Autumn passed through here rather briskly yesterday—not Sunday as others had it—and the cycle ride home was far colder than the journey into work. The low sun and cold temperatures are making us feel rather wintry, never mind autumnal (of course, the Americans would have you say “fallic”). The additional minor influence of K’s cough, perhaps just a reaction to whatever they sprayed the fields with a week or so ago, is making us both want to hunker down a little. Crack open the junk food, hot milk and long, silly novels.
But there is still time yet, the weather tells me. I can still cycle home in the cheering, lemon-butter sunshine, and shaded from that perishing wind I feel almost warm. At least this year, unlike the previous two, the season is starting to crispen and crackle rather than moving slowly but without boundary from humid Indian summer to damp, miserable winter. And besides, we have to keep our spirits up, if not our core body temperature, in anticipation of this week’s rescheduled Truck festival. Unlike the first time around, though, I don’t feel the same sense of anticipation, of a gathering, exciting storm; I’m not looking at the website or comparing bands to see who I’ll watch and who I’ll snobbishly discard. I just want to get it over with and come back home to a hot bath and bed.
Last night the central heating was configured for the first time in around six months. If ever there were a user interface dying for just two extra buttons, with certain as-yet-undefined functions, then the boiler has it. It took me a good twenty minutes to finally work out that, yes, you press “clock set” to finish setting the program; if that starts the clock a-flashing then it means you’ve mixed up start and end times somewhere in the program, not that you’ve confused the system into thinking you wanted to set the clock.
At this time of year I’m not sure I’m capable of dealing with the stress that priming the stove involved; when the roar of an ignited flame eventually growled from behind the metal and glass, it took all my summer’s energy not to climb on top of the towels in the airing cupboard and go to sleep among their folds, with an alarm clock beside me, digits flashing in internal confusion, set to wake me up in March.