Early autumn has a sadness sometimes, that late autumn does not. Like an ageing beauty clinging to its youth, summer is desperate not to release its grip. Summer activities are undertaken defiantly but desperately, until autumn and the prospect of winter ahead are embraced fully. We rail against carols in department stores, until we well up with emotion at the thought of seeing our families again. We put on T-shirts and, at most, a jumper, until the idea of a whole wardrobe of woollens and watching our breath condense becomes something to look forward to.
Bonfire Night marks the turning-point for the season. Were it not for its anticatholic roots, the celebration would be appropriate as the site for the extra bank holiday, breaking up the drudge that currently lasts from late August to late December; were it not for its pagan reactionariness against Christian appropriation, Hallowe’en might function as that instead. So when the two events fall either side of the weekend, celebrations on that hemmed-in Saturday can act as both a farewell and a last hurrah for the days that are slipping from our fingers. Last night our 18-year-old neighbour was having a party outside, suitably rowdy, teenage, drunken. Inside, less exuberant and closer to our own type, we had Thai tofu and ruinous quantities of port: K, addedentry, j4 and I.
The day after Bonfire Night, or after its ersatz equivalent, is almost always foggy, which if nothing else should convince you of the delicate, malleable nature of our climate. Today we cannot see down into the valley and the nearby village of Crawley, or even as far as the other end of the close. Last year, or maybe the one before, we were driving to Cardiff late on the fifth, and saw fireworks at the junction of the M5. It warms a Cardiffian’s heart, the sight of Bristol apparently entirely consumed by flames and explosions. The next morning, from a house near the Heath, we looked towards the hills and Caerphilly, but saw them not.