Wednesday, 20 October 2010

It's October, can we turn down the heat a little?

Am I the only person wondering if the weather is currently on acid? We’re well into October and yet temperatures are hovering somewhere around the mid-20s in Celsius. Bearing in mind that this time of year the average maximum temperature is 14˚C but the mercury can easily dip as low as 6˚C, that’s insane.

Maybe this is the point where we should be blaming global warming or thanking our lucky stars that, after an August almost completely bereft of any sunshine, we now get to top up our vitamin D levels before the long dark winter begins. But still, whatever the reason, however pleasant it is, it’s starting to really annoy me. I like summer but it doesn’t get me all mushy and sentimental the way autumn does.

Autumn is my favourite season and from the moment the new season winter coats appear in the shops I feel a little tingle of excitement as my little mind fills with fantasies of me walking in parks with golden leaves falling, wearing oversized hats and drinking hot chocolate topped with marshmallows.

However I cannot get on with my saccharine love affair with autumn if what is ostensibly summer weather persists a good six weeks after it was due to leave. Of course it’s highly probable that at some point in mid-January, stony broke, half a stone overweight and suffering from acute SAD I’ll be craving sunshine and warmth so badly I’ll consider booking a week in the Canaries or something else equally close to lunacy.

Right now, with serotonin levels normal I can think of nothing more pointless than putting myself through all the horrors of international air travel to go somewhere that has average January temperatures of 19˚C: also known as room temperature. If I wanted to feel the heat of room temperature then surely I just go into a room. In fact I have several in my house negating the need to schlep all the way to an island in the Atlantic Ocean.

If it’s the highly paradoxical ‘Winter Sun’ you’re after then you will simply have to go somewhere where it is not winter. In short, the Southern Hemisphere or places very close to the equator. Nothing further north than 12˚N is not going to be warm enough. To be clear, it’s not the heat I dislike, quite the opposite; I would just like it in the appropriate places at the appropriate times when I am expecting it and accordingly prepared.

Due to the overly clement weather such matters are not yet a pressing concern. No, now is when I want it to wear my new boots especially bought for autumn weather in different russet shades. Instead I can only look at them longingly as they patiently wait, the aromatic waft of new leather filling the room as I’m still comfortably wandering around in flip flops.

It’s not only the boots, but my entire wardrobe that has been thrown entirely out of kilter. For although this freak weather is wonderfully mild, it has also been predictably, Britishly, wet. So each morning as I take the dog out to the woods for his hour of terrorising something that is not me, it’s a case of wading through bogs of rotting leaves, mud and puddles presumably filled with mixture of dirty water, left over canine slobber and the tears of fellow dog-walkers. For these expeditions into the forest of darkness I’m togged up in jeans (to protect my legs from muddy, leafy mulch) and a thin waterproof coat (to protect my torso from the onslaught of dog paws covered in muddy, leafy mulch).

Good preparation, you might be thinking. And yes it would be if the weather wasn’t still so temperate that even before 9am doing anything more than standing still in this get up causes me to turn an unflattering shade of puce while sweat bursts from my every pore, liquid rolling down my face and body in such fast flowing rivulets that I start to worry about dangerous levels of dehydration.

Back at home my post-walk cup of tea is more to cool me down than warm me up. I look longingly at the ready stocked woodpile. No fires will be lit for a while yet- aside possibly from a few more barbeques to capitalise on the late heat wave. And it all fills me with a sense of sadness. Summer, like all good things, should come to an end, and let us move onto the natural next phase of chilly mornings and dark cold evenings followed by the further pleasure of the grumbling about how much we miss the warm weather. Read more by Rosie .