid again at these occasions. I remember the one’s I had as a youth and it takes me back there. And the gifts at Xmas – I love the giving more then the receiving which may sound cliche but it’s true. HOWEVER – January, February and March are for me undoubtably the worst of the British months. Colder then the end of the year, no events as above to distract and it’s always in this time of year where I suffer most from restlessness and SAD [some may scof at SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder but it does exist and can be truly disabling]. So I’m always thankful for the run up to Xmas – at least it’s not Jan/Feb/Mar!! 🙂

    • cliverh says:

      That’s more like it! I wanted to court controversy and get people disagreeing with me, you are a good starter. I suppose I’m getting paranoid about no-one making any comments; I can’t be right all the time. Yes actually I agree with you, Oct-Dec is better than Jan-Mar, although my birthday being in March means that spring is just around the corner and we get the lighter nights yay! I knew someone who suffered from SAD so badly that on some dull days he couldn’t even go into work he felt so depressed. But I still think that Halloween is an overblown American import and doesn’t mean much to Brits, but I will concede that Bonfire night can be magical for all ages, so long as it is kept safe and idiots don’t misuse fireworks. My views on Christmas remain but it is a nice time of year to get together. Nice to hear from you anyway and keep up the comments. CH.

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